The Niece and Nephew Travel to Fort Ligonier...

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Posted by Dr. Uncle Mark on October 11, 2000 at 07:09:18:

The Red Monty, new truck of Dr. Uncle Mark named for Colonel Archibald Montgomery of the 77th, was filled with singing and laughter, as Hannah, Hiram, and Dr. Uncle traveled along Route 30; destination - Fort Ligonier.

The singing become raucous...."I'm stationed out west at Fort Ligonier. Someplace out on the Frontier. I fight for the King and his soldiers in Red. la, la, la,la, la, la, la, la, la, la.....So, let the rum flow and the ladies dance. Pay heed to your family and friends. Remember when leaving your hearth and your home. You may never see Scotland again...."

"OOOOOO", cooed Hannah, "I just love singing those old songs. Who wrote that song, Dr. Uncle?"

Dr. Uncle hummed a few more bars. "Well, that would be Minstrel Wolf, who weaves himself in and out of the Chronicles, singing those songs to keep the lads' spirits up. Oh, look me Buckos! We are getting close to the Fort or, as it was usually called, the Camp at the Loyalhanna. Would you like to hear the story of the battle once more before we come in sight of the stockade?"

"Aye", grunted Hiram in a Scottish accent. "Tell us the story of the battle again. Tell us of the savagery of the Highlanders and the defeat of the French at the hands of our ancestors, and....hey, what ever happened to Wee John MacKay? Did Captain Croy allow him back in the 77th?"

Dr. Uncle Mark became serious. "Let's leave that part of the Chronicles for right now. First, let me tell you the account of what we know of the battle at Fort Ligonier as we read in Colonel Bouquet's papers. You see, it occurred on October 12, 1758. Colonel Burd, the provincial commander, was in charge of the fort because Colonel Bouquet was at Stoney Creek trying to get supplies through to Ligonier from Reastown. General Forbes had made it to Reastown by this time, but was still very ill. You know he eventually dies and is buried in Philadelphia."

"Anyway," Dr. Uncle Mark continued, "at 11 AM on October 12, the French gave a signal to begin the attack on Fort Ligonier by firing 12 guns. Colonel Burd sent out 500 troops, we believe mostly Highlanders of the 77th and some of those were already on guard when the attack began. They were forced back to the camp and the stockade. Colonel Burd reported to Colonel Bouquet that 1200 French and 200 Indians attacked them, this is a very large number of troops. The battle raged for about 2 hours when finally the enemy was repulsed."

"For a few days after, the French and Indians led some small attacks against the Fort, but nothing of consequence. Ligonier was an important battle because, after Grant's Defeat, it turned the tide for the war in Pennsylvania, the decision of the French being to leave the colony and abandon Fort Duquesne. Sooo, there you have it, my little Highlanders."

"Look, Look, Dr. Uncle Mark!", cried the Niece and Nephew. "There's the Fort up on the hill. Now, tell us the rest of the story from the Chronicles. Did all of our ancestors live through the battle? Did Wee John and Uncle Angus come to their rescue? Did Red Leaf get killed? Tell us! Tell us!"

"Aye, me wee Scottish bairns", growled Dr. Uncle in mock brusqueness. "I will tell you last of the stories found in the MacWilliam Chronicles; of Corporal MacWilliam and Pvt. Gunn, of all the lads of the 77th, of Seamus, Three Tales and Many Flags, of Uncle Angus and Wee John, of all that befell the brave lads on October 12, 1758."

"Sooooo.....", Dr. Uncle Mark began as the niece and nephew listened with wide eyes and bated breath.

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