Kentucky Raid of Bird

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Kentucky Raid of Bird

KENTUCKY RAID OF BIRD. May-August 1780. (Ruddle's and Martin's Stations) In late spring 1780 the British on the Great Lakes launched two attacks into the Mississippi Valley. One moved against the Spanish post at St. Louis. The other, led by Captain Henry Bird of the Eighth Foot, left Detroit in April to raid Kentucky. Bird's long-range expedition involved 150 whites; several hundred Indians; and, unusual for wilderness operations, six guns. Moving across Lake Erie and then along the Maumee-(Great) Miami River route to the Ohio, he gained additional Indian supporters until the total force approached one thousand. Bird had wanted to strike Fort Nelson (Louisville), but his allies insisted instead on moving up the Licking River to its fork near modern Falmouth, Kentucky, so that they could hit the less-well-defended interior settlements. Their first target, Ruddle's Station, was a simple stockade defended only by the local inhabitants. They held off the Indians, but when Bird brought up his cannon, the station had to surrender. The raiders had a similarly easy time of it with Martin's Station a few miles away. After destroying outlying farms, Bird withdrew with 350 prisoners and significant amounts of plunder, reaching Detroit on 4 August. Bird's raid altered George Rogers Clark's plans for 1780, diverting him from moving against Detroit so that he could carry out punitive strikes against the Indians.

SEE ALSO Western Operations.


Lafferty, Maude Ward. "Destruction of Ruddle's and Martin's Forts in the Revolutionary War." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 54 (October 1956): 297-338.

Quaife, Milo M. "When Detroit Invaded Kentucky." Filson Club History Quarterly 1 (January 1927): 53-67.

                       revised by Robert K. Wright Jr.

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Kentucky Raid of Bird

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