Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Ticonderoga Soldier - Elijah Estabrooks, 1758-1760, A Massachusetts Provincial Soldier in the French and Indian War

Ticonderoga Soldier

Elijah Estabrooks Journal, 1758-1760

A Massachusetts Provincial Soldier

in the French and Indian War

Data current to 6 Feb 2021.


This is Elijah Estabrook's story.  He was a Massachusetts provincial soldier who fought Montcalm at Ticonderoga, a battle in the French and Indian War (1754-1763).  Elijah Estabrooks kept a journal between 1758 and 1760 covering his military service during the French and Indian War, a period that saw Canada ceded to Britain.  Ticonderoga Soldier expands on the details of the people and events he mentions in his Journal.  He was one of the earliest settlers on the Saint John River, and now lies buried near Jemseg, New Brunswick.  This book is a tribute from one of his many descendants.

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Ticonderoga Soldier

A Massachusetts Provincial Soldier in The French and Indian War

Present day view of Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga, New York, from Mount Defiance.  (Photo courtesy of Mwanner)

Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga has had a colorful history since it was first erected in 1755.  It was first named Fort Vaudreuil in honour of the Governor-General of Canada, and later Fort Carillon (“a chime of bells”) for the sound of the falls which can be heard at Lake George (Lac St. Sacrement) at the point where it flows into Lake Champlain.  The Fort is located just east of the present-day village of Ticonderoga in Essex County, New York.  Fort Ticonderoga was strategically situated to provide control of both the two-mile portage and navigation northward on Lake Champlain, which therefore made it the key to the defense of Canada for the French.  After its capture in 1758, it served the same purpose for the British until the Revolutionary War when it became the key to the defense of the Hudson River Valley for the Americans.  Robert B. Roberts, Encyclopedia of Historic Forts, The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1998, p. 583.

The Fort’s history is summed up with a plaque at the site which states, “On these grounds occurred the greatest French victory of the Seven Years’ War (the Battle of Carillon, 8 July 1758) and the first American victory of the American Revolution, won by Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys.”  The museum inside Fort Ticonderoga has a number of exhibits and educational programs which focus on the 18th century military history of the Lake Champlain and Lake George region, the 19th century development of heritage tourism and the early 20th century restoration of the Fort.[1]

 (Charny Photo)

Fort Carillon/Fort Ticonderoga, present day. 

The French and Indian War

The French and Indian War is also known as the Seven Years War.  It began on the 17th of April 1754, and concluded with the Treaty of Paris on the 10th of February 1763. With the signing of this treaty, Canada was ceded to Britain.  One of the major battles in the North American campaign of this war was fought at Fort Carillon, also known as Ticonderoga.  This is the story of Elijah Estabrooks, one of the Massachusetts Provincial soldiers who took part in that battle.

            Elijah and his fellow Massachusetts Provincial soldiers may have looked like this in uniform.  Terry Hawkins, another descendant of Elijah, is the model, and he is part of a group of re-enactors who have recreated Israel Harrack's Company of Colonel Jedediah Prebles' Regiment of Massachusetts Provincials in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The group travels frequently to French and Indian War re-enactment encampments in the US and Canada, including Fort Ticonderoga and Fortress Louisbourg.


          The Journal of Elijah Estabrooks covers about three years of a particularly important period in the history of North America.  The conflict in which he participated shaped the future of the whole area for many years to come.  Had that war not terminated as it did, the movement of great numbers of efficient settlers, including Elijah Estabrooks, from New England to what was then Nova Scotia would not have taken place in the years immediately following 1759.

          On the 11th of January 1759, a proclamation was made by Charles Lawrence, Governor of Nova Scotia, offering grants of land and free liberty of conscience to Protestants dissenting from the Church of England.  This proclamation was printed by John Draper at Boston in the same year.  The defeat of the French forces led to the release of some women and children who had been captured by Indians in Nova Scotia and taken to Quebec, and made it safe for farmers and fishermen to settle over most of the Province.

          When Elijah Estabrooks marched to Cornwallis in June 1760, he would have seen one building which is still standing, namely the blockhouse of Fort Edward in present-day Windsor.  About 50 years ago the old shingles were being replaced on the sides of this building.  I was visiting relatives in the town at the time and went to see the blockhouse when the huge pine timbers were bare.  There were many musket balls embedded about two inches deep in the timbers, mostly near the door and the loopholes.

          Elijah Estabrooks would have seen the newly arrived settlers at work on their farms and buildings as he passed through the Townships of Newport, Falmouth, Horton and Cornwallis, which were all settled by New England planters in that year.  The soldiers seem to have been sent to Cornwallis to protect the newly arrived settlers from Indian raids, which did not take place.  While at that township they would have seen the fruit trees and rich soil as well as the many acres of diked land; exceptionally good land free of rocks, providing pasture and hay for cattle and sheep.  The lifestyle in these settlements would have been more compatible to anyone with puritan values than in the city of Halifax of that day.

          Farmland in the long-settled towns near the coast in New England was nearly all occupied and expensive, while the lands in Nova Scotia were free.  Many who emigrated in response to Lawrence’s proclamation were of Separate Congregationalist, Quaker, and Baptist faith, or leaned toward these groups.  They had suffered religious restriction in Connecticut and parts of Massachusetts, including being taxed to pay the salaries of ministers they disapproved of.  Governor Lawrence’s proclamation stated this would not occur in Nova Scotia.

          Elijah Estabrooks brought his family to Cornwallis where the level land must have reminded him of the interval land on the Saint John River, that had some advantages over the land on the Minas Basin.  Both places were subject to flooding at times, but the river water did no harm to the soil, whereas when the sea broke through the dikes, it was said to take three years for the salt to leach out of the soil, so that grass would grow again.  Both places were accessible to small vessels of that day.  The shores at Cornwallis had extremely high tides and were lined with either high cliffs or very wide mud flats, whereas small vessels could come almost to the doors of the settlers on the Saint John River.  No less than seventeen families beside Elijah Estabrooks removed from Cornwallis and vicinity to the Saint John River before the Revolutionary War.

          Journals exist of other soldiers who traveled the road to Windsor about the same period as Elijah Estabrooks, but they did not return to the area as he did.  Here, he gained considerable influence among the many planters on the Saint John River and religious meetings were regularly held at his house for many years.  At least in his later years he was affiliated with what were then called “Newlight Congregationalists” who built a meetinghouse which some called “Brooksite” because the Estabrooks men were leaders in building it.  When the congregation with their preacher Elijah Estabrooks Junior formed a Baptist Church in 1800, they “inherited the meetinghouse.”

          Major Harold Skaarup has done a fine job, explaining the various campaigns in which Elijah Estabrooks participated and other events of the French and Indian, or Seven Years War.  Not only will the descendants of Estabrooks find this book of great interest, but the public in general will find it fascinating reading if they are interested in history.  The events described are fact not fiction.

          I consider it an honour to have been asked to write this Foreword.

Frederick C. Burnett

26 October 2000


          On the 8th of February 1997 the Queen’s County Historical Society in Jemseg, New Brunswick, invited me to give a presentation on an ancestor of mine named Elijah Estabrooks (1727-1796).  The subject was Elijah’s Military Service as a Colonial soldier during the period from 1758 to 1760, just prior to his settlement on the Saint John River.  The meetinghouse where I spoke to the members of the society stood less than a kilometer from where Elijah lay buried.  His remains lie within eyesight of the new Trans-Canada Highway bridge over the river at Jemseg, in what is known locally as the Old Garrison Graveyard, one of the oldest in that part of New Brunswick.

          One may find as many as 25 or 30 gravesites on this former farmland that was once the property of a pre-Loyalist family named Garrison.  It later went to the family of Jefferson Dykeman and is presently on the property of John Gardner.  The gravesite is in fact, now a cattle pasture with a very impressive (and incredibly old) Burr Oak tree standing watch over it.  The grass has grown long because of the frequent flooding over the site by the Saint John River each spring, as of the spring of 2001.  John’s hand painted marker, however, is still readily visible on the site which lies across from house number 12 on the river road.  The first time I saw the site, I couldn’t help thinking that many of the early settlers on the Saint John River that are interred here like Elijah, must have had interesting histories worth further research.  For those of you who are, like me, descended from these same settlers, that research may prove as rewarding as mine did, and you may well find that you have the grist for a similar history about your ancestors.  Good hunting to you.

          This book is about one of these colonists, some of whom were the earliest settlers in the Queen’s County area, back when the territory was still part of the province of Nova Scotia.  At least two family members of the original contingent of Loyalists who came to this part of New Brunswick are also buried there, including George Ferris, the forebear of the Queen’s County Ferris’s, as well as a number of Pre-Loyalists like Elijah Estabrooks along with his first wife Mary and his second wife Sarah.  Other family names, which would have been familiar to many of those who gathered to hear the presentation, are buried on nearby farms from the same era.  Their names include the Purdeys, Starkeys, Dykemans, Gilberts, Colwells, Hatfields, Hanselpackers, Springers, Currys, Mullens, Camps, Gunters, Carpenters and Thurstons.

          Later on, there were Oakleys, Nevers, Huestis, Gidneys, Porters and Bates families.  The majority of these early settlers were Loyalists except for the Garrisons, Estabrooks and Nevers, who were pre-Loyalists from Massachusetts.  The Gunters were from Hanover, Germany, the Dykemans were Old New York State Dutch, and the Springers were Swedish. 

          As I have mentioned, each settler would have had an interesting story to tell.  The particular story I intend to expand on in this book is the military record of a family ancestor of mine named Elijah Estabrooks.  Elijah kept a Journal during his travels and recorded his experiences from the time he grew up in New England and throughout the period when he fought in the Seven Years War as a Massachusetts Provincial soldier.  This war ended in 1763 with the defeat of the French forces in North America, and with the major result being that Canada was ceded to Britain.  Elijah survived his battle experiences, and shortly after his discharge in 1760, he emigrated to this part of the Maritimes which was then known as Nova Scotia.  A brief summary of what happened to Elijah during this period follows.


           As a soldier in the Massachusetts Provincials, Elijah Estabrooks participated in the battle that took place against Montcalm’s French forces at Fort Ticonderoga on the 8th of July 1758.  Elijah kept a daily journal of the events that unfolded as he saw them, and later, when he became one of the earliest settlers on the Saint John River in what is now the province of New Brunswick, his journal was passed on to his descendants. Elijah described the events of the battle as he saw them from an “up close and very personal” point of view.  The following is one example:

           We marched within 30 or 40 rods of the French trenches and set the battle in array.  And we had about as smart a fight for about 4 hours as ever was heard or seen in England, Flanders, or America.  And the French prevailed very much…but it was through deceit…for they acted contrary to the acts of all kings and parliaments…for in the midst of their fight they hoisted an English flag in heir trench only to deceive us, and so it did, for we thought that they had given up.  And drew up and was going to take possession - when all at once they hauled that down and hoisted their own, and with a great hellish shout poured a volley upon us, and killed more at that time than they had before – 2,541 of our men they killed and wounded 1,473.[1]

           The battle clearly left an indelible impression on Elijah and as indicated; his journal makes remarkably interesting reading.  It opens a window onto one man’s view of the French and Indian War in New England, and his subsequent service in the British forces in Halifax during events that would eventually lead to the ceding of Canada to Britain.  In many ways, the observations that he made in his journal are a written heirloom that has been passed on and shared among his many New Brunswick descendants and other interested readers.

          Elijah Estabrooks was the son of Elijah and Hannah (Daniel) Estabrooks, and he was born in 1727 or 1728.  Some of his family had originally immigrated to Boston from Enfield, England in 1660, settling nearby in Boxford, Massachusetts.  His journal provides a rich treasure trove of eyewitness detail covering the English campaign in 1758 against the French and Indian forces as they unfolded during an interesting period of the Seven Years War.  His journal is also a personal record of his experiences in the Massachusetts Provincial Army during the years 1758-1760.[2]  Elijah was a volunteer soldier in a Company commanded by Captain Israel Herrick, an officer under the command of Colonel Jedediah Preble and his Regiment of Massachusetts Provincial soldiers.[3]

          Elijah’s record is a very personal account of the heavy casualties and the defeat that the British forces suffered shortly after the death of Brigadier (and Lord) George Augustus Howe.  Howe had been a highly competent commander and one of British Prime Minister Pitt’s “chosen” young men.  Unfortunately, he was killed in a skirmish that took place just before the battle at Ticonderoga, and tactical command of the assaulting force was assumed by a British General named Abercrombie.  Abercrombie chose to conduct a frontal assault against well dug in troops without using any of his readily available artillery.[4]  The result was a bloodbath for the British forces.  General Louis-Joseph Marquis de Montcalm and his French forces conducted a spirited and successful defence, although the victory was due more to Abercrombie’s poor assessment of the French defences than to the best choice of ground, position, and tactics.


[1] Journal of Elijah Estabrooks, Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1758-1760, p. 7.

[2] A photo of what Elijah and his fellow Massachusetts Provincial soldiers may have looked like in uniform is re-produced on the cover and throughout this book.  Terry Hawkins, another descendant of Elijah, is the model, and he is part of a group of re-enactors who have recreated Isreal Harrack's Company of Colonel Jedediah Preble’s' Regiment of Massachusetts Provincials in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada. The group travels frequently to French and Indian War re-enactment encampments in the US and Canada, including Fort Ticonderoga and Fortress Louisbourg. For anyone interested, they can be contacted by mail at the following address: PO Box 999, Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada, BOT 1WO, or by email:

[3] General Jedidiah Preble was born in Wells, Maine in 1707 and began life as a sailor.  In 1746 he became a Captain in a provincial regiment.  He became a very prominent resident of Portland who settled on The Neck about 1748.  In 1755 he held a command as a Lieutenant-Colonel under General John Winslow and assisted in removing the Acadians from Canada.  He became a Colonel on 13 March 1758.  On 17 March 1759  he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General.  He was in charge of a company that served under General Wolfe and he was in the battle on the Plains of Abraham standing near General Wolfe when Wolfe was killed.  Preble, who was wounded twice during the war was in command of a garrison at Fort Pownal at Fort Pownal on the Penobscot River when peace finally came in 1763.  In 1775, General Preble, then 68, was appointed to the rank of Major General and was asked to serve as commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts forces, but he declined citing the infirmities of age.  He served 12 years as Portland’s representative to the legislature, was chosen the first senator from Cumberland County under the constitution of 1780, and was a judge of Common Pleas from 1782-83.  He died in Portland, Maine on 16 March 1784, at age 77.  He had four sons and one daughter by his first wife, Martha (Junkins), of York, and five sons by his second wife, the widow of John Roberts and daughter of Joshua Bangs of Portland.  Internet:; and

[4] According to Francis Parkman, Brigadier Lord Howe was one of the most beloved British officers who ever led provincial troops in America.  Massachusetts-Bay put up a monument to him in Westminster Abbey, where it may still be seen.  He was a younger brother to Admiral Lord Howe and General William “Billy” Howe of the War of Independence.  William had been with Amherst at Louisbourg.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, Viking, Markham, Ontario, 1984, p. 441. 

According to Robert Leckie, Augustus Howe was an excellent soldier.  He was also one of the few British commanders who respected the colonists.  He had served with the Rangers led by (then) Captain Robert Rogers, and he insisted that the 6,350 regulars as well as the 9,000 colonials whom Abercrombie was to lead against Ticonderoga, learn to live and fight as the Rangers did.  Robert Leckie, The Wars of America, Vol I, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 1992, p. 57.

Lord and Brigadier George Augustus Howe (age 34).  It has been reported that George Howe was as capable and as popular a soldier as then served the king in 1758.  He was killed in a French ambush near Lake George on the 5th of July 1758, as he advanced at the head of General Abercrombie’s 15,000-man army just prior to the assault on Fort Ticonderoga.

Maps of the French and Indian War

(Hoodinski Map)

Schematic map of the French and Indian War. 

Massachusetts and the New York Theater of Operations, circa 1759.  After Lester J. Cappon et al., Atlas of Early American History: The Revolutionary Era, 1760-1790 (Princeton, NJ, 1976), 2, 4.  Drawn by Richard Stinely.

Map of Actions described in Ticonderoga Soldier.  This map outlines the military activities that took place at the North end of Lake George in July 1758, indicating where Lord Howe was killed and where Montcalm laid out his defensive position before Fort Carillon – Fort Ticonderoga.

Map of the town and Fort of Carillon at Ticonderoga.  This map shows the dispositions of the French forces under Montcalm deployed to the West of the fort, and the attacking British forces under General Abercrombie North West of the height of Carillon, as they were assembled on the 8th of July 1758.  (Simplified from a contemporary map by Thomas Jeffreys).  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4162110)

Map showing the movement of General James Abercrombie's army as it approached Fort Carillon in 1758.  William Kingsford.

Map showing Fort Ticonderoga (then known as Fort Carillon) in 1758.  (Thomas Jefferys, Library and Archives of Quebec)

Map showing details of Fort Ticonderoga (then known as Fort Carillon) in 1758.  (Thomas Jefferys, Library and Archives of Quebec)

Topographical drawing of Fort Ticonderoga, drawn in 1759 from the South Bay of Lake Champlain in New York state during the French and Indian War. The tents marking military encampment are penciled in. Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

Fort Carillon – Ticonderoga

      The fight to come at Fort Ticonderoga would not be the first time a battle had taken place on the site.  On the 29th of July 1609, Samuel de Champlain fought the Iroquois there.  Although he would eventually seek to make himself a friend of the Iroquois, on that date he and his Indian allies encountered a band of 200 Mohawks.  The two opposing forces built barricades and exchanged insults, much as present day belligerents do.  The next day, Champlain and his forces “advanced to contact.”  Champlain then fired his quadruple-shotted arquebus and killed two Mohawk chiefs, while a third was killed by another Frenchman.  The Iroquois armour of wooden slats offered no protection against firearms, and in the ensuing battle some 50 Mohawks were killed.  The Hurons and the Algonquins returned home exalting in their victory over their traditional enemies.[1]

          136 years later during the course of the French and Indian War, a talented French-Canadian military engineer named de Lotbinière proceeded to build a star-shaped fortress of stone, earth and timber on this same site.  It stands on a rocky ridge near the southern end of Lake Champlain where Lake George flows into it.[2]  Construction of ‘Fort Carillon’ was begun in 1755 and the basic outline of the fort was complete by the winter of 1756.  Similar in construction to Fort Duquesne, there were two wooden walls around the main enclosure of Fort Carillon.  The ten feet of space between the walls was filled with earth to absorb cannon shot, and they were tied to each other with cross timbers dovetailed in place.  The wood for the enclosure consisted of heavy oak timbers, 14 or 14 inches square, laid horizontally one on top of the other.  A major weeknes of this kind of construction was the continual rotting of the timbers.  This led to the decision in 1757 to revet the timber walls with a stone veneer which would make the fort much more durable.[3]

          Across the lake the new fortress faced a bluff, and a little to the south Lake George emptied into a channel that flowed through a gorge into Lake Champlain.  As a result, whoever held the fort controlled the only passageway which led southward out of Lake Champlain.  This route in turn led toward the Hudson River by way of Lake George, and on to Albany.  The Frenchman had called his fort Carillon (a chime of bells) because of the loud splash of nearby rapids.  For the same reason, the Indians called the spot Cheonderoga, which meant “Noisy.”  The British called it Ticonderoga, and the Americans later called it Fort Ti.[4] 

        For the purpose of this story, whenever the Fort is referred by the French or in the context of their defense activities within it, the site will be called “Fort Carillon.”  Whenever the British or Americans refer to it or describe their attacks on it, the site will be called Fort Ticonderoga, or simply “Ticonderoga.”


[1] John Keegan, Warpaths, Travels of a Military Historian in North America, Key Porter Books, Toronto, Ontario, 1995, p. 105.

[2] Michel Chartier, Sieur de Lotbinière, was born in Québec in 1723 and had been sent to France to study the techniques of military engineering.  Marguerita Z. Herman, Ramparts, Fortification From The Renaissance to West Point, Avery Publishing Group Inc., Garden City Park, New York, 1992, p. 86.

[3] Ibid, p. 86.

[4] A.J. Langguth, Patriots, The Men Who Started the American Revolution, Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1988, p. 260.


A schematic representation of the 1758 map by Thomas Jeffrey.  (Map courtesy of Magicpiano)

Setting the Stage for the Battle

          In June 1758 a combined force of 15,350 British and Provincial soldiers commanded by General James Abercrombie were gathered at the head of Lake George near Lake Champlain, New York, in preparation for an attack on Fort Ticonderoga.[1]  The commander of the French forces defending the Fort with one quarter of the numbers of troops facing him was Louis-Joseph Marquis de Montcalm-Gozon, Seigneur de Saint-Véran, who served under the Governor General of New France, Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal.[2] 


[1] Francis Parkman, The Seven Years War, A Narrative taken from Montcalm and Wolfe, The Conspiracy of Pontiac, and A Half-Century of Conflict, Harper Torchbooks, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York and Evanston, 1968, p. 184.

[2] Montcalm’s full title is Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, Marquis de Montcalm, Seigneur of Saint- Véran, Candiac, Tournemine, Vestric, Saint-Julien, and Arpaon.  Baron de Gabriac, lieutenant-general.  He was born at Candiac, France, on the 28th of February 1712, son of Louis-Daniel de Montcalm and Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte de Lauris de Castellance.  He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Québec and died shortly afterwards on the 14th of September 1759. The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition, Grolier Inc, Danbury, Connecticut, 1988, p. 458.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2895086)

Governor General Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal (22 Nov 1698 – 4 Aug 1778), Canadian-born colonial governor of New France.

          In June 1758 a combined force of 15,350 British and Provincial soldiers commanded by General James Abercrombie were gathered at the head of Lake George near Lake Champlain, New York, in preparation for an attack on Fort Ticonderoga.[1]  The commander of the French forces defending the Fort with one quarter of the numbers of troops facing him was Louis-Joseph Marquis de Montcalm-Gozon, Seigneur de Saint-Véran, who served under the Governor General of New France, Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal.[2]  Following his arrival in Canada in May 1756, Montcalm had already successfully fought and destroyed the British Forts at Oswego and George in August 1757, and demolished Fort William Henry, later made famous in the James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) story (and a number of films), The Last of the Mohicans.[3]  Montcalm prepared to meet the British assault force by deploying his men around the walls of the French stronghold with an army one-fourth the size of Abercrombie’s.[4]

          Essentially these activities had become necessary because of a series of related events and battles. Governor General Vaudreuil had anticipated that there would be a renewed Anglo-American assault on Lake Ontario in February 1756.  He had therefore sent 360 Canadians and Indians under the command of Gaspard-Joseph Chausegros de Léry, to harass communications between Fort Oswego and Schenectady (New York).  They succeeded admirably, successfully assaulting and destroying Fort Bull (on Lake Oneida, New York) along with a vast amount of supplies.  No one in the garrison was spared.  Other Canadian war parties harassed Oswego all spring and early summer, preventing supplies getting through and putting the fear of God into the garrison.  By July, Vaudreuil believed the time had come for the destruction of the fort itself.  He sent Montcalm to Fort Carillon to inspect the new fort there, and to deceive the enemy as to his intentions.  Vaudreuil assembled a force of 3,000 men at Fort Frontenac.[5] 

Montcalm joined this force on the 29th of July.  Before leaving Montréal he had expressed grave misgivings about the expedition, but the main problem proved to be nothing more than the building of a road to bring up the siege guns.  After a short bombardment, and with the Canadians and Indians commanded by Vaudreuil’s brother, François-Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, swarming within musket range, the garrison surrendered.  1,700 prisoners were taken, several armed ships, a large number of cannon, munitions and supplies of all sorts, and a war chest containing funds to the value of 18,000 livres.  Montcalm stated the cost of the expedition had been 11,862 livres.  All told, a profitable enterprise, but strategically it was worth far more than that.  French control of Lake Ontario was now assured, the northwestern flank of New York was open to attack, and the danger of an assault on either Fort Frontenac or Niagara (near Youngstown, New York) had been diminished.[6]


[1] Francis Parkman, The Seven Years War, A Narrative taken from Montcalm and Wolfe, The Conspiracy of Pontiac, and A Half-Century of Conflict, Harper Torchbooks, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York and Evanston, 1968, p. 184.

[2] Montcalm’s full title is Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, Marquis de Montcalm, Seigneur of Saint- Véran, Candiac, Tournemine, Vestric, Saint-Julien, and Arpaon.  Baron de Gabriac, lieutenant-general.  He was born at Candiac, France, on the 28th of February 1712, son of Louis-Daniel de Montcalm and Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte de Lauris de Castellance.  He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Québec and died shortly afterwards on the 14th of September 1759. The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition, Grolier Inc, Danbury, Connecticut, 1988, p. 458.

[3] Ibid, p. 459.

[4] Francis Parkman, The Seven Years War, p. 184.

[5] Remains of this star fort still exist on the site, which is now occupied by the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College (CLFCSC), otherwise known as ‘Foxhole U’ at Kingston, Ontario.

[6] The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition, Grolier Inc, Danbury, Connecticut, 1988, p. 459.

Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm-Gozon, Seigneur de Saint-Véran, Candiac, Tournemire, Pestric, St. Julien, d’Arpaon, Baron de Gabriac, Lieutenant-Général of the Armies of the King of France, Honorary Commander of the Order of St. Louis and Commander-in-Chief of the French Army in America.  Born at Candiac on the 28th of February 1712, he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Quebec, and died there in Canada shortly afterwards, on the 13th of September 1759.  Sergent-Marçeau, Antoine François, 1751-1847, (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3030069)

Military Tactics in the Seven Years War  

            The principal weapon that came to dominate the Seven Years War was the “smooth-bore, flintlock, muzzle-loading musket, mounted with a bayonet, making it both a fire and a shock weapon.”  The weapons range and complicated fire and maneuver procedures meant that it dominated the planning for the tactical deployment of troops on the battlefield of the 18th century.  As would be noted by Bernard Cornwell’s 19th century officer, Major Richard Sharpe, even well-trained soldiers could fire no more than two or three rounds a minute.[1]


[1] Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe, The Legend, Video, Carleton Television, 1998.

           A specific set of commands was developed to ensure the loading and firing of the Brown Bess was conducted in a “militarily correct” sequence.  These orders directed the soldiers to carry out at least 12 key movements at an Officer’s command accompanied by drumbeat.  “At close range, under 80 paces, a musket volley could be murderous, but at that distance there was barely time to reload before the enemy’s charge, if it were not checked, reached the line.”[1] 


[1] W.J. Eccles, The French forces in North America during the Seven Years’ War, p. xvi.

           As will be seen later in this story, in 1759, one double-shotted volley fired by British soldiers under General Wolfe’s command on the Plains of Abraham would be sufficient to destroy the French front line under the command of General Montcalm.  The result would change the course of North American history.  In the battle formations of the Seven Years War, two basic formations were employed.  These were called “the line” and “the column.”  The line was a military formation made up of soldiers standing in three ranks, and its effectiveness depended considerably on the coordinated fire-power given by their muskets, and the effective and highly aggressive follow up by a concerted bayonet charge against the shattered foe.  An attack carried out by soldiers deployed in a column depended heavily on the shock effect of an attack against a narrow front.  The object of this assault was to “pierce and shatter the enemy’s line.”  The orderly deployment of troops in a line formation demanded that the supervising officers enforce the most rigorous discipline in order ensure that each and every man in the line stands fast.  This discipline was the only way to ensure that a measured and coordinated volley of fire would be delivered on command against a charging foe.  An attack in column also required considerable discipline to ensure that once the initial volley had been delivered, the men pressed on into the opposing hail of fire.  The key to success in this usually murderous advance, was that the swifter the men assaulted forward to their objective, the fewer the number of enemy volleys they had to endure.  The British army relied on the line; the French, however, at this time still believed in the effectiveness of the column.  Their commanders believed that “the charge with the arme blanche” was better suited to the capabilities and the morale of their poorly trained troops with “their impetuous temperament.”[1]

          Elijah Estabrooks as well as his fellow Massachusetts Provincial soldiers who deployed to Ticonderoga, were equipped with the “Brown Bess” musket.[2]  According to the historian C.P. Stacy, the British musket commonly called the “Brown Bess” underwent some modifications between its introduction in the 1720s and its official replacement in 1794.  The French, for their part, placed a lot of confidence in their 1754 pattern “Charleville” musket.  It would appear, however, that the British felt that the Brown Bess musket was a more effective weapon based on their experience in the Quebec campaign.  In a letter that Brigadier George Townshend wrote to Major-General Jeffery Amherst on the 26th of June 1775, he stated, “I recollect that in our service at Quebec, the superiority of our muskets over the French Arms were generally acknowledged both as to the Distance they carried and the Frequency of the Fire.”[3]

[1] It took a lot of drill and training to successfully maneuver troops around and onto a battlefield.  At least 18 months of basic training on the drill ground was required before they could be relied on to attack in a fixed line or a disciplined column.  The constant drill continued until the soldiers became virtual automatons.  Even then, it was felt that a solider would need at least five years of experience before he could become “dependable” in battle.  W.J. Eccles, The French forces in North America during the Seven Years’ War, p. xvi.

[2] The Brown Bess flintlock musket was the standard weapon of the British army from the 1730’s until 1794.  The first model of the Brown Bess or Long-Land Musket (its regulation name), had a 46 inch barrel with a wooden rammer retained by three pipes of equal size and a tail-piece where it entered the stock.  At this point the stock swells out and, generally speaking, the bigger the swell, the older the gun.  One sling swivel is fastened to the front of the trigger guard bow and the other is screwed through the muzzle end of the stock between the first and second pipes.  The lock of the Brown Bess was of a round pattern about seven inches long with a drooping tail.  This bend gets less pronounced in the later models until, towards the end of the century, the bottom edge of the lock is practically straight.  The bayonet which went with the musket had a socket about four inches long and a triangular blade 17 inches long.  Another pattern of which there is increasing mention from 1740 onwards is the Short Land musket, with the same style of lock, stock and furniture as the Long model, but with a 42-inch barrel.  There were soon two standard pattern muskets in production, the Long Land with steel rammers and the Short Land with wood rammers, a curious distinction between the two being that only the short pattern had a brass nose cap.  By the middle of the century, however, an improved pattern noseband, or cap was fitted to both types of muskets.  Internet: British Firearms,, p.1.

[3] C.P. Stacy, The British forces in North America during the Seven Years’ War, p. xxvi.


British Land Pattern Musket commonly referred to as "Brown Bess". The musket was used from 1722 to 1838.  (Photo courtesy of Antique Military Rifles)

French Charleville Musket, 1766.  (Photo courtesy of Antique Military Rifles)

Elijah’s Military Service

           Elijah did two tours of duty with the Massachusetts Provincials, coming out of the army after his first period of service on the 7th of November 1758 and later re-enlisting on the 6th of April 1759.  During his second period of service, he was sent by ship to Halifax where he remained until the 25th of November 1760.  While he was on duty in Halifax, Elijah served in a Company commanded by Captain Josiah Thatcher as part of a Regiment commanded by Colonel Thomas.[1]  Their primary task was the boarding and seizure of French ships re-supplying the soldiers of New France.  Elijah also served alongside other provincial soldiers from New England, most notably members of Roger’s Rangers.  He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.  His family, however, remained in Boxford, Massachusetts, where he returned at the end of his second period of service.

          After completing his military service Elijah Estabrooks eventually came to settle on the Saint John River.  In 1762, the government of Massachusetts sponsored a group of men to participate in early exploration of the area around Maugerville in what is present day New Brunswick, in search of suitable settlements.  Elijah was one of these early explorers.  Early in 1763 he moved his family to Halifax and then on to Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, and later to Maugerville Township.  Maugerville was still part of Sunbury County, Nova Scotia in 1763.

          Elijah eventually settled on a farm near Conway, a small community just north of the present-day city of Saint John, in 1775.  This was before the mass influx (some called it an invasion) of the Loyalists who had to withdraw from New England after the close of the American Revolutionary War of Independence.  It was the Loyalists who renamed the newly created province of New Brunswick (NB) after King George III’s German State of Braunschweig.  The Loyalists in some cases forced the existing English settlers off their land grants, and therefore many of them moved to sites further up the river.  Elijah’s family was one of these, and thus he and his family eventually came to establish themselves on farms located near the village of Jemseg, which is not far from the present day Combat Training Centre (CTC), on Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown in Oromocto.  Elijah later moved to a farm near Swan Creek, NB, where he died about the 11th of August 1796.  Many of Elijah’s descendants are alive and well today, and can be found not only in New Brunswick, but also across Canada and the United States.[2]


[1] A company was a unit of 40 to 100 men, led by 3 commissioned officers (a captain assisted by a lieutenant and an ensign) and 7 noncommissioned officers (3 sergeants and 4 corporals).  Ten companies made up a battalion, the basic tactical unit of the army.  The army’s principal administrative echelon was the regiment, which could consist of from one to 4 battalions.  The regiment was headed by 3 “field officers,” a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, and a major.  There were 30 company officers for the line as well as 6 administrative staff officers.  Staff officers included the adjutant, who supervised personnel matters; the commissary and the quartermaster, who were responsible for the acquisition, storage, and distribution of food and materiél; the chaplain; and the surgeon and surgeon’s mate.  An armorer and armorer’s mate were also attached to the staff, but they were regarded as technicians rather than officers.  A regiment’s total strength could vary in size from 400 to 1,000 men, plus officers.  Virtually all the Massachusetts provincial soldiers were infantrymen (the British regular units had cavalry, grenadiers, dragoons or light infantry).  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, pp. 48-49.

[2] The original material found in Elijah’s journal was copied from the Estabrooks-Palmer family records, and compiled along with other genealogical records by Florence C. Estabrooks, of Saint John, NB, on the 23rd of February 1948.  Elijah’s original manuscript had passed through many hands and several leaves are missing out of the first portion of the book.  Florence Estabrooks stated the data she compiled had been “copied from the journal kept by Elijah Estabrooks, a non-commissioned officer (Sergeant) in the Colonial Army during the Old French (and Indian) War which terminated in 1760-61.”


Background to the French and Indian War     

           The Seven Years War has been described as a worldwide series of conflicts, which were fought between 1756 and 1763.  The initial object of the war was to gain control over Germany and to achieve supremacy in colonial North America and India.  The war involved most of the major powers of Europe, with Prussia, Great Britain, and Hannover on one side and Austria, Saxony (Sachsen), France, Russia, Sweden, and Spain on the other.  The collective series of battles fought during this war in North America became known as the French and Indian War.  Essentially the French and Indian war pitted Great Britain and its American colonies against the French forces of New France and their Algonquin Indian allies.[1]

The opening shots of the war in North America were fired in 1754.  A rivalry between the colonies of France and England had gradually developed over the lucrative fur-trading posts and the rich lands west of the Appalachian Mountains, as well as over valuable fishing rights off the coast of Newfoundland.  The French hoped to contain British settlement, particularly in the Ohio Valley, where Virginia planters had established fur-trading posts in 1749 by a strategy of encirclement.  France hoped to unite itself with its Indian allies through a chain of forts, which ran as far south as New Orleans and thus prevent British expansion to the west.[2]

For the first two years of the war, French forces and their and Native Indian allies were largely victorious, winning an important and surprising victory with the defence of Fort Duquesne.  In 1757, however, the British statesman William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, and a pro-Prussian, was placed in charge of Britain’s foreign policy.  One of his first acts was to appoint General James Wolfe to command the British troops in the New World.  The long-term result of Pitt’s bold strategy was the ultimate defeat of the French forces in North America by 1760, and the ceding of all of French Canada to Britain.[3]


[1] “Seven Years’ War,” MicrosoftâEncartaâOnline Encyclopedia 2000, http://encarta.msn.comã1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.


Major-General James Wolfe (1727-1759).  Wolfe portrait. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2894990)


            As for General James Wolfe, he has been described by Horace Walpole as

            a young officer who had contracted a reputation from his intelligence of discipline, and from the perfection to which he had brought his regiment.  The world could not expect more from him than he thought himself capable of performing.  He looked upon danger as the favorable moment that would call forth all his talents.[1]


[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, The Path to Glory, Collins, Toronto, 1972, p. 28.

            The Seven Years War officially ended on the 10th of February 1763 with the Treaty of Paris, which was signed to settle differences between France, Spain, and Great Britain.[1]  Among the terms was the acquisition of almost the entire French Empire in North America by Great Britain.  The British also acquired Florida from Spain and the French retained their possessions in India only under severe military restrictions.  The continent of Europe remained free from territorial changes.[2]


[1] The Treaty of Paris ceded all of Canada to Britain, leaving France with only the small islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which permitted her to maintain a tiny foothold in the lucrative fishing region.  Under the Treaty, France also kept part of Louisiana.  The National Post, 10 February 2000.  The Key points of the treaty are as follows:

            Article IV of the Treaty states, “His Most Christian Majesty renounces all pretensions which he as heretofore formed or might have formed to Nova Scotia or Acadia in all its parts and guarantees the whole of it, and with all its dependencies, to the King of Great Britain; Moreover, his Most Christian Majesty cedes and guaranties to his said Britannic Majesty, in full right, Canada, with all its dependencies, as well as the island of Cape Breton, and all the other islands and coasts in the gulf and river of St. Lawrence, and in general, every thing that depends on the said countries, lands, islands, and coasts, with the sovereignty, property, possession, and all rights acquired by treaty, or otherwise, which the Most Christian King and the Crown of France have had till now over the said countries, lands, islands, places, coasts, and their inhabitants, so that the Most Christian King cedes and makes over the whole to said King, and to the Crown of Great Britain, and that in the most ample manner and form, without restriction, and without any liberty to depart from the said cession and guaranty under any pretense, or to disturb Great Britain in the possessions above mentioned.  His Britannic majesty, on his side, agrees to grant the liberty of the Catholic religion to the inhabitants of Canada: he will, in consequence, give the most precise and most effectual orders, that his new Roman Catholic subjects may profess the worship of their religion according to the rites of the Romish church, as far as the laws of Great Britain permit.  His Britannic Majesty further agrees, that the French inhabitants, or others who had been subjects of the Most Christian King in Canada, may retire with all safety and freedom wherever they shall think proper, and may sell their estates, provided it be to the subjects of his Britannic Majesty, and bring away their effects as well as their persons, without being restrained in their emigration, under any pretense whatsoever, except that of debts or of criminal prosecutions: The term limited for this emigration shall be fixed to the space of eighteen months, to be computed from the day of the exchange of the ratification of the present treaty…” The complete text of the Treaty of Paris can be found at:, and in “The History of Nova Scotia,” p. 14.

[2] “Seven Years’ War,” MicrosoftâEncartaâOnline Encyclopedia 2000, http://encarta.msn.comã1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation.

Louisbourg and the Seven Years War

         Four periods of war had dominated life in North America during the late 17th and early part of the 18th centuries.  King William’s War was fought between 1689 and 1697, and followed only five years later by Queen Anne’s War fought between 1702 and 1713.  Less than a dozen years later, Governor Dummer’s War was fought between 1722 and 1725, followed by the fourth conflict, King George’s Wars which took place between 1744 and 1748.  By this time, the people of Massachusetts had contributed more than their share of blood and treasure in support of England’s worldwide conflict with France.  The Seven Years War would see the cost rise even higher for the New England colony.[1]

When France lost Port Royal (in what is present day Nova Scotia) in the Treaty of Utrecht, it proceeded to spend six million in gold building the “impregnable” fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island.[2] 

In many ways, the great fortress of Louisbourg was a memorial to the fortress-designing genius of Vauban.  This is because two of his pupils, Verville and Verrier, made extensive use of Vauban’s ideas and designs to make the fortress one of the greatest strongholds of New France.  Louisbourg was built on a narrow headland, with water on three sides.  The sea itself provides a moat, and on nine days out of ten the surf pounds hard on the rock-strewn Nova Scotia shore.  Beyond the shore there is a string of shoals and islands that reduces the harbour entrance to a mere 400 yards, and this in turn offers the defender numerous well-sited positions for gun emplacements that would command the roadway and the only channel entrance into Louisbourg’s harbour.  In its heyday, a marsh lay to the landward side of the fortress, and this would have caused any heavy artillery that the British needed to employ to bog down.  Even then, there are only a few low hillocks that offer would offer a useful position to mount and site the guns that had been dragged into position. Using Vauban’s principles, the fortresses walls were ten feet thick, and faced with fitted masonry that rose thirty feet behind a steep ditch.  This defence in turn was fronted by a wide glacis, with an unobstructed sloping field of fire that could rake a designated killing ground at pointblank range with cannon and musket shot.  The fortress was equipped with 148 cannons, including 24 and 42 pounders, and positioned to allow all-round fire or massive concentrations at selected danger points.  The defenders were also sheltered inside the fortress with “covered ways,” which protected them from bombardment splinters.[3]

In spite of its solid design, however, on the 20th of April 1745 (during King George’s War), the English conducted a successful amphibious landing and siege of the fortress of Louisbourg.  The operation was conceived by Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts and carried out by the New England militia led by William Pepperell, a merchant of Kittery, Maine, and the Royal Navy, which supported him with a blockading squadron under Admiral Sir Peter Warren.  Following a six-week siege, the French commander surrendered the fortress (at a time when it was known as “the Gibraltar of the New World”), on the 16th of June 1745.[4]

          Sometimes an almost ridiculous element of chance had a major role to play in the successful outcome of a siege.  During the first siege of Louisbourg on the 28th of May 1745, the combined forces of William Pepperell and Admiral Warren lacked the heavy cannon needed to reduce the fortifications of the Gabarus island battery blocking access to the harbour defences.  During a reconnaissance by a landing party, a sharp-eyed man looking down into the clear water saw what incredibly appeared to be a whole battery of guns half hidden in the sand below.  This is exactly what it was, ten bronze cannon which had slid from the deck of a French “Man o’ War” years earlier and had been left in the water by the profligate Governor.  The men swiftly raised the guns, scoured them off, hoisted them onto the headland and were soon blasting shot across the half-mile gap onto the French battery.  When one shot finally hit the island’s powder magazine, the French Commander d’Aillebout had to give up.  With this position in hand the siege was then brought to a successful conclusion after 46 days.  After Louisbourg’s surrender, Admiral Warren put the French flag back up.  Thus, French ships kept sailing into Louisbourg’s harbour, including one carrying a cargo of gold and silver bars.  850 guineas were given to every sailor as prize money.[5]

Capturing Louisbourg and holding it were two different matters in the world of European politics.  Diplomacy lost what valour had won, and in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, which concluded this war with France and Spain, Louisbourg was returned to the French.  This meant that Louisbourg had to be retaken during the Seven Years War.[6]

The Second Siege of Louisbourg took place between the 1st and 26th of July in 1758.  On this occasion, the French forces of Governor Augustin de Droucourt defended the fortress with 3080 men and 219 cannon against the combined forces of Major-General Jeffery Amherst and Admiral Edward Boscawen.  With 25,000 men and 1842 guns afloat, some 200 ships left England in February 1758 with orders to take Canada.  Brigadier General James Wolfe was one of the three brigade commanders onboard.  The force conducted amphibious training in Halifax before sailing to Louisbourg where a 49-day siege was successfully carried out.  The fortress had been bombarded to the point where the defenders were left with only three cannons able to fire, at which point Governor Augustin surrendered.  Shortly afterwards, the task force set off to take Québec, which fell on the 13th of September 1759.  In this case, one successful siege led to the staging of the next, in a domino effect that ultimately resulted in far reaching changes to the nation of Canada.[7]


[1] With the exception of Governor Dummer’s War, these conflicts were all American phases of ongoing European conflicts, which included the War of the League of Augsburg ((1689-1697); the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713); and the War of Jenkins’ Ear – also known as the War of the Austrian Succession (1739-1748).  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years’ War, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 1984, p. 3.

[2] Construction on the fortress was begun by Michel-Philippe on the 7th of March 1719.  The National Post, Toronto, 07 March 2000, History of Nova Scotia. Internet,, p. 6.

[3] Leslie F. Hannon, Forts of Canada, The Conflicts, Sieges, and Battles that Forged a Great Nation, Toronto, McClelland and Stewart Ltd, 1969, p. 30.

[4] Ibid, p. 30.

[5] Leslie F. Hannon, Forts of Canada, p. 30. 

            Great Britain reimbursed Massachusetts for the entire cost of the expedition, Á183,649 sterling, which was the largest reimbursement in the history of the province.  The sum was paid in coin, which in 1750 was used to provide a specie base for a reformed provincial currency, the Lawful Money that replaced Massachusetts’ greatly depreciated Old Tenor paper money.  The disbursement of the coins halted the inflation that had plagued the colony for most of the century.  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, pp. 9-10.

[6] Ibid, p.30.

[7] Ibid, p.30.


William Pitt           

           On the 29th of June 1757 William Pitt (1708-1778, Earl of Chatham in 1766) became secretary of state and Prime Minister.  An able strategist, “Pitt saw that the principal objective for England should be the conquest of Canada and the American West, thus carving out a field for Anglo-American expansion.”[1]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, New York, 1965, p. 165.

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708-1778).

           On the 29th of June 1757 William Pitt (1708-1778, Earl of Chatham in 1766) became secretary of state and Prime Minister.  An able strategist, “Pitt saw that the principal objective for England should be the conquest of Canada and the American West, thus carving out a field for Anglo-American expansion.”[1]

A great number of William Pitt’s predecessors had been largely incompetent.  His immediate predecessor for example, had been more interested in the distribution of patronage and the benefits he could gain by them rather than in conducting the affairs of the state.  Bluntly stated, he used and abused the Parliament rather than serving it.  Pitt was not cast from the same mold.  He was an honest, devoted, and able man, but more importantly, he had the great gift of being able to find other men like himself and to inspire them to do great things.  Like Cromwell, he “had his warts.”  He enjoyed “putting on a show.”  He was theatrical, self-assured, and sometimes pompous.  He was also sometimes quite extravagant which in turn often put him in a difficult financial position.  On top of this, he had an “overweening pride.”  It was not his arrogance or the pride, however, that the British people both at home and in the colonies, had come to know and respect.  Pitt had taken action to restore order where there had been serious discord.  One example of this was the fact that the English hated and feared the Scots, due the troubles that had stemmed from the uprisings of the Jacobites.[2] 

Not much more than a dozen years had passed since the Scottish clans had threatened the security of England.  Because of this, the general English population wanted restrictions maintained against the Scots and the threat they posed.  Instead of destroying the clans, Pitt responded to this difficult issue by employing Scottish soldiers in the service of Britain.  He raised regiments from among them to serve a common country.  Because of this, Elijah Estabrooks would find himself and his fellow Colonial soldiers at Ticonderoga fighting alongside Scottish regiments such as the famed “Black Watch.”  The highlanders would play a dramatic part in the story of the fight for Canada.  Another bone of contention in the colonies, which Pitt dealt with, was the wiping out of the social snobbery which gave a British regular officer seniority and rank over any position held by their colonial counterparts.[3]

          Pitt made a number of critical decisions, which in turn had an immediate effect in North America.  One of his first acts was to recall an incompetent military commander, the Earl of Loudoun.  For almost the same reasons, he would also have removed General Abercrombie, but this officer apparently had better or more aggressive friends.  Instead of stirring up a hornet’s nest of dissension in a relatively short a space of time, Pitt decided on an alternative course of action.  He sent out Lord Howe to be Abercrombie’s second-in-command.  Pitt seemed certain that Howe would eventually come to “dominate the older man and so assume command in fact, if not in name.”  Wolfe, writing to his father, had called Howe “the noblest Englishman that has appeared in my time and the best soldier in the army.”  Pitt must have been satisfied at Wolfe’s comment, as he also had a great deal of confidence in this young brigadier’s judgment.[4]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, New York, 1965, p. 165.

[2] On the 16th of April 1746, Scottish Jacobites, who were followers of Prince Charles Edward fought against King George the Second’s son, the Duke of Cumberland in the Battle of Culloden Moor.  The Dukes 10,000 men and artillery defeated every Highland charge.  His cavalry then counter-attacked and proceeded to slaughter the Jacobites.

[3] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, The Struggle Between the French and British in Colonial America, Volume Two of the Canadian History Series, Edited by Thomas B. Costain, Doubleday & Company Inc., Garden City, New York, 1956, p. 448.

[4] Ibid, p. 449.


General Jeffrey Amherst (1717-1797) painted in 1765 by Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)

           Pitt selected Jeffery Amherst, (whom Elijah mentions in his diary), to be his “commander in chief in America.”[1]  Amherst apparently was “solid and unemotional, and had the right character to neutralize the impetuosity of Wolfe.”  Amherst, Wolfe, and Admiral Boscawen, in July 1758 recaptured a much more strongly fortified and skillfully defended Louisbourg than what the British had faced in 1745.  That same year a force of New Englanders under the command of Colonel John Bradstreet, (also mentioned by Elijah in his Journal) captured Fort Frontenac, which was strategically sited at a point where the St Lawrence flows out of Lake Ontario.   Shortly after these major battlefield successes, Brigadier John Forbes, with George Washington on his staff, marched across Pennsylvania and captured Fort Duquesne, renaming it Pittsburgh after their esteemed British “war” minister.[2]

          Pitt steadfastly refused to delegate any authority to his subordinates, and equal self-assurance he overrode the intense dislike the British regular officers had of employing large numbers of provincial soldiers.  He was convinced that only vast numbers could decisively defeat the French forces in North America, and therefore insisted that the colonies raise large numbers of provincials every year, in spite of the fact that his regular field commanders regarded them as somewhat of a burden.[3]

          Elijah rejoined the Colonial Army on the 6th of April 1759, the same year that Britain won many of the war’s most famous battles.  A well-conducted amphibious operation in the West Indies had led to the fall of Guadeloupe, for example.  The French power in India had been destroyed.  In addition, a French fleet that had been intended to reinforce Canada had been destroyed at Quiberon Bay by Admiral Sir Edward Hawke.  Fort Niagara, which was the key to the Great Lakes, was captured by the British with the help of Sir William Johnson and his Iroquois braves.  Above and beyond these successes, however, was the campaign that ultimately led to the siege and capture of Québec.[4]


[1] Jeffrey Amherst was only 40 and a Colonel when he was chosen to lead the British forces against Louisbourg and Quebec in 1758.  Although he had never had an independent command, he had impressed the most influential generals in the British Army as an unusually dependable and persistent officer.  He had entered the army at the age of 14; gone with his regiment to the Low Countries, Germany, and Scotland; won praise for his steadiness under fire at Dettingen and Fontenoy; and served as the aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland in the closing campaigns of the War of the Austrian succession and in the opening campaign of the Seven Years War.  He has been described as an officer with the patience, prudence, and persistence to succeed in a war of sieges and maneuver.  Robert A. Doughty et al, Warfare in the Western World, Vol I, Military Operations from 1600 to 1871, Heath and Company, Lexington, Massachusetts, 1996, p. 118.

[2] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, p. 165.

[3] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 16,

[4] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, p. 165.


Sir William Johnson.

Background to the Estabrooks Family

           Elijah and the Estabrooks family that settled on the Saint John River in what was then part of the Province of Nova Scotia and is now the Canadian Province of New Brunswick have a long and storied tradition.  The Estabrooks name originated in Flanders, (now Belgium) where Estauberg (d’) or Estaubrugge was the name of one of the confederate nobles.  He apparently belonged to the family or clan d’Estambrugge, to which Oliver d’Estambrugge, who was appointed bailiff of Ghent in 1387, belonged.  Heer van Estambrugge may have been a brother of the Count Van Ligne, in which case he later broke away from the confederates, as in the latter part of 1566, he assumed command of 100 Cavalry from the National Militia, for the defense of Brussels.[1]

          In the Middle Ages, several Flemish families by the name of Yandell (or Yendall) lived together long ago in the Low Countries of Europe (Holland or Flanders) in the neighborhood of Ghent or Liege.  They were Dutch-Flemings.  The main body of the family lived on the West Side of a stream; but a considerable number lived on the East Side at the end of a particular bridge (or bridges), and were therefore called the Estenbrugge-Yandells or briefly, the Estenbrugge.

          At the time of the Reformation, (about 1517), these people became Protestants.  During the religious wars that followed (about 1570-80), and the activity of the Spanish Inquisition during the latter half of the sixteenth century, they had to leave the country.  A large group went together and settled in western Devon.  Some used the name Yandell and some the name Estenbrugge, which gradually became Anglicized into various forms of Estabrooks.

          The tradition received by one of Elijah’s descendants, Florence Estabrooks, was that the Estenbrugge family or Yandells lived in Brugges, Liege or Ghent (in present day Belgium).  Another tradition, however, is that they originally lived in Holland, moved into Flanders, and after a brief stay went on to England.  Both branches of the family had members who migrated to America, where they apparently kept some contact.

          Joseph Estabrook of Concord, Massachusetts was born at Enfield, Middlesex County, England in 1640.  His father was also probably born in England, but his grandfather may have been born in Flanders, placing the original emigration sometime between 1590 and 1600.   The family must have done well in England, as Joseph was prepared for college before coming to America and took his four-year course after his arrival.  His brother Thomas also did well, as he bought a large farm near Concord.

          Joseph’s parents were certainly Puritans.  After the death of Cromwell and the Restoration of Charles II, it was the sensible thing for a person wishing to be a clergyman in the Congregationalist Church to come to Boston, Massachusetts.

          Joseph arrived in Boston in 1660 and attended Harvard College from which he graduated in 1664.  In 1667 he was ordained as a colleague of the Reverend Peter Bulkeley at Concord, and on Bulkeley’s death in 1696 became pastor of the Church, continuing in that office until his death on the 16th of September 1711 at the age of 71 years.  He had been made a freeman at Cambridge, Mass on the 3rd of May 1665.  On the 20th of May 1668, he married Mary Mason, daughter of Captain Hugh and Esther Mason, at Watertown, Massachusetts.

          The “Boston News” reported that the Reverend Joseph Estabrook “was eminent for his skill in the Hebrew language, a most orthodox, learned, and worthy divine; of excellent principles in religion, indefatigably laborious in the ministry of holy life and conversation.”

Joseph had married Mary Mason (born on the 18th of December 1640) on the 20th of May 1668 and they had six children.  Joseph died on the 16th of September 1711 at the age of 71.  The children of Joseph and Mary were: Joseph; Benjamin (who attended Harvard in 1690, then became a minister at Lexington, and died in 1697); Mary; Samuel (who also attended Harvard in 1696, and became a minister at Canterbury, Connecticut from 1711 to 1727); Daniel; and Ann.

          Joseph (junior) was born in Concord, Massachusetts on the 6th of May 1669.  He married his first wife, Millicent Woods on the 31st of December 1689, at Cambridge Farms, Massachusetts and they had six children.  Millicent was the daughter of Henry W. Woods of Connecticut, and she died at Concord on the 26th of March 1692.  Joseph later married Hannah Leavitt, daughter of John Leavitt of Hingham.  Hannah was the widow of Joseph Loring and had a daughter by her first husband named Submit.  Submit later married Joseph’s son by Millicent Woods, Joseph junior.

          Joseph bought a farm of two hundred acres of land in Lexington in 1693.  The Concord Road bound it on the southwest.  He was an active and influential member of the Church at Lexington and represented it on many public occasions.  He commanded a military company, and filled the office of town clerk, treasurer, assessor, selectman, and representative to the General Court.  He was a man of more than ordinary education and was engaged to teach the first man’s school in the town.  He died in Lexington on the 23rd of September 1733.

          The children of Joseph and Millicent were: Joseph (the third); John; Solomon; Hannah (who married Joseph Frost of Sherburne); Millicent; and Elijah.

          Elijah, son of Joseph (the second) and Hannah (Leavitt) Loring, was born in Lexington on the 25th of August 1703.  He married Hannah Daniel of Sherburne (born on the 6th of April 1702), in Boston on the 1st of October 1724.  Their place of residence is unknown between 1724 and 1734, and there is a tradition that after their marriage, Elijah and his wife went to England, where their son Elijah (junior) was born.  It is said they returned to America in 1730. 

          While in England Elijah probably visited Flemish relatives, for his son Elijah (junior) was very well versed in Flemish traditions, which he told to his grandchildren.  The American tradition is that the Elijah Estabrooks who came to the Saint John River was pro-British.

          A short time after his return, Elijah (senior) was with his wife’s people, the Daniel’s, and his brother-in-law, Joseph Frost in Sherburne.  His daughter Hannah was born in Sherburne in 1734.  Not long afterwards, Elijah (senior) died on the 1st of December 1740 in Sherburne.

          An entry in the Newbury, Massachusetts records states, Joseph Burril of Haverhill married Mrs. Hannah Esterbrook in Newbury on the 9th of February 1743/44.  They lived in East Haverhill (Rocks Village).  This Hannah may have been the widow of Elijah (senior); hence Elijah (junior), Submit and Samuel turn up in Haverhill.

          Elijah senior’s journeys must have depleted his resources, as he died intestate and his estate was small.  Joseph Frost administered it.

          The children of Elijah and Hannah were Mary; Elijah; Deborah; Submit; Hannah; Joseph; Samuel; and Aaron.

          In the Middlesex County Probate Records from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the following entry appears:

          Middlesex.  S.S. Guardianship to Elijah (at his election) a minor in his 19th year of age, son of Elijah Estherbrook (sic) late of Sherburne in said County Dec’d., is committed to Joseph Frost of Sherburne aforesaid.  Gent. who hath given bond of 500 (pounds).  Witness my hand and seal of office.  Dated at Cambridge the 14th of July 1746.  S. Danforth, J. Probt.[2]

          Elijah (junior) was born about 1727, and as a boy before the death of his father, he must have been in Sherburne with his family between 1734 and 1740.  During this time, he acquired a good education for his journal is well written.  After his father’s death, his Uncle Joseph Frost or the Daniels probably looked after him.  The formal guardianship assumed in 1746 was “probably a surety for him going out into the world.”[3]

          Elijah soon found his way to Haverhill, Massachusetts.  His mother was there and there was plenty of work in connection with shipbuilding.  He was admitted to the Second Church (Congregational) at East Salisbury on the 4th of March 1750.  He married Mary Hackett of Salisbury on the 14th of November 1750, with the wedding ceremony being performed at Haverhill, although it is recorded in the Second Church at Salisbury.

          The family apparently lived in East Haverhill from 1750 to about 1757 as the baptisms of their first three children are recorded in the Fourth (Congregational) Church.  These include Hannah, baptized on the 25th of August 1751; Molly, baptized on the 18th of March 1753, and Elijah, baptized on the 23rd of May 1756.  Elijah then appears to have moved to Boxford, close to Bradford, about 1727, as baptisms of two of his children appear in the records of the Second Church (Congregational) in Boxford: Samuel, baptized on the 11th of December 1757, and Ebenezer, baptized on the 9th of September 1759.

          It should be noted that dating went through a radical change in North America in 1752.[4]   Also of interest is a newspaper report that on the 18th of November 1755 at 11:35 UTC (GMC), the largest earthquake in Massachusetts took place.[5]

           Elijah’s wife, Mary Hackett, was born in Salisbury on the 1st of August 1728.  She was the daughter of Ebenezer and Hannah (Ring) Hackett, and her family was known for their shipbuilding.


[1] CF. te Water, Confederacy of the Nobles; D11, p. 386-387.

[2] Middlesex County Probate Records (1st series), v.24, p. 157

[3] Florence C. Estabrooks, Estabrooks Family, Vol 1, Upper Gagetown, New Brunswick, c. 1948, p. 10.

[4] Normally there are 30 days in the month of September, but in 1752 there was a special September with only 19 days.  The eleven days, September 2nd through to the 13th inclusive, were omitted from the calendar.  This applied to Great Britain (except Scotland) and all Colonies.


Mon       Tue        Wed       Thu        Fri         Sat         Sun


1             2             14           15           16           17          

18           19           20           21           22           23           24

25           26           27           28           29           30


               This change was part of the conversion from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, and applied throughout Great Britain (except Scotland) and in all territories and colonies then controlled by Great Britain.  This included the Thirteen Colonies along the eastern coast of North America.  The new calendar did not apply to those territories under the control of France, which included Louisbourg and Québec, because France had converted to the Gregorian calendar centuries earlier.  History of Nova Scotia, Internet,, p. 9.

[5] The “Cape Ann Earthquake,” was reported from Halifax, Nova Scotia, south to Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, and from Lake George, New York, east to a ship 300 kilometres east of Cape Ann.  The location of the ship is thought to be near the epicenter, because the shock was felt so strongly that those on board believed the ship had run aground.  Several aftershocks occurred.  The region around Cape Ann and Boston received the heaviest damage from this earthquake.  Stone fences were thrown down throughout the countryside, particularly on a line extending from Boston to Montréal.  New springs formed, and old springs dried up.  At Scituate (on the coast southeast of Boston), Pembroke (about 15 kilometres southwest of Scituate) and Lancaster (about 40 kilometres west of Boston), cracks opened in the earth.  Water and fine sand issued from some of the ground cracks at Pembroke.  Internet: Largest Earthquake in Massachusetts,, and from the History of Nova Scotia, p. 10.

Founding of Halifax in 1749.  C.W. Jeffreys.

           Elijah’s diary records two periods of service; he completed his first tour of duty (after the battle at Ticonderoga) on the 7th of November 1758 and re-enlisted on the 6th of April 1759.  He went by ship to Halifax and spent his second tour of duty in Nova Scotia, where he became a Sergeant.  His family remained in Boxford.  He left Nova Scotia on the 25th of November 1760 and arrived home on the 15th of December 1760, having completed his military service.  The diary and an account of the events that took place during his tour of duty follows a brief description of the Massachusetts Provincial soldiers.

Massachusetts Provincial Soldiers      

           The British colonies responded to the leadership and financial encouragement of William Pitt by making a greater military effort than ever before to place large forces in the field.  From an early period, the various British provinces in America had militias based on universal service, with every citizen of military age being liable to serve when required.  These militias were called upon in the Seven Years War only in emergency.  The provincial forces employed in the war were usually ad hoc units enlisted by the various colonial governments for the occasion and drawn from what may be called the floating population.  In 1758 the crown furnished the men with their arms, equipment, and provisions; the colonial governments paid and clothed the men.  In the response for the requisitions for troops, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York responded particularly well.  General Abercromby reported the strength of his army that advanced against Ticonderoga in July 1758 as “amounting to 6,367 regulars, officers, light infantry, and Rangers included, and 9024 provincials including officers and bateaux men.”[1]

           The four New England colonies were much alike in their way of raising and equipping men.  Elijah’s unit would have been created when the Assembly or “General Court” of Massachusetts voted the required number of men to be recruited.  The Assembly also chose a committee of war authorized to impress provisions, munitions, stores, clothing, tools, and other necessities, for which fair prices were to be paid within two months.  The Governor issued a proclamation calling for volunteers, and if not enough came forward, the colonels of the militia (including Jedediah Preble) were ordered to muster their regiments, and immediately draft out of them enough to meet the need.  A bounty of six dollars was offered in 1758 to stimulate enlistment, and the pay of a private soldier was fixed at one pound six shillings a month, Massachusetts’s currency.  If he brought a gun, he had an additional bounty of two dollars.  A powder-horn, bullet pouch, blanket, knapsack, and “wooden bottle,” or canteen, were supplied by the province; and if he did not bring a gun that he owned, a musket was given to him, for which, as for the other articles, he was to account at the end of the campaign.  He also received, besides his pay, a “coat and soldier’s hat.”  The coat was of coarse blue cloth, to which breeches of red or blue were added.  Along with his rations, he was promised a gill of rum each day, a privilege of which he was extremely jealous, deeply resenting every abridgment of it.  He was enlisted for the campaign and could not be required to serve above a year at the longest, (which would account for Elijah’s separate periods of service).[2]

          The complement of a regiment was 500, divided into companies of 50; and as the men and officers of each were drawn from the same neighborhood, they generally knew each other.  The officers, though nominally appointed by the Assembly, were for the most part the virtual choice of the soldiers themselves, from whom they were often indistinguishable in character and social standing.  Discipline was weak.  The pay (or as it was called, the wages), of a colonel was 12 pounds 16 shillings, Massachusetts currency, a month; that of a captain, 5 pounds 8 shillings, -an advance on the pay of last year; and that of a chaplain, 6 pounds 8 shillings.  Penalties were enacted against “irreligion, immorality, drunkenness, debauchery, and profaness.”  The ordinary punishments were the wooden horse, irons, or, in more serious cases, flogging.[3]


[1] C.P. Stacy, The British forces in North America during the Seven Years’ War, p. xxvii.

[2] An excellent colour illustration of a typical soldier of a Provincial Massachusetts Regiment in service between 1756 and 1763, (reconstituted by Herbet Knotel) can be found in Canadian Military Heritage, Volume II, 1755-1871, Art Global, Montréal, Québec, 1995, page 27.  This book also carries colour illustrations of most of the other English and French units mentioned by Elijah.  This picture shows however, that one version of their uniform consisted of a long double breasted and double buttoned blue jacket with a red lining, a black English tricorn style hat, long buttoned grey leggings, a single white cross strap worn diagonally across the left shoulder, a white scarf at the throat, and a long-barreled Brown Bess musket.

[3] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, Viking, Markham, Ontario, 1984, p. 224-225.


Massachusetts Contribution to the Seven Years War

          Massachusetts was extremely poor by the standards of the present day in 1758, with most of the inhabitants making a living by fishing and farming and with most of their trade hampered by strict British navigation laws.  “Her contributions of money and men to the welfare of the colony were not ordained by an absolute king but made by the voluntary act of a free people.”  According to an Englishman named Pownall who had succeeded Shirly as royal governor of the province, Massachusetts had been the frontier and advanced guard of all the colonies against the French enemy in Canada and had always taken the lead in military affairs.  In the previous three years, Massachusetts had supported the provincial government, while having maintained a number of forts, and built, equipped, and manned a ship of twenty guns for the service of the King.  In that year, her “war-debt” was “366,698 pounds sterling, and to meet it she imposed on herself taxes amounting, in the town of Boston alone, to thirteen shillings and two pence to every pound of income from real and personal estate.”  In spite of being deep in debt, Massachusetts had also “raised, paid, maintained, and clothed 7,000 soldiers placed under the command of General Abercrombie besides above 2,500 more serving the King by land or sea; amounting in all to about one in four of her able-bodied men.”[1]


[1] Ibid, p. 352.

General Sir James Abercromby, also spelled Abercrombie, ca. 1759-60.

 (Allan Ramsay portrait)


          James Abercrombie (also spelled Abercromby) was born in Glassaugh, Banffshire, Scotland in 1706.  He was “a Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Scots early in his military career.”  Abercrombie was promoted to the rank of “Colonel in 1746 and served in the Flemish campaign in the War of the Austrian Succession.”  In 1756 he was “promoted to the rank of Major General” and “ordered to accompany Lord Loudoun to America as his second-in-command.”  Major General Abercrombie’s “first independent command came in December 1757, when William Pitt, at the insistence of King George II, made him commander-in-chief.  His title notwithstanding, his actions were largely determined by the ministry in London.  With Augustus Lord Howe as his second-in-command, Major General Abercrombie was directed to take Fort Ticonderoga in order to prepare for a subsequent assault on Montréal.”[1]

          After Major General Abercrombie had supplanted Lord Loudoun on the 30th of December 1757 and taken command, he proceeded to assemble a force of about 12,000 troops at Lake George on the 1st of July 1758 for the march on Ticonderoga.  Although Montcalm’s force of 3000 troops was greatly outnumbered by Abercrombie, he elected to defend a low ridge outside the fort and threw up breastworks around it.  Abercrombie proceeded to conduct a series of frontal attacks without the aid of his readily available artillery on the 8th of July.  As a result, although Abercrombie’s assaulting forces carried out valiant and repeated attacks, they were routed by the withering fire of the French defenders.  In spite of the fact that Abercrombie still retained a superior force, the British elected to withdraw having suffered a considerable number of casualties (by one account, 464 killed, 29 missing, 1,117 wounded). 

          Little is generally said in the history books about the British battle losses at Ticonderoga.  Perhaps it was more politically correct to focus on the numerous successes that British records indicate took place that same year.  Two very famous officers, Major-General Jeffery Amherst (1717-1797) and Brigadier-General James Wolfe (1727-1759), captured the French Fortress of Louisbourg on the 26th of July 1758.  They did this by carrying out a well-planned “combined operation” with a fleet of 40 ships, and a force of 9,000 British regulars and 500 colonials.  As mentioned earlier, the British added to these accomplishments with the capture of Fort Frontenac by Colonel John Bradstreet (1711-1174) on the 27th of August 1758.[2] 

          Fort Frontenac had held a central position in the French fur-trade network as well as being an indispensable link in the supply chain for France’s western forts and as the base for French shipping on Lake Ontario.  With the loss of the fort and therefore the lake fleet as well, all the Western forts which included Niagara and Detroit on the Great Lakes, began to suffer shortages.  It quickly became apparent that they would be unable to defend themselves.  So it was that three months after the capture of Fort Frontenac, Brigadier-General John Forbes (1710-1759), marched along a new road he had constructed southwest from Raystown, and forced the French to blow up Fort Duquesne and withdraw without a fight on the 25th of November 1758.[3] 

          With the turn of the tide, General Abercrombie was relieved of his command on the 18th of September 1758, and his place was taken by Major-General Jeffery Amherst, the “circumspect,” competent victor of Louisbourg.[4]  In spite of his shortcomings, “Abercrombie was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1759 and General in 1772.  His remaining years were spent in Parliament, where he served as the deputy governor of Stirling Castle, and on his estate at Glassaugh, Banffshire.”[5]


[1], P. 1.

[2] Encyclopedia of American History, Harper & Brothers, New York, NY, 1953, p. 68.

[3] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 18,

[4] Ibid, p. 18.

[5], p. 1.


Order of Battle of the English Army at Ticonderoga, 8 July 1758

            According to Colonel Louis Antoine de Bougainville, one of Montcalm’s senior officers who kept a Journal from 1756 to 1760, the French were well aware of the size and composition of the British forces that they were facing prior to the battle at Fort Carillon.  The French scouts and intelligence gathering reconnaissance forces collected a wealth of valuable detail about the approaching enemy, which are included in the following Order of Battle (ORBAT).

Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), portrait of the French explorer and navigator by Jean-Pierre Franque (1774–1860).  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2874346 )

           Colonel Bougainville described the British Commander, Major General Abercrombie, as a man of more courage than resolution, more of sense than of dash and of objectives; age has lessened in him the fire necessary for the execution of great undertakings.  He reflects sufficiently, operates slowly and with too much precaution.  He expresses himself with difficulty, talks little, writes better than he speaks, and is the Commander in chief.[1]


          Colonel Bougainville listed the British officers and their respective battalions as follows:


Milord Augustus Howe, brigadier general

Milord Thomas Gage, brigadier general

Sieur Spithall, brigade major.  (Unidentified.  Captain Alexander Moneypenny was probably the acting brigade major as General Abercrombie’s aide-de-camp).

Colonel John Bradstreet, commander of barges.


Troops of Old England


          Two battalions of Scots

(The 42nd Regiment of Foot also known as the “Black Watch” and the

46th Regiment of Foot, also known as the “Royal Scots”)

          1st and 4th battalions of the Royal American regiment

          Brigadier James Murray’s regiment

          General Blakeney’s regiment

          Milord Howe’s regiment

          (Inniskillings, 34th, and 44th battalions)


Militia of Different Provinces


          Militia of Connecticut

          Militia of Long Island

          Militia of Massachusetts

Militia of New England

Militia of New York

          Militia of Rhode Island

          Militia of New Jersey


Four companies of Rangers or woods rovers of Major Robert Rogers with Indians incorporated in these companies.

          A body of Colonel John Bradstreet’s soldier-bargemen.


Artillery and Engineers.


          The combined British forces numbered roughly 15,350 troops.[2]


Colonel Bougainville also outlined the French forces deployed at Fort Carillon.


[1] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, The American Journals of Louis Antoine de Bougainville 1756-1760, Norman and London, University of Oklahoma Press, 1969, p. 227.

[2] Robert Leckie, The Wars of America, p. 57; and John Keegan, Warpaths, p. 123.


            Colonel Bougainville also outlined the French forces deployed at Fort Carillon.

Order of Battle of the French Army, Carillon, 8 July 1758

The Marquis de Montcalm, brigadier general

Chevalier de Lévis, brigadier

Sieur de Bourlamaque, colonel

Sieur de Bougainville, chief of staff

Chevalier de Montreuil, brigade major

Brigade of La Reine                   La Reine                365

                                                  Béarn                     410

                                                  Guyenne                470

Brigade of La Sarre                   La Sarre                 470

                                                  Languedoc             426

Brigade of Royal Roussillon      Royal Roussillon   480

                                                  1st Bn. Berry          450

2nd Bn. Berry detached as guard for Fort Carillon

except for a grenadier company which served in

the line                                                                     50

Troops of La Marine                                                150

Canadians                                                                250

Indians                                                                     15

                                                            Total          3526[1]


          Montcalm had “generously estimated” Abercromby’s advancing forces to number at least 25,000 troops.  Montcalm prepared to meet their assault on his fort with six battalions of French veterans.  He was also able to add “two weak battalions of the regiment of Berry that had arrived in Canada in late 1757.”  No additional regiments were provided to reinforce Montcalm in 1758, “because the Marquise de Pompadour was so engrossed with her Prussian war (that) she could spare neither thought nor soldiers for a distant colony.”  If Lévis had arrived with his regulars, the Marines and the Canadians, Montcalm would have had “6,000 bayonets in his battle line, each with a stout heart behind it.”[2]


[1] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 231.  Montcalm’s Journal shows a different total of 345 troops for La Reine, bringing the size of his overall force to 3,506.  The Abbé H.R. Casgrain, Collection des Manuscripts du Maréchal De Lévis, Journal du Marquis de Montcalm Durant Ses Campagnes en Canada de 1756 à 1759, Québec Imprimerie de L.J. Demers & Frère, 1895, pp. 397-398.

[2] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, New York, Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 179.


Brigade of La Reine              

The 24th La Reine Regiment.  Private of Captain M d'Hebecourt's Fusilier Company of the 2nd Battalion in Guard uniform.  With the right wing in the entrenchments under Brigadier Marquis de Lévis, in defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

            The Régiment de la Reine (Queen's Regiment) infantry regiment was active in the 17th and 18th centuries.  During the Seven Years' War, a battalion of the regiment took part in several battles including Fort Saint Frédéric on Lake George (September 1755), and the taking of Fort Bull and Fort William Henry.  Their greatest victory came at Fort Carillon in 1758 against the forces of General Abercromby.  They were then sent to Isle aux Noix in July of that same year, and were absent from the Battle of the Plains of Abraham the following year.  However, they did take part at the Battle of Sainte-Foy in 1760, where the British under General Murray were defeated.

The 72nd Béarn Regiment.  Corporal of Captain M de Trepézec's Company Guarding equipment.  The 2nd Battalion served under Chevalier de Lévis on the extreme right of the entrenched lines in defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

 (Charny Photo)

Régiment de Béarn re-enactors in Quebec,

            The regiment was recruited from the Béarn province of France.  The regiment arrived in New France in June 1755 and at the beginning of July was sent to Fort Frontenac.  One year later, the Béarn Regiment participated in the victory at Fort Oswego, in company of other regiments and Indians.  After the defeat of the British at Oswego on 14 August 1755, one company of the regiment was sent to Fort Bull, and the other to Fort William Henry.  In 1758, the regiment participated in the defence of Fort Carillon.  On 31 July 1759, the battalion took part in the victorious Battle of Beauport, where it guarded the extreme left near the cataract of the Montmorency River alongside the grenadiers.  On 13 September 1759, the Regiment was present during the siege of Quebec City, with the exception of 35 soldiers who were sent to Fort Niagara.  After the battle, the regiment followed the French army in its retreat towards the Jacques-Cartier River.  On 28 October 1759, the piquets and grenadiers of the regiment retired from Pointe-aux-Trembles (present day Neuville).  In November, the regiment moved into winter quarters on the island of Montréal.  The regiment took part at the Battle of Sainte-Foy the following year.  In 1760, the 2nd battalion returned to France.

The 68th Guyenne Regiment.  Corporal of the Fusilier Company of the 2nd Battalion with coat and stock removed, ready for the lines.  This battalion was assigned to the right wing of the entreched lines in defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

            The regiment was recruited from the Bordeaux region of France.  They arrived in North America on 23 June 1755 and were sent to Fort Frontenac and then to Fort Niagara.  In February 1756, some of the soldiers participated in the taking of Fort Bull, cutting the British communication lines between Lake George and Fort Oswego.  The regiment participated in many battles, including Fort Oswego in August 1756 and Fort William Henry in 1757.  The regiment fought at the Battle of Carillon in 1758, and spent the rest of the year and winter at Fort Carillon.  In March 1759, part of the regiment was sent to Fort Niagara, some others to Isle aux Noix, and the remainder of the regiment towards Quebec City to defend the city.  They took part at the Battle of Montmorency and at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759, where they were placed at the center of the attacking lines, and at the Battle of Sainte-Foy in 1760.

Brigade of La Sarre               

The 34th La Sarre Regiment.  Sergeant of Captain M du Prat's Company of the 2nd Battalion under LCol M de Senezergues, in Parade Order.  This battalion held the left flank of the left wing under Col Sieur M de Bourlamaque in defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

          The regiment was recruited in the French region of Lorraine.  After recruitment, most of the regiment sailed to North America from Brest, France aboard a few French ships, such as Le Héros and Le Léopard.   The last of the men would arrive in Quebec City on 31 May 1756.  They took part in the capture of Fort Oswego in August of that same year, and then escorted the British prisoners to Montreal after the battle.  The Régiment de la Sarre played a key role in the victory at Fort Oswego losing 7 men in the process.  In August 1757, many soldiers of the regiment participated in the Battle of Fort William Henry.  The Régiment de la Sarre contributed 800-900 men of the roughly 5000 who fought in that battle.  The fort capitulated before they had a chance to launch a full on assault on it.  The regiment then served under Louis-Joseph de Montcalm in 1758 at the Battle of Carillon. This victory was absolutely decisive for the French, crippling a much larger British force.  The Régiment de la Sarre also played a significant role in this battle.  La Sarre was commanded by de Savournin during the battle, taking up the left flank along with the Languedoc regiment.  The regiment lost a number of captains during the battle and perhaps took the heaviest French losses during the bloodiest and largest French victory of the war in North America.  In 1759, the regiment participated in the battles of Montmorency, Plains of Abraham, Sainte-Foy, and the Battle at Montmorency.  Captain Le Noir who served in the regiment, was reported to have demonstrated exceptional bravery in this battle.  In spite of having been wounded by musket shot and losing half of his men, he managed to survive.

          The next battle La Sarre took part in was the decisive English victory at the Plains of Abraham.  Approximately 50 men from the regiment were either injured or killed during the battle.  The final North American battle which the regiment took part in was the Battle of Sainte-Foy.  This was another victory for the French and La Sarre, although it proved to be inconsequential to the outcome of the war.  The regiment was positioned on the left flank of the French lines.  There were signs of retreat on the left, but the regiment fought bravely and held off the English forces for half an hour until the rest of the French army came to its aid.  Eventually, La Sarre with the help of the rest of the French army, managed to push the enemy off the battlefield.

          After the Battle at Sainte-Foy, La Sarre took part in a halfhearted siege of Quebec City.  On 16 May 1759, the regiment was forced to lift the siege due to the arrival English reinforcements.  In the months following, the army found itself in a constant retreat, with La Sarre taking a number of casualties along the way. In one instance, a stray cannon shot took off a soldiers arm.  The regiment was charged to entrench themselves on Isle de Bourbon, but this was short-lived.  Eventually the regiment met the same fate as the rest of the French presence in Canada.  The Regiment de la Sarre was placed on English ships and returned to France.  On 15 September 1759, the Regiment left Canada for the final time.  Of the 31 officers in the regiment, 11 were killed and the rest were at some point injured.  The Regiment would fight again in 1763, while deployed in various European campaigns.


The 53rd Languedoc Regiment.  Captain of Grenadiers of the 2nd Battalion in Parade uniform.  This battalion served in the left wing of the entrenched lines under the command of Col Sieur de Bourlamaque with the grenadiers in support of the defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

 (Charny Illustration)

Soldier of the Régiment de Languedoc.

          The Languedoc Regiment was formed on 20 March 1672, by King Louis XIV.  The regiment was recruited in the Languedoc region of France, and participated in most of the conflicts involving the Kingdom of France, particularly in New France during the Seven Years War.  The regiment arrived in Quebec City on 19 June 1755, and left immediately for Fort Saint Frédéric.  On the orders of General Jean Erdman Dieskau, the regiment was directed to push back the British troops to Lake George.  After the battle, the regiment was sent to Fort Carillon, which was still being constructed.  The regiment was then sent south and participated in the Siege of Fort William Henry.  On 8 July 1758, the second battalion participated at the Battle of Carillon.  In May 1759, the regiment moved to Quebec City where they participated in the defence of the city.  The regiment took part at the battles of Montmorency. Plains of Abraham and Sainte-Foy.

Brigade of Royal Roussillon  

The 37th Royal Roussillon Regiment.  Private of Captain M de Poulharies Grenadier Company in full marching order.  The 2nd Battalion was in the centre in the entrenched lines with the Grenadier company held in the support of the defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.  (54th Royal Roussillon Regiment)

          The Regiment was formed in 1657 during the Ancien Régime as the régiment Mazarin-Catalans, being renamed the régiment Royal Catalan in 1661 then the régiment Royal Roussillon in 1667.  The regiment was recruited in the regions of Perpignan, Roussillon and Catalonia.  The regiment served at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 during the War of the Austrian Succession.

          A second battalion of the Royal Roussillon served in Germany (1756–1762).  In 1756, the 54th Infantry Regiment's uniform was white with blue facings, five gilded buttons for the linings and three buttons on each pocket.  Its first battalion fought in Canada during the French and Indian War from 1756 to 1761, under the command of Général Louis-Joseph deSaint-Veran, Marquis de Montcalm, with M. de Sennezergue as its colonel.  The battalion arrived in New France in May 1756, and was originally posted to Montreal, with the exception of a detachment that was sent to Fort Carillon.  It fought at the Battle of Fort William Henry, and then took part in the 1758 Battle of Carillon.  It then went to Quebec City to defend the city.  At the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, it was broken and forced to withdraw due to the steady fire from the British 35th Foot, whose members are traditionally held to have picked up the regiment's plumes and placed them in their own headdress (the Roussillon Plume being formally incorporated into the badge of the 35th Foot in 1881).

The regiment participated in the battles of Montmorency, the Plains of Abraham and Sainte-Foy.

The 71st Berry Regiment.  Private in drill order.  The 2nd Battalion stood in the centre of the entrenched lines directly under the Marquis de Montcalm.  Grenadiers 2nd Battalion, stood in the line in the South Battery. 3rd Battalion detached as guard for Fort Carillon within the fort proper, charged with ammunition and water supply to the lines.  The Grenadier's 3rd Battalion were the Reserve of the centre in defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

          The regiment was recruited from the Berry region of France.  Originaly it was planned that the second and third battalions of the regiment would to be sent to India.  However, at the request of reinforcements asked by Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and New France's Governor Vaudreuil, the regiment was sent to New France instead.  The regiment arrived at the end of July 1757, and two of its battalions were initially posted in Quebec City.  In 1758, the whole regiment was sent to Fort Carillon, and contributed in the victory in the Battle of Carillon.  At the end of August, the regiment, which originally had 908 soldiers, had been reducedto 723 men because of the consecutive battles which ensued with many fatalities.  The regiment was not sent to Quebec for the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, but remained at Fort Carillon in 1759.  They did participate at the Battle of Sainte-Foy in 1760.

The 44th Royal La Marine Regiment.  Ensign (Porte Drapeaux) of the Chevalier de Lévis first regiment.  Detachments from the 40 free companies of Marines raised in Canada covered the deep hollow on the right flank in defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

Canadian Militia.  A Private of the Montreal detachment in full field equipment.  The Canadians were posted to defend the abatis to the east of the right return of the entrenched lines in the defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

          The colonial militias in Canada during the period of New France and Acadia, and Nova Scotia (1605-1763), were made up of Canadiens, aboriginals, British and Acadians.  Traditionally, the Canadian Militia was the name used for the local militia regiments throughout the Canadas.

          Military service has been part of Canadian life since the 17th century in New france, where colonists were required to serve in local militia to support regular units of the French army and navy.  In 1651, Pierre Boucher received a commission of captain from the Governor of New France and was asked to raise militia corps in Trois-Rivières.  Until the arrival of the Carignan-Salières regiment in 1665, militia corps were the only defence of New France.  In the long struggle between the French and British colonies, British and colonial American  troops found the Indian-style tactics/guerrilla warfare of the Canadien militia to be a formidable adversary.  Perhaps the two most famous Canadien attacks against New England were the Siege of Pemaquid (1696) and the Raid on Deerfield (1704).

          The success of the Canadiens was underscored during the French and Indian War by George Washington's defeat at Great Meadows and Edward Braddock's losses at the Monongahela River.  The British response was to create units like Roger"s Rangers, and light infantry units adept at woodland warfare.  When France conceded Canada to Great Britain in 1763, defence of the territory remained a duty shared by Canadien and British colonists, Indian nations, and the regular forces of Britain.  As the colonies advanced to nationhood, its people would be called to their own defence three times in the next 100 years.

          Approximate numbers of militiamen in New France in 1759 included 150 militiamen in the Acadian Militia, 200 cavalrymen in the Canadien Cavalry, 5,640 militiamen in the District of Québec,5,400 militiamen in the District of Montréal: including 4,200 sent to Quebec City, 1,300 militiame in the District of Trois-Rivière: including 1,100 to Quebec City, and 1,800 First Nations.

          Until the establishment of Halifax (1749), the militia units in Acadia (present day Nova Scotia and New Brusnwick) were primarily Mi'kmaq, Maliseet and Acadian militia.  Before the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, these militias fought the New Englanders in King William's War and Queen Anne's War.  After the conquest, the Mi'kmaq, Acadian and Maliseet militias continued to fight the British through Father Rale's War, King George's War and Father Le Loutre's War.  The latter two wars saw the arrival Gorham's Rangers, the first British militias established in the colony.  The British regulars of the 40th Regiment of Foot was raised in the colony 1720.  The Mi'kmaq and Acadian militias continued to fight in Nova Scotia throughout the French and Indian War.

The 47th Royal Corps of Artillery.  Captain of the Royal Corps.  The guns of Fort Carillon were laid and fired under the direction of Lieutenant de Louvicourt in defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

Officers of the Royal Engineers.  Senior Captain M de Pontleroy and Junior Captain M Desandroins of the Royal Engineers were responsible for the planning and construction of the entrenched lines for the defence of Fort Carillon, 8 Jul 1758.

 (Artwork by Col Harry C. Larter Jr)

Major General Louis Joseph Marquis de Montcalm, promoted to Lieutenant General after the successful defence of Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758.

Lieutenant General Louis Joseph Marquis de Montcalm

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2894528)

Portrait of Louis-Joseph de Montcalm (1712-1759).   Copy by Théophile Hamel (1817-1870) after an Anonymous artist.  Canadian House of Commons Heritage Collection. 

           Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm-Gozon de Saint-Véran was born in the south of France, at the Château of Candiac, near Nîmes, on the 29th of February 1712.[1]  As a young man he studied Latin, Greek and history, and he had a great interest in arithmetic, geography and French arts and sciences, fencing and riding.  At the age of 15, Montcalm joined the army as an ensign, serving in the regiment of Hainaut.  After two years of active service, Montcalm’s father purchased him a captaincy, and shortly afterwards he received his baptism of fire at the siege of Philipsbourg.  He married Angélique Louise Talon du Boulay, the daughter of an influential family, who bore him ten children.  Montcalm has been described as being “pious in his soldierly way, and ardently loyal to the church and his king.”[2]

          Montcalm fought in the Bohemian campaign in Continental Europe in 1741.  Within two years he had been made colonel of the regiment of Auxois and succeeded in surviving the campaign of 1744 unharmed.  The following year he took part in the fighting in Italy under Maréchal de Maillebois.  During a disastrous action under the walls of Piacenza 1746, Montcalm twice rallied his regiment.  He was slashed by a sabre on five occasions, two of which were in the head, and was eventually taken prisoner.  The following year Montcalm was returned to France on parole, and at that time he was promoted to the rank of brigadier.  Shortly after he was exchanged, he rejoined the army, and in another battle, he was again wounded by a musket-shot.[3]

           Montcalm was allowed a brief period of rest following the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, but in a letter from minister D’Argenson on the 5th of January 1756, he was advised, “the King has chosen you to command his troops in North America, and will honour you on your departure with the rank of major-general.”[4]

          Montcalm was provided with an able and capable staff, in the persons of the Chevalier de Lévis, (later to become Marshal of France), who was named as his second in command, with the rank of brigadier, and the Chevalier de Bourlamaque who was named as his third, with the rank of colonel.  He was particularly pleased, however, with the appointment of his oldest son to command a regiment in France.  The King also provided him with an award of 25,000 francs a year and an additional 12,000 francs to purchase his equipment.[5]


[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 209.

[2] Ibid, p. 208.

[3] Ibid, p. 209.

[4] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 72.

[5] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 210.

Chevalier de Lévis François de Gaston (1719 –1787)

            Montcalm’s forces departed for Canada, with the troops onboard “three ships of the line, the Léopard, the Héros and the Illustre, at the end of the month of March.  The General, with Lévis and Bourlamaque, sailed with them on the frigates Licorne, Sauvage and Siréne.  During the preparations, Montcalm became acquainted with new staff, and found that he was well pleased with his deputy, Chevalier de Lévis and his first aide-de-camp, Colonel Louis Antoine de Bougainville.  Bougainville was the son of a notary, and had begun his career “as an advocate in the Parliament of Paris, where his abilities and learning had already made him conspicuous, when he resigned” and joined the army to become “a captain of dragoons.”[1]  He would later become one of France’s most famous navigators.[2]


[1] Bougainville had not quite reached the age of 30 in 1758.  He would later serve Napoleon I in a very different era.  Bougainville was a Parisian who had originally trained for the law.  He had shown talent in diplomacy, however, even before he had taken up what was to prove to be only a brief career in the army.  His mental capacity had been highly demonstrated by a treatise he had written on integral calculus. This treatise won him election in London to the Fellowship of the Royal Society and brought him many English friends.  After his service in Canada he transferred to the Navy.  He commanded a ship of the line under de Grasse in the battle off the Capes of Chesapeake, where French sea power helped to ensure the successful revolt of the American Colonies against Great Britain.   He conducted a circumnavigation of the South Pacific about the same time that Captain Cook was conducting the first of his three voyages there. Bougainville wrote a valuable account of his explorations, and today he is perhaps best remembered for having introduced a popular semi-tropical plant, the Bougainvillea, to other parts of the world.  Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, pp. 75-76.

[2] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 211.

 (Charny Photo)

La Sarre Regiment re-enactors.

           The two battalions that accompanied them were “the regiments of La Sarre, and the Royal Roussillon.”  (Elijah would fight against soldiers from both of these regiments at Ticonderoga).  Louis XV had provided only 1,200 men to reinforce New France.[1]  At this period in their long history, French troops of the lines “wore a white uniform, faced with blue, red, yellow or violet, a black three-cornered hat, and gaiters, generally black, from the foot to the knee.”[2]

          On his arrival in New France, Montcalm immediately proceeded to meet with the governor-general, Pierre François Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, in Montréal.  Vaudreuil was a Canadian by birth.  He loved the colony and its people, and distrusted Old France and all that came out of it.  He had been bred to the naval service and had hoped to command the troops himself.[3]  The new general was therefore unwelcome.  Vaudreuil has described Montcalm as a man of small stature, with a lively countenance, a keen eye, and, in moments of animation, rapid, vehement utterance, and nervous gesticulation.[4]

          Others have also described Montcalm as being “physically small and rather portly, vivacious, extremely vain, determined to have his way in all things.”  It has been recorded that Montcalm “was critical of everything that did not conform to his preconceived ideas and of anyone who failed to agree with him completely and possessed of a savage tongue that he could not curb.[5]

          Vaudreuil, for his part, has been described as a big man, courteous and affable, lacking self-confidence but not given to intrigue, and obsessed by a need to issue a constant stream of directives to junior officers and officials.  He was anxious to impress his superiors in the ministry of Marine, but always appeared to be motivated by a genuine concern for the people he governed.  To him the French regulars served but one function, and this was the protection of New France from Anglo-American assaults.[6]

           Montcalm had the following observations on Governor Vaudreuil:

           de Vaudreuil overwhelms me with civilities, I think that he is pleased with my conduct towards him, and that it persuades him there are general officers in France who can act under his orders without prejudice or ill-humour. I am on good terms with him, but not in his confidence, which he never gives to anybody from France. His intentions are good, but he is slow and irresolute.[7]

           Francis Parkman said of Governor General Vaudreuil, he

           served the King and the Colony in some respects with ability, always with an unflagging zeal, and he loved the land of his birth with a jealous devotion that goes far towards redeeming his miserable defects.  If he had had more generosity in his nature he could, from his sad fate, have been an appealing person.  As it was, he had few friends, and his warmest admirer was himself.[8]

[1] Ibid, p. 211.

[2] Ibid, p. 214.

[3] The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition, Grolier Inc, Danbury, Connecticut, 1988, p. 459.

[4] Ibid, p. 459.

[5] The Encyclopedia Americana, 1988, p. 459.

[6] Ibid. p. 459.

[7] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 215.

[8] The Earl of Loudoun, who succeeded Shirley as British Commander in Chief in America, has been described by his predecessor as “a pen and ink man whose greatest energies were put forth in getting ready to begin.”  Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 71.


 (Allan Ramsay Portrat, ca 1747)

John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudon, British Commander in Chief, North America.

           Montcalm had arrived in Canada with his reinforcements on the 11th of May 1756.  At that time he was opposed by John Campbell, Earl of Loudon, who arrived in America on the 23rd of July 1756.[1]  Montcalm took and destroyed Fort Oswego and Fort George in August, and on the 9th of August 1757 took and demolished Fort William Henry.  The outnumbered defender of Fort William Henry, Colonel Monroe, had surrendered to Montcalm’s forces in good faith, but during the withdrawal of the British forces under a flag of truce, they were treacherously attacked by the Indians.  Monroe eventually reached the security of Fort Edward with 1,400 survivors.[2]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, p. 164.

[2] John Spencer Bassett, A Short History of the United States 1492-1929, New York, 1935, p. 126.

 (Engraving by J. Walker, Tuttle's Illustrated History of the Dominion, 1877)

In August 1756, French soldiers and native warriors led by Louis-Joseph de Montcalm successfully attacked Fort Oswego.

            Francis Parkman has provided a number of valuable details in the account that follows on the action that took place at Fort William Henry.

Fort William Henry, 9 August 1757 

            In 1757 Fort William Henry held 2,200 men under the command of Colonel Munro, against which Montcalm threw 3,000 of his regular soldiers and as many more of a rather uncertain militia, and some 2,000 Indians gathered from fifty different tribes.  The total would amount to roughly 8,000 men.

Plan of Fort William Henry and Camp at Lake George.  W. Eyre. Eng'r, I. Heath. d'r.  Library of Congress.

Detailed Plan of Fort William Henry and Camp at Lake George.  (Mary Ann Rocque, Massachusetts Historical Society)

          Montcalm had to strike fast and hard, and on the 3rd of August 1757, his army moved along the lower reaches of Lake George (known by the French as Lac Saint-Sacrement).  A column led by Lévis, with his Indians leading the way, was making a rough path through the forests to the rear of the fort while Montcalm with his main body was approaching by water after the hard work of portaging the boats and cannon and stores over innumerable obstacles.  Fort William Henry was formed in the shape of an irregular bastioned square.  It was reinforced by gravel embankments and surmounted with a heavy log rampart.  These logs were laid in tiers which crisscrossed over each other, and then the spaces in between were filled with earth.[1] 

[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 288.

          The fort was also aided by a number of natural defences, including Lake George to the north and an almost impenetrable swamp to the east.  The fort was protected on the south and west by ditches and an intricate barrier of sharpened stakes (chevaux-de-frise).  The fort’s defensive firepower included seventeen cannon, great and small, as well as several swivel-mounted mortars.[2]

[2] Ibid, p. 288.

 (Mwanner Photo)

Various bronze and cast iron mortars (8 to 10-inch) on the grounds of present day Fort Ticonderoga.

          The major advantage of the fort however, was the fact that the defending forces were under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Munro, a Scottish veteran of the 35th Regiment who had with him a part of his regiment, plus a Massachusetts regiment, and an assortment of less dependable troops.  Only 14 miles to the south was Fort Edward, defended with 2,000 men under the command of General Webb.  Webb had come to the North American frontier as the second-in-command under General James Abercrombie.  Neither Webb nor Abercrombie would turn out to be capable men in battle, but this had not yet been demonstrated.  Webb “sent up a detachment of 200 regulars under Lieutenant-Colonel Young and 800 Massachusetts men under Colonel Joseph Frye.[1]  This raised the force at the lake to 2,200, including sailors and mechanics, and reduced that of Webb to 1,600.”  Although his ability to help Munro was extremely limited, he could still have sent up desperately needed reinforcements.  He chose not to, thinking that it was unwise to march to the aid of Munro and risk losing his defence forces.[2]

          Montcalm had asked for the surrender of the fort.  Munro replied that his men would defend the fort to the last.  Unfortunately, due to Montcalm’s superior firepower, “the last” came quickly.  Most of Munro’s cannon had been disabled or had burst from overuse.  Some 300 of the fort’s defenders had been killed or wounded.  Even more damaging was the fact that smallpox was raging in the fort and growing more virulent with each passing day in the confined and unsanitary quarters.  The situation was clearly becoming critical, as Montcalm’s engineers methodically excavated their siege trenches under a steady barrage, creeping closer and closer to the forts heavily damaged walls.[3]

          Webb sent a messenger to Munro to tell him reinforcements would not be coming. When the message was located on the scalped body of the emissary who had carried it, Montcalm had it carefully forwarded to Munro.  There was another day of bombardment that grew in intensity, with the fort’s gallant defenders replying as briskly as their few small guns now permitted.  It was however doomed to defeat, and the entire fort knew it.  In the morning, a council of war determined that the garrison had had its fill of valour and was prepared to surrender.  A white flag was raised over the battered fort, and a drum was beaten to sound a call for a “parley.”  One of Monro’s officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Young who had been wounded in the foot, was sent out mounted on horseback to discuss terms with General Montcalm.[4]

          Montcalm proved to be a decent gentleman in the negotiations and conceded all that he could.  He gave the English his word that they could march out with the full honours of war (a very European custom totally alien to the Indians) provided that they agreed not to serve again for eighteen months.  He also guaranteed that the English troops would be safely escorted to Fort Edward.  They were also permitted to take one of their fieldpieces in recognition of their unavailing gallantry.[5]

          Although Montcalm was not yet used to the grim ways of Indian fighting, he did sense that there was a danger to the withdrawing British forces.  Bougainville indicated this foreboding in his journal when he stated, “We shall be but too happy if we can prevent a massacre.”  Unfortunately, this misgiving was all too well founded, and Bougainville would later speak of the events that followed the surrender of the fort as making the “victory itself a sorrow to the victors.”[6]

          Munro had been advised to see that every ounce of rum was poured out in case the Indians should found it and become more inflamed.  It was useful advice, if not wholly effective.  Once the fort was surrendered, the garrison withdrew and went into the nearby entrenched camp.  The Indians swarmed in behind them, looking for rum.  When they didn’t find any, they scoured the remains of the fort and located the hospital where those too sick to be moved were still in their beds.  As the guard of the Canadian militia watched the activities of the Indians with apparent unconcern, their allies butchered and scalped these defenseless victims.[7]

          Fate has a way of intervening to exact a terrible price for acts of terror, and there were consequences for these barbaric, but customary activities.  It became evident in a noticeably short period of time that some of those scalps were taken from men who were already dying of smallpox.  The end result was that this highly infectious disease raced through the Indian villages, exacting a terrible price for every victim from the fort that had been killed in those last bitter days.

          When Montcalm arrived on the seen the camp was swarming with seemingly “crazed men.”  He attempted to restore a sense of order and to bring some authority over the militia.  In spite of this, when the militia were place on guard over the prisoners, they made no effort to keep the rabble out or to restrain them.  Montcalm’s presence on the scene and the Indian recognition of his great prestige, did prevent the reigning confusion and disorder from taking a more critical turn.  Towards nightfall, the worst was over.  Now that the threat of immediate violence was passed, however, Montcalm had to set about accomplishing the difficult task of guarding his charges against a recurrence of the day’s nightmarish events.  The Indian leaders claimed that they were ready and willing to cooperate.  They apparently agreed that two chiefs from each tribe should go with the escort, which was to see that the garrison reached Fort Edward safely, as Montcalm had promised.[8]

          There was a long night ahead; a time to think and prepare but fear rather than wisdom was in command.  The English committed a number of errors, which contributed to the unfortunate events that followed.  Some of them started off long before the hour that had been determined for the departure, and this resulted in the line of march being stretched out over a long and unmanageable distance along the route to Fort Edward.  Some of the soldiers, balancing urgent warnings against the long tramp ahead of them, decided to fill their canteens with rum, thinking that it was a wicked waste to throw away good spirits.  When the Indians demanded rum, they shared it, hoping that by doing so, they would encourage a certain camaraderie.  It was an extremely unwise act, and the Indians were not convinced.  For his part, the owner of the spirit-filled canteen was happy if he lost no more than the rum.[9]

          The long procession had begun to move away from the fort early in the morning.  The French escort of two hundred regular soldiers marched at the head of the column, well out of sight of anything that was happening at the rear.  With a volatile horde of hostile Indians lurking close to the group, it was extremely unlikely that nothing would happen.  The killing began early when 17 wounded men who were too weak to join the march, were discovered by some roving Indians.  According to the records, the initial massacre took place even though a French guard as well as a number of French officers stood within forty feet of these men.  One of these officers was St. Luc del la Corne, an able partisan leader.  The French doctor in charge later stated under oath that when the slaughter of these unfortunates began, not one officer or soldier made the slightest gesture of interfering.  It appeared to one commentator that it was almost as though they felt pleasantly satisfied at being relieved of a troublesome responsibility.[10]

          According to Joseph Rutlege, the English on this long march were allowed to keep their rifles and such possessions as they could manage, but the rifles were not loaded and there were few bayonets.  Perhaps it was as well, for an inadequate show of force might have resulted in a more appalling outcome than that which eventually took place.  As it was, it was bitter enough.  Sometimes an Indian caught a glance at a rifle or some other possession that he coveted.  Perhaps it was the canteen that was seized.  The owner, if he resisted, was quickly killed.  The tomahawk was utilized a great deal that day, settling many an argument of possession.  Men and women were attacked throughout the march, and larger groups of them were driven off by the Indians as captives.  No one knows just how many died.  All that is known is that 2,200 started on the march and 1,400 reached Fort Edward.  The rest were not all casualties, as hundreds of them were taken away as prisoners.  Many would in fact be rescued later or released, particularly after the fall of Quebec.  The nearest estimate of the numbers actually killed has been set at a little more than a hundred, though many authorities put it much higher.  It would definitely have been much higher if Montcalm, Lévis and Bourlamaque and many other French officers had not stepped in to curb the growing slaughter.  It is reported that Montcalm told the Indians to “Kill me but spare the English who are under my protection.”  This may have been the only thing that helped bring this sanguinary action to an end.[11]

[1] On the 17th of October 1759, Colonel Joseph Frye was in command of Fort Frederick, Nova Scotia (now New Brunswick).  The fort was garrisoned by three Massachusetts provincial companies.  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 252.

[2] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, pp. 288-289.

[3] Ibid, p. 293.

[4] Ibid, p. 208.

[5] Ibid, p. 294.

[6] Ibid, p. 294.

[7] Ibid, p. 294.

[8] Ibid, p. 296.

[9] Ibid, p. 296.

[10] Ibid, p. 297.

[11] Joseph Lister Rutlege, Century of Conflict, Volume Two in the Canadian History Series, edited by Thomas B. Costain, Doubleday and Coy, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1956, p. 440-444.

Louis-Joseph de Montcalm trying to stop Native Americans from attacking British soldiers and civilians as they leave Fort William Henry at the Battle of Fort William Henry.  Wood engraving by Alfred Bobbett, ca. 1824-1888 or 9, engraver, based on a painting by Felix Octavius Carr Darley, 1822-1888.

Fort Carillon, June 1758

           By the end of June 1758, the French battalion of Béarn lay encamped in front of the strong fort of Niagara, and their companion battalions of Guyenne and La Sarre, with a body of Canadians, guarded Fort Frontenac against an English attack.  The regiments of La Reine and Languedoc had been sent to Fort Carillon, while the Governor, with Montcalm and Lévis remained at Montréal watching the events unfold.  Montcalm was advised by the Adjutant-General Montreuil to: “Trust only the French regulars for an expedition but use the Canadians and Indians to harass the enemy.”[1]

          At this time, Elijah Estabrooks and his regiment of Massachusetts Provincials were heading towards the site of the upcoming battle that followed.  It was not long afterwards that the Indians brought word to the French that 10,000 English were coming to attack Carillon.  A French reinforcement of colony regulars was at once dispatched to join the two battalions already there; a third battalion, Royal Roussillon, was sent after them.  The militia were called out and ordered to follow with all speed, while Montcalm and Lévis rushed to the scene.  They embarked in canoes on the Richelieu River, coasted the shore of Lake Champlain, passed Fort Saint-Frédéric (Crown Point, New York) and reached Carillon at the end of June.


[1] Adjutant-General Montreuil was described as a “vain and pragmatic personage, who, having come to Canada with Dieskau the year before, thought it behooved him to give General Montcalm the advantage of his experience.”  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 219.

 (Charny Photo)

Troupes de la Marine re-enactors, Fort de l'Île Sainte-Hélène, Montréal.

           Brigadier Lévis had led a party of 400 regular soldiers of La Marine and 800 Canadian Militia off on an expedition that had been planned by Governor Vaudreuil.  Their mission had been to proceed by Oswego to the Mohawk Valley, “partly to overawe the Iroquois, but also to do as much damage as possible to the English settlements in the region.”  Montcalm had warned Vaudreuil of the possibility of an English move down the Champlain waterway, but Vaudreuil failed to heed the warning until it was almost too late.  He recalled the expedition at a point where it was too late to get most of the troops back in time to assist Montcalm.  In spite of this, Lévis still managed to get 400 regular soldiers to Fort Carillon the night before the battle, proving to be “a very material help to Montcalm.”[1]

(Elijah Estabrooks was by now camped by Lake Champlain from the 28th of June to the 3rd of July).

          Fort Carillon had been worked on all winter by the engineer Lotbiniére, and was well advanced towards completion.[2]  It stood on the crown of a promontory, and was laid out in a square shape with four bastions, a ditch, blown in some parts out of the solid rock, bombproof shelters, barracks of stone, and a system of exterior defences that had only just begun construction.  The fort’s ramparts consisted of two parallel wooden walls spaced 10 feet apart, built using the trunks of trees, and held together by logs that had been laid out transversely and dovetailed at both ends.  The space between the logs was filled with earth and gravel well packed.


[1] Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, Key to a Continent, Toronto, Little, Brown and Company, 1964, p.81.

[2] Lotbiniére was a relative of Vaudreuil.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 355.

Indian Allies of France

            Throughout Elijah’s Journal, he often mentions native Indians.  There are indications that there were a great number and variety of the tribes of Indians that were allied to the French.  The numbers allied with the English were much smaller.  The French considered the Mission Indians to have the most trustworthiness.  Mission Indians lived with or near the settled limits of Canada, and were mainly the Hurons of Lorette, the Abenakis of St. Francis and Batiscan, the Iroquois of Caughnawaga and La Présentation, and the Iroquois and Algonquins at the Two Mountains on the Ottawa river.  In addition to these specific tribes, all the warriors of the west and north from Lake Superior to the Ohio River, and from the Alleghany Mountains to the Mississippi River, also took their instructions and direction from the French.  Although their power and pride had greatly fallen since the days of Champlain, the Iroquois Indians of the “Five Nations” still remained in their ancient seats within the present limits of the state of New York.  The Five Nations found themselves crowded between the English and the French, and they constantly vacillated in their support for the two warring European factions.  Some of the Indians favored one side for a time, and some would lean towards the other, and some would go to each in turn.  As a whole, the best that France could expect from the Indians was neutrality.[1]

          Montcalm described them as “vilains messieurs,” stating:

          you would not believe it, but the men always carry to war, along with their tomahawk and gun, a mirror to daub their faces with various colours, and arrange feathers on their heads and rings in their ears and noses.  They think it a great beauty to cut the rim of the ear and stretch it till it reaches the shoulder.  Often, they wear a laced coat, with no shirt at all.  You would take them for so many masqueraders or devils.  One needs the patience of an angel to get on with them.  Ever since I have been here, I have had nothing but visits, harangues, and deputations of these gentry.  The Iroquois ladies, who always take part in their government, came also, and did me the honour to bring me belts of wampum, which will oblige me to go to their village and sing the war-song.  They make war with astounding cruelty, sparing neither men, women, nor children, and take off your scalp very neatly, an operation that generally kills you.[2]

           With the Indians, the French and a perilous countryside facing them, Elijah and his companions prepared to fight for their king and country. 


[1] Ibid, p. 216-217.

[2] Ibid, p. 216-217.

  (Library and Archives Canada Photos, Inventory Nos. C-092421, C-092419, C-092417, and C-092415)

           After the 1701 peace treaty with the French, the Iroquois remained mostly neutral.  During Queen Anne's War (North American part of the War of the Spanish Succession), they were involved in planned attacks against the French.  Peter Schuyler, mayor of Albany, arranged for three Mohawk chiefs and a Mahican chief (known incorrectly as the Four Mohawk Kings) to travel to London in 1710 to meet with Queen Anne in an effort to seal an alliance with the British.  Queen Anne was so impressed by her visitors that she commissioned their portraits by court painter John Verelst.  The portraits are believed to be the earliest surviving oil portraits of Aboriginal peoples taken from life. 


         On the 5th of July 1758, the largest cities in North America had populations only a thousand or two greater than the combined force of soldiers who were being assembled for the assault on Fort Ticonderoga.  No other single effort during the Seven Years War involved as many troops.  To control and support these numbers of men required a well-organized administrative force on a level outside the previous experience of most New England leaders, let alone the soldiers.  The British regular forces were already quite thoroughly familiar with regimental drills and procedures, but for the provincials this was an entirely different matter.[1]

          The colonial troops had rarely received formal military training, even though it was apparent that a great deal of it was needed.  Records, Orderly books, and Journals all indicate that the provincial soldiers were frequently ignorant of even the most basic rudimentary maneuvers and, indeed, some of them were barely familiar with the use of their firearms.  On the 16th of June, lest than a month before the expedition to Ticonderoga would set out, Lord Jeffery Amherst ordered “the commanding officers of the provincials’ regiments to examine what number of men they have who are not marksmen; some perhaps may not have fired a musket.  Measures are to be taken immediately so that the whole army may be ordered to fire at a mark.”  The best the regular commander felt that he could hope for was that each provincial soldier would have the opportunity to fire three to five rounds in practice and to gain some experience in firing platoon volleys.  Provincial officers were also instructed “to practice their men (as often as possible) in going through their motions, that they may be more ready when they come on more actual service.”  This sounded all well and good in theory, but the real problem was that these same officers were not to be hindered in “furnishing such men for work as may be ordered,” because the regular commanders leaned heavily on provincial units for work details.  The end result of these conflicting requirements was that in a provincial regiment that could be described as “a bit above average,” in proficiency, they would have received only eight days of basic training between the time they joined the expeditionary forces on the 29th of May 1759, and the 8th of July when the army set out to besiege the French fort at Ticonderoga.[2]

          Training continued when the opportunity presented itself, because so many lacked the basic skills necessary.  On the 3rd of July for example, Colonel Jonathan Bagley’s regiment of Massachusetts provincials was drilled “in the exercise of brush fighting” before General Abercromby and Lord Howe, the leaders of the expedition.  Their performance was not up to standard, and as a result, “the sergeants were all ordered to draw up in a rank by themselves and be exercised by the adjutant, who was ordered thus to teach ‘em twice a day till he had learned them their duty.”  This elementary military training was being conducted only two days before the expedition was scheduled to embark, even though the non-commissioned Massachusetts officers were obviously still uncertain of how to execute basis commands that would be required in the coming battle.  The troops themselves found the instructions difficult to handle.  Private David Perry, a soldier like Elijah in Colonel Jedediah Preble’s regiment wrote of his reactions in their first battle:

          The whistling of the balls and the roar of the musketry terrified me not a little.  At length, our regiment formed among the trees, behind which the ken kept stepping from their ranks for shelter.  Colonel Preble, who, I well remember, was a harsh man, swore he would knock the first man down who should step out of his ranks which greatly surprised me, to think that I must stand still to be shot at.[3]

          It has been recorded that when the time came for Colonel Preble’s regiment to actually storm the French defenses at Fort Ticonderoga, there were no tactical subtleties: “Our orders were to ‘run to the breast-work and get in if we could.’”[4]

          One would begin to wonder what drew Elijah to enlist.  Although a young man contemplating enlistment in a provincial regiment could hardly expect to become rich, he would be regularly paid for steady work from the time of his enlistment until his discharge.  An enlistment typically lasted six to eight months, and a provincial private’s pay was high by 18th century military standards, about twice as high as a British redcoat’s pay, and quite comparable to a civilian laborer.  A provincial private in 1758 received one pound and 16 shillings in provincial currency each month, plus a subsistence allowance officially valued at 8 pence per day.  Massachusetts also paid its volunteers a bounty for enlisting.[5]

          Although military service inevitably brought danger, privation, hard work, and exposure to the elements, only the “danger” would be much different than his “normal;” life as a civilian at that time.  Many soldiers would also have welcomed the opportunity to plunder the French supplies.  Military service also provided an opportunity to travel and see a different part of North America, and to participate in the war against New England’s historic antagonists, the French, and the Indians.  The change alone would have been a major draw for an individual seeking to “broaden his horizons.”[6]

We begin now, with Elijah’s Journal.


[1] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years’ War, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 1984, pp. 74-75.

[2] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 75.

[3] Ibid, p. 76.

[4] Ibid, p. 77.

[5] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 38.

[6] Ibid, p. 39.

Journal of Elijah Estabrooks, 1758-1760

May 21st 1758:

           We marched from Haverhill (Massachusetts) as far as Captain Forster’s (8 miles) in Andover and lay there that night, and the 22nd day we marched from there to Citereges about 7 miles and from there to Concord about 9 miles and about 10 o’clock in the morning we marched from there to Captain Curtase’s about 4 miles from Worcester and staid (sic) there until the 24th day, and then marched into Worcester which is 25 miles from Concord, and staid there that night and the 25th day we received our billeting money, and guns and accouterments.

          The 26th day we received our allowances and marched off in the afternoon.  And Colonel Hore drew up our Company and gave us a treat.  And then we marched out of Town as far as Hubbard’s (6 miles) and the 27th day we marched in the morning early as far as Walker’s in Brookfield about 13 miles and lay there that night and we left one of our men sick, Amos Hardy by name, with the fever and ague and one Edmund Cheney to tend him and we marched from there to Cold Spring 18 miles and lay in the Meeting House and the 28th day we marched from there to Simons.  And from there to Devils (Dwight’s) 5 miles from Cold Stream.  And went to dinner (on the) 29th day and from there to Hadly 8 miles and was billeted out in Hadly until the 4th day of June.  And then came orders to march over to Northampton to receive our allowances in order to march through the woods to Pantuck and we marched about 6 miles in the woods and camped that night.  And the 5th day we marched in the morning as far as the Salter-House where was liquors of all sorts and victuals ready dressed (15 miles) and camped there that night and the 6th day we marched to Westfield River and camped.  And from there to Pantuck fort 16 miles and lay there that night.  And the 7th day we marched from there (5 miles) to Fort Connaut and halted about an hour, and then marched off as far as the half-way house on a brook and camped there that night.  And the 8th day we marched from there and got to the half-way house from Canterbruck to Greenbush about 12 o’clock and we heard that Colonel Preble had arrived at Albany which caused us to march to Greenbush.[1]  And came to Greenbush about sunset and camped on a hill.  And the 9th day we marched down to the tavern and received our allowance.  And that night we backed (baked) our flower (flour) for the whole of our company.  And the 10th day we marched the East Side of the river up as far as the flats (4 miles) and from there to Harmony (possibly Halfmoon) 4 miles and lay there that night.  And the 11th day we marched as far as Stillwater, 13 miles, and stayed there until the 18th day for our Captain was Commander of the fort.  And the 18th day there came Captain Burke and took our Captain’s place.[2]  And we marched off to Saratoga and we got to Saratoga about sunset (14 miles) and camped on this side of the river.  And the 17th day we marched off to Fort Edward 7 miles and camped on this side of the River until the 20th day.  And then received our tents and we pitched our tents and lay in them until the 22nd day.  And then we had orders to remove our tents near the river and pitch them and we also did.  And lay there until the 24th day.  And then we had orders to strike our tents in order to march off for the Lake.  And we came to the Lake about 8 o’clock in the evening and we pitched our tents and lay there until the 28th day.

          As Elijah was recording these events, the French sent an emissary.  “On the last day of June, a lieutenant of the French Marine went to Fort Edward under a truce.  He was not permitted to return, for he had seen too much.”[3]

         The officer was Sieur Wolf of the French regulars, and he had been sent to carry letters from the Marquis de Vaudreuil to General Abercrombie, on a matter of an exchange of prisoners.  The English held Sieur Wolf until the 9th of July, (the day after the battle).  They sent him back with the answer that the King of England had declared the capitulation of Fort William Henry .[4]

           Elijah reported “Nothing remarkable from the 28th day to the 3rd day of July 1758.”

           Colonel Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the Marquis de Montcalm’s chief of staff, kept an ongoing record of events similar to Elijah’s Journal.  On the 1st of July he recorded the following activities in the French Camp:

          General assembly this morning at daybreak.  Seven battalions advanced: La Reine, Guyenne and Béarn to occupy the head of the Portage; La Sarre, Royal Roussillon, Languedoc, and the second battalion of Berry to occupy the right and left banks of the Falls of Lake St. Sacrement.  The third battalion of Berry came to place itself in the camp La Reine has left between Fort Carillon and a redoubt which commands the junction of the river from the end of the bay and that from the Falls.[5]

           This movement, doubtless rash, was necessary to give prudence to the enemy, to impose on them, to make them lose the idea which they have of our great weakness and at the same time to prevent them from grabbing the Portage all of a sudden, something they could do by an advance on the lake of only ten or twelve hours.[6]

           The Marquis de Montcalm went this morning with MM. De Pontleroy, Desandrouins, Jacquau, and de Hébécourt to reconnoiter the surroundings of Fort Carillon in order to select a battlefield and the place for an entrenched camp.  We lack manpower, and perhaps time is also lacking.  Our situation is critical.  Action and audacity are our sole resources.[7]

           On the 2nd of July, Colonel Bougainville recorded the following:

          It has been decided to occupy the heights which dominate Carillon with a entrenched camp, with redoubts and abatis, the left resting on the Rivière de la Chute and the right on the one going to St. Frédéric; to build in addition a defensive work in the rear resting at its left on Carillon, and on the right on a great redoubt which will flank an abatis extended up to the river.  But to carry out these works strong arms are needed, as well as the arrival of colony troops and time granted us by the enemy.  All that can be done at the moment, and which is being done, is to lay out the works and get the troops at the Falls and the Portage to make as many fascines and palisades as their camp duties will permit.  The third battalion of Berry, which is in the fort, can furnish only eighty to ninety workers.  How to do it with so few people?[8]

           The Marquis de Montcalm has gone to camp at the falls to be near the head of the Portage and (possible) enemy movements.  One of our advanced guards met an enemy scouting party.  Shooting by both sides.  The Mohawk took to flight.[9]

           The historian George Stanley has also recorded a number of details of the French activities as the British forces assembled on Lake George.  Montcalm with his engineer officers, Pontleroy, Desandrouins and Jacau de Fiedmont, set out at the beginning of July to reconnoiter the region around Fort Carillon.  Together they concluded that they could not rely on the security of Fort Carillon’s stone walls for protection or the conduct of a successful defence against a determined enemy force.  Instead, they decided to build an entrenched camp with redoubts and abatis on the high ground to the west overlooking the fort.  When the fortifications were complete, they then planned to station advance parties at tactically sound positions near the falls and portage on the river that linked Lake St Sacrement and Lake Champlain.  While the construction was being carried out on the forward defensive position, scouting parties and combat reconnaissance patrols were sent out to keep continuous surveillance over the activities of the British forces.  They were assigned to keep watch over all enemy forces “on the land and on the water.”  The scouts reported nothing at first, but on the 5th of July they gave “positive warning” that General Abercrombie was on the move.  On Montcalm’s instructions, an observation party of “some 300 men under Captain Trépézac of the Béarn regiment hurried south to establish contact with the enemy force, and if possible, to prevent it from landing.  Meanwhile, the engineers hurriedly traced a new line of defence west of the entrenched camp and set every man available cutting trees, preparing the abatis and constructing a defensive breastwork of logs and earth.”  When it became obvious that Abercrombie’s intentions were not just a simple “probing attack, but a full-scale invasion, orders were sent to the several advanced groups to withdraw at once to Carillon.”[10]


[1] As a Major, Jedediah Preble had served in Lieutenant Colonel John Winslow’s (Massachusetts, New England) battalion in Nova Scotia during the expulsion of the Acadians.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 161.  Preble would later become a brigadier general commanding a regiment with two battalions.  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 50.

[2] Captain Burke of the Massachusetts regiment fought in the battle at Fort William Henry in 1757.  He had been captured by the Indians who had stripped him after a violent struggle.  He managed to break loose however, and escaped naked into the woods.  After spending the night shivering in a thick grass marsh, he then made his way to Fort Edward the next day.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 297.

[3] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, p. 178.

[4] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 240.

[5] Ibid, p. 222.

[6] Ibid, p. 222.

[7] Ibid, p. 222.

[8] Ibid, p. 223.

[9] Ibid, p. 222.

[10] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 1968, p. 178.

The Big Picture

           Noted Harvard University historian Francis Parkman assembled an impressive amount of detail on the Seven Years War.  Excerpts from his work are inserted here to provide a glimpse of the bigger picture going on around Elijah as he kept his journal of day-to-day events at the time.

            In June 1758, as Montcalm carried out his defensive preparations forward of Fort Carillon, the British amassed a major combat force at the head of Lake George.  Major-General Abercrombie was preparing to lead a combined British and provincial force estimated at 16,000 troops, the largest army yet to serve in North America, against the French stronghold he knew as Ticonderoga.  The French prepared to receive him with an army one-fourth the size of Abercrombie’s.[1]

            Governor Vaudreuil had devised a plan for saving Carillon by sending a diversionary force into the valley of the Mohawk under the command of Lévis, Rigaud, and Longueil.  They were to be supported with 1,600 men and they were expected to be joined by as many Indians.  Vaudreuil directed this force to attack the English forts in that region, and that they were to then threaten Schenectady.  This, he believed, would compel the Indians of the Five Nations to declare their support for France.[2]  The French hoped that this would in turn eventually cause the English to cease their military ventures and “leave Montcalm in peace, thinking only of defending themselves.”[3]

They were wrong.

          A French partisan officer named Langy captured a number of English prisoners (specifically Rangers) on Lake George.  The prisoners made an exaggerated declaration that within two weeks 25 or 30,000 men would attack Fort Carillon.  Vaudreuil realized that he would have to abandon his Mohawk expedition, and he therefore ordered Lévis and his followers to reinforce Montcalm.  There was a long delay in their departure, perhaps owing to a lack of boats, and this put Montcalm in the position of having to defend himself as best he could.[4]

            Montcalm had to decide whether or not to fall back to Crown Point.  Both M. Lotbiniére, his chief engineer and M. Le Mercier opposed the plan.  The choice was difficult for Montcalm, but he opted to remain at Ticonderoga.  He kept Berry’s battalion near the fort, while his main body stayed in its encampment by the sawmill at the Falls.  The rest of his troops under Bourlamaque occupied the head of the portage.  A small advance party was left at the landing-place on Lake George.  Neither position would be easy to defend, and Montcalm’s best hope lay “in the ignorance or blundering of his enemy.”[5]

            Lévis had been assigned the permanent command of Fort Carillon.  It was also the most advanced position of the French, and as Crown Point was second in the line of this outpost, he decided to set off on foot to explore the neighboring woods and mountains.  To conduct his reconnaissance, Lévis slept out several nights before he reappeared at the camp.  Taking note of his pro-active approach to information gathering, Montcalm stated:

            I do not think that many high officers in Europe would have occasion to take such tramps as this.  I cannot speak too well of him.  Without being a man of brilliant parts, he has good experience, good sense, and a quick eye; and, though I had served with him before, I never should have thought that he had such promptness and efficiency.  He has turned his campaigns to good account.[6]

          For his part, Lévis wrote: 

             I do not know if the Marquis de Montcalm is pleased with me, but I am sure that I am very much so with him, and shall always be charmed to serve under his orders.  It is not for me, Monseigneur, to speak to you of his merit and his talents.  You know him better than anybody else; but I may have the honour of assuring you that he has pleased everybody in this colony and manages affairs with the Indians extremely well. [7]

             Meanwhile, at the head of Lake George, the raw bands of ever-active New Englanders were mustering for the fray.[8]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, From the Works of Francis Parkman, Little, Brown and Company, Toronto, Canada, 1955, p. 434.

[2] Ibid, p. 434.

[3] Ibid, p. 434.

[4] Ibid, p. 435.

[5] Ibid, p. 435.

[6] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 219-221

[7] Ibid, p. 220.

[8] Ibid, p. 221.

            Orders came to us to load the bateau with artillery and provisions in order to go down the Lake to Ticonderoga.

            Colonel Bougainville also made a report in his Journal this day: 

            M. de Raymond, Captain of La Marine, arrived with 118 men, 80 Canadians, the rest soldiers of La Marine. M. Mercier also arrived to take command of the artillery. He brought letters from the Marquis de Vaudreuil, which announced the arrival of powerful reinforcements and of the detachment of the Chevalier de Lévis (which had been) destined for the Schenectady expedition, which the American General called off.  I do not know whether he went so far as to send no one at all to the Five Nations or to the Ohio.  That would be the case of saying that the extremes are touching.  Here they feel certain that M. de Longueuil will go to carry a message to the Five Nations, accompanied by a detachment which at once will go on to the Ohio under orders of M. de St. Ours, lieutenant.  This news appears certain, although M. de Vaudreuil has written nothing about it to our general.[1]

             A convoy of merchant ships and a few warships arrived at Québec.  The latter, destined for Louisbourg, brought to Port Toulouse[2] the battalion of the Cambise regiment which reached Louisbourg overland and did not enter the port because the siege had started.[3]

             The King having judged it proper to employ me in America as “aide-marechal des logis[4] of his troops, under orders to do well.  No letters have been received from M. de Ligneris, which indicate that he fears being attacked.  The Illinois convoy at last reached Fort Duquesne.[5]


[1] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, pp. 223-224.

[2] A small port on Cape Breton Island some forty miles southwest of Louisbourg.

[3] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 224.

[4] A senior French Army staff appointment similar to a present-day Chief-of-Staff (COS).

[5] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 224.


           Elijah did not make an entry for the 4th of July, but Colonel Bougainville including the following in his daily report:

July 4th, Duties, guards, and patrols as usual.  Our position, very risky, obliges us to (take) the greatest precautions.  (The) bridge at the Portage (has been provided with) a little redan (a V-shaped defensive work) to cover its head.  (The) bridge below the Falls (has been built) to allow communication (between) troops camped on the two banks of the river.[1]

             This evening there departed, under orders of Sieur de Langy, a detachment of about 150 men, 104 of them volunteers from our (regular) battalions, 25 Canadians, and a score of Indians.  A fact worth noting and one which does us honour is that in this detachment, a captain and seven lieutenants of our regulars march under the orders of an ensign; M. de Langy has only this rank.  His orders are to go and observe the location, the number, and the movements of the enemy at the end of the Lake St. Sacrement and to make prisoners if it is possible.[2]

             A sad ceremony almost made the detachment fail to depart.  An Iroquois, in cold blood and for no apparent reason, publicly assassinated one of his brothers with a knife.  The murderer at once fled.  The Indians hunted him everywhere to kill him.  He has three other brothers, one of whom came and wishes to avenge the dead man on the assassin.  They do not know how this affair will end.  They pardon murder committed by drunkards.  A drunken man is a sacred person.  According to them it is a state so delicious that it is permitted, even desirable, to arrive at; it is their paradise.  Then one is not responsible for his acts.  But ordinarily, they themselves calmly punish cold-blooded murderers with a speedy death neither proceeded nor followed by any formalities.[3]

             It was necessary to cover the dead man with an “ouapon,” that is to say, a complete outfit given his family.  Six strings of wampum have dried their tears, cleared their throats, and put warriors in shape to go off to war.  Today I commenced the duties of my new position.  (A) detachment of 130 men who took the bateaux to St. Jean returned yesterday.  (I) received advice from St. Frederic that on the 3rd and 4th, M. de Lusignan had indications of enemy parties on the Right Bank of the river (Lake Champlain) opposite St. Frederic, and on the left (bank) in the bay behind the fort.[4]


[1] Ibid, p. 224.

[2] Ibid, p. 224.

[3] Ibid, pp. 224-225.

[4] Ibid, p. 225.


July the 5th day:

            And the 5th day we set off about 8 o’clock in the morning for Ticonderoga with about 16,000 men and we had a calm and pleasant day…and we went as far as Sabbath Day Point, which is about 22 miles from Fort William Henry.  And there we camped until 12 o’clock…and one of our sentries heard a rattle snake which caused him to cry out and aroused the whole camp…which caused our officer to order the whole to embark and haul off to the middle of the lake and lay there until the morning.

Rogers’ Rangers

            Elijah makes many reports in his journal of the activities of the scouts and Rangers that led the British forces into the American wilderness.  He speaks most often about Robert Rogers (1731-1795).  Rogers was a famous American frontiersman and soldier.  He commanded the legendary British-American army unit known as “Rogers’ Rangers.”  Rogers was born in the New England town of Methuen, Massachusetts on the 7th of November 1731.  He apparently spent his childhood in the frontier town of Dunbarton, New Hampshire.  Early in his military career he served as a scout in the third of the French and Indian Wars.  In 1755 he re-enlisted in a New Hampshire regiment.  Rogers quickly proved his abilities as a spy, and as a result he was promoted to rank of captain and placed in charge of an independent company of Rangers.  In time he won appointment as a Major in charge of nine such companies.[1]


[1] The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition, Grolier Inc, Danbury, Connecticut, 1988, p. 635.

 (U.S. Army Center of Military History Illustration)

Painting of Rogers Rangers, "To Range the Woods", New York, 1760.

         Rogers’ Rangers, were developed into a combat corps which consisted of some 600 frontiersmen.  During the French and Indian War the Rangers adapted the best features of Indian Warfare (stealth, self-sufficiency, and camouflage), to their expeditions.  Among Roger’s followers were men who would later become household names, and they included Israel Putman, John Stark, and James Dalyell (Dalzell).  The Rangers were mainly employed to conduct daring raids against French posts and Indian bands and in their most notable record in1760, they participated in the capture of Montréal.  Rogers is known to have traveled as far west as Detroit to accept the surrender of French posts.  Towards the end of the war in 1763, he served with Dalyell during Pontiac’s Rebellion.  In 1765, after questionable dealings left him in serious debt, Rogers went to England, where he published three books, including his Journals (1765), A Concise Account of North America (1765) and Ponteach, or the Savages of America (1766), which was a crude verse drama.[1]


[1] Ibid, p. 635.

 (Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection)

Robert Rogers, the founding leader and namesake of Rogers' Rangers, in a 1776 painting, the only known portrait from life of Rogers, by Johann Martin Will.

            To appreciate what was expected of the soldiers of the Seven Years War, and in particular, of Roger’s Rangers, he developed the following Standing Orders.

Standing Orders for Rogers’ Rangers 

  1. Don’t forget anything.
  2. Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute’s warning.
  3. When you’re on the march, act the way you would if you were sneaking up on a deer.  See the enemy first.
  4. Tell the truth about what you see and what you do.  There is an army depending on us for correct information.  You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but never lie to a Ranger or officer.
  5. Never take a chance you don’t have to.
  6. When we are on the march we march single file, far enough apart so one shot can’t go through two men.
  7. If we strike swamps, or soft ground, we spread out abreast, so it’s hard to track us.
  8. When we march, we keep moving till dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.
  9. When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.
  10. If we take prisoners, we keep ‘em separate till we have had time to examine them, so they can’t cook up a story between ‘em.
  11. Never march home the same way.  Take a different route so you won’t be ambushed.
  12. No matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each party has to keep a scout 20 yards ahead, twenty yards on each flank and twenty yards in the rear, so the main body can’t be surprised and wiped out.
  13. Every night you’ll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force.
  14. Don’t sit down to eat without posting sentries.
  15. Don’t sleep beyond dawn.  Dawn is when the French and Indians attack.
  16. Don’t cross a river by a regular ford.
  17. If somebody’s trailing you, make a circle, come back into your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.
  18. Don’t stand up when the enemy’s coming against you.  Kneel down.  Hide behind a tree.
  19. Let the enemy come till he’s almost close enough to touch. Then let him have it and jump out and finish him up with your hatchet.[1]


    [1], p. 1.

An Army Embarked

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2836091)

Boats embarked with British troops for the expedition to Ticonderoga, 1758, view from the North Shore of Lake Champlain.  

           As for Elijah and his fellow soldiers, things were about to come to a major crossroads.  Francis Parkman records that, on the evening of the 4th of July, the boats were loaded with baggage, stores and ammunition, and the whole army had been embarked by the morning of the 5th of July.  He described the embarkation and departure scene as follows:

Each corps marched without confusion to its appointed station on the beach, and the sun was scarcely above the ridge of French Mountain when all were afloat.  A spectator watching them from the shore said, when the fleet was three miles on its way, the surface of the lake at that distance was completely hidden from sight.  There were 900 bateaux, 135 whaleboats, and a large number of heavy flatboats carrying the artillery.  The whole (force) advanced in three divisions, with the regulars in the centre and the provincials on the flanks.  Each corps flew its flags and had its music.  The day was fair, and the men were in the highest spirits.[1]

            John R. Cuneo describes the scene is a similar manner, informing us that the first group of men to get underway were the advance guard of Rangers, known as bateaux-men, and light infantry in whaleboats.  He indicates that by 7 A.M. the main body was embarked and “the lake was black as far as an eye could see with 135 whaleboats, 900 bateaux, and two floating batteries, all moving northward under threatening skies.”[2]

           Before 10 o’clock in the morning, “they began to enter the Narrows, and the boats of the three divisions extended themselves into long files as the mountains closed on either side of the contracted lake.  From front to rear the line was six miles long.  The convoy presented quite a spectacle, with “the flash of oars and glitter of weapons; the banners and the varied uniforms, and the notes of bugle, trumpet, bagpipe, and drum.”  A wounded officer would later state, “I never beheld so delightful a prospect.”[3]

          Major Rogers with his Rangers, and Brigadier General Thomas Gage with the light infantry led the way in whaleboats, followed by Colonel John Bradstreet with his corps of boatmen, armed and drilled as soldiers.  The main body followed.  The central column of regulars was commanded by Brigadier Lord Augustus Howe, with his regiment, the 55th, in the van, followed by the Royal Americans, the 27th, 44th, 46th, and 80th Infantry, and the Highlanders of the 42nd, with their commander, Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe.[4]  Campbell was silent and depressed, because he had been told in Scotland that he would meet his death at a place called “Ticonderoga,” a name he had never heard of until now.[5]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 437-438.

[2] John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, New York, Oxford University Press, 1959, p.83.

[3] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 438.

[4] Ibid, p. 438.

[5] According to Francis Parkman and Edward Hamilton, Duncan Campbell was the Laird of “the ancient Castle of Inverawe” on the banks of the river Awe in the western Highlands of Scotland.  Late one night in the 1740’s Duncan’s cousin Donald Campbell was murdered by a man who afterwards sought shelter in the castle.  Although Duncan did not know of the murder at the time, the fugitive begged him for asylum and made him swear on his dirk to hide him.  Duncan kept his word and helped to hide the killer by not betraying him to the searching authorities.  Late at night, however, in his dreams, Duncan saw the ghost of his murdered cousin standing by his bedside and heard a hollow voice pronounce the words “Inverawe! Inverawe!  Blood has been shed.  Shield not the murderer!”  The same voice of the ghost of his murdered cousin came a second night and after this, Campbell hid the stranger in a cave, from which the murderer later left.  The third night, Campbell had a vision of his ghostly pale cousin, who told him, “Farewell, Inverawe! Farewell, till we meet at Ticonderoga!”  The strange name meant nothing to Duncan at the time, but it stayed in his memory.  He later became a major in the Black Watch, or 42nd Regiment, and went with it to America after the war broke out.  Here, to his horror, he learned that he was to take part in the attack on Ticonderoga.  His story was well known among his brother officers, and they collected themselves together to disarm his fears.  When the regiment reached the fatal spot they told him on the eve of the battle, “This is not Ticonderoga; we are not there yet; this is Fort George.”  But in the morning he came to them with a haggard looks, and told them, “I have seen him!  You have deceived me!  He came to my tent last night!  This is Ticonderoga!  I shall die today!” and his prediction was fulfilled.  That day, Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, his arm shattered by a bullet, was carried to Fort Edward, where not long after his arm was amputated, he died and was buried.  His gravestone still exists on the site, and over it is inscribed: “Here lyes the Body of Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, Esquire, Major to the old Highland Regiment, age 55 Years, who died the 17th July, 1758, of Wounds he received in the Attack of the Retrenchment of Ticonderoga or Carillon, on the 8th July, 1758.”  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, pp. 562-563; and, Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, pp. 83-84.


 (Neitz Photo)

Recreated uniform of the 55th Regiment of Foot at the time of its founding.

           An observer has described two “floating castles” which as sailing with the central column.  They were being used to carry gun batteries to cover the landing of the troops.  The provincials were to the right and left, uniformed in blue, and consisting of regiments from the New England colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.  The bateaux loaded with stores and baggage, floated along behind all of them, accompanied by the heavy flatboats that carried the artillery, while a rear-guard composed of provincials and regulars closed the long procession.[1]

           At 5 in the afternoon they reached Sabbath Day Point, approximately twenty-five miles down the lake. Here they stopped until late in the evening and the army went ashore to wait for the rear party of baggage and artillery to catch up.  At this point Lord Howe spent some time questioning a Ranger named John Stark, asking him about the tactical position of Ticonderoga and what the best points of approach would be to take it.  About 10 o’clock in the evening orders were passed to re-embark and by about 11 o’clock that night the expedition set out again and continued their advance northwards, their way lighted by lanterns.[2] 

           On the orders of Lord Howe, one of the ranger whaleboats forged ahead to reconnoiter the landing place, and as the grey dawn emerged, they rejoined the van to report that they had seen enemy fires.[3]  At daybreak they entered what was then called the Second Narrows.  (This would be the contracted part of the lake where it approaches its outlet).  Rising up along their left side was the vast bare face of Rogers Rock, from which a French advance party under Langy and an officer named Trépézac watched their movements.  Lord Howe went in whaleboats with Major Rogers and Colonel Bradstreet, to reconnoiter the landing.  At a site the French called the Burnt Camp, where Montcalm had embarked the summer before, they found a detachment of Frenchmen who were too weak to oppose them.  Lord Howe and the reconnaissance party returned and advised General Abercromby of their findings.  Abercromby ordered the landing to proceed as planned.[4] 

The Ranger whaleboats pulled into a bay (now known as “Hearts Bay”) and “their occupants leaped ashore at the foot of a mountain on the west shore of Lake George, about a mile and a half south of the principal landing place of the expedition.”  A small French force that they encountered was quickly driven off by the British.  The remaining part of the van rowed on to the designated point of disembarkation without encountering any opposition.  It seemed that the French had been caught by surprise, because they fled in confusion, leaving their posts on the western shore, and retiring across the bridge to the portage road.  The only defense they could offer was to destroy the bridge after they had crossed it.  By noon, the entire army had landed without suffering a single casualty.[5]

           Rogers sent an officer to ask for orders.  He was directed to

           gain the top of a mountain that bore to the north about a mile from the landing-place and, and from thence to steer east to the river that flows into the falls betwixt the landing and the sawmill, to take possession of some rising ground on the enemy’s side, and there to await the army’s coming.[6]

           Rogers was also expected to “flush out” any hostile French party that might be waiting to ambush the advancing British army.  Rogers proceeded to take his Rangers forward, but no enemy was immediately found, and the Rangers were in familiar territory.  They reached their objective quickly and without incident. Additional Ranger patrols probed eastward, with the main body of the French lying about a quarter of a mile away.[7]  Meanwhile, the remaining British began to form up to prepare for the march inland.[8]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 438.

[2] Ibid, pp. 438-439.

[3] John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p.84.

[4] Ibid, p. 84.

[5] Ibid, p. 84.

[6] Ibid, p. 84.

[7] Ibid, p. 85.

[8] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 438-439.


Reconnaissance and Skirmish

           At this point, as the British force prepared to conduct their advance into the forest, John R. Cuneo suggests that Abercromby and Howe committed their first major error.  They had been expecting Brigadier General Thomas Gage’s Light Infantry and special units of the best marksmen from each regiment to arrive.  These units had been issued special “Rifled Barreled Guns,” and the reason for this was that they were to replace the Rangers and to act as guides through the forest.  Unfortunately, they had not arrived.[1]

           By two in the afternoon the British columns prepared to push forward.  Ahead of them lay a plain covered with forest that stretched northwestward from this part of the shore for half a mile or more to the mountains.  Behind them lay the valley of Trout Brook.  The army began its march in four columns on this plain, with the intention of passing around the western bank of the river that stemmed from the outlet, since the bridge over it had been destroyed.  On the extreme left were the Connecticut Provincials, next came the Rhode Island forces, with regular soldiers in the center, then the New York Provincials, Elijah’s Massachusetts Provincials, and the forces from New Hampshire. The left was commanded by Brigadier General Thomas Gage, and the right by Brigadier Lord Augustus Howe.[2]

           Major Robert Rogers led the way, with the provincial regiments of Colonel Fitch and Colonel Phineas Lyman of Connecticut, at some distance ahead of the rest of the advancing force.  The forest was extremely dense and heavy, and so obstructed with undergrowth that it was impossible to see more than a few yards in any direction. To make transit even more difficult, the ground was littered with fallen trees in every stage of decay.  The even ranks of the troops following began to break up, with the men struggling onward as best they could in the dampness and poor light due to the thick canopy of trees overhead.[3]

           General Abercromby described the woods as “being thick, impassable with any Regularity to such a Body of Men, and the Guides unskilled, the Troops were bewildered, and the Columns broke, falling in on one another.”[4]

           It took roughly two hours for the army to cover a mile, at which point the conditions proceeded to deteriorate even further as the troops came upon undulating and broken ground.  They were close now to the upper rapids of the river’s outlet.  Within a short period of time, the guides at the head of the group lost their bearings and stumbled about in the bewildering maze of tree trunks and pine boughs.  Behind them, the marching columns became equally confused, and began to fall in upon each other.  Essentially, Abercrombie’s army was literally “lost in the woods.”[5]

          At this same time, the French officers Langy and Trépézac were leading an advance party with about 350 regulars and Canadians through the same grim patch of forest.  They were aware of the advancing British force and attempted to withdraw.  Unfortunately, before they could do so the whole English army had not only passed them and landed, but it was now placed between them and their countrymen.  They were left with no choice but to move deeper into the woods.  It appears that they climbed the steep gorge at the side of what is now known as “Rogers Rock,” and then followed the Indian path that led to the valley of Trout Brook.  They intended to descend into it and, by circling along the outskirts of the valley of Ticonderoga, reach Montcalm’s camp at the sawmill.  Even though Langy was used to “bush ranging,” his group also became lost in the forest.  Towards the close of the day, he and his men had come out from the valley of Trout Brook and found themselves near the junction of the stream with the river of the outlet.  By now they were well aware of the proximity of the large British force, and were in a state of some anxiety, for they could see nothing but brown trunks and green boughs.  In hindsight, it is possible that they might have discovered where they were if any one of them had climbed a tree, but even then, they would not have had any idea of where the British forces were located.  Not far from them on the right, they may have been able to see a plume of smoke rising from the burning huts of the French camp at the head of the portage, which the French officer Bourlamaque had set on fire and abandoned.  A mile or more in front of them they might have been able to see the sawmill at the Falls, and possibly the tents of the neighboring camp where Montcalm still lay with his main force.  Blind and lost, the two opposing armies proceeded to stumble inadvertently towards each other in the forest.[6]

          Abercrombie’s army continued to advance in four columns.  The Rangers led at the point with the light infantry and marksmen just behind them at the head of the columns.  While they were proceeding, they were kept under observation by an advance party under Sieur de Trepezec, a Captain from the Béarn Regiment.  He and his men had been watching the landing from what the French called Mount Pelee, which is now known as Roger’s Rock.  Purely by accident (or profoundly propitious good fortune), it would seem that as they were trying to return to Fort Carillon, they had stumbled into the advancing column of George Augustus, Viscount Howe.[7]

          Lord Howe was riding his horse at the head of the main column along with Major Israel Putnam and 200 Rangers.  Their position was slightly in advance of the three other columns.  Suddenly, they were challenged by French sentries with a cry of “Qui vive?”  Although the leading Rangers had the presence of mind to answer the French challenge with the response “Française!” Langy’s men were not deceived and they immediately opened fire.  In the fight that followed, Lord Howe was shot through the breast and dropped dead.[8]

          An eyewitness wrote,

           When the firing began on part of the Left Column, Lord Howe thinking it would be of the greatest Consequence, to beat the Enemy with the Light Troops, so as not to stop the march of the main Body, went up with them, and had just gained the Top of the Hill, where the fighting was, when he was killed.  Never a Ball had a more Deadly Direction…I was about six yards from him, he fell on his Back and never moved, only his Hands quivered an instant.[9]

            Another source states, “Howe was leading the light infantry and had just reached the top of a hill, where the firing was, when he was killed.  The ball entered his body on the left side and pierced his lungs and heart and shattered his backbone.”[10]

          From the French reports, it appears that for more than twelve hours Trepezec and his men had been trapped in the tangled woods.  Just as he skirted a thick tangle of cedar swamp, it appears that he saw the British advance party moving at right angles to his path.  The Rangers saw him at the same time, but they recognized Trepezec as an enemy first.  The Rangers, all clad in green and brown immediately opened fire, and Trepezec’s tired soldiers began to fall.  Trepezec was hit as the French were rushing forward to meet the Rangers head on.  It appears that he stumbled, struck the trunk of a tree, and fell.  He was apparently aware of a British officer of very high rank trying to rein in a plunging horse not far from him.  At that moment, one of his men then helped him to his feet and with an arm around his waist, half-carried him off through the woods.  Before Trepezec died, however, he was told that the mounted horseman was General Howe and that he had been shot dead.  It appeared that the British column had melted away in the fray, but of the French reconnaissance force, half the men were missing.[11]

            A general panic ensued except for “the steadiness of the Rangers, who maintained the fight alone until the rest came back to their senses.”  Major Rogers, with his reconnaissance party and the regiments of Fitch and Lyman, were not far from the front line.  They all turned on hearing the musket fire and were thus able to catch the French in a deadly crossfire.  The French fought back hard and about 50 escaped, although 148 were captured and the rest were killed or drowned in trying to cross the rapids.  Although the English losses in this brief skirmish had been small in number, the loss of Howe would prove to be catastrophic.  “The fall of this noble and brave officer,” according to Rogers, “seemed to produce an almost general languor and consternation through the whole army.”  Major Thomas Mante also wrote that, “In Lord Howe, the soul of General Abercrombie’s army seemed to expire.  From the unhappy moment the General was deprived of his advice, neither order nor discipline was observed, and a strange kind of infatuation usurped the place of resolution.”  It would later be said, “the death of one man was the ruin of 15,000.”[12]

           The skirmish had also revealed a number of concerns that did not bode well for the future.  The confusion in the forest appeared to have “drained away the courage of the regular soldiers.  An officer observed uneasily that the comparatively small amount of gunfire had thrown the “Regulars into some kind of a Consternation.”  In the confusion, “part of ye 55th and the 42nd had returned to the Landing place…having lost the rest of the Army during the Skirmish, with a great Number of Provincials.”[13]

           In a document found in Windsor castle, one witness indicated that he believed that there had been nearly “300 of the enemy, which were almost killed and taken prisoners, all regulars,” but that in this first skirmish Lord Howe had been killed on the spot, “greatly lamented (and that with great justice) by the Army.”  He also observed that the firing threw an alarm into the some of the troops, which, even though it ended quickly, left him with a feeling of “uneasiness.”  He found that in the woods, some of the men mistook friendly fire for French fire and that they also mistook their officer’s commands as coming from the French.”  The observer does add, however, that “the Colony Troops behaved extremely well, were in great spirits and were willing to do anything they were desired.”[14]

           Edward Hamilton has pointed out that “Sir William Johnson, His Majesty’s Superintendent of Indian Affairs, had promised to bring a considerable body of Iroquois to assist Abercrombie as guides and scouts.”  Internal dissension among the Five Nations Indians caused considerable delays in the departure of Johnson’s force, and when some 400 of them finally did join Abercrombie at Ticonderoga on the morning of the battle, “they were too late to serve their most useful purpose as scouts during the advance from the landing place, where their presence might well have saved the life of Lord Howe.” With Howe alive, the chances are excellent that the fort would have fallen, and the whole course of the last of the French wars in North America would have been materially changed.  It was not to be.[15]


[1] John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p.85.

[2] Ibid, p. 85.

[3] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 439.

[4] John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p.85.

[5] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 439.

[6] Ibid, p. 440.

[7] p. 1.

[8] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 440-441.

[9] John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p.85.

[10] Internet,  P. 1.

[11] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, p. 180.

[12] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 440-441.

[13] John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p.86.

[14] A.G. Bradley, The Fight With France for North America, New York, Arno Press and The New York Times, 1971, pp. 418-419.

[15] Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, pp. 81-82.

General William Johnson saving the life of Baron Dieskau at the Battle of Lake George, 1755, painted between 1764 and circa by Benjamin West.

           Although the French losses were severe in the encounter, Colonel Bougainville was not far wrong when he noted in his journal that Howe’s death

stopped the advance.  The disheartened English gave us a 24-hour delay, and this precious time was the saving of us and of the colony.”  During those 24 hours, every man at Fort Carillon was employed in reinforcing and shoring up the defence works and abatis; with only their Grenadiers keeping watch in case Abercrombie attempted to catch the French soldiers digging in with shovels rather than holding their muskets in their hands.[1]

            While he was waiting for the attack to come, Montcalm had positioned himself and most of his regular French infantry close to the small river that joined Lake George and Lake Champlain.  There was a bridge at this point, which was sited roughly two miles below the fort.  This was the most natural approach for an advancing force to take, and it led across the portage, eventually reaching down to the river below the rapids.  Bourlamaque had been stationed here watch for the British approach, and to assess how many of them there were.  He had also sent Langy, the partisan leader, through the deep forests to Lake George with the same mission.  Langy returned with the information that it was quite evident that the numbers of the approaching forces were too great to attempt a delaying action.  Bourlamaque therefore withdrew and when he had re-joined Montcalm, the bridge was burned, and both returned to their hasty defence position.  Langy, of course, had continued to range in the forests until he had the unexpected encounter with the British army, which had resulted in the death of Lord Howe.[2]

            Colonel Bougainville provided the following additional information in his Journal entry for July 5:

           Arrival of three captains of the colony (troops) with about 150 Canadians and soldiers of La Marine.  Formation of two companies of volunteers drawn from our battalions, under orders of Sieur Bernard, captain in the Béarn regiment, and Sieur Duprat, captain in that of La Sarre.  Departure of the Indian murderer with his two brothers.  They go home to mourn the dead man and perhaps to avenge him.  Detachment sent to Pelée Mountain (now known as Roger’s Rock on Lake George), returned without having seen anything.  The first division of the Chevalier de Lévis division should reach St. Jean today.  They assure us that the promised aid will join us.  At 5 o’clock in the evening Sieur de Langy’s detachment returned, having seen on the lake a great (body) of enemy barges which could only be what it was, the advance guard of their army, led by Colonel Bradstreet and Major Rogers.[3]

            Orders (were given) at once to the troops at the Falls that a general call by drum beat, they should spend the night in bivouac and should commence to clear away the (camp) equipment.  The same order sent to the Portage (with additional instructions) to send out detachments to the north and south to observe the landing of the enemy.  Consequently, Sieur de Langy has been detached with 130 volunteers to take post between Mont Pelée and the lake, and Sieur de Trépezac, captain in the Béarn regiment, supports him with three light companies.  One hundred and fifty men under orders of Sieur Germain, captain in La Reine regiment, posted at Contrecoeur’s camp, a patrol of Grenadiers and volunteers on the south side.  Bernard’s volunteers sent to Bernetz River (now known as Trout Brook), which comes through the mountains with which this country is covered to empty itself into the (River) of the Falls, to furnish warning in case the enemy wishes to get in our rear by (going) behind the mountains.[4]

            Sieur de Bourlamaque has not thought it desirable to have his (camp) equipment sent away.  He fears such action would have an appearance of timidity.  However, all the troops, even the veterans who are preparing for battle, are getting rid of their camp equipment.  During the night there was an exchange of shots between Sieur Germain’s patrols and those of the enemy, who have put scouts ashore.[5]

            Robert Rogers also kept a Journal, and his record of the events that took place during this period begins on the 28th of May, when he

           Received positive orders from the General, to order all officers and men, belonging to the Rangers, and the two Indian companies, who were on furlow, or recruiting parties, to join their respective companies as soon as possible, and that every man of the corps under my command should be at his post at or before the 10th of next month.  These orders were obeyed, and parties kept out on various scouts until the 8th of June, when my Lord Howe arrived at Fort Edward with one half of the army.[6]

            His Lordship immediately ordered me out with fifty men in whale-boats, which were carried over in wagons to Lake George, and directed me at all events to take a plan of the landing-place at the north end with all profitable accuracy, and also of the ground from the landing-place to the French fort at Carillon, and of Lake Champlain for three miles beyond it, and to discover the enemy’s number in that quarter.  Agreeable to these orders, on the 12th in the morning, I marched with a party of fifty men, and encamped in the evening at the place where Fort William Henry stood.[7]

            On the 30th we proceeded down the lake in five whaleboats to the first narrows, and so on to the west-end of the lake, where I took the plan his Lordship desired.  Part of my party then proceeded to reconnoiter Ticonderoga, and discovered a large encampment there, and a great number of Indians.  While I was, with two or three others, taking a plan of the fort, encampment, etc., I left the remainder of my party at some considerable distance; when I was returning to them, at the distance of about 300 yards, they were fallen upon by a superior number of the enemy who had got between me and them.  Captain Jacobs with the Mohegan Indians, run off at the first onset, calling to our people to run likewise, but they stood their ground, and discharged their pieces several times, at last broke through the enemy, by whom they were surrounded on all sides except their rear, where a river covered them: they killed three of the enemy, but lost eight of their party in this skirmish.  My party rallied at the boats, where I joined them, and having collected all but the slain together, we returned homewards.  On the 20th at Half Way Brook, we met my Lord Howe, advanced with 3,000 men, to whom I gave an account of my scout, together with a plan of the landing-place, the fort at Carillon, and the situation of the lakes.[8]

            I obtained leave of my Lord to go to Fort Edward, where his Excellency major General Abercrombie was then posted, who ordered me to join my Lord Howe the next day with all the Rangers, being 600, in order to proceed with his Lordship to the lake.[9]

            On the 22nd his Lordship encamped at the lake where formerly stood Fort William-Henry, and ordered the Rangers to advance 400 yards on the west-side, and encamp there; from which place, by his Lordship’s orders, I sent off next morning three small parties of Rangers, viz.: one to the narrows of South Bay, another to the west-side of Lake George, and a third to Ticonderoga Fort, all three parties by land.  Another party, consisting of two Lieutenants and 17 men, proceeded down the lake for discoveries, and were all made prisoners by about 300 French and Indians.  This party embarked in whaleboats.[10]


About the 28th of June his Excellency Major General Abercrombie arrived at the lake with the remainder of the army, where he tarried till the morning of the 5th of July, and then the whole army, consisting of near 16,000, embarked in bateaux for Ticonderoga.[11]


          We return now to Elijah’s Journal.


[1] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, p. 178.

[2] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 451.

[3] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 226.

[4] Ibid, p. 226.

[5] Ibid, p. 226.

[6] Robert Rogers, Journals of Major Robert Rogers, Ann Arbour University, Microfilms Inc., 1966, p. 108.

[7] Ibid, p. 109.

[8] Ibid, pp. 109-110.

[9] Ibid, p. 110.

[10] Ibid, pp. 110-111.

[11] Robert Rogers, Journals of Major Robert Rogers, p. 111.

The Death of Lord Howe 

July the 6th day:

           And we started about daylight and 10 o’clock we came in sight of the French camp where lay about 2000 French encamped and we landed half-a-mile from the French.  And the Rangers came on and landed with about 200 men without loss of a man, but Major Rogers killed one Frenchman and recovered their ground and all their tents, and liquors, and some money, with other things, and a party of our men pursued them and overtook them in the woods and battled with them and the Providence of God seemed very wonderfully to smile on us for we killed between 400 and 500 of the enemy, and brought in 150 prisoners and we lost but a very few, about 20 only.  We lost a very worthy officer, my Lord Howe by name, and we camped there that night. [1]

           According to Francis Parkman, the death of Lord Howe became the turning point of the entire campaign against Ticonderoga.  Parkman recorded that on “the afternoon of the 5th of July, the partisan Langy, who had again gone out to reconnoiter the head of Lake George,” returned in a hurry and accurately reported “that the English were embarked in great force.  Montcalm sent a canoe down Lake Champlain to hasten Lévis to his aid, and ordered” Berry’s battalion to begin building a breastwork and laying “abatis on the high ground in front of the fort.”  It would appear that Montcalm was still in some “doubt as to his plan of defence,” since he had not already begun the construction of these fortifications.[2]

          Abercrombie had been almost a month at his camp at the head of Lake George, assembling more than 15,000 men, comprised of 6,397 regular officers and soldiers, and 9,034 provincials, (including Elijah Estabrook).  He was camped on the same ground where Johnson had defeated Dieskau and where Montcalm had previously planted his gun batteries to pound Munro’s vainly defended “wooden ramparts of Fort William Henry.”[3]

          Abercrombie had gained his position through political influence and was not much more than the “nominal” commander.  Wolfe described him as “a heavy man.”  William Parkman, a boy of 17 who like Elijah, served in a Massachusetts regiment, described him as “an aged gentleman, infirm in body and mind.”  Abercrombie was 52.[4]

          William Pitt, Britain’s secretary of state and Prime Minister in 1758, had intended “that the actual command of the army should be in the hands of Brigadier Lord Howe, and he was in fact its real chief.”  Wolfe described Howe as “the noblest Englishman that has appeared in my time, and the best soldier in the British army,” and he elsewhere describes him as “that great man.”  Abercrombie testified to the “universal respect and love with which officers and men regarded him,” and Pitt called him “a character of ancient times; a complete model of military virtue.”[5]

          Howe appears to have deserved this high praise.  He was 34 at that time and “had the qualities of a leader of men.”  The “army felt him, from general to drummer-boy.  He was its soul; and while breathing into it his energy and ardor, and bracing it by stringent discipline, he broke through the traditions of the service and gave it new shapes to suit the time and place.  During the past year he had studied the art of forest warfare and joined Rogers and his Rangers in their scouting parties, sharing all their hardships and making himself one of them.”  He instituted unusual reforms for the period, which were likely “the fruits of this rough self-imposed schooling.”  He made his officers and men get rid of  “all useless encumbrances, cut their hair close, wear leggings to protect them from briers, brown the barrels of their muskets, and carry in their knapsacks thirty pounds of meal, which they cooked for themselves.”  This, “according to an admiring Frenchman,” allowed them to “live a month without their supply-trains.”  “You would laugh to see the droll figure we all make,” wrote one officer.  “Regulars as well as provincials have cut their coats so as scarcely to reach their waists.  No officer or private is allowed to carry more than one blanket and a bearskin.  A small portmanteau is allowed each officer.  No women follow the camp to wash our linen.  Lord Howe has already shown an example by going to the brook and washing his own.”[6]

          Here, as in all things, he shared the lot of the soldier, and required his officers to share it.  A story is told of him that before the army embarked, he invited some of them to dinner in his tent, where they found no seats but logs, and no carpet but bearskins.  A servant presently placed on the ground a large dish of pork and peas, on which his lordship took from his pocket a sheath containing a knife and fork and began to cut the meat.  The guests looked on in some embarrassment; upon which he said, “Is it possible, gentlemen, that you have come on this campaign without providing yourselves with what is necessary?”  And he gave each of them a sheath, with a knife and fork, like his.[7]

          In spite of being called a “Lycurgus of the camp,” by a contemporary, Howe was described as “a man of social accomplishments rare even in his rank.  He made himself greatly beloved by the provincial officers (as would appear to be confirmed by Elijah’s report on his death).  He was apparently on intimate terms with many of these officers and he did what he could to break down the barriers between the colonial soldiers and the British regulars.”  There is a tablet in Westminster Abbey on which Massachusetts pays grateful tribute to his virtues, and which commemorates “the affection her officers and soldiers bore to his command.”[8]

            The following narrative is Major Rogers’ account of the armies activities leading up to the death of Lord Howe, recorded from the time Abercrombie’s army set sail for Ticonderoga on the morning of the 5th of July:

           The order of march was a most agreeable sight; the regular troops in the centre, provincials on each wing, the light infantry on the right of the advanced guard, the Rangers on the left, with Colonel Broadstreet’s bateaux-men in the center.  In this manner we proceeded till dusk, down to Lake George, to Sabbath Day Point, where the army halted and refreshed.  About ten o’clock the army moved again, when my Lord Howe went in front with his whale-boat, Lieutenant Colonel Bradstreet’s and mine, with Lieutenant Holmes, in another, whom he sent forward to go near the landing place, and observe if any enemy was posted there.[9]

            Holmes returned about day-break, met the army near the Blue Mountains within four miles of the landing-place, and reported that there was a party of the enemy at the landing-place, which he discovered by their fires.[10]

            As soon as it was light, his Lordship, with Colonel Bradstreet and myself, went down to observe the landing-place before the army, and when within about a quarter of a mile, plainly discerned that it was but a small detachment of the enemy that was there; whereupon his Lordship said he would return to the General, that the army might land and march to Ticonderoga.  About 12 o’clock the whole army landed the Rangers on the left wing.  I immediately sent an officer to wait upon the General for his orders, and received directions from Captain Abercrombie, one of his Aides-se-Camp, to gain the top of a mountain that bore north about a mile from the landing-place, and from thence to steer east to the river that runs into the falls betwixt the landing and the sawmill, to take possession of some rising ground on the enemy’s side, and there to wait the army’s coming.  I immediately marched, ascended the top of the hill, and from thence marched to the place I was ordered, where I arrived in about an hour, and posted my party to as good advantage as I could, being within one quarter of a mile of where Monseigneur Montcalm was posted with 1,500 men, whom I had discovered by some small reconnoitering parties sent out for that purpose.  About 12 o’clock Colonels Lyman and (unidentified) of the Provincials came to my rear, whom I informed of the enemy’s being so very near, and inquiring concerning the army, they told me they were coming along.  While this conversation passed, a sharp fire began in the rear of Colonel Lyman’s regiment, on which he said he would make his front immediately, and desired me to fall on their left flank, which I accordingly did, having first ordered Captain Burbanks with 150 men to remain at the place where I was posted, to observe the motions of the French at the sawmills, and went with the remainder of the Rangers on the left flank of the enemy, the river being on their right, and killed several.  By this time my Lord Howe, with a detachment from his front, had broke the enemy, and hemmed them in on every side; but advancing himself with great eagerness and intrepidity upon them, was unfortunately shot and died immediately.[11]

            There were taken prisoners of the enemy in this action, five officers, two volunteers, and 160 men, who were sent to the landing place. Nothing more material was done this day.[12]


[1] Some historical records indicate that Abercrombie was a political favorite who had been selected against the wishes of Minister William Pitt.  Apparently it had been hoped that Abercrombie’s inefficiency would be overbalanced by his second in command, George Howe, who was as capable and as popular a soldier as then served the king.  John Spencer Bassett, A Short History of the United States 1492-1929, New York, 1935, p. 126.

[2] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 435-436.

[3] Ibid, p. 436.

[4] Ibid, p. 436.

[5] Ibid, p. 436.

[6] Ibid, pp. 436-437.

[7] Ibid, p. 437.

[8] Ibid, p. 437.

[9] Robert Rogers, Journals of Major Robert Rogers, p. 111.

[10] Ibid, p. 112.

[11] Major Rogers indicated that “this noble and brave officer being universally beloved by both officers and soldiers of the army, his fall was not only most sincerely lamented, but seemed to produce an almost general consternation and languor through the whole.”  Ibid, pp. 113-114.

[12] Ibid, p. 114.


Plans and Deployments 

           Brigadier General Thomas Gage was now General Abercrombie’s second in command.  Both seemed to have found themselves in a helpless position in the woods.  The remainder of their army tried to press forward to Major Rogers’ position.  The loss of Lord Howe had caused an immediate panic and confusion and by nightfall much of the army had become separated.  Eventually most of the 15,000 British soldiers, regular and provincials mixed, came to spend the night between the landing-place and Major Rogers’ position.  Their morale had been badly shaken.[1]

           The army was needlessly kept under arms all night in the forest.  On the morning of the 7th of July, General Abercrombie ordered all the forces back to the landing place to regroup. Rogers was sent forward with 400 Rangers to the west bank of the stream he had crossed the previous day, while others were incorporated under the command of Colonel John Bradstreet.  Towards noon Bradstreet took a detachment of regular and provincial soldiers to seize the portage road on the east bank and to rebuild the bridge at its northern end.  Bradstreet’s forces also took possession of the sawmill at the Falls, which Montcalm had abandoned the evening before, and crossed to the northern bank.  When Bradstreet completed the rebuilding of the bridges destroyed by the retiring enemy, he sent back word to General Abercrombie that “the way was open.”  On hearing this, Abercrombie again put his army in motion.  With its morale beginning to rise again, the army reached the Falls in late afternoon under a dark sky and occupied the deserted French camp.[2]

          Montcalm had held his position at the Falls with his main force.  He still had grave doubts as to whether or not he should make his final stand there.  It was Bourlamaque’s opinion that they should stand their ground, but two of Montcalm’s older officers, Bernés and Montguy, pointed out that a serious threat to their position would be posed if the English occupied the neighboring heights that overlooked their position.  Accepting this observation, Montcalm chose to fall back, and the French camp was broken up at 5 o’clock.  Some of his troops embarked in bateaux, while others marched a mile and a half along the forest road, passing the place where Berry was still at work on the breastwork, they had begun constructing that morning.  The breastwork stood on a low hill about a thousand yards from the fort.  They made their bivouac a little farther on, upon the cleared ground that surrounded the fort.[3]

           The peninsula of Ticonderoga consists of a rocky plateau, with low ground on each side, bordering Lake Champlain on the one hand and Lake George on the other.  Fort Carillon stood near the end of the peninsula, which points towards the southeast.  From there, the ground declines westward, then slowly rises until a point about half a mile from the fort where it reaches its greatest elevation and begins to gradually decline again.  A ridge is therefore formed across the plateau between the steep drop-offs that sink to the low ground left and right.  Some weeks before the attack, a French officer named Hugues had suggested that the ridge could be defended by erecting an abatis.  Montcalm had approved his plan, and now decided to make his stand on this site. [4]

           Montcalm fully recognized the importance of the ground and the fact that it was in many ways the key to the interior of New France.  He was therefore determined to ensure that he and his men exerted every effort to see that it was properly defended.  There was very little that he could do other than that, because Vaudreuil would not provide the numbers of men needed to make a full and proper defence, and Bigot would not ensure that the necessary supplies arrived unless they were paid for at an exorbitant cost.  Even beyond these considerations, however, was the fact that Montcalm could well appreciate that an opposing general with an ounce of tactical sense would see the weakness of his position.  Placed as he was, Montcalm was concerned that any British general, good or bad, was bound discover that he could be cut off from his supply base and take action to see that it was.  From Montcalm’s point of view, the siting of Fort Carillon, stretching out as it did into the lake, made it next to impossible for an enterprising man to fail.  Montcalm saw it all too clearly.  Instead of attempting the impossible therefore, he decided to move his force backward to a ridge about half a mile west of the fort.  He then proceeded to build a rough embankment made of tree-trunks piled on one on top of another to a height of nine feet.  In front of this obstacle, the trees were to be leveled out to a distance of five hundred feet and left where they fell with their tangle of branches leaning forward, sharpened, and deadly.  On either side the land fell away in bottomless marshy ground that was almost as effective and would be described in more modern terms as “good killing ground.”  When complete, the defensive position might not look impressive, but it would prove to be relatively effective as Montcalm prepared to defend it.[5]

            Montcalm’s two engineers, Pontleroy and Desandrouin, had already traced the outline of the defensive works, and in fact, even at this early stage the soldiers of the battalion of Berry had made some progress in constructing them.  Fortunately for Montcalm, at dawn on the 7th of July, Abercrombie had begun to withdraw his troops back to the landing place to regroup.  A basic rule in any war is “never let the enemy dig in.”  Given the gift of time to do so, the whole French army vigorously set to the task of reinforcing the defences.  They proceeded to plant their regimental colours along the forward line, and put every available muscle to the task, realizing that every moment counted.  Even the officers stripped down to their shirt, took an axe in hand, and labored with their men.  The men needed no urging.  They continued felling and trimming trees in their thousands and then piled them one on top of another to form a massive breastwork.  The line of this breastwork followed the top of the ridge and then zigzagged in such a manner that the whole front of it became one massive “kill zone” that could be swept by musket fire and grapeshot from the flanks.  After the battle General Abercrombie would describe the wall of logs as between eight and nine feet high, in which case there must have been a rude banquette, or platform to fire from, on the inner side.  It was certainly high enough that nothing could be seen over it but the crown of the soldiers’ hats.  The upper tier was formed of single logs, in which notches were cut to serve as loopholes; and in some places sod and bags of sand were piled along the top, with narrow spaces to fire through.  From the central part of the line the ground sloped away like a natural glacis; while at the sides and particularly on the left, the ground was undulating and broken.  Over this whole space, to the distance of musket shot from the works, the forest was cut down, and the trees left lying where they fell among the stumps, with tops turned outwards, forming one vast abatis.  One Massachusetts officer who observed the obstacle said it, “looked like a forest laid flat by a hurricane.”  The most formidable obstruction however, was sited immediately along the front of the breastwork, where the ground was covered with heavy boughs, overlapping and interlaced, with sharpened points bristling into the face of the assailant like the quills of a porcupine.[6]

          Montcalm had written one of his friends in Québec, Doreil, the commissary of war, the following message,

           We have only eight days’ provisions, I have no Canadians and no Indians.  The British have a very strong army.  From the movements of the British I can see that they are in doubt.  If they are slow enough to let me entrench the heights of Ticonderoga, I shall beat them.[7]

            At this stage of the advance, it would appear that Abercrombie had only one idea in his head, and that was to bring back the advance column now that Howe was dead.  He needed to unite his seemingly leaderless army again and prepare them for a possible attack, although he had no idea where it might come from.  By nightfall, the British troops were again united at the first landing place.  Instead of letting them rest, General Abercrombie then proceeded to keep them there all night on alert and bearing arms.  This meant that a whole day and night was wasted while Montcalm’s forces worked feverishly to make their entrenchments equal to the challenge.  Forgetting their “privilege and dignity” for once, the young French officers continued to dig, cut, and build up the defensive position, working side-by-side with their men.  Their efforts would pay a major dividend.[8]

           It would not be until the following evening that General Abercrombie would have finally moved his army across the portage to a base by the bridge that a short while back had marked Montcalm’s advance observation post.  For some incredibly inexplicable reason, he had decided to leave his artillery behind, even though an enormous effort had been expended to bring it along with them.  This was to be one of the most serious of a number of errors he was about to make.  The next one was the fact that, although he was now within two miles of the entrenched camp where Frenchmen were working their hearts out to prepare for him, he took no further action.  No reconnaissance was conducted, and no immediate plans were made to seize the situation, let alone put a stop to the French defence construction efforts which continued at a frantic pace.  It would appear that since he didn’t know what to do next, General Abercrombie chose to do nothing.[9]

          Abercrombie had several options open to him.  He could attempt to strike the flank and rear of his enemy using the low ground to the right and left of the plateau, a movement which the precautions of Montcalm had made difficult, but not impossible.  He could also have brought his artillery forward and battered the breastworks, which, although impervious to musketry, was worthless against heavy cannon.  He could also have planted a battery of his guns in a position on the heights of Rattlesnake Hill, (now called Mount Defiance) overlooking the French breastwork and scoured the interior “with round shot from end to end.”  While threatening the French front with a part of his army, Abercrombie could also have exercised the option of marching the rest a short distance through the woods on his left to the road which led from Ticonderoga to Crown Point, and which would soon have brought him to the place called Five-Mile Point.  Here, Lake Champlain narrows to the width of an easy rifle-shot, and it would also have been a good location to have placed a battery of field-pieces which would have cut off all of Montcalm’s supplies and closed his only line of retreat.  As the French were only provisioned for eight days their position would have become desperate.  The French plainly saw the danger, and Doreil declared that had this movement been made the French would have been forced to surrender.[10] 

           Montcalm had done what he could, but he knew that the danger of his position was inevitable and extreme.  He could only hope that Abercrombie would make a poor decision, and in the end, he had good luck on his side.[11]  Abercrombie answered Montcalm’s’ best hope when he chose the least viable plan.  His prisoners had told him “that Montcalm had 6,000 men” and that another 3,000 were enroute.  He therefore felt that he had to hurry in order to attack before these reinforcements arrived.  One of Abercrombie’s officers wrote “I believe that we were one and all infatuated by a notion of carrying every obstacle by a mere coup de mousqueterie.”  When Howe died, it would appear that his leadership also died with him and “nothing was left but blind, headlong valor.”[12]

          The following morning Abercrombie made up his mind that it was time to find out just how strong the French defences were.  He would not, of course, go to see for himself.  (It may have crossed his mind that “leading from the front” was most likely reason why Howe had gotten himself killed in the first place, and perhaps he had no intention of making the same mistake).  He decided to send his chief engineer, a young man named Clerk, to conduct a reconnaissance instead.  Rutlege suggests that this is “one of the incidents that give to the action at Ticonderoga its bewildering sense of madness.”  It would appear that Clerk was not much more than a boy, having been commissioned as a Lieutenant and Sub-Engineer only six months before.  He had almost no experience of actual warfare, and now he was being sent on a mission that would ultimately decide what action would be taken by an entire army.  Meanwhile, General Abercrombie rested in his tent and stayed out of sight of the activities that were ongoing on his behalf.[13]

          Lieutenant Clerk surveyed the rough fortification from a height across the stream from the army headquarters. This high ground was named Mount Defiance, although the local population referred to it as “Rattlesnake Mountain,” (with good reason, so it would appear from Elijah’s Journal).  Clerk was able to observe and note that the French defences were composed of logs, sod and sandbags, which crowned a rise that fell away on all sides and was overlooked on its front by the guns of Fort Ticonderoga itself.  Apparently, “he was not impressed.”  Unfortunately, what he could not see was that in front, between, and all around that “deadly smother of felled trees” were the deadlier equivalents of modern-day barbed wire entanglements.  These obstacles were called “chevaux-de-frise,” and they made up with sharpened spikes set in wood on four sides, so that any attempt at movement through them would present a major physical challenge.  If the British forces advanced unaware of these devices and did not have engineers or artillery to help clear them, they would find themselves in serious difficulties.  They would certainly incur large numbers of casualties when they found themselves impaled on the prongs of these obstacles.  Clerk could not have seen them, or at least not appreciated their danger, if he reported back that “he was not impressed.”[14]

          As soon as the young Lieutenant returned, he gave General Abercrombie his report.  Based on his untrained observation, he considered that in his opinion the French defences could be taken by a direct frontal assault, and that there would be no need for artillery support.  His incorrect observations and his lack of experience would cost him his life.  The next day his body was found impaled on one of those “cruel spikes” that had not impressed him.[15]

           The real problem here was that General Abercrombie didn’t think his young engineer’s assessment had been wrong.  Clerk’s report apparently had “dovetailed” neatly with Abercrombie’s own interpretation of the situation.  He had received word that there were French reinforcements on the way, which would double Montcalm’s forces.  Abercrombie had already overestimated the size of the force he was up against, so this didn’t ease his concerns on whether to delay or proceed with his attack.  Complicating matters was the fact that the report of these reinforcements gave no indication of which direction they would be coming from.  Regardless of whatever his views were on the situation, Abercrombie felt he had delayed long enough, and he was impatient to have it over and done with.  His courage is not in question, because he was well aware that his choice of a frontal assault was essentially a dangerous course of action, even though it might be the quickest.[16]  

           In modern day battle tactics, the combat team commander usually has three choices when he is preparing to mount his quick attack. He can conduct a left flank attack, a right flank, or a frontal attack.  The frontal is usually chosen to get to and close with the enemy before he has time to dig in.  Abercrombie had lost that advantage with his delays.  There is a modern-day soldier’s quote on a “rule of thumb” for a quick attack that goes something like this: “hi-diddle diddle, strait up the middle, lots of HE (high explosive) and smoke.”  In other words, if you are going to attack the enemy frontally, blind him with smoke and artillery fire (both of which were available to Abercrombie) and force him to keep his head down while you pound his defence works and then rush in on him before he can recover.  Abercrombie had decided that he agreed with young Clerk and didn’t need to bring up his artillery.  It was to prove to be one of his biggest, (but not the only), mistakes.  General Abercrombie was essentially a one-idea man, so, having decided his course, he did not think of or consider any other option, even though, as noted above, there had been many.

           The bottom line to all these considerations is that Abercrombie had put his entire trust in young Clerk’s report that the French defences “might be carried by assault.”  In spite of the great number of other courses and plans that were open to him, the General had selected the one course that was almost guaranteed to fail.  Without waiting to bring up his cannon, Abercrombie prepared to storm the French lines.[17]

          The French finished their breastwork and abatis on the evening of the 7th of July, and then set up camp behind them, slung their kettles, rested, and waited.  The Chevalier de Lévis had not yet appeared, but at twilight one of his officers, Captain Pouchot, arrived with 300 regulars and announced that his commander would be there before morning with 100 more.  Although these reinforcements were small, they were most welcome.  The nearby presence of the Chevalier de Lévis was a boost to French morale in itself.[18]

           Pouchot was told that the army was a half-mile away, and he moved there to make his report to Montcalm.  He was amazed at the prodigious amount of work accomplished in one day.  Lévis himself arrived that night and approved the arrangement of the troops.  They lay behind their lines until daybreak, then the drums beat, and the French forces formed into their battle order.[19]

           The Chevalier de Lévis had arrived as first light streaked through the eastern mountain-tops, being shaken awake by an Indian paddling in the stern of his canoe.  As he came up the river through a wide avenue of trees, he could see Fort Carillon looming ahead on its high hill.  All along the lines he could make out the silhouettes of the soldiers at work on their defences, who quickly spread the word that the Chevalier had arrived.  Shortly afterwards, Lévis learned that he would be in command of the troops on the right hand of General Montcalm, while Bourlamaque, the old dragoon, would command the soldiers on the left flank of the breastwork defences.[20]

            Colonel Bougainville’s Journal carried much of the same information for July 6: 

           The troops under arms; enemy barges seen on the move around 4 o’clock in the morning; sending back the (camp) equipment of the battalions at the Falls and their bateaux to Carillon; orders to Sieurs de Pontleroy and Desandrouins to mark out immediately the abatis defences on the heights (as) determined the first of this month; to Sieur de Trécesson to put the third battalion of Berry to work there with their flags.[21]

            Sieur Germain returns to camp after having fired at those barges which passed within range of him.  Bernard’s volunteers fall back also after having fired a few times.  The enemy army started to disembark at Contrecoeur’s camp around 9 o’clock.  Sieur de Bourlamaque retreated in good order and without losing a single man, although in the presence of the enemy.  He joined up with the Marquis de Montcalm, and the five reunited battalions crossed the River of the Falls, destroying the bridge, and with the (battalions) of La Sarre and Languedoc, took up battle position on the heights situated opposite and on the left of this river.[22]

           According to Edward Hamilton, the British attempted to send barges armed with cannon down the river flowing out of Lake George early in the battle.  Their intent was to get around the French flank, but the cannon of Fort Carillon opened fire on them sinking two of the barges and driving the rest of them away.[23]

           Colonel Bougainville continued his report as follows:

            The 350-man detachment which Sieur de Langy led, was abandoned by the few Indians who served it as guides and went astray in the mountains.  After twelve hours marching, the detachment came into contact with an English column which was proceeding toward the Bernetz River.  About 4 o’clock in the evening we heard a great burst of musketry fire and we perceived an hour later the remains of this unfortunate detachment pursued by the English.  A few companies of Grenadiers at once crossed the rapids at the Falls to lessen the pressure of the enemy’s pursuit, and several of our people, favored by their fire, got across by swimming.  We lost out of this detachment, Sieur De Trepezec, dead the next day from his wounds.  Sieur Bonneau, captain in Guyenne, La Rochelle, lieutenant in the same regiment; Bernard, lieutenant in La Reine, Jaubert, lieutenant in Béarn, and 150 soldiers or Canadians killed or taken prisoner.[24]

            The enemy suffered a considerable loss there in the person of Milord Howe, who was killed.  He was a brigadier general and had showed the greatest talents, although still in his youth.  He had above all in the greatest degree those two qualities of heroes, activity, and audacity.  He it was who had projected the enterprise against Canada, and he alone was capable of executing it.  He was marching toward us when Sieur de Trépezec’s detachment ran blindly into his column.  At the first shots he ran up and was killed dead.  His death stopped the advance.  The disheartened English gave us a twenty-four hour’s delay, and this precious time was the saving of us and the colony.[25]

            The body of Milord Howe was taken to Mutton Island (an islet near the outlet of Lake George, now called Prison Island) and embalmed.  He was buried at Albany where they erected a superb tomb.  Most glorious for him is the regret of his compatriots and the esteem of the French.[26]

            Around 6 o’clock in the evening, Sieur Duprat had warned the Marquis de Montcalm that the enemy was pushing toward Bertnez River with sappers and that their plan evidently was to throw up a bridge.  The Marquis de Montcalm ordered him to fall back and not to hesitate to retire himself on the heights of Carillon, the enemy by the route they had taken being able, by going around a few mountains, to get between us and the fort.  The army entered the camp at Carillon toward 8 o’clock in the evening.  The companies of Grenadiers and volunteers formed the rear guard.[27]

            This same evening a party of the enemy’s regular troops and their light troops came to occupy the two banks of the Falls River extending as far as the Bernetz River and took up defensive positions there.  General Abercrombie with all the militia occupied Contrecoeur’s camp, the Portage, and took up positions there.[28]

            At this point, we return to Elijah’s journal.


[1] John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p.85.

[2] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 441.

[3] Ibid, p. 444.

[4] Ibid, pp. 444-445.

[5] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 450.

[6] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 444-445.

[7] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 454.

[8] Ibid, p. 454.

[9] Ibid, p. 454.

[10] Doreil had come to New France as Commissary of the Army with Dieskau.  He made frequent reports directly to the Minister of War.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 191.

[11] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 445-446.

[12] Ibid, p. 446.

[13] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 454.

[14] Ibid, pp. 454-455.

[15] Ibid, p. 455.

[16] Ibid, p. 455.

[17] Ibid, p. 446.

[18] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, pp. 178-179.

[19] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 446.

[20] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, p. 181.

[21] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 226.

[22] Ibid, pp. 226-227.

[23] Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, p. 82.

[24] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 228.

[25] Ibid, p. 229.

[26] Ibid, p. 229.

[27] Ibid, p. 229.

[28] Ibid, p. 229.

Into Battle

July the 7th day:

           And the 7th day we marched off to Ticonderoga.  And we marched about 4 miles up to the (river).  And there built a bridge and a breast work.  And I went with a small party of about 25 of our men in order to make what discovery we could of the French at their advance guard.  And three of the party crept up so near that they fired at 8 who were sitting on a log and judged that they killed seven of them.  For they perceived but one to rise and go away, which caused us to retreat as fast as we could, the French and Indians following us with hideous noise, about a-mile-and-a-half.  And after our return we had orders from Colonel Broadstreet for our Provincials to march off for the fort. [1]  And it was reported the French had deserted their fort and were gone away in their bateaux for Crown Point and we also marched off about one mile to the top of a hill, about one mile from the French advance guard.  And built a breastwork and camped there that night.

           Colonel Bougainville recorded the following in his Journal for the 7th of July:

           The army was all busy working on the abatis outlined the previous evening by the third battalion of Berry.  The workforce was covered by the grenadier companies and the volunteers.  Even the officers, ax in hand, set the example, and the flags were planted on the works.[2]

            The line had been, as we have said, traced the evening before on the heights, about 650 toises in advance of Fort Carillon.  The left rested on a steep slope eighty toises from the Falls River, the summit crowned with an abatis.  This abatis flanked a gap behind which we were going to place six cannons to cover it as well as the river.[3]

            The right also rested on a height whose slope was not so steep as that on the left.  The plain, between this height and the St. Frederic River, was flanked by a branch of our entrenchments on the right and should have been covered by a battery of four guns which was finished only after the action of the eighth.  Moreover, the cannon of the fort was directed on this plain as well as on the landing place they could use on our left.  The center followed the sinuousities of the ground holding to the high ground, and all parts gave each other flanking support.  There were, to be sure, several places there, as well as on the right, subject to enemy crossfire; but this was because they did not give us time enough to raise traverses.  These kinds of defensive works were made of tree trunks, lying one on top of the other, and having in front overturned trees whose cut and sharpened branches gave the effect of chevaux-de-frise.  The army worked with such ardor that the line was in a defendable state the same evening.[4]

            Between six and eight in the evening the light companies of our troops who had been detached with the Chevalier de Lévis, reached camp.  They had been most diligent, advancing day and night despite contrary winds to join their comrades, whom they knew were about to be attacked.  They were received by our little army with the same joy as were Caesar’s legions by those Roman cohorts blockaded with Cicero by a multitude of Gauls.  The Chevalier de Lévis arrived in the course of the night.  All day long our volunteers exchanged shots with the enemy’s light troops.[5]

            General Abercrombie himself, with a large party of militia and the rest of the regulars, advanced as far as the Falls; he got over (the portage) several barges and some pontoons, each mounted with two cannon.  His troops in the course of the day raised several defensive works, one in front of the other, and the nearest to us was not a cannon shot from our abatis.  The army slept in the open along the entrenchments.[6]

           On the morning of the 8th of July,

           a single gun boomed from Fort Carillon.  At the signal, every Frenchman laid down his tools and reached for his musket.  The hour had come.  It was almost noon.  Along the bristling barrier that faced the enemy like a zigzag fence for a matter of five hundred yards until it turned on each flank, not a defender could be seen from below.  But they were there, with Montcalm himself in command.  There was a glint of blue where the Royal Roussillon stood in the center, waiting.[7]

           At half-past noon, the British climbed up the hill from the sawmill, and then deployed onto the heights.  From behind their earth-and-log wall the French could see the red-coated regulars as they formed up at the edge of the forest where the trees were thin, and where they had cleared cut the underbrush used to build the abatis.  John Brainerd, a provincial soldier from New Jersey, also kept a Journal in which he mentions that on the morning of the battle, he had laid aside his blue regimental coat, like many other soldiers of his regiment.  In spite of this, he was still sweating as he broke over the rise onto the heights of Ticonderoga.  Colonel Johnston, at the head of the reconstituted Jersey “Blues,” had set a fast pace all the way from the sawmill.  Brainerd wrote that he had been forced to jogtrot the whole way in the hot July sun.[8] 

           On the flat ground the always-ill-tempered sergeants of the king’s regulars were shouting and shoving at their men to get them into columns of march.  The king’s officers stood negligently by, talking with each other as they passed around their flasks.  They did not deign to look at the colonial regiment crossing behind them.  The “Blues” passed by the rear of the two columns of regulars, then made a right turn into line.  The officers were shaking the companies into loose lines of skirmishers.  Two more columns of regulars were forming up beyond the gap, now filling with the Jersey men.  At the head of the farthest column, at the left of the battle line, Brainerd could hear the din of the squealing bagpipes, lashing up a fury there.[9]

            They were walking east now, and Brainerd, imitating the man on his left, checked the prime in his musket and seated his bayonet firmly on the muzzle.  In the direction he was going, the bright sunlight of the meadowland showed beyond the trees.  John Brainerd was walking toward the sound of the muskets firing.[10]

            It was not until he was about to leave the woods that John Brainerd of New Jersey (probably much like his counter-part Elijah Estabrooks of Massachusetts), saw the enemy in his lines, which had been said to be no stronger or higher than the partly raised walls of a cattle shed.  Now he saw them as a formidable wall, rising nine or ten feet above the plain.  He saw the stakes and tangle of the abatis.  Straight in front of him, the point of one of the angles shoved out toward him, like the front of a tricorn hat, and, like a hat of olden times, the prow in front of him was edged with a fringe of white-smoke feathers for all its angular length.  Brainerd could see, without comprehending, the heads and shoulders and arms of Frenchman as they rose up from behind the wall to fire at the men, like him (and Elijah), walking across the meadow.[11]

            Men were falling in the meadow now.  They were Rangers and men of General Gage’s light infantry, and New Jersey men too.  Running, John Brainerd saw a big pine log.  There were men behind it, and he ran until he too could throw himself down beside them.  He jostled the arm of a light infantryman, pouring powder into the open pan of his lock, and the man swore vilely at him.  The men behind the log were calmly firing at the enemy, then reloading.  Calm again himself, John Brainerd followed suit and saw that all over the meadow, from behind stumps and bushes and out of little hollows in the ground, men were firing at the hats that showed for a moment above the French lines about 100 yards away.  The man who’s arm he had joggled told him to fire to his right front, where an angle in the wall and a rise in the ground would give him an enfilading shot.  When he rose to shoot, he could glimpse through the smoke the Frenchmen, loading and shooting from behind their barrier.  John Brainerd settled down to work.[12]

           John R Cuneo notes that the advance on Ticonderoga was led by the Rangers, who drove in the French outposts.  Brigadier General Thomas Gage’s Light Infantry was formed on Rogers’ right and Colonel John Bradstreet’s bateaux men fought on his left.  Together the British forces poured a deadly fire on the barricaded enemy that Montcalm later described as “most murdering.”  The heavy red masses of British troops proceeded to advance in full battle array, conducting assault after assault against the “bristling mass” of sharpened branches the French had prepared.  The French poured volley after volley into the exposed attackers, causing appalling numbers of casualties in the British ranks.  Despite repeated assaults, the British regulars could not break through the French defensive works.[13]

           Here, we return to Elijah’s Journal.


[1] Governor Shirley took into pay some 2,000 boatmen, gathered from all parts of the country, including many whalemen from the eastern coasts of New England, divided them into companies of 50, armed each with a gun and hatchet, and placed them under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Bradstreet.  Bradstreet was a New England-born regular officer who had been a Captain in the last war.  He was somewhat dogged and self-opinionated, but brave, energetic, and well fitted for this kind of service.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 229.  Bradstreet has also been described as bull-headed and an accomplished egotist who later in the war would organize a force of men (mainly provincials) familiar with river navigation who would lay siege to and capture Fort Frontenac on the 27th of August 1758.  They also captured an immense amount of booty.  The following day they sailed off in a captured brigantine and a schooner laden with furs, after burning seven other ships and destroying the fort.  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 17.

[2] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 229.

[3] Ibid, p. 230.

[4] Ibid, p. 230.

[5] Ibid, p. 230.

[6] Ibid, pp. 230-231.

[7] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 456.

[8] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, pp. 181-182.

[9] Ibid, p. 182.

[10] Ibid, p. 182.

[11] Ibid, pp. 182-183.

[12] Ibid, p. 183.

[13] John R Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p. 87.

July the 8th day:

           And the 8th day we marched from there up the road within a quarter of a mile of the French advance guard, and drew up a line from Lake Champlain to the great Lake Haricon all our Provincials and Colonel Purdy’s and Major Roger’s Rangers were drawn up in a line about 30 rods within us.  And they crept up and shot down several of their sentries.  And we had orders to keep our lines.  And not to advance, nor fire a gun on pain of death, until the regulars with the Rangers had gone up and set the battle in array.  And if they were too strong for them, they were to retreat in our rear.  And then we were to advance in order to drive them back until they had recruited (regrouped?), but when the general came up with the regulars, he ordered the whole of our Provincials on the right wing.  And the regulars with the Rangers on the left wing.  And we marched within 30 or 40 rods of the French trenches and set the battle in array.  And we had about as smart a fight for about 4 hours as ever was heard or seen in England, Flanders, or America.  And the French prevailed very much, but it was through deceit.  For they acted contrary to the acts of all kings and parliaments.  For in the midst of their fight they hoisted an English flag in their trench only to deceive us, and so it did, for we thought that they had given up.  And drew up and was going to take possession, when all at once they hauled that down and hoisted their own, and with a great hellish shout poured a volley upon us, and killed more at that time than they had before.  2541 of our men they killed and wounded 1473, but through the goodness of God we had not one killed nor wounded in our company.[1]

           Harrison Bird added John Brainerd’s comments as follows

           On the British right, drums began to beat and the two columns the Jersey men had passed moved forward out of the trees.  The firing line in the meadow slowed their rate of fire to watch in awe the tight red ranks, trudging out across the sunlit plain, the haughty little officers walking stiffly beside their men, the little swords they affected shiny at their shoulders.  The men in the meadow turned again to their firing, aiming fast and loading fast, anything to help those proud columns forward to their goal.[2]

            The nearest column was at the abatis, a clawing mass of red-coated men struggling to get through.  Some succeeded and a few men were scrambling to climb the wall of earth and logs and branches beyond.  But they didn’t, they couldn’t, and reluctantly, sadly, the whole column gave way.  When they had gone, their coming and their going was marked by a red ribbon of honored dead.[3]

            John Lister Rutledge records,

           Out of the forest came the light infantry and the Rangers.  They were eager to attack.  There was a score to settle.  They had been with Howe when the bullet from one of Langy’s frightened men had found that brave and generous heart.  Their task was to drive in the pickets that guarded the front of the tangled maze of trees that was Montcalm’s last fortress.  This done, they would stand aside and watch the grand assault sweep over the barrier.  The Black Watch would lead it, and the thousand men of them were itching to be at it.  So were the Grenadiers, who would go with them in a drive that nothing could withstand.  Their bayonets were fixed, for this was to be an assault of cold steel.  There would be no stopping to fire until the work was done.[4]


[1] Another source states, in July 1758, Abercrombie, with 6,367 regulars and 9,034 colonials (including Elijah), made a rash frontal attack against Montcalm at Ticonderoga.  The 3,600 French inflicted 1,944 casualties upon Abercrombie, which seriously undermined the year’s plan by requiring the diversion of replacement troops from Major General Jeffery Amherst’s force and thus prevented him from pursuing the Quebéc phase of the St. Lawrence campaign.  Dictionary of American History, Volume II.  Charles Scribner’s & Sons, New York, 1976, p. 116.

[2] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, p. 183.

[3] Ibid, pp. 183-184.

[4] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 456.

“An Officer & Serjeant [sic] of a Highland Regiment.”  Illustration (p. 164) depicting soldiers of the 42nd (Highland Watch) Regiment of Foot, c. 1790s.[1]


[1] Military Antiquities Respecting a History of The English Army from Conquest to the Present Time. London: T. Egerton & G. Kearsley.  Grose, Francis.  1801.

        But nothing went quite as expected.  The line that broke from the woods was straight enough, but as it reached that maze of timber no one could keep a line.  Men dashed ahead in a cold fury, but now through gaps in the logs, flames were spurting, and men were falling.  Here and there a gun loaded with grape sprayed its contents into the straggling advance.  Time after time they came on, a black fury driving them, a fury that fear could not touch.  But courage had no effect on the cruel chevaux-de-frise.  They broke ranks as men fell screaming on their points, driven forward by the mad fury of those behind.  Human nature can stand just so much.  Gallantry had done its utmost.  Now without thinking, men were falling back in disorder.  They knew now that it couldn’t be done.[1]

            There were casualties among the marksmen too.  John Brainerd saw John Hendrickson of his regiment running wildly to the rear, clutching at his throat with fingers over which the blood seeped.  It had been John who shot the wounded and imploring Frenchman full in the face during the woods fight when Lord Howe was killed.  On the pungent smell of powder-smoke, obscuring fact but bearing rumor, Brainerd heard that Lieutenant Colonel Shaw of Amboy was lying dead, and that further off, the regulars were attacking again.  Rumour had it, too, that the colonials, New Englanders and Yorkers were rushing forward with them, forged by the flame of battle into one will of tempered steel and angry purpose.[2]

            According to Brenton C. Kemmer, there is documentation that the Massachusetts Provincials “were pulled up and drove the right flank, helping to save the advance.”[3]

           On the French right, the Highlanders were attacking to their wild music, with DeLancey’s New Yorkers behind a screen of Roger’s Rangers and Colonel Bradstreet’s boatmen.  The Chevalier de Lévis was there with Béarn and la Reine.  In fine order, Lévis’s soldiers, three deep at the breastwork, stood silently waiting.  Rank by rank they stepped up and fired into the skirted men surging forward to engulf them.  Lévis called up his reserve of Grenadiers and the first attack of the Highlanders fell back.  But they only receded, closed their ranks to fill the many gaps, and came on again, sliding around to the right of the French wall to bring the regiment of Guyenne under attack.  From the center, where Montcalm commanded, Bougainville came running over to inquire if the chevalier held.  By then the Marine, in the low ground on the right, had moved in front of their abatis to fire into the flank of the attacking columns, a mixture now of big Scots, Rangers, bateaux-men, and Yorkers.  When Bougainville returned to his general with word from Lévis that all went well with his men, the aide was hatless and was holding a soiled handkerchief to a deep cut in his head.  As Bougainville gave his report, a surgeon dressed his wound.[4]

            On Montcalm’s front, the Royal Roussillon and the 1st Berry had been attacked, initially by the Royal Americans.  But as the grim afternoon wore on, that column had joined with the Scots to storm the slope where La Guyenne held the right-flank angles of the line.[5]


[1] Ibid, pp. 456-457.

[2] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, p. 184.

[3] E-mail from Brent Kemmer, 25 October 2000.

[4] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, pp. 184-185.

[5] Ibid, p. 185.

A Second Assault 

           Abercrombie, down at his headquarters by the sawmill and the bridge, didn’t know or would not believe what was taking place under his command.  His orders were clear enough.  The assault should be made again, and so it was.  There never was any questioning.  Screaming, fighting, and dying, the men drove forward there in that hot July sunlight” on a height overlooking one of the finest views in the world.  There was no time to pause, or to remember the matter of the bayonet alone.  There were limits to their endurance, and theirs had been reached.[1]

           There was a small diversion when Abercrombie did attempt a sensible turning move.  He sent twenty bateaux filled with troops to strike at the left, where Bourlamaque himself was holding his trained marksmen in hand.  In this more open field of fire they did not miss.  Bourlamaque was down, seriously wounded, but he still commanded there.  His men didn’t waver.  Soon plunging shots from the fortress itself were finding the bateaux and discouraging the men who must depend on them.  The attack just ceased to be.[2]

            The reverse quickly decided Abercrombie he had been right in his first main decision.  The ground could be taken, and he would take it, by assault.  5 o’clock came.  Once again, the attack was ordered, the highlanders again and the Grenadiers.  They were to smash at the right of the line, where Lévis and the regiments of Béarn and Guyenne were waiting.  It was an attack to end all attacks, made by men who would not be stayed.  Time and again they almost reached the barricades behind the maze of felled trees behind the chevaux-de-frise.  Major Campbell of Inverawe charged with the black prophecy in his mind.  Years ago, he had heard that he would die at Ticonderoga, a name he had never heard.  Now he knew that name well and knew his fate as it came to meet him that day.  In a black fury some of his highlanders reached the abatis, climbed it, and leaped among their foes.  They died there on French bayonets.[3]

           Major Duncan Campbell is reported to have remarked on the morning of the 8th of July that it was idle attempting to deceive h, because he had seen an apparition the night before which had told him, “This is Ticonderoga.”  “And this day,” he said, “I shall fall.”  Gravely wounded in the attack, Major Campbell was carried to Fort Edward where he died on the 17th of July 1758.[4]

            By 5 o’clock the fury besetting Lévis’s front” began to subside.  “The constant, deadly fire of the marksmen still probed in behind the too-hastily constructed angles of the French lines.  Montcalm counted his casualties and found them heavy in proportion to his small force.  A few Frenchmen went forward into their ditch and the abatis, looking for prisoners.  The rest waited on their arms for the valiant enemy’s last grand charge.  The final attack against the Royal Roussillon came within an hour.  The remaining Highlanders with the Royal Americans were in the van, but the orderly flame of discipline had been extinguished.  It was a searing flash of anger that drove the British up to the abatis in the face of the steady French musket fire.  The strength was gone from the fury.  Fatigue had withered the core of determination.  Imagination took charge of tired minds.  The British regulars fell back.[5]

            The assault by the Black Watch was the last major effort by the British. Over half of that regiment were lost that day, 499 men in all.[6]  As twilight came, the last attack dwindled away.  Brave men withdrew, leaving their dead behind.  Killed, wounded, and missing, (and most of them killed) totaled 1,944 officers and men.  But they had taken their toll.  Out of less than 3,600 men, the French had lost 377 dead and wounded.[7]


[1] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 457.

[2] Ibid, p. 457.

[3] Ibid, p. 457.

[4] A.G. Bradley, The Fight With France for North America, p 256.  Seymour Schwartz quotes the same figures.  Seymour I. Schwartz, The French and Indian War 1754-1763, The Imperial Struggle for North America, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1994, p. 99.

[5] Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent, p. 185.

[6] Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, p. 84.

[7] Joseph Lister Rutledge, Century of Conflict, p. 457.


View from the French Position

         Bourlamaque continued to maintain his detailed journal entries throughout the period of conflict.  The following was his Journal entry for the 8th of July:

         They beat to arms at daybreak so that all the soldiers could know their posts for the defence of the works, according to the attached disposition which was nearly the same as that where they had worked.[1]

          At the left of the line were the battalions of La Sarre and Languedoc and two of the light companies (which) arrived the night before.  Bernard’s and Duprat’s volunteers guarded the gap formed by the River of the Falls.  The battalions of Royal Roussillon, the first Berry and the remainder of Chevalier De Lévis’ light companies occupied the center.  La Reine, Béarn, and Guyenne defended the right and in the plain between the escarpment of the right (flank) and the St. Frederick River (Lake Champlain), they had placed the Canadians and the troops of La Marine who were also protected by abatis.[2]

          Along the whole front of the line, each battalion had behind it a company of Grenadiers and a light company in reserve as a support for the battalion as well as (being available) to go where necessary.  The Chevalier de Lévis was charged with the right.  Sieur de Bourlamaque with the left, and the Marquis de Montcalm remained in the center to be within range of all parts.  The disposition determined and understood, the troops immediately went back to work; part were busy perfecting the abatis, the rest at constructing the two batteries mentioned before and a redoubt intended to protect the right.[3]

          This morning Colonel (Sir William) Johnson arrived at the enemy army (camp) with 300 Choctaws, Delawares, and Iroquois, and Captain Jacob with 150 more.  Around 10 o’clock we saw them as well as a few light troops on the mountain, which is opposite Carillon, the other side of the River of the Falls.  They let off a great fusillade, which did not interrupt our work at all; we amused ourselves by not replying.  Half an hour after noon, the English army advanced on us.  The grenadier companies, the volunteers, and the advanced guards fired (a volley), fell back in good order, and re-entered the lines without losing a single man.  At the same moment, at an agreed upon signal, all the troops were under arms at their posts.[4]

          The left was first attacked by two columns, one of which tried to outflank the defences and found itself under fire of La Sarre, the other directed its efforts on a salient between Languedoc and Berry.  The center, where Royal Roussillon was, was attacked at almost the same time by a third column, and a fourth carried its attack toward the right between Béarn and La Reine.  These different columns were intermingled with their light troops and better marksmen, who, protected by the trees, delivered a most murderous fire on us.[5]

          At the start of the affair, a few of the enemy’s barges and pontoons advanced down the River of the Falls.  Bernard’s and Duprat’s volunteers, posted in this area, received them in fine style; Sieur de Poulhariez, at the head of the company of Grenadiers and of a light company of Royal Roussillon also appeared there and the cannon of the fort having smashed two of these barges, they withdrew and did not appear again during the course of the action.  The different attacks, almost all afternoon and almost everywhere, were made with the greatest of vigor.[6]

          As the Canadians and colony troops were not attacked at all, they, from the defences which sheltered them, directed their fire against the column which attacked our right and which a few times came within range.  Chevalier de Lévis in succession sent Sieur D’Herr, captain adjutant, and D’Hainaut, also captain in La Reine, to order the more active of them to make two sorties and to take this column in the flank.  This column, composed of English Grenadiers and Scottish Highlanders, returned unceasingly to the attack, without becoming discouraged or broken, and several got themselves killed within fifteen paces of our abatis.  Chevalier de Lévis twice ordered the Canadians and the troops of La Marine to make sorties and take them in the flank.[7]

          Around 5 o’clock the column which had spiritedly attacked Royal Roussillon, threw itself against the salient defended by the Guyenne regiment and by the left of Béarn.  The column, which had attacked La Reine and Béarn with the greatest fury, threw itself there again with the result that this attack threatened danger.  Chevalier de Lévis went there with a few troops from the right, at which the enemy was only shooting (and not really attacking).  The Marquis de Montcalm also ran there with a few reserve troops and the enemy met a resistance which finally cooled their ardor.[8]

         The left continually withstood the fire of the two columns which tried to penetrate this area, in which their supply depot was (located).  M. de Bourlamaque had been dangerously wounded there around 4 o’clock and Sieurs de Senezerques and de Privat, lieutenant colonels of La Sarre and Languedoc, made up for his absence and continued to give the best of orders.  The Marquis de Montcalm went there several times and was attentive to getting reinforcements there at all moments of crisis.  For, throughout the entire affair, the grenadier and light companies of the reserve always ran to the most threatened places.  Around 6 o’clock the two columns on the right gave up the attack on Guyenne and came to make another attempt at the center against Royal Roussillon and Berry and finally a last effort on the left.[9]

          At 7 o’clock the enemy thought only of retreat, covered by the fire of the light troops, which was kept up until dark.  During the action, our abatis caught fire outside several times, but it was put out at once, the soldiers courageously passing over the back of it to stop the progress (of the flames).  Besides munitions of powder and ball, they constantly sent up casks full of water and Sieur de Trécesson on this occasion has, both himself and his battalion, rendered the greatest service by their activity in getting munitions up to us as well as (the) refreshments so necessary in such a long fight.[10]

          The darkness of the night, the exhaustion, and the small number of our troops, the forces of the enemy which, despite his defeat, were still infinitely superior to us; the nature of these woods in which one could not without Indians involve oneself against an army which had four or five hundred of them; several defensive works the enemy had raised one behind the other from the battlefield (back) to their camp; here were the obstacles which prevented us from following them in their retreat.  We even thought that they would try (again the) next day to take their revenge, and consequently we worked all night to secure defilade against the neighboring heights by traverses, to perfect the abatis of the Canadians and to finish the batteries on the right and left (which were) commenced in the morning.[11]


[1] At this point in his Journal, Bougainville inserted a “List and Composition of the French Army, July 8, 1758.  This list is reported earlier in the Order of Battle of the French Army at Fort Carillon, 8 July 1758. Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 231.

[2] Ibid, pp. 231-232.

[3] Ibid, p. 232.

[4] Ibid, p. 232.

[5] Ibid, p. 232.

[6] Ibid, pp. 232-233.

[7] Ibid, pp. 233.

[8] Ibid, pp. 233.

[9] Ibid, pp. 233-234.

[10] Ibid, p. 234.

[11] Ibid, p. 234.


Other Points of View

                The battle was one of the fiercest and possibly most frightful in British casualties for the whole of the Seven Years War.  Francis Parkman describes the scene in greater detail on the morning of the 8th of July as the French formed up into their lines of battle to the beating of drums. 

          The battalions of La Sarre and Languedoc were posted on the left, under Bourlamaque, the first battalion of Berry with that of Royal Roussillon and Lévis’s light companies in the centre, under Montcalm, and those of La Reine, Béarn, and Guyenne on the right, under Lévis.  A detachment of volunteers occupied the low grounds between the breastwork and the outlet of Lake George, while at the foot of the decline on the side towards Lake Champlain, were stationed 450 colony Marine regulars and Canadians, behind an abatis.  In reserve, at the entrenched camp in front of the walls of the fortress, was another battalion of the Berry regiment.  As the cannon of the fort covered these troops, there was some hope that they would check any flank movement, which the English might attempt on that side.  With their posts now assigned, the men again set to work to strengthen their defences.  The total French force (including Lévis men) comprised 3,600 effective soldiers.[1]

           The overall command rested on the shoulders of the Marquis de Montcalm, with Bougainville as his chief of staff and Montreuil as his brigade major. Lévis had command of the troops on the right and Bourlamaque those on the left.[2]

           Soon after 9 o’clock a distant and harmless round of small arms fire began on the slopes of Mount Defiance.  It came from a party of Indians who had just arrived with Sir William Johnson, and who, after amusing themselves in this manner for some time, remained for the rest of the day as safe spectators of the fight.  The soldiers worked undisturbed till noon, when volleys of musketry were heard from the forest in front.  These shots were fired by the light English troops driving in the French pickets.  A cannon was fired as a signal to drop tools and form for battle.  The white uniforms lined the breastwork in a triple row, with the Grenadiers behind them as a reserve, and the second battalion of Berry watching the flanks and rear.[3]

           Abercrombie’s intelligence gathering service was poor, and without Howe to direct his thinking he exhibited a great deal of difficulty in making up his mind as to an appropriate plan of attack.  His Chief Engineer had gained a small glimpse of the French position and gave it as his opinion that the enemy’s works could be carried by “a general storm.”  Abercrombie therefore decided upon a frontal attack without any artillery preparation.  Accordingly, orders were given to attack in line of threes.  Eyre, who commanded the 44th, wanted to attack in column rather than in line, “As we could more easily force Our Way thro’ the fell Trees than by making so large A Front”; but he was told that “this would cause confusion; in short, it was said, we must Attack Any Way, and not be losing time in talking or consulting how.”[4]

          During this period “the English army had moved forward from its camp by the sawmill.  The Rangers came first, followed by the light infantry, and Bradstreet’s armed boatmen,” who opened fire as soon as they emerged into the open space.  “Some of the provincial troops followed, extending from left to right, and opened fire in turn.”  The English regulars, “who had formed in columns of attack under cover of the forest, advanced their solid red masses into the sunlight, and passing through the intervals between the provincial regiments, pushed forward to the assault.  Across the rough ground with its maze of fallen trees, the English troops could see the top of the breastwork but not the men behind it.”  According to a British officer, the French suddenly let fly “a damnable fire” of musket and grapeshot.  The gush of smoke and the deafening sound of exploding firearms obscured the line.[5]

          Edward Hamilton has commented that the initial British attack was “uncoordinated” and conducted by sev4eral regiments in long lines three men deep. In his opinion, “the only hope of a successful assault” on such a strong position would have been a carefully coordinated simultaneous advance of several columns along a narrow front and in great depth.  He admits, however, that “the slaughter would have been great” but that the storming force just might have carried over the log wall in at least one place.  Unfortunately, each regiment attacked in a long thin line without waiting for the units to their flanks.  Thus, the forces on the right began to move forward before the centre brigade had formed up, with the end result that the assault went ahead well before all the troops required to make it work had formed up.  The men were immediately caught up in the tangled trap of the abatis.  The result was a “bloody” disaster.[6]

          The English had been ordered to clear the breastworks “with the bayonet; but their ranks were broken by the obstructions through which they vainly struggled to force their way.”  They soon began to return fire, and the battle proceeded “in full fury for another hour.”  The assailants advanced to positions “close to the breastwork, but there they were stopped by the bristling mass of sharpened branches,” and were pinned down under a murderous crossfire “that swept them from front and flank.”  At length they fell back, having found the works impenetrable.  General Abercrombie, who was at the sawmill, a mile and a half in the rear, sent orders to attack again, and again they repeated the assault.[7]

           The battle scene was frightful, with “masses of infuriated men who could not go forward” and would not fall back.  They strained to close with “an enemy they could not reach,” or even see to fire on.  They were “caught in the entanglement of fallen trees” and debris, constantly sniped at with musket shot “that killed them by the scores.”  The provincials “supported the regulars with spirit, and some of them” managed to force “their way to the foot of the wooden wall.”[8]

          Stanley’s investigations into the battle reveal that,

          “About half an hour after noon the French defenders could see, through the trees, the red coats of the British troops forming up for the attack.  They waited and watched as the assault troops, led by the Grenadiers, deployed into the open area in front of the abatis.  Before the first wave of attackers reached the obstacles, which the French had placed in front of the breastwork, the curtain of skirmishers and sharpshooters broke for cover and engaged the defenders.  The French replied hotly, not in ordered volleys, but at will.  But every man fired with care and deliberation.  Montcalm’s orders, issued on the night of the 7th had stressed the necessity of taking careful aim and of making every bullet tell; and every French soldier held his fire until he could see an enemy uniform in the sight of his musket.  “It was impossible to find more coolness and bravery that was to be seen that day in every soldier,” wrote Desandrouins.[9]

           The Highlanders of the 42nd led the attack on the French right, advancing to the warlike music of the pipes; in the centre the Royal Americans led the charge.  But try as he did, neither Highlander nor American could claw his way through the abatis in face of the rain of bullets from the French lines.  So hot was their fire that the French infantry frequently had to change muskets to allow the barrels to cool.  The Anglo-American attackers shifted the weight of the pressure towards the flanks, but with no greater success.  Why Abercrombie did not blast Montcalm’s ragged log defence work into splinters with a few shots from his heavy artillery, or why he did not by-pass the weak and vulnerable French position and send some of his men marching towards the weak and vulnerable Fort St Frédéric, remains unanswered.  But he did neither.  He merely reformed his men and sent them back into the maelstrom before them.  The Berry regiment, inexperienced in battle and made up of raw recruits, found the British pressure difficult to withstand, and some of the men broke and ran.  But Montcalm’s Grenadiers were behind them and faced with the choice of the bayonets of the French Grenadiers or those of the enemy, they yielded to their officer’s demands and returned to the parapet.[10] 

           Edward Hamilton also made note of the fact that “almost three-quarters of the Regiment of Berry were young recruits,” and that their first baptism of fire in battle was more than they could handle.  When their “courage left them,” they apparently withdrew behind the log wall in utter confusion.  Before the British could grasp the initiative, however, the reserve companies of Grenadiers rushed up literally just in time to save the situation.[11]

           Late in the afternoon French hopes were stimulated by the arrival of a reinforcement of 250 Canadians, who were able to bolster the right wing.  Then, about 5 o’clock, Abercrombie ordered another attack.  It was not his last, but it was his supreme effort.  For a few moments even Montcalm wondered if the French line would hold; but Lévis rushed a reinforcement of La Reine to the threatened positions of Guyenne and Béarn, and the day was saved.  The line remained unbroken.  The Highlanders, who had led the last charge, backed away.  They had acquitted themselves nobly and they had few lives left to offer for their cause; no less than 25 officers and half their effective strength had fallen on the bloody field of Carillon.  From this time on the attacks dwindled in intensity, and by 7 o’clock all the fury had gone out of the battle.  Nothing was left but the cries of the wounded and the rattle of desultory musket fire.  The battle was over when the men of Béarn clambered over the wall and put to flight the remaining snipers, who, hiding among the trees, were still taking pot shots at the French defenders.[12]

           The French fought with élan, and the troops could hear their shouts of “Vive le Roi!” and “Vive notre Général!” mingled with the roar of musketry.  Montcalm, with his coat off because of the heat of the day, “directed the defence of the centre, and moved to any part of the line where the danger for the time seemed greatest.”  He was warm in his praise of his English enemy, and recorded the following:

          between one and 7 o’clock they attacked him six successive times.  Early in the action, Abercrombie tried to turn the French left by sending 20 bateaux, filled with troops, down the outlet of Lake George.  They were met by the fire of the volunteers stationed to defend the low ground on that side, and still advancing, came within range of the cannon of the fort, which sank two of them and drove back the rest.[13]

           A curious incident happened during one of the attacks.  De Bassignac, a captain in the battalion of Royal Roussillon, tied his handkerchief to the end of a musket and waved it over the breastwork in defiance.  The English mistook it for a sign of surrender, and came forward with all possible speed, holding their muskets crossed over their heads in both hands, and crying “Quarter.”  The French made the same mistake; and thinking that their enemies were giving themselves up as prisoners, ceased firing, and mounted on the top of the breastwork to receive them.  Captain Pouchot, astonished, as he said, to see them perched there, looked out to learn the cause, and saw that the enemy meant anything but surrender.  He immediately shouted with all his might, “Tirez! Tirez! Ne voyez-vous pas que ces gens-là vont vous enlever?”  (“Fire! Fire! Don’t you see that they are coming to take you prisoner?”).  The soldiers, still standing on the breastwork, instantly gave the English a volley, which killed some of them, and sent the rest back discomfited.[14]

           Putout ensured that the Canadians kept up their fire with all possible speed, and that their shots were aimed and accurate.  He stated, “they alone of the defenders made several sorties” although they were driven back to the shelter of the abatis time and time again.  Each time they went out, great gaps appeared in the English ranks.  Pouchot said, “it was owing to these sorties alone that the enemy did not dare to turn the French position by the extreme right,” which they might easily have done “if they had known the locality and how easily it could be entered.”[15]

          According to Abbé Casgrain’s account, the heat on the battlefield that day was suffocating.  He notes that at the beginning of the engagement, Montcalm took off his uniform and smilingly remarked to his soldiers that “We will have a warm time of it today, my friends.”[16]

          Another battlefield witness felt much the same as Elijah about the French tactics.  He stated,

Another deceit that the enemy put upon us (was that) they raised their hats above the breastwork, which our people fired at; they, having loopholes to fire through, and being covered by the sods, we did them little damage, except shooting their hats to pieces.[17]

           In one of the last assaults a soldier of the Rhode Island regiment, William Smith, managed to get through all obstructions and ensconce himself close under the breastwork, where in the confusion he remained for a time unnoticed, improving his advantages meanwhile by shooting several Frenchmen.  Eventually he was observed, and a French soldier fired vertically down on him wounding him severely, but not enough to prevent his springing up, striking at one of his enemies over the top of the wall, and braining him with his hatchet.  A British officer who saw the feat and was struck by the reckless daring of the man, ordered two regulars to bring him off, which, covered by a brisk fire of musketry, they succeeded in doing.”  Two weeks later, he was well on the way to recovering, “invigorated by his anger against the French, on whom he was swearing to have his revenge.[18]

           As recorded by Parkman, “Towards 5 o’clock two English columns joined in a very determined assault on the extreme right of the French, defended by the battalions of Guyenne and Béarn.”  The situation for a time was serious, and Montcalm rushed to the spot with reserves.  “The assailants hewed their way to the foot of the breastwork; and though again and again repulsed, they repeatedly renewed the attack.  The Highlanders fought with stubborn and unconquerable fury,” and it was difficult pulling them back.  Major Campbell of Inverawe found that the prediction of his doom at Ticonderoga had been true, as he was mortally wounded, and his clansmen carried him from the field.  “25 of their officers were killed or wounded, and half the men fell under the deadly fire that poured from the French loopholes.  Captain John Campbell and a few followers tore their way through the abatis, climbed the breastwork, leaped down among the French and were bayoneted there.”[19]

          According to Abbé Casgrain’s account,

          the scene of carnage was indescribable.  Inside the defenders’ lines, the whole line of the ramparts was strewn with dead and wounded.  Outside, all round the walls, the bodies lay by the hundreds in masses more or less compact according to the fierceness of the fighting.  Some lay across the fallen trees, while others were caught in their branches.  Many still writhed in the pains of their dying agony.  Disordered columns moved to the right and left, seeking a vulnerable point of attack amidst the thunders of the firearms, the whistling of bullets, the sharp commands of the officers, and the imprecations of the soldiers as they advanced or retired amongst the impenetrable mass of leaves and branches.[20]

           Casgrain noted that as the sun was going down, General Abercrombie finally made an appearance on the battlefield, reportedly “furious at his men’s repeated checks.”  He was determined not to admit that he had been defeated without making one more “supreme and final effort.”  He therefore gathered the two columns on his left and proceeded to throw them against the right angle of the entrenchments, while the two columns on his right were “hurled at the foot of the ravine which runs along the Lachute River, and which overlooked the opening guarded by the French volunteers.”  None of the previous attacks had been conducted with such desperation.”[21]

          In spite of the tremendous numbers of casualties they had already suffered, the British continued to press home their attack, struggling to “cross the barrier of lead,” which impeded their advance.  Montcalm himself, bareheaded and “with his face inflamed and fire in his eye, personally superintended the defence of the threatened spot, and exposed himself to the same dangers that his troops had to face.”  Lévis, equally calm and unperturbed, seconded Montcalm’s efforts with good judgment, even though musket balls “had twice pierced his hat.  (He would later repeat this performance at Ste. Foy).[22]

          Brian Connell states, “Montcalm was everywhere that day, encouraging his exhausted men and moving his scanty reserves to the point where the fight was the thickest.  In spite of the hail of bullets, he emerged unscathed.”[23]

          As this last desperate assault continued, Lévis ordered a combat sortie of some 700 newly reinforced troops.  Both Morrison and Casgrain have indicated that the colony troops and Canadians on the low ground had been left undisturbed, which is why Lévis decided to send them out now with a cry of “En avant Canadiens!”  The swarm of woodsmen issued from the fortifications and spread themselves out into the timber and along the fringe of the woods led by their officers.[24]

          They were ordered to attack the left flank of the charging British columns.  They accordingly posted themselves among the trees along the declivity, and fired upwards at the enemy, and at the flank of the column skirting the side of the hill from which they threatened the fort.  As their fire became more telling and murderous, the column proceeded to shift their position somewhat to the right, out of the line of shot, but moving towards the centre.  The assault still continued, but all efforts failed to gain any headway.  As the column was enveloped in front and came under a hail for fire from the right, it finally was forced to withdraw to the edge of the forest.  Casgrain indicates that this colonial “sortie” was decisive.[25]

          Casgrain completes his record by indicating that about six o’clock, one last attack was made.  Morrison and Casgrain both agree that it proved to be equally fruitless.  From this time until half-past seven a lingering fight was kept up by the Rangers and other provincials, firing from the edge of the woods and from behind the stumps, brush and fallen trees in front of the lines.  The reasons the Rangers kept up this sporadic continuing fire were to cover their comrades, who were collecting and bringing off the wounded, and to protect the retreat of the regulars, who fell back in disorder to the Falls.  As twilight came on, the last combatant withdrew, and none were left but the dead. [26]

          Casgrain notes that the French troops slept along the ramparts with their guns by their sides, fearing the enemy’s return.  General Abercrombie had lost 1944 killed and wounded officers and men.  The French losses, not counting those with Langy’s detachment, were 104 killed and 248 wounded for a total of 352 (Morison records 377).  Brigadier Bourlamaque was dangerously wounded; Colonel Bougainville was slightly wounded; and, as noted by Casgrain, Chevalier de Lévis had taken two bullet holes through his hat.[27]

          Stanley Pargellis states, “the brunt of the attack itself was borne by Abercrombie’s eight regular battalions, a total of less than six thousand rank and file.”  According Pargellis, “of the 1945 casualties, 1610 were regulars, and 335 provincials; 1429 of the regular rank and file were killed or wounded, 281 of the provincial.”[28]

          For the 6,000 or so provincials who witnessed the debacle of Abercrombie’s defeat at Ticonderoga the principal lesson was clear enough.  It had been an almost incredibly “injudicious and wanton sacrifice of men, a tragic demonstration of how an arrogant or incompetent commander could destroy hundreds of lives in a few hours.  The provincials at the edge of the battle could not have doubted the discipline or the courage of the regulars who had met their death’s in Montcalm’s abatis, but nothing about the sight could have made them eager to emulate the redcoats example either.[29]

             Although the provincial soldiers had been small in numbers, they undeniably rendered a valuable contribution in 1758 and later years of the war.  Colonel Phineas Lyman’s advance party of Connecticut provincials, for example, “distinguished itself at the landing place at Ticonderoga, where Lord Howe was killed; Colonel John Bradstreet’s tiny force, which took Fort Frontenac in August, was composed largely of provincials accustomed to bateaux.”  Provincials fought at Niagara in 1759, and on Amherst’s voyage down the St. Lawrence in 1760.  For the most part they acted as workmen, repairing and building forts and roads, or as waggoneers and bateaux-men, transporting provisions and supplies.  These were useful and necessary services.[30]

          Major Robert Rogers Journal includes some additional detail on the events that took place between the 7th and 9th of July at Ticonderoga.  The morning of the 7th at 6 o’clock he was

          Ordered to march to the river that runs into the falls, the place where I was the day before, and there to halt on the west-side till further orders, with 400 Rangers, while Captain Stark, with the remainder of the Rangers, marched with Captain Abercrombie and Mr. Clerk the Engineer to observe the position of the enemy at the fort, from whence they returned again that evening.  The whole army lay the ensuing night under arms. By sunrise the nest morning, Sir William Johnson joined the army with 440 Indians.  At 7 o’clock I received orders to march with my Rangers.  A Lieutenant of Captain Stark’s led the advance guard.  I was within about 300 yards of the breastwork when my advance guard was ambushed and fired upon by about 200 Frenchmen.  I immediately formed a front, and marched up to the advanced guard, who maintained their ground, and the enemy immediately retreated; soon after the bateaux-men formed on my left and light infantry on my right.  This fire of the enemy did not kill a single man.  Soon after three regiments of Provincials came up and formed in my rear, at 200 yards distance.  While the army was thus forming, a scattering fire was kept up between our flying parties and those of the enemy without the breastwork.  About half-an-hour past ten, the greatest part of the army being drawn up, a smart fire began on the left wing, where Colonel De Lancey’s, (the New Yorkers), and the bateaux-men were posted, upon which I was ordered forward to endeavor to beat the enemy within the breast-work, and then to fall down, that the pickets and grenadiers might march through.  The enemy soon retired within their works; Major Proby marched through with his pickets within a few yards of the breast-work, where he unhappily fell, and the enemy keeping up a heavy fire, the soldiers hastened to the right about, when Colonel Haldiman came up with the grenadiers to support them, being followed by the battalions in brigades for their support.  Colonel Haldiman advanced near the breastwork, which was at least eight feet high; some of the provincials with the Mohawks came up also.[31]

           We toiled with repeated attacks for four hours, being greatly embarrassed by trees that were felled by the enemy without their breast-work, when the General thought proper to order a retreat, directing me to bring up the rear, which I did in the dusk of the evening.  On the 9th in the evening, we arrived at our encampment at the fourth-end of Lake George, where the army received the thanks of the General for their good behaviour, and were ordered to entrench themselves; the wounded were sent to Fort Edward and Albany.  Our loss both in regular and provincial troops, was somewhat considerable.  The enemy’s loss was about 500, besides those who were taken prisoners.[32]

           As for Abercromby, Edward Hamilton concludes that he “must have lost his wits that day.  The French had placed themselves in a “most precarious” position to begin with, having “their backs to the lake, only five days provisions on hand,” and an army four times their size closing in on them.  Had Abercrombie simply just advanced to the lake shore slightly to the north of the fort and put his artillery to practical use, he would have seized command of the only route that French reinforcements could have come, and cut off Montcalm’s forces from their supply base to the north.  The French would have been starved into surrendering.  Alternatively, Abercrombie could have brought up his artillery and literally pounded the French forces into submission.  The fort could have taken almost in the same manner that Montcalm had taken Fort William Henry, with almost no bloodshed by the British forces.  Instead he chose a frontal assault against a well-defended position (including French artillery) by infantry unsupported by their available artillery.  Hamilton concludes that Abercrombie’s “only possible excuse was fear of an immediate arrival of heavy reinforcements, and hence a belief in the need for speedy action.”[33]

          Edward Hamilton has another possible theory about Abercrombie, stating, “although he was no military genius, Abercrombie had the reputation of being a sound and experienced officer.”  A senior British officer, apparently “expressed sorrow for the defeated general, and wrote that he could not understand how it had happened,” because “it was not at all what he would have expected of Abercrombie.”  Another factor may have been that General Abercrombie was apparently suffering from a chronic stomach disorder that hit him again on the day of the battle.  Hamilton speculates that this illness might have “rendered him incapable of effective thought or action.”[34]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 447.

[2] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, p. 179.

[3] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 446.

[4] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, pp. 179-180.

[5] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 447.

[6] Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, p. 82.

[7] Ibid, p. 447.

[8] Ibid, pp. 447-448.

[9] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, pp. 179.

[10] Ibid, pp. 179-180.

[11] Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, p. 83.

[12] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, p. 180.

[13] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 448.

[14] Ibid, p. 448.

[15] The Abbé H.R. Casgrain,  Collection des Manuscripts du Maréchal De Lévis, Journal du Marquis de Montcalm Durant Ses Campagnes en Canada de 1756 à 1759.  Québec Imprimerie de L.J. Demers & Frère, Pablié sous la direction de L’abbé H.R. Casgrain, 1895.  (Also: University of Toronto Press, 1964), p. 58.

[16] Ibid, p. 58.

[17] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 448.

[18] Ibid, pp. 448-449.

[19] Ibid, p. 449.

[20] The Abbé H.R. Casgrain,  Collection des Manuscripts du Maréchal De Lévis, Journal du Marquis de Montcalm Durant Ses Campagnes en Canada de 1756 à 1759.  Québec Imprimerie de L.J. Demers & Frère, Pablié sous la direction de L’abbé H.R. Casgrain, 1895.  (Also : University of Toronto Press, 1964), pp. 58-59.

[21] Ibid, p. 59.

[22] Ibid, p. 60.

[23] Brian Connell, The Savage Years, Harper Brothers Publishers, New York 1959, p. 159.

[24] The Abbé H.R. Casgrain,  Collection des Manuscripts du Maréchal De Lévis, Journal du Marquis de Montcalm Durant Ses Campagnes en Canada de 1756 à 1759.  Québec Imprimerie de L.J. Demers & Frère, Pablié sous la direction de L’abbé H.R. Casgrain, 1895.  (Also : University of Toronto Press, 1964), p. 60.

[25] Ibid, pp. 60-61; and Samuel Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 449-450.

[26] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, pp. 449-450.

[27] The Abbé H.R. Casgrain,  Collection des Manuscripts du Maréchal De Lévis, p. 61; and Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader p.450.

[28] Stanley McCrory Pargellis, Lord Loudoun in North America, Yale University Press, Archon Books, 1968, p. 355.

[29] Fred Anderson, Crucible of War, The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America 1756-1766, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2000, p. 286.

[30] Ibid, p. 286.

[31] Major Rogers indicates that “this attack was begun before the General intended that it should be, as it were by accident, from the fire of the New Yorkers in the left wing; upon which Colonel Haviland being in or near the center, ordered the troops to advance.”  Ibid, pp. 115-116.

[32] Ibid, p. 116.

[33] Edward Pierce Hamilton, Fort Ticonderoga, p.81.

[34] Ibid, p. 85.


Montcalm on Guard

           Abercrombie licked his wounds at the head of Lake George, and paused.  He expected Montcalm to mount an offensive at any moment, and his concerns affected those around him, spreading fear and confusion in the camp.  Montcalm, however, felt that a mighty load had been lifted from his soul.  He passed along the lines of his tired soldier, personally giving them the thanks they so nobly deserved.  He made sure that reasonable quantities of beer, wine and food were served out to them, but they were also directed to remain bivouacked out for the night on the level ground between the breastwork and the fort.  Clearly, the English had suffered a terrible rebuff; but as far as Montcalm was concerned, the danger could not yet be over.  He was well aware that General Abercrombie still had more than 13,000 men, and that the British might recover their military sense of direction and decide to conduct the next round of attack with the appropriate use of their attack with cannon.[1]

           Incredible as is seemed to him at the time, no following attack came.  On the morning of the 9th of July, a band of volunteers that Montcalm had sent out to scout out the activities of the British forces reported back that General Abercrombie’s army was in full.  They reported that the sawmill at the Falls was on fire, and the last English soldier had withdrawn from the landing area.  They had embarked on the morning after the battle, a gallant army sacrificed by the blunders of its chief.[2]

           It was Montcalm’s initial opinion that the British retreat was simply a ruse designed to draw the French forces out from behind their protective abatis.  For this reason, he waited two days after the battle before he sent a battalion “to find what became of the enemy army.”  What the troops found was a mass of wounded soldiers, abandoned equipment and provisions, and a multitude of items such as shoes left in miry places, the remains of barges and burned pontoons.  These discoveries convinced Montcalm that his adversaries had indeed suffered a general collapse.  This decision was reached, even though Montcalm was well aware that at the close of the battle, the British still had more than enough troops, cannon, ammunition and supplies to have successfully carried out a siege that would have destroyed Fort Carillon.[3]

          The historian George F. Stanley indicates the French had waited until the morning of the 9th of July on alert, reasonably expecting that Abercrombie would renew the attack. 

           Even if he had lost some 1,950 men, he still had an army strong enough to overwhelm Montcalm, whose losses of 527 killed and wounded were even greater in proportion than those of Abercrombie.  But the British General had withdrawn his troops to Fort William Henry.  When Lévis went to reconnoiter, he found evidence of a retreat, which suggested a flight rather than a withdrawal; abandoned boats, burned pontoons, provisions, baggage, shoes, and arms.  Also on the 9th, Lieutenant Wolff whom Vaudreuil had sent to spy out the land, returned with no more news than Montcalm already knew; and on the 11th, Rigaud de Vaudreuil arrived with a large contingent of Canadians from a force based in Schenectady.[4]

          Colonel Bougainville had only a short note in his Journal for the 9th of July: 

           The day was devoted to the same work (shoring up the defences) and to burying our dead and those the enemy left on the field of battle.  Our companies of volunteers went out, and advanced up to the Falls, and reported that the enemy had abandoned the posts at the Falls and even at the Portage.[5]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 450.

[2] Ibid, p. 450.

[3] Fred Anderson, Crucible of War, The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America 1756-1766, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2000, p. 248.

[4] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, p. 181.

[5] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, pp. 234-235.

The Victory of Montcalm's Troops at Carillon. Early 20th century painting by Henry Alexander Ogden (1854 1936).  (Fort Ticonderoga Museum, New York)

            Montcalm announced his victory to his wife in a strain of exaggeration that marks the exaltation of his mind:

            Without Indians, almost without Canadians or colony troops, - I had only 400, - alone with Lévis and Bourlamaque and the troops of the line, 3,100 fighting men, I have beaten an army of at least 25,000.  This glorious day does infinite honoru to the valor of our battalions.  I have no time to write more.  I am well, my dearest, and I embrace you. [1]


[1] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Parkman Reader, p. 450.

            Montcalm also wrote to his friend Doreil:

            The army, the too-small army of the King has beaten the enemy.  What a day for France!  If I had had 200 Indians to send out at the head of a 1,000 picked men under the Chevalier de Lévis, not many would have escaped.  Ah, my dear Doreil, what soldiers are ours!  I never saw the like.  Why were they not at Louisbourg?[1]


[1] Ibid, p. 450.

            On the morning after his victory Montcalm had a great cross planted on the battlefield, inscribed with these lines, composed by the soldier scholar himself:

            Quid dux?  quid miles?  quid strata ingentia ligna?

             En Signum!  en victor!  Deus hîc, Deus ipse triumphat!

            Soldier and chief and rampart’s strength are naught;

            Behold the conquering Cross!  ‘T is God the triumph wrought.


            Parkman indicates that the following lines were also added:

             Chretién! Ce ne fut point Montcalm et sa prudence,

            Ces arbres renversés, ces héros, leurs exploits.

            Qui des Anglais confus ont brisé l’espérance;

            C’est le bras de ton Dieu vainquer sure cette croix.”[1]


[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, Da Capo Press, New York, 1995, p.369-370.


           Colonel Bougainville continued his record of the aftermath of the battle on the 10th of July:

           At break of day the Marquis de Montcalm detached the Chevalier de Lévis with the eight grenadier companies, the volunteers, and some fifty Canadians to find out what had become of the enemy army.  The Chevalier de Lévis advances beyond the Portage.  He everywhere found signs of a hurried flight.  The English have since told me that the affair got under way before the dispositions were entirely completed, that hurry had occasioned a sort of disorder, augmented subsequently by the death of a great number of officers; when they withdrew in the evening, they expected that it would only be to take better measures and to return with cannon and (a) better disposition (of troops); that the order to re-embark had greatly surprised all the regular troops; that the militia alone had rejoiced at it.  He moreover said to me that they were only a body without a head since the death of Milord Howe.[1]

            According to Edward P. Hamilton, the British battle losses were 1,610 killed, wounded, and missing, while the French lost 377.  Colonel Bougainville stated,

           If one should believe some of them and (take account of) the speed of their retreat, their loss would (have been) considerably more.  They lost several principal officers, Milord Howe, chief staff officer and colonel of a regiment, the commander of the New York troops, and several others.  The greatest part of their Indians, especially those of the Five Nations, remained as spectators at the tail of the columns.  They doubtless awaited the outcome of a combat which the English believed could not be doubtful.[2]

            The Act of the 24th of March announces the general invasion of Canada, and these same terms are expressed in all the commissions of their militia officers.  Justice is due (to) them that they attacked us with the greatest of determination.  It is not common that defences are attacked for seven hours and almost without any respite.  This victory, which for the moment has saved Canada, is due to the sagacity of the dispositions, to the good maneuvers of our generals before and during the action and to the unbelievable valor of our troops.  All the officers of the army have so conducted themselves that each of them deserves a personal eulogy.[3]

            “We had forty-four officers and nearly four hundred men killed or wounded.”[4]


[1] Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness, p. 235.

[2] Ibid, p. 235.

[3] Ibid, pp. 235-236.

[4] Ibid, pp. 236.


List of French Officers Killed or Wounded in the 8th of July Battle 

Sieur de Bourlamaque, colonel, dangerously wounded.

Sieur de Bougainville, chief of staff, slightly wounded by a shot in the head.

La Reine         

D’Audin, lieutenant, killed; De Hébécourt, captain, Le Comte, captain, Massiac, lieutenant, Filord, wounded.

La Sarre          

Chevalier de Moran, captain, Chevalier de Mesnil, captain, Adam-Champredon, killed; De Beauclair, captain, Fourmet, lieutenant, wounded.

Royal Roussillon  

Ducoin, captain, killed.


De Fréville, captain, Chevalier de Parfournu, lieutenant, killed; De Basserode, captain, Marillac, captain, Douglas, captain, Blanchard, lieutenant, De Courcey, lieutenant, wounded; Chevalier d’Arenne, sub-lieutenant of engineers, an arm cut off.


Patris, killed, St. Vincent, captain, dead of his wound; La Bretèche, captain, De Restauran, lieutenant, wounded.


De La Breme, captain, De Pymeric, lieutenant of engineers, killed; Chateauneuf, captain, Carlan, captain adjutant, Chavimont, lieutenant, wounded.


Pons, lieutenant, Douay, lieutenant, killed; Malartic, major, De Montgay, captain, Kergus, captain, wounded.

La Marine       

De Nigon, lieutenant, De Langy Montegron, ensign, wounded.”[1]


[1] Ibid, pp. 236.

       The French celebrated their victory on the 12th of July 1758 with a Te Deum.  Montcalm and his officers believed that their victory at Carillon had been a miracle of divine intervention.[1]  Colonel Bougainville’s notes on the battle may fall even closer to the truth, in light of Abercrombie’s choice of possibly the only attack option that was virtually guaranteed to fail.  He appears to have been speaking “for both himself and Montcalm when he wrote, “Never has a victory been more especially due to the finger of Providence.”  How the French had won, God only knew.”[2]

          According to Brian Connell, “Montcalm had achieved the impossible.  The heart of Canada was safe from land attack for the rest of the season.”  Unfortunately, Governor-General Vaudreuil demanded that the limited French forces be reinforced with Canadians and Indians and press the advance.  Montcalm had had enough of Vaudreuil’s uninformed interference in his conduct of the campaign and told him bluntly, “It is always astonishing that the Marquis de Vaudreuil considers himself qualified at a distance of fifty leagues to determine operations of war in a country he has never seen and where the best generals, after having seen it, would have been embarrassed.”[3]

          Montcalm requested that he be returned to France.  Vaudreuil supported his request but did ask that Montcalm be promoted to Lieutenant-General, even though Vaudreuil felt that Montcalm’s qualities were “not the qualities necessary to make war in this country.”  Montcalm was well aware that if peace did not come to New France, the British would overwhelm them with more than 50,000 troops.  He had only eight battalions totaling some 3,200 men and another 1,200 “colony” troops in the field.  With these minimal forces, he could not see how he could defend “the area from Ohio to Lake St. Sacrement, not to mention a direct descent on Quebec” which he believed even then was highly possible.  On the 26th of July, Louisbourg was taken.  Clearly, he had to stay and defend Quebec.[4]


[1] George F.G. Stanley, New France, The Last Phase 1744-1760, pp. 181.

[2] Arthur Quinn, A New World, An Epic of Colonial America from the Founding of Jamestown to the Fall of Québec, Beckley Books, New York, 1994, p. 502.

[3] Brian Connell, The Savage Years, Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1959, p. 160.

[4] Ibid, pp. 160-161.



            Meanwhile, as the battle on the 8th of July drew to a disastrous close, Elijah made a number of careful observations in his Journal:

The evening of the 8th and morning of the 9th day of July 1758:

            We quitted the ground, sun an hour high, and came back to the mills and camped that night, expecting nothing but to return to the advance guard in the morning but it proved otherwise.  For we mustered about an hour before day on the 9th and marched back to the bateaux and stayed there until 9 o’clock and then orders came to embark on board the bateaux in order to return back to camp on Lake George and all of the bateaux arrived at the camp by 6 o’clock and we pitched our tents and lay there until the 15th day of July 1758.  And the 17th day we removed our tents and came back to where the old breast works were last year and pitched them again.

The 20th of July 1758:

            On the 20th day there were a number of our men killed between Lake George and Half Way Brook about 10 o’clock in the morning by the Indians who fled off and left them on the ground, and a party went out from the Lake and came on them before they knew anything and brought them in and buried them at Half Way Brook.

            Major Rogers had sent out a scouting party on the 8th of July.  He returned on the 16th with nothing major to report, except that he discovered “a large party of the enemy, supposed to be near a thousand, on the east-side of the lake.”  On the following day of the 17th,  it appears that this same party “fell on a detachment of Colonel Nicholls’s Regiment at the Half Way Brook, killed three Captains, and upwards of 20 private private men.”[1]


[1] Robert Rogers, Journals of Major Robert Rogers, p. 117.

            On Tuesday the 25th day there was a man hanged two days after he was convicted for stealing four pair of brass buckles.  And two more received 99 lashes for stealing.[1]


[1] A thousand stripes was the standard punishment for desertion, and sentences of as many as 1500 lashes were awarded for theft.  Executions served as a severe example and deterrent.  John Cleveland witnessed a hanging execution on the 25th of July 1758, and described the event as follows:

This forenoon, about nine o’clock, one of the regulars was hanged for thefts.  He confessed on the ladder that gaming, robbery, theft, whoring, bad company-keeping, etc., were [the] sins which brought him to this shameful untimely death, and warned his fellow soldier[s] against such vices.  He desired the prayers of the people standing by for his poor soul, and [was] praying for himself [as he] was hove off the ladder.  The Lord makes this sad spectacle a means of warning effectually all from the sad [sins] that the soldiery are much addicted to.  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 139.

A soldier named Lemuel Wood described a firing squad execution on the 13th of July 1759 as follows:

               This morning at six o’clock a court martial set for the trial of the deserter that was brought in yesterday.  He was sentenced to be shot today at twelve o’clock in the front of the quarter guard of Forbe’s Regiment.  Accordingly all the picquets of the lines was drawn up for the execution of the above prisoner.  The provost guard brought forth the prisoner and marched him round before all the regulars’ regiments [and] from thence to the place of execution.  There was drawn out of the regiment to which the prisoner belonged [two] platoons of six men each.  The prisoner was brought and set before one of the platoons and kneeled down upon his knees. He clinched his hand.  The platoon of six men each of them fired him through the body.  The other platoon then came up instantly and fired him through the head and blowed his head all to pieces. They then dug a grave by his side and tumbled him in and covered him up, and that was an end of the whole.  Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 140.

The 27th day of July 1758:

            The whole of our army was mustered and the General came to view our breast-work and so dismissed us, and the 28th day the French and the Indians came upon our carters and waggoners and killed 28 men and 20 women and killed 36 oxen and some horses - these were loaded with rum, sugar, chocolate and all sorts of stores and provisions and stole the oats and firkins of butter and rice, and the 30th day Rogers and Putnam went out with 500 men for three days.

            Major Rogers made the following record of this expedition:

            The 27th another party of the enemy fell upon a convoy of waggoners between Fort Edward and Half Way Brook, and killed 116 men, 16 of which were Rangers.  In pursuit of this party, with a design to intercept their retreat, I was ordered to embark the 18th with 700 men; the enemy however escaped me, and in my return home on the 31st, I was met by an express from the General with orders to march with 700 men to the South and East Bay, and return by way of Fort Edward, in the prosecution of which orders nothing very material happened.[1]


[1] Robert Rogers, Journals of Major Robert Rogers, p. 117.

The 21st day of August 1758:

            Orders came for 7 men out of a company to march down to the Half Way Brook, and I was one of them, and to stay there for further orders, and we came down without any interruption, and the second day a party of our men went down to the place where the Indians cut the carts to pieces - also without any discovery.  And on the 4th day we went down there to guard up the carts from Fort Edward to Half Way Brook, and a party of our men went out to bring them in.

The 5th to the 8th day of August 1758:

            The 5th day Colonel Fitch with his regiment with the Royal Americans came down from the Lake to Fort Edward and there to stay until further orders, and the 7th day there came 8 more of Major Roger’s men to Half Way Brook, - on the 8th day there were 950 carts (that) came down from Fort Edward with 9 cannon, a party of our men went down to Fort Edward to guard the carters.  And we met a post who told us that Major Rogers was beset at Fort Ann at the South Bay and that there were 1000 men gone from Fort Edward to help them, and we stayed there that night and in the morning - 9th, they came in and brought in the wounded men to Fort Edward who told that Major Rogers with Major Putnam had a smart fight for two hours and 4 minutes and drove them off and buried their dead, how many it is not known.  And we marched for the Half Way Brook, and met 200 of our men who went from the Half Way Brook and lay in the woods, and came into the pickets at the Half-Way-Brook about 9 o’clock.  And our men brought in two Frenchmen, one Indian and one Dutchman who were taken at Oswego, and Major Putnam and forty of his men are missing as yet, but whether they are killed or taken - or betook himself off as yet is unknown.  We have heard now that Major Putnam is taken.

Major Putnam’s Capture

           Major Israel Putnam had been a private in a Connecticut Regiment, and his name would later become a household word in New England.[1]  Lieutenant Colonel John Winslow described Putnam as “the best “scout” yet made, and that, being a man of strict truth, he may be entirely trusted.”[2] 

          Francis Parkman was able to provide details of what happened to Major Putnam after his capture.  Montcalm had been receiving reinforcements, to the point where in might have been possible for him to carry out a forward movement on the British forces.  Instead, he proceeded to strengthen his fort and to reconstruct the defensive position that he had already successfully defended.  At the same time, he sent out frequent war-parties along Wood Creek and South Bay, in a concerted effort to harass Abercrombie’s communications with Fort Edward. [3]

          Some of these parties consisted of several hundred men, and they were generally more or less successful.  One of them, commanded by a gentleman named La Corne, surprised and destroyed a large wagon train that was being escorted by forty soldiers.  The convoy had been composed of slow oxcarts bound for the lake.  The French and Indian war party that intercepted it claimed “110 scalps…84 prisoners…of these, 12 are women or girls…Some baggage and effects belonging to General Abercrombie [sic]; as well as his music, were among the plunder.”[4] 

          When Abercrombie heard of this French attack on his supplies, he immediately ordered Rogers to take a strong detachment of provincial soldiers (under the command of Colonel William Haviland), some light infantry, and a company of Rangers, and deal with them.  The raiders were to go down the lake in boats, cross the mountains to the narrow waters of Lake Champlain, and cut off the enemy forces from their line of retreat. [5]

          Perhaps they sensed what was coming, and the French withdrew before Rogers and his assault force could arrive.  On his way back a messenger from the General met Rogers with orders for his group to intercept other French parties which had been reported to be near Fort Edward.  The detachment proceeded with 700 including 80 Rangers, a body of Connecticut men under Major Putnam and a small regular force of 60 men which consisted mainly of light infantry under Captain James Dalyell (also spelled Dalzell).  (Captain Dalyell was later killed by Pontiac’s warriors at Detroit).[6]

          Unfortunately, while they were enroute, 450 French and Indians under the able partisan leader Marin, overheard Rogers and Lieutenant Irwin conducting some badly timed target shooting and prepared an ambush for them.  Shortly afterwards, Putnam, Dalzell, Rogers, and their men were ambushed.  Putnam had been leading the group and was immediately set upon by a Caughnawaga chief, “hatchet in hand.”  One participant reported that “The enemy rose like a cloud and fired a volley upon us…the tomahawks and bullets flying around my ears like hailstones.”[7]

          The Connecticut provincials broke, but the regulars following stood their ground.  Hand to hand fighting ensued.  Putnam had time to cock his gun and snap it at the chest of his assailant; but it miss-fired.  He was quickly seized and dragged off into the forest, along with a lieutenant named Tracy and three privates.  The shooting began in earnest, with the French and Indians, lying across the path in a semi-circle holding the advantage of surprise and position.  The firing lasted some two hours until the attackers broke off and withdrew in small parties to elude pursuit.[8]

          One observer reported that an Indian leaped up on the trunk of a fallen tree, and

           killed two men himself upon which a Regular Officer…Struck at his head with his Fuzee, but could not knock him down though he made his head bleed, and as he was going to kill the officer with his Tomahawk he was Shot by Major Rogers…this Sachem was 6 foot 4 inches high proportional made, in short he was the largest Indian ever Rogers saw.[9]

          Rogers remained on the field and buried 49 of his men, then resumed his march to Fort Edward, carrying the wounded on litters until he met a detachment coming with wagons to his relief.  “A party sent out soon after for the purpose reported that they had found and buried more than a hundred French and Indians.  From this time forward the combat activities of war-parties from Ticonderoga were greatly reduced.[10]

           Putnam was dragged to the rear by the Indians and then tied to a tree and used for hatchet throwing practice, with the hatchet being thrown at his head as close as possible to the mark without hitting it.  He was struck in the head with a rifle butt by a French petty officer.  At one point he was left tied to a tree and exposed to bullets from both sides, but the Indians recovered the ground and stripped him, loaded him with the packs from the wounded and drove him along.  When they camped for the night, they prepared to burn him alive, stripped him naked, tied him to a tree, and gathered dry wood to pile about him.  A sudden shower of rain interrupted their pastime; but when it was over, they began again.  The Canadian partisan, Marin, hearing what was going on, broke through the crowd and put out the fire, untied the prisoner and angrily upbraided his tormentors.  He then restored him to the chief who had captured him, and whose right of property in his prize the others had failed to respect.  The Indians took great pains to ensure that he did not escape, by laying him on his back, stretching his arms and legs in the form of St. Andrew’s cross, and tying his wrists and ankles to the stems of young trees. [11]

          The following night, after a painful march, Putnam arrived at Ticonderoga.  Here he was questioned personally by General Montcalm.  Following the interrogation, Montcalm placed Putnam in the charge of a French officer who treated him decently.  He arrived in a “woefully tattered, bruised, scorched and torn,” condition, but he also came into contact with Colonel Schuler, who was himself a prisoner on parole.  Colonel Schuler helped Major Putnam and in due course, “the future major-general of the Continental Army was included in the next exchange of prisoners.[12]

           We return to Elijah’s Journal.


[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 170.

[2] Ibid, pp. 249-250.

[3] Ibid, p. 374.

[4] John R, Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p. 88.

[5] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 374.

[6] Ibid, pp. 375-376.

[7] John R, Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p. 88.

[8] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, pp. 375-376.

[9] John R, Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, p. 89.

[10] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 377.

[11] Ibid, pp. 377-378.

[12] Ibid, p. 378.

Scouting Expedition 

August the 13th day 1758:

            Now we are enlisted in order to go on a scout (expedition) in the woods for 7 days, and we marched.

August the 14th day. 

            And we marched about 8 miles the first day, and the 15th and the 16th days we marched 2 miles for it was very heavy traveling and the 17th day we marched about 10 miles to Cole’s Creek and then staid (sic) that night, and the 18th day we marched 10 miles and now our allowance was gone and General Loudon ordered the party to return to Fort Edward, and the 19th day we marched 17 miles and the 20th day we marched 14 miles which brought us to the Fort, and there we took our allowance, and on the 21st day we marched to a breastwork between Fort Edward and the Half Way Brook which is about a mile and lay there that night.  And the 22nd day we marched to the Half Way Brook - about 800 men to keep the pickets.  And the 8th day of September 1758 we marched to Lake George again.

August the 26th day:

            There were four men condemned to be hung.  And were brought to the gallows but were not hung.

August the 29th day:

            There came news that Capertun was taken and they fired their great guns and their small arms and they gave out at the Half Way Brook a gill of rum a (for each) man and made a great fire and they had a great frolic.

            Fred C. Burnett found the following likely evidence that Elijah was referring to “Cape Breton,” rather than “Capertun.”  Nova Scotia archival records indicate that on the 26th of July 1758, articles of capitulation were signed by the French forces in Cape Breton, and on the 27th of July Louisbourg was surrendered.  The capitulation included the whole Island of Cape Breton and the Island of St. John (now known as Prince Edward Island).[1]


[1] James Hannay, History of Acadia, St. John, New Brunswick, 1879, p. 415.  Fred Burnett suggests that Elijah’s “original handwriting may have resembled “Cape Breton” a little more than the printed copy, (but) then again he likely never saw the name in print or writing.”  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.

 (Engraving by J. Walker, Tuttle's Illustrated History of the Dominion, 1877)

British forces led by General Wolfe, besieging the Fortress of Louisbourg.  The French fortress fell on 26 July 1758 after a 48-day siege.

September the 1st day:

            There were 5 men and a Sergeant coming from the Half Way Brook and the enemy shot upon them and killed the Sergeant.

September the 11th day:

            There came news that Cataraqui was taken and we at Lake George fired our great guns and our small arms three times apiece for joy.

September 26th day:

            There was some snow fell in the morning.

October 1st 1758:

            Major Barry with the sick marched from Lake George and it was the Sabbath.  And the same day Colonel Hore came to Lake George for he had been home almost three months, for he was sick.  And then came up and was well and hearty as ever he was in the world.

October the 2nd day:

            All the dead and sick men’s guns were delivered to Colonel Preble that belonged to his regiment and those who were gone home to take care of them.[1]  The same day all of our men came from the Island and left it alone for we kept a guard there for two months of 100 men, and from Lake George to the Island was about 6 miles down the lake.


[1] Colonel Preble would later set up a fort on North East Point, Cape Sable Island, in late 1758 or early 1759.  He garrisoned it until at least the fall of Louisbourg.  The fort was mentioned in a dispatch, a copy of which is kept in a museum in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.  Another dispatch in existence from that time is one that was sent back to Colonel Preble reporting on a raid inland up the Roseway River from Port Roseway (modern day Shelburne, which was called Port Riseway by the French), chasing renegade Acadians.  Apparently there was a skirmish and several Acadians were taken.  E-mail from Terry Hawkins, 6th of November 2000.

October the 4th day:

            There came in 150 of the bateaux men from Cataraqui to Lake George that belonged to Colonel Broadstreet.

October the 5th day:

            Major-General Jeffery Amherst came to Lake George with 100 Grenadiers.[1]


[1] Colonel Jeffrey Amherst was recalled from the German war and was promoted in one leap to the rank of a major-general in March 1758.  He was tall and thin-nosed, energetic and resolute, somewhat cautious and slow, but with a bulldog tenacity of grip.  He replaced Abercrombie and arrived at Army headquarters in New York City from Halifax on the 12th of December, 1758.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 332; and John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, New York, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 90.

Major-General Jeffery Amherst.

October the 10th day:

            There were two men whipped in our regiment and on the 12th day there was a man dropped down dead who belonged to our regiment.

October the 23rd day:

            We came from the Lake George, three regiments, Colonel Preble’s regiment, (and) Colonel Bill William’s regiment.[1] 


[1] Colonel William Williams wrote his older relative DR Thomas Williams at Fort Edward, telling him about the loss of Oswego in 1756, and presaging the disasters at Fort William Henry and Ticonderoga: “Such a shocking affair has never found a place in English annals…The loss is beyond account; but the dishonor done His Majesty’s arms is infinitely greater.”  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 236

             And Colonel Nichol’s regiment.  And we hauled bateaux to Fort Edward.  From Lake George to the Half Way Brook is 7 miles.  And from Half Way Brook to Fort Edward is 7 miles.  From Fort Edward to Saratoga, form Saratoga to Stillwater and from Stillwater to Halfmoon, and form Halfmoon to Greenbush, and from Greenbush to Canterbrook to Sheffield, from Sheffield to No.1 and from No.1 to Greenwood, and from Greenwood to Glasgow, and from Glasgow to Westfield and from Westfield to Springfield.  And from Springfield to Kingston and from Kingston to Weston, and from Weston to Brookfield and from Brookfield to Leicester and from Leicester (to home).

            I came out of the service on the 7th of November 1758.

            The names of the men who died at the Lake out of Captain Harrack’s Company:

            Joseph Herrick, Gideon Garrad, and Joseph Hackett, Robert Harrack (was taken sick and died and it was on the Sabbath), Samuel Stickney, John Peabody, Nathan Framanc, Samuel Woodbury, Jabesh Thomaston, Jonathan Peabody, and John Hackett.


           Major-General Jeffery Amherstled a force to seize Fort Carillon, reaching the site on the 22nd of July 1759.  The defenders were short of men and supplies and held out for only four days before withdrawing.  On the night of the 26th of July 1759, the French blew up the fort’s powder magazine, set fire to its buildings, and fled to Crown Point.  Well aware of the French capability to attack with surprise, Amherst acted with caution and proceeded to repair the damaged fort before pursuing the enemy.  When he did send scouts down the lake to Crown Point, they discovered that the French had withdrawn down the Richelieu River from that fort as well.  He therefore took possession of Crown Point on the 31st of July, although it had also been blown up and burnt by its garrison on withdrawal.  Amherst decided to build a whole new fort on the site.  He built a road eastward from Crown Point to Township Number Four, on the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.  He also had a small flotilla constructed to keep the four French gunboats on Lake Champlain from menacing his troops’ bateaux when the time finally came to attack Canada.  Clearly, Amherst’s precautions saved a great number of his men’s lives, but it also cost him the rest of the campaign season.  In November 1759, he dismissed his provincial soldiers and sent his regulars into winter quarters without taking further action against the French.[1]

           As noted, following the capture of Fort Carillon by Amherst’s 11,000-man army, its name was changed to Fort Ticonderoga.  An extensive reconstruction was then begun on the works, which had been partially destroyed by the French upon their evacuation.  “The rebuilt fort included barracks, officers’ quarters, powder magazine, four batteries, a redoubt, storerooms, prison cells, a wharf, ovens, a lime kiln, gardens, and advanced works.  After the French and Indian War, Ticonderoga was used as a military depot for the storage of British armaments.”[2]


[1] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p.18.

[2] “On the 10th of May 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured Ticonderoga from a skeleton garrison and two days later took possession of Fort Crown Point.  The Continental Army which consisted of approximately 17,000 men, was in the process of besieging British-held Boston (between April 1775 and the 17th of March 1776), but without heavy siege artillery it was considered almost impossible to oust the British.  The Americans’ shortage of armament had prompted the seizures of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.  On the 16th of November 1775, General Washington commissioned Colonel Henry Knox to remove the guns at Ticonderoga and transport them to the environs of Boston.  Knox reached Ticonderoga on the 5th of December, and within hours, with the assistance of the garrison, was busy dismantling more than 50 heavy cannon, mortars, and howitzers.  Knox’s “Noble Train of Artillery” enabled the Patriots to ultimately force the British out of Boston.”

               “Fort Ticonderoga was used as the headquarters for Major General Philip Schuyler’s Northern Department during most of 1775 and 1776 while American forces under Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Canada.  In July 1777, General John Burgoyne’s invasion army from Canada recaptured Fort Ticonderoga but was compelled to abandon it after the general’s surrender at Saratoga in October.  The fort’s buildings were burned by the British garrison commanded by Brigadier General H. Watson Powell.  In 1781, while General Barry St. Leger was holding fruitless meetings with Vermont commissioners to absorb that territory into Canada, his men made extensive repairs on the fort.  The commissioners, however, decided that Vermont should become a part of the future United States.”

               Shortly after the Treaty of Paris was signed, the whole region began to be rapidly settled.  There was no care-taking establishment at Ticonderoga, and the fort provided a convenient treasure trove for the early settlers.  In 1796, the garrison grounds were granted to Columbia and Union Colleges as a source of income.  William Ferris Pell, a wealthy New York marble and mahogany importer, leased part of the grounds and erected a summer home.  In 1820 he bought the entire property.  The existence today of the faithfully restored colonial fort is entirely due to the remarkable dedication and work of the Pell family over a century and a half.  The Fort Ticonderoga Museum of the French and Indian War and the Revolution maintains a magnificent exhibit of materials relating to the military occupation of the fort.  Fort Ticonderoga is being operated as a private non profit historical and educational monument.”  Robert B. Roberts, Encyclopedia of Historic Forts, The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1998, p. 584.

 (Peretz Partensky Photo)

Present day Fort Ticonderoga.

           Although Wolfe would take the Plains of Abraham on the 13th of September 1759, leading to the capture of Québec, both he and Montcalm would die in the battle.  Major-General Jeffery Amherst, General William Havilland and General James Murray however, would force Pierre Francois de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, to surrender all of New France.  Major Robert Rogers would go on to take possession of Detroit and other Great Lakes posts in 1760 and 1761.[1]

          Guy Frégault examined some of the factors that affected decisions that had to be made by the British officers Amherst and Boscawen after “the defeat suffered by Abercrombie on the 8th of July at Carillon.  The battle was remarkable for several reasons.  First, the heavy British thrust on Lake Champlain had come as a surprise, even though Vaudreuil had got wind of it in time to send Lévis with 300 French soldiers to join Montcalm, as well as a Canadian detachment that arrived while the battle was in progress.  Then, instead of holding the forward portage post, which was comparatively easy to defend, Montcalm had withdrawn his troops and chosen a very strange position in which to make his stand: bad in that it was open to attack on its flanks or from the rear but good against a frontal attack, although the French commander, who had had time to do so, had neglected to provide it with guns.[2]

           One of Montcalm’s officers observed that, “if the English had had a skillful and enterprising general, it would have been difficult for us to extricate ourselves from that pass.”  According to Wolfe, the situation of the fort at Carillon and the numerical superiority of the attacking army, “which could bear to be weakened by detachments,” should have made it possible for Abercrombie to oblige “the Marquis de Montcalm to lay down his arms.”  Even if it were true that Abercrombie might attempt to renew the assault, Wolfe could not “flatter himself that the attack would be successful.”  This conviction arose “not from any high idea of the Marquis de Montcalm’s abilities, but from the very poor opinion of our own.”[3]

          Guy Frégault suggests that, “Abercrombie’s performance was assuredly not brilliant, but was he on this occasion so completely inept as has been thought?  He is charged with two offenses: having been repulsed although he was in command of a large army and having ordered his men to attack without first studying the enemy’s position.  Pitt had planned for an army of 7,000 regulars and 20,000 provincials, but Wolfe had foreseen in the spring that this latter number would have to be cut in half and that the remaining 10,000 provincials would “not be good for much.”  The prediction was justified in both respects: with his 6,367 regulars, Abercrombie had only 9,024 provincial troops under his orders and, if one may judge by the losses suffered by the two groups, the provincials certainly did not accomplish very much.  Their losses were 86 killed, 240 wounded, 8 missing, while the corresponding figures for the regulars were 464, 1,115, and 19.  One might almost say that the battle was fought between 7,000 English regulars and 3,5000 men protected by a barricade of tree trunks.  The French lost 106 men killed and 266 wounded.[4]

           Guy Frégault asserts, however, that

           the second charge against Abercrombie remains: he had to retreat because he attacked the French position from the front, the only direction from which an attack could fail.  The explanation of his decision is a simple one.  He gave the order for a frontal attack because he thought he had no choice.  He had been informed by prisoners that the enemy had 6,000 men (“5,000 and some hundreds” according to Vaudreuil’s account); that orders for the Mohawk expedition had been countermanded, thus freeing Lévis and his 5,000 men to come to the help of Montcalm; and that the entrenchments defending the French fort were being made stronger every hour.  Hence the precipitate decision to launch an assault.  It was a grave mistake; Montcalm would commit a similar error on the 13th of September 1759.[5]

            The defeat of the 8th of July 1758 stopped Abercrombie’s advance on Montréal.  It forced the British to adopt a defensive position on Lake George and created consternation in their camp.  They considered the possibility of reorganizing for a counterattack on Carillon, but by mid-October this project had been abandoned.  While Montcalm awaited a renewed attack, General Abercrombie transferred 3,600 men to Lieutenant-Colonel Bradstreet, who was preparing to lead an expedition against Fort Frontenac.  This army reached Fort Frontenac on the 26th of August, (one month to the day after the fall of Louisbourg), and the fort surrendered the following day.  The defenders had been taken completely by surprise: no one had expected the English in that quarter.[6]

          As far as New France was concerned, Fort Frontenac had been a point of strategic importance second only to Louisbourg.  Not only had it been the main depot for the supply of Upper Canada and of the forts in Ohio, but it was also the base from which the French had command over the great inland waters.  From Oswego on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario, Colonel Bradstreet had taken a hand-picked force and launched the surprise attack from bateaux and whalers on Fort Frontenac.  The fort was thinly held and a relieving force from Montréal was too far away to bring aid in time.  The fort capitulated at once, and the rich booty the captors discovered inside included a large stock of furs and supplies of immense value.  In addition, Colonel Bradstreet’s force discovered that there were nine vessels in the harbour, mounting 100 guns between them.  Two of these were used to carry away the captured goods, the remaining seven were burned, and the fort was obliterated.  This brilliantly executed action resulted in the restoration of British command of the Great Lake system, and virtually severed Montréal and Québec from Upper Canada and the Ohio Valley.[7]

           Britain’s Prime Minister Pitt continued his same policies in 1759 that he had instituted in 1758.  Men from Massachusetts responded enthusiastically to the call for volunteers, and Elijah was among them.  Initially the General Court voted to raise 5,000 men and then granted a special bounty to recruit 1,500 more volunteers.  These soldiers were intended to be used to garrison Louisbourg and other Maritime forts, freeing regular soldiers to participate in expeditionary forces.  In addition to acting as garrison troops, the provincials would also participate in two of the year’s campaigns, following James Wolfe up the Saint Lawrence to attack Quebec and aiding in Amherst’s attempt to dislodge the French from Ticonderoga and Crown Point.[8]

          Elijah re-enlisted in April 1759, and at this point, we return to his Journal.


[1] Encyclopedia of American History, Harper & Brothers, New York, NY, 1953, p. 68.

[2] Guy Frégault, Canada: the War of the Conquest, (translated by Margaret M. Cameron), Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1969, pp. 220-221.

[3] Ibid, p. 221.

[4] Ibid, p. 221.

[5] Ibid, p. 221.

[6] Ibid, Canada: the War of the Conquest, p. 222.

[7] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 45.

[8] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 18.

Elijah’s Service in the Halifax Campaign, 1759-1760 

April the 6th day:

            I entered into the service in the year 1759.

April 20th day 1759:

            I set out in Campaign and went to Chelten and the 21st day I went to Boston and the 22nd day I went to Castle William and stayed there until the 24th day and then set out for Roxbury and I set out from Roxbury the 26th day and the 27th day I came to Castle William again.

            On the 30th day the Comet or blazing star appeared at Castle William about 8 o’clock at night and continued until 4 o’clock in the morning and then vanished.[1]


[1] Possibly Haley’s Comet.

May the 3rd day:

            Colonel Thomas’ regiment was mustered at 6 o’clock and continued until sunset.  And there were three companies embarked that day.  And our Company was mustered the 4th day at 6 o’clock in the morning and we embarked on the two-hundred-pounder about 3 in the afternoon.  And on the 5th day at 3 o’clock in the afternoon we sailed from Castle William with fine pleasant sail and it carried us out of land in 6 hours.  And the 6th day the wind was fair and the 7th day in the morning about 5 o’clock a storm came upon us and it continued until the 8th day about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  On the 9th day we made Cape Sable.  And the 10th day we got into the harbour of Halifax.  And the 11th day we landed in the afternoon.

Halifax under construction, 1749.  (Charles Jeffreys)

Halifax town plan, 1749.

“The Governor’s-House and St. Mather’s Meeting House in Holles [sic] Street looking up George Street shews Part of the Parade and Citadel Hill at Halifax in Nova-Scotia”, 1759.

           While Elijah was sailing to Halifax, Admiral George Saunders and his British fleet had been attempting to concentrate their forces at Louisbourg.  Admiral Saunders had sailed from Spithead on the 17th of February 1759 with General Wolfe and his men onboard the Neptune.  With them went the ships-of-the-line Royal William, Dublin, Shrewsbury, Warspite, Orford, Alcide and Stirling Castle (60 guns).  There was a frigate, the Lizard, the Scorpion, sloop-of-war, three fire ships, the Cormorant, Strombolo and Vesuvius, and the bomb vessels, Baltimore, Pelican and Racehorse.  A smaller detachment under Holmes had sailed a few days earlier.  Admiral Saunders detached the Warspite to reinforce Boscawen in the Mediterranean while off the coast of Spain.[1]

Although Admiral Saunders sighted Cape Breton at the end of April, the severe winter weather prevented them from safely approaching the coast.  For over a week the Admiral persisted in trying to find a way through, and then bore away for Halifax.[2]  These ships would likely have been in harbour as Elijah sailed into the same port on the 11th of May 1759.


[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 79.

[2] Ibid, p. 81.

May the 12th day:

            There was a man and his wife and a young woman and child were killed and scalped at Nalgas as we were informed by the man that came from there. 

            According to Fred C. Burnett a historian from Upper Brighton, New Brunswick, Malagash (Nalgas) was the Indian name for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  Mr. Burnett discovered a record of the likely victims of this incident: “Trippeau, Jonas, Lunenburg, from Switzerland, (came on the ship) Betty in 1752, age 38.  Died on the 26th of April 1759, scalped.  Married on the 30th of May 1753 to Catherine Elizabeth, widow of Frederick Alison, also scalped by Indians.”[1]

             Mr. Burnett added the information that “in a document of 1656, the village on the site of present-day Lunenburg was called “Merliguesche.”  Another document indicates that in 1760, “Malagash was inhabited by about 1,500 Dutch.”[2]  

            Mr. Burnett noted that at this time, Lunenburg was a large settlement of Lutherans who came from Switzerland, Germany, and Montbelliard in France in 1752 and soon after.  Few of them could speak English and they had not been soldiers.  They had little to defend themselves with and there were numerous raids on their scattered farms; (certainly) more than on the settlers around Annapolis who were near the fort and who could defend themselves more effectively.  The Lunenburg settlers would work and were religious refugees, unlike numbers that were brought to Halifax.  At this time, the authorities could not get as many “useful” people to settle Halifax as they wanted.  They got a lot from England and New England, but they also got a good many “street people” from London, which was not much help to that place.[3]


[1] Esther Clark Wright, Planters and Pioneers, Nova Scotia, 1749 to 1775, p. 271.

[2] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

[3] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 26 September 2000.  He indicated that this information came from a letter from Halifax to Reverend Ezra Stiles, Boston, from the Honorable Alexander Grant, member of the executive council; reprinted in “Campbell’s History of Yarmouth,” p. 128.

            Returning to Elijah’s Journal:

            The first part of the fleet sailed the 1st day of May.  The second part of the fleet sailed May 23rd 1759.

June the 2nd day:

            A French ship was taken and sent to Halifax.

 (Charny Illustration)

Algonquin, a French 72-gun ship launched in New France in June 1753.

June the 4th day:

            The fleet sailed from Cape Breton up the Saint (James) River.

June the 10th day:

            About 9 o’clock in the morning there were 7 men went over the river to cut poles for to make fishing rods.  And the Indians fell on them and killed 5 of them and the 11th day there were brought in three men that were scalped.  And two more are missing as yet.  There were a party of our men went out after them.  And on the 11th day another party went out.  And on the 12th day there was another party sent out.  The 11th day there was a French ship taken and sent to Halifax.

June the 15th day:

            Our scout came in and made no discovery of the Indians.

July 9th day 1759:

            We embarked on board the Privateer Schooner and laid there until the 11th day about one o’clock.  And the 13th day we got into Canso and the 14th day we went ashore on the island of Canso and got currant bushes and they were just out of bloom.  And during the same day there came into Canso Gut a schooner, which hailed our men, and we got out of Canso the 16th day.  And the 17th day we got into Torbay Harbour.  (On) the 19th day we came out and the same day we came into Canso again.

            According to Fred Burnett, Canso had been a important fishing station.  It was destroyed several times, but always settled again.  Canso Gut is now called the Strait of Canso; Torbay is still a village a little west of Canso.  County Harbour is now Country Harbour, a long narrow harbour that goes far back inland.  Spithead, or Island Harbour have not been identified.[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

            Continuing with Elijah’s Journal:

August the 20th, 1759:

            The 20th day we came out Canso aways and the same day we went into Spithead.  The 22nd day we came into County Harbour.  And the 23rd day we got into Island Harbour and the 25th day we went out of this Harbour and the same day we got into County Harbour.  And the 27th day we went out to sea and about 11 o’clock we carried away our main mast.  And it hurt no man - the same day we went into Island Harbour.  And the 29th day we went to sea again.  And August the 4th day we got into Halifax and made no discoveries of our enemies.

August the 15th, 1759:

            News came that the (Narrows) was taken and about 12 o’clock the Artillerymen fired their great guns.  And at night there were candles in every window and great bonfires and firing of small arms and heaving of skyrockets in the air 400 yards high.  And we raised (sic) a house after sunset.

August the 25th day in the year 1759:

            At one o’clock in the afternoon there was a shower arose and it rained one hour and then it rained and hailed 3 hours, the hail was as large as pistol bullets.

August the 26th day:

            There was a party of our men went to Minas and Annapolis and Cape Sable.

            While Elijah was serving the King in Halifax, there was a great deal of activity concerning the future of Canada ongoing in Québec.  Wolfe’s assault was underway.

The 1759 Campaign in Québec

Map of the Siege of Quebec, 1759.

Plan of the environs of Quebec and the Battle fought on the Plains of Abraham on 13 July 1759.  Details include the details of The French Lines and Batteries, and also of the Encampments, Batteries and attacks of the British Army, and the Investiture of that City under the Command of Vice Admiral Saunders, Major General Wolfe, Brigadier General Wolfe, Brigadier General Moncton and Brigadier General Moncton and Brigadier General Townshend.  Drawn from the original surveys taken by the Engineers of the Army.  Engraved by Thomas Jefferys, Geographer to His Majesty. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN 4385171)

           “The British army under Wolfe was transported by a fleet of over 200 sail, commanded by Vice Admiral Charles Saunders.[1]  Entering the St. Lawrence on the 6th of June, Admiral Saunders appointed Captain James Cook (of later Pacific fame) to sail ahead, take soundings, and buoy a channel through the Traverse, the narrow, tortuous channel between Ile d’Orleans and the south shore.[2]  He then performed the amazing feat of sailing his entire fleet up to Québec in three weeks, without a single grounding or other casualty.[3]

          General Amherst, marching overland from New York, was supposed to cooperate.  He recaptured Crown Point and Ticonderoga but was slow and methodical to get within striking distance of Québec.[4]  Three times in previous wars this failure in coordination had saved Québec for France, and in 1775-76 and 1812-13 similar American failures kept it British.  Wolfe, however, took his total force of 4,000 (not including sailors and marines) “including some of the crack units of the British army.  Owing to Amherst’s delay, the Marquis de Montcalm was able to concentrate some 14,000 French troops and militia in around Québec.  His position appeared to be impregnable.  The guns of the citadel commanded the river, and two smaller rivers barred the land approach from the east.[5]

          On the 27th of June Admiral Saunders landed an armed force on the on the Ile d’Orleans, four miles below Québec.  General Montcalm had deployed his army along the north shore of the river, between the St. Charles and the Montmorency.  He also had a detachment under Colonel Bougainville to the west of the city; but he neglected to secure the south bank.  General Wolfe took immediate advantage of this weakness and seized Point Lévis, approximately 1000 yards across the river from Québec.  From this position, he was able to place his guns in range to bombard the lower town.  On the 9th of July, Wolfe reinforced his position by landing the better part of two brigades on the north shore, just below Montmorency falls.  This was also intended to act as a decoy to fox Montcalm.  Ten days later, one of the frigates and several smaller vessels, slipped past the guns of Québec under cover of a heavy bombardment from Point Lévis.  The miniature fleet proceeded to sail over twenty miles upstream with the object of confusing Montcalm and also to provide Wolfe with possible alternative points of attack.  Because of their command of the river, the British were now able to select an optimal time and place for their main assault.[6]

           Wolfe initially probed along the Montmorency front, but he failed to make any gains there.  He then quietly reinforced the up-river part of his force with additional men and ships, sailing them up and downstream with the wind and tide.  This in turn forced Colonel Bougainville to march and countermarch his soldiers until they were exhausted.  While this was going on, Wolfe’s scouts discovered a narrow defile that led up the steep cliffs of the St. Lawrence River’s north bank to the Plains of Abraham.  Montcalm had thought that route was inaccessible and had therefore posted only a small picket guard to cover this approach.[7]  His mis-appreciation of the situation would prove to be costly.

          Admiral Saunders carried out a simulated landing on the Montmorency front at sunset on the 12th of September.  This maneuver pulled a large part of Montcalm’s force out of their position.  Late that evening 1,700 English soldiers embarked in boats from the transports up-river, and at 2 o’clock on the morning of the 13th of July, they began floating downstream.  They were aided in the venture by a fresh breeze astern and an ebb tide under their keels and succeeded in carrying out the operation unobserved by Colonel Bougainville’s sentries.[8]


[1] Sir Charles Saunders (1715-1775) entered the Royal Navy in 1727 under the patronage of a relative and in 1739 was appointed first lieutenant of the Centurion, the flagship of Commodore George Anson in his circumnavigation of the world from 1740 to 1744.  Saunders sailed a sloop around Cape Horn, captured Spanish shipping in the Pacific, and returned to England a post-captain.  During the remainder of the War of the Austrian Succession he commanded several ships of the line with success; in 1746, in the Gloucester, he took part in the capture of a treasure ship bound for Spain and acquired about 40,000 pounds of the booty.  The following year, in the Yarmouth, he took two enemy warships when Admiral Sir Edward Hawke defeated Admiral L’ Ètenduère off Cape Ortegal, Spain, on the 19th of October.  Saunders was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral of the blue on the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War in January 1756.  On the 9th of January 1759, recommended by Anson, he was appointed commander of the fleet bound for the St. lawrence. One month later he was promoted vice-admiral of the blue.  Major-General James Wolfe joined Saunders aboard his flagship Neptune on the 13th of February.  Both men had been warned by Pitt that success depended “on an entire Good Understanding between our Land and Sea Officers.”  Saunders was ordered to “cover the army against French naval intervention and keep control of the line of communication.  He was left however, to decide to what extent his fleet would directly aid Wolfe’s forces.  This he did with a greart deal of success.  Saunder’s achievement at Québec had been to organize and conduct a large expedition up a difficult river and maintain it there.  The success reflected not onlyhis professionalism, but also the advances that had been made in the navy in recent years, such as the development of reliable navigational devices, the improvements in marine surveying and charting, and the development of landing craft for amphibious operations.  His contribution did not end with the capture of the fortress of Québec, for had he not supplied the garrison with cannon, ammunition, and provisions before he left, even to the extent of reducing ships’ stores, Québec might well have been recaptured by the French under Lévis the following spring.”  The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition. Connecticut, Grolier Inc, Danbury, 1988, pp. 698-701.

[2] In 1758 James Cook served at the siege of Louisbourg during the Seven Years War.  He charted part of Gaspé and helped to prepare the map that enabled James Wolfe’s armada to navigate the St Lawrence. The campaign against Québec in 1759 led to the making of a chart of the St Lawrence by James Cook and other naval surveyors. He extensively mapped Newfoundland’s coast including St Johns’ harbour.  He later circumnavigated the South Pacific in 1768-71 and 1772-75.  In July 1776 he began a third voyage to search for a Northwest Passage.  Anchored in Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island 29 Mar 1778.  Sailed to Bering Strait but ran into a wall of ice.  Cook was killed (and eaten) in the Sandwich Islands in an altercation with the local people.  George Vancouver sailed with him on his second and third voyages.

[3] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, New York, 1965, p. 167.

[4] At the Battle of Dettingen on the 12th of June 1743, four young English officers, Jeffrey Amherst, George Townshend, Robert Moncton, and James Wolfe had received their baptism of fire (Wolfe had his horse shot out from under him). Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, New York, 1965, p. 165.  Dettingen was a battle fought between the French and the English during the War of the Austrian Succession.  Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Quebec, p. 18.

[5] Ibid, p. 167.

[6] Ibid, p. 167.

[7] Ibid, p. 167.

[8] Ibid, p. 167.


Portrait of General James Wolfe by Joseph Highmore (1692-1780).  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2894990)


          General Wolfe was positioned in one of the leading boats, and as the men rowed to their destination with destiny, it is reported that he was overheard reciting the words from Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” to a young midshipman.  In an eerie prediction of what would be his fate on the following morning, he solemnly pronounced the famous line “The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”[1]

          The French sentries had been expecting a convoy of boats carrying badly needed provisions to slip down-river that night, and the British landing craft were therefore mistaken for them.  Only one French sentry on the shore challenged them with the traditional: “Qui vive?”  A French-speaking Scot replied: “Française!” “De quel régiment?”  “De la Reine,” replied the Scot.  The events that followed did not unfold in the disaster for the English that had occurred when the same challenge that had been issued to Howe’s men at Lake George.  It would appear that the Scot must have gotten the accent right, because “the sentry was satisfied.”[2]

          Wolfe’s boats reached the bottom of the defile alongside the steep cliffs of Quebec’s north shoreline.  Quickly and efficiently, 25 rugged volunteers climbed up the cliff and immediately put the French picket guard to the sword.  They then gave a prearranged signal, and the troops waiting in the boats below jumped ashore and swarmed up the steep path with their muskets slung over their backs.  As soon as the assault landing boats were emptied, they quickly returned to the support ships or to the south shore for additional reinforcements.  The end result of this effective execution of a difficult tactical operation was that, by break of day, on the 13th of September 1759, some 4,500 British were deployed a grassy field forming part of the Québec plateau, close to the walls of the citadel.  This field would soon give its name to one of the most important military actions in North American history, the Battle on the Plains of Abraham.[3]


[1] Ibid, p. 168.

[2] Ibid, p. 168.

[3] Ibid, p. 168.


A view of the taking of Quebec, 13 September 1759.   Engraving based on a sketch made by Hervey Smyth (1734-1811), General Wolfe's aide-de-camp during the siege of Quebec.   (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

The Plains of Abraham

Map of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, 1759.  (Map courtesy of Hoodinski)

           With his forces formed up in battle formation on the Plains of Abraham facing the city, Wolfe’s primary objective was to challenge Montcalm to an open-field battle.  This was the only kind he knew how to fight; and the French accepted.

          Accompanied by his aides-de-camp (ADCs), “who were his means of conveying orders, Wolfe had first made a reconnaissance towards the city to decide the best ground to take up.  By 8 o’clock, with the light excellent, additional British soldiers commanded by Colonel Ralph Burton had been brought “over from Point Lévis, and the army was concentrated.”[1]

          Wolfe knew that he had to have open ground for the effective deployment of his forces.  The ground that comprised the Plains of Abraham lay in front of him and was between him and Québec.  The ground appeared to be ideal for the kind of combat that his European trained regular soldiers needed.  It afforded them a certain amount of cover and concealment (and therefore protection), with its contours, although there were “danger zones” on either flank.  Woods and shrubs on each side gave Canadians and Indians good cover to infiltrate and ambush his troops.  The protective cover the woods offered and the ground in front of them were exactly the sort of terrain to which the woodsmen of New France were best suited, and from the earliest hour they seized every chance to harass their British enemies.  Long before Montcalm carried out his main advance, skirmishing was continuous, though it was never becoming serious enough to hold up Wolfe’s detachment.[2]

          By 6 o’clock, three of Wolfe’s battalions and the Louisbourg Grenadiers were in line and arranged so that they faced the walls of the city of Québec.  The lines continued to be adjusted, revised, and extended as more units came up.  In the end, the British force arrayed on the field consisted, from right to left, of the 35th battalion, which was on the flank facing the cliff, the Louisbourg Grenadiers, the 28th, 43rd, 47th, 78th (Highlanders), 58th, and then, on the left flank, the 15th and the Royal Americans.  Wolfe’s Light Infantry were already dealing with the Canadian militia and Indians in the wooded area still further to the left, and he had deployed a detachment of Royal Americans to guard the route back to the Foulon.  The 48th battalion under Colonel Ralph Burton formed a reserve and occupied a place behind General Robert Monckton, who had command of the right.  Brigadier General James Murray was in charge of the centre and General George Townshend had command of the left flank.[3]

          Wolfe positioned himself at the head of the Louisbourg Grenadiers on the right flank.  When his forces were finally deployed in their pre-arranged order of battle, they were slightly nearer to the walls of Québec that any other part of the line.  He was needed to be close at hand to direct Colonel Ralph Burton’s reserve forces should the need arise.[4]

          The English forces consisted of the six battalions previously named and the detached Grenadiers from Louisbourg, which were all drawn up in ranks three deep.  Wolfe’s right wing was near the brink of the heights along the St Lawrence; but the left could not reach those along the St Charles.  On this side a wide space was left open, and there was a danger of being outflanked there.  To prevent this, Brigadier George Townshend was stationed there with two battalions, drawn up at right angles with the rest, and fronting St Charles.  The battalion of Major General Daniel Webb’s regiment, under Colonel Ralph Burton, formed the reserve; the third battalion of Royal Americans (mentioned by Elijah), was left to guard the landing site; and Howe’s light infantry occupied a wood far in the rear.  James Wolfe, with Robert Monckton and James Murray, commanded the front line, on which the heavy fighting was to fall, and which, when all the troops had arrived, numbered less than 3,500 men.  Brigadier George Townshend later estimated that Wolfe had about 4,400 men at his disposal and reckoned that Montcalm would have opposed on the battlefield with about the same number of troops.[5]

          Although the Canadians and Indians were firing at his forces from the flanks, Wolfe was able to issue his battle-orders relatively undisturbed by the French opposition.  Montcalm, however, was in a hugely different situation.  Whenever he was at Beaufort, he would customarily spend his time booted and spurred, regardless of the time of day or night, in order to be prepared to meet any challenge.[6]  As he came riding up from the Beauport shore on a black charger he looked towards Vaudreuil’s house.  This was Montcalm’s first view of the red ranks of the British soldiers forming on the heights across the St Charles some two miles away.  “This is serious business,” he said, and sent off Chevalier Johnstone at the full gallop to bring up the troops from the centre and left of the camp.  The troops on his right were already in motion, no doubt because of an order to do so by the Governor.  Vaudreuil came out and spoke briefly with Montcalm, who then put the spurs to his horse, and rode over the St Charles bridge to bring himself to the scene of danger.  It is reported that he rode with a fixed look, not saying a word.  Major Malartic, of the Béarn battalion of French regulars, rode beside his chief as he made his way towards his opponent.  As a rule, Montcalm was an animated talker, now he was silent.  To Major Malartic, it seemed “as though he felt his fate upon him.”[7]

          Montcalm was incredulous.  He had expected a detachment, and instead he found an army.  In the face of this force, Vaudreuil held back the forces that Montcalm had ordered to join him.  The Québec garrison also refused to come to his aid.  He sent to Ramesay, its commander, for 25 fieldpieces, which were on the palace battery.  Ramesay would only give him three, saying that he wanted them for his defence.[8]

          Montcalm held a council of war with his chief officers, and they agreed on an immediate attack, believing that there was no time to lose, for he thought that Wolfe would be reinforced.  Montcalm has been blamed not only for fighting too soon, but also for fighting at all.  In this he could not choose.  He had to fight, because Wolfe was now in a position to cut off all of his supplies.  His men were primed for battle, and he resolved to attack before they lost their eagerness.  He spoke a few words to them in his keen, vehement way, riding a black or dark bay horse along the front of the lines, brandishing his sword.  He wore a coat with wide sleeves, which fell back as he raised his arm, and showed the white linen of the wristband.[9]


[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p.159.

[2] Ibid, p.159.

[3] Ibid, pp.159-160.

[4] Ibid, p.160.

[5] Ibid, p.161.

[6] Ibid, p. 161.

[7] Ibid, p. 164

[8] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 476.

[9] Ibid, pp. 476-477.


Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham., painting by A.H. Hider.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2896948)

Montcalm leading his troops at the Plains of Abraham by Charles William Jeffreys (1869 - 1951).  Watercolour on 47.0 x 38.0 board.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2897202)

           The French army followed in such order as it might, crossed the bridge in haste, passed under the northern rampart of Québec, entered at the Palace Gate, and pressed on in a headlong march along the narrow streets of the old town.  Troops of Indians joined them in scalplocks and warpaint, along with bands of Canadians for whom much was at stake in this battle, in addition to the colony regulars; the battalions of Old France, white uniforms and bayonets of the veterans of famous regiments of La Sarre, Languedoc, Royal Roussillon, Béarn, who had fought at Oswego, Fort William Henry and Ticonderoga.  They poured out through the gates of St Louis and St John and raced to where the banners of Guyenne still fluttered on the ridge, racing at the double from the Montmorency front, rushing through the narrow streets of Québec and deploying on the other side to face the English.[1]

           Montcalm had deployed his forces in the following order: on his right was the regular contingent from Québec and Montréal, flanked in the woods by Canadian militia and Indians under Dumas.  In the centre came the five attenuated French battalions, La Sarre, Languedoc, Béarn, Guyenne and Royal Roussillon.  On his left flank he had deployed the men of Trois Rivières and Montréal; with the militia and Indians being spread out, just slightly ahead of them near the edge of the cliff.  Montcalm had only five guns to bring to bear on the British forces facing him.  He might have been able to put more on the line had he and his forces been given time to organize.  This was one of the most important advantages Wolfe had achieved when he gained the element of surprise by seizing the heights.  Even so, the five French guns were three more than Wolfe’s men had thus far been able to haul up the cliff.[2]

           As he was crossing the battlefield on one of his errands, Montbelliard stopped to speak with Montcalm just before the general gave the word to advance.  Montcalm informed him that, “We cannot avoid action.  The enemy is entrenching.  He already has two pieces of cannon.  If we give him time to establish himself, we shall never be able to attack him successfully with the sort of troops we have.”[3]


[1] Ibid, p. 477.

[2] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 165.

[3] Ibid, p. 165.


Montcalm Riding Along the French Lines Before the Battle of the Plains.  (C.W. Jefferys, Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2835227)

           At about 10 o’clock, Montcalm gave the command, and the French advanced.  The British were not entrenched, as Montcalm supposed.  They were lying down, except for those actively engaged on the flanks, having been employed in making sure that their first volley, double-shotted, was ready.  That seen to, no doubt they consumed some of the two days’ rations, and the rum, which they had taken with them into the boats.  Wolfe placed his battalions in open order, with forty-yard intervals between them, and as the line was extended, and many troops were needed to guard the flanks, the ranks were only two deep.[1]

           Roughly 4,000 French soldiers had by now formed up outside the walls.  They began their advance to the attack, flying regimental colours and cheering “Vive le Roi!”  According to Major Malartic, who as a regimental officer would have noted such an important detail, “The French came on too fast, at a run.”  The result was that the formations began to go to pieces almost at once, taking on a ragged appearance.  “We had not gone twenty paces,” said Malartic, “before the left was too far in the rear, and the centre was too far in front.”  Worse even than that, the first French volley was fired too far from the British to be fully effective, and the second was feeble or non-existent, for the Canadian-born troops who reinforced the French battalions, “according to their custom, threw themselves on the ground to reload.”  When they rose, it was not to fire again, but to retreat.  They had no stomach for the sort of fighting, volleys followed up by an assault with the bayonet, for which the regulars had been drilled.  “The scarlet-coated British and the white-coated French were now in direct contact, but as yet, no firing had come from Wolfe’s ranks.”[2]

           For fifteen or twenty minutes they marched, and not a shot rang out; Wolfe had learned the value of precise, accurate, and concentrated firepower.  Three-quarters of his 4,500 troops were deployed in one line, which waited silently until the enemy was only 40 yards away.  Their Brown Bess muskets had already been loaded, following a complex sequence of orders: “Handle Cartridge,” (draw the cartridge from the pouch and bit the top off), “Prime,” (shake the powder into the priming pan), “Load,” (put the ball and wadding into the barrel), “Draw ramrods” (press down with ramrod and withdraw), “Return ramrods,” (return to loop on the musket and fix bayonet), “Make ready,” (face to front), “Present,” (take aim and prepare to fire).  Only the order “Give Fire” was reserved until the last second.[3]

          The English waited and watched.  The three field pieces sent by Ramesay fired on the English with canister-shot, and 1,500 Canadians and Indians fusilladed them in front and on the flanks.  Skirmishers were sent out to hold them in check, and the soldiers were ordered to lie on the grass to avoid the shot.  Casualties were heavy among Brigadier George Townshend’s men.  Towards 10 o’clock the French formed themselves into three bodies on the ridge, with their regulars in the centre, and other regulars and Canadians on the left and right.  Two fieldpieces, which had been dragged up the heights at Anse du Foulon, fired on them with grapeshot, and the troops, rising from the ground, prepared to receive them.  In a few moments they were in motion.  They came on rapidly, uttering loud shouts, and firing as soon as they were within range.  Their ranks, ill ordered at the best, were further confused by a number of Canadians who had been mixed among the regulars, and who, after hastily firing, threw themselves on the ground to reload.  The British advanced a few rods, then halted and stood still.  When the French were within forty paces the word of command rang out and a crash of musketry answered all along the English line.  The volley was delivered with remarkable precision.  To the battalions of the centre, the simultaneous explosion sounded like a single cannon shot.  Another volley followed, and then a furious clattering of fire that lasted just a minute or two.  When the smoke cleared, the ground was littered with French dead and wounded, the advancing masses stopped short and turned into a frantic mob, shouting and cursing.[4]

           Sir John Fortescue, historian of the British Army, spoke of this volley as:

           the most perfect ever fired on a battlefield, and it was decisive.  It was not quite instantaneous, except in the centre, where it seems to have been delivered like a single cannon shot, but it was near enough.  The climax came within seconds, not minutes, and as a regular formation, Montcalm’s army broke and fled.  In those seconds, Wolfe had the fullest justification for years of rigorous discipline and training.  The volley was among the last sounds he heard coherently.[5]


[1] Ibid, pp. 165-166.

[2] Ibid, pp. 166.

[3] Ibid, pp. 166.

[4] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 478.

[5] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 167.


The Loss of Wolfe and Montcalm

            The order was given to charge and over the field rose a British cheer mixed with the fierce yell of the Highlanders.  Some of the corps pushed forward with the bayonet, others advanced firing.  The clansmen drew their broadswords and crashed crashed on. [1]


[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 478.

Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.  (C.W. Jefferys, Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2835895)

           Off to the right flank of the English forces, a steady small arms fire continued to be maintained, even though the attacking column had been broken.  This fire was being sustained by a number of mainly from sharpshooters who were laying in the brush and cornfields.  This is where Wolfe chose to lead a charge at the head of the Louisbourg Grenadiers.  He had been exposing himself recklessly throughout the French advance, and within minutes he had been wounded three times.  The first shot that hit him shattered his right wrist.  He wrapped his handkerchief around it and continued to press on.  Shortly afterwards, he was hit by a second shot, which struck him in the groin.  The bullet may have already spent its penetrating power because of the range, since Wolfe continued to move about freely.  He was still leading the advance when he was hit by a third shot, which struck him squarely in the chest.  This wound ultimately led to his death shortly afterwards.[1] 

            According to Brigadier George Townshend’s dispatch, the shot that killed General Wolfe did not come until after the famous volley.  He wrote, “our General fell at the head of Braggs (the 35th) and the Louisbourg Grenadiers advancing with their Bayonets.”  Whether it was a chance shot, or was aimed deliberately, “it was likely to have come from a marksman on the edge of the cliff above the St. Lawrence.”[2]


[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 167.

[2] Ibid, p. 167.


Death of General Wolfe.  (Painting by Benjamin West)

           Montcalm, still on horseback, was borne with the tide of fugitives towards the town.  As he approached the walls a shot passed through his body.  “Montcalm’s wound was in the stomach.  It had probably been caused by grape-shot from one of Colonel Williamson’s two brass 6-pounders, for he had been a conspicuous target as he rode, drawn sword in hand, urging on his infantry.”   He kept his seat, while two soldiers supported him, one on each side, and led his horse through the St Louis Gate of Québec, where a group of women replaced the escort of soldiers.[1]  A woman who recognized him screamed, “O mon Dieu! mon Dieu! le Marquis est tué!”  [“My God! My God! The Marquis is shot!”][2]

“Ce n’est rien, ce n’est rien,” answered the general, “ne vous affligez pas pour moi, mes bonnes amies.”  [“It’s nothing, it’s nothing,” replied Montcalm, “don’t be troubled for me, my good friends.”][3]


[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 478.

[2] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 170.

[3] Ibid, p. 170.


Death of General Montcalm.  Watercolour by Charles William Jefferys (1869 - 1951).

            When he was brought wounded from the field, he was placed in the house of the Surgeon Arnoux, who examined the wound and pronounced it mortal.  “So much the better,” he said, “I am happy that I shall not live to see the surrender of Québec.”  He is reported to have said, since he had lost the battle it consoled him to have been defeated by a brave enemy.  Some of his last words were in praise of his successor, Lévis, for whose talents and fitness for command he expressed high esteem.  He thought to the last about those who had been under his command, and sent a note to Brigadier George Townshend:

            “Monsieur, the humanity of the English sets my mind at peace concerning the fate of the French prisoners and the Canadians.  Feel towards them as they have caused me to feel.  Do not let them perceive that they have changed masters.  Be their protector as I have been their father.”[1]

           Montcalm died peacefully at 4 o’clock on the morning of the 14th.  He was 48 years old.  (He was buried in a shell crater under the floor of the Ursulines’ chapel).  It has been said, “the funeral of Montcalm was the funeral of New France.”[2]  “The Chevalier de Lévis came post-haste from Montréal when he received word of the defeat, assumed command, and set about restoring order.  Despite the valiant efforts of Lévis and the reorganized forces he now commanded, Vaudreuil, over the protests of Lévis, was obliged to capitulate the following September to General Jeffrey Amherst at Montréal.”[3]


[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, pp. 485-486.

[2] Ibid, p. 486.

[3] W.J. Eccles, Montcalm, The Encyclopedia Canadiana, p. 467.


After the Battle

           As for the aftermath of the battle on the Plains of Abraham, the French losses were placed by Vaudreuil at about 1,640, and by the English official reports at about 1,500.  Measured by the numbers engaged the battle of Québec could be described as a heavy skirmish; measured by the results, it was one of the great battles of the world.[1]  Morison, however, reports that “each side suffered about equal losses, 640 killed and wounded.”[2]

        Although Québec promptly surrendered to the British, Canada was soon cut “off from Europe by ice.  In the spring of 1760, a reorganized French and Canadian army under the Chevalier de Lévis moved against Québec.  Brigadier General James Murray, commanding a small, half-starved British garrison in the city, managed to hold them off.”[3]  The outcome could not be completely decided until either the French or English navy arrived with supplies and supporting forces.  Because the ice blocked access to Québec by either side’s reinforcements, much depended on whose fleet got through first.  The first warship to arrive on the 9th of May 1760 was British, the frigate Lowestoffe.  She was followed within a week by the Vanguard, a ship-of-the-line and by a second frigate, thus sealing the fate of New France.  Chevalier de Lévis abandoned his siege on Québec and fell back to Montréal.  “On the 8th of September 1760, after Generals Jeffrey Amherst, William Haviland and James Murray had invested Montréal, Governor the Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, deserted by many French regulars and the Canadian militia, surrendered the whole of Canada to Great Britain.”[4]  De Lévis moved to Ile Ste. Helene and his men burnt their colours and cut them up so that the British would not take them.[5]


[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 474-486.

[2] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, p. 168.

[3] Ibid, p. 168.

[4] Ibid, p. 169.

[5] Internet., p. 2.

[6] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 21.


 (Musee Virtuel Illustration)

French authorities surrendering Montréal to British forces in 1760.

            The French surrender ended the war in Canada after six years of hard fighting.  Great celebrations were held in Massachusetts and everywhere its soldiers served on hearing the news.[1]

[1] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 21.

        We return now, to Elijah’s Journal.

Halifax, 1759-1760

September the 14th day 1759:

            About 12 o’clock at night I was taken by the General’s order.  And the Sergeant Major was taken at the same time with me for not having a sentry at the gates.  And it was the orders of the Captain not to have one there - the 15th day we came out from the main guard with no blame for it was the orders of the Governor.

September 16th day, 1759:

            Our commander came home that went out the 26th day of August.

Halifax, September 28th day, 1759:

            We had a thanksgiving here and we had firing of great guns from the battery and from the ship, and she carried 74 guns. 

           Note: The ship may have been the Dublin, commanded by Captain Rodney who was to become famous for his part in the War of American Independence later in the century.[1]  The news of the British victory at Québec was given to England on Friday, the 19th of October 1759, following the fast passage of the ship Alcide.[2]


[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 37.

[2] Ibid, p. 180.

November the 2nd day:

            I came off guard and all our men came from the blockhouse and from Dartmouth and came to the Colonel and refused to do duty and I mounted guard again the 18th day of the same month.

November 15th day 1759:

            I helped raise the steeple of the meetinghouse.  And there was not one man hurt and it was the second steeple that was raised in Halifax.

            According to Fred Burnett, this was possibly the steeple for

           “Mather’s Meetinghouse (later St. Matthews Presbyterian Church), by Congregational when built by New Englanders.  St Paul’s English Church in Halifax was built in 1750, and the Old Dutch Church built by the Lutherans was small and had no steeple.”[1]

           Note: On the 16th of November, Admiral Saunders arrived in England on the Royal William bearing the body of General Wolfe.[2]


[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 26 September 2000.

[2] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 185.


November 22nd day, 1759:

            I moved out of the barracks to Sergeant Godford’s, I and one of my messmates.

November 24th day:

            We had snow about ten inches deep.

November 24th day:

            We had eight of our men run away from Citadel Fort and got clear from us.

            According to Mr. Burnett, sometimes these “runaways” had a good chance of making good on their escape.  One of his ancestors was a New Englander who settled in Nova Scotia about 1761, who during the American Revolution built a small schooner, and hid and run over the Bay of Fundy quite a few escaped Americans to New England.  He was never caught, likely because all his neighbours also hid and fed escaped prisoners and privateers, crews of vessels run ashore by Men-o’-War.  Prisoners who escaped from Halifax and could get to Barrington, Argyle or Yarmouth, were almost certain to be taken to Maine or elsewhere in New England free of charge.[1]


[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

November 22nd day 1759:

            Two of Captain Bowen’s men ran away from the blockhouse and got on board of a Schooner and hid in the ballast, and not one man knew of it that belonged to the vessel and our Agent heard of it and went on board and dug in the ballast and found them and sent a guard on board and took these two men and put them under guard, and it was the 23rd day when he found them, and they lay under guard about a week and then they was sent on board of the man-of-war.

December the 14th day:

            At night there was a house burned.

December the 24th day 1759:

            The fire broke out at the South Gate and the wind was in the Southeast and it burned three houses before it could be stopped.  And the same night there was a schooner cast away upon Pleasant Point, and she was from Boston loaded with rum, molasses, sugar, flour, and all sorts of spirits, clothing, beef and mutton.  And the 26th day I went with 9 men to guard the vessel, and the 29th day I came home again, for I had relief come to me.

         According to research by Fred Burnett, the South gate in Halifax was enclosed by a stockade with several gates.  Pleasant Point is near the mouth of Jeddore Harbour about 20 miles East of Halifax.[1]


[1] Ibid.

January the 12th day, 1760:

            We buried our Sergeant Major.  The number of ships that wintered in Halifax - Commodore’s ship was the Northumberland and she had 74 guns - the Pembroke had 66 guns.  And the Prince of Orange had 72 guns.  And the (unidentified ship) had 66.

January the 31st day:

            There was a storm came on at 4 o’clock in the morning and lasted until 6 at night.  And it (was) the most terrible storm that I ever saw in my life.  And I was upon guard.

February 3rd day 1760:

            It was the coldest day and night that was that winter and it froze over the river down as low as the Major’s Beach, which is six miles from town, and the 7th day I was upon guard.

            Mr. Burnett indicates that “the river was actually Halifax Harbour.”[1]


[1] Ibid.

February 12th 1760:

            At night there were three men drinking (of flip) in a soldier’s house, one was (a) Corporal of the Royal Americans and two of the Marines, one of them was a Corporal of the marines, and the Corporal of the Americans drew his bayonet and stabbed the Corporal of the Marines in the breast and killed him dead.  And fell foul of the other and hit him in the head, and the man fell down on his knees and begged for his life, and while he was begging for his life the Guard came upon the American and took him and carried him to jail.

February 20th day, 1760:

            There was a woman that had a child (that) died, and it was said she killed it.  And we took the child in the coffin and laid it upon the joists of the house.  And the constable locked the door, and carried the woman to jail.  And two days afterward the woman was cleared.  And the complainer was taken and put in jail for two years and a day for raising a false report of the woman.  And she was cleared that lost the child.

           Fred Burnett has indicated that in the case of a child being killed, many New England settlers thought Halifax to be a very bad place, and they were not entirely wrong.  The murder of a child would almost never occur in a settlement of Puritans, Quakers, New Lights (or) Baptists, as the New Englanders all were.[1]


[1] Ibid.

March the 9th day, 1760:

            I took two men of our company and put them under guard for not going to meeting and the 10th day I took two more of Captain Gay’s company and made report of them to Colonel (unknown), and the 10th day the Colonel released the four men.

March the 10th day:

            About noon they were firing the great guns at the batteries.  And at night there were lights in the windows and firing of skyrockets for the good news we hear of Admiral Sir Edward Hawke overcoming the French fleet.

            According to Francis Parkman, the typical British officer of the Royal Navy of that time

            was a rugged sea-dog, a tough and stubborn fighter, though no more so than the politer generations that followed, at home on the quarter-deck.  Sir Edward Hawke, worthy leader of such men, sailed with seven ships of the line and three frigates to intercept a French squadron from Rochefort convoying a fleet of transports with troops for America.  The French ships cut their cables and ran for the shore, where most of them stranded in the mud, and some threw cannon and munitions overboard to float themselves.  The expedition was broken up.  Of the many ships the French had fitted out for the rescue of Canada and Louisbourg, very few reached their destination, and those for the most part singly or by two’s and threes.[1]

[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 333.

            (This may be one reason why Elijah’s crews found few French ships to intercept).

April the 14th day:

            A man-of-war came into Halifax from England and she carried 50 guns.  (The ship’s name was not recorded).

Halifax, April the 22nd day, 1760:

            There was a woman killed one of her neighbour’s children, a little boy 8 or 9 years old and kept it until the 29th day before it was found out, and at 10 o’clock the same day she was carried to jail.

April the 18th day, 1760:

            I was taken very bad with cold and jaundice.  And the 20th day I was bled.  And the 26th day I was Physicked (sic) and remained very poorly until the 10th day of May.

            Note: The siege of Québec was decided on the 17th of May.[1]

[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 201.

Halifax, May the 20th day:

            The man and woman were executed for murdering - the man was the Corporal of the Royal Americans who killed the Corporal of the Marines.  They were hanged between 12 and one o’clock in the day - man’s name was (unknown), and the woman’s name was (unknown).  Her husband had gone upriver trading.

June the 3rd day, 1759

            Elijah was a very devout man, and from the 3rd of June 1759 to the 24th of February 1760, he kept a very careful record of the sermons preached by Reverend Brown.[1]


[1] June the 3rd day, 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text in Halifax preached in the Meetinghouse Luke 17th chapter and the 10th verse.  And in the afternoon it was in Phil. 4th chapter and 13th verse.

               “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”


June the 10th day 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text in the forenoon was 1 John 3rd chapter and 8th and 9th verses - in the afternoon it was Matthew 19th chapter and the 17th verse.

               “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good?  There is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”


June the 17th day 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text in the forenoon was in Romans 12th chapter and the 1st verse and in the afternoon it was in the same chapter and the last verse.

               “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

               “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”


June the 24th day 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in Luke the 10th chapter and the 27th verse all day.

               “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord the God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."


September the 3rd day 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in Isaiah 28th chapter and 28th verse.  And in the afternoon it was the 28th chapter and the 28th verse of Job.

               “Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.”

               “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”


October the 7th day 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in Hebrews 7th chapter and the 29th verse.  (No 29th verse, possibly the 28th?)

               “For the law maketh men highpriests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”


October the 14th day 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in the 4th chapter of Matthew and from the 1st to the 7th verse and it was there all day.

“Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.”

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.”

“And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

“Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord Thy God.”


December the 23rd day 1759:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in the forenoon in 1st Timothy 5th chapter and the 22nd verse and in the afternoon it was in Peter the first chapter and from the 5th to the 6th verses.

               “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.”

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

               “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.”


January 28th day 1760:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in Hebrews 2nd chapter the 11th, 12th, and 13th verses, in the afternoon it was in Matthew 16th chapter and 24th verse.

               “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

               “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

               “And again, I will put my trust in him.  And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

               “Then said Jesus unto his disciples.  If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”


February the 17th day 1760:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in Romans 6th chapter and 21st, 22nd, 23rd verses and it was there all day.

               “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?  For the end of those things is death.”

               “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

               “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


February the 24th day, 1760:

               Mr. Brown’s text was in Hebrews the 3rd chapter and the first part of the 8th verse.  In the afternoon it was in Ezekiel 18-31.

               “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”

               “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel.”

June the 21st day 1760:

            I enlisted and the 24th day we marched to Cornwallis.  From Halifax to Fort Sackville 13 miles.  From Fort Sackville to Fort Edward in Piquet 35 miles.  From Pisquet to Minus (Minas) 15 miles.  From Minus to Cornwallis 7 miles.  Total 70 miles.

            Fred Burnett commented that, the settlers that came to Cornwallis had very real fears of attacks from Indians.  Governor Lawrence did his best to protect them, but some wrote later that when they heard cattle move in their barns at night they would fear it was Indians coming to attack them.  They would therefore lay awake at night listening for any noise that might be made by the Indians.[1]


[1] “The person who wrote this actually lived at Falmouth, which was almost in range of the guns of Fort Edward. His name was Reverend (or Elder) Henry Alline, his brother in-law was one of those liberated at the fall of Quebec and returned to Nova Scotia.  His parents were French Protestants living on an island in the ocean near Lunenburg.  The Indians went to the island, killed the husband and the hired servants, and then took the wife and children to Quebec where the son was put in school under Catholic priests or monks.”  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 27 October 2000.

            Mr. Burnett notes that Pisquet or Pisquate, was usually spelled Piziquid.  Its modern name is Windsor, Nova Scotia.  Governor Cornwallis ordered a block-house to be built there in March 1750, with Captain John Gorham being instructed to direct the work.  This was deemed necessary on account of troubles caused by the French in that district.  At the same time the road from Halifax was being made.  Gorham was attacked by Indians before the work commenced, but they were driven away, as reinforcements had come from Halifax.  The block-house was completed and other buildings were added.  The name Fort Edward was given to it.  At the present time, only the blockhouse remains.[1]


[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.


November the 16th day, 1760:

            We marched from Cornwallis and went to West Falmouth and the 17th day we went to the Halfway House, and the 18th day we went to Fort Sackville and the 19th day we went to Halifax.

            Fred Burnett provided the information that Cornwallis was being settled that year by people mostly from Eastern Connecticut.  Falmouth was settled in 1759 and 1760, mostly by people from Rhode Island, also New Port about the same time.  Piquet is now Windsor.[1]


[1] Diary of John Thomas [9 April 1755-26 December 1755], edited by John C. Webster [Notes], p. 39.  The Tribute Press, Sackville, New Brunswick, 1937.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

November the 25th day, 1760:

            We embarked on board the ship and the 27th day we went out to sea and about noon we had like to be cast away and we put into Halifax again.  And laid until the 2nd of December and we then put to sea again.  And the 13th day we got into Boston.  And the 15th day I got home to my family.

The End of Elijah Estabrooks’ Journal. 

        Although the Seven Years War didn’t end until the Peace of Paris in 1763, Elijah had fought and survived the battle at Ticonderoga, and had gone on to serve with the British forces in Halifax.  He came home to his family on the 15th of November 1760, having participated in the most intense period of the “Seven Years War” in North America.

            At the close of the Seven Years War, “no living soul in Massachusetts could foresee the coming separation from Great Britain, and no one desired it.”  With the conclusion of the war in 1763, American commitment to the empire reached its zenith.  The people of Massachusetts like Elijah and his family, would have been pleased to be part of the British system and equally proud to have participated in the British triumph.  Their heroes were William Pitt and Jeffrey Amherst, Viscount Howe and James Wolfe.  During the war and in its aftermath, settlements were named in honor of  Pitt in Massachusetts and Amherst in Nova Scotia.  It is a strange twist of history indeed, that within a dozen years veterans of the Seven Years War would again take up arms in 1775, to fight the British redcoats, many of whom they would have served alongside at battlefields such as Ticonderoga.[1]


[1] Fred Anderson, The People’s Army, p. 23.

            Elijah went on to settle in Nova Scotia after the war, and we now return to his story.

Elijah after the War

            From December 1760 through the next two and a half years, Elijah made preparations to move his family the Saint John River, an area that was still called Nova Scotia.  Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia was urged by the Lords of Trade and Plantations to re-people the lands vacated by the French with settlers from New England.[1] 


[1] On the 11th of January 1759, a proclamation was made by Charles Lawrence to the people of New England promising them various things, temporal and spiritual, if they would remove to Nova Scotia.  Thousands of them accepted the terms and came.  The proclamation was printed at Boston in New England by John Draper in 1759 and is on the side of one sheet.  Perhaps it was intended to be fastened up for the public to read.  One copy was kept by some of the settlers, likely at Cornwallis, Nova Scotia and it seems to have been sent to Baptist minister in New Brunswick who was put in jail for performing a marriage at St. Martins about 1809.  This minister had hoped that the promise of religious freedom contained in it would set him free, but such was not the case.  It may, however, be the reason the original document has survived down to the present.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.


 (Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society.Vol. 16. 1912. p. 11)

Governor of Nova Scotia Charles Lawrence.

            Colonel Alexander McNutt, a British army officer, colonist and land agent who would later help Scottish emigrants to come to Nova Scotia during the early 1760s, went through the Essex County section of Massachusetts urging men to better their fortunes.  In the Newbury-Haverhill district, a group organized and decided to examine the situation.  (Haverhill is located 35 miles north of Boston on the New Hampshire border and about 17 miles from the Ocean).  In the winter of 1761-1762, the Governor of Massachusetts appointed Israel Perley in charge of 12 men in the pay of the state of Massachusetts to make a snowshoe journey through the wilderness from Maine to the Saint John River.  Hugh Quinton was one of this party.[1]

[1] Hugh Quinton’s Diary, NB Museum Archives, Saint John, NB.

            Elijah was also one of this group.  They went by boat to Machias and made their way by trails until they descended the Oromocto River.  The Township of Maugerville, twelve miles long and twelve miles wide, was laid out in lots early in 1762.  On Wednesday, the 6th of October 1762, the signers of the agreement met at the house of Daniel Ingalls, Inn-holder in Andover, at 10 AM to draw their lots.[1]


[1] Raymond, “The River St. John,” p. 280.

            Early in 1763 Elijah moved his family to Halifax and then to Cornwallis, intending to leave them there until he had prepared for them in Maugerville Township.  He crossed the bay and joined Israel Perley’s party that was going up the river to occupy the land.  It is said he took his son, Elijah, a boy of seven or eight years, with him to see the country.

            When they reached the township Elijah found that his lot near Jemseg was under water.  This must have been a great disappointment.  He decided not to use the lot and returned to Cornwallis.

            During the next two years Elijah was apparently exploring the possibilities of the new land.  Tradition says that he paid a visit to Sackville, where Valentine Estabrooks had settled.  His heart however, was apparently set on the river.  On the 18th of October 1765, Elijah went to work in the store of Simonds and White at Portland Point.  In 1789 he participated in a meeting concerning local improvements, as a member of the Portland Board of Trade executive committee and consulting member.[1]


[1] Ven. Archdeacon Raymond, “Pioneer Days at Saint John,” published in the Telegraph, Saint John, NB, April 1919.

            In the summer of 1769 the Reverend Thomas Wood, a clergyman of the Church of England, visited the Saint John River.  At Portland Point he held a Sunday service on the 2nd of July, and baptized John and Abigail, children of Elijah and Mary Estabrooks.  Sarah may also have been baptized at that time.

            In 1773 Elijah made an agreement with William Hazen and James Simonds to settle in the Township of Conway near the mouth of the river, Hazen and Simonds guaranteeing him a deed of 250 acres of land.  An old return or census dated the 1st of August 1775 shows that he had cleared and improved seven acres of land and built a log house.

            The lot granted to Elijah was No. 5, next to the shipbuilding plant and possibly included the modern Saint John Market Square.  The lot next to him, No. 6, was granted to his son-in-law, Zebedee Ring.

            Hazen and Simonds ran an extensive business as a fur trading company and fishery, and they were anxious to place settlers on the land because it was in danger of being escheated.

            The American Revolution began on the 19th of April 1775.[1] 


[1] “There was a long series of events that led to the American Revolution, but, if a single day is to be named as The Day the American Revolution began, this day is the one chosen by most historians.  Early in the morning of the 19th of April 1775, British soldiers marched into Lexington, Massachusetts, to capture a rebel arsenal.  A shot was fired, and the revolution began in earnest.  It took weeks for the news to penetrate all the colonies and more than a month for the first report to reach King George III in London.  William H. Hallahan, The Day the American Revolution Began: 19 April 1775, and from “The History of Nova Scotia,” p. 16.

            The American Revolution began to have an impact on the Saint John River in the month of August 1775, when a raiding party from Machias, Maine, entered the harbour in a sloop and burned Fort Frederick on the Conway side and captured a brig in the harbour loaded with provisions for the British troops in Boston.  The inhabitants of Conway took to the woods to avoid the depredations of the marauders.[1]


[1] The War of the American Revolution ran from 1775 to 1783.  The root causes appear to have been based on a strong American resentment that had developed against British after the successful conclusion of the French and Indian War.  The British application of what was widely viewed as an unfair tax called the Stamp Act in 1765 caused a great deal of anger in the 13 colonies. The Boston Massacre in 1770, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and the Intolerable Acts in 1774 added to American grievances.  The first pitched battles between colonial militia and British regulars took place at Lexington and Concord, both in Massachusetts, on the 19th of April 1775.  On the 4th of July 1776, American patriots announced their Declaration of Independence.  This historic act, together with a decisive American victory at Saratoga in 1777, helped them to gain the allegiance of France.  Although largely successful in direct battles on the field, Britain steadily dissipated its strength against the stubborn resistance of General George Washington’s Continental troops.  The largest English army in America was finally confronted at Yorktown, Virginia.  The surrender there in 1781 ended the fighting only for Great Britain’s erstwhile colonies (and their allied French ground troops).  Meanwhile Great Britain had become engaged in a fierce maritime conflict with France in 1778, Spain in 1779, and the Netherlands in 1780.  The 1783 Treaty of Versailles ended the war.  The independence of the United States was acknowledged, conquests in India were mutually restored, and Florida and Minorca ceded to Spain.

            This was the first act of aggression in the Bay of Fundy, and it produced a great sensation; but the experience was repeated many times and must have been painfully reminiscent of the Indian raids on Haverhill in the early years of its existence.  The privateers were just as rapacious as the Indians in their looting, in spite of the fact that many of the people on the Saint John River sympathized with the American cause.

            In 1776 an American ebel expedition was sent against the English at Fort Cumberland on the Chignecto Isthmus where Lieutenant Colonel Goreham was in command, but it was beaten off and it returned to the river.  Major Studholme’s report shows that Elijah Estabrooks (junior) was one of those who accompanied Hugh Quinton on this expedition.

            In May 1777, John Allan, one of the most determined of the American sympathizers, set out from Machias with 43 men in four whaleboats and several canoes.  They arrived at Musquash Cove on the 1st of June, crossed the river at Indiantown, and then made their way to Portland Point where they took Hazen, Simonds and White prisoners.  They spent some time on the river before leaving.  After this experience Simonds moved up the river to Sheffield where he bought a section of land between the Maugerville Township and Loder Creek from the Morris grant.  He built a log cabin on the bank of the river and lived there for nine years.  Elijah left Conway at the same time, and settled on land which was part of the Spry grant at Gagetown on Grimross Neck.

            Elijah’s family was growing up and leaving home.  Hannah married Zebedee Ring in Salisbury in 1772.  They settled next to her father in Conway and in 1777 moved to Sheffield.  Mary married Samuel Hart of Maugerville in 1773.  Elijah (junior) married Mary Whittemore in 1777 and after a brief period in Jemseg settled just below James Simonds on the river.  Ebenezer married Maria Fletcher in 1782 and settled near his father on Gagetown Neck.  Still at home were Joseph (age 15), Sarah (age 13), Abigail (age 11), John (age 9), and Deborah (age 3).

            The rugged life proved to be too much for Elijah’s wife, Mary Hackett, and she died in 1778.  She was probably buried in the Garrison graveyard as it was the oldest Protestant graveyard in this part of the country, and Elijah himself was later buried there.  She had impressed her children as a woman of courage and resource, and “Mary Hackett” is a name found frequently among her descendants.

            Archilaus Hammond had settled in the Gagetown area before Elijah moved there.  The Hammond’s came from Marblehead.   The soldier Archilaus Hammond was born 9 May 1736 in Fairhaven, Massachusetts to Archhilaus and Elizabeth (Weeks) Hammond.  He first settled in Nova Scotia before going to New Brunswick.  While living in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, he had a daughter named Sarah or Sally born 2 February 1767 and a son named Archilaus born 9 May 1769.

           Sarah Hammond was the daughter of Philip and Mary (Sweetland) Hammond of Marblehead.  Sarah was baptized at Marblehead on the 21st of October 1739.  On the 24th of September 1764, she married James Oakes.  They moved from Marblehead to Cornwallis and quite possibly encountered Elijah and Mary Estabrooks there.  Sarah had four children by James Oakes: James (junior), Benjamin, Sarah and Christopher (Christopher was born in 1773).  James (senior) died about the same time as Mary Hackett.  Sarah Oakes brought her small family to Gagetown and married Elijah Estabrooks on the 17th of December 1778.  They had a further two children, Elizabeth (Betsy) born on the 30th of October 1779, and Hammond, born on the 29th of January 1783.

            Note: At about 2 PM on the 19th of May 1780, complete darkness fell over Eastern Canada and New England.  The cause for this has never been explained.[1] 


[1] Daytime Darkness, The History of Nova Scotia, p. 17.

          On the 3rd of September 1783, Great Britain officially recognized the Independence of the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.[1]


[1] The Paris Peace Treaty, 3 September 1783:


Article One.  His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, property, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.


Article Two.  And that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their boundaries, viz.; from the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, viz., that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of St. Croix River to the highlands; along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwestern-most head of Connecticut River; thence down along the middle of that river to the forth-fifth degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due west on said latitude until it strikes the river Iroquois or Cataraqui; thence along the middle of said river into Lake Ontario; through the middle of said lake until it strikes the communication by water between that lake and Lake Erie; thence along the middle of said communication into Lake Erie, through the middle of said lake until it arrives at the water communication between that lake and Lake Huron; thence along the middle of said water communication into Lake Huron, thence through the middle of said lake to the water communication between that lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior northward of the Isles Royal and Phelipeaux to the Long Lake; thence through the middle of said Long Lake and the water communication between it and the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake of the Woods; thence through the said lake to the most northwestern-most point thereof, and form thence on a due was course to the river Mississippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude, South, by a line to be drawn due east from the  determination of the line last mentioned in the latitude of thirty-one degrees of the equator, to the middle of the river Apalachicola or Catahouche; thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flin River, thence straight to the head of Saint Mary’s River; and thence down along the middle of Saint Mary’s River to the Atlantic Ocean; east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river Saint Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river Saint Lawrence; comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one part and East Florida on the other shall, respectively, touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said province of Nova Scotia.  Extracted from the 1783 Paris Peace Treaty,, and “The History of Nova Scotia, pp. 17-18.

            Mr. Burnett noted that the records of the church gathered on the St. John River in 1779 have all disappeared long ago, but by the year 1790 there was a good sized congregation of people meeting for worship at the houses of Elijah Estabrooks and Archaleus Hammond.  The church did not have an ordained minister, but Samuel Hartt Senior and Elijah Estabrooks preached sometimes and the people sang Reverend Henry Alline’s hymns.  This group was “in harmony” until about 1793, when there was a “division” of the congregation and part of the group moved to Kingsclear.  Some outsiders called the group that stayed “Brooksites” because Elijah Estabrooks preached and others called them Hartites because Samuel Hartt held meetings at times.  In 1800, most of them formed a Baptist Church.  Reverend Henry Allen or Alline baptized one young woman by immersion on the St. John River.  Her last name was Garrison (or a similar name). [1]


[1] These statements were taken from: The Journal of Henry Alline, first printed in Boston, 1806, recently reprinted 1982 by Acadia Divinity College, then by the Champlain Society and in the USA; The original and printed Journals of James Manning (1801) and James Innis (1805-1811) edited by D.G. Bull, Lancelot Press, 1984, and Fred C. Burnett’s book, Biographical Directory of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Free Baptist Ministers and Preachers, 1996, p. 235. Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.

            In the year 1765, shortly after the close of the Seven Years War, enormous tracts of land, called Townships, were granted in the Saint John River valley to officers and government officials.  The arrival of the Loyalists in 1783 led to most of these grants being escheated excepting where settlers were in actual possession.

            Governor Parr decreed that such lots as were occupied by old inhabitants of the country should not be appropriated by Loyalists without paying for improvements.  A commission was appointed to assess values:

Report of the Commission to Investigate Pre-Loyalist Settlements: For Gagetown, on the 30th of June 1783:

            Elijah Easterbrook (sic) has a wife and eight children, a log house with two rooms and about twelve acres of land cleared.  Came from Cornwallis about 16 years past; settled at the mouth of the river and says he was drove up by rebels.

For the Township of Conway, 8th of July 1783:

            Elijah Easterbrook settled in consequence of an agreement with Hazen and Simonds.  Cleared and improved about seven acres of land and built a log house which is now fallen to decay, said Easterbrook moving up the river on account of the danger of his situation.  Had lived on it eight years.

Guy Carleton (1724-1808), 1st Baron Dorchester, army officer and colonial administrator.  On the Plains of Abraham he commanded the 2nd battalion of the Royal Americans (60th Foot), which was one of three battalions deployed under Brigadier-General George Townshend at the left of the British battle-line.  During the battle he received a head wound while pursuing the enemy which may have led to his leaving the colony in October 1759.  He would return and eventually become the Governor of British North America.

             Governor Carleton and his Council continued the policy of Governor Parr after the formation of the Province of New Brunswick.  Elijah Estabrooks’ house was valued at 10 pounds and his improvements at 48 pounds.  Walter Chase, the Loyalist on whose grant his land was situated, was unwilling to pay this amount and Elijah was confirmed in possession of his land in 1784.  This was Lot No. 5, Grimross Neck.  The Loyalists however, were determined to get rid of the pre-Loyalists and Elijah found things very unpleasant.  Actual riots took place and some belligerents were put in jail.

            Mr. Burnett has found a copy of a petition believed to have been made in 1786, signed by Elijah Estabrooks and his son, and at least 29 other parishioners.  This list contains names of Loyalists as well as New Englanders, showing the ties of their faith were stronger than political differences.  Titus Fetch, a Loyalist, who also signed the petition, soon after led a number of families from Nashwaak, New Brunswick, to Ontario where he was ordained a Baptist Minister.[1]


[1] The petition reads as follows:


To His Excellency Thomas Carleton Esquire, Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick and territories thereon Defending chancilor (sic) and Vice-admiral of the Same etc. 

The humble address of your Petitioners being fully convinced of your Excellency’s gracious Disposition for the weal of the Province and knowing that as the happyness (sic) of a people touching both Sivel (sic)and religious privileges depend on being under the protection of good laws so it is an inestimable blessing to have them Exercised by men who will naturally study the Good of the Community, we your Excellencies humble petitioners do therefore humbly recommend to your Excellency for a Magistrate Mr. Thomas Hartt in Queens County whose moral Virtues, Education and Experience in matters of Law are such as Convinceth (sic) us he will be a Grate Blessing to the County Should your Excellency, be graciously pleased to Grant the Prayer of your petitioners and your petitioners as in duty bound will Ever Pray etc.  [Dated at] Queens County the 30th of July 1786.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

            Elijah applied for a new allotment.  He received some compensation in Cambridge, which included one-half of lots 25 and 26.  His sons Ebenezer (25) and Joseph (26) received the other halves.  Elijah junior was granted one-half of lot 3 at Jemseg, Parish of Waterborough and lot 32 on the interval.

            Archelaus Hammond moved to Kingsclear at the same time.  He received one lot there and his eldest son received another.  The lots in Cambridge were beautifully situated on a ridge overlooking the Jemseg River at its entrance to Grand Lake.  The Garrison graveyard was just over the fence on a slope stretching down to a creek.

            Elijah moved with his family and two married sons, Ebenezer and Joseph, to these lots in 1787.  Elijah apparently left the management of his lots mainly to his Oakes stepsons and his wife.  He himself spent much of his time with his eldest son Elijah Junior, and John his youngest son by Mary Hackett in Canning.

            In 1802 Joseph Estabrooks was one of at least 30 parishioners who signed a petition was raised to ask that [Baptist] ministers be allowed to marry their church members.[1]


[1] This petition is in the Queens and Sunbury County records.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

            John was seeking to establish himself.  He had no love for the water-soaked interval on the Saint John River, and early in his married life moved across the river to land just above Swan Creek.  He built the first frame house in that part of the country.

            Note: At this time in 1789, the Storming of the Bastille in Paris took place, marking the start of the French Revolution.  It led to the beheading of Louis XVI in 1793, and the end of the French Capetian monarchy.

            Elijah Estabrooks thus spent his old age close to all his children.  His younger daughters were married; Sarah, married John Marsh on the 15th of July 1790 and lived in Canning; Abigail married Wm. Harper in Canning in 1794; Deborah married Moses Clarke junior in August 1796; Elizabeth married Martin Olts, junior, on the 29th of March 1796.  They lived at French Lake and then on the Nashwaak River.

            Elijah remained hale and hearty to the last.  Mrs. Abraham Estabrooks, who married his grandson, said he used to tell tales of old times to his grandchildren.  She said there were two things that he used to pray for: one was that he should never be sick and the other was that he should die at his work.  He used to pound up grain for chickens in a mortar.  One afternoon after working for awhile, he lay back in his chair and covered his face with his hat.  His grandchildren, who were playing around, thought that he was asleep; but when they went to wake him for supper, they found that he was dead.  He was buried in the Garrison Graveyard at Jemseg.

            Elijah died intestate.  By a deed dated the 11th of August 1796 and signed by all his sons and daughters with their wives and husbands his estate was given to his widow, Sarah.  This deed was probably drawn up on the day of his funeral.

            His chief assets were the two half lots in Cambridge.  His widow sold these to her sons James and Benjamin Oakes in 1803.  James had married Rachel Olts on the 7th of July 1792.  The Oakes men probably lived there until 1813 when they sold the lots to Archelaus Purdy and moved up to Carleton County, New Brunswick.  The Estabrooks men sold theirs about the same time, and moved up to Wakefield, Carleton County.  Some of the Oakes men went on to Ontario.

            Sarah (Oakes) Estabrooks may also be buried in the Garrison graveyard.

            In her book on the Estabrooks family history, Florence Estabrooks provided detailed information which helped me to locate the site of Elijah’s burial in Jemseg.  She indicated that fragments of a gravestone with Elijah Estabrooks name on it had been scattered in the graveyard located on Jefferson Dykeman’s farm (close to the river).  The graves in the early 1950s were clearly defined but the stones were gone.  Elijah’s grave was located about ten feet straight in front of the entrance.  The original tombstone had a curved top and his name clearly cut.  Florence indicated that the place had grown up in 1951, and it remains that way to this day. 

Elijah’s Gravesite 

 (Author Photo, 2005)

            Elijah Estabrooks’ grave lies under a large bur oak tree near the village of Jemseg, New Brunswick.  On the 17th of July 1996, I drove to Jemseg on the Saint John River after contacting members of the present day Dykeman family for directions.  Mrs. Norman Dykeman of 169 Grand Lake Drive pointed out roughly where the site was on a nearby farm and directed me to the owner, Mr. John Gardner.  Mr. Gardner showed me the exact site of the grave; across the road from house number 12, no more than 300 meters from the stop sign and turnoff from the Trans-Canada Highway Bridge over the river.  A photograph taken by Florence Estabrooks from 1938 was still useful, in that the barn in the rear of the photo and the large oak tree in the center of the picture are both still there.

            Elijah, his first wife Mary (Hackett) and his second wife Sarah (Oakes) are most likely all buried there, as Florence indicated that this was the oldest Protestant graveyard in this part of the country.

            John Gardner had cleared out much of the debris that regularly accumulates over the cemetery from the spring floods.  He had also raised one of the broken stone markers in front of the tree.  He hand painted the words “OLD GARRISON GRAVEYARD” on the stone marker.  The site badly needs more done to it to preserve this ancient piece of New Brunswick heritage.

            I have revisited the site of Elijah’s grave several times and began to make inquiries on how to get the site marked more appropriately for historical purposes. I met with Mrs. Dawn Bremner of the Queen’s County Historical Society, and a native of the local area, at the site of the grave on the 10th of October 1996.  We had permission to dig for stone markers, and re-erected roughly 18 slabs, none of which had any markings.  We are endeavoring to have the site of the graves (possibly 30) declared a New Brunswick heritage site. 

 (Author Photo, 2018)

            The cemetery is named after the Garrison family (presumably some members of their family are buried there), and later became part of a farm owned by Mr. Jefferson Dykeman.  According to early records, “the graves were marked by field stones only, and the identity of those buried there is beyond recall.”  Aside from Elijah Estabrooks and one or possibly both of his wives, George Ferris, another early member of the Jemseg community is known to be buried there.  The cemetery lies beside farm lots 24-25, which had been granted to Elijah, Ebenezer and Joseph Estabrooks, three sons of Elijah, the veteran of  “Ticonderoga.”  Along with John Estabrooks, his four sons are listed on the roll of the Charter membership of the Waterborough Baptist Church (the Mother Organization of the Baptists in this central St. John River valley.  Elijah is listed as a Teaching Elder; Joseph as a Deacon; Ebenezer and John as members, in 1800.  Katherine, John’s wife is also listed.[1]


[1] Rev. Walter R. Greenwood, The Early Baptists of Cambridge Parish, Queens County, New Brunswick, Jemseg, NB, 1941,  p. 8-11.

           I found the gravesites of Elijah’s son, the Reverend Elijah Estabrooks in the Upper Gagetown cemetery.  He was ordained in 1800, and the site is well marked with quite a bit of his history inscribed onto a large white marker.  There are many other Estabrooks in the same graveyard, which is not far from the Gagetown ferry-crossing site.  One of them is Florence C. Estabrooks, who transcribed the original diary, which is the basis for this story.  Grant that this treatise is worthy of her work. 

Elijah’s Descendants 

            Elijah and his wife Mary Hackett had the following children: Hannah, Mary, Sarah, Elijah, Samuel, Ebenezer, Joseph, and Sarah, Abigail, John, Deborah.  After Mary’s death, Elijah married Sarah Hammond-Oakes, and they had two children: Elizabeth, and Hammond.

            Elijah’s son Ebenezer was baptized in Boxford, Massachusetts, on the 28th of August 1759.  He married Maria Fletcher before 1783 and they had nine children.  They settled on Gagetown Neck, in New Brunswick, but were dispossessed by the Loyalists in 1785.  (To this day there is some “animosity” between the descendants of the people who lived on the river before the Loyalists came and those who came after the American Revolution to the Saint John River).  Ebenezer settled for a time on his grant in Cambridge (half of Lot 25); but by 1796 he was living in Lakeville, Sheffield.  He was one of those who signed the covenant of the Church at Waterborough the 20th of October 1800.  This was the occasion of forming the Baptist Church.  He moved to Lincoln about 1808.  In the same year he received land on Little River.  On the 25th of December 1813 Ebenezer Estabrooks and a number of others applied to be dismissed from the church at Canning to join in forming a Baptist Church in Fredericton.  This was the beginning of the Brunswick St. Baptist Church.


            Note: The War of 1812 was ongoing at the time.[1]


[1] On the 4th of April 1812, James Madison, President of the United States, slapped a 90-day embargo on trade with England.  His intent was to take some of the pressure off of American merchant ships, which were being attacked by British ships maintaining a blockade against Napoleon.  Madison’s embargo was a factor in the outbreak of the War of 1812.  The National Post, 4 April 2000. 

            The War of 1812 was fought in North America between the 18th of June 1812 and the 24th of December 1814 between Canada and the USA.  Following the US declaration of War a number of battles were fought, including the Battle of New Orleans, two weeks after the war was over (1815).  The major battles for the year 1812 were fought at Fort Dearborn, Detroit, and at Queenston Heights, where General Sir Isaac Brock was killed.  More battles took place in 1813 at Frenchtown, Sacket's Harbour on land, as well as a naval battle between the American 38-gun frigate USS Chesapeake and the British 38-gun warship Shannon, (the British crew captured the Chesapeake, although both sides took heavy casualties in the action).  That same year there were additional land battles at Stony Creek, Lake Erie, Thames River, Chateaugay River, and Chryslers Farm.  The war continued into 1814 with battles at Chippewa River, Lundy's Lane, Fort Erie, Bladesburg, Champlain, Lake Plattsburg, Fort McHenry; and because neither side was aware a peace treaty had been signed, a further battle was fought in 1815 New Orleans.  The Treaty of Ghent officially ended the war on the 24th of December 1814.  David Eggenberger, An Encyclopedia of Battles, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1985, p. 93.

             In 1816, Ebenezer took up a large farm in Jacksontown, Parish of Wakefield, Carleton County, where he died about 1851.  About 1814 he married a second time; his second wife was Charlotte Ann Lounsbury, born 1782, died 1860.  Ebenezer and Charlotte Ann had another five children.  After Ebenezer’s death, Charlotte Ann lived with the Rideouts, dying about 1860 at the age of 90.

            Note: The Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte by the forces of the Duke of Wellington and Blucher was fought in 1815 in Europe.[1]


[1] The Battle of Waterloo took place on the 18th of June 1815.  Wellington, the British commander, mustered some 68,000 troops (24,000 British, 44,000 Dutch, Belgian and Prussian) on the battlefield.  Napoleon had roughly 72,000 troops on the field.  Napoleon won the early actions and at Ligny and Quatre Bras, while Wellington captured Hougoumont.  Shortly afterwards, however, La Haye-Saint fell to Napoleon.  The rain and the mud caused his troops to bog down.  Napoleon appreciated the fact that he needed more time, but the Prussian General Blucher arrived before he could complete his plan of attack, and Napoleon was defeated.  Napoleon’s casualties were 26,000, killed and wounded, 9,000 taken as Prisoners of War (POW), and 9,000 missing.  Wellington lost 15,000 killed and wounded, and had several 1000 missing, while the Prussians lost 7000.  On the 22nd of June 1815 Napoleon abdicated for the second time.  He presented himself to the British, who then sent him to the Isle St. Helena where he ended his days.  He now rests inside a magnificent red marble sarcophagus inside “Les Invalides” in Paris.

            The following was written by Ziba Pope, later an ordained minister (Free Baptist). 

On the 29th of September [1812] …came up the River through Gagetown to Sheffield…I stayed till the 6th of October and had eight meetings.  Oh, there is a great work of God in this place.  30 or 40 young converts shouting praises to God at a time.  The voice of the turtle[dove] was heard in this place of a truth.  The preacher that this reformation was under, his name was Elijah Brooks (sic) and he lost a daughter while I was there, called into eternity very suddenly from good health but blessed be God that she died in the triumphs of faith and is now undoubtedly singing praises to God.  Her death will be a blessing I hope to some poor souls.  All her relations gave her up joyafully (sic) when they felt religion.  Oh, Glory to God for religion, oh glorious meetings we had had (sic).  At this time one of her sisters gave glory to God that she was worthy to suffer affliction.  Oh, what trials I now have in leaving the Children of God.  They appear to be nearer to me than any blood relation.[1]

             Mr. Burnett indicated that this religious revival was not confined to Sheffield.  The whole Saint John River Valley from Lower Hampstead to Upper Sussex and up through present Carleton County and on the Nashwaak and Oromocto Rivers were in almost a white heat of religious fervor in the year of 1812.[2]

             Mr. Burnett also discovered in his research that there is a great deal of detail of disorder at one period ca. 1795 that likely caused {Ebenezer’s brother] Elijah Estabrooks and others to form a Baptist Church in 1800.[3]

             Ebenezer’s and his wife Maria Fletcher had the following children: Ebenezer, Maria, David E., Thomas Fletcher, Stephen Potter, Joseph Fletcher, William Wilmot, Deborah, and Harriet.  After Maria died, Ebenezer married Charlotte Ann Lounsbury, and they had five more children: Ebenezer, Chipman, Sarah, George, and Charlotte Ann.

             On the 30th of November 1813, “David Estabrooks, Benjamin Fletcher, James Allen, Thomas Estabrooks and William Gau (?) petitioned for land on the third tier.”  On the 23rd of September 1814, “Ebenezer and David Estabrooks…Ward Estabrooks (age 22), Rufus Estabrooks (age 28), Joseph Estabrooks Jr., (age 23) John Estabrooks Jr., (age 24), Samuel Estabrooks Jr., (age 22), Thomas Estabrooks (age 20), and Stephen Estabrooks (age 17) were among a group of petitioners who “wanted land on the 3rd tier Wakefield on the West side” [of the Saint John River.  Wakefield at that time included both sides of the river].[4]

            On the 4th of September 1827, the “State of the Settlement on the 4th and part of the 5th tier of Wakefield Land West side of the Saint John River” indicated that the following farms on land granted in 1816, were being worked:  William W. Estabrook, 300 acres, resident 4 years, 30 acres cleared, House and Barn, six children, 10 cattle, 35 sheep, 200 potatoes, 90 wheat, 50 oats.  Elijah Estabrooks, 200 acres, resided 2 years, 12 acres cleared, House, 1 child, 1 cattle, 50 potatoes, 30 wheat, 20 oats.  Stephen Estabrooks, 200 acres.  Samuel Estabrooks, 300 acres, resided 4 years, 35 acres cleared, House and Barn, 5 children, 5 cattle, 13 sheep, 300 potatoes, 100 wheat, 50 oats.”[5]

            Mr. Burnett indicated that all the buildings were log, as settlers needed frame barns to store unthreshed grain in.  While log houses were generally small, they were warm, and a frame barn was often built before a frame house.  In another document dated the 28th of November 1826 for the settlement on Pekagomique, back of Hartland, Mr. Burnett found “Samuel Estabrooks, 3 years in residence, 28 acres cleared, House and Barn, 5 children, 6 cattle, 3 sheep, 200 acres, land good.  David Estabrooks, 3 years residence, 18 acres cleared, House and Barn, 4 children, 4 cattle, 200 acres, land good.  Hammond Estabrooks, House just building, 9 children, 2 cattle, land good.”[6]

             Ebenezer and Maria’s son Chipman was born on the 16th of December 1818.  He married Lucretia Smith on the 1st of May 1849 in Houlton, Maine, and lived in Waterville, Carleton County, where they had 12 children.  Chipman died in Waterville on the 13th of December 1890.

          According to early New Brunswick records,

            on the 14th of August 1832, Elder Samuel Hartt organized a Free Christian Baptist Church of 24 members on the Beckagumic River back of Hartland.  Among the 24 were Hammond Estabrooks, David H. Estabrooks, Catherine Estabrooks, Louisa Estabrooks, and Francis Estabrooks.  After this were received Sarah, Levi, Mary, Caroline, Mary Jane, Nehemiah, David, Eliza, A. (female) and Mrs. Levi Estabrooks.  There are no dates in the book after 1832.[7]

             In 1847 the members and friends of the Free Christian Baptists of New Brunswick petitioned asking that their ordained elders be allowed to perform marriages.  The request was granted.  Among the hundreds of names are the signatures of four members of the Estabrooks family: Hezekiah, Turney, Elijah and George Estabrooks.[8]

           Note: General history for this time: Queen Victoria was born in 1819 (died 1901).  She became the Queen in 1837.  The American Civil War took place between April 1861 and April 1865.[9]  In 1867 was the year of Canadian Confederation (the uniting of the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), with the Dominion of Canada being formally established.  This was followed between 1870 and 1873 with the joining of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, and later Alberta, and Saskatchewan.  Newfoundland eventually joined Canada in 1949.  Many Canadians participated in the Boer War in South Africa, which was fought from 1899 to 1901.[10]

           Chipman and Lucretia had the following children: Albert, Ebenezer, Stephen, Frederick, Wilson, John, Clara, Amelia, Joseph, Sophia, Annie, and Rhoda.

          Joseph was born on the 18th of September 1861 and married Catherine Peed.  They had three children.  Joseph and his sister Sophia were twins.  Joseph died on the 12th of January 1939, and Catherine died in 1950.


[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, Upper Brighton, NB, dated 26 September 2000.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, Upper Brighton, NB, dated 02 October 2000.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] The American Civil War was waged between April 1861 and April 1865.  The issue of slavery, particularly in the new states being formed from western territories, drove an ever-larger wedge between the free states of the North and the slave holding states to the South.  When the Republican candidate for President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, won election on the 6th of November 1860, the situation reached a crisis.  South Carolina seceded from the Union on the 20th of December 1860, declaring that its sovereignty now stood in jeopardy.  Six other states followed suit from 09 Jan to 01 Feb 1861: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.  On the 4th of February representatives from these states formed the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis elected President.  Federal forts and arsenals were seized throughout the South.  Confederate shore batteries forced the surrender of Fort Sumter outside Charleston, South Carolina on the 13th of April.  President Lincoln then called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the “insurrection” against the United States.  From the 17th of April to the 20th of May, four more states left the Union: Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  The Confederate government established its capitol at Richmond, Virginia, and mobilised for war.  Its chief aim was to force the North to recognise its independence.  The 23 states of the North and West, under the leadership of Lincoln, sought originally only to restore the Union.  However, after the President’s Emancipation Proclamation of the 1st of January 1863, freeing the slaves became an almost equally important objective.

            For four years the United States was torn by bitter civil war.  The major theater of operations was east of the Appalachians, especially in northern Virginia between the two hostile capitals of Washington, DC, and Richmond.  From the Appalachians westward to the Mississippi River an important secondary theater developed.  The last two Confederate armies in the field surrendered on the 9th of April and the 18th of April 1865.  In the costliest war in United States history (in the proportion of casualties to participants), the Confederate government was decisively abolished.  In all, the North mobilised 1,557,000 men, the South 1,082,000.  Federal losses were 359,528 dead (of these 110,070 were killed or mortally wounded in battle), 275,175 wounded.  Confederate casualties were 258,000 dead (including 94,000 battle deaths) and more than 100,000 reported wounded.

[10] The Boer War was fought between 1899 and 1902.  Its root cause originated from opposition between the Boer Republics in Orange Free State and Transvaal, and the British Colonies in Southern Africa.  The defeated Boers accept the suzerainty of the King of England at Vereeniging on the 31st of May 1902.  7300 Canadian troops participated in the South African War, with four of them winning the Victoria Cross.

[11] On the 28th of June 1914, a young Serb named Gavrilo Prinzip assassinated the Austrian Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in Bosnia.  Austria held Serbia responsible.  William II promised his support to the Austro-Hungarians in case of war.  On the 28th of July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on the Serbia.  On the 1st of August Germany declared war on Russia, and on the 3rd of August Germany declared war on France and entered Belgium.  On the 4th of August 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany.  As a British Colony, Canada was also automatically at war as well.  World War I was fought from 1914 to 1918, and is also known as the Great War.  Canada’s Prime Minister at the time was Sir Robert Borden Canadian.  The first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF consisting of 25,000 troops was raised and departed for England in December 1914.  The PPCLI being the first Canadian troops to land in France.  The war went on until the 11th of November 1918, when the Armistice was signed at Rethondes, France, between the Allies and Germany.  During the war, Canadians were awarded 64 Victoria Crosses, including three at Ypres, four at Vimy Ridge, six at Hill 70, and nine at Passchendaele.  Elijah’s descendant, Walter Ray Estabrooks, wrote about his participation in a number of these battles.  For more information on Walter’s experience in the Great War can be found in the book “Whiz Bangs and Woolly Bears“ (also available through

             Chipman and Lucretia had the following children: Albert, Ebenezer, Stephen, Frederick, Wilson, John, Clara, Amelia, Joseph, Sophia, Annie, and Rhoda.  The gravestone shown above is located in the Waterville Church Cemetery.

Catherine (nee Peed), Minne, Walter, Frank and Joseph Estabrooks family photo, ca 1895.

            Joseph was born on the 18th of September 1861 and married Catherine Peed.  They had three children.  Joseph and his sister Sophia were twins.  Joseph died on the 12th of January 1939, and Catherine died in 1950.

         Joseph and Catherine’s children were Walter, Minnie, and Frank.  Walter participated in the Great War of 1914.[1]


[1] On the 28th of June 1914, a young Serb named Gavrilo Prinzip assassinated the Austrian Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in Bosnia.  Austria held Serbia responsible.  William II promised his support to the Austro-Hungarians in case of war.  On the 28th of July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on the Serbia.  On the 1st of August Germany declared war on Russia, and on the 3rd of August Germany declared war on France and entered Belgium.  On the 4th of August 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany.  As a British Colony, Canada was also automatically at war as well.  World War I was fought from 1914 to 1918, and is also known as the Great War.  Canada’s Prime Minister at the time was Sir Robert Borden Canadian.  The first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF consisting of 25,000 troops was raised and departed for England in December 1914.  The PPCLI being the first Canadian troops to land in France.  The war went on until the 11th of November 1918, when the Armistice was signed at Rethondes, France, between the Allies and Germany.  During the war, Canadians were awarded 64 Victoria Crosses, including three at Ypres, four at Vimy Ridge, six at Hill 70, and nine at Passchendaele.  Elijah’s descendant, Walter Ray Estabrooks, wrote about his participation in a number of these battles.  For more information on Walter’s experience in the Great War can be found in the book “Whiz Bangs and Woolly Bears“ (also available through

           Walter married Myrtle Olmstead, and they had six children: Kathryn, Gaynelle, Frederick, Beatrice, Bernard and Wilhelmine.  Frederick served in the Canadian Army in Europe as a motorcycle dispatch rider and was wounded in Germany during the Second World War.[1]  Bernard (known to many of us as “Joe”), also served in the Canadian Army after the war as a Military Policeman.

Kathryn married Winston Martin and their children are Jay, Tim, and Tom.

Gaynelle married Ronald Hawkins (a WWII infantry veteran), and their children are Terry, Janice, Rod, Beth, and Peter.  Terry is a re-enactor who has provided the photographs for this book recreating the uniform of Elijah Estabrooks in 1758.

Frederick married Joyce Taylor and their children are Gary and Linda.  Gary also served in the Canadian Forces, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer in the Military Police Branch.

Beatrice Leah Estabrook married Aage Christensen Skaarup (an RCAF and CF Warrant Officer), and they had three children, Harold, Dale, and Christopher.  (In our era, men landed on the Moon.[2])  Harold is in the CF, Dale served in the CF as a naval officer onboard HMCS Chaudiere, and later as a Logistics officer, and Chris served as a militia gunner in the Royal Canadian Artillery.

Bernard (Joe) married Helen Chrysler and they have a daughter named Cindy.

Wilhelmine married Robert Nielsen.


[1] The Second World War began with the German and Russian invasion of Poland on the 1st of September 1939.  Britain and France declared war on Germany on the 3rd of September.  On the 7th of September, the Canadian parliament assembled in emergency session. On the 9th it approved the Government’s policy of supporting Britain and France.  On the 10th the King proclaimed the existence of a state of war between Canada and the German Reich.  Canadians participated in all theatres of the war, including the 6th of June 1944 D-Day, Allied landings in Normandy.  The British forces landed on Gold and Sword beaches with the Canadians between them on Juno, while the Americans to the south of theme went in on Omaha and Utah beaches. The Canadians lost 196 officers and 2,635 other ranks in the first six days including 72/945 KIA.  Prior to D Day there had been over 140,000 aircrew casualties, ten times more than the casualties taken on the ground that day.  In all, 730625 Canadian men and women served in the army during the Second World War; 22,917 were killed and 52,679 were wounded.  Canadians had helped to defend Britain, fought the Japanese at Hong Kong, suffered severe casualties at Dieppe, and shared in the stiffest fighting of two great campaigns in Italy from 1943-1945 and from France into Germany in 1944 and 1945.  The war in Europe ended on ended with the German forces facing the 21st Army Group surrendering unconditionally on the 4th of May 1945.  The war against the Japanese in the Pacific theatre ended with the dropping of the first Atomic bombs on the 6th and 9th of August 1945 on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, following the first atomic bomb exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the United States.  The Japanese government surrendered unconditionally on the 14th of August 1945.

To use nuclear weapons, a non-nuclear explosive charge is used to bombard fragments of fissile material, which then reach a critical mass and spark off a chain reaction in a fraction of a second.  It did not take long for other countries to develop their nuclear weapons, with the USSR following on the 14th of July 1949, Great Britain in 1952, France on the 13th of February 1960, China in 1964, India in 1974, Israel and South Africa somewhat later, and Pakistan in 1999.  On the 1st of November 1952 the first thermonuclear H-bomb was exploded in the USA.  The A-bomb uses the fission of heavy nuclei, while the H-bomb uses light nuclei.  The USSR followed with its own test H-bomb explosion on the 12th of August 1953.  Great Britain in 1957, China in 1967, and France in 1968) all exploded H-bomb devices in turn.  The detonation of the first atomic bomb in modern times marked 1945 as year one of the atomic era.

[2] On the 21st of July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, followed by the 2nd, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, while Michael Collins manned the Command Module overhead during the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mission.  They spent 22 hours on the Moon before returning safely.  Many of us sat glued to the TV set and watched it happen.

            Harold married Faye Alma Jenkins, and their two sons are Jonathan and Sean.  Jonathan married Jocelyn (nee Young) and they have two children, son Cole and daughter Ashley.  Sean married Melyse (nee Rouleau) and they have two children, daughters Owen and Auli,

            Other military ancestors to the Estabrooks clan include Captain William Hackett of Amesbury and Salisbury, married to Hannah Ring in 1710.  Their daughter Mary, born on the 1st of August 1728, married Elijah on the 13th of November 1750.  Another of Elijah’s relatives was David Fletcher, who was also an officer in the Colonial army, and had the right to a grant of 2,000 acres.


            Often in war a great many soldiers lives are claimed on the battlefield.  In many cases there is a great deal of “scurrying around” for little great reason.  Elijah pointed out one example of this on “July the 5th day of 1758,” when they were camped out and one of their sentries “heard a rattle snake which caused him to cry out and aroused the whole camp…which caused our officer to order the whole to embark and haul off to the middle of the lake and lay there until the morning.”  You have to imagine what Elijah and his mates were thinking as they realized that they were all sitting in the middle of a lake because of a snake.[1]


[1] “This incident was part of one of the lectures at Fort Ticonderoga during the 1998 War College showing how a private soldier’s view of events reflects what they experience, when other events are causing what is happening.  From Howe’s papers and his Orders of the Day, it turns out that the order to embark on the boats and row out into the stream came from Howe.  He wanted the troops to be in place for an early morning raid on a French outpost located around the next bend in the river.  (Elijah mentions this raid in his comments for the next day).”  E-mail from Terry Hawkins, 6th November 2000.

            On the other hand, Elijah made note of many of his comrades who did not survive the campaign.  Elijah lived to tell his tale, and if I may give him the last word, it is (for me) the single most important line in his Journal: “And the 15th day (of November, 1760), I got home to my family.” 


            Elijah Estabrooks was not the last of his line to keep a journal and to see battle.  One of his descendants, Walter Ray Estabrooks son of Joseph Leonard Estabrooks and Catherine Mildred Peed was born on the 13th of November 1890 in Upper Waterville, New Brunswick.  Walter had joined the Artillery in Woodstock, and served with the 10th Battery in 1912 and 1913 during exercises in Petawawa.  He went overseas and served with the 32nd Field Battery, 8th Army Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, on the 24th of December 1916.

            Walter also kept a diary, which consisted of a running record of his experiences in the Canadian Army during the First World War, which came to be known as “The Great War” of 1914-1918.  His Journal is also kept in this library in a similar format.  The following is an extract from his diary:

13th of January 1917

            On carrying party to OP in (the) evening with experienced men.  Guide says, “It’s dark, be careful.  We will go overland from second.”  We were plodding along in single file...a loud pop up front.  Everybody stopped but Estabrooks.  He bumped into (the) man leading...each (loaded) with several sheets of corrugated (metal) on their backs.  Crash...bang!  Everybody stopped as a flare lit the sky.  What fool did not know enough to stop when he heard a flare pistol?  A machine gun sprayed us about a minute.  Nobody answered - but I learned my first lesson.[1]


[1] 13 January 1917, The Diary of Walter R. Estabrooks, 1916-1919, p. 5.

            If you would like to read the rest of Walter’s journal, it can found in the book “Whiz Bangs and Woolly Bears”,  also available on this website.


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