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68   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

military officials; and the difficulties attendant upon warfare carried on by inconsiderable forces in an immense country without roads and covered by forests.

Montcalm's first effort was devoted to the reduction of Oswego, the only English post on Lake Ontario. The nearest supporting troops in rear of this position were at Albany and Forts Edward and William Henry, all under the command of General James Abercromby. To occupy that general's attention, Levis, with 3,000 men, was sent to Lake Champlain, while a similar force, including the La Sarre, Guienne, and Beam regular regiments, was mobilized at Fort Frontenac, for an attack on Oswego.

All was in readiness by August 4th, but Oswego was not reached until the 10th. On the 13th, Bourlamaque attacked and captured one of the outworks called Fort Ontario. This was occupied, and its guns turned against the principal position. At the same time Pierre Francois Rigaud, brother of Governor Vaudreuil, led a force to the adjacent elevated ground, which commanded Oswego, and planted a battery there. The garrison of Fort Oswego—which in reality included three works, viz., Fort George and Fort Ontario, in addition to the principal fort—consisted of 1,800 men under Colonel Mercer, and was well supplied with provisions and munitions of war. Nevertheless, it held out for only three days, capitulating on the 16th, after the loss of its commander and about 160 men.

In the middle of the ensuing winter Rigaud led a column of 1,400 Canadians and Indians in an attempt to surprise Fort William Henry. But the garrison was found to be on the alert, and the place too strong for the French to venture to attack.

War had at length been formally declared between England and France, May 12th, 1756. The two nations were more solicitous about the struggle in Europe and on the ocean than about assisting the colonists in their quarrels respecting inland boundaries in North America, but it was proposed in England that Louisbourg should be


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