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On This Day: August 20

1794 - Battle of Fallen Timbers

On this date American troops under General "Mad" Anthony Wayne defeated a confederation of Indian forces led by Little Turtle of the Miamis and Blue Jacket of the Shawnees. Wayne's soldiers, who included future Western explorer William Clark and future President William Henry Harrison, won the battle in less than an hour with the loss of some 30 men killed. (The number of Indian casualties is uncertain.) The battle had several far-reaching consequences for the United States and what would later become the state of Wisconsin. The crushing defeat of the British-allied Indians convinced the British to finally evacuate their posts in the American west (an accession explicitly given in the Jay Treaty signed some three months later), eliminating forever the English presence in the early American northwest and clearing the way for American expansion. The battle also resulted in the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, in which the defeated Indians ceded to Wayne the right of Americans to settle in the Ohio Valley (although the northwestern area of that country was given to the Indians). Wayne's victory opened the gates of widespread settlement of the Old Northwest, Wisconsin included. [Source: American History Illustrated, Feb. 1969]

1864 - (Civil War) Second Battle of Weldon Railroad continues near Petersburg, Virginia

The 6th, 7th, 37th, 38th and 2nd Wisconsin Infantry took part in the Second Battle of Weldon Railroad, also known as the Battle of Globe Tavern, near Petersburg, Virginia. This was the first Union victory in the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign. By destroying the railway while under heavy attack, Union troops forced Confederates to carry their provision 30 miles by wagon around Union lines to supply the city.

1920 - Steamer Sinks in Lake Superior

On this date in Superior City, a lake steamer sank due to a collision in Lake Superior. The Superior City, a steel freighter collided with the steamer, Willis L. King, killing at least 28 men and one woman.[Source: Chicago Tribune, Aug. 22, 1920]

1938 - Wind Storm Wrecks Canning Plant

On this date a wind storm wrecked the Janesville Canning plant, nearly ripping off the entire third story that housed the cream corn department. [Source: Janesville Gazette]