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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 25 February 2013
On this day in 1779, Lt. Colonel George Rogers Clark accepted the unconditional surrender of Fort Sackville at Vincennes, Indiana by British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton. Clark believed that Governor Hamilton was rewarding the Indians for raiding American settlements. He went to Governor Patrick Henry and the Virginia Council, who agreed to publicly provide money and volunteers to protect American settlements along the Mississippi River. On the 23rd, Clark sent message to Vincennes, in part: “I take this method to request such of you as are true citizens and willing to enjoy the liberty I bring you, to remain still in your houses; and that those, if any there be, that are friends to the king of England, will instantly repair to the fort and join his troops and fight like men…” In his memoir, Clark writes, “…we moved on slowly in full view of the town; but…marched and countermarched in such a manner that we appeared numerous.” On the 24th, Clark received a proposition from Hamilton to truce for three days so they could meet each other and discuss the situation. Clark did not grant a truce but did meet with Hamilton in a nearby church. Clark rejected Hamilton’s requests and demanded a surrender. On the morning of the 25th, Hamilton and his garrison surrendered and Clark hoisted the American flag over Fort Sackville. 1
One notable birthday on this day in history in 1746, that of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Pinckney was born in South Carolina and educated in England. After graduating from Oxford, he returned to South Carolina to practice law. He was elected to the provincial assembly and served as attorney general for several towns. Pinckney was a member of the militia and pursued fulltime military action, making his way up the ranks to Colonel and was an aid-de-camp to Washington in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown before returning South to South Carolina and Georgia. Upon the fall of Charleston, Pinckney was taken prisoner for two years. He returned to practicing law and serving in the state legislature. Pinckney was influential at the Federal Convention of 1787 where he signed the Constitution and he was a strong advocate of ratification in the South Carolina assembly. He was given several occasions to serve in high positions under Washington, those of Supreme Court judge, Secretary of War and Secretary of State, but he declined them all. He instead was named minister plenipotentiary to France by Washington but did not prevail in his endeavors with diplomacy. Upon returning to the United States, Pinckney was named major-general by Washington. In 1800, Pinckney was a Federalist candidate for Vice President, and then a Presidential nominee in 1804 and 1808, although he was defeated all three times. Pinckney continued to practice law and serve in various societies, including first president of the Charleston Bible Society, chief executive of the Charleston Library Society and member of the Society of the Cincinnati. 2
1 “The Fall of Fort Sackville,” The Indiana Historian, www.in.gov/history/files/fallfortsackville.pdf
2 “Charles Cotesworth Pinckney,” colonialhall.com/pinckneycc/pinckneycc.php; “Charles Pinckney, South Carolina,” America’s Founding Fathers, archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_founding_fathers_south_carolina.html