The Great Exploit of George Rogers Clark


In the summer of 1778, during the Revolutionary War, Colonel George Rogers Clark with less than 200 soldiers made an expedition from Kentucky to Kaskaskia, in present-day Illinois. They took the British post there completely by surprise, conquering it without casualties. In February 1779 Col. Clark, with only about 100 men, followed up by marching overland through muddy swamps flooded with freezing water to Vincennes (in present-day Indiana), and conquered another, even more important, British fort.

These nearly miraculous military feats made George Rogers Clark a legend in his own lifetime. American military control of these posts at the end of the Revolution gave our negotiators in Paris grounds for claiming the ‘Old Northwest’ as American territory, rather than leaving it part of British Canada. Today that region covers five states and part of a sixth (Minnesota), and is the home of nearly 50 million Americans.

Below are some useful books and articles on History of the Great Lakes States, with links to the pages where they can be found. Also look for other books about the Revolutionary War books on those pages and on our other four War & Military pages.


Great Lakes War & Military page

English, William Hayden, Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778-1783 and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark (etc) (1896)

Randall, Emilius O., “Clark’s Conquest of the Northwest” (1903)

Illinois War & Military page

Clark, George Rogers, edited by Quaife, Milo M., The Conquest of the Illinois (1920)

Clark, George Rogers (Col.), Sketch of his Campaign in the Illinois in 1778-9 (etc.) (1869)

Great Lakes Biographies and Memoirs page

James, James A., The Life of George Rogers Clark (1929)

Conflict, War and Military History in Indiana
Conflict, War and Military History in Michigan
Conflict, War and Military History in Ohio
Conflict, War & Military History in Wisconsin


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