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Title: A Battle Fought on Snow Shoes

Author: Mary Cochrane Rogers

Release Date: May 27, 2014 [EBook #45789]

Language: English

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A Battle Fought on Snow Shoes


Rogers’ Rock Lake George
March 13, 1758

A Battle Fought
on Snow Shoes



Great-Great-Granddaughter of
Major Robert Rogers


DERRY. N. H., 1917


Major Robert Rogers,
Commander in Chief of the Indians in the Back Settlements of America.
Publishd as the Act directs Oct. 3 1776 by The Hart.





Rogers’ Rock Lake George
March 13, 1758


A Battle Fought
on Snow Shoes



Great-Great-Granddaughter of
Major Robert Rogers


Lake George was frozen and the snow four feet deep in the woods, when on March 10, 1758, Colonel Haviland, commanding at Fort Edward, sent Major Rogers with one hundred and eighty men to reconnoitre the French position at Carillon, or Ticonderoga.

Rogers and his Rangers marched from Fort Edward in snow shoes to the half-way brook, in the road leading to Lake George, and there encamped the first night.

On the 11th they proceeded as far as the First Narrows on Lake George and encamped that evening on the east side of the lake.

At sunrise of the 12th they marched from their encampment. When they had gone some three miles, the Major saw a dog running across the lake. Thinking that the Indians might be lying in ambush, he sent a detachment to reconnoitre the island. None, however, could be seen.[2] To prevent the enemy from discovering his force, Rogers halted at Sabbath-Day Point, on the west side of the lake. From the hills he looked northward over the lake with his perspective glass, but could see no signs of French or Indians. As soon as it was dark the party advanced down the lake. Lieutenant Phillips and fifteen men, laying aside their snow shoes and putting on skates, glided down the lake, as an advanced guard. The main body, flanked on the left by Ensign Ross, marched under the west shore. It was a very dark night and the band of rugged foresters kept close together to prevent separation. In this manner they continued their silent march close to the mountains fringing the lake until within eight miles of the French advanced guards, when they were informed by Lieutenant Phillips, who had hastened back, that a fire had been discovered in the woods on the east shore.

The Rangers, after hiding their sleighs and packs in a thicket, marched to attack the enemy’s encampment, but when they reached the place no fires were to be seen. They did not know that the French had discovered their advanced guard and, putting out their fire, had carried the intelligence to Ticonderoga. The Rangers then returned to their packs and there lay the remainder of the night without fire, so that no column of blue smoke would reveal their hiding place.

At sunrise of the 13th the Rangers left the lake and on snow shoes struck into the woods on the west side, keeping on the back of the [3]mountains that overlooked the French advanced guards.

They halted at noon at a point nearly west of the mountain—that from that day was to bear the name of Rogers—and some two miles from the French lines. Little did they know what that tragic afternoon held in store for them. Here they refreshed themselves until 3 o’clock, that the day scout from the fort might return before they advanced, since the Major intended at night to ambuscade some of the roads in order to trap the enemy in the morning.

Once more they began their toilsome march, one division headed by Major Rogers, the other by Captain Buckley; a rivulet at a small distance was on their left, and a steep mountain on their right. They kept well to the mountain, for the Major thought that the enemy would travel on the ice of the rivulet since it was very bad travelling on snow shoes. When they had gone a mile and a half a scout from the front told Rogers that the enemy was approaching on the bed of the frozen stream,—ninety-six of them—chiefly savages. The Rangers, concealed by the bank of the rivulet, immediately laid an ambush, gave the first fire and killed above forty Indians whom they scalped on the spot. The rest retreated, followed by about one-half of the Rangers, who were exulting over their victory, only to be suddenly confronted by more than six hundred Canadians and Indians fresh from Fort Ticonderoga, under Durantaye and De Langry, French officers of reputation, who were fully prepared to meet four hundred Rangers, of[4] whose movements they had been apprized both by the prisoner taken and by the deserter from Putnam’s men. Rogers ordered a retreat, which he gained at the expense of fifty men killed; the remainder he rallied and drew up in good order. They fought with such intrepidity and bravery that they obliged the enemy “tho seven to one in number,” to retreat a second time, but Rogers had not sufficient numbers to follow up the advantage. The enemy then rallied and, recovering their ground, fought with great tenacity and determination, but were so warmly received that they were put to rout the third time. Finding the Rogers party so much inferior to themselves in number, the enemy again rallied and renewed the fight with vigor for some time. A body of two hundred Indians were now discovered going up the mountain on the right in order to gain the rear of the Rangers. Lieutenant Phillips with eighteen men gained the first possession and beat them back. Lieutenant Crafton with fifteen men stopped the French on the left from gaining the other part of the mountain. Two gentlemen volunteers hastened up and supported him with great bravery. The enemy now pushed so closely on the front that the combatants were often not twenty yards apart, and sometimes were mixed together. Lieutenant Phillips, surrounded by three hundred Indians, surrendered under promise of good quarter, but a few minutes later he and his whole party were tied to trees and hacked to death in a most barbarous manner. The savages maddened, it is said, by the sight[5] of a scalp they found in the breast of a man’s hunting frock, revenged themselves on their victims by holding up their scalps. The Rangers were now broken and put to flight, each man for himself, while the Indians, closely pursuing, took several prisoners.

Rogers rock


My great-great-grandfather in his modest narrative does not mention his own hairbreadth escape. The Rangers, when put to flight, retreated in the best manner possible. Rogers was singled out by the French; the Indians, closely pursuing, ran him up the steep mountain then known as Bald Mountain, since Rogers Rock, to its face, and there on the brow of the precipice he threw away his knapsack and clothes together with his commission. There was but one chance for his life, and death was preferable to capture and torture by the savages.

Slowly the sun is setting over the mountain tops, gilding the lake below, as down the face of the precipitous rock for more than a thousand feet he slides in his snow shoes to the frozen lake below, and there, quickly changing his snow shoes for skates, glides over the vast white desert. Scarcely had he disappeared from sight when the foremost warrior reached the cliff sure of his prey—“No Roger!” There were his tracks! Other warriors came running up to the cliff sure of the prize—Rogers’ scalp—for the enemy dreaded him, and with reason—and gazed upon his tracks.

Soon a rapidly receding form on the ice below attracted their notice, and the baffled savages, seeing that the famous Ranger had safely [6]effected the perilous descent, gave up the chase fully persuaded that Rogers was under the protection of the Great Spirit. The Indians have a superstition, that the witches or evil spirits haunt this place, and seizing upon the spirits of bad Indians, on their way to the happy hunting grounds, slide down the precipitous cliff with them into the lake where they are drowned. Atalapose is their word for a sliding place.

During the one and one-half hours of battle the Rangers lost eight officers and more than one hundred privates killed on the spot. The enemy lost one hundred and fifty killed and some one hundred and fifty wounded, mostly Indians.

Was Colonel Haviland so indifferent and shortsighted as to send Robert Rogers with his brave Rangers to meet this impossible situation at such a great loss of life, or was he influenced by improper motives? Evidently Rogers’s suspicions were awakened, for the clause, “but my commander doubtless had his reasons, and is able to vindicate his own conduct,” is italicized in his journal.

This is what Major General John Stark, the friend and companion of Rogers says, though not in the engagement, of Colonel Haviland’s act: “This officer was the same who sent him (Rogers) out in March, 1758, with a small force, when he knew a superior one lay in wait for him. He was one of those sort of men who manage to escape public censure, let them do what they will. He ought to have been cashiered for his conduct on that occasion. He was one of the many British officers who were meanly jealous[7] of the daring achievements of their brave American comrades, but for whose intrepidity and arduous services, all the British armies, sent to America during the seven years’ war would have effected little toward the conquest of Canada.”—Memoir of Gen. John Stark, page 454.

Rogers was saved by a miracle and by his own daring. Thus ended his brave but unfortunate battle on snow shoes.

General Montcalm in a letter dated less than a month after the encounter, says: “Our Indians would give no quarter; they have brought back one hundred and forty-six scalps.”

We can not with certainty say what Rogers, at this time twenty-six years of age, might have done had he had four hundred strong—but there is every probability that he would have put the enemy to rout.

When I visited this beautiful and romantic region, where one hundred and fifty years ago, and something more, the famous action took place, my mind passed in swift review through that notable afternoon when the Rangers fought one of their most desperate and unequal battles in the “Old French and Indian War.”

In fancy I saw this picturesque body of Rangers, clad in skin and gray duffle hunting frocks; each man well armed with firelock, hatchet, and scalping knife, a bullock’s horn full of powder hanging under his right arm by a belt from the left shoulder, and a leathern or seal skin bag, buckled around his waist, hanging down in front full of bullets and smaller shot, the size of full grown peas, and in the bottom of[8] my great-great-grandfather’s powder horn a small compass, while the French officers were clad in bright uniforms and the Indians in true Indian fashion gaily decorated with war paint.

I seemed to hear this peaceful solitude made hideous with the yells of the savages.

Behind this bank the Rangers lay in ambush for the Indians and killed and scalped about forty of them. Here they were confronted by more than six hundred Canadians and Indians well versed in forest warfare.

In this place the Rangers fought, “seven to one,” from behind forest trees, for this theatre of action retains much of its original character preserved, improved and owned by Mr. David Williams. The Rogers Rock property includes the Slide and extends for more than a mile and a half along the shore of Lake George and some half of a mile back of Rogers Rock.

For more than an hour and a half this unequal contest raged. The Rangers after a long toilsome march on snow shoes and having camped three nights, sleeping in hammocks of spruce boughs, the third and last night without fire and chilled—the French and Indians fresh from the Fort.

The brave Rangers were fast falling everywhere, and the snow is crimsoned with their blood. They were the most hardy and resolute young men New Hampshire and other Colonies could produce, and their descendants are now filling their places in the world’s niches well to-day.

Here is the trail Rogers followed up the steep[9] mountain to the brow of the cliff, and there is the rock down which he made his miraculous escape. As the vision passes one cannot help saying, “ALL HONOR TO THOSE BRAVE MEN WHO HERE FELL MARCH 13, 1758.”

An anecdote which my grandfather used to tell deserves to be mentioned. While Major Rogers was in garrison at Fort Edward in the winter of 1757-8, two British officers, half seas over, were one evening bemoaning their country’s enormous debt. Rogers, coming in, and hearing the patriotic bewailing, cried: “Give yourselves no more uneasiness about the matter, gentlemen, I will pay half of the debt and a friend of mine the remainder. We will clear the nation at once of her difficulties.”

The officers treated the Major and pronounced him the nation’s benefactor. Hence the saying: “To pay one’s debts as Rogers did that of the nation.”

A Gentleman of the army, who was a volunteer on this party, and who with another fell into the hands of the French, wrote the following letter, some time after, to the officer commanding the regiment they belonged to at Fort Edward.

Carillon, March 28, 1758.

“Dear Sir,

“As a flag of truce is daily expected here with an answer to Monsieur Vaudreuil, I sit down to write the moment I am able, in order to have a letter ready, as no doubt you and our friends at Fort Edward are anxious to be informed about Mr. —— and me, whom probably you have reckoned amongst the slain in our unfortunate rencontre[10] of the 13th, concerning which at present I shall not be particular; only to do this justice to those who lost their lives there, and to those who have escaped, to assure you, Sir, that such dispositions were formed by the enemy (who discovered us long before), it was impossible for a party so weak as ours to hope for even a retreat. Towards the conclusion of the affair, it was cried from a rising ground on our right, to retire there; where, after scrambling with difficulty, as I was unaccustomed to snow-shoes, I found Capt. Rogers, and told him that I saw to retire further was impossible, therefore earnestly begged we might collect all the men left, and make a stand there. Mr. ——, who was with him, was of my opinion, and Capt. Rogers also; who therefore desired me to maintain one side of the hill, whilst he defended the other. Our parties did not exceed above ten or twelve in each, and mine was shifting towards the mountain, leaving me unable to defend my post, or to labour with them up the hill. In the meantime, Capt. Rogers with his party came to me, and said (as did those with him) that a large body of Indians had ascended to our right; he likewise added, what was true, that the combat was very unequal, that I must retire, and he would give Mr. —— and me a Serjeant to conduct us thro’ the mountain. No doubt prudence required us to accept his offer; but, besides one of my snow-shoes being untied, I knew myself unable to march as fast as was requisite to avoid becoming a sacrifice to an enemy we could no longer oppose; I therefore begged of him to proceed, and then leaned against a rock in the path, determined to submit to a fate I thought unavoidable. Unfortunately for Mr. —— his snow-shoes were loosened likewise, which obliged him to determine with me, not to labour in a flight we were both unequal to. Every instant we expected the savages; but what induced[11] them to quit this path, in which we actually saw them, we are ignorant of, unless they changed it for a shorter, to intercept those who had just left us. By their noise, and making a fire, we imagined they had got the rum in the Rangers’ packs. This thought, with the approach of night, gave us the first hopes of retiring; and when the moon arose, we marched to the southward along the mountains about three hours, which brought us to ice, and gave us reason to hope our difficulties were almost past; but we knew not we had enemies yet to combat with, more cruel than the savages we had escaped. We marched all night, and on the morning of the 14th found ourselves entirely unacquainted with the ice. Here we saw a man, who came towards us; he was the servant of Capt. Rogers, with whom he had been often times all over the country, and, without the least hesitation whatsoever, he informed us we were upon South-Bay; that Wood-Creek was just before us; that he knew the way to Fort Anne extremely well, and would take us to Fort Edward the next day. Notwithstanding we were disappointed in our hopes of being upon Lake George, we thought ourselves fortunate in meeting such a guide, to whom we gave entire confidence, and which he in fact confirmed, by bringing us to a creek, where he shewed the tracks of Indians, and the path he said they had taken to Fort Anne. After struggling thro’ the snow some hours, we were obliged to halt to make snow-shoes, as Mr. —— and the guide had left theirs at arriving upon the ice. Here we remained all night, without any blankets, no coat, and but a single waistcoat each, for I gave one of mine to Mr. ——, who had laid aside his green jacket in the field, as I did likewise my furred cap, which became a mark to the enemy, and probably was the cause of a slight wound in my face; so that I had but a silk handkerchief on my head,[12] and our fire could not be large, as we had nothing to cut wood with. Before morning we contrived, with forked sticks and strings of leather, a sort of snow-shoes, to prevent sinking entirely; and, on the 15th, followed our guide west all day, but he did not fulfil his promise; however the next day it was impossible to fail: but even then, the 16th, he was unsuccessful; yet still we were patient, because he seemed well acquainted with the way, for he gave every mountain a name, and shewed us several places, where he said his master had either killed deer or encamped. The ground, or rather the want of sunshine, made us incline to the southward, from whence by accident we saw ice, at several miles distance, to the south-east. I was very certain, that, after marching two days west of South Bay, Lake George could not lie south-east from us, and therefore concluded this to be the upper end of the bay we had left. For this reason, together with the assurances of our guide, I advised continuing our course to the west, which must shortly strike Fort Anne, or some other place that we knew. But Mr. —— wished to be upon ice at any rate; he was unable to continue in the snow, for the difficulties of our march had overcome him. And really, Sir, was I to be minute in those we had experienced already and afterwards, they would almost be as tiresome to you to read, as they were to us to suffer.

Elizabeth Browne

MRS. ROBERT ROGERS (Elizabeth Browne)

Photograph of the portrait of Mrs. Robert Rogers, in her bridal gown, painted by Blackburn in 1761. She was married to Major Robert Rogers, by her father, the Rev. Arthur Browne, Rector of Queen’s Chapel, in Portsmouth, N. H., June 30, 1761, at the age of twenty years


“Our snow-shoes breaking, and sinking to our middle every fifty paces, the scrambling up mountains, and across fallen timber, our nights without sleep or covering, and but little fire, gathered with great fatigue, our sustenance mostly water, and the bark and berries of trees; for all our provisions from the beginning was only a small Bologna sausage, and a little ginger, I happened to have, and which even now was very much decreased; so that I knew not how to oppose Mr. ——’s intreaties; but[13] as our guide still persisted Fort Anne was near, we concluded to search a little longer, and if we made no discovery to proceed next day towards the ice; but we sought in vain, as did our guide the next morning, tho’ he returned, confidently asserting he had discoverd fresh proofs, that the fort could not be far off. I confess I was still inclined to follow him, for I was almost certain the best we could hope from descending upon this ice to our left, was to throw ourselves into the hands of the French, and perhaps not be able to effect even that; but, from the circumstances I have mentioned, it was a point I must yield to, which I did with great reluctancy. The whole day of the 17th we marched a dreadful road, between the mountains, with but one good snow-shoe each, the other of our own making being almost useless. The 18th brought us to the ice, which tho’ we longed to arrive at, yet I still dreaded the consequence, and with reason, for the first sight informed us, it was the very place we had left five days before. Here I must own my resolution almost failed me; when fatigue, cold, hunger, and even the prospect of perishing in the woods attended us, I still had hopes, and still gave encouragement, but now I wanted it myself; we had no resource but to throw ourselves into the enemy’s hands, or perish. We had nothing to eat, our slender stock had been equally shared amongst us three, and we were not so fortunate as even to see either bird or beast to shoot at. When our first thoughts were a little calmed, we conceived hopes, that, if we appeared before the French fort, with a white flag, the commanding officer would relieve and return us to Fort Edward. This served to palliate our nearest approach to despair, and determined a resolution, where, in fact, we had no choice. I knew Carillon had an extensive view up South Bay, therefore we concluded to halt during the evening, and[14] march in the night, that we might approach it in the morning, besides the wind pierced us like a sword; but instead of its abating it increased, together with a freezing rain, that incrusted us entirely with ice, and obliged us to remain until morning, the 19th, when we fortunately got some juniper berries, which revived, gave us spirits, and I thought strength. We were both so firmly of that opinion, that we proposed taking the advantage of its being a dark snowy day, to approach Carillon, to pass it in the night, and get upon Lake George. With difficulty we persuaded the guide to be of our opinion, we promised large rewards in vain, until I assured him of provisions hid upon the lake; but we little considered how much nature was exhausted, and how unequal we were to the task; however, a few miles convinced us; we were soon midway up our legs in the newfallen snow; it drove full in our faces, and was as dark as the fogs upon the banks of Newfoundland. Our strength and our hopes sunk together, nay, even those of reaching Carillon were doubtful, but we must proceed or perish. As it cleared up a little, we laboured to see the fort, which at every turn we expected, until we came to where the ice was gone, and the water narrow. This did not agree with my idea of South Bay, but it was no time for reflection; we quitted the ice to the left, and after marching two miles, our guide assured us we ought to be on the other side of the water. This was a very distressing circumstance, yet we returned to the ice and passed to the right, where, after struggling through the snow, about four miles, and breaking in every second step, as we had no snow-shoes, we were stopped by a large water-fall. Here I was again astonished with appearances, but nothing now was to be thought of only reaching the fort before night; yet to pass this place seemed impracticable; however, I attempted to ford it a[15] little higher, and had almost gained the opposite shore, where the depth of the water, which was up to my breast and the rapidity of the stream, hurried me off the slippery rocks, and plunged me entirely in the waters. I was obliged to quit my fuzee, and with great difficulty escaped being carried down the fall. Mr. ——, who followed me, and the guide, though they held by one another, suffered the same fate; but the hopes of soon reaching a fire made us think lightly of this: as night approached, we laboured excessively through the snow; we were certain the fort was not far from us, but our guide confessed, for the first time, that he was at a loss. Here we plainly observed that his brain was affected: he saw Indians all around him, and though we have since learned we had every thing to fear from them, yet it was a danger we did not now attend to; nay, we shouted aloud several times to give information we were there; but we could neither hear nor see any body to lead us right, or more likely to destroy us, and if we halted a minute we became pillars of ice; so that we resolved, as it froze so hard, to make a fire, although the danger was apparent. Accidentally we had one dry cartridge, and in trying with my pistol if it would flash a little of the powder, Mr. —— unfortunately held the cartridge too near, by which it took fire, blew up in our faces, almost blinded him, and gave excessive pain. This indeed promised to be the last stroke of fortune, as our hopes of a fire were now no more; but although we were not anxious about life, we knew it was more becoming to oppose than yield to this last misfortune. We made a path round a tree, and there exercised all the night, though scarcely able to stand, or prevent each other from sleeping. Our guide, notwithstanding repeated cautions, straggled from us, where he sat down and died immediately. On the morning of the 20th, we saw[16] the fort, which we approached with a white flag: the officers run violently towards us, and saved us from a danger we did not then apprehend; for we are informed, that if the Indians, who were close after them, had seized us first, it would not have been in the power of the French to have prevented our being hurried to their camp, and perhaps to Montreal the next day, or killed for not being able to march. Mons. Debecourt[1] and all his officers treat us with humanity and politeness, and are solicitous in our recovery, which returns slowly, as you may imagine, from all these difficulties; and though I have omitted many, yet I am afraid you will think me too prolix; but we wish, Sir, to persuade you of a truth, that nothing but the situation I have faithfully described could determine us in a resolution which appeared only one degree preferable to perishing in the woods.

“I shall make no comments upon these distresses; the malicious perhaps will say, which is very true, we brought them upon ourselves; but let them not wantonly add, we deserved them because we were unsuccessful. They must allow we could not be led abroad, at such a season of snow and ice, for amusement, or by an idle curiosity. I gave you, Sir, my reasons for asking leave, which you were pleased to approve, and I hope will defend them; and the fame would make me again, as a volunteer, experience the chance of war to-morrow, had I an opportunity. These are Mr. ——’s sentiments as well as mine; and we both know you, Sir, too well, to harbour the least doubt of receiving justice with regard to our conduct in this affair, or our promotion in the regiment; the prospect of not joining that so soon as we flattered ourselves has depressed our spirits to the lowest degree, so that we earnestly beg you will be solicitous with the General to have[17] us restored as soon as possible, or at least to prevent our being sent to France, and separated from you, perhaps, during the war.

“I have but one thing more to add, which we learned here, and which perhaps you have already observed from what I have said, that we were upon no other ice than that of Lake George; but by the day overtaking us, the morning of the 14th, in the very place we had, in coming, marched during the night, we were entirely unacquainted with it, and obliged to put a confidence in this guide, whose head must have been astray from the beginning, or he could not so grossly have mistaken a place where he had so often been. This information but added to our distress, until we reflected that our not being entirely lost was the more wonderful. That we had parted from South Bay on the 14th, was a point with us beyond all doubt, and about which we never once hesitated, so that we acted entirely contrary to what we had established as a truth; for if, according to that, we had continued our course to the west, we must inevitably have perished; but the hand of Providence led us back contrary to our judgment; and though even then, and often afterwards, we thought it severe, yet in the end it saved us, and obliged us to rest satisfied that we construed many things unfortunate, which tended to our preservation. I am, &c.”

Journals of Major Robert Rogers, p. 90-102. (London) 1765.



ROBERT ROGERS (Dublin), 1769, pages 69-81.

“By his Excellency John Earl of Loudoun, Lord Machline and Tairenseen, &c., &c., &c., one of the sixteen peers of Scotland, Governor and Captain General of Virginia, and Vice Admiral of the same, Colonel of the 13th Regiment of foot, Colonel in chief of the Royal American regiment, Major General and Commander in Chief of all his Majesty’s forces, raised or to be raised in North-America:

“Whereas I have this day thought proper to augment the Rangers with five additional companies, that is, four New England and one Indian company, to be forthwith raised and employed in his Majesty’s service; and whereas I have an entire confidence in your skill and knowledge, of the men most fit for that service; I do therefore by these presents appoint you to raise such a number of non-commission officers and private men as will be necessary to compleat the said five companies, upon the following establishment, viz. each company to consist of one Captain, two Lieutenants, one Ensign, four Serjeants and 100 privates. The officers to have British pay, that is, the same as an officer of the like rank in his Majesty’s regular forces; the Serjeants 4s. New York currency per day, and the private men 2s. 6d currency per day. And the better to enable you to make this levy of men, you shall have one month’s pay for each of the said five companies advanced to you; upon these conditions, that, out of the first warrants that shall hereafter be granted for the subsistence of these companies, shall be deducted the said month’s pay now advanced. Your men to find their own arms, which must be such as upon examination, shall be found fit, and be approved of. They are likewise to provide themselves with good warm cloathing, which must be [19]uniform in every company, and likewise with good warm blankets. And the company of Indians to be dressed in all respects in the true Indian fashion, and they are all to be subject to the rules and articles of war. You will forthwith acquaint the officers appointed to these companies, that they are immediately to set out on the recruiting service, and you will not fail to instruct them that they are not to inlist any man for a less term than one year, nor any but what are able-bodied, well acquainted with the woods, used to hunting, and every way qualified for the Ranging service. You are also to observe that the number of men requisite to compleat the said five companies, are all to be at Fort Edward on or before the 15th day of March next ensuing, and those that shall come by way of Albany are to be mustered there by the officer commanding, as shall those who go strait to Fort Edward by the officer commanding there. Given under my hand, at New York, the 11th day of January, 1758.

By his Excellency’s command,Loudoun.

To Capt
Robert Rogers. J. Appy.”


In pursuance of the above instructions I immediately sent officers into the New England provinces, where, by the assistance of my friends, the requested augmentation of Rangers was quickly compleated, the whole five companies being ready for service by the 4th of March.

Four of these companies were sent to Louisburg to join General Amherst, and one joined the corps under my command; and tho’ I was at the whole expence of raising the five companies, I never got the least allowance for it, and one of the captains dying, to whom I had delivered a thousand dollars as advance pay for his company, which, agreeable to the instructions I received, had a right to do;[20] yet was I obliged to account with the government for this money, and entirely lost every penny of it. It has already been mentioned, that the garrison at Fort Edward, was this winter under the command of Lieut. Col. Haviland. This gentleman, about the 28th of February, ordered out a scout under the direction of one Putnam, Captain of a company of one of the Connecticut provincial regiments, with some of my men, given out publickly at the same time, that, upon Putnam’s return, I should be sent to the French forts with a strong party of 400 Rangers.

This was known not only to all the officers, but soldiers also, at Fort Edward before Putnam’s departure.

While this party was out, a servant of Mr. Best, a sutler to the Rangers, was captivated by a flying party of the enemy from Ticonderoga; unfortunately too, one of Putnam’s men had left him at Lake George, and deserted to the enemy. Upon Captain Putnam’s return, we were informed he had ventured within eight miles of the French fort at Ticonderoga, and that a party he had sent to make discoveries had reported to him, that there were near 600 Indians not far from the enemy’s quarters.

March 10, 1758. Soon after the said Captain Putnam’s return, in consequence of positive orders from Col. Haviland, I this day began a march from Fort Edward for the neighbourhood of Carillon, not with a party of 400 men, as at first given out, but of 180 men only, officers included, one Captain, one Lieutenant, and one Ensign, and three volunteers, viz. Mess. Creed, Kent and Wrightson, one serjeant, and one private, all of the 27th regiment; and a detachment from the four companies of Rangers, quartered on the island near Fort Edward, viz. Capt. Buckley, Lieutenants Philips, Moore, Crafton, Campbell, and Pottinger; Ensigns Ross, Wait, M’Donald, and White, and 162 private men. I acknowledge I entered upon this service,[21] and viewed this small detachment of brave men march out, with no little concern and uneasiness of mind; for, as there was the greatest reason to suspect, that the French were, by the prisoner and deserter above mentioned, fully informed of the design of sending me out upon Putnam’s return: what could I think to see my party, instead of being strengthened and augmented, reduced to less than one half the number at first proposed? I must confess it appeared to me (ignorant and unskilled as I then was in politicks and the art of war) incomprehensible; but my commander doubtless had his reasons, and is able to vindicate his own conduct. We marched to the half-way brook, in the road leading to Lake George, and there encamped the first night.

The 11th we proceeded as far as the first Narrows on Lake George, and encamped that evening on the east-side of the lake; and after dark, I sent a party three miles further down, to see if the enemy might be coming towards our forts, but they returned without discovering any. We were, however, on our guard, and kept parties walking on the lake all night, besides centries at all necessary places on the land.

The 12th we marched from our encampment at sunrise, and having distanced it about three miles, I saw a dog running across the lake, whereupon I sent a detachment to reconnoitre the island, thinking the Indians might have laid in ambush there for us; but no such could be discovered; upon which I thought it expedient to put to shore and lay by till night, to prevent any party from descrying us on the lake, from hills, or otherwise. We halted at a place called Sabbath-day Point, on the west-side of the lake, and sent our parties to look down the lake with perspective glasses, which we had for that purpose. As soon as it was dark we proceeded down the lake. I[22] sent Lieutenant Phillips with fifteen men, as an advanced guard, some of whom went before him on scates, while Ensign Ross flanked us on the left under the west-shore, near which we kept the main body, marching as close as possible, to prevent separation, it being a very dark night. In this manner we continued our march till within eight miles of the French advanced guards, when Lieutenant Phillips sent a man on scates back to me, to desire me to halt; upon which I ordered my men to squat down upon the ice. Mr. Phillips soon came to me himself, leaving his party to look out, and said, he imagined he had discovered a fire[2] on the east-shore, but was not certain; upon which I sent with him Ensign White, to make further discovery. In about an hour they returned, fully persuaded that a party of the enemy was encamped there. I then called in the advanced guard, and flanking party, and marched on to the west-shore, where, in a thicket, we hid our sleys and packs, leaving a small guard with them, and with the remainder I marched to attack the enemy’s encampment, if there was any; but when we came near the place, no fires were to be seen, which made us conclude that we had mistaken some bleach patches of snow, or pieces of rotten wood, for fire (which in the night, at a distances resembles it) whereupon we returned to our packs, and there lay the remainder of the night without fire.

The 13th, in the morning, I deliberated with the officers how to proceed, who were unanimously of opinion, that it was best to go by land in snow-shoes, lest the enemy should discover us on the lake; we accordingly continued our march on the west-side, keeping on the back of the mountains that overlooked the French advanced guards. At twelve of the clock we halted two miles west of those[23] guards, and there refreshed ourselves till three, that the day-scout from the fort might be returned home before we advanced; intending at night to ambuscade some of their roads, in order to trepan them in the morning. We then marched in two divisions, the one headed by Captain Buckley, the other by myself: Ensigns White and Wait had the rear-guard, the other officers were posted properly in each division, having a rivulet at a small distance on our left, and a steep mountain on our right. We kept close to the mountain, that the advanced guard might better observe the rivulet, on the ice of which I imagined they would travel it out, as the snow was four feet deep, and very bad traveling on snow-shoes.

In this manner we marched a mile and an half, when our advanced guard informed me of the enemy being in their view; and soon after, that they had ascertained their number to be ninety-six, chiefly Indians.

We immediately laid down our packs, and prepared for battle, supposing these to be the whole number or main body of the enemy, who were marching on our left up the rivulet, upon the ice. I ordered Ensign M’Donald to the command of the advanced guard, which, as we faced to the left made a flanking party to our right. We marched to within a few yards of the bank, which was higher than the ground we occupied; and observing the ground gradually to descend from the bank of the rivulet to the foot of the mountain, we extended our party along the bank, far enough to command the whole of the enemy’s at once; we waited till their front was nearly opposite to our left wing, when I fired a gun, as a signal for a general discharge upon them, whereupon we gave them the first fire, which killed above forty Indians; the rest retreated, and were pursued by about one half of our people. I now imagined the enemy totally defeated, and ordered Ensign[24] M’Donald to head the flying remains of them, that none might escape; but we soon found our mistake, and that the party we had attacked were only their advanced guard, their main body coming up, consisting of 600 more, Canadians and Indians; upon which I ordered our people to retreat to their own ground, which we gained at the expence of fifty men killed; the remainder I rallied, and drew up in pretty good order, where they fought with such intrepidity and bravery as obliged the enemy (tho’ seven to one in number) to retreat a second time; but we, not being in a condition to pursue them, they rallied again, and recovered their ground, and warmly pushed us in front and both wings, while the mountain defended our rear; but they were so warmly received, that their flanking parties soon retreated to their main body with considerable loss. This threw the whole again into disorder, and they retreated a third time; but our number being now too far reduced to take advantage of their disorder, they rallied again, and made a fresh attack upon us. About this time we discovered 200 Indians going up the mountain on our right, as we supposed, to get possession of the rising ground, and attack our rear; to prevent which I sent Lieutenant Phillips, with eighteen men, to gain the first possession, and beat them back; which he did, and being suspicious that the enemy would go round on our left, and take possession of the other part of the hill, I sent Lieutenant Crafton, with fifteen men, to prevent them there; and soon after desired two Gentlemen, who were there, volunteers in the party,[3] with a few men, to[25] go and support him, which they did with great bravery.

The enemy pushed us so close in front, that the parties were not more than twenty yards asunder in general, and sometimes intermixed with each other. The fire continued almost constant for an hour and a half from the beginning of the attack, in which time we lost eight officers, and more than 100 private men killed on the spot. We were at last obliged to break, and I with about twenty men ran up the hill to Phillips and Crafton, where we stopped and fired on the Indians who were eagerly pushing us, with numbers that we could not withstand. Lieutenant Phillips being surrounded by 300 Indians, was at this time capitulating for himself and party, on the other part of the hill. He spoke to me, and said if the enemy would give them good quarters, he thought it best to surrender, otherwise that he would fight while he had one man left to fire a gun.[4]

I now thought it most prudent to retreat, and bring off with me as many of my party as I possibly could, which I immediately did; the Indians, closely pursuing us at the same time, took several prisoners. We came to Lake George in the evening, where we found several wounded men, whom we took with us to the place where we had left our sleds, from whence I sent an express to Fort Edward, desiring Mr. Haviland to send a party to meet us, and assist us in bringing in the wounded; with the remainder I tarried there the whole night, without fire or blankets, and in the morning we proceeded up the lake, and met with Captain Stark at Hoop Island, six miles north from Fort William-Henry, and encamped there that night; the next day being the 15th, in the evening, we arrived at Fort Edward.

[26] The number of the enemy was about 700, 600 of which were Indians. By the best accounts we could get, we killed 150 of them, and wounded as many more. I will not pretend to determine what we should have done had we been 400 or more strong; but this I am obliged to say of those brave men who attended me (most of whom are now no more) both officers and soldiers in their respective stations behaved with uncommon resolution and courage; nor do I know an instance during the whole action in which I can justly impeach the prudence or good conduct of any one of them.

The following is a LIST of the Killed, Missing, &c.

The Captain and Lieutenant of His Majesty’s regular troops, volunteers in this party, were taken prisoners; the Ensign, another volunteer of the same corps, was killed, as were two volunteers, and a Serjeant of the said corps, and one private.

Of Capt. Rogers’s Company,
   Lieut. Moore Killed.
  Serjeant Parnell Ditto.
  Thirty-six privates Ditto.
Of Capt. Shepherd’s Company,
   Two Serjeants
   Sixteen privates
Of Capt. James Rogers’s Company,
  Ensign M’Donald  Killed.
Of Capt. John Starks’s Company,
  Two Serjeants Killed.
   Fourteen privates Ditto.
Of Capt. Bulkley’s Company,
  Capt. Bulkley Killed.
  Lieut. Pottinger Ditto.
  Ensign White Ditto.
  Forty-seven privates K. and Miss.
Of Capt. William Stark’s Company,
  Ensign Ross Killed.
Of Capt. Brewer’s Company,
  Lieut. Campbell Killed.



The author found this muster-roll, with other valuable papers, in an old tea-chest in the attic of a colonial house at Littleton, Mass., now owned by a collateral descendant of Capt. Bulkeley. In this house Major Robert Rogers and his officers once spent the night, while the privates were quartered in the church near by.

Captain Bulkeley served first in Phineas Osgood’s Company in their expedition to Nova Scotia, and later in Robert Rogers’s Rangers. He was killed by the Indians near Rogers Rock, on Lake George, on March 13, 1758, and forty-seven of his men with him.


This muster-roll of Captain Bulkeley’s company, and other lists which I shall include in a larger work, are the only lists of Rogers’s Rangers known to exist.


      Until what
  Time of   Time in the   Total No.
Men’s Names Quality   Entrance   Service   of Days
Chas. Bulkeley Capt.           June 24           Aug. 24        62
Jam. Rogers Lieut. June 24 Aug. 24   62
Thos. Cunningham June 24 July 16   31
Henry Phillips Ensign Aug. 7   45
Henry Phillips Lieut. Aug. 8 24   17
Wm. Morris Ensign   17
Oliver Bates Serg’t June 24   62
Jonas Warren   62
John Dinsmore   62
Alexander Robb   62
David Anthony Priv.  
Boaz Brown  
Boston Burns  
Benj. Bridge  
[28]Judah Bill  
Rob’t Campbell  
Solomon Crosby  
Dan’l Conally  
Philip Clim  
Abram Clark  
Sam’l Clark  
Sam’l Cunningham  
Sam’l Crosby  
Thos. Clish  
James Coleman  
Christopher Conally  
Phineas Douglas  
Hendrick Dawson  
Sam’l Douglass  
Jonathan Danforth  
Joshua Dutton  
Jonathan Edmunds  
Zachariah Fitch  
Wm. Fitch  
Matthias Farnsworth  
Joseph Flagg  
John Flagg  
Sam’l Gold  
Jonathan Gates  
Jonathan Hodgkins  
Chas. Hans  
Solomon Hartwell  
Amaziah Hildreth  
Dan’l Hartwell  
Francis Hartwell   
Thos. Hewit  
John Hewit   
Joseph Kidder  
John Lessly  
Francis Leighton  
Nicholas Lin  
Abel Lawrence  
Wm. McGee  
Abram Munroe  
John Middleton  
Rob’t McNee  
Alexander McCally  
John McKalley  
Andrew Notgrass  
James Nichols  
Wm. Pool  
John Phillips  
Wm. Prentice  
[29]Jonah Prentice  
Patrick Rogers  
Nathan Robbins  
Sam’l Rice  
Elezar Stearns  
Benj. Spaulding  
Aaron Smith  
Philip Stewart  
James Stuart  
Hendrick Sixbury  
Nathan Simonds  
Wm. Smith  
Alexander Scott  
John Stuart  
Isaac Southward  
Wm. Taylor  
John Trull  
Nathan Taylor  
David Vanderheyden  
Solomon Wallace  
David Wallace  
Elijah Willson
Wm. Willson
Wm. Crosby Died Aug. 2  
Wm. Glenny 10  
James Glenny 13  
Ephraim Kellock July 24  
Wm. McClellan 30  
Nathan Munroe Aug. 5  
Peter Martin July 18  
Richard Russell 28  

Other names of Rangers found in account book of Captain Chas. Bulkeley’s:

Wm. Annis Elnathan Sherwin
Sam’l Britton David Willis
Eliab Bewer—Ensign                    James White—Ensign
A. R. A. Cutter, Dr. Jacob Emerson
Michael Conally Ebenezer Kimball
Daniel Dwyer Mr. Rolfs
Thomas Farmer John Rossiers
Amasa Gilson Robert Lottridges
George Shur Graham & Comp
William Swan Capt. Burbank
William Stewart Capt. Sheperd
William Stark—Lieut. Thos. & Benjn Forseys
Abiel Smith  



Copy of a Receipt, dated “Halifax, 10th Aug, 1757.”

Rec’d Of Capt. Chas. Bulkeley three hundred Spanish Mil’d Dollars for inlisting Recruits into His Majesty’s Company of Rangers, commanded by said Charles Bulkeley at ten Dollars Each Recruit and to appear with Said Recruit at Albany in ye Province of New York in Sixty days from the above date, or to return the above s’d Dollars to Said Bulkeley on Demand.

James Rogers.


Lieut. Rogers returned in October, 1757, with the following recruits:

Dan’l Addleton Dan’l Murfey
Hugh Anderson John Mater
Thomas Burnside Morris Obrien
Benj. Brown John Rogers
Nathan Chapman John Sparrow
John Cahail George Soper
Wm. Curtis Benjn Scott
John Collins Jer. Swan
John Craige Oliver Spalding
Edward Costalow Willm Scott (Petersburough)
Ebn Cymbal Ebenezar Sherwin
John Cumings Sam’l Stinson
Willm Devine Wm. Stuard
Benj. Darling John Spraguer
Matthew Dickey Willm Scott
Isaac Day (Harvard) Abram Scott
Dan’l Dickinson Nathll Taylor
Jacob Emerson Leonard Taylor
James Faulkiner Jno. Thompson—enlisted Albany
Edward Logan Daniel Ware
Chas. McCoy



The names in italics are those of the captives.

MARCH 13, 1758.

Joshua Conkey, son of John; Aaron Smith, Jr., son of Aaron; Andrew Lovejoy; Jacob Bacon; Phineas Wheeler, son of Sam’l; Boaz Brown, son of Thomas; William Prentice, son of John; John Hunter, Jr., son of John; Joseph Blanchard aplt. for David Wallis, John Stewart, William Willson, Robert Nae, Charles McBay; Sarah Clark aplt. for Samuel Clarke, Leonard Taylor, Wm. Wilson; Matthew Spencer, son of Sarah, taken March; Wm. Prentice, 2d time; Charles McKay, Peterboro’, N. H., aplt. John McKay.




Robert Rogers was the son of James and Mary McFatridge Rogers. He was born in Methuen, Massachusetts, on November 7, 1731. Early in the spring of 1739 James Rogers, with his family, moved from Methuen, to the wilderness of the township now known as Dunbarton, New Hampshire. He named the rich green meadowland and upland, 2190 acres, where he settled, “Munterloney,” for a place where he had once lived in Ireland, a mountainous district in Counties Derry and Tyrone.

Robert thus speaks of the years passed here in “Mountalona”:

“It would perhaps gratify the curious to have a particular account of my life, preceding the war; but though I could easily indulge them herein, without any dishonour to myself, yet I beg they will be content with my relating only such circumstances and occurrences as led me to a knowledge of many parts of the country, and tended in some measure to qualify me for the service I have since been employed in. Such, in particular, was the situation of the place in which I received my early education, a frontier town in the province of New Hampshire, where, I could hardly avoid obtaining some knowledge of the manners, customs, and language of the Indians, as many of them resided in the neighborhood and daily conversed and dealt with the English.

“Between the years 1743 and 1755 my manner of life was such as led me to a general acquaintance both with the British and French settlements in North America, and especially with the uncultivated desart, the mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes and several passes that lay between and contiguous to the said settlements. Nor did I con[32]tent myself with the accounts received from Indians or the information of hunters but travelled over large tracts of the country myself, which tended not more to gratify my curiosity, than to inure me to hardships, and, without vanity, I may say, to qualify me for the very service I have since been employed in.”

—Rogers’ Journals, Introduction. Dublin, 1769.


Robert Rogers was six feet in height, a well-formed, fine looking man, with fine manners and magnetic presence. He was one of the most athletic men of his time, well known in all trials of strength or skill. General Stark used to say of him, that for presence of mind in time of danger, he was unsurpassed.

At the age of twenty-three years he organized and disciplined his Rangers. On the 6th of April, 1758, Captain Rogers was promoted to a Majority and had command of this famous corps.

His Journals of his Ranging Service, present an interesting account of his severe and perilous warfare. It is very rare. A copy recently brought £25. Some of the principal causes of the war are exhibited with spirit and truth in his drama Ponteach. His Concise Account of North America and his Concise Historical Account, etc., are both rare books containing valuable information.

He died in London, on May 18, 1795.

I claim, and with a justifiable pride, that Robert Rogers, the famous partisan chief, was the greatest American in the “Old French and Indian War.”

Major Rogers was an author as well as a soldier. After the close of the “Seven Years’ War,” he went to London and published four books, viz.:




an account of the several excursions he
made under the Generals who commanded
upon the continent of North America, during
the late War.

From which may be collected
the most material circumstances of every
campaign upon that continent, from the
commencement to the conclusion of the War.


Printed for the Author
and sold by J. Millan, bookseller,
near Whitehall.



A Concise
North America

A description of the several
British Colonies on that Continent;
including the Islands of Newfoundland,
Cape Breton, etc.,

As to
Their Situation, Extent, Climate, Soil
Produce, Rise, Government, Religion,
Present Boundaries, and the number of
Inhabitants supposed to be in each.

Also of
The Interior, or Westerly part of the
County upon the Rivers St. Lawrence,
The Mississipi; Christino, and the
Great Lakes.

   To which is subjoined,
An account of the several Nations
and Tribes of Indians residing in
those Parts, as to their Customs,
Manners, Government, Numbers etc.
Containing many useful and Entertaining
Facts, never before treated of.

   By Major Robert Rogers

Printed for the Author, and sold by
J. Millan, Bookseller, near Whitehall.



A Tragedy


London. Printed for the Author and sold by
J. Millan, opposite the Admiralty, Whitehall.
MDCC. LXVI (Price 2s. 6d.)


of all the
comprehending their

Rise, Progress, and Modern State;

Particularly of the

(The Seat of the present Civil War,)

Together with the

Other Provinces of New-England.

To which is annexed, An

Exhibiting, at One View, their respective

Boundaries, Capes,
Dimensions, Harbours,
Longitudes, Bays,
Latitudes, Rivers,
Divisions, or Counties,             Various Productions,
Chief Towns, Animals, &c., &c.

Interspersed with

Particulars relative to the different Soils and Climates,
Capital Cities, &c., &c.

By Major Robert Rogers.

Printed for J. BEW, in Pater-Noster-Row. 1775.



Série F. Vol. 303.

Montréal, 18 Avril, 1758.

Suit le bulletin.—Détails des succès remportés par plusieurs partis de Canadiens et Sauvages durant l’hiver

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Les Anglais ont eu tout l’hiver le projet de surprendre ou bombarder Carillon et s’y sont présenté plusieurs fois. Le Sr d’Hebencourt, Capitaine au régiment de la Reine qui y a été établi commandant après la Campagne, et la garnison out été très alerte, les courses des Anglais ont toujours été infructueuses et le Sieur d’Hebencourt instruit qu’ils avaient en campagne un parti de 200 hommes, profita le 13 mars de l’heureuse circonstance de 200 Iroquois ou Nepissingues du Sault St. Louis et du Lac des Deux Montagnes arrivés la veille avec le Sr. Durantaye et plusieurs cadets de la Colonie, le Sieur de Langry Officer très intelligent, quelques Lieutenans et Sergens de nos bataillons que le zèle seul y fit marcher s’y joignirent. Le détachement Anglais composé des soldats d’élite et de 12 officers, commandé par le Major Roger leur meilleur partisan a été totalement défait les Sauvages ont rapporté 146 chevelures, peu de prisonniers, seulement quelques uns pour donner des lettres vivantes à leur père, expression dont les Sauvages nomment les prisonniers. Le reste aura péri de misère dans les bois. Quelques uns, entr’eux deux officiers du Régiment de Blekins se sont rendus d’eux mêmes prisonniers à notre fort de Carillon au bout de cinq jours leur guide ayant expiré la veille.

[38] Nous avons perdu à cette action huit sauvages et nous avons eu 17 blessés ainsi que deux cadets de la colonie et un canadien. On a couvert les morts avec grande cérémonie. On a fait des présens au nom du Roy aux families. Le Gouverneur général recompensera la bravoure de nos Iroquois par une promotion et donnant quelques haussecols et médailles à ceux qui se sont distingués, ils en seront plus animés à venger la perte qu’ils out fait.



Série B. Vol. 104, p. 133.

A Montréal le 28 9bre 1759.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Il ne falloit rien moins, Monseigneur, que le succès du Détachement que j’avois confié au Sr de la Durantay pour faire renoncer nos ennemis à leurs préparatifs pour faire escalader en hiver Carillon. Les Srs la Durantay et de Richerville ayant été compris dans la promotion de 1757 en qualité d’enseignes en pied. J’ay placé aussy le Sr de la Chevrotière comme enseigne on second, j’ay prématuré les favorables dispositions de Sa Majesté à leur égard en les faisant participer aux 6000 lb qu’elle a accordée sur son état de 1757 aux Canadiens qui se sont le plus distingués. Je leur donnay d’abord à chacun 200 lb. Vous verrés, Monseigneur, par une de mes lettres que je n’ay pas encore recû cette somme. Le Corps de nos officiers est en général penetré de l’attention dont Sa Majesté honore leurs services et des recompenses[39] qu’elle est disposée à leur accorder. Je n’ay eu rien de plus pressé que de les en instruire.

Le Sr Robert Roger qui étoit à la tête du Detachement que nos Cadets defirent, eut le secret de s’échaper lorsqu’il vit la perte évidente, il laissa sur le champ de bataille son habit et même l’ordre qu’il avoit de son Général, ce qui me donnoit tout lieu de croire qu’il y avoit peri d’autant mieux qu’un sauvage m’assura qu’il l’avoit tué lui-même.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Je suis avec un trés profond respect, Monseigneur,
Votre trés humble et trés obeissant serviteur



When Major Robert Rogers narrated his wonderful story to the officers in the Coffee House in London, he gave “Munterloney” as his home, which they supposed to be in Italy, and, knowing him to be an American, made the story still more improbable. Gathered in little groups about the tables, one night, these men were engaged in witty and pleasant discourse, when it was agreed that the person who should tell the greatest lie, or the most improbable story, should have his bill paid by the Company. After all the others had told their stories, Rogers was called upon. He said: “When a boy in ‘Munterloney’ he made birch and hazel brooms, which he carried on his back through the woods, guided by spotted trees, to Rumford, the nearest settlement, a distance of ten miles, and sold them. He told how his father, dressed in fur, was shot dead in the wilderness by a hunter, who mistook him for a bear. He also related that his mother was followed several miles by a hunter who thought her track in the fresh, light snow, was that of a wolf. Rogers’ bill was paid by the Company for it was agreed that the Major had told the greatest lie, when, in fact, he had only told the truth. This incident was greatly appreciated by the Major’s family and admirers in America. Major Rogers went to England in 1765 and, while travelling in a mail-coach over Hounslow Heath, the coach was stopped by a highway robber, who presented a pistol at the window and demanded the passenger’s money. The Major played asleep, while the other passengers passed over their money. When it came his turn, he drowsily opened his cloak, as if about to comply. The robber lowered his pistol. At the psychological moment, the noted Indian fighter seized him by the collar, dragged him from his horse through the[41] window of the coach, and held him prisoner while he ordered the terrified coachman to drive on to the authorities. There the Major delivered him. The prisoner proved to be a celebrated offender for whose head a reward of £50 sterling had been offered. The famous Rogers received the bounty.

London, October 8.

Tuesday last, about two o’clock, after Major Rogers had passed through Dartford, the post-chaise man who drove him, told him a highwayman hovered round the chaise. As soon as the fellow came to the Major, he seized him by the hand and pulled him into the chaise. The highwayman answers the description in an advertisement of Sir John Fielding’s. The Major carried him to the Mayor at Gravesend, and after an examination there, sent him to the Ratation-office, in Bow street.

New-Hampshire Gazette. January 24, 1772.



From “The Veil Removed,” John Fellows, New York, 1843, pp. 20 and 21.

That no doubt may rest on the mind of the reader in regard to the authenticity of the statements of facts by Major Rogers in his journal, the following testimony of his title to credibility has been obtained from the distinguished gentlemen therein named, citizens of his native state, where his character would doubtless be duly estimated:

“Concord, July 16, 1842.

“Dear Sir—

“I have made some inquiry respecting Major R. Rogers, and among our oldest inhabitants I find but one opinion respecting his character, and that is fully expressed in the note enclosed to me, and transmitted herewith to you, from Gov. Hill.

“Mr. Hill has perhaps a better knowledge of Major Rogers’ character, as an officer, than any other person here; he has been prompted by reasons which could not have operated on others.

“Respectfully, your obedient servant,
“Robert Davis.

“Mr. Charles Coffin, New York City.”


“Concord, July 2, 1842.

“Gen. Robert Davis:

“My dear Sir—

“I have this moment read Mr. Coffin’s letter addressed to you, requesting information in relation to the character of the late Maj. Robert Rogers. Having recently had occasion to make inquiries relative to his early history,[43] I find nothing in the region of his birth that goes at all to discredit him. One of the last of his blood relations in this vicinity who personally remembered him, a lady, died about one year ago. From her mouth, through Mark Burnham, Esq., a native of the same town with Rogers, I derived the information that all the family were proud of his name, and were reluctant to associate it with a reputation that was not entirely unsullied. Maj. Rogers never resided in this state permanently after the commencement of the Revolutionary War: he was in the British service in Canada after the close of the old French War, partly in a military, and partly in a civil capacity. The only child bearing his name was several years under my care as guardian: this circumstance, among others, has led me more particularly to mark the character of the celebrated warrior. I consider him to have been one of the most talented men of the country—perhaps the best partisan officer this country ever produced. I believe him to have been the author of that perfect mode of attack and defence which enabled a hundred of the rangers to do more service than thousands of the British regulars, especially in the winter service of the old war of 1756. Such safety to troops on fatigue amid the severest seasons of a severe climate was never secured—such certainty in the results, either on the advance or retreat, perhaps, was never realized by any other force than the rangers, under the perfect arrangement and discipline invented by Rogers. I consider him to have been as great a man in his peculiar sphere as Napoleon Bonaparte, and of moral courage and honesty coming nearly if not quite up to the mark of Andrew Jackson.

“I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
“Isaac Hill.”



ROGERS’ CONCISE ACCOUNT (From The Gentleman’s Magazine for December, 1765, Vol. 35, pages 584-5.)

This is an account very different from the compilations which are undertaken for booksellers, by persons wholly unacquainted with the subject, and who generally have neither sufficient diligence nor skill to regulate the multifarious materials which lie scattered before them, perhaps in an hundred volumes, nor even to reject, much less reconcile the inconsistencies and contradictions with which such materials always abound.

Major Rogers has travelled through great part of the country he has described, in the course of his duty as an officer in his majesty’s army, and has received accounts of other parts immediately from the inhabitants, or from persons who had been carried prisoners thither, and afterwards released.

The work is concise and yet full; and the knowledge it contains is acquired with pleasure, and retained with ease, by the regularity of the method, and perspicuity of the stile.

The author gives an account of every province separately, and of its first discovery and settlement; he describes its situation as to latitude and longitude, and to the countries and seas by which it is bounded; its extent; its rivers; its climate; its commodities, buildings, and number of inhabitants: With a particular attention to such facts and circumstances as appeared most interesting in a political or commercial view.

In this work there is also an account of the interior part of America, a territory much larger than the whole continent of Europe, and hitherto almost wholly unknown.[45] This territory he has considered under three several divisions, marked out by three great rivers that rise near the center of it, St. Lawrence, the Christino, and the Mississippi.

The river St. Lawrence he has traced, and is pretty well acquainted with the country adjacent to it, as far up as lake Superior; and with the country from the Green Bay westward, to the Mississippi at the Gulph of Mexico: He has also travelled the country adjacent to the Ohio, and its principal branches; and that between the Ohio and the lakes Erie and Meshigan, and the countries of the Southern Indians; and his situation gave him opportunities of gaining accounts of the other parts, more particular and authentic than any other.

He has subjoined such an account of the Indians, their customs and manners, as gives a just idea of the genius and policy of the people, and of the method in which they are to be treated by those who wish to preserve a safe and advantageous commerce with them. This is a very entertaining as well as useful part of the work, for which the Major was particularly qualified, by a long and experimental acquaintance with their several tribes and nations, both in peace and war.

It is proposed to continue this History in a second volume, containing maps of the colonies and the interior country, in which the faults and deficiencies of those already extant will be corrected and supplied; by subscription; the price one guinea.

(Some extracts from this work shall be occasionally given in the future numbers of this miscellany.)

JOURNALS OF MAJOR ROBERT ROGERS: containing an account of the several excursions he made, under the generals who commanded on the continent of America, during the late war. From which may be collected the[46] most material circumstances of every campaign on that continent, from the commencement to the conclusion of the war. From the specimen of the work now before us, it appears that the accounts of Major Rogers may be depended upon by the public; they are undoubtedly as authentic as they are important and necessary to those who would acquire a thorough understanding of the nature and progress of the late military operations in North America.

The author writes like an honest, a sensible, and a modest man; and has given, throughout his whole account, undoubted proofs that he is a brave and skillful officer. He headed, with much reputation, the provincial troops called rangers, during the whole course of what were called the French wars in America.—Bibliotheca Americana Nova, or catalogue of books relating to America, printed from 1700 to 1800, By O. Rich, London, 1832. Quoted by

John Fellows, in The Veil Removed (New York, 1843), p. 20.

ROGERS’ CONCISE ACCOUNT (From the Monthly Review or Literary Journal: By Several Hands. London, January, 1776.)

A concise Account of North America: Containing a Description of the several British Colonies on that Continent, including the Islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, &c. as to their Situation, Extent, Climate, Soil, Produce, Rise, Government, Religion, present Boundaries, and the Number of Inhabitants supposed to be in each. Also of the interior, or Westerly Parts of the Country, upon the Rivers St. Laurence, the Mississipi, Christino, and the Great Lakes. To which is subjoined, an Account of the several Nations and Tribes of Indians residing in those Parts, as to their Customs, Manners, Government, Numbers, &c. containing many[47] useful and entertaining Facts, never before treated of. By Major Robert Rogers. 8vo. 5s. bound. Millan.

Few of our Readers, we apprehend, are unacquainted with the name, or ignorant of the exploits, of Major Rogers; who, with so much reputation, headed the provincial troops called Rangers, during the whole course of our late successful wars in America. To this brave, active, judicious officer, it is, that the public are obliged for the most satisfactory account we have ever yet been favoured with, of the interior parts of that immense continent which victory hath so lately added to the British empire.——For, as to what Charlevoix, and other French writers, have related, experience hath shewn with what artful fallacy their accounts have been drawn up:—with the obvious design of concealing, from other nations, the true situation, and real circumstances of that country, of which we were, in many respects, totally ignorant, till the British lion, in revenge of repeated insults, tore away the veil, and opened to our view, the wide, extended, glorious prospect!

The present publication, however, as may be supposed, from the quantity and price above specified, contains but a part of the Major’s intended work; the remainder being proposed to be printed by subscription; and to be illustrated with maps of the several colonies, and of the interior country of North America. These we are assured, in the Author’s advertisement, will be ‘more correct, and easier to be understood, than any yet published.’

Our Author was, happily for his country, the better qualified not only for the task he hath now enjoined his pen, but also for the atchievements in which his sword hath been employed, by the circumstance of his having received his ‘early education in a frontier town in the[48] province of New Hampshire, where he could hardly avoid obtaining some knowlege of the manners, customs, and language of the Indians, as many of them resided in the neighbourhood, and daily conversed with the English.—Between the years 1743 and 1755, his manner of life[5] was such, as led him to a general acquaintance both with the British and French settlements in North America, and especially with the uncultivated desart, the mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, and several passes that lay between and contiguous to the said settlements. Nor did he content himself with the accounts he received from the Indians, or the information of hunters, but travelled over large tracts of the country himself; which tended not more to gratify curiosity, than to inure him to hardship.——And hardships[6] enough he was destined to endure!

The accounts here given of the British colonies are very brief. They seem to have been chiefly intended to form an introduction to the Major’s description of our late conquests in that part of the world; and which must, undoubtedly, be considered as the most valuable part of his work. Accordingly he himself observes, that ‘it will not be expected, after volumes on volumes that have been published concerning the British colonies on the eastern shore of the American continent, that any thing materially new can be related of them.’ The only thing, adds he, ‘that I mean to attempt with regard to this is, to collect such facts and circumstances, as in a political and commercial view, appear to me to be most interesting; to [49]reduce them to an easy and familiar method, and contract them within such narrow limits, that the whole may be seen as it were at once, and every thing material be collected from a few pages, concerning seventeen provinces; a minute and circumstantial account of which would fill so many considerable volumes.

‘In doing this, where my own knowlege (acquired by travelling several times through most of them) did not serve me, I have endeavoured to make use of the most authentic materials, collected from others, and to set every fact and circumstance in a true and impartial light, without favour or prejudice to any particular part or party.

‘But the principal object I have had in view, and what I look upon to be the most interesting and deserving part of this work, is the account I have given of the interior parts of North America, which though concise, and vastly short of what I should be glad to exhibit, I flatter myself is as full and perfect as any at present to be come at. Certain I am, that no one man besides has traveled over and seen so much of this part of the country as I have done; and if my remarks and observations relative thereto are injudicious or wrongly placed, it is not owing to any want of attention to the subject, but merely to a want of skill. What is comprehended under the appellation of the interior country of America, is of itself a larger territory than all the continent of Europe, and is at present mostly a desart, uninhabited, except by savages: it cannot therefore be reasonably expected that any one man has it in his power to give a just and minute account of its several parts, but that he must pass over large tracts of country in very general terms, and in many things depend upon the reports of others, or proceed upon his own uncertain conjectures.

‘This wide-extended country may naturally enough be[50] considered under three general divisions, occasioned by the three great rivers that take their rise near the center of it, namely, St. Lawrence, the Christino, and the Mississipi. The first of these I have traced, and am pretty well acquainted with the country adjacent to it as far up as Lake Superior, and with the country from the Green Bay westward to the Mississipi, and from thence down to the mouth of the Mississipi at the gulph of Mexico. I have also travelled the country adjacent to the Ohio and its principal branches, and that between the Ohio and the Lakes Erie and Meshigan, and the countries of the southern Indians. But as to the country above Lake Superior, I have my intelligence chiefly from Indians, or from prisoners that have travelled with them into it. The same is the case as to the country at the head of the Mississipi, and that adjacent to the river Misauris. The Christino I have taken wholly from the Indians: and though the accounts they have given me of these countries are large, and in some particulars very inviting, yet I shall do little more than mention their names, till I have better authority to go upon.

‘In the account I have subjoined of the Indians, their customs, manners, &c. I have purposely omitted many things related by others who have wrote on that subject: some, because they are false, and others, because they are trite and trifling; and have only mentioned such as I thought most distinguishing and absolutely necessary to give a just idea of the genius and policy of that people, and of the method in which they are to be treated, in order to our having any safe and advantageous commerce with them. And, without vanity, I may say, that the long and particular acquaintance I have had with several tribes and nations, both in peace and war, has at least furnished me with materials to treat the subject with propriety.’

[51] As we have had many contradictory accounts of the two Floridas, part of our newly acquired territories; and as many of our Readers may be at a loss what idea to form of those settlements, we shall present them with Major Rogers’s account of them entire: which will likewise serve as a specimen of his brief way of mentioning the elder Colonies, most of which he has described with nearly the same brevity.

‘The country south of Georgia, and between that and the Mississippi river, an extent of about 600 miles, was by the Spaniards called Florida, which name it still retains; but is now divided by the English into two provinces, viz. East and West Florida.

‘East Florida is bounded north by Georgia, or St. John’s river, which divides them; eastwardly and southwardly, by the gulph of Florida; south-west, by West Florida; and north-west, by the country of the Creek Indians.

‘The Spaniards attempted a settlement at St. Augustine in this province in 1512; however they were obliged to abandon this attempt, by reason of the savages, and other inconveniences, they not being properly supplied with necessaries to go through with it. In 1565 they again took possession, and erected a fort called St. Augustine, which commanded a convenient harbour for their ships trading between Spain and America; but there being a constant war between the Spaniards and Creek Indians, greatly prevented the enlarging their settlements here. They maintained their garrison (though several attempts were made to reduce it by the Carolinians, and afterwards by General Oglethorpe) till the conclusion of the late war, when the garrison and the whole territory of Florida was ceded to the crown of Great Britain, by the treaty of Fountainbleau, in 1762. His Britannic Majesty being[52] absolute sovereign of the soil, has the appointment of the governors in both of the Floridas.

‘The soil of East Florida is not so good as that of Georgia in general; but the northerly part of it adjacent to Georgia is much like it, and may be improved to all the purposes that Georgia is, viz. for raising of corn, rice, indigo, silk, wine, &c. and again, in the west part of the province is some very good land, capable of being improved to great advantage.

‘The centre or Cape of Florida is a more sandy soil; however, there are some good settlements begun in this province, under the direction of Colonel Grant, the present Governor of it, and there is a prospect of it soon becoming a flourishing province; and as inhabitants are flocking to it from several countries in Europe, there is no doubt but in a short time it will be considerable.

‘Their exports at present are but small, the produce of their trade with the Indians being the chief they have to spare. As the country was three years since almost entirely uncultivated, and the number of inhabitants as yet but small, no great improvements and productions are at present to be expected; but, undoubtedly, this country is capable of producing rice, indigo, silk, wine, oil, and other valuable commodities in great abundance. As the country is new, it has great plenty of all kinds of wild game, common to the climate. The metropolis of the province is St. Augustine. The number of inhabitants, exclusive of his majesty’s troops garrisoned there, is, as I am told, about 2000.

‘It may well be supposed, from its southerly situation, that the air and climate of this province is not more agreeable and healthy than that of Georgia, and that it is no less infested with poisonous and troublesome animals of various shapes and sizes.’—Thus far, relating to East-Florida.

[53] ‘West Florida was seized upon by the French, who began a settlement in it at Pensacola, in 1720, and they enjoyed it till the before mentioned treaty of Fountainbleau in 1762, when this was ceded to and formed into a government by his Britannic majesty. It is bounded, eastwardly, by East Florida; southwardly, by the Gulph of Mexico; westwardly, by the Mississipi river, and the Lake St. Pier; and northwardly, by the country of the Chikitaws.

‘The principal town is Pensacola; and as many of the French, who inhabited here before the treaty, have chose to become British subjects for the sake of keeping their estates, this will contribute to the speedy peopling this province, and no doubt render the settlements considerable very soon, especially as the land in this province is mostly very good, vastly preferable to the eastern province, its soil being capable of producing all the valuable commodities of rice, indigo, wine, oil, &c. in the greatest abundance; and its situation for trade is extremely good, having the river Mississipi for its western boundary.

‘They already carry on a very considerable trade with the Indians, and export great quantities of deer-skins and furs. The French inhabitants here raise considerable quantities of rice, and build some vessels.

‘There are at present, as I am told, about 6000 inhabitants in this province, which increase very fast, it being much more healthy and inviting than East Florida; especially the western parts upon the banks of the Mississipi, where it is said to be agreeable enough to English constitutions. In short, it is not to be doubted but that in a few years this will be a rich and flourishing province, nature having denied it nothing that is necessary to make it so.’

How far our Author’s account of these two settlements[54] may, in every circumstance, be depended upon, is a point not perfectly clear to us, as we are not precisely informed whether he hath related all of them from his own personal acquaintance with those provinces; or whether he hath not chiefly made his report from the information of others. He appears, however, to be so honest a Writer, that we do not suspect him to be capable of any intention to mislead his Readers, in any respect whatever.

In our Author’s description of the manners and customs of the Indians, particularly those called the Five Nations, are many curious particulars; some of which may serve as a proper supplement to the account extracted, in the preceding article, from Lieutenant Timberlake’s Memoirs: and the observations of both these writers may, perhaps, be considered by the judicious Readers as a valuable addition to the more elaborate performance[7] of Cadwallader Colden Esq.; published not long before the commencement of our Review.

These Five Nations, are, beyond all the other Indian tribes, the most distinguished for their understanding, their valour, and above all, for their glorious spirit of liberty: in which respect even Britons may be proud to call them their brethren. Of these, again, the Mohawks are the first in rank, (in regard to the aforementioned virtues) though at present the smallest in number: to which circumstance they have been reduced, from being the most numerous, by their continual wars. The union of the five nations, somewhat resembles that of the Dutch United Provinces; and this republican league, or confederacy, in which no one nation hath any superiority over the other, have subsisted so long, that the Europeans,[55] says Mr. Colden, know nothing of its origin. Their most northern settlement, says Mr. Rogers, ‘is a town called Chockonawago, on the south of the river St. Lawrence, opposite to Montreal; but their largest settlements are between Lake Ontario and the provinces of New York and Pensylvania, or the heads of the Mohock, Tanesee, Oneoida and Onondaga rivers. They claim all the country south of the river St. Lawrence to the Ohio, and down the Ohio to the Wabach, from the mouth of the Wabach to the bounds of Virginia; westerly, to the Lakes Ontario and Erie, and the river Miamee; their eastern boundaries are lake Champlain, and the British colonies. When the English first settled in America, they could raise 15,000 fighting men; but now, including the Delawares and Shawanees, they do not amount to more than between three or four thousand, having been thus reduced by the incessant wars they have maintained with the other Indians, and with the French, in Canada.’

Speaking of the great military exploits of the Mohawks, our Author assures us, that they have been inveterate enemies to the French, ever since their first settlement in Canada; that they once burned the city of Montreal; and that they are almost the only Indians within many hundred miles, that have been proof against the solicitations of the French to turn against us; but the greatest part of them have maintained their integrity, and been our stedfast friends and faithful allies.—As to their persons, Mr. Rogers remarks, that there is rarely found, among the Indians, a person that is any way ‘deformed, or that is deprived of any sense, or decrepid in any limb, notwithstanding the little care taken about the mother in the time of her pregnancy, the neglect the infant is treated with when born, and the fatigues the youth is obliged to suffer; yet generally they are of a hale, robust, and firm con[56]stitution; but spirituous liquors, of which they are insatiably fond, and the women as well as the men, have already surprizingly lessened their numbers, and will, in all probability, in one century more nearly clear the country of them.’

How greatly have these untutored people the advantage over us, in respect to what is observed, in the beginning of this last quotation! To what can it be owing that, among us, SO MANY are found deformed, or deprived of one or other of their senses? To what more than the spirit of Quackery[8] which, for many ages past, hath taken possession of us, instead of the simplicity of former times? Quackery seems, indeed, to have vitiated our whole National Constitution and character: it hath infected our government, our religion, our laws, nay our very nurseries! Every thing appears to be over-done, among us; and, (anxious mortals that we are) we act as though afraid of trusting to Providence, or leaving any thing to the unerring direction of nature. Hence, each succeeding generation is continually busied in undoing what was done by their predecessors: hence the perpetual changes and revolutions of all our systems; and, hence, perhaps, the fatal necessity for so many repeals of the solemn acts and decrees even of senatorial wisdom!—But to our Author.

Among other virtues possessed by the Indians, Mr. Rogers extols their surprizing patience and equanimity of mind. They have, says he, a ‘command of every passion, except revenge, beyond what philosophers or Christians usually attain to. You may see them bearing the most sudden and unexpected misfortunes with a calmness and composure of mind, without a word, or change[57] of countenance; even a prisoner, who knows not where his captivity may end, or whether he may not in a few hours be put to a most cruel death, never loses a moment’s sleep on this account, and eats and drinks with as much chearfulness as those into whose hands he has fallen.

‘Their resolution and courage under sickness and pain is truly surprising. A young woman will be in labour a whole day without uttering one groan or cry; should she betray such a weakness, they would immediately say, that she was unworthy to be a mother, and that her offspring could not fail of being cowards. Nothing is more common than to see persons, young and old of both sexes, supporting themselves with such constancy under the greatest pains and calamities, that even when under those shocking tortures which prisoners are frequently put to, they will not only make themselves chearful, but provoke and irritate their tormentors with most cutting reproaches.’

Their method of declaring war is very solemn, and attended, says our Author ‘With many ceremonies of terror.’ In the first place, they call an Assembly of the Sachems [old men] and warriors to deliberate on the affair; in which congress the women have a voice as well as the men. Take our Author’s farther account in his own words.

‘When they are assembled, the president or chief Sachem proposes the affair they have met to consult upon, and, taking up the hatchet (which lies by him) says, who among you will go and fight against such a nation? Who among you will go and bring captives from thence, to replace our deceased friends, that our wrongs may be avenged, and our name and honour maintained as long as rivers flow, grass grows, or the sun and moon endure? He having thus said, one of the principal warriors rises, and harangues the whole assembly; and then[58] addresses himself to the young men, and inquires, who among them will go along with him and fight their enemies? when they generally rise, one after another, and fall in behind him, while he walks round the circle or parade, till he is joined by a sufficient number. Generally at such a congress they have a deer or some beast roasted whole; and each of them, as they consent to go to war, cuts off a piece and eats, saying, This way will I devour our enemies, naming the nation they are going to attack. All that chuse, having performed this ceremony, and thereby solemnly engaged to behave with fidelity and as a good warrior, the dance begins, and they sing the war-song; the matter of which relates to their intended expedition and conquest, or to their own skill, courage and dexterity in fighting, and to the manner in which they will vanquish and extirpate their enemies; all which is expressed in the strongest and most pathetic manner, and with a tone of terror. So great is the eloquence or influence of their women in these consultations, that the final result very much depends upon them. If any one of these nations, in conjunction with the chiefs, has a mind to excite one, who does not immediately depend upon them, to take part in the war, either to appease the manes of her husband, son, or near relation, or to take prisoners, to supply the place of such as have died in her family, or are in captivity, she presents, by the hands of some trusty young warrior, a string of wampum to the person whose help she solicits; which invitation seldom fails of its desired effect. And when they solicit the alliance, offensive or defensive, of a whole nation, they send an embassy with a large belt of wampum, and a bloody hatchet, inviting them to come and drink the blood of their enemies. The wampum made use of upon these and other occasions, before their acquaintance with the Europeans, was nothing but small[59] shells, which they picked up by the sea-coasts and on the banks of the lakes; and now it is nothing but a kind of cylindrical beads, made of shells white and black, which are esteemed among them as silver and gold are among us. The black they call the most valuable, and both together are their greatest riches and ornaments; these, among them answering all the ends that money does among us. They have the art of stringing, twisting, and interweaving these into their belts, collars, blankets, mogasons, &c. in ten thousand different sizes, forms and figures, so as to be ornaments for every part of dress, and expressive to them of all their important transactions. They die the wampum of various colours and shades, and mix and dispose them with great ingenuity and order and so as to be significant among themselves of almost any thing they please; so that by these their records are kept, and their thoughts communicated to one another, as ours are by writing. The belts that pass from one nation to another, in all treaties, declarations, and important transactions, are carefully preserved in the palaces or cabbins of their Chiefs, and serve, not only as a kind of record or history, but as a public treasure. It must, however, be an affair of national importance in which they use collars or belts, it being looked upon as a very great abuse and absurdity to use them on trifling occasions. Nor is the calumet or pipe of peace of less importance, or less revered among them in many transactions, relative both to war and peace. The bowl of this pipe is made of a kind of soft red stone, which is easily wrought and hollowed out; the stem is of cane, elder, or some kind of light wood, painted with different colours, and decorated with the heads, tails, and feathers of the most beautiful birds, &c. The use of the calumet is, to smoak either tobacco, or some bark-leaf, or herb, which they often use instead of[60] it, when they enter into an alliance, or on any serious occasion, or solemn engagements; this being among them the most sacred oath that can be taken, the violation of which is esteemed most infamous, and deserving of severe punishment from heaven. When they treat of war, the whole pipe and all its ornaments are red; sometimes it is red only on one side, and by the disposition of the feathers, &c. one acquainted with their customs will know, at first sight, what the nation who presents it intends or desires. Smoaking the calumet is also a religious ceremony upon some occasions, and in all treaties is considered as a witness between the parties; or rather as an instrument by which they invoke the sun and moon to witness their sincerity, and to be, as it were, guarantees of the treaty between them. This custom of the Indians, though to appearance somewhat ridiculous, is not without its reasons; for, they finding smoaking tended to disperse the vapours of the brain, to raise the spirits and qualify them for thinking and judging properly, introduced it into their counsels, where, after their resolves, the pipe was considered as a seal of their decrees, and, as a pledge of their performance thereof, it was sent to those they were consulting an alliance or treaty with: so that smoaking among them in the same pipe is equivalent to our drinking together, and out of the same cup.’

Here we cannot help observing what a noble and consistent spirit of liberty prevails among these Indians, with respect to the method used by their chiefs of inviting, not impressing, the people to accompany them to the wars. What a striking contrast does this afford, to our tyrannical practice of seizing our fellow-subjects by brutal force, imprisoning and transporting them like felons and Newgate convicts; and, after such base treatment, compelling them[61] to go forth with our fleets and armies, to fight in defence of the RIGHTS and LIBERTIES of their country!

In short, says our Author, the great and fundamental principles ‘of their policy are, that every man is naturally free and independent; that no one or more on earth has any right to deprive him of his freedom and independancy, and that nothing can be a compensation for the loss of it.’

Describing the other Indian nations, still farther to the westward, viz. those bordering on the great lakes, Mr. Rogers hath introduced some account of the famous Pondiac, or Ponteack, according to our Author. ‘The Indians on the lakes,’ says he, ‘are generally at peace with one another, having a wide extended and fruitful country in their possession. They are formed into a sort of empire, and the emperor is elected from the eldest tribe, which is the Ottawawas, some of whom inhabit near our fort at Detroit, but are mostly further westward towards the Mississipi. Ponteack is their present King or Emperor, who has certainly the largest empire and greatest authority of any Indian chief that has appeared on the continent since our acquaintance with it. He puts on an air of majesty and princely grandeur, and is greatly honoured and revered by his subjects. He not long since formed a design of uniting all the Indian nations together under his authority, but miscarried in the attempt.

‘In the year 1760, when I commanded and marched the first detachment into this country that was ever sent there by the English, I was met in my way by an embassy from him, of some of his warriors, and some of the chiefs of the tribes that are under him; the purport of which was, to let me know, that Ponteack was at a small distance, coming peaceably, and that he desired me to halt my detachment till such time as he could see me with his own eyes. His ambassadors had also orders to inform me, that he was[62] Ponteack, the King and Lord of the country I was in.

‘At first salutation when we met, he demanded my business into his country, and how it happened that I dared to enter it without his leave? When I informed him that it was not with any design against the Indians that I came, but to remove the French out of his country, who had been an obstacle in our way to mutual peace and commerce, and acquainted him with my instructions for that purpose. I at the same time delivered him several friendly messages, or belts of wampum, which he received, but gave me no other answer, than that he stood in the path I travelled in till next morning, giving me a small string of wampum, as much as to say, I must not march further without his leave. When he departed for the night, he enquired whether I wanted any thing that his country afforded, and he would send his warrior to fetch it? I assured him that any provisions they brought should be paid for; and the next day we were supplied by them with several bags of parched corn, and some other necessaries. At our second meeting he gave me the pipe of peace, and both of us by turns smoaked with it; and he assured me he had made peace with me and my detachment; that I might pass through his country unmolested, and relieve the French garrison; and that he would protect me and my party from any insults that might be offered or intended by the Indians; and, as an earnest of his friendship, he sent 100 warriors to protect and assist us in driving 100 fat cattle, which we had brought for the use of the detachment from Pittsburg, by the way of Presque Isle. He likewise sent to the several Indian towns on the south-side and west-end of lake Erie, to inform them that I had his consent to come into the country. He attended me constantly after this interview till I arrived at Detroit, and while I remained in the country, and was the means of[63] preserving the detachment from the fury of the Indians, who had assembled at the mouth of the strait with an intent to cut us off.

‘I had several conferences with him, in which he discovered great strength of judgment, and a thirst after knowledge. He endeavoured to inform himself of our military order and discipline. He often intimated to me, that he could be content to reign in his country in subordination to the King of Great Britain, and was willing to pay him such annual acknowledgment as he was able in furs, and to call him his uncle. He was curious to know our methods of manufacturing cloth, iron, &c. and expressed a great desire to see England, and offered me a part of his country if I would conduct him there. He assured me, that he was inclined to live peaceably with the English while they used him as he deserved, and to encourage their settling in his country; but intimated, that, if they treated him with neglect, he should shut up the way, and exclude them from it; in short, his whole conversation sufficiently indicated that he was far from considering himself as a conquered Prince, and that he expected to be treated with the respect and honour due to a King or Emperor, by all who came into his country, or treated with him.

‘In 1763, this Indian had the art and address to draw a number of tribes into a confederacy, with a design first to reduce the English forts upon the lakes, and then make a peace to his mind, by which he intended to establish himself in his imperial authority; and so wisely were his measures taken, that, in fifteen days time, he reduced or took ten of our garrisons, which were all we had in his country, except Detroit; and had he carried this garrison also, nothing was in the way to complete his scheme. Some of the Indians left him, and by his consent made a[64] separate peace; but he would not be active or personally concerned in it, saying, that when he made a peace, it should be such an one as would be useful and honourable to himself, and to the King of Great Britain: but he has not as yet proposed his terms.

‘In 1763, when I went to throw provisions into the garrison at Detroit, I sent this Indian a bottle of brandy by a Frenchman. His counsellors advised him not to taste it, insinuating that it was poisoned, and sent with a design to kill him; but Ponteack, with a nobleness of mind, laughed at their suspicions, saying it was not in my power to kill him, who had so lately saved my life.

‘In the late war of his, he appointed a commissary, and began to make money, or bills of credit, which he hath since punctually redeemed. His money was the figure of what he wanted in exchange for it, drawn upon bark, and the shape of an otter (his arms) drawn under it. Were proper measures taken, this Indian might be rendered very serviceable to the British trade and settlements in this country, more extensively so than any one that hath ever been in alliance with us on the continent.

‘As our Readers are, perhaps, by this time, fully satisfied with regard to these free-born sons of the vast American wilderness, we shall conclude the present article, with a remark or two, borrowed from Mr. Colden, in respect to the Five nations. ‘They are called, says he, a barbarous people, bred under the darkest ignorance; and yet a bright and noble genius shines through these black clouds. None of the Roman heroes have discovered a greater love to their country, or a greater contempt of death, than these people called barbarians have done, when liberty came in competition. Indeed I think,’ continues that learned and sensible historian, ‘our Indians have out-done the Romans in this particular. Some of the greatest of those have[65] murdered themselves to avoid shame or torments; but the Indians have refused to die meanly, or with but little pain, when they thought their country’s honour would be at stake by it; but have given their bodies, willingly, to the most cruel torments of their enemies, to shew, as they said, that the Five Nations consisted of men whose courage and resolution could not be shaken.—They greatly sully, however, these noble virtues, by that cruel passion, revenge; this, they think, is not only lawful, but honourable; and for this only it is that they can deserve the name of barbarians.—But what, alas! have we Christians done, to make them better? We have, indeed, reason to be ashamed that these infidels, by our conversation and neighbourhood, are become worse than they were before they knew us. Instead of virtues, we have only taught them vices, which they were entirely free from before that time.’ In another place he observes, on the same subject, that this cruelty of revenge, is not peculiar to the Five Nations, but is common to all the other Indians. To blunt, however, the keenness of that censure we might be apt to cast on them, upon this account, he hath the following just reflection: ‘It is wonderful, how custom and education are able to soften the most horrid actions, even among a polite and learned people. Witness the Carthaginians and Phoenicians burning their own children alive in sacrifice; and several passages in the Jewish history;—and witness, in later times, the Christians burning one another for God’s sake!’

JOURNALS OF MAJOR ROBERT ROGERS (From The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal: By Several Hands. Vol. XXXIV. London: M,DCC,LXVI. For January, 1766.)


Art. 32. Journals of Major Robert Rogers; containing an Account of the several Excursions he made, under the Generals who commanded on the Continent of America, during the late War.

From which may be collected the most material Circumstances of every Campaign on that Continent, from the Commencement to the Conclusion of the War. 8vo. 4s. Millan.

This is but the first part of the journals of this noted American partizan. It commences in 1755, and terminates with the year 1760. The second part, which is to be printed by subscription of one guinea, will contain the Author’s travels among the Cherokees and the southern Indians; his second tour into the interior country, upon the great lakes; and the Indian wars in America, since 1760: together with correct plans of all the British forts upon the continent.

From the specimen of the work now before us, it appears, that the accounts published by Major Rogers may be depended upon by the public; they are undoubtedly as authentic as they are important and necessary, to those who would acquire a thorough understanding of the nature and progress of the late military operations in North-America. The Author writes like an honest, a sensible, and a modest man; and he has given, throughout his whole conduct, undoubted proofs, that he is a brave and a skilful officer. For a farther idea of this gentleman, in his literary capacity, see our review of his Account of North America, in the preceding part of our No. for the present month.


[1] Hebencourt

[2] A small party of the French, as we have since heard, had a fire here at this time: but, discovering my advanced party, extinguished their fire, and carried the news of our approach to the French fort.

[3] I had before this desired these gentlemen to retire, offering them a Serjeant to conduct them; that as they were not used to snow-shoes, and were unacquainted with the woods, they would have no chance of escaping the enemy, in case we should be broke and put to flight, which I very much suspected. They at first seemed to accept the offer, and began to retire, but seeing us so closely beset, they undauntedly returned to our assistance. What befel them after our flight, may be seen by a letter from one of the Gentlemen to the commanding officer, which I have inserted next to this account of our scout.

[4] This unfortunate officer, and his whole party, after they surrendered, upon the strongest assurances of good treatment from the enemy, were inhumanly tied up to trees, and hewn to pieces, in a most barbarous and shocking manner.

[5] What that manner of life was, the Author hath not more particularly intimated; but we do not suppose he was employed in any military capacity.

[6] For a detail of our Author’s adventures, after he obtained the command of those American light-armed infantry, called Rangers, see the Journals of Major Rogers, mentioned in our Catalogue for this month: a work wrote, as he declares, ‘not with silence and leisure, but in, desarts, on rocks and mountains, amidst the hurries, disorders, and noise of war, and under that depression of spirits, which is the natural consequence of exhausting fatigue.’

[7] The history of the Five Indian Nations of Canada; viz. The Mohawks, Oneydoes, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senekas; to whom are also added, as a sixth nation, the Tuscaroras. The Necariages of Misil makinac, have also been received as a seventh nation.

[8] This term may be used in a religious, moral, political or economical, as well as in a medical sense.

Transcribers’ Notes

Page 7: that → than

Page 26: ever → every

page 26: table entry regarding Capt. Shepherd’s Company; there is nothing to show what occasioned the two entries.

Page 31: fontier → frontier

Page 31: contigious → contiguous

Page 40: He said: “When a boy in. Opening left double quote removed. (He said: When a boy in)

Page 46: sillful → skillful

Page 50: duplicate ‘shall’ reduced to one

Page 53: Mexco → Mexico

Page 54: fiveFive

Page 56: may → many

Page 61: Inchian → Indian

Page 64: kim → him (kill him)

Page 65: Phaenicians → Phoenicians

Page 65: Journall → Journal

There is variation in the spelling of proper nouns but except as outlined above, they have been reproduced as originally printed.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of A Battle Fought on Snow Shoes, by 
Mary Cochrane Rogers


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