Pontiac’s War

A Great Lakes Indian rebellion against the British changed the balance forever between Indian and colonist

The dead woman was one of the lowly Indian slaves known as Panis. Near Detroit in August 1762, she had helped another Pani to murder their master, a British trader. The outraged British commander in North America, Baron Jeffery Amherst, ordered them executed “with the utmost rigor and in the most publick manner.” By putting them publicly to death, Amherst meant to demonstrate that the Indians had become colonial subjects answerable to British law.Read more »

Yankee Gunners at Louisbourg

Gallant exploits against long odds helped the American militia capture the famous French citadel.

Fortified towns are hard nuts to crack, and your teeth are not accustomed to it. Taking strong places is a particular trade, which you have taken up without serving an apprenticeship to it. Armies and veterans need skillful engineers to direct them in their attack. Have you any? But some seem to think that forts are as easy taken as snuff.

--Benjamin Franklin in a letter to his brother in Boston before the siege of Louisbourg.

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Battle For Ticonderoga

The largest army ever assembled in North America attacked the French at New York’s Fort Carillon . . . with disastrous results

By early morning of July 5, 1758, more than a thousand Albany-built bateaux, whaleboats, and three radeaux—cumbersome barges known as “floating castles”—crowded the calm waters of New York’s Lake George in orderly columns. They spread a mile and a half from shore to shore and extended “from front to Rear full Seven Miles,” as The Pennsylvania Journal reported.Read more »

The Spirit Of ’54

More than two decades before the Revolution broke out, a group of Americans voted on a scheme to unite the colonies. For the rest of his life, Benjamin Franklin thought it could have prevented the war. It didn’t—but it did give us our Constitution.



Improbable it may seem, but an industrious, aquatic, fur-bearing rodent deserves a share of the credit for the first real effort at unifying Britain’s American colonies. Just as we tend to forget that the Americas were discovered as a byproduct of the search for pepper, the reason the beaver’s contribution has gone unsung all these years is, in the words of the journalist Henry Hobhouse, “Men have always liked to believe in their own influence.” Read more »

The Debacle at Fort Carillon

It started with jaunty confidence and skirling bagpipes. Five days later it had turned into one of the bloodiest and most futile battles ever fought on American soil.

At Ticonderoga, Lake George spills its waters northward into Lake Champlain, and for over a century whoever controlled the narrows there controlled the gateway to a continent. Travel through the dense American forests was arduous at best, impossible when supplies and trade goods needed to be taken along. If smugglers, traders, or armies wished to pass between the domains of Britain and France, between New York and Montreal, they had to go by water. Read more »

Braddlock’s Alumni

Or, a dogged attempt to assemble a most remarkable company—the famous survivors of the battle lost by a British general on the Monongahela. Everybody who was anybody was there, from George Washington to Daniel Boone. Everybody, that is, but B. Gratz Brown

On the evening of Washington’s Birthday last, my wife and I went to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania to hear a talk on “Pennsylvania—A State Neglected in Our Country’s History.”

After the lecture the ladies of the society served coffee and small sandwiches in the basement. There I chanced to see Mr. G., president of the Pittsburgh company i work lor. I approached him and said:

“There is a little-recognized fact of history which never ceases to astonish me.

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