[Footnote 386: Relation de M. Duchat, Capitaine au Regiment de Languedoc, ecrite au Camp de Carillon, 15 Juillet, 1756.]
Meanwhile, at the head of Lake George, the raw bands of ever-active New England were mustering for the fray.
When, at the end of the last year, Shirley returned from his bootless Oswego campaign, he called a council of war at New York and laid before it his scheme for the next summer’s operations. It was a comprehensive one: to master Lake Ontario by an overpowering naval force and seize the French forts upon it, Niagara, Frontenac, and Toronto; attack Ticonderoga and Crown Point on the one hand, and Fort Duquesne on the other, and at the same time perplex and divide the enemy by an inroad down the Chaudiere upon the settlements about Quebec. The council approved the scheme; but to execute it the provinces must raise at least sixteen thousand men. This they refused to do. Pennsylvania and Virginia would take no active part, and were content with defending themselves. The attack on Fort Duquesne was therefore abandoned, as was also the diversion towards Quebec. The New England colonies were discouraged by Johnson’s failure to take Crown Point, doubtful of the military abilities of Shirley, and embarrassed by the debts of the last campaign; but when they learned that Parliament would grant a sum of money in partial compensation for their former sacrifices, they plunged into new debts without hesitation, and raised more men than the General had asked; though, with their usual jealousy, they provided that their soldiers should be employed for no other purpose than the attack on Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Shirley chose John Winslow to command them, and gave him a commission to that effect; while he, to clinch his authority, asked and obtained supplementary commissions from every government that gave men to the expedition. For the movement against the fort of Lake Ontario, which Shirley meant to command in person, he had the remains of his own and Pepperell’s regiments, the two shattered battalions brought over by Braddock, the “Jersey Blues,” four provincial companies from North Carolina, and the four King’s companies of New York. His first care was to recruit their ranks and raise them to their full complement; which, when effected, would bring them up to the insufficient strength of about forty-four hundred men.