Chapter 4. Nova Scotia 1760-61 - Recollections of An Old Soldier - the Life of of Captain David Perry (1741-1826)

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Revolutionary soldier by A. Chappel

(Chapters One through Five Inclusive.)

Chapter IV
Nova Scotia 1760-61.
Third Campaign. Rank: Private. 
New England Planters in the Minas Country.  
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jumphis year [1759] Gen.Amherst• went over the lake with an army, where we went the year preceding, and took Crown-Point• and Ticonderoga, with the loss of but few men: and in the fall he went back to Albany with his main army, leaving a sufficient force to garrison the places he had taken.  In the Spring of 1760,• he went up to the head of Mohawk river, and from thence proceeded to Wood-Creek,• and on through the western waters to Lake Ontario, and thence down the river St. Lawrence• to Montreal,• which town surrendered to him without much resistance, and thus terminated the war in that quarter.  


After I had been at home about a month, Major Winslow told me, that if I would enlist what men I could, and go back to Halifax with him, I should have a sergeant's berth, as soon as there was a vacancy for one in any of the companies; and if no vacancy occurred, I should be cleared from duty through the season.  I accordingly enlisted eight or ten likely young men, and went on with them to Boston.  There being no vessel ready at the time we arrived at Boston, we were billetted out at the house of a widow, named Mosely; and while we were here the town took firein the night.•  -- It originated in a tavern,• (sign of the Gold Ball) in Main or King's Street, at about midnight, the wind in the north-west and pretty high; and in spite of all we could do with the engines,• &c.  it spread a great way down King's Street, and went across and laid all that part of the town in ashes,• down to Fort Hill. We attended trough the whole, and assisted in carrying water to the engines.  The number of buildings burnt was about three hundred.


As soon as the vessel was ready, we sailed for Halifax, and arrived there in four days.  -- There being no vacancy for a sergeant's berth, I lived with the Colonel, Major and Chaplain of the regiment, and fared very well.

During the Summer some of the Connecticut people• obtained a grant of a number of towns in the Menuscountry and moved on to settle them; and as there were a considerable number of French• and Indians• in that quarter, they wanted a guard• to protect them.  A draft was made from our regiment, to obtain men for that purpose.  I wanted to see that country, and turned out for one of the detachment.  Just previous to our departure, a man and woman were executed for murder -- the woman killed a small girl that was living with her.  


We set out from Halifax by water, and went to the head of the Bason• to fort Sackfield,• about twelve miles distant; from that place we went by land• about thirty miles through the woods, and then came into a fine open country.  There was a fort• here, called Fort Pisga, with a considerable number of troops in it.  Beside this fort ran a large river, of the same name, (Pisga River) over which we passed in boats, into the Menus country.  The people had laid out two towns, one called Horton, and the other Cornwallis.•  We were stationed at the latter, it being the farthest from Fort Pisga.  We had a very agreeable time of it, among our own country people, and built a picket fort there; but there was not much need of it, for the French and Indians were quite peaceable, and to all appearance friendly.  At one time about thirty of the Indians, with their Sachem,• came to see us.  I talked with the Sachem some time; and, among other things, about going a hunting• with him.  I asked him if he would use me well: he said, if I did as he bid me, he would; if not, that he would kill me.  On such terms, I thought it best not to try a new master.  Two Frenchfamilies• came to reside with us, who were very friendly and useful to our people, and learned them many useful arts, and among others, how to catch fish, which was of great service to them, as the provisions they brought with them were soon exhausted.  But as they could not subsist on fish alone, many of them must in all probability have starved, if we had not dealt out to them provisions from the king's stores.  


Three large rivers• run through the town of Cornwallis.  At highwater vessels of the largest size could sail up and down them with safety. These rivers made a vast quantity of marshy• land, and the upland between them was not very good.  I did not like the country, but staid there till our times were out, and then returned to Halifax, where we remained till a transport could be provided, when about one hundred and fifty of us shipped aboard a large British Snow, for Boston, and we had fine weather for a few days; but while our top-sails, &c.  were all standing, and every thing indicated a short and prosperous voyage, there came on a sudden squall of wind, and stripped our sails all to pieces.  The seas ran mountain high, and every soul of us momently expected to go to the bottom.  The Captain of the vessel said he had followed the seas fifteen years, and never experienced such a gale before.  But being a good new-built vessel, she rode out the storm, which lasted several days, and blowed us so far out of our course that we were obliged to be put on short allowance, of one sea-biscuit and a half, each, per day; or in lieu of the biscuit, a piece of butter of the size of a hen's egg -- or a slice of beef as large as one's three fingers.  We lived on this allowance about a fortnight, when we arrived at Boston.  I went home to my master, to work at my trade again.


This completed the third campaign in which I had served as a private: and I do not remember that in all this time I was ever so unwell as to lose a meal of victuals, or to miss a tour of duty: and I think I have the greatest reason to bless and praise the name of the Lord, that he covered my head in the day of battle, and preserved my body from wasting sickness at noon-day.

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