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Michigan CHAPTER Nine

Final Success of the English

Leaving Colonel Haldimand with a considerable force at Oswego to protect his line of march he pushed on to Niagara which he reached early in July. The fort at Niagara, which occupied the site of the present fort, was well constructed. It was garrisoned by six hundred men under Captain Pouchot and was well supplied with provisions and munitions. When Pouchot learned of the approach of the English he sent a messenger to summon to his relief the French and their allies who had escaped from Duquesne, and who had congregated at Presque Isle under the command of Aubry. These numbered about one thousand one hundred regulars, and two hundred Indians, together with a considerable number of militia from Detroit and coureurs de bois from the upper lake region. The relieving party was intercepted before reaching the fort by a large force of Indians under Sir William Johnson, and after a sharp engagement was put to rout. Nearly all the officers were killed or captured. The men fled to their boats and going on up Lake Erie finally made good their escape to Detroit. The English continued to bombard Fort Niagara. During the first day's engagement Prideaux was instantly killed by the premature discharge of a cannon, and the command devolved upon Sir William Johnson. Pouchot seeing that his case was hopeless after the defeat and capture of his reinforcements was forced to surrender. The men were sent as prisoners of war to New York. The capture of this stronghold by the English put into their hands also Detroit, Michilimackinac and all the lake posts, and narrowed the French dominions materially. While these things were going on in the west Wolfe was operating at Quebec and to him was due the bril-. liant success of the war. He had under his command eight thousand men, chiefly British regulars. The fleet under Admiral Saunders comprised twenty-two ships of the line and an equal number of frigates and armed vessels.

Michigan


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