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The Turkey River - Revolutionary War engagement


Posted By: Nancy Bleil
Date: 5/18/2021 at 21:26:34

… excerpt from the book, Petersen, William J. Iowa the Rivers of her Valleys. Iowa City, IA: Torch Press for the State Historical Society of Iowa, 1941. Chapter 5, The Turkey River, page 63.
Available online @ archive.org.


On April 19, 1775, the embattled minute men of Lexington and Concord fired the "shot heard round the world”.

Five years later, in 1780, the reverberations of that battle were echoed on the eastern border of what is now Iowa when the British attached an armed American barge that was nosing its way slowly up the Mississippi River near the mouth of the Turkey River. That was the scene of the only naval engagement of the Revolutionary War fought
along the eastern border of Iowa.

The American boat, owned by Charles Gratiot and
loaded with furs and provisions for Prairie du Chien, was proceeding upstream under a "Spanish Pass”. The crew was unaware that this important fur center had fallen into enemy hands. On the other hand, the British had learned of the presence of the boat and the commandant accordingly sent troops to intercept it. Led by Lieutenant Alexander Kay, they easily captured the boat and its crew of "twelve men & a Rebel Commissary” at the mouth of the Turkey River. It was a valuable prize, for the British used
a part of the peltry and "all the Provisions, Tobacco, Rum, &c.” to equip a party of Canadians and Indians for their attack on St. Louis.”

Footnote #81, page 329 in the “Notes and References” section.

Footnote 81 Wisconsin Historical Collections, Vol. 11, pp. 147 - 152, Vol. 12, pp. 49 -56; W. J. Petersen, “Jean Marie Cardinal” in The Palimpsest, Vol. 12, pp. 414-420.

Chapter 5, The Turkey River

Clayton Documents maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen


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