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Title: Robert Peel Dawson, Chambly to his parents.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FilePeel Dawson, Robert/116
SenderPeel Dawson, Robert
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationarmy officer
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginChambly, Quebec, Canada
Recipient Gendermale-female
SourceT 850/1: Obtained from Mrs Brackenbury, Moyola Park, Castledawson, Co. Londonderry.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.8950010
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 25:10:1993.
Word Count673
TranscriptChambly, Decr [December?] 4th, 1838
My dearest Parents,
You will, I hope, have received my letters containing an account of
our attack upon Napierville. We thought we should have crossed the water &
wintered in Montreal, but nothing Military is certain, & we have been
perpetually on the march since I wrote to you. We have been to Varennes &
various other Towns. The object of the Government is to frighten the
Canadian population by the appearance of Troops and to make as great a
Military display as possible. Of course we all lived at free Quarters,
paying for nothing and getting the best we could. It is the best way of
dealing with the misguided habitants, who must be sufficiently annoyed in
having ten Soldiers quartered in their houses and being obliged to provide
them with every kind of entertainment which our Soldiers choose to demand.
We selected of course in the first instance the houses of known Rebels, but
the inconvenience of providing for 800 Guardsmen, 400 of the 7th Hussars,
part of the Artillery the Commissariat & attendants upon the Troops, was
felt by all. We fared upon the best, the Wines were excellent, including
even Champagne & Claret. From Varennes we proceeded to St. Charles, the spot
where Colonel Wetherall last year so completely annihilated the enemy. The
march was very trying to us, the cold was dreadful and the distance we had
to accomplish in the day twenty five miles. The thermometer stood at 18
degrees below zero in the shade, 20 in the wind. We started at half past
five in the morning. My Bodenham's Pilot Coat & a Buffalo skin coat over it
protected me effectually from harm. The St. Lawrence River, along the banks
of which we passed in the early part of our march, had taken (as the
Canadian expression is) in that one night. About thirty of the men and four
of our Officers were frost-bitten. We reached the River Richelieu in the
middle of the day and found it so hardly frozen that the Guns of the
Artillery and all our Troops passed over with perfect safety. We slept at
the Town of St. Charles, and the next day went on to St. Hyacinthe, where we
rested three days. This is the Prettiest Town I have seen in Canada. It is
situated on the River Yamaska & we found excellent quarters. Colonel
Lyster-Forrester and myself took possession of a house belonging to a Rebel,
who fled at our approach. We found provisions enoygh to last some weeks.
Lyster acted as cook and proved himself an admirable one. How his friends in
London would have been surprised to have seen him with a white Cap upon his
head and shirt sleeves turned up, superintending the roasting of a turkey or
the seasoning of a delicate soup. He regularly got up at seven o'clock to
provide mutton chops & omelettes for our breakfast at nine. I am sure we
fared better than any other of the Officers, thanks to him.
Hyacinthe is the focus of Rebellion, we made several arrests there.
We retraced our way to St. Charles, and from thence had a long march to
Chambly, from whence I write. We have not seen the ground for the fortnight,
the snow is so deep. To-morrow we go to Laprairie, if we move from thence
the Troops will be obliged to be conveyed in sleighs.
We expect to remain on this side of the River for some weeks to
prevent anticipated invasions from the sympathisers. I received your letters
last night telling me of your intended Paris Excursion. How delighted I
should be to form one of your happy party. I am sure dearest Mamma will be
amused by everything she sees in France. No one for the future will be able
to laugh at the idle life of a Guardsman, at least not one in the Second
Battalion of the Grenadiers.
God bless you all. Ever my dearest Father & Mamma,
Your most attached Son,
Robert Peel Dawson.