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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Euan the Ranger

This is the second story I have begun. Again, it's a work in progress.


EUAN THE RANGER.

By Rod Redden

2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER 1:

It was a cold morning as the old man woke up. It was the kind of cold which told you that you were glad to wake up. A snowfall had happened in the night, which wasn`t all that unusual for October in Nova Scotia. The old man`s family slept quietly and he quietly walked to the hearth. Taking the flint and steel on the mantleplace, he began to strike for a spark. It was so dark, and the cold was numbing his mind. Euan stood there trying to start a fire, but forgetting to take a piece of charcloth with which to light a fire.

As he stumbled about the cabin, his young granddaughter came up to him. “Grampie, your hands are all cold, I`ll strike the spark and you can get a flame going.”

“Well now, I guess that`s as good an idea as any. You help your old grandfather to light the fire and we`ll have a spot of tea and porridge shall we? Now if I can also light this lantern here we can see what we are doing a bit more. “Can we also make bannock Grampie? I like how you make it.” Well sure but we`ve got to get a fire going first.”

Anne sat huddled in front of the fire trying to catch any warmth that came from it. She had helped her grandfather lay small pieces of birchbark and kindling to get it going. As they sat waiting for the kettle to boil, he began to tell her a new story.

 

Euan pulled a blanket closer to his body and began. Now where did I leave you off last night little one?” Anne looked up and rubbed some sleep from her eye. You were saying something about going for a moosehunt with great grampie Lindsay.” The old man smiled. Ah yes, but I should remind you of what I was doing then.

I stayed with Phillip`s Regiment until they became the 40th Regiment of Foot in 1751. But seeing as I saw how the war was fought, I decided that if I could carry a musket, I wanted to not wear a redcoat and be an easy target. So, when Capt. Goreham began to recruit for new soldiers, I traded my redcoat for a grey one. I was only 16 but Goreham let me stay as militia soldiers could join at the same age. I had a little experience with hunting with Lindsay and Gordon, so when I enlisted in the rangers, Gordon followed me. Lindsay though, decided that as he was getting older that being an officer in the garrison was the best place for him.”

 

Learning to be a ranger was a lot different from how we were trained in the regular army. For one thing, our uniforms were much different. Instead of wearing Redcoats, we were issued with a grey wool coat, but we kept our waistcoats, as long as our grey coats covered them. We had the choice of wearing a blue Scottish style bonnet, or a black cap. Since Gordon was English, he chose the black cap. I decided to follow my Irish ancestors and wore the bonnet. It was a sky blue and over time, it would darken up through many years of use. Gordon and I also traded our red breeches to buffed linen and we were given a powder horn, a cartridge box, a tomahawk, and if we wanted to, we could add a knife ourselves, but we would have to pay for it. We retained our old haversacks and we traded our white leggings for brown or black ones. We went from looking like soldiers of the king to little more than highwaymen or rouges.

 

Benard taught us all we needed to know about our new unit. Both of us were clever and that we were told was the greatest asset of a ranger. “For you boys, to think makes you apart from the redcoats. You have to know how to read the forest for signs that the enemy has been there. Forget standing and fighting in lines, you have to act together and use the land to protect yourselves. You need to know how to make a camp with just your tomahawk and your blanket to protect you. You also need to know that once you make that camp that you build simple defenses for it. If rangers are ambushed, there isn`t much point of us being here”.  

 

“So if the war had ended father, what did you do then?” “Well, as Rangers, Gordon and I had a lot of work to do. The government in London decided that they were serious about Nova Scotia and wanted a strong hold to rival Louisbourg. So Halifax was founded in 1749. Chebucto was chosen over Annapolis Royal or Canso because the harbour was so huge! Canso was only good for fishing, and Annapolis was too far away from the Atlantic Ocean, and too far from Louisbourg. Goreham`s Rangers and the Grenadiers of the 40th set out through the forest to secure Chebucto harbour so that the settlers would be protected.

 

Most of our time was spent patrolling the forests and protecting woodcutting parties. There was one patrol that went from Canso to cut hay for the settlements animals. The farmers and Rangers didn`t return. It was only afterwards that we had found out what had happened to our comrades. The Mik Maq took the rangers to Louisbourg to get a reward for capturing the men. However, since war was not declared, the French authorities would not take them. The Mik Maq, angry that they had not been given any reward for capturing the rangers, simply took them back to their camp, and systematically torutured them in revenge for the white man encroaching on their land. They had no problems with the French because they would trade with them. The English only wanted to take the land and make farms. The Jesuit priest, Abbe Le Loutre made sure the Mik Maq understood that a new war was coming and that they would need to fight them off again. So, a trail of fear was to be made to all non-French settlements in Nova Scotia. Of course we also patrolled, both on land and sea. Capt. Goreham had bought 2 boats for us to use to patrol the rivers and the Minas Basin along with the Bay of Fundy. I grew to be a strong man from all the work we had to do. I didn`t think that I would learn how to be a sailor while a ranger, but that was the fun part of being one. I had to learn how to help rig the ship for sailing and more importantly, how to operate the swivel guns”

“Now loading cannon is different from loading a musket. First of all, it`s much bigger and they can be more dangerous. We spent about a week learning how to go through the loading and firing drill. The first thing we had to do was to search the barrel for anything inside that shouldn`t be there. Then we loaded a cloth bag which was the gun powder cartridge. While one ranger placed his thumb over the touch hole with his thumb covered with a little glove, another ranger would insert the powder charge, and then the main charge; a round shot, grape, or chain shot depending on what our target was. Both the powder and shot were rammed home with a wooden rammer. At first we got fearsome scholdings by the corporal as if we made a mistake, it would mean that the gun could explode and kill us, or it wouldn`t fire properly. But finally we were able to load and fire the small gun with ease.

“Now while the regular troops of both the French and British stayed in their forts for the most part, it was the illregulars like us who kept up the low fight. With the two boats we patrolled up the Shubenacadie and Stewiacke rivers. For a landlubber like myself the first time we hit the water I think I was more scared than during the attacks on Fort Anne. The tides were so huge! One moment it would be nothing but mud flats, the next a wall of water would come crashing from the coast. Plus the winds would come up quickly and a calm area of water would soon see large waves coming over the gunwhales of the boats.

 On our first trip up into the Minas Basin, we spotted a structure on the water. It was a series of poles which were sunk into the sea bed. Puzzled, we asked our officer what it was. “Aye lads, that`s a Mik Maq fishing weir. Just like the ones the Welsh people use back home. If it was low tide, you`d see that each post is woven together that makes a fence in the water. The fish swim in but can`t get back out. When the tide goes out, they just hop in their canoes and paddle out and scoop up the fish on the bottom.

We`d even find them up the Stewiacke and Shubenacadie rivers. There, they were stretched them across the river which really bothered us because they became a navigation hazard. A few times, we broke through them so we could continue, but this wasn`t such a good idea because then we`d have a bunch of vengeful warriors who would try and attack us.  It was like a big game of cat and mouse. Once a party of eleven rangers had gone out on a patrol and we never saw them again. We never knew what happened to them. On another time, Benard`s group led an attack on a Mik Maq village and 25 scalps came back. I didn`t like that business myself. It`s bad enough to have to kill someone when you are a soldier, but to harm a body once they have been killed is something I didn`t like to do.” Then afterwards, we`d then burn out the camps, and destroy any food that they might have. If we couldn`t carry it ourselves, we`d destroy it. Making war on men, women and children was something that I also didn`t like to do, but if we didn`t want to fight in the future, we had to defeat them in some way. But this is something that I have always asked for God`s forgiveness for.

 

The rangers had gone out early in the morning just after sunrise to help the farmers cut the hay. It meant that they had to form a skirmish line on the edge of the forest.  The Mik Maq and the French had been watching all the settlements to see what was happening. The rangers sat there watching the gloomy woods for any signs of the enemy. . And once more, the muskets barked out only this time, the Mik Maq felt a little bolder and ran out of the woods. They had orders not to kill, but decided that they would try and capture some British soldiers. The Rangers were willing to keep on fighting. They began to make a fighting withdrawl to the fort in the town when the farmers up and ran as fast as they could. Without any covering fire from the fort`s defenses, the rangers were quickly surrounded.” All we found of them were the tracks and cartridge papers some of the rangers had used. We found the bodies of the civilians. They had been stripped and scalped. There was no sign of the rangers. We could only hope that they died quickly and were carried off. But war is not a fairy tale world.

 

So in the spring, Capt. Gorham was given orders to advance us up to Minas and find some of the Acadians who had taken part in the raid back in the fall. Gordon and I went up and the first thing we were ordered to do was to build a blockhouse for our defense. We had spent the winter at Fort Sackville and we marched down the road we built. We spent two days on the road which was pretty fast considering that it was March. When we hit the St. Croix River, we all got that feeling again.

 

The woods still had snow about and the river was partly frozen over. There were little channels for water that had carved themselves through the snow. We could see tracks of small animals that had been going down to get a drink from the water. Now in the winter it`s pretty quiet, but come up to spring, you`d get some animals about looking for food. But on this morning, the only thing we could hear was the sound of the river splashing it`s way through the trees. We came up to the sawmill and two houses that made up the only settlement in the area. As we went to cross the river, the Mik Maq began to holler and shout and muskets began to fire.

 

“Take cover, fire at any smoke you see” came the command. Gordon and I found a nice piece of river bank to hide behind. We decided to act together so while I fired, Gordon waited until I got down and then he fired. “Take that you dog lovers” Gordon shouted. So there we were, bang bang, bang, bang. The other rangers were doing the same. We`d all group together in pairs and fire from any cover we could find. We kept it up until Gorham yelled out “back to the sawmill men.” So it was Retire and fire. Gordon and I fired, running back to the next pair who fired. We had already begun to load as we had run back so that we could keep up a continous fire. “Fire and retire” was our order. Only a few of the men fell, the rest of us made it into the buildings.

 

 “Right boys, we`ll be fine inside here. So we settled in and listened to the yelps of the warriors and taunts from the Canadian militia. The worst part was trying to go out to relieve yourself. Anyone of us even poked our heads out the door or a window was answered by about five shots. Gordon was always chipper. “Well look at it this way lads, we`re inside warm and dry while those buggers outside have to squat in the snow. Unless they get some torches, we`ve nothing to fear.” We all laughed until one of the militia must have read Gordon`s mind and made to rush at us with a blazing torch. “I don`t think so Jean” as I looked out and fired at a figure running at our window. The musket ball hit him square in the chest and he went down. His torch mearly hissed when it hit the snowy ground.  “I need a runner to go back to Fort Sackville to sound the alarm” Goreham called. One brave man volunteered, and it was a good choice. That man must have spouted angel wings for he made the trip in eight hours! 

 

The next morning, about dawn, the French and Indians began to put up a withering fire towards us. “Euan, it`s hailing musket balls” yelled Gordon. “Aye, but they sound more like a bad boran player myself” I answered. Then a large fusillade and two mighty barks sounded in response. “Damm but they have artillery” I heard one man yell out. “Gorehams prepare to fire and advance, that`s our rescue!” we heard the Captain yell. It was like watching a strong rain wash the snow off the land. The Mik Maq and Canadians melted back into the woods. We then resumed our march to Minas with the bonus of more men and artillery. We all looked forward to a hot mug of tea and with luck it would be laced with a good tot of rum.

 

Well, in April of 1750, Major Lawrence was ordered to advance on Chignecto to drive off the French who had taken up positions there. His orders were to destroy the French fort and force them to retreat. It was a large expedition using most of all the resources the British army and Royal Navy had in Nova Scotia at the time. Gorham`s Rangers were tasked with helping scout out the advance while Lt. How, though only an army officer was tasked with using his two boats. Captain Cobb was also tasked with providing his boats as well.

 

 

 We advanced up the same road that we had just fought on, but he was an alert commander and took nothing to chance. We made good time marching through the flatlands past the St. Croix river and were able to ford and canoe the rivers until we met up with Capt. Handfield in his picketed fort and blockhouse at Minas. The Royal Navy sailed around Nova Scotia to meet up with the army to then transport us over the Minas Basin to Chignecto.

 

In order to secure our rear area, Major Lawrence instructed us to search the Acadian homes and to confinscate any muskets we came across. This was good as some of us had worn out our old ones and we were in a fix as to getting new arms. But we didn`t steal them. We promised and paid the Acadians for their arms. For an Acadian, the musket was a farming tool, an essential piece of property to use for hunting, driving off pesky crows and varmints who would sneak in and eat at their crops. As well, they were afraid that once issued with British muskets, that they would then have to be mobilized as militia for the British. What didn`t make sense to me was if they accepted French muskets, why were they not worried the French would want them for their militia?

 

 

I remember that spring well. Looking back all these years, it was like a calm before a great storm that hit us. I had seen war, been party to some fighting and saw things I wish I had never seen. I went from being an innocent boy, to a hardened man. Sometimes I wonder what happened to that little drummer boy I once was. But for me, it was the only way to escape the poverty of Ireland and a life of low subsistence.

By 1755, Gordon Jefferson and I had become strong men, who had learned the experiences of fighting the Mik Maq in the forest. I had also learned how to handle a small boat going up and down the coasts and up the rivers. I had also made friends not only with the soldiers of the garrisons I served in, but with some of the local people as well. The Melanson family were Acadians who helped supply food to the garrison, and whose father had drowned when his canoe overturned one day. My father, Lieutant Lindsay Kenny married the widow and I had gained a step-sister. I thought that I was in love with her, but in youth, we can sometimes mistake love for loneliness.

 

Our lives had not been quiet. In order to keep ourselves at peace, we had to constantly prepare for war. However, it was becoming more difficult to do our repairs to the forts. We had heard reports that Captain Murray at Fort Edward had not received any firewood or wood to make repairs to the fort`s stockade. When Gordon and I were sent up as part of a patrol, we found out that the local Acadian priest Abbe Daubin had been preaching that it was wrong to supply us with anything which could lead to war. Though I never could understand why they didn`t tell them to not supply the Mik Maq. All of the officers felt that the priests in the area were acting as spies and agents of the French government.

 

In August of 1755, we got word that General Braddock had been defeated in the forests of Pennsylvania. He had almost reached his objective but was soundly beaten by a French and Indian force. Braddock`s troops had trained for war in Europe and had no concept of how we fought war here.

Now what none of us knew at the time was that the Drums of war had been beating far from our own lands. George Washington, a young officer in the Virginian Colonial Forces had set out from Williamsburg with orders from the governor to make a solid claim on the boundry of Virginia. The French had been reported as having set up trading posts and forts in areas that we claimed. But with one shot, little did he know that he would engulf the whole world in war. Washington`s actions had led to Braddock taking the war path, but it plunged us all into war.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 2

I remember the day we got the news. “Ah Euan, you beat me again at cards. I`m sure you must be cheating.” Gordon took a sip of spruce beer as the two friends sat at their table in the barracks. “On my honor Gordon, I don`t cheat, you can read my face whenever I do something wrong. Besides, maybe I have better luck, being born in Ireland and all.

 

“So what`s to say I don`t shake you about and expect a Leprician to fall out your breeches with a pot of gold in his hands.” We both fell about laughing just thinking of it.

“I sure do wish we`d have something more to do. This dam rain is keeping us in these past ten days.” “Aye but would you rather be on sentry duty or running a patrol out in the woods now?” “Ah so if it isn`t Private Jefferson and Private Kenny playing cards. “ Corporal Todd of the 40th Regiment noted. “I should report you and let you have a chat with the Drum Major`s Cat eh?” “No Corporal, there be no need of that. We have no money to bet with, we`re just passing the time.” “Well I think I can find something else more useful to His Majesty then playing cards. I`d say a spell in the holding cell would do you some good. Out with you now.”

 Both of us were dragged out of our cosy barracks and led by the picket to the Black hole. That`s what we called the holding cell in Fort Anne. “We will see what your officer has to say about this. “ And with a nasty chuckle, Corporal Todd placed us in the cell to await what Captain Joseph Goreham would do with us. “The next morning, we were led out of the cells with a picket guard of four soldiers and a drummer. Corporal Todd sneered at us and ordered us to march off. We were led to the officer`s barracks and would face the officers.

 

“Sir, Corporal Todd reporting with two rangers who in direct violation of the Articles of War, were found while in barracks playing a game of chance with cards.

Lieutant Kenny stood up and addressed his Corporal. Cpl. Todd, are these men members of your company?” “No sir, they are members of Captain Goreham`s Rangers. However, as I was Corporal of the guard, I was making my rounds through the fort to ensure that the soldiers were in good discipline.” Captain Goreham, in his grey coat and red waistcoat, stood up and addressed the senior officers. “Major Blackmore, these men are members of my company. Surely any discipline would fall under my own discretion. I`m sure that these two men, both of whom have given loyal service to His Majesty would not be so foolish as to play for money in violation of their orders.”

 

Major Blackmore in his redcoat faced buff with a ruffle of silk about his neck, glowered at the rangers. “Captain Goreham, I find this whole situation an annoyance. These rangers were playing cards when they should have being doing some sort of soldiers duty. Corporal Todd, while your diligence to duty is not in question, were you yourself not in violation of your orders?” “Sir, I was within hailing distance to the guard room.”

Sargeant Nelson then spoke up. “Sir, Corporal Todd was following my orders. I had sent him to make a round of the barracks, as I could hear some soldiers loudly laughing and I thought that they may have been drunk. I was in the guard room myself.”

The older officer sighed. “I see, well, Private Jefferson, do you have anything to say for your conduct?” “No sir” Gordon replied. “Private Kenny, do you have any words to your superior officers? “Sir, we were not playing for money, but I understand that we are at fault. I`m willing to accept his Majesties punishment.”

“I find both of you guilty of violating your orders. I sentence you to ten days loss of pay.”

This court martial is adjourned.” And with that, the officers stood up and we were led from the room by our guard to face our fellow soldiers. Captain Goreham was most unpleased. “You two idiots. What the hell were you doing playing cards in the daytime?” “Well sir I had finished casting musket balls and preparing cartridges with Jefferson as we had been ordered. Since it was raining, there wasn`t much else we could do, so we secured the powder, and let our balls cool off in the rain.”

“Well then, I suppose that I`ll have to send you out on a patrol to keep you two out of trouble for a few weeks. I`m sending Sargeant Gillies out to see what the Mik Mak are up to. You will join him.”

 

“But why did the Corporal want to get you in trouble Grandfather”? “Most British officers don`t like colonial troops very much. They seem to think that we are not professional and that we lacked discipline. Since we don`t wear uniforms or spend our time drilling on parade squares, they tend to feel that we`re not worthy of receiving the king`s shilling. But if it wasn`t for Gorham`s Rangers, the British in Nova Scotia would have faced a tougher time than they did. Whenever there was an Indian attack on Halifax or Dartmouth the locals would raise a so called ranger company and then try to find the war party. Those were the amateurs. We knew what we were doing. Soldiers like Corporal Todd were many and he wanted to impress on his superiors that Gordon and I were not really soldiers.

“I told you we should have waited until after tattoo to play cards Gordon.” “Yeah well if we are out on a patrol, we won`t have anyway to spend money, so I guess it`s better than getting flogged.”

Our patrol was to set up an ambush site where the Mik Maq might come through. Now that was boring. We first had to make some basic fortifications but we had to do it in a way that wasn`t easy to spot. Gordon and I got to spend a week living in a leanto and spell each other off every two hours. At the time, I felt that what we did was a big waste because sure as the grass is green, the Mik Maq would have noticed us from a long way off, either by our structures, or by the noise of us cutting the bush down to make our defenses. But sometimes we had to do work for work sake.

CHAPTER 3.

Soon afterwards though, we came back to Fort Anne and received new orders. Colonel Robert Monckton would lead us on an assault on Fort Beasejour in Chignecto. Now I remembered that place well, having been there when How had been killed. Over the interviening years, it had grown from a simple earthwork, to something that would challenge us in an attack. So in the late spring, Annapolis Royal saw a massive influx of troops. Winslow was one of the commanders and he had about a thousand men. Captain Scott, was chosen as the commander of the second group and it was with this group of another thousand men. The troops had first assembled in Boston and then sailed up to Nova Scotia.

Major Lawrence sent orders to Captain Murray at Fort Edward informing him of the coming campaign. He was to collect the Acadian deputies together and get some form of confirmation that the Acadians would be loyal subjects of the British crown. If any were preparing to go and assist the French at Beasejour, or to take up arms against their legitimate government, they would be classified as rebels and would be punished by execution. Not only the men, but their families would also be punished. The Acadians would have to choose a side, and the message was, they had better choose to side with the British.

 

Captain Scott formed us up on the parade square. There we stood rigidly at attention and as the other soldiers formed up, we could hear the birds singing and feel the slight breeze blowing off the Annapolis river. “Soldiers, we have been ordered to attack the French fort of Beausejour in Chignecto. Some of you have been there before. Goreham`s Rangers will be our eyes and ears on this expedition. I have faith that our troops will prevail over the French. For too long they have kept us cooped up on the coast Each soldier shall do his duty to his upmost. Three cheers for his Majesty King George the Second Hip Hip Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah!”

 

So this was what our orders were. We were to proceed up the Bay of Fundy, towards Chignecto and lay siege to Fort Beasejour.. On May 25th, 1755, Annapolis Royal saw one of the largest fleets that had sailed into our area since the place had been captured from the French fifty-five years before. Forty-one ships with 2000 troops moved into camp. We had set up tents in the ditch of the fort and on the glacis to accommodate them all. For five days the troops were assembled, and supplies passed out. Each soldier was given 60 rounds of ammunition, three flints. We spent a lot of time loading the ships with extra cannon balls, and other things to make us ready. We set sail on June 1st and made our way up the bay until we reached Fort Lawerence.

 

We then encamped outside the forts walls, and as rangers, we had to go out and report what we could see. Gordon and I paired up and we were given a spy glass to help us.

We got to the river bank and spied on the French lines. The French were busy with last minute preparations for what they knew could be a long siege. We had proper artillery and engineers and the officers planned that it might take as long as a month if not more to reduce the garrison into surrender. We could see some Acadians under arms moving into the fort as well as some Mik Maq warriors. We watched them for four days before we began to make our move. Those four days we spent huddled in the grass with only our canteens, moose jerky and biscuits to keep us company. Gordon would watch for a bit while I`d either rest or make notes. Then it would be my turn. I had a kind of excited feeling watching the French scurry about trying to protect themselves.

In the wee hours of the morning of June 4th, we began the French and Indian war in Nova Scotia. The Royal Artillery had 4 six pound guns ready for march to be led by the Grenadiers of the 43rd Regiment and Goreham`s Rangers. The artillery was at the back of the column as we set out. Of course we headed to the place where there had been a bridge but the French were not stupid enough to leave it intact. The Royal Engineer detachment quickly built another one as the rest of the army waited. As we stood there, we took sips from our canteens and some of us were apprehensive about what might happen to us that day. I had experienced attacks before, but we had been the defenders. Now we were the attackers.

 

As the engineers began to build the bridge, Mik Maq warriors began to fire on them. There was a log house which they had made into a type of block house and from inside they had some swivel guns which they fired on us. While this was happening, the new village the Acadians had built near the fort was torched and the smoke screened what the defenders were doing. It was a crazy time of war whoops, musket and cannon fire, screams of pain and alarm for the soldiers and curses by those who were trying to build the bridge without getting shot.”

“Alright, I`ve had enough of those pop guns. Royal Artillery from open sights at the log house FIRE!” All four guns began to belch forth their fire ploughing up the earth in front of the building and around it as they began to reach out for a proper range. Eventually, the British shot began to make results and we observed that the French took what guns remained and ran into the woods. The Mik Maq withdrew up to the heights out of range of our guns and a few die hards stayed in the trenches around the blockhouse.

 

Gordon and I were used to fire at them along with the other rangers. Evetually, all the French retired into their fort. Then we began the hard task of preparing to lay siege to the place. Now it was different being an attacker than a defender. First, we had to prepare an area for our camp. We had to clear an area of land of brush and then dig defenses and lay out the tent lines. Then the camp had to be supplied. So we had to also build a road from the area where our ships were to the camp. All the while, the French watched us and worried about what would happen. About a week after we landed, the camp had been set up and we then began the real work of the siege.

 

We had to start by digging trenches and gun emplacements for our artillery in order to fire on the fort. We had to help build another road so that the heavy guns could be moved. Since there were no horses, we had to use man power to haul the guns into position. Those cannons are heavy! We found a spot to put them on a rise just above their fort, but the French weren`t about to just pass that spot over.

“Grampie, can we start to make some bannock.?” “I suppose that`s a good idea. We can make and cook them as I tell the story. Here`s the flour, go get a mug of water and we`ll mix and then make them as we talk.

“So how did you get the high ground around the fort then Grandfather?” Anne began to look most shocked and awed by her grandfather`s story.  

“Goreham`s Rangers and the Grenadiers of the 43rd, 45th, and 47th  led by the now Major Scott took it upon ourselves to assault the site. The French had dug in a little on the site and we advanced carefully.”

“King`s forces will fix bayonets, Fix your bayonets. Shoulder your arms. Rangers take the flank, Grenadiers, take care, by the left quick march!”

“Up we went. Gordon would run ahead first then kneel and take aim. Then I would advance about 10 meters and kneel then present as to fire. We kept it up until we were about 100 meters from the position. “Grenadiers halt. Prime and load.” Now this was just at the limit of the French range of their muskets. As the Grenadiers loaded, we began to fire on the French. Then finally, the French began to fire. It was heavy for a bit and the Engineer who was with us was hit and badly wounded. Major Prebel who was second in command received a scrape. Even though the French were firing like mad, their aim was bad. As we began to advance again, the French fired but only five men dropped. One had been killed while the others were taken back to the surgeon`s lines.

 

Once the Grenadiers charged their bayonets and rushed the line, the French broke. To cover their withdrawl, the forts cannons began to fire on us. We spent the rest of the night digging in to make trenches and redoubts for our guns. We began our trenches 700 feet from the forts walls and began to inch our way forward.”

The ground was soft enough, but it still takes a lot of energy to put a spade or shovel into the ground and then pile it up to protect ourselves. Sappers did a lot of this but we also had to help at times. The infantry behind us simply lay on their bellies until there was some cover and then they crawled into the protection of the earth.

 

“Euan, did you think we`d be rats or rabbits in this attack. If I have to dig anymore, I might as well turn into a rabbit and just eat carrots” “Gordon, the only carrots you`ll be eating will be out of our stew pot. I`d just like to be able to shoot at those gunners on their walls.”

 

“Around June 12th, our trenches were established enough for a mortar to be brought up and move until it was in position to begin it`s bombardment of the fort. On the night of June 16th, with their linstocks lit and ammunition piled ready for use, the Royal Artillery gunners began their work. As we stood in the trench on the firing step, we could hear the linstock hiss and then there was a little whoosh BANG! The mortar began firing. But the most suprising thing was after about the fifth shot. This time it went hiss, whoosh, BANG! WHAM!!!!!! We saw a bright flash and one of the buildings blew up! When dawn broke, we were greatly surprised to see a drummer march out with an officer beating for a parley!

 

It turned out that that shot from the mortar blew up inside a building which held seven French officers. With the flash of the explosion, we thought we must have hit their powder magazine. The garrison as it turned out consisted of mostly Acadian farmers the rest were colonial troops. As we crept closer, more and more of the Acadians had slipped over the walls and off into the woods to flee with their families away from us. Since the French commander who was Vergor had lost most of his officers, he felt it best to surrender.

 

Now also, we knew the Le Loutre must also be there, and after we had witnessed what his preaching had caused, we wanted to get him. But when the French marched out, Le Loutre was no where to be found. Much later did we find out what happened to him. Despite the fact that he had been preaching to the Mik Maq and the Acadians, he found that he was used by the French government. Le Loutre had traveled back to France earlier to gain funds to help the Acadians, and also to help fund his activities in making the Mik Maq wage war on us. We even found out that funds which he had obtained were used not only in dyke construction in Acadian communities, but also in buying English scalps that his Mik Maq followers brought for him. Knowing that the British would want him a prisoner, he disguised himself as a servant girl, and slipped out of the fort to head towards Quebec. Now he had been made the Bishop for the Acadians, but the church authorities in New France were not pleased that Beasejour had fallen. Also, despite his orders to act as an agent for the French, he would find out that his over zealous preaching of attacking the English meant that France had just lost one of their outposts. He was sent packing. He made his way to Louisbourg to sail for France.

 

Le Loutre`s luck finally ran out about a week after his ship sailed for France. One of the Royal Navy patrols captured his ship and finding out who he was, clapped him in irons and sent to Elizabeth Castle in Jersey where he remained a prisoner until 1763. While there, he was nearly murdered by one of his guards. It had turned out that the soldier had been posted to Nova Scotia and had been one of the men captured by the Mik Maq. He said Le Loutre had been leading the war party and had actually went up to this soldier and had drawn a knife ready to scalp him! He had watched as the Mik Maq murdered his companions and then saw how the priest paid the warriors with money he had. For some reason, this soldier had been sparred. The other soldiers of the guard in the castle had to restrain him. After that, he didn`t do any guard duty over the priest.

 

The officers gave the garrison the honors of war, the French were allowed to keep their colors, their baggage and weapons. Also, the Acadians who had been part of the garrison were not to be harmed. We packed the French troops onto ships and sent them under flag of truce to Louisbourg. We had managed to convince Louisbourg that we would also attack them, and thus with Royal Navy ships off their coast, the French felt they couldn`t send help to them. Nor could the troops in Isle Saint Jean or Quebec. With his garrison dwindling from desertions of his Acadian militia, with only about one company of Compaigne Franches, the French passed us the fort only four days after we first began to dig out trenches.

 

“But that`s amazing Grandfather, I mean to attack a fort and take it so easily.” “Yes, we thought that it would take all summer to finish it off. And I suppose that if they had had any decent and able commander, they would have.” “So did you then get set for winter then?” Anne had just finished making her fifth little bannock patty.

 

At this, Euan`s face came a cloud of sorrow. “No, there was to be no getting ready for winter, at least not yet. What we did next is something that I have felt the most shame for all my life. I`ve lived with this guilt for a long time. From that summer, my life forever changed. I`m amazed that I came out of that summer sane.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: THE GREAT DEPLACEMENT.

“The next few weeks proceeded as we thought it would. The French fort of Gaspereau had to be taken. It was a shabby place, with four badly built blockhouses and a shallow ditch. The whole place was surrounded by a palisade but there was no rampart or loopholes in the walls! They had no real supplies at all, there wasn`t even a well. To get water, they had to haul it by cart from quite a distance. The barracks were a mess, not even hospitable. It was a wonder that it had been built in the first place. But the worst part was that it was built so close to the water that any navy force could almost sail right up to it and blast it apart with cannons. Colonel Winslow felt that it would be best to destroy the place and sent a message back to Colonel Monckton about the situation. Monckton felt that it could still serve a purpose and then sent us a relief force to secure the area. We searched the village of Baie Vert and taking what stores we could use, marched back to Beausejour.

 

Another force went down to what in the future became Saint John. When the British force arrived, the French blew up their cannons, blew up their powder magazine and retreated up river until they reached Quebec. We had secured the area in less than a month, and the summer was still young. But what the commanders then did next was awful.

 

 When we finally took possession of Fort Beasejour, we found that the majority of the garrison had been Acadians! They claimed that they were forced to enlist in the French colonial militia and help to defend the fort. For the senior officers in Nova Scotia, this was almost a confirmation of their belief that the Acadian were a big problem. For them, they saw the Acadians under arms as though they were a wolf in sheep`s clothing. For many years, they claimed to be neutral, but here they were with arms fighting English troops. They failed to noticed or perhaps they didn`t know that Le Loutre had threatened them with his Mik Maq followers and would burn them out or kill them if they didn`t join the French in the fort. These same people had been forcibly removed to the French side of the river four years before.

 

I knew of these because I was used as an interpreter due to the fact that I had learned some French while playing with Madeline. I spoke with some of the prisoners and this is what they told me. Also many of the Acadian militia had actually deserted when they saw how close we were getting to their walls.

 

Now Major Lawrence had been waiting for a chance to get rid of his “Acadian problem”. He had at his disposal 2000 paid troops, various transport vessels and it was just the beginning of summer. So rather than have these troops stay in garrison, and with a victors mindset, they proceeded in a campaign that I am ashamed to admit I was ordered to take part in.

 

After news of Beasejour`s fall reached Halifax, Governor Lawrence held a council meeting of all of the major officers of the colony as well as the civilian authorties.

Chief Justice Belcher was to act as the legal representative of the meeting. In July Major Lawrence set out to make a decision about the Acadians in Nova Scotia. He was quoted as saying that he felt the best solution to the situation was to prevent as much as possible any possible hope of return for the Acadian population. They would be distributed amoungst the English colonies and that ships would be hired as soon as possible to take them away.

Now as we were going about our attack on Beaujseour, the Acadians in Piziquid were causing the local commander Captain Murray some problems. The Government in Halifax was concerned that the Acadians in the are would go up and help the French. So Captain Murray had orders to enforce English control over the area. He was ordered to meet with deputies of the Acadian communities and explain that they had nothing to fear from the English. They would be under the protection of the British government to enjoy the rights and liberties of English subjects. If however any of them felt the need to go and assist the French, they would suffer the full weight of English law.

 

It was during this meeting that Murray set out the new rules of the land. All guns the Acadians had were to be delivered to Fort Edward as well as all boats or canoes. This upset the Acadians as there guns were used in their daily life in farming, and their canoes or boats were their only means of transportation in the area because there were no roads. As well boats were used for fishing so that they could feed their families.

When the Acadians wrote a petition complaining about these new rules, they had no idea that a battle had just taken place. With their view of asking for fair treatment by the British, what they received in return was a complete overreaction. Governor Lawerence saw the Acadians as presumptuous.

 

He called for a meeting of Acadian deputies to Halifax to inform them of what was expected of them. Lawrence had the knowledge that Acadians had been found in the garrison of Beasejour and thus gave them a scathing speech.

“You Acadians plead to us that you only want to live on your land and to grow crops to feed your families. Whenever we summon you, you plead submission. However, it has come to my attention, that you have been supplying the French both in Louisbourg and Beasejour with provisions in direct violation of English law! When you have supplied us, you have charged us three times what you charged the French. When you choose to trade with the enemy, you have forfeited your rights!” “Governor Lawerene” spoke one of the delegation, “we have not done as you said, we have only been living in our lands living our daily lives. We have nothing to do with the French” Lawerence exploded “then explain to me why my soldiers at Fort Edward have observed your canoes loaded with goods heading towards French territory and not English. Why are you under arms when traveling? As Catholics, you have no right to bear arms, however, if you submit to His Majesties loyalty now and pledge the loyalty of your people, you shall enjoy all the rights of English subjects without further hinderance. But you must swear an oath of alligance. If there will be no oath, then your people shall suffer for it.”

“But Governor, we have constantly sworn to be at peace with you as our fathers have also… “ “Damm you sir, you have know our position these past six years. The time has come for a final answer to this question. Are you English, or French subjects? Every governor of Nova Scotia has faced your questionable loyalty since 1710. You will submit or suffer for it.”

The delegation was shocked at this news. Pleading that they could not decide on this without consulting their people, Lawerence then responded, “If Le Loutre or any other priest tells you to do something, you do it, and as this is English territory, you are in fact, in open rebellion when you ignore our orders and obey those of your priests. As well, if you are deputies of your communities, then you represent them by law. You will give us an answer or suffer for it.

 

 

The French troops from Beasejour were sent to Louisbourg, but the civilians, we imprisoned them in Fort Lawrence until we could bring ships up to take them away. We then went out and burned their farms, took their cattle and other livestock and burnt their crops. The officers decided that if the French were to come back, they would find nothing but a wasted land. We thought that was the last of it, but as the summer progressed, it got much much worse. See we all thought that we`d only expel these people because they had clearly supported the French in this area.

 

I remember when Captain Gorham assembled us and gave out our orders.

“Rangers, you are here by charged with assisting the authorities and other troops in reducing the Acadian population of Nova Scotia. We will proceeded to each district and evict all Acadian we find. We are to burn all their homes, destroy their possessions, seize their livestock, and deport them to the English colonies to the south. That being said, I must admit that this will be the hardest part of our duty that we have been charged with. Even in our fighting against the Mik Maq, we have not been ordered to go in and destroy their villages. The authorities insist that we will make this land English and that the Acadians have had over forty years to submit to our rule, which they have never done. Though these Acadian have fed us and have for the most part kept to their neutrality. For some of you, this order will be very difficult to carry out. I know that some of you have married into Acadian families and even some of the officers at Annapolis Royal are going to be personally affected with this order. I might remind you that we must carry out any order which we are given, weither we agree with them or not.”

 

We arrived there on August 19, 1755. After staying at Fort Edward, we marched and sailed into the settlement. Upon our arrival, we set up an encampment. The local Acadians came up to us and began to trade food and cider with us for any money we had. We had strict orders to not let on why we were there. For the Acadians, they must have felt it was like a fair day what with all the tents for the soldiers and the ships in the harbor. We set up sentries and pickets. Our commander, Colonel Winslow took up residence in the priests house and we used the church for what would be the meeting place for the men. When the locals asked us why we had set up a picket fence, we told them it was for our own protection from the Mik Maq.

 

 

 

 

 

My personal feeling of Grand Pre was like visiting the ghosts of my past. I had survived the massacre back in 1747. Here I was again eight years later, but this time, it would be very different. We got water and supplies from the locals and made ourselves as comfortable as possible. I was still so upset that I didn`t feel like eating. The simple homes on the slope leading down to the water would soon be a scence of hell. I mean the place was a beautiful piece of earth. Such lush green pastures rimmed with dykes to keep out the mighty rivers with their huge tides. And the site of the mountain that was the border of the horizon would take anyones breathe away. No wonder the Acadians had settled here. It was such a different scene from the one I had seen that winter so long ago.

We had to wait about two weeks for the transports to arrive from Boston. During that time, the colonial troops Winslow had were a disgusting bunch. They made a mess in the camp, throwing their garbage about which in the summer heat would rot quickly and stink. The officers spent a lot of their time trying to keep the men busy, for we had to keep our minds off what was to come and also to keep from the Acadians what was to soon befall them. The members of my old regiment, the 40th kept themselves occupied with duties and when I had the chance, I sat around the camp fire and sang songs with them to keep us entertained. We smoked our pipes, sang our songs and some sipped at hoarded cider the Acadians had been passing to us. But the tension was becoming almost unbearable for the officers and soldiers.

 

Finally at the beginning of September, the day of dread dawned. All the preparations were finished. We had gone out on patrol to the outer settlements to summon all the men to the church at Grand Pre for a meeting to inform them of some news for them. There was no need to bring arms, they were not being mustered into the British army but rather, the King had some news for them.

 

That morning, we were all mustered in the parade ground of our camp. Every soldier had his musket checked, issued new flints, powder and shot for our cartridge boxes. As rangers, our powder horns were topped up and we were also given balls to put in our extra pouches. With what we were about to do, we might have to use our arms against these people. The local Acadian men had continues to go about and harvest their crops. What they didn`t know was that these were the last crops they would sow and reap on the lands their ancestors had tilled for many years.

 

As we went to sleep on the night of September 4th, we were ordered to sleep with our arms. As the Acadians had had theirs seized earlier that summer, we had the only firearms which could cause us harm. But a good commander never goes unprepared. There could be the possibility that some of these men had kept their muskets hidden.

The next morning dawned with a mist that clung to the hill side. With it being September, it was starting to become chilly. Even the air felt as cold as our governors heart. We had just over four hundred men come in that day to meet in the church. Winslow had a Swiss man to act as his interpretuer. Finally at three o`clock in the afternoon, we began.

 

The proclamation was read out to the assembled men. With comprehending looks, these farmers began to understand that this home of there`s was now gone! They were now in effect, prisoners Then the howls of shock and protest began. Winslow, in his speech explained that this was on order that he didn`t want to carry out, but that he had to follow the orders of his superior officers. At that word, the soldier made their muskets ready in case the men got violent. Every soldier had fixed bayonets but the officers didn`t want to start killing people. Being outnumbered by scared people is not something someone wants to witness.

 

“But what have we done wrong sir?” asked an older Acadian man who was one of the few to speak English. “We have grown our crops, raised our children, stay out of the wars you have fought with the Mik Maq and French. We have also sold you our surplus food which has fed your garrisons and the new settlers in Halifax and Lunenburg. What about our women and children? Are we to be held here without them?” Winslow replied, “Very well, twenty of your men will be able to visit the families of the men held here. However, if you do not return, we shall punish those who are left behind.”

 

Euan took a long pull from his tea mug. Anne could see that the memories coming out on his face. She knew her grandfather well. Grandmother Emily always said that Euan`s face was like a book. You could read him like a page.

 

He began again. “So there we were, now we were like prison guards. We watched the men who were held in the church. The female relations of these men would come everyday, the women crying, the children confused at what was going on. They would bring food and blankets for their men folk. When it was time for them to leave in the evening, it was a sea of anguish that we would face. So many people had tears streaming down from reddened eyes. We were holding about five hundred men in the church, but there were only about three hundred British soldiers to watch them. Winslow was gravely concerned that the ships would be delayed and his greatest fear would be for the younger and stronger Acadian men to plot an escape and turn this into Bedlam.

When the transports did arrive, we separated the younger and stronger men from the others and with soldiers lining the route to the shore, we marched them down to the ships waiting in the river basin. These men, believed that they were being separated from their families and refused to move. “No no,” they shouted at us. Winslow went up and grabbed a man by his shirt and drew his sword. “I do not want to start killing, but if you will not move, then this man will be run through” We were then ordered to charge out bayonets at the group and if it had been necessary, we would have begun to prod them by bayonet point. With looking over their shoulders with fear in their eyes, they began to march down to the awaiting transports. Some were singing, others prayed, while others began to weep. The women followed and it took all of our strengths to keep from going mad. “Phillipe, Jean, Erik, mon fere, mon papa, they wailed an fell upon the ground. All of the soldiers felt sick. This was not what we usually did. We were trained to fight our enemy, and that was either French soldiers, or Mik Maq warriors.

 

None of us took any joy in this. Some of the soldiers who had come from the poverty stricken areas of England or the colonies laughed and joked as we burnt out the farms, but they were doing it because when they took the King`s shilling, they were told they would be doing a great service for their country. But Anne, when officers force you to make war on women and children, this is wrong. The Acadians didn`t understand that the English government wanted them to be loyal and to be officially members of the British Empire. For me, having witnessed what English soldiers sometimes did in Ireland, it was hard for me to see these people as a threat to us.

“But grandfather, what did the Acadian do that made the King angry?” Anne`s face was streaked with tears.  “War is bad. People die, people are hurt, no one truly wins, we all loose something. You have never seen what I have, and it would be my wish that you will never know this life. King George didn`t order this to happen. It was Governor Lawerence who did it on his own.

 

After we had put the Acadian men on board the ships, we than had to put the women and children on. We tried out best to keep mothers with their children and families together, but we had so many language problems. Also, the New England soldiers were still very angry at the fact that the French had sent Indians down from Quebec to attack their farms. The trouble was, the Acadians had nothing to do with that. But it was hard to argue with a Boston soldier with a bottle of rum in his hand and a musket in the other.

“What are you some kind of French lover” one soldier asked me. “No, but I`ve lived here and worked with Acadians for a good part of my life. And if this is what you call soldering, jesus boy, you need to see what war is. I`ve fought off Mik Maq and French attacks. I`ve been in sharp engagements on boats with them also. But what we are doing is wrong” The New England soldier sneered at me. “Yeah well, perhaps them wine drinking buggers in Quebec might think a little more the next time they send a war party to Deerfield

This soldier was dressed in a brown civilian coat and pants with a custard colored waistcoat and green stockings. He didn`t look much like a soldier. Massachusetts had recruited so many men for the campaign to Fort Beasejour that there were not enough uniforms to go around. How he had managed to get himself a bottle of rum I didn`t know, but for me, when the day was over, and we could rest was the time to maybe have a swig from a bottle, but not when we had scared people to guard.

 

“I felt physically sick. Great Grand father Lindsay was married to Madeline`s mother. With horror I now realized that I would be forcing my friend from her home and those of her neighbors.

 

 

 

We sailed down to Annapolis Royal to begin the deportation operation in that area. I was anxious to be able to get to the Melanson farm to warn Madeline of what was to happen. Lindsay was very shocked when he received word that he was to assist the officers in compiling a list of names of Acadians in the area who would be removed. The only Acadians who would be staying were the officers and soldiers wives. I was determined that I would find Madeline and ask her to marry me so as to spare her family more heartache and dispare.

 

So there we were advancing one sunny October morning. You could smell the warmth of the grass as we advanced down the river. We had crossed to the North side of the river and began to march down to the farms we knew were along the way. We had a few wagons with us to transport the women and children. The men we`d march with us. We arrived in the farmyard of the Melanson farm and Madeline came running up to me.

“Euan what are you doing here, you look thirsty, shall I fetch you and your comrades some cider. Why Euan, what is wrong, why do you look so upset.”

 

“Madeline, the British have ordered that all the Acadians in Nova Scotia are to be deported to other British colonies. We`ve been ordered to take everyone to Fort Anne and hold you there until ships come to take everyone away. The soldiers with me are to round up all the livestock and burn all the buildings.” She dropped the clay pitcher she was holding and put her hands to her face gasping in horror. “I can stop them if I tell the officer that you are to be my wife. If that is the case, your farm will be sparred. I will take my discharge and marry you to save your farm. I love you and I don`t want to see you loose everything”

I expected her to hold me tight and thank her for my offer. But what I received shook me to my very soul. With a reddening face, she slapped me across my face leaving a red mark and spitting in French and screaming in English “You bastard, I will not marry you just so that you can take my families farm and fill the bellies of your soldier friends. This is our land, you have no right to do this, damm you to hell”

Two other soldiers came up and grabbed her by the arms. I asked them to let her go, that she was my friend and we were having a lover`s quarrel. The soldiers laughed and walked away grasping bundles of straw to begin burning the farm.

 

I turned away and began to wipe the tears from my eyes. Gordon came running up. “Why are you crying dear fellow.” “Ah, the smoke is in my eyes and are making my eyes water. Madeline will not have me and we must obey our orders.” “You mean we have to burn out our friend`s farm? Dear God, what is this world turning to?”

 

It took us most of the morning to gather up the people and livestock. The officers took pains to ensure that we didn`t loot the homes looking for drink. Instead, at noon, all the available food and drink was brought together and passed about to soldiers and civilians alike. Most people didn`t eat. I only drank the cider. My stomach knotted with the thought of food. In our haversacks, we had torches prepared. They were sticks that we had wrapped strips of lined dipped in linseed oil to help us fire the village.

With our musket butts, we smashed out the windows and set the roofs on fire. As we began to march back to Annapolis, the air about the whole valley was filled with the smoke from all the house fires. We could also hear the milk cows bellowing in pain as they needed to be milked and since we were taking the people away, their udders would continue to fill up. The next morning, the sergeants gathered up any soldiers who had been farm hands back in England or Ireland and took them out to the farms to milk the cattle. Afterwards, they were driven into Fort Anne`s ditch to await shipment to Halifax.

The colonial troops we had with us fixed bayonets and herded the civilians into the fort. The men we weeping and the women were crying from sorrow and fear. That night, I was beside myself with sorrow. Gordon had found a bottle of rum and was sharing it with me. I began to drink like crazy and sang like crazy. I bolted from the barracks and with bottle in hand went upon the parapet and began to loudly sing and run about.

 

 Gordon was trying to catch me and knock me down before the evening sentries and Corporal found me. When Corporal Cutcliff found me, the sentries grabbed hold of me. I went wild, I was thrashing about and roaring like a madman. As the sentries held me, Cutcliff began to try and knock me out by hitting me on the head. It enraged me more and I was fighting the sentries who with all their might were trying to hold me. We all tumbled down into a heap and I leapt at the Corporal to thrash him. But the sentries held me fast. “Kenny, shut up! Your drunk and disordly. You`ll be put in the hold and I doubt if you`ll escape the lash.” I calmed down, my chest heaving and I was panting to catch my breathe. “Private Jefferson, take Kenny back to your barracks. I`ll report this to the Sargeant. He might be able to get off with just a loss of pay.”

 

Gordon took me back to the barracks and placed me down in our bunk. It was then that I began to weep and cry. “Madeline, why did you leave me?” I cried and cried. I thought then that maybe I would spend my life alone, that I would never know love, that I would never see my children born, that the life I thought I would have would never be. I felt destined that I would remain lonely all the days of my life and my heart felt like it would burst with the sorrow that I felt. I don`t know when I fell asleep that night.

I was definetly lucky. Corporal Cutcliff had spoken with Gordon and had found out what had happened. Feeling that I had suffered enough, and that there would be more action for us, he let the matter drop.

“Does Grandmother know that this happened?” asked Anne. “Yes she does, and it`s one of the things which I don`t speak of often. She knows that I was involved with soldiers taking part in the deportation, but she doesn`t know that I asked that woman to marry me. In 1755, I was 21, and I thought that I was ready to be married. But I was still young. Madeline was only 19, and I know now that for a woman to want to marry you, that you have to marry for love, not for any other reason. I have loved your grandmother like I have loved no other person in my life. She made me the man that I am now. A very thankful and happy old man. When you are old enough and fall in love with a man, make sure he is a good one and will take care of you. Don`t marry because someone makes you. Marry someone because you love them as they love you.

 

All that summer and fall, we took our boats and advanced to small settlements and delivered our news and took the Acadians away to be shipped to colonies to the south. After awhile we got numbed to the scenes of women and children crying and of the animals howling or lowing. But even though it took place so long ago, sometimes when I`m alone in the woods trapping furs, I can picture or hear all that. Some of the soldiers turned to rum to drown their sorrows. I tried that with ale, but it only made things worse. We`d get drunk to try and forget, but then the next day, we`d have to do it all over again.

 

With the Acadians all gone, we then went back to the farms and  began to slaughter the animals. There were many a spit that fall and winter with roasts of beef, pork, chicken and mutton along with the harvest of grain and vegetables we had. The whole time, I ate with a rough stomach. All I could think about was Madeline and how her family had worked so hard to raise these animals and grow this food, only to have it stolen from them and eaten by hungry soldiers who didn`t even have the decency to feel guilty about it. At least we didn`t go hungry.

 

It wasn`t always peaceful either. There was one time when a bunch of the Acadian men had been able to escape by dressing up as women. We were sent off to find them. We found one lad who had gotten a horse and was trying to flee. We hailed him but he kept riding. We began to fire over his head but he still kept on going. “Right, sod that, said our Captain Scott. Rangers, take that man down. Kenny, drop him. “ Yes sir”. I had no choice but to follow his order. I raised my musket and took careful aim. I squeezed the trigger and flash bang, the man dropped from his horse. We ran up and I found that I had killed him. I felt sick because he wasn`t armed. “Good work Private Kenny”, exclaimed Captain Scott. “That will show the next Frenchy who wants to run what will happen to him, collect the horse, it`ll fetch a good price in Halifax.”

 

We also took one man out of a group of people we had captured and ordered him to put all his possessions back into his house. From this group, some other Acadians had escaped. “Right, well then sir, seeing as you have been the deputy of this area, you are hereby held responsible for those men fleeing. Private Jefferson, fire this mans house, and make sure the village watches. We mean business. All of them will not remain, they shall all be removed.” Captain Scott took great pleasure in executing his orders.

“But why did you shoot him Grandfather? Was he armed or a danger to you?”

“Well, no, he wasn`t directly a danger to us, but if he had been able to escape, he could have alerted other commuities of what was to happen, or if he were able to contact a Mik Mak band, we`d have a huge problem to deal with. Also, when you are a soldier, you can be ordered to do what ever an officer tells you to do. If you refuse, the officer has the right to end you life with a pistol shot or to be run through with his own sword. So there really wasn`t a way that I could have refused the order.”

 

CHAPTER 5. Chignecto falls next.

 

We then sailed next towards Cobequid basin. These men now had relatives, neighbors and friends who were now god knew where. There were even rumors that some ships may have gone down at sea, it wasn`t unusual for ships to flounder in the gales that blew this way in the fall. For us, we couldn`t be sure if the Acadians had already heard about out attacks on other villages.

 

So, on the morning of August 28, 1755, Major Frye led a group of two hundred soldiers into the area. His orders were to round up all the Acadians, and to take them back to Fort Edward. Later on, the livestock would come, but he was to search and then destroy the homes of the Acadians. “Right men, let us proceed up the beach and meet with these people. Kings forces fix bayonets.” All two hundred soldiers drew out their 18 inch long bayonets and clicked them onto the muzzles of their muskets. Sargeants, take your sections into the countryside and do your work. “Forward, march”. The lone drummer began to beat out a cadence and the soldiers moved into the village. Boshibert watched with his own fusil pointing out. As the column of English moved into the village square he yelled out “Feu” and dozens of muskets shattered the morning calm. Frye was astonished, and dressing his men into lines, began to trade volleys with each house. The first French volley had cut down ten of his men. As the musket balls flew, they would splinter off the wooden homes adding flecks of wood into the mayhem of the scence. It was so similar to all of the ambushes I have survived. We heard about what happened then days later when Frye and his survivors made it back. In all 24 of his men had been killed. A few Frenchmen had been seen to have been killed, but the Acadians had been able to drag away their dead and wounded. Before leaving, Frye and his men torched the village. Even the barns with their animals still in them were set alight. “Better that France be deprived of supplies than England to gain by them” he was quoted as saying.

 

Euan took looked into the eyes of his grandaughter. “Now when I tell you my stories, I want you to remember that British officers who have never served here will do some pretty stupid things. First of all, they will usually ignore the advice rangers or senior  colonial officers will give them. There have been many times when British officers will under estimate their enemy and I`m sure that it won`t be the last time that more British soldiers will die because of the stupidity of their officers. See Frye had been told to keep his men together as there would always be the chance that the French, Acadian or Mik Maq would try and strike back upon us. After this attack, the only success the British had were to find small hamlets that were far from other settlements and remove them. It was interesting to note, that when the troops decended on the Stewiacke and Shubenacadie areas, they only removed the people. Being so close to the Mik Maq, the colonial officers knew better than to advertise their presence by lighting fires.

 

“Well Euan, what do thing they will send us to do now?” Gordon was picking his nails with his knife. “It would be nice to get back to what we really do well, scouting out what the Mik Maq are doing. I mean, we don`t need to concern ourselves with the French around here now do we?”

“Aye now we don`t, but Sargeant what do know what we`re to do now? Sargeant Annis took a pull from his pipe and looked at the two rangers. “I guess you two haven`t heard now have ya? Major Prebble`s made a dogs breakfast of deporting the Acadians down by Caple Sable. His orders were to round up the Acadians, burn them out, and take them to Boston. But since they left in December and then all them New Englanders had their enlistments up, he just torches a few buildings, fires some shots in the air I suppose and sails back to Boston”. “And how did you come about this news then Sargeant?” replied Euan. “The silly fool sent a message to the authorities in Halifax saying that the Acadians had escaped, now that means, we now have to go down and comb the woods for them. I`d think our time would be better suited to watching the Mik Maq and French at Louisbourg.

 

 Now while we were out in the forests looking for the Mik Maq, the German settlers were enjoying a good feed of wurst and sauerkraut. Life for the Germans had been trying. They had uprooted from their poverty in the Rhineland to take up a land grants in the far off place of Nova Scotia. Some had been an apprentices , but most had fallen on hard times. Knowing that a life on the Rhine would bleak, they took the chance to start a life in the new world. It was May 1756, the beginning of their fourth spring in Nova Scotia, and he had just finished plowing the field. Tomorrow, they would begin to sow the cabbage and turnip seeds the English had given them. Perhaps, they might also plant potatoes, if only the English didn`t think them to be garbage.

 

From growing cabbages to raising pigs, it had been hard work. It would have been easier too if the land had been cleared for them first. But the price was good, so they couldn`t complain. If only those men of the woods would leave us in peace.” “ They did have blockhouses which should have helped them.

 

The Mik Maqs would watch the small farms from the safety of the forest. They were the advance scouts of war parties. They were dressed for war. Each had painted their faces half red and half black. They were wearing the clothes the French had given them, and held with pride the Tulle muskets they had gotten in trade. Most warriors had heeded the call of the Blackrobe Abbe Le Loutre and had taken  the faith of the holy creator.

Benard, my old Mohician friend had spoken to some Mik Maq taken prisoner. They told him,“Those white devils have fouled our hunting grounds with their wild animals and cutting down all the trees. Mother earth would not be happy to see her land torn up and planted with food she does not know.” The people far from here grow corn much like these white men.” “But the difference is, they use the land Mother Earth left open for us. We don`t go in and just destroy all the land to make it into something it wasn`t. The holy father says, with each farm these white devils build, it makes it harder for us to push them back into the sea. He says it is not a sin to kill these white people. “I don`t mind killing the men, but killing the women and children seems not to be the way that the Holy father wants us to live.” “It`s no different from when we make war on other peoples who have sided with the English. Though, we do tend to save the innocents to be adopted into our clan. But the father says that we must do this, or we shall perish in the white mans hell, instead of our paradise.”

 

The best way to attack these farms was either at sunrise or after sunset. They could see the family inside, it would be over fast.

The rest of the war party arrived. Their leader Cope told them what to do.

“We shall attack by knocking out their windows and then break down the door. Kill the man first, the woman and child later.” “But sachem, why must we kill the woman and child, we could take them to the French and get paid for them.” “They are not people, they are devils, even those who look like our women and children are still devils.”

 

The war party crept silently through the undergrowth. It was like stalking a moose. They all surrounded the cabin. They could smell the disgusting food these devils ate. It was like greasy bear but with a stink they couldn`t fathom. As one, they all gave a loud war cry. At once, they could hear the woman and child scream with fright. They poked their musket barrels into the cabin and fired. The guns did their job. All they could hear was the screams of the child. They entered to find the man slumped over the table, moaning in pain, having been hit in the back, his woman lay on the floor trying to crawl towards the small boy, holding him close to her, as though her feeble attempts at protection would keep him safe. The warrior had taken out his long knife and quickly scalped the man, his howl of pain only increased the child`s sceams. The woman looked up horrified screeching. Goo Goo just looked on, his tomahawk in his hand, but he couldn`t bring himself to kill these frightened people. “Goo Goo, kill them, their screams will alert the other devils.” He was trembling with fear and disgust. “I can`t kill them, they didn`t do anything to us” “They live, that`s enough of a threat. Paul walked over and with his musket butt, hit the woman in the face until she was dead. The boy kept howling. Paul took Goo Goo`s tomahawk, and brought it down onto the boys body. The screams died along with the life of the child. Goo Goo ran outside and vomited. The other warriors laughed at him. “What are you, weak? Their scalps will give us a good bottle of brandy.” The other warriors laughed and dragged the bodies of the devils out into the yard. They then set fire to the cabin, after having taken anything they could that would be valuable. For Goo Goo, he wouldn`t join anymore war parties. He couldn`t stomach the thought of killing innocent children. No matter what he did, the childs screams stayed with him forever. When Goo Goo went to mass, he always said a prayer for the mother and child he had watch die. He always asked the Great creator for absolution for his sin, but he felt, just by watching what happened, he would never see the kingdom of heaven.

 

We could still see the smoke still rising from the ruins of the cabin. We had traveled overland to check on the German settlements. I still remember, the smell of burnt timber and to see the horror that the sunrise had shown. “Ah Jesus have mercy” Gordon cried. He ran over to the family to see if any of them still had life.

“Anne, I can still hear Gordon`s horrified scream. I can still feel the tears of rage that fell down my face. The warriors had scalped and left these poor souls in their yard as a warning to the other settlers. Even when we attacked Mik Maq villages, we never killed women and children. It would only enrage them more. We`d kill warriors, but the Mik Maq were Hell bent on driving out the settlers. Their war of terror kept us busy. Most of the rangers who would witness the aftermath of these raids would react would be driven almost mad by these horrors. I`ve seen grown men weep like overgrown children at the sight of dead children. I walked up and held Gordon as his sobs subsided. “It`s alright Gordon, it wasn`t our fault, we didn`t know the Mik Maq would attack them.” Ah but Christ Euan, how can they do this?” “They hate all white people, they want to kill us all.” I looked down at the dead child. He looked like he was sleeping. His hair what was left of hit was tied in a neat club at it`s base, the rest had been stripped off so that his tiny skull was open to the elements. He was wearing his night shirt, which had been a cream linen color, but was now smeared with mud, soot and gore from his body. I dug his little grave as the others dug the graves for his mother and father. It took us most of the day.

 

It was a warm one too, and between our tears, our gags from the smell and the buzz of the flies, we gave them a Christian burial. We made 3 crosses for each grave. This is one of the most horrifying memories I have. Then as we made our way up the coast to Halifax, we stopped in Mahone Bay to check on the settlers there. Sure enough, the war party had hit again, this time the Payzant family had been attacked, and we had to bury four more people. Two of the victims were a servant and her child. How the tears of anger bristled on my face. Here, this young girl had left her home far away to seek a better life, only to have it ended by Mik Maq warriors who hated her and her child because they were white.  

 War is not just two sides of soldiers who stand in a line and fire at each other until one side runs away. In war, everyone dies, not just soldiers! I`m telling you this story because I don`t want you to see what I have. I don`t want you to suffer what I have. You should find a good man, marry him, have children and build your own farm with you own two hands, raise your crops, watch your children grow. I`ve had to miss watching your father do many of the things I would have wished to have seen. I never saw him begin to crawl, or walk or to hear his first word because I was busy beating on my drum while fighting Americans in the South. They had to stay in camp when we marched out. I was lucky enough to survive, I saw many widows with their children in my time. In the army, women whose husbands were killed had a day to find a new husband, and there was never a shortage of willing men. In those days, marriages were out of necessity, not love. It was amazing though to see how those marriages lasted.”

 

CHAPTER 6 NEW UNIFORMS AND NEW DUTIES

Anne got up off her stool and put a few more logs on the fire. She got the tea pot and poured some for her grandfather and himself. “What uniform did you wear then Grandfather”. Euan smiled and began again.

 

“Well, the government felt that by now our grey coats and red waistcoats had been through enough, so we were issued with a new uniform. It was a short navy blue coat faced with cornflower blue cuffs and lapels. We were also given a kind of small kilt also in cornflower blue. It was more like an apron to help protect our legs. We were given new black canvas leggings, and since most of our leather equipment had worn out, we were given new powder horns, and new shooting bags. A few of us kept our cartridge boxes. Of course, I still wore my bonny blue bonnet, while Gordon got a new leather cap.

Our clothes were almost in tatters. There was hardly anyway we could patch the patches we had. With our new uniforms, we hoped that we`d be put to a better use than to round up defenseless men, women and children to be sent to God knows where.

 

And so it came to pass, that we went into winter quarters about November of 1756. We were posted at Annapolis Royal as of course, we`d have to go out and chase down any more Acadians, or Mik Maq or any French raiding parties that might be sent down from either Quebec or Louisbourg. For most of the winter, we`d be able to rest up in barracks. Of course, we`d also do patrols. It went along the lines of about eighteen days in a fort, and then we`d go out on a patrol for fifteen days, then go back to Annapolis Royal for a rest and then we`d go back out again.”

 

“But how`d you be able to patrol in the winter?” Well, we`d use snowshoes and follow animal tracks through the woods. We`d always look out for signs of any human activity in the area. Tracking in the winter is the easiest as anything that moves will leave a sign. Of course, the Mik Maq would try and cover their tracks as best they could, but after a while, you could learn to read the tell tale signs that humans had been through an area. Animals didn`t break tree branches the way humans did, and no matter how careful skilled warriors were, there would always be someone who would be lazy and leave some mark that they had been there.

 

Then we`d also go out in our boats and go up and down the coast, .looking to see if there were any Acadians trying to make it to French territory, or any enemy trying to sneak past us. The Bay of Fundy never froze, but the rivers did. We`d just sail up and at times we`d advance up a river with ice creepers on our shoes to see what was up.

 

I always enjoyed getting back to a nice warm dry barracks. At night, we`d be able to sit around the common fireplace and someone would pull out a fiddle, a tin whistle and if it was with me, my boran would beat out the rythum. It was those times that we could forget for a few hours that we were soldiers who had to kill our fellow man. The regular British soldiers found the winter to be the worst. Since they didn`t have the skills we had, they just had to stay cooped up in the barracks with only sentry duty to break up their mononoty. Any sentry in the winter time is terrible. The wind just bites at you, robbing you of any warmth you have. Most of the time, you were trying to keep yourself from freezing, let alone making sure you were protecting the King`s men and his property. Manys a time when I had to stand sentry thinking that King George was probably sitting somewhere in front of a cozy fire drinking a good bottle of Maderia and not giving a hoot about what Private Euan Kenny, Goreham`s Rangers was doing in the colony of Nova Scotia. As rangers, we didn`t have to do sentry that often, but there would be times that some of the garrison were too sick and we`d be called up to do our part.

 

Doing sentry at Fort Edward was the worst. The wind would come off the Avon river with a vengeance. The fort was on a high point so of course we`d get all the blustery winds blowing snow into our faces. At least the duty corporal would allow us a tot of rum when we were relived at the end of our twenty-four hours on. It`s close to impossible to see anything in a blinding blizzard at night, but you never question your orders.”

Anne looked puzzled. “But that doesn`t make sense Grandfather, if you can`t see and it`s dark, what`s the point of being on guard duty?” “See that`s the kind of thinking that got a lot of English soldiers killed. The officer would think the French or Mik Maq wouldn`t attack in this, he`d go to bed, his soldiers would be tipping back bottles of rum and in the dead of night, you`d have an attack with most everyone sleeping off a night of drinking. Here in Nova Scotia, it was always considered frontier, and thus the smart officers and us rangers would be standing there with the wind in our teeth making sure that those buggers who were asleep drunk, would wake up with hangovers and be thankful that they actually live to see the day with bloodshot eyes rather than missing their hair and watching their blood ooze out onto the cold snow.

 

When the spring arrived, we went back on the offensive. We went up into the Mik Maq country around the Shubenacadie river. We had been following on the heels of a war party for sometime. We knew the Mik Maq had several encampments on that river because it went right through the middle of the colony and there were many places that were sheltered and provided natural protection and plenty of food. We found the war party in a small bend in the river, with a natural beach that they could land their canoes and set up their wigwams.

 

The campsite had no doubt been a place for these people to rest for many generations. As we went closer, we could smell the aroma of roasting moose meat. The warriors had gotten one and were celebration the spirit of the moose as well as their own success of the hunt.” “But how did you know that Grandfather, did you learn Mik Maq?” “You forget that we had Benard, our Mohician in the rangers. He would explain to us what the Mik Maq were doing. They were singing and dancing around the fire. Their drummer was thumping on a drum similar to my boran, and their song was like a yelping cry. It made the hair stand up on the back of your neck. We checked our priming powder in our flashpans, and quietly cocked the hammer back. When the Mik Maq had stopped singing, Captain Goreham yelled “FIRE”. Thirty muskets spoke out at once. The thunderous roar echoed through the trees and the powder smoke gently lifted to show what we had accomplished. Most of the warriors lay on the ground. We had loaded with buckshot and a musket ball to give us a first fire advantage. Since they were all in a packed group, and they didn`t think we had been following them, they had become careless and in their haste to enjoy their moose, they became lax in their protection. We quickly moved in to check on how many were left. I found two warriors, one was lying on his back, the blood was spurting out from his wounds with every breathe he exhaled. I could hear his friend, who was also badly wounded calling out his name, Goo Goo. The young warrior who lay dying looked into my eyes with a pleading to help him. I knelt down and took his hand. I was surprised when he said to me in French, “I`m sorry we killed the little ones and their mothers, I didn`t want to. The warrior next to Goo Goo tried to swat my hand away, only to have the back end of a tomahawk smack his head. Goo Goo cried out, “Paul, the great creator didn`t want us to kill women and children, this is his judgement, the rangers found us. The warrior reached for his knife but Private Willams struck his head with a war club he carried. The sickening crunch of wood on bone made me gag. I looked down at Goo Goo, and his eyes had already glazed over, his spirit going to what ever heaven he believed in.

 

Our orders were to leave the warriors intact. No scalps were to be taken. We did take all the muskets, powder, flints and weapons we could find. Since there was already food cooked, we just pulled out our plates and helped ourselves to the cornbread, moose meat and berries they had for themselves.”

 

“Grandfather, how could you eat after killing” Anne`s face showed a mixture of horror and shock”. “You see what I mean by my story, soldiers will eventually become dulled to the savageness of war. I never had a problem with shooting an enemy at a distance. For me, I`d just look at their hair, or the coats they were wearing. Grey, white or blue coats were the enemy. Red, Green, or Brown were friends. I always avoided close quarter fighting if I could help it. I wasn`t a coward, but I didn`t like to see how a man, or boys life would end at the point of my knife or the blade of my tomahawk. I always believed the same when I was hunting. One shot, one kill. All these years later, I can still see the people who died because I shot them. It`s not a pleasant memory, and this is why I`m telling you this.

 

About the same time that we were fighting the Mik Maq, we got word from Halifax that war between Britain and France had actually been declared on May 18, 1756! We were all astounded. “You mean to say that we weren`t at war and were actually fighting?”yelled Gordon when we got the word in garrison. Turns out, that what with what Washington did, and our attack on Fort Beausour, and an aggressive British naval captain, we had started a conflict between the two greatest powers of the 18th century, Britain and France. Of course, we didn`t get the news until sometime in late July. We had already been fighting. Over here, once British forces got the official word, they really began to take on the offensive to defeat the French. As I said, before some British Admiral had helped to spark the war in that back in 1755, Boscawen fired on the French ships Lys nad Alcide. Both ships were carrying French troops for both Quebec and Louisbourg.

 

At the same time we were deporting the Acadians, the French in Europe were preparing their own campaigns in the new war to come. When we got word of the declaration of war, the French attacked Minorca in the Mediterranean. Minorca eventually fell to the French invasion and it also resulted in Admiral Byng being hung for not fighting hard enough. With the new conflict, more troops began to arrive for both sides. The French sent more soldiers to their main bases and the British sent us more also. Our new job was to go out and patrol in our boats up and down to coast to act as sea scouts. If we saw anything, we`d run like hell to the nearest port and alert the British that French fleets were on the way.

 

Around July 26, the Royal Navy sailed towards Louisbourg. Our fleet numbered 4 ships of the line and they were either to blockade Louisbourg, or fight any French ships they came across. Well, the French Admiral was in a fighting mood. Over a period of a week, the ships engaged each other. Finally the Royal Navy had to beat back to Halifax as HMS Jamaica had lost her main mast.

 In our small schooner, we could only watch as the pride of the Royal Navy sailed back, the sight of a mighty battleship minus it`s main mast was a sad spectale. The French stayed in the area until August and then sailed back to Europe. We watched as one French ship sailed away. It was massive. The stern, with it`s quarterdeck was close to five decks high and was covered in gold leaf! They were flying a huge white ensign which was close to the size of a mizzen sail. “Would you look at that Euan, I never thought I`d see the day we`d gaze upon a big golden arse with frilly looking Frenchmen on the top”. We all fell about laughing out bellies out. We were lucky in that no French vessels wanted to take us as a prize.

The seasons kept coming and going. Before I knew it, I was in my thirteenth year of service to his majesty. We`d go out in the woods, patrol, hunt, and sometimes we`d have to fight. But then in 1757, it all began to come together.

CHAPTER 6: THE OFFENSIVE BEGINS.

The government in London, with Lord Loudoun had a new plan for war in the colonies.

Having studied past campaigns, they decided that instead of fighting in Europe, they would do most of their fighting on this side of the Atlantic.

Loudoun was made commander and chief of British forces in North America and was determined to use as many resources as possible to make North America English. For us, it meant that Louisbourg would be captured, followed by Quebec and then on to Montreal. The American colonials would fight in their territories in order to drive out the French.

 

In June, 1757, Loudoun had twelve thousand soldiers assembled at Halifax. Oh what a mighty looking fleet they made as they sailed past Chebucto head and past MacNab`s Island. On board were six battalions of British troops. The 44th and 48th from their fighting in Pennsylvania, the Royal Americans but most welcoming to me were the Scottish soldiers of the 78th Regiment. It had been a long time since I had seen fellow Celts arrive on our shores. 

With all these soldiers, they needed to be in camp. We helped to set up the twelve hundred tents for the new soldiers. One of the surprises we had was that Sgt. McPherson came up from Fort Anne to volunteer to join the 78th. When I spoke with him, he was using his gaelic as part of the reason he was joining the new Highland regiment was the need to have men who could speak both English and Gaelic. As the ships began landing their troops, we could hear the skirl of bagpipes. It brought tears to my eyes as it had been so long since I had heard them played by other soldiers besides my father. The new highland soldiers uniforms were grand to see. Each man wore a red coat faced off white, with a green tartan set. They wore hose of red and white dicing and most had sporrans of leather. Besides the musket and bayonet, each men seemed to have a dirk, a highland pistol and a broadsword! Their bonnets of blue completed their uniform and they really were a sight to see.

As well as the soldiers who came with the army, there were several hundred campfollowers who also came with the troops. The were six women per company and since there were about twelve thousand men, it meant there were a little over three hundred women and children who came with the army. Halifax at the time only numbered less than two thousand people! So with this army came almost a new city.

 

Goreham`s Rangers were sent to Halifax to help train the soldiers who would be attacking Louisbourg. With all the tent lines, it reminded me of when I had joined in Ireland. And once again, we were busy. Our good Captain Goreham spoke to us when we assembled at Fort Sackville.

“Gentlemen, we will be assisting General Loudoun`s army by first constructing the defenses around the camps and acting as an enemy force for when they do begin attacks. As well, since Louisbourg is on the ocean, we will have to learn how to assault their beaches and possibly help man the guns. Therefore, every ranger who has had some gun experience, will train with the Royal Artillery. Who will volunteer”

“I will sir” I spoke up. “Count me in as well” hollored Gordon. “I suspect that learning the bigger guns will be a bit different from our swivels on the boats eh Euan?”

“Aye, added to the fact that we`ll be learning from Royal Artillery NCO`s and they might not like that mere colonial troops will be learning how to use these guns.” “Well I hope that we can do other stuff besides digging trenches, building forts, anything will do so long as we also get the chance to kill some Frenchmen.” Gordon was all keen for fighting. I guess we all were.

Our first lesson on the guns was with a young corporal named Culligan. I had hoped that a fellow Irishman would take kindly to a fellow member of his race, but I was soon to learn that he was a most strict fellow.

“Kenny, bloody hell man, when I say ram, why in Christ are you putting your hands around the stave of the rammer. If the gun goes from a spark inside, you`ll loose both of them you idiot” Now I wasn`t a complete stranger to cannons having loaded and fired the swivel guns on the boats, but then again, they were a bit smaller. It took me about two days to finally figure out what the hell I was doing wrong.  Each time, Cpl. Culligan would yell until he was purple in the face and he threw down his tricon and stomped in disgust. Sargeant Hall eventually watched what I was doing and then mentioned “Kenny use your fingers to reef the rammer out, that way if it does goes off, you only loose your finger tips.” “Jesus what in blazes has him all in a stew” wondered Gordon.

Then after we had learned how to load a field piece, we then had to learn how to fire and run the gun in and out of an embrasure in the field fortifications we were going to build for siege works. The field pieces such as a six pound gun, could be crewed by 6 men. But the larger heavy guns such as the twelve pounders needed six men to operate it, but also six others to aid in pivoting the gun. Then there were the guns on naval carriages which were also heavy. Many a day Gordon and I spent learning how to use handspikes to run the gun out and back. We were trained on the guns for about ten days before we began to do other jobs.

Lucky for us, the other rangers had been busy building the breastworks to surround the camps in case the Mik Maq wanted to harass us. We built palisades, ramparts and redoubts. We prepared fascines and gaibons much like what we had done at Fort Anne back in 1744. This work I remembered well, and the soldiers didn`t need to to be told that this work would protect us from French artillery fire.

 

In the evenings, in our camps, each tent would have to make our own meals. There was still relatively fresh pork and beef from what we took from the Acadian farms. Many a night we ate stew as it was the best way to protect ourselves from disease. Grog sellers and other forms of entertainment made their way into our lines. At times the officers tried to stop them, but eventually, they could see that having the soldiers provided for with wine women and song, would protect the town more than by halting it. After we ate, I`d pull out my boran, some other soldiers would dig out tin whistles, bones or fiddles and we`d sing together again just like in the barracks.

One soldier began “There`s a pubice in the garden where the lads and lassies meet for it would not do to do the do their doing in the streets. And the very first time I saw I was very much impressed for to see the jolly fellows at the Coo Coo`s nest”

All of us howled with laughter. Since most of us didn`t have wives or sweethearts, we would sometimes sing about girls. I remember Gordon got up with his cup and gave a toast. To finding enough French lassies for the army!”

To help us remember what to do, a Corporal had come by and sang us “A stands for attention the first word he knows and B stands for bullet to tickle his foes. C stands for the charge which the Frenchmen all dread and D for discharge which lays them all dead Derry down, hey down derry down.”

So to help us in our work, we began to sing these songs as we dug new fortifications to use to attack, and also when we had to march. It gave us a spirit that we would be able to attack and capture Louisbourg.

 

“You know Gordon, for all the work we are doing, I don`t really see the point. It`s August and we haven`t sailed up there yet. I wonder what`s the hold up?” “Your right my friend, but these British officers probably don`t know their arse from a whole in the ground when it comes to fighting war here in America. I mean so far Braddock got topped, I hear Minorca was captured, and all we`ve done is round up the Acadians to send away. The war isn`t going so well. Maybe they think we`ll attack in the winter?”

 

About the end of August, the British fleet arrived. Loudoun was frustrated with his naval commander Admiral Holbourne. Holbourne had been chasing French vessels across the North Atlantic and had begun to blockade Louisbourg. However, in mid September, we had an event that put all these plans to rest.

 

The skies had been growing grey for several days, and the winds had been dying down. The air became oppressive with the wetness of the sea. Our sweat wouldn`t roll off out bodies and it became a terrible feeling to be hot without an ability to cool off.

It was around September 20th that a good old fashioned hurricane decided to drop by. Now that was a storm. The winds had begun to steadily build up and we could see the tree leaves turning up to the sky as if praying to God for the rain. The tents that had not been pegged down hard began to fall down, and we spent most of the time putting out the fires in the pits. The navy was busy tying up their boats or sailing them into Bedford Basin. The soldiers were trying to build shelters as fast as they could for it was best to be in a hut rather than a tent in a bluster. When it came, the wind and waves smashed a bunch of small craft up onto the beaches and many a tree came crashing down. A few soldiers were killed when trees fell on their shelters. We all got drenched as though our officers had ordered us to march into the harbor.

The Navy bore the brunt of the storm. Most of the fleet which had been blockading Louisbourg were blown all around the Atlantic. Some sank, but the end result was that Loudon`s grand scheme was ruined. We`d trained and prepared all summer to attack a fortress and now, most of our gunpowder was ruined, our transports blown about, and the fall coming on fast. With what little ships he had left, Holbourne loaded up the 44th, 46th and 78th Regiments to winter in New York and Connecticut. The 60th were left in Halifax as there was sufficient barracks and stores for these two battalions plus the original garrison. We went back to Fort Sackville.

 

Now maybe I should tell you a little more about Fort Sackville. We had built the place just after Halifax was established. I guess we must have built it around 1750. We built a barracks and palisade and dug a bit of a ditch. It was one of the places we had to fortify as the Mik Maq and French could use the Sackville river to try and attack Halifax by coming up the basin shore. It was a typical frontier style fort of the time. We made it as cosy as we could when we were in garrison. It was placed on a hill over looking the river that would bear the same name and also overlooked the further most part of the harbor of Halifax. Since we had time on our hands, we`d get news and stories from the other soldiers. During the summer, while we were training the regular troops in Halifax, Lt. Dickson led a patrol of 25 rangers from Fort Cumberland. He had heard that a French and Mik Maq, or Malecite camp was in the area close to the fort. They marched to there and found it abandoned. While crossing the Aulac river, they were ambushed. It must have been a devasting little skirmish as we got a report that Dickson was now a prisoner and was somewhere in Quebec. Another patrol had been sent out and found all the rangers. Most had died from musket balls, but a few had been scalped. Even though there were so many British soldiers in the area, the French and Indians were still able to keep us penned inside out forts, too afraid to move outside the walls. Later on, we also heard that another wood cutting party had been ambushed near Fort Anne at the same place the French and Indians had attacked by in 1711. The soldiers started calling that place Bloody Creek. It turns out that the Acadians who had gotten “lost” had in fact formed up with some Mik Mak further inland and were now going to keep the garrison penned up in Fort Anne.

 

CHAPTER 7, 1758: The Europen style of war begins.

The waves were lapying up onto the beach at Halifax. The wind blew through the pine and evergreen trees. Even though Halifax had exhisted for almost a decade, it was still a remote outpost of the growing British empire. Out of the morning mists, the fishermen could see the shapes of vessles sailing into the harbour. As they came closer into the harbor, it seemed as if the whole town came out to watch this large flotilla.

“Blimey Euan, did they send the whole Royal Navy and British army to here?” Gordon just looked at the sight. “You know what this means, we`ll be building more camps and barracks in the next little while.” Euan chuckled. “At least we don`t have to worry about the Mik Maq for a bit. With all this might, they will no doubt partake to the trees as far away from us as they can.”

 

 

The ships were filled with soldiers and sailors. Coming closer to land, the sailors were a lot in the rigging shortening sails and the soldiers were lining up along the rails, waiting to climb down the rope ladders and into the boats to land on the shore. At first, George`s Island took as many as they could, but as the morning went on, more and more redcoated troops were marching up to the Grand parade and waited while the bells of St. Pauls chimmed. The troops in garrison had already prepared for the expected arrival of the troops in New York from the previous year. The commons had been cleared of trees and brush to make way for an army of over twelve thousand soldiers!

It took close to three days to land all the troops. In all, fourteen battalions from thirteen regiments landed.

 

 

The most senior regiment was the senior regiment of all of the British Army. The First Foot, a proud regiment of Scotsmen marched up the streets in their redcoats and blue facings. They stood out in their blue breeches as well. Their music led the way looking dignified in all their marital splendor.

The Fifteenth Foot came next with their yellow facings. Then the Seventeenth in white, the 22nd in buff, the 28th also in yellow.

The 35th Regiment came in with their red and orange coats. This regiment had served at Fort William Henry and had survived a terrible battle. Most of the soldiers wanted to talk to them to hear first hand if the stories of the massacre were true. We were all sitting around a roaring fire one night in a pot house below the main fort in Halifax. One young soldier who had witnessed it began to speak and his audience was held in silence as he told of the event. A French and Indian army had left Quebec and attacked the new British fort of Fort William Henry in New York in the summer. This fort was located on Lake George and was besieged by the Marquis de Montcalm. “Montcalm marched a large army from Quebec. They say he had over three thousand regular French soldiers, close to three thousand French militia, two hundred artillerymen and almost two thousand native warriors. They arrived in July and entrenched themselves in the heights around the fort. During the day and night, the French built siege trenches to move their large guns into positon to bombard the fort. We heard that eight hundred soldiers worked every day on the trenches. By the beginning of August, they had their mortars in place and began to fire on the fort and our camp. We couldn`t believe that the main force of the British were actually outside the walls. It was easy for the French and Indians to fire into the camp. We could see that the French were bringing up large guns. Most of us had never experienced a siege or a large battle. The  French fired mortars which dropped explosive rounds right into the fort convinced Colonel Munro to surrender. The French only had to fire one volley from these guns. We could hear them roaring through the night sky and when they exploded, everything around them were blown to pieces. I saw some of my mates turn into stew pretty fast. The wooden walls and ramparts burst apart and the women and children were screaming something awful.”

“Jesus Euan, a British officer had to surrender? Gordon looked awestruck. “It`s bad enough when we get whipped in an ambush but for a large army to surrender”

The soldier continued. “Well if that wasn`t bad enough, Montcalm made a peace deal with Munro and we were allowed to leave the fort with the honors of war. But the Indians didn`t see it that way. As our army and the campfellowers moved out, the Indians waited until we got to a meadow area and then pounced on us!”

A loud gasp escaped from the lips of all the soldiers in the barracks. “What the hell happened” one young drummer squeaked. “In a period of twenty minutes around five hundred men women and children were killed or captured. Of course the French could head the screams and our firing and rushed down to stop their native allies. When they did arrive, the twenty one nations of warriors had to be held back at the point of French bayonets.”

“Twenty-one nations, how in God`s name did they get so many warriors.” “I suppose that the French went about and called in all their favors to get warriors. That`s a big army. If we ever have to attack Quebec, that`s what we`ll face.”

One of the soldiers from the 58th Regiment inquired “how many nations do we face here in Nova Scotia?” I replied “no need to worry about those large numbers, there`s only two in this area, the Mik Maq and Malecite. However, I`d worry about any warrior you see. When they send you out to cut firewood, you better hope we see them before they see us. When Indians do attack, they do so with speed and terror.”

 

“Why in God`s name didn`t Montcalm control the warriors?” Anne cried. “Surely he must have thought that they would plunder the retreating army or kill them.”

“You must remember Anne that European officers see war in a different way that we do. For them, war has a set of rules where you don`t attack women and children. All armies are supposed to abide by the gentlemen`s code of conduct. European armies are dressed in fancy looking uniforms with their colors flying, their fifers and drummers playing and war is fought in good weather. But here in the colonies, war is a different thing. No one is safe. Men, women and children all become victims. Europeans and Natives kill each other over land, trade, or just plain hatred.

 

 As I was from a lower class in society, I wasn`t surpised with some of the things we were ordered to do. Even though my father was an officer, he was looked down upon by the other officers as he was not born into that society. It didn`t matter that Lindsay was brave, or that he had skills to keep his men from being killed. His uniform was the cheapest an officer could buy and even at that, Lindsay had spent more money on that uniform than he had earned in five years.

 

They said Montcalm was a soldier not a butcher. He had experience fighting big battles in Europe and he was smart. Despite what he must have thought of his colonial troops, he used their skills with efficiency and blended both European tatics with Native ways to form an army that was able to capture a British fort, defeating it`s garrison of regular British soldiers and laying waste to the lands the English had settled.

 

Most of those settlers were in fact indentured servants. The same people I had almost become. How sad it was to think that all of the heartache they went through, selling themselves into bondage for seven years, only have to hack out their homes in the forests of the frontier living as best they could. But for them, they were proud to have their freedom and the satisfaction of knowing that they land they worked on was for them, not to a master. Most of them never knew that the lands they were settling on had been hunting and gathering grounds for native peoples for hundreds of years. The war parties who would strike though were bent on hatred at Europeans who had stolen their lands. The war with the French and Indians changed everyones world forever.”

 

As the days passed, we found more and more different uniforms. The 58th looked strange with their black facings. They were a new regiment that had been raised in England to fight in this war. Most of the lads signed up knowing they would fight Frenchmen, but didn`t dream that they would be sent here. There had been some expeditions into France, but they were costly to mount, both in men and material for little profit.

There were two battalions of the 60th Royal Americans. These were also a new regiment which were raised from Swiss immirgrants and a few American settlers. There uniform was similar to the 1st regiment what with their red coats faced blue and blue breeches.  With the 40th, 45th and 47th already in garrison, it looked like a sea of English men had arrived. But then I heard a sound that made my heart leap and my eyes tear up.

 

The skirl of the great highland bagpipe proclaimed to Halifax that a regiment of highlanders had arrived. The 78th Regiment, the Fraser`s Highlanders marched up into the town. They wore shortened red coats faced white, wearing a deep green tartan set in their kilts. They wore blue bonnets and carried muskets, broadswords, dirks and some had pistols as well. The officers marched with tall black feathers in their bonnets. They were the biggest regiment of all, with twelve hundred men. The shop keepers, grog shops and the town wenches had grand visions in their eyes, knowing quite well that such a large army would keep them in business for quite some time.

The Scottish troops only spoke Gaelic so it was fun to speak to them in my old language. There`s only a wee bit of difference with Scotch and Irish. Gordon and I paid them a visit in their camp. Since they were not English, the rest of the army didn`t want anything to do with them.

One soldier James Cameron we got to speak with a bit. “Welcome to Halifax friend, how can we help you?” “Well, I don`t suppose we could get some sheep to make into haggis now do you? I chuckled “I think we can get you something of that sort. What do you have in trade for us?” The highlander pulled a clay jar from the folds of his belted plaid and we sniffed it. “Alright, whiskey”, exclaimed Gordon. We got a few sheep that had been take from the Acadians and passed them over to the Fraser`s. “Cameron, how did ye come to be in the army?” “Well, my family was pretty much devastated by the rebellion where we helped somebody from over the water.” “Well who was that then?” I smacked Gordon on the back. “You idiot, if we says his name all of us can be flooged for mentioning the name.” Of course Anne, we were talking about the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Cameron told us his story. “I had been called up with my Da as part of our clan to serve our chief at Culloden. That was hell. Forty minutes of British muskets, cannons and horse killed our dream of a Stuart king forever. My Da died of his wounds in prison in Inverness. I was held for two years and then let go. By the time I was 22, our old clan officers came though our village saying that we could wear our kilts again, play our pipes, carry our broadswords and speak our language if we joined King George`s army to fight the French in America. Seeing as we didn`t have much in Scotland, we took the chance to leave and gain some of our pride back. So here we are.”

“I guess we`re in the same boat. I`ve been here fourteen years and I`ve seen my fair share of what glory fighting for our king can be. We`ll keep you safe, if you fight like I know your people can.” “Och aye, we know how to fight, we just want to have the chance to kill to rid ourselves of the shame of defeat.”

 

As well as the soldiers, like all armies there were women and children who had followed them. They were the same type of women and wee ones who had been with the army the previous year. However, the commanding officers decreed that any women found in camp who were no on the lists of the regiments would be severely punished, ie flogged. If the same woman was found in camp again, she would be shot. There were strict rules that they had to follow as though they were soldiers themselves. For instance, did you know Anne that if a campfollower overcharged for their washing or mending services, or who sold liquor without permission, she could be either drummed out of camp, flogged or hung. Since Halifax was such a small place, the officers had to keep the army in tight discipline.

Even though it was a small town, with all the soldiers arriving, parts of the town began to open up trades that are not so good. Soldiers get bored very easily, so all kinds of shops began to open up to give them something to do, but also for the merchants to make money off the soldiers and sailors.

“What kinds of shops did they open Grandfather?” “Grog shops mostly, which is to say any place that served rum, beer or wine. The worst, was the Gin shops. Gin was very cheap, cheaper than beer, and it drove us to do stupid things. After I had gotten drunk at Fort Anne, I vowed to keep myself in check from drinking too much. Often times, we`d be sent on picket duty, and we`d have to pull soldiers out of the pubs and shops.

“What were the shops like Grandfather, were they like when we have a celideh? No dear, they were much worse. You`d have soldiers and regular people pushed in together drinking, singing, and then fights would break out. Or there would be men who would want to kiss many girls. If you kiss a boy too much, you`ll get black marks on your skin.

I never wanted to kiss a girl who I didn`t know, I always wanted to kiss someone who I could love. But soldiers get lonely and when they drink, it happens.

 

Sometimes, we`d have ladies come into the camps secretly. They`d bring in barrels of gin, or other grog. Once, when I was on sentry duty in our camp, a woman who was with a little boy walked in. She was going to have a baby, and her tummy was big. Now back then, I didn`t know much about how women could have babies, so I let the lady in. She said she was the wife of a ranger and that she had just come into port looking for him.

Well after a bit, the area of Starks Rangers tents began to become louder and boisterous. Lt. Lindsay, who was now one of Scott`s Light Infantry officers, led those sentries who were not on duty to find out what the commotion was about. As we came around the corner, rangers scattered and we found the little boy outside the tent crying and finding that a ranger was inside the tent with his mother. They were kissing and hugging each other, but I knew that this soldier wasn`t married. On coming up to the boy, Lt. Lindsay picked him up and cuddled him. He wasn`t more than 2. He had been sitting on a grog barrel which had bits of rope about it. Lt. Lindsay signaled to Gordon and I to pull out the ranger by his feet. We grabbed hold and yanked him out. The man`s breeches were about his knees. The woman began to screech and yell. When Lindsay cocked his pistol and pointed it in her face, she became silent. We held the man by each arm, he was thrashing about. “That`s me wife you bugger.” “Is that so, well then, what`s her name? If we find it on the soldier`s wife list, she can stay, but hey now, you`re a ranger. Ranger`s don`t have wives do they?” The soldier began to sober up quickly.” “Private Kenny, did this woman enter the camp earlier?” “I remember seeing a woman with child sir, with a wee little boy. That`s the boy, and the woman does look familiar but sir, where is her baby?” Lindsay gave me the boy, and with his tomahawk, he whacked the cask the boy was sitting on. Out trickled her grog. “Why tiss Ladies delight. Now miss, perhaps we`ll have a search about your pocket and see how much of the king`s shillings you`ve coaxed out of our men.” With the loaded pistol in her face, there was not much she could do. A search of her reveled that she had about 3 pounds in coin, a Ladies pistol and on her skin were rope marks where she had tied the cask to herself. Women were not supposed to enter the camps. I lost a weeks pay for not checking her status. The woman was thrown in the whirly gig and spun until she vomited up the grog she had been drinking. The little boy was in fact a wee lad she had gotten from St. Paul`s parish. She told us the story that she had gone to the church inquiring if there was a boy of about 2. She mentioned that she had given birth to a boy 2 years previous but he`d gone missing. After getting the boy, she went about with him to begg for coin, then moving up until she then was able to get the cask and fill with grog. She then decided that she would row out to soldier`s camp and using the boy would sneak into the camp and sell the grog and herself to any soldier.

“What happened to the little boy Grandfather?” Why he`s your Uncle Fred. Lindsay and his wife took the boy in and raised him. Fred was a smart one too. They raised him up and with learning he became an adjutant in the army.

“That woman sounds like an awful person Grampie, how could she do that?” Euan took a look at his granddaughter and sighed. “Anne, not all people are bad. Bad things happen to them, and they are forced to do things that other people find horrible. If you have no work, you can`t buy food. If the woman`s family didn`t help her, she had to help herself. What she did was wrong, but in the end, Fred turned out ok. He passed away some time ago, but he was a happy man because he had a mother to love him.

 

“Is Halifax a bad place Grandfather?” “Heavens no, it`s a little rough around the harbor, but that`s to be expected in a port. The docksides are where sailors live and work, Fort George is where the soldiers live. And everyone else lives in the middle. There are more people there, so sometimes you get a real mix of people. After all I have seen in my life, I don`t think people are born bad, they may turn out bad, but it`s all due to our choices in our life. If you choose to buy a cup of gin rather than work, then that`s why people are poor.

As more of the troop ships arrived from England, New York or Boston, the soldiers contained inside were to stay in them until the fleet would sail for Louisbourg. However, they would be disembarked and marched and trained around the town. At the end of each day, small boats would put out from the shore and take the soldiers back to their transports. The ships had begun to arrive in late April and into May they kept coming.

 

Our commanders were varied. General Jeffery Amherst was an English officer He had been a Colonel of the 15th Regiment and had been sent to Germany. But the Duke of Cumberland had been defeated by the French and Amherst had been given the chance to command the army to attack Louisbourg. He was a good choice because he could get the job done, and he was able to keep his other officers happy. A lot of times, we could see that officers whose pride got in the way of their work, led us to our deaths. But Amherst was not like that.

James Wolfe was our second in command. He was a smart man and he made sure that we knew what we would do in our campaign against the French city. He was responsible for getting us to train to fight together. Our old governor Charles Lawerence was also chosen as a brigade commander. His work in the deportation proved to the government in London that he would no doubt be able to assist Amherst in organizing and sending the expedition up to Louisbourg. General Whitmore was also sent, and we were surprised as he was an older man.

 

The most suprising fact for us was Amherst dislike of us. He understood that war in America was fought differently than in Europe but felt that our demenour was not the same as regular troops. However, Captain Goreham held a King`s commission and our regiment was granted the rare honor to be included in the expedition. We only had Dank`s Rangers company, and James Rogers company. Captain Scott, who had been so keen in the deportation was made our brigade commander. He was a tough hard bugger and from my younger days, I found him to be too proud. However, as a soldier, you never have a choice of what to do, only follow the orders that your officers give you.

 

“Alright you lazy lot,” Captain Scott addressed us “your to be part of General Amherst`s Provisional Light Infantry Battalion for this campaign. As such, you will help train and pick out the best soldiers from each regiment present. Each regiment will supply fifty men, the Highlanders will provide one hundred as there are so many of them. Captain Goreham,” “Sir” came his reply “You will establish a training area on McNab`s island. You will build mock defenses the French may have at Louisbourg, as well, you will also build a skill at arms range to test the soldiers.” “Yes sir”. “Rangers, I have served along side you in Nova Scotia, but you will have to earn the trust of your officers to be included in this campaign. There will be no larking about, any man who does not do his duty shall be flogged and left out of this expedition. You have your orders, now dismiss.”

 

“Well how do you like that Euan, these damm officers think they are better than us.” “What else is new Gordon, officers always treat us like this.” “Not Goreham, he respects our opinions and treats us with respect.” “Ah but you forget, Goreham is not considered a proper gentleman by the English officers. He`s in the same boat as us. A mere colonial officer, who the English believe to be just a trumped up majestrate.”

“When we were musted with the other ranger companies, we were given a uniform look. As I may have mentioned before, out new uniform consisted of a black waistcoat faced blue with a blue bonnet much like the Highlanders had and black leggings. The rest of our clothing was whatever we had. Some of us had shirts of buff, white or checked patterns. Our breeches were a variety of colors that blended well with our tasks in the forests. Mostly white, but a few brown. We never wore red because that would stick out in the forest. All the Light infantry apart from the regulars wore this uniform. The regular troops would be issued with shortened red coats, and black jockey style caps. The Highlanders kept their kilts but had shorter ones made, and their coats, already short were altered to just a matter red with extra pockets added. To protect their legs, they had leggings that went up under their kilts.

 

Now despite all this new work we had, it was a lot of fun. We had to teach the skills to these new soldiers of how to fight war, our way. The first task was to see which soldiers could shoot well, being the ones who could actually hit a target at a hundered paces. Those who could were singled out, and we then moved along to showing them how to throw their tomahawks and knives. Their swords were put in storage and the knives and tomahawks were issued from stores. The soldiers who had passed the shooting test we then trained in how to spot the enemy, build shelters and basic Indian fighting tatics. We had to do all these in a rush for General Amherst wanted our army to advance on Louisbourg before the summer ended. He would have liked to have begun in April, but we had to wait until all the troops and ships arrived.

 

All the selected soldiers stood rigidly at attention as Captain Goreham began his orders to them. “You men have shown that your skills with the musket are better than any other soldiers in this army. We will teach you how to properly fight the French and Indians at Louisbourg. You will follow one of our rangers through the woods trail and engage targets in the forrest. These are placed to how you might encounter them in the woods. You have to show us that you have a blanket, a source of food, a tomahawk, a working musket, water, a knife, ammunition either in cartridge boxes or shot bags and powder horns.

I took a selection of men with me. Each of them fired at the target and missed. “What are you all thick as cheese? You hit your targets on the first range. If you can do it there, you can do it here as well.” “But Ranger Kenny, we can`t see the target” answered one of the 58th privates. “Watch this then.” I raised my musket and looked at my target. We had painted up boards to look like French soldiers. Most of the soldiers we knew were from the Compaigne Franches de La Marines. It was easy to aim for them in the gloom of the forest. Their blue waistcoats would still show up depending on the time of day. I placed the butt of the musket to my shoulder and using the bayonet lug, I placed my mark on the target by looking at the centre framed by his cartridge box on his shoulder sling and his bayonet and tomahawk on his waistbelt. I looked for the brass buckle and took a deep breather. As I exhaled, I squeezed the trigger and flash bang, my target went down. When I went to raise it up, I saw that I had put the bullet dead centre of the soldiers body. I actually hit about five centimeters up from where I had aimed but no matter, if it had been a soldier, my shot would have killed him.

So all the soldiers tried again. Most of the shots hit the target but no one else hit near my mark. As the walk continued, they got better at seeing the targets. We came to another target. This one was for our knives and tomahawk. If we could hit the card on the tree, it would be a pass. I split my card, but the new soldiers all missed. We went through again and again until they could all split the card.

“Right, you can shoot, you can throw your knives and tomahawks and hit your targets. If however you find yourselfs in the position of having to fight your enemy one on one, these next techniques will help you survive and win.” Gordon and I had some wooden tomahawks and knifes carved up. We held a weapon in each hand and then set into each other. I was able to block away most of Gordon`t blows and when he chaged me, I ducked low and as his back was turned, I hit his back. “if you are hit in the back, the next hit will be the warrior slicing off your scalp to which they will trade for a bounty the French will pay them. Always watch your back. You have to try and hit your enemy in the chest, or gut. You have to try and block their attacks as well. Right, each soldier get yourselves a weapon and let`s begin.”

For the rest of the day, these men whacked and beat each other until most of them were black and blue. “This training will hurt, but if you can feel pain, you are still alive.”

By the end of our training, we had a skill at arms day. Each soldier who was chosen to be a new light infantryman, or chosen men as they liked to call themselves would compete and test the skills we had just taught them. We set up a woods walk, with targets to shoot, we had tomahawk and knife throwing targets, we even had an area where they had to show us how to light a fire without showing too much smoke.

 

 

At the end of the day, we sat around the campfire and shared stories of our home country and of what we had been through here.

Young Private Conlon spoke up. “Jesus Marry and Joseph most of us in the 58th boarded our ship in Cork and were sick as dogs. Not only was it the sea sickness but then a bunch of the lads got fevers. By the time we got here in Halifax, a lot of us were sick. Being out in this fresh air does a man good. I hope that what we learned here will keep us alive when we head for Louisbourg.”

 

“Grandfather, you`ve mentioned that there were woman with the army, but you`ve never mentioned any women following you.”

Euan chuckled “well you see Anne, the nature of our way of fighting meant that we didn`t march and camp like the rest of the army. As you may have guessed, our camps were usually made from lean tos made in the forest or sometimes nothing but our own blankets. Now an interesting part of being in a large military camp was that we had to feed ourselves. Each tent would get their rations from the quartermaster and then we`d have to prepare it up. Now usually we did these up on our own without much fuss, make a small fire, put our tea pot on, maybe one of us had a small pot to make a stew but that was usually it. But in a large camp, we had to do more than that. Just about the time before we began to embark for Louisbourg, I was put on a fatigue detail. I had to help cook the food for the army. Now the first time I had cooked was when I was about 13 when I was in garrison in Fort Anne. For our meat ration, we were given sausages. Corporal Nickerson told me that I`d have to fry them up. So I took a fry pan, put it on the grate and put the sausages in the pan. They fried and sizzled along, and then when I was going to take them out, they stuck to the pan. I was confused. “Aye Euan, you didn`t add any fat to the pan. Those fellows are not worth serving to the officers. You`ll have to eat them. I was able to save them for my mess later. So all those years later in Halifax, you can understand how anxious I was.

We had to stoke the fire pits well, getting a nice bed of coals ready so that the ladies and soldiers could begin to bake the bread we would eat. Now we could bake corn bread or whole wheat using the dutch ovens we had. We`d get a good bed of coals ready, nice red hot and then over time put hot coals in the top of the cover. When they turned black, we`d replace them. One fire pit was used just to bake the bread. Other pits were used to boil water for tea or other things, other pits would be where the soups and stews were made. A few had spits of meat as well, but these would be added to the stews later on. Or the officers would get them.

“What did you use to cook on then” Anne asked. “The same as now. Cast iron pots and pans, trivets and fire irons. Much like when we cook outside in the summertime. Sometimes we have a two bit spit with a small roast on it just slowly mellowing by the fire. It was hot, hard, dirty work, but it gave us pleasure to see the men eat what we made for them.

Of course then we had to clean up afterwards. Having only had to take care of ourselves before, it was a real chore to help the ladies clean up after a thousand men had eaten.

 

 

Now despite all of my own experiences, this coming attack would be the biggest battle I would fight in up to that time. Our attack on Beausejour was so fast that we really didn`t get a feel for what a siege would be like. Louisbourg was a mighty fortress that the New Englanders had taken thirteen years before, but the French had gotten it back, and we were hoping that we would capture it again. It would all take time and as the weeks went by and we trained out new light infantry, we were getting anxious to use our skills in combat.

 

CHAPTER 8: THE FLEET DEPARTES FOR LOUISBOURG

 

Around the beginning of May, the tents were taken down and packed aboard the ships. All the troops for the expedition were rowed out to the transports to begin our trip up the coast to Louisbourg. I sailed with my company in the Warren. Gordon though he had been a Ranger like me for a long time was still not the type of person who enjoyed sailing. He spent most of the trip huddled in the cockpit. He was put to good use rolling and making cartridges.

All the ships sailed together to protect ourselves from any French naval vessels or privateers. Louisbourg had outfitted private vessels to be armed with small cannons or just sailors with muskets to attack any British ship they came across. The Governor of Louisbourg had been handing out letters of marque to any ship captain he could, as the French navy could no be expected to just protect her colonies in New France, there were her colonies in Africa and India to think of as well.

 

As we advanced up the coast, all you could see were vast stretches of forest. Occassionally we`d find a Mik Maq encampment on a beach where some of the men would have been fishing for their winter food supply. However, with the war looming, many Mik Maq were on the war path. They had hidden their families deep in the interior of Nova Scotia and then joined the French in an effort to clear us out. But for those warriors, seeing all our ships must have put real terror into their hearts.

 

About the end of May, we sighted Garbarus bay and laid anchor. The officers took out their telescopes and scanned the beaches for the best place to land.

“Now that`s too bad, I guess we must have taught them a lesson back in 1745” We all looked about and found Benard looking at the beach. “What do you see friend?” I asked.

“Well see when we landed here then, the French didn`t have any defenses, but just look there now”. We all looked out and those of us with good eyes saw the whole bay was lined with trenches and redoubts. From the scale of the fortifications, we estimated that there were close to a thousand men. The redoubts appeared to have four guns. They couldn`t hit out ships, but they could do a nasty bit of work on our boats, as we rowed ashore. To make it worse, the seas were always rough. The weather would become foggy or the winds could blow up something fierce.”

 

Amherst was watching the coast and the weather for several days. His entire invasion depended on a successful landing in this bay. The only problem was, which beach could they have any success in attacking? He summoned his officers to the flag ship.

“Gentlemen, I propose that we land our troops here at Kenningston Cove. We shall also send feint attacks on White point and land some troops close to the seaward walls of the city. With luck, the French will not know where our actual landing will be. Much will depend on our brethren in the Navy and the boat crews to row our troops ashore. General Wolfe, you are to command the attack on Kennington cove. Our Light Infantry battalion, the Fraser`s Highlanders and the combined Grenadier battalion will be your attacking force.” The young red haired officer replied. “I shall do my best for out King and country. We shall take the beach, and make those French run back into their city.”

 

“On the day of our landing, June 8, 1758 it was about as calm as it had been for days. The swells weren`t so bad. Our landing divisions were drawn up, and we`d be some of the first soldiers sent on the quest to take this French city.”

“What do you mean the swells weren`t so bad grandfather?” “The waves were only about six feet or so. The difficulty was getting the troops from off the ships into the ships boats and to be rowed to shore. We had started just before day break. We had hoped to attack in the dark, but with the way the weather had been, and getting the troops loaded, we were being rowed in daylight. With our element of surprise gone, the French defenders fell into their trenches and with fixed bayonets, awaited our onslaught.

As part of Wolfe`s division, we had gotten into the boats sometime after midnight. At 4am, the ships of the fleet began a bombardment of all the fortifications in Louisbourg. It was mostly directed on the landing beaches, but also on the fortress as well, so as to keep the Frenchmens heads down.

It was different from what we had practice 3 weeks earlier in Halifax. This time however, we were sailing towards the enemy. However, it was strangely quiet. As Gordon and I huddled in out boat, the sailors kept rowing us closer to shore. My main worry was falling overboard. Our haversacks not only contained our rations, but also each ranger had been issued a new weapon.

“Gordon, why did they give us cannon balls with holes in them?” “Not sure Euan, maybe it`s our new cooking pot?” “You simple sods, those are Grenades” Captain Goreham exclaimed. “You add a charge of powder in the hole, then put a match into the hole, you light the fuse with your flint and steel and throw it at any French emplacement you come across. Got it?”

 

Slowly, the sailors kept rowing us to shore. We could see the abittis the French had made by cutting down trees and sharpening the branches so that the points were towards us. The bombardment had smashed a bunch of them, but there were still enough to pose as a hazard. We got about 200 meters from shore when the din of hell opened up on us.

“Bloody hell, it`s raining musket balls!” The small guns the French had were firing grape and round shot at us, the French infantry had mixed buckshot and ball in their initial volley. The water around us splashed like it was raining and we`d hear some of the balls smack into soldiers and wood. The screams of the dying and wounded were almost deafened by the roar of the muskets and cannon. We were getting soaked from the seawater, our sweat, our tears of fear and the vomit and urine of those around us who were afraid.

 

 “Keep moving forward, we must land on the beach” Wolfe could be heard crying. Most of the boats that hadn`t been hit were trying to come about and head back out to sea. It was turning into a bloody mess. We watched as Major Lawerence`s boat was smashed by a round shot. Nine of his men were killed and as the boat sank, the rest splashed about and tried to make it to shore. Lawerence made it as he was able to swim. Those soldiers who boats were swamped, sank quickly with the weight of their equipment. Many a scream was quickly silenced by the waves. You`d see an arm or hand thrash the water on the surface before it sank below.

We couldn`t fire back because our locks were secured with rags to protect the priming from sea water. Wolfe signaled us to fall back to his boat. Around him, he had collected boats of Rangers, light infantry, grenadiers and Highlanders. As we formed up to row back to the transports, Wolfe took out his telescope and sighted a place we could land. “Right, there`s a place we can land 2 boats at once. It appears the French can`t see it, so we`ll be safe from their fire. These 6 boats will land and lead the way for the rest of the assault.” Cautiously, three of our boats moved forward. Lt. Hopkins, Brown and Ensign Grant of the 35th Regiment were the first to land. They peared over the cover of the boulders to see the French still firing towards the boats. Our whole area was not even being touched. There was a battery of three guns pointing out to the beach on the right, but no one in this small area. There was a watch tower on the hill, but as the officers looked up, they saw it was abandoned! We sat there with the waves lapping and slapping the sides of out boat. Some of the lads were trying to retch quietly over the side. Some just hurled into the bottom of the boat. There the vomit mixed with the seawater to swish and swirl in the bottom, making the rest of us gag. I looked up to see the officers crawling on their bellies and I though, they look like toddlers trying to go to their mothers. The officers seeing the coast was clear, signaled to us. We rowed into the rocks and sprang up to begin our attack. Major Scott was out first and was rallying us to his spot. “To me rangers, present, fire at anything in range. As we go up on the rocks, the French and Indians finally spotted us and began to rush at us. “Form into line, present, FIRE!” Our initial volley was a bit ragged but we took a few soldiers and warriors down. We traded volleys with them for a bit when Scott cried, “fix bayonets, charge your bayonets, CHARGE!!!!! We all jumped up and rushed at the enemy.

The beach was not sand but stone pebbles. It was like trying to run on marbles. We slipped and slid our way up to the French.

  A few stood their ground and tried to fight us off. Those who did, met their end. My bayonet found itself embedded in the stomach of a French man. His face was a look of fear and pain. It made me sick to do it, but if I hadn`t, he would have done the same to me. Gordon didn`t have a bayonet but he taken out his tomahawk and was smacking at anyone within his range. I looked back and saw Wolfe standing on a rock waving only a cane towards the other ships. I could hear above the din an English Sargeant cry “Who`s not going to hell who hears this music for half an hour today?” At that moment, a volley erupted and the man was flung backwards onto his own men. Even from the distance, I could see that his chest had been ripped open by several musket balls.

 

I thought it was rather stupid of him to stand up in his boat like that, but then again, he must have done it to animate his men and give them courage to follow him.

Wolfe by now had gathered a force of Grenadiers and Highlanders. The Highlanders had slung their muskets and drawn their broadswords. As one, they charged the French. From our position on the rise we had rushed to, we could hear the pipes playing. I found out from Cameron later that it was Caber Feigh, and even though it was a Mackenzie clan war tune, it gave courage to all who heard it. He had learned to play it on the crossing from Scotland. We all rushed down the hill. The pebbles on the beach were becoming blood soaked and men slipped and fell rushing up them, and over the bodies of the men who had fallen in front of them.

 

 

 

 

All around us, it was a world of blood, fire, and noise. From the click, flash bang of our muskets to the loud thump of the cannons, I didn`t think that I`d hear birds singing again. Men were screaming in fear, pain and anger. I could see the Highlanders slashing with their swords at the French. I saw one man take his broadsword and slash it across the face of one Frenchman, it looked like his face would slide off his head. Blood gushed down and he fell to the ground, his hands scrambling at the blood pouring out the deathly wound.

I saw another man get slashed from shoulder to waist. Gordon cried, “Euan their cleaning the Frenchmen like fish”! It was horrible to watch, but it did what the Highlanders wanted. The remaining French defenders ran panicing back towards their own troops. The British grenadiers stormed the rest of the line with bayonets leveled, and were striking against French muskets, but also sticking into soft bellies and lungs. It was a mass of Red coats and caps. The British were a mix of buff, white, green and yellow on the back of their caps, but the Frasers were in their Bearskin caps, blue bonnets and kilts.  

 

Captain Scott, rallied us. “Rangers, you lead the way, we have to secure this beach for the rest of the army. Advance up the road, Go!” We formed into a skirmish line, and while one line knelt and presented, the other rushed ahead fifty meters and then knealt and allowed the rank behind us to rush up. As we got closer to the trees, we began to fire at any human shape we could see. The French were fleeing like crazy fearing that they were going to be surrounded. Our other troops had been landing at Fresh water cove and White point. As we advanced up the woods road, we saw a formed body of troops. These French men were wearing white grey coats faced white. They were all wearing moustaches, meaning they were Grenadiers. They began to fire volleys in platoons. When one section would fire, another would retire and wait until the first had fallen back behind. With this retreating fire, they were able to act as a rear guard for their panicked comrades.

 

After six hours, we held the beach. The only French still there were the dead, wounded or prisoners. I looked seaward and felt tears coming to my eyes. From our vantage point, we could see the lovely beach framed by woods behind us, and bordered by granite rocks, but scatter about this beauty, were the red or white coated corpses. Some were being tossed back and forth up against the pebbles and then back into the water by the waves.

The water was a mix of blue, green and purple from the blood of the dead. The smell of gunpowder still lingered in the air. Also, the metallic smell of blood seemed to cling to the rocks and trees. I looked about and Gordon was soon at my side. His leather cap was splattered red. “Gordon are you wounded?” “No, some English bugger in front of me caught a musket ball in the head, it went through him and splattered my face and cap with his brains. I`ve been washing it off myself just now.”

Even now little one, I don`t like to eat Strawberry preserves for it reminds me of the death and wounds I have seen. I like strawberries, but not as jam.

 

The rest of the day was spent securing the beach by clearing up the dead and wounded. Wolfe took a party of Light Infantry to scout out the French postions. We had a vauge idea of the lay out from the veteran officers from the last siege. One of the main objectives was to capture intact the Royal Battery. From our ships at sea, we could tell that the French fleet was bottled up in the harbor, but we couldn`t get a good look at the harbor defenses. As rangers we always led the advance.

 

As we advanced, the French Grenadiers and a few Mik Maq skirmished with us. The ground was just as it always seemed to be. Miles and miles of trees, bog and brush. It was as though the French had planted this forest to try and impede out advance. What they didn`t learn from the first siege was that this was easily cleared by our pioneers and ourselves. We had to hack a road through the forest to find the city. All day we fired and advanced. We fell back a bit, then advanced, right almost to the city walls. As we could make out the walls, the French guns opened fire. The cannon balls smashed though some of the trees and ploughed up the earth around us. “Euan, you think we should stay in the trees” THUMP, CRASH, WHACK. “I think you have a good idea Gordon, we just have to wait for our officers to tell us what to do.” “Rangers fall back to the trees!” came Major Scott`s orders.

 

That first night, we used the French encampment for our shelter. It was the first time I got a chance to take a look at myself. I was a mess. My leggings were caked with salt from the sea and mud from the woods. My arms and legs had little scrapes from thorny branches from where the leggings and my shirt had ridden up while I was fighting.

My fingers were a little burned from the heat of the musket barrel. They had gotten so hot during the fighting, you could barely hold onto them.  I took a look at Gordon, his face was smeared with black powder from having to bite open our cartridges and load our muskets. I rubbed my cheek and my fingers were grimed with black powder. My mouth was so dry, I was gagging for water. We emptied our canteens down our throats and filled them up from a clean looking stream. The only food we had in our haversacks was some moose jerky, oatcakes and some molasses cookies. Someone found a bit of tea that hadn`t gotten wet so we all shared a tin mug. When two of our number were put on sentry, the rest of us slept. It felt like I had been asleep for only a short time before I was shaken awake to take over.

“So grandfather, did you have to fight everyday at Louisbourg?”

“Well no, most of the time spent at a siege seemed just to prepare for an attack or bringing up supplies. For the first few days, we had to clear an area for our camp, then use the trees we cut down to prepare defenses. We had brought some prefabricated block houses which we threw up pretty fast to defend our camp. There were about six in all. The trees we used to build a palisade to surround our encampment. Then all the tents had to be brought ashore and fire pits dug. So for me, my memories of the first week or so was just bringing everything off the ships and setting up the army to get ready to begin fighting.

 

When we first got a chance to scout our Louisbourg, it looked massive! The King`s Bastion, which we thought was their citadel, was a four sided structure. Three of the walls were stone pointing out like an arrow towards the forrest. The back end was enclosed by a huge building, the largest I had ever seen. The walls there were about 20 feet high, so the building on the inside must have been about 4 floors tall. The whole town was surrounded by stone walls, and earthworks. At some points on the wall, we found sentry boxes which jutted out from the wall. The main gate to the town was a wooden drawbridge topped by an elaborate stone carving of the French kings arms, but in order to get at the gate, we would have to first punch through a trench line and redoubts which were dug into the ground. We could see spires of what we thought must have been churches, or important looking buildings. From where we first spotted the town, we began to carefully clean up the brush so that the artillery could move in and start to fire on the fortress.

 

Our encampment was very large. It took almost two days straight work to clear the area of trees and brush, then set out the tent lines, and then surround it with a palisade. We also built earthen bastions at the corners to emplace some field artillery to ward off any French raiders who might want to pay us a visit. Since we had fourteen battalions of regular infantry plus artillery and ourselves, it was a very large camp. As the siege went on, further redoubts, trenches and other works meant that most of the soldiers would be occupied in these positons or would rotate in and out so as to not exhaust one unit while others were left in their tents. There were not as many women allowed on this expedition due to the fact that it was a siege and also that space as at a minimum on the transport ships. However, a few of the officer`s wives and wives of the Sargeants were there.

A happy memory from that time was that Sargeant Sutherland of the 78th Fraser`s Highlanders wife was expecting a baby. In all the rush to get ready to sail for Louisbourg, she had not been put off in Halifax, so she accompanied her husband on the siege. About the fifth day after we landed, she went into labor. The officer`s wives and the surgeon were called to Sutherland`s tent. Since the Highlanders were considered to not be usual like the rest of the army, they were camped close to us. As word spread of the impending birth, the soldiers were all anxiously awaiting this new life to come. Mrs. Sutherland was lucky in that her trial of suffering was short and a bonny wee lassie named Emily was born. The whole regiment cheered on the news and the pipers played lively tunes to welcome the baby into the regiment. General Amherst heard of the birth and sent forth a goat to provide milk for both mother and baby. As well, Sgt. Sutherland was granted a small purse of guineas to help in the costs of transporting his wife back to Halifax. A military camp in the middle of a siege was not the best place of a mother and new baby.

 

The next week, the real work began. Our second objective was to encircle the city and cut off any chance of French troops marching overland to come to the assistance of the garrison. We got up early on the third morning and began to advance towards Lighthouse point. Our force consisted of three battalions, and four companies of Grenadiers. Most of the Light Infantry and Rangers were also used to cover the army as it advanced. We lay out an ambush, the regulars would march up to us, then we`d advance a bit more, set ourselves up, and they`d advance again. Luckily for us, it was very foggy that day, so the French gunners couldn`t see us. About 10am, we found the ruins of the Royal battery. The French had demolished it and taken away the guns. However, with a little bit of work, we stabilized the ruins and the Royal Artillery came along later and put their guns there to fire on the city and the French fleet riding at anchor.

 

General Wolfe was pleased that we were able to occupy Lighthouse point and he made his main Headquarters just a little east of there. But getting the troops and supplies there was not easy. There was no beach suitable at Lighthouse point, so everything had to be landed at our initial landing place, then marched and hauled on the roads we built and through the woods. To make it worse, the weather was horrible. Windy and rainy making the seas rough to land anything and the simple roads we built would become muddy. Once the roads came closer to the shore, we came under fire of the French ships in the harbor. That was a hassle. You couldn`t move for the fountains of earth those large cannon balls would plum up. A few men were smashed about, legs, arms and bodies would be torn and flung apart from the ships guns. But we kept at it.

At night, we`d have fires set along the shore to light the way of our troops to bring up more supplies or more men.  

 

“Ah Euan, take a look”, Gordon beckoned. I carefully looked over the parapet of the trench we had built on Lighthouse point. There below us was the town of Louisbourg, and the Island battery. In the harbor were the ships of the French fleet. We had to keep our heads down for fear of attracting the attention of the French guns.

THUMP, BANG. “Gordon, when was the last time we had enemy cannon fire at us”

THUMP, BANG, AHHHHHH. “I guess that was at Annapolis back in 1744 when the French fleet came from here. Ah, bloody hell, they got one of the Grenadiers, his body is torn up bad.” “Keep your bloody heads down, if you want to live” came our officers reply. “Right any soldier who is not on sentry duty, pick up a shovel or pick and start to dig our trench. If you want to live, dig!”

 

That made sense I thought. The officers kept us busy for several reasons. The first was to actually be doing our job, second, to keep us busy and third, if we were busy and doing our job, we wouldn`t be sitting around thinking and then becoming terrified at the sounds of the incoming artillery fire.

“Why didn`t the pioneers and engineers do all the digging? I mean that`s what there job is for right grandfather?”

“Well you would think that right, but remember, the sappers, engineers and pioneers are only a small part of an army. If you have several thousand men laying around, what better way to put them to work then to make them dig and build your defenses? If the soldiers dig it, they will know why they are digging it, especially if they know that they are under enemy fire at the same time. Digging and building these defenses gave us a sense of purpose. We wouldn`t be killed or wounded by artillery fire if the trenches and redoubts were deep enough and had sufficient cover.

 

Around June 13, we had our first major skirmish with the French. Major Ross had reported that a force of three parties of French troops had left from the main gate of the city and advanced towards our trenches. In all, there were about three hundred French and Indians advancing towards us. The Grenadiers were formed up in the centre and we, the rangers were positioned just a little down from Green hill. Our part of the line of battle was approached by Acadian partisans, Canadiens and Mik Maq under the command of a French officer. They were creaping thought the small brush and tall grass, but we were just at the tree line.

Captain Goreham advanced along our line, “right men, kneel, load with buckshot and ball, we`ll try to stop as many of them as we can. If the Grenadiers are flanked, our army will fall back to the beaches.” We quietly and carefully loaded our muskets from our shot bags and powder horns. Only a few of us had cartridge boxes. The day was unusually hot and sunny, considering that it had been cold, foggy and rainy for the most part since we landed. On the war party advanced. When they got to a small pond just in front of us, we opened fire. “Present, FIRE!” As one, our muskets opened up the first volley of the action. The French and Indians kept firing as a skirmish. A few of us, including Gordon and I, could fire faster than the rest of the group. I aimed my musket at any body that was in front of me. The French and Indians were clever, though, they never stood to fire, just knealt. I knew that I`d have to aim at a flash of smoke before it disappeared to high. I saw a flash of flame and smoke shoot out of some reeds, the ranger behind me was hit in the gut and fell to his front, squealing in pain. Before he had fallen though, I had fired at that spot I saw the shot from, and the grass parted to show that I had hit a warrior and splayed him on his back.

 

Our little fight took the better part of two hours. Of our initial party of one hundred rangers, about seventy of us were still firing. “Alright, I`m getting tired of this damm shooting at shadows.” Goreham was getting annoyed.  “Rangers will retire to the tree line, fall back.” We quickly moved into the brush and knealt with loaded muskets. We hoped that the French and Indians would then move forward to charge us, thinking we were in full flight. “ I won`t give the command to present, once the whole body gets ,up, every ranger will present and on my command will then let loose.” Goreham was hoping that his gamble would work.

One by one, the war party all stood up, which was astonishing considering these were warriors who had been able to defeat the likes of Braddock and ambush our regulars on many occasions. The whole party stood up and began to advance towards us. “FIRE”, we all let loose and the deafening blast of powder and smoke blanketed the field. When it cleared, we saw what we had done. Every warrior was now dead, the Acadian partisans lay amoung the Mik Maq and only their officer lay alive. He was propping himself up against one of his dead men and was waving his sword with his neck stock attached to the tip, “Any ranger speak French?” came Gorehams request. “Yes sir, I can speak a bit” I answered. “Arr let`s kill him anyway.” Gordon`s cry came. “No Gordon, we can take him back to the generals and they can get some information out of him.”

I crouched down and ran forward to the wounded officer. I saw that our musket balls had hit his leg, and he was in pain. He was wearing a blue waist coat which he had added gold lace to. His tricorn was also laced in gold. His brown hair was tied up in a simple que, not powdered like most officers. His face was handsome, though now it was one of pain. “Mosieour, pardon me, I will help you as best I can. Have some water.” I took my canteen and took out the stopper and put it to the mans lips. He drank well, then swallowed. I reslung my canteen and asked him, “sir may I have you name? “Oui, I am Cadet Lorrin, I`m a Canadien officer of Les Compaigne Franches de la Marine and I will surrender my sword to your officer. Who are you soldier?” “I am Private Euan Kenny, Goreham`s Rangers at you service sir.” The officer looked astonished. “How can it be that a lowly private can speak French so well?” “I was posted to Fort Anne and played with Acadian children. They taught me how to speak. I will take you to our surgeons lines now sir.”

Captain Goreham and Gordon ran up to me and we carried him into our position. It was just as well, for at that moment, the guns in the big bastion opened up and cannon balls began to hit the ground where we had just stood. Their officers must have seen that Cadet Lorrin`s party had been anhillated.

 

Out of that action, we also took two French soldiers who were speaking German. It turned out that they were members of the Voluntaire Etrangers, a German regiment in the French army. Both men had actually deserted the French and brought us news that our action had resulted in a few of their men killed and several score wounded.

Cadet Lorrin was seen to by a surgeon, who removed two musket balls, one from each leg. Luckily for the him, it only hit his calves which while producing a lot of blood and torn muscle, his leg bones were intact. He`d be taken care of in our camp until we exchanged him for our officers the French had taken.

As I had spoken with him at first, I was asked to assist the officers in speaking with him. I also took it upon myself when not engaged in my other duties to try and make sure he was confortable.

“Mousier, you speak French but it sounds different from the officers and soldiers who I have heard before, what part of France do you come from?” Lorrin smiled and looked at me. “Kenny, I was not born in France, but Canada. My home is north of Montreal, we have our own farm there. My Great grandmother was a fils du roi, a daughter of the king. She married my great grandfather and helped him to raise a large family. I am not French, but Canadien!” “Then why are you fighting here in Louisbourg”

Canada is my home, if you English capture Louisbourg, then you will then attack Quebec. Even though we have many native tribes, we won`t be able to stop an army this size. I came here to help defend my home. My wife is back in Quebec, pregnant with our first child. I am fighting for the future of my children`s country. This war for us is a war of survival. You English are all around us. We have no choice but to fight.” “I am sorry that you were wounded sir, but perhaps one day, when this war is over, you will be able to see your wife and child again.” Lorrine gave a sad little smile. “Perhaps Kenny, but who is to say if I will be sent back to Quebec? If Louisbourg will fall, I may be sent to France, a country that I have never seen, and never want to.”

 

Day and night, we dug our trenches closer to the walls. Our next objective was to capture Green Hill. We advanced into the trenches and waited with the Frasers. We quickly advanced and rushed up the hill to find that the French had not bothered to erect any defenses at this point. Their outer defenses were still four hundred meters in front of us. However, as soon as we got onto the crest of the hill, the French began to pour a heavy fire onto us. We saw large plumes of smoke rise up from the large bastion to our right and then a roar sounded above us. WHAM! “The French are firing mortars at us, take cover and begin to dig into this hill, came the officers command.

 

 Sgt. Sutherland was rallying his troops when another WHAM sounded. He was flung down to the ground. I rushed over to him and found that a large piece of iron from the exploding bomb had torn into his left arm. He had also been knocked unconscious by the force of being flung down. What parts of the arm were not cut, the bones were like mush. We gathered him up in his plaid and rushed him to the surgeon where we left him, hoping that he would survive.

 

We had to go back to the position and help build up the gabions and fascines to act as a temporary breastwork until our digging could give us sufficient cover. Most of that day was spent digging, ducking behind the hill when the large guns fired, and harassing fire from the forward trenches. A few other soldiers were hit by lucky musket shots, but since we were so far away from the muskets effective range, only a few soldiers were wounded. By next morning, we had dug the hill out to place two guns in it to begin firing at the forward defenses of Louisbourg.

 

 

 

Once we arrived back in camp, we were all exhausted. We were relived by the 15th Regiment who advanced and began digging trenches to connect the new postion on Green Hill to our other batteries. Sgt. Sutherland we learned had survived the sugeons lines, but lost his arm. He was badly affected by it, for he was also a piper and thus would no longer be able to play. As well, it would affect his ability to hold his new daughter. But we were amazed by his determination to live and carry on. With his arm bandaged up, and his left sleeve of his coat pinned up, the good Sargeant was ready to once again to fight the French.

“Aye our Sargeant is a tough fellow” Cameron told us at the fire one night. “Some of us though still hold bitter feelings towards his clan though. We faced each other during the ’45 Rebellion and he was a tough warrior then. He was part of the Argyle milita that broke down the walls at Culloden so that the English horse could flank us. The Argyles and Sutherlands poured a murderous fire into us.” He spat into the fire. “But now, we are under his command, so the only way we take out our anger is to fight the French.”

“But why are you so angry Cameron” Gordon asked. “Well you English passed laws to forbid us from wearing our kilts, weaving our tartans, playing our music on our bagpipes, carrying our broadswords, dirks and pistols and even speaking our language. I learned English from my guards. I was lucky in that I wasn`t executed after Culloden, but my father and older brothers were. Though Sgt. Sutherland suffered too. Even though his clan supported the government, the new restrictions also affected his clan. He was only able to keep his pipes by hiding them. And now, he`s lost his arm which means he won`t be able to play again. Though he`s a Sutherland, his piping was a source of comfort to all of us in the regiment.

One morning, I awoke to find a young drummer in a buff and red faced coat marching into our camp. He was a drummer of the 40th Regiment as the arms and roman numerals on his drum attested to. “Ranger, where is you officer? I have a message for him.” “Aye, I`ll take you to him. What`s your name drummer?” “Drummer Steele, Private.” “Steele, I don`t suppose that your father is Sargeant Steele who was posted to Annapolis Royal and then sent to Newfoundland now is he?” “Why yes, he is my father, but how would you know him?” “Matthew, you don`t remember me, I`m the drummer who you used to follow about in Fort Anne.” The young fellow`s face broke into a wide smile. “You were Drummer Kenny then, but why are you dressed as a ranger now?”

“Well, I decided that I wanted to carry a musket and thus I traded in my drum and drummer`s coat for that of a ranger. Though I do miss beating on the drum sometimes. Come along, I`ll take you to Captain Goreham.

 

One of the unforeseen consequences of my speaking with Cadet Lorrin was that it nearly cost me my friendship with Gordon. I hadn`t noticed, but I had been spending a lot of time with the French officer and not the rangers.

“You seem quite taken with that Frog, Euan. Are we not up to snuff with you now anymore” Gordon glared at me. I dropped my plate of stew to the ground and rose up to confront him. “What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?” “Well since we`ve captured him, you`ve been spending most of your evening with him rather than your comrades. Did you know we lost Private Dunphy today?” “Well no, I had been ordered to speak with Lorrin to see if I could get any useful information from him.” Gordon pushed Euan away. “The only thing I want to know about the Frogs is how many can I kill” “What`s gotten you so vexed Gordon?” At that, he struck me about my face so that I fell to the ground. “Bloody hell, Euan, haven`t you forgotten that it`s the French from here that attacked us at Fort Anne? The same bloody Frenchmen we`ve been fighting for the past ten years? So how the hell do you think I feel when you are seen speaking to a French officer” I got upon my feet and landed a swift kick to Gordon`s arse. “You bloody twit, don`t you remember I`ve been in the same places as you and I know what the French can do.  Maybe you`ve drunk a bit too much grog today.” The other rangers pulled us apart before we had a real to do with each other.

“You both want to be strapped to a gun and kiss the gunner`s daughter?” Corporal Booker asked. “If you feel like fighting, why not go out to the forward trenches and shooting some French gunners for us. Oh, and Jefferson, Kenny was able to get from that officer a few facts, such as the fact that our skirmish with his partisans destroyed them. They were the only French and Indians who had been sent down from Quebec. Oh, and you`d need not worry about Kenny spending anymore time with Lorrin, he was exchanged this evening for two of our officers the French had taken.”

 

Gordon and I looked at each other and shook hands and apologized. “I`m sorry Gordon, you`ve been like my brother. Your friendship is something I don`t want to loose. “Aye Euan, I was out of place. I suppose all the cannon fire is  making me a bit anxious. We`d better stick to fighting the French rather than each other. Seeing Dunphy get killed shook me up a bit.” “What happened to him” “We were sent down to help dig a trench to link up with some of the batteries. We could see the French warships in the harbor and as we began digging, they pivoted at anchor and began to fire on us. A few of us were able to duck down in time, but Dunphy had been at the front digging. When the cannon balls fell about, they smashed up the ground and a big mound of earth we had pilled up to make a parapet, caved in on him. He was buried alive. We dug like crazy to try and get him out. We found his feet and dragged him out. He died with his face full of terror. There was nothing we could do for him.”

 

And so it went on and on. Week after week, we dug, the French fired their guns at us to try and stop our advance to their walls. One morning when I was on sentry duty, I noticed a peculiar site. I noticed that the French gunners were preparing their guns to fire. Using a telescope that Lt. Kenny gave me, I looked into the embrasure. There I saw a woman about to fire a cannon! She put the linstock to the vent and it fired towards our lines. She then walked to two other guns and fired them. After the smoke cleared, I could hear the French gunners yell “Vive Madame Drucour, vive le bombardiere!” I asked the other soldiers about this, and they also said they had seen her go up every morning to fire the guns. This was the same woman who tipped the drummer for bringing her pinapples! I was amazed, even the upper class women fight. The only women I had ever hear fight were wives and mothers who lived with their families on the frontier.

 There were a few times when we fought with them. One morning before sunrise, the French sent out a sortie to try and perhaps spike some of our guns. They unfortunately found themselves in amoung the Frasers. The wild highlanders fired their muskets, then drew their broadswords and dirks. A few had pistols which they also fired off. As the French withdrew, some of the Frasers had small round shields that they dropped to the ground, and taking their broadswords and dirks, began to dance their war dance with the pipes playing. Most of them began to shout in Gaelic at the French and we all gave whoops and our own battle cries. Even a few of us rangers began to dance wildly about. The English officers who saw this thought we must be going mad but it gave us the heart to keep on fighting. Those who weren`t dancing were slapping their musket slings to give an ominous sound. I looked towards the French lines, and their officers were trying unsuccessfully to get them to advance. They didn`t feel like charging a bunch of wild highlanders that day.

 

A few days later, we were sent out on a sortie to harass at the French outer defenses. The Light Infantry, including us and the Highlanders were sent towards the outer line in front of the large bastion. We used out trenches to approach and then we rushed from them towards the ravelin. The French were firing volleys of musket fire. It was like trying to walk during a thunder storm. “Kenny, Jefferson, help the Grenadiers light their grenades.” Lieutant Kenny yelled. It was the first attack that we were a part that included my father. He had been tied up with the headquarters due to his French speaking ability. Cameron was one of the Highlanders we were to help. I hadn`t realized that Cameron, as well as being a piper had trained with stones back in Scotland. He could hurl a stone about 20 yards. We had seen him practice with rocks in our camp. “Right, Euan, and Gordon, you light my fuses and I`ll hurl the grenades.”We were going pretty well, we`d strick a spark with our flint and steel, the match would catch and Cameron would hurl it into the French work. It was all going well until “BANG”. Cameron fell to the ground screaming, Gordon was holding his scalp and my ears wouldn`t stop ringing. Lt. Annis and Cpl. Booker pulled us back into our trench. They slapped a wad of bandage on Gordon`s head, and were busy wrapping a bandage on Cameron`s right hand. I helped Gordon to the surgeons lines, while Booker and another ranger carried Cameron.

 

“What happened Granfather?” “It turns out, the match on that Grenade was super dry and it burned faster than the others. As Cameron threw it, it exploded. He had ducked down but his hand was still in the air as he came down. Gordon had been ready to hand him another grenade and caught a graze or iron just below his hair line. I had already been on the ground with my head down. But the blast made my ears ring for a bit. We checked on Cameron later on, and he was balling like a baby. We thought maybe it was the shock of the fight, but then my father bid me closer. Speaking in Gaelic he told me, “Euan, help take care of Cameron. He needs to be watched.” “What`s wrong with him sir?” “The surgeon says it`s not from the pain that he`s crying. He`s had enough rum and whiskey to dull that pain. I spoke with him. It seems that he`s the last in his family. His father and brothers were killed during the English pursuit in the Highlands after the ’45. In his family, there was a tradition of sons to follow fathers on the great highland bagpipe. Cameron isn`t married, he`s not fathered any children. So his family`s piping is finished.” I stared at Cameron. “But he`s still got his hand.” “Aye he does, but he lost his ring and pinky finger on his right hand. He`ll be able to still use his hand in life, but he`ll no longer be able to play. To use the chanter, you need all your fingers. Stay with him and make sure he doesn`t do anything stupid.” The sad truth dawned on me. After the ’45 Rebellion, the bagpipes had been outlawed. Cameron had been able to play again only in the army, but now, with his hand missing two fingers, he`d no longer play his beloved pipes. His grief was profound. For him, it was as though his children had died. A part of his soul died when that grenade went off.”

 

“Gordon, are you alright.” “That I am Euan, but I still have a headache. That piece of grenade felt like a ram butted my head. Any closer, and I`d have bought the farm. This battle is worse than all our others eh?” “That it is, but we have to tough it out. When these French give up, we can stop dying.”  

I felt like it must go on forever. The French warships kept firing on our positions which was doing it`s job of delaying our advance. However, once we established gun batteries at Lighthouse point, and along the harbor shore, the French ships had to keep moving about to get out of range of our own guns.

For the French inside the walls and town it must have been terrifying. We heard from one of the drummers who was sent on a parley.

“I marched forward beating the parley call to tell the French not to fire on me. I had two pineapples from General Amherst in my pack. When I entered the gate, I was blindfolded and led by a French drummer. From what little I could see under my blindfold, the the town was getting smashed to pieces. The walls seemed to be crumbling from both our fire and their own guns. Madame Drucour paid me two gold sovereigns and placed two bottles of wine in my pack. I was sent back. As well, I was told to thank General Amherst for the pineapples, but that I could not continue to supply his officers with wine, as other drummers had been sent in as well. She seemed to feel that the British officers would replace her husband`s wine cellar with tropical fruit.” At this, the drummer grew silent. “I saw many little children crying and holding tight to their mothers and fathers. The look of terror in their eyes at me, because I was the enemy. But I`m only 11, those little boys and girls are almost my age, and I`d rather be playing with them in the fields outside the forts walls then have our cannons smash their homes and scare them.”

 

After a month of fighting, the fortress walls appeared to show signs that our artillery were doing their job. Chunks of stone were falling into the ditches, most of the buildings that we could see had damaged roofs and we had very few skirmishes with the garrison. For the most part, they just kept their heads down, while we pounded them with our cannons. To liven things up a bit, several battalions would be marched into the forward trenches and would then fire several volleys at the French gunners. During these times, we`d crouch out and see exactly how badly the walls were. However, the Compaigne Franches would usually be in the outer defenses and would fire upon us. We`d stay just out of musket range to frustrate them.

By mid July, almost all of the French ships were grounded, or sunk. Our heavy guns were put in place and for seven days, we fired day and night. Any French soldiers who we saw running towards us we`d fire at. Some would reach us and throw down their muskets. These men we found out were usually from the Etranger Regiment who were Germans and not French soldiers. They were usually good at providing us with information. It was starting to show that the morale of the garrison was falling, but the German soldiers told us that most of the French soldiers and officers would fight on, perhaps to a bitter end.

“But Grandfather, why didn`t the Frenchmen come out and fight. I mean did they just stay inside their walls waiting for the cannonballs to fall on them?” “Oh they came out to fight alright. On July 9, they tried a night attack.”

 

 

The air was filled with the far off thunder of the guns and the pounding of the surf on the beach. Gordon and I were getting a good nights sleep after having helped dig yet another trench and redoubt. I had drank large quantities of tea in the day from the hot work. I needed to go water a tree so I crawled out of our tent and walked to the necessary house. It was then that I saw a frightened figure running towards the camp. The sentry gave the challenge, and the reply was given in English. “The French have struck out advanced post. Lord Drummond`s dead, the French are right behind me.” Sure enough, the faces of snarling French grenadiers were running pell mell at us. “Drummer, sound to arms,” came an officer`s command. The young drummer frantically beat out the roll to awaken the troops. The 22nd were the first to answer and began to form line to repulse the charge. The volley fired into the night resulted in some yells of pain, but as it was dark, no one could really see what they were firing at. Gordon and I gathered out muskets and gear and began to advance. We could see the French trying to destroy one of our smaller batteries and they were able to kill the gun crews. “Come on Gordon, we have to drive off the French, who`s with me?” “I`ll advance with you” came Booker`s reply. So the three of us advanced and fired at the French.

The problem was, other British soldiers were also firing in out direction. Gordon and I reached the battery and killed a few French soldiers. The rest fled. I spotted a much larger force advancing towards us. “Gordon, we have to get this gun ready to fire. Do you remember how we loaded the swivel guns?” “Yeah, but Euan, this a a lot bigger than a swivel gun.” “Aye, but it`s still the same principal. Powder, wad, shot, wad, thumb over the vent, use the linstock and fire right?” “So what will you do Euan?” “I`ll act as the number four and five, you`ll be two and three.” I looked about and found the ready made cartridges and wads. I brought a powder cartridge forward and placed it in the muzzle. Gordon had the rammer ready while I ran back and placed my thumb on the vent. Gordon ran the charge home, then I got a grapeshot charge. I placed that in the barrel and again went back to the vent. Gordon rammed that home, then I took the priming iron and punched the bag. Gordon placed his rammer down and went for the worm. Making sure we were both clear of recoil, I touched the quill I had added, it was a whoosh BANG, and the gun went off. The group of Frenchmen were smashed apart like a basket of eggs. For about an hour, Gordon and I loaded and fired the gun. By about 4am, it began to become light. All this time, Gordon and I had been so busy, we didn`t noticed Booker was not with us. “Gordon, where`s Booker gone to?” I turned and saw Gordon checking a body. Booker had been hit in the back by two musket balls. In the confusion of the night, our own soldiers had fired towards the French, only to hit him. About this time, a Royal Artillery officer came up with a gun crew escorted by Major Scott and some of the Light Infantry. “Privates Kenny and Jefferson, what are you doing here? Your not at your post.” “Sir, when the drums sounded assembly, Jefferson and I advanced towards the French. We saw that this battery`s crew were dead. We took over and fired back at the French.” “Private, how did you know how to load and fire a twelve pound gun?” Lieutant Blackmore asked. “Sir, I learned how to fire swivel guns on Captain Goreham`s vessel. We both knew how to work it, so we kept up the fire.”

“My apologies Lieutant, my men used your guns and ammunition without orders. I shall punish them as you see fit.” At that moment, General Wolfe came up and looked about our postion. “Major Scott, are these two men part of your command?” Scott snapped to attention and gave a reply. “Sir, they are members of Goreham`s Rangers. They advanced to here without orders and proceeded to operate this gun until dawn. Lt. Blackmore and his gun crew had now arrived to take over.” “Privates, what are your names?” Now I had never been addressed by a General, and I was also in front of Scott, who had given me a hard time in my younger days. “Sir, I`m Private Euan Kenny” “Sir, I`m Private Gordon Jefferson.” “Well now, I don`t think you should stay privates for very long.” Wolfe turned to Scott. “See to it that these men be raised to Corporal. These soldiers showed initive and took over when others had fallen. This act of bravery should not be punished. Had it not been for their action, the French may have destroyed this battery and taken this gun. Thus the honor of the Royal Artillery was saved as well.” “General Wolfe sir, the gun appears to be in good order. Both these men could do well in the artillery with a little training.” Blackmore looked most impressed. Two colonial rangers had saved his gun. “Later on, Blackmore visited us in the lines and on parade, awarded both Gordon and I a pint of rum each. For infantry regiments, losing your colors is a disgrace. For the artillery, to loose your guns is the same.

Major Scott was not impressed. He felt that we should have stayed with the other rangers. However, in the dark, we had not seen him, or our other officers. We knew that if the French had turned the gun on us, more British would have been killed.

 

As with all things, the siege did come to an end. By July 20, most of the French guns had stopped firing, most of their ships were wrecked save for two, and the walls were now falling down on their own. We all knew it was only a matter of time, that we`d be sent in to assault the walls. We had spent weeks digging trenches, building redoubts and clearing the ground, now we had to build scaling ladders. “Assualting a fortress is the most difficult thing we can do as soldiers” Goreham told us. “We`ve knocked a breach in we wall just to the right of the Dauphin gate. Or orders are to advance with the Grenadiers and clear out the front trenches. The Grenadiers will rush past us, and into the breech, if they need those ladders, they will use them.” So we all went into the forward trenches to await our signal to rush out towards the walls. The Royal Navy was to go out and capture the French ships Le Prudent and Le Bienfaisant. We gave a distraction of musket fire on the walls so that the French would believe that we were going to go over the walls. While we fired, six hundred sailors and Marines rowed out in long boats to over power the ships crews. It was a foggy night, we all anxiously awaited to hear the sailors get to the ships. Would an alert sentry in the fort or a sailor on watch give a signal? The British tars crawled up the side of the ships and a brisk sound of pistols and yells told they had reached the ships. But then what did we see next, Prudent was on fire!

“Where were the ship crews Grandfather” “Most had been sent into the fortress to help serve the guns or to act as additional infantry. It wouldn`t have mattered anyway if they had been on their ships. Ships are most affective when out at sea, not trapped in a harbor. Granted, their guns blasted and harassed us from the start of the siege, but their true purposed, lay on the sea. Now as I had said, the night had been foggy, but by God, when that ship was on fire, you`d swear that the sun was about to come up. It was about 2am and the light that the fire produced made it look like day break. All of Louisbourg`s waterfront was light up watching the ship burn. Those sailors who had been aboard had been able to get off. Bienfaisant was towed to the other end of the harbor to be protected by our own batteries which until only recently had been trying to destroy her.

Our artillery was to make a further dent in Louisbourg when we noticed that a breach would be opening up on the King`s bastion. We had also fired hot shot into the city hoping to set buildings on fire.

The next morning, the air was thick with the smell of burnt timber and tar. Prudent burned to the waterline and was still smouldering. Louisbourg`s walls, once grand stone and earth, now looked like a toothless old man. About 8 am, a French drummer was seen beating out the parley. I jumped up and down in hysterics. “Euan, have you gone, mad, what the hell are you doing?” “Gordon, don`t you remember your drum commands? It`s the parley, the French want to surrender!

The governor of Louisbourg, Drucour had wanted the honors of war in reconition of his garrison`s bravery. General Amherst would have none of it. There was the chance that the garrison could be used to fight us again, and seeing as how the French had captured Minorca from us at the beginning of the war, Amherst wanted to give a smarting blow to the French. As well, Amherst was aware of the memory of Fort William Henry, when the French had given the honors of war, only to have many of their troops killed by the Indians whom Montcalm was unable to control. On July 27, the Grenadiers marched through the Dauphin gate and relieved the French sentries there. We marched in later to find scores of woman and children looking on us with fear. Most times, soldiers are driven to madness during an assault and commit terrible things on the civilian populations. Girls and ladies fear for their virtue, but our commanders kept us in strict discipline. I wasn`t interested in stealing things, I just wanted to live. Perhaps with Louisbourg captured, our war would wrap up.

The French garrison looked sullen. Most had no doubt not had a decent sleep in a month. Almost every soldier we saw had torn or ripped parts of their uniform. The Compaigne Franches had a down trodden look about them, but the regular French troops had tried to keep their appearance up. General Amherst demanded the colors of the French garrison from Drucour. The French officers were agashed and their soldiers gave us great looks of anger. Had these men not done all that is required for the honors of war their officers enquired? “Mousieur Drucour, if you would like the honors of war, kindly explain to me how your commander Montcalm lost control of his Indians at Fort William Henry? My government will not stand for it if I grant you the honors of war, when your own army didn`t fufil it`s obligation to guarrentee the safety of the British garrison there. Your city has fallen, your men are defeated. The only concession that we will give you is to ship you back to France in our ships. You should be grateful for that. And should I remind you, we did not launch an assault on this town. If that were the case, many of you would not be standing here today.

The French as we found out later had burned their colors so as to not face the humiliation of handing them over to us. The Cambis regiment had even gone so far as to smash up their muskets. They had only arrived about a week before the siege and were extremely insulted that we had treated them as such. Even more so was the Artois Regiment. Lt. Lindsay remembered that they had also been captured at Blenheim and had lost their colors there as well. But we had little sympathy for the French. It had been their officers who had directed the Mik Maq to make war on us, their soldiers who had attacked us in 1744, and their ships who had bombarded Fort Anne.

With the siege over, we began the process of cleaning up the damage and shipping off the entire population, garrison and civilian back to France. Gordon and I were hoping to get some rest and enjoying the ale houses of the town.

 

General Amherst did give a bit of a rest. In reconition of our exploits, each man was fed a true pound of beef, a pound of bread the French had left behind, and we were each given a bottle of wine. We spent that night happy with full bellies, both with beef and wine. I did feel sorry for the French we had captured. All of them were now under guard in the British ships in the harbor. Soon enough, they would be sent back to England and the on to France.

 

 

THE SUMMER OF THE CHASE.

About ten days after the end of the siege, the Light Infantry Battalion was assembled on the waterfront of Louisbourg. General Wolfe gave us our orders.

“Soldiers, are task of capturing this city is complete, but our expedition is not over. We must find the remanants of French troops who are harassing the Western part of Nova Scotia. There is also Saint John`s Island which must also be pacified. Brigadier Monckton and I will lead expeditions to clear out those areas of Frenchmen. We will board ships to take us away tomorrow. Ensure that you have all that you need to wage war on the French. Officers, see to your men.” “King`s forces take care, present your, arms!” With a slap and crash, three hundred men presented their muskets in salute to their commander. General Amherst was busy with the overall plan of what to do with a French city.

 

Our next bit of soldering was to reduce the garrison and population of Isle Saint Jean at Port La Joie. There was a small French earthwork fort there which we were quickly able to force into surrender. The small detachment of Le Compaigne Franches were not expecting a huge British army to attack them. The Acadians however, must have known we were coming. Our commander had an estimate that there were four thousand Acadians taking refuge there, however when we did go about to gather them up, we only found seven hundred. The rest had fled up to other French controlled areas of New France. It was more of the same, terrible scences of men, women and children wailing, families separated. I didn`t know it then, but some of the English troops had been used to doing this in Scotland when I was but a drummer boy. They found pleasure in destroying the Acadian homes and herding them onto ships. To the English soldiers, they were French, but to Gordon and I we knew who they were, and we had to reluctantly do as ordered.

 

As we went up through the coast of the gulf of Saint Lawerence, we cleared out many small pockets of French settlements. Sometimes they had been abandonded in haste to escape out advance, other times, we found them full of refugees. No matter, they had run away only to be caught by us a little later than planned.

 

We did catch up with a hostile bunch at Boishiberts island. Boshibert had gathered Acadians on an island which we had built up for defense. With Mik Maq warriors, they had begun to sweep down and save Acadians and try to slow our advance. For all the French knew, we may have been trying to attack Quebec. But Durcour had made sure that we couldn`t fight two sieges in the same summer.

We sailed into the little bay in the Warren, swivel guns and muskets primed. As we got closer to shore, the French and Mik Maq began to fire on us. On of out lookouts in the maintop saw canoes and small boats fleeing to the north. The Acadian partisans and Mik Maq were delaying us so that the Acadian civilians could make a get away.

I aimed my small gun at a group of warriors in the treeline and fired away. The smoke cleared to show that in my haste to fire, I had misjuged the distance, The shot fell short sending up a plume of water and sand just at the water line. Gordon led a party ashore to attack and clear the beach. By the time we had all disembarked, the enemy was gone. We then spent the rest of the day burning out fishing smacks, drying racks and huts that had been this community.

 

The other settlements we attacked were clearly French, but it still bothered me that we were attacking civilian settlements. I felt more like a pirate than a soldier. Captain Goreham explained to us that each French settlement we burnt, meant the French in Quebec had that much less with which to fight us. Every fishing rack that was burnt, or ship we sunk or took as a prize meant that more of King Louis` soldiers would be hungry. But I also thought of all the women and children who would also suffer in this war.

Every place from the Miramichi to Mount-Louis was destroyed.

“Was it just the rangers like you who were doing all these raids Grandfather?” “Well now, it was the regular troops as well. Of course, we`d have to strike out into the forests where we had the experience of woods fighting whereas the regular British soldier was like those sheep I had to watch so many years ago.

 

Our biggest push was on a settlement on the Gaspe peninsula. It was the closest we would get to Quebec in 1758. Wolfe led us on this attack. He was determined to strike fear into the French authorities by showing them that with Louisbourg gone, the Royal Navy could sail up without threat from French naval vessels.

Another expedition was sent up the Saint John River. General Monkton led the 35th, 2nd Battalion of the 60th as well as the other half of the light infantry and rangers. There was word that a large force of French, Acadians and Indians were lurking around the area. They were pinning down the garrison at Fort Cumberland and also would be a threat to Nova Scotia when we advanced on Quebec. They went up quite a way up the river but they never found that large force. The small Acadian partisans they never did find. They spent a lot of time mapping out the area, and burning out isolated homes and villages. They destroyed both French and Indian villages in order to weaken the French hold on the area, and to deprive Quebec of any assistance.

 

During the winter, most of the Royal Navy ships went home, a lot of the soldiers were sent to different cities and towns. The 78th went to New York, which made me sad for I was making a lot of friends in that regiment. The 1st Regiment went off to New York

 

“Where did you stay that winter Grampie?” “Gordon and I stayed in Louisbourg and helped to protect it. Though a lot of what we had to do was protect ourselves from the ice and snow. Since we had bombarded a lot of the town, most of the buildings were very drafty and some were ruins. I did meet a young lad named Henry who was in the 22nd Regiment. He was from Chesshire and was a bright lad but couldn`t read. He had gotten a place in our Light Infantry Battalion due to his skills, but he was afraid that he would never advance past Private unless he could read. So, I spent many a long day and night teaching him his letters, and then having him write them on a small little slate I had found in the Convent which had been the main French hospital.

Henry`s story was a sad tale. He had been born in Northwich, Cheshire the son of a salt miner and a milkmaid. His father was killed in a mine collapse and his mother, worn out by her pregnancy had died after giving birth to him. He had been sent to the parish orphanage and once at age 17 was then given to a recruiter by the parish seeing as the bright lad might make something of himself in the army. One thing he always talked about were the type of houses they had. They were called Tudor style, built of black and white wood. And he was crazy about cheese as that was also famous from there. Infact, most of the soldiers who had arrived at Louisbourg had been eating ships biscuit and cheese which had come from Cheshire. Over one meal he told us his story.

“When I was a lad, the other boys in Northwich would tease me cruelly. They would either beat me up, or force me to help them torture animals. They believed that my mother was a harlot, and that my father was a rouge. They knew my father had died in the mine, so for them, that meant I was lower than them. The only work that I could do was that of a Link Boy, and I was only paid a farthing. I had to light the way for many wicked people. Pickpockets would force me to lead wealthy sedan chair passangers down dark alleys where they would ambush them. I was always threatened by them with cruel punishments if I didn`t help them. They would tell me that I`d get some guineas but they`d usually rob the passangers and scamper off without giving me anything. More than once, I was cuffed by a gentleman for having played a part in losing his watch, or money. That`s how I ended up in the army.

 

 One evening, I was made to light the way to a Molly House down in a rookery where a wealthy gentleman was staying. As the man came out, 2 boys tried to rob him. He drew out a muff pistol and shot one dead, and drawing his rapier ran through the other boy. He grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and dragged me away. I was thrown into prison for the robbery. But seeing as the gentleman didn`t want his true actions known, I was taken to a recruiting sergeant. That was about 7 years ago. And now, here I am, one of Amherst`s chosen men.

 

“But Grandfather, why would they enlist prisoners as soldiers?” Anne wondered. “In times of war, the army and navy need all the men they can get. If recruiting doesn`t fill up the void, then recruiting parties will go to the local gaol and empty them of any men who are fit. Sometimes they can volunteer but most they are thrown in, given a uniform and musket and serve out their sentence in the service of the king. Sometimes, their service in the army was actually longer than their initial sentence for their crime.”

 

Gordon and I helped the young lad to read and write. We`d also do small patrols in the woods bordering the fortress. To add variety to our food, we`d also hunt or fish. Once again, hunting was what I did well, but we had a different animal to hunt then, the Caribou! They were a mighty animal, almost a big as moose, but they`re almost all gone now. Too many English officers from Halifax have come out to hunt them. But oh my were they tasty. We also stripped the hides and used the bones to make things. Benard showed us how we could use the bones to make all manner of tools. The antlers were the best for making buttons and knife handles. We`d trade them with the other soldiers for tea or tobacco.

Some of the other soldier also did leather work, having done that as their work before entering the army. With all the hard work and conditions we worked in, your belts and gear would break, wear out or you could loose it easily.” “Didn`t the army give you all the things you needed Grandfather?” “Not always, if we were far away from our fort, or the supplies didn`t arrive, we had to make do with what we could find. Most English regiments were in bad shape. But our line of work meant that we could improvise with the materials we could get out of the forest.

 When we hunted moose and caribou, nothing was wasted. The antlers and bones were used as I said before, the meat was eaten, the hides were turned into clothing, belts or equipment that we needed. Any cattle that we shot, we also used what we could. The horns we`d take and turn into powder horns which would keep it drier than the paper cartridges in out boxes on our belts.

 

“But what did all those things look like Grandfather?” Euan laughed and go up from his cane chair. He walked over to the wall and pulled down his hunting gear from a peg on the wall. “This brown bag here is my hunting bag. It wasn`t issued to us by the army but was better for what we needed. I made this from the leather of a moose I shot back in 1756. I sewed it together with other rangers in the barracks at Fort Edward.” Euan pulled out small pouches and bags. “This rectangle one is a flint wallet. We made these to store our spare flints. The army only issued you 3 good flints, but we always made sure we had more in our bags. This little heart shaped one is a ball bag. I could cram about 30 balls in one, so I`d usually have 3 bags in it. Now, this linen bag is my haversack, but as you can see, the shoulder strap got stretched out long ago. So we`d take canvas from worn out tents and make bags with them that we could sling over our backs. On my waist belt, I`d have some more pouches to put cloth patches to help clean the musket or to wrap my balls in when I shot them. Sometimes, we didn`t have tents, only our blankets, so if it couldn`t be carried on our backs, it didn`t go with us.

“Where would you go to trade your goods grandfather?” “Like I do now, either to markets or to pubs. In Louisbourg, the French pubs for sailors and soldiers were still going. Of course, the customers and workers were now English. One of the more interesting things we`d find were new prints from England posted on the walls. The officers insisted on these being put up to help make sure we`d maintain discipline.

As though the lash didn`t do that already.

The first one that we saw was the Four Stages of Cruelty by Mr. Hogarth. It was a series of 4 prints which showed how bad boys would then become cruel men and commit foul murders. It showed a boy who hurt a dog, then he would beat his horse then he killed a woman. Another one that showed up was Beer Street and Gin Lane. These were pictures showing how we should be drinking beer and staying healthy rather than drink Gin which was much cheaper, but stronger. Many of the English soldiers who were at Louisbourg had been addicted to Gin and had joined the army thinking that they could get money to buy more gin.

 From the stories that the English soldiers told us, Gin was making the country mad. They would find people selling their tools for gin, mothers would take their cook ware and pawn them off to buy gin. Even more terrible, they heard of a case where a woman had taken her child to a parish orphanage to be raised, but later on she came back and got him. She then killed the boy and sold his clothes so that she could get money for gin. The streets were full of violence, and people drunk in stupors. Some places sold gin by the glass for a tuppence, dead drunk for a penny and then they`d let you sleep it off in their stables full of straw.

 Another set was A Harlot`s Progress, which told us that we should not be with a lady of the evening.” “What`s that Grampie” Euan blushed as he tried to think of a way to tell his granddaughter. “They are ladies who will be a man`s wife only for one night, if the man pays her money. It`s dangerous as you can get very sick, and the surgeons in the army were always warning us not to do that. Plus a proper woman should marry for love and only be with a man who will protect and cherish her. But not all girls are lucky and sometimes have to do things that make them look evil to others. When I`d see ladies of the evening painted up and calling to us, I never went to them. Once, when Gordon and I were in Halifax, we ended up in a cheap pub and there were some girls there who came up to us and were tickling and teasing us. I just wanted to drink my beer. I was too shy to be with a girl then. We could hear the tattoo coming up the street so we were able to get out of there without getting into trouble.

 

Of course most of the time in the winter was either staying warm, doing sentry duty or going on patrols. The weather was just like in Annapolis Royal; cold, snowy and it felt like it would never end. But being able to go to the pubs gave us a chance to make new friends.

 

 

With the arrival of spring, our war would continue.

 

WITH WOLFE TO QUEBEC.

Wolfe came back to us looking threadbare and worn. He would get terrible sea sick, but at least he was able to go home and see his family. The rank and file like us would only ever see our families in our dreams, or if we survived, sent home as wounded.

The new invasion fleet made it`s way to Louisbourg via England and Halifax. The 78th Frasers Highlander`s came back, as did the … The fleet carried only 9000 soldiers and 18,000 sailors. The army that we used to attack Louisbourg had been larger. Wolfe believed that his troops were better than the French, and in the end, we would prevail he believed. Ranger patrols from other colonies had reported that the French in Quebec were getting weaker. We had close to 100 ships packed with artillery. In some vessels, round shot was being used as ballast. Pitt in London was determined that Quebec would fall.

General Amherst was going to advace up to Fort Ticondergoga so was not with us this time. Wolfe would command us on our conquest.

All though the spring, the army arrived. Eventually we had the 15th,28th,,35th,  ,60th and 78th Regiments come back. We also had the 43rd, 47th ,48th and 58th Regiments. The 22nd, 40th, 45th Regiments provided their Grenadier companies to form the “Louisbourg Grenadiers.” The Light infantry battalion would go taking the light companies and rangers. We`d also have James Roger`s Rangers as well as four others. The other troops present were more Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Marines from the fleet. 

 

We prepared as best we could for the upcoming attack. Since the ships were so crowded with men, women and children, as well as supplies, we`d build ladders fascines and gabions when we got to Quebec. Most of the army was well trained from having captured Louisbourg and also fighting the French and Indians in northern New York. We spent most of the spring making sure we had enough arms and ammunition. Most days, the rangers would cast musket balls, and fill up our bullet pouches and fill our powder horns from the main magazine. Of course we`d also have our cartridge boxes, but once they ran out, we`d need other supplies of powder and ball. We also sharpened our knives and tomahawks and drilled our tatics with the regulars. In order to win a battle, all the soldiers have to work together and know what they need to do.

 

The morning was getting on, and Emily came in shrieking. "Euan, go for a walk in the fields to check on our cows?" "Oh my goodness, you are right, I almost forgot, we need to go milk them." So off the little girl and the old man walked out into the crispy October morning. Anne pulled her shawl close to her and Euan took his old hunting frock and put it on. Even though he had had this coat for over 40 years, it still provided warmth.

They walked along the path that led from their cabin down the hill to where the cows were grazing. As they got closer, they could hear them bellowing. "Oh dear, we`re a little late, and the cows are in pain". Euan blushed in embarrassment, "well let`s get to it, I can still tell you some stories while we milk them. Just watch the cow dung.

 

As both sat to work, Euan continued with his story.

“Now the most amazing thing that I heard on our journey to Quebec was what had happened to some of the British soldiers at the beginning of the war. Governor Shirley and General Pepperrel had decided to raise their own regiments. They were to be full fledged British regulars, but recruited from colonials. They were the 50th and 51st Regiments. They had been sent to garrison Fort Oswego but Montcalm had attacked and defeated the army that Shirley had placed there.” “But Grandfather, what does that have to do with you going to Quebec?” “Well see after that battle, both regiments, what was left of them were first marched to Montreal as prisoners but were then marched on to Quebec where they were embarked on a merchant ship to Portsmouth in England. How we found out about that was that some of the prisoners were drafted into other regiments which were being sent to Louisbourg and Quebec. One of them, a man by the name of Cooper was glad to get his revenge on the French. He told us how the Indians under Montcalm had destroyed, stolen or broken as much as they could, and then taken many of the prisoners to either scalp, or to be slaves in their encampments. The French officers were able to stop most of that, and living in French prisons in Canada had been hard. A lot of his friends had died at Fort Oswego, not by French fire, but from sickness. The forts that they had built were useless as the French had brought stronger guns which blew the wooden walls apart. This time, he wanted the chance to kill some Frenchmen. But it would be a long summer before we could do that.

 

Most of us didn`t know how rough the Saint Lawerence river was. The Royal Navy had no charts of the area, and our little boats the rangers used couldn`t do as good a job as a frigate. We could get into small places, but extened voyages were impossible. So when we sailed up the river, we had to do so at a slow pace, for fear of wrecking. We were told that a British expedition on Quebec back in 1711 had been foiled by the elements and the rocky coast. One of the other ranger patrols had captured a local Frenchman and pressed him into service as a pilot on the leading British ship.

 

As rangers, we led the way. We first had to find a place for the whole army to encamp. The Island of Orleans was chosen, and Monckton`s brigade began to entrench, and encamp upon it. The area was so well defended, that we really couldn`t do proper patrols outside our entrenchments to scout out the countryside. At least, not unless we were part of a big force. From Orleans, we could see the town, and the rest of the French defenses. Opposite our camp on the north shore was Montcalm`s main defensive positions. This was the area of the Beauport shore. It looked like the best place to land. But first, we had to dig our own defenses for our gun batteries. Wolfe had one force encamp on the eastern bank of the Montmorency river on July 8. This was risky because if we separated our army too much, the French militia and Indians could isolate us. But Montcalm stayed in his trenches. By July 12th, our guns were in position on Point Levy and the Royal Artillery began to fire on the town.

“How many cannons did the army have Grandfather?” “Well I`m not quite sure, but I think it was around 5 mortars, 6 32lbs guns, and other cannons. I only knew about the big guns because some of them had been used in defenses in Fort Anne and Halifax. In just two weeks, fifteen thousand cannon balls had been fired on Quebec and we could see that around two hundred houses were destroyed. The Royal artillery even began to fire hot shot on the town.” “What`s a hot shot?” “It`s when the gunners in the artillery will use an iron stove to heat up the cannon balls until they are red hot. Then they are carefully loaded into the gun and fired at a target. Sometimes, they are used on ships, but Wolfe knew that we only had a limited amount of time to try and capture the city. We were going to use every trick we could think of to make the French surrender.

 

“Didn`t the French try to come out and attack you Grandfather?” “Yes they did. About a week after we had started to fire on the town, a large body of French attempted to attack us at our camp. Now attacking in the dark takes a lot of practice, and even though there soldiers were defending their homes, most of them were untrained.

Gordon and I were asleep in our tent when we awoke to the sound of musket fire. All the rangers and troops in our part of the camp stood to, expecting to be fallen upon by Militia or Indians. We looked out and could see stabs of flame in the trees and along the river bank. “Captain Goreham sir, are there any patrols out that way this night?” I asked. “No, I`m not sure what that is.” All night we could hear this party fire at each other. In the morning, Gordon and I took our groups down to where we had heard the firing. It felt like we were hunting again, but not moose and caribou, rather, we felt like the trees had eyes and we were the game to be shot. I saw an officer propped up on a tree. I ran over to him and to my amazement, I remember seeing this man before. “Gordon look, it`s the same officer we shot at Louisbourg. Indeed, Cadet Lorraine was lying there, but this time, he had taken a musket ball to his arm. He was weakened by the loss of blood, so we picked him up and took him back to the surgeon`s lines. When he came too, I was there as well as officers who could speak French to find out what had happened.

 

“Those damm merchants were crying up a storm from your guns firing on the lower town. They demanded that Montcalm send out a raiding party to attack the gun positions. We were all voluntaries but most of the men were untrained. We had a few regulars, but most were militia and seminary students who wanted to avenge the town. During the advance to here, some of the students thought they saw movement, and without waiting for orders, began to fire at the moving tree branches. The militia believed that they were being fired on by rangers. The regulars had no idea who was firing at who but from their position, they could view the musket flashes pointing in their direction. Some musket balls hit the soldiers and trees about them, so they also fired back. It was a huge shambles. When I came too, the ranger who captured me at Louisbourg was helping me to the surgeons lines.”

 

The officers assured him, “Fear not Cadet Lorrine, your arm will be saved. Please take a bit of wine, bread and cheese from the officer`s mess. Cpl. Kenny, you may return to your duties.”And with a flick of a wrist, the officer brushed me off, as though I was unworthy of any further information. The fact that the next morning that we saw about 20 other bodies lying about was not inquired upon. By the time I got back with Gordon to check to see if there were any more survivors, they had been dragged away by the Indians. We lost a good chance to gather more intelligence from them. Lorrine wouldn`t give anymore information. He was protecting his honor as an officer, and the honor of his home. He would never betray either to the enemy. Throughout the whole Quebec campaign, Wolfe always seemed to be moving as though we were in a big fog. Maybe it was because the army did not have much prior knowledge of Quebec, or maybe he didn`t trust rangers.

 

Shortly thereafter, the generals decided that we needed to find areas that were weak in the French defenses. Around the middle of July, we did a night raid on Pointe-aux-Trembles. It was a small village and the only occupants we found were about two hundred women and children! We carefully loaded them on our ships and took care of them.” “Did you have to deport them too?” Anne cried. “No, Wolfe wanted to scout out a place to land. The next day, we landed them at Anse-des-Meres. Once the women and children made it on shore, they climbed up the hill easily and quickly. We now knew that there would be places where the army could land to the west of the city.

As was the case at Louisbourg and Halifax, the army camps that were set up about the city were filled with soldiers trying to rest from their exhaustive work, and to try and clear their heads of some horrifying scences. One young lad named Ned Botwell, being a Sargeant in the 47th Regiment began to compose a song called Hot Stuff which began to make the rounds about each camp. It was set to the fife tune The Lily`s of France.

 

“Come each death doing dog who does venture his neck. Come follow the hero that goes to Quebec. Jump aboard of the transports and loose every sail. Pay your debts at the tavern by giving leg bail. And ye that loves fighting shall soon have enough. Wolfe commands us me boys and we`ll give them Hot Stuff.”

 

It was amazing how the songs we would sing, would lighten our hearts and give us comfort. Be it a lovely ballad from the old country, to a rousing soldiers song, to drinking or talking about girls and ladies. They would always give us the courage to live on to another day and survive to the end of our expedition.”

“So the British army just fired cannons on the city, and the soldiers sat around eating, drinking and singing?” “No Anne, it wasn`t all fun and games. We soon would see what the French could do. We would sit around the fires at night to sing to try and be human again. Most of us didn`t want to kill other men, we all just wanted to have food in our bellies and to live.”

 

MONTMORENCY FALLS

 

Wolfe was getting anxious to break the French lines. We couldn`t just bombard the city into dust. The French would simply melt away to Montreal. Across the shore from our main camp, there was a river with a waterfall. Monmorency was where the next part of my saga began. On the last day of July, the landing boats filled with the Grenadiers of the army, and the light infantry battalion along with the rangers rowed across the river to try and make a new position.

As we all rowed across, Ned Botwell began singing his tune. All of the soldiers took it up. The fifes and drums also began to play the Grenadiers march. All of us were full of pent up energy and we wanted to be at the enemy. The Grenadiers began to land. There was a small redoubt at the foot of the cliffs near the ford by the falls. Initally, as the lines of Grenadiers moved forward with fixed bayonets, the few French defenders fell back. Wolfe then ordered the troops to begin storming the heights. But the Grenadiers, filled with a frenzy of energy began to run up the hillside in a disorganized manner. There officers were attempting to reform their ranks. As the first tall soldiers cleared the summit, the French began to fire.

It was like they were all around us. Bullets were flying everywhere. It seemed like the entire French army was firing down on us. I looked up and saw that the French, Canadians and Indians were entrenched and were merely aiming their muskets at any redcoat on the hill. Scores of Grenadiers began to fall. The rangers stayed with the boats in case the French tried to come and flank us along the beach. We had to duck down as the balls began to smack and crash into the longboats. A few rangers cried out in pain. I looked over and one of James Rogers men had been hit first by a musket ball and then by a splinter which had ricocheted off the boat he was next to. He fell into the water kicking an splashing, turning it red. He eventually stopped moving. After about thirty minutes of this, Wolfe ordered everyone back to the boats. My section quickly manned the oars to aid the sailors. Panicked and confused Grenadiers began to fill up the boats and we roweded back to shore. Since I was rowing, my back was to the way we had come while my front I could see everything on the shore. It was littered with the dead and dying. The Indians began to run down and scalp those poor men. Just at the bottom of the hill, I saw Ned Botwell. He had been shot in the upper chest. He lay there with his life bleeding out of him onto the rocks of the shore. He died watching us fall back on our camp. We sang the song that night in his memory. Those of us who could wrote down the words in our journals. No matter what has happened in my life, I always remembered Ned Botwell. He gave us a spirit to go by. But after his death, that spirit of courage and optimism died with him. It was a very long summer.

 

What was worse, the weather began to turn bad. Cold, rainy foggy days arrived in August. Since Montcalm took on a strategy of waiting, Wolfe became increasingly grumpy. We could sometimes hear the officers argue about what to do next.

One morning, Major Scott assembled the rangers and light infantry battalion.

“The Light Infantry and Rangers are hereby tasked with ravaging the countryside. Since Montcalm has chosen not to fight, we shall use one of his own tricks against him. When he attacked Fort William- Henry four years ago, he sent out war parties of Canadians and Indians. They ravaged the frontier wrecking havoc on settlements and impeding our campaigns. This time, we shall see how the French like it. Each Ranger company and Light Infantry company shall be split into squads to go along the south shore of this river. We may also go on the North shore as well. Every building save churches shall be burnt out. All livestock which cannont be carried back to our army shall be shot. All crops still in fields shall be burnt. General Wolfe assures us that this strategy will work. It drove the Highland Scots to defeat, now we shall use it on the French and Canadians.”

 

“Why did you do the same to the Canadians as you did to the Acadians Grandfather?” Euan`s face dropped into a sad look. “Well this time, our plan was to not take these people away, but to try and make the French surrender faster. If an Army and a city starve, a commander can`t continue on. A lot of Montcalm`s army were Canadian militiamen. We`d catch sight of them trying to go back home to harvest their crops and bring food into the city. When we did, we`d have small skirmishes with them.

On one occasion we had a scrap with them. Gordon and I led our sections into a village on the south side of the river. When we arrived, only the women and children were at home. A few women took out some blunderbusses and fired at us. Two of my men were shot in the initial volley from the houses. I ran up to the window of one and yelled at them in French. “Ladies and children, I will not harm you, but if you try and kill any of my men again, I shall fire your house with allowing you to escape.” The children were screaming in fright. The women screamed and cursed at us. Once we got them all huddled together in the centre of the village by the church, I then tried to comfort them. Gordon and I had made molasses cookies over the fire during the previous days. We decided to do this so that if we met a large amount of kids, we`d give them the food to quiet them. Since a lot of familes husbans, sons and brothers were away in the city, there were no breadwinners at home. Most of the women, and children who were old enough had been trying to harvest and take care of their farms, but without their men folk, there was no way they would succeed.

“You said you hated doing that to the Acadians, but what about the Canadians?” “By this time Anne, most of us had become numbed to what war did to us. For weeks we went up and down the river to burn out towns and villages. At another village, we arrived just as some of the men and boys came back. We had a sharp skirmish. Gordon`s group took one side of the village to attack, we took the other.

 

 It was a damp day. We had had to wrap our locks with waxed linen to try and keep the powder dry. I saw one young farmer take aim at me and fire. He just missed my head, so I pointed my musket up and pulled the trigger, but all the happened was CLICK. My musket misfired, or so I thought. I took the weapon down from my shoulder and went to prime it again when the priming went off and the musket fired. The problem was, I had just looked down and the flame from the lock shoot up into my face! I remember thinking, which one of my men is screaming. The blast from the lock blinded me for a bit and my hands had flown up into my face and I had fallen onto a rock in the field.

 

 I was rolling around trying to put out the fire on my face. My whiskers had caught as did my bear fur on my bonnet. Gordon ran up to me and flipped me over.” “Jesus Euan, I`ll help you. Someone get a canteen and pour it on his face.” I felt the cool water splash on to my face and I could hear my eye brows sizzle like bacon in the pan. We got the fire out. As you can see now, my face wasn`t badly burned. The patrol picked me up and rushed back down to the river shore and loaded me into the long boat we had. The rangers quickly rowed me out to the sloop which was supporting us. I was taken into the ships cockpit and the surgeon began to clean up my face. My face felt greasy and my hands went up to my cheek. When I pulled it away, it was covered in butter! I stayed in the cockpit until the ship returned to our camp the next day. I was taken to the surgeon`s lines and worked on a bit more. Luckily my burns were like I had been in the sun too long. We took my musket to the armourer and they worked on my frizzen to harden it. When it was returned to me, it was so well done, that it would strike a spark in the rain, and I was given some new flints. After that, anytime I fired and it was a hang fire, I made sure my face or any other part of my body was no where near the lock.

 

 

“What happened to the Canadians Grandfather?” “Those who could fled to other French controlled areas. There wasn`t much point in running to the city, the people there had their own problems. Those who stayed, lived in the churches we sparred. Despite the fact that we were protestants, Wolfe did not believe that burning down houses of God was necessary. It was the only consideration he gave to the civilians of Quebec. There were plenty of American Rangers who wanted to destroy them, as they viewed the Catholic church as bad, but for me, it has never matter who or how you pray.

 

September arrived. The mornings were beginning to get crispy with that touch of frost. At night, the sentries would try to keep warm with whatever they could find. Wolfe had gotten sick during the last few weeks. The Generals were desperate in what they wanted to do. The north shore of the river was the place they needed to land, and to try and force Montcalm to come out and fight. We found a place called Anse au Foulon, which was only defended by an abates and a small detachment of men.

 

On September 12th, the army was assembled and Wolfe gave us a speech. He was dressed in a basic redcoat with a black armband in mourning for his father. Around his waist, he had a cartridge box and bayonet. Over his shoulder was slung a musket. To the rest of us, he appeared like any other soldier and it gave us heart to see that even our commander wanted to get out there and fight.

“The enemy is now divided. Their supplies are running out thanks to your efforts in raiding the countryside. We have struck a strong blow upon the Canadians. All our soldiers are ready, the artillery and tools are waiting for us to storm. The first group of troops will clear the way for the rest of the army. You must all climb a hill to get at the French. They do no think we can climb. We must all do so with the upmost silence and push off any small resistance we meet. Be careful not to fire on those who cleared the way for you. Our country expects us to do our duty, we have shown the French what we are capable of, now is the time to fight against them. The French have but only 5 weakend battalions and disorderly peasants. You soldiers must obey your officers and be resolute in your duty.”

As I stood there listening to what our general was saying, I couldn`t help thinking that he was being overly optimistic. Granted, we had been pounding the French for close to two months, but they had defeated our first assault. I also found that his opinion of the Canadian militia was misplaced. They had done a pretty fine time of defeating the British before, what was to stop them this time?

 

When volunteers were asked for to be in the initial advance, Gordon and I stepped forward. We also had a Fraser officer from the light infantry section join us. We loaded ourselves into the longboats and waited to advance on the city. Before we departed, we all had a tot of rum to fortify our courage. There were brigades sent out as diversions and the Royal Navy began to bombard the town again around 4 am. We had boarded our boats at midnight, and had allowed the current to let us drift over to the other side. We knew that the French were going to send down boats with provisions for the city. From some prisoners we had taken, they had told us that the French soldiers were ordered not to cry out for fear of alerting the British. As we got closer to the shore, the French sentries believed that we were the provisions. We could hear the warships bombarding the town, which was keeping the main garrison busy. In our ranger uniforms of black and blue, it was easy to mistake us for French colonials. We silently captured the French sentries. General Murray had joined us and signaled to the other boats that we had made our landing. Gordon and I with the Fraser officer in tow crept slowly up the path to the field that the officers had sighted just days ago. All we knew, was that it was an open clearing. We had no idea if there were troops encamped on it, or if in fact, we were going to find new entrenchments there. As we climbed, a sentry challenged us.

“Who goes there” a French voice asked? The Scottish officer replied, we are French you idiot, if you cry out again, the English will hear you idiot.” We kept going up and came upon an advance guard of French soldiers. There were only about 30 of them and most were asleep. We took most of them prisoners, but a few escaped. We hoped they wouldn`t raise an alarm.

It was a steep slope, at times we had to use tree roots and branches to climb up. All night we went up. Just before dawn, it began to rain. It made it worse for us. The rain dripped off the branches and down our necks. It was a cold drizzle that made it more unpleasant. Finally, we got up onto the plain. Murray and the Fraser officer used their telescopes. I looked out upon an open field which was clear. It was a bit uneven closer to the French walls, but for us, it was perfect. The regular British soldiers quickly and quietly were formed up into two ranks. Quietly, they were given the command to prime and load twice. Each soldier would have two balls down the barrel when the French would come. The rangers and light infantry, we went to the left of the line. Wolfe was gambling by extending his line to just over two kilometers. And then we stood there and waited.

 

By about 9am, the French had seen us formed up on the field. At once, we saw a large body of Canadians and Indians trying to make our way around our left flank. The Rangers and light infantry were placed there. Our job was to defend the main line of troops. For about an hour, we fired on them to keep them back. My group was a mixture of Rangers and Light Infantrymen from the different. I had Gordon on my right and Henry the former Link boy on my left. We were keeping up a brisk fire when one Indian stood up close to us and fired. I dropped him with one shot, but Henry was on his back.

“Henry, are you hit?” As I picked up his body to check him, my hand came away covered in blood. I looked down and he had a musket ball pass through his lower stomach. He was going into a state of shock. “Euan, I`m hurt bad, hold me please.” “I`ll hold you lad, we`ll get you to the surgeon`s lines, no fret boy.” But already his face was going pale, the blood was pouring out of him. I held him on the ground and rocked him, like he was my little brother. “Euan, please don`t forget, I`ve no family, I wanted a wife and child, but I`ll not live to do so.” “Ahh Henry, don`t despair, you`ll be alright” He began to weep crying out in sobs, “Mummy, mummy, I want my mummy”, then he shook and stopped breathing. I laid his body down and closed his eyes”. I was filled with so much emotion, I didn`t know what to do.

At that moment, I could hear the French troops drums and fifes advancing towards us. I looked up, and saw French columns firing on our line. But I couldn`t believe that they would fire at such a long range. Perhaps one of the French officers felt that with the size of their force, they would sweep down the hill. But as they advanced closer, I could see that the line was made up of both French regular and militia. When they fired, the militia would drop down and reload but this caused the whole French advance to slow down. Our boys stood there. Again, the French advanced and fired, this time a few of our lads dropped. When they were only about 50 meters away,

“Front rank kneeling make ready, present, FIRE”. Both ranks fired. The sound was like a mad clap of thunder. As the smoke cleared, there were great gaps in the French line, but they still held. Then the command came “CHARGE YOUR BAYONETS” The British regulars pointed their muskets forward. The 78th Highlanders began to cheer and yell their different clan war cries in Gaelic. Then their pipers struck up. The Highland way to charge was to drop your musket and then draw your broadsword and dirk and then go at the enemy. The Rangers and Light Infantry, we began to move forward as well.

I was so angry, I slung my musket over my back, took out my plug bayonet, and my tomahawk and began to scream. Gordon did the same, taking out his hunting knife and tomahawk. Those rangers who had them fixed bayonets and we all charged at the French.

 

 

The main French line collapsed. I could see one officer mounted on his horse and then I heard one the cannons that had been brought up. The officer on the horse shook and began to fall, but I could see four soldiers run up to hold him. I looked back on our own lines, and I saw four men standing around in a group. They all looked like officers, and I found it amazing that they were not advancing. Then I heard an officer cry, “They run see how they run, The French sir!” Later did we learn, that Wolfe had died just after the officer had yelled.

The Indians and Militia were falling back under our advance, but they were still putting up a good fire. As the Highlanders closed, a lot of them were cut down by the flanking fire. When our charge arrived we cut into the corn field where some of the Canadians and Indians had been hiding. Any of those poor devils we cut apart. I was surprised that I had so much rage at the time. All summer, we had been shot at, and we`d been fighting both the French and Indians. Besides the attempt on Montmorency, we had no chance to give the French our wrath. I just nearly escaped being shot by one milita man and I fell on him with both my weapons. He died from my stabs and cuts. I was so enraged at the time, that I didn`t think of him as another man, but something which had to be destroyed. It was a horrible feeling that I had. I suppose it was because of all of the anger and fear I had been feeling, not only that summer but for many years. As they fell back under our assault, we kept firing back and they fell back into the city.

 

While we were advancing, we were stepping over the bodies of the French dead and wounded. French, Canadian, Indian, Acadian, all those who we had been fighting for the past four years lay about what had once been a farmer`s field. You could hear the weeping and screams of pain from all over. The whole battle, had lasted fifteen minutes.

The rest of the day, we spent looking for wounded amoung the dead. The dead, we began to collect together. Eventually, we`d dug a huge pit, and put both French and British dead together. It was important to bury these men quickly as we didn`t want to get sick from them, and also, the French inside the walls of Quebec might have wanted to attack us again.

We waited there to see if the French would surrender. We began to build about 12 redoubts to cover our artillery. If they didn`t surrender, the British commanders decided we would pound Quebec until they did. In the late afternoon, the French came out to try and get their wounded. We fought them off, and linked the redoubts with a ditch. The Royal Artillery began to bring up 24 pounders, mortars, and howitzers. Seeing this, the townspeople began to panic, and eventually, the French came out and surrendered on September 15. The women and children of the city were escorted by the British army to the French lines. We were all anxious because even though Quebec had fallen, Montreal and the rest of the French army awaited us. All the troops which had been entrenched on the North bank of the St. Lawerence river retreated towards Montreal. We marched into the city on the 18th and began to prepare for the winter.

Our first duty we began was a drum head church service in memory of our Brave General Wolfe. His body had already been placed in a cask of rum to be shipped back to England with the other invalids and wounded. The drums of the serving regiments were laid out and the chaplins of the regiments gave blessings and benedictions to the army.

The soldiers were all marched up by their battalions and companies and each man removed his headgear.  I remember the soft autum breeze blowing across what had been a battlefield. It was a time for us to remember those who had died and were wounded. It was a great time of peace after we had been creating a war in this country. The chaplins of the regiments spoke to us. The service was in the Church of England as that was the faith the British army practiced. The firery Presbeterian chaplin to the 78th Frasers Highlanders did a good job at assuring us that though we had broken some of God`s commandments, our courage and discipline had saved us from damnation. Though, he stressed that our glory and salvation would be taken from us if we were to fall into a drunken sinful revelry. None of us felt like going crazy on the population. We all knew that if might be possible for the French to come back. After the battle of September 13, we dug a large pit in the battlefield and put all the dead, English, French or Indians in the hole and covered them up. It was done quickly as the officers were concerned with more disease spreading. We first stripped the bodies of anything useful. Some of the bodies had already been striped of most of their clothes by a desperate population. Soldiers would go for shoes, food or valuables. Civilians would go for clothes that would fit them. Even the wounded would be striped, sometimes they would be killed in order for people to steal their clothing. It was cruel, but wars are like this.

For myself, I just wanted to be through with all the fighting and killing. We were a conquering army in a foreign land, and I would never allow myself to turn into what the English had done in Scotland and Ireland.

 

The main camp moved from Orleans, to the plains of Abraham, and we stayed there until October. The French garrison were now our prisoners and were loaded on board the ships for the journey back to England. The civilians who remainded in the city, we were to treat well. The British army was strict in discipline, we were not to terrorize the population. We had to keep good relations with them, because we were not sure if the French would try and attack us again.

“But how did you prepare for the winter if you had burnt out the French crops” “My you are a smart child aren`t you? We had indeed destroyed the French stores, but we did have our own supplies. The senior officers and Navy would be leaving. What stores they didn`t need, they left with us. They could replenish at Halifax before sailing back to England. General Murray was left to command us.

All the soldiers left over from the campaign were garrisoned in Quebec for the winter. Three regiments were billeted in the lower town. The 78th were placed in Saint-Roch other`s were even placed in the former Intendant`s palace. We made strong emplacements and had many sentry posts. We knew winter was coming, but we also had to stay vigilant. This had been the French capital. We knew, that in winter, the French could try and take it back.

“So you stayed in the walls all winter?” “No, in November, we were sent to Trembles to try and push the French out. But they held firm, and we knew that more soldiers could arrive to help them. We wouldn`t be getting any new soldiers until spring, and that was a long time away. So we spent our time, gathering firewood. From time to time, we skirmished with the French and Indians, but soon, the cold and snow placed both armies at rest. There was no way we could fight, so we huddled together and tried not to freeze.

 

“What about the French people in the city?” “Well, those people like I said we treated nicely. Actually, they treated us rather well. Considering that we had bombed the city with the artillery. They took care of themselves as best as they could. We would trade them salt, lard, ships biscuit for their sheep, pigs and chickens. The most important was vegetables as it would keep us from getting sick. We never stole, we always paid or traded. Still, most of the soldiers suffered. I couldn`t understand why. A lot of us had stayed in Louisbourg the last winter, but then again, most of those soldiers had been in Nova Scotia for the better part of five years. We had all gotten used to the climate. The boys from the 58th, 47th and other British regiments had never experienced a cold Canadian winter. As it got colder, and the snow began to fall, the armies appearance began to look rather less than that of a professional army, to that of a band of ragged men.

“Didn`t the army give warm clothes to them?” “Well you see Anne, the generals and officers in England have no idea what it`s like here. Officers who stay here always send requests back to England for more supplies, but I suppose that the high officers can`t believe what winter is like here. For example the 78th Fraser`s were in kilts. Now most Scottish Highlanders can survive the winter, it does snow in Scotland, but it never gets as cold as here. So, the Ursline Nuns knit the Highlanders long hose to augment what they were wearing. In fact, the Nuns had taken care of many of the wounded and sick during and after the siege. As a result of this, the British army fed them over that winter. They treated all, and refused none. Despite what we had done to their city, and the fact that we weren`t Catholics, they took care of us. That`s one of the amazing things about that war that I remember.

As to what we wore, well you wore what you could find. The army issued us two blankets in winter. What a lot of soldiers did was turn one blanket into a capote which was the blanket coat the Canadian militiamen would wear when fighting in the winter. It was warm, and practical. The Candians would close it with a sash, but we just buckled our waist belt and that kept it closed. They were big enough to wear over our regimental coats and many a night on sentry duty, I was glad I had it. The coats were in many different colors so it was hard to tell the French from British troops in a snowstorm. Lots of soldiers had mittens and scarfs tied about them. They put the capotes over top of their regimental coats and then place their equipment over that. But still, they were cold. As the winter wore on, and the fresh vegetables began to give out, scurvy began again, and other winter sickness.

 

As rangers, we always had warm clothes for the winter. My leggings though were beginning to wear out by February. It was then, that General Murray decided that we would make another push against the French. He must have thought that the weather was going to improve soon. But like most British officers, he had no idea how the weather really dictated how we could wage war.

It was February 13, 1760. “We set out to clear off the French who were raiding up to our lines to get any foodstuffs. We believed the French were raiding, but they must have been asking for help from their countrymen. We were sure that the Canadians would help out the French as they spoke the same language and shared the same culture. We were the enemy to them.

It was in this skirmish that Gordon got wounded. We crossed to Levis, the area we had been all summer. The French, whose coat colors blended in with the snow and trees were not easy to spot. As Gordon`s picket led the way, I covered his group. Just as he reached the tree line, a Huron warrior smashed into him with his war club. He kept beating at him with it, but luckily, Gordon was able to deflect the majority of them with his musket. His arms and ribs were hurt badly and he nearly got brained but I was able to shoot the warrior. We fired on them for about an hour when finally the French fell back. By this time Gordon was getting as white as the snow, with the blood pouring out of his nose. I threw him over my shoulder and we retreated back to the river. However, the ice had floated in and thus, we had to haut the boat through water and the ice. It took us until late evening to finally get Gordon to the hospital. He was gasping and groaning in pain. The nuns and orderlies set his bones right. But his fingers on his right hand were never straight again. He still carries the scares on his ankle where the warriors knife tried to get him.

“But what do you mean by he had scars on his ankle if they were kitting him Grandfather?” “Well Indian war clubs come in many shapes and sizes. Some are like a gun stock, others are a long heavy stick that was naturally curved and then carved with a ball head. Some had ball heads and also iron blades. Since Gordon was using his musket to deflect the blows of the club, the blade was hitting his legs.

Like now, winter was the hardest part of the year. For us in Quebec, it was even worse. Not only did we have to fight the enemy, but also try to stay warm, keep from getting sick, but worse, boredom.

But, we usually found ways to fight the boredom. As long as we kept it quiet, we could play cards in the barracks. Some of us who had instruments that survived the battles, would play music and sing. A lot of times, we sang Ned Botwell`s song of Hot Stuff, because we wanted to remember him, and also it would take our minds off the fact that once the battle was over, we had to endure the suffering of the winter.

Scurvy made it`s rounds, as did the flux, and many men also got consumption from the damp weather. It was a miracle that when General Murray ordered us out in February, that he had enough men fit to fight.

 

Around mid April, we got word from our forward picquets that the French were advancing on us! Levis was moving most of his army to attack us. No doubt, he believed that with a strong enough push, he could drive us out of the city, and hold it, further prolonging the war, and also attempting to save the colony of New France. What was amazing, was that he had an army of nearly seven thousand men! They were the remanents of the army Montcalm had had in the summer, and who had been able to slip away in the fall to Montreal.  

“Didn`t all the French soldiers get sent to England Grandfather?” “Not all of them did. A lot had been able to fall back to Montreal. Plus there were still troops who had not been in the siege. The La Reine Regiment, who were the French Queen`s regiment had been in forts in western New France. They, along with the French colonial troops, militia and warriors made up the army that was going to try and retake Quebec from us.

 

“Once again, we went out to meet the French. This time, it was at Sainte Foy. There was a mill which we took position in. While waiting for the French to advance, the rangers and light infantry began to make loopholes in the walls of the buildings. “Euan, it`s just like that time we fought at Saint Croix. What is it with these places named after saints that we have to fight over?” “I know Gordon, these places will get more holey than most in a few minutes” Gordon laughed himself silly at my little joke.

As the French troops began to move out of the woods, the Royal Artillery began to fire on them. We had plenty of cannon, powder and shot, so this was not a waste. By late April, we had begun to entrench ourselves around the mill. That wasn`t easy to do. The ground was still hard, or as it would thaw, it would be a mix of mud and snow. But we needed to have some sort of protection from French fire.

The French, however, were snug in the houses around the area. On the morning of April 28, 1760, the second battle for Quebec took place.

The French ships that had sailed down to Montreal now sailed back up. They held the French guns, and soldiers who would now strike us. Levis, decided that he must have control of the windmill, in order to control the heights with which he could then use his artillery to fire on us. Most of our own defenses were so spread out, that it would have been impossible for us to cover them all, and meet the French on the field of battle.

Murray led the army out of the walls. We provided covering fire for the advance. Most of the army was coming out to beat off the French. The French advanced in neat columns but our artillery blew them apart. We cheered as they fell back into the woods.

Our own soldiers began to advance rapidly down the hill. The artillery, tried to keep up with the advance but got bogged down in the snow and mud.

What we didn`t know, was that another group of French troops were now flanking our line, and they simply walked out of their part of the woods, and fired into our army.

The French charged us, and we had to fight them off with our bayonets, knives and swords. The field had worked well for us in the summer, but it was not to the French that the advantage fell. All around us, we could see French soldiers. Their fire seemed to come from everywhere. Our troops were falling into ourselves, which meant that we couldn`t fire well for fear of hitting our own men.

Quickly, Murray ordered us all to fall back into the city walls. As the main force fell back, we had to provide cover fire again. This was only the second time, that I had been in a battle and we were losing. I was trying hard to fight off the rising panic that threatened to overwhelm me. I was so scared Anne, that I wet myself. It looked like it was going to be all over for us.

By the time we got inside, the French were only six hundered meters away from us. They then took over our positions that we had been working so hard on the last few months.

Our officers spoke with us to calm our fears, and to instill in us our morale as British soldiers.

Captain Scott had been promoted to Major and proceeded to speak to us

“The British army`s survival in the last attack must rest solely on the bravery of the British Light Infantry.” Now the way that he said it, he meant the regular soldiers, not the rangers who were also under his command. “The French may have beaten us on the field, but we still hold this city. We have plenty of guns, powder and shot, and our army is the best bloody army in the world.” With that, most of the soldier cheered. The colonial rangers like ourselves had little time for Major Scott. When he was a Captain back in Annapolis Royal years ago, he made his opinion known of how the rangers fared in his opinion. Though, it was our hard work, and our ability to defeat the French and Indians at their own way of warfare that kept officers like him alive. He had gained command of our Light Infantry group by converting one company of the 40th Regiment as a light company. He had been taught by our own Captain Goreham, but in the typical English way, he dismissed us as mearly disciplined militia. To officers like him, we were a necessary evil. Even Wolfe had no appreciated us fully. He did appreciate our ability to provide him with intelligence on the enemy, but it was generally our appearance that made most officers weary of us.

 

The French attempted to place us under siege, but we noted that their cannon fire was slack. For every shot they fired, we could send back three or four. The French were building new siege works to try and take us before the first ships of spring arrived. None of us knew if it would be a French or British relief force. Our communications with the outside world were cut off. We couldn`t send runners down to Louisbourg without fear that they would be captured by Acadian partisans or hostile natives.

For those beginning weeks of spring, it was a waiting game. We constantly wondered what was going to happen.

“You know Euan, this war will probably drag on like the previous ones. I bet the politicians and generals back in London and Paris have drawn up a peace treaty now.”

“I doubt it Gordon, this place was French for a long time. I can`t see them giving it up without a long fight. Just from talking with people like Cadet Lorrin, they have been here for generations, and there is much money to be made in the fur trade”

Sargeant Essex of the Chesshires spoke up. “Mind you these furs are what the upper class wear, and I grant you that they fetch a pretty penny. But for sheer importance, the spice islands of the West Indies are where the fortunes of war will be won or lost. We may have captured the capital of this colony, but if the French have a mind to it, they might take it back.”

“And how would know of the great importance of this war then Sargeant? I said. “Well, before I joined King George`s Army, I was a clerk in a trading house in Cambridge. All the merchants would ever talk about was the spice islands either in the West Indies or East Indies. You don`t know how much money is made in these colonies. I decided to join the army to see these places as I doubted a book clerk would be sent to out there.”

“Why didn`t you join one of the companies? I know that even here up in Hudson Bay, we have factories of fur traders where you can make your fortune.” “Aye but I`d rather not freeze there in the ice and snow. If truth be told, my trader went out of business due to the war. We couldn`t trade as easily as other companies, so our merchant went off to prison due to his debts and those who were left had to take care of ourselves. I choose the army.”

“Well then Sargeant, you`ve found yourself in a nasty place. But your now a Sargeant in the Light Infantry, and we`ll take care of you. Essex was a short man like myself. He had a good sense of humor and was always looking up the French girls in the city. He was fair to his men, and he was as good of an Englishman I had ever met. James wasn`t the type of person to look down on us for being lower than him. He had seen enough of how the world worked to understand how strange society back home was. Not everyone was genteele about life. Most of us had to struggle just to survive.

 

 

We still had sufficient supplies to fight with, it was just food that we were running out of. Since it was getting on in the spring, we could expect to see ships coming from Europe. Everyday, the soldiers of both armies would look out upon the Saint Lawrence river. Everyday, we looked to see if there were signs of ships flying the flags of our home countries.

One morning in May, a ship approached the city. It was a small vessel. The Royal Navy and Artillery had established a signal system with the ships in British service. The main flag mast held a large Union Jack. It was raised up and down 3 times to signal the ship. The ship came to a stop, and began to fire! “Jesus Euan, a Frenchie ship is going to pound us.” “Are you thick as cheese Gordon, look at that brilliant ensign flying on the yardarm! We all stood up upon our ramparts and cheered huzzah wildly. For an hour we cheered, waving our hats in the air, we shook our fists at the French sentries who could see us. I observed a French officer use his telescope and with a grave face, he withdrew his men. Quebec was ours. The French effort to force us out was wasted. The sentries reported the next morning that the French encampment was now deserted, they had packed up and retreated to Montreal. Now we would fall out of the city, and complete our conquest.

“Why didn`t the French send help to their colony? Didn`t they care about their own people?” “Yes Anne, they did send help, but it was too late. In the summer of 1760, the French sent out a small fleet with troops to try and press our army between two French forces.

Most of us were moving down the Saint Lawrence to attack and take out Montreal. General Amherst was moving up Lake Champlain taking Ticonderoga, Major Bradstreet who was originally from Annapolis Royal had destroyed Fort Niagra the year before. The French had sailed towards Quebec but were stopped at Chaleur Bay.

Those poor soldiers and sailors must have known that they had no hope of beating us. In the first week of July, the drama played itself out.

 

The Royal Navy was already in the area and bottled them into the bay. The French commander went in there because he knew the British ships wouldn`t be able to follow him. When he got in there, he found Acadian refugees and Mik Maq warriors and their families. Most had been starving. The ships had provisions, ammunition and soldiers, so gathering up all the fighting men, they took guns off the ship and built batteries on the north shore of the Restigouche river. The plan was to try and lure the British ships into the bay, where the French guns could blast them. The smaller ships that had accompanied him, were scuttled in the river passage.  The Royal Navy were able to force the passage under French cannon fire.

  

Several days went by. Both sides kept up heavy fire, but the French knew they were the only hope for New France. As their soldiers and sailors were wounded or killed, they could see their colony dying. The French commander scuttled his ships in order to keep the supplies out of British hands. Runners were sent to Montreal to tell them the news.

Meanwhile in Montreal, the French militiamen had been deserting in order to go home and plant or harvest their crops. They knew the end of their country was beginning, but they were trying to get on with their lives. If there was going to be a new master in the house, the servants still needed to serve the master. Levis was desperate. Desertion in any army is punishable by death, but when an armies morale falls, even the hangmans noose or a firing line is no deterant.

And we kept advancing on Montreal. Three armies were moving on the city. One army was coming from Crown Point, and important fort in New York. Another was coming from Oswego using the Saint Lawrence river and our army under Murray coming down from Quebec. Amhert`s army was held up for about a week by a small French force at Fort Levis. The French artillery in Montreal were able to damage some of our ships, but we were slowly drawing closer. To the south, the British army were blocked for a month at Isle aux Noix by a French and Canadian force. But by the end of August of 1760, eighteen thousand British and American troops were ready to fight the final battle.

 

“Didn`t Montreal have strong forts?” “Well no, because the French never thought that the British would be able to capture Quebec. The regular soldiers wanted to keep fighting, as the officers wanted to maintain their honor. But the average soldiers could see that their war was over. Montreal only had a simple stone wall, there were no large fortifications. So the French governor Vandreuil contacted Amherst for the terms of surrender.

Once again, Amherst had harsh terms. The British government was enraged that the French tatics over the last hundred years had been to use the Indians to terrorize the New England colonies. They had kept the British from advancing over the frontier and the rivalry over control of fishing and furs. The British demanded that the French surrender with no honors. Even with the capture of Louisbourg, and Quebec, Amherst`s terms were that all colors were to be handed over. All French arms were to be passed into our hands. New France would cease to exhist. The French were horrified. They always felt they had fought with honor for the defense of their country.

 

I remember marching to the surrender ceremony. As a reward for out hard work, the Light Infantry, which also included rangers were joined by the Grenadiers where the French troops grounded their muskets. “King`s forces, present your, firelocks” A thousand muskets were slapped from shoulders and placed in a salute to their enemy. It was the only honor we gave them.

“Mousier Levis, you will now turn over all your colors and ground your muskets in front of our army.” General Amherst looked at him coldly. Levis, sniffed and in a French way shrugged his shoulders “I am sorry General Amherst, but at this time, our colors do not exhist? We have none to give.”

Afterwards, when I was delegated to sort out the prisoners, I found Cadet Lorrine.

“Lorrine, what happened to the French colors, did the soldiers hide them?” “Main non, last night, we had a moving ceremony. Levis, formed all of our troops up on this same parade, and each regiment and company moved to the front. The soldier lowered the flags to the flames of a big bonfire. Everyone of us had tears in our eyes, knowing that our beloved colors were being burned, but we could do this rather than bear the shame of turning them over to the enemy. So when Levis told you general that he had no colors, he was telling the truth, they no longer exhisted. But I must tell you, a lot of these soldiers will be staying” “And why is that Lorrine, what is here for them” I asked. “Many of the soldiers married any single woman. Many girls are now wives. With that, a lot of these soldiers will stay. I myself, as I told you back in Louisbourg, this is my home. My family came here. I have no ties to France anymore. If I can raise my own family with my new wife, I shall do so.” “What do you mean, you new wife?” Lorrine chuckled, “well Kenny, last week, I married a Huron woman. She is very beautiful woman, with long black hair, and of a natural beauty as to make me happy. If we can survive these battles, I think we can survive living under a British flag, so long as we can speak our language and practice our faith.”

 I shook this man`s hand. “I would rather have you as a friend than an enemy”. With that, he marched off, having handed in his sword and musket. I watched him walk up to a beautiful looking woman and I felt a pang of loneliness at the sight of their embrace. At least he was going back to a new life. But my life was to continue as a soldier.

We now had four thousand prisoners to handle. The majority of French soldiers choose to return to France. We were also surprised at the amount of Canadian officers who also choose to leave. As Lorrine had said, most of these men and their families had never been to France. But it must have been the prospect of living under the British crown that moved them. That, or they knew the war in Canada was over, but the war in Europe was still raging. Perhaps they could still serve their king.

 

As Euan looked up from milking his cow, he saw his wife walking toward him with a stern look. “How long is it going to take you to finish milking our cows? Do you think the butter will make itself? And what about the cheese we need to make? Or the garden that needs to be tended?” “Aye Emily, I`ll get on that. I`ll hook up my yoke and we`ll bring them back to the house.

As they started to walk back to the house, Anne spoke up again. “So what happened to you and Gordon after that?”

RETURN HOME

“Once we loaded the prisoners on the ships, we boarded with them to sail down to Louisbourg. Once there, the ships sailed back to England and we took a passage to Halifax. When we arrived, we were sent to Fort Sackville where we spent many a time retelling our tales to the soldiers who had stayed in garrison. One night, Gordon and I had a long discussion about our future.

We found ourselves sitting in a pothouse, drinking our fill of good beer. After a hearty serving of real roast beef and pudding, we began to think of what we would do with our future.

“Well now Euan, I think with this war ending, I should like to make my way as a cabinet maker. There`s a cabinet maker in Annapolis Royal that I should like to apprentice myself to. I`d like to have hand at making fine tables, chairs and cabinets. I hear tell, there are to be new settlements on the lands we cleared the Acadians from. Once my enlistment in the rangers is up, I shall begin my studies. Now look there, see that girl who`s service us, I should like to make her my wife and settle down. You there, girl, come over here and sit a while with us.

What be you name lass”? The girl came over with a pot of beer and sat down. “I don`t usually associate myself with soldiers, but you two look handsome in your uniforms. My names Allanah. My father is the innkeeper. I`m not a wench, so no foolish games from you.

“I spoke up. On my honor me lady, I shall only sing to you and wish to speak to you of our travels, and our adventures. My mate Gordon here was just telling me how he wants to make cabinets and tables for the rest of his days, and that you are the woman he wants to be with”. Gordon launched a swift kick of his leg at my shin. I dropped my leather cup and spilled my beer. “What you doing that for, I`m only telling her what you seem to be too shy for. The girl laughed and took his hand. “Why Gordon, just tell me what you`d like and perhaps I could be with you.” As I sat across from them, I couldn`t help feel lonely. I was happy that my friend was going to be with someone, but since I had no future plans, I decided that I would stay in the army.

Shortly there after, Gordon took passage with his new bride to Fort Anne. It would be a while before I saw him again.

Now while we had been fighting up in Quebec, and the situation had calmed down. New England land surveyors had arrived in Nova Scotia to lay out new townships. The colonial government had decided that English settlers would move onto the lands we had cleared the Acadians from. Even before Quebec fell, there were new settlers on the way. When I got back to Halifax, Captain Goreham gave me a new assighment.

“Corporal Kenny, for your outstanding bravery at both the Siege of Louisbourg and Quebec, you are to be raised as Sargeant, and you are to take post at the new settlement of Fort Ellis in the Township of Truro. Your duty is to help raise a militia company to defend the settlement and to act as the King`s representative in the area. Here is your new sash and sword.

“Why did they send you there Grandfather, did you do something wrong?” Euan laughed. “No Anne, after all that I had been through, being sent to Fort Ellis was probably the best thing that happened to me then. With Louisbourg and Quebec captured, the war against the French was for all intents and purposes was over. We weren`t sure if the Mik Maq would stay at peace, so we had to always be prepared.

 

Now in 1760, a lot of land agents were being sent to New England colonies and also to Ireland to see who would come and settle here. I arrived at the sight of what would be Fort Ellis. This area had been used by the French to attack us at Grand Pre back in 1744. The British decided that there needed to be a fort inland from the coast. There were a lot of families who had come up from New Hampshire who had moved out from Ireland back in the 1720`s. For reasons of their own, they felt Nova Scotia would be a better place for them. These people were called Ulster Scots as their names were Scottish but their families had moved to Ireland in the 1600`s. My job was to see them well looked after with provisions and defense.

 

I remember that September of 1760. The grass still stood tall, waiting to be mown. The Acadian dykes, which still stood to hold back the mighty Shubenacadie and Stewiacke rivers were the only signs of man. “You mean the green snake like bump there was built by people?” Anne asked. “Of course, I was sent out with a small corporal`s guard to help establish the settlement. The idea was, the new settlers would clear away the land, cut down trees to make lumber for the fort and buildings. In the spring, we`d then move on to build their houses and farms.

 

“Now see here soldier, when do you think we`ll be getting on to making my house and setting up fences” one settler inquired”? “It`s Sargeant Kenny to you, and that will happen in the spring. Right now, our priority is to establish this fort, build shelters and store enough food for the winter. The government won`t be doing much else to help you so help yourselves and get this settlement going.”

The settler wasn`t impressed. “Well see here Sargeant Kenny, my name is John Ellis, and I`d be rather careful of how you treat us. We`re not soldiers, and you can`t order us about.” “Oh can`t I” I replied. “As Sargeant of His Majesties Goreham`s Rangers, I am the government representative here, your sherrif, and your supplier. Also, as required by your land title, you are to serve in the colonial militia. Since we are still at war with France, you will do as ordered.” I pointed down the river. “Just down there a few hours away is a large Mik Maq camp. What`s to say they don`t come up here and kill us and scalp us? The women of the group let out a horrified cry and the other men began to hackle Ellis.

“Your Irish aren`t you? Why are you serving the king?” Ellis asked. “Indeed I am. I was born in Ennis, County Clare. But I`ve been here in Nova Scotia since 1744.” “How can a Catholic serve in the army you black Irish rougue?” “Have a care Ellis”, cried one of the other men. “I walked up to this man and with my nose to his I hissed “I`m not popish and I`m not a black Irish rougue. I took the King`s shilling to save my life, it was that or starve back home. The king`s been good to me. And I`ve had to expel my share of Catholics recently enough. It`s no concern of yours, but I`m Presbeterian, my mother saw to that. Now do we have anymore trouble?” The man saw the force in my eye and backed down. “Beg my pardon Sargeant, I had no idea”?

 

I turned to the crowd. “All of you listen to me. I will do my duty to protect, and feed you through this winter. But you must also obey my commands. It`s a matter of life or death. Everyone here will work from sunrise to sunset. I want this Fort built within a month. We need to cut down trees for our palisades, cabins and other buildings. We need to dig a defensive ditch and hopefully bastions. We should be getting some artillery from Halifax. I shall be forming the militia company shortly. Any man between the ages of 16-60 is required to serve. Once our cannon arrive, I shall be training you on how to fire it. We may also get some swivel guns, which we shall also mount in the fort.

 

“What about a meeting house?” one settler inquired. Now I was used to dealing with soldiers who would do what they were told, not to discuss what was to be done. “The priority right now is defense and shelter. When we have time, we shall build a meeting house. That hill, across from us should have a blockhouse built on it. Perhaps in time, a meeting house could also be added.” About a week later, a schooner arrived with our cannons. Now they weren`t large guns, but they were very heavy. The first thing we had to do was to rig a triangle to take the gun barrels off the ship and bring them to shore. So with block and tackle we began. Most of the settlers were used to hard work, but they didn`t know how to use block and tackles well. We got the gun barrel off the ship and were getting it lowered into a long boat. Some how, someone let the line go slack and down came the gun smashing it through the boat bottom. Now the boat didn`t sink much because it was low tide, but the gun barrel went in muzzle first. I was so enraged I threw off my bonnet and was stomping on it and cursing until my face was blue. The sailors in the boat were doubling over with laughter. Eventually the ships captain restored order. The other guns were landed safely. We built some gun carriages for them and hauled them into the fort. We now only had 3 guns instead of the 4 we needed. But one bastion would have to make do with a swivel gun.

 

We named our little stockade Fort Ellis in honor of Captain Ellis who was some British officer. John Ellis was quite smug about it saying he was a good member of his family. Though I didn`t quiz him about being Irish and serving in the King`s army. That winter we did the best we could to survive the winter. Since most of these families had lived in North America before, they knew what to expect from the weather and we had no one die that winter.

Starting in the spring of 1761, we began to clear the land. Once the snows began to melt and the days got warmer, we spent every bit of daylight preparing the land for planting. We cut down a lot of trees, those that we didn`t have a chance to the previous fall due to building the fort and huts.

“What was your duty then Grandfather?” “Well, I was in charge of running the fort, which I did rather well. The Mik Maq stayed where they were. We had a few come towards us, but usually a shot from a swivel gun told them we were armed. My days were spent issuing out rations, keeping a record of supplies that were used, and making sure that everyone was fine. I was even surprised, because we had a herd of goats and sheep, which meant that I also had to keep track of them as well.

We built a small enclosure by the forts palisade. It would also act as an extra defensive measure. There I was, a soldier and for the first time in twenty years, I was taking care of sheep again. But at least this time, I wasn`t hungry and miserable. That summer was so quiet that I could hear the flies sleep.

 

Day in and day out I`d keep watch on the mighty brown river. One of the aspects that I had not known was the huge tides that occurred. When we had landed, the river was at low tide, and it was easy for us to see why the French had used this place to cross. But just before dark, a mighty roar began to play in the air. The settlers were fearful and they all ran into the fort, not knowing what was happening. I peered out of the loophole we had made in the upper floor of the barrack, and I could see a huge wave of water coming in faster than any horse I have seen run. When we arose the next morning, the river was low again. We then knew that it was the tide, and not something God was sending at us as a punishment.

 

“So you didn`t have to fight after that?” No, for this war, there was one more expedition to take part in. And compared to Louisbourg and Quebec, this one was the worst.

 

THE CARRIBEAN AND HAVANANA 1762

By this time of day, Euan and Anne had finished up their chores and went back to the house to have well deserved meal. Emily had set a place for the three of them. Everyone else was still off in the fields or had gone back to their own homes. Anne`s mother had left her there to help take care of her Grandmother and Grandfather. She would spend the summer helping out on the farm before being taken back to her home.

 

As they sat down to eat a lunch of bread, sauerkraut and cheese, Euan kept on with the story.

“I was just about settled in for another winter when a schooner sailed up to our position. This was in November. It was none other than the ship I had been on before, Captain Joseph Goreham stepped out in a new uniform. It was brown with a red lining. The cuffs were turned up, much like a regular soldier`s coat. At first, I thought he was a different man, but his gorget reminded me of who he was.

“Sargeant Kenny, muster your militia company, there is urgent news.” “Yes sir” I went into the barracks and took out a drum which was to be used by the company drummer, though as still, there wasn`t one yet. I beat out assembly and the farmers who were close, heeded the call, most came running straight from the fields. Some were holding pitchforks, others cycles, while others had actually run home first and grabbed their muskets.

Once assembled, Goreham spoke. “Gentlemen of Fort Ellis, it is my duty to inform you that Sargeant Kenny is to be recalled to rejoin his regiment. We are to take our war to the West Indies. Goreham`s Rangers has been recalled to active duty. Thus, I am here to make sure that your militia company is able to defend itself, while your ranger is away.” “I looked over at Ellis who seemed to become animated. He no doubt would become leader of this settlement due to his persuasive nature.

“Sargeant, it is my duty to inform you that we are to rendezvous at Fort Edward and link up at Fort Anne with the rest of our force. General Amherst has ordered all able bodied units to decend on Martinique and other French islands. Your blue uniform is not needed, this package contains your new one.”

 

“Thank you sir”, I opened the canvas wrapping. I’d use the material later for something else. Inside was the same brown coat Goreham was wearing with black leggings, a new shirt, new brown breeches and a black cap. I kept my bonnet as I wanted to keep something from the old country with me. After checking all of my equipment, I boarded the ship to take me down to the new township of Falmouth, which was what the new settlement around Fort Edward was called.

For about 3 weeks, we sailed about gathering up troops for the expedition. To my delight, as we entered Fort Anne, I saw Gordon formed up with the other rangers.

 

When we had a chance to speak his first words were “you didn`t think I`d go and miss the fun?” “But what of your wife and cabinet making?” I asked. “Well they can wait. Goreham`s Rangers were not disbanded as yet, so when the captain calls we still have to obey him now don`t we?” “I hear we`re to go and reduce the French islands.”

We sailed over to Halifax to meet up with the rest of the convoy. There were still French privateers lurking around. Most of the British troops which had taken part in Louisbourg, Quebec and Montreal were along as well. The 15th, 17th,28th, 35th, the old 40th, the 43rd and the 60th were all together again. There were other regiments which had been in America which also joined us, namely the 27th Inniskilling from Ireland, the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment   and the 46th Regiment. General Monckton was our leader and sailed down into a new area of the world I had never been before. 

 

While the main army went down to help in the attack on Martinique, we stayed behind in reserve. There were other provincial and ranger units which went down at first in December of 1761 but we were garrisoned in Boston. Now a lot of the original Rangers had come from here, and a few of them choose to desert. Some had deserted when we were at Fort Fredrick but those of us who had a sense of duty stayed on.

“Why did some of the soldier desert?” Anne asked. “Not everyone who becomes a soldier wants to do what they are told. Sometimes, when a man joins the Army or Navy, he doesn`t really know what he is doing. The recruiting sergeants look nice in their uniforms, they tell tall tales about glory and riches to be found. They never mention the boredom, the fear, the stupidity or the waste. Some soldiers became homesick or lonely, or realized that they didn`t want to be soldiers. But you can`t quit. If a deserter was caught, he was lucky if he was just flogged or thrown into prison. In wartime, we had the rule that a deserter could be hung or shot. All of us wanted to go home and live in peace. The French, Mik Maq and English just wanted to live in peace. But the high ranking officers and officals on both sides wanted to keep us fighting.

 

Monckton`s Army was successful in attacking Martinique. They were very lucky as there had been a large force there, and the island was a perfect defensive place.

The French had close to thirteen thousand men under arms. They were a mix of troops from France, local militia, freed blacks and slaves and sailors acting as privateers.

Just to take this island, the British army was fourteen regiments, which is what we used to attack Louisbourg, and there were only about five thousand French there.

“If the French had so many soldiers, why did they loose?”

Soldiers will fight for what they believe in. If you have a good leader, and are fed and treated well, you feel safe. Your morale is high and you believe that you will be alright.

British soldiers always have high morale. Sometimes too much. If your officers can lead you well, you will do anything they ask you. Also, sometimes an officer can make a stupid mistake and it will have a diasterous consequence.

As the British advanced, and held a position, the French rushed down from the hills to attack them. But the French officer didn`t see them. As his flank or side of his force moved, the Highlanders of the 42nd Regiment fired into them. With a lot of dead and wounded soldiers, the French fell back. Our soldiers who had been trying desperately to fight charged after them, and cleared them all the way back to their main fort at Fort Royal. I heard afterwards that Captain Murray who was a British regular officer and who was with us at Louisbourg and Quebec died there. But he wasn`t killed by enemy fire, but much worse, the yellow jack!”

By this time, Emily had begun to clear up the table. “Euan, didn`t you get that sickness then?” “No my dear, I was a lucky one. I was never to fear having it. My constitution was strong after I had had the pox as a child, but many soldiers died of it.

 

But I`m getting ahead of myself. We missed the battle of Martinique but we then went on to the most hellish battle I was ever in. As I said, we had wintered over in Boston. All the while, Monckton`s army had invaded the Spanish colony of Cuba. Now Spain had joined the Seven Years War late. They sided with the French and would try to hamper British intentions in the area. The Spanish had the largest empire in the New World. It was a place of jungles, gold, silver, spices, rum and sugar. The French and British were only interested in the sugar and spices, but the Spanish had a greed for precious metals. They had colonized most of the area before the French or English had arrived. They say Christopher Columbus discovered America, I say not. I heard tales in my youth of the Vikings who had been in Ireland had sailed to a land far to the west of us. And of course, there were also some Irish sailors who had gone.

 

Cuba was their main colony. Monckton`s original army had consisted of regiments that had been in Canada plus others from England. The 34th, 56th and 72nd Regiments who were all English men. The 22nd was also there, they had been with us in Louisbourg and Quebec. “Yes I remember you said about Henry, the lad who liked his cheese.” Emily sighed. “Ah right Emily, I`m sorry ladies, my memory gets a little rusty. It comes with age. I think I`ve never told a story, and yet, I get told I`ve told them many times.

But anyway, they were fighting for the better part of three months.

Havana was a very interesting place. It had the best harbour in all the West Indies. It was big enough for the Spanish to have their dockyard facilities and could build and repair many of their ships. There were two large fortresses defending the harbor and the city. Even the city had walls around it. The Spanish had been there for over two hundred years. Many a time English adventurers had tried to take it.

 

The main fort was called Castillor de los Tres Reyes del Morro. “What a long name!” Anne exclaimed. “Why did they call it that?” The Spanish are a Catholic nation, and many of their place names have Christian saints names, or are in memory of important people. We just called it The Morro. It was built on a rocky ridge. It had sixty-four heavy cannons and a garrison of about seven hundred men. In order to capture the city, we needed to take this fort. But it was on rock. That meant we couldn`t dig trenches easily like we had done at Louisbourg or Quebec. The Spanish had made good use of the land to defend it. The Spanish commander used a similar tatic that the French had used on us. Delay and wait out. He could hope for reinforcements from the other Spanish colonies or Spain. But instead of having to worry about the cold and snow, we had to worry about hurricanes and yellow jack.

“You said that before but what is it?”

 

 

 

Yellow jack is what the sailors call a horrible fever. It takes healthy men and turns them into disgusting wastes. It turns the skin yellow, and makes you vomit black. The black is actually your blood. Most people die from it. And a lot of our soldiers did. Cuba is a hot place, and it had many mosquitoes. At first, soldiers who got sick complained of having headaches but this was usually dismissed by the officers and Sargeants who believed that many of the soldiers were drinking too much rum. Any soldier who did complain of a headache and was made to prove if he was sober, usually was thought to be drunk. The drummer`s cat came out many times at first to flog many a man to stop the drunkenness. But it was their fever and vomiting which changed the minds of everyone.

Soon, most of the army was sick or dying from it. Even the heat would drive men sick. I remember one night, we were in a forward trench taking turns to try and work the sap forward and covering the others with our rifled muskets. Two of the lads we were covering were from the 27th Regiment. These poor Irish lads looked in such a state. One men was covered in boils from all the mosquitoes who were biting him. The other fellow was sweating so much, it looked as if he had jumped into the harbor, he was so wet. It must have been around midnight and the soldier with the bites finally threw down his shovel and began screaming and cursing in Gaelic. He was so enraged by the bites and the heat he climbed up out of the trench and ran towards the water, some of the Spanish sentries began to fire at him, the poor man made it the waters edge only to fall into the water. At first I thought he had tripped, but his body didn’t stir. He had been hit in the back. What was worse followed. As his body drifted from shore, we could see the water thrash about. I thought he had somehow survived and was getting up, but we could see more thrashing. It wasn’t him, but the sharks eating his body. The other lad kept digging and couldn’t stop crying. “Be Jesus Ryan, we survived fighting the damm Indians at Ticonderoga and you end up getting hit by a Don’s shot and then torn apart by those hellish creatures.”

 

The Royal Engineers, pioneers and sappers along with the Royal Artillery still had to fight on and try to capture the The Morro. It was surrounded by brush and had a large ditch. They had stormed an outer redoubt and from there, they could see what they were up against. The initial gun batteries were set up in the shade of the trees of La Cabanna hill. The Royal Navy transferred heavy guns and crews to emplace cannons powerful enough to try and breach the fortress walls. The only other siege works the British could build were breastworks of wood, gabions and facines once again. But the Spanish also had large guns, and they could blast our works to pieces.

Since many of the Chesshire lads had been salt miners at one time, many of them were used to try and dig a mine towards the walls. If it could be blown, the army could then storm up the ramp made of rubble and overtake the defenders.

 

By late June, the British guns began to fire. Mortars lobbed explosive shells and the heavy guns battered the walls with round shot. The Royal Artillery were always good shots and the Spanish were losing men everyday. After the artillery had begun to fire, the Spanish sent out a large sortie to try and destroy our siege works. They managed to get into our lines and spike some of the guns. A lot of the British soldiers had fled at the sight of the Spanish. There had been Grenadiers, marines, and engineers but what put most to flight, was the sight of the armed slaves the Spanish used. Many English soldiers had never seen a Black man and were terrified of them. Until we had all come to the West Indies, many of us had never seen a Black person.

Once the regain their composure, the British counter-attacked and retook the positions. The Spanish pulled back leaving many dead Spainards and Africans laying about. The flies had a feast, and more of the soldiers got sick. The next day, a combined naval and land attack took place. The ships guns couldn`t reach high enough but our artillery did a better job. The Spanish still had ships in the harbor and fired on us as well. Just after the major assault, somehow, the breastworks caught fire. Many of our soldiers died trying to put the fire out, or were badly burned. Due to this event, the British had to pull back, and the Spanish were able to repair their damage and remount more guns in the Morro.

By mid July, the British army was at half strength! The British admiral cleared his lower decks of heavy guns and sent most of his sailors and marines to help rebuild the batteries. With their help, we silenced their guns.

On July 22nd, the Spanish sallied forth in the night to attack the batteries. Our artillery was virtually unopposed and the Spanish were desperate to knock the British back. A large force came at us, but due to the previous attempt, the lines and camps were always alert for an attack. In the dark, the only light to be seen were the musket and cannon flashes. It must have been a terrifying event for all involved. By early morning, the Spanish fell back into the fort. Two days later, Albemarle, the British admiral offered Velasco, the Spanish commander the option to surrender. He even told the Don to write his own conditions. Velasco answered that he would rather settle it by fighting. The Spanish are a proud people and don`t like to be defeated.

 

In all this, that`s when we arrived. It was July 27th, four years to the day that Louisbourg had fallen. In our transports were the 46th, 58th, several American provincial regiments and Gorham`s Rangers.

 

“By Jesus it hot here eh? Gordon cried. In our journey down, we had rekindled our friendship and had shared stories of old and sung new songs. Once we landed, the first thing we did was to alter our uniforms. We left our coats in camp and took to wearing only our waist coats and shirts. But even then, it was still hot.

“But how hot does it get? Is it like here in the summer Grandfather?” “No it`s much worse, it`s a wet heat, making it feel like you put on your winter clothes on a hot day, and that`s just when your lying around in your shirt! At night, we`d sleep with as little clothes as we could, but then with all the mosquitoes, it didn`t matter. We`d either be bitten, or roasted.

In any event, two days later, the Royal Engineers prepared for out assault. Velasco sent a small navy force to try and flank us from the sea. But he was unsuccessful in the night. The next morning, we blew the mine and rushed forward.

WHAM! Went the mine and to the screams of the dead and wounded, we yelled and charged forward. Gordon and I were carrying ladders with us, with our muskets slung on our backs. We got to the ditch, but saw that the rubble wasn`t enough to allow us to easily climb. No matter, we just took the ladders and put them up. While some soldier held them in place, the rest of us rushed up. As I climbed up and over the parapet, the Spanish were trying to force us back. Only a few were in our place. A young Spanish officer swung his sword at my head but I stepped back. The tip of his sword hit my mouth and blood flew out. I was so enraged that I didn`t notice. We had been issured bayonets but I forgot to fix mine. In the chaos, I took my slung musket and swung it at him. It took him on the side of the head and he fell knocked out. As I moved forward, I saw the strangest thing. The same man came at me again but was alright. Gordon attacked him and likewise also knocked him out. We both looked back and saw to our amazement that both officers were twins. By this time, the small Spanish group fell back only to surge ahead with Velasco. Gordon and I had been able to load our muskets and began to fire at the advancing Spanish. Velasco fell hit by one of our musket balls in the chest. Once we had stormed in and had enough troops, we took the place. Velasco, mortally wounded was treated with the upmost respect and taken under a flag of truce to Havana.

 

As we stood there in the morning sunrise, a young woman walked toward us. She was handsomely dressed and walked to where Gordon and I stoop over the captured Spanish officers. We had dressed up their wounds. And had been giving them water.

Buenois Diez senor, she spoke to us, pointing to the two officers. “I`m sorry maam, I don`t speak Spanish, but these men are alright, they will live.

Then the girl spoke. “Good morning Englishmen, my name is Veronica Paula Hernendez. Those two officers at your feet are my twin brothers Roberto and Fillipe. I would like to see them please.” “Certainly mama.” “Please call me Senorita. My family is of high standing in this colony.” Gordon looked at me with astonishment. “Why of course Senorita, we are going to take your brothers to the surgeon`s lines to get them well looked after, you may join us as well.

We made stretchers of our coats and muskets for the two officers and led the lady down the ramp. We marched into the camp and left the Spanish with the surgeons.

 

As we began to walk back to our own camp, the young Spanish lass began to speak with us.

“Englishman, how are my brothers?” “Senoritta, I`m not English but Irish. My name is Euan and your brothers will live. They were only knocked about by musket butts.” This woman was barely 19 but she looked very different from most of the women I had seen before. In Nova Scotia and in Boston, we saw many Europeans. Of course in Nova Scotia we saw Mik Maq and in Quebec, we saw warriors and their families of many nations.

But this Spanish girl had long black hair and skin that was like the color of milk tea. She was pretty, but not as pretty as your Grandmother.” Emily had started to show a sign of jealously at the mention of this other woman.

It turns out that the Hernendez family were from the Colonial elite in Mexico. Both brothers were officers in the Aragon Infantry regiment. They had only been in Cuba for a year when war was declared against Britain. Their family were sugar merchants and also miners. That is to say, they owned mines and had many slaves to dig their silver and gold.

 

 It was while I was in Cuba that I began to believe that if I were to marry, it would have to be someone outside of my own culture. I never saw the people we were fighting as the enemy, but rather people who shared the same feelings as me. The differences were only in our appearances and their languges. But this has never bothered me, rather I have enjoyed interacting with them.

It`s like in the Royal Navy. There are so many different people that the Navy will enlist. If you are fit, and have skills they need, many different cultures serve on His Majesties ships.

“What other sort of people did you see in Cuba than Grandfather?”

The most interesting were the Africans. Those Africans who charged at us from the ramparts of El Morro were fiercesom men. But it was only afterwards that we found out more about them. I had many chances to speak with Senorrita Hernendez and she told me that the Africans were slaves. They were used in the Sugar plantations and mines the Spanish had established in the islands and on the mainland.

“But what`s a slave Grandfather?” Euan`s face grew sad. “Anne, slavery is the worst thing that man has ever created. It`s when some people take other people away from their homes and families and make them work without pay. Many slaves are treated worse than farm animals. Many die from working too much, or not enough food or sickness. It`s worse than war. When a war ends, people can try and live again, but slaves never get free, unless they die. Now before I had rarely seen slaves. Halifax had a few, as did Louisbourg and Quebec, but never in the numbers we saw in the West Indies.

 

Those slaves that charged us were told that if they broke out line and drove us back to the sea would gain their freedom. But the Spanish commander had known that the possibility of victory was slim. Even though half of us had died, we still had ships with men who could come ashore.

But I`m getting off from my story. After we had stormed the Moro, we aimed our guns at the next battery which was on the waterfront of Havana. Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta was a low lying fort designed to fire on ships trying to break into the harbor. However, with our elevation, we were able to elevate the guns to fire down and thus with our many heavy guns, forty seven in all, we silenced La Punta in one day. The next morning, we could hear drums beating out a parley. Our fight for Havana was over.

Those of us who had survived the heat, the fighting, the disease and the horrors of war marched into the city. No only did we capture large amounts of military stores, but they told us we had taken close to two million pesos in money and goods! It was the first time that many of us had seen a full months pay. In fact, in honor of our good fortune, we were paid our back pay. Though a lot of soldier then spent it in wine women and song. I kept mine, because I knew I would never again see this much money. I still have some of it, would you like to see?

Euan got up and walked over to his writing desk. Emily kept a good household and made sure Euan didn`t spend his money foolishly. He picked up a very old looking leather bag and tipped it out. Gold coins fell out and they all looked at them. “Money will never buy you happiness. If you can eat, have clothes on your back and a roof on your had, that will make you happy. To have someone who loves you and will take care of you and help you make a good home and farm, that is the true way of being happy.

Anne nodded and by this time, it was getting late. They sat by the fire place, Emily picked up her fife and played some tunes while Euan took out his boran and played. Anne, listening to the soft melody and fell into a nice deep sleep. Emily and Euan stoked the fire, and snuffed out the candles save for one in the lantern hanging from the hook on the roof beam. Tomorrow, he would tell more stories, but for now, it was time to sleep again.

(56,763 as of July 20, 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS:

I began writing Euan the Ranger during the fall and winter of 2007 while finishing my teaching job in Toyama, Japan. During that last summer I was there, my fifth child, Leena Jashimine was born. This book I would like to dedicate to my wife and baby girl as well as my son Ian who had to bear being without their father for several months when I was transferred to Tokyo in the spring of 2008.

One of the characters in this story, Cadet Lorrine, is based on my friend Erik Lorrine of Quebec. I find it ironic that exactly two hundred and fifty years to the month of the last siege of Louisbourg, my head teacher is a French-Canadian teaching English in Tokyo. He has been an inspiration for the French side of this story, and I would like to thank him for giving me good guidance in my new job.

As I write this story, it is exactly two hundred and fifty years since the British army under General Amherst attacked and captured Louisbourg for the last time. I was fortunate enough to take part in the Louisbourg grand encampment of 1995 to commerate the first siege. Then, as a newly graduated university student, I took part in my last large reenactment before I became an English as a Second Language teacher in Korea in 1996. The battle scence where Euan and Gordon skirmish with Cadet Lorrine`s detachment is based on historical fact which I gleamed from Rene Chantrand`s Osprey book Louisbourg 1758 as well as from BluPete`s website. It is also based on the skirmish that Mark Weatherby and I took part in as part of the Ranger battalion under the command of Horst Dresler in 1995. In that action, it was as lose to the actual combat of the day. We did in fact fight close to two hours firing at a group of French reenactors made up of Ameridians and Militia. We were all hot and tired, as the weather was as mentioned in the story unusually sunny and hot. All the French stood up to see what was going on when we stopped firing. As they all got up, we fired, they all fell and the crowd behind us cheered. It was a strange moment for me. We weren`t really fighting, but I found that people cheering what we did to be a bit odd. For two hundered and fifty years before hand, those men would have stayed where they laid, not gotten up after the public display to have dinner together and talk about our experiences. The officer who was in charge did indeed march to us with his sword raised above his head and surrendered to us. During the entire encampment, we were the only British unit to capture a French officer!

And on a final note, my good friends David and Mary Beth Sutherland have an extra special place in this story. Their daughter Emily was born during the encampment! We had almost an authentic 18th century birth in the camp. Mary Beth had insisted on coming to the event, believing that her due date was after the encampment. I guess little Emily must have been excited from all the musket and cannon fire. During the second day`s demonstration, each volley the Grenadier company of the 78th Fraser`s Highlander fired, they yelled out “For Emily”. It`s just another little story that you will find in this tale.

July 28, 2008 also witnessed the 250th Anniversary encampment at Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. 1500 reenactors watched by approximetly 20,000 people relieved the final scence of that battle. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I was moving my family across Japan. By the time I finish writing this book, the 250th anniversary of the Siege of Quebec 1759 will have passed unmarked. I had hoped that the French, British and American reenactors who were to take part in this event would pause and remember what happened all those years ago. I had hoped, that my country will never ever had to experience a war on it`s land. However, modern politics and the anger of a minority cancelled the event. The Quebec separatists seemed to have won a small battle in ensuring that the memory of their French ancestors would be forgotten in their zest to purge Canada of the memory of an English victory. That Quebec was allowed to continue to exhist as a distinct member of Canada, was a truly remarkable legacy of the bravery and courage of the French defenders of Quebec. The Amerindians who took part would also be forgotten. It would only be in the 1990`s that we would begin to see the proud first nations peoples finally stand up and demand that their rights and grivences be heard. I only hope that the memory of all those who fought in the French and Indian War will be remembered. Not for nationalistic or ethnic gain for each participant, but rather for the fact that in their own way, they worked to make a country of their own, in a world that was so tightly controlled.

The summer of 2010 will see some of the last commerative events of the Seven Years war in North America. The Battle of the Restigouche will take place in July 2010. This event was a last ditch effort by the French to send troops and ships to try and regain Quebec in conjunction with Levis. However, in a river estuary, a lone French man of war was stripped of it’s guns, and attempted to fight off a Royal Navy and British army assault. By writing these stories, I hope to bring back to memory the English, Scottish, Irish, French, German, Amerindian and Spanish soldiers who had to fight in the world’s first global conflict.

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