, at the portage between the Hudson
and the headsprings of the Sorel
The forests were never free from secret danger; American scalps were sought for by the wakeful savage, to be strung together for the adornment of the wigwam.
Towards the end of August, the untrained forces, which, with Indians
, amounted to thirty-four hundred men, were conducted by William Johnson
across the portage of twelve miles, to the southern shore of the Lake
, which the French
called the Lake
of the Holy Sacrament
‘I found,’ said Johnson
, ‘a mere wilderness; never was house or fort erected here before;’1
and naming the waters Lake George
, he cleared space for a camp of five thousand men. The lake protects him on the north; his flanks are covered by a thick wood and a swamp.
The tents of the husbandmen and mechanics, who form his summer army, are spread on a rising ground; but no fortifications are raised, nor is even a trench thrown up.2
On week-days, the men, accustomed to freedom, saunter to and fro in idleness; or some, weary of inaction, are ready to mutiny and go home.
On Sunday, all come forth and collect in the groves for the Worship of God; three hundred red men, also, regularly enlisted under the English
flag, and paid from the English
treasury, seat themselves on the hillock, and, while the light of a summer's afternoon is shedding its sweetest influence on the tops of the forest-clad mountains and on the still waters of the deep transparent lake, they listen gravely to the interpretation of a long sermon.
Meanwhile, wagon after wagon brought artillery, and stores and