Saturday, January 5, 2013
When Fort Presque Isle closed
There is some misunderstanding concerning why forts like Fort Presque Isle closed in 1763.
Some people thought that the reason the forts closed was because of the Indian attacks during The Conspiracy of Pontiac. This occurred while the French and English were negotiating for peace at the end of The French and Indian War. With the fall of the French domination in the West, the Indians were left unprotected. An Indian conspiracy soon formed in to kill all the garrisons and settlers in the frontier settlements in Pennsylvania and Virginia and along the Great Lakes. They were lead by Pontiac, an Ottowan, probably the most able Native American of the time. Nearly every Algonquin tribe and the Seneca of the Six Nations participated in the conspiracy.
Every English fort fell into the hands of the Indians except for Fort Detroit, Fort Pitt and Niagara. Detroit which had been attacked by Pontiac was successfully defended by Major Gladwyn. Colonel Bouquet protected fort Pitt and Niagara had not been attacked.
Not every Fort was attacked and overcome by Indians. Some of the frontier forts like Fort Presque Isle, were abandoned because the British were not willing to foot the cost of defending them since their quarrel was with the French, not the Indians.
When the war ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris, and the redistribution of European colonies, the cost of the war left a huge national debt hanging over the British government which a young King George had discover a way to resolve.
In the book Soldiers Don't Cry, The Locket Saga Continues, the message that came telling the commanding officer to abandon the fort came when it did because the British government ordered it closed for financial reasons, not because of the Indian invasion that killed the members of Philip's supply party and my family.
Soldiers Don't Cry is available on Amazon.