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


Military Annals of the Highland Regiments

Queen's Highlanders, &c. and
List of Officers of Independent Companies raised in the year 1745.

I have now completed that part of my plan which embraces a sketch of the military service of the regular corps raised since the year 1740, under the denomination of Highland. These were 50 battalions;—and of this number 34 battalions were employed on foreign service, and 33 have been introduced separately to the notice of the reader in the succession in which they were raised.

[These battalions were the Black Watch, and Loudon's Highlanders, of the War ending in 1748; Montgomery's and Fraser's, the second battalion of the 42d, Keith's Campbell's, Johnstone's, and the 89th regiments, of the Seven Years' War; Fraser's, (two battalions,) Macleod's, (two battalions,) Argyle, Macdonald, Athole, Seaforth, Aberdeenshire, Royal Highland Emigrants, (two battalions,) and the second battalion of the 42d, of the War ending in 1783; Campbell's and Abercromby's, or 74th and 75th regiments, of 1787; Seaforth's, (three battalions,) Cameron's, Strathspey, Argyle, Gordon, second battalion of the 42d, and Sutherland, (two battalions,) of the War ending in 1815,]

Besides these 33 regiments, Major Colin Campbell of Kilberrie raised a Highland regiment, which was embodied at Stirling in 1761, and placed on the establishment as the 100dth regiment of the line. Immediately after inspection, the regiment was ordered for Martinique; and, having been stationed there till 1763, was ordered to Scotland, and reduced.

Colonel David Graeme of Gorthy, who had been appointed to attend her late Majesty Queen Charlotte to England in 1761, raised a corps of two battalions, which were embodied at Perth in 1762, under the designation of the Queen's Highlanders, and numbered the 105th regiment. Both battalions were ordered to Ireland, and reduced in 1763. In 1761, a corps was raised and called the Royal Highland Volunteers and numbered the 113th regiment. Major James Hamilton was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant. This corps was never sent on foreign service, and was disbanded at the peace. Captain Allan Maclean of Torloisk also raised a regiment, of which he was appointed Major Commandant. This corps furnished a good supply of recruits to the Highland regiments serving in Germany and America, and was reduced in 1763.

The Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment of 1775 was not embodied in Scotland; but consisting entirely of native Highlanders, or the sons of Highland emigrants, and having proved itself true to its King and country, it is introduced here as forming a part of the Highland military of that period.

In the year 1794, Major-General Alexander Campbell of Monzie raised a regiment under the designation of the Perthshire Highlanders, which was numbered the 116th. After being a short time stationed in Ireland, the men were drafted into other regiments. Some of the officers accompanied the soldiers, while others remained on full pay, and unattached till provided for in other regiments. In 1794, also, Colonel Duncan Cameron of Callart raised a regiment, which was numbered the 132d. This corps was soon reduced, and the men and officers transferred to other regiments. In the same year, Colonel Simon Eraser (afterwards Lieutenant-General) recruited a regiment, which was placed on the establishment immediately after the 132d. The 133d was broken up in the same manner as the 132d, and the men and officers transferred. The second battalions of the 7Ist, 72d, 73d, 74th, 79th, 91st, and 92d regiments contained in their ranks a numerous and efficient body of Highlanders; but, as the garb and designation of several of them were changed, and the 79th and 92d not having been on service, they are not included. The second battalion of the 91st was employed in Holland, under General Graham in 1814, and in Flanders in 1815. The second battalion 73d served also in Flanders in 1815, commanded by the Honourable Colonel Harris; but I regret that I was precluded, by the change in their name and uniform, and the nature of my plan, from noticing the share those battalions had in the duties of that short but brilliant campaign. At Quatre Bras and Waterloo, the loss of the 73d in killed and wounded was considerable: in officers killed, the regiment was nearly as unfortunate as the third battalion of Royal Scots, which had 8 officers killed, and 26 wounded.

Besides the 50 Highland battalions embodied since the year 1740, there were numerous other bodies of troops raised in the Highlands. Two regiments were raised in Argyleshire in 1745, under the designation of the Campbell or Argyle Highlanders. These two battalions were actively employed during the Rebellion, and were reduced at the peace. The other troops were not regimented, but acted independently, in one or more companies, under the command of the gentlemen who raised them, or served together when assembled for any general purpose. In the year 1745, there were twenty companies, of 100 men each, raised in the counties of Inverness and Ross. The following list will show the names of the officers, accompanied by a certificate from the Lord President, who was appointed to recommend proper officers, and to superintend the recruiting.

List of Officers of Independent Companies raised in the year 1745.

Captains.

William Mackintosh, Esq.
Hugh Macleod, Esq.
Alexander Mackenzie, Esq.
Colin Mackenzie of Hilltown, Esq.
James Macdonald, Esq.
George Monro, Esq.
Alexander Gun, Esq.
Patrick Grant, Esq.
George Mackay, Esq.
Peter Sutherland, Esq.
John Macleod, Esq.
Norman Macleod of Waterstein, Esq.
Norman Macleod of Bernera, Esq.
Donald Macdonald, Esq.
John Macdonald, Esq,
Hugh Mackay, Esq.
William Ross, Esq,
Colin Mackenzie, Esq.

Lieutenants.

Adam Gordon.
John Gordon,
William Grant.
John Mackay.
William Mackay.
Alexander Macleod.
Donald Macleod.
John Campbell.
William Macleod.
Kenneth Mathison.
George Monro.
John Mathison.
Alexander Campbell.
Allan Macdonald.
Allan Macdonald.
John Mackay.
Charles Ross.
Donald Mackattlay.

Ensigns.

Hugh Monro.
Kenneth Sutherland.
James Grant.
James Mackay.
John Mackay.
John Macaskill.
John Macleod,
John Macleod.
Donald Macleod.
William Baillie.
Rodrick Macleod.
Simon Murchison.
John Macrae.
James Macdonald.
Donald Macdonald.
Angus Mackay.
David Ross.
Kenneth Mackenzie.

(CERTIFICATE.)

I certify, that, pursuant to the trust reposed in me by his Majesty, Commissions were by me delivered to the officers of the Independent Companies above mentioned; and that these Commissions were not delivered until their respective companies were complete.

(Signed) Dun. Forbes.

At the same period, also, the Laird of Grant assembled 1100 men, but only 98 joined the Duke of Cumberland's army. The Laird of Macleod was nearly as unsuccessful, as he was only followed by 200 out of 1000 men whom he had assembled at his Castle of Dunvegan. But, in the county of Ross, Munro of Culcairn, and other gentlemen of that loyal clan, were very successful, and armed a considerable body of men. The Earl of Sutherland raised and appointed a brigade of 2400 men at his own expense. In Perthshire, the influence of the loyal proprietors completely failed. The Duke of Atholl and the Earl of Breadalbane could not bring out a man in arms. Powerful as the Duke of Atholl was by feudal rights and privileges, popular in his personal character, and attracting the notice of the people, in a peculiar manner, by his affability and graceful majestic appearance, he could not raise a man, as his principles and opinions were contrary to those of his people; while his brother, Lord George Murray, found himself in a few days at the head of a brigade of 1400 men of Athole, anxious to be led to the field. So little did the people regard feudal authority, and so independent were they when submission to their superiors interfered with what they called their loyalty: And yet these people are generally believed to have been such slaves to the caprice and will of their imperious chiefs, that whichever side they took their vassals followed. The Duke of Atholl's agents were particularly active in the service of Government; the clergy also, with one exception, were zealous in their exhortations, and exerted themselves in support of the Duke's authority, but to no effect. [Previous to the commencement of the Rebellion, upwards of 500 men were raised in Athole and Breadalbane, for Loudon's Highland regiment, by Captain John Murray, afterwards Duke of Atholl; by Lieutenant Robertson, afterwards of Strowan; Stewart of Urrard; Macdonell of Lochgarry; the late Generals Reid and Macnab; and other officers in that corps.]

The Earl of Breadalbane was equally unsuccessful, although highly respected as an honourable, humane, and indulgent landlord. While such was the case in Perthshire, in Argyleshire it was different; two battalions, or a brigade of 1200 men, were raised, and were actively employed during the whole of the troubles of that unfortunate period.

In the Seven Years' War, many independent companies were raised, and a great number of men recruited by Highland officers, for which they got commissions of different ranks in the new regiments formed in the south, in which the Highland recruits were embodied. Previous to this period, large bodies of Highland youths enlisted for the Scotch Brigade in Holland, and followed the fortunes of those young gentlemen of family, and others, who could get no employment under their own Government; but, in consequence of the war, the recruiting for the brigade in Holland was suspended. [It was remarked that Colonel Macleod of Talisker, and the gentlemen of the Isle of Skye, who joined the brigade in Holland, were particularly successful. They always found a ready supply of young soldiers.]

Having in the preceding sketch endeavoured to give a general view of the military service of that portion of the Highland population embodied with the regular army, I shall now give a few short notices of the Fencible Corps, raised for the internal defence of the country, with an enumeration of the whole corps of Fencible infantry, wearing the garb of the ancient Gael, commencing with the Argyle and Sutherland Fencibles of 1759, the first corps of this description raised in Scotland.


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