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March to Vincennes - February 15, 1779

From Clark's Memoir:

"Fortunately the 15th happened to be a warm, moist day for the season. The channel of the river where we lay was about thirty yards wide. A scaffold was built on the opposite shore which was about three feet under water, and our baggage ferried across and put on it; our horses swam across and received their loads at the scaffold, by which time the troops were also brought across, and we began our march through the water. Our vessel (was) loaded with those who were sickly, and we moved on cheerfully . . .

"By evening we found ourselves encamped on a pretty height in high spirits . . . .

". . . We were now, as it were, in the enemy's country--no possibility of a retreat if the enemy should discover and overpower us."

Easter North America, circa 1779

The "antic drummer"

Clark, in his Memoir for February 15, 1779, describes a hard crossing through flooded land. He makes the following comment: "A little antic drummer afforded them great diversion by floating on his drum, etc."

This comment has caught the imagination of artists who have illustrated episodes of Clark's daring march to Vincennes.

The four versions of the "antic drummer" included here clearly demonstrate how each artist visualized and tried to convey the heroism of the men--and the boy--crossing the flooded wilderness.

Clark's Drummer Boy Floats on His Drum

Marching Through the Water

The Wabash, through Wilderness and Flood

The March to Vincennes


225th Anniversary Exhibit