Letter of Instruction from Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia to George Rogers Clark

In Council, WmsBURG, Jany.2d, 1778.

Lieu. Colonel George Rogers Clark:

You are to proceed with all convenient speed to raise seven companies of soldiers to consist of fifty men each, officered in the usual manner & armed most properly for the Enterprise, & with this Force attack the British post at Kaskasky.

It is conjectured that there are many pieces of cannon & military stores to considerable amount at that place, the taking and preservation of which would be a valuable acquisition to the state. If you are so fortunate therefore as to succeed in your Expedition, you will take every possible Measure to secure the artillery & stores & whatever may advantage the state.

For the Transportation of the Troops, provisions, &c., down the Ohio, you are to apply to the Commanding officer at Fort Pitt for Boats, & during the whole Transaction you are to take especial care to keep the true Destination of your Force secret. Its success depends upon this. Orders are therefore given to Capt Smith to secure the two men from Kaskasky. Similar conduct will be proper in similar cases. It is earnestly desired that you show Humanity to such British subjects and other persons as fall in your hands. If the white Inhabitants of that post & the neighbourhood will give undoubted Evidence of their attachment to this State (for it is certain they live within its limits) by taking the Test prescribed by Law & by every other way & means in their power, Let them be treated as fellow citizens & their persons & property duly secured. Assistance & protection against all Enemies whatever shall be afforded them & the Commonwealth of Virginia is pledged to accomplish it. But if these people will not accede to these reasonable Demands they must feel the miseries of war under the direction of that Humanity that has hitherto distinguished Americans & which it is expected you will ever consider as the Rule of your Conduct & from which you are in no instance to depart.

The Corps you are to command are to receive the pay & allowance of Militia & to act under the Laws & Regulations of this state now in force. The Inhabitants at this Post will be informed by you that in case they accede to the offers of becoming Citizens of this commonwealth a proper garrison will be maintained among them & every attention bestowed to render their commerce beneficial, the fairest prospects being opened to the Dominions of both France & Spain.

It is in contemplation to establish a post near the Mouth of Ohio. Cannon will be wanted to fortify it. Part of those at Kaskasky will be easily brought thither or otherwise secured as circumstances will make necessary.

You are to apply to General Hand for powder & lead necessary for this Expedition. If he can't supply it the person who has that which Capt. Lynn bro from Orleans can. Lead was sent to Hampshire by my orders & that may be delivered you. Wishing you success, I am
Your hble. ser.,
P. Henry.

Taken from Lessons on the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 Learning materials for secondary school courses in American history, government, and civics by John J. Patrick developed by the ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education September 1987