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[JOHNSON, sir William].   Relaçaõ De huma batalha, succedida no campo de Lake Giorge na America Septentrional, entre as Tropas Inglezas commandadas pelo Coronel Guilhelmo, e as Francezas das quaes era Commandante o General Baraõ Dieskau, aos 30. de Junho do prezente anno de 1757. Traduzida no Idioma Portuguez. Extrahida de huma Carta escrita pelo mesmo Coronel, logo despois do successo, ao General Wensvort, Governador da nova Hampshire, e mandada inclusa em outra escrita em Postmaute Capital da mesma Provincia. [woodcut vignette]. Lisboa: [Domingos Rodrigues], Anno M.DCC.LVII. Com todos as licenças necessarias. 7, [1, blank] p., sm. 4to (19.5 x 14 cm.), some wormholing without loss of text, somewhat browned, still a better copy than it sounds.
The title translates as “Account of a battle that took place in the fields near Lake George in North America, between the English troops commanded by Colonel William, and the French that were under the command of General Baron Dieskau, on the 30th of June of the present year 1757. Translated into the Portuguese language. Extracted from a letter written by the same Colonel, sent after it was won to General Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, and sent together with another one written in Portsmouth, capital of the same province. [vignette] Lisbon, Year M.DCC.LVII. [1757]. With all necessary permits.”
Sabin 38661. Maggs, An illustrated catalogue raisonné of one hundred and six original manuscripts, autographs, maps, and printed books, illustrating the discovery & history of America from 1492 to 1814. Loaned by Maggs Bros., of London. Exhibited at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Spring, 1929, no. 45, (then priced at £52.10). No other references located. Maggs’ exhibition at the Library of Congress was purported to be only of items for which no copies existed at the time in American libraries. Maggs’ description reads as follows: “This is the Portuguese translation of Sir William Johnson’s ‘Letter dated Camp at Lake George, Sept. 9, 1755, to the Governours of the several Colonies who raised the Troops on the present Expedition; giving an Account of the Action of the preceding day.’
In 1755 a four-fold blow was planned against the French in North America. Braddock was to lead an expedition against Fort Duquesne, Shirley against Niagara, Col. Wm. Johnson against Crown Point, and Lt.-Col. Monckton against Acadia or Nova Scotia. This present relation is concerned with the third mentioned expedition and with the defeat of the French at Lake George.
In July 1755 Johnson had collected a force of 3,000 men near Albany comprising farmers and farmers’ sons from the New England homesteads, the New Hampshire Regiment, some forces from New York and Rhode Island, and about 300 Mohawks. With these forces he moved up the Hudson to a spot called the Great Carrying Place, where Fort Lyman was being built, and thence the expedition moved on towards Lake George. In the meantime the French Canadian forces under Baron Dieskau (Jean Erdman) advanced from Ticonderoga to try and seize Fort Lyman. Three miles from this place they learnt of the movement of the English forces and Dieskau planned a trap. The English scouting column under Lieut.-Col. Whiting fell into this trap and was nearly wiped out, the engagement being known as the ‘bloody morning scout’. The survivors were able to fall back on the main camp, which had received warning by the sound of firing, and had been put into a state of defence. Dieskau’s forces had got beyond his control and attacked the English camp in a disorganised manner, and were repulsed. Both Johnson and Dieskau were wounded, Lyman taking over Johnson’s command. After about four hours’ fight the English forces made a general assault on the Canadians and their Indian allies, drove them back, and put them to flight, so winning the battle of Lake George, Dieskau being among the prisoners taken.
Johnson failed to follow up this success although urged to do so by Lyman, and so the Crown Point expedition practically ended in a failure. Johnson was undoubtedly rather jealous of Lyman, and in his report makes no mention of him whatsoever.”
DCB notes: “Johnson, himself wounded early in the attack, played little part in the battle but was given credit for its outcome. When he visited New York City at the end of the year, he was greeted as a hero, and the king created him a baronet. In 1757 parliament made him a gift of £5,000. Never was such an insignificant encounter so generously rewarded.” It may be argued the battle was one of the few British victories early in the war, and that this victory helped restore their morale. Though the war had unofficially started in 1754 with the Jumonville affair, where Washington was accused with his “murder”, and the official declarations of war had to wait until 1755, the war quickly spilled over to the French and British colonies in the Americas and the Orient. The fact that the account of this minor battle, as well as those of some other skirmishes in New England and Nova Scotia, were translated into Portuguese, is proof that the conflict ultimately involved all western nations and their colonies in other parts of the world, and that the Seven Years’ War might well be called a World War.

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