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No Matter What Occurred. At the onset of war inthe English banked on the support of their Indian allies and covenant partners, the Mohawk and the Mohicans.
So reliable was this support that it was the Stockbridges themselves who reminded the English delegates at the Albany Conference of the bonds between them despite the cold reception they received.
Recorded in the Colonial Documents is the following statement delivered by the Mohican delegates; " We view ye now as a very large tree, and we look round to see if there be any who endeavour to hurt it, and if it should so happen that any are powerful enough to destroy it, we are ready to fall with it. Though they often found themselves in the middle of intrigue and were not always treated with fairness or respect, these Stockbridge Indians were amazingly loyal.
A Massachusetts committee, recognizing the necessity of the Mohican alliance, recommended that the Stockbridge Indians be officially received into military service with pay. The rate of pay was higher than many thought it should be and Abigail Williams did not hesitate to express her opinion that the Mohicans were not worth it.
The majority of the male population at Stockbridge enthusiastically signed on to the English cause. For the young men in particular, the war path offered them an opportunity to achieve the much coveted warrior recognition. At a time of great confusion, strife, and cultural limbo, such a possibility afforded a chance for a young Mohican to gain a sense of identity and purpose; a moment of order amidst confusion, however strange that may sound when one ponders the chaotic nature of war.
But it makes perfect sense if considered in the proper cultural context; what worth or sense of purpose does a young man feel who is raised within a society that honors and praises the deeds of its warriors if he is denied the opportunity to prove his own prowess? Or, what worth has a warrior in a warrior society with nary a war? There were some men who were not so eager to take up the hatt, notably those who had been influenced by the Moravian missionaries. The pacifist doctrine of the Moravians had not fell completely on deaf ears.
In addition to the few Stockbridge Mohicans whose warrior spirit had been somewhat tempered, there were the Moravian Mohicans and Delaware at Gnaddenhutten who had no inclination whatsoever to follow the English to war.
Their steadfast adherence to the Christian life and Moravian teachings placed them in a dangerous predicament.
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They were surrounded by "hostile" Indians who were sure to express their displeasure with the "praying Indians", and would be suspicious of a possible English preference.
A further complication was from the Iroquois who, along with William Johnson, pressured the Moravian Mohicans to remove themselves to the Wyoming Valley where their presence would serve a two-fold purpose; strengthen an anti-French Indian presence and serve as a handy buffer for English settlements. The Stockbridge Mohicans favored the move as well and thus sent a wampum belt to Gnadenhutten explaining the agreement that had been worked out in their name.
The Mohican chief Abraham and the Delaware chief Teedyuscung felt bound to the agreement and subsequently led 65 of their Gnaddenhutten neighbors on a relocation trek up the Susquehanna River. Others refused to go.
Gnadenhutten was thus a house divided, victims of political aims of the English, the Iroquois, and the Stockbridge Mohicans.
At issue was the question of who had authority over the Mohicans. Johnson claimed it was his jurisdiction since he had the expertise and was commander of the Iroquois recruits.
Shirley countered that he was commander of all English forces and that Johnson's authority did not extend to the Mohicans who were not of the Six Nations and more importantly, resided within the boundaries of Massachusetts, not New York.
Further disagreement arose over the structure of Mohican companies and pay rates. In the end, Shirley was accompanied by Stockbridges on his march to Niagara. The expedition proved fruitless from a military standpoint, eventually abandoned in September. It was, however, quite fortuitous for the Mohicans.
Had they opted to follow William Johnson on his march up the Hudson Valley to construct an English fort and capture the French post at Crown Point, many of the Mohicans would probably have been killed. Johnson received news of a French detachment led by Baron de Dieskau, which was moving southward to interfere with the fort construction at the southern shore of Lake George Fort William Henry.
An English contingent was sent to engage the French force, but ran smack into an ambush. It was won by the English but at a cost that begs an answer to the question Losses were high, both for the colonial militia and the Mohawk; colonials dead, about 40 Mohawk The demoralizing effect the "victory" had on the militia and the Mohawk was tremendous and the tactical objective of the expedition was not even realized.
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Fort St. Frederic did not fall to the English, Deiskau did. The capture of the French commander, though at first glance may seem a great achievement, was really a most unfortunate gain for the English.
In a rich twist of fate, the loss of Deiskau was a blessing in disguise for the French cause, for his replacement was none other than the Marquis de Montcalm; a skilled officer who would lead the French-Canadian army into 3 years of victories. The irony then was that the English victory at Lake George enabled the war to continue, and the French, by losing the battle nearly won the war.
Ranger Mohicans. The Mohicans continued in their service to the English crown throughout the war.
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Ina company of Stockbridge Mohicans was raised under the captaincy of one of their own, plus a Mohican Lieutenant and ensign. Their orders were to busy themselves " The resulting relationship brought the Mohicans into service as a special forces company, practitioners of guerilla warfare.
The Stockbridge warriors became valued members of Rogers' Rangers. Though the Stockbridge Indians had been walking the path of Calvinistic domestication for quite some time, they had apparently not lost their touch when it came to matters of war.
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From these two bases, the Mohicans frequently set out on reconnoitering missions, from Canada to the Hudson Valley. The activities and fighting prowess of the Mohicans during the war was vital to England's success. They were everywhere; scouting, raiding, harassing, and fighting. Mohican loyalty, though sorely tested, proved constant and reliable.
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They remained an important and lasting component of the British Army to the end. He brought with him special skills that were wisely used by those officers and militia commanders who had sense enough to recognize their value. He was a frontier scout, a stealthy hunter, a trained warrior, and a furtive raider. He was used to reconnoiter, steal, harass, terrorize, and kill.
His expertise made him a bounty hunter of captives and enemy scalps; a member of an elite fighting force; a mercenary. It was abilities such as these that earned the admiration and respect of men like Robert Rogers, and it was these very qualities that caused Rogers to push for the inclusion of Mohicans within his Ranger companies. What a Mohican was not; he was not at all like the typical colonial enlistee.
He lacked the discipline necessary to army life. His cultural background precluded him from accepting orders from officers in the manner they were issued to colonial soldiers.
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He abhorred work details, and proved unreliable on an open battlefield. The same "faults" that proved to be thorns in the sides of missionaries, were maddening to English officers. A Mohican warrior would no sooner engage himself in digging trens than he would plow a field, which was in his mind women's work. Many an officer thought them lazy, insolent, uhondaatclub.comedictable, worthless, petty, demanding, and idle.
Of course, many a Mohican thought these same English officers to be stupid, arrogant, witless, and cowardly. How does one reconcile these opposing opinions of the Stockbridge Indians as warriors, or even as men?
As might be expected, the answer is found in that oft repeated arena A Mohican, for instance, looked upon thievery as an honorable accomplishment. If he could successfully take from another, he was proud of his deed. That was part of a cultural element that was rooted in no lesser an objective than survival.
To a New England Calvinist, however, stealing was a loathsome sin, evidence of savage heathenism. And military demands? To an English officer the Mohicans' refusal to accept orders without question or reluctance to participate in grueling physical labor illustrated the Indians' laziness.
It wasn't true, of course. Physical stamina, responsibility for other's well being, and generosity were in no way lacking among the Mohican population.
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