What information is there on the American Revolutionary War in the Northwest? Specifically the areas west of the Mississippi. Mainly looking for battles and generals present and their influence.

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Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Although military activities during the American Revolution in the Northwest Territory (Ohio Valley) and west of the Mississippi were essentially inconsequential to the outcome of the war, there were several battles and campaigns--most notably, those of Lieutenant-Colonel George Rogers Clark--that ultimately contributed to the American victory.  The most significant battles, those that measurably affected the outcome of the struggle, occurred along a fairly narrow band along the Eastern Seaboard from Massachusetts to South Carolina.  No general officers, either American or British, fought in the western theater.   The war in the East, not the smaller struggles in the Northwest Territory (Ohio Valley), eventually almost bankrupted the British and, perhaps more importantly, eroded Britain's will to carry the war to a successful conclusion.  The British were facing the continuation of a global war with the French, and the American colonies were expendable.

Even though the British were essentially done fighting when Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, the war in the west continued for another two years.  The struggle in the Northwest Territory (basically, the Ohio Valley) was characterized by fighting among various coalitions of British and their Indian allies; American settlers and allied Indians; French regulars and traders and their Indian allies; and even the Spanish.  Lieutenant-Colonel George Rogers Clark, for example, was very successful in checking the British at what is now Vincennes, Indiana, in 1779, and in 1782, Americans under the command of Colonel John Todd and Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Boone (the Daniel Boone) fought a British contingent of Rangers and allied Indians at Blue Licks, Kentucky.  Earlier, in 1780, a battle at St. Louis in which Americans fought mostly Indians allied with the British, prevented the British from taking St. Louis.  The last battle, on April 17, 1783, took place in Arkansas (of all places) at what is now Gillette, Arkansas, when a British captain named James Colbert attacked an American outpost called Fort Carlos.

The war in the western territories, then, was characterized by what we know call small unit actions fought by American militia against a few British regulars and their Indian allies.  Boundaries between adversaries were fluid, coalitions of Americans and British and their allies changed routinely, casualties were light, and, very important, neither the Americans nor the British incurred much expense, especially as compared to the European-style war waged in the east.

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