Original Document
Original Document
French Report of Jumonville Affair

April 8th, construction was started on this fort which we named Fort Duquesne, while we gave the name Mal Engueulee to the river which the English called the Monongahela. Fort Duquesne is the most distant of the French possessions on the Ohio side, which is to the south of Upper Canada. The fort was built of squared timbers twelve feet thick on the land side; its thickness filled in with earth; with a strong parapet; and three bastions each mounting four cannon. It had a deep moat on the outside and a drawbridge on the north, which is the upper side toward the Ohio.

The part of the fort next to the water is toward the west, and is only a framework of trees driven into the ground like piles, with a bakehouse on the same side.

Inside, there are four separate buildings. The one on the right, when entering by the drawbridge, is the commander's quarters. Opposite, to the left, are the guardhouse and the barracks. At the end facing the entrance is the storehouse for provisions and goods, and on the water side are the quarters of the gunners.

We worked as quickly as possible to complete the fort. It was half-finished when savage Shawnees, who lived five leagues further down on the banks of the Ohio, arrived there. We welcomed them, though we suspected they were spies, who must be watched. A few days later we learned that these savages had carried news to the English of our work and of our talk with them.

These savages had for neighbors another tribe called the Loups (The Delaware or Lenape Indians were called Loups (wolves) by the French.). These also came to Fort Duquesne, were well received, and became attached to the French, as the latter were kind to these savages, who often went among the English. As they went there freely, the French induced them to go and see what was going on, which they did in the most helpful and serviceable manner. They were rewarded by presents and good treatment which, when continued, aroused jealousy among their neighbors, the Shawnees. They wanted to imitate them in telling what they knew about the English, and the French profited by this jealousy. However, as the savages are only honest as far as their own interests are concerned, it is reasonable to suppose that the French and English were both being informed of what happened in each camp–that is, in the two camps.

Fort Duquesne was almost completed when Commander Contrecoeur sent some savages with Frenchmen to reconnoiter. This detachment returned at the end of several days, and reported that the English had settled in Virginia, forty leagues away, and were building storehouses, probably with the intention of attacking Fort Duquesne. Upon this news, the commander determined to send an officer with an escort to carry a summons to the first English officer that he could find, but with care to be on guard against a surprise attack from either the English or the savages, and likewise to encourage friendly feeling with the latter; and especially to familiarize themselves with the country and its various trails. May 23rd, the bearer of this summons, who was the Sieur Dejumonville, with an escort of thirty-four men and an interpreter, departed.

The officer Dejumonville, (Jumonville) was an ensign in the troops, and had with him another officer named Drouillon; three cadets named Boucherville, Du Sable, and another; with a volunteer named LaForce; an interpreter–in all thirty-five men. They left with the order and summons just mentioned, and marched until the 26th. In the evening, he had to camp because of bad weather. He stopped in low ground with his escort. He was then only two leagues from the English fort, toward which he was directing his course.

Bad weather detaining him all morning in his camp, he was discovered by savage Iroquois, who went at once to tell the English. Thereupon they started out. The next morning, the 27th (The skirmish actually took place on May 28, 1754), sixty men, half of them English and half savages, surrounded the French. The French did not realize this until a musket shot was fired at them by the enemy. Then Sieur Dejumonville performed his duty by reading the summons he was carrying. The enemy paid no attention to it, and in a second volley Sieur Dejumonville and nine of his men were killed. The rest, numbering twenty-four were taken prisoner and conducted to Winchester, which they reached on the 4th of June.

The defeat of what was a sort of embassy obliged the Commander Contrecoeur to inform Governor General Duquesne about it. The latter wrote to the Minister of Marine, who denounced it to the English Ambassador as assassination. It resulted in arousing much feeling in this country between the French and the English.

Shortly after the defeat of Sieur Jumonville, a courier arrived at Fort Duquesne bringing word from Quebec, that the King of England had sent all the governors of New England secret orders to prepare to attack Canada on all sides.

June 26th, Captain De Villiers commander of Fort Chartres, a dependency of Louisiana, arrived at Fort Duquesne with three hundred savage Illinois, and hostages, along with several boats laden with provisions, and goods transported by fifty Frenchmen. Upon his arrival, this officer learned of the death of Sieur Jumonville, his brother, and about the preparations in progress to avenge this death, which was regarded as a murder. He asked for the command of the detachment which they had planned to send under the command of Sieur Lemercier who, at the request of Sieur De Villiers, consented to give up his place; as much to let him have revenge for his brother, as because he was his senior in rank. Sieur Lemercier was second in command on this expedition. This detachment was intended at first to have only one hundred men, but was augmented by three hundred savages who had come with Captain De Villiers. This detachment then seemed rather strong. I was included in it.

The 28th, we started our march up the Monongahela River, part going by land and part by water.

We left the next morning and marched on. About noon, we reached the place where Sieur Jumonville had been killed. Four corpses, whose scalps had been taken, were still there. They were buried and general prayers were said, after which Commander De Villiers addressed the savages upon the spot where his brother had been assassinated, about the vengeance he hoped to have with their help. They promised to back him. Thereupon the march was continued until about three o'clock in the afternoon, when our scouts informed us that we were only a half league from the English fort.

Then we advanced more cautiously, trying to get as near the fort as we could without being discovered. But when we sighted it, half a hundred armed men came out to engage us, probably not expecting to find us so numerous. We advanced in three columns to the right. All the savages went to the left, shouting their war cry, which so frightened the fifty leaving the fort that they turned back hastily. We advanced opposite the fort, but only within rifle shot, because the fort was built in the middle of the plain. We had scarcely arrived in this position when the fort's cannon began to fire on us with grapeshot (they were small cannons). We were in the woods, each behind a tree. As we had no cannon, we could only return fire with rifle shots. We, nevertheless, reached the fort.

Our musketry-fire lasted until eight o'clock in the evening, when we sent an officer with a drummer to summon the commander to surrender, failing which they would be taken by assault. Actually we had been preparing for this by making fascines during the firing. This precaution was unnecessary because at the very moment when the officer bearing the summons was going toward the fort, the enemy's flag was lowered. This was a signal that the enemy had decided to surrender.

The French officers and the hostages were surrendered. The capitulation was drawn up and signed the same day, July third, the day of the attack, by the English commander, George Washington. While escaping from the fort he forgot part of his papers, from which we learned that he had been major of militia in Virginia; and that on May 15th, 1753, he was made lieutenant-colonel of the Regiment of Virginia, at the time composed of one hundred and fifty men. His commission was received on May 30th. This man was a partisan of the savages, whom he often commanded without however leading them to war. He was greatly loved by them, and they called him Concorins, an Iroquois name, showing their friendship for him.
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