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OPERATIONS ELSEWHERE.

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importance, at this trying juncture, of securing the assistance of these forest warriors. "It is in their power," said he, "to be of infinite use to us; and without Indians, we shall never be able to cope with these cruel foes to our country."*

Washington had now time to inform himself of the fate of the other enterprises included in this year's plan of military operations. We shall briefly dispose of them, for the sake of carrying on the general course of events. The history of Washington is linked with the history of the colonies.

The defeat of Braddock paralyzed the expedition against Niagara. Many of General Shirley's troops, which were assembled at Albany, struck with the consternation which it caused throughout the country, deserted. Most of the batteau men, who were to transport stores by various streams, returned home. It was near the end of August before Shirley was in force at Oswego. Time was lost in building boats for the lake. Storms and head winds ensued; then sickness : military incapacity in the general completed the list of impediments. Deferring the completion of the enter prise until the following year, Shirley returned to Albany with the main part of his forces in October, leaving about seven hundred men to garrison the fortifications he had commenced at Oswego.

To General William Johnson, it will be recollected, had been confided the expedition against Crown Point, on Lake Champlain. Preparations were made for it in Albany, whence the troops were to march, and the

*Letter to Dinwiddie.

artillery, ammunition, and stores to be conveyed up the Hudson to the carrying-place, between that river and Lake St. Sacrament, as it was termed by the French, but Lake George, as Johnson named it, in honor of his sovereign. At the carrying-place a fort was commenced, subsequently called Fort Edward. Part of the troops remained under General Lyman, to complete and garrison it; the main force proceeded under General Johnson to Lake George, the plan being to descend that lake to its outlet at Ticonderoga; in Lake Champlain. Having to attend the arrival of batteaux forwarded for the purpose from Albany by the carrying-place, Johnson encamped at the south end of the lake. He had with him between five and six thousand troops of New York and New England, and a host of Mohawk warriors, loyally devoted to him.

It so happened, that a French force of upwards of three thousand men, under the Baron de Dieskau, an old general of high reputation, had recently arrived at Quebec, destined against Oswego. The baron had proceeded to Montreal, and sent forward thence seven hundred of his troops, when news arrived of the army gathering on Lake George for the attack on Crown Point, perhaps for an inroad into Canada. The public were in consternation; yielding to their importunities, the baron took post at Crown Point for its defence. Beside his regular troops, he had with him eight hundred Canadians, and seven hundred Indians of different tribes. The latter were under the general command of the Chevalier Legardeur de St. Pierre, the veteran officer to whom Washington had delivered the despatches of Governor Dinwiddie on his diplomatic mis

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sion to the frontier. The chevalier was a man of great influence among the Indians.

In the mean time, Johnson remained encamped at the south end of Lake George, awaiting the arrival of his batteaux. The camp was protected in the rear by the lake, in front by a bulwark of felled trees; and was flanked by thickly wooded swamps.

On the 7th of September, the Indian scouts brought word that they had discovered three large roads made through the forests toward Fort Edward. An attack on that post was apprehended. Adams, a hardy waggoner, rode express with orders to the commander to draw all the troops within the works. About midnight came other scouts. They had seen the French within four miles of the carrying-place. They had heard the report of a musket, and the voice of a man crying for mercy, supposed to be the unfortunate Adams. In the morning, Colonel Williams was detached with one thousand men, and two hundred Indians, to intercept the enemy in their retreat. Within two hours after their departure a heavy fire of musketry, in the midst of the forest, about three or four miles off, told of a warm encounter. The drums beat to arms; all were at their posts. The firing grew sharper and sharper, and nearer and nearer. The detachment under Williams was evidently retreating. Colonel Cole was sent with three hundred men to cover their retreat. The breastwork of trees was manned. Some heavy cannon were dragged up to strengthen the front. A number of men were stationed with a fieldpiece on an eminence on the left flank.

In a short time fugitives made their appearance;

first singly, then in masses, flying in confusion, with a rattling fire behind them, and the horrible Indian warwhoop. Consternation seized upon the camp, especially when the French emerged from the forest in battle array, led by the Baron Dieskau, the gallant commander of Crown Point. Had all his troops been as daring as himself, the camp might have been carried by assault; but the Canadians and Indians held back, posted themselves behind trees, and took to bushfighting.

The baron was left with his regulars (two hundred grenadiers) in front of the camp. He kept up a fire by platoons, but at too great a distance to do much mischief; the Canadians and Indians fired from their coverts. The artillery played on them in return. The camp, having recovered from its panic, opened a fire of musketry. The engagement became general. The French grenadiers stood their ground bravely for a long time, but were dreadfully cut up by the artillery and small arms. The action slackened on the part of the French, until, after a long contest, they gave way. Johnson's men and the Indians then leaped over the breastwork, and a chance medley fight ensued, that ended in the slaughter, rout, or capture of the enemy.

The Baron de Dieskau had been disabled by a wound in the leg. One of his men, who endeavored to assist him, was shot down by his side. The baron, left alone in the retreat, was found by the pursuers leaning against a stump of a tree. As they approached, he felt for his watch to insure kind treatment by delivering it up. A soldier, thinking he was drawing forth a pistol to defend himself, shot him

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through the hips. He was conveyed a prisoner to the camp, but ultimately died of his wounds.

The baron had really set off from Crown Point to surprise Fort Edward, and, if successful, to push on to Albany and Schenectady; lay them in ashes, and cut off all communication with Oswego. The Canadians and Indians, however, refused to attack the fort, fear ful of its cannon; he had changed his plan, therefore, and determined to surprise the camp. In the encounter with the detachment under Williams, the brave Chevalier Legardeur de St. Pierre lost his life. On the part of the Americans, Hendrick, a famous old Mohawk sachem, grand ally of General Johnson, was slain.

Johnson himself received a slight wound early in the action, and retired to his tent. He did not follow up the victory as he should have done, alleging that it was first necessary to build a strong fort at his encampment, by way of keeping up a communication with Albany, and by the time this was completed, it would be too late to advance against Crown Point. He accordingly erected a stockaded fort, which received the name of William Henry; and having garrisoned it, returned to Albany. His services, although they gained him no laurel-wreath, were rewarded by government with five thousand pounds, and a baronetcy; and he was made Superintendent of Indian Affairs.*

* Johnson's Letter to the Colonial Governors, Sept. 9th, 1753. London Mag., 1755, p. 544. Holmes's Am. Annals, vol. ii., p. 63. 4th edit., 1829.

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