Thursday, March 22, 2018

"My Dearest Willy": A Scottish Noblewoman Loses Her Son

Dear Reader,

Today, we have a primary source account from the mother of a British officer. The Hon. William Leslie, an officer of the 17th Regiment of Infantry, died in the Battle of Princeton. His mother, Scottish noblewoman, Wilhemina Nisbet, recorded her worries and loss in her diary. These entries show how war could affect the lives of women (and men) thousands of miles away from the battlefield. This diary can be found in the Society of the Cincinnati Library, in Washington, D.C.


Thursd 24.

This day (by a ship arrived at Glasgow), there is an alarming account come to town concerning the 17th Regiment... that a body of provincials had attacked that regiment, (which was upon its march) from behind a hedge, and that the 17th Regiment broke upon them in a furious manner, and had killed about 300, taking their commander... that the loss sustained by the 17th was inconsiderable,----- this is very trying news. May the Lord prepare me to receive the loving perfection of his unerring Providence with becoming meekness and submission. Faith in the overwhelming power and providence of God is the only relief of the mind, believing that nothing can happen without divine permission when very uneasy. Vexing thoughts only in my heart, Lord! Enable me to hope in thee continuously! I am but ill-prepared to receive bad news, but this I know, that whatever happens to my dearest Willy, it will be the Lord's doing, and not a hair of his head will fall to the ground without divine permission...

Sat. 27th February (the day after I received the account of my dear Willy's death.)

This is the day that hurt made wherein I should feel anguish and sorrow. O that it may be after a Godly manner, and that sin, which is the cause of sorrow may not mingle with my tears... about 7 oclock last night I received of my lovely Willy's death.


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Thanks for Reading,

Alex Burns

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