Showing posts with label Transports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Transports. Show all posts

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Transport Vessels for the Highland Battalions

Whitehall March 10, 1757.
Ldrs of the Admty. 

My Lords
I am commanded to signify to your Lordships His Majesty's Pleasure that you do forthwith cause a sufficient number of the Transport Vessels, (ordered by my Letters of the 22d past) to be fitted up, victualled, & provided with Bedding, for receiving on board, and conveying to North America, at the rate of two tons for each person, Two Highland Battalions of Foot, commanded by Lt. Col. Montgomery & Lt. Col. Fraser, Each Battalion consisting of 44 commission & Staff officers, 80 Non Commissioned officers, 20 Drummers, & 1000 private Men, together with the usual allowance of 6 Women, & 3 Servant to Each Company. And it's the Kings' further Pleasure that the said Transport Vessels so fitted up, be directed to repair to Cork in Ireland, under such convoy as your Lordships shall judge sufficient, where the Two Battalions above mentioned are to be embarked; and from whence such of the Transport Vessels, as shall have on board the Battalion, commanded by Lieut. Colonel Montgomery are to proceed to Charles Town in South Carolina, and the remainder, with the Battalion, commanded by Lieut. Colonel Fraser are to proceed to Halifax, in Nova Scotia, at which place they are to be respectively disembarked; And your Lordships will accordingly give the necessary Orders for this purpose to the Commanding Officer of the s Officer, commanding the said Convoy, & Transport Vessels.


Draft to the Ldrs of the Admty
March 10th, 1757.
2 Tents, Baggage &c
Transports for Highlanders &c.

After arriving at Glasgow, newspaper accounts depict the main body of Fraser's Highlanders, on or about 19 April 1757, proceeding west to Port Patrick en route to Donaghadee, Ireland, where they would continue their march some 400 miles south to Cork, Ireland and depart for North America in eight transport ships under cover of Enterprize, a 40-gun man of war.

Note: Originally commissioned Norwich in May 1718, she was later renamed Enterprize on 23 May 1744.

Colonel Simon Fraser
From aboard the Ann transport ship in Cove Harbour, Colonel Fraser wrote on June 28th, 1757:

My Dr Sir,
     Tho I have been long hurryd I am not less so than ever & have but just time to tell you that we marched safe and sound thro Ireland without the loss of a man since we landed they hardly gave us time to cool our bloods when they embarked us & here we are all alive and merry.

    I don’t know if I said anything in answer to yours about the meal but it must be sent for & distributed first to the widows, then to the wives & so on to the third and fourth generation of them that loved me well enough to follow me. As to the Deserters I woud have them be sent by the first troops to Glasgow & Mr Geo Buchanan Junr there will send them by some Capt transporting convicts to Halifax where we are destined to & this I would have done with the rest if any are taken. God bless you my Dr Sir, the Wyfie poor beoch, the bairns, Hopefull &c &c I shall find time to write you at sea.  

Yrs S. Fraser

Sergeant James Thompson
The regiment would ultimately depart Cork for Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 30, 1757. The following is an excerpt from Sergeant James Thompson's diary on the sailing to North America:

     Our Regiment rendezvou'd at Cork, there to embark for Service, somewhere or other in North America. We sail'd with seal'd orders, which were only to be open'd when we reach'd a certain latitude. The hir'd vessel I was embark'd in was call'd the Martello, a beautiful new ship, and it was her first voyage. The Captain did not know her trim, and the first few days after our sailing she would run away from the Commodore in no time, in spite of our short'ning sail, and for this high offense, which he couldn't help, the Captain had frequently a shot fired at him, to make him keep under the wing of the Commodore, the shot however, did no further injury than subject the Captain to a fine of six and eight pence for every shot. One day we had a fine stiff breeze and our ship actually outsailed the whole of the Fleet altho' only under bare poles. When the Commodore saw this he was satisfied it wasn't the Captain's fault, and he made him pay no more six-and-eight pence per shot. The ship was so tight that she didn't require pumping the whole of the voyage, which was a lucky circumstance indeed.

     At last, we discover'd the Commodore's Signal for the whole of the Fleet to heave-to, and when we had done this as cleverly as we could, the Signal was made for all Commanding Officers of Corps to go on board the Commodore's ship. This was to make known our Destination, and to receive their Orders accordingly. We soon after found out that our place of destination was Halifax. As good luck would have it, the Fleet was safe, and soon after we cast our Anchor, our Captain was anxious to try the tightness of his ship and gave his orders to have her pump'd. The men had difficulty in getting the pumps to draw, and when, at last, water came, it was as black as my Bonnet, and it produced such a stench, that it would soon have poison'd all the men on board. It turn'd out that instead of pumping out, 'afaith they were obliged to pump in, to prevent the Troops getting sick.

     When we landed at Halifax, we found our Commander-in-Chief General Wolfe there, drilling away the men, and making fight sham-battles at a place round the Town called Deptford, where the ground is level. We were not long at Halifax when we received Orders to set sail for the River Saint Lawrence, and in a few days we came to anchor opposite the harbour of Louisbourg which we knew it was our business to try and take.

Transport Ships at Halifax, 1757
Further research indicates the hired vessel Martello that Serjeant Thompson spoke of may have actually been named Myrtilla, as recorded on October 17, 1757 with the Second Highland Battalion in Halifax Harbour. Thompson describes her as "...a beautiful new ship," and early records confirm she was originally built in 1754. Because Thompson's diary was recorded some years later, it would not be uncommon, due to advanced age, to have erred in his recollections.

Return of Col. Fraser's transport ships in Halifax Harbour, October 1757
Return of Col. Fraser's transport ships in Halifax Harbour, October 1757
Note: The Matilla transport ship, as depicted in the above Return in Halifax Harbour, was most likely named Matilda, commanded by Captain Wing, and recorded as returning to England with five other transport ships, viz., Kent; Neptune; Brotherly Love; Myrtilla; Duchess of Hamilton. [Lloyd's List - "Ships arriving at Downs from North America," 12 Apr. 1757.]

Transport Vessels Depart Louisbourg, 1759
In the early summer of 1759, the British Fleet set sail from Louisbourg for Quebec, in all approximately 9,000 soldiers strong. The regiments were divided into three divisions/brigades [white - 1st brigade, red - 2nd brigade, blue - 3rd brigade], and to further distinguish between regiments the ships were dressed with color-coded vanes. Colonel Fraser's transport vessels for this voyage were as follows:

White Division - 1st Brigade
Colonel Fraser, 78th Foot
Vanes: white, and two blue balls

Ship: Ann & Elizabeth
Shipmaster: Wm. Robinson
Tons: 215
Troops: 113
Taken up: London
With one cutter boat

Ship: Argyle
Shipmaster: Alexr. Morrison
Tons: 300
Troops: 193
Taken up: Boston
With three whale boats

Ship: Jane
Shipmaster: Jno. Garnett
Tons: 273
Troops: 97
Taken up: London
With one cutter boat

Ship: James & Henrietta
Shipmaster: Jno. Meeke
Tons: 357
Troops: 196
Taken up: London
With one flat boat

Ship: Resolution
Shipmaster: Zachy Marshall
Tons: 238
Troops: 122
Taken up: London
With one cutter boat

Ship: Thornton
Shipmaster: Jno. Ekshaw
Tons: 331
Troops: 221
Taken up: New York

Ship: Venus [2]
Shipmaster: Wm. Duffield
Tons: 317
Troops: 208
Taken up: London
With two cutter boats

Total troops: 1150

Note: Venus [2] was the second of two vessels by the same name operating for the British Fleet at this time. The first Venus transport vessel operating in the area was commanded by Shipmaster Johnson.

“Transport Vessels for the Highland Battalions.” Letter received by Lords of Admiralty, 10 March 1757. America and West Indies, Original Correspondence, etc. Despatches to governors and others, 1756-1757, C.O. 5 ed., vol. 212, pp. 423-426. Public Archives Canada. Print.

"Transports in the White Division." Northcliffe Collection: Series 1: Robert Monckton Papers. LAC, Microfilm C-366.

Col. Simon Fraser, "Colonel Fraser in Cove Harbour, 28 June. 1757." Clan Fraser Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2001.

Earl John Chapman, “Troop Transport Martello.” Received by, Rootsweb, 10 Apr. 2010, Accessed 2 July 2017.

"Halifax Harbour Transporte List." Elizabeth Rose Family papers. NAS, GD125-22-17, p. 18.

Lloyd's Register Group, “Lloyd's Register of Ships.” Lloyd's Register Group Limited, 2017,

Andrew Welsh, "Enterprize departs Cork, Ireland, 30 June 1757." The Magazine of magazines, compiled from original pieces, with extracts from the most celebrated books and periodical compositions published in Europe, vol. 13, p. 575. London. Printed for W. Owen, 1757.

British Fourth Rate Ships of the Line, "Norwich Renamed Enterprize, 1744." Three Decks, Warships in the Age of Sail, 2017. Accessed 2 July 2017. Web.

©  Jeffrey Campbell, Fraser's 78th Regiment of Foot, 2018.  All rights reserved.