For much of the American Revolution, the British waged war on their rebelling colonists in the Ohio River Valley via proxy, relying on western Indian nations (Shawnee, Wyandot, Mingo, Chippewa, Ottawa, and others) to attack isolated American settlements and villages across the Ohio River. The Continental Congress, already unable to meet the needs of its own army along the coasts, could offer little in the way of assistance. So, frontier defense largely fell upon the local militia. They adopted a two-pronged strategy: 1) build forts and blockhouses along the frontier, giving settlers a place of safe haven when Indian raiding parties were about, and 2) preemptive raids against Native American villages in an attempt to disrupt their preparations for raids against the settlers.
In 1777, however, Congress realized that more aggressive measures were required: the war would have to be carried against the heart of British power at Detroit, from where the British coordinated, supplied, and rewarded Native American raids. With that in mind, Congress and Continental authorities at Pittsburgh began planning an offensive to capture the British post between Lakes Huron and Erie. First, they would need to secure the continued neutrality of the Delaware Indian nation in the Muskingum River Valley, which today is in Eastern Ohio. Second, they would need to build a substantial network of forts capable of sustaining an overland offensive. Building a new fort in Delaware territory would serve both goals.
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