Blue Licks Battlefield – On August 19, 1782. Pioneers suffered a bitter defeat and were routed by their Revolutionary War enemies. Captain Caldwell concealed his British and Indian army along the ravines leading from this hilltop to the Licking River. Advancing into this ambush, the Pioneers were outnumbered and forced to flee across the river.
Earlier in the month Ritchey and I visited Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park. I was most anxious to see the memorial for those who fought and fell during this battle on August 19, 1782. Some call it the last battle of the Revolutionary War, fought ten months after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. The battle was fought between about 180 Kentucky settlers and 240 British and Indians. An attack on Bryan’s Station, Lincoln County, Kentucky, August 15, 1782, by the British and Indians, was led by Captain William Caldwell, loyalist Alexander McKee, Simon Girty and Matthew Elliott. The Kentucky settlers took shelter within their stockade and fought back with all their might. The British killed all the settlers’ livestock and destroyed their crops. When they heard that the Kentucky militia were on the way they retreated.
The Kentucky force was led by Colonel John Todd of Fayette County, assisted by Lieutenant Colonels Daniel Boone and Stephen Trigg. Plans were formed overnight and on the morning of August 19, 1782, this band of approximately 180 men set out to confront the British and Indians. The two forces met at the Licking River, today located in northern Nicholas County. The British and Indians secured for themselves the best spot on the riverbank for battle. Advancing into this ambush, within fifteen minutes almost half the Kentuckians were killed or captured. These were men who had fought hard and long with the Indians during their time in Kentucky. It is said that Daniel Boone wanted to wait for Benjamin Logan, who was bringing enforcements. He was a day or two behind. Others thought this would give the enemy time to cross the Licking River and head north, eventually crossing the Ohio River into Indiana and Indian territory.
After the battle, those still alive ran through the forest, trying to get back to Bryan’s Station. Some did, some did not. When Benjamin Logan’s militia arrived, they found the area littered with corpses. Many were scalped, many were butchered, cut into pieces. They were unable to identify anyone. All were buried in a mass grave.
|So valiantly did our small party fight that, to the memory of those who unfortunately fell in the battle, enough of honour cannot be paid.’ Daniel Boone|
|Colonel – Commandant John Todd||Killed|
|Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Boone|
|Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Trigg||Killed|
|Major Edward Bulger||Died of wounds|
|Major Silas Harlan||Killed|
|Major Hugh McGary|
|Major Levi Todd|
|Captain John Allison|
|Captain John Beasley||Captured|
|Captain John Bulger||Killed|
|Captain John Gordon||Killed|
|Captain Samuel Johnson|
|Captain Joseph Kincaid||Killed|
|Captain Gabriel Madison|
|Captain William McBride||Killed|
|Captain Clough Overton||Killed|
|Captain Robert Patterson|
|Lieutenant William Givins||Killed|
|Lieutenant Thonmas Hinson||Killed|
|Lieutenant John Kennedy||Killed|
|Lieutenant James McGuire||Killed|
|Lieutenant Barnett Rogers||Killed|
|Ensign John McMurtry||Captured|
|Commissary Joseph Lindsay||Killed|
|Dedicated August 19, 1928|
|This monument, the gift of a grateful Commonwealth, commemorates the heroic pioneers, who, in defense of Kentucky, here fought and fell in the Battle of the Blue Licks, August 19, 1782.|
On August 19, 1928, a granite monument was dedicated to the men who fought and lost their lives in the Battle of Blue Licks – a fitting tribute to these brave men. If this battle had not been fought, Kentucky may not have been settled until much later. We owe much to our brave pioneers.
|The men who fought the Battle of the Blue Licks were as well qualified from experience to face the Indians as any body of men that were ever collected.’ Robert Patterson|
|Privates Who Were Killed|
|Graham, ‘Little’ James|
|Ledgerwood, James||captured and killed|
|Ottawas and Chippewas|
Each year a reenactment of the Battle of Blue Licks is held at the battlefield park.
|They advanced in three divisions, in good order, and gave us volley and stood to it very well for some time.’ William Caldwell|
|Privates Who Escaped|
|Boone, Squire Jr.||Wounded|
|Cooper, Benjamin A.|
|January, James M.|
|Morgan, James||Capture but escaped|
|Woods, James Elijah||Captured|
|Wyandots and Mingoes|
You might enjoy reading History of the Battle of Blue Licks by Bennett Henderson Young. I downloaded it from Amazon for $1.95.
|No historian, who will give a faithful account of the settlement and transactions of this country, will omit to speak of the battle and the place at which it was fought.’ Court of Appeals of Kentucky|
|To the unknown heroes who took part in the Battle of the Blue Licks|
|This ‘Last Battle of the Revolution’ was fought between 182 Kentuckians, commanded by Colonel John Todd, on the American side, and about 240 Indians and Canadians, commanded by Captain William Caldwell, on the British side.|
|Shawnees and Delawares|
|This memorial was erected to honor those individuals whose names were omitted from the original monument. New research has provided these additional names and corrected previous information regarding those individuals who so gloriously served Kentucky at the Battle of Blue Licks|
|Ledgerwood, James||Captured but escaped|