HISTORY OF

SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK.

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

--------------------

CHAPTER IX.

FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS - THE NORTHERN INVASION OF 1666.

-------------------------

AFTER the weary feet of Isaac Jogues had ceased to tread the war-trails of old Saratoga and Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, the next expedition of importance which passed from the St. Lawrence to the Mohawk over these old trails was the famous expedition of Governor Daniel de Remi, Sieur de Courcelle, and the Marquis de Tracy, lieutenant-general of Canada, to the Mohawk country in 1666. This expedition was also intimately connected with the naming of the Chazy river, of Clinton county, on Lake Champlain.

The Chazy river flows from the beautiful lake of the same name northerly and easterly, and falls into the northerly end of Lake Champlain, nearly opposite the Isle la Motte, of historic fame. The Chazy lake sleeps at the foot of Mount Lyon, one of the central peaks of a mountain group of the Lake Bell of the Wilderness, on the rugged eastern border of Clinton county.

This beautiful stream was named in memory of Sieur Chazy, a young French nobleman, who was murdered on its banks near its mouth, by the Indians, in the year 1666.

M. Chazy was a nephew of the Marquis de Tracy, and was a captain in the famous French regiment, Carignan-Salières.

This regiment was the first body of regular troops that was sent to Canada by the French king.

It was raised by Prince Carignan in Savoy during the year 1544. Eight years after it was conspicuous in the service of the French king in the battles with Prince Condé in the revolt of the Fronde. But the Prince of Carignan was unable to support the regiment, and gave it to the king, who attached it to the armies of France.

In 1664 it took a distinguished part with the allied forces of France in the Austrian war with the Turks. The next year it went with Tracy to Canada. Among its captains, besides Chazy, were Sorel, Chambly, La Motte, and others whose names are so familiar in Canadian annals. The regiment was commanded by Colonel de Salières. Hence its double name. {Parkman's Old Regime, p. 181.}

In 1665, Tracy landed at Quebec in great pomp and splendor. {Ibid., p. 178.} The Chevalier de Chaumont was at his side, and a long line of young noblesse, gorgeous in lace, ribbons, and majestic leonine wigs, followed in his train. As this splendid array of noblemen marched through the narrow streets of the young, city at the tap of the drum, escorted by the regiment Carignan-Salières, "the bronzed veterans of the Turkish wars," each soldier with slouched hat, nodding plume, bandolier, and shouldered firelock, they formed a glittering pageant, such as the New World had never seen before.

In the same year the captain Sieur La Motte built Fort St. Anne upon the Isle La Motte, at the south end of Lake Champlain, opposite the mouth of the Chazy river. Young Chazy was stationed at this fort in the spring of 1666, and while hunting in the woods, near the mouth of the river, with a party of officers, was surprised and attacked by a roving band of Iroquois. Chazy, with two or three others, was killed upon the spot, and the survivors captured and carried off prisoners to the valley of the Mohawk. For months the war thus begun raged with unabated violence, and the old wilderness was again drenched in blood, as it had been in the time of Father Jogues, twenty years before.

But in the August following a grand council of peace was held with the Iroquois at Quebec. During the council Tracy invited some Mohawk chiefs to dine with him. At the table some allusion was made to the murder of Chazy. A chief, named Ag-ari-ata, at once held out his arm and boastingly said, -

''This is the hand that split the head of that young man!"

"You shall never kill anybody else," exclaimed the horror-stricken Tracy, and ordered the insolent savage to be taken out and hanged upon the spot, in sight of his comrades {Ibid., p. 192.}

Of course peace was no longer thought of. Tracy made haste to march against the Mohawks with all the forces at his command.

During the month of September, Quebec on the St. Lawrence, and Fort St. Anne on the Isle La Motte in Lake Champlain, were scenes of busy preparation. At length Tracy and the governor, Courcelle, set out from Quebec on the day of the exaltation of the Cross, "for whose glory," says the Relation, "this expedition is undertaken." They had with them a force of thirteen hundred men and two pieces of cannon. It was the beginning of October, and the forests were putting on the gorgeous hues of an American autumn. They went up Lake Champlain and into Lake St. Sacrament, now Lake George. As their flotilla swept gracefully over the crystal waters of this gem of the old wilderness, it formed the first of the military pageants that in after-years made that fair scene famous in history.

Leaving their canoes where Fort William Henry was afterwards built, they plunged boldly on foot into the southern wilderness that lay before them towards the Mohawk country. They took the old Indian trail, so often trodden by Father Jogues and by war-parties of savages, which led across the Hudson at the main bend above Glen's Falls, and passed across the old Indian hunting-ground, Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, through what are now the towns of Wilton, Greenfield, and Galway, in Saratoga County, to the lower castles on the Mohawk near the mouth of the Schoharie creek. It was more than forty miles of forests filled with swamps, rivers, and mountains, that lay before them. Their path was a narrow, rugged trail, filled with rocks and gullies, pitfalls and streams. Their forces consisted of six hundred regulars of the regiment Carignan-Salières, six hundred Canadian militia, and a hundred Christian Indians from the missions.

"It seems to them," writes Mother Marie de l'Incarnation, in her letter of the 16th of October, 1666, "that they are going to lay siege to Paradise and win it and enter in, because they are fighting for religion and the faith."

On they went through the tangled woods, officers as well as men carrying heavy loads upon their backs, and dragging their cannon "over slippery logs, tangled roots, and oozy masses." Before long, in the vicinity of what is now known as Lake Desolation, their provisions gave out, and they were almost starved. But soon the trail led through a thick wood of chestnut-trees full of nuts, which they eagerly devoured and thus stayed their hunger.

At length, after many weary days, they reached the lower Mohawk cantons. The names of the two lower Mohawk castles were then Te-hon-da-lo-ga, which was at Fort Hunter, at the mouth of the Schoharie crook, and Ga-no-wa-ga, now Cach-na-wa-ga, which was near Tribes hill. The upper castles, which were farther up the Mohawk, were the Ca-na-jo-ha-e, near Fort Plain, and Ga-ne-ha-ho-ga, opposite the mouth of East Canada creek.

They marched through the fertile valley of the Mohawk, the Indians fleeing into the forest at their approach. Thus the brilliant pageant of the summer that had glittered across the sombre rock of Quebec, was twice repeated by this warlike band of noblemen and soldiers amid the crimson glories of the autumn woods in the wild valley of the Mohawk. They did not need the cannon which they had brought with so much toil across the country from Lake St. Sacrament. The savages were frightened almost out of their wits by the noise of their twenty drums. "Let us save ourselves, brothers," said one of the Mohawk chiefs, as he ran away, "the whole world is coming against us."

After destroying all the corn-fields in the valley, and burning the last palisaded Mohawk village, they planted a cross on its ashes, and by the side of the cross the royal arms of France. Then an officer, by order of Tracy, advanced to the front, and, with sword in band, proclaimed in a loud voice that he took possession, in the name of the king of France, of all the country of the Mohawks.

Having thus happily accomplished their object without the loss of a man, they returned unmolested to Canada over the route by which they came.

The death of young Chazy was avenged. The insolent Iroquois were for the first time chastised and humbled in their own country. For twenty years afterwards there was peace in the old wilderness - peace bought by the blood of young Chazy.

Surely was the beautiful river, on whose banks his bones still rest, christened with his name amid a baptism of fire at an altar upon which the villages, the wigwams, the cornfields of his murderers were the sacrificial offerings.

And so ended the second French and Indian war, known in colonial annals as the War of 1666.

----------------------------------------

NEXT --- HOME

Transcribed from the original text and html prepared by Bill Carr, last updated 2/7/00.

Please provide me with any feedback you may have concerning errors in the transcription or any supplementary information concerning the contents. wcarr1@nycap.rr.com


Back to Saratoga County GenWeb


Copyright ©1999,2000 Bill Carr and Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County

All Rights Reserved.