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Appended to it are the remarks of the author on the conduct of the war. He complains that plans are changed so often that none of them take effect; that terms of enlistment are so short that the commissary can hardly serve out provisions to the men before their time is expired; that neither bread, meat, shoes, nor blankets are kept on hand for an emergency, so that the enemy escape while the soldiers are getting ready to pursue them; that the pay of a drafted man is so small that twice as much would not hire a laborer to take care of his farm in his absence; and that untried and unfit persons are commissioned as officers: in all of which strictures there is no doubt much truth.
Mr. Doolittle's rueful narrative treats mainly of miscellaneous murders and scalpings, interesting only to the sufferers and their friends; but he also chronicles briefly a formidable inroad that still holds a place in New England history.
It may be remembered that Shirley had devised a plan for capturing Fort Frédéric, or Crown Point,
Bay; from the Beginning of the French War, proclaimed by the King of France, March 15th, 1743–4; and by the King of Great Britain, March 29th, 1744, to August 2nd, 1748. Drawn up by the Rev. Mr. Doolittle, of Northfield, in the County of Hampshire; and found among his Manuscripts after his Death. And at the Desire of some is now Published, with some small Additions to render it more perfect. Boston; Printed and sold by S. Kneeland, in Queen Street. MDCCL.
The facts above given concerning Mr. Doolittle are drawn from the excellent History of Northfield by Temple and Sheldon, and the introduction to the Particular History of the Five Years' French and Indian War, by S. G. Drake.
built by the French at the narrows of Lake Champlain, and commanding ready access for war-parties to New York and New England.
The approach of D'Anville's fleet had defeated the plan; but rumors of it had reached Canada, and excited great alarm. Large bodies of men were ordered to Lake Champlain to protect the threatened fort. The two brothers De Muy were already on the lake with a numerous party of Canadians and Indians, both Christian and heathen, and Rigaud de Vaudreuil. town-major of Three Rivers, was ordered to follow with a still larger force, repel any English attack, or, if none should be made, take the offensive and strike a blow at the English frontier. On the third of August, Rigaud · left Montreal with a fleet of canoes carrying what he calls his army, and on the twelfth he encamped on the east side of the lake, at the mouth of Otter Creek. There was rain, thunder, and a violent wind all night; but the storm ceased at daybreak, and, embarking again, they soon saw the octagonal stone tower of Fort Frédéric.
The party set up their tents and wigwams near the fort, and on the morning of the sixteenth the elder De Muy arrived with a reinforcement of sixty Frenchmen and a band of Indians. They had just returned from an incursion towards Albany, and reported that all was quiet in those parts, and that Fort Frédéric was in no danger. Now, to their great satisfaction, Rigaud and his band saw themselves free to take the offensive. The question was, where to strike. The Indians held council after council, made speech after speech, and agreed on nothing. Rigaud gave them a wampum-belt, and told them that he meant to attack Corlaer, — that is, Schenectady; at which they seemed well pleased, and sang war-songs all night. In the morning they changed their minds, and begged him to call the whole army to a council for debating the question. It appeared that some of them, especially the Iroquois converts of Caughnawaga, disapproved of attacking Schenectady, because some of their Mohawk relatives were always making visits there, and might be inadvertently killed by the wild western Indians of Rigaud's party. Now all was doubt again, for as Indians are unstable as water, it was no easy task to hold them to any plan of action.
1 French writers always call him Rigaud, to distinguish him from his brother, Pierre Rigaud de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, afterwards governor of Canada, who is usually mentioned as Vaudreuil.
The Abenakis proposed a solution of the difficulty. They knew the New England border well, for many of them had lived upon it before the war, on terms of friendly intercourse with the settlers. They now drew upon the floor of the council-room a rough map of the country, on which was seen a certain river, and on its upper waters a fort which they recommended as a proper object of attack. The river was that eastern tributary of the Hudson which the French called the Kaskékouké, the Dutch the Schaticook, and the English the Hoosac. The fort was Fort Massachusetts. the most westerly of the
three posts lately built to guard the frontier. “My father,” said the Abenaki spokesman to Rigaud, “it will be easy to take this fort, and make great havoc on the lands of the English. Deign to listen to your children and follow our advice.” One Cadenaret, an Abenaki chief, had been killed near Fort Massachusetts in the last spring, and his tribesmen were keen to revenge him. Seeing his Indians pleased with the proposal to march for the Hoosac, Rigaud gladly accepted it; on which whoops, yelps, and war-songs filled the air. Hardly, however, was the party on its way when the Indians changed their minds again, and wanted to attack Saratoga; but Rigaud told them that they had made their choice and must abide by it, to which they assented, and gave him no farther trouble. On the twentieth of August they all embarked and paddled southward, passed the lonely promontory where Fort Ticonderoga was afterwards built, and held their course till the lake dwindled to a mere canal creeping through the weedy marsh then called the Drowned Lands. Here, nine summers later, passed the flotilla of Baron Dieskau, bound to defeat and ruin by the shores of Lake George. Rigaud stopped at a place known as East Bay, at the mouth of a stream that joins Wood Creek, just north of the present town of Whitehall. Here he left the younger
1 Journal de la Campagne de Rigaud de Vaudreuil en 1746 . . . presente à Monseigneur le Comte de Maurepas, Ministre et Secretaire d’Etat (written by Rigaud).
De Muy, with thirty men, to guard the canoes. The rest of the party, guided by a brother of the slain Cadenaret, filed southward on foot along the base of Skene Mountain, that overlooks Whitehall. They counted about seven hundred men, of whom five hundred were French, and a little above two hundred were Indians. Some other French reports put the whole number at eleven hundred, or even twelve hundred, 2 while several English accounts make it eight hundred or nine hundred. The Frenchmen of the party included both regulars and Canadians, with six regular officers and ten cadets, eighteen militia officers, two chaplains, — one for the whites and one for the Indians, — and a surgeon.8
After a march of four days, they encamped on the twenty-sixth by a stream which ran into the Hudson, and was no doubt the Batten Kill, known to the French as la rivière de Saratogue. Being nearly opposite Saratoga, where there was then a garrison, they changed their course, on the twenty-seventh, from south to southeast, the better to avoid scoutingparties, which might discover their trail and defeat their plan of surprise. Early on the next day they reached the Hoosac, far above its mouth; and now their march was easier, “ for," says Rigaud, "we got out of the woods and followed a large road that led
1 “Le 19, ayant fait passer l'armée en Revue qui se trouva de 700 hommes, scavoir 500 françois environ et 200 quelques sauvages." - Journal de Rigaud.
* See N. Y. Col. Docs., x. 103, 132. • Ibid., x. 35.