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of the Battles

Photos by Jim Cummings

In 1780 a British force under Captain Henry Bird attacked two of the stations in Kentucky. Bird’s force of 700 men was combined of regular army, loyalist militia and Native Americans.

Martin’s and Ruddle’s Stations were located along the Licking River. This was the first time artillery was used against the Kentucky Stations and the settlers inside the fort were forced to surrender.

The prisoners were to be marched to Detroit under British control. But the restless Natives soon took control killing many of the approximately 450 men, women and children. 


In June of 1780, after British and Indian forces had seized Ruddle’s Station (Fort Liberty) and Martin’s Station in Kentucky, Colonel George Rogers Clark proposed a counterattack. He ordered the land office near Harrodsburg closed and blocked all roads out of the area to help in raising an army. He also ordered a mobilization of the Kentucky militia. Colonel Ben Logan and Colonel Harrod brought troops, and all three (with about 1,000 men) met on July 31 at the mouth of the Licking River, where Covington, Kentucky is now located. They crossed the Ohio and built a blockhouse for their supplies and equipment at the present site of the Great American Ballpark. It is not known if Daniel Boone was left there as one of the guards or was with Colonel Logan’s unit as a scout. Simon Kenton was a scout for Clark’s army, but missed the battle. When Clark’s forces reached the Indian town of Chillicothe (Oldtown), just north of present- day Xenia, on August 7, they found it abandoned. They destroyed the buildings and camped for the night in a very heavy downpour. A scout returned from Peckuwe and reported that the Indians were preparing to fight. There were about 300 Indian warriors at the time-Shawnee, Mingo, Wyandot, and Delaware. About 1,200 Shawnee, including 400 warriors, had previously left for St. Louis.

Catahecasa (Black Hoof) led the Indians. At Peckuwe, the Indian women and children were moved to the limestone cliffs to the west and north. Colonel Clark’s men approached the Mad River across from Peckuwe and divided into three divisions. The right wing, under Logan, was to go east and then north to cut off retreat frm that direction.- Clark was to control the center wing of the Regulars and Artillery and go directly to the fort. The left wing, under Colonel Lynn,:was to go north and then west - along the hills to flank the villages and fort. Logan’s men had trouble getting over the limestone cliffs and missed the battle altogether. 

By 3 p.m., Clark and Lynn’s forces had driven the Indians into the fort and cabins. Clark brought a six pounder (cannon) out on the hill overlooking the fort. The Indians had surprisingly adopted the white mans’ tactics and charged from the fort, fighting in the open rather than from hiding. Another group of Indians started shooting from behind Kentuckians. Clark’s men formed a hollow square around the

six-pounder and when the Indians came to within 40 yards, the cannon was fired several times on the fort and cabins. When the militia advanced to the fort they found the Indians had escaped through the corn fields and through a passage in the limestone cliffs northwest of the town. Clark’s men did not pursue the Indians. The next day they destroyed the 800 acres of corn, buried the dead, and burned the Indian cabins. Peckuwe, which means ”one who rises from the ashes”, was reduced to ashes.

Clark reported that 14 of his men had been killed, 13 wounded, and that Indian casualties were three times that. The Indians, however, said that only six Indians had been killed or wounded.

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