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Found: Colonel Edward Cole’s Account of the Battle of Lake George

A letter dated September 16, 1755 detailing Colonel Edward Cole’s account of the Battle of Lake George, part of a campaign by the British to expel the French from North America in the French and Indian War. The battle was fought on September 8, 1755 between French and Indian forces under the command of German Baron Ludwig August Dieskau and British and Colonial troops, and Mohawk Indians under Sir William Johnson. Edward Cole was a captain of the 1st Company of Rhode Island. Four Rhode Island companies took part in the Battle of Lake George.

The letter is believed to be a contemporary copy of Cole’s firsthand account of the events of the battle. He describes Colonel Williams’ pursuit of Dieskau on the order of Major Johnson, based on the intel of a scout. Cole outlines the retreat of Williams’ men and his attempt to rally them before he too has to retreat as the French pressed so hard that “they would have been on us with their baginots  [sic].” Cole and his men were finally able to make a stand when they joined with the main body of Colonel Johnson’s troops and returned fire, however not without significant losses. Col. Williams, Col. Pithin, and King Hendrick of the Mohawk were all killed. Cole ends his account of the withdrawing French troops being overtaken by forces from New Hampshire.

Image above: Detail from letter of Col. Edward Cole’s account of the Battle of Lake George, NHS Collections. Full letter pictured below: