Mr. Dubuison Governor General of Canada, Official Report.
Jacques-Charles Renaud Dubuisson [1666-1739] was the
Acting Commandant at Detroit in 1712. His first year was made difficult
by Cadillac who was still at Detroit and reluctant to give up his
authority and privileges.
In 1712 a war party of Ottawas and Pottawatomies
pursuing the Fox and Mascutens arrived in Detroit and insisted on
attacking. Dubuisson supported them since he was unable to stop them.
They besieged the Fox camp for 19 days. Several councils were held but
no peace could be arranged until finally the Fox and Mascoutins escaped,
going north only a few miles before they were forced to make a final
stand. When they surrendered most of the male captives were killed.
Dubuisson reported the total killed as 1,000 enemy, 60 allies, and 1
Sir, - As I have thought it was of great consequence to
inform you of the state of this post, by an express canoe, I have
requested Mr. De Vincennes to make the voyage, having assured him that
this arrangement would be pleasing to you, persuaded as I am, Sir, that
you are very solicitous about what passes here. The fatigue I undergo
day and night, in consequence of the public and private councils, that I
hold with the Indians, preventing me from rendering you a detailed
account of all the circumstances, Mr. De Vincennes has promised to
forget nothing, which has passed, in order to communicate it fully to
The destruction of two Mascoutin and Ottagamie villages, is
one of the principal reasons which induces me to send this express
canoe. It is God, who has suffered these two audacious nations
to perish. They had received many presents, and some belts, from the
English, to destroy the post of Fort Pontchartrain, and then to cut our
throats and those of some of our allies, particularly the Hurons and
Ottawas, residing upon the Detroit River; and after that, these wretches
intended to settle among the English and devote themselves to their
service. It is said, that the band of Oninetonam, and that of
Mucatemangona, have been received among the Iroquois, and have
established a village upon their lands. This information has been
brought by three canoes of Ontagamies, who have been defeated by the
Chippeways within four leagues of this post. I am under some
apprehension for the safety of Mr. Delaforet, because, being no doubt
upon his march to this place, he may fall in with some of those hostile
bands, who have joined themselves to the Iroquois.
The band of the great chief Lamima, and that of the great
chief Pemoussa, came early in the spring and encamped, in spite of my
opposition, at about fifty paces from my fort, never willing to listen
to me, speaking with much insolence, and calling themselves the owners
of all this country. It was necessary for me to be very mild, having, as
you know, Sir, but thirty Frenchmen with me, and wishing to retain
eight Miamis, who were with Mr. De Vincennes, and also to sow our grain,
and pasture our cattle; and besides the Ottawas and Hurons had not come
in from their winter hunt. I was thus exposed every day to a thousand
insults. The fowls, pigeons, and other animals belonging to the French,
were killed without their daring to say a word, and, for myself, I was
in no condition openly to declare my intentions.
One of their party entered my fort, in order to kill one of
the inhabitants, named Lagmenesse, and a daughter of Roy, another
inhabitant. I could then no longer restrain myself, but took arms to
prevent their accomplishing their object. I compelled them to retire
immediately from the vicinity of the fort, in order not to give them
time to strengthen their party, as they expected the Kickapoos, their
allies, that they might together execute their nefarious project; hoping
to be strong enough to retire without loss among the English and
Iroquois. They waited but for a favorable moment to set fire to the
fort.. . .
The church and the house of Mr. Mullet were outside of the
fort, and all our wheat was stored there. The contrary winds prevented
our allies from arriving, which troubled me much, as the circumstances
now pressing, I prevailed upon the few Frenchmen, who were with me,
immediately to bring the wheat into the fort. And it was well I did so;
for, two days later, it would have been pillaged. We had to fire upon
the enemy to secure it, and as it was they stole a considerable portion
of it. But the principal object was, to pull down, as quick as possible,
the church, the storehouse, and some other houses which were near my
fort, and so close, that the Indians, at any time, by setting fire to
them, might have burnt our works. And, besides, it was important in
order to defend ourselves in case of an attack, which very soon took
place. . . . .
Every arrangement being made, and while we were waiting with
impatience, I was informed that there were many people in sight. I
immediately ascended a bastion, and casting my eyes towards the woods, I
saw the army of the nations of the south issuing from it. - They were
the Illinois, the Missouries, the Osages and other nations yet more
remote. There were also with them, the Ottawa Chief, Saguina, and also
the Potawatamies, the Sacs, and some Menomnies. Detroit never saw such a
collection of people. It is surprising how much all these nations are
irritated against the Mascoutins and the Ottagimies. This army marched
in good order, with as many flags, as there were different nations, and
it proceeded directly to the fort of the Hurons. These Indians said to
the head chief of the army you must not encamps. Affairs are too
pressing. We must enter immediately into our Fathers Fort, and fight for
him. As he has always had pity on us, and as he loves us, we ought to
die for him. - And don't you see that smoke also. They are these women
of your village, Saguina, who are burning there, and your wife is among
them. Not another word was necessary. . . .
The different nations have returned peaceably with all their
slaves. Saguina has abandoned his village, and gone to Michilimacinac.
The Potawatamies abandoned also theirs, and will either come here or go
to the Illinois. More than half of the Ottawas, of this place, will
repair to Michilimacinac. The Chippeways and Mississaguas will go to
Topinanich. They have not at all been disposed to make any satisfaction
to the Miamis, for the murder of the last year, with Mr. Tonty. . . .
My success has been much owing to the great influence, I
have over the nations, Mr. De Vincennes is the witness to this. I do not
say this either to gratify my vanity, or to claim any credit, for truly
I am very tired of Detroit.
You can easily judge, Sir, in what a condition my affairs
must be, in consequence of having no presents, belonging to the king, in
my hands. However, I venture to trust to your goodness, and hope that
you will not suffer a devil to be reduced to beggary.
Au Fort du Detroit, Pontchartrain, June 15, 1712.
This letter was addressed to The Marquis de Vaudreuil, Governor General of New France.
From: OFFICIAL REPORT, MADE BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER,
MR. DUBUISSON, TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA, OF THE WAR WHICH TOOK
PLACE AT DETROIT, IN 1712, BETWEEN THE FRENCH AND THEIR ALLIES, AND THE
OTTAGAMIE AND MASCOUTINS INDIANS. Detroit: 1845. 24 pages.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography 2: 562-563.
Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 33 (1904): 483-85, 495-97, 506-8, 510-12, 517, 528-52, 554, 561, 572.