Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Seven Years' War Begins

On May 18, 1756, Britain finally declared war on France, beginning the Seven Years' War. The war had been raging for two years in the New World before the official beginning. A Virginia colonel named George Washington had fired on Ensign Jumonville at the Fork of the Ohio, and the French had sent him reeling back to Virginia after a battle at Fort Necessity. Regular troops from both countries were sent to bolster the colonies, but British Admiral Boscawen captured two French troopships, Alcide and Lys, bound for Canada. General Braddock had marched on Fort Dusquene--and met disaster. The French fort Beausejour in Acadia was captured by the British, while Boisehebert had led the Acadians against the British. Sir William Johnson defeated Baron von Dieskau's French/Canadian/Indian army along the Lake Champlain-Lake George corridor, and captured the Baron. Quite a set of battles and campaigns for a time of peace!

"General, war has been declared!" Photograph from the author's collection, using Frontline Figures for the soldiers, and a Colonial Williamsburg postcard for the background.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

English Civil War--Strathbogie Regiment

In 1642, the English Civil War broke out between the King, Charles I, and the Parliament. While the war began in England, both sides enlisted the help of Scotland. The Parliamentarians and Covenanters joined forces, while other parts of Scotland declared for the King. One noble to take up the King's cause was the Marquis of Huntly. He quickly raised his own regiment, known as the Strathbogie Regiment for the service of the King's agent in Scotland, the Marquis of Montrose. The Strathbogie Regiment followed Montrose's army, and was key at the battle of Auldearn, leading the counter-attack on Auldearn village. My brother and I built the flag of the Strathbogie Regiment using Wikipedia's Rampant Lion and the crown from Charles I's Foot Guards, Lieutenant-Colonel's company. Thanks! While Scots flags are poorly recorded, this one, thankfully, is recorded as (1600's spelling has been kept intact) "ane red rampand lion, having ane croun of gold above his head and C. R. for Carolus Rex, haveing this motto, For God, The King, and Against All Traittouris, and benethe, God Save the King."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Perspective


In 1793, the French revolutionaries had taken control of all of life in France. Churchmen were licensed by the State, and men were required to join the army. Only the province of La Vendee stood against this tyranny. The men formed the Armee Catholique et Royal (Catholic and Royal Army) to fight the revolutionaries. Madame de la Rochejacquelein (sister-in-law to Henri de la Rochejacquelein) records one time when two Vendean soldiers got into a fight with each other. Her father put a stop to the quarrel by saying "Jesus Christ forgave his executioners, and a soldier of the Catholic Army wants to kill his friend!" "The man kissed the other on the spot," records Madame.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flora MacDonald

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy--Matthew 5:13


Miss Flora MacDonald (1722-1790) ferried "Bonnie Prince Charlie" to the Isle of Skye. After the Battle of Culloden, Prince Charles fled through Scotland. He was on the west coast of Scotland, and the British were hunting for him. Captain O'Neil, one of Charles's companions, enlisted the help of Flora MacDonald to sail the Prince from the mainland to Skye. Flora disguised the Prince as her maid, Betty Burke, and sailed for the island. Prince Charles reached Skye, and with the help of French ships, regained the Continent. Flora MacDonald was arrested, but not punished. She later married, emigrated to the British colonies, and encouraged the 84th Royal Highland Emigrants during the American War for Independence. She died in 1790, and has been highly praised by many.


"Miss Flora is about twenty four years of age, of a middle stature, well shaped, a very pretty agreeable person, of great Sprightliness in her Looks, and abounds with good Sense, Modesty, Good-nature, and Humanity."--John Burton, contemporary of Flora MacDonald