People remember General Josiah Harmar for his defeat and downfall in his military career. But there are various links to his life story. Let’s have a look at 13 facts about General Josiah Harmar and see what his life was like.

1. General Josiah Harmar was born in Pennsylvania.

General Josiah Harmar was born on November 10, 1753. His place of birth was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lived for 59 years and died on August 20, 1813.

2. General Josiah Harmar was an officer in the United States Army. 

During the American Revolution War and the Northwest Indian War, General Josiah Harmar served as an officer in the United States. Sources say that he served as a senior officer in the Army for 7 years.

3. General Josiah Harmar studied at a Quaker school.

General Josiah Harmar got his education from a Quaker school. After completing his schooling, he began his military career which was during the American Revolutionary War. In 1775, he got a commission as a captain.

Apart from that, he served George Washington and Henry Lee during the war. At the end of that war, he was chosen by Congress in 1784 to relay the ratified Treaty of Paris (1783) to commissioner Benjamin Franklin in Paris.

4. General Josiah Harmar served as the senior officer from 1784 to 1791.

General Josiah Harmar worked for his nation as a senior officer. In 1784, he was given command of the First American Regiment.

5. In 1785, General Josiah Harmar signed the Treaty of Fort.

In 1785, General Josiah Harmar signed the Treaty of Fort.
In 1785, General Josiah Harmar signed the Treaty of Fort

General Josiah Harmar signed the Treaty of Fort McIntosh in 1785. In the same year, he ordered the construction of Fort Harmar which was located near Marietta, Ohio.

Apart from that, he supervised the construction of Fort Steuben as well which is now in Steubenville, Ohio the present day. In 1787, he got promoted to brigadier general.

And in 1789, he directed the construction of Fort Ohio, Cincinnati, and Washington. These forts were built to protect the settlements in the Northwest Territory.

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6. General Josiah Harmar’s troops were defeated by Little Turtle.

In 1790, General Josiah Harmar was sent on expeditions against Native Americans. And the remaining British were sent to the Northwest Territory.

In the beginning, they had few military successes. However, General Josiah Harmar’s force of Federal troops was badly defeated by Little Turtle, which was a tribal coalition. After their defeat, there were various engagements known as the “Harmar’s defeat”, “Battle of the Maumee”, “Battle of Kekionga”, or “Battle of the Miami Towns”.

7. General Josiah Harmar was court-martialed at his request.

After the defeat, General Josiah Harmar returned with a stronger force and engaged the coalition. However, they fought to a draw. As a result, he was relieved of this command. Consequently, he was replaced by General Arthur St. Clair. Later on, in the court of inquiry, he requested the army to court martial him on various charges of negligence.

8. General Josiah Harmar served as adjutant general of Pennsylvania (1793–1799).

After General Josiah Harmar retired from the Army in 1792, he served as adjutant general of Pennsylvania from 1793 to 1799. Later on, he died in the same city where he was born, which is Philadelphia. He took his last breath at his estate “The Retreat.”

After he retired from the Army in 1792, Harmar served as adjutant general of Pennsylvania (1793–1799). He died near Philadelphia at his estate, “The Retreat.” He is buried at the Episcopal Church of St. James, Kingsessing, in West Philadelphia.

9. General Josiah Harmar was a part of the American revolution.

General Josiah Harmar was a part of the American revolution
General Josiah Harmar was a part of the American revolution

General Josiah Harmar started his military career in the American Revolutionary War and got commissioned as a captain in 1775. During the war, he served under George Washington and Henry Lee. Apart from that, Harmar was an original member of the Pennsylvania Society of Cincinnati which was founded on October 4, 1783.

On the same day, General Josiah Harmar was elected as the first secretary of the Society, where he served for two consecutive years.

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10. General Josiah Harmar’s achievements.

Marquis Who’s Who listed General Josiah Harmar as a noteworthy army officer.

11. John Robert Shaw wrote about General Josiah Harmar in his various books.

One fine day, General Josiah Harmar ran into one of his fellow soldiers, John Robert Shaw who was also an author. Shaw mentioned the General in a lot of his works including An Autobiography of Thirty Years 1777 – 1807.

12. General Josiah Harmar’s participation in the campaign against the Miamis.

In 1790, General Josiah Harmar was sent on expeditions against the remaining British and Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. The British were holding fur trading forts in the Northwest along with Indians supplied with ammunition and guns in the Northwest to keep the Americans out of the area.

So Knox ordered Harmar to extirpate the Indians. And at the same time, Knox sent a letter to Major Patrick Murray and mentioned the upcoming expedition. In response, the British informed all the Indian tribes about the expedition. The tribe was also ordered to release a huge number of ammunition and rifles.

Harmar was expected to take 1,300 militiamen and 353 regulars to sack and destroy Kekionga. But before sending out his expedition, Harmar got into an argument between the various militia commanders on who was to command whom. In September 1790, before the expedition, Knox sent Harmer a letter where he accused him of alcoholism. He wrote that Harmar was too apt to indulge himself in a convivial glass to the extent was now in doubt.

13. Aftermath of General Josiah Harmar’s defeat.

On 3 November 1790, when General Josiah Harmar reached the US, the American public was not satisfied with his defeat. Rumors were flying around that Harmar was never exposed to fire and that led to speculations that he had spent the entire campaign drunk in his tent.

Once the news traveled to New York, President Washington wrote that he expected little from the moment when he realized Harmar was an alcoholic. The entire nation was bashing Harmar. And talking bad about the general became the favorite pastime for the newspaper industries.

On the other end, Perry wrote that Harmar was just a scapegoat and the entire responsibility was upon the president. In the end, General Josiah Harmar was replaced by someone else.

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