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A few weeks later Hebecourt had his revenge. About the middle of March a report came to Montreal that a large party of rangers had been cut to pieces a few miles from Ticonderoga, and that Rogers himself was among the slain. This last announcement proved false; but the rangers had suffered a crushing defeat. Colonel Haviland, commanding at Fort Edward, sent a hundred and 12After a time he was permitted to return to Quebec, where he met an English Franciscan, who, he says, had been sent from France to aid in converting the prisoners. Lest the minister should counteract the[Pg 83] efforts of the friar, the priests had him sent back to Chateau Richer; "but," he observes, "God showed his dislike of such a persecuting spirit; for the very next day the Seminary, a very famous building, was most of it burnt down, by a joiner letting a coal of fire drop among the shavings."
Frederic Post, with several white and Indian companions, was chosen to bear it. A small escort of soldiers that attended him as far as the Alleghany was cut to pieces on its return by a band of the very warriors to whom he was carrying his offers of friendship; and other tenants of the grim and frowning wilderness met the invaders of their domain with inhospitable greetings. "The wolves made a terrible music this night," he writes at his first bivouac after leaving Loyalhannon. When he reached the Delaware towns his reception was ominous. The young warriors said: "Anybody can see with half an eye that the English only mean to cheat us. Let us knock the messengers in the head." Some of them had attacked an English outpost, and had been repulsed; hence, in the words of Post, "They were possessed with a murdering spirit, and with bloody vengeance were thirsty and drunk. I said: 'As God has stopped the mouths of the lions that they could not devour Daniel, so he will preserve us from their fury.'" The chiefs and elders were of a different mind from their fierce and capricious young men. They met during the evening in the log-house where Post and his party lodged; and here a French officer presently arrived with a string of wampum from the commandant, inviting them to help him drive back the army of Forbes. 150 See Ibid., 174, where the answer is printed.
There were those among the French to whom this barbarous warfare was repugnant. The minister, Ponchartrain, by no means a person of tender scruples, also condemned it for a time. After the attack on Wells and other places under Beaubassin in 1703, he wrote: "It would have been well if this expedition had not taken place. I have certain knowledge that the English want only peace, knowing that war is contrary to the interests of all the colonies. Hostilities in Canada have always been begun by the French." Afterwards, when these bloody raids had produced their natural effect and spurred the sufferers to attempt the ending of their woes once for all by the conquest of Canada, Ponchartrain changed his mind and encouraged the[Pg 103] sending out of war-parties, to keep the English busy at home.The savage crew poured in till the fort was full. The chiefs gathered for council on the parade, and the warriors crowded around, a living wall of dusky forms, befeathered heads, savage faces, lank snaky locks, and deep-set eyes that glittered with a devilish light. Their orator spoke briefly, but to the purpose. He declared that all present were ready to die for their French father, who had stood their friend against the bloody and perfidious Outagamies. Then he begged for food, tobacco, gunpowder, and bullets. Dubuisson replied with equal conciseness, thanked them for their willingness to die for him, said that he would do his best to supply their wants, and promised an immediate distribution of powder and bullets; to which the whole assembly answered with yells of joy.
spring and the reappearance of toads always awakens the oldOn the twelfth, at three o'clock in the afternoon, Denonville began his march, leaving four hundred men in a hastily built fort to guard the bateaux and canoes. Troops, officers, and Indians, all carried their provisions at their backs. Some of the Christian Mohawks guided them; but guides were scarcely needed, for a broad Indian trail led 150 from the bay to the great Seneca town, twenty-two miles southward. They marched three leagues through the open forests of oak, and encamped for the night. In the morning, the heat was intense. The men gasped in the dead and sultry air of the woods, or grew faint in the pitiless sun, as they waded waist-deep through the rank grass of the narrow intervales. They passed safely through two dangerous defiles, and, about two in the afternoon, began to enter a third. Dense forests covered the hills on either hand. La Durantaye with Tonty and his cousin Du Lhut led the advance, nor could all Canada have supplied three men better for the work. Each led his band of coureurs de bois, white Indians, without discipline, and scarcely capable of it, but brave and accustomed to the woods. On their left were the Iroquois converts from the missions of Saut St. Louis and the Mountain of Montreal, fighting under the influence of their ghostly prompters against their own countrymen. On the right were the pagan Indians from the west. The woods were full of these painted spectres, grotesquely horrible in horns and tail; and among them flitted the black robe of Father Engelran, the Jesuit of Michillimackinac. Nicolas Perrot and two other bush-ranging Frenchmen were assigned to command them, but in fact they obeyed no man. These formed the vanguard, eight or nine hundred in all, under an excellent officer, Callires, governor of Montreal. Behind came the main body under Denonville, each of the four battalions of regulars 151 alternating with a battalion of Canadians. Some of the regulars wore light armor, while the Canadians were in plain attire of coarse cloth or buckskin. Denonville, oppressed by the heat, marched in his shirt. "It is a rough life," wrote the marquis, "to tramp afoot through the woods, carrying one's own provisions in a haversack, devoured by mosquitoes, and faring no better than a mere soldier."  With him was the Chevalier de Vaudreuil, who had just arrived from France in command of the eight hundred men left to guard the colony, and who, eager to take part in the campaign, had pushed forward alone to join the army. Here, too, were the Canadian seigniors at the head of their vassals, Berthier, La Valterie, Granville, Longueuil, and many more. A guard of rangers and Indians brought up the rear.
"Shall we go outside?" suggested Counsell.V2 council after council to settle a plan of defence, They were strange scenes: a crowd of officers of every rank, mixed pell-mell in a small room, pushing, shouting, elbowing each other, interrupting each other; till Montcalm, in despair, took each aside after the meeting was over, and made him give his opinion in writing.