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The 78th Highlanders or Ross-Shire Buffs


THE clan Mackenzie was, next to the Campbells, the most considerable in the Western Highlands, having built its greatness upon the fallen fortunes of the Macdonalds. Its military strength was estimated in 1704, at 1200 men; by Marshal Wade in 1715, at 3000 men; and by Lord President Forbes in 1745, at 2500 men; but probably all these conjectures were below the mark.

The clan Mackenzie furnished large contingents to the present 71st and 72nd Regiments when they were first raised.

In 1793, Francis Humberstone Mackenzie, heir-male of the family, and afterwards Lord Seaforth, raised the present 78th Highlanders, and a second battalion in the following year, when nearly all the men enlisted were from his own or his clansmen’s estates in Ross-shire and the Lewis. Another second battalion was subsequently raised in 1804,when, Lord Seaforth being absent as Governor of Demerara, his personal influence was not of so much avail. However, again the greater part of the men were recruited on the estates of the clan by his brother-in-law, Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of Belmaduthy (who afterwards adopted the additional surname of Fraser, on succeeding to the Castle Fraser estates in right of his mother) and Colonel J. R. Mackenzie of Suddie. Several Fencible, Militia, and local Volunteer regiments were also raised among the Mackenzies at the end of the last and beginning of the 19th century.

As the early history of the 78th is a little complicated, owing to its having been twice augmented with a 2nd battalion, it is as well to remember the following chronology

1st Battalion—Letter of Service dated 7th March 1793.
2nd Battalion—Letter of Service dated 10th February 1794.
(Both Battalions amalgamated, June 1796.)
2nd Battalion—Letter of Service, dated 17th April 1804.
(Both Battalions amalgamated, July 1817.)

The regiment has ever since remained as a single battalion.

As early as the autumn of 1787 (when the 74th, 75th, 76th, and 77th Regiments were ordered to be raised for service in India), Francis Humberstone Mackenzie of Seaforth, lineal descendant and representative of the old earls of Seaforth, had made an offer to the King for the raising of a Highland corps on his estates in Ross-shire and the Isles, to be commanded by himself. As the Government, however, merely accepted his services in the matter of procuring recruits for the regiments of Sir Archibald Campbell and Colonel Abercromby (the 74th and 75th), he did not come prominently forward. On the 19th of May 1790, he again renewed his offer, but was informed that Government did not contemplate raising fresh corps, the establishment of the army having been finally fixed at 77 regiments.

Undismayed, however, by the manner in which his offers had been hitherto shelved, he was the first to step forward, on the declaration of war, and place his great influence in the Highlands at the disposal of the Crown. Accordingly, a Letter of Service, dated 7th March, 1793, was granted to him, empowering him, as Lieut. - Colonel Commandant, to raise a Highland battalion, which, as the first to be embodied during the war, was to be numbered the 78th. The strength of the battalion was to be 1 company of grenadiers, 1 of light infantry, and 8 battalion companies. Seaforth immediately appointed as his major his brother-in-law, Alexander Mackenzie of Belmaduthy, son of Mackenzie of Kilcoy, a captain in the 73rd Regiment, and a man in every way fitted for the post. A notice was then posted through the counties of Ross and Cromarty, and the island of Lewis.

Applications for commissions now poured in upon Seaforth; and, besides his own personal friends, many who were but slightly known to him solicited favours for their relatives. The following is a list of those whose names were approved by the King:—

FIRST LIST OF OFFICERS.

Lieut.-Colonel Commandant.—F. H. Mackenzie, afterwards Lord Seaforth, Lieut.-Gen. 1808. Died 1815.

Lieut.-Colonel. —Alexander Mackenzie of Belmaduthy, afterwards of Castle Fraser, when he assumed the name of Fraser. Lieut. -General 1808. Died 1809.

Majors.

George, Earl of Errol, died 1799.
Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn, Lieut. General 1809.

Captains.

Alexander Malcolm, died 1798.
Thomas Fraser of Leadclune.
John Mackenzie (Gairloch).
Gabriel Murray, Brevet-Major, killed at Tuil, 1794.
Alexander Grant, died 1807.
J. R. Mackenzie of Suddie, Major-General, killed at Tatavera 1809.
Alexander Adams, Major-General 1814.
Hon. Geo. Cochrane, son of the Earl of Dundonald. 
Captain-Lieutenant—Duncan Munro of Culcairn.

Lieutenants.

Cohn Mackenzie.
James Fraser, retired 1795.
Charles Rose.
Hugh Munro, Captain of Invalids.
Charles Adamson.
William Douglas, son of Brigton, Lieut.-Colonel 91st Regiment.
George Bayley, promoted to 44th.
Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Captain Royal Navy.

Ensigns.

Duncan Macrae.
John Macleod, Colonel 1813.
J. Mackenzie Scott, Captain 57th, killed at Albuera, 1811.
Charles Mackenzie (Kilcoy).
John Reid.
David Forbes, Lieut. -Colonel, H.P.
Alexander Rose, Major of Veterans.
John Fraser.

Chaplain—The Rev. Alexander Downie, D.D.

Adjutant—James Fraser.

Quarter-Master—Archibald Macdougall.

Surgeon—Thomas Baillie. He died in India.

The martial spirit of the nation was now so thoroughly roused, and recruits poured in so rapidly, that, on the 10th of July, 1793, only four months after the granting of the Letter of Service, the regiment was inspected at Fort George, and passed by Lieut.-General Sir Hector Munro. Orders were then issued to augment the corps to 1000 rank and file, and 5 companies, including the flank ones, under the command of Major Alexander Mackenzie, were embarked for Guernsey. In October of the same year the remaining 5 companies were ordered to join their comrades.

"This was an excellent body of men, healthy, vigorous, and efficient; attached and obedient to their officers, temperate and regular; in short, possessing those principles of integrity and moral conduct which constitute a valuable soldier. The duty of officers was easy with such men, who only required to be told what duty was expected of them. A young officer, endowed with sufficient judgment to direct them in the field, possessing energy and spirit to ensure the respect and confidence of soldiers, and prepared on every occasion to show them the eye of the enemy, need not desire a command that would sooner and more permanently establish his professional character, if employed on an active campaign, than that of 1000 such men as composed this regiment.

"Colonel Mackenzie knew his men, and the value which they attached to a good name, by tarnishing which they would bring shame on their country and kindred. In case of any misconduct, he had only to remonstrate, or threaten to transmit to their parents a report of their misbehaviour. This was, indeed, to them a grievous punishment, acting like the curse of Kehama, as a perpetual banishment from a country to which they could not return with a bad character."

After being stationed a short time in Guernsey and the Isle of Wight, the 78th, in September 1794, embarked with the 80th to join Lord Mulgrave’s force in Walcheren. While detained by contrary winds in the Downs, fever broke out on board the transports, which had recently brought back prisoners of war from the West Indies, and had not been properly purified; thus several men fell victims to the disease.

The British troops had landed in Holland, on the 5th of March, 1793, and since then the war had been progressing with varying success. Without, therefore, giving details of their operations during the first year and a half, we shall merely sketch the position they occupied when the 78th landed at Flushing.

On the 1st of July, 1794, the allies having decided to abandon the line of the Scheldt, the Duke of York retired behind the Pyle, and was there joined by Lord Moira and 8000 men. ~On the 22nd the Duke, having separated from the Austrians, established himself at iRosendaal, and there remained inactive in his camp the whole of August and the early part of September; but, on the 15th of September, Boxtel having fallen into the hands of General Pichegru, he was constrained to break camp and retire across the Meuse, and finally across the Waal, establishing his head-quarters at Nimeguen.

At this juncture the 78th and 80th reached Flushing, and found that Lord Mulgrave was ordered home. They therefore embarked with the 79th, 84th, and 85th, to join the Duke’s army. Early in October the 78th lauded at Tuil, and proceeded to occupy the village of Rossem in the Bommeler-Waart, or Island of Bommel, where they first saw the enemy, scarcely one hundred yards distant, on the opposite side of the river. Here, through the negligence of a Dutch Emigrant Officer, a sad accident occured. This person hearing voices on the bank of the river, and dreading a surprise, ordered his gunners to fire an iron 12-pounder, loaded with case shot, by which discharge the officer of the day, Lieut. Archibald Christie, 78th, and a sergeant, were seriously wounded while visiting a sentry. They both recovered, but were unable to serve again; strange to say, the sentry escaped untouched. While quartered here, by a tacit understanding, the sentries exchanged no shots, but it was observed that the French frequently fired howitzers with effect when the troops were under arms, and that, before the fire commenced, the sails of a certain windmill were invariably put in motion. The owner was arrested, found guilty as a spy, and condemned to death, but was reprieved through the lenity of Lieut.-Colonel Mackenzie, the commandant, with the full understanding that, on a repetition of the offence, the last penalty would be enforced.

About the end of October the 78th proceeded to Arnheim, the Duke of York’s headquarters, and thence, by a night march, to Nimeguen, against which place the French were erecting batteries, On the 4th of November a sortie was made, when the 78th was for the first time under fire, and did such execution with the bayonet, as to call forth the highest encomiums from experienced and veteran officers. The loss of the regiment in this engagement was Lieutenant Martin Cameron (died of his wounds) and seven men, killed; wounded, Major Malcolm, Captain Hugh Munro, Captain Colin Mackenzie, Lieutenant Bayley, 4 sergeants, and 56 rank and file.

On the 6th the regiment marched from Nimeguen to Arnheim, and finally to Dodewaart on the Waal, where they were brigaded with the 12th, the 33rd, under Lieut.-Colonel Arthur Wellesley (afterwards Duke of Wellington), and the 42nd under Major Dickson. The General going home on leave, the command devolved on Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of the 78th, who, however, still remained with his regiment.

On the 2nd of December the Duke of York quitted Arnheim for England, and handed over his command to Lieut.-General Harcourt.

On the 29th of December General Daendels, having crossed the Waal on the ice and driven back the Dutch, Major-General Sir David Dundas was ordered to dislodge him, he, therefore, marched towards Thiel by Buren and Geldermalsen, and came up with the enemy at Tuil, which village he carried at the point of the bayonet with comparatively little loss, though Brevet Major Murray and three men of the light company, 78th, were killed by the bursting of a shell thrown from a distant battery. After the action the troops lay on their arms in the snow until the evening of the 31st, and the French recrossed the Waal.

On the 3rd of January 1795 the French repossessed themselves of Tuil, and on the 5th they drove in the British outposts at Meteren, capturing two three-pounders, which were, however, recovered later in the day. They then attacked Geldermalsen. The 78th were in advance, supported by the 42nd, when they were charged by a Republican cavalry corps, dressed in the same uniform as the French Emigrant Regiment of Choiseul. They advanced towards the Highlanders with loud cries of "Choiseul ! Choiseul !" and the 78th, believing them to be that regiment, forbore to fire upon them until they were quite close, when, discovering the mistake, they gave them a warm reception, and those of the enemy who had penetrated beyond their line were destroyed by the 42nd. The infantry then came up, the officers shouting "Avançez, Carmagnoles !" but the 78th, reserving their fire till the foe had almost closed with them, poured in such a withering volley, that they were completely demoralised and retreated in great confusion. It was remarked that in this action the French were all half drunk, and one officer, who was wounded and taken, was completely tipsy. The loss of the 78th was four men killed, and Captain Duncan Munro and seven men wounded. It was on this occasion that a company of the 78th, commanded by Lieutenant Forbes, showed an example of steadiness that would have done honour to the oldest soldiers, presenting and recovering arms without firing a shot upon the cavalry as they were coming down. The whole behaved with great coolness, and fired nearly 60 rounds per man.

On the night of the 5th the troops retired to Buren. On the 6th the British and Hanoverians retired across the Leek, with the exception of the 6th Brigade, Lord Cathcart’s, which remained at Kuilenburg. On the 8th both parties assumed the offensive, but the British advance was countermanded on account of the severity of the weather. It happened, however, luckily for the picquet of the 4th Brigade, which was at Burenmalsen, opposite to Geldermalsen, that the order did not reach Lord Cathcart until he had arrived at Buren, as being driven in, it must otherwise have been taken. Here a long action took place, which ended in the repulse of the French. The 4th and a Hessian Brigade went into Buren, and the British into the castle.

The day the troops remained here, a man in the town was discovered selling gin to the soldiers at such a low price as must have caused him an obvious loss, and several of the men being already drunk, the liquor was seized, and ordered by General Dundas to be divided among the different corps, to be issued at the discretion of commanding officers. Thus what the French intended to be a means of destruction, turned out to be of the greatest comfort and assistance to the men during their fearful marches through ice and snow. During the afternoon a man was apprehended at the outposts, who had been sent to ascertain whether the trick had taken effect, and whether the troops were sufficiently drunk to be attacked with success.

Abercromby and Hammerstein having been unable to reach Thiel, were, with Wurmb’s Hessians, united to Pandas at Buren. On the 10th the French crossed the Waal, and General Regnier crossing the Oeg, drove the British from Opheusden, back upon Wageningen and Arnheim, with a loss of fifty killed and wounded. Abercromby, therefore, withdrew, and the British retired across the Rhine at Rhenen. This sealed the fate of Holland, and on the 20th General Pichegru entered Amsterdam.

The inclemency of the season increased, and the rivers, estuaries, and inundations froze as they had never been known to do before, so that the whole country, land and water, was one unbroken sheet of ice.

The Rhine was thus crossed on the ice on the night of the 9th of February, and for two more nights the 78th lay upon their arms in the snow, and then marched for Wyk. On the 14th Rhenen was attacked by the French, who were repulsed by the Guards, with a loss of 20 men; however, the same night it was determined to abandon the Rhine, and thus Rhenen, the Grand Hospital of the army, fell into the hands of the French, who, nevertheless, treated the sick and wounded with consideration. After resting two hours in the snow during the night, the 78th resumed their march, passed through Amersfoort, and about 11 A.M. on the 15th lay down in some tobacco barns, having marched nearly 40 miles. It had been decided to occupy the line of the Yssel, and Deventer therefore became the destination. On the 16th at daybreak the regiment commenced its march across the horrible waste called the Veluwe. Food was not to be obtained, the inhabitants were inhospitable; with the enemy in their rear, the snow knee deep, and blown in swirls by the wind into their faces, until they were partially or entirely blinded, their plight was most pitiable.

They had now a new enemy to encounter. Not only was the weather still most severe, and the Republicans supposed to be in pursuit, but the British had, in consequence of French ermissaries, a concealed enemy in every Dutch town and village through which they had to pass. Notwithstanding the severity of the climate,—the cold being so intense that brandy froze in bottles—the 78th, 79th (both young soldiers), and the recruits of the 42nd, wore their kilts, and yet the loss was incomparably less than that sustained by the other corps.

After halting at Loo to allow the officers and men to take off their accoutrements, which they had worn day and night since the 26th December, they on the 18th marched to Hattern on theYssel. Finally, on the 28th of March the 78th entered Bremen, and the army being embarked, the fleet sailed on the 12th of April.

On the 9th of May, 1795, the shores of Old England brought tears into the eyes of the war-worn soldiers, and the first battalion of the Ross-shire Buffs landed at Harwich, and proceeded to Chelmsford, where they took over the barracks. After making up the returns, and striking off the names of all men supposed to be dead or prisoners, the regiment, which had embarked on the previous September 950 strong, and in excellent health, was found to be reduced to 600 men, which number included the disabled and sick who had not been yet invalided. The 78th remained three weeks at Chelmsford, and marched to Harwich, where it was brigaded with the 19th, under command of General Sir Ralph Abercromby. It then proceeded to Nutshalling (now Nursling) Common, where a force was assembling under the Earl of Moira, with a view to making a descent on the French coast.

On the 18th of August the 78th, in company with the 12th, 80th, and 90th Regiments, and some artillery, embarked under the command of Major-General W. Ellis Doyle, and sailed for Quiberon Bay; the design was to assist the French Royalists. They bore down on Noirmoutier, but finding the island strongly reinforced, and a landing impracticable, they made for L’Ile Dieu, where they landed without opposition. Here they remained for some time, enduring the hardships entailed by continued wet weather and a want of proper accommodation, coupled with an almost total failure of the commissariat, but were unable to assist Charette or his royalist companions in any way. Finally, the expedition embarked in the middle of December, joined the grand fleet in Quiberon Bay, and proceeded with it to Spithead.

On the 13th of October 1793, Seaforth made an offer to Government to raise a second battalion for the ‘78th Highlanders; and on the 30th Lord Amherst signed the king’s approval of his raising 500 additional men on his then existing letter of service. However, this was not what he wanted; and on the 28th of December he submitted three proposals for a second battalion to Government.

On the 7th of February 1794, the Government agreed to one battalion being raised, with eight battalion and two flank companies, each company to consist of "one hundred private men," with the usual complement of officers and non-commissioned officers. But Seaforth’s services were ill requited by Government; for while he contemplated raising a second battalion to his regiment, Lord Amherst had issued orders that it was to be considered as a separate corps. The following is a copy of the letter addressed to Mr Secretary Dundas by Lieut.-Colonel Commandant F. H. Mackenzie:

"ST ALBAN’S STREET
'8th Feb, 1794

"SIR,—I had sincerely hoped I should not be obliged to trouble you again; but on my going to-day to the War Office about my letter of service (having yesterday, as I thought, finally agreed with Lord Amherst), I was, to my amazement, told that Lord Amherst had ordered that the 1000 men I am to raise were not to be a second battalion of the 78th, but a separate corps. It will, I am sure, occur to you that should I undertake such a thing, it would destroy my influence among the people of my country entirely; and instead of appearing as a loyal honest chieftain calling out his friends to support their king and country, I should be gibbeted as a jobber of the attachment my neighbours bear to me. Recollecting what passed between you and me, I barely state this circumstance; and I am, with great respect and attachment, Sir, your most obliged and obedient servant,

"F. H. MACKENZIE."

This argument had its weight; Lord Amherst’s order was rescinded, and on the 10th February 1794, a letter of service was granted to Seaforth, empowering him, as Lieut.-Colonel Commandant, to add a second battalion to the 78th Highlanders, of which the strength was to be "one company of grenadiers, one of light infantry, and eight battalion companies."

Stewart states that of this number 560 men were of the same country and character as the first, and 190 from different parts of Scotland; but he alludes to the first six companies, as the regiment was almost entirely composed of Highlanders.

The following is a listof the officers appointed to the regiment

Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant. - F. H. Mackenzie of Seaforth.

Lieutenant-Colonel. - Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn, from first battalion.

Majors.

J. R. Mackenzie of Suddie, from first battalion.
Michael Monypenuy, promoted to 73d, dead.

Captains.

J. H. Brown, killed in a duel in India.
Simon Mackenzie.
William Campbell, Major, killed in Java, 1811.
John Mackenzie, Major-General, 1813.
Patrick M’Leod (Geanies), killed at El Hamet, 1807.
Hercules Scott of Benholm, Lieut. -Colonel 103d Regiment, 1814, killed in Canada.
John Scott.
John Macleod, Colonel, 1813, from first battalion.

Lieutenants.

James Hanson.
Alexander Macneil.
Eneas Sutherland.
Murdoch Mackenzie.
Archd. C. B. Crawford.
Norman Macleod, Lieut. - Colonel Royal Scots.
Thomas Leslie.
Alexander Sutherland, sen.
Alexander Sutherland, jun.
P. Macintosh.
John Douglas.
George Macgregor.
B. G. Mackay.
Donald Cameron.
James Hay.
Thomas Davidson.
William Gordon.
Robert Johnstone.
Hon. W. D. Halyburton, Colonel, half-pay.
John Macneil.
John Dunbar.

Ensigns

George Macgregor, Lieut. -Colonel 59th Regiment.
Donald Cameron.
John Macneil.
William Polson.
Alexander Wishart.

Chaplain.—The Rev. Charles Proby.

Adjutant.—James Hanson.

Quarter--Master.--—Alexander Wishart.

The records of this battalion having been lost many years since, the only knowledge we can derive of its movements is to be obtained from the Seaforth papers. The regiment was inspected and passed at Fort-George by Sir Hector Munro in June 1794. In July his Majesty authorised the regiment to adopt the name of "The Ross-shire Buffs" as a distinctive title. In August six companies embarked for England, and proceeded to Netley Camp, where they were brigaded with the 90th, 97th, and 98th. The troops suffered much from fever, ague, and rheumatism, the situation being very unfavourable; but here again the 78th was found to be more healthy than their neighhours. The young battalion was chafing at this enforced idleness, and longed to go on active service. On the 5th of November, the regiment marched from Netley, four companies proceeding to Poole, one to Wimborne, and one to Wareham, Corff Castle, &c.

In the end of February 1795, the second battalion of the 78th Highlanders, Lieut.-Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn in command, embarked, under Major-General Craig, with a secret expedition. Major J. R. Mackenzie of Suddie, writing to Seaforth under date "Portsmouth, 4th March 1795," narrates the following unpleasant circumstance which happened on the day previous to embarkation:

"The orders for marching from Poole were so sudden that there was no time then for settling the men’s arrears. They were perfectly satisfied then, and expressed their utmost confidence in their officers, which continued until they marched into this infernal place. Here the publicans and some of the invalids persuaded the men that they were to be em barked without their officers, and that they would be sold, as well as lose their arrears. This operated so far on men who had never behaved ill before in a single instance, that they desired to have their accounts settled before they embarked. Several publicans and other villains in this place were guilty of the most atrocious conduct even on the parade, urging on the men to demand their rights, as they called it. Fairburn having some intimation of what was passing, and unwilling that it should come to any height, addressed the men, told them it was impossible to settle their accounts in the short time previous to embarkation, but that he had ordered a sum to be paid to each man nearly equal to the amount of their credit. This was all the publicans wanted, among whom the greatest part of the money rested. Next morning the men embarked in the best and quietest manner possible, and I believe they were most thoroughly ashamed of their conduct. I passed a most miserable time from receiving Fairburn’s letter in London till I came down here, when it had all ended so well; for well as I knew the inclinations of the men to have been, it was impossible to say how far they might have been misled.

"There is little doubt of the expedition being intended for the East. It is said the fleet is to run down the coast of Guinea, proceed to the Cape, which they hope to take by negotiation; but if unsuccessful, to go on to the other Dutch possessions."

The fleet sailed on the morning of Sunday the 1st of March. 1 major, 1 ensign, 4 sergeants, 1 drummer, and 124 privates were left behind; and the most of them, with others, were incorporated with the first battalion, on its amalgamation with the second battalion.

Holland having entirely submitted to France, as detailed in the record of the first battalion, and Britain being fully aware that submission to France became equivalent to a compulsory declaration of war against her, it behoved her to turn her attention to the Dutch colonies, which, from their promixity to India, would prove of immense importance to an enemy.

In June 1795 a British fleet under Sir G. Elphinstone arrived off the Cape, having Major-General Craig and the 78th Highlanders (second battalion) on board; and the commanders immediately entered into negotiations with Governor Slugsken for the cession of the colony to Great Britain in trust for the Stadtholder. A determination to resist the force having been openly expressed, the commanders determined to disembark their troops and occupy a position. Accordingly, the 78th and the Marines were landed at Simon’s Bay on the 14th, and proceeded to take possession of Simon’s Town without opposition. The Dutch were strongly posted in their fortified camp at Muysenberg, six miles on this side of Capetown; and accordingly a force of 800 seamen having been sent to co-operate with the troops on shore, the whole body moved to its attack; while the ships of the fleet, covering them from the sea, opened such a terrific fire upon the colonists that they fled precipitately. Muysenberg was taken on the 7th of August, and on the 9th a detachment arrived from St Helena with some field-pieces; but it was not till the 3rd of September, when Sir A. Clarke, at the head of three regiments, put into the bay, that an advance became practicable. Accordingly, the Dutch position at Wineberg was forced on the 14th, and on the 15th Capetown capitulated, the garrison marching out with the honours of war. Thus, after a two months campaign, during which they suffered severely from the unhealthiness of their situation, the scarcity of provisions, and the frequent night attacks of the enemy, this young battalion, whose conduct throughout had been exemplary in the highest degree, saw the object of the expedition accomplished, and the colony taken possession of in the name of his Britannic Majesty.

Under date "Cape of Good Hope, 19th September 1795," Lieut.-Colonel Alexander Mackenzie of Fairburn, commanding the second battalion of the 78th Higlanders, sends a long account of the transactions at the Cape to Lieut.-Colonel F. H. Mackenzie of Seaforth. We are sorry that our space permits us to give only the following extracts:

"I think if you will not be inclined to allow that the hardships have been so great, you will at all events grant that the comforts have been few, when I assure you that I have not had my clothes off for nearly nine weeks, nor my boots, except when I could get a dry pair to put on.

If the regiment is put on the East India establishment, which is supposed will be the case, it will be equally the same for you as if they were in India. I must observe it is fortunate for us that we are in a warm climate, as we are actually without a coat to put on; we are so naked that we can do no duty in town.

"I cannot tell you how much I am puzzled about clothing. The other corps have all two years’ clothing not made up, and I should not be surprised if this alone was to turn the scale with regard to their going to India. General Clarke advises me to buy cloth, but I fear putting you to expense; however, if the clothing does not come out in the first ship I shall be obliged to do something, but what, I am sure I don’t know. I hope your first battalion may come out, as there cannot be a more desirable quarter for the colonel or the regiment. We are getting into excellent barracks, and the regiment will soon get well of the dysentry and other complaints. They are now immensely rich and I shall endeavour to lay out their money properly for them. I shall bid you adieu by saying that I do not care how soon a good peace may be brought about. I think we have at last turned up a good trump card for you, and I daresay the Ministry will play the negotiating game as well."

In  Capetown the regiment remained quartered until the arrival of the first battalion in June 1796.


 

 


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