This book will be a joy to all those—academic and casual—who have an interest in the Seven Years War as it was fought in America in the middle of the eighteenth century—the conflict we now know as the French and Indian War. These narratives are too packed with action and incredible events to give details here. They are all shorter works which, without companions, would have been unlikely to see publication individually, but joined together the reader can immerse himself in the times and be enthralled by the voices of those who experienced these momentous times. Here are Rogers, Israel Putnam and other famous Rangers who weave their presence and deeds through each account. Here are the Provincials and the Regulars—the Royal Americans and the Highlanders. Here are Fort Bull, Fort William Henry, Crown Point and Ticonderoga. Here are Monroe, Amherst, Howe, Johnson and many others. This is the experience of war against the French and their fierce Indian allies in the deep woods of the American Frontier. Raids, ambushes, flights, captures, ordeals and escapes fill all the pages of this truly indispensable book!
We marched for Albany, where we arrived the first of August, and from thence to Fort Edward. I was out on several scouts, in one of which I killed an Indian. On the 18th of Jan. 1757, we marched on a scout from Fort William Henry; Major Rogers himself headed us. All were volunteers that went on this scout. We came to the road leading from Ticonderoga to Crown Point, and on Lake Champlain (which was froze over) we saw about fifty sleys; the major thought proper to attack them and ordered us all, about sixty in number, to lay in ambush, and when they were near enough we were ordered to pursue them. I happened to be near the major when he took the first prisoner, a Frenchman: I singled out one and followed him: they fled some one way and some another, but I soon came up with him and took him. We took seven in all, the rest escaping, some to Crown Point, and some returned to Ticonderoga: When we had brought the prisoners to land the major examined them, and they informed him that there were thirty-five Indians and 500 regulars at Ticonderoga. <br>
It being a rainy day we made a fire and dryed our guns. The major thought best to return to Fort William Henry in the same path we came, the snow being very deep; we marched in an Indian file and kept the prisoners in the rear, lest we should be attacked: We proceeded in this order about a mile and a half, and as we were ascending a hill, and the centre of our men were at the top, the French, to the number of 400, besides thirty or forty Indians, fired on us before we discovered them: The major ordered us to advance. I received a wound from the enemy (the first shot they made on us) through the body, upon which I retired into the rear, to the prisoner I had taken on the lake, knocked him on the head and killed him, lest he should escape and give information to the enemy; and as I was going to place myself behind a large rock, there started up an Indian from the other side; I threw myself backward into the snow, and it being very deep, sunk so low that I broke my snowshoes (I had time to pull em off, but was obliged to let my shoes go with them) one Indian threw his tomahawk at me, and another was just upon seizing me; but I happily escaped and got to the centre of our men, and fixed myself behind a large pine, where I loaded and fired every opportunity; after I had discharged six or seven times, there came a ball and cut off my gun just at the lock. About half an hour after, I received a shot in my knee; I crawled again into the rear, and as I was turning about received a shot in my shoulder. The engagement held, as near as I could guess, five and a half hours, and as I learnt after I was taken, we killed more of the enemy than we were in number. By this time it grew dark and the firing ceased on both sides, and as we were so few the major took the advantage of the night and escaped with the well men, without informing the wounded of his design, lest they should inform the enemy and they should pursue him before he had got out of their reach.<br>
Captain Spikeman, one Baker and myself, all very badly wounded, made a small fire and sat about half an hour, when looking round we could not see any of our men; Captain Spikeman called to Major Rogers, but received no answer, except from the enemy at some distance; upon this we concluded our people were fled. All hope of escape now vanished; we were so wounded that we could not travel; I could but just walk, the others could scarce move; we therefore concluded to surrender ourselves to the French: Just as we came to this conclusion, I saw an Indian coming towards us over a small rivulet that parted us in the engagement: I crawled so far from the fire that I could not be seen, though I could see what was acted at the fire; the Indian came to Captain Spikeman, who was not able to resist, and stripped and scalped him alive; Baker, who was lying by the captain, pulled out his knife to stab himself, which the Indian prevented and carried him away: Seeing this dreadful tragedy, I concluded, if possible, to crawl into the woods and there die of my wounds: But not being far from Captain Spikeman, he saw me and begged me for God’s sake! to give him a tomahawk, that he might put an end to his life! I refused him, and exhorted him as well as I could to pray for mercy, as he could not live many minutes in that deplorable condition, being on the frozen ground, covered with snow. He desired me to let his wife know (if I lived to get home) the dreadful death he died. As I was travelling as well as I could, or rather creeping along, I found one of our people dead; I pulled off his stockings (he had no shoes) and put them on my own legs.<br>