The Cold Air Blows....But the Memories are Warm

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Posted by Corporal Malcolm A. MacWilliam, 77th Grenadier Company on November 01, 2000 at 12:39:08:

1st November 1758
Stoney Creek, on the Road Back to
Fort Ligonier on the Loyalhanna
With Col. Montgomery and Gen. Forbes

Journal Entry:

It has turned cold and most of us in Montgomery's Company have loosed the tails of our kilts to cover our lower extremities. We are wrapped in our blankets, strung out along the trail, huddled around fires. The Regiment marched out a few days ago to meet with General Forbes and give aid in bringing he and his baggage in to Fort Ligonier. Our Colonel is with him at this moment, they have pitched their marquees near to each other and we believe them to be dining and speaking of some problems which have arisen in the past few weeks.

There was a court martial. A provincial who was disrespectful and brought before the officers with charges, but supported by the provincial commanders, Washington and Armstrong. Col. Bouquet has been stern about this and the deeper subject is the disrespect which seems evident from this Washington and Armstrong to Col. Bouquet. We have heard snippets and gossips concerning it, but Captain Croy has asked us to keep our words to ourselves. We, as Highland soldiers and Grenadiers, are very supportive of our officers, and it grieves us deeply to hear of grumbling words against our Colonel Bouquet.

It is cold. We march back to Ligonier and will probably arrive sometime tomorrow. Our company of cousins has broken up. It is sad, but I am a soldier and changes occur. Many Flags and Three Tales have left for their homes. The departure brought us near to tears, but we are hardened men... We believe that cousin Seamus is safe with Uncle Quasi and Uncle Angus, but we have not news. Thus, it is just the comrades of our Grenadier Company which Brother Davey and I have to fall back on, friends and cohorts all.

It is cold and the moon is but a sliver. I wrap my blanket tighter as I try to write this by firelight. There is some singing, Minstrel Wolf accompanied us out here to meet Gen. Forbes. He is singing a song called Molly MacGee, the lads are enjoying it, although it sounds a bit traitorous to me. There is a lot of sentiment among the provincials that borders on sedition.... possibly that is too strong, but these colonists are a very independent lot.

I near myself closer to the fire. Ahhh, I almost forgot. We met a former comrade yesterday. John Cameron of our Hat Company walked up to us during a break in the march. Brother Gunn and I had recognized this fellow a few weeks ago, but were not sure of his name. Yesterday he approached us and said, "So, they allow Jacobites in this King's army." We shushed this man immediately, then recognized him as John Cameron who was with us 12 years ago at Culloden. We thumped each other on the back and talked quietly for a few brings back memories of the Highlands and the '45.....

It was also cold and wet that April on Culloden Moor...Drohmossie or some such word the locals called it. The country was strange to us, us being of clan Gunn from the far northern Highlands, rocky and wild, this Moor being rolling hills with heather and such. But, it had rained all night in our march to move in behind the Butcher and his troops....then, in the middle of the night, we were ordered back, some said by Lord Murray, some said by the Bonnie Prince himself. Be that as it may, it ruined all our chances of success, for we were bone tired, weary, hungry, cold, miserable, and most were embittered, for we had turned back several months before, turned back from possible victory against the English, and now seemed to be running, and all hope seemingly lost.....I am rambling.

But, the cold reminds me of that April in '46, now it being November the first of '58. All seemed lost then, there on that Moor, my brother Davey soon to be hunted as an outlaw, myself captured, good comrades slaughtered, and all lost, all lost as prince charlie himself left, never to come back again. John Cameron's presence and short talk with us brought it all back to me....for his life was spared as mine....

A sip of Scotch from the 1st we have changed since Culloden Moor. Me, accepting a gill of Scotch from a Campbell, and accepting it with a smile on my lips and thanks to this man whom once was across the Moor from me as enemy and now my Sargent and friend.

Times change, but it is still cold.

God Save the King! Pax Aye!

Cpl. M.A. MacWm.

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