Montcalm's Crushing Blow - French and Indian Raids along New York's Oswego River 1756, René Chartrand

Montcalm's Crushing Blow - French and Indian Raids along New York's Oswego River 1756, René Chartrand

Although the Seven Year's War ended with a crushing British victory in Canada, at the start the French more than held their own. This book looks at one of their early successes, the elimination of the British foothold at the mouth of the Oswego River on Lake Ontario.

The book covers two separate raids. The first, which took place before Montcalm arrived in Canada, saw a French force destroy Fort Bull, one of a series of British forts that guarded the vulnerable route from Albany to Oswego. The second looks at Montcalm's full scale attack on Oswego itself, which combined a surprise naval attack a formal European style siege (admittedly a rather short one). 

In both cases the actually fighting was fairly brief - Fort Bull fell to a surprise attack, while the siege of Oswego only lasted for a couple of days. In both cases the defenders were outnumbered, and had little chance of holding out. This doesn't give the author much to go on, and as a result he has been able to provide a great deal of background information, looking at the development of the British forts, the nature of both armies and the very different journeys of the two French forces. The force that attacked Fort Bull moved overland, an impressive march through the thick forests. The trip to Oswego was made on water, first up the St. Lawrence River and then across Lake Ontario.

The text is supported by an excellent selection of maps and pictures, with a good range of contemporary maps of the forts, showing how they developed over time, as well as useful maps showing the routes of both attacks.

This is one of those engagements that is normally mentioned in passing in most accounts of the Seven Years War, but rarely if ever examined in detail, and so this is a valuable addition to the literature on that conflict.

Initial Strategy
Léry's Raid on Fort Bull
The Plan
Montcalm's Raid on Oswego

Author: René Chartrand
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 80
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2014

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