So you want to be a camp follower... (Contest!)

    First, congratulations to the winners of the previous two contests! Cathy won the Colonial stoneware candle holder from Rogers Island (Ranger Island), and Ellory won the DVD of Last of the Mohicans. I've already heard from Ellory, but not from Cathy.

    Cathy, please send your mailing address to my email at [myname] so I can get your prize to you.

    If you didn't win, dinnae despair! I've got a couple more contests to go.

    Today's contest is no ordinary contest. To win this contest you must be willing to work. Hard. See the "Help Wanted" ad below for details.

    Wanted: Camp followers

    Must be passing fayre in appearance and be free of sickness with sound teeth and bodye. Will wash and cooke for MacKinnon's companie of Rangers encamped at Fort Elizabeth, seeing to all such needs as are common for soldiers. Pay at one schilling per week. Assemble one week hence at the northern stockade gate for the journye to Fort Elizabeth. Those who hope to receive the King's schilling will be examined by a surgeon for sickness and the & etc.

    Now, I know the economy is bad these days, and lots of us are unhappy with our jobs. But before any of you rush off to apply for a job as a camp follower, allow me to tell you what your life will be like.

    You will live year round in a canvas tent or, if you're lucky, a small cabin that shares its two side walls with other cabins, standing in a long row.

    You will be responsible for making and repairing your own clothing which will includes: a linen shift that also serves as a nightdress, woolen stockings, moccasins, a woolen underpetticoat, a plain linen pocket, a linen petticoat, a linen cap for modesty's sake, a linen short gown, a linen apron, a linen kerchief, and a straw hat if you had one. You would wear these items until they wore out and could not longer be patched, stitched or otherwise repaired.

    You will cook each morning, noon and night for one-hundred twenty hungry Rangers: cornmeal mush with salt port, ash cakes, biscuits, and soups and stews made from vegetables grown at the fort, as well as roasted fish, venison, rabbit, goose, duck and such other game as the Rangers provide.

    You will wash the Rangers' clothing, stirring it in large, steaming kettles and hanging it to dry in the open air.

    You will work in the Kings's garden and grow such vegetables in your own kitchen garden as you can, eating what is left after feeding the men and what you can make for yourself.

    You will tend wounded Rangers both at the fort and on the march, tending their smaller hurts.

    If the Rangers decamp and march into battle with the army, you will go with them keeping to the rear of the army. You will walk the entire distance, carrying your own belongings and everything you need to serve the men. The wagons are needed for food, weapons, powder, shot and other stores.

    And at night, after the Rangers have had their ration of rum, there may be those who visit your tent in search of pleasurable company. It will be up to you to decide whether you'll trade a bit of time in your bed for extra rations or cloth or trinkets from the sutler's store or perhaps even a coin or two.

    So, now who wants to be a camp follower and serve MacKinnon's Rangers?

    One lucky person will win a one-year membership at the Camp Follower level to the Friends of Rogers Island, the organization that works to protect, fund and research Rogers Island, which is Ranger Island in my books and is where Iain, Morgan, Connor and the other Rangers live. The winner will also received a signed copy of Untamed.


    So that there's no confusion, let me clarify. There's no real laundry or whoring involved, or work of any kind for that matter. I was just sharing the life of a Colonial camp follower with y'all. The prize is a membership to The Friends of Rogers Island at the "camp follower" level and a signed copy of Untamed.

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