PICTORIAL FIELD BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING
Ride from Fort Edward to Glenn’s Falls. – Appearance of the Country. – Interesting Character of the Region. – Scenery about the Falls. – "Indian Cave" and "Big Snake." – Departure for Lake George. – Williams’s Rock. – Approach of Dieskau. – Hendrick, the Mohawk Sachem. – Speech of Hendrick. – Fight with the French, and Death of Colonel Williams and Hendrick. – Bloody Pond. – Arrival at Caldwell. – Indian and French Names of Lake George. – Fort William Henry. – Attack upon Johnson’s Camp, 1755. – Battle of Lake George, and Death of Dieskau. – Weakness of British Commanders. – The Six Nations. – Hendrick’s Rebuke. – Lord Louden. – Montcalm’s first Attack on Fort William Henry. – Perfidy and Cowardice of Webb. – Vigilance of Stark. – Montcalm’s second Attack on Fort William Henry. – Surrender of the Garrison. – Perfidy of the French and Indians. – Destruction of Fort William Henry. – Brilliant Expedition under Abercrombie. – Visit to the Ruins of Fort George. – Storm upon Lake George. – Arrivals from Ticonderoga. – Departure from Caldwell. – Diamond Island. – Successful Expedition under Colonel Brown. – Long Point, Dome Island, and the Narrows. – Sabbath Day Point. – Skirmish in 1756. – Halt of Abercrombie’s Army. – Splendid Appearance of the Armament. – Skirmish at Sabbath Day Point, 1756. – Rogers’s Slide. – Narrow Escape of Major Rogers. – Prisoners’ Island. – Debarkation of British Troops. – A pleasant travelling Companion. – Trip from Lake George to Ticonderoga. – Topography of Ticonderoga. – The Fortress. – Its Investment by Abercrombie. – Bravery of Lord Howe. – Fight with the French, and Death of Howe. – Attack on Ticonderoga, and Defeat of the English. – Other Expeditions. – Siege and Capture of Louisburg. – Preparations for the Conquest of Canada. – Capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
"Though of the past from no carved shrines,
We dined at three, and immediately left the pleasant little village of Fort Edward in a barouche for Glenn’s Falls, by the way of Sandy Hill, a distance of six miles. The latter village is beautifully situated upon the high left bank of the Hudson, where the river makes a sudden sweep from an easterly to a southerly course. Here is the termination of the Hudson Valley, and above it the river courses its way in a narrow channel, among rugged rocks and high, wooded bluffs, through as wild and romantic a region as the most enthusiastic traveler could desire.
It was early in the afternoon when we reached the Mansion House at Glenn’s Falls, near the cataract. All was bustle and confusion, for here is the brief tarrying-place of fashionable tourists on their way from Saratoga Springs to Lake George. There was a constant arrival and departure of visitors. Few remained longer than to dine or sup, view the falls at a glance, and then hasten away to the grand summer lounge at Caldwell, to hunt, fish, eat, drink, dance, and sleep to their heart’s content. We were thoroughly wearied by the day’s ramble and ride, but time was too precious to allow a moment of pleasant weather to pass by unimproved. Comforted by the anticipation of a Sabbath rest the next day, we brushed the dust from our clothes, made a hasty toilet, and started out to view the falls, and search for the tarrying-place of Mrs. F---n, of Fort Edward.
Here the whole aspect of things is changed. Hitherto our journey had been among the quiet and beautiful; now every thing in nature was turbulent and grand. The placid river was here a foaming cataract, and gentle slopes, yellow with the ripe harvest, were exchanged for high, broken hills, some rocky and bare, others green with the oak and pine or dark with the cedar and spruce. Here nature, history, and romance combine to interest and please, and geology spreads out one of its most wonderful pages for the scrutiny of the student and philosopher. All over those rugged hills Indian warriors and hunters scouted for ages before the pale face made his advent among them; and the slumbering echoes were often awakened in the last century by the crack of musketry and the roar of cannon, mingled with the loud war-hoop of the Huron, the Iroquois, the Algonquin, the Mohegan, the Delaware, the Adirondack, and the Mohawk, when the French and English battled for mastery in the vast forests that skirted the lakes and the St. Lawrence. Here, amid the roar of this very cataract, if romance may be believed, the voice of Uncas, the last of the Mohegans, was heard and heeded; here Hawk Eye kept his vigils; here David breathed his nasal melody; and here Duncan Heyward, with his lovely and precious wards, Alice and Cora Monroe, fell into the hands of the dark and bitter Mingo chief.1
The natural scenery about the falls is very picturesque, but the accompaniments of puny art are exceedingly incongruous, sinking the grand and beautiful into mere burlesque. How expertly the genius of man, quickened by acquisitiveness, fuses the beautiful and useful in the crucible of gain, and, by the subtle alchemy of profit, transmutes the glorious cascade and its fringes of rock and shrub into broad arable acres, or lofty houses, or speeding ships, simply by catching the bright stream in the toils of a mill-wheel. Such meshes are here spread out on every side to ensnare the leaping Hudson, and the rickety buildings, the clatter of machinery, and the harsh grating of saws, slabbing the huge black marble rocks of the shores into city mantels, make horrid dissonance of that harmony which the eye and ear expect and covet and where nature is thus beautiful and musical.
VIEW BELOW THE FALLS.2
A bridge, nearly six hundred feet long, and resting in the center upon a marble island, spans the river at the foot of the falls, and from its center there is a fine view of the cataract. The entire descent of the river is about sixty feet. The undivided stream first pours over a precipice nine hundred feet long, and is then separated into three channels by rocks piled in confusion, and carved, and furrowed, and welled, and polished by the rushing waters. Below, the channels unite, and in one deep stream the waters flow on gently between the quarried cliffs of fine black marble, which rise in some places from thirty to seventy feet in height, and are beautifully stratified. Many fossils are imbedded in the rocks, among which the trilobite is quite plentiful. Here the heads (so exceedingly rare) are frequently found.
By the contribution of a York shilling to an intelligent lad who kept "watch and ward" at a flight of steps below the bridge, we procured his permission to descend to the rocks below, and his services as a guide to the "Big Snake" and the "Indian Cave." The former is a petrifaction on the surface of a flat rock, having the appearance of a huge serpent; the latter extends through the small island from one channel to the other, and is pointed out as the place where Cooper’s sweet young heroines, Cora and Alice, with Major Heyward and the singing-master, were concealed. The melody of a female voice, chanting an air in a minor key, came up from the cavern, and we expected every moment to hear the pitch-pipe of David and the "Isle of Wight." The spell was soon broken by a merry laugh, and three young girls, one with a torn barege, came clambering up from the narrow entrance over which Uncas and Hawk Eye cast the green branches to conceal the fugitives. In time of floods this cave is filled, and all the dividing rocks below the main fall are covered with water, presenting one vast foaming sheet. A long drought had greatly diminished the volume of the stream when we were there, and materially lessened the usual grandeur of the picture.
We passed the Sabbath at the falls. On Monday morning I arose at four, and went down to the bridge to sketch the cascade. The whole heavens were overcast, and a fresh breeze from the southeast was driving portentous scuds before it, and piling them in dark masses along the western horizon. Rain soon began to fall, and I was obliged to retreat under the bridge, and content myself with sketching the more quiet scene of the river and shore below the cataract.
We left Glenn’s Falls in a "Rockaway" for Caldwell, on Lake George, nine miles northward, at nine in the morning, the rain falling copiously. The road passes over a wild, broken, and romantic region. Our driver was a perfect Jehu. The plank road (since finished) was laid a small part of the way, and the speed he accomplished thereon he tried to keep up over the stony ground of the old track, to "prevent jolting!"
On the right side of the road, within four miles of Lake George, is a huge boulder called "Williams’s Rock." It was so named from the fact that near it Colonel Ephraim Williams was killed on the 8th of September, 1755, in an engagement with the French and Indians under Baron Dieskau. Major-general (afterward Sir William) Johnson was at that time at the head of Lake George, with a body of provincial troops, and a large party of Indians under Hendrick, the famous Mohawk sachem. Dieskau, who was at Skenesborough, marched along the course of Wood Creek to attack Fort Edward, but the Canadians and Indians were so afraid of cannon that, when within two miles of the fort, they urged him to change his course, and attack Johnson in his camp on Lake George. To this request he acceded, for he ascertained by his scouts that Johnson was rather carelessly encamped, and was probably unsuspicious of danger. Information of his march was communicated to the English commander at midnight, September 7th[1755.], and early in the morning a council of war was held. It was determined to send out a small party to meet the French, and the opinion of Hendrick was asked. He shrewdly said, "If they are to fight, they are too few; if they are to be killed, they are too many." His objection to the proposition to separate them into three divisions was quite as sensibly and laconically expressed. Taking three sticks and putting them together, he remarked, "Put them together, and you can’t break them. Take them one by one, and you can break them easily." Johnson was guided by the opinion of Hendrick, and a detachment of twelve hundred men in one body, under Colonel Williams, was sent out to meet the approaching enemy.
Before commencing their march, Hendrick mounted a gun-carriage and harangued his warriors in a strain of eloquence which had a powerful effect upon them. He was then about sixty-five years old. His head was covered with long white locks, and every warrior loved him with the deepest veneration.5 President Dwight, referring to this speech, says, "Lieutenant-colonel Pomeroy, who was present and heard this effusion of Indian eloquence, told me that, although he did not understand a word of the language, such were the animation of Hendrick, the fire of his eye, the force of his gestures, the strength of his emphasis, the apparent propriety of the inflections of his voice, and the natural appearance of his whole manner, that himself was more deeply affected with this speech that with any other he had ever heard."
The French, advised by some scouts of the march of the English, approached with their line in the form of a half moon, the road cutting the center. The country was so thickly wooded that all correct observation was precluded, and at Rocky Brook, four miles from Lake George, Colonel Williams and his detachment found themselves directly in the hollow of the half moon. A heavy fire was opened upon them in front and on both flanks at the same moment, and the slaughter was dreadful. Colonel Williams was shot dead near the rock before mentioned, and Hendrick fell, mortally wounded by a musket-ball in the back. This circumstance gave him great uneasiness, for it seemed to imply that he had turned his back upon his enemy. The fatal bullet came from one of the extreme flanks. On the fall of Williams, Lieutenant-colonel Whiting succeeded to the command, and effected a retreat so judiciously that he saved nearly all of the detachment who were not killed or wounded by the first onslaught.6
So careless and apathetic was General Johnson, that he did not commence throwing up breast-works at his camp until after Colonel Williams had marched, and Dieskau was on the road to meet him. The firing was heard at Lake George, and then the alarmed commander began in earnest to raise defenses, by forming a breast-work of trees, and mounting two cannon which he had fortunately received from Fort Edward the day before, when his men thus employed should have been sent out to reenforce the retreating regiment. Three hundred were, indeed, sent out, but were totally inadequate. They met the flying English, and, joining in the retreat, hastened back to the camp, closely pursued by the French.
A short distance from Williams’s Rock is a small, slimy, bowl-shaped pond, about three hundred feet in diameter, and thickly covered with the leaves of the water-lily. It is near the battle-ground where Williams and his men were slain, and the French made it the sepulcher for the slaughtered Englishmen. Tradition avers that for many years its waters bore a bloody hue, and it has ever since been called Bloody Pond. I alighted in the rain, and made my way through tall wet grass and tangled vines, over a newly-cleared field, until I got a favorable view for the sketch here presented, which I hope the reader will highly prize, for it cost a pair of boots, a linen "sack" ruined by the dark droppings from a cotton umbrella, and a box of cough lozenges.
It was almost noon when we reined up at the Lake House at Caldwell. We had anticipated much pleasure from the first sight of Horicon, but a mist covered its waters, and its mountain frame-work was enveloped in a fog; so we reserved our sentiment for use the next fair day, donned dry clothing, and sat quietly down in the parlor to await the sovereign pleasure of the storm.
Lake George is indeed a beautiful sheet of water, and along its whole length of thirty-six miles almost every island, bay, and bluff is clustered with historic associations. On account of the purity of its waters, the Indians gave it the name of Horicon, or Silver Water. They also called it Canideri-oit, or The Tail of the Lake, on account of its connection with Lake Champlain.7 It was visited by Samuel Champlain in 1609, and some suppose that he gave his name to this lake instead of the one which now bears it. It is fair to infer, from his own account, that he penetrated southward as far as Glenn’s Falls; and it is not a little remarkable that in the same year, and possibly at the same season, Hendrick Hudson was exploring below the very stream near the head-waters of which the French navigator was resting. Strange that two adventurers, in the service of different sovereigns ruling three thousand miles away, and approaching from different points of the compass, so nearly met in the vast forests of wild America. The French, who afterward settled at Chimney Point, on Lake Champlain, frequently visited this lake, and gave it the name of Sacrament, its pure waters suggesting the idea. 8
FORT WILLIAM HENRY.9
The little village of Caldwell contains about two hundred inhabitants, and is situated near the site of Fort William Henry, at the head of the lake, a fortress erected by General Johnson toward the close of 1755, after his battle there with the French under Dieskau. That battle occurred on the same day when Colonel Williams and his detachment were routed at Rocky Brook. The French pursued the retreating English vigorously, and about noon they were seen approaching in considerable force and regular order, aiming directly toward the center of the British encampment. When within one hundred rods of the breast-works, in the open valley in front of the elevation on which Fort George (now a picturesque ruin) was afterward built, Dieskau halted and disposed his Indians and Canadians upon the right and left flanks. The regular troops, under the immediate command of the baron, attacked the English center, but, having only small arms, the effect was trifling. The English reserved their fire until the Indians and Canadians were close upon them, when with sure aim they poured upon them a volley of musket-balls which mowed them down like grass before the scythe. At the same moment a bomb-shell was thrown among them by a howitzer, while two field pieces showered upon them a great quantity of grape-shot. The savage allies, and almost as savage colonists, greatly terrified, broke and fled to the swamps in the neighborhood. The regulars maintained their ground for some time, but, abandoned by their companions, and terribly galled by the steady fire from the breast-works, at length gave way, and Dieskau attempted a retreat. Observing this, the English leaped over their breast-works and pursued them. The French were dispersed in all directions, and Dieskau, wounded and helpless, was found leaning upon the stump of a tree. As the provincial soldier10 who discovered him approached, he put his hand in his pocket to draw out his watch as a bribe to allow him to escape. Supposing that he was feeling for a pocket pistol, the soldier gave him a severe wound in the hip with a musket-ball. He was carried into the English camp in a blanket and tenderly treated, and was soon afterward taken to Albany, then to New York, and finally to England, where he died from the effects of his wounds. Johnson was wounded at the commencement of the conflict in the fleshy part of his thigh, in which a musket-ball lodged, and the whole battle was directed for five consecutive hours by General Lyman, the second in command. 11
Johnson’s Indians, burning with a fierce desire to avenge the death of Hendrick, were eager to follow the retreating enemy; and General Lyman proposed a vigorous continuation of efforts by attacking the French posts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on Lake Champlain. But Johnson, either through fear, a love of ease, or some other inexplicable cause, withheld his consent, and the residue of the autumn was spent in erecting Fort William Henry.
In the colonial wars, as well as in the war of our Revolution, the British government was often unfortunate in its choice of commanders. Total inaction, or, at best, great tardiness, frequently marked their administration of military affairs. They could not comprehend the elastic activity of the provincials, and were too proud to listen to their counsels. This tardiness and pride cost them many misfortunes, either by absolute defeat in battle, or the theft of glorious opportunities for victory through procrastination. Their shrewd savage allies saw and lamented this, and before the commissioners of the several colonies, who met at Albany in 1754 to consult upon a plan of colonial alliance, in which the SIX NATIONS12 were invited join, Hendrick administered a pointed rebuke to the governor and military commanders. The sachems were first addressed by James Delancy, then lieutenant-governor of New York; and Hendrick, who was a principal speaker, in the course of a reply remarked, "Brethren, we have not as yet confirmed the peace with them (meaning the French-Indian allies). ’Tis your fault, brethren; we are not strengthened by conquest, for we should have gone and taken Crown Point, but you hindered us. We had concluded to go and take it, but were told it was too late, that the ice would not bear us. Instead of this, you burned down your own fort at Sar-ragh-to-gee [near old Fort Hardy], and ran away from it, which was a shame and a scandal to you. Look about your country, and see; you have no fortifications about you – no, not even to this city. ’Tis but one step from Canada thither, and the French may easily come and turn you out of doors.
"Brethren, you were desirous we should open our minds and our hearts to you: look at the French, they are men – they are fortifying every where; but, we are ashamed to say it, you are like women, bare and open, without any fortifications."13
The head of Lake George was the theater of a terrible massacre in 1757. Lord Loudon, a man of no energy of character, and totally deficient in the requisites for a military leader, was appointed that year governor of Virginia, and commander-in-chief of all the British forces in North America. A habit of procrastination, and his utter indecision, thwarted all his active intentions, if he ever had any, and, after wasting the whole season in getting here and preparing to do something, he was recalled by Pitt, then prime minister, who gave as a reason for appointing Lord Amherst in his place, that the minister never heard from him, and could not tell what he was doing.14
Opposed to him was the skillful and active French commander, the Marquis Montcalm, who succeeded Dieskau. Early in the spring he made an attempt to capture Fort William Henry. He passed up Lake George on St. Patrick’s eve[March 16, 1757], landed stealthily behind Long Point, and the next afternoon appeared suddenly before the fort. A part of the garrison made a vigorous defense, and Montcalm succeeded only in burning some buildings and vessels which were out of reach of the guns at the fort. 15
General Webb, who was commander of the forces in that quarter, was at Fort Edward with four thousand men. He visited Fort William Henry under an escort of two hundred men commanded by Major Putnam, and while there he sent that officer with eighteen Rangers down the lake, to ascertain the position of the enemy on Champlain. They were discovered to be more numerous than was supposed, for the islands at the entrance of Northwest Bay were swarming with French and Indians. Putnam returned, and begged General Webb to let him go down with his Rangers in full force and attack them, but he was allowed only to make another reconnoissance, and bring off two boats and their crews which he left fishing. The enemy gave chase in canoes, and at times nearly surrounded them, but they reached the fort in safety.
Webb caused Putnam to administer an oath of secrecy to his Rangers respecting the proximity of the enemy, and then ordered him to escort him back immediately to Fort Edward. This order was so repugnant to Putnam, both as to its perfidy and unsoldierly character, that he ventured to remonstrate by saying, "I hope your excellency does not intend to neglect so fair an opportunity of giving battle should the enemy presume to land." Webb coolly and cowardly replied, "What do you think we should do here?" The near approach of the enemy was cruelly concealed from the garrison, and under his escort the general returned to Fort Edward. The next day he sent Colonel Monroe with a regiment to re-enforce and to take command of the garrison at Lake George.
Montcalm, with more than nine thousand men, and a powerful train of artillery, landed at the head of the lake, and beleaguered the garrison, consisting of less than three thousand men.16 He sent in proposals to Monroe for a surrender of the fort, urging his humane desire to prevent the bloodshed which a stubborn resistance would assuredly cause. Monroe, confidently expecting re-enforcements from Webb, refused to listen to any such proposals. The French then commenced the siege, which lasted six consecutive days, without much slaughter on either side. Expresses were frequently sent to General Webb in the mean while, imploring aid, but he remained inactive and indifferent in his camp at Fort Edward. General Johnson was at last allowed to march, with Putnam and his Rangers, to the relief of the beleaguered garrison; but when about three miles from Fort Edward, Webb recalled them, and sent a letter to Monroe, saying he could render him no assistance, and advising him to surrender. This letter was intercepted by Montcalm, and gave him great joy, for he had been informed by some Indians of the movements of the provincials under Johnson and Putnam, who represented them to be as numerous as the leaves on the trees. Alarmed at this, Montcalm was beginning to suspend the operations of the siege preparatory to a retreat, when the letter from the pusillanimous Webb fell into his hands. He at once sent it in to Monroe, with proposals for an immediate surrender.
Monroe saw that his case was hopeless, for two of his cannon had bursted, and his ammunition and stores were nearly exhausted. Articles of capitulation were agreed upon, and, under promise of protection, the garrison marched out of the fort preparatory to being escorted to Fort Edward.17
The savages, two thousand warriors in number, were enraged at the terms of capitulation, for they were induced to serve in this expedition by a promise of plunder.18 This was denied them, and they felt at liberty to throw off all restraint. As soon as the last man left the gate of the fort, they raised the hideous war-whoop, and fell upon the English with the fury of demons. The massacre was indiscriminate and terrible, and the French were idle spectators of the perfidy of their allies. They refused interference, withheld the promised escort, and the savages pursued the poor Britons with great slaughter, half way to Fort Edward. 19 Fifteen hundred of them were butchered or carried into hopeless captivity. Montcalm utterly disclaimed all connivance, and declared his inability to prevent the massacre without ordering his men to fire upon the Indians. But it left a deep stain upon his otherwise humane character, and the indignation excited by the event aroused the English colonists to more united and vigorous action.
Montcalm burned and otherwise destroyed every thing connected with the fortification[August 9, 1757.]. Major Putnam, who had been sent with his Rangers from Fort Edward to watch the movements of Montcalm, reached Lake George just as the rear of the enemy left the shore, and truly awful was the scene there presented, as described by himself: "The fort was entirely demolished; the barracks, out-houses, and buildings were a heap of ruins; the cannon, stores, boats, and vessels were all carried away. The fires were still burning, the smoke and stench offensive and suffocating. Innumerable fragments, human skulls and bones, and carcasses half consumed, were still frying and broiling in the decaying fires. Dead bodies, mangled with scalping-knives and tomahawks in all the wantonness of Indian fierceness and barbarity, were every where to be seen. More than one hundred women, butchered and shockingly mangled, lay upon the ground, still weltering in their gore. Devastation, barbarity, and horror every where appeared, and the spectacle presented was too diabolical and awful either to be endured or described."
Fort William Henry was never rebuilt. Upon an eminence about a mile southeast of it, and half a mile from the lake, Fort George was erected, but it was never a scene of very stirring events. A little south of Fort George was a small fortification called Fort Gage, so named in honor of General Gage, who served under Lord Amherst, and succeeded him in command of the forces in America in 1760, and was Governor of Massachusetts when the Revolution broke out. Hardly a vestige of this fort can now be seen.
The English, under General Abercrombie and the young Lord Howe, quartered at Fort George in 1758, preparatory to an attack upon the French posts upon Lake Champlain. Seven thousand regulars and nine thousand provincial troops were there assembled, with a fine train of artillery and all necessary military stores, the largest and best appointed army yet seen in America. On the 5th of July they embarked on Lake George, on board nine hundred bateaux and one hundred and thirty-five whale-boats, and the next day landed at the foot of the lake and pushed on toward Ticonderoga. Of the events which befell them there I shall hereafter write. Let us glance a moment at the present.
Toward evening the rain abated, and, accompanied by an old resident shoemaker as guide, I made a visit to the remains of the two English forts. The elder one (Fort William Henry) stood directly upon the lake shore, on the west side of a clear mountain stream called West Creek, the main inlet of Lake George. Nothing of it now remains but a few mounds and shallow ditches, so leveled and filled that the form of the works can not be distinctly traced. The road along the lake shore passes across the northeast and northwest angles, but the features of the past are hardly tangible enough to attract the attention of a passer-by. A little southwest of the fort, at the base of Rattlesnake or Prospect Hill, is a level clearing called the French Field. It is the place where Dieskau halted and disposed his troops for action. Many of the slain were buried there; and I saw a rough-hewn stone at the head of a grave, upon which was inscribed, in rude characters, "Jacques Cortois, 1755."
RUINS OF THE CITADEL OF FORT GEORGE.
Fort George, the remains of which are scattered over several acres, was situated about a mile southeast from William Henry, upon an eminence gently sloping back from the lake. The dark limestone or black marble, such as is found at Glenn’s Falls, here every where approaching near the surface or protruding above, formed a solid foundation, and supplied ample materials for a fortress. A quadrangular citadel, or sort of castle, was built within the lines of breast-works, and the ruins of this constitute all that is left of the old fort. I observed vestiges of the foundations of the barracks and other buildings; and the quarries whence materials were taken for the buildings and ramparts seem almost as fresh as if just opened. The wall of the citadel, on the eastern side (the left of the picture), is now about twenty feet high. Within the ancient area of the fort there is just sufficient earth to nourish a thick growth of dark juniper bushes, which, with the black rocks and crumbling masonry, presented a somber aspect. Both forts commanded a fine view of the lake for ten miles north.
The indications of fair weather which lured me out suddenly disappeared, and before I reached the Lake House the heavy clouds that came rolling up from the south poured down their contents copiously. Dark masses of vapor hovered upon the mountains that begirt the lake, and about sunset the tops of all were buried in the driving mists. We seemed to be completely shut up within mighty prison walls, and early in the evening vivid lightning and heavy thunder-peals contributed to produce a scene of singular grandeur and awe. In the midst of the elemental strife the steam-boat arrived with passengers from Ticonderoga, and those pleasure seekers who came in her, bedraggled and weary, were capital studies for an artistic Jeremiah in search of lamentations personified. But an excellent supper, in dry quarters, soon brought the sunshine of gladness to every face, and before ten o’clock more than half the new-comers were among the liveliest in quadrille, cotillion, waltz, or gallopade.
I arose the next morning at four. The scene from my chamber window was one of quiet beauty. The sky was cloudless, and the lake, without a ripple, was spread out before me,
"A glorious mirror of the Almighty’s form."
The east was all glowing with the soft radiance of approaching sunlight, giving a deeper gray to the lofty hills that intervened, and every tree was musical with the morning song of the birds.
"The south wind was like a gentle friend,
Parting the hair so softly on my brow.
It had come o’er the gardens, and the flowers
That kissed it were betrayed; for as it parted
With its invisible fingers my loose hair,
I knew it had been trifling with the rose
And stooping to the violet. There is joy
For all God’s creatures in it."
HEAD OF LAKE GEORGE.
From the piazza of the Lake House, fronting the water, a comprehensive view of the historic grounds of the vicinage may be seen, as delineated in the picture. In the extreme distance on the left is the range of the French Mountain, and on the right is Rattlesnake Hill (one thousand five hundred feet high), with other lofty elevations, heavily wooded to their very summits. By the trees on the shore, in the center of the picture, is the site of Fort William Henry; and further on the left, and directly over the flag-staff, is the site of Fort George.
We left this fine summer resort in the steam-boat William Caldwell, at eight in the morning. The air was clear and cool, the company agreeable, and the voyage down the lake delightful. The mountain shores, the deep bays, and the numerous islands (said to be three hundred and sixty-five, the number of days in the year) present a constant variety, and all that the eye takes in on every side is one vision of beauty. I procured a seat in the pilot’s room aloft, whence I had a broad view of the whole ever-changing panorama of the lake in the course of the voyage.
LAKE GEORGE AND PART OF LAKE CHAMPLAIN.
Explanation of the references: 1. Fort Ticonderoga. 2. Fort Howe. 3. Mount Defiance. 4. Mount Independence. 5. Village of Alexandria. 7. Black Point. 8. Juniper Island. 9. Anthony’s Nose. 10. M‘Donald’s Bay. 11. Rogers’s retreat on the ice to Fort William Henry. 12. Cook’s Islands. 13. Scotch Bonnet. 14. Odell Island. 15. Buck Mountain and Rattlesnake Dens. 16. Shelving Rock. 17. Phelps’s Point. 18. Long Point. 19. Long Island. 20. Dome Island. 21. Diamond Island. 22. Dunham’s Bay. 23. Harris’s Bay. 24. The route of Dieskau from Skenesborough to Fort William Henry.
The first island which we passed, of any considerable size, was Diamond Island,20 lying directly in front of Dunham’s Bay. Here was a depot of military stores for Burgoyne’s army in 1777, and the scene of a sharp conflict between the small garrison that defended it and a detachment of Americans under Colonel Brown. Between the actions of the 19th of September and the 7th of October at Bemis’s Heights, General Lincoln, with a body of New England militia, got in the rear of Burgoyne near Lake Champlain. He sent Colonel Brown with a strong division to attempt the recapture of Ticonderoga and the posts in the vicinity, and thus to cut off the retreat of the British as well as their supplies. It was a service exactly suited to Brown’s active and energetic character, and, by a rapid and stealthy movement on a stormy night [September 25, 1777.], he surprised and captured all the British outposts between the landing-place at the north end of Lake George and the main fortress at Ticonderoga. Mount Hope, Mount Defiance, the French lines, and a block-house, with an armed sloop, two hundred bateaux, and several gun-boats, fell into his hands. He also captured two hundred and ninety-three prisoners, and released one hundred Americans; and, among other things, he retook the old Continental standard which St. Clair left at Ticonderoga when he evacuated that post. He then attacked the fortress, but its walls were impregnable, and he withdrew.
Flushed with success, Colonel Brown determined to sweep Lake George, and in the vessels they had captured the Americans proceeded to Diamond Island. The little garrison there made a vigorous resistance, and the republicans were repulsed with some loss. They then pushed for the shore on the south side of Dunham’s Bay, where they burned all the vessels they had captured, and returned to Lincoln’s camp.
LONG POINT AND VICINITY.21
A little north of Diamond Island is Long Island, which lies directly in front of Long Point, a narrow, fertile strip of land that projects far into the lake from the eastern shore. The estuary between the north side of the point and the mountains is Harris’s Bay, the place where Montcalm moored his bateaux and landed on the 16th of March, 1757.
About twelve miles from Caldwell, in the center of the lake, is Dome Island, which, at the distance of two or three miles, has the appearance of the upper portion of a large dome, with an arch as regular as if made by art. This island was the shelter for Putnam’s men whom he left in the two boats when he informed General Webb of the presence of the French and Indians upon the two islands near the entrance of Northwest Bay, and nearly in front of the landing-place at Bolton, on the western shore.
Shelving Rock, a lofty cliff on the eastern shore, and Tongue Mountain, a bold, rocky promontory on the west, flank the entrance to the Narrows, where the islands are so numerous, varying in size from a few rods to an acre, that there is only a very narrow channel for a steam-boat to pass through. A little north of Shelving Rock is the Black Mountain, its summit twenty-two hundred feet high, thickly covered with the dark spruce, and its sides robed with the cedar, fir, pine, and tamarac. There the wild deer, the bear, and the catamount have free range, for the hunter seldom toils up its weary ascent.
SABBATH DAY POINT.
A few miles beyond the entrance to the Narrows, on the western shore, is another fertile strip of land projecting into the lake, called Sabbath Day Point. It is between three and four miles from the little village of Hague, in the midst of the most picturesque scenery imaginable. Here, in 1756, a small provincial force, pressed by a party of French and Indians, and unable to escape across the lake, made a desperate resistance, and defeated the enemy with considerable slaughter. Here, in the summer of 1758, General Abercrombie, with his fine army, already noticed as having embarked in bateaux and whale-boats at the head of the lake, landed for refreshments. It was just at dark, on a sultry Saturday evening[July 5, 1758.], when the troops debarked and spread over the beautiful cape for a few hours’ repose. The young Lord Howe, the well-beloved of both officers and soldiers, was there, and called around him, in serious consultation, some of the bravest of the youthful partisans who accompanied the expedition. Captain Stark (the Revolutionary general) was invited to sup with him; and long and anxious were the inquires the young nobleman made respecting the fortress of Ticonderoga and its outposts, which they were about to assail, as if a presentiment of personal disaster possessed his mind.
It was after midnight when the whole armament moved slowly down the lake, and it was late on the Sabbath morning before they reached the landing-place at the foot of it.22 The scene exhibited by this strong and well-armed force of sixteen thousand men was very imposing. "The order of march," says Major Rogers, "exhibited a splendid military show." Howe, in a large boat, led the van of the flotilla. He was accompanied by a guard of Rangers and boatmen. The regular troops occupied the center and the provincials the wings. The sky was clear and starry, and not a breeze ruffled the dark waters as they slept quietly in the shadows of the mountains, their oars were muffled; and so silently did they move on in the darkness, that not a scout upon the hills observed them. Day dawned just as they were abreast of the Blue Mountain, four miles from the landing-place; and the first intimation which the outposts of the enemy, stationed there, had of the approach of the English was the full blaze of red uniforms which burst upon their sight as the British army swept around a point and prepared to land.
At Sabbath Day Point a party of American militia of Saratoga county had a severe battle with the Tories and Indians in 1776. Both were scouting parties, and came upon each other unexpectedly. The Americans repulsed the enemy, and killed and wounded about forty. There are now a few buildings upon the point, and the more peaceful heroism of the culturist, in conflict with the unkindness of nature, is beautifying and enriching it.
On the western shore of the lake, three miles northward of the little village of Hague, is Rogers’s Rock, or Rogers’s Slide. The lake is here quite narrow, and huge masses of rocks, some a hundred feet high, are piled in wild confusion on every side. The whole height of Rogers’s Rock is about four hundred feet, and the "slide," almost a smooth surface, with a descent on an angle of about twenty-five degrees from meridian, is two hundred feet. This hill derives its name from the fact, that from its summit Major Rogers, commander of a corps of Rangers, escaped from Indian pursuers. With a small party who were reconnoitering at the outlet of the lake, in the winter of 1758, he was surprised and put to flight by a band of Indians. He was equipped with show-shoes, and eluded pursuit until he came to the summit of the mountain. Aware that they would follow his track, he descended to the top of the smooth rock, and, casting his knapsack and haversack of provisions down upon the ice, slipped off his show-shoes, and, without moving them, turned himself about and put them on his feet again. He then retreated along the southern brow of the rock several rods, and down a ravine he made his way safely to the lake below, snatched up his pack, and fled on the ice to Fort George. The Indians, in the mean while, coming to the spot, saw the two tracks, both apparently approaching the precipice, and concluded that two persons had cast themselves down the rock rather than fall into their hands. Just then they saw the bold leader of the Rangers making his way across the ice, and believing that he had slid down the steep face of the rock, considered him (as did the Indians Major Putnam at Fort Miller) under the special protection of the Great Spirit, and made no attempt at pursuit.24
In consequence of a detention at Bolton, we did not reach the landing-place at the outlet of the lake until noon. Within a mile of the landing is a small island covered with shrubbery, called Prisoners’ Island, where the French, in the Seven Years’ War, kept their English captives who were taken in that vicinity. The first party confined there easily escaped, in consequence of the carelessness of the victors in not ascertaining the depth of the water, which on one side is fordable. A small guard was left in charge of them, and, as soon as the main body of the French had retreated, the English prisoners waded from the island and escaped.
Directly west of this island is Howe’s Landing, the place where Lord Howe with the van-guard of Abercrombie’s army first landed, the outlet, a mile below, being in possession of the enemy. The whole British force debarked here on the morning after leaving Sabbath Day Point[July 6, 1758], and before noon the Rangers under Rogers and Stark were pushing forward toward Ticonderoga, as a flank or advance-guard to clear the woods, while the main army pressed onward.
The distance from the steam-boat landing to Fort Ticonderoga is four miles. We found vehicles in abundance awaiting our arrival, and prepared to carry passengers with all their baggage, from a clean dickey only to a four-feet trunk, for twenty-five cents each. I succeeded in securing my favorite seat on a pleasant day, the coachman’s perch. At the Lake House we became acquainted with a young lady from the vicinity of the lofty Catskills, whose love of travel and appreciation of nature made her an enthusiast, and one of the most agreeable companions imaginable. She fairly reveled in the beauties of Lake George, not exhibited in the simpering lip-sentimentality, borrowed from the novelist, which so often annoys the sensible man when in the midst of more fashionable tourists, but in hearty, intelligent, and soul-stirring emotions of pleasure, which lie far deeper in the heart than mortal influence can fathom, and which gleam out in every lineament of the face. While others were afraid of spoiling their complexions in the sun, or of crumpling their smooth dresses or fine bonnets, she bade defiance to dust and crowds, for her brown linen "sack," with its capacious pockets for a guide-book and other accessories, and her plain sun-bonnet gave her no uneasiness; and her merry laughter, which awoke ringing echoes along the hills as she, too, mounted the coachman’s seat to enjoy the fresh air and pleasant landscape, was the very soul of pleasure. We rambled with herself and brother that afternoon over the ruins of Ticonderoga, and at evening parted company. We hope her voyage of life may be as pleasant and joyous as those few hours which she spent that day, where,
"In the deepest core
The road from the foot of Lake George to Fort "Ty" is hilly, but the varied scenery makes the ride a pleasant one. We crossed the outlet of the lake twice; first at the Upper Falls, where stands the dilapidated village of Alexandria, its industrial energies weighed down, I was told, by the narrow policy of a "lord of the manor" residing in London, who owns the fee of all the land and of the water privileges, and will not sell, or give long leases. The good people of the place pray for his life to be a short and a happy one – a very generous supplication. From the high ground near the village a fine prospect opened on the eastward; and suddenly, as if a curtain had been removed, the cultivated farms and pleasant villages of Vermont along the lake shore, and the blue line of the Green Mountains in the far distance, were spread out before us.
The second or Lower Falls is half way between the two lakes, and here the thriving village of Ticonderoga is situated. A bridge and a saw-mill were there many years before the Revolution; and this is the spot where Lord Howe, at the head of his column, crossed the stream and pushed forward through the woods toward the French lines, a mile and a quarter beyond. We arrived at the Pavilion near the fort at one o’clock, dined, and with a small party set off immediately to view the interesting ruins of one of the most noted fortresses in America. Before noticing its present condition and appearance, let us glance at its past history.
Ticonderoga is a corruption of Cheonderoga, an Iroquois word signifying Sounding waters, and was applied by the Indians to the rushing waters of the outlet of Lake George at the falls. The French, who first built a fort at Crown Point (Fort St. Frederic), established themselves upon this peninsula in 1755, and the next year they began the erection of a strong fortress, which they called Fort Carillon. 25 The Indian name was generally applied to it, and by that only was it known from the close of the French and Indian war in 1763. 26
Explanation of the ground plan: a, entrance and wicket gate; b, counterscarp twenty feet wide; c c, bastions; d, under-ground room and ovens; e e e e, barracks and officers’ quarters; f, court or parade-ground; g g, trench or covert-way, sixteen feet wide and ten feet deep; h, the place where Ethan Allen and his men entered by a covert-way from the outside.
The peninsula is elevated more than one hundred feet above the lake, and contains about five hundred acres. Nature and art made it a strong place. Water was upon three sides, and a deep swamp extended nearly across the fourth. Within a mile north of the fortress intrenchments were thrown up, the remains of which may still be seen at each side of the road, and are known as the French lines. The whole defenses were completed by the erection of a breast-work nine feet high, upon the narrowest part of the neck between the swamp and the outlet of Lake George; and before the breast-work was a strong abatis.
Here, as I have already mentioned, was the general rendezvous of the French under Montcalm[August 3, 1757.], preparatory to the attack on Fort William Henry. It continued to be the head-quarters of that General until Quebec was threatened by an expedition under Wolfe [1759.], up the St. Lawrence, when he abandoned the posts on Lake Champlain, and mustered all his forces at the capital of Lower Canada.
Montcalm commanded a force of four thousand men at Ticonderoga when Abercrombie approached[July 6, 1758.], and was in daily expectation of receiving a re-enforcement of three thousand troops under M. de Levi. The English commander was advised of this expected re-enforcement of the garrison, and felt the necessity of making an immediate attack upon the works. His army moved forward in three columns; but so dense was the forest that covered the whole country, that their progress was slow. They were also deficient in suitable guides, and in a short time were thrown into a great deal of confusion. They pressed steadily forward, and the advanced post of the French (a breast-work of logs) was set on fire to by the enemy themselves and abandoned. Lord Howe, who was Abercrombie’s lieutenant, or second in command, led the advanced column; and as they pressed onward after crossing the bridge, Major Putnam, with about one hundred men, advanced as a scouting party to reconnoiter. Lord Howe, eager to make the first attack, proposed to accompany Putnam, but the major tried to dissuade him, by saying, "My lord, if I am killed the loss of my life will be of little consequence, but the preservation of yours is of infinite importance to this army." The answer was, "Putnam, your life is as dear to you as mine is to me. I am determined to go." 27 They dashed on through the woods, and in a few minutes fell in with the advanced guard of the French, who had retreated from the first breast-works, and, without a guide and bewildered, were endeavoring to find their way back to the lines. A sharp skirmish ensued, and at the first fire Lord Howe, another officer, and several privates were killed. 28 The French were repulsed with a loss of three hundred killed and one hundred and forty-eight taken prisoners. The English columns were so much broken, confused, and fatigued, that Abercrombie marched them back to the landing-place on Lake George, to bivouac for the night. Early the next morning Colonel Bradstreet advanced and took possession of the saw-mills, near the present village of Ticonderoga, which the enemy had abandoned.
Abercrombie sent an engineer to reconnoiter, and on his reporting that the works were unfinished and might easily be taken, the British troops were again put in motion toward the fortress. As they approached the lines[July 8, 1758.], the French, who were completely sheltered behind their breast-works, opened a heavy discharge of artillery upon them, but they pressed steadily forward in the face of the storm, determined to assault the works, and endeavor to carry them by sword and bayonet. They found them so well defended by a deep abatis, that it was almost impossible to reach them; yet, amid the galling fire of the enemy, the English continued for four hours striving to cut their way through the limbs and bushes to the breast-works with their swords. Some did, indeed, mount the parapet, but in a moment they were slain. Scores of Britons were mowed down at every discharge of cannon. Perceiving the rapid reduction of his army, Abercrombie at last sounded a retreat; and, without being pursued by the French, the English fell back to their encampment at the foot of Lake George, from which the wounded were sent to Fort Edward and to Albany. The English loss was nearly two thousand men and twenty-five hundred stand of arms. Never did troops show bolder courage or more obstinate persistence against fearful obstacles. The whole army seemed emulous to excel, but the Scotch Highland regiment of Lord John Murray was the foremost in the conflict, and suffered the severest loss. One half of the privates and twenty-five officers were slain on the spot or badly wounded. Failing in this attempt, Abercrombie changed his plans. He dispatched General Stanwix to build a fort near the head-waters of the Mohawk, at the site of the present village of Rome, Oneida county. Colonel Bradstreet, at his own urgent solicitation, was ordered, with three thousand troops, mostly provincials, to proceed by the way of Oswego and Lake Ontario, to attack Fort Frontenac, where Kingston, in Upper Canada, now stands; and himself, with the rest of the army, returned to Albany. 29
While misfortunes were attending the English under the immediate command of Abercrombie, and the power and influence of the French were gaining strength on the lake, a British force was closely beleaguering Louisburg, on the Island of Cape Breton, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, then the strongest fortification in America, and the rallying point of French power on this Continent. Early in 1758[May 28.] Admiral Boscawen sailed from Halifax, Acadia, 30 with forty armed vessels, bearing a land force of twelve thousand men under General Amherst. General Wolfe was second in command; and in appointing that young soldier to a post so important, Pitt showed that sagacity in correctly appreciating character for which we was so remarkable.
On the 2d of June the fleet anchored in Gabarus Bay, and the whole armament reached the shore on the 8th. The French, alarmed at such a formidable force, called in their outposts, dismantled the royal battery, and prepared for a retreat. But the vigilance and activity of Wolfe prevented their escape. He passed around the Northeast Harbor[June 12.], and erected a battery at the North Cape, from which well-directed shots soon silenced the guns of the smaller batteries upon the island. Hot shots were also poured into the small fleet of French vessels lying in the harbor of Louisburg, and three of them were burned [June 25.]. The town was greatly shattered by the active artillery; the vessels which were not consumed were dismantled or sunken; and several breaches were made in the massive walls [July 21.]. Certain destruction awaited the garrison and citizens, and at last the fortress, together with the town and St. John’s (now Prince Edward’s) Island, was surrendered into the hands of the English by capitulation [July 26.].
The skill, bravery, and activity of General Amherst, exhibited in the capture of Louisburg, gained him a vote of thanks from Parliament, and commended him to Pitt, who, the next year, appointed him to the chief command in America, in place of the less active Abercrombie. So much did Pitt rely upon his judgment and ability, that he clothed him with discretionary powers to take measures to make the complete conquest of all Canada in a single campaign. His plans were arranged upon a magnificent scale. Appreciating the services of Wolfe, one expedition was placed under his command, to ascend the St. Lawrence and attack Quebec. General Prideaux was sent with another expedition to capture the strong-hold of Niagara, while Amherst himself took personal command of a third expedition against the fortress on Lake Champlain. Prideaux, after capturing the fort at Niagara, was to proceed down the lake and St. Lawrence to attack Montreal and the posts below, and Amherst was to push forward after the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, down the Richelieu or Sorel River to the St. Lawrence, and join with Wolfe at Quebec.
Amherst collected about eleven thousand men at Fort Edward and its vicinity, and, moving cautiously along Lake Champlain, crossed the outlet of Lake George, and appeared before Ticonderoga on the 26th of July[1759.]. He met with no impediments by the way, and at once made preparations for reducing the fortress by a regular siege. The garrison were strong, and evinced a disposition to make a vigorous resistance. They soon discovered, however, that they had not Abercrombie to deal with, and, despairing of being able to hold out against the advancing English, they dismantled and abandoned the fort, and fled to Crown Point. Not a gun was fired or a sword crossed; and the next day Amherst marched in and took possession of the fort. He at once set about repairing and enlarging it, and also arranging an expedition against the enemy at Crown Point, when, to his astonishment, he learned from his scouts that they had abandoned that post also, and fled down the lake to Isle Aux Noix in the Richelieu or Sorel. Of his operations in that direction I shall hereafter write.
1 See Cooper’s "Last of the Mohicans."
2 This view was taken from under the bridge, looking down the river. The noted cave opens upon the river just below where the figures stand.
3 This view is taken from the road, looking northward. In the distance is seen the highest point of the French Mountain, on the left of which is Lake George. From this commanding height the French scouts had a fine view of all the English movements at the head of the lake.
4 The portrait here given of the chief is from a colored print published in London during the lifetime of the sachem. It was taken while he was in England, and habited in the full court dress presented to him by the king. Beneath the picture is engraved, "The brave old Hendrick, the great sachem or chief of the Mohawk Indians, one of the six nations now in alliance with, and subject to, the King of Great Britain."
5 Hendrick (sometimes called King Hendrick) was born about 1680, and generally lived at the Upper Castle, upon the Mohawk. He stood high in the estimation of Sir William Johnson, and was one of the most active and sagacious sachems of his time. When the tidings of his death were communicated to his son, the young chief gave the usual groan upon such occasions, and, placing his hand over his heart, exclaimed, "My father still alive here. The son is now the father, and stands here ready to fight." – Gentlemen’s Magazine.
Sir William Johnson obtained from Hendrick nearly one hundred thousand acres of choice land, now lying chiefly in Herkimer county, north of the Mohawk, in the following manner: The sachem, being at the baronet’s house, saw a richly-embroidered coat and coveted it. The next morning he said to Sir William, "Brother, me dream last night." "Indeed," answered Sir William; "what did my red brother dream?" "Me dream that coat be mine." "It is yours," said the shrewd baronet. Not long afterward Sir William visited the sachem, and he too had a dream. "Brother," he said, "I dreamed last night." "What did my pale-faced brother dream?" asked Hendrick. "I dreamed that this tract of land was mine," describing a square bounded on the south by the Mohawk, on the east by Canada Creek, and north and west by objects equally well known. Hendrick was astonished. He saw the enormity of the request, but was not to be outdone in generosity. He sat thoughtfully for a moment, and then said, "Brother, the land is yours, but you must not dream again." The title was confirmed by the British government, and the tract was called the Royal Grant. – Simms’s Schoharie County, p. 124.
6 Colonel Ephraim Williams was born in 1715, at Newton, Massachusetts. He made several voyages to Europe in early life. Being settled at Stockbridge when the war with France, in 1740, commenced, and possessed of great military talent, he was intrusted with the command of the line of Massachusetts forts on the west side of the Connecticut River. He joined General Johnson, at the head of a regiment, in 1755, and, as we have seen, fell while gallantly leading his men against the enemy. By his will, made before joining Johnson, he bequeathed his property to a township west of Fort Massachusetts, on the condition that it should be called Williamstown, and the money used for the establishment and maintenance of a free school. The terms were complied with, and the school was afterward incorporated (1793) as a college. Such was the origin of Williams’s College. Colonel Williams was forty years old at the time of his death.
7 Spafford’s Gazetteer of New York.
8 The bed of the lake is a yellowish sand, and the water is so transparent that a white object, such as an earthen plate, may be seen upon the bottom at a depth of nearly forty feet. The delicious salmon trout, that weigh from five to twenty pounds, silver trout, pike, pickerel, and perch are found here in great abundance, and afford fine sport and dainty food for the swarms of visitors at the Lake House during the summer season.
9 The extent of the embankments and fosse of this fort was fourteen hundred feet, and the barracks were built of wood upon a strong foundation of lime-stone, which abounds in the neighborhood. This plan is copied from a curious old picture by Blodget, called a "Prospective Plan of the Battles near Lake George, 1755."
10 This soldier is believed to have been General Seth Pomeroy, of Northampton, Massachusetts. – Everett’s Life of Stark.
11 At this battle General Stark, the hero of Bennington, then a lieutenant in the corps of Rogers’s Rangers, was first initiated in the perils and excitements of regular warfare.
12 The SIX NATIONS consisted of the tribes of the Mohawks, Onondagas, Oneidas, Senecas, Cayugas, and Tuscaroras. The first five were a long time allied, and known as the Five Nations. They were joined by the Tuscaroras of North Carolina in 1714, and from that time the confederation was known by the title of the Six Nations. Their great council fire was in the special keeping of the Onondagas, by whom it was always kept burning. This confederacy was a terror to the other Indian tribes, and extended its conquests even as far as South Carolina, where it waged war against, and nearly exterminated, the once powerful Catawbas. When, in 1744, the Six Nations ceded a portion of their lands to Virginia, they insisted on the continuance of a free war-path through the ceded territory.
13 Reported for the Gentlemen’s Magazine, London, 1755.
14 This is asserted by Dr. Franklin in his Autobiography (Sparks’s Life, 219), where he gives an anecdote illustrative of the character of Loudon. Franklin had occasion to go to his office in New York, where he met a Mr. Innes, who had brought dispatches from Philadelphia from Governor Denny, and was awaiting his lordship’s answer, promised the following day. A fortnight afterward he met Innes, and expressed his surprise at his speedy return. But he had not gone yet, and averred that he had called at Loudon’s office every morning during the fortnight, but the letters were not yet ready. "Is it possible," said Franklin, "when he is so great a writer? I see him constantly at his escritoire." "Yes," said Innes, "but he is like St. George on the signs, always on horseback, but never rides forward."
15 The garrison and fort were saved by the vigilance of Lieutenant Stark, who, in the absence of Rogers, had command of the Rangers, a large portion of which were Irishmen. On the evening of the 16th he overheard some of these planning a celebration of St. Patrick’s (the following day). He ordered the sutler not to issue spirituous liquors the next day without a written order. When applied to he pleaded a lame wrist as an excuse for not writing, and his Rangers were kept sober. The Irish in the regular regiments got drunk, as usual on such an occasion. Montcalm anticipated this, and planned his attack on the night of St. Patrick’s day. Stark, with his sober Rangers, gallantly defended and saved the fort.
16 The place where Montcalm landed is a little north of the Lake House, at Caldwell, and about a mile from the site of the fort.
17 It was stipulated, 1st. That the garrison should march out with their arms and baggage; 2d. Should be escorted to Fort Edward by a detachment of French troops, and should not serve against the French for a term of eighteen months; 3d. The works and all the warlike stores should be delivered to the French; 4th. That the sick and wounded of the garrison should remain under the protection of Montcalm, and should be permitted to return as soon as they were recovered.
18 Dr. Belknap.
19 The defile through which the English retreated, and in which so many were slaughtered, is called the Bloody Defile. It is a deep gorge between the road from Glenn’s Falls to Lake George and the high range of hills northward, called the French Mountain. In excavations for the plank road near the defile a large number of skeletons were exhumed. I saw the skull of one, which was of an enormous size, at least one third larger than any other human head I ever saw. The occipital portion exhibited a long fracture, evidently made by a tomahawk.
20 This name was given it on account of the number and beauty of the quartz crystals which are found upon it. In shape and brilliancy they resemble pure diamonds.
21 This little sketch was taken from the steam-boat, near the south end of Long Island, which appears in the foreground. Long Point is seen in the center, and on the right are Dunham’s Bay and the northern extremity of the French Mountain. The highest peak on the left is Deer Pasture, or Buck Mountain.
22 It being early on Sunday morning when the army left the point, General Abercrombie named the place Sabbath Day Point. The little sketch here given was taken from the steam-boat, half a mile above, looking northeast.
23 This sketch is from the lake, a little south of Cook’s Point, seen just over the boat on the left. Immediately beyond is seen the smooth rock. Nearly opposite the "slide" is Anthony’s Nose, a high, rocky promontory, having the appearance of a human nose in shape when viewed from a particular point.
24 Major Rogers was the son of an Irishman, who was an early settler of Dumbarton, in New Hampshire. He was appointed to the command of a party of Rangers in 1755, and with them did signal service to the British cause. In 1759 he was sent by General Amherst from Crown Point to destroy the Indian village of St. Francis. He afterward served in the Cherokee war. In 1766 he was appointed governor of Michillimackinac. He was accused of constructive treason, and was sent in irons to Montreal for trail. In 1769 he went to England, was presented to the king, but soon afterward was imprisoned for debt. He returned to America, and in the Revolution took up arms for the king. In 1777 he returned to England, where he died. His name was on the proscription list of Tories included in the act of New Hampshire against them, in 1778. His journal of the French War, first published at London in 1765, was republished at Concord in 1831.
25 This is a French word, signifying chime, jingling, noise, bawling, scolding, racket, clatter, riot. – Boyer. Its application to this spot had the same reference to the rush of waters as the Indian name Cheonderoga.
26 This fortress was strongly built. Its walls and barracks were of limestone, and every thing about it was done in the most substantial manner.
27 Humphrey’s Life of Putnam.
28 George, Lord-viscount Howe, was the eldest son of Sir E. Scrope, second viscount Howe in Ireland. He commanded five thousand British troops which landed at Halifax in 1757, and, as we have seen, the next year accompanied General Abercrombie against Ticonderoga. Alluding to his death, Mante observes, "With him the soul of the army seemed to expire." He was the idol of his soldiers, and, in order to accommodate himself and his regiment to the nature of the service, he cut his hair short, and fashioned his clothes for activity. His troops followed his example, and they were, indeed, the soul of Abercrombie’s army. He was in the thirty-fourth year of his age when he fell. The General Court of Massachusetts Bay, as a testimony of respect for his character, appropriated two hundred and fifty pounds sterling for the erection of a monument in Westminster Abbey.
Captain (afterward general) Philip Schuyler, who was highly esteemed by Lord Howe, and who at that time was employed in the commissary department, was commissioned to carry the young nobleman’s remains to Albany and bury them with appropriate honors. They were placed in a vault, and I was informed by a daughter of General Schuyler (Mrs. Cochran, of Oswego) that when, many years afterward, the coffin was opened, his hair had grown to long, flowing locks, and was very beautiful.
29 General James Abercrombie was descended from a wealthy Scotch family, and, in consequence of signal services on the Continent, was promoted to the rank of major general. In 1758 fifty thousand troops were placed under his command by Mr. Pitt, and sent with him to America to attempt a recovery of all that the French had taken from the English. He was the successor of Lord Louden, but was not much superior to the earl in activity or military skill. He was superseded by Amherst after his defeat at Ticonderoga, and in the spring of 1759 he returned to England.
30 Acadia was the ancient name of the whole country now comprehended within the boundaries of Nova Scotia, or New Scotland.
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