Peter d'Errico: Book details US defeat at hands of tribal nations

Arthur St. Clair was the U.S. Army commander whose forces were defeated by a coalition of tribes in March 1791. Image from Wikipedia

Retired professor Peter d'Errico offers a favorable review of The Victory with No Name: The Native American Defeat of the First American Army:
Professor Colin Calloway's new book, The Victory With No Name, chronicles how a confederation of Native nations defeated the U.S. Army when it invaded Indian lands across the Ohio River in 1791. Calloway, as usual, tells the story well, with lucid prose and thorough documentation.

The invasion, by the first army organized by the United States, under the command of Major Gen. Arthur St. Clair, aimed at the destruction of Indian villages along the Maumee River to open the way for "settlers" (as if the land were not already settled—an example of the way language can obscure reality) and land speculators. The success of the Indians thwarted the invasion, scattered the "settlers," and discouraged the speculators.

The Indians' successful expulsion of American soldiers made front-page news and dashed plans for the Westward Expansion of the "American empire." Today, few people have heard of the event. History books skip over this battle to focus on the later successful invasion into Indian lands beyond the Ohio by a rebuilt army under Gen. Anthony Wayne.

Calloway writes, "The battle deserves to be remembered…. It was the biggest victory Native Americans ever won and proportionately the biggest military disaster the United States ever suffered." His book aims at filling "a blank spot in the national memory."

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Peter d'Errico: Book Review: Indian Nations Defeat U.S. Army (Indian Country Today 3/9)

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