Dear readers, I had to rearrange my post on the Battle of Jumonville Glen. I added quotations I could no longer find when I finished writing on the Jumonville Skirmish, and I deleted repetitions. I did not rewrite my post.
After the action, Washington retreated to Fort Necessity, where Canadien forces from Fort Duquesnecompelled his surrender. The terms of Washington’s surrender included a statement (written in French, a language Washington did not read) admitting that Jumonville was assassinated. This document and others were used by the French and Canadiens to level accusations that Washington had ordered Jumonville’s slaying.
The Battle of Jumonville Glen, Wikipedia
We will never know whether Washington admitted Jumonville was assassinated. Coulon the Villiers, Coulon de Jumonville’s half brother may have written the confession.
There is information that may never be disclosed. Monceau, the man who escaped, did not see the assassination. So, we do not have a witness. Monceau ran to newly-built Fort Duquesne. However, I found quotations I could no longer locate when fatigue “hit.” I have now retrieved the information I required.
Aubert de Gaspé keeps repeating that the defeated are forever defeated and then says, in full, that at the Treaty of Paris 1763 (“trois ans après”), Louis XV abandoned France’s colony in North America. The Battle of Sainte-Foy was a French victory, but the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, a short confrontation, was deemed the last and lost battle of the French and Indian War (1754-1763) when in fact the last battle, the Battle of Saint-Foy, fought on 28 April 1760, was a French victory. “Nonchalant” Louis XV tossed the Battle of Sainte-Foy aside, turning a victory into a defeat. Not necessarily. Coulon de Villiers could avenge his half-brother’s assassination, however, by 1759, could France reinforce its troops in New France. France was losing the Seven Years’ War.
La Nouvelle-France, abandonnée de la mère patrie, fut cédée à l’Angleterre par le nonchalant Louis XV, trois ans après cette glorieuse bataille qui aurait pu sauver la colonie. Les Anciens Canadiens(XIV: page 321)
I have not been able to determine whether Virginia lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie authorized the “ambush” that took place on 28 Mary 1754. But in 1753, George Washington was asked to tell the French to leave the Ohio Country.
Questions do arise? For instance, who initiated the offensive, an ambush, that took place on 28 May 1754? Was it George Washington or Tanacharison, or was it a joint decision by George Washington and Tanacharison? More importantly, as noted above, had Virginia lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie authorized the ambush of an encampment of 35 Frenchmen? In Wikipedia’s entry on Robert Dinwiddie, it is stated that Virginia lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie started Washington’s military career. In one of the videos embedded in my last post, George Washington opened fire. This could be the case. In fact, if Jumonville did not have a gun, or, if a gun was not at hand, should Washington have shot at Jumonville? Robert Dinwiddie is credited with having started George Washington’s military career. Not quite.
“Washington was heavily criticized in Britain for the incident. British statesman Horace Walpole referred to the controversy surrounding Jumonville’s death as the “Jumonville Affair” and described it as ‘a volley fired by a young Virginian in the backwoods of America that set the world on fire.'” (See Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, Wikipedia.)
Jumonville Glen has been called a battle and the Jumonville Skirmish, but it was an ambush, and Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was murdered. George Washington took Tanacharison to the Ohio Country. However, it seems, that Tanacharison took George Washington to ambush Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville. Whether Virginia Royal Governor Robert Dinwiddie authorized this second event cannot be ascertained. It also seems that Jumonville and a few Frenchmen were killed or wounded and that all of them, but one, were captured. Moreover, Jumonville may have been killed at Fort Duquesne. When Washington surrendered, if he surrendered, he admitted that Jumonville was assassinated. But, as mentioned above, this may not be true.
In fact, “[t]he exact circumstances of Jumonville’s death are a subject of historical controversy and debate.” (See Battle of Jumonville Glen, Wikipedia.)
So Aubert de Gaspé comments on the inanity of wars. But in North America, a war was waged that was a tinier war than the Seven Years’ War, but it was absurdism at its peak. Nouvelle-France fell. Jumonville was not a battle, whether it took place at an encampment or in Fort Duquesne, and the French won the Battle of Saint-Foy. I feel as though I were reading an early draft of Malraux‘s Condition Humaine (Man’s Fate, 1933), or Camus, all of Camus.
Militarily, Jumonville’s brother, Captain Coulon de Villiers, “marched on Fort Necessity on the 3rd of July  and forced Washington to surrender.” (See Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, Wikipedia.) The lex talioniswas at work: an eye for an eye. Humanity has been avenging itself for millennia at a huge cost. Historically, the people of New France change masters overnight. I suspect that Sir Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, who passed the Quebec Act of 1774, could tell that the French, the people, did not have to be punished. It is also very refreshing to read Aubert de Gaspé who writes:
Des deux côtés la bravoure était égale, et quinze mille hommes des meilleures troupes du monde n’attendaient que l’ordre de leurs chefs pour ensanglanter de nouveau les mêmes plaines qui avaient déjà bu le sang de tant de valeureux soldats. Les Anciens Canadiens(XIV: p. 318)
[The courage of both was beyond question, and fifteen thousand of the best troops in the world only awaited the word of their commanders to spring at each other’s throats.] Cameron of Lochiel(XIII: 201-202).
During the eighteenth century, France was not as vigilant as it could or should have been regarding the management of its North-American colonies. The motherland had considerable problems of its own that culminated in the French Revolution (1789 – 1794).
Yes, there were battles, the most significant being the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, in Quebec City. It took place on 13 September 1759. The British won, but the battle claimed the life of Major-General James P. Wolfe (2 January 1727 – 13 September 1759). General Wolfe was 32. Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, Marquis de Saint-Veran (28 February 1712 [O.S. 17 February 1712] – 14 September 1759) was mortally wounded and died a day later. He was 47. There were sufficient men on both sides, but “many of the French were ill-trained militia,” not “regulars.” In other words, the French were not in a position to fight Major-General Wolfe’s professional soldiers.[i]
C. W. Jefferys (1869 – 1951)
The Death of General Montcalm depicts the Marquis de Montcalm mortally wounded in 1759. He died on 14 September 1759.
For the Canadiens (French-speaking Canadians), the loss of New France was a devastating blow. The Canadien felt he had been abandoned by the motherland, in which he was mostly correct. The shores of the St Lawrence River had become his country. He could not return to France. According to theTreaty of Paris, the Canadiens would be free to practice their religion and farmers did not lose their farms, nor did city dwellers lose their homes. However, aristocrats working in Nouvelle-France returned to France. This was also a stipulation of the Treaty of Paris.
For one thing, many voyageurs would work forJohn Jacob Astor(17 July 1763 – 29 March 1848), the owner of theAmerican Fur Trade Company, established in 1808. Ramsay Crooksurged John Jacob Astor to hire Canadiens as boatmen. Americans, who had first been hired, lacked the ability to work as a team and could not respect Amerindians.
In a famous council on 27 April 1763, Pontiac urged listeners to rise up against the British. (19th-century engraving by Alfred Bobbet)
(please click on the picture to enlarge it)
The Pontiac Rebellion
The Treaty of Paris had not made provisions for North-American natives, the Amerindians. Somehow and regretfully, the negotiators had not thought of them. This shameful oversight led to thePontiac Rebellionwhich lasted from 1763 to 1766 and opposed the British and Chief Pontiac’s forces. Chief Pontiac was the leader of the Ottawas. On 25 July 1766, Pontiac met with the British superintendent of Indian affairs, Sir William Johnson, at Fort Oswego, New York. Hostilities ended on that day. As for Chief Pontiac, he was murdered on 20 April 1769. His assassination was not investigated.
I will end this blog here, but it will be followed by an account of the battles that took place during the French and Indian War(or the Seven Years’ War). All I will say for now is that Montcalm died on 14 September 1760. When he learned that his wound would take his life, he is reported to have said that his death was a blessing. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham had also claimed the life of General James P. Wolfe. (please click on picture to enlarge it)
Wolfe dying, The Battle of the Plains ofAbraham by Benjamin West (1738 – 1820)