; born in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland
, in 1734; was a grandson of the Earl
, and was educated at the University of Edinburgh
He studied medicine under the celebrated Hunter
, of London
, but inheriting a large sum of money from his mother, he purchased an ensign's commission in a regiment of foot (May 13, 1757) and came in Boscawen
's fleet to America
He was with Amherst
at the capture of Louisburg
, and, promoted to lieutenant in April, 1759, distinguished himself, under Wolfe
, at Quebec
In May, 1760, he married, at Boston
, a half-sister of Governor Bowdoin
; resigned his commission in 1762, and in 1764 settled in Ligonier Valley, Pa., where he established mills and built a fine dwelling-house.
Having held, by appointment.
several civil offices of trust, he became a colonel of militia in 1775, and in the fall of that year accompanied Pennsylvania
commissioners to treat with the Western Indians
at Fort Pitt
As colonel of the
2d Pennsylvania Regiment, he was ordered to Canada
in February, 1776, and in the early summer aided Sullivan
in saving his army from capture.
In August he was made a brigadier-general, and joined Washington
was actively engaged in New Jersey
until April, 1777, when he took command of Ticonderoga
, which he was compelled to evacuate (July 4-5), by the presence of Burgoyne
in overwhelming force.
After that he was a member of Washington
's military family, acting as his aide at the battle near the Brandywine
He was with Sullivan
in the Seneca
country in 1779.
commanded the light infantry in the absence of Lafayette
, and was a member of the court that condemned Major Andre
He was in command at West Point
from Oct. 1, 1780, and aided in suppressing the mutiny of the Pennsylvania
line in January, 1781.
in October, he participated in the capture of Cornwallis, and afterwards led a body of troops to join Greene
in South Carolina
, driving the British
on the way. He was afterwards a delegate in Congress; president of that body (February to November, 1787) ; appointed governor of the Northwestern Territory
(February, 1788) ; fixed the seat of government at Cincinnati
, and, in honor of the Cincinnati Society, gave the place that name.
Made commander-in-chief of the army (March 4, 1791), he moved against the Indians on the Wabash
, while so lame from gout that he was carried on a litter.
, encouraged by the defeat of Harmar
(October, 1790), had spread terror over the frontier settlements in the Northwestern Territory
In May, 1791, Gen. Charles Scott
, of Kentucky
, led 800 men, and penetrated to the Wabash
country, almost to the present site of Lafayette, Ind.
, and destroyed several Indian villages.
At the beginning of August General Wilkinson
, with more than 500 men, pushed into the same region to Tippecanoe
and the surrounding prairies, destroyed some villages of Kickapoos, and made his way to the Falls
of the Ohio
, opposite Louisville
These forays caused the Indians to fight more desperately for their country.
Congress then prepared to plant forts in the Northwestern Territory
, and in September there were 2,000 troops at Fort Washington
, under the immediate
Map of the Northwestern Territory.|
command of Gen. Richard Butler
With General St. Clair
as chief, these troops marched northward.
They built Fort Hamilton
, on the Miami River
, 20 miles from Fort Washington
, and garrisoned it. Forty-two miles farther on they built Fort Jefferson
, and, when moving from that post, late in October, there were evidences that Indian scouts were hovering on their
The invaders halted and encamped on a tributary of the Wabash
, in Darke county, O.
, 100 miles north from Fort Washington
). There the wearied soldiers slept (Nov. 3), without suspicion of danger near.
During the night the sentinels gave warning of prowling Indians
, and early the next morning, while the army were preparing for breakfast, they were furiously attacked by the barbarians.
The slaughter among the troops was dreadful.
was killed, and most of the other officers were slain or wounded.
The army fled in confusion, and it was with great difficulty that St. Clair
escaped on a pack-horse, after having three horses killed under him. Among the fugitives were 100 women, wives of soldiers, most of whom escaped.
lost nearly half of his army—over 800 men killed and wounded.
The remainder returned to Fort Washington
Blamed severely, a committee of Congress vindicated St. Clair
; but he resigned his commission, March 5, 1792, and in November, 1802, Jefferson
removed him from the governorship in the Northwest
He was then broken in health, spirits, and fortune, and, retiring to a log-house on the summit of Chestnut Ridge
, among the Alleghany Mountains
, he there passed the remainder of his days in poverty, while he had unsettled righteous claims against the government.
Five years before his death the legislature of Pennsylvania granted him an annuity of $400, and, a short time before his death, a pension from the government of $60 a month was awarded him. He published a narrative of his unfortunate campaign against the Indians.
He died in Greensburg, Pa.
, Aug. 31, 1818.