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Ticonderoga

Between Loch Awe and Loch Etive, in the shadow of
high Ben Cruachan, amidst the wild and picturesque
scenery of the Western Highlands of Scotland, stood the
ancient house of Inverawe. As was the custom before the middle of the last century, and to this day in parts of
the Highlands, no door was ever locked. Visitors in
peace were made welcome and given shelter at the
fireside.

Late one night, the Laird of Inverawe, Duncan Campbell, was sitting alone in the old hail when there was a
loud knocking at the door. Before Duncan could rise to
find the cause a stranger staggered into the hail.
The stranger flung himself at the feet of the Laird who
saw that the stranger’s clothing was smeared with blood.
The Laird was unable to distinguish the tartan of the
kilt worn by the man, as the garment was faded and
torn. The man was gasping for breath and just managed
to beg for shelter, saying that he was being chased by
friends of a man he had killed in a fair fight. On his
knees the man continued to appeal and explained that
his pursuers were not far behind in the Pass of Brander.
Taking pity on the stranger the Laird said that he
would give him shelter, and took him to a safe cellar in
the house. ‘Swear on your dirk that you will shelter
me,’ said the man. Duncan Campbell then swore as
promised before leaving the man in the safe hiding
place.

Within a few minutes of his returning to the hall two with
armed men arrived at the house The two men were had
related to Duncan and they told him that his foster brother had been murdered and that they, along with other members of the clan, had been in close pursuit of
the murderer, who had disappeared in the vicinity of
Inverawe. Duncan was heartbroken at the news of the
death but the oath giving protection under the old clan
law could not be broken for three clear days even for a
blood feud. He told the men that he had no knowledge
of the fugitive and they went away after searching the
grounds. In great distress the Laird lay down to rest in his dark bedchamber and was soon asleep. Waking suddenly in terror from the events of the night, he was aware of the moonlight in the room, which appeared to silhouette the figure of the murdered foster brother standing by his bed. He then heard a voice crying, ‘Inverawe, Inverawe, blood has been shed. Shield not the murderer.’

In the morning the Laird went to the hiding place
and told the stranger that he could no longer harbour
him as he suspected that he was responsible for the
murder of his foster brother. ‘Duncan Campbell, Laird
of Inverawe!’ replied the man, ‘you have sworn to
protect me.’ Duncan was torn between his duty to the
family of the murdered man and his sworn oath. He
promised not to betray the stranger but told him that
it was impossible to keep him hidden in the house at
Inverawe. That night Duncan led the man to a cave on
the mountainside and left him with food for two days.
Returning to his house, he lay half asleep and tired
with grief, thinking of the strange coincidence which
had caused him to give sanctuary to the murderer of
his own foster brother. Could the ancient loyalties be
broken and revenge exacted? From the darkness he
again heard a voice which reminded him of the dead
foster brother crying, ‘Inverawe, Inverawe, blood has
been shed. Shield not the murderer.’

At daybreak Duncan made his way to the cave with
still the thought of revenge in his mind. Arriving at the
cave he found that the man had gone, taking away all
evidence that the cave had been occupied. Later that
day he attended the funeral of his foster brother and he
learned that the murderer had not been traced.
When Duncan retired to bed on the third night he fell fast asleep from the exhaustion of the day, but in the
early hours he was awakened by the sound of rushing
wind as if a storm had hit the house. He then saw by his
bedside the form of his dead foster brother standing
naked in a grey light which seemed to show up the
bloodstained throat. Duncan sat up and tried to explain
what he had done but the ghostly form became wild and said, ‘Farewell, farewell, Inverawe, till we meet at TICONDEROGA!’ The form then vanished through the wall of the room.

The ghostly figure did not appear again in the house
of Inverawe. Duncan always remembered the name
TICONDEROGA but he had no knowledge of such a
place. He never mentioned it to his family and the
word remained a puzzle to him.

Some time later, Duncan joined the 42nd Highland
Regiment, known as the Black Watch, which was
mostly officered by members of the Clan Campbell.
The regiment was raised to keep the peace in the Highlands of Scotland. He rose to the rank of Major and
accompanied the regiment when it was sent to America
to fight against the French under Montcalm in 1758.
Now far away from Inverawe with the Black Watch, in which his son also served as a junior officer, Duncan
sat at a camp fire thinking of home while at the same
time making plans for an attack on the French-held
Fort Carillion at Crown Point where the waters of Lake
George and Lake Champlain meet. The attack was
planned for early the next morning and a number of
Indian guides were standing about near the camp fire.

To his surprise, Duncan heard one of the guides speak
the word TICONDEROGA and to his horror he learned that this was the Indian name for Fort Carillion. He then told his son and fellow-officers the story of the murder of his foster brother and the words spoken by the ghost which appeared after he had given sanctuary to the murderer. He also told them that he would be killed during the attack on the fort. The attack on the fort started at daybreak; and, as with many of the mistakes made by the British in the course of that campaign, the defenders were not the lightly armed inexperienced troops which had been expected. Grape-shot and bits of iron scrap tore into the attacking British force. The redcoat waves were broken and few managed to climb the palisades.
The final assault was to be that of the tartan-clad
Highlanders and, as the battle pipes set their blood afire, Duncan led his men forward. He climbed the last
stockade successfully and remnants of his men assembled about him to finish the attack. As he gave the order to storm the fort buildings the Laird of Inverawe was hit by a stray bullet. He fell back into the arms of his son. Duncan Campbell died as a result of the wound and
with his last breath he mumbled, ‘TICONDEROGA, peace at last.’

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