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FRONTEMC'S EXPEDITION, 1696.

[ Council Min. VII. ]

At a Council held at his Ma*"* ffort in New Yorke the 9^ of July 1696.

Present His Excellency Benjamin Fletcher &c

ffred Phillips ) Gab Monvielle

Steph. Cortlandt > Esqrs Peter Schuyler ^ Esqrs

Nich: Bayard ) John Lawrence

His Excell: did communicate intelligence from Albany with the examination of a fFrench prisoner wherein appears there is great preparacon in Canida and a resolution of the Govern1" of Canida to reduce the five Nations this summer that all the men between fifteen & fifty in Canida are ordered to be in readiness and that all the fFrench Indians and Ottawawaes are together & that they are to joyn the Dawaganhaes

His excell. offered his opinion to march up 400 men to the Castle of Onondage to encourage and confirme the Indians.

The Council do approve thereof, but affirm the impossibility for want of money which is not to be had our neighbours having denyed assistance the Revenue lessened much by the decay of trade and great backwardness in bringing in the taxes

\ John Lawrence >

> Esq" Caleb Heathcote > Es(*rs

At a Council held at his Ma^ ffort in New Torke the 27th 0f ju]y 1696.

Present His Excellency Benjamin Fletcher &c.

ffred Phillips } John Lawrence

Steph: Cortlandt
Gab Monvielle

His Excell: did communicate a letter from Mr. Allyn of Connecticutt giving account of two fFrench men taken prisoners neere the heads of their rivers and that they report there is 1000 fFrench & 2000 Indians marched against the five Nations.

Also a letter from Coll. Ingoldesby with a belt from Onondage bringing intelligence of a great body of fFrench & Indians on this side Mount Reall on their march towards them 12 dayes aggo.

His Excell: desired the advice of the Council what is to be done offering his readynesse to march immediately to the frontiers in person and his opinion it were convenient to march up men for the frontiers that a body may be spared to go to Onondage to cover them and show our zeal for their preservacon which will give them encouragement.

It is the opinion of the Council that there being no assistance of men from the neighbouring Colonies and a small summe of money sent from Virginia and Maryland to assist in the many great charges this Province is put to upon the alarms of the enemy it being harvest time and many of the South of the Province already listed to recruit the Companyes it will be very grevious to take the people from their labour and hardly possible there is likewise no money to answer the charge thereof Do therefore advise that a letter be wrote to the Indians to give them encouragement and to acquaint them the King of England has sent them some presents & desire them to be watchfull.

At a Council held at his Ma^* ffort in New Yorke the 31st day of July 1696.

Present his Excell: Benjamin Fletcher etc ffred Philips )

Steph: Cortlandt > Esq1* Gab Monvielle >

Nich Bayard ) Caleb Heathcote > EsqrS

His Excell: did communicate to the Council intelligence from the frontiers that the enemy are upon their march that the Indians of the five Nations have sent to call for assistance of Christian force and did expresse his readynesse to go to Albany.

His Excell: did desire their opinion what is to be done being there's no money in the Coffers

It is the opinion of the Council that there may be men found upon the frontiers that upon encouragement will march to the Indian Country if there were a fund to answer the charge thereof

His Excell. did declare his readynesse to go provided they will finde money to answer the necessary charge thereof

Coll Cortlandt proferred his personall credit for <£200 towards the expedicon

Coll Bayard offers the same ffred Phillips offers the same Ll Coll. Monvielle the same Coll Heathcote the same

His Excell: did recommend to them to procure the credit each for ,£200 forthwith.

FRONTENAC'S EXPEDITION AGAINST THE ONONDAGA INDIANS. 1696.

[ Paris Doc. V. ]

The Count is already advised, by despatches at the departure of last year's ships, of the preparations for a considerable expedition against the Iroquois and principally against the Onnontagues which is the chief nation, where the councils of the other five are held, the most devoted to the English, and the most strenuously opposed to the negociations for peace of preceding years. It became of importance to crush them, and it appeared to many more advantageous to do so during winter inasmuch as it was certain, said they, to find in the Village at least all the women and children who being destroyed or captured would draw down ruin on the warriors or oblige them to surrender to us.

The necessary preparations for this expedition were begun last autumn, but the large amount of snow produced a change of design, the rather as it was impossible to transport the Militia (habitans) from the south shore and the Island of Orleans to the government of Quebec, the river having been absolutely impassible from the sailing of the vessels to the commencement of this year.

This it was that caused the adoption of the resolution to proceed by the Mohawk country with whatever troops could be collected capable of travelling on the snow with the militia of Three Eivers and Montreal and Indians, which had always been the plan of Monsieur the Count de Frontenac who foresaw the difficulty of executing the other project during winter. But this design also aborted, because we were informed that a Mohawk prisoner who escaped from us, had communicated our intention, and that this Nation,united with the English of Orange, awaited us with resolute determination, which, however, would not have prevented us going in quest of them had the continuance of the season permitted a large body to make so long a march and to carry munitions and the supplies necessary for subsisting there.

# # * # ■ # # # * #'

The intelligence which we stated that M. le Compte de Frontenac received from the Ottawas obliged us to interrupt what we had commenced of the preparations for the Onnontague voyage. Every thing was put in order during his short stay at Montreal. He departed for la Chine where the army arrived on the 4th July; ten Ottawa savages arrived there the same day, and coming from the vicinity of the Onnontagues they roved a long time around the village without having been able to make any prisoners, and finding themselves pursued by a considerable party, took refuge in fort Frontenac. They thanked Monsieur le Comte for not having deceived them, and for having saved their lives by furnishing them at that fort with something to eat and particularly, to smoke.

On the information given them by Sieur Dejordis, a Calvanist Captain, who commanded that fort, of the march of M. le Comte, they said they were going to meet him, and that they expected to .accompany him. #

Provisions having been furnished to the indians, the whole army proceeded to encamp on the 6th at Isle Perrot. Next day it was ranged in the order of battle, which it was intended should be observed during the entire march.

The savages, to the number of 500, were so divided that the greater portion were always in the van which was composed of two battalions of troops consisting each of two hundred men. They were followed by several detached batteaux of militia, bearing supplies and the baggage of M. le Comte, Messrs de Callieres, de Vaudreuil, and de Eamezay.

Monsieur de Callieres commanded the vanguard, having two large batteaux on board which were two brass pieces mounted, also mortars for grenades, fire works and other necessary ammunition, with the Commissary of Artillery.

Monsieur le Comte de Frontenac followed the vanguard surrounded by the canoes of his Staff, Sieur Levasseur, Engineer, and several volunteers. The four battalions of militia, stronger than those of the soldiers, composed the main body. Monsieur de Eamezay, Governor of Three Rivers, commanded the entire militia. The rearguard, commanded by Monsieur de Vaudreuil, consisted only of two battalions of troops and the remainder of the savages who brought up the rear.

Sieurs de la Durantaye, de May, de Grays et Dumesnil veteran captains commanded the four battalions of troops; sieur de Subercase acted as Major General and there was an adjutant {Aide Major) to each battalion of troops and militia; sieur de Saint Martin, a Calvinist captain, commanded the Quebec battalion, sieur de Grandville, Lieutenant^ that of Beaupre; sieur le Grandpre, Major of Three Eivers, was at the head of the militia of that government, and sieur Deschambaux, King's attorney at Montreal, commanded the battalion of that place. No officers remained in the country except those whom infirmity prevented undertaking such a voyage; and with difficulty were any found for the requisite garrisons.

Sieur de Maricourt, Captain, led the savages of the Sault and the Abenakis who formed one corps; sieur Gardeur de Beauvaire, Lieutenant of those of the Mountain and of the Lorette Hurons, and sieur de Beaucourt also Lieutenant, commanded the Algonquins, Socoquois, Nipissirmens, and and the few there were of Ottawas, who constituted another corps.

The order of battle was not deranged during the march, and the troops which formed the van on one day, retired on the morrow to the rear. As there were nearly thirty leagues of Rapids to be passed the march was very tedious; it is, therefore, inconceivable what difficulty was encountered in making the portages, being obliged often several times in one day to discharge from the batteaux the greater part of the freight.

[vol. I.] 27

Those who have no knowledge of the country, cannot understand what we call Cascades and Saults. Falls from seven to eight feet high are often met, and there fifty men find difficulty enough in dragging a batteau, and in places less troublesome they are under the necessity of getting into the water up to, and sometimes beyond the waist, it being impossible to stem the current even with the lightest canoes by aid of poles and paddles.

A part of the army encamped, on the day of departure, above the chute called Le Buisson; the rest followed in file next day and the rain obliged them to bivouac there.

On the 9th the Cedars rapid was passed; on the 10tjl the army divided in two to ascend that of Coteau du lac, a part to the north and a part to the south. The same thing was repeated next morning, and a junction was re-formed at the entrance of Lake St. Francis, which is over seven leagues long, and which was passed under sail and in full battle array.

Our Indian scouts reported at night that they had seen some ascending and descending trails. A detachment of savages and a few Frenchmen was formed to march some leagues ahead of the main body and to prevent ambuscades. m

On the 12th before decamping, nine Abenakis joined Monsieur le Comte de Frontenac. Messieurs l'Intendant and the King's lieutenant at Quebec remarked in their letters that these savages said that they had learned that the English intended coming to Quebec. These false reports, which are but too prevalent in these parts, did not interrupt the continuance of the march, and the camp was formed at the foot of the Long Sault.

However long and difficult, it was all passed on the 13th. On the 14th they came to the foot of the Eapide Plat. Sieur de Mantesh, Lieutenant, was detached with fifty Frenchmen and savages to make the necessary discoveries.

On the 15th they arrived at the rapid des Gahts; the 16th after having repaired several batteaux, they could not make any more than three leagues beyond the place called la Galette where the bad navigation terminated.

At those places where portages were required to be made, several detachments marched on land to cover those who drew (the batteaux.) On the 17th the rain prevented a long march.

On the 18th they proceeded to within 4 leagues of the fort [Frontenac] They made more than twelve leagues that day, and arrived there the next day, noon; so that of 70 leagues, the distance from Montreal to this fort, they were only four days passing through the smooth water, crossing Lake St. Francis included, and thirty ascending the Rapids which do not comprise half the distance.

On the 26th they took their departure^ and encamped at Deer island, (He aux chevreuils,) the scouts marching continually ahead of the army. Sieur de Luth, captain, was left in the fort as commandant with a garrison of 40 men and masons and carpenters necessary for the buildings which he was recommended to hasten. There remained only 26 sick in the fort, most of whom were wounded in the legs ascending the rapids.

On the 27th they got to within three leagues of Riviere de la Famine, [Black River,] and on the 28th at the mouth of that of Onontague, our scouts reported having seen the trails of nine men.

29tk. As this river is extremely narrow, 50 scouts were detached on each side, and the army proceeded only according to their reports. Some had seen the trails of thirty to forty men, and the others a canoe which had been only recently abandoned. But two leagues could be made this day, and three the next. M. le Comte and M. de Vaudreuil with the troops and a battalion of militia occupied the northern, and Messrs. de Callieres and de Ramezay with the remainder passed on the southern side. It would be useless to attempt describing the rapids of this river; the difficulties could not be understood, since by marching from morning until night five leagues only could be made in two days.

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