Posted by Many Flags on October 12, 2000 at 13:19:26:
12th October 1758
Camp at the Loyalhanna
Journal Entry for Corporal Malcolm MacWm.
Written by Many Flags, Scout for the 77th
It pains me to write all that has occurred over the past several hours. A few moments ago I heard the surgeon whisper the words, "death watch", to Pvt. Johnston and I fear that all I have observed since 11 AM this morning will never be known unless I write of it. I have asked for the journal of cousin Malcolm which was to be sent to his wife Magdalena in Scotland should he die. I find it strange that his wife's name is the same as my sweetheart in Berks,.... but my mind wanders. I must keep at the task at hand. I fear I have little time left.
We are laid out like logs of wood, in the street of the 77th Grenadiers. All of us, all of us brave MacWilliam cousins have been hit including Wee John Mackay, who has been wounded worst of all, his body riddled with bullets. I am the only one lucid enough to write down the day's events, and the blood from my wound on my left side cannot be staunched. I fear I will bleed to death, my mind goes in and out of consciousness. Beside me lies my beloved brother Three Tales, unconscious from his wounds, as is our cousin Seamus, who has a head wound, my God, it pains me to gaze on it! On my other side lies Cousins Malcolm and Davey, their poor bodies shot through, as is Wee John MacKay! All, all is lost.
But....before I lose consciousness, I must write of the day. The brave lads of the Grenadier company were on patrol, the grass guards for the day, and we three scouts were on their right flank, when at about the 11th hour we heard several shots from the edge of the forest, some several hundred yards away. That's when we saw several mirrors shining to the right of us, savages moving in from the north toward the Highland camp. The cry was taken up and that's when several hundred French troops marched in from the south west. The remainder of the 77th was sent out to support the company of Grenadiers. Volley upon volley was fired when another hundred or so French moved in from the western edge attacking the right flank. The 77th prepared to retreat to the stockade and also to set up perimeter fire beside the Loyalhanna Creek where the Highland camp lies, when from the north the savage troops moved in at a rush.
Leading them, we all recognized, was Red Leaf! The Grenadiers were wheeled to the right to disperse the savages and upon seeing Red Leaf, (he was unmistakeable painted completely in red, no clout with only a few feathers hanging round his waist), the whole Highland company let out a roar. The volley from the Grenadiers and from our rifles cut the savage horde to pieces and they retreated. By this time, the cannon and the coehorns from the stockade had begun to wreck their destruction upon the enemy and the Grenadiers, Malcolm, Davey and the others all in martial array, reformed their lines. Once again, the savages sallied forth and pushed as far as our brave Highlanders. Tales, Seamus and I resorted to hand to hand battle with hawks and knives always keeping our eyes on Red Leaf, who by this time was in the thick of it, his red wicked face towering above all others, grimacing and screaming as he cut and slashed.
The savages began to take their toll on our lads, Sutherland and Stewart went down..MacPherson was wounded, when we heard a shout arise behind us and a pause, a pause seemed to occur in our corner of the battle, when we turned and there, there racing toward us was the Kilted Uncle Angus surrounded by his sheep, and he shouted, "Ewe, Mother ewe!". A large Ewe at the front of the herd of sheep led the others and on its back was none other than Wee John MacKay. Shouting, "Pax Aye! Come along me dearies!", Angus and Wee John led the sheep smack into the middle of the foray with wee John heading straight for Red Leaf.
It all seems like a slow blur now in my mind, a pause in which I was suspended above the battle and watching all that occurred, for Red Leaf and Wee John MacKay went at it like Hellish demons. Their battle swirled with much blood letting when, and it seemed like hours had gone by, with ferocity Wee John pulled a rams horn from his great kilt and brutally plunged it into Red Leaf's breast. A groan went out from the Savage lips, and a cry went up from the Highlanders, the Savage hordes fell back, as their own devilish leader fell to the ground mortally wounded. At this, Uncle Angus cried out in Gaelic and all the sheep raised up on hind legs to baaa in unison. They trampled the body of Red Leaf, until nothing was left but a bloody husk. A sight to behold, and the savages retreated. A shout came from Captain Croy's lips, "He has proven himself, PRIVATE MACKAY of the 77th Grenadiers!"
But, our hero Wee John had little time to bask, ahh, the evil in this world!! For, unbeknownst to us all, a troop of French had marched to within 50 yards of this swirling battle, and with the cries of our victory, they blasted their muskets straight at Wee John, cutting him to pieces and riddling him, felling his poor body to the ground. All five of us: Malcolm, Davey, Seamus, Tales and myself rushed to his aid only to be blasted with a second volley which took us out, and the darkness enveloped me....until a while ago when the light reappeared to my eyes. It was then I saw the scene of us laid out like so many logs of wood, which I have already described.
I have heard differing reports of 1400 enemy and 700 enemy, I know not nor care not which is correct. For my whole world lies beside me, broken and bloody, my cousins, brother, and hero MacKay. I fail.....NO, I must write a bit more. The surgeon has examined each one and as I watched, his head shook after checking each of my comrades' wounds, shook as if to say, "no hope". St. Andrew, help us. Do not let this come to pass!! I have heard that the French and Savages were repulsed, that Colonel Burd is pleased with the defence. The weather has turned very warm and large flies buzz round our wounds. Our comrades of the 77th, Johnston, MacGregor, 1st Sgt. Campbell, and the others attempt to keep the insects from us and keep us comfortable, but to no avail....we groan.....
Wee John lies peacefully with his head supported on Mother Ewe. The other sheep surrounding us bleat sadly. As Wee John draws each rasping breath, the sheep seem to breathe with him, as if to give him strength. I have glimpsed Uncle Angus standing in the shadow of a tree nearby, standing alone, at times mumbling Gaelic which I do not understand, but Wee John mumbles it back. They.....speak...to ....each....other.....and...and Uncle Quasi, God bless him, he is here weeping over Seamus. He has given us each a dram of amber liquid, quietly speaking to us all and singing at times.
I struggle to stay lucid, if any of my comrades die, Oh, the pain of it all. To have experienced so much together and now we all lie dead or dying.....my eyes fade....the bandage on my side has been changed,..filled with blood...Seamus takes a last breath..NO...no, he is still alive....The surgeon...he covers my brother Three Tales' face with a cloth...NO...oh, no, it must have only been a dream....Tales is still breathing and moaning and....STAY ALIVE, my comrades, stay alive...i fade....pax
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