Category Archives: This Month in 1755

Chronology of Events for December 1755

December 20, 1755: “A proclamation was issued for prolonging the term, during which gunpowder shall not be exported, for six months.  Also another proclamation for continuing the bounty to seamen and land men till the first of February.”

December 27, 1755: “Brest, Dec. 27. By a late survey of the naval stores, and the representations of the several boards of works throughout the kingdom, it is found that a sufficient quantity of materials are already imported and deposited in his majesty’s magazines, for the equipment of 150 sail of the line. Orders have since been sent hither for the construction of ten new ships, to Rochefort for eight, and to Toulon for the construction of five, all upwards of 50 guns.”

Chronology of Events for September 1755

September, 1755: The premiums offered by the government of New-England for taking and scalping the Indians that have revolted to the French interest, are as follow, viz.

For every male Indian prisoner above the age of 12 years, that shall be taken and brought to Boston, 50l.

For every male Indian scalp, brought in as evidence of their being killed, 40l.

For every female Indian prisoner, and for every male Indian prisoner under the age of 12 years, taken and brought in as aforesaid, 25l.

For every scalp of such female Indian, or male Indian, under 11 years, brought as evidence of their being killed, as aforesaid, 20l.

Sept. 8, 1755: Colonel Johnson, who commanded the Provincial regiments designed for the attack of Fort Frederick or Crown-Point, obtained a victory over the French Regulars, Canadians, and Indians, under the command of the Baron de Dieskau. The French march’s up to Colonel Johnson’s entrenchments in good order, and behaved with courage and spirit; but the steadiness of the Provincials, and the fire of a superior artillery directed by Captain Eyre, obliged them to fly with precipitation. The Baron de Dieskau was wounded and taken prisoner; the loss of the French amounted to seven hundred men; that of the Provincials (in this action, and in the defeat of their detachment under Col. Williams, which immediately preceded it) fell short of 300 men killed and wounded: among the former, were the Colonels Williams and Titcomb, one Major, six Captains, and old Hendrick the famous Indian Sachem. Col. Johnson himself was wounded. Sometime afterwards the King created him a Baronet, and the Parliament made him a handsome present in money, for this acceptable service. The battle was fought on the banks of Lake George.

September 9,1755: “Extract of a Letter from Governor Wentworth to the Right Hon. Sir Thomas Robinson, one of his Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, dated at Portsmouth in New Hampshire, Sept. 19, 1755. Have just received by the post, the inclosed printed copy of major general Johnson’s letter, from his camp at Lake George, after a sharp engagement with baron de Dieskau, the French general. Camp at Lake George, Sept. 9, 1755. To the governors of the several colonies who raised the troops on the present expedition. Gentlemen. Sunday evening the 7th instant, I received intelligence from some Indian scouts I had sent out, that they had discovered three large roads about the South Bay, and were confident a very considerable number of the enemy were marched or on their march towards our encampment, at the Carrying place, where were, posted about 250 of the New Hampshire troops, and five companies of the New York regiment. I got one Adams, a wagoner, who voluntarily and bravely consented to ride express with my orders to colonel Blanchard, of the New Hampshire regiment, commanding officer there.  I acquainted him with my intelligence, and directed him to withdraw all the troops there within the works thrown up. About half an hour, or near an hour after this, I got two Indians and two soldiers, to go on foot with another letter to the fame purpose. About twelve o’clock that night the Indians and soldiers returned with a wagoner who had stolen from the camp, with about eight others their wagoner’s and forces without orders. This wagoner fays they heard and saw (he enemy about four miles from this side the Carrying place. They heard a gun fire, and a man call upon heaven for mercy, which he judged to be Adams, The next morning I called a council of war, who gave it as their opinion, and in which the Indians were extremely urgent, that 1000 men would be detached, and a number of their people would go with them, in order to catch the enemy in their retreat from the other camp, either as victors, or defeated in their design. The 1000 men were detached under the command of colonel Williams, of one of the Boston regiments, with upwards 2000 Indians. They marched between eight and nine o’clock. In about an hour and half afterwards we heard a heavy firing, and all the marks of a warm engagement, which we judged was about three or four miles from us; we beat to arms, and got our men all in readiness. The fire approached nearer, upon which I judged our people were retreating, and detached lieutenant colonel Cole, with about 300 men, to cover their retreat. About ten o’clock some of our men in the rear, and some) Indians of the said party, came running into camp, and acquainted us, that our men were retreating, that the enemy were too strong for them. The whole party that escaped returned to us in large bodies. As we had thrown up a breast-work of trees round our encampment, and planted some field-pieces to defend the fame, we immediately hauled some heavy cannon up there to strengthen our front, took possession of some eminencies on our left flank, and got one field-piece there in a very advantageous situation: The breastwork was manned throughout by our people, and the best disposition made through our whole encampment, which time and circumstances would permit. About half an hour after eleven, the enemy appeared in sight, and marched along the road in very regular order, directly upon our center: They made a small halt about 150 yards from our breast-work, when the regular troops, (whom we judged to be such by their bright and fixed bayonets) made the grand and center attack. The Canadians and Indians squatted and dispersed on oar flanks. The enemy’s fire we received first from their regulars in platoons, but it did no great execution, being at too great a distance, and our men defended by the breast-work. Our artillery then began to play on them, and was served, under the direction of captain Eyre, during the whole engagement, in a manner very advantageous to his character, and those concerned in the management of it. The engagement now became general on both sides. The French regulars kept their ground and order for some time with great resolution and good conduct, but the warm and constant fire from our artillery and troops, put them into disorder: Their fire became more scattered and unequal, and the enemy s fire on our left grew very faint. They moved then to the right of our encampment, and attacked colonel Ruggles, colonel Williams, and colonel Titcomb’s regiments, where they maintained a very warm fire for near an hour, still keeping up their fire in the other parts of our line, tho’ not very strong. The three regiments on the right supported the attack very resolutely, and kept a constant and strong fire upon the enemy. This attack failing, and the artillery still playing along the line, we found their fire very weak, with considerable intervals: This was about four o’clock, when our men and the Indians jumped ever the breastwork, pursued the enemy, slaughtered numbers, and took several prisoners, amongst whom was the baron de Dieskau, the French general of all the regular forces lately arrived from Europe, who was brought to my tent about six o’clock, just as a wound I had received was dressed. The whole engagement and pursuit ended about seven o’clock. I do not know whether I can get the returns of the slain and wounded on our side to transmit herewith but more of that by and by.  The greatest loss we have sustained was in the party commanded by colonel Williams in the morning, who was attacked, and the men gave way, before colonel Whiting, who brought up the rear, could come to his assistance. The enemy, who were more numerous, endeavoured to surround them; upon which the officers found they had no way to save the troops but by retreating; which they did as fast as they could. In this engagement we suffered our greatest loss; colonel Williams, major Ashley, captain Ingersoll, and captain Puter, of the same regiment; captain Farrell, brother-in law to the general, who commanded a party of Indians, captain Stoddart, captain M’Ginnes, captain Stevens, all Indian officers, and the Indians say, near forty of their people, who sought like lions, were all slain: Old Hendrick, the great Mohawk Sachem, we fear is killed. We have abundant reason to think we killed a great number of the enemy; amongst whom is Mons. St. Pierre, who commanded all the Indians. The exact number on either side I cannot obtainfor though I sent a party to bury our dead this afternoon, it being a running scattered engagement, we can neither find all our dead, nor give an exact account. As f.st as these troops joined us, they formed with the rest in the main battle of the day so that the killed and wounded in both engagements, officers excepted, must stand upon one return. About eight o’clock last night, a party of 120 of the New Hampshire regiment, and 90 of the New York regiment, who were detached to our assistance, under the command of captain M’Ginnes, from the camp at the Carrying-place, to reinforce us, were attacked by a party of Indians and Canadians, at the place where colonel Williams was attacked in the morning: Their engagement began between four and five o’clock. This party, who our people say were between 3 and 400, had fled from the engagement here, and gone to scalp our people killed in the morning. Our brave men fought them for near two hours, and made a considerable slaughter amongst them. Of this brave party two were killed, and eleven wounded, and five misting. Captain M’Ginnes, who behaved with the utmost calmness and resolution, was brought on a horse here, and, I fear, his wounds will prove mortal. Ensign Falsam, of the New Hampshire regiment, wounded through the shoulder. Monsieur le baron de Dieskau, the French general, is badly wounded in the leg, and through both his hips, and the surgeon very much fears his life. He is an elderly gentleman, an experienced officer, and a man of high consideration in France. From his papers, I find he brought under his command to Canada, in the men of war lately arrived at Quebec, 3171 regular troops, who were partly in garrison at Crown-Point, and encamped at Ticonderoga and other advantageous passes, between this and Crown-Point. He tells me he bad with him yesterday morning 200 grenadiers, 800 Canadians, and 700 Indians of different nations. His aid-de camp says, (they being separately asked) their whole force was about 2000. Several of the prisoners say about 2300. The baron says his major-general was killed, and his aid de camp says, the greater part of their chief officers also. He thinks by the morning and afternoon actions, they have loft near 1000 men, but I can get no regular accounts. Most of our people think from 5 to 600. We have about 30 prisoners, most of them badly wounded. The Indians scalped of their dead already near 70, and were employed after the battle last night, and all this afternoon, in bringing in scalps; and great numbers of French and Indians yet left unscalped. They carried off numbers of their dead, and secreted them. Our men have suffered so much fatigue for three days past, and are constantly standing upon their arms by day, half the whole upon guard every night, and the rest lie down armed and accoutered, that both officers and men are almost wore out. The enemy may rally, and we judge they have considerable reinforcements near at hand so that I think it necessary we be upon our guard, and be watchful to maintain the advantages we have gained. For these reasons I do not think it either prudent or safe to be sending out parties in search of the dead.  I do not hear of any officers killed at our camp, but colonel Titcomb, and none wounded but myself, and major Nichols, of colonel Titcomb’s. I cannot yet get certain returns of our dead and wounded but from the best accounts I can obtain, we have lost about 130, who are killed, about 60 wounded, and several missing, from the morning and afternoon’s engagement. I think we may expect very shortly, another, and more formidable attack, and that the enemy will then come with artillery. The late colonel Williams had the ground cleared for building a stockaded fort. Our men are so harassed, and obliged to be so constantly upon watchful duty, that I think it would be both unreasonable, and I fear in vain, to set them to work upon the designed fort. I design to order the New Hampshire regiment up here, to reinforce us, and I hope some of the designed reinforcements will be with us in a few days. When these fresh troops arrive, I shall immediately set about building a fort.  My wound is in my thigh, is very painful. The ball is lodged, and cannot be got out; by which means I am, to my mortification, confined to my tent.”

September 29, 1755: “Sir Edward Hawke arrived at St. Helen’s with part of his squadron, from the Bay of Biscay.  Admiral West also arrived with more ships of the same squadron, at Plymouth.”

September 30, 1755: A convention between Great Britain and Russia signed at Petersburg. “By the late treaty with Russia, the empress is to receive for 10 years, an annual subsidy of 60,000l. during which term she is to keep ready for the service of Great Britain 73,450 men.  If they should be actually employed, the subsidy is to be augmented to 500,000l. per ann. but the troops to be paid by Russia.”

Chronology of Events for August 1755

August, 1755: “The French papers are full of their preparations for war; and among others they tell us, that on the 9th instant an edict was published for adding four companies of 45 men each to the king’s own regiment of foot, and four companies of 40 men each to each of the other regiments of foot in their service; that such officers are to be chosen for commanding these companies as may be thought best able to raise them; that the officers are to have 40 livres per man, and cloathing for them, besides a gratuity of 15 livres for every man fit for service, if the company appears complete in February next, when they are to be reviewed; and that all such new raised men as shall be approved by the commissary of war, shall enter into pay the first of next month, or from the day of their being approved after that time. And in order to save money for answering this warlike expence, they have begun to retrench all the superfluous expences of the court, the king having already made a reform of 1500 horses belonging to his stables, and the works for repairing the Louvre are suspended.”

August, 1755: “The French navy, before the taking of the Alcide and the Lys consisted of 6 ships of 80 guns; 16 of 74 guns, 7 of 70 guns; 25 of 64 guns, and 9 of 50 guns, 1 frigate of 44 guns; 1 of 40; 9 of 36; 2 of 30; 8 of 26; 6 of 24, and 2 of 20. In all 92 ships of war.”

August, 1755: “Governor Knowles has caused a fort to be erected at the Bay of Honduras, and recalled back all the old Baymen who had been forced to fly from thence by the Spaniards. The seat of government in Jamaica is removed from Spanish Town to Kingston.”

August 8, 1755: “Williamsburg in Virginia, Aug. 8. By an express this morning from Augusta county, we have advice of the murder of Col. James Patton, who was killed by a party of Indians the last day of July, on the head branches of Roanoke, and eight more men, women and children.  Col. Patton was going out with ammunition, etc. for the use of the frontier inhabitants, and stopping at a plantation on the road to refresh himself, the convoy being about five miles before, he was beset by 16 Indians, who killed and stripped him, and then made off with his horse, &c. The remote counties of this colony, to the Westward, are kept in a perpetual consternation by the incursions of the indian savages in the French interest, who have murdered sundry families, taken some captives, upon whom they have exercised the most unnatural and leisurely barbarities. About 240 families, that had made flourishing settlements in that wilderness, have been driven from house and home by the terror of these barbarians, and removed down into the more thickly inhabited parts of the colony, where they now are, in the woods, men, women and children, without any covering but the inclement sky, and without any subsistence but what they can procure by hunting, or receive from the charity of others. Our country also languishes under a severe drought; and next year will be a season of unusual scarcity, is not a severe famine.”

August 13, 1755: Sailed from Spithead, commodore Frankland, in his Majesty’s ship Winchester, with the Warwick, Greenwich, and Seaford.

August 13, 1755: “The Blandford man of war, with governor Lyttleton on board, bound to South Carolina, was taken on the 13th of August by a French squadron under count du Guay, and brought into Nantes on the 5th instant.”

August 19, 1755: “By the same advices we are told, that the count d’Aubeterre, envoy extraordinary from France, hath made a declaration to the ministry of Vienna, importing, “That the warlike designs with which the king his master is charged, are sufficiently confuted by his great moderation, of which all Europe hath manifold proofs; that his majesty is persuaded this groundless charge hath given as much indignation to their Imperial majesties as to himself; that he is firmly resolved to preserve to Christendom that tranquility which it enjoys through his fidelity in religiously observing the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle; but that if his Britannick majesty’s allies take part in the war which is kindled in America, by furnishing succours to the English, his majesty, will be authorised to consider and treat them as principals in it.” And that France hath caused the same declaration to be made to other courts.  In pursuance of these declarations we find by all accounts from France, that they are making great preparations for a land war in Europe, but we hear very little of their preparations for a sea war; though they have had the good luck to get their squadron safe home, which was supposed to be blocked up at Cadiz, by our squadron under admiral Hawke; for about the end of July it sailed from Cadiz, and arrived at Brest, the third instant, having picked up one of our-small men of war, the Blandford, in its voyage home. And from Canada they have an account, that their squadron with the troops on board was arrived there; and that it is computed they have now 23,000 effective men at that place, including their garrisons. But the most important article relating to a war in Europe it what follows.  Madrid, August 19. As the taking of the two men of war by the English in America has given occasion to several reflections, from the consideration that war was not declared, and that the differences between the crowns of France and England related only to the continent of America, Sir Benjamin Keene has, in answer thereto, offered the following considerations: ” That it was well known that the French fleet carried troops, ammunition, and everything necessary for defending the territories which had been by the French unjustly taken possession of, and of which the English claim the property; That the rules of self-defence authorize people to render fruitless every attempt that may tend to prejudice them : That only this right had been made use of in taking the two French men of war, and that the distinction of place must be interpreted in favour of the English, seeing the two ships were taken upon the coast of the countries where the contest arose.”

August 22, 1755: “Twelve frigates and sloops have been lately built in private yards, for his majesty’s service.   Twenty-four ships, and twelve colliers, are taken into the service of the government, to be fitted out as vessels of war, to carry 20 guns, 6 pounders, and 120 men, each ship:  They are taken up at 6s. 6d. per ton a month

August, 1755: “The assembly of Pennsylvania being called together by Mr. Morris, their governor, upon the news of the defeat of Maj. Gen. Braddock, granted 40,000l. for his majesty’s service, by a tax of 5 per cent, on all goods imported into that province.”

August 28, 1755: “On the 28th of August Col. Dunbar, arrived at Philadelphia from Monongahela with about 1000 men, the remains of Gen. Braddock’s army, greatly fatigued and almost naked.”

August 28, 1755: “Boston, Oct. 8. By letters from the camp before Fort Cumberland, in Nova Scotia, of the 8th past, we have advice, that on the 28th of August, major Fry, with several officers and 200 men, embarked on board the sloop York, capt. Cobb, and the schooner Warren, capt. Adams, and the same evening landed at Chippondie, a village eight leagues up the river, having instructions to bring off all the inhabitants, and set fire to the houses. Upon their first landing they marched with an advance and two flank guards to the village, but found all the inhabitants were fled, except twenty five women and children, who were taken prisoners. The next morning they set fire to the buildings, and burnt down 181 houses and barns, with all the hay, grain, etc therein. After this they proceeded to the mass-house, which, with what was therein, was burnt to ashes. Then putting the prisoners on board one of the transports, they embarked again. The next morning two of the officers, with sixty two men, were ordered to Pitcondiack; and having landed within sight of the armed vessels, they found the houses entirely evacuated and by the first of September they laid the buildings in ashes for fifteen miles in length on the northerly side of the river, and about six on the other fide; and when they came in sight of a mass-house, they discovered foot tracks lately made, and soon after perceived a smoke. The mass-house being close to a thick wood, they posted proper guards, and as they were preparing to fire the house, a signal-gun was fired by the enemy, and before the guard , and the few men with them, could repair to the main body, they found themselves almost surrounded by them; upon which they were obliged to rush through them as well as they could, firing their pieces, and receiving their fire: And, while thus retreating, the Indians gained ground, shot lieutenant March, and took and wounded some others; but a serjeant with six men coming from a copse of wood, stopt their pursuit, so that the rest of our men gained the dyke, and secured their retreat. All this time it was impossible for major Fry to come to their assistance, on account of the rapidity of the river, being driven by the current three quarters of a mile below the intended landing-place but landing the rest of his men as soon as he possibly could, he drew up the whole body, and made a stand: Upon this the enemy likewise drew up in a body, besides the dykes being lined with Indians, and parties (supposed to be upwards of 300) scouting in the woods; but they were not inclined to engage our forces in an open manner, though with such a number they might have done almost as they pleased. At high water the two armed vessels got in as near the shores as they safely could, and covering each of the flanks, sent their boats to take our men on board the vessels, during the embarkation, firing their cannon, and keeping the rebels off. Several of the enemy were killed, but how many is uncertain; 253 houses and barns, besides the masshouse, have been burnt.”

On this date in 1755, General Braddock was defeated by French and Indian Forces in what is now Western Pennsylvania.

There is a chapter in my book about the Battle of the Monongahela.  It includes extracts from the Scots Magazine, a contemporary periodical:

“According to the advices from Virginia, General Braddock, with 2000 troops including two regiments of Foot, independent companies from South Carolina and New-York, and provincial troops from Maryland and Virginia, had by the 12th of June passed the Alleghany mountains, and was within five days march of Fort du Quesne, built by the French last year on the Monongahela River, which runs into the Ohio.  He was long detained at Will’s Creek, and greatly distressed by the want of forage, provisions, wagons, and horses.  The landing of the troops in Virginia, is said to have been a most wretched error, as none of the necessaries before mentioned could be had there in any measure proportioned to the expedition; and we are told, that had they been landed in Pennsylvania, it would have saved £40,000 sterling, and shortened the march by five or six weeks.”

“While General Braddock was at Will’s creek, advice was received from the British Governor of Oswego, that 120 canoes and batteaus, having 600 French on board, had passed over Lake Ontario on the 28th of May, in sight of that place, going towards Niagara and the Ohio.  Meanwhile the General received various and contradictory accounts of the French already in those parts.  Sometimes Fort du Quesne was said to be garrisoned by 1000 men; at other times French deserters assured that only 200 troops were there, and but 500 more at Venango and Presque Isle, on the banks of Lake Erie, distant from Fort du Quesne about ninety miles.  The General being at length provided in necessaries, marched on towards Fort du Quesne; and we are told he wrote back, that he supposed it would be abandoned on his approach.  Major General Braddock and all the stores and provisions, advancing to the Little Meadows, (about twenty miles beyond Fort Cumberland, at Will’s Creek), found it necessary to leave the greatest part of his wagons, &c. at that place, under the command of Colonel Dunbar, with a detachment of 800 men, ordering him to follow as fast as the nature of the service would admit.  The General having, by this means, lessened his lines of march, proceeded with great expedition, his corps then consisting of about 1200 men, and ten pieces of artillery, together with the necessary ammunition, stores, and provisions.  On the 8th of July, he encamped within ten miles of Fort du Quesne.  On the 9th, General Braddock, with the main body of the army, had advanced within a few miles of Fort du Quesne on the Ohio.  Up until this time, they had marched without molestation, or even without seeing an enemy, except two or three small bodies of Indians. The General who seemed to think he would meet with but little opposition, gave an order for all the scouts and rangers forthwith to join the main body of the army.”

“At this time, Lt. Colonel Burton, who commanded the advanced guard, came up to a narrow defile, surrounded with trees and thick underwoods on both sides, and terminated by a very strong pass.  Monachatucha, chief of the Indians in alliance, prayed the General, not to enter this defile till both sides had been thoroughly reconoitred; telling him that it was a most dangerous pass, and that if the enemy intended to attack, he did not know where he could to it with more advantage.  But this advice was rejected.”

“The bushes and underwoods the French lined with Indians and some of their regulars, and posted 300 men at the pass to defend it.  When Lt. Colonel Burton came into the narrow lane, the Indians from behind the bushes galled them greatly; which put them into some confusion.  However, they continued their march; and the General, having intelligence of the interruption, detached one of the majors with 300 men to support the advanced guard.  The enemy still kept firing at our men, killed some, and disordered the whole, insomuch that when they came to the pass, and were opposed by the French, the men scarcely stood one fire, when they threw down their arms loaded and ran away.  The French pursued and the General marching up to support the advanced guards, brought on a general engagement.  But the panic which seized our two regiments was so great that the example, the threats, and prayers of their officers could scarcely prevail with them to look the French in the face.  The first fire quite disconcerted them; and though their officers rallied the greatest part of them, yet it was to no purpose for on the second fire, almost to a man they threw down their arms and ran away; notwithstanding the example of the North Americans who behaved with the greatest resolution and their own officers who were so transported with indignation at the cowardice of their men that they themselves killed several of them running off.  It was at this period that the greatest slaughter of the officers was made; for while they were endeavouring to rally their men, the French had nothing to do but to kill.  The engagement, or rather slaughter continued three hours and a half, when there was a total rout.”

“General Braddock exerted the talents of a commander and a soldier.  He rode from place to place, and by his example endeavoured to inspire the cowardly miscreants with resolution.  He had five horses killed under him, and received seven wounds, the last of which broke his arm, and afterwards passed through his lungs.  He was then carried off insensible, but languished some time before he died.  The retreat was made with more safety than could well be expected from so fatal a beginning, and the remains of the army got safe to the British Fort Cumberland.  On the other hand, it has been alleged that the defeat is owing more to presumption and want of conduct in the officers, than to cowardice in the private men; that a retreat ought to have been resolved upon the moment they found themselves surprised by an ambuscade; and that they were told by the men when they refused to return to the charge, that if they could see their enemies, they would fight them; and they would not waste ammunition against trees and bushes, nor stand exposed to invisible assailants; the French and Indian Rangers, who are excellent marksmen, and in such a situation would inevitably destroy a great number of the best troops in the world.  Nay, some accounts go so far as to assert, that many of the officers, thoroughly dissatisfied with fighting, as it were an invisible enemy, strongly urged the General either to immediately retreat, or to send out irregular parties to clear the bushes sword in hand; but that he esteemed it much below the character of a general officer to engage in any manner contrary to the established rules of war: whence it is suggested, that he himself fell a victim, with many others to that resolute and undaunted resolution by which he was so remarkably distinguished.”

“When the General was first attacked, one such officer, Major Washington, who was defeated in the same manner the year previously, begged the General to let him draw off 300 in each wing to scour the woods: but he refused it and obstinately persisted in the form of field-battle, his men standing shoulder to shoulder; the unhappy consequence of which has been related.  This is, and always very probably will be, the consequence of Old-England officers and soldiers being sent to America.  They have neither the skill nor courage for this method of fighting: for the Indians will kill them as fast as pigeons, and they have no chance either offensive or defensive.”

“The French give the following account of the action near the Ohio, from letters which have been received from Canada.  ‘M. de Contrecoeur, Commandant of Fort du Quesne, having received advice that the English, to the number of 2000 men, were advancing in order to attack the fort, immediately held a council of Mess. de Beaujeu and Dumas, captains of the Marines, and several other officers, in which a resolution was taken to march towards the enemy when they were within three leagues of the fort.  These officers set out accordingly, with 250 Canadians, and 650 Indians; met the English in the open country; and attacked them very courageously, notwithstanding the fire of their cannon and small arms; of which they received two discharges, which killed M. de Beaujeu, de la Perade and de Carqueville, together with fifteen Indians, and four Canadians.  This fire did indeed a little disconcert the Indians, and made them give way; but they rallied immediately upon seeing M. Dumas at their head, who, as senior captain, took the command when M. de Beaujeu dropt.  Led on by this new commander, they and the Canadians rushed furiously upon the enemy, without giving them time to charge again, and with their little hatchets, which they call scull-crackers, made a great slaughter of the English troops.  There remained on the field of battle four brass cannon, eleven pounders, two ditto five pounders and a half, four brass mortars of seven inches and a half diameter, three other of four inches and a quarter in diameter for throwing grenadoes, 157 balls of 11 lb. weight, 17 barrels of powder weighing 100 lb. each, 19,740 cartridges for muskets, a great quantity of matches for the artillery, implements necessary for a siege, muskets and broken wagons, 400 horses, 100 head of cattle, a great many barrels of powder staved, besides baggage and papers, among which was found the plan of Fort du Quesne, and instructions and plan of the expedition.”

Chronology of Events for July 1755

July 4, 1755: Beginning of the British deportations of the French from Acadia as ordered by Lieutenant Governor Charles Lawrence of Nova Scotia.

July 4, 1755: “Portsmouth, July 4.  Wednesday at four in the afternoon arrived the Rt. Hon. Lord Anson, attended by several persons of distinction.  At seven the blue flag was hoisted at the main-topmast head of his majesty’s ship Prince, and lord Anson was saluted with 17 guns from 31 ships of the line.  His lordship went in the evening on the glacis to see the marines exercised, and was pleased to express his satisfaction at the progress they have made.  The next morning his lordship embarked at the Sally-Port in his barge, at the head of which was hoisted the admiralty flag, the anchor and hop; and, after having viewed the whole fleet, he went on board his own ship, the Prince, accompanied by Sir Edward Hawke and admiral West.  Ever ship in the fleet was manned (that is, the seamen were placed on all the yards, bowsprits, stays and other parts of the rigging) and as his lordship went through the fleet, each ship gave him three cheers, and as soon as his own ship had saluted him on his arrival on board, as first lord of the admiralty, the whole fleet joined in giving him three cheers. The same evening at eight arrived his royal highness the duke, amidst the acclamations of many thousand people. His royal highness was met three miles from the town by the ropemakers of the dock-yard in white shirts and black caps, carrying streamers in their hands, who ran before his land in into the town. General Hawley received his royal highness at the Land-port gate, and delivered him the keys of the garrison. The guns at Port-bridge were fired as he passed through that fort; as were those all-round the garrison. The streets through which be passed from Land-port to the governor’s house were lined by the marines, who made a very handsome appearance; the bells rang, the colours were displayed on the tower, and everything was done that could be thought of to demonstrate the sincere joy and pleasure the inhabitants felt in feeing his royal highness among them. The next morning at eight o’clock Sir Edward Hawke, vice admiral West, and the several captains of his majesty’s ships, met lord Anson at the coffee-house on the parade, in their full uniforms, their barges attending at the Sallyport; and, after having been presented to his royal highness, attended him to the water-side, when the boats put off in the following order: 1. The eldest captain. 2. Rear admiral West. 3. Vice admiral Sir Edward Hawke, with his flag flying. 4. Admiral lord Anson, with his flag flying.  5. His royal highness the duke, with his standard flying. 6. The lords commissioners of the admiralty, with the flag of the office of admiralty. 7. The several captains according to their seniority. The boats rowed to the westernmost ship, from thence up to the Prince, each ship being manned, and giving three cheers as his royal highness passed, the drums beating a march, and the officers standing in the gangway. As soon as his royal highness went on board the Prince, the blue flag was struck, and his royal highness’s standard hoisted at the main topmast-head, upon which all the ships at Spithead saluted his royal highness with 21 guns each, Sir Edward Hawke beginning first; and after he had fired two guns, then the rear admiral; and when he had fired two guns, the rest of the ships as usual; and when they had all saluted, the Prince returned twenty one guns. When his royal highness left the ship his standard was struck, and the blue flag hoisted again; upon which the Prince saluted with 11 guns, and all the ships in the fleet with the same number, in the order before mentioned, Sir Edward Hawke beginning after the Prince had fired two guns: Each ship was manned, and gave three cheers as his royal highness passed, with the drums beating at before, and the admirals and captains attending in the fame order as they went off. His royal highness expressed great satisfaction at his entertainment, and gave the bargemen that rowed him twelve guineas ; to twelve rope-makers who ran in white shirts before him into the town he gave ten guineas; and ten more to the rope-makers who were twisting a large cable when he was at the dock.”

July 7, 1755: “Portsmouth, July 7. On Saturday morning his royal highness viewed fortifications, attended by Mr. Desmaretz the principal engineer, and the general officers: From thence he went to South-Sea-Castle, and Cumberland and Post-Bridge forts; and returned to town about two o’clock. The same day the governor, the admirals, sea-captains, general officers, &c. were entertained at dinner by his royal highness.  In the evening he reviewed the marines on the Glacis.”

July 8, 1755: “Extract from a Letter from Virginia, July 8. Since general Braddock got over the mountains the French have sent a party of their Indians (with some Frenchmen amongst them) into Hampshire county, who came within 10 miles of our fort at Wills’s Creek: In their way, it is said, they scalped 14 families, excepting a few persons who escaped. They dashed out the children’s brains on the door-posts before they scalped the parents. We hear that colonel Johnson has invested Crown-Point, and that governor Shirley has done the same by Niagara: There are seven men of war here; three of them have been up careening, and some of the rest are coming, that they may be in readiness in case of a rupture.  Governor Dinwiddie has ordered the militia on the frontier counties to be always on duty. Our assembly have agreed to grant 10,000l. to be raised by a land tax, poll-tax on blacks, and a lottery.”

July 9, 1755: General Braddock received a total defeat from an ambuscade of French and Indians, within 10 miles of Fort Duquesne, which he was marching to besiege:   “that major general Braddock, having advanced with 2000 men, and all the stores and provisions, to the Little Meadows (about 20 miles beyond Fort Cumberland, at Wills’s Creek) found it necessary to leave the greatest part of his waggons, &c. at that place, under the command of col. Dunbar, with a detachment of 800 men, ordering him to follow as fast as the nature of the service would admit. The general, having by this means lessened his line of march, proceeded with great expedition, his corps then consisting of about 1200 men, and ten pieces of artillery, together with the necessary ammunition, stores, and provisions. On the 8th of July, he encamped within ten miles of Fort du Quesne; and, on the 9th, on his march through’ the woods towards that fort, was attacked by a body of French and Indians, who made a sudden fire from the woods, which put the troops into great confusion, and occasioned their retiring with great precipitation, notwithstanding all the endeavours of the general, and the officers, many of whom were killed whilst they were using all possible means to rally the men.”  The conduct of this unhappy General has been greatly censured, but his personal courage was indisputable; he had five horses killed under him, and died of his wounds. The English lost near 1000 men, killed and wounded, in this action; among the former, were Sir Peter Halket, Baronet, Colonel of the 44th regiment of Foot, and General Shirley’s eldest son, Secretary to Mr., Braddock; among the latter, were the Lieutenant Colonels, Gage and Burton, and Mr. Orme, and Captain Morris Aid-de-Camps. The French became masters of all the artillery, provisions, baggage, and the military chest; the usual fruits of a decisive victory.  General Braddock’s papers fell into their hands, of which they afterwards availed themselves, in a large memorial which they published against the British Ministry: by their own account, they had in this battle only 250 French Soldiers, and 650 Savages, commanded by the Sr. Beaujieu (killed in the engagement) and under him by the Srs. Dumas and Ligneris.

July 17, 1755 The Doddington Indiaman struck upon a barren uninhabited rock, in the latitude of 33 degr.’ 44 min. south, and distance about 250 leagues east of the Cape of Good Hope: out of 270 persons, 23 only gained the rock: upon which, they providentially subsisted themselves with the provisions collected from the wreck, till the 18th of February, being seven months complete on that day they set sail from the rock (to which, at parting, they gave the name of Bird Island from the quantity of water-fowl, called Gannet, found upon it) in a sloop, built by the carpenter out of the fragments of the ship. After a difficult and distressful voyage, they reached St. Lucia river on the coast of Africa the 6th of April and from thence, anchored in de la Goa Road at 4 o’ clock in the afternoon, on Wednesday the 21st. This sloop was afterwards sold to Captain Chandler of the Rose galley, for 2500 rupees, or about 5001 sterling, and sail’s in company with him to Madagascar. — It were to be wished, that all ships which happen to sail near any desert island or coast, would give themselves the charitable trouble of sowing a few seeds, and putting on shore a few animals, male and female, for the benefit of those unfortunate people; who, in any future time, might be exposed to greater calamities, than those which befell the Doddington Indiaman.

July 18, 1755. The French abandoned their fort at St. John’s river, and, as far as was in their power, demolished it. As soon as the forts upon the Isthmus were taken, captain Rouse sailed from thence with three twenty gunships, and a sloop, to look into St. John’s river, where it was reported there were two French ships of thirty-six guns each; he anchored off the mouth of the river, and sent his boats to reconnoiter; they found no ships there, but, on their appearance the French burst their cannon, blew up their magazine, burnt everything they could belonging to the fort, and marched off.  The next morning the Indians invited Capt. Rous on shore, gave him the strongest assurances of their desire to make peace with the English; and pleaded in their behalf, that they had refused to assist the French on this occasion, though earnestly pressed by them.  Some of their chiefs are expected at Halifax in a very few days.

July 21, 1755. Sailed from Portsmouth, Sir Edward Hawke, with a fleet of eighteen men of war, viz. three of ninety guns, eight of seventy, one of sixty four, one of sixty, one of fifty, one of forty, and a sloop.

July 28, 1755: “There are 15 twenty gun ships contracted for in private yards, eight of which will be built in the river, and seven in out ports.”

July 31, 1755: “Charles-Town, July 31. His excellency the governor having, by the advice of his majesty’s council, yielded to the pressing instances of the Cherokees, to meet them at a place 200 miles distant from hence, set out on that expedition on Monday the 16th of June, and returned on Thursday the 9th instant, after having had several days conference with them, and received their renewed homage and submission to his majesty. The Cherokees have not, like some other Indian tribes, wandered from place to place, but inhabited the lands where they still dwell, long before the discovery of America. They have no tradition that they came originally from any other country, but affirm that their ancestors came out of the ground where they now live. It is a tract of 150 miles in length, extremely mountainous, but abounding with rich and fertile valleys. These mountains render the interior parts of the country, called the middle settlements, secure from enemies; but the out towns, and all the over- hill towns, lie open and exposed to the French and their Indians, against whom the Cherokees are the best barrier of this province; for which reason, and because they are of themselves a numerous and powerful people, and very near our back settlements, it has always been the policy of this government to cultivate a good understanding and friendship with them; perhaps we have done it the more assiduously, as the French have been incredibly eager of late years to get some footing and secure an interest amongst them. But though the tract inhabited by them be no more than 150 miles in length, yet the lands that are their undoubted property are of a prodigious extent; they reach from our back settlements quite to the Mississippi on both sides of Tennessee river that is, from east to west 800 miles. Tennessee river, called by Pere Charlevoix Riviere Cheraquis, has its source amongst their mountains, and most of the over hill towns are built upon its banks: After it leaves Toquo, the westernmost of the Cherokee towns, it directs its course to the Mississippi, running all the way for 600 miles through one of the finest countries in America, which is their hunting-ground, and to no part of which any other nation ever pretended any right or claim; but a little before it reaches the Mississippi it mixes its waters with the Ohio, and these three great rivers, Ouabach, Ohio, and Tennessee, fall by one mouth into the Mississippi, so that a strong fortress built upon the Cherokee lands, on the south side of the united stream of these three rivers, would prevent all vessels from going up or down either Ouabach, Ohio, or Tennessee; a single canoe could not pass without leave. They also claim all the lands to the northward as far as the great lakes; and it is to be observed, that at the treaty of Lancaster, made with the Six Nations, under the direction of Gov. Thomas in 1744, the commissioners from Virginia, who were treating with them for some lands to the westward of Pennsylvania and Maryland, told them, that they were informed that the southern Indians (Cherokees) claimed those very lands that they did, which the Six Nations did not contradict.  The Cherokees are computed to be three times the number of the Six Nations put together; they are a free and independent people, were never conquered, never relinquished their possessions, never sold them, never surrendered or ceded them.”

July, 1755: “Their high mightinesses the states general have not as yet, so far as we hear, given any answer to the memorial presented to them by the French ambassador; but as several of the chief towns in Holland have joined with Amsterdam in their opposition to any augmentation of their land forces, it is probable the answer of their high mightinesses will not be upon such a high key as might be expected from the title they assume, and the circumstances of Europe require.”

July, 1755: “In the mean time they (the states general) seem to have provided for the safety of their trade in the Mediterranean; for from Rotterdam we are told, that the squadron of 16 men of war, fitted out for that purpose, was ready to sail with the first fair wind, by the 2d of last month; that eight of them were to cruise against the Algerines in the Straights, and the eight others to serve as convoys for their merchant ships; and that the whole expence of this squadron was to be taken out of the money raised from their settlements in the East Indies during last war, which was some time since remitted home; so that no part of the expence is to be taken out of their present publick revenue, although their navigation was deeply concerned in it, for the whole of their Mediterranean trade was like to be carried on in English bottoms.”

Chronology of Events for June 1755

June 4-16, 1755: Siege and capture of Fort Beauséjour, North America held by 460 French commanded by Duchambon de Vergor, at Chignecto peninsula (in present day New Brunswick), it is invested by Colonel Robert Monckton commanding 2000 Massachusetts volunteers and falls after a brief bombardment. Nearby Fort Gaspereau is immediately abandoned by its French garrison.

June 6-8, 1755: Battle of the Grand Banks, off Newfoundland, North America. Vice-Admiral Boscawen’s English fleet captures two French ships from the Comte de la Motte’s flotilla carrying reinforcements to New France.  Being near the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Adm. Boscawen fell in with four sail of the line, which had parted from M. De la Motte in a gale of wind. On the 8th, at noon, after a chase of forty-eight hours, the 60-gun ship Dunkirk, Captain the Hon. Richard Howe, arrived up with the French 64-gun ship Alcide. After some little preliminary hailing, the Dunkirk opened so furious a cannonade, that on the approach of the Torbay, the French ship struck her colours. The 64-gun ship Lys, armed en-flute was also captured; but owing to a fog the third escaped. The remaining French ships escape bearing Governor Vaudreuil of New France and General Baron de Dieskau along with much needed French regulars.  Thus was this, known as “the seven years’ war,” commenced.

June 16, 1755: The French fort of Beau-Sejour, on the Isthmus of Chignecto, surrenders to Lieutenant Colonel Monckton.  “Extract of a Letter from lieutenant Governor Lawrenceto Sir Thomas RobinsonDated Halifax, June 28, 1755.

“I have the honour to acquaint you, that the French fort at Beauséjour surrendered to lieutenant-colonel Monckton the 16th instant, and the next day a small fort upon the river Gaspereau, running into the Bay Verte, where the French had their principal magazine for supplying the French inhabitants and Indians. In these forts were found a great quantity of provisions, and stores of all kinds, of which col. Monckton has not yet had time to transmit me a particular account. I enclose you the terms of capitulation. Notwithstanding the fort at Beauséjour had twenty-six pieces of cannon mounted, they surrendered, after four days bombardment, before we had even mounted a single cannon upon our batteries. Our loss, upon this occasion, is very inconsiderable, not above 20 killed, and as many wounded. Major Preble of the irregulars, is slightly wounded in the shoulder; ensign Tongue, of major general Warburton’s regiment, acting as sub engineer, received a shot in his thigh, at he was taking a survey of the ground for the trenches and batteries to be raised against the fort; and ensign Hay, of col. Hopson’s, who had been taken prisoner by the Indians, in going alone from our fort to the camp, was killed by one of our shells in the French fort, which fell through a sort of casemate, and also killed three French officers, and wounded two more. At col. Monckton’s first arrival, the French had a large number of inhabitants and Indians, 450 of which were posted at a blockhouse, which they had on their side of the river Messaguash, to defend the pass of that rive: Here they had thrown up a strong breast-work of timber for covering their men, and had cannon mounted on the blockhouse. At this place they made a stand for about an hour, but were forced by our troops with some loss, leaving their blockhouse, and the pass of the river, clear for our people, who marched, without further interruption, to the ground intended for their encampment. As we had not men enough to invest the fort entirely, several got away and, when the fort surrendered, there remained 150 regulars, and about 300 inhabitants, several of which, with their officers, were wounded. We do not yet exactly know the numbers that were killed in the fort, but we believe their loss has not been trifling, as several lay half buried upon the parade. Col. Monckton has new named the fort, and called it Fort Cumberland. He gives the troops, under his command, great praise for their good behaviour, and the spirit and resolution with which they acted upon this occasion.  Col. Monckton is proceeding to the fort at St. John’s river, which I flatter myself will give him very little trouble, as their main strength, which was Beauséjour, is gone: He has likewise my orders to leave a garrison in that fort, as it is an infinitely better one than ours, as well for situation, as strength. The deserted French inhabitants are delivering up their arms. I have given him orders to drive them out of the country at all events; though if he wants their assistance in putting the troops under cover (as the barracks in the French fort were demolished) he may first make them do all the service in their power. Our possession of the Isthmus, it is to be hoped, will bring over the Mickmack Indians to our interest. I cannot close my letter to you, Sir, without taking notice how much I am obliged to lieutenant-colonel Monckton’s military skill, and good conduct, for our success at Beauséjour; capt. Rous, who commanded the naval part of this expedition, has been of the greatest service to it; and I have reason to believe our succeeding so soon, and with so little loss, is much owing to the good management of Mr. Brewse, who acted there as chief engineer.”

June 16, 1755: By letters received from rear admiral Holbourne, dated off Halifax the 28th of last month, there is an account that his majesty’s ship the Mars, of 70 guns, was unfortunately lost at the mouth of that harbour, by the fault of the pilot, but the crew and guns were saved. As soon as the other ships there, under his command, are watered and refitted, he will return with them to join vice admiral Boscawen’s squadron. The two French ships, the Alcide and the Lys, are, with the prisoners, in this harbour.

June 17, 1755: Gaspereau, a small fort near Bay Vert, surrenders to the same Officer: and soon afterwards, the French abandoned Fort St John, near the mouth of the river of that name; after having ruined it to the utmost of their power. This completed the reduction of Nova Scotia.

June 21, 1755: “Rear-Admiral Holbourne, with the squadron under his command, joined admiral Boscawen on the 21st past, the day before the departure of the Gibraltar for England.”

Chronology of Events for May 1755

May 1, 1755: “The time for paying the bounties to seamen and landmen was prolonged to the 27th instant.” [LM, 5-55]

May 23, 1755: Two French ships are captured by Howe.

May, 1755: “The assembly of New York has passed an act for raising 45000l. by a tax on estates real and personal, for putting the said colony into a posture of defence, for furthering his majesty’s designs in North-America; also an act to restrain the sending provisions to Cape-Breton, or any French port or settlement on the continent of North-America, or islands nigh or adjacent thereto; to which the acts the governor has given his assent.  By an act passed the last sessions of assembly at Boston in New-England, the inhabitants of that province are forbid holding any correspondence with the people of Louisbourg, &c. for four months, commencing the 1st of March last; and the master of any vessel that shall be known to trade there, contrary to the interest of said act, is to have one of his ears cut off, be publickly whipped, and rendered incapable  of ever holding any place of honour or profit in that government; his vessel and cargo to be forfeited, and the owner or owners thereof to forfeit 500l. and also to be disabled from holding any place, &c. in that government.”