We Move Forward to Fort Duquesne, and Sign Talker Brings Us News

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Posted by Cpl. Malcolm A. MacWilliam, 77th Reg't of Foot, Grenadier Co. on November 22, 2000 at 13:03:54:

22nd November, 1758
Overnight Camp some Miles from Fort Duquesne

Journal Entry:

It is blustery cold and I write this in my journal, huddled in my blanket. It is not quite dark, but we have made camp for the night, our scouts being out reconnoitering. We believe something is afoot with the French, it being very quiet and our spies telling us that something is not right at the French Fort. We expect to arrive there within 48 hours and lay siege.

We understand there are few French now manning the Fort, and nary a savage, all of them heading west and north to be in their villages for the winter. If the French would move from the Forks, we may see an end to this war, although there is still much to do in the north. We have heard rumours of our move north to Fort Carillon where the terrible defeat of our brethern took place several months ago, where our fellow Scot and cousin, the braw Alisdair Robeson, fell in the terrible slaughter of the Highland attack on that fort's defences.

Brother Gunn, JohnsTon, MacGregor, and Drummer Armstrong have moved in next to me and we huddle in our blankets below a small hillock. The wind is less fierce here. Armstrong had sent a message to cousin Many Flags a few days ago asking him to come back into this fight. We have not heard from him, but we have had news of him and our cousin Seamus and our twa Uncles, all this news from Sign Talker.

Sign Talker came moving fast into our midst earlier today. He now has a small wagon with all his trade goods which is pulled by a small horse, a stocky animal which answers to the name of Bristlebrush. We have not had such a laugh in days, when we observed Sign Talker, his horse and wagon, moving across a clearing to reach us as we were marching this morning. Waving his arms, pulling on Bristle's harness this way and that, he attempted to keep the horse on track. But the animal ran this way and that way, pell mell, eventually reaching our troops as the destination, as our men slapped their knees and rattled their muskets in hilarity. The horse seems to know which way to go, but like a ship needing to tack to the wind, travels in angles to get to its destination. Sign Talker prods, pushes, swears in three different languages, as he tries to keep up to this comical bristley animal. It is good to laugh after so much grief and sadness befell our troops and our MacWilliam clan.

Sign Talker had news of Many Flags and Seamus, he delivering a message several days ago from Flags to Seamus at his cabin in the north. Flags is to be married! Upon hearing of that news, the 1st Sgt. found some Scotch and we partook several quaffs of it in merriment upon learning of Flags' future marriage. From what he told me of his dear Magdalena's qualities, he should be quite happy and deeply satisfied! There was also better news of Seamus, we not hearing anything of his plight since our twa Uncles took him away with the sheep. He lives!! And he has been responding, no longer in a complete stupor. This be wonderful news and the 1st Sgt. found more of the "water of life" to toast the continuing good health of our cousin.

It be almost too dark to write and I am becoming drowsy. Tomorrow we are to move forward to Colonel Bouquet's position as the front guard and we move to the Fort. The artillery and baggage will move with General Forbes as we take our leave of him. Ahh, here comes the Colonel Montgomery with Captain Croy as they check the troops. On the morrow we expect to come near to the French at the Forks.

God Save the King.

Cpl. M.A. MacWilliam

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