A Relation of the different Military Operations since the Year 1755, [after 1758]
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- This volume is an English translation of a French account of military affairs during the Seven Years' War, primarily from 1756-1757 on the border between New York and Canada.
- 1 volume
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Clements Staff and Jayne Ptolemy, 2014
- Scope and Content:
The full title of this manuscript reads, "A Relation of the different Military Operations since the Year 1755 & amongst others taking of Fort St. George in No. America--From a French Manuscript taken upon the Surrender of Louisberg in 1758." Containing 28 pages of writing, this volume is an English translation of a French account of military affairs during the Seven Years' War, primarily from 1756-1757 on the border between New York and Canada.
The account begins with a short reflection on the English Fort St. George [Fort William Henry], the strategic advantages gained by the French upon gaining control of it, and English losses during the war. The narrative continues with detailed descriptions of French military actions from January 21, 1757, with the Battle on Snowshoes near Fort Carillon and Fort St. Frédéric, through an attempt on Fort William Henry in March 1757. The account highlights French command, Native American military participation, and the strategic focus on forts, watercraft, and communication lines.
The section entitled "Advantages gain'd over the English in July 1756" details reconnaissance efforts concerning the English Fort St. George [Fort William Henry] and Fort Lydius [Fort Edward], naval engagements, and military encounters with British forces.
The manuscript continues with "An Account of the Taking Fort St. George--(or Fort William Henry," from the engagement's commencement in late July 1757 to the English surrender on August 9. Copies of the articles of capitulation, correspondence between Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and the British commander of the Fort, George Monro (ca. 1700-1757), and intercepted British correspondence are included. In his letters Montcalm uses his inability to "restrain the Savages" as a plea for the fort's surrender. The author mentions French attempts to counter Native American "Fury," a reference to cannibalism, and Native American military support of both English and French troops.
A copy of an unattributed letter from Quebec, from August 17, 1757, describes "particulars relating to the Government of this Country, which is the Theater, and Primum, Mobile of the War." This letter details naval operations around Quebec and Louisbourg, as well as the state of local provisions, troops, and morale.
The "Account of the Damage our fleet sustain'd from the Gale of Wind and the yet Greater, sustain'd by the English Squadron" describes operations against Isle Royale [Cape Breton Island], English timidity in regards to the French fleet, and the damage both navies suffered during a heavy storm. This account likely references the 1757 Louisbourg expedition and the fleet under Francis Holburne's (1704-1771) command that was damaged in a storm on September 24. This account also reflects on Native American warfare, noting incidents of scalping.
The volume closes with a "List of the French Ships of War under Mr. du Bois de la Mothe," referencing the ships under the command of Emmanuel-Auguste de Cahideuc, Comte DuBois de la Motte (1683-1764). The list includes the names of the ships, number of guns, and commanders.
- Biographical / Historical:
The military struggle between the European powers that culminated in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), stretched across the Atlantic into the American theater in what is generally referred to as the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The conflict in North America stemmed from disputed French and British control over colonial territory and resources. Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grozon (1712-1759) commanded the French troops in Canada. Both French and British forces allied with Native Americans; the British allied with the Iroquois Confederacy, while the French allied with Algonquian-speaking nations.
In northeastern New York a number of French and English forts were constructed and several battles were fought during the French and Indian War, due to strategic waterways and portages in the region. Following the Battle of Lake George in 1755, both the French and the British began building forts around Lake George and Lake Champlain. The French had previously built Fort St. Frédéric at Crown Point in 1734, but in 1755 began construction on Fort Carillon, later renamed Ticonderoga, while the English constructed Fort William Henry and Fort Edward that same year on the southern end of Lake George.
In March 1757, the French led an unsuccessful attack on the English Fort William Henry. The French also led a minor attack upon Fort Edward on July 23, 1757, under the command of Joseph Marin de la Malgue (d. 1774). The most famous military engagement that summer occurred when the French laid siege to Fort William Henry in early August. When General Daniel Webb was unable to send reinforcements from Fort Edward, the English were forced to surrender on August 9th. Upon the British retreat under French protection, Native Americans allied with the French Marquis de Montcalm attacked and killed many British prisoners. This massacre inspired the tale in James Fennimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (1826).
The area near Quebec and Louisbourg were also strategic strongholds for the French military. After an unsuccessful attempt in 1757, Louisbourg would fall to the British in 1758. Quebec would be taken in 1759 following a two-month long siege.
- Acquisition Information:
- 2006. M-4535 .
This collection is a single volume.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
"Battle of Quebec." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. 2014. Accessed 16 July 2014.
"French and Indian War." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. 2014. Accessed 16 July 2014.
"Lake George." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. 2014. Accessed 16 July 2014.
Laughton, J. K. "Holburne, Francis (1704-1771)," rev. Ruddock Mackay. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition, 2008. Accessed 16 July 2014.
"Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grozon, marquis de Montcalm." Encylopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. 2014. Accessed 16 July 2014.
"Native American." Encylopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. 2014. Accessed 16 July 2014.
Starbuck, David R. The Great Warpath: British Military Sites from Albany to Crown Point. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1999.
Taillemite, Étienne. "Cahideuc, Emmanuel-Aguste De, Comte DuBois de la Motte." InDictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3. University of Toronto/ Université Laval, 2003-. Accessed 16 July 2014.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Indians of North America--Wars--1750-1815.
Seven Years' War, 1756-1763.
Manuscripts (document genre)
Translations (document genre)
Fort Ticonderoga (N.Y.)--History--French and Indian War, 1754-1763.
Fort William Henry (N.Y.)--Capture, 1757.
Québec (Québec)--History--French and Indian War, 1754-1763.
United States--History--French and Indian War, 1754-1763.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
A Relation of the different Military Operations since the Year 1755, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan