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Scottish Regiments
The Black Watch -
1811 - 1816


IN August 1811 the regiment sailed for England, and after remaining some time in Lewes barracks, embarked in April of the following year for PortugaL The ardour for recruiting had now ceased, and the consequence was that the regiment obtained few recruits while in Scotland. Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Blantyre, the commander of the second battalion, had experienced the growing indifference of the Highlanders for the army, having been obliged, before his departure for Portugal, to enlist 150 men from the Irish militia. The first battalion joined the army, under Lord Wellington, after the capture of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, and meeting with the second battalion, they were both consolidated.

"The second battalion had continued with the allied army in Portugal, and was engaged in the operations by which the English commander endeavoured to retard the advance of the superior numbers of the enemy, under Marshal Massena, who boasted he would drive the British into the sea, and plant the eagles of France on the towers of Lisbon. As the French army advanced in full confidence of success, suddenly the rocks of Busaco were seen bristling with bayonets and streaming with British colours. The Royal Highlanders were in position on the mountains when that formidable post was attacked by the enemy on the 27th of September, and when the valour of the British troops repulsed the furious onsets of the French veterans, who were driven back with severe loss. The loss of the Forty-Second was limited to 2 sergeants, 1 drummer, and 3 rank and file wounded. Major Robert Henry Dick received a medal for this battle.

"Being unable to force the position, the French commander turned it by a flank movement; and the allied army fell back to the lines of Torres Vedras, where a series of works of vast extent, connected with ranges of rocks and mountains, covered the approach to Lisbon, and formed a barrier to the progress of the enemy, which could not be overcome. The Forty-Second were posted in the lines.

"The French commander, despairing to accomplish his threat against the English, fell back to Santarem.

"For three months the opposing armies confronted each other a few stages from Lisbon; the enemy’s numbers became seriously reduced by sickness, and other causes, his resources were exhausted, and during the night of the 5th of March 1811 he commenced his retreat towards the frontiers. The British moved forward in pursuit, and in numerous encounters with the enemy’s rearguard gained signal advantages.

"The French army crossed the confines of Portugal; the British took up a position near the frontiers, and blockaded Almeida. The French advanced to relieve the blockaded fortress; and on the 3d of May they attacked the post of Fuentes d’Onor. The Royal Highlanders had 2 soldiers killed on this occasion; Captain M’Donald, 1 sergeant, and 5 rank and file wounded. On the 5th of May the enemy made another attack on the British position, but was repulsed. On this occasion the Forty-Second, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Blantyre, were charged by a body of French cavalry, which they defeated with signal gallantry. Lieutenant - Colonel Lord Blantyre received a gold medal; and the word ‘Fuentes d’Onor,’ displayed, by royal authority, on the regimental colour, commemorates the steady valour of the second battalion on this occasion. Its loss was 1 sergeant and 1 private soldier killed; 1 sergeant and 22 rank and file wounded. Major R. H. Dick received a medal for the battle of Fuentes d’Onor, where he commanded a flank battalion.

"In the subsequent operations of this campaign, the second battalion took an active part; but was not brought into close contact with the enemy."

On the consolidation of the two battalions, the officers and staff of the second were ordered to England, leaving the first upwards of 1160 rank and file fit for service. These were placed in the division under Lieutenant - General Sir Thomas Graham. The allied army now amounted to 58,000 men, being larger than any single division of the enemy, whose whole force exceeded 160,000 men.

After a successful attack on Almarez by a division of the army under General Hill, Lord Wellington moved forward and occupied Salamanca, which the French evacuated on his approach, leaving 800 men behind to garrison the fort, and retain possession of two redoubts formed from the walls and ruins of some convents and colleges. After a gallant defence of some days, the fort and redoubts surrendered on the 27th of June 1812.

Whilst the siege was proceeding, Marshal Marmont manoeuvred in the neighbourhood, but not being yet prepared for a general action, he retired across the Douro, and took up a position on the 224 from La Seca to Pollos. By the accession of a reinforcement from the Asturias, and another from the army of the centre, the marshal’s force was increased to nearly 60,000 men. Judging himself now able to cope with the allied army, he resolved either to bring Lord Wellington to action, or force him to retire towards Portugal, by threatening his communication with that country. By combining with Marshal Soult from the south, he expected to be able to intercept his retreat and cut him off. Marmont did not, however, venture to recross the Douro, but commenced a series of masterly manoeuvres, with the view of ensnaring his adversary. Alluding to this display of tactics, the Moniteur remarked that " there were seen those grand French military combinations which command victory, and decide the fate of empires; that noble audacity which no reverse can shake, and which commands events." These movements were met with corresponding skill on the part of the British general, who baffled all the designs of his skilful opponent. Several accidental encounters took place in the various changes of positions, in which both sides suffered considerably.

Tired of these evolutions, Lord Wellington crossed the Guarena on the night of the 19th of July, and on the morning of the 20th drew up his army in order of battle on the plains of Valise; but Marmont declined the challenge, and crossing the river, encamped with his left at Babila Fuentes, and his right at Villameda. This manoeuvre was met by a corresponding movement on the part of the allies, who marched to their right in columns along the plain, in a direction parallel to the enemy, who were on the heights of Cabeca Vilhosa. In this and the other movements of the British, the sagacity of the commander-in-chief appeared so strange to a plain Highlander, who had paid particular attention to them, that he swore Lord Wellington must be gifted with the second sight, as he saw and was prepared to meet Marmont’s intended changes of position before he commenced his movements.

The allied army were now on the same ground they had occupied near Salamanca when reducing the forts the preceding month; but in consequence of the enemy crossing the Tormes at Alba de Tormes, and appearing to threaten Ciudad Rodrigo, Lord Wellington made a corresponding movement, and on the 21st of July halted his army on the heights on the left bank. During the night the enemy possessed themselves of the village of Calvarasa de Ariba, and the heights of Nuestra Sonora de la Pena. In the course of this night Lord Wellington received intelligence that General Clausel had reached Pollos with a large body of cavalry, and would certainly join Marmont on the 23d or 24th.

The morning of the 22d, a day memorable in the annals of the Peninsular war, was ushered in with a violent tempest, and a dreadful storm of thunder and lightning. The operations of the day commenced soon after seven o’clock, when the outposts of both armies attempted to get possession of two hills, Los Arapiles, on the right of the allies. The enemy, by his numerical superiority, succeeded in possessing himself of the most distant of these hills, and thus greatly strengthened his position. With his accustomed skill, Marmont manoeuvred until two o’clock, when imagining that he had succeeded in drawing the allies into a snare, he opened a general fire from his artillery along his whole line, and threw out numerous bodies of sharpshooters, both in front and flank, as a feint to cover an attempt he meditated to turn the position of the British. This ruse was thrown away on Lord Wellington, who, acting on the defensive only, to become, in his turn the assailant with the more effect, and perceiving at once the grand error of his antagonist in extending his line to the left, without strengthening his centre, which had now no second line to support it, made immediate preparations for a general attack; and with his characteristic determination of purpose, took advantage of that unfortunate moment, which, as the French commander observed, "destroyed the result of six weeks of wise combinations of methodical movements, the issue of which had hitherto appeared certain, and which everything appeared to presage to us that we should enjoy the fruit of."

The arrangements were these, Major-General Pakenham, with the third division, was ordered to turn the left of the enemy, whilst he was to be attacked in front by the divisions of Generals Leith, Cole, Bradford, and Cotton, —those of Generals Clinton, Hope, and Don Carlos de Espana; acting as a reserve. The divisions under Generals Alexander Campbell and Alten were to form the left of the line. Whilst this formation was in progress, the enemy did not alter his previous position, but made an unsuccessful attempt to get possession of the village of Arapiles, held by a detachment of the guards.

About four o’clock in the afternoon, the attack commenced. General Pakenham, supported by the Portuguese cavalry, and some squadrons of the 14th Dragoons under Colonel Harvey, carried all their respective points of attack. The divisions in the centre were equally successful, driving the enemy from one height to another. They, however, received a momentary check from a body of troops from the heights of Arapiles. A most obstinate struggle took place at this post. Having descended from the heights which they occupied, the British dashed across the intervening valley and ascended a hill, on which they found the enemy most advantageously posted, formed in solid squares, the front ranks kneeling, and supported by twenty pieces of cannon. On the approach of the British, the enemy opened a fire from their cannon and musketry, but this, instead of retarding, seemed to accelerate the progress of the assailants. Gaining the brow of the hill, they instantly charged, and drove the enemy before them; a body of them attempting to rally, were thrown into utter confusion by a second charge with the bayonet. A general rout now took place, and night alone saved the French army from utter annihilation.

There fell into the hands of the victors 7000 prisoners and 11 pieces of cannon, but the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was not ascertained. General Marmont himself was wounded, and many of his officers were killed or disabled. The loss of the allies was 624 killed, and about 4000 wounded.

Among other important results to which this victory led, not the least was the appointment of Lord Wellington as generalissimo of the Spanish armies, by which he was enabled to direct and control the operations of the whole Spanish forces, which had hitherto acted as independent corps.

The allied army pushed forward to Madrid, and, after various movements and skirmishes, entered that city on the 12th of August amid the acclamations of the inhabitants. Learning that General Clausel, who had succeeded Marshal Marmont in the command, had organised an army, and threatened some of the British positions on the Douro, Lord Wellington left Madrid on the 1st of September, and marching northward, entered Valladolid on the 7th, the enemy retiring as he advanced. Being joined by Castanos, the Spanish general, with an army of 12,000 foot, he took up a position close to Burgos, in which the enemy had left a garrison of 2500 men. The castle was in ruins, but the strong thick wall of the ancient keep was equal to the best casemates, and it was strengthened by a horn-work which had been erected on Mount St Michael. A church had also been converted into a fort, and the whole enclosed within three lines, so connected that each could defend the other. Preliminary to an attack on the castle, the possession of the horn-work was necessary. Accordingly, on the evening of the 19th of September, the light infantry of General Stirling’s brigade having driven in the out-posts, took possession of the out-works close to the mount. When dark it was attacked by the same troops, supported by the 42d, and carried by assault.

On the 29th an unsuccessful attempt was made to spring a mine under the enemy’s works, but on the 4th of October another mine was exploded with better effect. The second battalion of the 24th regiment established themselves within the exterior line of the castle, but were soon obliged to retire. The enemy made two vigorous sorties on the 8th, drove back the covering parties, and damaged the works of the besiegers, who sustained considerable loss. A third mine was exploded on the 13th, when the troops attempted an assault, but without success. The last attack, a most desperate one, was made on the 19th, but with as little success; two days after which, Lord Wellington, on the 21st, to the great disappointment of the besiegers, ordered the siege, which had lasted thirty days, to be raised, in consequence of the expected advance of a French army of 80,000 men. The loss sustained by the 42d in this siege was 3 officers, 2 sergeants, and 44 rank and file killed and 6 officers, 11 sergeants, 1 drummer, and 230 rank and file wounded. The officers killed; were Lieutenants B. Ferguson and P. Milne, and Ensign David Cullen; those wounded were Captains Donald Williamson (who died of his wounds), Archibald Menzies, and George Davidson, Lieutenants Hugh Angus Fraser, James Stewart, and Robert Mackinnon.

Whilst Lord Wellington was besieging Burgos, the enemy had been concentrating their forces, and on the 20th of October his lordship received intelligence of the advance of the French army. Joseph Buonaparte, newly raised by his brother to the throne of Spain, was, with one division, to cut off Lord Wellington’s communication with General Hill’s division between Aranjuez and Toledo, and another, commanded by General Souham, was to raise the seize of Burgos. After the abandonment of the siege, on the 21st of October, the allied army retired after night-fall, unperceived by General Souham, who followed with a superior force, but did not overtake them till the evening of the twenty-third.

During the retrograde movement, the troops suffered greatly from the inclemency of the weather, from bad roads, but still more from the want of a regular supply of provisions; and the same irregularities and disorganisation prevailed among them as in the retreat to Corunna.

The allied army retired upon Salamanca, and afterwards to Frenada and Corea, on the frontier of Portugal, where they took up their winter quarters. The enemy apparently unable to advance, unwilling to retire, and renouncing the hope of victory, followed the example thus set. Subsequent events proved that this opinion, expressed at the time was correct, "for every movement of the enemy after the campaign of 1812 was retrograde, every battle a defeat."

Having obtained a reinforcement of troops and abundant military supplies from England, Lord Wellington opened the campaign of 1813 by moving on Salamanca, of which, for the third time, the British troops took possession on the 24th of May. The division of Sir R. Hill was stationed between Tormes and the Douro, and the left wing, under Sir Thomas Graham, took post at Miranda de Douro. The enemy, who gave way as the allies advanced, evacuated Valladolid on the 4th of June, and General Hill having, on the 12th attacked and defeated a division of the French army under General Reille, the enemy hastened their retreat, and blew up the works of the castle of Burgos, on which they had expended much labour the preceding year.

The enemy fell back on Vittoria, followed by Lord Wellington, who drew up his army on the river Bayas, separated by some high grounds from Vittoria. His men were in the highest spirits, and the cheerfulness and alacrity with which they performed this long march, more than 250 miles, formed a favourable contrast with their conduct when retreating the previous year. The French army, under the command of Joseph Buonaparte and Marshal Jourdan, made a stand near Vittoria, for the purpose of defending the passage of the river Zadorra, having that town on their right, the centre on a height, commanding the valley of that stream, and the left resting on the heights between Arunez and Puebla de Arlanzon. The hostile armies were about 70,000 men each.

On the morning of the 21st of June, the allied army moved forward in three columns to take possession of the heights in the front of Vittoria. The right wing was commanded by General Hill, the centre by General Cole, and the left wing by Genera] Graham. The operations of the day commenced by General Hill attacking and carrying the heights of Puebla, on which the enemy’s left rested. They made a violent attempt to regain possession, but they were driven back at all points, and pursued across the Zadorra. Sir Rowland Hill passing over the bridge of La Puebla, attacked and carried the village of Sabijana de Alava, of which he kept possession, notwithstanding repeated attempts of the enemy to regain it. The fourth and light divisions now crossed the Zadorra at different points, while almost at the same instant of time, the column under Lord Dalhousie reached Mendoza; and the third, under Sir T. Picton, followed by the seventh division, crossed a bridge higher up. These four divisions, forming the centre of the army, were destined to attack the right of the enemy’s centre on the heights, whilst General Hill pushed forward from Alava to attack the left. The enemy dreading the consequences of an attack on his centre, which he had weakened to strengthen his posts on the heights, abandoned his position, and commenced a rapid retreat to Vittoria.

Whilst these combined movements of the right and centre were in progress, the left wing, under Sir Thomas Graham, drove the enemy’s right from the hills above Abechuco and Gamarra. To preserve their communication with Bayonne, which was nearly cut off by this movement, the enemy had occupied the villages of Gamarra, Mayor, and Menor, near which the great road touches the banks of the Zadorra. They were, however, driven from these positions by a Spanish division under Colonel Longa, and another of Portuguese under General Pack, supported by General Anson’s cavalry brigade and the fifth division of infantry under General Oswald. General Graham, at the same time, attacked and obtained possession of the village of Abechuco.

Thus cut off from retreat by the great road to France, the enemy, as soon as the centre of the allies had penetrated to Vittoria, retreated with great precipitation towards Pampluna, the only other road left open, and on which they had no fortified positions to cover their retrograde movement. The enemy left behind them all their stores and baggage, and out of 152 pieces of cannon, they carried off only one howitzer. General Hill, with his division, continued to pursue the panic-stricken French from one position to another till the 7th of July, when he took post on the summit of the pass of Maya, beyond the Pyrenees, "those lofty heights which," as Marshal Soult lamented, in a proclamation he issued, "enabled him proudly to survey our fertile valleys."

With the exception of Pampluna and St Sebastian, the whole of this part of the north of Spain was now cleared of the enemy. To reduce these places was the next object. It was resolved to blockade the former and lay siege to the latter, which last-mentioned service was intrusted to General Graham. This was a most arduous task, as St Sebastian was, in point of strength, next to Gibraltar.

After an unsuccessful assault, however, the attention of the commander-in-chief being directed to the movements of Marshal Soult, who was advancing with a large army, the siege of St Sebastian was suspended for a time.

At this time the allied army occupied a range of mountain passes between the valley of Roncesvalles, celebrated as the field of Charlemagne’s defeat, and St Sebastian, but as the distance between these stations was sixty miles, it was found impossible so to guard all these passes as to prevent the entrance of an army. The passes occupied by the allies were defended by the following troops:— Major General Byng’s brigade and a division of Spanish infantry held the valley of Roncesvalles, to support which General Cole’s division was posted at Piscarret, with General Picton’s in reserve at Olaque; the valley of Bastan and the pass of Maya was occupied by Sir Rowland Hill, with Lieutenant-general William Stewart’s and Silviera’s Portuguese divisions, and the Spanish corps under the Conde de Amaran the Portuguese brigade of Brigadier-general Archibald Campbell was detached to Los Alduidos; the heights of St Barbara, the town of Pera, and the Puerto de Echoism, were protected by Lord Dalhousie and Baron Alten’s light division, Brigadier general Pack’s being in reserve at Estevan. The communication between Lord Dalhousie and General Graham was kept up by General Longa’s Spanish division; and the Condo de Abisbal blockaded Pamplona.

Such were the positions of the allied army when Marshal Soult, who had been lately appointed to the command of a numerous French army, recently collected, having formed a plan of operations for a general attack on the allied army, advanced on the 25th of July at the head of a division of 36,000 men against Roncesvalles, whilst General Count d’Erlon, with another division of 13,000 men, moved towards the pass of Maya. Pressed by this overwhelming force, General Byng was obliged, though supported by part of Sir Lowry Cole’s division, to descend from the heights that commanded the pass, in order to preserve his communication, in which situation he was attacked by Soult and driven back to the top of the mountain, whilst the troops on the ridge of Arola, part of Cole’s division, were forced to retire with considerable loss, and to take up a position in the rear. General Cole was again obliged to retire, and fell back on Lizoain. Next day General Picton moved forward to support General Cole, but both were obliged to retire in consequence of Soult’s advance.

Meanwhile Count d’Erlon forced the battalions occupying the narrow ridges near the pass of Maya to give way; but these being quickly supported by Brigadier-general Barnes’s brigade, a series of spirited actions ensued, and the advance of the enemy was arrested. General Hill hearing of the retrograde movement from Roncesvalles, retired behind the lrurita, and took up a strong position. On the 27th Sir Thomas Picton resumed his retreat. The troops were greatly dejected at this temporary reverse; but the arrival of Lord Wellington, who had been with the army before St Sebastian, revived their drooping spirits. Immediately on his arrival he directed the troops in reserve to move forward to support the division opposed to the enemy; formed General Picton’s division on a ridge on the left bank of the Argus, and General Cole’s on the high grounds between that river and the Lanz. To support the positions in front, General Hill was posted behind the Lizasso; but, on the arrival of General Pakenham on the 28th, he took post on the left of General Cole, facing the village of Sourarom; but before the British divisions had fully occupied the ground, they were vigorously attacked by the enemy from the village. The enemy were, however, driven back with great loss.

Soult next brought forward a strong column, and advancing up the hill against the centre of the allies, on the left of General Cole’s line, obtained possession of that post, but he was almost immediately driven back at the point of the bayonet by the Fusiliers. The French renewed the attack, but were again quickly repulsed. About the same time another attack was made on the right of the centre, where a Spanish brigade, supported by the 40th, was posted. The Spaniards gave way, the 40th not only keeping their ground, but driving the enemy down the hill with great loss.

The enemy pushing forward in separate bodies with great vigour, the battle now became general along the whole front of the heights occupied by the fourth division, but they were repulsed at all points, except one occupied by a Portuguese battalion, which was overpowered and obliged to give way. The occupation of this post by the enemy exposed the flank of Major-General Ross’s brigade, immediately on the right, to a destructive fire, which forced him to retire. The enemy were, however, soon dispossessed of this post by Colonel John Maclean, who, advancing with the 27th and 48th regiments, charged and drove them from it, and immediately afterwards attacked and charged another body of the enemy who were advancing from the left. The enemy persevered in his attacks several times, but was as often repulsed, principally by the bayonet. Several regiments charged four different times.

After various successful attacks, the enemy, on the 30th, to use the words of Lord Wellington, "abandoned a position which is one of the strongest and most difficult of access that I have yet seen occupied by troops." The enemy were now pursued beyond Olaque, in the vicinity of which General Hill, who had been engaged the whole day, had repulsed all the attacks of Count d’Erlon.

The enemy endeavoured to rally in their retreat, but were driven from one position to another till the 2d of August, when the allies had regained all the posts they had occupied on the 25th of July, when Soult made his first attack. As the 92d or Gordon Highlanders was the Highland regiment which had the good fortune to be engaged in these brilliant attacks, in which they particularly distinguished themselves, the account of these operations might have been deferred till we come to give an account of the services of that excellent regiment; but as the omission of these details in this place would have broken the continuity of the narrative, it was deemed proper to insert them here.

After this second expulsion of the French beyond the Pyrenees, the siege of St Sebastian was resumed with redoubled energy. A continued fire was kept up from eighty pieces of cannon, which the enemy withstood with surprising courage and perseverance. At length a practicable breach was made, and on the morning of the 31st of August the troops advanced to the assault. The breach was extensive, but there was only one point at which it was possible to enter, and this could only be done by single files. All the inside of the wall to the height of the curtain formed a perpendicular scarp of twenty feet. The troops made the most persevering exertions to force the breach, and everything that bravery could attempt was repeatedly tried by the men, who were brought forward in succession from the trenches; but each time, on attaining the summit, all who attempted to remain were destroyed by a heavy fire from the entrenched ruins within, so that "no man outlived the attempt to gain the ridge." The moment was critical; but General Graham, with great presence of mind, directed his artillery to play against the curtain, so as to pass a few feet over the heads of the troops in the breach. The fire was directed with admirable precision, and the troops advanced with perfect confidence. They struggled unremittingly for two hours to force the breach, and, taking advantage of some confusion occasioned by an explosion of ammunition within the ramparts, they redoubled their efforts, and by assisting each other got over the walls and ruins. After struggling about an hour among their works, the French retreated with great loss to the castle, leaving the town, which was now reduced to a heap of ruins, in the possession of the assailants. This success was dearly purchased,—the loss of the allies, in killed and wounded, being upwards of 2000 men. Soult made an attempt to raise the siege, by crossing the Bidassoa on the very day the assault was made with a force of nearly 40,000 men; but he was obliged, after repeated attacks, to repass the river.

Having determined to carry the war into France, Lord Wellington crossed the Bidassoa at low water, near its mouth, on the 7th of October. After a series of successful operations, the allied army was established in the French territories; but as Pampluna still held out, the commander-in-chief delayed his advance for a time. Parnpluna surrendered on the 31st of October, after a blockade of four months. Lord Wellington having now the whole allied force, amounting to upwards of 85,000 men, at his disposal, resolved to cornmence operations.

Since the battle of the Pyrenees, the French had occupied a position with their right towards the sea, at a short distance from St Jean de Luz, their centre on a village in Sare, and on the heights behind it, with their left resting on a stony height in the rear of Ainhoe. This position, strong by nature, had been rendered still stronger by art. The attack on the French lines was to be made in columns of divisions. In consequence of heavy falls of snow and rain, Lord Wellington was obliged to defer his attack till the 10th of November, on the morning of which day the allies moved forward against the enemy.

The attack was begun by General Cole’s division, which attacked and carried the principal redoubt in front of Sam with such rapidity, that several of the enemy were taken in it before it could be evacuated. Another redoubt on the left was carried in the same rapid manner by Lord Dalhousie’s division, commanded in his absence by Colonel Le Coy. General Cole’s division thereupon took possession of the village. General Alten having carried La Petite Rhune, the whole centre divisions united, and made a joint attack on the enemy’s principal position behind the village. Sir Thomas Picton’s division (now commanded in his absence by General Colville), and that of Le Cor, carried the redoubt on the left of the enemy’s centre. The light division advancing from La Petite Rhune, attacked the works in their front, supported by the 52d regiment, which, crossing with great rapidity a narrow neck of land, was here exposed to the fire of two flanking batteries, rushed up the hill with such impetuosity, that the enemy grew alarmed, and fled with precipitation.

Meanwhile the right, under General Hill, attacked the heights of Ainhoe. The attack was led by General Clinton’s division, which, marching on the left of five redoubts, forded the Kivelle, the banks of which were steep and difficult, and attacked the troops in front of the works. These were immediately driven back with loss, and General Hamilton joining in the attack on the other redoubt, the enemy hastily retired. The brigade of General Stewart’s division, under General Pringle. drove in the enemy’s picquets in front of Ainhoe, whilst General Byng’s brigade attacked and drove the enemy from the entrenchments, and from a 1 redoubt farther to the left.

The enemy at length seeing further resistance hopeless, abandoned all their positions and works in front of St Jean do Luz and retired upon Bidart, after destroying all the bridges on the Lower Nivelle. In these successful and complicated movements, the allies had 21 officers and 244 soldiers killed, and 120 officers and 1657 soldiers wounded. Of the 42d regiment, Captain Mungo Macpherson and Lieutenant Kenneth Macdougall were wounded, one private only killed, and 2 sergeants and 23 rank and file wounded. The French lost 31 pieces of cannon, 1300 prisoners, and had a proportional number killed and wounded.

In consequence of the heavy rains and the destruction of the bridges, the allies were prevented from pursuing the enemy, who retired to an entrenched camp near Bayonne. The allied troops were cantoned between the Nivelle and the sea, and made preparations for dislodging the French from their new position; but the incessant rains, which continued till December, put an entire stop to all active movements. Having thrown bridges over the Nive in the beginning of December, Lord Wellington commenced operations on the 9th for the passage of that river. As the position of the enemy was considered too strong to be attacked in front, the commander-in-chief determined to make a movement to the right, and by thus threatening Soult’s rear, he hoped to induce him to abandon his position. Accordingly the allied army crossed the Nive at different points on the 9th. General Hope met with little opposition, and General Hill, who crossed by the ford of Cambo, was scarcely opposed. In danger of being intercepted by General Clinton’s division, which had crossed at Ustariz, the enemy retired in great haste, and assembled in considerable numbers at Villefranche, but they were driven from this post by the light infantry and two Portuguese regiments, under Colonels Douglas and Browne. General Hill next day took up a position with his division, with his left on Villefranche and his right on the Adouir, in consequence of which he cut off the communication between Bayonne and St Jean Pied de Port. In this situation the French troops stationed at the latter place were forced to retire on St Palais.

Leaving a force to keep General Hill in check, Marshal Soult left his entrenched camp on the morning of the 10th, and making an impetuous attack on the light division of General Hope’s wing, drove back his outposts. Then establishing himself on a ridge between the corps of Baron Alten and Major-General Andrew Hay’s fifth division, he turned upon the latter, and attacked it with a determined bravery which it was almost impossible to withstand; but after an arduous struggle the enemy were repulsed by Brigadier-general Robinson’s brigade of the fifth division, and Brigadier-general Archibald Campbell’s Portuguese brigade. The enemy, no way discouraged by these repulses, renewed the attack about three o’clock, but with the same want of success.

During the night, Soult made dispositions for attacking the light division at Arcangues; but Sir John Hope perceiving his intention, moved towards the threatened point. Anticipated in this movement, the experienced Marshal again changed his dispositions to the left, but General Hope, equally on the alert, met him also in that direction. With the exception of some partial skirmishing between the out posts, no occurrence of any importance took place on the following day; but on the 12th the enemy renewed the attack on the left without success.

Thus foiled in all his attempts, Soult resolved to change entirely his plan of operations, and accordingly, during the night of the 12th, he drew his army through Bayonne, and on the morning of the 13th attempted to force his way between the centre and right of the British position, at the head of 30,000 men. Advancing with great vigour and celerity, he might have succeeded, had not General Hill, with his usual promptitude and decision, ordered his troops on the flanks to support the centre. The enemy, after a violent struggle, were repulsed with great loss, and retired with such precipitation that they were out of reach before the arrival of the sixth division, which had been ordered up to support General Hill.

Whilst this contest was going on, General Byng’s brigade, supported by the Portuguese brigade under General Buchan, carried an important height, from which the enemy made several attempts to dislodge them, but being unsuccessful at all points, they at length retired to their entrenchments, whither they were followed by General Hill, who took up a parallel position. At the passage of the Nive the 42d had Captain George Stewart and Lieutenant James Stewart killed, and 11 rank and file wounded.

The inclemency of the weather, and a succession of heavy rains which had swelled the rivers and destroyed the roads, rendering farther movements impracticable for a time, Marshal Soult availed himself of the interruption thus given to the progress of the allied army to strengthen his position. The weather becoming favourable about the middle of February 1814, Lord Wellington began a series of movements with the view of inducing Soult to withdraw from his strong position, or, should be decline, to cut off his communication with France, by marching the allied army into the heart of that country. By these movements the British general obtained the command of the Adour, which obliged Soult, who obtained his supplies down that river from the interior, to withdraw from Bayonne in the direction of Dane. He left, however, a strong garrison in the place.

Leaving General Hope to blockade Bayonne, Lord Wellington made a general movement with the right and centre of the army on the 24th of February. Next day they marched forward to dislodge the enemy from a position they had taken up on the Gave de Pau at Orthés. Between the extreme points of this position ran a chain of heights receding in a line, bending inwards, the centre of which was so retired as to be protected by the guns of both wings. On his left, Soult was supported in this strong position by the town and the river; his right rested on a commanding height in rear of the village of St Bois; whilst the centre, accommodating itself to the incurvation of the heights, described a horizontal reversed segment of a circle protected by the strong position of both wings.

In a short time every point was carried, but the enemy retired in a very orderly manner, firing by echelons of divisions, each covering the other as they retreated. Observing General Hill, who had just crossed the river, advancing upon their left flank, on the road from Orthtis to St Sever, the enemy became at once apprehensive that they would be intercepted, and, instead of continuing their masterly retreat, they ran off at full speed, followed by their pursuers. The latter continued the chase for nearly three miles at a full trot, and the French at length breaking their lines, threw away their arms, and fled in all directions. The pursuit was continued however as far as Sault de Navailles, on reaching which the remains even of an army were no longer to be seen. The loss of the enemy was estimated at 8000 men in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The loss of the allies in killed and wounded amounted to about 1600. Of the 42d, Lieutenant John Innes was the only officer killed, besides 1 sergeant, and 3 rank and file. Major William Cowell, Captain James Walker, Lieutenants Duncan Stewart and James Brander, 5 sergeants, and 85 rank and file were wounded.

The French army, lately so formidable, was now broken and dispersed, and many of the soldiers, dispirited by their reverses, returned to their homes; others, for the first time, abandoned their standards, and went over to the allies. Soult, however, undismayed by these difficulties, collected the remains of that part of his army which still remained faithful, and exerted all his energies to arrest the progress of the victors, but his efforts were unavailing; and after sustaining a defeat at Ayre, where he attempted to cover the removal of considerable magazines, he retreated to Tarbes. All the western part of Gascony being thus left exposed to the operations of the allied army, Lord Wellington detached Marshal Berostèrd and Lord Dalhousie, with three divisions, to Bordeaux, which they entered amidst the acclamations of the inhabitants.

Having obtained reinforcements from Spain and England, Lord Wellington, after leaving 4000 men at Bordeaux under Lord Dalhousie, again put his army in motion. Soult attempted to make a stand at Vicq with two divisions, but he was driven from this position by General Picton with the third division, and forced to retire beyond Tarbes. With the apparent intention of disputing the farther advance of the allies, the Marshal concentrated his whole force at this point, but he was dislodged from this position by a series of combined movements. It was now discovered that the enemy were drawn up on two hills running parallel to those from which their advance had been driven, and it was farther ascertained that this commanding position could not be gained by an advance in front without a great sacrifice of men, reinforced as it had been by the troops driven from the heights in front. It was therefore determined to attack it on flank, but, before the necessary arrangements could be completed, night came on, and Soult taking advantage of the darkness, moved off towards Toulouse, whither he was followed next morning by the allies, who reached the banks of the Garoxine on the 27th of March.

This river was much swollen by recent rains and the melting of the snow on the Pyrenees. There being only one bridge at Toulouse, and that being in possession of the enemy, it became necessary to procure pontoons to enable the army to pass. Whilst the necessary preparations were going on for this purpose, Marshal Soult made the most extraordinary exertions to put himself in a proper posture of defence. He was not even yet without hopes of success, and although it is generally believed that he was now aware of the abdication of Buonaparte, an event which, he must have known, would put an immediate end to the war, he was unwilling to let slip the only opportunity he now had of wiping off the disgrace of his recent defeats.

The city of Toulouse is defended by an ancient wall, flanked with towers. On three sides it is surrounded by the great canal of Languedoc and by the Garonne, and on the fourth side it is flanked by a range of hills close to the canal, over which pass all the roads on that side the town. On the summit of the nearest of these hills the French had erected a chain of five redoubts, between which and the defences of the town they formed entrenchments and lines of connection. These defences consisted of extensive field-works, and of some of the ancient buildings in the suburbs well fortified. At the foot of the height, and along one-half its length, ran the small river Ers the bridges of which had all been destroyed; on the top of the height was an elevated and elongated plain in a state of cultivation, and towards the end next the town there stood a farmhouse and offices. Some trenches had been cut around this house, and three redoubts raised on its front and left. Such was the field selected by Soult to redeem, if possible, by a last effort, his fallen reputation, and to vindicate the tarnished honour of the French arms.

Pontoons having been procured, part of the allied army crossed the Garonne on the 4th of April; but the melting of the snow on the Pyrences, owing to a few days of hot weather, swelled the river so much that it became necessary to remove the pontoons, and it was not till the 8th that they could be replaced. On that day the whole army crossed the river, except General Hill’s division, which remained opposite the town in front of the great bridge, to keep the enemy in check on that side. From the insulated nature of the town, no mode of attack was left to Lord Wellington but to attempt the works in front.

Accordingly, on the 10th of April, he made the following dispositions: —The Spaniards under Don Manuel Freyre were to attack the redoubts fronting the town; General Picton and the light division were to keep the enemy in check on the great road to Paris, but not to attack; and Marshal Beresford, with General Clinton and the sixth division, was to attack the centre of the entrenchments, whilst General Cole with the fourth marched against the right. The part taken by the 42d in this struggle is so well and fully described by Mr Malcolm, formerly of the 42d, in his Reminiscence of a Campaign in 1814, that we shall quote his description here:-

"Early on Sunday morning, the 10th of April, our tents were struck, and we moved with the other regiments of the sixth division towards the neighbourhood of Toulouse, until ordered to halt on a level ground, from whence we had a distinct view of the enemy’s position on the ridge of hills already mentioned. At the same time we saw Lord Wellington, accompanied by his staff, riding back from the front at a hard trot. Some of the men called out, 'There goes Wellington, my lads; we shall have some hot work presently.’

"At that moment Major General Pack, who commanded our brigade, came up, and calling its officers and non-commissoned officers round him, addressed them to the following effect:-

‘We are this day to attack the enemy; your business will be to take possession of those fortified heights, which you see towards the front. I have only to warn you to be prepared to form close column in case of a charge of cavalry; to restrain the impetuosity of the men; and to prevent them from wasting their ammunition.’ The drums then beat to arms, and we received orders to move towards the enemy’s position.

"Our division (the sixth) approached the foot of the ridge of heights on the enemy’s right and moved in a direction parallel to them, until we reached the point of attack. We advanced under a heavy cannonade, and arrived in front of a redoubt, which protected the right of the enemy’s position, where we were formed in two lines,—the first, consisting of some Portuguese regiments,—and the reserve, of the Highland Brigade.

"Darkening the whole hill, flanked by clouds of cavalry, and covered by the fire of their redoubt, the enemy came down upon us like a torrent. Their generals and field-officers riding in front, and waving their hats amidst shouts of the multitude, resembling the roar of an ocean. Our Highlanders, as if actuated by one instinctive impulse, took off their bonnets, and waving them in the air, returned their greeting with three cheers.

"A deathlike silence ensued for some moments, and we could observe a visible pause in the advance of the enemy. At that moment the light company of the Forty-second Regiment, by a well-directed fire, brought down some of the French officers of distinction, as they rode in front of their respective corps. The enemy immediately fired a volley into our lines, and advanced upon us amidst a deafening roar of musketry and artillery. Our troops answered their fire only once, and unappalled by their furious onset, advanced up the hill, and met them at the charge. Upon reaching the summit of the ridge of heights, the redoubt, which had covered their advance, fell into our possession; but they still retained four others, with their connecting lines of intrenchments, upon the level of the same heights on which we were now established, and into which they had retired.

"Meantime, our troops were drawn up along a road, which passed over the hill, and which having a high bank at each side, protected us in some measure from the general fire of their last line of redoubts. Here our brigade remained until Marshal Beresford’s Artillery, which, in consequence of the badness of the roads, had been left in the village of Mont Blanc, could be brought up, and until the Spaniards under General Don Manuel Freyre, who, in proceeding along the left of the Ers, had been repulsed, could be reformed, and brought back to the attack. Marshal Beresford’s artillery having arrived, and the Spanish troops being once more brought forward, Major-General Pack rode up in front of our brigade, and made the following announcement:—’ I have just now been with General Clinton, and he has been pleased to grant my request, that in the charge which we are now to make upon the enemy’s redoubts, the Forty-second regiment shall have the honour of leading on the attack; the Forty-second will advance.’

"We immediately began to form for the charge upon the redoubts, which were about two or three hundred yards distant, and to which we had to pass over some ploughed fields. The grenadiers of the Forty-second regiment followed by the other companies, led the way, and began to ascend from the road; but no sooner were the feathers of their bonnets seen rising over the embankment, than such a tremendous fire was opened from the redoubts and intrenchments, as in a very short time would have annihilated them. The right wing, therefore, hastily formed into line, and without waiting for the left, which was ascending by companies from the road, rushed upon the batteries, which vomited forth a most furious and terrific storm of fire, grape-shot, and musketry.

"The redoubts were erected along the side of a road, and defended by broad ditches filled with water. Just before our troops reached the obstruction, however, the enemy deserted them and fled in all directions, leaving their last line of strongholds in our possession; but they still possessed two fortified houses close by, from which they kept up a galling and destructive fire. Out of about 500 men, which the Forty-second brought into action, scarcely 90 reached the fatal redoubt from which the enemy had fled.

"Our colonel was a brave man, but there are moments when a well-timed manoeuvre is of more advantage than courage. The regiment stood on the road with its front exactly to the enemy, and if the left wing had been ordered forward, it could have sprung up the bank in line and dashed forward on the enemy at once. Instead of this, the colonel faced the right wing to its right, counter-marched in rear of the left, and when the leading rank cleared the left flank it was made to file up the bank, and as soon as it made its appearance the shot, shell, and musketry poured in with deadly destruction; and in this exposed position we had to make a second countermarch on purpose to bring our front to the enemy. These movements consumed much time, and by this unnecessary exposure exasperated the men to madness. The word ‘Forward—double-quick!’ dispelled the gloom, and forward we drove, in the face of apparent destruction. The field had been lately rough ploughed or under fallow, and when a man fell he tripped the one behind, thus the ranks were opening as we approached the point whence all this hostile vengeance proceeded; but the rush forward had received an impulse from desperation, ‘the spring of the men’s patience had been strained until ready to snap, and when left to the freedom of its own extension, ceased not to act until the point to which it was directed was attained.’ In a minute every obstacle was surmounted; the enemy fled as we leaped over the trenches and mounds like a pack of noisy hounds in pursuit, frightening them more by our wild hurrahs than actually hurting them by ball or bayonet.

"Two officers (Captain Campbell and Lieutenant Young) and about 60 of inferior rank were all that now remained without a wound of the right wing of the regiment that entered the field in the morning. The flag was hanging in tatters, and stained with the blood of those who had fallen over it The standard, cut in two, had been successively placed in the hands of three officers, who fell as we advanced; it was now borne by a sergeant, while the few remaining soldiers who rallied around it, defiled with mire, sweat, smoke, and blood, stood ready to oppose with the bayonet the advancing column, the front files of which were pouring in destructive showers of musketry among our confused ranks. To have disputed the post with such overwhelming numbers, would have been hazarding the loss of our colours, and could serve no general interest to our army, as we stood between the front of our advancing support and the enemy; we were therefore ordered to retire. The greater number passed through the cottage, now filled with wounded and dying, and leaped from the door that was over the road into the trench of the redoubt among the killed and wounded.

"We were now between two fires of musketry, the enemy to our left and rear, the 79th and left wing of our own regiment in our front. Fortunately the intermediate space did not exceed a hundred paces, and our safe retreat depended upon the speed with which we could perform it. We rushed along like a crowd of boys pursuing the bounding ball to its distant limit, and in an instant plunged into a trench that had been cut across the road: the balls were whistling amongst us and over us; while those in front were struggling to get out, those behind were holding them fast for assistance, and we became firmly wedged together. until a horse without a rider came plunging down on the heads and bayonets of those in his way; they on whom he fell were drowned or smothered, and the gap thus made gave way for the rest to get out.

"The right wing of the regiment, thus broken down and in disorder, was rallied by Captain Campbell (afterwards brevet lieutenant-colonel) and the adjutant (Lieutenant Young) on a narrow road, the steep banks of which served as a cover from the showers of grape that swept over our heads.

"As soon as the smoke began to clear away, the enemy made a last attempt to retake their redoubts, and for this purpose advanced in great force : they were a second time repulsed with great loss, and their whole army was driven into Toulouse." [In a conversation between General Hill and Major-General Stewart (Garth), a few days after the battle, the former, alluding to the attempt of the enemy to take the redoubt, said to General Stewart, "I saw your old friends the Highlanders in a most perilous situation; and had I not known their firmness I should have trembled for the result. As it was, they could not have resisted the force brought against them if they had not been so instantaneously supported." Being asked by General Stewart what was the amount at which he calculated the strength of the enemy’s column of attack, he replied, "Not less than 6000 men." In passing soon afterwards through Languedoc, Stewart stopped to view a brigade of French infantry exercising. The French commanding officer rode up to him, and invited him, with great politeness, to accompany him through the ranks. Talking of the recent battles, the French general concluded his observations thus,— "Well, we are quite satisfied if the English army think we fought bravely, and did our duty well." General Stewart mentioning the Highland corps, "Ah!" said the Frenchman, "these are brave soldiers. If they had good officers, I should not like to meet them unless I was well supported. I put them to the proof on that day." Being asked in what manner, he answered ‘‘that he led the division which attempted to retake the redoubt ;" and on a further question as to the strength of the column, he replied, " More than 6000 men." As General Hill was more than two miles from the field of action, the accuracy of his calculation is remarkable.]

Finding the city, which was now within reach of the guns of the allies, quite untenable, Soult evacuated it the same evening, and was allowed to retire without molestation. Even had he been able to have withstood a siege, he must have soon surrendered for want of the provisions necessary for the support of a population of 60,000 inhabitants, and of his own army, which was now reduced by the casualties of war and recent desertions to 30,000 men.

The loss of the 42d in the battle of Toulouse, was 4 officers, 3 sergeants, and 47 rank and file killed; and 21 officers, 14 sergeants, 1 drummer, and 231 rank and file wounded. The names of the officers killed were Captain John Swanson, Lieutenant William Gordon, Ensigns John Latta and Donald Maccrummen; the wounded were Lieutenant-colonel Robert Macara, Captains James Walker, John Henderson (who died of his wounds), Alexander Mackenzie, and Lieutenants Donald Mackenzie, Thomas Munro, Hugh Angus Fraser, James Robertson, R. A. Mackinnon, Roger Stewart Robert Gordon, Charles Maclaren, Alexander Strange, Donald Farquharson (who died of his wounds), James Watson, William Urquhart; Ensigns Thomas Macniven, Cohn Walker, James Geddes, John Malcolm, and Mungo Macpherson.

The allies entered Toulouse on the morning after the battle, and were received with enthusiasm by the inhabitants, who, doubtless, considered themselves extremely fortunate in being relieved from the presence of the French army, whose retention of the city a few hours longer would have exposed it to all the horrors of a bombardment. By a singular coincidence, official accounts reached Toulouse in the course of the day of the abdication of Buonaparte, and the restoration of Louis XVIII.; but it is said that these despatches had been kept back on the road.

At this time the clothing of the army at large, but the Highland brigade in particular, was in a very tattered state. The clothing of the 91st regiment had been two years in wear; the men were thus under the necessity of repairing their old garments in the best manner they could: some had the elbows of the coats mended with gray cloth, others had the one-half of the sleeves of a different colour from the body; and their trousers were in as bad a condition as their coats.

The 42d, which was the only corps in the brigade that wore the kilt, was beginning to lose it by degrees; men falling sick and left in the rear frequently got the kilt made into trousers, and on joining the regiment again no plaid could be furnished to supply the loss; thus a great want of uniformity prevailed; but this was of minor importance when compared to the want of shoes. As the march continued daily, no time was to be found to repair them, until completely worn out; this left a number to march with bare feet. These men being occasionally permitted to straggle out of the ranks to select the soft part of the roads or fields adjoining, others who had not the same reason to offer for this indulgence followed the example, until each regiment marched regardless of rank, and sometimes mixed with other corps in front and rear.

In consequence of the cessation of hostilities, the British troops removed without delay to their appointed destinations, and the three Highland regiments were embarked for Ireland, where they remained till May 1815, when they were shipped for Flanders, on the return of Buonaparte from Elba. In Ireland the 1st battalion was joined by the effective men of the 2d, which had been disbanded at Aberdeen in October 1814.

The intelligence of Buonaparte’s advance reached Brussels on the evening of the 15th of June, when orders were immediately issued by the Duke of Wellington for the assembling of the troops. The men of the 42d and 92d regiments had become great favourites in Brussels, and were on such terms of friendly intercourse with the inhabitants in whose houses they were quartered, that it was no uncommon thing to see a Highland soldier taking care of the children, and even keeping the shop of his host,—an instance of confidence perhaps unexampled. These two regiments were the first to muster. They assembled with the utmost alacrity to the sound of the well-known pibroch, Come to me and I will give you flesh, - an invitation to the wolf and the raven, for which the next day did, in fact, spread an ample banquet at the expense of our brave countrymen, as well as of their enemies. . . . About four o’clock in the morning of the 16th of June, the 42d and 92d Highland regiments marched through the Place Royal and the Parc. One could not hut admire their fine appearance; their firm, collected, steady, military demeanour, as they went rejoicing to battle, with their bagpipes playing before them, and the beams of the rising sun shining upon their glittering arms. Before that sun had set in the night, how many of that gallant band were laid low! . . . The kind and generous inhabitants assembled in crowds to witness the departure of their gallant friends, and as the Highlanders marched onward with a steady and collected air, the people breathed many a fervent expression for their safety."

The important part taken in the action of Quatre Bras by the Black Watch could not be told better than in the simple words of one who was present, and did his own share of the work, Sergeant Anton of the 42d:-

"On the morning of the 16th June, before the sun rose over the dark forest of Soignes, our brigade, consisting of the 1st, 44th, and 92d regiments, stood in column, Sir Denis Pack at its head, waiting impatiently for the 42d, the commanding-officer of which was chidden severely by Sir Denis for being so dilatory. We took our place in the column, and the whole marched off to the strains of martial music, and amidst the shouts of the surrounding multitude. As we entered the forest of Soignes, our stream of ranks following ranks, in successive sections, moved on in silent but speedy course, like some river confined between two equal banks.

"The forest is of immense extent, and we continued to move on under its welcome shade until we came to a small hamlet, or auberge, imbosomed in the wood to the right of the road. Here we turned to our left, halted, and were in the act of lighting fires, on purpose to set about cooking. We were flattering ourselves that we were to rest there until next day, for whatever reports had reached the ears of our commanders, no alarm had yet rung on ours. Some were stretched under the shade to rest; others sat in groups draining the cup, and we always loved a large one, and it was now almost emptied of three days’ allowance of spirits, a greater quantity than was usually served at once to us on a campaign; others were busily occupied in bringing water and preparing the camp-kettles, for we were of the opinion, as I have already said, that we were to halt there for the day. But, "hark ! a gun one exclaims; every ear is set to catch the sound, and every mouth seems half opened, as if to supersede the faithless ear that doubts of hearing. Again another and another feebly floats through the forest. Every ear now catches the sound, and every man grasps his musket. No pensive looks are seen; our generals’ weather-beaten, war-worn countenances are all well known to the old soldiers, and no throb of fear palpitates in a single breast; all are again ready in column, and again we tread the wood-lined road.

"The distant report of the guns becomes more loud, and our march is urged on with greater speed. We pass through Waterloo, and leave behind the bright fields of Wellington’s fame, —our army’s future glory and England’s pride. Quatre Bras appears in view; the frightened peasantry come running breathless and panting along the way. We move off to the left of the road, behind a gently rising eminence; form column of companies, regardless of the growing crop, and ascend the rising ground: a beautiful plain appears in view, surrounded with belts of wood, and the main road from Brussels runs through it. We now descend to the plain by an echelon movement towards our right, halted on the road (from which we had lately diverged to the left), formed in line, fronting a bank on the right side, whilst the other regiments took up their position to right and left, as directed by our general. A luxuriant crop of grain hid from our view the contending skirmishers beyond, and presented a considerable obstacle to our advance. We were in the act of lying down by the side of the road, in our usual careless manner, as we were wont when enjoying a rest on the line of march, some throwing back their heads on their knapsacks, intending to take a sleep, when General Pack came galloping up, and chid the colonel for not having the bayonets fixed. This roused our attention, and the bayonets were instantly on the pieces.

"Our pieces were loaded, and perhaps never did a regiment in the field seem so short taken. We had the name of a crack corps, but certainly it was not then in that state of discipline which it could justly boast of a few years afterwards. Yet notwithstanding this disadvantage, none could be animated with a fitter feeling for the work before us than prevailed at that moment.

"We were all ready and in line,—"Forward!" was the word of command, and forward we hastened, though we saw no enemy in front. The stalks of the rye, like the reeds that grow on the margin of some swamp, opposed our advance; the tops were up to our bonnets, and we strode and groped our way through as fast as we could. By the time we reached a field of clover on the other side, we were very much straggled; however, we united in line as fast as time and our speedy advance would permit. The Belgic skirmishers retired through our ranks, and in an instant we were on their victorious pursuers. Our sudden appearance seemed to paralyse their advance. The singular appearance of our dress, combined no doubt with our sudden debut, tended to stagger their resolution: we were on them, our pieces were loaded, and our bayonets glittered, impatient to drink their blood. Those who had so proudly driven the Belgians before them, turned now to fly, whilst our loud cheers made the fields echo to our wild hurrahs. France fled or fell before us, and we thought the field our own. We had not yet lost a man, for the victors seldom lose many, except in protracted bard-contested struggles: with one’s face to the enemy, he may shun the deadly thrust or stroke; it is the retreating soldier that destruction pursues.

"We drove on so fast that we almost appeared like a mob following the rout of some defeated faction. Marshal Ney, who commanded the enemy, observed our wild unguarded zeal, and ordered a regiment of lancers to bear down upon us. We saw their approach at a distance, as they issued from a wood, and took them for Brunswickers coming to cut up the f!ying infantry; and as cavalry on all occasions have the advantage of retreating foot, on a fair field, we were halted in order to let them take their way: they were approaching our right flank, from which our skirmishers were extended, and we were far from being in a formation fit to repel an attack, if intended, or to afford regular support to our friends if requiring our aid. I think we stood with too much confidence, gaging towards them as if they had been our friends, anticipating the gallant charge they would make on the flying foe, and we were making no preparative movement to receive them as enemies, further than the reloading of the muskets, until a German orderly dragoon galloped up, exclaiming, "Frauchee! Franchee !" and, wheeling about, galloped off. We instantly formed a rallying square; no time for particularity; every man’s piece was loaded, and our enemies approached at full charge; the feet of their horses seemed to tear up the ground. Our skirmishers having been impressed with the same opinion, that these were Brunswick cavalry, fell beneath their lances, and few escaped death or wounds; our brave colonel fell at this time, pierced through the chin until the point of the lance reached the brain. Captain (now major) Menzies fell, covered with wounds, and a momentary conflict took place over him; he was a powerful man, and, hand to hand, more than a match for six ordinary men. The grenadiers, whom he commanded, pressed round to save or avenge him, but fell beneath the enemy’s lances.

"Of all descriptions of cavalry, certainly the lancers seem the most formidable to infantry, as the lance can be projected with considerable precision, and with deadly effect, without bringing the horse to the point of the bayonet; and it was only by the rapid and well-directed fire of musketry that these formidable assailants were repulsed.

"Colonel Dick assumed the command on the fall of Sir Robert Macara, and was severely wounded. Brevet-maj or Davidson succeeded, and was mortally wounded; to him succeeded Brevet-major Campbell. Thus, in a few minutes we had been placed under four different commanding-officers.

"An attempt was now made to form us in line; for we stood mixed in one irregular mass, —grenadier, light, and battalion companies,—a noisy group; such is the inevitable consequence of a rapid succession of commanders. Our covering sergeants were called out on purpose that each company might form on the right of its sergeants; an excellent plan had it been adopted, but a cry arose that another charge of cavalry was approaching, and this plan was abandoned. We now formed a line on the left of the grenadiers, while the cavalry that had been announced were cutting through the ranks of the 69th regiment. Meantime the other regiments, to our right and left, suffered no less than we; the superiority of the enemy in cavalry afforded him a decided advantage on the open plain, for our British cavalry and artillery had not yet reached the field. We were at this time about two furlongs past the farm of Quatre Bras, as I suppose, and a line of French infantry was about the same distance from us in front, and we had commenced firing at that line, when we were ordered to form square to oppose cavalry. General Pack was at our head, and Major Campbell commanded the regiment. We formed square in an instant, in the centre were several wounded French soldiers witnessing our formation round them; they doubtless considered themselves devoted to certain death among us seeming barbarians; but they had no occasion to speak ill of us afterwards; for as they were already incapable of injuring us, we moved about them regardful of their wounds and suffering.

"Our last file had got into square, and into its proper place, so far as unequalised companies could form a square, when the cuirassiers dashed full on two of its faces: their heavy horses and steel armour seemed sufficient to bury us under them, had they been pushed forward on our bayonets.

"A moment’s pause ensued; it was the pause of death. General Pack was on the right angle of the front face of the square, and he lifted his hat towards the French officer as he was wont to do when returning a salute. I suppose our assailants construed our forbearance as an indication of surrendering: a false idea; not a blow had been struck nor a musket levelled; but when the general raised his hat, it served as a signal, though not a preconcerted one, but entirely accidental; for we were doubtful whether our officer commanding was protracting the order, waiting for the general’s command, as he was present. Be this as it may, a most destructive fire was opened; riders, cased in heavy armour, fell tumbling from their horses; the horses reared, plunged, and fell on the dismounted riders; steel helmets and cuirasses rung against unsheathed sabres, as they fell to the ground; shrieks and groans of men, lte neighing of horses, and the discharge of musketry, rent the air, as men and horses mixed together in one heap of indiscriminate slaughter. Those who were able to fly, fled towards a wood on our right, whence they had issued to the attack, and which seemed to afford an extensive cover to an immense reserve not yet brought into action.

"Once more clear of those formidable and daring assailants, we formed line, examined our ammunition boxes, and found them getting empty. Our officer commanding pointed towards the pouches of our dead and dying comrades, and from them a sufficient supply was obtained.

"We lay down behind the gentle rise of a trodden down field of grain, and enjoyed a few minutes’ rest to our wearied limbs; but not in safety from the flying messengers of death, the whistling music of which was far from lulling us to sleep.

"Afternoon was now far spent, and we were resting in line, without having equalized the companies, for this would have been extremely dangerous in so exposed a position; for the field afforded no cover, and we were in advance of the other regiments. The enemy were at no great distance, and, I may add, firing very actively upon us.

"Our position being, as I have already observed, without any cover from the fire of the enemy, we were commanded to retire to the rear of the farm, where we took up our bivouac on the field for the night.

"Six privates fell into the enemy’s hands; among these was a little lad (Smith Fyfe) about five feet high. The French general, on seeing this diminutive looking lad, is said to have lifted him up by the collar or breech and exclaimed to the soldiers who were near him, "Behold the sample of the men of whom you seem afraid." This lad returned a few days afterwards, dressed in the clothing of a French grenadier, and was saluted by the name of Napoleon, which he retained until he was discharged.

"The night passed off in silence: no fires were lit; every man lay down in rear of his arms, and silence was enjoined for the night. Round us lay the dying and the dead, the latter not yet interred, and many of the former, wishing to breathe their last where they fell, slept to death with their heads on the same pillow on which those who had to toil through the future fortunes of the field reposed."

The principal loss sustained by the Highlanders was at the first onset; yet it was by no means so severe as might have been expected. Lieutenant-colonel Sir Robert Macara, Lieutenant Robert Gordon, and Ensign William Gerrard, 2 sergeants, and 40 rank and file were killed. Including officers, there were 243 wounded.

In the battle of Waterloo, in which the regiment was partially engaged, the 42d had only 5 men killed and 45 wounded. In these last are included the following officers, viz.: Captain Mango Macpherson, Lieutenants John Orr, George Gunn Munro, Hugh Angus Fraser, and James Brander, and Quarter-master Donald Mackintosh. "They fought like heroes, and like heroes they fell—an honour to their country. On many a Highland hill, and through many a Lowland valley, long will the deeds of these brave men he fondly remembered, and their fate deeply deplored. Never did a finer body of men take the field, never did men march to battle that were destined to perform such services to their country, and to obtain such immortal renown."

The Duke of Wellington in his public despatches concerning Quatro Bras and Waterloo paid a high compliment to the 42d. "Among other regiments, I must particularly mention the 28th, 42d, 79th, and 92d, and the battalion of Hanoverian's."

The word "Waterloo," borne on the colours of the regiment, by royal authority, commemorates the gallantry displayed by the regiment on this occasion; a medal was conferred on each officer and soldier; and the privilege of reckoning two years’ service, towards additional pay and pension on discharge, was also granted to the men. It may not be uninteresting to give here a list of the officers of the regiment who were present at the battle of Quatre Bras and Waterloo. It will be seen that while only 3 were killed, few escaped without a wound.

It has been observed, as a remarkable circumstance in the history of the Royal Highlanders, that on every occasion when they fired a shot at an enemy (except at Ticonderoga, where success was almost impossible), they were successful to such an extent at least, that whatever the general issue of the battle might be, that part of the enemy opposed to them never stood their ground, unless the Highlanders were by insurmountable obstacles prevented from closing upon them. Fontenoy even does not form an exception; for although the allies were defeated, the Highlanders carried the points assigned them, and then, as at Ticonderoga, they were the last to leave the field.

As the battle of Waterloo terminates a period of active service and hard lighting in the case of the 42d, as well as of other regiments, and as it had a rest of many years during the long peace, we shall here give a summary of the number of men that entered the regiment, from its formation down to the battle of Waterloo, and the number of those who were killed, wounded, died of sickness, or were discharged during that period.

The grand total of men embodied in the Black Watch and 42d or Royal Highland regiment, from its origin at Tay Bridge in April 1740, to 24th June 1815, exclusive of the second battalion of 1780 and that of 1803, was 8792.

Of these there were killed, during that period, exclusive of 35 officers, 816 

Wounded during the same period, exclusive of 133 officers 2413

Died by sickness, wounds, and various casualties, including those who were discharged and those who volunteered into other regiments, when the 42d left America in 1767, up to 25th June 1793, 2275.

Died by sickness, wounds, and various casualties, from 25th June 1793 to 24th June 1815, 11356.

Discharged during same period, 1485

Unaccounted for during same period, having been left sick in an enemy’s country, prisoners., &c.138.

Total -  8262.

Number remaining in the first battalion on 24th June 1815, 530.

When it is considered that out of seventy-five year’s service, forty-five were spent in active warfare, the trifling loss of the regiment by the enemy will appear extraordinary; and the smallness of that loss can only be accounted for by the determined bravery and firmness of the men, it being now the opinion of military men that troops, who act vigorously, suffer less than those who are slow and cautious in their operations.

After spending several months in the vicinity of Paris, the regiment marched to Calais and embarked for England, arriving at Ramsgate, December 19th 1815. The regiment proceeded by Deal and Dover to Hythe, where it lay two weeks, when it marched to Chelmsford.

After staying two weeks in Chelmsford Barracks, the regiment proceeded northwards to Scotland by easy stages, and was everywhere received with overwhelming enthusiasm and lavish hospitality. At Cambridge, for example, Sergeant Anton, in his Military Life, tells us, the bells welcomed the Royal Highlanders with joy; every table smoked with savoury viands for their entertainment, and every cellar contributed a liberal supply of its best October for their refreshment. The same thing occurred at Huntingdon and other towns, and at several places the men received a donation equal to two day’s pay. And so it was at every town through which the regiment had to pass; the men were feted and petted as if they had saved their country from destruction.

As they approached Edinburgh, the whole population seemed to have poured to welcome them to its arms. Preceded by a guard of cavalry, with its band of music, they entered the city amidst the loud cheering and congratulatory acclamations of friends ; while over their heads, "from a thousand windows, waved as many banners, plaided scarfs, or other symbols of courtly greetings." At Edinburgh they were entertained in a manner that would have made the men of any regiment but a "crack" one completely lose their heads ; but the self-possessed Royal Highlanders, while heartily enjoying the many good things provided for them, and grateful for their hearty welcome, seem never to have forgotten the high reputation they had to maintain.

After this, for many years, the Royal Highlanders had a rest from active service.

[The following is an extract from the account published at the time ; "Tuesday, the first division of the 42d regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Henry Dick (who succeeded to the command of the regiment, on the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Macara, killed at Quatse Bras), marched into the Castle. Major-General Hope, commander of the district, and Colonel David Stewart of Garth, accompanied time Lieutenant-Colonel at time head of the regiment. Not only the streets of the city were crowded beyond all former precedent with spectators, but the windows, and even the house-tops, were occupied. The road from Musselburgh, a distance of six miles, was filled with relations and friends and so great was the crowd, that it was after four o’clock before they arrived at the Castle Hill, although they passed through Portobello about two o’clock. It was almost impossible for these gallant men to get through the people, particularly in the city. All the bells were rung, and they were everywhere received with the loudest acclamations."]


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