During the 1750s, rival European colonists sought allies amongst Native American tribes. Abenaki warriors allied with France terrorised English settlements. In 1759 Major Robert Rogers and his 'rangers' were ordered to exact retribution by destroying the Abenaki village of St Francis, which they did with ruthless efficiency. But the raiders endured a nightmare journey as they struggled home. Several were caught by vengeful pursuers and tortured to death; others resorted to cannibalism rather than starve in the wilderness. Rogers' raid was celebrated by Anglo-American colonists, and its leader is credited with founding the 'special forces' tradition in the US army. Others view the St Francis raid as an 18th century My Lai massacre, in which helpless men and women were butchered. Eschewing prejudices, Stephen Brumwell deploys vivid prose and meticulous research to reconstruct this controversial and dramatic episode from America's violent frontier past.
Stephen Brumwell is an expert on the British army in 18th Century America and is currently completing Redcoat for CUP