After two years of trying to get his war off the ground the French’s First Nation allies got tired of waiting. A party of Iroquois from Sault Ste. Louis along with the Wyandotte and Potawatomi from de troit met with the northern nations at Chicago. They determined to go to le Rocher, a village in Illinois country, to see the sons of de Ramezay and de Longueuil. Their plan was to get them to raise a French force to join them on a march against the Fox’s allies.
When they arrived in Illinois territory they found both Frenchmen very sick at Kaskaskia. However, they ordered a Frenchmen named Bizaillon who was on the Illinois River to raise as many Illinois warriors as he could to join the expedition. After raising some Illinois he and a Frenchman named Pachot joined the campaign.
They found 70 wigwams belonging to the Mascoutin and Kickapoo who were hunting along a river. They attacked so their enemy dug in on a steep rock and after a long seige their fortress gave way. The Iroquois and allies killed more than 100 and took 47 prisoners not counting women and children. In order to make tracking them difficult they moved down the river a distance of 75 miles but after 11 days they were overtaken by 400 warriors who were the elite of the Fox Nation.
The Fox attacked at dawn. The Iroquois, Wyandotte, Potawatomi and Illinois had only 80 warriors left in their party and 50 of them defended the redoubt where the wounded and prisoners were being kept. The battle raged until 3 o’clock in the afternoon when the Fox finally retreated after losing many warriors. The Iroquois etc. pursued them for several hours killing even more.
When they returned to Illinois country they took a count reporting 26 killed and 18 wounded. This expedition took place in November 1715 and the two stunning defeats served both to bolster the spirits of the French First Nation allies and demoralize the spirits of the Fox and their allies. Both the Mascoutin and Kickapoo nations surrendered themselves to the governor Vaudreuil swearing that if the Fox refused to capitulate as well they would turn on their former ally.
The following spring de Louvigny left Montreal with 225 Frenchmen and another 200 from de troit and Michilimackinac joined him. Another 400 First Nation allies also joined the campaign. They had all the munitions needed for the war including 2 pieces of cannon and a grenade mortar. They found 500 Fox warriors and 3,000 women congregated on their river in a fortress with three palisades.
The attack began in earnest but the bullets from their firearms were of no effect. However, they kept the heavy artillery firing constantly night and day. This constant barrage quickly damaged the palisades and the Fox feared they would be breached by the third night. They also had expected another 300 warriors to arrive as reinforcements but they didn’t materialize. Things looked bad for the Fox so they called out for a parlay to talk peace.
The French and allies ignored the Fox’s first overture and kept on firing. They also covertly placed two bombs underneath the gates of the fort and were ready to blow the gates off when the Fox called out again. This time Louvigny submitted the call to surrender to his First Nation allies. The First Nations imposed such stringent conditions that they thought the Fox would never agree to them. They were of the mind to utterly destroy the Fox Nation.
First, They had to agree to make peace with all the First Nations around them. Second, they had to bring their allies, the Mascoutin and Kickapoo on board, even if it be by force. Third, they must return all prisoners they held to their respective nations. Fourth, They must go to war in distant lands to get prisoners to replace all those killed by them during the war. Fifth, they must cover the costs of the war by goods procured through the hunt. Sixth, They must give up six chiefs or children of chiefs to be taken to Vaudreuil as and held as guarantees for the articles of the treaty. Much to everyone’s surprise the Fox agreed to these conditions!
Sieur de Louvigny’s campaign against the Fox was a great success but this would not be the last of their belligerence nor the end of the Fox Wars.
NEXT WEEK: The Fox Return To their Old Ways.