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74th Highlanders
1787-1846


Assaye In the year 1787 four new regiments were ordered to be raised for the service of the state, to be numbered the 74th, 75th, 76th, and 77th. The first two were directed to be raised in the north of Scotland, and were to be Highland regiments. The regimental establishment of each was to consist of ten companies of 75 men each, with the customary number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers. Major-General Sir Archibald Campbell, K.B., from the half-pay of Fraser’s Highlanders, was appointed colonel of the 74th regiment.

The establishment of the regiment was fixed as ten companies, consisting of—.

I Colonel and Captain. 1 Adjutant.
1 Lieutenant-Colonel and 1 Quartermaster.
Captain. 1 Surgeon.
1 Major and Captain. 2 Surgeon’s Mates.
7 Captains. 80 Sergeants.
1 Captain-Lieutenant. 40 Corporals.
21 Lieutenants. 20 Drummers.
8 Ensigns. 2 Fifers, and
1 Chaplain. 710 Privates.

A recruiting company was afterwards added, which consisted of—

1 Captain. 8 Corporals.
2 Lieutenants. 4 Drummers.
1 Ensign. 80 Privates.
8 Sergeants.
Total of Officers and
Men of all ranks, 902.

The regiment was styled "The 74th Highland Regiment of Foot." The uniform was the full Highland garb of kilt and feathered bonnet, the tartan being similar to that of the 42nd regiment, and the facings white; the use of the kilt was, however, discontinued in the East Indies, as being unsuited to the climate.

The following were the officers first appointed to the regiment:—

Colonel—Archibald Campbell, K.B.
Lieutenant-Colonel—Gordon Forbes.

Captains.

Dugald Campbell. William Wallace.
Alexander Campbell. Robert Wood.
Archibald Campbell.

Captain-Lieutenant and Captain—Heneage Twysden.

Lieutenants.

James Clark. John Alexander.
Charles Campbell. Samuel Swinton.
John Campbell. John Campbell.
Thomas Carnie. Charles Campbell.
W. Coningsby Davies. George Henry Vansittart
Dugald Lamont. Archibald
Campbell.

Ensigns

John Forbes. John Wallace.
Alexander Stewart. Hugh M’Pherson.
James Campbell.

Chaplain—John Ferguson.
Adjutant—Samuel Swinton.
Quartermaster—James Clark.
Surgeon—William Henderson.

As the state of affairs in India required that reinforcements should be immediately despatched to that country, all the men who had been embodied previous to January 1788 were ordered for embarkation, without waiting for the fall complement. In consequence of these orders, 400 men, about one-half Highlanders, embarked at Grangemouth, and sailed from Chatham for the East Indies, under the commend of Captain William Wallace. The regiment having been completed in autumn, the recruits followed in February 1789, and arrived at Madras in June in perfect health. They joined the first detachment at the cantonments of Poonamallee, and thus united, the corps amounted to 750 men. These were now trained under Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell, who had succeeded Lieutenant-Colonel Forbes in the command, and who had acquired some experience in the training of soldiers as captain in Fraser’s Highlanders.

In connection with the main army under Lord Cornwallis, the Madras army under General Meadows, of which the 74th formed a part, began a series of movements in the spring of 1790. The defence of the passes leading into the Carnatic from Mysore was intrusted to Colonel Kelly, who, besides his own corps, had under him the 74th; but he dying in September, Colonel Maxwell [This able officer was son of Sir William Maxwell of Monreith, and brother of the Duchess of Gordon. He died at Cuddalore in 1783] succeeded to the command.

The 74th was put in brigade with the 71st and 72nd Highland regiments. The regiment suffered no loss in the different movements which took place till the storming of Bangalore, on the 21st of March 1791. The whole loss of the British, however, was only 5 men. After the defeat of Tippoo Sahib at Seringapatam, on the 15th of May 1791, the army, in consequence of bad weather and scarcity of provisions, retreated upon Bangalore, reaching that place in July.

The 74th was detached from the army at Nundeedroog on the 21st of October, with three Sepoy battalions and some field artillery, under Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell, into the Baramahal country, which this column was ordered to clear of the enemy. They reached the south end of the valley by forced marches, and took the strong fort of Penagurh by escalade on the 31st of October, and after scouring the whole of the Baramahal to the southward, returned towards Caverypooram, and encamped within five miles of the strong fort of Kistnagherry, 50 miles S.E. of Bangalore, on the 7th of November. Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell determined on attacking the lower fort and town immediately, and the column advanced from the camp to the attack in three divisions at ten o’clock on that night; two of these were sent to the right and left to attack the lower fort on the western and eastern sides, while the centre division advanced directly towards the front wall. The divisions approached close to the walls before they were discovered, succeeded in escalading them, and got possession of the gates. The enemy fled to the upper fort without making much resistance, and the original object of the attack was thus gained. But a most gallant attempt was made by Captain Wallace of the 74th, who commanded the right division, to carry the almost inaccessible upper fort also. His division rushed up in pursuit of the fugitives; and notwithstanding the length and steepness of the ascent, his advanced party followed the enemy so closely that they had barely time to shut the gates. Their standard was taken on the steps of the gateway; but as the ladders had not been brought forward in time, it was impossible to escalade before the enemy recovered from their panic.

During two hours, repeated trials were made to get the ladders up, but the enemy hurling down showers of rocks and stones into the road, broke the ladders, and crushed those who carried them. Unluckily, a clear moonlight discovered every movement, and at length, the ladders being all destroyed, and many officers and men disabled in carrying them, Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell found it necessary to order a discontinuance of the assault.

The retreat of the men who had reached the gate, and of the rest of the troops, was conducted with such regularity, that a party which sallied from the fort in pursuit of them was immediately driven back. The pettah, or lower town, was set fire to, and the troops withdrawn to their camp before daylight on the 8th of November.

The following were the casualties in the regiment on this occasion :—Killed, 2 officers, 1 sergeant, 5 rank and file; wounded, 3 officer; 47 non-commissioned officers and men. The officers killed were Lieutenants Forbes and Lamont; those wounded, Captain Wallace, Lieutenants M’Kenzie and Aytone.

The column having also reduced several small forts in the district of Ossoor, rejoined the army on the 30th of November.

In the second attempt on Seringapatam, on the 6th of February 1792, the 74th, with the 52nd regiment and 71st Highlanders, formed the centre under the immediate orders of the Commander-in-Chief. Details of these operations, and others elsewhere in India, in which the 74th took part at this time, have already been given in our accounts of the 71st and 72nd regiments. The 74th on this occasion had 2 men killed, and Lieutenant Farquhar, Ensign Hamilton, and 17 men wounded.

On the termination of hostilities this regiment returned to the coast. In July 1793 the flank companies were embodied with those of the 71st in the expedition against Pondicherry. The following interesting episode, as related in Cannon’s account of the regiment, occurred after the capture of Pondicherry:-

The 74th formed part of the garrison, and the French troops remained in the place as prisoners of war. Their officers were of the old régime, and were by birth and in manners gentlemen, to whom it was incumbent to show every kindness and hospitality. It was found, however, that both officers and men, and the French population generally, were strongly tinctured with the revolutionary mania, and some uneasiness was felt lest the same should be in any degree imbibed by the British soldiers. It happened that the officers of the 74th were in the theatre, when a French officer called for the revolutionary air, " Ira;" this was opposed by some of the British, and there was every appearance of a serious disturbance, both parties being highly excited. The 74th, being in a body, had an opportunity to consult, and to act with effect. Having taken their resolution, two or three of them made their way to the orchestra, the rest taking post at the doors, and, having obtained silence, the senior officer addressed the house in a firm but conciliatory manner. He stated that the national tune called for by one of the company ought not to be objected to, and that, as an act of courtesy to the ladies and others who had seconded the request, he and his brother officers were determined to support it with every mark of respect, and called upon their countrymen to do the same. It was accordingly played with the most uproarious applause on the part of the French, the British officers standing up uncovered; but the moment it was finished, the house was called upon by the same party again to uncover to the British national air, "God save the King." They now appealed to the French, reminding them that each had their national attachments and recollections of home; that love of country was an honourable principle, and should be respected in each other; and that they felt assured their respected friends would not be behind in that courtesy which had just been shown by the British. Bravo! Bravo! resounded from every part of the house, and from that moment all rankling was at an end. They lived in perfect harmony till the French embarked, and each party retained their sentiments as a thing peculiar to their own country, but without the slightest offence on either side, or expectation that they should assimilate, more than if they related to the colour of their uniforms.

As a set-off to this, it is worth recording that in 1798, when voluntary contributions for them support of the war with France were being offered to Government from various parts of the British dominions, the privates of the 74th, of their own accord, handsomely and patriotically contributed eight days’ pay to assist in carrying on the war,—" a war," they said, "unprovoked on our part, and justified by the noblest of motives, the preservation of our individual constitution." The sergeants and corporals, animated by similar sentiments, subscribed a fortnight’s, and the officers a month’s pay each.

Besides reinforcements of recruits from Scotland fully sufficient to compensate all casualties, the regiment received, on the occasion of the 71st being ordered home to Europe, upwards of 200 men from that regiment. By these additions the strength of the 74th was kept up, and the regiment, as well in the previous campaign as in the subsequent one under General Harris, was one of the most effective in the field.

The 74th was concerned in all the operations of this campaign, and had its full share in the storming of Seringapatam on the 4th of May 1799.

The troops for the assault, commanded by Major-General Baird, were divided into two columns of attack. The 74th, with the 73rd regiment, 4 European flank companies, 14 Sepoy flank companies, with 50 artillerymen, formed the right column, under Colonel Sherbroke. Each column was preceded by 1 sergeant and 12 men, volunteers, supported by an advanced party of 1 subaltern and 25 men. Lieutenant Hill, of the 74th, commanded the advanced party of the right column. After the successful storm and capture of the fortress, the 74th was the first regiment that entered the palace.

The casualties of the regiment during the siege were :—Killed, 5 officers, and 45 non commissioned officers and men. Wounded, 4 officers, and 111 non-commissioned officers and men. Officers killed, Lieutenants Irvine, Farquhar, Hill, Shaw, Prendergast. Officers wounded, Lieutenants Fletcher, Aytone, Maxwell, Carrington.

The regiment received the royal authority to bear the word "Seringapatam" on its regimental colour and appointments in commemoration of its services at this siege.

The 74th had not another opportunity of distinguishing itself till the year 1803, when three occasions occurred. The first was on the 8th of August, when the fortress of Ahmednuggur, then in possession of Sindiah, the Mahratta chief, was attacked, and carried by assault by the army detached under the Hon. Major-General Sir Arthur Wellesley. In this affair the 74th, which formed a part of the brigade commanded by Colonel Wallace, bore a distinguished part, and gained the special thanks of the Major-General and the Governor-General.

The next was the battle of Assaye, fought on the 23rd of September. On that day Major-General the Hon. Arthur Wellesley attacked the whole combined Mahratta army of Sindiah and the Rajah of Berar, at Asssya, on the banks of the Kaitna river. The Mahratta force, of 40,000 men, was completely defeated by a force of 5000, of which not more than 2000 were Europeans, losing 98 pieces of cannon, 7 standards, and leaving 1200 killed, and about four times that number wounded on the field. The conduct of the 74th in this memorable battle was most gallant and distinguished; but from having been prematurely led against the village of Assaye on the left of the enemy’s line, the regiment was exposed, unsupported, to a most terrible cannonade, and being afterwards charged by cavalry, sustained a tremendous loss.

In this action, the keenest ever fought in India, the 74th had Captains D. Aytone, Andrew Dyce, Roderick Macleod, John Maxwell; Lieutenants John Campbell, John Morshead Campbell, Lorn Campbell, James Grant, J. Morris, Robert Neilson, Volunteer Tew, 9 sergeants, and 127 rank and file killed; and Major Samuel Swinton, Captains Norman Moore, Matthew Shawe, John Alexander Main, Robert Macmurdo, J. Longland, Ensign Kearnon, 11 sergeants, 7 drummers, and 270 rank and file wounded. "Every officer present," says Cannon, "with the regiment was either killed or wounded, except Quartermaster James Grant, who, when he saw so many of his friends fall in the battle, resolved to share their fate, and, though a non-combatant, joined the ranks and fought to the termination of the action." Besides expressing his indebtedness to the 74th in his despatch to the Governor-General, Major-General Wellesley added the following to his memorandum on the battle :— "However, by one of those unlucky accidents which frequently happen, the officer commanding the piquets which were upon the right led immediately up to the village of Assays. The 74th regiment, which was on the right of the second line, and was ordered to support the piquets, followed them. There was a large break in our line between these corps and those on our left. They were exposed to a most terrible cannonade from Assaye, and were charged by the cavalry belonging to the Campoos; consequently in the piquets and the 74th regiment we sustained the greatest part of our loss.

"Another bad consequence resulting from this mistake was the necessity of introducing the cavalry into the action at too early a period. I had ordered it to watch the motions of the enemy’s cavalry hanging upon our right, and luckily it charged in time to save the remains of the 74th and the piquets."

The names especially of Lieutenants-Colonel Harness and Wallace were mentioned with high approbation both by Wellesley and the Governor-General. The Governor-General ordered that special honorary colours be presented to the 74th and 78th, who were the only European infantry employed "on that glorious occasion," with a device suited to commemorate the signal and splendid victory.

The device on the special colour awarded to the 74th appears at the head of this account. The 78th for some reason ceased to make use of its third colour after it left India, so that the 74th is now probably the only regiment in the British army that possesses such a colour, an honour of which it may well be proud.

Captain A. B. Campbell of the 74th, who had on a former occasion lost an arm, and had afterwards had the remaining one broken at the wrist by a fall in hunting, was seen in the thickest of the action with his bridle in his teeth, and a sword in his mutilated hand, dealing destruction around him. He came off unhurt, though one of the enemy in the charge very nearly transfixed him with a bayonet, which actually pierced his saddle.

The third occasion in 1803 in which the 74th was engaged was the battle of Argaum, which was gained with little loss, and which fell chiefly on the 74th and 78th regiments, both of which were specially thanked by Wellesley. The 74th had 1 sergeant and 3 rank and file killed, and 1 officer, Lieutenant Langlands, [A powerful Arab threw a spear at him, and, drawing his sword, rushed forward to finish the lieutenant. But the spear having entered Langland’s leg, cut its way out again, and stuck in the ground behind him. Langlands grasped it, and, turning the point, threw it with so true an aim, that it went right through his opponent’s body, and transfixed him within three or four yards of his intended victim. All eyes were for an instant turned on these two combatants, when a Sepoy rushed out of the ranks, and patting the lieutenant on the back, exclaimed, "Atcha Sahib! Chote atcha keeah!" " Well Sir! very well done." Such a ludicrous circumstance, even in a moment of such extreme peril, raised a very hearty laugh among the soldiers.—Welsh’s "Military Reminiscences," vol. i. p. 194.] 5 sergeants, 1 drummer, and 41 rank and file wounded.

Further details of these three important affairs will be found in the history of the 78th regiment.

In September 1805, the regiment, having served for sixteen years in India, embarked for England, all the men fit for duty remaining in India.

The following Order in Council was issued on the occasion by the Governor, Lord William Bentinck:-

"Fort St George, 5th Sept. 1805.

"The Right Honourable the Governor in Council, on the intended embarkation of the remaining officers and men of His Majesty’s 74th regiment, discharges a duty of the highest satisfaction to his Lordship in Council in bestowing on that distinguished corps a public testimony of his Lordship’s warmest respect and approbation. During a long and eventful period of residence in India, the conduct of His Majesty’s 74th regiment, whether in peace or war, has been equally exemplary and conspicuous, having been not less remarkable for the general tenor of its discipline than for the most glorious achievements in the field.

"Impressed with these sentiments, his Lordship in Council is pleased to direct that His Majesty’s 74th regiment be held forth as an object of imitation for the military establishment of this Presidency, as his Lordship will ever reflect with pride and gratification, that in the actions which have led to the present pre-eminence of the British Empire in India, the part so nobly sustained by that corps will add lustre to the military annals of the country, and crown the name of His Majesty’s 74th regiment with immortal reputation.

"It having been ascertained, to the satisfaction of the Governor in Council, that the officers of His Majesty’s 74th regiment were, during the late campaign in the Deccan, subjected to extraordinary expenses, which have been aggravated by the arrangements connected with their embarkation for Europe, his Lordship in Council has been pleased to resolve that those officers shall receive a gratuity equal to three months’ batta, as a further testimony of his Lordship’s approbation of their eminent services.

"By order of the Right Honourable the Governor in Council.

"J. H. WEBB,
"Secretary to the Government.

Besides the important engagements in which the 74th took part during its long stay in India, there were many smaller conflicts and arduous services which devolved upon the regiment, but of which no record has been preserved. Some details illustrative of these services are contained in Cannon’s history of the 74th, communicated by officers who served with it in India, and afterwards throughout the Peninsular War. Captain Cargill, who served in the regiment, writes as follows:—

"The 74th lives in my recollection under two aspects, and during two distinct epochs.

"The first is the history and character of the regiment, from its formation to its return as a skeleton from India; and the second is that of the regiment as it now exists, from its being embarked for the Peninsula in January 1810.

"So far as field service is concerned, it has been the good fortune of the corps to serve during both periods, on the more conspicuous occasions, under the great captain of the age; under him also, during the latter period, it received the impress of that character which attaches to most regiments that were placed in the same circumstances, which arose from the regulations introduced by His Royal Highness the Duke of York, and the practical application of them by a master mind in the great school of the Peninsular War. Uniformity was thus given; and the 74th, like every other corps that has had the same training, must acknowledge the hand under which its present character was mainly impressed. But it was not so with the 74th in India. At that time every regiment had its distinctive character and system broadly marked, and this was generally found to have arisen from the materials of which it had been originally composed, and the tact of the officer by whom it had been embodied and trained. The 74th, in these respects, had been fortunate, and the tone and discipline introduced by the late Sir Archibald Campbell, together with the chivalrous spirit and noble emulation imbibed by the corps in these earlier days of Eastern conquest, had impressed upon the officers the most correct perception of their duties, not only as regards internal economy and the gradation of military rank, but also as regards the Government under which they served. It was, perhaps, the most perfect that could well exist. It was participated in by the men, and certainly characterised the regiment in a strong degree.

"It was an established principle in the old 74th, that whatever was required of the soldier should be strikingly set before him by his officers, and hence the most minute point of ordinary duty was regarded by the latter as a matter in which his honour was implicated. The duty of the officer of the day was most rigidly attended to, the officer on duty remaining in full uniform, and without parting with his sword even in the hottest weather, and under all circumstances, and frequently going the rounds of the cantonments during the night. An exchange of duty was almost never heard of, and the same system was carried into every duty and department, with the most advantageous effect upon the spirit and habits of the men.

"Intemperance was an evil habit fostered by climate and the great facility of indulgence but it was a point of honour among the men never to indulge when near an enemy, and I often heard it observed, that this rule was never known to be broken, even under the protracted operations of a siege. On such occasions the officers had no trouble with it, the principle being upheld by the men themselves.

"On one occasion, while the 74th was in garrison at Madras, and had received a route to march up the country, there was a mutiny among the Company’s artillery at the Mount. The evening before the regiment set out it was reported that they had some kind of leaning towards the mutineers; the whole corps felt most indignant at the calumny, but no notice was taken of it by the commanding officer. In the morning, however, he marched early, and made direct for the Mount, where he unfurled the colours, and marched through the cantonments with fixed bayonets. By a forced march he reached his proper destination before midnight, and before dismissing the men, he read them a short but pithy despatch, which he sent off to the Government, stating the indignation of every man of the corps at the libelous rumour, and that he had taken the liberty of gratifying his men by showing to the mutineers those colours which were ever faith fully devoted to the service of the Government. The circumstance had also a happy effect upon the mutineers who had heard the report, but the stern aspect of the regiment dispelled the illusion, and they submitted to their officers."

The losses sustained by the regiment in officers and men, on many occasions, of which no account has been kept, were very great, particularly during the last six years of its Indian service.

That gallant veteran, Quarter-master Grant, who had been in the regiment from the time it was raised, fought at Assaye, and returned with it to England, used to say that he had seen nearly three different sets of officers during the period, the greater part of whom had fallen in battle or died of wounds, the regiment having been always very healthy.

Before the 74th left India, nearly all the men who were fit for duty volunteered into other regiments that remained on service in that country. One of these men, of the grenadier company, is said to have volunteered on nine forlorn hopes, including Seringapatam.

The regiment embarked at Madras in September 1805, a mere skeleton so far as numbers were concerned, landed at Portsmouth in February 1806, and proceeded to Scotland to recruit, having resumed the kilt, which had been laid aside in India. The regiment was stationed in Scotland (Dumbarton Castle, Glasgow, and Fort-George), till January 1809, but did not manage to recruit to within 400 men of its complement, which was ordered to be completed by volunteers from English and Irish, as well as Scotch regiments of militia. The regiment left Scotland for Ireland in January 1809, and in May of that year it was ordered that the Highland dress of the regiment should be discontinued, and its uniform assimilated to that of English regiments of the line; it however retained the designation Highland until the year 1816, and, as will be seen, in 1846 it was permitted to resume the national garb, and recruit only in Scotland. For these reasons we are justified in continuing its history to the present time.

It was while in Ireland, in September 1809, that Lieutenant-Colonel Le Poer Trench, whose name will ever be remembered in connection with the 74th, was appointed to the command of the regiment, from Inspecting Field-Officer in Canada, by exchange with Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Macpherson; the latter having succeeded that brave officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Swinton, in 1805.

In January 1810 the regiment sailed from Cork for the Peninsula, to take its share in the warlike operations going on there, landing at Lisbon on February 10. On the 27th the 74th set out to join the army under Wellington, and reached Vizeu on the 6th of March. While at Vizeu, Wellington inquired at Colonel Trench how many of the men who fought at Assaye still remained in the regiment, remarking that if the 74th would behave in the Peninsula as they had done in India, he ought to be proud to command such a regiment. Indeed the "Great Duke" seems to have had an exceedingly high estimate of this regiment, which he took occasion to show more than once. It is a curious fact that the 74th had never more than one battalion; and when, some time before the Duke’s death, "Reserve Battalions" were formed to a few regiments. He decided "that the 74th should not have one, as they got through the Peninsula with one battalion, and their services were second to none in the army."

The regiment was placed in the 1st brigade of the 3rd division, under Major-General Picton, along with the 45th, the 88th, and part of the 60th Regiment. This division performed such a distinguished part in all the Peninsular operations, that it earned the appellation of the "Fighting Division." We of course cannot enter into the general details of the Peninsular war, as much of the history of which as is necessary for our purpose having been already given in our account of the 42nd regiment.

The first action in which the 74th had a chance of taking part was the battle of Busaco, September 27, 1810. The allied English and Portuguese army numbered 50,000, as opposed to Marshal Massena’s 70,000 men. The two armies were drawn upon opposite ridges, the position of the 74th being across the road leading from St Antonio de Cantara to Coimbra. The first attack on the right was made at six o’clock in the morning by two columns of the French, under General Regnier, both of which were directed with the usual impetuous rush of French troops against the position held by the 3rd division, which was of comparatively easy ascent. One of these columns advanced by the road just alluded to, and was repulsed by the fire of the 74th, with the assistance of the 9th and 21st Portuguese regiments, before it reached the ridge. The advance of this column was preceded by a cloud of skirmishers, who came up close to the British position, and were picking off men, when the two right companies of the regiment were detached, with the rifle companies belonging to the brigade, and drove back the enemy’s skirmishers with great vigour nearly to the foot of the sierra. The French, however, renewed the attack in greater force, and the Portuguese regiment on the left being thrown into confusion, the 74th was placed in a most critical position, with its left flank exposed to the overwhelming force of the enemy. Fortunately, General Leith, stationed on another ridge, saw the danger of the 74th, and sent the 9th and 38th regiments to its support. These advanced along the rear of the 74th in double quick time, met the head of the French column as it crowned the ridge, and drove them irresistibly down the precipice. The 74th then advanced with the 9th, and kept up a fire upon the enemy as long as they could be reached. The enemy having relied greatly upon this attack, their repulse contributed considerably to their defeat. The 74th had Ensign Williams and 7 rank and file killed, Lieutenant Cargilland 19 rank and file wounded. The enemy lost 5000 killed and wounded.

The allies, however, retreated from their position at Busaco upon the lines of Tones Vedras, an admirable series of fortifications contrived for the defence of Lisbon, and extending from the Tagus to the sea. The 74th arrived there on the 8th of October, and remained till the middle of December, living comfortably, and having plenty of time for amusement. The French, however, having taken up a strong position at Santarem, an advanced movement was made by the allied army, the 74th marching to the village of Togarro about the middle of December, where it remained till the beginning of March 1811, suffering much discomfort and hardship from the heavy rains, want of provisions, and bad quarters. The French broke up their position at Santarem on the 5th of March, and retired towards Mondego, pursued by the allies. On the 12th, a division under Ney was found posted in front of the village of Redinha, its flank protected by wooded heights. The light division attacked the height on the right of the enemy, while the third division attacked those on the left, and after a sharp skirmish the enemy retired across the Redinha river. The 74th had 1 private killed, and Lieutenant Crabbie and 6 rank and file wounded. On the afternoon of the 15th of March the third and light divisions attacked the French posted a Foz de Arouce, and dispersed their left and centre, inflicting great loss. Captain Thomson and 11 rank and file of the 74th were wounded in this affair.

The third division was constantly in advance of the allied forces in pursuit of the enemy, and often suffered great privations from want of provisions, those intended for it being appropriated by some of the troops in the rear. During the siege of Almeida the 74th was continued at Nave de Aver, removing on the 2nd of May to the rear of the village of Fuentes d’Onor, and taking post on the right of the position occupied by the allied army, which extended for about five miles along the Dos Casas river. On the morning of the 3rd of May the first and third divisions were concentrated on a gentle rise, a cannon-shot in rear of Fuentes d’Onor. Various attacks and skirmishes occurred on the 3rd and 4th, and several attempts to occupy the village were made by the French, who renewed their attack with increased force on the morning of the 5th May. After a hard fight for the possession of the village, the defenders, hardly pressed, were nearly driven out by the superior numbers of the enemy, when the 74th were ordered up to assist. The left wing, which advanced first, on approaching the village, narrowly escaped being cut off by a heavy column of the enemy, which was concealed in a lane, and was observed only in time to allow the wing to take cover behind some walls, where it maintained itself till about noon. The right wing then joined the left, and with the 71st, 79th, and other regiments, charged through and drove the enemy from the village, which the latter never afterwards recovered. The 74th on this day lost Ensign Johnston, 1 sergeant, and 4 rank and file, killed; and Captains Shawe, M’Queen, and Adjutant White, and 64 rank and file, wounded.

The 74th was next sent to take part in the siege of Badajos, where it remained from May 28 till the middle of July, when it marched for Albergaria, where it remained till the middle of September, the blockade of Ciudad Rodrigo in the meantime being carried on by the allied army. On the 17th of September the 74th advanced to El Bodon on the Agueda, and on the 22nd to Pastores, within three miles of Ciudad Rodrigo, forming, with the three companies of the 60th, the advanced guard of the third division. On the 25th, the French, under General Montbrun, advanced thirty squadrons of cavalry, fourteen battalions of infantry, and twelve guns, direct upon the main body of the third division at El Bodon, and caused it to retire, surrounded and continually threatened by overwhelming numbers of cavalry, over a plain of six miles, to Guinaldo.

The 74th, and the companies of the 60th, under Lieut.-Colonel Trench, at Pastores, were completely cut off from the rest of the division by the French advance, and were left without orders; but they succeeded in passing the Agueda by a ford, and making a very long detour through Robledo, where they captured a party of French cavalry, recrossed the Agueda, and joined the division in bivouac near Fuente Guinaldo, at about two o’clock on the morning of the 26th. It was believed at headquarters that this detachment had been all captured, although Major-General Picton, much pleased at their safe return, said he thought he must have heard more firing before the 74th could be taken. After a rest of an hour or two, the regiment was again under arms, and drawn up in position at Guinaldo before daybreak, with the remainder of the third and the fourth division. The French army, 60,000 strong, being united in their front, they retired at night about twelve miles to Alfayates. The regiment was again under arms at Alfayates throughout the 27th, during the skirmish in which the fourth division was engaged at Aldea de Pouts. On this occasion the men were so much exhausted by the continued exertions of the two preceding days, that 125 of them were unable to remain in the ranks, and were ordered to a village across the Coa, where 80 died of fatigue. This disaster reduced the effective strength of the regiment below that of 1200, required to form a second battalion, which had been ordered during the previous month, and the requisite strength was not again reached during the war.

The 74th was from the beginning of October mainly cantoned at Aides de Ponte, which it left on the 4th of January 1812, to take part in the siege of Rodrigo. The third division reached Zamora on the 7th, five miles from Rodrigo, where it remained during the siege. The work of the siege was moat laborious and trying, and the 74th had its own share of trench-work. The assault was ordered for the 19th of January, when two breaches were reported practicable.

The assault of the great breach was confided to Major-General M’Kinnon’s brigade, with a storming party of 500 volunteers under Major Manners of the 74th, with a forlorn hope under Lieutenant Mache of the 88th regiment. There were two columns formed of the 5th and 94th regiments ordered to attack and clear the ditch and fausse-braie on the right of the great breach, and cover the advance of the main attack by General M’Kinnon’s brigade. The light division was to storm the small breach on the left, and a false attack on the gate at the opposite side of the town was to be made by Major-General Pack’s Portuguese brigade.

Immediately after dark, Major-General Picton formed the third division in the first parallel and approaches, and lined the parapet of the second parallel with the 83rd Regiment, in readiness to open the defences. At the appointed hour the attack commenced on the side of the place next the bridge, and immediately a heavy discharge of musketry was opened from the trenches, under cover of which 150 sappers, directed by two engineer officers, and Captain Thomson of the 74th Regiment, advanced from the second parallel to the crest of the glacis, carrying bags filled with hay, which they threw down the counterscarp into the ditch, and thus reduced its depth from 134 to 8 feet. They then fixed the ladders, and General M’Kinnon’s brigade, in conjunction with the 5th and 94th Regiments, which arrived at the same moment along the ditch from the right, pushed up the breach, and after a sharp struggle of some minutes with the bayonet, gained the summit. The defenders then concentrated behind the retrenchment, which they obstinately retained, and a second severe struggle commenced. Bags of hay were thrown into the ditch, and as the counterscarp did not exceed 11 feet in depth, the men readily jumped upon the bags, and without much difficulty carried the little breach. The division, on gaining the summit, immediately began to form with great regularity, in order to advance in a compact body and fall on the rear of the garrison, who were still nobly defending the retrenchment of the great breach. The contest was short but severe; officers and men fell in heaps, as Cannon puts it, killed and wounded, and many were thrown down the scarp into the main ditch, a depth of 30 feet; but by desperate efforts directed along the parapet on both flanks, the assailants succeeded in turning the retrenchments. The garrison then abandoned the rampart, having first exploded a mine in the ditch of the retrenchment, by which Major-General M'Kinnon and many of the bravest and most forward perished in the moment of victory. General Vandeleur’s brigade of the light division had advanced at the same time to the attack of the lesser breach on the left, which, being without interior defence, was not so obstinately disputed, and the fortress was won.

In his subsequent despatch Wellington mentioned the regiment with particular commendation, especially naming Major Manners and Captain Thomson of the 74th, the former receiving the brevot of Lieutenant-Colonel for his services on this occasion.

During the siege the regiment lost 6 rank and file killed, and Captains Langlands and Collins, Lieutenants Tew and Ramadge, and Ensign Atkinson, 2 sergeants, and 24 rank and file, killed.

Preparations having been made for the siege of Badajo; the 74th was sent to that place, which it reached on the 16th of March (1812), taking its position along with the other regiments on the south-east side of the town. On the 19th the garrison made a sortie from behind the Picurina with 1500 infantry and a party of cavalry, penetrating as far as the engineers’ park, cutting down some men, and carrying off several hundred entrenching tools. The 74th, however, which was the first regiment under arms, advanced under Major-General Kempt in double quick time, and, with the assistance of the guard of the trenches, drove back the enemy, who lost 300 officers and men. The work of preparing for the siege and assault went on under the continuance of very heavy rain, which rendered the work in the trenches extremely laborious, until the 25th of March, when the batteries opened fire against the hitherto impregnable fortress; and on that night Fort Picurina was assaulted and carried by 500 men of the third division, among whom were 200 men of the 74th under Major Shawe. The fort was very strong, the front well covered by the glacis, the flanks deep, and the rampart, 14 feet perpendicular from the bottom of the ditch, was guarded with thick slanting palings above; and from thence to the top there were 16 feet of an earthen slope. Seven guns were mounted on the works, the entrance to which by the rear was protected with three rows of thick paling. The garrison was about 300 strong, and every man had two muskets. The top of the rampart was garnished with loaded shells to push over, and a retrenched guardhouse formed a second internal defence. The detachment advanced about ten o’clock, and immediately alarms were sounded, and a fire opened from all the ramparts of the work. After a fierce conflict, in which the English lost many men and officers, and the enemy more than half of the garrison, the commandant, with 86 men, surrendered. The 74th lost Captain Collins and Lieutenant Ramadge killed, and Major Shawe dangerously wounded.

The operations of trench-cutting and opening batteries went on till the 6th of April, on the night of which the assault was ordered to take place. "The besiegers’ guns being all turned against the curtain, the bad masonry crumbled rapidly away; in two hours a yawning breach appeared, and Wellington, in person, having again examined the points of attack, renewed the order for assault.

"Then the soldiers eagerly made themselves ready for a combat, so furiously fought, so terribly won, so dreadful in all its circumstances, that posterity can scarcely be expected to credit the tale, hut many are still alive who know that it is true."

It was ordered, that on the right the third division was to file out of the trenches, to cress the Rivillas rivulet, and to scale the castle walls, which were from 18 to 24 feet high, furnished with all means of destruction, and so narrow at the top, that the defenders could easily reach and overturn the ladders.

The assault was to commence at ten o’clock, and the third division was drawn up close to the Rivillas, ready to advance, when a lighted carcass, thrown from the castle close to where it was posted, discovered the array of the men, and obliged them to anticipate the signal by half an hour. "A sudden blaze of light and the rattling of musketry indicated the commencement of a most vehement contest at the castle. Then General Kempt,—for Picton, hurt by a fall in the camp, and expecting no change in the hour, was not present,—then General Kempt, I say, led the third division. He had passed the Rivillas in single files by a narrow bridge, under a terrible musketry, and then reforming, and running up the rugged hill, had reached the foot of the castle, when he fell severely wounded, and being carried back to the trenches met Picton, who hastened forward to take the command. Meanwhile his troops, spreading along the front, reared their heavy ladders, some against the lofty castle, some against the adjoining front on the left, and with incredible courage ascended amidst showers of heavy stones, logs of wood, and burning shells rolled off the parapet; while from the flanks the enemy plied his musketry with a fearful rapidity, and in front with pikes and bayonets stabbed the leading assailants, or pushed the ladders from the walls; and all this attended with deafening shouts, and the crash of breaking ladders, and the shrieks of crushed soldiers, answering to the sullen stroke of the falling weights."

The British, somewhat baffled, were compelled to fall back a few paces, and take shelter under the rugged edges of the hill. But by the perseverance of Picton and the officers of the division, fresh men were brought, the division reformed, and the assault renewed amid dreadful carnage, until at last an entrance was forced by one ladder, when the resistance slackened, and the remaining ladders were quickly reared, by which the men ascended, and established themselves on the ramparts.

Lieutenant Alexander Grant of the 74th led the advance at the escalade, and went with a few men through the gate of the castle into the town, but was driven back by superior numbers. On his return he was fired at by a French soldier lurking in the gateway, and mortally wounded in the back of the head.

He was able, however, to descend the ladder, and was carried to the bivouac, and trepanned, but died two days afterwards, and was buried in the heights looking towards the castle. Among the foremost in the escalade was John M’Lauchlan, the regimental piper, who, the instant he mounted the castle wall, began playing on his pipes the regimental quick step, "The Campbells are comin’," as coolly as if on a common parade, until his music was stopped by a shot through the bag; he was afterwards seen by an officer of the regiment seated on a gun-carriage, quietly repairing the damage, while the shot was flying about him. After he had repaired his bag, he recommenced his stirring tune.

After capturing the castle, the third division kept possession of it all night, repelling the attempts of the enemy to force an entrance. About midnight Wellington sent orders to Picton to blow down the gates, but to remain quiet till morning, when he should sally out with 1000 men to renew the general assault. This, however, was unnecessary, as the capture of the castle, and the slaughtering escalade of the Bastion St. Vincente by the fifth division, having turned the retrenchments, there was no further resistance, and the fourth and light divisions marched into the town by the breaches. In the morning the gate was opened, and permission given to enter the town.

Napier says, "5000 men and officers fell during the siege, and of these, including 700 Portuguese, 3500 had been stricken in the assault, 60 officers and more than 700 men being slain on the spot. The five generals, Kempt, Harvey, Bowes, Colville, and Picton were wounded, the first three severely." At the escalade of the castle alone 600 officers and men fell. "When the extent of the night’s havoc was made known to Lord Wellington, the firmness of his nature gave way for a moment, and the pride of conquest yielded to a passionate burst of grief for the loss of the gallant soldiers." Wellington in his despatch noticed particularly the distinguished conduct of the third division, and especially that of lieutenant-Colonels Le Poer Trench and Manners of the 74th.

The casualties in the regiment during the siege were:—Killed.—3 officers, Captain Collins, Lieutenants Rainadge and Grant, 1 sergeant, and 22 rank and file. Wounded, 10 officers, Lieut-Colonel the Hon. R Le Poer Trench, Captain Langlands, Brevet-Major Shawe, Captains Thomson and Wingate, Lieutenants Lister, Pattison, King, and Ironside, Ensign Atkinson, 7 sergeants, and 91 rank and file.

The 74th left Badajoz on the 11th of April, and marched to Pincdono, on the frontiers of Beira, where it was encamped till the beginning of June, when it proceeded to Salamanca. Along with a large portion of the allied army, the 74th was drawn up in order of battle on the heights of San Christoval, in front of Salamanca, from the 20th to the 28th of June, to meet Marshal Marinont, who advanced with 40,000 men to relieve the forts, which, however, were captured on the 27th. Brevet-Major Thomson of the 74th was wounded at the siege of the forts, during which he had been employed as acting engineer.

On the 27th Picton having left on leave of absence, the command of the third division was entrusted to. Major-General the Hon. Edward Pakenham.

After the surrender of Salamanca the army advanced in pursuit of Marmont, who retired across the Douro. Marmont, having been reinforced, recrossed the Douro, and the allies returned to their former ground on the heights of San Christoval in front of Salamanca, which they reached on the 21st of July. In the evening the third division and some Portuguese cavalry bivouacked on the right bank of the Tormes, over which the rest of the army had crossed, and was placed in position covering Salamanca, with the right upon one of the two rocky hills called the Arapiles, and the left on the Tormes, which position, however, was afterwards changed to one at right angles with it. On the morning of the 22nd the third division crossed the Tormes, and was placed in advance of the extreme right of the last-mentioned position of the allied army. About five o’clock the third division, led by Pakenham, advanced in four columns, supported by cavalry, to turn the French left, which had been much extended by the advance of the division of General Thomières, to cut off the right of the allies from the Cindad Rodrigo road. Thomières was confounded when first he saw the third division, for he expected to see the allies in full retreat towards the Cindad Rodrigo road. The British columns formed line as they marched, and the French gunners sent showers of grape into the advancing masses, while a crowd of light troops poured in a fire of musketry.

"But bearing on through the skirmishers with the might of a giant, Pakenham broke the half formed line into fragments, and sent the whole in confusion upon the advancing supports." Some squadrons of light cavalry fell upon the right of the third division, but the 5th Regiment repulsed them. Pakenham continued his "tempestuous course" for upwards of three miles, until the French were "pierced, broken, and discomfited." The advance in line of the 74th attracted particular notice, and was much applauded by Major General Pakenham, who frequently exclaimed, "Beautifully done, 74th; beautiful, 74th!!’

Lord Londonderry says, in his Story of the Peninsular War:—

"The attack of the third division was not only the most spirited, but the most perfect thing of the kind that modern times have witnessed.

"Regardless alike of a charge of cavalry and of the murderous fire which the enemy’s batteries opened, on went these fearless warriors, horse and foot, without check or pause, until they won the ridge, and then the infantry giving their volley, and the cavalry falling on, sword in hand, the French were pierced, broken, and discomfited. So close indeed was the struggle, that in several instances the British colours were seen waving over the heads of the enemy’s battalions."

Of the division of Thomières, originally 7000 strong, 2000 had been taken prisoners, with two eagles and eleven pieces of cannon. The French right resisted till dark, when they were finally driven from the field, and having sustained a heavy loss, retreated through the woods across the Tormes.

The casualties in the regiment at the battle of Salamanca were :—Killed, 3 rank and file. Wounded, 2 officers, Brevet-Major Thomson and Lieutenant Ewing, both severely; 2 sergeants, and 42 rank and file.

Alter this the 74th, with the other allied regiments, proceeded to Madrid, where it remained till October 20, the men passing their time most agreeably. But, although there was plenty of gaiety, Madrid exhibited a sad combination of luxury and desolation; there was no money, the people were starving, and even noble families secretly sought charity.

In the end of September, when the distress was very great, Lieutenant-Colonel Trench and the officers of the 74th and 45th Regiments, having witnessed the distress, and feeling the utmost compassion for numbers of miserable objects, commenced giving a daily dinner to about 200 of them, among whom were some persons of high distinction, who without this resource must have perished. Napier says on this subject, that "the Madrilenos discovered a deep and unaffected gratitude for kindness received at the hands of the British officers, who contributed, not much, for they had it not, but enough of money to form soup charities, by which hundreds were succoured. Surely this is not the least of the many honourable distinctions those bravo men have earned."

During the latter part of October and the month of November, the 74th, which had joined Lieutenant-General Hill, in order to check the movement of Souls and King Joseph, performed many fatiguing marches and counter marches, enduring many great hardships and privations, marching over impassable roads and marshy plains, under a continued deluge of rain, provisions deficient, and no shelter procurable. On the 14th of November the allied army commenced its retreat from Alba de Tormes towards Ciudad Rodrigo, and the following extract from the graphic journal of Major Alves of the 74th will give the reader some idea of the hardships which these poor soldiers had to undergo at this time:—" From the time we left the Arapeiles, on the 15th, until our arrival at Ciudad Rodrigo, a distance of only about 15 leagues, we were under arms every morning an hour before daylight, and never got to our barrack until about sunset, the roads being almost unpassable, particularly for artillery, and with us generally ankle deep. It scarcely ceased to rain during the retreat. Our first endeavour after our arrival at out watery bivouack, was to make it as comfortable as circumstances would admit; and as exertion was our best assistance, we immediately set to and cut down as many trees as would make a good fire, and then as many as would keep us from the wet underneath. If we succeeded in making a good enough fire to keep the feet warm, I generally managed to have a tolerably good sleep, although during the period I had scarcely ever a dry shirt. To add to our misery, during the retreat we were deficient in provisions, and had rum only on two days. The loss of men by death from the wet and cold during this period was very great. Our regiment alone was deficient about thirty out of thirty-four who had only joined us from England on the 14th, the evening before we retreated from the Arapiles."

The 74th went into winter quarters, and was cantoned at Sarzedas, in the province of Beira, from December 6, 1812, till May 15, 1813.

During this time many preparations were made, and the comfort and convenience of the soldiers maintained, preparatory to Wellington’s great attempt to expel the French from the Peninsula.

The army crossed the Douro in separate divisions, and reunited at Toro, the 74th proceeding with the left column. Lieutenant-General Picton had rejoined from England on the 20th May.

On the 4th of June the allies advanced, following the French army under King Joseph, who entered upon the position at Vittoria on the 19th of June by the narrow mountain defile of Puebla, through which the river Zadorra, after passing the city of Vittoria, runs through the valley towards the Ebro with many windings, and divides the basin unequally. To give an idea of the part taken by the 74th in the important battle of Vittoria, we cannot do better than quote from a letter of Sir Thomas Picton dated July 1, 1813.

"On the 16th of May the division was put in movement; on the 18th we crossed the Douro, on the 15th of June the Ebro, and on the 21st fought the battle of Vittoria. The third division had, as usual, a very distinguished share in this decisive action. The enemy’s left rested on an elevated chain of craggy mountains, and their right on a rapid river, with commanding heights in the centre, and a succession of undulating grounds, which afforded excellent situations for artillery, and several good positions in front of Vittoria, where King Joseph had his headquarters. The battle began early in the morning, between our right and the enemy’s left, on the high craggy heights, and continued with various success for several hours. About twelve o’clock the third division was ordered to force the passage of the river and carry the heights in the centre, which service was executed with so much rapidity, that we got possession of the commanding ground before the enemy were aware of our intention. The enemy attempted to dislodge us with great superiority of force, and with forty or fifty pieces of cannon. At that period the troops on our right had not made sufficient progress to cover our right flank, in consequence of which we suffered a momentary check, and were driven out of a village whence we had dislodged the enemy, but it was quickly recovered; and on Sir Rowland Hill’s (the second) division, with a Portuguese and Spanish division, forcing the enemy to abandon the heights, and advancing to protect our flanks, we pushed the enemy rapidly from all his positions, forced him to abandon his cannon, and drove his cavalry and infantry in confusion beyond the city of Vittoria. We took 152 pieces of cannon, the military chest, ammunition and baggage, besides an immense treasure, the property of the French generals amassed in Spain.

"The third division was the most severely and permanently engaged of any part of the army; and we in consequence sustained a loss of nearly 1800 killed and wounded, which is more than a third of the total loss of the whole army."

The 74th received particular praise from both Lieutenant-General Picton and Major-General Brisbane, commanding the division and brigade, for its alacrity in advancing and charging through the village of Arinez.

The attack on and advance from Arinez seems to have been a very brilliant episode indeed, and the one in which the 74th was most particularly engaged. The right wing, under Captain M’Queen, went off at double quick and drove the enemy outside the village, where they again formed in line opposite their pursuers. The French, however, soon after fled, leaving behind them a battery of seven guns.

Captain M’Queen’s own account of the battle is exceedingly graphic. "At Vittoria," he says, "I had the command of three companies for the purpose of driving the French out of the village of Arinez, where they were strongly posted; we charged through the village and the enemy retired in great confusion. Lieutenants Alves and Ewing commanded the companies which accompanied me. I received three wounds that day, but remained with the regiment during the whole action; and next day I was sent to the rear with the other wounded. Davis (Lieutenant) carried the colours that day, and it was one of the finest things you can conceive to see the 74th advancing in line, with the enemy in front, on very broken ground full, of ravines, as regularly, and in as good line as if on parade. This is in a great measure to be attributed to Davis, whose coolness and gallantry were conspicuous; whenever we got into broken ground, he with the colours was first on the bank, and stood there until the regiment formed on his right and left."

Captain M’Queen, who became Major of the 74th in 1830, and who died only a year or two ago, was rather a remarkable man; we shall refer to him again. Adjutant Alves tells us in his journal, that in this advance upon the village of Arinez, he came upon Captain M’Queen lying, as he thought, mortally wounded. Alves ordered two of the grenadiers to lift M’Queen and lay him behind a bank out of reach of the firing, and there leave him. About an hour afterwards, however, Alves was very much astonished to see the indomitable Captain at the head of his company; the shot that had struck him in the breast having probably been a spent one, which did not do him much injury.

Major White (then Adjutant) thus narrates an occurrence which took place during the contest at Arinez:— "At the battle of Vittoria, after we had forced the enemy’s centre, and taken the strong heights, we found ourselves in front of a village (I think Arinez) whence the French had been driven in a confused mass, too numerous for our line to advance against; and whilst we were halted for reinforcements, the 88th Regiment on our left advanced with their usual impetuosity against the superior numbers I have spoken of, and met with a repulse. The left of our regiment, seeing this, ran from the ranks to the assistance of the 88th; and I, seeing them fall uselessly, rode from some houses which sheltered us to rally them and bring them back. The piper (M’Laughlan, mentioned before) seeing that I could not collect them, came to my horse’s side and played the ‘Assembly,’ on which most of them that were not shot collected round me. I was so pleased with this act of the piper in coming into danger to save the lives of his comrades, and with the good effect of the pipes in the moment of danger that I told M’Laughlan that I would not fail to mention his gallant and useful conduct. But at the same time, as I turned my horse to the right to conduct the men towards our regiment, a musket ball entered the point of my left shoulder, to near my back bone, which stopped my career in the field. The piper ceased to play, and I was told he was shot through the breast; at all events he was killed, and his timely assistance and the utility of the pipes deserves to be recorded." It was indeed too true about poor brave M’Laughlan, whose pipes were more potent than the Adjutant’s command; a nine-pound shot went right through his breast, when, according to the journal of Major Alves, he was playing "The Campbell’s are comin" in rear of the column. It is a curious circumstance, however that the piper’s body lay on the field for several days after the battle without being stripped of anything but the shoes. This was very unusual, as men were generally stripped of everything as soon as they were dead.

When the village was captured and the great road gained, the French troops on the extreme left were thereby turned, and being hardly pressed by Sir Rowland Hill’s attack on their front, retreated in confusion before the advancing lines towards Vittoria.

The road to Bayonne being completely blocked up by thousands of carriages and animals, and a confused mass of men, women, and children, thereby rendered impassable for artillery, the French retreated by the road to Salvatierra and Pamplona, the British infantry following in pursuit. But this road being also choked up with carriages and fugitives, all became confusion and disorder. The French were compelled to abandon everything, officers and men taking with them only the clothes they wore, and most of them being barefooted. Their loss in men did not, however, exceed 6000, and that of the allies was nearly as great. That of the British, however, was more than twice as great as that of the Spanish and Portuguese together, and yet both are said to have fought well; but as Napier says, "British troops are the soldiers of battle."

The French regiments which effected their escape arrived at Pamplona and took shelter in the defile beyond it, in a state of complete disorganisation. Darkness, and the nature of the ground unfavourable for the action of cavalry, alone permitted their escape; at the distance of two leagues from Vittoria the pursuit was given up.

The following, Brigade Order was issued the day after the battle:—

"Major-General Brisbane has reason to be highly pleased with the conduct of the brigade in the action of yesterday, but he is at a loss to express his admiration of the conduct of the Honourable Colonel Le Poer Trench and the 14th Regiment, which he considers contributed much to the success of the day."

The casualties in the 74th at the battle of Vittoria were: —Killed, 7 rank and file; wounded, 5 officers, Captains M’Queen and Ovens, Adjutant White, and Ensigns Hamilton and Shore, 4 sergeants, 1 drummer, and 31 rank and file.

The army followed the retreating French into the Pyrenees by the valley of Roncesvalles.

Of the various actions that took place among these mountains we have already given somewhat detailed accounts when speaking of the 42nd. The 74th was engaged in the blockade of Pamplona, and while thus employed, on the 15th of July, its pickets drove in a reconnoitring party of the garrison, the regiment sustaining a loss of 3 rank and file killed, and 1 sergeant and 6 rank and file wounded. On the 17th the blockade of Pamplona was entrusted to the Spaniards, and the third, fourth, and second divisions covered the blockade, as well as the siege of San Sebastian, then going on under Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Graham.

Marshal Soult, with 60,000 men, advanced on the 25th to force the pass of Roncesvalles, and compelled the fourth division, which had been moved up to support the front line of the allies, to retire; on the 26th it was joined by the third division in advance of Zubiri. Both divisions, under Sir Thomas Picton, took up a position on the morning of the 27th July, in front of Pamplona, across the mouth of the Zubiri and Lanz valleys. At daylight on the 30th, in accordance with Wellington’s orders, the third division, with two squadrons of cavalry and a battery of artillery, advanced rapidly up the valley of the Zubiri, skirmishing on the flank of the French who were retiring under General Foy. About eleven o’clock, the 74th being in the valley, and the enemy moving in retreat parallel with the allies along the mountain ridge to the left of the British, Lieut-Colonel Trench obtained permission from Sir Thomas Picton to advance with the 74th and cut off their retreat The regiment then ascended the ridge in view of the remainder of the division, which continued its advance up the valley. On approaching the summit, two companies, which were extended as skirmishers, were overpowered in passing through a wood, and driven back upon the main body. Though the regiment was exposed to a most destructive fire, it continued its advance, without returning a shot, until it reached the upper skirt of the wood, close upon the flank of the enemy, and then at once opened its whole fire upon them.

A column of 1500 or 1600 men was separated from the main body, driven down the other side of the ridge, and a number taken prisoners; most of those who escaped were intercepted by the sixth division, which was further in advance on another line. After the 74th had gained the ridge, another regiment from the third division was sent to support it, and pursued the remainder of the column until it had surrendered to the sixth division. Sir Frederick Stoven, Adjutant-General of the third division, who, along with some of the staff cams up at this moment, said he never saw a regiment behave in such a gallant manner.

The regiment was highly complimented by the staff of the division for its conspicuous gallantry on this occasion, which was noticed as follows by Lord Wellington, who said in his despatch,— "I cannot sufficiently applaud the conduct of all the general officers, officers, and troops, throughout these operations, &c.

"The movement made by Sir Thomas Picton merited my highest commendation; the latter officer co-operated in the attack of the mountain by detaching troops to his left, in which Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. Robert Trench was wounded, but I hope not seriously."

The regiment on this occasion sustained a loss of 1 officer, Captain Whitting, 1 sergeant, and 4 rank and file killed, and 5 officers, Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. Robert Le Poer Trench, Captain (Brevet-Major) Moore, and Lieutenants Pattison, Duncomb, and Tew, 4 sergeants, and 36 rank and file wounded.

The French were finally driven across the Bidasoa into France in the beginning of August.

At the successful assault of the fortress of San Sebastian by the force under Sir Thomas Graham, and which was witnessed by the 74th from the summit of one of the neighbouring mountains, Brevet Major Thomson of the 74th, was employed as an acting engineer, and received the brevet rank of Lieutenant-Colonel for his services.

Alter various movements the third division advanced up the pass of Zagaramurdi, and on the 6th October encamped on the summit of a mountain in front of the pass of Echalar; and in the middle of that month, Sir Thomas Picton having gone to England, the command of the third division devolved upon Major-General Sir Charles Colville. The 74th remained encamped on the summit of this bare mountain till the 9th of November, suffering greatly from the exposure to cold and wet weather, want of shelter, and scarcity of provisions, as well as from the harassing piquet and night duties which the men had to perform. Major Alves [This officer was present with the 74th during the whole of its service in the Peninsula, and kept an accurate daily journal of all the events in which he was concerned. He was afterwards Major of the depot battalion in the Isle of Wight.] says in his journal that the French picquets opposite to the position of the 74th were very kind and generous in getting the soldiers’ canteens filled with brandy,—for payment of course.

Pamplona having capitulated on the 31st of October, an attack was made upon the French position at the Nivelle on the 10th of November, a detailed description of which has been given in the history of the 42nd. The third, along with the fourth and seventh divisions, under the command of Marshal Beresford, were dispersed about Zagaramurdi, the Puerto de Echellar, and the lower parts of these slopes of the greater Rhune, which descended upon the Sarre. On the morning of the 10th, the third division, under General Colville, descending from Zagaramurdi, moved against the unfinished redoubts and entrenchments covering the approaches to the bridge of Amotz on the left bank of the Nivelle, and formed in conjunction with the sixth division the narrow end of a wedge. The French made a vigorous resistance, but were driven from the bridge, by the third division, which established itself on the heights between that structure and the unfinished redoubts of Louis XIV. The third division then attacked the left flank of the French centre, while the fourth and seventh divisions assailed them in front. The attacks on other parts of the French position having been successful, their centre was driven across the river in great confusion, pursued by the skirmishers of the third division, which crossed by the bridge of Amotz. The allied troops then took possession of the heights on the right bank of the Nivelle, and the French were compelled to abandon all the works which for the previous three months they had been constructing for the defence of the other parts of the position.

The 74th was authorised to bear the word "Nivelle" on its regimental colour, in commemoration of its services in this battle; indeed it will be seen that it bears on its colours the names of nearly every engagement that took place during the Peninsular War. The French had lost 51 pieces of artillery, and about 4300 men and officers killed, wounded, and prisoners, during the battle of the Niveile; the loss of the allies was about 2700 men and officers.

On the 9th of December the passage of the Nive at Cambo having been forced by Sir Rowland Hill, the third division remained in possession of the bridge at Ustariz. On the 13th the French having attacked the right between the Nive and the Adour at, St Pierre, were repulsed by Sir Rowland Hill after a very severe battle, and the fourth, sixth, and two brigades of the third division were moved across the Nive in support of the right.

The 74th, after this, remained cantoned in farm-houses between the Nive and the Adour until the middle of February 1814.

Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton having rejoined the army, resumed the command of the third division in the end of December 1813. Many acts of outrage and plunder had been committed by the troops, on first entering France, and Sir Thomas Picton took an opportunity of publicly reprimanding some of the regiments of his division for such offences, when he thus addressed the 74th:—"As for you, 74th, I have nothing to say against you, your conduct is gallant in the field and orderly in quarters! And, addressing Colonel Trench in front of the regiment, he told him that he would write to the colonel at home (General Sir Alexander Hope) his report of their good conduct. As Lieutenant-General Picton was not habitually lavish of complimentary language, this public expression of the good opinion of so competent a judge was much valued by the regiment.

The next engagement in which the 74th took part was that of Orthes, February 27, 1814. On the 24th the French had concentrated at Orthes, with their front to the river Gave de Pau, while the third division was at the broken bridge of Bereaux, five miles lower down the river, on the 25th, crossing to the other side next day. On the 27th, when the sixth and light divisions crossed, the third, and Lord Edward Somerset’s cavalry, were already established in columns of march, with skirmishers pushed forward close upon the left centre of the French position. During the whole morning of the 27th a slight skirmish, with now and then a cannon shot, had been going on with the third division, but at nine o’clock Wellington commenced the real attack. The third and sixth divisions took without difficulty the lower part of the ridges opposed to them, and endeavoured to extend their left along the French front with a sharp fire of musketry. But after three hours’ hard fighting, during which the victory seemed to be going with the French, Wellington changed his plan of attack, and ordered the third and sixth divisions to be thrown en masse on the left centre of the French position, which they carried, and established a battery of guns upon a knoll, from whence their shot ploughed through the French masses from one flank to another. Meantime Hill had crossed the river above Orthes, and nearly cut off the French line of retreat, after which the French began to retire, step by step, without confusion. The allies advanced, firing incessantly, yet losing many men, especially of the third division, whose advance was most strongly opposed. The retreat of the French, however, shortly became a rout, the men flying in every direction in scattered bands, pursued by the British cavalry, who cut down many of the fugitives.

During the first advance Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton particularly remarked to Major-General Brisbane the steady movement of his brigade; and the latter reported to him the notice he had taken of the gallantry of Sergeant-Major Macpherson, of the 74th, upon which Sir Thomas Picton expressed to the sergeant-major his pleasure to hear such a good report of him, and on the following day, during a short halt on the march, desired Lieutenant-Colonel Manners, who commanded the regiment in the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel Trench, to write his recommendation, which he did on a drum-head; the sergeant-major was consequently promoted to a commission on the 31st of March following, and was afterwards a captain in the regiment.

The casualties in the regiment at the battle of Orthes were—1 sergeant and 7 rank and file killed; and 5 officers, Captain Lyster, Lieutenant Ewing (mortally—dying shortly afterwards), Lieutenant Ironside, Ensigns Shore and Luttrell, 1 sergeant, 1 drummer, and 17 rank and file wounded.

The 74th, along with the other regiments of the third division, was kept moving about until the 7th of March, when it was cantoned at Aire, on the left bank of the Adour. On the 18th the whole allied army advanced up both sides of the Adour, the French falling back before them. The third division was in the centre column, which on the 19th came up with a division of the French, strongly posted amongst some vineyards, two miles in front of the village of Vic-en-Bigorre. The third division attacked the French and drove them before it, and encamped in the evening about three miles beyond the town of Vic-en-Bigorre.

The Marquis of Wellington stated in his despatch"On the following day (the 19th) the enemy held a strong rear-guard in the vineyards in front of the town of Vic-en-Bigorre; Lieutenant-General Picton, with the third division and Major-General Rock’s brigade, made a very handsome movement upon this rear-guard, and drove them through the vineyards and town!’

Two officers of the regiment, Lieutenant Atkinson and Ensign Flood, were wounded in this affair.

On the 20th, after some sharp fighting, in which the 74th lost a few men, the right column of the allies crossed the Adour at Tarbes, and was encamped with the rest of the army upon the Larret and Arros rivers. The French retreated towards Toulouse, and on the 26th the allied army came in sight of the enemy posted behind the Teuch river, and covering that city. Details having already been given, in our account of the 42nd Regiment, concerning this last move of Soult, we need only mention here that the third, fourth, and sixth divisions passed over the Garonne bya pontoon bridge fifteen miles below Toulouse on the 3d of April. On the 10th about six o’clock in the morning, the various divisions of the British army advanced according to Wellington’s previously arranged plan. The part taken in the battle of Toulouse by the 74th is thus narrated by Major Alves in his journal:—

"Shortly after daylight the division was put in motion, with orders to drive all the enemy’s outposts before us, and although acting as adjutant, I was permitted by Colonel Trench to accompany the skirmishers. With but feeble opposition we drove them before us, until they reached the tête-de-pont on the canal leading into Toulouse, on the right bank of the Garonne; on arriving there I mentioned to Captain Andrews of the 74th, that I thought we had gone far enough, and reconnoitered very attentively the manner in which it was defended by strong palisades, &c. I then returned to where the regiment was halted, and mentioned my observations to Colonel Trench, and that nothing further could possibly be done without artillery to break down the palisades. He immediately brought me to General Brisbane, to whom I also related my observations as above, who directed me to ride to the left and find out Sir Thomas Picton, who was with the other brigade, and to tell him my observations. After riding about two miles to the left I found Sir Thomas, and told him as above stated, who immediately said, in presence of all his staff, ‘Go back, sir, and tell them to move on.’ This I did with a very heavy heart, as I dreaded what the result must be, but I had no alternative. About a quarter of an hour afterwards the regiment moved from where it was halted. We experienced a loss of 30 killed and 100 wounded, out of 350, in the attempt to get possession of the tête-depont; and were obliged to retire without gaining any advantage. The attack was the more to be regretted, as Lord Wellington’s orders were that it was only to be a diversion, and not a real attack."

The casualties in the regiment at the battle of Toulouse were 4 officers, Captains Thomas Andrews and William Tew, Lieutenant Hamilton, and Ensign John Parkinson, 1 sergeant, and 32 rank and file killed; and 5 officers, Brevet-Major Miller, Captain Donald M’Queen, [This brave officer, who died only quite recently, and who had been made a Military Knight of Windsor only a few months before his death, was severely wounded through the lungs. He had been in almost every battle fought during the Peninsulsr War, and seldom came out without a wound, yet he became Major of his regiment only in 1830, though for his conduct in the Peninsula he received the silver war medal with nine clasps. For some years he was barrack-master at Dundee and Perth. In 1835, as a recognition of his meritorious services in the Peninsula, he was made a Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order. The following incident in which he was concerned at Toulouse is worth narrating :—. When left for dead on the field, and his regiment had moved on, a soldier, his foster-brother, named John Gillanders, whom he had taken with him from his native parish as a recruit, missed his captain, and hurried back through a heavy fire, searched for and found him, and carried him to the rear. There were few places for shelter, and the faithful soldier, loaded with his almost insensible burden, pushed his way into a house which was filled with officers, and called out for a bed. In the room there was a bed, and on it lay a wounded officer. He heard the entreaty of the soldier, and saw the desperate condition of the officer he carried, and at once exclaimed, "That poor fellow needs the bed more than I do," and rose and gave it up. That officer was the gallant Sir Thomas Brisbane.] and Lieutenants Jason Hassard, William Graham, and E. J. Crabbo, 4 sergeants, and 94 rank and file wounded.

The French abandoned the city during the night of the 11th of April, and the allies entered it in triumph on the 12th, on the forenoon of which day intelligence arrived of the abdication of Napoleon and the termination of the war. The officers charged with the intelligence had been detained near Blois "by the officiousness of the police, and the blood of 8000 men had overflowed the Mount Rhune in consequence."

After remaining in France for some time the 74th embarked in the beginning of July, and arrived at Cork on the 25th of that month.

The record of the services of the 74th during these eventful years will be sufficient to prove how well the corps maintained the high character it had at first acquired in the East Indies, and how well it earned the distinction for gallantry in the field and good conduct in quarters.

In consideration of the meritorious conduct of the non-commissioned officers and men of the regiment during the war, Colonel Trench applied to the Commander-in-Chief to authorise those most distinguished among them to wear silver medals in commemoration of their services. The sanction of the Commander-in-Chief was conveyed to Colonel Trench in a letter from the Adjutant-General, bearing date "Horse Guards, 30th June 1814."

Medals were accordingly granted to the deserving survivors of the campaign, who were divided into three classes: first class, men who had served in eight or nine general actions; second class, in six or seven general actions; third class, in four or five general actions.

The regiment remained in Ireland till May 1818, not having had a chance of distinguishing itself at the crowning victory of Waterloo, although it was on its way to embark for Belgium when news of that decisive battle arrived. While at Fermoy, on the 6th of April 1818, the regiment was presented with new colours. The colours which had waved over the regiment in many a hard-fought field, and which had been received in 1802, were burned, and the ashes deposited in the lid of a gold sarcophagus snuff-box, inlaid with part of the wood of the colour-staves, on which the following inscription was engraved:—"This box, composed of the old standards of the Seventy-fourth regiment, was formed as a tribute of respect to the memory of those who fell, and of esteem for those who survived the many glorious and arduous services on which they were always victoriously carried, during a period of sixteen years, in India, the Peninsula, and France. They were presented to the regiment at Wallajahbad in 1802, and the shattered remains were burned at Fermoy on the 6th of April 1818."

The 74th embarked at Cork for Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the 13th of May, leaving one depôt company, which was sent to the Isle of Wight. The companies were divided between St John’s, Newfoundland, St John’s, New Brunswick, and Frederickton, where were headquarters and five companies. The regiment remained in North America till 1828, in August of which year proceeding to Bermudas, which it left at the end of the next year for lreland, where it arrived in the beginning of 1830. In 1818 the regiment had been reduced to ten companies of 65 rank and file each, and in 1821 it was further reduced to eight companies of 72 rank and file. In 1825, however, the strength was augmented to ten companies—six service companies of 86 rank and file, and four depot companies of 56 rank and file each.

The regiment remained in Ireland till 1834, during part of which time it was actively employed in suppressing the outrages consequent on the disturbed state of the country. In the latter part of 1834 the regiment was divided into four depot and six service companies; three of the latter were sent to Barbadoes, while the headquarter division, consisting of the three remaining companies, was sent to the island of Grenada. In November 1835 the two service divisions were sent to Antigua, where they remained till February 1837. From thence the headquarter division proceeded to St Lucia, and the other three companies to Demerara, both divisions being sent to St Vincent in June of the same year. The regiment was kept moving about among these western islands till May 1841, when it proceeded to Canada, arriving at Quebec at the end of the month. While the regiment was stationed at Trinidad it was attacked by fever and dysentery, which caused great mortality; and fever continued to prevail among the men until the regiment removed to Trinidad. With this exception the 74th remained remarkably healthy during the whole of its residence in the West Indies.

The 74th remained in the North American colonies till 1845, being removed from Canada to Nova Scotia in May 1844, and embarking at Halifax for England in March 1845. On arriving in England in the end of that month, the service companies joined the depot at Canterbury.

While the regiment was stationed in Canterbury, Lieutenant-Colonel Crabbe, commanding the regiment, submitted to the Commander-in-Chief, through the colonel (Lieutenant-General Sir Phineas Ryall), the earnest desire of the officers and men to be permitted to resume the national garb and designation of a Highland regiment, under which the 74th had been originally embodied.

The lieutenant-colonel having himself first joined the regiment as a Highland corps in the year 1807, and having served with it continuously during the intervening period, knew by his own experience, and was able to certify to the Commander-in-Chief, how powerfully and favourably its character had been influenced by its original organisation; and also that throughout the varied services and changes of so many years, a strong national feeling, and a connection with Scotland by recruiting, had been constantly maintained. Various considerations, however, induced an application for permission to modify the original dress of kilt and feathered bonnet, and with the resumed designation of a Highland corps, to adopt the trews and bonnet as established for the 71st regiment.

His Grace the Duke of Wellington was pleased to return a favourable answer to the application, in such terms as to render his consent doubly acceptable to the corps, causing it to be intimated to the colonel, by a letter from the adjutant-general, bearing date ‘Horse Guards, 13th August 1845,’ that he would recommend to Her Majesty that the 74th Regiment should be permitted to resume the appellation of a Highland regiment, and to be clothed "accordingly in compliment to the services of that regiment so well known to his Grace in India and in Europe."

In the "Gazette" of the 14th November 1845 the following announcement was published:—

"WAR Office, 8th November 1845.

"Memorandum,—Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to approve of the 74th foot resuming the appellation of the 74th (Highland) Regiment of foot, and of its being clothed accordingly; that is, to wear the tartan trews instead of the Oxford mixture; plaid cap instead of the black chaco; and the plaid scarf as worn by the 71st Regiment. The alteration of the dress is to take place on the next issue of clothing, on the 1st of April 1846."

The national designation of the regiment was of course immediately resumed, and the recruiting has been since carried on solely in Scotland with uniform success.

It was directed by the Adjutant-General that the tartan now to be worn by the 74th should not be of the old regimental pattern, that being already in use by two other regiments (the 42nd and 93rd), but that it should be distinguished by the introduction of a white stripe. The alteration of the regimental dress took place as ordered, on the 1st of April 1846.

In May 1846, Lieutenant-Colonel Crabbe, who had been connected with the regiment for forty years, retired on full pay, and took leave of the regiment in a feeling order. Major Crawley was promoted to the lieutenant colonelcy in his place.


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