Thursday, June 4, 2009

Francois Dessureau Soldier Carignan-Salieres Rgt

My great grandfather Moses Genereaux alias Jim Cummings, 6th great grandfather was Francois Dessureau dit Le Bourguignon, & Lapante. He was born about 1633 son of Jean Dessureault and Anne Poraux, in Bourgogne, France His destiny laid beyond the ocean in a new continent. he enlisted in the foot soldier Company Poitou, but would be assigned to Monteil Company. He served for a few months when rumors started about being shipped to New France.
Rather mixed emotions it was supposed to be a wild country and months away by ship. With little time to think about it his company was merged in the famous Carignan-Saliers Regiment. Under the command of Lt. General Alexander de Prouvill, Sieur De Tracy.

King Louis the XIV in the hope he could defeat the Mohawks and stabilize the new colonies was sending this crack regiment to New France. Francois, was issued a uniform and loaded on the 800 ton ship Le Breze, out of La Guadeloupe, on 25 Apr 1665, they finally arrived in Quebec, 30 Jun 1665, little over two months. His was the second ship of 7 carrying the regiment of 1000 soldiers, at this time there was only about 2000 inhabitants of New France. When they landed at Quebec, they where temporally quartered in the homes of the families, while they built a series of forts on the Richelieu river. These feared Mohawks in small bands kept them under attack. Col Chazy, nephew of Marques Tracy, was attacked and killed while building the fort on the river we now call Chazy.
Lt. Gen. Sieur De Tracy Commander and chief of the Carignan-Salieres decided that on 9 Jan 1666 In the dead of winter, he would go on the offensive and attack the Mohawks. with 300 veteran and 200 volunteers they set out. each man with his summer uniform, with 35 to 50 pound back pack, with food, leather shoes, they were issued snowshoes which they had never seen before, probably bear paws which are very hard to get used to. It was a Indian summer day when they left, but this turned into sub zero stormy weather.
They had a canoe trip down the Richelieu river to Lake Champlain then a carry to Lake George then a struggle on foot, waist deep snow, food frozen, heavy packs and a group of Indian guides that were lost, with several foot of snow they could not find the trails. An advanced party was attacked by the Mohawks who killed several and wounded many more. The Mohawks went at once to Schenectady stockade and showed the Dutch five French heads they had on spears and told them about the snowshoes coming.
The French followed the Indians tracks and in several hours came stumbling out of the forest at Schenectady on 17 Feb. 1666. thirty nine days after they started They were lucky, had they emerged a few miles to the west, the Mohawks would have no doubt killed them all. Being frozen, starving, many without firearms and equipment. The Dutch took them in there homes, feed them and tended there needs. The year before the English had taken over New York, so they sent for Arent Van Corlear, commander at Albany who came at once with more provisions, and a question for Gov. Courcelles, the officer in charge, why were the French this deep into English territory. The French officer said they were going to punish the Mohawks and would continue on that mission, when they left next day they started in westerly direction toward the Mohawk Castile's but once out of site of the stockade they turned north and went directly to Lake George, and home.
During the next few months the Mohawks continued to harass the outlaying French forts.
July, Captain de Sorel, with party of 200 soldiers and volunteers with 80 Algonquins parlayed with the Mohawks who surrendered several French captives .
In August of 1666 a grand Council was held at Quebec and under flag of truce the Mohawk chieftains attended. During the meeting the Marque De Tracy sponsored a dinner after which bragging began, Ag-Ari-Ata a Mohawk chief stood up raised his right arm and said "this is the hand that split the blond Col Chazy's head. De Tracy had him seized and the next day he hung him in front of the other Mohawk party. Needless to say the peace meeting was over and another blow for the hatred the Mohawks had for the French.
In October 1666, Marques Tracy gave the order for 700 regulars 400 Canadians, 100 Algonquins and Hurons, along with 2 field cannon to embark on a surprise attack on the Mohawk castles along the Mohawk River. They started in canoes down the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain, across the carry to Lake George, from there the Indian trail that came out near the noses in the Mohawk valley. Of course the Mohawks were following them as soon as they left Lake Champlain. As they got nearer the valley the Mohawks gave the alarm and everyone moved there belongings to other castles. These castles were Palisaded enclosure made of 6 inch poles about 10 to 12 ft high enclosing a area were they built, from saplings covered with Elm bark several long houses ranging from 40 to 300 ft in length. Since they were only armed with bow and arrows plus the few muskets they had found during the winter march to Schenectady, Marques Tracy had little use for the cannon and great number of soldiers. They marched to 4 other castles and found no one so they burned everything and returned to Quebec after this very successful campaign.
The Mohawks were busy in the valley, a war with the Mohican's which established the command of the valley for the Mohawks. The 5 Castles were moved westward and rebuilt, with the help from the Dutch and English who furnished grain and food to replace what had been burned. They also furnished metal tools for the Mohawks to rebuild. This left the French alone for 1667. The Cariganan-Salieres Regiment was scheduled to go back to France. King Louis Xiv offered a bonus of Land, cattle and purse for any soldier staying in New France, about 400 including My ancestor Francois stayed, married but that is another story, Marie Bouart, born Feb 1649 in St Savien, Poitus, Vienna, France. They were married 3 Mar 1672. in Batiscan, Champlain Co., Quebec.
The parents of 9 children. Francois, died 20 Mar 1688, in Batiscan, Champlain, Co., Quebec.

Our Ancestor Moses Genereaux alias Jim Cumming , had several other ancestors who came with the "regiment" in 1665 including: Pierre Enrud Dit Canada , Francues Dit Lamantagne Banliac,
Pierre dit Beaulieu Hudon, and no doubt many others.
The photo of the oil painting of Louis the Xiv has hung in my home since the 1970's long before I knew about the French connection.
The French soldiers did there part but one gets the feeling those in command made some rather bad decisions, this has been obvious in many of the wars that would follow.


Rosebud Collection said...

I tell you, they had one heck of a time..After reading about them in the snow..I guess our winter isn't so least I am warm.
Always enjoy your blog..

Jim C said...


As usual more good reading. If you could ever get in touch with the rest of Moses offspring etc who knows what else we might discover?

Unfortunately they may have inherited a lack of interest in the past or an need to escape it from him & maggie.