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How Did St. Clair’s Defeat Happen?

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===The U.S. Goes to War against the Western Indian Confederacy===
As the Northwest Indian War raged, Secretary of War Henry Knox ordered the construction of Fort Washington in 1789 on the banks of the Ohio River in the location of what is today Cincinnati. Fort Washington was to be the first in a series of forts throughout the Northwest Territory extending to the headwaters of the Maumee River, <ref> Williams, Samuel C. “The Southwest Territory to the Aid of the Northwest Territory.” <i>Indiana Magazine of History</i> 37 (1941) p. 152</ref> which would eventually either lead to the total defeat of the Western Confederacy or its banishment west of the Mississippi. The military began mustering a large force of both regular army and militia in 1790 in anticipation of this major campaign, which was led by General Josiah Harmar. The campaign was ill-advised and began with Knox telegraphing its moves by warning the British, who in turn warned their Indian allies. Although Harmar was able to burn about 300 Indian villages, he lost 200 men in battle and returned to Fort Washington defeated. <ref> Tanner, p. 16</ref> Harmar’s loss meant that Knox would attempt to use diplomacy with the Indians one last time. The gulf between the desires of the Americans and Western Indian Confederacy was too great, though, so the talks ended in the spring of 1791. <ref> Tanner, p. 31</ref> Both sides began mobilizing for war and it soon became apparent which side was better prepared.
Although General Arthur St. Clair requited himself quite well in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, he was fifty-four-years-old in 1791 and past his prime as a soldier. St. Clair had for the most part moved on past his military career and was at the time a civilian leader. He was the governor of the Northwest Territory, but he still had a longing for the military and wanted to personally lead a force to defeat the Western Indian Confederacy. A force of regular army and militia began mustering at Fort Washington in the summer of 1791 to finish what Harmar had started by destroying the Miami, Shawnee, and Delaware villages and erecting U.S. Army forts. The more than 2,000 man army left Fort Washington and quickly built two forts in October before coming to the headwaters of the Wabash River in early November. <ref> Williams, p. 153</ref> It would be at this location where St. Clair would be handed his humiliating defeat.
===American Weaknesses===

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