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March to Vincennes - February 5, 1779

From Clark's Memoir:

"Everything being now ready . . . after receiving a lecture and absolution from the priest, etc., we crossed the Kaskaskia river with one hundred and seventy men; marched about three miles and encamped, where we lay until the 8th . . . set out, the weather wet, but, fortunately, not cold for the season, and a great part of the plains under water several inches deep. It was difficult and very fatiguing marching. My object was now to keep the men in spirits. I suffered them to shoot game on all occasions, and feast on it like Indian war-dancers--each company, by turns, inviting the others to their feasts . . . myself and principal officers putting on the woodsmen . . . and running as much through the mud and water as any of them."

Clark's Men Lead the Way

Clark's Men Build a Pirogue
Clark's Men Build a Pirogue

A Commemorative History of the George Rogers Clark Bicentennial Exhibit
(Indianapolis: Indiana State Museum Society, 1976), p. 43.

From Clark's Memoir:

"Thus, insensibly, without a murmur, were those men led on to the banks of the Little Wabash, which we reached on the 13th, through incredible difficulties, far surpassing anything that any of us had ever experienced.

". . . This place is called the two Little Wabashes. They are three miles apart, and from the heights of the one to that of the other, on the opposite shore, is five miles - the whole under water, generally about three feet deep, never under two, and frequently four. . . .

". . . I viewed this sheet of water for some time with distrust . . . ordered a pirogue to be built . . . . My anxiety to cross this place continually increased . . . as all ideas of retreat would, in some measure, be done away with . . . .

"In the evening of the 14th, our vessel was finished, manned and sent to explore the drowned lands . . . to find some spot of dry land. They found about half an acre and marked the trees from thence back to camp, and made a very favorable report."

225th Anniversary Exhibit