Fort William Henry, located at the south end of Lake George in New York, was the northern-most outpost of British soldiers in the interior of colonial America. This small frontier fort was extemely vulnerable to attack from French and Native American forces. In early August 1757, under the leadership of the Marquis de Montcalm, French forces attacked the fort, and forced a British surrender. Indians attacked retreating British troops on their way to nearby Fort Edward. This attack, known as the “massacre, ” was both memorialized and distorted in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans.
David R. Starbuck, drawing upon his archeological findings at the site of the fort, offers an engaging and sobering corrective to myths generated by popular depictions of this brutal conflict. Set against a visual backdrop of over 80 historical and contemporary views of the site and its artifacts, he interprets the remains of the tools and weapons of the Native Americans who first settled the region as well as subsequent French and British invaders. Like a modern-day forensic detective, Starbuck sets fact against fiction to expose what really happened prior to, during, and after this most infamous colonial battle.
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Published February 1, 2002