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A Legend Of Ticonderoga
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A Legend Of Ticonderoga
Mention has been made of the death of Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe.
The following family tradition relating to it was told me in 1878 by the
late Dean Stanley, to whom I am also indebted for various papers on the
subject, including a letter from James Campbell, Esq., the present laird
of Inverawe, and great-nephew of the hero of the tale. The same story is
told, in an amplified form and with some variations, in the Legendary
Tales of the Highlands of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder. As related by Dean
Stanley and approved by Mr. Campbell, it is this:--
The ancient castle of Inverawe stands by the banks of the Awe,
in the midst of the wild and picturesque scenery of the western
Highlands. Late one evening, before the middle of the last
century, as the laird, Duncan Campbell, sat alone in the old
hall, there was a loud knocking at the gate; and, opening it, he
saw a stranger, with torn clothing and kilt besmeared with
blood, who in a breathless voice begged for asylum. He went on
to say that he had killed a man in a fray, and that the pursuers
were at his heels. Campbell promised to shelter him. "Swear on
your dirk!" said the stranger; and Campbell swore. He then led
him to a secret recess in the depths of the castle. Scarcely was
he hidden when again there was a loud knocking at the gate, and
two armed men appeared. "Your cousin Donald has been murdered,
and we are looking for the murderer!" Campbell, remembering his
oath, professed to have no knowledge of the fugitive; and the
men went on their way. The laird, in great agitation, lay down
to rest in a large dark room, where at length he fell asleep.
Waking suddenly in bewilderment and terror, he saw the ghost of
the murdered Donald standing by his bedside, and heard a hollow
voice pronounce the words: "Inverawe! Inverawe! blood has been
shed. Shield not the murderer!" In the morning Campbell went to
the hiding-place of the guilty man and told him that he could
harbor him no longer. "You have sworn on your dirk!" he replied;
and the laird of Inverawe, greatly perplexed and troubled, made
a compromise between conflicting duties, promised not to betray
his guest, led him to the neighboring mountain, and hid him in a
In the next night, as he lay tossing in feverish slumbers, the
same stern voice awoke him, the ghost of his cousin Donald stood
again at his bedside, and again he heard the same appalling
words: "Inverawe! Inverawe! blood has been shed. Shield not the
murderer!" At break of day he hastened, in strange agitation,
to the cave; but it was empty, the stranger was gone. At night,
as he strove in vain to sleep, the vision appeared once more,
ghastly pale, but less stern of aspect than before. "Farewell,
Inverawe!" it said; "Farewell, till we meet at TICONDEROGA!"
The strange name dwelt in Campbell's memory. He had joined the
Black Watch, or Forty-second Regiment, then employed in keeping
order in the turbulent Highlands. In time he became its major;
and, a year or two after the war broke out, he went with it to
America. Here, to his horror, he learned that it was ordered to
the attack of Ticonderoga. His story was well known among his
brother officers. They combined among themselves to disarm his
fears; and when they reached the fatal spot they told him on the
eve of the battle, "This is not Ticonderoga; we are not there
yet; this is Fort George." But in the morning he came to them
with haggard looks. "I have seen him! You have deceived me! He
came to my tent last night! This is Ticonderoga! I shall die
to-day!" and his prediction was fulfilled.
Such is the tradition. The indisputable facts are that Major Duncan
Campbell of Inverawe, his arm shattered by a bullet, was carried to Fort
Edward, where, after amputation, he died and was buried. (Abercromby to
Pitt, 19 August, 1758.) The stone that marks his grave may still be
seen, with this inscription: "Here lyes the Body of Duncan Campbell of
Inverawe, Esquire., Major to the old Highland Regiment, aged 55 Years,
who died the 17th July, 1758, of the Wounds he received in the Attack
of the Retrenchment of Ticonderoga or Carrillon, on the 8th July,
His son, Lieutenant Alexander Campbell, was severely wounded at the same
time, but reached Scotland alive, and died in Glasgow.
* * * * *
Mr. Campbell, the present Inverawe, in the letter mentioned above, says
that forty-five years ago he knew an old man whose grandfather was
foster-brother to the slain major of the forty-second, and who told him
the following story while carrying a salmon for him to an inn near
Inverawe. The old man's grandfather was sleeping with his son, then a
lad, in the same room, but in another bed. This son, father of the
narrator, "was awakened," to borrow the words of Mr. Campbell, "by some
unaccustomed sound, and behold there was a bright light in the room, and
he saw a figure, in full Highland regimentals, cross over the room and
stoop down over his father's bed and give him a kiss. He was too
frightened to speak, but put his head under his coverlet and went to
sleep. Once more he was roused in like manner, and saw the same sight.
In the morning he spoke to his father about it, who told him that it was
Macdonnochie [the Gaelic patronymic of the laird of Inverawe] whom he
had seen, and who came to tell him that he had been killed in a great
battle in America. Sure enough, said my informant, it was on the very
day that the battle of Ticonderoga was fought and the laird was killed."
It is also said that two ladies of the family of Inverawe saw a battle
in the clouds, in which the shadowy forms of Highland warriors were
plainly to be descried; and that when the fatal news came from America,
it was found that the time of the vision answered exactly to that of the
battle in which the head of the family fell.
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