Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Regiment de Fitz-James at Rossbach

The battle of Rossbach (November 5, 1757) was one of the worst French military disasters in the Seven Years' War.  A Prussian cavalry force under General Seydlitz shattered the advance guard of the French-Austrian-Imperial army.  General Hildenburghausen with two regiments of Austrian curaissers stood against Seydlitz.  They were joined by the Irish Regiment Fitz-James.  These brave men were unable to stand against Seydlitz's cavalry force, and the day was lost.
The heroism of Regiment Fitz-James, and two commanders of it, is told in the 1779 issue of Hibernian Magazine:

"What in Rosbach's bloody plain befel,
Ambitious Fred'rick's savage troops can tell
Where one stout legion of Hibernian blood
The fire of all the Prussian arms withstood;
Led by the Betagh twins, bright twins in fame,
Their goodness, valour, and their skill the same--
* * *
And when, with half his men, one brother fell,
The next, (a tale incredible to tell!)
With the small remnant of his slaughter'd band,
Their way cut thro' the Prussians, sword in hand.
Charm'd with such feats, the King withheld his fire,
And let these heroes unassail'd retire;
Had search made for their leader o'er the field,
That he might to his corpse all honours yield;
To pieces hew'd, his corpse was sought in vain,
Amidst the bleeding heaps of mangled slain."
(quoted from pg. 583, History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France, by J. C. O'Callaghan)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Edward Braddock, described by Mrs. Bellamy

Edward Braddock--the first British general to fight on the North American continent.  His army was defeated and himself killed in the Battle on the Monongahela.  In the years following the battle, Braddock has not been portrayed well.  He appears as a brutal, self-confident general.

One person, however, knew and was known by Braddock very well: the actress Mrs. George Anne Bellamy.  She had, as she says, "been known from my infancy" by General Braddock.

She gives this interesting account:

"This great man having been often reproached with brutality, I am induced to recite the following little accident, which evidently shews the contrary.
"As we were walking in the Park one day, we heard a poor fellow was to be chastised; when I requested the General to beg off the offender.  Upon his application to the general officer, whose name was Drury, he asked Braddock, How long since he had divested himself of brutality, and of the insolence of his manners?  To which the other replied, "You never knew me insolent to my inferiors.  It is only to such rude men as yourself, that I behave with the spirit which I think they deserve."--pg. 29, volume 3, An Apology for the Life of Mrs. George Anne Bellamy, found here

Not only does Mrs. Bellamy recount that Braddock was not as brutal as he seemed, she even writes in a stated effort to dispel the idea!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Sermon by Jonathan Boucher, Loyalist

Jonathan Boucher was a pastor in Virginia.  When the American War for Independence broke out, Boucher remained loyal to Great Britain.  He quickly decided to relocate to England, because his parishioners were hostile to his views.  In fact, he carried a pistol with him into the pulpit.  One of Boucher's last sermons in the colonies contains this remarkable quote:
"True liberty, then, is a liberty to do every thing that is right, and the being restrained from doing any thing that is wrong.  So far from our having a right to do every thing that we please, under a notion of liberty, liberty itself is limited and confined--but limited and confined only by laws which are at the same time both its foundation and its support."


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Madame de Drucour

"A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches"--Proverbs 11:15

I have not yet found when Madame Marie-Anne Aubert de (Courserac) Drucour was born.  She married the Chevalier de Drucour circa 1750 (If any of my readers could fill in these dates, please drop me a comment, and cite your sources).
In 1754, the Chevalier de Drucour was appointed governor of New France's island fortress of Louisbourg.  Marie-Anne accompanied him and quickly became beloved by the residents of this mighty fortress.  Historian J. S. McLennan describes her: "Madame Drucour, a daughter of the Courserac family which had given many officers to the French navy, did her part in making his regime popular.  She was a woman of intelligence, gracious towards every one, and succeeded in making Government House extremely attractive.
"Later events show that, in addition, she was a woman of rare heroism and a devoted wife.  It may be noted, in passing, that the first and last Governors of Louisbourg both married widows, were splendidly mated, and left them in extreme poverty.  Madame de Drucour was the widow of a Savigny. She received a pension of 1000 l., but died only a few weeks after her husband, about the time, October 1763, it was granted."--pgs. 233-34, Louisbourg: From its Foundation to its Fall 1713-1758, by J. S. McLennan.

During the Siege of Louisbourg (1758), Madame Drucour proved her worth yet again.  As Francis Parkman wrote in his Montcalm and Wolfe:
"Drucour, on occasion of a flag of truce, wrote to Amherst that there was a surgeon of uncommon skill in Louisbourg, whose services were at the command of any English officer who might need them. Amherst on his part sent to his enemy letters and messages from wounded Frenchmen in his hands, adding his compliments to Madame Drucour, with an expression of regret for the disquiet to which she was exposed, begging her at the same time to accept a gift of pineapples from the West Indies. She returned his courtesy by sending him a basket of wine; after which amenities the cannon roared again. Madame Drucour was a woman of heroic spirit. Every day she was on the ramparts, where her presence roused the soldiers to enthusiasm; and every day with her own hand she fired three cannon to encourage them."

The French, after a long and stubborn defense, were defeated, and Louisbourg passed into English hands.  But Madame Drucour's reputation continued, even after the surrender, to be rewarded:
"It was embarked, Pichon claimed, “with as much tranquillity, as if it had been going upon a voyage of pleasure” and Drucour received “all the honours which a person of his rank deserved.” Each day throughout the siege Mme Drucour had fired three guns to encourage the French troops, and after the surrender she assisted “all the unfortunate people that had recourse to her mediation.” Amherst paid her compliments at parleys during the siege, and after the capitulation Boscawen granted every favour she asked. The Drucours sailed from Louisbourg on 15 Aug. 1758, exactly four years after their arrival."--from
Madame de Drucour is one of the most interesting and most noble women of the French and Indian War, if not of the entire 18th century.
Note: Rene Chartrand's Louisbourg 1758 has a painting of Madame Drucour firing the cannons on pgs. 66-67.  I know of no other picture of her.

Monday, November 5, 2012


"Some of our nineteenth-century Christians seem ashamed to perform before others an act of worship; which is proof, to say the least, of a shrinking or cowardly spirit.  The followers of Mohammed, who have the courage of their convictions wherever they may chance to be, will seven times daily make their prayers to Allah under the eyes of the more timid Christians."--pg. xiii, Cameron of Lochiel by Philippe Aubert de Gaspe, translated by Charles G. D. Roberts

The burial service of General Montcalm, picture from,