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Subjoined is a list of casualties from the year 1776 to the Peace. The nature of the service during the latter period of the war was more fatiguing than dangerous, and consequently the loss was moderate.
Return of Killed and Wounded during the American Revolutionary War,from 1776 to 1783.
It has been already mentioned, that, before the regiment left Glasgow, in the year 1776, the men had been furnished with broadswords and pistols. The latter were of the old Highland fashion, with iron stocks. These being considered unnecessary except in the field, were not intended, like the swords, to be worn by the men in quarters. When the regiment took the field on Staten and Long Island, it was said that the broadswords retarded the men by getting entangled in the brushwood, and they were, therefore, taken from them, and sent on board the transports. Admitting that the objection was well founded, so far as regarded the swords, it certainly could not apply to the pistols. In a close woody country, where troops are liable to sudden attacks and surprises by a hidden enemy, such a weapon is peculiarly useful. It is, therefore, difficult to discover a good reason for laying them aside. Neither does there appear to have been any objection to the resumption of the broadsword, when the service alluded to terminated. The marches through the woods of Long Island were only a few miles; whereas we have seen that the two battalions of the 42d, and Fraser's and Montgomery's Highlanders in the Seven Years' War, carried the broadsword on all their marches, through woods and forests of many hundred miles in extent. In the same manner, the swords were carried in Martinique and Guadaloupe, islands intersected with deep ravines, and covered with woods no less impervious than the thickest and closest woods of America. But, on that service, the broadsword, far from being complained of as an incumbrance, was, on many occasions, of the greatest efficacy, when a decisive blow was to be struck, and the enemy were to be overpowered by an attack hand to hand. I have been told by several old officers and soldiers who bore a part in these attacks, that an enemy who stood for many hours the fire of musketry, invariably gave way when an advance was made sword in hand. It is to be regretted that a weapon which the Highlanders could use so well, should, together with the pistol, which is peculiarly serviceable in close woody countries, have been taken from the soldiers, and, after theexpence of purchase had been incurred, sent to rust and spoil in a store. They were never restored, and the regiment has had neither swords nor pistols since. It has been said that the broadsword is not a weapon to contend with the bayonet. Certainly, to all appearance, it is not, yet facts do not warrant the superiority of the latter weapon. From the battle of Culloden, when a body of undisciplined Highlanders, shepherds and herdsmen, with their broadswords, cut their way through some of the best disciplined and most approved regiments in the British army, (drawn up, too, on a field extremely favourable for regular troops,) down till the time when the swords were taken from the Highlanders, the bayonet was in every instance overcome by the sword.
On the 22d of October 1783, the regiment removed to Halifax, in Nova Scotia, where they enjoyed the best health, and where they remained till the year 1786, when the battalion embarked, and sailed for the island of Cape Breton, two companies being detached to the island of St John.
Some difficulties occurred this year with regard to the promotion of officers in both battalions. As the second was serving in India, it was thought that the vacancies in each battalion should be filled up as in a distinct regiment. This question being referred to a Board of General Officers, it was determined that the promotions should go on in both battalions as in one regiment; and that, on a reduction, the juniors of each rank should first be reduced, without regard to which battalion they belonged. This was thought to bear hard on the officers of the first battalion, all the seniors of which, although inferior in rank, had served longer than those of the second. Lieutenants James and Alexander Stewart, the two senior lieutenants, declined purchasing two companies that became vacant, from a dread of the reduction. So slow was promotion, that it was not till the year 1791 that another opportunity offered for those gentlemen to purchase. No reduction, however, took place; for in the year 1786 the second battalion was formed into a distinct regiment, and numbered the 73d, with the facings green instead of blue.
In consequence of preparations for war with Holland in 1787, two companies were added to the regiment. Captains William Johnstone and Robert Christie, who had purchased the companies refused by the Lieutenants Stewarts, and had hitherto remained in second, succeeded to the additional companies. Ensign James Rose, and Lieutenant Robert Macdonald, Sanda, from the half pay of Fraser's regiment, were appointed lieutenants, and Ensign David Stewart, Garth, from the half pay of the Athole Highlanders, and James Stuart, nephew of the Earl of Moray, ensigns on the augmentation.*
• On the 1st of June this year, Lord John Murray died, in the fortysecond year of his command of the regiment, and was succeeded by Major-General Sir Hector Munro. It is said that Lord Eglinton was much disappointed on that occasion. He had formed an attachment to the Highland soldiers, when he commanded his Highland regiment in the seven years' war; and, owing to Lord J. Murray's great ;<<re, had long looked to the command of the Royal Highlanders. In Lord North's administration, and likewise in Mr Pitt's, he had, in some measure, secured the succession; but the King had previously, and without the knowledge of his ministers, assented to an application from Sir H. Munro. Lord Eglinton was appointed to the Scots Greys on the first vacancy. Till Lord John Murray was disabled by age, he was the friend and supporter of every deserving officer and soldier in the regiment. The public journals during the German or seven years' war give many ins -u ces. I shall notice one. When the disabled soldiers came home from Ticonderoga in 1758, to pass the Board at Chelsea, it is stated, " That the morning they were to appear before the Board, he was in London, and dressed himself in the full Highland uniform, and, putting himself at the head of all those who could walk, he marched to Chelsea, and explained their case in such a manner to the Commissioners, that all obtained the pension. He gave them five guineas to drink the King's health, and their friends, with the regiment, and two guineas to each of those who had wives, and he got the whole a free passage to Perth, with an offer to such as chose to settle on his estate, to give them a house and garden.''"
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• Wastminsttr JounwJ.
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In the month of August 1789, the regiment embarked for England, and landed at Portsmouth in October, after an absence of fourteen years. Immediately on landing, they marched to Guildford, and thence continued their route to the North, passing over Finchley Common, where numbers nocked to see them, no Highland corps having been in that neighbourhood since the year 1745, when the same regiment, then the 43d, or Sempill's Highlanders, was stationed there for a few weeks on its return from Flanders. In November they reached Tynemouth barracks, where they passed the winter. While there they were reinforced by 245 young recruits, raised by the officers who had been left at home for that purpose."
In the month of May 1790, they marched to Glasgow, through Berwick and Edinburgh. In Scotland, as well as in England, their reception was warm and cordial, but not so enthusiastic as that expressed on the return of the regiment at the conclusion of the wars of 1802 and 1815. In America the service was far less brilliant, and the interval that had elapsed between the war and their arrival rendered the recollection of their services less vivid.
Fortunately their stay in Glasgow was short; for the hospitality with which the men were treated, and the feci
* This, it is added, was soon known in the North, and greatly encouraged recruiting. At that time, indeed, the regiment got more men than they required. Lord John was attentive to the interest of the officers, and vigilant that their promotion should not be interrupted by ministerial or other influence. On several occasions, he got officers removed who had been put over his own. Once he came express from Ireland, and had an audience of the King, in consequence of two lieutenants, who, as has been already mentioned, had been appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, while the ensigns of his regiment were passed over. In the first instance he failed, but the two were afterwards removed.
In those days the value of such a friend to support his officers was of more importance than now, when so much justice is done to all.
* At this time there took place a small alteration in the military appointments of the men. The black leather belts for the bayonet were laid aside, and white buff belts supplied. Officers' epaulets, which had formerly been very small, and only cost eighteen shillings, were then enlarged to the present size.