In 1779 the British were embarrassed by the capture of their governor of Quebec, ‘the Hairbuyer General’ (for his commissioning of scalping raids), and made repeated attempts to regain the initiative in the western frontiers. The ambitious attempt of the former British officer and fur-trader Emanuel Hesse to sail down the Mississippi was beaten back with the aid of Spanish troops, but Captain Henry Bird’s raid on Kentucky was more successful, provoking a retaliatory expedition led by the American commander in the west, George Clark. This was aborted when a detachment under Archibald Lochry was ambushed and destroyed by the Ohio River. Although the war in the east was effectively over, the Americans mounted another, disastrous, expedition in 1782. Defeated at Sandusky River, the commander, William Crawford, a notorious Indian-hater, was captured and burned at the stake. The victor, William Caldwell marched into Kentucky, defeating the Americans at Blue Licks: a downbeat post-script to America’s triumph in the war.
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