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Title: History of the Scottish Regiments in the British Army
Author: Murray, Archibald K.
Language: English
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                           Transcriber’s Note

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_. The single
instance of blackletter font is denoted using ~blackletter~.

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                                 OF THE
                           SCOTTISH REGIMENTS
                                 IN THE
                             BRITISH ARMY.

                         ARCH. K. MURRAY, ESQ.,

         ~Published by Request of his Brother Officers.~

                         THOMAS MURRAY AND SON.



 PREFACE,                                                              3

 INTRODUCTION,                                                         5



 THE FIRST “ROYAL SCOTS,”                                             78



 THE TWENTY-SIXTH FOOT, OR “CAMERONIANS,”                            169


 THE SEVENTY-THIRD FOOT—“PERTHSHIRE,”                                191

 THE SEVENTY-FIFTH FOOT—“STIRLINGSHIRE,”                             199


 THE NINETY-FIRST FOOT—“ARGYLESHIRE,”                                212


 THE NINETY-NINTH FOOT, OR “LANARKSHIRE,”                            236

 THE OLD HIGHLAND BRIGADE,                                           241




 THE SEVENTY-FOURTH HIGHLANDERS,                                     330


 THE SEVENTY-NINTH, OR “CAMERON HIGHLANDERS,”                        380

 THE NINETY-SECOND, OR “GORDON HIGHLANDERS,”                         394


                            INDEX TO PLATES.

 Royal Arms,                                                Frontispiece

 Scots Dragoon,                                         Fronting page 13

 Colours of the “Scots Greys,”                                        33

 Balaklava,                                                           39

 “Scots Greys,” 1862,                                                 40

 Prince Albert,                                                       41

 Lord Clyde,                                                          45

 Napoleon,                                                            66

 Duke of Cambridge,                                                   74

 The “Guards’” Monument,                                              77

 Gustavus Adolphus,                                                   82

 Prince de Conde,                                                     88

 Marshal Turrenne,                                                    90

 Duke de Schomberg,                                                   95

 St Sebastian,                                                       113

 The Twenty-first Royal North-British Fusiliers,                     121

 Blenheim,                                                           127

 Killiecrankie,                                                      147

 Ancient Badge of the Twenty-fifth,                                  156

 Colours of the Twenty-fifth, 2 plates,                              168

 Marquis of Dalhousie,                                               184

 Seringapatam,                                                       197

 Delhi,                                                              203

 Lord Lynedoch,                                                      205

 Lucknow,                                                            211

 Ancient Soldiers,                                     Fronting page 224

 Officer of Pikemen,                                                 232

 Old Highland Brigade, &c.,                                          241

 The Forty-second Royal Highlanders,                                 250

 Sir Ralph Abercromby,                                               273

 Sir John Moore,                                                     280

 Sebastopol,                                                         287

 The Seventy-first Glasgow Highland Light Infantry,                  300

 Waterloo,                                                           310

 The Seventy-second and Seventy-fourth Highlanders,                  329

 Duke of Wellington,                                                 336

 Wreck of the “Birkenhead,”                                          346

 India,                                                              373

 Sir Henry Havelock,                                                 377

 Monument to the Seventy-eighth,                                     379

 Presentation Plate to the Seventy-eighth,                           379

 Lochiel,                                                            381

 Duke of Richmond,                                                   394

 French Revolutionary War,                                           407

 The Ninety-third Sutherland Highlanders,                            409

 Crimea,                                                             415

 Presentation of Crimean Medals,                                     416


In the present Work, the Author, without pretending to submit anything
very startling or original, has endeavoured to gather from the records
of the past such facts as may enable him, avoiding the tedium of detail,
to present to the reader a brief and, it is hoped, at the same time, a
comprehensive narrative of the origin and principal events in which our
Scottish Regiments have so largely and honourably been distinguished.

It is wholly foreign to the purpose of the Author in any way to overlook
the valorous achievements of the English and Irish Regiments in Her
Majesty’s Service, which have alike contributed to build up the military
renown of the British Army; he only trusts he shall receive that same
charitable indulgence, in his present undertaking, which in like
circumstances he, with every right-hearted Scot, should cordially extend
to brethren of either a sister land or sister isle. It is in these
pages, as a Scotsman, he ventures to give expression to the nation’s
gratitude and honest pride—awards, in the name of friend and foe, the
meed of praise justly due to the brave soldier who has fought his
country’s battles in almost every land—ofttimes victoriously—at all
times honourably.

The Author gratefully acknowledges the assistance freely rendered him in
this compilation by many Officers of the Regiments described. He feels
also considerably indebted to many very valuable works, on the same and
kindred subjects, for much of his information. Unfortunately, many of
these volumes are now very ancient, others nearly extinct, and nearly
all so expensive as to fail in answering the purpose of the present
Work, by bringing before the public, in a cheaper and more popular form,
the records of those heroic deeds, the narrative of which _ought_ to be
as “household words,” infusing a thrill of living patriotism and loyalty
into the soul.

It is hoped, as the grand result of the Work, that Scotsmen, considering
the rich legacy of military glory bequeathed them by their heroic
forefathers, specially registered in these Scottish Regiments, will be
more impressed with the duty devolving on them to maintain and emulate
the same. Whilst these records may afford knowledge, it is also hoped
that they may awaken a larger sympathy and deeper interest on the part
of the people in those, their brave countrymen, who so well represent
the nation; and if circumstances preclude us from accepting the “Royal
Shilling,” and so recruiting the army, let us be ready to accept, for
the expression of our thoughts and feelings, that grand channel which,
in our time, has been revived as the exponent of the people’s patriotism
and loyalty—_the Volunteer Movement_—whether as active or honorary
members, giving effect to our sentiments, and demonstrating, “by _deeds_
as well as _words_” that we are in earnest.



Nature has been aptly represented as a fickle goddess, scattering her
bounties here and there with a partial hand. Some spots, like very
Edens, are blessed with the lavish profusion of her favours—rich
fertility, luxuriant vegetation, warm and delightful climates. Some, on
the other hand, which have not so shared the distribution of her gifts,
represent the barren wilderness, the sterile desert, the desolate places
of our earth—entombed in a perpetual winter—a ceaseless winding-sheet of
snow and ice seems for ever to rest upon these cold, chilly, Polar
regions: or parched, fainting, dying, dead, where no friendly cloud
intervenes, like the kindly hand of love and sympathy, to screen the
thirsty earth from the consuming rays of a tropical sun. But, as if by
“the wayside,” we gather from the analogy, that as in the world of man
there is a Scripture proclaiming comfort and blessing to the poor and
needy—whilst it tells the rich how hardly they shall enter into
“life”—so in the world of nature there is an over-ruling, all-wise,
all-just Providence, “Who moves in a mysterious way,” making ample
amends in the result upon the peoples of these climes, so as yet shall
cause “the wilderness to rejoice.” Thus we find that lands enriched by
nature ofttimes produce a people who, rich in this world’s good things,
acquired without much effort, allow their minds to become so intoxicated
with present delights and indolence, as to fail in cultivating the
virtues of the man. Too frequently the fruits are these—ignorance, lust,
passion, infidelity, and general debility. Whilst the barren, dreary
wilderness, the bleak and desolate mountain-land—like the poor and needy
upon whom Nature has frowned—enjoy the smile of Providence “in a better
portion;” for there, amid a comparatively poor people, are nurtured all
the sterner, the nobler, the truer, the God-like qualities of the man,
the soldier, and the hero. There, too, hath been the birth-place and the
abiding shrine of freedom—the bulwark and the bastion of patriotism and
loyalty. Ascending higher, these—the peoples of the rejected and
despised places of the earth—have ofttimes begotten and been honoured to
wear the crowning attribute of piety. Turning to the history of Scotland
or of Switzerland, for illustration, and taking merely a military
retrospect, there it will be found. All centuries, all ages, all
circumstances, are witness to the bravery and the fidelity of their

Scotland, the unendowed by Nature, has been thus largely blessed by
Nature’s God, in yielding a long line of valiant and illustrious men.
Perhaps no nation engrosses so large and prominent a place in the temple
of military fame—none can boast so bright a page in the history of the
brave. Her stern and rugged mountains, like a vast citadel, where scarce
a foeman ever dared to penetrate, have been defended through centuries
of war against the advancing and all but overwhelming tide of
aggression; besieged, too, by the countless hosts of Tyranny, they have
still remained impregnable. Her wild and desolate glens, like great
arteries down which hath flowed the life-blood of the nation, in the
living stream—the native and resistless valour of her clans. Her bleak
and dreary heaths have written on them one dark history of blood—“the
martyred children of the Covenant.” Faithful unto death; “of whom the
world was not worthy.” Her crown oft crushed beneath a tyrant’s heel—her
freedom trampled on—her people betrayed—all lost but honour. Unscathed,
unsullied, she has triumphed, and still lives to write upon her banner,
the mighty, envied, and thrice-glorious word, “Unconquered.”

Armies have a very ancient history. Their origin might be traced to the
very gates of Paradise. When the unbridled lust and wrathful passions of
man were let loose like Furies, to wander forth upon the earth, then it
was that lawless adventurers, gathering themselves together into armed
bands for hostile purposes, to live and prey upon their weaker brethren,
constituted themselves armies. Passing down the stream of time, through
the Feudal Age, we find one among the many greater, mightier,
wealthier—a giant towering above his fellows—exercised lordship, levied
tribute, military and civil, over others as over slaves. These were the
days of chivalry,—the Crusades—when cavalry constituted the grand
strength of an army. Here we might begin the history of cavalry as an
important constituent in armies, were such our purpose. The comparative
poverty of our ancient Scottish nobility prevented them contributing
largely to the chivalry of the age. Almost the sole representative we
have of our Scottish Cavalry, is the Second Regiment of Royal North
British Dragoons, or Scots Greys—a most worthy representative. The wars
of the Interregnum in Scotland—the times of Wallace and Bruce—when the
feudal lords had nearly all either deserted or betrayed her, introduce
us to a new force, more suited to the independent character and
patriotism of the Scottish people—the formation of corps of infantry, or
armed bands of free burghers. These were the fruit, to a large extent,
of the Magna Charter in England, and of the struggle for liberty in
Scotland. Hence the wars of Edward the Black Prince with France,
distinguished by the victories of Poitiers, Agincourt, and Cressy, may
be viewed not merely as the epitome of the triumphs of England over
France, but more especially as illustrating the success of this new
force—represented in the English yeomen, burghers, citizens, and
freemen—over the old force, sustained in the chivalry, the cavalry of
France. The result of these successive defeats, we find, was most
disastrous to France. The jealousy and fear of the nobles and feudal
lords had denied the people the use and the knowledge of arms; so that
when themselves were defeated, France was ruined—since they could expect
no support, as in Scotland, from an unarmed and unskilled people. They
had done what they could to quench rather than foster the spirit of free
patriotism, which in the nation’s extremity should have been the
nation’s refuge—the soul burning to deliver their land from the yoke of
the stranger. In not a few cases, the French rather sympathised with, as
they sighed for the same blessings of our free-born English yeomen. Here
we would mark, respectively in the English and Scottish armies, the
first formation of that branch of the service for which the British army
has ever been specially distinguished—_the Infantry_.

Our reader is no doubt aware of the calamitous results which flowed from
the short-sighted policy of these privileged orders—the old feudal
lords; whose love of a petty despotism laboured to postpone the day of
reckoning “till a more convenient season”—and so refused the timely
surrender of those privileges and that liberty which the growing wealth
and intelligence of the people claimed. Long, bloody, and unavailing
civil wars have desolated and vexed many countries as the consequence;
and in France the contest attained a fearful crisis, and the people
wreaked a cruel retribution in the awful horrors of the Revolution.

The increasing importance of commerce, and the growing desire for wealth
in preference to the uncertain and doubtful lustre of the battle-field,
induced men to gather themselves together, not as formerly for war, but
rather for the prosecution of trade; thus constituting themselves into
trade-unions, communities, burgherates, free townships. Disowning the
bondage of feudalism, as a system peculiarly adapted for war, and
hostile in its spirit to a more peaceful vocation, they sought and
obtained, in their earlier history at least, royal protection.
Independently of their engagements and allegiance to the throne, these
trading communities, aware of the restlessness, rapacity, and
necessities of the old feudal lords around them, formed themselves into
trained bands of free yeomen, or sort of militia, for the purpose—first,
of defending their own industry, property, and lives; and, secondly, for
the service of their sovereign and country in times of need. These are
amongst the earliest ideas we have of a regiment. At an earlier age, we
find many of the monarchs of Europe retaining in their service a body of
foreign guards, specially entrusted with the defence of the royal
person, so often threatened through the ambition of the nobles and the
turbulence of the people. In nearly every instance these were composed
of Scottish emigrants, driven from their country by the cruel and
desolating wars which then disturbed her peace, and had proscribed many
of the honourable and brave. We know no exception in which these corps
of guards have not maintained the Scottish character, nay, been
specially distinguished for the valour and fidelity with which they
fulfilled their duty. Thus originated the First Royals, or Royal Scots
Regiment of the present British army. The free citizens, continuing to
prosper and proportionably growing in power and influence, gradually
insinuated themselves into State affairs. As they grew in wealth, so
unfortunately they increased in pride and arrogance, forgetting
altogether their early humility. They essayed to be a political as well
as a trading community. Having overthrown the power of feudalism, they
threatened to shake the foundations of the throne. These murmurings
speedily awakened the royal jealousy, and broke in upon the peaceful
harmony of their hitherto successful alliance. The prosperity and
support of these freemen had elevated the might and majesty of the
throne, with which they had been early leagued, and these together had
compelled the old feudal nobility to exercise their rule in something
more of a constitutional way. Gladly, therefore, did these last avail
themselves of these dissensions to restore their long-lost power.
Uniting with the crown, whose interests were more peculiarly their own,
they called upon their still adherent tenantry to muster around them;
and thus commenced the sanguinary civil wars, already in a previous
paragraph referred to, between king and people, which have devastated so
many lands. These tenantry, thus raised, ultimately taken into the royal
pay, as regiments, have gone far to constitute the armies of their
several states.

In conclusion, we would remark, that the wars of the past have been as
it were _material_ contests—wars of matter rather than of mind—by which
we mean that _might_ has been understood as _right_; not as now, when
_right_ is acknowledged as _might_. Formerly it was he who excelled in
physical strength and prowess that was crowned victor; now-a-days the
appliances of mind, the inventive genius of man, have so improved the
art of war, that upon these the result of the contest must largely
depend. Skill and science, developed in a thousand ways, are the weapons
with which our battles are to be fought and won; and this, too, at a
time when man has been dwarfed in his bodily might by the bloody and
protracted wars of the past, and enervated by the ease and indolence
found in cities, so as to be no longer able for a contest as of old; and
so the providence of God steps in to supply the vacuum occasioned by
decay, and from the rapid march of civilisation, and the wonderful
development of the mind, represents to us a better state of things—the
triumph of the _mind_ of the present over the _matter_ of the past. The
victories of the battle-field are being superseded by the triumphs of
the Cabinet. The first Napoleon conquered by the sword—the present
Napoleon conquers by superior craft and intrigue, whilst we, as a
nation, are sitting by to register with an occasional growl his
successes. It has been the knowledge of these facts—this new system of
warfare—that has aroused the nation to see its danger in time; to feel
that “our glory” is but an ideal security; to know that steam and
electricity have comparatively bridged the sea, and so done away with
our best defence; to learn that the inventions of men comparatively
equalise combatants. It has been the knowledge of these things, along
with indications of a coming struggle casting its shadow before, that
has called the nation, with one enthusiastic voice, to arms—in our
present _Volunteer force_.

[Illustration: SCOTCH DRAGOON 1680.]



                              SCOTS GREYS.


                               CHAPTER I.

             “Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,
             Come saddle my horses, and call out my men;
             Unhook the west port and let us gae free;
             For it’s up wi’ the bonnets o’ bonnie Dundee.”

  OF GLENCOE—1660–1693.

The page of history presents to us many dark scenes of oppression, where
one man, trampling upon the rights of another, and disregarding the
heaven-born principle of charity, has sold his brother into bondage.
Nay, more, (as especially illustrated in the case of Spain groaning
beneath the thraldom of the Papacy), some men have even succeeded in
enslaving the mind; stopping up with vile trash the avenues of
knowledge, and so defacing and ruining that mirror of the intellect
which reflects so much of its Creator, which originally bore the impress
of divinity, and was moulded in the likeness of God. But the pride of
the human heart, and the unhallowed passion of man, stay not here, but
have attempted more—to subdue the soul—but in vain. It is possible to
fetter or destroy the _body_, nay, it is even possible to enslave, or
annihilate in madness, the _mind_, but it is _impossible_ for man to
bind the undying _soul_. Nevertheless, it has been the infatuation of
tyrants, deluded by false creeds, in many countries and in many ages, to
seek, but in vain, to usurp the dominion of the _soul_. The _soul_, like
“the bush burned but not consumed,” lives still, lives for ever, defying
the fires of persecution, the wasting famine, and the devouring sword.
It comes forth scatheless, purified, living; having shaken off the
corruption of earth, it appears clothed in the garments of immortality.
There can be no better testimony to the suitableness of the true
religion to meet the wants of man than this—that whilst all others have
proved themselves to be so many systems of tyranny, bereaving man of his
beloved liberty, the religion of Jesus is free, and is always to be
welcomed as the herald of civil and religious liberty; wherever its
blessing rests, its benign influence is felt, and its glorious light

It was in such a time as this in Scotland, when the iron will of Charles
II., already oppressing the persons and the minds of his people, aspired
to the dominion of their soul and conscience, by calling upon them to
introduce into their simple forms of worship a host of objectionable
mummeries, savouring of Popery, and threatening thereby to corrupt the
purity of the Presbyterian faith. In vain they petitioned for liberty of
conscience and protested against these intrusions. Persisting in the
introduction of these idle rites, and denying redress, the monarch
preferred plunging the nation into all the horrors of civil war, rather
than depart from his purpose. To enforce these requirements the king
raised in Scotland two troops of Life Guards, afterwards disbanded; a
regiment of horse, known as Claverhouse’s Troopers—

                    “The bonnets o’ bonnie Dundee;”

a regiment of Foot Guards; a regiment of foot, now the Twenty-first,
North British Fusiliers; and, in 1678, two troops of dragoons, which,
increased by the addition of other troops in 1681, constituted the
_Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons_, now known familiarly as the _Scots
Greys_. The corps was originally commanded by Sir Thomas Dalziel, who in
1681 was appointed the first colonel of the regiment. He was always a
staunch adherent of the House of Stuart, had been taken prisoner at the
battle of Worcester, but escaping from the Tower, served with
distinction in the Russian army during the Tartar wars. Returning to
Scotland at the Restoration, he was employed by the king in enforcing
his will upon the Presbyterians, and he discharged his duty with all the
scrupulous exactness of a soldier. To the Covenanters he has left a most
unenviable memory—as a monster of cruelty, devoid of mercy. His
eccentricities, especially in regard to dress, often excited the
merriment of the Court, and created quite a sensation amongst the
juveniles of the metropolis. He died in 1685.

The early history of the Royal Scots Dragoons is painfully and
intimately associated with the sufferings and trials of the
Covenanters—a page in our history which, would the truth admit, we would
gladly omit. The ignominious duty imposed upon this gallant regiment, of
hunting down the Presbyterians, and the cruelties which they were called
to witness, sometimes to inflict upon their unhappy brethren, must have
been extremely harrowing and repulsive to the feelings of brave men.
Along with a troop of horse, a troop of the corps was present in 1679,
under Graham of Claverhouse, at the battle of Drumclog, where they were
defeated, with the loss of twenty men, by the superior numbers and
desperate valour of the Covenanters, as also from the unsuitableness of
the ground for cavalry to act upon. The result of this overthrow was a
general rising of the disaffected and oppressed—a motley and
undisciplined army was speedily assembled, better in the use of the
tongue than the sword; and as always happens where that “unruly member”
is in the ascendant, proved the precursor of party division, and in the
end brought ruin to the good cause in which they had embarked. Foiled in
an attack upon Glasgow by the retiring royal troops, especially the
Royal Scots Dragoons and Scots Foot Guards, the Covenanters took up a
strong position behind the Clyde at Bothwell Bridge, and there awaited
the attack of the royal army, now advancing from Edinburgh under the
Duke of Monmouth. Failing in effecting an accommodation, the battle was
commenced by the Royal Scots Dragoons, supported by the Scots Foot
Guards attacking the bridge, which, defended with great bravery, was
only relinquished when the ammunition of the defenders was exhausted.
The loss of this most important post, as well as the divisions already
prevailing amongst the Covenanters, soon produced a panic which lost the
battle, ruined for the present the cause of liberty of conscience, and
served to add nearly ten years more to their sufferings. In the pursuit,
the troopers of Claverhouse took a cruel revenge for the defeat of
Drumclog, upon the broken and flying remnant.

The Royal Scots Dragoons continuing to be employed in the humiliating
work of persecution, were often roughly handled by the Presbyterians,
especially at Ayr Moss on the 20th July, 1680, where a desperate
_rencontre_ took place.

The Earl of Argyle, a nobleman of great merit, and for some time
enjoying the esteem of his sovereign, being suspected of a leaning to
the Nonconformists, or Covenanters, at the instigation of the Duke of
York was arraigned for treason, and, accordingly, condemned to death.
Escaping to France, Argyle returned in 1685, and landing with a force of
300 men in Argyleshire, summoned his clansmen, and endeavoured, with
little success, to raise the Presbyterians, and so, setting up the
standard of rebellion, threatened to dethrone James II., who but lately
had succeeded his brother in the throne. After much fruitless
man[oe]uvring, he advanced into the Lowlands, but was met by the royal
troops, including the Royal Scots Dragoons, near Dumbarton, under the
Earl of Dumbarton. Attempting to retreat in the darkness of the night,
his guides betrayed him, his army fell into disorder and disbanded,
whilst he himself was taken prisoner and afterwards executed at
Edinburgh. On the morrow, the Royal Scots Dragoons, assisted by other
troops, attacked a considerable body of the rebels under Sir John
Cochrane, which still remained together in the neighbourhood in a
strongly fortified position. After hard fighting, in course of which the
dragoons dismounted and fought hand to hand on foot, and after the loss
of many officers, among whom were Sir Adam Blair, Sir William Wallace,
and Capt. Clelland, also Lord Ross wounded, the rebels were driven back
and ultimately dispersed.

On the death of Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Dalziel, in 1685, Lord Charles
Murray, afterwards the Earl of Dunmore, and son of the Marquis of
Athole, one of the original officers of the corps, was promoted to the

In 1688 a part of the regiment was called upon to interfere on behalf of
the Government—unfortunately on the wrong side—in one of those unhappy
broils which, as the dregs of feudalism, still so sorely distressed the
Highlands. The Macintoshes having despoiled the Macdonald of Keppoch of
his estate, during his temporary absence in the Highlands, the
Macdonald, on his return, taking the law—as was usual in those days,
specially amongst the clans—into his own hand, and taking an ample
vengeance, redeemed his own. The Royal Scots Dragoons were sent to the
assistance and for the release of the Mackintosh, who had been taken
prisoner. In retaliation they were inhumanly ordered to destroy all that
pertained to the Macdonald—man, woman, and child. Although such
instructions were quite in keeping with the character of the Court,
happily it was about the last exercise of a power ever rioting in such
acts of merciless cruelty.

The close of the same year brought the Prince of Orange to our shores,
to deliver the land from the bondage of the Stuarts who had so
grievously oppressed it. To meet this emergency, King James had drawn
together to London and its neighbourhood the whole reliable forces of
his kingdom. Amongst these were the troops of Scottish Life Guards;
Claverhouse’s regiment of horse; Dunmore’s regiment of _Royal Scots
Dragoons_; the regiment of Scottish Foot Guards; and two regiments of
Scottish Foot—in all, 3,765 men from Scotland. After a seeming show of
resistance, and much man[oe]uvring in the vicinity of Salisbury, the
monarch, dreading the wrath of an outraged people, fled to France.

                 “Conscience makes cowards of us all.”

When the Prince of Orange, as William III., ascended the vacant throne,
he found many of the troops inclined to dispute his authority,
especially the regiments of Royal Scots Horse and Royal Scots Dragoons;
which still remained together under the command of Viscount Dundee, and
with the characteristic loyalty of Scotsmen, would still have maintained
the cause of an unworthy and exiled prince, the degenerate
representative of the Bruce of Bannockburn. The tact of the new monarch
succeeded in winning the submission of the Royal Scots Dragoons; but the
Royal Scots Horse, deserting, followed Dundee into Scotland, took part
with him in his subsequent rebellion, and so, sharing his fate, have
been lost to the British army. The Earl of Dunmore, declining to serve
under the new king, was superseded in the colonelcy of the Royal Scots
Dragoons by Sir Thomas Livingstone, afterwards Viscount Teviot—a
Scottish soldier of distinction, who came over from the continent with
the prince.

To stem the torrent of rebellion which the return of Dundee to Scotland
had excited—especially among the Highland clans, nearly all of whom were
devotedly attached to the Stuarts—the Royal Scots Dragoons were ordered
to return to Scotland. Throughout the succeeding campaigns the regiment
behaved with signal fidelity and gallantry, with the exception of some
few of its officers who were found guilty of treasonable intercourse
with the rebels—having a sympathy with their old comrade in arms,
Viscount Dundee. Amongst the arrested were Lieut.-Colonel Livingstone,
Captains Murray, Crichton, and Livingstone. The royal forces under the
command of Major-General Mackay, included, besides the Royal Scots
Dragoons, many regiments since known to fame—Lord Colchester’s Horse, or
the Third (Prince of Wales’) Dragoon Guards; Berkeley’s, or the Fourth
(Queen’s Own Hussars) Dragoons; Sir James Leslie’s, or the Fifteenth
(York, East Riding) Foot; besides a considerable body of Dutch troops
under Colonel Ramsay. Dundee was joined at Inverness by Macdonald of
Keppoch and his clan, thirsting for revenge because of the atrocities
committed upon them and theirs by the soldiers in the previous year.
After much time spent in marching and counter-marching in search of, and
pursuit of, each other, the two armies met at the Pass of Killiecrankie,
when the death of Dundee, in the moment of victory, virtually ruined the
Jacobite cause. The Royal Scots Dragoons, although not present at that
disastrous battle, had previously distinguished themselves in a skirmish
with a body of about 500 Highlanders, chiefly Macleans, who, defeating
with great loss, they dispersed, and, dismounting, pursued among the
rocks and crags of the mountains. In the following year, the rebels
still continuing in arms, under General Canon—who on the death of Dundee
assumed the command—and being recruited by a body of men from Ireland
under General Buchan, took up a strong post and awaited the attack of
the royal forces at Cromdale. Here, on the morning of the 31st April,
they were suddenly attacked by Sir Thomas Livingstone, at the head of
the Royal Scots Dragoons and other troops, and, amid the darkness and
confusion, totally defeated and dispersed with great slaughter. The
scene was one of consternation and horror, and had it not been for the
merciful intervention of a mountain mist, as if to befriend her own
children in their day of calamity, would have proved even more fatal to
the flying enemy. In this action the Royal Scots Dragoons took a gallant
part. This victory was quickly followed by the relief of the castle of
Abergeldie, then besieged by the Highlanders, where two troops of the
Royal Scots Dragoons utterly routed the rebels with great carnage.
Unable longer to sustain such a hopeless struggle, the clans tendered
their submission to King William, which was accepted.

But the triumph of the Government was stained by a deed of barbarous
cruelty and sin, which remains a blot on the page of British history,
known as “the Massacre of Glencoe.” The Macdonalds of Glencoe having
failed to tender their allegiance within the prescribed time, although
they had done so a few days afterwards, the whole were treacherously
murdered in cold blood, whilst peaceably sleeping, by a party of
soldiers from Argyle’s regiment, who had been received and hospitably
quartered among them as friends. This inhuman action has been vainly
attempted to be excused, and all authorities have alike endeavoured to
escape the responsibility. We gladly record that the Royal Scots
Dragoons were not called to take any part in the matter; and their
colonel, Sir Thomas Livingstone, although then Commander-in-Chief in
Scotland, has been fully exonerated from blame by Parliament.


                              CHAPTER II.

                   “Loudon’s bonnie woods and braes,
                     I maun lea’ them a’, lassie;
                   Wha can thole when Britain’s faes
                     Would gi’e Britons law, lassie?”

                         YEARS’ WAR—1693–1793.

Our last chapter closed the dark record which unhappily clouds the early
history of the Royal Scots Dragoons, and it is with pleasure we turn
from the record of these unnatural and suicidal wars to narrate the
nobler deeds of the regiment on a nobler field. The accession of
William, Prince of Orange, to the throne, is not to be regarded merely
as the triumph of the Protestant party, but as involving the dawn of
freedom to an oppressed people; as the guarantee of liberty of
conscience; and as the harbinger of peace, especially to distressed
Scotland. In 1694, the Royal Scots Dragoons, accompanied by Cunningham’s
Scots Dragoons—now the Seventh (Queen’s Own) Hussars—and associated with
the First (Royal English), the Third (King’s Own Hussars), the Fourth
(Queen’s Own Hussars), and the Fifth (Royal Irish Lancers) Dragoons,
were sent over to the Netherlands against the French. Here they
represented the nation with credit, especially at the siege of Namur,
until the conclusion of peace, four years afterwards, permitted their

Unfortunately, the peace was not of long duration, and afforded but
a short respite, during which the regiment was remounted on grey
horses, as a _corps élite_. The question of the Spanish succession
rousing the ambition of France, the flames of war were again
rekindled. Accordingly, in 1702, the regiment was called to maintain
the honour of their country on the plains of Holland. The earlier
campaigns were chiefly made up with a variety of sieges—Venloo,
Ruremonde, Stevenswaert, Liege, Bonn, Huy, Limburg, &c., in all of
which the regiment had a part. Lord Hay, afterwards Marquis of
Tweeddale, this year (1704) purchased the colonelcy of the regiment.
The daring spirit and rising genius of Marlborough, who then
commanded the British army, aspiring to something mightier, turning
his eye towards Germany, selected a grander field of action—planned
a campaign, which, taking Europe by surprise, fell like a
thunderbolt upon the foe, and produced the most glorious results.
The soldierly bearing of the Royal Scots Dragoons had already
attracted the keen eye of the Commander-in-Chief, and won for them
this tribute to their fidelity and worth, inasmuch as they were
selected to be his own body-guard. They were, moreover, destined to
lead the van, or, at all events, to assume a first place in the
memorable actions of the campaign. Their firmness and valour helped
their great commander to a great renown, as they were honoured to
share with him the dangers and the glories of the campaign, and so
“win laurels that shall never fade.” Not less brave, although not so
favoured, were the gallant troops which accompanied the Royal Scots
Dragoons in the marvellous march from the Netherlands to Germany,
and who alike contributed to the success of the expedition. These
comprised the First (King’s), the Third (Prince of Wales’), the
Fifth (Princess Charlotte of Wales’), the Sixth (Carabineers), the
Seventh (Princess Royal’s) Dragoon Guards, and the Fifth (Royal
Irish Lancers) Dragoons; besides the infantry which followed,
including the Foot Guards, the First (Royal Scots), the Third (East
Kent Buffs), the Eighth (the King’s), the Tenth (North Lincoln), the
Fifteenth (York, East Riding), the Sixteenth (Bedfordshire), the
Eighteenth (Royal Irish), the Twenty-first (Royal North British
Fusiliers), the Twenty-third (Royal Welsh Fusiliers), the
Twenty-fourth (Warwickshire), the Twenty-Sixth (Cameronians), and
the Thirty-seventh (North Hampshire) regiments of Foot. Marlborough
having successfully accomplished with rapidity and secrecy this
masterly man[oe]uvre, and united his army to the Imperialists—hardly
allowing the French and Bavarians time to know, far less to recover
from their surprise—immediately prepared for action. The assault
upon the French lines on the heights of Schellenberg, and the
consequent capture of Donawerth, was the first event calling forth
the bravery of the Scots Greys. But this was but the precursor to a
more decisive blow. On the 13th of August the French and Bavarians
were encountered in the vicinity of the village of Blenheim. The
struggle was a severe one. The Greys and other troops attacking the
village, which was strongly occupied by the French, for long waged a
very doubtful conflict; but at length, by indomitable efforts, they
succeeded in driving back the enemy, and cutting off their
retreat—twenty-four battalions of infantry and twelve squadrons of
cavalry surrendered. The campaign closed with the siege of Landau.
Having delivered Germany from the immediate presence of the enemy,
Marlborough withdrew the British army into winter quarters in the
Netherlands. The only action of importance which falls to be
recorded in the succeeding year is the victory of Helixem, where the
same redoubtable British cavalry successfully attacked and broke in
upon the French lines.

A mightier achievement awaited the arms of our “gallant Greys” in 1706.
At the battle of Ramilies, after much hard fighting, the regiment
succeeded in penetrating into the village of Autreglize, inflicting a
dreadful carnage, and were honoured in receiving the surrender of the
French “Regiment du Roi,” with arms and colours. Amid the trophies of
the day, the Greys are said to have taken no fewer than seventeen
standards. At the close of the battle a very curious circumstance was
brought to light, affording an illustrious example of woman’s love,
fidelity, endurance, and heroism. Amongst the wounded of the Scots
Greys, a female (Mrs Davies) was discovered, who, donning the
habiliments of man, had enlisted in the regiment, braved the perils of
Schellenberg and Blenheim, that in this disguise she might follow her
husband, who was a soldier in the First (Royal Scots) Foot, then with
the army. Her case at once excited the interest and sympathy of the
whole army; and awakening the generosity of the officers, especially of
the colonel of _her_ regiment, she was restored to her true position as
a woman, lived to be of considerable service as envoy to the army, and
at her death in 1739 was buried with military honours in Chelsea

In the autumn of this eventful year, the Greys were called to mourn the
death of their colonel, who had been with them throughout the war, and
who was cut off by fever in the midst of a bright and glorious career.
He was succeeded in the colonelcy by the Earl of Stair. About the same
time the regiment was authoritatively designated the Royal North British
Dragoons, and in 1713 was further registered as the Second Regiment of

It is superfluous to say that, at the battle of Oudenarde, in 1708, the
sieges of Lisle and Tournay, and specially at the battle of Malplacquet
in 1709—where, thrice charging the French household cavalry, they
ultimately broke through that magnificent and hitherto invincible
corps—as well as at a variety of minor engagements, the Greys maintained
their high character. On the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, they returned to
England loaded with the honours of war.

In the following year, the Earl of Portmore, a distinguished one-eyed
veteran, was appointed colonel in room of the Earl of Stair—retired.

The rebellion of 1715, in Scotland, in favour of the Pretender, again
called for the service of the Greys, who, with a firm fidelity,
continued to discharge their duty to the king—notwithstanding many
pressing temptations to desert. Whilst quartered at Stirling, they
dispersed gatherings of rebels at Kinross and Dunfermline. With the
Third (King’s Own Hussars), the Fourth (Queen’s Own Hussars), the Sixth
(Inniskillings), and the Seventh (Queen’s Own Hussars) Dragoons; also
the Third (East Kent Buffs), the Eighth (the King’s), the Eleventh
(North Devon), the Fourteenth (Buckinghamshire), the Seventeenth
(Leicestershire), the Twenty-first (Royal North British Fusiliers), the
Twenty-fifth (King’s Own Borderers), and the Thirty-Sixth
(Herefordshire) regiments of foot, in all 4000 men, they were present at
the drawn battle of Sheriffmuir, where the enemy mustered fully 10,000
men. The royalist army was mainly saved from utter defeat by the
dauntless valour of the Greys, who, repeatedly charging the cavalry and
right wing of the rebel army, succeeded in driving back and ultimately
dispersing them, so as to counterbalance the success of the rebels on
the left. Although forced to retreat for the time, the royalists,
recruited by other regiments, were soon able once more to assume the
offensive, and, notwithstanding the presence of the Pretender himself,
ultimately dispersed the rebel army. A second attempt, aided by a
Spanish force, in 1719, met with the same firmness, and fared no better.
The rebel army, encountering the king’s army—including the Greys—at
Strachell, were completely routed.

Meanwhile the regiment was permitted to enjoy its laurels in peace. In
1717, General John Campbell had been appointed colonel of the Scots
Greys, in room of the Earl of Portmore—resigned.

In 1742, France, Prussia, and Bavaria having leagued together for the
destruction of Austria, George II., espousing the cause of Austria, in
person, led an army of 16,000 British through Flanders into Germany. Of
this force the Greys formed a part, under the command of their own
chivalric monarch. The battle of Dettingen, in 1743, was the first event
of importance in the war, in which the Greys were engaged—successively
charging and defeating the imposing line of French Cuirassiers, and
thereafter the magnificent array of the French household cavalry;
capturing from these last a white standard—a trophy which never before
had been taken by an enemy.

The army having been withdrawn into Flanders, and placed under the
command of the Duke of Cumberland, achieved nothing of importance until
the disastrous battle of Fontenoy, in 1745, in which, although no very
prominent place had been assigned the Scots Greys, they nevertheless
suffered severely—especially in the loss of their gallant colonel,
General Campbell. He was succeeded in the colonelcy by the Earl of

The rebellion of 1745, in Scotland, occasioning the withdrawal of a
large portion of the army, the following regiments were left behind to
make head against the overwhelming hosts of France:—the Second (Scots
Greys), the Sixth (Inniskillings), the Seventh (Queen’s Own Hussars)
Dragoons; the Eighth (King’s), the Eleventh (North Devon), the
Thirteenth (1st Somersetshire or Prince Albert’s), the Nineteenth (1st
York, North Riding), the Twenty-fifth (King’s Own Borderers), the
Thirty-second (Cornwall), and the Thirty-third (Duke of Wellington’s)
Foot. These were aided by a few regiments of Dutch and Hessians. Taking
advantage of these circumstances, the enormous masses of the French
under Marshal Saxe were advanced, with the intent to overwhelm this
handful of brave men. The attack was accordingly made at Roucoux, but
failed; although the British general was forced to retreat, which was
accomplished with success, notwithstanding the immediate presence of a
foe greatly superior in numbers. It was the intrepidity of the British
cavalry which rescued the army from destruction.

The following year the Earl of Crawford was appointed colonel in room of
the then deceased Earl of Stair. He was an officer of very extensive
military knowledge, having served in many of the continental armies, as
a volunteer, with credit.

The bloody and glorious battle of Val, fought in 1747, and which may
fitly be considered the closing event of the war, exhibits in bold
relief what may well be esteemed as the crowning achievement of the
Scots Greys. Towards the close of this desperate fight, the regiment was
ordered to charge. Notwithstanding their resistless bravery and
accompanying success, by which the French cavalry were broken and lost
four standards, these fortunate results and glorious trophies were
dearly won, not merely because of the numerous casualties which the
regiment was called to mourn (157 killed and wounded), but on account of
the loss of that which to a soldier is dearer than life itself—a
standard. It fell into the enemy’s hands in the confusion of retreat.

On the conclusion of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1749, the regiment
returned to England. In the following year the Earl of Crawford dying,
the colonelcy of the regiment was conferred on the Earl of Rothes, but
exchanging into the Third (Scots Fusiliers) Foot Guards in 1752, he was
succeeded in the command by General Campbell, afterwards Duke of Argyle.

On the breaking out of war with France in 1758, whilst a newly-raised
light troop of the regiment was engaged with other troops in successive
descents on the French coast, viz., St Maloes, Cherbourg, and Lunar, the
remainder of the regiment was sent to Germany, to aid in the liberation
of Hanover from the French yoke. Under the command of the Duke of
Brunswick, the Greys were present at the battles of Bergen and Minden,
but it was not until the assault upon Warbourg that they seriously
encountered the enemy. Their conduct on the occasion is well described
by the Commander-in-Chief when he says they performed “prodigies of
valour.” At Zierenberg the battle was decided by a brilliant and
successful charge of the Greys and Inniskillings. A variety of
man[oe]uvres and skirmishes continued to agitate the conflict in the
following year, in all of which the regiment upheld its reputation. The
peace of 1763 at length released the regiment from the turmoil of war,
and permitted it to return home and rest awhile upon its honours.

It is interesting to observe that in nearly every instance the Royal
Scots Dragoons shared the dangers and glories of the conflict with the
Royal Irish or Inniskilling regiments of dragoons. It is still the same.
Scotland and Ireland, side by side, are to be recognised fighting their
country’s battles. It is an ancient and happy alliance which,
strengthening with years, has been of signal service in the past, is
blessed in the present, and promises to be of further use in the future.

In 1770, on the death of the Duke of Argyle, the Earl of Panmure was
advanced to the colonelcy, and on his death, in 1782, General Preston
was appointed colonel, but he in turn passing away in 1785, made room
for General Johnstone.

These were times of peace, and afforded no opportunity for these
venerable soldiers to distinguish their stewardships. The succeeding
chapter introduces us to more stirring times.


                              CHAPTER III.

            “O Fame, stern prompter of most glorious deeds,
              What numerous votaries attend thy call!
             For thee the poet sings, the hero bleeds,
              And warlike kings bid empires rise or fall.”


In 1793 the restless and aggressive spirit which sorely troubled France,
developed in the Revolution, once more plunged that nation into war with
Britain; nay, not only so, but sending forth her revolutionary
incendiaries charged with the subversion of all constitutional
government, and seeking to poison the minds of almost every people, her
ruthless and frantic demagogues virtually declared war against the whole
monarchies of Christendom. Accordingly, a British force, including a
portion of the Greys, was sent to the Netherlands under the Duke of
York. These were chiefly employed in the sieges of Valenciennes,
Dunkirk, Landrecies, etc., which preceded the double battle of Tournay,
fought on the 10th and 22d May, 1794. The Greys and the other British
cavalry easily routed the newly-raised horsemen of the Revolution, which
were sadly degenerated from the splendidly-equipped cavalry of the old
monarchy—long the terror of Europe, and most worthy foes. The utter
bankruptcy of the French nation prevented them from equipping or
maintaining a powerful cavalry, and, in consequence, we find the armies
of the Revolution at that time very deficient in this branch of the
service. Notwithstanding the excellence of his troops, the Duke of York
found his position untenable, with such a handful, against the
overwhelming hosts of France, which were being daily augmented by a
starving crowd which the Revolution had ruined, and so forced into the
army as the only refuge in those unhappy times. The British, retreating
into Germany, reached Bremen in 1795, whence the Scots Greys shortly
thereafter returned to England.

Notwithstanding the continuous and bloody wars in which our country was
engaged during the next twenty years, the Scots Greys were allowed to
pine in quietude on home service, until the campaign of Waterloo called
them to take the field.

In the meantime, we take opportunity to enumerate the series of colonels
who successively commanded the regiment during this interval. The Earl
of Eglinton, appointed in 1795, was succeeded by that brave and
distinguished officer, Sir Ralph Abercromby, who fell in the arms of
victory on the 28th of March, 1801, at the battle of Alexandria. On his
death, the colonelcy was conferred on a no less distinguished officer,
Sir David Dundas, who continued to command the regiment until 1813,
when, exchanging into the King’s Dragoon Guards, he was succeeded by the
Marquis of Lothian. This nobleman dying in 1815, made way for an able
and accomplished soldier, Sir James Stewart, who, retaining the
colonelcy for the lengthened term of twenty-four years, lived to be the
oldest general and the oldest soldier, both in one, in the British army.
In 1839, Sir William Keir Grant was appointed colonel. As if worthily to
recognise the heroic daring of the regiment at Waterloo, it has
continued to be commanded by veterans who have earned their laurels in
that proud field of fight. Lord Sandys was appointed in 1858, but only
enjoyed the honour for two years, when death laid him low, and he was in
turn succeeded by the present colonel, General Alex. K. Clarke Kennedy,
C.B., K.G. The history of all these brave officers is replete with deeds
of heroism, and it would have been truly a pleasant duty, had our space
admitted, to have recounted somewhat of their achievements.

During the years of their home service, a part of the regiment was
present at the imposing ceremony accompanying the burial of England’s
Naval Hero, Lord Nelson, in 1805. They were also present at the great
review in Hyde Park in 1814, when the allied Sovereigns visited England
after the Treaty of Paris.

The following year witnessed the escape of Napoleon from Elba, his
return to France, and the general and disgraceful desertion of the
French army to their old chief. This untoward event at once arrested the
retiring armies of the allies, and recalled them again in haste to
Paris. The promptitude and harmony of the measures adopted by the
Cabinets of Britain and Prussia enabled their armies forthwith to take
the field, and so stemming the returning tide of French despotism, for
ever crush the might of the tyrant whose restless ambition, like an evil
spirit, had so long troubled Europe. They were honoured side by side to
fulfil the first and last act in the short but decisive campaign which
followed. Six troops of the Greys were ordered to the theatre of war,
and, landing in the Netherlands in 1815, were brigaded with the Royals
and their old comrades the Inniskillings, under Sir William Ponsonby.
Anticipating no immediate attack from the French, and the better to
obtain supplies, the Duke of Wellington had disposed his army as a chain
of posts to watch the movements of the enemy. While separated from the
Prussians, under Blucher, both armies narrowly escaped destruction. The
immediate and personal presence of so able and enterprising a General as
Napoleon, at the head of a powerful and well-appointed army—consisting
largely of the veterans who, smarting under the disasters of a previous
year, burned for revenge, or of those who, so unfortunately for their
chief, had been too long incarcerated as garrisons in the distant
fortresses of the Oder and Vistula, but who, released on the conclusion
of the late peace, gladly welcomed their old commander, and followed him
to the field with high hopes to retrieve the defeats of the past—the
immediate presence of such an army rendered the position of the allies
one of considerable danger. On the night of the 15th of June the Greys
were unexpectedly awakened at the village of Denderhautem, to learn that
the enemy was rapidly advancing to surprise and destroy the scattered
fragments of the army in detail. Accordingly, immediate orders were
issued to the various corps to concentrate in the vicinity of WATERLOO.
A rapid march of fifty miles brought the Scots Greys, on the evening of
the 16th, to Quatre Bras, where some of the British troops were
surprised by a portion of the French army, under Marshal Ney, and all
but cut to pieces. As the eventful morning of the 18th of June dawned,
the British army, having completed its concentration, was drawn up in
all the magnificence of battle array, and anxiously waited the arrival
of their allies. The Prussians, however, had in the interim been
attacked by Napoleon himself at Ligny, and nearly overthrown.

In the battle of Waterloo, the Greys occupied a position in rear of the
left centre. It was late in the day when the Earl of Uxbridge brought
the orders for that fatal and memorable charge, the result of which had
such an effect on the battle. It must have been a splendid sight to have
seen these gallant regiments (the Greys, Royals, and Inniskillings)
“hurl them on the foe;” and it must have been nobly done, since it
specially attracted the attention of the great Napoleon—(particularly
referring to the Greys)—and drew forth from him those ever-memorable
words: “These are splendid horsemen, but in less than half-an-hour I
must cut them to pieces;” and therewith he did all that human mind could
devise, or human might achieve, to fulfil his boast, and annihilate
these brave soldiers. Despite a dreadful carnage, and the resoluteness
with which the successive columns of the French sustained the dreadful
fight, they could not prevail against our Gælic infantry, nor dismay the
firmness of the British square, far less withstand the shock of our
gallant cavalry—they were broken; and amidst the terrible confusion
which ensued, Sergeant Ewart, of the Greys, succeeded in capturing the
eagle and colour of the Forty-fifth French regiment—a trophy which
graced the day, and the eagle is a proud emblem on the regimental
guidon. The Ninety-second Highlanders, reduced to 200 men, had long
maintained a terrible conflict with a column of 2000 of the enemy. At
length the Greys, charging a second time—but with sadly diminished
numbers—came to the assistance of their countrymen, and, together,
nearly annihilated the French. At the grand charge, where the famous and
hitherto invincible Guards of Napoleon were brought forward for a last
effort, the remnant of the Greys, kept in reserve, awaited the repulse
of that dread column, when, a third time charging, they completed the
ruin of their brave foemen. The loss to the regiment was upwards of 200
men. After the battle, they continued the pursuit of the enemy to the
very gates of Paris; and, with other cavalry, contributed to prevent
Napoleon re-forming or re-organising his still formidable legions. On
the abdication of that mighty chief, the Greys returned to England in
1816. Thus, in three days, was the fate of an empire, nay, of the world,
decided by British valour and Prussian firmness.

[Illustration: BALAKLAVA.]

Passing over a long interval of peace—nearly forty years, during which
nothing of sufficient importance transpired to call the Greys to take
the field—we arrive at the time (1854) of the Crimean war, when Russian
ambition, seeking to overwhelm Turkey in her weakness, was unexpectedly
met and arrested in her unrighteous aggression, by France and Britain,
on the plains of the Crimea. The Greys, as an after instalment of the
British army, were sent out in the “Himalaya,” and landed in September—a
few days after the battle of the Alma. With the Fourth (Royal Irish) and
the Fifth (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s) Dragoon Guards; and the First
(Royals) and Sixth (Inniskilling) Dragoons, they formed the heavy
cavalry brigade, under Brigadier-General the Hon. James Scarlett, now
Adjutant-General to the Forces and K.C.B. At the action of Balaklava,
fought on the 25th of October, and which was almost entirely a cavalry
one—the Ninety-third Highlanders being the only infantry regiment
actively engaged, and bearing the word on their colours—the Scots Greys,
with their old comrades, the Inniskillings, fully sustained the ancient
and heroic character of the regiment. Numbering together about 750 men,
they charged fearlessly upon a body of 3500 of the very choicest Russian
cavalry, defended, moreover, by several batteries; and, breaking the
first line, had already pierced the column through, when they were aided
in the completion of the victory by the Fourth and Fifth Dragoon Guards.
Notwithstanding the desperate and unequal contest, the loss on the side
of the Greys was very small. In less than five minutes the splendid
array of Russian cavalry was broken and put to flight by about 1400 of
the British cavalry. This splendid achievement may be considered as the
only important event in which our cavalry assumed a prominent part. The
severity of the weather and the prevalence of disease all but destroyed
the Greys and their no less gallant comrades, and left our country to
lament that so very few of that heroic brigade were spared to return and
receive the thanks of a grateful people. Two years afterwards, peace
restored the remnant of the regiment to its native land.

In closing our brief record of the Second Regiment of Royal North
British Dragoons, we cannot help remarking on the almost unbroken
success and splendid trophies which have crowned their arms. Scarcely in
a single instance was the regiment broken or necessitated to retreat for
its own sake; only once did a standard fall into the hands of the enemy,
although in its several campaigns the regiment has been always actively
engaged. The reader must feel that we have great reason to be proud of
our countrymen—and that it is an honest pride we indulge in—when
sustained by such an unprecedented series of triumphs as it has been our
pleasure to record. There is not a heart in Scotland which does not beat
with affectionate sympathy and respect for the “Scots Greys;” and be
they Englishmen or Irishmen who join the regiment, we feel sure they do
so with a generous spirit of emulation, and ungrudgingly unite with us
in doing honour to our countrymen, who early won a good name for the
regiment by brave deeds—no idle tale, but recorded in the most prominent
page of the world’s history.

[Illustration: SCOTS GREY 1862]


                             “THE GUARDS.”


                              CHAPTER IV.

                “Star of the brave! whose beam hath shed
                Such glory o’er the quick and dead;
                Thou radiant and adored deceit!
                Which millions rushed in arms to greet;
                Wild meteor of immortal birth!
                Why rise in Heaven to set on Earth?”

                OF THE STUARTS—THE REVOLUTION—1660–1688.

The very name of “_Guards_” inspires the idea of all that is militarily
splendid and excellent, great and glorious, noble and brave, faithful
and loyal; and awakens in our minds a host of most interesting and
exciting recollections. Guards are peculiarly a monarchical and despotic
institution, having no real existence in a Republic or similar form of
government. We would esteem this force as a chosen band of faithful,
stalwart, and splendidly-equipped soldiers, specially charged with the
defence of the throne, and calculated, by their imposing array, to add
lustre and dignity to the Crown. Apart from this holiday display, the
history of Guards is pre-eminently distinguished by the most splendid
achievements of heroism and devotion. Their firmness and fidelity have
alike rebuked the arrogance of the nobles who insulted, and stilled the
turbulence of the people who challenged, the prerogative of the Crown.
Nay, more, when the avalanche of revolution, descending, overthrew the
tottering throne, having enjoyed the smile, unshaken, the Guards
encountered the frowning of fortune; whilst fond memory bids us trace
the footprints of their greatness.

But the great Napoleon had a truer conception of what such a corps ought
to be, in the constitution of his Imperial Guard, which at one time
amounted to upwards of 100,000 of the best troops in the world. Selected
not merely for fidelity or display, each one was a veteran, who, passing
through the fires of battle and inured to war, had won by his valour the
right to a place in the ranks of “the Brave.” No wonder that Europe
trembled when the bearskin of the Guard was recognised amongst the
number of her foes; no marvel that the charm of invincibility should so
long be enjoyed by this phalanx of warriors, and the halo of victory
rest upon their brows.

Romance presents no scene more deeply touching than is recorded in the
page of history, when, amid the crumbling ruins of his colossal
empire—under the eye and directed by the transcendent genius of their
beloved chief, which never on any occasion shone forth more
conspicuously—the shattered remnant of the French Guards, faithful amid
the faithless, with unmurmuring constancy and heroic devotion,
withstood, all but alone, the attack of allied Europe; dealing out the
same terrible blows as of old, which, were it possible, must have
rescued their country from the countless hosts which already desecrated
her plains. But the closing scene was postponed for an after year, when
France once more marshalled around the Guard, and Napoleon cast the
fatal die for empire or ruin. What Austria, Russia, Prussia, nay, banded
Europe, had failed to do, our British soldiers achieved. The spell was
broken, as the Guard was overthrown. Noble and brave, ever commanding
our respect in their life, they were doubly so in their death. We cannot
help according this tribute to so brave a foe. Nay, we feel honoured as,
regarding their grave on the plains of Waterloo, we shed a tear for the
worthy representative of the Guard; and, lingering beside the relics of
“the mighty dead,” we catch the meaning of their watchword—


Guards claim to be of a very ancient origin. Perhaps the earliest record
of such a force is to be found in the Bible, where—in times of the
tyranny of Saul, first king of Israel, 1093 B.C.—we read “the goodliest
of the young men” (1 Sam. viii. 11–16; xiv. 52) “were chosen” for
himself, and “their hearts touched” (1 Sam. x. 26), so that “they
followed him” as a guard. Notwithstanding this ill-omened inauguration,
Guards have been perpetuated, and embraced in the military institutions
of the several States which successively attained the dominion of the
known world, especially where victorious ambition induced them to reject
the simplicity of the Republic and adopt the glitter and the pomp of
Imperialism. In despotic monarchies, princes have generally selected
their Guards from foreigners, as less likely to be affected by the
political struggles which from time to time agitated the nation and
threatened the security of the throne. The Guard thus selected
frequently included exiles of rank—of noble, nay, royal blood. To the
Protestant refugees, which the persecutions of the Church of Rome had
expatriated, the Guard presented a very general, an honourable, and a
secure retreat. These, as well as the chivalrous and adventurous spirit
of Scotsmen, are foremost amongst the many causes which have led our
countrymen to enlist as the Guard in nearly every State in Europe.

Coming nearer home, and more immediately to our text, we find, in
England, that Henry VII., in 1485, raised a bodyguard of 50 men,
afterwards increased to 200, and styled it the “Yeomen of the Guard.” In
1550, Edward VI. added a corps of Horse Guards; whilst, in Scotland, at
a very early period, “the Archers of the Guard” surrounded and upheld
the Sovereign.


The Guards of the present British army, comprised in three regiments—the
first of which containing three, and the others two battalions each—were
raised about the year of the Restoration, 1660. The union, and
consequent intermixture of the peoples of the two, nay, of the three
nations, has so assimilated the composition of our regiments, that,
whatever may have been their origin, it is exceedingly difficult now to
discover aught of the ancient landmarks—national or county—which once
characterised them. Still, it is our business, in the present
undertaking, to trace these originals, and do justice to the land,
whichever it be, that, in earlier years, contributed its mite to lay the
foundation of the present renown of our army.

From the intimate way in which our Guards have always been associated in
duty and a brilliant career of honour, we have preferred briefly to
sketch their history together, rather than separately and severally. In
such a narrative as we have entered upon, it is scarcely possible to
avoid repetition, many of the regiments having seen the same service. It
must therefore be admitted as a necessary evil; we only trust the good
old story of our nation’s glory will not suffer by being twice told.

The Coldstream, or Second Regiment of Guards—which, although second in
the Army List, is nevertheless the senior—was raised by General Monk
(afterwards Duke of Albemarle) about the year 1650. They were
principally formed from Fenwick’s and Hesellrigg’s Regiments, and took
their name from their having proceeded from Coldstream on their famous
march to restore the “Merry Monarch!” Born during a time of war, they
were early initiated into its bloody toils. They formed part of the army
of General Monk, which, in name of Oliver Cromwell, subdued and occupied
Scotland. With the Scottish army, they marched into England in 1660,
were quartered in London, and there effectually helped to maintain peace
between the factions of the Parliament and army, which then struggled
for the dominion of the State—vacant by the death of the Protectorate.
Ultimately, the intrigue of General Monk effected the present
deliverance of the country from the disorders which distracted
Government, by the restoration of the monarchy in the person of Charles
II. On the disbandment of the army, Charles, grateful for the good
offices of Monk, retained his—the Coldstream—regiment in his own
service. The alarm attending the insurrection of Venner, in 1660—a
fanatic preacher, who was ultimately overpowered, and his followers,
about thirty in number, nearly all slain—presented a favourable
opportunity, which the King was not slow to improve, for insisting upon
Parliament granting him leave to raise money to maintain an additional
military force for his own and the nation’s safeguard. The result was
the formation of a chosen body of troops, chiefly composed of Jacobite
gentlemen who had shared with him the vicissitudes of exile, and so
constituted the First, or Grenadier Guards, under Colonel Russell. Two
years later, 1662, the resistance which the unreasonable demands of the
King upon the Scottish Presbyterians stirred up, induced the formation
in Scotland, amongst other troops, of a regiment of Scots Foot
Guards—the Scots Fusilier, or Third Regiment of Guards—the command being
conferred on the Earl of Linlithgow.

Whilst a small body of the Guards were hotly engaged on the shores of
Africa, heroically defending against the Moors the fortress of
Tangier—the profitless dowry of the Queen of Charles II.—the main body
of the Grenadiers and Coldstreams, or, as they were then called, the
First and Second Regiments of Guards, were employed at home sustaining
the tottering throne of the monarch. Failing to profit by the lessons
which a recent adversity were so well fitted to teach, Charles, like the
rest of his unhappy race, devoted to his own indulgence, plunged
heedlessly into all the excesses of folly and passion. Casting aside or
neglecting the cares of his kingdom, so far at least as they interfered
with his own gratification, he consigned to creatures of his pleasure,
to the bigotry of fawning Jesuits, or the blind fanaticism of a cruel
brother (the Duke of York) the interests, the business, and the duties
of royalty. Amid such dissoluteness and misrule, the Guards, whilst
fulfilling their duty, must ofttimes have been forced to witness the
dark intrigues of a licentious court; nay, more, they were frequently
called to obey officers who had obtained commissions from their having
ministered discreditably to the passionate appetites of superiors, or as
being the fruit of some unhallowed intercourse. Their duty, too,
required they should guard not merely the Sovereign of a great nation,
but his _seraglio_—the abandoned crowd who, dishonouring themselves,
dishonoured their sex, preyed upon the honour of the nation, with
undisguised effrontery daily glittered in finery, and disgraced the
palaces of royalty by their presence. Gladly might the brave and
honourable soldier welcome a respite from such irksome duties and the
influences of such evil examples on the field of battle; but these were
times of comparative peace. It was not until Charles had sunk into the
grave, the victim of his own indulgence, and his brother, the Duke of
York, had ascended the throne as James II., that the peace was
disturbed—and then but for a moment—by the pretensions and rebellion of
Monmouth, speedily terminated by the battle of Sedgemoor, in 1685.
During the reign of James II., who departed not from the evil ways of
his brother, but added injustice and cruelty to the lengthy catalogue of
royal iniquities, only one incident would we notice as belonging to the
history of the Coldstreams, and as emphatically declaring how far even
these stood apart from the sins of the age. James had committed to the
Tower the Archbishop of Canterbury and other six bishops, who dared
respectfully to remonstrate with the King on behalf of their Protestant
brethren, injured by the pretensions of the Roman Catholics. Faithful to
their duty, the Coldstreams nevertheless received these martyrs to their
ancient faith with every token of respect and reverence. From the heart
of many a soldier ascended the prayer, and from his eye dropped the dewy
tear, as he guarded the gloomy dungeons of their prison.

At length, when the cup of royal iniquity was full to overflowing, when
the follies and cruelties of the race of Stuart had alienated the
affections of an otherwise loyal people, then the oppressed, called to
arms, with one voice drove the last and worst representative of that
unfortunate family from the throne. Then, even then, when all else
failed him, even his own children—the Duke of Grafton, Colonel of the
Grenadier Guards, deserting—the Guards, the Coldstreams, remained
faithful, and with their Colonel, Lord Craven (appointed on the death of
Monk, in 1670), at their head, refused to give place to the stranger.
Nor did they forsake the unhappy prince, or for a moment belie their
allegiance to him, until his pusillanimous flight had rendered their
services no longer of advantage to him. Then only did they make their
peace with the new Sovereign—William, Prince of Orange. Respecting their
constancy to the fallen monarch, and recognising the Guards to be men of
worth, the Prince—now the King—retained their services, nor hesitated to
confide his own person to their keeping, as the faithful body-guard of a
constitutional throne.

Aware that an officer, well versed in military histories, and to whose
kindness we are largely indebted for much valuable information embraced
in this compilation, is now preparing the annals of the Guards, in
separate volumes, we forbear saying more of the Grenadiers and
Coldstreams, esteeming the history of the Scots Fusilier Guards
sufficient for the purposes of our present undertaking, as being the one
regiment of the three undoubtedly Scottish.


                               CHAPTER V.

                     “Caledonians, brave and bold!
                     Heroes, never bought or sold!
                     Sons of sires, who died of old
                       To gild a martial story!”


Whilst the Grenadiers and Coldstreams were unwilling witnesses to the
_profligacy_ and _lewdness_ of the Court, the Scots Foot Guards, since
their establishment in 1661, were more especially the witnesses of its
_cruelties_. The inquisition established by Royal Commission, and
presided over by the then Duke of York, rioted in the shedding of the
blood of “the faithful,” and with merciless cruelty persecuted and
tortured our Covenanting forefathers. In 1679, the Scots Foot Guards
were called to make their first essay in arms in the defence of Glasgow.
Their firm front, as they withstood the army of the Covenanters, may be
said to have stemmed the torrent of rebellion, and saved the Government
and the royal cause from the ruin which threatened it. At the battle of
Bothwell Bridge they were charged with the attack upon the bridge,
which, although desperately defended, they ultimately carried. This
single achievement was victory; the terror, the panic it inspired in the
still formidable army of the Covenanters, led to a disorderly flight,
even before the royal troops could be brought across the river and
formed in line of attack.

The Scots Foot Guards continued to be deeply involved in the strifes of
these unhappy times. Towards the close of their sojourn in Scotland, 200
of the regiment, under Captain Streighton, associated with a portion of
the Scots Greys, were employed in taking summary and merciless vengeance
upon Macdonald of Keppoch and his unfortunate clan, because of their
recent raid upon the Macintosh. Immediately thereafter, the imminent
danger to the Crown, caused by the threatened irruption of the Prince of
Orange, which was so soon to overthrow the existing dynasty, induced
James to draw together to London the whole reliable forces of the
kingdom. Accordingly the Scots Foot Guards, under their colonel,
Lieutenant-General Douglas, marched with the Scottish army southward.
Arriving in London towards the close of October, the regiment, 1251
strong, was quartered in the vicinity of Holborn. Advanced with the
royal army, the Scots Foot Guards were stationed at Reading. Here,
becoming tainted with the general disaffection then prevalent, a
battalion deserted to the Prince of Orange. The events in the sequel,
bringing about the dissolution of the authority of the King, and the
establishment of the House of Orange under William and Mary, speedily
reunited the battalions of the regiment under the new authority, and it
is hereafter to be regarded as the Scots Fusilier, or Third Regiment of
Guards. The title of Scots Fusilier Guards was conferred on them as late
as the 22d April, 1831.

The ambitious views of Louis XIV.—“_Le Grand Monarque_”—of France were
for the moment paralysed, as he found himself outdone in his
calculations by the unexpected turn of events in England—the overthrow
of the Stuarts and the splendid triumphs of the House of Orange. Nettled
by these disappointments, he readily entertained the schemes of James,
not so much that he desired the restoration of that imbecile
monarch—even although, as hitherto, enjoying the shadow of independent
power, he should continue the tool of the Jesuits of France—but rather
that he might find a favourable pretext to trouble the House of Orange,
whom he had been long accustomed to regard as his natural and mortal
foe. He aspired, moreover, to unite the Netherlands—the hereditary
dominion of the Stadtholder—to France, perchance to reduce these
sea-girt isles of ours to acknowledge his authority and become an
appanage of his Crown. Whilst James—encouraged by the fair promises of
Louis—laboured to fan into flame the discontents of the English
Jacobites, the Scottish Clans, and the Irish Papists, Louis prepared
formidable armaments by sea and land, with which he speedily assailed
the Netherlands. Meanwhile, aided by the natural reaction which
generally follows the outburst of strong feelings, James succeeded but
too well in his malignant purpose; in Scotland, by the rebellion of the
Highland Clans, under Viscount Dundee, and in Ireland, by the rebellion
of Irish Papists, under Tyrconnell. It required all the firmness and
ability of William to meet this formidable coalition, which threatened
his dominions at home and abroad; but the King, who could point to times
in his eventful history when, with far less promise of a successful
issue, he had overthrown more powerful foes—sustained now, too, by the
veteran experience of Schomberg and the rising genius of
Marlborough—promptly prepared to uphold his new-gotten and extensive
authority as the Champion of the Protestant cause, a title which he had
long enjoyed, and a faith which, despite the wrathful persecution of
kings, he had owned and protected.

For a time, in Scotland, victory seemed indecisive, but after the death
of Dundee at Killiecrankie, the cause of James, languishing for a while,
was at length abandoned as hopeless by the Clans, and in 1691 the
rebellion terminated by their submission. In Ireland, the success of
James was complete, with the exception of Londonderry and Enniskillen,
which, being resolutely and gloriously defended as the last bulwarks of
Irish Protestantism, still held out. Even the arrival of Schomberg, in
1689, at the head of a considerable number of newly-raised regiments of
English and French Huguenots, aided by a Dutch force, failed to do more
than awe the rebels. In the following year William himself joined the
army, with large supplies, and by his presence revived the spirit of his
troops—now increased to 36,000. A battalion of the Scots Foot Guards at
the same time recruiting the royal army, led by their colonel, General
Douglas, were present at the battle of the Boyne, where they materially
contributed to the overthrow of the Irish rebels. They were also present
with the army, under Ginkel, which ultimately dispersed the troops of
the malcontents, driving James from the throne of Ireland, and so united
the island once more to the British Empire.

While these events were taking place at home, Marlborough had been sent
in command of a British contingent, which comprised, with other troops,
a battalion of the Scots Foot Guards and one of the Coldstream Guards,
to act with the Dutch and German allies, under Prince Waldeck, against
the French in the Netherlands. It is interesting to note this, as being
the first effort in arms of the Scots Foot Guards upon a foreign shore
and against a foreign foe. In the first action of the campaign, fought
at Walcourt, our Guards were present, but occupied no very important
post, the brunt of the battle having been sustained by the Coldstreams,
under Colonel Talmash, the Sixteenth Regiment of Foot and the First
Regiment of Royal Scots, under Colonel Hodges. Although forming a part
of the Scottish brigade, the regiment, indeed the army, achieved nothing
of importance until 1692, when King William, having effectually secured
peace at home, placed himself at the head of his forces, infusing by his
presence new energy and life into the war. Notwithstanding the
enthusiasm which pervaded the troops when William assumed the command,
they could make no impression upon the French army, directed by the
abilities of the Duc de Luxembourg. On the contrary, the allies were
doomed to suffer severe defeats at Steenkirk in 1692, and Landen in
1693. In the latter, Corporal Trim, in Sterne’s renowned “Tristram
Shandy,” is represented to have been wounded whilst serving with his
master, the kindly-hearted Uncle Toby, in Leven’s regiment, now the
Twenty-fifth King’s Own Borderers. The after campaigns are unmarked by
any decisive event. The death of Luxembourg, and the incapacity of his
successor—Villeroy—enabled the confederates somewhat to retrieve the
disasters of the past. Soon the almost impregnable fortress of
Namur—bravely defended by Marshal Bouffleurs, and as bravely assailed by
our troops—was, after a fearful carnage, lost to France. In 1697, weary
of a war which had been fraught with no decided success on either side,
the peace of Ryswick put an end for the present to a further waste of
blood and treasure.

The Guards, returning to England, enjoyed but for a short space a
respite from active service. France having for a moment tasted the
sweets of victory, having largely recruited her armies, thirsted for
more blood, longed for new worlds to conquer; whilst her ambitious lord,
grasping, through minions of his house, the vacant throne of Spain, once
more roused the allied wrath of Europe. During the previous reign our
country had groaned under a shameful vassalage to France. The gold of
the crafty Louis had outweighed the feeble sense of honour which yet
lived and lurked amid the corrupt Court of James. But the accession of
William to the throne put an end to these traitorous traffickings for
the independency of the land. The new rule and healthier administration
of the House of Orange dispelled the night of slavery, revived the
drooping spirit of liberty, and restored the nation to its true manhood.
Even now did she begin to assume that position of first importance among
the continental powers which she has never ceased honourably to retain.
Her alliance was anxiously courted, and her enmity dreaded by all. With
becoming majesty her ministers may be said to have presided in the
councils of the nations. With terrible might she threw the weight of her
sword into the scale as an arbiter—the defender of the right.

In 1701 and 1702 the British army was being assembled in the
Netherlands, and posted in the vicinity of Breda—the Guards forming an
important part of the force. Meanwhile the Dutch and German auxiliaries
were drawing together their several contingents. Difficulties arose
amongst the confederates as to the officer who should assume the chief
command. Happily, however, these were at length overcome. The Earl of
Athlone, as the senior, waving his claim, the command of the allied army
was conferred on Marlborough, who, in the campaigns which were about to
open, should win laurels of a mighty fame. From the great number of
strong fortresses which studded the plains of the Netherlands and
guarded the frontier, the campaigns were, in consequence, largely made
up of perplexing man[oe]uvres and sieges. It is, however, worthy of
notice that in each year the might and energy of the combatants were
concentrated into one great fight, rather than a succession of minor
engagements. The character of the country, no doubt, helped to this mode
of warfare. Thus we record, in succession, the great battles of
Blenheim, in 1704; Ramilies, in 1706; Oudenarde, in 1708; Malplaquet, in
1709. It is unnecessary to detail the marchings and counter-marchings of
the Guards as they waited upon the several sieges; sufficient be it to
say, they did “the State some service.” At Nimeguen, with the First
Royals, they rendered essential service in repelling an unexpected
attack of an immensely superior French force, who had hoped to surprise
and proudly capture the allied chiefs in the midst of their
deliberations. In 1703 the strongholds of Huy and Limburg capitulated to
the allies. During this campaign the Guards were brigaded with the
Fifteenth, Twenty-third, and Twenty-fourth Regiments under General
Withers. But the succeeding year was destined to witness a far more
magnificent achievement—the sudden and rapid transference of the British
army from the plains of the Netherlands to the valley of the Danube; a
movement which, affording timely succour, and graced by the triumphs of
Schellenberg and Blenheim, restored the sinking fortunes of the Imperial
arms, and proved the deliverance of Germany. Associated with the First
Royals, the Twenty-third Regiment, with detachments from other corps,
the Guards sustained a terrible fight and suffered a severe loss in
storming the heights of Schellenberg. Their valour on this occasion was
most conspicuous. The furious and repeated assaults of their gallant foe
entailed frequent repulses; still their firmness was unconquerable;
again and again they returned to the attack, until their perseverance
was at length crowned with complete success in the utter rout of the
enemy. But this defeat on the part of the French and Bavarians was only
the prelude to a more terrible disaster. The allied army of Germans,
Dutch, Prussians, and British, driving the enemy before them, at length
halted in the neighbourhood of Blenheim, where the French and Bavarians,
largely recruited and strongly posted, under Marshals Tallard and
Marsin, had resolved to try the issue of battle. In the action which
followed, the Guards had six officers killed and wounded. After the
siege and surrender of Landau, which immediately followed this victory,
the Guards returned with the army to the Netherlands, where, in the
succeeding campaigns, they were hotly engaged, forcing the enemy’s lines
at Helixem, and more especially at the great pitched contests of
Ramilies, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet. In 1712 the peace of Utrecht once
more restored them to their native land.

Meanwhile the Spanish Peninsula was the scene of a conflict, although
conducted on a less gigantic scale, embittered by the personal presence
of the rival sovereigns—Philip of Bourbon and Charles of Austria. France
having espoused the cause of Philip—which was really the cause of the
people—had so vigorously pressed the allies, that notwithstanding the
presence of a British force, they could hardly maintain a footing in the
Peninsula for themselves, or for Charles as claimant to the throne. The
war is remarkable as developing the military abilities of two most
illustrious soldiers who successively directed the French armies—the
Duke of Berwick and the Duc de Vendôme. In 1704 Gibraltar had been
captured by a party of British sailors. A portion of the Guards
garrisoned the fortress, and heroically withstood all the efforts of the
Spaniards to recover it. In the following year the British fleet
arrived, and forced Marshal Tessé to raise the siege, in consequence of
which the Guards were withdrawn to form a part of the expedition under
the Earl of Peterborough, which landed in Catalonia and captured
Barcelona. Soon, however, this transient success was dissipated by the
return of the French and Spanish armies, who in turn besieged the
British. After enduring many privations, and making a gallant defence,
the besieged were relieved in the eleventh hour by the presence of a
British squadron with reinforcements. But this temporary aid only
served, by elevating the hopes of the garrison, to induce a more serious
disaster, in the utter rout of the allies at the battle of Almanaza
which shortly followed, and virtually gave the kingdom to the House of
Bourbon. Urged by Marlborough, the British Government were roused to
prosecute the war with greater vigour in Spain than hitherto, as being a
diversion of the utmost importance to the allied operations in the
Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. Accordingly, in 1709 two formidable
armies were sent out, one to act in Portugal, under Lord Galway, and the
other in Spain, under Generals Staremberg and Stanhope. The latter of
these included a battalion of the Scots Fusilier Guards. Advancing upon
Madrid, everything seemed to promise success to their enterprise—the
speedy downfall of the Bourbon dynasty, and the establishment of the
House of Austria upon the throne. Their advance was distinguished by the
victory of Saragossa, in which the British captured thirty standards and
colours. The French General retiring, waited his opportunity, when, with
recruited ranks, and the popular opinion on his side, he returned and
forced the British, under Staremberg and Stanhope, to make a precipitate
retreat, in course of which General Stanhope, at the head of 6000
troops, including the Scots Fusilier Guards, was overtaken at Birhuega
by a superior force of the enemy. The British for two days heroically
defended themselves, but were ultimately forced to surrender. General
Staremberg, however, somewhat repaired the disaster by defeating the
enemy in the battle of Villa Viciosa with great slaughter, and thus
secured for his wearied yet gallant troops a safe retreat.

In 1715 the Scots Fusilier Guards were placed in garrison in Portsmouth
and Plymouth. Notwithstanding the rebellions in Scotland of 1715 and
1719 the regiment continued to be peacefully employed in the south. In
1722 the colonelcy was conferred on General St Clair.


                              CHAPTER VI.

             “Heroes!—for instant sacrifice prepared;
             Yet filled with ardour and on triumph bent
             ’Mid direst shocks of mortal accident—
             To you who fell, and you whom slaughter spared
             To guard the fallen, and consummate the event,
             Your country rears this sacred monument.”

  UNITED STATES—1742–1862.

The family feuds which at this time divided the House of Austria once
more kindled the flames of continental war. In support of the Austrians,
George II. sent a British army into the Netherlands. Assuming himself
the command of the allies, he prepared to combat, on this ancient
battlefield, the confederacy of France, Prussia, and Bavaria. With the
army, the present Scots Fusilier Guards landed in Holland in 1742, under
the Earl of Dunmore. They were present at the battle of Dettingen in
1743, where the French were signally defeated. In the following year
Marshal Wade assumed the command of the allies. Nothing of importance
was undertaken until 1745, when the Duke of Cumberland was appointed to
the command;—the Guards were at this period brigaded with the
Forty-second Royal Highlanders, (then making their first campaign as the
Forty-third Regiment, or “Black Watch,” which latter title has recently
been confirmed to them.) At the battle of Fontenoy, fought for the
relief of Tournay, this brigade was charged with the attack upon the
village of Veson. Here the French, strongly entrenched, made a gallant
defence, but were forced to yield to the fierce onset of such a chosen
body of troops. The ill success of the Dutch auxiliaries in other parts
of the field, and the last and desperate charge of Marshal Saxe at the
head of the French Guards, with the Irish and Scottish brigades in the
French service, led on by the young Chevalier, speedily changed the
fortunes of the day, compelled the allies to retreat, and our brave
Guards reluctantly to relinquish the important post their valour had

Meantime, Prince Charles Edward having landed in Scotland, set up the
standard of rebellion, and summoned the tumultuous and fierce array of
the clans to do battle for his pretensions to the throne. The war on the
Continent having occasioned the withdrawal of a large body of the
regular army, the rebels succeeded in driving before them the few troops
which had been left at home. Their progress southward into England
promised the speedy downfall of the House of Brunswick, and the
restoration of that of Stuart. The timely return of the major part of
the army, including the Scots Fusilier Guards, from Holland, at this
juncture, arrested the advance of the rebels upon London, and occasioned
their precipitate retreat into Scotland. A strong force of the king’s
troops, including a portion of the Guards, advanced in pursuit of the
prince, whilst the remainder, grouped in positions in and around London,
prepared to defend the country from the threatened descent of the
French. The bloody defeat of Culloden, as it utterly ruined the rebel
army, so it terminated the war, by the dispersion or submission of the
clans and the flight of the prince.

               Culloden’s moor! a darker scene
               Of civil strife thy sons have seen,
               When for an exiled Prince ye bled,
               Now mourn alas! your “mighty dead,”
                           The brave o’ bonnie Scotland.

Peace having been restored at home, the Scots Fusilier Guards, with
other regiments, returned to Holland in 1747, where the French, in their
absence, had made considerable progress. The only event of importance
which occurred in the campaign was the battle of Val, in which the
immense superiority of the French compelled the retreat of the British,
under the Duke of Cumberland. In 1748 peace was concluded at

Disputes arising as to the boundary line of the British and French
colonies, and neither party accepting a peaceful solution, war was
declared in 1756. Whilst the reputation of the British arms was being
gloriously sustained on the distant continent of America and in Lower
Germany, the Guards were engaged in frequent descents upon the French
coast. At St Cas they specially distinguished themselves. The peace of
1763 secured to our colonists the quiet possession of the fruits of
their own industry against the cupidity of the French. Scarcely had this
result been attained when difficulties arose with the colonists
themselves, by their refusal to be taxed by the home government without
an equivalent representation. Our armies were accordingly recalled in
1775 to the American continent, whilst the colonists, preparing for a
vigorous defence, allied themselves with their late enemies, the French.
The Scots Fusilier Guards formed a part of the British expedition, and
under Clinton, Howe, and Cornwallis, upheld their ancient reputation for
discipline and valour in the fresh and difficult warfare to which, in
the desolate wilds of the New World, they were called. This unfortunate
war, fraught with disastrous results, and waged with great fury and
bitter hate on both sides, was concluded in 1783, and secured the
independence of the colonists, who formed themselves into a Republic,
under the designation of the United States.

In 1782 the Duke of Argyll had been promoted to the colonelcy of the
Scots Fusilier Guards.

France, too long enslaved but now suddenly emancipated from the galling
tyranny of “the privileged orders,” writhing under all the miseries of
Revolution, had ruined every vestige of righteous government, and
consigned the nation to the more cruel bondage of a despot mob. At
length these evil influences were incarnated in the demon rule of the
“Reign of Terror.” Bankrupt in every sense, to feed the starving crowd
who daily clamoured for bread, proved a task too hard for the wretched
creatures who had been elevated to power through the blood of their
predecessors, and who called themselves the Government, whilst the whim
of the people continued them in favour. As they were but the Government
of a day, so they cared little for the consequences beyond their own
time. To maintain their popularity, and if possible avert the fate which
ever threatened them from the blind fury and unbridled passion of the
mob, they gladly entered upon a universal crusade against the
governments and liberties of neighbouring nations, hoping thereby to
direct the merciless wrath of the people into this new channel, and so
save themselves. Soon the ranks of the armies were recruited by a fierce
and undisciplined multitude. But the very magnitude of these armaments
proved their ruin, and but for the spasmodic efforts of the
Revolutionary tyrants in the national defence, which achieved marvels,
the Revolution must have been crushed at this early stage. A small
British force, including the Coldstream and Scots Fusilier Guards, was
sent over to the Netherlands, under the Duke of York, who vainly
endeavoured to stem the torrent of aggression in that direction. Equally
fruitless were the attempts of the British Cabinet to patch up an
alliance amongst the nations, so as effectually to unite them in
defending the liberties of Europe. Although the victory of Lincelles
graced our arms, still, alone, our troops could not hope for success
against the immense armaments that continued to emerge from France. The
British were therefore compelled to recede before the advancing tide,
and postpone “the day of reckoning.”

Amongst the many ruthless and reckless, yet bold and able men which the
Revolution produced, none claims such a space in history, none so suited
his times, none was so equal to the crisis, as Napoleon Bonaparte. His
brilliant achievements in Italy under the Consulate had already taken
the public mind by storm, when in 1801 he invaded Egypt, crossed the
sterile desert, overthrew the feeble cohorts of the Sultan, and
threatened to add Syria to the empire of the French. At Acre his legions
were for the first time arrested by the firmness of British valour. In
1801 a British army, including the present Coldstream and Scots Fusilier
Guards, was sent to Egypt, under Sir Ralph Abercromby, to expel the
invader. Thirsting for some new field of conquest to feed his ambition,
Napoleon had returned to France, leaving General Menou to make good the
defence. The defeats of Mandora and Alexandria effectually broke the
already sinking spirit of the French, and resulted in their abandonment
of Egypt. In consideration of their efforts in this service, the
Coldstream and Scots Fusilier Guards have been allowed the distinction
of “the Sphinx,” with the word “EGYPT.”

[Illustration: NAPOLEON]

The cloud which for a moment dimmed the lustre of his arms, as this
province was wrested from his sway, was soon dispelled in the glories
that elsewhere crowned his efforts, especially in Spain, which, by the
foulest perfidy, he had virtually made a portion of his vast empire.
Frequent expeditions had been contemplated—some had sailed, two at least
had landed on the shores of the Peninsula—still nothing decisive had
been accomplished towards aiding the Spanish and Portuguese in the
expulsion of the French. In 1809, however, a powerful British force
under Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterwards “the Great Duke,” was sent out,
including the Coldstream and Scots Fusilier Guards. It is unnecessary at
present to follow them throughout the glories of the war, as we shall
have occasion to do so in after chapters; enough for our purpose to
mention the battles of Talavera (1809) and Barrosa (1811), in which they
specially distinguished themselves.

Having delivered Spain, Sir Arthur Wellesley, now Lord Wellington,
advanced into France, and sorely pressed the retiring foe. It needed all
the ability of Marshal Soult to hold together the shattered remnant of
his broken and disspirited army. With masterly tact and skill he
preserved a seeming order in his retreat, so as to save the army from
the ignominy of a flight. Meanwhile, France having exhausted her
resources, her people became tired of the yoke of the Emperor, who,
whilst fortune smiled upon his arms, had been to them a very god, but
now that the spell of victory was broken, was revealed in truer colours
as the ambitious yet mighty despot. Martial glory, as the ruling passion
of the nation, had bewitched the people, and received in ready sacrifice
the best blood of the land. Long, too long, had the power of Napoleon,
like a dark shadow, rested upon one-half of the known world, whilst the
empty vanity of unhappy France was charmed by delusive visions of
victory. The times were sadly changed. With a melancholy joy Europe had
witnessed the utter ruin of the splendid and countless host which the
fiat of the mighty chief had pressed into his service. Buried beneath
the snows of a Russian winter—hurled in confusion back upon his own

           “The might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
           Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord.”

This appalling catastrophe, combined with British successes in the
Peninsula, had revived the spirit of the nations, allied them in a holy
crusade, and marshalled the might of Europe in array to crush the
tyrant. One by one, they wrested from his sway the kingdoms he had
engulfed, and which groaned beneath a cruel bondage. Step by step, their
hosts converged, as the tide of war rolled, towards France. All but
alone, with his brave and devoted Guard driven to bay, he made a
desperate but unavailing stand on the plains of France. In vain he
addressed the patriotism of the people; already the fountain had been
dried up by his incessant wars and the unremitting demands he had made
upon the blood and treasure of the land. Surrendering, at length, the
hopeless contest, abdicating the throne, he passed into honourable exile
in Elba.

Ambition, still the tempter, assailing, soon prevailed. Eluding the
vigilance of the British fleet, he succeeded in escaping into France,
accompanied by a few of his old Guard, who had shared his exile. The
mind of the people, which for more than twenty years had lived amid a
wild delirium of excitement, still lingering upon the threshold of the
mighty past, had not yet learned to submit to the more benignant rule of
peace. The army, unwisely disbanded, or despoiled of those symbols of
glory which their valour had so nobly won—trophies which, to a soldier,
must ever be dear as life itself—were being consumed by the ennui of
idleness, longed for new employment. Hence the return of Napoleon
paralysed resistance as recalling the military glory of the Empire;
awakening new hopes, promising revenge for the past, employment for the
present, and glory for the future, it stirred within the bosom of the
soldier and the lower classes of the people a reverence and adoration,
almost amounting to idolatry. Rapidly advancing from stage to stage, as
on a triumphal march, Napoleon found himself once more at Paris—hailed
Emperor—it is true, doubted by the better classes of the people, but
worshipped by the army. His desperate efforts soon enabled him to take
the field, at the head of a powerful and well-appointed army, with which
he proposed to meet in detail, and so destroy, his numerous and
returning enemies. Unfortunately for him, he chose the Netherlands to be
the scene, and Britain and Prussia the objects, of his first, and, as
the result proved, his last attack. For a moment a gleam of sunshine
shone upon his path, as he attained the victory of Ligny, over the
Prussians under Marshal Blucher. Luring him to destruction, this flash
of success was only the precursor to the dread thunder of Waterloo.
Alarmed by the disastrous intelligence of the Prussian defeat and the
rapid advance of the French, Wellington, who commanded the British and
other auxiliaries, quickly concentrated his army near the village of
Waterloo. But ere he could accomplish this, Marshal Ney, at the head of
the second French division, had surprised and fallen upon, with great
fury, the British, as they advanced upon Quatre Bras, on the same day
that Ligny was won. The action was honourably sustained by a few British
Regiments, especially the Twenty-eighth, and the Forty-second,
Seventy-ninth and Ninety-second Highland Regiments. The heroic stand
made by these gave time for the arrival of other corps, including the
Guards—the Scots Fusilier Guards—who succeeded, after a desperate
struggle, in effectually checking the progress of the French Marshal,
and thus depriving him of a most favourable opportunity of cutting to
pieces in detail our army. Two days later, on the 18th of June, the Duke
had successfully accomplished the concentration of his forces, which,
drawn up in battle array at Waterloo, waited the arrival of the
Prussians, to begin the fight. But Napoleon, perceiving his advantage in
the absence of such an important succour, rushed eagerly to battle, put
forth every effort to achieve victory, ere Blucher, impeded by the
disorders of recent defeat, could afford any assistance. The Scots
Fusilier Guards, with the Grenadiers and Coldstreams, were stationed in
the chateau and grounds of Hougomont, where they were soon fiercely
assailed by the French, who repeatedly forcing the gateway, drove the
British into the house. Again and again the enemy were repulsed, but
still anew they returned to the assault. The combat was resolutely
maintained, and it was not until the close of this eventful day, when
the French, repulsed at every point, and gradually relaxing their
efforts, were ultimately driven from the field, that our Guards found a
release from the incessant toils of the fight. The victory achieved by
the British was now completed by the Prussians, who continued the
pursuit—a pursuit which may be said only to have ceased at the gates of
Paris, when, Napoleon abdicating, the war was terminated by the
restoration of the old Monarchy.

From Mr Carter’s interesting work on “The Medals of the British Army,”
we, by permission, quote the following refutation in regard to an
alleged sum of £500 having been accorded to a Waterloo veteran:—“A
statement has frequently appeared in the newspapers, which was repeated
after the decease of General Sir James Macdonell, G.C.B., on the 15th of
May, 1857, that five hundred pounds had been bequeathed to the bravest
man in the British army, and that the two executors called upon the late
Duke of Wellington, to give him a cheque for the money. As the story
went, the Duke proposed that it should be given to Sir James for the
defence of Hougomont, and that upon the money being tendered to him, he
at first declined to receive it, but that ultimately he shared it with
Sergeant-Major Fraser of the 3d Foot Guards, now the Scots Fusilier

“Having recently seen this statement again in print while these pages
were in preparation, and Sir James Macdonell having about ten years ago
mentioned to me that he had never received the money, I made further
inquiries, from which I ascertained that Sergeant-Major Ralph Fraser is
now a bedesman in Westminster Abbey. Considering that the above legacy
might possibly have been since received, I called upon the
sergeant-major, who lives at 18 West Street, Pimlico, and is now in his
79th year, in order to ascertain the fact, and found that it had not.
This gallant and intelligent veteran is in the full possession of his
faculties, and, in addition to his having aided in closing the gate at
Hougomont, can look with becoming pride on his having shared in the
following services:—He was enlisted in the 3d Foot Guards in 1799, and
was embarked for Egypt in 1801. In the landing at Aboukir Bay, on the
8th of March of that year, the boat in which Corporal Fraser was
contained sixty persons, officers included; all except fifteen were
destroyed by the resistance of the enemy. He was present at the battles
of the 13th and 21st March; and in the expedition to Hanover, 1805;
bombardment of Copenhagen, 1807; and from 1809 to 1814 in the Peninsula,
being present at the capture of Oporto, battles of Talavera, Busaco,
Fuentes d’Onor (wounded in the leg and thigh), sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo,
Burgos (again wounded in the leg), Badajoz, and St Sebastian; battles of
Salamanca, Vittoria, passage of the Nivelle and Nive. He received, in
addition to the Waterloo medal, that for the Peninsular war, with bars
for Egypt, Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes d’Onor, Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca,
Vittoria, Nivelle, and Nive. Sergeant-Major Fraser was discharged in
December, 1818.”

This account, doubtless, may be traced to the following circumstance
mentioned by Colonel Siborne in his valuable History of the Waterloo
Campaign:—“Early in August of that year, and while the Anglo-allied army
was at Paris, the Duke of Wellington received a letter from the Rev. Mr
Norcross, rector of Framlingham, in Suffolk, expressing his wish to
confer a pension of ten pounds a year, for life, on some Waterloo
soldier, to be named by his Grace. The Duke requested Sir John Byng (the
late Lord Stafford) to choose a man from the second brigade of Guards,
which had so highly distinguished itself in the defence of Hougomont.
Out of numerous instances of good conduct evinced by several individuals
of each battalion, Sergeant James Graham, of the light company of the
Coldstreams, was selected to receive the proffered annuity, as notified
in brigade orders of the 9th of August, 1815. This was paid to him
during two years, at the expiration of which period it ceased, in
consequence of the bankruptcy of the benevolent donor.”

From the heroic character of the battle, our people have been prevailed
on to credit many incidents, which, savouring of the romantic, suited
their tastes, have been accepted as truisms, but which facts fail to
corroborate. “One very prevailing idea that Wellington gave out the
words, ‘Up, Guards, and at them!’ is not borne out by fact, for it was
afterwards ascertained from the Duke himself that he did not; and
another, the meeting of his Grace and Marshal Blucher at La Belle
Alliance, after the battle, is equally apocryphal. This, however, is to
be one of the designs of the House of Lords, and will therefore be
handed down to posterity as a fact.” For nearly forty years the Scots
Fusilier Guards had been retained at home, in or around London.

In 1853, the storm which had been long gathering in the north—presaging
wrath to Liberty and to Man—at length burst forth, and descending with
rapacious might upon the dominions of the Turkish Sultan, threatened to
overwhelm in utter ruin the crumbling remnant of the empire of
Constantine. The impatient covetousness of the Czar of Russia had put
forth the hand of the spoiler, intending to appropriate the realms of
the Sultan, and make Constantinople the southern gate of his colossal
empire. Justly alarmed at the already gigantic power of Russia, which
promised further to enlarge itself at the expense of the feebler Powers
around, France and Britain took up arms, and threw the weight of their
potent influence into the contest on behalf of the oppressed Turks,
whose single arm had hitherto proved equal to the struggle. Accordingly,
France, Turkey, and Britain, ultimately aided by Sardinia, entered the
lists of war, to sustain the liberty of Europe against the despotism of
the North, adopting as their watchword the memorable words of Lord John
Russell, “May God defend the right.”


The first battalion of the Scots Fusilier Guards, brigaded with a
battalion of the Grenadiers, and another of the Coldstreams, were
embarked for the scene of action, which ultimately proved to be the
Crimea. They sailed from Portsmouth, in H.M.S. the “Simoom;” and passing
successively from Malta, Gallipoli, and Varna, arrived at length in the
Crimea. The brigade of Guards, and that of the Highlanders, consisting
of the Forty-second, Seventy-ninth, and Ninety-third, under their
favourite chieftain, Sir Colin Campbell, were closely allied in all the
dangers and glories of the war in the First Infantry division, commanded
by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. The long peace which had
preceded the outbreak of hostilities, and the cry for “greater public
economy,” which it had induced from a people long accustomed to look
only at the arithmetic of pounds, shillings, and pence, in such vital
questions, had in consequence brought all that magnificent machinery of
war, possessed by our country, to a standstill. It followed, as a
necessary result, when our Cabinet failed to achieve a peaceful solution
of the matters at issue, as had been fondly anticipated, and we were
unexpectedly called to a declaration of war, it was found impossible at
once to set in motion the vast machinery of war, which had so long been
“laid up in ordinary.” Hence our gallant troops were doomed to pay the
penalty of our ill-judged economy, and endure many and sore
privations—privations which were the more keenly felt, inasmuch as they
were to be endured, amid the snows of a Crimean winter, by men, too,
whose previous life had been comparatively one of comfort, in no way
calculated to fit the soldier to encounter the pitiless horrors and
fatigues of war. Disease and want, like armed men, entered the camp,
closely followed by their master, the grim King of Terrors—Death; and
thus we have been called to lament, with a truly bitter sorrow, the loss
of our brave countrymen, who, alike in the hospital as in the
battle-field, displayed all the grand and noble qualities of the soldier
and the virtues of the true man. The conduct of the Guards in their
first engagement at the battle of the Alma is described by Marshal St
Arnaud as altogether “superb.” Lieutenants Lindsay and Thistlethwayte,
were especially distinguished for their heroic defence of the colours of
the Scots Fusilier Guards. At the battle of Inkermann, the Guards,
having driven the Russians out of a battery, named the Sandbag Battery,
of which they had early possessed themselves, sustained with desperate
gallantry the impetuous assaults of the enemy, and, although forced for
a moment to give way, were soon again enabled to retrieve themselves,
and maintain possession of the battery, around which and for which they
so bravely contended. Although stunned by these repeated disasters in
the field, yet with that “dogged obstinacy,” which has characterised the
Russians, conceiving themselves secure behind the battlements of
Sebastopol, they still held out. Strengthened in the idea of
impregnability, from the fact that this vast citadel of Southern Russia
had already withstood six successive bombardments, defied the combined
efforts of the Allies by sea and land, and yet no sensible impression
had been made, or aught of decided success attained by the besiegers,
they hoped that what their valour could not achieve in the battle-field,
the snows of winter or the stroke of the pestilence would effect—the
destruction of our armies, and their consequent deliverance. The
successive fall of the Mamelon, the Malakoff, and the Redan, dispelled
this illusion, and prudence, rightly esteemed the better part of valour,
induced a timely evacuation ere our Highland Brigade returned to the
assault. Sebastopol no longer defensible, the enemy sued for peace,
which was granted, and this stronghold of tyranny, dismantled and
abandoned, was assumed to be converted into a haven for fishermen and
traders, rather than the mighty arsenal, whence had so long issued the
formidable fleets which had inspired terror among weaker and
neighbouring states—at least so the treaty required. Meanwhile our
gallant Guards, returning to England, were welcomed by a grateful


It is only now, when the audacious impudence of “Brother Jonathan” had
dared to insult our time-honoured flag—

       “Which braved a thousand years the battle and the breeze,”

and thought to bully us out of the glorious charter which has conferred
upon us the “dominion of the seas,” that our Scots Fusilier Guards were
once more called to prepare for action; and, having gone across the
Atlantic as the van of our army, anxiously waited the signal to avenge,
if need be, such unprovoked insult and aggression. Happily our firm
demeanour has effectually quelled the storm, and impressed wiser and
more wholesome measures, whereby peace has hitherto been continued.

One sentence only shall express our feelings, as we look back upon the
history of our _Scots Fusilier Guards_, which we have here attempted to
sketch—Every man has nobly done his duty.


                              ROYAL SCOTS.


                             CHAPTER VIII.

              Heroes, in your ancestral line,
              Hallow the shades of “Auld Langsyne;”
              Men who in their country’s story
              Shine brightly on the page of glory,
                            Noo sleep in bonnie Scotland.

                       ANCIENT HISTORY—882–1660.

As we approach the history of this venerable regiment we cannot help
feeling all those sentiments of reverence and respect which are the
becoming tribute to an honoured old age—a history which well nigh
embraces, as it awakens,

             “The stirring memories of a _thousand years_.”

Consistent with the bold and adventurous spirit of the Scotsman, we find
him pushing his fortune in almost every land under the sun; with a brave
and manly heart going down to the battle of life; blessing, by his
industry and enterprise, many a clime wherein he has settled, and so
climbing the loftiest pinnacles of greatness; or, by “diligence in
business,” earning the kingdom of a merchant prince. Of all the many and
varied departments of life in which the Scotsman has been distinguished,
he is most pre-eminent in the honourable profession of a soldier. Driven
from his beloved country by the cruel tyrannies which from time to time
oppressed her, or exiled by the hard necessities of a pinching
poverty—wandering in many lands, the Scotsman nevertheless gratefully
retains the recollection of his fatherland, and, in spirit, returns with
fondness to the endeared associations of home—

             “The bonnie blithe blink o’ his ain fireside.”

Such is the ruling passion which lives in his soul. “Home, sweet home,”
exerting a hallowed, chastening influence upon his daily life, has
nerved the soldier’s arm, and, by its magic charm, awakened the energies
of the man. As a “guiding star,” it has pointed out the path of
honour—like a “ministering angel,” its soothing influence has at other
times calmed the troubled sea of life, and, though it be but for a
moment, has given something of peace to the weary, as it is intended to
be a foretaste of the blessedness—

                 “A something _here_ of heaven above.”

Already volumes have been written on the martial achievements of the
Scottish nation, and we are fully impressed with the magnitude of our
undertaking when, in these brief pages, we propose to illustrate the
heroic tale of our ancient glory. Nowhere is there a more perfect
representative of our exiles who have been soldiers, amongst “the
bravest of the brave,” in many lands, than is afforded us in our present
sketch of the _First or Royal Scots Regiment of Foot_. Many and
conflicting have been the accounts given of their early history. Some
have imagined the present regiment to be the representative of the
Archers of the Scottish Guard, which, in the days of Bruce, had been
associated with Royalty and the defence of the Scottish throne; others
have given their origin to the Scottish Guard, which had for many years
been the Body Guard of the French kings; but the most complete and
authentic account, derived from many sources, is that given by Richard
Cannon, Esq. of the Adjutant General’s Office, in the admirable
Historical Records of the Royals, wherein the origin of the regiment is
traced to the ingathering of our exiles, who had hitherto served with
great credit as soldiers, nay as Royal Guards, in the armies of France,
Denmark, Sweden, and the States of Holland, to be formed into one, the
present regiment of First Royal Scots Foot. As early as the year 882
A.D. Charles III., king of France, had selected from among the exiles a
body of Scottish gentlemen, conspicuous for their fidelity and valour,
who enjoyed his special favour, and were incorporated as a Royal Guard.
During the Crusades these followed Louis IX. into Egypt. They were of
infinite value to France, at a time when the disastrous battle of
Agincourt, fought in 1415, had prostrated her power, and all but reduced
her proud and haughty people to be the vassals and subjects of
triumphant England. The Scots Guards were retained in the service of
Charles VII., and a few years later were joined by a body of 7000 of
their countrymen under the Earl of Buchan, whose abilities as an officer
and valour as a soldier won for him the thanks of a grateful country,
who at the same time conferred the highest compliment and most splendid
military distinction it was in their power to award, in creating him
Constable of France. The Scottish army in France was subsequently
largely increased by farther instalments of adventurous exiles from “the
fatherland.” These helped to break the yoke of England upon the
Continent, and specially distinguished themselves at the battles of
Baugé, 1421, Crevan, 1423, and Verneuille, 1424: so much so, that
Charles, appreciating their worth, selected from their ranks, first in
1422, a corps of Scots Gendarmes, and thereafter, in 1440, a corps of
Scots Guards. On the fair plains of Italy, so cruelly desolated by the
rude hand of war, and so long the favourite battle-field of princes,
whom the poet fitly styles

                      “Ambition’s honoured fools”—

was afforded the scene where, during the wars of Francis I., our
Scottish Guards, by brilliant exploits, earned a great renown. The story
of their fidelity and devotion is written in their blood, and
illustrated in the fatal defeat of Pavia, 1524, where, in defence of
their master, the chivalric Sovereign of France, whose exclamation of,
“We have lost all, save honour,” has become a household word,—they
nearly all perished, and honourably rest in “a soldier’s grave.” The
relics of this old Scots Guard returning to France, remained the
nucleus, the root, upon which was formed and ingrafted a new corps of
Scots Guardsmen, whose character and history have been aptly described
by Sir Walter Scott in “Quentin Durward;” whilst in his “Legend of
Montrose” we trace the yearnings of the mighty soul of the patriot,
conjuring into life, by the magic of his pen and his rare gifts, the
story of our exiled brave, represented in the gallant veteran of
Gustavus Adolphus, “Dugald Dalgetty.” The martial qualities and gallant
bearing of our countrymen had attracted the notice of Gustavus Adolphus,
the warlike King of Sweden, and induced him to invite to his standard
our adventurous soldiers, who, under so renowned a leader, were destined
to add new lustre to our military annals. On no occasion did the Scots
respond more heartily, or muster so strongly in the foreign service of
any country, as in the present instance. The army of this “Lion of the
North” at one time comprised eighteen British regiments, of whom
_thirteen_ were Scottish; moreover, his principal officers were

[Illustration: GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS.]

In the marvellous feats of arms which distinguish the masterly campaigns
of Gustavus, our countrymen had ever a prominent place. Having humbled
the pride of Poland, and crippled the power of Russia by successive
defeats, on the restoration of peace, Gustavus, declaring himself the
champion of the Protestants, turned his arms against the formidable
coalition of the Roman Catholic princes of Germany, headed by the
Emperor. The campaign of 1620 proved unfortunate, by the total defeat of
the Protestant army at Prague, their consequent retreat, and ultimate
disbandment in Holland—

           “O sacred Truth! thy triumph ceased a while,
           And Hope, thy sister, ceased with thee to smile.”

Undaunted by these disasters, Gustavus refused to quit the field,
although, for the present, he changed the theatre of war into Pomerania.
From the wreck of the Protestant army, he carefully selected a chosen
body of his favourite Scotsmen, which, in 1625, he constituted a
regiment, conferring the command on Sir John Hepburn. In the war with
Poland which ensued, the Scots enjoyed, as their gallant demeanour in
every instance well merited, the unbounded confidence of the King.
Subsequently, the King of Denmark sent two Scots regiments, which had
been in his service, to aid the Swedish monarch; and, in 1628, he
further received the very welcome reinforcement of 9000 Scots and
English. The following incident, occurring about this time, serves to
illustrate the cordial relationship subsisting between this renowned
prince and our adventurous countrymen:—“In a partial action between the
advance-guards, a few miles from Thorn, Gustavus’s hat was knocked off
in a personal encounter with one of the enemy’s officers named Sirot,
who afterwards wore the hat without knowing to whom it belonged. On the
succeeding day, two prisoners (one a Scots officer named Hume) seeing
Sirot wearing the King, their master’s, hat, wept exceedingly, and with
exclamations of sorrow, desired to be informed if the King was dead.
Sirot, being thus made acquainted with the quality of his antagonist in
the preceding day’s skirmish, related the manner in which he became
possessed of the hat, upon which they recovered a little from their
anxiety and surprise.” The success of the Swedish arms at length
achieved a favourable peace, which enabled the King, espousing the cause
of the persecuted Reformers of Germany, once more to try the issues of
war with the Imperialists, and so, if possible, redeem the disasters of
a former campaign. At this period no fewer than 10,000 Scots and English
exiles were in the Swedish army, and the King had just concluded a
treaty with the Marquis of Hamilton, who had undertaken to enlist an
additional force of 8000 in these Isles.

Next in seniority to the old Scots regiment of Hepburn is that of Monro,
who has written an interesting account of the achievements of our
countrymen in these wars. This last narrowly escaped an untimely end—a
watery grave—having been shipwrecked near the enemy’s fortress of
Rugenwald, on their passage to Pomerania. Lurking in concealment among
the brushwood on the shore during the day, Monro’s soldiers at nightfall
boldly assaulted the defences of the enemy, and, by this unexpected
attack, succeeded in capturing the fortress, where, by great efforts,
they maintained themselves against a vastly superior foe until the
arrival of Hepburn’s Scots Regiment relieved them. These two regiments,
along with other two Scots regiments—those of Stargate and Lumsdell—were
at this time brigaded together, and styled the _Green Brigade_, so
celebrated in the military history of the period. In 1631, at the siege
of Frankfort, this bold brigade accomplished one of the most daring
feats of arms upon record; where—charged with the assault upon this all
but impregnable fortress, defended by the best troops of the empire—they
undauntedly entered the breach, and—despite the repeated attacks of the
foe, especially of an Irish regiment, who, amongst the bravest defenders
of the place, twice repulsed the assailants, and fought with the
greatest heroism until nearly all were either killed or wounded—they, by
their valour, effected a lodgment within the walls. Furiously charged by
the splendid cavalry of the Imperial cuirassiers, our Green Brigade
resolutely maintained the ground they had won. The trophies of this
conquest were immense. The Green Brigade, after having aided in the
reduction of the many strongholds of Germany, had penetrated with the
army into the very heart of the empire, where they were destined to play
a very conspicuous part in the memorable and momentous battle of
Leipsic. On this occasion, kept in reserve, the Green Brigade was only
brought into action at the eleventh hour, when the ignoble and cowardly
flight of the Saxons, who had been impressed into the Swedish army,
rendered the position of the army perilously critical. Then our brave
Scots, sustained on either flank by Swedish horse, advanced, speedily
checked the progress of the enemy, retrieved what the Saxons had lost,
and throwing the enemy into confusion, changed the fortunes of the day.
The Imperialists, no longer able to withstand the repeated and impetuous
attacks of our Scottish brigade, and charged by the Swedish horse, who
completed their ruin, broke and fled. Thus their mighty army, lately so
confident of victory, which a momentary success had promised, was
utterly cut to pieces or dispersed. A variety of sieges and minor
engagements followed this great battle, in nearly all of which the
Swedes and Scots proved triumphant. Yet, notwithstanding these series of
successes, and the several and sore defeats of the enemy, the position
of Gustavus was becoming daily, by every new advance, more critical;
away from his arsenals, whilst the enemy, within his own territory, had
ample resources at hand with which to repair defeat, and thus was
becoming hourly more formidable. At Oxenford, the heroic monarch had
only an army of 10,000 men around him, whilst the Duke of Lorraine was
at hand with a well-equipped force of full 50,000. Still, such was the
terror inspired by the marvellous deeds and the known resolution of this
little band of veterans, that, although the enemy was in the midst of
many advantages, he durst not venture an attack, and feared to arrest
the King in his career of conquest.

Bavaria had now become the scene of the contest. Soon that important
kingdom was over-run, and—with Munich, its gorgeous capital—surrendered
to the northern army. The death of Gustavus Adolphus, at the fatal
battle of Lutzen, ruined the hopes of his gallant little army, now sadly
reduced in numbers. The Green Brigade was not present on this disastrous
day. By a process of transfer, not at all uncommon in those times, the
remnant of Swedes and Scots were taken into the pay of France, and,
under the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, laboured to maintain the cause of the
Protestant princes, which had, for ends of her own, been adopted as the
cause of France. Colonel Hepburn, some time previously, had, by
permission of the King of Sweden, returned to Scotland with the Marquis
of Hamilton. His parting with his countrymen in his own regiment is thus
quaintly described by Monro:—“The separation was like the separation
which death makes betwixt friends and the soul of man, being sorry that
those who had lived so long together in amity and friendship, also in
mutual dangers, in weal and in woe, the splendour of our former mirth
was overshadowed with a cloud of grief and sorrows, which dissolved in
mutual tears.”

Returning to France in 1633, Hepburn was appointed colonel to a new
regiment of Scotsmen. By a combination of events, he at length met with
his old regiment in the same army, and the relics of the Old Scots
Brigade. These were subsequently merged into one large regiment, whose
history is hereafter one with that of France, and whose representative
is now the _First Royal Scots Regiment of Foot_. By this union, which
occurred in 1635, the regiment so constituted attained the extraordinary
strength of 8316 officers and men. In the following year they had to
lament the loss of their gallant Colonel, who was killed at the siege of
Saverne; he “died extremely regretted in the army and by the Court of
France.” He was succeeded in the command by Lieut.-Colonel Sir James
Hepburn, who survived his illustrious relative only one year. Lord James
Douglas, son of William, Marquis of Douglas, was promoted to the vacant
Colonelcy, and thereafter the regiment is known as “Douglas’s Regiment.”
In the service of Louis XIII. of France, the regiment had entered upon a
new theatre of action in the Netherlands, destined to combat the
Spaniards, who then were esteemed to form as soldiers the finest
infantry in the world. Against this redoubtable foe our Scotsmen
conducted themselves with credit, being present at the siege of St Omer,
the captures of Renty, Catelet, and at Hesden, under the eye of the
monarch himself. During the minority and reign of Louis XIV., known as
“Louis le Grand,” the regiment was destined to share the glories of a
splendid series of triumphs, successively won by the illustrious chiefs
that then commanded the armies of France. In 1643, led by Louis le
Bourbon, afterwards Prince of Condé, a leader possessed of all the
heroic qualities of the good soldier, and at the same time graced by all
the rarer virtues of the true man—under him the regiment served with
great distinction in the Netherlands and Italy. Nine years later, when
the factions of “the Court” and “the Parliament” had stirred up among
the people a civil war, we find the Douglas Regiment, with
characteristic loyalty, on the side of “the Court,” serving their royal
master under that great adept in the art of war, Marshal Turenne, whose
abilities sustained the sinking State; and although opposed to that
justly celebrated soldier, the Prince of Condé, at length,
out-man[oe]uvring the foe, accomplished the salvation of “the Court,”
and, by an honourable peace, secured their restoration to power.
Meanwhile a somewhat analogous civil strife in England had wholly
overturned the old monarchy of the Stuarts, and inaugurated a new order
of things in the Commonwealth, under Oliver Cromwell, the Protector.
Charles II., and his royal brother, the Duke of York, afterwards James
II., as the surviving heads of their ancient, unfortunate, and
infatuated house, had sought and found an asylum at the French Court. In
those times of war, employment was readily found in the French armies
for their many adherents, who had been driven into exile with them. They
were formed into several regiments, who bore an honourable part in the
contest then raging between France and the allied might of Spain and
Austria. In 1656, the fickle Louis, deserting his old friends, the
royalists of England, concluded an alliance with the more powerful
Cromwell—the exiles, in consequence, changing sides, threw the weight of
their arms and influence, or such as they might still be said to retain,
into the scale with Spain. Many of the British royalist regiments,
hitherto in the service of France, on the command of Charles, exchanged
with their prince, into the service of their late foe, now their friend.
Louis, who could ill afford such a serious desertion of troops, which
had hitherto proved themselves to be the flower of his army, had taken
the precaution to remove, into the interior, the older Scots regiments,
and amongst others, that of Douglas, which he had justly learned to
value very highly, lest they might be induced to follow their royalist

[Illustration: PRINCE DE CONDÉ.]

In 1661, immediately after the Restoration, Charles II., with a view to
strengthen his unstable position on the British Throne, strove to
establish an army, and Louis being then at peace, and, moreover, on good
terms with our King, the regiment of Douglas was called home to these
isles, where it has since been generally known as the _First or the
Royal Regiment of Foot_, although for a time it was popularly styled the
“_Royal Scots_.”

[Illustration: MARSHAL TURENNE.]

                              CHAPTER IX.

              ... “He lifts on high
              The dauntless brow and spirit-speaking eye,
              Hails in his heart the triumphs yet to come,
              And hears thy stormy music in the drum!”


The regiment, now commanded by Lord George Douglas, afterwards the Earl
of Dumbarton, returned to France in 1662, where it was largely recruited
by the incorporation of General Rutherford’s (Earl of Teviot) regiment
of Scots Guards, and another old Scots regiment, also known as a
“Douglas Regiment,” from its colonel, Lord James Douglas. The
muster-roll thus presented a force of more than 2500 men and officers,
embraced in twenty-three companies. In 1666, it was recalled to suppress
a threatened rebellion in Ireland; but soon returning, with other
British troops, was engaged in the wars with Holland and the German
Empire. Under the great Turenne they acquired new glory. After his
death, in 1675, the foe advanced upon Treves, where the French
troops—dispirited by the loss of their favourite chief, and discouraged
by the retreat which had since been forced upon them, when his great
name was no longer present to infuse courage in the evil hour and
inspire a wholesome terror in the ranks of the enemy—mutinying, insisted
that their commander, Marshal de Crequi, should deliver up the fortress
to the enemy. But the regiment of Douglas, with characteristic fidelity,
sustained the gallant Marshal in his resolution to exhaust every means
of defence before submitting to the dire necessity of surrender.
Although the issues of the siege were disastrous, despite the desperate
valour which defended the city—which at length capitulated—still our
countrymen, although prisoners liberated on condition that they should
not again serve in the war for three months, preserved that priceless
jewel, their _honour_, which, out of the fiery trial, shone forth only
the more conspicuously, both to friend and foe. Their conduct on this
occasion received the thanks of the King. For a little while, about this
period, the regiment was privileged to serve under another of France’s
great captains—the Marshal Luxembourg. In 1678 the regiment was finally
recalled from the French service, and shortly thereafter sent out to
reinforce the garrison of Tangier, in Africa, the profitless marriage
dowry of the Princess Catherina of Portugal, who had become the Queen of
Charles II. This earliest of our foreign possessions had involved the
nation in an expensive and cruel war, which it was very difficult
adequately to sustain in those days, when the transport-service was one
of imminent cost and danger; and moreover, news travelling slowly, we
could not, as in the present instance, learn the straitened
circumstances of our armies abroad, so as to afford that prompt
assistance which they urgently needed. Assailed fiercely by the Moors,
who evinced great bravery and resolution, the contest proved one of
uncommon severity, requiring every effort of our garrison to maintain
even their own. We extract the following announcement of the arrival of
the Douglas, or, as it was then called, Dumbarton’s Regiment, on this
new and distant scene of conflict, from Ross’ “Tangier’s Rescue:”—“After
this landed the valorous Major Hackett with the renowned regiment of the
Earl of Dumbarton; all of them men of approved valour, fame having
echoed the sound of their glorious actions and achievements in France
and other nations; having left behind them a report of their glorious
victories wherever they came; every place witnessing and giving large
testimony of their renown: so that the arrival of this illustrious
regiment more and more increased the resolutions and united the courage
of the inhabitants, and added confidence to their valour.” Also, as
further interesting, we record, from the same author, the stirring
address which the Lieut.-Governor, Sir Palmes Fairborne, is reported to
have made to Dumbarton’s Scots on the eve of battle:—“Countrymen and
fellow-soldiers, let not your approved valour and fame in foreign
nations be derogated at this time, neither degenerate from your ancient
and former glory abroad; and as you are looked upon here to be brave and
experienced soldiers (constant and successive victories having attended
your conquering swords hitherto), do not come short of the great hopes
we have in you, and the propitious procedures we expect from you at this
time. For the glory of your nation, if you cannot surpass, you may
imitate the bravest, and be emulous of their praises and renown.”

The excessive cost of maintaining this distant and profitless possession
at length induced King Charles to abandon it; accordingly the troops
were withdrawn and the fortress destroyed. The “Royal Scots” landed at
Gravesend in 1683. Nothing of importance falls to be narrated during the
interval of peace which followed—the first, and until our day almost the
only, rest which this veteran regiment has been permitted to enjoy at
home. The accession of the Duke of York, as James II., to the throne, on
the death of his brother Charles, awakened the well-grounded alarm of
the Protestants, stirred up discontents, which were quickened into
rebellion by the landing of the Marquis of Argyll in the West Highlands,
and of a powerful rival—the Duke of Monmouth—in the South of England.
Favoured by a considerable rising of the people, and encouraged by the
fair promises of many of the old Puritan nobility and gentry—who
undertook to join his standard with their followers, enamoured more of
the cause speciously set forth upon his banner—“_Fear none but
God_”—than of the man, Monmouth had advanced at the head of a
considerable force to Bridgewater. His vacillating policy ruined his
cause, as it gave time for the assembling of the King’s forces, under
the Earl of Feversham and Lord Churchill, afterwards so celebrated as
the Duke of Marlborough. Amongst these forces were five companies of the
“Royal Scots.” At the battle of Sedgemoor which ensued, the rebels,
deeming to surprise the royal camp in the night, suddenly descended in
great force, but, arrested by a ditch immediately in front of the
position occupied by the companies of our “Royal Scots,” which
attempting to cross, they were so hotly received, although they fought
with great fury, that they were driven back in confusion, and ultimately
dispersed or destroyed by the royal cavalry in the morning. Thus the
glory of the fight belongs chiefly to our countrymen, whose firmness
proved the salvation of the royal army, and, in the end, the destruction
of the rebels and the overthrow of their cause—completed in the after
execution of their leaders, the Duke of Monmouth in England, and his
fellow-conspirator, the Marquis of Argyll, in Scotland. So highly did
James esteem the services of the “Royal Scots” on this perilous
occasion, that, by special warrant, he ordered that the sum of £397
should be distributed among the wounded of the regiment. Sergeant Weems
was particularly distinguished in the action, and received accordingly a
gratuity of “Forty pounds for good service in the action of Sedgemoor,
in firing the great guns against the rebels.”


When the Revolution of 1688 promised the downfall of the house of
Stuart, whose power had been so long built upon the suppressed liberty
of the people, the exclusion of James II.—the degenerate representative
of an ancient and once beloved race—from the throne, as the minion of
the Papacy and the dawn of a better state of things, under the more
healthy rule of the Prince of Orange, the champion of Protestantism, as
monarch of these realms, it might have been deemed excusable had our
“Royal Scots,” from their antecedents on behalf of the Protestant cause,
sided with the Prince. The result, however, was far otherwise, and
affords us another splendid illustration of the firm fidelity of the
soldier in the sterling devotion of this regiment. The “Royal Scots” had
been James’s favourite regiment, and well they merited that monarch’s
trust. Whilst other troops exhibited a shameful defection, the “Royal
Scots,” with unshaken constancy, adhered to the desperate fortunes of
their infatuated King. Nor when all else had submitted, save
Claverhouse’s Dragoons, and resistance had been rendered fruitless by
the pusillanimous flight of James, did they see it their duty to
exchange into the service of the new Sovereign. The term “mutiny” is
wrongly applied when given to express their conduct on this trying
occasion. By lenient measures the 500 men and officers who had refused
to tender their submission were at length induced to make their peace
with the new king, who, appreciating their ancient name for valour,
could admire their unshaken fidelity to one who was even forsaken by his
own children; and therefore gladly retained the regiment to grace our
military annals. Their conduct was at the same time most exemplary in
those days of military license and excess; faithfully they remained at
the post of duty, when other regiments, breaking from their ranks,
shamefully disgraced themselves by the riot and disorder they everywhere
committed. The Earl of Dumbarton, following King James into France, the
vacant colonelcy was conferred on one of the oldest, ablest, and most
distinguished officers of the age—the veteran Marshal Frederick de

The arrival of the dethroned James at the Court of France, whilst it
awakened mingled feelings of commiseration and contempt in the mind of
the crafty Louis, the bitterness of disappointed ambition roused a
spirit of revenge, and was to be regarded as the signal for war.
Accordingly, a powerful army was advanced towards the frontier,
ostensibly to co-operate in the cause of the exiled monarch, but really
to take advantage of the absence of the Stadtholder, for the annexation,
by way of compensation for his increased power elsewhere, of his
continental dominions in Holland. To divide attention, and direct the
efforts of William away from his own more immediate designs, the French
King, by paltry succours, helped to bolster up James in his ricketty
Irish kingdom. To meet this combined assault, William, whilst himself
was present with his army in the reduction of Ireland, sent the Earl of
Marlborough with a British army, including the “Royals,” to co-operate
with the Dutch in the defence of their fatherland. In 1692 he joined the
allied army, and himself assumed the command. In an attempt to surprise
the powerful fortress of Mons, Sir Robert Douglas, who, on the death of
the Duke de Schomberg at the battle of the Boyne, had been promoted to
the colonelcy of the “Royals,” was taken prisoner by the French cavalry.
Released, on payment of the regulated ransom, he was reserved for a
sadder but more glorious fate at the battle of Steenkirk, where he fell
at the head of his regiment, gallantly fighting for and defending the
colours he had rescued from the foe. General Cannon writes:—“Sir Robert
Douglas, seeing the colour on the other side of the hedge, leaped
through a gap, slew the French officer who bore the colour, and cast it
over the hedge to his own men; but this act of gallantry cost him his
life, a French marksman having shot him dead on the spot while in the
act of repassing the hedge.” The able dispositions of the French
commander, the Marshal de Luxembourg, sustained by the valour of his
troops, compelled the retreat of the Allied army. Still pressed by the
French at Neer-Landen, notwithstanding the most desperate resistance of
our Infantry, especially the Royals, and Second, or Queen’s Royals, our
army continued to retire. These disasters were somewhat redeemed by the
successes of subsequent campaigns, crowned in the siege and fall of
Namur, a powerful fortress, long and bravely defended by Marshal
Boufflers. The peace of Ryswick, subscribed in 1697, put an end to the
war, and our army in consequence returned home.

During the war of the Spanish Succession, which commenced in 1701, the
Royals were destined to play an important part. They were present under
the great Marlborough at the several victories of Schellenberg,
Blenheim, Ramilies, Oudenarde, Wynendale, and Malplaquet, which,
distinguishing the war, we have elsewhere already alluded to. In many of
these battles their gallant colonel, Lord George Hamilton, Earl of
Orkney, who had succeeded Sir Robert Douglas, was present, and led the
regiment to the fight. Their conduct at Wynendale was specially
remarkable, where, in defence of a large and important train of stores,
etc., a British front of 8000 men resisted the combined and repeated
efforts of 22,000 French to capture the stores and treasure. The war was
terminated by the peace of Utrecht, in 1713.

During the thirty succeeding years the regiment was employed garrisoning
various towns, etc., at home, except in 1742, when the second battalion
was sent to do duty in the West Indies. In the following year, disputes
arising as to the Austrian Succession, and our country inclining to the
side of Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary, whilst France, on the other
hand, had, for political reasons, espoused the cause of its old ally,
the Elector of Bavaria, an appeal was made to arms. A British force,
under our own chivalric King, George II., had already appeared in
Germany, and achieved the signal victory of Dettingen, when the Royals
joined the army in time to share the disasters of Fontenoy. The
rebellion of Prince Charles Edward subsequently occasioned their recall.
Whilst the first battalion remained in camp under Marshal Wade, in the
south of England, prepared to defend our shores from the threatened
invasion and co-operation of France, the second battalion, stationed at
York, proceeded in pursuit of the rebels, who, after having penetrated
to Derby, finding that the expected aid from England was not realised,
returned to Scotland, where, joined by a body of recruits, they
undertook the siege of Stirling Castle. In this they were interrupted by
the advance of the King’s army, towards Falkirk, under Lieut.-General
Hawley. Encountering the enemy in the vicinity, a sanguinary battle
ensued, but devoid of any decisive result, both parties claiming the
victory. Whilst some of the King’s troops were broken by the combined
assaults of the elements and the enemy, the Royals stood fast. The
dissensions which had but lately prevailed to distract the counsels of
the rebels had been hushed by the preponderating eminence of a coming
struggle, and the promise of plunder as the reward of victory. Now that
the excitement of battle had ceased, the Royal army retired, and the
hopes of booty disappointed, these evil feelings, more fatal than the
sword, burst forth with renewed virulence, to ruin the interests of the
Jacobites, occasioning the retreat of their broken-hearted Prince, with
a diminished, and disspirited, yet brave and faithful army. Meanwhile
the King’s forces, greatly strengthened by the arrival of fresh troops,
a second time advanced upon the enemy. Led by the Duke of Cumberland,
the advance soon assumed the character of a pursuit. At length the
rebels, overtaken and driven to bay, made a stand in the neighbourhood
of Inverness, on Culloden Moor, where, notwithstanding the fiery valour
of the clans, they sustained a total defeat, and were never afterwards
able to rally.

         “For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight;
         And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight.
         They rally, they bleed, for their kingdom and crown:
         Woe, woe, to the riders that trample them down!
            .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
         ’Tis finish’d. Their thunders are hushed on the moors!
         Culloden is lost, and my country deplores.
            .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
         Culloden that reeks with the blood of the brave.”

Their Prince—

         “Like a limb from his country cast bleeding and torn,”

for long lurked a wandering fugitive amongst our Western Islands, until,
through many dangers, he effected his escape to France. The Duke of
Cumberland, visiting with a cruel revenge the rebellious clans, nay, in
some cases, with barbarous heedlessness, mingling the innocent with the
guilty in a common ruin, tarnished the lustre of his success, and left
behind a most unenviable memory in these northern provinces.

The Rebellion being thus at an end, several of the regiments which had
been withdrawn from the Continent for its suppression now returned,
whilst the first battalion of the Royals was employed in several
descents upon the French coast with various success. At L’Orient the
attempt proved fruitless; but at Quiberon, sustained by the Forty-second
Royal Highlanders, the destruction of the enemy’s arsenal, stores, and
shipping, was attained. Subsequently the battalion joined the British
army in the Netherlands, and, in 1747, was greatly distinguished in the
heroic defence of Fort Sandberg. The attack on the part of the French,
was made late in the evening, with more than their wonted impetuosity.
The Dutch garrison, unable to withstand the shock, was signally routed,
and the conquest seemed complete, when the progress of the enemy was
unexpectedly arrested by the Royals, who, with unflinching obstinacy,
maintained the conflict, which proved of the most sanguinary and
desperate character. The horrors of the fight were deepened by the sable
pall of night. “The morning light had already dawned upon this scene of
conflict and carnage,—between three and four hundred officers and men of
the Royals were _hors de combat_; yet the survivors,—though standing
amidst the dying and the dead, and being unable to take one step without
treading on a killed or wounded man,—maintained their ground with
resolution, and continued to pour their fatal volleys upon their
opponents, who had sustained an equal or greater loss, until five
o’clock, when the Royals were relieved by the Highlanders; and the
French, dismayed by the sanguinary tenacity of the defence, retreated.”
Ultimately the fort, rendered untenable, was abandoned. In 1749, the
peace of Aix-la-Chapelle put an end to the war, when the battalion
returning home, was stationed in Ireland.

                               CHAPTER X.

           “For pleas of right let statesmen vex their head,
           Battle’s my business, and my guerdon bread;
           And with the sworded Switzer I can say,
           ‘The best of causes is the best of pay.’”


The ancient rivalries subsisting between Britain and France, and which
had begotten so many fierce and sanguinary wars upon the European
continent, were now about to be displayed with even a more exceeding
bitterness among the colonists of the two nations in the New World of
America. Disputes arising as to the boundary line of what they severally
claimed as their territory, the _might_ of France assumed to decide the
_right_. To maintain and defend British interests, an army, comprising
the second battalion of the Royals, and the two newly-raised regiments
of Fraser’s and Montgomery’s Highlanders, was sent across the Atlantic
in 1757. The first attack of this expedition was made upon the French
island of Cape Breton, which, with its capital, Louisburg, was speedily
reduced. In the following year the Royals were engaged upon the American
continent in a series of actions around the shores of Lake Champlain,
which resulted in the capture of the strong forts of Ticonderago, Crown
Point, and ultimately the Isle aux Noix. Several of the Indian tribes
taking advantage of our apparent embarrassments at this period,
instigated by, and in some cases allied with, the French, threw off the
British yoke, strove to recover their fatherland, or were encouraged, by
hope of plunder, to assail our colonial settlements. Against the most
powerful of these foes—the Cherokees—a few companies of the Royals, with
Montgomery’s Highlanders and other corps, were detached from the army,
and proceeded to South Carolina. After repeated incursions into the
country of the Cherokees, in which the foe was rarely seen, or when the
Indian army of sable warriors did appear, our troops achieved an easy
and ofttimes a bloodless victory. Still was our advance characterised by
cruel and uncalled-for severities, and marked by the melancholy
spectacle of burning villages, in which lay “the little all” of these
poor creatures. Unable to withstand our onset, with ruined homesteads,
and threatened with all the miseries of want, their necessities impelled
the Cherokees to sue for peace, which was readily granted.

The conquest of French Canada having been completed in the surrender of
Montreal, several detachments of the Royals were employed in various
expeditions against the French West Indian Islands, especially Dominica
and Martinique, in which our efforts were successful. But the crowning
achievement of these expeditions was the capture of the Havannah from
the Spaniards, with immense spoil, on the 30th July, 1762. Meanwhile two
companies of the Royals, which had remained on the American continent,
contributed by their gallantry to repulse a new attempt of the French to
recover their lost footing in these provinces.

In 1763 the second battalion returning home, the regiment was afterwards
employed garrisoning our Mediterranean possessions, Minorca and
Gibraltar. During the American Rebellion a secret treaty having been
discovered between the rebels and Holland, France and Spain, promising
aid to, and otherwise abetting the colonists in their rebellion, the
Royals, with other troops, in 1781, were sent out to assail the West
Indian possessions of these several States. Having possessed themselves
of the island of St Christopher, they were here attacked by a powerful
French expeditionary force which had landed from the fleet for the
recovery of the island. Stationed on Brimstone Hill with scarce 500 men,
without the adequate _matériel_ to make good the defence, these brave
men nevertheless resisted for nearly a month the repeated assaults of
8000 French, aided by a powerful artillery, which played continually and
effectually upon the crumbling defences and the worn-out defenders. It
was not until every means of resistance had been destroyed, and every
hope of relief exhausted, that our gallant Royals were compelled to

In 1782, both battalions were at home, and the Duke of Argyll having
been removed to the Colonelcy of the Third, or Scots Foot Guards, the
Colonelcy of the First Royal Regiment, or Royal Scots, was conferred
upon Lord Adam Gordon.

Britain, ever recognised as the guardian of true liberty, had viewed,
with mingled feelings of horror, pity, and alarm, the crimes which alike
stained and inaugurated the French Revolution. Our Government,
unhappily, mistaking the real nature and critical importance of the
contest, granted a feeble and tardy aid to the few remaining friends of
order, chiefly represented in the Royalists, who still struggled for
existence in France. Had these succours been commensurate with the
ability of the nation, and afforded promptly and liberally, France might
have been saved from many of those dire calamities which, like the
judgments of Heaven, gathering in her political horizon, were so soon to
visit her in the fury of the tempest, to cast a blight upon her people
and a curse upon her fair plains. Europe, moreover, might have escaped
the military tyranny of Napoleon, with all its accompanying evils.
Toulon, the principal station for the French Navy on the shores of the
Mediterranean, possessed of large arsenals and extensive dockyards, and
strongly fortified—its citizens had hitherto regarded with aversion the
excesses of blood and rapine in which the Revolutionists had indulged,
and fully sensible of the evils which must arise from the rule of the
democracy, resolved to declare for the restoration of the old monarchy.
In the impending contest in which they were soon involved by their
resistance to the iron will of the Committee of Public Salvation, who
then assumed to rule France, they invoked, and not altogether in vain,
the aid of the constitutional Governments around. Accordingly, a mixed
force of British, Spaniards, and Italians, was thrown into the city for
its defence. The second battalion of the Royals formed part of the
British contingent on this occasion. Lieutenant-General O’Hara
commanding, with 12,000 men, for awhile succeeded in making good the
defence, and had well nigh baffled the utmost efforts of the besiegers,
who, under General Dugommier, had assembled an army of nearly 40,000
Revolutionists. But the appearance of a young officer in the ranks of
the enemy speedily changed the aspect of affairs. As chief of the
artillery, by a series of bold and judicious movements, effecting the
reduction of the city, he early displayed that aptness for military
combination which revealed the genius of Napoleon Bonaparte. Dugommier,
writing to the Convention, said—“Reward and promote that young man, for,
if you are ungrateful towards him, he will raise himself alone.” The
following incident, narrated by Sir Archibald Alison, Bart., in his
interesting account of the siege, introduces us to another of those
great military chiefs who were so soon to glitter in the firmament of
the Empire: “Napoleon asked him what he could do for him. ‘Everything,’
replied the young private, blushing with emotion, and touching his left
shoulder with his hand—‘you can turn this worsted into an epaulet.’ A
few days after, Napoleon sent for the same soldier to order him to
reconnoitre in the enemy’s trenches, and recommended that he should
disguise himself, for fear of his being discovered. ‘Never,’ replied he.
‘Do you take me for a spy? I will go in my uniform, though I should
never return.’ And, in effect, he set out instantly, dressed as he was,
and had the good fortune to come back unhurt. Napoleon immediately
recommended him for promotion, and never lost sight of his courageous
secretary. He was Junot, afterwards Marshal of France, and Duke of
Abrantes.” Notwithstanding the utmost bravery on the part of the
defenders, and of the Royals in particular, the fortress had become no
longer tenable from the alarming successes of the enemy. Accordingly, on
the night of the 19th December, 1794, the army, with as many of the
citizens as could be crowded into the fleet, were embarked, all that
might be useful to the foe was destroyed or committed to the flames, and
the city abandoned. The scene which ensued is one of the most touchingly
interesting and afflicting in the dark story of the Revolution,
especially when considered in the light of the cruel fate which awaited
the unfortunates who could not find room in the fleet, and who, left
behind, must meet the merciless wrath of the Parisian demagogues. Alison
thus pictures the sad episode:—

“No words can do justice to the horrors of the scene which ensued, when
the last columns of the allied troops commenced their embarkation.
Cries, screams, and lamentations arose in every quarter; the frantic
clamour, heard even across the harbour, announced to the soldiers in the
Republican camp that the last hope of the Royalists was giving way. The
sad remnant of those who had favoured the royal cause, and who had
neglected to go off in the first embarkation, came flying to the beach,
and invoked, with tears and prayers, the aid of their British friends.
Mothers, clasping their babes to their bosoms, helpless children, and
decrepid old men, might be seen stretching their hands towards the
harbour, shuddering at every sound behind them, and even rushing into
the waves to escape the less merciful death which awaited them from
their countrymen. Some had the generosity to throw themselves into the
sea, to save, by their self-sacrifice, the lives of their parents, in
danger of being swamped in the boats. Vast numbers perished from falling
into the sea, or by the swamping of boats, into which multitudes
crowded, loaded with their most valuable effects, or bearing their
parents or children on their shoulders. Such as could seize upon boats,
rushed into them with frantic vehemence, pushed from the beach without
oars, and directed their unsteady and dangerous course towards their
former protectors. The scene resembled those mournful catastrophes
recorded by the historians of antiquity, when the inhabitants of whole
cities in Asia Minor or Greece fled to the sea at the approach of their
enemies, and steered away by the light of their burning habitations. Sir
Sidney Smith, with a degree of humanity worthy of his high character,
suspended his retreat till not a single individual who claimed his
assistance remained on the strand, though the total number borne away
amounted to fourteen thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven.”

The Royals were shortly after engaged in a successful descent upon the
island of Corsica. Associated with the Fifty-first Foot, under the
command of our gallant countryman, the future hero of Corunna,
Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, they were largely instrumental in the
reduction of the island, which soon after acknowledged the British sway.
The fortified town of Calvi, refusing to submit, was besieged, captured,
and garrisoned by the Royals, where they remained until removed to the
island of Elba, in 1796—Corsica being abandoned. In 1797 the corps was
stationed at Cascaes, in Portugal, and in the following year returned to

Meanwhile the disorders which prevailed in France had induced a spirit
of rebellion amongst the coloured population of her most valuable
colony—the island of St Domingo—which, bursting forth in 1793, resulted
in the establishment of the Black Empire of Hayti. The French colonists
having no faith in, or doubting the ability to help of their home
Government, had solicited the protection of Britain. Accordingly a
British force, including the first battalion of the Royals from Jamaica
(where for the past three years it had been stationed), was sent to
their assistance. The expedition proved one of extreme difficulty and
exceeding danger, and is replete with interesting incidents. On every
occasion the good conduct of the Royals was most conspicuous, especially
so in the defence of Fort Bizzeton, where Lieutenant Clunes, with 120
men, repulsed 2000 of the enemy. Major-General Sir Adam Williamson, in
his despatch, stated—“Captain Grant and his two Lieutenants, Clunes, of
the Royals, and Hamilton, of the Twenty-second Regiment, merit every
attention that can be shown them. They were all three severely wounded
early in the attack, but tied up their wounds, and continued to defend
their posts. It has been a very gallant defence, and does them great
honour.” But the sword was not the only or the worst enemy our brave
countrymen had to encounter in this sultry and unhealthy clime. A
malignant fever, invading the quarters of our men, slew in two months
about 640. The remains of the battalion returned home in 1797.

Scarcely had our gallant Royals recruited their ranks, when the sound of
war called them to win new glories on the field. In 1799 the second
battalion, brigaded with the Ninety-second Gordon Highlanders, formed
part of the British army, which, under that famous chieftain, Sir Ralph
Abercromby, landed in the Netherlands, and strove to expel the French.
The triumph of “Egmont-op-Zee” illustrated “the gallantry of these brave
troops,” which “cannot have been surpassed by any former instance of
British valour.” The Dutch, for whom these efforts had been made,
unheeding to be _free_, were at length abandoned to their own
infatuation, in which they soon experienced those bitter fruits which
sprang from the military despotism of Napoleon to curse the land. On the
withdrawal of the army, the second battalion was successfully employed
in several descents upon the coast of Portugal. In brigade with their
old comrades of the Ninety-second, and two battalions of the
Fifty-fourth Foot, they were included in the British army which, landing
at Aboukir, from one victory to another, vanquished the boasted
“Invincibles” of Napoleon’s grand “Army of the East,” and were at length
hailed as the deliverers of Egypt—having driven out the French. Whilst
these desirable ends were being accomplished upon the African continent,
the first battalion of the Royals, having embarked for the West Indies,
was reaping a harvest of glory in the reduction of the enemy’s
possessions in that quarter of the world. The most illustrious of these
conquests was that of “St Lucia,” which, inscribed upon the colours of
the regiment, remains to perpetuate the record of these brave deeds.

                              CHAPTER XI.

               “His signal deeds and prowess high
               Demand no pompous eulogy,—
                 Ye saw his deeds!
               Why should their praise in verse be sung?
               The name, that dwells on every tongue,
                 No minstrel needs.”


The gigantic proportions which the war in 1804 had assumed, the
imminence of the danger which threatened ourselves from the overgrown
power of Napoleon, and his still unsatisfied ambition, had thoroughly
roused our Government more completely to arm our people, and occasioned
the raising of many new corps. Aware of the favour in which our Royal
Regiment was held by the people, from the ancient renown it had
acquired, the Government, taking advantage of this good name, speedily
raised and attached thereto a third and fourth battalion. Returning from
the West Indies, where, for a short time, it had been engaged in
capturing the French and Dutch possessions, the second battalion
embarked for the East Indies, where, for upwards of five-and-twenty
years—returning home in 1831—it remained actively on duty. Meanwhile,
the third battalion, sharing the glories, was doomed to endure the
disasters of the Spanish campaigns of 1808–9, under that gallant leader,
Sir John Moore—glories which had their consummation in the victory of
Corunna. On this occasion the Royals were brigaded with our countrymen
of the Twenty-sixth Cameronians. The army, returning to England, was
shortly thereafter employed in a new attempt to expel the French from
the Netherlands. In this unfortunate effort, known as the Walcheren
Expedition, our third battalion had a part. But the day of better things
was now about to dawn, when these repeated disasters should be redeemed,
and the eclipse of the world’s liberty be dissipated, through the
triumphs which, rewarding the heroic endurance and persevering valour of
our soldiers, should crown our arms. Trained by adversity, our troops
had learned how to conquer. Under Sir Arthur Wellesley, the third
battalion was, with the British army, which, from “Busaco” to the
“Nive,” trod the path of uninterrupted victory, baffling successively
the splendid efforts with which the genius of Massena, Marmont, Jourdan,
and Soult, strove to preserve for their master the provinces of the
Peninsula. Every attempt to arrest the onward march of British valour
signally failed, entailing upon the foe a series of fatal defeats, until
at length the Peninsula, delivered from the yoke of the tyrant, our
army, in triumph, entered the French territory. At the siege of St
Sebastian our Royals very specially distinguished themselves, and
although suffering a loss of more than 500 men in the several assaults,
nothing could quench the dauntless spirit which twice stirred them to
enter the deadly breach; but the second time with most splendid success,
when, overcoming every obstacle, this famous and gallantly defended
fortress was captured.


  31^{st}. August 1813.

“At a Scots corporation dinner, held in London on the 4th of May, 1811,
on the health of the Duke of Kent, the father of our beloved Queen, then
Colonel of the Royal Regiment, being drunk, his Royal Highness rose to
return thanks, and, in the course of his speech, said:—‘My royal brother
has been pleased to praise the regiment in which I have been employed,
and have had the honour to command, and I too can bear testimony to the
spirit and gallantry of the Scottish soldiers. From the earliest days,
when I commenced my military life, it was always my utmost aim to arrive
at the command of a Scots regiment, and to bring that regiment into
action would have been the greatest glory I could have attained, as I am
well convinced the officers and men would have justified my most
sanguine expectations; their courage, perseverance, and activity, being
undoubtedly such as may always be relied on; and they are always able
and willing to do their duty, if not more than their duty.’ His Royal
Highness took great interest in the welfare of the regiment; and he this
year presented, by the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel MʻLeod, a gold medal
to Serjeant Manns of the regiment for the very meritorious manner in
which he had educated upwards of 800 soldiers and soldiers’ children.”
His Royal Highness was the first to establish regimental schools,—a rich
blessing, which will be ever associated with his memory, conferring as
they have done such priceless benefits upon the army.

When all Europe had combined in a sacred crusade against the despotic
rule of Napoleon, the fourth battalion of the Royals was selected to
form part of a British force which should act with the Swedo-German army
advancing from Pomerania, under Bernadotte, upon France. Thus, at the
interval of nearly 300 years, did our Royal Scots revisit the scenes of
their early glory; and, under the same Swedish banner, led on by the
successor of Gustavus Adolphus, once more do battle for the cause of
truth. No doubt, their souls roused within them, their arms must have
been nerved, by the “stirring memories” of “auld langsyne.” The march of
this battalion through Germany, when called to join the army of
Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, in the
Netherlands, about to attempt the reduction of the strong fortress of
Bergen-op-Zoom, is marked by the extreme severity of the weather, which
entailed sufferings of the most fatal kind upon our brave
soldiers—upwards of 120 men being lost in the snow. To the survivors a
darker and a sadder fate was near, whilst these trials served to school
them to meet it with the heroic fortitude of the soldier. In the
subsequent attack upon Bergen-op-Zoom the several companies of the
battalion had struggled with determined yet unavailing valour to
dislodge the French. Our troops could not prevail, as they could not
destroy the strong natural defences of the place. They suffered a most
serious loss from an unseen foe, who visited their temerity with a fatal
fire from their powerful and numerous batteries. At length, overwhelmed
and encompassed by foemen, and entangled amongst destructive batteries
which vomited forth death upon our devoted Royals, they were compelled
to surrender, having previously sunk the colours of the regiment in the
river Zoom. Peace being accomplished by the abdication of Napoleon, the
sword of war was for a moment sheathed. Alas! that it should have been
but for a moment. Soon the dream of a fancied security was disturbed, as
the captive of Elba once more appearing, the Emperor, idolised by the
great army, forged thunderbolts of vengeance with which he threatened to
annihilate his many foes. Happily, his ambitious career was speedily
terminated, and Europe thereby saved the repetition of the bloody
tragedy of protracted war, so lately and so fondly believed to be
closed. The sudden irruption of the French army into the Netherlands was
met by the bravery of the British and Prussians, and its progress for
ever arrested by the total defeat of Waterloo. In this campaign the
third battalion of the Royals was honoured to hold a conspicuous part;
especially at Quatre Bras, where it was the first to check the advance
of Marshal Ney, and sustain with great credit the brunt of his impetuous
and repeated attacks. The following splendid testimony has been recorded
to its valour:—“The third battalion of the Royal Scots distinguished
itself in a particular manner. Being removed from the centre of the
Fifth Division, it charged and routed a column of the enemy. It was then
formed in a square to receive the cavalry, and though repeated attacks
were made, not the slightest impression was produced. Wherever the
lancers and cuirassiers presented themselves, they found a stern and
undismayed front, which they vainly endeavoured to penetrate.”

It was not alone upon the continent of Europe that the dire effects of
Napoleon’s sway were felt and regretted, but wherever the foot of
civilisation had left its impress. Nor was it only the pulse of true
liberty that beat quickly and faintly beneath the evil rule of his
tyrant spirit, but commerce, by iniquitous decrees, lay groaning in
chains, or eked out but a sorry existence. The intention of these
ill-advised decrees was the destruction of the maritime and commercial
might of Britain. Our Government sought to retaliate upon France the
evils their imperial monarch had striven to inflict upon us, by
barbarous enactments of a kindred character. Thus, between the two, the
avenues of trade were all but hedged up—the channels of commercial
intercourse dried up. America had hitherto grown rich upon the poverties
which war had entailed upon the continental nations; and hence, when her
merchants found their trade at an end, or, at all events, amounting to a
thing of peril, her Government resented such decrees as a personal
attack. Retaining an old grudge arising out of the nature of recent
events, and, moreover, regarding Britain as the chief offender, having
within herself alone the power to set at defiance the attempts of
Napoleon, without adding a new evil to cure the old iniquity, America
declared war against us, and her armies forthwith proceeded to take
possession of Canada. To arrest the progress of the enemy in this
quarter, the first battalion of the Royals was ordered from the West
Indies to Canada. Although the forces engaged on either side were
trifling in numbers when compared with the vast armaments which were
then contending in Europe, still the contest was no less sanguinary and
bitter, and equally developed the sterling qualities of our Royal Scots.
Arrived in Canada in 1813, the battalion was present with credit at the
successful attacks upon Sackett’s Harbour, Sodius, Niagara, Black Rock,
and Buffalo; but it was not until 1814, that the preponderance of
numbers on the side of the Americans rendering the contest more unequal,
and when victory did not always smile on our arms—it was then we gather
more striking evidence of the gallant demeanour of the Royals. At
Longwood a superior force of Americans prevailed, and the battalion was
reluctantly withdrawn, having suffered severely, principally in
officers. At Chippewa 6000 Americans assailed a force of 1500 British,
including 500 of the Royals. Although repulsed in the action which
ensued, the General Order reports: “It was impossible for men to have
done more, or to have sustained with greater courage the heavy and
destructive fire with which the enemy, from his great superiority in
numbers, was enabled to oppose them.” The Royals only yielded when
upwards of 300 of their number had been disabled—sufficient proof of the
fierceness of the conflict, and the desperate valour which sustained it.
But a more deadly encounter—though happily a more successful one—took
place at Lundy’s Lane, where 5000 Americans were opposed to 2800
British, including at first only three, latterly ten, companies of the
Royals. We cannot do better than quote the description of the battle
from Mr Cannon’s invaluable Records: “About nine in the evening there
was an intermission of firing; but the Americans renewed the attack soon
afterwards with fresh troops, and a fierce conflict of musketry and
artillery followed in the dark. The Americans charged up the hill; the
British gunners were bayoneted while in the act of loading, and the guns
were in the possession of the enemy for a few moments; but the troops in
the centre, where the three companies of the Royal Scots were fighting,
soon drove back the Americans, and retook the guns. The storm of battle
still raged along the heights; the muzzles of the British and American
artillery were within a few yards of each other, and the fight was kept
up with a sanguinary obstinacy seldom witnessed. In limbering up the
guns, at one period an American six-pounder was put by mistake on a
British limber, and a British six-pounder on an American limber. At one
moment the Americans had the advantage; at the next the shout of victory
rose from the British ranks; and about midnight the enemy retreated.”
The troops were thanked for their distinguished bravery in general
orders on the following day; and “the admirable steadiness of the Royal
Scots, under Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, at several very critical points and
movements,” claimed Lieut.-General Drummond’s particular notice. On this
occasion the Royal Scots had to mourn the loss of many brave officers
and gallant men, nearly 160 being killed, wounded, or prisoners. The
siege and capture of Fort Erie is distinguished not merely for the
gallantry of our Royals, but possesses, moreover, a melancholy interest,
from the lamentable catastrophe—the explosion of a mine—which destroyed
many of our brave soldiers, who, struggling on, had effected a footing
in the breach.

It is interesting to note, about this period, the several battalions of
this ancient regiment, fighting our battles in so many different corners
of the world at the same time, and each contributing to the national
glory and their own marvellous fame. In 1814 the positions of the
battalions were as follows:—

                First Battalion,   Canada.
                Second Battalion,  India.
                Third Battalion,   Spain and France.
                Fourth Battalion,  Germany and Holland.

The war was brought to a termination in 1815, after the memorable battle
of Waterloo, wherein the third battalion of the Royal Scots immortalised
itself, when, peace being concluded, the Royals returned home, and the
third and fourth battalions were disbanded.

Passing over a long interval of comparative peace which succeeded, like
the calm, the storm that but lately raged, we have only time in our
present sketch to note that the Royals formed part of the British army
in the Crimea. The Crimean campaign gained for them the several
distinctions of the “Alma,” “Inkermann,” and “Sevastopol.”

On the alarm occasioned by the recent Indian Mutiny, in 1857, the first
battalion of the Royals was sent out to reinforce our army, destined to
suppress the Sepoy Revolt. Afterwards the second battalion formed part
of the Chinese Expedition, which, chastising the perfidy of the boasted
“Celestials,” reduced the “Taku forts,” and occupied Pekin.

We close our narrative of the First Royal Regiment, or Royal Scots, with
these lines from an old military ditty, the favourite apostrophe of that
distinguished veteran and representative of our old Scots brigade in the
Swedish service—Sir Dugald Dalgetty, the illustrious hero represented by
Sir Walter Scott in his “Legend of Montrose.” Thus he sang when waiting
in the guard-room of Inverary Castle:—

    “When the cannons are roaring, lads, and the colours are flying,
    The lads that seek honour must never fear dying:
    Then stout cavaliers let us toil our brave trade in,
    And fight for the Gospel and the bold King of Sweden.”



                         THE TWENTY-FIRST FOOT,


                              CHAPTER XII.

               “The warrior boy to the field hath gone,
                 And left his home behind him;
               His father’s sword he hath girded on—
                 In the ranks of death you’ll find him.”


Success is too commonly esteemed, by a short-sighted public, to be the
criterion of excellence. It remains, however, to each of us, an exercise
of faith and duty to confute this popular fallacy, inasmuch as it has
wronged, foully wronged, many a brave heart who, battling with several
and powerful foes, struggling manfully, yet desperately, for the very
life, has as yet failed to rise beyond the surface; and hence the man
bowed down by adversity, as yet unrewarded by a better success—regarded
as nothing beyond the common—this deceitful, false world cannot
recognise the heroic soul in the martyr to circumstances. Thus it is
that the gallant regiment, whose history we are now about to narrate, is
in danger of being done injustice to, since its history is not always
garnished with splendid success, nor its path to honour strewn with the
glittering distinctions of victory, nor its heroism illustrated by a
long series of triumphs, which gild many a page of our national history.

This regiment claims an origin co-eval with that of the Scots Greys and
Scots Foot Guards. It was regimented and commanded by Charles, Earl of
Mar, at a time when the rampant bigotry of the King—oppressing the
consciences of the people, had exiled many of the bravest and best, or
driven them to desperate measures—induced them to draw together for
defence of their liberty and lives. Such was the state of things in
Scotland in 1678 when our Fusiliers were raised to hunt down our
covenanting forefathers, who, for conscience sake, branded as heretics,
endured the cruel ban of the Church of Rome; who, “not ashamed to own
their Lord,” freely resigned life and property for His sake. The history
of the regiment is one with that of the Scots Greys and Scots Foot
Guards, already in our previous chapters alluded to, where it may almost
be traced page by page; it is therefore needless for us to repeat the
incidents which marked their early history. They were present at the
battle of Bothwell Bridge, where the Covenanters were signally defeated,
and were afterwards engaged in repressing the Rebellion of Argyll in
1685. At length the day of retribution arrived, when the voice of the
people declared the sovereignty of the House of Stuart to be an
intolerant burden no longer to be submitted to,—by a general rising
decreed its overthrow, and by an almost universal welcome hailed the
advent of a better state of things under the healthier government of the
House of Orange. Amid these changes our Fusiliers remained faithful to
James II. Having marched into England with a strength of 744 men, under
Colonel Buchan, they were stationed in the Tower Hamlets. The flight of
the King rendering all resistance to the advancing forces of William
futile and needless, the regiment submitted to the victorious party of
William and Mary. Removed to Oxfordshire, the command was conferred on
Colonel O’Farrell. Colonel Buchan, adhering to the fallen fortunes of
James, followed him into exile. His name has acquired a melancholy
interest as the chief who, a few years later, after the death of Dundee
at Killiecrankie, headed the rebel forces in a vain attempt to restore
the dominion of the Stuarts. Subsequently, in 1689, the regiment
embarked at Gravesend for Flanders, where, under Marlborough, it formed
part of the British division which, with the Dutch, strove to check the
aggressions of the French. In the early part of the campaign they were
associated with their countrymen of the Third, or Scots Foot Guards, and
the First, or Royal Scots Regiment, besides other British troops. These
shared the glory of the victory of Walcourt, where an attack of the
French under D’Humieres was repulsed. In 1690 the ill success of the
allied general, Prince Waldeck, yielded to the enemy many and important
advantages, especially in the disastrous battle of Fleurus. In the
following year the Scots brigade was further augmented by the addition
of the regiments of Mackay and Ramsay, known to fame as the Old Scots
Brigade in the Dutch service, or as the Ninety-Fourth in later times in
the British service. To these were added the Earl of Angus’s regiment of
Cameronians, now the Twenty-sixth, and subsequently the Earl of Leven’s
regiment of King’s Own Borderers, the present Twenty-fifth. The arrival
of King William, who in person assumed the command, as it set at rest
the national jealousies which hitherto prevailed among the troops, and
hushed the petty contests for precedence on the part of their leaders,
infused at the same time new life and vigour into the movements of the
Allies. In a vain attempt to surprise the fortress of Mons, Colonel Sir
Robert Douglas of the Royals, and Colonel O’Farrell of our Fusiliers,
were taken prisoners by the French, but released on payment of the
customary ransom. Both were destined for very different fates. The
former, as narrated in a previous chapter, fell, gallantly fighting at
the head of his regiment, at the battle of Steenkirk; the latter,
surviving that bloody day, was reserved to be the unlucky commander who
surrendered the fortress of Deinse, garrisoned by his regiment, to the
enemy without striking a blow in its defence. This denial of the courage
of our Fusiliers under his command, who, with able hands and ready
hearts, might have successfully challenged the attempts of a numerous
foe—whilst they were delivered over to be prisoners of war—justly
received the severe censure of the King; and, tried by court martial,
Brigadier-General O’Farrell was cashiered, and his command conferred on
Colonel Robert Mackay. Meanwhile, three years previously, the battle of
Steenkirk had been fought, and the superior numbers of the French,
directed by the ability of the Duke de Luxembourg, had triumphed,
notwithstanding the desperate valour of the British. Our Fusiliers, with
the Royals, formed part of the advanced guard of our army, and fiercely
assailed the French, who, strongly posted behind a series of thick
hedges, poured in a deadly fire into our ranks. Successively they were
driven from their strong position, but only to take a new position,
equally defensible, behind a second hedge. A third and a fourth position
was assumed and bravely defended, yet nothing could withstand the onset
of our troops. Every obstacle was overcome, and victory was within our
grasp, when disasters in other parts of the field compelled the
abandonment of all these hard-earned advantages. D’Auvergne says: “Our
vanguard behaved in this engagement to such wonder and admiration, that
though they received the charge of several battalions of the enemy, one
after the other, yet they made them retreat almost to their very camp;”
and the _London Gazette_ records: “The bravery of our men was
extraordinary, and admired by all; ten battalions of ours having engaged
above thirty of the French at one time.” At the battle of Landen in
1693, brigaded with the Twenty-fifth, the Twenty-sixth, and the
regiments of the Old Scots Brigade, separated from the army by the
prevailing efforts of the French, they most heroically maintained
themselves, until overwhelming numbers compelled them to retire. With
difficulty they effected their retreat, without disorder, by fording the
river Gheet, and so succeeded in rejoining the main army. The
ignominious surrender of Deinse, and the consequent dismissal of Colonel
O’Farrell, occurring in 1695, have been already alluded to. Nothing of
importance falls to be recorded in the history of our Fusiliers during
the remainder of the war, which was terminated in 1697 by the peace of
Ryswick. Returning to Scotland, the rest they enjoyed was but of short
duration. Once again the rude blast of war lashed into fury the ambition
of princes. Would that princes acted out the words of the ballad writer—

 “Oh, were I Queen of France, or still better, Pope of Rome,
 I would have no fighting men abroad, or weeping maids at home.
 All the world should be at peace, or if kings would show their might,
 I’d have those that make the quarrels be the only ones to fight.”


Unhappily, it is not so, and perhaps, however beautiful the idea, it is
better it should be otherwise. In 1702 the war of the Spanish Succession
broke out, which was destined to witness the splendid successes of a
renowned soldier—the Duke of Marlborough. Brigaded with the second
battalion of the Royals, the Tenth, the Sixteenth, and the Twenty-sixth
regiments, our Fusiliers were present at the siege of Huy, and, detached
from the army, took part in the enterprise which resulted in the capture
of Limburg. But these events, however glorious, sink into insignificance
when compared with the marvellous achievements which shed a flood of
glory upon our national history, as recorded in the memorable year of
1704. Then the plains of Germany for the first time owned the tread not
of a mere band of island adventurers, as in the ancient days of our
veteran Royals, but now these plains resounded with the martial tramp of
a British army. In the attack upon the heights of Schellenberg our
Fusiliers bore an honourable part, but that was but the prelude to the
grander victory of Blenheim, wherein the confederate might of France and
Bavaria succumbed before the allied arms of Britain and Germany. But
this signal triumph was not accomplished save by the most desperate
bravery. “Brigadier-General Row, (Colonel of the Royal North British
Fusiliers,) who charged on foot at the head of his own regiment with
unparalleled intrepidity, assaulted the village of Blenheim, advancing
to the very muzzles of the enemy’s muskets, and some of the officers
exchanged thrusts of swords through the palisades; but the avenues of
the village were found strongly fortified, and defended by a force of
superior numbers. Brigadier-General Row led the North British Fusiliers
up to the palisades before he gave the word ‘Fire,’ and the next moment
he fell mortally wounded; Lieutenant-Colonel Dalyel and Major Campbell,
being on the spot, stepped forward to raise their colonel, and were both
instantly pierced by musket-balls; the soldiers, exasperated at seeing
the three field-officers of the regiment fall, made a gallant effort to
force their way into the village, but this was found impossible, and the
regiment was ordered to retire. The moment the soldiers faced about,
thirteen squadrons of French cavalry galloped forward to charge them,
and one of the colours of the regiment was captured by the enemy; but
the French horsemen were repulsed by the fire of a brigade of Hessians,
and the colour was recovered.” A second assault failed likewise, so
resolute was the defence of the enemy, but a third attempt, with
additional forces, was crowned with success; the French being driven out
of the village with great loss. There is no more treasured illustration
of the worth of our British soldiers than is recorded in this famous
battle, and no more distinguished honour than belongs to the regiments
who have won a title, by their presence and brave deeds on the occasion,
to share its glory or bear upon their colours the proud and envied word
“Blenheim.” But this mode of commemorating battles was not adopted until
a later period,—MINDEN, borne by the Twenty-fifth King’s Own Borderers,
and other corps,—being the earliest instance of a battle thus
emblazoned.[A] Throughout the remaining years of the war, graced by the
victories of Ramilies, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet, and the capture of
many of the strong fortresses of the Netherlands, our Fusiliers
maintained their character for bravery and steadiness, proving
themselves in every way worthy the honours their valour had hitherto
won. During this period they were successively commanded by Viscount
Mordaunt, Brigadier-General De Lalo—a distinguished French Protestant
officer, who fell whilst gallantly leading his regiment at the battle of
Malplaquet—Major-General Meredith, and the Earl of Orrery. Peace at
length terminated the struggle, and our heroes returned home in 1714.
Shortly afterwards a rebellion broke out in Scotland, under the Earl of
Mar, son of the Earl of Mar who first commanded our Fusiliers. Supported
largely by the clans, presenting a formidable array, he advanced into
the Lowlands, proclaiming the Pretender—the son of James II.—to be the
rightful sovereign. His vacillating policy—notwithstanding the uncertain
issues of the battle of Sheriffmuir, where the royal troops, including
our Fusiliers, led by the Duke of Argyle, encountered the rebels—ruined
the cause he had assumed to maintain; so that when the Pretender joined
his partizans, he found them reduced to such desperate straits, that
whilst prudence counselled, cowardice sought the earliest opportunity to
effect an escape, leaving his friends to suffer alone the vengeance of
the Government. The clans dispersing or submitting, the rebellion died
out in 1716.

Footnote A:

  Vide “Curiosities of War,” page 225.

In 1743 the war of the Austrian Succession once more stirred up the
wrathful passions of man, and plunged the European continent into all
the horrors of war. The combatants were much the same as on previous
occasions—France and Bavaria pitted against Austria and Britain. The
Scots Greys, the Third or Scots Foot Guards, (first battalion,) the
First or Royal Scots, (first battalion,) the Twenty-first or Royal North
British Fusiliers, the Twenty-fifth or King’s Own Borderers, and the
Forty-second or Royal Highlanders, formed the Scottish regiments
embraced in the British army. Under the eye of their chivalric monarch,
George II., who in person commanded, our Fusiliers were greatly
distinguished by their good conduct, especially at the victory of
Dettingen. Subsequently, under Marshal Wade, the regiment was with the
army which penetrated into France in 1744. In the following year, under
the Duke of Cumberland, present at the disastrous battle of Fontenoy,
the regiment lost 285 officers and men. The valour of our troops, and
the successes they had achieved, were negatived, and the battle lost, by
the failure of the Dutch in other parts of the field. So severe had been
the losses of our Fusiliers on this occasion, that, for the sake of
being recruited, the regiment was removed from the army to garrison
Ostend, where, assailed by a very superior French force, it was
compelled to surrender. At this crisis in our country’s history, the
King of France, aiding and abetting the Jacobites, succeeded but too
well in inciting the clans to rebellion under Prince Charles Edward.
These troubles at home occasioned the recall of the major part of the
British army, and amongst others, our Fusiliers, who, advancing from
Edinburgh, were engaged in the pursuit and ultimate overthrow of the
rebels at Culloden. Thereafter returning to the continent, the regiment
was engaged at the unavailing battle of Val in 1747, which led to the
peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.

                             CHAPTER XIII.

         “Ye sons of the strong, when that dawning shall break,
         Need the harp of the aged remind you to wake?
         That dawn never beam’d on your forefathers’ eye,
         But it roused each high chieftain to vanquish or die.”


Restless like the ocean, anew the spirit of ambition, the thirst for
conquest, awakened the flames of war between these ancient rivals—France
and Britain. In those days, when standing armies were dreaded by a
people ever jealous of the prerogative of the Crown, with whom,
moreover, there still lingered the bitter experience of the past, or the
lively, yet painful, recollection of the tyranny of the Stuarts—in those
days our army was limited. Hence, when war broke out, we find the whole
force of the kingdom called into action, or embarked on foreign service,
leaving to militia and volunteers the defence of “our hearths and
homes”—just as it should ever be. In such circumstances, in 1761 our
Fusiliers were engaged in a desperate descent upon the French island of
Belleisle, situated in the Bay of Biscay. The natural and artificial
defences of the island had almost defeated the object of the expedition;
and when, after much searching and toil, a landing had been effected,
the dangers to be encountered required the utmost steadiness and
perseverance to be overcome. The French made a resolute defence, and
only surrendered when their position had become no longer tenable, and
no promise of relief seemed at hand. Afterwards stationed in England,
the regiment in 1765 was sent out for the occupation of West Florida in
America, whence, in 1770, it was removed to Quebec. It had been
commanded by the Earl of Panmure, who, in 1738 succeeded the Duke of
Argyle in the colonelcy, and in 1770 he was in turn succeeded by
Major-General the Hon. Alexander Mackay. In 1772 our Fusiliers returned
to England; soon, however, to be recalled to the American States, to
take an active part in the unnatural war which had arisen out of vexing
disputes on the all-important question of taxation between the Home and
Colonial Governments. Accordingly, in 1776 the regiment was sent out for
the relief of Quebec, then besieged by the Americans. The timely arrival
of such welcome reinforcements, strengthening and encouraging the
garrison, produced an opposite feeling of weakness and dejection in the
ranks of the besiegers, so as to induce the American General to raise
the siege and retire. In his retreat he was pursued and harassed by the
British troops. In the following year, the Twenty-first, as we shall
henceforth call them, was employed reducing the American forts,
especially Ticonderago, which studded the shores of Lake Champlain.
Ultimately the regiment formed part of an unfortunate expedition under
Lieut.-General Burgoyne, who, encouraged by previous successes, was
tempted to advance into the enemy’s territory, away from his own
resources, where—notwithstanding the repeated defeats, especially at
Stillwater, with which our troops visited the temerity of the foe, and
the heroism with which they conquered all obstacles and endured many
sufferings from the pinchings of want, reduced to about 3500 fighting
men, and surrounded by an American army of fully 16,000—the
Twenty-first, with the relics of the other regiments included in the
expedition, were under the painful necessity of laying down their arms,
and surrendering themselves prisoners of war. This untoward event
terminated for the present the active service of the Twenty-first. The
battalion, on being released, returned to Britain, where it remained on
home duty until 1789, when, embarking for America, it was employed for
nearly four years in that country.

The French Revolution having, by a flood of evil influences, submerged
well nigh every vestige of living righteousness, war, with all its
horrors, had been accepted as the dire alternative which, with its fiery
deluge, should purge the political world of the cankering iniquities
which hitherto fattened upon the miseries a tyrant democracy had
inflicted upon civilisation. Unable to cope with the vast armaments
which the revolutionary energy of France had brought into being and sent
forth to convert Christendom to its own dogmas of “Equality, Fraternity,
and Liberty,” and whilst these overran the Netherlands and other
adjacent countries, our Government directed the efforts of its arms
against the French West Indian Islands, the natives and lower classes of
which, becoming infected by the republican fever, had assumed to be
free, and in token thereof adopted the tri-colour cockade, whilst the
Royalists, who, as proprietors and capitalists, had everything to lose,
invoked the friendly aid of Britain. Accordingly, the Twenty-first,
proceeding from Canada to the West Indies with the army under
Major-General Bruce, took part in the first attempt upon the island of
Martinique in 1793, which failed. A second attempt in 1794, under
General Sir Charles Grey, was more successful, the Republicans being
overthrown. This desirable result was speedily followed by the reduction
of the islands of St Lucia and Guadaloupe, in the capture of both of
which the Twenty-first was honourably distinguished. Our possession of
Guadaloupe was not long to be enjoyed. A powerful French fleet from
Europe, with a considerable body of troops on board, arrived and
succeeded but too well in resuscitating the republican interests, and at
length prevailing, the few British defenders, numbering only 125, were
forced to surrender to overwhelming odds. In the fall of Fort Matilda,
which terminated our dominion in the island, the Twenty-first met with
another heavy disaster, which, with the ravages of the yellow fever, had
so reduced the effective strength of the regiment, that in 1796 it was
sent home to recruit, where it soon attained a strength of 800 men, by
volunteers from the Scots Fencible Regiments.

Whilst stationed at Enniskillen, the good conduct of the regiment won
for our Fusiliers the esteem of the inhabitants, whose good-will could
not fail to be appreciated as a record of no small importance,
considering the excellent regiments, which, bearing the name of
“Inniskilling,” have ever done honour by their gallantry to British
valour. These good impressions were deepened, and the deserved esteem of
our Fusiliers greatly increased, by the firm attitude maintained by the
regiment during the Dublin riots of 23d July, 1803. On this trying
occasion, stationed in the Irish metropolis, the determined front of the
Twenty-first, under Major Robertson, (Lieut.-Colonel Brown having been
murdered by the rioters whilst proceeding to join his regiment,)
succeeded in overawing and reducing to obedience the refractory mob
whose discontents had assumed the dangerous character of a fierce
insurrection, and whose malignity towards Government had avenged itself
in the barbarous murder of the Lord Chief Justice, Viscount Kilwarden.
The good conduct of the regiment was rewarded with the public thanks,
whilst Lieutenant Douglas and the Adjutant (Brady), as specially
distinguished for activity and judgment, were each presented with a
valuable gift of plate.

The vastly increasing power and menacing attitude assumed by Napoleon
had roused the latent energies of the nation, and in the exigencies of
the times, induced one of those most splendid efforts of true patriotism
of which only a free nation like our own is capable of producing. The
people as one man rose to arms, and practically illustrated the fervid
eloquence of the immortal Pitt, when, with a soul pregnant with devotion
to his country, he exclaimed—“Were an enemy on our shores, I _never_
would lay down my arms. _Never! never! never!_” whilst the muse of
Campbell summoned the charms of language to aid the sacred cause:—

             “Rise, fellow-men! Our country yet remains!
             By that dread name we wave the sword on high,
             And swear for her to live, with her to die!”

Amongst the many means adopted to secure an effectual national defence,
the increase of our army was deservedly the chief. From the youth of the
counties of Renfrew and Ayr a second battalion was raised for our
Fusiliers in December 1804; but it was not until 1806 called to an
active part in the terrible contest which then shook Europe to its base.
The defence of Sicily for the legitimate sovereignty of Naples, to which
the Twenty-first was called, although a duty but of minor importance
when compared with the mighty events which were being enacted on the
vaster theatre of Europe, still the result, redundant with glory, served
to give hope to liberty when the threatened night of tyranny had
elsewhere descended to cloud the nationalities of Christendom; whilst
our British soldiers, if aught dare aspire to the title, proved
themselves to be the real “_invincibles_”—when all else had been borne
down by the legions of France, they alone remained _unconquered_. Under
Major-General Alexander Mackenzie Fraser, the first battalion was
engaged in the expedition to Egypt against the Turks; who, in an evil
hour, when French power seemed omnipotent, and French influences in
consequence triumphed, had been pressed into the service of the Emperor,
against their better judgment and truer interests. A single campaign
successfully terminated the war, when our first battalion returned to

In 1809, with the expedition under Sir John Stuart, the Twenty-first
attacked and captured from Murat, vicegerent[*typo for viceregent?] of
Napoleon, styled King of Naples, the islands Ischia and Procida,
containing immense material of war. An attack upon the castle of Scylla
in Calabria failed, and an attempt to defend the town of Valmi resulted
in serious loss to our gallant Fusiliers—no fewer than 80 officers and
men falling into the hands of the enemy. Imbued, like his great master,
with an insatiate appetite for conquest, and a restless ambition, Murat
vehemently longed for an opportunity to expel the British from Sicily,
and so unite that valuable island to his new kingdom. Having
concentrated a powerful army, and prepared an immense flotilla of
gunboats and transports on the shores of Calabria, he, on a dark night
in September, 1810, attempted a descent. As the morning dawned it
revealed the enemy to the British, and so interrupted their further
transport and landing. Those who had come over in the night were so
fiercely assailed by the Twenty-first and other regiments, that, with
the sea behind and a powerful enemy around, without the prospect of
relief or any chance of escape, the French surrendered. The ill success
of this well-concerted expedition, induced Murat to abandon for the
present the idea of extending his territory beyond the mainland. But our
troops were not always thus successful. In 1812 the grenadiers of the
Twenty-first sustained a severe disaster as part of the British
expedition which failed in an attempted descent upon the Spanish coast
at Alicante. In the expiring agonies of “the empire of Napoleon,” our
Fusiliers, although not seriously exposed to the stern shock of battle,
yet helped materially, by their presence in Italy, and their advance
from Leghorn to Genoa, to drive out the relics of the French “army of
Italy,” and so restore freedom to the oppressed who peopled those lovely
plains. At Genoa the regiment encountered the enemy and prevailed.

Meanwhile our Government, concentrating the whole energies of the
nation, and labouring to hold together the discordant materials which
composed the Grand Alliance, strove, by one gigantic, persevering
effort, to crush out the usurped dominion of France—the empire—to
dethrone the tyrant, and liberate Europe. Accordingly, a British force
had been sent to the Netherlands, including the second battalion of the
Twenty-first. It took part in the unfortunate attack upon
Bergen-op-Zoom, where, miscalculating the strength and resolution of the
enemy, who was strongly posted in a vast citadel of powerful works, the
battalion suffered severely; encompassed by a numerous foe, many were
taken prisoners. The abdication of Napoleon having conferred peace upon
Europe, the second battalion returned with the army to Britain, whilst
the first battalion was embarked for service in the West Indies.

The innate pride of the Yankee being hurt by our sovereignty of the
seas, determined to dispute our generally acknowledged title thereto.
America in consequence became involved in war with us. To chasten them
for repeated insults which they sought to heap upon our flag, a British
expedition, including the first battalion of the Twenty-first, with the
Twenty-ninth and Sixty-second regiments, landed in the Bay of
Chesapeake. Advancing up the river Patuxent to Upper Marlborough, our
army destroyed a numerous fleet of gunboats which had molested our
commercial interests in these waters. Within sixteen miles of
Washington, the troops, encouraged by the promise of so rich a prize,
ventured still further to advance. Encountering and defeating the
American army at Bladensburg, they entered Washington in triumph. The
Twenty-first, as the van of the British, was the first to set foot in
this haughty metropolis of the New World. By the hard decrees of war,
not only the arsenals, but much of that which claimed, as public
edifices, etc., to beautify and ornament this splendid city, were given
over to destruction; and having thus avenged the indignities of the
past, our army retired to the fleet at St Benedict. An expedition was
afterwards undertaken against Baltimore; but, although success crowned
our arms whenever or wherever the enemy encountered our soldiers on any
thing like equal terms, especially in the action which ensued at Godly
Wood, still was it impossible for such a handful of brave men, amidst
increasing difficulties and numerous enemies, to do more; and hence,
when our troops had drawn near to Baltimore, they found that opulent and
populous city so strongly defended by an American army of 15,000, and
deprived, moreover, by circumstances of the assistance of the fleet, it
was considered impossible to prosecute the attack with any prospect of
success. Retiring, therefore, our army embarked, well satisfied with the
results their valour had already achieved. This battalion of the
Fusiliers was stationed at Jamaica for a time, until a new expedition
was set on foot. The prize in view was the reduction of the great
maritime city of New Orleans, situated below the level of the
Mississippi which flows by to the sea. The Americans, learning wisdom
from the past, and appreciating the value and importance of this city,
had laboured to strengthen its means of defence, by the construction of
vast and formidable entrenchments which shielded it effectually from
assault on the land side. To make good these defences, a powerful army
of 12,000 men was thrown into the city, commanded by an able
officer—General Jackson. The Britishers who dared to assail such a
powerfully defended city did not exceed 6000 men, comprising the Fourth,
the Seventh, the first battalion of the Twenty-first, the Forty-third,
the Forty-fourth, the Eighty-fifth, the Ninety-third Highlanders, and
the Ninety-fifth or Rifle Brigade, with a body of seamen from the fleet.
Notwithstanding the disparity in numbers, all might have gone well in
the assault, but for the culpable negligence of those in charge, who had
forgotten to bring up the scaling-ladders, and ere they could be brought
up, our men, unprotected from the deadly discharge of the enemy’s
numerous artillery, helpless to defend themselves, were mowed down like
grass; and yet their front, though sadly contracted by the loss of
upwards of 2000 men, remained firm as ever. Sir Edward Pakenham, the
British commander, and his generals of division, Gibbs and Keane, had
fallen. Major-General Gibbs died of his wounds, but Major-General Keane
became afterwards Lord Keane. These sore disasters negatived Colonel
Thornton’s success against the battery on the right, and rendered
retreat an absolute necessity, which was ably conducted by Major-General
Sir John Lambert, although in presence of a vastly superior and
victorious enemy. The relics of this gallant little army, who had dared
to assail such strength and numbers, were embarked in the fleet on the
27th January, 1815. The total loss of the Twenty-first on this occasion
was 451 officers and men, which serves to show how dreadful was the
carnage throughout, and how desperate the valour that sustained it
without once flinching from duty. Ere peace was concluded, which
happened shortly thereafter, the expedition succeeded in the capture of
Fort Bowyer, near Mobile.

After such severe service, having returned home and been somewhat
recruited by drafts from the second battalion, although too late to
share the glories of the Waterloo campaign, the battalion was sent to
the Netherlands, and thence, advancing into France, formed part of the
“army of occupation” which remained in that kingdom until peace had not
merely been restored but secured. In 1816 the second battalion was
disbanded at Stirling; and a year later, the first battalion, returning
home, was variously stationed in England. In 1819 the regiment was sent
on foreign service to the West Indies, where it was successively
stationed in Barbadoes, Tobago, Demerara, St Vincent, and Grenada.
Whilst in Demerara a rebellion of the negroes occurred. The good conduct
of the regiment in suppressing the revolt elicited the commendation of
the King; the Duke of York, commander-in-chief; Sir Henry Ward, K.C.B.,
commanding in these islands; and the Court of Policy of the colony.
These were accompanied by more substantial rewards. “The Court of Policy
voted, as a special and permanent mark of the high estimation in which
the inhabitants of the colony held the services of Lieut.-Colonel Leahy,
the officers, and soldiers, ‘Five Hundred Guineas to be laid out in the
purchase of Plate for the regimental mess,’ and Two Hundred Guineas for
the purchase of a sword for Lieut.-Colonel Leahy; also Fifty Guineas for
the purchase of a sword for Lieutenant Brady, who commanded a detachment
at Mahaica, and whose cool, steady, and intrepid conduct, aided by the
courage and discipline of his men, gave an early and effectual check to
the progress of revolt in that quarter.” Returning home in 1828, the
regiment was honoured in doing duty at Windsor Castle, the residence of
royalty. In these times of comparative peace little of interest falls to
be narrated. We find the regiment employed in various garrisons
throughout the kingdom, until, in 1832 and 1833, it was sent out in
charge of convicts to New South Wales, and stationed in the colonies of
Australia and Van Diemen’s Land. In 1839 it was removed to the East
Indies, and was stationed successively at Chuiswiah, Calcutta, Dinapore,
Kamptee, Agra, Cawnpore, and Calcutta, returning to England in 1848.

In 1854 Russian aggressions had so stirred the nations in defence of the
right, that Turkey in her weakness found ready sympathisers. Foremost of
these, France and England, side by side, had sent forth powerful
armaments, which, landing upon the Crimean peninsula, created a helpful,
and, as the long-expected result proved, a successful diversion in
favour of the oppressed empire of the Sultan. Amongst the brave,
composing the 26,800 British, that landed at Old Fort, were our gallant
Fusiliers, the Twenty-first. In the Fourth Division, brigaded with the
Twentieth, Fifty-seventh, and Sixty-eighth, they were present in reserve
at the Alma, and in action at Inkermann. It is needless to repeat the
details of the war, seeing especially we must take occasion so
frequently to recur to incidents connected with it; besides, the general
events must be still so fresh in the memories of most of our readers as
to need no repetition here. Enough be it to say of the conduct of the
Twenty-first Royal North British Fusiliers, that it displayed the same
excellence as of old. Since the return of the regiment to the beloved
shores of Old England, it has enjoyed the peace which its own gallantry
had well contributed to achieve.

As the glory of the sun shining through a humid atmosphere is even more
resplendent and more to be admired in the heaven-bespangled,
many-coloured robe of the rainbow than when he appears in the full
strength of noon-day, so valour—true, genuine valour, the valour of our
gallant Twenty-first—is the more illustrious and meritorious that it is
to be found emerging from amid many vicissitudes and adversities. It is
usually the bravest of the brave that fall. Alas! that so many who gave
fair promise to ornament and illustrate the British soldier as the hero,
should have fallen—buds nipped by the frost of death. Let it be borne
very encouragingly in mind, that adversity is the furnace wherein the
gold of true valour is purified—is the schoolmaster which teaches how to
win prosperity. The greatest glory which rests upon the departed genius
of Sir John Moore, is that which pictures him in adversity in
retreat—his lion spirit unsubdued, his towering abilities shining forth.
And so, in closing our record, we would do justice, not merely to valour
gilded by brilliant victories, but especially testify to true valour
incarnated in the man—the hero ever _struggling_, not always _winning_,
yet always _worthy_, the reward.

                         THE TWENTY-FIFTH FOOT.
                         KING’S OWN BORDERERS,
                          EDINBURGH REGIMENT.


                              CHAPTER XIV.

         “Many a banner spread, flutters above your head,
         Many a crest that is famous in story;
         Mount and make ready, then, sons of the mountain glen,
         Fight for your king and the old Scottish glory.
               March, march, forward in order,
               A’ the blue bonnets are over the border.”


It is recorded of Sir Walter Scott that he claimed descent from one of
the most distinguished families of “the land-louping gentry” of the
Scottish border. The title, “King’s Own Borderers,” borne by the
Twenty-fifth, would induce the belief that the regiment had sprung from
the same source; and however much we may excuse the military license of
the times, or the marauding propensities of our border countrymen, and
extol their martial achievements, so prolific with romantic incident and
chivalric feats of daring, we cannot but question the respectability of
such a parentage.

        “She’s o’er the border, and awa’ wi’ Jock o’ Hazeldean.”

Happily the Twenty-fifth owns a much more recent connection with the
Scottish border, when the feuds which had disgraced earlier years, by
the wrongs and cruelties they occasioned, were healed, and the failings
of the past are forgotten amid the excellencies and the glories of the
present. The regiment was raised in the City of Edinburgh by the Earl of
Leven, in 1688, from among the noblemen and gentlemen who had come over
from the Continent as the adherents of William, Prince of Orange. The
advent of the House of Orange, apart from the religious and political
liberty it conferred and assumed to guarantee, had been further hailed
by an emancipated people as restoring to the bosom of their dear native
land, and to the home of their fathers, those “lost and brave,” who, for
conscience’ sake, had endured a long and painful exile. Consistent with
that fidelity which has ever been a conspicuous jewel in Scottish
character, once that the Reformed faith found an entrance and an
abiding-place in the heart of the Scotsman, nor priest, nor king, nor
pope could drive it out, quench the light of truth, or shake the
steadfastness of the Covenanter. Hence the number of Scottish exiles was
very many, and, in consequence, the return of the refugees was an event
of no common interest in the Scottish metropolis, diffusing a very
general joy throughout the land. Their first duty fulfilled of thanks
and gratitude to God for their deliverance, their next duty to their
country impelled them to tender the service of their swords to the king.
Accordingly, their offer being accepted, the embodiment of the
Twenty-fifth King’s Own Borderers was the result, which in four hours
attained a strength of near a thousand men. Whilst the Scottish estates
hesitated to acknowledge the sovereignty of William and Mary, and the
Duke of Gordon held possession of the Castle of Edinburgh for King
James, the Twenty-fifth was quartered in the Parliament House. But it
was not until Viscount Dundee, descending into the Lowlands at the head
of the disaffected clans, seriously disturbing the peace of the land,
that the regiment was called into action. Advancing with the royal army
to Killiecrankie, the Borderers bore a conspicuous and honourable part
in the contest which ensued. Major-General Mackay, in his despatch to
the Duke of Hamilton, stated, “There was no regiment or troop with me
but behaved like the vilest cowards in nature, except Hastings’ and Lord
Leven’s, whom I must praise at such a degree, as I cannot but blame
others.” The regiments thus commended were the present Thirteenth and
Twenty-fifth Foot. Although borne back by the impetuosity of the
Highlanders, and although the day was lost to the king, still the
result—especially the death of Dundee—proved the ruin of the
Jacobites—the beginning of the end, each successive struggle which
convulsed the nation more effectually serving to destroy the hopes of
the House of Stuart.


In 1691 the regiment embarked for Ireland, and was present, with much
credit, at the sieges of Ballymore, Athlone, Galway, and Limerick, and
at the battle of Aughrim. These several successes having accomplished
the deliverance of that island from the yoke of James, the regiment with
other troops was sent to England, whence it embarked with the British
army for the Netherlands, to check the progress of the French. Under the
command of King William, the allies made a determined stand at Steenkirk
and again at Landen, but on both occasions failed to make any decided
impression upon the masses of the enemy commanded by Marshal de
Luxembourg, who continued to advance in spite of the most gallant
opposition. At the siege of Namur, by the explosion of a mine, the
regiment lost twenty officers and 500 men. The gallant conduct of the
allies at this celebrated siege is thus eulogised:

               The British were esteemed most bold; The Bavarians most
               firm; and The Brandenburghers most successful;

whilst the French, out of a garrison originally 15,000 strong, had lost
in the defence about two-thirds of their number. The engineering skill
of these great masters of the art—Coehorn and Vauban, exerted to the
utmost on their respective sides—has preserved no more magnificent
testimony to their several abilities than is found recorded in the
assault and defence. The resolution and ability of Marshal Boufflers,
the French Governor, in so gloriously maintaining the defence, is not to
be overlooked, but merited a better success. Sterne’s facetious story of
“Tristram Shandy”—how questionable so-ever its discretion in our times,
yet replete with much that is beautiful, quaint, and true—has borrowed
from the ranks of our Borderers its most noted and popular characters,
“Uncle Toby,” who was wounded in the groin at this siege of Namur, and
his faithful body-servant, “Corporal Trim,” who, two years previously,
had been wounded at the battle of Landen; both, by the pen of the
author, being life pictures of the veterans of Chelsea. It was during
this war that the bayonet, which had been invented by the French,
instead of being fixed _inside_ the muzzle of the musket, was first used
by the French fixed round the _outside_ of the muzzle, thus enabling the
soldier to charge and deliver fire promptly. Grose, in his “Military
Antiquities,” thus records the introduction of this improvement:—

“In an engagement, during one of the campaigns of King William III. in
Flanders, there were three French regiments whose bayonets were made to
fix after the present fashion (1690), a contrivance then unknown in the
British army; one of them advanced with fixed bayonets against Leven’s
(now the Twenty-fifth) regiment, when Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell, who
commanded it, ordered his men to ‘screw bayonets’ into their muzzles,
thinking the enemy meant to decide the affair point to point; but to his
great surprise, when they came within a proper distance, the French
threw in a heavy fire, which for a moment staggered his men, who
nevertheless recovered themselves, charged, and drove the enemy out of
the line.”

On the peace of Ryswick being concluded in 1697, our Borderers,
returning home, were quartered in the disturbed districts of the North
of Scotland. Nothing of importance falls to be narrated of the regiment
until the Rebellion of the Earl of Mar, in 1715, called it to take the
field. It was present at the unfortunate battle of Sheriffmuir. The
desertion of the Hon. Captain Arthur Elphinstone to the rebel army,
however it might have been regretted as casting a shadow over the
loyalty of the Twenty-fifth, that doubt has been dispelled, and the lie
contradicted, by the exemplary fidelity of the regiment on all
occasions. Captain Elphinstone, as Lord Balmarino, in 1746, paid the
penalty of his error by his execution on Tower Hill.

During the Spanish War of 1719, the regiment was engaged in a successful
expedition against various towns on the north-western sea-board of the
Peninsula. For several years thereafter it was variously stationed in
Ireland, and, in 1727, removed to Gibraltar, where, with other corps, it
successfully defended that important fortress against every attempt of
the Spaniards to reduce and regain it. The war of the Austrian
Succession, which began in 1742, occasioning the assembling of a British
and allied army in the Netherlands, our Borderers were sent thither to
reinforce the troops which had already won the bloody victory of
Dettingen. The regiment shared the glories and sustained the dangers of
Fontenoy, which elicited from Marshal Saxe, the conquering general, the
following graphic and generous testimony to the worth of the foe he had

“I question much whether there are many of our generals who dare
undertake to pass a plain with a body of infantry before a numerous
cavalry, and flatter himself that he could hold his ground for several
hours, with fifteen or twenty battalions in the middle of an army, as
did the English at Fontenoy, without any change being made to shake
them, or make them throw away their fire. This is what we have all seen,
but self-love makes us unwilling to speak of it, because we are well
aware of its being beyond our imitation.”

Taking advantage of the disasters which had crowded upon the allied arms
in the Netherlands, Prince Charles Edward had stirred up a formidable
Rebellion in Scotland, chiefly among the Highland clans, in favour of
his pretensions, as the representative of the House of Stuart, to the
British throne. This untoward event occasioned the recall of many
regiments from the Continent, and required those left behind to confine
themselves to the defence of strongly-fortified lines. The Twenty-fifth
was one of those that returned. With the Twenty-first Royal North
British Fusiliers, it formed the rear guard of the Royal army, advancing
in pursuit of the rebels into Scotland. Too late to take any part in the
battle of Falkirk, the regiment was stationed in Edinburgh, until the
Duke of Cumberland arriving, gave the signal for an immediate advance
upon the enemy, then prosecuting the siege of Stirling. Interrupted in
their enterprise by the near approach of the Royal army, the rebels
retreated precipitately, until, hemmed in, they made a last and fatal
stand on Culloden Moor, where they were utterly routed with great
slaughter. The most distinguished service performed by a detachment of
300 men of the Twenty-fifth is thus graphically described in the
biography of General Melville:—

“The second detachment, consisting of 300 men, commanded by Sir Andrew
Agnew, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal North British Fusiliers, was sent
by the route of Dunkeld, through the Pass of Killiecrankie, to take post
in Blair Castle, the seat of James, Duke of Athole—a very faithful
subject of his Majesty. The garrison was frittered away in small
detachments, for the purpose of intercepting traitorous correspondence.
Early on the morning of the 17th March, the rebels, in a considerable
body, surprised and made prisoners of several of the outposts, and by
break of day closely invested the castle on all sides, firing upon the
out-picquet, which retired with some difficulty, bringing with it some
horses belonging to the officers, and a small quantity of provisions.
Blair Castle was a very high, irregular building, the walls of great
thickness—having what was called _Cumming’s Tower_ projecting from the
west end of the front of the house, which faces the north. Adjoining the
east gable of the old castle, a square new building had been begun, but
only carried up a few feet above the beams fixed for the first floor.
The great door in the staircase having been barricaded, and a small
guard placed at it, the garrison was mustered and found to consist of
about 270 rank and file, having only nineteen rounds of ammunition per
man. The men were immediately posted throughout the castle in the manner
best adapted for its defence, with instructions not to fire unless
actually attacked. For the protection of the new, unfinished building
before mentioned, to which the only communication from the castle was by
ten or twelve steps of a ladder, from a door in the east end; a platform
of loose boards was hastily laid on the joists, and Ensign Robert
Melville (afterwards General Melville) of the Twenty-fifth regiment,
with 25 men, was posted on it, who was not relieved during the whole of
the blockade, which ended 1st April. On the 17th March, a little after
noon, Lord George Murray, a general to the Pretender, wrote a summons of
surrender to Sir Andrew Agnew, which he could not find a Highlander to
deliver, on account of the well-known outrageousness of Sir Andrew’s
temper, but a pretty girl, who was acquainted with the garrison,
undertook the task, but could hardly find an officer to receive it, for
the reason before mentioned; however, after much entreaty, one was bold
enough to convey the summons, when Sir Andrew, in so loud a voice, that
he was heard distinctly by the girl outside the castle, desired him to
be gone, and tell Lord George that the ground would, before long, be too
hot for him to stand upon, and any future messenger would be hanged or
shot if sent upon such an errand. Lord George took the hint, sent no
other messenger, but endeavoured to reduce the castle by famine, knowing
it was short of provisions. The rebels had two field-pieces, from which
they fired hot shot upon the castle, with so little effect that, though
some stuck in the roof, they fell out before the house took fire, and
were lifted off the floors by an iron ladle, which was found in the
Duke’s kitchen, and deposited in the cellars in tubs of wine, as water
could not be spared. The King’s troops, in dread of being starved,
endeavoured to apprise the Earl of Craufurd at Dunkeld of the state in
which they were placed, but they were so closely hemmed in, that, with
great difficulty, the Duke’s gardener, a loyal man, stole out during the
ninth night of the blockade and rode off through the enemy, fired at
from several places by the Highlanders, from whom he escaped, having
fallen from his horse, and gone on foot to Dunkeld and apprised the
Earl, which was not known for some time; in the meantime, the garrison
had great faith in the good luck of Sir Andrew, concerning whom many
strange stories were told—such as, that he never was wounded nor sick,
nor in any battle wherein the English were not victorious; therefore,
they were the less surprised when, at break of day on the 1st of April,
not a single Highlander could be seen—Lord George having taken the alarm
and decamped, to avoid encountering the Earl of Craufurd from Dunkeld.
On the morning of the 2d, an officer arrived and announced that the Earl
was within an hour’s march of the castle with a force of cavalry, when
Sir Andrew drew up his men to receive his Lordship, and after the usual
compliments, thus addressed him—‘My Lord, I am glad to see you; but, by
all that is good, you have been very dilatory, and we can give you
nothing to eat.’ To which his Lordship jocosely replied, with his usual
good humour, ‘I assure you, Sir Andrew, I made all the haste I could,
and I hope you and your officers will dine with me to-day;’ which they
accordingly did, in the summer-house of the Duke’s garden, where they
had a plentiful meal and good wines. The Earl made so favourable a
report of the conduct of Sir Andrew and the garrison of Blair Castle,
that the Duke of Cumberland thanked them, in public orders, for their
_steady and gallant_ _defence_, and the gallant commandant was promoted
to the command of a regiment of marines (late Jeffries’). A Highland
pony, belonging to Captain Wentworth of the Fourth foot, which had been
seventeen days (without food) in a dungeon of the castle, being still
alive, was recovered by care and proper treatment, and became in
excellent condition.”

Having thus effectually suppressed the Rebellion, the Twenty-fifth, and
most of the other regiments, returned to the Netherlands. Defeated at
the battle of Roucoux, the allies were on the point of falling into
confusion, when Houghton’s British brigade, composed of the Eighth,
Thirteenth, and Twenty-fifth, arriving from Maestricht, immediately
formed as the rear guard, their steady valour effectually withstanding
every attempt of the enemy to break in upon our line of retreat. In the
sanguinary battle of Val, our Borderers bore a more prominent part with
equal credit. This disastrous war terminated in 1747, with the
unsuccessful defence of Bergen-op-Zoom, which was ultimately taken by
the French. The regiment encountered a variety of misadventures on its
passage home. One transport, containing six and a-half companies, being
shipwrecked on the French coast, yet all escaping to land, were kindly
treated by their recent foes. The regiment, at length reaching England,
was removed to and variously quartered throughout Ireland.


                              CHAPTER XV.

                    “He’s brave as brave can be;
                    He wad rather fa’ than flee;
                    But his life is dear to me,
                      Send him hame, send him hame.

                    “Your love ne’er learnt to flee,
                    But he fell in Germanie,
                    Fighting brave for loyalty,
                      Mournfu’ dame, mournfu’ dame.”


In 1755 the encroachments of France awakened a new war, in which our
Borderers were employed in several generally successful expeditions
against the fortified towns and arsenals on the coast of France,
especially the Isle of Oleron, St Maloes, and Cherbourg. A few years
later, with the Twelfth, the Twentieth, the Twenty-third, the
Thirty-seventh, and Fifty-first Foot, the Horse Guards, the First and
Third Dragoon Guards, the Second, Sixth, and Tenth Dragoons, they formed
the British army, which, advancing from the north of Germany, allied
with the Germans and other auxiliaries, latterly served under the
command of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. Encountering at first severe
reverses, they were at length rewarded by the victory of Minden. “This
was the first occasion on which the British troops took aim by placing
the butt of the firelock against the shoulder, and viewing the object
along the barrel, when firing at the enemy, in which mode they had been
instructed during the preceding peace. On former occasions, the firelock
was brought up breast-high, and discharged towards the enemy a good deal
at random; because it was considered a degradation to take aim according
to the present custom. And in this year the cavalry adopted the trumpet,
in place of the side-drum and hautbois.” Throughout the war, the
regiment suffered very severely, its loss at the battle of Campen alone
amounting to two-thirds of its number. In the Regimental Records, which
afford a most interesting and ably-written account of the many “brave
deeds” of the regiment, as well as a comprehensive, yet most accurate,
record of the wars in which it was concerned, and to which we are
largely indebted, it is recorded: “1760, December 9, died, in the 34th
year of his age, of the wounds he had received in the battle of Campen,
Henry Reydell Dawnay, Viscount Down, Baron Dawnay of Cowick, county
York, M.P. for that county, Colonel in the army, and Lieutenant-Colonel
commanding the Edinburgh Regiment, greatly regretted and lamented by
every officer and soldier of the corps, and by all his companions in
arms. His Lordship commanded the regiment in the battle of Minden.”
Notwithstanding the great superiority of the enemy, ably commanded by
the Marshal Duke de Broglio, the allies, by the most heroic efforts, not
merely held their own, but frequently repulsed the enemy, especially at
the battle of Kirch Deukern, or Fellinghausen, where the French were
defeated with great slaughter. “Hitherto, punishments in the British
army were, to a certain extent, discretionary with commanding officers
of corps, and inflicted by means of switches, generally willows; but
during the present year, regimental courts-martial, consisting generally
of a captain and four subalterns, were instituted, and punishment with a
cat-of-nine-tails introduced.”


At length, in 1763, peace was restored. The Twenty-fifth, returning to
England, whilst stationed at Newcastle, buried, with military honours,
the shreds of the colours which they had so honourably fought under at
the battles of Fontenoy, Culloden, Roucoux, Val, Minden, Warbourg,
Campen, Fellinghausen, and Wilhelmsthal. Having replaced the losses they
had suffered in the recent war, and having enjoyed for several years
peaceful and pleasant quarters at home, our Borderers, in 1768, embarked
in H.M.S. “Dorsetshire,” 70 guns, for Minorca, where they discharged the
duties of the garrison for some time with the Third, Eleventh,
Thirteenth, and Sixty-seventh regiments.

The magistrates of Edinburgh having denied a recruiting party from the
regiment the ancient privilege, conferred upon it by the city in token
of its good conduct at Killiecrankie, of marching at all times through
the streets and beating up for recruits, the ire of the Duke of
Richmond, whose brother, Lord George Lennox, then commanded the
regiment, was so stirred by this indignity, that he applied for leave to
have the title of the regiment changed, and, in accordance therewith, it
was for a while known as the Sussex Regiment—Sussex being the county
where the Lennox family held extensive estates.

About this period France and Spain, at war with Great Britain, coveting
the possession of Gibraltar, had laid siege to that powerful fortress.
It was no easy thing in those days, when our navy was comparatively in
its infancy, to cope with the armaments of such powerful
neighbours—powerful alike on land and water, and whose combined fleets
had hitherto “swept the seas.” To throw in reinforcements, and
re-victual Gibraltar, was in consequence a hazardous undertaking;
nevertheless the British fleet, under Lord Howe, not only successfully
accomplished it in spite of the immediate presence of the Spanish fleet,
but signally defeated the foe off Cape St Vincent. The Twenty-fifth and
Twenty-ninth regiments were on this occasion thrown into the garrison,
where they helped in the successful defence of the fortress, baffling
the most gigantic efforts of the enemy to reduce it.

The Twenty-fifth was ordered home in 1792, where it arrived at a time
when our country was in great peril from internal enemies—the
discontents which the fair promises of the French Revolution had
excited, and which proved such a lamentable delusion, had their effects
even amongst “our sober selves,” begetting a progeny of evils which
threatened to shipwreck our good ship—the Constitution. Happily, the
abilities of our Administration brought the vessel of the State in
safety through the storm. Meanwhile France had declared war against us,
and the tempest, which had been imminent, descended with terrible fury.
Our fleet, which was then wofully inefficient, was put into commission;
but, for lack of marines, detachments from various regiments, amongst
others the Second (Queen’s), the Twenty-fifth (Borderers), the
Twenty-ninth, and Sixty-ninth, were allotted to this service. In this
new capacity a portion of the Twenty-fifth was engaged in the several
land actions which are recorded in the fruitless defence of Toulon and
conquest of Corsica. Although this new duty was at first attended with
many disagreeables, it in the end proved a most profitable service to
our soldiers, who soon became reconciled to the change. The spoil got on
the sea by repeated captures far exceeded aught that might have been
expected on shore. On one occasion the “St George” and “Egmont,” with
detachments of the Twenty-fifth on board as marines, captured the French
privateer “General Dumourier,” with a Spanish prize in tow, the “St
Jago”—treasure-ship containing about one million sterling. Under Lord
Howe this amphibious regiment was present to share the glories of the
fight which almost annihilated the French fleet off Brest. At length, in
1794, the corps of marines having been strengthened, the regiment was
relieved and returned to its native element—the land. Still we shall
find that its adventures, as well as misadventures, throughout these
records manifest a strong predilection for the sea—perhaps not of
choice, but certainly of necessity. The loyalty of the regiment whilst
serving as marines was most conspicuous during the mutiny which, in
1797, threatened very disastrous results.

In 1795, the regiment was sent to the West Indies; and whilst stationed
in Grenada, rendered most important service were employed in defending
Granada from the incursions of numerous hordes of brigands who infested
it. The heroic defence of Pilot Hill by the Twenty-fifth, under Major
Wright, is one of the most gallant actions to be found in the records of
our army. Reduced by disease and the sword to about 130 officers and
privates, these brave men refused to yield, well knowing, moreover, the
ferocious character of the enemy with whom they had to deal. At length,
exhausted and without the means to sustain life or longer maintain the
post, they determined to break through the enemy, which they
successfully accomplished, joining the few British that yet remained in
St George’s, the capital, where they were hailed by the inhabitants as
the saviours of the island; the ladies, in token of their appreciation
of such valour, wore ribands round their waists—inscribed, “Wright for
ever;” whilst the following address was presented to the relics of the
regiment:—“The inhabitants of this island congratulate Major Wright of
the Twenty-fifth regiment, and his gallant little garrison of Pilot
Hill, on their safe arrival in St George; and assure him that it was
with the most lively sensation of joy they beheld the landing of a
handful of brave men, whom, a few hours before, they considered as
devoted to the relentless cruelty of a savage and ferocious enemy; and
impressed with a high sense of their meritorious exertions in defence of
that post, and the well-conducted retreat upon the evacuation of it
under the most desperate circumstances, request his and their acception
of this tribute of their approbation and thanks, so justly due to such
bravery and conduct.” The arrival of reinforcements enabled the British
once more to take the field, recovering the posts which lack of numbers
had compelled them hitherto to abandon; and in the end, the brigands,
defeated, were dispersed, or craved, by submission, the clemency of the

Meanwhile the detachments which had been called in from the marine
service on board the “St George,” the “Egmont,” the “Gibraltar,” the
“Monarch,” the “Stately,” and the “Reunion,” with a number of recruits
obtained chiefly from among the Dutch sailors, who had become prisoners
of war, were enrolled as a second battalion. Encamped with the army
assembled on Shirley Common, this battalion was, in 1795, moved to the
coast, and embarked on board the “Boddington” and the “Belfast.” The
fleet, containing the army, which amounted to nearly 26,000 fighting
men, consisted of about 300 sail. A variety of accidents arose to detain
the expedition, and ultimately caught in a tempest, the vast armament
was broken or dispersed. In the confusion which ensued, the
“Boddington,” with part of the Twenty-fifth on board, her officers
having opened the sealed orders, and found the West Indies to be the
destination of the expedition, encountering many perils, at length
reached Barbadoes in safety; whilst the “Belfast,” with the remainder of
the regiment, was captured by a French corvette, the “Decius,”
twenty-four guns. The unfortunate prisoners were treated most cruelly,
and the more so that a conspiracy to rise upon their captors had been
divulged by one of the Dutchmen who had recently joined the regiment.
Landed at St Martin’s, they were afterwards removed to the common gaol
at Guadaloupe, during the passage to which the men of the regiment rose
against and overpowered the crew of one of the transports, and succeeded
in escaping to the British island of Grenada, where they joined their
comrades of the first battalion who still survived. The officers
remaining prisoners were inhumanly treated, and only released by
exchange, after enduring for ten months the miseries of confinement on
board the prison hulk “Albion”—a vessel captured from the British. On
their passage to rejoin the regiment which had returned home, calling at
the island of St Christopher, they had the satisfaction of witnessing
the captain and crew of the “Decius” in irons as prisoners. Unhappily
this “chapter of accidents” had not yet ended. On the homeward voyage
the transports, under convoy of the “Ariadne” frigate, encountered so
severe a tempest that several foundered—the frigate was under the
necessity of throwing her guns overboard; the “Bee” transport, shifting
her ballast, was cast on her beam ends, and was only saved by a marvel
of mercy—saved from the storm, to become the prey of a French privateer.
Lauded as prisoners in France, the officers were sent on their parole
into Brittany, until regularly exchanged. On returning, the survivors
rejoined the relics of the regiment in Plymouth lines in 1797. Whilst in
garrison here, along with the Second and Twenty-ninth Foot, and the Down
Militia, the regiment was exposed to the villany of an evil-disposed and
disaffected class—revolutionary incendiaries—the creatures of an
iniquitous delusion, in whose soul the God-like emotion of patriotism
had been stifled, and who appeared the specious friends yet certain foes
of virtue. Armed with all the seductive attractions of the licentious
liberty they preached, they therewith hoped to ruin our ancient
constitution, and set up in its stead the lying, fatal dogmas of
democracy. To accomplish this end, they strove to destroy the bulwarks
of our strength as a nation by the seduction of our soldiers and
sailors. In the presence of other grievances, and the absence of
immediate redress, these incendiaries had succeeded but too well in
imposing upon the navy, and exciting a dangerous mutiny, to which we
have already referred, as illustrating the fidelity of the Twenty-fifth,
who served as marines, and who could not be induced to forsake their
duty to their country, nor stain the honour of the regiment by any
defection. We now turn to record the fidelity of the regiment as equally
creditable in the army; and we have pleasure in adding the following as
a testimony of the loyalty which animated our Borderers. This
interesting document—the production of the Non-Commissioned Officers of
the regiment—affords us an earnest of their anxiety to detect and bring
to punishment the incendiaries who had dared to sap the allegiance of
the soldier:—

 “_Nemo me impune lacessit._ The subscribing Non-Commissioned Officers
 of H.M. Twenty-fifth regiment of foot, find, with great regret, that
 attempts have been made by base and infamous persons to alienate some
 of the soldiers of this garrison from their duty to their King and
 country, by circulating inflammatory papers and hand-bills containing
 the grossest falsehood and misrepresentation, thereby insulting the
 character of the British soldier. In order to bring the incendiaries to
 the punishment they so justly deserve, we hereby offer a reward of ten
 guineas (to be paid on conviction) to the person or persons who will
 inform upon, secure, or deliver over to any of the subscribers, the
 author, printer, or distributor of papers or hand-bills criminal to the
 military establishment and laws of the country, or for information
 against any such person found guilty of bribing with money, or of
 holding out any false allurements to any soldier in this district
 tending to injure the good order and discipline of the army; which
 reward of ten guineas is raised and subscribed by us for this purpose,
 and will immediately be paid on conviction of any such offenders. God
 save the King!

                              “Signed by the whole of the
                                             Officers of the Regiment.”

Stationed in Jersey in 1798, on returning to England the regiment formed
part of the army encamped on Barham Downs and Shirley Common, until
embraced in the unfortunate expedition which, in 1799, under the Duke of
York, occasioned the loss of so much British blood and treasure in a
vain attempt to deliver Holland from the thraldom of France.
Notwithstanding the glory obtained in the battle of Egmont-op-Zee,
little practical good resulted. The Dutch seemed disinclined to help
themselves, and the French were in such force, whilst our expedition was
so inadequate to do more than hold its own, that retreat and the
ultimate abandonment of the enterprise ensued as a necessary
consequence. On the return of the army, the Twenty-fifth was encamped on
Shirley Common, where the troops assembled were, in 1800, reviewed by
the King, who afterwards engaged in a sham fight with the Duke of York,
and is represented as having beaten him. Shortly thereafter an
expedition sailed under Sir Ralph Abercromby for Spain, but ill success
there led that chief ultimately to direct his efforts for the expulsion
of the French from Egypt. Here he fell gloriously, at the battle of
Alexandria, in the arms of victory. The Twenty-fifth joined the army
towards the close of the campaign. The surrender of the French having
completed the deliverance of Egypt, the army returned in part to
England, whence, in 1807, the Twenty-fifth was sent out to the West
Indies, where, in 1809, it shared in the capture of the French island of

“In the year 1813, while Lieut.-Colonel Light commanded the first
battalion, Twenty-fifth Foot, in the island of Guadaloupe, happening to
dine with the Governor, he was riding home to the barracks, distant
about one mile from the Governor’s house, in a violent thunderstorm with
heavy rain. A vivid flash of lightning coming very close to his horse,
the animal took fright, and suddenly sprang over a precipice of
fifty-four feet deep, which lay about five yards from the road on the
right, into a river swelled considerably by the rain. The horse was
killed by the fall, but Lieut.-Colonel Light swam on shore, with very
little injury, and walked home to his barracks, a quarter of a mile
distant from the place.

“Lord George Henry Lennox, son to Charles, second Duke of Richmond, and
father of Charles, fourth Duke of Richmond, was colonel of the
Twenty-fifth Regiment from 22d December, 1762, to 22d March, 1805 (the
day of his death), a space of forty-two years and three months. His
lordship was particularly attached to the regiment; so much so, that,
notwithstanding his great interest—being a personal friend of the King
(George III.)—his lordship was understood to have declined being removed
to any other corps, although it was at the time alleged and believed
that he had frequently the offer of a cavalry regiment. Lord George
Henry Lennox was truly a father to the corps—never sparing any expense
in its equipments, and never failing to use all his interest in
promoting the officers to every vacancy which occurred in the corps; and
his lordship has been known, in anticipation of a failure in this
respect with the Commander-in-chief, to have solicited and succeeded
with His Majesty in preventing promotion in passing out of the
regiment”—and in the word “Minden” being allowed to be borne on its
colours and appointments.

Having been engaged in nearly all the actions which, one by one, reduced
the French West Indian Islands and placed them under British rule, the
regiment returned to England in 1816, whilst the second battalion was
about the same time disbanded or merged in the first battalion. After
doing duty in various garrisons in Ireland for nearly ten years, the
regiment, in 1825, once more was sent out to the West Indies.

Since its return to Great Britain it has remained on home service,
excepting now, when, again increased to two battalions, the first is
stationed at Gibraltar, whilst the second, garrisoning Edinburgh Castle,
revels in the pleasing associations of “auld langsyne.”




                         THE TWENTY-SIXTH FOOT;


                              CHAPTER XVI.

               “The Martyr’s Hill’s forsaken,
                 In simmer’s dusk sae calm,
               There’s nae gath’ring now, lassie,
                 To sing the e’ening psalm;
               But the martyr’s grave will rise, lassie,
                 Aboon the warrior’s cairn;
               And the martyr soun’ will sleep, lassie,
                 Aneath the waving fern.”

              ORIGIN AND EARLY HISTORY—DUNKELD—1689–1691.

The bigotry which at various times in our world’s history has lighted
the fires of persecution, has always proved itself impotent to make men
righteous or unrighteous. Rather has it entailed a curse upon the tyrant
whilst inflicting a woe upon the people who groaned beneath his rule.
The freedom which the accession of the House of Orange conferred upon
every rank of society, and every phase of belief, established the
sovereignty of William and Mary, not merely over the heads of the
people, but in the love and loyalty of their hearts. We have already
alluded to the origin of the Twenty-fifth as expressive of these
sentiments, and we now turn to the history of the Twenty-sixth, or
Cameronians, as furnishing another exponent of the gratitude and loyalty
of the emancipated Covenanters. The origin of this famous regiment—well
worthy, by the lustre of its deeds, of the pen of a Macaulay to
record—has elicited from that great national historian the following
graphic account, which, as well for the sake of variety as its own
excellence, we are here tempted to quote:—

“The Covenanters of the West were in general unwilling to enlist. They
were assuredly not wanting in courage; and they hated Dundee with deadly
hatred. In their part of the country the memory of his cruelty was still
fresh. Every village had its own tale of blood. The greyheaded father
was missed in one dwelling, the hopeful stripling in another. It was
remembered but too well how the dragoons had stalked into the peasant’s
cottage, cursing and damning him, themselves, and each other at every
second word, pushing from the ingle nook his grandmother of eighty, and
thrusting their hands into the bosom of his daughter of sixteen; how the
adjuration had been tendered to him; how he had folded his arms and said
‘God’s will be done;’ how the colonel had called for a file with loaded
muskets; and how in three minutes the goodman of the house had been
wallowing in a pool of blood at his own door. The seat of the martyr was
still vacant at the fire-side; and every child could point out his grave
still green amidst the heath. When the people of this region called
their oppressor a servant of the devil, they were not speaking
figuratively. They believed that between the bad man and the bad angel
there was a close alliance on definite terms; that Dundee had bound
himself to do the work of hell on earth, and that, for high purposes,
hell was permitted to protect its slave till the measure of his guilt
should be full. But intensely as these men abhorred Dundee, most of them
had a scruple about drawing the sword for William. A great meeting was
held in the parish church of Douglas; and the question was propounded,
whether, at a time when war was in the land, and when an Irish invasion
was expected, it were not a duty to take arms? The debate was sharp and
tumultuous. The orators on one side adjured their brethren not to incur
the curse denounced against the inhabitants of Meroz, who came not to
the help of the Lord against the mighty. The orators on the other side
thundered against sinful associations. There were malignants in
William’s army: Mackay’s own orthodoxy was problematical: to take
military service with such comrades, and under such a general, would be
a sinful association. At length, after much wrangling, and amidst great
confusion, a vote was taken; and the majority pronounced that to take
military service would be a sinful association. There was, however, a
large minority; and, from among the members of this minority, the Earl
of Angus was able to raise a body of infantry, which is still, after the
lapse of more than a hundred and sixty years, known by the name of the
Cameronian Regiment. The first Lieut.-Colonel was Cleland, that
implacable avenger of blood who had driven Dundee from the Convention.
There was no small difficulty in filling the ranks, for many west
country Whigs, who did not think it absolutely sinful to enlist, stood
out for terms subversive of all military discipline. Some would not
serve under any colonel, major, captain, serjeant, or corporal who was
not ready to sign the Covenant. Others insisted that, if it should be
found absolutely necessary to appoint any officer who had taken the
tests imposed in the late reign, he should at least qualify himself for
command by publicly confessing his sin at the head of the regiment. Most
of the enthusiasts who had proposed these conditions were induced by
dexterous management to abate much of their demands. Yet the new
regiment had a very peculiar character. The soldiers were all rigid
Puritans. One of their first acts was to petition the Parliament that
all drunkenness, licentiousness, and profaneness might be severely
punished. Their own conduct must have been exemplary: for the worst
crime which the most austere bigotry could impute to them was that of
huzzaing on the King’s birth-day. It was originally intended that with
the military organisation of the corps should be interwoven the
organisation of a Presbyterian congregation. Each company was to furnish
an elder; and the elders were, with the chaplain, to form an
ecclesiastical court for the suppression of immorality and heresy.
Elders, however, were not appointed; but a noted hill preacher,
Alexander Shields, was called to the office of chaplain. It is not easy
to conceive that fanaticism can be heated to a higher temperature than
that which is indicated by the writings of Shields. According to him, it
should seem to be the first duty of a Christian ruler to persecute to
the death every heterodox subject, and the first duty of a Christian
subject to poinard a heterodox ruler. Yet there was then in Scotland an
enthusiasm compared with which the enthusiasm even of this man was
lukewarm. The extreme Covenanters protested against his defection as
vehemently as he had protested against the Black Indulgence and the oath
of supremacy, and pronounced every man who entered Angus’s regiment
guilty of a wicked confederacy with malignants.”

Immediately after its formation, the regiment, which was raised to a
strength of near 1000 men in a few hours, marched and was stationed in
Edinburgh, where it served to keep under the rebellious schemes of many
a hot-headed Jacobite. Although Dundee appeared the natural enemy of
such a regiment, still it had not the satisfaction of being present at
Killiecrankie, where that great chieftain fell in what may be well
considered the greatest victory of his life. The disasters of the fight,
and the apparent ruin of the Royal cause, called for immediate succour
being sent to Major-General Mackay; but the blunders of those in power
at Edinburgh, distrusting Mackay, and, like too many councils, essaying
to be generals as well as statesmen, very nigh consigned our Cameronians
to a cruel fate. Advancing into the heart of the disaffected districts,
and stationed at Dunkeld, the regiment—but for its dauntless spirit and
heroic endurance, and the incapacity of General Cannon, who had
succeeded Dundee in the command of the rebels—would have been utterly
cut to pieces. The result of the conflict was most glorious, early
displaying the mettle of this gallant regiment. Lord Macaulay thus
summons the rich elegance and might of language to describe the scene:—

“The Cameronian regiment was sent to garrison Dunkeld. Of this
arrangement Mackay altogether disapproved. He knew that at Dunkeld these
troops would be near the enemy; that they would be far from all
assistance; that they would be in an open town; that they would be
surrounded by a hostile population; that they were very imperfectly
disciplined, though doubtless brave and zealous; that they were regarded
by the whole Jacobite party throughout Scotland with peculiar
malevolence; and that in all probability some great effort would be made
to disgrace and destroy them.

“The General’s opinion was disregarded; and the Cameronians occupied the
post assigned to them. It soon appeared that his forebodings were just.
The inhabitants of the country round Dunkeld furnished Cannon with
intelligence, and urged him to make a bold push. The peasantry of Athol,
impatient for spoil, came in great numbers to swell his army. The
regiment hourly expected to be attacked, and became discontented and
turbulent. The men, intrepid, indeed, both from constitution and
enthusiasm, but not yet broken to habits of military submission,
expostulated with Cleland, who commanded them. They had, they imagined,
been recklessly, if not perfidiously, sent to certain destruction. They
were protected by no ramparts: they had a very scanty stock of
ammunition: they were hemmed in by enemies. An officer might mount and
gallop beyond reach of danger in an hour: but the private soldier must
stay and be butchered. ‘Neither I,’ said Cleland, ‘nor any of my
officers will, in any extremity, abandon you. Bring out my horse, all
our horses: they shall be shot dead.’ These words produced a complete
change of feeling. The men answered that the horses should not be shot,
that they wanted no pledge from their brave Colonel except his word, and
that they would run the last hazard with him. They kept their promise
well. The Puritan blood was now thoroughly up; and what that blood was
when it was up had been proved on many fields of battle.

“That night the regiment passed under arms. On the morning of the
following day, the twenty-first of August, all the hills round Dunkeld
were alive with bonnets and plaids. Cannon’s army was much larger than
that which Dundee had commanded, and was accompanied by more than a
thousand horses laden with baggage. Both the horses and baggage were
probably part of the booty of Killiecrankie. The whole number of
Highlanders was estimated by those who saw them at from four to five
thousand men. They came furiously on. The outposts of the Cameronians
were speedily driven in. The assailants came pouring on every side into
the streets. The church, however, held out obstinately. But the greater
part of the regiment made its stand behind a wall which surrounded a
house belonging to the Marquess of Athole. This wall, which had two or
three days before been hastily repaired with timber and loose stones,
the soldiers defended desperately with musket, pike, and halbert. Their
bullets were soon spent; but some of the men were employed in cutting
lead from the roof of the Marquess’s house and shaping it into slugs.
Meanwhile all the neighbouring houses were crowded from top to bottom
with Highlanders, who kept up a galling fire from the windows. Cleland,
while encouraging his men, was shot dead. The command devolved on Major
Henderson. In another minute Henderson fell pierced with three mortal
wounds. His place was supplied by Captain Munro, and the contest went on
with undiminished fury. A party of the Cameronians sallied forth, set
fire to the houses from which the fatal shots had come, and turned the
keys in the doors. In one single dwelling sixteen of the enemy were
burnt alive. Those who were in the fight described it as a terrible
initiation for recruits. Half the town was blazing; and with the
incessant roar of the guns were mingled the piercing shrieks of wretches
perishing in the flames. The struggle lasted four hours. By that time
the Cameronians were reduced nearly to their last flask of powder: but
their spirit never flagged. ‘The enemy will soon carry the wall. Be it
so. We will retreat into the house: we will defend it to the last; and,
if they force their way into it, we will burn it over their heads and
our own.’ But, while they were revolving these desperate projects, they
observed that the fury of the assault slackened. Soon the Highlanders
began to fall back: disorder visibly spread among them; and whole bands
began to march off to the hills. It was in vain that their general
ordered them to return to the attack. Perseverance was not one of their
military virtues. The Cameronians meanwhile, with shouts of defiance,
invited Amalek and Moab to come back and to try another chance with the
chosen people. But these exhortations had as little effect as those of
Cannon. In a short time the whole Gaelic army was in full retreat
towards Blair. Then the drums struck up: the victorious Puritans threw
their caps into the air, raised, with one voice, a psalm of triumph and
thanksgiving, and waved their colours, colours which were on that day
unfurled for the first time in the face of an enemy, but which have
since been proudly borne in every quarter of the world, and which are
now embellished with the ‘Sphinx’ and the ‘Dragon,’ emblems of brave
actions achieved in Egypt and in China.”

“The Cameronians had good reason to be joyful and thankful; for they had
finished the war.” The loss of the regiment did not exceed 70 men,
whilst the rebels lost 300; but the death of their brave Commander,
Colonel Cleland, was a source of great regret to the Cameronians. This
desperate resistance, insignificant in itself, so cooled the fiery zeal
of the clans, that, melting away like snow, General Cannon was compelled
to retreat, and, soon without an army, to submit.


                             CHAPTER XVII.

       “Farewell! ye dear partners of peril, farewell!
         Tho’ buried ye lie in one wide bloody grave,
       Your deeds shall ennoble the place where ye fell,
         And your names be enroll’d with the sons of the brave.”


In 1691 the regiment joined the British army then serving in Flanders
against the French, and, by its steady valour, fully maintained its
character at the battle of Steenkirk and the siege of Namur. So highly
did the King appreciate its worth, that, when peace induced the
Government to disband many regiments, he retained the Cameronians in his
own pay, on the establishment of the Dutch Estates.

The arrogant pretensions of the House of Bourbon to the vacant throne of
Spain, in opposition to the claims of the House of Hapsburg, re-kindled
the flames of war, and bade France and Austria, as the principals,
seconded by Bavaria and Britain, engage in mortal combat. Of the British
army sent to Holland in consequence, the Twenty-sixth formed a part. In
1703, brigaded with the Tenth, the Sixteenth, the Twenty-first, and the
second battalion of the First Royal Scots, it served with great
distinction in the army of Marlborough at Donawerth, and specially at
the battle of Blenheim, where, suffering severely, it had to lament the
loss of nineteen officers. At the battle of Ramilies, in 1706, the
regiment, after being much exposed throughout the fight, was engaged in
the pursuit of the beaten foe until midnight. It further shared the
sanguinary glories of Malplaquet ere the war was terminated by the peace
of Utrecht in 1713. Soon after its return home, the infatuation of the
Jacobites, whose licentious habits could not brook to be bridled by the
austere yet healthier _morale_ which presided in the Protestant Court of
the House of Hanover—longing for the restoration of that of Stuart as
likely to afford freer scope for the indulgence of their own evil
appetites—organised a conspiracy, which brought forth the rebellion of
1715. The Earl of Mar, an imbecile chief and ungrateful minion of the
Court, essayed to be its leader in Scotland, whilst Sir John Foster and
other cavaliers vainly strove simultaneously to arouse the malignant
Jacobitism which slumbered in the northern counties of England. To meet
the few who had dared to challenge the existing sovereignty, and under
Foster were advancing southward through Lancashire in hopes of being
reinforced by other malcontents, a body of royal troops was hastily
collected, chiefly cavalry—the Twenty-sixth being the only infantry
regiment. Without order, a distinct plan of action, or any definite
understanding as to a leader, the enemy, who had taken possession of,
and proposed to hold Preston against the assault of the Royalist army,
was easily broken, dispersed, and their cause utterly ruined. During
this unfortunate rebellion, which occasioned the effusion of much blood,
Colonel Blackader—who had accompanied the Twenty-sixth in its
continental campaigns, where he was ever distinguished among “the
bravest of the brave,” and whose ably-written records have bequeathed to
our day much that is valuable in the thread of Scottish military
history, and interesting in the annals of the Cameronian regiment—at
this period commanded the Glasgow Volunteers. The rebellion being
suppressed, the regiment was placed upon the Irish establishment,
garrisoning various posts in the emerald isle until the year 1727, when
it was removed to reinforce the troops which then defended the important
fortress of Gibraltar, baffling the most stupendous efforts of the
Spaniards to reduce it. Eleven years later it was sent to Minorca, and
thence returned home in 1754. This long absence on foreign service was
succeeded by an interval of quietude at home, so far at least as the
service of our Cameronians was concerned. In 1775, the unhappy conflict
began which bereft us of a valuable colony, and severed us from those
who ought to have been one with us as brethren. Like the Northern States
of America _now_, so we _then_, in the pride of our own self-righteous
will which had been challenged, supposed to enforce legislation by the
sword. Hence a British army, including the Twenty-sixth, was sent out to
America. Although at first the progress of our arms was graced with many
successes, still the end proved most disastrous. The Colonists, sorely
schooled in adversity, learned, through many defeats, how to conquer,
the more so when the shining abilities of Washington appearing, directed
their native valour and commanded their confidence as well as their
obedience. Shortly after the capture of St John’s, a detachment of the
regiment having been embarked in a vessel for secret service, the
expedition, discovered by the enemy, was pursued and captured. When
escape was seen to be impossible, and resistance hopeless, to prevent
the colours falling into the hands of the foe, they were wound round a
cannon shot and sunk in the river; and thus, however severe the
dispensation which befel themselves in being made prisoners of war, the
regiment was spared the aggravated pain of seeing the colours it had
followed to so many glorious successes—the epitome of a soldier’s
honour—becoming now, in the hands of the enemy, the record of its
present misfortune. Subsequently the regiment was engaged with the army,
under Lieut.-General Sir Henry Clinton, during the campaigns of 1777–78.

Returning home from Halifax, in 1800, the transport, containing one
company of the regiment, under command of Captain Campbell, was captured
by the French privateer “Grande Decidèe.” With the British army under
Sir Ralph Abercromby—which achieved the deliverance of Egypt—the
Cameronians won a title by distinguished service, to include “Egypt”
among the records of its bravery. Meanwhile, the necessities of the
state were such that, the Government resolving to strengthen the army, a
second battalion was raised and grafted upon the good old stock of the
Twenty-sixth. In these times of war little rest could be expected. To
the brave, the patriot, it was peculiarly a time of action, not mere
idle alarm. Our country rejoiced in the security which was ensured by an
army, of which our Cameronians were so honoured a representative. Our
sovereigns benignantly smiled upon and proudly felt themselves happy
when they regarded the ranks of these our gallant defenders, nor feared
invasion so long as they possessed the allegiance of such soldiers.
Grieving that so large a kingdom as that of Spain should have fallen a
prey to the rapacious perfidy of Napoleon, and sympathising with the
patriotic efforts which a spirited people were then putting forth to be
free, our Government had recognised in that peninsula, with its
extensive sea-board, a fair theatre for action, and as the result
proved, a vulnerable point where Europe might strike a fatal blow at the
absorbing dominion of France. Following up these ideas, and in answer to
the earnest petitions for help from the people themselves, who gathered
together into patriotic bands, yet dared to struggle against the tyranny
which enslaved and ruined all who owned its supremacy, our Government,
in 1808, sent out a British army under Sir John Moore, which,
co-operating with the natives and the British army of Portugal, it was
vainly hoped should expel the enemy. The Twenty-sixth regiment, included
in this expedition, was doomed to share its cruel disappointments, yet
earn a title to the glory which must ever rest upon the memory of the
soldiers of Corunna. With the native daring of his race, Sir John Moore
advanced with 25,000 men into the very heart of Spain, and only
retreated when the expected aid from the Spaniards had been dissipated
by their defeat and ruin, and when Napoleon in person, at the head of an
army of 300,000 men, threatened to overwhelm his little phalanx of
British. Then, but not till then, he undertook that masterly retreat
which achieved the salvation of his brave troops, and in the end loaded
himself with honour, as closing a life of worth, he won the laurel
crown, and

                         “Like a soldier fell”

in the arms of victory. Lieut.-General Hope thus fitly records the
irreparable loss sustained in the death of Sir John Moore:—

“I need not expatiate on the loss which the army and his country have
sustained by the death of Sir John Moore. His fall has deprived me of a
valuable friend, to whom long experience of his worth had sincerely
attached me. But it is chiefly on public grounds that I must lament the
blow. It will be the conversation of every one who loved or respected
his manly character, that after conducting the army through an arduous
retreat with consummate firmness, he has terminated a career of
distinguished honour, by a death that has given the enemy additional
reason to respect the name of a British soldier. Like the immortal
Wolfe, he is snatched from his country at an early period of a life
spent in her service; like Wolfe, his last moments were gilded by the
prospect of success, and cheered by the acclamation of victory; like
Wolfe, also, his memory will for ever remain sacred in that country
which he sincerely loved, and which he had so faithfully served.”

The brunt of the action fell upon the Fourth, the Forty-second, the
Fiftieth, the Eighty-first regiments, a portion of the brigade of the
Guards, and the Twenty-sixth regiment. We are left to regret that the
Twenty-sixth had not afterwards an opportunity to avenge the death of
its commander upon the French—not again being seriously engaged in the
desolating wars of the time, which deluged the Continent with blood ere
a lasting peace had been attained by the triumph of Waterloo. This blank
in the active history of the regiment may be accounted for from the fact
that, after its return to England, serving with the army in the
Walcheren expedition, it suffered so severely in that unfortunate
campaign, that only ninety effective men returned to represent it.
Nevertheless, in 1811, recruited, it was embarked for Portugal, and in
the following year removed to Gibraltar, where the fatigues of military
duty pressed so severely upon the raw lads who then constituted the
regiment, that sickness appearing, fated many of those brave youth, who
feared not man, to faint and fail in the presence of this unseen and
unrelenting foe.

On the return of peace the second battalion was reduced. In 1826 the
regiment was sent to India, where it served successively in the
presidencies of Madras and Bengal.


If the sword, the pestilence, or the famine should slay each their
thousands, the vice of intemperance, the crying iniquity of our land,
has slain its tens of thousands. The throne, the senate, the pulpit, and
the press, alike deplore its ravages; and although differing as to the
remedy to be applied, professedly all declare a crusade against this
social hydra. Exalted, not alone by our own might, or our own goodness,
but by the blessing of God resting upon these, Britain may well be
regarded as the lighthouse, divinely lighted, shedding abroad upon the
tumultuous waste of sin and ignorance around the saving light of truth
and righteousness. Strange inconsistency! notwithstanding[*N?] all this,
our merchants sacrifice honour at the shrine of gold, and amass wealth
by becoming the moral degenerators of others who have the sublime
virtue—which we lack—to expel by enactment the drug which would ruin, by
the passion it excites, an intellectual nation. In defiance of these
enactments, and despite our fair professions, we regret to think Britain
should afford countenance to the opium traffic, and lend the might of
her arms to maintain it, although involving a breach of the law of
China, and inflicting upon the Chinese a moral wrong. Happy are we to
know that there were not a few amongst us who had the courage to
repudiate the action of Government in this matter, and at length
awakening our people to the iniquity, so impressed our rulers as to
induce a better policy. But for the supreme vanity and duplicity of the
Chinese, war might have been averted. Their obnoxious impudence, and the
insults they strove to heap upon us, necessitated the vindication of our
honour, and occasioned the landing of a British force to chastise their
folly and protect British property. Accordingly, in 1840, the
Twenty-sixth, with the Eighteenth and Forty-ninth regiments, and other
Indian troops, embarked from Madras, and, arriving in China,
accomplished a landing on the island of Chusan. Excepting in some few
cases where the Chinese did behave themselves like men in the defence of
their country, our soldiers victoriously marched upon the cities of
Shanghae and Chin-Keang-foo, which fell an easy triumph to their daring.
The campaigns afford little to interest us in their record: we are,
therefore, content to say the arduous services of our troops were
rewarded, and, with the Eighteenth, Forty-ninth, Fifty-fifth, and
Ninety-eighth regiments, our Cameronians won the distinction of the
“Dragon.” Returning to Calcutta in 1843, the Twenty-sixth proceeded
thence to England, and in 1850 garrisoned Gibraltar. In 1853 the
regiment embarked for Canada, and was stationed at Montreal, afterwards,
re-embarking, removed to Bermuda, whence, in 1859, it once more returned
to the beloved shores of our native land. Restored to Scotland in 1861,
garrisoning Edinburgh Castle, the regiment was welcomed amongst us with
every expression of the highest veneration and heartfelt interest as the
representative of the Cameronians, whose prompt loyalty and patriotism,
more than a hundred and seventy years ago, wrested that same castle from
the dominion of the Stuart, and helped to give that liberty of faith
which we now so abundantly enjoy.


                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                  “Think on Scotia’s ancient heroes,
                    Think on foreign foes repell’d,
                  Think on glorious Bruce and Wallace,
                    Wha the proud usurpers quell’d.”

                       DRAGOONS—SEVENTIETH FOOT.

Not to exceed the limits we prescribed in setting out, we are
reluctantly compelled, in fulfilling our promise, to group into a single
brief chapter a variety of records incidental to our history.

                              LIFE GUARDS.

It is only fitting to note, that two troops of Scots Life Guards, raised
in Scotland shortly after the Restoration, and engaged with the Scots
Greys and Claverhouse’s Scots Horse in putting down Presbyterianism by
the sword, were at the Revolution included in the splendid cavalry of
the Life Guards, which have since been retained in waiting upon the
sovereign—their magnificent equipment and martial appearance, lending
dignity to the pageant of Royalty. Their excellence as soldiers has been
proved in the memorable victory of “Waterloo.”

                   THE SEVENTH HUSSARS—“QUEEN’S OWN.”

Viscount Dundee’s regiment of Scots Dragoons, or, as familiarly known in
Scottish song, “the bonnets o’ Bonnie Dundee,” refusing to enter the
service of William and Mary upon the involuntary abdication and flight
of James II., retiring into Scotland, becoming partners in the treason
and rebellion of their fiery leader, involved in his ruin, was lost to
the country. As if to replace this regiment, which had thus fallen to
pieces, the King, in 1690, raised a new cavalry corps in Scotland, known
as Cunningham’s Dragoons. It shares much of the history, and
participates largely in the honours, which we have already attempted to
describe as belonging to the “Scots Greys.” The regiment was disbanded
in 1713; but, two years later, re-formed from three companies of the
Scots Greys, two companies of the Royal Dragoons, and one newly raised.
As the “Seventh Queen’s Own Hussars,” it has never since ceased to
sustain its early reputation for steadiness and valour—the tokens of
which, emblazoned upon its colours and appointments, are comprised in
these two words: “Peninsula” and “Waterloo.”

                      SEVENTEENTH LIGHT DRAGOONS.

Whilst France and Britain fiercely contended as to the extent of their
dominions in the American continent, where each might well be supposed
to have enough and to spare, Lord Aberdour, in 1759, raised a regiment
of cavalry in Scotland. Light dragoons had just then been introduced
into the service, and proved a most valuable arm thereof. We have failed
to discover precisely in what services this corps was employed, but are
inclined to think, with the Fifteenth Light Dragoons, the Inniskilling,
and Scots Greys, it must have served in Germany, under the Duke of
Brunswick, during the Seven Years’ War. It was disbanded in 1763.

The Seventeenth Lancers, inheriting the martial ardour of this
old regiment, have more than sustained the credit of the
“Seventeenth”—bearing upon its colours and appointments “The Alma,”
“Balaklava,” “Inkermann,” and “Sevastopol”—and has gained a mightier
fame as one of the five regiments who formed the Light Cavalry Brigade
under the Earl of Cardigan in his memorable charge during the Crimean
war, fitly styled, from its fatal glory—“The Death’s Ride.”


The disputes arising in 1758 between France and Britain as to the
boundary line of their American colonies failing to be amicably
adjusted, war was accepted as the stern arbiter. To meet the emergency,
our army was increased, and the—

  Second Battalion of the  3d   Foot constituted the  61st   Regiment.
        ”         ”        4th       ”         ”      62d        ”
        ”         ”        8th       ”         ”      63d        ”
        ”         ”        11th      ”         ”      64th       ”
        ”         ”        12th      ”         ”      65th       ”
        ”         ”        19th      ”         ”      66th       ”
        ”         ”        20th      ”         ”      67th       ”
        ”         ”        23d       ”         ”      68th       ”
        ”         ”        24th      ”         ”      69th       ”
        ”         ”        31st      ”         ”      70th       ”
        ”         ”        32d       ”         ”      71st       ”
        ”         ”        33d       ”         ”      72d        ”
        ”         ”        34th      ”         ”      73d        ”
        ”         ”        36th      ”         ”      74th       ”
        ”         ”        37th      ”         ”      75th       ”

Thus the Seventieth was born out of the second battalion of the
Thirty-first English Regiment, (raised about the year 1702, during the
reign of Queen Anne, and for some time serving as marines in the fleet).
Shortly after its formation, being stationed in Scotland, and largely
recruited in Glasgow, the Seventieth was styled, in consequence of its
interest in that city and its light grey facings, the “Glasgow Greys.”
Ten years later the facings were changed to black. In 1782, probably in
compliment to its colonel, it became the “Surrey Regiment.” From some
unaccountable reason, in 1812 it was restored to somewhat of its
original character as the “Glasgow Lowland Regiment;” and again in 1823,
likely for recruiting purposes, it was re-christened the “Surrey”—which
designation it still retains. Although stationed in British America
during the war which raged amid the wilds of the New World, we do not
find it fortunate enough to be engaged. Indeed, the captures of the
islands of Martinique in 1794, and Guadaloupe in 1810, seem to be the
only trophies which it has been honoured to attain. No doubt its ranks
contained the same brave spirits as have everywhere and always sustained
the credit of the British soldier—yet have these been destined to reap
in quietude a glory by good conduct no less meritorious, although
apparently less lustrous, than that which is acquired amid the carnage
of the battle-field—consecrated in “the stormy music of the drum,” and
proclaimed in the shrill sound of the trumpet.


                        THE SEVENTY-THIRD FOOT;
                            SECOND BATTALION
                                 OF THE


                              CHAPTER XIX.

      “Then our sodgers were drest in their kilts and short hose,
      Wi’ their bonnets and belts which their dress did compose,
      And a bag of oatmeal on their backs to make brose.
          O! the kail brose o’ auld Scotland,
          And O the Scottish kail brose.”


The immense and increasing territory which circumstances had placed
under British protection, and in the end consigned to our possession in
India, occasioned a considerable increase of our army in order to
maintain these new gotten provinces against the incursions of
neighbouring and powerful tribes. Thus, in 1780, a second battalion was
raised for the Forty-second Royal Highlanders, which was ultimately
constituted independently the Seventy-third regiment. The battalion was
embodied at Perth, under Lord John Murray as Colonel, and Macleod, of
Macleod, as Lieut.-Colonel. Amongst its early officers, Lieutenant
Oswald was distinguished as the subject of a strange speculation which
at this time so tickled the brilliant imaginings of our “literati,” as
to call forth from the pen of a learned doctor an elaborate
disquisition, intended to prove that Napoleon the Great was none else
than Lieutenant Oswald, who, imbibing republican ideas, had passed over
to France, and by a chain of circumstances been elevated from the
command of a republican regiment to be the great captain and ruler of
France. Such marvellous transformations were by no means uncommon in the
then disordered state of French society. Virtue as well as vice was
ofttimes the idol for a time, to be exalted and adored. But the life and
adventures of Lieutenant Oswald, however notorious, did not attain such
a grand ideal. With his two sons, he fell fighting at the head of his
regiment in La Vendee in 1793.

Scarce had the battalion been completed ere it was shipped for foreign
service. Intended to prosecute an attack upon the colony of the Cape of
Good Hope, the aim of the expedition was frustrated by the promptitude
of Admiral Sufferin, who commanded the French fleet, and arriving first
at the colony, prevented a landing being successfully effected. The
expedition thus interrupted sailed for India, in the passage making a
valuable capture of richly laden Dutch Indiamen. In the division of the
spoil arising, after much disputing, the soldiers shared. One hundred
and twenty officers and men of the regiment fell a prey to the scurvy
and fever on the voyage, which, from the ignorance and incapacity of the
commanders of the transports, was protracted to twelve months. The
“Myrtle,” without maps or charts, separated from the fleet in a tempest,
was only saved by the cool resolution of Captain Dalyell, who, amid many
perils, succeeded in navigating the vessel to St Helena, and so rescuing
many valuable lives who otherwise would probably have been lost. Arrived
at Madras, the battalion was immediately advanced into the interior,
where the critical position of British affairs, assailed by the numerous
black legions of Hyder Ali and his son Tippoo Saib, aided by a French
force under General Lally, rendered the presence of every bayonet of
importance. The utmost efforts of Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Frederick
Mackenzie Humberston could only muster a British force of 2500 men, of
whom 2200 were Sepoys. Nevertheless, with these he advanced to check the
progress of the enemy, who had an army of 10,000 cavalry and 14,000
infantry. Notwithstanding this immense superiority in numbers on the
part of the enemy, nothing could daunt our troops; bravely they held
their own, defying the most desperate attempts of the foe to drive them
back. The general order thus records the action that ensued: “This
little army, attacked on ground not nearly fortified, by very superior
numbers, skilfully disposed and regularly led on; they had nothing to
depend on but their native valour, their discipline, and the conduct of
the officers. These were nobly exerted, and the event has been
answerable. The intrepidity with which Major Campbell and the
Highlanders repeatedly charged the enemy was most honourable to their

More effectually to strike at the power of the Sultan by cutting him off
from the source whence he had hitherto drawn his supplies, a
considerable force was ordered to assemble in the Bombay Presidency,
and, under Brigadier-General Matthews, assail Beddinore. To join this
army the battalion was embarked and sailed for Bombay, whence, advancing
into the country, it effected a junction with the army near Cundapore.
The Highlanders were particularly distinguished in the attack and
capture of a series of forts which impeded the march, and especially so
in the taking of a strong fortress which lay in the way, named, because
of its strength, Hyder Gurr. The enemy was so impressed by the spirit
evinced in these assaults, that, dreading a further attack, they
evacuated Beddinore without an attempt to defend it, which was
immediately occupied by the British in January, 1783. This battalion was
not of the army which soon after was surrendered to the enemy by General
Matthews, who foolishly deemed himself too weak to withstand the
imposing force which had surrounded him in Beddinore.

The conduct of Major Campbell, who commanded this battalion in the
defence of Mangalore, stands forth in brilliant contrast to the errors
which led General Matthews to surrender an equally brave army into the
cruel hands of the Mysore tyrant. With 250 Highlanders and 1500 Sepoys,
Major Campbell, although assailed by an army of 100,000 men, aided by a
powerful artillery, defended Mangalore for nine months. Throughout the
siege the defenders behaved with the most heroic constancy and
gallantry, although experiencing the pinchings of famine, and exposed to
the most cruel disappointments. Even the Sepoys, emulating the
Highlanders, so distinguished themselves, that, in compliment to their
bravery, our countrymen dubbed one of their regiments their own third
battalion. Truly it was a new and strange thing to have within the Royal
Highland Regiment a cohort of “brave blacks;” yet it displays a generous
sentiment which reflects honour upon the regiment. Three times did a
British squadron enter the bay, having on board stores and
reinforcements, yet as often did this needed and expected aid retire
without helping these perishing, exhausted brave—out of respect to the
armistice of a faithless foe, which for a time existed and apparently
terminated the siege. Their perfidy in one instance, scorning the
sacredness of treaties, exploded a mine, which blew into the air the
flag of truce then waving from the British ramparts. Reduced to the last
extremities, shut up to a dark despair, indignant for the seeming
neglect of friends, and dreading the relentless wrath of the enemy, the
brave garrison accepted the only hope of life which yet remained, by
surrender; and, be it said to the honour of the Indian character—with
the generosity which becomes the conquering soldier in the presence of a
brave yet vanquished foe—the terms imposed were such as enabled the
exhausted remnant of the garrison to retire with all the honours of war.
Scarce 500 effective men could be mustered to march out of the fortress,
and these so feeble as to be hardly able to bear the weight of their
muskets. Colonel Fullarton, in his interesting volume upon British
India, thus writes: “Colonel Campbell has made a defence which has
seldom been equalled and never surpassed.” The memorial of this service
is still borne alone upon the colours and appointments of the
Seventy-third. So redundant with honour had been the services of this
second battalion of the Forty-second Royal Highlanders, that when the
army, in 1786, was being reduced, by the disbanding of second
battalions, the representations of the officers of the regiment were so
favourably received by the Government, that this battalion was retained
as an independent corps, under the command of Sir George Osborn, Bart.,
thereafter known as the Seventy-third Regiment. In the division of
Major-General Robert Abercromby, the regiment joined the army of Lord
Cornwallis, which, in 1792, advanced upon Seringapatam; the attack was
only arrested by the proposals of a treaty of peace. In the brigade of
Lieutenant-Colonel David Baird, the Seventy-third was engaged in the
reduction of the French colony of Pondicherry, and, in 1795, in the army
of Major-General James Stuart, assailed and occupied the valuable island
of Ceylon. At length the arm of vengeance—vengeance for the murdered
brave who had fallen victims to the cruelty of Hyder Ali in the
pestilential dungeons of Seringapatam—so often threatened, yet always
averted, descended to consume the guilty city and destroy its merciless
ruler. Seringapatam fell before the arms of our troops, including the
Seventy-third Regiment, in 1799. The history of the regiment at this
period is associated with the early achievements of the “Great Duke,”
then the Honourable Colonel Arthur Wellesley.


  on the night of the 6^{th} of Febr.

Returning home in 1805, the regiment proceeded to Scotland to recruit,
and in 1809, despoiled of its Highland character, laid aside “the garb
of old Gaul” and the designation it had hitherto enjoyed. Increased by
the addition of a second battalion, the first battalion was sent to New
South Wales; whilst the second, remaining at home, was, in 1813,
employed as the solitary representative of the British army in the north
of Germany.

The Annual Register gives the following account of the battle of Gorde,
where it fought with honour:—“After landing at Stralsund, and assisting
in completing the works of that town, Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, with
the Seventy-third, was detached into the interior of the country, to
feel for the enemy, and also to get into communication with
Lieutenant-General Count Wallmoden, which dangerous service he
successfully effected, though he had with great care and caution to
creep with his small force between the large _corps d’armée_ of Davoust
and other French Generals at that time stationed in Pomerania,
Mecklenburg, and Hanover. Having joined Count Wallmoden, the
Seventy-third contributed greatly to the victory that General gained
over the French on the plains of Gorde, in Hanover, where
Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, at the head of his battalion, declining any
aid, and at the moment when the German hussars had been routed, charged
up a steep hill, took a battery of French artillery, and unfurling the
British colours, at once spread terror amongst that gallant enemy which
feared no others; a panic struck them, and they fled.”

This battalion was also hotly engaged at the desperate conflict of
Quatre Bras, and the decisive victory of Waterloo, in 1815. In the
Kaffir Wars, which desolated South Africa from 1846–47, and 1850–53, the
Seventy-third bore an important part. It was also present in India
during the recent Sepoy Mutiny. Having abandoned its national character
since 1809, it does not fall within the scope of this work further to
follow the narrative of those achievements that have never failed
worthily to sustain the excellence which—whilst our own—belonged to it.
We are sure that, whoever they be that now represent the Seventy-third,
the perusal of this imperfect sketch will not make them ashamed of its
Highland origin, but rather incite them to emulate those brave deeds,
the glory of which they are privileged to inherit.


                        THE SEVENTY-FIFTH FOOT;


                              CHAPTER XX.

                  “Courage! Nothing e’er withstood
                  Freemen fighting for their good;
                  Armed with all their fathers’ fame,
                  They will win and wear a name
                  That shall go to endless glory,
                  Like the gods of old Greek story;
                  Raised to heaven and heavenly worth,
                  For the good they gave to earth.”


In General Stuart’s admirable and interesting annals of the Highland
Regiments, the brief record of the Seventy-fifth Highlanders is
introduced by a series of wholesome counsels as to military
administration, gathered from his own large experience and wide field of
diligent inquiry, from which we shall quote a few extracts, as being
useful and helpful to our history. It seems that this regiment, raised
by Colonel Robert Abercromby in 1787 from among his tenantry around
Stirling, and the veterans who, in earlier life, had served under him in
the army as a light brigade, had been subjected to an unusually strict
system of discipline, which had operated prejudicially upon the corps.
The system adopted “was formed on the old Prussian model; fear was the
great principle of action; consequently, it became the first object of
the soldiers to escape detection, more than to avoid crimes.” This
system, when enforced, “was carried into effect by one of the captains
who commanded in the absence of the field-officers. He was an able and
intelligent officer; but he had been educated in a school in which he
had imbibed ideas of correctness which required no small strength of
mind to enforce, and which, when enforced with severity, tended to break
the spirit of the soldiers to a degree which no perfection in movement
can ever compensate. When applied to the British soldier in particular,
this system has frequently frustrated its own purpose.”
Brotherly-kindness and charity—patience and forbearance—are virtues
which should not be banished, but rather be exercised, as thoroughly
consistent with the best military institutions. A considerate attention
to the wants, nay, the very weaknesses of the soldier, is likely to
accomplish more for good discipline than the stern frigidity of mere
military despotism. It was in the camp that the iron will of Napoleon,
unbending, achieved a charmed omnipotence over his soldiers, and by a
single simple, pithy sentence fired them with that ardour and devotion
which made Europe tremble beneath the tread of his invincible legions.
The charm was only broken when the vastness of his dominion had
scattered the old soldiers of the empire, and the feeble conscript
failed to sustain the veteran remnant of “The Guard,” the more
especially at a time when disasters, quickly crowding upon his arms, and
bereft of the invincibility which had hitherto been inseparable to his
presence, no power remained to animate the soul of the recruit, rudely
torn from his home and pressed into the fatal vortex of the dying army.
The marvellous sway of this great captain over the hearts as well as the
wills of his soldiers teaches many useful lessons, and illustrates what
General Stuart so well observes:—“When a soldier’s honour is in such
little consideration that disgraceful punishments are applied to
trifling faults, it will soon be thought not worth preserving.” We must
have a degree of faith equally in the honour as well as the loyalty of
our soldiers, to help them to a cheerful and not a Russian stolidness in
the discharge of duty. In the case of the Seventy-fifth “the necessity
of this severe discipline was not proved by the results, when the
regiment passed under the command of another officer. The system was
then softened and relaxed, and much of the necessity of punishment
ceased; the men became more quiet and regular, and in every respect
better soldiers. A soldier sees his rights respected, and while he
performs his duty, he is certain of being well treated, well fed, well
clothed, and regularly paid; he is, consequently, contented in his mind
and moral in his habits.”

At length released from the terrors under which, for eighteen months,
the corps had been trained, it embarked for India, where, with other
King’s regiments, chiefly Highland, and the British native troops, it
was present with great credit at the several attacks upon Seringapatam,
which, in 1799, terminated in the capture of that capital. Subsequently
the Seventy-fifth was engaged with the army under Lord Lake in the
campaigns of Upper India. It was one of the five British regiments
which, in 1805, were so disastrously repulsed in an attempt upon the
strong fortress of Bhurtpore. Returning to England in 1806, like the
Seventy-third, the regiment was shortly thereafter shorn of its dignity
as a Highland corps, not a hundred Highlanders remaining in its ranks.

We cannot but lament the circumstances which have bereaved us of an
interest in so many regiments once representatives of our Old Highland
Brigade. Believing our “Scottish Rights Association” to sympathise with
us in these regrets, and believing it to be composed of men truly in
earnest, we commend, to their most serious consideration—not merely as a
theme for eloquent disquisition, but as a field for action—the revival
and preservation, in their original integrity, of the old Scottish and
Highland regiments. By suggesting some better mode of recruiting and
stirring up our countrymen to rally round the national colours of those
regiments, which still in name belong to us, they may be prevented from
still farther degenerating, and sharing a similar fate as those who have
already been lopped from the parent stem—lost to our nationality, lost
because of our own apathy, lost in the great sea of British valour. A
very interesting cotemporary work, giving “An Account of the Scottish
Regiments,” published by Mr Nimmo of Edinburgh, and compiled by an
official well versant in these matters, is now before us, and shows how
the tide of professed improvement, encroaching in this utilitarian age,
is likely soon to obliterate the ancient landmarks. Wave after wave of
civilisation has broken upon the shore of privilege and custom, hallowed
by a venerable age, and, by assimilation, would sweep away the
time-honoured characteristics which distinguish our Scottish soldiers
and people.


  14^{th}. September 1857.

The Seventy-fifth regiment served with distinction at the Cape of Good
Hope during the Kaffir War of 1835, which threatened to wrest that
valuable colony from us. It is also distinguished for its heroic efforts
before Delhi during the Indian Mutiny, where Lieutenant Wadeson and
Private Patrick Green won the Victoria Cross.[B] With the Royal Tiger
emblazoned upon its colours—a distinction gained on the same sultry
plains for previous service in India, conferred in July, 1807—it
increased its merited reputation by driving the enemy before it, at the
point of the bayonet, and effecting the capture of all his guns. The
conduct of the little army which achieved the fall of Delhi is thus
eulogised by the Governor-General:—“Before a single soldier, of the many
thousands who are hastening from England to uphold the supremacy of the
British power, has set foot on these shores, the rebel force, where it
was strongest and most united, and where it had the command of unbounded
military appliances, has been destroyed or scattered by an army
collected within the limits of the North-western Provinces and the
Punjab alone.

Footnote B:

  For these and many other details, the Author is indebted to the
  “_Medals of the British Army_,” by Mr Carter, who has therein
  endeavoured to individualise the several regiments, and to show the
  particular deeds, not only of the corps, but also of the officers and

“The work has been done before the support of those battalions, which
have been collected in Bengal from the forces of the Queen in China, and
in Her Majesty’s eastern colonies, could reach Major-General Wilson’s
army; and it is by the courage and endurance of that gallant army alone;
by the skill, sound judgment, and steady resolution of its brave
commander; and by the aid of some native chiefs, true to their
allegiance, that, under the blessing of God, the head of rebellion has
been crushed, and the cause of loyalty, humanity, and rightful authority




                          THE NINETIETH FOOT;
                         PERTHSHIRE VOLUNTEERS.


                              CHAPTER XXI.

             “He, in the firmament of honour, stands
             Like a star, fixed, not moved with any thunder
             Of popular applause, or sudden lightning
             Of self-opinion; he hath saved his country,
             And thinks ’twas but his duty.”


From the wilds of Perthshire have hailed many of the best and bravest
soldiers, whose deeds grace our military annals, and whose lives have
been the embodiment of all that truly ennobles character and makes the
man. Of these there is none perhaps more justly celebrated than Thomas
Graham, Lord Lynedoch, whose abilities early marked him to be the leader
of the patriotism of his native county, which, in 1794, found its
expression in the enrolment of the Ninetieth Regiment of Foot, or
Perthshire Volunteers. Shortly after its formation, the corps was
included in the army under Lord Moira; and in 1795, from the Isle Dieu,
proceeded to reinforce the garrison of Gibraltar. With the
Twenty-eighth, the Forty-second, and the Fifty-eighth regiments, the
Ninetieth formed the force which, under Lieutenant-General Sir Charles
Stuart, in 1798, assailed and captured the island of Minorca from the
Spaniards. A more important service, and more serious encounter with the
enemy, awaited the arms of the Ninetieth, as part of the expedition of
Sir Ralph Abercromby, which, in 1801, was destined to drive the French
out of Egypt. Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hill, afterwards Viscount
Hill, it was brigaded with the Eighth, the Thirteenth, and the
Eighteenth regiments. At this period the regiment wore helmets, giving
it the appearance of a body of dismounted cavalry. At Mandora, believing
it to be such, and supposing, in consequence, that being thus out of its
own element, the regiment should lack the wonted steadiness of British
infantry, the French cavalry charged fiercely and repeatedly upon the
Ninetieth, yet always fruitlessly. The phalanx of our Perthshire men
remained firm, whilst many a saddle was emptied by its murderous fire.
It was on this occasion that Sir Ralph Abercromby, separated from his
staff, having his horse shot under him, was on the point of being
captured, when a soldier of the Ninetieth afforded such prompt
assistance, and by heroically exposing his own life in defence of his
commander, accomplished his rescue. At the same battle, Colonel Hill,
who, as the associate of Wellington, afterwards shared the glory of the
Peninsular campaigns, had his life saved by the fortunate circumstance
of the helmet he wore. “A musket ball struck it on the brass rim with
such force, that he was thrown from his horse to the ground, and the
brass completely indented. Without this safeguard, the ball would have
passed through his head.” The conspicuous bravery of the Ninetieth and
Ninety-second regiments on this occasion was rewarded by the honourable
distinction of “Mandora,” in addition to the “Sphinx” and “Egypt,” borne
by other corps engaged in the expedition.

Whilst the British were accomplishing glorious results on the plains of
Spain, the Ninetieth was employed, in 1809–10, with the Seventh, Eighth,
Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Twenty-third, Twenty-fifth (flank companies),
Sixtieth, Sixty-third, and First West Indian Regiments, in the reduction
of the valuable island of Martinique. This success was soon afterwards
followed by the capture of Guadaloupe, in which the Ninetieth bore a
conspicuous part. The five and thirty years which intervene betwixt this
and the next active service in which the regiment was engaged, although
a blank so far as mere fighting is concerned, displayed in its soldiers
excellences not less to be admired than those which manifest a mere
physical might or brute courage. From the “Account of the Scottish
Regiments”—to which we have already referred—we find that in 1812 the
composition of the regiment in its several battalions was as
follows:—English, 1097; Scots, 538; Irish, 486; Foreigners, 24. Total,

In 1846 the Kaffirs of South Africa attempted to recover their ancient
territory from British dominion, and accompanied these attempts with a
series of predatory incursions upon our settlements, especially in the
neighbourhood of Graham’s Town. It became necessary, for the defence of
the colony, to assemble a British army of some strength. Ere this could
be accomplished, much valuable property became the prey of these
savages, and many lives were sacrificed on the altar of their vengeance.
At first the disparity in numbers was very great—so great as to preclude
a decisive result in our favour—the whole British force scarcely
amounting to 700 men, whilst the enemy possessed 60,000 sable warriors.
Moreover, the peculiarity of the warfare in “the bush” served somewhat
to advantage the foe, and negative the superiority we might otherwise
enjoy, from troops better armed and disciplined. The assembled British,
augmented by reinforcements from home, comprised, besides Royal
Artillery and Engineers, the Seventh Dragoon Guards, the Sixth,
Twenty-seventh, Forty-fifth, Seventy-third, Ninetieth, and Ninety-first
regiments, the first battalion of the Rifle Brigade, and the Cape
Mounted Riflemen. This army, advancing in two divisions, after
undergoing the most harassing service, exposed continually to the attack
of an unseen and treacherous enemy, at length so hunted down the
guerilla bands which infested the country, that the Kaffirs were glad to
purchase peace by the surrender, as hostages, of their chief Sandilli,
together with his brother and eighty of his principal followers. “During
this long and protracted desultory warfare great fatigue and exertions
had been undergone with the characteristic heroism of the British
soldier; and the humanity and forbearance displayed by him towards the
fickle, treacherous, and revengeful enemy, were as conspicuous as his

The Ninetieth joined the “army of the Crimea” before Sebastopol early in
December, 1854, and served during that fatal winter when so many brave
men fell the victims of disease, induced by the hardships to which they
were exposed, and which so abundantly displayed the unmurmuring firmness
of the British soldier, so graciously cheered by the sympathy of our
beloved Queen, who thus beautifully expressing her feelings, has
unwittingly rewarded the heroic endurance of our soldiers, by
conferring, in these words, a well-merited tribute to their bravery,
which must ever be treasured by our country:—

 “Would you tell Mrs Herbert that I begged she would let me see
 frequently the accounts she receives from Miss Nightingale or Mrs
 Bracebridge, as I hear no details of the wounded, though I see so many
 from officers, etc., about the battlefield, and naturally the former
 must interest me more than any one. Let Mrs Herbert also know that I
 wish Miss Nightingale and the ladies would tell these poor noble
 wounded and sick men that no one takes a warmer interest, or feels more
 for their sufferings, or admires their courage and heroism more than
 their Queen. Day and night she thinks of her beloved troops; so does
 the Prince. Beg Mrs Herbert to communicate these my words to those
 ladies, as I know that our sympathy is much valued by these noble


It was during the third bombardment of Sebastopol, and in the assault
and defence of the fortifications known as the Quarries, that the
Ninetieth first seriously encountered the Russians. In this attack,
which took place on the 7th June, 1855, the regiment was gallantly led
by Lieut.-Colonel Robert Campbell, who fell severely wounded. Belonging
to the Light Division, it afterwards formed part of the assailing force
which so heroically yet unsuccessfully attempted to carry the powerful
defences of the Redan. Fearing the result of a second assault, sustained
by the same impetuous valour, and incited by the resolve to wipe out the
seeming stain of the previous repulse, the Russians declining the
contest, beat a timely retreat, evacuating that portion of the
fortifications deemed no longer tenable, and by a series of masterly
movements successfully effecting an escape to the other side of the
harbour, from whence the Governor negotiated the surrender of the entire
city. These good tidings, received with joy by all classes at home,
elicited from the Throne the following expression of our nation’s
gratitude to the heroes of the “Crimean Army:”—

 “The Queen has received with deep emotion the welcome intelligence of
 the fall of Sebastopol. Penetrated with profound gratitude to the
 Almighty, who has vouchsafed this triumph to the allied army, Her
 Majesty has commanded me to express to yourself, and through you to her
 army, the pride with which she regards this fresh instance of their
 heroism. The Queen congratulates her troops on the triumphant issue of
 their protracted siege, and thanks them for the cheerfulness and
 fortitude with which they have encountered its toils, and the valour
 which has led to its termination. The Queen deeply laments that this
 success is not without its alloy, in the heavy losses that have been
 sustained; and while she rejoices in the victory, Her Majesty deeply
 sympathizes with the noble sufferers in their country’s cause.”

[Illustration: LUCKNOW.]

It remains for us now simply to record the memorable services of the
Ninetieth in that dark period of our country’s history—the Indian
Mutiny. Brigaded with our Highlanders, “Havelock’s Seventy-eighth—the
Saints,” the regiment was advanced, under Generals Outram and Havelock,
for the relief of Lucknow. Whilst guarding the baggage near the
Alumbagh, the Ninetieth was fiercely attacked by a strong column of the
rebel cavalry, and it was only after a desperate fight and much loss
that the mutineers were repulsed and dispersed. The further relief of
Lucknow being accomplished by Sir Colin Campbell, now Lord Clyde, the
regiment was thereafter engaged with the Forty-second and Fifty-third
storming the position of the mutineers at the Martinière. The numerous
acts of individual bravery which marked the conduct of so many of our
Perthshire Volunteers have received, as the reward of distinguished
merit, the decoration of the “Victoria Cross;” whilst Perthshire may
well indulge a becoming pride as she reviews the famous achievements of
her soldier sons.

                  “Courage, therefore, brother-men.
                  Cry ‘God!’ and to the fight again.”


                         THE NINETY-FIRST FOOT;


                             CHAPTER XXII.

                “The Campbells they are a’ in arms,
                  Their loyal faith and truth to show,
                With banners rattling in the wind;
                  The Campbells are coming, O-ho, O-ho!”

                          WARS—INDIAN MUTINY.

To the cursory reader of Scottish history it appears somewhat strange
that a chief such as the Duke of Argyll, who, of first importance
amongst our Scottish nobility, possessed of so vast a territory, and
exercising an almost regal power—notwithstanding the military character
of his family, and the many officers of celebrity who have sprung from
among his vassals—should have comparatively failed to induce his
tenantry, so famed for bravery in our national wars, to assume, as a
body of soldiers distinctively belonging to the clan of Campbell, that
prominence in our army to which their ancient renown entitles them. This
may be explained in the fact that the natives of Argyllshire have always
manifested a strong predilection for the navy rather than the army,
probably arising from the almost insular position of the county, and the
sea-faring life of so many of its people. The Ninety-first, at first
numbered the Ninety-eighth, which now remains the only, and, in our day,
ill-defined representative of the martial renown of the Campbells, was
raised by Lieut.-Colonel Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, and embodied at
Stirling in 1794. It was almost immediately thereafter embarked for
service at the Cape of Good Hope, where it remained until that colony
was restored to the Dutch in 1801. The severe and constant drain which
had drafted from the scanty population of our Highlands and Lowlands
whole regiments of recruits, had so exhausted the military resources of
our country that, in 1809, it was found impossible to maintain all the
numerous Gaelic corps which then existed in their original national
integrity and completeness. Hence the Seventy-third, Seventy-fifth,
Ninety-first, and the old Ninety-fourth (Scots Brigade), were of
necessity doomed to lay aside the Highland costume, and, to a great
extent, abandon their Scottish character. This regiment was present in
the brigade of Brigadier-General Craufurd in reserve at the battles of
Roleia and Vimiera in 1808, which seemed to foreshadow the triumphs of
after years. It was also with the army of Sir John Moore in his
disastrous retreat, terminated so gloriously in the victory of Corunna,
the lustre of which was only dimmed by the death of the hero, who fell
whilst yet achieving it, and whose decease Marshal Soult, with a true
soldier spirit, alike with ourselves lamented. Chivalrously he paid the
last tribute of military respect to the departed brave, by firing the
funeral salute, and raising a monument over the grave of his fallen foe.
The generous behaviour of Marshal Soult, notwithstanding his after
faults, must ever command our admiration, and remain a record of his own
nobleness—the tribute of the friend of the brave; and justified the
ovation he received at the hands of the British public, when he visited
our shores as the ambassador of Louis Philippe.

For a moment the success of the French seemed complete, and the sway
of Napoleon universal; whilst the British army appeared, as had been
often threatened, “driven into the sea.” But the British meantime
returning to England, the chasms which want, fatigue, and the sword
had occasioned in the recent retreat, were speedily filled up, and now
our army only waited the opportunity when, returning to the Peninsula,
it should avenge the past and deliver the oppressed. Soon, under
Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley, landed at Lisbon, it began
that victorious career which, by a perpetual series of successes,
advanced the tide of war through Spain, and, at length entering
France, helped materially to overthrow the dominion which the Empire
had usurped. Although the Ninety-first claims an interest in the
actions of the “Peninsula,” it was not until the British army was
about entering France that its connection therewith led to conspicuous
service—the memorials of which are still borne upon the colours and
appointments of the regiment in these words: the “Pyrenees,” the
“Nive,” the “Nivelle,” “Orthes,” and “Toulouse.”

From these scenes of stirring and thrilling interest, we turn to record
a signal instance of heroism which, occurring nearer our own time,
presents an illustrious example of the qualities which brightly
distinguish the British soldier far more truly than even the triumphs of
the battle-field. We give the incident as inscribed by order of the Duke
of Wellington in the Records of the Regiment, who declared “he had never
read anything so satisfactory,” that is, in its compilation, and the
marvellous obedience to orders and fidelity to duty it serves as a
report to show:—

“The reserve battalion of the Ninety-first Regiment arrived in Table Bay
on the 25th of August, 1842, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel

“On the 27th of August the command of the battalion and of the
detachments embarked on board the ‘Abercrombie Robinson’ transport,
devolved on Captain Bertie Gordon of the Ninety-first Regiment,
Lieut.-Colonel Lindsay and Major Ducat having landed on that day at Cape

“The situation of the transport was considered a dangerous one from her
size (being 1430 tons), and from the insufficient depth of water in
which she had brought up. The port-captain, who boarded her on the
evening of the 25th, advised the captain to take up another berth on the
following day. This was impossible, for the wind blew strong into the
bay from the quarter which is so much dreaded there, and had continued
to increase in violence during the 26th, 27th, and 28th August.

“At eleven o’clock P.M., on the night of the 27th, it was blowing a
strong gale, and the sea was rolling heavily into the bay. The ship was
pitching much, and she began to feel the ground; but she rode by two
anchors, and much cable had been veered out the night before.

“Captain Gordon made such arrangements as he could, in warning the
officers, the sergeant-major, and orderly noncommissioned officers to be
in readiness.

“From sunset on the 27th the gale had continued to increase, until at
length it blew a tremendous hurricane; and at a little after three A.M.,
on the morning of the 28th, the starboard cable snapped in two; the
other cable parted in two or three minutes afterwards, and away went the
ship before the storm, her hull striking, with heavy crashes, against
the ground as she drove towards the beach, three miles distant, under
her lee.

“About this time the fury of the gale, which had never lessened, was
rendered more terrible by one of the most awful storms of thunder and
lightning that had ever been witnessed in Table Bay. While the force of
the wind and sea was driving the ship into shoaler water, she rolled
incessantly; and heaved over so much with the back-set of the surf, that
to the possibility of her going to pieces before daylight, was added the
probability of settling down to windward, when the decks must have
inevitably filled, and every one of the seven hundred souls on board
must have perished.

“While in this position the heavy seas broke over her side and poured
down the hatchways. The decks were opening in every direction, and the
strong framework of the hull seemed compressed together, starting the
beams from their places. The ship had been driven with her starboard-bow
towards the beach, exposing her stern to the sea, which rushed through
the stern ports and tore up the cabin floors of the orlop-deck.

“The thunder and lightning ceased towards morning, and the ship seemed
to have worked a bed for herself in the sand, for the terrible rolling
had greatly diminished, and there then arose the hope that all on board
would get safe ashore.

“At daybreak (about seven o’clock), it was just possible to distinguish
some people on the beach opposite to the wreck. Owing to the fear of the
masts, spars, and rigging falling, as well as to keep as much top-weight
as possible off the ship’s decks, the troops had been kept below, but
were now allowed to come on deck in small numbers.

“An attempt was made to send a rope ashore; and one of the best
swimmers, a Krooman, volunteered the trial with a rope round his body;
but the back-set of the surf was too much for him. A line tied to a spar
never got beyond the ship’s bows, and one fired from a cannon also
failed. One of the cutters was then carefully lowered on the lee-side of
the ship, and her crew succeeded in reaching the shore with a hauling
line. Two large surf-boats were shortly afterwards conveyed in waggons
to the place where the ship was stranded, and the following orders were
given by Captain Gordon for the disembarkation of the troops, viz.:—

“1st. The women and children to disembark (of these there were about
seventy). 2d. The sick to disembark after the women and children. 3d.
The disembarkation of the troops to take place by the companies of the
Ninety-first drawing lots; the detachments of the Twenty-seventh
Regiment and of the Cape Mounted Riflemen taking the precedence. 4th.
The men to fall in on the upper deck, fully armed and accoutred,
carrying their knapsacks and great-coats. 5th. Each officer to be
allowed to take a carpet-bag or small portmanteau.

“The disembarkation of the women and children and of the sick occupied
from half-past eight until ten o’clock A.M. The detachments of the
Twenty-seventh Regiment and of the Cape Mounted Riflemen followed. That
of the Ninety-first was arranged by the wings drawing lots, and then the
companies of each wing.

“At half-past ten A.M., one of the surf-boats which had been employed up
to this time in taking the people off the wreck, was required to assist
in saving the lives of those on board the ‘Waterloo’ convict ship, which
was in still more imminent peril, about a quarter of a mile from the
‘Abercrombie Robinson.’

“Having now but one boat to disembark four hundred and fifty men, and
the wind and sea, which had subsided a little since daylight, beginning
again to rise, together with the captain’s apprehension that she might
go to pieces before sunset—which (however unfounded, as was afterwards
proved,) powerfully influenced Captain Gordon’s arrangements—it became
necessary to abandon the men’s knapsacks, as they not only filled a
greater space in the surf-boats than could be spared, but took a long
time to hand down the ship’s side. The knapsacks had been brought on
deck, but were now, for these reasons, sent below again, and stowed away
in the women’s standing-berths.

“The officers were likewise informed that they would not be allowed to
take more than each could carry on his arm. The disembarkation of the
six companies went on regularly, but slowly, from eleven A.M. until
half-past three P.M.; there being but one boat, which could only hold
thirty men at a time. At half-past three P.M., the last boat-load left
the ship’s side. It contained those of the ship’s officers and crew who
had remained to the last; the sergeant-major of the reserve battalion
Ninety-first; one or two non-commissioned officers, who had requested
permission to remain; Captain Gordon, Ninety-first Regiment; and
Lieutenant Black, R.N., agent of transports. This officer had dined at
Government House the night before, but came on board the wreck with one
of the first surf-boats that reached it on the following morning.

“Nearly seven hundred souls completed their disembarkation after a night
of great peril, and through a raging surf, without the occurrence of a
single casualty. Among them were many women and children, and several
sick men, of whom two were supposed to be dying.

“Although it had been deemed prudent to abandon the men’s knapsacks and
the officers’ baggage, the reserve battalion of the Ninety-first
Regiment went down the side of that shattered wreck, fully armed and
accoutred, and, with the exception of their knapsacks, ready for instant
service. It would be difficult to praise sufficiently the steady
discipline of that young and newly-formed battalion, thus severely
tested during nearly seventeen hours of danger; above eight of which
were hours of darkness and imminent peril. That discipline failed not,
when the apparent hopelessness of our situation might have led to scenes
of confusion and crime. The double guards and sentries which had at
first been posted over the wine and spirit stores, were found
unnecessary, and they were ultimately left to the ordinary protection of
single sentries.

“Although the ship was straining in every timber, and the heavy seas
were making a fair breach over us, the companies of that young battalion
fell in on the weather-side of the wreck, as their lots were drawn, and
waited for their turn to muster at the lee-gangway; and so perfect was
their confidence, their patience, and their gallantry, that although
another vessel was going to pieces within a quarter of a mile of us, and
a crowd of soldiers, sailors, and convicts were perishing before their
eyes, not a murmur arose from their ranks when Captain Gordon directed
that the lot should not be applied to the detachments of the
Twenty-seventh Regiment and Cape Mounted Riflemen, but that the
Ninety-first should yield to them the precedence in disembarking from
the wreck.

“The officers of the Ninety-first Regiment who disembarked with the
battalion were Captains Gordon and Ward, Lieutenant Cahill, Ensigns
MʻInroy and Lavers, and Assistant-Surgeon Stubbs. If from among the
ranks of men who all behaved so well, it were allowable to particularise
any, the names of Acting Sergeant-Major Murphy, Colour-Sergeant Philips,
Sergeant Murray, and Corporal Thomas Nugent, deserve this distinction.
It was through the first that Captain Gordon communicated his orders,
and carried them into execution. Every order he (Sergeant-Major Murphy)
received was obeyed, during the confusion of a wreck, with the exactness
of a parade-ground. He never left the particular part of the ship where
he had been stationed, during the darkness and terror of the night,
although a wife and child seemed to claim a portion of his solicitude;
and when he received permission to accompany them into the surf-boat, he
petitioned to be allowed to remain with Captain Gordon to the last.

“The two sergeants were young lads, barely twenty-two years of age. They
had married shortly before the battalion embarked at Kingstown, and
their wives (quite girls) were clinging to them for support and comfort
when the ship parted from her anchors. The guards were ordered to be
doubled, and additional sergeants were posted to each. This brought
Sergeants Philips and Murray on duty. Without a murmur they left their
wives and joined the guards of the lower deck. Their example of perfect
obedience and discipline was eminently useful.

“And, if an officer’s name may be mentioned, the conduct of
Assistant-Surgeon Stubbs well deserves notice. He was in wretched
health; but on the first announcement of danger he repaired to the
sick-bay, and never left his charge until they were all safely landed.

“And, though last in this narrative, the beautiful calmness and
resignation of the soldiers’ wives ought to be ranked among the first of
those ingredients of order which contributed to our safety. Confusion,
terror, and despair, joined to the wildest shrieks, were fast spreading
their dangerous influence from the women’s quarter when Captain Gordon
first descended among the people on the lower decks. A few words
sufficed to quiet them, and from that moment their patience and
submission never faltered.

“By half-past three P.M. the bilged and broken wreck was abandoned with
all the stores and baggage—public and regimental—to the fast-increasing
gale, and to the chances of the approaching night.”

The excellent conduct of the Ninety-first throughout the Kaffir Wars of
1846–47, and again in 1850–53, received, with the army, the grateful
thanks of the country, conveyed through the Government, in these
expressive terms, to Lieutenant-General the Hon. Sir George
Cathcart:—“The field of glory opened to them in a Kaffir war and
Hottentot rebellion, is possibly not so favourable and exciting as that
which regular warfare with an open enemy in the field affords, yet the
unremitting exertions called for in hunting well-armed yet skulking
savages through the bush, and driving them from their innumerable
strongholds, are perhaps more arduous than those required in regular
warfare, and call more constantly for individual exertion and
intelligence. The British soldier, always cheerfully obedient to the
call, well knows that, when he has done his duty, he is sure to obtain
the thanks and good opinion of his gracious Queen.”

The subsequent foreign service of the Ninety-first has been in the
Mediterranean, and in September, 1858, it proceeded overland to India.


                           THE SCOTS BRIGADE;
                      THE OLD NINETY-FOURTH FOOT.


                             CHAPTER XXIII.

           “When midnight hour is come,
             The drummer forsakes his tomb,
           And marches, beating his phantom-drum,
             To and fro through the ghastly gloom.

           “He plies the drum-sticks twain,
             With fleshless fingers pale,
           And beats, and beats again, and again,
             A long and dreary reveil!

           “Like the voice of abysmal waves
             Resounds its unearthly tone,
           Till the dead old soldiers, long in their graves,
             Awaken through every zone.”

When we regard the battle-fields of earth, and think of the mighty dead
who slumber there, apart from feelings of sentimental or real respect
for the sacred dust, imagination animates the scene, as Memory,
conjuring up from the graves of the past, bids us confront the soldiers
who lived, and fought, and have long since died to “gild a martial
story.” Yet it is our business, in the present undertaking, to gather
from the mouldering records of a bygone age, the truth, and rescue from
the shades of oblivion that “martial story” which belongs to the
soldiers of Scotland.


The Old Scots Brigade claims an antiquity of nearly 300 years, and only
yields in prominence to that of the Royal Scots, which in previous
chapters we have discussed. The love of adventure, the hope of gain, and
the troubles at home having variously conspired to expatriate many
Scotsmen, these readily found employment in the armies of the Continent,
wherein, conspicuous for fidelity and bravery, their services were
highly appreciated, frequently honoured as a distinctive, select corps,
or as a body of royal guards. In the States of Holland, about the year
1568, our countrymen were included in numerous independent companies of
soldiers, which, in 1572, united into several regiments, constituted one
brigade—the Old Scots Brigade—the strength of which varied from four to
five thousand men.

“The first mention we find of their distinguished behaviour was at the
battle of Reminant, near Mechlin, in the year 1578; the most bloody part
of the action, says Meteren, a Dutch historian, was sustained by the
Scotch, who fought without armour, and in their shirts, because of the
great heat of the weather. After an obstinate engagement, the Spaniards,
commanded by Don Juan of Austria, were defeated.”

Throughout the long and sanguinary wars which ultimately resulted in the
deliverance of Holland from the dominion of Spain, the valiant behaviour
of the Scots was very remarkable, and is honourably recorded in most of
the old histories of the period. The brigade was originally commanded by
General Balfour, and under him by Colonel Murray and Walter Scott, Lord
of Buccleugh. It learned the business of war under those great masters
of the art, the Princes Maurice and Frederick Henry of Orange. Its early
history is one with that of the present Fifth and Sixth Regiments of the
line, which then constituted the English Brigade, long commanded by the
noble family of De Vere, afterward the illustrious House of Oxford.
“King James VI. of Scotland having invited the States-General to be
sponsors to his new-born son, Prince Henry, on the departure of the
ambassadors, fifteen hundred Scots were sent over to Holland to augment
the brigade.”

At the battle of Nieuport, in 1600, the firmness of the Scots Brigade
saved the army of Prince Maurice from imminent danger, and contributed
largely in attaining the victory gained over the Spanish army of the
Archduke Albert of Austria. “After having bravely defended the bridge
like good soldiers, they were at length forced to give way, the whole
loss having fallen on the Scots, as well on their chiefs and captains as
on the common soldiers, insomuch that eight hundred of them remained on
the field, amongst whom were eleven captains, and many lieutenants and
other officers.”

At the siege of Ostend the Scots, by their unflinching steadiness,
helped so materially in the defence that the giant efforts of the enemy
under the Marquis Spinola, one of the ablest of the Spanish Generals,
failed to accomplish its reduction by force of arms. A capitulation,
honourable alike to besieger and besieged, was agreed upon; “and the
garrison marched out with arms, ammunition, and baggage, drums beating,
and colours flying, after having held out three years and three months.”

“According to a memorial found in the pocket of an officer of Spinola’s
suite, after he was killed, the number of slain on the side of the
Spaniards amounted in all to seventy-six thousand nine hundred and
sixty-one men. The loss on the part of the States was not less than
fifty thousand. When the remaining garrison, which consisted of only
three thousand men, arrived at Sluice in Flanders, Prince Maurice
received them with the pomp of a triumph; and both officers and private
men were promoted or otherwise rewarded.”

The gallant conduct of Colonel Henderson, who commanded the brigade in
the defence of Bergen-op-Zoom in 1621, is worthy of note. At the siege
of Bois-le-duc in 1629 we find the brigade composed of three regiments,
respectively commanded by Colonels Bruce, Halket, and Scott (Earl of
Buccleugh, son of the Lord of Buccleugh previously mentioned). We do not
pretend here to follow the narrative of sieges and battles in which the
brigade was at this period engaged. We shall only further mention that
at the siege of Sas-van-Ghent in 1644, Colonel Erskine, at the head of
one of the Scots regiments, won great renown by his excellent bravery,
being foremost in effecting the passage of the river Lys; and again, at
the siege of Ghent, Colonel Kilpatrick and another Scots regiment
fulfilled a similar mission with equal credit. The peace of Munster,
concluded in 1648, gave an honourable issue to the contest in favour of
the Dutch, who, for a little while, were permitted to enjoy repose from
the horrid turmoil of war.

The British Revolution, which drove Charles II. from the throne of his
father and established instead the Protectorate of Cromwell, occasioning
his exile—a king without a kingdom or a throne—his Scots partizans,
sharing his banishment, greatly recruited the Brigade, where many of
them gladly found refuge and honourable employment.

Cromwell, in the plenitude of power, insisted upon the Dutch Estates
declaring the exclusion of the House of Orange from the Stadtholdership,
thereby hoping to break what appeared to be an antagonistic power to his
rule, because of the bond which, by marriage, united the families of
Orange and Stuart, imagining, in the blindness of bigotry, thereby to
crush out the last remnant of Jacobitism, and extirpate the creed which
had inflicted so many and grievous evils upon his country. The effect of
this unfortunate exclusion Act was immediately felt throughout the
States of Holland in the confusion and distress which it entailed.
Taking advantage of these circumstances, and the imbecility of its
rulers, the crafty and ambitious monarch of France, Louis XIV., without
provocation, and with no other aim than his own aggrandisement, at once
invaded Holland with three vast armies, under three of the greatest
soldiers of the day—Condé, Turenne, and Luxembourg. With these
difficulties and dangers the embarrassments of the State so increased
that its feeble rulers in this hour of terror implored the aid of
William, Prince of Orange, readily restoring all the rights they had
formerly despoiled him of, and conferring upon him the powers of a
Dictatorship. The genius of William proved equal to the emergency. At
once he set to work, restoring the army to its ancient vigour, and
reforming all manner of abuses which had crept into the government.

We are happy to record that, however weak and faulty the Dutch army had
become, the Scots Brigade retained its effectiveness, despite the
languor of the State, and, in consequence, particularly enjoyed the
Prince’s confidence on his restoration. It was commanded by Colonels Sir
Alexander Colyear (Robertson), Graham, and Mackay, in 1673. United into
one British brigade, the three Scots and the three English regiments
served together under Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory, throughout the wars
with France. On the death of the Earl of Ossory in 1680, the command was
conferred upon Henry Sidney, Earl of Romney.

On the outbreak of Monmouth’s Rebellion in England and Argyll’s
Rebellion in Scotland, King James II. sent for the three Scots
regiments, then serving in Holland, which, on being reviewed by the King
on their arrival at Gravesend, drew forth the following compliment,
expressed in a letter of thanks to the Prince of Orange for his prompt
aid—“There cannot be, I am sure, better men than they are; and they do
truly look like old regiments, and one cannot be better pleased with
them than I am.”

Colonel Hugh Mackay, who commanded the brigade on this occasion, was
promoted to the rank of Major-General.

On the return of these regiments to Holland, the perfidy and ingratitude
of James gradually oused out and revealed his truer character. Rightly
esteeming the value of such soldiers to the Prince of Orange, and ever
jealous of that Prince’s increasing power, he vainly attempted to seduce
the brigade and persuade it to exchange into the service of the King of
France. He was further extremely mortified to find that, apart from the
influence of the Prince, the men declined to serve under the Roman
Catholic officer he proposed to appoint. When dangers thickened around
himself, he earnestly desired its return; alas, too late! already
sickened with his unworthy conduct, the brigade refused to obey.

In the subsequent Revolution the English and Scots brigades were of
essential service to the Prince of Orange—“commanded by General Mackay,
a Scotsman of noble family, sailed under the red flag.”

At the battle of Killiecrankie the Scots Brigade was present, but unable
to withstand the furious onset of the Highlanders, betrayed a weakness
altogether inconsistent with its previous reputation, being utterly
routed and dispersed. It is very remarkable that Viscount Dundee and
General Cannon, who commanded the rebels, had both previously served in
the Scots Brigade. Afterwards, employed with the Royal army in Ireland,
it somewhat redeemed its character by good conduct at the siege of
Athlone and the battle of Aghrim, at both which it held the post of
peril and of honour with great credit. Peace having been restored to
unhappy Ireland, the brigade was sent to join the British army in
Flanders, and at the battle of Steenkirk suffered severely, especially
in the death of General Mackay, who finished a career of honour on that
bloody field. The retreat of the allied army in 1695 was successfully
covered by the Scots under Brigadier Colyear, afterwards Earl of
Portmore. On the death of Brigadier Æneas Mackay, at the siege of Namur,
the command of the Scots regiments was conferred on Robert Murray of
Melgum, afterwards General Count Murray, Commander-in-Chief of the
Emperor Joseph’s forces in the Netherlands, and acting Governor-General
of these provinces. On the Peace of Ryswick in 1697, the Scots Brigade
returned with the army to Britain, and was stationed in Scotland until
1698, when it was restored to the service of Holland.

During the Wars of the Succession the Brigade was increased by the
addition of three new Scots regiments, and the command conferred on
John, Duke of Argyll—the “Great Argyll”—of whom it is well said—

           “Argyll, the State’s whole thunder born to wield,
           And shake alike the Council and the Field.”

It was hotly engaged in all the great actions of the war, and amongst
the fearful carnage of Malplaquet mourned the loss of a brave officer,
John, Marquis of Tullibardine, eldest son of the Duke of Athole. On the
conclusion of hostilities, in 1713, the three new regiments of the
brigade were disbanded. The peace was not again seriously disturbed
until 1745, when the outbreak of war occasioned the increase of the
brigade by the addition of second battalions, and a new regiment under
command of Henry Douglas, Earl of Drumlanrig. The total strength of the
brigade at this time rose to about 6000 men. At the battle of Roucoux
five battalions of the Scots, forming the extremity of the left infantry
wing, covered the retreat of the troops from the villages abandoned in
front. “An officer who was present relates that General Colyear’s
regiment, in which he then served as an Ensign, was drawn up on the
ridge of a rising ground, the slope of which was to the rear, so that by
retiring a few paces the cannon-balls must have passed over their heads;
but it was thought requisite that they should appear in full view of the
French, who kept up an incessant fire of their artillery upon them for
more than two hours, without ever advancing near enough to engage with
small arms. The ardour of British soldiers to charge an enemy by whose
fire they saw their comrades fall on every side, may easily be
conceived, but was so much restrained by the authority of their
officers, that the whole brigade seemed immoveable, except when the
frequent breaches which the cannon made in the ranks required to be
closed up. The intrepidity and perfect order which those battalions then
showed, were greatly extolled ever after by the Prince of Waldeck, and
likewise by Baron d’Aylva, a Dutch General of distinguished reputation,
who happened to have the command of that part of the army. He had before
shown a violent prejudice against the Scots,” but their gallantry on
that memorable occasion so impressed him, that ever after he regarded
the Scots with peculiar favour, and on one occasion in his presence, a
certain Prince having observed that the Scottish soldiers were not of
such a size as those of some German regiments, the General replied, “I
saw the day that they looked taller than any of your grenadiers.”

[Illustration: OFFICER OF PIKEMEN, 1650.]

In the defence of Bergen-op-Zoom, two of the Scotch battalions,
supported by a Dutch battalion of infantry, made a most determined
stand, refusing for a long time to yield ground to the enemy, until
superior numbers compelled them to retire. Some idea of the severity
of the struggle may be formed from the fact that Colyear’s battalion,
which had gone into action 660 strong, could only muster 156 men
afterwards. It is thus described by an old writer:—“Overpowered by
numbers, deserted, and alone, the Scotch assembled in the market-place
and attacked the French with such vigour that they drove them from
street to street, till fresh reinforcements pouring in compelled them
to retreat in their turn, disputing every inch as they retired, and
fighting till two-thirds of their number fell on the spot, valiantly
bringing their colours with them, which the grenadiers twice recovered
from the midst of the French at the point of the bayonet. ‘Gentlemen,’
said the conquering General to two officers who had been taken
prisoners—Lieutenants Travers and Allan Maclean—‘had all conducted
themselves as you and your brave corps have done, I should not now be
master of Bergen-op-Zoom.’”

Succeeding the sunshine of victory, there arose a cloud upon its history
which we wish, for the credit of our Government, we could omit to
record. Denied the privilege of further recruiting at home, the States
of Holland insisted upon the admission of foreigners into its ranks, and
thus to a great extent its Scottish character was destroyed. When war
broke out and our country needed troops, our Scotsmen repeated the
petition that their brigade should be recalled for the service of their
own land. The request was refused, whilst regiments were raised in
Scotland, and even German auxiliaries enrolled upon the British
establishment, rather than do what appears only an act of justice to the
soldiers of the Old Scots Brigade. As if further to exasperate the
Scots, when war was declared between Britain and Holland, and our
brigade thus placed in a cruel dilemma, unheeded, it was surrendered to
the enemy, who, almost as prisoners of war, sent it to garrison distant
fortresses on the inland frontier. At length recalled by George III. in
1793, it was, in 1795, sent to reinforce the garrison of Gibraltar, and
in the following year was removed to the Cape of Good Hope. In 1798 it
was transferred to India, where it shared with the Highland regiments
the glory of “Seringapatam” in 1799, and the battle of “Argaum” in 1803;
the former being afterwards authorised for the colours and appointments.

Returning home in 1808 as the Ninety-fourth regiment, it was actively
and creditably engaged in the various actions of Spain and the South of
France, and received permission to bear on its colours the words—“Ciudad
Rodrigo,” “Badajoz,” “Salamanca,” “Vittoria,” “Nivelle,” “Orthes,” and
“Toulouse,” and also the inscription of “Peninsula.” In the defence of
Cadiz it suffered very severely, and amongst its brave was found a
heroine—a sergeant’s wife, who on this occasion displayed a remarkable
degree of cool courage, which is fitly described in Mr Carter’s
admirable work, “Curiosities of War.” The regiment was disbanded at
Belfast in 1818. A new regiment, raised six years afterwards, now bears
the number of the Ninety-fourth, but as yet has had no opportunity to
distinguish itself. We only hope it may emulate, nay, if possible excel,
the deeds of the Old Scots Brigade, which so worthily sustained the
characteristic valour of the Scot.


                         THE NINETY-NINTH FOOT;


                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                “How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
                By all their country’s wishes blest!
                When spring, with dewy fingers cold,
                Returns to deck their hallow’d mould,
                He there shall dress a sweeter sod,
                Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.
                By fairy hands their knell is rung,
                By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
                There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
                To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
                And Freedom shall awhile repair
                To dwell, a weeping hermit, there!”


However deeply interested we may personally feel in Lanarkshire, and
however proud we may be of the many gallant soldiers who have gone forth
from us to fight the battles of our one country, still to the
Ninety-ninth the relationship indicated above exists scarcely but in
name. Nay, even as a Scottish regiment its present composition would
belie its seeming nativity. As in the case of many other regiments, so
with it, these titles have been mostly attached for purposes of
recruiting, and seldom bestowed to record the origin of the corps.
Nevertheless, it is looked for as a consequence that the designation
thus conferred should serve to stimulate the youth of Lanarkshire, bid
them rally round the Ninety-ninth, and thus constituting it their own,
immortalise its number by distinguished service in its ranks.

The regiment was raised in 1824, along with the present Ninety-fourth,
Ninety-fifth, Ninety-sixth, Ninety-seventh, and Ninety-eighth regiments,
at a time when our vast colonial empire demanded an augmentation of our
army to ensure its adequate defence. Notwithstanding the anxiety of the
Ninety-ninth to be released from the monotony of a passive service, and
engage in the more stirring scenes of battle peculiar to the soldier,
its brief history displays few events specially calling for notice,
having been doomed to quietude, and denied by circumstances an
opportunity of distinguishing itself during the Indian or Crimean wars.
The following remarkable letter from one of its soldiers, extracted from
Mr Carter’s interesting volume, the “Curiosities of War,” is truly a

 “MY LORD DUKE,—I mean to take the liberty of writing these few lines
 before your Grace, flying under the protection of your wings, and
 trusting in your most charitable heart for to grant my request.

 “May it please your Grace to reject me not, for the love of the
 Almighty God, to whom I pray to reward your soul in heaven.

 “My Lord Duke, I shall convince you that I am a pt^e. soldier in the
 99th depôt, at Chatham, a servant to Her Majesty since the 29th of
 September, 1846; likewise that I was born of poor parents, who were
 unable to provide any means of education for me but what I scraped by
 over-hours and industry, till I grew thus eighteen years of age, and
 was compelled to quit their sight and seek my own fortune.

 “I think I am possessed of honesty, docility, faithfulness, high hopes,
 bold spirit, and obedience towards my superiors. I partly know the
 Irish language, to which I was brought up, and am deficient of the
 English language, that is, of not being able of peaking [_qy._
 speaking] it correctly. One of my past days, as I was guiding a horse
 in a solitary place, unexpectedly I burst into a flow of poetry, which
 successfully came from my lips by no trouble. From thence I wrote
 during the following year a lot of poems, some of which, it was given
 up, being the best composed in the same locality for the last forty
 years past. However, I did no treason, but all for the amusement of the

 “My Lord, I mean to shoe a little proof of it in the following lines:—

 Once from at home, as I did roam my fortune for to try,
 All alone along the road, my courage forcing high;
 I said sweet home, both friends and foes, I bid you all good-bye.
 From thence I started into Cork and joined the 99th.
 This famous corps, which I adore, is brave and full of might,
 With fire and sword, would fight the foe, and make their force retire.
 Supplied are those with Irish Poet for to compose in rhyme,
 I pray to God his grace upon the flaming 99th.

 “My Lord, to get an end to this rude letter, my request, and all that I
 want, is twelve months’ leave, for the mere purpose of learning both
 day and night, where I could accommodate myself according to my pay, at
 the end of which twelve months I might be fit for promotion in the
 protection of Her Majesty.

                                            “Your most obedient Servant,
                                                                 “—— ——”

Public opinion is inclined to regard a war with China as something
ridiculous; to smile at the odd equipment of its “Braves,” and laugh at
the absurd pretensions of its “Celestials.” We fancy its hosts, like a
summer cloud, as something to be at once dissipated by the first breath
of the Western breeze. In this we have deceived ourselves, and on more
than one occasion paid the penalty of our folly in the blood of the
gallant few, who, overwhelmed by countless numbers, the victims of a
matchless perfidy, have fallen as exposed to an almost certain
destruction. Alone, as in a nest of hornets, we felt the sting of defeat
when we had supposed an easy victory. Our discipline, our bravery, and
our superior arms, failed to grasp the success we had imagined was to be
had for the mere taking. The truth was revealed when too late; we had
underrated the valour of the foe, and too much despised their means of
defence; then we learned by a bitter experience that our handful of
brave men, in the language of Pitt, “were capable of achieving
everything _but impossibilities_.”

The Ninety-ninth was engaged in the recent Chinese war, but only in time
to share the concluding glories of the campaign which crowned a severe
and harassing contest in the capture of Pekin. The good conduct of the
regiment on this occasion amply demonstrated the excellence of the
corps—of what honourable service it was capable, and betokened an
illustrious history, which may yet render it famous as the Lanarkshire
regiment, and fill a larger space in the national records of “_Our

        “Great acts best write themselves in their own stories;
        They die too basely who outlive their glories.



                       THE OLD HIGHLAND BRIGADE.

                              CHAPTER XXV.

   “In the garb of old Gaul, with the fire of old Rome,
   From the heath-cover’d mountains of Scotia we come,
   Where the Romans endeavour’d our country to gain,
   But our ancestors fought, and they fought not in vain.
     Such is our love of liberty, our country and our laws,
     That, like our ancestors of old, we’ll stand in freedom’s cause,
     We’ll bravely fight like heroes bold for honour and applause,
     And defy the French, with all their art, to alter our laws.”


Passing through the glens of the Grampians, northwards or westwards, we
are introduced to the sterner grandeur of the Scottish Highlands. Having
briefly viewed the glorious records of our Lowland regiments, we feel as
more immediately in the heart of our subject when, entering upon its
second part, we propose to give an account of our Highland regiments. We
think we cannot fairly be challenged for an undue partiality to the
latter, or be thought guilty of injustice to the former, in yielding the
prominence to the Highlanders, because they retain more of the national
characteristics, whilst the Lowlanders, intermingled with others, have
sadly degenerated from the original purity of the Scottish, if indeed
they have not already forfeited every claim, beyond the name, to be
included in the catalogue of Scottish regiments.

The romantic story of the clans bids us return to the feudal age, when
strange but true war revealed itself to be the unwitting civiliser of
the ancient world; apparently the harbinger of evil, yet in reality the
herald of good—the purifier—the evil out of which, in the mysterious
providence of God, blessing should in the end abundantly flow. In the
Highlands the memorials of these barbaric times of civil strife among
the clans are sadly ample and very evident; scarce a dell but bears
traces of the ruin which fire and sword had inflicted; scarce a glen but
has its tale of woe; scarce a heath but beneath the cairn gathers to its
shaggy bosom the ashes of some warrior chief. But there were also times
in our history when the stormy tempest of angry passion was at least for
the moment hushed, and the fiery valour of the clans, gathered into one,
descended from the Highlands, resistless as the mountain torrent, to do
battle for Scottish freedom in the day of Scotland’s need. And thus
their gallant demeanour upon the field of Bannockburn has waked the muse
of Scott to immortalise their fame, as he beautifully tells of our
“Scottish Chiefs” in his “Lord of the Isles.”

The devoted loyalty of the clans to the unhappy Stuarts has given to
their history a melancholy interest, and claims our admiration, because
of the dauntless resolution with which they vainly strove to maintain
the falling fortunes of that degenerate race, although manifested on the
wrong side; furnishing, moreover, a theme for song which has given birth
to some of the most touching lyrics of our bards.

Shortly after the battle of Culloden the fighting strength of the
various clans was rated by Lord Forbes for the Government as follows:—

    Argyle,                                                    3000
    Breadalbane,                                               1000
    Lochnell and other Chieftains of the Campbells,            1000
    Macleans,                                                   500
    Maclachlans,                                                200
    Stewart of Appin,                                           300
    Macdougals,                                                 200
    Stewart of Grandtully,                                      300
    Clan Gregor,                                                700
    Duke of Athole,                                            3000
    Farquharsons,                                               500
    Duke of Gordon,                                             300
    Grant of Grant,                                             850
    Macintosh,                                                  800
    Macphersons,                                                400
    Frasers,                                                    900
    Grant of Glenmorriston,                                     150
    Chisholms,                                                  200
    Duke of Perth,                                              300
    Seaforth,                                                  1000
     Cromarty, Scatwell, Gairloch, and other Chieftains       1500
     of the     Mackenzies,

     Menzies,                                                  300

     Munroes,                                                  300

     Rosses,                                                   500

     Sutherland,                                              2000

     Mackays,                                                  800

     Sinclairs,                                               1100

     Macdonald of Slate,                                       700

     Macdonald of Clanronald,                                  700

     Macdonell of Glengary,                                    500

     Macdonell of Keppoch,                                     300

     Macdonald of Glencoe,                                     130

     Robertsons,                                               200

     Camerons,                                                 800

     MʻKinnon,                                                 200

     Macleod,                                                  700

     The Duke of Montrose, Earls of Bute and Moray,           5600
     Macfarlanes,     Colquhouns, MʻNeils of Barra,
     MʻNabs, MʻNaughtans,     Lamonts, etc., etc.,



Government, awakened to the danger which threatened the peace of the
country whilst the fiery valour of the clans, unrestrained, ran
wild—save for the chieftain who exercised a species of independent
sovereignty, not always for the weal of the State—wisely determined to
enlist the sympathy of these petty tyrants on its side, and present a
more useful and nobler field for the employment and development of that
exceeding bravery and martial spirit which have ever characterised the
clans, and the efforts of which had, when embraced in the rebel army of
the Stuarts, justly caused most serious alarm. “I sought for merit,”
said the great Chatham, “wherever it was to be found; it is my boast
that I was the first minister who looked for it and found it in the
mountains of the North. I called it forth, and drew into your service a
hardy and intrepid race of men, who, when left by your jealousy, became
a prey to the artifice of your enemies, and had gone nigh to have
overturned the State.... These men were brought to combat on your side,
have served with fidelity, have fought with valour, and conquered for
you in every part of the world.”

About the year 1740, a variety of companies of Highlanders, known as the
“Black Watch,” were regimented, and, under the Earl of Crawford, formed
the _Royal Forty-second Highlanders_, whose history will be treated in
succeeding chapters; meanwhile, we shall shortly enumerate the several
corps, since disbanded, which at several periods constituted the
Highland Brigade. The oldest of these


was raised by the Earl of Loudon, a nobleman of great influence in the
Highlands, in 1745. In its short but eventful career, the regiment
served with credit and fidelity during the rebellion of 1745, and
afterwards with equal distinction with the allied army in Holland. At
the battle of Preston it was unfortunately captured. Having completed
its term of service, the regiment was disbanded in 1748.

On the outbreak of the American war, the Government again appealed to
the clans to enrol beneath the British banner, and on no occasion with
more splendid success. Of the regiments then embarked were


raised in 1757 by Archibald Montgomery, afterwards Earl of Eglinton, and
which served with its cotemporary,


in America throughout the war. This last was raised, hence its title, by
Sir Simon Fraser, son of Lord Lovat, a chieftain enjoying largely the
confidence of the clans, yet dispoiled of his lands and destitute of
funds by the misfortunes of the recent rebellion, in which he had
figured conspicuously among the Jacobites.

Immediately upon their embodiment, these two regiments were embarked for
America at Greenock. Associated in the British army, they were
honourably distinguished in the contest which ensued. Their disbandment
took place respectively in 1775 and 1763. Hostilities having extended to
the continent of Europe, and the Government thoroughly appreciating the
value of the Highland soldier, resolved to enrol, in 1759, other two
regiments for service in Germany, respectively


These so seasonably impressed the enemy with the might of Scottish
valour, that it is alleged the French so magnified the numbers of our
Highlanders as to imagine our army contained twelve instead of two
battalions of kilted warriors. A French officer, lamenting his own
little stature and wishing he had been a six-foot grenadier, is reported
to have become quite reconciled with himself, “when,” as he expresses
it, “he had seen the wonders performed by the little mountaineers.” One
of the journals of the day has this curious account of our
Highlanders:—“They are a people totally different in their dress,
manners, and temper from the other inhabitants of Great Britain. _They
are caught in the mountains when young_, and still run with a surprising
degree of swiftness. As they are strangers to fear, they make very good
soldiers when disciplined.” Accustomed to regard retreat as equivalent
to defeat, as something cowardly, it was with great reluctance our
mountaineers yielded obedience to such commands.


was raised by His Grace, upon his extensive estates, in 1759, and was
destined for service in India. Also, raised in 1760,


These, with other Highland corps, were disbanded on the conclusion of
the war in 1763, but not without having won the nation’s
confidence—deserving well of the country, whose gratitude followed them.

A few years later and a new American war burst forth, intensified in its
virulence by its civil character. In the attempts made to suppress the
rebellion of the colonists the old Highland brigade, re-assembled, was
highly distinguished.

Sir Simon Fraser of Lovat, who had already shown his forwardness in
raising the clans in 1757 and ranging them in regiments in defence of
the State, now restored to the patrimony which the rebellion of his
predecessor had forfeited, was again the first to gather around him a
regiment of clansmen, known as


This corps was engaged in the very hottest of the contest, especially in
and around Savannah and Charleston. One only instance, illustrative of
the excellence of the regiment, we have space to quote:—At Stone Ferry,
assailed by 2000 Americans, Captain Campbell, with 59 men and officers,
heroically maintained his post, until only seven soldiers were left
standing—the rest being either killed or wounded. To most of the men
this was their first encounter with the enemy; “they had not yet learned
to retreat,” nor had they forgotten what had been always inculcated in
their native country, that “to retreat was disgraceful.” When Captain
Campbell fell, he desired such of his men as were able to make the best
of their way to the redoubt, but they refused to obey, as it would bring
lasting disgrace upon them all to leave their officers in the field with
none to carry them back. The seven men retired carrying their wounded
officers with them, and accompanied by those of the soldiers who were
able to walk. Fraser’s Highlanders closed a brilliant career as part of
the unfortunate garrison of Yorktown, who were obliged to capitulate,
and so, as prisoners of war, only restored to their liberty and country
on the conclusion of the war, when they were disbanded. In this last
disaster, Fraser’s Highlanders became associated with another body of


which had been engaged in the war, although at first on a different


served at the same period with the British army of the north on the
frontiers of Canada. Acting with these were two battalions of Highland
emigrants, mostly veterans of the previous war, who, serving in the
Highland brigade of that time, had thereafter accepted the bounty of
Government and settled in America, known as the


Besides these, the wars of the time induced the formation of the


and, when the French Revolution further enveloped the world in the
flames of war,


constituted a part of the old Highland Brigade. Without more extended
detail or enumeration of the many Highland corps once on our army
establishment—now disbanded—esteeming we have sufficiently recorded the
story of the old brigade, to enable the reader to feel it worthy his
attention, as replete with incidents of heroism and daring scarcely ever
surpassed—we come to the consideration of the present Highland Brigade.


                         THE HIGHLAND BRIGADE.

                             CHAPTER XXVI.

         “Awake on your hills, on your islands awake,
         Brave sons of the mountain, the frith, and the lake!
         ’Tis the bugle—but not for the chase is the call;
         ’Tis the pibroch’s shrill summons—but not to the hall.

         “’Tis the summons of heroes for conquest or death,
         When the banners are blazing on mountain and heath:
         They call to the dirk, the claymore, and the targe,
         To the march and the muster, the line and the charge.”


This distinguished regiment has long deservedly enjoyed the public
favour. It is the link which binds us to the Old Highland Brigade, of
which it remains the only and worthy representative. Mr Cannon, in his
Military Records, thus introduces his account of the regiment by the
following eulogy on the excellence of our Highland soldiers: “The
Highlanders of Scotland have been conspicuous for the possession of
every military virtue which adorns the character of the hero who has
adopted the profession of arms. Naturally patient and brave, and inured
to hardship in their youth in the hilly districts of a northern climate,
these warlike mountaineers have always proved themselves a race of
lion-like champions, valiant in the field, faithful, constant, generous
in the hour of victory, and endued with calm perseverance under trial
and disaster.” As already noted, the Government had wisely determined
more largely to enlist the sympathy and good services of the clans on
their side; and, in consequence, had armed a certain proportion of the
well-affected clans—such as the Campbells, the Frasers, the Grants, and
the Munroes—who, formed into independent companies under the command of
their own or other well-known chieftains, were quartered in the more
troubled districts of the Highlands, where the Jacobite clans of
Cameron, Stuart, MʻIntosh, MʻDonald, and Murray rendered their presence
necessary for maintaining order and preventing any sudden rising, as
well as for the protection of property in those lawless times. They were
called the “Freicudan Dhu,” or “Black Watch,” from the sombre appearance
of their tartan uniform, compared with the scarlet coats of the regular
soldiers. They were mostly composed of the sons of the landed gentry, as
the Government felt that care was necessary, especially in this their
first experiment, in selecting individuals who had something at stake in
the common country, and consequently affording some guarantee for their
fidelity. The success of the experiment was soon abundantly manifest;
and whilst, in 1729, the “Black Watch” consisted only of six companies,
ten years later these were assembled at Perth, augmented to ten
companies, and regimented as the Highland Regiment, under the Earl of
Crawford. The original high character of this famous regiment has never
been excelled; no, not even by the Royal Guards. Nearly all its members
were six feet in height—illustrious for physical prowess and
might—highly connected, as may be well inferred from the fact that many,
when proceeding to drill, went on horseback, followed by servants
bearing their firelock and uniform. On one occasion the King, having
heard of the splendid physical appearance of the men, desired to see a
specimen; and accordingly three were sent up to London. One of these,
Grant of Strathspey, died on the way; the other two, MʻGregor and
Campbell, were presented to His Majesty, and, in presence of the King,
the Duke of Cumberland, Marshal Wade, and other officers, performed the
broadsword exercises and that of the Lochaber axe. Their dexterity and
skill so pleased His Majesty that he gave each a gratuity of one
guinea—a large sum in those days—imagining he had appropriately rewarded
them; but such was the character of these men—above want, generally in
good circumstances—that each bestowed his guinea upon the porter at the
palace gate as he passed out. There is one feature which we record with
more peculiar pleasure, as leaving a mightier impress of character upon
these gallant men, and we quote it in the words of an English historian
who was evidently no friend of theirs, yet wondrously surprised, as he
relates, “to see these savages, from the officer to the commonest man,
at their several meals, first stand up and pull off their bonnets, and
then lift up their eyes in the most solemn and devout manner, and mutter
something in their own gibberish, by way, I suppose,” says he, “of
saying grace, as if they had been so many Christians.”


The idea that they should only serve in their own country had so
strongly possessed the minds of many, that, when marched into England,
and learning they were destined for service in the West Indies—a place
associated in their minds only as a place of punishment for felons and
the like—the regiment mutinied; but by a judicious blending of firmness
and lenity on the part of Government, this splendid corps was not only
brought to submit, but preserved to win honour for our country, and
amply redeem, by brave deeds, the faults which for a moment clouded its
early history.

In 1743 the Highlanders joined the British army in Flanders, where their
conduct was so exemplary that the Elector Palatine specially thanked our
King “for the excellent behaviour of the regiment while in his
territories, and for whose sake,” he added, “I will always pay a respect
and regard to a Scotsman in future.” Of their valour, no higher tribute
can be paid than to say that at the battle of Fontenoy, where the
regiment made its first essay in arms, our Highlanders were placed in
brigade with the veterans of the British Guards. The result proved them
to be every way worthy of the compliment. Truly they presented the
choicest troops of the land, and eminently their success, like a meteor
flash, for a moment lighted up the fortunes of battle and promised
victory. Alas! all in vain; the disasters in other parts of the field
compelled retreat. Marshal Saxe, who commanded the French on this
occasion, with all the generosity which becomes a soldier, and who could
distinguish valour even in a foeman, said of the Highlanders—“These
furies rushed in upon us with more violence than ever did a sea driven
by a tempest.”

The rebellion of Prince Charles Edward in 1745 occasioned the recall of
the Forty-second, or, as it was then designated, the Forty-third, from
the Continent, the scene of its early glory. With the army, the regiment
was encamped in the south of England, prepared to dispute the menaced
landing of a French force upon our coasts, which the rebels hoped should
effect a favourable diversion. Meanwhile, three new companies which had
not as yet joined the regiment, served in the royal army against the
rebels—one company being taken prisoner at the battle of Prestonpans.
The internal peace of the country being secured by the decisive victory
of Culloden, many of the regiments returned to Flanders; whilst the
Highlanders, with 2000 of the Foot Guards and other troops, attempted a
descent upon the French coast, but failed to accomplish that success
which had been anticipated, from the superior strength of the enemy. In
the attack upon port L’Orient, assuming the disguise of Highlanders, a
body of French, in a sally, succeeded in approaching the British lines,
and had nearly entered them when discovered. They experienced the deadly
wrath of our true Highlanders, whose blood was roused because of the
indignity offered to the kilts in the foe attempting to deceive our
troops thereby. The result proved that it needed more than the tartans
to constitute the genuine Highlander—the dauntless native courage being

Returning home, the regiment was stationed a while in Ireland, until
removed to reinforce the army fighting in Flanders, in alliance with the
Austrians and Dutch, against the French. Excepting, however, at the
siege of Hulst, and covering the embarkation of the army for South
Beveland, the regiment was little engaged in these campaigns, being kept
in reserve in South Beveland. Returning to Britain in 1749, the
Highlanders were variously stationed in Ireland during the following six
years. In 1756, the outbreak of hostilities in America between the
British and French colonists called for the immediate presence of a
British army, of which the Forty-second formed a part. On their arrival,
the strangeness of their garb excited the interest of “the Indians, who
flocked from all quarters to see the strangers, who, they believed, were
of the same extraction as themselves, and therefore received them as
brothers.” Landed in America, Lord Loudon, as commander-in-chief,
hesitated to advance against the enemy until his soldiers had acquired
some knowledge of the novel warfare of the bush in which they were to be
so much engaged. The enemy, meanwhile, reaped many valuable advantages
from the precious moments thus lost through the over-cautiousness and
procrastination of the British commander.

In 1758, with the Twenty-seventh, the Forty-fourth, the Forty-sixth, the
Fifty-fifth, two battalions of the Sixtieth, and upwards of 9000
provincials, the Forty-second formed the division of our army, under
Major-General James Abercromby, which attempted the reduction of the
strong fort of Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain. The obstacles to be
overcome, and the strength of the garrison were such, that the utmost
and repeated efforts of our soldiers failed to effect its capture. The
distinguished bravery of the Forty-second is thus commemorated by an
eye-witness:—“With a mixture of esteem, grief, and envy, I consider the
great loss and immortal glory acquired by the Scots Highlanders in the
late bloody affair. Impatient for orders, they rushed forward to the
entrenchments, which many of them actually mounted. They appeared like
lions, breaking from their chains. Their intrepidity was rather animated
than damped by seeing their comrades fall on every side. I have only to
say of them, that they seemed more anxious to revenge the cause of their
deceased friends, than careful to avoid the same fate.” Their valour was
further rewarded by an order to dignify the regiment with the title of
the “_Royal_” Highlanders. So desperate was the fight, that the loss of
the regiment exceeded 650 men and officers. It was here that the gallant
and brave Brigadier-General Viscount Howe, of the Fifty-fifth regiment,
met his death: he who had been “the life and soul of the expedition,”
and was peculiarly the favourite of the soldiers.

In October, 1758, a second battalion was raised at Perth and grafted
upon the good old stock of the Royal Highlanders. Soon after its
formation, it was embarked for Barbadoes, where it joined the expedition
under Major-Generals Hopson and Barrington, which was baffled in an
attempt upon the French Island of Martinique. This reverse was, however,
somewhat avenged by a more successful attack upon the Island of
Guadaloupe, which, after four months’ hard fighting and much suffering
from the insalubrity of the climate, was surrendered to the British. The
defence is remarkable as affording a striking instance of female heroism
in the person of Madame Ducharmey, who, arming her negroes when others
had retired, refused to yield, resolutely defending the island for some

Removed from the West Indies to the continent of America, the second
battalion was at length united to the first. These formed part of the
expeditionary force, under General Amherst, which, advancing, occupied
the strong fortresses of Ticonderago, Crown Point, and Isle aux Noix,
successively evacuated by the French. In the campaign of 1760 our
Highlanders were with the army which, crossing Lake Ontario, descended
the St Lawrence, effected the surrender of Montreal, and in its fall
sealed the subjugation of the entire province of Canada.


                “For gold the merchant ploughs the main,
                  The farmer ploughs the manor;
                But glory is the sodger’s prize,
                  The sodger’s wealth is honour.
                The brave poor sodger ne’er despise,
                  Nor count him as a stranger:
                Remember he’s his country’s stay,
                  In day and hour o’ danger.”

               REVOLUTION—HALIFAX—CAPE BRETON—1762–1769.

Its sobriety, abstemious habits, great activity, and capability of
bearing the vicissitudes of the West Indian climate, had commended the
selection of the Forty-second as part of an expedition then assembling
at Barbadoes for a renewal of the attack upon the valuable island of
Martinique, which, after some severe fighting, was surrendered, in 1762,
by the French governor to the British commander, Major-General the
Honourable Robert Monckton. Scarcely had the rude tempest of war
subsided in its wrath, and the genial calm of peace asserted its blessed
influence over the nation, ere that tranquillity was again disturbed by
the malignant passions which unhappily prevailed, and launched our
country into antagonism with Spain. Reinforced by fresh troops from
home—including our Highlanders—the British army of the West Indies,
under the Earl of Albemarle, embarking, effected a landing on the
Spanish island of Cuba, and gloriously captured its wealthy metropolis,
acquiring therein prize-money to the enormous extent of three millions
sterling. After achieving this very successful result, the regiment,
embraced in one battalion, returned to the continent of America, where
it was employed in most harassing duty, checking and punishing the
depredatory incursions of the Indians, who were ever on the alert to
avenge themselves on the white men of the colony, whom they could not
help regarding, and not altogether unreasonably, as their spoilers, and
hence their natural enemies. At Bushyrun the Forty-second encountered
the army of red warriors, and inflicted a severe defeat, which so sorely
distressed them, that, tendering their submission, a favourable peace
was thereupon secured. Thereafter a party of a hundred men, detached
from the regiment, under Captain, afterwards General Sir Thomas
Stirling, was engaged in an exploring expedition, journeying 3000 miles
in ten months, as far as Fort Charteris on the Illinois; and
notwithstanding all the difficulties and dangers encountered in the way,
returning to head-quarters safe and sound. At length, after these many
faithful and arduous services, the regiment received the order to return
home. Enjoying the esteem of the colonists, its departure was most
deeply regretted. The regiment reached Cork in October, 1767, and
remained on duty in Ireland for about twelve years, whence it was
removed to Scotland in 1775, to be recruited. Scarcely had its
establishment been completed when the American Revolution, involving our
country in a new war, occasioned its recall to that continent. On the
eve of its departure from Greenock, the regiment comprised 931
Highlanders, 74 Lowlanders, 5 Englishmen (in the band), 1 Welshman, and
2 Irishmen—ample evidence of its genuine Highland character. In the
passage outwards the fleet was separated in a tempest, and a company of
the Forty-second, which had been quartered on board the “Oxford”
transport, was so unfortunate as to be captured by an American
privateer. Retained as prisoners on board the “Oxford,” the soldiers
succeeded in overpowering the crew, and, assuming the command of the
vessel, navigated it to the Bay of Chesapeake, unwittingly to find
themselves in the enemy’s grasp, who held possession of the bay. As
captives, our Highlanders were removed into the interior of the
continent, where every attempt was made to seduce them from their
allegiance, and tempt them to enter the American service, but, “true to
their colours,” without avail. Meanwhile, the rest of the regiment had
joined the British army in Staten Island, under General the Honourable
Sir William Howe.

During the whole course of the war which followed, it may with truth be
averred that no one regiment was more constantly employed, serving
chiefly with one or other of the flank corps, and that no regiment was
more exposed to danger, underwent more fatigue, or suffered more from

The events of the war are so much a matter of history, that we forbear
to detain the reader with more than a mere enumeration of those in which
the Forty-second bore a conspicuous part. Having, through the battle of
Brooklyn, achieved the capture of Long Island, landing with the British
army on the mainland, the Highlanders were present with distinction at
the siege of Fort Washington, the capture of Fort Lee, the re-taking of
Trenton, but especially in the affair of Pisquata, where, assailed by
overwhelming numbers, the gallantry of the regiment was beyond all
compliment. The Forty-second was also present, although in a subordinate
position, at the battle of Brandywine, where General Washington was
defeated. On the 20th September, 1777, it was detached with the first
battalion of Light Infantry and the Forty-fourth regiment, to surprise a
strong force of Americans which lay concealed in the recesses of the
forest in the neighbourhood of the British camp, purposing to annoy the
army and cut off stragglers. The surprise—effected with scarcely any
loss—favoured by the darkness of the night, was successful. The enemy,
wholly unsuspecting, was utterly dispersed with great slaughter. The
regiment was further engaged in the attack upon Billingspoint and the
defence of Germanstown.

At length allied with France, the Americans were so helped and
encouraged that it became necessary to concentrate the British army,
and, in consequence, relinquishing many of their more distant conquests,
our troops retired to the sea coast to oppose the threatened debarkation
of a French force from their fleet which cruised off the coast.
Dispersed by a storm, this armament failed to afford that assistance
which had been anticipated, compelling General Sullivan, who commanded
an auxiliary army of Americans, to abandon the siege of Nieuport, in
Rhode Island, and beat a precipitate retreat to the mainland. Meanwhile,
the Forty-second, with the Thirty-third, Forty-sixth, and Sixty-fourth
regiments, successfully accomplished the destruction of the arsenals and
dockyards of Bedford and Martha’s Vineyard. At Stoneypoint and
Vereplanks, after a desperate struggle, the persevering efforts of the
Royal Highlanders were rewarded with complete success. Under General Sir
Henry Clinton, the regiment formed a part of the expedition which
undertook and achieved the siege of Charlestown. The increasing force
and daring of the enemy, inspired and sustained by the genius of
Washington, glorying in the disaster of Yorktown, where a British army
was forced to surrender, induced peace, which, concluded in 1782, put an
end to further hostilities. The regiment served for a while thereafter
in Halifax, and, ere it returned home in 1789, garrisoned the island of
Cape Breton. Whilst in Nova Scotia, in 1785, Major-General John
Campbell, in presenting a new set of colours to the regiment, thus ably
addressed it—an address which, in its excellence, lives to encourage our
army, and than which we are convinced no better epitome of a soldier’s
duty exists:—

“I congratulate you on the service you have done your country, and the
honour you have procured yourselves, by protecting your old colours, and
defending them from your enemies in different engagements during the
late unnatural rebellion.

“From those ragged, but honourable remains, you are now to transfer your
allegiance and fidelity to these new National and Regimental Standards
of Honour, now consecrated and solemnly dedicated to the service of our
King and Country. These colours are committed to your immediate care and
protection; and I trust you will, on all occasions, defend them from
your enemies, with honour to yourselves and service to your country—with
that distinguished and noble bravery which have always characterised the
ROYAL HIGHLANDERS in the field of battle.

“With what pleasure, with what peculiar satisfaction—nay, with what
pride, would I enumerate the different memorable actions where the
regiment distinguished itself. To particularise the whole would exceed
the bounds of this address; let me therefore beg your indulgence while I
take notice only of a few of them.

“And, first, the conduct of the regiment at the battle of _Fontenoy_ was
great and glorious! As long as the bravery of the fifteen battalions in
that conflict shall grace the historic page, and fill the breast of
every Highlander with pleasure and admiration, so long will the superior
gallantry of the Forty-second Regiment bear a conspicuous part in the
well-fought action of that day, and be recorded in the annals of Fame to
the latest posterity!

“I am convinced that it will always be a point of honour with the corps,
considered as a collective body, to support and maintain a _national_

“For this purpose you should ever remember that, being a national and
reputable corps, your actions as citizens and civil subjects, as well as
your conduct as soldiers, will be much observed—more than those of any
other regiment in the service. Your good behaviour will be handed down
with honour to posterity, and your faults, if you commit any, will not
only be reported, but magnified, by other corps who are emulous of your
_civil_ as well as of your _military_ character. Your decent, sober, and
regular behaviour in the different quarters you have hitherto occupied,
has rendered you the distinguished favourites of their respective
inhabitants. For the sake, then, of your country—for the sake of your
own established character, which must be dearer to you than every other
consideration—do not tarnish your fame by a subsequent behaviour less

“Do not, I beseech you, my fellow-soldiers, allow your morals to be
corrupted by associating with low, mean, or bad company. A man is always
known by his companions; and if any one among you should at any time be
seen spending his money in base, worthless company, he ought to be set
up and exposed as an object of regimental contempt!

“To conclude: As you have, as soldiers, displayed sufficient valour in
the field by defeating the enemies of your country, suffer me to
recommend to you, as Christians, to use your best endeavours, now in the
time of peace, to overcome the enemies of your immortal souls! Believe
me, my fellow-soldiers, and be assured, that the faith and virtues of a
Christian add much to the valour, firmness, and fidelity of a soldier.
He, beyond comparison, has the best reason, and the strongest motive,
for doing his duty in scenes of danger, who has nothing to fear, but
every thing to hope, in a future existence.

“Ought you not, therefore, to be solicitous to adorn your minds with, at
least, the principal and leading Christian virtues, so that if it should
be your fate hereafter to fall in the field of battle, your
acquaintances and friends will have the joyful consolation of hearing
that you leave an unspotted name, and of being assured that you rose
from a bed of honour to a crown of immortality.”


                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

                  “O! to see his tartan trews,
                  Bonnet blue, and laigh-heel’d shoes,
                  Philabeg aboon his knee!
                  That’s the lad that I’ll gang wi’.”


The honourable bearing of the Royal Highlanders throughout the war had
been so conspicuous as to win for them the hearty esteem of their
countrymen. Hence their return was welcomed by all classes, and their
progress northward was little else than a triumphal march. At Glasgow,
the joy of the people was unbounded.

Whilst stationed in Scotland, the regiment was called to fulfil a most
painful duty, in the suppression of the riots which had arisen in the
Highlands from the expulsion of the poorer peasantry from the haunts and
homes of “auld langsyne.” From a long and quiet possession, they had
come to consider such as their own, and therefore were disposed to
resist the right of the legal proprietor, who desired to disencumber his
estates of the unproductive poor, and render these lands remunerative,
rather than, as hitherto, a barren burden.

To curb the furious passions which the evil genii of the French
Revolution had let loose, wherewith to plague Christendom, the might of
Britain was called to the rescue. The Forty-second, largely recruited,
was accordingly embarked at Hull, and joined the British army fighting
under the Duke of York in Flanders. Soon, however, the regiment was
recalled, to form part of a meditated enterprise against the French West
Indian Islands. This scheme being abandoned for the present, it was
engaged in a vain attempt to aid, by a descent on the French coast, the
Vendean royalists, who yet dared manfully, but, alas! ineffectually, to
struggle against the sanguinary tyranny of the Revolution, for liberty
and righteousness. Returning to Flanders, the regiment was doomed to
share the retrograde movement which had been necessitated by the
overwhelming superiority of the enemy, and the listless indifference,
nay, even hate, of the Dutch, whose cause we had assumed to espouse.
Retreating through Germany to Bremen, the sufferings of the army were
severe, but endured with a fortitude which well commanded the admiration
of friend and foe. Never were the capabilities of the Highland soldier
more thoroughly tested, and more triumphantly apparent, than in the
midst of the fatigues of an incessant warfare, the severities of a
bitter winter, and the discouraging prospects of retreat. Under these
cruel circumstances, whilst other regiments counted their losses by
hundreds, the Forty-second only lost twenty-five men.

Returning to England, the regiment was once more included in the
long-contemplated West Indian expedition. A vast armament had been
assembled in 1795, and sailed at first prosperously, only to be
dispersed and driven back with heavy loss by a furious tempest which
almost immediately arose. A second attempt, promising as favourably,
encountered a like catastrophe, but not so fatal. Although dispersed,
some of the transports continued the voyage, others returned to port,
and some few became the prey of the enemy’s privateers. Providence
seemed to be adverse to the expedition, or in friendly warning indicated
the coming struggle—when hearths and homes, menaced by a relentless,
dangerous foe, needed that a large portion of this ill-omened expedition
should be retained for the defence of our own shores, and play a more
important part in the exciting events of the Revolutionary War. Five
companies of the Royal Highlanders were thus detained at home, and soon
afterwards removed for service to Gibraltar. The other five companies of
the regiment, embarked in the “Middlesex,” East Indiaman, battling the
tempest, completed the voyage, and rendezvoused at Barbadoes, whence
they proceeded, with what remained of the vast armament, against the
French island of St Lucia, which, after some sharp fighting, was wrested
from the Republicans. In the subsequent attack upon the island of St
Vincent, the Highlanders were praised for the “heroic ardour” they
always displayed, but especially illustrated in the attack upon the post
of New Vigie, on the 10th June, 1796, on which occasion Major-General
David Stewart relates the following episode of the wife of a soldier of
our Royal Highlanders:—“I directed her husband, who was in my company,
to remain behind in charge of the men’s knapsacks, which they had thrown
off to be light for the advance up the hill. He obeyed his orders; but
his wife, believing, I suppose, that she was not included in these
injunctions, pushed forward in the assault. When the enemy had been
driven from the third redoubt, I was standing giving some directions to
the men, and preparing to push on to the fourth and last redoubt, when I
found myself tapped on the shoulder, and turning round, I saw my
Amazonian friend standing with her clothes tucked up to the knees, and
seizing my arm, ‘Well done, my Highland lads!’ she exclaimed, ‘see how
the brigands scamper like so many deer!’ ‘Come,’ added she, ‘let us
drive them from yonder hill.’ On inquiry, I found she had been in the
hottest fire, cheering and animating the men, and when the action was
over, she was as active as any of the surgeons in assisting the

Allied with the Caribbee Indians, the Republicans, driven from the open
plain and the regular strongholds of the island, found a refuge in the
woods, where, screened by the luxuriant foliage of the forest, or
perched in unassailable positions, they maintained a guerilla warfare,
which to our troops proved of the most trying and harassing kind,
similar in character to that sustained by our Highlanders in the
backwoods during the American war. Mr Cannon, in his valuable official
records of the regiment, gives the following description illustrative of
the general character of the contest:—

“The out-posts being frequently alarmed by parties of the enemy firing
at the sentries in the night, a serjeant and twelve Highlanders, under
Lieutenant David Stewart, penetrated the woods at nine o’clock in the
evening, with short swords to cut their way through the underwood, to
discover the post or camp from whence these nightly alarms came. After
traversing the woods all night, an open spot, with a sentry, was
discovered; this man fired his musket at a dog which accompanied the
soldiers, and then plunged into the wood, as the Serjeant rushed forward
to cut him down. The soldiers were on the edge of a perpendicular
precipice of great depth, at the bottom of which was seen a small valley
crowded with huts, from whence issued swarms of people on hearing the
report of their sentry’s musket. Having made this discovery, the
soldiers commenced their journey back; but, when about half way, they
were assailed by a fire of musketry on both flanks, and in the rear. The
Caribbees were expert climbers; every tree appeared to be manned in an
instant; the wood was in a blaze, but not a man could be seen—the enemy
being concealed by the thick and luxuriant foliage. As the Highlanders
retreated, firing from time to time at the spot from whence the enemy’s
fire proceeded, the Caribbees followed with as much rapidity as if they
had sprung from tree to tree like monkeys. In this manner the retreat
was continued, until the men got clear of the woods.”

The reduction of the island being at length completed, the five
companies of the Forty-second were employed in an ineffectual attack
upon Porto Rico. In 1797, from Martinique the companies returned home,
and, on reaching Portsmouth, presented a clean bill of health—somewhat
extraordinary in the circumstances, yet silently but unmistakeably
testifying to the good conduct of the corps, and the completeness of its
economy. In 1798 the several companies were united at Gibraltar, whence
the regiment proceeded, with other troops, under Lieut.-General the
Honourable Sir Charles Stewart, against the Spanish island of Minorca,
which, with its capital, Ciudadella, was speedily surrendered, although
the defending force exceeded in number the attacking force; the
Spaniards, by the admirable dispositions of the British, being deceived
as to our actual strength. This achievement was but the presage to a
more glorious enterprise. The ambition of Napoleon had pictured for
himself an Eastern Empire; and to work out the realisation of his dream,
he had transported the veterans of Italy into Egypt, as the basis of his
operations. Already had the burning sands of the dreary desert wasted
the strength of this “Army of the East,” and his conquering legions been
arrested in their triumphal career by the stern decrees of Nature’s God,
when our island-might dared to challenge the boasted “Invincibles” of
France. The Forty-second was included in the expedition which, under Sir
Ralph Abercromby, was so long detained and tossed upon the treacherous
waves of the Mediterranean, the slave of a cruel uncertainty as to its
destination. At length the fleet cast anchor in Aboukir Bay, and despite
the proud array of horse, foot, and artillery which lined the beach and
manned the hills environing the bay—each of which contributed its
deadliest thunder to daunt or destroy our gallant army—the British
successfully effected a landing in March, 1801, gained a victory which,
apart from the honour accruing to our arms, served to revive the
fainting spirit of Europe, and gave a glimpse of hope to the enthralled
who had been crushed by the military tyranny of France.


Passing over the action of Mandora, we arrive at the battle of
Alexandria, wherein the valour of the Royal Highlanders, associated with
the Twenty-eighth regiment, has never been excelled. Posted amid the
ruins of an old Roman palace, and looking down upon the classic
memorials of a by-gone age, the Forty-second, on the morning of the 21st
March, 1801, awaited with portentous silence the approach of the foe,
who, concealed by a thick mist, advanced, purposing to surprise our
position. The assault was conducted with the wonted impetuosity of the
French, and the defence maintained with characteristic firmness by the
British. Amid the confusion of the fight, the uncertain light of the
morning, and whilst our troops were hotly engaged at all points, the
famed “Invincible Legion” of Napoleon crept silently and unnoticed to
the rear of our Highlanders, cutting the wings of the regiment asunder.
A desperate and deadly fight ensued, when these redoubtable troops
discovered and encountered each other. The French, entering the ruins of
the palace, displayed a valour worthy the title they bore, and which, in
other circumstances, might have won that better success which such
heroic bravery merited as its reward. Exhausted and overpowered, with
650 fallen, the relics of the “Invincibles,” of whom there remained but
250, surrendered to our Highlanders. Scarce had the regiment achieved
this splendid result, ere it was anew assailed by a fresh and more
powerful, but not braver column of the enemy. At length these repeated
and resolute attacks of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, broke the
array of the Forty-second. To all appearance flight seemed the only
refuge, and prudence might have urged the same as being the better part
of valour. The French cavalry at this critical moment charged the
regiment, deeming an easy conquest at hand, but nothing daunted, grouped
into small detached parties, the Highlanders faced about and fearlessly
encountered the foe. Sir Ralph Abercromby, witnessing the gallant
behaviour of his countrymen in such a crisis, unable to reinforce them
with troops, hastened to the spot to encourage, by his presence, these
brave men, exclaiming, with patriotic fervour, “My brave Highlanders,
remember your country, remember your forefathers!” Thus nerved to
resistance, and cheered to know that so beloved a commander beheld with
pride and grateful affection their efforts, the result was soon
gloriously evident in the retreat, flight, and ruin of the cavalry, who
imagined they would have annihilated the broken, bleeding remnant.
During the fight, Sir Ralph Abercromby was furiously assailed by two
dragoons. “In this unequal conquest he received a blow on the breast;
but with the vigour and strength of arm for which he was distinguished,
he seized on the sabre of one of those who struggled with him, and
forced it out of his hand. At this moment a corporal of the
Forty-second, seeing his situation, ran up to his assistance, and shot
one of the assailants, on which the other retired.

“The French cavalry charged _en masse_, and overwhelmed the
Forty-second; yet, though broken, this gallant corps was not defeated;
individually it resisted, and the conduct of each man exalted still more
the high character of the regiment.”

Towards the close of the battle the Highlanders, having expended their
last cartridge, were on the point of being annihilated—although still
resolutely resisting with the bayonet—when the French, repulsed
everywhere, relaxed their efforts, and gradually retired. The loss of
the regiment, in killed and wounded, exceeded 300 men; but the most
grievous loss of all, felt by every rank, was the fall and subsequent
death of Sir Ralph Abercromby.

It is unnecessary here further to detail the various events which marked
the progress of the British arms in Egypt—crowned in the conquest of its
two capitals, Cairo and Alexandria, accomplishing the extinction of the
French dominion in the land, and for ever dissipating the dream of
Napoleon, which had promised an Eastern Empire—an idea early and fondly
nurtured, but, like the toy of a child, as quickly cast away when it
failed to please, and, by that despot, abandoned when circumstances
presented an easier path and more glorious results to his ambition in
the crown of France.

On the return of the Royal Highlanders, every compliment was lavished
upon the regiment by a grateful country. Whilst at Edinburgh in 1802,
Lieutenant-General Vyse, in presenting a new set of colours, thus closed
his address to the regiment:—“Remember that the standards which you have
this day received are not only revered by an admiring world, as the
honourable monuments and trophies of your former heroism, but are
likewise regarded by a grateful country as the sacred pledges of that
security which, under the protection of heaven, it may expect from your
future services.

“May you long, very long, live to enjoy that reputation and those
honours which you have so highly and so justly merited; may you long
participate and share in all the blessings of that tranquillity and
peace which your labours and your arms have restored to your native
country; but should the restless ambition of an envious and daring enemy
again call you to the field, think then that you behold the spirit of
those brave comrades who so nobly, in their country’s cause, fell upon
the plains of Egypt, hovering round these standards—think that you see
the venerable shade of the immortal Abercromby leading you again to
action, and pointing to that presumptuous band whose arrogance has been
humbled, and whose vanity has been compelled, by your intrepidity and
courage, to confess that _no human force has been ‘invincible’ against
British valour_, when directed by wisdom, conducted by discipline, and
inspired by virtue.”


                             CHAPTER XXIX.

                “When wild war’s deadly blast was blawn,
                  And gentle peace returning,
                And eyes again with pleasure beam’d
                  That had been blear’d wi’ mourning,
                I left the lines and tented field,
                  Where lang I’d been a lodger,
                My humble knapsack a’ my wealth,
                  A poor but honest sodger.”


The peace of Amiens in 1803, which for a short period released our army
from the bloody toils of war, was but as the portentous calm presaging
the lowering storm, when the waves of angry passion, lashed into fury,
should beat upon the shore of every continent of the world. The pride of
France had been humbled, and the ambitious schemes of her haughty despot
thwarted by British valour, which, upon the plains of Egypt, had wrested
from veteran legions their boasted “invincibility.” The French navy,
moreover, had been swept from the seas and all but exterminated—there
remaining not an armament in Europe which could dare to dispute the
British ocean sovereignty. Stung by the remembrance of many defeats by
sea and land—the painful recollection of which ever and anon haunted and
troubled the dreamer of universal empire, begetting

                “The vengeance blood alone could quell”—

a spirit of malignity was awakened in the mind of Napoleon. These
combined occasioned the concentration of the giant might of his empire
upon the western shores of France, purposing therewith to crush, were it
possible, the only power which, amidst the general wreck of nations, yet
lived to challenge his assumed omnipotence. Vainly he hoped to bridge
the channel, or, as he termed it, the “ditch,” which divided this
beloved land from our natural rival and implacable enemy, France. Loudly
he threatened that, with an army of 600,000 men, he would land to
desolate our homes, and overwhelm our country in a doom as awful as had
hitherto befallen less favoured countries. But apart from the “ditch,”
which proved an impassable gulf to the mightiest efforts of his power,
the patriotism of our people, appreciating the emergency, was equal to
the danger, and in 1804 achieved the following magnificent result:—

               Army in the British Isles,        129,039
                 Colonies,                        38,630
                 India,                           22,897
                 Recruiting,                         533
               Militia in Great Britain,         109,947

               Regular and Militia,              301,046
               Volunteers in Great Britain,      347,000
                   Total in Great Britain,       648,046
               Irish Volunteers,                  70,000
               Military,                         718,046
               Navy,                             100,000
                   Grand Total in arms,          818,046

In this vast armament we must include a second battalion raised in 1803,
and attached to the Royal Forty-second. In 1805 the first battalion was
removed to Gibraltar. Napoleon, disappointed in his favourite scheme of
effecting our conquest, suddenly directed his march eastward, launching
the thunderbolts of war with remorseless wrath upon the devoted
sovereignties of Germany, yea, piercing, in his aggressions, the gloomy
wilds of Russia. By a crooked policy, begetting a matchless perfidy,
Napoleon had found further employment for the myriad spoilers who looked
to him for prey, in the invasion and appropriation of Spain and
Portugal. In this crisis of their country’s calamity, the patriots of
the Peninsula invoked the friendly aid of Britain, as alone able to help
them in the unequal yet protracted struggle for independence they
maintained. Ever the champion of the weak and oppressed, Britain
descended to the rescue; and in accordance therewith, a British army,
under Sir Arthur Wellesley, landed in Portugal in 1808. The first
battalion of the Forty-second was ordered to join this expedition from
Gibraltar, but reached too late to participate in the glories of Roleia
and Vimiera. The deliverance of Portugal being for the time
accomplished, the Forty-second thereafter joined the army of General Sir
John Moore, which attempted to drive the French from Spain. Inadequately
supported, this gallant chief failed to do more than penetrate into the
interior, occasioning the concentration of the several French armies to
repel him. Unable to cope with such a vast superiority, retreat was
inevitable. Shattered by the vicissitudes of the war, his army retired
to the sea coast, hotly pursued by a powerful French force under Marshal
Soult. At length halting near Corunna, the British, in defence of their
embarkation, accepted battle from the French, which, whilst victory
crowned our arms, was dearly bought in the death of Sir John Moore.
Brigaded with the Fourth and Fiftieth regiments, under Major-General
Lord William Bentinck, and in the division of Sir David Baird, these
regiments sustained the weight of the attack. Twice on this memorable
day did the Commander-in-Chief address himself to the Highlanders. In
the advance to recover the lost village of Elvina, he uttered these
thrilling words, awakening the recollection of the time when he himself
had led them to victory—“Highlanders,” he said, “remember Egypt!” And
again, when sorely pressed by the enemy, having expended their whole
ammunition, he thus distinguished them:—

“‘My brave Forty-second, join your comrades, ammunition is coming, and
you have your bayonets.’ At the well-known voice of their general, the
Highlanders instantly sprang forward, and closed upon the enemy with
bayonets. About this period Sir David Baird was wounded, and forced to
quit the field, and soon afterwards Sir John Moore was struck to the
ground by a cannon ball. He was raised up, his eyes were steadily fixed
on the Highlanders, who were contending manfully with their numerous
antagonists, and when he was assured that the Forty-second were
victorious, his countenance brightened up, he expressed his
satisfaction, and was removed to the rear, where he expired, to the
great regret of the officers and soldiers, who admired and esteemed
their excellent commander.”

                On dark Corunna’s woeful day,
                When Moore’s brave spirit passed away,
                Our Highland men, they firmly stood,
                Nor France’s marshalled armies could
                      Break through the men of Scotland.

[Illustration: SIR JOHN MOORE.]

In this severe fight the loss of the Forty-second exceeded 200 killed
and wounded. In consequence of this victory, the British were enabled to
embark without further molestation from the enemy. The regiment arrived
in England in 1809. As soon as sufficiently recruited—brigaded with the
Seventy-ninth and Ninety-second regiments, constituting the Highland
Brigade—it was embarked with the army which attempted to gain a footing
in Flanders; but failed, rather from the evil effects of the climate,
inducing a malignant disease, than the sword of the enemy. Of 758 men,
which comprised the battalion, 554 were stricken down or disabled in
less than six weeks. Meanwhile, the second battalion, which had joined
the army of Lord Wellington in Portugal, suffered severely from a
similar cause whilst stationed on the banks of the Guadiana River.
Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Blantyre, this battalion was
creditably present in the actions of the Peninsular War, which arrested
the progress of the French under Marshal Massena, at Busaco, and finally
defied their every effort at the formidable, impregnable lines of Torres
Vedras. The battalion won a title to the distinction of “Fuentes
d’Onor,” by gallantly resisting a charge of French cavalry thereat. It
was present at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, and, previous to the battle
of Salamanca, was joined by the first battalion from England, with whom
it was consolidated. A recruiting party was sent home to enrol a now
second battalion, afterwards disbanded in 1814.

It is needless here to detain the reader with a record of the military
transactions of the war. These words—“Pyrenees,” “Nivelle,” “Nive,”
“Orthes,” “Toulouse,” and “Peninsula”—borne upon the colours and
appointments of the regiment, are sufficiently expressive of its
gallantry. At the battle of Toulouse, the public despatch refers to the
conduct of the Forty-second as “highly distinguished throughout the
day;” whilst an officer of the regiment contributes the following
account of its dauntless behaviour on the occasion. In the sixth
division of our army, and in brigade with the Seventy-ninth and
Ninety-first regiments, he says:—“We advanced under a heavy cannonade,
and arrived in front of a redoubt, which protected the right of the
enemy’s position, where we were formed in two lines—the first consisting
of some Portuguese regiments, and the reserve of the Highland Brigade.

“Darkening the whole hill, flanked by clouds of cavalry, and covered by
the fire of their redoubt, the enemy came down upon us like a torrent;
their generals and field-officers riding in front, and waving their hats
amidst shouts of the multitude, resembling the roar of an ocean! Our
Highlanders, as if actuated by one instinctive impulse, took off their
bonnets, and, waving them in the air, returned their greeting with three

“A death-like silence ensued for some moments, and we could observe a
visible pause in the advance of the enemy. At that moment the light
company of the Forty-second regiment, by a well-directed fire, brought
down some of the French officers of distinction, as they rode in front
of their respective corps. The enemy immediately fired a volley into our
lines, and advanced upon us amidst a deafening roar of musketry and
artillery. Our troops answered their fire only once, and, unappalled by
their furious onset, advanced up the hill, and met them at the charge.
Upon reaching the summit of the ridge of heights, the redoubt which had
covered their advance fell into our possession; but they still retained
four others, with their connecting lines of entrenchments, upon the
level of the same heights on which we were now established, and into
which they had retired.

“Major-General Pack having obtained leave from General Clinton that the
Forty-second should have the honour of leading the attack, which it was
hoped should drive the French from their strong position, that
distinguished officer exultingly gave the word—‘The Forty-second will
advance.’ We immediately began to form for the charge upon the redoubts,
which were about two or three hundred yards distant, and to which we had
to pass over some ploughed fields. The grenadiers of the Forty-second
regiment, followed by the other companies, led the way, and began to
ascend from the road; but no sooner were the feathers of their bonnets
seen rising over the embankment, than such a tremendous fire was opened
from the redoubts and entrenchments, as in a very short time would have
annihilated them. The right wing, therefore, hastily formed into line,
and, without waiting for the left, which was ascending by companies from
the road, rushed upon the batteries, which vomited forth a most furious
and terrific storm of fire, grape-shot, and musketry.

“The redoubts were erected along the side of a road, and defended by
broad ditches filled with water. Just before our troops reached the
obstruction, however, the enemy deserted them, and fled in all
directions, leaving their last line of strongholds in our possession;
but they still possessed two fortified houses close by, from which they
kept up a galling and destructive fire. Out of about five hundred men,
which the Forty-second brought into action, scarcely ninety reached the
fatal redoubt from which the enemy had fled.

“As soon as the smoke began to clear away, the enemy made a last attempt
to re-take the redoubts, and for this purpose advanced in great force.
They were a second time repulsed with great loss, and their whole army
was driven into Toulouse, which they evacuated on the 12th of April,

The peace which crowned these glorious achievements afforded but a brief
interval of repose to our army. In the spring of the following year,
Europe was startled in her dream of fancied security by the sudden and
unexpected return of Napoleon from Elba. In the campaign of Waterloo,
which quickly and decisively broke his power, and almost annihilated the
military strength of imperial France—with which strong, convulsive
effort it hoped to restore its earlier and mightier dominion—the
Forty-second claims a most conspicuous place, especially in the action
of Quatre Bras, so immediately followed by the grander event of
Waterloo. The unexpected and furious attack of Marshal Ney upon the
advanced position of the allies at Quatre Bras, gave the French a
momentary advantage. Roused to arms, and hurried forward to the scene of
conflict, the Highlanders (Forty-second and Ninety-second regiments)
were conspicuous for the promptitude with which they mustered and took
the field, hastening forward to relieve the gallant few that dared to
withstand the impetuous assaults of the French. The good conduct of the
Highlanders, whilst quartered in Brussels, had so won the esteem of the
citizens, that they are said to have mourned for them as a brother,
grieving for their departure—perchance

                “The unreturning brave,—alas!
            Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
            Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
            In its next verdure; when this fiery mass
            Of living valour rolling on the foe,
        And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low!

            “Last noon beheld them full of lusty life;
            Last eve, in beauty’s circle proudly gay;
            The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife;
            The morn the marshalling in arms; the day
            Battle’s magnificently-stern array!
            The thunder-clouds close o’er it, which, when rent,
            The earth is cover’d thick with other clay,
            Which her own clay shall cover—heap’d and pent,
        Rider and horse,—friend, foe,—in one red burial blent!”

One historian speaks of the Forty-second as displaying “unparalleled
bravery;” whilst another thus narrates the attack of the Highlanders at
Quatre Bras:—“To the Forty-second Highlanders, and Forty-fourth British
regiment, which were posted on a reversed slope, and in line, close upon
the left of the above road, the advance of French cavalry was so sudden
and unexpected, the more so as the Brunswickers had just moved on to the
front, that as both these bodies whirled past them to the rear, in such
close proximity to each other, they were, for the moment, considered to
consist of one mass of allied cavalry. Some of the old soldiers of both
regiments were not so easily satisfied on this point, and immediately
opened a partial fire obliquely upon the French lancers, which, however,
Sir Denis Pack and their own officers endeavoured as much as possible to
restrain; but no sooner had the latter succeeded in causing a cessation
of the fire, than the lancers, which were the rearmost of the cavalry,
wheeled sharply round, and advanced in admirable order directly upon the
rear of the two British regiments. The Forty-second Highlanders having,
from their position, been the first to recognise them as a part of the
enemy’s forces, rapidly formed a square; but just as the two flank
companies were running in to form the rear face, the lancers had reached
the regiment, when a considerable portion of their leading division
penetrated the square, carrying along with them, by the impetus of the
charge, several men of those two companies, and creating a momentary
confusion. The long-tried discipline and steadiness of the Highlanders,
however, did not forsake them at this critical juncture; these lancers,
instead of effecting the destruction of the square, were themselves
fairly hemmed into it, and either bayoneted or taken prisoners, whilst
the endangered face, restored as if by magic, successfully repelled all
further attempts on the part of the French to complete their expected
triumph. Their commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Macara,
was killed on this occasion, a lance having pierced through his chin
until it reached the brain; and within the brief space of a few minutes,
the command of the regiment devolved upon three other officers in
succession: Lieutenant-Colonel Dick, who was severely wounded,
Brevet-Major Davidson, who was mortally wounded, and Brevet-Major
Campbell, who commanded it during the remainder of the campaign.” Their
subsequent service at Waterloo fully sustained, nay, rather excelled the
heroism of previous achievements.


Peace has long reigned over our land, and the after history of the
regiment appears, when shorn of a farther warlike character, devoid of
interest. We only, therefore, mention that, after serving in various
garrisons at home, the regiment was removed in 1826 to Gibraltar, thence
in 1832 to Malta, and thereafter, in 1834, to the Ionian Islands.
Returning home in 1836, it was welcomed by a grateful public. In 1841 it
was again stationed in the Ionian Islands, until removed to Malta in

In the Crimean war, the Forty-second, with the Seventy-ninth and
Ninety-third regiments, shared the dangers and the sufferings through
which, as our “Highland Brigade,” they gloriously won a deathless
renown—as the “Rocks of Gaelic Infantry.” The regiment was present at
the battle of the Alma, the siege of Sebastopol, and with the expedition
against Kertch. Many of its soldiers earned, as the reward of personal
courage, the Victoria Cross.

In July, 1857, the Forty-second proceeded to India, to aid in the
suppression of the mutiny. It still remains in India, being now
stationed at Dugshai, Bengal. It is worthy of remark, that all the
Highland regiments were more or less employed in suppressing this
terrible outbreak.

In conclusion, these records, if “aught inanimate e’er speaks,” speak in
silent yet living eloquence to the soul, and more than ever endear to us
the soldiers who inherit, and who will not fail to emulate, by their own
good conduct and gallant demeanour, the illustrious and glorious career
of their predecessors.


                        THE SEVENTY-FIRST FOOT;

                              CHAPTER XXX.

          “To leave thee behind me my heart is sair pain’d,
          But by ease that’s inglorious no fame can be gain’d;
          And beauty and love’s the reward of the brave,
          And I maun deserve it before I can crave.”


Whilst the American continent was the scene of a sanguinary and bitter
strife, the embers of war were being quickened into flame in another and
far distant province of our vast colonial empire. In India the
usurpation of Hyder Ali had occasioned the interference of the British,
awakening the ill-disguised hatred of the native race against the
grasping policy of the British, whose cupidity had already appropriated
much of their native land, and whose avarice was only too ready to
embrace any farther opportunity for aggrandisement. The incendiaries of
France had been busy sowing the seeds of jealousy and distrust of the
British rule, which soon produced its malignant fruits in the cruel and
remorseless war that ensued. Thus encircled and assailed by enemies from
so many quarters at once, our Government, in its dire extremity, called
upon the patriotism of the country to supply the means of defence. The
result was most satisfactory; and in no case did the appeal receive a
more cordial response than amongst our clansmen, from whence were drawn,
in the course of eighteen months, upwards of 12,500 Highlanders. From
the following list of the regiments raised in 1778 to meet this
emergency, the subject of our present sketch may be selected:—

   72d Regiment, or Royal Manchester Volunteers,   disbanded in 1783.
   73d Highland Regiment,       numbered the 71st  Regiment in 1786.
   74th Highland Regiment,                         disbanded in 1784.
   75th Prince of Wales’ Regiment,                 disbanded in 1783.
   76th Highland Regiment,                         disbanded in 1784.
   77th Regiment, or Athole Highlanders,           disbanded in 1783.
   78th Highland Regiment,      numbered the 72d   Regiment in 1786.
   79th Regiment, or Royal Liverpool Volunteers,   disbanded in 1784.
   80th Regiment, or Royal Edinburgh Volunteers,   disbanded in 1784.
   81st Highland Regiment,                         disbanded in 1783.
   82d Regiment,                                   disbanded in 1784.
   83d Regiment, or Royal Glasgow Volunteers,      disbanded in 1783.

The Earl of Cromarty and his son, Lord MʻLeod, having been partners in
the guilt of rebellion in 1745, were made partners in the punishment
which followed. At length pardoned, Lord MʻLeod was permitted to pass
into honourable exile. He found employment in the Swedish army, where he
rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General. Opportunely venturing to return,
he was unexpectedly received with much favour by the King, and his offer
to raise a Highland regiment on his forfeited estates gladly accepted.
His success was worthy of his zeal; and at Elgin, in 1778, he appeared
at the head of a magnificent corps of 840 Highlanders, 236 Lowlanders,
and 34 English and Irish, which were accordingly regimented as the
Seventy-third, afterwards our Seventy-first Regiment. The success of
this corps induced the formation of a second battalion, which soon
attained its complement. Although styled the “Glasgow Highland Light
Infantry,” that western metropolis can boast no legitimate claim to an
interest in its formation beyond the thirty-four English and Irish
recruits, who, it is said, hailed from Glasgow. It acquired the
property, at a later period, when a second battalion was being grafted
upon the parent stem, when many of its citizens enlisting, manifested so
strong a predilection in its favour, as induced the government to confer
the present title, and ever since the Glasgowegians have proudly adopted
the Seventy-first as their own.

Almost immediately on its completion, the first battalion was embarked
for India. Landing at Madras in 1780, it became the nucleus for the
Highland Brigade, which the subsequent and successive arrival of the
Seventy-second, Seventy-third, Seventy-fourth, Seventy-fifth, and
Ninety-fourth Highland regiments constituted. These earned distinctions
for gallant service almost exceptional to themselves. It is worthy of
note—eliciting our surprise, yet reflecting infinite credit on our
arms—that notwithstanding the insignificance of the British force,
opposed to the countless hosts of the Indian chiefs—generally as one to
ten—we almost always prevailed. Had the native pride been less rampant,
and the Indian chiefs submitted to the superior generalship of the
French officers sent out to discipline their troops—wherein was
admirable material for good soldiers—the danger to the British would
have been greater, and success more exceptional. Fortunately for us, the
incapacity of these sable chiefs to command, and their exceeding fear of
dictation, lost them many an opportunity, and in the end proved our
safety. It is strangely true of the Indian soldier that, in the field,
when well led, he behaves with the utmost firmness, whilst, in defence
of fortifications or walled towns, he betrays a weakness which
altogether belies any favourable impression of his resolution previously
formed. Notwithstanding the overwhelming superiority of the enemy who,
under Hyder Ali, threatened annihilation to the small force of 4600 men,
including the first battalion of the Seventy-third (as we must as yet
call the Seventy-first), these, under Major-General Sir Hector Munro,
dared to advance into the interior. Meanwhile, a division of 3000 men,
under Lieut.-Colonel Baillie, descending from the north, strove to
effect a junction with the army of General Munro. The hesitation of the
latter, when in presence of the foe, to prosecute his advance, and
secure his junction with the former, placed the small force of Colonel
Baillie in a position of peril. This opportunity, vigorously improved by
Hyder Ali, occasioned its destruction, which, with two companies of the
Seventy-third, and other troops under Lieut.-Colonel Fletcher, had,
despite the treachery of the guides, threaded their way through the
jungle, and arrived as a reinforcement from Major-General Munro, but in
reality as so many more victims who should be engulfed in the fatal ruin
so nigh. The terrible disaster which ensued, and the calamitous result
which yielded so many brave men prisoners into the cruel, merciless
power of Hyder Ali, can never fail to inspire feelings of the truest
sympathy. With a hundred thousand men, he descended with the most
sanguinary fury upon this little and devoted column. Even when the whole
ammunition was, by an unlucky accident, blown into the air in their very
midst, and the British guns silenced, they remained unconquered. The
converging hosts of the enemy drew closer around the little band of
heroes, and poured in upon them a deadly fire of artillery and musketry,
to which they could no longer reply. Reduced to 500 men, “History cannot
produce an instance, for fortitude, and intrepidity, and desperate
resolution, to equal the exploits of this heroic band.... The mind, in
the contemplation of such a scene, and such a situation as theirs was,
is filled at once with admiration, with astonishment, with horror, and
with awe. To behold formidable and impenetrable bodies of horse, of
infantry, and of artillery, advancing from all quarters, flashing savage
fury, levelling the numberless instruments of slaughter, and darting
destruction around, was a scene to appal even something more than the
strongest human resolution; but it was beheld by this little band with
the most undaunted and immoveable firmness.... Like the swelling waves
of the ocean, however, when agitated by a storm, fresh columns
incessantly poured in upon them with redoubled fury, which at length
brought so many to the ground, and weakened them so considerably, that
they were unable longer to withstand the dreadful and tremendous shock;
and the field soon presented a horrid picture of the most inhuman
cruelties and unexampled carnage.”[C] Happy were those who found on the
burning sands of Perambaukam “a soldier’s grave;” happy indeed, compared
with the cruel fate of the survivors, who, reduced from 4000, scarce
mustered 200 prisoners, nearly all of whom were wounded. Colonel
Baillie, stripped, wounded in three places, was dragged into the
presence of the victor, who exulted over him with the imperious tone of
a conqueror. Baillie replied with the true spirit of a soldier, and soon
after died. The remainder, cast into the dungeons of Bangalore, scantily
fed on unwholesome food, were doomed to endure a miserable imprisonment
for three long years. These trials, however, served only to bring out,
in brighter effulgence, the characteristics of the Highland hero. “These
brave men,” says General Stewart, “equally true to their religion and
their allegiance, were so warmly attached to their officers (amongst
whom was one afterwards destined to win a mighty fame as their gallant
leader—Sir David Baird), that they picked out the best part of their own
food and secretly reserved it for their officers; thus sacrificing their
own lives for that of their officers, as the result proved, for out of
111, only 30 feeble and emaciated men ever emerged from that almost
living tomb.” Mrs Grant says in her narrative, “Daily some of their
companions dropped before their eyes, and daily they were offered
liberty and riches in exchange for this lingering torture, on condition
of relinquishing their religion and taking the turban. Yet not one could
be prevailed upon to purchase life on these terms. These Highlanders
were entirely illiterate; scarcely one of them could have told the name
of any particular sect of Christians, and all the idea they had of the
Mahommedan religion was, that it was adverse to their own, and to what
they had been taught by their fathers; and that, adopting it, they would
renounce Him who had died that they might live, and who loved them, and
could support them in all their sufferings. The great outlines of their
religion, the peculiar tenets which distinguish it from any other, were
early and deeply impressed on their minds, and proved sufficient in the
hour of trial.

Footnote C:

  Narrative of the Military Operations on the Coromandel Coast from 1780
  to 1784, by Captain Innes Monro, of the Seventy-third Regiment.

            ‘Rise, Muses rise, add all your tuneful breath;
            These must not sleep in darkness and in death.’

“It was not theirs to meet Death in the field of honour; while the mind,
wrought up with fervid eagerness, went forth in search of him. They saw
his slow approach, and though sunk into languid debility, such as
quenches the fire of mere temperament, they never once hesitated at the
alternative set before them.”

       “Billeted by death, he quarter’d here remained;
       When the last trumpet sounds, he’ll rise and march again.”

In 1781, in the army of Lieutenant-General Sir Eyre Coote, the regiment
took the field, although sorely weakened by sickness and the sword.
After considerable man[oe]uvring on both sides, the two armies
confronted each other on the plains of Porto Novo. The British, not
amounting to 8000 men, of which the Seventy-third was the only Line
regiment, were opposed to a vast host, exceeding 100,000.

Notwithstanding our great inferiority in numbers, the enemy signally
failed in every attempt to annihilate, as he imagined, the heroic band
who fought beneath the banner of Albion. Discouraged and worn out with
these repeated and unavailing assaults, the foe was only too glad to
retire and escape from such a vain struggle, where superior numbers
could make no impression on bravery and discipline, but only entailed
disgrace and defeat. The excellent valour of the regiment on this
critical occasion, received the warmest approbation of the
Commander-in-chief. Sir Eyre Coote was particularly pleased with the
gallantry of one of its pipers, who, amid the hottest of the fire,
ceased not to cheer his comrades by the shrill scream of his bag-pipes,
which was heard even above the din and roar of battle—so pleased, he
exclaimed, “Well done, my brave fellow, you shall have silver pipes when
the battle is over,” a promise which he most munificently fulfilled. Sir
Eyre Coote always retained a warm interest in, strong attachment to, and
confidence in the Highland regiments, which he learned to esteem as the
flower of the British army. Having followed up this great victory by a
series of further minor successes, the army, reinforced by a body of
troops from the Bengal Presidency under Colonel Pearse, anew arrived
upon the blood-stained plains of Perambaukam, so pregnant with
melancholy associations, and which, yet reeking with the gore of the
murdered brave, bore memorials of the disaster which had overtaken so
many of their comrades but a year previous; stirred by these painful
recollections, our army consecrated the spot to avenge thereon the
butchery which had so lately bereaved them of their brethren. The foe,
too, were inspired for the fight, but by a very different feeling.
Superstition bade them believe their gods propitious to the spot, and,
as with them, to give over the British as the victims of a new
sacrifice. Thus impelled, it may well be inferred that the struggle was
severe and bloody, although, as usual, British prowess triumphed.

To relieve the important fortress of Vellore, our army advanced by the
Pass of Sholingur, where it encountered the enemy. A protracted and
desperate fight ensued, but nothing could withstand the impetuous and
persevering assaults of the British, who ultimately drove the enemy
before them. In the spring of 1782, the relief of Vellore was a second
time accomplished, despite the strenuous efforts of Hyder Ali to prevent
it. The after and unsatisfying inactivity of our army permitted a
powerful French force, landed from the fleet of Admiral Suffrein, to
effect a junction with the Indian army, and these together succeeded in
reducing the important strongholds of Permacoil and Cudalore. These
successes, energetically followed up by Hyder Ali, threatened our utter
destruction, and brought about the battle of Arnee, in which the
Seventy-third was conspicuous under the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel
Elphinstone and, more immediately, of Captain the Honourable James
Lindsay. The British, reinforced by the arrival of the Seventy-eighth
(now the Seventy-second) regiment, recently arrived from Europe, were in
a position to assume the offensive, and having anew provisioned Vellore,
undertook the siege of Cudalore, which was only abandoned for lack of
the requisite means of attack, thus postponing its fate for another
year. So deeply interested was the Commander-in-chief, Sir Eyre Coote,
in this undertaking, that, vexed with its miscarriage—esteeming himself
inadequately supported by Government in the attempt—grieved and
disappointed, he fell a prey to melancholy, which, ere an opportunity to
retrieve the present failure had come, the veteran chief had fallen. He
was succeeded in the command by Major-General James Stuart, and the
army, reinforced by the arrival of the Twenty-third Light Dragoons, the
One-hundred-and-first and One-hundred-and-second British regiments, and
the Fifteenth regiment of Hanoverian infantry, resumed the siege of
Cudalore under more auspicious circumstances. The defence was resolutely
maintained by the French under General Bussy. The besiegers so
vigorously pressed the enemy that he was at length compelled to withdraw
within the fortress. The loss on our side was very severe—the
Seventy-third had to mourn a melancholy list of nearly 300 comrades
killed or wounded. The news of a treaty of peace having been signed
between Great Britain and France, snatched the prize from our troops
which we had imagined within our grasp.

In 1786, the numerical title of the regiment was changed from the
Seventy-third to the Seventy-first, as at present, by the reduction,
etc., of senior corps.

Nothing of importance falls to be recorded in the course of our
narrative till the year 1790, when Tippoo Saib, the son and successor of
Hyder Ali, encroaching upon the territory of the Rajah of Travancore, a
faithful ally of the British, occasioned our interference, resulting in
a renewal of hostilities. In the army of Major-General Medows, the
Seventy-first and Seventy-second regiments formed the second or Highland
brigade, afterwards increased by the addition of the Seventy-fourth
Highlanders from Madras. As we shall have frequent opportunity of
following the movements of the brigade in after chapters, we will not
here burden our history with a repetition, contenting ourselves with the
simple mention of the chief events that ensued. Under General the Earl
Cornwallis, the Seventy-first was with the army in the various actions
which led to the siege and capture of Bangalore; thence it proceeded
with the expedition intended to act against Seringapatam, but which,
overcome by the force of circumstances, in the meantime retired,
awaiting a more favourable opportunity, when better prepared to
accomplish the design. In the interval, the regiment was creditably
engaged in the reduction of the strong forts of Nundydroog, Savendroog,
etc., which had hitherto hindered our progress. At length, in 1792, the
army resumed the enterprise against Seringapatam. This forward movement
alarmed Tippoo Saib, who, dreading the fate which awaited his capital,
strove to arrest the army by accepting battle. The result proving
unfortunate, the enemy were driven within the island on which the city
stands, and even here, although very strongly posted, the Mysoreans had
become so straitened in their circumstances, and were so pressed by the
British, that, suing for peace, the Sultan was only too glad to purchase
the safety of his capital and preserve the last remnant of his once
mighty dominion by any sacrifice which the conquerors chose to impose.
Disappointed of a further triumph, the army retired, laden with the
spoil which had ransomed the haughty metropolis and its ambitious

Holland having caught the revolutionary fever which prevailed in 1793,
and being allied with France, was involved in the war with Britain,
which, arising out of the sins of the Revolution, had already torn from
these states nearly their entire colonial dominions. Pondicherry, on the
Coromandel coast, had succumbed to our arms; and the valuable island of
Ceylon was, in turn, wrested from the Dutch by a British expedition,
including the Seventy-first regiment. This was the last achievement of
any importance which was attained by the corps in India. In 1798, it
received orders to return home, and, after a long voyage, landed in
safety at Woolwich.


                             CHAPTER XXXI.

             “Right onward did Clan-Alpine come.
               Above the tide, each broadsword bright
               Was brandishing like beam of light,
                 Each targe was dark below;
               And with the ocean’s mighty swing,
               When heaving to the tempest’s wing,
                 They hurled them on the foe.
             I heard the lance’s shivering crash,
             As when the whirlwind rends the ash;
             I heard the broadsword’s deadly clang,
             As if an hundred anvils rang!
               But Moray wheeled his rearward rank
               Of horsemen on Clan-Alpine’s flank—
                 ‘My banner-man advance!
               I see,’ he cried, ‘their column shake;
               Now, gallants! for your ladies’ sake,
                 Upon them with the lance!’
             The horsemen dashed among the rout,
               As deer break through the broom;
             Their steeds are stout, their swords are out,
               They soon make lightsome room.”


Whilst the first battalion was gallantly combating its country’s foes on
the plains of India, a second battalion, raised in 1778, had, in 1780,
embarked for Gibraltar. On the voyage, the fleet fell in with a valuable
Spanish convoy of Carracca merchantmen, guarded by several ships of war.
Sir George Rodney, the British admiral, having impressed the
Seventy-first as marines, assailed the enemy, and soon compelled them to
surrender. Arrived off Cape St Vincent, a new and more formidable
antagonist awaited the coming of the British. A powerful Spanish fleet,
under Admiral Don Juan de Langara, appeared in sight, charged with their
destruction. But a very different result was the issue of the collision:
out of eleven line-of-battle ships, comprising the enemy, nearly all
either perished or were captured. Arrived at Gibraltar, the battalion
was engaged in the defence of that important fortress, contributing by
its gallantry to beat off the most stupendous efforts of Spain and
France combined to reduce it. Successively it witnessed the failure of
the tremendous cannonade with which the Spaniards assailed the
fortifications, hoping therewith to render these splendid works a heap
of ruins, no longer defensible even by British valour. In 1781, the
flank companies of the battalion participated in the glory of the sortie
which accomplished the destruction of the numerous and powerful
batteries and immense magazines of the enemy; and finally, in the
following year, it beheld the might of France and Spain discomfited, and
itself, surviving the iron tempest of shot and shell with which the
enemy proposed to exterminate the garrison, was glorified along with the
British troops who dauntlessly maintained the fortress. Ten ponderous
battering ships had been prepared and were supposed to achieve marvels
in the tremendous artillery of the assault. But alas! how oft is the
counsel of the wise mocked and the loftiest designs of man humbled by
the God of battles! Instead of victory, which it was fondly imagined
should crown such gigantic efforts of skill, these floating batteries
were nearly all utterly destroyed by the red-hot shot used for the
purpose by the British. Thus triumphing over the vast efforts of two of
the mightiest military powers of the age, our brave garrison received
the royal thanks, expressive of the people’s gratitude, conveyed through
the Secretary of State for War, in these flattering terms:—“I am
honoured with His Majesty’s commands to assure you, in the strongest
terms, that no encouragement shall be wanting to the brave officers and
soldiers under your command. His royal approbation of the past will no
doubt be a powerful incentive to future exertions; and I have the King’s
authority to assure you, that every distinguished act of emulation and
gallantry, which shall be performed in the course of the siege by any,
even of the lowest rank, will meet with ample reward from his gracious
protection and favour.” Peace at length dawned, and the blockade was in
consequence raised in February, 1783. The second battalion, returning
home, was disbanded at Stirling in the autumn of the same year.


The first battalion, which had returned from India, had proceeded to
Scotland to recruit, but, being unsuccessful, passed over to Ireland in
1800, where it received 600 volunteers from the Scots Fencibles.
Afterward, when the peace of Amiens had been transgressed, and a French
invasion seemed imminent, the “Army Reserve Act” occasioned the
formation of a second battalion at Dumbarton in 1804. Enrolled for a
limited time, and restricted to home duty, it was employed in various
garrisons in Scotland, Ireland, and South Britain, and was disbanded at
Glasgow in December, 1815, on the termination of the war. Meanwhile, the
alarm of invasion having passed away, the first battalion, with the
Seventy-second and Ninety-third regiments, formed the second or Highland
brigade, under Brigadier-General Ronald Crawfurd Ferguson, engrossed in
the army of Major-General Sir David Baird, destined to operate against
the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope. Having successfully
accomplished a landing in Saldanha Bay, conquered at the battle of
Bleuberg, driven the Dutch army of Lieutenant-General Janssens into the
interior, and advanced upon Cape Town, the fruitlessness of further
resistance becoming evident, the entire colony was surrendered in 1806.
In token of the honour acquired by the regiment in this enterprise, the
words “Cape of Good Hope” have been since borne by permission upon its
regimental colour. No sooner had this conquest been completed than the
Seventy-first was detached, with 200 men of the St Helena
regiment—making a total of 1087 rank and file, in an expedition against
Buenos Ayres, in South America. Commanded by Brigadier-General William
Carr (afterwards Viscount) Beresford, this ill-advised and ill-fated
expedition at first met with considerable success—a bloodless landing
being effected, and the enemy easily broken and dispersed, all promised
to go well. Recovering from their first alarm, and ashamed that such a
handful of British should have so easily assumed to be their masters,
the citizens, gradually drawing together into a formidable phalanx,
resolved to wipe away the disgrace, and achieve their liberty by the
expulsion of the invaders. Driven into the citadel, without hope of
relief, and unable to contend against the hourly increasing enemies that
surrounded them and threatened vengeance upon them, the besieged felt
themselves compelled to surrender. Removed as prisoners into the
interior of the country, the battalion was treated leniently, but the
landing of a second expedition at Monte Video, fated to an issue as
unfortunate, occasioned a more rigorous treatment. Negotiations having
brought about an amicable arrangement, the entire British, released,
agreed to relinquish all hostilities against South America. Unarmed and
ununiformed, the battalion reached Cork in 1807, and was immediately
re-equipped, and presented with new colours by Lieutenant-General Floyd,
who thus addressed it:—“Brave Seventy-first, the world is well
acquainted with your gallant conduct at the capture of Buenos Ayres, in
South America, under one of His Majesty’s bravest generals.

“It is well known that you defended your conquest with the utmost
courage, good conduct, and discipline to the last extremity. When
diminished to a handful, hopeless of succour, and destitute of
provisions, you were overwhelmed by multitudes, and reduced by the
fortune of war to lose your liberty and your well-defended colours, but
not your honour. Your honour, Seventy-first regiment, remains unsullied.
Your last act in the field covered you with glory. Your generous
despair, calling upon your General to suffer you to die with arms in
your hands, proceeded from the genuine spirit of British soldiers. Your
behaviour in prosperity—your sufferings in captivity—and your faithful
discharge of your duty to your King and country, are appreciated by all.

“You who now stand on this parade, in defiance of the allurements held
out to base desertion, are endeared to the army and to the country, and
your conduct will ensure you the esteem of all true soldiers—of all
worthy men—and fill every one of you with honest martial pride.

“It has been my good fortune to have witnessed, in a remote part of the
world, the early glories and gallant conduct of the Seventy-first
regiment in the field; and it is with great satisfaction I meet you
again, with replenished ranks, with good arms in your hands, and with
stout hearts in your bosoms.

“Look forward, officers and soldiers, to the achievement of new honours
and the acquirement of fresh fame!

“Officers! be the friends and guardians of these brave fellows committed
to your charge!

“Soldiers! give your confidence to your officers. They have shared with
you the chances of war; they have bravely bled along with you; they will
always do honour to themselves and you. Preserve your regiments
reputation for valour in the field, and regularity in quarters.”

Spain and Portugal having been despoiled of their independence by the
perfidious usurpation of France, Britain—allied with the patriots of
the Peninsula in the struggle going on for the emancipation of these
kingdoms from the thraldom of Napoleon—sent an army to Portugal, which
included the first battalion of the Seventy-first, and under the
command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, effected a landing in Mondego Bay in
1808. Through the victories of “Roleia” and “Vimiera,” commemorated
upon the colours of the regiment, the convention of Cintra was
achieved, which expelled the French under Marshal Junot, Duke of
Abrantes, from Portugal. At Vimiera, the Grenadier company of the
Seventy-first, under Captain Forbes, captured a battery of five guns
and a howitzer, which every attempt of the enemy failed to recover. On
the same occasion George Clarke, the piper of the regiment, was
specially commended for his gallantry in resolutely continuing at his
post, although severely wounded, cheering his countrymen by the wild
inspiring music of the bag-pipe. Corporal MʻKay, at the same battle,
was fortunate enough to receive the sword of the French General
Brennier. Advancing upon Madrid, associated in brigade with the
Thirty-sixth and Ninety-second regiments, the Seventy-first was
ultimately joined to the army of Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore,
which had promised to relieve the citizens of that metropolis from the
intolerant yoke of France. The corps was with the British army in the
disastrous yet glorious retreat, terminated in the victory of Corunna,
possessing a melancholy interest from the death of the hero whose
genius had accomplished it, and which delivered a British army from a
situation of imminent peril.

Embarked, the regiment returned to England, and in 1809—a year to be
mournfully remembered, as fatal to the wearing of the kilt in the
army—it was ordered to lay aside the Highland garb, and was uniformed as
a light infantry regiment. Every care was in consequence bestowed to
promote its efficiency. Strengthened, it was associated with the
Sixty-eighth and Eighty-fifth regiments in the light brigade, and was
ordered to accompany the army in the ill-advised expedition, which
wasted a splendid armament in a vain attempt to obtain a footing in
Flanders. The good conduct of the regiment was nevertheless most
conspicuous in the various actions of the brief campaign.

Returning to England towards the close of the year, in the spring of
1810, the first, second, third, fourth, sixth, and tenth companies were
selected to reinforce the army of Lieutenant-General Viscount
Wellington, then fighting in Portugal. It arrived at a very critical
period in the history of the war, when Marshal Massena, pressing our
troops with overwhelming numbers, they were retreating towards the
impregnable lines of Torres Vedras, defeating the sanguine hopes of the
French general. The Seventy-first, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel the
Hon. Henry Cadogan, was brigaded with the Fiftieth and Ninety-second
regiments under Major-General Sir William Erskine. Whilst maintaining
these formidable defences, the following incident is related of Sir Adam
Ferguson, who was so posted with his company that the French artillery
might operate with fatal effect upon his men, but, for better security,
they were ordered to lie prostrate on the ground. While in this attitude
the captain, kneeling at their head, read aloud the description of the
battle, as introducing our present chapter, and as selected from Sir
Walter Scott’s “Lady of the Lake.” The little volume had just come into
the camp as a stranger, but was soon welcomed as a friend. The listening
soldiers, charmed with the poet’s tale, only interrupted the reading by
an occasional and joyous huzzah whenever the French shot struck the bank
close above them. Wearied, disappointed, and distressed by ravages of
disease amongst his troops, the French Marshal was constrained in turn
to retreat—a retreat which, but for the unslumbering vigilance of his
pursuers, promised to be as successful as the ability with which it was
conducted merited, worthy the genius of Massena—justly esteemed the
right hand of Napoleon.

In 1811 the regiment was joined by its other companies. In the action of
Fuentes d’Onor it was warmly engaged; repeatedly and powerfully assailed
by the enemy, it was all but overpowered in the defence of the village,
when, happily, the Seventy-fourth and Eighty-Eighth regiments arrived to
its support, and so the post was retained. The corps was afterwards
detached as a reinforcement to the army of Marshal Sir William
Beresford, and subsequently, in the army of Lieutenant-General Rowland
(afterwards Viscount) Hill, was employed in the southern provinces of
the Peninsula, keeping in check the French under Marshal Soult, and
otherwise covering the operations of the grand army of Wellington. It
helped to disperse and destroy a considerable detachment of the enemy
which had been surprised at Arroyo-del-Molinos. It was more especially
commended for the exceeding gallantry it displayed in the capture of
Fort Napoleon, embraced in the action and commemorated in the word
“Almaraz.” At the battle of Vittoria it suffered very severely in the
loss of nearly 400 men and officers; but the most grievous loss was felt
in the death of its Lieutenant-Colonel, the Hon. Henry Cadogan, who
largely enjoyed the esteem of the soldiers. He “fell mortally wounded
while leading his men to the charge, and being unable to accompany the
battalion, requested to be carried to a neighbouring eminence, from
which he might take a last farewell of them and the field. In his dying
moments he earnestly inquired if the French were beaten; and on being
told by an officer of the regiment, who stood by supporting him, that
they had given way at all points, he ejaculated, ‘God bless my brave
countrymen,’ and immediately expired.” The Marquis of Wellington thus
gave effect to his own regrets in the official dispatch communicating
his fall:—“In him His Majesty has lost an officer of great zeal and
tried gallantry, who had already acquired the respect and regard of the
whole profession, and of whom it might be expected, that if he had lived
he would have rendered the most important services to his country.”

In all the after battles and actions, which resulted in the expulsion of
the French from Spain, and their repeated defeats and ultimate rout on
their native plains, the Seventy-first bore an honourable part,
returning to Britain in 1814, richly laden with a harvest of glory. A
short interval of peace soon recruited the “precious remnant” of the
regiment, and so restored its strength as enabled it once more to go on
foreign service. Ordered to embark for America, it was fortunately
detained by tempestuous weather, and so privileged to win laurels on a
mightier field. Napoleon having escaped from his honourable exile in
Elba, by his presence in France, overturning the ricketty government of
the Bourbon, involved that bleeding country in a universal war, since it
brought down the combined wrath of Europe, whose allied armies now
hastened to arrest and punish the ambitious man who had proved himself
so dire a curse to Christendom. Upon the plains of Waterloo the die for
empire was cast and lost. In that great battle the Seventy-first had a
part, forming with the first battalion of the Fifty-second, and the
second and third battalions of the Ninety-fifth, or Rifles—a light
infantry brigade which sustained the charge of three regiments of French
cavalry: one of cuirassiers, one of grenadiers-à-cheval, and one of
lancers. It also withstood the shock of the grand final charge of the
Old Imperial Guard, witnessing the discomfiture of these choice troops,
so long the citadel of imperial strength, now reeling, broken, dying,
dead—of whom, borrowing the words, it may well be said—

                  “They never feared the face of man.”

This great victory having ruined irretrievably the fortunes of Napoleon,
the allied army, rapidly advancing, entered Paris a second time, and
there dictated the terms of peace. The Seventy-first remained in France
as part of the “army of occupation;” and whilst stationed at the village
of Rombly in 1816, its soldiers were presented with the Waterloo medals
by Colonel Reynell, who thus, addressing the regiment, said:—“These
honourable rewards bestowed by your Sovereign for your share in the
great and glorious exertions of the army of His Grace the Duke of
Wellington upon the field of Waterloo, when the utmost efforts of the
army of France, directed by Napoleon, reputed to be the first captain of
the age, were not only paralysed at the moment, but blasted beyond the
power of even a second struggle.


  18^{TH} JUNE 1815.
  from 4.30 to 6.30 o’clock pm

“To have participated in a contest crowned with victory so decisive, and
productive of consequences that have diffused peace, security, and
happiness throughout Europe, may be to each of you a source of
honourable pride, as well as of gratitude to the Omnipotent Arbiter of
all human contests, who preserved you in such peril, and without whose
protecting hand the battle belongs not to the strong, nor the race to
the swift.

“I acknowledge to feel an honest, and, I trust, an excusable,
exultation, in having had the honour to command you on that day; and in
dispensing these medals, destined to record in your families the share
you had in the ever-memorable battle of Waterloo, it is a peculiar
satisfaction to me that I can present them to those by whom they have
been fairly and honourably earned, and that I can here solemnly declare,
that in the course of that eventful day I did not observe a soldier of
this good regiment whose conduct was not only creditable to the English
nation, but such as his dearest friends could desire. I trust that they
will act as powerful talismans, to keep you, in your future lives, in
the paths of honour, sobriety, and virtue.” A year later and
Major-General Sir Denis Pack presented new colours to the regiment, and,
alluding to its services, said:—“Never, indeed, did the character of the
corps stand higher; never was the fame of the British arms or the glory
of the British empire more pre-eminent than at this moment, an
enthusiastic recollection of which the sight of these colours must
always inspire.”

Returning to England in 1818, the Seventy-first remained on home service
until 1824, when it was removed to Canada, and in 1831 was sent to
Bermuda, thence restored to its native land in 1834. It returned to
Canada in 1838, and in 1842 was included in a first and reserve
battalion. Whilst the latter remained in Canada, the former was ordered
to the West Indies, thence to Barbadoes, and in 1847 restored to
England. In 1853 the first battalion proceeded to the Ionian Islands;
and in November, 1854, the reserve battalion, which had recently arrived
from Canada, embarked for the Crimea, followed by the first battalion
from Corfu. Both battalions were subsequently united on arrival at the
seat of war. “SEVASTOPOL” commemorates its service before that place.
The regiment was next stationed at Malta, and was sent thence by
overland route, in January, 1858, to Bombay, and is now at Sealkote, in
the Punjaub.


                        THE SEVENTY-SECOND FOOT;
                     DUKE OF ALBANY’S HIGHLANDERS.

                             CHAPTER XXXII.

             “We would not die in that man’s company,
             That fears his fellowship to die with us.
             .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .   \
                               Then shall our names,
             Familiar in their mouths as household words,
             Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d
             From this day to the ending of the world;
             We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
             For he to-day that sheds his blood with me,
             Shall be my brother.”


The history of the clans presents no more splendid illustration of that
devotion which bound the clansman to his chief, and of the happy
relationship implied therein, than is afforded in the circumstances
attendant upon the origin of the Seventy-second Highlanders. The Earl of
Seaforth, chief of the Mackenzie, had, as a leader in the rebellion of
1715, been banished from his country, his title attainted, and his
estates forfeited, yet, withal, 400 of his late followers and tenants
remitted to him in his exile a large portion of the rents they might
have been liable for had he retained the estate. This most generous
testimony of respect and practical expression of sympathy to the father
was gratefully remembered by the son, and, notwithstanding the changes
which, passing over the face of society, had swept away the old
institution of clanship, induced the grandson, who, restored by purchase
to the family property, and by his acknowledged loyalty, to the honours
of the Earldom of Seaforth, in return for these favours, volunteered to
raise a regiment for the Government. His appeal to his clansmen was
amply successful. The Mackenzies and Macraes, rallying around him as
their chief, gave thereby most hearty and flattering testimony to their
own loyalty to the King, and unimpaired attachment to the family of
Seaforth, which had so long and worthily presided over them.
Accordingly, 1130 men were assembled and enrolled in the regiment—then
known as the Seventy-eighth—at Elgin, in 1778. Marched to Edinburgh, it
was thence removed to the Channel Islands, where its firm attitude,
remarkable in such young soldiers, so won the confidence of the
islanders, and encouraged the militia, as, together with our
Highlanders, enabled them successfully to resist an attempted
debarkation of French troops on the island of Jersey.

A sister regiment to the Seventy-first, the Seventy-second
(Seventy-eighth) was ordered to follow it to India in 1781, in
fulfilment of the original purpose for which both corps had been raised.
The transport service of those times was miserably inefficient,
especially when compared with the leviathan ships and floating
palaces—the Scotias, Persias, and Great Easterns—which in our day are,
by a patriotic public, ever at the command of our Government for any
sudden emergency. A voyage in a troop-ship eighty years ago ofttimes
consumed more of life than the battle-field; was more fatal than the
dreaded pestilence which lurked in the swamps of the Indies; nay, in
some cases was as cruel in its miseries as the horrors of the Black Hole
of Calcutta. The passage of the Seventy-second Highlanders to India
proved to be such. Two hundred and forty-seven men perished on the
voyage, which was protracted to nearly ten months; and when the regiment
did arrive at Madras, only 369 men were mustered as fit for duty. One
transport having parted from the fleet in a gale, was placed in imminent
peril, being destitute of charts, and her commander utterly unfit for
his position, having hitherto trusted to keep his vessel in the track of
the fleet. By the wise precautions of Sir Eyre Coote, although the
requirements of the service were urgent and entailed an immediate
advance, the Seventy-second regiment was not immediately hurried into
action, but time was allowed it to recruit its strength. In consequence
of these measures, the regiment was soon able to appear in the field
with upwards of 600 men.

Hyder Ali, who, by usurpation, had arisen from being a mere soldier of
fortune to be the dreaded tyrant of the Mysore, allied with France and
Holland, threatened to expel the British from the Indian continent.

           “’Tis true that we are in great danger,
             The greater, therefore, should our courage be.”

These words of wisdom, from the glowing pen of Shakspere, worthy his
mighty soul, bespeaking in every lineament the true undaunted spirit of
a son of Albion, were acted out to the letter in the bold advance of the
British against this formidable coalition. Our army, under Major-General
Stuart, comprised the Seventy-third (afterwards the Seventy-first), the
Seventy-eighth (afterwards the Seventy-second), and the
One-hundred-and-first regiments, with a considerable body of native
troops and Hanoverians. The strong fortress of Cudalore was the first to
challenge the assault. Defended by a veteran garrison of French, under
General Bussy, it needed the utmost gallantry of our Highlanders—“the
ardour and intrepidity giving presage of the renown they afterwards
acquired”—to force the enemy’s lines, and ultimately compel him to
relinquish the external defences of the place and retire more
immediately within the fortress. Amongst the prisoners was Colonel the
Chevalier de Dumas, conspicuous as “the bravest of the brave,” also “a
wounded young serjeant of very interesting appearance and manners, who
was treated with much kindness by Lieutenant-Colonel Wagenheim,
commanding the detachment of Hanoverians. Many years afterwards, when
the French army entered Hanover, General Wagenheim attended the levée of
General Bernadotte, who referred to the circumstance at Cudalore in
1783, and added—‘I am the individual, who, when a young serjeant,
received kindness from you in India.’” The death of Hyder Ali, and the
withdrawal of France, occasioned the breaking up of this formidable
league against the British power in India, and for a moment the sun of
peace smiled upon our war-worn soldiers.

The new Sultan of the Mysore, as capricious as his father and
predecessor, broke off the negotiations which had promised a continued
and favourable peace. In consequence, the Seventy-eighth
(Seventy-second) advanced, with the army under Colonel Fullerton,
against the almost impregnable fortress of Palghantcherry, which was won
mainly by the daring of the Honourable Captain Maitland and a company of
the regiment, who, taking advantage of a violent storm, when the enemy,
seeking shelter from the pitiless rain, had left unguarded the covered
way, and thereby affording an opportunity which, improved by Captain
Maitland and his company, gave such a footing within the walls as
terrified the defenders into a speedy surrender. This success was
followed by the fall of Coimbatore, and might probably have been crowned
in the capture of Seringapatam, had not peace interfered, postponing the
fate of the capital for ten years.

In 1790, the unprovoked aggressions of Tippoo Saib, the ambitious Sultan
of the Mysore, upon the Rajah of Travancore, an ally of the British,
occasioned the renewal of the war. Still associated in a common glory
with their brethren of the Seventy-third (Seventy-first) Highlanders,
the Seventy-eighth (Seventy-second) advanced with the army under
Major-General Medows, which, obtaining possession unopposed of
Coimbatore and capturing Dindigal, proceeded against the powerful
fortress of Palgkantcherry, which, notwithstanding Tippoo Saib’s utmost
efforts to relieve it, was surrendered to the flank companies of the two
Highland regiments, under Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart.

Aware of his own inferiority in the field, the Sultan dared not hazard a
battle, but omitted no opportunity to harass and annoy our army wherever
superior knowledge of the country, position, or overwhelming numbers
gave him the advantage. The arrival of Colonel Maxwell’s reinforcements
from the Bengal Presidency occasioned the addition of the Seventy-fourth
regiment to the Highland brigade; and, on General the Earl Cornwallis
assuming the command in 1791, he approved this arrangement by retaining
in one brigade the Seventy-first, Seventy-second, and Seventy-fourth

Out-man[oe]uvred by the British commander, an entrance was obtained
through an unguarded defile into the enemy’s territory. The siege of
Bangalore was the immediate result, which, despite its powerful
fortifications and the menacing attitude of the Mysore army, which
anxiously strove to relieve it, was gallantly won by storm in March,
1791. Having witnessed the fall of this chief city of his empire, the
Sultan precipitately retreated, closely pursued by the Highland brigade.
The British army thereafter advanced against Seringapatam. Alarmed for
the safety of his capital, Tippoo ventured to try the fate of battle.
Defeated, he failed to arrest our progress, all seemed lost, when
unfortunate circumstances interposed on his behalf, and a second time
rescued the doomed city from our grasp. Several minor enterprises
beguiled the time ere the march upon Seringapatam might be resumed.
Savendroog was successfully stormed, and the strong fort of Outra-Durgum
was captured, chiefly through the heroic ardour of two companies of the
Seventy-second, who, having possessed themselves of the town, pursued
the fugitives to the rock upon which the fort stood. We quote from
Lieutenant Campbell’s Journal:—“Lieutenant MʻInnes, senior officer of
the two Seventy-second companies, applied to Captain Scott for liberty
to follow the fugitives up the rock, saying he should be in time to
enter the first gateway with them. The Captain thought the enterprise
impracticable. The soldiers of MʻInnes’s company heard the request made,
and not doubting of consent being given, had rushed towards the first
wall, and were followed by MʻInnes. The gate was shut: but Lieutenant
MʻPherson arrived with the pioneers and ladders, which were instantly
applied, and our people were within the wall, as quick as thought, when
the gate was unbolted and the two companies entered. The enemy,
astonished at so unexpected an attempt, retreated with precipitation.
MʻInnes advanced to the second wall, the men forced open the gate with
their shoulders, and not a moment was lost in pushing forward for the
third wall; but the road, leading between two rocks, was so narrow that
only two could advance abreast; the pathway was, in consequence, soon
choked up, and those who carried the ladders were unable to proceed; at
the same time, the enemy commenced throwing huge stones in numbers upon
the assailants, who commenced a sharp fire of musketry, and
Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart, who had observed from a distance this
astonishing enterprise, sent orders for the grenadiers not to attempt
anything further. Lieutenant MʻPherson forced his way through the crowd,
causing the ladders to be handed over the soldiers’ heads, from one to
another, and before the colonel’s orders could be delivered, the gallant
Highlanders were crowding over the third gateway. The enemy fled on all
hands; the foremost of our men pursued them closely, and gained the two
last walls (there were five walls to escalade) without opposition. The
garrison escaped by the south-east side of the fort, over rocks and
precipices of immense depth and ruggedness, where many must have lost
their lives. By one o’clock, our two companies were in possession of
every part of the fort, and MʻInnes had planted the colours on the
highest pinnacle, without the loss of a single man. The Kiledar and two
of his people were taken alive. Colonel Stuart declared the business to
be brilliant and successful, beyond his most sanguine hopes.”

In 1792, the advance upon Seringapatam was renewed. In the glorious
events of the siege, the Seventy-second bore a most conspicuous part,
and largely contributed to the attainment of the victory which destroyed
the power of the Sultan, and made him a suppliant for peace.

Scarcely had one enemy been overcome, ere a new one appeared—the French,
hurled into fatal antagonism with us because of the unhappy avowal of
sentiments subversive of good order. Accordingly, in 1793, the
Seventy-second was engaged in the siege of Pondicherry—the principal
Indian colony of France; which fell into our hands rather from a mutiny
among its defenders than our own efforts. It is related by Lieutenant
Campbell, that “the moment the piper began to play, the fire from the
enemy slackened, and soon after almost entirely ceased. The French all
got upon the works, and seemed astonished at hearing the bag-pipe.” The
Dutch having allied themselves with the French, paid the penalty of
their folly in the loss of many of their most valuable colonies,
conquered by the British. Ceylon, the principal, perhaps the most
valuable of them, was in consequence assailed by our Indian army,
including the Seventy-second regiment, which, capturing Trincomalee,
Batticaloe, Manaar, and Colombo, reduced the island under British
dominion. This was the closing achievement, for the present, of the
regiment in India. Returning from Ceylon to Pondicherry, thence removed
to Madras in 1798, it was ordered home, and landed at Gravesend. These
many and distinguished services are commemorated in the word
“Hindoostan,” now borne by Royal authority upon its colours and


                            CHAPTER XXXIII.

           “Then glory, my Jeanie, maun plead my excuse;
           Since honour commands me, how can I refuse?
           Without it, I ne’er can have merit for thee,
           And losing thy favour I’d better not be.
           I gae, then, my lass, to win glory and fame,
           And if I should chance to come gloriously hame,
           I’ll bring a heart to thee with love running o’er,
           And then I’ll leave thee and Lochaber no more.”


The regiment returned to Europe at a very critical period in our
national history, when the rampant passions of revolution, as yet
untamed by adversity, imperiously taxed the nations in their
maintenance. It had no sooner arrived than it was sent to Scotland to
recruit, and thence, in 1801, to Ireland. From the number of new
regiments called into being at this period to meet the necessities of
the times, recruiting went on but slowly. The respite from the dire
calamity of war which the Peace of Amiens afforded, occasioned a
reduction in the establishment of the Seventy-second. The resumption of
hostilities in 1803, not only called for an immediate augmentation of
its strength, but occasioned the addition of a second battalion, which
was employed in various home garrisons, especially in Ireland,
throughout the war, until disbanded in 1816. The immediate peril from a
French invasion having passed away, the Seventy-second was ordered to
join a secret expedition under Lieut.-General Sir Eyre Coote, K.B., but
was ultimately included in the force under Major-General Sir David
Baird, which sailed in 1805, and after viewing the beauties of Madeira,
and landing for a few days’ refreshment at San Salvador in the Brazils,
steered for the coast of Africa, when the object of the expedition was
disclosed by an attack upon the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope.
In addition to its old comrades of the Seventy-first, the Seventy-second
was associated with the Ninety-third Regiment in the Highland Brigade of
the army. On the morning of the 6th January, 1806, the British effected
a landing in Lospard’s Bay, despite the efforts of the Dutch to prevent
it. The Highlanders in the van drove the enemy before them, and on
attaining the summit of the Blue Mountains, beheld the Batavian army
awaiting battle on the other side. The position of the enemy was well
chosen, and maintained with determined bravery. The fate of the battle
was only decided in our favour when the Highland Brigade was brought
forward, and “Brigadier-General Ferguson gave the word ‘Charge.’ A loud
British shout instantly rent the air, and the heroic Highlanders closed
with bayonets upon their numerous adversaries, who instantly fled in
dismay, pursued across the deep sands by the victorious Highland
Brigade.” As the army advanced towards Cape Town, the Dutch retired. The
conduct of Lieutenant MʻArthur and thirty men of the regiment in the
capture of Hout’s Bay, was conspicuous for the gallantry it evinced.
These repeated disasters convinced the Dutch of the hopelessness of
resistance against troops accustomed to conquer. Accordingly,
negotiations were entered into which resulted in the surrender of the
colony to the British.

In 1809 the Seventy-second was ordered to discontinue wearing the
Highland costume, in consequence of the difficulty experienced in
gaining recruits. A year later the regiment was selected to co-operate
with troops from India in an attack upon the valuable French colony of
the Mauritius. The Indian army arriving off the island first, the
Governor determined to maintain the defence to the last extremity, but
the timely arrival of the Seventy-second so discouraged him, that,
abandoning the idea of resistance, he at once surrendered. The corps
remained in garrison at Port Louis until the outbreak of a new war in
America in 1814 occasioned its withdrawal. It accordingly embarked for
that continent, but was detained at the Cape of Good Hope, where, after
a brief service, it was ordered to India, arriving at Calcutta in 1815.
The Rajah of Nepaul having, however, made his peace with the British,
the necessity for its service in that portion of the world no longer
existed, hence it returned to the Cape of Good Hope, calling on the
passage at the Mauritius. Stationed at Algoa Bay, it was thence directed
to occupy a chain of posts along the banks of the Great Fish River,
charged with the protection of the colonists from the numerous predatory
incursions of the Kaffirs. This proved an arduous and dangerous duty;
the soldiers being constantly exposed to a surprise from the swarms of
unseen enemies that ever lurked in the bush around their camp. On one
occasion, in 1819, a Dutch farmer, robbed of his cattle by the Kaffirs,
sought the interference of the military for the recovery of his property
and the punishment of the thieves. Accompanied by a body of armed
farmers, a detachment of the Seventy-second, under Captain Gethin,
overtook the thieves. The little party of soldiers was instantly
enveloped and cruelly butchered by a host of enemies, whilst the
cowardly farmers witnessed the destruction of their friends without
venturing to afford the slightest assistance. Captain Gethin was a
distinguished soldier, and like a brave man “fighting fell,” pierced
with thirty-two wounds. The Seventy-second continued efficiently to
discharge this harassing duty until relieved by the Sixth Regiment in
1821, when it returned home. It was successively stationed at
Portsmouth, Fort Cumberland, Plymouth, and Woolwich. In 1823 it was
removed to the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey.

Although the service of the Seventy-second, hitherto confined to
“Hindoostan” and the “Cape of Good Hope,” recorded upon its colours and
appointments, and embracing in these, actions which had been
comparatively lost sight of in the multitude of grander events
transacted on the battle-fields of Europe, still, the true heroism of
these, to be just, must convince us that the achievements of the
Seventy-second are “second to none,” and well deserving the splendid
compliment at this period conferred upon the regiment by His Grace the
Duke of York and _Albany_, the Commander-in-Chief. It was permitted, in
reward of its valour, to wear its present designation—


At the same time it received a further compliment, in the restoration of
the Highland costume, with the difference of _trews_ instead of _kilts_.

Returning to England from the Channel Islands in 1824, it thence
proceeded to re-visit dear old Scotland.

             “Home of my fathers, my heart clings to thee.”

Whilst stationed in Edinburgh, the lady of Lieut.-General Sir John Hope
(colonel of the Seventy-second), presented new colours to the regiment.
In 1825 it was sent to Ireland, and stationed successively in Belfast,
Londonderry, and Dublin. Thence it proceeded to England; and whilst
garrisoning the Tower of London, was reviewed, with the First Life
Guards, the Royal Horse Guards, and four battalions of Foot Guards, by
the Duke of Wellington, in presence of Don Miguel of Portugal. In proof
of its efficiency, as worthy to be so associated with our choicest
troops, we quote the words of General Lord Hill, when (the same year) he
inspected the regiment at Canterbury:—

“That although it had been his lot to see and serve with most of the
regiments in the service, he felt he should not be doing full justice to
the Seventy-second Highlanders, if he did not express his particular
approbation of every thing connected with them, and add, he had never
before seen a regiment their equal in movements, in appearance, and in
steadiness under arms.”

Having acquired these public honours and Royal favours, the
Seventy-second was once more ordered to the Cape of Good Hope, to arrest
and punish the aggressions of the Kaffirs, who continued to prey upon
the industry of our colonists, and had become a hinderance, by the
terror they inspired, to the progress of the colony. At length the
expulsion from the colony of a vagrant chief, Macomo, who had abused the
British protection, stirred the animosity of earlier years, which,
encouraged by our lenity, unmasked itself in a desolating irruption,
especially evident in and around Graham’s Town, which fell an easy prey
to the rapacious fury of the enemy. To avenge the innocent blood thus
shed, and retaliate the ruin that had been entailed, the Seventy-second
advanced with other troops into Kaffirland, inflicting a severe but just
chastisement for the atrocities that had been committed; taking,
moreover, such pledges from the foe as it was fondly hoped should secure
protection and peace for the future. Having apparently subdued the
spirit of lawless aggression, and restored confidence in the colonists
by a residence of nearly ten years amongst them, the regiment returned
home, and landed at Plymouth in 1840.

Whilst stationed at Windsor in 1841, it was destined anew to receive a
signal mark of Royal favour—its new colours being presented by the Duke
of Wellington, in the quadrangle of the palace, and in presence of Her
Majesty the Queen, Prince Albert, and the King of Prussia. In presenting
these colours, the Duke of Wellington thus addressed the soldiers:—

“I have long known the Seventy-second Highland Regiment. Half-a-century
has now nearly elapsed since I had the pleasure of serving in the same
army with them in the plains of Hindoostan; since that period they have
been engaged in the conquest of some of the most valuable colonies of
the British Crown; and latterly, in performing most distinguished
services at the Cape of Good Hope. Fourteen years out of the last
sixteen they have spent on Foreign service; and with only eighteen
months at home for their re-formation and their re-disciplining, appear
in their present high state of regularity and order.... I have made it
my business to inquire particularly, and am rejoiced to find that the
Seventy-second have always commanded that respect and regard, wherever
they have been stationed, to which their high state of discipline and
good order so justly entitle them. You will, I am sure, always recollect
the circumstances under which these colours are now given into your
charge; having been consecrated by one of the highest dignitaries of the
Church, in the presence of Her Majesty, who now looks down upon you, and
of her Royal Visitor; and I give them into your charge, confident that
at all times, under all circumstances, whether at home or abroad, and in
all privations, you will rally round them, and protect them to the
utmost of your power.”


After a variety of home services, the regiment was removed, in 1844, to
Gibraltar, and thence, in 1848, to the West Indies. Leaving the West
Indies for North America in July, 1851, it returned home in October,
1854. Proceeding to Malta in January, 1855, and thence, in May
following, to the Crimea, it there gained “SEVASTOPOL” for the
regimental colours. Returning to England at the peace, the
Seventy-second remained at home until August, 1857, when the corps
embarked for Bombay on the breaking out of the Indian mutiny, and served
with distinction in Central India, under Sir Hugh Rose, especially in
the storming of the strongly-fortified town of Awah, being thereafter
associated with the Seventy-first Highland Light Infantry in the

The regiment is still serving in the Bombay Presidency.


                      SEVENTY-FOURTH HIGHLANDERS.

                             CHAPTER XXXIV.

           “This homage to the chief who drew his sword
           At the command of duty; kept it bright
           Through perilous days; and soon as Victory smiled
           Laid it, unsullied, in the lap of Peace.”


The proximity of two such formidable rivals as France and Britain,
notwithstanding the friendly intervention of the Channel, has occasioned
on both sides thereof an almost perpetual series of alarms, jealousies,
and feuds, too often resulting in wars of the most stupendous magnitude,
generally involving in their toils the other kingdoms of Europe. It is
of one such crisis we write, when France, politically meddling with the
affairs of Holland, excited the suspicions of our Government, and
occasioned the combined interference of Britain and Prussia, to
preserve, no doubt, the “_balance of power_.” Contemplating an appeal to
arms, each prepared for the expected struggle. France and Holland
possessing a large colonial empire in India, and both having a rival and
antagonistic interest in the politics of that country to the new-born
power of Britain, each marked that far-off land as an important theatre
of strife. Hence, our legislature determined to strengthen our forces in
that quarter of the British world by the addition of four new regiments,
ordered to be raised in 1787. Two of these, the Seventy-fourth and
Seventy-fifth,[D] were raised amongst the Highlanders of Scotland; and
the others, the Seventy-sixth and Seventy-seventh, in England, or
generally throughout the kingdom. No sooner were these completed—nay, in
the case of the Seventy-fourth, before being completed—than they were
shipped off for immediate service in India; whilst the question of their
maintenance was installed in Parliament as a subject of bitter wrangling
between the home Government and the East India Company, affording a
theme for the genius of Pitt to work upon, and in the end to triumph, in
the passing of the “Declaratory Bill,” which saddled the East India
Company with the expense. This Bill was afterwards confirmed by Acts
passed in 1791, and again in 1793.

Footnote D:

  The Seventy-fifth has just received the Royal permission to be styled
  the Seventy-fifth, or “STIRLINGSHIRE” Regiment.

Of these regiments, thus raised, the Seventy-fourth claims our present
attention. It was assembled at Glasgow under command of Major-General
Sir Archibald Campbell, K.B., and was largely composed of Argyleshire
Highlanders—the Campbells and their kin. To meet the urgent demand for
reinforcements, every soldier as yet available for duty was at once
forwarded to India, followed by a second instalment of six companies,
which completed the regiment, in 1789. Landed at Madras with an
effective strength of 750 men, the Seventy-fourth, brigaded with the
Seventy-first and Seventy-second Highlanders, joined the army of
Major-General Medows in 1790. The Earl Cornwallis assuming the command,
advanced upon Bangalore, which was taken by storm; thereafter the
regiment was with the Highland Brigade in the fruitless expedition
against Seringapatam. Detached during the winter for service in the
Baramhal district, the Seventy-fourth was very conspicuous for its
spirited but ineffectual attempt to storm Penagra, an almost impregnable
hill fort, which was only saved by the natural obstacles that defended
it, and defied the most desperate efforts of our Highlanders to
surmount. In 1792 the siege of Seringapatam was once more undertaken,
and considerable progress had been achieved, when the intervention of
peace disappointed our army of the anticipated prize.

Brigaded with the Seventy-second and Seventy-third Highland regiments,
the Seventy-fourth was engaged in the operations which brought about the
surrender of the French settlement of Pondicherry. The garrison, in
consequence, became prisoners of war, but the officers released on
parole were hospitably entertained by the captors. Amid these
hospitalities, an incident occurred which displays in bold relief the
generous gallantry of the officers of the Seventy-fourth. With the
French officers they were present in the theatre, when the former, in
love with the new-born ideas of republicanism, in course of the evening
vehemently called for the revolutionary air “Ca Ira.” This was objected
to by the British; and from the uproar of words, a serious disturbance
arose to break in upon the harmony, and bewilder and terrify the
orchestra. Happily, the senior officer of the Seventy-fourth, stepping
upon the stage, obtained silence, and addressing the audience in a firm
but conciliatory manner, stated that the British officers had agreed not
to insist upon their objections, but were prepared to sacrifice their
feelings on the subject, seeing such might gratify their French friends
and the ladies who had seconded the request. No sooner had the air been
played, amid the acclamations of the French, than the same officer asked
the audience to uncover to the National Anthem—“God save the King.”
Rebuked by this generous forbearance, and heartily ashamed of their
rudeness in so insisting upon their own gratification, the French felt
themselves outdone in gallantry, and only too glad of an opportunity to
repair the discord they had bred, granted a ready consent; and the Royal
Anthem was only the more vociferously welcomed that it had been
forestalled by the revolutionary ditty “Ca Ira.” Ever afterwards the
utmost cordiality subsisted between the representatives of the two

In 1798, when the war with France required a great financial effort
adequately to sustain it on our part, and when the patriotism of the
public liberally and voluntarily contributed to the national funds for
the purpose, the men of the Seventy-fourth voted eight days’ pay; the
non-commissioned officers a half-month’s pay; and the commissioned
officers a full month’s pay, towards the vigorous prosecution of the
war—“a war unprovoked on our part, and justified by the noblest of
motives: the preservation of our invaluable constitution.”

In 1799, with the army of Lieutenant-General Harris, the Seventy-fourth
advanced against Seringapatam, which ultimately fell a conquest to our
arms. The distinguished service of the regiment on this occasion is
recorded in the word “Seringapatam” borne upon its colours. Subsequently
it was engaged against the Polygars; and in 1801 was removed to Bombay
to replace the troops drawn from that Presidency for service in Egypt.
Under Major-General the Hon. Arthur Wellesley, in the invasion of the
Mahratta states, the regiment was most conspicuous for its fortitude in
enduring many severe privations, and refusing withal to petition or
complain when grievances remained unredressed. The capture of the strong
fortress of Ahmednuggur, was but the prelude to the exceeding glory so
soon destined to grace the records of the Seventy-fourth in the victory
of Assaye.

On the 23d September, 1803, the British army, not exceeding 5000 men, of
which the Nineteenth Dragoons and the Seventy-fourth and Seventy-eighth
Highlanders were the only King’s regiments, came up with the combined
hosts of Scindiah and the Rajah of Berar, amounting together to 40,000
well-disciplined and excellent troops. Undaunted by this formidable
superiority, Major-General the Hon. Arthur Wellesley at once ordered the
attack, which undertaken with spirit and upheld with heroic gallantry,
soon overcame the resolution and desperate defence of the enemy. The
Seventy-fourth, posted on the right of the second line, prematurely
advancing against the village of Assaye, became exposed to a terrific
tempest of shot and shell; and, moreover, charged by a powerful body of
horse when somewhat confused by the fatal effects of the artillery, was
almost annihilated. True to its duty, and borne forward by an
unconquerable perseverance, the Seventy-fourth struggled on, carried and
maintained the post, although at a fearful sacrifice of human life,
upwards of 400 men and officers being _hors-de-combat_. Of its officers,
the only one escaping scatheless was Quarter-Master James Grant, who
seeing so many of his comrades fall, although by office a non-combatant,
resolved to share with his brethren the dangers and the glory of the
fight, and, accordingly, joining in the terrible _mélée_ of the battle,
resolutely fought till its close, miraculously surviving the disasters
of so severe and fatal a strife. The Major-General thus writes: “Our
loss is great, but the action, I believe, was the most severe that ever
was fought in this country, and, I believe, such a quantity of cannon
and such advantages have seldom been gained, by any single victory, in
any part of the world.”

On this occasion the valour of the regiment was rewarded by the
exceptional permission to carry a third colour, bearing thereon the
“Elephant” and “Assaye,” specially commemorative of the unparalleled
glory of the day. The inconvenience of a third colour has since brought
about its disallowance as other than an honorary distinction to be borne
only when on peaceful parade.

The severe losses of the regiment at the battle of Assaye required it
should be released from active duty for a time, to allow these losses to
be repaired, and the wounded to recover and resume their posts. However,
in November of the same year we find it in the field with the army on
the plains of Argaum, burning to avenge, by a new victory, the death of
friends sacrificed at Assaye. Major-General Wellesley, in his official
despatch, particularly commends the perseverance, steadiness, and
bravery of the Seventy-fourth and Seventy-eighth Highlanders as
materially helping to the triumph of Argaum. A variety of minor actions
closed the campaign, crowned by the submission of the enemy.

Thereafter selected by the Commander-in-Chief, the regiment was detached
with other troops, under his own command, which marching sixty miles in
twenty hours, destroyed a camp of freebooters, which, quartered at
Perinda, had been the pest and terror of the neighbourhood.

In 1804, the regiment was stationed with the Seventy-eighth and some
native troops for protective purposes in the territory of the Peishwah,
until the war with Holkar anew occasioned it to undertake more active
service. In the capture of Gaulnah, the Seventy-fourth was called upon
to supply volunteers for the forlorn hope. Such was the spirit of the
corps, that the whole regiment spontaneously offered itself.

After sixteen years’ service in India, during which it was almost always
engaged with an enemy—earning therefrom the name it afterwards
gloriously upheld as the “fighting regiment”—the gallant remnant was
ordered to return home, and, in consequence, embarking at Madras in
September, 1805, landed at Portsmouth in February, 1806.

[Illustration: DUKE OF WELLINGTON.]

                             CHAPTER XXXV.

             “Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit;
             For ’tis a throne where honour may be crowned
             Sole monarch of the universal earth.”

                     OF THE BIRKENHEAD”—1806–1862.

As soon as the Seventy-fourth had returned, the business of recruiting
occupied the earnest attention of its officers. Removed to Scotland for
this purpose, it failed to complete its establishment, and, in
consequence, was transferred to Ireland to receive its complement by
volunteers from the militia. In 1810 it received orders to prepare for
foreign service; and, accordingly, embarked from Cork for Portugal,
under Lieut.-Colonel the Honourable Robert De Poer Trench, with a total
strength of 730 effectives. Arrived in the Tagus and disembarked, it was
advanced to Viseu. Its junction with the allied army of Lord Wellington
was hailed with delight by that chief, who ever felt a warm interest in
its history, as the “Assaye regiment” whose heroes had won for him his
first great victory. Complimenting Colonel Trench, he said: “If the
Seventy-fourth would behave in that country as they had done in India,
he ought to be proud to command such a regiment.” Included in the third
or well-known “Fighting Division” of Major-General Picton, the
Seventy-fourth was brigaded with the first battalion of the Forty-fifth,
the Eighty-eighth, and three companies of the fifth battalion of the
Sixtieth Regiment. From the concentrated and overwhelming military might
of Napoleon, Marshal Massena was detached at the head of 75,000
veterans, styled the “Army of Portugal,” charged with the destruction of
the British who had dared to dispute the claims of his master to the
dominion of the Peninsula. In presence of such a superior foe, as
regards numbers, Wellington resolved on retreat; and, accordingly,
withdrawing to his own defences, induced the enemy to draw off in
pursuit. Taking advantage of every position which by natural or
artificial strength afforded an opportunity to check or impede the
pursuit of the French, Lord Wellington frequently severely punished the
temerity of the foe. Thus, in the battle of Busaco, where the
Seventy-fourth for awhile withstood the attack of an entire French
column, until sustained by the Ninth and Thirty-eighth regiments, it
drove the enemy down the hill.

Finally arrested by the formidable lines of Torres Vedras, the French,
vainly endeavouring to blockade the position, fatally suffered from
disease and want, whilst our troops enjoyed every comfort in abundance
and in safety within the entrenchments. Convinced of the futility of any
attempt to surmount the defences of the position, Marshal Massena was
constrained in turn to retreat, closely pursued along the banks of the
Mondego by the British. With the third division, in the van of the army,
the Seventy-fourth was almost incessantly engaged driving the enemy from
post to post. For the relief of Almeida, Marshal Massena, considerably
reinforced, once more ventured to advance. Encountering the light
companies of the first, third, and fifth divisions, and the second
battalion of the Eighty-third Regiment, in occupation of the village of
Fuentes d’Onor, the French laboured to expel them. Reinforced by the
Twenty-fourth, Seventy-first, and Seventy-ninth regiments, and
ultimately supported by the Forty-fifth, Seventy-fourth, and
Eighty-eighth regiments, the whole of the enemy’s sixth corps was routed
and driven from the village it had at first won. Interrupted in the
siege of Badajoz by the approach of the combined armies of Marmont and
Soult, the British temporarily retired. A similar diversion by the army
of Marshal Marmont in favour of Ciudad Rodrigo, in like manner disturbed
its blockade. Whilst quartered in this vicinity, the third division of
our army, threatened by an attack from a very powerful corps of French,
which, taking advantage of the immediate presence of Marshal Marmont,
had undertaken a sortie from the fortress, retreated. Under command of
General Montbrun, the enemy so severely pressed the British division,
that, in retiring, the Seventy-fourth became separated from the rest,
and was generally believed to have been captured. A long detour, under
the friendly shield of night, enabled the regiment to escape the danger
and rejoin the division in its camp at Guinaldo. Overjoyed in their safe
return, Major-General Picton uttered these memorable words, expressive
of his faith in the valour of our Highlanders, saying, “he thought he
must have heard more firing before the Seventy-fourth could be taken.”

On the retirement of the French, returning to the duties of the siege,
the regiment, on the 19th of January, was included in the storming party
which, despite the most strenuous resistance of the foe, won Ciudad
Rodrigo. This achievement was immediately followed by the re-investment
of Badajoz; a fortress esteemed impregnable, the more so as it was
defended by some of the choicest troops of France. The progress had been
so satisfactory, and the breaches in the ramparts deemed so far
practicable, that by the 6th April, 1812, the assault was ordered, and
the Herculean duty of storming the defences of the castle committed to
the third division; accomplished, nevertheless, after “a combat so
furiously fought, so terribly won, so dreadful in all its circumstances,
that posterity can scarcely be expected to credit the tale.” Lieutenant
Alexander Grant of the Seventy-fourth, leading the advance, entered the
castle, but fell in the moment of victory. “Foremost in the escalade was
John MʻLauchlan, the regimental piper, who, the instant he mounted the
castle wall, began playing on his pipes the regimental quick step, ‘The
Campbells are coming,’ at the head of the advance along the ramparts, as
coolly as if on a common parade, until his music was stopped by a shot
through the bag; he was afterwards seen by an officer of the regiment
seated on a gun-carriage, quietly repairing the damage, regardless of
the shot flying about him, and presently recommenced his animating
tune.” Although the other assaults were not so successful, still the
triumph of the third and fifth divisions at their several points of
attack so turned the defences of the place, that resistance appearing
hopeless, the fortress was surrendered.

Various man[oe]uvres at length brought about the battle of Salamanca,
where the French, under Marshal Marmont, were totally defeated, driven
“as it were before a mighty wind without help or stay.” The brunt of the
action was sustained by the French division of General Thomières,
originally 7000 strong, but which, notwithstanding the most splendid
illustration of heroism, was utterly cut to pieces or dispersed. In this
great battle the third division figured conspicuously. Lord Londonderry
writes: “The attack of the third division was not only the most
spirited, but the most perfect thing of the kind that modern times have
witnessed. Regardless alike of a charge of cavalry and of the murderous
fire which the enemy’s batteries opened, on went these fearless
warriors, horse and foot, without check or pause, until they won the
ridge, and then the infantry giving their volley, and the cavalry
falling on sword in hand, the French were pierced, broken, and
discomfited. So close, indeed, was the struggle, that in several
instances the British colours were seen waving over the heads of the
enemy’s battalions;” whilst the advance in unbroken line of the
Seventy-fourth, for upwards of three miles, testified to its efficiency,
and drew forth the plaudits of Major-General Pakenham, then commanding
the division, who vehemently exclaimed, “Beautifully done,
Seventy-fourth! beautiful, Seventy-fourth!”

The glorious results immediately flowing from this great victory, were
crowned in the capitulation and occupation of Madrid. Whilst stationed
in the capital, the gaieties of which agreeably relieved the hardships
of the camp, our officers at the same time beheld the splendid misery
the tyrant-extortionating rule of France had entailed upon the citizens,
many of whom, once great and opulent, now reduced to abject beggary,
gratefully accepted the assistance of their deliverers. In these deeds
of charity the officers of the Seventy-fourth were not wanting, but,
with those of the Forty-fifth, daily fed about two hundred of the
starving grandees.

Meanwhile, the converging of the various French armies of the Peninsula
for the relief of Burgos, once more necessitated the retreat of the
British, who, evacuating Madrid, retired towards Portugal, and finally
halted, going into winter quarters, behind the Agueda. The spring of
1813 found the British army largely recruited, and with new energy
prepared to resume the offensive—to begin that victorious march which
stayed not until the heights of Toulouse owned the triumphs of the
British flag.

At the great battle of Vittoria, which may be said to have broken the
last remnant of French power in Spain, the third division was most
severely engaged; and the gallantry of the Seventy-fourth was anew
conspicuous in its successful attack upon the village of Arinez, whence
it drove out the enemy. In the after advance, over a rugged country, in
pursuit of the retiring columns of the foe, the unbroken line of the
Seventy-fourth attracted general attention, and its admirable order was
highly commended. In the grand attack which completed the ruin of the
French, the third division, being foremost, was assailed by a fiery
storm of artillery and musketry, which made fearful chasms in its ranks.
At length the success of the fourth division from another quarter
compelled the enemy to abandon his strong position, and soon converted
the retreat into a disorderly flight. Marshal Soult was afterwards sent
to command the army in the Peninsula, as “Lieutenant of the Emperor,”
and never was his genius more conspicuous. His master-mind came to the
rescue; he re-organised the broken remnant of the once mighty host, and,
largely reinforced, once more advanced, thereby inspiring new confidence
in his troops, and casting a momentary gleam of hope athwart the
lowering horizon which presaged the storm steadily moving vengefully
towards devoted France. The hope thus excited was speedily dissipated,
and every effort failed to retrieve the disastrous consequences of
Vittoria. Driven successively across the “Pyrenees,” the “Nive,” and the
“Nivelle,” he found a refuge and a rest for his dispirited and wearied
troops within the fortress of Bayonne. At “Orthes” and “Toulouse”
Wellington required a great exercise of his own abilities as a chief to
overthrow the dogged resolution of his great antagonist, who, equal to
the crisis, by prodigies of skill, strove to avert the dissolution of
his master’s empire. In all these closing actions of the war, the
Seventy-fourth, in the “fighting” third division, more than creditably
maintained its part, returning home in 1815 crowned with glory.

Ireland became thereafter the scene of its more peaceful service. Whilst
stationed at Fermoy in 1818, new colours were presented to the regiment;
and the shreds of the old ones—which had been so victoriously borne in
the battles of the Peninsula—burnt to ashes, had their sacred dust
treasured up in the lid of a gold sarcophagus snuff-box, inlaid with
part of the wood of the colour-staves, and bearing the following
inscription:—“This box, composed of the old standards of the
Seventy-fourth regiment, was formed as a tribute of respect to the
memory of those who fell, and of esteem for those who survived the many
glorious and arduous services on which they were always victoriously
carried, during a period of sixteen years, in India, the Peninsula, and
France. They were presented to the regiment at Wallajahbad in 1802; and
the shattered remains were burned at Fermoy on the 6th of April, 1818.”

Having thus disposed of this venerable memorial of its early renown, the
regiment embarked at Cork for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its service in
America and Bermuda in 1825, and again in 1828, affords nothing of
importance to detain the reader. Returning to Ireland in 1830, it was
employed in various garrisons in that country until, ordered on foreign
service, it sailed for the West Indies in 1834. Thence, in 1841, it was
removed to Canada, returning to England in 1845. By desire of the
officers, the Seventy-fourth was restored to its original dignity as a
Highland corps, having the trews instead of the kilt; and in 1846
re-visited Scotland for a brief period, whence it proceeded to Ireland,
where, associated with the Seventy-fifth and Eighty-eighth regiments,
and other troops, it was encamped in the vicinity of Thurles and
Ballingarry, to overawe the rebellious, and repress the foolish attempt
at insurrection which, stirred by idle demagogues, had excited the
people during the famine of 1848. This military demonstration proved
sufficient to suppress, without blood, these ill-advised seditions.

One event remains to be recorded in our present sketch, ere we close the
brief summary; one event which alone is all-sufficient to glorify the
Seventy-fourth, although casting a melancholy interest over its history,
yet enshrining the memory of its brave as _heroic_; one event which,
although belonging in common to the records of the Seventy-third and
Ninety-first, as well as other regiments, deserves its place here out of
respect to the lost and gallant officer commanding; one event which
sheds a brighter lustre, as it reveals in truer character the qualities
of the British soldier, than the exciting and sanguinary achievements of
the battle-field; one event which wakes the soul to truest sympathy, and
bids the heart bleed at the recitation of the narrative.

                   “—— The youthful and the brave,
                     With their beauty and renown,
                   To the hollow chambers of the wave
                     In darkness have gone down.”

One event which has bidden a gush of grief for the lost and brave from
the noble-minded of every clime. Such was the wreck of the “Birkenhead.”
This vessel, one of the finest in Her Majesty’s service, with a living
freight of 632 souls, including 14 officers and 458 soldiers, draughts
from various regiments, reinforcements from home on their way to join
their comrades fighting in Kaffirland, reaching Simon’s Bay, had sailed
thence for Algoa Bay on the evening of the 25th February, 1852.

               “Ah no!—an earthly freight she bears,
               Of joys and sorrows, hopes and fears;
               And lonely as she seems to be,
               Thus left by herself on the moonlight sea,
               In loneliness that rolls,
               She hath a constant company
               In sleep, or waking revelry—
               Five hundred human souls!”

[Illustration: WRECK OF THE “BIRKENHEAD.”]

Striving to quicken the voyage by shortening the passage, the commandant
hugged the shore too closely off Cape Danger, and in doing so the vessel
struck upon a sunken rock whilst steaming at the rate of eight miles an
hour. So tremendous was the shock, that, although the night was clear
and the sea calm, the stately ship was in a moment a broken wreck. The
catastrophe occurred three miles from land, and six hours after
starting. Yet all save the vessel might have been saved, but for the
unfortunate command to back the engines, which had the effect, instead
of easing the vessel, to dash her amidships upon the rocks,
precipitating her fate; so that, in little more than half-an-hour,
breaking in two, she went down, with 9 officers and 349 men, besides
fully 80 of the crew. Whilst these so truly brave men were engulfed the
prey of the insatiate sea, _the weak and helpless—the women and
children, were all saved_, but only by such a noble sacrifice. The heart
sickens as we contemplate so dreadful a scene, thus pathetically and
feelingly narrated in the _New York Express_:—

“The steamer struck on a hidden rock, stove a plank at the bows, and
went to the bottom, we believe, in half-an-hour’s time. There was a
regiment of troops on board. As soon as the alarm was given, and it
became apparent that the ship’s fate was sealed, the roll of the drum
called the soldiers to arms on the upper deck. That call was promptly
obeyed, though every gallant heart there knew that it was his death
summons. There they stood as if in battle array—a motionless mass of
brave men—men who were men indeed. The ship every moment was going down
and down—but there were no traitors, no deserters, no cravens there! The
women and children were got into the boats, and were all, or nearly all,
saved. There were no boats for the troops—but there was no panic, no
blanched, pale, quivering lips among them!... Men like these never
perish; their bodies may be given to the fishes of the sea, but their
memories are, as they ought to be—immortal!”

These, records the _Spectator_—“the very men whom we shrank from when we
met them wearing flying ribbons in their battered hats, reeling through
the streets—were the same who went down in the ‘Birkenhead’—as which of
us can feel sure that he would have had nerve to do?—in their ranks,
shoulder to shoulder, standing at ease, watching the sharks that were
waiting for them in the waves—at the simple suggestion of their officers
that the women and children filled the boats, and must be saved first.
No saint ever died more simply; no martyr ever died more voluntarily; no
hero ever died more firmly; no victim ever met his fate in a more
generous spirit of self-immolation.”

Bravest of the brave, Lieut.-Colonel Seton of the Seventy-fourth,
displayed in his conduct, as commander of the troops, a nobleness, a
true courage, a self-sacrificing devotion, worthy of his country, and
which bespeaks the _man_—the _hero_; and than which history or biography
can furnish no brighter or more illustrious example. It is indeed a pity
so brave a spirit should have fallen; and it shames the living—

                                “That instinct
              Which makes the honour’d memory of the dead
              A trust with all the living—”

that no suitable memorial marks his fall, save the common tablet of a
common grief for a common loss which stands in the corridor of Chelsea
Hospital, bearing the following inscription:—

“This monument is erected by command of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, to
record the heroic constancy and unbroken discipline shown by
Lieutenant-Colonel Seton, Seventy-fourth Highlanders, and the troops
embarked under his command, on board the ‘Birkenhead,’ when that vessel
was wrecked off the Cape of Good Hope, on the 26th February, 1852, and
to preserve the memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and
men, who perished on that occasion, The names were as follows:—

   “Lieut.-Colonel A. Seton, 74th Highlanders, Commanding the Troops.
   Cornet Rolt, Serjeant Straw, and three Privates, 12th Lancers.
   Ensign Boylan, Corporal MʻManus, and thirty-four Privates, 2d Queen’s
   Ensign Metford and forty-seven Privates, 6th Royals.
   Fifty-five Privates, 12th Regiment.
   Serjeant Hicks, Corporals Harrison and Cousins, and twenty-six
   Privates, 43d Light Infantry.
   Three Privates, 45th Regiment.
   Corporal Curtis and twenty-nine Privates, 60th Rifles.
   Lieutenants Robinson and Booth, and fifty-four Privates, 73d
   Ensign Russell, Corporals Mathison and William Laird, and forty-six
   Privates, 74th Highlanders.
   Serjeant Butler, Corporals Webber and Smith, and forty-one Privates,
   91st Regiment.
   Staff-Surgeon Laing.
   Staff-Assistant-Surgeon Robertson.”

          “Yet more! the billows and the depths have more!
            High hearts and brave are gather’d to thy breast!
          They hear not now the booming waters roar—
            The battle-thunders will not break their rest.
          Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave!
                              Give back the true and brave!”

In the last and most sanguinary war with the Kaffirs of South Africa,
which desolated that valuable colony between 1850 and 1853, the
Seventy-fourth was engaged, and fully sustained its illustrious
character. The enemy, sensible of his weakness, avoided meeting our army
in the field, and maintained a harassing series of skirmishes in the
bush, which proved most annoying and destructive.

It is remarkable that, in the course of our sketch, we should so
frequently have been pleasingly impressed with the duty of recording the
heroism of the officers of the regiment; and, commanded by such
distinguished chiefs, it is no wonder the corps, moulded in their image,
should fitly follow the good and glorious examples which have rendered
the Seventy-fourth so signally known to fame. In the African campaign,
its commanding officers are mournfully conspicuous as amongst the lost
and brave. Whilst employed in the operations against the Waterkloof Post
in November, 1851, Lieutenant-Colonel Fordyce was killed.

“At the moment he was hit, he was giving directions to a company of his
own well-loved corps, which was skirmishing in the bush, and the
position of which he wished to alter a little. Whilst raising his arm to
indicate the ground he alluded to, a huge Hottentot stepped rapidly from
a thick clump close by, and delivered the fatal shot; observing, with
characteristic cunning, the irreparable mischief he had done, he
screeched out, in hellish accents, ‘_Johnny, bring stretcher_,’ and,
turning on his heel, dived into the clump again before the infuriated
Seventy-fourth could wreak their vengeance upon him.

“Simultaneously they madly rushed on, and, in their too eager haste to
renew the carnage, they rendered themselves an easy prey to their savage
foe, who struck down Lieutenants Carey and Gordon, and many brave men,
before they observed the necessity of rallying, when the sad work of
carnage was amply avenged. Such, however, was the number of the wounded,
that a waggon had to be sent from the hill to the spot to carry off the
sufferers to their bivouac.

“Fordyce lived a quarter of an hour after receiving his death-wound. The
ball had passed through his abdomen; and, as he was borne away in the
consciousness of approaching death, he was just able to utter, in faint
accents, the words—‘_Take care of my poor regiment_—I AM READY,’ when he
passed placidly away. Such was the end of this brave soldier. In life,
straightforward, thoughtful, a friend to the poor and needy, and a truly
Christian man; so in death he was calm, resigned, noble, and mindful of
his duty both to God and man. His latest expression showed that, while
he committed his regiment to the care of those whose duty it was, his
uppermost thoughts lay in the final work of meeting his Maker. Such was
Fordyce, beloved and respected by all who had the good fortune to know

The regiment left the Cape for India in November, 1853, and has since
continued in the Madras establishment. During the Indian Mutiny, a
detachment of the Seventy-fourth, in the autumn of 1857, formed part of
a moveable column under Brigadier Whitlock, on field service in the
Kurnool district; and, in November, 1858, the head quarters composed a
portion of a moveable column, under Brigadier Spottiswoode, in the Nizam
country. The regiment is now stationed at Bellary.


                           ROSS-SHIRE BUFFS.

                             CHAPTER XXXVI.

               “Rouse, rouse, ye kilted warriors!
                 Rouse, ye heroes of the north!
               Rouse and join your chieftain’s banners,—
                 ’Tis your prince that leads you forth.

               “See the northern clans advancing!
                 See Glengary and Lochiel!
               See the brandish’d broad-swords glancing!
                 Highland hearts are true as steel.”


Already had the noble lords of Seaforth stood forth foremost in the
breach where British liberty, involved in our glorious constitution, was
assailed by aggressive and vindictive foes; already had the beloved
chieftains of the Mackenzie bidden their clansmen rally around the
state, which a few years earlier (1715) they had sworn to overthrow;
already had the regiment they thus contributed, the Seventy-second,
illumined the page of history by the stirring narrative of its brilliant
achievements, and, honoured by a grateful people, returned to its native
land, to rest for a time upon the laurels won on the far-distant plains
of India. Sprung from this race of heroes, as the new-begotten and
second representative of this distinguished family in our army, the
Seventy-eighth has strong claims upon our interest and sympathy—an
interest and sympathy which have been quickened into a warm affection,
finding an echo in the soul of the brave and noble of every land.
Appreciating the gallantry of its services at Lucknow in behalf of
suffering valour and murdered innocence, we hail it with feelings of
national gratitude as the “Saviour of India.”

Whilst the horrid cruelties perpetrated by the demagogues of Paris
excited the commiseration of beholding Europe for an unfortunate and
misguided people, the victims of their own folly, it at the same time
inspired feelings of fear among the terror-stricken tyrants of the
Continent, and palsied the might of their councils. A momentary
irresolution seized the British Cabinet, until the energy and eloquence
of Pitt awakened the Government to its true duty. The charm which
spell-bound other states, failed to ravish us of our freedom. Thoroughly
aroused from the fatal lethargy into which the nation was being lulled
by false ideas of “liberty, equality, and fraternity”—rightly
interpreted, lust, rapine, and murder—it assumed a sounder policy,
befitting its dignity. Buckling on its armour, Britain fearlessly
challenged this giant iniquity to trespass upon the sacred soil of our
chartered and constitutional liberty. Impelled by a stern necessity, our
country laid aside the beloved garb of peace, and assumed the dread
panoply of war, as our “meteor flag” was unfurled—

                “The flag which braved a thousand years
                  The battle and the breeze.”

Fleet after fleet forsook the tranquil bosom of the harbour where
hitherto they had nestled, and struggling with the stormy billows of the
sea, begirt our island home with those “wooden walls” which, defended by
our “hearts of oak,” have so long been our pride, and deemed
impregnable; whilst regiment after regiment mustered on the beach,
daring the foe to set foot upon these hallowed shores.

In such times the noble lord of Seaforth a second time drew his father’s
sword, and with the valour and loyalty of his house swelling in his
breast, called on his clansmen yet remaining to follow him. Foremost, in
the very van of this army of patriots, was thus marshalled the gallant
subject of our sketch—the Seventy-eighth Highlanders.

Assembled and embodied at Fort George on the 10th July, 1793, the fine
physical appearance of the regiment was very remarkable—a characteristic
which it has been fortunate always to maintain.

Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, was the scene of its earliest
service on comparatively peaceful duty. Removed from thence, in 1794, to
Holland, it ultimately joined the allied army, under the Duke of York,
which vainly endeavoured to stem the tide of French aggression, then
inundating the Netherlands, and bereaving these provinces of their
ancient freedom. Engaged in the defence of Nimeguen, it contributed, by
its excellent behaviour, to retard the progress of the enemy, whilst
that fortress held out. Overwhelming might necessitated the evacuation
of the place; the garrison in consequence retired with the army towards
Germany. At Meteren our rearguard was overtaken by the advanced posts of
the enemy, when a bloody action ensued. In the course of the fight the
Seventy-eighth was charged by a regiment of French hussars, who, wearing
a uniform similar to the regiment of Choiseul in the British service,
and the better to deceive our troops, shouting as they advanced,
“Choiseul! Choiseul!”—thus mistaken for friends—were permitted to
penetrate our line, and were upon the Highlanders before their true
character was discovered. Unmasked, in an instant the bold horsemen were
met by a terrific volley of musketry, which, emptying many saddles,
cooled the ardour of the assault, but could not arrest their progress.
Piercing the intervals between the companies of the battalion, the
cavalry furiously rushed upon the Highlanders, trampling them down, but,
being warmly received, failed to overwhelm the gallant Seventy-eighth,
whose firm, unflinching valour was very conspicuous, and altogether
surprising from so young a corps in such trying circumstances. A column
of infantry, which had witnessed the success of the cavalry, now
advanced, big with high hopes, as they supposed, to complete the ruin of
the British. Meanwhile the further career of the hussars had been stayed
by the determined front of a company of the Forty-second Royal
Highlanders, covering the village. Driven back in confusion upon the
advancing infantry, both were finally repulsed, chiefly by the combined
efforts of the Seventy-eighth and Forty-second Highlanders. The British
resuming the retreat, retired to Bremen, whence they took shipping, and
returned home. During this their maiden campaign, the Seventy-eighth was
associated with the Seventy-ninth Cameron Highlanders and the
Forty-second Royal Highlanders. The regiment was remarkable for its
steadiness under fire, and its fortitude in enduring the hardships of a
severe winter under canvas. On this occasion, too, a very melancholy and
humbling testimony is borne by our foes to the prevailing sin of our
British soldiers. The French, who had seduced the soldiers of the old
monarchy by ministering to their evil appetites, sought by a like
artifice to ruin our army; they accordingly bribed the infamous amongst
the Dutch to sell liquors to our troops at a mere bagatelle, with a view
to tempt them and intoxicate them. How truly lamentable to think that
even then this national vice had acquired such a mastery, such a
notoriety, as to be regarded by France as our weakness, and by the
nation as our disgrace! Notwithstanding, we with pleasure record that
the Seventy-eighth was faithful to its duty. Indeed, these seductions
could not prevail against such a corps, whose history had ever been
distinguished by sobriety; so much so, that while it was in India it was
found necessary to restrict its soldiers from selling or giving away
their own allowance of liquor to others.

Meanwhile a second battalion, raised in 1794, had sailed for, and
participated in, an expedition against the Dutch colony of the Cape of
Good Hope. After a brief struggle the colony was reduced and occupied by
the British, the battalion remaining in the garrison.

The first battalion, with the army of Lord Moira, was engaged in a
fruitless attempt to succour the Royalists of La Vendée, who yet
withstood the ferocious assaults of the Republicans of Paris. Landing on
the Isle Dieu, the expedition anxiously waited a favourable opportunity
to gain a footing on the mainland. Alas! in vain. The time for action,
frittered away, was not to be recalled. Returning to England, the
battalion was embarked for Bengal. Calling on the way at the Cape of
Good Hope, it was joined by the second battalion, and the two,
consolidated into one regiment, proceeded to India. Arrived in February,
1797, nothing of importance falls to be recorded during its sojourn in
the Bengal Presidency. Removed to Bombay in 1803, it joined the army of
Major-General the Hon. Arthur Wellesley. With the Seventy-fourth
Highlanders, the Eightieth Regiment, the Nineteenth Light Dragoons, and
several native battalions, the Seventy-eighth advanced against the
enemy—Scindia and the Rajah of Berar.

The strong fortress of Amednuggur was the first obstacle to be overcome
in the line of march. For a while defended resolutely, the struggle was
very severe, but the moment our Highlanders succeeded in scaling the
high and narrow walls encircling it, to the enemy all seemed lost,
defence appeared hopeless, and flight the only refuge. Thus this
important conquest was achieved with comparatively little loss.

As in previous campaigns, so in the present, the business of the war
seemed to be not so much to overcome but rather to overtake the enemy;
who, sensible of his weakness in the field, strove to avoid the hazard
of a battle, contenting himself with harassing our progress by a
perplexing and incessant guerilla warfare. The persevering energy of the
British commander was not, however, to be so duped of the prize he
sought—the triumph he aspired to. By forced marches he overtook and
surprised the foe by his unexpected presence on the banks of the Kaitna.
Although not yet joined to the reinforcements at hand under Colonel
Stevenson, from Bengal, and fearing the escape of the enemy under cover
of the night, now approaching, the daring impetuosity of Wellesley at
once ordered the attack. Reduced by detachments, the British army did
not exceed 4,700 men, of whom the Seventy-fourth and Seventy-eighth
Highlanders, and the Nineteenth Light Dragoons, were the only line
regiments; whilst the Indian army, encamped in a strong position behind
the almost dry channel of the Kaitna, occupied the village of Assaye,
and presented a formidable array of 30,000 admirable troops, disciplined
and led by European officers, the whole sustained by upwards of 100
guns. The Seventy-eighth occupied the left of the first line, whilst the
Seventy-fourth, from the second line, ultimately took post on the right.
But for the cowardly flight of the European officers commanding the
Indian infantry, who abandoned their troops at the first onset, the
resistance might have been far more formidable. The enemy’s artillery
was admirably served, and galled the advance of the British line with a
terrible fire, which was only silenced by the death of the gunners,
bayoneted whilst faithfully and steadily fulfilling their duty. In the
ultimate retreat, one brigade refused to yield, although repeatedly
charged by our cavalry; maintaining its order and retiring fighting,
preserved the defeat from becoming a disorderly rout. The struggle was
the most severe, and the achievement the most glorious which had
hitherto marked our Indian warfare; illustrating the determined valour
of which the enemy was capable, whilst anew it honoured the prowess of
our soldiers in the result.

Strengthened by Colonel Stevenson’s division, now arrived, including the
old Ninety-fourth, or Scots Brigade, Major-General Wellesley continued
to press the retiring foe, until, overtaken at Argaum, he made a brief
stand. In the battle which ensued, whilst the Ninety-fourth occupied the
left of the line, the Seventy-fourth and Seventy-eighth together upon
the other flank, encountered the only considerable attack of the enemy;
which, undertaken by a body of 800 furious fanatics, was sustained with
exceeding valour, until the entire column had fallen before the veterans
of Assaye. Notwithstanding the vigour of the assault, a very trifling
loss was inflicted upon the British, and the enemy otherwise
relinquished the field almost without a blow.

A quaint story is told by General Stewart of the piper of the
Seventy-eighth, who, when the musicians were ordered at Assaye to attend
to the wounded, esteeming himself included, had in consequence gone to
the rear. This desertion his comrades attributed to fear, and the
unfortunate piper, branded as a coward, felt the rebuke thus stingingly
uttered: “Flutes and hautboys they thought could be well spared, but for
the piper, who should always be in the heat of the battle, to go to the
rear with the _whistlers_, was a thing altogether unheard of.” Bitterly
sensible of the unmerited insult, he gladly availed himself of a
favourable opportunity at the battle of Argaum to blot out the stigma
and redeem his fame. He played with such animation amidst the hottest of
the fire, that, not only restored to his comrades’ confidence, he
entailed the commands of the colonel to be silent, lest the men so
inspired should be urged too soon to the charge.

The war was soon after brought to a glorious termination by the fall of
Gawilghur. Thereafter removed to Madras, the regiment remained in
quietude till 1811, when, included in the army of Lieutenant-General Sir
Samuel Auchmuty, it sailed with the expedition destined to operate
against the valuable Dutch colony of Java. It required much severe
fighting, especially at and around Cornelis—a very strong position,
where the enemy, with concentrated might, maintained a resolute defence,
only yielding when, with 1000 men killed, the post had become no longer
tenable—ere the island was reduced. In this expedition the
Seventy-eighth lost about 100 officers and men. Although the sword and
the pestilence had each claimed its victims, still they failed to
vanquish our Highlanders.

On the return voyage to India, a new enemy awaited the gallant
Seventy-eighth, threatening even more fatal results—the sea, the
ever-devouring sea. Six companies of the regiment which had embarked in
the “Frances Charlotte,” transport, when twelve miles from the small
island of Preparos, on the 5th November, 1816, struck upon a sunken
rock. In this awful crisis, when the grim King of Terrors confronted our
soldiers, and this living freight of brave men, women, and children,
seemed about to be engulfed in a watery grave, amid the consternation
and wild dismay inseparable from such a scene, the firm courage of our
Highlanders sustained them equally as amid the roar and excitement of
the battle-field. With heroic gallantry, the soldiers, caring for the
weakness of woman and the helplessness of childhood, nobly hazarding,
prepared to sacrifice their own lives that these might be saved, and so
their duty fulfilled. Instances of manly courage and true heroism like
these, tell us, in unequivocal language, that such are the fruit of no
mere idle sentiment and flitting emotion, but the result of inborn,
genuine character. Whilst the women and children were conveyed in boats
to the island, the men crowded upon a small rocky islet, occasionally
dry at low water, and situated about 150 yards from the wreck. The ship,
full of water, soon after went to pieces, and disappeared beneath the
waves. The miseries of the ship-wrecked, from hunger and thirst, were
very grievous, and so cruel, that, although saved from becoming the prey
of the sea, they seemed but preserved for a more terrible doom. The
gaunt visage of famine appeared to torment the perishing multitude with
the pangs of an unutterable woe, and every ray of hope seemed eclipsed
by the lowering darkness of despair and the dismal shroud of the grave.
But a merciful Providence was nearer to save. A vessel hove in sight,
and, responding to the hail of the men on the rock, sent a boat to their
aid, which took forty of the survivors on board, but by a strange,
unaccountable want of feeling, sailed away without affording further
assistance; leaving behind one of its own boats, which, gone on the
mission of mercy, and whilst loading with a second instalment, had been
upset by over-crowding. Fortunately, all escaped safely, scrambling back
upon the rock. On the 10th of November, a large ship, the “Prince
Blucher,” attracted by the vestiges of the wreck which had floated
seaward across her course, was drawn towards the island, and embarking
as many as possible, sailed for Calcutta; from whence, on news of the
disaster, other vessels were immediately dispatched, which brought off
in safety the remainder of the survivors, who had endured the severest
pinchings of hunger with soldier-like stedfastness for upwards of a
month upon the island. It is interesting to note how both the
Seventy-fourth and Seventy-eighth Highlanders should thus have
encountered the disasters of the deep, and in these vicissitudes evinced
so worthily the qualities of the soldier and the hero.

In 1817 the regiment returned to England, and disembarked at Portsmouth.

                            CHAPTER XXXVII.

         “’Twas a soldier who spoke—but his voice now is gone,
           And lowly the hero is lying;
         No sound meets the ear, save the crocodile’s moan,
           Or the breeze through the palm-tree sighing.
         But lone though he rests where the camel is seen,
           By the wilderness heavily pacing;
         His grave in our bosoms shall ever be green,
           And his monument ne’er know defacing.”


Although borrowing a good idea in pursuing a similar plan, we esteem
ourselves excused, and not guilty of too slavish an imitation of General
Stewart’s account of the Seventy-eighth, in his excellent memoirs of the
Highland regiments. Thus, having followed so far the history of the
first battalion, we now devote a chapter to the annals of the second
battalion, in which the distinguished officer above-named served with
honour, exceedingly beloved by the soldiers; and to whom, as an author,
we are largely indebted, having, by the vigour of his pen, rescued from
the shades of oblivion and the crumbling ravages of time the history of
our regiments and the peculiar characteristics of our clans, and so
preserved ever fresh these endeared records of our brave clansmen and
soldiers. Scotland had already largely contributed to the noble army of
defenders which in 1804, during the momentous crisis in our national
history of which that year was the scene, had gathered round the
constitution and challenged the would-be invader. Of the genuine
Highlanders enlisted at this period, the following is a correct record:—

     For the army of reserve,                                 1651

     Militia—Inverness, Ross, Argyle, Perth, &c., &c.,        2599

     Supplementary Ditto,                                      870

     Canadian Fencibles,                                       850

     Second Battalion of the Seventy-eighth Regiment,          714

     Second Battalion of the Seventy-ninth Regiment,           618

     Highlanders as substitutes in Militia regiments,          963

     Recruits enlisted by the parties of the line, not         350
     exactly known,     but estimated at,


                  Total,                                     8,615

The present battalion was the fourth raised by the family of Seaforth
within twenty-five years. It contained many Islesmen, especially from
the island of Lewis. Although to all appearance little else than a
regiment of boys of very tender years, still they had within them the
soul of the man, as after events abundantly proved. Embodied at Fort
George in the winter of 1804–5 with a strength of 850, it was by request
of Major-General Moore placed under his command for purposes of
instruction in the new system of light infantry drill. This was a
fortunate circumstance, and no doubt helped the battalion, not merely in
the acquirement of a thorough military knowledge, but more especially
served to instil a due confidence, which gave it that steadiness in
action for which it was afterwards remarkable. The urgent requirements
of the service having occasioned the removal of the battalion to
reinforce the garrison of Gibraltar, it was early deprived of the
benefits flowing from such an excellent course of training under so able
a master of the science of war. Nevertheless, it had so improved the
advantage which for a brief period it enjoyed, as made it a valuable
addition to the garrison.

From Gibraltar it proceeded to Sicily, to join the armament, under Sir
John Stuart, destined for a descent upon the mainland of Calabria, in
favour of the exiled monarch of Naples and the patriots of Italy. The
expedition, which sailed from Melazzo in June, 1805, included the
Twenty-seventh, Fifty-eighth, Seventy-eighth, Eighty-first, and
Watteville’s Swiss Regiment, afterwards reinforced by the Twentieth
Regiment. Landing successfully in the bay of St Euphemia, the British
General strove to anticipate the attack of the French under General
Regnier, who, with a force lately augmented to nearly 8000, stood
opposed to the British, who could scarce muster 4000 men, unsustained,
moreover, by cavalry. The enemy occupied a very strong position in the
vicinity of the village of Maida. Affecting to despise the handful of
British who had ventured to challenge the assault, Regnier, forsaking
his strong position, descended to the plains, boasting he should drive
the British into the sea. The two armies advanced in hostile array in
parallel lines across the plain, halting when within a few hundred
yards, and pouring in a deadly volley upon each other. The precision of
the British fire so shattered the first line of the enemy, that, broken,
it retired in confusion upon the second line, and there struggled to
maintain itself against the attack of our first brigade, comprising the
Seventy-eighth and Eighty-first regiments under Brigadier-General
Acland. A Swiss regiment bearing the name of its commanding officer,
Watteville, at this crisis of the fight advanced against the
Seventy-eighth, and mistaken, from its similarity of uniform, for the
corps of the same name, family, and nation in the British service, which
held post in reserve, our Highlanders ceased firing, lest they should
injure their supposed friends. When undeceived, a vigorous fire warmly
hailed the enemy, and drove back the Swiss with great slaughter. Beaten
thus in every quarter, General Regnier proposed, as a last resource, to
try the effect of a flank attack upon the Twenty-seventh regiment.
Providentially, the Twentieth regiment arriving on the field at this
moment, hastened to sustain their comrades, and by their unexpected
appearance so discouraged the foe, that the attack, languidly
undertaken, was speedily given over. The French now gave way at all
points, and retreated precipitately, so swiftly, that without cavalry
they could not be overtaken—General Regnier falling a prisoner into our

General Stuart had at first been grievously disappointed in the boyish
appearance of the Seventy-eighth, 600 of whom were under twenty-one
years of age; but now felt constrained to confess their gallant conduct
unsurpassed; having vanquished the veteran troops of France, although
fighting under great disadvantages in the front line of this their
maiden engagement. Unfortunately, the British, unsupported, were unable
to do more than destroy the enemy’s arsenals and magazines at Monte
Leon, ere prudence counselled their return to Sicily.

Insignificant in itself, the result of the battle of Maida exerted an
important influence over Europe. Although the numbers respectively
engaged were small, still—occurring at a time and in circumstances when
European liberty groaned in chains, and all the blessings which belonged
to it seemed to be eclipsed in the dark night of tyranny, and when the
sovereigns of the Continent had submitted to the imperious yoke of
Bounaparte, when the friendly light of hope, flickering, seemed to die
out—the battle and the victory of Maida revived the drooping spirit of
Freedom, restored to new life the palsied pulse of Europe, and bade her
many peoples awake from the stupor of terror which the shackles of an
iron despotism and the cruel spoilings of rapacious might had imposed!
It required years of sore suffering and desperate struggling ere the
monster which so preyed upon the vitals of liberty could be shaken off;
and, emancipated from the oppressor’s grasp, the nations one by one once
more breathed somewhat of the blessed air of freedom.

Against their better feelings and judgment the Turks had been cajoled
into an alliance with France, and unwillingly as our enemies, their
territory in Egypt became the theatre of strife, whereon a British army
should again act. Accordingly, in 1807, Lieutenant-General Sir John
Moore arrived in Sicily from England, and assumed the command of the
enterprise. In the army which set sail from Sicily for Egypt, the second
battalion of the Seventy-eighth Highlanders was included. Landed, the
expedition, flattered by various successes, continued to advance towards
Alexandria; but the Turks, in their peculiar mode of warfare, and their
aptness in taking advantage of every favourable circumstance in defence,
proved more terrible enemies than even the French, inflicting severe and
heavy losses upon the British. In an attempt to gain possession of the
town of Rosetta, the Thirty-first Regiment was nearly annihilated by the
fire of the enemy from loop-holed houses in the narrow streets, who
could not be dislodged. This attack in consequence failed; and the
troops had to mourn the loss of its leader, Major-General Wauchope,
whilst his second in command, Brigadier-General Meade, was wounded.

With hopes of facilitating and securing the friendly and promised aid of
the Mamelukes, a detachment of 720 men, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Macleod, was advanced on the 20th of April to an important outpost of
the army at El Hamet, on the Nile. The detachment, consisting of a party
from De Rolle’s Regiment, two companies of the Thirty-fifth, and five
companies of the Seventy-eighth, was divided into three divisions, and
stationed accordingly. On the morning of the 21st, about seventy large
boats filled with armed men were seen descending the Nile, whilst
several corps of horsemen gathered around the detachment, and at once
assailed the right of the three divisions, at the same time so
surrounding the others as to prevent them rendering any assistance to
one another, or drawing together into one. The right division,
comprising the Highland Grenadiers and a company of the Thirty-fifth,
fought with the fury of lions at bay, and was utterly cut to pieces,
along with its gallant commander, who, whenever he had perceived the
peril of the post, hastened to rescue it or die with the brave. The
little phalanx of heroes, reduced to eleven, attempted to break through
the host of foes which beleaguered them, and so join their comrades in
the centre division. Unfortunately, most of them perished in the
attempt. Captain Mackay, the only surviving officer, was struck to the
ground by a blow on the neck from the scimitar of an Arab horseman in
pursuit. The blow failing to kill, by a miracle of mercy he was saved,
and carried in by his serjeant. The remaining divisions, conscious how
unavailing any resistance would be, surrendered, and after being
brutally plundered, were conducted in triumph prisoners to Cairo, where
the vanity and the hatred of the people were gratified in the parade of
the captives through the principal streets of the city for seven hours;
exposed, moreover, to indignities of the grossest kind—“These,” said
they, “are our British _friends_, who came from their ships to kill us
and our children.” The Pacha, however, sincerely sympathising, behaved
with great kindness, and did his utmost to screen the prisoners from the
blind wrath of the public, expressing his deep regret that Britain
should have become so involved in war with his Government, which had
been long accustomed to regard the British as friends and allies—never
as foes.

In consequence of the disaster at El Hamet, the siege of Rosetta was
abandoned, and our army, retreating to Alexandria, thence negotiated for
the release of the prisoners, and agreeing to evacuate Egypt, returned
to Sicily. Of the captives thus released, a _drummer_ of the
Seventy-eighth, by name Macleod, who had occasionally assisted the
surgeon of the regiment in applying poultices, etc., choosing to remain
behind in Cairo, by a somewhat extraordinary metamorphosis, set up for a
_physician_, and by consummate assurance attained a large practice and
acquired a larger fortune. From Sicily the battalion was removed to
Lisbon, and thereafter ordered home to England, where it arrived in
1808. Subsequently transferred to Scotland to recruit, it forwarded
large detachments of very superior volunteers from its ranks to the
first battalion, then fighting in India.

In 1809 a corps of 370 men was battalionized under the Hon.
Lieutenant-Colonel Cochrane, and embarked for Zealand, where it shared
the disasters of the Walcheren expedition, afterward returning to the
Isle of Wight.

In 1813, as a small corps of 400 Highlanders, the second battalion of
the Seventy-eighth joined the army of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas
Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, which endeavoured to expel the French
from Holland. On the 13th January, with the second battalion of the
Twenty-fifth and the Thirty-third regiments, it encountered the enemy at
Merexem, where it behaved with signal gallantry—an immediate charge with
the bayonet by the Seventy-eighth, ordered by Lieutenant-Colonel
Lindsay, decided the contest. The enemy was beaten with great slaughter.
At this period the juvenility of the battalion was as remarkable as its
valour—only 43 of its soldiers exceeding twenty-two years of age. The
battalion remained in the Netherlands until after the battle of
Waterloo, but stationed at Nieuport, was deprived of the privilege of
being present on that memorable and glorious field. Nevertheless, it
added to its good name by its excellent conduct, becoming peculiarly
endeared to the Belgians, who spoke of the Highlanders as being “kind,
as well as brave;” “Enfans de la famille;” “Lions in the field and lambs
in the house”—so much so, that the citizens of Brussels petitioned the
mayor to request the General-in-Chief to allow the Seventy-eighth to
remain in garrison in that capital.

Returning to Scotland in 1816, the battalion was subsequently
incorporated with the first battalion as one regiment on its return from
India—conveying, with its few remaining soldiers, a character for
firmness truly remarkable in such young soldiers, and adding the glories
of Maida and Egypt to those of Assaye and Java, acquired by the first
battalion, and now one in the Seventy-eighth.


                            CHAPTER XXXVIII.

            But hark! what means yon dismal wail—
            The shriek that’s borne upon the gale?
            It comes from India’s sultry plain—
            It calls for vengeance from the slain,
                            Nor calls in vain to Scotland.

            ’Tis the destroying hordes of hell,
            Whose hearts with fiendish passions swell,
            Whose swords on ruined Beauty fell—
            The Brave, the Fair, the Weak. Farewell!
                            Ye’ll be revenged by Scotland.

            Then Scotland, by brave Havelock led,
            Rush’d o’er the field of murder’d dead,
            Fighting for “bleeding Beauty’s” sake—
            The very earth itself might quake
                            Beneath the wrath o’ Scotland.

            Haste ye to Lucknow’s fainting brave;
            Too long they’ve battled with the slave—
            The weak and helpless Fair to save
            From rapine, ruin, and the grave—
                            Hope comes wi’ bonnie Scotland.

            And now brave Havelock’s work is done;
            He sets like to the evening sun;
            By him the crown of glory’s won—
            His God, beholding, saith “Well done!”
                            The Lost—the Loved o’ Scotland.


Escaping from the tedious details of peaceful service which for upwards
of forty years mark the history of the Seventy-eighth, we now follow
that gallant regiment to India—the scene of its early glory, and since
embalmed in our memory, as presenting the most splendid testimony to its
heroic character.

[Illustration: INDIA.]

In 1857 we find it transferred from Bombay to Persia, and engaged in the
expedition destined to chastise its vainglorious and presumptuous
monarch. An easy triumph crowned the efforts of our arms. At Koosh-ab
the Seventy-eighth was present with credit; although that success was
achieved rather by diligent perseverance in long marches and battling
with inclement weather, than by any very remarkable feat of arms. This
name and that of “Persia” were gained for the regimental colour during
the campaign, in scenery hallowed by sacred memories, being supposed to
be the site of the garden of Eden.

But we hasten to look upon a darker picture—to find our Indian empire on
the verge of ruin, convulsed as in the agonies of dissolution; its
native military, whom we had trusted and boasted, become traitors; their
smothered vengeance, cherished through years of duplicity, bursting
forth to deluge our vast dominion, and almost wrest it from us by a
cruel rebellion; all that once gloried in the very name of British
doomed by an unpitying and relentless revenge to utter destruction,
consigned to be the subjects of a gigantic perfidy. The mine had
exploded, and awful were the horrors of the tragedy it revealed!
Helplessness consumed by the devouring sword; beauty wasted by demons of
lust and passion; hopeless bravery sacrificed to satisfy a bloody
appetite—whilst with fiendish shouts the villains gloated over the
murders in which their hands were embrued and which stained their souls,
and rejoiced in the atrocities they had committed.

Never was the British soldier placed in circumstances so trying, and
never did he display such heroism—a heroism which, equal to the
emergency, was alone able to deliver him from the foul conspiracy of
150,000 armed and trained rebels, who encircled him and thirsted
vehemently for his blood.

Delhi, the great central tower of rebellious strength, was the scene of
months of hard fighting and sore privation; but over all these British
valour triumphing, was rewarded in the reduction of that important
stronghold, and the utter discomfiture of its daring defenders. But
Lucknow reversed the picture. There we find the British besieged by a
countless host of the enemy; there we regard a handful of brave men
resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible, rather than yield to
the ruthless rebels who in multitudes encompassed the Residency. To save
the brave garrison from the terrible fate which threatened them, and
release the crowd of starving and emaciated women and children who,
claiming the protection of the soldier, had found shelter there—to save
and relieve these, a little army might have been seen advancing by rapid
marches, encountering the greatest dangers, and eagerly pressing onwards
to avenge their slaughtered friends. Stirred to marvellous achievements
by the appalling traces of massacre perpetrated on the helpless and
innocent, and which were too apparent all around—roused to heroic
action, nerved to meet death or conquer in the awful and unequal
struggle, the little army of Brigadier-General Havelock pressed
vigorously forward to help and to avenge. It comprised of _European
Troops_: The third company of the eighth battalion of Royal Artillery,
(76 men); the First Madras Fusiliers, (376 men); the Sixty-fourth
Regiment of Foot, (435 men); the Seventy-eighth Highlanders, (284 men);
the Eighty-fourth Regiment of foot, (190 men); Bengal Artillery, (22
men); Volunteer Cavalry, (20 men). _Native Troops_: Ferozepore Regiment,
(448 men); the Thirteenth Irregular, and the Third Oude Irregular
Cavalry, (95 men); Galundauze (18 men).

From Cawnpore the rebels had pushed forward to Futtehpore, purposing to
destroy a small detachment of British under Major Renaul, but these
having succeeded in effecting a timeous junction with the army of
Havelock, the mutineers, amounting to 3,500, were encountered by that
chief, and in a few minutes totally routed. The victory was ascribed by
the conqueror “to the British artillery, to the Enfield rifle, to
British pluck, and to the blessing of Almighty God.”

On the 15th July Brigadier-General Havelock came up with the enemy first
at the village of Aeng, and next at the bridge over the Pandoo Nudee,
and was successful in each instance. Anew in position under Nena Sahib
(Doondoo Punt), the rebels made a momentary stand at Ahirwa, but were
immediately defeated by a brilliant charge of our Highlanders. The
arch-traitor Nena Sahib, finding himself closely pressed by the British
column, and unable to defend Cawnpore, retired from that fortress, after
having, with savage barbarity, massacred the women and children who by
the foulest perfidy had fallen into his power. The remains of these
victims of his cruelty were afterwards discovered in the bottom of a
well; and the horrors of the tragedy are said so to have moved the soul
of our Highlanders, that, vowing an oath of vengeance on the
blood-stained spot, they were stirred to redeem it on subsequent
occasions. Pursuing the enemy in the course of his memorable march to
Lucknow, Havelock defeated a strong body of rebels gathered near Unao.
Thrice he attacked, and thrice he routed the mutineers who had as often
congregated at Busherut Gunge, and once at Bithoor. Cholera attacking
the British troops, so crippled the little army that, surrounded by
foes, Havelock was compelled to delay his further advance until
reinforced by Sir James Outram. On the arrival of these fresh troops on
16th September, the command, by seniority, devolved upon Sir James
Outram; but with a chivalrous feeling highly to be admired, that
excellent officer waived his claim, desiring Major-General Havelock to
finish the good work he had so well begun and was so nigh gloriously
completing, Sir James serving in subordination as a volunteer.

“On the 19th and 20th of September, the relieving force, amounting to
about two thousand five hundred men, and seventeen guns, crossed the
Ganges. The Fifth Fusiliers, Eighty-fourth, detachments of the
Sixty-fourth, and First Madras Fusiliers, composed the first infantry
brigade, under Brigadier-General Neill; the Seventy-eighth Highlanders,
Ninetieth Light Infantry, and the Sikh Ferozepore Regiment, made up the
second brigade, under Brigadier Hamilton of the Seventy-eighth; Major
Cooper commanded the artillery brigade, consisting of Captains Maude,
Oliphant, and Major Eyre’s batteries; Captain Borrow commanded the
Volunteers and Irregular Cavalry.”



Having distributed the army, Havelock resumed his forward march, and
after encountering several powerful bodies of the rebels, and always
with the same success as hitherto, Lucknow was reached, and the
beleaguered and almost despairing garrison relieved. This happy result
was dearly purchased by the death of Brigadier-General Neill, a most
gallant and able officer. Colonel Hamilton, who led the Seventy-eighth
amid these labyrinthian dangers, won a distinguished name by his valour
and coolness in many critical moments.

Most deeply regretted, the hero who had achieved this crowning triumph
fell asleep in the very arms of victory. The living exponent of all that
was truly noble, generous, brave, and heavenly, entered into his rest,
there to enjoy the better blessing of his God, to wear the crown of
glory which cannot fade, and which is more to be desired than all the
perishing treasures of earth, the gilded pageant of a world’s renown, or
even the fitful gratitude of his country. Such was the death of Sir
Henry Havelock, which almost immediately followed the final relief of
Lucknow by our deservedly favourite chieftain, Sir Colin Campbell (now
Lord Clyde).

              “Brave Havelock’s gone! let Britain mourn—
                Her brightest, boldest hero’s gone;
              Strew Indian laurels round his tomb,
                For there he glorious triumphs won.

              “There he accomplished deeds of might,
                Which stamp’d him bravest of the brave—
              Cut through a host, put foes to flight,
                And helpless prisoners dared to save.

              “A Christian warrior—stern, yet mild,
                He fought for Heaven, his Saviour’s home,
              Yet shrunk not from the battle-field,
                Where all his talents brightly shone.

              “But now Death’s mandate from on high
                His Father called; he was prepared
              For mansions sure beyond the sky;
                Earth’s honours could not him reward.

              “And now he’s buried with the brave—
                His battle’s fought, his vict’ry’s won;
              His country’s cause he died to save,
                Nor sunk until his work was done.

              “Let England, then, embalm his name—
                ’Mongst heroes he may justly shine;
              For soldier he of nobler fame—
                His banner bore the stamp Divine.”

In the latter defence of Lucknow the Seventy-eighth sustained a
prominent and a very honourable part, cheerfully enduring the privations
of a straitened and continued siege, and ever foremost in repelling the
foe when he dared to attack.

The heart of the Scottish people followed with a yearning interest the
movements of the Seventy-eighth throughout this memorable campaign. With
gratitude our countrymen hailed the regiment, when a kind Providence
recently restored it to its native land, where every grade of society
united to do honour to that bravery which so conspicuously graced our
national history upon the dismal page of the Indian mutiny, and in
commemoration thereof a monument has been erected in Edinburgh, an
Illustration of which is given in this work. We close our sketch with
the feeling that words have failed to express the just admiration with
which we must ever regard this, the “scion of the Seaforth,” the
“Saviour of India.”





                        THE SEVENTY-NINTH FOOT;
                          CAMERON HIGHLANDERS.

                             CHAPTER XXXIX.

            “There’s many a man of the Cameron clan
              That has follow’d his chief to the field;
            He has sworn to support him, or die by his side,
              For a Cameron never can yield.

            “Oh! proudly they walk, but each Cameron knows
              He may tread on the heather no more;
            But boldly he follows his chief to the field,
              Where his laurels were gathered before.”

There is perhaps do name so deeply interesting in the annals of the
Highlanders as that of Cameron; no clan so truly the exponent of all
that is brave and noble, and none whose chief has been so largely the
exemplar in his life of all the god-like qualities of the man, the
patriot, and the hero, and whose memory is so fondly cherished and so
highly revered. Such was the illustrious leader of the clan, Sir Ewen
Cameron of Lochiel—

             “The crested Lochiel, the peerless in might.”



The Camerons by their conspicuous patriotism, marching under the banner
of the Lord of the Isles at the battle of Bannockburn, contributed to
illumine the page of our ancient glory.

               “Bruce, with the pilot’s wary eye,
               The slackening of the storm could spy.
                 ‘One effort more, and Scotland’s free!
                 Lord of the Isles, my trust in thee
                     Is firm as Ailsa Rock;
                 Rush on with Highland sword and targe,
                 I, with my Carrick spearmen, charge;
                     Now, forward to the shock!’
                 At once the spears were forward thrown,
                 Against the sun the broadswords shone;
                 The pibroch lent its maddening tone,
                 And loud King Robert’s voice was known—
                 ‘Carrick, press on—they fail, they fail!
                 Press on, brave sons of Innisgail,
                     The foe is fainting fast!
                 Each strike for parent, child, and wife,
                 For Scotland, liberty, and life—
                     The battle cannot last!’”

But the clan attained even a greater reputation from its devoted loyalty
to the Stuarts, and its gallant efforts in their cause, especially when
led by Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel.

This chief was born in 1629, and educated at Inverary Castle by his
foster-father, the Marquis of Argyll. Fascinated by the chivalrous
bearing of Montrose, at the early age of eighteen he deserted his early
patron, mustered his clansmen, and proceeded to join the rebel army. Ere
he could accomplish his intention, the tide of war had turned against
the Royalists, and swept away the army of Montrose. Retaining his
clansmen in arms around him, he most effectually protected his estates
from the incursions of the soldiers of Cromwell.

In 1652, the Earl of Glencairn, setting up the Royal standard, received
the ready co-operation of Lochiel against the Republicans. Jealousy and
distrust estranging the Royalist chiefs, creeping into and distracting
their counsels, breaking the bond of union otherwise so mighty an agent
to success—Lochiel, keeping aloof from these troubles at head-quarters,
acting independently, effectively shielded the Royal army in its
consequent weakness, delaying the ruin which ultimately overtook this
unfortunate attempt to restore the kingdom to Charles II. His exploits
savour of the marvellous and romantic; nevertheless, they in truth
displayed the heroism of his character and the genius of a master-mind
in the business of war. On one occasion a party of 300 soldiers had been
sent to ravage his estates around Inverlochy. Hastily collecting
thirty-eight of his clan, with a fearlessness amounting almost to
rashness, despite the remonstrances of the sager veterans of his little
band, to whose experiences he replied, “If every man kills his man, I
will answer for the rest,” he descended upon the unsuspecting troops
with the utmost fury, when a desperate and bloody struggle ensued. But
nothing, not even superior numbers, could withstand so furious an attack
by the Camerons. Steadily fighting, the soldiers slowly retreated to the
boats from which they had landed, leaving 138 of their comrades dead on
the shore, whilst the loss of the Highlanders only amounted to seven

By many such deeds of daring, in which he always displayed prodigies of
valour, to his foes he appeared a dread avenger, but to his friends he
was known as a sure protector. When all other opposition to its rule had
been overcome by a victorious Protectorate, Lochiel remained in arms for
his King, uncouquered, and seemingly unconquerable. Bribery could not
purchase the submission of so noble a spirit, and persuasion failed to
gain over the allegiance of so faithful an adherent of the exiled
monarch. Fortunately, the good policy of Cromwell effected an honourable
compromise, consistent with the dignity of this brave yet haughty
chieftain, which put an end to the cruel war which had already exhausted
the resources, and if persevered in, must have exterminated the gallant
Camerons. Unable to win his alliance, the Protector wisely contented
himself with a simple peace.

Consistent with his ancient loyalty, when the Revolution of 1688 had
expatriated the last and degenerate representative of the unfortunate
race of Stuart, and set up a new and a better order of things in the
State by the installation of the family of Orange on the British throne,
Lochiel joined the party of King James, and resolutely determined to
uphold his standard as unfurled in rebellion in 1689. Unsullied by the
baser motives of ambition and revenge which had driven Viscount Dundee
into rebellion, Lochiel devoted his sword to what he esteemed the
righteous cause of his rightful sovereign, who had been set aside by the
claims of a usurper. In the battle of Killiecrankie, the charge of the
Camerons and Highlanders led by Lochiel was irresistible, and
contributed largely to the attainment of the victory. It so happened
(not uncommon in those civil wars) on this occasion that the second son
of Lochiel commanded a company in the opposing army of King William.
Attached to the staff of General Mackay, that commander, on viewing the
array and position of the Highlanders, remarked to the young
Lochiel—“There,” said he, “is your father with his wild savages; how
would you like to be with him?” “It signifies little,” replied the
other, “what I would like; but I recommend it to you to be prepared, or
perhaps my father and his wild savages may be nearer to you before night
than you would like.” And so it happened. Dundee delayed his attack
“till,” according to an eye-witness, “the sun’s going down, when the
Highlandmen advanced on us like madmen, without shoes or stockings,
covering themselves from our fire with their targets. At last they cast
away their muskets, drew their broadswords, and advanced furiously upon
us, broke us, and obliged us to retreat; some fled to the water, some
another way.”

This great chief died at the ripe age of eighty-nine in 1718,
universally regretted.

His grandson participating in the rebellion of 1745, occasioned the ruin
of his family, and to a large extent destroyed the military strength of
the clan. Nevertheless, in 1775 we find the Camerons represented by a
company in Fraser’s Highlanders, and as “Lochiel’s men” combatting with
distinction in America, on the side of that Government which a few years
earlier they had conspired to overturn.

In addition to the Seventy-ninth Regiment, now the only living
representative of the clan in the British army, the Camerons
contributed, in 1799, a corps of fencible militia—the “Lochaber”

The menacing aspect of affairs abroad, the political wrongs perpetrated
by revolutionary France, and the dark cloud which threatened to envelope
our own land in 1794, occasioned the augmentation of our army; and, in
consequence, the Seventy-eighth (Mackenzie), Seventy-ninth (Cameron),
Ninety-second (Gordon), and Ninety-third (Sutherland) Highlanders sprung
into being about this period.

Immediately upon the completion of the Seventy-ninth it was hurried into
action, and on the plains of Flanders made its _début_ in arms. It was
with the army of the Duke of York which vainly strove to arrest the
victorious career of the armies of republican France, led by these
famous soldiers, Pichegru, Moreau, Jourdan, and Vandamme.

Returning home in 1795, it was thence removed to the West Indies, and
for two years was stationed in Martinique. After contributing variously
to recruit other corps, especially the Forty-second Royal Highlanders,
it returned home a mere skeleton, around which, as a nucleus, the
officers succeeded, after many and persevering efforts, in raising a new
Highland corps, under the old designation.

On attaining a strength of 780 men, chiefly by the zealous exertions of
its original colonel, Allan Cameron of Errach, it was ordered on foreign
service, and so, in 1799, joined the expedition destined to act against
the enemy in Holland. There, placed in the fourth brigade under
Major-General afterwards Sir John Moore, it was associated with the
second battalion of the First Royals, the Twenty-fifth King’s Own
Borderers, the Forty-ninth Foot, and the Ninety-second Gordon
Highlanders. In all the actions which marked this brief and ineffectual
campaign, the Seventy-ninth was worthily distinguished, and won the
memorial thereof now borne upon its colours—“Egmont-op-Zee.”

In the Egyptian expedition of 1800, under Sir Ralph Abercromby, the
Seventy-ninth was brigaded with the Second or Queen’s and the Fiftieth
Regiments, commanded by the Earl of Cavan.

Having helped to the deliverance of Egypt from the yoke of France, it
returned to England in 1801. Whilst at home it was increased by a second
battalion raised in 1804, when the vindictive wrath of Napoleon, roused
into madness by the defeat of his armies by the British in Egypt, had
gathered a countless host around Boulogne, whence, looking across, he
longed but once to set foot upon our shores, and then he hoped to blot
us out from the map as a nation, and so satisfy the bitter hatred of
years. Whilst the tempest of human passion stood arrayed in portentous
awfulness on the other side of the Channel, the Seventy-ninth was with
our troops who anxiously waited the result. Suddenly the spirit of the
imperial dream was changed, and the armed multitude, melting away,
reappeared with a real terror upon the devoted plains of Germany.

Allied with Napoleon, the Danes, in 1807, once more were pressed into a
quarrel with Britain. A British armament appeared upon the coasts of
Denmark. Our army, under Lieutenant-General Lord Cathcart, consisting of
the first battalions of the 2d (Coldstream) and 3d (Scots Fusileers)
Foot Guards; first battalions of the 4th, 7th, 8th, 23d, 28th, 32d, 43d,
50th, 52d (second battalion), 79th (Cameron), 82d, 92d (Gordon), and
five companies of the first and second battalions of the 95th (Rifles),
and several regiments of the King’s German Legion, comprising a total of
28,000, of which 17,000 were British, advanced upon Copenhagen, overcame
all opposition, occupied the capital, arrested the enemy’s fleet, and
having achieved this almost bloodless victory, baffled the deep-laid
schemes of Napoleon, charged with our destruction.

                              CHAPTER XL.

      “Though my perishing ranks should be strew’d in their gore,
      Like ocean-weeds heaped on a surf-beaten shore,
      Lochiel, untainted by flight or by chains,
      While the kindling of life in his bosom remains,
      Shall victor exult, or in death be laid low,
      With his back to the field, and his feet to the foe!
      And, leaving in battle no blot on his name,
      Look proudly to heaven from the death-bed of fame.”


In 1808 the Seventy-ninth was included in the army of Sir John Moore,
which endeavoured to aid the Spaniards and Portuguese to rescue their
country from the crushing tyranny of France. But what could 25,000 men,
however brave, do against 300,000 veterans, concentrated under the
command of experienced officers, and now advanced to destroy the daring
handful of British who had presumed to penetrate the heart of the
Peninsula? We have already described the masterly man[oe]uvres which
extricated our army from a position of great peril when in presence of
so powerful a foe, and at the battle of Corunna gloriously arrested the
further pursuit of the French. The Cameron Highlanders were brigaded
with the Thirty-sixth and Eighty-second regiments, under
Brigadier-General Fane, but not actively engaged.

On the return of the regiment to England, it was shortly ordered to
Holland, there to be engaged in a new effort for the deliverance of that
country. Landed with the army of the Earl of Chatham in Walcheren, it
was soon found impracticable to force the position of the French, who,
nearer their own resources than in Spain, were not so easily overcome.
Fever breaking out among the troops, so thinned the ranks, that of near
40,000 effectives, scarce a half returned fit for duty.

Long and sorely had our soldiers struggled to overcome the gigantic
tyranny of France, but like the many-headed monster of heathen fiction,
no sooner was one head wounded, than a new one appeared to challenge the
attack. So, scarcely had we succeeded in one quarter ere the foe arose
in terrible strength in another. Thus we find our armies, sometimes in
Flanders, sometimes in the Peninsula, sometimes in Egypt, sometimes in
India, and sometimes in America, waging a desperate and incessant war
with this Gorgon-headed enemy.

In 1810 we once more return to Spain, where happily more permanent
results were to be achieved. Thither the Seventy-ninth had gone to join
the army of Lord Wellington.

At the battle of Fuentes d’Onor (Fountain of Honour) the conduct of the
regiment was beyond all praise. Occupying that village with the
Seventy-first Highlanders and Twenty-fourth Foot, the Seventy-ninth was
exposed to the most furious assaults of strong columns of French.
Occasionally driven out of the village, yet always returning to recover
it—which an indomitable perseverance ever accomplished—triumphing over
all opposition, this key of the position was ultimately retained. These
regiments thus deservedly acquired the largest share of the glory
flowing from such a victory.

From the battle of Salamanca it advanced with the army which occupied
Madrid. In the subsequent siege of the strong castle of Burgos, the
valour of the regiment was most conspicuous, and in the several assaults
its losses were very considerable. Unfortunately, the approach of a
powerful relieving force snatched the anticipated prize from our grasp,
arresting the further progress of the siege, and necessitating the
retreat of the British towards Portugal.

Although for the present retiring, the effects of these campaigns were
very different upon the combatants. The British, elated with hope,
incited to perseverance, brought a new and living energy into the field
when the rest of the winter had passed away and the operations of the
war been resumed in the spring. On the other hand, the French—depressed
by the evil tidings of the Grand Army in Russia; tired, moreover, with
incessant yet fruitless fightings; disunited by discontent, privation,
and jealousy—when the season once more invited action, found their
armies dispirited and disorganised. No wonder, then, that the forward
march of the British led to a series of victories ever gracing our arms,
until, surmounting the natural barriers of the Pyrenees, our troops
descended into the plains of France in the day of that country’s
humiliation. In the various actions of the “Pyrenees,” the Seventy-ninth
was not seriously engaged.

It was present at the passage of the “Nivelle” and the “Nive.” On the
latter occasion it was specially distinguished for its well-directed
fire, which caused great havoc in the dense masses of the enemy which
strove to defend the passage.

At the battle of Toulouse, in the brigade of General Pack, with the
Forty-second Royal Highlanders and the Ninety-first (Argyllshire)
Regiment, the Seventy-ninth was engaged in a desperate attack which
carried a redoubt strongly situated, and resolutely defended, on the
crest of a series of heights on the right of the position. A French
officer, witnessing the advance of the Highlanders, exclaimed, “My God!
how firm these _sans culottes_ are!” Another French officer in
conversation said of them, “Ah! these are brave soldiers. I should not
like to meet them unless well supported. I put them to the proof on that
day, for I led the division of more than 5000 men which attempted to
retake the redoubt.” A British officer, high in command, thus yields his
testimony to the valour of the brigade: “I saw your old friends the
Highlanders in a most perilous position; and had I not known their
firmness, I should have trembled for the result.”

On the abdication of Napoleon, peace for a time dispelled the
thunder-storm of war, and permitted the return of the regiment to
Britain. His escape from Elba again threatened to crush out the reviving
spirit of liberty beneath the iron heel of his sanguinary tyranny.
Happily for Europe and for France, the convulsive effort by which he
strove to redeem and avenge the past was utterly defeated by his total
discomfiture at Waterloo, for ever dissipating his dream of conquest,
and closing his ambitious career.

Purposing to sever the British from the Prussians, and beat each in
detail ere the Austrian and Russian armies could arrive from Germany to
resume the war, Napoleon, by one of those rapid marches for which he was
so famous, suddenly falling upon and defeating the Prussians at Ligny,
turned with the full weight of his power against the British, who were
already engaged in a desperate struggle with the corps of Marshal Ney at
Quatre Bras—fitly introducing the grander event of Waterloo. Although
impetuously assailed by an immensely superior force, and suffering a
loss of more than 300 men, the Seventy-ninth behaved with the utmost

         “And wild and high the ‘Cameron’s gathering’ rose!
         The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn’s hills
         Have heard—and heard, too, have her Saxon foes:
         How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
         Savage and shrill! But with the breath which fills
         Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers
         With the fierce native daring which instils
         The stirring memory of a thousand years;
       And Evan’s, Donald’s fame rings in each clansman’s ears!”

In the subsequent battle of Waterloo, it was included in the fifth
division under Sir Thomas Picton, and in the fifth brigade of the army
under Sir James Kempt. Here it was associated with the Twenty-eighth,
Thirty-second, and Ninety-fifth (Rifles) regiments, and posted in
defence of a hedge which the Belgian troops had abandoned early in the
fight. Against this position three powerful columns of the enemy
advanced. “At this moment General Picton was killed, and General Kempt
severely wounded; but the latter never left the field. Like his old
commander, Sir Ralph Abercromby, he allowed no personal consideration to
interfere with his duty; and although unable to sit on horseback from
the severity of the wound, he would not allow himself to be carried away
from his soldiers, whose situation, pressed by a brave and powerful
enemy, required every assistance from his presence and talents. The
enemy, anxious to gain the position behind the hedge, repeated their
attempts, but every attempt was repulsed.” The honourable conduct of the
regiment on this occasion, as a matter of history, has been justly

Occupying France for a while, the Seventy-ninth returned to Britain in
1818, and has long been peacefully employed.

In 1854, when the aggressions of Russia called upon the nations “to
defend the right,” the Seventy-ninth, with the Forty-second Royal
Highlanders and the Ninety-third Sutherland Highlanders, formed the
original Highland Brigade in the army of the Crimea.

At the battle of the Alma, co-operating with the Guards, this brigade,
under Sir Colin Campbell, won a great renown. It was selected, with the
other Highland regiments, under Sir Colin Campbell, to renew the attack
upon the Redan. Fortunately, the retirement of the garrison to the other
side of the harbour afforded a bloodless victory. The regiment was
engaged in the successful expedition against Kertch.

Released by the conclusion of peace from the toils of war on the distant
plains of the Crimea, the regiment returned home. Shortly thereafter,
the outbreak of the Indian mutiny required its presence in that far-off
province of our empire. Accordingly, embarked, it arrived there in 1858,
and joined the army marching upon Lucknow. On the suppression of the
revolt, it was retained in India; and we doubt not the presence of such
staunch defenders of the British constitution will command peace—the
military fire of “auld langsyne” still burning in the bosom of the


                        THE NINETY-SECOND FOOT;
                          GORDON HIGHLANDERS.

                              CHAPTER XLI.

              The foe weel kenn’d the tartan front,
              Which never shunn’d the battle’s brunt—
              The chieftain of our Highland men,
              That led them on to vict’ry then,
                         As aye he cried, “For Scotland.”


The Duke of Gordon, rather as the proprietor of a vast domain than the
chief of a clan, enjoyed an almost kingly power in the Highlands.
Amongst his tenants were the Camerons of Lochiel and the Macphersons of
Clunie, whilst his few immediate retainers were chiefly horsemen—almost
the only cavalry known in Highland warfare. The Gordons have ever been
distinguished for devotion to their king and country. The friends of the
Bruce, they were ranged on the side of liberty at Bannockburn. Adherents
of the Stuarts, we cannot but regret the mistaken zeal which so nigh
involved in a like ruin so estimable a family. Happily, a better
knowledge of the failings of the dethroned dynasty showed the
worthlessness of the object of their attachment, and so estranged them
from their cause, that, in 1745, the representative of the Gordons was
found combating on the side of the Government, whilst the clans upon
their estates followed Lochiel and other chieftains, and fought on
behalf of Prince Charles.



Fortunately, Government succeeded in enlisting the loyal services of
this powerful family; and by its influence regiments of Highlanders were
successively raised in 1759, 1779, and 1793 (fencible), all of which
have long ago been disbanded, or, more properly, are now merged and
represented in the subject of our present sketch, the Ninety-second,
raised in 1794. The efforts of the Marquis of Huntly, a captain in the
Scots Fusilier Guards, helped by the Duchess of Gordon, were most active
and successful in the business of recruiting. The Marquis was rewarded
with the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the regiment, embodied at Aberdeen in
June, 1794, and originally numbered the 100th Regiment, afterwards the

In September the regiment was embarked for Gibraltar, where it remained
in garrison, completing its drill, until the following year, when it was
removed to Corsica. With a detachment, in occupation of the island of
Elba, it remained in Corsica so long as the natives were content with
the British rule. When the rising fame of their great countryman,
Napoleon, excited their admiration, and they desired to be merged in the
glory of his “empire,” our Government, convinced of the inutility of
maintaining an expensive garrison in the island, and ever opposed to
repressive measures antagonistic to the feelings of the people, wisely
resolved to leave them to experience the bitterness of imperial tyranny.
Accordingly, the Ninety-second was withdrawn to Gibraltar in 1796.

In 1798 the regiment returned to England, and thence proceeded to
Ireland, where it was employed in suppressing the miserable attempts at
rebellion got up by the disaffected, and encouraged by France. Although
not actively engaged in the field, its good conduct in garrison was very
commendable, occurring at a time when the disorders of the country
presented many and powerful temptations. Fortunately, the corps was soon
released from the painful duty of appearing in arms against those who
should otherwise have been as brothers.

Under Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Abercromby, who commanded the
expedition of 1799 which proceeded against the French in Holland, the
Ninety-second was included in the brigade of Major-General (afterwards
Sir John) Moore, and associated with the First Royal Scots (second
battalion), the Twenty-fifth King’s Own Borderers, the Forty-ninth Foot,
and the Seventy-ninth Cameron Highlanders. Landed at Helder, it was
engaged in the actions fought around the villages of Crabbendam and
Schagen, and commended for its “noble and steady conduct.” At the battle
of “Egmont-op-Zee,” whilst escorting twenty pieces of artillery to the
front, the Ninety-second was fiercely assailed by a column of 6000
French. Undaunted, the Highlanders stood the dreadful shock, when
bayonet met bayonet, and hundreds, locked in the fatal embrace, fell the
sacrifice of their own valour. Thus a horrid rampart of dead and dying
humanity lay between the combatants. The carnage was terrible. The
Ninety-second alone had to lament a loss of nearly 300, and amongst
these its brave colonel, the Marquis of Huntly, and Lieutenant-Colonel
Erskine, both wounded. It was the charge of the Ninety-second which
began the action, their steady, persevering gallantry which sustained
it, and their unsurpassed valour which completed the victory.
Major-General Moore, wounded in the conflict, was carried off the field
by two soldiers of the Ninety-second. “We can do no more than take him
to the doctor,” said they; “we must join the lads, for every man is
wanted.” Grateful for this service, Major-General Moore offered to
reward the soldiers who thus probably saved his life, but no claimant
appeared; either the superstition of the Highlander, dreading the curse
which the acceptance of such “blood money” was supposed to entail, or
his native pride, would not allow the acceptance of the gift, or else,
what is more likely, the men, by a glorious death, were now beyond the
rewards of this world. Thus disappointed, Major-General Moore found
another means of commemorating this act of generous devotion, in
selecting a soldier of the Ninety-second as one of the supporters of his
armorial bearings. By the convention of Alkmaar, the army abandoned
Holland to the French; and therewith the Gordon Highlanders returning to
England, were stationed at Chelmsford.

In 1800 the regiment was engaged in a fruitless enterprise intended to
aid the Royalists of France by a descent upon the coast of that country.
The remainder of the year was spent unaccountably wandering up and down
amongst the garrisons of the Mediterranean—Gibraltar, Minorca, and

In the spring of 1801 a definite purpose was assigned to the regiment,
as part of the expedition assembled in Marmorice Bay, destined, under
Sir Ralph Abercromby, to deliver Egypt from the usurped dominion of
France. Accomplishing a successful landing despite the assaults of a
powerful enemy, whose artillery from the heights above swept the bay of
Aboukir, the Ninety-second, placed in brigade with the First Royal Scots
and the two battalions of the Fifty-fourth Foot, advanced with the army
towards Alexandria. On the 13th of March the French were encountered at
Mandora, where, forming the advanced guard of the left column, the
Gordon Highlanders shared the glory of the action with the Ninetieth
Perthshire Volunteers. “Opposed to a tremendous fire, and suffering
severely from the French line, they never receded a foot, but maintained
the contest alone, until the marines and the rest of the line came to
their support.”

The Gordon Highlanders were honoured in being selected to furnish a
guard for the head-quarters of the Commander-in-Chief. Sadly reduced by
the inroads of sickness and the sword, the regiment had been ordered to
Aboukir, but the battle of Alexandria occurring ere it had scarce begun
the march, arrested and recalled it to its place in line. The campaign
was closed by the surrender of Alexandria and the submission of 24,000
veteran troops, who, under General Menou, yet remained to France of the
“Army of Egypt.”

On the 15th of October, the Gordon Highlanders, embarking from
Alexandria, returned home, calling on the passage at Malta, and finally
arriving at Cork in 1802. The corps remained in the United Kingdom for
the five following years, peacefully garrisoning various towns, during
which period it was increased by the addition of a second battalion,
raised in 1803, but disbanded in 1813.

In 1807 the first battalion was included with the Forty-third,
Fifty-second, and Ninety-fifth regiments, in the reserve brigade of the
British army of Lord Cathcart, which, invading Denmark a second time,
occasioned the capitulation of Copenhagen, and arrested the Danish
fleet. Returning from this almost bloodless victory, a body of 600 men
of the battalion was shipwrecked in the “Neptunis,” but rescued after
enduring many and sore privations.

During the following year the Ninety-second was employed, under
Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, in a vain expedition to Sweden. Our
aid being rejected, the army returned home.

It afterwards proceeded to the Peninsula, where it arrived in time to
learn that the Convention of Cintra had delivered Portugal for the
present from the thraldom of Marshal Junot, the Emperor’s Lieutenant.
Placed in the division of Lieut.-General Sir John Hope, the Gordon
Highlanders advanced therewith into Spain, where a junction was formed
with the army of Sir John Moore. It endured with firmness all the
hardships of a disastrous yet successful retreat, crowning its
perseverance by its gallantry at the battle of Corunna, where it was
called to regret the loss of a gallant officer, Lieut.-Colonel Napier,
and, further, to mourn over the fall of the hero of the campaign,
Lieut.-General Sir John Moore, who terminated a life of honour and a
career of glory on that memorable battle-field.

This victory secured the unmolested embarkation of the army, which
accordingly sailed for England.


                             CHAPTER XLII.

         “And, oh! loved warriors of the minstrel’s land!
           Yonder your bonnets nod, your tartans wave!
         The rugged form may mark the mountain band,
           And harsher features, and a mien more grave.
         But ne’er in battle throbbed a heart so brave,
           As that which beats beneath the Scottish plaid;
         And when the pibroch bids the battle rave,
           And level for the charge your arms are laid,
       Where lives the desperate foe that for such onset staid?”


In 1809 the Ninety-second was engaged under the Earl of Chatham in the
unfortunate expedition to Walcheren, wherein a splendid army in a few
weeks was discomfited by the poisoned breath of the pestilence. Of 1000
men comprised in the Gordon Highlanders, only 300 returned effective to

In 1810 the regiment embarked for the Peninsula, and joined the army of
Viscount Wellington in the lines of Torres Vedras. Brigaded with the
Fiftieth and Seventy-first regiments, under Major-General Howard, it
advanced with the army in pursuit of the French under Marshal Messena,
shared the glories of “Fuentes d’Onor,” accomplishing the fall of

The brigade was afterwards detached as part of the second division of
the army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Hill, which covered the
operations of the grand army under Wellington against the fortresses of
Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. This division, pursuing the enemy towards
Merida, overtook and surprised the bronzed veterans of the fifth French
corps, under General Gerard, when about to decamp from Arroyo del
Molinos. The honour of this feat of arms is mainly due to the
Seventy-first and Ninety-second Highlanders, who, during the raging of a
fearful tempest, and screened by a thick mist, charged into the village.
In the confusion the loss of the enemy was immense; of 3000 only 600
escaped to tell the tale of the catastrophe. It is said the enemy was
first made aware of his danger by the scream of the bagpipes as they
appropriately played—

                “Hey, Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin’ yet?”

Driven out at the point of the bayonet, the French were utterly broken
and dispersed. Few events reflect greater credit upon the Gordon
Highlanders than this exploit.

It was the business of Lieut.-Gen. Hill so to engage the attention of
Marshal Soult, that he should be prevented assisting the army of Marshal
Marmont, opposed to Wellington. By the capture of Forts Napoleon and
Ragusa at “Almaraz,” gallantly accomplished by the brigade, the
separation of the two Marshals was effected, and each forced to follow
his own line of retreat, at every step widening the breach.

The battle of Salamanca having cleared the way, the British advanced to
Madrid; and, whilst Wellington proceeded against Burgos, Lord Hill
occupied the capital. Tho concentration of the French armies for the
relief of Burgos occasioned the abandonment of that enterprise, and, for
the last time, compelled our army to retire towards Portugal, evacuating
Madrid. “From the 27th October to the 20th November, we were exposed,”
says Lieut.-Col. Cameron, “to greater hardships than I thought the human
frame could bear. In most inclement weather, with the canopy of heaven
for our covering, wet, cold, and hungry, we were generally marching day
and night. Fifteen poor fellows of the Ninety-second fell down, and were
lost. My heart bled for them.”

On reaching Alba de Tormes, an old Roman town, defended by a ruined
wall, it was deemed necessary to make a stand against the pursuing
enemy, who, urged forward by the vigorous Soult, sorely pressed our
army. Here the brigade, entrusted with the honourable yet difficult duty
of maintaining the rear guard, behaved with extraordinary gallantry. The
scene is thus described by Lieut.-Col. Cameron:—“We did what we could to
improve our situation during the short time left us. I threw an old door
across the place where the gate once had been, and barricaded it with
sticks and stones.... We had not a single piece of ordnance. Just as the
clock of Alba struck two, the French columns moved to the attack, and,
from that time until night, we sustained a hurricane of shot and shell
from twenty pieces of cannon! Their riflemen threw themselves into
ditches and ravines round the walls, but their masses never forsook the
protection of their artillery, which was most dastardly for Soult, with
ten thousand men!”

“It is said, that on the 8th, a French officer of high rank approached
so close to the position of the Ninety-second that several muskets were
levelled at him, when Cameron, disdaining to take such an advantage,
promptly forbade the firing of a shot. It was Soult who was thus saved.”

Thus arrested, the French did not again disturb the retreat. Both armies
going into winter quarters, the campaign of 1812 terminated.

With the first dawn of spring Wellington was again on the move. Having
re-organised his army, and been strengthened by considerable
reinforcements from home, with 78,000 excellent troops, he proceeded to
drive the enemy before him. The French, on the other hand, discouraged
by evil news from Russia, and denied that assistance they needed,
because of the more urgent necessities of the Grand Army, could not be
expected to act with the same energy as heretofore, yet did they exceed
these anticipations.

At “Vittoria” King Joseph and Marshal Jourdan having gathered together
their utmost disposable force, ventured to try the fate of battle,
hoping to check the progress of the British, or at least secure a safe
retreat, laden, as they were, with the spoil of the Peninsula. But the
battle of Vittoria fatally disappointed them, and rescued the treasures
of Spain from their avaricious grasp. In this battle, the Ninety-second
Highlanders, having been ordered to seize the heights whereon the
village of Puebla was perched, and hold the position to the last, with
persevering valour overcame a determined resistance, pressed up the
sides of the mountain, entered the village with an impetuous charge,
and, after a fierce struggle, drove the enemy out.

Having gained this great victory, the British now addressed themselves
to the Herculean task of forcing a passage through the defiles of the
“Pyrenees” into France. Notwithstanding the stupendous efforts of
Marshal Soult to retrieve the losses of Vittoria and defend these
natural barriers of his country, the British still pressed “forward.” On
the 20th July, 1813, whilst the brigade was threading its way through
the pass of Maya, it was vigorously attacked by a corps of 15,000
French, who, forcing back that “fierce and formidable old regiment, the
Fiftieth,” upon the Seventy-first and Ninety-second Highlanders, very
nearly drove them out of the pass. These, however, for _ten hours_ stood
the shock of this formidable assault. “So dreadful was the slaughter,
especially of the Ninety-second, that it is said the advancing enemy was
actually stopped by the heaped mass of dead and dying. Never did
soldiers fight better—seldom so well. The stern valour of the
Ninety-second would have graced Thermopylae.” Of 750 Gordon Highlanders
who were engaged, only 400 survived it scatheless, but these returned in
the truest sense “conquering heroes,” having, when every cartridge was
expended, and in presence of succour, decided the victory as their own
by a desperate charge. Throughout the many conflicts which it needed to
clear a passage through the Pyrenees, and thereafter drive so terrible a
foe successively across the “Nivelle” and the “Nive,” the Ninety-second
always displayed the same desperate resolution and valour.

At the sanguinary action of St Pierre, which raged with exceeding fury
for three hours, cumbering a little space of one mile with more than
5000 dead and dying, the Ninety-second impetuously charged and destroyed
two regiments of the enemy. Pressing onwards, the Highlanders were
arrested by a fearful storm of artillery, and forced to retreat upon
their comrades of the Seventy-first; who likewise yielding to the iron
tempest, both found shelter and rallied behind their brethren in brigade
of the Fiftieth. “Then its gallant colonel (Cameron) once more led it
down the road, with colours flying and music playing, resolved to give
the shock to whatever stood in the way. A small force was the
Ninety-second compared with the heavy mass in its front, but that mass
faced about and retired across the valley. How gloriously did that
regiment come forth again to charge, with their colours flying and their
national music playing as if going to a review! This was to understand
war. The man who in that moment, and immediately after a repulse,
thought of such military pomp, was by nature a soldier.”

Excepting at the battle of Toulouse, the Ninety-second was daily engaged
with the enemy, and always with equal credit.

The abdication and exile of Napoleon spread the calm of peace over the
face of Europe. Alas! that it should have been but as some sweet vision
of the night, doomed to be dissipated by the dawn of the morrow, when
the sterner realities of life, its toils and its wars, anew presented
themselves. The night which had shrouded the destiny of imperial France
was succeeded by a new day happily; but, as a brief winter’s day, when
for a moment a glimpse of sunshine shone upon the spirit of the old
empire, as it seemed to revive beneath the influence of the great
Magician, who was wont to conjure up kingdoms and dynasties by the mere
fiat of his will. Soon we shall find the day-dream of ambition eclipsed
in a darker night. Already, we can almost read the mysterious writing,
prophetically pointing to Waterloo, as more surely sealing the fate of
imperial France.

In 1815 the rude blast of war once more summoned the Ninety-second to
the field, as the gathering hosts of France and the Allies accepted the
dread arbitration of war on the chivalric field of Flanders.

In this campaign the Ninety-second was brigaded with the First Royal
Scots, the Forty-second Royal Highlanders, and the Forty-fourth Foot,
under Major-General Sir Denis Pack, and placed in the famous fifth
division of Lieut.-General Sir T. Picton. The same tide of imperial
power, which rose upon the Prussians at Ligny, rolled along towards
Quatre Bras, and dashed its stormy billows in foaming wrath upon the
living rocks of British valour there. As the Gordon Highlanders
encountered the furious onset of the corps of Marshal Ney, Wellington
himself was in their midst, and beheld their splendid valour. Concealed
in a ditch by the road-side, they waited the charge of the French
cavalry, as it ventured to sweep past them in pursuit of the
Brunswickers. Here, however, the pursuit was stayed by a fatal volley
from the Highlanders. At length the Duke gave the word, as he observed
the enemy pushing along the Charleroi Road, “Now, Cameron,” said he,
“now is your time; you must charge these fellows, and take care of that
road.” Soon the massive columns of the foe were broken and hurled back
in confusion, as the Ninety-second emerged from the awful conflict a
bleeding yet victorious remnant, having lost its brave commander,
Lieut.-Colonel Cameron, and nearly 300 comrades. Colonel Cameron was
deeply lamented by the regiment, and the whole army. Temporarily buried
in the vicinity of the field of his latest glory, his remains were
afterwards removed, by his family, to the churchyard of Kilmallie, where
his sacred dust now reposes beside the chieftains of Lochiel. No funeral
in the Highlands was ever so honoured—the great, the noble, the brave,
and upwards of 3000 Highlanders were there to pay the last tribute of
respect to the beloved soldier, now no more.


But the great event of these “hundred days” was at hand, as the 18th of
June dawned upon the plains of Waterloo.

It was late in the day ere the Gordon Highlanders were brought into
action to recover the farm-house of La Haye Sainte, lost by the
Belgians, and which the First Royal Scots and Forty-fourth regiments had
failed to regain, from a column of 3000 French. At this critical moment
Major-General Sir Denis Pack said, “Ninety-second, you must charge, for
all the troops to your right and left have given way.” Although
mustering scarce 300 men, with characteristic dauntlessness, the
Highlanders rushed impetuously to the attack, and in another moment
seemed lost amid the dark masses of the foe. As if moved to help their
countrymen, the Scots Greys came to their aid, or rather to witness and
complete the victory the Highlanders had already won. Together, shouting
“Scotland for ever,” these splendid corps renewed the assault, which
utterly ruined the column of the enemy, the survivors being only too
glad to seek refuge in flight. Sir Denis Pack having witnessed this
magnificent charge and its glorious effects, commending the
Ninety-second, said, “You have saved the day, Highlanders.” Meanwhile,
beholding with unfeigned regret the discomfiture of his troops, the
Emperor, at the same time, felt constrained to admire the valour of the
Highlanders, which had so signally triumphed, exclaiming, “the brave

                 And on the plains of Waterloo
                 The world confess’d the _bravest few_
                         Were kilted men frae Scotland.

Pursuing the enemy, the allies entered Paris in triumph, and thence, on
the surrender of Napoleon, dictated peace.

Returning to England, the regiment was employed in various home
garrisons, until the year 1819, when it was removed to the West Indies.
During its sojourn there it was almost destroyed by the dreadful ravages
of fever among its soldiers, and returned to England a mere skeleton in
1827. In 1834 it was removed to Gibraltar, and thence, in 1836, to
Malta. Whilst stationed at Malta, it was reviewed by Prince Maximilian
of Bavaria, and further honoured in furnishing a Guard to Her Majesty
the Queen Dowager whilst resident in the island. In 1841 it was removed
to the West Indies, and two years later returned home. In 1851 it
proceeded to Corfu. Removed to Gibraltar in 1853, it embarked thence to
the Crimea, arriving a few days after the fall of Sebastopol. Returning
to Gibraltar in 1856, in 1858 it was despatched, _via_ overland route,
to Bombay. In the suppression of the Indian mutiny it was engaged at
Rajghpur, Mongrowlie, and Sindwah. It still remains in India.




                         THE NINETY-THIRD FOOT;
                        SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS.

                             CHAPTER XLIII.

                  “Trust in the Lord, for ever trust,
                    And banish all your fears,
                  Strength in the Lord Jehovah is,
                    Eternal as His years.”


General Stuart writes of this most respectable corps:—“None of the
Highland corps is superior to the Ninety-third Regiment. I do not make
comparisons in point of bravery, for, if properly commanded, they are
all brave; but it is in those well-regulated habits, of which so much
has been already said, that the Sutherland Highlanders have for twenty
years preserved an unvaried line of conduct. The light infantry company
of this corps has been nineteen years without having a man punished.”

Unfortunately, it has not been so highly favoured as many of its
predecessors in having the same rare opportunities for displaying in the
field the sterner qualities of the soldier. Nevertheless, in the few
enterprises in which it has been engaged, it has always shown itself to
be equally meritorious, possessing the same heroic valour which has so
signally glorified the Highland regiments in every corner of the world.

It was raised in the year 1800, on behalf of the ancient and honourable
family of Sutherland, by Major-General William Wemyss of Wemyss. Of its
original members, 460 were Sutherland men. It still retains its Highland
character, perhaps more so than any other corps, and like many of them,
the Channel Islands witnessed its maiden service.

When the Peace of Amiens seemed likely to continue its blessings to the
country, and supersede the necessity of an extensive military
establishment, our Government proposed to reduce the strength of the
army, and the Sutherland Highlanders were accordingly ordered home to
Scotland in 1802 for the purpose of disbandment. Ere this could be
accomplished, symptoms of unquiet became too painfully evident in the
political horizon of Europe, which fortunately occasioned the retention
of this excellent regiment intact among the stalwart defenders of our
land at a moment of peril such as never before had threatened our
independence as a nation.

As the danger for the present somewhat subsided, the Ninety-third, in
1805, was included in the expedition which, under Major-General Sir
David Baird, proceeded against the Dutch colony of the Cape of Good
Hope. With the Seventy-first and Seventy-second regiments it formed the
Highland brigade of Brigadier-General Ferguson, which landed in Lespard
Bay. On this occasion, thirty-five of the Sutherland Highlanders were
drowned by the upsetting of a boat in the surf. The only opposition of
any consequence made by the Dutch Governor, Lieutenant-General Janssens,
was encountered at Blaw Berg, or Blue Mountains, where the irresistible
charge of the Highland Brigade decided the fortune of the battle in our
favour. After this experience of British valour, the Governor
relinquished the contest, and surrendered the colony.

Retained in the garrison, “being anxious to enjoy the advantages of
religious instruction agreeably to the tenets of their national church,
the men of the Ninety-third Regiment formed themselves into a
congregation, appointed elders of their own number, engaged and paid a
stipend (collected from the soldiers) to a clergyman of the Church of
Scotland, and had Divine service performed agreeably to the ritual of
the Established Church.” Consistent with this excellent conduct, so
gratifying to every thinking man who claims a patriotic interest in the
soldiers of his country, no matter what be his creed, we quote a further
illustration of the godly character of these true soldiers. On their
return from the Cape of Good Hope, when “disembarked at Plymouth in
August, 1814, the inhabitants were both surprised and gratified. On such
occasions it had been no uncommon thing for soldiers to spend in taverns
and gin-shops the money they had saved. In the present case, the
soldiers of Sutherland were seen in booksellers’ shops, supplying
themselves with Bibles, and such books and tracts as they required.”
Mindful of the wants of the “old folks at home,” “during the short
period that the regiment was quartered in Plymouth, upwards of £500 were
lodged in one banking-house, to be remitted to Sutherland, exclusive of
many sums sent home through the post-office and by officers. Some of
these sums exceeded £20 from an individual soldier.” We may well expect
great things from men of such a stamp, no matter what be their
profession—truly in them is exhibited “an honourable example, worthy the
imitation of all.”

In the eventful times of which we write little rest could be granted to
the soldier. Thus, we find the regiment, within a month after its
arrival at Plymouth, on its way across the Atlantic, as part of the
expedition under Major-General the Hon. Sir Edward Pakenham, destined to
operate against the city of New Orleans. Rendevouzed at Jamaica, the
expedition proceeded thence on the 27th November, and landed at Cat
Island, at the mouth of the Mississippi, on the 13th December, 1814. The
unfavourable nature of the ground, the immediate presence of an enemy
greatly superior in numbers, and having an extended line of formidable
entrenchments whither to retreat, rendered the enterprise one of
difficulty and danger. Commanded by able officers having every
confidence in their soldiers, perhaps overrated as they overtasked their
capabilities, the army fearlessly advanced, surmounting all the
obstacles which lay in the way ere they confronted the citadel of the
American position. Nothing could surpass the heroism of the
Commander-in-Chief, who fell whilst leading the troops to the assault,
nor the gallantry of the officers supporting him, of whom Major-Generals
Gibb and Keane (afterwards Lord Keane) were wounded—the former fatally.
Nothing could excel the dauntless bravery with which the troops followed
their leaders through the murderous tempest of musketry and artillery,
which carried death and destruction into their very midst; yet all was
unavailing, save the attack of Colonel Thornton upon the right of the
enemy—everywhere else these formidable entrenchments proved impregnable
to so small a force, unaided by an adequate artillery. Thus, after a
fearful loss of life and limb, Major-General Sir John Lambert felt
constrained to abandon the attempt and sound the retreat. Weakened by a
loss of upwards of 1500 killed and wounded—nearly a third of which was
sustained by the Ninety-third, proof of the valour of the corps in this
fiery trial—the troops were re-embarked, and bade adieu to the scene of
so terrible a disaster.

On their return home in 1815, the Sutherland Highlanders were peacefully
employed; for the long period of nearly forty years its history presents
a comparatively uninteresting record of military stations occupied from
time to time, lightened by such glimpses of character as these:—One
inspecting officer reports the Sutherland Highlanders to exhibit a
“picture of military discipline and moral rectitude;” another declares
them “altogether incomparable;” and the colonists of the Cape of Good
Hope lament their loss as “kind friends and honourable soldiers.” Such
are the men whose good conduct in quarters and in peace evince a
sterling character which, never failing in the day of battle, is capable
of sustaining a great renown.

Passing down the stream of time, we arrive at the year 1854, and follow
the Ninety-third to the Crimea—

                When despot power in pride sent forth
                Her slaves from empire of the North,
                To crush in her gigantic fold
                The nation who its own would hold,
                          And wad be free like Scotland.

On leaving Plymouth _en route_ to embark for the seat of war, whilst
other troops in like circumstances manifested a fearless indifference,
striving to kill the thoughts of long farewells by marching to the tune
of “Cheer, boys, cheer,” in keeping with their past history, the
Sutherland Highlanders unostentatiously preferred to chant a hymn of
praise to the God of battles. What a lovely and impressive sight!—lovely
in the sight of God and man, to behold these brave men going forth as
Christian British soldiers beneath the banner of their country, at the
same time the banner of the Cross.

Thence we learn the secret of that Samson strength, deep-rooted in the
soul, which fixed them like a living rock of Gaelic valour at Balaklava.
They feared not to die, for death to such was welcome, not to satisfy
the cravings of a mere earthly heroism, but because in that grim
messenger they could recognise the herald beckoning their immortal
spirits on high, opening the portals of a bright hereafter to an
emancipated soul.

In our army, which after a variety of anterior and unimportant movements
landed in the Crimea in September, 1854, with a view to the humbling of
the aggressive might of Russia, the Ninety-third with the Forty-second
and Seventy-ninth formed the original Highland Brigade, so justly
celebrated. No higher compliment to its worth could have been accorded,
than that of being associated in the same division with the brigade of
Guards. Advancing towards Sebastopol, the enemy was discovered in a very
strong position, prepared to dispute the passage of the river Alma. It
needed all the skill of our officers, and a desperate exercise of
bravery on the part of our troops, to drive the enemy from the position;
and the occasion called forth the native energy of the Highlanders, led
by their deservedly favourite chief, Major-General Sir Colin Campbell.

[Illustration: THE CRIMEA.]

“Balaklava,” than which no name is more expressive of glory dearly won,
is commemorative of the triumphs of our cavalry—the irresistible charge
of the Heavy Brigade, and the “death ride” of the dauntless Light
Brigade. But another and, if possible, a grander event immortalises the
scene. The story of “_the thin red line_” which the Sutherland
Highlanders presented when, isolated from the army, alone and in line,
they withstood the desperate charge of the Russian cavalry, is an
exploit which must stir the soul of every Scotsman. The cool intrepidity
of Sir Colin Campbell in such trying circumstances, and his unbounded
confidence in the mettle of his Highlanders, most remarkably glorify the
victors in the marvellous result.

               Like billows dashed upon the rock,
               Unmoved, ye met the dreadful shock;
               When horsemen furious charged your _line_,
               Brave Campbell cried, “These men are mine—
                         “Ye needna fear for Scotland.”

The brigade was increased to a division by the addition of the
Seventy-first and Seventy-second Highlanders, and was chiefly employed
in reserve, covering Balaklava. In the final bombardment of Sebastopol,
the Highland regiments were selected to make the second assault upon the
Redan, but in the meantime the place was abandoned by the enemy. The
subsequent fall of Sebastopol brought about peace, when the
Ninety-third, released from the stern duties of war, returned home laden
with many honours.

The awful tragedy of the Indian mutiny, which cast its dismal shadow
over the history of the year 1857, once more called forth the services
of the Ninety-third. It followed its favourite leader, Sir Colin
Campbell, to the plains of India, visiting with a terrible vengeance the
murdering villains, the traitors, and the rebels, as with the army it
advanced to the relief of the beleaguered garrison of Lucknow, yet
struggling for very life. In every instance where the foe was to be
encountered, the Sutherland Highlanders were most conspicuous for their
gallantry. Having finally captured Lucknow, the regiment was engaged in
several harassing conflicts with the enemy, sharing in some of these,
such as Bareilly, with the Ninety-second. Its last action was fought in
December, 1858, near Biswah. It still remains in India, and is now
stationed at Peshawar.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Thus we close our History of the Scottish Regiments with this latest
illustration of Highland valour, and we think our readers will admit,
however faulty the writer, the theme at least is worthy of their best
attention, nay, is entitled to their truest sympathy.




                           Transcriber’s Note

This table summarizes the few changes that were made, where the issues
seemed clearly to be attributable to printers errors.

 p. 56        man[oe][vu/uv]res              Transposed.
 p. 60        Villa Viciosa                  _sic._ Villaviciosa
 p. 192       Nap[eol/ole]on                 Transposed.
 p. 239       rhy[r]me                       Removed.
 p. 248       carry them back.[”]            Removed.
 p. 311       were not [not] only paralysed  Removed.
 p. 370       decided the contest.[”]        Removed.
 p. 385       nuc[el/le]us                   Transposed.

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