Battle of VincennesFebruary 23-25, 1779 at Vincennes, Indianaexternal image hero_of_vincennes1.jpg

Background on the Battle:

On Januray 29th, 1779, Francis Vigo went to Kaskaskia, Illinois, to tell Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark, that Vincenness is starting to be reoccupied again. George Rogers Clark, who was a frontiersman sent by Virginia to obtain lane northwest of the Ohio River, decided it was a good idea to surprise them with a sneak attack. He did this because he wanted to make sure Alexander Hamilton did not reoccupy the land. On February 6th, 1779, Clark sent 127 volunteers so Vincennes, along with his second-in-command, Captain Bowman. However, in order for the British not to escape from Vincennes, 40 of Clark's men stayed back and stationed at Wabash River. Finally, on February 20th, Clark and his men began to cross the Wabash River. Upon crossing the river, they informed a villager, who was a friend, to go ahead to Vincennes and inform everyone there to stay in their home or else they will be confused for the enemy. Everyone in the village was informed of this news except for Hamilton.
Clark is accepting the surrender of Fort Sackville from Hamilton
Clark is accepting the surrender of Fort Sackville from Hamilton

After finally crossing the Wabash River successfully, Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark and his men marched into Vincennes February 23, at sunset. After arriving at Vincennes, Clark and Bowman split the men into two divisions. Clark commanded one group while Bowman took the other. Clark created an allusion to make it seem like his small fleet of men was actually more like 1,000. While Clark and Bowman secured the town, a message was sent to begin fire at Fort Sackville. Despite all the commotion outside, Hamilton did not realize the the fort was under attack until one of his men was wounded by a bullet.Clark and his men then began to build a entrenchment 200 yards away from the fort so they can have a clear view of activity inside. The British fired their cannon and in defend Clark and his men killed and wounded most of the gunners. Clark had received local help from villagers, who gave him power and ammunition, and a Piankeshaw chief named Young Tobacco who offered him 100 men to assist him in the battle. But, Clark declined this offer because he feared that in the darkness his men might mistake the Piankeshaw tribe for one of the enemy tribes.

On the following day, February 24th, Clark sent a letter to Hamilton demanding that he surrender. However, Hamilton declined causing Clark to sent his prisoner, Captain Leonard Helm, to offer terms and demand that Hamilton surrender within the next 30 minutes or else Clark will storm the fort. Captain Helm returned before the time had expired and and presented Hamilton's proposal for a three-day truce, this was also declined, but both Clark and Hamilton agreed to meet at a church. When Clark and Bowman met up with Hamilton at the church the terms of surrender were signed. The next day on February 25th, Hamilton got all of this men and marched out of Fort Sackville. After he and his men left, Clark's men renamed the fort to Fort Patrick Henry. This was an American victory that created the Northwest Territory of the U.S.
Historical Figures:

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Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark

George Rogers Clark was an American Lieutenant Colonel born in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1752. He was an American military leader on the northwestern frontier during the Revolutionary War. Clark's most celebrated event in his career his his victory at Vincennes. However, George Clark's main goal during the Revolution was to seize British-held Detroit but he could never do so because he did not have enough men to recruit. In the following years, Clark proved his hard work to Thomas Jefferson, who promoted him to command all the militia in Kentucky and Illinois. The winter expedition was Clark's most significant military achievement and became the source of his reputation as an early American military hero.With the help of his trusty second-in-command, Captain Joseph Bowman, these two could easily take control of the fort.Upon hearing the news about Clark's victory, Washington used this success to encourage the Alliance with France. Virginia capitalized on Clark's success by laying claim to the whole of the Old Northwest, calling it Illinois County.

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Captain Joesph Bowman
Joesph Bowman was a Virginia militia officer during the American Revolutionary War. He was George Clark's second-in-command during their famous capture in the Battle of Vincennes. During the American Revolutionary War, Joesph served as a captain in the Illinois Campaign and he was also present when Fort Gage was captured.At Fort Sackville, with Captain Leonard Helm, they were unfortunately captured by Hamilton. However, in the Battle of Vincennes Bowman marched along side of Colonel Clark to help defeat the British forces. In the Battle, Hamilton was forced to surrender, Captain Bowman was there to help Clark enforce these negotiations. Within in a few days after the battle, the Governor of Virginia arrived and promoted Bowman to major. He then received "Clark's Grant" which was 4,321 acres of land north of the Ohio River.

Maps of the Battle:

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Presenting the History of Vincennes