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... History of Oswego County, New York online

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entirely a mistake. The Indian allies of the British were
anxious for a post there for their protection, and in the
spring of 1779 sent a delegation of chiefs to General Hal-
diniand, at Montreal, charged, among other things, to re-
quest the re-establishment of a fort at Oswego. General
Haldimand explained that all his troops had been diverted
to other points, and nothing was then done towards rcoccu-
pation.

Probably if a British force had been stationed at Os-
wego it would have saved the Oaoiulagas the destruction
of their villages. Early that spring. Colonel Van Schaick
left Fort Stanwix with about five hundred and fifty men,
who rowed along the north shore of Oneida lake, and soon
reached Onondaga landing, opposite old Fort Brewerton.
There they left a guard with their boats, and marched rap-
idly to the Onondaga villages, destroying the principal one,
and, according to the ofiScial report, killing and capturing
fifty warriors.

Sullivan's great raid followed in the summer. In the
autumn a slight attempt was made by the British to inau-
gurate hostile proceedings at Oswego. Sir John John.son
and Colonel Guy Johnson went thither in vessels from
Niagara, and were joined by a considerable number of
Indians. Another body, however, who marched along the
shore, under Brant and some British ofiicers, did not come
up, and the Canadian Indians who had been expected to
make a foraging expedition to the vicinity of Fort Stan-
wix declined to undertake the dangerous task. So Oswego
was again abandoned. Sir John and Colonel Guy returned
to Niagara, and the Indians were mostly distributed in
winter quarters on the Niagara and the St. Lawrence.

Colonel Guy Johnson, in giving an account of this trans-
action to the home government, urged that Fort Ontario
should be re-established the next spring, as the Indians had
it much at heart. Whether it was so re-established in the
spring of 1780 there is nothing to show.

In the autumn of 1780 Sir John Johnson, with a force
of Indians and whites, again passed through Oswego aud up
the river to Oneida lake. There they concealed their boats,
and passed by a circuitous route to the borders of Schoha-
rie county. They inflicted great damage on the Americans,
and finally succeeded in escaping despite all the efforts of
the New York militia.

It was not until 1782 that it is certain there was a gar-
rison at the point in question. That season there was cer-
tainly a small one there, and in the succeeding winter an
effort was fnadc by the Americans to surpri.se it. Under
the special orders of Washington, the gallant Colonel Wil-
lett as,sembled four hundred and seventy men at Fort
Herkimer, in the present county of that name. They set
out on the 8th of February, 1783, proceeding in sleighs
over the ice of Oneida lake, near the north shore, till they



HISTORY OF OSWKC^O COUNTY, NEW YOIJK.



reached Fort Brewerton. There they left their sleighs
under a guard and went forward on foot. Striking through
the woods, they reached Oswego river, three miles above
the falls, about the 12th of February. At two in the after-
noon they reached the '' lower landing." There they made
seventeen scaling-ladders, and at night again moved forward.

They walked on the ice as far as 'вАҐ Bradstreet's rift,"
where they ag-ain struck into the woods to avoid discovery.
An Oneida Indian was acting as a guide, and the wearied
soldiers were warm with hopes of a successful surprise.
But, after several hours of tramping in the snow, through
the dense forest, it w;is found that the Oneida had last his
way. All attempts to find it were unavailing, and nothing
remained but to keep in motion till morning, lest they should
succumb to the bitter cold. On they went, scarce knowing
whither, hour aft



Online LibraryCrisfield. cn Johnson... History of Oswego County, New York → online text (page 10 of 120)