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


Military Annals of the Highland Regiments

Seventy-Seventh Regiment
or
Montgomerie's Highlanders
1757

As will be noticed, in speaking of the 78th regiment, when Government had determined to raise Highland corps, letters of service were issued to Major the Honourable Archibald Montgomerie, son of the Earl of Eglintoun, to recruit a regiment in the North. From his connections and personal character, Major Montgomerie was peculiarly well qualified for the command of a Highland regiment. Having one sister, Lady Margaret, married to Sir Alexander Macdonald of Sleate, in the Northern, and another, Lady Christian, married to the Laird of Abercairney, on the borders of the Southern Highlands; he mixed much with the people, and being a high-spirited young man, with a considerable dash of romantic enthusiasm in his composition, and with manners cheerful and affable, he made himself highly acceptable to the Highlanders; and by the support which he met with, and the judicious selection of officers of influence in the North, he soon completed an excellent body of men, who were formed into a regiment of 13 companies, of 105 rank and file each, making in all, with 65 sergeants, and 30 pipers and drummers, 1460 effective men. The corps was numbered the 77th regiment.

Colonel Montgomerie's commission was dated the 4th of January 1757, and those of all the other officers each a day later than his senior in the same rank.

Lieutenant-Colonel commanding.

The Honourable Archibald Montgomerie (afterwards Earl of Eglintoun), died a General in the army, and Colonel of the Scotch Greys, in 1796.

Majors.

James Grant of Ballendailoch, died a General in the army in 1806.
Alexander Campbell.

Captains.

John Sinclair.
Hugh Mackenzie.
John Gordon.
Alexander Mackenzie, killed at St John's, 1761.
William Macdonald, killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
George Munro, killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
Robert Mackenzie.
Allan Maclean, from the Dutch Brigade, Colonel of the 84th Highland Emigrants; died a Major-general, 1784.
James Robertson.
Allan Cameron;
Captain-Lieutenant,
Alexander Mackintosh.

Lieutenants.

Charles Farquharson.
Alexander Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
Nichol Sutherland, died lieutenant-colonel of the 47th regiment, 1780.
Archibald Robertson.
Duncan Bayne:
James Duff.
Colin Campbell, killed at Fort du Quesne.
James Grant.
Alexander Macdonald.
Joseph Grant.
Robert Grant.
Cosmo Martin.
John Macnab.
Hugh Gordon, killed in Martinique, 1762.
Donald Macdonald.
William Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne.
Robert Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne.
Henry Munro.
Alexander Macdonald, killed at Fort du Quesne,
Donald Campbell.
Hugh Montgomerie, late Earl of Eglinton.
James Maclean, killed in the West Indies, 1761.
Alexander Campbell;
John Campbell of Melford.
James Macpherson.
Archibald Macvicar, killed at the Havannah, 1763.

Ensigns

Alexander Grant.
William Haggart.
William Maclean.
James Grant.
Lewis Houston.
Ronald Mackinnon.
George Munro.
Alexander Mackenzie.
John Maclachlane.
John Macdonald.
Archibald Crawford.
James Bain.
Allan Stewart.

Chaplain, Henry Monro.
Adjutant,
Donald Stewart;
Quarter-Master, Alex. Montgomerie.
Surgeon,
Allan Stewart.

This corps was embodied at Stirling, and embarked at Greenock for Halifax, without time being allowed for acquiring the use of arms in an uniform manner. On the commencement of operations in 1758, the 77th was attached to the corps under Brigadier-General Forbes, in the expedition against Fort du Quesne. But this, and all the other movements of the 77th, are included in the narrative of the service of the 42d regiment.

Montgomerie's Highlanders were often employed in small detached expeditions, traversing, to a very great extent, the most difficult countries. In these marches they had numberless skirmishes with the Indians, and with the irregular troops of the enemy;

[Several soldiers of this and other regiments fell into the hands of the Indians, being taken in an ambush. Allan Macpherson, one of these soldiers, witnessing the miserable fate of several of his fellow-prisoners, who had been tortured to death by the Indians, and seeing them preparing to commence the same operations upon himself, made signs that he had something to communicate. An interpreter was brought. Macpherson told them, that, provided his life was spared for a few minutes, he would communicate the secret of an extraordinary medicine, which, if applied to the skin, would cause it to resist the strongest blow of a tomahawk, or sword, and that, if they would allow him to go to the woods with a guard, to collect the plants proper for this medicine, he would prepare it, and allow the experiment to be tried on his own neck by the strongest and most expert warrior amongst them. This story easily gained upon the superstitious credulity of the Indians, and the request of the Highlander was instantly complied with. Being sent into the woods, he soon returned with such plants as he chose to pick up. Having boiled these herbs, he rubbed his neck with their juice, and laying his head upon a log of wood, desired the strongest man among them to strike at his neck with his tomahawk, when he would find he could not make the smallest impression. An Indian, levelling a blow with all his might, cut with such force, that the head flew off to the distance of several yards. The Indians were fixed in amazement at their own credulity, and the address with which the prisoner had escaped the lingering death prepared for him; but, instead of being enraged at this escape of their victim, they were so pleased with his ingenuity, that they refrained from inflicting farther cruelties on the remaining prisoners.]

a species of service of the most harassing kind, as it required the greatest personal exertion on the part of the soldiers, and demanded constant vigilance and presence of mind on that of the officers. Hence it was well calculated to open a field to the junior officers for acquiring professional experience in their detached commands. The enterprises in which they were engaged, necessarily obliged them to depend on their own resources, in a way quite different from what would have been called for, had they been acting under the immediate direction of others.

At the conclusion of the war, all the officers and men who chose to settle in America were permitted to do so, each receiving a grant of land in proportion to his rank. A number of these officers and men, as well as those of the 78th regiment, joined the King's standard in 1775, and formed a corps along with the Highland Emigrants in the 84th regiment.

The following is a statement of the killed and wounded during the war:


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