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Subject: [NEW-HAMPSHIRE-L] Rogers' Rangers 1757 Part 3
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 18:16:20 EDT


Rogers' Rangers 1757
Source: The History of Rogers' Rangers, Vol I, The Beginnings by B. G.
Loescher,
1946 Part 3

p.123

There were also 350 Regulars at Ticonderoga and 600 at Crown Point. More
troops were
expected in a short time at Ticonderoga to attack Fort William Henry in the
Spring.
Since they had large magazines of provisions and the Canadians and Indians
were well
equipped and ready to march at a moments notice, Rogers concluded that they
would turn
out to pursue him. Now the Ranger chieftan had a problem on his hands. If
he crossed
the lake and returned by way of Wood Creek he would surely be seen by the
French at
Ticonderoga and a trap would be set for them. Yet he dared not wait until
nightfall
to do so, for this would give the enemy time to gather in force both from
Ticonderoga
and Crown Point. No, he could not wait for darkness and be caught in the
middle.
Despite the opposition of some of his officers he had only one other course
open and
that was to return by the same way he came in the hope that he could slip
pass Ticond-
eroga.

This settled, Rogers ordered the detachment to march as quickly as possible
to their last
night's encampment and rekindle the coals of the fires and dry their guns.
All morning it
had been raining, soaking the Rangers guns and rendering them useless for a
possible en-
gagement. While drying their muskets, Rogers ordered Sergeant Walker, who
had charge of
prisoners - to kill them if the Rangers were attacked, so that none of them
could escape
and inform the French of their strength.


p.124

Inhuman though this seems, Rogers was in an extremely difficult position and
was using
every method to insure the safe return of his men. After drying their
muskets and
swallowing a hasty snack the Rangers wrapped their blanket-coats about them
with their
muskets and powder carried beneath them to keep them dry. They set out on
the return
march, in single file order, as they had come. Rogers, with Lieut. Kennedy,
took the
front; Capt. Speakman the center; and Lieut Stark and Ensign Brewer in the
rear.

Ensigns Caleb Page and James Rogers were between the front and rear; the
rear-guard
and the prisoners were under the command of Sergeant Walter.

Meanwhile, Major De Rouilly, retreating precipately to Ticonderoga with his
sleigh
caravan, dispatched a soldier on horseback to inform De Lusignan at
Ticonderoga, of
Rogers' capture. De Lusignan, upon being informed that Rogers had attacked
from the
west, wisely surmised that he would return through the mountains west of
Ticonderoga.
Accordingly he dispatched one hundred men, including Indians, Regulars, and
Canadian
Volunteers, under the command of Captains De Basserode, of the La Reine
Regiment, and
La Granville, of the La Reine Regiment to intercept them. Subordinate
officers were
Lieutenant Dastrel of the Languedoc Regiment and Ensign Langlade, a Colonial
officer.

p.126

Five Cadets, anxious to distinguish themselves, volunteered and joined the
expedition.
Capt. De Basserode, the senior office, commanded the expedition. So anxious
were they
to intercept Rogers that they hurriedly filed out of Ticonderoga with only a
few rounds
of ammunition and very few supplies. Lusignan, however in the next half hour
loaded ten
men with ammunition and supplies and they were sent to join Basserode.
Basserode's
Canadian and Indian scouts located Rogers' column about two in the afternoon
three miles
northwest of Ticonderoga.

As the Rangers route of march would bring them across a ravine about fifteen
rods in
breadth between two steep hills with the small frozen winter remnant of La
Barbue Creek
running down the center of the ravine; Basserode deployed his one hundred and
thirteen
men in a crescent shape among the trees and bushes bordering the crest of the
gully,
which took a turn at this point.

After leaving the campfires, Rogers endeavored to keep off the rising ground.
He
tried to follow a route through the ravines separating the hills so that his
party
would not be seen. As Basserode's ravine was the natural route to follow
without
revealing themselves on the surface - consequently, Rogers' Rangers fell into
Basser-
odes trap. Shortly after two in the afternoon about a mile and a half from
the start
of their march the Rangers descended the ravine. Basserode allowed Rogers
and twelve
others to almost reach the ambushed summit of the ravine, when he opened fire
on the
front of Rogers column.

p.127

Speakman was crossing La Barbue Creek on the floor of the ravine and Stark's
and Brewer's
rear column on the opposite hill from Rogers had not descended into the
ravine. Fortu-
nately, half of the one hundred and fourteen muskets fired at Rogers Rangers
missed fire
due to the rain. Nevertheless, the barrage was deadly enough and it was only
because
of the extended order of Rogers' march that they did not suffer more in this
first fire.

Several Rangers were wounded and Lieut. Kennedy of Speakman's Company and
Gardiner, the
volunteer from Rogers' own company were killed. Rogers was leading the
column and he only
escaped death by a miracle. As it was he received a glancing shot across the
forehead.
He wiped the blood from his eyes and shouted the order to fall back across
the ravine to
Stark's column on the other hill. Accentuating his orders, the enemy poured
forth from
their ambuscade and charged down into the ravine with bayonets set. They
burst forth in
a crescent shape and it is a miracle that Rogers' and Speakman's columns were
not completely
cut off from Stark in the rear and destroyed. As it was, they were badly cut
up. By the
time that Rogers' battered advance column fell back unto Capt. Speakman's
center the enemy
were upon them in a crescent of stabbing, shouting, exultant foe. There were
French
Regulars of the seasoned Royal Rousillon, La Reine and Languedoc Regiments;
Troupes de la
Colonie, the veteran French Colonial Regulars of New France; French Canadians
in their
buckskin attire; and intermixed with the, Indians, in all their hideous paint
and grimaces.

To be continued Part 4 p. 128
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth


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