Battle of Fort Frontenac

Battle of Fort Frontenac

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Fort Frontenac
partof=the Seven Years' War
French and Indian War

caption=Battle of Fort Frontenac, 1758. (Engraving by J. Walker)
date=August 25, 1758
place=Kingston, Ontario
result=British victory
combatant1=flagicon|United Kingdom|1606 Kingdom of Great Britain
commander1=Lt. Colonel John Bradstreet
strength1=300 regulars
2500 militia

The Battle of Fort Frontenac took place from August 25 to August 27 1758 during the Seven Years' War (referred to as the French and Indian War in North America) between France and Britain. The location of the battle was Fort Frontenac, a French fort and trading post which is located in the modern-day city of Kingston, Ontario, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario where it meets the St. Lawrence River.

A British colonial army under the command of Lt. Col John Bradstreet led an army of over 3000 men, about 500 of which were regulars, and the remainder, militia. The army besieged the 110 French soldiers garrisoned inside the fort and won their surrender two days later, cutting one of the two major communication and supply lines between major eastern centres of Montreal and Quebec City and France's western territories (the northern route, along the Ottawa River, remained open throughout the war). The British seized 800,000 pounds of goods from the trading post.

Historical account of battle

A well researched account of the campaign and the surrender of Fort Frontenac is that compiled by Tobias Smollet. His history of the period was written within about three years of the events and it is clear that he had access to official documents pertaining to the campaign such as: the London Gazette, regimental war diaries, official dispatches and personal interviews with the participants. His style is clear, concise and unbiased. The following paragraphs describe the action:

In the meantime, General Abercrombie had detached Lieutenant-Colonel Bradstreet, with a body of three thousand men, chiefly provincials, to execute a plan which this officer had formed against Cadaraqui (or Fort Frontenac), situated on the north side of the river St. Laurence, just where it takes its origin from the lake Ontario. To the side of this lake he penetrated with his detachment, and embarking in some sloops and batteaux, provided for this purpose, landed within a mile of Fort Frontenac, the garrison of which, consisting of one hundred and ten men, with a few Indians, immediately surrendered at discretion. Considering the importance of this post, which, in a great measure, commanded the mouth of the river St. Laurence, and served as a magazine to the more southern castles, the French general was inexcusable for leaving it in such a defenceless condition.

The fortification itself was inconsiderable and ill contrived; nevertheless, it contained sixty pieces of cannon, sixteen small mortars, with an immense quantity of merchandise and provisions deposited for the use of the French forces detached against Brigadier Forbes, their western garrisons, and Indian allies, as well as for the subsistence of the corps commanded by Monsieur de Levi, on his enterprise against the Mohawk river.

Mr. Bradstreet not only reduced the fort without bloodshed, but also made himself master of all the enemy’s shipping on the lake, amounting to nine armed vessels, some of which carried eighteen guns. Two of these Mr. Bradstreet conveyed to Oswego, whither he returned with his troops after he had destroyed Fort Frontenac, with all the artillery, stores, provision and merchandise which it contained. In consequence of this exploit, the French troops to the southward were exposed to the hazard of starving; but it is not easy to conceive the general’s reason for giving orders to abandon and destroy a fort, which, if properly strengthened and sustained, might have rendered the English masters of the lake Ontario, and grievously harassed the enemy, both in their commerce and expeditions to the westward

Indeed, great part of the Indian trade centered at Frontenac, to which place the Indians annually repaired from all parts of America, some of them at a distance of a thousand miles, and here exchanged their furs for European commodities. So much did the French traders excel the English in the art of conciliating the affection of these savage tribes, that great part of them, in their yearly progress to this remote market, actually passed by the British settlement of Albany, in New York, where they might have been supplied with what articles they wanted, much more cheap than they could purchase them at Frontenac or Montreal; nay, the French traders used to furnish themselves with those very commodities from the merchants of New York, and found this traffic much more profitable than that of procuring the same articles from France, loaded with the expense of a tedious and dangerous navigation, from the sea to the source of the river St. Laurence. [Smollet, Vol. IV, Ch. IX, pg. 402, sect. VIII.]



*Smollet, Tobias. "A Complete History of England". Published 1765 (as continuation of the History published by Hume). Edition used for the quoted compilation was the 1822 edition published by Baynes and Son et al, Printed by J.F. Dove at St. Johns’s Square, London.

External links

* [ Fort Frontenac - French and Indian War (]
* [ Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution (RootsWeb)]
* [ Fall of Fort Frontenac (]
* [ Chartrand, René. "Fort Frontenac 1758: Saving Face after Ticonderoga". Osprey Publishing Military Books.]

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