“Sworn before me T. POWNALL.”
Chapter 20. Ticonderoga
The French accounts of the battle at Ticonderoga are very numerous, and consist of letters and despatches of Montcalm, Levis, Bougainville, Doreil, and other officers, besides several anonymous narratives, one of which was printed in pamphlet form at the time. Translations of many of them may be found in N.Y. Colonial Documents, X. There are, however, various others preserved in the archives of the War and Marine Departments at Paris which have not seen the light. I have carefully examined and collated them all. The English accounts are by no means so numerous or so minute. Among those not already cited, may be mentioned a letter of Colonel Woolsey of the New York provincials, and two letters from British officers written just after the battle and enclosed in a letter from Alexander Colden to Major Halkett, 17 July. (Bouquet and Haldimand Papers.)
The French greatly exaggerated the force of the English and their losses in the battle. They place the former at from twenty thousand to thirty-one thousand, and the latter at from four thousand to six thousand. Prisoners taken at the end of the battle told them that the English had lost four thousand,—a statement which they readily accepted, though the prisoners could have known little more about the matter than they themselves. And these figures were easily magnified. The number of dead lying before the lines is variously given at from eight hundred to three thousand. Montcalm himself, who was somewhat elated by his victory, gives this last number in one of his letters, though he elsewhere says two thousand; while Levis, in his Journal de la Guerre, says “about eight hundred.” The truth is that no pains were taken to ascertain the exact number, which, by the English returns, was a little above five hundred, the total of killed, wounded, and missing being nineteen hundred and forty-four. A friend of Knox, writing to him from Fort Edward three weeks after the battle, gives a tabular statement which shows nineteen hundred and fifty in all, or six more than the official report. As the name of every officer killed or wounded, with the corps to which he belonged, was published at the time (London Magazine, 1758), it is extremely unlikely that the official return was falsified. Abercromby’s letter to Pitt, of July 12, says that he retreated “with the loss of four hundred and sixty-four regulars killed, twenty-nine missing eleven hundred and seventeen wounded; and eighty-seven provincials killed, eight missing, and two hundred and thirty-nine wounded, officers of both included.” In a letter to Viscount Barrington, of the same date (Public Record Office), Abercromby encloses a full detail of losses, regiment by regiment and company by company, being a total of nineteen hundred and forty-five. Several of the French writers state correctly that about fourteen thousand men (including reserves) were engaged in the attacks; but they add erroneously that there were thirteen thousand more at the Falls. In fact there was only a small provincial regiment left there, and a battalion of the New York regiment, under Colonel Woolsey, at the landing.