History of Warren County, H. P. Smith
Chapter VIII: Continuation of French and English War
This transcription was produced through the use of Readiris Pro 11 OCR software. Contributed by Tim Varney.
Prospects for Campaign of 1758 - Discouragement in New France - England's Preponderance - Rogers's Rangers and their Deeds - Putnam - Three Expeditions by the English - Fall of Louisburg and Du Quesne - March against Ticonderoga - Howe's Death - The French Position - Assault by the English on the French Lines - A Bloody Battle - Abercrombie's Headquarters - Victory of the French - Engagement at Half-Way Brook - Three Military Posts within the present limits of Warren County.
When Page 96 the reader of to-day reflects upon the relative situations of France and England in the New World at the beginning of the year 1758, he finds it difficult to believe that the latter government would submit to five years more of destructive war upon the colonies before establishing her dominion over the territory south of the St. Lawrence. The vast disproportion in their material resources and military strength became constantly more obvious and decisive. The opening of the year named found Canada threatened with a famine. The harvest of the previous year was a failure, and the home government found it difficult to transmit supplies across an ocean thronged with the enemies ships. Montcalm wrote the French minister, "The article of provisions makes me tremble." The fact is a scarcity of provisions followed which caused many deaths by starvation. The population of Canada was estimated at only eighty-two thousand, from which Montcalm relied upon drawing about seven thousand men, a force which he could support with nearly four Page 97 thousand regulars. These troops were "suffering and impoverished," while fortunes awaited the corrupt high officials; frauds were perpetrated upon the king of such a flagrant character that they demanded investigation at the close of the war, and numerous other embarrassments crippled the energies and chafed the gallant spirit of Montcalm.
On the other hand, although the recent campaign had been one of disaster to the English, that fact seemed to infuse a little spirit into the English ministry which found public expression chiefly from the gifted statesman, William Pitt. A million and a half of people inhabited the British colonies and an army of some fifty thousand men was subject to the commands of Abercrombie. Commercial intercourse with the mother country was almost untrammeled, and there seems no sufficient reason why the French power should not have been extinguished by one grand movement.
But this predominance of the English was considerably modified by the facts that France had gained far stronger influence over the Indians than had the English; the Canadian population was more concentrated, and above all, the French cause was kept under command and direction of far the most brilliant and able men. Britain sent to her colonies effete generals, bankrupt nobles, and debauched parasites of the court. France selected her functionaries from the wisest, noblest and best of her people, and therefore her colonial interests were usually directed with wisdom and sagacity.
English hostilities began in December, 1757 with brilliant deeds by the rangers under Rogers and Putnam, which could not, however, seriously influence the general campaign. On the 17th of that month, Rogers, in pursuance of orders issued by Lieutenant-Colonel Haviland, who was in command of the English forces at Fort Edward, marched thence with one hundred and fifty men to reconnoitre Ticonderoga, or Carillon. The following account of the expedition we take from Rogers's Journal, and serves to illustrate the character of this feature of the war, and of the men engaged in it: -
On the 17th "we marched six miles and encamped, the snow being then three inches deep, and before morning it was fifteen; we however pursued our route.
"On the 18th in the morning, eight of my party being tired, returned to the fort; with the remainder I marched nine miles further, and encamped on the east side of Lake George, near the place where Mons. Montcalm landed his troops when he besieged and took Fort William Henry, where I found some cannon balls and shells, which had been hid by the French, and made a mark by which I might find them again.
"The 19th we continued our march on the west side of the lake nine miles further, near the head of the northwest bay.
"The 21st so many of my party tired and returned as reduced our number to 123, officers included, with whom I proceeded ten miles further, and encamped Page 98 at night, ordering each man to leave a day's provisions there till our return.
"The next day we marched ten miles further, and encamped near the great brook that runs into Lake George, eight miles from the French advanced guard.
"The 23d we marched eight miles, and the 24th six more, and halted within six hundred yards of Carillon fort. Near the mills we discovered five Indians' tracks, that had marched that way the day before, as we supposed, on a hunting party. On my march this day between the advanced guard and the fort, I appointed three places of rendezvous to repair to, in case of being broke in an action, and acquainted every officer and soldier that I should rally the party at the nearest post to the fort, and if broke then to retreat to the second, and at the third to make a stand till the darkness of the night would give us an opportunity to get off. Soon after I halted I formed an ambush on a road leading from the fort to the woods, with an advanced party of twenty men and a rear guard of fifteen. About eleven o'clock a sergeant of marines came from the fort up the road to my advanced party, who let him pass to the main body, where I made him prisoner. Upon examination he reported 'that there were in the garrison 350 regulars, about fifty workmen, and but five Indians; that they had plenty of provisions, &c., and that twelve masons were constantly employed in blowing up rocks in the entrenchment, and a number of soldiers to assist them; that at Crown Point there were 150 soldiers and fourteen Indians; that Mons. Montcalm was at Montreal; that 500 Ottowawas Indians wintered in Canada, and that 500 Rangers were lately raised in Canada, each man having a double-barreled fuzee, and put under an experienced officer, well acquainted with the country; that he did not know whether the French intended to attack any of the English forts this winter or not; but that they expected a great number of Indians as soon as the ice would bear them, in order to go down to the English forts; and that all the bakers in Carillon were employed in making biscuit for the scouts above mentioned.'
"About noon a Frenchman, who had been hunting game near my party in his return, when I ordered a party to pursue him to the edge of the cleared ground, and take him prisoner, with this caution, to shoot off a gun or two, and then retreat to the main body, in order to entice the enemy from their fort; which orders were punctually obeyed, but not one of them ventured out.
"The last prisoner, on examination, gave much the same account, but with this addition, 'that he had heard the English intended to attack Ticonderoga as soon as the lake was froze so as to bear them.'
"When I found the French would not come out of the Fort, we went about killing their cattle, and destroyed seventeen head, and set fire to the wood which they had collected for the use of the garrison, and consumed five large piles; the French shot off some cannon at the fires, but did us no harm. At Page 99 eight o'clock at night I began my march homewards, and arrived at Fort Edward with my prisoners on the 27th."
In a document entitled Journal of Occurrences in Canada, 1757-58, printed with the Paris Documents, under date of January 2d, 1758, occurs the following entry: "A courier from Carillon reports that the English showed themselves there on Christmas eve to the number of 150, with the design of setting fire to the houses under the curtain of the fort; that the cannon prevented them from doing so; that they killed some fifteen beeves, to the horns of one of which the commander had affixed a letter couched in these words:
"'I am obliged to you, sir, for the repose you have allowed me to take. I thank you for the fresh meat you have sent me. I will take care of my prisoners. I request you to present my compliments to the Marquis de Montcalm.
"'Commander of the Independent Companies.'"
It seems strange that the English did not immediately, even if in midwinter, precipitate an attack upon these two important French strongholds, when it was shown that the forces that occupied them were so small.
Again in March Rogers left Fort Edward with one hundred and eighty men to reconnoitre the vicinity of Ticonderoga; when near the foot of the lake they encountered a body of about a hundred Canadians and Indians. These were dispersed and the march continued until the English were suddenly confronted with a large force in ambush. A desperate conflict followed, the rangers fighting with a valor born of their knowledge that it was a question of life or death. Nearly the entire detachment was slain and one hundred and forty-four scalps were carried to Montcalm. Rogers, with a few of his men escaped. This bloody affray was fought near the rock bearing Rogers's name, in the northeast corner of Warren county. The battle was probably fought on snow-shoes, amid the rugged rocks and defiles of the mountains.
Another heroic incident may be related here. Major Putnam was employed early in the campaign in protecting the English communications and was stationed in a commanding position at a point near Whitehall, where the lake makes a sharp angle, now known as Fiddler's Elbow. He was in command of thirty-five rangers, and on the eastern cliffs he built a stone breastwork, which he disguised with green boughs. Here he patiently waited four days until, on the evening of the fourth day, his scout announced the approach of a flotilla. Clear moonlight revealed every movement on the water. When the foremost boats had passed the barricade the rangers poured destructive volleys upon them in rapid succession. An attempt by part of the French to land was repulsed by twelve of the little band. As dawn appeared Putnam found his ammunition expended and was forced to retire. His only loss was two men wounded. The location is still known as Put's Rock.Page 100
In March Rogers was ordered to Albany for recruiting purposes, and met with a friendly reception from Lord Howe, who was then at Albany, organizing an army with which to begin operations as soon as practicable. Howe granted Rogers permission to visit New York, where he waited upon General Abercrombie, who had succeeded Lord Loudoun as commander-in-chief Abercrombie commissioned Rogers major, his commission placing him at the head of all the scouts and rangers in that vicinity. On his return to Albany he reported to Lord Howe, who gave him his instructions, when he hurried on to Fort Edward, and resumed command of his celebrated corps.
Three formidable expeditions were planned for this year: The first against Louisburg; the second against Fort Du Quesne; the third contemplated the clearing of the Champlain valley of French occupation.
Admiral Boscowan, with twenty ships of the line and fifteen frigates, together with twelve thousand men under General Amherst arrived before Louisburg on the 3d of June. A vigorous siege was begun, which lasted until the 26th of July, when the French surrendered the position.
The expedition against Du Quesne was commanded by General John Forbes, through whose dilatory action it came very near being disastrous and abandoned. After months of wasted time, Washington was sent forward and when within a day's march of the fort they were discovered by some Indians, who carried the news of their approach to the garrison. There were then but five hundred men in the fortification, and they on the 24th of November set it on fire and fled down the Ohio River.
The capture of Ticonderoga and a descent upon Montreal was the more important, indeed it was the vital, point in the plans of the campaign. A force of about seven thousand regulars, nearly nine thousand provincials and a heavy train of artillery was assembled at the head of Lake George by the beginning of July. This was the finest army yet organized on the western continent; but unfortunately its command was given to General James Abercrombie. Judging well of his incapacity, Pitt sought to avert the probability of failure by the selection of Lord Howe, who was given the rank of brigadier-general and made the controlling spirit of the undertaking.
At dawn on the morning of the 5th of July this splendid army embarked on Lake George in nine hundred bateaux and one hundred and thirty-fine whale boats, the artillery being transported on rafts. It was all imposing fleet, such as had not before been seen on American waters. A halt was made at Sabbath-day Point for rest and refreshment just before evening, and at tell o'clock the army was again under headway. Early on the morning of the 6th a landing was made on the west side of the lake at a point which still bears the name of General Howe. Howe and Stark lay upon the same bear skin the previous night and discussed the situation at Carillon; a feeling of mutual regard sprang up between them.Page 101
De Boulamarque had been stationed at the foot of the lake with three regiments, to oppose the landing of the English; but on their approach in such overwhelming numbers, he retreated to the fort, burning both the bridges across the outlet of Lake George, compelling Abercrombie to pursue his march through the pathless forest on the west side of the stream. He left his baggage and stores at the deserted camp of De Boulamarque and took up the march directly for the French works; but the intricacy of the forest and the roughness of the ground soon broke up the columns. While in this state of confusion they encountered a body of three hundred and fifty French and Indians, who had been detached under De Trepesee, and had been for twelve hours endeavoring to tread their way through the almost impenetrable woods. A skirmish ensued in which the French soldiers displayed great heroism, despite their exhausted condition, but were nearly all slain. It proved a disastrous event to the English, for the gallant Lord Howe, (1) upon whom, as it developed, the success of the expedition depended, fell at the first fire. The British regulars were appalled at the death of Howe and, unused to forest fighting, faltered and broke, but were gallantly sustained by the provincials. The French general was also mortally wounded and almost the entire detachment slain or captured, with insignificant loss to the English. (2)
1. This noble and brave officer being universally beloved by both officers and soldiers of the army, his fall was not only sincerely lamented, but seemed to produce an almost general consternation and languor through the whole. - Hough in Rogers's journal.
2. If the British army narrowly escaped by this panic a renewal of the bloody scenes on the Monongahela, it is equally probable, if Howe had lived, and a rapid and vigorous advance been made after the annihilation of Trepesee's party, that the imperfect entrenchments of the French might have been entered and captured in the disorder and alarm of the moment. But the bugle of Abercrombie sounded the retreat, and the opportunity was lost. - Watson.
With the death of Howe fled the nope of a successful campaign. The chronic imbecility and apathy of the English returned and the army of sixteen thousand men, their only immediate enemy being four thousand under Montcalm, was withdrawn to Lake George on the morning of the 7th. Bradstreet took possession of the saw-mill at the Falls about noon, rebuilt the bridges, and in the evening the army took up its position at that point, about two miles from the fort. During this valuable period the French were strengthening their defenses. The French position is thus described by Mr. Watson: "The promontory held by Montcalm was a narrow and elevated peninsula, washed on three sides by deep waters (see engraving), with its base on the western and only accessible side. On the north of this base access was obstructed by a wet meadow, and on the southern extremity it was rendered impracticable to the advance of an army by a deep slope, extending from the hill to the outlet. The summit between these two points was rounded and sinuous with ledges and elevations at intervals. Here and about half a mile in advance of the fort Montcalm traced the line of his projected entrenchment. It followed the sinuosities of the land, the sections of the works reciprocally flanking each other." Page 102 The entrenchment, which was about an eighth of a league in length, was constructed by Dupont Le Roy, an accomplished engineer. "It was formed by falling trunks of trees, one upon the other, and others felled in front, their branches cut and sharpened produced the effect of a cheuanx de frise." (1) The abatis was about one hundred yards in width. The entire day of the 7th was spent by the French in energetic labor on this effective entrenchment, their flags flying along the line and music playing, until the line arose to a height of from eight to ten feet its entire length.
1. Montcalm's Report. Rogers says: "We toiled with repeated attacks for four hours, being greatly embarrassed by trees that were felled by the enemy without their breastwork."
Ticonderoga and its Dependencies, August, 1776, From a Plan Drawn by Col. John Trumbull.
De Levis, who had organized an expedition against the Mohawk Valley, was recalled to reinforce Ticonderoga, which was reached on the night of the 7th, by his four hundred veterans, he following at five o'clock the next morning, accompanied by the gallant De Senezergues. At about the same hour Johnson joined the English camp with three or four hundred Mohawks.
It is well settled that at this time it was Montcalm's intention to evacuate Ticonderoga; to the experienced military eye it must have seemed untenable, and it is claimed that he did not decide upon a vigorous defense until the Page 103
Map of the Outlet of Lake St. Sacrament, to Illustrate Abercrombie's Attack on Carillon.
From Butler's Lake George and Lake Champlain.
Abercrombie was misled to the belief that reinforcements were on their way to Montcalm. This fact, with the added opinion of his engineer, Clarke, that the French lines were vulnerable to infantry (although the practiced eye of Stark saw otherwise and so reported), prompted Abercrombie to an immediate attack before the arrival of his powerful artillery.
The imposing advance was made in three columns: First, rangers, bateau men and light infantry; next the provincials marched with wide openings between the regiments; behind these openings were the regulars in columns; the New Jersey and Connecticut levies formed the rear. Johnson was posted with his force of Indians on Mount Defiance, then known as Sugar Loaf Hill. He took little part in the battle.
The regulars rapidly advanced between the provincial regiments and hurled themselves with intrepid bravery and great determination upon the abatis in front of the French. Two columns attacked the right, another the center, and a fourth was thrown upon the left. But when the almost insurmountable barrier was reached, its impenetrable thicket broke up all military order, while from behind the works came terrible volleys with murderous effectiveness. More heroic valor or greater individual bravery has seldom been shown in battle than was exhibited by the British veterans, and seldom has the great advantage of even temporary entrenchments been more clearly established. The deadly fire of the French soldiers, protected by their abatis, and the cannonade from the howitzers posted at intervals along the line, told with fearful effect upon the assaulting army; but they heard no command to retreat; they had received their orders to advance, and although they could not surmount the works of the enemy, they could die in front of them. The fire of the provincials and their marksmen was perhaps more effective than the volleys of the regulars; (1) as Montcalm referred to " their murderous fire."
1. "Their fire greatly incommoded those in the entrenchments." - Pouchot.Page 105
The details of this sanguinary battle need not be further pursued; they are emblazoned on the pages of many a history. The assault was hopeless from the beginning, and while its bloody scenes were being enacted under the watchful eye of the brilliant French general, Abercrombie looked after the welfare of his noble person amid the security of the saw-mills, two miles from the battle-field. All day long the battle raged, and between the hours of six and seven the heroic columns still continued to charge upon the French lines. But the time for retreat had arrived; it should have arrived earlier, and regiment after regiment, weary and decimated and without any general order, retired to the camp, their retreat covered by the provincials. Then followed one of those strange panics to which armies, made up of the bravest material, have often been subject. From some influence that is difficult to comprehend, a feeling of terror spread through the ranks, and a wild flight ensued. Nothing but the prompt firmness of Bradstreet prevented further sacrifice. That immediate pursuit did not follow was due only to the comparative feebleness of the enemy and the impracticability of traversing the forest without Indian guides. De Levis went over the track of Abercrombie's army on the morning of the 10th and found only the vestiges of a routed host; and before that hour the English general had dishonorably placed the length of Lake George between him and his conquerors.
Abercrombie admitted the loss of about two thousand men, but the French placed it much heavier, claiming their own to be less than five hundred. Boulamarque was severely and Bougainville slightly wounded.
This terrible and probably unnecessary catastrophe was partially offset, by the successful siege of Frontenac, which capitulated to Bradstreet on the 26th of August, but the while Abercrombie dallied in helpless indecision, Montcalm, reinforced on the 12th of July by the younger Vaudreuil with three thousand Canadians, and by six hundred Indians on the 18th, (1) was vigilant and persistent, striking wherever and whenever he could detect a vulnerable point.
1. Abercrombie uses the fact of the arrival of these reinforcements to justify himself for attacking the French before the arrival of his artillery.
"On Friday, the 20th of July, succeeding this event," says Holden, in his History of Queensbury, "a detachment of four hundred men, consisting of Canadians and Indians, under the command of M. de Luc la Corne, a colonial officer, attacked an English force of one hundred and fifty men, consisting of teamsters and an escort of soldiers, while on their way from the station at the Half-way Brook, to the camp at the head of the lake. The account here given is as nearly as can be remembered in the language of a Mr. Jones, of Connecticut, who was a member of Putnam's company which arrived on the ground soon after the affray took place. In the year 1822 he related the circumstances as here recorded to the late Herman Peck, esq., of this place, while on a visit to Connecticut. It is from Mr. Peck that I obtained the narrative, Page 106 which corresponds so completely with the French version of the affair that there can be no question whatever as to its general accuracy and reliability.
"A baggage train of sixty carts, each cart drawn by two or three yoke of oxen, accompanied by an unusually large escort of troops, was dispatched from Fort Edward to the head of Lake George with supplies for the troops of General Abercrombie, who lay encamped at that point with a force of twelve thousand men, This party halted for the night at the stockade post at the Half-way Brook. As they resumed their march in the morning, and before the escort had fairly cleared the picketed enclosure, they were suddenly attacked by a large party of French and Indians which lay concealed in the thick bushes and reeds that bordered the stream, and lined the road on both sides along the low lands between the block- house and the Blind Rock.
"The night previous to this ambuscade and slaughter, Putnam's company of rangers, having been to the lake to procure supplies, encamped at the flats near the southern spur of the French Mountain. In the early morning they were aroused from their slumbers by the sound of heavy firing in a southerly direction, and rolling up their blankets they sprang to their arms and hastened rapidly forward to the scene of action, a distance of about four miles. They arrived only in time to find the slaughtered carcasses of some two hundred and fifty oxen, the mangled remains of the soldiers, women and teamsters, and the broken fragments of the two-wheeled carts, which constituted in that primitive age the sole mode of inland transportation.
"The provisions and stores had been plundered and destroyed. Among the supplies were a large number of boxes of chocolate which had been broken open and their contents strewed upon the ground, which, dissolving in the fervid heat of the summer sun, mingled with the pools and rivulets of blood, forming a sickening and revolting spectacle. The convoy had been ambushed and attacked immediately after leaving the protection of the stockade post, and the massacre took place upon the flats between the Half-way Brook and the Blind Rock, or what is more commonly known at the present day as the Miller place.
"Putnam, with his command, took the trail of the marauders, which soon became strewed with fragments of plunder dropped by the rapidly retreating savages.
"They were followed to Ganaouske Bay, on the west side of Lake George, where Putnam arrived only in time to find them embarked in their canoes, at a safe distance from musket shot, on the waters of the lake; and their discovery was responded to by insulting and obscene gestures, and yells of derision and defiance. The provincials returned immediately to the scene of the butchery, where they found a company from Fort Edward engaged in preparing a trench for the interment of the dead.
"Over one hundred of the soldiers composing the escort were slain, many Page 107 of whom were recognized as officers, from their uniform, consisting in part of red velvet breeches. The corpses of twelve females were mingled with the dead bodies of the soldiery. All the teamsters were supposed to have been killed. While the work of burial was going forward the rangers occupied themselves in searching the trails leading through the dense underbrush and tangled briars which covered the swampy plains. Several dead bodies were by these means added to the already large number of the slain. On the side of one of these trails, the narrator of these events saw a new unhemmed bandana handkerchief fluttering from the twigs of an old tree that lay among the weeds near the brook. This he found perforated with a charge of buck shot, part of which remained enveloped in its folds.
"Following up the trail, he soon found the corpse of a woman which had been exposed to the most barbarous indignities and mutilations, and fastened in an upright position to a sapling which had been bent over for that purpose. All of the bodies had been scalped, and most of them mangled in a horrible manner.
"One of the oxen had no other injury than to have one of its horns cut out; it was still alive and bellowing with agony. This they were obliged to kill.
"Another ox had been regularly scalped. This animal was afterwards driven to the lake, where it immediately became an object of sympathy and attention of the whole army. By careful attendance and nursing, the wound healed in the course of the season. In the fall the animal was driven down to the farm of Colonel Schuyler, near Albany, and the following year was shipped to England for exhibition as a curiosity. Far and wide it was known as the scalped ox. The bodies of the dead were buried in a trench near the scene of massacre, a few rods east of the picketed enclosure. The French version of the affair states 'the oxen were killed, the carts burnt, the property pillaged by the Indians, one hundred and ten scalps were secured, and eighty-four prisoners taken; of these twelve are women and girls. The escort which was defeated consisted of forty men commanded by a lieutenant who has been taken. The remainder who were killed or taken prisoners consisted of wagoners, sutlers, traders, women and children. The English 'tis known feel this loss very sensibly. Some baggage and effects belonging to General Abercrombie, as well as his music, were among the plunder. On the news of this defeat, the English general sent a very considerable force in pursuit, under the command of the partisan Robert Rogers, but he was too late. He was on the point of returning, when, on the advice of a colonial gunner, a deserter, he received orders to lay in ambush to surprise a third detachment which the Marquis de Montcalm had just dispatched under the orders of M. Marin, a colonial officer of great reputation. This detachment was composed of fifty regulars, one hundred Canadians, and one hundred and fifty Indians. That of the enemy, Page 108 of about seven hundred men. They met in the woods, about seven o'clock in the morning of the eighth of August, and in spite of superior numbers, M. Marin made his arrangements to fight the enemy.
"He forced them to waver by two volleys, which killed a great many; but having been supported by the regulars, they rallied, and the firing was brisk on both sides for nearly an hour. M. Marin, perceiving that they were receiving a reinforcement, and that the Indians, who feared that they would not be able to carry off some wounded, demanding to retire, he was obliged to think of retreating, which he did in good order, and without being pursued, after having, for an hour longer kept up a fire with such picked men as he had, who performed prodigies of valor. The Indians, in general, have also behaved well; but of one hundred Canadians, more than sixty deserted M. Marin, no one knows wherefore, at the very moment when the English were wavering. The English loss is reported in this account at upwards of two hundred killed and two officers taken prisoners. The French loss is stated at ten killed and eleven wounded. The scene of this engagement was near Fort Anne.' Rogers's journal estimates the French loss at one hundred and ninety-nine."
Putnam and a few others were cut off from the main body. The men were slain, and Putnam captured and securely bound to a tree. As the changes of the battle surged around him, he was placed at times between the fire of the contending parties and his garments torn by the shots, alike by friend and foe. While in this helpless condition, a young Indian approached and amused himself with the strange pastime of hurling his tomahawk at the prisoner, practicing how near he could approach without hitting the mark. A still more savage Canadian presented his gun at Putnam's breast, but it missed fire. He then indulged his fierce passions by inflicting upon the prisoner several severe wounds with the butt of the weapon. When the French were repulsed and commenced their retreat, his Indian captor released Putnam and extended to him that mysterious tenderness and care with which the Indians treat their victims destined to the torture. The savages encamped at night, and then the strange motive that actuated this kindness was revealed. Putnam, stripped of his clothing, was again tied to a sappling; dried fagots were piled about him, the torch applied, and while the smoke and crackling flames began to ascend, the thoughts of the brave ranger dwelt upon his happy home and prattling children. When the agony of death in this frightful form was almost passed, the generous Marin, who had learned of his peril, rushed to the spot, and bursting through the circle of shouting savages, scattered the firebrands and rescued the victim. In the ensuing autumn Putnam was exchanged and returned to new fields of glory, but to none of such appalling horror.
About this time there were three picketed forts or stockades constructed along the line of the old military road. One was "on what was then called Picket Brook, a small rivulet which crosses the plank road about one-eighth of Page 109 a mile south of the upper toll-gate by Brown's Half-way House (at French Mountain), and empties into a stream known in the earlier annals of the town as Hampshire Creek or Rocky Brook, but now called Trout Brook. This fortification was erected on the south side of the rivulet, to which led a covered way, even now to be distinctly traced. It was called Fort Williams." (1) One was at Half-way Brook, and was used as a depot for provisions and stores. A third, "capable of accommodating about three hundred men was built somewhere near the site of Richards's steam saw-mill, on the berme side of the Glens Falls feeder, and east of the bridge on the road leading to Sandy Hill. . . . Connected with this fort was a burial ground which has been in use so lately as since the Revolutionary war." (2)
1. Holden's History of Queensbury.