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Field of Corpses: Arthur St. Clair and the Death of an American Army
From Alan Gaff, author of the highly acclaimed Bayonets in the Wilderness, comes the real story of this stunning defeat against the Native American nations in the Northwest Territory. In three hours on the morning of November 4, 1791, General Arthur St. Clair lost one half of his soldiers as well as his reputation.
November 4, 1791, was a black day in American history. General Arthur St. Clair’s army had been ambushed by Native Americans in what is now western Ohio. In just three hours, St. Clair’s force sustained the greatest loss ever inflicted on the United States Army by Native Americans—a total nearly three times larger than what incurred in the more famous Custer fight of 1876. It was the greatest proportional loss by any American army in the nation’s history. By the time this fighting ended, over six hundred corpses littered an area of about three and one half football fields laid end to end. Still more bodies were strewn along the primitive road used by hundreds of survivors as they ran for their lives with Native Americans in hot pursuit. It was a disaster of cataclysmic proportions for George Washington’s first administration, which had been in office for only two years.
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