General Arthur St. Clair
Commanding the federal army of the United States
1736 - 1818
Arthur St. Clair was born Mar. 23, 1736, in Thurso, Caithness County, Scotland.
In 1757, St. Clair became an ensign in the British army. He served in Canada before resigning his commission to live in Western Pennsylvania. In 1775, he was sent as a colonel to take part in the retreat of the American army from Canada. He served as a brigadier general with Gen. George Washington in the 1776-1777 American Revolution battles of Trenton and Princeton. As a major general in 1777, the units under St. Clair surprisingly evacuated Fort Ticonderoga -- considered an impregnable position by many of his peers -- under pressure from the British.
An active opponent of the Constitution, St. Clair was appointed governor of the Northwest Territory in 1787. His manipulative negotiations with the Native Americans at the treaty of Fort Harmar in 1789 led to further frustration on the part of the Indians. His 1791 expedition with federal troops was overwhelmingly defeated Nov. 4 near Fort Wayne by a smaller force of Native Americans led by Michikinikwa (Little Turtle).
After the defeat, St. Clair continued to serve as governor of the Northwest Territory and to oppose the Constitution and Ohio statehood, until he was removed from office by Thomas Jefferson in 1802.
St. Clair's last years were spent in poverty, and he died Aug. 31, 1818.
Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff by William G. Bell, 1992; and
The Beginning of the U.S. Army by James R. Jacobs, 1947.
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