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War Along the Wabash (Hardback)

The Ohio Indian Confederacy's Destruction of the US Army, 1791

Military > By Century > 18th Century World History > The Americas > USA

By Steven P. Locke
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 320
Illustrations: B/W
ISBN: 9781636242682
Published: 15th February 2023



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On November 4, 1791, a coalition of warriors determined to set the Ohio River as a permanent boundary between tribal lands and white settlements faced an army led by Arthur St. Clair – the resulting horrific struggle ended in the greatest defeat of an American army at the hands of Native Americans.


The road to the battle of the Wabash began when Arthur St. Clair was appointed to lead an army into the heart of the Ohio Indian Confederacy while building a string of fortifications along the way. He would face difficulties in recruiting, training, feeding, and arming volunteer soldiers. From the moment St. Clair’s shattered force began its retreat from the Wabash the men blamed the officers, and the officers in turn blamed their men. For over two centuries most historians have blamed either the officer corps, enlisted soldiers, an entangled logistical supply line, poor communications, or equipment. The destruction of the army resulted in a stunned Congress authorising a regular army in 1792.


This book, the result of 30 years’ research, puts the battle into the context of the last quarter of the 18th century, exploring how the central importance of land ownership to Europeans arriving in North America resulted in unrelenting demographic pressure on indigenous tribes, as well as the enormous obstacles standing in the way of the fledgling American Republic in paying off its enormous war debts.

This is the story of how a small band of determined indigenous peoples defended their homeland, destroyed an invading American army, and forced a fundamental shift in the way in which the United States waged war.

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About Steven P. Locke

Steven P. Locke is a retired curator of history for the Ohio Historical Society. He served in the US Army National Guard, then taught history in the Granville, Ohio, Exempted School District. He studied at both undergraduate and graduate level at the Ohio State University.

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