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[237] French army was in motion to attack the place; and
chap. X.} 1756.
Webb, with the forty-fourth regiment, was ordered to hold himself in readiness to march to its defence. But nothing was done. The regiments of New England, with the provincials from New York and New Jersey, amounted to more than seven thousand men; with the British regular regiments, to more than ten thousand men, besides the garrison at Oswego. In the previous year the road had been opened, the forts erected. Why delay? But Abercrombie was still lingering at Albany, when, on the twenty-ninth of July, the Earl of Loudoun arrived. There too ‘the viceroy’ loitered with the rest, doing nothing, having ten or twelve thousand men at his disposition, keeping the provincials idle in their camps, without the skill and experience necessary to take care of themselves, and victims to disease, which want of employment and close quarters generated.

The French were more active; and, while the savages made inroads to the borders of Ulster and Orange counties, they turned all their thoughts to the capture of Oswego. De Lery, leaving Montreal in March with a party of more than three hundred men, hastened over ice and snow along the foot of mountains; by roads known to savages alone, they penetrated to Fort Bull, at the Oneida portage, gained it after a short struggle and a loss of three men, destroyed its stores, and returned with thirty prisoners to Montreal.1 Near the end of May, eight hundred men, led by the intrepid and prudent De Villiers, made their palisaded camp under the shelter of a thicket near the mouth of Sandy Creek. From

1 Journal, &c., from October, 1755, to June, 1756. Paris Doc., XII., 18.

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