THE bravery displayed by
Lord John Murray’s Highlanders at Fontenoy opened the eyes of Government
to the importance of securing the military services of the clans. It was
therefore determined to repair, in part, the loss sustained in that
well-fought action, by raising a second regiment in the Highlands, and
authority to that effect was granted to the Earl of Loudon. By the
influence of the noblemen, chiefs, and gentlemen of the country, whose
sons and connexions were to be appointed officers, a body of 1250 men was
raised, of whom 750 assembled at Inverness, and the remainder at Perth.
The whole were formed into a battalion of twelve companies, under the
following officers, their commissions being dated June 8th 1745:-
Campbell, Earl of Loudon, who died in 1782, a general in the army.
Campbell (afterwards Duke of
Argyll), who died a field-marshal in 1806.
John Murray (afterwards
Duke of Athole), son of Lord George Murray.
Alexander Livingstone Campbell, son of Ardkinglass.
John Macleod, younger of Macleod.
Henry Munro, son of Colonel Sir Robert Munro of Fowlis.
Lord Charles Gordon, brother of the Duke of Gordon.
John Stewart, son of the Earl of Moray.
Alexander Mackay, son of Lord Reay
Ewen Macpherson of Clunie.
John Sutherland of Force.
Cohn Campbell of Ballimore, killed at Culloden.
Archibald Macnab, who died a lieutenant-general in 1791, son of the laird
Cohn Campbell of Kilberrie.
John Campbell of Strachur, who died in 1806, a general in the army, and
colonel of the 87th regiment.
Duncan Robertson of Drumachuine,
afterwards of Strowan.
Patrick Campbell, son of Achallader.
James Macpherson of Killihuntly.
John Robertson or Reid, of Straloch, who died in 1806, at the age of
eighty-five, a general in the army. and colonel of the 88th or Connaught
Patrick Grant, younger of Rothiemurchus.
John Campbell of Ardsliginish.
Alexander Campbell, brother to Barcaldine,
Donald MacdoneIl of Lochgarry.
Cohn Campbell of G]enure.
James Stewart of Urrard.
John Martin of Inch.
George Munroe of Novar.
Malcolm Ross, younger of Pitcalnie.
David Spalding of Ashintully.
Alexander Maclagan, son of the minister of Little Dunkeld.
Robert Bisset of Glenelbert, afterwards commissary-general of Great Britain.
John Grant, younger of Dalrachnie.
Before the regiment was
disciplined, the rebellion broke out, and so rapid were the movements of the
rebels, that the communication between the two divisions, at Perth and
Inverness, was cut off. They were therefore obliged to act separately. The
formation of the regiment at the time was considered a fortunate
circumstance, as many of the men would certainly have joined in the
insurrection; and indeed several of the officers and men went over to the
rebels. Four companies were employed in the central and southern Highlands,
whilst the rest were occupied in the northern highlands, under Lord London.
Three companies under the Hon. Captains Stewart and Mackay, and Captain
Munro of Fowlis, were, with all their officers, taken prisoners at the
battle of Gladsmuir. Three other companies were also at the battle of
Culloden, where Captain Campbell and six men were killed and two soldiers
On the 30th of May 1747, the
regiment embarked at Burntisland for Flanders, but it did not join the Duke
of Cumberland’s army till after the battle of Lafeldt, on the 2d of July.
Though disappointed of the opportunity which this battle would have given
them of distinguishing themselves, another soon offered for the display of
their gallantry. Marshal Saxe having determined to attack the strong
fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom, with an army of 25,000 men under General Count
Lowendahl, all the disposable forces in Brabant, including Loudon’s
Highlanders, were sent to defend the lines, which were strongly fortified.
To relieve the garrison, consisting of six battalions, and to preserve a
communication with the
country, eighteen battalions occupied the
lines. The fortress, which was considered impregnable, was defended by 250
pieces of cannon. The siege was carried on unremittingly from the 15th of
July till the 17th of September, during which time many sorties were made.
In the Hague Gazette, an account is given of one of these, which took
place on the 25th of July, in which it is stated "that the Highlanders,
who were posted in Fort Rouro, which covers the lines of Bergen-op-Zoom,
made a sally, sword in hand, in which they were so successful as to destroy
the enemy’s grand battery, and to kill so many of their men, that Count
Lowendahl beat a parley, in order to bury the dead. To this it was answered,
that had he attacked the place agreeably to the rules of war, his demand
would certainly have been granted; but as he had begun the siege like an
incendiary, by setting fire to the city with red-hot balls, a resolution had
been taken neither to ask or grant any suspension of arms."
Having made breaches in a
ravelin and two bastions, the besiegers made an unexpected assault on the
night of the 16th of September, and throwing themselves into the fosse,
mounted the breaches, forced open a sally port, and, entering the place,
ranged themselves along the ramparts, almost before the garrison had
assembled. Cronstrun, the old governor, and many of his officers, were
asleep, and so sudden and unexpected was the attack, that several of them
flew to the ranks in their shirts. Though the possession of the ramparts
sealed the fate of the town, the Scottish troops were not disposed to
surrender it without a struggle. The French were opposed by two regiments of
the Scotch brigade, in the pay of the States-general, who, by their
firmness, checked the progress of the enemy, and enabled the governor and
garrison to recover from their surprise. The Scotch assembled in the
market-place, and attacked the French with such vigour that they drove them
from street to street, till, fresh reinforcements pouring in, they were
compelled to retreat in their turn,—disputing every inch as they retired,
and fighting till two-thirds of their number fell on the spot, killed or
severely wounded,—when the remainder brought off the old governor, and
joined the troops in the lines.
The troops in the lines, most
unaccountably, retreated immediately, and the enemy thus became masters of
the whole navigation of the Scheldt. "Two battalions," says an
account of the assault published in the Hague Gazette, "of the
Scotch brigade have, as usual, done honour to their country,—which is all
we have to comfort us for the loss of such brave men, who, from 1450, are
now reduced to 330 men —and those have valiantly brought their colours
with them, which the grenadiers twice recovered from the midst of the French
at the point of the bayonet. The Swiss have also suffered, while others took
a more speedy way to escape danger." In a history of this
memorable siege the brave conduct of the Scotch is also thus noticed:
"It appears that more than 300 of the Scotch brigade fought their way
through the enemy, and that they have had 19 officers killed and 18 wounded.
Lieutenants Francis and Allan Maclean of the brigade were taken prisoners,
and carried before General Lowendahl, who thus addressed them: 'Gentlemen,
consider yourselves on parole. If all had conducted themselves as you and
your brave corps have done, I should not now be master of Bergen-op-Zoom.
[Lieutenant Allan Maclean was son of Maclean of Torloisk. He left the Dutch
and entered the British service. He was a captain in Montgomery’s
Highlanders in 1757; raised the 114th Highland regiment in 1759 and, in
1775, raised a battalion of the 84th, a highland Emigrant regiment and, by
his unwearied zeal and abilities, was the principal noise of the defeat of
the Americans at the attack on Quebec in 1775—6. Lieutenant Francis
Maclean also entered the British service, and rose to the rank of
Major-general. In the year 1777 he was appointed colonel of the 82d
regiment, and, in 1779 commanded an expedition against Penobscot in Nova
Scotia. in which he was completely successful. —Stewart’s Sketches.
The loss of a fortress hitherto
deemed impregnable was deeply felt by the allies. The eyes of all Europe had
been fixed upon this important siege, and when the place fell strong
suspicions were entertained of treachery in the garrison. Every thing had
been done by the people of the United Provinces to enable the soldiers to
hold out: they were allowed additional provisions of the best quality, and
cordials were furnished for the sick and dying. Large sums of money were
collected to be presented to the soldiers, if they made a brave defence; and
£17,000 were collected in one day in Amsterdam, to be applied in the same
way, if the soldiers compelIcd the enemy to raise the siege. Every soldier
who carried away a gabion from the enemy was paid a crown, and such was the
activity of the Scotch, that some of them gained ten crowns a day in this
kind of service. Those who ventured to take the burning fuse out of the
bombs of the enemy (and there were several who did so), received ten or
twelve ducats. In this remarkable siege the French sustained an enormous
loss, exceeding 22,000 men; that of the garrison did not exceed 4000.
After the loss of
Bergen-op-Zoom, Loudon’s Highlanders joined the Duke of Cumberland’s
army, and at the peace of 1748 returned to Scotland, and was reduced at
Perth in June of the same year.