Brumwell, Stephen. White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery, and Vengeance in Colonial America. Da Capo Press Inc. March, 2005.
The book opens "Nous sommes tours Sauvages," which translates to "We are all Savages." It's a fitting way to begin a book chronicling the story of Major Robert Rogers and his rangers journey, Native American slaughter, and return home. In White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery, and Vengeance in Colonial America, author Stephen Brumwell depicts a well researched, unbiased image of: war, hardship, courage, savagery, vengeance, and survival. Brumwell wants to show his readers an image of the true nature of war and all the trimmings that goes along with it. There has never been a war where atrocities were not committed. Further more, there has never been a war where the atrocities were not committed by all sides, to one extent or another. This war was no different. This compelling read draws from a broad range of primary sources, including Rogers' Journals, contemporary newspaper accounts, the letters and remembrances of Rogers' surviving Rangers, and several generations of Abenaki oral history.
The book is organized into a well detailed, accurate story account of Rogers' journey. It chronicles the massacre at Fort William Henry that led to everything. Rogers' journey to Canada to the village of St. Francis. His vengeful slaughter of the village in retaliation. Then the aftermath and the perilous journey home. The research from the numerous primary sources give it a historic tone. The Abenaki oral traditions themselves poke in the other side to the conflict.
To summarize the book into a few paragraphs doesn't due it the justice it deserves. The beginning details of the French and Indian War. The battles and skirmishes. The massacre that led to Rogers' raid. Two years later Major Robert Rogers led a revenge raid against the Indians some 200 wilderness miles behind the lines.
His long journey took him to Canada and to the village of St. Francis.
The carnage at St. Francis deserves a brunt of the detail. It was now good marching ground and the men pressed on with celerity till on the 22nd day after their departure from Crown Point, one of them, by climbing a tree, discovered the village of St. Francis at three miles distance, when the party were ordered to halt and refresh themselves. At eight o'clock in the evening, Major Rogers, Lieut. Turner and Ensign Avery left the company and went forward for the purpose of reconnoitering the place. They found the Indians engaged in a dance, evidently entertaining no apprehensions of an enemy in the vicinity. They returned about two o'clock in the morning and at three o'clock, Rogers advanced with the whole party, within three hundred yards of the village, where the men were lightened of their packs and formed for action. About an hour after this, the Indians broke up their dances and retired to their cabins for repose; and soon the whole village was...