Defender of St Louis
"...a little-known part of the history of the American Revolution..."
"Mangez plomb, cochons!"
Francois Valle first made his mark in the region as founder of French Colonial
Valles Mines after arriving from Quebec in 1748. But 32 years later he made history a
second time by helping his neighbor to the North, a vulnerable Spanish settlement
named Fort San Carlos, a Spanish settlement whose survival made it possible for Auguste Chouteau and
Pierre Laclede to claim it for the King of France, a place today we call...Saint Louis.
"In his early 70's in 1780 and commandante of Ste. Genevieve, he sent his two sons and
all the Ste. Genevieve militia he could spare to the Spanish settlement at St. Louis in May 1780 to defend
against the coming British-Indians attack.
" [With the attack on its way] St. Louis had still not been fortified.
"In two weeks the garrison of 350 defenders withstood 1000 attackers. May 26th, outnumbered
3 to 1, the garrison still prevailed after a desperate struggle...
It does not seem excessive to claim that the men from Ste. Genevieve added the weight that tipped the
scale of battle in favor of the defenders...*
...by royal decree on April 1, 1782 King Carlos III of Spain conferred upon Francois I the rank of
lieutenant in the regular Spanish army. Francois Valle, French Canadian habitant thus became a Spanish don...
"...At the same time that the Franco-Spanish garrison repelled the Anglo-Indian attack on St Louis,
Colonel John Montgomery and General George Rogers Clark fended off a secondary British thrust at
Cahokia across the Mississippi. These British setbacks in the western theater of action are a
little-known part of the history of the American Revolution. Nonetheless, they prevented Great
Britain from seizing control of the lucrative fur trade of the lower Mississippi River,....
A Note from John Valle Harrison: The Battle of Fort San Carlos has been called the westernmost battle of the Revolutionary War. * Valle
gave the defenders a major tactical advantage in two ways, namely, by supplying genuine lead ingots for musket balls and cannon balls. Riflemen
in those days knew the best way to armor themselves, if possible, was to pour their own
projectiles [see Mel Gibson in "The Patriot" for an accurate depiction] - getting hit with a
pebble or stone did not compare to the damage and knockdown power of a 52 caliber rifle
ball at 100 feet in close combat. Secondly, he also supplied
his own Ste. Genevieve militia, trained and equipped. He had also supplied lead to
the Revolutionary War effort as a Frenchman. The French were a great help to the
colonists, often at their own expense. [see
"...France fought alongside the United States, against Britain, from 1778..."
When did the Revolutionary War end? Some possible answers: From http://www.historyplace.com
"August 27, 1782 - The last fighting of the Revolutionary War between Americans and British occurs with a skirmish in South Carolina along
the Combahee River. November 10, 1782 - The final battle of the Revolutionary War occurs as Americans
retaliate against Loyalist and Indian forces by attacking a Shawnee Indian village in the Ohio territory." and from
http://www.state.nj.us/dca/njht/resources/w3rreport.html "Yorktown was the last major engagement of the war however
there are documented cases of skirmishes occurring up til late 1783. One of the last occured in New Jersey
near Tuckerton on April 3, 1783.".