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[210] with a thousand men to relieve Fort Edward. Among
chap. IX.} 1755.
them was Israel Putnam, to whom, at the age of thirty-seven, the Assembly at Connecticut had just given the rank of a second lieutenant.1 Two hundred warriors of the Six Nations went also, led by Hendrick, the gray-haired chieftain, famed for his clear voice and flashing eye. They marched with rash confidence, a little less than three miles, to a defile, where the French and Indians had posted themselves on both sides of the way, concealed on the left by the thickets in the swamps, on the right by rocks and the forest that covered the continued rising ground. Before the American party were entirely within the ambush, the French Indians showed themselves to the Mohawks, but without firing on their kindred, leaving the Abenakis and Canadians to make the attack. Hendrick, who alone was on horseback, was killed on the spot. Williams also fell; but Nathan Whiting, of New Haven, conducted the retreat in good order, often rallying and turning to fire.

The camp had still no intrenchments. When the noise of musketry was heard, two or three cannon were hastily brought up from the margin of the lake, and trees were felled for a breastwork. These, all too few to lie contiguously, formed with the wagons and baggage some protection to the New England militia, whose arms were but their fowling-pieces, without a bayonet among them all. It had been Dieskau's purpose to rush forward suddenly, and to enter the camp with the fugitives; but the Iroquois took possession of a rising ground, and stood inactive. At this the Abenakis halted also; and the Canadians became intimidated.

1 Records at Hartford for 29 Geo. II. Putnam's commission as 2nd Lieut. in the 6th company of the 3rd Regiment of Connecticut, forwarded not before September 2, reached him after the battle.

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