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
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.
The Honourable Archibald Montgomerie (afterwards Earl
of Eglintoun), died a General in the army, and Colonel of the Scotch
Greys, in 1796.
James Grant of Ballendailoch, 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 a Major-general, 1784.
Captain-Lieutenant, Alexander Mackintosh.
Alexander Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne, 1759.
Nichol Sutherland, died lieutenant-colonel of the 47th regiment, 1780.
Colin Campbell, killed at Fort du Quesne.
Hugh Gordon, killed in Martinique, 1762.
William Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne.
Robert Mackenzie, killed at Fort du Quesne.
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 Macvicar, killed at the Havannah, 1763.
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
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:—