In eighteenth-century parlance, a “scout” was what we would call a patrol, an armed reconnaissance force. In the operations around Lake George in 1756, these were on average company-size units, about fifty men.The men who marched to their doom with Captain Joseph Hodges were mostly young, single men from eastern Massachusetts who had enlisted for a mixture of motives: adventure, a sense of duty, a young man’s “rite of passage,” and for the generous pay and enlistment bonus.
In September 1756, fifty American soldiers set off on a routine reconnaissance near Lake George, determined to safeguard the upper reaches of the New York colony. Caught in a devastating ambush by French and native warriors, only a handful of colonials made it back alive. Toward the end of the French and Indian War, another group of survivors, long feared dead, returned home, having endured years of grim captivity among the native and French inhabitants of Canada.
Pieced together from archival records, period correspondence, and official reports, Hodges’ Scout relates the riveting tale of young colonists who were tragically caught up in a war they barely understood. Len Travers brings history to life by describing the variety of motives that led men to enlist in the campaign and the methods and means they used to do battle. He also reveals what the soldiers wore, the illnesses they experienced, the terror and confusion of combat, and the bitter hardships of captivity in alien lands. His remarkable research brings human experiences alive, giving us a rare, full-color view of the French and Indian War―the first true world war.
Paperback, 2015, 6" x 9", 303 pages, notes, index, $27.95.
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