Conquest of the valley of the West
's ministry continued.
the Protestant nations compared Frederic to Gustavus Adolphus
, as the defender of the Reformation and of freedom.
With a vigor of hope like his own, Pitt
, who, eight days before the battle of Rossbach
, had authorized Frederic to place Ferdinand of Brunswick
at the head of the English
army on the continent, planned the conquest of the colonies of France
Consulted through the under secretaries, Franklin
gave full advice on the conduct of the American
war, criticised the measures proposed by others, and recommended and enforced the conquest of Canada
In the House of Commons, Lord George Sackville
, a man perplexed in action and without sagacity in council, of unsound judgment yet questioning every judgment but his own, restless and opinionated, made the apology of Loudoun
‘Nothing is done, nothing attempted,’ said Pitt
with vehement asperity.
‘We have lost all the waters; we have not a boat on the lakes.
Every door is open to France
was recalled, and added one more to the military of-
ficers, who advised the magisterial exercise of British authority, and voted in parliament to sustain it by fire and sword.
In 1746 the Duke
, then at the head of the admiralty, after considering ‘the conduct and principles’ of the Northern
colonies, had declared officially that it would be imprudent ‘to send twenty thousand colonists to plunder the Canadians and conquer their country, on account of the independence it might create in those provinces, when they should see within themselves so great an army possessed of so great a country by right of conquest.’
He had, therefore, advised ‘to place the chief dependence on the fleet from England
, and to look on the Americans
as useful only when joined with others.’
, rejecting the coercive policy of his predecessors, their instructions for a common fund, and their menaces of taxation .by parliament, invited the New England
colonies, and New York, and New Jersey
, each without limit, to raise as many men as possible, believing them ‘well able to furnish at least twenty thousand,’ for the expedition against Montreal
, while Pennsylvania
and the southern colonies were to aid in conquering the West
He assumed that England
should provide arms, ammunition and tents; he ‘expected and required’ nothing of the colonists, but ‘the levying, clothing, and pay of the men;’ and for these expenses he promised that the king should ‘strongly recommend to parliament to grant a proper compensation.’
Moreover, in December, 1757, he obtained the king's order that every provincial officer of no higher rank than
colonel should have equal command with the British
according to the date of their respective commissions.
was a friend to liberty everywhere, and sought new guarantees for freedom in England
It was during the height of his power, that a bill was carried through the House of Commons, extending the provisions for awarding the writ of habeas corpus to all cases of commitment; and when the law lords obtained its rejection by the peers, he was but the more confirmed in his maxim, that ‘the lawyers are not to be regarded in questions of liberty.’
In a like spirit, Pitt
now frowned upon every attempt against the rights of America
and others, ever disposed to cavil at the promise of recompense, as contrary to their plan of taxation by parliament and a surrender of authority, were compelled to postpone their complaint, that the Americans
, in peace the rivals of England
, assumed in war to be allies, rather than subjects.
Of the designs, secretly maturing at the Board of Trade by Halifax and Rigby
, the colonies were unsuspicious.
The genius of Pitt
and his respect for their rights, the prospect of conquering Canada
and the West
, and unbounded anticipations of future greatness, roused their most active zeal.
In some of them, especially in New England
, their contributions exceeded a just estimate of their ability.
The thrifty people of Massachusetts
disliked a funded debt, and avoided it by taxation.
In addition to the sums expected from England
, their tax, in one year of the war was, on personal estate, thirteen shillings and fourpence on the pound of income, and on two hundred pounds income from real estate
was seventy-two pounds, besides various excises and a poll tax of nineteen
shillings on every male over sixteen.
1759, a colonial stamp-tax was imposed by their legislature.
The burden cheerfully borne by Connecticut
was similarly heavy.
, powerful in themselves, were further strengthened by an unbroken communication with England
The unhappy Canadians
, who had not enjoyed repose enough to fill their garners by cultivating their lands, were cut off from regular intercourse with France
‘I shudder,’ said Montcalm
, in February, 1758, ‘when I think of provisions.
The famine is very great.’
‘For all our success,’ thus he appealed to the minister, ‘New France needs peace, or sooner or later it must fall; such are the numbers of the English
, such the difficulty of our receiving supplies.’
war-parties were on the alert; in March a body of Iroquois
and other Indians waylaid a detachment of about two hundred rangers in the forests near Fort Carillon, as the French
, and brought back one hundred and forty-six scalps, with three prisoners, as ‘living messages.’
But what availed such small successes?
In the general dearth, the soldiers could receive but a half-pound of bread daily; the inhabitants of Quebec
but two ounces daily.
Words could not describe the misery of the people.
The whole country was almost bare of vegetables, poultry, sheep, and cattle.
In the want of bread and beef and other necessaries, twelve or fifteen hundred horses were distributed for food.
Artisans and daylaborers became too weak for toil.
On the recall of Loudoun, Henry Seymour Conway
desired to be employed in America
, but was refused by the king.
Lord George Sackville
invited to take the command, but declined.
several expeditions were set in motion.
The circumspect, impenetrable Jeffrey Amherst
, a man of solid judgment and respectable ability in action, with James Wolfe
, was to join the fleet under Boscawen
, for the siege of Louisburg
; the conquest of the Ohio valley
was intrusted to Forbes
; and against Ticonderoga
and Crown Point
, a friend of Bute
, was commander-in-chief, though Pitt
selected the young Lord Howe to be the soul of the enterprise.
None of the officers won favor like Howe
To high rank and great connections Howe
added manliness, humanity, a capacity to discern merit, and judgment to employ it. As he reached America
, he adopted the austere simplicity befitting forest warfare.
, then thirty-one years old, had been eighteen years in the army; was at Dettingen
, and won laurels at Laffeldt.
Merit made him at two-and-twenty a lieutenant-colonel, and his active genius improved the discipline of his battalion.
He was at once authoritative and humane, severe yet indefatigably kind; modest, but aspiring and conscious of ability.
The brave soldier dutifully loved and obeyed his widowed mother, and his gentle nature saw visions of happiness in scenes of domestic love, even while he kindled at the prospect of glory, as ‘gunpowder at fire.’
On the twenty-eighth day of May, Amherst, after a most unusually long passage, reached Halifax
The fleet had twenty-two ships of the line and fifteen frigates; the army at least ten thousand effective men. Isaac Barre
, who had lingered a subaltern eleven years till Wolfe
rescued him from hopeless
obscurity, was in the expedition as a major of
For six days after the British
forces, on their way from Halifax
, had entered Chapeau Rouge Bay, the surf, under a high wind, made the rugged shore inaccessible, and gave the French
time to strengthen and extend their lines.
The sea still dashed heavily, when, before daybreak, on the eighth of June, the troops, under cover of a random fire from the frigates, attempted disembarking.
, the third brigadier, who led the first division, would not allow a gun to be fired, cheered the rowers, and, on coming to shoal water, jumped into the sea; and, in spite of the surf which broke several boats and upset more, in spite of the well-directed fire of the French
, in spite of their breast-work and rampart of felled trees whose interwoven branches made one continued wall of green, the English
reached the land, took the batteries, drove in the French
, and on the same day invested Louisburg
At that landing, none was more gallant than Richard Montgomery
; just oneandtwenty; Irish by birth; an humble officer in Wolfe
's brigade; but also a servant of humanity, enlisted in its corps of immortals.
The sagacity of his commander honored him with well deserved praise and promotion to a lieutenancy.
On the morning of the twelfth, an hour before dawn, Wolfe
, with light infantry and Highlanders, took by surprise the lighthouse battery on the northeast side of the entrance to the harbor; the smaller works were successively carried.
On the twenty-third, the English
battery began to play on that of the French
on the island near the centre of the mouth of the harbor.
Science, sufficient force, union
among the officers, heroism pervading mariners and
soldiers, carried forward the siege, during which Barre
by his conduct secured the approbation of Amherst
and the friendship of Wolfe
Of the French ships in the port, three were burned on the twenty-first of July; in the night following the twenty-fifth, the boats of the squadron, with small loss, set fire to the Prudent, a seventy-four, and carried off the Bienfaisant.
was prepared to send six English ships into the harbor.
But the town of Louisburg
was already a heap of ruins; for eight days, the French
officers and men had had no safe place for rest; of their fifty-two cannon, forty were disabled.
They had now but five ships of the line and four frigates.
It was time for the Chevalier de Drucour
The garrison became prisoners of war, and, with the sailors and marines, in all five thousand six hundred and thirty-seven, were sent to England
On the twenty-seventh of July, the English
took possession of Louisburg
, and, as a consequence, of Cape Breton and Prince Edward's Island.
Thus fell the power of France
on our eastern coast.
being the English
naval station, Louisburg
The harbor still offers shelter from storms; the coast repels the surge; but only a few hovels mark the spot which so much treasure was lavished to fortify, so much heroism to conquer.
, whose heart was in England
, bore home the love and esteem of the army.
The trophies were deposited with pomp in the cathedral of St. Paul
's; the churches gave thanks; Boscawen
, himself a member of parliament, was honored by a unanimous tribute from the House of Commons.
, too, triumphed; for the praises
awarded to Amherst
recalled the deeds of her own sons.
On the surrender of Louisburg
, the season was too far advanced to attempt Quebec
Besides, a sudden message drew Amherst
to Lake George
The summons of Pitt
had called into being a numerous and well equipped provincial army.
, which had entered upon its alarm list more than forty-five thousand men, of whom more than thirty-seven thousand were by law obliged to train and in case of an invasion to take the field, had ten thousand of its citizens employed in the public service; but it kept its disbursements for the war under the control of its own commissioners.
, its governor, complained of the reservation, as an infringement of the prerogative, predicted confidently the nearness of American independence; and after vain appeals to the local legislature, repeated his griefs to the Lords
The Board, in reply, advised dissimulation.
‘The dependence which the colony of Massachusetts Bay
ought to have upon the sovereignty of the crown,’ thus they wrote Pownall
, ‘stands on a very precarious foot; and unless some effectual remedy be applied at a proper time, it will be in great danger of being totally lost.’
The letter was sent without the knowledge of Pitt
, who never invited a province to the utmost employment of its resources with the secret purpose of subverting its liberties, as soon as victory over a foreign foe should have been achieved with its concurrence.
Such a policy belonged only to the Board of Trade, where Halifax
still presided, and Oswald
, Soame Jenyns, Rigby
, and William Gerard Hamilton
sat as members.
But the proposal of a change in the colonial
administration, cherished by Halifax from his first entrance into office and never abandoned, was reserved till the peace should offer the seemingly safe ‘occasion’ for interposition.
Meantime nine thousand and twenty-four provincials, from New England
, New York, and New Jersey
, assembled on the shore of Lake George
There were the six hundred New England
rangers, dressed like woodmen; armed with a firelock and a hatchet; under their right arm a powder-horn; a leather bag for bullets at their waist; and to each officer a pocket compass as a guide in the forests.
There was Stark
, of New Hampshire
, now promoted to be a captain.
There was the generous, openhearted Israel Putnam
, a Connecticut major, leaving his good farm round which his own hands had helped to build the walls; of a gentle disposition, brave, and artless.
There were the chaplains, who preached to the regiments of citizen soldiers a renewal of the days when Moses
with the rod of God in his hand sent Joshua against Amalek.
By the side of the provincials rose the tents of the regular army, six thousand three hundred and sixty-seven in number; of the whole force Abercrombie
was commander-in-chief; but the general confidence rested solely on Howe
Early in the spring, Bradstreet
, of New York, had proposed an attempt upon Fort Frontenac
; Lord Howe overruled objections; and the gallant provincial was to undertake it, as soon as the army should have established itself on the north side of the lake.
On the fifth day of July, the armament of more than fifteen thousand men, the largest body, of European
origin, that had ever been assembled in Amer
ica, struck their tents at daybreak, and in nine hundred small boats and one hundred and thirty-five whale-boats, with artillery mounted on rafts, embarked on Lake George
; the fleet, bright with banners, and cheered by martial music, moved in procession down the beautiful lake, beaming with hope and pride, though with no witness but the wilderness.
They passed over the broader expanse of waters to the first narrows; they came where the mountains, then mantled with forests, step down to the water's edge; and in the richest hues of evening light, they halted at Sabbath-day Point.
Long afterwards, Stark
remembered, that on that night Howe
, reclining in his tent on a bear-skin, and bent on winning a hero's name, questioned him closely as to the position of Ticonderoga
and the fittest mode of conducting the attack.
On the promontory, where the lake, through an outlet or river less than four miles long, falling in that distance about one hundred and fifty-seven feet, enters Champlain
, the French
had placed Fort Carillon, having that lake on its east, and on the south and southwest the bay formed by the junction.
On the north, wet meadows obstructed access; so that the only approach by land was from the northwest.
On that side, about a half-mile in front of the fort, Montcalm
marked out his lines, which began near the meadows and followed the sinuosities of the ground till they approached the outlet.
This the road from Lake George
crossed twice by bridges, between which the path was as a cord to the large arc made by the course of the water.
Near the bridge at the lower falls, less than two miles from the fort, the French
had built saw-mills, on ground which
offered a strong military position.
On the first of July, Montcalm
sent three regiments to occupy the head of the portage; but they had been recalled.
On the morning of the fifth, when a white flag on the mountains gave warning that the English
were embarked, a guard of three pickets was stationed at the landingplace, and De Trepezee, with three hundred men, was sent still further forward, to watch the movements of the enemy.
After a repose of five hours, the English
army, an hour before midnight, was again in motion, and by nine the next morning disembarked on the west side of the lake, about a mile above the rapids, in a cove sheltered by a point which still keeps the name of Lord Howe.
The three French pickets precipitately retired.
Immediately on landing, as the enemy had burnt the bridges, the army, leaving behind its provisions, artillery and all heavy baggage, formed in four columns, the regulars in the centre and provincials on the flanks, and began its march round the bend along the west side of the outlet, over ground uneven and densely wooded.
‘If these people,’ said Montcalm
, ‘do but give me time to gain the position I have chosen on the heights of Carillon, I shall beat them.’
The columns, led by bewildered guides, broke and jostled each other; they had proceeded about two miles, and an advanced party was near Trout Brook
, when the right centre, where Lord Howe had command, suddenly came upon the party of De Trepezee, who had lost his way and for twelve hours had been wandering in the forest.
The worn-out stragglers, less than three hundred in number, fought bravely, but were soon overwhelmed; some were killed; some drowned in the stream; one hundred and fifty-nine
But Lord Howe, foremost in the skir-
mish, was the first to fall, expiring immediately.
The grief of his fellow-soldiers and the confusion that followed his death, spoke his eulogy; Massachusetts
soon after raised his monument in Westminster Abbey
; America long cherished his memory.
passed the following night under arms in the forest.
On the morning of the seventh, Abercrombie
had no better plan than to draw back to the landing-place.
An hour before noon, Bradstreet
, with a strong detachment, rebuilt the bridges, and took possession of the ground near the saw-mills; on which the general joined him with the whole army, and encamped that night not more than a mile and a half from the enemy.
Early the next day, Abercrombie
sent Clerk, the chief engineer
, across the outlet to reconnoitre the French
lines, which he reported to be of flimsy construction, strong in appearance only.
, of New Hampshire
, as well as some English officers, with a keener eye and sounder judgment, saw well finished preparations of defence.
But the general, apprehending that Montcalm
already commanded six thousand men, and that De Levi
was hastening to join him with three thousand more, gave orders, without waiting for cannon to be brought up, to storm the breastworks that very day. For that end, a triple line was formed out of reach of cannon-shot; the first consisted, on the left, of the rangers; in the centre, of the boatmen; on the right, of the light infantry; the second, of provincials, with wide openings between their regiments; the third, of the regulars.
Troops of Connecticut
and New Jersey
formed a rear guard.
During these arrangements, Sir William Johnson
arrived with foul
hundred and forty warriors of the Six Nations, who
gazed with inactive apathy on the white men that had come so far to shed each other's blood.
On the sixth of July, Montcalm
called in all his parties, which amounted to no more than two thousand eight hundred French and four hundred and fifty Canadians.
That day he employed the second battalion of Berry
in strengthening his post.
The next day, his whole army toiled incredibly; the officers giving the example, and planting the flags on the breastwork.
In the evening, De Levi
returned from an intended expedition against the Mohawks, bringing with him four hundred chosen men; and at night, all bivouacked along the intrenchment.
On the morning of the eighth, the drums of the French
beat to arms, that the troops, now thirty-six hundred and fifty in number, might know their stations, and then, without pausing to return the fire of musketry from English light troops on the declivities of the mountain, they resumed their work.
The right of their defences rested on a hillock, from which the plain between the lines and the lake was to have been flanked by four pieces of cannon; but the battery could not be finished; the left extended to a scarp surmounted by an abattis.
For a hundred yards in front of the intermediate breastwork, which consisted of piles of logs, the approach was obstructed by felled trees with their branches pointing outwards, stumps, and rubbish of all sorts.
The English army, obeying the orders of a commander who remained out of sight and far behind during the action, rushed forward with fixed bayonets to carry the lines, the regulars advancing through the openings between the provincial regiments, and taking the lead.
, who stood just within the
trenches, threw off his coat for the sunny work of the
July afternoon, and forbade a musket to be fired till he commanded; then, as the English
drew very near in three principal columns to attack simultaneously the left, the centre and the right, and became entangled among the rubbish and broken into disorder by clambering over logs and projecting limbs, at his word a sudden and incessant fire from swivels and small arms mowed down brave officers and men by hundreds.
Their intrepidity made the carnage terrible.
The attacks were continued all the afternoon, generally with the greatest vivacity.
When the English
endeavored to turn the left, Bourlamarque opposed them till he was dangerously wounded; and Montcalm
, whose rapid eye watched every movement, sent reinforcements at the moment of crisis.
On the right, the grenadiers and Scottish Highlanders charged for three hours without faltering and without confusion; many fell within fifteen steps of the trench; some, it was said, upon it. About five o'clock, the columns which had attacked the French
centre and right, concentrated themselves on a salient point between the two; but De Levi
flew from the right, and Montcalm
himself brought up a reserve.
At six, the two parties nearest the water turned desperately against the centre, and, being repulsed, made a last effort on the left.
Thus were life and courage prodigally wasted, till the bewildered English
fired on an advanced party of their own, producing hopeless dejection; and after losing, in killed and wounded, nineteen hundred and sixty-seven, chiefly regulars, they fled promiscuously.
The British general, during the confusion of the battle, cowered safely at the saw-mills, and when his
presence was needed to rally the fugitives, was no-
where to be found.
The second in command gave no orders; while Montcalm
, careful of every duty, distributed refreshments among his exhausted soldiers, cheered them by thanks to each regiment for their incredible valor, and employed the coming night in strengthening his lines.
still exceeded the French
Their artillery was near and could easily force a passage.
The mountain over against Ticonderoga
was in their possession.
‘Had I to besiege Fort Carillon,’ said Montcalm
, ‘I would ask no more than six mortars and two pieces of artillery.’
, a victim to the ‘extremest fright and consternation,’ hurried the army that same evening to the landingplace with such precipitancy, that but for Bradstreet
's alertness, it would have rushed into the boats in a confused mass.
On the morning of the ninth the British
general embarked, and did not rest till he had placed the lake between himself and Montcalm
Even then he sent artillery and ammunition to Albany
The news overwhelmed Pitt
with melancholy; but Bute
, who insisted that ‘Abercrombie
and the troops had done their duty,’ comforted himself in ‘the numbers lost’ as proof of ‘the greatest intrepidity,’ thinking it better to have cause for ‘tears’ than ‘blushes;’ and reserved all his sympathy for the ‘broken-hearted commander.’
Prince George expressed his hope one day by ‘superior help’ to ‘restore the love of virtue and religion.’
wearied his army with lining out a useless fort, the partisans of Montcalm
were present everywhere.
Just after the retreat of the
, they fell upon a regiment at the Half-way
Brook between Fort Edward
and Lake George
A fortnight later, they seized a convoy of wagoners at the same place.
To intercept the French
on their return, some hundred rangers scoured the forests near Woodcreek, marching in Indian file, Putnam
in the rear, in front the commander Rogers
, who, with a British officer, beguiled the way by firing at marks.
The noise attracted hostile Indians to an ambuscade.
A skirmish ensued, and Putnam
, with twelve or fourteen more, was separated from the party.
His comrades were scalped; in after-life he used to relate how one of the savages gashed his cheek with a tomahawk, bound him to a forest-tree, and kindled about him a crackling fire; how his thoughts glanced aside to the wife of his youth and the group of children that gambolled in his fields; when the brave French officer, Marin
, happening to descry his danger, rescued him from death, to be exchanged in the autumn.
Better success awaited Bradstreet
From the majority in a council of war, he extorted a reluctant leave to proceed against Fort Frontenac
At the Oneida
carrying-place, Brigadier Stanwix
placed under his command twenty-seven hundred men, all Americans
, more than eleven hundred of them New Yorkers, nearly seven hundred from Massachusetts
There, too, were assembled one hundred and fifty warriors of the Six Nations; among them Red Head
, the renowned war-chief of Onondaga
Inspired by his eloquence in council, two-and-forty of them took Bradstreet
for their friend and grasped the hatchet as his companions.
, towards which they moved with celerity, there remained scarce a vestige of the English
fort; of the French
there was no memorial
but ‘a large wooden cross.’
As the Ameri-
cans gazed with extreme pleasure on the scene around them, they were told that farther west, in ‘Genesee
and Canasadaga, there were lands as fertile, rich and luxuriant as any in the universe.’
Crossing Lake Ontario
in open boats, they landed, on the twentyfifth of August, within a mile of Fort Frontenac
It was a quadrangle, mounted with thirty pieces of cannon and sixteen small mortars.
On the second day, such of the garrison as had not fled surrendered.
Here, also, were military stores for Fort Duquesne
and the interior dependencies, with nine armed vessels, each carrying from eight to eighteen guns.
Of these, two were sent to Oswego
After razing the fortress, and destroying such vessels and stores as could not be brought off, the Americans
returned to Lake George
There the main army was wasting the season in supine inactivity.
The news of the disastrous day at Ticonderoga
, without orders, to conduct four regiments and a battalion from Louisburg
They landed in September at Boston
, and at once entered on the march through the greenwood.
In one of the regiments was Lieutenant Richard Montgomery
, who remained near the northern lakes till 1760.
When near Albany
, Amherst hastened in advance, and on the fifth of October came upon the English
Early in November, dispatches arrived, appointing him commander-in-chief.
Returning to England
was screened from censure, maligned the Americans
, and afterwards assisted in parliament to tax the witnesses of his pusillanimity.
‘Peace, peace,’ was the
cry; ‘no matter with what boundaries.’
‘I have not
lost courage,’ wrote Montcalm
, ‘nor have my troops; we are resolved to find our graves under the ruins of the colony.’
, who had carefully studied the geography of North America
, knew that the success of Bradstreet
had gained the dominion of Lake Ontario
and opened the avenue to Niagara
; and he turned his mind from the defeat at Ticonderoga
, to see if the banner of England
was already waving over Fort Duquesne
For the conquest of the Ohio valley
he relied mainly on the central provinces.
had reported the contumacy of Maryland
, where the Assembly had insisted on an equitable assessment, ‘as a most violent attack on his Majesty's prerogative.’
‘I am persuaded,’ urged Sharpe
on his official correspondent in England
, ‘if the parliament of Great Britain was to compel us by an act to raise thirty thousand pounds a year, the upper class of people among us, and, indeed, all but a very few, would be well satisfied.’
And he sent ‘a sketch of an act’ for ‘a poll-tax on the taxable inhabitants.’
But that form of raising a revenue throughout America
, being specially unpalatable to English owners of slaves in the West Indies
, was disapproved ‘by all’ in England
While the officers of Lord Baltimore were thus concerting with the Board of Trade a tax by Parliament, William Pitt
, though entreated to interpose, regarded the bickerings between the proprietary and the people with calm impartiality, blaming both parties for the disputes which withheld Maryland
from contributing her full share to the conquest of Fort Duquesne
After long delays, Joseph Forbes
, who had the
command as brigadier saw twelve hundred and fifty Highlanders arrive from South Carolina
They were joined by three hundred and fifty Royal Americans
, animated by an unusual military spirit which seized even Benjamin West
, known afterwards as a painter, and Anthony Wayne
then a boy of thirteen, raised for the expedition twenty-seven hundred men. Their senior officer
was John Armstrong
, already famed for his display of courage and skill at Kittanning
as their leader, Virginia
sent two regiments of about nineteen hundred, whom their beloved commander praised as ‘really fine corps.’
Yet, vast as were the preparations, Forbes
would never, but for Washington
, have seen the Ohio
The Virginia chief who at first was stationed at Fort Cumberland
, clothed a part of his force in the hunting shirt and Indian blanket, which least impeded the progress of the soldier through the forest; and he entreated that the army might advance promptly along Braddock
But the expedition was not merely a military enterprise; it was also the march of civilization towards the West
, and was made memorable by the construction of a better avenue to the Ohio
This required long continued labor.
September had come, before Forbes
, whose life was slowly ebbing, was borne in a litter as far as Raystown
‘See how our time has been misspent,’ cried Washington
, angry at delay, and obstinately opposed to the opening the new route which Armstrong
, of Pennsylvania
, as obstinately advocated.
preserved a clear head and a firm will, or as he himself expressed it, was ‘actuated by the spirits’ of William Pitt
; and he
decided to keep up the direct connection with Phila
delphia as essential to present success and future security.
, with most of the Virginians, joined the main army, Bouquet
was sent forward with two thousand men to Loyal Hanna
There he received intelligence that the French
post was defended by but eight hundred men, of whom three hundred were Indians
Dazzled by vague hopes of glory, Bouquet
, without the knowledge of his superior officer, entrusted to Major Grant
, of Montgomery
's battalion, a party of eight hundred, chiefly Highlanders and Virginians
, of Washington
's command, with orders to reconnoitre the enemy's position.
The men, who were all accustomed to the mountains, and of whom the Virginians were clad in the light Indian garb, easily scaled the successive ridges, and took post on a hill near Fort Duquesne
Not knowing that Aubry
had arrived with a reinforcement of four hundred men from Illinois
divided his troops in order to tempt the enemy into an ambuscade, and at daybreak of the fourteenth of September, discovered himself by beating his drums.
A large body of French and Indians, commanded by the gallant Aubry
, immediately poured out of the fort, and with surprising celerity attacked his troops in detail, never allowing him time to get them together.
They gave way and ran, leaving two hundred and ninety-five killed or prisoners.
, who in the folly of his vanity had but a few moments before been confident of an easy victory, gave himself up as a captive; but a small party of Virginians, under the command of Thomas Bullitt
, arrested the precipitate flight, and saved the detachment
from utter ruin.
Of these, on their return to
the camp, the coolness and courage were publicly extolled by Forbes
; and in the opinion of the whole army, regulars as well as provincials, their superiority of discipline reflected honor on Washington
Not till the fifth of November did Forbes
himself reach Loyal Hanna
; and there a council of war determined for that season to advance no further But on the twelfth, Washington
gained from three prisoners exact information of the weakness of the French
garrison on the Ohio
, and it was resolved to proceed.
Two thousand five hundred men were picked for the service.
For the sake of speed, they left behind every convenience except a blanket and a knapsack, and of the artillery took only a light train.
, who, pleading a ‘long intimacy with these woods’ and familiarity ‘with all the passes and difficulties,’ had solicited the responsibility of leading the party, was appointed to command the advance. brigade, the pioneers of America
in its course to the West
His party was of provincials, and they toiled cheerfully at his side.
, now sinking into the grave, had consumed fifty days in marching as many miles from Bedford
to Loyal Hanna
Fifty miles of the wilderness still remained to be opened in the late season, through a soil of deep clay, or over rocky hills white with snow, by troops poorly fed and poorly clad.
infused his own spirit into the men whom he commanded, and who thought light of hardships and dangers while ‘under the particular directions’ of ‘the man they knew and loved.’
Every encampment was so planned as to hasten the issue.
On the thirteenth the veteran Armstrong
, who had proved his superior skill in leading troops rapidly and secretly
through the wilderness, pushed forward with one
thousand men, and in five days threw up defences within seventeen miles of Fort Duquesne
On the fifteenth, Washington
, who followed, was on Chestnut Ridge
; on the seventeenth, at Bushy Run
. ‘All,’ he reported, ‘are in fine spirits and anxious to go on.’
On the nineteenth, Washington
to wait for the Highlanders
, and, taking the lead, dispelled by his vigilance every ‘apprehension of the enemy's approach.’
When on the twenty-fourth, the general encamped his whole party among the hills of Turkey Creek
within ten miles of Fort Duquesne
, the disheartened garrison, then about five hundred in number, set fire to the fort in the night time, and by the light of its flames went down the Ohio
On Saturday, the twenty-fifth of November, the little army moved on in one body, and at evening the youthful hero could point out to Armstrong
and the hardy provincials, who marched in front, to the Highlanders
and Royal Americans
, to Forbes
himself, the meeting of the rivers; and the British
flag was planted in triumph over the ruined bastions of the fortress.
As the banners of England
floated over the waters, the place, at the suggestion of Forbes
, was with one voice called Pittsburg
It is the most enduring monument to William Pitt
America raised to his name statues that have been wrongfully broken, and granite piles, of which not one stone remains upon another; but, long as the Monongahela
and the Alleghany
shall flow to form the Ohio
, long as the English
tongue shall be the language of freedom in the boundless valley which their waters traverse, his name shall stand inscribed on the gateway of the West
The twenty-sixth was observed as a day of public
thanksgiving for success, and when was success of
The connection between the sea side and the world beyond the mountains was established for ever; a vast territory was secured; the civilization of liberty and commerce and religion was henceforth ‘to maintain the undisputed possession of the Ohio
‘These dreary deserts,’ wrote Forbes
, ‘will soon be the richest and most fertile of any possessed by the British
in North America
On the twenty-eighth, a numerous detachment went to Braddock's field, where their slaughtered comrades, after more than three years, lay yet unburied in the forest.
Here and there a skeleton was found resting on the trunk of a fallen tree, as if a wounded man had sunk down in the attempt to fly In some places, wolves and crows had left signs of their ravages; in others, the blackness of ashes marked the scene of the revelry of cannibals.
The trees still showed branches rent by cannon; trunks dotted with musket balls.
Where the havoc had been the fiercest, bones lay whitening in confusion.
None could be recognised, except that the son of Sir Peter Halket
was called by the shrill whistle of a savage to the great tree near which his father and his brother had been seen to fall together; and while Benjamin West
and a company of Pennsylvanians formed a circle around, the Indians removed the thick covering of leaves, till they bared the relics of the youth lying across those of the older officer.
The frames of the two, thus united in death, were wrapped in a Highland plaid, and consigned to one separate grave, amidst the ceremonies that belong to the burial of the brave.
The bones of the undistinguishable multitude, more than
four hundred and fifty in number, were indiscrimin-
ately cast into the ground, no one knowing for whom specially to weep.
The chilling gloom of the forest at the coming of winter, the religious awe that mastered the savages, the grief of the son fainting at the fearful recognition of his father, the groups of soldiers sorrowing over the ghastly ruins of an army, formed a sombre scene of desolation.
How is all changed!
The banks of the broad and placid Monongahela
smile with orchards and teeming harvests and gardens; with workshops and villas; the victories of peace have effaced the memorials of war; a railroad that sends its cars over the Alleghanies
in fewer hours than the army had taken weeks for its un-resisted march, passes through the scene where the carnage was the worst; and in all that region no sounds now prevail but of life and activity and joy.
Two regiments composed of Pennsylvanians, Marylanders, and Virginians
, remained as a garrison, under the command of Mercer
; and for Washington
, who at twenty-six retired from the army after having done so much to advance the limits of his country, the next few weeks were filled with happiness and honor.
The people of Frederictown had chosen him their representative.
On the last day of the year, ‘the affectionate officers’ who had been under him expressed, with ‘sincerity and openness of soul,’ their grief at ‘the loss of such an excellent commander, such a sincere friend, and so affable a companion,’ ‘a man so experienced in military affairs, one so renowned for patriotism, conduct and courage.’
They publicly acknowledged to have found in him a leader, who had ‘a quick discernment and invariable regard for merit, an earnestness to inculcate genuine
sentiments of true honor and passion for glory;’
whose ‘example inspired alacrity and cheerfulness in encountering severest toils;’ whose zeal for ‘strict discipline and order gave to his troops a superiority which even the regulars and provincials publicly acknowledged.’
On the sixth of the following January, the woman of his choice was bound with him in wedlock.
The first month of union was hardly over, when, in the House of Burgesses
, the speaker, obeying the resolve of the House
, publicly gave him the thanks of Virginia
for his services to his country; and as the young man, taken by surprise, hesitated for words, in his attempt to reply,—‘Sit down,’ interposed the speaker; ‘your modesty is equal to your valor, and that surpasses the power of any language I possess.’
After these crowded weeks, Washington
, no more a soldier, retired to Mount Vernon
with the experience of five years of assiduous service.
Yet not the quiet of rural life by the side of the Potomac
, not the sweets of conjugal love, could turn his fixed mind from the love of glory; and he revealed his passion by adorning his rooms with busts of Eugene and Marlborough
, of Alexander
, of Caesar
, of Charles the Twelfth; and of one only among living men, the king of Prussia
, whose struggles he watched with painful sympathy.
had ever before his eyes the image of Frederic.
Both were eminently founders of nations, childless heroes, fathers only to their countries.
The one beat down the dominion of the aristocracy of the Middle Ages
by a military monarchy; the Providence
which rules the world had elected the other to guide the fiery coursers of revolution along nobler paths, and to check them firmly at the goal