Battle of Blue Licks

 

An often overlooked part of the Revolutionary War is the conflict in the trans-Appalachian region.  Very sparsely populated, American settlers fought against hostile Indians, Tories, and the British who supported them.  The war was usually waged with no quarter asked or given.  America emerged victorious from this savage conflict, which makes it ironic that one of the last battles fought in the American Revolution was an American defeat in this theater of the war.

A raiding party of 50 Tory Rangers and 300 Indians, led by Simon Girty, William Caldwell and Alexander McKee besieged the settlement of Bryan Station on August 15, 1782.  They abandoned the siege on August 17 when they learned that a force of Kentucky militia was on the way to relieve Bryan Station.  The militia, 182 men, arrived at Bryan Station on April 18.  Colonel John Todd was in overall command, with Lieutenant Colonels Stephen Trigg and Daniel Boone (yes, the famous Daniel Boone) underneath him.

Pursuing the raiding party the militia came to Licking River on August 19.  A few Indian scouts could be seen on the other side of the river.  Boone advised against crossing the river, stating that the Indians had been leaving a very obvious trail and that he suspected they were trying to lure them into an ambush. Boone’s advice was ignored.  He said as they crossed the river, “We are all slaughtered men.”

After crossing the river the militia dismounted and began to climb a hill.  As they reached the crest, the concealed Indians and Tories opened a devastating fire.  After 5 minutes the militia ran for their lives.  The militia lost 11 captured and 72 killed, among them Boone’s son Israel.  The Tories and Indians sustained loses of 7 killed and 10 wounded.

The battle had no strategic importance, but it did humiliate American pride.  An offensive against the Shawnees was undertaken in November during which five Shawnee villages were destroyed.

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Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 6:36 am  Comments Off on Battle of Blue Licks  
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