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THE STRUGGLE FOR CANADA   75

lodge a brave foe, advantageously placed and commanded by resolute and skilful officers. Six times the British columns attacked, but the muskets and cannon of the French wrought havoc in their ranks. Some of the at-tacking corps lost half their numbers, a very large pro-portion being officers. Astonished at the unexpected resistance, Abercromby towards evening drew off his troops and held a council of war. After an hour's interval, the whole strength of the army was united for one more desperate assault. Once more the British soldiers hurled themselves against the French position and once more they were beaten back. A loss of nearly 2,000 men had been incurred; it seemed useless to continue the attack at such frightful cost, and the defeated British general reluctantly ordered a retirement from in front of a position held by an enemy whose number was still scarcely one-fourth of his own. On the following morning he took his force across the lake to Fort William Henry, where he intrenched. This important victory was won by 1Vlontcalm with the sacrifice of less than 500 men.

Shortly after his retirement, Abercromby despatched Colonel Bradstreet with a mobile force of 3,000 colonial troops to capture and destroy Fort Frontenac. A few of the Onondagas and Mohawks accompanied the British force across the lake to the Canadian shore. When Bradstreet landed near Fort Frontenac on August 25th, he found the fort almost denuded of defenders, owing to the mobilization of all the available French troops at Lake Champlain. There were thirty guns and sixteen mortars mounted on the defences, but the insignificant garrison of 120 soldiers and forty Indians was not of sufficient strength to man them. Two days after his arrival, Bradstreet had planted batteries in readiness for commencing a bombardment, when the commandant, de Noyan, surrendered. Thus this post, the chief interior military stronghold of the French, by means of which they had secured the control of Lake Ontario, fell into the hands of the British, without the loss of a single life.


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