Surprise of the English Forts

Published on February 6, 2013 by Carol

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Surprise of the English Forts

The Maumee post, Presque Isle, Niagara, Pitt, Ligonier, and every English fort, was hemmed in by mingled tribes. At last, the day came. The traders everywhere were seized with their goods, and more than 100 put to death. Nine British forts yielded instantly, and the Indians drank, “scooped up in the hollow of joined hands,” the blood of many a Briton. More than 20,000 people were driven from their homes, and horrible, unparalleled devastations committed on the frontiers of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Most, if not all of the forts which fell, were taken by stratagem — pre-concerted by the master mind of Pontiac. Generally, the commanders were first secured by parties admitted into the forts under the pretense of business or friendship. At Maumee, the officer was betrayed by an Indian woman, who, by piteous entreaties, persuaded him to go some 200 yards with her to the succor, as she stated, of a wounded man who was dying; the Indians waylaid and shot him.

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In some few of the forts, individuals escaped; but, too generally all were massacred. At Presque Isle, three Indians appeared in holiday dress, and persuaded the commander and clerk to accompany them to the canoes of their hunting party, as they said, about a mile distant, to examine and purchase a lot of peltries. In their absence, about 150 Indians advanced toward the fort, each with a bundle of furs on his back, which they stated the commandant had bought and ordered them to bring in. The stratagem succeeded. When they were all within the fort, the work of an instant threw off the packs and the short cloaks which covered their tomahawks, scalping-knives, and rifles, the last having been sawed off short for concealment. Resistance was useless, and the work of death and torture rapidly proceeded, until all, except two of the inmates of the garrison, had passed to the eternal world.

The forts of Bedford, Ligonier, Pitt in Pennsylvania, and Fort Detroit, in present-day Michigan, were saved with great difficulty. The Indians invested Fort Pitt with a strong force; information of which having been conveyed to Lord Jeffrey Amherst, he dispatched Colonel Henry Boquet to its relief with two regiments of regulars. He was fiercely attacked at Bushy Run by the Indians, and lost over 100 men in killed and wounded; but, he defeated the Indians, though with great difficulty, and succeeded in saving the fort. Fort Ligonier was bravely defended by Lieutenant Archibald Blane and his little garrison.

Source: Legendsofamerica Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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