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


Military Annals of the Highland Regiments

Seventy-third Regiment
or
Lord Macleod's Highlanders;
now
Seventy-first Regiment, or Glasgow Light Infantry
1777

It has often been remarked, that Highland soldiers do not show the same character, nor the same spirit, and even have a reluctance to serve under officers not of their own country. The correctness of this opinion has not, however, been established by facts, either in recent or more distant times. Instances have indeed occurred where Highland regiments, and these, too, of the best and bravest, were nearly ruined, and their good name tarnished, by having: the misfortune to be commanded by men, intelligent, indeed, in other respects, but ignorant of their true character. Although the Highlander certainly prefers a commander of his own country, and especially of his own blood and kindred; yet men of gallant and generous spirits, of whatever nation, have always secured his attachment and fidelity. Of this we have remarkable instances in the case of Gustavus Adolphus and others. This great King and consummate general had attached to himself, as a bodyguard, a strong corps of Highlanders, consisting of Mac-kays, Munroes, Macdonalds, and other clans, who were devoted to him as to a superior being. "They were his right hand in battle, brought forward on all dangerous enterprises, and may, like himself, be said to have been almost all of them buried in the field of battle with the honours of war."

The heroic and generous Montrose, although the head of a border family, not always on friendly terms with the Highlanders, so completely commanded their confidence, that led by him, they believed themselves invincible. In like manner, Macdonell, Montrose's friend and follower, by birth an Irishman, an intrepid soldier and able commander, so thoroughly secured the esteem and attachment of the Highlanders, that under his command they were ready to attempt any enterprise, however desperate, and even to this day (at the distance of 170 years) his name is cherished and venerated, and many anecdotes of his chivalry and gallantry preserved. The Lord Viscount Dundee, a Lowlander, attached the Highlanders to his person by his chivalry and courage; and while in the South he was detested for the perseverance with which he had endeavoured to keep down the conventicles, and puritanical principles of the Covenanters, by whom he was known only as "the Bloody Clavers;" in the Highlands, where there was no religious or political persecution, the people only saw in him a brave, conciliating, and able commander, and a gallant and high-spirited knight, signalized by his persevering and disinterested loyalty. Inspired by their confidence in him, they charged sword in hand at Killikrankie, and routed a veteran and disciplined army of four times their number, although those engaged under him had never before drawn a sword against an enemy, except in their own private feuds, which had not even then entirely ceased.

If we descend to later times, there are instances "where Highland corps have formed attachments to officers, not natives of their country, and not less ardent than to the chiefs or old; in as much as military heroism, wherever it presents itself, gives the Highlander the impression of what he has heard of his forefathers, and he cherishes and cleaves to it the more in a foreign land, as giving him the idea of his home and of his kindred." [Dr Jackson's Characteristics.] Hence we find (as I have noticed in speaking of Fraser's Highlanders) that the energy, ardour, and frankness of Sir James Baird, gave him as absolute a command over the fidelity of his Highlanders, (although he was himself a native of Mid-Lothian), as was ever enjoyed by any chieftain or laird of more ancient times; so that, though "dashing at all things at the head of his company, he invariably achieved every enterprise in which he engaged."

In Macleod's Highlanders we have also an instance of dis-interested attachment, and on an occasion, too, more trying than the severest battle. This was when both officers and soldiers were chained together as prisoners, during three years, in dungeons, and fed on slow poison, for such was the damaged provisions with which they were sparingly supplied. This happened when Captain David Baird, and Lieutenants Melville, Cuthbert, and the Honourable John Lindsay, with a detachment of the 73d Highlanders, were thrown into a dungeon by Hyder Ali, after the disaster of Colonel Baillie, in September 1780. During their confinement they were treated with great cruelty, while, at the same time, every inducement was held out to the soldiers to induce them to desert and join Hyder's standard. These brave men, however, equally true to their religion and their allegiance, were so warmly attached to their officers, that they picked out the soundest and most wholesome parts of their provisions, and got them secretly put into the officers' mess. Whether it was from this circumstance, or from mere strength of constitution, the officers out-lived the confinement, although subjected in every other respect to the same privations as the men, of whom, out of 111, only 30 survived, and few were ever afterwards fit for service. The steadiness of principle, and incorruptible fidelity, of these soldiers on this occasion, are recorded by Mrs Grant. "A Highland regiment, commanded by Lord Macleod, was, during the war with Hyder Ali, engaged in an unfortunate rencounter, where more than 100 men fell into the hands of that remorseless tyrant. They were treated with the most

cruel indignity, and fed upon very sparing proportions of unwholesome rice, which operated as slow poison, assisted by the burning heat of the sun by day, and the unwholesome dews of night, to which they were purposely exposed to shake their constancy. Daily some of their companions dropped before their eyes, and daily they were offered liberty and riches in exchange for this lingering torture, on condition of relinquishing their religion and taking the turban. Yet not one could be prevailed upon to purchase life on these terms. These Highlanders were entirely illiterate; scarce one of them could have told the name of any particular sect of Christians, and all the idea they had of the Mahomedan religion was, that it was adverse to their own, and to what they had been taught by their fathers; and that, adopting it, they would renounce Him who had died, that they might live, and who loved them, and could support them in all their sufferings. The great outlines of their religion, the peculiar tenets which distinguish it from any other, were early and deeply impressed on their minds, and proved sufficient in the hour of trial.

"Rise, Muses, rise, add all your tuneful breath;
"These must not sleep in darkness and in death.

"It was not theirs to meet death in the field of honour, while the mind, wrought up with fervid eagerness, went forth in search of him. They saw his slow approach, and though sunk into languid debility, such as quenches the fire of mere temperament, they never once hesitated at the alternative set before them. Their fortitude should at least be applauded, though their faith, and the hopes that sup-Ported them, were not taken into the account. This well known, though neglected, instance of what may be expected from being accustomed from the cradle to self-command, and self-denial, affords an additional proof of the importance of preserving, unmixed and undebased, a race so fit to encounter those perils and labours, worse than death, which the defence of our wide extended empire requires." []Mrs Grant's Superstitions of the Highlanders.]

It is well known that the last Earl of Cromarty engaged in the Rebellion of 1745, for which he was tried, and condemned to be beheaded on Tower Hill, while his title was attainted, and his estate forfeited to the Crown, Some favourable circumstances, however, induced George II. to grant him a pardon, on the condition of confining himself for life within the county of Devon. It is said that the Countess of Cromarty presented a petition to the King, praying for her husband's life, accompanied by ten children,, while her eldest son, Lord Macleod, was prisoner in the Tower, but not yet brought to trial, and herself eight months gone with the twelfth child. The family threw themselves on their knees before the King, and the mother,, pointing to them, said, "These are your Majesty's humble petitioners for the life of their father." His eldest son, Lord Macleod, had also joined the rebel standard, but on account of his youth, and the supposed influence of his father, he received an unconditional pardon. Deprived of rank and fortune in his native country, he crossed over to Sweden, where he entered into the army, and after serving for thirty years with distinguished approbation, rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General.

Preserving, in exile, an invincible attachment to his native land, a principle so strong in all well disposed minds, he returned to England in 1777, and was very favourably received by his Majesty. Finding his influence in the Highlands still considerable, although destitute of property and political consequence, he was encouraged to offer his services to raise a regiment. [Of those who supported Lord Macleod, one of the most zealous and successful was Colonel Duff of Muirtown, with whom indeed the proposal of.' raising a regiment originated, and in the absence of his Lordship, mainly contributed by his active exertions to form the first battalion. Colonel Duff had served in Keith's Highlanders in Germany, and died in London in the year 1780, when preparing to embark for India. Another officer of Keith's, much in the confidence of Lord Macleod, Captain Mackintosh of Kellachy, father of Sir James Mackintosh, served with the second battalion in Gibraltar during the siege, where he attracted the notice of the Governor, Lord Heathfield. At the peace of 1783, he retired on half-pay, and died at Inverness in 1788.] The offer was accepted, and so well grounded were his anticipations of success, and such the respect entertained for his family and name, that in a very short time 840 Highlanders were recruited and marched to Elgin. Here they were joined by 236 Lowlanders, raised by Captains the Honourable John Lindsay, David Baird, James Fowlis, and other officers, along with 34 English and Irish who had been recruited in Glasgow. In all they amounted to 1100 men, and under the name of Macleod's Highlanders were embodied, and inspected by General Skene, at Elgin, in the month of April 1778. They were an excellent, well principled, hardy body of men, and fit for any service. The same observation applies to the second battalion of this regiment, for which Letters of Service were granted immediately on the completion of the first. It was raised in the same manner, nearly with the same expedition, and in equal numbers; so that, in the course of a few months, Lord Macleod, from being an exile, without fortune or military rank (in the British service), found himself at the head of upwards of 2200 of his countrymen, of whom nearly 1800 were from that district and neighbourhood in which his family had once possessed so much influence. It is not in many countries that a man, without money or credit, supported only by the feelings excited by a long remembered and respected name, could have thus attained an honourable command over such trusty and willing followers, and laid a foundation for future wealth and eminence. Such was the state of society fifty years ago, but there has been a melancholy change in the character and dispositions of the higher and lower orders in. that part of the country since Lord Macleod's time. Instead of a faithful attached tenantry, the assistance of the Sheriffs and the civil power have been called for to protect the landlords in the execution of their plans; and this being found insufficient, recourse was had to the military. Increased incomes may sometimes be procured by too great a sacrifice.

The first battalion having been removed to Jersey, and from thence to Portsmouth, embarked there in January 1779, under the command of Lord Macleod, and arrived in Madras Roads on the 20th January 1780.

The second battalion having embarked at Fort George under the command of the Honourable Lieutenant-Colonel George Mackenzie, brother of Lord Macleod, landed at Plymouth, and sailed from thence for Gibraltar, where they landed on the 18th January 1780, two days before the first battalion arrived at Madras.

This battalion served in the garrison till the raising of the siege, and sustained a respectable character as steady and trust-worthy soldiers, of whom not a man was punished, or deserted to the enemy, although such attempts were but too common in the garrison. One of the soldiers, however, was threatened with punishment, as a false prophet, having declared that he had the second sight, (although it proved a false one), by which he foresaw the surrender of the fortress. However, the commander was too much of an enlightened soldier to fear or to punish such absurd predictions, and after a short confinement the poor fellow was released, with a caution not to utter any more of his dreams until the event he had foreseen should have been determined by the occurrence.

The casualties of the regiment were 30 privates killed; and 7 sergeants, and 121 rank and file, wounded. Indeed, the loss of the garrison in killed during the whole of that celebrated siege, which continued more than three years, was inconsiderable, amounting only to 5 officers, 19 sergeants, 2 drummers, and 197 rank and file.

In May 1783 this battalion returned to England, and marched soon after to Stirling, where it was reduced in October, liberty being given to such of the officers as were regimentally senior in rank to join the first battalion in India.

I now return to the operations in that quarter. An army, consisting of 5209 men, of which 800 Highlanders constituted the only British troops, had been assembled in July 1780, at St Thomas's Mount, near Madras, under Major-General Hector Munro. This force also included one battalion of the Company's European troops, and the Grenadiers of another.

General Munro having gone to Madras to assist at the council, the command during his absence devolved on Lord Macleod. In the end of August the General returned, and assuming the command, marched for Conjeveram, where he arrived on the 29th, having taken with him only eight days rice. Colonel Baillie, with a detachment of nearly 3000 men, was to form a junction with General Munro at Conjeveram. After various delays, Baillie, on the 6th of September, reached Perambaucum, fifteen miles distant from the General's position. Here he was attacked by Tippo Saib with a prodigious superiority of force, which, after a conflict of several hours, was repulsed. But notwithstanding this success, and although the detachments were so near as to be almost within hearing of each other's guns, no movement was made to form a junction, each party remaining stationary until the 8th, when Colonel Bailie wrote to the General, that, from the loss sustained in the late battle, to form a junction in the face of an enemy so superior in numbers, was beyond the power of his detachment. He therefore requested that the General would push forward with the main body of the army. The General did not comply with this request, but after a delay of three days, reinforced Baillie with the flank companies of the 73d Highlanders, under Captains David Baird and the Honourable John Lindsay, two companies of European Grenadiers, and eleven companies of Seapoys, the whole being under the command of Colonel Fletcher. This officer's sagacity having led him to suspect the fidelity of his guides, who were in fact secretly in the pay of the Sultan, he followed an unexpected route, and reached his destination without obstruction; Hyder and his son, with their united forces, being unable, from the circuitous route, to molest or intercept his small detachment. Fletcher's conduct on this occasion was considered by the European officers in Hyder's service as an able piece of generalship. It must, however, be matter of regret, that General Munro did not move with his whole force, and form a junction with Colonel Baillie by the same route, instead of weakening his strength by detaching the flower of his troops.

Each detachment remained stationary on the 9th. This inaction encouraged Hyder, who had previously dreaded that the General's intention was to place him between two fires. Enraged at the success of Fletcher's movement, he concentrated his army, and closed on the detachment under the command of Baillie, which did not exceed 3700 men. On the evening of the 9th this officer commenced his march to join Munro, but had not proceeded above a mile when he fell in with the enemy's picquets. This brought on an irregular fire, which continued for several miles. He halted about midnight, nine miles distant from General Munro, and lay on his arms unmolested by the enemy. On the morning of the 10th he pursued his march, the enemy showing no inclination to attack till after he had proceeded two miles, and had entered a small jungle or grove in which the enemy had raised three batteries, (in the course of the preceding day), one on each flank, and one in the centre. Having opened a heavy and destructive fire from fifty-seven pieces of cannon from the batteries and field-artillery, a desperate combat ensued. The enemy attacked in front, flank, and rear, but were foiled and driven back in every attempt; the detachment still gaining ground, but continuing in its progress exposed to every arm that a numerous host could bring against it. The march was in the form of a square, the sick, baggage, and ammunition, being in the centre. The action had continued three hours, when "Hyder determined to retreat; and a rapid movement, which Baillie made from the centre, appeared to have decided the day. Orders were given to Colonel Lally— a French officer in the service of the Sultan—to draw off his men, and to the cavalry to cover the retreat, when in that instant two explosions were perceived in the Eng-lish line, which laid open one entire face of their column, destroyed their artillery, and threw the whole into irreparable confusion." [Journal of a French Officer.] Being thus deprived of ammunition, the hopes and spirit of the enemy revived. Hyder's cavalry charged in separate squadrons, while bodies of infantry poured in volleys of musketry; but every charge and every attack was resisted with undiminished firmness, when, at last, reduced to little more than 400 men, a square was formed on a small eminence. Two-thirds of their number being killed or disabled, the officers with their swords, and the soldiers with their bayonets, repelled thirteen charges; and even the wounded, as they lay on the ground, attempted to raise themselves to receive the enemy on their bayonets. At length, despairing of support from the General, (although so near, that the Pagoda of Conjeveram was in sight), and fresh bodies of horse continually pouring in upon them, they were borne down by numbers without a man flinching or giving way, (many being trod under foot by the elephants and horse), when Colonel Baillie, anxious to save the lives of the few brave men who had survived, held up a flag of truce as a token of surrender. After some delay the signal was acknowledged, and an intimation given that quarter would be allowed. But no sooner had the troops laid down their arms, then the enemy rushed forward, and, with a savage fury, attacked the defenceless, the sick, and the wounded. Many were saved by the humane exertions of the French officers. One of these officers, describing the battle, says, "Too great encomiums cannot be bestowed on the English commander and his troops, for, in the whole of this trying conflict, they preserved a coolness of manoeuvre which would have done honour to any troops in the world. Raked by the fire of an immense artillery, the greatest part of the action within grape shot distance, attaked on all sides by not less than 25,000 horse and thirty battalions of Seapoys, besides Hyder's European troops, the English column stood firm, and repulsed every charge with great slaughter; the horse driven back on the infantry, the right of our line began to give way, though composed of the best troops in the Mysore army."

This approval from an enemy was worthy of the occasion, creditable to the liberality of those who bestowed it, [I have pleasure in quoting the testimony of an eye-witness to the generous humanity displayed on this melancholy occasion by the French officers in the service of Hyder. "No pen," says the author of the Narrative of the Sufferings of the Officers, Soldiers, and Seapoys, who fell into the hands of Hyder Ali after the Battle of Conjeveram, September 10, 1780, and who was an officer in Colonel Baillie's detachment, and a participator of the kindness he describes,—"No pen can do justice to the humanity of these gentlemen, (the French officers), without whose assistance many of our officers must have perished; but their merit will live for ever embalmed in the hearts of all who felt or witnessed their beneficence."] and may be regarded as an impartial testimony to the heroic and persevering courage of the handful of troops who had so long maintained this unequal contest; and who, but for the accidental loss of their ammunition, and the double disaster it inflicted, would, in all probability, have ultimately repulsed their savage foes. The humanity of the French officers displayed on this occasion is highly honourable to their character. But their exertions could not curb the cruelty of the ferocious conqueror, who, in a three years' captivity, inflicted on his prisoners a series of evils more terrible than even death itself. Equally firm in the dungeon and in the field, the cruel and unprincipled Hyder found it as impossible to subdue their fortitude as to triumph over their courage. The evils of their long and bitter captivity were born with such a spirit of firmness and self-possession, that the memory of the unfortunate sufferers cannot fail to be held in the highest respect and estimation.

The loss sustained by the two flank companies of Highlanders was, Lieutenants Geddes Mackenzie and William Gun, Volunteer Forbes, 3 sergeants, and 82 rank and file, killed; Captain David Baird, Lieutenants the Honourable John Lindsay, Philip Melville, Hugh Cuthbert, 4 sergeants, 4 drummers, 115 wounded and prisoners. Lieutenant Melville was totally disabled, the wounds of Captain Baird and Lieutenant Lindsay were severe, as were those of the greater part of the men, of whom only 23 escaped without wounds. [The two commanders, Colonels Baillie and Fletcher, were mortally wounded. Colonel Baillie survived a short time, and the Journal of the French Officer says: "Hyder Ali has sullied his victory by the treatment of his prisoners. Colonel Baillie was stript, and brought before him, wounded in three places. Intoxicated with success, Hyder exulted over him with the imperious tone of a conqueror, which Baillie retorted with the true spirit of a soldier, and boldly appealed to Hyder's officers, if the victory was not his, but for an accident which no human foresight could prevent."]

After this disaster, Sir Hector Munro hastily retreated from Conjeveram to Chingleput, followed by the enemy's cavalry. On this march the Highlanders lost Captain Gilchrist, who, by previous sickness, was unable to command his company when ordered to reinforce Colonel Baillie. Lieutenant Alexander Mackenzie also died.

After various movements, the 73 regiment, now reduced to 500 men, was in the field on the morning of the 1st of July 1781, with the army under Sir Eyre Coote, intended to attack the enemy at Porto Novo. The regiment was under the command of Colonel James Crawford. Lord Macleod had returned to England, having, it is said, differed in opinion with General Munro, more especially with regard to the movements previous to Colonel Baillie's disaster, and being probably dissatisfied with the subordinate command which he then held, when compared with his former rank in the Swedish service.

As has generally happened in Indian warfare, there was, at Porto Novo, a great disproportion between the force of the enemy and that of the British. Hyder, at the head of an army of 25 battalions of infantry, 400 Europeans, from 40,000 to 50,000 horse, and above 100,000 matchlock-men, peons, and polygars, with 47 pieces of cannon, was attacked by General Coote, whose force did not exceed 8,000, of which the 73d was the only British regiment. Sir Eyre Coote drew up his army in two lines, the first commanded by Major-General H. Munro, and the second by Major-General James Stuart. The two armies were divided by a plain, beyond which the enemy were drawn up on ground strengthened with more than usual skill, by front and flanking redoubts and batteries. The English General moved forward at nine o'clock, and after a lengthened action of eight hours, in some places well contested, and in which the enemy made full use of their numerous artillery, their whole line was forced to fly. It is worthy of remark, that success in this battle was greatly facilitated by one of those accidents common in war. After the repulse of the enemy's cavalry, and while the General was deliberating with his officers whether he should attack in front or in flank the chain of redoubts by which the enemy's position was strengthened, an officer, who was somewhat in advance, discovered a road cut through the sand hills at a place from which, in the event of an assault in front, they could annoy the right flank of the British line. This road Hyder had caused to be constructed on the preceding evening, with a view, while the British were warmly engaged in front, of falling on their flank; when his cavalry, taking advantage of the confusion that was calculated to ensue, might rush from behind the redoubts and annihilate their enemies. The British General instantly availed himself of this discovery, and filing off along Hyder's road, by a movement in flank forced him to forego nearly all the advantages of his position. General Coote saw the value of, and with promptitude turned to account, this fortunate and important discovery, which had such an effect in determining the fortune of the day, and that with a loss that bore no proportion to the importance of the victory, at a period when "the critical situation of our national concerns, and our falling interest, required uncommon exertions for their support." [The 73 was on the right of the first line, and led all the attacks to the full approbation of General Coote, whose notice was particularly attacted by one of the pipers, who always blew up his most warlike sounds whenever the fire became hotter than ordinary. This so pleased the General, that he cried aloud, "Well done, my brave fellow, you shall have a pair of silver pipes. The promise was not forgotten, and a handsome pair of pipes was presented to the regiment, with an inscription in testimony of the General's esteem for their conduct and character.]

I shall not pursue the subsequent movements through many harassing marches, during which their unskilful opponents lost many opportunities of attacking to great advantage. Both armies were, in the end of August, near Perambaucum, the spot where Hyder had been so successful the preceding year in defeating Colonel Baillie's detach-ment, and forcing General Munro to retreat. With a superstitious hope of similar success, Hyder was anxious to fight on the same field, and on the same day of the month. General Coote was equally anxious to engage, but indifferent as to time, being only desirous to meet his antagonist to advantage. Both armies were animated by very different motives; the Mysorian army by their superstitious anticipation of success, and the British by a desire to revenge the death of their friends, of whom they found many melancholy relics and marks of remembrance on the ground where they now stood.

On the morning of the 27th of August, Sir Eyre Coote moved forward to attack Hyder Ali, who had drawn up his army in order of battle on strong and advantageous ground, rendered more formidable by the nature of the country, which was intersected by deep water courses and ravines. The line of battle was formed under a heavy fire of cannon, which the troops sustained with firmness. The battle was long and well sustained on both sides, and lasted from nine in the morning till sunset, when the enemy gave way at all points, leaving the British in possession of the field of battle and of all the strong posts. The loss of the British was upwards of 400 killed and wounded, in which number there were few Europeans. Major-General Stuart and Colonel Brown lost each a leg, carried away by the same shot.

General Munro having left the army for England, and General Stuart being disabled, Colonel Crawford became second in command; and Captain Shaw succeeded to the command of the 73d regiment, which continued in General Coote's army, sharing in all the marches, and being engaged in the battles of Sholungar, on the 27th September 1781, and of Arnee, on the 2d June 1782, in which the regiment suffered little beyond the usual casualties, [One of these casualties is thus mentioned in Munro's Narrative:—"I take this opportunity of commemorating the fall of John Doune Mackay, a corporal in Macleod's Highlanders, son to Robert Doune, the Bard, whose singular talent for the beautiful and extemporaneous composition of Gaelic poetry was held in such esteem. This son of the Bard had frequently revived the spirits of his countrymen, when drooping in a long march, by singing the humorous and lively productions of his father. He was killed by a cannon-shot, and buried with military honours by his comrades the same evening."] and these were more by climate and fatigue than by the enemy.

In spring 1783, preparations were made to attack Cud-dalore. This garrison had been recently strengthened by some European and African troops from the Isle of France. The British army had also been reinforced by the 23d Light Dragoons, the 101st, 102d, and 15th regiments of Hanoverian Infantry, and 250 recruits from Scotland for the 73d and 78th regiments. General Stuari had recovered from his wound, and now took the command in absence of General Coote, upon whose death, in April 1783, he succeeded to the command in chief. Colonel Stuart of the 78th commanded the Highland Brigade of Macleod's and Seaforth's regiments. Various delays so retarded the forward movements, that it was not till the 6th of June that General Stuart placed his army within two miles of Cuddalore. Mons. Bussy commanded the garrison, and was indefatigable in his exertions to strengthen the works, by throwing up redoubts and lines of entrenchment in front of the place. No time, therefore, was to be lost, as every day added to the difficulties to be overcome, and as the enemy had already drawn a second line of entrenchments in rear of the first, fortifying the whole by fresh redoubts. On the morning of the 13th of June, an attack was determined on. It was to be directed to three several points at the same moment, on a signal for a simultaneous assault by firing three guns from a hill. Amidst the noise of the cannonade which was immediately opened, the signals were not recognised, and the attacks not made at the same instant, as had been projected. The enemy were therefore able to direct their whole force against each successive attack; in consequence of which, one of the divisions was driven back, and pursued by the enemy to a considerable distance, when Lieutenant-Colonel Cathcart, with the Grenadiers, and Lieutenant-Colonel Stunrt, "with the precious remains of the 73d regiment," pushed forward, with much presence of mind, and took possession of the redoubts which the enemy had evacuated in the eagerness of the pursuit. This turned the fate of the day; and although Colonel Stuart's party was forced to retire from the most advanced posts they had taken, they kept possession of the principal redoubt, enabled that part of the troops which had retired to recover themselves, and so revived the whole, that General Stuart was urged to advance and attempt to drive the enemy from the whole of their advanced posts. This he declined, in the belief that the enemy would retire of their own accord, which they accordingly did in the course of the night, withdrawing all their guns, except three, which were taken possession of by the British. On this occasion, "the precious remains of the 73d regiment" lost Captains Alexander Mackenzie, the Honourable James Lindsay, [This officer was of a family of soldiers. The late Earl of Balcarras had five sons in the army. The eldest, the present Earl, was in the 42d; and Colin, John, and David Lindsay, were in the first and second battalion of Macleod's. The brave young man who fell this day gave great promise of talent and eminence in his profession. Being of a generous, open character, which captivated the soldiers, he secured their attachment by the gallantry with which on every occasion he led them on. The third brother, the Honourable Colin Lindsay an accomplished officer, died Lieutenant-Colonel of the 46th regiment, and Brigadier. General, in Grenada, in 1795. John retired from the Lieutenart-Colonelcy of the regiment in 1807.] Lieutenants Simon Mackenzie, James Trail, 4 sergeants, and 80 rank and file, killed; and Captain John Hamilton, Lieutenants Charles Gorrie, David Rannie, John Sinclair, James Duncan, George Sutherland, 5 sergeants, and 107 rank and file, wounded. The loss of the enemy was 62 officers, and 961 men killed, wounded, and missing.

On the 25th of June, Bussy having been reinforced by Admiral Suffrein, with 2400 men from the fleet, made a vigorous sortie from the fort with his best troops. This was repulsed at every point, and the enemy driven back with great loss.

On the 1st of July, accounts of the signature of preliminaries of peace between France and England having reached their respective commanders in India, hostilities immediately ceased; in a few days a friendly intercourse was established between the contending parties, and the French and English officers, who a few days previously had been engaged in hot hostility, were now seen walking arm in arm with great kindness and cordiality.

The army returned to St Thomas's Mount; and, at the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace in March 1784, Captains Baird, the Honourable John Lindsay, and Lieutenants Melville and Cuthbert, with the survivors of the | men (about SO in number) who had been taken in Colonel Baillie's affair, were released, and joined their regiments. Captain (now General Sir David) Baird, and Colonel Lindsay, are the only survivors of the 200 men of the flank companies of the 73d regiment that marched under Colonel Fletcher to support Colonel Baillie.

In the year 1785, the Honourable Lieutenant-Colonel George Mackenzie, with several officers from the second battalion, disbanded the preceding year, joined the regiment. In 1786, they received new colours, and the number was changed to the 71st, in consequence of the arrangements which I have already noticed. From this time till the year 1790, detachments of recruits from Scotland, at different times, were received, which kept up the strength to 800 men; but the corps sustained a great loss in the death of the two brothers who had been so instrumental in raising both battalions. Colonel Mackenzie died in 1786, and was succeeded by Major Elphinstone; Captain Baird was appointed Major. Lord Macleod died in 1789, and the Honourable Major-General William Gordon was appointed Colonel.

War having commenced between Tippoo Saib and the East India Company in the year 1790, a large army was assembled at Trinchinopoly on the 24th of May, of which Major-General Meadows assumed the command. This force consisted of the 19th Light Dragoons, 36th, 52d, 71st, and 72d regiments, with 16 regiments of native cavalry and infantry. Lieutenant-Colonel James Stuart commanded the right wing, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bridges the left: the two Highland regiments formed the second brigade. The 71st followed all the movements of the army in this campaign. The flank companies were employed under Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart on the attack on Dundegul; and, after the capture of that place, the regiment was marched, under the same officer, to the siege of Palacatcherry; and, in this manner, was in constant activity down to the close of the campaign, yet suffered little loss by the enemy.

Early in 1791, Lord Cornwallis joined the army as Commander-in-Chief. The whole was immediately put in motion, and, after various marches, encamped on the 5th of March close to Bangalore. On the 21st Lord Cornwallis finished his preparations for an assault of the place. This was accomplished with little loss. The flank companies of the army, including those of the 71st, led the attack. These companies were commanded by the Honourable John Lind-say, and Captain James Robertson, now Lieutenant-general, and son of the late Principal of Edinburgh College.

On the 13th of April the forces of the Nizam, amounting nominally to 15,000, but in reality to 10,000 cavalry, well mounted, joined the army, and on the 8th a detachment of European troops from the Carnatic also joined. The army, thus reinforced, commenced on the 4th of May a march on Seringapatam, and on the 13th came within sight of the enemy drawn up a few miles from the town, with their right resting on the river, and their left on the Carrighaut heights. On the following night the troops were put in motion with a view to surprise the enemy, but owing to the unfavourable state of the weather, almost impassable roads, and the exhausted state of the draught cattle, the troops were unable to accomplish their object in time. Next day, however, after great exertion and fatigue, the troops were brought into action, drove the enemy from a strong position, and forced them across the river into the island upon which the capital stands. In this affair the 71st had Lieutenant Roderick Mackenzie, and 7 rank and file, killed; and Ensign Charles Stewart, [Ensign Stewart died in Spain in 1810, Lieutenant-colonel of the 50th regiment.] and 74 rank and file, wounded.

Notwithstanding this partial advantage, yet from the advanced state of the season, the impossibility of procuring a sufficient supply of provisions, the incessant rains, and the exhausted condition of the cattle, Lord Cornwallis found himself under the necessity of relinquishing the attempt. He, therefore, determined to retire to Bangalore, and wait i a more favourable opportunity. This, as all forced retreats generally are, was harassing to the troops, who suffered much from the inclemency of the season, and the want of a proper supply of provisions.

A short time after the army had reached Bangalore, Major Gowdie was detached to attack Nundydroog, a granite rock of great height, which had been fortified with such care, as to make regular approaches necessary. The rock was inaccessible on every point except one, which was strengthened by a double line of ramparts; a third had been recently commenced, and an outwork covered the gate by a flanking fire. The whole had every appearance of being impregnable. Yet Nundydroog, however high and steep, was still approachable, but not without immense fatigue and labour in dragging up guns, and constructing batteries on the face of a craggy precipice. At last, after fourteen days' labour, batteries were formed, and breaches made; one on the re-entering angle of the outwork, and another in the curtain of the outer wall. The inner wall could not be reached by the shot.

On the 18th of October, Lord Cornwallis, with his whole army, made a movement towards Nundydroog, and the same evening preparations were made for an assault. Both breaches were to be stormed. The night attack was to be led by Lieutenant Hugh Mackenzie, (now Paymaster of the 71st), with twenty Grenadiers of the 36th and 71st regiments on the right; and on the left by Lieutenant Moore, with twenty Light infantry, and the two flank companies of the same regiment, under Lieutenants Duncan and Kenneth Mackenzie,—the whole being under the command of Captain (now Lieutenant-General) James Robertson, supported by Captain Burns (now Major-General) with the Grenadiers, and Captain Hartley with the Light company of the 36th regiment; General Meadows, by his presence and animated example, exhilarating all. [While all were waiting in silence for the signal to advance, one of the soldiers whispered something about a mine. "To be sure there is," said General Meadows, "but it is a mine of gold." This answer produced the proper effect.]

The assault commenced in a clear moonlight, on the morning of the 19th October. The preparations for resistance had been made with great care and labour. Enormous masses of granite had been prepared, and preserved till the moment the troops should begin to ascend, when the stones were to be rolled down the rock, with an effect which, it was hoped, would prove irresistible. But, although the enemy were on the alert, the ardour and intrepidity of the assailants surmounted every obstacle; a lodgment was made within one hundred yards of the breach, the enemy were driven from the outward rocks, and so closely pushed as to prevent their barricading the gate of the inner rampart, which, after some delay, was forced, and the place carried with the loss only of thirty men killed and wounded ; principally from the stones tumbled down the rock. The loss fell entirely on the Native troops. Such are the consequences of a rapid and spirited advance.

The advantage of this mode of attack was soon afterwards evinced in a still more remarkable instance. Lord Corn-wailis, keeping in view the capture of the Sultan's capital, determined to attempt the possession of all the intermediate strong holds that might interrupt his communications. The most formidable of these, and, by general report, the strongest in Mysore, was Savendroog, This is another granite rock, considerably more elevated than Nundydroog, every where apparently inaccessible, and separated by a chasm into two parts at the top, on which were erected two citadels independent of each other, and both well supplied with water. The place had been reconnoitred, and deemed inaccessible, but the success at Nundydroog, and other places encouraged the English General to attempt adding this to the number; judging that, if successful in this, the strongest of all, the rest would easily be reduced. Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart, who had been so often and so successfully employed, was selected for this duty, After the usual preparations' and attempts to batter some of the outworks, the 21st of December was fixed upon for the assault, The flank companies of the 52d, the two Highland regiments, and the 76th, were assembled under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Nisbet of the 52d, and, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, the band of the 52d regiment playing "Britons Strike Home," ascended the rock, clambering up a precipice which was so perpendicular, that, after the service was over, the men were afraid to descend. The eastern citadel was soon carried. This was followed by the surrender of the whole in succession, each part being deserted or surrendered when approached, and the fortress, so formidable in appearance, and indeed impregnable, if defended by a resolute enemy, was taken with the loss of only two men on the part of the assailants. Ootradroog, Rahngerry, Sevengerry, &c. all fell in the same manner, leaving our army no enemy but the climate.

In the month of January 1792, the army was again put in motion for Seringapatam, where the resistance made by the enemy showed a strange contrast to the timidity and feeble defence of their garrisons. Were an opinion to be formed from such examples, garrisons would be proved to be wholly useless; seeing that the troops enclosed in them offered little resistance, whereas in the open field, as in the ensuing action near Seringapatam, they made a most vigorous stand. The truth seems to be, that the very apparent strength and height of these rocks enfeebled the minds of their defenders, who saw no means of escape down their precipitous sides, should they be overpowered, and imagined that nothing remained but destruction or immediate surrender. In the field, on the contrary, they knew that, if they were beaten, they had an open country in their rear; there was, therefore, the less danger in waiting the near approach of the enemy, from whom they had thus the means of escape.

On the 5th of February Lord Cornwallis was again in sight of Seringapatam, and, on the evening of the 6th, the army was formed into three columns, the right column being under General Meadows, the centre under Lord Cornwallis, with Lieutenant-Colonels James Stuart, and the Honourable John Knox, and the left under Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell. General Meadows was to penetrate the enemy's left, and directing every effort towards the centre, to endeavour to open and preserve the communication with Lord Cornwallis's division. A part of this division under Colonel Stuart was directed to pierce through the centre of the enemy's camp, and thence attempt the works on the island, while Colonel Maxwell with the left wing was ordered to force the works on Carighaut Hill, to descend, turn the' right of the main division, and unite with Colonel Stuart. These operations, executed with success, would accomplish the complete overthrow of the enemy. The corps composing the centre were the 52d, and 71st and 74th Highland regiments; the right consisted of the 36th and 76th ; and the left of the 72d Highland regiment. The Native troops were divided in proportion to each column. At eight o'clock in the evening the three columns were in motion. The head of the centre column, led by the flank companies of each regiment, after twice crossing the Lockary, which covered the right wing of the enemy, came in contact with their first line, which was instantly driven across the north branch of the Cavery, at the foot of the glacis of the fort of Seringapatam. Captain Lindsay, with the Grenadiers of the 71st, attempted to push into the body of the place, but was pre-vented by the raising of the drawbridge a few minutes before he advanced. He was here joined by some Grenadiers and Light infantry of the 52d and 76th regiment?. With this united force he pushed down to the Loll Bang, where he was fiercely attacked by a body of the enemy, which he quickly drove back with the bayonet. His numbers were soon afterwards increased by the Grenadier company of the 74th, when he attempted to force his way into the Pettah, (or town), but was opposed by such overwhelming numbers, that he did not succeed. He then took post in a small redoubt, where he maintained himself till morning, when he moved to the north bank of the river, and joined Lieutenant-Colonels Knox and Baird, and the troops who formed the left of the attack. During these operations, the battalion companies of the 52d, 71st, and 72d regiments, forced their way across the river to the island, overpowering all that opposed them. At this moment Captain Archdeacon, commanding a battalion of Bengal Seapoys, was killed. [I have often remarked the important advantages resulting from confidence subsisting between officers and men, especially when that confidence is confirm. ed by attachment and respect; at the same time, it is not without its disadvantages, as in the case of Captain Archdeacon, to whom his men were so attached, that their consternation at his fall, and dread of the consequences of losing their leader, were such as to throw them into a degree of confusion not easily remedied.]

This threw the corps into some confusion, and caused it to fell back on the 71st at the moment that Major Dalrymple was preparing to attack the Sultan's redoubt, and thus impeded his movement. However, the redoubt was attacked, and instantly carried. The command of it was given to Captain Sibbald, who had led the attack with his company of the 71st. The animating example and courage of this officer made the men equally irresistible in attack, and firm in the defence of the post they had gained. The enemy made several vain attempts to retake it. In one of these the brave Captain Sibbald was killed. Out of compliment to this officer, the Commander-in-Chief changed the name from the Sultan's to Sibbald's Redoubt. In this obstinate defence the men had consumed their ammunition, when, by a fortunate circumstance, two loaded oxen of the enemy, frightened by the firing, broke loose from their drivers, and taking shelter in the ditch of this redoubt, afforded an ample and seasonable supply. The command of this post was assumed by Major Skelly of the 74th regiment, who had gone up with orders from the Commander-in-Chief, and remained there after the death of Captain Sibbald. The Sultan seemed determined to recover this redoubt, distinguished by his own name, and directed the French European corps to attack it. But they met with no better success than the former, notwithstanding their superior discipline. Repulses so complete and so repeated were a severe mortification to the Sultan, who seemed to rest as much on the possession of this post as if the fate of the day had depended upon it. But, having failed in all his attacks, he withdrew his troops, and retired within the garrison.

The loss on this occasion was 535 killed and wounded. The proportion of the 71st was Captain Sibbald, Lieutenant Baine, 2 sergeants, and 34 rank and file, killed; and Ensigns Duncan Mackenzie, William Baillie, 3 sergeants, and 67 rank and file, wounded. The loss of the enemy was estimated at 4000 men, and 80 pieces of cannon.

On the 9th of February a final position was taken for the siege of Seringapatam, and immediate operations commenced. Major-General Robert Abercromby, with the army from Bombay, consisting of the 73d and 75th Highland, and 77th, besides several native regiments, joined the same day. On the 18th, Major Dalrymple, with the 71st, crossed the Cavery at 9 o'clock at night, and surprised and routed a camp of Tippoo's horse. This movement was intended as a cover to the opening of the trenches, which took place at the same moment, 800 yards from the garrison. During the 19th, 20th, and 21st, traverses were finished, and the advances carried on with spirit and energy. On the 22d a sharp conflict took place between part of the Bombay army under General Abercromby, and the enemy, which terminated in the defeat of the latter. This was the last attempt of the enemy, and the repulse being complete, it led to negotiations which ended in a cessation of hostilities. Thus terminated a war in which the East India Company and their allies had captured 70 forts or fortified places, and 800 pieces of cannon, and had obtained the cession of near-one-half of the Sultan's dominions.

Sickness, which generally follows a succession of fatigues and active movements, began to appear, and no time was lost by the Commander-in-Chief in moving the army to their different destinations. The 71st, now under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel David Baird, who had had the command of a brigade during the latter part of the campaign, was marched to the neighbourhood of Trinchinopoly. In this cantonment they continued till the breaking-out of the war with France in 1793. In the month of August of that year, the flank companies were also employed on the expedition against Ceylon, under Major-General James Stuart, On this occasion, which presented nothing worthy of notice in point of military service, Captain Gor-rie was severely wounded, and 11 men were killed and wounded. The flank companies afterwards returned to the battalion, and in October 1797, orders were issued to draft all the soldiers fit for service (560 men) into the 73d and 74th regiments: those who had been disabled, along with the officers and non-commissioned officers, embarked at Madras for England, and sailed on the 17th of October. Colonel Baird was left at the Cape of Good Hope, where he was appointed Brigadier-General. The fleet, after a tedious passage, and having touched at St Helena and Cork, entered the river Thames in August 1798, after which the 71st was removed to Leith, and thence to Stirling, after an. absence of nearly eighteen years from their native country.

Very few remained of the men who had originally formed the regiment. Of the original officers, the following were still in the regiment: Colonel Baird, Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple, Majors the Honourable John Lindsay and James Robertson, Brevet Majors John Borthwick and W. C. Gorrie, and Captains David Ross, Hugh Cuthbert, Roderick and Hugh Mackenzie. Although so early diminished in numbers as to be called by their general, in their third campaign, the "precious remains of the brave Macleod Highlanders," they attained a character sufficient to entitle them to this honourable designation. General Coote, for some reason not explained, early in the war, recommended strongly that no more Highlanders should be sent to India. The opinion was probably founded on the sickly state in which the 2d battalion of the 42d regiment, and Macleod's and Seaforth's Highlanders, had reached India, and their inefficiency for some time afterwards. But whatever might be the opinion of this able officer of the impropriety of ordering out more men of the same description, he showed no want of reliance on those who were under his command. On the contrary, he always placed them in those situations in which the severest trials were expected. He generally kept close to this corps in every action, and it was observed that he was seldom stationary except on their ground. In all changes of position, and in every movement which he personally directed, whenever his personal attendance became necessary in a different part of the field, he was always on the move till he returned to the 73d. It was on one of these occasions that he so particularly noticed the animated manner in which the piper played, and the effect produced on the minds of the men by the sounds of their native music. Previous to this he had no very favourable idea of the bagpipe, conceiving it an useless relic of the barbarous ages, and not in any manner calculated for disciplined troops. But the distinctness with which the shrill sounds pierced and made themselves heard through the noise and melee of the battle, and the influence they seemed to excite, effected a total change in his opinion.

The regiment had been nearly two years in Scotland, when circumstances rendered necessary a change of designation, of garb, and of men. However, this necessity did not immediately exist, for although recruiting was slow during the eighteen months the head-quarters continued at Stirling, yet when the regiment was removed to Ireland in June 1800, they received 600 volunteers from the Scotch Fencible regiments. The corps was thus augmented to 800 men, of whom 600 were Highlanders. In 1804 a second battalion was ordered to be embodied at Dumbarton. When this battalion was removed to Glasgow, it was so successful in recruiting, under the command of Major, now Sir Archibald Campbell, and gained so much the good will of the people, that it acquired the name of the "Glasgow Highland Light Infantry," an occurrence which was the more noticed, because a certain class of the inhabitants of that populous city have seldom shown any partiality to the military. However, it would appear that, in this instance, the partiality was marked. The consequence was a regular supply of recruits to fill up the ranks of the first battalion, which was soon to be employed on an expedition against the Cape of Good Hope, under their old commander, Major-General Sir David Baird. This battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis Pack, was now in a most efficient state, and consisted of an excellent body of men of good character, and in high health and discipline.

This armament, of the proceedings of which a short account will appear under the head of the Sutherland Regiment, sailed from Cork on the 5th of August 180.5, and reached the Cape of Good Hope on the 4th of January 1806. The casualties of the regiment on this occasion, were 6 rank and file killed, and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Campbell, 2 sergeants, and 67 rank and file, wounded. When the government and garrison of this conquest were settled, the naval and military commanders formed the bold resolution of attacking, with a force not much exceeding the strength of one full battalion, the great province of Buenos Ayres. This expedition was to be composed of the 71st, with a detachment from a foreign corps at the Cape, 200 men from the garrison of St Helena, and a detachment of artillery, all under the command of Major-General Beresford, and Commodore Sir Home Popham. The troops were embarked, and sailed on the 14th of April 1806, and receiving the expected reinforcement at St Helena, reached the Rio de la Plata on the 8th of June. The commanders having determined to attack Buenos Ayres in preference to Monte Video, passed the latter, and sailing up the river, anchored on the 24th opposite to the city. The following evening the troops landed without opposition: the Marines of the fleet disembarked at the same time, making the combined force about 1400 men. The enemy made no attempt to disturb them, and next forenoon the troops moved forward to the village of Reduction, where the enemy had taken a position on the brow of an eminence, from which they could count every file of men marching against them. The smallness of the force did not induce them to advance to the attack, or to make a resolute stand them to advance of the 71st up the acclivity, they retreated, firing only a few shots, by which Captain Le Blanc, 1 sergeant, and 5 soldiers, were wounded. The enemy left 4 field-pieces on the ground, and took shelter in Buenos Ayres. Following up this first advantage, the passage of the Rio Chuelo was forced on the 27th, after some skirmishing with the enemy, who, without farther resistance, surrendered' the city by capitulation. But this easy capture was difficult to preserve. The Spaniards recovered from their first panic, and, encouraged by the insignificance of the force sent against them, began to collect in the neighbourhood about the beginning of August. The first body consisted of 1500 men, commanded by M. Pueyreddon. These were attacked and dispersed by General Beresford, with a detachment of the 71st, and the corps of St Helena, who took 10 pieces of artillery, with the loss of only a few-men wounded.

The dispersed troops, however, soon collected again, and in a short time found themselves sufficiently strong to march against the city, and on the 10th of August commenced hostilities, by surprising and cutting off a sergeant's guard. On the 11th the town was abandoned by the British, who took shelter in the fort; but seeing no prospect of relief, and being cut off from all supplies of provisions, they surrendered by capitulation the same evening. The officers were permitted to walk about on parole, and were quartered on the inhabitants; the men were confined, but were all treated with the usual generosity of the old Spanish character. This treatment continued till the landing of Sir Samuel Achmuty's expedition at Monte Video. That event, as might be expected, occasioned more severe restrictions. The officers and soldiers were removed into the interior, where they remained until the landing of General White-lock's army, on whose capitulation they were restored to liberty, and embarked with the troops for England.

The loss of the 71st in the attack which preceded their surrender, was Lieutenant Mitchell and Ensign Lucas killed, and 91 non-commissioned officers and soldiers killed and wounded. The regiment did not lose many men by sickness, but 35 men deserted and joined the Spaniards while they were prisoners up the country, exhibiting a very disgraceful contrast to the conduct of their brave and better principled predecessors, of the original stock of the corps, under much more trying circumstances, in the dungeons of Hyder Ali.

The regiment landed in Ireland, and marched to Middle-ton, and afterwards to Cork, where they were joined by a reinforcement of 200 good men from the 2d battalion, thus augmenting their number to 920 effective men ; and on the 21st of April 1808, they received new colours instead of those surrendered at Buenos Ayres. They were delivered to the regiment with an animated address by General Floyd, who had frequently witnessed their gallantry and good conduct in India.

[This respectable veteran concluded his address to the regiment thus: "You now stand on this parade, in defiance of the allurements held out to base desertion. (Alluding to their conduct, in contrast to that of those who deserted to the Spaniards.) You are endeared to the army, and to your country. You ensure the esteem of all true soldiers, and all good men.

"It has been my good fortune to have witnessed, in a remote part of the world, the early glories of the 71st regiment in the field, and it is with great satisfaction I now meet you again with replenished ranks, arms in your hands, and stout hearts in your bosoms. Look forward, officers and soldiers, to the achievement of new honours, and the acquirement of fresh fame. Officers, be the friends and guardians of these brave men committed to your charge. Soldiers, give your confidence to your officers;—they have shared with you the chances of war;—they have bled along with you. Preserve your regiment's reputation in the field, early and gloriously gained, and be, like them, regular in quarters.

"I present the Royal Colours.—This is the King's Standard. I now present your Regimental Colours.—May honour and victory ever attend you!"]

The regiment had an early opportunity of proving that they were good representatives and successors of "the precious remains of Macleod's brave Highlanders," and that the General's address was not thrown away on men who were either regardless or undeserving. In July, they formed a part of the force embarked at Cork for Portugal, under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley. The fleet sailed on the 13th, having on board the 5th, 9th, 36th, 38th, 40th, 45th, 60th, (5th battalion), 71st, 91st, 95th, 4th Veteran Battalion, and 20th Light Dragoons, with Major-Generals Rowland Hill and Ronald C. Ferguson, and Brigadier General J. C. Crawford; in all about 10,000 men. After some delay the troops landed, early in August, in Mondego Bay. In a few days 5000 men from Gibraltar, under Major-General Brent Spencer, joined the army. On the 9th, General Wellesley made a forward movement towards Lisbon, and on the 11th he was joined by 6000 Portuguese, who were, however, unable to proceed, being unprovided with provisions and military equipments. The French, under General Laborde, amounting to more than 5000 men, retired as the British General advanced. On the 14th he reached Caldas, pushing forward 4 companies of the 60th and Rifle corps, to occupy the village of Brilos, in possession of the enemy, drove them from it, and thus in a rencounter of advanced posts, commenced a series of battles and operations unexampled in British warfare since the campaigns of the Duke of Marlborough, "who never lost a battle, who never was forced to raise a siege, and who never failed in any negotiation he attempted." It was unexampled also in the opportunity it afforded the British army of acting on an extended and continuous scale of important movements, and in giving scope for the full exertion of the talents of the General and his officers, and for the courage and firmness of his soldiers. On no occasion, since Queen Anne's successful wars, had the soldiers of Britain such a field of exertion laid open ; and to what extent they supported the honour of their country, will be seen in a succession of six years' campaigns (with the short interval subsequent to the Convention of Cintra), commencing at Brilos in Portugal in 1808, and ending on the heights of Toulouse in 1814. Success was sometimes succeeded by reverses, but reverses so quickly repaired, that the army returned again to the charge, with renovated vigour and force, as if the check or retreat had only been a suspension of fatigue for refreshment, or to receive reinforcements.

In the affair of Brilos, the impetuosity of the troops, not yet tempered by experience, led them too far; and Lieutenant Bunbury and a few privates of the Rifle corps, were killed; and thus this young officer and his soldiers had the honour of being the first who fell in this memorable war. Many valuable lives have been lost, but the sacrifice will not be considered too great when we reflect upon the importance of the object, both to the strength and military renown of the country. A generation will supply the loss of men, which will soon be forgotten, but not so the honour of our country, and the glory of our arms.

On the advance from Brilos, on the 17th, the enemy were seen in position on the heights of Roleia, commanding the road which the British must pass. These heights appeared from below almost inaccessible. They were steep and covered with brushwood, sueh as is common in Portugal, with only a narrow path leading to the summit, which was occupied by 5000 men. This was a formidable position, but General Wellesley, trusting to the courage of his troops, and with that firm and prompt decision, which he afterwards exhibited in such perfection on many great and trying occasions, resolved to attack instantly, judging that, should he drive the enemy from a position, chosen by themselves as the most defensible, their confidence would be lowered by the defeat, while, in the same proportion, that of his own troops would be confirmed by success, against such natural and apparently insurmountable obstructions. The attack was made, and the enemy driven from his position after a gallant resistance, and several sharp charges on those brigades who first mounted the hill, the face of which was completely exposed to the fire of the French. These, however, were totally without effect, and the enemy were forced to retreat at all points. The weight of the action fell upon the 5th, 9th, and 29th regiments, the riflemen of the 60th and 95th, and the flank companies of General Hill's brigade.

The 71st was not engaged, but on the 21st at Vimiera, being then in Major-General R. Ferguson's brigade, with the 36th and 40th, the regiment was actively and conspicuously occupied, fulfilling amply the expectation formed of them by General Floyd when he presented the colours a few months before. They were also present when, in the advance of "Major-General Ferguson's brigade, six pieces of cannon were taken from the enemy, with many prisoners, and vast numbers killed and wounded. In this battle, although not more than one-half the British army was engaged, and although the enemy was much superior both in cavalry and artillery, he sustained a signal defeat." [General Wellesley's Dispatches.]

Such was the auspicious commencement of the Peninsular campaigns, in the whole of which the 71st shared. In every action where it was particularly engaged, or called upon to meet the enemy, its conduct was uniformly praiseworthy. As, however, the number of Scotch and Highlanders in it was about this time reduced to 560, and as it seems all hopes of recruiting its ranks from the population which had formerly filled them were given up, this regiment now assumed a new designation, and took a new uniform. It ceases, accordingly, to come within the range of my plan, and I resign the task with the more regret, when I reflect on the reasons assigned for the change,—that a supply of men could not be obtained from the Highlands. There must have happened a melancholy revolution since the days when Lord Macleod the exile, without fortune, but not without friends, found himself possessed of a more enviable influence than that of wealth,—the influence which proceeds from personal respect and disinterested attachment.


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