The Terrible Death of Ebenezer Wheeler

If you watch AMC’S show TURN:  Washington’s Spies, you’re well aware of the the Queen’s Ranger leader Robert Rogers.  As noted in the show, Rogers fought in the French & Indian War.  My 1st cousin, 7X removed, Ebenezer Wheeler enlisted and went with Rogers in a raid to Quebec in 1759 where poor Ebenezer suffered a most terrible death on the return trip home, as did several others.  The description is just heart-wrenching.

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Excerpt from pg. 44 of The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America.
Is that not completely harrowing?! I cannot imagine how hungry and desperate you must be to eat your own shoes and powder horn.  My grandfather Jesse Archer’s obituary mentioned that during the Civil War, they had to steal from the pack mule’s food bag on pain of punishment if found.  I thought that was horrific but poor Ebenezer and his company… how awful.  From what I’ve read, hunger is one of the most painful ways to die.  I can’t imagine what his brother, the above mentioned Colonel Jonathan Wheeler, felt like knowing he was leaving him behind to perish alone.

During 1759, the Rangers were involved in one of their most famous operations, the St. Francis Raid: they were ordered to destroy the Abenaki settlement of Saint-Francis in Quebec. It had been the base for raids and attacks of British settlements. Rogers led a force of 200 rangers from Crown Point deep into French territory. Following the October 3, 1759 attack and successful destruction of Saint-Francis, Rogers’ force ran out of food during their retreat through the wilderness of northern New England. Once the Rangers reached a safe location along the Connecticut River at the abandoned Fort Wentworth, Rogers left them encamped. He returned a few days later with food and relief forces from Fort at Number 4 (now Charlestown, New Hampshire), the nearest British outpost.

In the raid on Saint-Francis, Rogers claimed 200 enemies were killed, leaving 20 women and children to be taken prisoner, of whom he took five children prisoner and let the rest go. The French recorded 30 deaths, including 20 women and children. According to Francis Parkman, Ranger casualties in the attack were one killed and six wounded; in the retreat, five were captured from one band of Rangers, and nearly all in another party of about 20 Rangers were killed or captured. One source alleges that of about 204 Rangers, allies and observers, about 100 returned.

Such a sad, tragic tale….  he was the tender age of 18 when he died.

By the way, if you happen to be related to the Wheeler family, you should search Google and check out the EXHAUSTIVE 600+ page history of the Wheelers mentioned in the caption above.  Crammed with so much information!

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