Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

Colonel Crawford’s Defeat June 6, 1782

The brave Anishinabek were so great a problem to the white settlers in the year 1782, in the Pennsylvania region, who were again pushing their way onto Anishinabe land, that the white settlers back in Pennsylvania constantly complained to their leaders about the great many numbers of illegal white settlers, being killed by the Anishinabe soldiers of the region of Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The English, in response to the many complaints coming from their citizens, raised an army of four hundred and fifty soldiers under the command of Colonel William Crawford, to attempt to stop the raiding. The target of the white soldiers under Colonel Crawford’s command, were the Indian settlements in Ohio known as Upper and Lower Sandusky. The villages were the starting off point for the many brave soldiers of the Anishinabek, heading towards the many illegal white settlers in southern New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

In very late May of 1782, the white soldiers under Colonel Crawford’s command, started their march to the villages to do as ordered, which was to destroy the villages and kill all the men, women, and children who occupied those villages. The Anishinabek quickly found out the intentions of their white enemies, and immediately assembled a great many soldiers, to protect their homelands against the expected white invasion. The number of soldiers raised, was anywhere from one thousand to fifteen hundred, for the battle against Colonel Crawford and his 450 white soldiers. The battle took place on June 6th, 1782. The battle started sometime during the afternoon of June 6th, and lasted several long hours and eventually died down because of darkness. During the following night, both the Anishinabe soldiers and the white soldiers, retreated from the battlefield to sleep with little fighting occurring. Come the next morning, the battle was resumed just as fierce as the previous day. The fighting continued until the whites who were just short of panic stricken, agreed that they wanted to retreat from the fierce battle they knew they could not win.

Crawford and his officers thoughts, most likely were on the wounded and the remaining unwounded soldiers survival. The leaders of the Anishinabe soldiers, realized the whites were in a great deal of trouble and were not about to let the whites get away. The retreating whites were repeatedly attacked resulting in many more white casualties, until they had been driven away in total defeat. Several white soldiers, including Colonel Crawford, had been captured. The fate of Colonel Crawford, and some of the other white soldiers taken captive, was not good. Colonel Crawford and a couple of other English soldiers were, horrifically tortured to death by the retaliating thinking Anishinabek. The Anishinabe soldiers that participated in the battle, had done their job very well.

The white military force had been completely routed with nearly 200 casualties endured. Of the 189 white casualties, 105 had been killed, and another 84 had been wounded. The number of Indian casualties was very few and no where near the number of white casualties. Before this battle, the whites had been making themselves an even bigger nuisance to the Indians of Ohio. On June 22nd, 1780, a white military force under the command of George Rogers Clark, attacked some Anishinabek killing 26 brave Anishinabe soldiers and wounding another 12, at one of their more important gathering locations. The number of white casualties during the battle was 27, of whom, 14 were killed and another 13 were wounded.

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