AMERICANREVOLUTION.ORG

LETTER-BOOK OF CAPTAIN ALEXANDER McDONALD,
OF THE
ROYAL HIGHLAND EMIGRANTS, 1775


To GENERAL GAGE.

to comply with this order *** as *** acting Directly contrary, and in Downright Disobedience of your Excellency's Orders, as we were sent here to recruit men & as I think not to Do Duty till these men were armed, clothed and taught a little knowledge of their Duty & the *** their arms for they had not then begun to exercise nor was there any non-commissioned ***, besides I must confess I was a little *** to be put for a long course of time under the Command of a justice of peace he as great a rebel as any in New england, for many are disaffected in this province, and to follow implicitely and punctually such ord***directions as that justice should give me. The law here directs officers to assist Magistrates in Dispersing and quelling mobs riots and tumults and not to *** without an order from the Magistrate; from the above considerations I have taken upon me to Disobey your Excys orders if I have Done amiss I submitt intirely to your Excellency Superior judgment and wait your farther orders, in regard to my future Con***

We are continually surprized with various *** and no man can find out the author of them *** ago it was said, That there was not the Biggness *** of any kind Vessells from the Bay of Funday *** Southermost part of South Carolina in any Creek or Corner but what our Navie has Destroyed so that none of the Americans can Export or Import nor get as much as one fish or oyster to eat and that all the Scho *** ferrie Boats are Burnd Sunck and Destroyed every *** which *** stop to all travelling and communication with *** it is also reported that the North *** so that nothing can pass from the South to the Northward or from the Northward to the Southward. Indeed it was saide there was a thousand of the troops put on board the best going frigats with flat Botum'd Boats, these frigats flying from Place to place landing where they are lest Expected Burning & Destroying *** wher ever they go, without even a Risque of losing one man and that there is scarce a town within rich of the men of war now standing in any of the Rebellious parts of America by all *** ise manuvers *** a large tract of land is secured for a mantinance of his Majesty's troops with fresh provisions *** Staten island, Long island and all the lands *** allongst the coast & by Securing the North river a Door will be opened for all his Majesty's Dutifull and loyall Subjects to com in besides geting a Vast Suply of wheat and fflower on both sides of that river *** th all othere kinds of ffresh provisions othere Pople may think what they Please it is my own opinion that *** ight be Done one half Dozn of armed Sloops and *** would Destroy all the Craft on that River *** them from building any more from *** Hook to Albany taking in Staten island they might Burn and Destroy Brunswick & amboy for nothing can cure the Madness that prevealls all over America but the Severest of usage.


To GENERAL GAGE.

SIR.

I have hitherto avoided troubling your Excellency well knowing you have matters of much greater weight & consequence than me and my recruiting party to think of at present, tho' I have not missed any opportunity of giving major Small an acount of my Success. I am now forced in vindication of my Character and Conduct to trouble your Excellency being informed that Governor Legge has wrote Both against me and Capt. Batt in answer whatever he has said of me I will only trouble your Excellency with a simple Naration of Facts, in as few words as possible, viz: on my first arivall in this Town I waited on Governor Legge and Delivered your Excellency's letter, - he was very *** and assured me he would assist all in his Power to promote the Service I was sent upon, two Days after I waited on his Excellency & Showed him my Beating orders, the Coppies I had of his Majestie's Instructions, and Lord Dartmouth's letter to Governor Martin. I asked his consent as Chief magistrate to Send a Sergt, and a Drummer through the *** to Beat up for Volunteers, which he readily agreed *** I as readily order'd to be Done by leave of the *** ing officer of the Garrison, under whose Command *** Diriction I looked on myself to be During my Stay *** in Consequence of this, I had the good fortune to inlist *** men in one Day, a few Days after I waited on Governor Legge in Company with Mr Turner the paymr Genl as he could not advance me any money without an order from the Governor, who to my great Surprize told me *** to send a Drum through the Town any more nor gett the Smart Money from such as would inlist and afterwards repenting & in order to please him I consented to this *** tho I knew it to be Contrary to my Beating orders and the articles of Warr. Governor Legg complained that this Province was scarce of men and could not affoord any. I could not help thinking that this Sudden Change was owing to the advice of some People about his Excelency who had their own Interest at heart much more than that of his Majesty's Service - be that as it will the recruiting in this province is intirely Stop'd from the very Circumstances above mentioned. Soon after Governor Legge Showed me a letter from your Excelency desiring he would take all the recruits rais'd in this province under his care & see them Disciplin'd this was very agreeable to me as I had wrott to Major Small to procure me an order for some of the arms of the 77th regiment that were here in Store. I have Received arms and my recruitts are Exercising twice every day - alarms are here every *** othere *** Yankeys coming to attack this province & Town and *** there can be but very little Danger so long *** frigate with two tenders are kept in the Bay of Funday which is a better guard and protection to this province than a 1000 men would be; in consequence of this Capt Batt and I was ordered to march to Windsor with our recruits - we received this order very late at Night & were to march very Early next Day.


To Col. ALLAN MACLEAN.

Halifax 15 Septr 75

DEAR COLONEL

I am happy to Understand by a letter directed to Lieut Neal McLean that you are safely Arrived at Quebec. I was greatly afraid that you had fallen into the hands of the Rebles, having never herd of you since you left Boston till now, for which Reason I could never render you an Account of my own Proceedings, Not knowing how or where to direct for you with Safety, you have no doubt heard of what happened the very day after your Departure. I need not Trouble you with the Particulars as I dare say you have heard them already, wee got a Victory but verry Dearly bought it.

Two days after I was ordered to this Place all in a hurry. Major Small was with Genl Howe and so constantly Employ'd, that he had scarce time to Eat Drink or Sleep, so that I was Oblig'd to leave Boston with out any directions from him, Only a letter from Genl Gage to Governor Legge, and a Nother to the PayMr General to furnish me with mony from time to time, as I should have Success in the Recruiting Service. Ye Governor at first promis'd me all the Assistance in his *** & gave me Leave to Beat through the Town for Volunteers, in consequence of which I Listed Seven men in One Day - I sent young McDonald to ye Island of St John - By him I have wrote to Lieut McLean who was at *** Desiring him to Render me in, an Account of his Success at the same Letting him know, that he was no more under the Command of Capt Batt: and as he had Received fifty Pounds Sterling; Upon his Arrival at this Place, desir'd he would furnish McDonald with sum if he had Occasion to Call for itt, he Refus'd to give him a farthing, Nor has he ever sent me in a Scrape of a Pen and I am told he has not yet listed One Man. I have sent and Express to him this Verry Day.

At the same time as I sent McDonald to St Island, I sent Mr Campbell, a Son of Robert Campbell, Merchant in this Town, a Brisk young Lad, who is almost mad to be in our Corps all over the Country and he soon got me Twelve Men, that and my own Success in the Town gave me great hopes of being able to do something, but Governor Legge Changing his Mind soon stopp'd my Carear, my Serjeant and Drum went but one Day through the Town, when he told me I must not send them any more, nor yett take Smart Money from any One, thus was I forc'd to Act contrary to my Beating Order & the Articles of War, Nor could I help myself when he Shew me a Letter from the Commander in Chief, wherein all Recruiting Parties were put under his Care & Directions. I Represented all this to Major Small but has not yet Got any answer, But I Believe the Contents of *** Letter to Lieut McLean will make me go to B***ton and Try if I can Gett one of the Transports to Carry what Men is there and here to Quebec and in our Way to touch at Newfoundland, where wee will have a Good Chance abought the 10th of October, but not sooner as the Fishing Bussiness will not Break up till then. What Men that are on the Island of St Johns are already Engaged with Glenaladall, who is now here with me, also young Mcdonald, with whom he came, he will Write to you by this opportunity and from the Contents of his Letter I will Leave you to judge what sort of a Man he is.

I send you Inclosed a Discription Roll of what Men I have. If young Campbell will be one of our Corps, I think it best to leave him here all Winter, as his father his Uncle & himselfs are thoroughly well acquainted all over this Province, he will be able to Put up a good many Men all Winter. I hope Genl Gage will put a Stop to the Governor's Opposition. This being all that Occurs at Present I Remain Dear Sir,

Yrs, &c

A M D


To COLL A. McLEAN.

Halifax 14th Sept 1775

DEAR COLL.

Since my last of the 1st Sept pr favour of Mr Cleaveland nothing Extraordinary has hapened. just as I was ready to sett off for Boston I received information that 30 or 40 Recruits were coming to me from Boston by the first oportunity, this made me lay aside my Voiage to Boston as I did not think it proper to be out of the way when these Men should arrive, and I expect them every moment, in the meantime will send Mr McLennon to Newfoundland, and *** green to what furthere Instructions I will receive alongst with the Men. Will I have instructions from you.

A gentleman Waited on me here yesterday and this Morning, one Collin Campbell. I thought at first he had a mind to list, but found out he wanted to shew me a Memoriall he was to send Genl Gage, in which he sett forth, he had been an Ens in the fencible Men of argyll, that he was afterwards recomended by the Earle of Bradalbin to a Commission in your former ***, that you stop'd his Commission in the warr office eithere from Spight or Lucrative View, that he sent you a Challene which you refused, but took the law of him and after a fair trayall you was obliged to pay him Three Hundred Pouns Damages, in short he prayed to be provided for in any of his Majestys Regts except that which was now Raising and to be Commanded by his inveterate Enemie, Coll Allan McLean; he told me that this affair Cost him 500£ and you a 1000£. I told him he might act as he pleased in regard to Giving a Memoriall to the Genll but that he should not by any Means mention your Name in it, or any part of the Despute as very Likely you would give quite a Different account of it. So I got Clear of him and told him I did not think that any Officer serving in the fencible men could Clame any Rank as they had no half pay or ever left the Kingdom on Service.


TO MAJOR SMALL.

Halifax 15. Sepr 1775

DEAR SIR

I Received your favour by Ensign McDonald. I don't doubt of your being greatly hurried, yet the affairs of our Chore Requires a good deal of attention, as for Mr Legg I pay no Sort of reguard to his orders. I List men when and where I can find them, and would beat up through Hallifax, if I had a proper Serjeant, and a drummer for that business and I beg you will endeavour to get a smart cleaver man to be a serjeant Major, and another a Quarter Master Serjeant a good drum major and a phife, with as many other Serjeants and Corporals, as you can get, among the army for you know there is no possibility of forming a young Chore and bringing them to the knowledge of their duty without a number of old Experienced non Commissioned as well as Commissioned Officers, I think an adjutant and Quarter Master should be at headquarters, a pay Master must be appointed to the Regiment, and an ajent In London, for the officers to draw their subsistance, Mr Turner will not issue but for the mens subsistance, you know the officers must have subsistance as well as the bounty money and great sums must be Laid out immediately to Cloath the men, which I will endeavour to do with as Little Expence as possible, and as uniform as I can which will be as follows, a west Coat of spotted swan skin, Light infantry fashion, with sleeves of the same, white breeches of Coarse strong thick Cloth Coarse thick stockings, blue Leggings, that will come up near the Crotch, and garters of red tape tyed below the knee, such of them as have any Coats worth the altering will be made short for them and patched in the best manner we can, and a blanket coat overall, with a Cannadian cap, as you prescribed before, and their own old hatts brimmed in the neatest manner as can, so far, for men's dress. I beg Mrs McDonalds Letters may be carefully sent I have avoided writing to her about any polliticks, but desired her to Leave that
place and come to me, if she finds it so disagreeable that she cannot stay and am afraid the Rebells would Lay hold of her and the children, and keep them by way of hostages, 'till they can get me in their hands, as I am informed by the Last Letters I received, that Sentance of death is passed upon me by all means, whatever comes of others, the method contrived by my neighbour Mersereaux is to skin me alive when he catches me. We heard of Hammonds putting up a gallows fifty Cubits high.

You never wrote me about Buchannon of the 64th, whom I inlisted here and desired you to Settle with Colonel Lessly. In reguard of him, he has been in the hospital these six Weeks past and is now under Sallavation, Captain Frazer and Lt Fletcher in the Isleand of St Johns are constantly drawing on me for money, and as I told you before am oblidged to beg and borrow, among all my acquaintances and draw upon you rather than Let the money go from here to Boston, I have drawn on you Lately for twenty Six pounds Sterling in favour of McMaster. I am Sorry for poor Angues McDonalds fate I wish some ways or means could be Contrived to exchange him. I understand Black and all black is Come to you again, and wants to be a Commissioned Officer I hear, pray is any thing done for Alexr McDonald of the 38th I am sorry that Randolph is going back for I think him very fit in being an adjutant. If I dont see a Particular Gentleman appointed the first Captn in the Regiment I'll be very angry. I say no more but wish you all happiness.


To MR. OGILVIE.

Halifax 3 November 1775

SIR.

Received your favour of the 7th June Covering a Copy of the report of the board of trade and plantations about our Lands but its needless to say a word Upon that head Until the affairs of America are Setled, for nobody in America can boast of having any property at present, you will no doubt be Surprized at not hearing from me oftner, but when I tell you that I was forced to Leave my own house the Latter end of may Last, rather than be forced to Sign an asociation with Rebels, contrary to my honour and my Conscience, you will I hope excuse this Neglect. I have however Sent you my afidavid for my half Pay, but as it was by a vessell bound for a Distant part of Great Britain from London I Send you a Copy of it - You must know before now that there was a Schame on foot to raise a Battalion in America to be commanded by Major Small in which I was to be a Capt - this I wrote you before & put you on your Guard to tray to Get the agency of it when Collolnell McLean came over he had orders to raise a Battalion of Highland Emigrants in America and Genll Gage in order to Serve Major Small joined both Battalions under the command of Coll McLean but Major Small to be Major Commandant of one of them. Coll. McLean and I were to get here from New York to Boston and after Sattling maters he went Back to New York, Major Small was necessarily Detaind at Boston as his Servise was most wanted there. I as oldest Capt was order'd to this Place to Superintend and Command all the recruiting Partys in this Province and I have my hands so full to Do that I have Scarce time to write you this leter, but in Short you will Draw my Half Pay as usuall to the 24th June last as our Commissions was not out then which I hope will Bring you and I upon a parr or at lest very near it. You will be pleased when you receive this Let me have a little state of our affairs, if you should be appointed agent for our Regiment as I hope you may, and I Continue paymaster, we shall have a good deal more dealings; for I dont doubt in the Least but our Regiment will be kept up after this wicked wanton and Unnatural Rebellion is quiet. I have no news but what you hear from the publick prints, we are informed by the Last vessels from Boston, that the Rebels were preparing to storm that town and the whole army seems to wish they did as they would meet with such a warm Reception as I hope it would put an end to this of all other wars the most disagreeable to all officers and men in the British Army; time will not permit me to write any more but that I am with sincere reguard and Esteem Sir Your real friend & Humble Servt.


To MESSRS. WALTER & THOs. BUCHANNON.

4th Novemr 1775

GENTLEMEN -

I should have done myself the pleasure to write to you and many of my good and worthy friends at New York if I was not afraid that you are holding a Correspondance with so odious a person as I must be to your Congress, might be ill Constructed by them, but I am determined to say nothing about politicks, I can only declare with truth, that I feel as much for the unhappy State of America and the miseries that I foresee they are to suffer, should they Continue obstinate, as the parliament of Great Brittain has at Last formed a resolution to reduce this unhappy though once the happiest Country in the world to a due subordination and obedience to their Laws, and they have Ingeaged all powers in Europe, not only to stand neuter during the Contest but to afford them every asistance they should have occasion for and a great number of foreign troops are Landed in England. It is thought by this time, the greatest preparations are Making by Sea and Land, that ever was known in England. I wish to god every vessel you have in the world were in the way of being taken into the Kings Service, as I believe it Would be the most profitable and saifest way in my Opinion you could employ them, and if you can think of any way that I can be of Service to you, point it out to me and you may depend on my endeavours to serve you. I have no news to trouble you with further, only we hear from Canada that a smart ingeagment has happened between Brigadr Prescot Commanding His Majestys troops at St Johns East End of Lake Champlain and Mr Schuyler and Mr McGimery whom you Call Generals, and who has been most Severely drubbed by General Prescott and one thousand of their men killed dead on the Spot whether this account be true or false, I do not know, but I have seen a very minute Circumstantial account of it in three diffrent Letters to Gentlemen in this town, there is a fleet of twelve ships and Six thousand men is hourly expected if not already Landed In Boston, one of the men of war arrived here the day before Yesterday, who brought all the news I have wrote you from Europe - - Mr James McDonald drew on you in favour of Capt William McLeod for all the ballance due of the Eight hundred pounds he had Lodged in your hands and he has since sent an order to my wife to receive the money, either from Captn McLeod or you, in case you had Not paid it to Captn McLeod and the moment we receive an account of Mrs McDonald being in possession of the money, I shall satisfy Mr McDonald here, I should be glad of having the pleasure of hearing from you, and know how matters are going on there, we are told that a great number of the people of Long Island has taken up arms for the Crown, and joined Governor Tryon, but there is such a multitudes of falshoods Going about that we can scarce believe any thing but what we See with our Eyes or hear with our Ears.

Pray for god sake Let me know, why the people of New York and thereabouts has pronounced Sentance of death on me, is it because I would not offer such violence to my honour and Conscience as to falsify my oath of fidelity and allegiance and take up arms against a Master whom I have served for thirty years and in a Cause of which I always entertained a bad Opinion and always beleived, and does now, that it will terminate in the destruction of the Authors of it, for which I am very sorry, they should Merit the treatment I am afraid they will meet with, I am not an Enemy to any individual upon Earth, nor have a Grudge against any, and I dont wish to meet my friends or old acquaintanes in a place where they or I must fall, yet I am determined to be true to the trust reposed in me, and discharge my duty with honour or as Long as I Live and Whoever Criminal the friends of the Congress may think this Conduct in me, why should an innocent woman with her Children be troubled as my wife was soon after my Coming away from Staten Island. A parcel of fellows went to my house with more than Savage rudeness, rummaged the house as they pretended for arms, swore they would have me dead or alive, and frightned her out of her Senses, by whose order they went, I am not able to Learn, but whoever ordered them he is not a sound pollitician for I think he had better secure my friendship than by this behavior making me a more Inveterate Enemy than otherwise I might be. The affairs of America are far from being settled and it is as hard to know how Matters will turn out, and upon the whole I think they might as well make me a friend as force me to be a more inviterate Enemy than otherwise I should incline to. I'll Cut short and Say No more on this Subject, but that I wish to god a Mode of reconciliation between Great Brittain & her Colonies Consistent with the dignity and Grandeur of Great Brittain as well as the intrest and happiness of America -

Give my kind and affectionate Compliments to both your Ladies and such of my own friends as you think will be glad to hear when I am well, I am with Sincere reguard,

Your friend and well wisher.


To MAJOR SMALL.

Halifax 5th Novemr 1775

DR MAJOR

After what I already have wrote by Ensign McDonald I can have but Litle to say now, only that I can miss no opportunity of writing to you, and repeat what I so often asked for before vizt a general Warrant to receive Money when it is wanted and to send down from boston If possible the Cloathing of some of those Regments going home, and a great Many other Necessarys, in Case you dont Expect the Cloathing of the Regiment Soon, and for godsake send me a List of the Captains and subalterns appointed to Each Captain as it is Impossible to Make out Monthly Returns, or do any thing Else with any degree of Regularity till we are formed Into Some sort of order. I have formed the Men here Into Companies as you desired, one Company for YrSelf one for me, and a third for, Captn Campbell I reckon the Men he has with him, in the strength of these three Companies. I made out a sort of monthly return for Col Gorham, In the best Manner I Could a Copy of which I send you Inclosed. I reckon Each Captn own Recruits in their own Companys, and I Keep a seperate book for Each Companys Accounts. As I have no opportunity but very seldom of writing to Coll McLean you will be pleased to Let him know what we are about - and send him a Copy of this Return if You think it proper. Pray send down the Doctor, the QrMaster & the adjutant, and Every man Serjeants Corporals Drummers & private you can Scrape together. Send Some Drumms and phifes as I have got a parcel of fine pretty boys to be taught, if the Yankees has attacked the town I hope to receive good news farewell God bless you & believe me to be.


To MAJOR SMALL.

Halifax 15th Novemr 1775

DR MAJOR

This Will be delivered you by Serjeant Dutchin of the 65th Regiment, Captn Batt is arrived salfe at Last, and brought me forty nine men, which with five more, that Mr McKinnon inlisted at diffrent times makes out fifty four which he has inlisted. I continue them under his Command 'till I hear from you and know whether he is to be a Captain Or not, and I must say, if he is not, that he is unjustly dealt with, his former Services, his activity in getting so many men and his personal qualifications Entitles him to a Company. Mr McDonald of Glenaladale staid behind at Newfoundland and by the Last accounts from him he and one Lt Fitzgerald had Six and thirty men. I dont doubt by this time his having as many more, he is determined to make out his Number Cost what it will, and I hope you will make out a Commission in his brother Donald's name. You was pleas'd In one of your Letters, to Express your great hopes and Expectations from the Clann of McDonalds. I wish with all my heart we Could bring together the Number that was proposed of them, and I am much mistaken if you would have any Cause of repenting any favour you could do one of them. I wish to god you may get A parcel of good Serjeants and Corporals out of the Army, and if his Excellency General How should approve of it, I think it would be Consistent with the good of the service to distribute our Awkward men among the diffrent Regiments In the whole Army, they could much sooner disciple a few in each Chore than we can bring the whole to any sort of order, or make them fit for Service and by giving us right discipled men in return we might be formed and ready to enter upon any Service, with the Rest of His Majestie's troops - In order I suppose that they may all have a throw at the dice for their Rank when they Come together and by that means Alexr McDonald will probably have the good Look to be the very Youngest of them Notwithstanding Major Smalls promise and Colonel McLeans both to the Contrary, and indeed Under Coll McLeans hand write in the beating orders he gave me I shall write however to General How and make a clear representation of all my past services and the trouble I have taken with this affair from first to Last and if his Excellency grants me no sort of redress I will by all thats good and Sacred Lay an Humble Memorial at the foot of the throne setting forth all the Scandalous partialities that are used in the Army and how the Selling and buying of Commissions are become a mere traffick when a Captn in the Army Sells his Commission he sells his rank by what means or justice any Such shall come over the heads of old Captns Lieutenants and people who has served above thirty years in the army from first to Last. I am far from blaming Major Dunbar for accepting of a Commission of the oldest Captain of a Chore and he is a man that I have the Sincerest reguard for and the highest opinion of his merit, and I believe is worthy of every promotion in the Army without any prejudice to others but if he were my own brother I Could not help Complaining at this time. I must Confess that I am prettily Served Indeed, for my Loyalty and attachment to government for my Long Services above thirty years for running all Last winter on business of this Regiment and at Last forsaking my wife and children whom I Left destitute of Money or any other releif and now not in my power to releive her insulted and ill treated on my account to Such a degree that the very Last Letters I had from her, gives an account of her having miscarried after Six Months gone with Child through Mere heart break discontent and villains round about her threatening to do this and that burning the house and I do not know what I am afraid its impossible to get her from there this winter and its as impossible for me to remit her any money without you can think of some ways or Means of remitting her forty or fifty pounds Stirling. Charge it to my Account for Subsistance. I'll trouble you no more only to Let you know that I beleive I'll draw upon you for a few more Dollars. I am sorry to tell you Serjt SinClair Serjt McArthur and one Corpl McQuinn a rascal I inlisted here all three Highlanders are the most unruly drunken rascals I have in the whole recruits and I was obliged to Lay hands on McMillan even before I brought him to some order. McArthur and SinClair fought the other day and were both Confined after they got Sober was kept one night in the guard I gave them both a severe reprimand and desired them to forgive one another and Make friends. McArthur insisted on a Court Martial. I told them they may both depend on being broke and may be receive Corporal punishment besides when I told them what A pretty figure two highland Serjeants would shew to all the rascals in this place stripped at the whipping post after being broke and I swore to them by a most violent oath that it Certainly would be the Case if they did not forgive one another and promise never to be guilty of the Like again finding I was in Earnest and their honours touched up a Litle they thought proper to Setle Matters amongst themselves and are now upon their good behaviour. What trouble I have with them all god knows but I would think nothing of trouble in promoting the Service did I meet but with Common justice. I have thirty or forty however of men fit to do duty in any garrison if they were Clothed. Though the ground is all over Covered with deep Snow here we have them out thrice a day while the weather is fair and I asure you they fully Surpass my Expectations at first and their behaviour begins to be pretty decent - the bearer of this is Lieutt Blecher of the 65th Regiment a young gentlemen worthy of your Acquaintance and one that I could wish above all I know to be a Lieutenant and Adjutant in any Chore that I had any connection with as I know him to be equal in that duty as any I know in his Majesties Service.

Ranold McKinnan swears he will sell all the men he has raised to Coll Gorham and return all the money he received of us. Pray who is this John Naron that is appointed Captain in our Regiment. I would be glad to know what number of men he has raised and I think Mr Alexr Campbell is pretty well rewarded for breaking his Leggs the 17th and with Submission to your better judgment I think Ranold McKinnon had a better title to the Captn Lieutenancy at Least than Daniel Robinson as for all the McDonalds in America they may Curse the day that was born as being the means of Leading them to ruin from my Zeal and attachment for government poor Glanaldall I am afraid is Lost as there is no account of him since a small Schooner Arrived which brought an account of his having Six & thirty men then and if he should Not be Lost he is unavoidably ruined in his Means all those up the Mohawk river will be tore to pieces and those in North Carolina the same so that if Government will Not Consider them when Matters are Settled I think they are ill treated. McNeil McLean came down here I believe fully determined to Call me out as he says for writing to you or General How that he was going to join the Rebells which you know I never did only what you know he told me out of his own mouth that he was going to Quebec by the way of Fort Cumberland through the woods at which time I told him that he Certainly would be taken up by the Rebells as it was reported at that time that fifteen hundred of them was upon that very communication and that I thought it was best for him to go by the island of St Johns join Captn Frazer & Lt Fletcher who were then recruiting on that Island and with them he might go to Quebec as they had a transport there. He said no he would go much quicker through the woods and as for the Yankys he was not afraid of them that he could make his way through them. He seemed to be very angry with Coll McLean for not giving him a Company. From these circumstances I could not but Entertain a strange Notion of his behaviour and I told him since he came here Last that his asking Leave of G How to go to Quebec by the way of N York together with what passed between him and I before was enough to render him Suspicious to Every body he might Say or think what he would. I suppose the Surgeon of the Regt will think it hard to pay 3 S a day to the Gentleman who attends our Men here and yet I Cannot bear to See the Men die for the want of Asistance pray what is the admiral and his fleet about here is the whole Coast Invested with privateers all the way up to the river St Lawrence and I believe all the people upon the Island of St Johns are Ruined they have Landed there destroyed Governor Pattersons house took Lt Governr Mr Cole Beck and others prisoners and I suppose there is no going betwixt this and Boston with Salfety they have taken several Schooners and Vessells and I am afraid poor McDonald is fallen into their hands. Its reported there is 44 privateere ships brigs & schooners fitted out on the whole Continent - for god sake send some Cloath made or unmade for the men who are most of them Starving for the want of it. I Cannot recollect any more I am Dr Sir

Your Humble Servt


To GENL HOWE.

Halifax 30th 9ber '75

SIR

Though I have not the honr to be known to you I beg Leave to trouble your Excellency at this time with an Narration of facts part of which I think are Grievances. I have Served My King & Country now going on thirty one Years and have been in the most active Services during the Last war both on the Continent of America and in the west indies and was Severely wounded, was reduced a Captain Lieutenant of the Late 77th Regiment which was Commanded by Coll M'Gomery Now Lord Eglinton having Settled in America after the Reduction and when it was apprehended that Millitary force was required to inforce the Stamp Act. I then in the year 1766 made offer of my Service to General Gage. Last October was a year when I found the people of America were determind on Rebellion, I wrote to Major Small desiring he would acquaint General Gage that I was ready to join the Army with a hundred as good men as any in America, the General was pleased to order the Major to write and return his Excellency's thanks to me for my Loyalty and spirited offers of Service, but that he had not power at that time to grant Commissions or raise any troops; however the hint was impproved and A proposal was Sent home to Government to raise five Companies and I was in the mean time ordered to ingeage as many men as I possibly Could. Accordingly I Left my own house on Staten Island this same day year and travelled through frost snow & Ice allthe way to the Mohawk river, where there was two hundred Men of my own Name, who had fled from the Severity of their Landlords in the Highlands of Scotland, the Leading men of whom most Chearfully agreed to be ready at a Call, but the affair was obliged to be kept a profound Secret till it was Known whether the government approved of the Scheme and otherwise I could have inlisted five hundred men in a months time, from thence I proceeded straight to Boston to know for Certain what was done in the affair when General Gage asur'd me that he had recommended it to the Ministry and did not doubt of its Meeting with approbation. I Left Boston and went home to my own house and was ingeaging as Many men as I Could of those that I thought I Could intrust but it was not possible to keep the thing Long a Secret when we had to make proposals to five hundred men; in the Mean time Coll McLean arrived with full power from Government to Collect all the Highlanders who had Emigrated to America Into one place and to give Every man two hundred Acres of Land and if need required to give Arms to as many men as were Capable of bearing them for His Majestys Service. Coll McLean and I Came from New York to Boston to know how Matters would be Settled by Genl Gage: it was then proposed and Agreed upon to raise twenty Companies or two Battalions Consisting of one Lt Colonl Commandant two Majors and Seventeen Captains, of which I was to be the first, or oldest Captain and was Confirmed by Coll McLean under his hand writeing in the beating order he gave me. I now See by a List that came here of ten Companies that Coll McLeans, Major Smalls and Wm Dunbars Commissions are dated the 13th June and all the rest of the Captains dated the 14th, I suppose to Settle their Ranks when they Come together by a throw of the dice and I may have the good Look to be the youngest in place of the oldest Captain in the Regt Captn Dunbar Sold his Company Som'time agoe and of Course his rank of the Army the same time and I think it hard that he should be now put over my head after all my Services, and the trouble I have taken from first to Last about this Regiment. I am now going on to fifty Years of Age and if my Loyalty and Long Services are to be rewarded In this Manner I have but a poor Chance of dying a field officer. I am far from blaming Major Dunbar for accepting of the oldest Company I know he has merit to deserve Every promotion that Can be given him. without prejudice to others, there are few people I wish better than he but if it were my own brother I Could not help Complaining this time. I beg Your Excellency's pardon for this trouble and with Calm Submission wait for your Excellency's determination in the affair and I am with due reguard & Esteem Your Excellency's Most Obedt and Most Humble Servt__

P.S. I Refer Your Excellency for a Character of Me to Brigadr Grant under whose Command I had the honr to Serve before Now.


To GENL GRANT.

Halifax 3d Xber 1775

SIR.

I should long Eer now have done myself the pleasure of writing to you, had I any thing of the Least Importance to Communicate and knowing that at this time you've other things to think of of much greater Consequence than any thing I could write from this place, what induces me to trouble you at this time, is to Sollicit your kind interposition with G How to redress a peice of Injury done to me in reguard to my Rank in this Regiment. Besides my Long Services of about one & thirty years, I have taken more pains about the raising of this Chore than any other person Concernd in it. I have Sacrificed my wife & four Children & all I had in the world to Contribute all in my power for the Service of my King & Country. I was promised to be the oldest Captain in this Regiment and now I find that Major Wm Dunbar is put over my head, a Gentleman who a few years agoe Sold his Company and of Course his Rank and I think it very hard and very unjust that he should take rank of me, notwithstanding I have a Sincere Reguard for him and think him worthy of every Step that can be given him without prejudice to others; this is the Grievance that I Complain of, and You're the only officer of rank in the Army that I have the Least dependance upon I hope you'll Use your Intrest to See me Redressed. I will not incroach upon Your patience any further if I Can be of any Service to you in this province You may freely Command me, and believe me to be with Sincere Reguard and Esteem - Sir

Your Most Obedt and
Most Humble Servant


To MAJOR SMALL.

3 Xber 1775

DR MAJOR

Since my Last of the 29th per favor of Lt Blecher of the 65th Brigr Genl Massey with the 27th Regimt Arrived here from Ireland, he was informed soon after his Landing that our Chore was without either Cloathing or Commissions, the design of this report I suppose was to make us as mean as possible how soon I heard it I ordered Ensigns Hambleton and Roberts to dress themselves as well as they Could, put their Commissions in their pockets & Come along with me as they were the only two who has got Commissions. I brought them to the General told him that such a report had come to my Ears and that I brought these Gentlemen to him to Convince him that we had Commissions and Cloathing both and that we were as much a Chore as any other under the Crown and hope we should meet with the Same treatment with any other: he behaved with the Uttmost politeness, begged of me to take no Notice of it and that I might depend upon every kind usage in his power as much as any other under his Command, but I have been Informed Since from Good Authority that there is Another Motion in Agitation vizt to Send Coll McLeans Chore bodily up to Windsor 45 miles off to be Lodged in Barracks not fit for hoggs and Impossible to be Repaired in any other Manner than to knock them down and to build them anew N B the General Lodges at the Governers house & you know I disobeyed a particular Gentlemans orders before in this respect. You see how far people in high Stations Can Carry their Resentment however I shall see General Massey and represent Matters to him in Such a Light as I hope will put a stop to this project - you know as well as I the Situation we are in, in want of Cloathing and Every thing Else that a Soldier ought to have, of Course very Unfit to travel 45 miles. I would write to Angius McDonald if I was Not in Expectation of seeing him every moment. Since I began to write this Letter who should appear but Mr Quin your Surgeon's Mate that deserted. I have ordered him to the blackhole and to be hand Cufft till I know what General Massey will order to be done he insists that he ingeaged on Condition to be Surgeons Mate and indeed the Letter you sent down by himself to me recommends him in the Strongest terms to be a Surgeons Mate and in your Letter by SinClair you tell me that it was an Entire Mistake and a thing you never Meant - how to deal with him I do not know, its my opinion he will get Clear. I wish to god you would get yourself disingeaged from one half of the multiplicity of business you have in hands and save Sometime to pay some attention to the affairs of this Regt if it is to be one 'tis reported here, for Certain that they are to be without rank or pay, this Account Come from very Good Authority in boston. I will Say no more but that I Am Dr Major Your most distressed humble Servt.


To GENL MASSEY.

Halifax 4th Xber 1775

SIR

This Morning I understood that an officer was ordered to windsor to Examin the state of the barracks there that they Might be repaired in order to receive the four Companies of Coll McLeans Regiment here. I am ready to march wherever You think proper to order me, but I think its my duty to inform you of the state of our men, we are without Cloathing of any Kind, nor Necessaries no Knapsacks, no haversacks, shirts, shoes, stockings, in short every thing that a Soldier ought to have, except the rags they had on when they inListed and we want sixty stand of Arms to Compleat us. Mr Morden told me there was no Cartouch boxes to be had at all, this is our Situation at present but Expects all our Cloathing Every hour having Certain intelligence of its being put on board at Glascow about the begining of Septemr Last. Governor Legg issued an order in Council for Captn Batt of Coll Gorhams and Myself to march to Windsor at a time when each of us had not above one dozen of Men both of us refused to go, not Looking upon ourselves as a part of this Garrison to do duty being without Cloathing, Arms or discipline the Governor was mightily affronted and spoke to Captn Batt and me both in terms we did not expect from a Gentleman in his high Station, he wrote to General Gage and we did the Same, our Conduct was approved of & the Governor was ordered to Let us alone. About a month agoe I went up to Windsor with Lieut Spaight of the 65th and Lieut Smelt of the 14th we went on purpose to review the barracks and found them unfit to shelter a dog a Gentleman had a reguard for and in my opinion out of the power of the best Carpenters in America to repair them in any other way than knocking them down and making them up a new; if the barracks were as good as they are here or any way tenantable I would as soon Live there as in this town. This is the Situation of our Chore which is most Humbly represented to your Consideration.

I am Sir Your Most obedt Humble Servt


To CAMPBELL & JAS. McDONALD.

Halifax 24th december 1775

GENTLEMEN

A few days agoe a paquet arrived from England, with Letters to Governor Legg Impowering him to raise a thousand men in this province, in Consequence of which we are stopt from Recruiting till further orders both Colonel Gorhams and Our Regiment, but these men of the Governors are to be only as Provincial Millitia, these officers not Entitled to rank or half pay, it is my orders therefore that you do Immediately repair to this place with what men you have, but should you have any information about the deserters you are to use your uttmost Endeavours to apprehend them, you may tell all those that are any ways inclined to Inlist with us Espescialy all the Scotch men that they will Certainly be forced to inlist with the Governor as he has Declared Martial Law and the best thing they can do is to go to the island of St Johns as soon as the weather will permit in the Spring and Upon a Second Thought I think one or both of you should Remain in the Country on purpose to Sound the people and Espescialy as I am Certain you can Live much Cheaper there than in town, in the mean time one of you should come in to Receive more particular Instructions, you are to be very watchfull and diligent to find out all you can Concerning the Rebels and the Sentence as to of the people in the Country of which you are to make a true and faithfull report you will miss No opportunity of writing or even sending one of your Men Express if need requires it after you have perused this Letter Throw it in the fire, I am Gentlemen

Yours Sincerely


TO MAJOR SMALL.

Halifax 24th decemr 1775

DEAR MAJOR.

Two days agoe a paquet arrived here from falmouth in Old England with dispatches to Governor Legg with full power and instructions to raise a thousand men, for which Arms Clothing & Camp Equipage is hourly Expected they are to be paid by Government during their Service but not Entitled to Rank or half pay this is in Consequence of Governor Leggs Representations of Last August to General Gage and backed by General Gage to the ministry and it remains no Longer a Secret why he used his uttmost Endeavours to frustrate the Service that we were upon and we are now by publick orders from General Massey strictly forbid to inlist a man till further Orders which will be a great Loss to our Corps as I Expected to inlist fifty men against May day and if the Governor will raise three hundred men in three years I will Give my head for a foot ball. Colonel Gorham told me that he had orders when he Left Boston to take four hundred of the Millitia of this town under his Command as it was then Reported it seems to the Commander in Chief that such A Number was doing duty here which was a base falshood as there never was to my knowledge above forty or fifty of them together on one parade they mounted guard here for about five or Six Days in September or October Last, since which I Never Saw three of them together. I hope you will use your Uttmost Endeavours to obtain an order from General How for going on with our Service as we are much more Likely to be Successfull than Governor Legg and I dare say at Least will prove as Serviceable. I also hope that you will not fail to represent our Success to General Gage and the Ministry at home. If I am properly Supported, and the officers has their Commissions, transports and provisions at Command as early as the weather will permit in the Spring to go to Newfound Land I will Ingeage to Compleat the Regiment, but I must not be Crampt for these Articles and Money as I am at present with a full power and a positive order from the Commander in Chief to the Governor or Commanding Officer In Newfound Land that we shall meet with no hindrance or Mollestation whatsoever in Carrying on the Service which must be had else we do nothing. I must say that no man was ever Used worse than I am for want of the Necessary asistance there is about fourteen or fifteen hundred pound Sterling wanting to Clear the two hundred men and the officers here on the Spot together with the Expences backward & forward to New found Land transporting the men here. The men are grumbling and Not without great Reason indeed, no Cloathing no pay, if they were to desert to a man to Morrow what will you do to them you cannot even so much as find fault with them and here I am without power to draw money nor a regular warrant to receive money from the paymaster General, obliged to run the risque of my neck borrowing money in order to Endeavour to keep them together. I have been Expecting the Cloathing this four weeks past together with the quarter Master, adjutant & Surgeon at the Regiment together with Every other Relief that was wanting but I am hitherto Disapointed and we are all hands alarmed and frightned that some Accident has happend at Boston not having heard from you in a Long time. I have Levelled the men here into five Companies of forty men each and given the Command of two of the Companies to John McDonald and Ranold McKinnan as Captains. I dare say our Regiment is Six hundred strong now every where they are. I will say no More but god send me good accounts from you and I ever am Dr Major

Yours Sincerely.


To MAJOR SMALL.

Halifax 29th december 1775

DR MAJOR

Since writing my Last of date 24th I have to acquaint You that Ensign Hamilton has taken in his head to forsake our Regiment, for being a Lieutenant and Adjutant in this Regiment of Millitia that Governor Legg is Going to raise and he Expects that General How will allow him to Sell his Ensigncy in Ours, for which he Expects to get three hundred pound. If this is to be the Case we may Expect nothing but Changing and Chaping of Officers every day. People will get Liberty of making a trade of getting Commissions and Selling them as for his going out of the Regiment I would not hinder him a bit. I hope in God that our Second Battalion Commissions are out not only that but that two Companies more will be added to Each Battalion and I hope a fourth field officer. I gave you a hint before of my Eldest boy being twelve years of age and that I have seen Officers Children even bastards get Commissions at three years of age, witness Lt Colonel Alexander Campbell at the havannah and I think it would Not be adoeing a great deal of injustice either to the Regiment or the Army to give My Child an Ensigncy. My old friend General Grant will join his Intrest in this with Yours in procuring it. In reguard to getting Men Ranold McKinnan and John McDonald asures me that they will get five hundred Men in NfLand If they are properly Supported, in the first place they must have there Commissions, transports, with provisions, a beating order Signed by the Commander in Chief, worded in the Strongest terms, requiring and Commanding the Governor or Commanding Officer in NfLand and all Magistrates to give their Outmost asistance. Had this been done Last Summer as I often required we might have had five hundred men more than we have. I am in haste, Dr Major yours Sincerly

Return to Index