In 1790, Josiah Harmar, commander of the American
army in the Northwest Territory was stationed at Fort Washington
(present day Cincinnati, Ohio). Henry Knox, the Secretary of War,
ordered Harmar to end the threat of Indian attacks in western
Ohio. Harmar marched from Fort Washington with 320 regular soldiers
and 1,100 militiamen. Harmarís goal was to destroy the native
villages near modern day Fort Wayne Indiana. He intended to attack
the Miami, Shawnee and Delaware Indians along with other native
tribes located in western Ohio.
On October 20, 1790, the natives, led by Little
Turtle, war leader of the Miami, attacked a detachment from Harmarís
army led by Colonel John Hardin. Hardinís force consisted of several
hundred militiamen and a few regular soldier. Harding led his
detachment directly into an ambush. The regular soldiers put up
a brief resistance but a majority of them were killed outright.
Most of the militiamen fled the battle without firing a shot and
were pursued by the Miami until they crossed the Ohio River back
into Kentucky. Two days later, Harmar sent out another detachment
of troops and once again, the natives inflicted heavy casualties
upon the Americans. Now Harmar, after losing 183 men killed or
missing, retreated to the safety of Fort Washington. This Ohio
campaign of 1790 later became known as ďHarmarís DefeatĒ.