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[ United Empire Loyalist monument, unveiled on Empire Day, 23 May 1929, at Prince’s Square on Main Street East in Hamilton, Ontario. Source Saforrest ]
One of the strong influences on my novel The Spanish Patriot was learning about the American colonists who did not wish to separate from Britain during the revolution and civil war of the late 1700s. From what I’d learned in school, I assumed there were maybe a few grump-headed Loyalists, some of whom joined the British to fight against the rebels (Benedict Arnold!), but then after peace was declared everyone quickly fell back into happy coexistence.
Not so much.
More on my site: http://nickypenttila.com/road-to-corunna-american-loyalists/ (Sorry for the link; Google discounted my website before b/c of "repeat posts" so now I post in full only on my site.)
Calls for war sound the same, even 200 years on. On my blog, the post "Prelude to Corunna: Calling All Patriots" is first in a series examining themes in my new book, The Spanish Patriot.
[July? 1812] We had three leagues further to advance, but I was so weary that I feared to undertake the journey. However, a sargeant kindly offered to carry my child for me on his knapsack, and I followed. The rain poured down the whole way, and the road was so bad that we walked above the knees in mire and wet. The sand got amongst my clothes, which, rubbing against my body, caused acute pain in walking. In this state, we encamped for the night.
The rain still came down in torrents, so that it was with the greatest difficulty any fire could be kept burning, the fuel was so wet. After many fruitless attempts, a cradle was sacrificed by one of the women, and with it a little fire was made. Some bran was found in a neighboring mill, with which a sort of porridge was made; but I could not eat any of it. Some boughs were cut down from the trees, and on these I reposed my weary limbs. Having neither tents nor beds, everyone was provided with a blanket only; the one which covered me was soaked with water.
We were to march at four [a.m.]. I rose so stiff and cold that I could scarcely put a foot to the ground. We halted after a march of two leagues, and soon after were surprised by the near approach of the enemy. When the alarm was given I was putting on a pair of regimental shoes belonging to my husband, having previously thrown aside a pair of worn-out boots, which had never been taken off since the first day of wearing, about three months before. I snatched up my boy, and, leaving everything else behind me, we crossed a river (which was very deep) three abreast. One woman who remained behind to pack up her property lost her life for refusing to surrender it to the enemy. [page 31]