Warren County, New York
Genealogy and History

History of Warren County, H. P. Smith
Chapter VII: French and English War

This transcription was produced through the use of Readiris Pro 11 OCR software. Contributed by Tim Varney.


Plans of the Campaign - Apathy and Indecision of the English - Brilliant Deeds of the Rangers - Arrival of Montcalm - Capture of Oswego - Campaign of 1757- Marin's Operations - Montcalm's Preparations for the Capture of Fort William Henry - Council with the Indians - March of De Levis - Condition of the Fort - Webb's Pusillanimous Conduct - Details of the Massacre.

After Page 84 the hostilities above described, strange as it may appear, it was not till the following year, as hereinbefore mentioned, that a formal declaration of war was proclaimed between England and France. In the year 1756 another Page 85 force was organized for an attack upon Crown Point. Sir Charles Hardy, who arrived as governor of New York in September, 1755, had delegated most of his civil duties to De Lancey, and in 1757 resigned. The campaign of 1756, as planned, comprised movements against Fort Niagara with six thousand men, Fort Du Quesne with three thousand men and Crown Point with ten thousand, while two thousand were to advance on the French settlements on the Chaudiere and to Quebec - a campaign of sufficient magnitude surely. The population of the province of New York was then 96,775. The expedition against Crown Point was entrusted to General John Winslow, but lacking confidence in the number of his force, he awaited reinforcements from England. Lord Loudoun had recently been appointed commander-in-chief and governor of Virginia, with General Abercrombie second in command. Late in June the latter arrived with troops to reinforce General Winslow, but he at once blighted all prospects of success in the field, by placing regular officers above the provincial officers of equal rank. Many men deserted and officers threatened to relinquish their commissions. This difficulty was finally adjusted by an agreement that the regulars should be assigned to garrison duty, the provincials to take the field. But through the dissensions, incapacity and apathetic indecision of the English commander, little was accomplished of an offensive character against the French during the year, other than the often brilliant exploits of the American rangers, commanded by Rogers, Stark and others. In the language of Mr. Watson, "Rogers, the gallant ranger, was particularly conspicuous in these wild and daring adventures. Sometimes stealing under the cover of night by the forts in canoes, he lay in ambush far down the lake, surprised and captured boats laden with supplies, which, unsuspicious of danger, were proceeding to relieve the garrisons, Frequently he approached the forts by land, and prowling about them with Indian skill and patience, until he ascertained the intelligence he was ordered to collect, he captured prisoners, shot down stragglers, burnt dwellings, and slaughtered cattle feeding around the works, and then defying pursuit, retreated in safety. In one of these bold incursions, which signalized the opening of the next year, Rogers and Stark had penetrated with a force of less than eighty men, to a point between the French fortresses, near the mouth of a stream, since known as Putnam's Creek, and there in ambush awaited their victims. A party of French are passing in gay and joyous security on the ice towards Ticonderoga. Part are taken, the rest escape and alarm the garrison. The rangers attempt to escape, pressing rapidly along the snow path, in Indian file, as was their custom, but on ascending the crest of a hill they receive the fire of an overwhelming force, posted with every advantage to receive them. A fierce and bloody conflict ensued, protracted from near meridian until evening. The rangers retreating to a hill, are protected by the covert of the trees and there gallantly sustain the unequal conflict. Rogers, twice wounded, yields the command of the little band to Stark, Page 86 who, with infinite skill and courage, guides the battle, repulses the foe, with a loss far exceeding his entire force, and at night conducts a successful retreat to Lake George. This courageous band, reduced to forty-eight effective men, with their prisoners effected a retreat to Fort William Henry in safety."

A similar brilliant movement was attempted in the ensuing February, by the French and Canadians to the number of fifteen hundred, led by Vaudreuil. They traversed the ice and snow of Lakes Champlain and George, more than one hundred miles in an effort to surprise and capture Fort William Henry. But the vigilant garrison successfully defended the works, although the little fleet of bateaux and the huts of the rangers were destroyed.

The Marquis de Montcalm was made the successor of Dieskau in command of the French and their allies, and succeeded, even to a greater extent than had his predecessors, in winning the confidence and utilizing the power of the Indians. (1) They were the most dreaded opponents and formidable enemies to the brilliant and heroic operations of the rangers under Rogers, Stark and Putnam.

1. The French, far more than the English, were successful in conducting military operations in association with their savage auxiliaries. More flexible in their own feelings, they were more yielding and tolerant towards the peculiar habits and temperament of the Indians. Coercion and reason were powerless with such allies. They were often the most valuable auxiliaries, and achieved victory upon more than one important field; but always unreliable, no safe calculations could be placed upon their services, their fidelity or constancy. Montcalm pronounced them inestimable as scouts and spies. - Watson.

Montcalm (2) arrived at Quebec in May, 1756, and immediately made himself acquainted with the condition and prospects of his forces; and he found the situation anything but encouraging. He visited Carillon (Ticonderoga) where he had given but one day to inspection and consultation, when he was recalled by Vaudreuil. Early in August he had organized at Frontenac a force of about five thousand men, with which he rapidly advanced upon Oswego, Abercrombie was informed at Albany of the contemplated attack, but the characteristic apathy of the English at that period prevented the necessary immediate action, instead of which Abercrombie and Loudoun began deliberate preparations for a descent upon Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Reinforcements were sent to Forts Edward and William Henry. The opportunity for relieving Oswego was lost. After a brief defense the fort at that point capitulated (August 11th, 1756) and turned over to Montcalm sixteen hundred men, one hundred cannon, a large quantity of stores, and the vessels then in the harbor. Even the fall of Oswego did not awaken the energies of Loudoun. An attack was, however, made by the English, with a fleet of boats upon the outworks and flotilla at Ticonderoga; but Montcalm had proceeded thither and the attack was repulsed with severe loss.

2. He was of noble birth and thorough education, and entered the French army at fourteen; distinguished himself in the war of the Austrian succession in Germany, and gained the rank of colonel for his conduct in the battle of Piaceuza, in Italy, in 1746. His career in the New World was marked by skill, heroism and humanity.

Page 87

For the campaign of 1757 Loudoun made requisition for four thousand troops from the northern colonies, which were furnished, as was supposed for the reduction of Crown Point and Ticonderoga; but the incapable official again disappointed them, and in June made an ineffectual effort to capture Louisburg. This futile and impracticable scheme left the frontier colonies open and unprotected. The vigilant and sagacious enemy, from their watch-towers at Carillon, saw the error and prepared promptly to seize the advantage.

In July Marin (1) left Carillon with a small party of Indians and surprised and attacked near Fort Edward two detachments, which suffered severely at his hands. His retreat, made in the face of superior numbers, was successfully conducted. He brought in thirty-two scalps. In the same summer a party of three hundred and fifty English provincials, who were proceeding down Lake George, were surprised by a force of Ottawa Indians, under Corbiere, at Sabbath-day Point. Only two boats and fifty men escaped.

1. Marin was formerly connected with the French navy, but while yet young he was allured by the promised romance and daring of the border warfare in New France and joined the irregular forces of Indians and Canadians. His deeds were valorous, often sanguinary, but sometimes redeemed by generous acts.

It had now become a cherished purpose with Montcalm to destroy Fort William Henry, which was a source of constant anxiety to the Canadian government, and he resolved to make the effort. The Indian warriors were summoned and responded in such numbers, from Lake Superior to Acadia, that Montcalm was constrained to write, "I have seized their manners and genius." This able general, with rare intuitiveness, mingled with the savages and took part in their ceremonies, made them liberal gifts, and then excited their passions with visions of rich plunder and revenge. The French and Canadian forces were rapidly assembled at Crown Point and Carillon, where they were joined by the Indians. The latter came up the lake in two hundred canoes, accompanied by the priests, the war chants blending with missionary hymns. Across the portage of about three miles to Lake George, two hundred and fifty bateaux and two hundred canoes were transported, a work of great magnitude, and performed without the aid of horses or oxen. The following day Montcalm called a council of his Indian allies. It should be understood that at this time large numbers of the Five Nations had become settled in Canada, or had joined the French cause from other points, chiefly on account of the success; of the French arms and the apathy of the English. On the occasion in question these Iroquois warriors acted the host and received the other tribes with hospitality. To the Iroquois Montcalm presented the "great belt of two thousand beads, to bind the Indians to each other and all to himself." He then unfolded to them his plans. De Levis, with twenty-two hundred French and Canadians, started two days in advance, under escort of six hundred Indians, with the purpose of traversing the mountain track on the west side of the lake, leaving his baggage to come by water. On the first of August the Page 88 remainder of the force embarked in the bateaux. After severe trials De Levis reached his destination and signaled the fact to Montcalm by means of fires at Ganaouske. On the same evening Montcalm marched towards the fort. Montcalm's force comprised about five thousand five hundred effective men and sixteen hundred Indians.

The fort was garrisoned by five hundred men, under the gallant veteran, Colonel Munro, and supported by seventeen hundred troops in an entrenched camp. General Webb was at Fort Edward, only fifteen miles distant, with four thousand men. Colonel Munro felt strong in his position under these favorable circumstance. Webb had visited Fort William Henry just before Montcalm's investment, escorted by a body of rangers under Putnam. The latter, in making a reconnaissance down the lake, discovered the approach of the French, which fact he immediately communicated to Webb and urged him to oppose their landing. Instead, he ignobly enjoined secrecy upon Putnam and hastily returned to Fort Edward. Learning of the movements of Montcalm, Johnson had already marched to Fort Edward with a force of militia and Indians, reaching there on the second day of the siege. For six days the siege was continued, during which almost daily appeals were sent to Webb for aid. None was sent. He finally consented that Johnson should march with the militia and rangers to the relief of the beleaguered fortress; but he was peremptorily recalled after he had proceeded about three miles. Webb sent a letter (1) to Munro advising surrender. It is clear that poltroons sometimes reach high station in the military as well as in civil life. Montcalm was fortunate. On the same day he received from France dispatches promising royal favors to the army and conferring upon himself the red ribbon with the rank of commander of St. Louis. The army was inspired to added enthusiasm.

1. This letter was written by an aide-de-camp, who says: "He [General Webb] has ordered me to acquaint you that he does not think it prudent (its you know his strength at this place) 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. One of our scouts brought in a Canadian prisoner last night from the investing party, which is very large, and have possessed all the grounds five miles on this side of Fort William Henry. The number of the enemy is very considerable, the prisoners say eleven thousand, and have a large train of artillery, with mortars, and were to open their batteries this day (Aug. 4th). The general thought proper to send you this intelligence, that in case he should be so unfortunate, from the delays of the militia, not to have it in his power to give you timely assistance, you might be able to make the best terms in your power," etc.

Webb's letter to Munro was intercepted by Montcalm, who forwarded it to the fort, with a demand for its instant surrender. Further resistance was useless, and with his ammunition nearly exhausted and half his guns useless, Munro was forced to hang out a flag of truce. Montcalm agreed to honorable terms, one stipulation being that the English troops should march out of the fort "with their arms and other honors of war, and receive an escort to Fort Edward. The following night was spent by the Indians in their customary orgies in celebration of a victory; but they were disappointed that they could Page 89 not glut their vengeance with more blood, and a most horrible and disgraceful atrocity followed. As the garrison was marching from the works early in the morning, the Indians gathered about and began robbing and insulting the prisoners, brandishing their tomahawks and amusing themselves with the terror inspired in their victims. Personal encounters ensued and with the first flow of blood the savages seemed transformed into demons. Slaughter began on all sides and the dismayed prisoners fled in confusion. At this juncture Montcalm and other French officers rushed upon the scene, bared their breasts and 'by threats, prayers, caresses and conflicts with the chiefs, arrested the massacre.' (1) 'Kill me,' cried Montcalm, 'but spare the English, who are under my protection.' Over one-half the English reached Fort Edward in broken squads; four hundred were rescued with their property and restored under the capitulation of Montcalm and many others, through his solicitation, were ransomed from the Indians by Vaudreuil. About thirty were killed outright.

1. Doc. History.

Montcalm has been impassionately charged with complicity in this outrage; but it must be confessed that a calm review of the subject does not warrant such a charge. (2)

2. Such atrocities were utterly incompatible with his high character as a Christian noble, a gallant soldier, and a refined scholar, whose sensibilities had been purified and elevated by communion with the poets and philosophers of antiquity. But it (history) can never exonerate his fame from the imputation of criminal negligence and a reckless disregard to the safety of those confided to his honor and protection by the most solemn act known to warfare. A moral responsibility rests upon those who set in motion a power, which they know they have no ability to guide or control. - Watson.

Fort William Henry was totally destroyed and all its stores and munitions captured. And all this was effected with a loss to the besiegers of only fifty-three men. General Webb sent his personal baggage to a place of safety and prepared to retreat from Fort Edward to the Hudson. The reduction of this fortification and the possible capture of Albany had been a part of the plans of Montcalm, but for sufficient reasons (chief among which was the required presence of his Canadian soldiers in their harvest fields in order to avert a famine) he retired satisfied with his success and glory. Meanwhile Loudoun had taken his position on Long Island; the English had been driven from the Ohio and Montcalm had placed the valley of the St. Lawrence under the dominion of France. Great Britain and her colonies were humiliated and fearful for the future.

A detailed account of the massacre of Fort William Henry, published by Dr. Holden in his History of Warren County, as an extract from a now very rare work, namely, "Travels in North America, by Jonathan Carver, captain of the Provincial troops in North America," cannot fail to be of interest to the people of Warren county. Dr. Holden says that it has long been the basis from which the various accounts of the affair have been prepared, and as an offset to the French account, is of value to the historian: -

Page 90

"As a detail of the massacre at Fort William Henry, in the year 1757, the scene to which I refer cannot appear foreign to the design of this publication, but will serve to give my readers a just idea of the ferocity of this people. I shall take the liberty to insert it, apologizing at the same time for the length of the digression, and those egotisms which the relation renders unavoidable.

"General Webb, who commanded the English army in North America, which was then encamped at Fort Edward, having intelligence that the French troops under Mons. Montcalm were making some movements towards Fort William Henry, he detached a corps of about fifteen hundred men, consisting of English and provincials, to strengthen the garrison. In this party I went as a volunteer among the latter.

"The apprehensions of the English general were not without foundation; for on the day of our arrival we saw Lake George (formerly Lake Sacrament), to which it lies contiguous, covered with an immense number of boats; and in a few hours we found our lines attacked by the French general, who had just landed with eleven thousand regulars and Canadians, and two thousand Indians. Colonel Monro, a brave officer, commanded in the fort, and had no more than two thousand three hundred men with him, our detachment included.

"With these he made a gallant defense, and probably would have been able at last to preserve the fort had he been properly supported and permitted to continue his efforts. On every summons to surrender sent by the French general, who offered the most honorable terms, his answer repeatedly was, that he yet found himself in a condition to repel the most vigorous attacks his besiegers were able to make; and if he thought his present force insufficient, he could soon be supplied with a greater number from the adjacent army.

"But the colonel, having acquainted General Webb of his situation, and desired he would send him some fresh troops, the general dispatched a messenger to him with a letter, wherein he informed him that it was not in his power to assist him, and therefore gave him orders to surrender up the fort on the best terms he could procure. This packet fell into the hands of the French general, who immediately sent a flag of truce, desiring a conference with the governor.

"They accordingly met, attended only by a small guard, in the center between the lines; when Mons. Montcalm told the colonel that he was come in person to demand possession of the fort, as it belonged to the king, his master. The colonel replied that he knew not how that could be, nor should he surrender it up whilst it was in his power to defend it.

"The French general rejoined, at the same time delivering the packet into the colonel's hand, 'By this authority do I make the requisition.' The brave governor had no sooner read the contents of it, and become convinced that such were the orders of the commander-in-chief, and not to be disobeyed, than he hung his head in silence, and reluctantly entered into a negotiation.

Page 91

"In consideration of the gallant defense the garrison had made, they were permitted to march out with all the honors of war, to be allowed covered wagons to transport their baggage to Fort Edward, and a guard to protect them from the fury of the savages.

"The morning after the capitulation was signed, as day broke, the whole garrison, now consisting of about two thousand men, besides women and children, were drawn up within the lines, and on the point of marching off, when great numbers of Indians gathered about and began to plunder. We were first in hopes that this was their only view, and suffered them to proceed without opposition. Indeed it was not in our power to make any, had we been so inclined; for though we were permitted to carry off our arms, yet we were not allowed a single round of ammunition. In these hopes, however, we were disappointed; for presently some of them began to attack the sick and wounded, when such as were not able to crawl into the ranks, notwithstanding they endeavored to avert the fury of their enemies by their shrieks or groans, were soon dispatched.

"Then we were fully in expectation that the disturbance would have concluded, and our little army began to move; but in a short time we saw the front division driven back, and discovered that we were entirely encircled by savages. We expected every moment that the guard, which the French by the articles of capitulation had agreed to allow us, would have arrived and put an end to our apprehensions; but none appeared. The Indians now began to strip everyone without exception of their arms and clothes, and those who made the least resistance felt the weight of their tomahawks.

"I happened to be in the rear division, but it was not long before I shared the fate of my companions. Three or four of the savages laid hold of me, and whilst some held their weapons over my head, the others disrobed me of my coat, waistcoat, hat and buckles, omitting not to take from me what money I had in my pocket. As this was transacted close by the passage that led from the lines on to the plain, near which a French sentinel was posted, I ran to him and claimed his protection; but he only called me an English dog, and thrust me with violence back again into the midst of the Indians .

"I now endeavored to join a body of our troops that were crowded together at some distance; but innumerable were the blows made at me with different weapons as I passed on; luckily, however, the savages were so close together that they could not strike at me without endangering each other. Notwithstanding which, one of them found means to make a thrust at me with a spear, which grazed my side, and from another I received a wound with the same kind of a weapon in my ankle. At length I gained the spot where my countrymen stood, and forced myself into the midst of them. But before I got thus far out of the hands of the Indians the collar and wristbands of my shirt were all that remained of it, and my flesh was scratched and torn in many places by their savage grips.

Page 92

"By this time the war-whoop was given, and the Indians began to murder those that were nearest to them without distinction. It is not in the power of words to give any tolerable idea of the horrid scene that now ensued; men, women and children were dispatched in the most wanton and cruel manner and immediately scalped. Many of these savages drank the blood of their victims as it flowed from the fatal wounds.

"We now perceived, though too late to avail us, that we were to expect no relief from the French; and that, contrary to the agreement they had so lately signed to allow us a sufficient force to protect us from these insults, they tacitly permitted them; for I could plainly perceive the French officers walking about at some distance, discoursing together with apparent unconcern. For the honor of human nature I would hope that this flagrant breach of every sacred law proceeded rather from the savage disposition of the Indians, which I acknowledge it is sometimes almost impossible to control, and which now might have unexpectedly arrived to a pitch not easily to be restrained, than to any premeditated design in the French commander. An unprejudiced observer would, however, be apt to conclude that a body of ten thousand Christian troops had it in their power to prevent the massacre from becoming so general. But whatever was the cause from which it arose, the consequences of it were dreadful, and not to be paralleled in modern history.

"As the circle in which I stood enclosed by this time was much thinned, and death seemed to be approaching with hasty strides, it was proposed by some of the most resolute to make one vigorous effort, and endeavor to force our way through the savages, the only probable method of preserving our lives that now remained. This, however desperate, was resolved on, and about twenty of us sprang at once into the midst of them.

"In a moment we were all separated, and what was the fate of my companions I could not learn till some months after, when I found that only six or seven of them effected their design. Intent only on my own hazardous situation, I endeavored to make my way through my savage enemies in the best manner possible. And I have often been astonished since when I have recollected with what composure I took, as I did, every necessary step for my preservation. Some I overturned, being at that time young and athletic, and others I passed by, dexterously avoiding their weapons; till at last two very stout chiefs of the most savage tribes, as I could distinguish by their dress, whose strength I could not resist, laid hold of me by each arm, and began to force me through the crowd.

"I now resigned myself to my fate, not doubting but that they intended to dispatch me, and then to satiate their vengeance with my blood, as I found they were hurrying me towards a retired swamp that lay at some distance. But before we had got a great many yards an English gentleman of some distinction, as I could discover from his breeches, the only covering he had on, Page 93 which were of fine scarlet velvet, rushed close by us. One of the Indians instantly relinquished his hold, and, springing on this new object, endeavored to seize him as his prey; but the gentleman, being strong, threw him on the ground and would probably have got away, had not he who held my other arm quitted me to assist his brother. I seized the opportunity and hastened away to another party of English troops that were yet unbroken, and stood in a body at some distance. But before I had taken many steps I hastily cast my eyes towards the gentleman, and saw the Indian's tomahawk gash into his back and heard him utter his last groan; this added both to my speed and desperation.

"I had left this shocking scene but a few yards when a fine boy about twelve years of age, that had hitherto escaped, came up to me and begged that I would let him lay hold of me, so that he might stand some chance of getting out of the hands of the savages. I told him that I would give him every assistance in my power, and to this purpose bid him lay hold; but in a few minutes he was torn from my side, and by his shrieks I judge was soon demolished. I could not help forgetting my own cares for a minute to lament the fate of so young a sufferer; but it was utterly impossible for me to take any methods to prevent it.

"I now got once more into the midst of friends, but we were unable to afford each other any succor. As this was the division that had advanced the furthest from the fort, I thought there might be a possibility (though but a bare one) of my forcing my way through the outer ranks of the Indians, and getting to a neighboring wood, which I perceived at some distance. I was still encouraged to hope by the almost miraculous preservation I had already experienced.

"Nor were my hopes in vain, or the efforts I made ineffectual. Suffice it to say that I reached the wood; but by the time I had penetrated a little way into it my breath was so exhausted that I threw myself into a brake and lay for some minutes apparently at the last gasp. At length I recovered the power of respiration; but my apprehensions returned with all their former force when I saw several savages pass by, probably in pursuit of me, at no very great distance. In this situation I knew not whether it was better to proceed, or endeavor to conceal myself where I lay till night came on; fearing, however, that they would return the same way, I thought it most prudent to get further from the dreadful scene of my distresses. Accordingly, striking into another part of the wood, I hastened on as fast as the briars and the loss of my shoes would permit me, and after a slow progress of some hours, gained a hill that overlooked the plain that I had just left, from whence I could discern that the bloody storm raged with unabated fury.

"But not to tire my readers, I shall only add that, after passing three days without subsistence, and enduring the severity of the cold dews for three nights, Page 94 I at length reached Fort Edward, where with proper care my body soon recovered its wonted strength, and my mind, as far as the recollection of the late-melancholy events would permit, its usual composure.

"It was computed that fifteen hundred persons were killed or made prisoners by these savages during this fatal day. Many of the latter were carried off by them and never returned. A few, through favorable accidents, found their way back to their native country, after having experienced a long and severe captivity.

"The brave Colonel Monro had hastened away soon after the confusion began to endeavor to procure the guard agreed by the stipulation; but his application proving ineffectual, he remained there till General Webb sent a party of troops to demand and protect him back to Fort Edward. But these unhappy occurrences, which would probably have been prevented had he been left to pursue his own plans, together with the loss of so many brave fellows, murdered in cold blood, to whose valor he had been so lately a witness, made such an impression on his mind that he did not long survive. He died in about three months, of a broken heart, and with truth it might be said that he was an honor to his country.

"I mean not to point out the following circumstance as the immediate judgment of heaven as an atonement for this slaughter; but I cannot omit that very few of those different tribes of Indians that shared in it ever lived to return home. The small-pox, by means of their communication with the Europeans, found its way among them and made an equal havoc to what they had done. The methods they pursued on the first attack of that disorder rendered it fatal. Whilst their blood was in a state of fermentation, and nature was striving to throw out the peccant matter, they checked her operations by plunging into the water; the consequence was that they died by hundreds. The few that survived were transformed by it into hideous objects, and bore with them to the grave the deep indented marks of this much-dreaded disease. . . . Mons. Montcalm died soon after on the plains of Quebec.

"That the unprovoked cruelty of this commander was not approved by the generality of his countrymen I have since been convinced by many proofs. One only, however, which I received from a person who was a witness to it shall I at present give: A Canadian merchant, of some consideration, having heard of the surrender of the English fort, celebrated the fortunate event with great rejoicing and hospitality, according to the custom of that country; but no sooner did the news of the massacre which ensued reach his ears, than he put an immediate stop to his festivities, and exclaimed in the severest terms against the inhuman permission; declaring at the same time that those who had connived at it had thereby drawn down on that part of the king's dominions the vengeance of heaven. To this he added that he much feared the total loss of them would deservedly be the consequence. How truly this prediction, has been verified we well know."

Page 95
Page 96

Referring to the scourging of the Indian tribes in the service of the French by small-pox, Carver says they contracted the disease "by means of their communication with the Europeans." In the Journals of Major Robert Rogers he says in a foot note: "My brother, Captain Richard Rogers, died with the small-pox a few days before this fort [Fort William Henry] was besieged; but such was the cruelty and rage of the enemy after their conquest, that they dug him up out of his grave, and scalped him."

Pouchot, in his Memoirs of the War of 1756-60, mentions an instance of disinterment of the dead - perhaps the same as that of Richard Rogers above noticed, and relates the consequences as follows: "The Indians as they set out to return to their country, carried with them a disease of which many died. Some of them, seeing new graves, disinterred the dead to take their scalps, but unfortunately found that they had died of small-pox, and the infection was thus given to the Indians. The Pouteotames nation, one of the bravest and most strongly attached to the French, almost entirely perished of this epidemic."

Contact Us | ©1998-2007 Warren County: Genealogy and History