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Monsieur de Callières 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 Ramezay, 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 Subercaze 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 Beaupré; sieur le Grandpré, Major of Three Rivers, 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 Husons, and sieur de Beaucourt also Lieutenant, commanded the Algonquins, Socoquois, Nipissirmens, 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, inconceirable 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.
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 10th 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.
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 Rapide 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 Galets; 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 proceded 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 dis-, tance from Montréal 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, (Ile aux chevreuils,) the scouts marching continually ahead of the army. Sieur du Luth, captain, was left in the fort as commandant with a garrison of 10 men and masons and carpenters necessary for the buildings which he was recommended to hasten. There remained only 26 sic in the fort, most of whom were wounded in the legs ascending the rapids.
On the 27th they got to within three leagues of Rivière de la Famine (Black River;, and on the 28th at the mouth of that of Onnontagué, our scouts reported having seen the trails of nine men.
29th. As this river is extremely narrow, 50 scouts were detached on each side, and the army proceeded only according to their reports. Sone 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 Callières 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 morni g until night five leagues only could be made in two days. ,
30th. The portage of all the batteaux, canoes and baggage commenced, it being impossible to pass the F. Ils otherwise. M. , le Comte de Frontenac, who expected to pass on foot like the others, was borne in his canoe by fifty savages singing and uttering yells of joy. The battalions who could not make this Carrying » place passed it the day following. Four leagues were travelled, the road being better.
On the first of August, half the army was detached beyond the river which goes to Oneida (Onnejoust), and made more than five leagues in roads up to the knee. M. de Vaudreuil and the majority of the officers were at their head. This precaution was the more necessary as at a place called Le Rigols, the river is not more than half a pistol shot wide, to the mouth of Lake Ganenta.' Nothing was met during this day's march except the description of our army drawn on bark, after the manner of the Savages, and two bundles of cut rushes which signified that 1434 men accompanied us. We passed the Lake in the order of battle Monsieur de Callières who commanded that day on the left, that being the side of the enemy, made a large circuit under pretence of debarking on that side, whilst M. de Vaudreuil with the right wing hugged the shore to clear what he could encounter all around of the enemy. The vigorous manner this landing was made, sword in hand, convinced us that had the enemy been met they would not have long stood their ground. M. de Vaudreuil's detachment made a circuit of half a league and anchored at the place where M. de Callières waited. The entire body landed.
The scouts did not cease marching ; they reporied having seen trails proceeding from the village of the Onnontagués to Cayuga (Oyogouis) and Oneida (Onejoust), which induced them to believe that the women and children withdrew thither, and that the Warriors of these two villages came to aid their brethren.
A strong light was seen the same night in the direction of the village, which caused the supposition that they had burned it; it was even supposed that they fired cannon.
The Fort was completed next morning, the 3d. An Ottawa Savage, named the Cat, returned from scouting. He had gone some days previously with a Seneca taken last winter, whose life had been spared. They at first discovered two women whom they had neglected to capture, and they subsequently seized a man who was bathing with his wife. The Ottawa wished to bind him, but the Seneca opposed it, and released him under the pretext that he would bring in others, which began to make the Outaouac distrust him, but he had still more reason to do so when the Seneca quit him, saying that he wished to eat some new corn, and having wandered aside for that purpose, he uttered the ordinary warning cry to direct some young Onnontagués who pursued the Outaouacs, the swiftness of whose legs saved him. Half a league was made that day.
1 La Rigolle is that part of the Oswego River between Lake Onondaga and the Mouth of the Seneca River.
Sieur Marquis de Crissaffy, captain, was left in the fort with Sieur Desbergères, also captain, and some other officers and 140 militia men and soldiers to guard the batteaux, canoes, provisions and other heavy bagage, which could not be transported; their loss would have absolutely caused that of the whole army, and though every one wished to share the glory which M. le Comte was expected to reap, he thought he could not leave too good officers at this post. The other Seneca, the comrade of him to whom we have just alluded, deserted the night of the same day to advise his nation of the danger which menaced the Iroquois. Inconceivable difficulty was experienced in moving the cannon and the remainder of the artillery equipments over marshes and two pretty considerable rivers which it was necessary to traverse, being obliged to carry them on their carriages and parapets, which occupied a very great number of the militia.
We camped at the place called The Salt Springs, which in truth they are. They produce enough of salt to make us wish that they were near Quebec; the cod-fishery would be very easy then in Canada.
The 4th. The order of battle was formed at sunrise ; the army being divided in two lines.
The first was commanded by M. de Callières who kept on the enemy's left ; his centre consisted of two battalions of militia and the two battalions of troops composed the wings, the artillery being in the middle preceded by the two centre battalions. The greater portion of the Indians of the first line had been thrown on the right wing, as they desired. From time to time forlorn hopes of the most active savages and Frenchmen were deployed to discover and receive the first fire.
The second line was commanded by M. de Vaudreuil who placed himself on the right wing. It was composed of an equal number of battalions of militia and soldiers.
M. le Comte preceded by the cannon was borne, on a chair,