THE OHIO COMPANY FORMED--CONVENTION AT ALBANY--INDIANS ATTACK SALISBURY AND CHARLESTOWN--JOHN STARK AND AMOS EASTMAN TAKEN PRISONERS--CONSTANT ALARM ON ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS--FORT DUQUESNE ATTACKED--EXPEDITION TO CROWN POINT--NEW HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT MARCHES TO CROWN POINT BY WAY OF CHARLESTOWN--CAPTAIN FOLSOM CAPTURES THE FRENCH BAGGAGE TRAIN--ST. FRANCIS INDIANS RENEW THEIR DEPREDATIONS UPON HOPKINTON, KEENE, WALPOLE, ETC.--WAR DECLARED BY GREAT BRITAIN 1756--ROGERS AUTHORIZED TO RECRUIT CORPS OF RANGERS --JOHN STARK APPOINTED CAPTAIN--CROWN POINT EXPEDITION OF 1757--FORT WILLIAM HENRY SURRENDERS TO THE FRENCH--NEW HAMPSHIRE SOLDIERS MURDERED--QUEBEC SURRENDERS--ROGERS ANNIHILATES THE ST. FRANCIS TRIBE--MONTREAL SURRENDERS--PEACE DECLARED
The next war, 1754, known as the French and Indian War or Seven Years' War, was a struggle to decide whether the French or English should control the continent of America. The treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle amounted to a little more than a cessation of hostilities or a truce.
The English colonists occupied a long narrow line of territory from Newfoundland along the Atlantic coast to Georgia. The French had possession of two of the chief rivers of the country, the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, and had built fort after fort until they had a line extending from Quebec to Loulsiana, and were in possession of what is now the western part of New York, Pennsylvania, western part of Virginia and all the countries between the territory named and the Mississippi.
After all the important points had been taken up by the French, the English began to awake from their slumber, and they saw that uniess they undertook heroic measures they would lose the heart of the continent, and with the French at the west of them must confine their settlements to the Atlantic coast. In order to prevent this environment by the French, a company was formed in 1748 for planting a colony along the upper Ohio River.
A glance at the map shows that the territory from the city of Erie on Lake Erie in Pennsylvania to a junction of the Alleghany and Monongehela Rivers is the gateway of the west. Both parties realized the importance of this territory. The French already occupied it. The Ohio company, realizing that they must hold by force, began the construction of a fort where the city of Pittsburg, Pa., now stands, and before they could finish it the French drove them away, completed the same and named it Fort Duquesne. Matters looked serious, so much so that a convention of the northern colonies met at Abany in 1754, to consider what must be done.
The Iroquois Indians, friendly to the English colonists, warned them of their danger. A plan was proposed for banding the colonies together for self-protection, but was rejected by the English "because it gave too much power to the people, by the Americans because it gave too much power to the King."1 The Indians who were always ready at the instigation of the French, again commenced their depredations upon the frontier settlements.
In August they appeared at Bakerstown, where they killed a woman and took several captives. They committed similar outrages at Salisbury and Charlestown. In 1752 John and William Stark, David Stinson and Amos Eastman were hunting upon Baker's River in the town of Rumney, and had collected furs to the value of 560� when they were attacked by the Indians.2 Stinson was killed, William Stark escaped by his brother's hardihood in striking up the Indians' guns as they were about to fire upon him. John Stark and Eastman were taken captives and carried to Memphremagog, in Canada, where they were afterwards ransomed.
In June, 1754, the Indians attacked the house of Nathaniel Maloon in Salisbury; they captured Mr. Maloon, his wife and three children. Governor Wentworth at once dispatched a company after the Indians, but of no avail.
The following August they made another attack upon what is now Franklin, where they killed Timothy Cook and Mrs. Philip Call, and took Enos Bishop prisoner. The people were in a constant state of alarm on account of these depredations, and on the l0th of August Governor Wentworth ordered a detachment of fifty men, under command of Maj. John Goffe, to march through the Merrimack Valley, and drive out the Indians, and at the same time he ordered two detachments to proceed to the Connecticut River.
In Major Goffe's company were Joshua Martin, afterwards an active soldier in this war; John Harwood; Joseph Ordway from Goffstown, and Archibald Stark3 of Dunbarton with whose descendants we are familiar.
Notwithstanding detachments had been sent to Charlestown on the Connecticut River, in August this same year, the Indians made an attack upon the house of James Johnson, capturing the whole family of eight persons, who were taken to Canada and sold into French captivity. A narrative of their capture and captivity, was afterwards written by Mrs. Johnson, which is very fascinating. In the meantime the British government had determined to render more effective aid to the colonies.
Early in the year 1755 General Braddock arrived from England, with two regiments of regulars, to operate against the French. He proceeded against Fort Duquesne. His regulars knew nothing of warfare outside of English military tactics, and he himself was unacquainted with the enemy and too bigoted to receive instructions. The attack resulted in total defeat of his army, and he himself was mortally wounded.
The second military expedition of this year was against Niagara by General Shirley which proved qulte as unsuccessful as that of Braddock.
The third was for the reduction of Crown Point on Lake Champlain by Gen. William Johnson of New York, and although it failed as to its main object, yet its results helped dispel the gloom which followed Braddock's defeat.
New Hampshire furnished a regiment of six hundred men under command of Col. Joseph Blanchard of Dunstable, now Nashua. Three companies in this regiment were raised in the vicinity of Amoskeag Falls; one was commanded by John Goffe, one by John Moore of Derryfield, and one by Robert Rogers of Dunbarton.
It is impossible at this date to tell on which side of the river many of the Amoskeag men resided, but quite a detachment of the second and seventh companies were either of Goffstown or near neighbors. Samuel Martin, Joshua Martin, Joseph George, John Little, William McDougall, Ebenezer Martin, John Harwood, John Kidder, Benjamin Richards, Peter Dow, John Pollard, Robert Kennedy, John Cunningham were either residents of Goffstown then or afterwards.4
The regiment rendezvoused at Stevenstown, now within the limits of Franklin. A fort had been previously built at this place for protection against the Indians, which was called Salisbury Fort.
In utter ignorance of the country, Governor Wentworth directed Colonel Blanchard to proceed to Crown Point by way of the Coos Meadow on the Connecticut River above Lancaster, anticipating a passage most of the way by water by means of the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers.
Captain Rogers was sent forward to Coos with his company and detachments from others, to build a fort, and the rest of the regiment remained at Franklin building boats.
Rogers Fort was located on the east bank of the Connecticut River within the limits of the town of Northumberland. At length the governor discovered his mistake and Colonel Blanchard and Captain Rogers were ordered to march directly to No.4, now Charlestown on the Connecticut River, and thence proceed across the country to Albany, N.Y. It is impossible at present to realize the obstacles of such a journey. No means of transportation; each soldier must carry his own luggage and provisions; the march must be made through a trackless forest, streams forded and no shelter by night.
None but those who were inured to hardships, toils and privations could have accomplished the undertaking. Upon their arrival the New Hampshire regiment was posted at Fort Edward, where they arrived a short time before the attack was made upon Johnson's provincial army at the south end of Lake George, where the French were defeated by the loss of their leader. Upon the following day, September 8,1755, Captain Folsom with eighty New Hampshire men and forty from New York captured the baggage of the French army and soon after made an attack upon the retreating army. The enemy retired with great loss. Ouly six of Captain Folsom's troops were killed.
The regiment then joined the regular army and its men were employed as scouts "These men were rugged foresters, every man of whom, as a hunter, 'could hit the size of a dollar at the distance of a hundred yards.' They were inured to cold, hunger and peril. They often marched without food, and slept in winter without shelter. They knew the Indians thoroughly. They were principally recruited in the vicinity of Amoskeag Falls and their early habits had accustomed them to face wild beasts, savage men and fierce storms."5
After the engagement, on the 8th of September, the province of New Hampshire was called upon to furnish a second regiment of three hundred men, which was placed under the command of Col. Peter Gilman of Exeter. This regiment marched to Fort Edward, by way of Charlestown, where they were employed until late in the fall, when both regiments were disbanded and returned to their homes. In this regiment were Joseph Ordway and James Harwood from Goffstown.
At the close of the year 1755 a commission composed of delegates from the New England states met at Fort William Henry and decided that a garrison should be left at that fort for the winter, and New Hampshire's quota was ninety-one, mustered as a company under command of Capt. Robert Rogers of Dunbarton, where they remained until June, 1756. The expeditions of 1755 against Crown Point failed of their object and they served to excite the Indians to make fresh attacks upon the frontier of New Hampshire which was wholly unprotected and fully exposed to their murderous assaults.
Between the headwaters of the Connecticut and St. Francis Rivers, the distance is short and elevation slight; and it formed a very convenient carrying place for the St. Francis tribe. They could slip down into New Hampshire to secure their captives and booty and return uumolested. Some new incentives, added to their natural ferocity, prompted them to renew their depredations upon Hopkinton, Keene, Walpole, Charlestown and Hinsdale.
The plan of operations in 1756 was virtually the same as that of the preceding year. Crown Point, Niagara and Fort Duquesne were the strongholds to be taken. It seems strange that a campaign could be carried on so long without any formal declaration of war. But war was declared on the 17th of May, 1756, by Great Britain, against France, and very soon after by France against Great Britain.
In March Captain Rogers received orders to repair to Boston, and was commissioned by General Shirley to raise a company of Rangers, as an independent corps, to consist of men accustomed to traveling and scouting, and in whose courage and fidelity the most implicit confidence could be placed. Returning to Fort William Henry he recruited his company. The officers were the same and the men mainly from his old company.
The following July the corps of Rangers was increased by an addition of a second company, and the first of December, 1756, the corps was augmented by two more companies.
We give the names of the officers of the company, because of their familiarity to some present residents:First Company--
Robert Rogers, Captain
Richard Rogers, First Lieutenant
John Stark, Second Lieutenant
Noah Johnson, Ensign
Richard Rogers, Captain
Noah Johnson, First Lieutenant
Nathaniel Abbott, Second Lieutenant
Caleb Page, Ensign
Robert Rogers, Captain
John Stark, First Lieutenant
John McCurdy, Second Lieutenant
Jonathan Burbank, Ensign
-- Hobbs, Captain
-- Bulkley, Lieutenant
-- Spikeman, Captain
-- Kennedy, Lieutenant
-- Brewer, Ensign
In a subsequent engagement Captain Spikeman, Lieutenant Kennedy and Ensign Caleb Page of Richard Rogers' Company were killed. John Stark was made captain of Spikeman's Company, James Rogers, Lieutenant, and Joshua Martin of Goffstown, Ensign of Richard Rogers' Company. January 21, 1757, in an engagement with the French and Indians, many of the Rangers were wounded, among whom was Ensign Martin, whose hip was shattered by a ball which passed through his body. He was left for dead upon the field, but afterwards revived and dragged himself after his retreating comrades, was discovered by them and taken to Fort William Henry where he was cared for.
For the expedition against Crown Point in 1756, New Hampshire raised a regiment of seven hundred men under command of Col. Nathaniel Meserve. John Goffe was Captain of the seventh company; Nathaniel Martin, First Lieutenant. Samuel Martin, Ebenezer Martin, Joseph Ordway, Joseph George, Plummer Hadley, Caleb Emery, John Kidder, Caleb Dalton,6 members of the Company, either resided in Goffstown then or soon after.
This regiment was in charge of Fort Edward for a time. In the fall they went to Albany and soon after came home.
For the Crown Point expedition for 1757 New Hampshire furnished a regiment of five hundred men. Nathaniel Meserve, Colonel; Major John Goffe, Lieutenant Colonel.
In this regiment were James Dunlap, Thomas Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, John Dinsore, Samuel Blodgett and William McDougall--Goffstown men.
A part of this regiment went to Halifax and a part with Lieut.-Col. John Goffe to Fort William Henry, New York. This fort was attacked by the French and Indians under General Montcalm; and on the third of August surrendered, Montcalm agreeing to escort the New Hampshire troops to Fort Edward with their private baggage. The terms of the surrender were dishonorably violated.
The French and Indians were allowed to attack the British troops and rob and murder indiscriminately. Out of the two hundred of the New Hampshire battalion eighty were killed. The French General Montclam made no effort to stay the slaughter.
There is no language adequate to express such terrible wickedness as a oommander to allow hostile Indians to scalp and tomahawk capitulated prisoners. Potter speaks of this event as follows: "In this inhuman massacre there was a number from Amoskeag while others from the same place escaped by good fortune. John Dinsmore of Goffstown escaped from an Indian who had seized him by his shoulders by slipping out of his coat and outran his pursuer. Passing two nights in the wilderness and on the morning of the third day arrived at Fort Edward. William McDougall of this town and John Moore of Bedford were taken captives and sent to France. Samuel Blodgett hid under a batteaux. Here he remained until he thought it safe to venture from his hiding place, but was discovered by a band of savages who stripped him of every vestige of clothing in which plight he made his escape to Fort Edward."
"Patriots have toiled, and in their country's cause
Bled nobly; and their deeds, as they deserve
Receive proud recompense."
This horrid massacre threw the people of the colonies into great excitement, and a battalion of 250 men was raised for the defense of Fort Edward under command of Thomas Tash of Durham. This battalion went no further than Charlestown, N.H., and with the other New Hampshire troops was discharged in the fall. In the spring of 1758 New Hampshire raised another regiment for the Crown Point expedition, commanded by Col. John Hart. William McDougall and Plummer Hadley of Goffstown were in this regiment.
Part of this regiment went to Louisburg under Colonel Hart, and a part to Crown Point under Lieut.-Col. John Goffe, marching by way of Charlestown and Albany. On the 27th of July, Louisburg again surrendered to the British arms after a brave defense. On the 5th of July, 16,000 men embarked upon Lake George for Ticonderoga. It is said that a thousand boats conveyed the English soldiers down Lake George. The attack continued three days and resulted in the final defeat of the Engiish. Lord Howe and 2,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or prisoners.
In this aiege Major Rogers, and Captain Stark with the Rangers, performed a very important part in this engagement. And had the retreat not been covered by the gallant Rogers and his Rangers, and we might say his men from Amoskeag, it would have been a complete rout.
In 1759 the province raised a regiment of 1,000 men, under command of Col. Zaccheus Lovewell of Dunstable and John Goffe, Lieutenant-Colonel. The regi-ment had its rendezvous at Dunstable, now Nashua, and marched to Worcester, Springfield, Mass., and thence to Albany, N.Y.
General Amherst had been appointed commander of the English army. Quebec and Ticonderoga were taken this year--the New Hampshire troops had the honor of participating in both these engagements.7
The fall of Quebec was the turning point of the war. The French General Montcalm was entrenched upon the Plains of Abraham which overlooks the river St. Lawrence. The fortification was built upon a solid rock, and was termed the "Gibralter of America."
Opposed to Montclam was General Wolfe with a fleet and 8,000 men in the St. Lawrence River. The English cannon easily reduced the lower part of the city, but were unable to reach the heights of the citadel. For weary weeks Wolfe lingered before the city vainly seeking a point of attack. One day while carefully scrutinizing, a precipitous or winding path was discovered by which he determined to make the ascent. Under cover of the darkness of night the troops clambered up the steep cliff and in the morning stood upon the "Plains of Abraham" in battle array.
Montcalm was astonished at the audacity but at once decided to make an attack. His troops soon wavered when Wolfe ordered a bayonet charge and the field was won. Both commanders were mortally wounded, and when Wolfe was told that the French were put to flight replied, "Now God be praised, I die happy." Five days after, September 18, 1759, the city surrendered. General Wolfe was a great admirer of the poet Gray, and it is said that when going the rounds before this attack he repeated the stanza of his favorite poem,
On the morning of that engagement the country from Quebec to the Mississippi and New Orleans belonged to France. At sunset she had lost her hold on American power forever.
This year Robert Rogers and his Rangers annihilated the St. Francis tribe of Indians at the village of St. Francis, in Canada, and after the destruction wandered home by way of the Coos intervales and Charlestown, encountering untold hardships and suffering.
In 1760 New Hampshire raised another regiment of 800 men for the invasion of Canada, under command of Col. John Goffe; the regiment marched from Litchfield, N. H., by way of Milford and Peterboro over the Monadnock Mountain to Keene, and thence to Charlestown, where they crossed the Connecticut River and cut a road through the wilderness to the Green Mountains. They were upwards of forty days in cutting the road to the Green Mountains, a distance of twenty-six miles. Here they found the road cut by Stark the previous year to Crown Point.
A large drove of cattle followed them for the army. They then proceeded with the English army down the lake, captured with little opposition the forts of St. John and Chamblee. Montreal surrendered without fighting, the governor seeing resistance wouid be folly. During the war which comprised six campaigns New Hampshire furnished 5,000 men with able commanders.The war closed in 1763 by a treaty concluded at Paris. By the treaty of peace France gave up the whole of her possessions in this country to England. Of all the magnificent country nothing was left to France but two barren islands south of Newfoundland. To the people of New Hampshire the war had a special significance. It cleared the Indians from her borders, and there was little trouble in the future from this element, which to our people was a great source of satisfaction.
1Sanborn's History of New Hampshire, p.131. Return
2Sanborn's History of New Hampshire, p.132. Return
3Adjutant General's Report, p.117. Return
4Potter's History of Manchester, p. 296; Adjutant General's Report, Vol. II, p. 129. Return
5Sanborn's History, p.134. Return
6Adjutant General's Report, Vol. II, p. 168. Return
7Adjutant General's Report, 1866, p. 229. Return