Capture of Fort William Henry

A 1757 assault by the French during the French and Indian War forced the British to surrender Fort William Henry.

Fort William Henry firing display. Courtesy of Fort William Henry.

After the 1755 Battle of Lake George, General William Johnson ordered his troops to construct defensive breastworks to protect the camp area. Later, Fort William Henry was expanded into a traditional star-shaped fort designed to support a garrison of 500 men. The fort survived the first French assault in the late winter of 1757, but capitulated after several days of siege that summer.

The French army under General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm arrived on August 3, establishing their position to the south and west of the fort. Following heavy bombardment the defense force was forced to surrender when the British and Provincial soldiers realized the commander at Fort Edward was not sending any reinforcements.

In one of the most notorious incidents of the French and Indian War, Montcalm’s Indian allies violated the agreed terms of surrender and attacked the British column as they left the fort. After the battle, the French destroyed the fort. Reconstruction of a replica fort took place in the 1950s. The Fort William Henry Museum welcomes visitors with their living history program and live firing demonstrations.

Travel Tools:

Learn more about French and Indian War battlefields with Waterways of War: The French and Indian War.



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