The American Revolution
In 1779, Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark writes to Governor Patrick Henry telling him he intends to attack The Famous Hair Buyer General—Henry Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor of Detroit—at Vincennes before he can get reinforcements.
I know the Case is Desperate but Sr we must Either Quit the Cuntrey or attact Mr. Hamilton no time is to be lost was I Shoer of a Reinforcement I should not attempt it who knows what fortune will do for us Great things have been affected by a few Men well Conducted perhaps we may be fortunate
To Patrick Henry.
KASKASKIAS ILLINOIS Feby 3d 1779
AS it is now near twelve months Since I have had the least Inteligence from you I almost despair of any Relief sent to me, I have for many Months past had Reports of An army Marching Against DeTroit, but no Certainty. A Late Menuvr of The Famous Hair Buyer General, Henry Hamilton Esqr. Lieut. Governor of DeTroit, hath allarmed us much; on the 16th. of December last he, with a Body of Six Hundred Men Composed of Regulars French Voluntier and Indians Took possession of St. Vincent on the Waubach What few men that Composed the Garison not being able to make the least Defence, he is Influancing all the Indians he possibly Can to Join him: I learn that those that have Treated with me have as yet Refused his offers. I have for some time Expected an attact from him he has Blockd. up the Ohio R with a party French and Indians.
Yesterday I fortunately got every peace of Inteligence, that I could wish for, by a Spanish Genl. that made his Escape from Mr Hamilton. No Attact to be Made on the Garison at Kaskaskias until the Spring [MS. torn] passage is too difficult at present, [MS. torn] Sent to war against Different parts of [MS. torn] Especially Kentucky. Both presents and Speaches Sent to all the Nations South of the Ohio Amediately to meet at a great Council at the Mouth of the Tennesse R to lay the Best plans for Cuting of the Rebels at Illinois and Kentucky & the Grand Kite and his Nation living at Post St Vincent told Mr. Hamilton that he and his people was Big Knives and would not give their hands any more to the English for he would shortly see his Father that was at Kaskaskias Ninety Regulars in Garrison a few Voluntiers and about Fifty Tawaway Indians that is Shortly to go to war they are very Busy in Repairing the Fort which will Shortly be very Strong, One Brass Six-pounder two Iron four pounders and two Swivels Mounted in the Bastians plenty of Amunition and provitions and all kinds of warlike Stores, Making preparation for the Reduction of the Illenois & has no Suspition of a Visit from the americans this was Mr. Hamilton Circumstance when Mr. Vigo left him.
Being sensible that without a Reinforcement which at present I have hardly a right to Expect that I shall be obliged to give up this Cuntrey to Mr. Hamilton without a turn of Fortune in my favour, I am Resolved to take the advantage of his present Situation and Risque the whole on a Single Battle I shall Set out in a few Days with all the Force I can Raise of my own Troops and a few Militia that I can Depend on (whole to only one) Hundred (of which goes on) Board a Small G——[MS. torn] out some time ago Mounting two four pounders and four large Swivels one nine pounder on Board this Boat is to make her way good if possible and take her Station Tenn Leagues Below St. Vincens until further orders if I am Defeated She is to Join Col. Rogers on the Mississippi She has great Stores of Ammunition on Board Comd by Lieut. Jno Rogers. I Shall March across by Land my self with the Rest of My Boys the principal persons that follow me on this forlorn hope is Captn Joseph Bowman John Williams Edwd Worthing[ton] Richd M Carty & Frans Charlovielle Lieuts Richd Brashears Abm Kellar Abm Chaplin Jno Jerault And Jno Bayley and several other Brave Subalterns, You must be Sensible of the Feeling that I have for those Brave officers and Soldiers that are Determined to share my Fate let it be what it will I know the Case is Desperate but Sr we must Either Quit the Cuntrey or attact Mr. Hamilton no time is to be lost was I Shoer of a Reinforcement I should not attempt it who knows what fortune will do for us Great things have been affected by a few Men well Conducted perhaps we may be fortunate we have this Consolation that our Cause is Just and that our Cuntrey will be greatful and not Con [MS. torn] our Conduct in Case we fall through if so this [MS. torn] trey as well as Kentucky I believe is los [MS. torn] I have wrote to Col. Rogers Desiring of him not to Enter the Ohio River Untill further Inteligence from Me I learn that by a noble Stroke of Policy that he has Got his Cargo above the British posts in Floriday if I have Success I shall Amediately Send Dispatches to him The Expresses that you have sent I Expect has fallen into the hands of Governor Hamilton
I have the Honour to be Sr Your Very Humble Servt
G. R. CLARK.
[Clark MSS., Va. State Archives.]
A tip o’ the hat to Journal of the American Revolution.