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Massacre at Fort William Henry

Passage Minutes
Louis-Joseph de Montcalm trying to stop Native Americans from attacking British soldiers and civilians as they leave Fort William Henry at the Battle of Fort William Henry. – Wood engraving by Alfred Bobbett, ca. 1824-1888 or 9, engraver, based on painting by Felix Octavius

FORGOTTEN WAR: Struggle for North America is a full length PBS documentary tells the little-known story of how the native people of North America controlled the outcome of this war that defined our history as a nation and a people. This one-hour special taps an international panel of experts to dig beneath the familiar history, and shed new light on the multi-cultural blend of natives, Europeans, and Africans that was the North America of the 1750’s. We follow the fate of the Abenaki people—one of the most influential Indian nations in early American history; and we examine the realities behind the myth of Robert Rogers and his legendary Rangers—the frontier partisans who gained heroic status in this brutal war.

Description

In one of the most notorious incidents of the French and Indian War, Montcalm's Indian allies violated the agreed terms of surrender and attacked the British column, which had been deprived of ammunition, as it left the fort. They killed and scalped a significant number of soldiers, took as captives women, children, servants, and slaves, and slaughtered sick and wounded prisoners. Early accounts of the events called it a massacre, and implied that as many as 1,500 people were killed, even though it is unlikely more than 200 people (less than 10% of the British fighting strength) were actually killed in the massacre