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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