Col. Clark knew his 170 men could not overpower the fort in spring when British Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton’s American Indian allies returned to Vincennes from their winter homes.
With the planned mid-winter attack, the men arrived on February 23 and were welcomed by the locals. In July 1778, approximately 180 citizens of Vincennes had already signed an Oath of Allegiance to the state of Virginia.
Using military tactics to intimidate Hamilton into believing he was facing a much larger force, a two-day battle resulted in no immediate losses on either side, ending with Hamilton’s surrender.
The battle would go on to be Clark’s greatest military achievement, commemorated by a National Park Service Roman-style memorial in Vincennes near the original site of the fort, built in the 1930s. He was never fully compensated by the government for his efforts and service, and he spent his final years with this sister Lucy in Locust Grove, Kentucky.