The War Chief of the Ottawas : A chronicle of the Pontiac war eBook

Thomas Guthrie Marquis
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about The War Chief of the Ottawas .
to retreat to Fort Schlosser.  It was not until November that another attempt was made to send troops and provisions to Detroit.  Early in this month Wilkins once more set out from Fort Schlosser, this time with forty-six bateaux heavily laden with troops, provisions, and ammunition.  While they were in Lake Erie there arose one of the sudden storms so prevalent on the Great Lakes in autumn.  Instead of creeping along the shore, the bateaux were in mid-lake, and before a landing could be made the gale was on them in all its fury.  There was a wild race for land; but the choppy, turbulent sea beat upon the boats, of which some were swamped and the crews plunged into the chilly waters.  They were opposite a forbidding shore, called by Wilkins Long Beach, but there was no time to look for a harbour.  An attempt was made to land, with disastrous results.  In all sixteen boats were sunk; three officers, four sergeants, and sixty-three privates were drowned.  The thirty bateaux brought ashore were in a sinking condition; half the provisions were lost and the remainder water-soaked.  The journey to Detroit was out of the question.  The few provisions saved would not last the remnant of Wilkins’s own soldiers for a month, and the ammunition was almost entirely lost.  Even if they succeeded in arriving safely at Detroit, they would only be an added burden to Gladwyn; and so, sick at heart from failure and the loss of comrades, the survivors beat their way back to the Niagara.

A week or two later a messenger arrived at Fort Detroit bearing news of the disaster.  The scarcity of provisions at Detroit was such that Gladwyn decided to reduce his garrison.  Keeping about two hundred men in the fort, he sent the rest to Niagara.  Then the force remaining at Detroit braced themselves to endure a hard, lonely winter.  Theirs was not a pleasant lot.  Never was garrison duty enjoyable during winter in the northern parts of North America, but in previous winters at Detroit the friendly intercourse between the soldiers and the settlers had made the season not unbearable.  Now, so many of the French had been sympathizers with the besieging Indians, and, indeed, active in aiding them, that the old relations could not be resumed.  So, during this winter of 1763-64, the garrison for the most part held aloof from the French settlers, and performed their weary round of military duties, longing for spring and the sight of a relieving force.

CHAPTER VIII

WINDING UP THE INDIAN WAR

Amherst was weary of America.  Early in the summer of 1763 he had asked to be relieved of his command; but it was not until October that General Thomas Gage, then in charge of the government of Montreal, was appointed to succeed him, and not until November 17, the day after Gage arrived in New York, that Amherst sailed for England.

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The War Chief of the Ottawas : A chronicle of the Pontiac war from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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