The Military Empire

The End Of The Foxes

French Attempts to Destroy a People

Commandant Lignery was severely reprimanded by Governor General Beauharnois for this partial failure. Taking the initiative again in 1729, Beauharnois asked his Amerindian allies simply to wipe the Foxes out. In October, a war party of Chippewas and Ottawas inflicted a major defeat on the Foxes. But even this was not enough to subdue them. Beauharnois subsequently dispatched a force of 600 soldiers and allied warriors, commanded by Captain Paul Marin, to help his allies. After five days of fighting at Little Lake Butte des Morts in Wisconsin in the spring of 1730, the Foxes were greatly weakened and decided in their desperation to seek refuge among the Iroquois south of Lake Ontario.

Early in August, their former allies, the Mascouten, warned the commandant of Fort Saint-Joseph, Coulon de Villiers, that the Foxes were moving eastward. The alarm went out to the commandants of Detroit, Fort Miami, and Fort Vincennes in upper Louisiana. However, another force of Frenchmen and Amerindians, led by Commandant Saint-Ange, was already pursuing the Foxes. Realizing that they were encircled, the fugitives built a fort. 136 Saint-Ange's force arrived on August 10, followed by Villiers' seven days later, as well as by others. After a few days had passed, the 900 besieged Foxes found themselves facing more than 200 Frenchmen and 1,200 of their Amerindian allies from Louisiana and the Illinois. Annoyed by what he considered the bad faith of the Foxes, Beauharnois refused all negotiations and demanded unconditional surrender. On September 9, the Foxes tried to escape under the cover of darkness but were quickly captured by their Amerindian enemies. They met a horrible end: 500 of them - warriors, women and children - were killed, and the 400 others were carted off as slaves. The French watched from the sidelines, not unhappy at this settling of accounts among Amerindians.