George Rogers Clark: His Life and Public Services

By Temple Bodley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVII
WABASH EXPEDITION AND MUTINY

IN view of the discord at the Clarksville rendezvous, General Clark evidently found it necessary to conciliate the officers and men who insisted on going to Vincennes. He therefore sent a detachment to that place, in boats carrying meat and flour down the Ohio and up the Wabash, and himself made a crosscountry march with the main body. Seven days were consumed before they reached Vincennes, although willing soldiers could have covered the longer distance to the enemy and been at grips with them in less than half that time. The Lincoln troops, whom Logan had left in command of one Colonel Barrett and who were generally drafted men, were unruly, and throughout the hot and dusty march were constantly grumbling. Many of the cattle were lost on the way -- a pretty sure sign of sulking neglect of duty.1 Captain Gaines, commanding the volunteer troop of horse from Fayette, said: 'During the march, at a place called French Lick, there was a meeting of the whole of Col. James Barret's command, respecting a horse which had been taken for the adjutant-general to ride. The Whole of them fired off their guns in defiance of the orders of the Genl, by which the horse had been taken. The Colonel, however, was arrested, tried, and Repremanded, which delayed us for a few hours; we then marched on.'2 Such insubordination, so early in the march, and the arrest and reprimand of the commander of more than half the troops, boded ill for the success of the campaign.

As the army approached Vincennes, 'all the leading French inhabitants came out and greeted him.'3 To quarter twelve hundred men upon the impoverished town was out of the question; for it would not only have been a grievous burden to the people, but made discipline in the army almost impossible. The troops were therefore stationed across the Wabash, notwithstanding which they were soon charged by the French inhabitants with plundering them.

____________________
1
Statement of Captain Craig of the Lincoln militia. Draper MSS. 9 J 134.
2
Id., 9 J 238.
3
Id., p. 237. So also did the Americans.

-287-

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