In the summer of 1778, during the Revolutionary War, Colonel George Rogers Clark with less than 200 soldiers made an expedition from Kentucky to Kaskaskia, in present-day Illinois. They took the British post there completely by surprise, conquering it without casualties. In February 1779 Col. Clark, with only about 100 men, followed up by marching overland through muddy swamps flooded with freezing water to Vincennes (present-day Indiana), and conquered another, even more important, British fort.
These nearly miraculous military feats made George Rogers Clark a legend in his own life-time. America military control of these posts at the end of the Revolution gave our negotiators in Paris grounds for claiming the ‘Old Northwest’ as American territory, rather than leaving it part of British Canada. Today that region covers five states and part of a sixth (Minnesota), and is the home of about 48 million Americans.
Below are some of the books and articles on History of the Great Lakes States that cover these two military expeditions, and fill in the historical background. Works are listed on the pages of this site in alphabetical order by author. You may wish to browse through all six of the War & Military pages for other works on the Revolutionary War in the ‘Old Northwest’.
Note that you can find all the subject pages (over 100) from the center column of the Home page. Blog posts like this one on special topics can be found by clicking ‘Blog‘ in the menu at the top of any page.
Click on the page name to open it in a new tab, and you’ll find the recommended works there. They are listed alphabetically, by author.
For tips on reading online and downloading, see the note at the bottom of this page.
English, William Hayden, Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778-1783 and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark (etc) (1896)
Randall, Emilius O., “Clark’s Conquest of the Northwest” (1903)
Clark, George Rogers, edited by Quaife, Milo M., The Conquest of the Illinois (1920)
Clark, George Rogers (Col.), Sketch of his Campaign in the Illinois in 1778-9 (etc.) (1869)
James, James A., The Life of George Rogers Clark (1929)
Tips for Reading Online and Downloading
More than half the books on our website at History of the Great Lakes States are hosted by Internet Archive or Open Library. They are sister organizations and use the same online viewer application. In most cases this viewer will give you nearly perfect text if you;
1. switch from the double-page to the single-page view by using the icons in the bottom right corner, and;
2. Keep zooming in until the text snaps into a clear focus.
Using the single-page view allows you to scroll pages down with your mouse wheel.
You can download books from these two sites by clicking on the book name at the top-left corner of the page (in the viewer) to get to the download menu.