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

Fencible Regiments


In the course of a long life, the Duke of Gordon has seen his country engaged in three successive wars, for the prosecution of which he, by his territorial and personal influence, contributed to raise four regiments, composed of men well qualified for such a purpose. The 89th and 92d regiments have proved this in their service both abroad and at home. The Gordon Fencibles of 1779, although confined to a more limited sphere of service, was composed of equally good materials. The Fencible regiment of 1793 was the same. It was quickly raised and embodied at Aberdeen. The Duke of Gordon's commission as Colonel was dated the 3d of March. The uniform was the full Highland garb. Upwards of 300 men were raised on the Gordon estates in Strathspey, Badenoch, and Lochaber. An equal number was recruited from gentlemen's estates in the neighbourhood, and about 150 from the Lowlands of Aberdeen, Banff, and Elgin; all of them men of good character, and though not in general tall, yet stout and well made. The service of the regiment was confined to Scotland, but the men having volunteered to extend it, the offer was accepted, and accordingly, in 1794, they were removed to England. "When quartered in Kent, the King, who had never seen a Highland regiment, ordered the Gordon Fencibles up to London, where they were reviewed in Hyde Park in the presence of his Majesty, who expressed himself highly satisfied with their appearance. As this was the first Highland regiment reviewed near London, with the exception of the review of the Black Watch on Finchley Common in 1743, the novelty of the sight attracted a great crowd of people from all parts of the town and neighbourhood.

The Gordon Fencibles remained in England till ordered to Scotland in 1798, where they were reduced with the other Fencible corps.

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