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6   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

small band of Indians, to fulfil pledges to his Huron allies to join them in an expedition against the Iroquois. The war party was to be organized in the Huron towns on the borders of Lake Simcoe, and Champlain and his small party proceeded in canoes up the Ottawa to a point near the present town of Mattawa, when a small stream was followed as far as it was possible to float canoes. Thence a portage brought them to the shores of Lake Nipissing. Crossing the lake to its outlet, Champlain followed his dusky guides down the French river, eventually reaching the broad expanse of Georgian Bay, the eastern shore of which was skirted to a point a little west of the present town of Penetanguishene. Thence they portaged the canoes through the heart of the Huron country to Lake Simcoe. Here, preparations for the raid were completed and the war party proceeded via the Trent river system to Lake Ontario. Crossing this in safety, the expedition landed near where the town of Sackett's Harbour now stands. Here the canoes were hidden, and the Indian warriors and their white allies travelled westward along the shore of the lake. They then struck into the forest, passed over to and round the head of Lake Oneida, and so reached the heart of the territory occupied by the ferocious and powerful Iroquois confederacy.

The attack upon one of the fortified villages of the Onondagas, which formed the climax of this expedition, was a hazardous and stirring venture. The inhabitants were taken by surprise, being actually engaged in the task of gathering the harvest of corn and pumpkins. The harvesters, however, beat off the attack and escaped to their stronghold, a stockaded village surrounded by open fields. By means of a system of open sluices or troughs, water could be brought from the near-by lake into the centre of the stockade, and thus a plentiful supply was on hand for general use and for extinguishing fires. The palisades were fourfold, formed of trunks of trees, thirty feet high, set aslant in the earth and intersecting each other near the top. Surmounting these


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