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THE STRUGGLE FOR CANADA   81

of his expedition—but he had attained results that were to bear fruitage in the following year.

Early in August Amherst had despatched a message to Wolfe relating the progress of the Lake Champlain operations, which reached Wolfe at Quebec in about a month's time via the circuitous route of the Kennebec and Chaudiere rivers. About the same time he tried to communicate with Wolfe by a more direct overland route, but the Abnaki Indians south of Lake St. Peter captured the messengers. To punish these Indians, Amherst despatched Major Robert Rogers, in September, with a party of 140 rangers overland from Missisquoi Bay at the north end of Lake Champlain to the Abnaki settlements on the St. Francis river, a few miles from its mouth, with orders to take revenge upon the "enemy's Indian scoundrels," for the barbarities committed by those "dastardly villains," but to take special care "that no women or children be killed or hurt." Although a French war party started in pursuit, Rogers and his rangers succeeded in crossing the forest wilderness where now are the counties of Missisquoi, Brome, Shefford, and Drummond, surprised the principal Abnaki town, slew some 200 of the braves, practically the whole male adult population, released five English prisoners, and destroyed the town by fire. From poles over the doors of the houses were found dangling in hundreds English scalps, including many of women and children taken in raids upon the New England frontier settlements. Beating a hasty retreat via the St. Francis river, Lake Memphremagog, and the Connecticut river, Rogers and most of his men reached the New England colonies. The others were either killed or captured by the pursuers, or starved to death in the forest.

In the meantime, the force under General Prideaux, consisting of three battalions of regular troops, two regiments of New York provincials, and a body of Indians, had advanced to Oswego, where a strong detachment was left under the command of Colonel (afterwards Sir Frederick) Haldimand, for the double purpose of maintaining


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