Abbildungen der Seite

at the time, did not exceed five hundred men, and the provisions were nearly exhausted. The commander, therefore, waited only until the English army was within one day's march, when he embarked his troops at night in batteaux, blew up his magazines, set fire to the fort, and retreated down the Ohio, by the light of the flames. On. the 25th of November, Washington, with the advanced guard, marched in, and planted the British flag on the yet smoking ruins.

One of the first offices of the army was to collect and bury, in one common tomb, the bones of their fellowsoldiers who had fallen in the battles of Braddock and Grant. In this pious duty it is said every one joined, from the general down to the private soldier; and some veterans assisted, with heavy hearts and frequent ejaculations of poignant feeling, who had been present in the scenes of defeat and carnage.

The ruins of the fortress were now put in a defensible state, and garrisoned by two hundred men from Washington's regiment; the name was changed to that of Fort Pitt, in honour of the illustrious British minister, whose measures had given vigour and effect to this year's campaign; it has since been modified into Pittsburg, and designates one of the most busy and populous cities of the interior.

The reduction of Fort Duquesne terminated, as Washington had foreseen, the troubles and dangers of the southern frontier. The French domination of the Ohio was at an end; the Indians, as usual, paid homage to the conquering power, and a treaty of peace was concluded with all the tribes between the Ohio and the lakes.

With this campaign ended, for the present, the military career of Washington. His great object was attained, the restoration of quiet and security to his native province; and having abandoned all hope of attaining rank in the regular army, and his health being much impaired, he gave up his commission at the close of the year, and retired from the service, followed by the applause of his fellow-soldiers, and the gratitude and admiration of all his countrymen.

His marriage with Mrs. Custis took place shortly after his return. lit was celebrated on the 6th of January, 1759,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

at the White House, the residence of the bride, in the good old hospitable style of Virginia, amid a joyous assemblage of relatives and friends.


Plan of Operations for 1759—Investment of Fort Niagara—Death of Prideaux—Success of Sir William Johnson—Amherst at Ticonderoga —Wolfe at Quebec—His Triumph and Death—Fate of Montcalm— Capitulation of Quebec—Attempt of De Levi to retake it—Arrival of a British Fleet—Last stand of the French at Montreal—Surrender of Canada.

Before following Washington into the retirement of domestic life, we think it proper to notice the events which closed the great struggle between England and France for empire in America. In that struggle he had first become practised in arms, and schooled in the ways of the world; and its results will be found connected with the history of his later years.

General Abercrombie had been superseded as commander-in-chief of the forces in America by Major-general Amherst, who had gained great favour by the reduction of Louisburg. According to the plan of operations for 1759, General Wolfe, who had risen to fame by his gallant conduct in the same affair, was to ascend the St. Lawrence in a fleet of ships of war, with eight thousand men, as soon as the river should be free of ice, and lay siege to Quebec, the capital of Canada. General Amherst, in the meantime, was to advance, as Abercrombie had done, by Lake George against Ticonderoga and Crown Point; reduce those forts, cross Lake Champlain, push on to the St. Lawrence, and co-operate with Wolfe.

A third expedition, under Brigadier-general Prideaux, aided by Sir William Johnson and his Indian warriors, was to attack Port Niagara, which controlled the whole country of the Six Nations, and commanded the navigation of the great lakes, and the intercourse between Canada and Louisiana. Having reduced this fort, he was to traverse Lake Ontario, descend the St. Lawrence, capture Montreal, and join his forces with those of Amherst.

The last mentioned expedition was the first executed. General Prideaux embarked at Oswego on the first of July, with a large body of troops, regulars and provincials,—the latter partly from New York. He was accompanied by Sir William Johnson, and his Indian braves of the Mohawk. Landing at an inlet of Lake Ontario, within a few miles of Fort Niagara, he advanced without being opposed, and proceeded to invest it. The garrison, six hundred strong, made a resolute defence. The siege was carried on by regular approaches, but pressed with vigour. On the 20th of July, Prideaux, in visiting his trenches, was killed by the bursting of a cohorn. Informed by express of this misfortune, General Amherst detached from the main army Brigadier-general Gage, the officer who had led Braddock's advance, to take the command.

In the mean time, the siege had been conducted by Sir William Johnson with courage and sagacity. He was destitute of military science, but had a natural aptness for warfare, especially for the rough kind carried on in the wilderness. Being informed by his scouts that twelve hundred regular troops, drawn from Detroit, Venango, and Presque Isle, and led by D'Aubry, with a number of Indian auxiliaries, were hastening to the rescue, he detached a force of grenadiers and light infantry, with some of his Mohawk warriors, to intercept them. They came in sight of each other on the road, between Niagara Falls and the fort, within the thundering sound of the one and the distant view of the other. Johnson's "braves " advanced to have a parley with the hostile redskins. The latter received them with a war-whoop, and Frenchman and savage made an impetuous onset. Johnson's regulars and provincials stood their ground firmly, while his red warriors fell on the flanks of the enemy. After a sharp conflict, the French were broken, routed, and pursued through the woods, with great carnage. Among the prisoners taken were seventeen officers. The next day Sir William Johnson sent a trumpet, summoning the garrison to surrender, to spare the effusion of blood, and prevent outrages by the Indians. They had no alternative; were permitted to march out with the honours of war, and were protected by Sir William from his Indian allies. Thus was secured the key to the communi

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

cation between Lakes Ontario and Erie, and to the vast interior region connected with them. The blow alarmed the French for the safety of Montreal, and De Levi, the second in command of their Canadian forces, hastened up from before Quebec, and took post at the fort of Oswegatchie (now Ogdensburg), to defend the passes of the St. Lawrence.

We now proceed to notice the expedition against Ticonderoga and Crown Point. In the month of July, General Amherst embarked with nearly twelve thousand men, at the upper part of Lake George, and proceeded down it, as Abercrombie had done in the preceding year, in a vast fleet of whale-boats, batteaux, and rafts, and all the glitter and parade of war. On the 22nd, the army debarked at the lower part of the lake, and advanced toward Ticonderoga. After a slight skirmish with the advanced guard, they secured the old post at the saw-mill.

Montcalm was no longer in the fort; he was absent for the protection of Quebec. The garrison did not exceed four hundred men. Bourlamarque, a brave officer, who commanded, at first seemed disposed to make defence; but, against such overwhelming force it would have been madness. Dismantling the fortifications, therefore, he abandoned them, as ho did likewise those at Crown Point, and retreated down the lake, to assemble forces, and make a stand at the Isle aux Noix, for the protection of Montreal and the province.

Instead of following him up, and hastening to co-operate with Wolfe, General Amherst proceeded to repair the works at Ticonderoga, and erect a new fort at Crown Point, though neither were in present danger of being attacked, nor would be of use if Canada were conquered. Amherst, however, was one of those cautious men, who, in seeking to be sure, are apt to be fatally slow. His delay enabled the enemy to rally their forces at Isle aux Noix, and call in Canadian reinforcements, while it deprived Wolfe of that co-operation which, it will be shown, was most essential to the general success of the campaign.

Wolfe, with his eight thousand men, ascended the St. Lawrence in the fleet, in the month of June. With him came Brigadiers Monckton, Townsend, and Murray, youthful and brave like himself, and like himself already schooled in arms. Monckton,- it will be recollected, had signalized himself; when a colonel, in the expedition in 1755, in which the French were driven from Nova Scotia. The grenadiers of the army were commanded by Colonel Guy Carleton, and part of the light infantry by Lieutenant-Colonel William Howe, both destined to celebrity in after years, in the annals of the American Eevolution. Colonel Howe was brother of the gallant Lord Howe, whose fall in the preceding year was so generally lamented. Among the officers of the fleet, was Jervis, the future admiral, and ultimately Earl St. Vincent; and the master of one of the ships, was James Cook, afterwards renowned as a discoverer.

About the end of June, the troops debarked on the large, populous, and well-cultivated Isle of Orleans, a little below Quebec, and encamped in its fertile fields. Quebec, the citadel of Canada, was strong by nature. It was built round the point of a rocky promontory, and flanked by precipices. The crystal current of the St. Lawrence swept by it on the right, and the river St. Charles flowed along on the left, before mingling with that mighty stream. The place was tolerably fortified, but art had not yet rendered it, as at the present day, impregnable.

Montcalm commanded the post. His troops were more numerous than the assailants; but the greater part were Canadians, many of them inhabitants of Quebec; and he had a host of savages. His force was drawn out along the northern shore below the city, from the river St. Charles to the falls of Montmorency, and their position was secured by deep intrenchmente.

The night after the debarkation of Wolfe's troops a furious storm caused great damage to the transports, and sank some of the small craft. While it was still raging, a number of fire-ships, sent to destroy the fleet, came driving down. They were boarded intrepidly by the British seamen, and towed out of the way of doing harm. After much resistance, Wolfe established batteries on the west point of the Isle of Orleans, and at Point Levi, on the right (or south) bank of the St. Lawrence, within cannon range of the city. Colonel Guy Carleton, commander at the former battery; Brigadier Monckton at the latter. From

« ZurückWeiter »