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Michigan Chapter Seven

Dangers Which Surrounded the New Settlements

The invaders came on in large numbers early in May, 1712, and encamped just outside the fort. Their arrival was entirely unexpected. The Hurons and Ottawas had not yet returned from their annual hunting expeditions and so their villages were practically deserted. The fort was in no condition to withstand a siege. There were but thirty men in the garrison. Many of the supplies were stored outside the fort; especially was this true of the grain and it was rescued and carried within the fort with great difficulty and labor. The church and storehouse outside the palisades but so near as to endanger the same if set on fire were destroyed by order of Dubuisson, the commandant. Frequent rallies were made by the besiegers with threats to burn the whole establishment.
A courier was sent post haste to notify the absent Hurons and Ottawas and persuade them to hurry their return. The garrison was kept in a constant state of anxiety and alarm by the assaults of the savages. The cabin of an Ottawa near the gate of the fort was fired and great exertions were necessary to save the spreading of the flames to the fort itself. Dubuisson in making report of the affair says that on the 13th of May, while impatiently awaiting the return of the friendly Hurons Mr. DeVincennes arrived from the Miami country with seven or eight Frenchmen. Not long thereafter he had advices that the Hurons and Ottawas had arrived and were in a state of great indignation against the invading savages. The commandant through Mr. De Vincennes undertook to arrange a settlement of the affair without bloodshed. But this did not prove to be feasible. Continuing his report the commandant says: "I then closed the gates of the fort and divided my few Frenchmen into four brigades, each having its brigadier. I inspected their arms and ammunition, and assigned them their stations on the bastions. I put four of them into the redoubt I had just constructed.

Michigan


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