The 42nd and Alabama

Fort Toulouse

This weekend (Nov 3-6) the 42nd will be in Wetumpka, AL, at Fort Toulouse. Fort Toulouse for the Alabama Frontier Days.  Fort Toulouse was the home of a company of French Marines from the 1720s to the end of the French and Indian War. Following the war, the British opted not to garrison the fort, which went into decay.

The 42nd connection to Alabama

The 42nd was never in Alabama, but were it not for a connection to Alabama, we never would have made the 1765 expedition down the Ohio to take Fort Chartres.

Major Robert Farmar

In 1763, Major Robert Farmar and the 34th Regiment of Foot arrived in Mobile, AL, from Jamaica via Pensacola. The 34th took possession of Fort Condé (renamed Fort Charlotte in honor of King George’s wife), and found it to be in considerable disrepair.

Farmar gave to James Germany (an Indian trader) permission to reside at the abandoned site of Fort Toulouse and report back to Mobile on the activities of the area’s Indians.

With power transferred, Indians pacified, Fort York (Tombecbe) garrisoned, Farmar took sight of his greater goal – taking possession of Fort Chartres up the Mississippi in Illinois. In March of 1764, (still during Pontiac’s Rebellion!)  Major Arthur Loftus and the 22nd of Foot traveled up the Mississippi to Chartres, only to be beaten back by Indian attacks, an embarrassing retreat.

In  May of 1765, Farmar himself and the 34th travelled very slowly up the Mississippi, this time greasing the rails of the trip (whereas Loftus had not) by bringing Indian presents. In August, the 34th arrived in Natchez, MS, and when the expedition passed the Arkansas river, they were overtaken by French traders on the way to Chartres. Farmar arranged for one of the French to send back provisions, as the expedition had nearly run out!

Fort Condé, Mobile, AL

When provisions from Chartres reached Farmar at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi in November, he learned that Stirling and the 42nd had come down the Ohio and taken Chartres in October.

Farmar took command of Chartres, and, now relieved by the 34th, the 42nd travelled to New Orleans in the winter of 1765. Were it not for the difficulties coming up from Mobile, the 42nd would haver have travelled to the Illinois on the Stirling expedition, and history of the Midwest and our regiment would have been quite different.

There you have it – the connection between the 42nd and Alabama. Hope to see many old and new friends at Fort Toulouse!

Further Reading

We consulted Robert Farmar of Mobile for much of this article. Please give it a read on Google books for more on Farmar and the attempts of the 22nd and 34th to take Chartres.

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