Acting upon the liberal plan he had devised, Lord Catham
(then Mr Pitt), in the year 1757 recommended to his Majesty George II to employ the
Highlanders in his service, as the best means of attaching them to his person. The king
approved of the plan of the minister, and letter of service were immediately issued for
raising several Highland regiments. This call to arms was responded to by the clans, and
"battalions on battalions" to borrow the words of an anonymous author,
"were raised in the remotest part of the Highlands, among those who a few years
before were devoted to, and too long had followed the fate or the race of Stuarts.
Fraser, Macdonalds, Camerons, Macleans, Macphersons, and others of disaffected names and
clans, were enrolled; their chiefs or connections obtained commissions; the lower class,
always ready to follow, with eagerness endeavored who should be first listed".
The regiment was called Montgomerie's Highlanders, from the name of its colonel, the Hon.
Archibald Montgomerie, son of the Earl of Eglinton, to whom, when major, letters of
service were issued for recruiting it. Being popular among the Highlanders, Major
Montgomerie soon raised the requisite body of men, who were formed into a regiment of
thirteen companies of 105 rank and file each; making in all 1460 effective men, including
65 sergeants, and 30 pipers and drummers.
The colonel's commission was dated the 4th of January 1757. The commissions of the other
officers were dated each a day later than his senior in the same rank.
The Hon. Archibald Montgomerie, afterwards Earl of Eglinton, died a general in the army,
and colonel of the Scots Greys, in 1796.
James Grant of Ballindalloch, died a general in the army in 1806.
Alexander Mackenzie, killed at St John's, 1761.
William Macdonald, killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
George Munro,killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
Allan Maclean, from the Dutch brigade, colonel of the 84th Highland Emigrants; died
Captain-lietenant Alexander Mackintosh.
Alexander Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
Nichol Sutherland, died Lieutenant-colonel of the 47th regiment, 1780.
William Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne.
Colin Campbell, killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
Hugh Gordon, killed in Martinique, 1762.
Alexander Macdonald, killed at Fort du Quesne.
Hugh Montgomerie, late Earl of Eglinton.
James Maclean, killed in the West Indies, 1761.
John Campbell of Melford.
Archibald Macivar, killed at the Havannah, 1762.
Chaplain - Henry Moore.
Adjutant - Donald Stewart.
Quarter-master - Alex. Montgomerie.
Sugeon - Allan Stewart.
The regiment embarked at Greenock for Halifax, and on the commerncement of hostilities in
1758 was attached to the corps under Brigadier-general Forbes in the expedition against
Fort du Quesne, one of the three great enterprises undertaken that year against the French
possessions in North America. Although the point of attack was not so formidable, nor the
number of the enemy so great, as in the cases of Ticonderoga and Crown Point; yet the
great extent of country which the troops had to traverse covered with woods, morasses, and
mountains, made the expedition as difficult as the other two. The army of General Forbes
was 6238 men strong.
The brigadier reached Raystown, about 90 miles from the Fort, in September, having
apparently stayed some time in Philadelphia.
Having sent Colonel Boquet forward to Loyal Henning, 40 miles nearer with 2000 men, this
officer rashly dispatched Major Grant of Montgomery's with 400 Highlanders and 500
provincials to reconnoiter. When near the garrison Major Grant imprudently advanced with
pipes playing and drums beating, as if entering a friendly town. The enemy instantly
marched out, and a warm contest took place. Major Grant ordered his men to throw off their
coats and advance sword in hand. The enemy fled on the first charge, and spread themselves
among the woods; but being afterwards joined by a body of Indians, they rallied and
surrounded the detachment on all sides. Protected by a thick foliage, they opened a
destructive fire upon the British. Major Grant then endeavored to force his way into the
wood, but was taken in the attempt, on seeing which his troops dispersed. Only 150 of the
Highlanders returned to Loyal Henning.
In this unfortunate affair 231 soldiers of the regiment were killed and wounded. The names
of the officers killed on this occasion have already been mentioned; the following were
wounded: viz Captain Hugh Mackenzie; Lieutenants Alexander Macdonald, junior, Archibald
Robertson, Henry Monro; and Ensigns John Macdonald and Alexander Grant. The enemy did not
venture to oppose the main body, but retired from Fort du Quesne on its approach, leaving
their ammunition, stores, and provisions untouched. General Forbes took possession of the
Fort on the 24th of November, and, in honor of Mr Pitt, gave it the name of Pittsburgh.
The regiment passed the winter of 1758 in Pittsburgh, and in May following they joined
part of the army under General Amherst in his proceedings at Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and
In consequence of the renewed cruelties committed by the Cherokees, in the spring of 1760,
the commander-in-chief detached Colonel Montgomery with 700 Highlanders of his own
regiment, 400 of the Royals, and a body of provincials, to chastise these savages. The
colonel arrived in the neighborhood of the Indian town Little Keowee in the middle of
June, having, on his route, detached the light companies of Royals and Highlanders to
destroy the place. This service was performed with the loss of a few men killed and two
officers of the Royals wounded. Finding, on reaching Estatoe, that the enemy had fled,
Colonel Montgomery retired to Fort Prince George. The Cherokees still proving refractory,
he paid a second visit to the middle settlement, where he met with some resistance. He had
2 officers and 20 men killed, and 26 officers and 68 men wounded. Of these, the
Highlanders had 1 sergeant and 6 privates killed, and Captain Sutherland, Lieutenants
Macmaster and Mackinnon, and Assistant-surgeon Monro, and 1 sergeant, 1 piper, and 24 rank
and file wounded. The detachment took Fort Loudon, a small fort on the confines of
Virginia, which was defended by 200 men.
The next service in which Montgomery's Highlanders were employed was in an expedition
against Dominique, consisting of a small land force, which included six companies of
Montgomery's Highlanders and four ships of war, under Colonel Lord Rollo and Commodore Sir
James Douglas. The transports from New York were scattered in a gale of wind, when a small
transport, with a company of the Highlanders on board, being attacked by a French
privateer, was beaten off by the Highlanders, with the loss of Lieutenant Maclean and 6
men killed, and Captain Robertson and 11 men wounded. The expedition arrived off Dominique
on the 6th of June 1761. The troops immediately landed, and marched with little opposition
to the town of Roseeau. Lord Rollo without delay attacked the entrenchments, and, though
the enemy kept up a galling fire, they were driven, in succession, from all their works by
the grenadiers, light infantry, and Highlanders. This service was executed with such
vigour and rapidity that few of the British suffered. The governor and his staff being
made prisoners, surrendered the island without further opposition.
In the following year Montgomery's Highlanders joined the expeditions against Martinique
and the Havannah, of which an account will be found in the narrative of the service of the
42d regiment. In the enterprise against Martinique, 1 sergeant, and 26 rank and file, were
wounded. Montgomery's Highlanders suffered still less in the conquest of the Havannah,
Lieutenant Macvicar and 2 privates only having been killed, and 6 privates wounded.
Lieutenants Grant and Macnab and 6 privates died of the fever. After this last enterprise
Montgomery's Highlanders returned to New York, where they landed in the end of October.
Before the return of the six companies to New York, the two companies that had been sent
against the Indians in the autumn of 1761, had embarked with a small force, under Colonel
Amherst, destined o retake St John's, Newfoundland, which was occupied by a French force.
The British force, which consisted of the flank companies of the Royals, a detachment of
the 45th, two companies of Fraser's and Montgomery's Highlanders, and a small party of
provincials, landed on the 12th of September, seven miles to the northward of St. John's.
A mortar battery having been completed on the 17th, and ready to open on the garrison, the
French commander surrendered by capitulation to an inferior force. Of Montgomery's
Highlanders, Captain Mackenzie and 4 privates were killed and 2 privates wounded.
After this service the two companies joined the regiment at New York, where they passed
the ensuing winter. In the summer of 1763 a detachment accompanied the expedition sent to
the relief of Fort Pitt under Colonel Bouquet, the details of which have been already
given in the account of the 42d regiment. In this enterprise 1 drummer and 5 privates of
Montgomery's Highlanders were killed, and Lieutenant Donald Campbell, and Volunteers John
Peebles, 3 sergeants and 7 privates were wounded.
After the termination of hostilities an offer was made to the officers and men either to
settle in America or return to their own country. Those who remained obtained a grant of
land in proportion to their rank. On the breaking out of the American war a number of
these, as well as officers and men of the 78th regiment, joined the royal standard in
1775, and formed a corps along with the Highland Emigrants in the 84th regiment.