The 48th Highlanders of
Chapter 2 - Highland Regiments in
THE BLACK WATCH
The first of the old Highland
regular regiments to have been established was the "Black Watch"— the famous
Forty-Second —regimented from six Companies of military police, which were
formed in 1729, to keep the peace in the disturbed portions of the Scottish
Highlands. It is interesting at this lapse of time to note that about one
hundred and seventy years ago the duties of this military Police were the
enforcement of the Disarming Act, the overawing of the disaffected, the
prevention of convocations of the people, and "to check plunder and
reprisals of cattle between rival clans, and more particularly the
depredations committed on those of their more peaceable neighbours of the
plains." These and four additional companies were formed into a regiment of
the line in 1739, and the first muster took place in 1740. With the
formation of the "Black Watch" into a regular regiment came the introduction
of the Highland uniform into the British Army. The Highland uniform is a
modification of the national costume of Scotland, suited to the arms and
accoutrements of the soldier.
A description of that worn at
first by the "Black Watch" cannot fail to be of interest to the Highland
soldier of to-day. The uniform was a scarlet jacket and waistcoat, with buff
facings and white lace, tartan plaid of twelve yards plaited round the
middle of the body. the upper part being fixed on the left shoulder, ready
to be thrown loose and wrapped over both shoulders and firelock in rainy
weather. At night the plaid served the purpose of a blanket. These were
called belted plaids, from being kept tight on the body by a beIt, and were
worn on reviews, and on all occasions when the men were in full dress. On
this bell hung the pistols and dirk when worn. In barracks, and when not on
duty the little kilt or philabeg was worn. A blue bonnet, with border of
white, red and green, arranged in small squares to resemble the fess chequey
in arms of the different branches of the Stewart family, and a tuft of
feathers, or sometimes a small black bearskin. Tartan hose with buckled
shoes were worn, and sporrans of badger skins. The arms were a musket, a
bayonet. and a large basket-hiked broadsword. Such of the men as chose to
supply themselves with pistols and dirks were allowed to carry them, and
some had targets. The sword belt was of black leather, and the cartouch-box
was carried in front, supported by a narrow belt round the middle. The
officers' dress-coats were slightly embroidered with gold the sergeants'
jackets were trimmed with silver lace, which they provided for themselves.
In the spring of 1756 the
42nd (Black Watch) Highland Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Francis
Grant, embarked from Ireland for New York, to take part in the struggle for
supremacy in North America, between France and Great Britain. Col. Francis
Grant was a son of the Laird of Grant, and had joined the Forty-Second as a
lieutenant in 1739, on the formation of the regiment. He was so popular with
the men of the 42nd. that when a vacancy occurred in regiment, on promotion
of Lieut.-Col. John Campbell, who afterwards became the celebrated Duke of
Argyle, to the command of another regiment, they raised money to purchase
for Major Grant the vacant colonelcy. He was, however, promoted without
purchase and commanded the regiment in America until 1763, when he was
transferred to the command of the 90th Irish Light Infantry. He subsequently
rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General.
The 42nd formed part of
Major-General Abercromby's division which reached Halifax in the summer of
1757 in the first expedition for Louisbourg, which was abandoned in
consequence of the strength of the French force there. In the year following
they made the memorable charge at Ticonderoga, described by an officer of
the 55th thus:."With a mixture of esteem, grief and envy, I consider the
great loss and immortal glory acquired by the Scots Highlanders in the late
bIoody affair. Impatient for orders, they rushed forward to the
entrenchments, which many of them actually mounted. They appeared as lions
breaking from their chains. Their intrepidity was rather animated than
damped by seeing their comrades fall on every side. ......their assistance
we expect soon to give a good account of the enemy and ourselves." It was in
this action that Major Duncan Campbell, of Inverawe, fell, whose premonition
of death has formed the subject of eerie legend for the prose of Sir Thomas
Dick Lauder, Bart., and the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. The regiment,
1.300 strong, lost in that engagement, 8 officers. 9 sergeants, and 297 men
killed ,17 officers, 10 sergeants, and 306 men wounded. The king conferred
the honour of "Royal" on the regiment at this time.
The Second battalion of the
42nd was raised in 1758 and joined the First battalion in 1759, the combined
regiment taking part under General Amherst, in the operations ending in the
capture of Montreal and the end of the war. After the Revolutionary War in
which the 42nd bore a distinguished part it served in Nova Scotia, remaining
there until 1789. On New Year's day, 1785, new colours were presented to the
regiment by Major-General Campbell, commanding in Nova Scotia, The last
visit of the regiment to Canada was in 1851-52, when it again settled in
Nova Scotia. Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. The officers and the band
assisted at the annual meeting of the North British Society; and in a minute
of that old institution records a donation of £7 10s. by the band and pipers
to the charity fund of the society.
So far as actual service is
concerned no Highland regiment has been so closely identified with Canadian
history as Fraser's Highlanders, the old 78th regiment. It is in connection
with this body of men that Pitt's famous utterance regarding the Highland
regiments, is most often quoted. Pitt's speech was delivered in the House of
Lords in 1766, but nine years before that time - in 1757 - he made a
recommendation to King George II. that he appoint the Honourable Simon
Fraser, the eldest son of Lord Lovat (beheaded on Towerhill) as Lieut.-Col.
Commandant of it battalion, to be raised on the forfeited estate of his own
family, and on those of his kinsmen and clan. "Without estate, money or
influence; beyond the influence which flowed front attachment to his family,
person and name, this gentleman."-- writes General Stewart -- in a few
weeks, found himself at the head of 800 men. recruited by himself. The
gentlemen of the country and the officers of the regiment added more than
700; and thus it battalion was formed of 13 companies of 105 rank and file
each, making in all 1460 men including 65 sergeants and 30 pipers and
drummers." The men wore the full Highland dress, with musket and broadsword.
The bonnet was raised or cocked on side and had two or more black feathers.
Stewart remarks that the ostrich feathers in the soldiers' bonnets were a
modern innovation. The regiment embarked at Greenock, in company with
Montgomerie's Highlanders, and landed at Halifax in June. 1757. Every
account of its conduct in garrison and field agrees as to the courage and
soldierly bearing of the men. At Louisbourg they bore themselves with
distinction, and won the confidence and praise of General Wolfe of whose
army they formed an important part. It was at Quebec, however, that the
regiment found its great opportunity, and its name will go down with Wolfe's
immortal victory. At the
critical point in the attack on Quebec Wolfe decided on the woody precipices
above the city, so as to occupy the Plains of Abraham. The Highlanders were,
as they were wont to be, at the front, and to Captain Simon Fraser of
Balnain, belonged the honour of leading the advance, and first encountering
the French sentinels. Smollert gives the following interesting note: ''The
French had posted sentries along the shore to challenge boats and vessels,
and give the alarm occasionally. The first boat that contained the British
troops being questioned accordingly, a captain of Fraser's regiment, who had
served in Holland, and who was perfectly well acquainted with the French
language and customs, answered without hesitation to Qui Vive?—which is
their challenging word—la France; nor was he at it loss to answer the second
question, which was much more particular and difficult. When the sentinel
demanded, a quel regiment? the captain replied. de la reine', which he knew,
by accident. to be one of those that composed the body commanded by
Bougainville." The boats proceeded without further question. The Highlanders
and light infantry were soon at the top of the cliff, and the sentries slain
or captured. The part played by the 78th on the eventful battlefield is
history. The Canadian poet, Duncan Anderson, describes it
"And the shrill pipe its
coronach that wailed
On dark Culloden moor o'er trampled dead.
Now sounds the "Onset" that each clansman knows.
Still leads the foremost rank, where noblest blood is shed."
After the surrender of
Quebec. General Townshend embarked for England, leaving an effective force
of 5000 men in command of General the Hon. James Murray. Fraser's
Highlanders formed part of that force, and in the subsequent fighting
Colonel Fraser commanded the left wing of the army, and his Highlanders
behaved with valour and generally lost heavily. The regiment remained in
Quebec until the summer of 1762. when it joined the expedition to retake St.
John's, Newfoundland, and the year following it was disbanded, many of the
officers and men remaining as settlers in Canada.
During their stay in Quebec
the Highlanders became favourites with the people but their national garb
was not viewed with favour. The Gray Nuns especially considered that the
limbs should be covered during the severe cold of winter. and they
improvised garments for them accordingly. The idea took hold of some of the
officers in high authority and it proposal was seriously made to change the
uniform. But the officers and men so strenuously opposed the change that the
commander-in-chief agreed to allow the Highland dress to be worn, and this
is the testimony of the regiment: "We were allowed to wear the garb of our
fathers, and in the course of six winters, showed the doctors that they did
not understand our constitutions, for in the coldest winters our men were
more healthy than those regiments who wore breeches and warm clothing." From
1758 to 1762 Fraser's Highlanders lost 4 Captains. 10 subalterns. 4
sergeants. 2 pipers. 103 rank and file, killed; and 2 field officers, 9
captains. 35 subalterns. 17 sergeants. 383 rank and file, wounded. The
battles they were engaged in were Louisbourg, Montmorency. Plains of
Abraham, Quebec. and St John's.
The connection of Fraser's
Highlanders with Canada is also interesting from the Masonic standpoint. The
first military lodge which sprang into existence at Quebec was St. Andrews',
established October 20th. 1760, in the 78th Highlanders. by Colonel Simon
Fraser, then Provincial Grand Master Mason of Canada, to which position he
was elected on the 24th June previously. He was the second Provincial Grand
Master in Canada.
In 1775 Fraser's Highlanders
was reorganized in two battalions consisting of 2.340 officers and men. The
Colonel-in-chief was the Hon. Simon Fraser. of Lovat, the Lieut.-Colonel of
the first battalion, Sir William Erskine, of Torry, and of the second
battalion. Archibald Campbell. It was numbered the 71st, and served with
conspicuous distinction in the Revolutionary War.
This regiment was named after the Hon .Archibald
Montgomerie. son of the Earl of Eglinton, to whom letters of service were
issued in 1757 for recruiting it. The regiment was thoroughly Highland, and
embarked for Halifax with Fraser's Highlanders. They were attached to
General Forbes' corps. and operated against Fort du Quesne (now Pittsburg)
Little Keorne, Estatoc, Martinique. Havannah. and St. John's. They were ably
commanded and had it full share in the onerous work of Indian warfare, as
well as in the conflicts with the regular troops of the enemy. Quite it of
the men settled ill Nova Scotia and the Eastern States and fought in the
84th regiment in the Revolutionary War.
THE 84th HIGHLANDERS
The Royal Highland Emigrants, or the old 84th
regiment, should possess a special interest to Scottish-Canadians, for of
Scottish-Canadians, Scottish settlers in Canada was it formed. After the
peace of 1763, a considerable number of the men and officers of Fraser's
Highlanders (78th batt.). Montgomerie's Highlanders (77th batt.). and of the
42nd Highlanders (Black Watch). were allowed to remain in North America,
obtaining substantial grants of laud according to rank. At that time there
was but a limited emigration from the Highlands, but the veterans of the
regiments named and other Highlanders in Canada and the eastern States were
embodied as the Royal Highland Emigrants in 1775, afterwards numbered the
84th. The regiment was made up of two battalions - the 1st raised and
commanded by Lieut.-Col, Allan Maclean, of Torloisk, and the 2nd by Captain
John Small, a native of Strathardle in Athole, a splendid soldier, who rose
high in the service and died it Major-General and Governor of Guernsey in
battalion was raised mainly in the States, that of Major- Commandant Small
in Nova Scotia. In April, 1775. Col. Maclean went secretly into Carolina,
and with the assistance of Capt. Alexander MacLeod, formerly of Fraser's
Highlanders, he raised a company which he left under the command of Capt.
MacLeod to bring North, while he went to other parts of the intervening
States to arouse the old soldiers. When all the companies met, Col. Maclean
marched with his regiment to Quebec, and to him and his command have been
credited the chief honour of saving that ancient fortress from the arms of
Generals Arnold and gallant Montgomery. The skill and generalship of Maclean
were conspicuous throughout the siege. and his services have been placed by
military writers among the most distinguished of the Revolutionary War. The
2nd battalion also made a fine record in Nova Scotia, where five of the ten
companies composing it remained during the war, the other five joining Lord
Cornwallis in his operations to the southward. In 1778 the two battalions
were designated the 84th regiment, and Sir Henry Clinton was appointed
Colonel-in-Chief, the two commandants remaining as before. The uniform was
the lull Highland garb, with sporrans made of racoons' instead of badgers
skins. The officers wore the broadsword and dirk, and the men a half-basket
sword. In 1783, on the conclusion of the war, the regiment was disbanded,
and the soldiers again became settlers. The most of Colonel Maclean's
battalion (the 1st) settled in Ontario, while that of Colonel Small
preferred Nova Scotia and settled in the township of Douglas. The captains
obtained grants of 3000 acres of land each, the subalterns 500 acres, the
sergeants 200 acres, and the privates 100 acres each. Many of the most
prominent public men in Canada during the century can trace their origin to
the veteran soldier-settlers of the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment.
The old Seventy-Fourth regiment or Argyle
Highlanders were embodied in 1778, having been raised by Colonel John
Campbell, of Barbreck, a distinguished soldier of the Seven Years' War. The
regiment was 960 rank and file, and formed part of Brigadier-General Francis
Maclean's command in Nova Scotia in the fall of 1778. They served at
Charlestown and Penobscot, and shared in the brilliant campaign conducted in
these sections by General Maclean until the peace, when they were disbanded
at Stirling. Scotland.
The foregoing are the old Highland regiments who, in active service, touched
Canada. Other Highland corps of last century, but not coming within scope of
this sketch, as they did not serve in Canada, were :--
Loudon's Highlanders (1745-1748). which
gave the famous Colonel Allan Maclean his first experience in the Army,
having joined it as lieutenant.
Old 87th and 88th Keith's and Campbell's
Highlanders (1775-1783), which saw service on the continent of Europe
Highland Regiment (1759.1765) —service in the East Indies only. Various
reasons are sometimes assigned for the raising of regiments of soldiers
other than those of patriotism and the public weal. The motive assigned for
the offer to raise the old 89th is thus given by a credible writer: "At the
solicitation of the Dowager Duchess of Gordon, Major Staates Long Morris, to
whom she had been lately married, was appointed to raise the regiment, and
to strengthen his interest amongst the youth of the North, her eldest son by
her former husband, the late Duke of Gordon, then a youth at college, was
appointed a captain, his brother, Lord William, a lieutenant, and his
younger brother, Lord George, an ensign. The object of the duchess in
obtaining these appointments was to counteract the political influence of
the Duke of Argyle during the minority of her son. Major Morris was so
successful that, in a few weeks, 760 men were collected at Gordon Castle."
The regiment had a brief but brilliant career in India.
Johnstone's Highlanders 101st (1760-1763)
embodied at Perth. and named after Sir James Johnstone, of Westehall,
major-commandant of the regiment. They saw no active service.
Macdonald's Highlanders, Old 76th
(1777-1784). Raised by Lord Macdonald, in the Highlands and Isles. The first
lieutenant-colonel was Major John Macdonald, of Lochgarry, from Fraser's
Highlanders. They served in the Revolutionary War, in New York and Virginia.
Athole Highlanders, Old 77th (l77-l783).
Did garrison duty only in Ireland.
Regiment, Old 81st, (1777-1783). Garrison duty only in Ireland.
These regiments were disbanded when the purpose
of their organization had been accomplished. The Highland regiments
succeeding them, which remain to the present day are ten in number, viz.:--
'l'be 71st Highland Light Infantry, formerly
Lord McLeod's Highlanders (73rd).
The 72nd. Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders, formerly Seaforth's Highlanders
and the 78th regiment.
The 73rd Regiment.
The 74th Highlanders.
The 75th Regiment (Stirlingshire).
The 78th Highlanders, or Ross-shire Buffs.
The79th Cameron Highlanders, at first named the "Cameronian Volunteers."
The 91st Argyle Highlanders. formerly the 98th Highlanders.
The 92nd Gordon Highlanders.
The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders.
Before these comes the 42nd Black Watch, the
oldest Highland regiment in the British Army, making in all eleven Highland
regiments in the Imperial service. They are regimented thus :-
The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)—Depot,
42nd - 1st Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
73rd. - 2nd Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
The Highland Light Infantry—Depot, Hamilton.
71st— 1st Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry.
74th--2nd Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry.
Seaforth Highlanders - Depot, Fort George.
72nd --1st Battalion of Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs. Duke of
78th - 2nd Battalion of Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of
Gordon Highlanders Depot, Aberdeen.
75th—I St Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders.
92nd-2nd Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders.
The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders— Depot,
79th 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
Princess Louise's (Argyle
and Sutherland Highlanders)—Depot, Stirling.
91st—1st Battalion of Princess Louises (Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders.)
93rd-2nd Battalion of Princess Louise's (Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders.)
It now remains to refer briefIy to the Highland
regiments which were stationed in Canada from the earlier part of this
century down to the time when the Imperial forces were practically withdrawn
from the Dominion. Following the numerical order consecutively, we have,
first, the Seventy-First Regiment Highland Light Infantry. After a career of
exceptional brilliancy from the time of its organization in 1777. as Lord
MacLeods Highlanders, this regiment rested in Ireland for three years before
1824, when it embarked at Cork for Canada. It landed at Quebec, where the
establishment was augmented from eight to ten companies (six service and
four depot) and where headquarters were fixed. Companies were stationed at
Sorel and Three Rivers. In 1827 the headquarters were removed to Montreal,
and remaining there one year. were transferred to Kingston in 1828, and to
Toronto in 1829. that city being then known as York. From Toronto
headquarters, one company was stationed at Niagara, one at Amherstburg, one
at Penetanguishene, and a small number of men occupied the naval pore at
Grand River, Lake Erie. occupying these stations for about two years. Sir
Gordon Drummond was then colonel of the regiment, and was succeeded by
Major-General Sir Cohn Hackett. In 1831 the regiment moved to Quebec and
embarked for Bermuda. Passing thence to Britain and thence to Ireland, the
six service companies embarked again from Cork to Canada in 1838. In 1840
the six service Companies were at St. John. New Brunswick, whence they went
to Montreal in 1842, where they were joined by the reserve companies of the
regiment, under Lieut.-Colonel James England, the six service companies
being under the command of 'Major William Denny, who, upon the arrival of
Lieut.-Colonel England, took command of the reserve companies and took up
quarters at Chambly. The service companies. now forming the 1st battalion of
the regiment, left almost immediately afterwards for the West Indies.
leaving the reserve companies, or 2nd battalion, at Chambly. The movements
of Major Denny's command were frequent. In 1845 the headquarters and three
companies were removed to Kingston; in 1846 from Kingston to La Prairie; in
1847 front La Prairie to Chantbly same year front to St. John, N. B. in 1849
from Johns to Montreal in 1850 to Toronto, where a year was spent; and in
1852 to Kingston, where Lieut.-Colonel Sir Hew Dalrymple. Bart., who had
been in command, retired from the service, and was succeeded by Lieut-Colonel
Nathaniel Massey Stack. In 1854 the battalion in Canada returned to Great
Britain, and took ,art in the Crimean War.
The Seventy-Third Regiment was stationed
in Nova Scotia in 1838, remaining in garrison until 1841, when it. was
Highlanders—whose distinguished services are second to none embarked at
Cork for Halifax in 1818. Companies were stationed at St. John's,
Newfoundland; St. John. New Brunswick, with headquarters and five companies
at Fredericton, N. B. In 1823 headquarters were removed to Halifax,
remaining until 1828, when the regiment embarked for Bermuda, whence in 1830
it reached Ireland. In 1841 it was once more stationed in Canada, with
headquarters at Quebec, Montreal. and La Prairie. It moved to Nova Scotia in
1844. and left for Britain in 1845, and in 1846 the tartan was restored to
it for trews, and the plaid cap became the head-dress.
The Seventy-Eighth Highlanders. That so
distinguished a Highland regiment as the 78th. Ross-shire Buffs, should
receive a most cordial welcome to Canada, from the enthusiastic Scottish
clansmen, is only what might have been taken for granted. The patriotic,
yea, the old national feeling was fairly roused. The regiment under the
command of Lieut -Colonel Alexander Mackenzie, of Belmaduthy, arrived it
Montreal from Gibraltar in July, 1867. A course of musketry instruction was
taken at Charnbly and work was put on the fortifications at Quebec. An event
of interest in the military history of Canada and of the regiment took place
on the 30th of May, MS, when new colours were presented to it on the Champ
de Mars, Montreal.
old colours bore the stain and tatters of many a hard-fought field, in which
the fate of the day was not seldom sealed by the bravery of the regiment and
the new colours did not take their place in succession without due homage
and ceremony. The presentation was made by Lady Windham in the presence of
ten thousand spectators. The Rev. Joshua Fraser offered the consecration
prayer, after which the colours were handed over to Ensigns Waugh and
Fordyce. Lieut. -General Windham, the Commander-in-Chief, addressed the
regiment in terms of the highest praise. The 78th Highlanders, he said, had
always conducted themselves bravely and with unsullied loyalty. The old
colours were sent to Dingwall, Ross-shire, to be there preserved. In May.
1869, the regiment left Montreal for Halifax. Before leaving Montreal all
couched in complimentary terms, was presented to the regiment by the St.
Andrews Society, of Montreal. The regiment remained in Nova Scotia until
1871, companies doing duty regularly at St. John, N. B., and in November of
that year it embarked for Britain.
The Seventy-Ninth, Cameron Highlanders.
Embodied in 1793, the Cameron Highlanders, when it arrived in Canada in 18,
had already it long and distinguished career behind it,- the glories of
Waterloo, immortalized by Byron:-
"And wild and high the 'Cameron's Gathering'
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard too, have her Saxon foes:-
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills
Savage and shrill! But with the breath that fills
Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years
And Evan's Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears."
Dr. A. Anderson, regimental surgeon, tells that
in 1809 "the 79th did what no other regiment did. In January of that year
they were in Spain at the Battle of Corunna and returned to Britain in
February, when 700 men and several officers suffered from a dangerous typhus
fever, yet not a man died. In July they embarked 1002 bayonets for Walcheren,
were engaged during the whole siege of Flushing in the trenches, yet not a
man rounded, and whilst there lost only one individual in fever-.Paymaster
Baldock, the least expected of any one. During the three months after their
return to Britain, only ten men died, and in December of that same year
again embarked for the Peninsula. 1032 strong." Men with such impervious
constitutions and good luck "were not horn for nothing,' and the Camerons
well-merited the application of the adage.
In the spring of 1825 the 79th embarked at Cork
for Canada under command of Colonel Sir Neil Douglas. Headquarters were
fixed at Quebec, where the regiment remained until 1818, when they removed
to Montreal. On the anniversary of Waterloo, the 18th of June, 1828, the
regiment was presented with new colours at Montreal, the gift of
Lieut.-General Sir R. C. Ferguson. who had succeeded l.ieut.-General Sir
Alan Cameron in the colonelcy of the regiment. The ceremony was performed by
Lady Douglas. on the Champ de Mars. in the presence of a vast concourse of
people. In 1833 headquarters were removed to Quebec, where the regiment was
stationed during its further stay in Canada—until 1,S36. The 79th was again
stationed at Quebec from July. 1848, until August, 1851 when before leaving,
the mayor and council in a letter addressed to Lieut -Colonel the Honourable
Lauderdale Manic, bears testimony to the excellent conduct of the men. The
officers and men erected in St. Andrew's Church, a marble tablet to the
memory Of the non-commissioned officers and men who died (luring the period
of service in Canada.
The Ninety-Third, Sutherland Highlanders.—The 93rd was ordered to
Canada in December of 18, co-incident upon the rising of 1837, there. In
January, 1838, the regiment, in two divisions, embarked at Cork, one under
Lieut.-Colonel Duncan MacGregor, and the other under command of Major
Arthur. Both divisions were united at Halifax. During the troubles in Canada
the regiment had not an opportunity of meeting the enemy except at Prescott,
at the attack and capture in the \Vindmill. At this period the regiment was
very much divided, but before the end of the year, 1838, the companies came
together at Toronto, where Lieut.- Colonel Spark took command in succession
to Lieut.-Colonel MacGregor. Its stay in Canada extended over ten years. It
remained in Toronto from the beginning of 1838 until the 17th June, 1845,
with the exception of one year—May. 1840, to May, 1841—when it was stationed
at Drummondsvillie, near Niagara Falls. While in Toronto in 1842 an order
from the Horse Guards pays a high tribute to its morale, and by implication
the reverse of a compliment to that of the Toronto of those days. It runs:
"This line regiment still continues to maintain its character for
comparative sobriety and good order amidst the dissipation with which it
appears to be surrounded. and that it is as remarkable for its splendid
appearance in the field, and the correctness of its evolutions, as for the
quiet and orderly habits of its men in their quarters." In May, 1845, the
93rd proceeded to Montreal, where it was joined by a part of the regiment
which had been stationed for several months at Kingston. About a year was
spent at Montreal and nearly three in Quebec, when in 1849 it returned to
Scotland, later on to win the undying glories of the Crimea and India.
From the ranks of these regiments Canada drew
not a few citizens who have distinguished themselves in every line of
enterprise, in commerce, finance, the professions and in public life. Men
who having the hardy training of soldiers, and the sterling character of
their race, have done incalculable service in laying the foundations of this
young country and in building upon them a superstructure of which their
descendants need not feel ashamed.
THE HIGHLAND COMPANIES
Some of the officers and men who came to Canada
with the Highland regiments above referred to settled down to the peaceful
avocations of life in the new land instead of accompanying their regiments
back to the land of their fathers for their discharge there. We find them
turning their military knowledge to the advantage of Canada in connection
with the militia of the country. Those with strong Highland proclivities
naturally favoured corps on the plan of the Highland regiments in which they
had served, even to the dress and name. Evidences of their activity are to
be met with at Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Whitby,
Hamilton, and London, Ont., where Highland Companies were formed, but they
had had precedents to go by in the far past. One of the earliest is the
Highland Company which composed the left of the Queen's Rangers, commanded
in the Revolutionary War by Colonel Simcoe. Colonel Stephen Jarvis says of
it: '' was eye witness to a very brave exploit performed by the left
division, the Highland Company, under the command of Captain, afterwards
Major-General Æneas Shaw. One of the field pieces belonging to the Light
Infantry had got fast in a quagmire, and at last was abandoned by the
artillery attached to it. The rebels gave a shout: Huzza! the cannon is our
own,' and advanced to take possession when Captain Shaw ordered his division
to the right about, charged the enemy and brought off the cannon which was
ever after attached to the regiment."
Highland Company of Montreal.
The Highland sentiment so unmistakeablv traced in the military life of
Montreal. at an early date manifested itself in the formation of a Highland
Company which became a part of the Prince of Wales Regiment. This regiment
was the first which was formed under the Militia Act of 1859, having been
constituted on the 17th of November, 1859. and therefore, having the honour
of being named the "First Battalion," Canadian Militia. The regiment was
formed of companies which had been in existence previously as independent
rifle companies of volunteers. The first of these companies was organized on
the 31st of August, 1855, and the others between that date and the 4th of
April. 1857, when the ninth company was formed. Two and a half years later
they were united in a battalion. No. 7 Company was raised on 16th October.
1856 and was authorized as a Highland Company. The command of the company
was entrusted to John Macpherson, a member of No. 1 Company, the first
lieutenant being George McGibbon, and the first ensign Peter Muir. On the
embodiment of the battalion Captain John Macpherson continued in command of
the Highland Company, with Peter Moir as lieutenant. Duncan Macpherson as
ensign. and George Brown as supernumerary ensign. The dress was a green coat
faced with red and gold, tartan MacKenzie trousers, tartan shoulders plaid,
Highland bonnet with ostrich plumes and red feather. The officers wore the
dirk and broadsword, and the piper. the full Highland costume, the kilt and
its accoutrements. The members of the company were described, on the
occasion of a visit to Portland, Maine, in 1858. as "thoroughly Scotch in
features, spare and sharp. and in their native tartan, like true followers
of the Bruce.'
the Commissioned Officers were: John Macpherson, Captain; Peter Moir,
Lieutenant: George Brown, Ensign ; Alex. Graham Lindsay. Supernumerary
Ensign. Non-Commissioned Officers: Colour Sergeant, James Stenhouse
Sergeants, Thomas McWilliams, David Laurie, W. C. Slack, James Scott, John
Villock. James Ridley: Corporals: Walter McGrath, Murdoch McKenzie, John
Buchanan, Robert Slater, Donald Hamilton; Pipers: James Macdonald and
Archibald McGinnis: Bugler, Ashley Cole.
The Company afterwards joined the 5th Royals,
which later became the 5th Battalion Royal Scots of Canada.
THE TORONTO COMPANY OF HIGHLAND RIFLES
Among the things around which military memories
linger in Toronto is the Company of Highland Rifles, at one time attached to
the Queen's Own Rifles. The veterans of to-day delight, as veterans only do,
in reminiscences of the time when they served in its ranks, and to them it
is a source of regret that no adequate account of it has been preserved.
Within the scope of this work only a brief
notice is permissible; yet. as a company in which the Highland idea of
soldiering was enthusiastically upheld and exemplified, a short sketch is
obviously in place in this volume.
The company was raised on the 18th of September.
1856, those chiefly instrumental in its organization being: A. M. Smith, at
one time in the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders; A. T. Fulton. merchant; John
Gardner, at one time in the 71st Highland Light Infantry: Robert Sutherland
and Mr. R. H. Ramsay. The first officers were: A. M. Smith, Captain: A. T.
Fultin. Lieutenant; John Gardner. Ensign: Francis McMannus Russell. Surgeon.
It was then known as No. 3 Independent Volunteer Rifle Co. of Toronto. When
the independent companies were formed into No. 2 Battalion Queen's Own
Rifles, the Highland Company was designated No. 4 (Highland). At that time
Captain A. M. Smith was appointed Major in the Queen's Own Rifles, and his
place was taken in the captaincy of the Highland Company by Lieutenant
Fulton. Ensign Gardner becoming Lieutenant, and John Sheddon, Ensign. This
was in May. 1860. Captain Fulton is said by Mr. Chadwick to have been "a
splendid drill, and aided by the natural steadiness of the Highlanders, soon
obtained a reputation for his company which they ever afterwards
maintained." In 1863 Captain Fulton retired. and Lieutenant John Gardner
was, on the 21st August of that year, appointed to the command of the
company, with R. H. Ramsay as Lieutenant, and Donald Gibson as Ensign. ln
1866 Captain Gardner retired from active command and was succeeded by
Lieutenant Ramsay as Captain with Ensign Gibson as Lieutenant. and Mr. Henry
Scott as Ensign. These were the officers of the company at the time of its
No. 4 of the Queen's Own Rifles, at first, the company was, being dressed in
the kilt, always placed on the left of the line of the parade, and for this
reason the number was changed from 4 to 10, the latter number being the one
by which it is familiar to the survivors of those connected with it.
In 1866 Captain Gardner was
associated with Captain Ramsa in the Fenian Raid expedition, and commanded
at Ridgeway. It is related with pride how the Highland Rifles was the last
to retire from the field. Mr. Matheson, druggist, Toronto. acted as company
bugler that day, and when the "retreat" was sounded he did not interpret it
as a retire call. Some one in the front ranks called out to Captain Gardner
that he had heard a retire call. That officer was enraged at the idea and
shouted back: "If you say it again I'll cut you down with my sword. It's a
charge. Are you ready?" Pouches were examined and those who had three or
more cartridges left had to share one or more of them with those who had
only one or none. The ammunition was nearly all spent. These are said to
have been Captain Gardner's orders We are now to charge. Steady men! Go
forward at the double, keeping steady as if on parade. You know how to do
it, you've done it often at drill. Keep steady as you march on, but cheer
for all you're worth." The company advanced about twenty paces at the double
when an officer rode up and shouted Halt! where are you going with these
men, sir? Can't you see the line has retired?" The order was then given:
"The shortest way to the reserve." and the company retired. Among those
wounded were John Whyte and Forbes McHardy.
The company lay at Stratford for some weeks, and
there a photograph was taken of the company, with its officers in front,
which is a much cherished relic in many homes now scattered over Canada and
the United States, for members of the Highland Rifles have followed Fortune
wherever her smile beckoned. On the 1st of October, 1863, the company
disbanded because the Government refused to grant an allowance in lieu of
the ordinary uniform: or perhaps it would be more correct to say that for
the sake of uniformity the military authorities insisted upon the company
adopting the same uniform as the other companies of the regiment wore and as
the Highlanders were not permitted to wear the kilt, they declined re-enrollment
under the Militia Act of 1868. and so became extinct.
The members continued to meet at their old
rendezvous, and not having now the bond of military duty to keep them
together, the idea occurred to some of them that they should form themselves
into a Scottish society. About that time the old Highland Society of Toronto
was less active than usual, and an amalgamation was brought about between it
and the members of the Highland company, the combined body being named the
"Caledonian Society of Toronto," including Highlander and Lowlander, under
the Gaelic name "Caledonia," usually derived from "CoilIe daoine."
"Woodlanders." It is interesting to note that the society thus formed.
should, twenty-three years afterwards, in 1891, have retained so lively a
recollection of the experiences associated with the old Highland Rifles as
to be among the most enthusiastic promoters and generous donors of the 48th
Highlanders at the period of its organization.
interesting list of the original members is as follows: the officers as
already mentioned Quarter-Master-Sergeant George Ocil. Col.-Sergeant Robert
Sutherland, Sergeants Robert Morrison and James Gray. Corporals Robert
Jaffray and Wm. Ramsay. Piper Donald MacRae, Bugler Wm. Wallace, Privates
Archie McFarlane, Wm. Bansley, Alexander Barrie, Henry Braid, John Calver,
William Cos, Nicholas Cumming, Andrew Fleming, Peter Gardner. George
Gilchrist, William Goldie. George Gratton, Alexander Gray, Allan Walker,
Walter Wilson, Daniel Rose, James Mowan, John Atchison, Neil Johnston, Wm.
G. Kemp. Alexander Moodie, Malcolm Morrison, Joseph McGeorge, Wm. McGeorge.
Alaistair MacDonald. Thomas MacIntosh. Duncan MacKjnnon, Alistair H.
Oliphant. Henry McLeod, Robert H. Ramsay, Adam Reid, David Ross, Alexander
Thorburn, George Wills, James Wilson, and Sam. Hutcheson.
The uniform was the same as that of the 93rd
Sutherland Highlanders, with the exception of the feather bonnet the
glengarry being worn —and the tunic, which was of green material with red
Highland company which was connected with the Queen's Own Rifles. Toronto,
was "F" or No.6 company of Whitby. It was incorporated with the Queen's Own
on the formation of the latter in 1860. It does not appear to have ever
paraded with the regiment although not gazetted out until November. 1862. It
is now No. 1 Company of the 34th regiment.
REGIMENTS WITH HIGHLAND
Battalion "Royal Scots of Canada", Montreal, need merely be mentioned. They
were embodied in 1862. as the 5th Royals, with six companies. They now wear
full Highland uniform (kilts). The badge is the popular clan badge, a boar's
head, and the motto "Ne obliviscaris", the same as those of the 91st
Princess Louise's (Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders).
The 20th. "Lorne Rifles," Halton, under Lieut-Colonel
Allan an enthusiastic Highland soldier, wore tartan trews and diced bonnets.
Except the name, nothing now remains to indicate the Highland influences
which at one time dominated it.
The 15th, "Argyle Light Infantry," Belleville,
bears a Highland name, and as a badge has the Campbell Boars Head, with the
motto. "Nulli secundus".
The 78th battalion, "Colchester, Hants and
Pictou," headquarters, Truro, Nova Scotia, has the title :Highlanders" after
their designation, evidently in honor of the number 78th, though there
should be no lack of good Highland material in Pictou to fill the ranks of
the 79th battalion. Shelford, Waterloo, Quebec. The word "Highlanders" is
used in the name, and more pronounced still are:
The 94th "Victoria" battalion, "Argyll
Highlanders," with headquarters at Baddeck, Cape Breton, where men of
Highland blood, aye and speech too, are numerous, and the Celtic sentiment
A few years ago a few Highlanders in Hamilton.
Ont., headed by Mr. John Niven Macdougall, made an effort to raise one or
two Highland companies, which it was proposed should be attached to the 13th
Regiment. The object in view was maturing, it was thought favorably, when
some unaccountable obstacle arose in connection with the relation which the
company should have to the 13th. and the project was, for the time being.
abandoned. But the money for the uniforms and the men to wear them, were
Recently the movement has been launched on a more ambitious plan. The idea
now is to organize it battalion, and the following gentlemen are acting as a
Committee for the promoters:.—Messrs. Cohn MacLeod (chairman), George
Upsdell, H, Ward, J. Eves, J. Coombes, W. G. Reid, J. R. Graham. and Dr.
Gibson. It is said that public feeling in Hamilton is strongly in favour of
the formation of a Highland regiment for that city, and no insuperable
difficulty seems to stand in the way of accomplishing their desire.
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