Google+ Followers

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Euan the Drummer boy

This is one of my novel stories which I hope to get published someday. However, it is still a work in progress. The story is about 200 pages long.

Euan the little drummer boy

By Rod Redden



















The fire was crackling and the warmth it gave helped heat the old man`s bones. It was an early spring evening of 1814. Another war in Euan`s life was occurring but he was not in this one. Euan was an 80 year old man who had joined the British Army as a drummer boy. On his 80th birthday, his family gathered for a celebration. Euan had married a Mohawk woman and had 5 children with her. 2 of his grandsons were off fighting in Upper Canada against the Americans. Both men, Thomas and Calvin were members of the Nova Scotia Fencibles, and had been sent there to support the other Canadian regiments. As Euan looked out into the yard of his home, he saw a large table set up. There was a fire pit built in the centre of the yard where a pig was slowly roasting on the fire. It`s fragrance filled the air, and he smiled knowing that this pig would feed his family well. Of his other children, Alex was 34 and he had been married for 10 years with his own wife. They had had a girl, Anne who was 9, who loved her Grandfather dearly. Euan was a tough old man who had seen many adventures in his life. His story was like that of many soldier settlers who had come to Nova Scotia.


His home sat on a plot of land he had been granted from his service in the American Revolution. As he had served as a soldier in the 84th Regiment, he was given a land grant in township of Rawdon, but the only thing which seemed to grow in those hills was rocks. He moved his family to the Musquodoboit Valley. The land there was pretty to look at; small rolling hills with a majestic river slowly winding it`s way to the coast. But the land wasn`t good for farming, the only food you could grow were potatoes. He was able to raise some sheep and pigs to sell and trade with the other settlers. Once in a while, he was even able to sell his pigs to the garrison in Halifax.


Euan`s daughter Allison had married and moved to a different part of Nova Scotia. Her husband was a farmer but had been called up into the militia. As he had a family of his own, he had been able to serve in Nova Scotia defending his home in Truro. But for this occasion she had traveled for a week through the woods with a guide she had been able to hire. Allison had a daughter of her own, Beth who was just shy of her second birthday.


Anne was sitting at her Grandfather`s knee playing with her little Cinderella doll. It was a doll which on one side was dressed in a gown for the ball, but if you turned it inside out, it was Cinderella doing her chores in the castle. 

“Grampie, can you tell us a story” said the young girl. “Well, little Anne, I suppose so,

 which one would you like to hear about tonight? Would stories of the old country suit you?” The old man began to think, but his granddaughter asked, “how did you come here Grampie, why did you leave Ireland?” So Euan began to remember all those years ago when he was just a boy. Was it nearly 70 years that he had been in Nova Scotia? “Well now, if I tell the story perhaps we`d best have all the children and grandchildren here. Come here me family and I`ll tell ya how we`ve come to be here in Nova Scotia” “Ah Da, you`re going to tell us a long tale. Shall I stoke the fire and make a pot of tea” asked his son Alex. “Ah Alex, you should for it`s a long tale, full of adventure, danger, excitement, sorrow, love and life. Pull up a chair you older ones, Emily me lovely wife, pass me my tea mug. Right, now where do I begin, well at the beginning I suppose”



Chapter 1: A cold and rocky ground. 

 It was a cold and rainy day in County Clare, Ireland. A young boy was looking out over the grass covered hills that made up his landlords fields where he had to sit all day and watch the sheep. He was wrapped up in a wool blanket around himself to try and keep the rain out. The boy could feel every bit of the cold and damp creep into his body from the hard stone he was sitting on to the bone chilling wetness that was taking away his warmth. The blanket`s rough wool scratched at his neck as he watched the rain drops drip off his nose. The boy had no hat save for the bonnet that he was wearing. The boy`s life had not always about watching sheep, he had had a good life, but being a boy of only 10, Euan Kenny could barley conceive what had happened to his family.


He was born on May 27th, 1734. His father, Lindsay was an improvished junior officer in the British Army while his mother was Jean Peppard, a lowland Scot who his father had met while his regiment had been on campaign in Scotland. Euan was born only a year after his parents had married. It was hard to remember now, but his childhood memories were happy. Euan remembered going to the sea shore with his mother, learning to play the boran and sing from his Da and having a nice cozy home in his father`s patron`s home.”

 Lindsay Kenny was an accomplished bagpiper. He had learned the art from his uncle John who had been a soldier in the army of James II. Lindsay would travel the length and breath of Ireland playing at county fairs and any gatherings.


 Lindsay had done well for himself. He made a modest amount playing for weddings, wakes and funerals. At one of these fairs, there had been a British regiment which was recruiting. The officer in charge was a Colonel Fraser. The Colonel was so taken with my father`s piping, that the officer immediately hired the young Irishman to play pipes for him.


Lindsay had served his patron loyally through Fraser`s service, but there was no war to fight. The only action which Lindsay`s regiment had seen was against Spanish troops who had come over to Scotland in 1719 in an attempt to support the Jacobite rebels.

 At Glensheil Euan’s father, had drawn his broadsword and cut down 3 Spanairds attacking his master. For this act of devotion, Col. Fraser had given Lindsay a purse with enough guineas to buy a commission into Fraser`s Regiment. Thus Lindsay had become a Lieutant. When the rebellion was over, Col. Fraser retired from the army and bought an estateLeamaneh Castle in Ireland. Lindsay went on half-pay and they had moved to Ireland to work on the estate.”


Lindsay continued to play his pipes for his lord, but Jean was an extremely bored woman. She had not married a British officer for him to only play pipes for an old man. She had married to see the sights of London and mingle with high society.

As he recounted these events, Euan`s face turned into a frown as he remembered. “During a night of festivities when Col. Fraser was entertaining the officers of a Regiment of Dragoons,  me mum took up a conversation with a young officer. Hearing of his deeds and travels, Jean decided that she had no further use for my father. Jean was a Presbterian and Lindsay had not shown much thought to his spiritual life. The only time Lindsay had gone to church was with the army to divine worship in the Church of England. Jean had persuaded Lindsay to convert, and thus I had been born Presbeterian.



“When the Dragoon Regiment marched off the next morning, Jean was missing. Also missing was the balance of Lindsay`s purse. My Da was humiliated at losing his wife and his means of support, he turned to the whiskey bottle and since this was affecting his ability to serve his master, he was being called upon less and less to perform.

Now we had once lived in a cottage but now I had to make the hearth of the lord`s kitchen my bed, with only a petticoat to cover myself at night. Since I was Presbeterian, none of the other servants children would play with me as they were Catholic, and didn`t want to associate with a heathen. The only comfort I had was to play on my boran with Lindsay at fairs, wakes, funerals and weddings. But this didn`t always feed one`s belly, and thus I had applied to at age 8 to assist in guarding the sheep. The worst was that I was always hungry. On Sunday if we were lucky, we got some boiled beef that was the leftovers from Fraser`s table. The rest of the week my food consisted of bits of bread that the kitchen staff would give me, or gruel.



 After a while, I began to believe that sheep were the dumbest animals on earth? To this day I still couldn`t understand why they all go in one direction away from which way he was herding them. But the most fearful things were the Highwaymen who would from time to time steal one or two to feed themselves. I had been hired to help stop this. As if that wasn`t bad enough a gang of local boys had been harassing me and stealing more sheep. ‘Ah ya Scot bugger you, pass over those sheep or we`ll use our sheleighs on ya.’  ‘You`ll have to beat me then boys, I`ll not betray my master’ I answered them. They beat me about my legs and back and took off with about 6 sheep. I ran to the Manor house to raise the alarm, and a troop of dragoons chased them. When they were caught, these boys were to be used as an example and were hung in the town of Ennis. After that, no one stole my sheep.’


 ‘Even the sheep would taunt me. The rams are the worst. Being stubborn creatures, they took it into their head to ram into your backside if you turned your back on them. I was once caught bringing a ram home to his pen’. “Your stupid bloody bugger you, I`ll have that wool off your hide and eat you for me dinner” I yelled at one ram. “Come on then hit me ya bugger”. So I kept having the ram try to butt me but I would jump out of the way and the ram would bang his head into the stone wall of his enclosure. I looked up and saw Lindsay with tears of laughter streaming down his face. “Now Euan” he said “if the Lord was to catch us, it would mean the highway, so let`s just keep this little matter secret and try not to do so again eh?” All of Euan`s children and grandchildren howled with laughter.



‘So I get`s to thinking is this what I want to do, watch a herd of dumb sheep grazing on wet soggy rocky ground? Even the stink of them in wet weather is enough to make one gag. And since your clothes were made of wool, you never got away from it. I had learned my letters from Col. Fraser`s chaplin. Thus for a young lad of my times, I could read and write.



Now I had heard of ways to improve myself. At the last fair I had attended in 1742, I had heard tell of a way to travel to the Americas. As an Indentured Servant. I could sell myself to a master and work on a farm for 7 years after which I could get a new set of clothes, some land to settle on, a gun and tools plus money!  Plus I had heard from men in the pubs who had served in the British Army that the Americas were a wonderful place with virgin forests, mighty rivers, wild Indians who painted their faces and lovely lasses.”


 The children were laughing as they knew from their own lives how much a fib this was.  ‘But I had also heard from others that if you went to the South, it was courting death from fevers. So my choice seemed to either brave the hot climate and risk a fever, or continue to brave the cold and wet of Ireland with a half empty belly. There was also the chance I could sign on to a boat and fish the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, but when I spoke with a fishing captain, I was roughly told to go back to my mothers apron strings as only men could work on the boats, not small boys. So at the autum fair would I thought, right, that`s what I`ll do, I`ll go to the fair to seek my fortune.’



Chapter Two: Away to the fair like a dashing young blade.

“So did you become an indentured servant father?” asked Alex.

‘Well now you`re getting ahead of my story. I had been talking with father about our future. Lindsay was also growing restless in his patron`s employment. “Perhaps we`ll see if the harvest fair will have some well won diversions. The market day was the annual time when all the county people flocked to Ennis town to view the delights of life. There was dancing, games of strength, (and hidden in some tents, games of chance), music, foods, and other entertainments. “How`s that sound Euan?” “Ah father, that would be grand, it`ll be more fun that watching the sheep.”

We got to the fair and it was grand. Farmers would bring what little extra food they had to trade, butchers would be cutting up animals they could not keep for the winter. There were bakers making whole wheat breads and even the chandlers would be hawking their wares. I always liked going to see them because the candles always smelled nice. There was the honey smell of the beeswax candles to the meaty scent that the tallow ones had. Once, I had been so hungry I took the only candle I had left and ate it all, save for the wick. There were blacksmiths would be selling, trading or batering new hooks, forks, and fireplace implements to the local townspeople. Tinsmiths would be selling candle holders, lanterns, small boxes, cups, plates, pots and pans. There were coopers who made barrels for holding food and drink, or buckets to pull water out of wells. There were people who made spoons, cups, bowls and plates out of wood as well.


 In my patron`s home, I ate off a wooden plate and had a horn spoon. But I even saw new silver spoons the silversmith was selling, and pewter spoons as well. There were saddlers who sold saddles and other leather goods for riding horses. , Wheelwrights were selling wheels for carts and wagons, Joiners had tables, chairs, bookcases and  cabinets for sale, but only people who had money could buy them. Tailors had shirts, breeches, waistcoats and coats for sale. Seamstresses had chemises, dresses, skirts, aprons and bonnets for sale. There was even a bookbinder who was selling his wares of leather covered books, but a lot of the country people couldn`t read. The cobbler had shoes for sale which looked very nice, but I couldn`t afford a pair, my brogues were my only footwear. When I was a child, I had enjoyed the traveling minstreals, the puppeteers and the sheep races.


 As I grew older, I remember what I saw and I thought how sad some of the other games were. Bear baiting was rather odd, the bear never had a chance to tear apart the dogs set on it. Cock fighting was also the same, what use was it to set two roosters to fight each other when both could be made better use of on a spit or pot over a fire?” Everyone nodded in agreement. Watching men box was also a little dull. It`s just like watching older boys and men scrap outside the pubs. I had watched many fights when I was asked to gather father back to the estate from the local pub.


 But going to get Da from the pub wasn`t a bad thing. It was a chance to speak to a lot of the local people and to catch up on the latest gossip. But most of all, I loved the music. Men playing tin whistles, others on fiddles and I`d join in with my boran. I really enjoy hearing men sing of the sea, wars and battles that have taken place, mysterious women, saucy ladies and of lands far away.” “But there just like the pubs here darling” spoke Emily. “Ah me love, they are, but it`s my people and I don`t go there now do I” Euan meekly replied. “That`s true, I made an honest man of you” she replied. “But Grampie what happened at the fair?” Anne asked



 “Well I found the agent for the Indentured Servants and since I could read, I was able to understand to a certain degree what the contract said. I would serve seven years in the colony of either Maryland or Virginia. Both places the agent told me were free from the deadly fevers. And the land was so fertile the grasses so tall, that the cows gave cream rather than milk. The land was so soft, you could hoe it with your foot, and the crops yielded would feed a town like Ennis for five years. All I had to do was sign the contract. I was just ready to dip the quill into the inkwell, when Lindsay came running up and in horror grasped the quill. “What in bloody hell are you doing you slave master you?” he demanded from the agent.  But I fought with Da for the quill. I remember yelling “I`m tired of being a poor Sheppard, I want to be a farmer in Virginia!”



But just then, there was the most interesting sound I had ever heard. It was a shrill melody and a rattle of a drum coming up the lane. While Da and the agent argued, I ran out to see what this was. Coming up the street, was an English Officer dressed in a fine red coat with silver lace on his buff colored cuffs and lapels, wearing a black tricorn with more silver lace and a nice frilly lace at his throat. He was carrying a splendid looking sword and was followed by a boy of 16 playing a flute looking instrument and a boy of 11 beating on a drum.


 Both boys were wearing Buff colored coats with red cuffs. Both were carrying handsome looking swords and were wearing tall pointed caps. At the sound of the music, a crowd began to follow and gather around this party. The officer raised his sword and with a florish, all stopped. Behind the musicians, I saw there were 6 soldiers.


The officer florished his sword again, and the drummer began to beat out a cadence.

All the men began to sing

“ Hark now the drums beat up again, to all good soldiers gentlemen. So let us list and march I say, Over the hills and far away,…..

Over the Hills and or the main. To Flanders, Portugal and Spain, King George commands and we`ll obey, over the hills and far away…”



“As the troops finished the song, the crowd cheered and clapped. I was excited. The musicians uniforms were wonderful. And the drummer was close to my age. I wondered if he could join up.

Now my Da had quietly snuck up behind me and the officer in charge noticed him.

“ By Jove, it`s Lt. Kenny, the piping hero! My word good man what brings ye here to this fine fair.” Lindsay answered “Ah Capt. Nelson, tis a bonny brisk day to go recruiting. To what privillage does our fine town have to welcome good soldiers like your selves to this land?” The Captain replied, “Why Lt. Kenny, our country calls and our good King needs brave lads to fight the dastardly French and Spanish once again. The Queen of Austria is threatened and our King has decided to teach those rouges a lesson.


Any man who enlists today, shall receive 40 shillings as a bounty, a fine redcoat, and the finest musket , the Brown Bess. If any man has too much work, too much wife, a need to escape romantic complications, or a desire to become a hero, why attend to us at the Sign of the Shilegha as fine an Ale house there is this side of Shannon. We sail for America in the spring.”


So I stepped up to the drummer and asked him, “How`d you`d get to wear the uniform and beat on the drum? The drummer answered, “why lad, you need to be 10, have no ruptures, have all your limbs, both eyes, two teeth that meet, and an ability to beat the drum. We even get paid more than the soldiers, we gets Corporal`s pay!”



My heart leapt with excitement, this was the chance I was looking for. Forget being a slave for 7 years, the army gave you money and a fancy uniform”

The older lad spoke up. “Aye, me fadder was in this regiment, and has been picking up the gold off the French littering every battlefield we cross. And the lassies, my what fine girls, the wine flows off the rocks, and we dine on the finest beef. Ah it`s the life.” Euan gave a chuckle and his grandchildren asked him what was so funny. “Well little one`s the best way to get new soldiers is to tell a few fibs, for if they really know what it`s like, you`d never get them signed up.” Alex gave a knowing nod, having himself served in the army in his own youth.


“So Capt. Nelson spoke up “ Lt. Kenny, do you feel the pride again to serve your king?

Bring along your pipes and we`ll scare those bloody frogs from every battlefield in America. His Majesties Phillips Regiment needs good men like you.”

“Right” said Lindsay “I think my boy and I shall take you up on your offer, my brogues are just near worn out, and I`ve a mind to better myself. Toss Euan a shilling and I`ll bring him along.”


“So I was given a shinny new shilling in my little hand. I couldn`t wait to trade my old holely brown jacket, green patched breeches and a flimsy shirt for a fine uniform. This would be the start to my new life, and I felt like it was Christmas. All in all, the Captain was able to recruit 20 men and boys into Phillip`s Regiment.


 Our recruitment party marched for Kinsale the next day. After a weeks walking, I found myself in that seaport full of the strangest things I had ever seen.” Euan looked up and his face was lost in his memory.


Kinsale Harbor was filled with ships. Every thing from little fishing smacks to men of war. With a new purpose in life, Lindsay decided on only drinking with the officers in the regiment as being an officer meant that you had to keep up a respectable appearance. It was the best thing that happened for the both of us. The only time I ever saw Lindsay drink again was during dinner with the other officers. Any other time he just drank tea like me.

The first place we were sent to was Charles Fort. As we marched over the bridge through the main gate, the sentry saluted Captain Nelson. It was a stone gate that opened up a long stone wall. Inside were stone barracks for the soldiers. However, because there were so many soldiers arriving, only the garrison lived in them. The rest of the army lived in tents. There were soldiers and cannons everywhere. On the other side of the harbor stood Jame`s fort. It had a stone blockhouse and batteries which the Spanish had built in their siege long ago but had been taken by the British.


Now with me being so young I hadn`t been issued a uniform except for a new pair of breeches made of red wool, a tricorn hat, a new shirt, and a basic red waistcoat. I was told that once we arrived in the New World, that a new uniform would be issued to me.

When we had arrived at Kinsale, all the new recruits were marched into the British army camp. It was like it`s own little town. There were streets and streets of wedge shaped tents, which must have been white at one time but over the years had turned a smoky grey.


The uniforms that the soldiers wore were almost all the same. Each man had a redcoat with his cuffs and collar the color of his regiment. All the soldiers also had red breeches and waistcoats and white shirts with a strap of leather at his throat. All had white leggings with black buttons going up the outside of their legs from their shoes to just above the knees held in place by a single strap below the kneecap. Each man also carried brown leather belts that held his sword and bayonet that hung on the left side of their body, while on their waists was a belt for a cartridge box. The officer`s uniforms were much different. Their coats were a nicer red color and had lots of silver lace to show how important they were. The men all wore tricorns except the tall soldiers who were called Grenadiers because they used to throw grenades. They had tall mitre caps with the Horse of Hanover on the front to make them look taller and also to help them when they had to storm enemy positions.


 At the end of each street there was one tent which faced towards the larger tents of the Sargent`s and officers. The soldier`s tents all had their doors facing each other, and would sleep 5 men crossways. At the back of each tent there was a small space where all the men`s lamb knapsacks were kept, and on some of the tent poles there were pegs to hang their haversacks, and tin canteens. Down by the officer`s tents were the cooking fires. Large pits with iron trivets, spits and grates where the women would cook the soldiers rations of boiled beef and bread. There were some kettles to make tea as well. To protect some of the area, canvas flies had been erected to cover the blue tables which held the soldiers rations as well as buckets and basins to wash their dishes, and themselves. There were also little tents placed near the Corporals tents which had a bored looking soldier standing in front of them. When I had walked into the camp, being curious, I walked up and was able to make a quick glance inside to see muskets stacked against the single tent pole, but the sentry had told me to bugger off.



 Lindsay, being an officer, was given his own tent, which I would be lucky enough to share, as long as I took care of fathers new uniform and equipment”. Euan paused and sighed remembering about that camp so many years ago. “There was to be no living carefree days in a camp. I was so weary from my march from Ennis, I laid down on my bed of straw with a new thick blanket over myself.”



“At 6am, the first sound he heard was a single drum beating out a medley. Lindsay, woke me and told me where to find the drummer because that was the call for the drummers. I got up and since I was already dressed I grabbed my tricorn and found several other drummers now formed up in a line. Not all of them wore the buff colored coat, but others had green, yellow, white and back coats but all had red cuffs and collars.


 Each boy was carrying a large drum with red hoops and the body had the same color as their coats. Most of them had tall mitre caps but some like myself had a tricorn. Each one was carrying a sword. Two others had a tin case which held their fifes. All the musicians had lace going up their arms either plain white or with bits of blue in it. They made arrows going up the arm, and were the mark of drummers.  An older drummer with a red sash looked at me and barked “You horrible little man, you show up on parade with your hat cockeyed and without respect to your superior. Stand at attention boy and fall in behind the drummers. You useless farmhand” “You got yelled at on your first day father” laughed Alex” “I thought you said you were a born soldier” Euan blushed and laughed.



“The next thing I heard was Kings drums, sound revillie, quick march. All ten drummers began to beat as one and stepped off with the left foot beating out a loud rythum Daa da da da da dum da da dum da da dum and began to march up and down each tent street. The two fifers played a whistling sound to accompany the drumming. As I walked by each tent, soldiers crawled out to be met by their Corporals yelling out to rouse out and dress quickly.


 The camp at Kinsale held 5 battalions that were being assembled to sail off to either Europe or the colonies. After the drums had finished beating through all the streets, the drummers were dismissed and they took their drums to one tent. Several of them then ran to the officer’s lines to attend their officers as most of the younger drummers were also officer`s servants. I decided that I must also rush to find my father.


 Running back to our tent, I found Da already dressed and writing out a report at his small table and lap desk. Lindsay helped me get ready but told me that from tomorrow I would be responsible not only for myself, but also to make sure my father would also be ready for the day. As a gift, Da had secretly purchased me a shinny new plate, a pewter spoon, and a tin mug so that I could drink my issue of tea. I quickly ran off to the cooking lines to get our morning ration issue.


 When I arrived, I found that it was breakfast. I was greatly disappointed to only receive a spoonful of oatmeal, a small piece of bacon and a cup of dark tea, but at least it was hot food.



I finished up breakfast, and I washed my set of dishes and then heard the drums call again at 9am. This time I was ready to report to the Drum Major. When I did ,I was issued the rest of my equipment. I recieved my first drum, sling, sticks, sword, haversack, knapsack, leggings and shoes to replace the brogues that I`d been wearing. When in camp I only had to wear my drum sling, sword and carry my drum and sticks. When I put the drum on, it was half of my height, and the drag ropes which were to be used to sling the drum onto my back were literally dragging on the ground.” This was met by roars of laughter by everyone by the fire. “After the first two hours, it had gone from a gleaming white, to a muddy brown. All morning the drummers taught me the basic beatings. Now having had skills at playing the boran, I was quick to learn, and I thought I saw a glimmer of a smile on the Drum Major`s face.



The Corporal that we had was a most unfriendly fellow. His job was to turn us civilians into soldiers of His Majesties army. “Kenny, you little runt, when I give the order to dress, that mean you look to your left not your right. Are you a daft boy? You may be a drummer, but if you make a mistake, the entire battalion will be killed because you didn`t beat out the right command. All day we learned how to march left, right, how to march in lines together, how to change those lines, and how to do the drill movements with our drums.


It took awhile to remember all the drum commands to beat and to also remember when the beats were sounded. What beating goes to which command, I was constantly thinking? Water call was to tell the soldiers to draw water. But this was difficult as we had to draw the water from a well in buckets and then we had to carry them on a yoke across our shoulders to the kitchen lines. The soldier`s wives would get really cranky with us if we were slow as the water we were bringing was used for cooking, cleaning and washing our shirts. It was always best to keep the ladies happy.

Another fatigue duty I didn`t like to do was to help dig the necessary houses. When the old pits were full, we`d have to dig new ones, which of course were right next to the old ones. The stench was almost unbearable. But it was slightly better than digging graves.


That part was the worst. We`d sometimes have to dig graves for soldiers or camp followers who died from sickness or accidents. The smell of rotting bodies was always difficult to bear. Luckily, we only had to do that about three times as there were no major epidemics that struck the camp. I always felt sorry for the men, women and children we had to bury because for most of them, none of their loved ones would ever know where they would lay, or what had happened to them. 


In the afternoon, we were given our dinner ration. This time it was a small loaf of bread I knew and a chunk of what must have been beef, but most of it was bone and grissle. But I didn`t complain, this was the first regular meal I had had in months!” Alex`s stomach rumbled at the sound of food and they all laughed.

“In the later evening about 8pm, the drums assembled again and we beat out the retreat, and then marched through the town of Kinsale we beat out Tattoo to tell the innkeepers, alehouses and houses of ill repute to turn off their taps to the soldiers and have them return to camp. This took about 20 minutes and at last I was able to go to bed, but not before I had to scrap the mud off my drag rope, leggings, shoes and belt, and then I also had to clean my father`s shoes. Exhausted, I collapsed onto the straw bed again.”


 Euan saw Anne yawn for it was so cosy sitting by the fire and laying in her father`s arms.


“For 3 months it was the same routine. Get up, beat revillie, beat out the commands to the camp from cutting wood, gathering water, to orders for the Manual of Arms. I even began to march in step and beat out the different march tunes. The drummers also had to beat out the drill for the drill movements. I had to remember the commands for when we marched, changed how we marched, fired, and charge bayonets. I remember meeting my first friend.”


 “Pleased to meet you mate, my name`s Gordon Jefferson. I`m to be a drummer like yourself” Gordon had joined the regiment in England and had been sent to the camp in Ireland to join with the rest of the recruits bound for Nova Scotia.

All the soldiers had to drill daily so that whenever they were in battle, they would do what they were trained to do and not run at the sound of gunfire. Each soldier had to learn how to load and fire his musket up to 3 times a minute. For hours on end we drilled on priming and loading the musket, then how to present it and give fire. Once they learned how to do it in one rank, we then had to learn how to do it in 3 ranks. Then they would fire by each platoon. The idea was that the regiment would give a constant fire on their enemy.  It was important to know because if we made a mistake while in battle, it would mean that the whole regiment would have to stop firing in order to fix themselves, and that would mean an enemy unit could destroy us.


At first, the soldiers were taught how to shoulder the musket and we were told, this was the proper position of a soldier. From the shoulder, the musket would be brought down to the side of the body to do what was required. The hammer in the lock would always be at half-cock, and the frizzen closed over the pan. So to load it at first, the soldier had to hold the musket in one hand, then pull out a cartridge with the other. You had to put the cartridge in your teeth and bite off the paper to open the cartridge. Then you had to pour a small bit of powder in the pan, close the pan and then, on the command cast about, you turned the musket muzzle up to your chin and put your cartridge inside it. Then you had to pull out the wooden rammer and push the cartridge that had the powder and ball in it to the bottom of the barrel. Finally, bringing the musket back up to the side of your body, waiting for the command, make ready, you pulled the hammer back, present; point the musket towards the enemy and fire was when the trigger was pulled. Once the musket fired, you brought it back down to the side of your body, and pulled the hammer back to half cock. Taking farm hands, and city laborers through the process took a long long time.


The soldiers had to be taught and practice the drill everyday. The new recruits were always harassed because they were not used to army life and also because that`s how the Sargents taught their new soldiers. If you still made mistakes after being taught, you were put in the awkard squad, and a lot of times I was sent to drum for this group as I was also new.


The other thing the soldiers had to do a lot was to clean their uniforms and equipment so that it not only looked nice, but would work when they had to fight. The mud had to be scrapped off the belts, and their white leggings had to be scrubbed and polished with pipe clay to give them their white look. Even their hair had to be pulled back and curled and powdered.

After we finished our fatigues, we were allowed to go into Kinsale town. AH, Kinsale had the best Molasses Brown Ale. It was so refreshing after a long day of drilling and work. I loved being able to sing the songs of the country and swap stories with the lads or towns folk. Having a bit of brass meant we could drink and then chase the lassies but then we`d get into scraps with the local boys.


If the soldiers did something wrong, or broke the rules, there were many ways they were punished. There was a wooden horse in the centre of the parade square where a soldier would be placed with muskets tied to his legs. It was an uncomfortable bench that looked like a toy horse but was made so that it was easy for the soldier to fall off.


One memorable evening after tattoo, one land had come back drunk as a skunk and proceeded to the kitchen lines where he then began to knock down tables, and tripping over tent fly lines. In the whole mess, he proceeded to ruin the next mornings breakfast and crushed the officer`s eggs! While this bloke was crashing about, he also snapped a few tent poles as well. Finally the evening picket clapped him in the stocks until morning muster. The officers were fit to be tied! Just after revillie, we beat through the camp playing the rouges march. Behind us, marched the picket with their prisoner. He was ordered to dress for parade with all his equipment. After being issued his musket, he was ordered to fix his bayonet, and then to present as though to give fire. On the next order, he gave a soft groan. “Quick march” and thus for three hours, he marched about the camp with a drummer and corporal in tow. To add insult to injury, his pay was stopped for a month to recover the costs of the king`s equipment he had broken. We didn`t see him drunk for a long time after that.


Even the soldier wives could be punished as well. There was a whirly gig which was a cage that could be spun. If one of the ladies had fought with, or had done something wrong, she`d be put in there and the drummers would spin it very fast until she was sick. I hated doing that one because they did a lot of work for us, and a lot of the soldiers treated them badly. Maybe that was because so few of them were allowed to marry.


All through my time in the army, I always respected the women. They acted as our cooks at times, cleaned our dishes or clothes and tended to us if we had been wounded. Their existence depended on the men they were attached to. Some were the wives of soldiers, some were their sisters or daughters, and their food came from the regiments stores. But for the wives, it would only be half of what a soldier got and any children they had would only get a quarter of a mans ration. They would follow the army where ever it went, and if their men fell in battle or died from some other cause, they had but twenty-four hours to find a new husband, or they would be drummed out. It was a harsh life, but better than to be begging back in their own towns or villages, or to be rotting in debt prison.

Most of these women worked hard for what little money they could get. We paid them to wash our shirts, and sometimes they would help us mend our uniforms. Others made extra money buy selling small items the soldiers might want such as combs, trinkets, ribbons and lace. Some had even made whiskey on the sly and they were pretty good about hiding it. They were not ladies of the evening, but were the lucky ones. The official soldier`s wives were taken care of, the rest, well, they did the best they could, but when the regiments left for foreign postings, the women who were not officially soldiers wives, were left behind. 


 Finally at the beginning of April, the soldiers who were to serve with Phillips Regiment boarded the troop ship bound for Nova Scotia and the fort at Annapolis Royal. For some it was a gay adventure to be embarking on. But we left many women and children behind. For those men who did not have permission to marry, it was the last time they ever saw their families.


Chapter 3: The crossing and a new land.


“Now I was amazed with the ships we boarded as I`d never sailed in my life. There were boats full of men dressed in sailor`s garb who rowed us out to our ships, and then each soldier had to climb up the side of the ship. I thought it interesting to see little steps on the side of the ship just big enough for your foot to step on and pull yourself up. There were about 30 of us who boarded the ship bound for the colonies.


At first, I didn`t mind the gentle rocking of the ship. But trying to get into my hammock at night was a tiresome ordeal. It was also a big change of routine to be on board of a Kings ship, where there was nowhere to go but up on deck, which was a crowded place of sailors, guns, masts and rigging. Although in the evenings, there was lots of merrymaking with sailors singing on the upper decks while the soldiers below sang their own tunes. I got to play on my boran as another soldier took out a tin whistle and we played. All the soldiers clapped and sang together. Since I had no brothers, I felt that now I had a new family. But the fun stopped the first time there was a storm.”


Everyone leaned closer to hear him speak. “I had never known hell until the morning the sky became low and foggy. Then the wind and rain began and the gentle rocking of the ship turned into a bucking living creature. More than once, I had fallen down the ladders to the deck where the soldiers were, spilling our rations on the floor. And more than once, did I get a cuff for doing so. If you dropped your food, there was no going back to the cook for more, what he dished out was your issue, and there was no pity for landlubbers like myself. On and on the ship rocked, creaked and moaned. The worst part of being in a storm is not being able to do anything about it. You just have to put your faith in the almighty and pray you`ll see another day.



Finally in the month of June, we arrived at what would be our posting.

 We had one new recruit died of sickness and a few sailors fell from the rigging into the sea. I thought I`d die from being seasick, it was a wonder how much a little boy could throw up that much. However, the entire voyage was not a lonely experience for me. Being down with the other soldiers meant I met many of the men and boys who I would serve with in Nova Scotia. We were going into the Bay of Fundy and approaching the Annapolis Basin.” “Gordon told me, “the land was now a British colony but had been fought over from before his own father was born. The French had been here before them, and the first to have settled were the Natives.”


 As we sailed though a narrow gap in the shoreline, we came into a wide basin with green fields bordered by grass covered earthen banks along the river. Farmers were tilling these grasslands. Stretching to the horizon on the North was a mountain and to the far south another range of mountains.” Alex remembered well his own visit to the area twenty years before.  Alex added, “The only area that was open and flat was the land next to the river, about maybe 3 leagues to the base of the North Mountain and about 10 to the South Mountain.” Euan continued, “As the river narrowed, we saw our first glimpse of what would be our new home, Annapolis Royal.”


“Now children” asked Euan, “do you remember what Annapolis Royal looks like?” “No Grampie, what`s it like, can I go there?” Anne asked “I`ll see about taking you there. There was an earthern fort on a point on the south-west side of the river with a small town along the riverbank. It`s a typical Vauban style fortification that the French had built back in the early part of the last century. It has 4 bastions, a powder magazine which is built of stone, a stone gateway, an underground powder magazine, barracks for the troops and officers and a well. It`s surrounded by a dry ditch and has ravelins on the North, East and South. The Annapolis river acts as a border and a lot of the heavy guns are positioned in the bastions facing the anchorage. There is also a palisade of logs that are on the top of the walls and stakes also driven into the ground to keep men away from the ditch which I think is about 3 meters deep.





 To add to the defense I seem to remember there are also some small buildings that are blockhouses, which hold swivel cannons in the upper story windows and have musket loopholes in the walls


 As our ship docked at the wharf, we saw a curious mix of people. There were farmers wearing clothes which didn`t look English, elegantly dressed gentlemen and ladies and a few soldiers walking about. As the officers landed to be followed by the men, the townspeople began to cheer. For we were the first new soldiers to set foot in Annapolis Royal since 1720! As we marched into the fort, we were aghast at what we saw. The walls had looked impressive were crumbling and the wooden palaside was rotting where it stood.


 The sentry snapped his musket to the present in salute, was wearing a very shabby uniform, and his musket looked like it had seen better days.


Later that night, Lt. Kenny was invited by the other officers to dine with them in welcoming the newest officer to the garrison. The commander introduced himself.

“My name is Jean Paul Mascarene I`m a French Hugenot who has loyally served his Majesty King George here in Nova Scotia. My position here is thus, I have 120 men here to defend the capital of Nova Scotia. Most have been here since Phillips Regiment was formed in 1717, and they were here even before that in independent companies. We`ve received no new uniforms, equipment, weapons or troops except for yourselves since that time. At the moment, I don`t even have enough functioning muskets to issue to my troops. The sentry you saw was carrying a doglock musket which was last issued in Queen Anne`s Day! We`ve been making due with what we can make here, but Annapolis Royal is in grave danger. The French at Louisbourg are a constant threat, my closest post to here is Canso, which is a fishing village. In this colony which the mainland part is close to the entire length of England, I have but only 180 men to defend it from a French garrison of over 1000! My artillery is in short supply and trained gunners even more. These men will be the ones who will keep you from losing your hair to a Mic Mac warrior with a scalping knife!”


“Now my Da was horrified. He had been sent to a backwater overseas post, to help defend a fort that was crumbling under his feet, with old men and rusty muskets. “God help us all” he thought. 

Euan took another pull from his tea mug which was now empty. “Emily darling, could you pour me another? Now let me see, where did I leave off?


 “You were saying about how you saw the fort for the first time Grampie” replied Anne. “Ah right, well, that evening, in the officer`s mess, Lt. Kenny was welcomed to his new post by the officers of the Garrison. The commander was Col Mascarene, second in command was Major Bradstreet, the other officers were Capt. Blackmore, Lt. Howe, Lt. Scott, Ensign Bradstreet and a Lt. Farrell of the Royal Artillery, the sole Artillery officer in the entire colony! Lindsay was the junior officer of the garrison but it was always good to get another gentleman to the regiment.


 As they sat to dinner, Captain Blackmore asked Da, “Have you been in the east sir” To which Lindsay replied that yes he had, and warmly shook the hand of a brother. “Ah we`re all brothers here then” he said. As they began their dinner, Da was surprised at the fare. There were roasts of beef, whole roasted ducks and geese from the officers own stocks, a supurb onion soup, and plenty of white bread. The officers washed down their meal with the finest Madeira that Da had tasted for many years and the claret was not bad either.


 The whole evenings festivities were rounded off nicely with a good brandy. Col. Masscarene was constantly asking “How stands the glass around?” All in all, it was the world that Lt. Kenny had been longing to rejoin. Though father had drank too much whiskey back in Ireland, being an officer meant he had to act as a gentleman. Thus he drank only during the mess dinners. It would not due to bring discredit to your regiments. So his behaviour after he joined up improved. Captain Bradstreet struck up a conversation with Lindsay. “Sir, if I may be so bold, what is your impression of Fort Anne so far?” “Well Bradstreet, I must say that while the countryside is more stunning than that in England or Ireland, I can`t help but feel that this is a lonely place”. “Aye that it is” replied the young officer. “Our current commander came up in March of 1740. Our previous commander, Colonel Lawerence Armstrong had a fit of despondency and ran himself through with his own sword. This place can be bleak, but now that our new commander is here, it`s a bit more tolerable, what with our weekly mess dinners now.”


 Alex interrupted Euan. “But father, how did you know what happened in the officer`s mess, you were only a drummer”.

“Well as I was my father`s servant, I was obliged to attend on the dinner officers. The bonus that this entailed, was that the officer`s servants would be able to enjoy foods which we might otherwise not be able to. The most pleasant for me was the beef steak, and the bread and cheese was of a quality I`d never known. Being too young for the wines, and brandy, I was given a mug of spruce beer, to warm my little heart. As I sat in the kitchen with the other servants after the table had been cleared, each member began to quietly remimice of a home that they had not seen for years.


 The old soldiers amoung us included Cpl. Nickerson, who had joined the regiment in England and had been wounded fighting with the Mik Maq warriors that had ambushed his woodcutting party in 1717. Nickerson had been lucky, he had only gotten sliced by a knife before he could dispatch his attacker with a tomahawk. I was surpised and I asked him why he didn`t use a sword.” “Those things are`nt much use over here lad” he told me. “When you go out on patrol, you`ll see. They, bang into you hip and catch on every bloody tree and bush that`s out there. Tomahawks are much better, and they come in handy when we need to build shelters if we`re too late to head back to the fort here.”


 “Along with Nickerson were Private Delaney who had also served with Nickerson, and a rather bitter young lad named Lynch. Lynch it turned out was actually an indentured servant who had run away from his master who treated him like the slaves he already owned. Lynch was a big lad, and was being trained as to work the forts guns with the few gunners in the garrison. Lynch told us the stories he had, I felt a bit of pity and disgust. The boy had run away from home, not having wanted to follow his father as an apprentice in carriage making and had signed on to be an indentured servant in Virginia. 

Now I was confused because I knew that to escape, your contract was extended if you were caught. “Right, See I finds meself a recruiting Sargeant and gets me a shilling, so that bugger can`t get me now. Not even if he was the governor himself, once you take the King`s shilling, you`re a soldier until you die, or the wars end.

“But why didn`t you wait till your contract ended, you`d have your own farm by now” I asked. “Are you a daft child”, answered Lynch, they don`t give ya that, you`d be lucky to get some land on the frontier where the Indians will scalp ya. And me master, whoa, didn`t know he had a soft spot for the black ladies. Nor did I enjoy myself much, he worked me from dawn to dusk in the tobacco fields. No sir, that wasn`t what I had signed up for you can be dammed sure.”

Lynch was a strange fella. “Gordon wasn`t impressed.” “If that boy had worked as well as he says he did, maybe the master wouldn`t have whipped him so much!” I heard him say.”


“Was it an easy life in the fort Grampie” asked little Anne. Euan chuckled.

“The routine in garrison was not much different from what we had seen in the camp. As a drummer, I had to take part in all of the daily routines. If I was put on sentry duty, it was my job to beat all the commands for the fort, and to stay in the guard room with the sentries who were off duty. And the days I wasn`t on duty were spent cutting firewood for the fires, helping the cook in the cookhouse and drilling with the soldiers in the parade square. We`d also march through the town to make sure everyone was safe, or to catch anyone who was doing something bad. But since the population was so small, we didn`t have to worry about that too much. The only people who caused problems were soldiers who had had too much rum or beer, and we`d march them back up to the fort to spend some time in the Garrison cells.


Chapter 4: Garrison life and dangers in the forest


 After about two weeks, I saw why so many of the men looked old and tired it was a lot of tedious work, or boredom. But I still preferred being there to the sheep pasture back in Ireland. The officers would take some of the men on patrols into the countryside and in the nearby forests to check to see if there were signs of Mik Maq war parties or French raiders from New France. Each patrol would go out for a few days and return with wild game to add to the stew pots for their mess. After the attack back in 1717 and again in 1722, no soldier was allowed to march out of the town without being a member of a patrol. There was also the chance to fish or to bathe in the rivers during the hot summer.  The officers would sometimes go out on hunting trips. Soldiers jumped at the chance to leave the confines of the fort. If it took you away from the boredom, you always found a way to go on a work party”


“So when did you go on patrol father” “At the beginning of July, Lindsay took a detachment of men on a patrol to the east of the town. I marched with them to keep their step with my drumming. Each soldier held sixty rounds of powder and ball and three flints for their musket. Since it was only a patrol, they only carried their muskets, canteens, cartridge boxes and bayonet as well as their tomahawks. They didn`t carry their knapsacks but just their haversacks which held some moose jerky and biscuits. The road they marched on eventually stopped and it became nothing more than a track. The trees grew very close together.

 I`d never seen anything like it. You couldn`t see more than 20 meters into the gloom. All you saw were trees, trees and more trees.  My sword and drum kept getting caught on branches. Lindsay ordered me, “ Drummer Kenny, sling your drum onto your back and to draw your sword.” “Yes sir” I replied.


 I was thinking to make the path a bit bigger, so I began to hack at the small tree branches with my sword. As I did so to one tree, a partridge lept up into the air with a flurry of wings beating and feathers flying. “Bloody hell” I screamed in fright, and the rest of the patrol roared with laughter. But there was something that caused Lindsay to be concerned. He shouted for us to be quiet. I then thought it was strange.


 There were no birds singing, no wind blowing, just a quiet that made you feel like it was just yourself there. It was so quiet, that I could hear my breathing and my heart was pounding in my ears. I fought against a rising panic in myself, this forest felt alive, as though it was a living thing itself. Then I heard a snap and at first thought it was one of the soldiers stepping on a twig but then there was a horrendous bang followed and all hell broke loose!


 More shots came from the woods, and I then heard the whack of the balls flying by my ear and hit the soldier behind me with a meaty smack. The soldier fell backwards screaming as he went down.” Anne gave out a cry of fright. “Lindsay quickly formed us into a firing line. “Prime and load, he roared”, as he drew his own pistol and fired into the gloom. The soldiers began to load their muskets and wait for the commands to fire back. While waiting for the order, two more soldiers dropped down wounded from shots fired. One had been hit in the thigh and great amounts of blood were pouring out. When a musket ball hits you it`s not pretty. It will be a round ball when it goes in but as it passes through the meat and bones, why it flattens out and makes a big hole if it comes out the other side. The other soldier had been hit in an arm and he dropped down to the ground howling in pain.


 Lindsay gave the order to ram. Each soldier rammed the ball down and then returned the rammers to the holes in the musket below the barrel. Lindsay then gave the command to recover the musket, then hollered “Make ready” each soldier pulled back the hammer holding the flint, “Present” to which each soldier pointed their muskets into the din. “FIRE” and each man pulled the trigger. With a mighty roar the muskets made fire and spit smoke and flame out into the trees enveloping everything in a thick blanket of grey smoke. It took all his courage to keep the men together as a group. As the smoke cleared, we could still hear the blood curdling yells of the Mik Maq warriors ringing in our ears. The whole ambush had lasted only a few minutes. That sound stayed with me all my life. It was a sound that would make your bowels turn to water and your blood turn to ice. Even remembering it now makes the hair on my neck stand up.


 Well now, I thought that was the most terrified I had been in my whole life. I had not ducked down but stood still, my eyes wide in panic with sword drawn waiting for a warrior to come running in to scalp the hair from my head. I didn`t even have time to take my drum off my back and sling it to beat out the commands to the soldiers. Of the 15 soldiers who had marched out that morning, only 12 would be returning. The first soldier to have been shot lay dying, drowning in his own blood. The musket ball and entered just below his ribcage. His back was a mess where it had exited. The woods were still filled with the powder smoke from the muskets. It added to the gloom and was like a fog that shrouded the whole area. It made you feel even more lonely and helpless.


 The red coats the soldiers wore was a beacon of light in the gloom of the woods. For all the muskets they had fired, the only damage was some scarred trees. Not one of the balls had found it`s mark. The corporal explained to father that this was how an Indian attack was. They never saw them coming, only when the musket fire began. As well, there had not been attack on the soldiers for a long time. The Mik Maq must have seen us arrive at Annapolis a few weeks before and decided that they didn`t want more British troops in Annapolis.





“Lindsay was certain the warriors would be back and decided not to risk his men further. We began to fall back to Annapolis Royal with the news that a war party was in the area. For me, my first time out into the forest of Nova Scotia had turned from the wonderful sensation I had felt in the morning, into a nightmare world where there were Indian warriors hiding behind every tree ready to knock the life out of you if they got the chance.” “Poor Grampie, you must have been so scared, did you cry? asked Anne.” “No child, but I was shocked and angry. I wanted to find those warriors and kill them for killing some of us. I began to feel a rage building up inside me, but it was too dangerous to go alone into the forrest.



We went back to the fort, and when we returned and told the commander, Col. Mascarene had the drummer`s sound assembly and formed up his garrison. Of the 150 men who he had, only 80 were fit for duty, and only about 40 had muskets that would work. The 30 without were ordered to serve the cannons in the bastions and the sick were moved into the underground powder magazine. The powder from there was placed in the main magazine. Inside the underground room, it was dark and damp. There were no windows in the underground chamber which had been built into the bastion and had been constructed of stone. The earth for the walls and bastion above had been placed on top to make it bomb proof. There was only one entrance and a small ventilation shaft to try and keep the humidity down.  The sick and soon to be wounded would be safe from  artillery fire. Cpl. Nickerson reported that he had two men missing, who had apparently gone into town.


 A picket was quickly formed and led out the main gate with loaded muskets and fixed bayonets. In one of the gardens, they found both men. Each had been stripped of their, clothing. Also missing was their hair, which had been sliced off from the top of their heads. Cpl. Nickerson turned to his men and said “this is what happens to men who leave the fort without permission. Fall back to the fort.”







Chapter 5, Euan`s first siege:


 Before they could, the Mik Maq began to fire on them and Nickerson and another man were able to reach the safety of a small blockhouse on George street. The others made it back into the fort. The warriors yelled and hollered and began to burn several of the houses, they then began to run at the blockhouse with torches trying to set it alight, but were cut down by a party of soldiers who had come up from below the glacis and relieved the blockhouse. Lt. How led the soldiers who spent the rest of the day tearing down buildings to give a clear field of fire from the fort.


 The towns people who were mostly the soldiers families began to run into the fort pushing carts filled with their possessions. Mascarene had most of the women and children sent to the three ships in the river to rush to Boston with news that Annapolis Royal was under attack. Every man in the garrison and the town doubled their efforts to repair the fort. Even the local Acadians helped out for they knew that if the English were to leave, they`d have no trade with New England, and they would suffer. However, a few days later, when most of the repairs were finished, all the Acadians in the town fled for fear of the coming attack.



About 3 days after we had returned from out patrol, a loud yelling began from the tree line beyond the town. Swiftly, a group of warriors and soldiers dressed in blue or red waistcoats began to run towards the main gate of the fort. The sentries were able to shout out a warning. On hearing the yelling, Massacrene ordered the men to man the walls. Lt. Farrell laid his guns out to make a cross fire as best he could.


 When the French and Indians burst into view, the garrison waited for the enemy to approach until they were almost at the ditch, then with one command muskets and  cannons roared out spitting musket balls, and canister shot. The French and Indians fled back to the safety of the tree line. They wouldn`t carry Fort Anne with just a frontal rush on the gate. They would have to lay siege to it.


As the French and Indians retired, father led a small piquet out the gate to check on the enemy casualties. Out in the ditch, I could see a Mik Maq warrior lying dead. He had painted his head red with a small tuft of hair on the top, and his lower half of his face was painted black. He was wearing a French style blue waistcoat, and had a breechcloth suspened from a belt to cover him self. He carried a knife that hung from a cord around his neck, and had a powder horn hanging from one shoulder. His gun was a very old style flintlock no doubt gotten in trade. This man appeared to have been a proud warrior. He didn`t look like a savage, he reminded me of the stories I had heard from my grandfather of the old Irish heros. I realized that this warrior was not much different from me. He was fighting people he felt were invaders in his land. But the sight of this dead warrior made me afraid because this was who had been trying to kill us earlier in the day.


 Lt. Lindsay was able to drag back two wounded French soldiers, one wore the blue waistcoat and breeches of Le Compaigne Franches de la Marine which were the French colonial troops at Louisbourg and the other soldier wore a pair of red breeches and a blue waistcoat. One soldier was speaking but it wasn`t French. Could it be German?


It turned out, with some of the officers translating, that he was a member of The Regiment de Karre, a Swiss regiment in the French service. His name was Vergets and he was a most displeased soldier. He also mentioned that the Swiss soldiers had joined the raid because they wanted pay owed to them from an attack on Canso. This was some of the first news that we had that War had been declared. The French had gotten word first and sacked Canso. Since the Mik Maq didn`t like us, it was possible to be attacked at anytime. But for French soldiers to attack us, was definetly an unpleasant surprise!


“What happened at Canso Grampie?” inquired Anne.

Well, in March of 1744, the French had heard that war was declared back in Europe. They knew that we would not hear of it first as most British ships never left home before March. The French ship had braved the elements and made a crossing in winter.

The French governor had decided that he would try and retake Nova Scotia. So he launched a large raid on Canso with his French and Swiss troops. The main reason was that the New England fisherman who had their fishing operations there were in direct competition with the French. As well, it was easy for an enemy force to attack as it was so lightly defended.


The French sailed down in their boats and surprised the small garrison. Lt. Bradstreet who had been promoted was sent to act as the commander and he was unaware that war had been declared. It must have been quite a shock to wake up one morning hearing cannons boom and the yells of the French soldiers as they rushed up the beach over the small island and began to burn the houses and fishing gear. Humiliated, Bradstreet was captured with his men and sent to Louisbourg as prisoners.


 The French governor had then ordered a force to try and capture Annapolis Royal. But the interesting thing was, apart from the Mik Maq attack in the early summer, the main attack didn`t happen until much later. The officers of Fort Anne held a war council to decide what to do. Almost every one of the officers felt that with the condition of the fort, the condition of their men and the lack of good and sufficient arms that we should consider surrender.



But Massacreene was a brave man. He listened to his officers, but assured them that they would be safe. “For example gentlemen, have you heard any cannons fire? No? That is because this is a war party which uses it`s speed and agility to move through the forrest and uses shock to achieve victory. But I will not surrender to a bunch of warriors with their French masters until they pound the walls down around us. Stand your ground, and we`ll beat them. However I would like volunteers to take a message to Boston to tell them of our plight and to insist on troops to relieve us here. Now back to the walls gentlemen, these warriors will try again, I`m sure of it.”



“So thus began my first siege. The soldiers couldn`t stand up on the walls without risk getting shot at by the enemy.  I`d have to wait to see if I`d see my 11th birthday.

 Anne had fallen asleep, clutching her father`s arms. “Well father, perhaps you can finish the story for her tomorrow night.” “Aye that I will son, take her into the cabin to bed and we`ll see you in the morning to do our chores. Goodnight to ya.” Euan and Emily began to get themselves ready for bed, the last thing he did was to put some water on the fire and take in the lantern he had on the table.


The Seige:

The next night, Euan`s family got together again. The weather being a fine night, they sat out in the yard. Alex brought his family to hear of the stories his father had. “Grampie you didn`t finish your story last night?” “Well Anne, you fell asleep just when I was getting going. Shall I start again? “Yes please” replied the girl.



“Well day and night, the Mik Maq warriors would yelp and scream to try and intimidate us. A few of the newer recruits began to become upset by this but the officers kept all the men busy either using wood to patch up holes in the walls, making cartridges for the muskets and cannons and clearing away rubbish. The armourer was having a terrible time because most of the soldier`s muskets were breaking from being so old and worn out. The officers believed that if they kept us busy, we wouldn`t have time to think, and they could keep our morale up. And all the while, you`d hear muskets firing at us.

When the soldiers didn`t have to fire their muskets, they had to make more cartridges, try and fix any parts of the walls that were falling down, and cleaning their muskets.

“By Jesus boys” Nickerson said, “ these Mik Maq sure do have a hate on for us. I guess we`ll have to show them that English soldiers don`t run at just the sound of a war whoop.” “But Corporal, what if they come over the walls and scalp us” I asked. “Never fear Drummer Kenny, we`ll keep each other safe. Just stay calm and do your work. We`ll be alright. Also, didn`t you know, Drummers have luck?”


 I had many extra tasks to do. Because the fort had been in such a bad shape, we had to keep rebuilding the walls with whatever we could find. We had to make fascines, which were bundles of sticks made into their own logs to place in parts of the walls that were falling down. We also had to make Gabions or wicker woven baskets filled with earth. These we placed on the walls of the bastions to protect the gunners serving the cannons. Not only did I still have to beat out commands for the troops, but if the surgeon needed my help, then I`d have to go and assist him. But apart from a few scrapes from bullet fragments hitting the palisades, I was spared the horror of the surgeons table for the time being.


 On the seventh night of the siege, the French and Indians again tried to storm the fort in 3 different places. The firing was heavy and continous and a few times, some of the French and warriors were able to scale the wall and attempt to fight along it. Several soldiers were involved in hand to hand fighting but any French or Indians who got over the wall, never made it back. “Euan, I got one” yelled Gordon, “Great, now stop showing off and fight some more, and stop hiding behind the officer!” “The Red hand of Ireland you wild warriors”


 Only a few of the soldiers died in this night, the majority of the dead were French or Indian. Now I was beginning to feel angry at these men. Why were they trying to wound and kill my friends? What had we done to make them want us dead? I had never felt such anger before. I even wondered if I was losing my soul with these terrible feelings. For the minister in the church so long ago in had repeatedly told his flock, thou shall not kill. But what could you do when a Frenchmen was jabbing a bayonet towards you or a Mik Maq warrior was trying to shoot you? Were you just supposed to stand there and die? I wanted this horrible event to end. Day in and out we`d hear firing, sometimes we`d have to beat off an assault or fight with the French or Indians. It felt like it would go on forever.”


Euan stopped talking for a bit, lost in the horrible memories he had. “Father are you alright?” asked Alex. “What, oh, yes, sorry, it`s been a long time since I thought of that battle.”


“The next morning, brought a sight that warmed the heart of every soldier in the garrison. A small fleet of 4 ships coming up the Basin flying the Union Jack. The siege would be over. Piling over the side of the ships into boats were grey coated soldiers who stormed onto the river bank and ran the glacis to flank the French and Mik Maq. At the sight of these reinforcements, the French and Indians ran for their lives. These soldiers from New England were not all Europeans. There were a few Natives amoungst them, all of them wore grey jackets with red waistcoats, and they had a wide variety of caps. Some had Scottish style bonnets, others had tricorns, still others were wearing hat blanks which were turned up on the side, or caps with a stiff brim. Their officer could only be told by his gorget at his neck. Capt. Joseph Goreham had led his corps of Nova Scotia Rangers to relieve the fort. Once the troops were landed and had chashed off the French, the garrison could heave a collective sigh of relief, and then begin to take the war to the French themselves. The garrison sent out 3 companies out to chase away the attackers. I was ordered to stay and relay any drum commands I heard.

Over the next few days, I was able to speak to these new Rangers. They were a really interesting bunch of people. Unlike the regular British soldiers, these Rangers didn`t wear the redcoat or march in lines. They had army discipline but they could all think, sharing their ideas with their officers and their clothing was a mix of European style military wear and Native American. I was able to speak with one ranger who was a Mohician but I was a little confused seeing as we had just been fighting Natives.


 “Ah well little drummer, in Europe is there not more than one type of white man?” the ranger asked. “Well yes of course” I replied “but aren`t all Indians the same” “Ah no, there are many different people” replied the Mohician. “My name is Benard, I was born in a valley far from here. My people`s enemies are the Abenaki, the Huron, the Maliseet and the Mik Maq. My people live in long houses and grow corn and squash. We don`t trade with the French as the Mik Maq do.”


 “But Nova Scotia is British! Why would they trade with the French?” asked I. “The first white man here was from a long long time ago. They came in boats that had animal heads and fierce warriors who were covered in hair. Even the hair on their face was braided like our women, and their hair was gold colored, not black like ours. They stayed in a land a little close to here, but the people there fought with them and finally the long haired white people left. Then many years later, there were new ships but these ships had white skins on their trees, and these white men dressed in funny clothes. The made a place to live here after asking the Mik Maq if they could stay. The Mik Maq said yes because they wanted the metal knives, axes and pots, they just had to give furs to the new white men. These were the French.



The Mik Maq made a mistake because the English began to fight the French over the furs. The Mik Maq wanted to get more things from the French so they became their brothers and have fought alongside the French since before Annapolis Royal was taken by the English. My grandfather came here the first winter to help protect our English brothers.”


 “So why are you here now Benard?” I asked. “Well, the French and their allies the Abenaki and Maliceet have come into our hunting grounds and fought us because we don`t want to trade with them. We`d trade with the English and we traded with the Dutch in New York before. We get better guns, knives and pots. The French will trade us these things but will also try to get us to trade furs for Brandy and follow what the Black robes who tell us to worship their god. If I can fight some Mik Maq, then maybe my peoples land will be saved.”


 “Well I`m glad you came Benard, I`d like to be your friend” “Well Euan, it`s good to have friends, and as long as you always keep a promise to me, we shall be friends. Most of the other redcoats don`t think the peoples here are worth their time. But you are young, and you must learn that if you want to live here, you will have to live with us, not fight us.” Benard extended his hand to me, the drummer boy. We shook hands, and it was the beginning of a new friendship.”

Once the troops from New England had arrived, my first battle was over. We had been lucky. Since the French had lacked artillery, we didn`t suffer the full horror of a siege. All the older men felt relieved as well. For at their age, they had been able to beat off an attack. It had been twenty-four years since they had had to fire their muskets in anger.


“With the relief of the seige, some of the soldier took themselves to drink with secretly hoarded issues of rum. A few of them began to fight and brawl with each other. “Hey you dirty bugger, you stole my shirt” yelled one soldier. “Are you crazy man, why would I steal your dirty thing, you didn`t put it in your haversack you sod.” “Before I knew it, a brawl broke out inside our barrack. Fists were flying, chairs and tables became over turned. Cpl. Nickerson with the help of some of the evening sentries arrested these men and threw them in the black hole. The next morning, I was the duty drummer with Nickerson, and we led the men through the fort beating the rouges march. The other drummers had beaten assembly and the entire garrison was formed up on the parade square where in the middle stood a triangle of 3 halberds which was the Sargeant`s weapon and badge of rank. The officers were formed up on one side with the soldiers of the garrison forming 3 sides of a square.


 Col. Massacrene read out “articles of war” Any man who was found to be in drink after tattoo was in violation of military discipline. Any man who was caught fighting would also raise the ire of the law. So as an example, both men were sentenced to be flogged. This meant that I would be introduced to a new experience in my military life. Drummers were also responsible for flogging soldiers who broke the law. The drum major carried a cat of nine tails in a bag. The cat was a covered wooden handle in leather which had 9 leather tails coming off it which held small lead pellets in their ends. A soldier could be sentenced to as much as 1000 lashes, but in this case, punishment was only 25 each. One by one, each prisoner was stripped to the waist and had their hands tied to the top of the triangle. I had to beat out each stroke.





 With a roll I began, and then the whish of the whip, the slap of the cat on skin, and the grunt of mutted pain. The first soldier he endured silently. The second soldier didn`t hold up so well. After 4 strokes he began to scream. By the tenth he had fainted.” Anne looked horrified and spoke up. “Grampie, is army life always harsh and cruel?” “Not always Anne, but I saw far worse in the home country. Life is hard, sometimes too hard.”



“I had been shocked, but talking with the older soldiers that night, I learned that discipline in the army was serious, and floggings did happen from time to time. It was the only way to ensure that each soldier did his duty. The older men thought rightly that the officers had shown lienency in their sentence given that the garrison had just experienced a siege. If they had done so during the siege, they might have been shot or hanged. Life in the army was the same as for a civilian. Short, harsh and brutal, but at least in the army, the punishments were seemed more just.





 “Goreham`s Rangers began to chase the French and Mik Maq party as far as the Piziquid River. As they did this, the garrison of Annapolis Royal repaired the damage to the fort, and buried our dead. In order to conceal the true numbers, the dead were buried at night in the ditch and next to the river. If any Mik Maq or Frenchman was watching, they would not notice how many troops were left. Despite the fact that there were new soldiers in the garrison, the officers felt the drummers needed to learn some elementary handling of small firearms.




 The other drummers and I were not usually permitted to handle the muskets, but the officers decided to arm the drummers with blunderbusses. They would only use these weapons if the fort was attacked again. I was surprised at the style of firearm this was. The blunderbuss was similar to the musket in that it was a flintlock, and loaded from the muzzle, but it was short and the` muzzle was flared out, like a funnel.





 “Well boys, “Lt. Howe told us, “ the blunderbuss is for close range. You`ll find them in some homes back in merry old England and on coaches as well to defend against those pesky rouges of highwaymen. It`s designed to load easily. You can quickly load a round ball and a charge of buckshot with a powder charge.” All the drummers were lead out to the outer works of the fort and given a try at firing these weapons at turnips on stakes. Behind us, a few soldiers who had been doing repair work stopped and watched what would happen. Drummer Jefferson was first. Gordon loaded his piece, cocked it, pointed it and fired, and promptly fell on his backside and missing his target completely. “Bloody Hell that hurt” he said. The soldiers fell about laughing. “Look at the wee drummers playing soldier, they are the terror of France now, Ha ha ha ha. Sgt. Nelson quickly saw to it, that they would be doing more physical labor since they had time to watch other soldiers at their duty. “Alright then you lot, you just earned yourselves a days worth of cleaning out the necessary house, since you seem to have nothing else but to make fun of these boys. Away with ya now.”


 Drummer Shaw was next and though he also missed his target, he didn`t fall down, but that may have been also because he was 16 was going to be re-mustered and issued a musket on his 17th birthday which happened to be later in the summer. Finally I was given the chance. Seeing as how the other boys had been standing, I thought that if I knelt, I`d have a better chance.




 So I loaded the weapon by carefully biting open a cartridge, but I bit too low and got a mouthful of powder that tasted like seawater.” Alex burst out laughing. “I poured a small amount in the pan, closed it then turned the muzzle around making sure my face wasn`t anywhere near it, then poured the powder, ball and pellets into the barrel. Finally on the order of the officer, I pointed the blunderbuss towards the turnip and feeling that if I closed one eye, I`d see it better. So I took a breath and squeezed the trigger.



 The flash was so bright, I closed my eyes and thought I fell backward but I righted myself without falling down. When the smoke cleared, my turnip was now mush, it had been blown to pieces. “Well done Drummer Kenny, that`s the way to do it” exclaimed the officer.  I was pleased with what I did, but I decided that I`d beat my drum instead. At least it didn`t kick your shoulder like a sheep did. 


The daily routine in the fort took on an urgent feel. The soldiers were drilled in the manual of arms, and with some tatics that the rangers were using. Instead of lining up in a long line to fire, the soldiers were marched into a column of only two men wide. Then each was drilled to fire, retire and the pair of soldiers behind them would present and fire until the whole column had had a chance. Then they did it in an advance. This time the two front soldiers would fire, the two rear soldiers would advance to the front and fire. After 4 hours, the entire battalion was exercised in this way. Thus when the regiment marched out into the woods, they would be able to fire almost similiarly to how the French and Mik Maq did. And Lt. Kenny would make sure that before his troops left for a patrol, he`d have every man loaded with buckshot and ball before they entered the gloomy woods.


Another welcome sight appeared in September. This ship was a merchant vessel which carried stores for the garrison as well as trade goods for the townspeople. For me, the best was that I was to be issued my first complete uniform. Each soldier was issued two new shirts, a new coat, a new hat, breeches, stockings and in place of their white canvas leggings, they were issued with brown wool leggings to wear while in the forest. But most importantly they were issued with new muskets. I kept my original issued clothes as well as the new uniform. The coat was buff colored with the red cuffs and collar and laced arrows going up both arms and lined with linen. The mitre cap I was given made me feel silly not impressive as I had thought. With this cap, I felt like a court jester, but I was assured by Da that the only time I`d be expected to wear it was within the forts walls while on duty, when they went out on patrol, I`d wear my tricorn again.



Besides drumming for drill and marching, I would find my days filled with chopping firewood for the forts kitchen fires as well as the fires for the officers and men. After one whole day of it, I was surprised to learn that the amount I had split, would heat only one fireplace for a day in the fall! My god, I thought how cold will the winter be in this land?”

To help us with chopping, we`d sing work songs together. “I like to rise when the sun she rises early in the morning. And I like to hear those small birds singing merrily along their way eh eh. And horray for the life of the country boy and to ramble in the new mown hay.” Anne nodded her head as she had seen both her mother and father chop wood and when she would help them by piling it in the cabin. “I tell ya, the other bother that I noticed were the amount of flies that wanted to bite me. They were tiny black creatures that would buzz around you and then stick their needle noses into your skin and it would itch like crazy. Then there was the weather! Some days it would be like in Ireland, cool and rainy while others were hot and dry. There was the wind and the fog which reminded me of the voyage across the ocean. I never knew that you could see all four seasons in one day here in Annapolis Royal.



“I was also used as a messenger to pass on letters or orders to the other officers or soldiers. One morning, during the first assembly, Captain Scott ordered me “Drummer Kenny, find out where Private Mitchel is. He`s not falling in. “Yes sir”. I ran to the barracks calling “Private Mitchel, where are you? The drums are beating assembly, hurry up!” I finally found him in one of the barracks. “Mitchel, why aren`t you on the parade square, Captain Scott orders you to fall in.” Mitchel took a bite of his bread and spat back at me, “Bugger off you little brat, I`m eating my breakfast. Tell Scott I`ll fall in when I`m finished”. “Are you mad, I can`t do that”. “Fine then” he replied and made to smack me across my mouth. I ran back to Captain Scott. “Well, where the bloody hell is he you little rougue?” roared Scott. “Beg pardon sir, but Private Mitchel says he`ll fall in when he`s finished breakfast.” “You insolent little bugger, if you have to, drag the man back here.” So I ran back to the barracks and found Mitchel drinking his tea. “Mitchel you have to fall in now, you`ll be in trouble.” “I`m coming, get out of my way”. “I ran back to the parade square and reported to Scott” “Private Mitchel is coming sir.”


When he arrived, Mitchel found the displeasure of his tardiness. “Cpl. Nickerson, why was this man not in your formation when assembly was beaten” “I`ve no idea sir, I gave the men the order to fall in but as I left the barracks, I saw Mitchel putting on his equipment. He was slow though.” “Cpl. Nickerson, I`d must inform the commander that you are also at fault. As for you Smith, what`s your explanation?” Mitchel spoke up “dam you sir but I hadn`t eaten my breakfast. So a pox on you!”


“The entire battalion took in a collective gasp of disbelief” Captain Scott took out his cane and whacked Smith on his face. “Cpl. Nickerson confine this man. Place him in the garrison cells. Battalion will retire to barracks to report back to the parade square in 15 minutes. Quarter-Master, I want you to issue a ramrod for each member of Cpl. Nickerson`s squad. The battalion will prepare to witness punishment. You Private Mitchell will run the Gauntlet. Battalion, Disperse.”


“Now he had done it. When the soldiers came back, we were formed in a square with Cpl. Nickerson`s squad making a parrell line. Each man was given a wooden rammer. Mitchel was stripped to his waist, and Nickerson drew his sword and pointed it at Mitchel`s back. Sgt. Nelson took the spot in front of Mitchel and facing forward, drew his own sword to point behind him. Captain Scott spoke “Any man who does not put his whole strength into hitting Smith, I`ll use my own cane on your back. Drummer Kenny sound the Rouge`s march. Quick, march.” And so we began. Each man flung himself with the rammer on Smith`s back. Whack, Swish, slap, each soldier hit Mitchel. After two passes, Mitchel collapsed and the soldiers continued until he passed out. “Right, that should teach you all that insolence to an officer will be repaid in kind. Cpl. Nickerson, place this man in the garrison cell and stop his pay for ten days. Perhaps that will teach him to remember to fall in on time. Battalion, disperse.”


When I had the chance, I was finally able to go into the town and meet some of the townspeople. Gordon and I went to the farmers market to see what wares the country people made. “Aye Gordon, a little lassie for us to chat with” We both went over to see her. The girl who I saw was selling dried herbs. She had blonde hair and blue eyes and spoke a little English but with a French accent. “So if you are French, why are you here?” I said. The girl replied, “I`m not French! I`m Acadiene. My name is Madeline and my family lives on the Melanson farm just over the river. I`m sorry those Mik Maq attacked you. We have nothing to do with them. We just want to live here in peace and to trade with you English.”


 “So you had a little Acadian girlfriend did you dear?” asked Emily. “No dear no, she was just a girl who I used to talk to and she was only 10 like myself.” I remember thinking  that made sense. Seeing as the Irish preferred to live in peace too but they always had to either serve in the English army, or feel the injustices of having English overlords in their own country. “Here, try this packet of herbs, it`s for Fricot,” she said. “It`s a delicious chicken stew. Your soldiers will like the taste.” “Thank ye kindly miss.” I replied.  What else do you do besides selling stuff here.” “I help my family on the farm of course, but if you`d like we could play a bit.” Gordon and Euan both jumped at the chance to be with someone their own age. “Do you know any other children we can play with?” we asked. “But of course, there are many children in my village who we can play with, tomorrow I can back with my friends and we`ll play with you then.” “Great, we`ll see you tomorrow. Wait at the front gate, and we`ll come out to play.” Bye.




 Other things that I found in the market included wooden shoes which worked well in the mud. There was a tin smith selling his wares as well as some ladies who were selling lace in the French style. It was just like the market days back in Ireland, but the goods sold here were different. I saw jars of a brown liquid which he asked about and was given a taste. It was one of the sweetest things I had ever tasted. When I asked what it was, I was told that it was molasses, which was made from the sugar in the West Indies.


 I also tried a golden colored liquid and this too was sweet, but this was made from the maple trees from the forest. It was Maple syrup which the Mik Maq had taught the Acadiens to make. Other delights I tried that day included bannock which was a type of bread that the Indians and Scots made and jerky which was made from dried moose meat. There were also baskets made from tree bark. When I heard the drummer in the fort beat the fatigue call, I reluctantly left the town and returned to the fort. There, I began to do his chores for the day, which was to help Cpl. Nickerson prepare dinner for the officers. Having gotten the fricot package from Madeline, we made it into the first course soup for the officers. The aroma was a delicious mix of chicken, thyme, savory and a hint of new mown hay. And there was enough left over for the soldiers to have once they finished serving the officers.


 They also served rappie pies which were Acadian meat pies with vegtables. I was truly lucky to be my father`s servant, as the other soldiers were just getting boiled beef which was not of gourmet quality and bread.


The next day, I was the duty drummer again, drilling the soldiers and also doing more chores. Gordon got to play with Madeline and her friends, but I was sent along with a work party to put in new palisades along the top of the forts walls. We also put sharpened stakes into the slopes of the walls and in front of the ditches. First they had to cut the logs, then they would sharpen them to be ready to stick an enemy soldier, and finally they were driven into the ground at a forty-five degree angle. It took all day and I was glad that I only had to beat tattoo that night. My dinner was the rest of my bread I was issued that day and the cold hunk of salted beef I didn`t finish for my breakfast, washed down with black tea.




The next day I got my chance to play with the other children. I had only seen some of the other soldier`s children and some of the younger ones from the town. The first game we started with was having a hoop race. I had gone to the cooper and gotten about 6 barrel hoops which we could play with. “Are you ready?” I cried “1, 2, 3, go!” Three of the kids began to whack the hoops along the ditch floor. We were all yelling and cheering like mad. I looked up and saw my father watching us.


 “Drummer Kenny, you go next and give them a good run.” Gordon passed me a hoop and a stick. “Ready, off ya go.” I rolled the hoop and whacked at it with my drumstick. But since the ditch wasn`t very wide, we kept bumping into each other and we`d fall about laughing and we`d get back up and try again. Madeline was doing very well, she never missed a hit and she beat us by a mile. I didn`t know I`d get beaten by a girl. The next game we tired was using stilts. Each of us had a go and we`d try walking around with them. I kept falling over though so I gave up on it for a bit.


 Then after a bit, we all stood in a circle and began to sing Ring around the roses, which was lots of fun because we had to teach the English words to Madeline and her friends. “Ah the English is so hard, you should try one of our songs” she said. “On rouland ma bula roulong, on rouland ma boure, on rouland my bula roulong, on roulang ma bule.” “We made a mess of the song but we all fell about laughing at trying to use each others languages. When the fatigue call was sounded, we reluctantly bid goodbye to the other children but they promised us that they`d come back and play with us again.


There were other times where we got together and played stool ball or Nine pin bowling. We also sang songs to each other. I remember singing Sing a song of sixpence and Jack and Jill. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Tales of Mother Goose which we`d read to the other children and we`d act out the songs. The girls would also teach us cat`s cradle with sting they had. We`d also watch the officer`s play cricket on the glacis outside the forts walls. When it wasn`t raining, we`d also play marbles.

Sargeant Steele`s son, Matthew took a likeing to my uniform and drum. When I would practice with the other young drummers, he would follow me about like a little dog with his master. He was a cute little fellow. His mother often apologized to me for Matthew following me about, but I didn`t mind. Since I had no brothers or sisters, it was nice to have a little boy want to be around me. His father made him a small drum from a cut down powder keg and Matthew would try and imitate my drumming. Shortly afterwards, Steele was sent with his company to Placentia, his wife and son followed. He cried as he went in the boat crying out Euan bye bye. It made me a little sad, for he was a good little boy, and where he was going, there were not many other boys for him to play with.


Gordon and I even pooled our money together to buy a set of toy soldiers. We were able to get a set each of infantry, cavalry and artillery. The quartermaster even let use some of the paint to make them look like ourselves. The officers found this was good and even used them to show how we could attack the French next time. It kept us busy and with the dice we had, we even played our own battles.

When we could get a few boys together, we`d also fight battles with them with toy guns and swords we made. 


 Being a soldier was tough, but it still beat watching those sheep on wet moors in Ireland. And so it was for the rest of the summer, fixing the forts walls, gates, and buildings. We`d go out on patrols with an escort of rangers, and also it seemed that all we ever had to do was cut firewood. But firewood cutting parties were very interesting as Cpl. Nickerson was in charge of those. I found out from these parties more and more stories of the older soldiers. Nickerson had in fact fought in the big battles of the War of Spanish Succession in Flanders. “Aye little Euan, I even fought with Marlborough at Blenheim. I was in the pioneer section of Corporal John`s army. I spent most of the morning throwing down fascines into the marsh we had to cross. Now that was a battle! There seemed to have been soldiers from every part of Europe in that great battle. I was lucky in that I came through without a scratch. The ground shook with the movement of the cavalry charges and loud were the cannons roar. A lot of English troops advanced against the villages the French and Barvarians had fortified. That night, we pounded the place with our artillery. In the morning, when they surrendered, was saw that the villages had been packed with thousands of soldiers. The French and Barvarian commanders had kept too many men inside and they couldn`t shoot without hitting their own men. We took scores of men afterwards.


 When that war was over, I enlisted in Independent companies to come and serve in Newfoundland. Whenever we had the chance, we`d go out fishing to add to our diet. Then when Phillip`s regiment was raised, I came here. I miss being on the sea jigging for cod, but you don`t have to worry about falling out of a boat in the woods.”


 After the siege, the soldiers were drilled in woods fighting by the rangers in the forest, and in a new defensive drill inside the forts walls. If the French were to attack again, this time they would meet the main French attack with concentrated musket firing in ranks. When one rank would fire, they would retire, to be replaced by another rank would fire and so on. As the summer gave way to the fall, I began to notice the change in the air. The mornings were not cool as they had been in the summer, but were becoming crisp with a cold and frost that would be on the ground. The trees which had been green were changing into a rainbow of colors. There were yellows, reds, browns and they dotted the hillsides with ribbons of colors. The birds were beginning to fly south for the winter.

Since we had used so much powder during the attacks during the summer, we had to also go in and shift the gunpowder barrels. We did this so the powder wouldn`t cake together if it got damp. If the powder was wet, we may as well have thrown rocks at the enemy. I was always scared to do that job because the barrels were so heavy and also if there was any spark, we`d all be blown to kingdom come. The rules in the powder magazine were no fire or smoking of any kind, we couldn`t go inside with any metal on us, so we had to wear a special suit of clothes and wear moccasins so that there would be no chance of our shoe buckles or nails scraping anything to make a spark.


Chapter 7: The French return


In the middle of October, the drums were sounding assembly in the wee hours of the morning. It was still dark when I tumbled out onto the parade square with the other soldiers. The officers were forming the soldiers into their companies with shouted orders and commands. When they were all assembled, Col. Mascarene spoke “Kings forces, Gorehams Rangers have sighted a large French and Indian War party advancing towards us. They are estimated to be about 600 men. With the rangers and ourselves, we only number 200. We`re outnumbered three to one, but we have an advantage. We`re inside this fort, which we have been making stronger all summer. All of you have been drilled with a new way of fighting. You have also been issued with new muskets. Each of you will do your duty for King, country and your regiment. We`re the best regiment in America and we`ll send those rascally French and Indians running. Three cheers for King George the Second, Hip Hip Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah”


 We stood rigidly at attention and I was thinking, why did these French soldiers want to attack us again? Lt. Kenny took our company and posted them along the top of the walls.  I joined them and then the waiting began. At about daybreak, I could hear distant fifing and drumming. On the south bank of the river on a slight rise, I could see the French forming up. These soldiers were wearing grey coats faced blue and were wearing blue breeches and tricorns. Instead of swords hanging from their belts, they had tomahawks. There were some Mik Maq warriors crawling closer to the walls. These warriors were wearing blue leggings and had blanket coats. The French force advanced towards the forts walls with their colors flying and drums and fifes playing.


 We held our fire until the French were almost against the walls. Finally the forts guns fired and scattered the French as the cannon balls bounded towards them.  In the river though were a few fishing boats and small boats that the rangers had. Before the Rangers could act, a party of French Marines had captured the boats and had scored the first victory in their siege. These boats were armed with swivel cannons and thus the French now had some artillery to fire on the fort. The guns were of small caliber, but could still kill and maim.


 The French Marines took the boats out into the river and began to fire on the fort to harass the defenders. All of a sudden, I heard a pop from one of the ships guns but was then followed by an almighty explosion. I first thought that a lucky hit by the French had hit one of the guns in the bastion and blew it up killing the crew. When the smoke cleared, I saw a scene of true horror. It wasn`t a lucky shot but rather the gun was so old that it blew up when fired. Not one of the guns crew was left intact. The only way you could tell that there had been living men standing there were the body parts and broken equipment strewn about. It looked like a painter had knocked over a pot of red paint. I was so shocked that I threw up my lunch. 



Then the familiar yelling and screaming as the French and Mik Maq made an assault on the walls.  When the French got to the edge of the ditch, we began to let loose a fusillade on the attackers. I kept beating out the firing commands. The volleys were deafening. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! The smoke from the cannons and muskets was so thick that it was like a man made fog covering the area. A few soldiers began to fall on the walls, from French fire. After about half an hour, the French withdrew, having tested the strengths of the garrison. When the smoke cleared, the ditch around the fort had more bodies in it. But to the surprise of the officers, it wasn`t French dead but more Mik Maq! Even more surprising for the garrison, was after the first assault, the French seemed content to snipe at the troops on the walls. This time though, with a stronger and more aggressive force, Massacrene ordered Capt. Goreham to make a night sortie and find out what the true situation of the French was.


 The first act for the rangers was to relieve the boats in the river of their French captors and to try and chase off the Mik Maq. As they prepared to leave, I caught sight of Benard. He was in his uniform but had painted his face black, and looked very fierce. I waved cheerfully but Benard had a grim face on him. Later I learned that Benard was part of the party that would storm the boats. Rangers had courage, but trying to attack a ship that had cannons, no matter how small felt like suicide.


 As a ruse, Col. Mascarene had the garrison Drummers assemble the garrison and lining the walls to fire blank charges towards the French and Mik Maq, in an attempt to keep their heads down. It worked. Gorehams men rushed down the glacis and took some canoes they had spotted and charged out over the river to the boats. The French crews were easily surprised in the darkness and the rangers took the ships and sailed for Boston with all speed.


 The French commander Duviver attempted a parley with Mascarene. During the cordial meeting over wine, Duviver informed the British Commander “I have a fleet of ships, cannons and more men who will arrive from Louisbourg. In all honor, I ask you to surrender so that we may stop fighting.” Mascarene suspected a rouse and decided to see if Duviver was bluffing. The garrison officers began to grumble and argue with Mascarene again, urging him to surrender. Mascarene understood that this was not because they were cowards, but rather they were old and tired. The siege then became a dangerous game of wait and see. If Duviver was correct, a French fleet would use their guns to pound us to dust, and Nova Scotia would become Acadie again. We all became alarmed at this fact and every soldier who could was weaving more gabion baskets to add to the bastion walls and we kept fixing the walls as best as we could.





 Our morale began to fall seeing how the officers were arguing between themselves. I had no wish to spend my days in a French prison cell and would continue to fight no matter what. During another parley, Duviver again asked for the British surrender, but when one of his junior officers began to yell at the British officers the politeness of parley gave way to the rudeness of war again.


 About 10 days later, one Mik Maq warrior who was captured told the officers that the military commander at Louisbourg De Gannes had ordered the French to raise the siege and to return to the French city. So we thought that was that. The second attack on us petered out and we began to relax and begin to prepare for the coming winter. We sent out patrols to check on the French camp, only to find it deserted. The only evidence that there had been an attacking army was the many brush huts that they had built in the tree lines to hide the position of their camp. We also found the beginnings of siege works. The French had started to dig trenches and gun positions in expectation of the arrival of their artillery and more troops from Louisbourg, France or the West Indies.


 On a late October morning, after we had begun to believe that the danger was over, the sentry on the wall noticed 4 ships of the line advancing up the river. “Corporal of the guard, 4 Man of war sighted in the river approaching.” “Which flag are they flying sentry” “I can`t see” Cpl. Nickerson ran to the officer`s quarters to find an officer on duty. Captain Bradstreet was the only one awake and upon hearing Nickerson`s report, grabbed a spy glass and ran up to the wall to check the masts of the ship. As he raised the glass, he gasped, “Dear God , those are French ships ready to bombard the fort.” “Drummer, sound to arms, Corporal, advise the officers of the situation, get to the artillery officer and man the guns at once.”



 “I awoke to the sounds of the drums beating out assembly again, and as it was getting to be a regular occurance, the troops quickly roused out and began to get themselves into their positions. Every one of us looked in horror at the ships approaching up the river. They were not small privateers but rather frigates and brigs with several gun decks. The guns on the ships matched the heavy guns on our walls. But the ships easily out gunned us. It was a tense few minutes until the gun crews came up to man their pieces.

 The only activity we could see was a small cutter pull out from the largest ship and head to the North shore of the river. We watched as an officer and a party of French Marines advanced up the river bank. “Sir, shall I open fire?” asked the gun commander. “Hold fire, until the French open up, I do not want to tell them what we have in our bastions. Massacrene watched the ships for sighs of their guns being made ready or other boats getting ready.


 All of a sudden an alarm came from the bastion on the far left, the one in which the main gunpowder magazine was. “Col. Massacrene, ships crews are landing troops on the south bank of the river. “Lt. Lindsay” came Massacren`e cry, “take 2 companies and man the outer walls. Get into the blockhouse and load the swivels with grape and the wall guns with buck and ball. “Yes sir, Lindsay`s company and Bradstreet`s company, from line into collumn at the quick step, march. 50 men quickly followed their officers out the sally port towards the barbette battery and the blockhouse. “By Jesus, I think the French mean to take us this time. Men of war, with heavy guns, and a company of Marines per ship. That makes about 1200 men they have ready to storm us from this side, not forgetting the troops which are some where to our east.


 “Guns loaded and ready sir.” “Drummer Kenny” came Lindsay`s cry. “Yes sir” I replied. Get yourself into the blockhouse. Stay on the first floor. If the French begin to come up the glacis, take a blunderbuss and fire out through the loophole, but only do so when they have crossed over and up the bank.” “But sir, you need my drumming to aid in orders.” “I have a drummer already, you will need to beat out commands from the blockhouse.” He then knealt so that only I could hear. “Euan, I know that the guns will fire onto any gun position, but if you are inside the blockhouse, you will have more cover. You are my only son, and I want you to survive. Be a good boy and see to your duty.” “Yes sir, good luck”. I saluted my father and ran into the blockhouse.



All day, the men watched the ships. Every moment might be the one when the awful machines of death would spit out fire and smoke sending roundshot pounding into the walls or smashing into bodies. The few rangers in the fort began to make a sally out to the lower town to see what was about and to act as a skirmish screen to deter a landing.

By nightfall, no shots had been fired. Sentries were posted, but the men were ordered to come off the walls and sleep at the bottom of the parapets. If the French wanted to attempt a night assault, the garrison would still be ready to meet them. Euan waited patiently inside the blockhouse. “About 11pm, I was ordered to go and see if there was any stew or tea made for us. None of us had eaten all day, and our canteens were all but empty. I quietly dashed towards the sallyport and was challenged by the sentries.


 “Who goes there came a hoarse whisper. “Drummer Kenny” I answered. “What`s Irish for red hand? I gave the reply and was allowed to enter. I got a tin pot of tea and one of stew to take out to the blockhouse. I took great care not to spill it. It was tough going as we weren`t allowed any lanterns to light our way. Once I made it back inside, one soldier was kept a look out on the swivel guns while those of us who could ate as quickly as possible in order to give the others a chance to eat and rest as well. I was allowed to sleep, but I would keep waking up terrified that the guns would begin to fire. Finally at dawn, the French ships began to fire. “Get down take cover”. Every soldier who could crouched as low as possible and hugged the grass as though it was a mother holding them and giving them comfort.



 The cannon balls thudded into the earthen walls shaking them like God was angry and shaking the earth we were on. You`d hear the thump of the gun, then the whoosh of the ball coming over. The only sound they made when they landed was a dull thud or if it hit something, you`d hear a crashing sound of metal on wood. 


The sentries looked out over the top of the walls to see what was happening. The ships were giving a bombardment to cover a raiding party who were capturing the small boats on the wharf. Since the gunfire would intimidate the townspeople and keep us with our heads down, the French Marines boarded the vessels and rowed them to the cover of their ships. Gorehams fired at them, but this only attracted the attention of swivel guns that were in the French boats. The French naval commander had learned that Duviver had already left, so the navy force occupied itself by capturing some supply boats that had arrived to relive the fort.



We thought that we were damm lucky for if Duviver had stayed put and the ships had bombarded us, we`d have been prisoners or dead for sure. For me 1744 proved to be a dangerous year.”



“Grampie, why didn`t you run away to somewhere safe?” “Well, there really wasn`t any where else to go. So I thought, well, I might as well stay and fight.”

“For many evenings afterwards, the officers conversations were about what the French were up to and what should they do. Having survived two attacks, the officers all agreed that they would forget any talk of surrender. They sent messages to Boston to ask the governor of Massachussetts for more troops.



The next time I was able to go into the town, the only Acadian to be trading was little Madeline. She had brought corn, pumpkins, onions, carrots, squash and turnips to trade or sell. Her father had sent whatever surplus vegetables he had to the garrison in the hopes that if he fed the British soldiers, he`d keep them from burning his farm. Madeline was feeling very worried.




 “Papa only talks about the fighting. When the French soldiers come from Louisbourg and they have Mik Maq with them, he gives them whatever he can, and listens to what they say. Every time a war party comes through with a French officer, the officer always asks Papa to join and help drive the English out, but for our family this is our home, not France or Isle Royale.



 My family has been here for a hundred years, and this is the only home we know.” Her father had been given a new French musket and a cartridge box, which the French officers were giving to all the Acadians who would take them expecting that they would join in attacking Fort Anne. Madeline`s father gave what he could because he feared that if he gave nothing to the French soldiers, their Mik Maq allies would burn his home  and take everything. I always liked talking with Madeline as we could talk about what I had experienced in Ireland, where the only home I had had was taken away from me, and how my life had changed so much when I had arrived in Nova Scotia.


 “For us, this land is Acadie, not New Scotland” she said. It was so similar for me because I considered Ireland Eire, but this land was now called by it`s English name. The best part was, I had made another friend.





Chapter 8, Preparing for winter

As the summer turned to fall, the soldiers filled their days with chopping firewood, making sure that they had enough blankets and laying in a stock of candles. As Private Delaney told me, “The winters here are long and dark. We need lots of wood, lots of candles and lots of rum!” Now I wasn`t a stranger to cold weather, but I was getting worried about what was coming. As well, I saw a lot of the soldiers coming back from patrols with bundles of spruce branches. When I asked about them, Delaney explained to me that they would be used to make spruce beer, which was drunk to keep scurvy away.


 There was little time to rest. The day`s routine had changed from drilling to preparing for the winter. With a shipment of new blankets, the soldiers spent their time sewing a blanket into a coat called a capote, which the Acadians had taught them to make. These coats were thick and warm with a hood and would protect the soldiers while on duty during long hours walking the forts parapets. Any one who could, knitted scarves, woolen hats, and mittens. Thick socks were also issued and the soldiers mended their wool leggings. Standing in a snowstorm was not the time to remember that one should have prepared a little more in the fall.


November came around and with it came traditions from the old world. Oct 31 had been welcomed by the Irish soldiers as All Hallows Eve. The soldiers carved faces into turnips and pumpkins and dressed and disguised themselves as highwaymen and paid a visit to the Officers who warmly welcomed them and treated them to rum and brandy. Lindsay and I spent the evening going about the barracks playing tunes on our pipes and boran and helping in sing songs with the troops. It was important to keep these customs alive. The officers felt it greatly helped with morale and helped keep defaulters at bay.


The English got to have their chance to entertain by celebrating Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th. Cpl. Nickerson was splendid in making up a huge batch of Hot Buttered Rum for the troops and many a men dressed up again and had more singing and dancing as well as a huge bonfire out by the river. The English joked that by lighting these fires, they`d scare the Mik Maqs out of attacking them this winter. I thought they might be right. After all the terrible things I had seen that year, I could understand why the soldiers were going a little crazy. I sipped my hot buttered rum, letting the hot liquid course through my body, and I began to feel wild and I was soon belting out the tunes and cheering during my boran playing. I felt that I should enjoy my life as much as I could, because I could not know if a French or Mik Maq musket ball might take my life away in the coming year. Maybe that`s why all the officers drink so much and the soldier hide their rum rations. It`s the only way to escape this crazy world.


 I was even brave enough to start smoking a pipe that night. On my first puff, I gagged and spit up my rum, but the other soldiers laughed and told me to just pull a little into your mouth, not to inhale and then blow out. It was a strange sensation. The smoke felt like it was cooking the inside of my mouth, but then all I could smell was smoke afterwards. Perhaps, I though I should wait until I was older to smoke.” “Stupid boy” Emily said, “you were a foolish boy weren`t you Euan?” “Yes dear that`s why I don`t do it now, you asked me to not drink the demon rum or the devil tobacco.” “And you`ve been a much better man since I`d say”.



Euan had a drop of tea. “The next morning I felt sick as a dog, and I also thought that perhaps, I`d also have to save drinking rum for when I was older as well. My head pounded, my stomach ached and I had to constantly run to the necessary house to purge my bowels which were like fire inside him. Oh, what calamities I felt were befalling my body. For a while after, I had only bread, and tea, no more liquor would touch me for a bit, or perhaps, I`d have to not drink at all.




The snow begins to fall.

One morning late in November, I was surprised to see that the puddles in the parade square from the previous days rain had frozen over! It was COLD! Even the soldier`s shirts that the washer women had hung out to dry had frozen stiff! With Gordon, I picked up the ice from the puddles and lined it up along the barrack walls. The cold was not a wet dampness but it made you shiver as soon as you stepped outside. Since October, the grass had been covered with frost but now in November it had progressed to ice! The cold bit into your skin making ones hands red and your cheeks rosy. Now I understood why everyone had been making mittens! Watching the smoke from the chimneys lazily drift upward in the cold air gave me the feeling that the winter would be long.





 After drumming for the changing of the sentries, I felt relieved that I could sit by the wood stove in the guardhouse and sip my hot tea. But the sentries would have only their walking to keep their numbed limbs warm. During the day the sky was as grey as  musket balls and the air felt strange. You could taste and smell chilled water in the air which tingled in your nose. I stepped outside to beat out the drum call to change the sentry when I saw the first snow flake fall.


 WOW, I thought, it`s snowing. The snow began to build into a steady fall. By evening, you couldn`t see 5 meters in front of you. Everything had turned from grey to white. I asked Delaney what was happening.


 “Oh, this is a blizzard lad. It`s not uncommon for us to get one this early in the winter. We`d best stoke up the fire and I`ll get the Corporal to go and check on the sentries. I guess we`ll have to make sure they only have one hour on in this, not the two we have for the rest of the year.” Then the wind came up. It blew so hard and strong that it took the breath away from you. The snow stung your face as soon as you stepped out the door. The only light that there was came from the Officers barracks windows and a few lanterns that were hung about to help guide soldiers to the necessary house in the dark. Walking the walls in this weather was very dangerous and the sentries were told to just pace in each bastion. They had to keep moving for standing still would rob them of what body heat they had. At least if you were walking, you were still making heat for yourself. My nose was running but it began to freeze, as the tempreture had dropped so much.


And so it was for three days. Snow, snow, and more snow. All you could see was white. It seemed like it would never stop snowing! Everyone who wasn`t on duty was huddled in their barracks trying to stay dry and warm. It was tough on the sentries who had to try and dry out their clothes and warm up as best they could. And every soldier would do his duty, it was just how life as a soldier was. With only four drummers in garrison, each boy would be on for 24 hours at a time at least twice a week. But at least drummers didn`t need to march about.


 Finally on the morning of the fourth day, I awoke to see that the snow had drifted up right up to the tops of the first floor windows! The soldiers took the fire shovels and crawled out the upper story windows to start and dig out the doors. The officers, and NCO`s were calling out to each building to see it their occupants were still alive and well. All the sentries survived the night but everywhere was a thick coat of snow. It was a big worry for the soldiers because now that the snow was so deep and high, in some places, enemy soldiers would be able to walk over the ditch and scale the walls with relative ease. And as was always the case, everyone was put to work doing something to combat the soldier`s worst enemy, boredom. It took a further 3 days to dig enough paths about the fort to making walking easier. The daunting thought occurred to me, if this was just the beginning of winter, how many more storms would we have before spring?


Chapter 9: Euan`s First Nova Scotian Christmas.


The winter in Nova Scotia could be summed up with two words, cold and snow. Now like I said, I wasn`t a stranger to the cold, having spent many a day watching those sheep, but I had never seen so much snow fall. Everything was coated in a thick blanket of snow and ice. The snow from the first blizzard wasn`t melting. It just stayed where it was. It made moving about difficult until the Rangers showed the soldiers how to make snowshoes.


 Even though it was winter, they said, the French and Indians would still make war on us. Another problem with all the snow and cold was that the soldiers were cooped up in their barracks for weeks on end. The only people who went out were the sentries. Going to the necessary house was an ordeal as it was so cold in there, it felt like the water in you would turn to ice when it came out!


A lot of time was spent doing little chores that the soldiers didn`t have time for in the rest of the year. Several soldiers could sew and make things out of leather for some of them had been saddlers before enlisting. Belts and shooting bags began to fill up the hooks and pegs around the walls. Any linen that was on hand was being cut and sewn into shirts for the spring. Other soldiers would carve designs into cow horns and make them into powder horns which were good for at keeping the powder dry and were very useful for hunting. I decided that I`d make a chess set for my father out of wood, so I began to carve them.

Other soldier who could read would read out stories from the bible or other books or newspapers which we had. A lot of the papers were very old, but it would lead to discussions, and anything which kept you from being bored, was good.


 The officers spent their time catching up on writing the regiments dispatches, journals and documents. A lot of time was spent by both the officers and men repairing and maintaining their weapons for the next attack which they were sure would come.

The other problem was that the climate in Annapolis Royal wrecked havoc with the forts walls and buildings. In the spring when it came, we would be tasked with putting new sod on the walls and adding more earth to keep them strong.


The barracks were miserable. Some of the older buildings were very drafty as the seams between in the logs would open up. Even the wood could be pulled out by your fingers. At times the weather was so foul, the soldiers couldn`t even make it to the necessary house and had to use their wash buckets as toilets. The stink made you gag, but it wasn`t much different from sheep dung as I remembered.


But finally there was a day to celebrate. Christmas had arrived. Despite the misery of the barracks, the weather and the food, salt pork for 3 weeks straight, the officers and men had been preparing for the day. The Regimental chaplin had given a divine service to the troops and as a good will gesture and morale booster, the officers and NCO`s threw a Regimental dinner for the entire garrison. No expense was spared in food and drink for the men. Secretly, the NCO`s had been preparing vast kegs of beer, and had been able to acquire large amounts of rum. Hot Buttered Rum was flowing freely as well as good wine which the officers had secretly aquired from the French.


 The food made my stomach rumble with hunger. Cornish pasties had been prepared. Wild fowl which the officers had shot such as included ducks, geese and partridges  were all spit roasted and stuffed with cornmeal and apples. Hams had been smoked, beef had been roasted and large amounts of root vegetables were cooked to help ward off the dangers of scurvy. The officers joined in the dinner as well as in drink and song. The officers knew that an occasion like this would help to head off some desertions and meloncoly for a bit. I presented my chess set that I had made for my father and he presented me with a deck of cards and some dice which he`d made out of two musket balls. “Now just so you know, gambling is officially a crime but if you are stuck inside a barracks for several weeks, you ought to give something for the other soldiers to do. Just don`t gamble on money.”


Lindsay and I played music again and other soldiers brought out their fiddles, tin whistles and voices made merry and the rafters rang. Later in the evening, as the men continued their celebrations in the barracks, several soldiers arrived in costumes. One man was dressed as a parson with a hood on his head, another was as a lady of the evening and two others had made themselves look like Indians. It was the old custom of mummering. The men came in to boisterous laughing and welcomes. The men all had masks on their faces and danced, played tunes and sang until each was given a piece of fruit cake which had been made for the occasion as well as a good tot of rum punch. In a part of fun, the parson blessed the men and after a bit, all the mummers left to visit another barracks.


 It was a night that helped everyone forget that we were far from our home, in an inhospitable place in the dead of winter.” ”I decided to strike up a tune I knew.

“Will ye go to Flanders, my mally-o. Will ye go to Flanders, my mally-o, farewell good wine and brandy, sac and sugar candy, will ye go to Flanders, my mally-o…


 As I finished singing, I could see tears in the eyes of the older soldiers who had been away from home for so long.

” “Were the winters worse than now Grampie?” “No Anne, they were the same, it was just that I wasn`t used to it yet.” Just thinking of that first winter made Euan shiver and Emily put a shawl around his shoulders to warm him. “Thank you dear, you take good care of me”.


“Well, with the soldiers being exposed to cold and damp, sickness began to break out. With the newyear being long past, the men began to fall victim to a host of diseases. The first one to make the rounds was the bloody flux caused by the lack of clean water and the contamination of the air by the “honey buckets” as the soldiers began to call the wash tubs which had been filled and emptied out the doors. With our diet being only a pound of bread a day, with dried peas and salted beef or pork (and I suspected horse) the men began to get sick with scurvy. I watched with horror as some of the older men started to bleed from their gums and loose their teeth. The NCO`s were trying to find onions and cabbages to make soup for the troops before most of them would die. We all drank our spruce beer, and we`d eat our vegetables but when the supplies began to get low, then the sickness would start. Then the worst hit.





Chapter 10, The Pox

One morning when I was preparing to act as the duty drummer, I began to feel strange. The inside of my mouth felt funny, like I had small bumps in it, and my throat began to feel very raw. I also noticed that I had a small rash but thought it was because we had not been able to wash properly in days. As I went about my duty, I began to feel even weaker. On the fourth change of the guard, I marched out of the guard house and began to beat, but my hands didn`t want to obey and I dropped my sticks, I then collapsed into a heap of snow. The last thing I remembered was Cpl. Nickerson yelling for the surgeon.





“Bloody hell, but I feel terrible” I yelled . The pox was the worst. “I can`t stop bloody scratching myself” Mine was one of the barracks that was turned into a small pox hospital. To my amazement, Lindsay was there. “Da, you can`t be here, you`ll get sick, I`ll be on me own if you die.” “No worries Euan” said my father, “I had the pox as a child, and survived. I was lucky and got a mild case, but it gave me a cure from it in the future, now I`m to nurse any soldier who has it”. As the days went by, we saw more of the soldiers added to the beds.




 “Lynch, you`re not sick are ye?” I asked.  But Lynch was beyond speaking. The pox had covered his whole body. It looked like he had been spit roasted on the fire. The barracks was a world of misery and dispair. All I could hear at night were the moans and groans of those who were sick. The fever had made me begin to have dreams where my mum was there with me. My father told me he could hear the conversations I had with mother who wasn`t there. “Mother, it`s alright that you ran off and left us in Ireland. I didn`t know you came to Nova Scotia. Please stay with us”. Lynch in his agony began to cry for his own mother, “I`ll be a good boy mum, I`ll not tease the pigs, or break the pots anymore, I`ll do anything if you can make me feel better. I`ll learn to be a coachmen with Da, just stop the pain mum.”


 All the while, Lindsay gave words of comfort, and did what he could. The surgeon could do little. “Tis what happens in winter sir” Dr. Malcom said. “With so many men under one roof, trapped by the snow, it`s only a matter of time before soldiers get sick. But we must keep the pox here in the fort. If it spreads into the town, it`ll create a panic.”



On the sixth day Lynch was no longer crying. His face was a palor of ivory. The sweat was coming off him, but the pox had been too advanced to let him recover. The next morning, I found out, the young lad, who had sold himself into indenture servitude, only to run away to join the army and be a gunner, died at the young age of 16. “I can handle the deaths of soldiers in battle, or by my knives, but to see them die of diseases God creates, it`s a mighty burden to me” Dr. Malcom was heard to say


“And all I could do was cry for the boy, because I hadn`t been much of a friend to him.” Euan stopped and wiped the tears from his eyes. Anne had tears running down her cheeks. Euan`s family was lucky as they had never been exposed to those diseases. “I`ve never had to watch my children die from sickness and I pray Alex that you`ll never have to either.”


Euan sat and watched the fire for a bit, trying to remember what parts of the story he had yet to say. Just as he was about to begin, Euan`s other son Arthur arrived. “Sorry father, some of the sheep fled into the woods and I had to chase them” “Ah that`s a good lad, chasing the sheep, bringing them back. Just as long as you weren`t chasing the girls”. Everyone laughed.


“Grampie, is that the end of the story, what about how we came here?” “Now hold on Anne, I`m just getting started.” He drained his tea cup and then began again.


“One of the more interesting things that winter of 1744 was what had been happening outside of Nova Scotia. The soldiers began to tell us of news and stories they had heard over the years and it helped to make the long nights more bearable. We heard tell that a large fleet and army had been sent from England and America to try and capture the city of Cartagena in the Indies from the Spanish back in 1741. But the commanders were a bunch of idiots as they had no experience in attacking a fortress and even the grenades they had were too old, and most didn`t fire. A lot of the soldiers were Englishmen from New York or New Jersey. They were just militiamen and no one knew how to be a soldier. All the Spanish soldiers had to do was point their muskets out the loopholes in their walls and fire away. The city was also heavily defended with about five different forts and batteries.”


Sgt. Nelson piped up “Well the first action was actually back in November 1739. Admiral Vernon attacked Portobelo with a fleet of 6 ships. Now there was a mighty bit of prize money for those Jack tars. See all the Spanish colonies in the south are just full of gold and silver. So the government back home decides, right time for us to expand our empire. So they sends out Lord Cathcart to lead the army and navy and what`s he up and do but dies! So then all the officers are wondering whose in command? So Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth then go about trying to reduce Cartagena. Now like we said the commanders were pretty daft because they let their pride get in the way.


The first thing they did was bombard the city for a month. Then the army landed at Boca Chica which was right below their castle and was covered by bastions and batteries. They must have faced no less than 100 cannon! Now this is where the whole thing starts to unravel. Vernon argured that his ships couldn`t come in shore to give covering fire. Wentworth was pretty angry at having to try and reduce the forts on his own with just his artillery. In fact, Vernon had forced Wentworth to land and begin his stage of the operation. Wentworth had not planned his assault well and was stuck with not a lot of time to capture the place. If he stayed too long, the rainy season would come and the invasion force would soon drop like flies from all the diseases the tropics will give you.


The Spanish commander just had to sit back and watch our boys drop from yellow jack, the flux and since he had not planned well, the army began to run out of supplies. Men either dropped dead from sickness or from hunger. The soldiers didn`t get their promise of mountains of gold. More men died in that siege from sickness than from Spanish fire. Even more died on the ships home. But the most interesting bit was that an officer had been sent back to London to report that we had captured the place! I`ve even heard tell there was a medal struck! Funny enough, after the news arrived in Europe later that summer, we got ourselves involved in a nice war with the French because our King has decided to support that Austrian hag on her throne.

“Do you rightly think that a British Captain would start a war with the Spanish?” asked one of the men. “Well the silly bugger showed off his pickled ear in Parliament so he must have done something wrong to make the Don`s want to fight us.”


 “You mean there was war in other parts of the world?” asked Anne. “Oh yes child, England and France and Spain fight wherever they have colonies. Even worse was the war back in Scotland. Bonnie Prince Charlie decided that he`d be able to make himself king. But the days of the Highlanders being able to defeat the English were over.  The Highlanders had been able to defeat the English twice, but the King sent his son the Duke of Cumberland and his army crushed the Highlanders at Culloden. We didn`t hear about any of that war until we got more supplies in the spring of 1747.


 In Boston, the Governor was getting mighty fed up with the French up at Louisbourg. He didn`t like that they had a good trade business, and that they were closer to getting the fish out on the Grand Banks. There was also a lot of smuggling of goods to New England or English goods traded to the French. As well, he didn`t like the fact that he had to keep sending us soldiers to defend Nova Scotia, so he held a conference and all the Governors of New England banded together and decided to attack Louisbourg. As well the French in Quebec had constantly been sending down war parties of Natives and some Canadians to raid the New England frontier. All over New Hampshire, and Massachuttes, the colonial governors had to build Garrison houses, blockhouses, stockades and small forts to protect the settlers. The Garrison houses were regular houses but had thick walls and musket loopholes in them. It was getting very expensive to keep building these places.


Even in Newfoundland, the British had to keep building forts and other defenses to protect the fishing harbors. For the British, the best way to defend ourselves has always been to have a strong Navy, but to hold possessions in the new world, you have to build palaces for the colonists and settlers to feel safe in time of war. There were several different places that had to be defended for the fishermen and places to dry their catches. Now actually Newfoundland was British, but the French were always trying to challenge the control of the fishery. Since they had Louisbourg, they felt that they could command the whole North Atlantic fishing banks.

 Up in Labrador, they had built small forts and stations and there was Fort Charles, a post at Rigolet bay, a fort at Red Bay and another fort at Baie-Chateau. The main base for the British was at Placentia which had been French until the end of the previous war. But the king`s ministers back in England didn`t know how big Newfoundland really was.  A lot of the best harbors and coves needed some sort of protection. The British had Fort William and Fort Frederick around Placentia and some defenses at St. Johns. But an area so big, it was hard for them to defend all these places. At least here in Nova Scotia, we had 2 settlements but they were so far apart, that even Massacrene complained. Before the war, the government didn`t even give us a boat to patrol up and down the coast. It was mad trying to keep this area British.


“Then there was Louisbourg. Louisbourg was a grand city that the French built up on Cape Breton. After the French had lost Acadie, they moved to Isle Royale and began to build a mighty fortress to challenge the British in Nova Scotia. It had an excellent harbour which made it both a major fishing base, but also a Naval station for the French. It became a major seaport because of it`s location close to the fishing banks, and also it was on the trade routes to New France and Europe and the West Indies.


It developed into the main market for codfish which would be then sent along to French colonies in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Dominique and off to France. It could safely hold an entire fishing fleet to ride out storms and was a busy harbour only behind New York, Boston and Charleston. Merchant ships from France, the West Indies and New England would bring in besides codfish, molasses, sugar, coffee, whale oil, lumber, food, pottery, fabrics and furniture. They`d all unload their goods which would then be sent to other colonies. The quays were filled with goods, and inside the fortified walls, you would have found storehouses filled to the brim. There were harbor front inns, and cabarets for sailors to be entertained in. 


But even though it was a thriving seaport, the climate was terrible. It was worse than at Fort Anne because it was right on the coast. For days and days you would find it covered in the thickest fog, and it was always cold and damp. Even in the summer, you`d see the seasons change in the same day.

 They called it Isle Royale. The French soldiers who attacked us at Fort Anne came from there. Now when I was laying in me bed in the winter of 1744, the French were having problems of their own. It seems that the cunning French officers had been holding out on their men. A lot of them hadn`t been paid, and the Swiss soldiers were treated badly by the French officers because they were not French. So while we were celebrating Christmas, the soldiers of Louisbourg had their own Christmas cheer by having a mutiny. They just decided that they wouldn`t be soldiers until they had been paid, fed better and treated fairly. The officers controlled the soldiers pay but some of the officers had been stealing the money. The soldiers also wanted more firewood as it was so damm cold. Of course, we didn`t know that in Annapolis Royal, we never found out until much later. All that winter we kept thinking that the French would come back.  But after the Swiss soldiers mutinied, they were sent home and never came back.”



Chapter 11: The fighing goes to the French.

“So did the war end then Father” asked Arthur. “Oh no, it was just beginning. In the spring, the Boston merchants bought themselves their own army to take Louisbourg. I think the General`s name was William Pepperell. They had their own artillery, and soldiers from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The only British help they got was from the Royal Navy. Commodore Warren was looking for some personal glory and riches. He knew that Louisbourg was a big French Naval station and that perhaps French treasure ships could bring him some prize money. He had convinced his Captains that it would be in their interests to help this little army. I mean, as an Irishman, he could smell out a good chance to increase his purse. So he brought 3 ships to the party, HMS Supere, Launceston, and Mermaid. When combined with the supply ships and troop transports, it would be a powerful navy and fleet. Some of the ships came into Annapolis Royal to pick up Gorham`s Rangers. I didn`t go with them because I was posted with the 40th Regiment to guard Annapolis Royal.”


Euan stoked the fire and stretched himself. He took a big gulp of tea and continued.

“The govenors of the New England colonies were hell bent on taking Louisbourg. They saw the French city as a threat to their trade, and since it was the most visible symbol of French might on the eastern seaboard, they felt that the attacks on their frontiers were as a result of the French wish to make all of North America French. The governors knew that they couldn`t attack Quebec because it was too well protected by strong garrisons and they had many friendly native tribes on their side.




Governor Shirley had wanted to attack Louisbourg when he had first learned of the French attacks on us at Annapolis Royal. Not only were the French harassing us, but there were also French Privateers who would take their ships and attack English fishermen on the Grand banks. These privateers were able to roam up and down the coasts without much bother from the English.” “You mean there were pirates at Louisbourg Grampie” little Anne asked. “No dear, privateers were sailors who were given a letter to say that they could attack any ship that wasn`t French. They were only to be used in time of war, but the French were very sneaky. When the news of the Canso attack reached Boston, many families spoke of how the French needed to be punished. They first wondered if they could do it, and then the people began to think of how to do it.

So slowly but surely, the leaders of Massachusets, Connecticut, and Rhode Island began to raise troops, built ships and find the supplies to attack Louisbourg. The other colonies raised money and gave it to this home grown army. Now this army was not like us in Annapolis Royal. They weren`t British soldiers, they didn`t wear the red coat, but the coats they had on their backs. The colonial governments issued blankets and muskets and then tried to train them for the coming attack. I remember our officers laughed themselves silly thinking that an army of farmers and fishermen led by shop keepers and merchants could take a European style fortress from regular French troops. But of course, no one knew that the garrison had muntinied during the winter of 1744-45, and that the walls were falling down.


The New England soldiers were extremely eager and found all sorts of materials to use in the coming attack. Every village sent what supplies they could, any extra cannon balls or food was being sent to Boston to the assembling force. But we heard that not everyone was convinced that Louisbourg would be such a cake walk as most believed. Benjamin Franklin was heard to say that fortified towns are hard nuts to crack, when your teeth are not used to it, but so many men believe that taking Louisbourg will be like taking snuff up the nose.


There were some veterans in the army. Captain Harmon had a group of snowshoe men who had raided into the Indian territories and were hard fighters. They were like Gorehams rangers. They had thirty years of experience fighting Indians on the frontier and thus with Goreham`s, were the only experienced units who knew the rigors of campaigning. The Harmon brothers were both old men, but they gave the army their knowledge.

“Father who were the snowshoe men, I thought Rangers were the only troops to chase the Indians” asked Alex.


Most of them were volunteers who did military service for their colony of Massachusetts.  Since there were few British units in America at the time, colonies had to raise their own militia and some were almost permament militiamen. Most of them were adventurers they did patrols and raiding along their frontier. They saw it as their duty to their king and country and to protect their fellow neighbors from Indian raids. Sometimes they would also garrison the small forts or garrison houses, but usually that was left to the usual militiamen who didn`t have the skills the older men had.


After they had picked up Gorehams Rangers in Annapolis Royal, the fleet moved up to Canso to prepare and train for their own war. It must have been awful for them because Benard told me afterwards what it had been like.”

“Aye Euan I can`t stand to eat fish anymore”, he told me one night when we were in our barracks in Annapolis Royal. “The transport ships had been working boats which had been used in fishing. The wood had become soaked in the juice and slime off the countless dead fish that had been caught. The ships were terrible, they stank, the motion of the ocean would make you loose your dinner overside more times than enough. We were always wet, and our food was cold”


The Rangers built a blockhouse and it was armed with cannons that they had brought with them. If they didn`t take Louisbourg, they definetly needed a safe place to defend when the French ships began to cruise down. Plus there were always Mik Maq who would be more than happy to scalp or kill us. During the first few days, one of the colonial officers had captured eight Mik Maq who had come to see what all the fuss was about. A few days later a war party came back to seek revenge and ambushed a small wood cutting party. As these new soldiers forgot to bring their muskets, the Mik Maq decided to take them up to Louisbourg. When they had stopped for a rest, the New England soldiers became brave and turned the tables on the war party. They struck them about and grabbed the muskets the Indians and French had, firing at those who ran away. These new soldiers brought back to Canso two Frenchmen and the Rangers went out to see what they could do. They found one dead and found a canoe they had come down in with a bottle of rum in it.



Now that they had seen some action, the New England boys felt they could begin to make the French pay back for all the raids their families had been suffering. A small group crossed the water onto Isle Royale and attacked St. Peters. They burnt the village, and captured a sloop which was added to the armada. They had left quickly because there had been more French and Mik Maq around then they were comfortable with. So a week later, they sent two ships and seventy men to destroy the place for good. Finally in April this army would begin their own war on the biggest French fort in America.


Chapter 12 The war goes to Louisbourg.

 They attacked the city for a month starting in May. The French soldiers who had attacked us, were then to suffer what we had. Now the area around Louisbourg is all forest and bogs. The beaches are really rough so it wasn`t easy for the army to land. A lot of the soldiers were used to row the boats inshore were fishermen who did this everyday as part of their job. When the New England army landed, the French hadn`t made any defenses on the beaches, they thought the woods would be enough of a barrier. But seeing as a lot of the soldiers were used to hard work in the forests of their homes, they just went at the work as though they were preparing for spring planting. The cannons that were to be used to fire on the city couldn`t be moved through the woods or boggs easily, so they made sleds for them and the men pulled the sleds over.


So there this army sat and began to bomb Louisbourg. The Royal Navy ships couldn`t come into the harbor because of the defenses the French had. So first, the Royal Battery had to be taken. At first, a small party under Colonel Vaughan went out to go and see how many soldiers were inside serving the guns. On the way, they had been burning any French store houses they could find. It was a grand looking place with walls of stone, two towers on each end, and there were twenty-eight forty-two pounder guns mounted and pointed at the mouth of the harbor. But what surprised this little group more was that the French had just left it! They had spiked their guns but they didn`t do anything to the gun carriages! The French had even left behind food and ammunition! So all the New Englanders had to do was turn the guns about to point at the city and begin to fire.


The Island battery had to be taken but the French had learned their lesson about just running away. Colonel Nobel and Capt. Goreham led an attack by boat to try and take the battery. They tried attacking by night, but the French had been closely watching the water behind them. When Goreham`s and Nobel`s troops landed on the island, the French fired everything they could at them. I heard from Benard that it was a nightmare. Those who could quickly got back into their boats and rowed to safety. Nobel and Goreham had been able to pull most of their troops away, but 200 of their men now lay dead on the beach. Goreham had had enough of assaults and led a party up onto Lighthouse point. Finding this to be a better place, they then moved cannons there and fired on both the island and the city. After a month of siege, the French Governor Duchambon surrendered. When they gave up, Pepperell sent them back to France and some to Boston. Then the Americans made Louisbourg their home.”


 “So that finished the war then?” asked his granddaughter.  “No Anne, it kept going on.


“As I said before, the French were always raiding New England. There was one fort in northern Massachuttes that was attacked about 3 times. It wasn`t safe to have a farm on the frontier.  

While we were left in Annapolis Royal, the French had sent more Indians to attack us. It was funny because all I could think of was, right it`s spring, time to fight again.


This time I was chopping firewood inside the fort with several other soldiers when we heard muskets fire. We got so used to the approaching sound of musket fire that we always stopped what we were doing to check if it wasn`t one of the officers out hunting.

Then I saw one of the privates clutching his throat, blood was pouring out of his hands like he was spilling a wineskin all over himself.  I saw him falling down the wall and then I ran to get my drum to beat out to arms again. I couldn`t believe it! We had just sent soldiers to attack Louisbourg and here there were Mik Maq`s attacking us again!

“Bloody hell Euan, did all the soldiers who went to Louisbourg die?” wondered Gordon.

“Jesus I don`t know, what do they think they are doing by attacking us again.” The officers were aghast as well. Lt. Scott was mad with rage. “You bloody murdering buggers, you want some more steel, taste it!” “40th Regiment load double rounds. If they keep coming, we`ll give them a bayonet charge!” So up the soldiers went onto the parapet and as one on the command “Fire” A great wall of fire and lead cut a swath through the ranks of the Canadian and Mik Maq attackers. I thought they were pretty stupid to try and rush our walls every time without artillery covering fire.


  But this attack lasted only about two weeks because they left quickly when they found out that Louisbourg was being attacked. This attack was made up of Canadian militia and French troops from Quebec and Louisbourg. It was pretty big too. There were about 300 French soldiers who came down to attack us. But the biggest mistake that they always made was that the Acadians would come and help them. When I talked with Madeline, she told me the same thing over and over, “We just want to live in peace and trade with each group. The French always tell us to help them fight, the English always ask us to join their militia.”


 “The other mistake they always made was that they never had cannons with them. It was as though they thought if they sent a lot of soldiers at us, we`d give up. So they`d run at our walls, we`d fire at them, they`d fire at us, some of us died, some of them died. I couldn`t see what was the point of these French men trying to capture our home if they didn`t have cannons.  Then one morning, I spotted a canoe heading for the French camp. I shouted for the nearest officer and Lt. How came over. Through his telescope, he could see much activity and movement in the camp. He summoned Private Benard to go and scout out what was happening. As he listened, Benard heard that the New England  army was attacking Louisbourg and they had to flee back to save their city.





As they ran for home, a ship near Canso found them and fired back at them. I heard tell later that the Mik Maq had decided to try and capture the boat by rowing out to it in their canoes. The French were trapped between Isle Royale and Nova Scotia by the straight of Canso. The only boats they had were some sent from Louisbourg and canoes the Mik Maq had. The Tartar from Rhode Island used their cannons to blast them away.  The sailors later bragged it was like a turkey shoot. Even if they had made it through to Louisbourg, the city was ours then. The New Englanders even tried to attack Saint John`s Island but the French there held out and by that time, the Americans had lost their taste for fighting. But afterwards, the French fled to Quebec for their safety.



By now, the fall and winter had begun to settle in. And once again, it was a time of fighting off boredom or sickness. Our celebrations were not so much that year because we had had so many attacks that we had no time to just enjoy life, but to try and survive.


The previous winter we had lots of time to prepare but since we had been fighting and repairing the fort, it was late in the season before we began to prepare ourselves for a land of ice and snow. My mittens were worn in places and our socks had holes in them. This presented a problem I had not experienced the year before. My fingers and toes were getting nipped by the frost, and if I was not careful I could get frostbite! I quickly learned how to darn my stockings and mittens to save myself the pain of the cold.


The previous winter I had made my father a chess set. But I didn`t make one for myself. Instead, Gordon and I made a checkers set from Corn cobs and we painted them. Both of us spent our nights off playing the game by lantern light. Another game we played a lot was Nine man Morris, another board game where we had to make a line of 3 stones and try to take out the other pieces. We also played with a Bilbo catcher, which was a ball connected to a stick by a string.”

“I know that one Grampie” Anne exclaimed. “I`m pretty good at catching it. I`m better at it than the boys”.


Now back in France, the King had gotten really mad that he had lost his city, so he sent out a large fleet to try and attack us again and to take back Louisbourg, but he should have sent for a better general and Admirals. See, Duc D`Anville had really bad luck. His fleet had many storms, a lot of his soldiers got sick and when they found Nova Scotia, they had no energy left to try and attack. I even remember hearing that the Duke died and his second in command took his pistol out and shot himself!


 We only knew about the Duc`s adventure because the French Governor in New France sent down a large army to attack us. They went down as far as Truro, Nova Scotia and were gathering up Mik Maq from Stewiacke and Shubenacadie. They just stayed up there that summer and we stayed where we were. It was a quiet but tense summer. Well, old Governor Shirley wasn`t too happy to hear that the French were up there, so he sent orders to us to go and try and stop them. They were also causing us problems up in Chignecto as well.


What I didn`t know at the time was that Governor Shirley in Boston dispatched a regiment of five hundred men to assist in the defense of Nova Scotia. This force was led by Colonel Arthur Nobel. Nobel`s task was to march his troops and occupy the Minas area basing himself at Grand Pre. He was to build a fort in the town and make it known to all that this was English territory, and to help stop French raiders from Louisbourg and New France using the area to resupply. From here, they would then launch operations to clear out the French from Chignecto.



“So my father`s company along with soldiers from Boston went with Colonel Arthur Noble to Grand Pre. Now Col. Nobel was an officer in a Massachuttes Regiment and had built some forts and garrison houses in his home colony. He had even helped command the New England army that attacked and captured Louisbourg. Col. Nobel and Capt. Goreham had led the assault on the Island Battery but they failed in that the French defenders cut them down with musket and grape shot. When Col. Massacrene called for help to the Governor in Boston, he sent Nobel to help us as this officer had a lot of experience in defending the frontier.  We set out in January 1747.Travelling through the Annapolis Valley in winter wasn`t that easy. So Nobel was able to secure Capt. Goreham`s boats so that we could sail up the Bay of Fundy. Since we were sailing in rough weather, we couldn`t cook our food, so we just had cold tea, biscuits and dried caribou and moose meat.


 It was cold but we made good time up to Grand Pre. Now I had remembered from Madeline that the Acadians would be nice to us. So we stayed in their homes, and shared food. At first they didn`t seem to be too happy about us there, but they really didn`t have much of a choice because we were armed and they weren`t. We took over 20 houses which looked over the marshlands and Col. Nobel took a large stone building as his headquarters. The Acadians in the town told us that the French were at least 150 miles away so we felt safe. The ground was frozen and there was so much snow that the officers chose not to build the blockhouses we had in the ships off the town. There was some artillery but it was placed inside the stone house. So thinking we were safe and were nicely settled into staying there for the winter. We had been there for 2 weeks and then it happened.”


Chapter 13: The night of terror.


 Euan grew silent and got up from his chair and walked around the yard.

“Grampie are you ok” “Euan, dear you don`t have to tell them, it`s alright” “No Emily, it`s part of the story, and they should know”


“On the night of February 12, we were sleeping in the Acadian houses, now it had been snowing pretty heavy that night, so Noble decided that we were safe and didn`t put out any sentries. But about 3 am, I had to go pee, so I got dressed and walked outside because I didn`t know how to ask for a chamber pot. When I got outside, it was snowing so hard that you couldn`t see very far. And as I was standing there making water, I got the same bad feeling I had had on my first forest patrol 3 years before. So I crouched down next to the cabin and tried to see out into the blizzard. 


Then I saw them coming. 50 Mik Maq warriors and 300 French soldiers swooped in on us. They had been able to sneak into the village during the night, muffled by the snowstorm and also by the Melancon family was celebrating a wedding. Villiers told the family to keep celebrating to keep the English occupied. They waited until they knew that most of us would be asleep.


One of the soldiers in our house came out I guess to do the same as me to but both of us thought we saw some movement in the snowstorm. ”Who goes there?” he cried out. There was no answer so the soldier went back inside to get his musket. I watched and before I could yell out, three French officers rushed the house. They were well dressed to hide in the snowstorm. Each of them was wearing a wollen blanket coat tied with a red sash and wearing a wollen cap. Some had the Fleu-de-lis while others were plain. They also had warm blanket leggings and their equipment was held tight to their bodies. The soldiers inside saw them coming and 3 of them fired into the night, one of the French soldiers dropped.

“Turn out” the soldiers cried, but not before the first raiders made it inside the house. Oh, what a Charrel house it became. Knives, tomahawks and swords sliced and slashed at the men who were still in bed, or who had tumbled out, but had been unable to defend themselves. In 5 minutes, twenty-one men were dead. 

 I guess they didn`t kill me because I was still young, but a lot of my friends weren`t so lucky. Most of those poor men died in their beds.


When the first house was attacked, the noise of the firing muskets awoke the other houses.  Col. Noble got himself up as the French began to hack down his door with an axe, in his shirt and with sword and pistol in hand, he rushed at the attackers. Before he got off a shot, he was slashed twice, the French told him to surrender, “NEVER” he yelled out, so one of the French Marines aimed his musket at Nobels head, and fired. He instantly fell as the musket ball smacked into his head and tore out the back. Without stopping, they stabbed and hacked at anyone who was still alive. Nobel`s son Ensign Frances Nobel was also in the house and before he could avenge his father`s death was also shot dead. Lt. How was with them and as he tried to defend himself, was cut about his left arm. Later on, his arm was amputated.


 It was so confusing and scary because it was like we had been attacked by ghosts. We couldn`t see anything. The fighting continued all night and into the morning. It was snowing so hard that we couldn`t tell who were English or French. I was able to run to Lt. Kenny`s house and took shelter there. We barricaded the door as well as we could. We could hear women and children screaming, and the wounded were crying out in fear and pain. The snow muffled the sound of the musket pops, but with each shot, we knew someone else was getting killed or hurt. We fired back into the snow, sometimes the French were so close that we could almost touch them with the muzzles of our muskets. They would fall down and stay there, the blood turning the snow red.


 Finally at dawn, Lindsay put his sword in the air and we called for a truce. When it was all over, 150 of our soldiers lay dead, and 25 French also died. I was so scared. I can still hear the soldiers scream in the night and the Canadian warriors yells. The French commander was honorable, and let us retreat with the honors of war. That night the surviving officers dined with the French officers. All of us were amazed as the French troops had marched for close to a week to attack us. They had marched over the snow, and had done so with little to eat. To aid us in our shock, the officers of both sides issued us lots of rum and cider. Both English and French tried to wash away the horror we had seen with drink. The next day about February 14th, we formed up and then we went back to Annapolis Royal. But for me, it was hard to understand how our officers could eat and drink with men who had been trying to kill them.”


Euan stopped talking and went up to the chopping block and took the axe and began to chop some wood. “Father I`ll do that”. Arthur went to take the axe from his father but Euan was splitting the wood with a fury. After a few moments, he came back. “If only I had yelled out sooner, I could have saved my friends. The Acadian families we were with didn`t warn us because they had been threatened as well. I felt betrayed because we had behaved well to the Acadians. We hadn`t taken advantage of any of their women and we never stole anything from them. We paid for what we took and were there to defend our country.  Of all the things I have seen and the terrors I have suffered, I can never forget that night.”



“Lindsay took us back to the fort and the French went back to Chignecto. Noble was an idiot, we should have had soldiers outside that night. Lindsay was really bothered by that. He may have built forts and garrison houses in his colony, be he really didn`t know how the war was here in Nova Scotia. Even at the siege of Louisbourg in 1745, he led that assault on the Island Battery, where most of the men were killed.

So that spring, Gorehams Ranger`s was made bigger, and they took the war to the enemy. We were never attacked again at Annapolis Royal. But for two years we waited for the French and Mik Maq to come back.”


In the spring, the Rangers went out patrolling up to see if the French or Mik Maq would be coming back. Even the 40th went out and did patrols. One of these was along the Annapolis River up to Melanson settlement. I was happy we could stop there because I could see where Madeline lived. I was very surprised to learn that her father was the basic head of the village. Lindsay spoke to him about the current events. Madeline came running out and was nervous. “Why have you come here Euan, we`ve done nothing wrong.” “Don`t worry Madeline,” I told her, “we`re patrolling to see if there are any Mik Maq or French about. I was a little angry when she said they had done nothing wrong seeing as we had been attacked while in an Acadian village just a few months earlier. I told her this and she was shocked as were most of the people in the village.


 Her father, Alexandre, spoke at length to Lindsay that most Acadians had nothing to do with that attack, he blamed it on the Canadian soldiers who had come from Quebec.

One thing that I did really notice was the earth walls bordering the river. I asked Madeline what they were and she told me they were dykes. “We used them to protect our farmland from the river and we use the tide water to water our fields. We use the marshland to make more space to grow our crops. Father grows wheat and barley on our land which we sell or trade to you soldiers in Annapolis Royal.” I also noticed that they could be used as convient hiding places for raiding troops. They could hide behind them as we marched along.








Chapter 14, Living surronded by the enemy.


Once we knew that the Acadians in the area meant us no harm, we traded with them again and continued our friendships. Col. Massacrene decided that for our own safety, that we`d patrol along both banks of the Annapolis River to keep up a presence in the area. Whenever a patrol was going out, I always volunteered to go, but I didn`t always get the chance to march away from the fort.


“Did you ever try walking in the forest again Grampie?” “Of course I did dear, when Grampie Lindsay and I would go hunting. My first chance to go hunting in the summer of 1747. Our party was made up of Lt. How, Lindsay, Gordon and my self. We were going hunting for moose or any game that was there. Gordon and I had a blunderbuss each and the officers were carrying a fowler and a musket.” “What`s a fowler Daddy?”, Anne whispered to Alex. “It`s a smaller musket than what the soldiers carried” he said. “So off we went on the north side of the river. We passed through the farms of the Acadians and walked into the upper lands away from the river. Our first day out, we were trying to look for moose. So we set up a small little camp and decided to make an ambush site if one came along.


Each of us took a corner of our enclosure and looked out into the forest. It was so nice and cosy there just laying on the ground listening to the forest sounds. Since it was spring, the black flies were not biting so much. I heard a small rustling in the brush and I looked out and there was a small wild bird. It looked like a wild chicken. So I slowly cocked my piece and aimed out. I took a deep breathe and then pulled the trigger. When the smoke cleared, and after I got a cuff on the ear for not mentioning what I was doing, I went out and picked up the bird. But Lindsay noticed something that I had done wrong. “You aimed at the body right son?” “Yes” I replied, I thought it was better to hit the target in the centre of the bird. “Well you hit the bird, but you`ll be chewing on pellets as well as meat. Always aim for the head.” I was still pleased that I had at least gotten something. As it was, my hunt was successful. I shared the bird with my party that night as we roasted it over the fire.”


We also went duck and goose hunting. Now that was an experience. That time it was just my father and I. We had gone west of Annapolis Royal along the river to find a nice piece of marsh. We settled ourselves down on a dyke at Madeline`s farm. We had promised them some of our hunt if we got anything or a few shillings if not. So there we were, laying upon the bank when a flock of ducks decided that it was quiet enough to venture in the little cove the river made. I was tense with excitement trying to contain myself. Finally when the ducks were about 20 meters, Da and I fired a volley into the body. Most of the flock took to flight but 6 were left on the water. One duck in it`s death clamped down on a water plant trying to save itself. As father and I didn`t have a boat we had to wait for the ducks to float closer to shore.”


“Well after a bit, Lindsay said “right Euan, in you go, get the ducks”. I replied “are you mad, that waters cold!” “It`s either wade in and get our catch or see it waste or eaten by the wolves. Which will it be?” So I stripped off my clothes from my waist down and in I went, and by jove, that water was cold! It made my skin feel like I was being stabbed by knives. What was worse was the river bottom. It was mud but there were sticks and rocks for my unwary feet. I stubbed myself several times and nearly fell in, but I got all the ducks save for the one who had clamped himself to the reeds. I quickly dressed and we walked back to Madeline`s cabin. There her family welcomed us to some hot fricot and bread. Alexandre was very happy to have a bird to add to his stew pot and Lindsay spoke to him about life in general.”



“But while we were hunting and fighting off our own attacks, many English towns were in terror of attacks from the French war parties and their Native allies. The French commander Marin who had attacked us went back to Quebec only to lead an attack on New York colony. The French strategy was to inflict a reign of fear so that the English would not advance into native lands, which the French wanted for their own empire. They didn`t want the land per say, but the furs who lived on it. The only victories for us were Louisbourg, Fort Number 4 in New Hampshire and our defense of Annapolis Royal.


“When the war did end in 1748, it was very bitter for us. The French had taken a place called Madras in far off India and the British wanted it back. So they gave Louisbourg to the French in exchange. When we found out about that, most of the soldiers were grumbling. The New Englanders who were part of the militia regiments who passed through on the way up to garrison Louisbourg nearly mutinied, they were so mad. The Boston Merchants weren`t impressed either. They wanted Louisbourg so that they could take over the trade. For me, it was the first time in 4 years that I didn`t have to worry about being killed by the French or the Mik Maq. We thought the war was over, but it was just on hold. Nothing really changed much in that war. We still had to worry about the French and Native attacks. The Boston merchants felt they had spent all that money for nothing. True the government did pay for it and Pepperell was given a title, but for the poor soldiers like us, we only saw that we`d have to fight the same people in the same place again. And a few farmers on the frontier felt a little safer with all those blockhouses, garrison houses and little forts they had built. But also for the British Government, they had to pay for all the soldiers, ships, cannons and other supplies in order to make war. The Royal Navy (bless them) had done well. But in the end, nothing changed over here.



Now, while the war had been going on in Nova Scotia, I had been growing up. The fighting between the British and French officially ended, but the war hadn`t ended with the Mik Maq. They were still angry that we were here, and their priests kept them riled up to keep fighting. When the war ended, I was 14. Gordon and I spent a lot of time talking about what we wanted to do with our lives.

“Gordon, do you want to be a soldier all your life?” “Well, you know when I was growing up in England, I had begun to be an apprectence carpenter. But my employer went out of business and thus I was left with no home, or way of feeding myself. So I joined the army. But I`ve always wanted to make things with my hands. So I`d like to do woodworking, you know make tables, chairs. But what about you Euan, what are you going to do? “Well I haven` given much thought to my future. I suppose that someday I want to be married and have a family but I guess that I`ll stay a soldier as long as I can.


The whole expedition was under the command of Colonel Edward Cornwallis. He was an experienced British officer having fought in the war in Europe and later on in Scotland. He was strict, and while he would do his duty for his superiors, he didn`t like to be reproached about his conduct. He spent all of his time in Halifax, while issuing orders to the other garrisons to do their duty. He never once toured Nova Scotia.

 In later June, we took Capt. Gorehams boat, and Capt. Davis` boat Warren to help deliver supplies and assist the settlers. We had to help the soldiers and settlers cut down trees, and clear the land. While we were searching the area, we found where Duc D`Anville`s army had encampment. It was a ghostly area. We found the graves of some of the soldiers, there were a few pieces of cooking irons and we could see where they had built a palisade to defend themselves from a landward attack. But at the time, we had been under siege at Fort Anne, so they didn`t need to. But a good commander always makes sure his soldiers are protected. Now we had expected the area to be a little more cleared out than it was, but all except for where the French had been camped, the area was once big forest right down to the water. The first thing that we had to build was a wharf in order to off load all the supplies that the military and settlers had. Then of course we got as many of the civilians and soldiers who weren`t on guard duty to start to cut down trees, hauling away the stumps and then using the logs to build houses for everyone, and the defences of the town. One gentleman was smart and built a sawmill to help speed up the process of building. Once the town began to get built, store houses for supplies and goods began to arrive to help build up the town, as well as to supply us with good food to eat and plenty of rum to drink! The Acadians began to send cows and sheep to us which they were paid well for.


In July, the British garrison from Louisbourg was sent down as the French had been given it back. Once the settlers had homes and had established themselves, those men who were between ages 16-60 were formed into militia companies. But we still had to do patrols around the area to keep the Mik Maq away. No one could feel safe because Le Loutre was making the Mik Maq attack us, but then again, Halifax had been theirs before we arrived, but since they didn`t live like us, we didn`t know that.



The big problem we had with the new arrivals was that most of these people had grown up in cities and towns and had no experience with the hard work that was required of them. Some of them had come over because they were debt ridden, some came to get rich, while others who were full of adventure wanted the free land and tools the government was giving them. Most had never expected that they had to work so much. But hard work is good for the soul I always say. There were over a thousand people who had came but only about about three hundred were able or willing to work. Ah the British officers were so frustrated because they expected these people to act like soldiers and to do what they were told to do. The authorities organized the workers into ships companies as though they were in the navy. It made for a more efficient way of making them work, and for providing supplies to them.




None of them understood how to plant crops and the land was too poor even if they had tried. Most thought that the area was ready for them, they just picked out a plot of land that had a house on it, with a garden planted and they would just harvest the crops in the fall. Some of them were thinking that if Halifax wasn`t for them that they would move to the more southern colonies in New England or Virginia. They had been told that there were no Indians to fight, that the French were far away, and the rivers, lakes and woods were teeming with wildlife ready to be added to their stew pots.

The trade which they thought they could establish with the Natives or with other colonies was hampered. The French effectively controlled the Fur trade as the Natives were allied with them and did their trade in Quebec. The only annual ships that arrived were the supplies ships for the garrison.



 We were lucky enough that along with meat on the hoof, which the Acadians sent, they also sent us carrots and turnips. The woods as always provided us with most of our food; rabbits, partridges, wild pigeons, and geese were plentiful when the seasons were right. Once they had cut down spruce trees, a brewery was built to make spruce beer to fight off the horrors of scurvy. Even Molasses began to come in and people began to make beer. 


 We also built the defenses of Halifax by surrounding the town with a wooden palisade with block houses at intervals. We also had to dig trenches and make earthworks for the cannons to defend against an attack by sea. Then we also built Fort Sackville to guard the end of Halifax Harbor and control the Sackville river. When we finished there, we marched and built a road to Piziquid and built Fort Edward with a blockhouse. The road was wide enough for two carts to pass by, and we built about five bridges to stay connected to the new capital. The English garrison from Louisbourg arrived in July. Eventually the 45th Regiment and the 47th came over from IrelandNova Scotia. The 40th, 45th and 47th all rotated their troops through Ft. Lawerence, Ft. Edward, Ft. Sackville, Ft. George in Halifax, Ft. Anne, and they all had to do patrols. But with so many Mik Maq wanting to attack us, most of the time, those soldiers had to stay within the walls of their forts. And whenever these soldiers went out on patrols or woodcutting parties, we had to accompany them to ensure their safety from the Mik Maq.


 All it seemed we did was cut down trees to make roads, build forts or create new towns.

To build a fort, we first had to clear the ground of trees. These we cut down and then began to dig the ditches for the forts walls. The trees were then palaced along the top to make a palisade. Sometimes, the buildings inside had been prefabricated from lumber in Halifax. Ft. Edward`s blockhouse was one such building. The smaller tree branches or trees became stakes in the ground on the top of the glacis. It usually took us about 4 months to build a fort, after which a regiment would be posted to. Of course, each new unit would spend it`s time strengthening the fort to make it more defensible.


We’d also take small ships to patrol along the waterways. Since Dunner’s War, it was decided that the colonial government had to show who actually controlled Nova Scotia.

One of the big reasons that we patrolled up the rivers and coasts, was the fact that there were so many vessels on the water. The fishery was and still is a big part of life here in Nova Scotia. The waters off the coast had whole fleets of shallops or schooners. Canso was a main base for the New England fishing fleet and Newfoundland was where a lot of the English fishing boats went. How had a house built there and he also had some fishing shelves to dry the catch his fishermen would land. He lost a lot of money when the French raided the town and burnt it. Some say the shock from it caused his wife to die of heartache. Afterwards, he didn`t bother to rebuild, but rather he focused on his life in the army.

Canso was where the New England fishermen would land their catch during the summer to dry it. There were usually several hundred men staying there over the summer but come the end of the season, they`d sail back to their homes in their schooners. Sometimes, they`d also make side trips to land their catch at Louisbourg which while it was a French colony, they would allow trade in food to be allowed. Sometimes though, other goods would find themselves smuggled aboard and sold as contraband to the French.


The French were at Louisbourg because of this huge industry. What we were doing was making sure that any of the French fishing Goelettte`s or Chaloupe`s were staying in their own waters. A lot of times, in isolated coves and harbours, close to Isle Royale, we`d find codfish drying on shelves. This was the dry fishery where the fish had been caught, and then brought ashore to be dried by the sun and air with a bit of salt added. Now to dry cod, you had to have a big area of shoreline and enough wood and water to take care of the process. We didn`t have the authority to go in and destroy them, but to report back to our officers who would then send letters of protest to the French authorities in Louisbourg.


So from May to September, the shallops and schooners would be plying the waters all trying to catch cod. The little boats only had a crew of three people but another crew of four would be on shore to gut and cut the fish up for drying. The schooners had six or eleven crew with another four on shore.  We`d sometimes follow some boats to protect them from French privateers and to get news of if they had seen any French ships in the area.

Sometimes, we`d stop by a ship that had caught some cod in the green fishery and buy some of their catch. Those ships caught the fish, and then tossed them in the hold with salt on top and then for a run back to Europe, or the colonies to the south. 


Codfish was most important because it would preserve well, and could be transported easily with little waste of the fish. Sometimes, in place of salted beef, we`d get codfish instead. It was always nice to get a different food to break the monotony of our diet. Most seasons, the catch was good and there were many pounds of fish landed as fresh or dried. Sometimes on long voyages, we`d get a hook with a line and we`d jig for cod over the side of our boat. Usually about six of us would be their jigging. We even made a game of it. When I had a turn at jigging, I caught eight cod! We cleanded them up and dug out a frying pan we had and made a run ashore. We took some of the potatoes we had and fried them up, and fried the fish up. It was so tasty.


The Mik Maq had a habit of attacking English schooners, shallops,  and ships looking for trade goods and to scare away new settlers. It was also to show that the British were here to stay.




“There were still times that we fought small battles with the Mik Maq. It seems that their spiritual leader Abbe Le Loutre was always stiring up trouble and getting the Mik Maq to attack our settlements. Le Loutre was one of the Black Robes the French would send out to preach to their Native allies. I think he was a Jesuit, but he was more than just a Priest. He led the Mik Maq in most of their attacks or he persuaded them to do what he asked. He had sailed from France and went first to Louisbourg I suppose but eventually he ended up in Stewiacke. He preached to the Mik Maq that we, the English were the Devils children and must be driven from the land. All through the war in the 1740`s he directed his Mik Maq followers to attack any English troops. We even thought that when Louisbourg was returned to the French, the authorities enlisted Le Loutre as their agent to increase the pressure on us.

 “The area around Chignecto was really bad. Just after the war ended in 1748, the French built two forts on the Messaguash river and Verte Bay; Fort Beausjour and Fort Gaspereau. Beausjour was the stronger of the two.  It was a pretty strong place for being on the frontier. So after Halifax was founded, Gov. Lawerence ordered that Fort Lawerence be built. There had been an Acadian settlement of Beaubassin which the French had forced the Acadians out and establish their new settlement behind the forts. When we arrived to build the fort, we found the burnt out ruins of the houses. We couldn`t understand why the French had done such a thing to people who were of their own culture.

But all of this was by plan. The French authorities in Louisbourg had decided that they would go on an offensive strategy, by using the Mik Maq. Once the French had regained the fortress, they turned it into a busy sea port again, and with trade and fishing, it became an important centre again. French trading and fishing vessels could call on the port for safety and security without fear of being attacked by an English vessel.


Louisbourg was the transit point for French trade goods to be sent on to Europe. But it wasn`t only French vessels, English merchants could also put into port and trade. Rum from the West Indies found it way there as well as sugar, coffee, spices and raw materials for making clothes. French ships would bring in wines, and textiles from France. The French wanted to keep this trade going and if a war was to begin again, they would arm and send out privateers to prey on English trading vessels. What was the worst was that sometimes French privateers would attack a New England vessel and land it in Louisbourg where a bribe would be paid and the papers falsified to say where the ship had come from. It just added more frustration to New Englanders. 






Chapter 16: A PRISNOR OF WAR

Goreham`s Rangers even had to go out and screen hay cutting parties. At Canso, Lt. Lindsay`s section was sent to protect them. Lindsay had been sent from Annapolis Royal as there were few officers to maintain order and discipline for all the outposts in Nova Scotia. Canso was still a position that the 40th would garrison. It must have been very lonely for my father.



Meanwhile, La Corne, a French officer from Quebec had been sent down to Acadia to begin the French operations in the area. The French authorities decided that sending Candian militia and warriors to Nova Scotia wasn`t enough. They had to be hemmed in with a physical barrier. Bosihbert had been sent ahead with a party of militia and Indians while La Corne began to build Fort Beausjour. On November 27, 1749, three hundred Mik Maq and Malcite warriors fell upon the English garrison at Minas. Lt. Hamilton was captured with eleven of his men and held prisoner. For a week, Captain Hanfield was held up their little stockade and then left. Eventually the prisoners were sent up to Quebec as we had and were ransomed to the British.


In order to gain us some time, Colonel Corwallis had orders to try and make peace with the Indians of the area. In July, he sent Captain How on several trips up the Saint John river to meet and greet the Indians there. As part of a peace deal, he took gifts to impress them. He met with the Malecites and presented them with corn and wheat for their food for the winter. In August, a delegation came to Halifax and were warmly received including a 17 Gun salute. But for all the expense put into it, they should have pacified the Mik Maq closer to home.


In September, a wood cutting party on the Dartmouth side of the harbor had been sent without arms. The general feeling was that having just given the Indians a good reception, there was no cause for alarm. The Mik Maq had been waiting in ambush and fired on the party. Four fell dead, carrying off one man while another made his way back to Halifax. Hearing of the attack, we set out from Fort Sackville to find the party.


We found them and attacked. But what my fellow soldiers did made me sick. After the Indians had lain down their muskets, two of the rangers went up and took a man each, and with their tomahawks in each hand, laid the poor buggers across a stump and chooped their heads off. The third warrior they scalped. “These will make good proof of a good days work”. “Are you mad” I screamed? When their fellows find them, it`ll only egg them on to more slaughter.” “What`s it to you Kenny, they are only Indians”! What made it worse for me was that in the heated frenzy, the governing council in their wisdom, decided to issue a bounty on the scalps of Indians brought in or proof that a native warrior had been killed. I wondered then if the savages they spoke of were themselves rather than the warriors we had to fight.

While we were getting ready to advance, Le Corne had already prepared for our arrival.  The French had built two forts on the Messaguash river and Verte Bay; Fort Beausjour and Fort Gaspereau. Beausjour was the stronger of the two.  It was a pretty strong place for being on the frontier. So after Halifax was founded, Gov. Lawerence ordered that Fort Lawerence be built. There had been an Acadian settlement of Beaubassin which the French had forced the Acadians out and establish their new settlement behind the forts. When we arrived to build the fort, we found the burnt out ruins of the houses. We couldn`t understand why the French had done such a thing to people who were of their own culture.. War is such a horrible thing. The French didn`t burn down the village but had the Mik Maq do so from orders from Abbe Le Loutre. They wanted the area north of the  river to be part of New France but the British Authorities in Halifax and London believed that Nova Scotia`s border was up to the Resticouche river. This way, the French could claim that it was French territory and say they were protecting French people. Never mind that the Acadians had been living a happy life where they were as had their ancestors before them.”


Le Loutre had marched into Beaubassin village on Sunday morning with his Mik Maq in tow. After morning mass, he addressed the crowd of worshippers and gave an impassioned speech. “My children, you are in land of evil. The Great spirit and the Holy church desires that you leave this place of hell, and move to where god`s own soldiers may protect you from the English. If you do not heed my warning, my warriors will not pause to strike down those who God has chosen to be punished, and their homes to be burned. I shall also take away your priests and have your women and children carried away.” His priests were terrified. We only heard about this later from French soldiers who had strayed into out territory.





When we arrived, Le Corne had used the dykes as excellent trenches and had placed his colors on the top. When we arrived, we had no artillery and since our ships couldn`t come that far up river, there was nothing that we could do. After Captain Cobb sent his boat up river to see what the situation was, he deemed it safe enough for the troops to land. The whole force was landed and as we began to march. The Rangers had to lead the way. It was a bit of a surprise to see two Acadian men running up to the top of the dyke and planting a white flag on the top. From a distance, we thought it might have been a flag of truce, but as we got closer, we saw that the Fleur-de-Lis was on it. This was to be a boundry marker between New France and Nova Scotia.

Another flag was waved and by this, Lawrence knew it to be a parley. So accompanied by Captain Scott, they advanced to meet the French. As these were officers, a detachment of rangers were sent to guard the party. I always found the habit and manners of officers to be pompous and overly acted. But officers were gentlemen and had to follow a code of conduct, becoming their station in life.


“Bonjour Measour, My name is the Chevalier la Corne. I am the French commander of his most Catholic Majesty Louis IXV. This is French territory. Why are you here with your troops?” La Corne was wearing his finest uniform complete with his Cross of Saint Louis which he won for his conduct in the attack at Grand Pre three years before. “My most humblest regards. I am Major Charles Lawerence of His Majesties 45th Regiment of Foot. I am the commander of British forces in Nova Scotia and as such am ordered to inform you that you are infringing on the territory of our colony. You are hear by ordered to march your troops to French territory immediately. Your presence here is also in violation of the treaty that we signed between our two countries ending the last war.”


 With a false smile the French officer spoke. “You are mistaken Major, this is French territory. You can see by our settlement and fortification that this area has been settled by French subjects.” Lawrence was clearly annoyed but was trying hard not to show it. “Chevalier, your men burned out a British settlement of Beaubassin, and forcibly removed British subjects, what say you to that charge?” La Corne feigned surprise. “Mais non, I did not give the order for this attack. The Mik Maq told me that that village was part of their territory.” “Sir I must protest” Captain Scott spoke up. “ Mr. La Corne did not order this action then it must have been the actions of Abbe Le Loutre and his Mik Maq.



With a Gallic shrug, Le Corne answered, “as you may see Major, I have a strong picketed position in front of you. I also have Canadian Militia, Acadian Militia, my own troops at my fort. You are outnumbered sir. I suggest that you retire unless you want to start a new war between out countries”. Lawrence was trying to maintain his decorum with much struggle. With a curt nod, he about faced and we withdrew to our boats. Capt. Scott was seething. As we withdrew, Gordon and I could start to see the heads of the warriors looking over the dyke as well as the white faces of the French troops. We were lucky that day that the war didn`t start then and there.


Seeing as our position was compromised, Major Lawerence ordered us to return to Pisiquid where we spent the summer building Fort Edward, which was a useful distraction for so many idle hands. We put up the blockhouse which was supposed to be built at Chignecto but seeing as we needn`t waste a good deal of timber. We trained and drilled and practiced our plan of attack should it come to that whenever we had to meet the French or Mik Maq again.


In September, Major Lawrence decided once again that we would force the French from Chignecto. This time, we had even more troops. In August, troop transports from Ireland arrived bearing the 47th Regiment. I was greatly surprised to hear friendly Irish voices after so long.  With these additional troops, the commanders believed we now had the numeric superiority to take on the French, wiether was was declared or not. The army marched from Fort Sackville up the road to Fort Edward and then boarded the transports to take us to Chignecto.


Our fleet sailed and we landed on the shore and we quickly spotted Le Loutre and his Mik Maq still manning the dykes. This time however, Major Lawerence had taken the precautions to add artillery and armed sloops to our landing. As our boats came closer to shore, the firing started. Quick as a sharp, the boat crew answered with the swivel guns as we tumbled out splashing into the river. I ducked down into the mud using the boat as cover while I tried to find an officer who needed Gordon and I to drum. Then I saw a warrior poke his head up to take a shot at the gun crews.



Once the small guns were landed and could add to the fire, we began to fire and advance. The regulars were forming up into lines. On the command “Rangers take cover” they dove and hugged the ground. “King`s forces make ready, present, FIRE” A hundred muskets all spoke at once to be echoed by the two field guns. With this weithering fire, Le Loutre and his Mik Maq began to fall back. “King`s forces will fix bayonets! Charge your bayonets, Charge!” With a loud yelling, the soldiers ran at the dyke wall clearing out any Mik Maq or Acadians who were stupid enough to stay and argue with British steel. Once we had secured the dyke wall, Major Lawrence ordered us to set fire to any of the Acadian buildings in the area that had not already been burned in the Spring.



Having achieved our first objective of driving back the French and Indians, we began to quickly prepare for our own defenses. We chose the high ground to the south of the Missaguash river and began erecting a picketed fort and during the next few weeks were added blockhouses and barracks. As the soldiers began to do sentry duty inside all eyes were on the French fort opposite the marshland. Captain How was given command of this post and we began to play the game of hurry up and wait. The good Captain had experience in the area having taken part in a mission in the area to meet the local Indians the previous year.


War still was not declared but it was an uneasy standoff. We`d see parties of Mik Maq advance towards us, but they would always stay just out of musket range. Most of the time we thought they were just testing our reactions. Early one morning through the dawning fall gloom, the sentry spotted a party marching towards us. There was one officers accompanied by either Canadian militia or Mik Mak. The officer was carrying a flag or truce, so the sentry cried “Corporal of the guard, parlay approaching.


The duty corporal informed the garrison commander Lieutant How of the situation. It was become almost a daily occurrence to see these actions. The French officers would sent over wine which the British officer might enjoy and the British officers would send over some choice food to enliven the table of the French officer`s mess. To see this party coming was not alarming. During the weeks that followed our initial landing, it became our daily entertainment.





“AH, perhaps the French officers have some news for us. Well then Ensign Tulliver, let us see what the game is today. Corporal, see to it that Drummers Kenny and Jefferson attend as my escort. Those two boys do have a good eye for smelling out trouble.” “Yes sir” came the reply. We quickly joined the officers and marched out the fort`s gate towards the river. Now How was a gifted officer. He has spent most of his life in Nova Scotia having first settled in Canso. He was married twice, his first wife dying after the shock of the Canso raid which led him to financial ruin having lost his house and fishing boats he had built. His second wife was an Acadian girl he had married at Annapolis Royal.


 I remember How`s bravery as we had been at Grand Pre together back during that terrible winter`s night. “I wonder if this parley concerns some of our deserters.” How answered his younger officer. “Why any soldier would desert in this desolate place, I can`t fathom. There is no where to go except French territory and I`d be weary to try and annoy the Mik Maq.” “ Do you have any knowledge of the red men sir?” asked the Ensign. “I have had the privilege of serving His Majesties government in parley with the Indians at Saint John back last year. I`ve been able to pick up a bit of the language and of course as a gentleman, I can speak French. Though I must admit that my wife has made sure that I keep my French in good use. Ah I do miss seeing her and our children. Though having a family in this place would not be wise.” We continued towards the river, but Gordon and I began to give each other quizzing looks. “Captain How sir, that officer looks suspicious”. “Drummer Kenny, perhaps the rigors of living in a small post far from home has taken a shine off him, but one must respect the uniform.”


“Though I must say, he is acting a bit odd. What the hell?!” BANG! BANG! BANG!

“Get down men” yelled Tolliver. Gordon and I dove for cover and I looked over to see if How was still with us, but then I saw an awful sight. The balls hat hit him square in the middle and he had fallen with the blood quickly oozing out his body. “Jefferson, get back to the fort for help.” I checked to see if the Mik Maq were still about by as I stood up I could see that they were high tailing it back to the French fort.

I ran over to How and tried to see what I could do for the man. His eyes had already closed, perhaps he was thinking of his love and their children back in Annapolis Royal.

“God`s blood, what treachery this is” Tolliver yelled. But I knew then, that a good officer had served his last duty to his king and country. All I could think of was his children who now had no father and a wife without a husband.” 



“But Grampie, why did the Mik Maq shoot him?” Anne asked. “He was an enemy to them. He was a British soldier and they didn`t want anymore British soldiers to be in their land. They knew that they couldn`t kill us all at once, but they could shoot some of us one by one. Any deserters who had been caught by the French patrols were lucky. They knew that they would live. If you were captured by the Mik Maq, they might kill or scalp you. It all depended on what they wanted. If they traded English prisoners, they could get brandy, or more ammunition or food from the French.




 In October, as if to answer the savage way the rangers had killed the raiding party the year before, another work party was out but this time they were captured. To sow fear into the settlement, they scalped one and then threw his body into the harbor.

But if that one action began to sow fear into the hearts of every man, woman and child in Halifax, then the next year surely did. On morning in March, new spread through the town that a scene from hell had decended during the night. We set out and saw such a horrible sight. I couldn`t believe that what our actions were causing. A little baby was found lying between his mother and father, all three having been scalped. We found others who had been bashed in the head and others with their hands cut off. Worse still were some women who had had their bellies ripped open.


Later in May, a further night of terror occurred. While Fort Lawerence had withstood an attack, the war party simply went down the coast and marched overland to arrived behind Dartmouth. The party numbered about a hundred and thirty Mik Maq and Acadians. At 4am, they all rushed the windows of each cabin and house and began to fire into each building. It was such a calm night, that they sound of the fighting carried across the water to Halifax. It was said that the screams of the women and children could be heard above the war whoops. When the sun rose, there were scores of settlers dead, others died in hospital and some were missing. We could only guess at what happened to them. No one was sparred from the horror. Defensive blockhouses had been built, it didn`t matter. The sentries were stupid enough to distract themselves with cards and drink. They all paid the price of death. Even the dead weren`t safe. The Mik Maq would dig up the bodies and scalp them to claim the bounty the French would pay them.




Each time an attack happened, a company of rangers would be formed and sent out to track down any warriors they came across. But we were fighting a losing battle. This was the Mik Maq`s home, and they knew all the nooks and crannies of the rivers and lakes. It was only much later did we discover that the Shubenacadie river flowed north south and was used as a fast way to move between settlements.





Now Cornwallis, who was the Governor of Nova Scotia had a plan for colonization. Once Halifax had been established, he sent about an agent named John Dick to act as an official agent of the British government. His job was to recruit settlers into Nova Scotia from Protestant countries in Europe. This was part of the plan to make Nova Scotia more English, and to rebalance the population from one that was more French.  In 1752 when the Germans made their town at Lunenburg, we had to go over and help protect them and build the blockhouse to defend that town. There were reports that the French were sending down three hundred Mik Maq to attack the settlement, so our presence was needed to protect them.


 Most of these Germans were not used to the wilderness that we had, but we were quite clear to them. If they wanted our help to build the defenses, they had to be willing to do a lot of the work themselves.

So everyone and his dog who could pick up an axe, or shovel would work from first light to last light. Since most of the time was spent building, not much food was planted that year. Thus, they had to survive off of supplies sent from Halifax. They had established a small village known as Dutch Village but the majority were then sent down to the new town of Lunenburg. The most abundant food that could be easily found was fish, so after getting boats, the German men would go out and fish, then bring their catches on the land to dry, much like all the other fishermen were doing on this side of the world.


Now while the authorities in Halifax were pleased, some of the settlers were beginning to become annoyed. One fellow by the name of Hoffman decided that he had had enough of the problems they faced and decided to do something about it. Hoffman was angry at the treatment he and his fellow Germans had received from the British. There were many language problems, no one spoke German and many believed the Germans to be unable to do what was required. They had been promised many things but they had not materialized into meaningful responses. Rumors had spread amoung the new settlers about famine, and the ever present danger of a massacre by the Indians! One settler, Jean Pettrequin was thought to have written a letter to authorities back in England and Germany that the British were hording supplies and denying the settlers their just due. It was felt that corruption was behind the mismanagement and that no one was doing anything about it.




It all came to a head one day when a mob of men went looking for Pettrequin and decided to give him a tuning up. They wanted the proof of this letter and decided to give him some attention. The local magistrates heard of this and rushed to his aid. But the mob was not so easily intimidated. They finally took Pettrequin and threw him into one of the blockhouse and locked him in. Fearing for his life, he said that he had given the letter to Zouberbuhler, the justice of the peace. So the mob let him out and then proceeded to go after Zouberbuhler. The local garrison commander Captain Sutherland grabbed Zouberhuhler and took his detachment and occupied one of the blockhouses. Before he shut himself in, Sutherland sent of a runner to Halifax to gain assistance. About a week later, two ships with troops led by Colonel Monckton arrived. When Monckton landed he was in a right state. “Kings forces fix bayonets! Charge your bayonets”. And with pointed steel, the soldiers advanced through the town pushing back the mob who had been creating the disturbance.


When Monckton arrived at Sutherland`s blockhouse, he gave a rather rousing speech.” To gain the attention of the crowd, he had his party fire a volley into the air to let them know who was in charge. “Alright you rascals, what in God`s name are you doing? Anymore of this nonsense, and my men will be only happy to oblige me and burn you out and leave you here to starve with your women and children. I want the men who were stupid enough to call on the wrath of the British army to this town. To those men who stand before me know, how much time have you wasted puttering around when there are fields to be sown, trees to be cut and houses to be built. If you want your supplies for the winter, you must work for them. Nothing comes for free. My men will stand down once the perpetrators of this rougish act are handed over.”


Well after each principal actor was interviewed, it was found that Pettrequin had never seen a letter but had been told about a letter by John Hoffman. It all boiled down to the fact that Hoffman had been the justice of the peace but had lost his position to Pettrequin. It was a case of revenge and Hoffman had decided to stir up some trouble in order to get back at Pettrequin. Well Monckton didn`t suffer fools and promptly took Hoffman back in irons to Halifax and imprisoned him on George`s Island for the better part of two years and a hundred pound fine.





The best part of the whole action was that it spurned the settlers into working their best. By 1754, they had been able to plant potatoes, flax which they had brought as seeds from Germany and had cleared the land for the town plus gardens and farm lands. They had even used all the trees they had cleared to build up their own barrels as well as the beginnings of shipbuilding.


By this time the towns that were now in Nova Scotia were Annapolis Royal, Windsor which is what Piziquid was recalled, Lunenburg, Halifax and Canso as well as Fort Lawerence.

 After the British settled Halifax in 1749, the Mik Maq decided to act more aggressively and began to scalp settlers. So the British decided to give money for Mik Maqs who were captured or scalped. At the time, I thought the eye for an eye way of fighting was stupid. All we were doing was making the Mik Maq more aggressive. I never once did that. If I had to shoot to defend myself I did, but I never wanted to decend into being a barbarian. I soon became a good shot with my musket because I felt that if I killed my enemy with my gun,  I wouldn`t have to lower myself to such butchery.


Captain Bannerman`s ship was attacked while he had a water party ashore. “Major” Cope`s Mik Maq`s ambushed the party and killed six of the party. When there were about to kill the seventh, the sailor Casteel speaking in French told them that he had been forced to serve in the Royal Navy and thus spent the better part of the summer a prisoner. He eventually ended up in Louisbourg and was then traded back to the English at Halifax. Weither on land and sea, no Englishmen or Protestant was safe.


“About this time, I had gotten some interesting news. Father had met Madeline`s mother who was now a widow. Her husband had died in the spring after his canoe overturned in one of the many rivers . She was left without means of support, but Madeline had heard from me that if you married a British officer, you would be take care of. Father had been posted back to Annapolis and had met her when she had come into the town and fort looking to work as a washer woman for the soldiers. As Da was very lonely and he could speak French they struck up a friendship and eventually he asked her to marry him. So it was in the summer of 1751, I was able to take report to Fort Anne for my father`s wedding. The officers and men of the garrison gave them a wonderful wedding. It was so nice to see my father so happy. I just hoped that in the future that I would find a lovely woman to marry.”

“I remember seeing Madeline at the wedding and we went walking along the river. I asked her, you are a wonderful girl and I have admired you for many years, and I want to spend many more years with you. I could be a good husband and take care of you, helping your mother to take care of your farm. I am asking you, will you be my wife? “Oh Euan, she said, “ You have been a good friend to me, and I have admired you as well, but I`m sorry to say that I don`t think I`m ready to marry. I`m still young and I am afraid that if we married, I would become a widow if you were killed. You are an English soldier, and I fear that a war will begin again soon.  Ask me again when you are not a soldier and can show me that you can take care of me.” “Alright, I understand. I will ask you to be my wife, when my enlistment expires next year.”


 “Now not all of my memories of that time are sad, I really enjoyed being in the forest. It`s such a different palace from the green fields of Ireland. To hear the birds sing, the wind blowing through the trees, the lonely wolves howling. And watching the moose walk. Of course when I see moose, it goes into our stew pot doesn`t it Emily?” “Yes, but I do prefer partridge” “Aye and the fish in the rivers are good too. The Salmon does taste fine when we smoke it with maple wood.


I never did see such different parts of land all in one area. The Stewiacke and Shubenacadie rivers are at places liquid mud. The river banks are all one big brown ribbon. And I was always amazed at where the Acadians had settled. Most of the settlements were near the rivers but Hebert was far inland than I would have thought.

It was at the junction of the Stewiacke and Shubenacadie rivers but most of the other settlements were on the coast.  Cobequid was their closest neighbors as well as the Mik Maq in their village at Shubenacadie. Sailing up those rivers we saw all manner of wildlife. Moose and Caribou abounded, ducks, and geese flew over, and we even saw majestic eagles along the Shubenacadie. A lot of our patrols meant that we were also mapping the rivers so that we would know where to go and also to find places that English settlers could go.

 But now Anne, it`s getting late, we should head to bed.”







 “Ah Grampie I want to hear more”. “Now Anne, your grandfather must be tired, let`s crawl into bed now.” “Alright father, goodnight Nannie and Grampie. Can you tell me some more tomorrow.?” Of course my dear, but you must go to sleep now. See you in the morning.” And with that, Euan got up from his chair, stoked the fire, changed into his nightgown and night cap and with his wife went to bed, for a sleep that an old man can enjoy.

(40, 375 words as of July 20, 2011)
















This is my first attempt at writing a book. I have always loved history and reading. My main inspiration for this story came from my own studies as a student in junior high school where my father Robert L. Redden breathed a passion for history into his classroom. I have also been a military re-enactor since 1984 and a lot of the experiences Euan faced is what I have done in my reenacting career. The idea to write this story began to fill my mind while I was an English teacher in Japan in the summer of 2007. I had written historical fiction stories when I was in Junior High school but I never developed them past writing for myself. Twenty years later, I decided to start again, but with a new perspective. I have been an avid fan of Julian Stockwin`s Kydd series which gave me further inspiration to write. To Mr. Stockwin, thank you for writing such good books, and for breathing life into an era of history that eclips my own.


My idea for this story and the stories to follow are to give to my readers both from Junior high up to adults is to impart a look into the world that exhisted in Canada 260 years ago. Sure we can read the history books, but to read a novel which has a main character the same age as you tends to interest you. The CBC made an excellent series Canada: A people`s history, which I was able to see parts of while home from teaching English in Asia. A lot of my research materials have been accessed through the internet of which The Canadian Military Heritage Gateway has been a great asset. As well, Peter Laundry has a wonderful site Bluepete which chronicles the History of Nova Scotia, and to him I also owe a big thank you.

My friends in the reenactment hobby have given me inspiration for the characters and events which unfold in the story. My hope is to continue Euan through the major conflicts which not only would have occurred in his life time but also in the colonial era of Nova Scotia`s history.


One thing I would like to stress is that War is bad. As I am writing this book, Canada is fighting in Afganistan, and thus, Canadian children are aware of the dangers and sorrows of what war can bring. During the 18th century, war was not in a far off place but right in your own backyard! The superpowers of that time England and France fought wars in their colonies for their own gain, and not necessarily for the gain of their colonists. As well, cultural groups, mainly the Amerindians of North America were to pay an awful price for what happened to their land. There are aspects of the fighting which have become controversial, and are used as examples of racism and hatred. I would say that yes, the British and French did do bad things, but in War, humans become animals in their fighting. The idea that war was more polite in the 18th century is a myth. While there are examples of chivalry, there are more examples of themes that we hear on our own TV`s or read on the internet. Genocide, famine, war, disease, ethnic cleansing, and human rights abuses. These are not new ideas, but perhaps new vocabulary to our language to put a more truthful face on them.

Euan is as much a victim as a player in this story. He was forced to leave his home by geo-political and economical reasons that he would never have understood. The only understanding he had was sitting on a cold wet moor watching sheep, with an empty belly.



History is just that. History. What we learn from it, I hope will maybe make us think of what we do today, and how we can make sure that our mistakes in the past are not repeated.

Finally, I must thank my wonderful wife Emi, who not only encouraged me to write this story, but who has given our family five children to add to both our family trees. Hopefully, one day you will be able to read these stories and understand more the culture you embraced with me. To my children Tomoki, Kazuma, Arisa, Ian and Leena, I hope that this has made you proud, and that you have learned more about you other countries past.











(43,794 words)



I`d like to dedicate this book to all of the men and women who became English as Second Language teachers. A lot of my collegues hail from Atlantic Canada, and a lot of what Euan experiences in cultural differences, both positive and negative, you yourselves have no doubt experienced. Weither you worked for one year or ten, all of you have helped to enrich the world with your positive energy, and your work as cultural ambassadors from your own homes. Never give up, and know that you are remembered.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.