The French and Indian War The French and Indian war raged from 1754 to 1763. Its roots began long before the first shot was fired, about 100 years before between the French and the English. The French and Indian War was not fought between the French and the Indians, but the two allied with the Canadians against the English. It was the catalyst for the Seven Years War, from 1756-1763, which was brought over into Europe, the Carnatic Wars, and it eventually lead to the American Revolution. By the late 1600's to the beginning of the 1700's, the colonization of the America's by the English had been reaping great rewards. The English controlled much of the eastern seaboard, and were highly interested into further expansionism.
The English often moved into the French territory and claimed the land as theirs. The French had established a vast area from Louisiana to the south to Canada to the north bordering the Spaniards to the left and the English to the right. The French had small frontier villages with ample land for the English to take. The French used their land for the same purposes the English used theirs, for trade and manifest destiny. However the French were frontier trappers who moved and settled in small numbers and not farmers, as the English were.
Because of this the French made a good rep or with the Indians, which seemed to be all around and the neighboring frontiersmen in Canada to the north. It was almost customary for a Frenchman to wed an Indian woman to strengthen trade agreements and the use of land as well as an interpreter / guide . As the English colonizers began to expand into and around the French territory much quarreling arose and disputes over whose land it really was just added to the fire. The French started to build forts up and down their territory's boarder. The French along with the Indians lead attacks against the English until they moved out of their territory. They French established a fort called Fort Le Boeuf just down river from Fort Duquesne next to lake Erie; this was already claimed as English territory.
England sent Major George Washington to the region of Fort Duquesne to thwart the French from further expansion and to expel the from the area. While on a patrol for the French, Major Washington came upon a small group of Frenchmen, which he took for scouts. Major Washington ordered his men to fire killing many and further pursued the rest. In the end 10 men lay dead and 22 were captured. This was soon to be an act of war since England and France were at peace.
The French tricked Major Washington into signing a letter written in French, which stated that Major Washington assassinated the 10 Frenchmen and attacked the rest. The always present Indian problem added to England's decision to send two regiments of troops to protect the colonizers. When the French heard word of this they too sent several regiments of troops to protect the frontiersmen and settlers in their territory in New France. Peace talks in England soon began between the French. The commander of France's troops was Baron de Dieskau who was under orders to defend New France and not to instigate any attack. The English sent General Braddock with a larger force than Major Washington to make war with the French on the frontier.
The French being well aware of their surroundings, made good use of it while ambushing the English as they marched in columns toward the French to attack Fort Duquesne. The French certainly got the upper hand in this attack, killing many of the English soldiers and causing the to retreat. The English never fought in a gorilla warfare manner, but in columns and rows often facing musket and cannon fire. While the French sent troops over to the Americas, the English had 11 war ships waiting for the French to arrive. Not knowing if the French and the English were at war or not, the French pulled along side of the English Dunkirk and asked.
The English Dunkirk fired into the French wiping out most of their men. The French had two ships the Lys, which was fired upon, and the Actif, only the Actif was able to escape the assault. As soon as France heard word of the assault on the Lys the peace talks were stopped. The commander of the forces of New France in the Americas', Baron de Dieskau saw Fort Oswego as a threat and ordered an attack on it. However a letter that was discovered from a field during the battle of Braddock's defeat at Duquesne had been translated and Baron de Dieskau turned his men south to Fort St. Frederick.
The letter had described in detail the England's assault on the French for an entire year. Dieskau took 135 grenadiers, 600 Indians, and 600 Canadians with him to Fort Lydius. He encountered a problem at Fort Lydius, the Indians he had with him didn't want to attack the Fort so Dieskau marched to the southern part of lake George to attack Sir William Johnson and his men. The two opponents met each other on the road marching towards one another. The French took to the forest with their Iroquois mercenaries to out flank the English and attack them as soon as they were surrounded. However, the English too had Iroquois mercenaries with them.
It is a sacrilege for Iroquois to kill one another, so when the two saw each other they let out a warning call. As soon as the French figured out what the Iroquois had done, they opened fire on the English marching in standard columns, the English took heavy casualties to say the least. The French headed towards the English Fort being chased by the English, where the two had set up their defenses and attacked one another. The English were more prepared now and had better cover than the French. Under heavy fire, the Iroquois and the Canadians fled into the dense forest while the French still returned fire with the English. Here is when English could claim their victory, Baron de Dieskau was shot and troops started to become unwary that they could make it out of the battle alive.
Now the English captured the Baron de Dieskau and his troops made the decision to retreat and marched on for Fort Frontenac. This was the last battle that would occur between the French and English troops in 1755. The English now began making new strategies and plans for the next advance on the frontier, while the French was now without a commander. Now taking control over the troops in New France was the Governor of Canada, Vaudreuil.
He sent troops to capture Forts William Henry and Bull, located in central New York. These two forts acted as supply warehouses and were detrimental to the shipment of goods north and south of New York. Vaudreuil had planed to take out the two Forts so it would stop the resupply of food and ammunition to Fort Oswego making it easier to attack in the future. Governor Vaudreuil appointed Lieutenant Chaussegros de Lery with about 700 soldiers to attack Fort Bull on March 27, 1756. Lieutenant Chaussegros de Lery was able to defeat the outnumbered English and penetrate the Fort. He then ordered his troops to seize the English armaments and toss them into the muddy river were the armaments could never be found or used again.
Lieutenant de Lery now started marching for Fort Williams, but he took many prisoners and the Indians left him, so he only had one choice and that was to return to Canada. Now 1757 and in control over the French troops in New France is the Marquis de Montcalm. He leads an assault on Fort William Henry on Lake George to further incapacitate the English main Forts, such as Oswego. "It was the first week of July 1757, French troops from St. Jean departed for an assault on Fort William Henry. They were companies of La Rien e, La Sarre, Languedoc, and Guyenne.
In addition to the regulars, the army consisted of nearly one thousand men of La Marine, a three hundred-man unit known as Villiers' Volunteers, twenty-five hundred Canadians and eighteen hundred Indians. Also there were two companies of artillery, one company of workmen, and the artillery train. The body of Indians made up of warriors from some of the western nations of Ottawa, Menomonee, Sauk (Winnebagos and Wichita's), Potawatomi e and Fox. The Chevalier de L'ev is was sent to take command of the troops at Carillon and await the arrival of the Marquis de Montcalm." (web henry. html). So you can see the French had a formidable force to use against Fort Will aim Henry.
Meanwhile the French with their Indian mercenaries ambushed a line of 22 barges headed for the French front from Fort William Henry. The barges were taken for what they had, munitions and rum, soon after the Indians performed their atrocities and ate at least three prisoners. Montcalm had informed the English commander of Fort William Henry Colonel Monro that it would be wise to surrender; however the English would not go with out a fight. To say the least the French had overwhelmed the English and forced them to surrender. The Fort was now under the French. The French had burned the Fort and took all they could.
After the Siege of the Fort, the French along with the Indians took boats to the lower end of the lake. During this some Indians became sick and brought back the viruses to their villages, were their families contracted the sickness, this took many of the Indians out of the War all together. "The turning point in the war came after the energetic William Pitt became England's prime minister in 1757. Proclaiming, "I believe that I can save this nation and that no one else can," he abandoned Europe as a main theater of action against the French and threw his nation's military might into the American campaign." (Nash, Jeffrey, Howe, Frederick, Davis; Winkler, pg. 148-149, 1998).
It is now 1758 and the English are now making their advance on the French. The English lay victories at Louis bough, and Fort Frontenac, the English salvage the supplies from the Fort's to Oswego. The English make another victory by forcing the French out of Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The English capture the Isle d'Orl " ears through an intense naval battle which the French had truly undermined the English. The French used naval fighting tactics that the English used to their advantage.
The French used a two man submergible to try and sink an English warship, however the match went before the explosive from the submergible could be ignited and the submergible sank soon thereafter. The fighting moved to land near Pointe Levi. The inhabitants requested permission from the French to make a sortie and take all the people out of harms way. In their excitement, getting away from the English and their guns, the civilians opened fire on their own people taking them for British.
Mean while the English were raining heavy artillery upon the French. "During the night of July 18 two warships and five smaller craft sailed up the river by Quebec as harmless cannon shot were hurled after them. The French now for the first time had to worry about their communications with Montreal, and this was to become a source of increasing concern as additional ships passed up the St. Lawrence and continued on well up the river." (Hamilton, pg 281, 1962). A fierce land battle ensued between the French and the British aided by the Second Battalion of Royal Americans.
The Canadians were surrounded and outnumbered at this point. "With the English in control of the heights, Montcalm, and the French army demoralized, Governor Vaudreuil, for now, had to abandon Quebec, leaving it's people to the conquerors. (web). The English now headed for Montreal after the battle of Quebec on May 3, 1760. On September 8, 1760 the Canadians surrender Montreal and all of New France to the English forces. This would later be the end of the French and Indian War, almost.
The treaty of Senecas and the Treaty of Paris still had to be implemented. The treaty of Senecas surrendered the hostages between the English and the Indians as well as make peace in the Delaware valley. The Proclamation Act of 1763 also heeded any more movement into the Appalachian Mountains keeping settlers from claiming Indian territory. The Treaty of Paris was signed on February 10, 1763 ending the war officially, even though an armis tous was called nearly a year before. In the end "of all of her former North American possessions France was allowed to retain only the two little fishing stations of St.
Pierre and Miquelon. Elsewhere throughout all of the great continent the fleur's-de-lis of France gave way to the Union Jack of Great Britain, and Canada became absorbed into the growing British Empire." (Hamilton, pg 306, 1962). Works Cited 1. (web henry.
html) 2. (web) 3. Hamilton, Edwards P. "The French and Indian Wars." Doubleday & Company, Inc. , Garden City, New York, 1962.
4. Nash, Jeffrey, Howe, Frederick, Davis, Winkler. "The American People." Vol. 1, 4 th Ed. 148-149.