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Legends of The Black Watch or Forty-Second Highlanders
The Seven Grenadiers


AS the regiment expects to be engaged with the enemy to-morrow, the women and baggage will be sent to the rear. For this duty. Ensign James Campbell, of Glenfalloch."

Such was the order which was circulated in the camp of the 42nd Highlanders (then known as the Black Watch) on the evening of the 28th April, 1745,previous to the Duke of Cumberland's attack on the French outposts in front of Fontenoy. Our battalion (writes one of our old officers) was to form the advanced guard on this occasion, and had been ordered to the village of Veson, where a bivouac was formed, while Ensign Campbell, of Glenfalloch, the same who was afterwards wounded at Fontenoy marched the baggage, with all the sorrowing women of the corps, beyond Maulpre, as our operations were for the purpose of relieving Tournay, then besieged by a powerful French army under Marshal Count de-Saxe, and valiantly defended by eight thousand Dutchmen under the veteran Baron Dorth. It was the will of Heaven in those days that we should fight for none but the Dutch and Hanoygrians.

I had been appointed captain-lieutenant to the Black Watch from the old 26th, or Angus's Foot, and ^having overtaken the corps on its march between the gloomy old town of Liege and the barrier fortress of Maestricht, the aspect and bearing of the Highlanders—we had then only one regiment of them in the service—seemed new and strange, even barbaric to my eyes; for, as a Lowlander, I had been ever accustomed to associate the tartan with fierce rapine and armed insurrection. Yet their bearing was stately, free, and noble; for our ranks were filled by thousands of Highland gentlemen, and of these the most distinguished for stature, strength, and bravery were the seven sons of Captain Maclean, a cadet of the house of Duairt, who led our grenadiers. The very flower of these were the seven tall Macleans, who, since the regimens had been first mustered at the beautiful Birks of Aberfeldy, in May, 1740, had shone foremost in every encounter with the enemy.

Captain Campbell, of Finab, and I seated ourselves "beside the Celtic patriarch who commanded our grenadier company, and near him were his seven sons lounging on the grass, all tall and muscular men, bearded to the eyes, athletic, and weather-beaten by hunting and fighting in the Highlands, and inured alike to danger and to toil. Though gentlemen volunteers, they wore the uniform of the privates, a looped-up scarlet jacket and waistcoat faced "with buff and laced with whiter a tartan plaid of twelve yards plaited round the body and thrown over the left shoulder ; a flat blue bonnet with the fesse-cheque of the house of Stuart round it, and an eagle's feather therein, to indicate the wearer's birth. The whole regiment carried claymores in addition to their muskets, and to these weapons every, soldier added, if he chose, a dirk, skene, pair of pistols, and target, in the fashion of the Highlands; thus our front rank men were usually as fully equipped as any that stepped on the muir of Culloden. Our sword-belts were black, and the cartouch-box was slung in front by a waist-belt. In addition to all this warlike araphernalia, our grenadiers carried each a hatchet and pouch of hand-grenades. The servicelike, formidable, and cap-a-pie aspect of the regiment had impressed me deeply ; but Captain Maclean and his seven sons more than all, as they lay grouped near the watchfire, in the red light of which their bearded visages, keen eyes, and burnished weapons were glinting and glowing.

The beard of old Maclean was white as snow, and flowed over his tartan plaid and scarlet waistcoat, imparting to his appearance a greater peculiarity, as all gentlemen "were then closely shaven. As Finab and I seated ourselves by his fire, he raised his bonnet and bade us welcome with a courtly air, which consorted ill with his sharp west Highland accent. His eye was clear and bold in expression, his voice was commanding and loud, as in one whose will had never been disputed. Close by was his inseparable hench-man and foster-brother Ronald MacAra, the colour sergeant of his company, an aged Celt of grim presence and gigantic proportions, whose face had been nearly cloven by a blow from a Lochaber axe at the battle of Dunblane.

"Welcome, gentlemen," said old Maclean, "a hundred thousand welcomes to a share of our supper, a savoury road collop, as we call it at home. It was a fine fat sheep that my son Dougal found astray in a field near Maulpr; and here is a braw little demi-john of Belgian wine, which Alaster borrowed from a boor close by. These other five lads are also my sons, Dunacha, Deors, Findlay Bane, Farquhar Gorm, and Angus Dhu, all grenadiers in the King's service, and hoping each one to be like myself a captain and to cock their feathers among the best in the Black Watch. Attend to our comrades, my braw lads!."

The lads, the least of whom was six feet in height, assisted us to a share of the sheep, which was broiling merrily on the glowing embers, and from which their comrades, who crowded round, partook freely, cutting off the slices, as they sputtered and browned, by their long dirks and sharp skenes. The seven grenadiers were all fine and hearty fellows, who trundled Alaster's demijohn of wino from hand to hand round the red roaring fire, on which the grim henchman or colour-sergeant heaped up, from time to time, the doors and rafters of an adjacent house, and there we continued to carouse, sing, and tell stories, until the night .was far advanced.

The month was April, and the night was a glorious one; all our bivouac was visible as if at noonday, The hum of voices, the scrap of a song, a careless laugh, the neigh of a horse, or the jangle of a bridle alone broke the silence of the moonlit sky; though at times we .heard the murmur of a stream that stole towards the Scheldt, like a silver current through the fields of sprouting corn, and under banks where the purple foxglove, the pink wild rose, and the green bramble hung in heavy masses.

And could aught be more picturesque than our Highland bivouac, lighted up by wavering, watchfires, and the brilliant queen of night—the Celtic soldiers muffled in their dark-green plaids, their rough bare knees, hardy as the stems of the mountain pine, and alike impervious to the summer heat and winter cold, lying asleep upon their slumbered arms," or seated in groups, singing old songs, or telling wild stories of
those distant glens from which, as Seidaran Dearg or "Red Soldiers," the chances of the Belgian war had brought them here.

I was delighted with the old chief and his sons— they were so free and gay in manner, so frank and bold in bearing, while there was something alike noble and patriarchal in the circumstance of their stately old father leading a company of brave hearts, nearly all of whom were men of his own name and kindred. The fire had been freshly heaped with billets and fagots, the demijohn still bled freely; we had Just concluded a merry chorus, which made the Uhlan videttes on the distant plain prick up their ears and listen, and we had reached that jovial point when a little wit goes a very long way, when Sergeant Eonald MacAra, the old henchman, approached Captain Maclean, and placing a hand upon his shoulder
with that kind but respectful familiarity which his relation as a foster-brother sanctioned, said with impressive solemnity— "For the love of the blessed God, see that ye do not fight the stranger to-morrow with your stomach
fasting."

The ruddy face of the old soldier grew pale.

" No, Ronald," said he ; "our race has already paid dear for neglecting that strange warning."

"God and Mary forbid !" muttered two of his sons, crossing themselves devoutly.

"Keep something for me in your havresac, Ronald," said the captain, "and call me before the drums beat for marching; keep something for the laddies, too—for the Lord forfend that ever son of mine should draw his blade with a fasting stomach under his belt."

"A wise precaution, Maclean," said old Captain Campbell of Finab; "but Gude kens we have often had to draw our blades here in Low Germanie, and fall on, without other breakfast than a tightened waist-belt."

"True; but it was by omitting to break his fast that my worthy ancestor Sir Lauchlan Maclean lost his life in Mull, and hence the warning of Sergeant MacAra, my fosterer."

"How came that to pass" I asked with surprise; for the impressive manner of these Celts was strange and new to me.

"Tis a story as well as any other, and I care not if I tell you, gentlemen," said the old captain of grenadiers. " Dunacha, throw some more sticks on the fire—Angus, pass round the black-jack, my son, while I tell of the doleful battle of Groynard. The presence of the Lord be about us, but that was a black day, and a dreary one for the house of Duairfc and the Clan Gillian to boot I"

After this preamble and collecting his thoughts a little, the captain commenced the following strange story :—

History will tell you, gentlemen, that in the early part of the reign of his Majesty James VI. there arose a deadly feud between my people, the Clan Gillian in Mull, and the Clan Donald of Islay, concerning the claim which, from times beyond the memory of man, we had, or believed we had (it is all one in the Highlands) to the Ehinns of Islay. For many a year our people and the Macdonalds invaded, harried, hacked, hewed, and shot each other; the axe and bow, the pistol and claymore were never relinquished {w one entire week, but we were never nearer our end, for I must admit that our antagonists were a brave tribe, though in boyhood—such is the absurdity of a transmitted feud—I was taught to hate them ore than death. I have been told that there was not a man of either of the hostile tribes but had lost his nearest and dearest kinsmen in that ungodly contest.

But now a crisis was coming.

My worthy ancestor. Sir Lauchlan Maclean of Duairt, was a soldier of high renown and bravery— one whose skill in war was acknowledged by all who saw him lead the Clan Gillian to victory at the great battle of Benrinnes, where twelve thousand Scottish Protestants measured swords with Lord Huntly's Catholics on the banks of the Livat, and there decided their religious differences like pretty men. Well, Sir Lauchlan, through the great favour in which he was held at court, obtained from the King's own hand at Holyrood a charter or warrant empowering him to take possession not only of those devilish Rhinns, but of the whole island of Islay—the patrimony and home of the Lords of the Isles—what think you of that, sirs ? All Islay with Eilan-na-Corlle, or the Island of Council, the great castle in Loch Finlaggan, the Rock of the Silver Rent, the Rock of the Rent-in-Kind, with everything that flew over Islay, walked on its hills, or swam in its lakes, to him and his heirs for ever, heritably and irredeemably, until the day of doom.

This seemed a severe stroke of fortune to the poor Clan Donald, the more so as their chief, Angus of Kintyre, was aged and frail, and had not drawn a sword since last he fought our people in his seventieth ear, and now he was eighty. His son, Sir James, was as yet unknown as a soldier, while Sir Lauchlan was in the noon of his strength and manhood—second to none that stepped on heather or ever wore the
tartan: hence, full of hope and confident of success, he rejected with scorn the oners of mediation made
by neighbouring chiefs; for old Angus had many friends, and my forefathers' claims were, to say the least of them, rather unjust. Sir Lauchlan summoned all the clan, his friends and kinsmen, to meet him in arms and with their galleys on a certain day to sail for Islay, when he hoped to crush the Clan Donald for ever in one decisive battle.

On the evening before the muster, mounted and alone he rode from Duairt to consult a witch who dwelt in an uncouth den known among us as "the cave of the Grey Woman." It was not without some misgivings that my ancestor paid this visit; but the advice and auguries of this woman, Aileen Glas, had never failed our race in times of war and peril.

As he drew near her dwelling, the night was closing in; the wind shook the boughs of the forest, and as he looked back, they resembled the long green waves of a sea of foliage rolling up the narrow glen. The "gloaming" darkened fast, and the silent dew distilled from the drooping leaves; the golden cups of the broom and the calices of the heather-bells were shrinking with many a summer fly and honey-bee concealed in their petals, for night was descending on the stormy shores and boisterous hills of Mull—boisterous indeed, for there the hollow winds rave and howl from peak to peak, and wreath up the mist into many a strange and many a fearful shape, till the .ghosts of Ossian seem again to tower above Benmore and Bentaluidh.

Sir Lauchlan rode rapidly up the narrowing glen, 'till he found the cave of the Grey Woman before him. It yawned dark, lofty, and profound; so, dismounting, he tied his horse to a tree, and with his target and claymore advanced boldly, but with no small trouble, as the darkness was now intense, and the ascent to the cavern was rocky and difficult. Above his head rose its capacious arch, fringed by matted ivy and the light waving mountain ash that covered all the upper rocks, the splintered peaks of which shot up against the starless sky in abrupt and jagged outline. Clambering up, he entered with a stately step, though his heart beat fast with anxiety; before him lay a dark abyss of blackness and vacancy, opening into the bowels of the mountain; and though lightly shod in cuarans of soft deer hide, he could hear his footsteps echoing afar off.

At last a red light began to gleam before him, playing in fitful flashes upon the wet slimy walls of the den, and on the huge stalactites that hung like rough Gothic pendants from the roof, and were formed by the filtrations of calcareous rills that stole noiselessly down between the chasms and crannies in the walls of rock.

Aileen Glas was said to have been born in the mossy isle of Galligrey, in a hut built among the stones of the temple of Ann at, the ruined shrine of a Druidical goddess. Annat presided over the young maidens of the Western Isles, and there still remains her well, in which they are said to have purified themselves. In that well Aileen was baptized by the Red Priest of Applecross, and hence her magical power.

As Maclean stepped on, he perceived the Grey Woman, a withered, shrivelled, and frightful hag, whose nose was hooked like an eagle's beak, and on whose chin was a grey tuft, like a thistle's beard—a mere anatomy of bones and skin—seated before a heap of blazing turf and sticks, but asleep, and reclining against the wall of rock. A tattered plaid of our clan tartan was over her head, the grey hair of which hung in twisted elflocks round her bony visage. An urchin —a hideous hedgehog—nestled in her fleshless bosom, and its diminutive eyes shone like red beads in the light. On one side lay a heap of withered herbs, a human skull cloven in battle, and the spulebane of a sea-wolf; on the other side was an old iron three-legged pot used in her incantations. Therein sat a huge, rough, and wild-eyed polecat, which spat at the intruder, and woke up a large, sleepy bat that swung by his tail from a withered branch which projected from a fissure of the rock.

The Grey Woman awoke also, and, without moving, fixed her green basilisk eyes on Sir Lauchlan's face, saying sharply—

"What want ye, Duairt?"

"Your advice, good Aileen Glas' replied the chief meekly, for he was awed by her aspect.

"Advice!" shrieked the Grey Woman. "Is it a spell you seek, to insure success, that you may do a greater wrong unto the hapless and guiltless Clan Donald of Islay?"

"I seek to do them no wrong, Aileen. The Ehinnsce ours by right, and Islay is ours by the King's own charter?"

"The people were there before kings or charters were known in the land. God gave the hills and the isles to the children of the Gael, and His curse will fall on all who seek to dispossess them by virtue of sheepskins and waxen seals. Did not a Lord of the Isles say that he little valued a right which depended on the possession of a scrap of parchment ? Beware, Lauchlan Maclean! beware! for the hand of fate is upon you!"

Scared by her words and her fury, as her shrill voice awoke the inmost recesses of the vault. Sir Lauchlan said— "In the name of the mother of God, Aileen Glas, I beseech you to be composed, and to tell me of what I must beware!"

She snatched up the spulebane of the wolf, and, after looking through it by holding it between her and the fire, cast it aside with a shriek, saying— "Lauchlan of Duairt, listen to me, for never may you hear my voice again !"

"It may be so, Aileen; we sail for Islay tomorrow."

"Well, do not land upon a Thursday, and do not drink of the well that flows at the head of Loch Groynard, for I can see that one Maclean will be slain there, and lie headless! Away! leave me now! In the glen you will meet those who will tell you more and she muffled her face in her plaid as Sir Lauchlan left her.

"I can easily avoid a landing on Thursday, and a draught of that devilish well too ; but whom shall I meet in the glen." thought he, as he mounted and galloped homewards to Duairt, glad the horrid interview was over. As he rode round the base of Ben more, the waning moon began to show half her disc above the black shoulder of the mighty mountain, and a pale light played along the broad waves of Loch-na-keal, which lay on his left, and were rolled in foam against the bold headlands and columnar ridges, which are covered with coats of ivy and tufted by remains of oak and ash woods that overhung the salt billows of that western sea, where the scarf, the mew and the heron were screaming.

On, on rode our chief, treasuring the words of Grey Aileen in his heart, and soon he saw the lights in his own castle of Duairt glittering before him about a mile off, and anon he could perceive the outline of the great keep as it towered in the pale moonlight on its high cliff that breasts the Sound of Mull. But hark ! the voice of a woman made him pause. He checked his horse and looker around him. Under an old and blasted oak-tree, the leafless and gnarled branches of which seemed white and ghastly in the cold moonlight, stood the figure of a woman arrayed in a pale-coloured dress that shimmered and gleamed as the moon's half-disc dipped behind the sharp rocky cone of Bentaluidh. The figure, which was thin and tall, was enveloped in a garment that resembled a shroud. It came forward with one lean arm uplifted, as if to stay the onward progress of Maclean, whose rearing horse swerved, trembled, and perspired with fear. Nearer she came, and, as the starlight glinted on her features, they seemed pallid, ghastly, hollow, and wasted; the lips were shrunken from the teeth, the eyes shone like two pieces of glass, and, to his horror, Sir Lauchlan recognised his old nurse Mharee, who had been buried in the preceding year, and whom, with his own hands, he had laid in her grave, close by the wall of Torosay Kirk, the bell of which at that moment tolled the eleventh hour of the night. Gathering courage from despair, he asked—

"In the name of Him who died for us, Mharee, what want you here to-night?".

"Oh, my son !" said she, " for such indeed I may call you for did not the brents, on which the worms are now preying, give you suck this expedition against the men of Islay is full of mighty consequences to you and all Clan Gillian."

"I am sure of that, Mharee," replied Maclean with a sinking heart; "but we go to gather glory and triumph, to spread the honour and the terror of our name, and to win a fairer patrimony to bequeath, with our swords, to the children who succeed us."

"Lauchlan Maclean ! by the bones of your father and the fame of your mother, I conjure you to abandon this wicked war, to sheath your sword, to burn the King^s charter, and to leave the Clan Donald in peace, for Islay is the land of their inheritance."

"To what disgrace would you counsel me, Mharee ? to be a coward and a liar in the face of the King, of my kindred and clansmen? Come weal, come woe,. to-morrow my birlinns shall spread their sails upon the sea that leads to Islay, though I and all my people go but to their graves : by the cross of Maclean be sworn it!"

"So be it then ; but if go you will, I warn you not to cross the threshold of Duairt with a fasting stomach, or sore evil, Lauchlan, will come of it to all thy kin and thee."

With these strange words, the figure faded away like a moonbeam, and nothing was seen but the bare, blasted tree stretching its naked arms across the Bartrow way. Some time elapsed before Maclean recovered from his terror and astonishment to find his horse dashing up the ascent which led to the Castle of Duairt, where his pale face and wild manner caused many questions and excited much comment for he kept his own counsel, resolving not to march en the morrow before breakfast not to land on a Thursday, and not to drink of any well in Islay, if other liquor could be found for love or money.

Next morning great were the hurry, din, and preparation in Duairt, and long before cockcrow the shore of Loch Linnhe was covered by armed men, with their brass targets and burnished claymores, axes, bows, and Spanish muskets; their helmets and lurichs sparkled in the dawn, and when the sun arose above the hills of Lorn, the white sails of the birlinns, with banners flying and pipers playing at the prow, covered all the sea around the Castle of Duairt. Sir Lauchlan in person superintended the embarkation of his followers, and if there was one, there were seven hundred good claymores among them—not a bonnet less ! Every man, as he left Duairt, had a ration of bannock, cheese, and venison given to him, with a good dram to put under his belt, for such is our Highland custom before setting out on an expedition.

But such was the enthusiasm, such were the cheers, the congratulations and hopes uttered aloud, the yelling of pipes, the twanging of clairsachs and quaffing of toasts with blade and bicker held aloft, that it was not until he was on board his great war birlinn, with all her canvas spread to catch the northern gale which blew towards the peaks of Jura, that the fated chieftain found that, in attending to his people, he had forgotten to regale himself, and, contrary to the solemn warning of the spirit, had actually commenced his hazardous expedition with a "fasting stomach !"

"Dhia!" cried he to my grand-uncle Lauchlan Brargch; " I am lost, nephew," and he related the vision of last night.

"If that be all" replied my grand-uncle, who was his brother^ son, "rest easy, for here have I and Eonald of the Drums marched, too, with nothing under our belts but the cold north wind."

Still my ancestor felt far from easy; but he forgot it before night, when a heavy gale came on, and the birlinns, were scattered on the waters of the darkening deep like a flock of gulls; and it was in vain that he fired his pateraroes as signals to keep together.

The storm increased, and while some of the little fleet narrowly escaped being sucked (like the Danish prince of old) into the roaring whirlpool of Coirv-oreckan many were blown to the Isle of Colonsay and other in the Sound of Jura. Many days—all days of storm with nights of pitchy blackness—followed, and on the first Thursday of the next week the little fleet of birlinns made the low green shores and sandy inlets of Islay, and saw the rising sun gild the woods and hills that rise upon its eastern coast Still the stormy wind ploughed up the sea ; the sun was enveloped in watery clouds, and there tempest-tossed Clan Gillian gladly steered their vessels (oh, fatality!) into the salt Loch of Groynard, a shallow bay on the, north-west of the isle, where, with a shout of triumph, they ran the keels into the sand and leaped ashore with brandished swords, and formed their ranks, all barelegged, in the water.

But long ere this the crian tarigh, or cross of fire, had blazed upon the hills of Islay !

Under their young chief, Sir James, the whole Clan Donald, many of whom had been trained to service in the Irish wars, were drawn up in array of battle at the head of Loch Groynard ; and there, with all their weapons glittering from the purple heather, they hovered like a cloud of battle. As the hostile bands drew near, some gentlemen of the Clan Donald, to prevent the effusion of Christian blood, prevailed upon Sir James to promise that he would resign one half of Islay to Maclean during his life, provided he would acknowledge that he held it for personal service to the Clan Donald, in the same manner as our fore-fathers had held the Rhinns of Islay.

But, rendered furious on finding that he had doubly transgressed the wizard warnings he received. Sir Lauchlan laughed the proposition to scorn. Then the young chief offered to submit the matter in dispute to any impartial umpires Duairt might choose, with the proviso that, if they should disagree, his Majesty the King should be their arbiter.

But my ancestor drew off his glove, and, taking a handful of water from a fountain that gurgled from a rock near him, exclaimed—it may this water prove my poison, if I will have only arbiter but my sword, or any terms but an absolute surrender of the whole island."

Then my grand-uncle Lauchlan Barroch uttered a cry of terror—for Duairfc in his anger had forgotten the prediction, and drank of the well at the head of Loch Groynard, where one Maclean was to fall—and there, in ten minutes after, he was slain by a MacDonald, who by a single blow of a claymore, swept \is head off his shoulders.

Long and bloody was the battle that ensued when the MacDonalds rushed down. the hill to close with the Clan Gillian, who were routed, leaving eighty duinewassals and two hundred soldiers, with their chief, dead upon the field. Ronald Maclean of the Drums—a little tower upon the peninsula of Loch Duinard—was shot by an arrow, and not one who left Duairfc with a fasting stomach, escaped;—why, God alone knows; for though my grand-uncle Lauchlan Barroch retreated with a remnant of our people to the birlinns, he was mortally-wounded by a musket-shot. Of the Clan Donald, only thirty men were killed and sixty wounded. Among the latter was their young chief—afterwards a general of the Scots Brigade in Holland—who was found on the field with an arrow in his breast.

I have heard my mother say that all that night the watchman on the keep of Duairt heard cries and moans coming from the seaward, though the castle was more than fifty miles distant from Groynard, for it seemed as if the spirits of the air brought the sounds of battle on their wings from the fatal shore of Islay. Late that night, the hoofs of a galloping horse were heard reverberating in the glen and ringing on the roadway that led to Duairt; and soon a horse and rider were seen in the moonlight approaching rapidly, the hoofs of the steed striking fire from the flinty path.

"A messenger approaches" cried the watchman, and in an instant the lady of Duairt and all her household were at the gate ; but how great was their terror when they perceived that the approaching horseman was headless, though wearing the arms, .plaid, and trews of a chief! Up, up the ascent came the terrible vision, galloping in the pale moonlight, just passing on, it disappeared in the glen which, led to the blasted oak where Sir Lauchlan had received his last unearthly warning.

Be this story false or true, there are in our regiment a hundred brave men of trust and honour, who can swear to having seen this spectre gallop up to Duairfc gate on the anniversary of the battle of Groy-ward when any calamity overhangs the Olaa Gilan. Sir Lauchlan—the heavens be his bed to-night ?—sleeps in Torosay Kirk, yet that headless horse may appear to-morrow on the shore of Mull, for many a bonnet will be on the turf, many a plaid in our ranks dyed red in the wearer's blood—and I have seven sons in the field ! But our fate is in the hands of God, so let our hearts be stout and true, for He will never fail us, though we may be false to ourselves. Hand round the demijohn, Findlay, my brave lad—and rouse the brands, Farquhar, for the moon has sunk behind the hills, and our fire is getting low.

So ended this legend of Celtic diablerie, to which I had listened attentively, for the air and manner of the venerable narrator were very impressive, as he devoutly believed it all; but Captain Campbell of Finab, who affected to consider it, as he said, "a tale of a tub," was as much startled as I by the issue of the next day's engagement with the enemy.

By dawn next day the wild pibroch "Come to me and I will give you flesh," that fierce invitation to the wolf and raven, rang in the allied bivouac, as his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland took post at Maulp in view of the French position, and ordered a squadron of each regiment, with six battalions of foot, five hundred pioneers, a body of Austrian hussars, and six pieces of cannon, all under the command of the veteran Lieutenant-General Sir James Campbell, K.B., Governor of the Castle of Edinburgh, to drive the enemy out of the defiles of the wood of Barri. This movement was the prelude to the disastrous battle of Fontenoy, where Campbell was killed.

The Guards and we—the old Black Watch—began the engagement at Veson—the well-known affair of utposts. There the Dauphin commanded, and his soldiers were the flower of the French line, a splendid brigade, all clad in white coats laced with gold, long ruffles, tied perriwigs, and little plumed hats. They were intrenched breast high, and defended by an abattls.

We fell furiously on; the Scottish Foot-guards with their clubbed muskets and fixed bayonets; the Black Watch with swords, pistols, and dirks, and the struggle was terrible, as the action ensued at a place which was swept by the fire of a redoubt mounted with cannon and manned by six hundred of the noble Regiment de 'Picardie. Old Captain Maclean, at the head of his grenadiers and which his seven sons by his side, rushed up the glacis to storm the palisades.

"Open pouches—blow fuses—dirk and claymore, fall on" were his rapid orders, as the hand-grenades fell like a hissing shower over the breastwork, from which a sheet of lead tore through the ranks of our stormers. Maclean fell at the foot of the palisades with one hand upon them and the other on his sword. All his sons perished with him, falling over each other in a gory heap as they strove to protect his body. The last who fell was the youngest, Angus Dhu, who, after slaying a French field officer, had driven a bayonet into his head, thrusting it through the ears using it as a lever, he strove furiously to twist, tear, or wrench off the Frenchman's skull as a trophy, of vengeance; for the young Celt was beside himself with grief and rage, when a volley of bullets from the white-coated Regiment de Picardie laid him on the grass to rise no more, just as Sir James Campbell carried the intrenchment sword in hand, and totally routed and destroyed the soldiers of the Dauphin.

Whether old Captain Maclean and his sons marched that morning without breaking their fast—a fatal omission apparently in any of the Clan Gillian—I have no means of ascertaining ; but, as Ronald Mac Ara, who bore their provisions, was killed by a stray bullets about daybreak, it was generally believed so
by the regiment, as this faithful henchman of the captain was found dead with a full havresac under his right arm, and the weird story of the seven fated grenadiers was long remembered by the Black Watch, when the greater events of the rout at Fontenoy and the evacuation of Flanders were forgotten.


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