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Scottish Regiments
The Black Watch -
1873 - 1881

NOT many months elapsed from the time of their allocation to Perth before the Black Watch were again called upon to engage in actual service. On the Gold Coast of Africa, mischief had been brewing for many years, and during the course of 1873 the conduct of Coffee Calcallee, king of the barbarous country of Ashantee, had been such that unless a decisive blow were immediately struck, Britain would be compelled to resign possession of her territory in that part of the African coast. With the Dutch possessions on the Gold Coast, ceded in 1872, English territory extended for many miles east and west of Cape Coast Castle, the seat of government The Ashantee territory extends northwards from the Gold Coast to a distance of about 300 miles, its middle being traversed by the river Prah, which flows in the upper part of its course from east to west, but turns at Prah-su towards the south, and reaches the sea at Chamah, to the west of Cape Coast Castle. The capital of the Ashantee territory is Coomassie, about 100 miles directly north from Cape Coast Castle, and about half that distance north of Prah-su. The population of Coomassie at the commencement of the campaign was probably between 20,000 and 30,000. Here the despotic King of Ashantee lived in great state, and in the indulgence of the superstitious and terribly cruel practices known as the Ashantee " Customs."

The measures hitherto taken to keep the Ashantees in their place had been so inadequate, that their kings had become intolerably bold and confident, and had indeed acquired an utter contempt of the British power on the Gold Coast. King Coffee Calcallee resolved, about the end of 1872, - to strike such a blow as would utterly stamp out the British rule on that coast, and in January 1873 an army of 60,000 warriors—and the Ashantees, though cruel, are brave and warlike—was in full march upon Cape Coast Castle. The whole force at the disposal of Colonel Harley, in whom the administration was vested, was about 1000 men, mainly West India troops and Houssa police, with some marines. It was estimated that a contingent of about 60,000 would be raised from the friendly tribes, but this number figured only on paper. By April the Ashantees were within a few miles of Cape Coast Castle, and things were getting desperate, when, in the beginning of June, a small force of marines, under Lt.Col. Festing, arrived from England. With this and other small reinforcements, the English managed to keep the barbarians at bay until the arrival, on October 2d, with his staff, of Major-General Sir Garnet J. Wolseley, who had been selected to command a force which was being organised in England to sweep back the threatened horde. His arrival inspired the troops with confidence, and by the end of November, after much hard preliminary work, the Ashantee force was in full retreat on Coomassie, and in another month General Wolseley, with his staff and 500 sailors and marines, was at Prah-su.

Meantime the small force which had been organising in England was on its way to the scene of operations. The 42nd was the principal regiment of the line, as a large part of the 23rd Welsh Fusileers had to re-embark, owing to the desertion of some thousands of native carriers who had been engaged to carry the necessary baggage. The Black Watch, accompanied by a considerable number of volunteers from the 79th, left Portsmouth on the 4th of December 1873, and disembarked on the 3d and 4th of January 1874. Besides the 23rd, 42nd, and 2d battalion Rifle Brigade, there were detachments of Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, and Royal Marines, which, with the force already on the ground, formed the army with which Sir Garnet Wolseley was to pierce into the very heart of the Ashantee kingdom, through a country of marshes and matted forests, the growth of centuries, and forming an almost impenetrable ambush for the enemy. As Lord Derby remarked, this was to be "an engineers’ and doctors’ war." The engineers worked admirably in the construction of roads, bridges, telegraphs, and camps; and it became simply a question whether the British soldiers would be able to hold out against the pestiferous climate long enough to enable them to reach Coomassie and return to the Gold Coast ere the heavy rains set in in the end of February. Happily the energy, skill, and knowledge of General Wolseley were quite equal to the emergency; and backed by an able and determined staff and his small force of brave and willing soldiers, he accomplished his mission with complete success.

The difficulty in procuring native carriers caused some delay after the landing of the force at Mansu, some distance to the north of Cape Coast Castle,—which delay, a 42nd officer said with truth, "did more harm to our men than all the hard work in Ashantee." To Europeans idleness in such a climate is utterly prostrating. In the dearth of carriers, the 42nd men themselves, greatly to their honour, volunteered to act as porters. On the 23d of January General Wolseley with the advanced guard had crossed the Adansi Hills, and fixed his headquarters at Fomannah, the palace of the Adansi king. On the 26th Colonel M’Leod of the 42nd, who commanded the advanced guard, took Borborassie. After this service the 23rd Fusileers, 42nd, Rifle Brigade, the 2nd West India Regiment, and the Naval Brigade, which by this time had reached Prah-su, were brought forward, resting on Insarfu. They encamped on the night of the 30th about that place, and about two miles north of it, towards the enemy’s main position at AmoafuL The advanced guard, under Colonel M’Leod, was at Quarman, within a mile or two of the enemy’s position.

The entire country hereabout is one dense mass of brush, penetrated by a few narrow lanes, "where the ground, hollowed by rains, is so uneven and steep at the sides as to give scanty footing. A passenger," to quote the London News’ narrative, "between the two wails of foliage, may wander for hours before he finds that he has mistaken his path. To cross the country from one narrow clearing to another, axes or knives must be used at every step. There is no looking over the hedge in this oppressive and bewildering maze. Such was the battlefield of January 31st. The enemy’s army was never seen, but its numbers are reported by Ashantees to have been 15,000 or 20,000. Its chief commander was Amanquatia, the Ashantee general. The Ashantees were generally armed with muskets, firing slugs; but some had rifles. As they were entirely concealed in the bush, while our countrymen stood in the lane or in the newly-cut spaces, precision of aim was no advantage to our side."

The main body of the enemy was encamped on the hill rising towards the town of Amoaful; but thousands of them also must have been skulking in the bush through which the small British force had to march before reaching the encampment. At early dawn on the 31st the British force moved upon the village of Egginassie, where the first shots were fired from an Ashantee ambush. The force was carefully arranged to suit the nature of the ground, with a front column, a left column, a right column, and a rear column, all so disposed that when they closed up they would form a square, the columns taking in spaces to the right and left of the central line of advance, so as to prevent any attack on the advancing front centre.

The front column was commanded by Brigadier-General Sir Archibald Alison, Bart., C.B. It consisted of the 42nd, under Major Baird, Major Duncan Macpherson, and Major Scott, a detachment of the 23rd Fusileers, Captain Rait’s Artillery, manned by Houssas, and a detachment of the Royal Engineers. The left column was commanded by Brigadier-Colonel M’Leod of the 42nd, and the right column by Lt.-Col. Evelyn Wood, 90th Light Infantry; part of the right column consisted of miscellaneous native African levies, under Captain Furze of the 42nd. The paths through the jungle were cut for each column of troops by large parties of native labourers.

Thus clearing their way through the jungle, and often scarcely able to obtain foothold from the slippery state of the marshy ground, the force advanced against the enemy. When the front of the small force had got a few hundred yards beyond the village of Egginassie, it was assailed by a tremendous fire of musketry from an unseen foe, very trying to the nerves even of an experienced and well-trained soldier. By this time five companies of the 42nd were in skirmishing order. The slugs were dropping thick and fast; had they been bullets, scarcely a man of the Black Watch would have lived to tell the tale. As it was, there were few of the officers who did not receive a scratch, and nearly 100 of the men were wounded. Major Macpherson was shot in the leg, but limped on with a stick, and kept the command for some time, when he was compelled to give it up to Major Scott. It was at this critical moment that Capt. Rait’s gun—there was no room for two —came into action at 50 yards from the enemy, on the direct line of advance. It soon forced the enemy to clear the road. In a moment they gave way upon their own left, and, pressed by the 42nd, began to yield ground.

This manoeuvre was repeated, until Sir Archibald Alison, seeing that the moment had come, and observing the high spirits of the men, ordered the pipers to play and the regiment to charge. Forward they sprang, with a ringing cheer, straight at the concealed foe, who, immediately giving way, scrambled pell mell down the hill and up to the village of Amoaful on the opposite side. By half-past eleven the village was in the hands of the British force. It was not, however, till after two that the fighting was over, as the flank parties, commanded by the Colonel of the 42nd, had much more trouble and numerous casualties in fighting and clearing their way through the bush. Of the 42nd Bt.-Major Baird was severely wounded, from which he died at Sierra Leone on the 6th of March. Major Macpherson, Captains Creagh and Whitehead, Lts. Berwick, Stevenson, Cumberland, and Mowbray, and 104 men wounded.

On Feb. 1st, the day after this signal victory, the adjacent village of Becqueh was captured and destroyed by Col. M’Leod, with the naval brigade and several detachments, supported by portions of the 42nd and 23rd. On the 2d, the army was at Agemanu, six miles beyond Amoaful, every inch of the ground between the two places being disputed by the enemy. On this day Lt. Wauchope of the 42nd was slightly wounded. On the 3d, Sir Garnet moved by the westerly road, branching off to the left from Agemanu, through Adwabin and Detchiasa to the river Dah or Ordah, the enemy again opposing the advance and hanging round the flanks of the force. King Coffee Calcallee had tried to stop the advance of the British by offering to pay an indemnity, but in vain, as no reliance whatever could be put in any of his promises; the King therefore resolved to dispute the passage of the river. The battle of Ordah-su, as it is called, was fought on Feb. 4th, and lasted seven hours. The troops reached the Dah on the evening of the 3d. The engineers worked through the night at the bridge, and in the morning the advanced guard, the Rifle Brigade, and some native troops under Col. M‘Leod, crossed over. Sir Garnet Wolseley, in his despatch dated Coomassie, Feb. 5th, thus describes the subsequent action:-

"The advanced guard, under the command of Col. M’Leod, 42nd Highlanders, was brought to a standstill shortly after the advance began; and a general action soon developed itself, lasting for more than six hours. The enemy did not, however, fight with the same courage as at Amoaful; for although their resistance was most determined, their fire was wild, and they did not generally attack us at such close quarters as in the former action.

Sir John M'Leod, K.C.B."The village of Ordah-su having been carried by the Rifle Brigade at nine o’clock, I massed all my force there, having previously passed all the reserve ammunition, field hospitals, and supplies through the troops, who held the road between the river and the village, a distance of about a mile. The enemy then attacked the village with large numbers from all sides, and for some hours we could make no progress, but steadily held our ground. The 42nd Highlanders being then sent to the front, advanced with pipes playing, and carried the enemy’s position to the north of the village in the most gallant style; Captain Rait’s artillery doing most effective service in covering the attack, which was led by Col. M’Leod.

"After some further fighting on the front line, a panic seems to have seized the enemy, who fled along the road to Coomassie in cornplete rout. Although the columns they had detailed to assault our flanks and rear continued for some time afterwards to make partial attacks upon the village, we followed close upon the enemy’s heels into Coomassie. The town was still occupied by large numbers of armed men, who did not attempt to resist. The King had fled no one knew whither. Our troops had undergone a most fatiguing day’s work, no water fit for drinking having been obtained during the action or the subsequent advance, and the previous night’s rest having been broken by a tornado, which drenched our bivouac. It was nearly six o’clock when the troops formed up in the main street of Coomassie, and gave three cheers for the Queen."

Mr H. M. Stanley, the well-known correspondent of the New York Herald, in describing the advance on Coomassie, wrote as follows of the bravery of the Black Watch:-

"The conduct of the 42nd Highlanders on many fields has been considerably belauded, but mere laudation is not enough for the gallantry which has distinguished this regiment when in action. Its bearing has been beyond praise as a model regiment, exceedingly disciplined, and individually nothing could surpass the standing and gallantry which distinguished each member of the 42nd or the Black Watch. They proceeded along the well-ambushed road as if on parade, by twos. ‘The forty-second will fire by companies, front rank to the right, rear rank to the left,’ shouted Col. M’Leod. ‘A company, front rank fire! rear rank fire!’ and so on; and thus vomiting out two score of bullets to the right and two score to the left, the companies volleyed and thundered as they marched past the ambuscades, the bagpipes playing, the cheers rising from the throats of the lusty Scots, until the forest rang again with discordant medley of musketry, bagpipe music, and vocal sounds. It was the audacious spirit and true military bearing on the part of the Highlanders, as they moved down the road toward Coomassie, which challenged admiration this day. Very many were borne back frightfully disfigured and seriously wounded, but the regiment never halted nor wavered; on it went, until the Ashantees, perceiving it useless to fight against men who would advance heedless of ambuscades, rose from their coverts, and fled panic-stricken towards Coomassie, being perforated by balls whenever they showed themselves to the hawk-eyed Scots. Indeed, I only wish I had enough time given me to frame in fit words the unqualified admiration which the conduct of the 42nd kindled in all who saw or heard of it. One man exhibited himself eminently brave among brave men. His name was Thomas Adams. It is said that he led the way to Coomassie, and kept himself about ten yards ahead of his regiment, the target for many hundred guns; but that, despite the annoying noise of iron and leaden slugs, the man bounded on the road like a well-trained hound on a hot scent. This example, together with the cool, calm commands of Col. M’Leod, had a marvellous effect upon the Highland battalion."

In the action on the 4th, Capt. Moore and Lts. Grogan and Wauchope of the 42nd were wounded, the latter severely this time; 14 men were also wounded.

Thus, in the space of about a month, by the decision and energy of the leader of the expedition, and the willingness of his officers and troops, was the great object of the campaign accomplished in the most masterly manner, and the Ashantees humbled as they had never been before, and taught a lesson they are not likely soon to forget. As during the 5th there seemed no hope of the treacherous king coming to terms, and as it was absolutely necessary for the health of the troops that the return march should be immediately commenced, Sir Garnet resolved to destroy Coomassie, and set out at once. Having, therefore, sent off all the wounded, he issued orders for an advance on the morning of the 6th. Early on that morning the homeward movements commenced, headed by the naval brigade, and covered by a rear guard of the 42nd, which did not retire till the town had been set on fire in every quarter, and the mines which had been placed under the palace fired. A tornado had raged during the previous night, but the destruction of the town by fire was complete.

Thus the campaign was virtually at an end, and Gen. Wolseley made all possible haste to bring his little army back to Cape Coast, Castle, which, notwithstanding the swollen state of the rivers, he accomplished by February 19th. While on his way back, Gen. Wolseley received the unqualified submission of the humbled king. No time was lost in getting the troops out of the influence of the deadly climate. Without delay, therefore, the embarkation took place. The 42nd embarked in the "Nebraska" on the 23d, and sailed on the 27th in the "Sarmatian," arriving at Portsmouth on March 23d. Here the troops, who had all suffered more or less from the effects of the climate, were received with the greatest enthusiasm.

Among the officers specially mentioned by Sir Garnet Wolseley for having performed prominent services during the campaign were Col. M’Leod, C.B., who was afterwards made a K.C.B.; Majors Macpherson and Scott; Capts. Farquharson, V.C., Furze, and Kidston; and Lt. Wauchope. The special thanks of Parliament were awarded to the troops, and honours were showered upon the Commander by the Queen and country. Majors Macpherson and Scott were made Lieutenant-Colonels and C.B., and had the brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel conferred on them. Captains Bayly, Farquharson, V.C. (who died shortly afterwards), and Furze were made Bt.-Majors. The Victoria Cross was conferred on Sergt. Samuel M’Gaw. The non-commissioned officers and men selected to have medals "for distinguished conduct in the field" at the hand of the Sovereign—and had them presented by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle on the 16th of May 1874, in presence of Colonel Sir John M’Leod, K.C.B., commanding the regiment, were—Wm. Street, sergt.-instructor of musketry; Sergt. Henry Barton; Privates John White, George Ritchie, George Cameron, and William Bell; Piper James Wetherspoon; Privates Henry Jones, Wm. Nichol, and Thomas Adams. Also, Sergeant-Major Barclay was awarded the medal for "meritorious services" for distinguished conduct during the campaign.

The regiment remained at Portsmouth until Nov. 15th, when it embarked for Malta under the command of Colonel Sir John M’Leod. Its strength on embarkation was 26 officers, 43 sergeants, 21 drummers and pipers, and 630 rank and file. It arrived at Malta, after calling at Queenstown, on the 27th, and, after being a few days under canvas, went into Isola barracks, the same that was occupied by the regiment in 1832, and again in 1844.

The preparation and distribution of the Ashantee medals was not completed until 1875, when the following Regimental Order was issued:-

"MALTA. 24th May 1875.

"Sir John M’Leod believes the Ashantee War medals now received in full and issued to the regiment, will be worn with satisfaction by the men. He thinks, though the expedition for which it is granted was only a little war, that the medal may take its place, not unworthily, beside the other decorations on the breast. Though little, the war had a magnitude and audacity about it to awaken the interest of the civilised world, and to exhibit in a marked degree those same qualities latent in you which sustained the corps of old in the Savannah, in Flanders, and in other unhealthy places, where, be it remembered, they were not cared for as you were on the Gold Coast by a beneficent Government. Men who can act as you acted—and the bush has terrors of its own—altogether, as though the honour of the regiment was committed to each individual member of it, have given evidence of a standard of character blending a perfect obedience with a just self-reliance. There is no page in your regiment’s annals brighter than that which tells of your encounter with your savage foe in the murky bottoms at Amoaful ; of the valour and discipline which carried you into the gaping chasrn of the forest at Ordah-su; through the fetid Soubang swamp, headed by Colour-Sergeant Barton, who, though wounded at Amoaful, continued working hard, hardly missing a shot, never halting until you had set your foot in the market-place of Coomassie. And on this day it is fitting to remember the distinguished conduct of Privates Alexander Hedge and John Arthur carrying Major Baird, more desperately wounded than themselves, to a place of safety ; and the noble heroism of Private W. Thompson, one of the party, sacrificing himself rather than see his captain fall into the hands of the enemy, how Sergeant M’Gaw won the Victoria Cross ; the sustained gallantry throughout of Privates Thomas Adams and George Ritchie ; the cheerful disregard of personal danger of Sergeant-Instructor of Musketry Street, though badly wounded in the thigh; of Quartermaster-Sergeant Patterson running the gantlet of fire upon the road for a hammock to carry the dangerously wounded Sergeant-Major to the rear, assisted by the Paymaster-Sergeant Bateman ; of Pioneer-Sergeant Gairns’ look of scorn, when, disabled in the right arm, he was advised to fall to the rear! How was the flame of battle to be fed if he were at the rear and not there to serve out the ammunition? How Sergeant Butters, shot through the leg at Amoaful, marched with his company till again struck down in the gloomy Pass of Ordah-su; of Sergeant Graham Gillies, and Privates Jones and John Grant of B Company, and Private W. Nichol, always to the front; how wounded Piper Wetherspoon, taking the rifle and place of dead Corporal Samuel, fought till overpowered with wounds, of Sergeant Mime and Private Hector White, and gallant Privates W. Bell, Imray, and M’Phail fighting with remarkable bravery. But the space I would allow myself is more than filled ; and I have before me Sergeant John Simpson, Colour-Sergeant Farqnharson, Privates Calderwood, W. Armstrong, J. Miller, Peter Jeffrey, Colour-Sergeant Cooper, and Piper Honeyman, ‘tangled in the bush,’ and lost to his company ; Surgeon-Major Clutterbuek, your old doctor, using few hammocks, how he marched all the way, his own recipe for surmounting all difficulties, defended successfully his helpless wounded on the road side with his revolver; and Hospital Orderly M‘Cudden—the hammock men hesitating to follow the regiment into the dread Pass of Ordah-su—encouragingly he threw aside his sword and revolver, placed himself at their head, led thus into Coomassie; and Quartermaster Forbes —unsurpassed — how, in the hottest of the fray, you had your ammunition always handy; your ration—sometimes more—ready. The first to swim the Ordah on your return, few will forget the hot tea he welcomed you with to your bivouac on that wet dreary night. Private Johnston, the last to pass over, how he lost his clothes in the dark, and was sandwiched by the doctor between two hammocks, faring not so badly ; and others unmentioned, generous men, and remembered. Scattered as you are at present over Cottonera, I regret I have been unable with my own hand, and the fever on me, to give to each of you his well-earned medal. But I address you, on this the Queen’s birthday, that you may be sure your good conduct is not forgotten. Wear the medal, with its ribbon yellow and black, significant colours to you. If any man ever makes away with it for unworthy ends, it will be a double disgrace to him."

In 1876 Her Majesty directed the word "Ashantee" to be added to the honorary distinctions on the colours of the regiment.

The regiment remained intact at Malta with little incident save an occasional change of quarters until January 9th, 1878, when the right half Battalion was ordered to the adjacent island of Gozo, consequent on the anticipated arrival of the Indian Expeditionary Force, as well as the impending increase to the garrison of troops from England, rendered necessary through the strained aspect of affairs between England and Russia, this being the first time the island had been occupied by troops for many years. Shortly after, on February 5th, Headquarters and the left half Battalion moved to Fort Manoel from Pembroke Camp. In September of the previous year Colonel M’Leod had retired, and Colonel Macpherson was now in command.

From April 1st, 1878, the establishment of the regiment was increased to 1103 of all ranks, preparatory to orders received on July 9th for the regiment to hold itself in readiness to embark for service. This service, as it ultimately proved, was to form part of the Expeditionary Force to occupy the island of Cyprus. The force, consisting of 10,000 men, including the Indian Contingent, sailed from Malta on the 18th and following days. The 42nd, along with half a Battalion of the 101st Regiment, embarked on board H.M.S. "Himalaya," which also conveyed General Sir Garnet Wolseley, G.C.B., &c., Commanding Force and Staff.

The "Himalaya" arrived at Larnaca on the 22d, and the regiment disembarked on the 23d, and marched to Chifflick Pasha Camp, about 7 miles distant, there to be encamped. On landing, news was received of the sudden death of Sergeant M’Gaw, V.C., who had accompanied an advance detachment on the previous day.

It soon became evident that Chifflick Pasha was far from being a healthy part of the island, and by August 17th the whole regiment had been removed to Kyrenia with the exception of two companies who were to proceed to Paphos on August 20th.

Whilst stationed at Kyrenia the men had the unpleasant duty of guarding two or three hundred Turkish convicts, who were confined in the old Fort of Kyrenia. The regiment was now reduced to an establishment of 693 of all ranks, and was engaged in building huts, which were only just completed when, on November 9th, orders were received for the regiment to be held in readiness for another move—to Gibraltar.

The camps at Kyrenia and Paphos were accordingly brought together to Larnaca by H.M.S. "Humber," whence they embarked on board H.M.S. "Jumna," and by the 27th, after only a few hours’ stoppage at Malta, Gibraltar was safely reached.

On June 10th, the "Himalaya" arrived with the 79th on board, who landed on the 12th, so that there were at one time no fewer than four Highland regiments on the Rock —the 42nd, 71st, 79th, 93rd.

On account of the health of the men the regiment was now ordered for Home Service, and on the 14th embarked on board H.M.S. "Himalaya," anchoring off Cowes early in the morning of the 19th. Here they took up the quarters vacated by the 56th, the establishment of the regiment being reduced by 4 officers and 120 privates.

The most noteworthy of the official inspections at this time was that by the Queen (August 13th), who expressed her great satisfaction at the general appearance of the regiment after their return from foreign service.

The regiment was removed to Aldershot on 21st June, and, on the formation of the Army Corps for the Summer Drills, was brigaded with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and 2d Battalion Scots Guards, under the command of Colonel Gipps, Scots Guards, forming 1st Brigade, 1st Division. Colonel Macpherson, C.B., having been appointed to command the 2d Brigade, 1st Division, the command of the regiment devolved on Major P. K. Bayly. The Army Corps marched from Aldershot to Ascot on July 13th, and on the following day to Windsor Great Park, where it was reviewed by Her Majesty the Queen. The march back to Ascot commenced at 5 P.M., and was performed in splendid order during a terrific storm of thunder and rain, camp being reached about 9.20 P.M.

On the occasion of the inspection by Major-General Spurgin, C.B., C.S.I., on 1st and 2d September, H.R.H. the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief wrote from the War Office expressing his satisfaction at the favourable character of the report.

The long absence of the regiment from their native land was now at last to come to an end. On April 1st, 1881, the establishment was raised to 1047 of all ranks, and on the 6th inst. orders were received for an immediate removal to Edinburgh for the purpose of recruiting.

At 8 AM. on May 24th they sailed on board the s.s. "Holland" from Portsmouth for Granton. After experiencing much difficulty in passing up the Forth owing to the dense fog, and at one time having narrowly escaped grounding, the vessel arrived safely at Granton on the 26th.

Disembarking at 6 P.M., the regiment met with a most enthusiastic reception, the streets and windows being thronged with spectators, many of whom had waited patiently from an early hour in the morning, as the "Holland" had been expected about 7 AM. The Castle was reached at 7.30 P.M., when quarters were taken up after an absence from Edinburgh of twelve years.

On the 1st July, by Royal Warrant, regiments lost their numerical titles, and the 42nd, or Royal Highland Regiment, "The Black Watch," became The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). The 73rd Perthshire regiment, which had originally been the 2d Battalion of the regiment, now again became 2d Battalion.

During the great Volunteer Review of 1881 the Black Watch were on the ground, and on that occasion Her Majesty visited the Castle, her last visit there having been made in 1842.

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