Two hundred and fifty years ago, Major Robert Rogers and his rangers launched a daring wilderness raid against an enemy village, but paid a steep price
A dozen miles north of the British fort of Crown Point on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, amid the buttonbush, bulrush, and cattail wetlands that crowded Otter Creek’s delta, Maj. Robert Rogers glassed down the lake for the lateen sails of a patrolling enemy French sloop or schooner. Pulled into hiding within the marsh lay 17 whaleboats, each bearing eight oars and provisions for a month. It was Saturday, September 15, 1759, in the midst of the French and Indian War, the titanic struggle between the French and British empires for dominion over North America.
It has taken us two and a half centuries to realize just how important this conflict was
I’ve been fighting the war of the American Revolution (on paper, that is, and with none of the suffering the participants endured) off and on since 1962, and my research has included journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and books on nearly all the campaigns.
The French helped us win our Revolution. A few years later we were at war with Napoleon’s navy. The two countries have been falling in and out of love ever since. Why?
Congress serves freedom fries, American military wives talk of freedom kisses, vandals in Bordeaux burn and deface a model of the Statue of Liberty. It’s a good time to remember that American-French relations have had many ups and downs.
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.
One terrible night came to symbolize the whole struggle for supremacy on the North American continent
Our traditional picture of colonial New England is essentially a still life. Peaceful little villages. Solid, strait-laced, steadily productive people. A landscape serene, if not bountiful.
She played the war, learning to creep through the woods without leaving footprints or snapping twigs. She read and dreamed about the war, lying on her bed, limp with horror and delight. The history of the war was a drug and she was an addict.
The French and Indian War! This was a war of which I, reading stretched out in my bedroom, could not get enough. The names of the places were a litany: Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, Fort Frontenac on the St. Lawrence, Vincennes on the Wabash.
George Washington’s Narrow Escapes
Upon at least five occasions when in great danger from gunfire George Washington remained unscathed. His hat was shot off his head; his clothes were torn; horses were killed beneath him, but the hero was never so much as scratched by a bullet.
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.
As the fourth ice age of the Pleistocene epoch receded some eleven thousand years ago, an almost impenetrable forest of oak, elm, birch, maple, and pine trees sprang up between the coast of New England and the shores of the Mississippi.
The old house, many-hued in ruin, stands rotting, some thirty miles above New Orleans, farther from the changing river bed than in its youth, deserted, its records mostly forgotten; but it speaks of the land of the Acadians, of the Bayous Teche, Vermillion and LaFourche and of a distinctive people. Acadians lived here for many years. They did not build the old mansion, to be sure, for that was the work of the Creoles, the aristocrats.