Fort Niagra's only real hope was in relief from the Army of the Ohio which Captain Pouchot, the Fort Commandant had despatched to menace the western frontier of the British colonies.
Now summoned back, they made the epic journey back and entered into combat with a British force about half their size that had been detatched to contest the approach to the fort.
They met at la Belle Famille, virtually under the eyes of the besieged garrison.
The British began by despatching 50 light infantry each from the 44th, 46th and 4th\60th Regiments. These 150 soldiers built a log wall that they rather determinedly stuck behind throughout the battle that was to come!
A little later on they were reinforced by another 150 "hatmen" from the centre companies of the 44th, 46th and the converged New York Regiment.
Again later Lt Colonel Eyre Massey brought 140 hatmen from the 46th as well as 25 Grenadiers from the same regiments rather depleted Grenadier company.
Rushing up the portage road to meet them were Six Hundred Compagnies Franches de la Marine and Two Hundred Militia.
The French might have had 250 Indian allies with them but for the fact that British allied Indians had prevailed on them to declare their neutrality in the coming fight. The "British Indians" numbered around 310 and did not participate in the fight, but joined in the aftermath, killing the wounded, scalping the slain and pursuing the survivors.