Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal: February 1814
©2012 by Mollie Pearce McKibbon
A fictional account of a young woman’s experiences during the War of 1812.
February 13, 1814
At the end of January Father was summoned to Fort Wellington and told to bring me for an interview with the fort commander. Father told me that he would go alone and speak to the commander on my behalf . I appreciated his desire to shield me from the distress, but I felt that if I did not go myself it it would give a wrong impression. I know that Charles was respected and is greatly missed by his comrades and it wounds me that his friends would think the worst of me. Father and I walked through the barracks to the colonel’s office.
The colonel treated us with great respect. He offered me a chair and asked if I would care for some hot tea. I thanked him and said that tea would be very welcome. My father saluted and stood behind my chair until the colonel gave him leave to sit down as well.
The colonel picked up a letter from his desk and read it aloud. It was from Brigadier General Ambrose Houghton the Third, Charles’ father. The letter was cold and to the point. He and his family were distressed to learn of the death of their youngest son, not to have been killed nobly in battle, but under very suspicious circumstances while on leave from the army. He further stated that although Charles was involved with a woman (myself) and supposedly married, he had married in haste and without the permission of his father. Furthermore, although Charles was the youngest son, he would have come into a sizable inheritance held in trust from his great-uncle which would now be put back into a trust for his older brothers and sister. He concluded his letter by demanding (although that is not how he phrased it) that all of his son’s belongings be shipped back to England and that a thorough investigation into his murder be conducted immediately.
At every line, my dismay grew and, though I tried to hold them back, my tears flowed freely. Was this the letter for which my dear Charles had longed? I wondered how my very thoughtful and loving husband could be the son of someone so very unfeeling.
My father put his arm around me and bid me wipe my tears. I could tell that he was upset from the way that his lip stiffened and his voice deepened as he spoke.
“Am I to understand,Sir, that my daughter’s grief is now suspect? That now my family is to be investigated? What do we know about this man? You know how honourable our family is. My daughter is now a widow.”
“Of course, I don’t believe this, Price. , but this man is influential and my superior in rank. Houghton died under very strange circumstances and I must ask the constable in Johnstown to investigate.”
My knees were shaking as we left the office and I could feel the eyes of the soldiers boring into my back as we walked through the fort gate. Mr. Randall helped me up into the sleigh and we three drove home in silence as the shadows lengthened on the snow.
That night, as I lay in bed next to my sister, I cried and prayed as I never have before.
Your childhood friend,
February 26, 1814
Many times I have taken up my quill to write and I end up staring at the blank sheet until it disappears before me. The days are galloping by as this tiny being is making his or her self more obvious with small kicks. Mrs. Randall is pleased with the baby’s progress and keeps urging me not to neglect my meals. She needn’t worry as Mother is forever making me small tea trays and when she isn’t then Evvy is.
The war is continually in our minds, although my thoughts are centred mainly on myself these days and my wee bump. It has been quiet on the river and battle of Crysler’s farm was even celebrated at a grand ball in Quebec given by Governor General Prevost so we have been told. I don’t suppose I will ever go to a ball. Somedays when I am very melancholy, I wonder if I will ever be free of the shadows that surround me.