Joseph A. Altsheler.

The Rulers of the Lakes A Story of George and Champlain online

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Canadians attempted to carry him to the rear. One was killed instantly,
and Montreuil took his place, but Dieskau made them put him down and
directed the adjutant to lead the French again in a desperate charge to
regain a day that had started so brilliantly, and that now seemed to be
wavering in the balance.

Colonel Johnson himself had been wounded severely, and had been
compelled to retire to his tent, but the American colonels, at least
those who survived, conducted the battle with skill and valor. The
cannon, protected by the riflemen, still sent showers of grape shot
among the French and Indians. The huge Tandakora with St. Luc tried to
lead the savages anew upon the American lines, but the hearts of the red
men failed them.

The French regulars, urged on by Montreuil, charged once more, and once
more were driven back, and the Americans, rising from their logs and
coverts, rushed forward in their turn. The regulars and Canadians were
driven back in a rout, and Dieskau himself lying among the bushes was
taken, being carried to the tent of Johnson, where the two wounded
commanders, captor and captive, talked politely of many things.

The victory became more complete than the Americans had hoped. The
Indians who had stayed far in the rear to scalp those fallen in the
morning were attacked suddenly by a band of frontiersmen, coming to join
Johnson's army, and, although they fought desperately and were superior
in numbers, they were routed as Dieskau had been, the survivors fleeing
into the forest.

Thus, late in the afternoon, closed the momentous battle of Lake George.
The French and Indian power had received a terrible blow, the whole
course of the war, which before had been only a triumphant march for the
enemy, was changed, and men took heart anew as the news spread through
all the British colonies.

When Dieskau's regulars, the Canadians and the Indians, broke in the
great defeat, Robert, Tayoga, Willet, Grosvenor, the Philadelphia troop,
Black Rifle and Daganoweda, all fierce with exultation, followed in
pursuit. But the enemy melted away before them, and then, from the
crest of a hill, Robert heard the distant note of a French song he knew:

Hier, sur le pont d'Avignon
J'ai oui chanter la belle
Lon, la,
J'ai oui chanter la belle,
Elle chantait d'un ton si doux
Comme une demoiselle
Lon, la,
Comme une demoiselle.

"At least he has escaped," said Robert.

"The bullet that kills him is not molded and never will be," said
Tayoga.

"How do you know?" asked Willet, startled.

"Because Tododaho has whispered it to me. I heard his voice in the
breath of the wind as we pursued through the forest."

Robert caught a glimpse of St. Luc, in his uniform of white and silver,
still apparently unstained, erect and defiant. Then he disappeared and
they heard only the singing of the wind among the leaves.









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Online LibraryJoseph A. AltshelerThe Rulers of the Lakes A Story of George and Champlain → online text (page 21 of 21)