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otherwise; not a man deserted; and of more than 1000 men of whom the corps consisted, there was only one punished during the whole of these five years. This man had asked leave of absence, stating that he had business of consequence to transact; but, as there was a general order against granting leave, Colonel Stirling was obliged to refuse him. However, the man was determined, and went away without leave, and having, as he said, settled his business, returned to his regiment. This defiance of orders could not be passed over. He was tried and punished. But the unfortunate man endured a double punishment. The soldiers considered the honour and character of the corps implicated and tarnished when they saw one of their number thus publicly brought to shame; and such was their horror of the castigation, and of the disgrace attached to it, that not a soldier in the regiment would mess with him. The second punishment was, in some respects, more severe than the first, and, in every way, more efficient in preserving correct principles and conduct.
Such was the Royal Highland regiment, while it was preserved as a national and unmixed body. The InspectorGeneral dissolved the charm. Punishments being found indispensable for the men newly introduced, and others becoming more habituated to the sight, much of the sense of disgrace was necessarily lost . While Captain Peebles* commanded his company, there was not a complaint made to the commanding officer. His successor was constantly preferring complaints, and calling for punishment. The reason is plain. He misunderstood the character of his men, and knew not how to manage them. When he saw them looking sour and discontented at the suspicion and reproach thrown on their conduct by his harshness, his threatenings, and complaints, he called them mutinous; and, if he had
* Captain Peebles was a volunteer serving with Montgomery's Highlanders, and was promoted to the 42d for his gallant conduct at Bushy Run in 1763. He retired from the service at the conclusion of the war in 1783, and is now the last surviving officer of those who served with Montgomery's and with the Royal Highlanders in the Seven Years' War. not been checked, he would have made them so. Had this officer looked back to the five years previous to his joining the regiment, and reflected that 1000 men had continued to live together with so little cause for suspicion or reflection on their general behaviour, that no severity was necessary, it might have occurred to him, as it did to his commanding officer, that many faults which he saw in the men proceeded from some uncommon cause, or perhaps from his ignorance of their character, and from the harsh measures and intemperate language which he used towards them, and against which their spirit revolted; while, had he pursued a contrary line of conduct, they would probably have been as quiet and obedient to his orders as they had formerly been to his predecessors.
To return to the army at New York. Sir Henry Clinton, wishing to prosecute the war with vigour, and undertake some enterprise of importance, determined to make an attack on Charlestown, the capital of South Carolina. Having made his arrangements for this purpose, he left General Knyphausen in the command, and, embarking the troops intended for Charlestown, sailed from New York on the 26th of December. Such was the severity of the weather, however, that, although the voyage might have been accomplished in ten days, it was the 11th of February 1780 before the troops disembarked on John's Island, thirty miles from Charlestown. Several of the transports were driven out of their course; others were taken; and a great proportion of the horses, both of cavalry and artillery, died on the voyage. So great were the impediments to be overcome, and so cautious was the advance of the general, that it was the 29th of March before the besieging army crossed Ashley River. The following day they encamped opposite the American lines.
On the 1st of April they broke ground in front of Charlestown. The American general Lincoln commanded in the town, and had strengthened the place in all its defences, both by land and water, in such a manner as threatened to render the siege both a tedious and difficult undertaking. Being probably aware of this, the Commander-in-Chief ordered the Royal Highlanders and Queen's Rangers to join him before Charlestown, which they did on the 18th of April, having sailed from New York on the 31st of March. After this the siege proceeded in the usual manner, till the 12th of May, when the garrison surrendered prisoners of war. The loss of the British and Hessians, on this occasion, was 76 killed, and 189 wounded; and that of the 42d, Lieutenant Macleod and 9 privates killed, and Lieutenant Alexander Grant * and 14 privates wounded.
After the troops had taken possession of Charlestown, the 42d and light infantry were ordered to Monck's Corner on a foraging party, and, returning on the 2d, they embarked on the 4th of June for New York, along with the Grenadiers and Hessians. After being encamped for some time on Staten Island, Valentine's Hill, and other stations in the province of New York, they went into winter quarters in the capital of the province. From this period, as the regiment was not engaged in any active service during the war, the changes of encampments and cantonments are too trifling to be noticed. About this time 100 recruits arrived from Scotland, all young men in the full vigour of health, and ready for immediate service.
Having, on the 15th of October 1781, received information that Lord Cornwallis was surrounded by a superior PAULUS HOOK—DESERTION, 1783. 397
* The wound of Lieutenant Grant was remarkable for its apparent severity, but from which, having a good constitution, and a healthy habit of body, he soon recovered. A six pound ball struck Mr Grant on the back in a slanting direction, near the right shoulder, carrying away the entire scapula, with several other bones, and leaving the whole surrounding parts in such a state, that he was allowed to remain on the ground, the only care of the surgeons being to make him as easy as possible for the short time they believed he had to live. He was afterwards removed to his quarters, and, to the surprise of the surgeons, they found him alive the following morning, and free of fever and all bad symptoms. In a short time he recovered completely, and served many years in perfect health. He died in 1807, major on half pay of the 78th regiment. He was son to Colonel Grant of Moy, who died in April 1822, and who is noticed in the Appendix as having been taken up on suspicion of having shot Munro of Culcairn in 1716.
force at York Town, Sir Henry Clinton immediately embarked with 7000 men for his relief; but on reaching the capes of the Chesapeak, and receiving accounts that his Lordship had surrendered, he returned, and disembarked the troops at New York and Staten Island.
On the 28th of April 1782, Major Graham succeeded to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the Royal Highland regiment in the room of Colonel Stirling, promoted to the 71st, vice General Fraser deceased; Captain Walter Home of the Fusileers succeeded Major Graham.
While the regiment was quartered at Paulus Hook, the advanced post from New York leading to the Jerseys, some occurrences took place equally new and disgraceful. Several of the men deserted to the enemy. This unexpected and unprecedented dereliction of duty occasioned much surprise, and various causes were assigned for it: the prevailing opinion was, that the men who had been received from the 26th regiment, and who had been made prisoners at Saratoga, had been seduced while in the hands of the Americans, by promises of grants of lands, and other indulgences. Such was their infatuation, that when this happened it was quite well known that they would soon have their discharge, with a government grant of land to each man. One of the deserters, a man of the name of Anderson, was soon afterwards taken, tried by a court-martial, and shot.
The regiment remained in Paulus Hook till the conclusion of the war, when the establishment was reduced to eight companies, of fifty men each, the officers of the ninth and tenth companies being kept as supernumeraries in the regiment, to succeed as vacancies occurred. A number of the men were discharged at their own request, and their place was supplied by those who wished to remain in the country, instead of going home with their regiments. These were taken from Fraser's and Macdonald's Highlanders, and from the Edinburgh and the Duke of Hamilton's regiments. From these corps a sufficiency of good men, for so small an establishment, was easily obtained.