Scotch Highlanders in America
An Historical Account Of The Settlements Of Scotch Highlanders In America Prior To The Peace Of 1783 Together With Notices Of Highland Regiments And Biographical Sketches, by J. A. P. MacLean, Ph. D.
An attempt is here made to present certain Scotch Highland settlements
prior to the Revolution. These settlements form a very important and
interesting place in the early history of our country. While they may not have
occupied a very prominent or pronounced position, yet their exertions in
subduing the wilderness, their activity in the Revolution, and the wide
influence exercised by the descendants of these hardy pioneers, have brought
their history and achievements into notice.
Table of Contents
War with Florida
The active war with Spain
commenced by the murder of two unarmed Highlanders on Amelia Island, who
had gone into the woods for fuel. It was November 14, 1739, that a party
of Spaniards landed on the island and skulked in the woods. Francis
Brooks, who commanded a scout boat, heard reports of musketry, and at once
signaled the fort, when a lieutenant's squad marched out and found the
murdered Highlanders with their heads cut off and cruelly mangled. The
Spaniards fled with so much precipitation that the squad could not
overtake them, though, they pursued rapidly. Immediately Oglethorpe began
to collect around him his inadequate forces for the invasion of Florida.
In January, 1740, he received orders to make hostile movements against
Florida, with the assurance that Admiral Vernon should cooperate with him.
Oglethorpe took immediate action, 3rove in the Spanish outposts and
invaded Florida, having learned from a deserter that St. Augustine was in
want of provisions. South Carolina rendered assistance; and its regiment
reached Darien the first of May, where it was joined by Oglethorpe's
favorite corps, the Highlanders, ninety strong, commanded by Captain John
Mohr Mcintosh and Lieutenant MacKay. They were ordered, accompanied by an
Indian force, to proceed by land, at once, to Cowford (afterwards
Jacksonville), upon the St. Johns. With four hundred of his regiment,
Oglethorpe, on May 3d, left Frederica, in boats, and on the 9th reached
the Cowford. The Carolina regiment and the Highlanders having failed to
make the expected junction at that point, Oglethorpe, who would brook no
delay, immediately proceeded against Fort Diego, which surrendered on the
10th, and garrisoned it with sixty men under Lieutenant Dunbar. With the
remainder he returned to the Cowford, and there met the Carolina regiment
and Mcintosh's Highlanders. Here Oglethorpe massed nine hundred soldiers
and eleven hundred Indians, and marched the whole force against Fort
Moosa, which was built of stone, and situated less than two miles from St.
Augustine, which the Spaniards evacuated without offering resistance.
Having burned the gates, and made three breaches in the walls, Oglethorpe
then proceeded to reconnoiter the town and castle. Assisted by some ships
of war lying at anchor off St. Augustine bar, he determined to blockade
the town. For this purpose he left Colonel Palmer, with ninety-five
Highlanders and fifty-two Indians, at Fort Moosa, with instructions to
scour the woods and intercept all supplies for the enemy; and, for safety,
encamp every night at different places. This was the only party left to
guard the land side. The Carolina regiment was sent to occupy a point of
land called Point Quartel, about a mile distant from the castle; while he
himself with his regiment and the greater part of the Indians embarked in
boats, and landed on the Island of Anastatia, where he erected batteries
and commenced a bombardment of the town. The operations of the besiegers
beginning to relax, the Spanish commander sent a party of six hundred to
surprise Colonel Palmer at Fort Moosa. The Spaniards had noted that for.
five nights Colonel Palmer had made Fort Moosa his resting place. They
came in boats with muffled oars at the dead of night, and landed unheard
and undiscovered. The Indians, who were relied on by Palmer, were watching
the land side, but never looked towards the water.