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called Gabagouache. By this command he was
placed in charge of all the traders and their men,
with absolute authority over everyone in the


territory; and a judge in their disputes. He was
also instructed to have a care for the Indians, as
they would be wanted in the spring in the pend-
ing war. Also to keep the hired men from leav-
ing his country, as they would be wanted in the
spring for the same service.

We suppose he moved his family to his winter
quarters on the Grand River. As he was per-
mitted, in his service, to trade with the savages,
he also took over an ample supply of Indian
goods, for traffic with 'the savages. The early
fall was devoted to preparations for winter. The
log cabins were repaired and the spaces between
the logs filled with clay and earth heaped against
the base of the cabins, to keep out the cold of the
winter. The Grand River and its tributaries ran
through vast pine forests filled with game. Among
the wild animals were the black and cinnamon
bear, the moose, deer, wolf and fox. Along the
streams were the beaver and otter. Doubtless he
obtained a splendid commerce and a rich cargo
of furs.

In January their daughter, Charlotte Catharine,
was born here at Grand River, and Father M. L.
Le Franc journeyed hither on snow shoes to pri-
vately baptize the infant.

In the spring (1756) they all returned to their
home again as winter is the hunter's season.
Furs taken in summer are of no value. These
savages all return to their villages in the spring


to plant their corn and tobacco. It is quite pos-
sible that de Langlade was ordered early in the
season to report at Fort Duquesne with the
French Canadians of the upper country. He had
now been made an ensign of infantry in the Can-
adian service. We suppose for gallantry in the
famous "Brad dock defeat."

Dumais was now in command of the Fort Du-
quesne. August 9, 1756, Captain Dumais issued the
following order to Ensign Charles de Langlade:

"Dumais, Knight of the Royal and Military
Order of St. Louis, Captain of Infantry, Com-
mander of the Belle Riviere (Ohio River) and its
dependencies: It is ordered to Sieur Langlade,
Ensign of Infantry, to set out at the head of a
detachment of French and Indians, to strike Fort
Cumberland. In case the Indians determined to
leave the main route, Sieur de Langlade will de-
tach a few reserves with a company of French, to
follow them. The principal object of his mission
being to ascertain if the enemy is inaugurating
any movement in this quarter.

"He will march with precaution and watchful-
ness in order to avoid all surprise and ambuscade.
If he attacks with the Indians he must do all in
his power to prevent them from inflicting any
cruelties upon those who may fall into his hands."

"Written at Fort Duquesne, Aug. 9, 1756."

On this mission he led his small company
quickly and cautiously over the same route by


which the English had approached from Fort
Cumberland. Having- obtained the information
he quickly returned. The journey would not
have taken more than a week. He found that
the English did not intend any attack on the fort
that season. He was now regularly stationed at
Fort Duquesne.

During the winter he was dispatched on a simi-
lar mission to Fort Cumberland to obtain infor-
mation of the intention of the English. He was
ordered to endeavor to capture some soldier who
would give him information. He led a small
party of French and Indians. In some manner a
small dog belonging to the Post followed them.
They succeeded in approaching close to Fort
Cumberland and coming on to a sentinel, at night,
made him prisoner. From this prisoner, de
Langlade learned that an English officer in the
paymaster's service was expected that night,
with a chest of gold, to pay the soldiers and for
military expense account. He ordered his party
down the road toward Williamsburg. At a point
in the road, lined with trees, the French and
Indians secreted themselves under cover of the
trees, on one side of the road, and waited in am-
bush, the coming of the English party. De Lang-
lade with a few Indians and an officer were sta-
tioned further down the road. The moon was
high and the snow on the ground made it light
enough to see. Soon the mounted guard was


Or traveling pouch of de Langlade, used for trader papers and traveler outfit ; made

of buckskin, ornamented with colored porcupine Quills, made by a Pani slave,

and now owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society at Madison.


heard trotting- up the road. De Langlade per-
mitted them to pass, to be taken by the ambush
further up the road. As soon as the horses
and sleigh, with the precious gold came up,
de Langlade and a French officer, sprang at the
head of the horses. Just at this inopportune
moment, the dog gave a yelp, which alarmed
the watchful British paymaster, who suddenly
wheeled his horses about, almost upsetting the
sleigh and began a swift return, lashing the
horses into a gallop; but de Langlade had caught
the rear of the sleigh and mounted behind the
officer. Now began a fight for life, to gain the
mastery with the team under swift motion, and
the sleigh bounding and swaying over the rough
road. The Englishman drew his pistol on de
Langlade, but it missed fire, and after a sharp
tussel, de Langlade snatched the weapon from
the paymaster. But the Englishman was a game
fighter, and with his whip, alternately thrashed
de Langlade about the face, and his horses about
their flanks. De Langlade swayed about in the
sleigh, and used his best endeavors to get hold of
the enemy, who kept up a swift lashing with the
whip, cutting him about the face and head. At
last partly blinded and the swaying sleigh flying
with the maddened horses, finally threw him from
his balance, and out into the snow. He lost his
prize, but carried away the pistol as the only
trophy of the fierce encounter. It would have



been very laughable, if not so serious. The
mounted guards were captured. De Langlade
often related this fight in the sleigh with great
glee, and frequently met the English officer in
Canada after the war, when it was a source of
much merriment between them.



THE English in the campaign of 1756, had
much the worst of it. Lord Loudon was
commander-in-chief and Governor of Vir-
ginia. Marquis de Montcalm was made com-
mander of the French troops in Canada. Taking
advantage of the weakness of Oswego, then a
post far out on the frontier, difficult of access by
the English, Montcalm took his forces over Lake
Ontario and landing near the forts soon reduced
them, and compelled the garrison to surrender.
This was a severe blow to the English.

When the season of 1757 opened, Lord Loudon,
who had determined to proceed against Louis-
burg, sailed away with six thousand English
troops and colonists. The enterprise was aban-
doned without an effort to assault, and when his
lordship returned to New York in August, he was
much chagrined to learn of defeats and disgrace
on the Northern frontier.

Montcalm, supposing the Louisburg expedition
was directed at Quebec had prepared to defend


that stronghold, but as soon as it was certain
that its destination was for other parts, then
Montcalm commenced his preparations for an
attack on Fort William Henry at the head of
Lake George. The forces were gathering at
Ticonderoga in July. They were Canadian mi-
litia and soldiers, and Royal Batallions, as well
as savages.

To interest the Indians of the missions of Two
Mountains and Caughnawaga or Saut St. Louis,
M. de Montcalm went himself and sung the war
song. One of Montcalm 's officers, Bougainville
has described these Indian allies, of which there
were nearly two thousand. One of these tribes,
the Iowa from the far off western plains, spoke a
language which no one could interpret, and they
bivouacked where they saw fit, being so inde-
pendent, no one could control them. To him
they all looked alike. They go naked, except a
strip of cloth through a belt, and paint them-
selves black, red, blue and other colors. Their
heads were shaved and adorned with feathers and
they wore beaver skin blankets, carry lances,
bows and arrows with a quiver made of skins.
They are straight, well made and generally very
tall. It was not easy to keep them fed. A week's
rations would be consumed in three days, when
they asked for more. At one time they seized
eighteen head of cattle and butchered them.
They craved strong drink, and when drunk they


often tore each other with their teeth like
wolves. The mission Indians behaved better
than the heathen of the west. They were armed
with guns which they knew how to use. They
dressed better and were not cannibals. Other-
wise they were much like other savages in feroc-
ity. Roubaud, the Jesuit Missionary of the Abe-
nakis of St. Francis, who were in Montcalm's
army, says that they are adorned with ornaments,
most calculated to disfigure them in European
eyes, and painted hideous colors. The head is
shaved, except at the top, to which is fastened
feathers, beads and trinkets. Pendants hang
from the nose and ears, which are split in infancy
and drawn down by weights until they hang on
the shoulders. They wear a shirt painted red, a
wampum collar, silver bracelets, a large knife
hangs on their breast, moose skin moccasins are
on their feet, and they have a belt of absurdly
combined colored beads. The Sachems, or war
chiefs, have the King's medals. The war dance
is sung, when all are gathered about a kettle of
stewing meat, the chief taking the lead, tramps
about recounting his prowess and all the savages
yelling approval. Others follow in the same
strain, closing the festival by all eating the con-
tents of the kettle.

One day Roubaud was near the Port, when he
saw the shore lined with a thousand Indians,
watching a war party return with some English


prisoners. They began to yell diabolically and
each armed with a club, to force the unhappy
prisoners to "run the gauntlet," when they would
probably have been killed, but were saved by
ransom furnished by some French officers. He
met the the same day troops of Indians, leading
English prisoners by cords about their necks and
the sweat was starting from their brows in the
extremity of their horror and distress. The identity
of Langlade, in this large body of officers, men and
Indian host, was lost in the aggregate movement,
yet in one affair he distinguished himself.

Three hundred provincials, chiefly of New
Jersey men, were sent out from Fort William
Henry under command of Colonel Parker to re-
connoitre the French outposts. Charles de
Langlade who had arrived with his western tribes
early, kept them constantly employed in skulking
about the English works, and scouting to bring
in information. They had brought word of the
progress of the Colonel Parker party. The
Ottawa, to the number of three hundred and
thirty seven, were sent out under de Langlade
and Corbiere, with five other officers, to attempt
a capture. Montcalm reports the occurrence on
July 25, 1757. "The Ottawa that I have sent to
the lake shore had conceived the project of
making an attack on the English barges and de
Langlade" with four other French officers "were
sent with them."


"They remained in ambush all day yesterday,
and during" the night. At break of day the Eng-
lish appeared to the number of twenty-two barges
including two skiffs. Their detachment number-
ed three hundred and fifty men, commanded by
Colonel Parker, who was at the head of the Jersey
regiment, in place of Colonel Schyler taken pris-
oner at Oswego. "

Parker was near Sabath Day point, and had
rashly divided his force. At break of day three
of his boats fell into the snare of ambushed Ind-
dians and were captured without a shot. Three
others followed at intervals, ignorant of what
had happened, and were captured. When the
others came up they were greeted by a deadly
volley from the thicket, and a swarm of canoes
darted out upon them. The men were seized
with such a panic, Montcalm's report continues,
"the yells of our savages so filled them with
terror, that they made but feeble resistance."
Some of them jumped into the water to escape,
while the Indians leaped after them and speared
them with their lances like fish. "Terrified by
the sight of the monsters, their agility, their firing
and their yells, they surrendered without resis-
tance," says Parkman.

About a hundred made their escape, the rest
were killed or captured and, "Three of the bodies
were eaten on the spot. '' Bougainville, the jour-
nalist of this expedition, says this success made


the Indians insolent, but he adds, "here in the
forest of America, we cannot more do without
them, than without cavalry on the plains." All
the French bred officers detested them. Mont-
calm's report concludes: "Only two barges were
saved, all the rest being taken or sunk. The
Indians brought away six, which will be very
useful to us. I have here one hundred and fifty-
one prisoners, of whom eight are officers, one
hundred and sixty were killed, drowned or put to
the torture. This affair cost us one Indian slightly
wounded. "

A few days after this the tent of Roubaud, the
missionary to the Abenakis, was in the camp
of the Ottawa along Lake George. He presently
saw a large number of them squatted about a
fire, before which meat was roasting on sticks
stuck in the ground, and approaching, he saw it
was the flesh of an Englishman, other parts of
which were boiling in a kettle, while near by sat
a dozen English prisoners forced to see their
comrade devoured. The horrorstricken priest
began to remonstrate, on which a young savage
replied in broken French: "You have French
taste; I have Indian. This is good meat for me."
They then invited him to the feast. If force had
been used to prevent these cruelties, the Indians
would have gone home in a rage. They were in-
duced to join the war party on promise of plunder
and scalps. They were left to finish their meal


undisturbed. Having eaten one of their prisoners,
they began to treat the others with the utmost
kindness. This change of conduct was because
they were a valuable commodity for which they
hoped to obtain a good price in Montreal. Mont-
calm finally succeeded in recovering them from
the Ottawa, and after furnishing them with shoes
and blankets, the captives were sent to Montreal.

The army gathered at Ticonderoga, were urged
forward to Lake George with all haste possible.
Provisions, camp equipments, ammunition, can-
non and bateaux or open scows, were dragged
through the woods and over the hills to Lake
George and embarked by the end of July.

Montcalm called his Indian allies to a grand
council, in which forty-one tribes and sub-tribes
were represented.

These were the mission savages; Iroquois of
Caughnawaga, Two Mountains, and La Presenta-
tion; Hurons of Lorette and Detroit; Nipissings
of Lake Nipissing. Abenakis of St. Francis,
Becancour, Missisiqui, and the Pemoboscott;
Algonkins of Three Rivers and Two Mountains;
Micmac and Malecites from Acadia; in all eight
hundred chiefs and warriors. With these came
the heathen tribes of the west, Ottawa of seven
distinct bands; Ojibwas of Lake Superior; and
Mississaugaes from the region of Lakes Erie and
Huron; Pottawattamies from south-east shore
Lake Michigan; the Menomonee from opposite


the settlement of Green Bay on Fox River in the
present State of Wisconsin; Sac and Foxes from
the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers; the Winne-
bago from their Village of Menasha on Fox River
at the head of Lake Winnebago at the Island
now called Doty Island; the Iowa from the
plains on the banks of the Des Moines; the
Miamis from the prairie of the Illinois; nine hun-
dred and seventy-nine chiefs and warriors, "men
of the forest, and men of the plains, hunters of
the moose and hunters of the buffalo," with their
stone war clubs and steel hatchets, their flint
pointed arrows and lances, and their French
guns. Some from nearby bunting grounds and
some from two thousand miles away. This dusky
throng of painted and plumed savages squatted
about under the canopy of the green boughs of
the dark forest. The white uniformed French
fringed the outer circle of this barbaric council.

Other officers there were, often in the uniform
of the bushmen. There was Saint Luc de la
Corne, called "General of the Indians;" also the
intrepid Marin; there was Charles de Langlade,
the "Bravest of the Brave," and many other
names known to the history of the times, and all
familiar from childhood with the forest and the

Pennahuel, the Ottawa chief and senior of all
the tribes was there, with Kikensick, Chief of the
Nipissings and many other war Kings of the


savages, among whom we suppose was Old King
of the Menomonee and Dakora, of the Winnebago.
They all committed themselves to the French, by
the bonds of a wampum belt, of six thousand
beads, produced by Montcalm. After the coun-
cil, by their carelessness they set fire to the
woods of their camp, which was afterward known
as Burned Camp. They then took to their
canoes, ran up Lake George and camped where
Captain Parker had been defeated. Montcalm
advised all his officers to dispense with all their
baggage as they were short of boats. Levis com-
manded a land party, and the balance embarked
in the bateaux and canoes, on the first of August.
The expedition numbered 7,600 men, of whom
1,600 were Indians. "And now as evening drew
near, was seen one of those wild pagentries of
war which Lake George has often witnessed."
They beached their water craft and joined the
land forces about two miles from the English fort.

Fort William Henry had been constructed by
Sir William Johnson two years before. It was
built of a double row of logs, locked together,
filled in with earth, and protected by seventeen
cannon, besides several morters and swivels.

A brave Scotch veteran, Colonel Monro, was in
command. The cattle were gathered in and all
outer works cleared ready for the fray. Monro
sent off expresses, for assistance, to Gen. Webb
at Fort Edward, fourteen miles away, on the


Hudson. Webb had sent up one thousand regu-
lars and militia, which raised the garrison to
2,200 men. After some skirmishing, Montcalm
sent a demand for the surrender of the place: but
Monro replied: "he would defend it to the list."
The firing commenced on both sides and lasted
six days, doing great damage to both parties.
Webb had written Monro that he could give him
no aid, and advised him to surrender. The con-
dition of the beseiged camp was now very dis-
couraging. More than three hundred had been
killed and wounded; smallpox was raging in the
fort; all their large cannon and morters had
burst; only seven small pieces were in service;
the whole of Montcalm's thirty-one cannon and
fifteen morters had been pushed close up and
were about to open fire; the walls were already
breached and their powder was nearly spent.
They fired their remaining cannon briskly all
night, but in the morning a council determined to
surrender. A white flag was sent out, and hon-
orable terms made. Before signing the capitu-
lation, Montcalm had called the Indian chiefs to
council and obtained their promises to restrain
their young warriors from disorder. The garri-
son then evacuated the fort, and joined their
comrades in the entrenched camp near by. The
Indians climbed into the fort in search of rum
and plunder, and instantly butchered all the sick
who were unable to leave their beds. The mission-


ary Roubaud says, he k 'saw one of these barbar-
ians come out of the casements, with a human
head in his hands, from which the blood ran in
streams, and which he paraded as if he had got
the finest prize."

The French guard stationed at the entrenched
camp, where the English were gathered, did not
prevent the Indians entering, which they did in
great numbers. They roamed among the tents
in an insolent manner, grinning their painted
faces, "like fiends as they handled in anticipation
of the knife, the long hair of the cowering women,
of whom as well as children, there were many in
the camp, all crazed with fright." The confus-
ion in the camp lasted during the afternoon.
The Indians wanted to plunder the English money
chest. Montcalm ran there and used every means
to restore order; and even arranged that two
chiefs of each tribe should go with the escort to
guard the English to Port Edward and prevent a
massacre by the young bucks. The English in
their camp passed a fearful night, because of
their fears. In the morning they were panic
stricken, for they not only feared the Indians,
but the Canadians also. In haste to be gone they
got together at day break, before the French
escourt of three hundred regulars had arrived.
They had their muskets, but no powder, or bayo-
nets. The Indians had been prowling about and
discovered their intentions. There were seven-


teen wounded men in huts, unable to join the
march. At five o'clock in the morning, the Ind-
ians entered the huts, dragged out the wounded,
tomahawked and scalped them all, before the
eyes of Dr. Whitworth their surgeon, and in front
of some French officer and soldiers, who did not
interfere. The scene of plundering was now be-
gun. Monro complained to the officer of the es-
cort that the capitulation was broken but was
advised to give up the baggage to appease the
Indians, which they did; then the Indians demand-
ed rum. This was given them, but it only added
to their bad temper. "When at last the colon-
nade got into the rough road, the Indians crowd-
ed upon them, snatching caps, coats and weapons,
tomahawked those who resisted, and seized
shrieking women and children, dragged them off
or murdered them on the spot. Suddenly the
Abenakis gave the war whoop, and a mob of sav-
ages rushed on to the rear of the English captives
and killed or dragged away eighty of them. A
frightful tumult ensued, when Montcalm, Levis
and other French officers who had hastened from
their camp, came upon the scene and threw them-
selves among the Indians; and by promises and
threats tried to prevent their awful crimes.
Montcalm cried out: "Kill me, but spare the
English who are under my protection. " He took
from them a young officer, whom the savages had
seized, but this made the savages murder their


prisoners so they too would not be taken away
from them. "The broken column struggled for-
ward in wild disorder amid the din of whoops
and shrieks, till they reached the advance
guard," and demanded protection, but were ad-
vised to take to the woods. About fifty were
killed and seven hundred made prisoners, who
were stripped naked.

Montcalm succeeded in recovering over four
hundred of them in the course of the day and re-
lieved their wants by buying back their clothing.
Many of the fugitives took refuge in the fort
where Monro had gone to demand protection for
his followers. Here were also a crowd of fren-
zied women crying for husbands and children.
All were taken under a strong escort to Fort
Edward. On the morning after the massacre the
Indians set out for Montreal. Soon the fort was
demolished, and the logs heaped together, and all
set into a blaze, making a funeral of blazing
logs, among which burned the bodies of those
killed in battle, and by the tomahawk. Every-
thing was destroyed. Then the French marched
away. The place of ten thousand combatants
was left again to grow to weeds and become the
silent home of the wild birds. When news of the
massacre of Fort William Henry reached New
England, the people flocked to the defense of the
frontier. Such horrible affairs were too often the
result of employing Indians, besides the savages


were learning- the white man's method of war, a
knowledge which in a few years made them
formidable foes under the famous chiefs, Pontiac,
Tecumseh and Black Hawk.

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Online LibraryPublius V. (Publius Virgilius) LawsonBravest of the brave, Captain Charles de Langlade → online text (page 6 of 14)