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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Euan the Highlander

This is the third story in my series. Once again, a work in progress.



EUAN THE HIGHLANDER

By Rod Redden

2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROLOGE:

The snows of winter were starting to fall early this year. Though only late October of 1814, there had already been at least two snow falls. Euan was glad that his granddaughter had stayed with them to help take care of them. She was very smart and had helped a lot during the fall harvest. Euan was finding it harder to bend down and to pull up the root vegetables he had planted in the spring. It was hard to believe that now as an old man, he was a farmer. He had done so much in his life. He had traveled to many places, and seen many things that most people would never dream of. Though like old soldiers like him, they carried many deep and painful memories. Most of the memories were good, and these were the ones that he liked to think of. Though recently he had begun to have nightmares of old battles.

 

“Regiment will advance in line, quick march”. Euan was lost in a memory of the attack on Havana. As a member of Gorham’s Rangers, he had been sent out as part of a picket line in their advance. Around him were other rangers and Light Infantry. As the main line advanced, it was Euan`s job as a Sergeant to make sure his section was keeping up harassing fire on any defenders who were stupid enough to show their heads above the parapet. It felt like hell in the darkness. The hot humid air felt like it was sucking the energy out of his body. Trying to see where the enemy was through the stinging sweat was nearly impossible. The smell of the rotting bodies, the sound of the buzzing flies and those of battle were beginning to make some men go crazy. He looked over to his left, and saw a soldier face down on the ground. He went over and could see by his movements that he was still alive. Though Euan was annoyed to see that his canteen was open and spilling liquid out. It was a clear liquid, and Euan thought perhaps that the soldier had put rum in his canteen rather than water. “For Christ sake soldier get up”. As Euan rolled him over, the soldier`s face was a mask of yellow and out of his mouth and nose spurted blood. Euan jumped aside as the soldier emptied his belly onto the ground. The soldier wasn`t drunk but sick with the yellow jack as the sailors called it. Though Euan had seen many battles and many events, it was at this moment that he was the most terrified!

 

“AHHHHH CHRIST, SURGEON! THIS MAN IS SICK, HELP ME!!!!!” The old man`s wife shook him awake and held him in her arms as the nightmare subsided. “Easy Euan, your just having a bad dream, it`s alright, I`m here.” Emily held her husband while his panic subsided and he fought to gain control of his breath. As he was waking, he could still see the glassy look in the soldiers eyes, pleading to Euan to help him. His heart was beating fast and he awoke in a sweat. He felt ashamed that he woke up screaming again.  “I`m sorry my dear, did I startle you?” “No my love, you were talking in your sleep again. It woke me up and I knew you would be scared. You have that dream many times and I know when you will wake up screaming. Perhaps you should not tell Anne so many stories.”

“Ah but Emily, I have kept many of these memories inside me for so long. I`m afraid that if I don`t tell anyone about them, then I fear I will go to God and have to account for myself with him.” “Why don`t you tell me then. I`ll get you a cup of tea and I`ll pick up my rug that I will hook. We can have a nice long chat. Anne will do her chores, let us get up and have something.”

 

As Emily poured the tea and sat the earthen ware mug in front of him, she looked into his old eyes. “What is it about that memory that bothers you so?”

“As you know Emily, I was in many battles. I saw soldiers get blown up, or have their arms or legs torn off by cannon balls. I saw men stabbed by bayonets and cut by swords and knives. I watched men get shot, and I`ve done my share of the same. But each time I saw that, even the time when I was young at Fort Anne and watched the cannon explode, it was always something that was done by a weapon. If you heard a bang, you knew that death or maiming was coming to get you. When a warrior or a soldier charged at you with a tomahawk, knife or bayonet, you knew that it was fighting.

But when sickness or disease struck us, it was as though God was taking sides. It was as though death was following you and could take you at any moment. “But the same happens whenever we get sick.” “Yes that`s true, but not in the numbers I saw then. They say that half of our army at Havana was lost due to disease, not from Spanish fire. More soldiers died from the yellow jack than anything else. It was a miracle to survive a battle, but to have survived that one; it put me off from wanting to fight for a long time.”

“Yes, but you did join the army again in 1775. If you were so bothered by fighting, why did you join up again?”

“Well I suppose I should tell you then.”

 

CHAPTER 1: LONELLINESS AT FORT ELLIS

 

We stayed in Cuba for only a year. We got word of the peace sometime about the end of 1762, knowing that the peace would come sometime in 1763. Most of our time then was trying to stay cool, and not to get sick. Our uniforms, designed for the cool weather of England, were never practical in North America. Even in Nova Scotia in the summer, we`d lighten our clothes to the bare minimum so that we would not suffer from heat stroke. So many men died in Cuba from sickness and disease. The weather was so hot, that it felt like the whole world was on fire. Every breathe that you took, felt like you`d be sitting in a fire. Some of the English lads went mad from the heat. Private Essex in the Light Infantry battalion would sweat profusely, his jolly self as red as his coat. The poor fellow survived but only just.

Gordon and I were also bothered by the flies. Even back in Nova Scotia we had black flies and mosquitoes but in the tropics, they seemed to be even more. It was a huge will to live that you needed. What drove me crazy was that the fighting was over, but still so many soldiers were dying. But the views were always beautiful. Wonderful sunsets on palm tree lined beaches almost took away from the horror that we saw each day.

The only other fighting that took place near us was a small expedition by the French to seize Newfoundland to use as a base for their fishery. It was also thought at the time that they would want Louisbourg back, so the British government sent miners out to the great fortress and began to blow it apart. No more would Louisbourg stand as a French bastion in the North Atlantic. The only other fighting that I ever heard about was an Ottawa chief named Pontiac who led an Indian rising in the hopes that the French would come back. It seemed the French had traded better with them than the English.

With the campaign over, Gorham’s Rangers sailed back to Halifax to Fort Sackville. Not only was this campaign over, but it looked like the war itself was all but over. Captain Gorham, who was now an acting Major formed us up and gave us the news.

“Gentlemen, you have given a lot of yourselves to your King and country. His Majesty is most grateful for your efforts and your sacrifices. Our valiant troops defeated the French and their Indian allies. But now men, peace has come to us. It is my sad duty to inform you, that Gorham’s Rangers, our beloved unit, is to be disbanded. Those of you who wish to remain in the employ of his Majesty may seek enlistment in the regular army. There may also be places in the colonial militia, but as I can see, the army will also disband many other regiments. Those of you who wish to move back to your homes in New England, you may catch a ship for Boston. Those of you who wish to stay in Nova Scotia, may take your land grants and establish settlements here. Thank you men, take care.”

With that, my service in King George`s Army was at an end. Gordon and I just stood there. Several of the lads about us were cheering, a few of us felt like mourning. We had served with Captain John Gorham when he started the unit and then his son Joseph. I began as a soldier of 16; both Gordon and I came into the unit as militiamen, having served in Phillips regiment back in 1748. Now, here I was at the age of 29, most of my life having been a soldier, now we were left with nothing.

“Well then Euan, I suppose it`s time that I take up the cabinet making I was apprenticed to so long ago. I`m sure there will be settlements that will need my skills. I fancy going back to Annapolis Royal. Why don`t you join me, we could work together?

I looked upon my old friend. “Gordon, you`ve been like my brother all these years, but for me Annapolis Royal is just a place full of too many sad memories. If I was to go back and live there, I`d spend my days pinning for Madeline. I`d be a morose. I`ve heard tell that the settlement of Fort Ellis still has their fort, I think I might just take up my old post of garrison commander in the militia and take up some sort of farming. There are a lot of Scots Irish settlers there now. But I do want to stay in touch with you. We`ll meet again.

With that, we shook hands, and I watched him walk away down the path to Bedford Basin and take a boat to the ship heading for Annapolis Royal. I guess he didn`t feel like walking anymore. That or he had his demons of our battle on the Saint Croix river many years before made him decide that sailing would be better.

 

I took a sloop to Truro Township, which was what Cobequid was now being called. I then hired a Mik Maq guide with his canoe to take me down to Fort Ellis. As paddled down we spoke at length of our lives. Since he didn`t speak English, I spoke with him in French. “You were a soldier in the war yes?” he asked me. Cautiously I answered “yes, and I`m sorry to say that I fought with some of your people. I don`t want to fight anymore, and thus I`d rather live in peace with the Mik Maq.” The man looked at me. “My brother was a warrior. He went off to join one of Abbe Le Loutre`s war parties. He traveled to many English settlements to attack them. He`d bring us back some trinkets that he found, but it always bothered him what he was told to do. The Abbe said that it was fine to kill women and children because then there would be no more white men. But my brother hated it. He had no problem killing soldiers like you, but killing innocents was wrong. It`s like killing a mother moose whose calf’s are watching. The calf will not live long, but will be a tortured soul.”

I felt sick at heart. The warrior he was telling me about was the warrior who I had held his hand as he died. The warrior had spoken to me in French asking me to forgive what his party had done on many attacks on settler’s farms. “I see you now as proud man whom I hope do not want revenge. I will pray with you for the spirit of your brother. In time, Raccoon and I would become friends. As I settled at Fort Ellis, I became the chief source of supplies with the Mik Maq as no one else would trade with them.

I settled back into the post commander for Fort Ellis. The locals had made an agreement with the colonial government in Halifax that they would do their militia duty by helping to maintain the fort and to act as it`s garrison. When the weather was fine, and the farmers weren`t too busy with their plowing, we`d use a Sunday afternoon once a month to drill. It went well for the first few years when the threat of a Mik Maq attack still looked imminent. But over time, the farmers found that planting and plowing took up most of their time. Besides they felt that the British army would come to their help in time of need. We had won the war, and thus they had no desire to fight again. By 1766, the monthly drills stopped and I was left with a rotting fort to watch over. I even rented out space in the bastions to keep livestock, at least that way we could justify keeping the pickets up. The powder magazine became a great vegetable storehouse and the glacis saw crops grown on it.

 “It must have been hard here in Nova Scotia to settle wasn`t it” Emily stirred in some maple syrup into her tea. “It was hard for us in the Mohawk valley after the French and Indian war with all the trouble the colonists caused. Then with all the taxes we had to pay” Euan smiled, “Yes Emily it was a bit hard. The planters started to call this place “Nova Scarcity” It also didn`t help that the British government had put lots of taxes on the products the settlers needed to build their new communities. But I never complained. I knew it cost a lot of money for the government in London to pay for the war. There were ships to be built, regiments of infantry and horse to rise and ammunition and supplies for them all. The American colonists seemed pleased with Britain`s help to drive off the French and Indians, but they then believed that since they had raised regiments for their defense and had already raised expeditions to help Britain in the wars, they believed that it was their right to be heard in parliament in London. But I always felt that the colonists had too much of a good opinion of themselves.

I`d say that the religious dissenters who left England and Scotland were a great deal to blame for this feeling. The English government pushed for the Church of England to be the only faith in her rule. The Irish for the most part were Catholic, though I was raised Presbyterian by my mother. My father had only gone to church in military church parades. The Irish and Scots who had arrived in the colonies had usually sold themselves into Indentured servitude as I had almost done. I believe that a lot of their angry feelings towards England came from that. Though the Scottish settlers who were highlanders usually didn`t have many problems.

When I was in Fort Ellis, a lot of the settlers had either come from Ulster, Yorkshire or had come from New Hampshire.

One of the difficult aspects of my job as the militia commander was to also act as sheriff for the township, and to also attend the township meetings. After the war finished, a large meeting house was built on the hill overlooking the fort. I thought it was a good place to build it as it could be used as a place of defense if war came to the area again.

Chapter Two EUAN`S HARSHIPS

As the 1760`s rolled along, the Planter and Ulster settlers hacked their homes and farms out of the forest. Some were successful, while others suffered. Euan had to act as a mediator many times in the meeting hall. For a man who had been a soldier and had learned to obey, he found it difficult to reason with many of the settlers.

“Meeting will come to order. Is there any business which needs to be attended to” Euan looked out over the collected townspeople. As he thought, the new taxes had brought a wave of anger. “Sgt. Kenny, why are we required to pay taxes on so many of our goods? The cost for these items is high enough what with us being so far from Halifax. How are we to pay for these items?” Euan groaned. “If you have failed to notice, I`m also paying the same taxes. The taxes are being charged to help London recover the cost of the last war.” One of the townspeople was being very belligerent to Euan.

“Well then Mr. Kenny, why are you still here. The Mik Maq don`t look like they are going to attack us any day now, why should we have to keep paying your room and keep? And for what am I supposed to pay a stamp for on my paper? All of our documents, permits, trade contracts with the Army and Navy, any newspaper we get, our own wills and even our playing cards we are supposed to pay this tax?” Euan was getting infuriated with this cheap meddling settler. “I was put in this command for my services to the crown. I am not an officer but only a sergeant. I have commanded men in battle and have the authority to command a small detachment in the fort. As part of your duties which you agreed to when you settled here, you must serve in the militia or help with the upkeep of Fort Ellis. Since most of you feel it necessary to work most of the year on your farms, I am charged with your defense. Thus I am here at the fort until I am called back up into the British Army or until this fort is closed. I am also your sheriff, government representative and militia commander. I follow the orders I have been given. That is why I am here.”

“Well we don`t have much say in what happens here. I say we should have more representation in the colonial legislature. I say we should elect someone to represent us in Halifax.” At this Euan smiled. “You do realize gentlemen, that this colony is the only one in the British Empire that has a colonial legislature? The colonies to the south do not have that privilege.” At this some of the more hot headed members of the townspeople began to grumble.

“Aye, but yet we still have to pay these taxes without our own member. And the colonies to our south want more say in our affairs.”

Euan glared down at them. “And what affairs would those be? You own land, which our countrymen back home do not. There are scores of English, Irish, Scots and Welsh who don`t own anything more than the clothes on their backs. Here you may build a home, a farm and trade with the merchants in Halifax. You may build ships, harvest timber for the Navy, or grow vegetables for the garrison to enrich your incomes. I`d say you have it pretty well here. If your only complaint is the taxes we all have to pay, then I think you are a selfish man.” At that point, the insolent bugger decided to take a swing at me. I pulled out a small pocket pistol I had and put it under his chin. “You know, I could pull the trigger and dress the ceiling with your brains and I would get away with it as I`m the chief constable here. As such, and assault on me is an assault on the British government. I`d suggest you heed what I have said. If you don`t want to pay taxes, bugger off, I`m sure there`s another farmer will gladly take your place. In fact, I know some Acadian families who would just die to have your farm, as it was probably there`s before the expulsion.” All the while, his eyes were wide in terror and I noticed that his breeches looked a little darker in the front. From that point on, I never had a problem with him.

“But why did you threaten to kill him dear” Emily looked horrified that her sweet husband could do such a thing. “I was a bit rash at the time, as I had to keep order in the settlement and since I was the only loyal government member in the area, I had to suppress any sedition. Now also about this time, there had been Irish settlers who had been sent to Nova Scotia as well. I had an interesting visitor one summer. Col. McNutt sailed up the river and landed at Fort Ellis to speak with me.

“Now Sgt Kelly, I`ve been charged to settle these lands with Irishmen like yourself. There is to be a new township named Londonderry established by my settlers. I need you to assist me in putting these plans into place.” “But sir, I`m only a sergeant from the rangers. What can I do to settle Irishmen in the woods?” “Oh, I`m sure you`ll find a way. Now, first, we have to make sure that we can settle these Ulstermen in an area they can farm and manage. I`m sure that the area of land.

 

 

Chapter Three SETTLING THE IRISH IN LONDONDERRY

So in the late summer of 1760, I went out with a ranger patrol to scout out the river that was to be called Great village. What I saw didn`t impress me. It was more of the same trees, rocks and mountains. The area on the coast was the best place for a settlement, but Col. McNutt, seemed to like one area in particular. It was a valley full of

 

 

 

When the Irish did land in Nova Scotia, McNutt had neglected to explain something to them. As Irishmen, they could not actually be granted the land. So these poor souls had been cheated out by him.  Before they had left Ireland, he assured them that they could own their own land as Nova Scotia was a colony, and not part of Britain. He used his Irish charm to speak with as many high officials as he could. Since Nova Scotia needed an English speaking and preferably Protestant settlers, Governor Lawrence granted him the land to bring over Irish settlers. McNutt no doubt made a pretty penny for his work. He was a greedy bugger though. He`d get land grants from the government, then would sell the land to settlers. He went from each colony and did the same tricks. His plan had been to bring over seven thousand people over, but only about three hundred made it.

The settlers had sold most of their belongings back in Ireland, paid for a crossing on ships and landed in an area of burnt out Acadian farms. Once they got here though, they set about to build a new community. The cellars of the old Acadian homes became the foundations of their own homes. Since the fields were still in good shape, they were able to plant there crops. But all the while, they lived in an uncertain situation as they were more or less squatters on the land. It wasn`t until the war broke out in 1775, that Governor Legge signed their grants in order to give them their land, with the hope that it would diffuse any rebellion.

Now in all this, I had an interesting visit one day at Fort Ellis. Distinguished gentlemen by the name of Sir John Oldmixon came to our area in order to establish a mining interest in slate. It seems that he had been speaking with rangers, Mik Maq and anyone who he could find to tell him of an area which contained slate rock. Now in more civilized areas, slate was used on the roofs of homes. Sir John had learned that there was a large quantity of slate rock in the woods near Fort Ellis. So he embarked from Halifax and sailed around Nova Scotia and up the Shubenacadie River to our outpost.

The day he landed was one of great excitement. Now usually the appearance of a ship on the river would bring people running to the fort in anticipation of supplies being off loaded. The Planters, Irish and Yorkshire settlers were all given a year’s worth of provisions. But the chance to trade was never to be passed up.

Sir John stepped off the schooner and walked up our modest wharf. “Who is the commander of Fort Ellis pray tell?” “Tis I sir, Sgt. Kenny, late of Gorham`s Rangers and now Sergeant of militia.” “Well, Sergeant, I`d be pleased if you would call out the militia to help off load my supplies and I`ve a mind to offer some of your fellow settlers a chance at increasing their wealth.” “Yes sir, we shall have your schooner unloaded by nightfall.”

So all that day, I gathered men and boys of the settlement and we began to offload the supplies. Another aspect which one may tend to forget is the fact that the gentlemen and ladies of a settlement would be anxious of any new developments outside of their own world. So, once the schooner was off loaded, we retired to the meeting house, and had a town meeting along with a meal.  “What news is there back home in England?”

Sir John looked pensive and began. “The news back in England is the concerns here in the colonies. The Stamp Act has caused a major problem for the government. The colonies to the south of here are in an uproar at the cost the tax has on their commerce. What they don`t seem to understand is that now that British North America is so vast, the defense of the whelm demands that large amounts of troops need to be garrisoned in the colonies. And what with Pontiac`s uprising, we need to keep troops here to quell any Indian uprising.” The crowded room reacted in fear. “There is an Indian uprising, oh dear lord in heaven, we need soldiers now!” Sir John became most distressed. “No, no, no, there was an uprising, but it has been quelled now. It happened back in 1763. One of the Ottawa chiefs, Pontiac attempted to push the British army out of our forts in the interior. These were the lands the French had controlled and took over.  The Indians would approach the forts in the guise of playing their stick ball but then would rush the gates and kil the guards. Eventually the Royal Highland Regiment, Montgommeries`s Highlanders, and some rangers defeated them at the Battle of Bushy Run. Thus, the British government is fearful that other tribes may rise up and cause havoc on the frontier.” Sir John then turned with a quizzing look at me. “Your surname is Kenny, by chance are you a relation to Captain Lindsay Kenny?” “I am sir, but he`s an officer in the 40th Regiment in garrison at Fort Anne, in Annapolis Royal”. “Really, well I heard of a Captain Kenny who is an officer in the 77th Highlanders who was at Bushy Run. Damm fine bit of soldering he did. It seems that the commander decided to beat the Indians at their own game. Captain Kenny was sent out with his troops playing his pipes and attracting the attention of the Indians. When the Indians went to attack them, Captain Kenny kept on playing and brought his men back where upon the main force then ambushed the ambushers! He lived to tell the tale and I believe he has survived.”

 “But why did they rise in the first place?” Sir John relaxed a bit. “It seems as though the Indians believed that if they could push us out, the French would come back and trade with them. Since trade is something the government can understand, we`ve been increasing our commerce with the natives of the interior. If you have noticed, I have goods to trade with the Mik Maq further upstream.

Now, about the colonies to our south, well, they seem to be getting a bit big for their breeches. The merchants have cried most foul about the taxes that have been imposed. Just recently, there have been riots and disturbances in the major towns and cities in the 13 colonies.” “ You mean there is a mob bent on destruction?” At this point, one of the men turned to his wife an exclaimed, “my dear, if you are going to get in to such a state, we shall have to leave. Let Sir John finish!” Sir John looked over with a kind face and replied, “you have no fear of a mob marching through the woods now do you? What usually happens is the merchants, traders and large landowners get all in a tempest and protest and demonstrate. Since they go about the town they excite the masses and with vigorous speeches, they whip the crowd into a frenzy who then go about and smash up the tax collectors homes or establishments. It is for this reason that I have chosen Nova Scotia for my quarry. For the most part, you planters seem pleased with your lot, and I would like to enrich your lives with a bit more shillings and pounds to help you in your livelihoods.” Now upon hearing this I inquired, “has the militia been called out by the governors to maintain order?” Sir John looked at me and with a pained expression went on to explain, “since the only people who can usually afford to be officers in the militia are the merchants and landowners, the governors have felt it wise not to activate the militia for fear of giving them an armed force. The problem the governors is that if they call out the militia with these men as the officers, these same officers will then leed the militia to force out the governors. The stamp tax collectors have been threatened, and many have resigned their positions in fear.”

The room was now hushed, hanging on every word Sir John was speaking. “As you may be aware, our trade is like a triangle. Our colonies provide the basic materials for goods to be made. These goods are shipped to Europe to be traded for gold or silver. This gold and silver is then given to merchants who travel down to Africa to buy slaves from the slave factories on the Gold coast. Those slaves are then sent to the sugar islands to produce the sugar. The sugar is then sent back to Europe and our colonies here which is turned into food or rum. We also trade with Moors for coffee, and our new colonies in India are able to bring in tea and more goods from China. We also trade for spices, fish, grains and lumber. With this vast network of trade, I hope to turn Fort Ellis into a thriving port with which to ship slate for the roves of Europe.

 

Chapter Four INTO THE QUARRY

“Now if you say that the governors are reluctant to call out the militia, who then is to protect the colonies in time of war?” “Well, the government in London has been sending over regiments from England and Ireland to garrison the colonies. What with the fear of another Indian uprising, and disgruntled merchants, there are now several regiments that have been sent over. I dined with many of the officers of the 4th, as well as the officers of the ship on several occasions. “But with so many soldiers, where will they stay. Not every fort here in the colonies has the barracks.” “You are a perceptive soldier aren`t you Sargeant Kenny? Yes, this has become another sore point. There has been another act of parliament known as the Quartering Act. The local authorities have to furnish quarters and provisions for these troops as well as carriages and wagons. Now this last part has been a boom for carriage makers eager to gain business with the army, but since most governors want to keep the public funds high, they have simply quartered men in Inns, public houses and even the homes of regular colonists. This last point I may remind you is probably not the best way to keep the colonists happy for having the scum of London and Manchester sharing the homes of Puritan New Englanders is a recipie for disaster I should say. But Parliament has spoken and we do what we are ordered eh?

By 1770, I knew that my meager subsistence from the government as a commander of militia would not keep me fed much longer. So I signed on to work in the slate quarry on the Saint Andrews river. My job was to keep the fort in shape to store slate roof tiles and to keep the jetty in good condition so that the boats could come in and land supplies and load tiles for market. And that`s how I was spending my days until the next rumblings of war began.

“Was it dangerous working in the quarry?” Emily stoked the fire and checked the kettle.

“Well, it could be but we didn`t have to go underground. It was all above ground. The hard part was chiseling out the slate in one piece without making it rough, or cutting your self. At first, I thought that I would have just stayed in Fort Ellis and tended to the boats coming down river, but the quarry needed more men to cut the rock out, and to also help maintain the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Five THE SONS OF LIBERTY BEAT TO ARMS.

I remember the day we got word of what happened in Lexington and Concord. I had traveled to Halifax to help ship the slate for sale to Boston and London. When we arrived, I noticed that there seemed to be more soldiers going about work in the batteries, and when we landed, I saw that some of the militia were drilling on the Grand Parade. I wondered what all the fuss was about. So, I went into a pub on Water street and ordered some grog.

“Hey, sailor, what`s all the fuss about in town, are we about to be invaded?” The man had a hard look about him, with a face weather beaten from working on ships, and his clothes were salted stained. “Why cully, his nibs is getting a bit uppity what with all that happened in Boston. Didn`t you hear, the colonists fought with the Lobsters back in April, close to two hundred redcoats now lie on the roads of Massachusettes. It seems General Gage in Boston got word that the Sons of Liberty had hoarded powder and shot in the countryside. So, the army marched out to go get it. But Paul Revere ran ahead of them on his horse, and alerted every place he came across. When the soldiers got to Lexington common, they found on the green, the town militia formed up. Now most of those farmers knew that it wouldn`t be a good idea to try and fight against the British, but somehow, someone fired at the British, and the line opened up on them, and then charged them. After the officers got in control, they continued to Concord. There, the colonists had started to rally and pushed the British all the way back to Boston. George Washington they say is their commander, and this rebel army is now besieging Boston. Governor Legge is probably messing in his breeches now because of all those Planters he brought up to here. If my kin were somewhere and there was fighting to be had, sure I`d be wanting to go off and fight. As it is, I`m just waiting for the next press gang to come through the door and pick me up. The Royal Navy will no doubt be going to war again. If I were you, I`d find a new place to have rum.”

“I`m not a sailor, but a militiamen, I wonder why the militia hasn`t been called out yet?”

Chapter Six THEY HAVE RISEN!

After I finished my rum, I left the pub and went in search of the militia commanders. Since I was still technically under orders, I should report to the autorities. I walked up to Fort George and was challenged by the sentry. “Halt”! The redcoated soldier held his musket at the port. “I`m Sargeant Kenny of the Fort Ellis garrison. I`m here to report for duty.” “Corporal of the Guard” he shouted. Out from the wooden gate in the earthwork walls marched a soldier who I had not seen for many years. “Sgt. Essex I presume, what news do you have?” Ah Euan, yes, I remember, the last I saw of you was in the horrid beach of Havana. What brings you to Halifax?” Euan relaxed a bit, “I came here on business with my employer but I`ve just found out about what happened in Boston. What`s to be done?”

Essex looked at his sentry. “Private Cooper, this man is allowed to enter, carry on”. Essex walked me to the guard room and poured me a cup of tea. “Now I didn`t tell you this, but hear every word I say. Governor Legge is terrified that the planters in western Nova Scotia and at Fort Cumberland will rebel. The militia hasn`t been called yet because Legge is first going about the colony and gathering what weapons he can. If a fort doesn`t have a strong garrison, the guns are stripped and any powder and shot found it being brought here. Your one of Gorehams men are you not?”

“I was, but Gorhams Rangers was disbanded over twelve years ago. I`m a militiaman now, and because I haven`t been paid, I took on a job working in a rock quarry near Fort Ellis.” Essex looked at him keenly. “Well Euan, Gorham is now raising a new regiment. The Loyal Nova Scotia Volunteers is being raised for the defense of this colony.  You should see about joining up. You might be able to regain your rank of Sargeant.”

When Essex and myself finished our talk, I was left to wonder if I would stay out of the conflict, or join the British army again. There was never a question as to my loyalty. The British, despite what they have done to Ireland, was still my savior. The army saved me from starving on that cold wet ground in Clare. If I had had the chance, perhaps I would have joined the Wild Geese, but I was never approached by any of their recruiting agents. I guess being Presbeterian and my father having served in the British army, they felt I wouldn`t want to join a Catholic army.

Now there I was in Halifax, at the dawn of the Revolution and I was about to find my old commander, when I heard a sound I hadn`t heard in years. A piper was playing, wearing tartan. He was leading a group of soldiers in Highland dress. The officers had fine red coats faced blue, and at first I thought them to be the Royal Highland Regiment. But as they marched closer, I saw that their coats had no lace. The officers of course had gold lace and the Sargeant-Major had silver lace. The chosen men had red coats faced blue. One thing I noticed was that there was no drummer in this party. I followed this group of soldiers until they halted in the grand parade. I was next astonished to see that my father, Lindsay was one of the officers standing behind a recruiting table. As our group of men came into the parade, he stepped out, and with a hearty voice broke out, “Who will serve the king? His Majesty has seen fit to raise a corps of men known as the Royal Highland Emigrants. Each man who enlists in this regiment, will be given a red coat, belted plaid, hose, bonnet, a broadsword, musket and shall have the choice of the lassies in the town as what woman can resist the charms of a Highland soldier?

You shall also be given land at the conclusion of this war, once our deluded subjects to the south realize the folly of their actions. Come here now and claim your enlistment bounty. Now my lads, who will serve the king?”

I marched up and took the quill. An older corporal noted my name, and my father came over. “Ah, Sargeant Kenny, good to see you well. I beg to inform you that we have all of our NCO`s but we are a bit short of drummers. Shall you enlist with the pay of Corporal as a drummer?” Now it had been some time since I had been a drummer, not since I was a young boy, but the thought of having to fight as a ranger again, gave me pause to think that maybe I could enlist as a drummer to avoid the worst of the fighting.

“Yes sir, that would suit me. It has been some time since I drummed, but I`m sure that I can learn the new beatings well enough.

“Well then, sign your name and join us. You shall not regret being a highlander.”

Now I did take the king`s shilling that day and enlisted in the Royal Highland Emigrants. Though I did feel slightly guilty at joining a different regiment from that of my other commander. But I looked at it in that I hadn`t been under Gorham`s orders for so long that perhaps I`d take orders from a new officer. As I was feeling slightly older, I felt that being a drummer would be a better way to do my duty. So after I enlisted, we were marched off to Fort Needham and found ourselves a camp on the glacis. Our tents were left overs from the last war, and what was worse, our rations were as well! The barrel of salt pork was a green color and the bread was so old, that you`d swear that it must have been wood.

“You mean to say they fed you rotten food?” Emily was agashed! “Pretty much yup, most of the army`s stores were from the Seven Years War, and with many new troops, supplies were getting low. No to add insult to injury, we were left to wear what we had for some time. The officers had their redcoats, plaids, bonnets and hose, but we were still clothed in what we wore when enlisted. Even the Corporals and Sargeants looked bedraggled. Only the recruiting party had decent uniforms. I lucked in and was able to keep my clothes box which I had taken with me on my trip. All I owned fitted into that box which I had made way back in Annapolis Royal so many years ago. It served me as a Drummer in the 40th, then as a Ranger in Gorham`s and then as a lonely militiaman. But now, here I was technically a highlander, without my uniform. So I dug out my old Gorham`s Rangers coat again. My clothes at this time consisted of my original grey coat of Gorham`s, then the black and blue uniform of the 1758/59 campaign. I had only three shirts, and two pairs of breeches. My clothes were mended and faded. I had hoped on enlistment to get some new clothes, but we were left to fend for ourselves.

The only thing we were issued with were some weapons. Even the ones which I still had were pressed into service. My tomahawk was put into the belt which I still had from my rangers days. My drum which they issued to me had actually been one which the 78th Frasers had left in stores from the last war as it had been damaged. Most of the new recruits to the Royal Highland Emigrants didn`t look like Highlander soldiers. We didn`t look like soldiers at all! There were many times where we were mistaken for militia by the officers of the garrison, and due to our poor apprearance, we were excused senty duty and were placed on a lot of fatigue duties which was most trying for the mind and soul. When clothing did arrive, we were issued green coats and breeches, but even those were being sent to Gorham`s Royal Fencible Americans and Legge`s Loyal Nova Scotia Volunteers. Major Small was spending a lot of his own money just to give us blankets and basic clothing. Everytime a shipment of military uniforms came in, he fought like mad to secure us some of them. But the other regiments got them. Those first two years we were neglected by the army which we had volunteered to serve. It wasn`t until the fall of 1776 when the ship (see book) arrived. The uniforms on board were intended for the first battalion up in Quebec, but Major Small took them and reordered uniforms for the first battalion which arrived the next spring.

Most of our duties were taken up as labourers to repair the fortifications around Nova Scotia. We had to help rebuild the defenses of Halifax by digging up new batteries and repairing Fort George. Fort Sackville was also worked upon and Fort Needham was where we were stationed while in the town.

 

Now when we had started to get out uniforms issued, we could then take on more soldier like duties. Since I had had experience in artillery on the boats with the rangers, I was tasked with helping to train up the other soldiers on gun duty. Now you`d think that being a drummer kept me occupied, but our regiment needed to be trained up so that we could begin to help the army.

After we had finished our gun training, those companies of the Royal Highland Emigrants were then assigned to privateer ships which Governor Legge gave letters of mark in order to defend the coast. Even from the start of the rebellion, the rebels began to sail boats up to other colonies to spread the rebellion or to pillage for funds to buy more arms and equipment for their army. Most of the Scottish soldiers were grumpy that they were being used on ships rather than as infantry, but to me, being on the ships was much more preferable than being stuck on the land doing nothing.

“Why in the hell are we being used as Marines when we should be charging the enemy on the land?” One of the members grumbled one day while we were on board ship. “Well what would you rather be doing, digging up more trenches, or cruising for rebel ships? I mean if we catch one of those buggers, we can get prize money!”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Seven: THE BRITISH ARRIVE FROM BOSTON

In April of 1776, two hundred ships arrived in Halifax harbor. It was the British army, with Loyalist families fleeing Boston, leaving that town to the rebel army. Thousands of people landed off the ships into our small town. There had not been so many people here since the British expedition to Louisbourg in 1757-58. The civilian refugees were most distressing. Stories of how the Boston mobs had ransacked the homes of loyal families spread terror into the merchants hearts. The whole town was in a tizzy about rebels marching through the woods and burn the town. Now mind you, a lot of those people were gullible enough to forget that we still had Fort Anne, Edward and Sackville to guard the approaches to Halifax.

They were all a forlorn looking group of people. Those who had the means had been able to pack ship their belongings on the ships, but the vast majority of refugees had just come with the clothes on their backs. Children were crying and wailing, women looked fearful and the men had vengeful looks on their faces. I knew war was horrible, but I could read on the faces of these people, that this war, was going to be different. What was once our friends and neighbors yesterday became our enemies over night.

I spoke with a few of the civilians one afternoon over a pint of ale. “I tells ya, the things I saw my neighbors do just chilled my blood. There was one fellow who had been a ranger in the last war. The pub he was in was a patriot pub and the locals began to agitate into forming their own regiment to go and help General Washington in Boston. They pestered this poor fellow, but he was just travelling through, heading back to Nova Scotia in fact. They dragged him out of the pub when he refused to take up the American dollar and proceeded to tie him to a tree and began to flog him. They told him they would stop only if he enlisted. He stated that he only wanted to go home, that he had had enough of fighting the French and Indians. They crowd back off, and built a fire where they placed a pot of tar and began to boil it. They then brought in a bunch of chickens and plucked them all clean. Then, when the tar was hot enough, they poured this mixture over him and then rolled the poor bugger in the feathers. They then kicked his behind all the way down to a boat which rowed him out to the ship heading for Halifax. Damm poxy scumm.” “But did anyone know of his name?” I had asked. “Come to think of it, it was a Scottish sounding one. Campbell, Fraser, now what was it?” With a horrible sick feeling I put forth “Would it by chance be Gordon?” “Yes, that was the man, Gordon Jefferson. I heard he had been in Gorehams Rangers, and had appreciated as a cabinet maker and had sailed to Boston looking for work.” At the sound of my friends name, I vomited my stomach all over the table. “Hoa hoa, here`s an admiral of the narrow sea, who can`t hold his ale, toss him out, now lets here that song Toss the pot toss the pot let us be merry and drink till our cheeks are a red as a cherry.”

 

I ran down the street to the waterfront looking for the lodgings of injured sailors. Sure enough, there I found my best friend, Gordon, laying still with tar bits on his skin, the feathers had mostly come off, but the scars and broken bones could still be seen. “Oh my God Gordon, what the hell!” I ran in and picked him up, his eyes empty souless pockets. It was though he couldn`t get the sight of his torture out of his mind. I rocked him and called out his name and finally, he turned his head to me and said “Euan, make me better, and enlist me back into the Army, I want to kill everyone of those bastards who did this to me.” “I swear Gordon, they will pay, we`ll get you mended and you`ll get vengeance on those poxy kerrs.

Over the weeks of mending, Gordon and I caught up on old times. “I thought you had gone to Annapolis Royal and learned a trade?” “Well I had and I met a girl there as well. I thought I had settled down, but with the end of the war, money was tight. We went off to Boston to seek employment. Now we never married, so my girl became a servant girl in a merchant`s house while I worked for several carpenters and cabinet makers. But in Boston, the life was not so good either. With all the taxes that the British government was leveling on the colonies, people began to get restless. There always seemed to be demonstrations. There were boys who called themselves the Sons of Liberty who seemed to revel in causing mischief. They would harass soldiers, tax collectors and merchants who still sold British goods. One evening a crowd gathered near the home of a tax collector and began to rain his house with stones, sticks and bottles. Eventually, he pointed his fowling piece out of the window and fired down to scare off the crowd. He did so, but his bird shot hit a young boy in the chest. The lad bled to death in the snow. When brought to trial, the merchant was found not guilty as he was defending his house. The December of 1770, another mob decided to provoke a British sentry outside the customs house. Now the young soldier who was English had enlisted in the army to escape poverty from England. But the mob didn`t know that. They saw one of the hated redcoats, to them, he was a symbol of tyranny. So they first began to shout abuses to him. Now being a professional soldier, he ignored them. When this didn`t result in a reaction, the mob began to pelt him with snow balls, stones and dung. At this he called out to his officer, who then called out the guard. As the soldiers formed a line, the officer ordered his soldiers to load their muskets and fix bayonets. This enraged the mob even more. A young black fellow was in front and seemed to be really upset with the British. The officer and soldiers were nervous and anxious, but were trying to remain calm. Someone in the crowd shouted “FIRE” which in all the shouting, the soldiers couldn`t tell if their officer had given the order, so they presented and fired on the crowd. The volley cut down seven people including the black man and the crowd quickly dispered. The officer stepped in front of his men and with his sword, beat up the muskets. I had been watching from nearby tavern and was shocked that the crowd was stupid enough to provoke armed soldiers. The officer then began to berate his guard. “I didn`t give you an order to fire, why did you let fly?” “We thought it was your voice sir who yelled fire.” After another trial, this officer and guard were found not guilty and were removed from the garrison. But the damage had been done. Paul Revere published a print showing smiling soldiers firing down on unarmed Bostonians. The public began to show their displeasure more. Militias began to drill on village greens, more sons of liberty formed and the city began to divide itself along factions of Loyalist or Patriot. I wanted to stay out of the troubles, but everyone had to choose sides.

The day the army marched out to Lexington and Concord, the whole city seemed to be filled with nervous excitement. The army tried to march out at night, but word was spread that they were marching. Paul Revere was caught by a dragoon patrol while engaged in shouting about the countryside. I heard later that when the army tried to disperse the militia on Lexington green, a shot was fired and the British fired a volley. They killed and wounded several people and then they marched onto Concord, which by this time had been blocked by armed men. From that point on, the British had to fight their way back to Boston.” “By why did the army march out of Boston in the first place” I asked? “They were afraid that the patriots would try an armed insurrection. There were reports of other places resisting the government and it was felt that if the militia were disarmed, then the trouble would go away. But the authorities and army commanders didn`t understand how angry the public had become. Some of the soldiers were men we had seen at Louisbourg and Quebec, the 43rd. A lot of them were killed and wounded. The militiamen had hidden in the trees, along the walls and had just shot at the soldiers. After they came back to Boston, the militiamen blocked the town and began to build forts in Charleston on Breed`s Hill. All spring and into the summer hundreds if not thousands of colonists rushed to Boston to join their army. We even heard Colonel Washington joined to command them. There was also General Lee which was a surprise as he had been a good British officer, fighting here in America and then Portugal. I heard he had also served in the kingdom of Poland and when the colonists began to get restless, he wanted to join back up with the British but they wouldn`t let him, so he came over here and became a general in the rebel army.

By June, the British commanders decided they had had enough of rebel tricks and decided to force the rebels off of Breed`s Hill.

On June 17, 1775, the British light troops and Grenadier companies formed up to push the rebels from their positions. The way the officers were talking, you`d think they were going fox hunting. “Right oh, we`ll march at them with colors flying, fifes and drums playing and bayonets fixed. That should make them fly like geese.”

I thought that was a pretty stupid assessment seeing as these rag tag farmers had shot up the last attempt at a force of arms. Off they marched and the public harassed them saying the militiamen were not the enemy and that they were not a threat. They were rowded across the harbor and the Royal Navy began to bombard the village of Charleston and the heights. The artillery commander sent guns over as well but somehow, the wrong ammunition was sent. So, instead of having fire support, the Grenadiers and Lights marched right into the direct fire of militia. And rather than flee, they let the British advance until they were close and blasted the Light Infantry away. The next assault was by the Grenadiers and they too were pushed back. Finally, a third assault went at the main redoubt and rather than face the enraged cold steel of British infantry.

It was another disaster. General Howe thought that just by a frontal assault would win the day as he believed that an unprofessional force would break. But he forgot that many of the rebel officers had fought against the French and Indians using tatics the British had taught them. Even the British troops were not properly trained and had not formed up well. It was a major learning event for all involved. It was after this battle that I was attacked as I hadn`t made up my mind as to which side I would be on. So when I was placed on board ship and sent here to Halifax, I knew that I would join the British army again and exact my revenge. I don`t want to fight my own countrymen, but they forced me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Eight. The War comes North

 

 

 Now during our raising, an American army under Johnathon Eddy made a move into western Nova Scotia. Knowing that a lot of the settlers had been New Englanders, he hoped to raise them up to drive the British out of Nova Scotia and spread the fires of liberty. The rebels had sailed up from Boston and had gathered up some Malicite warriors as well as a few settlers and proceeded to advance first on Fort Cumberland. It had escaped the wrath of Governor Legge`s weapons sweep due to Goreham`s insistence of keeping at least one fort in the area armed. Though, the guns in the fort were the smallest caliber and were not suited for bombardment of ships. The soldiers like ourselves lacked proper uniforms or even weapons. Most of the serviceable muskets had been taken by the British army for their own regiments. We always had to make due with the leftovers.

 

Finally, with the prospect of the war coming to Nova Scotia, the authorities began to issue us with uniforms. We were issued with green coats faced red, and some of us were given plaids, though others still had breeches. Our muskets were an odd assortment. Some had the long musket the army had used earlier in the 1700`s. I even remember some having dog locks! Our first action was to be retaking Fort Cumberland from the rebels.

We were all waiting at Fort Edward and were loaded on board transports and smaller privateering vessels. The naval commander, Captain (blah blah blah) sailed his ships forth down the minas basin towards Chignecto. Our vessel was delayed by what we were told bad tides. Though from my days as a ranger on the privateer boat we had, I could tell this was a lie. All the big navy ships were able to sail out. The Royal Navy cleared the channel and sailed away. The next morning, our boat put to sea, and while on the way, we got word that the action was nearly over. It seemed, the Royal Navy commander wanted all the glory for the navy and the Marines. Afterwards, we heard that he was court martialled but was able to beat his charges. Sometimes, during that war, I often wondered who are enemies really were. The colonial rebels, or the English aristocratic officers.

Since the task of the storming the area around the fort was completed, our job was to chase the rebels back to their own area. We sailed up the Saint John and looked for any sign of rebel activity. It reminded me of when I had been a ranger in the summer of 1758. It was the same type of job. Only this time, as a drummer, I was used as the ships alarm. When the duties of the ship were to be done, I had to beat them out. To simplify matters, we used the regulation army beatings as most of the crew were either Royal Highland Emigrant members or militiamen who had experience with boats. Whenever we went ashore, I carried a blunderbuss instead of my drum. I remember going ashore in one settlement that would one day become Gagetown. From down the river, we had viewed smoke drifting up from the trees. Since we were the only known Crown forces in the area, we knew that the smoke told us something suspicious. I volunterred to lead a shore party and we set off in a dory. Quietly as we could, we rowed to shore, and then stalked like we were hunting ducks. With my blunderbuss at the shoulder, I led the boys in a line. I peered around a tree in an area where a small beach opened on the river. There, we saw a small party of Indians and white men. A few men were lying close to a fire with blankets their only shelter from the elements. The Indians had built themselves lentos and birch bark wigwams. Taking a look at the area, and with the small number of ourselves, I decided that we should fan out and try to surprise the small encampment. I signaled the boat and when they heard us firing, they would sail in and fire a broad side from the swivel guns.

We moved in and once we were all in position, as one we began to yell and fire on the encampment. The boat moved in and fired their guns. The whole camp was a scene of confusion and shouting. The Indians jumped up and ran into the bush. Two of our party blocked their path and fired on them. Some of the warriors fell, the others fell back to the beach. After about fifteen minutes, we walked out onto the beach. In all, there were only about ten rebels and Indians. I went forward to the Indians, and spoke in French to them. It turned out that they were Maliceets. The white rebels we herded together and held at gun point. I questioned the maliceets and found out that they had been part of the force to attack Fort Cumberland, and they were trying to make it to Quebec where they knew an American army was. I walked over to the small group of men. There were six whites. There had been four warriors but two had been killed by our fire. I looked at the rebels. Their appearance was pitiful. Only one of them had a uniform and that was from Glover`s Marblehead Regiment, a so called regiment in the continental line. He wore a short brown sailor coat with red cuffs and was dressed in slops. He had a bandage on his head. The others were wearing frock coats, and one poor lad just had a shirt and breeches. He was wrapped in a blanket and was sick from the cold. “we give up tory. Prison might be better than freezing on this riverbank.” “Well, I replied, we`ll see what the British officers want to do with you. You will be our prisoners and fed, but you shall be clapped in irons until we reach Halifax. We buried the two warriors, and since we had little room for prisoners. We took the Maliceets guns, but let them keep their knives. “If you want muskets, you will have to swear loyalty to King George and trade us for new guns” I told them. We rowed back to our boat, having burned the shelters. Back on board the boat, we got more of the story.

“My name is Ebineezer Thompson. I`ve been a fisherman from Glover Mass.  I was made a Sargeant and to lead my boat crew to help Johnathon Eddy attack the fort. We all thought our cousins in the area would join us in driving the British into the sea. But no one was interested in fighting a war. They said that it was too much work to establish their farms and then give it all up to fight for something they didn`t believe in, or think was important. A lot of the planters told us that they were happy with their lot, and our attack was most unwelcome. Eddy then found out that there was a smallpox epedimic in Halifax so we broke off our attack and have been trying to make it back to the main army ever since.”

Later on, Thompson was given the chance at enlisting in our regiment or prison. He chose to enlist and joined our boat crew. The poor fellow who had been in a shirt and breeches died from the elements. He had been a ploughboy and had felt it was an adventure. He`d lost his musket on the pursuit up the river. He`d dropped it the river as they fled. His coat had ripped to pieces in the woods and when we caught them, he had developed a cold.

War is such a stupid thing Emily. Too many country people joined up to fight for something that they had a vauge idea of, and who had never seen what war really was.

So that`s how it was for us during the next two years. Garrisoning forts in Nova Scotia, acting as Marines on privateer boats, and patrolling the rivers for rebel parties. It was a far cry from what Major Small wanted for us. Being a Highland regiment, he`d envisoned us to fight with the main British army, not in the way we were being used. Then in 1777, it all changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE, WITH THE ARMY IN NEW YORK.

We got word at Fort Edward that our beloved regiment was going to send companies down to New York to join in the new campaign against the rebels. We were going to Pennsylvania , to assist the main force going up north. Burgogyne was advancing south from Quebec, another army was moving north, we were heading south with the objective of capturing their capital of Phildelphia. Brandywine was the big battle that we would be at. And to top it off, my old regiment, the 40th were there, defending the Chew House. As you may know Emily, the British officers really didn`t clue on to how we should have fought the rebels. The rebels wanted to be like the British army; standing in lines firing away volleys until the line broke, and then charge with the bayonet. But the land in America wasn`t the same as back in Europe. Battlefields weren`t fought in wide open fields, it would be more like small clearings or in farmland bordered by low stone walls. The patriots thinking they were soldiers would think they were hunting or target shooting and would fire away. There was never any fire discipline, it would be just several hundred men firing. Some of the balls would find a mark, but when the British regiments would line up and fire, big gaps would be blown into the American lines. And then, they would all scatter liked frightened partridges. But Brandywine was different. Here, the Americans decided to fight the same way as the British. This time, they would deploy skirmishers to hide behind fences and trees, and then their regular regiments would march forward in ranks. The tricks they had used against the French, they were now going to use against us. I was with the colors and officers holding the Highland regiments together. A few pipers were playing and we were yelling our clan war cries and shooting down any Americans who ventured towards us. It was a very interesting day. The weather, was warm for September. It was September 11, and that morning dawned foggy. The patriots had tried to fortify meeting house hill, where most of their artillery was. Now here was where British officers could do their job. Fighting a European style battle meant that they could flank and out maneuver the patrioits. Howe was slow though, and it took us 6 hours to finally attack. Since the 84th was a small detachment, we brigaded with the 71st Highlanders. The English regiment drum major decided that all of the British drummers would be brigaded together, but our commander ordered myself, and the Peppard boys to stay with the Scottish units. I was still a drummer, so when we attacked, I grounded my drum and drew my hanger and my old plug bayonet. I remember when the charge began. A piper who was a Mackenzie struck up Caber Feidgh and we ran screaming at them. I cried out my Irish cry “the red hand of Ireland” in memory of my mother’s and grandmother’s people. I remember seeing a rifleman trying to fire and in his haste, he failed to prime his rife. I swung at him low hitting his stomach first with my sword and then I stabbed him in the back with my old bayonet as though it was a dirk. One of my officers lay wounded on the ground, and seeing that he had a highland pistol, I grabbed it and looked for a rebel to shoot. A young drummer thrust at me with his little sword so I shot him in the face, the poor little fellow screamed terribly but I was so enraged with the battle that I didn`t think of it. The American gunners tried to fire into us, but we were so enraged, we cut most of them down. The horses were shot up as well by the advancing infantry. The patriots tried to retake the hill, but the British line, carefully advanced and blasted back the rebels with concentrated musket fire. Washington and Lee tried to rally their troops and drive us, but we were too strong for them. Finally at nightfall, we camped on the battlefield. The Americans ran pell mell back to Philidelphia. A few days later, we surprised a whole division of American troops at Paoli Tavern. General Grey ordered us to remove the flints from out muskets and any highlanders to advance with broadswords and dirks. The American General Wayne was an idiot. He didn`t have proper sentries posted and thus, in the night, we advanced quietly. When we got to the camp, we then began to bayonet and slash at any rebel who was stupid enough to be asleep when they could hear us killing their comrades. Eventually many awoke with us at them, and they surrendered. We took many prisoners that night. The American’s called it a massacre but that was their way of covering up for their stupidity. We captured over a thousand men that night. The wounded we carried away to home where they could be treated and recover. The rest we marched into the prison hulks in New York. Some of them we recruited into our regiment, some of them being almost boys. We got a lot of Germans who joined us. They had been part of a rifle regiment, but were poorly supplied. One man we met was George Miller. We found the young man dressed in black with moccasins in rags on his feet. Though he was to be a rifleman, he only carried a musket, and his was out of bullets. His brothers were unhappy that he joined us, but I suspect that the patriot’s version of a new country didn’t appeal to him. He stayed with us until he took a grant in Douglas township.

The next battle we took part in was Germantown. Once again, Washington tried to fight us in a European style battle. This time, the British were able to occupy many stone houses. The American general Stevens, was drunk and ordered his troops to attack the Chew House where my old regiment the 40th had taken position. The rebels tried storming the house several times only to be beaten back by musket and bayonet. Even when the patriots brought up a gun to fire at them, the 40th boys didn’t give up. Finally the rebels fell back, leaving around fifty men dead. After the battle was over, we found that around a thousand American had died, and we captured one entire regiment. But as I said before, the British officers didn’t fight right and try to capture the entire rebel army. So many times, the war could have ended if the generals had fought harder. For the rest of the fall and winter we patrolled and skirmished one of our main ones was White Marsh. Howe tried vainly to defeat the Americans before the dead of winter. He couldn’t get Washington to commit, so instead, both armies retired into winter quarters. We went back to New Jersey while the main British army went back to Philadelphia. The Americans went to Valley Forge, and nearly died there. In the spring of 1778, we’d meet them again.

Our next battle was at Monmouth. Oh that was a hot day in June. Clinton was our new general and he decided that Philadelphia was not a priority for the British army. So we began to march back to New York. Washington decided to attack us. The 84th detachment was caught by surprise! We were able to fall back, but the head was taking its toll. I remember leading our group of soldiers back towards out camp to entrench. As we climbed a hill, I looked at the sun, and from there, I began to go crazy from the heat. I was the right marker for the fifes and drums. We were brigaded with Delancy’s Brigade that day and I remember hearing one of the Sargeants yell, “where is the drummer taking the music?” I had lead them away from the camp and towards the enemy. The drum major yelled halt and when I stopped, I dropped. I remember two of our ladies rand up and began to wipe my face with water. The other drummers got me to drink from my canteen, but I was taken to my tent and let to rest and recover. Many other soldiers had problems with the heat that day. Most of the casualties that day on both sides were due to the heat. That was the same battle where the Americans had their Molly Pitcher, who was some German woman married to a Scotsman. I head many years later that she was giving men water and when her husband fell at his gun, she took over from him. He died from his wounds in the heat. She watched him pass on while manning his gun. It was also the battle where General Lee fell from grace. The stupid bugger withdrew his force in front of us! We tried to charge and break the American lines but Washington and Green made it. Afterwards, Lee was court martialled and dismissed from the patriot army. How the mighty sometimes fall. Lee was an American general only because the British would not let him serve again in British army. How things might have been different if Horse Guards had allowed him to command British troops, though with how he handled American ones, it could have been worse for us.  

Emily stoked the fire and checked the kettle. The sun was up and it would be time to venture outside to see what chores needed to be done. Emily also wanted to go into the barn and check to see if the savory was still there. It would not do if the bloody mice got into her herbs and spices. She really wanted Euan to make her Fricot for supper. Euan stepped out of their home and split some more wood for the days fire. When they had finished up their chores, they sat back down for another cup of tea and remeinicing.

“Euan, where abouts in New York did you stay?” “Well, the British army had their main camp at Fort George, but there were encampments all about the city. Most public greens had been taken over by the British army. After Brandywine, and our campaign was over, we moved back into the city. The British officers always believed that if they took and held the cities, the countryside would fall. But they never did realize that it was the countryside they needed to control, not the cities. When they did realize their mistake, it was usually too little, too late. I well remember one such action we did.

I remember being marched down with a large force to the harbor to board ships to take us up Long Island sound. The generals had reports that the town of Fairfield was supplying the rebels with food, clothing and ammunition. It was decided that we would destroy the town to deny the rebels supplies in the coming winter.

We boarded HMS Rose. Elements of the 84th were sent as part of the expedition. Since it was an action to set out and destroy a town, it was felt that not many troops were needed. Delancy`s Brigade, and the Queen`s County Loyal Militia were to draw out the patriot militia and any other Continental forces in the area. Our main force consisted of Hessians, British regulars, and Light Infantry. We sailed up the coast quickly and scrambled down the sides of the ships into longboats. We rowed ashore and were surprised when a gun fired on us. It made a great splashing plume in the water, but didn`t cause us any harm. HMS Rose, turned broadside and opened up with her guns. The area the gun had been places was torn apart with explosions and was smashed up by round shot and barshot. The trees were snapped in two and the earth plowed up. We jumped out of our boats and I beat the assembly to arms. We began to march up the beach onto the main street. The towns people fearfully watched us as we advanced. We came to a junction which had been barricaded with fallen logs and some wagons. There were a few armed men and boys who began to fire on us. Some of them must have had rifles, as some of our men were dropping down. Men fell with gunshots to their legs, stomachs and a few in the chest. The officers decided that such a small position would be handled solely by the 71st and 84th contingent. We`d advanced with our muskets loaded and just at the extended range would fire off a volley. But the riflemen at the crossroad kept us back. For two hours, we went back and forth. All the while we sent runners back to the beach pleading for support to drive them off. Finally, a force of Hessian Grenadiers charged with us with bayonets and broadswords and we cleared them out. We chased them right up to their green where the Light infantry had skirmished from behind houses. As we marched on the grass, the lights dashed out to act as a screen. As they did, the militia fired a volley which cut many of them down. As our main force came onto the green, our commander stepped out and began to read a proclamation from General Clinton telling them if they would submit to British rule, we would protect them from the ravages of the rebel army. I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye and noticed some old cogger had a fowling piece trained on him. He fired and an officer dropped. At that our commander yelled “Charge your bayonets” “Charge”. Every British soldier and Hessian ran like devils at the militia. They were knocked about and cut down quickly. The soldiers then began to storm houses and drag the inhabitants out. Most of the men had fled to join the militia. One house I entered, I found a woman tending her husband who had been shot in the arm. I had grounded my drum and walked up to the door and banged on it with the hilt of my sword. “Open up in the name of the King.” As the women stepped back towards her husband, I couldn`t help but feel that I knew this woman from before. “Scotsman, why are you coming into my home, I have done nothing to invite violence here.” Her voice was French accented and I felt that I had heard it before. On a chance I answered her in French. “If you done nothing, your house shall be spared, but as I see that your husband is wounded, perhaps he has fired on us.” The woman stared at me. “Euan, why had you come here?” It was then that I realized that the woman was in fact Madeline, but now she was a grown woman. Two other soldiers came from behind me and dragged the wounded man out. At this, Madeline began to scream, “for the love of God, he is my husband, and father to my three children. Do not take him.” I looked at her and replied in French, “Madeline, no harm shall come to him or you if you tell me why you are here and if you have been supplying goods to the rebels. If you give me something, I shall mark your home with a cross which will keep it from being burnt.” I walked out and saw two Hessians beating the man. I took my sword and smacked each of them across the face. “This man is my prisoner as is his house. Find somewhere else to loot and pillage.” The Germans stood up and spat at me,cursing my name in their language. I picked up the man and dragged him back inside. After getting out some linen from my haversack, we bound up his wounds and that night, I heard of Madeline`s Plight.

Now even though Madeline and I had played together as children, she was not happy at seeing me again. “Why are the British here again? You`ve burnt me out of my home once before. I didn`t see you try to stop the soldiers then?” “Aye, Madeline, what happened in Nova Scotia was wrong, and it never should have happened. But the Acadians wouldn`t stay loyal to King George, and thus, the governor was afraid of the French at Louisbourg and Quebec coming down to attack us. This time, we are fighting our own countrymen. All because these New Englanders don`t want to pay taxes.” Madeline gave him a great expression of loathing. “The Americans want their own country. They are tired of having to bow to an English master. My husband is from Derry in Ireland. Unlike you, he stayed to the true faith. He`s been more loving to me knowing what happened to me. My mother didn`t lift a hand to help me, nor did your father. I watched from the ships rail as my mother waved me goodbye. None of my family survived the fever on the ship. Somehow, I survived it and the ship I was on landed here in Fairfield. I awoke in an Irish mission. The father took me in and I stayed there until I met my husband Danny. You are only welcome in this house because I fear that if I refuse, the British will burn this down as well.”

“Madeline, I would have married you in Nova Scotia to spare you this sorrow. You could have stayed with me at the fort and could have stayed with your mother.” “Asking me to marry you when I could see soldiers coming about to burn us out was not the best way to ask the woman you love to be his bride. I would be more like a slave to you rather than your wife. You could have stopped the soldiers then but didn`t. My love for you died that day. I prayed to God that he would take you away. But here I see, God has forsaken my prayers. Your still alive an well. Damm you. When the American army comes back, I hope they kill you.”

The next morning, I awoke to a woman screaming. Madeline was hysterical. Her husband`s wounds were too much and he had died in the night. She came running down the stairs with a pistol in her hands. I awoke and looked up to see her click back the hammer and aim at me. I rolled out of the blanket I had and drew my sword. She pulled the trigger but it only went click. It turned out in her state that the priming in the pan had fallen out. I pushed the pistol out of the way and pinned her to the wall with my arm.

“I will not make war on a woman. I am sorry that your husband has died. I wanted to protect you both as a young man and now. But I see where your sympathies lie. I shall not darken you door anymore. She hawked and spit in my face. “You can go to hell with all the other redcoats.” As I walked out the door way, picket parties were going up and down the street looking for weapons. Other soldiers came up and proceeded to smash anything they could and steal what valuables they could find. The Hessians and a few of the other soldiers also molested many girls and women. I could hear the screams, and was ordered to beat tattoo through the town to bring the soldiers back. It was then that I could see flames rising from many homes. Our officer led us up the street that Madeline`s house was on. As we came up the street, flames were shooting out of the roof, and all the windows had been smashed. Smashed china and trinkets were strewn about. There was no sign of Madeline. The next morning, we boarded the boats to take us back on the ships to New York. All along the horizon, you could see the fires burning. I never saw Madeline again. I had hoped that she would have married again, but with how the soldiers acted, I fear that she suffered a sad fate.

It was just after that time that I think we met Emily.

 

Chapter Ten Meeting Emily

The raid on Fairfield was in July. For the rest of the summer, we went on patrols and did garrison duties in New York. I remember in September seeing a woman sitting outside our tent lines with three small children. I remember thinking the woman must have been an Indian due to her complexion. Being a drummer on sentry duty, I had lots of time to look about. I always noticed this woman standing there asking passing officers if she could be their servant. Her children would mostly stay silent but there were times when they would cry out in hunger. I gathered up what scraps of food I could find and put them in my haversack. One afternoon when I was not on duty, I walked out of the camp up to this woman and asked her if she spoke English. You answered me.

Emily wept at the memory. It had been so many years that she had remembered how Leon, Michael and Alica had tried to survive that summer of 1779.

“My mothers people had lived in the Mohawk valley since the great creator made the land. I had grown up helping my mother plant corn, sweet potatoes and chasing away the birds to keep our crops safe. My father was a warrior who had fought against the Ottawa warriors and their French masters. My first husband was a medicine man but even though he helped all of the people of our clan, he showed little affection to me. We had three children together, because he wanted his blood to continue. But in July, the Americans came. We heard the army approaching many days in advance because they would fire cannons into the woods. One summer morning, we were out in the corn field and heard a cannon fire close. We got scared but stayed where we were because we didn`t know where else to run. Being a medicine man, my husband didn`t have a gun, but did carry a knife for use in making potions. Just then, a group of blue coated soldiers rushed us. I grabbed my children and ran back to the long house. I heard my husband try to fight off the soldiers and heard cries of pain. All of our warriors were off fighting with the British. I took the children and climed up into the rafters of the long house and looked out a hole I made in the birchbark. I saw a men riding horses carrying torches. They were starting to burn the cornfield. The other soldiers started to gather up the men of the village. The grouped them all together. One blackrobed man was speaking to the sky. After he stepped away, the soldiers fired at the men, all of them fell, and the soldiers walked forward and began to stab them with their bayonets. My children were huddling in fear. Some of the other women began to run into the forest but the horse soldiers were using their swords to cut them down. Some used pistols and muskets. Then the soldiers began to set fire to the longhouses. At this, I took my children to the back and checked that there were no other soldiers about. We jumped down and ran into the woods. I could hear guns firing at us and saw the bullets strike the trees. We found other women and children. Most of them decided to try and walk to the British fort at Niagra. To make it harder for the soldiers to follow us, I took my children south along the Mohawk river. We`d hide as much as possible, taking birds eggs from nests to eat. We must have walked for about ten days when we finally made it to New York. When we got closer to the city, we saw many soldiers dressed in red. I remembered from my father that the soldiers in red were good to the Mohawk. I saw many women outside the British camp. Some would take the soldiers shirts and wash them, others would sell liquor, others had some food to sell. Others took the soldiers to different places and make love to them. I figured that if I could get work washing clothes or being a servant to an officer,we would not starve.

That`s how I came to see the handsome soldier in the kilt.

Euan smiled. He remembered well seeing the woman he would fall in love with. He was the duty drummer with the guard that day. When he was in the guard room, he could hear a woman begging and children wailing.

“I remember hiring you to wash the shirts of my section. I remember that you thought I wanted you as a lady of the night, but I only wanted a woman to love. I remember going out in the fields and picking flowers for you to bring everyday. Every day that I was not on duty or not, I would walk about the fields near our camp and find flowers that you could put in your hair. And every day that I brought you some, you would give me the most beautiful smile I had ever seen.I even went on charge once because I had cut some roses from a window box. Everyday, I brought you the flowers. I did this everyday for the months before we back to Nova Scotia. I remember being afraid that we could not take you, as you would have to be married to me. I went to my company commander and asked for permission to marry. Since I had served in the British army since 1744, I was granted permission as I had not gotten into too much trouble while a soldier. And so it was in the late summer of 1778 that we sailed up to Fort Anne. We were married by Reverand Frampton, the military chaplain at Fort Anne, with the 84th Regiment providing us with witnesses and helping us celebrate our marriage.

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the smell of the grass and flowers fragrant. Gordon was our best man. I had cleaned up my uniform and had an actual bearskin drummers hat for the occasion. I wore my Louisbourg medal which was given to me for my action in saving the guns with Gordon. I also received a merit badge from the Royal Highland Emigrants which I also wore with pride. To prepare for getting married, I remember that you converted as an Anglican Emily.” “Yes, dear, I wanted to be with you in life and death, knowing that if I was not Christian, I could not be buried with you.” “You wore a beautiful dress that day. A white ball gown with a shawl over your hair and if I remember correctly, you also had flowers woven in as well?” “Yes my love, the ladies of the regiment saw that the only thing I had to wear were the clothes when you found me. The officer`s wives and ladies were very generous to have it made for me. They were the best clothes I have ever had.

Since it was rare for soldiers to get married, the regiment made a great deal of it, I suppose to instill in the men a sense of morals, respect and dignity. It was one of the few chances for those in the garrison to eat fresh roast beef, and to have decent wine and beer. We even had cake which really was a luxury for people of our station in life. When the ceremony was over, I remember that our battalion guns and my company fired a feu de joi in celebration of our marriage. I tell you dear, that day was one of the happiest days of my life. I just wish we could have spent more time together before the war came back.

“For me, life in Annapolis Royal was not always happy,” Emily began. Whenever you were not about, when I went down to the shop to pick up things for Lindsay and madame, the shop clerks were rude to me, mistaking me for being a Mik Maq. They also thought I didn’t speak English. I found their treatment interesting as they forgot that it was Mohawks like me who had kept the Mik Maq away many years ago. It took an event to change their minds.

The war was never far away from anyone in Nova Scotia. American Privateers were always lurking around ready to attack any British ships or settlements. In 1778 alone, Parrasboro, Liverpool, Annapolis Royal and Charlottetown were all attacked. Most of the towns attacked had either weak garrisons or were completely defenceless because of Governor Legge`s insistence of stripping the guns, ammunition and arms of all the outlying settlements to defend Halifax. Even though the Eddy Rebellion had been quelled, that silly bugger never did send armaments to the areas that were under threat of attack. The idea was the Royal Navy would be strong enough to drive off any American attack. But that was before the French came into the war, and the Royal Navy was hard pressed to protect her most loyal colony.

“What was like up here in Nova Scotia Emily while I was away?” Emily gave him a pained look. “Your memory isn`t what it used to be is it? But I`ll tell you again. After the regiment sailed away, the only ones left here to defend the forts were men who were too old or lame to join the army. I stayed at Fort Anne and helped take care of your father on his wife. So many soldiers and ships were away that the damm Americans came at us again. Poor old Lindsay, he had to try and defend Fort Anne almost alone. There was one night when an American Privateer came sailing up to the fort. They snuck up the river, and quietly rowed ashore, thinking that the forts guns would blow them out of the water. Little Ernie was keeping me up that night and I was trying to put him back to sleep when I saw some men running up from the river, I tried to run upstairs in the officer`s barracks to wake up Lindsay but some armed men broke open the front door and came at me. Three sailors were holding cutlass and told me if I screamed, they would take the baby. Three more ran up the stairs and broke into the room Lindsay was in. I heard him yell and then the click of a lock, his pistol misfired! The men dragged him out of bed and threw him down the stairs. They dragged him out and kept kicking him demanding to know how many soldiers were in the fort. He passed out from the beating and they took him and threw him into the ditch. They then went about and stole all the silver, money and anything else of value. The whole town was in an uproad as the pirates looted the stores. Finally about daybreak, they rowed back to their ship and sailed off. It took Lindsay a long time to recover. I was lucky in that Madame Kenny, Alica and I were not violated. Little Ernie was so scared. He screamed so much. I guess the noise of him kept the pirates away. They didn’t find the powder or arms as they felt the local milita might come to the fort with all the noise. After that night, I vowed to know how to use a musket. Too many times my life had been affected by the Americans. I`d show them next time not to mess with me! The next morning, I gathered the women of the town and got one of their husbands to show us how to load and fire the muskets. I made sure each family had a loaded firelock over their fireplace to drive off the next attack. I took any spare musket I could find in the fort and loaded them with buckshot and ball. I also insisted that we have the militia have someone on watch from then on in the fort. I also got the ladies to wear red coats and take out their brooms if we saw another ship coming. We’d act like we were soldiers drilling with our muskets. If those stupid Americans had tried to land, they would have found out who we were, but many women were prepared to fight to protect out homes and virtue. So many of the families in Granville were upset. They felt betrayed by what they felt were their neighbors to the south. Many felt they were safe as they were New Englanders, but from then on, any sympathies they had for their cousins evaporated. One of the farmers was so upset, he got a bunch of other men together to build a boat and get it ready for sea, in order to pay the privateers back in kind. The military governor wasted no time in granting letters of marque to any ship captain who would take the war to the New England seaports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 11: General Clinton calls us South

 

I remember well training up  Leon and Michael as drummers before I was made an infantry corporal. In the winter of 1779, I remustered to fight with a musket again.

The next campaign for us was to go into the Carolinas and Virginia to try and defeat the Americans there. The generals believed that there were still plenty of loyalists down there. But they forgot the fact that many had been killed, wounded or dispirited at the defeat of Moore`s Creek Bridge. From what I heard about that, it was like Culloden all over again. Why in God`s name did they send Highlanders with broadswords against entrenched infantry with muskets? When we went south, most of our troops were from the Grenadier and Light Infantry companies but in all, there were five companies which went the army. Since I was now an infantry corporal, I had a musket and bayonet with cartridge box, a broadsword, and I was able to keep my very old plug bayonet as a dirk. I had heard we were to be issued with Highland pistols but we never did see them. We were one of the few Scottish regiments to keep our kilts. For those of us who had served in the 42nd, 77th and 78th Regiments, we were used to the woods of America in kilts. The flies were killers, but I still felt cooler in my kilt rather than breeches.

Old Corporal Nickerson`s son was one of our pioneers. Old Nickerson lived out his days fishing out of a skiff in Cobequid. He never died at sea, he went to sleep one night and went off to find a patch of heaven. Jack was a smart fellow, and he always made sure our camps were set up right, we had our rations, and we had everything we needed to fight. His other son joined the Royal Artillery but the last I had heard of him, he ended up in Yorktown.

Our first action was at the siege of Charleston, South Carolina. We arrived in the summer, which was as hot as it had been in Cuba. The town had been surrounded by the British army. The French had attempted to lift the siege but the Royal Navy had been able to beat them off. The American defences were in terrible shape. After months of bombardment, the earthworks were falling apart, many homes were destroyed or damaged and the garrison was in rags and hungry. When the 84th Regiment companies arrived, we took part in storming the trenches.

“Alright you lot. We`re to go in with the bayonet to break through their defences and show what Highlanders can do. Each of you is eager to fight, and we`ll make those buggers pay for sending their ships up to Nova Scotia. Those of you with broadswords, sling your musket and draw them. Those with a musket long and a fearsome blade, we`ll make them bloody Yankees run!” We all cheered and with one of our pipers playing Athol Highlanders we ran at the lines, screaming our battle cries. You could hear Gaelic, French, German, English and Spanish. Even though we were a highland regiment, most of the newer recruits were from anyone who was fit enough to fight. The going was rough, due to the sandy soil. We slipped and fell but kept going. The Americans were firing at us to try and halt our charge, but we still smashed into their trenches. I remember hurtling over the top and turning around to slash down at an American officer. I was full of anger and hatred and split the man`s head like it was a watermelon. The unlucky fellow had not parred my stroke with his spontoon. The others stabbed down with their bayonets or slashed and stabbed. Pretty soon the Americans came up! The terror we inspired in them must have been absolute. Seeing several hundred men in kilts running screaming at you with long sword blades would make most men either empty their bowels or run light frightened rabbits.

After they gave up, we marched them out. In all, we were told that the Americans lost five thousand men at Charleston. Washington had suffered a blow, but dammit, it wasn`t enough to cause him to surrender. The war had to keep going on.

The war in the South was more of a civil war. The loyalities were really divided between even families. The colonial authorities honestly believed that the population was loyal, with only a few pockets of rebellion. In fact, most of the backwater areas were all for independence. It was a war of raids, counter raids, skirmishes, and big battles. The climate was harsh, hot and humid in the summer and cool and wet in the winter. It was the area of the swamp fox, Francis Marion and our own Tarelton`s Legion. The war was fought mostly by Loyalist units fighting their former neighbors. It was the scene of the The Battle of King`s Mountain, Eutaw Springs and Yorktown.

In the South, we also saw a lot of blacks who were running from rebel slave plantations. The British government had issued a proclamation that any slave whose master was in rebellion could run to the British lines and enlist. The runaway slaves who tried to enlist in the rebel army were not so lucky. It was possible that they would fight, but never gain their freedom. Many blacks understood this and thus flocked to our side. The last time I had seen so many Africans was when I had been in the Carribean and Cuba. I remember meeting one man who would become one of my friends.

Jack as he was called was an African man about my age who had been captured by slavers near the colony of Gambia. He`d been just a boy out collecting wood for his mother when the slavers captured him. His whole village was taken. Jack never saw his mother, father, or his brothers and sisters again. He`d ended up in South Carolina working on a plantation. He`d been lucky in getting a place in the masters house. This meant that he didn`t have to work out in the fields, but life was still harsh. You never had your own freedom he told me. His master wasn`t cruel, but he wasn`t very kind either. Perhaps that was how he felt you had to treat slaves, not as real people but as something like livestock.

Jack was a smart lad, and eventually one night, he was able to run away and stumbled into the picket line we had strung out on a road. “Halt in the king`s name” I challenged. “Please sir, don`t shoot me, I`ve come to answer the King`s call for slaves to fight for our freedom. I let him walk up to me, and I shook his hand. Pleased to meet you sir, what`s your name? The poor fellow began to cry. “Red-coat, you are the first man to treat like a fellow man. My name is Jack, and I want to fight these Americans. They say they are fighting for liberty, but where`s the liberty for the slaves? At least the king says we can be free if we fight for him.

It wasn’t just blacks who were fighting for their liberty. Many American wanted to stay loyal to the crown. I remember once when we were sent out on a flying patrol. We’d have a troop of Loyalist cavalry, a company of infantry and a small gun with us. We came across a hamlet which the rebels were in the process of plundering. We could hear the women scream and the children crying. The men had been dragged out of their homes, and were in the process of being tarred and feathered. As well, some had been beaten and were about to be executed. We charged into the village scattering rebels like a bunch of chickens. We rounded them up and brought them back to the hamlet. It seems that the leader of this little rebel group had developed a feud with a Loyalist family over the sale of some livestock. When the war broke out, the rebels had decided to get back at this man by stealing his cattle, or killing his sheep. It was like the thieving raids back in Scotland. I walked up to this rebel leader and proceeded to knock him about. “You don’t make war on women and children you bastard!” I landed a blow from my musket butt with each word I spoke. The Loyalist family lost all there possessions. Everything the rebels couldn’t throw in their packs was smashed. We went over to the wife and children and asked them what they wanted done. The wife grabbed my pistol which I had hanging, walked over to the rebel leader, put the muzzle onto the man’s privates and fired! The inhuman howl he gave in pain shocked us all. “That’s for ravaging me you bastard”! The other soldiers were very angry, and we proceeded to put every rebel on the ground and with our broadswords chopped down on their backsides. We then pegged their hands and feet to the ground. “The flies will get at you and you’ll not be sitting pretty on your horses no more.” The war in the south bred such brutality. If we found rebel groups plundering or abusing civilians, we either killed them, or maimed them in such a way as to make them unfit to fight. 

“War is bad, no matter who your are fighting for” Emily replied. “From what the Reverened used to tell us in the longhouse, an eye for an eye as the Lord says. I could never understand that. If you have to fight, it’s to protect what’s yours, but they way the rebels fought, they weren’t protecting what was there’s. It was all ours. So many warriors wanted to fight all the colonials. At least the British began to understand and trade better things with us. Now with the American’s fighting with us in Upper Canada, we have to fight the same people again.”

For me, the final fight I took part in was the Battle of Eutaw Springs It was another hot, humid day full of mosquitoes, and alligators. Those were nasty brutes. If we saw one, we killed them right away before they got us. Eutaw Springs was our biggest victory. We fought the rebels to a standstill.

 

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