John Montresor [1736-1799] was a British Engineer who became the
Chief Engineer of America. He was ordered in 1764 to construct a series
of redoubts before the arrival of troops under Major General Bradstreet
who was on his way to a peace treaty with the Indians. In Detroit
Montresor undertook a variety of projects for the betterment of the
[August] 27th. Wind at S.W. The whole of the Troops arrived this day at Detroit being the 19th
day from Fort Erie & encamped above the Town on the N side. Gave in
to Col Bradstreet a return of the stores, Tools & Materials
belonging to the Engineers Branch both what were in this place &
brought here intended for the Expedition. Received orders to examine
what Houses were vacant & what were reparable in the Fort, for
covering the Troops for the Garrison to left here the 17th,
but found them far short of Sufficient room without cantoning them.
Found on my arrival a great deficiency in my spades, Shovels, what with
the Navy for Ballast &c the Troops for Gardening &c. On our
arrival near the Fort we were saluted from thence & the vessels
which was returned from our Gun Boats. Observed one of the Schooners at
the river mouth on her way to Niagara - 47 Miles this day.
28th. I went up the River Rouge 4 miles below
the Town on the west side of the River (with a covering Party from the
Light Infantry) for a proper situation for Wintering the vessels
occasionly which after reconnitering and sounding the River I fixed on
& made a design for a Work & naval store-houses. Approved of.
Made out a proposition of Stores & Tools for Missillimakinack to be
put in the Boats with the Troops destined there. Was ordered to make a
Design & estimate for Barracks for 400 Men to be constructed within
the Fort which was completed this Day with Plans & Sections. Indian
Presents, Expense known at l38,000 Sterling, delivered to them by Sir Wm
Johnson at the Congress held at Niagara this year. Winds at west, very
29th. Winds at S.W. & very hot. Received
orders to make a Design for a Wharf & Pier to this place for
securing vessels & for the better loading & unloading them with
an Estimate for the same. Wrote to the Assistant Engineer Commanding at
Niagara for an additional supply of Tools & materials carrying on
the work here. This day the Inhabitants took the Oaths of allegiance and
fidelity to his Brittanic Majesty. Also was raised one Captain, 3
subalterns & 100 Men of the settlements to proceed with the
Detachment of the 17th to reestablish the Missillimackinack. Council held with the Indians.
30th. Wrote to the Chief Engineer for more
materials for Building the Barracks &c. Ordered for
Missillimackinack 8 large Boats and 2 French Batteaux, the whole to
carry 14 Barrels of Provisions each total 140 Barrels. Sailed this day
for Niagara the Schooner Victory with Col Gladwin on board. The Fort
Saluted, returned from the Vessel. Contracts made with the Inhabitants
to furnish the quantity of materials necessary for building the Barracks
here. Commissions given to the Officers of this settlement going to
Missillimackinack. Arrived some Indians from the Misconis River bring
accounts that Wassing & the rest of the Chiefs would be here as by
promise the 3d of September. Already transported in the vessel this
season from hence Remittances of the Traders 1200 packs of Peltrys 1000
of which Beaver & 500 Packs still remaining unsold in the
settlement. Begun cutting Timber on Island Cochon for two scows for
bringing of Stone & other materials 70 feet in length by 18 in
Breadth, to carry 25 Tons. West winds at S S Wt and excessive heat. Only
280 men of this Settlement at present in it, capable of carrying arms.
31st. Decamped & marched in & took possession of the Garrison of Detroit the 17th Regt and relieved the old Garrison being detachments from the 17th Royal Americans & 80th
Regiments. Only 80 men of the new Raised troops of this place could be
conveniently mustered, to proceed to morrow with the Detachment, I
intended to establish at Michillimackinack. This day arrived a Batteaux
of Mohawks belonging to our army who escorted & carryed Provisions
for the officers & party sent to the Illinois by way of the Miamis.
They presented a Belt sent by Pondiac to Col Bradstreet & the 6
Nations of Iroquois. Applied to Col Bradstreet to make a chart of the
mouth of the River Huron to show the sounding on the bar & properest
Channel for the Vessels to pass through in her way to the upper Lakes.
The party with Col Putnam consisting of 200 narrow ax men cutting Timber
for Barracks on Isle au Cochon still remain at work. The Belt brought
from Pondiac was cut to pieces in Council this day & thrown
piecemeal in the river by the 6 Nations and the Speech that was to
accompany it entirely rejected. Gave directions for cutting Timber for 2
Skows for carrying Stone from Isle la Pierre to the Fort. All parties
of Artificers &c employed by the Crown being Inhabitants have their
allowances of Provisions. Wind at S Wt. A working party from Encampment
of 60 men for making Saw Pitts near the Fort.
September 1st. Went up the River above Isle au
Cochon with Col Bradstreet with a carrying party from the Light
Infantry. This morning proceeded the Detachment, under the Command of
Capt Howard (17th Regt) for the reestablishment of the Post
at Missillimackinack. A fair wind & fresh at S.W. Sent a party of
Charcoal Burners to Isle au Cochon, also a Party to make a Raft for to
transport some Square Timber to the Fort for the Barrels &c
Contracted for this morning. Fixed on the places for Provision Stores
for 3000 Barrels of Provisions. The new Powder Magazine in the Flag
Bastion near completed, being 21 Feet in length breadth & heighth,
calculated for 400 Barrels. Powder at present here 200 Barrels. Extreme
heat & the season dry. The 80th Regt sickly - the camp in
general subjected to fevers, agues & Fluxes. Carpenters employed in
repairing the Boats. An Examination made of the Boxes of ammunition,
cartridges & only one in 12 found serviceable. Each containing 1200
owing (as reported) to the Boats Leaking.
2nd September. This afternoon arrived from the
Miamis 55 Ottawas of Pondiac Band to make peace & that the Jibbeways
& Powtwettamies were following & would be here to morrow. A
kind of Citadel proposed by Stockading the area of the Barracks &
Parade & approved of. The wind N N N. Wt. An artillery Store House
fixed on & delivered over to that branch. Remark. 850 Indians of
different nations, had assembled at the Castle called Roche de but on
the Miamis River to oppose us, had we made any attempt that way.
3rd. This day set a General Court martial. Went
out this afternoon by Land with Col Bradstreet below the Powtowotamy
village covering party from the 80th Light Infantry.
Contracted with some of the Inhabitants for Pine Logs for Boards for the
Barracks, to be transported hence from the Piniere the opposite side of
Lake Saint Clair.
4th. Sent a party of 50 men and 2 long Boats to
Raft some Timber for the Barracks three miles below the Huron Village.
Set again the General Court Martial. Continued the Carpenters repairing
the Boats & completing the Powder Magazine. Wind at S.S.W. Gave in
Proposals to Col Bradstreet for procuring a grant of land & settling
families thereon for the better supplying the Garrison of Detroit &
its Dependancies with Provisions, forage &c to prevent for the
future his Majesty's Troops being drove to those distresses &
exigensies as of late, particularly last year. Arrived this afternoon
the Jibbeways all young Warriors with Wassong their chief. All current
paper money made by the Merchants & others called in to prevent
further Impositions. Some Coenawagas proposed returning to their castle.
Commanding Officer of the York Regimt tried this Day for contempt of
Colonel Bradstreet's orders.
5th. Sat this day the Indian Council. Present,
the Jibbeways, Shawanese, Hurons, of Sandusky & the 5 Nations of
Scioto, with all the several nations of friendly Indians with the Army.
The Hurons of this place not present, sent work, our "Decision was
theirs." The Powtewattamies not yet arrived. The Jibbeways & Ottawas
responsible for their agreeing to the terms of Peace proposed,
concluded & ratified on the present occasion. Pondiac declined
appearing here, till his pardon should be granted. Continued sitting the
General Court Martial on a Prisoner tried for Rebellion. Wind at E.
N.Et. The weather on the change, the season commencing airish and
chilly, particularly the mornings. This day Pondiac was forgiven in
council, who is at present two days march above the castle on the Miamis
River called la Roche de But with a party of 60 more savages.
6th. The Ottawas & Jibbeways incapable of
attending the Council to sign the Articles of Peace agreed on, through
Excess of liquor. Wind at N Et . The Camp pretty healthy in general.
Remarked that of the late Garrison that was relieved only one man died
for 4 years. Arrived this evening Ninnevah & 58 young Warriors from
the Powtawattamies; also Pondiac's own band of Ottawas. Came to an
anchor below the Isle aux Dindes the Sloop & two Schooners from
Niagara loaded with 1100 Barrels of Provisions. Parties employed in
hawling up the Timber rafted down from the Fort.
7th. This morning the Treaty of Peace was
ratified in Council signed & sealed. Came down from Isle au Cochon
Colonel Putnam and the party of Provincials that have been employed
there cutting of Timber for carrying on the works here. Proposed by Col
Bradstreet for Officers to apply for Grants of Land here, for the
advantage of the Crown & this new Colony. For either the Government
must dispossess the present Inhabitants of their lands & entirely
remove them from hence or support this feeble colony with a numerous
body of English sufficient to cultivate the vacant lands in this
streight & subordinate the savages who are powerful in this
neighbourhood. Wind at N Et. Artificers continued as before. Arrived the
Dispatches from on board the vessels. Letters received from Capt Morris
dated from les Praries de Mascoutins.
8th. Sent to the Piniere above Lake St Clair to
cut Timber of Pine for the Wharf. Wind at N.E. Proposed, the whole to
set off from hence for Sandusky in 3 days. Remark, up that river was the
Rendezvous proposed where Col Bradstreet should intrench till the
arrival of the Troops under the Command of Col Bouquet. The artificers
continued as before. Marked out the Barracks on the Parade in the S.W.
end of the Fort. This day a Placard was given out for an open & free
Trade as before with the Savages as the Peace was Concluded. Arrived
several of the Powttawatamies from St Joseph, Westenong, La Saline
9th. Came to anchor opposite the Fort, the
Sloops & 2 Schooners. Went over to the Huron Village & 4 miles
below it with a covering party of Light Infantry of the 55th to procure materials for carrying on the work here. Set off from hence An Officer of the 80th
and some Mohawks to Sandusky with some provisions in case the prisoners
from the Plains of Scioto should be arrived there. Arrived 10 Birch
Canoes with a large Party of Messassagues and Wabbogomigats their Chief
of Toronto with 158 of that tribe. Weighed anchor this Evening, the
Gladwin Schooner & Sailed for Missillimackinack for her loading of
Provisions on board. The Schooner for Missillimackinack came to an
anchor to the South of Isle aux Cochon. Continued the Artificers as
10th. Thirty of the 55th Regt Draughted into the 17th.
A Council held with the Messessgues. The Gladwin weighed & sailed
into Lake St Clair. Rafted down a quantity of Plank & Boards.
Continued the artificers as before. Parties employed in unloading the
Vessels. This morning before day arrived the Schooner Victory loaded
with Provisions. Wind at S Et with a gentle Shower of Rain, none having
fallen here for 3 weeks past. Made a demand for artificers from the
Troops to remain here to carry on the works begun on and proposed at
this place. Approved of.
11th. Arrived the Chief of the Jibbeways from
the Bay of Saguinau on Lake Huron. Came in 2 Huron Chiefs from the
village of Sandusky. Artificers employed as before, repairing the Boats.
Sawing of Boards & Planks, making of Shingles, completing the
Powder Magazine &c. The several Indians of the Upper Nations
gradually diminish in their numbers, retiring to their Castles. Rafted
down more boards & Plank for the Barracks. Wind at N. Wt blowing
fresh, the weather wet & cold. Made several contracts for materials
as Timber, Shingles, Boards, Planks, Charcoal, Lime, Sand and Stone
12th. Orders for loading the several Boats with
4 Barrels of Flour and 4 of Pork. Party employed in unloading the
vessels. Wind at N Et. Received orders from Col Bradstreet to make out a
small proportion of these for building a Fort at Sandusky if the
Indians on our arrival there dont comply with the articles agreed to on
the 12 August last, with regard to the Terms of Peace. The weather
rather cold. Artificers Continued on the Several works & Services as
before. Several rockets fired this evening to amuse the Savages.
13th. Arrived a Batteau with an Express from Niagara, with an Officer of the 46th
and 13 men, advice from Sandusky that the Indians to the number of 800
Warriors had assembled there to oppose our troops from disembarking as
proposed instead of ratifying the treaty. Accounts came in that several
canoes were arrived at St Josephs from the Illinois with Ammunition,
Clothing &c for the Indians to continue the war against us.
Artificers employed as before. Orders issued for the Troops to decamp
& embark to morrow morning for Sandusky. Wind at S.Wt. Two Hurons
quarrelling this night in our Camp, the one Tomahawked the other. Four
men of the Canadian Battalion of Volunteers deserted this night.
14th. At 8 o'clock this morning the whole
Embarked; saluted by the Guns from the Fort & the 3 vessels.
Returned by our Gun Boats.
From: THE MONTRESOR JOURNALS edited and annotated by G. D. Scull. Collections of the New York Historical Society for the year 1881. NY: Printed for the Society, 1882: 284-292.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography 4: 552-553
Marshall, Douglas W. The British Engineers in America, 1755-1783. Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 1973 51 (207): 155-163.
Poesch, Jessie. A British Officer and his "New York" Cottage: An American Vernacular Brought to England. American Art Journal 1988 20 (4): 74-97.
Reibel, Daniel B. A Kind of Citadel: 1764-1805. Michigan History 1963 47 (1): 47-71.