FORTY SECOND REGIMENT VETERANS IN NEW BRUNSWICK
Arrival in America, 1776
Unlike the English, whose regiments usually incorporated the dregs of society, in the Highlands of Scotland bearing arms was considered an honored profession. The “Blackwatch”, 42nd Highland regiment, was one of the most prestigeous of all Scots formations. Some Laird’s sons actually enlisted as privates when the regiment was first created. While this was no longer the case in 1776, the majority of privates were drawn from the families of tenant farmers which means– as far as commoners are concerned – they were from the top of the social hierarchy.
On April 29 1776, The Blackwatch and Fraser Highlanders left Greenock, Scotland, embarked in a fleet of 35 sail. They were destined to be part of the largest amphibian operation in British history up until that time. Unfortunately the ships were scattered by a storm, and word of Boston’s evacuation didn’t reach elements of the fleet until they were nearing America. As a result, the 42nd’s transport “Oxford and several of the Fraser Highlander’s vessals sailed into Boston harbour where they were captured. However, by August 3th most of the convoy had joined General William Howe at Staten island, New York.
The campaign of 1776
The Blackwatch greatly distinguished itself in the campaign of 1776. At Long island on August 27th, they burst the American lines in a single bayonet charge. A diary entry from that charges adds that “ the Hessians and our brave Highlanders gave no quarter, and it was a fine sight to see what alarcity they dispatched the rebels with their bayonets after we had surrounded them so that they could not resist.” The 42nd was part of the force that overan the American lines at Kips Bay (Sept 15th), engaged a surperior number of rebels at Harlaam heights (Sept 16th) and took part in the attack at White Plains (Oct 28th). While the main British forces were bogged down attacking Fort Washington, the 42nd led two other battalions in a flank attack (Nov 16th) . Ignoring the rebel fire, the Highlanders charged uphill ( one corpulent battalion commander had to be assisted because he could not make the climb alone!) to capture 200 rebels and cause the entire fort to surrender.
Pisquatua, and other American Attacks
By Christmas 1776, the war seemed very close to ending. George Washington’s army had been repeatedly defeated as it was chased out of New York and New Jersey. Almost everyone expected his surrender. Then Washington crossed the Delaware river to fall upon Rall’s regiment of Hessians quartered at Trenton. A thousand Germans were captured, and their commander slain, in the brief encounter. The 42nd was part of the British army that marched under Cornwallis to bag the old fox - Washington – at the scene of his victory. The British arrived near nightfall, but with the Delaware frozen behind them it seemed certain that the rebels would not be able to cross back over -so Cornwallis decided to wait for the following morning before attacking. Wahington managed to escape in the darkness and – much to Cornwallis’ chagrin - captured the British rearguard at Princeton.
The 42nd’s turn to suffer one of these attacks arrived on May 10 1777. Between 1,500 and 2,000 fell upon their winter camp at Pisquatua. Though surprised and driven from their forward positions in a wood, the 42nd was, in the words of the American commander “too proud to surrender”. They actually rallied and thrust the Americans back! There were too many rebels for this counterattack to be countinue, and the 42nd was again compelled to give way. But they continued to fight for an hour and a half, until some neighbouring British units arrived to help push the Americans away.
The 1777 Offensive
The British resumed the offensive in the Summer. In one of the greatest strategic errors of the war, General Howe left Burgoyne’s army pushing down from Canada to its own devices and instead marched against the American capital at Philadelphia. The 42nd, newly reinforced by 170 Highlanders, was in the reserve when Howe again beat Washington in the battle of Brandywine (September 11). The British marched into Philadelphia, but Burgoyne’s outnumbered army was forced to surrender at Saratoga (Oct 17).
The March North
All hope of a speedy Birtish victory ended that winter. Clinton replaced Howe as commander of British troops in America. Instead of being reinforced, the army was stripped of troops to supply other theatres. With only 10,000 men under his command, Clinton marched North to New York. Washington pursued, and finally caught up to the British at Monmouth Court House (June 28, 1778). The 42nd took part in the attack that threw the American vanguard back. But the American army that stood at Monmouth was of a different sort than that which Howe had beaten in 1776 and 1777. Over the winter at Valley Forge, they had been forged into a weapon capable to meeting the British on their own ground. Though tecnically a draw, the battle of Monmouth marked ther emergence of Washington’s army as a force to be reckoned with.
The Rest of the War
Monmouth was the last major battle in the Northern theatre. Aside from being shipped South to help capture Charleston in the Spring of 1780, the Blackwatch was employed in a number of raids ( Portsmouth, Elizabethtown) and garrison postings around New York. The focus of the British effort shifted Southwards, and ended at Yorktown in 1781. After that, they merely waited for peace to be made.
Blackwatch vets in New Brunwick
Discharged members of the 42nd entered New Brunswick along two major routes. Ninety eight arrived in St John, on October 17 1783, in the transports “Jason” and “Mercury”, along with the final Loyalist fleet from New York. The regiment, itself, sailed to Halifax. By December 17th 1783, sixteen 42nd vets from Halifax are known to have crossed over to St John. More may have followed.
There are undoubtedly errors in my attempt to seperate the following list of New Brunswick 42nd vets according to their port of arrival. I have to wonder, for example, if the three John Sutherlands might actually have been less than three people. Then there is John McGilvray and Donald Urquhart who Esther Clarke Wright listed as taking lots at Nashwaak, in her LOYALISTS IN NEW BRUNSWICK; but of whom I can find no corresponding mentions in the list of 1787 Nashwaak grants compiled by the Nashwaak Bicentennial Association.
My attempt to identify the New Brunswick vets who landed in Halifax would not have been possable had not Kim McDonald and Michael Barton sent me a list drawn up from the Public Records Office in London. In attempting to link some of the men discharged in Halifax as those who later appeared in New Brunswick, there is bound to be at least one case of mistaken identity.
All this being said, I suspect that the list that follows is, in the main, correct. There are, for example, 98 said to have landed at St John – the exact number we know to have arrived on the “Jason” and “Mercury”. That there are more than anticipated from Halifax can be explained by men ariving after December 17th 1783.
The total number of 42nd vets who settled in New Brunswick would appear to be 123 or, if we include the two entries that appear only in Wright’s book, 125.
At least twenty-five of these vets moved up the Mirimichi, most of them stayed there, but Charles McLaughlin is believed to have arrived in Tracadie as early as 1786, and another six were among those who established Tabusintac in 1798.
(J1) Abernathy, St John Nashwaak York co.
William Oct 1783 Lots 38,57
(J2) Bain, St John Nashwaak
Alexander Oct 1783 Lot 66
(J3) Blair, St John Nashwaak
George Oct 1783 Lot 117
(H1) Bruce, Halifax? Nashwaak, Mirimichi, Tabusintac
David Oct ‘83 Lots 151,153 Lot 29 SS 1787 1798?
(J4) Bruce, St John Nashwaak Fredericton
John Oct ‘83 Lots 56, 114
(H2) Buchanan, Halifax?, Nashwaak, Fredericton
William Oct 24 1783 Lot 72
(J5)Cameron, St John Nashwaak
James Oct ‘83 Lot 95
(H3) Cameron, Halifax? Nashwaak, Mirimichi?
John Oct ’83 Lot 31
(J6) Campbell, St John Nashwaak-
Lt Dugald Oct ‘83 Lot 1
(H4) Campbell, Halifax? Nashwaak
Dugald Oct ’83 Lots 54,82,84
(J7) Campbell, St John c 444 Dip. Har.
Hugh Oct 1783 1787
(J8) Daniel, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
William Oct 1783 Lot 58
(J9) Dewar, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
John Oct 1783 1787
(J10) Dure, St John Cn?
Patrick Oct 1783
(J11) Finlayson, St John Nashwaak?
John Oct 1783 Lot 61
(J12) Forbes, St John Nashwaak
James Oct ’83 Lot 96
(H5) Fraser, Halifax? Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lot 119
(J13) Fraser, St John Nashwaak?
Cpl Thomas Oct 1783 Lots 120, 121
(J14) Gardner, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lots 50, 106
(J15) Gray, St John Nashwaak? Carleton co
John Oct 1783 Lots 43,60
(J16) Gunn, St John Nashwaak Mirimichi
Alexander Oct 1783 Lot 132
(J17) Gunn, St John Nashwaak Mirimichi
James Oct 1783 Lots 100, 102
(J18) Kennedy, St John Nashwaak
Hugh Oct ’83 Lots 143,144
(J19) Kennedy, St John Nashwaak
John Oct 1783 Lots 124,125
(J20) Leslie, St John Nashwaak
Geogre Oct 1783 lots 3,37
(J21) Masterton, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ‘83 Lot 81
(J22) Mathewson, St John Nashwaak?
Sgt Alexander Oct ‘83 Lots 75,76
(J22) Matheson, St John St John
George Oct 1783 Lot 97
(J23) McBain, St John Nashwaak
Angus Oct 1783 Lots 49,154,155
(J24) McCaulay, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
William Oct 1783 Lts 23,24
(H6) McCraw, Halifax? Nashwaak, Mirimichi , Tabusintac
Ducan Lots 17,18 Lot 7 SS Lot 53 N.S Lot 63
Oct ’83 1787 1787 1798
(J25) McCraw, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
Farquhar Oct 1783 Lot 77
(H7) McCraw, Halifax Nashwaak Mirimichi
Neil 24 Oct 1783 Lot 87
(J26) McCulloch, St John Nashwaak
drummer Richard Oct ‘83 Lot 64
(J27) McCulloch, St Johns Nashwaak
drummer William Oct ‘83 Lot 63
(J28) McDonald, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
Alexander Sr Oct 1783 Lot 35?
(J29) McDonald, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
Alexander Jr Oct 1783 Lots 113,178?
Note: An Alexander McDonald was discharged at Halifax, but as the two above seem to be together I have assumed that this was a third Alex.
(H8) McDonald, Halifax? Nashwaak Sussex
Donald Oct 1783 Lot 152
(J30) McDonald, St John Nashwaak
Francis Oct ’83 Lots 34, 39,40
(J31) McDonald, St John Nashwaak
James Oct 1783 Lot 78
(H9) McDonald, Halifax? Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lot 115
(J32) McDougall, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
Donald or Daniel Oct ’83 Lots 141,149,150
(J33) McFadden, St John Nashwaak
Donald Oct ’83 Lot 10
(J34) McFarlane, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
George Oct ’83 Lot 136
(J35) McFarlane, St John Nashwaak
St John Oct ’83 Lots 4, 147,148
(J36) McGillvray, St John Nashwaak
Alexander Oct 1783 Lots 22, 29
(?) McGilvray, John ? Nashwaak?
Note:Wright lists him, but no corresponding record is found in the 1787 list compiled by the Nashwaak Bicentennial Association.
(J37) McGregor, St John Nashwaak
(J38) McGregor, St John Nashwaak
Duncan Oct ’83 Lot 20
(H10) McGregor, Halifax? Nashwaak
John Lots 16,19,45
(H11) McGregor, Halifax? Nashwaak
Malcom Lot 90
(J39) McIntosh, St John Nashwaak
Alexander Oct ’83 Lots 179,180
(J40) McIntosh, St John Nashwaak
Drummer Lochlan Oct ’83 Lots 181,182
(J41) McIntosh, St John Nashwaak
Malcom Oct ’83 Lots 47, 135
(J42) McIntosh, St John Nashwaak York county
Sgt William Oct ’83 Lots 5,65,67
(J43) McIntyre, St John p 842
(H12) McIver, Halifax? Nashwaak
Alexander Oct ’83 Lot 32
(H13) McKay, Halifax? Nashwaak Kent
Angus Oct ’83 Lot 108
(J44) McKay, St John Nashwaak
Donald Oct ’83 Lot 128
(J45) McKay, St John Nashwaak
Duncan Oct ’83 Lts 26,28
(J46) McKay, St John p 261
(J47) McKay, St John Nashwaak
George Sr Oct ’83 Lot 133
(J48) McKay, St John Nashwaak
George Jr Oct ’83 Lots 27,37
(J49) McKay, St John Nashwaak
Henry Oct ’83 Lot 59
(J50) McKay, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lot 170
(J51) McKay, St John Nashwaak
Robert Sr Oct ’83 Lots 109,110,111
(J52) McKay, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
Robert Jr Oct ’83 Lots6,61,88,126
(J53) McKay, St John Nashwaak
William Oct ’83 Lot 27
(J54) McKenzie, St John Nashwaak Nashwaak
Alexander Lot # 2 died 1848
June 6 1787
(J55) McKenzie, St John Nashwaak
Cpl Donald Oct ’83 Lots 44, 156
(H14) McKenzie, Halifax? Nashwaak Mirimichi
Hugh Lot 167 (Blackville)
June 6 1787
(H15) McKenzie, Halifax? Nashwaak see note
John Oct ‘83 Lot 112
(H16) McKenzie, Halifax? Nashwaak see note
John Oct ‘83 Lots 42, 172 see note
I am informed that one of the two John McKenzies. Listed above, later moved to Lancaster parish, St John county, and agsin to Carleton county where he died about 1834
(J56) McKenzie, St John Nashwaak
Sgt John Oct ’83 Lots 5,33
(J57) McKenzie, St John Nashwaak Kent parish
Roderick Oct ’83 Lot 71 (Carleton co)
Jun 6 1787
(J58) McLaggan, St John Nashwaak
Cpl Pter Oct ’83 Lots 171,173,174,176,177
(H17) McLaughlin, Halifax? Nashwaak? Tracadie
Charles Oct 1783 (family) 1786?
(J59) McLean, St John Nashwaak Sussex
Cp; Donald Oct ’83 Lot 30
William Oct ‘83
(J60) McLeod, St John Nashwaak
Cpl Donald Oct ’83 Lots 148,168,169
(J61) McLeod, St John? Nashwaak, Mirmichi
Duncan Oct ’83 Lots 157, 160
Note: A Donald McLeod, was discharged at Halifax, might actually be the man listed above.
(J62) McLeod, St John Nashwaak Tabusintac
John Oct 1783 Lot 164 Lots 35,39,47,50 1787 1798
Note: McLeod was discharged from James Campbell’s company in July. I am only assuming that he would have been among those to go to St John.
(J63) McLeod, St John Nashwaak Fredericton
Malcom Oct 1783 Lot 13
(J64) McLeod, St John Nashwaak
Murdoch Oct ’83 Lot 161
(J65) McLeod, St John Nashwaak
Robert Oct ’83 lot 183
(J66) McLeod, St John Nashwaak
Roderick Sr Oct ’83 Lots 162,163
(J67) McLeod, St John Nashwaak
Roderick Jr Oct ’83 Lots 46,158,159
(J68) McLeod, St John Nashwaak
William Oct ’83 Lot 166
(J69) McMillan, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
Miles Oct ’83 Lot 14
(J70) McNabb, St John Nashwaak
Sgt James Oct ’83 Lots 21,73,74,83
(J71) McPherson, St John Charlotte co
John Oct ’83
(J72) McPherson, St John Nashwaak York county
William Oct ’83 Lots 129,131
(J73) McSwain, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi?
Murdoch Oct ’83 Lot 80
(H20) Menzies, Halifax Nashwaak? Mirmichi
John Oct 24 ‘83, Lot 6 SS
(J74) Munn, St John Nashwaak
Cpl Donald Oct 1783 lots 130,139,140
(J75) Munro, St John Nashwaak
William Oct 1783 Lot 36
(J76) Murdock, St John Nashwaak, Tabusintac
Donald Oct ‘83 1787 1798
(J77) Peebles, St John Nashwaak
George Oct ’83 Lots 53, 63
(J78) Peebles, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lots 79, 85
(H21) Robertson, Halifax? Nashwaak
Donald or Daniel Oct ‘83 Lots 104,105
(H22) Robertson, Halifax, Nashwaak, Mirmichi Tabusintac.
Duncan Oct 24 1783 (story) lot 5 SS 1798
(J79) Robertson, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lots 93,94
(H23) Rose, Halifax Nashwaak Mirimichi
Donald Oct ’83 Lot 118
(J80) Ross, St John Nashwaak
Andrew Oct ’83 Lot 86
(H24) Ross, Halifax?; Nashwaak
Donald Oct ’83 Lots 41, 89
(J81) Ross, St John Nashwaak
James Sr Oct ’83 Lot 12
(J82) Ross, St John Nashwaak
James Jr Oct 1783 lots 11,15
(J83) Ross, St John Kent?
Cpl John Oct ’83
Note: In her “History of Tabusintac”, Louise mentions “one Ross” from the 42nd who settled in Tabusintac, but I don’t have the data to connect this statement to any of the men mentioned above.
(J84) Sproule, St John Nashwaak
Sgt Andrew Oct ’83 Lots 98,99
(J85) Stewart, St John Nashwaak
Duncan Oct ’83 Lot 166
(J86) Stewart, St John Nashwak
John Oct ’83 Lot 103
(J87) Stewart, St John Nashwaak
Sgt Peter Oct ’83 Lots 52,122,123
(J88) Sutherland, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
George Oct ’83 Lot 101 Davidson/Cort
1787? Sept 1785
(J89) Sutherland, St John Nashwaak
Hugh Oct ’73 Lots 7, 9
(J90) Sutherland, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lot 8
(J91) Sutherland, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lots 145,175
(J92) Sutherland, St John Nashwaak
John Oct ’83 Lot 130
(J93) Sutherland, St John Nashwaak
Robert Oct ’83 Lot 146
(J94) Sutherland, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
William Oct ’83 Lot 134 by 1788
(J95) Thompson, St John Nashwaak
Sgt John Oct ’83 lots 69, 70
(J96) Trebblecock, St John St John co
Thomas Oct ‘83
(?) Urquhart, Donald Nashwaak?
Note: This is another vet listed by Wright, but not found in the Nashwaak Bicentennial list
(H25) Wier, Halifax? Nashwaak
JOhn Oct ’83 Lot 25
(J97) Wilson, St John Nashwaak
Adam Oct ’83 Lot 107
(J98) Yeldon, St John Nashwaak, Mirimichi
Sgt Alexander Oct ’83 Lot 66