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OPERATIONS IN AMERICA.
Embark for New York, 1756—Louisburg, 1757—Ticonderoga, 1758—Louuburg, 1758—Fort Du Quesne, 1758-Wert Indie), 1759—Guadoloupe, 1740.
In the year 1754 mutual encroachments on their respective territories in the western world led to hostilities between the English and the French in that quarter. Several skirmishes were fought on the frontiers. The first of these, in point of importance, was an attack on a post commanded by Major (afterwards the celebrated General) Washington, which the French claimed as within their territories. Washington, after a good defence, surrendered by capitulation. This affair, which gave the first proof of Washington's military talents, excited a considerable sensation in England; but nothing further was done, than to direct our ambassador to make a representation on the subject to the French Court . In this manner hostilities were continued for nearly two years, till at length, in May 1756, war was formally declared.
A body of troops, the Highlanders forming a part, were embarked under the command of Lieutenant-General James Abercromby, and landed at New York, in June 1756. These were soon followed by more troops, under the Earl of Loudon, who was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the army in North America. An active war was now expected; but much valuable time was wasted in holding councils of war, in making preparations, and in accustoming the troops to what were called the usages of war. The general was so occupied with schemes for improving the condition of his troops, that he seemed to have no time for employing them against the enemy, and allowed a whole season to pass away without undertaking a single enterprise. In the meantime, the Marquis de Montcalm, the commander of the French army, carried on, with great activity, an irregular warfare, by skirmishes and detached incursions, exceedingly distressing to the inhabitants, and destructive to the British troops.
The Forts of Ontario, Oswego, Granville, &c. fell in succession. Oswego, under the command of Colonel Mercer, held out for two days, when he was killed. The death of their brave commander so dispirited the garrison that they surrendered immediately. By the terms of capitulation, it was agreed that the troops should be protected from plunder, and conducted safely as prisoners to Montreal. These terms were most scandalously violated. The troops were robbed and insulted by the Indians, and several were shot as they stood defenceless on the parade; and, to crown all, Montcalm gave up twenty of the men to the Indians to be sacrificed by them to the manes of their countrymen who had fallen in battle. Montcalm attempted to exonerate himself from the reproach of such inhuman conduct, by alleging that the British soldiers gave spirits to the Indians, and that, in their intoxication, these excesses were committed; though he did not explain how his prisoners came to have spirits at their disposal.
Some time previous to this, several changes and promotions took place in the *2d regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell (the late Duke of Argyll) was promoted to the command of the 54th regiment, and was succeeded by Major Grant;* Captain Duncan Campbell of Inveraw was advanced to the majority; Thomas Graeme of Duchray, James Abercromby, son of General Abercromby of Glassa, and John Campbell of Strachur, were appointed captains; Lieutenant
• When the men understood that there was to be a vacancy in the regiment, by the promotion of Colonel Campbell, they came forward with a sum of money, subscribed among themselves, to purchase the Lieutenant-Colonelcy for Major Grant; but the promotion going in the regiment without purchase, the money was not required.
John Campbell, captain-lieutenant; Ensigns Kenneth Tolme, James Grant, John Graeme, brother of Duchray, Hugh M'Pherson, Alexander Turnbull of Stracathro, and Alexander Campbell, were appointed lieutenants; and from the half-pay list were taken, Lieutenants Alexander M'Intosh, James Gray, William Baillie, Hugh Arnot, William Sutherland, John Small, and Archibald Campbell; the ensigns were, James Campbell, Archibald Lamont, Duncan Campbell, George M'Lagan, Patrick Balneaves, son of Edradour, Patrick Stewart, son of Bonskeid, Norman M'Leod, George Campbell, and Donald Campbell.
Previous to the departure of the regiment from Ireland, officers with parties had been sent to Scotland to recruit. So successful were these, that in the month of June, seven hundred recruits were embarked at Greenock for America. When the Highland regiments landed on that continent, their garb and appearance attracted much notice. The Indians, in particular, were delighted to see a European regiment in a dress so similar to their own. *
During the whole of 1756 the regiment remained in Albany inactive. During the winter and spring of 1757, they were drilled and disciplined for bush-fighting and sharpshooting,—a species of warfare for which they were well fitted, being in general good marksmen, and expert in the management of their arms. Their ardour and impatience, however, often hurried them from their cover when they ought to have remained concealed.
In the beginning of summer, a plan was laid for an attack on Louisburg. In the month of June, Lord Loudon embarked, with Major-General Abercromby and the 22d, 42d, 44th, 48th, 2d and 4th battalions of the 60th, together with 600 Rangers, making in all 5300 men. Proceeding to
* A gentlemen in New York wrote, that," when the Highlanders landed, they were caressed by all ranks and orders of men, but more particularly by the Indians. On the march to Albany, the Indians flocked from all quarters to see the strangers, who, they believed, were of the same extraction as themselves, and therefore received them as brothers."
Halifax with this force, he was there reinforced by MajorGenerals Hopson, Lord Charles Hay, Colonels Lord Howe and Forbes, with Fraser's and Montgomerie's Highlanders, 43d, 46th, and 55th regiments, lately arrived from England. The united force amounted to 10,500 men.
The fleet and army were on the eve of departing from Halifax, when information was received that the Brest fleet, consisting of 17 sail of the line, besides frigates, had arrived in the harbour of Louisburg. This intelligence suspended the preparations, and several councils of war were held. Opinions differed widely, and were maintained with considerable warmth. * However, it was at length resolved that, as the place was so powerfully reinforced, and the season so far advanced, the enterprise should be deferred till a more favourable opportunity. Lord Loudon returned soon after to New York, taking with him the Highlanders and four other regiments. During his absence, the enemy had been most active. Montcalm, as soon as he heard of the expedition intended for Louisburg, collected all his disposable forces, including the Indians, and a large train of artillery, amounting in all to more than 8000 men, and laid siege to Fort William Henry, garrisoned by 3000 men, under the command of Colonel Munro. General Webb, with 4000 men, was stationed in Fort Edward, at the distance of six miles. The siege was conducted with vigour, and in six days after its commencement Colonel Munro surrendered, on condition that his garrison should not serve for eighteen months. The garrison were allowed to march out with their arms and two field pieces. As soon as they were without the gate, they were attacked by the Indians, who com
• At one or those councils, Lord Charles Hay, son of the Marquis of Tweeddale, a gallant and enterprising officer, so far lost his temper, as to accuse openly the commander-in-chief of designedly wasting, by his delay and inert movements, the great force placed by his country under his command; movements, as he said, dictated by timidily.and leading to the certain disgrace of our arms.
Lord Charles was put under arrest, and ordered home to be tried; but his death, occasioned, as was supposed, by anxiety of mind, prevented the intended court-martial.
mitted all sorts of outrages and barbarities; the French, as they said, being unable to restrain them.
Thus terminated this campaign in America, undistinguished by the acquisition of any object, or the performance of a single action which might compensate the loss of territory and the sacrifice of lives. With an inferior force, the enemy had been successful at every point, and, by the acquisition of Fort William Henry, had obtained complete command of the Lakes George and Champlain. The destruction of Oswego gave the dominion of those lakes which connect the St Lawrence with the Mississippi, and opened a direct communication from Canada; while, by the possession of Fort du Quesne, they obtained an ascendancy, which enabled them to preserve their alliance with the Indians. The misfortunes attending our arms in America were, in a great measure, to be ascribed to the state of the government at home, distracted by contending factions, and enfeebled by frequent revolutions of councils and parties. So rapid and so great were frequently the changes of men and measures, that officers knew not how their services would be appreciated, and thus lost one of the most powerful incentives to action, in the apprehension, that the services performed agreeably to the instructions of one minister, might be disapproved of by his successor. Few opportunities of distinguishing themselves were thus offered to the troops, and, excepting the abortive expedition designed against Louisburg, the 48d regiment had no particular duty assigned them during this year.
By the addition of three new companies and the junction of 700 recruits, the corps was now augmented to upwards of 1300 men, all Highlanders, for at that period none else were admitted into the regiment. To the three additional companies the following officers were appointed; James Murray, son of Lord George Murray, James Stewart of Urrard, and Thomas Stirling, son of Sir Henry Stirling of Ardoch, to be captains; Simon Blair, David Barklay, Archibald Campbell, Alexander Mackay, Alexander Menzies, and David Mills, to be lieutenants;