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A Soldier's Diary
Digital History ID 102

Author:   Robert Moses
Date:1755

Annotation:

A soldier's diary provides a vivid first-hand account of fighting in northern New York during the early stages of the Seven Years' War, when the British and colonial forces suffered a series of punishing defeats at the hands of the French and their Indian allies.


Document:

...We were informed that a number of Indians killed two men in a very barbarous manner. Destroyed eight cattle carried away the value of three. A scout consisting of thirty men pursued them on Friday July 25th [1755] but could not discover them.....

...we received intelligence that a number of Indians supposed to consist of one hundred killed two men about two miles from the Fort [Bellowe's Fort], took the man's heart and cut it in two and laid it on his neck, and butchers the other most barbarously, sought a house near the Fort, wounded one man that he died about an hour after our arrival....

Saturday 7th [of September]: in the afternoon one of the Mohawks that came in informed Colonel Blanchard that he discovered a vast number of French & Indians about 4 miles from the camp & tract [tracked] thirty about a mile from the Camp. The Colonel ordered a scout of one hundred and 20 men to go and know the certainty of it, who returned and made no discovery excepting few tracks which they supposed was made by some of their own men which were a hunting.

Monday the 8th: day of September 1755--a scout went out from Lake George commonly called by the Indians Lake Sacremaw, under the command of Colonel William being in number hundred they receiving intelligence that an Army of French & Indians were on the borders and that their intention chiefly was to beset Fort Lyman. The Colonel with five men was making the best of his way down to reli[e]ve them in case any such emergency should happen but he had not marched not exceeding 4 miles from the Lake when he entered where the Enemy ambushed themselves on each side of the path in the form of a half moon the Colonel had no sooner come up, with his men conveniently in the midst of them but he was fired on every quarter very briskly the Colonel with men behaved themselves cowardly for some minutes but [were] overpowered by such a vast company their number suppose to consist of 2500 men compelling Colonel with his 600 to fight & upon a retreat until they came to the Fort at the Lake. The Enemy pursued them very boldly with their firelocks shouldered and their Bay[o]nets fixed to them marched in towards ye Front of our Army and thought to rush into the camp, they in the camps took them to be New Hampshire forces never fired a gun until the Enemy came so near them that they could discover a Frenchman from an Englishman upon which discovery the whole camp was alarmed & withstood them on the front fixed their cannons and played on them for an hour with the loss of many men to the French. They immediately begin to charge on the right & left...but at both places they met with strong resistance. The Indians on the Left Wing were so ambitious that they would feign enter into ye Artillery ground two cannon were mounted on that quarter on[e] of which being fired on them swept away sixteen which put the rest in such a terror that they drawed off as quick as possible.

The Regiments which were camped at Fort Lymon distance from up lake 14 miles heard the cannons roaring...immediately dispatched to the Lake the New Hampshire Regiment together with part of New York Regiment which number met ye enemy after they drawed off from ye Lake with a new salutation of firelocks.

Cutlasses and hatchets playing on every quarter with much effusion of blood but our New Hampshire forces being fresh & courageous and the Enemy tired and much discouraged with the Defeat they met with, retreated and made their escape toward a Creek the next day they were pursued a vast quantity of plunder was taken up which they dropped in the creek. The day after ye battle three Frenchmen were taken up by the Guard of Fort Lymon who upon examination declared that their Army was entirely broke....

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Robert Moses, 1755

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