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A Soldier's Account Of The Campaign On Quebec, 1759

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Diary Entry:

A Soldier's Account of the Campaign on Quebec, 1759

Dear Diary,

Louisbourg May 1st,1759: I have just been called for duty by the British naval army. I am in the 40th regiment of the Louisbourg Grenadiers. I really do not want to leave my family to go up north to Upper Canada, especially since my wife is pregnant with my 5th child. Dylan will be the man of the house while I am gone. I have my mother checking up on them as well. Although I do not want to leave my family, I am kind of excited to fight those damn French frogs, who think they can just take Britains land without a fight.

Louisbourg May 2nd, 1759: We got our uniforms today and we are starting to get trained. We wore red coats falling to the knee with the skirts, lapels and cuffs turned back to reveal a wide expanse of the lining of the regiment's colour. They feel a little uncomfortable, I think I just need time to get used to it. The main head wear for us was the black tricorne hat, a wide brimmed hats with the brim turned up and fastened to form three angles. I thought these looked kind of silly. Each of us was assigned a musket, 24 rounds of ammunition carried in a pouch slung from a shoulder belt, a short sword and a bayonet that I fixed to the muzzle of my musket. Many threw away their swords because many thought it was useless. I have used a musket once before but never had to reload it. Each round of ammunition comprised a charge of gunpowder and a lead ball wrapped in cartridge paper. When I was ordered to load the gun, I took a cartridge and ripped it open, many of my fellow soldiers often opened it with their teeth. I had to pour a sufficient amount of powder into the pan of the firing mechanism to fill it. I poured the main portion of powder down the barrel, folded the paper and pushed it into the barrel and dropped the ball on top. I used the ramrod carried under the barrel of the musket to push the whole charge to the bottom of the barrel next to the hole leading to the firing pan. I then cocked the firing mechanism which comprised a hammer holding a wedge of flint and the weapon was ready to fire. Pulling the trigger caused the flint held by the hammer to strike against the pan lid. The spark from the flint ignited the powder in the pan which fired the charge in the barrel. The muskets would often fail to fire after a lot of shooting, and in wet weather. I hope my musket does not fail me in the actual battle.

Louisbourg May 31st, 1759: I really wonder what this war is all about. Of course the main cause of this war is the constant struggle for power between the French and the Brits. Each side wants to gain complete control over North America, and neither side is willing to come to some kind of compromise, as we should not compromise with frogs! Besides if the French owned North America the Catholics would start taking over and that would be a big threat for us Protestants. Apparently, both the British and the French are trying to get the savages as our allies. Personally I hate it, I do not want them to fight for us, but we do need all the help we can get. I believe most Indians are on the Frenches side anyway. It's okay though because, we are going to decimate them anyway. This just makes it faster to kill the French and the savages all at once.

Louisbourg June 1st, 1759: We were assigned onboard the Transport Harwood, bound on the Expedition to Upper Canada. The St. Lawrence River is very wide and Mountainous. Very beautiful. It will be good when all of it is Britains.

St. Lawrence River June 25th, 1759: I haven't been keeping up with my journals but I have been trying to train myself more and more for the upcoming battle. In all honesty I am actually scared, and writing in my diary makes me over think the whole situation. Today was the first day we came in contact with the enemy. We were passing an Island and about a league up we anchored. Two of our boats went in shore and was attacked by a small party of French and Indians, and we were obliged to retreat to our ships. Luckily none of our men were killed.

St. Lawrence river June 29th, 1759: Today was one of the most terrifying times of my life! We were sailing down the river when suddenly five French fire ships were coming upon us fast! Thank God they did no harm. We got away from them just in time. That night we made camp where we could see the French. Like creatures of the night we crept up on them silently and had a small attack on their camp. It was adrenaline-pumping! We killed three of them, wounded two, and took four prisoners.

St. Lawrence River July 1st, 1759: We were attacked today, this time we weren't so lucky to get away. The enemy came against our detachment on the south-side of the river with floating batteries but our shipping soon drove them off, the damage they suffered is not known. Same day the Louisbourg Grenadiers went foraging we had two killed belonging to the 22nd regiment. The same day we marched to the west end of the island, in order to join the Louisbourg Battalion. A group of the enemy fired out of the woods, and wounded two of our men.

St. Lawrence River July 8th, 1759: We are under constant attack now . . . well not constant, but we have reached the boarder of New France and we fight every day. My friend O'reily died today. He was sent to guard the perimeter of the woods but when his small regiment got there they were faced by a large amount of savages. Damn those savages! He hated them as much as I do and for killing him along with my other fellow soldiers, I swear revenge! The savages killed and scalped 13, wounded the Captain-Lieutenant and nine privates they likewise killed and wounded 14 of the Royal Americans, wounded two of the 22d and one of the 40th Regiment, we got only three prisoners, and killed two of the savages. I am going to kill these prisoners, even if it's the last thing I do.

St. Lawrence River July 9th, 1759: It is very late and yesterday's attack has me awake like an owl during the night. I have so many thoughts going through my head I can hardly write them all down. I finding it hard to keep my food in my stomach. I have only been eating salt pork, peas and biscuits for the past two months. I think the pork has gone bad. We might have to resort to eating the way the savages do. As much as I hate the thought of going down to their level. I have been having many thoughts of back home with the family where I used to take the horse into town and have some home made bread and a nice glass of whiskey. Mmm those were the days. I loved coming home to my family and having my supper ready for me. Salt beef was my favourite. Arg! I cannot keep thinking of times like these.

September 13th, 1759: Ah, my diary I haven't wrote



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