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(fauteuil,) between the two lines, in a position to place himself when he thought proper at the head, through the interval of the two battalions of militia of the first line.
Each battalion was only two deep, and showed a very great front. M. le Comte had around him his guard, his staff, and the canoe and batteaux men.
They united during the march in some places at which it was very difficult to pass the cannon through defiles, and over streams of some magnitude where the order of battle was broken, so that we were from sunrise till night in getting to the location of the village after a number of wheelings (quarts de conversion) and other evolutions sufficiently difficult to execute in the woods. But the activity of Sieur Subercaze, major, supplied every requisite. Ten other men would not have accomplished all that he performed alone, and though he was assisted by good adjutants (aides major) he considered it nevertheless his duty to be every where. This campaign furnished him with an opportunity to signalize his activity and his zeal on several occasions, but as this is the principal, mention of it cannot be avoided. Never did a man execute with more promptitude the prudent orders he received from his general.
If we did not fear being considered rather a panegyrist than a historian, we should speak as we ought of the conduct of Messrs de Callières, de Vaudreuil, Ramezay and other principal officers; but the confidence which the King reposes in them is a sufficient guarantee that he deems them worthy the posts they fill in this country, and it is unnecessary to enlarge in their praise to demonstrate that they are truly so. His choice alone justifies it.
The cabins of the Indians and the triple palisade which encircled their fort were found entirely burnt. It has since been learned that it was in a sufficiently strong state of defence. It was an oblong flanked by four regular bastions. The two rows of pickets which touched each other, were of the thickness of an ordinary mast; and at six feet distance outside stood another palisade of much smaller dimensions, but from 40 to 50 feet high.
If the flight of the savages saved the army the trouble of forcing their fortifications by trenches, as was resolved upon having all the necessary tools, it robbed them of the glory of utterly destroying them ; but it must not be expected that the Indians will ever stand against a considerable opposing force. The expense which this expedition entailed ought not however to be regretted.
There were some alarms the night after arriving, and a soldier on duty at an outpost was wounded by our people.
On the 5th arrived two squaws and a child of the Mountain near Montreal, who had been a long time prisoners. They told us that they had escaped five days ago with the other women and children who were removed on the rumour of our approach. Another old woman was captured in the woods, and being unable to follow our soldiers broke her skull. In the afternoon a Frenchman, a prisoner among the Oneidas, arrived with a savage. They brought a belt from that Nation whereby they solicited peace from M. Le Comte de Frontenac. He immediately sent them back, and promised peace on condition that they should establish themselves with their families among us, assuring them that they should receive land and wherewithal to sow it. He added if their wives and children were not ready, they should bring five of their most influential Chiefs as hostages, and that they should be soon followed by the army to oblige them by force to execute the conditions imposed on them.
On the next day, the 7th, a young Frenchman, seven years a prisoner among the Onnontagués arrived in the camp. He had escaped with those who had come into the outposts the night preceding. He reported that they had retired with their families twenty leagues from their fort, having scouts always around them in order to fly farther off if pursued. He added that it is probable a great number would perish having been in such a hurry to fly that they took away scarcely any corn, caches of which they hastily made, and that they began to fall short. Almost all these caches were discovered. The grain and the rest of the booty consisting of pots, guns, axes, stuffs, wampum belts, and some peltries were plundered by our Frenchmen and Savages. The destruction of the Indian corn was coramenced
the same day, and was continued the two following days. The grain was so forward that the stalks were very easily cut by the sword and sabre without the least fear that any could sprout again. Not a single head remained. The fields stretched from a league and a half to two leagues from the fort: The destruction was complete. A lame girl was found concealed under a tree, and her life was spared.
An old man, also captured, did not experience the same fate. M. le Comte's intention, arter he had interrogated him, was to spare his life on account of his great age, but the savages who had taken him and to whom he was given were so excited that it was not deemed prudent to dissuade them from the desire they felt to burn him. He had, no doubt, prepared himself during his long life to die with firmness, however cruel the tortures he should have to endure. Not the slightest complaint escaped his lips. On the contrary he exhorted those who tormented him to remember his death, so as to display the same courage when those of his nation would take vengeance on them; and when a savage, weary of his harangues, gave him some cuts of a knife," I thank thee,” he cried, “but thou oughtest to complete my death by fire. Learn, French dogs! and ye, savages! their allies—that ye are the dogs of dogs. Remember what ye ought to do, when you will be in the same position that I am.” Similar sentiments will be found perhaps to flow rather from ferociousness, than true valour; but there are heroes among barbarians as well among the most polished nations, and what would be brutality in us may pass for valour with an Iroquois.
The 9th M. de Vaudreuil returned from Oneida at eight o'clock in the morning. He departed on the morning of the 6th, with a detachment of six to seven hundred of the most active men of the whole army, soldiers, militia and Indians He had, under him, Sieurs de Louvigny and de Linvillieres, Captain ; Desjordis and Dauberville, Calvinist Captains ; Soulange and de Sabrevois, lieutenants of foot, and several other subaltern officers. Sieur de Villedenay, also lieutenant, acted as his Aide de Camp.
As it was necessary to use great expedition, they did not march in as exact order as the army had done ; M. de Vaudreuil contented himself throwing the scouts some quarter of a league in advance; and on the wings, between the scouts and the main body he placed a detached corps of 50, a forlorn hope commanded in turn by a lieutenant. They arrived on the same day before sundown within a league of the village; they would have pushed even farther if the convenience of encamping on the bank of a beautiful river had not invited them to halt. They were at the first dawn in sight of the village and as they were about to enter the fields of Indian corn, they met the Deputies of all that Nation.
They requested M. de Vaudreuil to halt, fearing that our savages would spoil their crops, assuring him that they would execute in good faith the orders which M. le Comte had given to their first delegate.
M. de Vaudreuil determined also on his side to obey punctually those which he had received, told them it was useless for them to think of preserving their grain, as, according to the word of their Father they should not want for any when retired among us; that, therefore, he should cut all down ; that their fort and cabins would not, either, be spared, having every thing ready for their reception.
He found in the village but 25 @ 40 persons, almost all having fled at the sight of the detachment, but the most influential chiefs had remained. M. de Vaudreuil consented that two or three men should follow these fugitives to try to bring them back.
On entering this village a young French woman was found a prisoner, just arrived from the Mohawk. She reported that that Nation and the English to the number of 300, were preparing to attack us. A Mohawk who had deserted from the Sault last year, the same who had given' information of the proposed attack against his Nation, was captured roving around the village. He said he came there intending to surrender himself to us, which it was pretended to believe. An eye was kept on him, notwithstanding. He confirmed the report of the young French woman.
Another savage, also of the same Nation, but who had been captured with a party of our people of the Sault, where he resided, assured M. de Vaudreuil that the English and Mohawks had
indeed set out to come; that many of the former had moved out from Orange, but that they had contented themselves with remaining outside some hours in line, and had returned ; that the consternation was pretty general among the one and the other.'
This last intelligence caused M. de Vaudreuil's detachment as much regret as the first had given them joy. It was received with a thousand yells of satisfaction, particularly by the Abenaki's who said they had need neither of knives nor hatchets to beat the English ; that it was idle to waste powder on such a set.
M. de Vaudreuil resolved to await them in the wood without shutting himself up in the fort. He left on the 9th between nine and ten o'clock in the morning after having seen it burned and the corn entirely cut. He camped the same night two leagues from Onnontagué. The celerity of his movements cannot be too much praised, since he occupied only three days in going, coming and executing all he had to do, although from one village to the other was fourteen good leagues in the woods with continual mountains and a multitude of rivers and large streams to be crossed. He was therefore not expected so soon, and M. le Comte was agreeably surprized to see him return in so short a time with 35 Oneidas, among whom were as we have said, the principal Chiefs of the nation, and four of our French, prisoners.
But we are accustomed in Canada to see him perform so many gallant actions, and he has the king's service so much at heart that those acquainted with him will not be surprized at this, however extraordinary it be.
The Mohawk deserter was burnt before the departure of the army who camped that same day midway from the fort where the batteaux were left; some savages having remained behind in the hope of finding more plunder received the fire of a small party; three of them were killed without the enemy daring to advance near enough to take their scalps.
The fort was reached on the 10th and destroyed. The army encamped on the 11th below the Portage, and on the 12th at 10 o'clock in the morning at the mouth of the river, on Lake Frontenac. It was time to quit that river, and if the waters had been as low as they ordinarily are in the month of August a portion of