There have been stories told about The Battle of Blue Licks throughout the land. It has been told around flickering campfires hundreds of times each year. There have been lectures and books and stories written about one of Kentucky’s largest defeats and largest tragedies. And sadly for all that the battle only lasted about 15 minutes.
The Battle of Blue Licks breaks down into four parts.
The First Part deals with Simon Girty. He convinced the Indians and the British to attack in Kentucky rather that Wheeling, WV. Bryan’s Station near Lexington became part of the master plan and the first phase of the attack.
The second part is the story leading up to the attack, which is as fascinating as the attack itself. It deals with the mind set of the pioneers, militia and settlers in the station.
Some historians and military minds have often stated that the Battle of Blue Licks did not have to happen. That the settlers and militia could have just walked away, leaving the Indians and British to head north back toward the Ohio River.
Simon Girty knew his enemy well. He had fought side by side with them before he turned against the Americans and joined the British, for the British were aligned with the native people that had raised him and his brothers.
And The Blue Licks were part of his battle plan because he knew the Kentuckians would come after them with every man they could muster. He also knew this would cause conflict and turmoil among the Kentucky ranks. And although he knew victory could be his, he didn’t know just how easy that victory would be.
The third part is the actual battle which only lasted 15 minutes. Out of approximately 180 men over 70 Kentuckians fell at Blue Licks. Among the dead was Daniel Boone’s son, Israel. He had fought side by side with his father before taking a musket ball to the throat. Daniel Boone lived for 38 more years in Kentucky and Missouri but never really got over Israel’s death. It was said that he could never talk about Blue Licks or his beloved son without tearing up.
The Battle of Blue Licks took it’s toll on the tough and rugged frontiersman. Daniel Boone carried on but historians say that his letters to family and friends show that some of the spirit left him after that.
The fourth part of The Battle of Blue Licks is the aftermath. What happened on August 19, 1782 was tragic. The Kentuckians not only got defeated and lost 70 men but it was about the men they lost. Many of the dead were the first frontiersman to enter Kentucky. They had come across the Gap with Boone, or down the Ohio from Ft. Pitt or with James Harrod to establish the first stations in Kentucky. And that is the true tragedy of Blue Licks.