xt7sbc3svd2z https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7sbc3svd2z/data/mets.xml Clark, George Rogers, 1752-1818. 19121926  books b92-125-29177544v2 English Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, : Springfield, Ill. : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Clark, George Rogers, 1752-1818. Clark's Expedition to the Illinois, 1778-1779. Clark's Expedition against Detroit, 1781.James, James Alton, 1864-1962. George Rogers Clark papers, 1771-1784  / edited with introduction and notes by James Alton James. (vol. 2) text George Rogers Clark papers, 1771-1784  / edited with introduction and notes by James Alton James. (vol. 2) 1912 2002 true xt7sbc3svd2z section xt7sbc3svd2z 



















              EDITOR'S PREFACE
   The present volume continues the publication of
documents relating to George Rogers Clark and his
activity in the revolutionary Northwest from I78i to
1784. Since this volume and its predecessor were first
planned great amounts of additional Clark material
have come to light; but so far no definite plans for their
publication have been formulated. The work of pre-
paring this volume for the press has been done by the
assistant editor of the Collections, Miss Marguerite E.
Jenison. In this and in the work of proof reading and
indexing she has had the assistance of Miss Lucille F.
Kile and Miss Elizabeth K. Biersmith.
                           THEODORE C. PEASE
Urbana, Illinois
January i2, I925



111

 
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        COLLECTIONS
              OF THE

ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL
           LIBRARY



              EDITED BY
        THEODORE CALVIN PEASE
           UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS



           VOLUME XIX

 
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              ILLINOIS

   STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY



       BOARD OF TRUSTEES

    OTTO LEOPOLD SCHMIDT, President
CHARLES HENRY RAMMELKAMP, Vice President
  LAURENCE MARCELLUS LARSON, Secretary




     JESSIE PALMER WEBER, Librarian
     THEODORE CALVIN PEASE, Editor




     ADVISORY COMMISSION
   EVARTS BOUTELL GREENE
   WILLIAM EDWARD DODD
   JAMES ALTON JAMES
   ANDREW CUNNINGHAM MCLAUGHLIN
   EDWARD CARLETON PAGE
   THEODORE CALVIN PEASE
   CHARLES HENRY RAMMELKAMP

 
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       VIRGINIA SERIES
           VOLUME IV


GEORGE ROGERS CLARK PAPERS
           1781-1784

 
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COLLECTIONS OF THE ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY.
                   VOLUME XIX



         VIRGINIA SERIES,,VOLUME IV





 GEORGE ROGERS CLARK

        PAPERS 1781-1784






          EDITED WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES HY
       JAMES ALTON JAMES, Ph. D., LL. D.
     WILLIAM SMITH MASON PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN HISTORY,
               NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY












            PUBLISHED BY THE TRUSTEES OF THE
     ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY



SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

 













           COPYRIGHT, I 926

                 BY

THE ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY















































     SCHNVPP  BARNES, PRINTERS
          SPRINGFILD, ILL.
                1924

 





             AUTHOR'S PREFACE
   During the year i9i2 the first volume of the George
Rogers Clark Papers, Illinois Historical Collections,
Volume VIiI, Virginia Series, Volume iII, was pub-
lished. This volume contained all of the available
Clark papers prior to October I, 1781. Upon the
recommendation of the Advisory Commission of the
Illinois State Historical Library, the search for ma-
terial covering the remaining years of the Revolution
in the West having to do especially with the activities
of Clark was continued. A second volume of material
covering activities in the West to I784 is here offered.
   It again seems best to include, as was done in the
first volume, letters written to and about Clark which
have heretofore been printed and which are thought to
be essential to the explanation of his work. The pri-
mary aim has been to interpret events connected with
the Revolution west of the Alleghanies. The general
arrangement of the documents has been chronological
but it has seemed best to include the account of the
settlement of Virginia's claims against the United
States. "The necessary and reasonable expences in-
curred by this State in subduing any British posts or
in maintaining forts or garrisons within and for the
defence, or in acquiring any part of the territory so
ceded or relinquish'd shall be fully reimbursed by the
United States" as provided by an act of Congress re-
lating thereto, October io, I780. The amount agreed
upon by the three commissioners (May iS, 1788) was
500,000.
                         V

 


vi   ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS



   When certain of the letters were originally secured
from the archives of the Virginia State Historical
Library, the collection of documents was known as the
Illinois Papers. They were labeled Bundle I and
Bundle II. These documents seem since to have dis-
appeared and no trace of them has been found. One
explanation is that they are hidden in some forgotten
place or have been distributed throughout the present
collections.
   In the Virginia State Library there are two copies
of the Journal of the Northwestern Commissioners,
which is included in this work. These are volumes vII
and viii in the Illinois Papers, the first of these bearing
all the marks of having been the original journal of
the commissioners. Volume viii was doubtless a con-
temporary copy but was the only one available when
the transcript of the journal was first made. The dif-
ferences in the volumes were mainly those of abbrevia-
tion and punctuation. In the original there are many
abbreviations and little punctuation and in some places
it is torn or cannot be deciphered. As far as possible
the original has been restored with such additions as
were necessary for completeness.
   The documents herewith presented have, with but
few exceptions, been selected by myself. The follow-
ing persons made themselves responsible for compari-
sons of the copies with the originals: for the Draper
Manuscripts, Dr. Louise Phelps Kellogg; for the
manuscripts in the State Department, Dr. N. D. Mere-
ness; for those in the Virginia State Library, Dr. H. J.
Eckenrode.

 


JUTHOR'S PREFACE



   I wish to express my gratitude, also, to Dr. H. R.
McIlwaine, state librarian of Virginia, for privileges
extended in that library, to Dr. James A. Robertson
for his assistance in securing copies of documents from
the Congressional Library and from the State Depart-
ment, to Dr. Kellogg for allowing me to read the copies
of documents which are to appear in her forthcoming
volume descriptive of the Revolution on the upper
Ohio, and to Miss Annie A. Nunns, assistant superin-
tendent of the Wisconsin State Historical Society, for
her courtesy in enabling me to secure copies of material
in the Draper Collection. From Professor Frederick
J. Turner, Professor Clarence W. Alvord, former edi-
tor of the Illinois Historical Collections, and from
Professor Theodore C. Pease, present editor, I have
received invaluable advice and assistance. I wish like-
wise to express my thanks to the Advisory Commission
and especially to the Board of Trustees of the Illinois
State Historical Library through whose generosity this
volume has been made possible.
                          JAMES ALTON JAMES
Evanston, Illinois
August I, I923



Vii

 
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               TABLE OF CONTENTS


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .    . . . . . . . . . . . .           Xiii

INTRODUCTION   .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               XV

CHAPTER I. CRITICAL CONDITIONS IN THE WEST, OCTOBER
   6, 178I TO MARCH 5, 1782     . . . . . . . . . .
     Evidences of danger and suggestions for defense; news of the
   surrender of Cornwallis; necessity for an offensive operation
   against Detroit; Virginia finances; commissioners appointed for
   the settlement of western accounts; rise of land values.

CHAPTER II. CLARK'S PLAN FOR THE DEFENSE OF KEN-
   TUCKY, MARCH 5, 1782 TO JULY 5, I782       .  . . . .      43
     Gunboats to be used on the Ohio; troubles encountered in equip-
   ping these boats; Virginia assembly opposed to offensive opera-
   tions; disaffection growing out of the movement for an indepen-
   dent state in Kentucky; interest of James Monroe in the West.

CHAPTER III. EXPEDITION OF COLONEL WILLIAM CRAW-
   FORD AGAINST THE INDIAN TOWNS ON THE UPPER SAN-
   DUSKY, JULY 6, 1782 TO AUGUST 6, 1782      . . . . .       71
     Organization for Crawford's expedition at Fort Pitt; defeat of
   Colonel Crawford; retaliatory expedition demanded by the in-
   habitants of the upper Ohio.

CHAPTER IV. THE BATTLE OF THE BLUE LICKS, AUGUST
   19, 1782 TO SEPTEMBER 3, 1782 . . . . . . . . .            89
     Attack on Bryan's Station; plan of the Battle of Blue Licks;
   loss of Kentucky leaders; capture of Kincheloe's Station.

CHAPTER V. COOPERATIVE EXPEDITIONS PLANNED BY GEN-
   ERAL WILLIAM IRVINE FROM FORT PITT AND GENERAL
   CLARK FROM FORT NELSON, SEPTEMBER 3, 1782 TO
   OCTOBER 19, 1782     . . . . . . . . . . . . .            110
   Effects of Crawford's Defeat and the Battle of Blue Licks; call
   for volunteers; criticism of Clark; additional forts to be built on
   the Ohio; origin of criticisms of Clark and his associates.

                               ix

 





x        ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS


CHAPTER VI. EXPEDITION AGAINST THE SHAWNEE, OCTO-
    BER 22, 1782 TO JANUARY 13, I783 .      . . .    . .   .  .  I40
      Preparation for the campaign; criticism of Clark not justified;
    creditors importune Clark for relief; British plans for the cam-
    paign; expedition from Fort Pitt given up; Clark's plan of cam-
    paign; Clark's account of the expedition; friendly relationship
    existing between Thomas Jefferson and Clark; peace with the
    Chickasaw and Creek; lack of supplies in the western depart-
    ment; Clark ordered to report in Richmond.


CHAPTER VII. WESTERN PROBLEMS DURING THE WINTER
    AND SPRING, JANUARY i6, I 783 TO APRIL 29, 1783        .  .  183
    Protection of immigrants; abuses in the public service; condi-
    tions in Kentucky; Fort Nelson, the key to the West; terms of
    peace.


CHAPTER VIII. CONDITIONS IN THE WEST AFTER PEACE,
   APRIL 30, I783 TO DECEMBER 22, 1783        .  .  .  . . . 227
     Problem of the Indians; lands granted the officers of the Illi-
   nois Regiment; plea for western creditors; reasons for high prices
   in the West during the Revolution; Clark relieved of his com-
   mand; Clark asked by Jefferson to lead a party for the explora-
   tion of the territory west of the Mississippi River; Clark ap-
   pointed principal surveyor of bounty lands.


CHAPTER IX.     CLARK'S ACCOUNTS WITH VIRGINIA, MARCH
   30, I778 TO JUNE 9, I783       .  .  .  .  .  . .   . .   . 254
     Virginia debtor to Clark; Virginia creditor to Clark; summary
   of accounts connected with the conquest of the Northwest; bills
   drawn by various officers; pay roll of Captain Joseph Bowman's
   Company, August 8, 1778 to December 14, 1778; pay roll of Cap-
   tain Edward Worthington's Company, July 17, 1778 to June i,
   1779; pay roll of Captain Jesse Evans' Company, December 29,
   1778 to April 5, 1779.


CHAPTER X. JOURNAL OF WESTERN COMMISSIONERS,
   NOVEMBER I, 1782 TO JULY I, 1783        .  .  . . . . . 290
     First meeting of commissioners at Harrodsburg, November x,
   1782; recommendations of the commissioners on the construction
   of forts, December 23; misapplication of funds or stores; report
   of proceedings of the commissioners, February I7, 1783; situation
   at Fort Nelson, March 24, 1783; the state not obligated to honor
   bills drawn by unauthorized persons; bills to be paid according
   to the Illinois scale of depreciation; Doctor Connard, surgeon to
   the Illinois troops, June 19, 1783; amounts due Clark.

 





                  TABLE OF CONTENTS                          xi


CHAPTER XI. ALLOTMENT OF LANDS IN CLARK'S GRANT
   TO SOLDIERS ON THE ILLINOIS EXPEDITION, FEBRUARY I,
   1783 TO APRIL 3, 1784     .  . . . . . . . . . . 413
     Commission organized, February x, 1783, at Fort Nelson; lands
   located opposite Louisville; William Clark appointed principal
   surveyor; those entitled to receive lands, August 3, 1783; Clark
   empowered to erect a mill in Clarksville, August 7, 1783; sale of
   lots, May 9, 1786; Clark present at meeting of the board, Feb-
   ruary x, 1813.

APPENDIX. VIRGINIA'S CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED
   STATES, MAY 15, 1788      .  . . . . . . . . . . 465
     Appointment of three commissioners; five hundred thousand
   dollars in specie to be paid Virginia.

LIST OF WORKS CITED     .  . . . . . . . . . . . . 478

INDEX

 
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           LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS


A.D.S.           =Autograph Document Signed
A.L.             =Autograph Letter
A.L.S.           =Autograph Letter Signed

Draper -Iss., 52JI7=Draper Manuscripts, Wisconsin Historical
                     Library, vol. 52, page 17
D.S.             =Document Signed
I.H.C.           =Illinois Historical Collections
L.S.             =Letter Signed

[ ]              -Words supplied by editor



xiii

 
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THE LAST YEARS OF
     WEST OF THE



THE REVOLUTION
MOUNTAIN S



SPECIAL INTRODUCTION



xv

 
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INTRODUCTION



THE LAST YEARS OF THE REVOLUTION WEST OF THE
                   MOUNTAINS
   October i9, I78i saw the surrender of Cornwallis
and the final triumph of the Revolution east of the
Alleghanies. Washington with his army of two thou-
sand Americans and five thousand Frenchmen had
made a brilliant march of four hundred miles from
the Hudson to the York River, had joined forces with
Lafayette and completely hemmed in the British army
of seven thousand on the narrow peninsula between
the James River and the York. After vainly striving
to break the lines of the besiegers, Cornwallis had sur-
rendered his army as prisoners of war. The instruc-
tions issued to Sir Guy Carleton, who was setting out
to take command in America (April 4, 1782), directed
him to transfer the garrison at New York to Halifax,
even at the price of an early capitulation, and to with-
draw the garrisons at Charleston and Savannah. That
there was to be no further effort towards conquering
the revolting colonists was evident.
   During the last months of I78i and for upwards of
a year thereafter the control of the West was still in
the balance and British and American leaders in this
region continued to exercise their greatest military
and diplomatic abilities. Clark continued to hold
Fort Nelson, recently constructed at the Falls of the
Ohio, as his base of operations. From it he could
                       Xvii

 



xviii ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS



exercise control of the Illinois posts, rally militiamen
for the protection of the Kentucky settlements, and
keep the British on the defensive at Detroit. He might
even attempt the capture of that fort-the goal of his
ambition from the days when the first plans were for-
mulated for the capture of the Illinois country.' Brit-
ish leaders, while striving to hold the friendship of the
northwestern tribes, sought to regain control over the
Illinois country and the Mississippi River, to drive the
Americans from Fort Nelson, and recapture Fort Pitt.
   An understanding of the situation at the end of
178i becomes clear only as the salient points in the con-
duct of the war in the West during the two preceding
years are recalled. Such a review will serve to dem-
onstrate to what extent the Northwest was then under
the military dominance of the Americans.2 During
the summer of 1779, following the capture of Kaskas-
kia and Vincennes, Clark was forced to forego the
march against Detroit, as he expressed it, "Detroit
lost for want of a few Men. . . ."' But his prepara-
tions for this expedition produced unexpected results
on the enemy, who hurried reinforcements to Detroit
and Michillimackinac and improved their defenses.
Their French and Indian allies were in a panic over
the report that the English, unable to withstand the
effect of the alliance of the Americans, French,
Spanish, and Germans, would be driven out of Amer-
   'Clark to George Mason, November 19, 1779. James, George Rogers
Clark Papers (Illinois Historical Collections, 8), xr6.
   'Some of this discussion was taken from my article, "To What Extent
was George Rogers Clark in Military Control of the Northwest at the
Close of the American Revolution" Annual Report of the American His-
torical Association, 1917, pp. 313-329.
   'Clark to Mason, November 19, 1779. Clark Papers, 146.

 



INTRODUCTION



ica.' So great was the disaffection among the Indians
that according to British testimony the Sioux was
the only tribe still true to them.     Two expeditions
sent from Michillimackinac to intercept the Ameri-
cans, one a force of some three hundred regulars, trad-
ers, and Indians, the other numbering six hundred
made up mainly of Indians, and a third with two hun-
dred Indians led by officers from Detroit, retreated in
haste upon hearing a report that Clark was advancing
toward Detroit with a force of four thousand. A cam-
paign against Vincennes and another against Fort Pitt
were likewise abandoned.
   While establishing his headquarters in the newly
erected fort at the Falls of the Ohio, Clark's plans
seem to have comprehended two main objects-to raise
a force in Kentucky, "with the hopes of giving the
Shawneess a Drubing",2 and to make a "bold push"
and reduce Detroit and Mackinac.3 Full powers were
granted him by Governor Jefferson to engage in either
of these enterprises or to establish a post near the
mouth of the Ohio.
   While preparing for the capture of Detroit, with-
out which there could be no permanent peace, Clark,
in the spring of 1780, began the erection of Fort Jeffer-
son on the Mississippi, five miles below the mouth of
the Ohio, although a location north of that river had
   'De Peyster to Haldimand, July aI, I779. Michigan Pioneer and His-
torical Collections, 9:390-391.
   'Clark to Mason, November 19, 1779. Clark Papers, 153.
   'Clark to Jonathan Clark, January i6, 1780. Ibid., 383. "my proposi-
tion would be to Make a bold push Reduce those Garisons and no peace
with the Indians, only on our own terms, and never after suffer arms or
amunition to go among them which would effectually bring them to our
Feet... "



X1X

 


xx   ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS



been formerly contemplated.' Some months before he
had advocated building this fort, on the ground that a
failure of crops in the Illinois country rendered advis-
able a location nearer the frontier settlements of Ken-
tucky to make the sustenance of his troops more feas-
ible.2 Moreover, he argued that this post should be
made the center for the other western garrisons, that it
would at once become the key to the trade of the west-
ern country and furnish a good location for the Indian
department as well as give the means of controlling the
Chickasaw Indians and the Illinois posts. By March
of 1780 he was aware that the British were again win-
ning control over the northwestern tribes and that they
contemplated some such plan of action as that attempt-
ed by Governor Hamilton in I779. Not alone had this
expedition which threatened the total loss of the West
to be checked, but the advance of the Spaniards east of
the Mississippi, who, as John Todd said, had a "fond-
ness for engrossing Territory",3 had also to be met. The
continuance of American control in the Illinois coun-
try seemed, as Clark believed, to depend on the concen-
tration of his available force at the new fort. By this
striking move the Indians would be so mystified that
they would refuse to join the British on the aforesaid
expedition. At no time was there the suggestion of
abandoning any territory beyond the Ohio, Governor
Jefferson having adopted the views of Clark and John
Todd on the practicability of concentration in the fort
at the mouth of the Ohio which would, as he said,
   'Thomas Jefferson to the Speaker of the House of Delegates, June 14,
1780. Clark Papers, 427.
  'Clark to Jefferson, September 23, 1779. Ibid., 365.
  'John Todd to Jefferson, June 2, 1780. Ibid., 422.

 



INTRODUCTION



facilitate trade with the Illinois and be near enough to
furnish aid to that territory, protect the trade with
New Orleans, and together with other posts to be estab-
lished constitute a chain of defense for the western
frontier.' In pursuance of this project, the troops were
withdrawn from Vincennes, leaving only a company of
French militia to guard that post. But before the re-
tirement of the troops from the Illinois villages had
taken place a formidable advance by the British was
begun.
   This plan for gaining control over the Mississippi,
-for Spain, joint tenant with Great Britain since 1763,
was now also at war with her-for the recapture of the
Illinois country, the Falls of the Ohio, and finally Forts
Pitt and Cumberland, was one of the most striking mil-
itary conceptions of the entire Revolution. If success-
ful, the whole region west of the Alleghanies doubtless
would have remained British territory, for all commu-
nication between Clark and the East would thus have
been destroyed. Besides, conditions east of the moun-
tains must have been modified, for British rangers and
their hordes of Indian allies would have been free to
join the ranks of the British generals in Virginia and
the South.
   The British planned to advance in five sections and
to make three major assaults at widely separated points.
With a force of fifteen hundred men General Camp-
bell was to proceed from Pensacola and capture New
Orleans. His strength was to be increased by the ad-
dition of white troops and Indians from Michillimack-
   'Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Martin, January 24, 1780. Clark Papers,
385.



xxi

 


xxii  ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS



inac, this force having to advance down the Mississippi
after capturing St. Louis. The third detachment, as-
sembled by Detroit officials, was to detain Clark at
the Falls of the Ohio. One of the subsidiary forces was
to advance by way of the Illinois River, while a second
was ordered to watch the plains between the Wabash
and the Mississippi.
   The attack on St. Louis and the Illinois villages
was entrusted by Governor Sinclair of Michillimack-
inac to Captain Emanuel Hesse. His command, made
up of nine hundred and fifty British regulars, traders,
and Indians, was assembled at the junction of the Mis-
sissippi and the Wisconsin. Conspicuous among the
Menominee, Sauk, Fox, Winnebago, and Ottawa war-
riors was a body of two hundred Sioux braves under
the leadership of Wabasha, their illustrious chief.
While the capture of Governor Hamilton had weak-
ened the hold of the British on the northwestern tribes,
the Sioux, as stated by Sinclair, were undebauched,
addicted to war, and jealously attached to His Maj-
esty's interest. Warned of the approach of the enemy,
the Spaniards had so strengthened their defenses at St.
Louis that the first assault was repulsed. Meantime
Clark had reached Cahokia in response to the appeals
for his immediate presence from De Leyba, the Span-
ish lieutenant governor, and from Colonel John Mont-
gomery. After a short skirmish at Cahokia the British
retreated in two divisions, one up the Mississippi and
the other to Michillimackinac. Two retaliatory ex-
peditions were sent in pursuit, but the enemy made
good his escape. The villages of the Sauk and Foxes
on the Rock River were destroyed by the Americans.

 



                   INTRODUCTION                     xxiii

It is impossible to determine the reasons for the British
retreat. Clark claimed that it was due to the presence
of himself and his men. The British pointed to the
treachery of some of their Indian leaders and to the
lack of spirit on the part of the Canadians.' General
Campbell evidently made no effort to leave Pensacola.
   The third expedition was quite as striking a failure.
For weeks Major De Peyster lavished what his superi-
ors characterized as an "amazing sum" on the "indul-
gence" of the tribes tributary to Detroit in order to en-
list them for the expedition against the Falls of the
Ohio.2 This, if successful, would cut the American
communication with the East, force the surrender of
the Illinois posts, and reduce the Kentucky settle-
ments.3 With a well-equipped force of eleven hun-
dred, a thousand of them being Indians, Captain
Henry Bird, one of the best type of British leaders, de-
scended from the Miami to the Ohio. Notwithstand-
ing his possession of two pieces of light artillery, he
determined not to hazard an attack on the fort at the
Falls.   Learning   that reinforcements had    arrived
from Virginia and that the other expeditions had
failed, he turned toward Detroit after destroying Rud-
dle's and Martin's stations, two small Kentucky stock-
aded posts. So rapidly did he retreat that he aban-
doned his cannon at one of the Miami villages.
   'Wisconsin Historical Collections, 1I:154.
   'General Haldimand stated the amount to be pound;64,036. On July 6,
1780, he wrote, "The appearance of such drafts in so regular  so quick
a succession, naturally laid me to reflect upon their fatal consequences to
the nation. . ." Mich. Pion. and Hist. Colls., lo04o9.
   'Answers of Thomas Marshall and James Knox to questions of the com-
missioners to adjust the claims of Virginia against the United States, De-
cember 8, 3787, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Department of State,
Washington, D. C.

 


Xxiv ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS



   At no time in his career did Clark's capacity for
leadership appear more brilliant. No obstacle could
deter him from delivering such a stroke as would pre-
vent a second attempt that year on the part of the en-
emy. The rapidity with which he advanced to his goal
was not unlike the drive toward Vincennes in the Feb-
ruary days of the preceding year. Learning of the
designs of Captain Bird, he set out from Cahokia with
a few men for Fort Jefferson, and after barely escaping
capture by the Indians, struck off through the wilder-
ness with only two companions for Harrodsburg. In
spite of protests from the crowd of investors in land,
he closed the doors of the land office until the end of
the campaign, and by August i, seven weeks from the
time of his leaving Cahokia, one thousand volunteers
had responded to his order to assemble at the mouth of
the Licking River. After a forced march they reached
Old Chillicothe, but the Indians had fled. At Piqua,
a few miles beyond, a well-built town with a block-
house, the Americans overtook and attacked several
hundred Indians, and after a fierce engagement forced
them to retreat. No effort was made at pursuit. After
burning the towns, Clark led his troops to the mouth
of the Licking, where they disbanded. In this cam-
paign of a month they had marched four hundred and
eighty miles, and so successful was the effort that dur-
ing the remainder of the year the Kentucky settlements
were freed from serious molestation.
   By Christmas time, Clark was in Richmond con-
sulting with the authorities over plans for taking De-
troit. Such an expedition would serve to prevent the

 



INTRODUCTION



promised advance of the British, of which there were
again unmistakable signs. Inspired by the more ag-
gressive policy of Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee,
and George Mason, leaders in the House of Delegates,
Clark's instructions provided for an advance of two
thousand men with the ultimate object of reducing De-
troit and acquiring Lake Erie. If successfully carried
out, so argued Governor Jefferson, this expedition
would insure peace on the whole frontier and create an
extensive area for commercial expansion. In the event
of peace the acquisition would "form to the American
union a barrier against the dangerous extension of the
British Province of Canada and add to the Empire of
liberty an extensive and fertile Country... "'' At the
opening of the year 178i, therefore, there was no evi-
dence of final territorial demands extending over an
area less than the whole Northwest. Besides, Wash-
ington promised contributions from the continental
stores for this object, which he declared he had con-
stantly borne in mind, believing that the reduction of
Detroit "would be the only certain means of giving
peace and security to the whole western frontier ...
   For the first time a complete military organization
for the West was completed, by making Clark briga-
dier general of the forces which were "to be embodied
on an expedition westward of the Ohio."3 At no time
during the Revolution was there a more striking exam-
ple of military inefficiency on the part of both the gen-
   'Jefferson to Clark, December 25, 1780. Clark Papers, 490.
   'Washington to Jefferson, December 28, 1780. Washington, Writings
(Sparks ed.), 7:341.
  'Clark Papers, 507. This commission was granted under authority of
Governor Jefferson.



XXVt

 



xxvi  ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS



eral government and Virginia. Almost six weeks were
wasted by Congress and the Board of War in collecting
the promised supplies for the western expedition, and
there was a delay of two weeks at one point between
Philadelphia and Fort Pitt in order to make new kegs
for the transportation of powder. The time of neces-
sary waiting at Pittsburgh might well have disheart-
ened any leader. Drafting troops, under Virginia mil-
itary laws, was a failure and Governor Jefferson was
forced to resort to the call for volunteers. Colonel
Daniel Brodhead, commanding officer at Fort Pitt,
refused to grant permission for two hundred regulars
to go on the expedition, and finally, early in August,
Clark set out down the Ohio with four hundred regu-
lars and volunteers, a force scarcely adequate to guard
the boats which contained supplies for fully two thou-
sand men. But plans had been agreed upon at Pitts-
burgh which provided for an expedition against the
Wyandot early in September under Colonel Gibson,
while Clark was to advance against the Shawnee. Once
more Clark's activities had served as a defense to the
frontier. Detroit was put into condition for withstand-
ing this attack and Indian demands at that post were
frequent and "amazing."'
   Clark's arrival at Louisville was opportune, for
never was there a prospect so gloomy for the fate of the
West. While Fort Nelson was completed, as he had
directed, Fort Jefferson had been evacuated and there
was a prospect that the Americans would be compelled
to abandon Vincennes, where there was still a garrison



  'Haldimand to De Peyster, April 10, 178i. Mich. Pion. and Hist. Colls.,
io465.

 


INTRODUCTION



of sixty men.1 Preparations for the promised expedi-
tion against Detroit had been made by Kentucky offi-
cials under the most adverse conditions, for the credit
of Virginia throughout the West was worthless. Dur-
ing the winter and spring the Kentucky settlements had
been devastated by a succession of Indian raids and
there were well-founded rumors that an army was to be
sent against them from Detroit. By order of the Vir-
ginia assembly, the expedition against that post was
postponed.
   In council with his officers and the three Kentucky
county lieutenants early in September, Clark still clung
to his determination to march against the Indians by
the way of the Wabash or the Miami and then to De-
troit. But his advisers deemed the force available,
some seven hundred men, inadequate for such an expe-
dition. While insisting on the maintenance of the gar-
rison at the Falls, they likewise recommended that a
fort should be built at the mouth of the Kentucky, and
urged the assembling of a strong force for the reduc-
tion of Detroit the next spring. Clark still advocated
an expedition up the Wabash against the Indian tribes
among whom the British emissaries seemed to be most
strongly intrenched. He saw in such a move the cap-
ture of Detroit and the possession of Lake Erie, con