the Scots in the French and Indian War. Accounts at Fort William Henry Battle in Lake
The history of Scotland is a turbulent story. The British isles were a confusing array of
allegiances, loyalties, and blood feuds. By the time the nations of England and Scotland
came into existence, the people of the two countries had been at odds with one another for
hundreds of years. The final conflict came in 1745. Scots loyal to the royal House of
Stuart rose in rebellion and rallied around Prince Charles Stuart. The war that ensued
became known as the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Victory would elude the Jacobites and in
1746 their army was crushed on the battlefield of Culloden Moor. England had finally and
completely defeated the Scottish nation. The Bonnie Prince fled to exile and Scotland's
independence slipped away with him. The years following the Battle of Culloden Moor were
grim ones in Scotland. Hundreds were killed or imprisoned. The wearing of the kilt, the
ownership of arms like the broad sword and pistol, and the playing of bagpipes were
outlawed and punishable by death! Ancient rights to farm the land were stripped and the
people were removed for more lucrative sheep herds. As a nation, Scotland was dying a slow
death. By the mid 1750's rumors began to spread. The Jacobite movement was alive again.
Clergymen in Scotland were preaching sedition, and despite the disarming act, English
agents reported enough weapons hidden away in the Highlands to outfit an army of 10,000
men. This all came on the heels of another war between France and England. William Pitt
made a revolutionary suggestion to bring the Scots into the English army! With the
fighting men of the Highlands in the British army they could be used to defeat an enemy
abroad and be out of England itself. The decision was made to raise the Highland
regiments. Scotsmen by the thousands answered the call to arms. By 1757 these new Scottish
regiments were aboard ships bound for the American colonies. For many of the men it would
be the last time they would ever see their Scottish home.
Among them were the 77th Highland Regiment Of Foot commanded by Archibald
Montgomery. The 77th became the backbone of General John Forbes campaign against Fort
Duquesne in 1758. Throughout the long summer of '58 the Highlanders hacked their way west
across the rugged Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania. In September of that year, men of
the 77th Regiment under Major James Grant were sent to scout around Fort Duquesne. The men
quickly found themselves in a deadly cross fire just a short distance from the fort. An
estimated 800 French and Indians threw themselves at the Highlanders. After hours of
intense fighting Major Grant found himself completely surrounded. With the dignity of a
Highland gentleman, Grant surrendered. Over 300 of the original 750 men were killed,
wounded or missing. What remained of the 77th marched at the head of the column a few
months later when Forbes took control of the point and Fort Duquesne. As the new owners of
the point prepared to defend their prize, the soldiers of the 77th buried their dead still
lying among the trees where they had fallen during Grant's defeat. Within weeks the
Highlanders were on their way east again to Philadelphia. From there they went on to fight
the French in the West Indies and the Cherokee in the hills of the Carolinas. Many of the
men of the 77th would loose their lives fighting for the King of England. After years of
hard fighting, the French & Indian War ended. In the spring of 1763 the 77th was
marked to be disbanded. Before the order to break up the regiment could be executed,
Pontiac's War swept the frontier and the 77th was ordered to march west again. Only a hand
full of the 77th were left when Bouquet met the warriors of the Ohio Valley at the
decisive Battle of Bushy Run. Those that survived the bloody two day engagement limped to
Fort Pitt to relieve it's besieged occupants. It was there at the point the Montgomery's
77th Highland Regiment Of Foot were ordered to disband. It was fate that brought them back
to the very place they had fought so many years before. Here we see two men of the 77th as
they pay their final respects to "One of their Own" on the rugged rock strewn
slope now known as Grant's Hill. They quietly place a thistle upon the grave of a friend
or possibly even a father, brother or cousin. After five long hard years of fighting in
the most terrible conditions, the men of the 77th Highlanders were finished. Few ever
returned home to Scotland. Geo Irvin
"Journal of the
Attack made on Fort William Henry by the French and Indians, March the 19th 1757."
between the Hours of three and four o'Clock was Alarmd by the Centries firing at a Party
of French Indians, who approached very near the Fort, at which the Signal Guns were fired;
the Rangers were sent for to come into the Fort, a Centry that was posted at the Lake Side
espied a Party of the French coming towards the Sloop with Faggotts, fuse & other
Combustibles to Set them on fire, but in vain at that time, for by the firing of a 32
pounder, the Enemy wee put into Confusion; as you may judge by their leaving behind a
great Number of Scaling Ladders, Tommihawks, Scalping Knives &ca &ca.
order'd all the Officers & Men to their proper Posts. About 5o'Clock we Spied the
Ennemy apearing on the Ice very Numerous about four Miles form our Fort near Sloop Island,
about Six o'Clock the French divided themselves in Small parties each side of the Lake,
those on the East Side came on the Side of the Hill, where Genl. Johnson fought them last
Year, & as they came in Parties, the Major Saluted them with Some ___ Grapes from a 32
Pounder which made them Hoop and Yelp.
From Seven in the Morning until Eight at Night,
the French kept Continually firing with Small Arms into the Fort. N.B. The French thought
no less than to take the Fort by Storm, they had 300 Scaling Ladders with them as we learn
About 9 at Night the French ceased firig, and Sent a Party who set one of our
Sloops on Fire, & a Pile of Wood. It being very dark we could not see them.
o'Clock Sunday Morning the Sloop was all in as Blaze & gave such light we could see
for about half a Mile round the Fort. The Wind turn'd the Force of the Fire form us, And
the Fire gave us an opportunity to Discover where the Enemy Intended to Storm, or Scale
the Fort, that our Cannon Scatter'd them form their Quarters and killed some, which we
could see by their Draggin the Dead away to the Ice which they broke holes, and put them
in. During all this time we had not One Man kill'd and but five or Six Slightly Wounded.
About five or Six
o'Clock Sunday Morning the French were drawed up on the Ice at Sloop Island where they
Appeared very Numerous. Whether it was to let us See their Number or Consulting what was
best to be done we could not tell, but the result was that they sent an Officer with a Red
Flag, had four Men along with him Armed with a Covering Party consisting of 12 Men Armed,
who March'd after him at the distance of Two or Three Hundred Yards, and as the Officer
Advanced waved the Flag. The Major seeing that Sent Lieut. Drummond with the Same Number
of Men The French Officer had, they had some Conference for a Considerable time, at length
the Officer delivered Lieut. Drummond a Letter Unsealed which he dispatched to the Major.
The French Officer & Lieut Drummond talk'd together for a while, until the Major sent
back an Answer by Mr Williamson, Engineer who Conducted the Officer into our Fort
Lieut. Drummond Stayed out with the French untill the Return of the French
Officer who entitled himself Captn of the Train as we hear'd since (and had been at the
taking of Oswego). But what pass'd between the Major and the French Captn we cannot tell,
The French Officer came out & the Major came out on the Bastions (it being then about
two o'Clock in the Afternoon) Order'd Sand Baggs to be fill'd and to be laid round on the
Ramparts & Swivles to be Erected on the same in order to make ourselves as Strong as
possible, expecting to be Attack'd more fierce than ever. Accordingly he was Surrounded on
every side by the French, who began to Fire upon us like Hail.
The Major went round the
Bastions telling the Men, that the French would give no Quarter. The Men were not in the
least Daunted nor dismay'd but laughed at the Frenchs firing, and it is to be remarked
here that a great many of the Men who lay sick for two or three Weeks before came out on
the Bastions with their Arms willing to partake the smae Fate with their brethren before
the Fort should be deliver'd or Surrender'd to the French like that of Oswego.
dispatched two Rangers to Fort Edward to Acquaint the Commanding Officer there of the
present Condition of Affairs here, the Night Coming on the French continued firing on
every side very hott untill 10 o"Clock, at which time a Party of the French
Approach'd one of our Sloops but found very hot Quarters there. Our Men watching their
Motions, sent Some of them out of the Land of the Living. However Watchfull as our Men
were, the French took an Opportunity of Setting a Second Sloop on fire (bad as it was in
some Shapes) it afforded a light that the Enemy could not Nigh to do us any damage without
being discovered at a great distance off. It was fortunate that the Wind turnd that very
Minute the Sloop was in a Blaze, otherwise it would have Set the Baker's house on Fire,
and that the Fort.
This Night the French were resolved to have
the Fort but were disappointed, nothing extraordinary happend until Morning where it began
to Snow very fast which ceased the Ennemy's firing. The Rangers behavd with a great deal
of Courage & would have rushd out against the Enemy, but the Major thought it Prudent
to keep them in the Fort, as we were but a Handfull in proportion to the French. It Snowed
all Day on Thuesday. About Seven at Night we discovered the French coming towards the
Sloop Loudoun to Set it on fire also, but they found it difficult at that time. Our Men
from the East Bastion playd so well with their small Arms that the French turnd Tail
between 10 & 11 they made a Second Attempt, which they had put in Execution.
of Wood which stood close by the Sloop was a great Safe guard to the French, that they hid
themselves behind it. We Could not see them until they had put the Sloop on Fire between
12 & 1 the Sloop was in a Flame, & gave us such light that we could see a Party
Coming towards the Wood pile, it being an Officers Command as we heared Since, we fired
among them very Smartly, and kill'd some but as their Custom is to take as good Care of
the Dead as of the Living, we can't tell what Number we had killed but their loss must be
considerable. We could here one Miserable Fellow who was Mortally wounded groan all Night.
Wednesday Morning Lieut. Brewer brought in a Prisoner & one of the Rangers brought in
another a Third was brought but died in two Hours after brought into the Fort. This Morning the French thought it a Folly to Attempt any
further, turn'd taill & went home in a Miserable Condition, One third of them frost
bitten, half Starvd lost many of their Arms &ca.
The Prisoners being Examin'd says at
their first Setting out they were 2000 Strong & had been out 10 days their Provisions
were out some days before, & wre oblidg'd to kill an Old Horse & eat him, we have
found one Frenchman Since under the Snow with his
did a soldier do?
The French and Indian War exploded into a
world wide struggle, Great Britain expanded its army in North America. Among the many
units sent to The Americas were three Scottish regiments: first the 42nd Highland Regiment
and later the 77th and 78th Highland Regiments. Throughout the war, English authorities
negotiated with the Native Americans for their military assistance. While the English were
not as skilled at romancing the Native Americans as their French counterparts, they did
experience some success. This was partly due to the influence of the Highlanders.
because the Native Americans saw in the Highlanders something very similar... themselves!
Both cultures were consummate warriors and lovers of the fray. Their people had great
respect for the orator and Chieftain. Clan and tribe held ancient traditions in high
regard. Their similarities in temperament and philosophy did not escape the English. They
sometimes referred to the Scots as "cousins to the Indian."
Native American and Highlander cultures were
far removed from British society and understanding. Sadly, the English failed to
appreciate their reverence for tradition. By the mid-eighteenth century both cultures
crumbled under the oppressive weight of England's expanding empire. Soon all that was dear
to them was lost. Their families, homes, traditions, even the sweet sounds of their own
language were as distant a memory as the "War Dance."
Journal of the Siege of Fort William Henry
began August 2d, 1757 (this is the exact journal)
2d At Night the Ennemy Consisting of between Ten and Eleven thousand French Regulars,
Canadians and Indians with 35 Ps of Cannon, and 5 Mortars, came partly by Land and Water
up Lake George, and landed within two Miles of the Fort on the West Side of the Lake in a
About 5 o'Clock in the Morning the Ennemy had Invested the Fort, and Camp, having drove
and Carried of all the Cattle.
4th The Ennemy
continued landing their Artillery and Stores, And Began an Approach between 6 and 700
Yards from the Fort, which terminated to a Battery which they kept working upon.
5th They continued
all this day working on the Battery and a new Boyeau. Some Small Skirmishes happened
between the Indians and our Provinicals.
6th The Ennemy began
to Play from their Battery on the Fort and Encampment with 9 Cannon and 2 Mortars.
7th The Ennemy kept
firing from their Batterys till 10 o"Clock in the Morning when we Saw a Flag of Truce
at the Garden, which deliver'd a letter taken by the Indians from a Connecticut Serjt.
sent form Genl. Webb to the Commanding Officer
8th A large Body of
Canadians and Indians Attacked very briskly our Retrenchment and Fired Continually all
this Day, and at Night Cannonaded it and threw in Several ten Inch Shells.
9th The Ennemy fired very slowly, And run another Boyeau behind the Garden near
Augt 9th The Ennemy
fired very slowly, And run another Boyeau behind the Garden near 300 Yards form the Fort.
Several Shott came into our Retrenchment Also a Mortar with several Cannon Bursted on the
Batterys in the Fort.
About 3 o'Clock in
the Morning a White Flag was hung out form the Fort which proved to be a Signal of
Capitulation, which was Confirmed and Ratified by 12 o'Clock."
According to Francis Parkman, the author of
"The Jesuits in North America," the savages tortured Jogues and his white
companions, striping off their clothing, tearing out their fingernails with their teeth,
and gnawing their fingers with the fury of beasts. The seventy Iroquois returned
southward, following the River Richelieu, Lake Champlain, and Lake George, en route for
the Mohawk towns. Meeting a war party of two hundred of their own nation on one of the
islands of Champlain, the Indians formed two parallel lines between which the captives
were forced to run for their lives, while the savages struck at them with thorny sticks
and clubs. Father Jogues fell exhausted to the ground, bathed in his own blood, when fire
was applied to his body. At night the young warriors tormented the poor captives by
opening their wounds and tearing out their hair and beards. The day following this night
of torture the Indians and their mangled captives reached the promontory of Ticonderoga,
along the base of which flowed the limpid waters, the outlet of Lake George. Here the
party made a portage through the primeval forests, carrying their canoes and cargoes on
their backs, when suddenly there broke upon their view the dark blue waters of a beautiful
lake, which Mr. Parkman thus eloquently describes:"Like
a fair naiad of the wilderness it slumbered between the guardian mountains that breathe
from crag and forest the stern poetry of war. But all then was solitude; and the clang of
trumpets, the roar of cannon, and the deadly crack of the rifle had never as yet awakened
their angry echoes. Again the canoes were launched and the wild flotilla glided on its
way, now in the shadow of the heights, now on the broad expanse, now among the devious
channels of the Narrows, beset with woody islets where the hot air was redolent of the
pine, the spruce, and the cedar,-- till they neared that tragic shore where, in the
following century, New England rustics battled the soldiers of Dieskau, where Montcalm
planted his batteries, where the red cross waved so long amid the smoke, and where, at
length, the summer night was hideous with carnage, and an honored name was stained with a
memory of blood. The Indians landed at or near the future site of Fort William Henry, left
their canoes, and with their prisoners began their march for the nearest Mohawk
photographs to enlarge)
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