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Eighty-Ninth Highland Regiment


THE war in which Great Britain was engaged requiring at this time increased exertions on the part of the government, it was resolved to raise, in addition to Keith’s Highlanders, another regiment in those parts of the Highlands where the influence of the Gordon family prevailed. At the solicitation of the Dowager Duchess of Gordon, Major Staates Long Morris, to whom she had been lately married, was appointed to raise the regiment; and to strengthen his interest amongst the youth of the North, her eldest son by her former husband, the late Duke of Gordon, then a youth at college, was appointed a captain; his brother, Lord William, a lieutenant; and his younger brother, Lord George, an ensign. The object of the duchess in obtaining these appointments was to counteract the political influence of the Duke of Argyle during the minority of her son. Major Morris was so successful that, in a few weeks, 760 men were collected at Gordon Castle, who, in December 1759, were marched to Aberdeen.

The regiment embarked at Portsmouth for the East Indies in December 1760, and arrived at Bombay in November following. The Duke of Gordon was desirous of accompanying the regiment, but his mother, at the especial request of George II., induced him to remain at home to finish his education.

The 89th had no particular station assigned it, but kept moving from place to place till a strong detachment under Major Hector Munro joined the army under the command of Major Carnac, in the neighbourhood of Patna. Major Munro then assumed the command, and being well supported by his men, quelled a formidable mutiny among the troops. After the ringleaders had been executed, and discipline restored, Major Munro attacked the enemy at Buxar, on the 23d of October 1764, and though the force opposed to him was five times as numerous as his own, he overthrew and dispersed it. The enemy had 6000 men killed, and left 130 pieces of cannon on the field, whilst his majesty’s troops had only 2 officers and 4 rank and file killed. Major Munro received a letter of thanks on the occasion from the President and Council of Calcutta. "The signal victory you gained," they say, " so as at one blow utterly to defeat the designs of the enemy against these provinces, is an event which does so much honour to yourself, Sir, in particular, and to all the officers and men under your command, and which, at the same time, is attended with such particular advantages to the Company, as call upon us to return you our sincere thanks." For this important service Major Munro was immediately promoted to the brevet rank of Lieutenant colonel.

The services of the regiment being no longer required, it was ordered home, and was reduced in the year 1765. It has been remarked, as a singular circumstance attending their service, that although five years embodied, four of which were spent in India, or on the passage going and returning, none of the officers died, nor was there any promotion or other change among them, except the change of Lord Win. Gordon to the 76th regiment, and the promotion of his successor to his lieutenancy. The same good conduct which distinguished the other Highland corps was not less conspicuous in this,—not one man out of eight of the companies, numbering in all 780, having been brought to the halberts. Of the whole regiment only six men suffered corporal punishment.


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