The Travel Professor
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Still sidetracked on the way to Illinois

Researching Vincennes as a destination I was quickly reminded of its early American frontier history that included George Rogers Clark, William Henry Harrison, other early pioneers and Native Americans.

A very little known story of the American Revolution is George Rogers Clark and his force of 170 Americans and Frenchmen mission to capture British forces in the West. His “army” made an epic 18-day trek through the freezing flood waters of the then Illinois country. At times in icy water up to their shoulders, it was Clark's leadership that brought them through this incredible journey and incredible victory at Fort Sackville near present day Vincennes. The British flag would not be raised above the fort on Feb. 25, 1779 as at 10 am the garrison surrendered to Clark. The National Park Service ( interprets and honors Clark and his men so it’s a worthy detour. I’m dating myself but this tale may have been recreated in a Spencer Tracy movie.