French and Indian War Siege of Ft. William Henry Musket Balls
Dug by Deb Sprouse. Fort William Henry was a British fort at the southern end of Lake George, in the province of New York. The fort's construction was ordered by Sir William Johnson in September 1755, during the French and Indian War, as a staging ground for attacks against the French position at Fort St. Frédéric. It was part of a chain of British and French forts along the important inland waterway from New York City to Montreal, and occupied a key forward location on the frontier between New York and New France. In 1757, the French general Louis-Joseph de Montcalm conducted a successful siege that forced the British to surrender. The Huron warriors who accompanied the French army subsequently killed many of the British prisoners. The siege and massacre were portrayed in James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans.
The fort was named for both Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, the younger son of King George II, and Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, a grandson of King George II and a younger brother of the future King George III. After the 1757 siege, the French destroyed the fort and withdrew. While other forts were built nearby in later years, the site of Fort William Henry lay abandoned for two centuries. In the 19th century, the ruins of the fort became a destination for tourists. Interest in the history of the site revived in the 1950s, and a replica of the fort was constructed.