The Citadel of Halifax

Established: 1755
Established by: England

Fort William Henry was constructed by the British in 1755 during the French-Indian War.  The fort was created to prevent French invasions into New York; it also served as a launching point for British attacks into French territory.

The fort was attacked by a French army under the command of General Montcalm in August 1757. Following a heavy siege by the French and their native allies, the English defenders surrendered. Once the British regular forces, militia, and colonists left the fort, they were attacked by Montcalm’s native allies.

Many people were killed, captured, or stripped of belongings. The severity of the attack on the surrendered troops (refered to as the Fort William Henry Massacre). At the time of the massacre, the British claimed that 1,500 innocent people had been slaughtered. In reality, the number of dead was somewhere between 70 to 180. Although Montcalm tried to prevent the attack, he did not have the means to prevent it. French soldiers escorted the remaining survivors to nearby Fort Edward after rescuing them from the Indians.

The victorious native allies of the French dug up the graves of people who had died during the siege. In the process, they infected themselves and others with Smallpox as they attempted to scalp the corpses and steal valuables.