Posted by Corporal Malcolm MacWilliam on November 27, 2000 at 07:01:28:
27th November, 1758
Camp at the Abandoned French Fort Duquesne
Huzzah! We believe that the battles here in the Pennsylvania Colony are ended! The French have burned and abandoned their fort at the confluence of the Three Rivers and we are now camped on a plateau overlooking this destruction. We arrived here on the 25th, and had news from the evening before, from our Indian scouts, that there was much smoke and movement around the Fort. The scouts report that most of the French enemy have gone either north, or south down the Ohio River. Our camp here consists of only cook fires, we having brought only our knapsacks and some artillery with us from Fort Ligonier, the camp at the Loyalhanna now being named.
All that is left of Fort Duquesne are the stubs of chimneys of the housing from inside the fort, and some outside works, the French having ignited and blown most of the powder magazines and destroying all they could. Fires still burn inside the once formidable fortress, and provincials have been ordered to bury dead, they having found many prisoners whom the French and their savage allies tortured and tomahawked before retreating. Although spirits are high with our victory, it is a depressing sight as we look over the fort, at its abandoned skeleton, the burial of the poor ruined bodies, some of whom we believe to be some of those captured during Grant's defeat, but it is difficult to identify them with their skulls and countenances crushed in.
We have been given leave today to mend what we can, get rest and prepare to move back east at mid morning today. Colonel Montgomery and Captain Croy spoke to us at formation this morning explaining that the provincials and the 60th would do what is needed here, whilst we are marched back to Fort Ligonier. Our hopes are that we will arrive by evening of the 29th, so we can celebrate St. Andrew's day on the Thirtieth within the confines of the Fort Ligonier, where there by warm fires, and libations. The 30th November is our Patron Saint's feast day and our Highland Regiment will move fast to march the 50 miles back to Ligonier. Glasses will be raised high as we toast St. Andrew, our Scottish saint who protects us.
Yesterday morning we requested that Sign Talker deliver a message to Many Flags in the county of Berks. With this final defeat of the French in Penns Woods, Flags and Tales are no longer needed as scouts, Drummer Armstrong having sent a message to them to meet us at Reastown, the Bedford Fort, to aid in reconnoitering the French. That no longer being a need, we believe it best for Flags to assume his role as groom-to-be and stay close to his sweetheart, M. Gutshall, their marriage being prepared for 21st December (it being the longest night!). After a short stay at Fort Ligonier, and celebrate St. Andrew's Day on the 30th, Captain Croy has told us that we will be heading back to Fort Bedford to stay in winter quarter's there, we expect to arrive there on the Eighth of December.
Although we are cold and hungry, a light snow having fallen last night, our spirits are high as we prepare to move out for Ligonier. St. Andrew be praised, the war in Pennsylvania is won. God only knows where we will be sent in the Spring, but until then, it is St. Andrew's celebration and thence on to Fort Bedford for the winter, warm fires and comradeship! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!
God Save the King! pax Aye!
Cpl. M.A. MacWilliam
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