George Rogers Clark and the Winning of the Old Northwest

George Rogers Clark and the Winning of the Old Northwest

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It was June 1778, early in the fourth year of the American Revolution. Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark, a young soldier-frontiersman, was encamped with nearly 200 men on Corn Island at the Falls of the Ohio (across from the site of present-day Louisville). In his dispatch case he carried two sets of orders dated January 2, 1778, and signed by Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia. His "public orders," designed to keep the British unaware of his true mission, instructed him to raise seven companies of 50 men each, with the pay and allowances of Virginia militia, for the defense of the County of Kentucky. His secret orders, known only to a few of Governor Henry's principal advisers in Williamsburg and to a few of Clark's officers, called for him to carry out a daring and hazardous campaign deep in enemy territory, a campaign that would develop into one of the great epics of American history. Clark had arrived at the Falls of the Ohio on June 1 with 150 frontiersmen, many of them recruited with difficulty around Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) in Pennsylvania. He had expected four additional companies to be waiting for him at the Falls, but to his "mortification" he found only part of one company from Tennessee and a small force from Kentucky. Each village on the frontier, each valley, each region, was intent on keeping its men at home for its own defense: some let it be known that anyone who left to join Clark would be pursued, apprehended, and confined. The loss of these reinforcements created, as Clark himself admitted, a "desperate" situation, for it meant that he would have to confront a vastly superior enemy with a ludicrously small force. Nevertheless, he was determined to go on.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 64 pages
  • 216 x 279 x 3mm | 172g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1514360721
  • 9781514360729