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"Massacre of Misunderstanding: Fort William Henry, 1757" Topic

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18th Century

596 hits since 16 Aug 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2018 9:16 p.m. PST

"Lieutenant Colonel George Monro of the 35th Regiment of Foot was a tough Scotsman, a career soldier who had served in the British Army for many years. He was also a realist. Now in command of Fort William Henry, a post that guarded the southern shore of Lake George and the "Great Carrying Place" portage leading to the Hudson River and the heart of New York, Monro faced a besieging force of some 8,000 French soldiers and Indians. His only chance for succor, Fort Edward, lay 16 miles away across deep forests and raging streams, and Monro had to admit that any hope for last-minute reinforcement was growing increasingly remote. The post could not hold much longer. The colonel would have to consider an honorable surrender, however distasteful such an option might be.

One fact overrode all the others—French siege trenches were creeping perilously close to the fort's walls. Soon their cannons would be at almost point-blank range, smashing the walls to kindling—that is, of course, unless shells from French mortars hadn't already done the job. Monro had to bow to the inevitable. He asked for terms from the French commander, Louis-Joseph, marquis de Montcalm-Gozon de Saint-Veran.

French terms proved generous, in tribute to a courageous enemy. Full honors of war would be granted, Montcalm informed Monro, and the garrison would not become prisoners. In fact, they would be allowed to withdraw to Fort Edward, weapons and personal belongings intact. But the hundreds of Indians who had allied themselves to the French (and who had not been brought into the surrender negotiations) felt betrayed by their Gallic brothers-in-arms. They wanted something to show for their efforts, including scalps and captives to hold for ransom. Indian anger grew, nursed by real or imagined wrongs. Soon, this seething caldron of anger and cultural misunderstanding would boil over, with horrifying results for all involved…."
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goragrad18 Aug 2018 10:25 p.m. PST

The smallpox contracted by the Potaswatomi warriors who participated seems rather fitting…

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