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Encyclopedia > Fort Vincennes

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the French, British and American nations built and occupied a number of forts at Vincennes, Indiana. These outposts commanded a strategic position on the Wabash River. The city of Vincennes is the county seat of Knox County, Indiana. ... The Wabash River is a 475 mi (765 km) long river in the eastern United States that flows southwest from northwest Ohio near St. ...


Fort Vincennes

Fran├žois-Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes, acting under the authority of the French colony of Louisiana, contructed the fort in 1731-1732. Named Fort Vincennes, the outpost was designed to secure the lower Wabash Valley for France, mostly by strengthening ties with the Miami, Wea and Piankashaw nations.[1] With the death of the younger Vincennes in 1736, Louis Groston de Bellerive de St. Ange assumed command of the post. He rebuilt the fort, turned the post into a major trading center and attempted to recruit French traders and to lure native peoples to settle there. By 1750, the Piankashaw resettled their village near the post.[2] To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Wabash Valley is a region with parts in both Illinois and Indiana. ... The Miami are a Native American tribe originally found in Indiana and Ohio. ... The Wea were a Native American tribe of the Ohio Country, sometimes considered a subdivision of the Miami tribe. ... The Piankeshaw (or Piankashaw) Indians were Native Americans, and members of the Miami Indians who lived apart from the Miami nation. ...

On May 18, 1764, St. Ange left the post under British orders to assume command of Fort Chartres He transferred command to Drouet de Richerville, a local citizen.[3]

Forts Sackville and Patrick Henry

Following the French and Indian War, the British and colonial governments could not afford the cost of maintaining frontier posts. They did not station troops in the Wabash Valley at all for a decade following the conflict. Thus Fort Vincennes fell into disrepair.[4] This neglect came to an end on June 2, 1774, the British Parlement passed the Quebec Act, assimilating the settlements along the Wahash and Missouri Rivers into the Province of Quebec. Lieutenant Governor Edward Abbott was sent to Vincennes without troops. Making the best of it, he rebuilt the Fort, naming it Fort Sackville after Lord George Sackville. Abbott soon resigned, citing lack of support from the crown.[5] Combatants France and its Indian allies Britain and its Indian allies Strength 3,900 regulars 7,900 militia 2,200 natives (1759) 50,000 regulars and militia (1759) The French and Indian War was the nine-year North American chapter of the Seven Years War. ... The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative institution in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories (it alone has parliamentary sovereignty). ... The Quebec Act of 1774 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain (citation 14 Geo. ... George Sackville, 1st Viscount Sackville (January 26, 1716 - August 26, 1785) was a British soldier and politician who was Secretary of State for America in Lord Norths cabinet during the American Revolution. ...

In July 1778, George Rogers Clark took control of the unoccupied Fort Sackville with the assistance of the French settlers and native peoples. The British under Lieutenant-Governor Henry Hamilton retook the fort.[6] Lieutenant Colonel Clark marched 130 men through 180 miles of wilderness to Vincennes in February of 1779. As he entered town, the French settlers and native peoples joined his force to capture the fort again. Clark had Hamilton's native allies tomahawked to death as an example and sent Hamilton and his men to the Williamburg jail as prisoners. He renamed the post Fort Patrick Henry.[7] Clark as painted by Matthew Harris Jouett in 1825 George Rogers Clark (November 19, 1752 – February 13, 1818) was the preeminent American military leader on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. ... Henry Hamilton (c. ... A Tomahawk is a type of axe native to North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight haft. ...

Clark's aim in his wilderness campaigns was to remove the British as a threat to Virginia's settlements south of the Ohio River. After accomplishing that objective, he returned to Kentucky in an unsuccessful attempt to raise troops for an assault on Fort Detroit. In Spring of 1780, the Virginia troops left the fort in the hands of local militia.[8] Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  Ranked 35th  - Total 42,793 sq mi (110,862 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 430 miles (690 km)  - % water 7. ... The Ohio River is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River. ... Official language(s) English (de facto) Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... Building and origins of Fort Detroit Fort Detroit began as a settlement on the Detroit River called Fort Ponchartrain. ...

After the Revolution, several dozen Kentucky families settled in Vincennes. Friction between these Americans, the French local government and the native peoples moved Virginia Governor Patrick Henry to dispatch George Rogers Clark to send troops to the region. Clark arrived at Vincennes in 1786. His attempts to negotiate with neighboring native peoples were unsuccessful. Instead, he created an incident by ceasing the goods of Spanish traders, enraging the local population and risking war with Spain. Under orders from the new United States government, Clark and his men left Vincennes in the Spring of 1787.[9]

Forts Knox

The new United States government built a new fort, just up the street from the old one, and named it Ft. Knox (usually referred to by local historians as Fort Knox I), after the US Secretary of War. During the relative peace with both the British and the Indians from 1787-1803, this was basically the western-most American military outpost.

In 1803 it was decided to move the fort north of Vincennes to a landing about three miles up the Wabash river. This fort,(also called Ft. Knox, and referred to locally as Ft Knox II) was built under the guidance of the new governor of the new Indiana Territory (1800), William Henry Harrison. The sleepy little fort was famous mostly for duels (the Captain of the fort at one point shot his second-in-command)and desertion. But by 1811 disagreements between Gov. Harrison and Indian leader Tecumseh were reaching a head. A new Captain, Zachery Taylor, was put in charge of the fort.

Late in 1811 the Ft. Knox II had its most important period, when it was used as the muster point for Gov. Harrison as he gathered his troops, both regular US army and militia, prior to the march to Prophetstown and the Battle of Tippecanoe. After the battle the troops returned to Ft. Knox at Vincennes and several died from their wounds there. The Ft. Knox II site is now a State Historic Site, with the outline of the fort marked with short posts,interpretive signage, and a park setting.

By 1813 it was determined that the site outside town was too far away to protect the town. Ft Knox II was disasembled, floated down the Wabash, and reasembled just a few yards from where Ft. Knox I had been. This fort was soon abandoned as the frontier rapidly moved west.


  1. ^ Andrew R. L. Cayton, Frontier Indiana (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996), 18.
  2. ^ Cayton, 46.
  3. ^ Cayton, 47-48.
  4. ^ Cayton, 40, 62.
  5. ^ Cayton, 65-67.
  6. ^ Cayton, 70.
  7. ^ Cayton, 70-73, 85.
  8. ^ Cayton, 85.
  9. ^ Cayton, 91-97.



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