Bird's Invasion of Kentucky

From Fort Detroit, Captain Henry Bird of the 8th Regiment of Foot led an American Indian army of 1000 men, accompanied by a 150 white men (Regulars of the 8th and 47th Regiments, Detroit Militia and bombadiers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery), against the settlers of Kentucky. The settlements of Ruddle's Station and Martin's Station were easily overwhelmed by Bird's cannons but lack of provisions compelled a retreat. Some settlers were killed at the fort sites, over 450 prisoners were carried back to Detroit, several killed along the way.

And in another account, labeled "Goods suitable for the Indian trade", there is listed a large quantity of vermilion paint, "New Pinsilvania rifles" and "scalping knives [with] good blades & solid handles." Armed with these formidable presents and inspired by rewards of others, the Indians stepped up their scalp-hunting trips to Kentucky. All along the lonely trails, scores of hapless men, women and children were ambushed, murdered and scalped. Their fiendish work done, the savages with such captives as they saw fit to take, would hasten back to Detroit to collect from the British government, money or presents for each scalp or prisoner delivered.

Meanwhile, the British grand strategy provided for a series of far-reaching military operations in the West, embracing the whole area from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Their gigantic plan called for the capture of the stations in Illinois and Indiana, including Kaskaskia, Cahokia and Vincennes, as well as the settlements at the falls of the Ohio; moreover, it contemplated the taking of Fort Pitt (on the Ohio) and Fort Cumberland (on the Potomac); and, furthermore, it involved seizure of the Spanish strongholds along the Mississippi, the principals of which were St. Louis and New Orleans.

However, the prosecution of this ambitious project could not match the boldness of the plan, and it broke down in almost every part. The only successful campaign in 1780 was under the direction of Captain Henry Bird, of His Majesty's 8th Regiment of Foot. And even this enterprise, as executed, was not contemplated in the original planning since the object of the campaign was to attack and capture George Rogers Clark's fort (Tort Nelson) at the falls of the Ohio, after which it was confidently expected that all Kentucky could be swept clear of settlers.