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Sketches Illustrating the Early Settlement and History of Glengarry in Canada
Chapter 5


Settlement of the Disbanded Soldiers in Glengarry and Adjacent Counties of Stormont and Dundas—List of Officers of the First and Second Battalions of the King's Royal Regiment of New York.—Colonel Stewart's Account of the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment (Old Eighty-Fourth).—List of Officers.

The Revolutionary War being over, the Highland soldiers of the various Regiments mostly settled in the eastern part of what afterwards became the Province of Upper Canada, and what now constitutes the County of Glengarry, being principally settled by those from Glengarry in Scotland, they called it after the well-loved name of the home of their forefathers; others were allotted land in what now constitute the adjacent Counties of Stormont and Dundas. The officers and men of the First Battalion of the Kings Royal Regiment of New York, stationed at the close of the War at Isle aux Noix and Carleton Island, with their wives and children, to the number of one thousand four hundred and sixty-two, settled in a body in the first five townships west of the boundary line of the Province of Quebec, being the present Townships of Lancaster, Charlottenburgh, Cornwall, Osnabruck and Williamsburg; those of the Second Battalion of the King's Royal Regiment of New York going further west to the Bay of Quinte. The following list shows the officers of the First Battalion of Sir John Johnson's Regiment, with length of service, &c.:

The latter Battalion, as already stated, both officers and men, with some few exceptions, settled principally about Cataraqui, as Kingston was then called, on the Bay of Quinte, in the Counties of Lennox and Prince Edward, where their descendants are now to be found. Each soldier received a certificate as follows, entitling him to land The descendants of the soldier mentioned still worthily occupy the land so well earned by their ancestor, lot one in the ninth concession of Charlottenburgh:

His Majesty's Provincial Regiment, called the King's Royal Regiment of New York, whereof Sir John Johnson, Knight and Baronet is Lieutenant-Colonel, Commandant.

These are to certify that the Bearer hereof, Donald McDonell, soldier in Capt. Angus McDonell's Company, of the aforesaid Regiment, born in the Parish of Killmoneneoack, in the County of Inverness, aged thirty-five years, has served honestly and faithfully in the said regiment Seven Years; and in consequence of His Majesty's Order fur Disbariding the said Regiment, he is hereby discharged, is entitled, by His Majesty's late Order, to the Portion of Land allotted to each soldier of His Provincial Corps, who wishes to become a Settler in this Province. He having first received all just demands of Pay, Cloathing, &c. from his entry into the said Regiment, to the Date of his Discharge, as appears from his Receipt on the back hereof.

Given under my Hand and Seal at Arms, at Montreal, this twenty-fourth Day of December, 1783.

John Johnson.

I, Donald McDonell, private soldier, do acknowledge that I have received all my Cloathing, Pay, Arrears of Pay, and all Demands whatsoever, from the time of my Inlisting in the Regiment and Company mentioned on the other Side, to this present Day of my Discharge, as witness my Hand this 24th day pf December, 1783

Donald McDonell.

Mr. Croil states that each soldier was entitled to one hundred acres on the river front, bisides two hundred acres at a distance remote from the River. If married and with a family, or if at any future time he should marry, he was entitled to fifty acres more for his wife and fifty for every child, besides which each son and daughter on coming of age was entitled to a further grant of two hundred acres. This, I believe, is what the men ultimately got, yet the Order in Council of 22nd October, 1788 (although the discharge as given above, the original of which was lent me, would seem to indicate that there had been a previous Order on the subject) recited that on the raising of the Eighty-fourth Regiment (Royal Highland Emigrants) the men were promised that on their being reduced the allotment of land should be as follows: Field Officers, 5,000 acres; Captains, 3,000; Subalterns, 2,000, Non-comrnisioned Officers, 200, Privates, 50, and referring to the Petitions of Sir John Johnson and Lieutenant-Colonel John Sutler, on behalf of the King's Royal Regiment of New York and the late Corps of Rangers, directed that those Regiments should be placed on the same footing as regards land as the Eight)-Fourth.

Although on the termination of the War the original settlers in Glengarry and the adjacent district were, as we have seen, principally composed of the men of Sir John Johnson's Regiment, yet many families of men who belonged to the 1st Battalion of the old Eighty-fourth or Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment also settled in the County and neighborhood, and an account of the raising and the services of that Battalion may not be out of place. It is given in Colonel (afterwards General) Stewart's "Sketches of the Highlanders of Scotland " which also contains details of the military service of the Highland Regiments. This work of the gallant Stewart of Garth, himself a soldier of high renown, seamed all over with the scars of Egypt and Spain, is most valuable and interesting. It is doubtful if any man except Sir Walter Scott ever did more to gather the fragments which relate to the proud history of Scotland.

When Colonel Stewart submitted them to Sir Walter for his perusal, and asked him to suggest a motto for them, I have somewhere seen it stated that he mentioned these lines from Shakespeare, which were adopted :

'Tis wonderful
That an invisible instinct should frame them
To loyalty unlearned: honour untaught;
Civility not seen from others; valour
That wildly grows in them, but yields a crop
As it it had been sowed.

Any one who doubts the entire appropriateness of those lines had better read the book.

The Eighty-Fourth, or Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment (originally embodied in 1775, but not regimented or numbered till 1778), was to consist of two battalions. Lieutenant Colonel Allan McLean, of the late One Hundred and Fourth Highland Regiment, was appointed Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the first battalion, which was to be raised and embodied from the Highland Emigrants in Canada, and the discharged men of the Forty Second, of Fraser's and of Montgomery's Highlanders who had settled in the country after the Peace of 1763. Captain John Small, formerly of the Forty Second and then of the Twenty First Regiment, was appointed Major-Commandant of the Second Battalion, which was to be completed in Nova Scotia from Emigrant and discharged Highland soldiers. The establishment of both was Seven Hundred and Fifty men, with officers in proportion. The Commissions were dated the 14th June, 1775.

Officers sent to the back settlements to recruit found the discharged soldiers and emigrants loyal and ready to serve His Majesty. The emigration from the Highlands, previous to this period, had been very limited. With many the change of abode was voluntary, and consequently their minds, neither irritated nor discontented, retained their former attachment to their native country and government. But there was much difficulty in conveying the parties who had enlisted to their respective destinations. One of these detachments, from Caroling had to force its way through a dangerous and narrow pass, and across a bridge defended by cannon and a strong detachment of the rebels; but aware that the Americans entertained a dread of the broadsword, from experience of its effects in the last War, with more bravery than prudence, and forgetting that they had only a few swords and fowling pieces used in, the settlements, they determined to attack the post sword in hand and pushed forward to the attack." But they found the enemy too strong and the difficulties insurmountable. They were forced to relinquish the attempt with the loss of Captain Macleod and a number of men killed. Those who escaped made their way by different routes to their destination. Colonel Maclean's Battalion wag stationed in Quebec, when Canada was threatened with invasion by the American General, Arnold, at the head of three- thousand men. Colonel Maclean, who had been detached up the River St. Lawrence, returned by forced marches, and entered Quebec on the evening of the 13th November, 1776, without being noticed by Arnold. He had previously crossed the river, and on the night of the Fourteenth made a smart attack with a view of getting possession of their outworks but was repulsed with loss, and forced to retire to Pointe aux Trembles. The fortifications of the city had been greatly neglected, and were now in a ruinous state. The garrison consisted of fifty men of the Fusiliers, three hundred and fifty of Maclean's newly Raised Emigrants and about seven hundred Militia and Seamen. General Guy Carlton, the Commander-in-Chief, being occupied with preparations for the general defence of the Colony, the defence of the town was entrusted to Colonel Maclean, an able and intelligent officer.

Arnold having been reinforced by a body of troops under General Montgomery, determined to attempt the town by assault. On the morning of the 31st December, both Commanders, leading separate points of attack, advanced with great boldness, but were completely repulsed at all points, with the loss of General Montgomery killed and General Arnold wounded. The Highland Emigrants, though so recently embodied, contained a number of old soldiers, who, in this affair did honour to the character of the Corps in which they served.

General Arnold, disappointed in this attempt, established himself on the Heights of Abraham, with the intention of intercepting all supplies, and blockading the town. In this situation he reduced the garrison to great straits, all communication with the country being entirely cut off. This blockade he soon turned into an active siege; he erected batteries and made several attempts to get possession of the Lower Town, but was foiled at every point by the vigilant and intelligent defender, Colonel Maclean. On the approach of spring, Arnold, despairing of success, raised the siege, and evacuated the whole of Canada.

After this service, the Battalion remained m the Province during the War, and was principally employed in small but harassing enterprises. In one of these, Captain D. Robertson, Lieutenant Hector Maclean and Ensign Grant, with the Grenadier Company, marched twenty days through the woods with no other direction than a compass and an Indian guide. The object to be accomplished was to surprise and dislodge the enemy from a small post, which they occupied in the interior. This service was accomplished without loss. By long practice in marching through the woods the men had become very intelligent and serviceable in this kind of warfare.

With every opportunity and much temptation to desert, in consequence of offers of land and other incitements held out by the Americans, it is but justice to the memory of these brave and loyal men to state, on the most unquestionable authority, that not one native Highlander deserted, and only one Highlander was brought to the halberts during the time they were embodied.

Strathardale in Athole. His first Commission was in the Scotch Brigade. In 1747 he obtained an Ensigncy in the old Highland Regiment, and served in it till the 'Peace of 1763, when he was reduced as Captain. He died Major-General and Governor of Guernsey in 1796.] No chief of former days ever more firmly secured the attachment of his Clan, and no chief, certainly, ever deserved it better. With an enthusiastic and even romantic love of his country and countrymen, it seemed as if the principal object of his life had been to serve them and promote their prosperity. Equally brave in leading them in the field, and kind, just and conciliating in quarters, they would have indeed been ungrateful if they had regarded him otherwise than as they did. There was not an instance of desertion in their Battalion. Five Companies remained in Nova Scotia and the neighboring settlements during the War. The other five joined General Clinton and Lord Cornwallis' Armies to the southward. The Flank Companies were in the Battalion of that description. At Eataw Springs 'the Grenadier Company was in the Battalion, which, as Colonel Alexander Stewart, of the Third Regiment, states in his despatches, drove all before them.

It was not till 1778 that this Regiment was numbered the Eighty-Fourth. The Battalions, which were previously known only as the Royal Highland Emigrants, were now ordered to be augmented to one thousand men each, Sir Henry Clinton being appointed Colonel in Chief and the two Commandants remaining as before. The uniform was the full Highland garb, with purses made of racoons' instead of badgers' skins. The officers wore the broadsword and dirk, and the men a half-basket sword. All those who had been settled in America previously to the War remained and took possession of their lands, but many of the others returned home.

The men of Colonel Maclean's Battalion settled in Canada, and of Colonel Small's in Nova Scotia, where they formed a settlement or township, as it was called, and gave it the name of Douglas.

I am unable to procure a list of officers of this Battalion.


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