George Rogers Clark: His Life and Public Services

By Temple Bodley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
INSUBORDINATION AND THE BLUE LICKS DISASTER

REVERTING to military affairs in Kentucky in 1782, General Clark wrote Governor Harrison:

'We have received very alarming accounts from the enemy at Detroit. They last fall collected chiefs from the different hostile tribes of the Indians and instructed them not to disturb the frontiers, and particularly Kentucky, until towards spring, -- until then to form small parties and take prisoners to hear what was going on, by which conduct the whole country would be off their guard: that the whole would embody in the spring, reduce this post, and lay the whole country waste, and make one stroke do for all. They are actually making every preparation at Detroit, and the conduct of the Indians has been agreeable to their directions. This information, through various channels from the Illinois, cannot be doubted.'1

A month later Colonel Floyd wrote imploring aid from the Governor and Assembly, and said the enemy's design to attack the Falls (Fort Nelson) was

'so well authenticated that it cannot be doubted. . . . Our whole strength at this time [in Jefferson County] is three hundred and seventy men, who, according to the best calculations I can make, have about eight hundred and fifty helpless women and children to take care of, and [are] very generally deprived of every possible means of removing back to the settlement. . . .

'One fourth of the militia is called for by Genl Clark, for the purpose of fortifying the fort against a siege; but from the immediate danger in which everyone conceives his own family, the authority of militia officers, at such a distance from government, grows every day weaker and weaker; and the new-invented ideas of a separate state, -- calculated on purpose for disaffection and an evasion of duty, -- are so many causes to retard the necessary business and seem to threaten us on all sides with anarchy, confusion, and I may add, Destruction.

'But even to suppose that the works can be completed before the arrival of the enemy, it is then impossible that Gen Clark, with the inconsiderable number of troops he now has, can defend it; and a dependence on Militia, scattered over three extensive counties, under the circumstances before mentioned, is depending upon a very great uncertainty.'2

____________________
1
Virginia Calendar State Papers, III, 87.
2
Id., III, 121.

-199-

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