Robert Rogers' Ill-Fated Raid
February 21, 2015
"But we soon found our mistake" - Major Robert Rogers
By the end of January, in 1758 Captain Robert Rogers was already famous for his patrols and raids around the French Forts of Carillon and Saint Frederic. Rogers was informally called, “Major,”as the leader of the independent companies of rangers, despite his official rank. Rogers’ patrol in January of 1758 nearly to the gates of Fort Carillon, had his typical flair. When the French failed to sortie out against him, he set fire to their wood piles, and slaughtered their cattle, leaving a note on one of the beeves’ horns reading, "I am obliged to you, Sir, for the repose you have allowed me to take; I thank you for the fresh meat you have sent me..."
On March 10th Captain Israel Putnam and the Connecticut rangers returned from patrolling towards Fort Carillon. One of his men deserted to the French, revealing rumors of Rogers’ next raid. Robert Rogers requested 400 men, knowing he could be walking into a trap. Rogers and 180 rangers and volunteers marched out of Fort Edward on snowshoes that same day, headed towards Fort Carillon hoping luck and providence were on their side. In the morning March 13th, the rangers spotted the French advanced guard and prepared to set an ambush.
On that frigid winter day Rogers’ men waited patiently behind trees, and snow drifts to surprise a probing patrol of Indians and French soldiers. As the French force struggled their way through forward through four feet of snow they eyed each tree and snowy outcropping with suspicion. The disciplined rangers held themselves motionless, neither shivering with cold nor trembling with nerves. As the French and Native warriors came to point blank range Major Rogers discharged his weapon and his men sprang from cover blasting their buckshot at the exposed French. The French and Native warriors fled, trying to break away from the rangers’ ambush. They fled back, down an icy ravine with rangers close on their heels. However, Rogers’ men had shattered merely the advanced scouts who quickly fell back to warn the main column of French soldiers, and a war party of Ottawa and Nippising warriors.
As the rangers pursued the fleeing Indians and Canadians along the ice, musketry exploded around them and they found themselves soon the victims of an ambush set by the main body of the French force. Leaving comrades dead or wounded in the frozen ravine, the rangers retreated up the face of the mountain to their right to rally and counter the French assault. Despite being pushed back three times by the rangers, the relentless French force pushed on through the deep snow. Closing the trap, a war party of natives crept on the back side of the mountain to cut off Rogers retreat. With smoke thick in the cold air Roger searched for options to save his 180 man patrol.
Join us on Saturday February 21st, 2015 to discover more about the Battle on Snowshoes. Meet the Native American Warriors, French soldiers, and Canadians, who delivered the rangers’ worst defeat. Stand with the courageous and skilled rangers who fought for King & Country and to stay alive on a snowy mountainside near Ticonderoga. Investigate the myths and facts of Robert Rogers and why his exploits in the North Woods still fill the popular imagination today.
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