Fort William Henry (Fort George), New York

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Fort William Henry (Fort George), New York

FORT WILLIAM HENRY (FORT GEORGE), NEW YORK. 1755–1780. William Johnson started construction of Fort William Henry, at the southern tip of Lake George, after his victory over the French on 8 September 1755. Montcalm, the commander of French troops in North America, besieged the place on 4 August 1757, and on 9 August its garrison of about 2,200 men was surrendered by Lieutenant Colonel George Munro. The French-allied Indians violated the surrender terms and started taking trophies and murdering prisoners. Munro reached Fort Edward, on the Hudson River, with 1,400 survivors. For the overall strategic situation at this time, see the entry "Colonial Wars."

Fort George was built about a mile southeast of the ruins of Fort William Henry (which Montcalm destroyed). It served as the northern link of the overland route from Lake George to Fort Edward thirteen miles to the south on the Hudson River. Though by 1777 it was little more than a ruin, Fort George became an important British base during Burgoyne's offensive. General William Phillips occupied the place on 29 July 1777, and the British abandoned it after the Saratoga surrender. It was recaptured by the British on 11 October 1780 but not held.

SEE ALSO Border Warfare in New York; Colonial Wars; Johnson, Sir William.

                              revised by Michael Bellesiles