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When Worlds Collide:
The Fate of Canadian and French Prisoners Taken at Fort Niagara, 1759

The treatment of French and Canadian captives taken in the battle of La Belle Famille and the consequent surrender of Fort Niagara, in July 1759, reveals the interplay of Amerindian, Canadian, British colonial, and British military values. The Iroquois negotiated separately with Sir William Johnson, the shape-shifting commander of the victors, to keep a number of prisoners taken in battle and destined for adoption or sacrifice. The British colonies of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut initially received all the other prisoners from the surrendered garrison, and promptly hired them out to earn their keep. The British Army belatedly applied that they could of the humane new Anglo-French Convention of Sluis, calling for very different treatment of prisoners. The results were bizarre in several respects and, though occurring after years of bloody frontier war, were surprisingly humane even concerning Canadian troupes de la marine officers who were notorious for what would now be called “human rights violations.”


Le traitement des Français et des Canadiens capturés pendant la bataille de La Belle Famille et la capitulation conséquente de Fort Niagara en juillet 1759 révèlent l’action réciproque des valeurs des Amérindiens, des Canadiens, des colons britanniques et des soldats britanniques. Les Iroquois négocièrent séparément avec Sir William Johnson, le commandant des vainqueurs, pour garder un certain nombre de prisonniers capturés pendant la bataille et destinés à être adoptés ou sacrifiés. Les colonies britanniques de New York, du New Jersey et du Connecticut reçurent initialement tous les autres prisonniers des garnisons qui avaient capitulé et les engagèrent aussitôt à différents endroits pour qu’ils gagnent leur pitance. L’armée britannique appliqua tardivement la nouvelle Convention anglo-française humanitaire de Sluis, réclamant un traitement très différent des prisonniers. Les résultats furent bizarres sur plusieurs plans mais, bien s’ils se produirent après plusieurs années d’une guerre frontalière sanglante, ils se révélèrent assez humanitaires, même en ce qui concerne les officiers des troupes canadiennes de la marine qui étaient reconnus pour ce qu’on appelle maintenant la « violation des droits de la personne ».

The collision of Aboriginal, colonial, and imperial value systems was seldom displayed as clearly and fatefully as in the taking and treating of captives. In 1759, five years into a ferocious borderland war, a relief force from the Allegheny Valley consisting of 200 Canadian and Illinois troupes de la marine, 400 Detroit militia, and about 1,000 Amerindian allies were defeated in the Battle of La Belle Famille, and thus failed to relieve besieged Fort Niagara. Some survivors of the battle became prisoners of war, as did the garrison after its formal [End Page 9] surrender the next day. Their victorious opponents were a very mixed force as well, numbering about 945 Iroquois, 720 New York troops, and 2,200 British regulars. This hybrid army included an explosive mix of incompatible conventions concerning the taking and treatment of prisoners,1 aggravated by a war in which some 7,000 had been killed or captured, and in which perceived atrocities included the slaughter of the wounded after both Braddock's defeat and the surrender at Oswego, and the killing of paroled prisoners at Fort William Henry, New York, in 1757.2

The treatment of prisoners captured at Niagara in July 1759 evolved through three distinct and revealing phases, beginning immediately after the battle when Sir William Johnson, the Irish-born frontier trader who had become both a Mohawk chief and a British baronet, was in command of the victors. Once the prisoners were moved to New York, locally born Lieutenant-Governor James De Lancey supervised their treatment, offering a unique opportunity to learn how British colonials treated their captives, about which very little is known compared with the extensive literature on colonial Americans captured by Amerindians and Canadians.3 The third phase for the Niagara prisoners was marked by the efforts of Captain Anthony Wheelock, who was appointed commissary for prisoners by General Jeffrey Amherst, British commander-in-chief in North America, and was instructed to apply the very latest European conventions concerning prisoners of war.

On the morning of 24 July, the arriving Allegheny relief force, led by veteran troupes de la marine Captain François Marie Le Marchand de Ligneris, soon signalled that European martial conventions could not be presumed. A working party of 11 Royal Americans was attacked and most of them were killed and scalped; their corpses were dismembered, and body parts were mounted on stakes positioned to intimidate their living comrades. This occurred after almost all Amerindians on both sides had secretly agreed to withdraw from the action, at least temporarily, and were mere witnesses to a white man's fight.4 In the main action later that morning, Ligneris's force failed to fight its way through a well-positioned detachment of 500 British and New York regulars at La Belle Famille.

After decisive volleys of disciplined musket fire, the victors granted quarter to some of the defeated, including the mortally wounded Ligneris, his fellow commander Captain Charles Philippe Aubry leading the Illinois contingent of troupes de la marine, and marine cadet Pierre Hertel de Montcour. Montcour's fate displays the vulnerability of those who surrender in battle, where survival depended on many independent judgements. A close friend of Montcour, an unnamed Six Nations warrior with the British forces, saw Montcour among the captured and "to prevent them from making you suffer," reportedly killed him [End Page 10] with a single tomahawk blow (Pouchot 1994, 232). Amerindian warriors did not grant or expect quarter, and those still with Ligneris immediately fled as the outcome of the battle became apparent. It is not clear whether Canadian militia and troupes de la marine thought they were included in the grant of quarter; most were soon fleeing the Iroquois who suddenly rejoined the British and New York regulars in a pursuit that lasted five or six miles.

One British officer reported that the Six Nations "took many scalps, tho' I don't hear that they behaved with great Inhumanity to the Prisoners."5 Another witness saw the same scene rather differently. As soon as they sensed that the French were losing, the Iroquois:

fell on them like so many Butchers, with their Tomahawks and Long Knives, hooping and shouting, as if Heaven and Earth were coming together, and kill'd Abundance of the Enemy;.… Whether the barbarities at Fort William Henry and Ohio, has influenced any of our Troops to encourage the Savages is uncertain; but sure it is, thatmost of the French that came from Venango are Encouragers of such Cruelties, and I hope at this Time they have Satisfaction.

(Pennsylvania Gazette 1759)

Although not present, General Amherst wrote proudly that after the barbaric treatment of the Royal American detachment "One would have thought it would be difficult … to have Stopt the Men from following the Example, but I am assured they did not hurt a Man that was Prisoner." Amherst and Captain Charles Lee, who was present and offered a similar reflection, were not referring to the behaviour of Mohawk and Oneida, but to the British and New York regiments (J. Amherst 1759j; New York Historical Society 1872, 20-22). No doubt the vital issue for those fleeing the battlefield was how to become a prisoner. An Iroquois who killed an enemy quickly, and took his scalp, could immediately chase another, but taking a prisoner effectively ended participation in the fight. Did veteran Canadian frontiersmen know the words and gestures that led to successful surrender to Iroquois warriors? Iroquois warriors chasing fleeing Canadians knew that chiefs were more valued than braves, and that trophy captives had previously been prized by their adopted Sir William Johnson. This did not save Jesuit Claude-François-Louis Virot, who was among those killed in the retreat (Thwaites 1900, 70: 251; Hunter 1960, 119; True 1900, 13-14). At least 116 of approximately 600 men with Ligneris were captured by Iroquois or regulars, and some 250 were killed.6 Amerindians, colonials, and regulars, as well as military historians, all regarded the slaughter of fleeing enemies as an expected conclusion to a decisive battle; there were no accusations of "massacre" at La Belle Famille. [End Page 11]

Johnson recovered and protected 19 Canadian officers, including an unspecified number who were turned over "stark naked" by the Iroquois. These 19 were a roster of famous, even notorious, Canadian raiders, including Coulon de Villiers, Legardeur de Repentigny, Marin de La Malgue, Testard de Montigny, Douville de Quindre, Niverville de Montisambert, and Marchand de La Chauvignerie (W. Johnson 1759; 1921-65, 3: 109; Wheelock 1759b).7 These Canadians had led guerilla forces that routinely violated conventions of European war, including prohibitions against ambushing, capturing, torturing, and killing civilians. "Partisans" who behaved similarly in European warfare were summarily shot upon capture (Duffy 1987, 277).8

After the battle and the surrender of Fort Niagara the next day, Johnson held separate negotiations with his Iroquois allies, apportioning them 96 prisoners and some 150 scalps. As both superintendent of Indian Affairs and commander of the victorious, he was determined to limit French influence in Iroquoian villages and therefore wanted to recover all captured troupes de la marine officers. As a recently minted baronet, he also followed European military and social convention, displaying a special regard for French officers and cadets held by the Iroquois. Johnson knew that the Iroquois were very reluctant to give up prisoners and needed captives to replace their dead; they had lost at least three warriors and five had been wounded during the three-week siege. He recorded, "The officers I with difficulty released from them [the Iroquois], by ransom, good words, &c." It is not recorded whether his "&c." included trading captured men of lower ranks for the last of the surviving officers (W. Johnson 1921-65, 13: 115).9 Johnson's military and social concern for rank meshed well with his diplomatic concern as superintendent of Indian Affairs.

The Iroquois were well rewarded for their modest losses in the siege and their belated intervention in the battle. They had more than 150 scalps, some ransom payment, and plenty of prisoners who might be adopted to replace recently deceased members of families. Colonial newspapers reported that the Mohawk had insisted upon their share of those captured at La Belle Famille, but next to nothing is known of the identity or fate of these prisoners. There were initial rumours that "Those that were taken in the wood fight near Niagara are still there among our Indians, with above 300 scalps, and are also to come down [to New York City]" (New York Mercury 1759; Pennsylvania Gazette 1759).10 Five of those taken away by the Iroquois eventually escaped after nearly two years in captivity, only to become British prisoners of war (Duncan 1761; J. Amherst 1761c). New France's soldiers and administrators made no claims of betrayal or massacre in the battle or in the inevitable Iroquois celebrations at the return of their warriors and captives. Without newspapers or a pamphlet press, New France was [End Page 12] also without surviving captivity narratives from this period.11 Fully 25 years later, a prominent US legation, including James Madison and the Marquis de Lafayette, discovered that one of their "Oneida" bearers spoke French remarkably well. He was Nicholas Jordan, born in Longpré-les-Corps-Saint, a French village on the Somme. He mentioned that he and a number of other Frenchmen had come into Oneida hands during the Seven Years' War. He claimed that all the others in his group were burned at the stake, but that he was saved and married by a sachem's widowed daughter, whose dowry included European scalps. There is no way to confirm his tale, which sounds like an anachronistic stereotype improved by his listeners to fit a new European romanticism. Jordan may well have been a survivor of the Niagara campaign of 1759; the Oneida are not known to have been in any other engagements in which they would have acquired a group of French captives. Jordan was certainly not the only Frenchman later found living among the Oneida, which was the only Iroquois tribe to be strongly anti-British during the American Revolution.12

William Johnson had another role at Niagara, that of commander of a British army that successfully completed the conventional European-style siege. Commandant and Captain Pierre Pouchot, having long served with the Béarn Regiment of France's troupes de terre, negotiated as best he could with Johnson's aide Captain William Hervey, an aristocratic English senior captain (Moogk 1974, 3: 534-37; Pouchot 1994, 8-31, 226n).13 Although the duration of the negotiations is disputed, Johnson at one point issued what was becoming a frequent threat in such North American sieges, that he might not be able to restrain the Indians if negotiations were not soon concluded.

The capitulation document was short, humane, and conventionally European. Deep in the American interior and without a fleet, Johnson could not send the prisoners directly to England as Amherst had done with the Louisbourg garrison who surrendered a year earlier. Knowing something of the marine captains he had captured, Johnson was not about to send the Niagara captives to Canada for exchange, as Lieutenant-Colonel John Bradstreet had done to the hapless Fort Frontenac garrison the previous August. Pouchot had not been able to gain the full "honours of war," which would have paroled his entire garrison in return for their promise not to fight for a specified period. No column of parolees would leave for their own nearest fort, as had proven such a provocation to Amerindians at Fort William Henry two years earlier. Although no specific mention was made of the La Belle Famille prisoners, and none of the surviving officers from the battle signed the surrender, tacit inclusion of them may have helped to make full parole impossible. In addition, two famous marine officers captured in Fort Niagara itself were particular prizes, the Joncaire brothers [End Page 13] Daniel-Marie and Philippe-Thomas. The Joncaire family had been New France's premiere Iroquois diplomats for 60 years, and Johnson had earlier fulminated against "Jean Coeur," and put a price on his head.14 The defeated would be escorted into captivity by the victors, who were returning to Albany.

Prisoners were allowed their personal baggage and, after a ceremonial military march to the British batteaux "with drums beating, and match lighted at both ends, and a small piece of cannon," all went as prisoners of war. The sick and wounded would be cared for at the fort, protected from the Amerindians, and sent under guard to join the rest of the prisoners when recovered. Memories of Fort William Henry, as well as the fate of the Royal American patrol the previous day, may have encouraged negotiators to include three separate clauses that emphasized protection from Amerindians.15 An exact list of all soldiers and their units was to be created, though that proved impossible, and civilian employees of the French crown were to be treated like the military. The Amerindians in the fort, including some Seneca, had been allowed to talk with fellow Iroquois besiegers during an earlier ceasefire; they were now free to go where they pleased, but advised to go "as privately as possible." Although Amerindian diplomacy had been decisive, they were considered outside the separate Europeans' surrender agreement.

Captured women and children would be escorted to Canada, unless wives chose to go with their husbands. Twenty-six women and children from the fort, plus one male servant and the Recollet chaplain, were escorted under a flag of truce from Oswego to an island outpost at the entrance to the St. Lawrence River.16 One of the dozen women who chose to keep their families together by going into captivity with their husbands soon found her family unexpectedly torn apart. She had been a British soldier's wife taken prisoner in Braddock's defeat, where she believed her husband had been killed. A French subaltern had married her, perhaps after paying a ransom, and the couple and their young son were in Fort Niagara when it fell. As this family was marched through the streets of Albany on 12 August, the woman was recognized by her first husband. As the Pennsylvania Gazette concluded the story,

He immediately demanded her, and after some Struggles of Tenderness for her French Husband, she left him, and closed again with her First: Tho' it is said the French Husband insisted on keeping the Child, as his Property, which was consented to by the Wife and First Husband.


By European convention, prisoners of war could honourably seek to escape and, upon gaining freedom, both avenge their capture and regain their eligibility for military promotion; if recaptured, such prisoners were not to be punished for their attempt. Nine Niagara prisoners escaped while being conveyed from [End Page 14] Oswego to Schenectady: five of these reached Montreal, but four were recaptured. Jean-François, Chevalier de Larminat, a marine lieutenant since his arrival in New France in 1757, escaped near Fort Herkimer with two Canadian private soldiers and a civilian commissary. They became entirely lost in the woods and were recaptured about 12 days later near Fort Edward. Pouchot called Larminat "a rash young man" but, because he had personally signed the Niagara capitulation, General Amherst initially denounced him as deserving a deserter's death. On reviewing Larminat's explanation and plea for clemency, Amherst relented and included him in the first major prisoner exchange four months later.18

As the Niagara garrison went into captivity, a few of its soldiers were recruited into the British army, a practice increasingly regarded as dubious. Pouchot had sought to protect prisoners from being pressured into desertion or recruitment into the British army, but this clause had not been accepted by Johnson (Pouchot 1994, 100, 227-29).19 At least 10 Germans from the Niagara garrison, some of whom had recently mutinied, joined their countrymen in the multinational Royal Americans even before their fellow prisoners left Oswego. Amherst tolerated this practice and also allowed captured German Protestants to seek civilian livelihoods in the British colonies, or even to serve as unarmed teamsters for the British army (Pouchet 1994, 223, 228n). The recruiting of prisoners virtually stopped, however, once Amherst appointed Wheelock as commissary. The usually deferential Wheelock told Amherst frankly, "I cannot promise to be active in persuading People to do what I shou'd disapprove in My Self, & may have terrible Consequences to them if taken" (Wheelock 1759b).

Sir William Johnson had deftly segregated and satisfied both Amerindian and European conventions. Despite angry memories of Braddock's defeat and Fort William Henry, and of the gruesome mutilation of fellow soldiers on the morning of 24 July, British and New York troops gave quarter to partisans at La Belle Famille and tacitly admitted them to the terms of the surrender of Fort Niagara the following day. Johnson had gone beyond European convention in taking the frontier fighters as prisoners, and in paying their Iroquois captors in cash, goods, and scalps. He violated European convention by including women and children in the terms, but they were not considered legitimate prizes or formal prisoners, as they often were by North Americans on either side of frontier warfare.

As the Niagara prisoners reached Schenectady, New York, they were counted more carefully. By then some, including Ligneris, had died of their wounds, at least 10 had been recruited into the British Army, nine had escaped, eight more had drowned along with several New York soldiers when their batteau "split" in the Mohawk River, most of the women had returned to Canada, and one mother had changed sides. There remained 587 prisoners, including 34 civilian [End Page 15] males, plus 11 women and their children. They would later be joined by 15 wounded prisoners, supporting the estimate that about 634 French and Canadian prisoners were brought down the Hudson River to New York City late that summer, to the care of an apprehensive Lieutenant-Governor De Lancey (Wheelock 1759a; New-York Gazette 1759).20

Decisions on placement and treatment of the Niagara prisoners were made by New York's governor before he saw the capitulation terms. He had supervised a much smaller group of prisoners taken at Ticonderoga the previous summer,21 and those prisoners had been quartered with Long Islanders who were paid four New York shillings per week to maintain each of their enemy guests; however, De Lancey found that the more numerous Niagara prisoners required more complex arrangements. He invited non-French prisoners who were Protestant, and who did not want to return to French service, to take his certificates allowing them to earn a livelihood in the southern portions of the labour-short New York colony. De Lancey also sent 200 of the captured men of lower ranks to New Jersey and the same number to Connecticut, where they were immediately available for hire (Wheelock 1759a, 1759b; Boston News-Letter 1759). Magistrates there were avoiding local public expenses that might not be recoverable and obviating the need to call up reluctant militiamen to guard numerous prisoners held in inadequate jails. Amherst reluctantly acquiesced to De Lancey's dispersal of the Niagara prisoners, though he would have preferred to keep them together near the port, under the control of their own officers, provisioned by the British military, and ready for speedy embarkation in the event of an anticipated exchange.

Before the end of August, 100 prisoners had arrived in Fairfield, Connecticut, and a similar number were farther down the coastal road to New Haven. Despite initial reports that most of these prisoners demanded prisoners' rights, refused to work, and preferred to be subsisted in jail, only about 30 of them were in jail throughout their captivity. Wheelock later found that some prisoners were working in Connecticut for eight New York pence a day, low wages for employers who also expected some additional official payment. A Connecticut sergeant who had participated in the capture of Niagara returned home to Milford, midway between Fairfield and New Haven, to find "Maney of the Prisners I had Bin so Indutres in Captering ware Billeated in the town. I Past the winter among them" (Boston Gazette 1759; Severence 1917, 2: 363; Pond 1907, 93).22

While little is known of individual Niagara prisoners held in Connecticut, Vanskelly Mully was the revealing exception. A year after capture this Canadian marine still had the freedom, leisure, and resources to drink half a pint of rum for breakfast and then walk some distance, intent on celebrating the birthday of a fellow prisoner. Along the way he met 10-year-old Amy Beecher and sexually assaulted her. Amy's father reported the offense immediately and, within a few [End Page 16] days, Mully became the first white man in the colony in 67 years to be found guilty of rape. This outsider was to be hanged early in November, and the British army did not intervene on behalf of its prisoner. When alerting Amherst, Wheelock commented dryly, "There's no doubt but a Man must richly deserve it who is Condemned in New England, but I thought it right to acquaint Your Excellency in Case you shou'd have any Orders on that Subject" (Wheelock 1760d). Amherst did not: "The French Prisoner Condemned for a Rape in Connecticut must Undergo the Sentence of the Law [;] the same would doubtless have happened to any of Ours that should have been convicted of the like crime in Canada" (J. Amherst 1760f). Mully himself petitioned the Connecticut General Assembly to commute the sentence, and his amanuensis reported that Mully knew nothing of the Bible, could not read nor write,23 and had been "ignorant of the Law of God and Man." The Connecticut legislature investigated the case of this "poor prisoner," and learned that Amy Beecher had previously exaggerated similar incidents, that she had shown no signs of distress after this event, and that her parents and neighbours now believed that the sexual assault did not include rape "but Supposed that he fumbled ther abouts till he sattisfied him Self." Amy's father now urged that the sentence be reduced, but include banishment. Mully's revised sentence was to stand on the gallows for an hour with a rope around his neck, receive 39 lashes, have an unoffending ear cut off and, much less painfully, be banished from Connecticut (Dayton 1995, 245, 252, 254-56).

More can be learned of the conditions of prisoners in New Jersey than in either Connecticut or New York. Lutheran clergyman and linguist Henry Melchior Muhlenberg passed through New Jersey when the Niagara prisoners had been there less than a month. Muhlenberg found that his taverner in Morristown "got along very badly" with the two Niagara prisoners who were working for him, "because neither was able to understand the other." A few days later he visited a Lutheran elder who also had two Niagara prisoners working for him. Muhlenberg asked one of them, an "infantryman" from Quebec, "How do you like being among the English settlers?" and received the reply, "Very well; we make a better living here than we did in Canada." To the more challenging question, "Do they treat our prisoners in Canada as kindly as we treat you?" Muhlenberg received only a shrug of the shoulders (Muhlenberg 1942, 1: 413-14).24

Twenty-four men of the troupes de la marine and 14 Canadian militiamen came into the custody of Sheriff Job Stockton of Somerset County, New Jersey, whose careful records indicate a wide variety of treatment. Stockton sent three additional captives back to New York very quickly, for unspecified reasons, and three of his troupes de la marine spent most of their captivity in jail, evidently after some infraction. Prisoners were hired from jail, on terms that varied [End Page 17] greatly, by local householders, all of whom promised Stockton "to Provoid with Cloths & meat Drink Washing and lodging," to report any absences or attempts to escape, and to return their prisoner upon demand. Bilingual militiaman André Normandeau, who stayed on as Stockton's clerk for nearly a year after the other Canadian militiamen were exchanged, was well paid at six shillings a week in addition to four shillings billeting money and free room and board. Some prisoners worked for four shillings per week or simply for room and board, and three-quarters of Stockton's prisoners worked for householders at least part of the time. Soon after these local arrangements were made, the British army began paying a billeting allowance of four shillings per week to the landlord or jailor of each prisoner; some landlords, like Stockton, passed the billeting money on to the prisoners, but others did not. Nicholas Golden was the only landlord to refuse the billeting allowance for marine Nicholas Le Coeur, who "has lived with me one month and workt. for his Victuals So I make no Dammand of his provision money."25 Only one of these marines, Pierre François Benard, had his wife and two children with him in accordance with the capitulation; he and his family were given three full billeting allowances and evidently lived on that through their year and a quarter of captivity. Bernard Tiebout was the only one on Stockton's lists to join the English forces, which he did after seven months with the same custodian in Somerset County; Stockton knew of four other German prisoners recruited by British forces. Seven months after the first prisoners arrived in New Jersey, complaints and confusion led Wheelock to publish, in French, a telling set of regulations on prisoners' work, specifying a minimum wage of six shillings a week for manual labour; weekly accounting and pay; and prior agreement on prices if wages were paid in stockings, shoes, or clothing. The subsistence money would be paid only if the working prisoners continued to live with their registered landlords.26

De Lancey displayed colonial understandings of captivity, but he had followed European conventions in treating captive officers as a different species from their troops. He separated the captured officers, took their paroles of honour not to attempt escape, then advanced each captain $50 (circa 200 New York shillings) towards private accommodation for themselves and their subalterns on Long Island. He was, however, very nervous about the Canadian officers "being great Partisans and Chief Leaders of the Indians," and wanted them held more safely in Massachusetts (De Lancey 1759b). While he had allowed those paroled French regular officers "who chose to have no Connections with the Canadians" to be billetted close together, he dispersed the Canadian officers around eastern Long Island and insisted that they were to stay within a half mile of their lodgings unless accompanied by a justice of the peace.27 De Lancey was not [End Page 18] convinced by Amherst's assurance that any officer's parole should be security enough, and those who broke parole could be hanged (De Lancey 1759a; J. Amherst 1759b). De Lancey re-emphasized, "my Apprehensions Arise from some of the Canadian Officers having been bred almost like Couriers [sic] de Bois, and having lived much among the Indians, so that the Woods, Swamps, and Mountains throughout the Country, are familiar to them." He made sure that the Canadian officers heard of the recapture of Lieutenant Larminat, but he was a recent arrival from France and his example neither reassured De Lancey nor intimidated other marine officers (De Lancey 1759d; 1759c). Predictably, De Lancey ordered local magistrates and justices to establish and enforce a daily curfew, to limit the range of movement for all French prisoners of war, and to jail all who "behave disorderly, or prove refractory" for as long as the magistrate thought fit. Any prisoner travelling without a written permit from a magistrate was to be apprehended and jailed. With the French and Canadian officers on Long Island particularly in mind, De Lancey warned that anyone conveying a prisoner by water without written permission would suffer "the utmost Rigour of the Law" (New York Gazette 1759).

The British army's supervision of the Niagara prisoners began only after De Lancey had already completed initial arrangements. Amherst learned that the new Anglo-French convention, or cartel, signed in February 1759 in the ancient Netherlands town of Sluis (then Sluys or Écluse) was to be applied globally, and required scrupulous accounting.28 Each monarch agreed to pay for the maintenance of his own captured soldiers, but only if agreed standards of treatment were maintained. All prisoners currently held were to be exchanged or ransomed within a month of the signing, and all those captured subsequently were to be returned within 15 days. Exchange or ransom was to be strictly according to rank, as specified in elaborate tables. Non-combatant administrative, postal, and hospital staff, chaplains, and personal servants were not to be taken prisoner at all. The cartel also specified living conditions for all prisoners, who were not to be made to work for their subsistence. They were to have good lodgings and fresh straw every eight days. They were to get the same bread rations as active soldiers, plus a specified daily pay and an opportunity to buy victuals if a commissary was not providing the same. Loans to captive officers would, like all the other charges, be repaid by the prisoners' own army. Prisoners were not to be pressured to enlist with their captors, and were to be allowed to send an open letter home reporting their situation. The wounded and sick were to be cared for by surgeons, provided appropriate medicines, and returned when well enough via the nearest safe route. These humane conditions were to be monitored by a monthly exchange of accounts and prompt payment of balances due. [End Page 19]

Amherst now appointed and instructed the able, trusted, and fully bilingual Captain Anthony Wheelock as commissary of prisoners. Amherst ordered Wheelock to ensure that every French prisoner held in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut "reap all the advantages" of the Sluis convention, and that receipts be kept for all expenditures so as to prevent difficulties in settling accounts later. Amherst pledged Wheelock "powers and Money to Answer the good Intent and Meaning of said Treaty," inviting him to show his instructions to governors in order to gain access to the prisoners at any time and "to See that these Prisoners, agreeable to the Treaty, are kept in proper Wholesome Places" (J. Amherst 1759b; 1759f). Amherst here displayed none of his legendary parsimony, though Wheelock already understood his superior's concern for the "public purse." All receipts were to be in triplicate, and death certificates were needed for any prisoners who might die. Wheelock was held personally responsible for all expenditures, was to operate without any financial deputies, and was given an initial warrant for £1,000 sterling. Wheelock's instructions were certainly drafted with an eye to negotiators of eventual exchanges or peace, and to governors and colonial legislators whom Wheelock was permitted to approach in Amherst's name.

Whatever Amherst or Wheelock intended, they were operating under conditions already created by De Lancey in ignorance of both the Niagara surrender terms and the cartel of Sluis. Amherst and Wheelock presumed that a complete list of the prisoners could be prepared promptly, but the prisoners had been dispersed without taking their names, and Wheelock rightly despaired of ever reconstructing a complete list. Amherst and Wheelock expected to use the captured officers to distribute monies, provide names, and help keep order, but De Lancey had separated the officers from their men. Amherst and Wheelock presumed that the prisoners of war would not work for their subsistence, but prisoners were already doing so in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

As Wheelock worked to apply the generous terms of the cartel, the privileges of captive officers increased. They were to be advanced "Whatever other Moneys these Officers shall think requisite for their own Maintenance and the providing of themselves and the Men with any Necessaries they may have occasion for." Having signed their personal parole of honour, French officers taken in the Niagara garrison, except Larminat who remained in jail for two months, lived at Jamaica, Long Island, in each other's company and able to pay market prices for lodging and food on unlimited credit backed by the British army, and ultimately the French government. Although unhappy at being forbidden to go to New York City without special permission, they expressed contentment with their quarters [End Page 20] and seem to have been well treated (Wheelock 1759a; Pouchot 1995, 233-34). In accordance with De Lancey's orders the captured marine officers and the French regular officers who associated with them were scattered on the east end of Long Island. There were signs that they were also very well treated. For instance, the Joncaire brothers and their son-in-law, captured in Iroquoia in June, spent their captivity together in the village of Brookhaven. Captured officers were also able to send and receive Canadian mails carried under flags of truce across Lake Champlain. Indeed, two bags of coins were sent from Montreal to captive officers in New York in the care of Colonel Peter Schuyler, a magnanimous New Jersey officer returning from his captivity in Canada. Amherst even had a strong box made to secure this money on its journey south from Crown Point (J. Amherst 1759h).

There would be great concern later about the outrageous personal debts accumulated by two of the most notorious Canadian marine captains taken at La Belle Famille, Joseph Marin de la Malgue and Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny. In the course of 14 months of captivity, these two celebrated "partisans" were advanced a total of $1,600 each, or 26 times the billeting afforded men of lower ranks. Although Wheelock had asked Amherst to limit the amount these officers without troops might borrow, Amherst insisted on the letter of the cartel. When Wheelock and his French counterpart, Captain Louis de Preissac de Bonneau of the Guyenne regiment, attempted to settle the financial accounts, both were certain that the French court would never repay such exorbitant accounts, and they sought to reduce them to a more acceptable $600, or 10 times the billeting allowed the non-commissioned men (Taillemite 1979, 4: 642). The elaborate solution involved bills of exchange sent earlier from Canada to Colonel Schuyler, on his promise to provide captive French and Canadian officers whatever else they might need. He had been given bills of exchange drawn by English captives in Canada who had borrowed money there on the promise that named relatives or partners would provide that amount in New York, New Hampshire, or London. The captive French and Canadian officers had never needed the funds entrusted to Schuyler. Wheelock, Bonneau, and Amherst all wanted Marin and Repentigny to accept these bills and claim less from the French government, but they refused. Despite Amherst's general concern that Canadian marine officers could learn vital military information by travelling between Albany and Montreal, he allowed St. Luc de La Corne, a prominent Canadian marine officer with strong illegal fur-trade connections in Albany and the man who had made the earlier arrangements with Schuyler, to visit New York City from Canada and settle the extravagant captains' accounts (Wheelock 1760f, 1760g; J. Amherst 1760f; 1761a).29 [End Page 21]

One case of remembered and reported kindness was reciprocated by Amherst and Wheelock. The returning Colonel Schuyler and Captain William Martin reported to Amherst that a Mons. Rousseau, a clerk taken at Niagara, had earlier been very kind to British prisoners at Quebec. Personal generosity to prisoners of war took courage, risking derision, accusations of disloyalty, or worse. Amherst allowed Rousseau to spend his captivity at the home of one of Schuyler's friends in New Jersey. Wheelock intervened later to have Rousseau paroled rather than exchanged, a ploy that let him return to his wife and family instead of being pressed into service immediately upon returning to Canada (J. Amherst 1759i).

From the beginning, the living arrangements for the lower ranks had been in clear violation of the convention of Sluis. These prisoners had been scattered throughout smaller centres, and some were hired out for their subsistence (Boston News-Letter 1759; Wheelock 1759a). The Sluis convention specified that "One penny and twenty three fortieths of a Penny English" be spent on subsistence per day per prisoner. Realizing that these terms presumed that prisoners were held close together in "antient Settled Country" and subsisted by contractors, Amherst had Wheelock approach senior captured officers, who agreed to a subsistence rate for their men of four pence sterling per day per prisoner.30 In trying to rationalize the various arrangements already in place, Wheelock knew that anything that required the prisoners to work for their subsistence would cause trouble with both the prisoners and the accountants. Although the current arrangement was cheaper for the British army, neither the colonists nor the prisoners could be required to continue it. Wheelock was uncomfortable about the inconsistencies and told Amherst that any savings on provision money

appears rather an indirect Tax on the Prisoners or Country People than a saving of any Money really belonging to the Publick. The Money paid the Prisoners here is no more than a Loan to the French King which must be repaid to your Excellency immediately on an exchange of Prisoners.

Amherst accepted this, arguing that those already in jail or billetted with inhabitants could not go out to work, and would be allowed one-half dollar a week for subsistence, payable to their landlords. Prisoners who had received formal permission from De Lancey to work were no longer regarded as prisoners of war, and received no provision money at all (Wheelock 1759c; J. Amherst 1759g). When Lieutenant Honoré Dubois de La Milletière of the Languedoc Regiment went to join the men of lower ranks who were prisoners at New Haven that winter, he reported that they were content and grateful for their treatment (Dubois 1760). [End Page 22]

There is no evidence that any of those taken at Niagara died in captivity in the British colonies, but Vanskelly Mully was not the only one who came close. An unnamed prisoner claimed that, while lame and marching at the end of a column of prisoners near Hamstead, New York, he was hit with a musket-butt in the back and knocked down by a corporal of the escorting 55th regiment. The corporal and another soldier then hit him about 30 times with their muskets and left him for dead after stealing his purse containing more than six weeks' worth of subsistence money. The soldiers were subsequently tried by a regimental court martial and acquitted. In January 1760, Wheelock wrote Amherst, ostensibly to apologize for failing to put the complaint of this illiterate French prisoner into writing and for failing to question the use of a regimental court martial to try his attackers, though Amherst himself had decided on that course of action. Although Wheelock stated that the charges were exaggerated and that the regimental officers judged the case on the available evidence, he remained troubled. These were capital charges of attempted murder, and should have been heard by a general court martial "or perhaps … it belonged to the Civil Jurisdiction." Wheelock feared that the tale, with embellishments, would circulate among the prisoners and he would have nothing with which to counter exaggerations. Deferentially accusing himself for "a False Modesty & Diffidence" for not expressing his sentiments earlier, rather than blaming Amherst as he might have done, Wheelock suggested that the case could still be retried as involving capital offenses "not being properly cognizable before a regimental Court Martial" (Wheelock 1760a).31 There is no evidence that Amherst reopened the matter.

The captivity of the Niagara prisoners had varied widely. The brief Niagara capitulation specified little about treatment and was honoured concerning immediate safeguards against pillage, repatriation of women and children, and the treatment of civilians. The capitulation was violated in separating men from officers and in failing to create a definitive list of captives, neither of which affected treatment adversely except perhaps for the isolation of some marine officers. The belated attempt to follow the cartel of Sluis had proven more difficult. Captive officers had been well treated. Soldiers had been afforded better subsistence than the cartel specified, and foods had likely been better than the standard rations for soldiers on campaign. Most of the soldiers had evidently worked, in addition to receiving their subsistence, on terms that also varied widely. There was some recruiting of prisoners, in violation of the cartel but not of the Niagara surrender terms. [End Page 23]

The return of prisoners was a final test of the military conventions of their captors, and Amherst negotiated the first return of Niagara captives with Canadian-born governor, former troupes de la marine officer, and chief advocate of guerilla warfare in Louisiana and Canada, Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil. Given Canadian fortunes in the 1759 campaign and a provisions shortage, Vaudreuil was anxious to recover his captured officers, and he promised to abide by the Convention of Sluis. Amherst, despite a massive British manpower advantage that should have made him reluctant, responded favourably. There was predictable debate over the status of various colonial officer ranks not specified in the cartel; Vaudreuil unwisely overpriced his Canadian troupes de la marine officers as equal to regulars, though Amherst was increasingly resistant to exchanging these people anyway (New York Mercury 1759; Vaudreuil 1759c, 1759a, 1759b; J. Amherst 1759e). While all the French regular officers of the Niagara garrison were in the initial exchange, only two of the six marine officers were included, the luckless Larminat and Daniel-Marie Joncaire. The return of the latter, which Amherst would regret, was not likely an oversight but a reciprocity because he "has been very humane to many Englishmen, having purchased several of them from the Savages" after Major James Grant's disastrous raid on Fort Duquesne a year earlier.32 Wheelock asked Amherst to include Michel Pépin, called La Force, the highly regarded wilderness linguist and diplomat who had been held in a Virginia jail for five years after the pre-war Jumonville affair of 1754. La Force now styled himself a "Captain of Provincials" without a company, and Wheelock noted, "he must be something or other & having been so long Prisoner & being at Jamaica [Long Island] I cou'd not avoid sending him up." Amherst did not agree then, or three months later, and La Force would never return to Canada (Wheelock 1759e; J. Amherst 1760a).33 In this imitation of the cartel's "initial exchange" Vaudreuil sent 270 prisoners: 69 civilians, 48 colonial soldiers, 90 British regulars and 47 rangers, plus 16 officers. Wheelock assembled 211 people, including a careful match for the officers, and a total of 53 French regulars, 35 marines, 107 Canadian militia, and various others, including two women.34

Amherst had not anticipated Vaudreuil's inclusion of 69 civilian captives, 31 of whom were women; only five of these had been attached to English military units.35 Amherst regarded all these as outside the convention, and had told Wheelock, "If there are any French Women or Children among the Prisoners that you can readily get at, You will bring them with you" (J. Amherst 1759h; 1759d). Vaudreuil was returning civilians taken at places as far apart as Nova Scotia and Virginia; many of these had been ransomed from Amerindians by the Canadian government or by individual Canadians, and had then worked for at least two years to repay that ransom. During intercolonial wars, such [End Page 24] repayment of ransom did not bring repatriation, as these people then became prisoners of war who possessed potentially damaging information. Vaudreuil considered the return of these captives, at least four of whom had not been held long enough to have repaid their ransom, as a generous concession to be matched by the British (New York Mercury 1755).36 In differing ways, civilians were being treated as prisoners of war by both sides. The British had agreed, at Pouchot's request, to give Niagara civilians the protection and subsistence afforded prisoners of war, though they were not counted in exchanges.

For all the Niagara garrison officers, the majority of the Canadian militiamen, and 88 of the "serjeants, corporals, drums & Privates" of the regulars and marines in the captured garrison at Niagara, captivity had lasted only a season; they were back in Canada for Christmas and eligible to participate fully in what would be the climactic 1760 campaign in defence of Canada. The cartel had been invoked, belatedly, as the standard against which treatment was measured, though this was only the mandated "initial exchange," and the full provisions of the cartel were to take effect thereafter. Deliberate improvement of the subsistence rate recognized that the cartel was made in Europe, not America, and the table of ranks did not include rangers, troupes de la marine, or civilian captives. The cartel's speedy timetable for the exchange of prisoners had been tacitly ignored as impractical in North America. The cartel had limited British recruitment among the Niagara prisoners, without entirely preventing it. This initial exchange rightly postponed any official accounting for the subsistence of all and the generous credit extended to some. Neither side pretended that the number of prisoners exchanged in November 1759 had approached the cartel's requirement that all prisoners held were to be exchanged or ransomed in the initial exchange. The cartel had been influential, but it could not be implemented in its entirety.

The fall of Canada on 8 September 1760 fundamentally altered the terms of captivity, eliminated the exchange value of many Canadians then in captivity, and aborted what had been careful negotiations between Wheelock and the personable Bonneau, who had been captured at Ticonderoga in 1758, exchanged in 1759, and now returned bringing 10 British officers captured in the battle of St. Foy, plus 94 soldiers and 21 other English prisoners. News of the capitulation of Canada arrived in New York just as Bonneau was about to return with 204 French and Canadian prisoners (Vaudreuil 1760; Bonneau 1760; J. Amherst 1760b, 1760c; Wheelock 1760b). The Montreal garrison, and all garrisons capitulating as a consequence of this surrender, were to be prisoners who could not serve again during the entire war; these hard terms were imposed by Amherst as punishment for "a series of bad behaviour in the French during the present war in the country, in setting on the Indians to commit the most shocking cruelties" [End Page 25] (W. Amherst 1927, 68). The Montreal surrender also specified that the regulars and troupes de la marine taken there were to be sent to France in British vessels. The last two articles of the capitulation ordered that "All the officers and soldiers of the troops in the service of France" already captured in Canada and held prisoner in "New England" were to be sent directly back to France, ransomed, or exchanged "agreeable to the cartel." Such prisoners who were officers and had personal business in Canada were to have leave to go there first, and captive Canadian militia and their officers were to be sent home.

Amherst developed a new approach, telling Wheelock that any prisoner held in the British colonies was expensive, because the already burdensome costs of his subsistence and any potential for ransom or exchange was now forfeit. Between 9 September and the end of 1760 Wheelock spent about £5,500 sterling to clear accounts so prisoners could be moved, and fully £2,100 of that was to settle officers' accounts (Wheelock 1760c, 1760d; 1760e, 1760h, 1760j, 1760k; J. Amherst 1760c, 1760d, 1760e) . The king of France would pay accumulated subsistence only for soldiers returned, and Canadian militiamen might no longer be his subjects. Amherst freed the militiamen to live in the English colonies, or sent them home promptly (J. Amherst 1760d, 1760e; New York Mercury 1760; Pouchot 1994, 319-20n). Within a month of the surrender of Canada, at least seven prisoners held in New Jersey were "carried off by a Fellow who pretended to be a Sergeant of the Royal Americans & enlisted them (he said) for that Regiment." Instead they had been tricked into boarding Philadelphia ships bound for the French West Indies under a "flag of truce." English colonial merchantmen routinely used the return of a single French prisoner as an excuse to avoid naval or privateering interference with their profitable illegal Caribbean trade with the French islands (Fitch 1920, 2: 109-10).

Troupes de la marine had been fortunate in being taken prisoner at all and were well treated in captivity, but they were much less fortunate in repatriation. Marines could not be discharged unless they had taken the oath of allegiance before the fall of Canada.37 Amherst insisted that previously captured troupes de la marine, including those taken at La Belle Famille and Fort Niagara, were to be sent to France. Although he had allowed 38 non-commissioned marines to be exchanged in 1759, only one was exchanged in North America after the conquest of Canada. Wheelock made several efforts to soften this policy for those with families in Canada, arguing that they would desert in the British colonies rather than go to an alien France, they were willing to pay or work off their subsistence and ransom bills (in accordance with traditional Canadian practice), or that individual hardship cases deserved to be treated as exceptions. For the elder Joncaire brother, then 53, Wheelock wrote, "as far as appears to me Monsr. [End Page 26] Joncaire is an elderly man has lived long among the Indians, has a large Family & Nothing but his Pensions to live on—for he has no Company, only the Rank of Captain—Was formerly an Active Man but is now infirm and I hear grown devout." Wheelock went on to write of Boucher de Niverville de Montisambert, taken at La Belle Famille: "Monsr. Montizimbert a Lieutenant is much in the same situation with regard to his family—his children are at Detroit. His wife (an Englishwoman whom with his sister he bought of the Indians) is near Montreal" (Wheelock 1760g). Amherst uniformly refused to grant permissions for these officers to go to Canada even temporarily to settle affairs, citing fairness to the regular officers, promises made in the capitulation, and fear that these soldiers could return to active service after exchange and that they would glean military information while travelling overland to Canada. Amherst also required that troupes de la marine officers "Such as Monsr. Marin, Monsr. Repentigny &ca. continue to all Intents & purposes Prisoners of War, and Must give their Paroles of Honor not to serve during the Continuance, or untill they are Exchanged at home" (J. Amherst 1760f). Wheelock's fear that an estimated 55 of his prisoners would desert was eventually more than justified; his secretary recalled that, of 625 prisoners on the books at the end of 1760, fully 121 "remained in this country voluntarily" (Stevens et al. 1941, 133).38

Some 504 French regulars and troupes de la marine, including La Force, Marin, Repentigny, and the elder Joncaire, sailed for France in the James and the Boscawen at the end of 1760. After a stormy voyage to La Havre, the French regulars were immediately sent to rejoin their regiments. The marines of lower ranks, who had been recruited in France, were discharged, and each given eight months' back pay and "thirty francs to take him home." None of the marine officers, most of whom were Canadians, returned home before the end of the war, though two went to Louisiana and two were captured aboard French warships carrying troops intending to invade Newfoundland in 1762. Amherst's purpose had been fulfilled, with more civility than might have been expected.39

Only one marine, Jean-Baptiste Duclou, emerges briefly to "command" the last dozen Canadian prisoners returning overland from New York to Canada in August of 1761. He had been a volunteer from Illinois colony, taken with Aubry's unit at La Belle Famille; Wheelock was uncomfortable about giving command to an illiterate who "has very little the Appearance of a Gentleman" but gave him $5 extra for his trip.40 His party included eight returning Canadian militiamen plus a Madame L'Oyseau and her two children, who were not prisoners. Madame L'Oyseau was a Canadian caught in the 1755 deportation of Acadians, and she had made her way north from South Carolina. While identified Acadians seeking to pass for Canadians were stopped, the L'Oyseaus were [End Page 27] allowed to return after giving proof that they were Canadian and their family in Canada could take care of them.

Initially, the fate of the Niagara captives and prisoners depended upon contingencies, as well as the values of the victorious and their leaders. Although Johnson can easily be overrated as a military commander, his interventions were central to the fate of captives; he was an effective broker who treated the Amerindians as allies, not auxiliaries, in separate but parallel diplomacy. Although Amerindians had not read the ransom tables of the Sluis convention, they had come to value renowned military captives more highly than their scalps. Once Johnson had accepted the Canadian officers as prisoners, Amherst and De Lancey saw that they were treated as captured officers, even if Amherst ensured that he would not fight them again. The differences between what happened at Fort William Henry and at Niagara need not be seen as evolutionary; the aftermath of battle had yielded many scalps and prisoners for the Iroquois at Niagara. More humane results, however, were likely with someone like the shape-shifting Johnson in immediate command and "honourable" Europeans like Amherst and Wheelock overseeing the consequences. Betrayal had been more likely at Fort William Henry in 1757 with the conventional European, Montcalm, in immediate command and the experienced Canadian frontier commander, Vaudreuil, in charge of rectifying treatment he had not found personally offensive.

The story of the Niagara prisoners reveals that British colonial treatment of captive soldiers could be analogous to Canadian, despite the spirit of vengeance promoted by British colonial newspapers' accounts of the war's frontier atrocities. Prisoners were not segregated from their host community, but worked to support themselves and sometimes "converted" by changing armies, marrying captors, and refusing repatriation after the conquest of Canada made them fellow subjects. The Niagara surrender had also included, and protected, three categories of prisoners familiar in the colonies but not recognized by the cartel of Sluis: partisans, civilian employees, and women who chose to join their men in captivity.

The Convention of Sluis could not be fully implemented after De Lancey had dispersed the Niagara prisoners, but Amherst had been surprisingly supportive of Wheelock's industrious efforts to ameliorate the captivity of prisoners, including those who did not share the convention's values. Although the surrender terms had not precluded the recruitment of prisoners, the cartel eventually limited the recruitment of French and Canadians, and even of German mercenaries. The relative abundance of food in the English colonies and the financial support of the British army, which presumed reciprocity and repayment in the cartel's final [End Page 28] accounting, improved the living conditions of most prisoners, and especially the Canadian officers. Despite conscientious British military efforts to implement the cartel of Sluis, the treatment of the Niagara prisoners demonstrated the persistence of some distinctively Amerindian and colonial aspects of capture and captivity.

Ian K. Steele
University of Western Ontario
Ian K. Steele

Ian K. Steele, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, is author of a number of books, including: Warpaths: Invasions of North America (1994); Betrayals: Fort William Henry and the “Massacre” (1990, 1993); The English Atlantic 1675-1740: An Exploration of Communication and Community (l986); and Politics of Colonial Policy: The Board of Trade in Colonial Administration 1696-1720 (1968). This essay is part of his current research on the treatment of prisoners and captives in North America between 1745 and 1765.


1. For the broader context, see Geoffrey Best, Humanity in Warfare: the Modern History of the International Law of Armed Conflicts (1983); John Childs, Armies and Warfare in Europe, 1648-1789 (1982, 1-27); James Turner Johnson, Ideology, Reason, and the Limitation of War. Religious and Secular Concepts, 1200-1740 (1975); Michael Howard, George Andreopoulos, and Mark Shulman eds., The Laws of War: Constraints on Warfare in the Western World (1994); Ian K. Steele, “Surrendering Rites: Prisoners on Colonial North American Frontiers” (1998, 137-57).

2. The author has provisionally documented 3,596 killed or taken in Allegheny country alone, between 1 January 1742 and 23 July 1759. Of these, 78% were killed immediately or within a week of capture. Also see Ian K. Steele, Betrayals: Fort William Henry and the “Massacre” (1993).

3. Studies of particular interest include Linda Colley, Captives (2002); John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America (1994); Kathryn Z. DerounianStodola and James A. Levernier, The Indian Captivity Narrative, 1550-1900 (1993); Gary L. Ebersole, Captured by Texts: Puritan to Postmodern Images of Indian Captivity (1995); June Namias, White Captives: Gender and Ethnicity on the American Frontier (1992).

4. See, for example, Captain Charles Lee’s letter to Bunbury on 9 August, (New York Historical Society 1872, 20-22); Pierre Pouchot, Memoirs of the Late War in North America Between France and England (1994, 219); Captain James De Lancey in Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State Of New York (O’Callaghan and Fernow 1856 7:402); Frank A.Severance, An Old Frontier of France: The Niagara Region and Adjacent Lakes under French Control (1917, 2:312); and Henry True, Journal and Letters of Rev. Henry True (1900, 13-14). The few Amerindians who had stayed to support Ligneris, including Osages and Ojibwa, also lost at least six people, straining their relations with the Six Nations for years (Gist 1956, 302; Severance 1917, 2:343).

5. See Richard Huck-Saunders’s letter to Loudoun on 4 August (Huck-Saunders 1759). On French casualties see Pouchot (1994, 232, 232n).

6. As will be detailed below, 96 were apportioned to the Iroquois, and 19 named Canadian officers went with Johnson’s force to Albany and New York. While numerous men of lower rank with the troupes de la marine and the Canadian militia are identified, only Jean-Baptiste Duclou was certainly at La Belle Famille and could not have been with the garrison in surrender (Barthélemy Macarty Mactigue to Louis Billouard de Kerlérec de Kervasegan, 30 August 1759. Fonds des colonies, series C13 [End Page 29] A, 41, fol.103. Archives Nationales, Paris, France; “List of wounded and captured officers.” Haldimand Papers, British Library, Additional Manuscripts 21687, fol. 12 British Library, London, UK; Pouchot 1994, 232, 232n; Johnson 1921-65, 13:121; Dunnigan (1986, 102-105). Amherst was told that 160 prisoners plus 17 officers were taken at La Belle Famille. (Amherst 1931, 152). Battles varied greatly and records are unreliable, but general comparisons remain interesting. In Braddock’s defeat the ratio of captured to killed was 1:39 (14 captured/539 killed); at Grant’s raid on Fort Duquesne 1:7.6 (34/258); at La Belle Famille 1:2.2 (116/250).

7. Captain François Coulon de Villiers (1712-94) was victor at Fort Granville and brother of Louis and of Jumonville (Eccles 1979, 4:177-78). For Pierre Jean Baptiste Francois Xavier Legardeur de Repentigny (1719-76), see Cyr (1979, 4:448-49); for Joseph Marin de La Malgue, fils, (1719-74), see Chaput (1979, 4:512-14); Jean-Baptiste-Philippe Testard de Montigny (1724-86), see Armour (1979, 4:733-34). Colonel Louis-Cesaire Dagneau Douville de Quindre (1704-67) and his brother Major Guillame Dagneau Douville de Lamothe led the Detroit militia contingent (Chaput 1974, 3:158-59). On lieutenants Boucher de Niverville de Montisambert and Michel Maray de La Chauvignerie, see Dunnigan (1986, 103).

8. In The Gentleman’s Compleat Military Dictionary, reprinted in Boston in 1759, a partisan is described simply as “a Person who is very dexterous in commanding a Party, and knows the Country very well: he is employed in surprising the Enemies Convoys, or in getting intelligence.”

9. The ransom money for an unspecified number of the officers was £160.00 (Johnson 1921-65, 3:174). Jean-Baptiste Philipe Testard de Montigny was sold to Johnson (Armour 1979, 4:733). Johnson had turned French soldiers over to the Iroquois, to help cover their dead, after the battle of Lake George in 1755. (Steele 1993, 54).

10. The New-York Gazette, in comparison, on 27 August 1759 claimed, “Our Indians at Niagara took near 500 scalps, and almost as many Prisoners, who are still to be brought down; these are mostly Canadians and Indians.”

11. A “Journal of the Siege of Niagara, translated from the French” appeared in the New York Mercury of 20 August 1759. It recorded the first report, by an Indian, to Pouchot’s anxious garrison, “that our Army was routed, and almost all made Prisoners.”

12. See François Marquis de Barbé Marbois, Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois during his residence in the United States as Secretary to the French Legation, 1779-1785 (1929, 175-215). Thanks to Alan Taylor for this reference. See also Laurence M. Hauptman, Conspiracy of Interests: Iroquois Dispossession and the Rise of New York State (1999, 53-55).

13. William Hervey (1732-1815), son of John, Lord Hervey first Earl of Bristol, was a captain in the 44th regiment.

14. For further details, see Zoltvany (1969); MacLeod (1974); Dunn (1979); New York Mercury 1759; Pennsylvania Gazette (1759); Chabert (1760, 19); and W. Johnson (1921-65, 1:78-79, 1:174-75, 1:914-15; 13:78).

15. See Johnson’s orders of 2 August 1759 to Colonel Farquhar, left in charge of Fort Niagara: W. Johnson 1921-65, 13:158; O’Callaghan and Fernow 1856, 10:990-92; Dunnigan 1986, 81-83, 100-101).

16. Ensign Benjamin Roberts’s journal for the mission is in the Gage Papers, American series, vol. 3, Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

17. See also Pennsylvania Gazette 1759; the article was copied very closely by The New London Summary or the Weekly Advertiser (1759). In a related report, a French soldier claimed a beautiful Englishwoman as his share, 400 livres, in a successful raid led by Douville, and intended to marry her (O’Callaghan and Fernow 1856, 10:530). At least one other captive officer, Lieutenant Montisambert, had previously married an English captive (Wheelock 1760g).

18. NYCD,10:1033. Amherst received Larminat's undated explanation on 10 September 1759, requesting clemency. PRO, WO 34/78, n.p. (Wheelock 1759e; J. Amherst 1759a). New-York Mercury, 20 August 20th, 1759. Pouchot, Memoirs, 499-500.

19. See also O’Callaghan and Fernow 1856, 10:990-992; Dunnigan 1986, 100-101.

20. On German mercenaries, see Peter H. Wilson, “The German ‘Soldier Trade’ of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: A Reassessment” (1996, 757-92). See also Major Herman Munster 1759; J. Amherst 1759b; J. Appy [Amherst’s secretary] 1759.

21. Although the Journals of the Hon. William Hervey (Hervey 1906, 49). claim that more than 300 were captured at Ticonderoga, Lawrence H. Gipson, in The British Empire before the American Revolution (1967, 7:224) more convincingly estimates 150 taken and 100 killed.

22. On prisoners in Connecticut jails see Wheelock (1759d).

23. Few enlisted Canadians supervised by Job Stockton were literate. On three lists, the number who signed versus those who marked for their names was: 2 of 9, 6 of 25, and 5 of 22. See the Stockton Papers.

24. Amherst recorded that about 100 of the Niagara prisoners were on Long Island and about the same number in barracks in New York (1931, 162).

25. In the unpaginated Stockton Papers, see the documents “Pay List of the French Prisoners in His Maj: Gaol of Milstone New Jersey”; Daniel Hendrickson’s keeper’s agreement, dated 23 August 1759, and seven others; Andrew Normandeau’s receipt, dated 8 October 1760; and Golden’s, dated 1759. Of the 38 prisoners, 12 were “hired out” for only the 1759 harvest season, and were thereafter subsisted directly by Stockton.

26. See Wheelock’s accounts in the Stockton Papers. Tiebout, also known as “Boisefer,” was supposedly not the Nicholas Tiebout who became a lieutenant in the New York regiment (Pouchot 1994, 277, 277n.; New York Historical Society (1892, 114). The regulations can be found in the War Office Papers, 34/98, fols. 42-3.

27. “Joncaire, his Brother and Son in Law with some Commissaries at Brookhaven; Repentini and Marin with some others at Southampton; Villiers and two Lieut:s at Southhold; Montigny, two Lieut:s and his Servant on Shelter Island; Aubry and two others who came from Mississippi at West chester” (De Lancey 1759c).

28. Amherst had received a copy of the French version, published by “L’Imprimerie Royale” in Paris, from Montcalm, via Bourlamaque at Carillon, on 17 June; this is held in the War Office Papers, 34/10, fols. 64-72. The text, in French and English, was reprinted as Traité et Convention pour les malades, blessés et prisonniers de guerre … by W. Dunlap in Philadelphia in 1759, and the treaty was mentioned in Pennsylvania Gazette on 30 August 1759. Sluis revived, elaborated, and improved upon the convention signed at Frankfort on Mayne 18 July 1743 between the French and the Austrians. See The Genuine cartel in French and English, faithfully compared with the original, which was signed at Frankfort, July the 18th 1743 (1746). Thanks to Maureen Ryan for this reference. See also Francis Abell, Prisoners of War in Britain 1756 to 1815 (1914).

29. The face value of bills, for about 15,000 livres, equalled approximately £637.10.0 sterling, but the full value would certainly not be realized (McCusker 1978, 97, 282). On St. Luc de La Corne, see (Tousignant and Dionne-Tousignant 1979, 4:426-29).

30. This amounted to about 6.74 pence New York money per day, which was increased to 48 per week, or 4 shillings (McCusker 1978, 164-65).

31. The stolen French crown, 2 dollars and a few coppers would total approximately 15 shillings sterling, or 25 shillings New York (McCusker 1978, 9, 11, 164).

32. For details, see New York Mercury (1759) and Pennsylvania Gazette (1759). For more on the Chabert family, see Zoltvany (1969), MacLeod (1974), and Dunn (1979). Daniel-Marie was active in the defence of Montreal in 1760. He caused much anxiety when he returned to Canada with a stock of trade goods in 1764 (Chabert de Joncaire 1760, 1-20).

33. On La Force’s reputation see Washington’s letter to Dinwiddie, 29 May 1754 (Abbot 1983, 1:111, 201-02); Stobo (1854, 88).

34. For Vaudreuil’s list, see the Colonial Office Papers, 5/57, pt. I, fols. 119-121, Public Record Office, Kew, UK.; Wheelock’s is in the same collection fol. 76; Amherst’s list is in the War Office Papers, WO 34/98, fol. 68, Public Record Office, Kew, UK.

35. Catherine Maurill returned with captured relatives William and Francis Maurill, all of Pepperrell’s regiment. Jean Medley and her young daughter Hannah, taken in the capture of Fort Voss in 1756, were listed as with the Virginia regiment. Elizabeth Dickson was with the Royal Artillery; and Jane Stewart with Prideaux’s regiment (Kopperman 1982, 14-34; Hacker 1981, 643-71).

36. Donald McBean, a New York sutler taken on the Mohawk River, and Mr. Sweetman, a volunteer captured at La Galette, were both captured in 1759. Catherine and Mary Harly were taken at “Amelegal” in 1758. If they had not been ransomed earlier by the Canadian government, the government likely compensated their masters to release them at this time.

37. (Wheelock 1760m). An exception was allowed for four of Stockton’s Germans who were off subsistence because they had enlisted.

38. These numbers fit remarkably well with best estimates of prisoners under Wheelock as of January 1761. Wheelock had received prisoners from Niagara, c. 614 adults; from Fort Lévis, c. 250 (in September 1760, see Pouchot 1994, 314; Gipson 1967, 7: 453); from Isle aux Noix, 150 (in October 1760 34/98, fol. 179); and from Detroit 35 (in December 1760, PRO WO 34/98, fols. 106, Bouquet Papers, 5, 204-05, 217-18). A total of 414 had been returned to Canada in November 1759 with Pouchot and in October 1760. That would leave approximately 628 as of early 1761, 504 of whom were sent to France that month. These figures suggest that as many as 124 prisoners under Wheelock’s care as of January 1761 were neither returned nor subsisted, very close to J.C.B.’s numbers.

39. Aubry and Villiers went to Louisiana; Testard de Montigny and Marin de La Malgue fils were captured aboard ships bound to Newfoundland early in 1762 and repatriated without any charges (Chaput 1979, 4:513-14; Armour 1979, 4: 733-34; Stevens et al. 1941, 128-35; Wheelock to Amherst, 25 September, 6, 14, 27 October, 13 November 1760, PRO WO 34/98, fols. 72-3, 77-8, 84-88, 94-7, 175-77. On shipping negotiations, see Wheelock to Amherst, 6 and 13 November, 24 December. WO. 34/98, fols. 92-99, 104 and Amherst’s replies of 6 and 17 November 1760, WO, 34/98, fols. 182-84. Three captives from Niagara were still being subsisted at New York on 31 March 1761, PRO WO 34/98, fol. 105, and four others were among the 12 Canadians returned in August, under Monsieur Duclou. PRO WO 34/98, fols. 118-20, 200.

40. PRO WO 34/98, fols. 114, 116-19, 192. Please insert Wheelock to Amherst, 19 July and 7 August 1761, WO 34/98, fols. 114-15, 118-9. Amherst to Wheelock, 2 July 1761, WO 34/98, fol. 192. A Jean-Baptiste Duclos, likely this Duclos’s father, was General Commissioner of Louisiana in 1714 (Usner 1992, 235). Joseph Haldimand, at Oswego, had Duclou listed among the officers (Haldimand). Decelle Duclos was police commissioner in Spanish-controlled Illinois country (Ekberg 1985, 155, 374).


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