On this day in 1691, Colonel Pieter Schuyler was leading his men in the Second Battle of La Prarie near Montreal in New France. Schuyler’s invasion of New France marched through Saratoga on 26 June.
William Douw Lighthall (27 December 1857 – 3 August 1954), K.C., LL.D.,
F.R.S.C., a Canadian historian and poet wrote the following poem as a remembrance of the battle.
The Battle of La Prairie
THAT was a brave old epoch,
Our age of chivalry,
When the Briton met the French-man
At the fight of La Prairie;
And the manhood of New England,
And the Netherlanders true
And Mohawks sworn, gave battle
To the Bourbon’s lilied blue.
That was a brave old governor
Who gathered his array,
And stood to meet, he knew not what,
On that alarming day.
Eight hundred, amid rumors vast
That filled the wild wood’s gloom,
With all New England’s flower of youth,
Fierce for New France’s doom.
And the brave old half five hundred!
Theirs should in truth be fame;
Borne down the savage Richelieu,
On what emprise they came!
Your hearts are great enough, O few:
Only your numbers fail,—
New France asks more for conquerors
All glorious though your tale.
It was a brave old battle
That surged around the fort,
When D’Hosta fell in charging,
And ’t was deadly strife and short;
When in the very quarters
They contested face and hand,
And many a goodly fellow
Crimsoned yon La Prairie sand.
And those were brave old orders
The colonel gave to meet
That forest force with trees entrenched
Opposing the retreat:
“De Calliére’s strength’s behind us,
And in front your Richelieu;
We must go straightforth at them;
There is nothing else to do.”
And then the brave old story comes,
Of Schuyler and Valrennes,
When “Fight” the British colonel called,
Encouraging his men,
“For the Protestant Religion
And the honor of our King!”—
“Sir, I am here to answer you!”
Valrennes cried, forthstepping.
Were those not brave old races?
Well, here they still abide;
And yours is one or other,
And the second’s at your side;
So when you hear your brother say,
“Some loyal deed I ’ll do,”
Like old Valrennes, be ready with
“I ’m here to answer you!”