AUGUST 24, 1781


In late 1780, General George Rogers Clark convinced Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson to authorize an expedition to capture Fort Detroit, the British headquarters in the Northwest Territory.   Recruitment was difficult.  Eastern Virginians were threatened by British General Cornwallis; western Pennsylvanians by Indians.  Colonel Archibald Lochry & 100 men from the Westmoreland County militia volunteered and were to rendezvous with Clark’s 400 men at Fort Henry.  When Lochry was late arriving, Clark sailed down the Ohio so his men would not desert.  At the mouth of the Great Miami River, British ally Mohawk Joseph Brant let Clark pass as he awaited reinforcements.  However, Brant learned that Lochry and his men were following.  As Lochry came ashore to feed his men and horses, Brant’s force overtook Lochry’s men, killing 37, capturing the rest.  Brant’s force suffered no casualties.  Of Lochry’s survivors, fewer than half made it home.  In their home county, nearly every person lost someone they knew.

Source:  “Lochry’s Defeat,” Revolutionary War and Beyond.  Retrieved 6/15/2020,
Painting:  George Romney (1734-1802), 1776.  Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant). Public Domain. 

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