Lake George, New York
LAKE GEORGE, NEW YORK. 8 September 1755. In the spring of 1755, the British imperial government adopted a two-pronged strategy designed to remove French "encroachments" from lands the British colonies claimed in the interior of North America. The southern prong of the strategy was Braddock's expedition against Fort Duquesne in the Ohio valley. The northern prong involved two expeditions, one against Fort Niagara (via Oswego on Lake Ontario), and the other against Fort St. Frederic, located at the narrows of Lake Champlain.
Logistical bottlenecks crippled the expedition against Niagara (the British never got beyond Oswego). Facing similar obstacles a second force, made up of 3,000 New England and New York provincials and 300 allied native Americans (mostly Mohawks), and led by William Johnson of New York, reached the head of Lac St. Sacrament (renamed Lake George) only in late August 1755. While Johnson dithered about moving across the lake so late in the year, a counter-expedition led by Jean-Armand Dieskau, New France's senior military commander, advanced south from Fort St. Frederic with 200 French regulars, 600 Canadian militia, and 700 native American allies. By 7 September, Dieskau was between Johnson and the Hudson River.
The next day, a thousand Massachusetts and Connecticut provincials and Mohawks reconnoitering south from Lake George were roughly handled in an ambush the provincials called the Bloody Morning Scout. When Dieskau followed up with an assault against the hastily fortified provincial camp on the shore of Lake George, his regulars suffered a sharp defeat. Dieskau himself was wounded and captured. Later in the afternoon, a small force of New Hampshire provincials advanced along the track from the Hudson River to Lake George. It came upon some exhausted French and Canadians near a pond in the forest and took revenge for the morning losses in a skirmish known as Bloody Pond. Johnson claimed victory, but he chose not to advance any further. With Braddock's earlier defeat at Fort Duquesne, the British strategy of 1755 lay in shambles.
SEE ALSO Bradstreet's Expedition of 1764.
Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.
revised by Harold E. Selesky