ROYAL HIGHLAND EMIGRANTS
June and July, 1776
To COL. MACLEAN.
Halifax Jun. 5th 1776
I was greatly Surpriz'd at not having the Pleasure of receiving a Letter from you by the Niger Man of War, being the first Opportunity from that Place, and brought in the Agreeable Account of Quebec's being still in yr Possession, and also of your own Welfare and Promotion to the important Station of Adjutant General; as you had Leisure to write two Letters to Major Small, I am at a Loss to account for your Neglect to me; knowing myself to be next to yourself and Major Small the only One who is taking the greatest Pains and contributed to the Interest and good of the Regiment, and as I had the Command of the Men, and the Management of their Accts. I thought you might have Something to Say to me concerning the Affairs of the Regt and I am heartily Sorry that I am prevented as well as the whole Part of the Regt here, from seeing you and giving you an Account of our whole Conduct together in Person; notwithstanding we have memorial'd the General to go upon Service, especially to Canada in Preference to any where else, but in Place of meeting with the Desire of our Petition a Detachment of our People with two Lieutenants, Capt. McKinnon with three Subalterns 3 Serjts and 100 Rank and File is station'd at Fort Edward; a Serjt and twelve Men at Fort Sackville, and I am to be left here with the Remainder, God knows how long! In the mean time we are to be form'd into two Battalions, the first Battn to consist of all those Officers who recd Commissions fm General Gage, and the Secd Batt of those who recd their Commissions fm Genl Howe, and I believe what is here of the first Battn would have been sent if it was not thought that the Army already arriv'd at Quebec was quite Sufficient to act in that Quarter, and I believe Genl Howe will bring along with himself all the Men he can possibly carry from this Place; as we are new Levees will be left here, to take Care of the Dockyard, with two Battns of the Marines; Coll Gorman and his People are going to garrison Fort Cumberland, but what Signifies where we go, when we are disheartened by the Cruel Acct that we are to be turn'd about our Business when these Troubles are over without Rank, or half Pay. The Non-Commission'd Officers and Private of this Regt will be ten thousand times better off than the Officers, they'll have their Discharges and the Lands that's promised them. It's reported that Coll Gorman was told by Lord's North and Dartmouth before he left England that he was not to expect Rank or half Pay for the Regiment he was going about to raise, and he is highly and very deservedly censur'd by his Officers, for not having acquainted them with the footing they were to be upon. I am sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied with some of the Appointments but may be you are misinform'd in regard to Some of them; those that have the least Connexion with me I dare venture to say will never bring a Blush in your Face or mine and the Day has been that the McLeans and McDonalds look'd upon themselves as one and the same; at any Rate in the Situation we are like to be in I think it does not Matter much who is or who is not an Officer in the Regiment. Glen a la Del is an Ornament to any Corps that he goes into and if the Regiment is not establish'd it had been telling him 300 Guineas that he had never heard of it, On Account of his Affairs upon the Island of St John's and in Scotland where he was preparing to go to settle his Business when he receiv'd the Proposals. By the last Accounts from the Highlands, Lieut. James McDonalds Br Boystell has Rais'd 36 fine Fellows and has sent them to Greenock to embarque with Fraziers or the Royal Highland Regiment to this Country and will raise as many more if it wou'd be the Means of procuring his Brother a Company. I do assure you there is not a more vigilant or a more careful Officer in the Regt - Before Genl Howe arriv'd with the Army from Boston I found a Grenadier and Light Infantry Company neither of which are Inferior to any two Companies in the Army, hoping that we were going upon Some honorable Service; I took the Grenadier Company to myself and gave the Command of the Light Infantry to Ranold McKinnon, these Appointments however were to be 'till your Pleasure was known, having obtain'd Major Small's Leave to do it, but it seems we are to continue in an Inactive State. Major Small will no Doubt inform you of the State of all Affairs more fully than I can and that he has taken his Option of being Major to the Regt in Preference to his Company in the 21st and all other Appointments, hoping that the Regt will yet be Establish'd and it is my Wish that we were all together, as we would make a more formidable Appearance than being Scatter'd as we are. I am heartily Sorry to hear that a Capt. of our Regt should be surpriz'd upon his Post, when you were attack'd the 31st of Decr last and it grieves me to hear that it should be Capt McLeod, I wou'd much rather hear of his being kill'd. The whole Army here is embarqued and Sail in two days, their Destination is unknown, but all of us believe that it is for New York. I will not trouble you with any more News being all I have to inform you of at present wishing you all manner of happiness & Success, I remain Dr Sir
Yr most Obedt & most hble Servt
P.S. I forgot to tell you that a Detachment of our Regt is order'd to Newfoundland consisting of 2 Subalterns 3 Serjts 2 Drumers and 40 Rank and file.
TO MRS. MACDONALD.
My DR SUSANAH.
I have wrote you so lately that I have but little to say at present, only to inform you that I am in perfect good Health, but greatly disappointed in being forc'd to stay here and depriv'd of the Pleasure I promis'd myself of seeing you and the Childn; however the time cannot be far distant, when I shall have that Pleasure either by coming to see you or you to me. Major Small will inform you why it was found absolutely necessary to leave me here, and you shall follow his Advice how you are to act in Regard to coming here or Remaining where you are, if the Rebels will be defeated which no Doubt will be the Case you shall have all the Protection you can wish for, and Shou'd you form a firm Resolution at any Rate to come here Genl Howe will order a Transport or a Man of War to take you & yr Family a Board and carry you to this Place. Shou'd that be the Case lay out all the Money you can Scrape in the World in Stock, Sheep, Lambs, Hogs, Fowls &c. If the deluded Multitude should presume to oppose the Kings troops the Slaughter must be terrible as the Numbers now going against them to that one Spot will be no less than 30,000 of the best Troops in Europe. 16000 are landed already in Canada and I suppose by this Time 20,000 Canadians and Indians have join'd them, when these will begin to burn, scalp and destroy the back Settlements what will become of this miserable distracted Country. It is a Wonder to me that the People have not already destroy'd their Ring leaders. In Case of your moving here, I think Mr Reiley would be the most proper Person to give the Charge of the Farm and ev'ry thing you leave behind to. You can give him one Year's Lease of it. I only wait here till Capt Murdoch M'Lean of our Regt arrives from England who will take Charge of the Regt off of my Hands, and then I'll be at Liberty to come to you; but that needs not Stop your Coming if your Inclination leads you, and I sent James M'Donald to assist you in getting a Board and accompany you here, there is scarce an officer in the Army but begs me to give them a Letter for you and tells me they'l be happy in doing you all the Service in their Power; all you have to do is to treat them all with the utmost Civility. Shou'd you be at a Loss for Want of Rum, Sugar, Tea or Wine the Merchants that follows the Army will give you what little things of that kind you'll want, and they'll readily take an Order upon me in Pay. James M'Donald will introduce the Gentlemen of my Acquaintance that will probably see you. Keep the Childn always clean and well dress'd and you must appear in yr best Colours yourself; should Genl Howe or any of the Genl officers have Occasion for the great House it must be given up to them. I here say you may have 200 Guineas a Yr for it. Lieut. Wm Spaight of the 65th Regt will wait upon you and as he is an Assistant Deputy QrMr General he'll tell you what Rent to ask in Case the House was wanted, he is a very honest, worthy, clever Man and will go any length to serve me or mine, you may be advis'd by him as much as any One I know. Keep the Old Gentleman always at a Distance from you, and never let him again appear in the House. I'm sorry to tell you we have bad Accounts of Capt McLeod at Quebec; he suffer'd himself to be surpriz'd upon his Guard and himself and his Guard taken Prisoners by the Rebels the Night that Montgomery attack'd the Town and was kill'd, and what is still worse it's Said he was mortal drunk, had I heard an Acct of his Death it would not have given me half so much Pain. I have no Time to write more. My kind Love to all good friends; kiss the Childn from me and believe me forever to be yours.!
To GENL HOWE.
Tho I find the footing, I am on at present, irksome from its unpromising Prospect, & tho from Your Excellency's Rank & Character, you are the Personage, to whom I would naturally look up for any relief, it might require, or reasonably Admitt of; yet, Sensible, that Amidst the Weight of publick Affairs, which Occupy'd Your Mind, it would have been improper to trouble you while here, I take the Liberty of laying My Case before You in this manner & time, humbly persuaded, that if any thing worthy your Attention will happily Occurr, you will be pleased to forgive the freedom & in that event also will experience in You the Patron of An Old Soldier.
It is now going on thirty two Years since I enter'd the Service, in the Course of which I lost many Chances, tho I Underwent All the Vicissitudes, fatigues & dangers that commonly fall to the Share of a Man without Money or any Considerable Interest. However as I enjoy'd, so I flatter Myself I never deserve to forfeit, the Esteem & regard of my Superiour Officers. I was in the Most Active Scenes of the last war that were exhibited in the West Indies & the Southern Provinces of this Continent, was Sorely wounded, & After the Peace was reduced Captain Lieutenant of Coll Montgomery's.
After All this I married & Settled on Statten Island in the Province of New York, where from the Unhappy Spirit, that has Actuated the Americans for Years past I had frequent Opportunities of doing My Duty in defending the Authority of the Parent State over the Colonies as much As was possible for any private Subject - As far as my inferior judgement could enable me, I Made it My business to Observe wherein the root of the Evil lay, & the means fit for exterminating or Conquering it, Never doubting but Matters would proceed to the present Extremitys, if Not in My day, at Least Not at Any distant period - In time of the Stamps I offered Myself to the Commander in Chieff for any Service he might require, & thereafter began to prepare for taking the part I clearly saw my duty would demand & that Shortly too - In the Mean time the Methods, which have been but too Successfully Used to withdraw Other Unhappy half Pay Officers from their Allegiance, were Also applied to me
The Temptation of a very high Command, was held forth, but rejected with Indignation: that of peculiar Support & Interest from My American allies was offered would I but remain peaceable & neutral at home: to this I could not reconcile my Mind, while My King & Country were reviled, & their Laws treated with Contempt - And when I saw they were on the very point of Commencing the Rebellion, I wrote to Major John Small, who was Connected with me in all these Endeavours desiring he would inform General Gage that I would join the Army with 100 good men, how soon His Excellency would enable me by granting a Captains Commission - The General was pleased to order Major Small to return me his thanks for my Loyalty & Spirited offers, but that Nothing could be done till further orders from home - In the mean time this hint was farther improved & in place of 100, it was proposed to raise 500 Men to be Commanded by Major Small: to which I entered with the greatest Pleasure, & it being recommended home from the General we did not doubt its being Adopted. In Consequence I Sett off in the dead of Winter to the Mohawk River, where a Number of the Name of Macdonald are Settled with other Scots Emigrants, two hundred of whom Agreed to join me when called upon, with many Others I bespoke as I traversed the Country - From the Mohaw River I directed My Course for Boston thro' frost Snow & Ice, in the very worst weather that was - in the Winter, but arriving at Boston found nothing could be done untill the Answer from G Brittain was Come to hand, therefore returned home to Statten Island - In this Circuit of About Six or Seven hundred Miles I found the Spirit of Rebellion & treason blasing every where - The People constantly exercising themselves to Arms, Liberty Poles erected Allmost at every Mile end, but at same time I Met with Many Attached to Government, tho but few in the Comparison - Of all this I wrote to General Gage, & beg'd that the Place of Rendezvous for the new Corps Should be Crown point, that Myself might be Appointed Commandant of it, that All the Men we could get together should be collected there in the mean time - that others should be employed to goe round all the Country & engage As Many as possible & direct them to repair with all Speed to Crown Point where I should be ready to receive them - Had it been in General Gage's Power to agree to these Proposals, I am certain we would have had 5 or 600 men before the Country took the Alarm, to say Nothing of Others that would drop in from time to time Afterwards to Us, & the Countenance it would Afford to Steadiness for Government in that part, Ticanderoga & Crown Point would have been Still ours with all the Lives & Money that will have been lost from the Rebels Expedition Against it untill it shall have been retaken - But the Approbation of the Scheme of raising new Levys had not Arrived, & the Commander in Chieff could not proceed without it
However Major Small & I persisted in the Plan untill it was approved of, as that very time Col McLean happened to Arrive from Britain with Authority to treat with Emigrants in regard to raising in Arms for Government - Matters had by that time arrived to a very high pitch of resistance, & Our plan was every rendered More impracticable, but it was thought adviseable to raise As Many Men as possible by Any means - therefore General Gage joined Col McLean's Plan & Ours, ordering two Battalions of twenty Companies to be levied - of which Coll McLean was to be Lieut Col Commandant, & Major Small Major Commandant of the Second battalion - We have been doing our bout till now - But Notwithstanding Coll McLean's Assurances to Us at first it Appears very Uncertain whether We Shall have Rank or half pay - If so this is a most horrid Prospect to Us All, but Any one that can Will naturally wish to extricate himself - The Situation of my Young family in that event renders me now very Uneasy on the head - Therefore, If the Diligence we have Used, the Additional trouble & Expence we have Undergone uncommon in the case of Provincial Regiments, the Service which however a part of the Regiment has Allready performed, the Severe Services which the far greatest part of the Officers have formerly done, the good Effect of the Encouragement of this very plan May produce in different parts of the Continent, If all this Should in Your Excellencies Opinion be insufficient to procure the Establishment, I most humbly beg You will be pleased to remove me to an Old Corps when an opening occurrs.
To LT. S. BLISS.
Halifax 4th July 1776
Being apprehensive that, by this Time you will be in want of Cash I send inclosed a Bill of £60 Sterling on Captn Stephen Winthropp of the 65th Regimt who will pay you the Contents at 4/6 pr Dollar & you will be pleased by the very 1st Opportunity to send me a Rect for that sum Also to pay it out at 4/8 pr Dollar as you Shall be Charged with it at that rate. Pray let me hear from you by every Opportunity & be as Sparing in Drawing as you can as you must pay £5 pr Ct for whatever Money you draw there. I have no News to trouble you with, but wt Capt. Winthropp can Inform you of. Everything goes on Accord'g to our Wish in Canada All the Gentlemen desires to be Remembered to you & believe me to be Dr Sir Yrs
To MAJOR SMALL.
My DEAR MAJOR,
Tho' I have nothing extraordinary to inform you of Matters being chiefly in the same Situation as you left them Only that we are all well and now and then getting a Recruit. I am now alone with a Quarter Master a Lieut. and one Ensign. Captain John McDonald was obliged to go to the Island of St Johns to settle matters with his Tenants who are much Dissatisfied at his parting with them and are threatening to settle upon other peoples Lands and as he has been at great expence in bringing over & Settling these people, and they of course must be in his Debt it Became absolutely Necessary for him to go there & I cou'd Not refuse him a Months leave wth General Massys Approbation I sent Mr FitzGerald to Windsor in Room of Lieut James McDonald & Lieut Laughlin McLean with a Detachment of Thirty two men of our Regiment is Stationed at Fort Sackville so that we are pretty well dispersed and I suppose if it should be found Necessary to Send a Detachment to Annapolis or any other distant part of this Province I with my Company must March being the only remains of the Regimt now at Halifax - As the Rebels of this Province can do us no more harm than spredding False Reports we are daily alarmed with an Acco't of the Rebels having taken Fort Cumberland - Coll Gorham and all his people and they even go so far as to say they are between this and Windsor Genl Howe with all his Army has been cut to pieces in endeavouring to retake Boston before it was possible for him to be half way between that and this. False as these Villanous Reports are they are heard & listened to by Weak & Silly minds But the Accots we have lately recd from Canada of General Carltons Success has made some people here look very foolish.
God knows where this may find you or if ever it comes to your hand If it does and that Matters go right as I hope in God they will pray Don't forget my concerns there either send them to me or procure for me an order to go to them I cou'd wish with all my heart that the whole Regimt was ordered there As I expect, the first junction of Coll McLean will be in that Province. If there Should be no appearance or possibility of our Getting there Pray send all the Men and Officers you can here That we might make some formidable Appearance in one place or other. Don't Forget the Volunteer John McDonald In Case Mr Grant Shou'd be provided for in our old Regiment or any other Opportunity shou'd Offer. It's now more than a Month since you left this place & not a Single word of Information from you. If it was possible for you to form an Idea of our concern about you you wd still Steal one or two Moments of your Time from other Business to relieve our Anxiety by Writing two or three Lines.
TO THE ADMIRAL COMMAND'G AT NEWFOUNDLAND.
Major Small had the Honor of receiving your Excellency's Letter just when the greatest Part of the Fleet was Underway - The Circumstances of the Time rendered impracticable an Application to General Howe in regard to the Provision of the Women & Children of our Men in the Garrison of Fort William, but it was intended to present one how Soon as possible tho' it depends on many Events when he may be at leisure to think of inferior Matters - All the Woman & Children of the Army are Victualled at present, at the rate of half a ration to a Woman & a Quarter ration to a Child: Even Such of the Refugee Inhabitants from Boston, as are here, & chuse to have Rations, have the same given them - The Women and Children of our highlanders were Victualled before those of other Corps began to have that Benefit, and that from peculiar Circumstances, for they were Emigrants who had arrived in the Harbour of New York for to Settle in that Province, but lest they should be Constrained to join the rebels, Capt Vandeput would not permitt them to land, but sent them to Boston - We cannot say they were there forced into the Service, yet there was no other shift for them since they would not be allowed to goe to Settle in the Country, & it was promised them their wives & Children should have the Same Allowance with the others belonging to the Army, from which Indulgence they have been Victualled gratis While at Boston and here - The Party was ordered away on a Short notice to Newfoundland from this, & the General Appearing much employed in matters of greater Importance, & probably harrassed with a number of other Applications, it did not Occurr to us As proper to trouble him on a point, that had been hitherto indulged to us without Objection, otherwise it would have been duely ascertained before they left this place - We humbly Acknowledge your Excellency's Goodness in ordering them the rations in the mean time, on our being liable, untill the General's Pleasure is known, & beg the Continuance of the Same Untill he is in A Situation for being Applied to with Propriety - Mr. White is furnished with an exact Return of them. Permitt us likewise, Sir, to express the most feeling Sense of Gratitude for your Condescending & polite Reception of Lieut. Bliss & the Assistance you are pleased to offer him in the due Season for recruiting. We have undergone many difficulties in collecting a body of men for his Majesties Service at this critical time - If we have Suffered Many disappointments we have the satisfaction to reflect that whatever Success we have had, has been of material use to the Service in Several places & Occasions, but it is on the Countenance of His Majesty's Representatives that we must rely for to help us forward & as such, we beg leave, Sir, to place the greatest dependance on Your Goodness & Zeal - Whatever Restrictions you shall be pleased to put on Lieut. Bliss, he has our Strictest orders to conform himself to them, with the respect & obedience due to your Station, & the Gratitude arising from a Sense of your Goodness already experienced.
Tho, no doubt every article of Publick news will have been furnished to your Excellency from Authority, yet as the same is liable to delays & hazards, I beg leave to trouble You with the narrative of what I know.
Major General Eyre Massey, then Brigadier Genl commanded in this Garrisson all winter having arrived in the beginning of December - He has had under him, a Detachment of the 14th Regt the 27th, a detachment of the 65th, Col. Gorhams, and a detachment of our Corps, consisting of near 300 men - Before his Arrival there had scarcely any thing worth while been done towards fortifying the Town, & the winter with the Greatest part of the Spring was unfavourable to the Operations we were exceedingly apprehensive about the fate of Quebec, if it had fallen into the hands of the Rebels, we saw no room to doubt there would be an attack on this Province from this side of the Gulph which the tumultuous proceedings of the Inhabitants of Cumberland & other Townships, that had been Settled from New England & the North of Ireland, & were Sending Deputies to Cambridge, seemed to favour prodigiously - But every thing possible was doing in the Garrisson to prepare for the Worst & about the End of February we had the pleasure of hearing of the Repulse of the Rebels at Quebec, which afforded a Glimpse of hope that before the next Attack a relief might arrive there - We were likewise Under Some degree of Concern for Boston - In the beginning of April General Howe arrived there after the 47th Regt was Sent to Quebec. In the Meantime there were long no accounts from home that transpired to us, for any vessell that came, brought few Publick or Private Letters - we were at a loss what was the meaning of it, whether the loyal Party had forgot us, & were no more to think of us, or whether they were Disabled by the Opposition & that a revolt at home would place us between two fires - No certainty of Sir Peter Parkers Arrival at his destination, our friends to the Southward partly Killed, partly imprisoned & the remainder dispersed - the fate of Quebec as yet uncertain & in Short Britain only in Possession of the neck of the worst land in America, with a few troops which for part of the time had only a fortnight of Provisions to depend upon, the Seas around Swarming with Privateers nor was there Ships enough to Sink them, to say nothing of their bravadoes of equiping great fleets, the friends of Government low spirited, & the loud & insulting triumphs of its Publick enemies on the Continent not being more Stinging to us than the joy which appear'd thro' the gloom of the puritanical Countenances of their Secret abettors here.
At last the Niger arrives from Quebec, & besides the Dispatches to the General brought several Private Letters relating to matters there, the most full of which is the one of which the inclosed is a printed copy from a Brother of Mr Nathaniel Coffins - Likewise brought word She had met with Genl Burgoin in the River St. Laurence with the troops which Your Excellency knows embarked from Britain with him.
As General Howe had been all allong preparing to embark, he soon thereafter got ready, and sailed from hence to the Southward - it is more generally thought he is gone for New York, both from the prevailing notion of the Propriety of that destination & an order which was previously issued for any vessells that parted the fleet to repair to Sandy Hook, to receive further orders - I am told by a Gentleman just arrived from Jamaica, that he sailed in Company with one of the Regiments stationed on that Island & that its destination was for New York - from all this I doubt not but that the final destination is for New York tho' it is not certain but they may call in several places by the way - New York is undoubtedly well fortified by the Rebels as Genl Washington went there for that purpose immediately on the evacuation of Boston.
Genl Howe has brought at least 6000 from this place with eight weeks Provision on board each transport - Everything being in the best order & Disposition & the troops, good looking men, keen, & in good Spirits - The Day before he sail'd a transport with a hundred of the 42d came into the harbour, we are told that 8 more transports met the fleet at the mouth of the Harbour, which we Suppose were part of the remainder of the 42d & Genl Fraser's - The Officers of the transport that had come in, told that Lord Howe had Saild from Brittain with 300 Sail of Shipping & 12 or 14000 troops - We much wish & hope the fleet from this harbour may have fallen in with them betwixt & Nantasket Road, As in that case the Army & Navy will be truly formidable on the coast, & can afford for the sake of a decisive stroke to risk the losing 3 or 4000 & to have thereafter enough to maintain the Post wherever a prodigious body of the Rebels Shall have got together to make Resistance.
We are much divided in our Opinion of the Conduct which the Rebels shall hold on the Appearance of this armament - The one thinks they shall instantly desist & Sue for mercy the others that they look on themselves so far gone beyond the chance of Pardon as to fight desperately to the last Man - For my part I humbly think the Army arrived in Canada, will collect an equal number of Canadians, who will be fond to ingratiate themselves by all means, & with the Indians gained over by Presents and Influence, make a very great Impression on the back Settlemts down to Albany to join the Communication with the Army on the Coast, which will give triple weight to the Operations of this last; & after a few beatings, the People will begin to return to their senses by degrees, untill the whole, wearied with disorder & panting after the Sweets of Peace shall by a general defection forsake.& leave their Leaders to condign Punishment.
Perhaps the Rebels that evacuated Canada Shall attempt to make a Stand at Fort St Johns or Isle Noix, but surely it will be very short - Their taking Post at Ticanderoga & Crown Point as no doubt these places are well fortified by them; & their having some armed vessells on the Lakes, may perhaps retard the Progress of our Army for a time, but even that is Surmountable by so large & well provided an army as we cannot fail to have there.
Before the departure of the fleet, it was talked of that Genl Clinton with the Army to the Southward was to join Genl Howe, from which & every other Motion I inferr, that grand decisive Strokes in a proper Quarter, which New York up to Albany seems to be, are the intended plan.
By the last Accounts Capt Hammond guarded the Mouth of the Delaware, which will effectually prevent the elopement of the fleet which the rebels were said to be building at Philadelphia - Their mock Admiral Hopkins with his Squadron was blocked up in the harbour of New London by the Cerberus - They at last despaired so much of geting out as to have laid up their Vessells.
The Men of war make a very considerable number of Prizes in the West Indies - Several are likewise made from time allong of the American Coast, & brought in here for sale - Lately the Cerberus brought in twelve, & in a short time saild again - If she had had another man of war with her, She might have brought in as many more.
There was lately an artillery Store Ship sent out from Brittain, and with other articles of immense value had 1500 barrells of Powder on board - She parted her Convoy in a fog, & the. Master being inclined to the Rebels, made up to Boston & delivered her to them - It is a pity Such people Should be trusted - I suppose the one that was taken in winter with the brass mortar & this one will be the Support of the Rebellion this Summer.
The Garrison left here are the 1st & 2d Battalion of Marines, a detatchment of the 14th & a detachment of ours - Col Gorham's are at Fort Cumberland - We have a hundred men at Fort Edward in Windsor Township - Major Genl Massey Commands - There is a redoubt and block-house erecting on the Citadel hill Above the town- there is another principal breastwork in a line with it upon a hill near the Gut that is between the bason & the harbour - Between these two principal works, there are in dutch town above the Dock yard three Smaller breast works - At each of the two Corners of the front wall of the Dock Yard there is a blockhouse - There is a strong breast work & blockhouse on the little hill behind the brew house - Within the Dockyard there is Scaffolding around the Wall for Men to stand on for firing with Small Arms -Upon the whole, if all these Works were finished, which it is Not likely they will in a Short time, the place would be Strong enough, but they will take triple the Number of men for the defence, that would Suffice, if the Dockyard Stood directly Under the Citadel Hill, & the hill to be well fortified - But At present we Apprehend No attack- However before thinking ourselves in perfect Security, we Should know What Success Genl Howe Shall have had - .
I humbly beg your Excellys Pardon for intruding So much on Your time - Any Impropriety in it I hope you will be Condescending enough to Attribute to my Sincere desire of making Any Return in My Power to Your Excellency's Goodness & polite Reception of an Officer - If I could think it Agreeable, I would lose No opportunity of transmitting every Article of Intelligence - I have the Honor
to be Your Excellency's
Most humble & most
To MR HICKS, SURGEON'S MATE.
24th July 1776
I Received your favour dated at Fort Edward, 22nd Instant, wherein you acquaint me as Commanding officer of the Regiment at Nova Scotia, that you have from that date resigned and given up your warrant as Surgeon's Mate in the Regiment of R. H. Emigrants disclaiming and relinquishing all pay, profit, or immolument, that might accrue from that date, and all this for Reasons best known to yourself
Give me Leave Sir to asure you that it has been the hight of my ambition as well as inclination to do every thing in my power, to satisfy and please the officers and Even the private men I have the honour to Command and I am Very much inclined to do every thing in my power that can Contribute in the Least to your honour, intrest, or happiness, but the Change in your mind, and the Cause of it so Entirely unknown to me that I am greatly at a Loss how to account for it. I am sorry to tell you that your requisition is so entirely unconsistent, and Unreasonable that I cannot by any means agree to it until a person Equal to the duty Can be found, this will I hope appear Very Clear to Yourself to be just, as it is Impossible for me to grant your desire being so unconsistant with My duty and the reguard I ought as Commanding Officer to have for the Lives, and healths of the Core under My Command, but how soon a person Can be found Capable to officiate in your place and General Massey will give his Consent to it you shall allways find me ready & willing to do anything in my power to please You, a few weeks can make no great alteration in your affairs in the meantime write to Major Small and Let him know what you would be at. I am sure he will do Every thing in his power to Serve you, and I am Sure also that he would be Extreamly Angry if you shou'd Leave the Regt destitute before a person could be found to Act for you.
I am Surprized what keeps Captn McKinnon as I have wrote him by Mr Kelly and Acquainted him that he had the Generals Leave to Come to town. Give him Mrs McKinnon & the Gentlemen my most Humble Respects and beleive me to be Sir
& Humble Servt
To MAJOR SMALL.
Halifax 26th July 1776
My DR MAJOR.
I have only to tell you that we are all well, only the pain we are in, for want of a perfect Account of Your proceedings; it is now going on Long Seven weeks Since You Left us, in which time we never had the pleasure of hearing from the Army directly, a sloop was brought in here, indeed a prize of the Milford frigates by whom we had an imperfect Account. And to which we pay no great reguard to with that General Howe Made two attempts to Land in both which he had been repulsed, but that he had Succeeded a third time with only the Grenadiers Light Infantry and the Highlanders, who were ordered to attack a Redoubt with 12 Guns, wherein Mr Washington was with A Great number of his best troops, and thought himself Secure against all the forces that Could be brought Against him, but that our troops forced the Redoubt took Mr Washington Prisoner, and made a dreadfull Slaughter Among the Rebells that were with him. All this we paid no manner of Reguard to as we dont Look on the Authority to be in any wise Sufficient for God Sake if you have as much time in the world Let us hear from You. You Can order Mr McLean, Mr McDonald, Mr Grant or Mr McHenry, to write what you please and Let me know for God sake what is become of my poor family, and when you think I Could have a Chance of Seeing them, and whether we have a Chance to join you there or go to Canada, whether the Regiment is Established, or not, what Success you have in Recruiting and how Matters are going on in General.
Governor Arbuthnot is going up to take a tour of the Country, and I am to march tomorrow with my own Company, and one of the Light Infantry Companys of the Marines, to meet the Lt Governr at Cove gate. I suppose I will be out Seven or Eight Days, and when I return I Expect to find a Letter from Major Small Upon my table giving an Account of the most Agreeable News of General How, and his Army, Succeeding in all his Undertakings, and next to that, that my wife and Children are well, and Releived from their distresses, and troubles; this far I have wrote when Captn McKinnon pop'ed in on me from Windsor who tells me that all is well in that quarter only Mr Fitzgerald making a hell of a noise because he is not Made Captain, and threatning to write to General Carleton, & Coll McLean, of many proceedings which he Says they Ought to know, and particularly the injustice thats done himself in not getting Captain John McDonalds Company in preference to that Gentleman, in short he is Striving to Make a division in the Regiment by Scandalous tatlings, which I hope you and Colonel McLean both will Guard against; he is a damned designing trifling Low Creature, which he plainly shews in all his Actions and is taken notice of Even by the private Men, and I beleive I will be forced to write him a damn Severe Letter in a few days, if Matters will go Wright as I hope in god they will. I wish you may get our winter Quarters for the Whole Regt to be in Cantoonments on Staten Island - this with my prayers for your Salfety, and Success, is all from Dr Major
Your Sincere friend
& Well Wisher.
I almost forgot to tell you, that the Devil had almost entered Into Some of our Young fellows for getting wives, it was with the Uttmost difficulty I saved Lt Laughlin McLean from destruction, that is to say, from being Married to a girl who had not a sixpence on Earth, its true she is so very handsome that I Could kiss her myself if I was not A married man, however I overset that match for the present - and our Surgeons Mate Mr Hicks was so hott After Miss Campbell that the poor Girl could not***. Captn McKinnan overSett that Match in Consequence of which I received the inclosed Letter, and I beg you'd be at some pains to appoint a Clever fellow in his room, as the detachment at Windsor Could not do without a Surgeon there. I have appointed the Doctor that resides in the place to take Charge of the Men at 3s Sterling pr Day so that the man who is to be appointed whoever he is must not Commence pay in the Regiment 'til he joins.
FROM JONATHAN HICKS.
For a Certain Reasons which have induced me to write you, I would acquaint you, Sir, as Commanding Officer of this Regiment in Nova Scotia, I do hereby Resign to you my warrant, of Surgeon's Mate, in the Regt of R. H. Emigrants hereby disclaiming and Relinquishing all pay profit or Emolument that Might from the date hereof accrue by the possession of the Same and hope Sir you will favourably Accept thereof - You will no doubt wish to have a reason assigned for this my Conduct, Your well known Candor Emboldens me to asure you that I am well Satisfied, you could never prevent Any Mans bettering himself, which I can do in his Majestys Service, neither is this step taken out of Rashness but the result of full Consideration.
Your immediate Ansr will much oblige Your Humble Servt
Fort Edward 22d July 1776
Captn Alexr McDonald
To MRS. MACDONALD.
Halifax 27th July 1776
My Dear Susey.
I have only to Let you know that I am well and Longing much to hear from you, as all the News that Can be Expected is from your Quarter, we are almost dead with Anxiety and Care, not having heard one word from the Army Since they Left this place, we are however in hopes they are doing well, since we are pretty Sure if they were doing otherwise we should hear it fast Enough. I am expecting every Moment to receive orders to join the Army, be you Constant In your Application for that purpose, even go to the General YourSelf and represent all your hardships and grievances You have undergone during my absence which I hope now is at an end. My kind Love to Captain McLeod and his family. I hope by this time he dare Look Jonathan Hampton in the face, and the rest of the Elizabeth town Rebells. I wonder how justice Massaroe's heart feels Now. Remember me kindly to Mr and Mrs Duffey, Mr & Mrs Reily and all my good Neighbours. 0, how I Long to See you and the Children, kiss the blessed ones for me, and I am My Dr Y
[To MAJ. GEN. MASSEY.]
Halifax 27th July 1776
I am very Loath to be troublesome to You at any time, more than what real necessity will oblige me. Captn McKinnon is Come down from his detachment, by your Leave for the express purpose of Setling Accompts with me, the Cloathing And Necessarys, that his Company was furnished with, when they were ordered for Fort Cumberland, also before, and since that period will bring him in debt, without he stops it from the men, which Cannot be done with any degree of justice as a years Cloathing is due to them and part of another. As the Regiment is not Established the Colonel or Commanding officer of it can have no benefit from the off reckoning as Government furnishes all Cloathing and Necessarys for them during their Servitude, and as Colonel Gorham told me himself that he has drawn fourteen hundred pound Sterling in Lieu of the Cloathing, and Necessarys, for his men, although his Number is but a little more than half Ours, the off reckoning Of 330 Men will amount to above one thousand pound in a year, the Merchants from Whom I purchased the Cloathing & Necessarys for the Men Must be paid, the Men Grumbles with great justice for being Stopt and if they Should desert or refuse to do their Duty for the above reasons what Can I do with them; to prevent any Misfortunes of this kind I beg you would be pleased to grant me a warrant for five hundred pounds Sterling, on account of Cloathing, & Necessarys, for the Men under my Command, which is the Least Sum that I can draw for that purpose, the men to be sure must pay for a great many Articles, Else the above sum would never do.
I should be extreamly happy if you had No objection, Sir, to take a scamper five or six days through the woods with my men. I am told of a place where there are a good Many deserters both from the Navy, and Army, and I believe I Could Lay hold of Some of them.
I am with great respect & Esteem Sir
Your Most obedient
& Most humble Servt
To MR. BLISS.
Halifax 28th July 1776
I wrote you by Captain Winthrop of the 65th Regiment, Covering a bill for Sixty pound Sterling drawn by that Gentlman on himself for that sum which I gave him in Order to Carry to You there. I discover an impropriety, in drawing the bill, by his desiring to Charge it to accompt as per advice from him, in place of Saying as per advice from Captain McDonald. Officers are not always Acquainted much with business, and as he is a gentlman and only received that money to Carry to You there he will pay you no doubt on Sight of his own Bill. I only mean that he should give me three Receipts of the same tenor & date upon the whole you are to receive the money as Subsistance for Yourself and the other officer and men under your Command. Let me hear from You acknowleging the Receipt of the money, and a Circumstantial account of Every particular since your Arrival there how you and the admiral agrees & Captn Barrett.
Major Small wrote to both before he Left this and I wrote since a very Long Letter to Adml Montague, Concerning you and your party, and tho it be Seven Weeks to Morrow Since the Army Left this, I Cannot give you the Least account of their proceedings; we are however in great hopes they are doing well, should it be otherwise the Rebells would take Care to Let us hear of it - there was a report Circulating here, that General How had taken possession of New York after being twice Repulsed in his Landing, that General Washington is taken prisoner and a dreadfull Slaughter Made among the Rebells - the Grenadiers, Light Infantry, and the Highlanders, having been ordered to Storm their most formidable Redoubt, or breast work, on which was Mounted 12 peice of Cannon and within which was Genl Washington and his best troops; the attack was made with Bayonet & Sword in hand, the Highlanders Crying aloud no Quarter. After they got inside of the Redoubt they made such a dreadfull Slaughter Among them that it was with the greatest difficulty Genl How, had put a stop, to them himself - This is the Story as it Goes about here, and two people were swore yesterday who declares they heard the Story as I now relate it to you out of a New England News paper, which has been Since destroyed or Concealed by some of the Rebellious people here because it Contained what we Call good News. This is all I can Inform You at present only we are all well and all the Gentlmen joins me in their Compliments to You and Mr Hawkins I will be glad to hear from You by Every oppertunity and believe me to be Dr Sir Your friend
& very Humble Servt
To COL. McLEAN.
I received two days agoe your Letter from Chamblais without mentioning the day or month of its date. By Genl Massey's Leave I had been at Head Quarters, when it came here but a Copy of it was Sent After me, which will probably fall into Major Small's hands, & he will undoubtedly Send You the full List you Want of the Officers of Your Regiment - In the mean time, I send a List taken some time Agoe from the Secretary's office, of all the officers Whose names I found there commissioned by General Gage or General Howe, & are Now in the Regiment - When You compare it with the Lists of Any others you know of, I am hopefull you Shall be enabled to come at the Knowledge of the Whole Number, particularly if you shall have received one from Major Small, who as he is in the Adjutant General's department will know every thing that is going on -
I cannot say Whether or not there may be a Superfluity of Subalterns, because there may be Several, particularly in Canada, that I know Nothing of, but I am hopefull there is not a redundancy of Companies, for the Whole I can by any means recollect does not exceed Nineteen including the two Captains Frasers in Canada. Either Major Small Must not been explicite enough with You, or You must have Mistaken his meaning, in regard to the 12 Companies here & in Carolina - The 8 Companies here are Mine, Capt Mackinnon's, Duncan Campbell's, Murdoch McLean's, Neil McLean's, Alexr Campbell's, Major Small's, & John Macdonald's - The four in Carolina cannot have been Any other than Donald McLeods, Kingsburgh's, Major Macdonald's, & Alexr Campbells - you'll please observe that Neil McLean's, who is one of your ten in Canada is likewise one of our Eight here: that Alexr Campbell who is reckoned of the four in Carolina, is also one of the Eight here, So that these two Gentlemen are thereby twice reckoned even if you have ten in Canada, we have only other ten including Donald McLeods, which I know not whether it is filled up or not - But as Allready Said, I cannot recollect any more than 19 in all including Donald McLeod's, & the two Capts Frasers, & of these I know only of Nine with you in Canada including Major Dunbar's & Cullachy's, by which if, Donald McLeod's is not filld up, I can only make out Eighteen Companies.
Thus I hope when you, Major Small, & the whole of us Shall have had the Pleasure of Meeting, it will be found that Matters are Not on such a bad footing as is apprehended from the want of Intercourse, & Opportunities of explaining them, & I earnestly intreat that Unanimity & friendship may take place Among Us - for Otherwise tho established it will be an Unhappy regiment which to prevent is the business of the principal Officers by Accommodating Matters While they are tollerable.
I am of Opinion the Regiment will never make Such a figure untill the two battalions join & that New York is the place where they Should join, for there all bad men might be dismiss'd & good men easily found to replace them - For the Short time I was there I enlisted & brought here 200 Men, & if I had not had the distresses of My family to look After, I might have got a great many More.
As for disobedience of orders I disclaim the Guilt of it to All intents & purposes. I am now Upwards of 30 years in Service, & must be Supposed to know the Consequences of disobeying orders, or of Acting without them farther than what I should think Allways necessary for the Interest of the Cause in Which I was engaged when Orders could Not have Access to Me.
I do Not know Who the Gentleman is, you Mention to have wrote you from London in March last, & from this place in May with An Account of his having received a Lieutenancy from Major Small unless it be Charles Macdonald Kingsburgh's Son Who is under No Obligation to Major Small or Any Other here, As I understand he came out warmly recommended to Earl Percy.
In regard to the Shoemakers & Taylors you Men tion, I know of No Mechanick in the Regiment; I am positive I recommended None to Commissions, but what you knew of At Boston, nor were there a Shoemaker, Taylor or Carpenters Among them, & I hope I can Venture to be Answerable for their Conduct As Gentlemen & officers - In short whatever you May think, it would much grieve me to Act a part that would disoblige You in the least - I never will do it intentionally, & I hope You will Allways forgive Errors.
The Situation of our Men for want of Cloathing during last winter was terrible, & I was delicate to purchase for them lest I should interfere with Your Emoluments, but being Assured the Regiment was Not to be established that therefore You could have No Benefit from the Off reckonings, & As the Men made a horrid & Scandalous Appearance on duty, insulted & despised by the Soldiers of Other Corps, by Major Small's order, I bought some Slight Stuff for them, which is now worn out - the Severity of the winter here, the frequent tour of duty, the Knowledge the Men have Acquired of the injustice which they labour under, the Consequent danger of desertion, lay me Under the Necessity of purchasing for them this winter, & every Article being very extravagant here, You May believe the bill Must come high - However Government or You must pay it - I only draw Money to Account for Subsistence, Bounty Money &c: & I shall Show a fair Acct
In regard to publick News, the Army is, thank God, going on As we could wish - I refer you to the publick Papers & for particulars to General Howe's two Aids de Camp, who are Sent home with the dispatches - I hope the Neck of the Rebellion is broke - Now Government will only have to Settle & punish the Americans, for believe me Who knows this People, Lenity will Never make them good Subjects.
We are extremely happy here Under the Command of General Massey, who shows us all the Civilities & does every thing in his power for our Interest.
I am &c:
P.S. Since writting the above I have the Pleasure to acquaint you that Capt Murdoch McLean arrived wt the Cloathing, I referr you to himself for the particulars of his voiage, but there never was any thing So Seasonable. I Send you an Exact Copy of the last Monthly return to Shew you our Strength which makes out more than ten Companys at 53 Rank & File.