The Final Phase
In 1758, William Pitt changed the entire course of the Seven Years’ War. He concluded that North America was the key to the worldwide struggle and instituted the following changes:
- Britain paid Frederick the Great of Prussia to prosecute the war in Europe, which freed manpower to direct toward North America
- Pitt instructed the royal navy to blockade the French fleet, which provided a safer passage for men and supplies destined for America
- Pitt introduced dynamic young military commanders, particularly Jeffrey Amherst and James Wolfe.
In 1758, battlefield results began to favor the British:
- In July, the fortress at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island fell to Amherst and his British forces, gaining control of the mouth of the St. Lawrence River;
- Fort Frontenac, located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, gave way to New England soldiers under the command of James Bradstreet;
- Fort Duquesne came under British control in September, thanks to the efforts of soldiers under John Forbes and his second-in-command, George Washington; the position was renamed Fort Pitt in honor of the secretary of state;
- One of the few setbacks at this time was the failure of James Abercromby to take Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga).
1759 became known as the “Year of Victories.” Horace Walpole, the noted writer and historian, claimed that the bells of London were worn thin from pealing the good news. British citizens at home and in the colonies were treated to a torrent of favorable reports from all fronts:
- In 1759, Sir William Johnson captured Fort Niagara, which won control of a vital link between lakes Ontario and Erie
- In September 1759, the fate of French Canada was sealed by the fall of Quebec
- In September 1760, the last important holdout, Montreal, was taken by the British.
Indian warfare continued on the frontier for some time, and included Pontiac’s Rebellion
and a struggle against the Cherokee, allies of the French, in the Carolinas.
An anxious George III
pushed hard for peace, which was concluded in the Treaty of Paris
(1763). The results of the conflict
were viewed differently in America and England.
See French and Indian War Timeline
See also Indian Wars Time Table