Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review of Fort William Henry 1755-1757 by Ian Castle

Ian Castle's Fort William Henry 1755-1757, published by Osprey Publishing was an anticipated Christmas present.  Here, I will review it.

Topic: This book covers three major campaigns in the Lake George area during the French and Indian War.  Johnson's march to capture Fort Sainte-Frederic and the resulting Battle of Lake George are first.  Then the winter raid by the French to capture the newly-constructed Fort William-Henry in early 1757 is covered.  The third campaign is the successful siege and capture of Fort William-Henry in 1757, as well as the resulting massacre.

Writing: The author's style is clear and easy to follow, yet without leaving off important points of information for the sake of brevity.

Paintings: All of Osprey Publishing's books include specially commissioned paintings taking up a whole page (two for a battle scene).  Fort William Henry has four!  These cover (chronologically) the French firing line at the Battle of Lake George 1755, the British garrison watching as the French burn a sloop outside the fort in March 1757, the French (and an Indian) firing a cannon in the August siege, and the pursuit of Englishmen during the massacre.  All paintings are very well done by Michael McNally.

Illustrations: Every Osprey book also has a plethora of illustrations in the text.  Many of these illustrations are photographs of reenactors.  While some reenactor photographs are not historically accurate (for example, too many men wearing spectacles or tourists in the background), these are some of the best I have seen.  The other illustrations are excellent as well.

Final Analysis: A well-written book that is also a feast for the eyes.  Definitely recommended if you have even a casual interest in this period.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seven Years War in India from Cassell's History of India

 All pictures from Cassell's Illustrated History of India available here:  These pictures begin with Robert Clive storming the Indian fort of Arcot to relieve the siege of Conjeveram.  Clive then defended Arcot against the Nabob's army.
 Arcot proved Clive as a soldier, but Plassey was the greatest victory of Robert Clive.  With 3,000 soldiers (and some negotiations with an aspirant to the throne), he defeated the Nabob of Bengal's army of 50,000.
 But the French East India Company sent a fleet and army out to India.  This picture illustrates the naval Battle of Pondicherry.
 This picture illustrates the British storming the fortress of Masulipatam, though the British stormed many fortified positions similar to this one.
Finally, the troops of the French East India Company were trapped and besieged in Pondicherry.  Here four French commissioners come to the British to ask to surrender.  The Third Carnatic War (or the Seven Years' War in India) broke French power and raised the East India Company to governing much of India.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Friar Roubaud and the William Henry Massacre 1757

A French officer informed me that a Huron at that very time in the camp, had in his possession an infant of six months whose death was certain if I did not immediately hasten to its rescue. ...The result was, that the infant should be given to me, if I would deliver to him in return the scalp of an enemy. ..."Well, there is the infant, carry it away, it belongs to you."...I arrived at the for, and at the sound of its feeble cries all the women ran towards me.  Each one flattered herself with the hope of recovering the object of her maternal tenderness.  They eagerly examined it, but neither the eyes nor the heart of any one recognized in it her child. ...I was absorbed in my reflections when I saw an English officer pass who happened to be well acquainted with the French language.  I addressed him therefore in a firm tone: "Sir, I have just ransomed this young infant from slavery, but it will not escape death, unless you direct some one of these women to take the place of its mother, and nurse it, until I shall be able to provide for it otherwise."...With that he spoke to the English women.  One of them offered to render it this service, if I would be willing to answer for her life and that of her husband, to charge myself with their support, and to see that they were conveyed to Boston from Montreal. I immediately accepted the proposition...

I was about quitting the fort, when the father of the infant was found, wounded by the bursting of a bomb, and utterly unable to succor himself.  He could not therefore put acquiesce with pleasure in the arrangements I had made for the security of his child, and I departed, accompanied by my English...  I cannot undertake to portray to you faithfully the new occurrence which here crowned my enterprise, for it is one of those events which a person flatters himself in vain with the hope of presenting true to nature.  We had scarcely reached the entrance of the camp, when a shrill and animated cry suddenly struck my ears.  Was it a cry of grief? or was it of joy?  It was all this, and much more, for it was that of the mother, who from a distance had recognized her child, so keen are the eyes of maternal love.  She ran with a precipitation which showed that this was indeed her child.  She snatched it from the arms of the English woman with an eagerness which seemed as if she feared that some one might a second time deprive her of it.  It is easy to imagine to what transports of joy she abandoned herself, particularly when she was assured of the life and the freedom of her husband, to whom she though that he had bid a final adieu."--pp. 183-185, Early Jesuit Missions in North America (read here:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Liberty Day 2014

For several years our family has attended Liberty Day in central Illinois.  Liberty Day is a celebration of Patrick Henry's famous "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" speech.  Check it out (and watch the award-winning trailer) at  Hoping to see you at Liberty Day 2014!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Thought on the New Year

"And yet ye cannot tell what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and afterward vanisheth away."--James 4:14

God has been so good to give us all the year of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.  But we must remember that our life is passing away and that we must "the night cometh when no man can work." (John 9:4) God has given us today--let's work for Him!

Painting "Life is like a Sundial" by Laslett John Pott.