George Rogers Clark: His Life and Public Services

By Temple Bodley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
CLARK RESIGNS COMMAND: THE REVOLUTION ENDS

LITTLE suspecting that he was himself being blamed for the Blue Licks disaster by Logan and others, General Clark on October 18th wrote Harrison:

'The works at the Falls was forwarded by every means in our power, until they were supposed sufficiently strong to withstand an attack from the Enemy, but not yet compleat. Those preparations, . . .and the measures taken to let the Enemy know that we were fully acquainted with their design, (which in fact we were), I believe has saved the western country. By their losing all hopes of reducing the Falls, they divided their force, sent some to Wheeling,1 and the main body to make a diversion on Fayette County; and had it not been for that imprudent affair at the Blue Licks, the country would have sustained little damage.

'I learn that Col. Logan has sent you a full account of the whole transaction. The conduct of those unfortunate Gents was extremely reprehensible. The enemy continues to sculk in small parties in different parts of the country, but do little damage at present. The movements of the enemy last spring and summer put it entirely out of our power to establish the posts at the mouth of the Kentucky, Licking, &c; they may be begun this fall.'2

General Clark might have added that the opposition to his calls for men had put the fort building out of his power; but he was ever reluctant to blame others and most guarded when he did. His remarks about the 'reprehensible' conduct of those responsible for the defeat are perhaps the severest comment he appears ever to have made on the conduct of other officers.

Taught by the Blue Licks defeat, the people of Fayette and Lincoln at last awoke to the fatal consequences of discord, and instead of refusing to join General Clark in an expedition against the Indians, now urged him to lead them on one; and this he did. Although offensive expeditions had been prohibited, he knew this one was necessary and he did not hesitate to encourage it. He had not yet received Governor Harrison's letter blaming him for the Blue Licks affair and, sup-

____________________
1
The Shawnees did go against the Wheeling settlements, but were not sent there by their British leaders, as Clark supposed.
2
Virginia Calendar State Papers, III, 345

-219-

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