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

Military Annals of the Highland Regiments

Argyleshire Highlanders;
now the Ninety-first Regiment

On the 10th of February 1794, Lieutenant-Colonel Dun-can Campbell of Lochnell received Letters of Service to raise a regiment in Scotland, with permission to select his officers: he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant.

The regiment was embodied at Stirling in the autumn of that year. I know not exactly how many men were from the Highlands; but, judging from the captains of companies, of whom seven were of the name of Campbell, besides two others natives of Argyle, the proportion must have been considerable. The regiment was early removed to the Cape of Good Hope, and remained there till that colony was restored to the Dutch in 1801. In 1798 the number was altered to the 91st, and in 1809, the Highland garb was discontinued; consequently, the future movements do not come within my plan. As no county is more purely Highland than Argyle, which comprehends every characteristic of mountains, glens, and language ; it has excited some surprise that such a district could not supply a sufficient number of men, and that the garb of the Gael should be taken from the regiment of a county which has, both in ancient and modern times, produced so many Highland warriors of talent and celebrity, and of as true Celtic origin as any race in Gaelic history.

The regiment formed a part of the army under Lord Wellington, and in the actions from the Pyrenees to Toulouse was actively engaged. On the latter occasion, the support given by this regiment to the 42d, when attacked by overwhelming numbers, was as prompt as it was effectual.

[A soldier of this regiment deserted, and emigrated to America, where he settled. Several years after his desertion, a letter was received from him, with a sum of money for the purpose of procuring one or two men to supply his place in the regiment, as the only recompense he could make for "breaking his oath to his God, and his allegiance to his King, which preyed on his conscience in such a manner, that he had no rest night nor day."

This man had good principles early instilled into his mind, and the disgrace which he had been originally taught to believe would attach to a breach of faith now operated with full effect. The soldier who deserted from the 42d at Gibraltar, in 1797, exhibited the same remorse of conscience after he had violated his allegiance. In countries where such principles prevail, and regulate the character of a people, the mass of the population may, on occasions of trial, be reckoned on as sound and trust-worthy.]

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