Re: Montcalm and the massacre

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Posted by Elaine on November 05, 1997 at 07:58:13:

In Reply to: Re: Montcalm and the massacre posted by Marcia on November 04, 1997 at 21:09:35:

: I can see what you mean, and you are right that the movie indicates much more culpability than probably existed in actuality. My husband, by the way, loves Montcalm almost more than anyone in the movie, because of his dignity & gentlemanly of his favorite things is the way Montcalm sweeps off his hat & bows to Munro as the English & colonists surrender the fort.

: Marcia

Okay... I've got to jump in again. Yes, the movie does hint strongly that Montcalm had a hand in the massacre, and it is actually keeping with Cooper's view. He too 'indicted' Montcalm. However, the probability of Montcalm actually knowing, expecting, or encouraging the massacre is extremely low. It is true that he had already had such an experience at Oswego, and that he had reason to worry about such a recurrence, however... he did, I believe, expect that the previous day's troubles in the English camp was the end of it.

It is important to note that before Montcalm agreed to the terms of the capitulation, he held council with his Indians, something he did not have to do but it was in keeping with his gentlemanly ways, not to mention that he truly did have respect for the fighting abilities of his Indian allies. During the council, he explained his intentions and requested the opinion of those present. He refused to grant the terms without first having the approval of his allies. This is a big step on his part to prevent any "trouble". Also, he asked the chiefs present to promise that there would be no trouble with their young men.

Another point, if Montcalm had intended to allow such an event, he had the perfect opportunity the previous night when Col. Monro wanted to hit the road. Montcalm's officers advised against the early departure because there were "agitated" Indians waiting along the road to Fort Edward. It would have been easy to send Monro on his way, let the Indians attack, and wash his hands of the whole affair. No one would have accused Montcalm had this happened since it would have been Monro's choice to leave prior to a French escort being available. Those Indians on the road, by the way, were Abenaki.

If one wants to find accomplices among the army of New France, then look to the Canadian officers. They were the ones who stood by during the massacre of the wounded, they were the ones who pulled the sentry, they were the ones who were the advance guard on the 10th... and who advised the panicked English to run for it! (Which they must have known would have aggravated the situation.) Most notable among the Canadian officers in all of this is St. Luc de la Corne, who was the officer with the Abenaki. I do not think the Canadians were expecting a massacre; just a pillaging, harassment, etc... I believe that the Canadian officers were looking to appease the allied Indians, since it was they who would have to deal with them most closely.

As has been stated before, the Abenaki had a very deep hatred for the English, thus it is possible the massacre did not simply happen as a result of things getting out of hand. It's worth considering that the Abenaki had planned such an attack.

Just some more thoughts...


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