The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 40: Louis Taondechoren


En route to Onondaga Iroquois territory, just at the top of the Long Sault rapid, the sixty-year-old Huron warrior, Louis Taondechoren, was hustled along during the portage. He spied a plant on the path that he knew to be poisonous. He pulled a leaf from it and, knowing he would not die with a bite, he swallowed it.

Almost immediately he became violently ill. He vomited on the Onondaga brave was pulling him along. The brave yelled and pushed him away, close to the precipice. He fell to the ground, his head over the falls pulling the brave with him. He vomited wretchedly, and the brave took his knife and cut the gut strap between them so that none of the sickness would possibly infect him.

Taondechoren crawled to the edge of the promontory overlooking the steep drop to the river rocks water below. The disgusted brave complained to the others who laughed and mocked him. While the Iroquois were thus engaged, Louis rose from his prone position to his knees, still retching.

Annenraes looked at him and said, “We cannot wait here long. The wounded must be removed to the longhouses.”

When the brave who had had Louis tied to him turned to get his prisoner, Louis stood up and suddenly pushed off the rock and plunged into the water fifty feet below.

The Iroquois yelled, but Annenraes said. “Leave him. He is old and of no use to us. He will die in that water surely.”

And without another thought the Iroquois war party turned and moved on.

Taondechoren hit the water hard, but he dove where the water was still, not roiling over rocks, so he was unhurt. His dive took him deep and, long practiced at water escapes, he held his breath and swam under water carried easily downstream by the current. When his head popped up, he was a long way downstream, out of sight of the Iroquois, who, by then, had turned away from him in any case.

He built a fire, drank some water, caught a fish, built a birch canoe, slept in the forest and then paddled back to Montreal where he related the story of the battle to Governor Maisonneuve.

Maisonneuve, saddened although not surprised at the outcome, now had confirmation of the rumors of war. He was able to alert Quebec and Three Rivers and fortify all three French forts.

He knew the Iroquois would not soon attack again, so for a time there was peace in the forests, on the rivers and in the houses of New France. And in the Iroquois longhouses.

But in all these places sorrow prevailed.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 39: The Day After the Battle.

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600The Iroquois treated the wounded, removed anything of value from the French soldiers, took whatever guns and ammunition remained in useable condition from the battlefield and the barricade.

Burying the dead took a long time. There were many dead. Including Tosca, Annenraes’ man.

Some severally injured braves, near death, were comforted in their last hours.

Wounded braves were made ready to travel home.

Each nation prepared for the journey each to its home territory.

Kepitinet, shaken, was spoken to by his father, Annenraes, but the chief had little time for him. They would speak further when they got home.

Annenraes tried to think whether the idea of allowing his son, Kepitinet, to accompany the war party was wise. He couldn’t decide. The advantages were few except that the child now knew what war was. It might make him more sensible regarding the Pine Tree Chief possibility. Peace was better than this, Annenraes thought. But perhaps this experience would make his son more war-like. These constant and endless battles with no final result for his people is how these wars endure, he thought.

Kepitinet was of no help with Annenraes’ considerations. The child was practically paralyzed with trauma. He had been kept behind, protected by two braves during the battle but he saw everything from the forest. He had hugged his father long and hard after the battle but hadn’t spoken a word since.

The chief also thought it was going to be much more difficult to eradicate the French than he thought or hoped.

Wearily, all the tasks were completed, the men rested, the wounded were comforted and made ready as to travel well as possible, the Iroquois left the battle scene.
The shackled prisoners were hurried along to await torture and certain death.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 38: The Battle Ends

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600Momentarily the attack faltered. The Iroquois were astonished at the damage the kegs inflicted. They hesitated; some broke for their fort. Others, seeing the blood of their brothers, the broken bodies, the severed hands and limbs — gathered their courage, pushed fear down into their guts and responded with a cry of rage and frustration. They threw themselves in desperate determination at the barricade.

Dollard and Jurie were preparing another keg their fourth.

“These are using up powder fast,” said Jurie, “but they’re working.”

“A few more of these and it might be over,” agreed Dollard. “They can’t take many more dead.

“One, two, three…now!” they shouted together.

The keg swung up and over the barricade but at the top of the arc, just as it began to fall, an Iroquois catapulted himself up over the dead, up above the spikes of the palisade. The Iroquois brave and the keg met in mid-air. The Indian fell backwards, and the force of the impact knocked the keg back into the barricade.

Dollard saw the keg come back at him. He thought that if he could catch it he might hurl it back over the prongs of the barricade but even as he wished for this he knew it couldn’t happen. The other men were out of position, and the keg hit the earth with a thump and exploded. Robert Jurie shouted to them, but it was too late.

Dollard des Ormeaux, Simon Grenet and two Hurons died instantly. None of them had a chance to say a prayer. Death came to them as it did to so many during this week: suddenly and without warning.

Rene Doussin and Jean Lecompte were wounded, the upper part of their bodies badly burned. Robert Jurie lay writhing on the ground, his stomach blown open by the exploding keg.

The explosion staggered the barricade defenders. They turned to see what had happened, but the smoke was so thick they could not see each other. When the smoke abated a little some of them ran to their comrades’ assistance but as they did the Iroquois gained many of the loopholes and began firing into the center of the allies. Others hacked at the slender wooden posts with their hatchets, screaming insults and curses trying to break in.

Mituvemeg ignored all this. Calmly, he looked to his left. As he did an Onondaga leapt from the top of the barricade straight down at him. Mituvemeg had time only to whip his musket up above his head. It caught the brave in the groin, and he screamed as Mituveneg side-stepped and simultaneously slammed his musket butt into the temple of his enemy.

The Algonquin beside Mituvemeg was caught by two Onondagas who had also jumped from the top of the barricade. The Algonquin wrestled with one brave, swung his arm, and his hatchet hit his attacker’s shoulder, opening a bloody gash. But the second Onondaga threw his weight behind his knife-hand and plunged it into the back of the Algonquin who choked and slipped to the ground.

More Onondagas had jumped over the barricade at the ninth and tenth loopholes, and still more were firing into the barricade from the loopholes themselves.

Muskets were useless now as the roaring Iroquois spilled into the barricade.

The allies were shouting encouragement and warnings to each other, but gradually each became drawn into hand-to-hand combat.

Forges was in the middle of the enemy attack at the seventh loophole. He had been alternately firing and reloading, but now it was impossible to take precious time to reload.

The Iroquois were trying to come over the top of the barricade. Forges used a Huron hatchet to fend them off, swinging at any enemy whose head appeared over the top. He and others near him were doing the same and trying to fire through the loopholes to prevent the Iroquois from climbing. They were helped by the difficulty the enemy had in clambering over their own dead and wounded. The screams of the wounded as they were stepped, on mixed with the war cries of the healthy contributed to the noise of the firing and the shouting of orders and warnings and requests for assistance. Forges fought on.

Etienne Robin, seeing the rush of Iroquois, seized a hatchet and raced over to Robert Jurie who lay gasping and holding his stomach.

“They won’t get you, Robert.”

His right arm came down like a falling oak, and his hatchet sliced into his friend’ s skull killing him instantly.

With little time left, Robin, dodging attackers and defenders, ran to Rene Doussin, who had been wounded when one keg exploded within the fort.

“Thank God, Etienne!” gasped Doussin. “Do it, do it!”

Robin’s powerful arm came down and split his friend’s head. Robin was crying now and screaming.

“God damn you to hell, you bastards! You won’t take us alive.”

He found Lecompte, his close friend, still unconscious from the explosion.

“Forgive me, Jean– forgive me, my friend,” he sobbed as he fired his pistol’s remaining charge and killed his friend.

Etienne Robin looked quickly for more wounded Frenchmen. He saw none but then realized the Iroquois had Mituvemeg encircled at the eleventh loophole, and he called to him.

“I’m coming!”

Robin had a second only to think of the possibility of being captured and tortured to death. He would kill as many French as he could to avoid it.

Mituvemeg was completely surrounded. None of the Iroquois facing him had muskets, and he had dropped his empty one. Both his hands went to his waist, and he drew two hatchets with deer thongs through the handles. His fingers gripped the handles just below the heads; he flipped them up in front of him. The tomahawks seemed to be leaving his control, but the thongs around his wrists limited them. As the weapons flew up, the thongs caught the outside of his forearms, and his practiced hands seized the handles. This hand-to-hand combat was the usual way battles waged in New France. Mituvemeg was experienced.

He took two steps forward and, extending his arms, he began to scream and spin on his feet. Spinning, his arms fully extended, he dropped quickly to knee height and rose again repeatedly, like a child’s top. As he turned, he caught an Onondaga in the neck with the left hatchet; the right axe cut across the chest of another. A third brave was struck in the ear, a fourth on the kneecap, a fifth in the stomach by the swinging tomahawks.

Mituvemeg’s rotation of death lasted for almost a minute, and he spun so fast no Iroquois could get near him.

Christophe Augier was defending the loophole with Mituvemeg. Now he was backed into a corner with two pistols in his hands but three Iroquois in front of him. They closed in. He fired and killed one, fired again and shot the second. The third, knowing Augier was out of ammunition, dove at the Frenchman. Augier pulled his knife and just had time to hold it out in front of him. The Iroquois, surprised, ran right onto it. His face said he didn’t believe it, that it wasn’t fair. But before Augier could move away an arrow slipped into his chest. It came from the rock above the barricade.

Etienne Robin, distracted By Iroquois, fought them off, but he could not get to Mituvemeg. His face as red as his hair, when he saw Augier in trouble.


He reached his friend too late. Augier slumped to the earth groaning. Robin hit him with his hatchet behind the ear and Augier died. Robin wasn’t thinking about any of this anymore. Desperate to save his friends from torture, he dispatched them with a relentless fury.

Mituvemeg was still spinning and screaming his war cry when Robin got to the outside of the circle. He clubbed an Onondaga with his hatchet and threw himself into the next man shoulder first. The brave fell off balance and as he fell, Mituvemeg, seeing an opening, leapt over him and struck him in the mouth with a hatchet. The Indian’s mouth opened in a giant ‘O’ for an instant then the blood from his mouth and nose covered his face.

Of the six Onondagas once surrounding Mituvemeg, three were down. Robin, after knocking his man over, kept running to his left and came upon the next Indian. Taken by surprise, the Onondaga turned to defend himself but Robin’s momentum was too great. The bloody hatchet glanced off the enemy’s cheek, cutting his ear and then bit deeply into his left shoulder blade. The next Onondaga dove at Robin and tackled him around the waist.

Cursing, Robin tried to get away, but two more braves jumped on him. One raised his tomahawk, but a chief’s voice spoke, stopping him.

“Do not kill him. Take him.”

Struggling proved useless. Five strong Onondagas grappled with Robin and two of then sitting on him, held him fast.

Mituvemeg, who had escaped the circle but was hemmed in at the barricade wall, continued to swing his two hatchets. The lack of room hampered him now and needing more space to maneuver, he ran straight at the nearest Onondaga, knocking him down. Two others, sensing what he was about to do, ran to intercept him with drawn knives from opposite sides. Mituvemeg was too quick, and the braves collided. One, seeing the danger in time, thrust his body away from his comrade’s arm. The second man took the first’s knife in the stomach.

Mituvemeg was surrounded again in an instant, and again he began his spinning. From behind and high up came an arrow that hit the ground next to the spinning Algonquin chief. The next went deep into his side.

Seeing their man hit, the Onondagas in the circle moved in. Two moved too early: one took the axe blade across the forehead and a second under the armpit. But there were too many Iroquois.

They sprang at him from all directions and covered him with their bodies. The only thing Etienne Robin could see were six arms swinging knives into the space where Mituvemeg was lying. In a second the Algonquin chief stopped breathing. Long after he was dead, the furious Iroquois plunged their knives into his body.

Onondagas had surrounded the two other Algonquins. One died when an Onondaga thrust his knife into the Algonquin’s stomach and jerked his arm upwards, and the second was shot by a bullet from the high rock behind the barricade.

All four Algonquins, seven of the thirteen Hurons and eight Frenchmen were dead.
The middle of the barricade wall, the section that had taken the brunt of the attack, had held the longest. But now it was nearly defenseless. Mohawks and Onondagas rushed in from the sides that had finally fallen. The marksmen on the rock could shoot with impunity and still the Iroquois ran at the center.

Unable to take the time to load their muskets, the French fought desperately with the Iroquois. Nicholas Josselin and Roland Hebert were back to back, firing their last pistol shots at Onondagas. Hebert, his pistol finally useless, threw it at an Indian. A musket ball bit Robert in the heart, and he was dead before he struck the ground. Josselin turned to his friend, and a Mohawk split his head with a hatchet-swing from the top of the barricade wall.

Louis Martin, a few feet away, was trying to reach a knife when two braves jumped on him and overpowered him. They began to tie him up.

“There’s no time,” he cried, struggling. “There’s no time– there are too many of them.”

Forges continued to fight, but his strength was sapped. Nine days of little sleep, constant tension and now hours of fighting against overwhelming odds were taking their toll. His hatchet bloody, he kept swinging. He had tried to use two hatchets but found he could not deal with them–his balance was off. So he reverted to using a hatchet in his right hand and using his left to climb, to push, to pull, to balance and this worked better. Forges didn’t feel tired in his head. He told himself he could keep up the fighting until all the Iroquois were dead, but his arms and legs weren’t reacting as fast as they usually did. Even the adrenalin provided by the sight of men dying around him and which stimulated him to greater effort, seemed to be only half-effective.

He hadn’t made many mistakes, but he knew the Iroquois had hundreds of fresh men, and he could see his friends falling around him. He could do nothing about it. He felt he was in a huge cobweb, thrashing at the lines around him and cutting them, but as fast as he did they grew up again. And all the time he could see his friends in trouble. He was trying to reach them, to help them, but he could only deal with the pressing bodies surrounding him.

He stabbed and lunged and pivoted and swung his axe. Two, three, four Iroquois felt the cutting swing of the weapon in his hand, but finally there was no more room to manoeuver. He tried to swing at an advancing brave, but an Iroquois behind him grabbed his left arm, pulling him to the side. His right arm struck the shoulder blade of the advancing Mohawk, and then yet another pulled him to the ground.

“Do not kill this one,” said a Mohawk. “He will be tortured; he has a great heart.”
Cognac reached for a keg of powder.

“Help me, Pilote!”

Pilote throw off a Mohawk who was wrestling the keg from Cognac.

“If we have to go, let’s make a big noise!”

The two men picked up a keg and stumbled the few steps to the fire. They threw it on the fire and stood beside it firing pistols.

“You’re not going to eat me, you sons of whores,” said Cognac.

“Go to hell you bastards!” cried Pilote to the advancing enemy.

The explosion killed both the Frenchmen, two Hurons and nine Mohawks.

Joan Valets, the big, fearless ploughman, was cursing the Iroquois in their own language near the eighth loophole.

“Snakes. Vipers, you are comical. You have an army, and it’s taken you a week to got to us! Your children could do better. You are cowards and dogs, and you can fight only rabbits. You make me sick! “

Five Mohawks jumped on him when his pistol jammed. They would have killed him, but Agariata was there.

“Do not kill any more of those people. We will take them with us.”

A Mohawk, frustrated, pulled his knife blade across Valet’s cheek. Valets spat blood in the Mohawk’s face.

Old Louis Taondechoren, sixty years old and still fighting, fell down when two Mohawks clubbed him. Then they tied him up.

Two more Hurons had been overpowered; Alonie Delestre was the only man still fighting.

The Iroquois chief, Agariata, saw him without a weapon.

“He is mine.”

Agariata circled Delestre slowly, a tomahawk in hand. The other Mohawks made a small outer circle swiftly.

Delestre looked around for a weapon, spied a musket, picked it up by the barrel and slowly backed away from the Iroquois chief.

Agariata charged, a tomahawk over his head. Without thinking, Delestre ducked and swung his musket in a wide, upward arc. It caught Agariata between the legs and he screamed in pain and fell.

Delestre was on him, his hands choking the chief. He thought as he squeezed that the Indian had made a stupid move.

Annenraes spoke.

“Remove him.”

Several rough hands pulled Alonie Delestre off the chief, who was trying to hold his throat and his genitals at the some time.

“You will suffer before you die, Frenchman,” said Agariata from the ground.

Annenraes took over. He had a wicked thought: he was glad Delestre had won that round. Somehow it lessened his embarrassment at having had to call for help in this enterprise; it validated his effort. First he had the Iroquois check all the fallen men of the barricade. All the Algonquins were dead; only four of the Hurons were alive, including Louis Taondechoren; five of the French remained alive — Jean Valets, Louis Martin, Forge, Etienne Robin and Delestre.

“Who of you can speak to me?” asked Annenraes.

“I can,” said Jean Valets, in Iroquois.

“Where is Annahotaha? I do not see him.”

Valets walked a few steps and pointed to the charred head of the valiant and feared Huron chief.

“It is unfortunate,” said Annenraes. “I wanted his scalp.”

“Fortune had nothing to do with it,” said Delestre

Annenraes gave Valets a black look.

“Where is Mituvemeg?”

Valets pointed to Mituvemeg’s bloody corpse. Annenraes emitted a rush of air in exasperation.

“Show me your Captain.”

Valets pointed to Dollard’s body, pitifully torn by the explosion.

Annenraes looked grim.

“We will have to be satisfied with you people.”

Annenraes stood in the middle of the barricade, now covered with the blood of his men and their enemies. The dark ground was charged with crimson and purple like a choleric maple turning a sour red in fall.

“We did not expect this to happen,” he said. “We have won the battle here and have shown the French that they cannot come into our forest to attack us and expect to return to their houses.

“But we have suffered the loss of many Oneida, Onondaga and Mohawk braves and the capture of these people and the Huron defectors cannot make up for the agony we have suffered in the loss of our brothers.

“We must return to our homes. It is bad to plan to do a thing and then have so many obstacles in our way. It is better if we do not do the thing now.

“We will return to the longhouse to mourn our dead. We will display our prisoners and tell of this battle. We will torment our prisoners in front of our councils and, if they show great courage, consume their hearts. And we will prepare for the time when we will wipe out the French from our land.”

The Iroquois gave a great cry of victory and appreciation for the words of their chief, Annenraes. Then Agariata spoke.

“Chief Annenraes is right. To attack Montreal in defiance of this omen would not be good. The prisoners will be divided. Of the Frenchmen, one will go to the Oneidas, and two each will go to the Onondagas and the Mohawks as they have larger representation here and have earned them. I will take the old one too.”

Agariata took Alonie Delestre, whom he wanted to torture himself, and Etienne Robin. The Onondagas led by Annenraes took Louis Martin and Forges, and the Oneida warriors received Jean Valets. Louis Taondechoren too became Agariata’s prisoner.

The next day, after the dead had been buried, the wounded treated as well as possible in the field, the Iroquois slept. They took their prisoners watchful for a chance to escape, but with little hope, and made the difficult portage up the rapids of the Long Sault.

At the top of the hill, Annenraes turned to look down at the battlefield. The rapids crashed below him and then the water folded out like a billowing blanket and, quiet now, raced past the Iroquois palisade, past the open earth stained by so much blood, past the broken French barricade and on down through the forest.

Annenraes knew that battle was not the last he would have with the French intruders. He would not rest until they had all been killed or banished from his land. Then he would have to deal with the Dutch at Fort Orange. And the English were further south, he knew. The Great Spirit was trying his people with new things and more strife and turbulence than he had seen before. No matter. He and the Confederacy would learn how to deal with these people. The “Onweh Oweh,” the Original Men, must prevail.

He looked at the barricade impassively for a long time. Then he turned and walked quickly over to the waiting canoe that was being held for him by his braves.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 37: People in hell. New

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600The Iroquois stormed out of their palisade like dervishes running toward the barricade. Painted clubs and muskets waving, they followed the braves who wore the make-shift armor. Screeching and yelling insults and threats, they ran toward the barricade. They looked as if they would suffocate it by sheer weight of numbers.

“Here they come!” yelled Dollard. “Fire on command!… Aim… fire!”

Twenty-two muskets cracked; thirteen Iroquois fell dead, four more were wounded.

Three guns had misfired, and two missed their targets.


The riflemen had already automatically moved back, and the men two steps back jumped to the loopholes.

“Aim…. fire!”

Ten muskets fired and seven Iroquois fell. At this range and with so many attackers it was difficult to miss. Three guns had misfired.

“Fire at will! Make your shots count!”

The Iroquois came on. They had lost twenty braves in half a minute, but the places of the dead were taken immediately by eager men.

Some of the Iroquois reached the barricade. They could do no harm unless the loopholes were clear, and these were all manned by the Hurons, French and Algonquins. The Mohawks could not shoot through the barricade, the earth was too thick. Some started to climb the barricade walls but were shot in the stomach as they passed the loopholes. Others, who had reached the barricade, crouched low at its base, under the loopholes. They and began hacking away with their hatchets at the dead branches, roots, stumps and stockade shafts that gave the barricade its meager strength.

Dollard, seeing him, called to Robert Jurie.

“Robert, get some pistols. We’ll make bombs.”

Robert Jurie, Nicholas Josselin and Roland Hebert rapidly broke pistols, filled the muzzles with powder, inserted fuses, lit them, and threw the small bombs just over the barricade so that they exploded among the Mohawks.

The explosions sent shards of steel, shot and burning powder into their midst. They were dismantling more pistols when trouble came at the tenth loophole on the right side –Mituvemeg’s position.

An Algonquin was hit in the shoulder. Jacques Brassier, the back-up man behind the tenth and eleventh position, moved in. Immediately he was hit in the neck by a bullet. He sank to his knees, surprised, and stayed there, holding his neck as if praying. Brassier had a strange, unbelieving expression on his face as the blood poured out of the hole in his neck. Kneeling in stillness, he looked like a grotesque fountain. The blood was falling in a short arc, spilling dreadfully on Mituvemeg’s white polar bear cape. Mituvemag, trying to regain the loophole, could not get around Brassier fast enough. An Onondaga pushed his musket through the unmanned loophole and fired. His shot went across the semi-circle of the enclosure and buried itself in a Huron’s back.

Mituvemeg pushed Brassier’ paling body aside and fired his musket through the loophole. His shot missed the Indian, who had withdrawn, but he hit a second man in the chest. Another Onondaga appeared at the loophole. Mituvemeg drew his pistol from inside his shirt and fired point-blank into his enemy’s face. The Onondaga’s head exploded, spewing brains, blood, and teeth. Mituvemeg’s face was covered in the dead man’s blood, and it was impossible to distinguish the blood marks now from his war paint.

The rear-guard man from between loopholes eight and nine–Christophe Augier–raced over and took up a place at the tenth loophole, allowing Mituvemeg time to reload.

Robert Jurie, seeing that the grenades were having some effect at the brunt of the attack, sent Rejean Tiblement over to the tenth loophole to reinforce it.

Dollard remembered the rock. He turned and looked up but to his surprise there was no one there. He turned back to the attack again, and immediately an arrow slammed into the ground behind him. He cursed, turned again and saw that a Mohawk had arrived on the rock just seconds after he had last looked.

A Huron, reloading at the fourth loophole also saw the incident. He raised his musket and fired, and the Mohawk bowman pitched over and bounced down the rock surface. Annahotaha, watching the incident, instructed the Huron marksman to keep his eye on the rock after that.

The men at the wall were still firing. The break at number two had been recovered, and the small bombs were working, but Jurie was worried.

“We brought forty pistols, Dollard, but we never counted on close fighting. Let’s use the musketoons,” he yelled.

“All right!” screamed Dollard.

Robert Jurie got help in loading the musketoons from Jean Lecompte and Robin. Smaller versions of the muskets, the musketoons looked like blunderbusses. Stuffed with powder and with fuses they exploded, killing or wounding five or six attackers when dropped over the barricade wall.

Suddenly, at loophole three the Iroquois made another break-through. Smoke from the explosion of a powder-packed gun rose into the eyes of the Hurons, who had to turn their heads away.

What wind there was aided the Iroquois, pushing the smoke northwest toward the barricade.

Two Mohawks stepping on the bodies of their comrades gained the loophole. One fired a musket, killing a Huron who never saw it coming. The other Iroquois held only a hatchet. He was screaming with rage, but he was powerless to do anything except hack at the barricade around the hole. This action gave the second, temporarily-blinded, Huron a moment to regain his sight. He drew his knife, swung his arm out, and the Mohawk’s face split apart; the blade crossed his left eye, nose, and cheek, and he dropped away in agony.

Instantly, another Onondaga was at the loophole. He fired and his bullet found the Huron’s shoulder. Another one fired across the compound and struck Rejean Tiblemont in the back of the head. Tiblement felt a searing pain in his brain and then he felt nothing.

Robert Jurie and Dollard had moved to the third loophole. They pulled the wooden stopper on a small keg of powder, fashioned a fuse, inserted it and, on a count of three, hurled it over the barricade. The explosion was muffled by the screams of the Iroquois who couldn’t get out of its way. Nine Iroquois flow up briefly, like startled partridge, before falling lifelessly to the earth.

Annahotaha was at the third hole. He fired. An Onondaga took the bullet in the groin and howled with pain. Annahotaha stepped back and turned to reload when a sharp pain went swiftly through his chest. The air went out of him as if he had been rammed in the stomach. He began to breath out hard and fast. It was as if his lungs were manufacturing air and expelling it at the same time as the blood left his body. He turned to see where the shot had come from. High on the rock were two enemies, one with a bow and the other reloading his musket. Instinctively, Annahotaha looked for the Huron he had instructed to watch the rock. He found him lying a few feet away, face down, with an arrow in his back. Annahotaha turned to the rock, raised his gun with difficulty to his waist, but he could lift it no further.

Dollard and Robert Jurie were with him by now. Together they fired, and the Mohawks on the rock fell. Dollard and Jurie reached for Annahotaha.

“I am a dead man, comrades. Return to the fighting – do not stay with me. I ask only one thing. As soon as I die, put my head in the fire. I do not want my scalp to go to those vipers.”

He closed his eyes, and the Huron chief passed from his time.

Dollard and Robert Jurie pulled Annahotaha to the fire several steps behind them. They looked at each other fearfully.

“Is he dead?”

“I don’t know,” said Dollard. He withdrew his pistol, held it to Annahotaha’s great heart and pulled the trigger. Annahotaha’s body lifted slightly as if had been tickled, then hit the earth again and was motionless.

Dollard and Jurie each took one of the dead chief’s arms and, walking on either side of the fire, pulled his head into the flames. The chief’s black hair caught instantly, the red and white flames crackling through it like a fuse, wrapping the strong head in a halo of fire.

Dollard watched for a moment and shook his head silently. Robert Jurie hit him on the arm.

“Come on, for God’s sake!”

The old Huron, Louis Taondechoren, had moved to the third loophole when Annahotaha fell, and he and another Huron made a successful reinforcement at that station. Dollard looked around the barricade. There were now at least eight dead. Eight that he could see.
“Another keg, Robert.”

They took a second powder keg and after making a fuse, took it to the sixth and seventh loopholes where the Iroquois were thickest.

The Mohawks were climbing on the bodies of their dead, ferociously pulling themselves up the barricade, only to be knocked back or shot full in the face by the desperate French.
The second keg was ready. Swinging it, lighted fuse burning, the pair hurled it.

“One, two, three, go!”

It swept up in an arc, skimmed easily over the barricade and fell on the horrified Iroquois. It dropped first on the back of a brave, rolled down his body and the momentum carried it a few feet further into the midst of a crowd of attackers. They tried to escape it — one of them did — but it caught most of the group, and it burst upon them like a shock wave of stored fury. The braves who died felt nothing. The wounded were cut and bleeding, their bodies opened by the blast, and they were suffering.

Dollard and Jurie prepared two more of these bombs and threw them over to the right and left of the first and each had the same effect: the enormous roar of the explosion, the wretched effect on the attackers. The noise was frightening. The tumult from the wailing victims mixed with the horror and anguish of their fellows came right after the detonation. First the blast, then, for an instant, silence, then the sound of people in hell.
The allies were hanging on.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 36: No Rules in This Game

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600Annahotaha saw his nephew, La Mouche, run at the wall. The chief moved to him and grabbed at his legs, but La Mouche was at the top and with a kick to Annahotaha’s chest he simultaneously pushed the chief over backwards and fell to the ground outside the barricade. Once he hit the ground, La Mouche began running fast for the Iroquois compound, urged on by the hoots and exhortations of the Iroquois. Furious, Annahotaha regained his feet and sprang to a loophole. He moved his musket into place and fired.

La Mouche’s body arched like a bow. His hands coiled to the pain in his spine and his head and feet almost met at the small of his back. The pain was everywhere, in his back, neck, arms, legs, brain. The shot had hit his spinal column and when he fell he did not move. He had spun around so that he could see the Iroquois palisade gate thirty feet away. But he couldn’t reach it and no one left the palisade to help him. La Mouche had time to reflect on his choice before he died.

Annahotaha, breathing heavily, watched La Mouche fall, and he cursed his nephew’s cowardice.

The French were firing at the escaping Hurons. Some Iroquois, as they saw the defectors climb over the walls of the barricade, ran out of their palisade and rushed towards the escaping Hurons.

The Iroquois, thinking this might be a complete capitulation, were yelling and waving and running and firing their muskets. The French, trying to shoot the defecting Hurons, saw the onrushing Iroquois and began shooting at them as well.

Annahotaha tried to prevent it.

“Let them go — do not shoot!”

It was too late. In the confusion, the French killed many Iroquois as well as eight fleeing Hurons.

“Ah, comrades, you have spoiled everything,” said Annahotaha. “Now that you have embittered them they will charge upon us in such a rage that we are without doubt lost.”

Annahotaha was right about the Iroquois. In breaking the peace before the Iroquois had answered the French had made a grave error.

Pilote turned on Annahotaha:

“What do you mean we’ve ruined everything? Your Hurons defect, and we’re supposed to stand here and take it? They’re cowards!

“The Iroquois tried to parley with us a few days ago and when some were coming to talk others were attacking us from the side. We haven’t done anything they didn’t do, and we had provocation!” shouted Pilote.

Annahotaha looked at Pilote sadly.

“Do you think that matters to the Iroquois? Do you think this is a game with rules?”

In the Iroquois palisade, when the French began shooting first at the escaping Hurons and then at the Iroquois, the two Hurons, and the adopted Oneida emissaries were giving the gifts to the Iroquois chiefs. Annenraes slapped the presents aside.

“Do you give us gifts with your hands while you kill us with your guns? There will be no more talk. Kill them!”

Suddenly, tomahawks and knives closed off the light in the eyes of the messengers.

Other Iroquois were cheering the defecting Hurons on and welcoming them into their palisade. Twenty-four Hurons had gone over the walls. Eight, including La Mouche, lay dead on the ground between the two primitive forts. The other sixteen were told to sit down, and guards hovered over them in a corner of the Iroquois camp. Then the Iroquois turned their attention to the enemy fort. Stung by the breaking of the truce, the Iroquois raced out of their compound and ran screaming at the barricade.

“Stations!” Dollard yelled.

The thirty-four remaining allies raced to the loopholes. They fired as quickly as possible at the advancing Iroquois.’The wave of lead cut the front line down, then the second line, and then Agariata called the retreat. Howling and screeching, the Mohawks and Onondagas ran back to the safety of their palisade.

Inside, Agariata spoke:

“‘We will not leave here without killing the French.”

He took his hatchet and buried it in one of the rough palisade’s poles. The Iroquois braves knocked each other over in an attempt to pull it out and thus have the honor of leading the next attack.

“Prepare yourselves. Protect yourselves. Get the shields,” Agariata ordered.

Many braves wore a kind of forest armor. Mantlets of three pieces of wood were lashed side to side which covered them from the head to the middle of the thigh. This shield would not be effective against steel-tipped arrows although it would stop stone-tipped ones. As a protection against bullets it was of no value, but the psychological effect could help the braves, Agariata knew, and it might frighten and confuse the French shooters.

As the Mohawks dressed in their protective equipment, Agariata looked toward the barricade. He saw nothing.

“They cannot last now,” said Annenraes, who had just come from the squatting defectors.

“The Hurons say there were sixty-one men: seventeen French, four Algonquins and forty Hurons.”

“How many are left?” asked Agariata.

“Thirty-four or thirty-five. Twenty-tour defected to us; we had the three emissaries here, and there are at least a half-dozen Hurons dead out there.”

“You are right. They cannot last. The Hurons have no stomach for us.”

“You will be surprised at the people there,” said Annenraes. “The defectors say Annahotaha captains the Hurons and Mituvemeg is the Algonquin leader.”

“Annahotaha and Mituvemeg? Together? said Agariata. “I will enjoy seeing them die. Annahotaha in particular. He has lived too long. He has killed many of our brothers. I want to torture him myself.”

“You will have to be swift, Agariata,” said Annenraes. “I want him too.”

Agariata looked at his men; they were nearly ready.

In the barricade after the rush, there was little time to sort things out. Thirteen Hurons remained, including Annahotaha. The Algonquins had not even considered defecting; they were of a different life-root than the Iroquois, and they could neither expect nor did they wish for the adoption promised the Hurons. The seventeen Frenchmen and their Indian allies totaled thirty-four. The odds were now over twelve to one.

Dollard’s quick calculation put two men at each of eleven loopholes and a man between each loophole. That was thirty-two men.

“Pay attention. Here is what we will do,” said Dollard.

He scuffed some stones out of the way with his foot, picked up a broken arrow and drew a large semi-circle on the ground to represent the barricade.

“‘We will man eleven loopholes with two men each. The force will be strongest in the center because the loopholes are closer together there. Between each loophole and two steps behind we will place another man so that he can move either left or right to fire while the man he replaces steps back to reload.

“Annahotaha, you and the Hurons take the river side from loophole number one to four. Mituvemeg and the Algonquin band take the forest side loopholes ten and eleven. The French will take the center loopholes five through nine with a man back of loopholes nine and ten and another behind ten and eleven with Mituvemeg’s men.

“The first man at the first loophole and the last man at number eleven loophole will not have replacements; they must fire when ready, step back, reload and return to the firing position.

“Robert Jurie will stand here about twenty paces behind the second line of men so that he can see all the firing points and cover or reinforce where necessary. I will be on this rock where I can see over the barricade. Get your ammunition ready. Move!”

The men peeled out of the circle like birds frightened by gunshot.

Annahotaha and his Hurons moved to the left, the river side, They grabbed boxes of powder and shot and placed them a step and a half behind and a little to the side of the loopholes they were defending. When they had fired and stepped back, they would just have to reach down without looking to grab their ammunition. Annahotaha would defend the river and the area from the river to the beginning of the fifth loophole, which was facing the water and the rapids. To attack these positions, the Iroquois would have to run from their palisade toward the river then cut left and run along the river then swing into the left again to the barricade. It gave Annahotaha’s men the most time to aim and fire and put the Iroquois at the most serious disadvantage, for they had the longest run without cover to attack this position. The river acted as a barrier because the current was too fast to permit an attack from the water.

Annahotaha noted all this as he deployed his men at loopholes one through five. He put a good marksman at the position of the first loophole because that man would get no relief, and he placed another good one at the position of the number five loophole because that man shared the spot with a Frenchman. After the defection, Annahotaha wanted no more reasons for the French to mistrust the Hurons. He alternated strong and weaker marksmen at the other holes, and he took up the first position of the second loophole himself. From there he could see all the others in front of him and still be close enough to assist any strong attack to the first loophole, which was just behind him to the left on the semi-circle.

Mituvemeg’s men picked up ammunition as they ran to the far right-hand side of the barricade. They defended against attack from the forest, only forty yards away and would, therefore, have the shortest time to prepare.

Behind the barricade was a natural rock formation which rose steeply and acted as a back-stop for the defenders. For any Iroquois who cared to climb it from the forest, it also offered a position from which to shoot down on the barricade. Two facts had worked against that so far: the rock formation was so steep it could be climbed only with a great deal of time, and there wasn’t much room at the peak. If an Iroquois did get up there, the barricade’s defenders could see him easily and shoot him.

After a few early attempts at this, the Iroquois got tired of losing men so easily and had ignored that route days earlier. But Mituvemeg wondered, now with so many men so intent on the kill, if the enemy would try the position again.

‘While taking up his place at loophole ten, he resolved to keep an eye on the rock.

“Dollard,” Mituvemeg called.

Dollard looked over.

“Watch the rock above us!”

Dollard nodded and yelled to everyone:

“When re-loading, look behind you to the rock!”

Mituvemeg’s Algonquins now occupied the extreme right of the barricade at the last two loopholes, ten and eleven, near the rock and closest to the forest.

The French fighters moved to the center of the curve of the barricade, pulling ammunition with them. They began with Cognac taking the second position at the fifth loophole next to the Huron.

Cognac looked at the Huron and spoke in French.

“Can you shoot straight?”

The Huron did not answer. He could not speak French and Cognac didn’t know much Huron except swear words.

“Have you got your ammunition ready?” Cognac asked.

No response.

“Have you got a drink?” he asked.

The Huron regarded him blankly.

“Dumb savages,” Cognac said to himself in French, and then he said it in Huron.

“Dumb savages.”

“Dumb savages,” the Huron repeated, thinking Cognac was referring to the Iroquois.

Surprised, Cognac laughed and responded in Huron.

“Right! Dumb savages. Stupid dogs!”

“Stupid dogs,” echoed the Huron, looking grimly out the loophole.

“Hey, you’re all right,” said Cognac, slapping the Indian on the shoulder.

“Rotten Viper bastards,” Cognac said in Huron.

“Rotten Viper bastards,” repeated the Huron. “Sons of dogs,” he added unexpectedly.

Cognac looked at the Huron with glee.

“Right! — sons of dogs! Let’s shoot the sons of dogs!” He laughed.

The other men took their positions at loopholes six to nine and Frenchmen lined up in the secondary line between each of the loopholes from five to eleven, extending behind Mituvemeg’s Algonquins. They were ready. Robert Jurie moved a few more boxes into position, grabbed his musket and stepped back several steps.

“Where the hell are they?” he said.

“Jesus, don’t invite them!” said Pilote from the sixth loophole.

The silence was worse than the sporadic fire had been for days. The men were aware of their own heavy, irregular breathing. It wasn’t hot, but some wiped sweat from their foreheads.

The air was still.

Finally, Forges spoke:

“Captain, captain.”

“What is it?” said Dollard.

“Captain, due to a pressing social engagement I should like to be relieved of duty for the next few days. May I have leave?”

“I, too, have a pressing matter. I have been called to the bar,” said Cognac.

The laughter that broke the tension hadn’t died before Agariata, gave the Iroquois the signal to attack.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 35: Huron Defection.

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600Thursday, May 10th.

The Iroquois began firing heavily at dawn. Arrows were useless against the heavy redoubt of their enemies, but a heavy barrage of gunfire would gradually take its toll in weariness.

The barrage lasted only two hours, but the battle noise penetrated heads and the French, weary from hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep, returned fire only when necessary and exhorted their Indian allies to do likewise. That was futile; the Hurons had been prevented from retaliating shot for shot while the Iroquois fire was intermittent. Now, they said, it was a battle, and if you don’t shoot in a battle, when do you shoot?

It didn’t matter that the palisade was out of range, or that the aim of some guns was unreliable or that some Hurons were inexpert marksmen. It didn’t even matter that the Hurons couldn’t see those Iroquois hidden in the forest and that if they hit someone it was pure accident.

Both the Huron and the Iroquois had an unreasonable reliance on their ‘thunder sticks.’ It was as though they thought all they had to do was shoot the muskets in the general direction of the enemy and if the noise didn’t scare the man to death the musket ball surely would find its way to the target. The fact was, that with all the firing on both sides, with all the expenditure of energy and ammunition, no one was being hit. The fighting raged on, senseless, thunder in the forest without rain.

In mid-morning Annahotaha walked down the slope inside the barricade and, squatting down on his haunches, he approached Dollard, who was trying to sleep against the wall amidst the noise of the battle.

“Dollard,” said the Huron chief.

Dollard woke, reaching for his musket, but Annahotaha gripped his arm.

“Oh! …God, you scared me chief. Is there something wrong?”

They looked at each other for a split second, and both men burst out laughing. Dollard rolled over.

“‘Is something wrong?”‘ he mockingly repeated. “Oh, hell no, we’re pinned down in this miserable hole with no water and we haven’t slept in a week and there are about a thousand people out there who’d like to eat us, is all.”

Despite himself Annahotaha was laughing too.

“Dollard, we have to try to talk with them. There are too many of them now. We can not defeat them. We should try to arrange some settlement.”

“How? Why would they want to talk?” asked Dollard.

“The Iroquois might welcome a truce. They have many dead, and they will have to bury them or their souls will always wander in these woods.”

“But it’s an army, Annahotaha. What difference can we make to them? If they are going to attack the French settlements they can’t just let us return to warn Montreal.”

“They might be persuaded to give up their idea of a massacre for a time. They could let us go, return to their houses and seek a more suitable time to attack. It is not a good omen for them to meet such resistance when they have not planned for it. They could return home. It would not be dishonorable for them.”

“Well, something has got to change,” said Dollard.

“We should send an emissary with gifts to the Iroquois,” said the chief. “We will instruct them as to what to say and perhaps the Iroquois will accept this.”

“Who shall we send?”

“I will select the people,” said Annahotaha. He called over an Oneida brave who had been captured as a child by the Hurons and raised by them. The Oneida brave, with new parents and a new life, did not think it strange now to be fighting against his former nation. It was the custom. Annahotaha also chose two of the best Huron braves from his detachment. He spoke to all three men.

“We wish to have a conference with the Iroquois. You will go to them in peace as our emissaries to give them gifts and to talk with them. Tell the Iroquois chiefs that this quarrel makes no sense. The Iroquois have lost many men, and it would be senseless to lose more; that we have much ammunition and food and great hearts, and we will not surrender. Ask them to accept our gifts in the hope that this hostility might cease without the loss of more life.”

Annahotaha was careful in his instructions to his men. He told them to say nothing provocative, to say nothing that would give new information to the Iroquois, but only to state what the Iroquois already knew. He hoped that this discussion could provide the means by which the Iroquois could get off the hook of required revenge temporarily. They could accept the gifts as a suit for peace, rationalize that as a victory, take home their dead, and abandon their plan for immediate conquest. Although the Iroquois desire to bury their dead was strong, he knew the chances were against the Iroquois accepting such a suit but it was not impossible, not unthinkable.

He had heard about an incident the year before. Some Oneidas had set out on a war party but en route a man was killed by an arrow meant for a partridge. The chief decided it was not good to proceed. Annahotaha hoped one of the Iroquois chiefs had a dream indicating this French resistance was also a bad omen, a warning not to continue.

The French were doubtful, but they gathered up awls, needles, blankets, rings, tobacco and two muskets and gave them to the emissaries to present to the Iroquois as gifts. Gifts were necessary to prove the sincerity of one’s intentions. The three allies waited at the base of the barricade while Louis Taondechoren waved a white cloth in the air. Gradually the shooting ceased and when it finally stopped Louis Taondechoren spoke in the Iroquois language.

“Cease your hostilities, Mohawks, and Onondagas. We would talk with you about a truce.”

There was a brief silence.

“Come,” shouted an Iroquois voice. “‘We will not harm you. ‘We will listen to your talk.”
Two emissaries scrambled up the inside of the barricade and leapt to the ground while the third, carrying the gifts, squeezed through lashed poles in the wall. They began the walk through the dead to the Iroquois camp. The French began to pray for the success of the talks. The situation looked desperate now, and this seemed the only hope. Jacques Brassier and some others fell to their knees; others prayed at the loopholes. Some of the Hurons threw tobacco on the fires in the barricade, hoping their prayers would rise with the tobacco scent to God.

The three emissaries reached the Iroquois fort, and they disappeared inside the slanted gate. Some Hurons who had been adopted by the Iroquois began taunting their ex-brothers, those Huron behind the barricade.

“The end is near for you Huron. You are tired; we are fresh. You are few; we are many. Give up your arms and come to the safety of our fort. We will treat you well here. We will You adopt you and you can live and take your life from us.”

Annenraes and Agariata turned away from the emissaries for a moment. A Mohawk brave, sensing their concern, approached.

“Shall I stop them from calling to the Huron?” he asked.

Annenraes thought a moment.

“No. Leave them alone. It may be they will be successful. If not, we have wasted nothing.”

The shouting went on to Annahotaha’s Huron braves.

“If you do not listen you will surely die. Our chiefs are angry and have already decided to kill you. If you live, you will be tortured and burned, and your flesh will be consumed.”

Another man called:

“Give up this wrong defense! It would be a great shame for you to die when you can save yourselves by joining us.”

And another, a former Huron said:

“This combat is unequal. We must surely defeat you. You cannot withstand us. Come, defect to us and the Iroquois will adopt you just as they did us years ago.”

And another:

“Consider the welcome we will prepare for you: you will have food and water and presents and care in our homes when we return there. You will be welcome as brothers. You will replace in our longhouses, the unfortunate Iroquois braves who have succumbed here. You will become the children and nephews of parents who lost children here. Come to us instead of dying foolishly with the French.”

It was too much for many of the Hurons. Distressed at losses in battle for two decades; drained after the battle of a week; discouraged at the arrival of the Mohawks; and lured by the promises of the Iroquois which they knew to be true, their courage wilted. Something else was in play too. It was sometimes the case, with opportunistic Frenchmen, that they, in times of expediency, turned over Hurons to the enemy to an uncertain fate. This troubled some Huron braves.

Just as the Indian nations were accused of capriciousness in their activities, either because it suited them, or because one chief violated what another chief had promised, perhaps knowingly, perhaps not, so, too, the French behaved, each operating according to his own knowledge, experience and character. Some characters were better than others. So it was that the Hurons’ thoughts centered on themselves, and they took the opportunity to save themselves before they could be betrayed by the French.

They seized on the chance to defect and began climbing the barricade. Dropping their weapons which could only slow them down and perhaps allow them to be caught by those who remained, they leapt on the walls, scaled them easily and began dropping to the ground and racing for the Iroquois palisade.

“Stop them!” cried Dollard.

“Come back!” yelled Robert Jurie.

It was hopeless. The frightened Hurons, sensing freedom and life, moved quickly over the wall.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 34: Flaming arrows

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600Monday, May 9th.

The warmth at the end of April had changed to cold in early May. The men stayed close to the fires, their bones aching from the chill and the lack of sleep.

There was no water left.

The French who tried to eat the dry, powdered corn only made their thirst worse because the dry meal stuck to their mouths and throats. The Hurons, used to hardship like this, ate their meal without water uncomplainingly.

The day was almost finished. Louis Martin and Pilote had drawn the only real fire of the day when they attempted to get water.

Dollard spoke with Robert Jurie.

“If we can’t have much water, I’m glad we can’t have any. Imagine the fights there would be if we brought in a kettle or two.”

‘But it isn’t good without water. They can’t eat, Dollard. It’s getting to them.”

“I know, but I can’t think of anything to relieve them. We’ll just have to take it until we get a break. With this force, they seem intent on attacking Montreal. It was just luck that we met them.”

“Luck? said Jurie

They both laughed uneasily.

“I mean maybe the Iroquois’ fated day will be postponed and they’ll all want to go back to their longhouses.”

“Yeah,” said Jurie. “Then they’ll help us build new canoes, and we can all just go home.”

“The thing that makes me mad about this is the timing. Any other time and we’d have thousands of beaver pelts; now we’ll have to go back without any. And I borrowed money to come on this trip,” said Dollard.

“At least we’ll have Iroquois to our credit,” said Robert Jurie.

“True. It’ll be a while before the Iroquois go down a rapid without checking it out very carefully. At least we’ve accomplished that.”

“And there are a lot of dead Iroquois out there. We haven’t done badly.”

“All we have to do is get out of here. As long as the Iroquois continue to think of the clearing as the best way to us I think we’ll be all right. They won’t come by the river and they seem to think the woods don’t offer them sufficient running room. Thank God. Because if they keep coming up the center we’ll do all right. That center area can only hold so many people no matter how many they’ve got in reserve. We can handle that space. It’s the woods that worry me. If they attacked us from all sides with all their men I don’t think we could hold them for long.”

Let’s hope they don’t figure that out,” said Jurie.

“Right.’ he turned and called, “Annahotaha!”

Robert Jurie moved away to check the shot supplies. Annahotaha walked to Dollard’s side.

“Chief, is there anything we can do? It’s like Montreal. We’re trapped in here and they’re out there.”

“Tonight we will try a thing. I will prepare it,” said Annahotaha.

That night was quiet except for the everlasting war of nerves practiced by the Iroquois through their sporadic firing on the barricade. Some Hurons were returning the fire still. Annahotaha stopped them.

“Listen to me. It is the custom to reply to a shot lest the attacker think you are weak. But I tell you the situation has changed. They know we have few men compared to them. They know too that we have a limited amount of shot. If we reply shot for shot they know we will reduce our ammunition and then they can kill us easily.

“The Iroquois do this on purpose. If we shoot at them when we cannot hit them but only to make noise they will know we have no sense. They will laugh at us first and then they will kill us. We must not reply to them. If we do not shoot back for nothing we out-think the Iroquois chiefs and it is they who have no sense.”

The Hurons and Algonquins listened. Louis Taondechoren spoke.

“Chief Annahotaha is right. What is right to catch the deer in winter is not right in summer. We should not return their fire just for the sake of custom.”

The Huron and Algonquin bands agreed; Annahotaha left them with satisfaction and walked over to Mituvemeg.

Annahotaha and Mituvemeg waited until it was completely dark: the moon was behind clouds which covered most of the sky. They had been working in a corner all the late afternoon. Together they approached Dollard.

“Now we will try a thing,” said Annahotaha. “This would not work for the Iroquois because our fort has stone and earth but theirs is only wood.”

Annahotaha and Mituvemeg each chose his best archers. Two Algonquins and Mituvemeg and six Hurons stood at the rear of the barricade with bows and arrows wrapped in bark. Each had a pile of arrows held by a second man. A third man for each archer went to a front loophole and waited. The bowmen stood on boxes of powder, which made Dollard anxious, but there was nothing else to use. The men on the ground bent over, lit the arrowhead in the flame of the campfire and handed it quickly to the archer who aimed at the Iroquois palisade and fired.

Even standing at the rear of the barricade Mituvemeg and his fellow bowmen could not see the palisade but the men at the loopholes could see the flickering enemy fires inside the palisade and follow the flight of the arrows.

Annahotaha gave a signal. Nine hickory bows arched, held poised for an instant and shot flaming arrows at the Iroquois palisade. Two went wide; one sailed into the palisade striking…what?

But a scream rose.

Five slammed into the slender wooden poles of the Iroquois fort.

The Hurons at the loopholes called back to the bowmen.

“Fifty paces ahead.”

“Twenty-five paces left!”

“Too far — fifteen paces back!.”

The men below the archers had other arrows ready. Nine lights shone in the black of the barricade. The archers dipped their bows while fitting the shaft to the gut-string. Nine lights lifted in an arc hung steady in a row like a monster’s blazing eyes and nine fire arrows sprang from the bows with a soft, low tzzzzip.’ Eight hits.

The men at the loopholes confirmed each hit to his man and told him where he had hit. Annahotaha stared out a loophole.

“This side, you three, fire more to the left. The others are good except the last man on the right. Fire slightly more to the right. Same height. Now!”

Again the bowmen received the flaming shafts, fitted them, arched their bows and let fly. Nine hits. The Iroquois were in a momentary panic. They had not expected this attack. They had not expected to find this opposition in the forest at all.

Some of the arrows were burning themselves out. Others had found their marks to be dry and flammable. In moments the flame from one arrow had spread to three poles. Iroquois were outside pulling low arrows out with their hands. In two cases the flames had reached such proportions that the Mohawks and Onondagas simply cut through the branches used as lashing and severed the burning poles, kicking them from behind so that they fell, burning harmlessly in front of the palisade. That left the palisade weaker and open.

As more arrows flew into the Iroquois palisade, a thunder of musket fire erupted from the surrounding forest. The allies took the loopholes and returned the fire, shooting some Iroquois, who, illuminated by the burning arrows they were trying to remove, made easy targets. More Iroquois ran to the river with the Frenchmen’s kettles and threw water on arrows higher on their palisade.

In a few minutes, Annahotaha and Mituvemeg’s men were out of flaming arrows, and the firing from the Iroquois demanded their attention.

Dollard’s men took the opportunity to rush to the river and managed to get a new supply of water.

Twenty minutes later most of the musket fire had ceased and the fires were under control. The Iroquois palisade was badly damaged in four places. The Iroquois took poles from the back of their fort and planted them where the burned poles were, lashing them with branches as before. Others poured water all over the front of the palisade so that a repeat performance would not occur that night.

Annahotaha smiled to himself. He, Mituvemeg and Dollard were standing at a loophole, watching the Iroquois repair their palisade.

“That was brilliant, Annahotaha and Mituvemeg!” said Dollard.

“It did not do real damage to the Iroquois,” said Annahotaha.

“No– but look at the men!” said Dollard.”And we have water!”

The men were exuberant. Tired, hungry, dirty and agitated from the week of war an hour earlier, but now not thirsty, were laughing and joking, revived by the fire arrow attack on the Iroquois. They congratulated the Indian archers and their cohorts.

“Good,” said Mituvemeg. “Good. Good. Good.”

“We needed something like that, eh?” said Dollard.

Annahotaha watched the men carefully.

“Yes. We must take the initiative again. It is the only way, I think.”

“My men are resolute and strong,” said Mituvemeg.

He knew what Annahotaha was thinking. “And the French?”

Dollard looked at Mituvemeg.

“They will all be fine. There were a couple I wasn’t completely certain of before we started this trip. Now I am certain of them all. And your men, Annahotaha?”

“Some of them… ” he broke off and watched his men laughing with the French and Algonquins. “… if we take the initiative…” He watched his fellow Hurons.

“My people were as numerous and as strong as those Iroquois before … it is difficult to become accustomed to defeat. My people have had enough of defeat.”

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 33: Fake Peace and Mohawk Chief Agariata arrives with reinforcements

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600May 7th

On the morning of the sixth day of the battle, a white flag was raised over the Iroquois Palisade.

“They want a council,” said Annahotaha.”

“Can we trust them?” said Dollard.

Annahotaha sniffed contemptuously. “Trust? No. If they come unarmed to talk, how can we not talk to them? But they are devious. Do not trust them.”

“All right, ” said Dollard. He turned to the men. “The Onondagas want to talk,” Dollard yelled. “We’ll let them approach, but be on guard.” He turned back to Annahotaha. “They can come ahead.”

Annahotaha motioned to Louis Taondechoren, the sixty-year-old war veteran, and he called to the Onondagas in the Iroquois language.

Three enemy braves strode out of the palisade, unarmed. Dollard watched them closely. They came within hearing distance, and one began to speak.

“It is not necessary that we prolong this feud longer. People have died needlessly. We should stop this and have friendly words.”

Suddenly a gang of Iroquois raced out of the woods close to the far side of the barricade. Pilote was there.

“They’re attacking!”

He fired and so did the Hurons at his loophole. Two Iroquois dropped, and fire from the other loopholes drove the attackers back to the woods.

“Son of a bitch!” said Pilote. “They attacked during a parley!” He reloaded. “Son of a bitch,” he muttered, amazed. Dollard looked at Annahotaha who watched the Iroquois run into the forest then he turned and watched the three braves run back to their palisade. He said nothing.

“Do they think we’re stupid?” said Pilote.

“No,” said Annahotaha. “Sometimes they do talk properly. When it suits them. It does not suit them at the moment.” “How can they expect us to respond if they request a parley again?”

It is the viper way. People can say whatever they want about meeting them, and they will all be different in their opinions, and they will all be correct. It depends on the situation. Some will say they can be trusted, others say no. They will have had different experiences. That is exactly why they cannot be trusted.

The Onondagas tried the ploy once more. The second time the French and Hurons waited for Dollard’s signal to fire. He did this before the Iroquois could speak. The attackers were twenty feet from the barricade before he gave the order.

They met a furious fire and fell in a heap where they had been running a second before. The survivors retreated in disarray.

Some Hurons leapt over the barricade and chopped off two Iroquois heads, then ran back to safety. They planted these heads on the palisade with the first chief’s head. Then, smelling the chief’s head which had been there for days, they laughed, picked it up, and threw it on the ground outside the barricade.

Chief Annenraes of the Onondagas stood grimly watching. He threw his hatchet in anger at the ground. He had hoped to make a break-through today. He wanted to have the whole thing over before Chief Agariata and his Mohawks arrived from the Iroquois Islands. He would not be in disfavor either for asking for assistance or failing to break the barricade, but he thought of the glory if he could do it alone. Now he knew he couldn’t.

Eleven more men had died. He had now lost fifty-seven, a large number by Indian warfare standards. But times were changing, and he must accept it. When they destroyed Montreal, there would be more losses, but Montreal would fall, and that meant three or four hundred fewer Frenchmen. He didn’t want to suffer the losses, but he liked what he envisioned at the end of the fighting.

During the last Iroquois retreat, Dollard sent Louis Martin and Pilote out to get water. For an instant, it looked like they were chasing the Iroquois. Suddenly they veered off to the left and broke for the river. The Iroquois, having looked back to see that they were being chased, did not stop but sprinted for the palisade. Their cohorts, when they saw what was happening, yelled to the retreating Iroquois, but there was so much yelling from all sides that they either didn’t hear or didn’t care to hear. The Iroquois had not stopped the water detail before but they considered it now as insult to injury after the repulsion of their latest attacks and vowed to be more aggressive.

Annenraes swallowed hard and let it go. He promised himself to take his revenge later.

May 8th

The morning was cold. The sun was partially out, but its light was flat and cheerless, pushing through blankets of cloud. The early morning wind gnashed through the bleak, bare winter stocks that would be trees in three weeks. There was a heavy, grey haze hanging over the water.

Almost imperceptibly a snout shoved itself through the grey on the river. It was south of the rapid, below the battlefield. It was darker than the haze. It looked like a black puppy’s nose in dirty snow. It grew. In a second the men recognized the curve of the elm canoe, then saw the bowman: a Mohawk. But coming from the north, closer to the French, not over the rapids to the south.

As soon as the lead brave in the Iroquois canoe could see the clearing he let out the Iroquois war cry, ‘Kasee Couee! At the same time, the haze was pushed aside like a curtain by the first of a hundred curved elm canoes.

The Mohawk’s scream repeated by four hundred voices behind him obliterated the sound of the rapid. The mass on the river grew darker, bigger, as the canoes pulled for shore in short, sharp strokes.

Now the Mohawks could be seen, filled with energy and a sense of the coming battle. The Onondagas in the palisade echoed the noise and made a great show of rushing out onto no man’s land before the canoes had reached shore. A volley from the Canadians sent them scurrying back to the palisade, but their joy remained. They screamed, jumped and leaped and raised their arms in anticipation of the coming victory.

The Canadians watched in dread, The odds had once been three and a half to one. At one point they were roughly two to one. For one shining moment there were effectively even with less than a hundred in favor of the Iroquois. Now, suddenly, the odds had soared to seven to one.

Dollard’s heart seemed to stop. He couldn’t feel it, couldn’t hear it. He tasted the bile that stopped at his throat.

Hebert and Pilote watched the army arrive.

“Jesus Christ,” they said together.

“I don’t see Him,” said Cognac, “but everybody else is here.”

“Annahotaha was right. They are going to try to wipe out Montreal,” said Hebert.

“Yeah … well, they have to get past us first,” said Pilote.

“That should take them all of an hour,” said Cognac, priming his weapon.

The Mohawks were landing. Jumping out of their canoes, they immediately went on the attack. Even those, like Dollard, Annahotaha and Mituvemeg, who had been expecting the arrival of more men were shaken by the size of the Mohawk army. Mituvemeg estimated the men at between three hundred and three hundred and fifty.

“More than four hundred,” said Annahotaha. “That’s a quarter of the whole Iroquois force.”

“Here they come,” said Mituvemeg.

“Fire at will,” ordered Dollard. “Stay to your spot! Fire!”

The Iroquois advance was a torrent. They seemed to think they could scare the French to death by running at them, firing and yelling. The Canadians, after collective heart failure, calmed themselves down and began doing what they had been doing for a week: methodically picking their targets and shooting. The Mohawk onslaught met with volley after volley of shots. The Hurons, Algonquins and French were accurate and fast. Two fired at each loophole and one reloaded.

The ammunition and organization of loading had long since been put into perfect efficiency by Robert Jurie. The shot and powder were immediately at hand. There was no groping, no indecision. During the last week the system had become so ingrained that it was automatic. Each man knew what he had to do. If you loaded for one charge, you fired for the next. The Frenchman at each loophole was in charge of the shot so that the Hurons and Algonquins wouldn’t waste it in replying needlessly. There was no danger of that at the moment.

The muskets were being well used, but they were troublesome. They often misfired or jammed. They were flintlocks, lighter than the old matchlocks. Sparks were caused by the impact of flint on the steel above the priming powder pan. Sometimes there was no spark; sometimes the priming powder had shifted. Loading was laborious and although these men had practiced all winter and had plenty of experience before that, the process of putting priming powder and shot in the muzzle and then ramming them down with the rod still took time.

It was ironic. The Indians’ bow and arrows were much quicker and at least as accurate as the muskets, but they were almost useless now because the barricade gave very little room for a clear shot. Hatchets and knives were of no use except for close-in or hand-to-hand fighting, so the muskets had to be used by the Iroquois until they breached the wall.

Many Iroquois had muskets, but they weren’t accurate with the capricious guns under the circumstances. The muskets weren’t much good while the brave was running toward an enemy. He had to stop to load and stopping made you a sitting duck. It wasn’t possible.

The Hurons and Algonquins had the same trouble with the erratic muskets as the Iroquois except that they were stationary and had their supply of powder and shot right beside them, which gave them an advantage.

The Iroquois, firing into the bulky barricade, met with no success and soon fell back. The ‘clearing’ could not be called that now; it was littered with dead Iroquois. After the first futile charge, the Mohawks crowded inside the palisade.

Agariata, the Mohawk chief, was looking¬ forward to meeting Annenraes. The Onondagas were considered the most feared nation, as the most blood-thirsty, but the Mohawks disputed that. It was good to have to come to the aid of an Onondaga chief, Agariata thought, as he walked to meet his ally. His reputation would grow.

“Greetings,” said Agariata.

“Greetings,” said Annenraes. “We are happy to see you, cousin. The French are in a strong position, and we have need of more men to take that barricade.”

Agariata listened in silence while Annenraes outlined the account of the last week from the loss of the scouts to the most recent attack. When Annenraes was finished the Mohawk climbed up on the rock look-out and tried to find a flaw in the French defense. He looked for ten minutes silently.

Agariata and Annenraes then ordered that the wounded be moved back from the palisade to a smaller clearing behind and above the battle line as the ground ‘climbed’ the river. It was surrounded by guards. The injured would be safe there and not take precious space in the Iroquois fort which now had more than four hundred men crammed inside. The other Iroquois stayed in the woods close to the battlefield. They couldn’t surround the French because their fort was up against a huge rock formation. You might be able to get a couple of men to the top of the rock formation and fire down, but that had been tried during the week. The braves who did it had to expose themselves and were easily shot from below. It should have worked, theoretically but practically it failed each time it was it attempted because of the landscape.

Agariata had to think. He left the palisade and, following the safety of the trees, he investigated the barricade from every possible position. He had seen it from the river but he dismissed that: it would be foolish to attack from the water and, anyway, the French could not escape from there– they had no canoes.

He was gone an hour, “When he returned he went to Chief Annenraes,
“You are right, Annenraes. It is well fortified. We must be careful, An attack from the water is useless. But water is important to our success. They must be permitted no more water.

“How many men do they have?” asked Agariata.

“Between fifty and one hundred. They said one hundred, but that is a lie,” answered Annenraes.

“So we know approximately their force and we outnumber them greatly. We know their fort. We do not know the ammunition situation, but it seems that it is strong. We also know they are tired and they have no water. Water is part of the way to victory.”

That day when Louis Martin and others attempted to go for water they were beaten back by the sheer size of the Iroquois barrage. The French and their Indian allies gave powerful support as usual but instead of trying to keep one hundred men’s heads down, it was four hundred and fifty. The Canadians couldn’t do it. Martin and Pilote ran thirty feet and found the air filled with arrows and musket balls hitting the ground at their feet. They would have gone on but Dollard called them, back and the pair hurried back to the barricade under a torrent of enemy fire.

The French, Hurons and Algonquins did without water that day. The men looked longingly at the fresh cold water only a short distance away. They thought they’d try it after dark. The Iroquois tried no more frontal attacks.

Everybody watched everybody else.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 32: The Battle, Day Four

 the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600Dollard stood against the barricade, one foot on a keg of powder on the evening of the fourth day of the battle.

“What are they were going to do?” he asked Annahotaha.

“We must be patient. There should be a solution to this problem. Even at Sainte Marie there could have been a solution, and this situation is not as desperate as that was.”

“‘You were there?”

Annahotaha looked directly at Dollard.

“Many did not escape.” He paused a long time. “But all those in Sainte Marie itself escaped. The Jesuits burned that place themselves. Ten summers of their work was gone in a few hours. It was a beautiful place.

“We knew the Iroquois were wintering nearby with twelve hundred men,” said Annahotaha. “The Hurons had more men at that place, but they panicked. They sent two hundred and fifty guards to Montreal with some furs. This was not wise because they went the northern route, away from the Iroquois. A few guards would have been enough. Then they failed to build a strong palisade. We made that mistake here too.”

Dollard flushed, but Annahotaha did not seem to notice. Annaotaha was not criticizing, merely making a general’s assessment of a battle tactic, but Dollard felt ashamed. He knew he should have repaired the barricade immediately. Had he done that, the Iroquois wouldn’t have seen the French canoes, wouldn’t have had time to construct their own palisade, and things would have been different.

“Black Robes named Brebeuf and Lalement died there?”

“The Vipers stripped them. Some of them put on the black robes to mock them, but the Black Robes gave no sign of protest. The vipers tore the nails from their fingers and then beat those two on the shoulders, the legs, the loins, the stomach, the head, everywhere. Brebeuf did not complain. He was a strong man. He prayed out loud, and this made the Iroquois angry. When we are tortured, we must endure pain and curse our torturers, but these men prayed for the torturers. It was as if the pain did not distract them from their thoughts. It made the Iroquois furious.

“Brebeuf told us to forgive the Iroquois. I do not understand that. Then one man — I am ashamed to say he was a Huron that the Iroquois adopted–this man came forward insulting Brebeuf. He was not only a Huron, he was a Christian. He had been baptized by Brebeuf himself and he, to show his new brothers that he believed no more, began to taunt the prisoner. This man was a coward. He was Huron, he was Iroquois, he was Christian, he was not. He was nothing. Not a real person.

“He said, ‘’Echon’…that was the name we called Brebeuf…’Echon, you say that baptism and the sufferings of this life lead straight to Paradise. I am going to baptize you and make you suffer well to go sooner to your Paradise.’

“Then he poured a kettle of boiling water over his head three times, each time saying, ‘Go to heaven for you are well baptized.’

“Echon said only, ‘I forgive you.’

“They became angrier still and made him suffer more torments. They made a collar of red-hot hatchets and put it on the priest’s neck. No matter what you do, you suffer. If you lean forward the hatchets on your back lie flat and burn you; if you lean backward, the ones on the front do the same; if you remain erect, you are tortured on both sides. It is a good torture,” said Annahotaha without emotion.

“Then they made a bark belt full of pitch and resin and set fire to it, and it burned his body.

“All this time Brebeuf remained without crying out. If he wanted to cry, he said, ‘Oh, Jesus!’ so the Iroquois, though they thought he would break, were disappointed every time. He continued to preach to his attackers, and I cried to see it. He seemed insensible to fire and whipping and cutting. The Iroquois could not believe it. Never have I seen a man endure so much without showing pain. I have seen the same tortures; we use them exactly on Iroquois we catch — but I have never seen such courage.

“It was too much for the Iroquois. To stop him from speaking they cut off his tongue and both his lips. Then they stripped the flesh to the bone from his legs and arms. Then they roasted it and ate it in front of him.

“‘When they saw he was weakening, the Iroquois made him sit down, and they scalped him. Immediately after, they cut a hole in his chest and pulled out his heart which they roasted and ate, saying it would give them the same strength and courage he possessed. Even though they hated him, they admired his great heart. They ate his heart and drank his blood. I too once did those things. But no more.

Now I am a Christian. I do not torture.”

He gripped his musket.

“But I am not a true Christian. I still kill.”

Dollard wanted to laugh but dared not.

“Your people suffered,” said Dollard.

Annahotaha sighed. “You do not understand because you are French. My people were disorganized, confused and weakened by the loss of many braves who died of strange sicknesses. When the French first came, we saw clearly that some of your spirits were stronger than ours. You had guns, big ships, axes, porcelain, steel arrowheads. Your tools and some weapons were stronger, so we thought your gods were stronger.

“Some of us became Christians, and that caused dissension in our villages. We gave you furs but then the Iroquois began to attack as they do now, to steal our furs because their lands were empty. So we were always on the defensive. If we took much time to fight Iroquois, we would lose our trade. We had no need of this much fighting before you came.

“All the while my people were falling ill and dying. When I was born, we had one man for every Viper. At the time of Sainte Marie, we had twelve thousand men, the same number as the Vipers. Now…” he shrugged.

“When the people are dying of a mysterious sickness, and the shamans cannot cure it, it is bad.

“The Vipers were attacking, our trade was disrupted, people were ill and dying. You have changed our lives completely.

“The Black Robes tell us about a soul and would make us Christians, which changes our beliefs. The governor tells us things about France and says we should all be friends with this place across the Big Water, but we do not know this place.

“The fur traders tell us they will give us guns and axes, which we need now. All of you are here, all of you are different, but all of you are the same. It is hard to understand.

“At Sainte Marie my people did not seem like Hurons; they seemed lost before the attack. They lost their pride and their name at that place. Many were adopted by the Iroquois. They changed from Huron to Iroquois so easily. They had no resistance. They did not seem to know who they were,” said Annahotaha.

“The Iroquois want every person to be Iroquois, it seems,” said Dollard. If you are not Iroquois, you are an enemy.”

“This is false thinking,” said Annahotaha. “We are not Algonkins, but we trade and deal with Algonkins and many other peoples. The Vipers give you a choice: become an adopted Viper or die. It is not a choice. I could not become a Viper. I do not understand it. To live only to eat is not to live. Even the Vipers did not think like this before.”

“You are a strong man and a good chief,” said Dollard.

Annahotaha looked at Dollard’s face.

“Since Sainte Marie, for ten years, I have done nothing but protect those I live with—my people. I help my friends and kill my enemies. I do nothing else.”

Dollard was silent. Finally, he said,

“Do you have a family? Children?”

“A wife and two small ones in the Place of Three Rivers. My original wife and three children were killed near Sainte Marie,” said Annahotaha. He said it without emotion as he had related the whole tale. But after he said it he got up quickly and walked away to check the garrison on the far side of the fort.

Dollard sat with his head bowed, picking on a twig, looking at his knees and lost in thought for a long time.

The Battle of the Long Sault, Chapter 31: One Shot. Silence.

the_battle-Mohammed-Hasnat-399x600May 4th, 1660

As soon as it was quiet, the Iroquois fired one musket shot.


One shot.


One shot.

All night.

It was impossible to sleep in the barricade because the Canadians never knew when the one shot would be the signal for a massive charge. The next morning the French were haggard. Annahotaha spoke.

“It will be better if we have shifts. I do not think the Iroquois will attack for a time. The men who sleep must be allowed to sleep, and they must disregard the firing, else we will succumb to fatigue and nerves, and that is the Iroquois plan exactly.”

Dollard listened to the war chief of the Hurons. Annahotaha’s face, painted black from ear to ear across his eyes, glistened in the sun. The three short red lines on his cheeks looked like blood. Dollard told his men what the chief had said. They understood, but thought it would be difficult for the Hurons to ignore the firing.

“‘You must remember that we have sixty men, and none are even wounded. We must trust each other,” Dollard said.

All during that day the Iroquois fired sporadically at the fort. It was wearisome, and the allies suffered from it. They tried to anticipate the shots, but there was no rhythm, no orderly sequence. After one long silence Josselin said:

“I wish they’d shoot. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

“Just a few minutes,” said Rejean Tiblement.

“You wait and wait, and there’s no sound, and then you’re glad when the shot comes because it’s over.”

“But it starts again right away,” said Tiblement.

“The bastards. I’ve got to get some sleep,” said Josselin.

“Go ahead. If anything happens, I’ll wake you,” said Tiblement.

“I’ll hear it,” said Josselin, slumping down.

“Try to sleep. They’re just trying to unnerve us with this one-shot business. We can’t let it get to us.”

The day was long and tense. Louis Martin and Pilote managed to get water because they got covering fire and because, for most of the Iroquois, the runners were just out of effective firing range. The Iroquois in their palisade couldn’t hit the runners, so they relied on their friends firing from the forest. But if the Iroquois in the forest emerged to fire at the water-bearers, the French peppered them.

“Let me go to the river again, Dollard. We’ve got to get some more water,” said Pilote.

“No. We can’t risk it.”

“But we only get enough for that damn gruel. There isn’t any water to drink.”

“It’s too dangerous, Pilote,”

“Damn it, Dollard, we haven’t been hit yet.”

“Because we vary the times we go, because we cover you well, and because the Onondagas haven’t tried to kill you.”

“If only we had some big kettles,” said Pilote.

“If you had to carry big kettles full of water, you couldn’t run as fast or dodge the way you do now, and you might be dead. Maybe tonight.

“Merde,” ” said Pilote in disgust.

Finally, a cold, bitter rain began to fall at noon, and although it made conditions in the barricade miserable, the men were delighted with the fresh, pure water. The French used their small kettles. The Indians used their wooden bowls, or they cupped their hands and drank, gulping down the water, partly because they were parched and partly because they feared it would stop. They filled all the containers they had, even filling a keg that had been used for shot.

Their thirst quenched, they felt better; the water seemed to renew their strength and they now talked of being able to outlast the Iroquois, even with all their afflictions.

“You can live nine or ten days without water,” said Nicholas Josselin. “We could go longer without food, but we’d need water to stay here.”

“God, does he want to stay here?” said Doussin, laughing.
A strange kind of high-pitched tension hovered over the barricade. They might have to repulse a charge at any moment, yet nothing had happened for several days and now they had little to do but watch and wait.

The sixty men living in cramped, close quarters caused a problem with the disposition of waste. They dug a hole in a corner but after three days the stench was alive. They couldn’t throw it behind them because the rock that protected them there was too high.
Forges and Roland Hebert took up the river side of the barricade that night. Normally, the loopholes had one Frenchman and two Indians so the French could try to control their allies’ shooting habits. Now, because of the lack of steady action, Forges felt secure in asking a Huron to exchange places at the next loophole for an hour. He crept over to Hebert.

“Are we going to get out of here?” said Hebert as Forges arrived.

“We aren’t in much danger…just a pile of mud and excrement.”

“We will be,” said Hebert, “if the Onondagas get help.”

“I know what I’d do if I were those Iroquois,” said Forges, shifting position so he could look through the a slit between the tied poles of the palisade. “I’d get in my canoes. Go down-river. I’d know we French would have to make new canoes so I’d just wait at the bottom of the Chute a Blondeau and ‘Boom!’ Shoot us coming over a rapid. This way nobody gets anything.”

“Unless they’re getting help.”

“Even then. We’re going to take an awful pile of them with us,” said Forges.

“Never mind. ‘We’ll beat these bastards,” said Hebert. “There are bastards all over; some are French, like the ones back home who won’t help us; some are Iroquois, who want to kill us. To hell with them all.”
There was the continuing problem with ammunition. The Hurons considered it a matter of pride to answer every shot with one of their own. It helped nothing since no one on either side hit anybody. Iroquois’ fire simply got embedded in the earth and stone protecting the French, and the enemy’s temporary palisade was just as effective at that range. The French tried telling their allies that if they replied every time a musket was fired they would soon be out of shot, but it wasn’t until the Hurons and A1gonquins had nearly exhausted their ammunition that the French could do anything about the situation. They were happy to share their powder and shot on condition that the Indians fired only when ordered to do. Reluctantly, the Indians accepted the condition but there were many times when they replied to a shot and then thought about their promise. At least Dollard thought, they were saving some ammunition.
A day later.

The major problem remained the scarcity of water. The previous day’s rain store was gone. Digging had finally met with some success: a small trickle of muddy water came into the fort, but it was difficult to put it in the small kettles. The food, the crushed corn for sagamite was practically useless without water to wash it down, although the Indians could tolerate it after years of practice.

They did the best they could with the muddy ooze. Finally, they could stand it no longer, and Louis Martin and Pilote, being the youngest, were delegated again to run the two hundred feet to the river to get water. Those in the barricade fired furious cover but still bullets sprayed around the runners, and iron-tipped arrows flew around their heads.

“Louis Martin wanted to be a soldier,” said Dollard to Robert Jurie. “Well, he is one now.”

Martin was dodging musket balls and arrows and still trying to maintain his balance. When he reached the barricade, a space three poles wide opened for him and snapped shut as soon as he squeezed through. The poles were lashed together, and two men moved them in and out of place like stagehands.

“I made it,” he gasped.

“And the water?” said Dollard without emotion.

Louis looked down at the kettle. It was nearly empty. Jostling against his leg as he ran, it had sloshed the water out. He paled. His eyes went from the kettle to Dollard.

“Again,” said Martin. It was a statement.

Dollard nodded.

“Get your breath.”

The second time Louis Martin did not spill much.

From then on at different times of the day he and Pilote would rush out under a heavy cover fire to get water. There were anxious moments. Once, Martin fell and spilled the water. Resolutely he regained his feet and his kettle, returned to the river, filled it, and raced for the barricade. An arrow glanced off the knife handle on his belt when he bent to the river. All he heard was the knock of the arrowhead against the bone handle. Rising quickly, he turned his head away from the Iroquois fire and ran to the barricade as fast as he could. Inside he breathlessly fell on his hands and knees.

“They’re coming closer.”

“I know,” said Robert Jurie. “I’m trying to think of another way to get water, but so far…”

“I get tired, too,” said Martin. “I can run faster than that normally, but I couldn’t make my legs go faster on that last run.”

“It’s all right, Louis. You’re losing strength, and we all are because of the lack of food and water and sleep. Rest for a while. I’ll send Pilote on the next run,” said Robert Jurie.

“No, I’m all right. I’m just telling you they’re getting closer, that’s all.”
A musket cracked. On the wall, a Huron replied with a shot of his own. Robin, who was next to the Indian, turned on him and knocked the musket from the startled Indian’s hands.

“God damn it,” said Robin, and in Huron continued, “You’re wasting shot. Stop firing every time they fire. That’s what the Iroquois want you to do, so you’ll waste your ammunition!”

‘The Huron looked at Robin grimly and then picked up his musket as Robin turned away. “Stupid bastard,” said Robin.

As Annahotaha watched the incident, an expression of exasperation with his braves mixed with exhaustion darkened his face.


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