George Rogers Clark March
National Park Service
On February 22, 1779, George Rogers Clark's army continued their trek to Vincennes.The men had left Upper Mammelle and, as Captain Joseph Bowman writes, "marched on in the waters…We came one league farther to some sugar camps, where we staid the night."Bowman remained hopeful, but realized the gravity of the situation."Heard the evening and morning guns from the fort. No provisions yet.Lord help us!"Even though the men reached Vincennes the following day, there was still another full day of marching through the freezing floodwaters with no tents or supplies.
During past years it has been tradition to do the march from Sugar Camp to town (about 5 miles).During the 2014 march an opportunity to do the traditional march still exists.However, those wanting to commemorate the date by tracing the full 10.5 miles also will have that chance.If interested in the 10.5 mile version, participants should meet at the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park (GRCNHP) visitor center by 8:30 a.m. on February 22.The bus will leave promptly at 8:45. To do the traditional five mile walk, participants are to meet at the visitor center by 10:30 and the buses will leave by 10:45.
Park Ranger Jason Collinswill point out important landmarks, and individuals portraying those who were on the march will share their experiences. Period clothing is encouraged, but not required.
To assist park staff with planning, reservations are required by Saturday February 15.Please contact the visitor center at 812-882-1776 ext. 210 and let them know if you will be attending the 10.5 mile walk, the 5 mile walk, and/or the meal to follow. In addition, since there is no longer a dinner associated with the Clark March, an alternative has developed.After the march, a number of participants – on their own – gathered at the local Ponderosa to talk and visit.The restaurant's backroom will be reserved.
Following the walk, Dr. Kenneth C. Carstens will give a program at the GRCNHP Visitor Center on Clark's Fort Jefferson, a fort built after Clark's capture of Fort Sackville. Dr. Carstens has done extensive research on the subject and his talk will begin at 5:00 p.m.
The evening's events will conclude with a special program at 6:30 p.m. featuring re-enactors portraying Clark's soldiers, marching into the park to the Clark Memorial. There will be a special program to follow at the St. Francis Xavier (Old Cathedral) Cemetery.
Visitors may attend any or all of these programs. There is no charge for the march or the programs. For further information, contact the GRCNHP Visitor Center at 812-882-1776 x. 210.