As the two generals lay helpless on their litters, several redskins entered the tent and scowled upon the recumbent Dieskau. ’These fellows have been regarding me with a look not indicative of much compassion,’ said the French commander. ‘Anything else!’ answered Johnson, ’for they wished to oblige me to deliver you into their hands in order to burn you, in revenge for the death of their comrades and of their chiefs who have been slain in the battle.’ Then he added: ’Feel no uneasiness; you are safe with me.’
This affair at Lake George was only an opening battle in the Seven Years’ War between France and England which was waged in three continents and closed in America with the fall of Montreal in 1760. For his victory over Dieskau William Johnson was made a baronet, and thus became Sir William Johnson. He continued to offer his services until the war ended; and during the memorable campaign of 1759, while Wolfe and Amherst were operating in the east, he was sent with Brigadier Prideaux to effect, if possible, the capture of Fort Niagara. The expedition ascended the Mohawk in June, crossed over to Oswego, and thence followed the south shore of Lake Ontario to its destination. The French fort stood at the mouth of the Niagara where it enters Lake Ontario, and was under the command of Captain Pouchot. No sooner had this officer heard of the English approach than he sent to Presqu’Ile and other points in the west asking that reinforcements should be dispatched with all haste for his relief.
The English investing army consisted of twenty-three hundred regulars and provincials, together with nine hundred Indians from the tribes of the Six Nations. At the very outset Prideaux was accidentally killed by the premature bursting of a shell from a coehorn and Johnson had to take command. Acting with vigour he prosecuted the siege until July 24, when firing in the distance told that help for the besieged would soon be at hand. Straightway Johnson selected one-third of his men and marched to meet the relieving force, which was led by Captain D’Aubrey and comprised eleven hundred French and several hundred redskins from the western tribes. The conflict which ensued was short but desperate. The Six Nations, posted on the flanks of the English line, fought valiantly, and, largely owing to their valour, the French were put to rout. On the same day Pouchot capitulated. By this success the chain of French forts stretching from the St Lawrence to Louisiana was snapped near the middle. Although Brant’s deeds have not been recorded, it is stated on good authority that he was with Sir William Johnson on this occasion and that he bore himself with marked distinction.
SCHOOLDAYS AND AFTER