Fort Laurens, 1778-1779: The Revolutionary War in Ohio

Fort Laurens, 1778-1779: The Revolutionary War in Ohio

Fort Laurens, 1778-1779: The Revolutionary War in Ohio

Fort Laurens, 1778-1779: The Revolutionary War in Ohio

Excerpt

In the Popular mind, the American War of Independence was largely confined to the seaboard colonies. Even scholarly treatments of the war sometimes fall into the error of slighting the great border wars along the colonial frontiers. Yet one has only to glance through the voluminous correspondence of the Revolutionary generation or the records of Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and the other provinces with frontier lands to recognize the importance that contemporaries attached to events in the outposts of American settlement. American military leaders and the Continental Congress faced agonizing choices as to where their limited military resources should be applied. Just as America in World War II had to allocate scarce material to both the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters, so the revolutionary generation had to apportion its scarce resources between the settled areas of the seaboard and the exposed line of the frontier. During the war western lands were seen as the responsibility of those seaboard states that claimed them by virtue of their colonial charters. It became apparent, however, that America's stake in the West was too promising to be left to the inadequate resources of individual states, and by 1777-78 the Continental Congress was assuming more responsibility for military activities in the Ohio Country.

Why this interest in distant places inhabited largely by scattered Indian tribes and villages? There were, of course, small numbers of Americans living on the fringes of the principal Indian lands. Settlers were strung out in isolated cabins or communities along the western reaches of the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania and Virginia, or they were to be found huddled close to the lonely, stockaded Kentucky settlements. These scattered settlements represented the cutting edge of an inexorable American movement into Indian lands, a movement . . .

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