The French had scarcely gone, when two English scouts, Thomas Harris and James Conner, came with a party of Indians to the scene of desolation. The ground was strewn with broken casks and bread sodden with rain. The remains of burnt bateaux and whaleboats were scattered along the shore. The great stone trading-house in the old fort was a smoking ruin; Fort Rascal was still burning on the neighboring hill; Fort Ontario was a mass of ashes and charred logs, and by it stood two poles on which were written words which the visitors did not understand. They went back to Fort Johnson with their story; and Oswego reverted for a time to the bears, foxes, and wolves.
[Footnote 434: On the capture of Oswego, the authorities examined have been very numerous, and only the best need be named. Livre d’Ordres, Campagne de 1756, contains all orders from headquarters. Memoires pour servir d’Instruction a M. le Marquis de Montcalm, 21 Juillet; 1756, signe Vaudreuil. Bougainville, Journal. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 15 Juin, 1756 (designs against Oswego). Ibid., 13 Aout, 1755. Ibid., 30 Aout. Pouchot, I. 67-81. Relation de la Prise des Forts de Chouaguen. Bigot au Ministre, 3 Sept. 1756 Journal du Siege de Chouaguen. Precis des Evenements, 1756. Montcalm au Ministre, 20 Juillet, 1756. Ibid., 28 Aout, 1756. Desandrouins a——, meme date. Montcalm a sa Femme, 30 Aout. Translations of several of the above papers, along with others less important, will be found in N.Y. Col. Docs., X., and Doc. Hist. N.Y., I.
State of Facts relating to the Loss of Oswego, in London Magazine for 1757, p. 14. Correspondence of Shirley. Correspondence of Loudon. Littlehales to Loudon, 30 Aug. 1756. Hardy to Lords of Trade, 5 Sept. 1756. Conduct of Major-General Shirley briefly stated. Declaration of some Soldiers of Shirley’s Regiment, in N.Y. Col. Docs., VII. 126. Letter from an officer present, in Boston Evening Post of 16 May, 1757. The published plans and drawings of Oswego at this time are very inexact.]
Shirley’s grand scheme for cutting New France in twain had come to wreck. There was an element of boyishness in him. He made bold plans without weighing too closely his means of executing them. The year’s campaign would in all likelihood have succeeded if he could have acted promptly; if he had had ready to his hand a well-trained and well-officered force, furnished with material of war and means of transportation, and prepared to move as soon as the streams and lakes of New York were open, while those of Canada were still sealed with ice. But timely action was out of his power. The army that should have moved in April was not ready to move till August. Of the nine discordant semi-republics whom he asked