[BATTLE OF FORT WILLIAM HENRY.]
Relation de la prise du Fort Georges, ou Guillaume-Henry, situé sur le Lac Saint-Sacrement, & de ce qui s'est passé cette année en Canada. Paris: October 18, 1757.
12 pp. 4to (221 x 172 mm). Modern half buckram and marbled boards. Custom red quarter morocco slipcase. Minor toning, first leaf with a dime-sized marginal chip, cloth spine rubbed.
AN EXCEPTIONAL RARITY OF THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS. This is the earliest report in France of Montcalm's controversial victory at Fort William Henry, at the southern tip of Lake George in New York. There are two known issues of this account with colophons of the same date; the other is 2 leaves in length and is a supplement to the October 15 Gazette de France.
The British, under Lieutenant-General George Munro, surrendered on August 9, 1757. Despite assurances from the French, European protocols of surrender were not followed, and the Algonquians led a massacre of English soldiers and civilians. Montcalm won the battle, but his fumbling in preventing the massacre is cited as a turning point in the war. It served both to harden British resolve and to fuel distrust between the French and their Indian allies. The massacre at Fort William Henry is further enshrined in American history by James Fenimore Cooper in The Last of the Mohicans. For an historical description of the battle and surrender, see Anderson, Crucible of War, 2000, pp 185-201. Barlow 447; Church 1020; Sabin 69272, all citing only one known copy: the Barlow-Church-Huntington copy). Extremely few copies appear institutionally, and this is the only copy known to be in private hands.
Acquisition: purchased from William Reese Company, 2001, $15,000.