The Battle of Blue Licks

Painting of the Battle of Blue Licks
Painting of the Battle of Blue Licks

The Battle of Blue Licks was fought on August 19, 1782, and was the last battle of the American Revolutionary War fought in Kentucky. On a hill next to the Licking River in what is now Robertson County, a force of about 50 British rangers and 300 American Indians ambushed and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen killing some 64. It was the worst defeat for the Kentuckians during the war.

Letter from Daniel Boone to the Governor of Virginia

Boone's Station, Fayette Co. August 30th, 1782.

SIR,--Present circumstances of affairs cause me to write to your Excellency as follows. On the 16th instant a large number of Indians with some white men attacked one of our frontier stations known by the name of Bryant's Station. The siege continued from about sunrise till about ten o'clock the next day, when they marched off. Notice being given to the neighboring stations, we immediately raised 181 horsemen commanded by Col. John Todd, including some of the Lincoln county militia, commanded by Col. Trigg, and having pursued about forty miles, on the 19th inst. We discovered the enemy lying in wait for us. On this discovery we formed our columns into one single line, and marched up in their front within about forty yards before there was a gun fired. Col. Trigg commanded on the right, myself on the left, Major McGary in the center, and Major Harlan the advance party in the front. From the manner in which we had formed, it fell to my lot to bring on the attack. This was done with a very heavy fire on both sides, and extending back of the line to Col. Trigg, where the enemy was so strong that they rushed up and broke the right wing at the first fire. Thus the enemy got in our rear, and we were compelled to retreat with the loss of seventy-seven of our men and twelve wounded. Afterwards we were reinforced by Col. Logan, which made our force four hundred and sixty men. We marched again to the battle ground, but finding the enemy had gone we proceeded to bury the dead. We found forty-three on the ground, and many lay about which we could not stay to find, hungry and weary as we were, and somewhat dubious that the enemy might not have gone off quite. By the sign we thought the Indians had exceeded four hundred; while the whole of this militia of the county does not amount to more than one hundred and thirty. From these facts your Excellency may form an idea of our situation. I know that your own circumstances are critical, but are we to be wholly forgotten? I hope not. I trust about five hundred men may be sent to our assistance immediately. If these shall be stationed as our county lieutenants shall deem necessary, it may be the means of saving our part of the country; but if they are placed under the direction of Gen. Clark, they will be of little or no service to our settlement. The Falls lie one hundred miles west of us and the Indians northeast; while our men are frequently called to protect them. I have encouraged the people in this country all that I could, but I can no longer justify them or myself to risk our lives here under such extraordinary hazards. The inhabitants of this county are very much alarmed at the thoughts of the Indians bringing another campaign into our country this Fall. If this should be the case, it will break up these settlements. I hope therefore your Excellency will take the matter into your consideration, and send us some relief as quick as possible. These are my sentiments without consulting any person. Col. Logan will I expect, immediately send you an express, by whom I humbly request your Excellency's answer-in the mean while I remain,

Subscribed Daniel Boone.

In The Line of Duty Battle of Blue Licks

  • Black, Charles [Clarence], Private
  • Boone, Israel, Private, Son of Daniel Boone.
  • Boone, Thomas, Private
  • Brannon, Samuel, Private
  • Brown, James, Private, Surveyor
  • Bulger, John, Captain
  • Corn, Esau, Private
  • Cunningham, Hugh, Private,
  • Douglass [Douglas], John, Private
  • Eades [Eads], William, Private
  • Farrier, Thomas, Private
  • Ferguson, Charles, Private
  • Field [Fields], Ezekiel, Private
  • Folley, John, Private
  • Foster, Daniel, Private
  • Fry, John, Private
  • Gilvins [Givins], William, Lieutenant
  • Gordon, John, Captain
  • Graham, Little James, Private
  • Green, Jervis, Private
  • Greggs [Gregg], Daniel, Private
  • Harlan, Silas, Major - died leading the advance party.
  • Harper, Francis, Private
  • Harper, Matthew, Private
  • Harris, William, Private
  • Hinson, Thomas, Lieutenant
  • Jolly, John, Private
  • Kennedy, John, Lieutenant
  • Kincaid, Joseph, Captain
  • Ledgerwood, James, Captured and Killed
  • Lindsey, Joseph, Ensign
  • Marshall, Gilbert, Private
  • McBride, William, Captain
  • McBride, Francis, Private
  • McConnell, Andrew, Private
  • McCracken, Isaac, Private
  • McGuire, James, Lieutenant
  • Miller, Henry, Private
  • Nelson, John, Private
  • Nutt, John, Private
  • Oldfield, Joseph, Private
  • O'Neal, John, Private
  • Overton, Clough, Captain
  • Polley [Polly], Drury, Private
  • Price, John, Private
  • Robertson, William, Private
  • Rogers, Barnett, Lieutenant
  • Rose, Matthias [Matthew], Private
  • Shannon, William, Ensign
  • Smith, James, Private
  • Smith, William, Private
  • Stapleton, John, Private
  • Stephens, William, Private
  • Stern, Val, Private
  • Stevenson, John, Private
  • Stewart, William, Private
  • Todd, John, Colonel, grandfather of Mary Todd Lincoln.
  • Tomlinson, Richard, Private
  • Trigg, Stephen, Lieutenant Colonel
  • Wilson, Israel, Private,
  • Wilson [1], John, Private
  • Wilson [2], John, Private
  • Woods, Archibald, Private
  • Wylie, Matthew, Private
The Battle of Blue Licks