Posted by Elaine on August 18, 1998 at 05:46:00:
In Reply to: Re: Legends of the old Northwest, Montcalm and the massacre posted by Petra on August 18, 1998 at 00:47:36:
": Just got through watching it. Yes, it was interesting.
: As others have mentioned before, from those accounts, Montcalm was all honest gentleman. And they said that French troops accompanied those British who were retreating from Ft. W.H. and that the French under Montcalm were those who eventually stopped the massacre. Interesting detail.
: I also just read up on what the history pages here say about the retreat. There, the incident is described more as looting and stealing than as a massacre. Now, on the history channel, they were talking about a frenzy during which even the dead corpses of rangers who had died of smallpox were dug out, that was referring to the time and place of this retreat, wasn't it?
By most accounts, that Montcalm was a gentleman and honor bound officer comes through unchallenged. He, along with his French officers, did attempt to halt the assault upon the English column. He also ransomed whatever prisoners he could, though many were still taken to Canada as prisoners/captives of Indian warriors.
As for the "massacre"; the attack did take place, wounded and sick soldiers were killed in their hospital beds, and molestation/slaughter of the defeated English did occur. However, the stories that arose as a result of panic and confusion greatly exaggerated the death toll. It was much more than looting and stealing, but it was also not the way it was described by those who fled.
A frenzied pillaging of the fort also took place following the assault and retreat. Graves were dug up, including that of Robert Rogers' brother who had died of smallpox, and items taken. This led to many Indian deaths as those Canadian Indians who looted the graves carried back to their villages the smallpox disease.
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