Adeline’s 1812 Journal: November 1813

Adeline’s 1812 Journal: November 1813

©2013 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

A fictional journal as it might have been written by a young woman in Grenville County during the War of 1812.

Blueberry Creek Farm                                                                                                                                               Saturday, November 13, 1813

Dear Janetta,

William rode in to visit me today.  There was solemn news of a huge battle at Mr. Crysler’s farm many miles east of here along the St. Lawrence shore.  William said that he had reported that he, Charles and White Wolf had seen the American gunboats approaching and that Lt. Duncan Clark had warned the settlers along the river shore.  The weather has been a miserable mixture of snow and sleet, not the best for a battle, but the Americans have been harassing the ships and boats on the river for some time, so an attack was expected.

First of all, William relieved my mind about Charles, Father, And the Randalls.  All of them got through the battle without major wounds, thank the Lord, but sadly, Charles’ friend, John Thompson, was killed instantly right beside Arthur Randall in the last skirmish.  The Americans had been hit hard and seemed to be retreating, although our soldiers were greatly outnumbered.  Suddenly, one company wheeled round and began advancing towards our men.  Our troops led by Lt. Colonel Morrison and Major Heriot fought very valiantly and in the melee John was killed and Arthur wounded in his left hand.  The doctor was able to remove the bullet and bind it.  The settler women nearby were helping to find the wounded and aid the doctor.  

I was thrilled to hear of how bravely our young men acted along beside the professional soldiers and I was grateful to William for coming to let me know that my dear Charles was still hale.  The militia is pursuing the Americans, but I am trying not to be too concerned.  I am keeping myself busy while I wait for Charles to return.  I have completely cleaned our cabin, shaken out all our blankets, quits and coverlets and I have made some drapery for around our bed out of two old quilts mother gave me.  They will help keep out the cold.  I filled our kindling box, trapped some rabbits just like Father taught Henry and me.  I’m glad Father taught us how to snare partridge and grouse too, as I don’t think I could shoot well enough to bring down anything as large as a deer or even manage to drag it back home through the woods.  Besides, musket balls are scarce now.  I must save them for the stray lynx, fox or bobcat that might try stealing our few chickens.  

William didn’t stay long as he was anxious to see Elizabeth.  Her time is getting close.  Their baby is to be born in December.  I do hope all will go well.  However, I could tell from Williams face, when he first arrived that the battle must have been horrible.  He had promised Charles he would stop by.  I shall keep myself very busy as it helps the time pass and I will do less fretting.  I hope Charles returns home soon.  

I was hoping that William might have a letter from Charles’ parents in England.  We have been expecting one as Charles has written them about our wedding.  I expect it has been delayed by the war against Napoleon or perhaps the mail was seized by the Americans.  I did hope to have good news to tell my dearest.  I miss him so and I won’t be truly happy until I see him here by our hearth.

Longingly, Adeline

Blueberry Creek Farm                                                                                                                                                Monday, November 15, 1813

Dear Janetta,

Heaven be praised!  Charles returned home today.  Pirate and I ran out to meet him through the wet snow and I could hardly let go of him once he’d dismounted.  He looked so very weary.  I could see that the battle had taken a toll on his spirits and his body.  He stabled his horse and I got to work preparing a hot luncheon.  We had the two rabbits I had snared in a good stew with some of the root vegetables from Thistledown Farm.  I made a batch of biscuits and for the final course we had blueberry bread pudding.  Charles declared himself well satisfied and we sat for awhile drinking hot tea while he described the battle.  He said that although our men were outnumbered by the Americans, clever planning by our commanding officers and the help of the Indian warriors like White Wolf and his people  turned the tide in our favour.  He also said that the American army had tried to attack Montreal in Lower Canada but had been repulsed at Chậteauguay at the end of October so perhaps they know now that we are not to be easily conquered.  

“Oh Addie, ” he said,”the fighting was so fierce and in all the smoke and cannon fire it was hard to tell who had the upper hand at Crysler’s farm.  I can’t describe the sights and sounds, they were terrible. Young men moved down, enemy or our own, all cut down by deadly fire.  There were screams, moaning, some men crying for water or their mothers or sweethearts.  Poor John, I thought we would both return home unscarred, but then at the final volley from the enemy, he was done.  Thank the Lord it was swift.  He didn’t linger.  A lot of our comrades lost legs or arms.  We must pray that they recover.  Some will not.”

Charles sat in silence a long while squeezing my hand.  I cried for both of us.

Now Charles and Pirate have gone out to check on the animals and bring in some………

At this point the journal trails off into a sharp downward stroke of the pen and an ink blot as if the pen had been dropped.

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Adeline’s Journal

Adeline’s Journal  : August 15, 1813regency lady

copyright by Mollie Pearce McKibbon

A fictional account of a young woman’s life during the War of 1812.

The story up to this point:

Adeline’s Uncle Andrew was awarded land in Upper  Canada after serving in the His Majesty’s army during the American Revolution.  When her uncle died his much younger brother, James Price, Adeline’s father inherited the land and moved his family from their home in England to Canada.  Adeline has an older brother, William, a younger brother, Henry and a sister, Eveline.  Their youngest sister, Virginia, died when she was three years old.  William recently married Elizabeth whom he was courting just before the war began.  James and William joined the local militia and reported for duty to Fort Wellington in Prescott.  While William and James were away, Henry and Adeline were checking on their brother’s property and Adeline happened on a rendezvous of an American spy and two of their neighbours.  Adeline was kidnapped by these three men and taken across the frozen St. Lawrence to Ogdensburgh.  She was rescued when the English army attacked the town.  After recovering from her adventure, Adeline has received and accepted a proposal from Sgt. Charles Houghton, an English soldier stationed at Ft. Wellington.

Thistledown Farm

Sunday, August 15, 1813

DearJanetta,                                                                                                                                                                    

Oh how I wish I could truly talk to you face to face, Janetta.  Mother’s  last letter from  Grandmother Price said that you were married to a magistrate and living in Bath.  How grand!  Now you are addressed as Mrs. Janetta Poole-Hasham and travel about in style visiting friends.  How things have changed for both of us.  I am so happy for you.  I wonder if you will learn about my marriage.  As the day grows closer, I can think of nothing else, although I must admit that the harvesting and sewing have me quite exhausted.  I tried on my wedding outfit yesterday and it is quite handsome.  Mother and Evvy are so clever with their sewing.  All I can manae are some passable darns and servicable knitted stockings. Ah well, we are not to covet the talents of others.

Today has been a strange day, beginning with an early morning visit from Arthur  and his new bride.  Yes, I did say bride.  Arthur eloped with Kathleen O’Meara, much to his parent’s chagrin, though I think their dismay wasn’t so much about Kathleen’s Irish catholic background as it was about her two brother’s treasonous actions with the enemy.  Mind you, they haven’t been heard of since I was rescued from Ogdensburgh.

Arthur and Kathleen are living with old Mr. O’Meara at the moment as he is a widower.  Kathleen is just as shy as ever, ducking her head as Arthur introduced her as Mrs. Arthur Randall.  Then, just as they were leaving, Arthur turned to me and hissed,” Now, see Adeline, you haven’t hurt or broken my heart at all.  Not like you’ve hurt my brother.!”

Honestly, I think Arthur is delusional.  I am furious.  How dare he insinuate that I gave his brother, Robert, any affection other that of an honest friend!  I am convinced that ther is no feeling on Robert’s part, other than brotherly affection so I will give no credence to Arthur’s malevolence.  I am truly relieved to know that Arthur will be occupied with things at the fort.  Kathleen will be living at home until they find a place closer to Prescott.

The afternoon passed pleasantly enough until the supper hour with it was my chance to put a whole meal upon the table.  The pork roast was thoroughly cooked, the vegetables were crisp but, I left the biscuits on the heat too long and they burned on the bottom and didn’t cook on the top.  Oh, I despair of ever producing an edible bread for my husband.  He will be wishing he’d waited to marry a good English girl with a generous dowry or at least a talent for cookery.

Dejectedly, Adeline.