The Niece and Nephew "Immortalize" the 1758 Expedition

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Posted by Dr. Uncle Mark on August 24, 2000 at 06:06:28:

"....and so, the Corporal and Davey Gunn are with Colonel Burd and Major Grant as they leave Reastown to fortify the area near Loyalhanna which was later named Fort Ligonier. The troops were spread out between Carlisle and Loyalhanna and even beyond as the British troops moved farther west to take Fort Duquesne which is now called Pittsburgh."

Dr. Uncle Mark paused, expecting Hannah and Hiram to be nodding off. This, their bedtime story, was exciting for Dr. Uncle, but he thought it would be uninteresting enough to the niece and nephew to put them to sleep. However, they were still wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.

"Hmmmm", sighed Dr. Uncle, "let me read some from Col. Bouquet's papers. You know Seamus was heading toward Fort Augusta which is where Sunbury lies today. And Bouquet was requesting General Forbes to bring more troops and supplies in from the eastern areas. Ahhh, here's the passage. Bouquet writes on August 20, 'You have no more regular troops to use for the purpose, but there are about 300 provincials between Shippensburg, Carlisle, and the east side of Susquehanna, not counting the 200 men at Fort Augusta. These fine gentlemen will not impress anyone, unless you give them a leader who will make them step.' So, you see my little Buckeroos, this expedition was really huge and there were, well, approximately 8000 troops involved, all strung out across Pennsylvania, with hundreds of wagons for supplies, and hundreds of horses to pull the wagons, and thousands of pounds of meat from hundreds of cattle....and....."

Dr. Uncle stared at the niece and nephew. Still wide awake!!

"But, Dr. Uncle", asked Hiram, "why don't we hear about these men and this great expedition. We hear other stories about bravery and hard work. But, we never hear or read about these stories. I asked my teacher the other day if she knew who Bouquet was and she wanted to know if I was watching public television, something about some woman named Hyacinth."

Hannah jumped up. "I think these men should be immobilized, uhhh, innoculated....uhh, what's the word I want, Dr. Uncle?"

Dr. Uncle Mark laughed, "You mean 'immortalized', my little smidget. Yes, you are exactly right. In fact, Col. Bouquet thought the same thing. Here, let me look in his letters. Oh, in the same letter I just quoted from. August 20 to General Forbes. Listen to this, 'The two parties met yesterday, and the road is open for wagons as far as Edmund's Swamp; and Tuesday they can go to Kickeny Pawlins. Col. Stephens has done very well indeed on his side, and displayed much judgement and energy. Rhor writes me that he has made a very good road across the Shades of Death, which was one of the bad passes; and he has already cut three miles beyond Kickeny Pawlins. These gentlemen deserve much praise for having surmounted all these obstacles in so short a time; and what gives me much satisfaction - they have kept their troops in a good humor. Every one is contented, and believes himself immortalized by having worked to open this route."

"That's the word!" cried the nephew and neice. "These men should be immortalized and no one knows a thing about them."

"Well, my little historians, YOU will know about them and what they did to preserve the freedom and lives of the colonists in Pennsylvania. You'll know because of the MacWilliam Chronicles." Dr. Uncle sighed. "Now, it's time for bedtime, you little savages. Time for bed to dream of the Forbes Expedition of 1758. Dream about your ancestors and their trek across Penn's Woods. They will soon be fortifying the heights overlooking the Loyalhanna, and then, well, you'll have to wait and see what happens next."

"Good night, Dr. Uncle, you large Storyteller". Hannah and Hiram snuggled down into their beds. Dr. Uncle could hear them whispering the word "immortalize" over and over as they nodded off, dreaming of kilted troops in redcoats and tall bearskin caps battling savages, dreaming of breechclouted riflemen trekking through big woods with long shirts swaying, dreaming, dreaming......

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