Posted by Dr. Uncle Mark (with Hiram and Hannah) on July 22, 2001 at 15:01:32:
Dr. Uncle Mark lovingly caressed the scarlet wool of his new sargent's uniform. Graced with silver lace and shiny German silver buttons, he thought of his ancestor, Sgt. Malcolm MacWilliam, and the Battle of Bushy Run, which Dr. Uncle was preparing to reenact. He jerked up his head as he heard Aunt Linda greeting the Niece and Nephew; the two young heathens were racing up the steps to the War Room, tumbling over each other to be the first to reach their Dr. Uncle.
"Mark", shouted Aunt Linda! "Those two little savages are here to enjoy your company. I told them you were hugging your new friend that I just finished for you!"
Dr. Uncle Mark laughed as Hannah and Hiram bounded into the War Room, right into his open arms. Their eyes grew wide as they gazed at the new sargent's uniform which their Aunt Linda had finished the day before.
Hannah and Hiram looked over the uniform and the young lassie of the two asked, "Is this what Malcolm wore at the Battle of the Crushed Bun?"
Dr. Uncle snorted and slapped his knee. "That's Bushy Run, you little Charmer. Aye, this is what a sargent of the 77th Regiment would have worn. I'm just looking it over before I begin packing for this year's reenactment. It's two weeks away, but already we're getting ready for the trek to Bushy Run."
"Were all our ancestors at Bushy Run, Dr. Uncle Mark? Were Many Flags and Three Tales and Seamus there too?"
"Sure. And so was Davey Gunn, Uncle Quasi and Uncle Angus, and all the lads of the 77th that we've spoken of; Drummer Armstrong, Pvt. Johnston, Cpl. MacGregor and Cpl. Campbell, Captain Croy...well, all of them. You see, well.....it's sad to say, this was the last time that all the cousins fought in battle on the same side. Very sad it is....very tragic."
"Tell us, Dr. Uncle Mark! Tell us about Bushy Run!"
.......The year was 1763 and although the 77th Regiment of Foote, and our Lads we know so well, the Grenadier Company, had been to the Carribean, their forces depleted with death and sickness, since we last heard of them toward the end of the Seven Year's War; our Lads were fit enough to be called back into active duty. For out of the West in 1763 came a savage horde led by Chief Pontiac. Pontiac had united the Native Peoples and with the aide of renegades and the likes, he swept through the Ohio country, into Pennsylvania and lay siege to Fort Pitt.
As this siege was underway, more Natives pushed east and there on a ridge at what was called Bushy Run Station, they were stopped by a combined force of the 77th, remnants of the 42nd, and the 60th, all led by Colonel Henri Bouquet, that same Bouquet who had led Our Lads, our MacWilliam lads over the Pennsylvania mountains in 1758 on the Forbes Expedition.
On August 4, as the British troops had marched about 17 miles, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, the advance guard was attacked by the Savages. Flags, Tales and Seamus, part of that guard, fell back and Col. Bouquet sent the 42nd forward to repulse the savages until the troops and strategy was set. The troops moved forward, but being attacked on all flanks, fell back to protect the convoy, part of that convoy being the famous "flour bags" which were to be a boon to His Majesty's troops.
Sgt. MacWilliam, Pvt. Davey Gunn and all the Grenadiers formed an extended line, keeping up a heavy fire as troops from the 42nd and 60th took up flanking positions. The cousins never fought harder and never with more comradeship as the 77th volley fired, making huge swaths through the brush to dispense of the attackers, and our three longhunter heroes, Tales, Seamus, and Flags, picked their targets with resolve, marking their targets with bloody lead.
Uncle Quasi was with the convoy, he having a vested interest in the supplies, always a Scot with an eye to turn a shilling; when upon the beginning of the attack, out of the forest came Uncle Angus and his sheep, Mother Ewe in the lead. After a quick conversation between the two, they knew that this was not a fight for their type of tactics, so they pictched in to aid the wounded and give sustenance and liquid refreshment as the battle raged on for the next 7 hours. For, the musketry, screams, savage yelps, gutteral commands, the crack of rifles, continued to near dark. All the years of friendship and blood relations came to fruition in that 7 hour time as the MacWilliam Lads supported and aided each other and the contingent of soldiers. 'Tis sad to note that the next time the Lads would be in Battle, it would be against each other. Oh, the battle can be dissected and discussed at length in this forum. The number of dead and wounded can be reported. The names of those killed and wounded such as Peebles and Graham can be told. But, that is not what's important in this tale....the foreboding of the future is what must be looked to.
That evening, by the light of the stars and moon, the canvas was brought up and the streets were set in a square with the officers' tents in the center. At the top of the ridge where the battle had raged during the day of the 4th, a "flour bag" redoubt was constructed. So that, as the dawning of the 5th of August came forth, the camp was protected by an angled wall built of large sacks filled with flour and laid on their sides like brick. Muskets and bayonets gleamed behind this make shift redoubt, and it was no surprise when as the sun began to climb, amid the groans of the wounded British troops, the yelp and cries of the Savages come forth from the forest to once again attack. From a distance they attacked, attempting to surround the camp, but then massing their heathen forces at one point.
The Colonel, Swiss by birth, from a line of Swiss mercenaries (much like Flags and Tales whose immigrant German father's grandfather had emmigrated from that same Swiss area a hundred years before); this Colonel Bouquet, cold and calculating under fire, sent the troops out with drums beating and colors flying. Another Grant's Defeat, one might suspect with a groan. But no, a feint to the front of the savages, a retreat back toward the "flour bag fort". Sgt. MacWilliam with brother Gunn beside him, and his brave lads, the Sgt. shouting "to the right about face....stand fast lads, stand fast. Let the bloody savages come a bit closer!"
Then, the coup de grace, as hidden troops to the right, flank the savages on the left. A sweep from the lights, Major Campbell's troops....cousin to our own Lieut. Campbell of the 77th Grenadiers, and it was over quickly. Many of the longhunters and scouts fell into their woods ways and moved forward to take scalps and booty from the dead. There are those that say our very own Flags, Tales and Seamus were among them. For though these cousins were at once men of means and purpose in their home provinces east of the Susquehanna, their ways of battle were bred into them from the frontier and wilds. And with that, the savage force was broken, and Pontiac's Rebellion failed, creating a safe haven once again for all those colonists of the British Crown.
Colonel Bouquet wrote lightly in his letters of this two day battle....at one point stating "I hope that we shall no more be disturbed......"
Hannah and Hiram were quiet. Dr. Uncle Mark turned back to his packing for the reenactment, which this year would take place on exactly the same days it actually happened - August 4 and 5.
Hiram quietly asked, "And our MacWilliam ancestors never fought together again, Dr. Uncle Mark?"
"No, lad. They never fought TOGETHER again. A few years after Bushy Run, the strong fabric of cousinry and friendship between the Scottish Cousins and the American Cousins would be torn apart. Torn apart by differing opinions about independence, and freedom, and authority, and taxes, and Kings, and many other thoughts which men create and argue to make themselves miserable.....But, that's enough of that. I believe your Aunt Linda has iced tea and shortbread for all of us. Come on, me Buckos, my wee Luvs, let's eat, drink, and be merry; and let's be thankful that your ancestors had a number of years together before their philosophies send them down different roads. Pax Aye!!..we say....and they would say also!! Pax Aye, Pax Aye!"
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