Wednesday, May 2, 2012

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” ~Ben Franklin


The attack on Fort William Henry might well be called a siege, because it went on for days.  In late July, 1757 the French under the Marquis de Montcalm assembled a force of 3,081 regular troops, 2,946 Canadian militia, 188 artillery men and 1,806 Indians for an attack on Fort William Henry. This massive French force moved in on the fort from every direction. As they approached the fort, damage increased until finally the they were close enough to fire mortars directly into the fort.  Unable to hold the fort, the British admitted defeat, and Montcalm drew up what appeared to be generous terms of surrender. The chilling aftermath of the surrender came to be known as the Massacre of Fort William Henry.

The Battle of Lake George was fought on September 8, 1755. The first engagement, which came to be called "The Bloody Morning Scout," occurred when the British headed south down the Fort Edward road in an attempt to cut off French supplies.  French scouts heard about the British advance and hurried north to ambush them. The French commander ordered his men to form a hook shape on both sides of the road, and almost immediately, the British found themselves in a trap. Military leaders on both sides were killed. Read here for more information (including pictures) about the Battle of Lake George.

 The remaining British panicked, wildly retreating north to a small pond where they barricaded themselves behind stumps and logs and made another brief stand before continuing their retreat. Other British forces were immediately sent to assist. Preparations were hastily made against the approaching French--several cannon and other field pieces were put in position. 

The French regulars arrived around noon and marched directly into the center of the British position, and were mowed down. Some British soldiers from the morning battle attempted once again to retreat, causing confusion in the ranks. William Johnson, in rallying them, took a musket ball in the leg. 

 Later that day, with most of the fighting over, some 300 New Hampshire and New York Colonials who on their way to reinforce the British garrison ambushed a group of French and Natives encamped for the night near a pond. After a desperate struggle, the French force was almost wiped out. Over 200 bodies rolled into the pond, staining the water red. That's how it got its name, "Bloody Pond". In this conflict Rogers, the famous Ranger made his debut as a soldier.Information from the above article can be found here.


The life story of Major Robert Rogers, the New England frontiersman who recruited companies of colonial soldiers, known as Rogers' Rangers, to fight for the British in the French and Indian War, is a compelling mix of military intrigue and national identity. This feisty major codified colonial military strategies into a document, known as Standing Orders and put these principles to practice in many battles, campaigns, and scouting expeditions. Check it out:

For an easier-to-read copy of Rogers Rangers' Standing Orders, click here.

What follows is a five-part episode By Ray Mears who allows you follow in the footsteps of Rogers' Rangers as they withdrew through New England, fighting off both the approaching enemy and starvation as fall turned into winter. This is part of BBC's third series of "Ray Mears Extreme Survival". It's a fascinating episode, and knowing how much we all love the outdoors, it provides great lessons for surviving in the woods! Enjoy!

Ray Mears:  Rogers’ Rangers—Part 1
Ray Mears:  Rogers’ Rangers—Part 2
Ray Mears:  Rogers’ Rangers—Part 3
 Ray Mears:  Rogers’ Rangers—Part 4 
 Ray Mears:  Rogers’ Rangers—Part 5 

Here's something else really worth watching if you're interested in Robert Rogers. This is called, "Rogers' Rangers, Ranging Way of War." (I find this stuff fascinating!)