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A Military History of Perthshire, 1660-1902
Edited by the Marchioness of Tullibardine (1908)
In two volumes


THE aim of this volume is to present an outline of the services rendered to the Empire by Perthshire men and Perthshire regiments since the inauguration of the Standing Army in the year 1660. As explained in the Preface to “A Military History of Perthshire, 1899-1902,” I undertook, some four years ago, at the request of Miss Jane C. C. Macdonald, to edit and complete a book already begun by her, in which, under the title of "The Muster-Roll of Perthshire,” were to be set forth individual records of service of Perthshire men in the late South African War. Two articles dealing with events prior to 1899 had already been contributed, but since then the scope of the book has been considerably extended, and the idea of illustrating the records of the present day by the story of Perthshire’s military achievements in the past has taken definite shape. It has consequently been thought advisable to change the title, and so much historical material has been amassed that a division of the book into two volumes has become a necessity. Except therefore in the case of three articles—those on the Militia, the Volunteers, and the 1st Battalion The Black Watch—in which the narrative is continued to the years 1901 or 1902—this volume deals only with events prior to 1899; while the companion volume is chiefly concerned with the work done by Perthshire men and Perthshire regiments in the South African War of 1899-1902.

From a glance at the Table of Contents the reader will see that the narrative in this volume is not continuous, but that it consists of a series of articles from different pens, grouped in sections according to subject. This arrangement at first sight may appear disjointed, but I regard it as inevitable. Perthshire is but a stone in the national structure, and her military history cannot by itself form a complete whole. Individual threads with an interest and continuity of their own are woven into the great web of the nation’s history, but there is no complete pattern to represent the county. If the complete pattern, however, be wanting, the threads are many and varied. Perthshire’s military history may be read in the story of the regiments contributed by her to the Regular Army; in the roll of her Militia, Fencibles, and Volunteers; in the campaigns which have taken place within her borders ; and last but not least, in the lives of her soldier sons. And as for two generations a lost cause absorbed in the main the martial ardour of the county, any record of her military history would be incomplete which did not include a mention of the part played by Perthshire men in the 'Fifteen, the Affair of Glenshiel, and the 'Forty-five.

Under these heads then the various articles in this book are grouped, and in each group the articles are arranged in chronological order. Each article forms a separate whole ; the treatment of the subject varies with the author ; but the book will gain in interest if the articles in each section are read in the order in which they are here presented, if sections I. and II., and III. and IV., are read together, and if the biographies are read last. Taken as a whole the five sections form a fairly complete record of Perthshire's military history since the Restoration.

In three respects the limits fixed in the title of the book have been overstepped. Following the precedent established in the companion volume, which records the services of Perthshire sailors, as well as soldiers, of the present day, a mention of some distinguished seamen has been included in the biographical section. That section opens with a short biography of James, first Marquess of Montrose, whose brilliant career ended ten years before the date at which the narrative proper commences; and the account of the battles fought in Perthshire since 1660 is preceded by a note on the principal conflicts which have taken place in the county since the days of Agricola onwards. Situated as it is in the centre of Scotland, astride of both Highlands and Lowlands, guardian of a great waterway and of the principal pass to the North, Perthshire, owing to her strategical position, has been the scene of many a conflict of great national issue, and he who would win Scotland by the sword must woo alike the rugged mountains and fair straths of this county. I hope therefore that the brief narrative of the principal battles fought in Perthshire prior to 1660 will not be considered out of place; and surely no apology is required for including a biography of Perthshire's greatest soldier.

The quantity of material available for the different articles has varied considerably, and in cases in which the writer has had access to sources hitherto unpublished or little known, a larger amount of space has been allotted than in those in which the subject could without difficulty be studied elsewhere in more detail. Again, when it has been necessary either to elucidate some hitherto obscure historical point, as in the article entitled " The Historic Succession of the Black Watch,” or to discriminate between the conflicting accounts of previous writers, as in the account of the battle of Killiecrankie, the subject has been treated at length ; and throughout the volume all points bearing on the history of the Black Watch, the Perthshire regiment of to-day, have been brought into prominent relief. Occasional overlapping has been inevitable, but it will be found that when biographies have been included of several officers who served in the same campaign, the references to the campaign in question are usually fuller in the earliest article of the series.

The first two sections of the book contain a record, however brief, of all the regiments raised in Perthshire or by Perthshire men for the Regular and Reserve Forces since the year 1660, but to select the officers whose biographies should fill the last section in this volume has not been an easy task. With the exception of two officers who won the Victoria Cross, and three men—Colonel the Marquess of Tullibardine, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Erskine, and Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Macara—all of whom were killed in action at the head of their respective regiments—the list includes only men who, having been on active service in a capacity not lower than that of field officer or naval captain, afterwards rose to the rank of general or admiral. Within these limits I hope that none of the more distinguished of Perthshire’s soldiers and seamen have been overlooked; but there are many others whose biographies I would gladly have included had not space forbidden an extension of the list. Biographical notes supply some of the deficiencies, but I would ask the indulgence of my readers for the many cases in which no mention at all has been possible. As mentioned in the text, I have included biographies of famous men such as Lord Duncan and Lord Keith, on whom counties other than Perthshire have a personal claim, but whose connection with this county could not be ignored.

Considerations of space suggested that the biographies of several of the best-known men should aim at being character sketches rather than detailed narratives, but in many other instances, owing to lack of material, the personal note is wanting. None the less it may not be without interest to Perthshire people of to-day to follow their predecessors through the chief military events of the past two hundred and fifty years.

Lists of officers, which may, I hope, prove useful to the genealogist or the student of regimental or county history, accompany the articles dealing with the Perthshire regiments proper. In most of these lists, owing to want of space, it has been possible to include only the officers originally appointed; and, except in the case of the first Volunteer regiment raised in the county, the large number of Volunteers raised during the Napoleonic era has prevented my mentioning more than the field and company officers who served in that Force.

The list of those to whom I am indebted for help in the production of this volume is a long one. In the first place my warm thanks are due to those who have generously assisted me by contributing articles—more especially to Mr. Andrew Ross, Ross Herald, Mr. W. B. Blaikie, Mr. Allan McAulay, and Miss Eleanor C. Sellar, each of whom is responsible for several chapters in the book. My obligation to the first two named is particularly heavy. From Mr. Ross I have received not only the interesting papers entered under his name, embodying the results of much valuable research among original documents in the General Register House, Edinburgh, but I am also indebted to him for untold advice and encouragement, and for information on many points connected with articles contributed by me. To Mr. Blaikie I owe not only articles, covering, as will be seen, a wide range of subjects, but also much kind advice and general help; and students of the ’Forty-five will understand how much this book has gained from having nearly the whole of the section entitled “Jacobite Perthshire” contributed by one who is admittedly such an authority on that period.

The list of manuscripts consulted gives the names of most of those who kindly supplied me with information or family papers, but I must here record my special thanks to the Duke of Atholl for giving me access to his charter-room; to Lord Breadalbane for his kindness in placing at my disposal the regimental books of the Breadalbane Fencibles; to Lord Kinnoull for lending me papers relating to the Yeomanry and Volunteers; to Lieutenant-Colonel R. M. Holden for allowing me to make use of the interesting notes he has compiled from various War Office papers at the Record Office; and to Miss Murray MacGregor for her kindness in furnishing me with information with regard to her clansmen. Others who should be mentioned are Mrs. Campbell of Dunstaffnage, Colonel Campbell of Achalader, Mr. Charles Dalton, editor of “English Army Lists and Commission Registers,” Major Peter Chalmers, and Miss J. L. Small. But many are the correspondents both within and without the county who have kindly replied to my inquiries, and to all I would tender my thanks.

To Mr. W. Skeoch Cumming I am indebted for helpful advice with regard to the illustrations generally, and for the note on page 53 with regard to some rare old prints reproduced here. And my debt of gratitude to Mr. Ross is not yet fully recorded, for to him I owe the descriptions of the flags, the List of Authorities, and, last but not least, the very careful Indexes to Persons and Military Units which he has compiled with the aid of his son, Mr. Alastair Ross.

In the matter of illustrations my thanks are due to Lord Lovat, who has kindly allowed me to reproduce a fine portrait of Prince Charles Edward, hitherto, I believe, unpublished; to Lord Rollo for permission to include not only the portrait of one of his ancestors, but photographs of two interesting old flags at Duncrub; and to Mrs. Campbell of Dunstaffnage, who has kindly supplied me with reproductions of two portraits and a colour at In verawe. Lady Strathallan, Mrs. Small of Dimanean, the Misses Macdonald (late of Dalchosnie), Miss E. C. Grant, the Duke of Atholl, Lord Lansdowne, Lord Breadalbane, Lord Kinnoull, Lord Elgin, the late Lord Mansfield, Lord Effingham, Sir Archibald Campbell of Ava, Lieutenant-Colonel Home Drummond of Blair Drummond, Captain Grant of Kilgraston, Captain Graham Stirling of Strowan, Mr. Erskine of Cardross, Mr. Macduff of Bonhard, Mr. W. H. G. Bagshawe of Ford, Mr. S. M. Milne, and the Senatus of Edinburgh University, are others to whom I am under an obligation for leave to reproduce portraits, flags, medals, or trophies, in their possession.

I am indebted to my husband for the originals of the maps of Killiecrankie and Sheriffmuir, and the papers on those two battles have benefited much from his military knowledge. The stamp of the county arms on the cover of this volume is from a drawing by Captain Drummond Moray of Abercairny.

I am under a deep obligation to Mrs. William J. Watson (Miss E. C. Carmichael), editor of The Celtic Review, who has been kind enough to read over the proofs and to give me much valuable advice with regard to the book in general. I have also derived much help from the researches made on my behalf at the Record Office and British Museum by Miss E. M. Thompson, and in Edinburgh by Miss C. G. Barclay and Mr. John MacLeod.

My thanks are due to Mr. J. T. Clark and Mr. W. K. Dickson, past and present curators of the Advocates’ Library, for their kindness in allowing me access to that Library ; also to their staff for facilitating my work there. Mr. A. D. Cary has kindly allowed me to make some researches in the War Office Library, and Mr. B. E. Sargeaunt, assistant curator of the Royal United Service Institution, with never-failing courtesy has procured me information from the excellent military library in Whitehall. I am also indebted to Mr. Ross, Mr. Blaikie, and Sir Duncan Campbell of Barcaldine, for the loan of several books which have been of invaluable service.

With the exception of the collotype reproduction of the Culloden Orders, which has been kindly presented by Mr. Blaikie, the illustrations are the work of Messrs. Carl Hentschel, Limited. The printing has been entrusted to the Ballantyne Press, and I must here record my appreciation of the clearness and accuracy with which that firm have executed their work.

Lastly, I must tender my apologies for the delay in the publication of this and the accompanying volume, and express my gratitude for the forbearance shown by the subscribers to both. To record Perthshire’s military history under so many different headings has been no light matter, and I can only hope that they may find something in the history of county men and county regiments, as here set forth, to make amends for the long period during which the book has been in course of preparation.


Blair Castle,

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