Posted by Cpl. Malcolm MacWilliam on July 14, 2000 at 07:17:06:
To Cousins Seamus MacWilliam, Many Flags and Three Tales -
Somewhere on Lake George in the Colony of New York......
Our hearts are filled with sadness and grief from your latest message. We had been traveling only a day out of Fort Lyttleton when the Cherokee scout Many Faces brought a messenger to us with the horrible news of the defeat of the 42nd and the British forces at that French Fort which is called Carillon.
It was late in the afternoon, the troops had only traveled a few miles that day because the roads are but Indian trails from Lyttleton to our next main encampment, a place called Raystown. The trails being of no width, and not passable for the baggage carts, Colonel Bouquet has ordered the pioneers and engineers to the front of the column to lay a road of felled trees, one that is called a Corduroy Road, it being a French term taken from ribbed fabric worn by the nobility, it being of great worth. This Road causes much delay, but the Colonel believes it quite necessary to lay roads that will be useful in the future. With this road we can march six men abreast and the baggage carts roll, albeit bumping, quickly.
But, I stray from my reason for writing. The messenger, as mentioned, arrived late in the day and the column came to an abrupt stop as he was taken to the Colonel. The Colonel called his officers together and it was the task of our Captain to give us the terrible news. We Scots can be an unemotional lot, having seen and been part of acts of violence and brutality since we were wee lads. But your heartbreaking news caused such moans among the men, well, I cannot describe it. I have never seen our men or our officers so distraught. At once there were tears, groans, oaths, and even the drawing of several swords, as our Grenadiers revealed their innermost emotions at the news of the destruction of their countrymen. Many of them had kinsmen in the 42nd and enlisted in the 77th because of words of encouragement from these kinsmen. Brother Gunn and myself were inspired to enlist with Lord Egliton last year because of words from our kinsman Alisdair Robison, whom you write has died bravely on the abatis at Carillon. It is a sad day for us Gunns, for Alisdair was an inspiration for us all.
Brother Davey Gunn is especially distraught over his death, Alisdair being very close to him since the '45 when he aided him, discreetly, in his escape after Culloden, Alisdair being with the King's men. Ahh, but that is another story, for another time, as we recall the memory of our dear kinsman, Alisdair Robison. Possibly, our new friend, the minstrel Wolf, can create a verse or two in his memory.
After the news of the terrible defeat at this Carillon, the men, being very distraught, were ordered by 1st Sgt. Campbell to "Stand Fast". The moans and oaths subsided as our braw Grenadiers controlled themselves and came again to the attentive stance. Evening has now arrived, camp is set, and we are now sitting by our fires after attending an evening litany held in memory of our fallen kinsmen. Our Chaplain provided many supplications and prayers of healing for those survivors and for our own mind's sake. But, for all that men of God must speak of Christ's words of peace and healing, our troops are thirsting for the blood of the hated French and their savage allies. We, as Scots, have called upon St. Andrew to give us the strength and power to avenge the slayings of our beloved kinsmen. Call it a Sin, but we will have a day of reckoning!!
Give us news of cousins Flags and Tales. This evening we have remembered our times of comradeship at Fort Frederick and yearn for the day when we can all be together on the road again. We are all as brothers, we MacWilliam cousins....The watch is changing, I must march some lads out to change the guard. Your father, my Uncle Quasi, is very quiet this evening. He was overjoyed to hear that you survived the slaughter at the French fort, but he now seems greatly depressed. He has been overheard mumbling, "Where is brother Angus? He should have been at the fight. Where is my brother?" His lassies have tried to console him, but to no avail.
It is so quiet, the men make no merriment......
God Save the King and Scotland!
Cousins Malcolm and Davey
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