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returned to Harrodstown with all the information I could reasonably have expected. I found from them that they had but little expectation of a visit from us; but that things were kept in good order, the militia trained, &c. that they might, in case of a visit be prepared -- that the greatest pains were taken to inflame the minds of the French inhabitants against the Americans, notwithstanding they could discover traces of affection in some of the inhabitants — that the Indians in that quarter were engaged in the war, &c.
“When I left Kentucky, October 1st, 1777, I plainly saw that every eye was turned towards me, as if expecting some stroke in their favor. Some doubted my return, expecting I would join the army in Virginia. I left them with reluctance, promising them that I would certainly return to their assistance, which I had predetermined. On my arrival at Williamsburgh, I remained a considerable time, settling the accounts of the Kentucky militia, and making remarks of every thing I saw or heard, that could lead me to the knowledge of the disposition of those in power. Burgoyne's army having been captured, and things seeming to wear a pleasing aspect, on the 10th December I communicated my design to Governor Henry. At first he seemed to be fond of it: but, to detach a party at so great a distance, (although the service performed might be of great utility,) appeared daring and hazardous, as nothing but secrecy could give success to the enterprise. To lay the matter before the Assembly, then sitting, would be dangerous, as it would soon be known throughout the frontiers; and probably the first prisoner taken by the Indians would give the alarm, which would end in the certain destruction of the party. He had several private councils, composed of select gentlemen. . After making every inquiry into my proposed plans of operation (and particularly that of a retreat, in case of misfortune, across the Mississippi into the Spanish territory,) the expedition was resolved upon; and as an encouragement to those who would engage in said service, an instrument of writing was signed, wherein those gentlemen promised to use their influence to procure from the Assembly three hundred acres of land for each in case of success. The Governor and Council so warmly engaged in the success of this enterprise, that I had very little trouble in getting matters adjusted; and on the 2d day of January, 1778, received my instructions, and the ? £1,200 for the use of the expedition, with an order on Pittsburgh for boats, ammunition, &c. Finding from the Governor's conversation in general to me, on the subject, that he did not wish an implicit attention to his instructions should prevent my executing any thing that would manifestly tend to the good of the public, on the 4th I set forward, clothed with all the authority that I wished. I advanced to Major Wm. Smith £150 to recruit men on Holston, and to meet me in Kentucky. Captain Leonard Helm, of Fauquier, and Captain Joseph Bowman, of Frederick, were to raise each a company, and on the [Ist?] February arrive at Red Stone Old Fort. *
habited by any Europeans of consequence, and the tribes of Indians are inconsiderable, and will decrease faster than the lands can possibly be demanded for cultivation. To this I ask your attention as a resource amply adequate, under proper regulations, for defraying the whole expense of the war, and the sums necessary to be given the Indians in purchase of the native right."--Sparks' Dip. Cor. of American Revolution, i, 77.
“Being now in the country where all arrangements were to be made, I appointed Captain Wm. Harrod, and many other officers to the recruiting service; and contracted for flour and other stores that I wanted. * * * I received information from Captain Helm that several gentlemen took pains to counteract his interest in recruiting, as no such service was known of by the Assembly. Consequently he had to send to the Governor to get his conduct ratified. I found, also, opposition to our interest in the Pittsburgh country. As the whole was divided into violent parties between the Virginians and Pennsylvanians, respecting territory, the idea of men being raised for the state of Virginia affected the vulgar of the one party: and, as my real instructions were kept concealed, and only an instrument from the Governor, written designedly for deception, was made public, wherein I was authorized to raise men for the defence of Kentucky, many gentlemen of both parties conceived it to be injurious to the public interest to draw off men
*Now Brownsville, on the river Monongahela.
at so critical a moment for the defence of a few detached inhabitants, who had better be removed, &c. These circumstances caused some confusion in the recruiting service. On the 29th March, I received a letter from Major Smith, by express, informing me that he had raised four companies on Holston, to be marched immediately to Kentucky, agreeably to his orders; and an express from Kentucky informed me that they had gained considerable strength since I left that quarter. This information of four companies being raised, with Bowman's and Helm's, which I knew were on their way to join me at Red Stone, caused me to be more easy respecting recruits than otherwise I should have been. The officers only got such as had friends in Kentucky, or those induced by their own interest, and desire to see the country. Meeting with several disappointments, it was late in May before I could leave the Red Stone settlement, with those companies, and a considerable number of families and private adventurers. Taking in my stores at Pittsburgh and Wheeling, I proceeded down the river with caution.
On arriving with his forces at the Falls of the Ohio, Colonel Clark took possession of an island which contained about
He divided this island among a small number of families, for whose protection he constructed some light fortifications.
Of the four companies that were recruited by Major Smith, on the Holston, only one had arrived in Kentucky; and when Clark disclosed to the troops his daring designs against Post Vincennes and Kaskaskia, he was deserted by the greater part of that company. Another obstacle interfered with his plans. He found that the settlers of Kentucky, owing to the hostile temper of the Indians, could not at that time hazard a material diminution of the strength of their forts by joining the expedition under his command.
The memoir of Clark proceeds:—“On the [24th] of June, 1778, we left our little island, and run about a mile
the river in order to gain the main channel; and shot the falls at the very moment of the sun being in a great eclipse, which caused various conjectures among the superstitious. As I knew that spies were kept on the river, below the towns of the Illinois, I had resolved to march part of the way by land; and of course left the whole of our baggage, except as much as would equip us in the Indian mode. The whole of our force, after leaving such as was judged not competent to the expected fatigue, consisted only of four companies, commanded by Captains John Montgomery, Joseph Bowman, Leonard Helms, and William Harrod. My force being so small to what I expected, owing to the various circumstances already mentioned, I found it necessary to alter my plans of operation. As Post Vincennes at this time was a town of considerable force, consisting of near four hundred militia, with an Indian town adjoining, and great numbers continually in the neighborhood, and in the scale of Indian affairs of more importance than any other, I had thought of attacking it first; but now found that I could by no means venture near it. I resolved to begin my career in the Illinois, where there was more inhabitants, but scattered in different villages, and less danger of being immediately overpowered by the Indians: in case of necessity we could probably make our retreat to the Spanish
side of the Mississippi; but if successful, we might pave our way to the possession of Post Vincennes.
“I had fully acquainted myself that the French inhabitants in those western settlements had great influence among the Indians in general, and were more beloved by them than any other Europeans -- that their commercial intercourse was universal throughout the western and northwestern countries and that the governing interest on the lakes was mostly in the hands of the English, who were not much beloved by them. These, and many other ideas similar thereto, caused me to resolve, if possible, to strengthen myself by such train of conduct, as might probably attach the French inhabitants to our interest, and give us influence at a greater distance than the country we were aiming for. These were the principles that influenced my future conduct; and, fortunately, I had just received a letter from Colonel Campbell, dated Pittsburgh, informing me of the contents of the treaties * between France and America. As I intended to leave the Ohio at Fort Massac, three leagues below the Tennessee, I landed on a small
*On the 6th of February, 1778, France acknowledged the independence of the United States, and concluded a treaty of amity and commerce, and a treaty of alliance with the new Republic. The British ministry considered these acts equivalent to a declaration of war by France against Great Britain. The first article of the Treaty of Alliance between the United States and France, was fixed in these words; “ Art, I. If war should break out between France and Great Britain during the continuance of the present war between the United States and England, his Majesty and the United States shall make it a common cause, and aid each other mutually with their good offices, their counsels, and their forces, according to the exigence of conjunctures, as becomes good and faithful allies." This Treaty of Alliance was annulled by an act of Congress, on the 7th of July, 1798.