Daniel Boone is one of the most iconic figures to have emerged from American history but his role in the American revolution is not so well understood. Perhaps better known as a frontiersman, the line between myth and legend was quite blurry and served his political career handsomely. Here is an explanation of Daniel Boone’s role in the American revolution.
Having settled in Kentucky in 1773, the American revolution did not enter his life until he was over 40 which, by the standards of the day, meant he was well into middle age. Native Americans saw the revolution as an opportunity to drive out the colonialists and so they aligned themselves with the British. Just one day after the declaration of the independence of the U.S. Daniel Boone’s daughter Jemima and 2 other girls were kidnapped outside of Boonesborough on July 5th, 1776. Just 2 days later he rescued the girls thus helping to establish his reputation. On April 24th, 1777 he was shot in the ankle outside by Shawnee Indians in Boonesborough but was rescued by Simon Fenton, who would become his close friend.
Capture and Court-martial
From such a peripheral role, greatness awakened inside of Daniel Boone. The Founding Fathers lacked nothing for intellectual rigor and perceptiveness. But perhaps they were lacking in appeal to the common folk of the time, being too rich and out of touch to relate to. An even more heroic role was to be played by Daniel Boone in 1778 when he was captured by the Shawnee Indians. He soon escaped from them and managed to warn the defenders of Boonesborough that they were about to be attacked by them. This attack was repulsed in the Siege of Boonesborough despite being heavily outnumbered. A low point then arrived when he was court-martialed for having sympathies with the British, but he was then acquitted.
After fighting in the Battle of Piqua in 1780 he witnessed the death of his brother Ned at the hands of the Shawnee. Ned was decapitated and his head was paraded as a trophy by the Shawnee,His formal entrance into politics soon followed when he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1781. Soon afterwards he was captured by the British and then paroled.
An Asset to the War
Yet more drama was to follow in 1782 when he fought in the Battle of the Blue Licks which the revolutionaries lost but in the end proved to be a battle without strategic significance because the fate of the revolutionary war had already been decided upon. Unfortunately his son Israel died during the battle right in front of him when he was shot through the neck.This battle occurred 10 months after Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown. Yet more fighting was to occur in 1782 when he went on an expedition into Ohio in the last campaign of the war. It had been an eventful war for Daniel Boone.
Despite the image built up by his biographer Filson and Lord Byron, the image of the humble man who found happiness in nature was simply not true. He was deeply involved in organized battles but it was his ongoing war with his nemesis the Shawnee and their chief Blackfish which proved to be the focus of his attention. An important proxy war was fought by Boone which encouraged a legend but ultimately was of little strategic importance compared to what was happening on the east coast. The image of the self reliant American was born with Daniel Boone but he needed his fair share of help when the time came.