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HISTORY OF CANADA.   77

 

Fort William Henry Taken.—The design upon Louisbourg had drawn off the British strength from the Lake Champlain country. Lieutenant-Colonel Monro held Fort William Henry with only 2,400 men. Montcalm was quick to take advantage. With a force of over seven thousand, largely regulars, he came up from Ticonderoga and laid siege to the fort. He pitched his camp on the west side of the lake, where a jutting point shielded him from the fire of the enemy. De Levis marched around and took up a position behind the fort, thus commanding the way to Fort Edward, where Webb lay in command of a small force. Gradually the French batteries were advanced by Montcalm, until his guns were planted under the very shadow of the fort. After a week's gallant defence, Monro, despairing of reinforcement, capitulated. The garrison marched out with the honors of war, and under promise not to serve for eighteen months set off for Fort Edward.

But their difficulties were not yet over. The events of the two past years—Braddock's disaster in the west, the capture of Oswego, and the general lack of energy in the movements of the British had drawn the Indians almost without exception to the side of New France. Montcalm had with him at this time about 1,800 of these dusky warriors, from over forty distinct tribes or bands. They had done little during the siege beyond shouting their warwhoops, but when the fort was taken they were anxious for plunder. Unfortunately they found liquor. Under its influence their passions became inflamed, and they fell upon the disarmed garrison as they were about to march for Fort Edward, and a cruel massacre ensued. Montcalm used every effort to stop the outrage, risking his life to rescue the British soldiers. The only blame that can attach to him is that he did not provide an escort sufficiently strong to put down any outbreak on the part of the fickle savages.

1758—A Grave Situation.—Notwithstanding the success which thus far had attended their efforts, Montcalm and his officers recognized, as the year 1758 opened upon them, that their position was becoming dangerous. British fleets shut them off from all possibility of effective aid from France. Supplies for the colony were intercepted. Commerce had well-nigh ceased. Everything was dear. The Canadians, forced to sell to the king's


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