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Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland


Part III

Military Annals of the Highland Regiments

Section III

Operations in America

Embark for New York, 1756—Louisburg, 1757—Ticonderoga, 1758—Louisburg, 1758—Fort Du Quesne, 1758—West In-dies, 1759—Guadaloupe, 1749.

In the year 1754, mutual encroachments on their respective territories in the Western world led to hostilities between the English and the French in that quarter. Several skirmishes were fought on the frontiers. The first of these, in point of importance, was an attack on a post commanded by Major (afterwards the celebrated General) Washington, which the French claimed as within their territories. Washington, after a good defence, surrendered by capitulation. This affair, which gave the first proof of Washington's military talents, excited a considerable sensation in England; but nothing further was done, than to direct our ambassador to make a representation on the subject to the French Court. In this manner hostilities were continued for nearly two years, till at length, in May 1756, war was formally declared.

A body of troops, the Highlanders forming a part, were embarked under the command of Lieutenant-General James Abercromby, and landed at New York, in June 1756. These were soon followed by more troops, under the Earl of Loudon, who was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the army in North America. An active war was now expected ; but much valuable time was wasted in holding councils of war, in making preparations, and in accustoming the troops to what were called the usages of war. The general was so occupied with schemes for improving the condition of his troops, that he seemed to have no time for employing them against the enemy, and allowed a whole season to pass away without undertaking a single enterprise. In the mean time, the Marquis de Montcalm, the commander of the French army, carried on, with great activity, an irregular warfare, by skirmishes and detached incursions, exceedingly distressing to the inhabitants, and destructive to the British troops.

The Forts of Ontario, Oswego, Granville, &c. fell in succession. Oswego, under the command of Colonel Mercer, held out for two days, when he was killed ; and the death of their brave commander so dispirited the garrison that they surrendered immediately. By the terms of capitulation, it was agreed that the troops should be protected from plunder, and conducted safely as prisoners to Montreal. These terms were most scandalously violated. The troops were robbed and insulted by the Indians; several were shot as they stood defenceless on the parade; and, to crown all, Montcalm gave up twenty of the men to the Indians, to be sacrificed by them to the manes of their countrymen, who had fallen in battle. Montcalm attempted to exonerate himself from the reproach of such inhuman conduct, by alleging that the British soldiers gave spirits to the Indians, and that, in their intoxication, these excesses were committed; though he did not explain how his prisoners came to have spirits at their disposal.

Some time previous to this, several changes and promotions took place in the 42d regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell (the late Duke of Argyll) was promoted to the command of the 54th regiment, and was succeeded by Major Grant; [When the men understood that there was to be a vacancy in the regiment, by the promotion of Colonel Campbell, they came forward with a sum of money, subscribed among themselves, to purchase the Lieutenant-Colonelcy for Major Grant; but the promotion going in the regiment without purchase, the money was not required.] Captain Duncan Campbell of Inveraw was advanced to the majority; Thomas Graeme of Duchray, James Abercromby, son of General Abercromby of Glassa, then their Commander-in-Chief in America, and John Campbell of Strachur, were appointed captains; Lieutenant John Campbell, captain-lieutenant; Ensigns Kenneth Tolme, James Grant, John Graeme, brother of Duchray, Hugh M'Pherson, Alexander Turnbull of Stracathro, and Alexander Campbell, son of Barcaldine, were appointed lieutenants ; and from the half-pay list were taken, Lieutenants Alexander M'Intosh, James Gray, William Baillie, Hugh Arnot, William Sutherland, John Small, and Archibald Campbell; the ensigns were, James Campbell, Archibald Lamont, Duncan Campbell, George M'Lagan, Patrick Balneaves, son of Edradour, Patrick Stewart, son of Bon-skeid, Norman M'Leod, George Campbell, and Donald Campbell.

Previous to the departure of the regiment from Ireland, officers with parties had been sent to Scotland to recruit. So successful were these, that in the month of June, seven hundred recruits were embarked at Greenock for America. When the Highland regiments landed on that continent, their garb and appearance attracted much notice. The Indians, in particular, were delighted to see a European regiment in a dress so similar to their own. [A gentleman in New York wrote, that, "when the Highlanders landed, they were caressed by all ranks and orders of men, but more particularly by the Indians. On the march to Albany, the Indians flocked from all quarters to see the strangers, who, they believed, were of the same extraction as themselves, and therefore received them as brothers."]

During the whole of 1756, the regiment remained inactive in Albany. In the winter and spring of 1757, they were drilled and disciplined for bush-fighting and sharp-shooting,—a species of warfare for which they were well fitted, being in general good marksmen, and expert in the management of their arms. Their ardour and impatience, however, often hurried them from their cover, when they ought to have remained concealed.

In the beginning of summer, a plan was laid for an attack on Louisburg. In the month of June, Lord Loudon embarked, with Major-General Abercromby and the 22d, 42d, 44th, 48th, 2d and 4th battalions of the 60th, together with 600 Rangers; making in all 5300 men. Proceeding to Halifax with this force, he was there reinforced by Major-Generals Hopson, Lord Charles Hay, Colonels Lord Howe and Forbes, with Fraser's and Montgomerie's Highlanders, and the 43d, 46th, and 55th regiments, lately arrived from England. The united force amounted to 10,500 men.

The fleet and army were on the eve of departing from Halifax, when information was received that the Brest fleet, consisting of 17 sail of the line, besides frigates, had arrived in the harbour of Louisburg. This intelligence suspended the preparations, and several councils of war were held. Opinions differed widely, and were maintained with considerable warmth.

[At one of those councils, Lord Charles Hay, son of the Marquis of Tweed-dale, a gallant and enterprising officer, so far lost his temper, as to openly accuse the commander-in-chief of designedly wasting, by his delay and inert movements, the great force placed by his country under his command; movements, as he said, dictated by timidity, and leading to the certain disgrace of our arms.

Lord Charles was put under arrest, and ordered home to be tried; but his death, occasioned, as was supposed, by anxiety of mind, prevented the intended court-martial.]

However, it was at length resolved, that, as the place was so powerfully reinforced, and the season so far advanced, the enterprise should be deferred till a more favourable opportunity. Lord Loudon returned soon after to New York, taking with him the Highlanders and four other regiments. During his absence, the enemy had been most active. Montcalm, as soon as he heard of the expedition intended for Louisburg, collected all his disposable forces, including the Indians, and a large train of artillery, amounting in all to more than 8000 men, and laid siege to Fort William Henry, garrisoned by 3000 men, under the command of Colonel Munro. General Webb, with 4000 men, was stationed at Fort Edward, at the distance of six miles. The siege was conducted with vigour, and in six days after its commencement, Colonel Munro surrendered, on condition that his garrison should not serve for eighteen months. The garrison were allowed to march out with their arms and two field pieces. As soon as they were without the gate, they were attacked by the Indians, who committed all sorts of outrages and barbarities; the French, as they said, being unable to restrain them.

Thus terminated this campaign in America, undistinguished by the acquisition of any object, or the performance of a single action which might compensate the loss of territory and the sacrifice of lives. With an inferior force, the enemy had been successful at every point, and, by the acquisition of Fort William Henry, had obtained complete command of the Lakes George and Champlain. The destruction of Oswego gave the dominion of those Lakes, which connect the St Lawrence with the Mississippi, and opened a direct communication from Canada; while, by the possession of Fort du Quesne, they obtained an ascendancy, which enabled them to preserve their alliance with the Indians. The misfortunes attending our arms in America were, in a great measure, to be ascribed to the state of the government at home, distracted by contending factions, and enfeebled by frequent revolutions of counsels and parties. So rapid and so great were frequently the changes of men and measures, that officers knew not how their services would be appreciated, and thus lost one of the most powerful incentives to action, in the apprehension, that the services performed agreeably to the instructions of one minister, might be disapproved of by his successor. Few opportunities of distinguishing themselves were thus offered to the troops, and, excepting the abortive expedition designed a-gainst Louisburg, the 42d regiment had no particular duty assigned them during this year.

By the addition of three new companies and the junction of 700 recruits, the corps was now augmented to upwards of 1300 men, all Highlanders, for at that period none else were admitted into the regiment. To the three additional companies the following officers were appointed; James Murray, son of Lord George Murray, James Stewart of Urrard, and Thomas Stirling, son of Sir Henry Stirling of Ardoch, to be captains; Simon Blair, David Barklay, Archibald Campbell, Alexander Mackay, Alexander Menzies, and David Mills, to be lieutenants ; Duncan Stewart, George Rattray, and Alexander Farquharson, to be ensigns: and the Reverend James Stewart to be assistant chaplain.

In the autumn of this year the command of the army again devolved on Lieutenant-General Abercromby, Lord Loudon having been recalled.

The campaign of 1758 opened with brighter prospects. By a change in the Cabinet of the mother country, new spirit was infused into her councils, and the stimulus of popular favour imparted energy and alacrity to the schemes of the new ministers. The command was transferred to new officers, in whom confidence was reposed, and who, relying on the due appreciation of their conduct, undertook, with energy, every enterprise which was proposed to them. A great naval armament, and a military force of 52,000 men, of whom 22,200 were regulars, perfectly fitted for action, afforded the best hopes of a vigorous and successful campaign, and, in the present more favourable expectations, people were willing to forget the delays, disappointments, and disasters, to which they had, for the last three years, been accustomed.

Admiral Boscawen was appointed to command the fleet, and Major-General Amherst, and Brigadier-Generals Wolfe, Townsend, and Murray, were added to the military staff. Three expeditions were proposed for this year. The first was designed to renew the attempt upon Louisburg; the second was to be directed against Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and the third against Fort du Quesne, a position from which the French, in conjunction with their Indian allies, had been in the habit of making incursions into the neighbouring state.

The expedition against Ticonderoga was undertaken by General Abercromby, the Commander-in-Chief. The force allotted for the purpose amounted to 15,390 men, consisting of the 27th, 44th, 46th, 55th, Lord John Murray's Highlanders, and the 1st and 4th battalions of the 60th; in all 6337 of the line, with 9024 provincials, and a respectable train of artillery.

Ticonderoga, situated on a point of land between Lake Champlain and Lake George, is surrounded on three sides with water, and on one half of the fourth by a morass. The remaining part was strongly fortified with high entrenchments, supported and flanked by three batteries, and the whole front of that part which was accessible intersected by deep traverses, and blocked up with felled trees, with their branches turned outwards, and their points first sharpened, and then hardened by fire; forming altogether a most formidable defence. The troops were embarked in boats on Lake George, and landing without opposition, were formed into two parallel columns. In this order they marched, on the 6th of July, to the enemy's advanced post, which was abandoned without a shot. The march was continued in the same order, but the ground not having been previously examined, and the guides proving extremely ignorant, the columns came in contact, and were thrown into confusion. A detachment of the enemy, which had got bewildered in the wood, fell in with the right column, at the head of which was Lord Howe. A smart skirmish ensued, in which the enemy were driven back and scattered, with considerable loss. This petty advantage was dearly purchased by the death of Lord Howe, who was killed in the beginning of the skirmish, and who was deeply and universally regretted, as a young nobleman of the most promising talents. "He had distinguished himself in a peculiar manner by his courage, activity, and rigid observance of military discipline, and had acquired the esteem and affection of the soldiery by his generosity, sweetness of manners, and engaging address." He was indeed the life and soul of the expedition, and his death threw a damp over all. General Abercromby, perceiving that the men were fatigued, ordered them to march back to the landing-place, which they reached about eight o'clock in the evening. Next morning he again advanced to the attack, his operations being hastened by information obtained from the prisoners, that General Levi, with 3000 men, was advancing to succour Ticonderoga. The garrison already consisted of 5000 men, of whom, according to the French account, 2800 were French troops of the line, stationed behind the traverses and felled trees in front of the fort. Alarmed at the report of this unexpected reinforcement, the General determined to strike a decisive blow before a junction could be effected. He, therefore, ordered the engineer to reconnoitre the state of the entrenchments; and report being made that these were still unfinished, and might be attempted with a prospect of success, the necessary dispositions for the attack were immediately formed. The picquets were to commence the assault, and to be followed by the grenadiers, supported by the battalions and reserve. The reserve was composed of the Highlanders, and the 55th regiment, which had been Lord Howe's. When the troops marched up to the entrenchments, they were surprised to find a regularly fortified breast-work, which, with its formidable chevaux-de-frize (defended by so strong a force in its rear), could not be approached without the greatest exertions, particularly as the artillery had not yet been brought up. Unexpected and disheartening as these obstructions were, the troops displayed the greatest resolution, though exposed to a most destructive fire, from an enemy well covered, and enabled to take deliberate aim, with little danger to themselves. The Highlanders, impatient at being left in the rear, could not be restrained, and rushing forward from the reserve, were soon in the front, endeavouring to cut their way through the trees with their broadswords. These weapons were here particularly useful; indeed, without them, no man could have pierced through this species of defence. Much time was lost in this preliminary operation, and many men had fallen from the fire of the strong body who manned the trenches in rear of the trees, and who retreated within the fort when the assailants penetrated the exterior defences. This destructive fire from the fort was continued with great effect. No ladders had been provided for scaling the breast-work. The soldiers were obliged to climb up on each other's shoulders, and, by fixing their feet in the holes which they had made with their swords and bayonets in the face of the work, while the defenders were so well prepared that the instant a man reached the top, he was thrown down. At length, after great exertions, Captain John Campbell, [This officer has been already mentioned as one of the two soldiers presented to George II. in the year 1745.] with a few men, forced their way over the breast-work, but were instantly dispatched with the bayonet. After persevering for four hours under such disadvantageous and disheartening circumstances, the General, despairing of success, gave orders for a retreat; but the soldiers had become so exasperated by the unexpected check which they had received, and the loss of so many of their comrades, that they could with difficulty be recalled. The Highlanders in particular were so obstinate, that it was not till after the third order from the General that the commanding officer, Colonel Grant, was able to prevail upon them to retreat, leaving on the field more than one-half of the men, and two-thirds of the officers, either killed or desperately wounded.

This impetuosity of Highland soldiers, and the difficulty of controlling them, in the most important part of a soldier's duty, has been frequently noticed and reprobated. To forget necessary discretion, and break loose from command, is certainly an unmilitary characteristic; but, as it proceeds from a very honourable principle, it deserves serious consideration, how far any attempt to allay this ardour may be prudent, or advantageous to the service. An officer of judgment and feeling, acquainted with the character of his soldiers, and disposed to allow this chivalrous spirit full play, will never be at a loss for a sufficient check. It is easier to restrain than to animate. It has also been observed, that the modern Highland corps display less of that chivalrous spirit which marked the earlier corps from the mountains. If there be any good ground for this observation, it may probably be attributed to this, that these corps do not consist wholly of native Highlanders. If strangers are introduced among them, even admitting them to be the best of soldiers, still they are not Highlanders. The charm is broken,- the conduct of such a corps must be divided, and cannot be called purely national. The motive which made the Highlanders, when united, fight for the honour of their name, their clan, and district, is by this mixture lost. Officers, also, who are strangers to their language, habits, and peculiar modes of thinking, cannot be expected to understand their character, their feelings, and their prejudices, which, under judicious management, have so frequently stimulated to honourable conduct, although they have sometimes served to excite the ridicule of those who knew not the dispositions and cast of character on which they were founded. But if Highland soldiers are judiciously commanded in quarters, treated with kindness and confidence by their officers, and led into action with spirit, it cannot on any good grounds be alleged that there is any deficiency of that firmness and courage which formerly distinguished them, although it may be readily allowed that much of the romance of the character is lowered. The change of manners in their native country will sufficiently account for this.

[The recent statistical changes in the Highlands have set to flight poetry, chivalry, and all remembrance of warlike achievements. These have now given way to stories of squabbles with excise officers, the feats of smugglers, or the adroitness of speculators and bankrupts, seasoned by the cant of pretended inspirations of the gospel; by political and religious tracts, of which they do not comprehend the scope or object; by complaints of the harshness of landlords, and discussions on the legality of distraining for rent, or rouping out. These are the subjects which modern civilization and improvement have provided for the present generation of Highland soldiers, and in which they are to form their education, their habits, and a military, chivalrous spirit.]

But, even if their former sentiments and ancient habits had still been cherished in their native glens, the young soldier could not easily retain them, if mixed with other soldiers, strangers to his language, his country, poetry, traditions of battles and of acts of prowess. These companions would be more disposed to jeer and deride, than to listen to what they did not understand.

In the earlier part of the service of the 42d regiment, and when the ancient habits of the people remained unchanged, the soldiers retained much of these habits in their camps and quarters. They had their bards for reciting ancient poems and tales, and composing laments, elegies, and panegyrics on departed friends. These, as they were generally appropriate, so they were highly useful, when none were present to hear them but those who understood them, and whom they could warm and inspire. Another cause has contributed to change the character of the Highland soldier. This is the reserved, haughty, and distant etiquette of modern manners and military discipline. When many of the officers were natives of the mountains, they spoke in their own language to the men, who, in their turn, addressed the officers with that easy but respectful familiarity and confidence which subsisted between the Highland people and their superiors. Another privilege of a Highlander of the old school, was that of remonstrating and counselling where the case seemed to him to require it.

[In my time, much of that which I have here described had disappeared. The men had acquired new habits from their being in camps and barracks. However, many old soldiers still retained their original manners, exhibiting much freedom and ease in their communications with the officers. I joined the regiment in 1789, a very young soldier. Colonel Graham, the commanding officer, gave me a steady old soldier, named William Fraser, as my servant,—perhaps as my adviser and director. I know not that he had received any instructions on that point, but Colonel Graham himself could not have been more frequent and attentive in his remonstrances, and cautious with regard to my conduct and duty, than my old soldier was, when he thought he had cause to disapprove. These admonitions he always gave me in Gaelic, calling me by my Christian name, with an allusion to the colour of my hair, which was fair, or bane, never prefixing Mr or Ensign, except when he spoke in English. However contrary to the common rules, and however it might surprise those unaccustomed to the manners of the people, to hear a soldier or a servant calling his master simply by his name, my honest old monitor was one of the most respectful, as he was one of the most faithful, of servants.]

It frequently happened, also, that they would become sureties, on their own responsibility, for the good conduct of one another; and, as responsibility implies regularity of conduct and respectability of character, these suretyships had the most beneficial influence on the men. But things are now managed differently. The Highland soldier is brave, and will always prove so, if properly commanded; but the chivalry of the character has almost disappeared, and officers may now entertain less dread that their men will disobey orders, and persevere in a disastrous and hopeless conflict. But their character must be acted upon by some powerful cause indeed, unless they continue to be, what they have always been, and what they proved themselves to be at Ticonderoga,—first in the attack, and last in the retreat, which, after all, was made deliberately, and in good order.

The enemy appeared to be so well satisfied with the defence which they had made, that they kept within their lines, without attempting either to pursue or to annoy the wounded, who were all carried away. These amounted to 65 officers, 1178 non-commissioned officers and soldiers: 23 officers, and 567 rank and file, were killed. Of these the 42d regiment had 8 officers, 9 serjeants, and 297 men, killed; and 17 officers, 10 Serjeants, and 306 soldiers, wounded. The officers were, Major Duncan Campbell of Inveraw, Captain John Campbell, Lieutenants George Farquharson, [One of the lieutenants killed that day was remarked for great firmness of character and good sense. Yet he could not shake off a presentiment that seized him the morning of the action that he would be killed. He gave some directions about his family affairs to Captain Stewart of Urrard and Lieutenant Farquharson. Captain Stewart endeavoured to remove this impression; but when he found that his arguments had no effect, he recommended to him to exchange his turn of duty; to which he answered, "I know you are my friend, otherwise I would consider your proposal an insult." He marched at the head of the grenadier company, and was shot through the breast by the first discharge.]

Hugh M'Pherson, William Baillie, and John Sutherland, Ensigns Patrick Stewart, brother of Bonskied, and George Rattray—killed: Captains Gordon Graham, Thomas Graham of Duchray, John Campbell of Strachur, James Stewart of Urrard, James Murray, (afterwards General;) Lieutenants James Grant, Robert Gray, John Campbell, William Grant, John Graham, brother of Duchray, Alexander Campbell, Alexander Mackintosh, Archibald Campbell, David Miller, Patrick Balneaves; and Ensigns John Smith and Peter Grant—wounded.

Severe as their loss was on this occasion, the regiment had the greatest gratification that soldiers could receive in such cases—the approbation of their country. No encomiums could be stronger than those bestowed on their conduct in that affair. The periodical publications of the time are full of anecdotes and panegyrics of the corps. I select, from a great number, the two following letters. The first is from an officer of the 55th, or Lord Howe's regiment: "With a mixture of esteem, grief, and envy, I consider the great loss and immortal glory acquired by the Scots Highlanders in the late bloody affair. Impatient for orders, they rushed forward to the entrenchments, which many of them actually mounted. They appeared like lions, breaking from their chains. Their intrepidity was rather animated than damped by seeing their comrades fall on every side. I have only to say of them, that they seemed more anxious to revenge the cause of their deceased friends, than careful to avoid the same fate. By their assistance, we expect soon to give a good account of the enemy and of ourselves. There is much harmony and friendship between us." [St James's Chronicle.] The next is an extract of a letter from an officer (Lieutenant William Grant) of the old Highland regiment, [By this name the original Highland corps was now called, in contradistinction to those raised in the Seven Years' War.] not so enthusiastic as that of the English officer, but containing apparently a candid detail of circumstances: "The attack began a little past one in the afternoon, and, about two, the fire became general on both sides, which was exceedingly heavy, and without any intermission, insomuch, that the oldest soldier present never saw so furious and incessant a fire. The affair at Fontenoy was nothing to it: I saw both. We laboured under insurmountable difficulties. The enemy's breastwork was about nine or ten feet high, upon the top of which they had plenty of wall-pieces fixed, and which was well lined in the inside with small arms. But the difficult access to their lines was what gave them a fatal advantage over us. They took care to cut down monstrous large oak trees, which covered all the ground from the foot of their breastwork about the distance of a cannon shot every way in their front. This not only broke our ranks, and made it impossible for us to keep our order, but put it entirely out of our power to advance till we cut our way through. I have seen men behave with courage and resolution before now, but so much determined bravery can be hardly equalled in any part of the history of ancient Rome. Even those that were mortally wounded cried aloud to their companions, not to mind or lose a thought upon them, but to follow their officers, and to mind the honour of their country. Nay, their ardour was such, that it was difficult to bring them off. They paid dearly for their intrepidity. The remains of the regiment had the honour to cover the retreat of the army, and brought off the wounded as we did at Fontenoy. When shall we have so fine a regiment again? I hope we shall be allowed to recruit." This hope was soon realized; for at this time letters of service were issued for adding a second battalion, and an order to make the regiment Royal, "as a testimony of his Majesty's satisfaction and approbation of the extraordinary courage, loyalty, and exemplary conduct of the Highland regiment. ". This mark of approbation was the more gratifying, as it was conferred before the conduct of the corps at Ticonderoga was known in England; for, if their previous conduct was considered worthy of approval, their gallantry at Ticonderoga would have given an additional claim.

The vacancies occasioned in the 42d by the deaths at Ticonderoga were filled up in regular succession. The second battalion was to be formed of the three additional companies raised the preceding year, and of seven companies to be immediately recruited. These were completed in three months, and embodied at Perth in October 1758, each company being 120 men strong, all Highlanders, with a few exceptions, [Eighteen Irishmen were enlisted at Glasgow by two officers anxious to obtain commissions. Lord John Murray's orders were peremptory, that none but Highlanders should be taken. It happened in this case that several of the men were O'Donnels, O'Lachlans, O'Briens, &c. The O was changed to Mac; and they passed muster as true Macdonnels, Maclachlans, and Mac-briars, without being questioned.] and hardy and temperate in their habits. The seven companies formed a battalion of 840 men, the other three companies having previously embarked for America to reinforce the first battalion.

The officers appointed to the seven additional companies were, Francis M'Lean, Alexander Sinclair, John Stewart of Stenton, William Murray, son of Lintrose, Archibald Campbell, Alexander Reid, and Robert Arbuthnot, to be captains; Alexander M'Lean, George Grant, George Sinclair, Gordon Clunes, Adam Stewart, John Robertson, son of Lude, John Grant, James Fraser, George Leslie, John Campbell, Alexander Stewart, Duncan Richardson, and Robert Robertson, to be lieutenants; and Patrick Sinclair, John M'Intosh, James M'DufF, Thomas Fletcher, Alexander Donaldson, William M'Lean, and Willam Brown, to be ensigns.

So much was the General disconcerted by his disaster at Ticonderoga, that he immediately embarked his army, and sailed across Lake George to his former camp. Yet, unfortunate as the result of that affair was, the nation was highly satisfied with the conduct of the army; and the regret occasioned by the loss of so many valuable lives was alleviated by the hope, that an enterprise, so gallantly though unsuccessfully conducted, offered a fair presage of future success and glory.

The old Highland regiment having suffered so severely, and the second battalion being ordered on another service, (to the West Indies), they were not employed again this year. But as it is part of my plan to give a detailed narrative of the military service of all corps raised in the Highlands ; with a view to preserve an uniformity in combined operations, I shall now trace the movements of an expedition against Louisburg, in which Fraser's Highlanders [See article Fraser's Highlanders, 2d vol.] were employed, and then follow those of the expedition against Fort du Quesne, under Brigadier-General Forbes, with Montgomery's Highlanders. [See article Montgomery's Highlanders, 2d vol.]

For the first of these enterprises a formidable armament sailed from Halifax on the 28th May, under the command of Admiral Boscawen and Major-General Amherst, and Brigadier-Generals Wolfe, Lawrence, Monckton, and Whitmore. This armament, consisting of twenty-five sail of the line, eighteen frigates, and a number of bomb and fire-ships, with the Royals, 15th, 17th, 22d, 28th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 47th, 58th, the 2d and 3d battalions of the 60th, 78th Highlanders, and New England Rangers—in all, 13,094 men, anchored on the 2d of June in Garbarus Bay, seven miles from Louisburg. This garrison was defended by the Chevalier Ducour, with 2500 regulars, 600 militia, and 400 Canadians and Indians. Six ships of the line and five frigates protected the harbour, at the mouth of which three of the frigates were sunk. The fleet was six days on the coast before a landing could be attempted; a heavy surf continually rolling with such violence, that no boat could approach the shore. On the accessible parts of the coast, a chain of posts had been established, extending more than seven miles along the beach, with entrenchments and batteries. On the 8th of June, when the violence of the surf had somewhat abated, a landing was effected.

The troops were disposed for landing in three divisions. That on the left, which was destined for the real attack, was commanded by Brigadier-General Wolfe. It was composed of the grenadiers and light infantry of the army, and Fraser's Highlanders. The landing place was occupied by 2000 men, entrenched behind a battery of eight pieces of cannon and ten swivels. Reserving their fire till the boats were near the beach, the enemy opened a discharge of cannon and musquetry. The surf aided their fire. Many of the boats were upset or dashed to pieces on the rocks, and numbers of the men were killed or drowned before they could reach the land. At this time Captain Baillie and Lieutenant Cuthbert of the Highlanders, Lieutenant Nicholson of Amherst's, and thirty-eight men, were killed. "But nothing could stop our troops when headed by such a general (Wolfe). Some of the light infantry and Highlanders got first ashore, and drove all before them. The rest followed ; and, being encouraged by the example of their heroic commander, soon pursued the enemy to the distance of two miles, when they were checked by a canonnading from the town."

For a few days offensive operations proceeded very slowly. The continued violence of the weather retarded the landing of the stores and provisions, and the nature of the ground, in some places very rocky, and in others a morass, presented many serious obstacles. These difficulties, however, yielded to the perseverance and exertions of the troops. The first operation was to secure a point called the Light House Battery, from which the guns could play on the ships and on the batteries on the opposite side of the harbour. On the 12th, General Wolfe performed this service with his usual vigour and activity; and "with his Highlanders and flankers," took possession of this and all the other posts in that quarter, with very trifling loss. On the 25th, the fire from this post silenced the island battery immediately opposite. An incessant fire was, however, kept up from the other batteries and shipping of the enemy. On the 9th of July, the enemy made a sortie on Brigadier-General Lawrence's brigade, but were quickly repulsed. In this skirmish fell Captain the Earl of Dundonald. On the 16th, Brigadier-General Wolfe pushed forward some grenadiers and Highlanders, and took possession of the hills in front of the battery, where a lodgement was made, under a fire from the town and the ships. On the 21st, one of the enemy's line-of-battle ships caught fire and blew up, com-municating the fire to two others, which burned to the water's edge. This loss nearly decided the fate of the town. The enemy's fire was almost totally silenced, and their fortifications were shattered to the ground. To effect the possession of the harbour, one decisive blow remained yet to be struck. For this purpose, the admiral sent a detachment of 600 seamen in boats, to take or burn the two ships of the line which remained, determining, if the attempt should succeed, to send in some of the large ships to batter the town on the side of the harbour. This enterprise was gallantly executed by the Captains Laforey and Balfour, who towed off one of the ships, and set the other on fire in the place where she grounded. The town surrendered on the 26th July, and on the 27th Colonel Lord Rollo marched in and took possession: the garrison and seamen, amounting to 5637 men, were made prisoners of war. Thus, with the expense of 12 officers, 3 sergeants, and 150 soldiers killed, and 25 officers, 4 sergeants, and 325 soldiers wounded, the British obtained possession of Cape Breton and the strong town of Louisburg, and destroyed a powerful fleet. Except the Earl of Dundonald, no officer of rank was killed. The Highlanders lost Captain Baillie, and Lieutenants Cuthbert, Fraser, and Murray, killed ; Captain Donald M'Donald, Lieutenants Alexander Campbell (Barcaldine) and John M'Donald, wounded; and 67 rank and file killed and wounded.

The news of this conquest diffused a general joy over Britain. Eleven pair of colours were, by his Majesty's orders, carried in full procession, escorted by the horse and foot guards, from Kensington Palace to St Paul's, and there deposited under a discharge of cannon; and addresses of congratulation were sent to the King by a number of towns and corporations.

The third great enterprise of the year 1758 was that undertaken by Brigadier-General Forbes against Fort du Quesne. The prodigious extent of country which he had to traverse, through woods without roads, and over mountains and morasses almost impassable, rendered this expedition no less difficult than the other two, although the point of attack was less formidable, and the number of the enemy inferior. His army consisted of Montgomery's Highlanders, 1284 strong, 554 of the Royal Americans, and 4400 Provincials ; in all, 6238 men.

In July the Brigadier marched from Philadelphia; and, after surmounting many difficulties, in the month of September he reached Raystown, ninety miles distant from Da Quesne. Thence he sent forward Colonel Bouquet, with 2000 men, to Loyal Henning, fifty miles in advance, whence this officer despatched Major James Grant [Afterwards General Grant of Ballindalloch.] of Montgomery's, with 400 Highlanders and 500 Provincials, to reconnoitre Fort du Quesne, distant about forty miles. If Colonel Bouquet endangered this detachment by sending forward a small force so far beyond the possibility of support from he main body, the conduct of Major Grant did not lessen the risk. When near the garrison, he advanced with pipes laying and drums beating, as if he had been going to enter a friendly town. The enemy did not wait to be attacked. Alarmed at this noisy advance, they marched out to meet the assailants, when a desperate conflict ensued. Major Grant ordered his men to throw off their coats, and advance sword in hand. The enemy fled on the first charge, and rushed into the woods, where they spread themselves; but, being afterwards joined by a body of Indians, they rallied, and surrounded the detachment on all sides. Being themselves concealed by a thick foliage, their heavy and destructive fire could not be returned with any effect. Major Grant was taken in an attempt to force into the wood, where he observed the thickest of the fire. On losing their commander, and seeing so many officers killed and wounded, the troops dispersed. About 150 of the Highlanders got back to Loyal Henning.

Major Grant was taken prisoner, and 231 soldiers of his regiment were killed and wounded. Captains Monro and M'Donald, and Lieutenants Alexander M'Kenzie, Colin Campbell, William M'Kenzie, Alexander M'Donald, and Roderick M'Kenzie, were killed; and Captain Hugh M'Kenzie, Lieutenants Alexander M'Donald junior, Archibald Robertson, Henry Monro, and Ensigns John M'Donald and Alexander Grant, wounded. This check, however, did not dispirit General Forbes, who pushed forward with expedition. The enemy, intimidated by his approach, retired from Fort du Quesne, leaving ammunition, stores, and provisions untouched. [Major Grant's attack, though unfortunate, must have been made with great effect, as it so much dispirited the enemy as to induce them to retire without an attempt to defend the garrison. Their loss is said to have been severe, but the number has not been stated.] The Fort was taken possession of on the 24th of November, and its name changed to Pittsburg. An alliance was formed with the Indians, who, now beginning to think that the English were the stronger party, renounced their connection with the French, and became as active in aiding the English as they had formerly been in opposing them.

The General returned soon afterwards to Philadelphia, where he died, universally lamented and respected as one of the most accomplished and ablest officers then in America. [General Forbes was the son of Colonel Forbes of Pittencrief, in the county of Fife. He served in the Scotch Greys as cornet, and rose in rank till he commanded the regiment. He was subsequently appointed colonel of the 71st foot. In the German war he was on the staff of Field.Marshal Lord Stair, General Ligonier, and General Sir James Campbell of Lawers. Lat-terly he was Quartermaster-General to the army in Flanders, under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, when he was ordered to America; "where, by a steady pursuit of well-concerted measures, he, in defiance of disease and numberless obstructions, brought to a happy issue a remarkable expedition, and made his own life a willing sacrifice to what he valued more—the interest of his King and country."—Westminster Journal.]

Notwithstanding the disaster at Ticonderoga, and the defeat of Major Grant's detachment, the superiority of the campaign was evidently on the side of Britain. The military character of the nation, which had suffered so much from the events of the preceding campaign, was restored; and our possession of Louisburg, St John's, Frontiniac, and Du Quesne, deprived the enemy of their principal defences, and laying their colonies open, accelerated the success of the vigorous measures which were pursued in the following campaign.

Before detailing the services of the 1st battalion of the 42d regiment during this year, which, indeed, were more fatiguing than brilliant, I return to the 2d battalion, or rather the seven new companies raised and added to the regiment. In August 1758, the officers received their recruiting instructions, and in the month of October following, 840 men were embodied at Perth, 200 of whom were immediately marched to Greenock, where they embarked for the West Indies, under the convoy of the Ludlow Castle, and joined an armament lying in Carlisle Bay, ready for an attack on Martinique and Guadaloupe. Being delayed for want of transports, the other division of the battalion did not join the armament till after it had left Barbadoes, and was about to disembark at Martinique. The troops employed in this expedition were, the Old Buffs, King's, 6th, 63d, 64th, seven companies of the Royal Highlanders, 800 Marines, and a detachment of Artillery, amounting in all to 5560 men, under the command of Major-Generals Hopson and Barrington, and of Brigadier-Generals Haldane, Armiger, Trapaud, and Clavering.

On the 13th January 1759, they sailed from Barbadoes, under convoy of the fleet commanded by Commodore Moore, and appeared off Martinique on the morning of the 15th. On the 16th three line-of-battle ships were ordered to anchor opposite to Fort Negro, the guns of which they soon silenced; and in the afternoon a detachment of seamen and marines were landed without opposition, and kept their ground during the night, without being disturbed by the enemy. Next morning the whole were landed at Cas de Navire, as if going to exercise, no enemy being then in sight. At 10 o'clock, the Grenadiers, the 4th or King's regiment, and the Highlanders, moved forward, and soon fell in with parties of the enemy, with whom they kept up an irregular fire, the former retreating as the latter advanced, till a party of the Grenadiers and Highlanders got within a little distance of Morne Tortueson, an eminence behind Fort Royal, and the most important post in the island. Whilst they were waiting in this position till the rest of the army came up, the advanced parties continued skirmishing with the enemy, during which it was said of the Highlanders, "that, although debarred the use of arms in their own country, they showed themselves good marksmen, and had not forgot how to handle their arms." In the mean time, General Hopson finding, from the ruggedness of the ground, intersected by deep ravines and rocks, that he could not get up his guns without great labour, determined to relinquish the attempt, and gave orders to re-embark without day. The loss in this abortive expedition was, Captain Dalmahoy, of the Grenadiers of the 4th foot, killed; Captain Campbell, of the same regiment, and Lieutenant Leslie, of the Royal Highlanders, wounded, and 60 privates killed and wounded.

After the whole army had embarked, a council of war was held, when it was proposed to attack St Pierre, which being an open town, defended by only a few small batteries on a point of land in the neighbourhood, could not be expected to make any serious resistance. To this plan it was objected, that the ships might be disabled, and the troops so much diminished by losses, as not to be able to proceed to any farther service. This opinion prevailed, and Guadaloupe being of equal importance, it was resolved to proceed to the conquest of that island. There might be very good grounds for this preference, although it does not appear how any service of this nature can be accomplished, without running a risk of disabling and diminishing the arms employed. In a political point of view, Martinique was of more importance than Guadaloupe, as, from its spacious and safe harbour, it was the usual rendezvous of the French fleets, although, as a sugar plantation, it is inferior. Accordingly, on the 29th of January, the line-of-battle ships ranged themselves in a line with the town of Basseterre in Guadaloupe, and at 9 in the morning commenced a furious attack on the town and batteries, which was returned and kept up on both sides, with great spirit, for many hours. About 5 o'clock in the evening, the fire of the citadel slackened, and at to many parts of the town were in a blaze. The Rippon of 74 guns having run aground, and being observed by the enemy while in that state, they brought all their guns to bear upon her, the other ships being unable to afford her assistance. Captain Leslie of the Bristol coming in from sea, and seeing her in this perilous situa-tion, gallantly dashed in between her and the batteries, and poured in his broadsides with such effect, as to silence their fire, and enable the Rippon to get off with the tide. It was observed as a remarkable circumstance in this engagement, that, although the Burford had all her cables shot away, her rigging cut and destroyed, and several guns upset, and was at last driven out to sea almost a wreck, there was not a man killed on board.

Next morning (January the 24th) the troops landed without opposition, and after taking possession of the town and citadel encamped in the neighbourhood. For a few days nothing took place except the establishment of some small posts on the hills nearest the town. On one of these, Major (afterwards General) Melville took up a position opposite to some entrenchments, thrown up by Madame Du-charmey. This heroine, instead of taking shelter in the inaccessible parts of the woods, as the governor and many of the principal inhabitants had done, armed her negroes, and kept our outposts in constant alarm ; and, notwithstanding Major Melville's characteristic vigilance and activity, she so frequently annoyed him, that it was at last determined to attack her entrenchments in due form. These were defended with a spirit that did great honour to this Amazon and her garrison, several ladies of which were taken prisoners. The commandress, however, made her escape, ten of her garrison having been killed and many wounded. Of the assailants twelve were slain and thirty wounded; among the latter were "Lieutenants Farrel of Armiger's or the 40th, and M'Lean of the Highlanders, both of whom distinguished themselves on this occasion. Mr M'Lean lost an arm." [It would appear that this very noisy and unpolite intrusion on a lady's quarters did not injure Lieutenant M'Lean in the esteem of the ladies of Guadaloupe; for we find, that, although he got leave from General Barrington to return home for the cure of his arm, he refused to quit his regiment, and remained at his duty. "He was particularly noticed by the French ladies for his gallantry and spirit, and the manner he wore his plaid and regimental garb." ] In this manner each party continued skirmishing and harassing the other;—certainly the best manner of defence that could have been adopted by an inferior force in a destructive climate, and a difficult country.

On the 13th of February, a detachment of Highlanders and Marines was landed in Grandeterre, in the neighbourhood of Fort Louis, the ships clearing the beach with their guns, as the boats approached the shore; after which, "a party of Marines and Highlanders drove the enemy from his entrenchments, and taking possession of the fort, hoisted the English colours."

General Hopson having died on the 27th, the command of the troops devolved on General Barrington. But disease had made such ravages, that 1800 men were either dead or in hospital. The new commander, anxious to complete, with all possible dispatch, the reduction of the colony, and to meet the enemy in their own manner of fighting, embarked his troops with an intention of removing the war to Grandeterre and Capesterre, leaving Colonel Debrisay with one regiment, in the citadel of Basseterre. Owing to currents and contrary winds, the transports were some days in reaching Grandeterre. Here the commodore being informed of the arrival of a French fleet with troops at Martinique, sailed to Prince Rupert's Bay in Dominique, to be ready to oppose them if they attempted to succour Guadaloupe. General Barrington having established himself in Grandeterre, ordered Colonel Crump, with 600 men, to attack the towns of St Anne's and St Francis. This was executed next morning at sunrise, with great spirit. Notwithstanding the fire of the enemy from their entrenchments and batteries, both towns were carried with little loss, Ensign M'Lean of the Highlanders being the only officer who fell in this assault. On the following day, Colonel Crump pushing forward, drove the enemy from another position, where they had erected three twenty-four pounders. The general then formed a design to surprise Petit Bourg, St Mary's, and Gouyave, on the Capesterre side, and committed the execution of this duty to the Brigadiers Clavering and Crump. But, owing to the darkness of a tempestuous night, and the terror and ignorance of the negro guides, the attempt failed. The general was now obliged to do that by force, which he could not accomplish by easier means, and directed the same commanders to land near the town of Arnonville. The enemy, without opposing the landing, retreated to a strong position on the banks of the Licorn. This river, rendered inaccessible, except at two narrow passes, by a morass covered with mangroves, was fortified by a redoubt and entrenchment, well pali-sadoed and mounted with cannon, the narrow paths being intersected with wide and deep traverses. Notwithstanding these disadvantages, the commanders determined to hazard an assault, and began the attack with a fire from their field-pieces and howitzers on the entrenchments, under cover of which the regiment of Duroure (the 38th) and the Royal Highlanders pushed forward. The enemy beginning to waver as they advanced, the "Highlanders drew their swords, and, supported by a part of the other regiment, rushed forward with their characteristic impetuosity, and followed the enemy into the redoubt, of which they took possession." [Letters from Guadaloupe.]

The enemy, in the mean time, taking advantage of the removal of the troops from the quarters of Basseterre, made several attempts on the small garrison left there under Colonel Debrisay. In these attacks they were uniformly repulsed. Colonel Debrisay was unfortunately killed by the explosion of a powder magazine, and was succeeded in the command of Basseterre by Major Melville, who afterwards rendered such signal service to the West Indies, as governor-general of the ceded islands. On the other side of the island, Colonels Clavering and Crump did not relax their exertions. In a succession of skirmishes they forced the enemy from their strong holds, took upwards of fifty pieces of cannon, and obtained possession of all the batteries and towns on the sea-coast. At length the enemy were compelled to surrender, after a gallant defence, which was maintained from the 24th of January to the 1st of May, when the capitulation was signed.

On the evening of the same day, intelligence was received that the Governor of Martinique had landed on the opposite side of the island with a considerable force, for the relief of the colony; but on hearing of the surrender, he re-embarked and returned to Martinique. The loss of the British on this expedition was severe; but, in consequence of their continued fatigues and exposure, they suffered more by the climate than by the enemy. Of the officers 10 were killed, 21 wounded, and 20 died by the fever. Of the Royal Highlanders, Ensign M'Lean was killed, and Lieutenants M'Lean, Leslie, St Clair, and Robertson, were wounded; Major Anstruther and Captain Arbuthnot died of the fever; and 106 privates were killed, wounded, or died of disease. This expedition was a tolerably smart training for a young corps, who, nine months before, had been herding cattle and sheep on their native hills.

["By private accounts, it appears that the French had formed the most frightful and absurd notions of the 'Sauvages d' Ecosse;' they believed that they would neither take nor give quarter, and that they were so nimble, that, as no man could catch them, so nobody could escape them; that no man had a chance against their broad-swords; and that, with a ferocity natural to savages, they made no prisoners, and spared neither man, woman, nor child: and as they were always in the front of every action in which they were engaged, it is probable that these notions had no small influence on the nerves of the militia, and perhaps regulars of Guadaloupe." It was always believed by the enemy, that the Highlanders amounted to several thousands. This erroneous enumerration of a corps only 800 strong, was said to proceed from the frequency of their attacks and annoyance of the outposts of the enemy, who "saw men in the same garb who attacked them yesterday from one direction, again appear to-day to advance from another, and in this manner ever harassing their advanced position, so as to allow them no rest."—Letters from Guadaloupe.]


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