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Scottish Regiments
The Black Watch - Ireland & the 42d

In consequence of the rebellion in Scotland, eleven of the British regiments were ordered home in October 1745, among which was the 43d. The Highlanders arrived in the Thames on the 4th of November, and whilst the other regiments were sent to Scotland under General Hawley to assist in quelling the insurrection, the 43d was marched to the coast of Kent, and joined the division of the armt assembled there to repel an expected invasion. When it is considered that more than three hundred of the soldiers in the 43d had fathers and brothers engaged in the rebellion, the prudence and humanity of keeping them aloof from a contest between duty and affection, are evident. Three new companies, which had been added to the regiment in the early part of the year 1745, were, however, employed in Scotland against the rebels before joining the regiment. These companies were raised chiefly in the districts of Athole, Breadlabane, and Braemar, and the command of them was given to the laird of Mackintosh, Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre, and Campbell of Inverawe, who had recruited them. The subalterns were James Farquharson, the younger of Invercauld; John Campbell, the younger of Glenlyon and Dugald Campbell; and Ensign Allan Grant, son of Glenmoriston; John Campbell, son of Barcaldine. General Stewart observes that the privates of these companies, though of the best character, did not convey that rank in society for which so many individuals of the independent companies had been distinguished. One of these companies, as has been elsewhere observed, was at the battle of Prestonpans. The services of the other two companies were confined to the Highlands during the rebellion, and after its suppression they were employed along with detachments of the English army in the barbarous task of burning the houses, and laying waste the lands of the rebels, - a service which must have been very revolting to their feelings.

Having projected the contest of Quebec, the government fitted out an expedition at Portsmouth, the land forces of which consisted of about 8000 men, including Lord John Murray's Highlanders, as the 43d regiment was now called. The armament having been delayed from various causes until the season was too far advanced for crossing the Atlantic, it was resolved to employ it in surprising the Port l'Orient, then the repository of all the stores and ships belonging to the French East India Company. While this new expedition was in preparation, the Highland regiment was increased to 1100 men, by draughts from the three companies in Scotland.

The expedition sailed from Portsmouth on the 15th of September, 1746, under the command of Rear-Admiral Lestock, and on the 20th the troops were landed, without much opposition, in Quimperlu bay, ten miles from Port l'Orient. As General St Clair soon perceived that he could not carry the place, he abandoned the siege, and retiring to the seacoast re-embarked his troops.

Some of these forces returned to England; the rest landed in Ireland. The Highlanders arrived at Cork on the 4th of November, whence they marched to Limerick, where they remained till February 1747, when they returned to Cork, where they embarked to join a new expedition for Flanders. This force, which consisted chiefly of the troops that had been recalled in 1745, sailed from Leith roads in the beginning of April 1747. Lord Loudon's Highlanders and a detachment from the three additional companies of Lord John Murray's Highlanders also joined this force; and such was the eagerness of the latter for this service, that when informed that only a part of them was to join the army, they all claimed permission to embark, in consequence of which demand it was found necessary to settle the question of preference by drawing lots.

To relieve Hulst, which was closely besieged by Count Lowendahl, a detachment, consisting of Lord John Murray's Highlanders, the first battalion of the Royals and Bragg's regiment, was order to Flushing, under the command of Major-general St. Roque, ordered the Royals to join the Dutch camp at St Bergue, and directed the Highlanders and Bragg's regiment to halt within four miles of Hulst. On the 5th of May the besiegers began an assault, and drove the outguards and picquets back into the garrison, and would have carried the place, had not the Royals maintained their post with the greatest bravery till relieved by the Highlander regiment, when the French were compelled to retire. The Highlanders had only five privates killed and a few wounded on this occasion. The French continuing on the siege, St Roque surrendered the place, although he was aware that an additional reinforcement of nine battalions was on the march to his relief. The British troops than embarked for South Beveland. Three hundred of the Highland regiment, who were the last to embark, were attacked by a body of French troops. "They behaved with so much bravery that they beat off three or four times their number, killing many, and making some prisoners, with only the loss of four or five of their own number".

A few days after the battle of Lafeldt, July 2d, in which the Highlanders are not particularly mentioned, Count Lowendahl laid siege to R-Bergen-op-Zoom with a force of 25,000 men. This place, from the strength of its fortification, the favorite work of the celebrated Cosehorn, having never been stopped, was deemed impregnable. The garrison consisted of 3000 men, including Lord London's Highlanders. Though Lord John Murray's Highlanders remained in South Beveland, his lordship, with Captain Fraser of Culduthel, Captain Campbell of Craignish, and several other officers of his regiment, joined the besieged. After about two months' siege, this important fortress was taken by storm, on account of the too great confidence of Constrom the governor, who never anticipated an assault. On obtaining possession of the ramparts, the French attempted to enter the town, but were attacked with such impetuosity by two battalions of the Scottish troops in the pay of the States-General, that they were driven from street to street, until fresh reinforcements arriving, the Scotch were compelled to retreat in their turn; yet they disputed ever inch of ground, and fought till two-thirds of them were killed on the spot. The remainder then abandoned the town, carrying the old governor along with them.

The different bodies of the allied army assembled in the neighborhood of Raremond in March 1748, but, with the exception of the capture of Maestricht, no military event of any importance took place in the Netherlands; and preliminaries of peace having been signed, the Highlanders returned to England in December, and were afterwards sent to Ireland. The three additional companies had assembled at Prestonpans in March 1748, for the purpose of embarking for Flanders; but the orders to ship were countermanded, and in the course of that year these companies were reduced.

In 1749, in consequence of the reduction of the 42d regiment (Oglethorpe's), the number of Black Watch was changed from the 43d to the 42d, the number it has ever since retained.

During eight years - from 1749 to 1756 - that the Highlanders were stationed in Ireland, the utmost cordiality subsisted between them and the inhabitants of the different districts where they were quartered; a circumstance the more remarkable, when it is considered that the military were generally embroiled in quarrels with the natives. So lasting and favorable an impression did they make, that upon the return of the regiment from Americas, after an absence of eleven years, applications were made from the towns and districts where they had been formerly quartered, to get them again stationed among them. Although, as General Stewart observes, the similarity of language, and the general belief in a common origin, might have had some influence with both parties, yet nothing but the most exemplary good conduct on the part of the Highlanders could have overcome the natural repugnance of a people who, at that time, justly regarded the British soldiery as ready instruments of oppression.

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