History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Life and Times of
Sir William Johnson, Bart.,
by William L. Stone
Albany: J. Munsell, 78 State Street, 1865.
Although the term of the ones elected in 1752, would not expire until February of this year,l yet the lieutenant governor had chosen on the sixteenth of December last to dissolve it, "not," as he said," for any distrust of their proceedings, but as his majesty's commands for the operations of the ensuing year against the enemy had not come over, and probably would not arrive till near the time when the assembly must expire by the limitation of the septennial act; if the assembly should not during their continuance go through the business then to be recommended to them, the public service would be delayed and perhaps disapproved."
Upon the return of the members to the new assembly, it was at once evident that the power of the De Lancey faction, so long dominant in the house, was at an end. The real motive of Mr. De Lancey's controversy with Clinton, was now apparent; while the course that he had pursued in relation to the college charter, and the consequent preeminence given to one denomination in the minority, had alienated many of his warmest friends.2 It is not surprising, therefore, that the various expedients which had I been adopted to procure the return of the old members-among which had been the passing, at the close of the last session, a five pound act for the benefit of the trading factors-should have proved unavailing. Fifteen new members were elected to the house, who, being the leaders
1 By a law, the same assembly could not continue sitting longer than seven years.
of the sectaries, were of course opposed to the lieutenant governor; while at the same time, "their abilities only increased the difficulties of managing their humors, and the more so as by their opulence they were indifferent to the smiles or frowns of a party they meant to check and subvert."1 Philip Livingston, a popular alderman, was elected to represent the city. William Livingston, who had exerted himself so strenuously in opposing the sectarian college charter, was returned from his brother's manor, and three others of the same name were sent by different districts.2 "From this time," says Smith," "we shall distinguish the opposition under the name of the Livingston party, though it did not always proceed from motives approved of by that family."
The spirit of faction, however, in the present assembly was not rife; and although the influence of Mr. De Lancey was still powerful in the council, yet both branches of the legislature felt that the exigencies of the times were too great for them to waste their energies in party wrangling. They fully realized the fact that their very existence was at stake; and they now cheerfully cooperated with the parent government in repelling the common enemy. The wheels of government therefore rolled smoothly without any of that jarring which had been so characteristic of former assemblies. The answer of both branches to the opening speech, of the executive, congratulating them on the reduction of Fort Du Quesne, was full of warm, and without doubt, sincere professions of zeal for the welfare of the crown and their country: and to the request of the minister, the latter part of February, for twenty thousand troops from New York and New England, they responded heartily. It was at once resolved to raise and equip two thousand six hundred and eighty men as their proportion; while to stimulate enlistments, a bounty of fifteen pounds was offered to each recruit, with an additional sum of twenty
2 Sedgwick's Life of Livingston.
shillings to the recruiting officer. These expenses were to be defrayed by the emission of one hundred thousand pounds in hills of credit, to be sunk in nine years by a tax, beginning with twelve thousand pounds for the present year. Several other acts of a praiseworthy character were passed; and after a most satisfactory and harmonious session, the house adjourned, on the seventh of March, in order that the members might hasten to their different counties to urge forward the enlistments.1
Although the fall of Fort Du Quesne placed the result of the war beyond doubt, yet Niagara, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point, were still in possession of the French, and until those posts had been relinquished by the latter, there could be no security for the frontiers. The experience, moreover, of past years, showed conclusively that until Canada had been brought under the dominion of the British Crown, no peace could ever be established on a permanent basis between the two great powers. It was therefore determined by the minister, that while the early summer should witness the reduction of Niagara and the forts upon Lake Champlain, General Wolfe, by a bold push, should make himself master of Quebec. The military operations of this year were entrusted to Sir Jeffrey Amherst, who, late in the fall of 1758, had been appointed commander-in-chief of his majesty's forces in America, in place of Abercrombie who had been recalled. The qualities which Amherst possessed peculiarly fitted him for the command in America. To sound judgment, he united determined energy; and while the operations of his mind were slow, they were reliable. Methodical, and perhaps at times, plodding, yet when necessity arose for decisive action, he was not found wanting.2 Upon hearing of the disgraceful repulse of Abercrombie while at Louisburg the
1 Smith. Journals of the assembly.
2 In the copy of Knox's Journal, there is in the first volume, an engraving giving a three-quarters view of General Amherst's face-the face of a bold, prompt and determined man. The head, squarely built, and covered with short, crisp hair-hair which could not very easily have been powdered into submission-is firmly set on a rather large neck. The eyes, keen, and on the alert, look straight ahead. The nose is Grecian, prominent and almost on n line with the broad, slightly retreating, not very high forehead. The mouth is firm, but pleasant; the lower jaw rather heavy, the chin being well marked-what would now-a-days be called a "fighting chin." It is altogether the face of a man, kind in civil life, but in action, watchful stern, persevering and brave.
preceding summer, he had without orders, immediately sailed for Boston, and with four regiments had marched thence to the head of Lake George to reinforce that general. Amherst was not brilliant, hut the colonists had become tired of brilliant men who were continually devising fine plans, which they never accomplished ; and although he had been among them but a short time, yet so great was their confidence in him, that the assembly, at his request, and upon his promise that it should be repaid in the course of a year, loaned the crown, in July, one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, in addition to the sums already voted, for the further expenses of the campaign. The New England colonies were also prompt in their measures;so that when Amherst removed his head quarters from New York to Albany near the end of May, he found at that city, twelve thousand Provincials, chiefly from New York and New England, ready and willing to take the field.
Meanwhile, Sir William Johnson was using all his influence to secure for the summer's campaign a full complement of Indian braves. On the eighteenth of January, he held a conference at Canajoharie castle with the Mohawk and Seneca chiefs, and after condoling with them for their losses by sickness with three strings of wampum, and for their losses by the war with a like number of strings, he addressed them as follows:
"Brethren of the two Mohawk castles and Senecas: I take the first opportunity of acquainting you, that his majesty has been pleased to appoint Lieutenant General Amherst commander-in-chief of all his forces in North America, in the room of Lieutenant General Abercrombie, who is, called home: also that the general has, by letter, desired would use my utmost endeavors to get as great a number of our brethren, the Six Nations, to join him early next spring against our common enemy, as I possibly can. This I shall endeavor to do, and would be glad of your advice and assistance therein, which by this belt of wampum I desire you, as our steady friends, will afford me. A Belt.
"Brethren: As you are all acquainted with the late cruel and unprecedented murder of John M'Michael,l one of our people, by a Cayouga 2 Indian near Fort Stanwix, whom he employed to escort him to Fort Herkimer, I shall not repeat the disagreeable circumstances to you, as I am sensible it affects you as well as me. I would now only ask your opinion what are the proper steps to be taken in the affair, as it will always have great weight with me. Three Strings.
"Brethren: I lately received these strings of wampum from the Oneidas by Captain Fonda, by which they say I am invited to a meeting proposed to be held soon at Onondaga, where you are also desired to attend. I am ready and willing to go if you think it will be for the good of the service. At the same time I must observe to you, that I think it an unprecedented manner of inviting either you or me, without some of the Onondagas coming down with it as usual. I nevertheless submit it to your judgment, as being better acquainted with their forms, and expect you will give it me, as well as your opinion of the proper steps for me to take, in order to get those of our prisoners who may be among the nations." Three Strings.
"January 19. The sachems, being met at their council room, sent to acquaint Sir William that they were ready to answer what he, the day before, had laid before them.
l Mr. Mc Michael's family are yet among the most respectable residents of Schenectady. One of his great grandchildren is now, 1864, the proprietor of the American Hotel at Saratoga Springs, N. Y.
2 Always spelled thus by Sir Wm. Johnson.
On which he, with the same gentlemen who attended him yesterday, went to the meeting, when Aroshyadecka alias old Brant, chief of the Canajoharies, spoke as follows:
"Brother Waraghiyaghey : We are much obliged to you for giving us so timely notice of the general's desire and intentions, and we hope and wish that he may be ready to take the field very early, which in my opinion is what should always be done. You may depend upon our attachment and assistance; being determined, as we declared to you at the beginning of this war, to stand or fall with you. And as you desired our opinion with regard to the Six Nations, we have considered of it, and think it best that you call their sachems, chief warriors and leading women, down to your house as soon as may be, where we shall be ready to attend and assist you all in our power. Returned the Belt.
"Brethren: The late murder of one of our brethren, near the carrying place, by one of the upper nations in the French interest, gives us great concern, and we think he ought to be severely punished for it. But as we hope the Six Nations may now act a better part than they have hitherto, we would advise you not to say anything about it until they come to the meeting at your house, and there we think the milder you speak to them the better, at this time. And this is our opinion. Returned three Strings.
"Brother: As for the strings of wampum lately sent by the Oneidas to invite you and us to a meeting at Onondaga, we think with you that it was not according to our ancient and usual custom, nor was it even a proper invitation. "We are of opinion that your inviting them all down here is much better and more in character. Wherefore, we would be very glad if you would give them an invitation, and at the same time to send some strings of wampum, desiring they would bring what prisoners of our brethren may be among them. Three Strings of Wampum.
"Brother: We return you our hearty thanks for the confidence you repose in us, and be assured we shall ever study to act so as to continue your good opinion of us. We are also thankful for the good news you yesterday told us, and we heartily congratulate you thereon, and hope farther success may attend the king's arms."
The course, suggested by the chiefs, was adopted by Sir William; and messengers, with the usual significant belts, were forthwith dispatched to the Cayugas and Onondagas. It was attended by the best results, as appears from subsequent entries in the Diary, Mr. M'Michael who had been murdered by the recreant Cayuga, was a trader of note, and the peculiar atrocity of his murder had created a deep feeling of indignation, for which, the circumstances and duplicity, stated in the official report from the commanding officer at Fort Stanwix to Sir William, were a full warrant. The Cayugas lost no time in manifesting their sorrow and detestation of the crime, as will be seen from the following extract from the Baronet's journal;
"Fort Johnson, Feb. 5th. Skanarady, Teughsaragarat, and Ottanannio, three chiefs of the Cayuga nation, arrived here with several more, and after being introduced by Clement, the interpreter, began and said:
"Brother Waraghiyaghey : The unhappy murder of one of our brethren near the Oneida carrying place, is the occasion of our coming down at this severe season of the year. Our nation would not be at rest, nor easy, until they had spoke to you about it. We now, in their behalf, wipe away the tears from your eyes, so that yon may look pleasant at us. We likewise remove all obstructions, and clear your throat, so that you may speak clear and friendly to us. Lastly, we wipe away the blood of our brother, lately killed near the carrying place, that the sight of it may no longer give us concern. Three Strings.
"Sir William told them that he would be ready the next morning to hear what they had farther to say, and would desire his neighbors, the Mohawks, to attend.
"Wednesday, Feb. 6th. About twenty Mohawks arrived. The Cayugas being acquainted that Sir William was ready, with the Mohawks and two Onondagas to hear them, they entered the council, and Skanarady spoke as follows :
"Brother Warraghiyaghey: On our arrival yesterday we wiped the tears from your eyes, and we now, agreeable to the custom of our forefathers, take the French hatchet, (which they gave to one of our foolish, deluded young men, giving him great rewards, and making him large promises if he would use it against our brethren, the English,) out of your head, and bury it in a deep pool, where it can never be found ; also with this belt of wampum we assure you that it gives our nation as much concern as it gives you, and promise the greatest care shall be taken to prevent the like happening for the future. A Black and White Belt.
" Brother : "With this belt we cover his grave, that the sight of it may no longer give you or us concern. A White Belt.
" Brother: With these strings we raise up your head, now hanging down with concern for the loss of one of our brethren, and beg you will no longer keep sorrow in your mind. Three Strings of Wampum.
"Brother: Lastly, we most earnestly entreat that you, will not for what has happened, neglect the management of our affairs, as your neglect of them at any, but more particularly at this time, must render us unhappy, and throw the Confederacy into confusion." Belt of Black and White.
On the eleventh of February, Sir William proceeded to Canajoharie, at which place he had invited a meeting of the chiefs and warriors of the Mohawks. The occasion and the proceedings will be understood from the annexed extract:
"Monday, Feb. 12-8 at night. Being all assembled, Sir William told them that the reason of his coming to their castle was to get a number of their briskest men to join Captain Lottridge, and some Mohawks and Schoharies, on a scout to Tienderago or Crown Point, in order to see what the enemy were about, and get him a prisoner from whom he might be able to get better intelligence than the general daily receives, and which would enable the general to take proper measures for the defence of the country until the opening of the campaign,-and that they would be ready in two days to set off for his house, where they would be supplied with everything necessary for such service." A painted War-Belt thrown between them.
No sooner was the belt cast among them, than Douglass, a chief of the Bear tribe, arose, took the belt in his hand, and sang his war song, and was followed by several more of each tribe. Then Aroghigadecka, the chief sachem of the castle, stood up and said :
"Brother Warraghiyaghey : We the sachems and warriors of the Canajoharie castle immediately quit our hunting on your call, and made all the haste possible to meet you here, where we are all heartily glad to see you: and in answer to your desire, without any hesitation, I am desired by the young men present to tell you that they will be ready to go with Captain Lottridge and the Mohawks, on the service you require, and we have no reason to doubt you will, in their absence, take care of their families, who are extremely poor and in great want of provisions."1 Here returned the War Belt.
Sir William thanked them for the readiness they showed on the occasion, and told them he would give their families some provisions in their absence, or money to purchase it, so that they should not suffer. He then gave them an entertainment, as usual on such occasions, and parted. He left that castle Tuesday morning, and arrived at Fort Johnson that night."
The successes of the campaign of 1758 had produced, as the Baronet had foreseen, a wonderful change in their temper; and this fact added to their sources of discontent against the French, as narrated in the last chapter, caused all the Six cantons to respond with alacrity to Sir William's invitation to meet him at Canajoharie in April, preparatory to their going with him upon the war path. Their minds were the more open to the persuasions of the superintendent, from the fact that at the late treaty at Easton, the Proprietaries had relinquished all claim to those lands on the Ohio, the sale of which at Albany in 1754, had produced among them so much discontent. The surrender of these lands, which had been effected solely by his influence and representations, gave him a still stronger hold upon their affections, of which at the council in April he did not fail to avail himself. "I hope," said he to their speaker, "that this surrender will convince you and all other Indians how ready your brethren the English are to remove from your hearts all jealousies, and uneasiness of their desiring to encroach upon your hunting lands, and be a convincing proof to you how false the accusations of the French are that we are at war with them, in order to get your country from you; for you see while the French keep their forts in the midst of your country and fight us in order to secure the possession of them, we give up these lands which you had sold us; Brethren," continued he, "I now deliver up this said instrument of release and surrender to you." Sir William then informed them of the recall of Abercrombie, and the desire of his successor for as many Indian allies as would willingly join in assisting his majesty's arms, and added: "and now all that remains for me to do at present is to offer you General Amherst's hatchet, which I now do, and make no doubt you will cheerfully accept and make a proper use of it, as that will procure you a share in all the honors of this campaign, and in all the advantages which we have abundant reason with the blessing of God to expect from the issue of it."
The result was, that Sir William joined General Prideaux at Oswego, with seven hundred, braves.1 Many of the Swegatchie Iroquois also, perceiving with native sagacity that the star of France in the western hemisphere was on the wane, hastened to make their peace with the English, by joining their kindred in the Baronet's little army; so that upon the latter's arrival at Niagara, he had a force of nine hundred and forty-three Indian warriors.2
The importance of securing Niagara for both a trading and a military post, had been, early in this year, urged upon the lords of trade and General Amherst by Sir William Johnson, with whom the latter was now on terms of warm friendship. Commanding the portage between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, it was enabled to secure a monopoly of the fur trade with the western Indians; and on this account it had been an eye sore to the English for many years.
On the first of July, General Prideaux, leaving Colonel Haldimand with a battalion of Provincials to keep watch at Oswego, sailed for Port Niagara with twenty-two hundred regulars and Provincials, exclusive of his dusky allies under the Baronet, and upon the seventh invested that fortress. 3 Hardly had Prideaux sailed, when a detachment of fifteen hundred regulars, Canadians and Indians under Lacorne, hastened from La Galette 4 with the intention of surprising and cutting off the forces left with Haldimand. They were, however, foiled in their design, for the colonel, having thrown up a breastwork, defended himself so valiantly, that the enemy after a severe action of three hours, retreated into the woods. The next day, which was the sixth, the French renewed the attack, but were repulsed
1 Manuscript letter: Johnson to Sir William Baker, 28th Sep., 1759.
2 Manuscript letter : Johnson to Secretary Pitt, 24th Oct., 1760.
3 Called, also by the French Isle Royal-now Chimney Island.
4 Manuscript orderly book of the 2d New York regiment of Provincials, during the march of the army and siege of Fort Niagara in 1759, under Generals Prideaux and Sir Wm. Johnson." Preserved by John McKenzie of the 44th Royal Scots, late of Albany, N. Y.
and driven to their boats, with a loss of six killed and several wounded.
On the nineteenth of July, General Prideaux having been killed by the bursting of a shell carelessly discharged from a cohorn by one of his own gunners, the Baronet succeeded to the command. The latter had carefully studied the plans of the late general, and now executed them with precision and skill. The siege was therefore pressed with even more energy than by Prideaux, and approaches were made and new batteries opened each day nearer the fort. On the twenty-second, under the well directed fire of the artillery, a large breach was made in the walls and the battery and parapet of the flag bastion completely demolished. Meanwhile the cannonading on both sides was continued without cessation, though with more vigor on the part of the besiegers. Showers of hot shot and shell rained upon the fort day and night, while the continued pouring of grape and musketry into the breach is described by one of the garrison as terrific. In the meantime, D'Aubry, trembling for the fate of this important post, gathered from the forts at Detroit, Venango, La Boeuf and Presque Isle, an army of twelve hundred men, and with these and a large force of Indian auxiliaries, hastened to raise the siege. Sir William, however, apprised of his approach by Indian scouts, was on the alert, and on the twenty-fourth of July, leaving a large force in the trenches to prevent the garrison from cooperating with D'Aubrey, marched out with his army to meet the enemy. His light infantry, supported by the grenadiers, were detailed to occupy the road from the falls to the fort, along which the French were advancing, while his Indians were judiciously posted on his flanks. On the first appearance of the enemy, the Mohawks proposed a talk with the French Indians, hoping to induce them to either take part with them or remain neutral. No attention being paid to their solicitations, the Indians on each side simultaneously raised the war whoop, and both armies joined in fierce combat. While the British regulars charged the enemy in front with the bayonet, the Confederates delivered a galling fire upon their flanks, which threw them into confusion. No sooner was this perceived by the English, than they charged with such irresistible fury, that the French gave way and fled in wild confusion, many of them falling at every step, cut down by the pursuing foe. In this action one hundred and fifty of the French were killed, and ninety-six privates and seventeen officers taken prisoners, among whom were D'Aubrey himself, and the famous French partisan Marin.
On the evening of the same day, Sir William sent Major Harvey
to the commander of the fort, with an account of D'Aubrey's defeat, advising
him at the same time to surrender "lest by forcing him to extremities,
he should not have it in his power to restrain his Indians, who would by an
obstinate, fruitless resistance, become too much enraged to be withheld."
1 Captain Pouchet yielded to this advice; and at seven o'clock the next morning,
the garrison, consisting of six hundred and seven men and eleven officers,
surrendered themselves prisoners of war. The male prisoners were escorted by a detachment of three hundred of the forty-fourth regiment to Oswego, whence they were sent to England by way of New York; while the women and children were at their own request allowed to go to Montreal."2
Thus had the Baronet a second time during this war, won laurels upon the field of Mars. Without any military training, he had achieved his successes solely by native courage and sagacity. 3 Both moreover, were victories in
1 Sir William Johnson merits the highest applause from his king and country; and his inclination to put a stop to the farther effusion of human blood was truly laudable."Knox's Journal.
2 Sir William Johnson's private manuscript diary kept during the siege of Niagara. Knox's Historical Journal. M. Pouchet's Journal. Orderly Book of the 2d Regiment. Smollett.
3 "The war in general was distinguished by the singular success of Sir William Johnson, and the celebrated Lord Olive, two self-taught generals, who, by a series of shining actions, have demonstrated that uninstructed genius can, by its own internal light and efficacy, rival if not eclipse, the acquired advantages of discipline and experience."-Smollett.
which the escutcheon of his fame remains untarnished by any cruelties on the part of his savage allies. The latter, although feeling "keenly the loss of several of their braves, neither by word, nor look, nor deed, offered the least insult to the captured garrison; nor was any of their private property taken; and only such plunder carried on by the Indians, as was allowed to them by the Baronet as legitimate spoils. When it is remembered that Sir William had with him nearly one thousand Indians, many of whom having been until lately hostile, were consequently not so much under his influence, this fact furnishes perhaps the strongest proof of his wonderful hold upon the respect and affections of the red men. For a long time after this victory, the Baronet's name was the toast in New York and in England. His praise was upon all lips. "This will gain him fresh laurels," wrote Charles Clinton to his son," and will place him high in the esteem of his sovereign and of every true subject."1
By the fall of Niagara, was broken the last remaining link in that chain of fortresses which had served to unite Canada with Louisiana, and a fatal blow given to that cherished project, for the attainment of which, France had labored for many years. All communication with Canada being thus cut off, and nearly all their officers having been taken prisoners in the action of the twenty-fourth, the forts at Venango, Presque Isle and La Boeuf were immediately blown up and deserted-their garrisons retiring to Detroit, so that General Stanwix, who had been placed over the western department, took possession of them without opposition.
The Baronet tarried several days at Niagara after the siege, repairing the works, and ministering to those prisoners
1 "The gentlemen in New York talk of presenting you with a medal in gold worth £500."-Manuscript letter: Corey to Johnson, 23d Aug., 1759.
who had been obliged, through sickness to remain. At length having performed the obesquies of the unfortunate Prideaux,1 he left Colonel Farquahar in charge of Niagara, with seven hundred men, and embarked for Oswego the fifth of August, arriving there on the afternoon of the seventh.2
Brigadier General Gage, who had been detached by Amherst to take the place of Prideaux, arrived on the sixteenth of August at Oswego. The Baronet was in favor of pushing on immediately and demolishing the forts at La Galette and Oswegatchie, but the general would not permit the movement. The vacillating conduct of Gage in this matter, as well as the sentiments of the Baronet upon the subject, and the manner also in which the latter was engaged during the season, will best appear to the reader from the following from Sir William's private diary, kept by him at this time ;3
Oswego, Thursday, 16 Aug. 1759. Brigadier General Gage arrived here in the afternoon with 300 drafts for the three regiments here. I gave up the command to him, and General Amherst's instructions to the late Brigadier Prideaux, also his last letter to him, which I received on my way from Niagara. He then showed me a letter or two he received from General Amherst with orders to proceed to this place, and take the command ; also to proceed to Niagara if not yet taken. If taken and the troops returned, then to proceed to La Galette and take post there, which, in case General Wolfe should be defeated, would make a frontier, with Niagara, Oswego, and Crown Point. He told me that on reading General Amherst's
1 "28, Aug. Buried Brig. Gen. Prideaux in the chapel and Colonel Johnson, with a great deal of form. I was chief mourner."-Sir William Johnson's private diary.
2 For the orders given to Colonel Farquhar for his guidance while in charge of Niagara by Johnson, see appendix No. 11.
3 The reader is referred to appendix No in of this vol. for this curious and important diary which has never before seen the light, and which is there published in full.
letter, he gave him as his opinion that he thought it impracticable to establish there a post in so short a time, and furnish it with provisions."
"Friday 17. Fine weather. General Gage agreed to the plan of the fort proposed by Engineer Lowers, viz: a pentagon. Accordingly they set about it, and marked out the ground. This day I made up an affair between Colonel Massey and Captain forties, which otherwise was to be tried by a general court martial. The drafts were this day divided among the regiments here."
"Saturday 18. A fine morning. Colonel Haldimand came to my tent and on our talking over several matters, among other things I asked him whether the general had said anything to him about advancing to Swegatchie. He answered that the general had showed him all his instructions, but said nothing about going to La Galette; on which I gave him my opinion, that our going to La Galette and destroying it was practicable and might favor General Amherst's designs, but to remain there was impossible on account of provisions, and being too late to make such a respectable work there, as the French would not be able to take. He expressed himself entirely against attempting it, for the above reasons, and farther that the enemy might carry on an expedition against it in the winter adding also that if one of our convoys should be cut off, it would ruin the whole and oblige us to abandon even this post &c. General Gage expressed himself the same way and added farther that his honor was as dear to him, as General Amherst's would be to him, and did not understand running his head against a wall or attempting impossibilities, with a great deal more to that purpose, and what I thought not unreasonable, after telling me the state of every thing, particularly the artillery, ammunition and provision. I told General Gage that I thought our going and destroying La Galette practicable, but not to take post there, for the several reasons given to Lieutenant Colonel Haldimand the same day. The general then said he would get a few boats built, to carry each a pair of large cannon in the bow to guard against the French vessels and would then make a trial. I asked him if he would have me send for the several nations of Indians to come immediately and join us, to which he made no answer."
"Sunday 19. Lieutenant Francis with his party returned with several whale boats from Irondequat. Also came in this day some Onondagoes who told me they were sent to let me know that several sachems and others were coming to Oswego to meet me, also two sachems of the Messissagaes, and would be here in four or five days; that they had a great many furs and skins to trade, and hoped there would be plenty of goods for that purpose. I represented to General Gage the necessity of having traders come up here and to Niagara for that end. He told me to act in that as I thought beat for the service, and to give papers to such as I thought deserved them."
"Monday 20. I gave General Gage a rough draft of the river St. Lawrence below La Galette, drawn by Red Head. Dined with General Gage, after which we took a walk and talked together about going down to La Galette, to which he agreed, as soon as artillery, vessels, &c., could be got ready."
"Tuesday September 11th. (That's the date in the book. ajb) The general desired me to stop the Cayugas and others from coming here, as he finds it impracticable to move from here on an expedition, but to keep a few Indians to scout about here to prevent scalping. He told me that he entirely gave up all thoughts of proceeding to La Galette, but desired I would keep it very private."
General Gage, however, was still undetermined as appears by the following extract.
"Saturday 15th. About 11 o'clock the general called me, Colonels Haldimand, Massey and Graham to his tent, and asked our opinions what number of men we thought sufficient to carry on the fort so as to leave it this campaign on barbette, which he said was as far as the engineers expected to get it, and what number of men for the guards of the camp, woods, &c., and also what number of men we thought necessary for incidental duty or fatigue. We were of opinion that 1100 men would be sufficient to work at the fort, 200 for guard in our absence, 100 for incidental duty, and an addition of 42 men to Captain Schuyler's company of bateaux men. Then the general cast the whole up, and it appeared there were about 1000 rank and file to go on the expedition, besides Indians, the number of whom was unknown, as they were constantly coming in and the Cayugas all expected the next day.
I told the general that our going and destroying La Galette would be the means of drawing all the Swegatchie Indians away from the French, and if we did not attempt it might be the means of riveting them more firmly in it; besides that our destroying La Galette might make us masters of the French vessels, which then would be cutoff from any relief-all he said was that it all depended on General Wolfe. After various opinions we ended our meeting in nothing, no resolution having been taken. A little later the general told me I had better stop the Cayugas then on their way, and send those here home, by telling them the season was too far advanced, and could not complete this post if we went on any expedition."
"Sunday l6th. The general called me, Colonels Massey and Graham, to his tent to hear what intelligence De Quegue learned from the French prisoners, by which the general would have it that the enemy was very strongly entrenched there, [La Galette] with numbers superior to ours. After all he desired the opinion of the gentlemen present, not as a council of war, but to enlighten him, as he owned he was at a loss what steps to take. The first who spoke his opinion was Colonel Massey, who thought it would be imprudent to go with anything but a flying light body of troops, about five hundred, in order to destroy La Galette. I gave the general my opinion as thus-that I was of opinion a body of six hundred men might carry La Galette, and the Indians from thence, which would be a thing of great consequence,-that if the enemy were weak at Isle Gallot they might probably, on our destroying La Galette abandon it, if they did not learn our small number, which should be carefully concealed; that the vessels might also fall by our proceeding to La Galette, If we found the enemy too powerful, I thought we could retreat with care and good conduct; that if we did not attempt anything that way, it might probably fix the Swegatchie Indians firmly in the French interest, and be the means of establishing a stronger post there than ever. The other two gentlemen were very reserved, Haldimand in particular. We broke up without any resolution.
The general followed me and desired I would turn the thing in my mind seriously and let him know my thoughts farther about it. I, on this, spoke with Colonel Massey upon the subject, who said he would gladly go in case I went. I told him I was resolved to go if allowed, and would go directly and throw myself in the general's way, expecting he will ask me my opinion. I did so several times even to his tent door, but he avoided talking with me on the subject."
"Monday 17. I intend this day to ask the general for 600 men to go to La Galette, as the Indians here and there both are desirous of it. If he will not agree to it I shall then desire liberty to go home."
"Wednesday. The Onondagoes came to know what resolution the general had come to, on examining the prisoners brought in by the Indians, agreeably to his promise made them several days ago. I told them I would acquaint them this day with the general's resolution, concerning which they wanted to know I spoke with the general about it, who desired I would acquaint them the season of the year was so far advanced, and so much work to be done here to finish the fort, that he did not intend to proceed farther this campaign, and that they might return to their respective habitations and country."
"Wednesday Oct. 3. The general read part of General Amherst's letter to him from Crown Point, wherein he expresses his concern at Mr. Gage's not taking post at La Galette, which is so advantageous a pass, and nothing to hinder it, as all their force is employed below. He then says that he expects, as he is determined not to take part at La Galette, that he will complete Fort Stanwix and this post, as well as open a communication between this and the Mohawk river ; that he had written to the several governments to continue their troops the month of November, which he does not doubt they will come into, and a great deal more concerning the garrisons, provisions and artillery. Six hundred men to be left here. He [Gage] seemed greatly concerned on the whole, and was much surprised at the general's manner of writing. In the evening, he desired I would take up my quarters in one of the barracks, and then walked away."1
Thus did General Gage, against the urgent advice of Amhertst and the Baronet, wile away his hours in idleness; deferring until the next season what might easily have been accomplished in this. Perceiving at length that it was no part of his general's plan to push the campaign farther this year, and having concluded a peace with the Ottawas and Mississageys, Sir William resolved to return to Mount Johnson, from which he had now been absent more than three months. Accordingly he set out on his return on the fourteenth of October, as is seen by the following extract from the private diary just quoted:
"October 13, Saturday morning. I began to pack up my little things, and prepare to set off tomorrow, if God
1 I have dwelt at length upon this topic, because Sir William Johnson has been so frequently accused by his enemies of being deficient in energy. His course at this time, contrasted with that of Gage, is manifest; and these extracts quoted from his private diary, and written for no eye but his own, and therefore not written for effect, will have full weight with the candid reader.
pleases. As there is nothing to do here, I waited on the general for leave to go home, which he readily complied with."
"Sunday 14. Windy dry weather-the wind at N. E. I was up early, and ordered all hands to strike our tents and load the bateaux."
Meanwhile, General Amherst with over eleven thousand men appeared before Ticonderoga on the twenty-second day of July. The policy of the French, who now saw that all resistance was hopeless, was to make a feint of resisting, and, falling back from post to post, finally concentrate all their strength at Isle Aux Noir. Accordingly the garrison at Ticonderoga, four days after they were invested, blew up their works and withdrew to Crown Point. Amherst with his habitual caution, tarried several days to repair the walls, and on the fourth of August embarked on the lake and took possession of Crown Point, which the enemy had also abandoned at his approach. It was the intention of Amherst, on the reduction of Crown Point, to cooperate with General Wolfe by advancing upon Montreal. But the French were now strongly entrenched at the foot of the lake, and were moreover possessed of four large vessels heavily armed. Before therefore the enemy could be engaged with advantage, a naval force must be created. This required time ; and it was not until the middle of October that the vessels were ready. Hardly, however, had the English commander embarked with his entire army, when a succession of tempests and head winds arose completely foiling his design. Captain Loring, however, to whom had been given the charge of the fleet, rode out the storm, and proceeding down the lake destroyed two of the enemy's vessels.
General Amherst, although prevented by the elements from active operations during the remainder of the year, could not remain idle. Previous to his going into winter quarters, he cut a road through to New England, rebuilt the fort at Ticonderoga, and began the erection of an elaborate fortification at Crown Point; -while under his direction, near the ruins of Fort William Henry, arose another fort, to which was given the name of Fort George.
While Amherst was thus fortifying the northern frontier, Major Rogers with one hundred and forty-two men set out, on the thirteenth of September, from Crown Point to destroy the Indian settlement of St. Francis. This village was situated about three miles from the river St. Lawrence, midway between Montreal and Quebec; and for many years had been the hive, whence had issued those swarms of scalping parties, whose devastations upon the New England border had been so frequent and terrible. After a wearisome march of twenty-one days, Rogers halted his men within three miles of the village to reconnoiter. Having entered the town in disguise and made his observations, the bold ranger returned to his men and disclosed his plans. The Indians were then holding a high festival; and it was arranged that when sleep had closed their eyelids, the attack should be made. Impatiently the rangers wait for the distant sounds of revelry to cease; and when, three hours after midnight, the village even to the watchdogs is wrapped in slumber, with stealthy steps they approach. Halting within five hundred yards of the town, they lay aside their packs, unloosen their knives in their sheaths, and prepare for the attack. The Indians, astounded at the time and the suddenness of the onset, offer no resistance; and the sight of six hundred English scalps dangling from their tent-poles, is not calculated to assuage the fury of the assailants. Before seven that morning, the deed is finished; and amid the smoldering ashes of the town, lay the scalped and blackened corpses of two hundred warriors.1 Terribly had the suffering borderer been avenged! By the orders of Amherst,
1 Rogers's Journal. It is -worthy of notice, as illustrative of the fact that the Indians are fast losing their traditions, that the St. Francis tribe retain no remembrance or account whatever of this expedition of Rogers.
the women and children were spared and allowed to escape. Hastily collecting from the spoils two hundred guineas in money, and a silver image weighing ten pounds, the rangers began their retreat up the St. Francis river, with the intention of making their way to Fort Dummond. The retreat, however, was unfortunate. They were pursued and lost seven of their number. Finally they became separated; and although the majority of the party regained the settlements, yet several lost their way, and after wandering in the wilderness for several days, perished with hunger.
For the capture of Quebec, General Wolfe had eight thousand regulars, besides twenty-two ships of the line, and an equal number of frigates and lightly armed vessels. With this force he appeared off the Isle of Orleans, a few miles below Quebec, on the twenty-sixth of June, and upon the following day landed his army in safety. It was at this point, when he saw the castle of St. Louis frowning upon him from its rocky seat, that he realized for the first time the vastness of the task before him. For the protection of the city, Montcalm had stationed several armed vessels and floating batteries at the mouth of the St. Charles river, which half encircling the rocky promontory upon which the city is built, empties at its base into the St. Lawrence. On the eastern bank of the St. Charles, the French army were strongly entrenched-their encampment extending along the north bank of the St. Lawrence nine miles to the Montmorency. Above Quebec the elevated plateau, into which the promontory expands, was strongly fortified on the river side to Cape Rouge, a distance of nine miles. These were the obstacles which Wolfe must overcome-a place, too, strongly fortified by nature, and commanded by one of the ablest generals of the age. The difficulties of the undertaking, however, only made Wolfe more determined to succeed ; and confident in being soon reinforced by Amherst he began the siege with vigor. On the thirtieth, the English general took up a position at Point Levi, opposite the city, and having erected his batteries, opened the same day a brisk fire upon the town. Although the red hot shot from his cannon, soon set the lower town in a blaze, yet it was evident that the citadel, from its high elevation being beyond the range of the artillery, remained wholly uninjured; nor could it be taken, unless from batteries erected on the north side of the St. Lawrence. Such being the case, Wolfe determined to attack Montcalm in his entrenched camp, and as a preparatory step to this design, crossed with the larger portion of the army and encamped on the eastern bank of the Montmorency. The rapid and roaring river now alone separated the two armies. The thirty-first of July was the day fixed upon for the assault. Generals Murray and Townsend were directed to ford the river three miles above the falls, and cooperate with General Monckton, who, at a given signal, was- to cross with his regiments from Point Levi, and land at the foot of the cataract above the Montmorency. The impetuosity of Monckton's troops defeated the entire plan. Thirteen companies of the Grenadiers and two hundred of the Royal Americans, having rushed up the steep bank without waiting to be properly supported, were repulsed with fearful loss, and driven for shelter to a redoubt of the enemy, which had been evacuated by the latter at the beginning of the attack. At this moment a heavy thunder storm burst upon the combatants; and darkness falling before the fury of the elements had abated, Wolfe ordered the river to be recrossed, but not until over four hundred of his brave, but rash men, had fallen.
August came, and the capture of Quebec appeared as far off as ever. Several attempts under General Murray to destroy the French shipping had been unsuccessful, and affairs now wore a gloomy hue. Weary and dejected, Wolfe looked daily for the arrival of Amherst, by whom, as he had ascertained from some prisoners, Crown Point was already taken. His hopes from that quarter were vain. The messengers, whom Amherst had sent to inform him of his inability to assist, came not, and thus weeks passed, in gloomy uncertainty. Added to this, the anxieties and perplexities of his situation, working upon the frame of Wolfe, already undermined by a severe and painful disease, brought on a violent fever.1 His mind, nevertheless triumphed over the infirmities of the flesh. Calling a council of war around him, as he lay in the little chamber of a Canadian cottage, he unfolded to Monckton, Townsend, and Murray three plans of attack. The council rejected them all as desperate in the extreme, and proposed instead, that four or five thousand men should scale the heights back of Quebec, and thus draw the French into an engagement. "With a view also of misleading the enemy, Admiral Holmes waste ascend the river in the ships. This ruse was completely successful; and while Wolfe was quietly embarking his troops above Point Levi in transports perparatory to the assault, Montcalm, supposing that the English were on the point of raising the siege, sent off De Levi with three thousand men for the protection of Montreal.
The evening of the twelfth of September was clear and calm. Two hours before daylight, thirty flatboats, containing sixteen hundred soldiers, left the vessels and dropped; slowly down with the current, followed at a short distance by the vessels with the rest of the troops. As if the elements had combined to favor the English, heavy black clouds now drifted over the sky, obscuring the starlight and making the night intensely dark. With muffled oars the boats silently neared the shore, the stillness being unbroken, save when Wolfe, seated in the bow of the
1 "I have this day signified to Mr. Pitt that he may dispose of my slight carcass as he pleases, and that I am ready for any undertaking within the reach and compass of my skill and cunning. I aim in a very bad condition, both with the gravel and rheumatism ; but I had much rather die than decline any kind of service that offers:" Wolfe to William Rickson, December 1, 1758.
boat with arms folded, repeated in scarcely audible tones that mournfully beautiful stanza from Gray's Elegy:
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er, gave,
Await alike, the inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
"Gentlemen," he added when he had finished, " I would rather have written those lines than take Quebec tomorrow."
In the gray dawn of the autumn morning, the troops landed in a small cove. Wolfe led the way up the steep ascent followed by the main division, and by colonel Howe (brother of the one who had fallen at Ticonderoga) with the light infantry and a body of Scotch Highlanders. The rest of the army quickly followed; and when the light mists of morning had floated away, five thousand British regulars were seen drawn up in order of battle upon the plains of Abraham. When the startling intelligence of the event was borne by swift messengers to Montcalm, he could scarcely credit his senses. " Surely," said he, "it can be but a small party, come to burn a few houses and retire." He was soon undeceived; and before ten o'clock, both armies stood confronting each other upon the plain.
The French army advanced in three divisions to the attack, preceded by fifteen hundred Canadian and Indian sharp shooters, who, secreted behind shrubs, opened an irregular fire. When they had advanced within forty yards of the English, the latter at the word from Wolfe, opened such a terrible fire, as to throw the enemy at once into disorder. Seeing them falter, the British grenadiers, burning to retrieve their disgrace at the Montmorency, charged with such uncontrollable fury, that the French in a confused mob broke in all directions, pursued by the fleet Highlanders who, with every flash of their broad swords, cut down numbers of the fugitives, even at the very gates, of the city.
In the bayonet charge, Wolfe received a slight wound in the wrist. Binding a handkerchief around the wounded part, he continued to cheer on his men. A moment after a bullet pierced his groin. Nothing daunted, he yet fought on until a third hall in the breast stretched him upon the ground. He was tenderly carried to the rear by five of his men, and asked if he would have a surgeon, to which he replied in the negative. At this moment one of the officers, who was supporting the dying general, exclaimed, "See how they run." "Who run?" demanded Wolfe with energy. " The enemy," sir, replied the officer, "they give way everywhere." "Then," continued the dying man, "tell Colonel Burton to march Webb's regiment down to Charles river, to cut off their retreat from the bridge. Now, God be praised, I will die in peace." Then turning upon his side, his spirit peacefully took its departure.1
1 In the second volume of Knox's Journal there is an engraving which presents a profile view of General Wolfe. In Warburton's Conquest of Canada there is an excellent engraving, "from a scarce contemporary print." In the background are flat boats crowded with troops, and detached squads of soldiers clambering up the heights; while in the foreground stands General Wolfe armed cap a pie, his right hand pointing to the summit to be gained. But this full length portrait gives the general's face only in slight profile, and is not so provocative of study as the generous profile in Knox's Journal. In the latter engraving, the general's hair, which is represented as long and not very abundant, appears gathered behind and neatly tied with a riband. The head is thrown back a little, and the oval- shaped face, with full cheeks and chin (almost a double chin,) beautifully curved mouth, and small nose, is merely expressive of gentleness and good nature,-that is, if the eyes could be for a moment left out of sight. They shine with a clear, steadfast radiance, which would seem to indicate that the scaling of the heights of Abraham, and the victory at Quebec were the achievements of youthful genius, rather than (as Thackeray intimates), of good luck. A stranger to the fame of General Wolfe would be more likely to surmise his portrait to be that of a poet, than of a soldier. The lips were surely more fitly framed to sing the pensive song, composed and sung by General Wolfe at his mess a few evenings before the assault on Quebec,-
"Why, soldiers, why?
Should we be melancholy boys!
Why, soldiers why?
Whose 'business 'tis to die
than to give the orders which, carried into execution, occasioned the overcoming of almost insurmountable natural obstacles, and the overthrow of Montcalm.
Very nearly at the same moment that Wolfe fell, Montcalm, who was fighting opposite the English general, also received his death wound, and was born off on a litter to the general hospital. When told that death was inevitable, he replied, "I am glad of it;" and when informed that he had but ten or twelve hours to live at the most, he exclaimed, "So much the better, I am happy that I shall not live to see the surrender of Quebec." When consulted by the commander of the garrison in relation to the defence of the city, he replied, "To your keeping, I commend the honor of France. As for me, I shall pass the night with God, and prepare myself for death." Early the next morning he expired. The English, under General Townsend, continued their preparations for & siege, but before the guns were ready to open fire, De Ramsay, at the urgent solicitation of the citizens, hoisted the white flag; and on the eighteenth of September, the cross of St. George floated from the castle of St. Louis. The shattered army of the French fled to Montreal; and Admiral Saunders, dreading the winter, with one thousand prisoners bore away for England.
The news of the fall of Quebec was hailed both in England and America with acclamations of joy. In England a day was set apart for public thanksgiving; and in America the colonists burned bonfires, throughout the land. Yet amid all of these rejoicings, the glory of this victory was fringed with gloom for the loss of the gallant Wolfe and with the universal delight, was mingled a deep and heartfelt sorrow at his untimely end. Parliament commemorated his services in a monument in Westminster Abbey, and Massachusetts, holding him in kindly remembrance, voted to his memory a marble statue. The young general was worthy of all these expressions of affection. To a passionate fondness for his profession of arms, and a warm love for polite letters, he united a singular modesty; and though he possessed a reputation "wide as the civilized world," yet, in the quaint language of Jeremy Taylor, "as if he knew nothing of it, he had a low opinion of himself; and like a fair taper, when he shined to all the room, yet round about his own station he had cast a shadow and a cloud, and he shined to everybody but himself."
to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on
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