tv [untitled] January 28, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm EST
what did he say to the british colonial representative? basically he said, you, the governor of virginia and the governor of canada are now quarrelling about lands in the ohio country that belong to us, belong to the native people. and basically by saying that, he's indicating, i'm not so sure if either of you has our interest at heart. that is, the british or the french. if we were to assist you, how -- what will be in it for us? what will you do in terms of protecting our interests? and he said at the same time, look at the french, they are men, they are fortifying everywhere. you are, quote, like women, barren, open, without any fortification. if you british would have -- and british colonials would have our
allian alliance, you must be strong or else forget it, we will not assist you. an iroquois chief, another one who's unnamed, had a different view and he's quoted in colonial sources. it's a very interesting quote. and his perspective was it would be wiser for them to side with the french. brethren, are you ignorant of the difference between our father the french and the english? go and see the forts your father has created and you will see that the land beneath their walls are still hunting ground. it looks like an occupation. and they're on indian land. but the land between the forts is all still hunting ground. the french really aren't there to colonize. they're there to hold onto the territory and prevent british encroachments and british trade.
whilst the english, on the contrary, no sooner get possession of the country, than the game is forced to leave. the trees fall down before them, the earth becomes bare. they want the land, the english colonists, for farming. and that would mean the destruction of our hunting grounds and ultimately of our way of life. so that iroquois chief is indicating that. now, the lake champlain theater on a historical map that's in the massachusetts historical society looks something like this. this is a lake, again, that has its northern point touching today the southern boundary of canada and the western side of the lake you have the state of new york, today the east side vermont. here is lake george. this would be a vital corridor
of conflict in the war and bloody battles would be fought here chick only go into briefly today. the lake is -- lake champlain itself beginning here is 125 miles long and at its widest point, 12 miles wide. and it's in a valley even though it's ringed by mountains and very heavily wooded. the internal lines of communication between the st. lawrence river and the interior of north america, the key ones are by water. it's much easier to travel over water than land. and lake champlain leads southward to the hudson river valley. the land between, really, the colony of new york and then eastward is new england. so it's very vital region. this shows us where the fort -- french built a fort in the 1730s.
that they ca the british would later call this point -- they already called the poin and later when they took it over, they built a fort there that would be called crown point. this is on lake champlain. and then in the region between lake champlain and lake george to the south on the narrow passageway, the french built a fort in an area the natives call ticonderoga, between the waters, it meant. the british adopted the name ticonderoga. but first the forts here were built by the french. let's go on in the talk. now, here you see a modern view of the fort is reconstructed and reconstructed beautifully and how it is on this waterway that is southward to north between
the st. lawrence and the hudson river valley. and the fort was originally built by the french and, of course, it would be a scene of conflict. on lake george to the south, the british built a fort in 1755 after conflict there with the french. and in the early conflict in this particular theater, the english only had the assistance of the mohawks. the french had the assistance of many native peoples. besides the help of their own french colonials, the french canadians, who had ha very important role in this campaign. between 1755, 1758-'59 to the end of the war. this is a map from the massachusetts historical society again done by a british engineer of the location of the fort. let me just go back very
briefly. and what you see here is a lake. and the fort is here. and the map also indicates the route that the french would take for their attack. but they're not just going to attack a fort head-on. even if it's made mostly of logs and earth, they don't have the stone just to build a stone fort in the wilderness, so-called wilderness. it's a heavily forested region. so the point is that the french are going to besiege this fort. and they're going to put their cannon within reach of the fort and then get closer and closer till the british and colonial position is untenable. who was within the fort in 1757? british soldiers and new englanders, new england men and new york, new jersey men, men from the northern colonies. there were about 2,000 colonial
soldiers and also british soldiers guarding this fort. let's go on. the commanding in 1757 in this theater for the french was a french army officer of the highest caliber, many wars in europe or battles in europe he had fought, the marquis de montcalm. you have a high-ranking officer from a prestigious family assisting montcalm. after the war, he would explore the south pacific and tahiti. the marquis was the general of canada at the time and someone who believed in utilizing native warriors and utilizing them to spread terror among british settlers. he was a canadian by birth. he did not get along well with
mo montcalm because each wanted the first in command and the officers who came from france looked down bon the french colonials in a similar way often that the british officers looked down upon their own colonials. in the campaign of 1757, who were the opposing sides? the french and natives unto the montcalm. french troops, canadian militia, indian warriors. they had 1,600 indian warriors with them in this campaign, almost an unprecedented number from any single instance in north american history up to that time, at least since colonials had come on the scene at all. so montcalm's army not only had french troops from france, well-disciplined, trained regulars, he also had canadian
militia, french canadians, he had indian warriors of 1,600 men, warriors. and they came as far away as the great lakes, even lake superior. it's hard to believe, but they did. they came hundreds of miles to fight. the british and british colonials there, they had british regiments and men from new england, new york, new jersey, the provincial troops, where the militia was really serving with the british. who were the various natives fighting here with the french? the abenaki, the algongin, it's quite remarkable these natives people from the great lakes came. so many hundreds of miles. why?
because they thought they would strengthen their interests with the french. their ties to the french. and gain trade goods, gain plunder from war, gain scouts, gain prisoners or captives that they could sell for goods and add to their power and strengthen their own position. so they joined the war for their own reasons, to be sure. one of the natives who was a catholic who had been converted to catholicism -- some of those who joined the effort were living in their own villages and had been converted to christianity or catholicism. others who came from the great lakes and especially the far western region were not christian at all. and this man who was catholic said to the western indians, my
brothers, we domesticated indians, this is translated from french -- we thank you for having come to help us defend our lands against the english who wish to exploit them. our cause is good and the master of life favors it. we admire the fine deed you have just accomplished on the lake, lake george, the french called it the lake of the holy sa sacrament. it is stained red with the blood of englishman, mostly men from the province of new jersey were decimated by the natives in their canoes who took many prisoners, 150, killed many men and scalped others. you get the sense of the alliance that is of different
elements. the french and the native. it doesn't mean they're always going to be looking at the world the same way, hardly, in fact, not at all. look at what he writes about the natives, particularly coming from the western region or what the french called the upper country. the cruelties ais barbarian. it is an abominable way to make war. we need them, we're outnumbered otherwise. we can't do without them. now he's writing this after a battle in 1756 along lake ontario where montcalm had headachen the british fort and after the fort surrendered, there was a massacre of 30 to 50
of the english prisoners. so he has that in mind. we have now 600 indians and we hold the council with them. but it is a long job to get them to make up their minds. it requires brandy, equipment, food and such. the job never ends and is very irksome. a french engineer writes, it is a misfortune to make war with such people especially when they are drunk, a condition in which nothing stays their fury. now, the fort surrender. the fort on the southern part of lake george in 1757, fort william henry that we had shown previously. this fort which the british and british colonial soldiers built, surrendered, over 2,500 men were in it. they couldn't hold out any longer. hundreds had died from the french bombardment of cannon.
and now the surrender took place. montcalm granted the british commander the honors of war in the european fashion. what did that mean? it meant to surrender with honor, you could be allowed to carry your flags out of the fort which you surrender. you take a cannon, maybe one cannon, as a symbol that you're not totally vanquished, with you. officers are allowed to keep their arms and their baggage. the terms were that they would not fight against france for another 18 months. so those terms were considered honorab honorable. what happened in this episode, the native warriors of many of the groups that i listed before, when they learned of montcalms terms said, no, those terms are
too lenient, too generous and what happened for us? what will we gain? where's our booty? where are the captives we should draw? we have nothing. so in the night, before the british and english colonials were to surrender, the natives gather and they were prepared early the next morning when the british and colonials filed out. and they were attacked and set upon. and 100 to 200 were killed, some women and children, too. mostly men, of course. others were captured. about 400 were captured because then they could be sold and ransomed. they would be worth a money. the natives were drawn into the commercial economy of colonial north america. they were not separate from it. they were dependent on it in w
and montcalm and the french intervene and managed to save a few hundred british and british colonial lives. but their intervention was -- historians will argue how wholehearted it was or how effective it was and whether -- it wasn't clearly enough to stop what happened. and yet perhaps it prevented things from being even worse and more horrible. so to the natives, they felt betrayed in this instance by the french. the french had not given them enough. and, in fact, in no later subsequent instance of this war did anything like the assemblage of natives join the french. indian support for the french in north america reached its high point in 1757 with the capture
of fort william henry on the shores of lake george in what is today the state of new york in this lake champlain, lake george, hudson river corridor. that was the high point of native support for the french. the natives largely returned to their villages in the great lakes region in the upper country. many died of smallpox. they would never rejoin the conflict, those distant indians again. the french did retain some native allies. but as the british gained the upper hand in the war, a number of peoples, particularly the delawares, went from being pro-french to being neutral. and some shifted from being neutral to being pro-british.
or even from being pro-french to pro-british because they saw that the british had the economic mind, the british had the main forces, that if they were going to protect their lands and their way of life, then it would be best to make terms with the british. so you find that process accelerating in 1758-'59. one last point for today. we'll continue the lecture next time. william pitt, really william pitt was a prime minister in england, britain, who helped determine the outcome of this war. in several ways. and by orienting the policy even more toward war in north america and putting more resources into the war in north america, and he
would elevate colonial offices in rank relative to the british -- they always ranked the british colonials below a british officer of the same rank. pitt made it so that the difference was not so great, and he was sensitive to colonial dignity and pride. and also he increased spending for the american war so that the colonies would be able to raise many more troops, which happened. and he appointed very able commanders such as jeffrey amhurst and james wolf and sent them from europe where they had been engaged in war in the war against france and europe, he sent them to north america. the war in europe was massive. involved many nations. the fighting in the caribbean was tremendously important and
pitt was very keen on expanding the british empire there. and, of course, the british with their naval might made significant conquests in the caribbean. and ultimately through the appointment of amhurst and wolf and the -- above all, the resources given to the forces in america, the british gained the upper hand. and their maritime superiority was practically as important as their might on land because they controlled the atlantic and the supply routes to canada. so next time, when we continue, we'll see how that helps determine the outcome of the war. thank you very much. every weekend on c-span3
"american history tv," 48 hours of people and events telling the american story. coming up next we learn more about the rich history of baton rouge, louisiana. one of eight southeastern cities we toured last year. the lock is actually the crown jewel of plaquemine and the lock was a big part of our childhood because this was the center, this was the thing that what happened in plaquem e plaquemine, because there were always boats coming through. when we would be at school, we would come up here to see the boats passing. it was always an interesting place to us. >> plaquemine is a small town, located about 13 miles from baton rouge. the locks were opened in 1909. they were under construction 14 years. so in 1895, construction started.
plaquemine locks is an establishment by the u.s. corps of engineers to facilitate water traffic between the mississippi river and plaquemine. >> explain how that worked. >> the locks worked off of gravity flow with two sets of gates, one set of gates on the east side and one set of gates on the west side. so if a boat wanted to enter, the locks got ready to let the boat enter from the mississippi river by allowing water to flow from the mississippi river into the lock chamber until both levels were equal. once both levels were equal, the locks would open the gates to allow the boat and barges to enter. once they entered, the gates were closed and the valves on the west side would open and allow the water to drain out of the lock chamber into plaquemine into that same level. once that level was achieved,
the gates would open on bayou plaquemine side and the boat was allowed to exit. this building is the lockhouse building located on plaquemine locks. this building here is responsible for all the machinery that would operate the gates. two guys, one on each side of the lock chamber and one on this side of the lock chamber had to go out to get the hydraulic water pressure to open gates. these gates were mate out of steel and iron, and they were all riveted. the hydraulic water pressure was created by pumps here in the lock house. the actual pumps were located foundations, and we have a pictorial of the pumps, steam-powered water pumps. and they were quite heavy, and we had two, one on the side that you're looking at now and one on
this side over here, and they were identical. and only one pump was needed at a time. the other one stood on standby. about 1948-'49, all the steam equipment was removed and these two 40 horsepower electric motors were installed here, a couple to the centrifugal pumps and these pumps put out the same pressure, approximately 500 psi. all you have to do is push a button to start the motor, and the motor would turn the pump, and the pump created the water pressure, the hydraulic water pressure to operate the gates and also the large intake valves on both ends of the lock chamber. we are looking at the west side of the lock house, and the two circular windows at the bottom were the locations of the boilers in the early days when the locks were run by steam.
so these boilers provided steam for the pumps located in the lock house. and now we're looking at the lock chamber, and we can see that there are many hitches located in the wall, and that's where the workers on the barges and the tugboats would tie their ropes to. we're also looking at that time gates that were located on both ends of the lock chamber, two sets of gates were located. and people ask why two sets of gates? so if we had a malfunction in one set of gates, we could use the other set. also, if we had small boats coming in, we would use the internal set of gates, and that decreases the amount of water we had to put in the lock chamber. located way down at the bottom
is a set of gates, very short gates, and they were not operated by hydraulic water pressure. we had to use what they call chain hoists, or some kind of mechanism to pull the gates closed. the only way they would use is when they de-watered the locks. why did they de-water the locks? to repair the seals down at the bottom. >> how large is this structure? >> this structure is 547 feet long, 55 feet wide and 50 feet deep. actually the total lift would have been about 30 feet, which was the largest lift in the country when it was built. this site was closed in 1961 after a new lock system was built in port allen which is about ten miles from plaquemine. the reason why is barges and tug boats were being built larger to handle larger commodities.
to handle that they built the largest set of locks and also the entrance to the locks from the intercoastal waterway system is a straight body of water. here in bayou plaquemine we have a curve that's underneath two bridges. so boats would have a difficult time making that turn and getting into the lock chamber. it was undecided what was going to become of plaquemine locks here because it was not yet a historical site. it was just sitting up here and closed up. louisiana wanted to run a highway system through here. and our local editor, gary hebert, thought we should preserve this site. >> my husband gary hebert was the founding editor of the "plaquemine post" newspaper. the engineers for the louisiana
department of highways decided that since the lock was closed, that they would tear it down and put four lanes across this area. my husband loved the lock, so he fought them from the very beginning. in 1969 he wrote about it in his editorials that it was the worst thing that could happen to plaquemine. but the highway department had the power. we didn't have much and they went ahead and made plans to destroy the lock. in the meantime, gary enlisted the help of the louisiana office of tourism. with their help, he prepared papers to have the lock put on the national register of historic places. this took place in the early '70s. so once it was placed on the national register, it could not be torn down. of course, people were angry with us because they wanted traffic moving.
they didn't like waiting in traffic. so we became very unpopular in our own town. as time went on, advertisers dropped their advertising. it got pretty bad. my children were taunted at school. we were like outcasts for a little while. but as time passed, people realized the value of the plaquemine lock and what it meant to this community, the most historic place in our community. by this time, people realized that he was so right, he was so right in saving this place because it would be so sad if we had a highway right here right now. >> a look at a recent stop in baton rouge, louisiana, one of eight southeastern cities we