Siege And Massacre Of Fort William Henry

Having failed to take Fort William Henry by surprise, the French

resolved to attack it with all the force they could bring against it,

and in the summer of 1757 the Marquis de Montcalm and the Chevalier de

Levis advanced against it with about eight thousand regulars, Canadians,

and Indians. The whole assembled at Ticonderoga, where several weeks

were spent in preparation. Provisions, camp equipage, ammunition,

cannon, and bateaux were dragged by gangs of men up the road to the head

of the rapids. The work went on through heat and rain, by day and night,

till, at the end of July, all was done.

The bateaux lay ready by the shore, but could not carry the whole force;

and Levis received orders to march by the side of the lake with

twenty-five hundred men, Canadians, regulars, and Iroquois. He set out

at daybreak of the thirtieth of July, his men carrying nothing but their

knapsacks, blankets, and weapons. Guided by the unerring Indians, they

climbed the steep gorge at the side of Rogers Rock, gained the valley

beyond, and marched southward along a Mohawk trail which threaded the

forest in a course parallel to the lake. The way was of the roughest;

many straggled from the line, and two officers completely broke down.

The first destination of the party was the mouth of Ganouskie Bay, now

called Northwest Bay, where they were to wait for Montcalm, and kindle

three fires as a signal that they had reached the rendezvous.

Montcalm left a detachment to hold Ticonderoga; and then, on the first

of August, at two in the afternoon, he embarked at the Burned Camp with

all his remaining force. Including those with Levis, the expedition

counted about seven thousand six hundred men, of whom more than sixteen

hundred were Indians. At five in the afternoon they reached the place

where the Indians, who had gone on before the rest, were smoking their

pipes and waiting for the army. The red warriors embarked, and joined

the French flotilla; and now, as evening drew near, was seen one of

those wild pageantries of war which Lake George has often witnessed. A

restless multitude of birch canoes, filled with painted savages, glided

by shores and islands, like troops of swimming water-fowl. Two hundred

and fifty bateaux came next, moved by sail and oar, some bearing the

Canadian militia, and some the battalions of Old France in trim and gay

attire: first, La Reine and Languedoc; then the colony regulars; then La

Sarre and Guienne; then the Canadian brigade of Courtemanche; then the

cannon and mortars, each on a platform sustained by two bateaux lashed

side by side, and rowed by the militia of Saint-Ours; then the

battalions of Bearn and Royal Roussillon; then the Canadians of Gaspe,

with the provision-bateaux and the field-hospital; and, lastly, a rear

guard of regulars closed the line. So, under the flush of sunset, they

held their course along the romantic lake, to play their part in the

historic drama that lends a stern enchantment to its fascinating

scenery. They passed the Narrows in mist and darkness; and when, a

little before dawn, they rounded the high promontory of Tongue Mountain,

they saw, far on the right, three fiery sparks shining through the

gloom. These were the signal-fires of Levis, to tell them that he had

reached the appointed spot.

Levis had arrived the evening before, after his hard march through the

sultry midsummer forest. His men had now rested for a night, and at ten

in the morning he marched again. Montcalm followed at noon, and coasted

the western shore, till, towards evening, he found Levis waiting for him

by the margin of a small bay not far from the English fort, though

hidden from it by a projecting point of land. Canoes and bateaux were

drawn up on the beach, and the united forces made their bivouac


The earthen mounds of Fort William Henry still stand by the brink of

Lake George; and seated at the sunset of an August day under the pines

that cover them, one gazes on a scene of soft and soothing beauty, where

dreamy waters reflect the glories of the mountains and the sky. As it is

to-day, so it was then; all breathed repose and peace. The splash of

some leaping trout, or the dipping wing of a passing swallow, alone

disturbed the summer calm of that unruffled mirror.

About ten o'clock at night two boats set out from the fort to

reconnoitre. They were passing a point of land on their left, two miles

or more down the lake, when the men on board descried through the gloom

a strange object against the bank; and they rowed towards it to learn

what it might be. It was an awning over the bateau that carried Roubaud

and his brother missionaries. As the rash oarsmen drew near, the

bleating of a sheep in one of the French provision-boats warned them of

danger; and turning, they pulled for their lives towards the eastern

shore. Instantly more than a thousand Indians threw themselves into

their canoes and dashed in hot pursuit, making the lake and the

mountains ring with the din of their war-whoops. The fugitives had

nearly reached land when their pursuers opened fire. They replied; shot

one Indian dead, and wounded another; then snatched their oars again,

and gained the beach. But the whole savage crew was upon them. Several

were killed, three were taken, and the rest escaped in the dark woods.

The prisoners were brought before Montcalm, and gave him valuable

information of the strength and position of the English.[2]

The Indian who was killed was a noted chief of the Nipissings; and his

tribesmen howled in grief for their bereavement. They painted his face

with vermilion, tied feathers in his hair, hung pendants in his ears and

nose, clad him in a resplendent war-dress, put silver bracelets on his

arms, hung a gorget on his breast with a flame-colored ribbon, and

seated him in state on the top of a hillock, with his lance in his hand,

his gun in the hollow of his arm, his tomahawk in his belt, and his

kettle by his side. Then they all crouched about him in lugubrious

silence. A funeral harangue followed; and next a song and solemn dance

to the thumping of the Indian drum. In the gray of the morning they

buried him as he sat, and placed food in the grave for his journey to

the land of souls.

As the sun rose above the eastern mountains the French camp was all

astir. The column of Levis, with Indians to lead the way, moved through

the forest towards the fort, and Montcalm followed with the main body;

then the artillery boats rounded the point that had hid them from the

sight of the English, saluting them as they did so with musketry and

cannon; while a host of savages put out upon the lake, ranged their

canoes abreast in a line from shore to shore, and advanced slowly, with

measured paddle-strokes and yells of defiance.



The position of the enemy was full in sight before them. At the head of

the lake, towards the right, stood the fort, close to the edge of the

water. On its left was a marsh; then the rough piece of ground where

Johnson had encamped two years before; then a low, flat, rocky hill,

crowned with an intrenched camp; and, lastly, on the extreme left,

another marsh. Far around the fort and up the slopes of the western

mountain the forest had been cut down and burned, and the ground was

cumbered with blackened stumps and charred carcasses and limbs of fallen

trees, strewn in savage disorder one upon another. Distant shouts and

war-cries, the clatter of musketry, white puffs of smoke in the dismal

clearing and along the scorched edge of the bordering forest, told that

Levis' Indians were skirmishing with parties of the English, who had

gone out to save the cattle roaming in the neighborhood, and burn some

out-buildings that would have favored the besiegers. Others were taking

down the tents that stood on a plateau near the foot of the mountain on

the right, and moving them to the intrenchment on the hill. The garrison

sallied from the fort to support their comrades, and for a time the

firing was hot.

Fort William Henry was an irregular bastioned square, formed by

embankments of gravel surmounted by a rampart of heavy logs, laid in

tiers crossed one upon another, the interstices filled with earth. The

lake protected it on the north, the marsh on the east, and ditches with

chevaux-de-frise on the south and west. Seventeen cannon, great and

small, besides several mortars and swivels, were mounted upon it; and a

brave Scotch veteran, Lieutenant-Colonel Monro, of the thirty-fifth

regiment, was in command.

General Webb lay fourteen miles distant at Fort Edward, with twenty-six

hundred men, chiefly provincials. On the twenty-fifth of July he had

made a visit to Fort William Henry, examined the place, given some

orders, and returned on the twenty-ninth. He then wrote to the Governor

of New York, telling him that the French were certainly coming, begging

him to send up the militia, and saying: "I am determined to march to

Fort William Henry with the whole army under my command as soon as I

shall hear of the farther approach of the enemy." Instead of doing so he

waited three days, and then sent up a detachment of two hundred regulars

under Lieutenant-Colonel Young, and eight hundred Massachusetts men

under Colonel Frye. This raised the force at the lake to two thousand

and two hundred, including sailors and mechanics, and reduced that of

Webb to sixteen hundred, besides half as many more distributed at Albany

and the intervening forts. If, according to his spirited intention, he

should go to the rescue of Monro, he must leave some of his troops

behind him to protect the lower posts from a possible French inroad by

way of South Bay. Thus his power of aiding Monro was slight, so rashly

had Loudon, intent on Louisbourg, left this frontier open to attack. The

defect, however, was as much in Webb himself as in his resources. His

conduct in the past year had raised doubts of his personal courage; and

this was the moment for answering them. Great as was the disparity of

numbers, the emergency would have justified an attempt to save Monro at

any risk. That officer sent him a hasty note, written at nine o'clock on

the morning of the third, telling him that the French were in sight on

the lake; and, in the next night, three rangers came to Fort Edward,

bringing another short note, dated at six in the evening, announcing

that the firing had begun, and closing with the words: "I believe you

will think it proper to send a reinforcement as soon as possible." Now,

if ever, was the time to move, before the fort was invested and access

cut off. But Webb lay quiet, sending expresses to New England for help

which could not possibly arrive in time. On the next night another note

came from Monro to say that the French were upon him in great numbers,

well supplied with artillery, but that the garrison were all in good

spirits. "I make no doubt," wrote the hard-pressed officer, "that you

will soon send us a reinforcement;" and again on the same day: "We are

very certain that a part of the enemy have got between you and us upon

the high road, and would therefore be glad (if it meets with your

approbation) the whole army was marched." But Webb gave no sign.

When the skirmishing around the fort was over, La Corne, with a body of

Indians, occupied the road that led to Fort Edward, and Levis encamped

hard by to support him, while Montcalm proceeded to examine the ground

and settle his plan of attack. He made his way to the rear of the

intrenched camp and reconnoitred it, hoping to carry it by assault; but

it had a breastwork of stones and logs, and he thought the attempt too

hazardous. The ground where he stood was that where Dieskau had been

defeated; and as the fate of his predecessor was not of flattering

augury, he resolved to besiege the fort in form.

He chose for the site of his operations the ground now covered by the

village of Caldwell. A little to the north of it was a ravine, beyond

which he formed his main camp, while Levis occupied a tract of dry

ground beside the marsh, whence he could easily move to intercept

succors from Fort Edward on the one hand, or repel a sortie from Fort

William Henry on the other. A brook ran down the ravine and entered the

lake at a small cove protected from the fire of the fort by a point of

land; and at this place, still called Artillery Cove, Montcalm prepared

to debark his cannon and mortars.

Having made his preparations, he sent Fontbrune, one of his

aides-de-camp, with a letter to Monro. "I owe it to humanity," he wrote,

"to summon you to surrender. At present I can restrain the savages, and

make them observe the terms of a capitulation, as I might not have power

to do under other circumstances; and an obstinate defence on your part

could only retard the capture of the place a few days, and endanger an

unfortunate garrison which cannot be relieved, in consequence of the

dispositions I have made. I demand a decisive answer within an hour."

Monro replied that he and his soldiers would defend themselves to the

last. While the flags of truce were flying, the Indians swarmed over the

fields before the fort; and when they learned the result, an Abenaki

chief shouted in broken French: "You won't surrender, eh! Fire away

then, and fight your best; for if I catch you, you shall get no

quarter." Monro emphasized his refusal by a general discharge of his


The trenches were opened on the night of the fourth,--a task of extreme

difficulty, as the ground was covered by a profusion of half-burned

stumps, roots, branches, and fallen trunks. Eight hundred men toiled

till daylight with pick, spade, and axe, while the cannon from the fort

flashed through the darkness, and grape and round-shot whistled and

screamed over their heads. Some of the English balls reached the camp

beyond the ravine, and disturbed the slumbers of the officers off duty,

as they lay wrapped in their blankets and bearskins. Before daybreak the

first parallel was made; a battery was nearly finished on the left, and

another was begun on the right. The men now worked under cover, safe in

their burrows; one gang relieved another, and the work went on all day.

The Indians were far from doing what was expected of them. Instead of

scouting in the direction of Fort Edward to learn the movements of the

enemy and prevent surprise, they loitered about the camp and in the

trenches, or amused themselves by firing at the fort from behind stumps

and logs. Some, in imitation of the French, dug little trenches for

themselves, in which they wormed their way towards the rampart, and now

and then picked off an artillery-man, not without loss on their own

side. On the afternoon of the fifth, Montcalm invited them to a council,

gave them belts of wampum, and mildly remonstrated with them. "Why

expose yourselves without necessity? I grieve bitterly over the losses

that you have met, for the least among you is precious to me. No doubt

it is a good thing to annoy the English; but that is not the main point.

You ought to inform me of everything the enemy is doing, and always keep

parties on the road between the two forts." And he gently hinted that

their place was not in his camp, but in that of Levis, where

missionaries were provided for such of them as were Christians, and food

and ammunition for them all. They promised, with excellent docility, to

do everything he wished, but added that there was something on their

hearts. Being encouraged to relieve themselves of the burden, they

complained that they had not been consulted as to the management of the

siege, but were expected to obey orders like slaves. "We know more about

fighting in the woods than you," said their orator; "ask our advice, and

you will be the better for it."

Montcalm assured them that if they had been neglected, it was only

through the hurry and confusion of the time; expressed high appreciation

of their talents for bush-fighting, promised them ample satisfaction,

and ended by telling them that in the morning they should hear the big

guns. This greatly pleased them, for they were extremely impatient for

the artillery to begin. About sunrise the battery of the left opened

with eight heavy cannon and a mortar, joined, on the next morning, by

the battery of the right, with eleven pieces more. The fort replied with

spirit. The cannon thundered all day, and from a hundred peaks and crags

the astonished wilderness roared back the sound. The Indians were

delighted. They wanted to point the guns; and to humor them, they were

now and then allowed to do so. Others lay behind logs and fallen trees,

and yelled their satisfaction when they saw the splinters fly from the

wooden rampart.

Day after day the weary roar of the distant cannonade fell on the ears

of Webb in his camp at Fort Edward. "I have not yet received the least

reinforcement," he writes to Loudon; "this is the disagreeable situation

we are at present in. The fort, by the heavy firing we hear from the

lake, is still in our possession; but I fear it cannot long hold out

against so warm a cannonading if I am not reinforced by a sufficient

number of militia to march to their relief." The militia were coming;

but it was impossible that many could reach him in less than a week.

Those from New York alone were within call, and two thousand of them

arrived soon after he sent Loudon the above letter. Then, by stripping

all the forts below, he could bring together forty-five hundred men;

while several French deserters assured him that Montcalm had nearly

twelve thousand. To advance to the relief of Monro with a force so

inferior, through a defile of rocks, forests, and mountains, made by

nature for ambuscades,--and this too with troops who had neither the

steadiness of regulars nor the bush-fighting skill of Indians,--was an

enterprise for firmer nerve than his.

He had already warned Monro to expect no help from him. At midnight of

the fourth, Captain Bartman, his aide-de-camp, wrote: "The General has

ordered me to acquaint you he does not think it prudent to attempt a

junction or to assist you till reinforced by the militia of the

colonies, for the immediate march of which repeated expresses have been

sent." The letter then declared that the French were in complete

possession of the road between the two forts, that a prisoner just

brought in reported their force in men and cannon to be very great, and

that, unless the militia came soon, Monro had better make what terms he

could with the enemy.

The chance was small that this letter would reach its destination; and

in fact the bearer was killed by La Corne's Indians, who, in stripping

the body, found the hidden paper, and carried it to the General.

Montcalm kept it several days, till the English rampart was half

battered down; and then, after saluting his enemy with a volley from all

his cannon, he sent it with a graceful compliment to Monro. It was

Bougainville who carried it, preceded by a drummer and a flag. He was

met at the foot of the glacis, blindfolded, and led through the fort

and along the edge of the lake to the intrenched camp, where Monro was

at the time. "He returned many thanks," writes the emissary in his

Diary, "for the courtesy of our nation, and protested his joy at having

to do with so generous an enemy. This was his answer to the Marquis de

Montcalm. Then they led me back, always with eyes blinded; and our

batteries began to fire again as soon as we thought that the English

grenadiers who escorted me had had time to re-enter the fort. I hope

General Webb's letter may induce the English to surrender the sooner."

By this time the sappers had worked their way to the angle of the lake,

where they were stopped by a marshy hollow, beyond which was a tract of

high ground, reaching to the fort and serving as the garden of the

garrison.[3] Logs and fascines in large quantities were thrown into the

hollow, and hurdles were laid over them to form a causeway for the

cannon. Then the sap was continued up the acclivity beyond, a trench was

opened in the garden, and a battery begun, not two hundred and fifty

yards from the fort. The Indians, in great number, crawled forward among

the beans, maize, and cabbages, and lay there ensconced. On the night of

the seventh, two men came out of the fort, apparently to reconnoitre,

with a view to a sortie, when they were greeted by a general volley and

a burst of yells which echoed among the mountains; followed by

responsive whoops pealing through the darkness from the various camps

and lurking-places of the savage warriors far and near.

The position of the besieged was now deplorable. More than three hundred

of them had been killed and wounded; small-pox was raging in the fort;

the place was a focus of infection, and the casemates were crowded with

the sick. A sortie from the intrenched camp and another from the fort

had been repulsed with loss. All their large cannon and mortars had been

burst, or disabled by shot; only seven small pieces were left fit for

service; and the whole of Montcalm's thirty-one cannon and fifteen

mortars and howitzers would soon open fire, while the walls were already

breached, and an assault was imminent. Through the night of the eighth

they fired briskly from all their remaining pieces. In the morning the

officers held a council, and all agreed to surrender if honorable terms

could be had. A white flag was raised, a drum was beat, and

Lieutenant-Colonel Young, mounted on horseback,--for a shot in the foot

had disabled him from walking,--went, followed by a few soldiers, to the

tent of Montcalm.

It was agreed that the English troops should march out with the honors

of war, and be escorted to Fort Edward by a detachment of French troops;

that they should not serve for eighteen months; and that all French

prisoners captured in America since the war began should be given up

within three months. The stores, munitions, and artillery were to be the

prize of the victors, except one field-piece, which the garrison were to

retain in recognition of their brave defence.

Before signing the capitulation Montcalm called the Indian chiefs to

council, and asked them to consent to the conditions, and promise to

restrain their young warriors from any disorder. They approved

everything and promised everything. The garrison then evacuated the

fort, and marched to join their comrades in the intrenched camp, which

was included in the surrender. No sooner were they gone than a crowd of

Indians clambered through the embrasures in search of rum and plunder.

All the sick men unable to leave their beds were instantly butchered. "I

was witness of this spectacle," says the missionary Roubaud; "I saw one

of these barbarians come out of the casemates with a human head in his

hand, from which the blood ran in streams, and which he paraded as if he

had got the finest prize in the world." There was little left to

plunder; and the Indians, joined by the more lawless of the Canadians,

turned their attention to the intrenched camp, where all the English

were now collected.

The French guard stationed there could not or would not keep out the

rabble. By the advice of Montcalm the English stove their rum-barrels;

but the Indians were drunk already with homicidal rage, and the glitter

of their vicious eyes told of the devil within. They roamed among the

tents, intrusive, insolent, their visages besmirched with war-paint;

grinning like fiends as they handled, in anticipation of the knife, the

long hair of cowering women, of whom, as well as of children, there were

many in the camp, all crazed with fright. Since the last war the New

England border population had regarded Indians with a mixture of

detestation and horror. Their mysterious warfare of ambush and surprise,

their midnight onslaughts, their butcheries, their burnings, and all

their nameless atrocities, had been for years the theme of fireside

story; and the dread they excited was deepened by the distrust and

dejection of the time. The confusion in the camp lasted through the

afternoon. "The Indians," says Bougainville, "wanted to plunder the

chests of the English; the latter resisted; and there was fear that

serious disorder would ensue. The Marquis de Montcalm ran thither

immediately, and used every means to restore tranquillity: prayers,

threats, caresses, interposition of the officers and interpreters who

have some influence over these savages." "We shall be but too happy if

we can prevent a massacre. Detestable position! of which nobody who has

not been in it can have any idea, and which makes victory itself a

sorrow to the victors. The Marquis spared no efforts to prevent the

rapacity of the savages and, I must say it, of certain persons

associated with them, from resulting in something worse than plunder. At

last, at nine o'clock in the evening, order seemed restored. The Marquis

even induced the Indians to promise that, besides the escort agreed upon

in the capitulation, two chiefs for each tribe should accompany the

English on their way to Fort Edward." He also ordered La Corne and the

other Canadian officers attached to the Indians to see that no violence

took place. He might well have done more. In view of the disorders of

the afternoon, it would not have been too much if he had ordered the

whole body of regular troops, whom alone he could trust for the purpose,

to hold themselves ready to move to the spot in case of outbreak, and

shelter their defeated foes behind a hedge of bayonets.

Bougainville was not to see what ensued; for Montcalm now sent him to

Montreal, as a special messenger to carry news of the victory. He

embarked at ten o'clock. Returning daylight found him far down the lake;

and as he looked on its still bosom flecked with mists, and its quiet

mountains sleeping under the flush of dawn, there was nothing in the

wild tranquillity of the scene to suggest the tragedy which even then

was beginning on the shore he had left behind.

The English in their camp had passed a troubled night, agitated by

strange rumors. In the morning something like a panic seized them; for

they distrusted not the Indians only, but the Canadians. In their haste

to be gone they got together at daybreak, before the escort of three

hundred regulars had arrived. They had their muskets, but no ammunition;

and few or none of the provincials had bayonets. Early as it was, the

Indians were on the alert; and, indeed, since midnight great numbers of

them had been prowling about the skirts of the camp, showing, says

Colonel Frye, "more than usual malice in their looks." Seventeen wounded

men of his regiment lay in huts, unable to join the march. In the

preceding afternoon Miles Whitworth, the regimental surgeon, had passed

them over to the care of a French surgeon, according to an agreement

made at the time of the surrender; but, the Frenchman being absent, the

other remained with them attending to their wants. The French surgeon

had caused special sentinels to be posted for their protection. These

were now removed, at the moment when they were needed most; upon which,

about five o'clock in the morning, the Indians entered the huts, dragged

out the inmates, and tomahawked and scalped them all, before the eyes of

Whitworth, and in presence of La Corne and other Canadian officers, as

well as of a French guard stationed within forty feet of the spot; and,

declares the surgeon under oath, "none, either officer or soldier,

protected the said wounded men." The opportune butchery relieved them of

a troublesome burden.

A scene of plundering now began. The escort had by this time arrived,

and Monro complained to the officers that the capitulation was broken;

but got no other answer than advice to give up the baggage to the

Indians in order to appease them. To this the English at length agreed;

but it only increased the excitement of the mob. They demanded rum; and

some of the soldiers, afraid to refuse, gave it to them from their

canteens, thus adding fuel to the flame. When, after much difficulty,

the column at last got out of the camp and began to move along the road

that crossed the rough plain between the intrenchment and the forest,

the Indians crowded upon them, impeded their march, snatched caps,

coats, and weapons from men and officers, tomahawked those that

resisted, and seizing upon shrieking women and children, dragged them

off or murdered them on the spot. It is said that some of the

interpreters secretly fomented the disorder. Suddenly there rose the

screech of the war-whoop. At this signal of butchery, which was given by

Abenaki Christians from the mission of the Penobscot, a mob of savages

rushed upon the New Hampshire men at the rear of the column, and killed

or dragged away eighty of them. A frightful tumult ensued, when

Montcalm, Levis, Bourlamaque, and many other French officers, who had

hastened from their camp on the first news of disturbance, threw

themselves among the Indians, and by promises and threats tried to allay

their frenzy. "Kill me, but spare the English who are under my

protection," exclaimed Montcalm. He took from one of them a young

officer whom the savage had seized; upon which several other Indians

immediately tomahawked their prisoners, lest they too should be taken

from them. One writer says that a French grenadier was killed and two

wounded in attempting to restore order; but the statement is doubtful.

The English seemed paralyzed, and fortunately did not attempt a

resistance, which, without ammunition as they were, would have ended in

a general massacre. Their broken column struggled forward in wild

disorder, amid the din of whoops and shrieks, till they reached the

French advance-guard, which consisted of Canadians; and here they

demanded protection from the officers, who refused to give it, telling

them that they must take to the woods and shift for themselves. Frye was

seized by a number of Indians, who, brandishing spears and tomahawks,

threatened him with death and tore off his clothing, leaving nothing but

breeches, shoes, and shirt. Repelled by the officers of the guard, he

made for the woods. A Connecticut soldier who was present says of him

that he leaped upon an Indian who stood in his way, disarmed and killed

him, and then escaped; but Frye himself does not mention the incident.

Captain Burke, also of the Massachusetts regiment, was stripped, after a

violent struggle, of all his clothes; then broke loose, gained the

woods, spent the night shivering in the thick grass of a marsh, and on

the next day reached Fort Edward. Jonathan Carver, a provincial

volunteer, declares that, when the tumult was at its height, he saw

officers of the French army walking about at a little distance and

talking with seeming unconcern. Three or four Indians seized him,

brandished their tomahawks over his head, and tore off most of his

clothes, while he vainly claimed protection from a sentinel, who called

him an English dog, and violently pushed him back among his tormentors.

Two of them were dragging him towards the neighboring swamp, when an

English officer, stripped of everything but his scarlet breeches, ran

by. One of Carver's captors sprang upon him, but was thrown to the

ground; whereupon the other went to the aid of his comrade and drove his

tomahawk into the back of the Englishman. As Carver turned to run, an

English boy, about twelve years old, clung to him and begged for help.

They ran on together for a moment, when the boy was seized, dragged from

his protector, and, as Carver judged by his shrieks, was murdered. He

himself escaped to the forest, and after three days of famine reached

Fort Edward.

The bonds of discipline seem for the time to have been completely

broken; for while Montcalm and his chief officers used every effort to

restore order, even at the risk of their lives, many other officers,

chiefly of the militia, failed atrociously to do their duty. How many

English were killed it is impossible to tell with exactness. Roubaud

says that he saw forty or fifty corpses scattered about the field. Levis

says fifty; which does not include the sick and wounded before murdered

in the camp and fort. It is certain that six or seven hundred persons

were carried off, stripped, and otherwise maltreated. Montcalm succeeded

in recovering more than four hundred of them in the course of the day;

and many of the French officers did what they could to relieve their

wants by buying back from their captors the clothing that had been torn

from them. Many of the fugitives had taken refuge in the fort, whither

Monro himself had gone to demand protection for his followers; and here

Roubaud presently found a crowd of half-frenzied women, crying in

anguish for husbands and children. All the refugees and redeemed

prisoners were afterwards conducted to the intrenched camp, where food

and shelter were provided for them, and a strong guard set for their

protection until the fifteenth, when they were sent under an escort to

Fort Edward. Here cannon had been fired at intervals to guide those who

had fled to the woods, whence they came dropping in from day to day,

half dead with famine.

On the morning after the massacre the Indians decamped in a body and set

out for Montreal, carrying with them their plunder and some two hundred

prisoners, who, it is said, could not be got out of their hands. The

soldiers were set to the work of demolishing the English fort; and the

task occupied several days. The barracks were torn down, and the huge

pine-logs of the rampart thrown into a heap. The dead bodies that filled

the casemates were added to the mass, and fire was set to the whole. The

mighty funeral pyre blazed all night. Then, on the sixteenth, the army

reimbarked. The din of ten thousand combatants, the rage, the terror,

the agony, were gone; and no living thing was left but the wolves that

gathered from the mountains to feast upon the dead.

[Footnote 2: The remains of Fort William Henry are now crowded between a

hotel and the wharf and station of a railway. A scheme has been set on

foot to level the whole for other railway structures. When I first knew

the place the ground was in much the same state as in the time of


[Footnote 3: Now the site of Fort William Henry Hotel, with its grounds.

The hollow is partly filled by the main road of Caldwell.]

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