Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site

Location: Toledo, Ohio

Webpage: National Park

General Description: As the name implies, the Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site consists of three units associated with this battle, the Fallen Timbers Monument, the Fallen Timbers Battlefield, and Fort Miamis.  Following the Treaty of Paris that officially ended the Revolutionary War in 1783 the United States was ceded the land north of the Ohio River to the Great Lakes, contrary to the Treaty of Fort Stanwick of 1768 that defined the area north of the Oho River for the Indians.  The Indian tribes in the area were not represented at the Treaty of Paris, consequently did not sign it and refused to recognize any right the British had in giving away their lands.  The local tribes formed the Western Confederacy to fight for their land and supplied by the British went to war.  The Confederacy won decisive victories against the US at two ill conceived expeditions led by General Harmar in 1790 and General St Clair in 1791.   General “Mad” Anthony Wayne spent the better part of the next two years training a combined force of seasoned regulars and militia forming the Legion of the United States of approximately 5000 men.  During the late summer of 1793, General Wayne led his Legion north from Fort Washington, near Cincinatti towards Lake Erie building forts along the way.  By late August, 1794, General Wayne, with about 2,000 men, had advanced to near the present town of Toledo where about 1500 Indians of the Confederacy laid in wait.  The Indians had chosen a bluff above the Maumee River in amongst the fallen trees from a recent tornado for cover, believing this would slow the advance of the soldiers.  In a running battle that lasted about two hours, the Indians were routed, but when they sought refuge and support from the British at nearby Fort Miamis they found the gates denying them access since Major Campbell, who commanded Fort Miamis, was not willing to start a war with the United States.  The soldiers spent the next few days burning the crops and villages of the Indians while camping within range of Fort Miamis before withdrawing.  General Wayne had won a decisive victory and along with the series of forts that were extended to Fort Wayne in Indiana, secured northern Ohio for settlement to the Great Lakes.  Fort Miamis was constructed by the British in 1794 for the express purpose of stopping General Wayne from threatening Fort Detroit, which the British has yet to turn over to the Americans as according to the Treaty of Paris.  The British did abandon the fort in 1794 according to the Jay Treaty along with all the other forts on American soil, but the Americans abandoned the fort in 1799.  The British reoccupied the fort during the War of 1812 where they staged offensives against General William Henry Harrison at Fort Recovery to the south.

Brochure

Impressions:

1) The Fallen Timbers Memorial is a nice statue at the top of the bluff overlooking the Maumee River.  Due to a map drawn by a soldier at the time who did not participate in the battle, for 150 years it was believed this was the site of the battle.  However, the battle was actually fought back from the bluff according to archeological evidence.

Memorial2

2) The Fallen Timbers Battlefield site has a nice 1.5 mile hiking trail with a number of interpretive signs along the trail giving the background and history of the battle.  Unfortunately, this area was only a small part of the battlefield, the majority centered under the interchange of Interstate 475 and US 24.  They have preserved what they could and currently have a number of native trees planted to create a nice wooded area in the future.  There is also a Visitor Center at this location, however, it was closed for a private function when we were there.

3) Only the earthworks that made up the moat of Fort Miamis have survived to today.  I was surprised that Fort Miamis was actually quite small, but its command of the river approaches to Fort Detroit was quite impressive.

FortMiamis2