Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys
This has been donated by Buzz Flanders.





Topography of the Country between Oswego and Albany

Itinerary from the the mouth of the River Chouegen, in Lake Ontario, to Lake Oneida; then up Vilcreek to the summit level, which is the source of the River of the Moack, or des Agnies, by which we can descend to Corlar or Chenectedi, whence Albany or Orange can be reached.

The entrance of the River Chouegen is easy ; the harbor is formed of a cove. The English had a fort on each side of this river, by which this entrance was defended.

From Chouegen to the Great fall is an ascent of four leagues. In this space the navigation is intricate, the river rapid and encumbered by large rocks. Good pilots, familiar with the shoals, are requisite to be able to pass through it. Bateaux must be unloaded at the Great fall, where a portage occurs of about 40 to 50 paces. The bateaux are dragged along the ground.*

* From Chouegen to Fort Bull is estimated to be about 86 leagues. The ordinary bateau load is only 14 to 1,600 weight It takes five days to ascend the river from Chouegen to Fort Bull, and three and a half from Fort Bull to Chouegen. The river of the Five Nations rises in little lakes near which, about six leagues from its entrance into the River Chouegeo, the Indians of the Five Nations reside. That river divides into two branches. That from the right rises in the lake of the Senecas and Cayugas; that from the left beyond the lakes of the Onontaguea.

It is estimated to be about four leagues from the Fall to the mouth of the river of the Five Nations, which mouth is called the Three Rivers ; its navigation is good. About a quarter of a league before coming to the Three Rivers, there is, however, a current, where precaution is requisite.

From the Three Rivers to Lake Oneida is computed at 8 leagues ; the navigation is good ; the river is about 60 paces wide ; it is passable at all times with loaded vessels. This river is the outlet of Lake Oneida. There is neither fall nor rapid at its entrance.

Lake Oneida is twelve leagues long by about one league wide. Its navigation is beautiful and practicable at all times, unless there be a strong contrary wind. It is best on the right of the lake, which is on the north side.

From Lake Oneida we enter the River Vilerick,* which empties into that lake, and ascend nine leagues to Fort Bull. This river is full of sinuosities, narrow and sometimes embarrassed with trees fallen from both banks. Its navigation is difficult when the water is low. It is, however, passable at all times with an ordinary bateau load of 14 to 1,500 weight. When the waters of this stream are low, an ordinary bateau load cannot go by the river further than a league of Fort Bull. It becomes necessary then to unload and make a carrying place of the remainder by a road constructed to the Fort, or to send back the bateau for the other half load.

Fort Bull, which was burnt in 1756 by a detachment under the orders of M. de Lery, was situated on the right bank of this river near its source, on the height of land.

From Fort Bull to Fort Williams is estimated to be one league and a quarter. This is the Carrying place across the height of land. The English had constructed a road there over which all the carriages passed. They were obliged to bridge a portion of it, extending from Fort Bull to a small stream near which a fort had been begun though not finished ; it was to be intermediate between the two forts, having been located precisely on the summit level.

Fort Williams was situated on the right bank of the River Moack or des Agnies, near the source of that river on the height of land. It was abandoned and destroyed by the English after the capture of Chouegen.

Leaving Chouegen, there is a road over which the English used to drive horses and cattle. It follows the border of the left bank of the River Chouegen. The Five Nations' river is passed at a fall near its outlet into the River Chouegen, after which the road proceeds along the edge of the right bank of the Five Nations' river to the village of the Onnontagues, whence it proceeds across the country to the village of the Caskarorins and Oneidas+whence we can go to Forts Bull and Williams; also to fort Kouary without being obliged to pass the said two forts. The path or road taken by M. de Belhetre in his expedition against the village of the Palatines may be also used. He went from the mouth of the River de la Famine ten leagues below Chouegen; ascended this river for the distance of four leagues, and leaving it on the left, followed the path leading to Oneida lake, which he left on his right, and came to the summit level at Fort Williams.

The country through which he passed is fine, there being but few mountains. The soil is soft only in the latter part of the season. He forded three rivers, the waters of which were

* The river of the Killed Fish flows also into this lake ; the English used it formerly ; they abandoned it because there was a portage, and have preferred Vilcrick which they have cleared.

+ The road goes to the Great Oneida village, about two leagues from the lake. A picket fort, with four bastions, had been constructed in this village by the English. It was destroyed by the Oneidas in observance of their promise given at a Council held between them and the Marquis da VaudreulL Each of its sides might have been one hundred paces. There is a second Oneida village, called the Little vill age, situated on the bank of the lake. There is no fort at the latter.

very high during the four days he was going from the River a. la Famine to Fort Williams, a distance estimated at 24 to 30 leagues.

From Fort Williams the Moack river is navigable. Bateaux carry the same load as in the River Vilcrick to the portage at the Little Falls, which is about two leagues below the village of the Palatines and Fort Kouari.

From Fort Williams to Fort Kouari, situated on the right bank of the Moack river, is estimated to be 12 leagues. The road follows the right bank of the river which is the South side.

Leaving Fort Williams, there is a road that joins that by which horses and cattle pass from Fort Kouari to Chouagen. The road is bad for about four leagues after leaving Fort Williams. The road is marshy. The road is passable for sleds in winter and during the summer, and it can be easily passed on horseback at all times, though in some places there is a great deal of mud. After these four leagues, carts can easily go as far as Fort Kouari. After having traveled three leagues on this road, which is five leagues from Fort Kouari, we come to the Forks of two roads one of which, to the left, leads to the Palatines' village by fording the Moack river.

Continuing along the high road, which is on the right bank of the River Moack, to reach Fort Kouari, a creek is met that must he forded. Here was a grist-mill that has been burnt. One league before reaching Fort Kouari another small stream is encountered, over which there is a bridge. This stream is fordable at almost all seasons. On this creek was, also, a sawmill which has been burnt.

Fort Kouari is situate on the right bank of the Moack river, on a small hill on the scarp of that river. It is a large three-story stone house with portholes at each story and likewise in the basement, for the purpose of cross-firing. There are some small pieces above. The house is covered with plank and shingles. It was built as a store and depot for Chouegen, It is surrounded with a ditch of about 30 feet from it. This ditch is 6 feet deep and seven wide. The crown of the ditch inside is planted with palisades in an oblique form; they are well jointed one to another. Behind these is a parapet of earth to fire from over the palisades. The four angles of this parapet, which is at the back of the ditch, form, as it were, four little bastions that reciprocally flank each other. On the West side is a house apart from the large one. It backs against the parapet of the palisades, and serves as a barrack and guardhouse. There are two doors to the large building; the one at the North is a small swing door. It is used only in going to the river for water. At this side of the house there is no ditch ; only palisades fixed in planks set in the scarp of the right bank of the river, to support the earth. The large gate of the house is on the South side; it is folding but not ironed. To go outside the palisades and ditch through this large door, you must leave the house to the left and turn to the Eastward where there is a passage. The ditch has not been excavated at that point. The earth serves as a bridge and road. There are palisades to the right and left, on both sides of the way, the whole width of the ditch. Outside the ditch is a folding gate. There is no other barrier nor chevaux-de-frise in front. The nearest house outside the fort is about 150 paces. Opposite this fort in the river is a small cultivated island, which can be reached at low water by fording.

From Fort Kouari to that of Cannatchocary, is four leagues. Some twenty houses are located at a distance one from another, within the space of one league of this road, which is through a flat country. After making this league, we go up a mountain that occupies two hours to ascend and descend. The country throughout the whole of this space is covered with wood.

After descending, two houses somewhat distant one from the other, are in the league, which is to be traveled to get to Cannatchocari.

The inhabitants of this country are Palatines or Germans. They form a company with some who dwell above the Fall on the other side of the river, which is the left bank. This company consists of about 60 men. The road from the one to the other of these two forts is good for all sorts of carriages.

Fort Cannatchocari is situated at the border of the Moack river, on the right bank. It is a square of four bastions of upright pickets (joined together with lintels), fifteen feet high, about one foot square, with portholes inserted from distance to distance, with a stage all round to fire from.

This fort is one hundred paces on each side. It is not surrounded by a ditch. There are some small pieces of cannon at each of its bastions, and a house at each curtain to serve as a store and barrack. Five or six families of Moack Indians reside outside the fort.

From Fort Cannatchocari to Fort Hunter is about 12 leagues; the road is pretty good ; carriages pass over it; it continues along the banks of the Moack river. About a hundred houses, at a greater or less distance from one another, are found within this length of road. Some are situated also about half a league in the interior. The inhabitants of this section are Germans, who compose two companies of about 100 men each.

Fort Hunter is situated on the borders of the Moack river, and is of the same form as that of Cannatchocari, with the exception that it is twice as large. It likewise has a house at each curtain. The cannon at each bastion are 7 and 9-pounders. The pickets of this fort are higher than those of Cannatchocari. There is a church or temple in the middle of the fort; in the interior of the fort are also some thirty cabins of Moack Indians, which is the most considerable village. This fort, like that of Cannatchocari, has no ditch ; there's only a large swing gate at the entrance.

Leaving Fort Hunter, a creek is passed at the mouth of which that fort is located. It can be forded and crossed in bateaux in summer and on the ice in winter. There are some houses outside under the protection of the fort, in which the country people seek shelter when they fear or learn that an Indian or French war party is in the field.

From Fort Hunter to Chectedi or Corlac is seven leagues. The public carriage way continues along the right bank of the Moack river. About 20 to 30 houses are found within this distance, separated the one from the other, about a quarter or half a league. The inhabitants of this section are Dutch. They, with some other inhabitants of the left bank of the Moack river, form a company about 100 men strong.

Chenectedi or Corlac, situated on the bank of the Moack river, is a village of about 300 houses. It is surrounded by upright pickets, flanked from distance to distance. Entering this village, by the gate on the Fort Hunter side, there is a fort to the right which forms a species of citadel in the interior of the village itself. It is a square, flanked with four bastions or demi bastions, and is constructed half of masonry and half of timbers, piled one over the other above the masonry. It is capable of holding 2 or 300 men. There are some pieces of cannon in battery on the ramparts. It is not encircled by a ditch. The entrance is-through a large swing gate, which lifts up like a drawbridge. By penetrating the village in attacking it from another point, the fire from the fort can be avoided.

The greatest portion of the inhabitants of Chenectedi are Dutch.

From Chenectedi to Albany or Orange is estimated to 6 or 7 leagues* The road is excellent for all sorts of carriages; the soil sandy and the country covered with open timber. There are only a few hills. A league and half from Chenectedi, there is a house on the road which is a tavern. A league and half farther on, that is to say half way, another house is met, which is also a tavern.

Orange is situate on the right bank of the River Orange, otherwise called Hudson. It is not fortified on the forest side except by an inclosure of walls or pickets, without a ditch, which is flanked at certain distances ; the river defends the entrance on the other side. It is calculated to be smaller than the inclosure of the town of Montreal. In the interior of Orange is a fort, a sort of citadel, capable of containing 300 men ; here are some cannon.

This is all that relates to the right bank of the river. Let us pass to the left bank, which is the north side of that river, starting likewise from near its source at Fort Williams.

Leaving Fort Williams by the left bank of the River Moack, the village of the Palatines is estimated to be 12 leagues. The river is fordable near Fort Williams whence a path leads to the interior, half a league from the shore, parallel with the river whose borders are 80 marshy that nothing but hay can be had from them.

This path leads over hills and small mountains and can be traveled only a-foot or on horseback. Eight leagues must be traversed by this path before reaching the forks of the high road that comes from the other side, or right bank of the river. After having traveled this high road a quarter of an hour, a small creek is found, called Rassedot. It can be forded. There were two houses on the left bank of this creek which were burnt, and nothing but their ruins remain. Having passed this creek, the high road is followed for a distance of four leagues to the village of the Palatines. All sorts of vehicles travel this road.

The Palatine village was situated on the left bank of the Moack river, not directly opposite Fort Kouari but about half a quarter of a league above it. You go from this village to the fort by bateau ; the river can even be forded in several places.

The Palatine village which consisted of thirty houses has been entirely destroyed and burnt by a detachment under M. de Belhetre's orders. The inhabitants of this village formed a company of 100 men bearing arms. They reckoned there 300 persons, men, women and children, 102 of whom were made prisoners and the remainder fled to Fort Kouari, except a few who were killed whilst fording the river.

From the Palatine village to the Little Falls, still continuing along the left bank of the river, is estimated about three leagues. In this distance there had been eight houses which have been abandoned. The inhabitants of these houses compose a company with those of Fort Kouari at the opposite side of the river.

The portage at the Little Falls is a quarter of a league, and is passed with carts. There is a road on both sides of the river, but that on the left bank is preferable, being better.

From the portage at Little Falls, continuing along the left bank of the river, there is only a foot path which is traveled with difficulty on horseback. Three leagues must be made over this path to arrive at the Canada creek where we meet the high road that passes from the termination of the Little Falls portage, along the right bank of the Moack river, where there is a ford above Fort Cannatchocari, opposite the mouth of the Canada creek. There is also a ferry boat at this place to put carts across when the river is high.

*The total distance from Chouegen to Orange is 78 @ 79 leagues.

+ It requires a day to descend the river with bateaux from Fort Bull to the Palatine village and three to return; and to go down from the Palatine village to Corlac requires [ a day and ?] a day and a half to return.

After fording Canada creek, we continue along the left bank of the Moawk river and high road which is passable for carts for 12 leagues to Colonel Johnson's mansion. In the whole of this distance the soil is very good. About 500 houses are erected, at a distance one from the other. The greatest number of those on the bank of the river are built of stone. Those at a greater distance from the river in the interior are about half a league off; they are new dwellings built of wood.

There is not a fort in the whole of this distance of 12 leagues, and but one farmer's house built of stone that is somewhat fortified and surrounded with pickets. It is situate on the bank of the river three leagues from where the Canada creek empties into the Moack river.

The inhabitants of this country are Germans. They form companies of 100 men each.

Colonel Johnson's mansion is situate on the border of the left bank of the River Moack ; it is three stories high ; built of stone, with portholes (crenelecs) and a parapet and flanked with four bastions on which are some small guns. In the same yard, on both sides of the mansion, are two small houses; that on the right of the entrance is a store, and that on the left is designed for workmen, Negroes and other domestics. The yard gate is a heavy swing gate well ironed ; it is on the Moack river side ; from this gate to the river is about 200 paces of level ground. The high road passes there. A small rivulet, coining from the north, empties into the Moack river about 200 paces below the inclosure of the yard. On this stream is a mill about 50 paces distance from the house ; below the mill is the miller's house where grain and flour are stored, and on the other side of the creek, 100 paces from the mill, is a barn in which cattle and fodder are kept. One hundred and fifty paces from Colonel Johnson's mansion on the north side, on the left bank of the little creek, is a rise of ground on which is a small house with port-holes, where, ordinarily, is kept a guard of honor of some twenty men, which serves, also, as an advanced post.

From Colonel Johnson's house to Chenectedi is counted seven leagues; the road is good; all sorts of vehicles pass over it. About twenty houses are found from point to point on this road.

The Moack river can be forded, during summer, a league and a quarter west of Chenectedi. Opposite Chenectedi the traverse is usually in a ferry boat and bateaux.

The inhabitants of this country are Dutchmen. They form a company of about 100 men, with those on the opposite side of the river below Fort Hunter.

Between Chenectedi and the mouth of the Moack river, where it discharges into that of Orange, there is the Great fall which prevents the passage of bateaux, so that everything on the river going from Chenectedi to Orange, passes over the high road that leads there direct.

From Orange to New York is counted 50 to CO leagues. Sloops from New-York ascend to Orange. There is also a high road from one to the other of these towns on the left bank of the river. The country is thickly inhabited on both sides. The inhabitants of Orange are, also, mostly Dutch like those of Chenectedi.

From Orange to Boston is considered about 60 leagues. The road thither is across the country. From Boston to New York, is reckoned the same distance following the road along the seaside.

New York, situate on the left bank of the Orange river, near its mouth at the sea, is located on a tongue of land forming a peninsula. It is fortified only on the land side. Opposite New York is a large island, very well inhabited and very wealthy. All sorts of vessels of war and merchantmen anchor between the town and that island.

NOTE.-In the whole country of the River Corlac there were nine companies of Militia, under the command of Colonel Johnson ; eight only remain-that of the village of the Palatines being no longer in existence, the greater portion having been defeated by M. de Belhetre's detachment. Colonel Johnson assembles these companies when he has news of any expedition which may concern the Moack river.

In the latter part of April, 1757, on receiving intelligence by the Indians that there was a strong detachment ascending the River St. Lawrence and entering Lake Ontario, he assembled these companies and went to the village of the Palatines, where he was joined by another body of 11 @ 1,200 men, sent him by the Commandant of Orange; this formed in all a force of 2,000 men. He entrenched himself at the head of the Palatine village, where he remained in camp fifteen days, and did not retire until he received intelligence that the French detachment se en on the River St. Lawrence, had passed by and taken the route to the Beautiful river.

This was the detachment of 500 men that had been sent last year to reinforce the Beautiful river, and had left Montreal in the latter days of the month of April.

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