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Part of the American Revolutionary War
File:Fall of Fort Sackville.jpg
"Hamilton surrendering to Clark and his army"
Date February,23-24,1779
Location Fort Vincennes, Illinois territory
Result American Victory, Hamilton's army surrenders and the Clark takes control of the Illinois Country
Belligerents
Grand Union Flag.svg United States,
Virginia Militia,
Illinois regiment
22x20px Great Britain,
Detriot militia,
American Indians
Commanders and leaders
George Rogers Clark,
Joseph Bowman 
Henry Hamilton (POW)
Strength
80 90
Casualties and losses
20 killed or missing 11 killed or missing+4 Indians
Western theater
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Battle of Vincennes, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Elockid Search for "Battle of Vincennes" on Google
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File:Wpdms illinois country settlements 1763.png

The battle of Vincennes was fought in present day Indiana, between the Virginia Militia and the British Army. George Rogers Clark led a small army of Patriots to capture 3 major British outposts in the midwest, Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes. Clark's army sucessfully captured all 3 of there forts without suffering any casualties. When the British General Henry Hamilton heard about this he brought an army of 500 soldiers and Indians to recapture Vincennes. Hamilton crushed Helm's army during the First Battle of Vincennes in December, and he decided that he will recapture the other forts in Spring. When Clark found out that his little force in Vincennes was defeated, he led a daring march through the winter to recapture Vincennes from Hamilton. Clark arrived in Vincennes on February, 23, 1779 with a force of more than 80 militia. He knew this was no match for Hamilton's army of 90 soldiers so he created a plan to trick Hamilton into thinking that he had a much larger force.

Siege

Clark's plan was to make Hamilton think that he really had 1,000 men, so he split his army into 10 group, and spread them around the hill, where the fort was located. Three groups were commanded by Bowman and the rest were commanded by Clark. Clark make each group carry 1 american flag to symbolize that it was a regiment (witch is 100 men). Hamilton's Indian allies really thought that Clark's army had 1,000 men, so they deserted Hamilton leaving him with only 90 soldiers in the fort. When Hamilton knew he was being attacked, he ordered his soldiers to fire at Clark's army. Clark's men took cover around the town, as the battle went on Clark decided to build a trench around the fort, to defend his army. A bid advantage Hamilton had was that he was defending and that his army had better equitment such as cannons and better long range guns. After hours of fighting, there was no clear victor, and Hamilton still thought that Clark's army was big. Clark knew that Hamilton had to surrender, but he didn't know when. He finally sent up a messenger to discuss terms with Hamilton but he declined and fighting when on for another 5 hours, until Hamilton knew it was over and sent Helm to discuss terms. Clark said that he wanted unconditional surrender from Hamilton, because he knew Hamilton had reinforcements coming from Detriot, in 2 days. As fighting went on for the rest of the morning, an explosion occured from gun powder hidden in the fort, killing the American officer Joseph Bowman and half of his group. This was the first american officer to have been killed in the Illinois Campaign. Later Hamilton and Clark decided to meet in the town church for terms. Hamilton finally surrendered that day, after 1 day of fighting. Historians don't know the exact number of casualties from Clark's side but it's estimated that at least 20-24 of his men were killed or missing in the battle, and 6 were wounded. Hamilton lost 11 of his men while defending the fort, and 4 of his Indian allies were killed, and 3 of his french allies were also captured. The Patriots took this as a major victory, that they had control of the entire Illinois county and how easily they took it. Compared to all the other battles fought during the campaign, Vincennes was the only one with casualties, around 35 people were killed including 1 American officer, and 11 soldiers were wounded. Clark was also able to free General Helm who was captured by Hamilton during the First Battle of Vincennes, witch resulted in Hamilton retaking the fort.

Executions

While the talks were going on a number of British-friendly native Indians had returned and been captured along with two French men. The Indians were taken to Clark who had a number of them executed by tomahawks[1] in front of the forts gate. This detered many of the native Indians from continuing to fight for the British. Soon Hamilton arrived out of the fort to parle with Clark and accepted to surrender, then turning back and returned to his fort. In the morning, the British did not raise their flag and marched out of the fort and surrendered their arms to Clark and the American flag was hoisted over Vincennes. As Clark marched with his men into the fort, some reports claim that Hamilton asked "where is your army", to which Clark replied along the lines of it being what he saw and Hamilton cried upon learning how he was tricked[2] .

Aftermath

After the siege ended General Hamilton was captured and sent to Virginia to be tried for war crimes, and the rest of his army was sent to Virginia as well. Clark renamed the fort Patrick Henry, and the Patriots took control of it for the rest of the war. This battle was considered to be the most important in the Western Frontier during the Revolutionary War, because it stopped the British influence on the Native American tribes and it stopped the British advance towards Virginia. After this battle Clark tried to gather an army to attack the British fort in Detroit, but he never got enough support. Today a national park is in place, of where the fort stood and a giant dome was built to commemorate Clark and officer Joseph Bowman, who was killed during the siege.


References

  1. The Battle at Vincennes. www.hobart.k12.in.us. Retrieved on 16 December 2012.
  2. Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Battle of Vincennes, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): JamesBWatson Search for "Battle of Vincennes" on Google
View Wikipedia's deletion log of "Battle of Vincennes"
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