New Book

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Posted by Doctorate Mary on January 18, 2000 at 08:54:45:

For all of the many historical buffs in Mohicanland, there's
an excellent new book out called "The Great Warpath: British
Military Sites From Albany to Crown Point" by David R. Starbuck.
The author is an archeologist and has done work at Fort
Edward, Fort William Henry, etc. It's loaded with fascinating
stuff -- being attracted to the offbeat as I am, the things
that caught my eye were the photographs of some skeletons
of soldiers and colonials found at Fort William Henry --
some with musket balls buried in the bones, skulls with
scalping marks and tomahawk wounds, some with shreds of
uniforms around them -- and remnants of lice found in
the uniform buttons! The author mentions that very few
pieces of clothing were found with the skeletons -- clothing
was in short supply in those days, so people were usually
buried naked. He references an eyewitness account of the
aftermath of the masscre at Ft. William Henry:

"The fort was entirely demolished; the barracks, out-
houses, and buildings were a heap of ruins; the cannon,
stores, boats and vessels were all carried away. The
fires were still burning, the the smoke and stench
offensive and suffocating. Inumerable fragments, human
skulls and bones and carcasses half consumed, were still
frying and broiling in the decaying fires. Dead bodies,
mangled with scalping knives and tomahawks in all
the wantoness of Indian fierceness and barbarity, were
everywhere to be seen. More than one hundred women,
butchered and shockingly mangled, lay upon the ground,
still weltering in their gore. Devastation, barbarity,
and horror everywhere appeared, and the spectacle
presented was too diabolical and awful either to be
endured or described." So said Major Israel Putnam,
and in spite of what he said he did a damned fine job
of describing it, I think.

One last gory tidbit -- an unexploded mortar shell was
discovered inside the ruins, and embedded on the surface
was a human scalp with black hair -- suggesting that on
impact it had peeled the scalp from one of the defenders
of the fort. History is so very dull and boring, ain't it?

Doc M

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