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80   HISTORY OF CANADA.

of the portals of the St. Lawrence, and it was deemed unwise to proceed so late in the season against Quebec.

British Repulse at Ticonderoga.—Meanwhile Abercrombie had attempted, with an army of fifteen thousand, to carry out the second part of Pitt's plan—the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point and (if the conditions should then favor the project) an advance on Montreal. Wolfe describes Abercrombie as "a heavy man." The militia thought him wanting in decision of character and nicknamed him Mrs. Nabby Cromby (Nabby being the New England abbreviation for Abigail). It is said that Pitt intended that Lord Howe, Abercrombie's second in command, should be the real head of the expedition. Unfortunately this able officer was killed in an accidental encounter with a scouting party shortly after the British forces had landed at the foot of Lake George. Montcalm himself was at Ticonderoga with a force of nearly four thousand men, entrenched behind a strong barricade some distance in front of the fort. Before the barricade the trees had been cut down and their branches left lying with sharp ends sticking out-ward. Abercrombie might have brought up his artillery and battered the barricade to pieces. Instead, he ordered his men to carry the position by assault. This they bravely tried to do over the fallen timber, but, after gallant efforts repeated at intervals during all the afternoon of a hot July day, they had to abandon the attempt. The British loss was heavy, that of the French trifling. Something like a panic seized Abercrombie's army, and soon it was in full retreat southward up Lake George. Montcalm made no attempt to follow, contenting himself with sending out small war parties to cut off stragglers from Fort William Henry.

Bradstreet Destroys Fort Frontenac. — In August, Colonel Bradstreet performed a notable exploit. With about three thousand men he crossed from the mouth of the Oswego and surprised Fort Frontenac. The garrison of 110 men surrendered themselves as prisoners of war without resistance, and a great quantity of stores destined for the western posts was captured. The fort was destroyed, the ships with which the French had hitherto held control of Lake Ontario were burned, and, without the loss of a man, Bradstreet recrossed the lake.

The French Lose Fort Duquesne.—The loss of the stores for the western posts seriously weakened Fort Duquesne. Over


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