As little fish are great ones prey
Even if is true as we may say
That we poor men share the same fate
By being slain by those that’s great
I Powder with my brother ball
A hero like do conquer all
His horn maid [sic] at Branford April the 11th 1757
These words are carved into the horn powder flask carried by Daniel Chittenden when his Connecticut militia company was called into service to fortify troops garrisoned at Fort William Henry. Fort William Henry was a British fort at the southern end of Lake George in New York during the French and Indian War. In August 1757, four months after this horn was carved, Fort William Henry was the site of an epic battle that became the focus of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans.
Carved powder horns are in many cases the only surviving records of otherwise anonymous soldiers. During the colonial wars, they were standard equipment. Obtained from cattle driven behind the troops to feed them, horns were engraved with soldiers’ names, dates, rhymes, maps, patterns, and motifs. As with many folk artists, few of these craftsmen signed their work. As a result, unfortunately, the names of the majority of these artisans are lost to time.
Following the French and Indian War, this horn was used by Chittenden family members in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. In 1902, Denver dentist J.A. Dibble, himself a Civil War veteran of the First Connecticut Cavalry and a descendant of Daniel Chittenden, donated the horn to History Colorado.
James Peterson, Curatorial Assistant for Artifacts
Contact the Library
Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Center
History Colorado Center
Denver, CO 80203