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of Missisdiiffa Indians, to see what was going on in this
vicinity. They went up the Oswego a few miles, and then
went back and reported to Pouchot that there were no
English to be found. Had they gone as far as the falls
they would have found an English army even then making
the portage around that obstruction. It was under the
command of General Prideaux, who, with two thousand
regulars and provincials, was on his way to attack Fort Ni-
agara. At Oswego he was joined by Sir William Johnson
with about seven hundred warriors of the Six Nations.
They had evidently become satisfied that the
would succeed in the contest, and had recovered from their
neutrality. In a short time some two hundred and fifty
more Iioqnnis, from the banks of the St. Lawrence, who
had long been under French influence, came to place them-
selves under the command of the baronet.

On the first of July. Prideaux and Johnson, with their
motley command, embarked on Lake Ontario in open boats
and turned their prows toward Fort Niagara. Colonel
Haldimand, with five or six hundred provincials, was left
to guard Oswego. It was supposed that the French were
all gathered on the lower St. Lawrence to resist Wolfe, but
still it was deemed advisable to erect a stockade. A large
portion of the men were daily sent to the forest to cut logs
for that purpose. Meanwhile, Haldimand made a kind of
wall around his camp out of barrels of pork and flour, of
which there were an immense number.

On the 5th of July, the workmen to the eastward of the
camp were suddenly fired on by a body of French and In-
dians. Ectreating quickly to the camp they found it in wild
confusion, men rushing from the forest in all directions,
while those already there were ensconcing themselves
behind the bamcade of barrels to repel the foe. The
assailants were the advance-guard of a cinsiderable force
under the Chevalier de la Come. He commanded five or
six bundled Canadians from Frontcnac, and several hundred
Christian Indians iVoni the mission of La Presentation ( now

Ogdensburgh). The Abbe Piequet, the .hief ..f that mis-
sion, accompanied his converts.

De la Come had landed without discovery at the same
point, about a mile and a half cast of the mouth of the
river, where Montcalm had disembarked three years before.
Had he pushed forward his whole force to the attack it is
quite probable that he would have defeated the surprised
and ill-prepared English, — a defeat which would almost have
insured the ruin of Prideaux's army. According to Pou-
chot's account of the affair, however, the Abbe Pic(|uct, when
he heard the firing of the advance-guard, insisted on making
a short exhortation to the troops and giving them absolution.
Meanwhile the opportune moment was lost, and when De la
Corne arrived before the camp with his main force, he found
the English under arms behind their barrels, and readj' for

He had no artillery, and he could not induce his Canadi-
ans and Indians to attack even that feeble barricade. A
desultory fire was kept up on both sides for two or three
hours, but De la Corne was unable to accomplish anything
of moment. Finally his men exclaimed that the blow had
fijiled, and in spite of their officers made their way as fast
as possible to their boats. The belligerent abbe endeav-
ored to rally them, but was thrown down in the rush, and
escaped being left only by his vigorous cries of '■ Save your
chaplain ! at least, save your chaplain !"

The English about a dozen men killed and wounded,
and the French probably about the same. One account
states that another attack was made the next day. This is
doubtful, and if true the attempt had no results, and De la
Corne returned to the St. Lawrence. Between three and
four weeks later the successful English were still further
gladdened by the appearance from the west of a detach-
ment of the Forty-sixth Regiment, escorting between seven
and eight hundred French officers and men, captured at
Fort Niagara. The prisoners were soon sent forward to
Albany. On the 7th of August the main army, except a
garrison left at the conquered fortress, and the Indians also,
returned under the command of Sir William Johnson, Gen-
eral Prideaux having been killed during the siege.

On the 16th of the same month General Gage, afterwards
celebrated as the commander at Boston in the beginning of
the Revolution, arrived at Oswego to take command in place
of Prideaux. All was now as animated at Oswego as it had
been desolate three months before. The gayly-dressed Eng-
lish officers, the sturdy provincials, and the painted Iroqnnis
were alike jubilant over the capture of Niagara, the great
French stronghold of western New York, and all (except
perhaps the Indians) were eagerly watching for news from
Quebec, where Wolfe and Montcalm were measuring swords
for the last deadly conflict.

Gage had received orders to go down the St. Lawrence
and capture the post of La Galette, below Ogdensburgh.
There was much counseling between the general, Sir Wil-
liam, and Colonel Haldimand on the subject. The vigorous
baronet was in favor of going, but Gage, like almost all the
English generals of that day, was very dilatory, and after
allowing much valuable time to .>ilip away he finally declined
to go, on account of the lateness of the season.

Sir William w;is, in niudcrn phrase, •full of busines.s."


Indians were constantly coming and going, and the baronet's
diary is full of memoranda of conferences, speeches, giving
belts, and all the other formalities essential in the manage-
ment of the red man. His entries for one day were two in
number, — the first being : " Fine morning ; I propose this
day speaking to the Indians;" the second: "All drunk;
could not meet them."

The first duel of which there is any record in Oswego
County was fought at this time, between " Bassy Dunbar
and Lieutenant Pionier, of the Royal Americans." The
former was shot through the lungs, receiving, as was sup-
posed, a mortal wound.

There were still some French vessels on Lake Ontario, and
two of them came in sight of Oswego. Two or three small
English vessels had also been built, which went out to meet
the visitors, but did not succeed in doing so.

Meanwhile, measures were taken to prevent losing what
the English already possessed. The engineers drew a plan
of a pentagon fort to replace the Port Ontario destroyed by
Montcalm. It was approved by General Gage, and the
erection of a large and substantial fortress was begun. It
was also called Fort Ontario, and remained until replaced
by the present fortification, about 1839. No attempt was
ever made to rebuild either of the works on the west side of
the river.

The new Fort Ontario was very nearly, perhaps exactly,
on the site of the old one. It was also partly on the site
of the present work, but went considerably nearer the lake.
The south part of the fortress, built in 1759-60, was within
the limits of the present Fort Ontario. The traces of the
old walls are still to be seen between the present rampart
and the lake. The whole circuit of the five sides was about
five hundred feet. The rampart was built of earth, revetted
with " saucissons" on the side towards the lake, but on the
landward sides the earth was kept in place by large square
timbers laid one upon the other. The parapet was some
twelve feet thick, and outside of it there was a ditch nearly
thirty feet wide. During the autumn of 1759 or spring of
1760, four block-houses were also erected at long gun-shot
from the fort.

At this time, too, detachments from Oswego and Fort
Sfanwix, under the direction of Captain Brewerton, built a
fort on Oneida river, a few rods from the north bank and
about a mile below the outlet of the kke. Like the one
at the falls, it was an octagon, with the sides curved inward,
so that the sharp angles made it resemble an eight-pointed
star. It was about a hundred feet in diameter on the in-
side, with a wall five feet high, crowned with palisades
twenty feet high, with loop-holes and embrasures. Outside
was a ditch, and outside of that a still lower wall. The
new fort was evidently intended for defense against Indian
rifles, not against French artillery. It was named " Brew-
erton" in honor of its constructor. The remnants of the
old wall and ditch are still to be seen close to the present
Fort Brewerton hotel.

At the same time a mole or wall of large rocks was built
at the exact point where the lake changes into the river,
running southeast into the lake and reaching somewhat
above its surface. At the end a sentry-box was erected,
and here a sentinel was continuously posted, who, from his

curious station, could view the river for many miles and
the lake as far as eye could reach. Of this, too, the ruins
are still to be seen under water. More. than a hundred
acres were cleared around the fort to give a more extended
view of an approaching foe.

Here, too, as at the falls, the modern fortification is in
the near neighborhood of ancient relics dating back to un-
known ages. In a sand-bank, a short distance east of the
fort, a large number of human bones have been discovered,
apparently belonging to males, and denoting the probable
place of interment of the warriors of a nation. The length
of some of the bones found there is said to have indicated
that they belonged to men at least seven feet high ; but the
accuracy of such estimates is always doubtful.

On the 8th of October, 1759, a scout sent out from Os-
wego towards the enemy returned with some Canadian
prisoners. These brought to the garrison the first news of
the capture of Quebec, which had occurred three weeks
previously. All men saw that the downfall of French
power in America must speedily follow, and joy reigned
supreme, especially among the provincials, who could now
hope for a long respite from the haunting fears of toma-
hawk and sealping-knife. Sir William Johnson issued a
formal invitation to the Indians to reopen trade at Oswego
and Niagara the next spring, most of the provincial troops
were sent home, the garrisons of the posts went into winter
quarters, and silence again settled down on the scene lately
so full of life.

In the spring of 1760 England and her colonies rallied
their forces to give the final blow to the French dominion
in Canada. Although it was plain that the fall of Quebec
involved the conquest of the whole province, yet De Vau-
dreuil at Montreal still held out for King Louis, and many
minor posts were yet in possession of the French. It was
arranged in the English councils that three armies should
concentrate on Montreal. One was to move up the St.
Lawrence from Quebec, one smaller one was to go down
Lake Champlain from Albany, while the main Anglo-
American force, under the commander-in-chief, General
Amherst, was to rendezvous at Oswego, and thence pro-
ceed down the St. Lawrence to attack the doomed capital.

The colonial levies came in slowly, and it was not until
the 12th of June that Amherst left Schenectady with six
thousand provincials and four thousand regulars. Once
more the Jlohawk, the Oneida, and the Oswego were alive
with hundreds of boats, their banks resounded with the
tramp of armed battalions, and the deer and the panthers
alike shrank back affrighted from the countless camp-fires
which blazed upon their woodland shores.

In the forepart of July the whole force arrived at Os-
wego. Great preparations had to be made ere this army,
the largest ever seen within this county, could be embarked
on its destined voyage. On the 25th of July Amherst
was joined by Sir William Johnson, with six hundred Iro-
quois warriors, and this number was soon swollen to over
thirteen hundred by those called French Iroquois, anxious
to make their peace with the conquering English. Never
before nor since has Oswego exhibited such an animated
and variegated scene as during the latter part of July and
forepart of August, 17tiO. Four thousand regulars, re-


splendent in the gaudy uniform of England, moved with
martial port about the frontier fortress, or engaged in mili-
tary manoeuvres, executed with machine -like precision.
Six thousand provincials, mostly sturdy New York Dutch-
men and keen-foccd New Englanders, whose uniforms, if
not so brilliant, were generally new, and who had seen too
much hard service to be despised as soldiers, even by
European veterans, proudly marched and countermarched
to martial strains, in which the time-honored sounds of
" God Save the King" were mingled with the newly-in-
vented air of " Yankee Doodle."

Supplies were being brought forward by the ton ; hun-
dreds of carpenters were at work constructing boats ; the
whole locality rang with the noise of axe and mallet, of
drum and fife, of shout and song, and amid the excitement
the thirteen hundred plumed and painted Iroquois forgot
for the moment that their hunting-grounds were being over-
run with fearful rapidity, and were ready to follow Brother
Warragiyaghey, alias Sir William Johnson, to the death.

Man}' were the men, then or afterwards celebrated in
American history, congregated at that time at the mouth
of the Oswego. The commander-in-chief. General Jeffrey
Amherst, afterwards Lord Amherst, though devoid of great
genius, was an energetic and fliithful soldier, then forty-
three years of age, a firm but not harsh commander, highly
respected by his men, and ever ready to share their hard-
ships and their dangers. General Gage, the second in
command, a bluif, dull-witted British general, of the regu-
lation pattern, was destined to reap a dubious fame as the
presiding genius on the English side at the opening of the
Revolution, and then to sink into obscurity.

More famous at that time than even the commander-in-
chief, Sir William Johnson was doubtless the busiest of all
the busy throng. Pioneer, fur-trader, soldier, man of busi-
ness, magistrate, superintendent of Indian affairs, council-
lor of the province of New York, chief of the Mohawks,
and baronet of the Kingdom of Great Britain, this " Trib-
une of the Six Nations," as he has been aptly called, was
then, at the age of about forty-five, in the full vigor of
strength, the full flush of power, the full tide of success in
all his undertakings.

General John Bradstreet, the quartermaster - general,
whose doings in the vicinity of Oswego we have so often
had occa.sion to chronicle during the previous four years,
was by this time recognized by the commander-in-chief as
one of the efficient officers on the continent. He was
taken sick, however, while at Oswego, and did not accom-
jiany the expedition down the St. Lawrence. His coad-
jutor and friend. Major Philip Schuyler, being on other
service, wa.s not with Amherst's army that summer. There
was another Revolutionary officer there, the opposite of
Schuyler in every respect except valor and patriotism.
This was that rough but stanch Connecticut fai-mer who
left his oxen unyoked in the furrow at the news of Lexing-
ton, and whose fame is now especially united to the glories
of Bunker Hill, but who was known to the army encamped
at Oswego in 1760 as Lieutenant-Colonel Israel Putnam.

Many others of minor fame were employed under the
skillful direction of Amherst in forwarding operations, and
on the 9tli of August all was ready. Hundreds of whale-

boats were loaded with artillery and supplies, and Colonel
Haldimand had been sent ahead with a thousand men to
clear the way.

On the lOtli occurred the scene, .somewhat remarkable
in the history of war, of the embarking of over ten thou-
sand men in open boats to traveree a lake and river for
more than two hundred miles. A great host of bateaux
and whale-boats were filled with regulars and provincials,
the Iroquois warriors, with Warragiyaghey at their head,
occupied their light canoes, a long train of artillery and
supply-boats brought up the rear, and then, to the sound
of martial music, with flashing oars and waving banners,
the grand army set forth on its watery path to the Franco-
American capital.

Amhenst's plan of advancing by three routes was faulty
enough, for it involved the possibility of the enemy's de-
feating all the corps in detail. Had the French had any-
thing like equal numbers, and been directed by the genius of
Montcalm, such a consequence might perhaps have resulted.
They were, however, too much enfeebled and discouraged
to make the attempt. Captain Pouchot gallantly defended
Fort Levis, below Ogdensburgh, but the fort was soon cap-
tured by the overwhelming numbers of the English, and
that brave and skillful, but unfortunate, officer was again
sent as a prisoner through Oswego.

In September, the Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered
Montreal, and with it all Canada. This ended forever the
rule of France in this part of America, although the formal
treaty of peace was not signed until February, 1763. Am-
herst's provincials returned home by way of Lakes Cham-
plain and Ontario, the regulars were distributed where their
presence was most needed, and Oswego County saw no more
of the grand pageants which had so lately enlivened its
sylvan scenery.



FROM 1761 TO 1775.

of Luiidic"



■Tbi- Fir:

Sehuol — Military Garileiiing — The Patlilinder, Kau-Douce, Dcw-iif-
June, etc.— A Sudden Death— The Chieftain's Funeral— Brad-
strccfs Western Expedition — A Dramatic Meeting— A Week's
Festivities— The " Property Line"— Tryon County— The Troops
withdrawn— Death of Sir William Johnson.

A CONSIDERABLE force was Still thought necessary at
Oswego, and the greater part of the Fifty-fiflh Infantry, a
regiment mostly raised in Scotland, was transferred thither
from Montreal immediately after the surrender. The com-
mander was Major Alexander Duncan, commonly called
" Duncan of Lundie," from the estate which belonged to
his family. One of its captains was Duncan McVicar, a
Scotchman, whose wife and little daughter had been living
on the Hudson while he was doing duty with the army.
He was determined to take them to Oswego, and they are
supposed to have been the first white females belonging to
any, except the lowest, class that ever visited this county.
Little Annie McVicar was hardly six years old, but very
precocious, and having a most remarkable memory. Nearly
fifty voars later, and forty years aflcr she had returned to


Scotland, having, under the name of Mrs. Grant, acquired
considerable literary fame, she wrote a book, entitled " Me-
moirs of an American Lady" (Mrs. Schuyler, aunt of the
general!, which is widely recognized as the most charming
picture extant of New York colonial society and life. Three
chapters of her work are devoted to her journey to, and
stay in, Fort Ontario, which bring vividly before the reader
that frontier post as it was a hundred and sixteen years ago.

The McVicars came through in October, 1760, with a
company of soldiers of the Fifty-fifth, in bateaux, follow-
ing the usual — not well-trodden, but well-paddled — course,
and fevr things in literature are more pleasant than the
romantic child's description of their forest-shaded voyage
and fire-lighted bivouacs. The last night of their journey was
spent at Fort Brewerton, then garrisoned by a company of the
Fifty-fifth, under Captain Mungo Campbell, another Scotch
officer, afterwards killed at the battle of White Plains.

They found Fort Ontario a large structure, built of
" earth and logs," as Mrs. Grant expressed it. The major
commanding was a shrewd, quaint, hard-headed, middle-
aged Scotchman, who ruled his young subordinates with
despotic, yet fatherly, control. He had had fitted up for
his own use a small frame house on wheels, which could be
moved to any part of the parade. The thin walls and
floor were supplemented by an ample lining of deer-skins,
bear-skins, etc., and the area was divided into two parts, — •
one serving as the commandant's bedroom, the other as
eating-room and library.

Here, during the long winter, which completely closed
all communication with the civilized world, the subordinate
officers were a.ssembled for instruction by the worthy major,
and required to take their daily lessons with the regularity
of school-boys. The object of the major was, doubtless,
not so much to make his officers good scholars as to keep
their faculties from rusting and their habits from lapsing
into dissipation through the idleness so common in unoccu-
pied garrisons. Whatever the object, this was undoubtedly
the first school ever taught in Oswego County.

When spring came, both officers and men, when not em-
ployed in the chase, were kept busy in agricultural labors.
Of the large tract which had been cleared around the fort,
either for defensive purposes or to provide firewood for the
many successive garrisons, a portion was devoted to the
raising of beans, peas, Indian corn, etc., by the men, an-
other to the gardening operations of the officers. The
shrewd and kindly Duncan had thus the gratification not
only of raising on that new, strong soil the largest beans,
onions, and squashes in America, but of keeping his officers
and men out of mischief to a very remarkable extent.
Major Duncan's garden lay in the hollow south of the fort,
where, E. W. Clark states, the appearances of it could be
seen sixty or seventy years ago. The McViears returned
to Albany in 1761, but Major Duncan and six companies of
the Fifty-fifth remained there until 17G5, the necessity for
this large garrison being caused by the difficulties with the
western Indians.

It was during the reign of Duncan of Lundie that
Cooper lays the opening scenes of his celebrated novel,
" The Pathfinder," in Oswego County. It was near the
Oneida river that Cap, tlic sailor, Mabel Dunham ("the

sergeant's daughter"). Arrowhead, and Dew-of-June met
Jasper Western (Eau-Douce), Chingachgook (the Big Ser-
pent), and the redoubtable Pathfinder. It was down the
Oswego falls that Pathfinder and Eau-Douce ran their bark
canoe, while the veteran salt-water sailor sat in the middle
of it trembling for the consequences, — a feat which Cooper
thinks it needful to verify by declaring that he has seen a
long thirty-two-pound cannon floated over the same dubious-
looking track. It was on the western border of Volney
that the party hid in a leafy cove, while their savage pur-
suers passed by, and that Big Serpent tomahawked the
inquisitive Iroquois. It was at Fort Ontario that Duncan
of Lundie and Quartermaster Davy Muir disputed regard-
ing the three or four wives of the latter, and that the great
contest of marksmanship came ofi' in which Eau-Douce,
through the complaisance of Pathfinder, won the silken
calash which he bestowed on Mabel Dunham.

Pontiac's war, which broke out in 1762, created great
excitement in all the frontier posts, but did not extend as
far east as Oswego. When they heard of it, several chiefs
of one of the Canadian tribes came to visit Major Duncan.
He invited them to return with their people, and celebrate
the accession of the new king, George the Third, and renew
the treaty of peace with Britain. They did so, witnessed
a review, and were supplied with a grand feast outside the
fort. The principal chief and his brother, a pair of stal-
wart braves, were invited to dinner with the officers. When
they were seated, the major called for wine to drink the
health of King George. Scarcely had this been done by
the assembled party, when the sachem's brother fell lifeless
on the floor. The usual remedies in case of fainting were
applied, without effect. The chief looked quietly on while
these efforts were being made, but when convinced that his
brother was indeed dead, he drew his blanket over his head
and burst into tears.

Indian life is not conducive to apoplexy or heart-disease,
and such sudden deaths are almost unknown among them.
The officers might well fear that some sinister interpretation
would be put on this strange event, following so soon after
drinking the wine given by the English to the deceased.
The weeping of a warrior was something equally unknown,
and betokened a degree of grief which might easily turn
to revenge. But presently the chieftain threw back his
blanket, arose, and in a dignified manner addressed the
English. He acquitted them of all part in his brother's
death, and declared that their common enemies, the Hurons,
should weep tears of blood for all those which he had slied
for his brother.

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