Posted by Many Flags on September 01, 2000 at 08:46:28:
1st Sept 1758
The Birthday of my Beloved Magdalena
Camp near Loyalhanna, west of Reastown
My dear Magdalena,
I am sending you my heartfelt greetings and love on this day of your birth. Since I have left you, I have thought nothing but of the time we spent together. Those few days were too, too short. For all my years being my own man, being one with my world of scouting and journeying, fending for myself in this savage world, I have never felt this yearning to settle at a spot with you and sire a number of children. After the terrible death and destruction which brother Tales and I witnessed at the French Fort Carillon, my being has almost lost its taste for war. I do hope I am not too forward in writing all this in a letter. I have ordered the Catawba scout who carries this to you, to lay it in your sweet palm, only. Be not afraid of this scout, named Hawk Who Grasps His Prey, for he is a man to be trusted, albeit his ear rings, paint and body markings can be quite fearsome.
As I told you when Three Tales and I parted, we were headed out to find Seamus and then for the fort at Reastown where we hoped to meet up with the 77th and our cousins Malcolm, Davey and all our Highland friends. Upon meeting with Seamus we continued west and at Reastown found that the 77th Grenadier Company had accompanied Col. Burd and Major Grant to the Loyalhanna Creek to fortify the heights in a manner that will defend the rear when the troops attack at Fort Duquesne.
Last evening, after traveling with very few stops and wending our way through supply wagons, cannon and baggage carts which were being moved along the road cut by Col. Sir John St. Clair, we arrived where the troops had stopped for the night, only a day's journey from the Loyalhanna. What an amazing sight greeted us! All the troops were drawn up in formation with muskets at the Present! As we jaunted into the camp, the hundreds of muskets fired a Feu de Joy. We were so gratified that our entrance and return back to our friends was thus greeted! We strode up to Captain Croy of our cousins' 77th Grenadiers, saluted, and thanked him profusely for this welcome. He grinned back, echoed the Battalion command to shoulder arms, then quietly asked us to fall in at the rear. We willingly obeyed and found our cousin Corporal MacWilliam waiting for us. He was standing to, at the advance, but was laughing uproariously and explained to us that the Feu de Joy was in honor of the fall of Fort Louisbourg, the Feu de Joy having been commanded by Col. Bouquet through message to Col. Burd and Major Grant.
Seamus, Tales and myself felt quite sheepish, thinking that the Battalion fire had been in our honor. But we quickly were elated and happy as we were welcomed back into the comradeship of our cousins and friends. What a joyous gathering there was, some strong drink was present, and Minstrel Wolf played and sang his tunes. We spent the night with them all, long into the night our talk moving from happiness to sadness, from serious to joking, as we told our tale of Fort Carillon and our visits with our loved ones before heading west to this place. We spoke not of the fortnight which Tales and I spent after the savagery of Carillon. Those days and nights, of quiet solitude, of reflection on life and death, brother Tales and I have only shared with you and Two Bottle. It is too much to talk of to anyone else but our hearts' loves.
But, we are off this morning on another scout. Last night, Captain Croy came to us and stated that Major Grant was seeking out men to move forward to the French Fort Duquesne, to capture a French soldier or one of their savage allies, to question as to the French plans. The Native scouts are uneasy, Tales and I spoke with several Lenape who are known to us, and these Indian brothers have seen few Huron or Shawnee in the past week. The fear is that the French enemy have pulled all their forward troops back to lay at Duquesne as an ambush or at some other place along the way. Several scouting partys have been sent out in the past weeks, but all have come back empty handed and with no information. One of these parties was led by Major George Armstrong, brother to our own Col. John Armstrong. The Major has fallen into disgrace with Sir John and Col. Bouquet for he spent days roaming the area around Fort Duquesne and the Ohio River, coming back with no information, yet grinning like a fox in belief that he was a hero. With this action and the continual theft of confidential messages from Col. Bouquet to Burd, and problems which have risen between regular troops and provincials because of a disagreement between Sir John and a Colonel Stephens....all of this has led to unrest and worry for the coming days. There is evil in the air, the provincials wanting to return to their homes, and the regulars, especially our Highland comrades, spoiling for action, for a battle to boost morale.
Fear not, my dear Magdalena. Brother Tales and I are wary and know our business. We will do this scout for our Highland comrades, for we have a score to settle with the French. Seamus, Tales and I leave at first light traveling west to this Ft. Duquesne, in hopes of capturing an enemy to grind information from. We were sickened by the savagery at the fort of Carillon and we want nothing more than to settle with our loves in the County of Berks. But, we must first wreck vengenance on these hated French and their allies. We have heard that our arch enemy Red Leaf has been sighted and in quizzing Malcolm and Davey about any unusual sheep sightings, they looked askance and smiled. We believe they know something about Uncle Angus which they are not revealing.
I must move quickly. I must mention one more item, I hesitate to do so, but must. I spoke to your father, the most Reverend Pastor Gutshall, before I left you weeping and my heart being heavy. But, my heart also soars, for in speaking with your father I asked to wed you upon my return. And his answer was, "Ja, mein Sohn. Du kann meine Tochters Mann werden!" I believe you want this as much as myself, dear Magdalena. And so, farewell, Gluckliche Geburtstag, Ich liebe dich!
Your own true love.
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