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Americans Forced On the Defensive

Type: Document

Trying to strike back at the Loyalist raiders who caused such trouble, the American rebels sent troops to destroy Iroquois settlements in 1779. Although thousands of refugees were forced to flee, the raids continued with increased strength, with the rebels generally on the losing side.

Site: National Defence

Champlain's famous fight on 30 July 1609 against the Iroquois Indians as interpreted in a late 19th century print

Type: Image

When Champlain took part in a 1609 Huron expedition against the Iroquois, he began a contest between two ways of warfare that lasted centuries. The combination of armour and firearms was rapidly understood and used to advantage by early French soldiers in Canada. By contrast, the Amerindians evolved furtive tactics and rapid movements which eventually proved to be the best in a wilderness environment.

Site: National Defence

A Return To Earlier Methods

Type: Document

After 1777, in order to keep the American rebels on the defensive, the British adopted the old Canadian tactic of raiding enemy settlements. The raids were made by mixed groups of Amerindians and soldiers. The troops used were American loyalists such as Butler's Rangers.

Site: National Defence

The battle of Long-Sault, in May 1660

Type: Image

This early-20th century engraving shows the climax of the legendary 1660 defence of Long-Sault against the Iroquois by Adam Dollard des Ormeaux and his men. One of the French defenders is shown holding a keg of gunpowder above his head. This makeshift bomb would fall back inside the fort and kill much of the garrison.

Site: National Defence

Map of the battle of Châteauguay, 26 October 1813

Type: Image

The battle of Châteauguay took place along the east and west banks of the Châteauguay river. There was a narrow cleared area on the west bank (towards the top of this map published in 1815), and it was here that the Canadian defenders manned their abbatis (barricades made of felled trees) on 26 October 1813. Most of the fighting took place on the west bank, but an American attempt to outflank the abbatis led to fierce and confused fighting on the east bank as well. The broken terrain helped the defenders by keeping the invaders from realizing that they outnumbered the Canadians ten to one.

Site: National Defence

Laura Secord discovered by British Amerindian allies, 22 June 1813

Type: Image

Laura Secord (1775-1868) walked into a camp of Amerindians towards the end of her famous 30 kilometre trek on 22 June 1813. The group were allies of the British, and they led Secord to a detachment of British troops stationed at the DeCew house, on the Niagara Escarpment near present-day St. Catherines, Ontario. There, she was able to pass on her warning of an impending American attack. This print gives a rather romanticized view of the heroine. At the time of her exploit, Secord was 38, rather older than suggested here. Nevertheless, a contemporary eyewitness account describes her 'slender frame and delicate appearance'.

Site: National Defence

Treatment Of Prisoners

Type: Document

One problem of raid warfare was the treatment of prisoners - they were often brutally tortured, as was the custom of the Amerindians. This was ironic, as the Canadians themselves had suffered badly this way from the Iroquois.

Site: National Defence

Another Round Of Iroquois Wars

Type: Document

The Iroquois pressed their advantage, raiding and spreading fear among the colonists. A French attempt to force a pitched battle was unsuccessful.

Site: National Defence

Peace Amongst the Iroquois - When the World Began

Type: Document

Relates the native legend of Dekanawidah and how he brought peace to the five Iroquois nations (later to become the Six Nations Confederacy). This article is taken from the television series "Canada: A People's History." Includes links to educational resources, bibliography, games, puzzles, and video clips.

Site: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Meanwhile, in the British Colonies...

Type: Document

The keystone of the British garrison of Nova Scotia in the 1740s was the 40th Regiment of Foot whose colonel (Richard Phillips, 1661-1750) was governor 1717-1749. To help fight the Abenakis and Micmacs, companies of American and Mohawk Rangers were recruited

Site: National Defence