201. The Conquest of the Illinois Country (1779)
BY COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK
WHAT preceeds this part of Coln Clarke's journal is only an account of his setting out and his march till the 23rd Feby . Sett off very early, waded better than three miles on a stretch, our people prodigious, yet they keep up a good heart in hopes of a speedy sight of our enemys. At last about two o'clock we came in sight of this long sought town and enemy, all quiet, the spirits of my men seemed to revive we marched up under cover of a wood called the Warriours Island where we lay concealed untill sunset, several of the inhabitants were out a shooting by which was assur'd they had no intelligence of us yet. I sent out two men to bring in one who came and I sent him to town to inform the inhabitants I was near them ordering all those attached to the King of England to enter the Fort and defend it, those who desired to be friends to keep in their houses. I order'd the march in the first division Capt. Williams, Capt. Worthington's Company and the Cascaskia Volunteers, in the 2nd commanded by Capt. Bowman his own Company and the Cohos Volunteers. At sun down I put the divisions in motion to march in the greatest order and regularity and observe the orders of their officers — above all to be silent — the 5 men we took in the canoes were our guides ; we entered the town on the upper part leaving detached Lt. Bayley and 15 riflemen to attack the Fort and keep up a fire to harrass them untill we took possession of the town and they were to remain on that duty till relieved by another party, the two divisions marched into the town and took possession of the main street, put guards &c without the least molestation I continued all night sending parties out to annoy the enemy and caused a trench to be thrown up across the main street about 200 yds from the Fort Gate . . . .
24th As soon as daylight appeared the enemy perceived our works and began a very smart fire of small arms at it, but could not bring their cannon to bear on them, about 8 o'clock I sent a flag of truce with