For the English, A Loss

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic depictions of violence

The English surrender another fort.

At which point, the French unleash their Indians on the helpless civilians, who have made a sort of camp just outside the fort’s walls. The prisoners consisted of the wounded, and many women and children.

Starting the afternoon of the surrender, and until the following morning, the Indians harassed the English prisoners, grabbing women by their long hair and showing their knives. Finally, the prisoners on their own oranized themselves for a march out of camp, to begin at dawn. But the Indians were awake, too, constantly bullying the prisoners and entering their tents. The French did nothing.

Not long after the English prisoners began their exit from their makeshift camp, “Suddenly there rose the screech of the war whoop . . . this signal of butchery . . . was given by Abenaki Christians from the mission of the Penobscot.” The New Hampshire men, who were at the rear of the exodus, were seized first. “About eighty” of them were killed or dragged away.

At this point, the French general, Montcalm, hurried to intervene, but rather than give up their prisoners, the Indians tomahawked them. One onlooker said the English seemed absolutely “paralyzed” and presented “no resistance.”

The Canadians, BTW, were in this on the side of the French, and refused to lend the English any assistance. “When the tumult was at its height,” a witness saw “officers of the French Army walking about at a little distance and talking with seeming unconcern.”

An Englishman broke free and ran to a French guard, who “violently pushed him back among his tormentors.”

Parkman writes that “six or seven hundred people were carried off” and at the end of the day Montcalm, the French general, “succeeded in recovering more than four hundred.”

Parkman’s outrage is evident even in the footnotes, p. 353: “Montcalm, Bougainville, and several others say that the massacre was begun by the Abenakis. This Abenaki band, ancestors of the present Penobscots, were no idolaters, but had been converted more than half a century. In the French list of Indian allies they are set down among the Christians.”

War makes animals out of men, truly.

Stay tuned.

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