Posted by Seamus on July 04, 2000 at 06:09:10:
Cpl. Malcolm MacWilliam
77th Highlanders, Montgomery’s
I am sending this dispatch to inform you that we are embarking within the hour on a magnificent expedition against the fort the French call Carillon, but which we know as Ticonderoga. After leaving Fort Edward, we have moved here to the head of Lake George and are staging on the site of the destroyed Ft. William Henry. Its destruction is quite complete, Malcolm. We can be thankful we were not here then. That woodsman, Nathaniel, whom we met at Lake Otsego, was right in his description of the events which produced this vision!
We are led by General James Abercrombie, with General Lord George Howe second in command. Lord Howe is quite a likeable fellow for an English Officer, Malcolm. He has been training with Major Rogers, learning the Rangers’ tactics and then teaching them to his command. Just to show you what I mean, when Lord Howe was with us at Rogers’ Island, living with the Rangers, he could be seen washing his own shirts! He will sit right down and visit with any Ranger in camp. It seems that, to him, there is not the division in class that so many English Officers seem to believe exists. Yet, the command is undoubtedly his when it is time for business. He is definitely a contrast with General Abercromby, whom many believe to be criminally inept.
There are about 13, 000 of us, Malcolm. I have never seen so many soldiers at one time! And the provisions! You cannot believe the amount of supplies here. We are in the process of loading whaleboats to take us down the lake and when we reach the landing, we will move overland to our positions for the attack. It will not be easy. The fort sits on a high rocky promontory and is accessible only from the west. But...our spies tell us that there are only about 3500 French there, so we should be able to easily take it with our force.
When Timothy and I arrived at Ft. Edward, we were immediately assigned to Major Rogers’ command and sent to the Ranger camp on Rogers’ Island, which sits in the middle of the river at Ft. Edward. There we were put into a hut with one of Rogers’men, Pvt. Chauncey Goodrich. His other hut-mates had been lost earlier in action on Lake George.
Chauncey is quite a likeable fellow. He hasn’t been a Ranger too long, and is still learning his way around a bit, but he has a wonderful attitude and is quite willing to learn. We spent a lot of time telling him about Pennsylvania ranging, and he said that after this war is over, he’d like to come and see for himself what it is like. He was amazed that I was able to escape from the Shawanese and du Ranck. I told him about you and Davey, Uncle Angus and Quasi. He said he wants to meet you all someday.
Many Flags and ThreeTales arrived at Ft. Edward the day after we did. It was good to see them! They were assigned to another hut which is next to ours. These huts hold only four to six men but are comfortable. We introduced them to our new friend, Chauncey, and that evening we all ate our supper together.
Finally the order to assemble was given and we moved to this place, where we have been waiting now for a day to take our places in the column. We are in the van with the 80th Regiment, Gage’s Light Infantry, and will be leading this magnificent army down the lake! What a sight it will be! Major Rogers and Lord Howe are together in the boat ahead of ours, and are just now shoving off. Lord Howe is as excited as a young child at his first picnic!
I must go now. We have been given orders to board our whaleboat. I will write more as I have time.
Post a Followup