King George's War

   aka ~ War Of The Austrian Succession

     1740 - 1748

    In 1740, Charles VI, the Holy Roman Emperor, died. Charles' daughter, Maria Theresa was the rightful successor as ruler of the Hapsburg kingdom (i.e. Austria). But her right to the succession was challenged by a number of individuals. During the turmoil, King Frederick II the Great of Prussia decided to expand his kingdom by appropriating a portion of Austria by force. He invaded Silesia. Frederick's actions were not condemned by many of his neighbors, and France, Spain, Bavaria and Saxony allied themselves to Prussia. Great Britain, already at war with Spain, sided with Austria.

    On 25 October 1743, France signed the Second Family Compact with Spain as a show of support in her war with England. On 15 March 1744, France declared war on England, and the War of the Austrian Succession was begun.

    On American soil, the War of the Austrian Succession would be known as King George's War. This war, for the most part, would be a repeat of the previous English / French aggression.

    Late in 1744, the French launched an attack on the English fortification at Annapolis Royal (later Port Royal) in Nova Scotia. The attack was unsuccessful.

    A colonial force of 4,200 Massachusetts-Bay militia under the command of William Pepperell, in conjunction with a fleet commanded by Sir Peter Warren, began a siege of the French fort of Louisbourg situated on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The fortress commanded the approach to the Saint Lawrence River, and therefore was a significant point to possess. The siege would last forty-nine days with the English and colonists being successful in obtaining a surrender of the French on 16 June 1745.

    A French fleet under the command of the Duc D'Anville attempted to take the English fort at Port Royal in 1746, in retaliation for the loss of Louisbourg. The attempt failed. But a French expedition, under the command of Coulon de Villiers, against the English fort at Grand Pre was successful in 1747.

    The Siege of Louisbourg was the only significant battle of King George's War. But the French and their Abenaki Indian allies made a number of raids against the New England frontier settlements. A party of Indians incited by the French attacked the settlements in the Connecticut Valley during July 1745. In August 1745, they attacked settlements on the Maine frontier. Then, on 28 and 29 November, they attacked and burned the English settlement at Saratoga, in the colony of New York. The fort at Albany was also attacked during the late fall of 1745.

    In 1746 the Abenaki attacked English settlements throughout New England, some of them repeatedly. In April, and again in May, 19 June, 03 August and finally on 07 April of the following year, the fortification at Charlestown, New Hampshire (No. 4) on the Connecticut River was attacked by the Abenaki. In each attack, the Indians were repulsed with only a few casualties, but at times, as in the first attack in April 1746, some of the English settlers were taken captive and carried off to Canada.

    Fort Massachusetts was located on the western side of Hoosac Mountain, some thirty miles west of Deerfield. It fell to a force of French and Indians on 20 August 1746. Five days later the Indians attacked settlers in the southwestern part of the Deerfield Meadows, in what was known as the Barrs Fight, killing three men and a boy and taking one boy captive.

    On 24 October 1747, a group of twelve settlers who were traveling down the Connecticut River from the Charlestown fort were attacked by Indians. Two of the men were killed and scalped, one was wounded and one was taken captive.

    On 15 March 1748, a party of twenty Indians attacked a group of eight settlers killing one, wounding another and taking one captive.

    On 28 June 1748, a Captain Hobbs led a troop of forty men from the Fort No. 4 and were attacked by a large number of Indians with whom they fought for nearly four hours. Three of the New England men were killed and three were wounded.

    A party of nearly one hundred and twenty Indians attacked a party of seventeen New England militia on 14 July 1748 near the Fort Dummer. The skirmish that followed ended with two militiamen killed, two wounded (who were later killed), four escaped and the rest were taken captive.

    On 02 August 1748, a party of two hundred Indians attacked Fort Massachusetts, but failed to subdue its militia defenders.

    During the course of the war, the French attempted to strike up alliances with the tribes of the Iroquois League, but their overtures were rebuffed. In fact, the Iroquois tried to remain neutral throughout the conflict. Only the Mohawk tribe, the easternmost of the five nations that made up the Iroquois League, took an active part in the French and Englishman's war, allying themselves with the English. Sir William Johnson is credited with negotiating the Mohawk / English alliance. They ended their neutrality and agreed to accompany Johnson's colonial militia in an expedition against Fort St. Frederick.

    In November of 1747, a group of Indian warriors from the Ohio valley traveled to Philadelphia to request arms to fight the French. Many of the tribes in the Ohio Valley, including the Wyandots and the Miamis, joined what became known as the Chain of Friendship, an alliance against the French.

    In the south, the Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes assisted the English by disrupting French trade routes and warring with the Creeks and Choctaws, who were allied with the French. The so-called Chickasaw Resistance actually had begun in 1720 when the tribe refused to bow to the French demands to discontinue trade with the English along the Mississippi River. From that time on, the Chickasaw were a thorn in the French traders' sides.

    A treaty was finally signed on 18 October 1748 - The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle - ending King George's War. The terms of the treaty angered the American colonists by restoring the fort at Louisbourg back to the French.