The Lake George Bateaux: British Colonial Utility Craft in the French and Indian War

by Nathan Gallagher

Institution: Texas A&M University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Bateau; Bateaux; batteau; batteaux; bateaus; batteaus; battoe; boat; construction; building; reconstruction; history; archaeology; Lake George; French and Indian War; Seven Years War; colonial; eighteenth century; experimental archaeology
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2064207
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/155103


Bateaux were a key utility craft in military operations in the colonies of North America. Their size, durability, and ease of construction made them ideal for moving troops and supplies over the lakes and rivers of New York, New England and New France. General descriptions of bateaux are found in the historical record, but the archaeological record shows that they took several distinct forms between their advent in the late seventeenth century and the nineteenth century. This often causes confusion when bateaux are discussed by historians. This thesis provides a construction analysis of the remains of British colonial bateaux used during the French and Indian War. Comparison of these remains, which were recovered from Lake George and stored at the New York State Museum, provides a snapshot of British military bateau construction during the mid-eighteenth century. The examples and reconstruction of the Lake George bateaux presented in this paper show that the craft were built from a very simple design, but still required some expertise to achieve the level of craftsmanship in boatbuilding that is seen in the final result. Although these bateaux were hastily and lightly constructed, they were sturdy enough to survive the lakes and rivers they were expected to traverse. Aspects of their construction show specific adaptation to this type of environment. Details are also compared to contemporary French examples, and an admiralty draft of a bateau issued in 1776. Synthesizing the analysis of these remains with abundant primary resources that mention the use of bateaux in the French and Indian War allows a deeper understanding of their historical context and provides a basis for further comparison between bateaux of other types and from other eras. Advisors/Committee Members: Hamilton, Donny L (advisor), Crisman, Kevin J (committee member), Bradford, James C (committee member).