1758 - British expedition against Carillon

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War >> Campaigns >> 1758 - British expedition against Carillon

The campaign lasted from June to July 1758

Description

British preparations

In 1758, Pitt asked the colonists for 20,000 men. Massachusetts alone raised, paid, maintained, and clothed 7,000 soldiers placed under the command of General Abercromby, besides above 2,500 more serving by land or sea. New Hampshire put one in three of her able-bodied men into the field.

The Indian warbands, who, on the previous year, had participated to the expedition against Fort William Henry, had brought back smallpox to their villages. This illness was causing serious ravage among their tribes.

Petite Guerre around Fort Carillon

In the early months of 1758, Captain Hébecourt kept watch and ward at Fort Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga), begirt with snow and ice, and much plagued by British rangers, who sometimes got into the ditch itself. A band of rangers captured two soldiers and butchered some 15 cattle close to the fort.

On January 10, M. de Langy-Montégron left Montréal for Fort Carillon to reconnoitre the British positions on Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George).

On January 18, 22 regulars and a few Canadiens were sent from Montréal to reinforce Fort Carillon where the garrison was complaining about the bad quality of provisions and the lack of equipment.

On January 21, Langy-Montégron’s detachment surprised a party of lumberjacks near Fort Edward.

On January 24, Montcalm arrived in Montréal from Québec. He was accompanied by the Engineer in Chief de Pontleroi sent from Louisbourg.

On February 22, Montcalm arrived at Montréal from Québec.

In February, Vaudreuil, the governor of Canada, sent a second war party to Carillon. This party, under the command of Sieur de la Durantaye consisted of 100 Indians and a few Canadiens.

At the end of February, Vaudreuil sent a small detachment of 8 sergeants and 8 corporals to Fort Carillon. Officially these NCOs escorted M. Penissant but their real goal was to convince the garrison which was on the brink of mutiny to abandon its project.

In the fist days of March, Governor Vaudreuil sent 200 Canadiens and Indian warriors to Fort Carillon to attack the supply convoys between Sarastou (probably Saratoga) and Fort Edward.

On March 13, a large party of rangers was cut to pieces a few km from Fort Carillon during the engagement known as the skirmish of Snow Shoes.

On March 23, a party of Abenaki Indians left Montréal for Fort Carillon.

On March 28, the Iroquois contingent, who had participated in the skirmish of Snow Shoes, arrived at Sault Saint-Louis (present-day Kahnawake) where 7 of their warriors had been killed and 15 wounded.

On April 26, a detachment of workers was sent from Montréal to Fort Carillon.

Opening of the campaign

Map from the book “History of the British Army” volume II by J. W. Fortescue

At the opening of the campaign season, Vaudreuil was already aware of the British intended advance by Lake Saint-Sacrement and Lake Champlain upon Fort Carillon and Fort Saint-Frédéric (present-day Crown Point). He proposed to launch raids along the Mohawk River upon the Hudson, hoping that this would divert Abercromby from his original plan. This diversion would be carried on by a force of 2,500 men (400 French regulars, 400 Troupes de la Marine and 1,700 Canadiens and Indians) under the command of Lévis. It was to advance on Lake Ontario, move upstream on the Oswego River, reach the Mohawk River and capture Fort Herkimer. After the capture of this fort, Lévis was supposed to penetrate further into New England and to waste the country up to Corlac. Lévis’ mission was also a diplomatic one since Vaudreuil wanted to detach the Iroquois from their British alliance.

On May 5, a courrier was sent to transmit orders to II./La Reine Infanterie and to the 2 battalions of Berry Infanterie to form piquets with troops that the inhabitants were unable to feed anymore and to send them to Fort Carillon.

On May 15, the shortage of supplies was such in Québec that II./La Reine Infanterie left the town for Carillon where ampler supplies were available. The 2 battalions of Berry Infanterie did the same a few days later.

On May 19, 8 French merchant vessels escorted by a frigate arrived at Québec.

On May 24, II./La Reine Infanterie reached Chambly were it was instructed to resume its travel to Carillon.

Abercromby's expeditionary force consisted of 6,367 British regulars and 9,034 Provincial troops. The capture of Fort Carillon appeared to be a mere military promenade.

During the early months of the summer, Abercromby was busy assembling Provincial troops. He delegated to Brigadier Lord Howe of the 55th Regiment of Foot the task of sending appropriate supplies up the Mohawk and the Hudson rivers to Fort Edward. There were 3 portages between Albany and Fort Edward. At each of them, bateaux had to be unladen and carried along with the supplies for some 5 km. Then each bateau had to be laden again and launched on the river. Howe accomplished his task perfectly. Each convoy was escorted while passing through the forest and the French were unable to disrupt any of them.

Howe was probably the first high ranking British officer to take interest into the art of forest warfare. To learn it, he joined the irregulars in their scouting parties, shared the hardships and adopted their dress. He then began to impart the lessons that he had learned to his men. He introduced several changes. Officers and privates all wore identical uniform making it difficult to sharpshooters to systematically pick officers as their target as they used to do. He also modified the uniform to adapt it to forest warfare, cutting the coat skirts off as well as the hair of his soldiers, browning the barrels of their muskets, replacing gaiters with leggings, and adding more provisions in knapsacks to increase the autonomy of his troops. This current of idea had already begun to permeate British command, Colonel Bouquet of the 60th Foot and Brigadier Forbes both considered that British troops should adopt the art of war of the Indians.

On June 3, II./La Reine Infanterie arrived at Carillon soon followed by the 2 battalions of Berry Infanterie.

On June 5, Bourlamaque arrived in Montréal from Québec.

On June 18, II./La Sarre Infanterie left its winter-quarters and set off for Carillon.

On June 20, II./Béarn Infanterie embarked aboard 20 bateaux at Montréal for Carillon, leaving a detechment of 72 men who should participate to Lévis' planned expedition on the Mohawk River.

The battalions of II./Languedoc, II./Royal Roussillon, II./Guyenne also left their quarters and moved towards Carillon. Some 600 Troupes de la Marine along with 100 Canadiens and Indians were also ordered to move to Carillon.

During the month of June various reconnaissances from Langy and Wolf (a Canadien partisan not to be confused with the British General Wolfe) brought back some British prisoners who confirmed that a large force of some 20,000 men was assembling under General Abercromby.

On June 28, Vaudreuil received a report from Montcalm informing him of the large concentration of British troops on Lake Saint-Sacrement. His plan to send an expedition on the Mohawk River now appeared to be inappropriate.

On June 29, Vaudreuil countermanded the planned expedition on Lake Ontario and rather ordered Lévis to reinforce Montcalm at Carillon with his 400 regulars.

On June 30, II./Béarn Infanterie arrived at Carillon. Montcalm took command of the French force assembled at there. He immediately ordered Bourlamaque to take position at the head of the portage at the outlet of Lake Saint-Sacrement with the battalions of II./La Reine, II./Guyenne and II./Béarn. With II./La Sarre and I./Berry, Montcalm himself encamped at the saw-mill near the Fall on the west bank of the channel connecting Lake Saint-Sacrement to Lake Champlain. He also sent the battalions of II./Royal Roussillon and II./Languedoc on the left bank. II./Berry was kept in reserve at Carillon with the Troupes de la Marine and the Canadiens. Montcalm also gave instruction to M. de Pontleroy, an engineer, to prepare defensive works on the heights of Carillon. It remained to determine at which of these points he should concentrate his army and make his stand against the British.

Departure from Lake Saint-Sacrement

By the end of June the whole of Abercromby's force, with all its supplies, was assembled at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement.

On July 1, 200 of Lévis’ regulars marched from Montréal towards Carillon.

On July 2, the remaining 200 regulars belonging to Lévis’ detachment left Lachine. At Carillon, 2 volunteer coys (Bernard's and Duprat's) of 100 men each were formed with soldiers from the 8 regular battalions.

On July 3, M. de Raymond arrived at Carillon with 118 Canadiens and Troupes de la Marine.

On the evening of July 4, baggage, stores, and ammunition were all on board the British boats. The same evening, Langy set off from Carillon with a party of 118 men to reconnoitre the region of Fort George.

On July 5, Abercromby's troops were embarked. The operation went smoothly and, before sunrise, the whole army was afloat in 900 bateaux, 135 whaleboats and a large number of heavy flatboats carrying the artillery. Robert Rogers with his rangers (Rogers' Rangers), and Gage with part of his new light infantry (the 80th Foot) led the way. John Bradstreet followed next with the boatmen. Then came the main body in 3 parallel columns stretching on 10 km. Provincial troops from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island formed the right and left columns while British regulars, led by Howe, formed the central column.

This central column consisted of:

The remainder of Gage's light infantry closed the column. Two "floating castles" armed with artillery also accompanied this column, towering high above the slender canoes and whale-boats. In the rear came the bateaux laden with stores and baggage, with a rear-guard of regular and provincial troops.

Before 10:00 am, the British force began to enter the Narrows.

At 3:00 p.m., a guard posted on a mountain to the left of the French camp signalled that bateaux had been spotted on Lake Saint-Sacrement.

At 4:00 p.m., part of Langy's detachment came back in haste to Carillon with the report that the British were embarked in great force. Bourlamaque sent M. de Trépezet at the head of a reconnaissance party of 300 men (150 French regulars along with militia and colony troops) towards the Montagne Pelée (present-day Rogers Rock) to observe the movement of the British force and, if possible, to prevent their landing. As soon as he arrived at Carillon, Langy was also sent to the Montagne Pelée. Montcalm also sent a canoe down Lake Champlain to hasten Lévis to his aid, and ordered II./Berry to begin a breastwork and abatis on the high ground in front of the fort. That they were not begun before shows that he was in doubt as to his plan of defence; and that his whole army was not now set to work at them shows that his doubt was still unsolved.

By 5:00 p.m., the flotilla had travelled 40 km and reached Sabbath-Day Point. It halted to allow for the baggage and artillery to catch up. Meanwhile, Montcalm sent M. Germain with 3 piquets to support his outposts between the Montagne Pelée and the lake.

At 11:00 p.m., the flotilla started again.

On July 6, at daybreak, the British flotilla reached the narrow channel leading into Lake Champlain near Fort Carillon. A French advanced party, under Langy and Trépezet, was watching their movements. Lord Howe, with Rogers and Bradstreet, went in whaleboats to reconnoitre the landing. At the place which the French called the Burnt Camp, they spotted the French party which was too weak to oppose them. Their men landed and drove them off.

At 7:00 a.m., Bourlamaque retreated from the outlet of Lake Saint-Sacrement with his brigade, his grenadiers and volunteers forming his rearguard.

At 9:00 a.m., disembarkation then began. Upon Bourlamaque's arrival, Montcalm moved Bourlamaque's battalions as well as his own to the left bank of the fall where the battalions of Royal Roussillon and Languedoc were already deployed. The French army remained in this new position until 5:00 p.m..

By noon, the whole British army was landed on the western shore of the lake. Rogers' Rangers along with the provincial regiments of Fitch and Lyman were sent forward to reconnoitre while the troops were formed in 4 columns for the march.

The proposed route ran through the forest and followed the western bank of the channel connecting Lake Saint-Sacrement with Lake Champlain. Abercromby planned to fall upon Fort Carillon from the rear. Advancing through the forest, troops soon lost any formation and fell into confusion.

Meanwhile the French advanced party of some 350 men, which had been previously driven back from its advanced post on the shore, found its retreat cut off and took to the woods. It soon clashed with the right centre column of the British, with Lord Howe with Major Israel Putnam and 200 rangers at its head. A sharp skirmish followed, and in the general confusion the main body of the British, hearing volleys but unable to see, became very unsteady. Fortunately the rangers stood firm, and Rogers' advanced guard (including the regiments of Fitch and Lyman), turning back at the sound of shots, caught the French, between two fires. From a force of 350 men about 50 escaped, 148 were captured and the rest killed or drowned in trying to cross the rapids. The British loss in this affair was trifling in numbers but not in quality for Lord Howe lay dead.

Late in the afternoon, Montcalm, yielding to the advice of two of his officers (Bernès and Montguy), decided to retire to Fort Carillon. The camp was broken up at 5:00 pm. Some of the troops embarked in bateaux, while others marched 2 km along the forest road, passed the place where II./Berry was still at work on the breastwork begun in the morning.

At 7:00 p.m., Montcalm's Army made its bivouac a little farther on, upon the cleared ground that surrounded the fort.

Meanwhile Abercromby's force was paralysed. Half of his army was lost in the forest. He then collected the other half and kept it under arms all night.

Immediate Approach of Carillon

In the morning of July 7, Abercromby fell back to his landing-place where he found the rest of his troops awaiting him. The channel between Lake Saint-Sacrement and Lake Champlain being impassable by boats owing to rapids, the usual route to Carillon lay across it by some saw-mills at the foot of the rapids. However, Montcalm had already destroyed the bridge there.

At daybreak, each French battalion was assigned a sector which its was responsible to fortify and defend. Then every man of the French force started working to throw up abatis on this ridge. The two engineers, Pontleroy and Desandrouin, had already traced the outline of the works, and the soldiers of II./Berry had made some progress in constructing them. The regimental colours were planted along the line, and the officers, stripped to the shirt, took axe in hand and laboured with their men. Meanwhile, several small parties were sent forward to screen the French position.

At noon, Abercromby sent Bradstreet forward with a detachment of regulars and provincials to occupy the saw-mill at the Falls which Montcalm had abandoned the evening before. The bridge was rebuilt, and the army crossed the channel late in the afternoon. It then occupied the camp deserted by the French. Abercromby was now within 3 km of Fort Carillon.

The peninsula of Carillon consists of a rocky plateau with low ground on each side, standing at the junction of Lake Saint-Sacrement and Lake Champlain. The fort stood near the end of this peninsula, about 1 km to westward of the spot the ground rises and forms a ridge across the plateau. The entrenchments protecting the fort were made of logs piled into a massive breastwork 2.75 m high. The upper tier was formed of single logs, in which notches were cut to serve as loopholes; and in some places sods and bags of sand were piled along the top, with narrow spaces to fire through. The line followed the top of the ridge, along which it zig-zagged in such a manner that the whole front could be swept by flank-fires of musketry and grape. The forest before the breastwork was also felled to the distance of a musket-shot and left lying with the tops turned outwards. Between these felled trees and the breastwork, the ground was covered with heavy boughs, their points being sharpened and the branches interlaced, so as to present an almost impenetrable obstacle. The French officers themselves were amazed at the work which had been accomplished in one day.

Still the position was open, allowing Abercromby either to attack Montcalm's unfortified flanks, or to bring up his artillery and batter the breastwork to splinters, or better still to post his guns on the height of Rattlesnake Hill (present-day Mount Defiance), which commanded the position, and to rake the breastwork from end to end. Another more indirect solution would have been to mask this improvised stronghold with a part of his force and to push on with the rest northward up Lake Champlain and so cut off at once Montcalm's supplies and his retreat. Montcalm had only 3,600 men and 8 days of provisions with him. A movement on his line of communication would have ensured his surrender without the firing of a shot.

Abercromby's intelligence induced him to believe that Montcalm had 6,000 men with him and that 3,000 more were expected to join them at any hour. Therefore, he decided to attack before these reinforcements could make their junction with Montcalm.

On the evening of July 7, the French finished their breastwork and abatis, encamped behind them, slung their kettles, and rested after their heavy toil. Lévis had not yet appeared; but at twilight one of his officers, Captain Pouchot, arrived with 300 regulars, and announced that his commander would come before morning with 100 more. The reinforcement, though small, was welcome, and Lévis was a host in himself. Pouchot was told that the army was less than a km off. Thither he repaired, made his report to Montcalm, and looked with amazement at the prodigious amount of work accomplished in one day. Lévis himself arrived in the course of the night, and approved the arrangement of the troops. They lay behind their lines till daybreak; then the drums beat, and they formed in order of battle.

At dawn on July 8, Abercromby sent his engineers, to reconnoitre the enemy's position from Rattlesnake Hill. The chief engineer, Lieutenant-colonel Clark, reported that the works could be captured by direct assault. Abercromby then decided to carry the abatis with the bayonet. His army advanced in 3 columns with its volunteers and light troops in the intervals between these columns.

Battle of Carillon (Ticonderoga)

On July 8, in the battle of Carillon, Abercromby launched several head on attacks against the French entrenchments without success. His defeated army retired. Montcalm feared that Abercromby, who still had more than 13,000 men, might renew the attack with cannon the next day. This was not the case. Nevertheless, the French army remained on its position, expecting an attack.

During the night of July 8 to 9, the British evacuated their artillery, ammunition and wounded. Abercromby sent an order to Colonel Cummings, commanding at the camp of Fort William Henry, to send all the sick and wounded and all the heavy artillery to New York without delay. Meanwhile, the French cleaned their muskets and erected some defensive works on their right wing. Troops slept along the entrenchments.

At daybreak on July 9, the British army re-embarked and retreated to the head of the lake where it reoccupied the camp it had left a few days before. Meanwhile, Montcalm sent out a band of volunteers to watch Abercromby's army. They found an abandoned entrenchment halfway to the fall. The British wounded left behind were taken prisoners. The volunteers brought back the report that the British army was in full retreat. The saw-mill at the Falls was on fire, and the last British soldier was gone. At Carillon, Montcalm contented himself with strengthening the defences of the fort.

Aftermath

On the morning of July 10, all the grenadier companies along with volunteers and 100 Canadiens were sent forward under Lévis, to reconnoitre the British positions. They followed the road to the landing-place and found signs that a panic had overtaken the defeated troops. They had left behind several hundred barrels of provisions and a large quantity of baggage; while in a marshy place that they had crossed was found a considerable number of their shoes, which had stuck in the mud, and which they had not stopped to recover. The same day, Wolf, who had been retained by Abercromby when he had previously been sent as messenger by Montcalm, was freed and returned to the French camp.

On July 11, the French buried the British killed during the battle (some 800 men). The same day, the French troops retired from the entrenchments and took a new position near the fort.

On July 12, Langy-Laurent arrived at Carillon with about 30 Indians. He was carrying a message of M. de Rigaud who was requesting instructions from Montcalm on the best way to relieve Carillon, which he thought besieged, with his force of 3,000 Canadiens, Troupes de la Marine and Indian warriors. Rigaud then arrived with his vanguard (300 Canadiens and 300 Indian warriors).

On July 13, M. de la Valtrie and the Chevalier de la Corne arrived at Carillon with Rigaud's first division (1,000 men of the Troupes de la Marine and 1,000 Canadiens).

On July 14, Montcalm formed 2 battalions (Valterie and Lacorne) of 1,000 men each from the Troupes de la Marine and Canadiens. These battalions were placed under the command of M. de Rigaud.

By July 16, all of Rigaud's force had reached Carillon. Around 3:00 p.m., M. de Saint-Luc arrived with 200 Indians and a few Canadiens.

On July 17, M. de Courtemanche was sent out with a party of 200 Indians and 200 Canadiens and colony troops to harass Abercromby's communications with Fort Edward. He attacked a British party, killing or capturing 30 of them; and loosing 2 Indians and 2 Canadiens wounded. From the prisoners, Courtemanche learned that the British army under Abercromby was entrenching itself at the south end of Lake Saint-Sacrement and that a strong militia detachment under Bradstreet along with 400 Iroquois under Johnson and 12 guns had been sent towards German Flats. Fearing for an action of Bradstreet on Lake Ontario, Montcalm sent a messenger to Vaudreuil to inform him of these events.

The same day, Valterie's battalion encamped near the Fall while Lacorne's battalion was posted at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement with orders to reconnoitre this lake. The Montréal Militia and the Indians remained at Carillon. Montcalm also formed another detachment consisting of 500 Indians, Troupes de la Marine and Canadiens under Saint-Luc a captain of the Troupes de la Marine.

On July 20, Saint-Luc's detachment took position at the portage. M. de Prudhomme arrived from Montréal with 500 men of the Milice du district de Montréal.

On July 21, Courtemanche returned from his expedition with 35 prisoners or scalps.

On July 25, Saint-Luc's detachment took the road to Fort Edward.

On July 28, Saint-Luc attacked and captured a British convoy of 12 wagons escorted by 100 men. In this affair, Saint-Luc lost 2 Indians and 3 soldiers killed; and 1 Canadien wounded. When Abercromby heard of the attack of his convoy, he ordered Rogers, with a strong detachment of provincials, light infantry, and rangers, to go down the lake in boats, cross the mountains to the narrow waters of Lake Champlain, and cut off the enemy. But though Rogers set out at 2:00 a.m., the French retreated so fast that he arrived too late.

As he was on his way back to the British camp, Rogers was met by a messenger from the general with orders to intercept other French parties reported to be hovering about Fort Edward. On this he retraced his steps, marched through the forest to where Whitehall now stands, and thence made his way up Wood Creek to old Fort Anne, a relic of former wars, abandoned and falling to decay. Here, on the neglected "clearing" that surrounded the ruin, his followers encamped. They counted 700 in all, and consisted of about 80 rangers, a body of Connecticut men under Major Putnam, and a small regular force, chiefly light infantry, under Captain Dalzell.

Throughout July and the first days of August, Abercromby remained idle in his entrenched camp at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement, losing many men from dysentery but attempting nothing. Meanwhile, many of his troops had been detached to the Mohawk and others to the Hudson. After much hesitation, he finally detached a force of 3,000 men under Bradstreet for an expedition against Fort Frontenac. Abercromby considered a second attempt upon Fort Carillon as soon as Amherst would have reinforced him.

On August 1, 42 Mississauga Indians arrived at Carillon.

On August 4, when Saint-Luc returned to Carillon, Montcalm immediately sent out another detachment of some 400 Canadiens, Indians and Troupes de la Marine under the command of the famous partisan Marin towards Fort Edward.

On August 7, Bougainville set off from Carillon to bring letters to Governor Vaudreuil at Montréal.

On August 8, after a 3 days march, Marin was only 2 km from an old fort on the Chicot River when he heard musket fire. He immediately prepared an ambush. He was in fact facing Rogers' detachment (about 700 men) with a force of about 400 French and Indians. The French opened fire too soon and the rangers were able to rally and to counterattack. After a firefight which lasted for an hour, Marin was forced to retire. During this action he had lost 3 Indians and about 20 French and Canadiens (100 men as per Parkman) while the rangers lost about 50 men. Marin took 6 prisoners among which was a major of the Connecticut militia.

On August 9, Rogers reached Fort Edward. The same day, Marin arrived at Carillon with his detachment. Afterwards, the French sent out only small detachments of some 20 men to reconnoitre and harass the British positions.

On August 10, 200 Canadiens were sent from Carillon to Fort Saint-Frédéric to cut wood.

On August 12, the 200 Canadiens sent to Fort Saint-Frédéric were authorised to return home and were replaced by another contingent of 200 Canadiens sent from Carillon.

On August 14, the 200 Canadiens sent to Fort Saint-Frédéric were authorised to return home and were replaced by another contingent of 200 Canadiens sent from Carillon.

On September 6, Montcalm received a message from Vaudreuil informing him of the capture and destruction of Fort Frontenac by Bradstreet. In the same message, Vaudreuil recalled Montcalm to Montréal.

On September 8, Montcalm left Carillon for Montréal, Lévis assuming command at Carillon where he continued to reinforce the defensive works. A few days before Montcalm's departure, Lacorne's battalion retired to the Fall leaving only 200 men to guard the outlet of Lake Saint-Sacrement.

On September 10, report came that more than 50 British boats had been spotted by the French troops guarding the outlet of Lake Saint-Sacrement, 15 of these boats had landed troops on Île-au-Mouton.

On September 11, the British flotilla retired. Meanwhile, 2 x 24-pdrs guns arrived at the British camp. The same day, Bourlamaque left Carillon for Québec to recover from his wound.

On September 12, MM. de Bailleal, de Saint-Romme and Herbin fils, who had been sent out with a party of 20 Indians and Canadiens to reconnoitre the British positions, returned to Carillon reporting that the enemy had remained in his initial positions. Lévis sent out a detachment of 300 men (Troupes de la Marine, Canadiens and Indians) under M. De Repentigny to ambush the British boats reconnoitring on Lake Saint-Sacrement. A British deserter informed Lévis that reinforcements from Louisbourg were expected, that the British had built an 18-guns vessel to operate on Lake Saint-Sacrement, that they were currently working on 2 galleys and that large quantities of supply were regularly arriving at the British camp. The strengthening of the entrenchments around Carillon being now almost completed, Lévis ordered the construction of a second line of entrenchment between the fort and the river to protect a potential retreat.

During the night of September 16 to 17, Montcalm arrived at Carillon, back from his journey to Montréal where he had discussed of the operations with Vaudreuil.

On September 25, a British deserter informed Montcalm that 6,000 men arriving from Louisbourg were now approaching Lake Saint-Sacrement, that the British planned an attack as soon as these reinforcements would arrive, that the 2 galleys were now completed and that work had begun on two additional galleys.

On September 26, Montcalm was informed that the British had retired from Oswego on Lake Ontario.

On September 29, the French troops encamped at the Fall withdrew to Carillon, leaving only 200 men at their previous camp. A company of volunteers along with a few Indians reconnoitred Lake Saint-Sacrement.

On October 4, Montcalm received a message from Vaudreuil informing him that he should receive reinforcements around October 20. The same day, a large number of Canadiens was sent from Montréal to Carillon.

On October 18, Lévis went to Fort Saint-Frédéric to review the 2,000 militia recently arrived from Montréal and Trois-Rivières and to organize the work on the entrenchments of the fort.

Both armies take their winter-quarters

On October 28, Montcalm sent Wolf to the British camp with Vaudreuil's answer to a previous message from Abercromby. Upon his return to Carillon, Wolf informed Montcalm that the British were preparing to retire to their winter-quarters. Montcalm immediately sent out two parties, of 30 Indians each, under MM. de Florimond and de Charly to observe the movements of the British army.

The junction of the British reinforcements coming from Louisbourg with Abercromby's army was finally made in October. Amherst and Abercromby agreed that the season was too far spent for further operations.

On October 31, a British deserter confirmed that the British army had lifted its camp on Lake Saint-Sacrement on October 29. This information was confirmed by M. de Charly upon his return.

By November 1, the militia at Fort Saint-Frédéric had completed the construction of a ditch and a palisade around the fort, and the reinforcements of its bastions. The same day, a British deserter informed Montcalm that Fort Edward was now garrisoned only by 1 battalion of the Royal American Regiment and 4 companies of Rogers' Rangers. He also mentioned that 5 battalions coming from Louisbourg were now taking their winter-quarters in the County of Orange and that a battalion of Highlanders had taken its winter quarters on the Mohawk River. Montcalm immediately sent out a detachment under the command of Sieur de la Pause to visit the abandoned British camp. This detachment consisted of Duprat Volunteers along with a few Indians and Canadiens. It found caches containing supplies or boats and brought everything back to Carillon. Still the same day, the first French troops left Carillon to move to their winter-quarters.

On November 3, de la Pause detachment returned to Carillon with the captured supplies and boats.

On November 4, Montcalm and Lévis left Carillon for Montréal.

By November 5, the entire French army had left Carillon to move to its winter-quarters. Only 400 men were left at Carillon under M. d'Hébecourt, captain of La Reine Infanterie while 200 men under M. de Lusignan, captain of the Troupes de la Marine, garrisoned Fort Saint-Frédéric.

On November 9, Montcalm and Lévis arrived at Montréal. Weather was very cold for the season and the Saint-Jean and Chambly rivers both froze, forcing 5 battalions to abandon their boats and to resume their advance by land.

Between November 12 and 15, the 5 battalions who had abandoned their boats finally reached their winter-quarters in the regions of Montréal and Trois-Rivières.

An exchange of 150 British prisoners for an equivalent number of French soldiers took place during this period.

Due to the lack of provisions, only 300 men garrisoned Québec, 50 Trois-Rivières and 250 Montréal. The French winter-quarters were as follows:

References

This article is essentially a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  1. Lévis, chevalier de, Journal des campagnes du chevalier de Lévis en Canada de 1756 à 1760, Montréal, Beauchemin, 1889, pp. 124-166
  2. Malartic, Comte de Maurès de: Journal des Campagnes au Canada de 1755 à 1760, Dijon: Damidot, 1890, pp. 162-213
  3. Fortescue J. W., A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 322-333
  4. Parkman, Francis, Montcalm and Wolfe, Collier Books, New York, 1884, pp. 309, 353-368, 371-378
  5. Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 270-273

Acknowledgements

Jean Charles Soulié for the information on the role of the Canonniers-Bombardiers during the engagement