A Cursory Look at the Fort William Henry Massacre

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A major highlight of the war between Great Britain and France in their respective bid to dominate North American territory originally occupied by the Native Indians is the massacre at Fort William Henry. Although some of the characters and events used by Cooper in his novel the Last of the Mohicans” were fictitious, he gave account of the unfortunate massacre in the battle for domination of the Native American territory between Great Britain and France at Fort William Henry in 1757. The author brilliantly succeeded in highlighting the intrigues and betrayals that characterized the battle.

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The events that led to the unfortunate massacre and the roles played by some actual characters from both the British and French side as narrated in the Cooper’s novel will be briefly discussed in this essay.

A fierce but inconclusive battle at the southern end of Lake George prompted the British to build a fort at that end; called Fort William Henry(Eggington). The name of the fort was symbolic since it was named after a British King to symbolize her authority over the area. Colonel Munro oversaw command of the Fort. Munro was described as a father with two daughters namely Alice and Cora who played important fictional roles in the novel.

Under the command of Colonel Munro, Fort William Henry was made up of two thousand soldiers while General Webb had three thousand soldiers under his command at Fort Edward. (Eggington). The occupation of the southern end of Lake George by Great Britain angered the French who viewed it as humiliating since they have for over a hundred years considered the lake as their heritage and therefore were determined to engage Great Britain in a confrontation to regain possession of Lake George. Below is an image of Lake George as shown in Fig.1

The French in a bid to regain possession of Lake George, began a fort at the north end of the lake which they named Fort Carillon but later renamed it Fort Ticonderoga. Under the command of Major General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, the French comprising of seven thousand troops with the support of Native Indians fought and besieged the British force at Fort William Henry. General Montcalm will be historically remembered mostly for his success at the Fort William Henry(Eggington). The author elaborated the French bombardment of the British forces at Fort William Henry using the support of the Huron tribe led by a fictional character Magua; whose qualities and attributes in the novel could qualify him to be described as the Prince of Darkness. The French struck damaging blows to the British Forces with the support of Magua through deception and intrigues which Magua showed by betraying the trust placed on him to lead the Munro daughters to safety,

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