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38   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

quois bands had withdrawn for the winter to their villages south of Lake Ontario, he caused three bodies of French Canadians and Indians to be equipped at Mont-real, Three Rivers, and Quebec. These were to leave their respective stations simultaneously and penetrate by three different routes into English territory. In spite of deep snow and rigorous weather, the three war parties started on their murderous adventure in midwinter, 1690.

The Montreal force, directed against the New York frontier, consisted of 210 men, of whom ninety-six were Indian converts, the rest being Canadians. The leading officers, men of nerve and experience in Indian warfare, were d'Ailleboust de Mantet and LeMoyne de Sainte Helene, sons of Charles LeMoyne. The Canadians wore their usual winter clothing, including a sort of blanket coat with a hood and capuchin which they pulled over their head dress in severe weather, and carried hunting guns, long knives, and hatchets, dragging their blankets and provisions on Indian sledges or toboggans.

It was at first given out that the objective was Fort Orange (Albany) and, until the head of Lake George was reached, the party seemed to be heading in that direction. From that point the trail to Schenectady, then called Corlaer, was taken up. This settlement of the colony of New York was the nearest to Canada, and was distant about fifteen miles from Fort Orange. It was a small oblong palisaded village, with two gates; and the only part of the defences which had any strength was a block-house near the eastern gate, which was occupied by eight or nine Connecticut militiamen, under Lieutenant Talmage. Talmage had urged the inhabitants to guard against possible danger, and to keep the gate of the palisade closed. The population, some sixty or eighty families, mostly Dutch, ridiculed this advice, insisted upon keeping the gates open, and in derision roughly moulded a figure of snow and placed it outside the gates in imitation of a sentry. The place was surprised on the night of February 18th, 1690, while the inhabitants were buried in


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