Fort Crevecoeur

In order to reassure the Indians, LaSalle agreed to help defend them against the Iroquois. The Illinois River had frozen over during the night, but as soon as the river began to thaw, LaSalle and his men began the building of Fort Crevecoeur one league downstream and across the river from the Pimiteoui Village.

According to LaSalles’ journals, translated by Pierre Margry,

“On January 15, toward evening a great thaw, wich opportunely occurred, rendered the river free from ice from Pimiteoui as far as there (the place destined for the fort). It was a little hillock about 540 feet from the bank of the river; up to the foot of the hillock the river expanded every time that there fell a heavy rain. Two wide and deep ravines shut in two other sides and one-half of the fourth, wich I caused to be closed completely by a ditch joining the two ravines. I caused the outer edge of the ravines to be bordered wtih good chevaux-de-frise (a series of heavy timbers placed in a line, interlaced with other diagonal timbers wich were often tipped w/ iron spikes), the slopes of the hillock to be cut down all around, and with the earth thrus excavated I caused to be built on the top of a parapet capable of covering a man, the whole covered from the foot of the hillock to the top of the parapet with long madriers (beams), the lower ends of which were in the groove between great pieces of wood which extended all around the foot of the elevation; and I caused the top of these madriers to be fastened by other long cross-beams held in place by tenons and mortises with other pieces of wood that projected through the parapet. In front of this work i caused to be planted, everywhere, some pointed stakes twenty-five feet in height, one foot in diameter, driven three feet in the ground, pegged to the cross-beams that fastened the top of the madriers and provided with a fraise at the top 2 1/2 feet long to prevent surprise. I did not change the shape of this plateau which, though irregular, was sufficiently well flanked against the savages. I caused two lodgments to be built for my men in two of the flanking angles in order that they be ready in case of attack; the middle was made of large pieces of musket-proof timber; in the thrid angle the forge, made of the same material, was placed along the curtain which faced the wood. The lodging of the Recollects was in the frouth angle, and I had my tent and that of the sieur de Tonti stationed in the center of the place.”

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