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12   THE RENUNCIATION OF

fort begun, when the other side was treacherously attacked by an all but overwhelming force. The truce ceased abruptly, and with great gallantry they were beaten off, and compelled to retreat again, infuriated that so small a number should venture to offer them resistance.

For some days this state of things continued, the allies within the fort supporting each other with desperate courage, hardly daring to snatch a few moments of sorely needed rest, and by turns keeping up the discharge of musketry night and day, for the fierce assaults from with-out were almost constant. Any relaxation was spent in prayer, whose terrible earnestness can scarcely be imagined. After one repulse of the Iroquois, every man would go down on his knees in humble gratitude to God, rising only to drive back their enemy again.

They suffered from hunger, but even more from thirst, the little supply of water being too soon exhausted, and amidst the heat and smoke, the pangs they endured soon became unbearable. At length, two of the number, half-delirious with thirst, seized a moment of respite, when the savages seemed somewhat scattered, and protected as well as possible by their companions' muskets, made a dash to


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