Blue Licks, Kentucky

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Blue Licks, Kentucky

BLUE LICKS, KENTUCKY. 19 August 1782. The British in Detroit sent out two expeditions in the summer of 1782 to press on the Virginia frontier. One group moved against Wheeling in July. The second force of Indians and Loyalists, under Captain William Caldwell and Simon Girty, collected at Chillicothe in early August to invade the Kentucky settlements; they planned to eliminate Bryan's Station and then move on to the Lexington settlements about five miles further southwest. They reached the vicinity undetected on the evening of the 14th and the next morning approached Bryan's Station. The defenders had been alerted the previous day by news of an ambush at Upper Blue Licks and were making military preparations to start a pursuit when the raiders attacked. The first assault failed, as did an attempted siege, and on the morning of the 18th, the raiders started a slow, deliberate withdrawal. A large party of frontiersmen assembled at Bryan's a few hours later and set off in pursuit. The next morning the leading party of 182 men caught up with an estimated 240 raiders near the Lower Blue Lick Springs on the Middle Fork of Licking River. Daniel Boone and other leaders advised waiting for a large reinforcement known to be on its way under General Benjamin Logan, but Major Hugh McGary foolishly touched off a disorganized charge. The Americans were caught in the deep ford by a superior force and in a few minutes were crushed. The Kentucky men fled after losing sixty-four killed and five captured.


Anonymous. "Battle of Blue Licks." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 47 (July 1949): 247-249.

Collins, Richard H. "The Siege of Bryan's Station." Edited by Willard Rouse Jillson. Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 36 (January 1938): 15-25.

                          revised by Robert K. Wright Jr.