Featured are excerpts of 1794 diary entries referring to a period when Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne returned from his victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. During this time, Fort Defiance was reinforced to withstand a possible attack by the British stationed at Fort Miami.
• Aug. 27: The approach of the victorious Anthony Wayne was announced by a fifteen gun salute from Fort Defiance by Major Hunt. As the different legion units arrived, the first order of business was to encamp and fortify. One such fortified camp was located a half mile up the Maumee River on the north bank. This was the site chosen by Wayne’s second in command, General James Wilkinson. Another fortified encampment was located three quarters of a mile up the Auglaize River on the east bank. The third and final fortified encampment was located down the Maumee River near the site of Blue Jacket’s village.
These fortified encampments were referred to as redoubts. One soldier’s journal states the following: “Within the square we have between 6 & 700 infantry, besides the dragoon & artillery to defend 900 or 1,000 yards.” Using those numbers, each side of the square would have been 250 yards or 750 feet in length, a sizeable structure. The sides of these enclosures were made by stacking various diameter logs horizontally; the height would vary between 4 and 5 feet. Anthony Wayne placed his headquarters encampment next to the fort. General Scott’s Kentucky Militia encamped one and a half mile up the Auglaize River, on the north bank of the Cole Run ravine.
• General Orders, Aug. 28: As the army will probably remain on this ground for some time, vaults must be dug and every precaution taken to keep the encampment clean and healthy. The Legion will be reviewed the day after tomorrow at 10 o’clock. In the interim, arms must be cleaned and varnished and the clothing of the soldier repaired and washed, to appear in the most military condition possible; but in these necessary preparations for a review, great caution must be used by the commanding officers of wings, not to permit too many men at one time to take their musket locks off, or to be engaged in washing.
• Aug. 31: An armed fatigue party of 300 non-commissioned officers and privates, with a number of commissioned officers, will parade at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning; they will be furnished with 100 axes, 100 picks and 100 spades and shovels. Major Burbeck, an artillery officer will be in charge. He is credited with the design of Fort Defiance, as well as several of the other forts.
• Sept. 1: This morning the fatigue party began to fortify and strengthen the fort to make it of sufficient strength to be proof against heavy metal, 12-pound cannon balls. The work began on constructing a glacis enforced with fascines and digging a ditch twelve feet wide and eight feet deep on three sides of the fort. The earth removed from the ditch, was placed against the fort walls, and the first floor of the block houses. The earth works would be six feet high and 10 feet deep, making them bomb proof against 10 inch mortar shells.
Comments on the site of Fort Defiance to Gen. Anthony Wayne by Legion Artillery Officer Lt. Piercy Smith Pope: “An eminence on the opposite side of the Miami (Maumee River) within 300 yards of the Centre of the work is viewed from it at an angle of at least 15 degrees, and the ground on the same side of the river at 150 yards from the gate overlooks the pickets.” Wayne was made aware of the short comings of the fort’s Impregnable Location. It was well within the range of British cannons if they gained procession of the north bank of the river.
• Sept. 2: Every effective man of the light troop in the redoubts round the camp was ordered this morning to make three bundles of fascines. The foraging party that went out this day brought in as much corn, dry enough to grate, as will suffice the troops for three days.
• Sept. 3: Nothing but hard fatigue going forward in all quarters. The garrison begins to put on the appearance of strength, and in a few days be able to stand the shock of heavy cannon. The troops are very sickly. A group of Kentuckians has been sent back to Fort Greene Ville for much needed supplies. Provisions are nearly exhausted. Whisky has been out for some time.
• Sept. 5: No news of the escort, this day the troops drew no flour, and I fear will shorty draw no beef; however, as long as the issuing of beef continues, the troops will not suffer, as there is still corn in abundance on the river.
• Sept. 8: This day brings us information of the escort; by express we learned that it will be with us tomorrow. It will be fortunate for us should the provisions arrive, as we have not drawn any flour since the 7th; nevertheless we have the greatest abundance of vegetables.
• Sept. 9: Wayne engaged with the volunteers to bring on the flour from Greene Ville on their own horses, for which they are to receive $3 per hundred, delivered at the Miami villages.
• Sept. 10: The escort arrived this day about 3 o’clock and brought with them 200 kegs of flour and nearly 200 head of cattle. They received no liquor. The troops would not receive any until they were in winter quarters. The troops would have much rather lived on half rations of beef and bread, provided they would have been given their full rations of whisky.
• Sept. 12: The pioneer troops were ordered to cut a road up the Maumee under the direction of the sub-legionary Quartermaster; they are to commence at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning every department to prepare themselves accordingly.
• Sept. 13: The Legion began their march to the Miami villages of Kekionga, located at the confluence of the St. Mary & St. Joseph rivers, the source of the Maumee River. Mayor Thomas Hunt was placed in command of the 300 troops assigned to the garrison, many of whom were recovering from wounds received at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Others were too sick to travel.
Anthony Wayne placed Colonel Hamtramck in command of his fifth fort constructed during his Indian Wars campaign. Wayne then returned to his headquarters at Fort Greene Ville for the winter. The troops named the fort “Fort Wayne” in honor of their commander.
Fort Wayne was located near the site of General Harmar’s 1790 defeat. In 1793, Wayne had built Fort Recovery, Fort Recovery, Ohio, at the site of St. Clair’s 1791 defeat. Wayne built two strong fortifications within the prime locations in the heart of the Indian Confederation, one at the Glaize, Defiance, Ohio, and the other at Kekionga, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
(Information, collected by Richard Rozevink, was derived from period journals of soldiers who served in Wayne’s Legion of the U.S., as well as Lt. William Clark and Lt. John Boyer.)