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Battle at Blue Licks, KY

The Battle of Blue Licks, fought on August 19, 1782, was one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War.
The battle occurred ten months after Lord Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, which had effectively ended the war in the east.
On a hill next to the Licking River in what is now Robertson County, Kentucky (but was then in Kentucky County, Virginia), a force of about 50 Canadian and American Loyalists along with 300 American Indians ambushed and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen.
It was the worst defeat for the Kentuckians during the frontier war.

List of Battle Participants
Source: "Daniel Boone and the Defeat at Blue Licks"
published by the Boone Society, (Minneapolis, 2005)
by Neal Hammon
The following data is Appendix 32 of Mr. Hammon's book and was submitted by him to be reprinted here

The below list of battle participants is mostly from two secondary sources, Samuel Wilson, Battle of Blue Licks, (Lexington, 1927) and the article, "Battle of Blue Licks", the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, No. 47, 1949, pages 247-9, with additional comments in the same publications, Nos. 48, 49, 50, and 52 titled "News and Notes." The list that contains the occupants of Bryan Station during the siege is from Reuben Durrett, Brant's Station, ibid.

The focus of this book is not to find and list the men and women who were present at Bryan Station or those at the battlefield, but I thought that combining and presenting what has already been published on this subject might be interesting to some readers. However, the author must confess that he has not personally conducted any extensive research on the subject, and only used secondary sources.

One of these source should be used with caution. The list published in the Register is just that-- a list that does not give any references or even the name of the person who compiled the list. However, it would appear that many of those listed are taken from two official documents, one a record of Benjamin Logan of horses, guns, etc. lost at the Battle of Blue Licks (James Alton James, George Rogers Clark Papers, 1781-1784, Virginia Series, Vol. IV, Springfield, 1926, page 94.), and the other a List of appraisements of horses &c lost at the Battle of Blue Licks (Margery H. Harding, ed. George Rogers Clark and his Men- Military Records, 1778-1784. p 148-9.) received of Col. Dan'l Boone. The person using these names obviously assumed that anyone who put in a claim was present at the battle. However, this is not necessarily true. Daniel Boone claimed the loss of two horses and two guns. One might presume that one of the guns and one of the horses was in possession of his son Israel, but there is no explanation in these records stating who was in possession of the horses and guns.

There appear to be at least two obvious mistakes in the Register's list; first, it contains the name of William Shannon who is said to have been killed in the battle. If, in fact there was a William Shannon killed in the battle, it was not the man of some notoriety who was active around Shelby County. This well known William Shannon was a Jefferson County surveyor who was still working long after the 1782. William Shannon is the man who, many years later, donated the land to be used for the site of Shelbyville.

The list also contains the name of James Harrod. The famous Major James Harrod was not present at the battle, as he was said to be suffering from back pains. There was, however, another man with the same name in Kentucky, who applied for and received land in Shelby County and who later settled there. One of these James Harrod's is listed by Benjamin Logan as having lost a horse, saddle, bridle and gun during the battle, and though this may not be positive proof of his presence, it is an indication that someone with that name was there.

Additional names are suggested in the following issues of the Register, under the title of "News and Notes," pertaining to eight men not on the original list; however, they give only sketchy source materials. One person's suggestion for a participant identifies his presence by noting only that the man's tombstone says, "He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and the Battle of Blue Licks." Another name comes from Collin's History of Kentucky, and two are from the Biographical Encyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Another quotes an article in the Filson Club Quarterly, and one alleged participant was mentioned in a Shane interview.

The readers should also be aware of some other information which effect the names on this list. As noted in the text, Rebecca Boone Grant Lemond told Lyman Draper (22C35/2) that her brother William was standing next to her uncle, Daniel Boone, when McGary insinuated that Daniel Boone was a coward. If true, the name of William Grant should be on the list.

The name Samuel Boone is on the list. Most assume this is older brother of Daniel, although he may not have been there at all. Samuel was about fifty-four years old at the time of the battle, and was not considered an aggressive Indian fighter. His presence at the battlefield was noted in Peter Houston's memoirs, which have proved to be very inaccurate. This Samuel and wife Sarah Day Boone had a son, Samuel, Junior, but in his pension application, (DM OO87-91) he stated that he was with the Hoy expedition at the time, and only returned to aid the wounded after the battle. Finally there was a third Samuel Boone, a gunsmith from Maryland, also a relative of Daniel, but there is a question if he had moved to Kentucky in time to participate in the battle. Daniel Boone approved of a claim of a Samuel Boone for lost material, which could be another reason why this name appears on the lists.

Thomas Boone, a son of Samuel Boone and Sarah Day Boone was killed at the battle of Blue Licks, according to DM 1C96 and 22C33, and does not appear on any list. On the latter reference Rebecca Boone Grant Lemond told Draper that he was killed fighting by the side of Israel Boone, but Draper made correction to this letter, and wrote "buckskin moccasins got wet & stopped to pull them off, was overtaken & killed."

There are other casualties that we can identify who fits into a different category in this affair. According to DM 22C64, Charles and William Hunter was in the relief force going to the aid of Bryan Station, and Charles was mortally and William wounded in the skirmish on -- August. Charles died after the men reached Lexington. William Hunter later married Sarah Boone, the daughter of Daniel's brother, Edward Boone, deceased, and Martha Bryan Boone.

But like the battle itself, the true facts as to the names and number of participants has mostly been lost to legend. To my knowledge, the only contemporary record listing participants in this battle comes from the list of American Prisoners, who were returned by the British to the United States on July 18, 1783 (Chris McHenry, Rebel Prisoners at Quebec, 1778-1783, (no publisher, 1981). This list was obtained from the Haldimand Papers, Ms 21,843, Microfilm Roll A-765.).

These are said to be from the Kentucky district of Virginia captured at the Battle of Blue Licks in August 1782; they are as follows:

Jno. McMurty, age 31
Jas. Legerwood, 25
Hugh Cunningham, 48
Mathias Rose, 21
Lewis Rose, 32
Jno. Morgan, 21
Jesse Peek, 24
Jno. Stepleton, 30
John Price 24
Jesse Yocum 18
John Neal 17

Battle of Blue Licks
List of Participants




Given Name



1 Boone Daniel Col.  
2 Todd Levi Maj.  
3 McGary Hugh Maj.  
4 Allison John Capt.  
5 Ellis ** William Capt.  
6 Beasley John Capt. captured
7 Johnson Samuel Capt.  
8 Madison Gabriel Capt.  
9 Patteson Robert Capt.  
10 McMurtry John Ensign captured
11 Acres* Thomas    
12 Aldridge* William    
13 Allen* Elijah    
14 Allen* James    
15 Barbee* William    
16 Bedinger* George M.    
17 Boone Samuel    
18 Boone Squire, Jr.   Wounded
19 Bowman* Abraham    
20 Bowmar* Robert    
21 Bradford John    
22 Brooks* Thomas    
23 Coburn* James   Wounded
24 Coffman* Jacob    
25 Collins* Joseph    
26 Coombs* Nase   Draper 12CC135
27 Cooper Benjamin A.    
28 Corn* Edward    
29 Corn* George    
30 Craig Whitfield    
31 Craig** Jerry    
32 Cunningham Hugh   Captured
33 Custer* William    
34 Davie* Theodorus    
35 Davis* Richard    
36 Dierly* Peter    
37 Ficklin* Thomas    
38 Field William    
39 French* Henry    
40 Gist Thomas    
41 Graham Edward    
42 Graham James    
43 Grant Squire    
44 Grider* Henry    
45 Gullion* Jeremiah    
46 Hambleton* John    
47 Hardesty* Henry    
48 Harget Peter    
49 Harrod* James    
50 Hart James    
51 Hayden Benjamin    
52 Hayes* James    
53 Higgins* Henry    
54 Hinch* John    
55 Hunter* Charles    
56 Hunter* Jacob    
57 January* Ephraim    
58 January James, M.    
59 Kincaid James    
60 Lam* William    
61 Lea Wainright    
62 Ledgerwood James   Captured
63 Little* John    
64 Logan* James    
65 May William    
66 McBride James    
67 McConnell* James    
68 McCullough James    
69 Mogan James   wounded
70 Morgan* Andrew    
71 Morgan John   Captured
72 Morgan* Mordecai    
73 Neal** John   Captured
74 Netherland Benjamin    
75 Nixon* Henry    
76 Norton* James    
77 Patterson* Matthew    
78 Peeke Jesse   Captured
79 Penlin* Alexander    
80 Pitman* John    
81 Poague* Robert    
82 Price** John   Captured
83 Pruett* Elisha    
84 Ray* James    
85 Reynolds** Aaron    
86 Rose James    
87 Rose Lewis   Captured
88 Rose Matthias   Captured
89 Rule* Andrew    
90 Scholl Abraham    
91 Scholl Joseph    
92 Scholl Peter    
93 Scott* Robert    
94 Scott* Samuel    
95 Searcy* Bartlett    
96 Searcy* John    
97 Shortridge* Samuel    
98 Shott* William    
99 Singleton* Edmund    
100 Smith* George    
101 Smith John    
102 Sowdusky* Anthony    
103 Stapleton John   Captured
104 Steele Andrew    
105 Stevens Jacob    
106 Stevens* John    
107 Stevenson Thomas    
108 Stucker Jacob    
109 Start* James P.    
110 Twyman* James    
111 Twyman Stephen    
112 Wilson Henry    
113 Wilson* Josiah    
114 Woods* James E.   Captured
115 Woods* Samuel    
116 Yocum Jesse   Captured

Killed in Battle

1 Todd John Col.  
2 Trigg Stephen Lt. Col  
3 Bulger Edward Maj.  
4 Harlan Silas Maj.  
5 Bulger John Capt..  
6 Gordon John Capt..  
7 Kincaid Joseph Capt..  
8 McBride William Capt..  
9 Overton Clough Capt..  
10 Givins William Lt.  
11 Hinson Thomas Lt.  
12 Kennedy John Lt.  
13 McGuire ?? Lt.  
14 Rogers Barnett Lt.  
15 Lindsay Joseph Com'sry  
16 Black* Charles Pvt.  
17 Brown James    
18 Boone Isreal    
19 Brannon Samuel    
20 Clements* John    
21 Corn Esau    
22 Douglass John    
23 Eads William    
24 Farrier* Thomas    
25 Ferguson Charles    
26 Field Ezekiel    
27 Folley John    
28 Foster Daniel    
29 Fry John    
30 Graham James    
31 Greggs Daniel    
32 Green Jarvis    
33 Harper Francis    
34 Harper Matthew    
35 Harris William    
36 Jolly* John    
37 Marshall Gilbert    
38 McBride Francis    
39 McConnell Andrew    
40 McCracken Isaac    
41 Marshall* Gilbert    
42 Miller Henry    
43 Nelson John    
44 Nutt John    
45 Oldfield* Joseph    
46 O'Neal John    
47 Polley Drury    
48 Robertson William    
49 Smith James    
50 Smith William    
51 Stephens William    
52 Stern Val    
53 Stevenson John    
54 Stewart William    
55 Tomlinson* Richard    
56 Willson John    
57 Wilson Isreal    
58 Wilson John    
59 Woods* Archibald    
60 Wylie Matthew   60+116=176

Names without asterisk = from Wilson
Names with asterisk = from the Register
Names with double asterisk = other sources


Items lost at the Blue Licks and their Owners
Submitted by Logan & Boone










            £ s d  
Aldrodge Wm. 1 1     15 10   Logan's
Allen James 1 1 1   17 5   Logan's
Allen Elijah 1 1 1   18     Logan's
Buett Elisha 1 1   1 16 15   Logan's
Coffman Jacob 1 1     24     Logan's
Collens Joseph 1       15     Logan's
Corn Edward     1   6 10 0 Logan's
Farrier Thos. Estate 1 1 1   25 0 0 Logan's
Garden John estate 1 1 1   32 10   Logan's
Green Jarvis     1   6     Logan's
Griggs Daniel       1 6     Logan's
Hart John 1       30     Logan's
Hayes James 1       25     Logan's
Herrod James 1 1 1   38 5   Logan's
Hinch John 1 1 1   29 10   Logan's
Lam Wm 1       15     Logan's
Lindsay Joseph estate 2       45     Logan's
Madison Gabrial   1     3 10   Logan's
McMurtry John estate 1   1 1 41 10 0 Logan's
Peak John   1 1   9     Logan's
Poague Rbt     1   5     Logan's
Ray James 1       20     Logan's
Robinson Wm estate 1 1 1   9 10   Logan's
Scott Rbt 1       10     Logan's
Smith George 1 1 1 1 24 0 0 Logan's
Sowdusky Anthony 1 1   1 25     Logan's
Summers John 1       10     Logan's
Wislon Josiah   1     2 4   Logan's
Woods Samuel     1   7     Logan's
Woods Archy estate 1 1 1   22     Logan's
Boone Daniel 2 1 2   51     Boone's
Boone Squire wounded     1   6     Boone's
Boone Sam     1 1 8 7   Boone's
Brooks Thomas 1       20     Boone's
Hamilton John 1       25     Boone's
Hunter Jacob 1 1     34     Boone's
January Ephraim 1       8     Boone's
January James 1       17     Boone's
Little John 1       8     Boone's
Long John   1     1 5   Boone's
Morgan John decd   1 1 1 9 10   Boone's
Morgan Mordecai   1     2     Boone's
Netherland Benj. 1       6     Boone's
Nutt John` 1       15     Boone's
Oldfield Joseph decd   1 1   6 10   Boone's
Patterson Matthew 1       13     Boone's
Penlin Alex.   1   1 2 10   Boone's
Rule Andw.   1     3     Boone's
Schol Joseph 1 1   1 19 12   Boone's
Sercey John 1       14     Boone's
Sercey Bartley         1     Boone's
Sevenson John 1       22 10   Boone's
Shannon Wm decd 1 1   1 21     Boone's
Shortridge Samuel   1   1   15 10 Boone's
Shott Wm 1       20     Boone's
Stucker Pigg 1       10     Boone's
Wiley Matthew decd 1       16     Boone's
    41 horses 21 guns         27 men with DB

Bryan Station Residents during Siege:
Reuben T. Durrett, Bryan's Station and the Memorial Proceedings, Filson Club Publication No. 7. (John P. Morton & Co, Louisville, 1897)

List of Families at Bryan Station

Johnson, Jemima Suggett (wife of Captain Robert Johnson)
  Richard M.
Craig, John. Capt.  
Craig, Sara Page  
  John H.
Craig, Jeremiah, Capt.  
Craig, Lucy Hawkins  
Craig, Toliver, Sr.  
Craig, Polly Hawkins  
Craig, Tolliver, Jr  
Craig, Elizabeth Johnson  
Saunder, John  
Saunders, Jane Craig  
Cave, Richard  
Cave, Elizabeth Craig  
Ficklin, Thomas  
Ficklin, Mary Herndon  
Suggett, John  
Suggett, Mildred Davis  
Suggett, John  
Suggett, Mildred Davis  
Lea, Wainright  
Lea, Fanny Sanders  
Scholl, ------[unknown]  
Scholl, Sarah Clement  
Nelson, Edward  
Nelson, Harriet Morgan  

Single Men

Bell, Thomas

Hammon, John

Hammon, Martin

Reynolds, Aaron

Stucker, Jacob

Tomlinson, Nicholas

Tomlinson, William

Mitchell, Richard

Mitchell, David

Mitchell, William

Mitchell, Dudley

Herndon, Thomas

Herndon, Samuel

Herndon, Edward

Herndon, Zachariah

Adkinson, Robert

Graham, James

Wilcoxen, Daniel

Field, Ezekiel

Field, William

Williams, Elison

Rogers, Barnett

Rogers, Joseph

Yocum, Jesse

Craig, Whitfield

Ledgerwood, William

Ledgerwood, James

Mitchum, James

Mitchum, John

McBride, James

Vallandingham, Lewis

Hammon, James [questionable]


[outside walls of Bryan Station]:
Morgan, James & his wife & their child

Some further research notes from Neal Hammon:
Records from the Virginia Archives are known as the Clark Papers or the Illinois Papers, which include numerous payrolls for regular and militia companies who served against the British and Indians. The first document of interest is number 106:

Payroll of Lt. Thomas Stevensons Detachment of Horsemen Rangers ordered on duty by Colo. Jno Todd July 20th 1782.
[24 men listed with pay for each, then note at bottom of page]

This particular document, approved by Levi Todd one of the participants in the Battle of the Blue Licks, gives evidence that Thomas Stevenson was a lieutenant in the militia, and was killed. Three others noted as being killed, presumably in this battle, were Sam Boone, Samuel Brannon, and James McConnell. Although the payroll in document 106 is for earlier service, is it possible that some or all the men serving under Lt. Stevenson were also in the battle?

Next is document 77, the payroll for Captain Joseph Kincaid’s company of 24 men, who served from August 17 to 26, 1782. This payroll notes that four men were killed, Captain Joseph Kincaid, privates Asa Corn, William Eads, and William Smith. The question should be ask, did the other twenty men fight at the Battle of Blue Licks?

And finally, document 75, the payroll of Captain Samuel Kirkham’s company, indicates that Five of the men, Lt. William Givins, privates Henry Miller, John Fry, Ezekial Field, and John Jolly were listed as “deceased” on August 19, the day of the battle of Blue Licks. These five men are on existing lists but did any of the other 36 officers and men fight in the battle?

Most sources say that the Kentucky militia went into battle with 182 men; present lists show 176. The above payroll information would not change the total number, only move three men from the survivors to the list showing killed in battle. But these payrolls do raise the question about the whereabouts of the other men in the companies at the time of the battle.

-- by Neal Hammon --

The following is an excerpt from the "Journal of William Brown while traveling from Virginia to Kentucky"
(transcribed by K.Torp)

Journey to Cumberland ---
On Monday Aug 19th Col. John Todd with a party of 182 of our men attacked a body of Indians suppd. to be 6 or 7 hundred at the Blue Lick, & was defeated wh the loss of 65 person missin g & slain

Officers lost - Cols John Todd & Stephen Trigg
Majors Edwd Bulger & Silas Harline
Capt W McBride, Jno. Gordon, Jos. Kincaid and Clough Overton
Leiuts. W. Givens & Jno. Kennedy
Ensigns John McMurtrey
in this action Bro. James fell
on Sattur 24th inst. Col. Logan wh 470 men went on the battleground and buried the slain.

Found on the field - slain - 43
missing - 22
In all - 65

I travelled but little abot the country - from English to Harrodsburg was the farthest west, and from Logans fort to the Blue Lick the farthest north, thus far the land was generally good except near & about the LIck it was very poor & badly timbered - generally badly watered but pretty well timbered at Hickmans Ford on the Kentuck River, the Bank a little below the fords appears to be largely upwards of a hundred feet perpendicular of Rock.
On my return to Hanover, I sett off from Jno. Craigs Mon. 23d Sept 1782
Left English's Tues 1 oclock - arrived at the Block House the Mon. evening following and kept on the same rout downward chiefly that I travelled out
Nothing material occurred to me Got to Hanover sometime about the last of October the same year I do certify that the above Service was performed by order of Colo. John Todd and that the above Thomas Stevenson and John Todd being both killed at the blue Licks before this Payroll was properly certified obliges me to certify the above as I was acquainted with the circumstances.
Levi Todd, Col F.C.
Lexington, Fayette County
March 22th 1783.  



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