LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Partisan Fighters & Leaders Of New France, 1660-1760, Volume Three by Bob Bearor

[Excerpt from LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Partisan Fighters & Leaders Of New France, 1660-1760, Volume Three. Used by permission of the author]

Okay, I have saved the best (in my opinion) for last. Actually, it is very difficult, and not altogether fair, to try to use the word “best” when describing any of the partisan fighters and leaders of New France from 1660 to 1760. They were all quite incredible and capable, and their lives so adventurous and heroic, that each one in his particular area and era could easily and rightfully lay claim to that title.

I guess it’s because I like Langy best. He has always been my favorite. Somehow, someway I can relate to Langy. Don’t ask me to explain how or why, but I could always feel a connecting bond.

While doing field research for The Battle on Snowshoes one late afternoon in February of 1994, I came through a stand of mature hemlock trees in the gloomy afternoon light. I was looking for a sheltered place to camp for the night and stopped to catch my breath. As I did so I heard, or so it seemed, the familiar sounds of snowshoes shuffling through the deep snow behind me. I turned and looked over my shoulder, anticipating seeing someone there behind me. My subconscious told me that it was Langy, and I really expected to see him there, so strong was that feeling, dressed and armed, eyes meeting mine, breathing the same cold evening air as the white snow started to take on the bluish tinge of nightfall. It didn’t happen, of course, but that evening, seated close by the fire, I knew that I wished I had. I’m not a believer in ghosts, dreams, the occult, or the supernatural, but I’ve got to tell you, that was quite an experience, if only for a few seconds.

It can be confusing to try to trace the career of Langy through documents and sources.  Sometimes he is referred to as Montegron, other times as Levreault, but most times it is as Langy or Langis.  Pierre Pouchot in his memoirs refers to “Langis” as do the American journals of Louis Antoine de Bougainville.

Burt Loescher, famous authority on Rogers Rangers, uses the spelling “Langy.” Robert Rogers himself makes reference to a certain “Longee, the famous French Partisan.”1 In Lettres du Marquis De Montcalm a M. De Bourlamargue it is written in French “M. de Langy”2 and, to really confuse things, in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, the heading corner of the page is Levrault, with the name Levrault de Langis (Langy) Montegron, Jean Baptiste below.3 Let’s make it simple and call him Langy (pronounced Lahn-gee).

Langy was born and baptized in the town of Batiscan, located south of Quebec City. His mother, Margerite-Gabrielle de Vercheres was descended from the lineage of the family that produced the famous Canadian heroine Marie-Madeline de Vercheres.4 His father was Leon-Joseph Levreault de Langis, a lieutenant in the Compagnie Franche (Colony Marines). Langy, and his three brothers, Alexis, Levreau, and Fontenelle, all attained the rank of lieutenant in their careers.5

Langy learned the craft of le petit guerre, (the little war) during the years of King George’s War, 1743-1748, also known as the War of the Austrian Succession., Being baptized on October 8, 1723, he would have been in his early twenties at the time of conflict and, as a cadet and later ensign of Le Compagnie Franche de La Marine, would have taken part in the many raids and ambushes of that war. In 1748, he received his promotion to Enseigne en deux (Ensign second) and in 1751 was promoted to Enseigne en pied (Ensign first).

Following the spark that George Washington ignited with the ambush and death of French “ambassador” Sieur de Jumonville and his men in western Pennsylvania on May 28, 1754, France, England, Canada, and the American colonies readied and braced themselves for the coming explosion of war.  Even though the French and Indian War did not “officially” start until 1756, hostilities began in earnest throughout the colonies and Canada in 1755. One of hostile actions was a British-led invasion and investment of Fort Beausejour, on the present day New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border. Langy was stationed there as the combined force of New Englanders and British regular arrived to lay siege to the fort and after its fall, disperse the French from the Acadian peninsula.

The siege did not last very long. Its briefness was helped, undoubtedly, by the ineptness and cowardice of its commander, Louis Duchambon de Vergor.6 After the fort was surrendered, Vergor faced a court-martial in Quebec City.

During the siege of Fort Beausejour, it is interesting to find an account of bravery recorded in the diary of Jacau de Fiedmont, the French artillery officer stationed there. He noted that during the English bombardment, a small force of French and Acadians managed to block the entrance to the fort and then reinforce the adjacent curtains. This was accomplished by the leadership example of Marine officer, Montegron de Langy, whom Fiedmont described as “an extraordinarily brave officer.”7 It is the first recorded instance of Langy’s daring. It would not be the last.

After the surrender of Fort Beausejour, Langy was paroled with the others and returned to Quebec by way of Louisbourg. Early in 1756, Langy married Madeleine de Manthet, descendant of another famous French partisan leader, Nicholas D’Ailleboust de Mantet.8 Shortly after his marriage, Langy was ordered, with his brother Levreau, to accompany Joseph-Gapard Chaussegros De Lery and the expedition to attack Fort Bull. Commanding the left column of troops, Levreau de Langy was assisted by Marine officers such as Lorimier and L’Espervance.

Commanding the center column was Sieur de Montigny, and noted officers such as Bleury de Sabrevois and Moet de Louvigny. The right column was headed by M. de Portneuf, assisted by subordinates Villebon and Fleurimont. Leading by example and acting as interpreter for the assembled force of 110 Iroquois, Abenakis, Algonquins, and Nippissings, was Langy.9 After the attack, battle, and destruction of the fort, the French snowshoed their way back home.

In June of 1756, Langy took a prisoner near Fort Oswego and remained there with fellow Marine Richerville, helping to scout and draw up attack plans for the approaching army of the Marquis de Montcalm, which lay siege to all three forts and caused them to surrender on August 14, 1756.10 In October 1756, near Fort Edward, Langy led a body of Indian warriors which fell upon a party of British soldiers who were chopping trees. Langy’s force killed about twenty and captured half a dozen men.11

In March of 1757, Langy, along with fellow partisan leaders Mercier, Wolff, Longueil, and St. Ours, accompanied the 1,500 man force commander by Riguad de Vaudreuil, brother of Canadian Governor Pierre de Vaudreuil, on the abortive attempt to take British-held Fort William Henry. Although much of the outlying buildings and naval vessels were burned, the attempt to take the fort ended in failure, and the French retreated back north.

In the late spring of 1757, Langy spent his time patrolling and scouting the areas around Lake George, Fort William Henry and Edward.

In July of 1757, Chevalier de Levis dispatched Langy and his Indians to scout a land route between Fort Carillon and Fort William Henry, which was used by de Levis a month later. On this assignment Langy managed to surprise two enemy parties. Later in July, Joseph Marin de La Malgue led four hundred Canadians and Indians to the vicinity of the Riviere du Chicot (Wood Creek) to intercept any convoys. Langy, with his brother Alexis, commanded the Indian detachment.12 In Bougainville’s journal is a list of Indians with Montcalm’s army, over 1,700 of them, and he also lists the partisan officers who accompany and act as interpreters for them. St. Luc de La Corne is the overall commandant of the Indian contingent, assisted by such notables as Niverville, Langlade, Sabrevois, Fleurimont, Marin, and, of course, Langy.13

It is interesting to read how Montcalm felt about the partisan officers and scouts who served under him. In a letter to the Chevalier de Levis, Montcalm evaluates his partisan leaders: “Remember that Mercier is an ignorant foolish man, St. Luc is a braggart and pratting, Montigny admirable but a pillager, Ligneris, Villiers, Lery good. Marin brave but foolish. Langy, excellent. All the rest aren’t worth mentioning.”14 On November 2, 1757, Montcalm wrote Governor Vaudreuil in praise of Langy: “Sieur Langis de Montegron has never ceased being used for the most interesting of scouting, also the most laborious, and who has always distinguished himself.”15 Author Meriwether Liston Lewis describes Langy as “Montcalm’s favorite scout”16 and Langy is listed in The French Occupation of the Champlain Valley, 1609-1759, as a “Canadian Officer, active, vigilant, and always ready for the march or for distinguished action.”17 Langy’s bravery had not diminished since Fort Beausejour and the records of history stand as witness to his daring.

The year 1758 dawned cold and clear, and held the promise of a bright future for the forest fighter, Langy. Much talk and anger had been the focus of French partisan leaders over their famed adversary Robert Rogers and his recent ranger raid, Christmas Eve, at Fort Carillon. He had captured a French sergeant who had ventured outside the garrison and proceeded to set fire to five large stacks of firewood in an attempt to draw the garrison outside. This attempt failed, but upon retiring Rogers left a note on the horns of one of the oxen addressed to the commandant of Fort Carillon. The note read: “I am obliged to you sir, for the rest you allowed me to take and the fresh meant you have sent me. I shall take good care of my prisoners. My compliments to the Marquis of Montcalm.”18 Deputy Commissary General Doreil termed this as “an ill-timed, and very low piece of braggadocio.”19 Captain D’Hebercourt, of the regiment de La Reine, commandant of Fort Carillon undoubtedly wished fervently that one of his partisan officers would avenge this embarrassment and put this upstart Rogers in his place. He would not be disappointed; payback was close at hand.

In early February, “Langy de Montegron, the most famous of the French Canadian partisan leaders on the Lake George front,” leading a force of over one hundred Indians, Canadians, and regulars, arrived at the environs of Fort Edward late one afternoon just as a wood-cutting party was leaving the woods for the fort. Langy wisely withheld his men from prematurely attacking, preferring to wait until the next morning when the woodcutters would be far from the fort and immersed in their work. The next morning at nine o’clock, the wood-cutting party and their escort left the protection of the fort and walked directly into Langy’s ambush. Langy “waited until the covering party was across a small gully on their way to the woods. Then while part of his detachment engaged the covering party in front, the rest of Langy’s force surrounded the rear of the gully and drove the unarmed woodcutters like so many sheep or cattle. As soon as they were off the beaten path they were at the mercy of Langy’s Indians who were on snowshoes and who could slaughter at will the floundering English, hip deep in the snow.”21

In the Paris Documents, Montcalm’s letter says of this action, “One of our parties commanded by Sieur Langy de Montegron, an officer of the colony, who had been towards Fort Lydius (Edward), has just arrived with twenty-five English scalps and three prisoners.”22 “Towards the end of February, this same officer, at the head of another detachment of Canadians and Indians again repaired to the environs of Fort Edward. The Indians being unwilling to continue the proposed route, his expedition was reduced to making one single prisoner; but three of four Indians who remained behind, fell in with a Convoy of 30 sleighs loaded with provisions, which they plundered and dispersed, taking four scalps.”23

On February 17, partisan officer Wolff was dispatched to Fort Edward on the premise of setting up a prisoner exchange, but the underlying purpose was to see if he could find out about a proposed build up of troops for a winter campaign, which some of Langy’s recent prisoners had spoken of. Although he was not able to attain any useful verification, while he was there, Wolff was approached by Robert Rogers who took this opportunity to rib him about his Christmas Eve raid and the receipt he had left for the slain cattle. Wolff ominously told Rogers that he should “be careful of himself when he came again.”24

On the sixth of March, Langy and thirty-five of his Indians attacked a convoy of sleighs leaving Fort Edward, bound for Saratoga, to pick up supplies. Although most of the sleighs managed to break free, a prisoner was taken, who was the servant of an English sutler named Mr. Best. As the sleighs galloped back in Fort Edward the alarm was sounded, and Rogers and one hundred of his Rangers turned out in pursuit, but was no match for the elusive Langy and his men. The Rangers returned exhausted late that evening.25

On March 10, 1758, Rogers was ordered to take approximately 180 men on a scout towards Ticonderoga, as he had done many times before. But this time, things would be different. Rogers called for volunteers only, and left the safety of Fort Edward with 183 men in the late afternoon of March 10. They traveled in stealth and with caution up the length of Lake George where, on the morning of the 13th, it was unanimously agreed in a council of war, to put on their snowshoes and travel up the Trout Brook Valley keeping the mountains and adjoining ridges between them and the French advanced posts on the end of the lake. They traveled from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and stopped to rest until 3 p.m., hoping to avoid detection by the daily patrol the French sent through the valley.

Unfortunately for Rogers and his men, their tracks had been discovered by six Abenaki scouts, who were returning from a raid near Fort Edward. They rushed to Fort Carillon to inform commandant, Captain D’Hebecourt, of their discovery and the Rangers’ route of travel into Trout Brook Valley. Sieur de La Durantaye, another partisan leader, left with ninety-six Indians to find and engage the Rangers. As author Burt Loescher states, “Unfortunately for Rogers’ Rangers was the presence of the partisan Langy at Ticonderoga. Langy had been resting between raids against For Edward and he couldn’t resist this call to action.”26 Langy gathered 205 men and followed Durantaye by ten or fifteen minutes.

Rogers, having been warned by his scouts of the approach of Durantaye and his ninety-six Indians, kept the high ground overlooking Trout Brook and laid down a trap that was prematurely sprung. After firing the ambush volley the Rangers neglected to reload their muskets, and gave chase to the fleeing wounded, stopping to take scalps off the dead in the creek bed. It was a big mistake, and for many it was their last.

Langy, hearing the initial burst of fire, deployed his men in a crescent and slammed into the oncoming Rangers, killing at least fifty of them instantly. The remaining Rangers fell back on the hill, tried to regroup and make a stand, but eventually Langy and Durantaye separated them and overpowered their positions. Darkness and fast running feet were the savior of Rogers and his pitiful remnants. Besides losing his pack, officer’s coat, and his commission, Rogers left over three quarters of his force dead on the field. It was Robert Rogers’ most devastating defeat. The brash “I.O.U.” of Robert Rogers, had been collected in full by Captain D’Hebecourt’s “Avenging Angel of Carillon.”27

As the winter receded, plans were set in motion by the English to capture Fortress Louisbourg, Fort Duquesne, Ticonderoga, and St. Frederic (later Crown Point). Leading a 16,000-man army up the Champlain Valley was Major General James Abercromby, seconded by Lord George Augustus Viscout Howe, one of the most brilliant officers to come out of England. As the troops and supplies were marshaled at Albany, and sent northward to Fort Edward and the ruins of Fort William Henry at the southern end of Lake George, they attempted to keep the movements screened from the French, by deploying parties of Rangers, as did Montcalm with his Canadians and Indians, in 1757, prior to attacking Fort William Henry.

The French, however, countered this by sending their partisan leaders on many scouts. Bougainville’s journal records several. May 6, 1758: News from Carillon. M. de Langy’s detachment has brought back four scalps. We cannot doubt that the English are getting ready for an expedition against Louisbourg.28 May 12-20: M de Langis has returned with three prisoners who have no information. He left again at once with all the Indians we have to be making from Albany to Fort Edward.29 May 27: The enemy has a Highland Regiment and several free companies (Rangers) at Fort Edward. They are constantly sending off a great number of war parties…M. de Langis has been in the field since the seventeenth with twenty-five Indians.30 May 31: Arrival M. de Langis at Montreal. He took three scalps on the road from Albany to Fort Edward.31 June 13: M. de Langis left for Carillon with eighty warriors.32

On June 23, Robert Rogers ordered out his Rangers on four separate scouts. One of these traveled up Lake George in whale boats and was spotted at nightfall. The group of seventeen Rangers commanded by lieutenants Simon Stevens and Nathan Stone were surprised and surrounded by a superior body of French and Indians at the second narrows on the 25th and were made prisoners by none other than Ensign Langy de Montegron, whom Loescher names as the Rangers’ “most daring rival.”33 Langy hastened them to General Bourlamarque, then commanding at Carillon, for questioning. After learning of the impending English army being readied to go against Carillon, Bourlamarque sent Langy with his prisoners to Governor Vaudreuil at Montreal.34

Making his way up Lake Champlain, Langy met the southward bound flotilla of French troops including Montcalm, Bougainville, and their staff. Reaching Montreal on June 29, Langy passed on the information to Governor Vaudreuil, turned over the prisoners, and headed back to Carillon with his Indians, eager to have a hand in the upcoming battle. He would not be disappointed.

Upon reaching Carillon, Langy was immediately employed by Montcalm in scouting duties. Bougainville notes on July 4th: “This evening there departed under the orders of Sieur de Langis a detachment of 150 men, 104 of them volunteers from our regular battalions, 25 Canadians and a score of Indians. A fact worth noting and one which does us honor in that this detachment, a Captain and seven Lieutenants of our regulars march under the orders of Ensign; M. De Langis has only this rank. His orders are to go and observe the location, the number, and the movements of the enemy at the end of Lac St. Sacrement and to make prisoners if possible.”35 Other French sources describe the mission as thus: “On the 4th of July, Marquis de Montcalm organized a detachment of 130 Volunteers under the orders of Ensign Langy de Montegron, of the colonials, an officer of the highest reputation. The Marquis de Montcalm, having called for some volunteer officers for that detachment, notifying them beforehand that they would be under Sieur de Langys orders irrespective of their grade, even of Captains, and he was obliged to limit the number to one officer per battalion.”36 It is obvious to any researcher of history how esteemed was Langy, not only among his Canadian and Native American brethren, but also among the fighting troops of France, right up to and including Montcalm himself!

The next days were frantic with scouts for Langy and others. On July 5, Bougainville noted: “At five o’clock in the evening Sieur de Langy’s detachment returned, having seen on the lake a great body of enemy barges which could only be what it was, the advance guard of their army, led by Colonel Bradstreet and Major Rogers.”37 What Langy and his men had observed is best described in Francis Parkman’s Montcalm and Wolfe. “A spectator from the shore says that when the fleet was three miles on its way, the surface of the lake at that distance was completely hidden from sight. There were nine hundred bateaux, a hundred and thirty-five whaleboats, and a large number of heavy flatboats carrying the artillery. The whole advanced in three divisions, the regulars in the centre, and the provincials on the flanks. Each corps had its flags and its music. The day was fair and men and officers were in the highest spirits. The spectacle was superb: the scenery; the sheen sparkle of those crystal waters; the countless inlets, tufted with pine, birch, and fir; the bordering mountains, with their green summits and sunny crags.; the flash of oars and glitter of weapons; the banners, the varied uniforms and the notes of the bugle, trumpet, bagpipe, and drum, answered and prolonged by a hundred woodland echoes. “I never beheld so delightful a prospect,” wrote a wounded British Officer at Albany a fortnight after.”38

This mighty British army traveled un-opposed down the lake for twenty-five miles until they came to Sabbath-Day Point, where they disembarked for rest and refreshment. Leaving fires burning brightly to fool the watchful eyes of the French, they re-embarked at about midnight and at day break entered the outlet of the lake. Rogers and his Rangers drove in the small French force opposing them and the army landed without difficulty. Parkman says, “Close on their left, ruddy in the warm sunrise, rose the vast bare face of Rogers Rock, whence a French advanced party under Langy and an officer named Trepezec, were watching their movements.”39

The evening before, Langy had been ordered, with Captain Trepezac and a force of 350 men, to take post on Mont Pelee (Rogers Rock) and to observe the movements and to try to oppose any landing. When dawn appeared, and the French detachment found itself cut of and looking down upon the entire British army, they were forced to bushwack through the adjacent mountain ridges and attempt to go around and get ahead of the British and report back to Montcalm. “the advanced party of French under Langy and Trepezac, about three hundred and fifty in all, regulars and Canadians, had tried to retreat; but before they could do so, the whole English army had landed, passed them, and placed itself between them and their countrymen. They had no resource but to take to the woods.”40

While Langy and Trepezac’s force made its way down the mountains and through the primeval forest, the British army, stymied by the burning of the bridges over La Chute River, decided to make its way also through the woods and along the banks of the river, which would take it ultimately to the walls of Fort Ticonderoga. Unfortunately, for both French and British forces struggling through the woods, their presence and location, was unknown to one another. At about four o’clock in the afternoon of July 6, both forces approached the well known ford of the Bernetz River (Trout Brook) and blundered into one another. Firing erupted, and the French were caught between the falls of La Chute River and two converging British columns. The fighting was short and savage; 150 French were killed, 150 were taken prisoner, and a mere fifty escaped “Lord Howe, with Major Israel Putnam and two hundred rangers, was at the head of the principal column, which was a little in advance of the three others. Suddenly the challenge, Qui vive? Rang sharply from the thickets in front. Francais! Was the reply. Langy’s men were not deceived; they fired out of the bushes. The shots were returned; a hot skirmish followed; and Lord Howe dropped dead, shot through the breast.”41 No one actually knows for sure exactly who the Frenchman was that shot and killed Lord Howe, but here is some food for thought: “ A large division with Lord Howe at their head moved towards the Fort but were met within about two miles of Ticonderoga, at the Saw-Mill, by a large body of the enemy, on which a hot engagement ensued: at the beginning Lord Howe was shot dead, it is said by a French Officer, who it is said Captain Henry Piney immediately shot.”42 Could this French officer have been Langy or perhaps Trepezac?  Very possibly. Both were wounded and both escaped across the river under covering fire of Bourlamaques grenadiers. Trepezac later died of his wounds and Langy was recorded as receiving a leg wound while crossing the river.43

Upon the death of Lord Howe, burden of leadership sat squarely upon the shoulders of General Abercromby, and he was found not equal to the task. Major Thomas Mante wrote: “In Lord Howe, the soul of General Abercromby’s army seemed to expire. From the moment the General was deprived of his advice, neither order nor discipline was observed, and a strange kind of infatuation usurped the place of resolution. The death of one man (Howe) was the ruin of fifteen thousand.”44

Abercromby, indecisive and unsure about the best course of action, withdrew his army back to the landing place, rebuilt the two bridges burned by the retreating French, and marched towards the fort. However, the two-day delay, gave Montcalm time to construct the now-famous “log wall” and abatis, and for additional reinforcements to arrive under the command of the Chevalier de Levis. Choosing the absolute worst plan of attack, Abercromby sent his splendid army, unsupported by his artillery, in an attempted assault by musketry and bayonet, against the French entrenchments. It was a slaughter. British losses were estimated at 2,000 killed and wounded, in six valiant, vain attempts to carry the log wall by assault. It is in the heat of this battle, standing with the Chevalier de Levis at the right of the French lines, that Langy was wounded again.45 Langy and his Canadians made two sorties and took the charging English columns in the flank. Abercromby, devastated at the loss of so many brave men, lost his nerve and took his still over-powering army back down the lake in disgrace.46

In an after-action report to Canadian Governor Vaudrieul, General the Marquis de Montcalm stated, among other entries, “De Langy, 3 wounds, not dangerous.”47 Of these three wounds, we know of one and where it occurred: “Captain de Trepezac of the Bearn Regt., received a shot in the body of which he died next morning in the fort. Sieur De Langy received a very slight wound in the leg while re-crossing the river, and came in during the night.”48 Of the other two, we are not sure if one was sustained at the death of Lord Howe, or if both were inflicted at the right of the French lines at the Battle of Ticonderoga. However, in later research, we find out what one of the wounds were. On October 21, 1758, Montcalm wrote to Bourlamaque, “Marin is once again on a war party, and so is Hotchig. Langy Montegron entered the career, the arm in a sling, a pistol in hand; he has a nose for this kind of war…”49

In August of 1758, following Bradstreet’s capture of Fort Frontenac, Langy had undertaken a reconnaissance of Fort Oswego where he had seen the “wreck of burned sloops as well as a great many barges.”50 In the fall of 1758, Langy returned to his scouting on the Lake George/Lake Champlain front. On October 7, Bougainville noted: “On the seventh Sieur de Langy Montegron left for the end of the bay for a raid with a detachment of forty men, twelve of them Indians.”51

Bougainville left for Montreal on October 18. He stated, “I took with me a prisoner captured by Sieur Langy Montegron between Fort Edward and Albany. His statement positively contradicted what they so firmly believed at Montreal.”52 Canadian Governor Vaudrieul had believed rumors that the English were going to mount another offensive at Carillon. Langy’s prisoner gave proof that the English were already withdrawing the majority of their troops towards Albany.

In November, the French withdrew the bulk of their troops, leaving Captain D’Hebecourt again in command at Carillon with 350 regulars, marines, and fifty Canadians and Indians, probably led by Langy.53 On May 19, 1759, Langy was noted again as having taken several prisoners near Fort Edward.54 In the summer of 1759, as General James Wolfe and his army laid siege to Quebec, there were reports of a Langy engaged in skirmishes with English Rangers who were burning habitants’ homes, farms, and churches in the parishes above and below Quebec.

The townspeople were driven from their homes into a devastated country where General Wolfe had, for twenty leagues on both sides of the St. Lawrence River, cut down every fruit tree and burned every dwelling. The New York Mercury says: “We burned and destroyed fourteen hundred houses, so that it is thought it will take them many a century to recover damage.”55

On September 13, 1759, General Montcalm, fighting alongside French regulars, French Marines, and Canadian malice, fell mortally wounded in the battle of the Plains of Abraham. A few days later, Quebec surrendered, and the French forces withdrew southward towards Three Rivers and Montreal. At approximately the same time Robert Rogers and nearly two hundred Rangers, left Crown Point in 17 whaleboats, enroute to make their now famous raid on the Abenaki village of St .Franics. On September 23, the Rangers cached their whaleboats and provisions, for their expected return in Missisquoi Bay, and traveled overland through swamps to avoid detection. Unfortunately for Rogers and his men, their voyage into Missisquoi Bay was either seen or heard by some Abenakis, who reported to Bouriamaque immediately. Author Burt Loescher states, “Durantaye and Langy, Rogers’ old foes of many past engagements, made the fateful discoveries. While the Abenaki scout from Missisquoi was informing Bourlamaque of the English boat “he heard passing in the dark, the Canadian Partisan Durantaye, was scouting Missisquoi Bay when he noticed…a hull of English design…floating on the bay.”56 Whether this was one of Rogers’ whaleboats which had floated into the bay from its cached concealment is not known. Regardless, its appearance was enough to pique French curiosity. When Durantaye returned to Isle aux Noix with news of his discover, the French naturally confirmed it with the Abenaki’s report. The next morning, Durantaye and Langy with Outlas, all skilled partisan leaders, were, dispatched to Missisquoi Bay with forty men to verify the discoveries.

Langy’s sharp eyes found the hidden whaleboats. They broke up part of them and hauled back the rest of the portage in the bay. Bourlamaque dispatched three hundred more men to Missisquoi Bay and Durantaye set off in hot pursuit of the elusive Rogers. Langy awaited Rogers at Missisqioi Bay in the event he would return to where he had left his whaleboats.57

Rogers and his rangers did keep ahead of Durantaye’s force and managed to reach their objective unscathed. They fired the near-empty village, retaking English captives held there, and killed about forty men, women, and children. They started back by way of Lake Memphremagog, pursued by the famous Captain Dumas and Durantaye’s forces, all the while the intrepid Langy waited with Rogers’ whaleboats, hoping for his return. Alas, for Langy, it was not to be. Through skill and luck, Robert Rogers managed to get back to Crown Point alive. A lot of his Rangers were not so lucky: nearly half of the force of 142 who were at the attack on St. Francis, sixty-nine to be exact, fell victim to ambush and/or starvation, so merciless was the French pursuit.58

The next clash between Langy and Rogers was their last, but a huge feather in the cap of Langy. The year was 1760. The month was February. Robert Rogers was returning from Albany to the British fort at Crown Point. As he neared the location of five-mile point, between the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, he smiled and told his new recruits of his successful ambushes there. But Robert Rogers had relaxed his usual caution and taken too much for granted, as far as safety was concerned. First and foremost, there was still a war on. Second, for some inexplicable reason, the recruits were not armed; their thirty-two new muskets were still in cases on Rogers sleigh. Third, and most unfortunate for the Rangers, was Langy, whom Loescher describes appropriately as “the most famous of the French Canadian Partisans,” “the Rangers’ most daring rival,” and “the Rangers’ most daring adversary,” waiting in ambush with his Canadians and Indians.59

When he recognized Rogers in the lead sleigh, Langy called for a volley that killed most of the horses, rendering the sleighs useless. Rogers, seeing judgment day unfolding before his eyes, fled either on foot or horseback to the safety of Crown Point. His new Ranger recruits were not so lucky; five were killed and four were taken prisoner. After seeing the familiar back of Robert Rogers fading into the distance, Langy felt recompensed when the booty on Rogers’ sleight was discovered. There were thirty-two new muskets, one hundred hatchets, fifty-five pairs of moccasins, and 11,961 pounds of New York currency – the payroll for troops at Crown Point. Of this amount, 3,961 pounds was Rogers’ own money.60

Six weeks later, Langy made his last successful raid near Crown Point. Here he captured Lieutenant Fortescue and Ensign Stuart of the British regulars, Captain James Tute of the Rangers, and six enlisted men – all without firing a shot.61

The last mention of Langy is in Captian Pierre Pouchot’s journal, and it is a sad one for Canada. Pouchot states, “It was from that position (Isle Aux Noix) in the winter, they formed raiding parties which always brought back a number of prisoners. Langis made some further raids in the spring. This officer, the best leader of raids among the  colonial troops, was unfortunately drowned while trying to cross a river in a canoe with two of his men.”62 

“It was also learned with relief that Langy was drowned in the Lawrence river a few days after his return with Tute and the others.”63

“That Mons. Longee, a famous partisan, fell through the ice sometime and was drowned; his loss is greatly lamented by all Canada, and his equal is not to be found in that country.”64

And sadly, into history, went the incredible Langy. While people all over the world know of the famous Ranger, Robert Rogers, very few know of the great French partisan, who bested him at every encounter. I hope that this chapter, the most comprehensive collection of facts about Langy’s life, changes that. His name should be placed among the bravest of the French Canadians who fought like lions against the overwhelming might of the British Empire. He deserves at least that.

1 Luther Roby, Reminiscences of the French War with Robert Rogers’ Journal and a Memoir of General Stark (Freedom: The F reedom Historical Society, 1988), p. 39.

2 Lettres du Marquis De Montcalm a M. De Bourlamarque (Quebec: J. Demers & Frere, 1891).

3 DCB, Vol. III, p. 399.

4 See Leading by Example, Volume Two, chapter two, for the complete story of this remarkable girl.

5 DCB, Vol. III, p. 399.

6 Bernard Pothier, Battle for the Chicnecto Forts (Balmuir Books: Canadian War Museum, 1994), pp. 16-17.

7 Ibid., p. 28.

8 DCB, Vol. III, p. 399.

9 Hagerty, p. 96.

10 DCB, Vol. III, p. 399.

11 Ibid., p. 400.

12 Ibid.

13 Bougainville’s journals in Edward P. Hamilton, Adventure in the Wilderness (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964), pp. 150 -151.

14 Gallup and Shaffer, La Marine: The French Colonial Soldier in Canada, 1745-1761 (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1992, p. 40.

15 DRCHSNY, Vol. XIV, p. 687.

16 Meriwether Liston Lewis, Montcalm the Marvelous Marquis (New York: Vantage Press, 1961), p. 92.

17 Guy Omeron Coolidge, French Occupation of the Champlain Valley, 1609-1759 (Fleishmanns, NY: Purple Mountain Press, 1999), p. 200-201.

18 Burt Garfield Loescher, Rogers Rangers, Vol. I: The Beginnings, Jan. 1755-April 6, 1758 (San Francisco: n.p., 1946; reprint Bowie L Heritage Books, Inc., 2001), pp. 210-212.

19 Pouchot’s memoirs in Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Memoirs of the Lake War in North America (Youngstown, NY: Old Fort Ninagara Association, 1994), p. 129.

21 Loescher, Vol. I, p. 229.

22 DRCHSNY, Vol. XIV, p. 691.

23 Ibid., p. 703.

24 Loescher, Vol. I, p. 236.

25 Ibid., p. 238.

26 Ibid.

27 For more facts and the complete description of this battle, please read The Battle on Snowshoes by the author.

28 Bougainville, p. 202.

29 Ibid., p. 204.

30 Ibid., p. 208.

31 Ibid., p. 209.

32 Ibid., p. 212.

33 Loescher, Vol. II, p. 8.

34 Bougainville, p. 220.

35 Ibid., p. 224.

36 Lettres Doriel, a M. Montcalm, a M. Belle-Isle courtesy of Fort Ticonderoga

37 Bougainville, pp. 225-226.

38 Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe (New York: Collier Books, 1974), pp. 413-414.

39 Ibid., p. 415.

40 Ibid., p. 416.

41 Ibid.

42 Armand Francis Lucier, French and Indian War Notices Abstracted from Colonial Newspapers, Vol. 3: January 1, 1758-September 17, 1759 (Bowie: Heritage Books, Inc., 1999), p. 102.

43 DRCHSNY, Vol. X, pp. 751, 895.

44 Parkman, p. 47.

45 Bougainville, p. 238.

46 For a more detailed account of the battle and location of Lord Howe’s death, please read French and Indian War Battlesites: A Controversy by the author.

47 Montcalm letters to Vaudrieul, 9 July 1758. courtesy of Fort Ticonderoga Museum.

48 DRCHSNY, Vol. XV, pp. 751, 895.

49 Letter from Montcalm to Bourlamaque, Carillon, 21 Octobert 1758, Lettres de M. de Bourlamaque au Chevalier de Levis (Canada: Demers and Fere, 1891), Vol. XV, pp. 751, 895.

50 Pouchot memoirs in Dunnigan, p. 178.

51 Bougainville, p. 288.

52 Ibid., p. 291.

53 Ibid., pp. 292-293.

54 Pouchot memoirs in Dunnigan, p. 178.

55 The New York Mercury quoted in Adela Peltier Reed, Memoirs of Antoine Paulint (Los Angeles: San Encino Pres,, 1940), p. 23.

56 Loescher, Vol. IV, p. 20

57 Loescher, Vol. IV, pp. 20-21.

58 Ibid., p. 180.

59 Loescher, Vol. II, p. 83-84.

60 Loescher, Vol. II, p. 84.

61 Ibid., p. 85.

62 Pouchot memoirs in Dunnigan, p. 258.

63 Loescher, Vol. II, p. 85.

64 Armand Francis Lucier, French and Indian War Notices Abstracted from Colonial Newspapers, Vol. 4: September 17, 1759-December 30, 1760 (Bowie: Heritage Books, Inc., 1999), p. 183.