The King's Soldiers
Attacks On The Iroquois
The losses in this campaign are difficult to evaluate on both sides. The Mohawks claimed to have killed a dozen French soldiers, captured two, and found five others dead of hunger and cold. They themselves had only three warriors killed and five wounded. They added, though, that they had been unable to inflict serious damage on the French expedition, which was very mobile. All this was consistent with French reports. The colonists thought at first that they had lost about 60 men, but this was later revised because "most of the soldiers whom [they] believed lost [were] returning day by day." 44
This first expedition of the Carignan-Salières Regiment turned out to be a total fiasco in relation to its objective of destroying the Iroquois villages. However, it had accomplished something almost unthinkable. A military campaign had been conducted in the middle of a Canadian winter, and more than 500 men had travelled over hundreds of kilometres of rough, wild country, in one of the world's most hostile environments.
The French drew many lessons from this large-scale winter expedition, the first ever to be undertaken in New France. First, they learned the crucial importance of reliable guides, because, in addition to all their other difficulties, the 30 Algonquins who were supposed to lead the way to the Iroquois country were of no use for nearly three weeks because they were drunk. Furthermore, they learned that solid logistics were needed, as well as suitable equipment and clothing for survival under such hostile conditions. This experience would serve them well later on.
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