“Kill’d or Taken: The Fate of Hodges’ Scout in the French & Indian War


Thursday, October 13th, 7:00 PM

In September of 1756, early in the French and Indian War, fifty New England soldiers, some drawn from Old Colony towns, set off on a routine reconnaissance – known as a “scout” – near Lake George in New York Colony. Only a handful made it back alive. The incident became known simply as “Hodges’ Scout,” named for its doomed commander. Over the following years a handful of other survivors, long feared dead, returned home, having endured years of grim captivity among the Natives and French colonists of Canada. A new book, Hodges’ Scout: A Lost Patrol of the French and Indian War pieces together from archival records, correspondence, and official reports the long-forgotten story of Hodges’ Scout, and of the men who survived it. One managed a daring escape from Montreal. One spent time in four different French prisons, and had to cross the Atlantic – twice – to get home. Another traveled with his captors to the farthest reaches of France’s Canadian empire. A few never returned, and one may even have joined his captors, fighting against his own countrymen and ultimately facing a dramatic trial for treason.

This is not just another history of the French and Indian War. Hodges’ Scout is a story of young men, and their families, tragically caught up in a conflict they little understood. All but forgotten today, the story of Hodges’ Scout reveals much about this war as ordinary men experienced it – and, for those who survived, remembered it.

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Len Travers is Professor of Histraverstory at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. He is the author of Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic and co-editor of The Correspondence of Rev. John Cotton, Jr.

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