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scheme the next year, the governor placed Colonel Mercer
in command of the forces, gave orders for the erection of
two new forts, and returned to Albany.

Mercer immediately set his troops at w^ork constructing
the fortifications ordered by Shirley. On the east side of
the river, about a quarter of a mile from Fort Oswego, a
work was built which received the name of Fort Ontario, a
name which has ever since been applied to some fortifica-
tion on substantially the same site. It was about two hun-
dred feet square, built of logs from twenty to thirty inches
in diameter, set up on end in stockade form, and banked
up with earth so as to make a wall fourteen feet in height.
Outside was a ditch fourteen feet wide and ten feet deep.
Inside, barracks were built for three hundred men. The
work was intended to mount sixteen guns. It was proba-
bly not finished until the spring of 1756.

At the same time with Fort Ontario another fortification
was begun on the hill west of Fort Oswego, exactly on the
site of the house erected by the late F. T. Carriiigton. It
was intended to prevent Fort Oswego from being com-



26



HISTORY OF OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK.



maoded from the rear, and was to be a hundred and seventy
feet square, the wall being a rampart of earth and stone,
twenty feet thick and twelve feet high, surrounded by a
ditch and crowned by a parapet. This work was never fin-
ished. It was sometimes called Fort George and sometimes
New Fort Oswego. This latter fort was also strengthened
by Mercer. The French imagined that its name Was Fort
Pepperell, and so designated it on some of their plans, but
it does not appear that the English ever called it by any
other name than Fort Oswego.

Meanwhile, General Johnson, in his march against
Crown Point, being threatened by Baron Dieskau, threw
up intrenchments, and when the latter made an attack he
was repulsed with heavy loss. Johnson neglected to take
any advantage of his victory, and did not even attempt to
capture Crown Point, the sole object of his expedition.
His success, however, was the only one of the year; so the
home government rewarded him with a colonelcy in the
regular army, the permanent superintendency of all the
northern Indians, a grant of five thousand pounds sterling,
and a baronetcy, and he was thereafter known as Sir Wil-
liam Johnson, — a very proper recognition of the extraordi-
nary character of any English victory in America.

Shirley, as commander-in-chief, summoned another coun-
cil of provincial governors at Albany in December, and
again proposed his pet scheme of making Lake Ontario the
main theatre of military operations. He desired that five
thousand troops, most of them to be raised by the colonies,
should rendezvous at Oswego in the spring, and thence
proceed to the capture of Frontenac and Niagara, and the
complete severance of the French line of communications.
His plan was the right one, but his previous failures to
carry his fine schemes into execution were causing his star
to pale before the rising light of the new baronet, and very
little heed was paid to his suggestions.

The spring of 1756 opened from the first with omens of
disaster to the English cause. The new commander-in-
chief of the French forces was the Marquis de Montcalm,
one of the very bravest soldiers and ablest generals who
ever trod the soil of America, while the selection of the
English court fell on tlie Earl of Loudon, probably the
most thoroughly stupid, indolent, and incompetent man to
whom were ever intrusted the destinies of a continent,
devoid alike of the theoretical skill of Shirley, the rude
vigor of Johnson, and the bull-dog courage of Braddock.

In March a French lieutenant, with a mixed party of
regulars, Canadians, and Indians, marched through the wil-
derness from Ogdensburgh, and captured Fort Bull, one of
the two posts which guarded the great Oneida carrying-
place from the Mohawk river to Wood creek ; killing most
of its garrison, destroying a large quantity of stores, and
startling the troops at Oswego with a sense of the great
insecurity of their slender line of communications.

Shirley did all he could to strengthen that important
post. He had early ordered the building of three new
vessels there, carrying respectively twelve, sixteen, and
eighteen guns. He organized a great number of bateau-
men, in companies of fifty each (composed largely of those
formerly engaged in the Albany and Oswego fur-trade), to
transport army supplies and naval stores to Lake Ontario.



These were all placed under Colonel Bradstreet, a vigilant
officer of the quartermaster's department, then rapidly
rising into prominence.

Soon, however, the governor was relieved from military
duty, though neither the Earl of Loudon, who was to com-
mand in chief, nor General Abercrombie, who was to have
charge of the northern army, had yet arrived from Europe.
Even after his removal, Shirley held a council of war at
Albany, at which he recounted what he had done to
strengthen Oswego and obtain complete possession of Lake
Ontario, and urged that four companies of scouts, of sixty
men each, should be raised to keep open the communication
with his favorite post. In modern phrase, the governor
of Blassachusetts had Oswego on the brain. But he spake
to deaf ears and dull brains.

Meanwhile De Vaudreuil, the governor-general of Canada,
and De Montcalm, the commander of the forces, kept ears
and eyes wide open, and brains and hands very busy. As
soon as spring had fairly opened, the Sieur de Villiers, a
captain in the colonial service, was sent with seven hundred
men to keep watch of Oswego, furnish information regard-
ing it, harass its communications, and capture supplies.
This De Villiers was the same enterprising officer who had
previously been operating in the vicinity of Fort Duquesne,
and who had compelled the surrender of Fort Necessity by
Major George Washington two years before. He was a
brother of Jumonville (brothers frequently had difierent
names in France, derived from their estates), who was
killed by Washington's troops in the skirmish that brought
on the war. Captain De Villiers played a very important
part in Oswego County during the summer of 1756, and
as he was the only man who ever fully conquered Wash-
ington, his proceedings are invested with peculiar interest.
Monsieur De Villiers established his headquarters on
Niaoure bay, now called Henderson bay, in Jefierson county,
and was soon busy ; sometimes sending detachments under
his subordinates, and sometimes marching himself with his
main force. Scalping-parties of Indians, or of Indians and
French combined, frequently penetrated the wilderness,
throughout this and previous wars, and harassed the settle-
ments on the Mohawk. They took various routes, but
French writers mention that a favorite one was up the
Famine, or Salmon, river.

About the 12th of May one of De Villiers' detachments
attacked a party of ship-carpenters at work only three hun-
dred yards from Fort Oswego, killing nine and capturing
three. A body of soldiers was instantly sent out, but the
wily assailants retreated into the forest so quickly that not
oven a sight of a living Frenchman was obtained, though
the pursuers found one dead one, whom they scalped and
threw into the river. Scalping seems to have been the
fashion on both sides at that time.

A few days later a very large amount of supplies came
through in two hundred bateaux and two hundred whale-
boats, managed by about a thousand men, probably under
command of Bradstreet, though there is no record to that
effect. In passing over the falls two bateaux and two
whale-boats were lost, and four men drowned. Pursuing
their toilsome way, most of them soon reached the post, but
some were detained at the reefs, two miles above. On the



HISTORY OF OSWEGO COUNTV, NEW YOllK.



27



morning of the 17tli a lieutenant named Blair, with tweuty-
four men, was sent up to guard the bouts at the reefs. He
was yet on his way when he was attacked by one of De
Villiers' scouting-parties. Wounded at the first fire, the
young officer continued to encourage his men, but was soon
struck by a second bullet and slain. The men, under a
sergeant, maintained their ground, and in a short time were
relieved by a force from the fort. One soldier was killed
and another wounded, besides a Muhauk Indian killed and
a ship-carpenter wounded. Two French Indians were also
killed, who were duly scalped and flung into the river.

Notwithstanding that nearly two years of actual warfare
had passed, war was not formally declared by England
against Franco until the ISth of May, 175G ; followed by
a counter-declaration on the part of France on the 9th of
June. These public declarations involved no perceptible
change in the proceedings.

Near the last of May, the three vessels on which the
carpenters had been at work throughout the spring not
being ready for use. Commodore Barclay, the naval com-
mander, went out with some small ones on a voj'age of
exploration towards Niagara, from which point there were
some expectations of an attack. Being met by continuous
western winds, they returned after a fruitless voyage of
twelve days.

On the 10th of June De Villiers left Niaoure bay with
his whole force, arriving in the vicinity of Fort Ontario on
the 15th. He then arranged to make a demonstration
against that fort the next morning with a few men, hoping
to provoke a sortie, when he expected to destroy the sally-
ing party by an ambuscade. All his men, and particularly
his Indians, were carefully instructed not to fire until the
Engli-sh made a sortie. At daybreak the next morning
the combined force of French and Indians moved forward.
Early as it was, they found eight men at work a little dis-
tance outside. This was too much for the Indians. With
a yell that rang far over lake and forest, and brought every
man in both garrisons to his feet, a host of the savages
rushed forward, fired their muskets on the unfortunate
squad, and the next moment had torn the bleeding scalps
from five who lay dead upon the ground.

The garrison of Fort Ontario, which consisted of Colonel
Schuyler's New Jersey regiment, sprang to arms and opened
a brisk fire on the enemy when they appeared on the edge
of the forest. But it was in vain that De Villiers, by
showing a small force, endeavored to provoke a sortie ; the
terrific yell and tremendous fusilade with which the un-
lucky workmen had been greeted had put every one on his
guard, and the conflict soon became a mere exchange of
shots between the assailants and the defenders of the post.
After an hour and a half of such firing, De Villiers drew
off his men and retreated eastward. Schuyler lost but a
few men in addition to those surprised at the first onslaught,
and the French loss was also small.

About the 23d of June Commodore Barclay again went
on a cruise with his flotilla, consisting of his flag-ship, the
" Oswego," carrying four four-pounders, one three-pounder,
and forty-five seamen and sailors ; the " OnUirio," Captain
Lafory, carrying the same number of guns ; and a little
schooner with six little swivels and thirteen men. On their



return, after a four-days' trip, they were chased by four of
the enemy's vessels, two of whom the Frencli called
" barks," and two " corsairs." Considering the great im-
portance of his little squadron to the welfare of Oswego,
the commodore tliought it best to make all sail for that
port, where he arrived safely with his two larger vessels,
while the little schooner was seized by the foe.

On the 1st of July, 175G, Colonel Bradstreet arrived at
Oswego with six hundred bateaux, bringing sixteen car-
riage-guns, and sixteen swivels for the new vessels, which
were still unfinished, besides an immense amount of ammu-
nition and other supplies. Two liundred soldiers also came
through to join the garrison, and Colonel Mercer, the com-
mander, did his best to put the new fort on the hill in a
proper stiite of defense. Through the foresight of Governor
Shirley and the exertions of Colonel Bradstreet, Oswego
was now amply supplied with provisions and ammunition ;
the only question being whether there were men enough to
defend it against an attack in force.

Bradstreet's right-hand man in this expedition, as in
other enterprises, was a slender, fair-faced young soldier of
twenty-three, ever active, but never flurried, a descendant
of one of the oldest families of Albany, and destined to
make his family name one of the most illustrious in the
annals of America. This was Captain Philip Schuyler,
afterwards the celebrated major-general of the Revolutionary
army, who had been selected by the clear-he;jded Bradstreet
as his chief assistant, and who then held the important
post of commissary of the expedition of relief.

On the third of July Colonel Bradstreet started on his
return, with his well-armed and partially-disciplined bateau-
men in their empty boats, arranged in three divisions.
Strict ordei-s were given that they should keep close to-
gether, but the roughness and rapidity of the river prevented
complete obedience. When Bradstreet himself, beiiig near
the head of his command, was about nine miles above Os-
wego, and near the small island now known as Battle
island, the report of a hundred muskets rang out from the
dense forest on the eastern shore, and several of his men
fell killed and wounded around him. And then
"Atouce there rose so wild a yell,
As all the fiends from Ileaven that fell
Had pealed the banner-cry of Hell !"

while the dark forms of a host of naked savages were seen
half concealed amid the trees.

De Villiers had arranged a more complete ambuscade, but
had been disappointed by the impatience of his Indians,
who fired at the first bateaux they saw, instead of waiting
for the whole line of boats to come abreast of them.
Seeing that concealment was no longer possible, the French
commander ordered his Canadians also to open fire.

Confusion spread rapidly among the bateuu-men, but
Bradstreet Wiis fully equal to the emergency. Ordering
the main body to set their bateaux to the western shore
and effect a landing, he himself, with a few of those nearest
him, sprang to the island befjre mentioned, and returned
the enemy's fire, in order to cover the movement of the
others. One of this gallant band was Captain Schuyler.
A squad of Indians, carrying their guns and ammunition
above their head.-, d;ishcd through the water and attempted



HISTOKY OF OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK.



to clear the island. Bradstreet and Schuyler stood their
ground, and the assailants were beaten back, but did not
leave the island.

Both parties were reinforced till the English had about
twenty, and the Indians numbered twice as many. The
latter made another attack, but were again unsuccessful,
though they succeeded in wounding eight of their foes.
A dozen more bateau-men came to Bradstreet's aid, and the
Indians were likely to be destroyed, when De Villiers placed
himself at the head of fifty Canadians, and waded through
the stream to the relief of his allies.

A very sharp conflict now ensued between the detach-
ments under the two commanders, and the bullets flew
thick among the trees on the little island. Whenever a
man fell, if his slayer could reach him, he was forthwith
scalped, and a yell of triumph arose from the throat of the
victor. Among those who fell wounded was a French
Canadian, whom an enraged bateau-man at once lifted his
tomahawk to dispatch. Captain Schuyler interposed, saved
his life, and bade him consider himself his prisoner. As
Bradstreet and his men acted on the defensive, and rarely
left the shelter of their trees, they were enabled a third
time to drive back the assailants, and De Villiers soon re-
treated to the main-land. As the French report puts it,
he rescued the endangered Indians and retired ; but, from
a perusal of both accounts, we have no doubt that he was
really defeated at every point, though he captured a few
prisoners. The conflict on the island lasted about an
hour.

Meanwhile the bateau-jnen had fastened their boats to
the western shore, had been formed in line by their sub-
ordinate leaders, and were exchanging shots with the enemy
across the river. Leaving a detachment thus engaged, De
Villiers marched with his main force to ford the river a
mile farther up, and fall on Bradstreet's rear. The latter
perceived the movement, and at once transferred his force
from the island to the main-land to frustrate it. There
was but one bateau available, and this was crowded with
English wounded. Schuyler's disabled prisoner begged to
be taken with them, but was refused.

"Then," he exclaimed, in accents of despair, "then
fling me into the river, so I may die quickly ; do not leave
me here to perish of hunger and thirst."

The gallant and humane Schuyler could not endure this
distressing appeal. Giving his coat and weapons to a com-
riide, he supported the wounded Frenchman with one arm,
and with the other swam across the rushing current to the
main-land. He gave the wounded man in charge of Dr.
Kirkland, the surgeon of the expedition, under whose care
lie finally recovered. Twenty years afterwards, when
Major-General Philip Schuyler was commander of the
northern department of the Continental army, a portion of
which was invading Canada, the poor Canadian, though
caring little for the political questions involved, yet joined
the American forces, that he might once more meet the
man who had twice saved hi.s life on Battle island.

On reaching the main-land, Bradstreet, still accompanied
by Schuyler, at once set forth with two hundred and fifty
men to meet the French. Captain John Butler, afterwards
the celebrated Tory leader during the Revolution, was left



in charge of the remaining men to guard the bateaux. On
Bradstreet's arrival at the. destined point, he found that Do
Villiers had already forded the river, and taken possession
of a pine swamp on the west side, at the outlet of Lake
Neahtawanta. Bradstreet engaged them, and an action an
hour long took place, all fighting from behind trees, Indian
fashion. Finally, the commander of the Americans led
his men into the swamp and drove the enemy to the river,
where many of them were killed in crossing it.

The French and Indians then fled in great baste, bearing
twenty-six scalps, taking along a few prisoners, and having
wounded twenty-six bateau-men, but without destroying a
single one of the bateaux, and leaving the ground strewn
with abandoned muskets and blankets. It was reported
that a patrol from Oswego found seventy-four French and
Indians killed, but that was probably an exaggeration..

While the bateau-men were congratulating themselves
on the victory, the drums of advancing infantry were heard,
and a company of grenadiers of Shirley's regiment marched
up from the south, being on their way to strengthen Oswego.

A report of the I'acts being forwarded to Colonel Mercer,
the latter sent up two hundred men, with whom and the
grenadiers Bradstreet proposed to pursue the enemy the
next morning. A severe rain, however, prevented, and it
would probably have been useless, as the foe was doubtless
by that time in his boats and on his way to Henderson
bay. The English supposed that the French had a per-
manent camp about twelve miles east of Oswego, but this
was a mistake. De Villiers' headquarters were all the while
at Henderson bay.

Bradstreet hastened back to Albany, where he arrived
about the 10th of July, and immediately importuned Gen-
eral Abercrombie, who had arrived in the month of June,
to send reinforcements to Oswego. Sir William Johnson,
also, who had lately persuaded the Six Nations to consent
to the laying out of a military road to that post, declared
that his influence over them would be gone if Oswego
should be taken. Governor Shirley, too, who, though de-
prived of military rank, still remained near the border, re-
iterated the necessity of sustaining his darling fortress.
All was useless. Abercrombie billeted his troops at Albany
and began fortifying that town, as if expecting that the far
inferior forces of the French would soon be at its gates.

On the 29th of July his excellency the Earl of Loudon,
commander-in-chief of his majesty's forces in America, ar-
rived in Albany to begin his campaign. He, too, refused
to aid Oswego, and made some feeble preparations to attack
Crown Point. At length, however, the representations of
everybody who knew anything of American matters in-
duced him to order Colonel Webb, with a brigade of troops,
to march to the relief of the endangered fortress.

During all this time that vigilant chief, Field-Marshal
the Marquis de Montcalm, was doing all that lay in human
power to take advantage of the blunders of his foes, and to
remedy by his genius the smallness of his force. Every
exposed point of his own was guarded, every exposed point
of the enemy was watched, and his communications were
kept up, so that he could strike at whatever locality might
show the best prospect of success.

Determined to destroy, if possible, the long-detested



HISTORY OK OSWHCO COFNTY, NKW YOISK.



Chouegucn, he made his preparations at once to carry out
his purpose and to conceal it from the English. Rigaud
de Vaudrcuil, governor of the Cauiidian department of
Three Rivers, was sent with a fresh body of colonial troops
and Indians to take command of De Villiers' camp, on
Henderson bay, where he must have arrived about the time
that vigilant partism returned from bis attack on Brad-
street. The battalion of Beam was recalled from Niagara
to Frontcnac. Colonel Dc Bourlamaquc, at the latter post,
was ordered to make preparations for forwarding an army.
Descombles, an engineer, was sent forward with an escort
to reconnoitre Oswego, and then on the 27th of June the
mar(juis sot out from Montreal for Crown Point and Ticon-
deroga.

Hero he was very active for a few days, and his presence
soon became known to the English, and was probably one
of the inducements for the dull-witted Abercrombie to for-
tify Albany. Having made the necessary preparations for
the defense of the Lake Champlain route, and sufficiently
advertised his presence there, De Montcalm set out for
Montreal on the 15th of July. Urging his sinewy oarsmen
tfl their best endeavors, his bateau sped down Lake Cham-
plain and the river St. Johns, and on the 19th he reached
the capital of Canada. One "day was devoted to a final
conference with the governor-general. On the 21st the
commander-in-chief was again afloat. Despite the rapids
which made the St. Lawrence so tedious to ascend, be
reached Fort Frontenac on the 29th. In six days he or-
ganized his army, made sure of its complete equipment, and
set forth with the first division. On the 6tli of August
they arrived at Henderson bay, which had been designated
as the final rendezvous, and on the 8th were followed
thither by the second division.

Despite all his endeavors, the marquis could muster
hardly three thou.sand men for this important expedition.
The English afterwards exaggerated the number to five or
.six thousand, to cover the disgrace of their defeat, but
French writers state it at scant three thousand, and from
the details they give we have no doubt that that is substan-
tially correct. Of these the three JJuropean battalions of
La Sarre, Guienne, and Beam numbered about thirteen
hundred, the Canadians nearly a thousand, and the Indians
probably about five hundred. De Montcalm, however, had
taken good care that there should be in addition an excel-
lent train of artillery, which, with its equipments and the
supplies, occupied eighty of the strongest bateaux.

The same day (August 8) that the last division arrived
at Henderson bay, the marquis sent forward the vanguard,
under Rigaud de Vaudreuil. They rowed all night, in
order to conceal themselves from the Jlnglish, and early
the next morning reached their temporary destination, a
place called "L'Anse aux Cabanes," — Cabin cove. This
point is stated by a French writer to have been three
French leagues (seven and a half miles) from Oswego, and
the attendant circumstances show that the statement was
nearly correct. That would fix the locality at one of the
indentures in the shore, in the northwest corner of the
town of Scriba. The editor of the Documentary History
of Now York locates " L'Anse aux Cabanes" at Sandy
Creek hay. but that is entirely out of the (juostion. The



first divi.sion, however, under De Montcalm in person, went
from Henderson bay to Sandy Creek bay the night of the



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