orders to Generals David Dundas and Dulwich, to collect their forces and drive them back. They were found, however, to be too strong ; and, having advanced a considerable force, they attacked General Dundas at Gildermalsen, but were received with great firmness, and repulsed with the loss of 200 men. The British lost 3 privates killed, and 1 general officer, (Sir Robert Lawrie,) 2 captains, 1 subaltern, and 54 privates, wounded; the loss of the 42d being 1 private killed, and Lieutenant Coll Lamont, and 7 privates, wounded. The severity of the weather, and the duties which pressed upon the troops, in consequence of the accumulated numbers, and successive reinforcements of the enemy, were such as few constitutions could withstand for any length of time. It was, therefore, determined to withdraw, and take up a more defensive position behind the Leek. During the preliminary movements in execution of this determination, the enemy advanced in considerable force, and on the 8th attacked the troops under Lord Cathcart. The attack was made, and received with such energy, that each party was alternately attacked and was repulsed four times successively, till at length the enemy were forced to give up the contest, and retreated with considerable loss.

On this occasion, the 14th and Enniskillen regiments particularly distinguished themselves, as did the 28th, which came up towards the latter part of the action, and decided the day. The loss was 4 subalterns, and 13 privates, killed, and 5 field officers, 2 captains, 1 subaltern, and 52 privates, wounded.

Having crossed the Waal on the 10th in great force, the enemy pressed forward on the British, now much reduced by disease and accumulated hardships," and, on the 14th, Pichegru made a general attack along the whole line from Arn

* The most distressing of these was the state of the hospitals, of which it was observed that whoever entered them never came out till carried to the grave; and when a man was sent to the hospital, his return was never expected. The consequent impression on the minds of the sick, and the fatal effects, must be evident.

heini to Amerougen, when the British, after a resistance which continued till night, retired at all points. But they had now to contend with a worse foe than the French, in the inclemency of a season the most rigorous ever remembered. In this dreadful winter, they had to traverse barren and extensive wastes, and to encounter the hostility of the country people, who could not be softened to the least kindness by the sight of any degree of misery, however extreme. Whether a British soldier was starving with hun ger, or freezing to death, the doors of the Dutch boors were equally shut against him.

The misery of the succeeding retreat to Deventer was such as had not then been experienced by any modern army, and has been only exceeded by the sufferings of the French in their disastrous retreat from Moscow. There have been few situations where the courage, constancy, and temper of the British army have been more severely tried, than in the continuation of this eventful campaign, and when pursued by an enemy of more than thrice their numbers, through a country so hostile, that every house contained an inveterate and concealed adversary, ready to refuse the slightest shelter to the harassed soldiers. Exhausted by an accumulation of difficulties, the army, in the beginning of April, reached Bremen in two divisions. There the hospitality of the inhabitants formed a noble contrast to the conduct of those through whose country they had marched, and whose inveterate hatred little merited the forbearance with which they had been treated by the British

On the 14th of April, the whole were embarked, and soon after sailed for England. The Highlanders, having landed at Harwich, proceeded to Chelmsford, and, in the month of June, were encamped in the neighbourhood at Danbury, under the command of General Sir William Meadows.

Throughout the course of the last campaign, the 42d were remarkably healthy; for, from the landing at Ostend in June, till the embarkation in April, the deaths in battle and by sickness had been only twenty-five,—a small number, considering the length of the service, the fatigue they underwent, and the severity of the weather to which they had been exposed. Of the soldiers, 300 were young men recently recruited. They had, indeed, a great advantage in forming themselves on the habits and example of the more experienced soldiers; for many still remained who had served in America. Without taking into account this advantage over a young corps, where all are inexperienced and unprepared for emergencies and hardships, it would not be easy, notwithstanding the acknowledged hardihood and capability of the Highlanders, to account for this small loss, in a service in which some of the newly raised regiment had lost more than 300 men by disease, and many who, left behind from exhaustion, fell into the hands of the enemy.

In September 1795, the regiment was augmented to 1000 men, from several Highland regiments which had been raised the preceding year, and were now to be broken up and drafted into different regiments. The Royal Highlanders received drafts from the 97th, or Strathspey Highlanders, the 116th, or Perthshire Highlanders, 132d, or Colonel Duncan Cameron's, and 133d, or Colonel Simon Fraser's regiment: 5 captains, 10 lieutenants, and 2 ensigns from the 1 lGih, were also appointed to the 42d; the captains to be in second, or supernumeraries, and to succeed to companies as they became vacant. This was considered a serious injury, and a great check to the promotion of the subalterns, when on the eve of embarking on an unpleasant and dangerous service, as no step was to be expected till the five supernumerary captains had got companies. A representation was, therefore, made, and one of the captains was removed.

Although these drafts furnished many good and serviceable men, they were, in many respects, very inferior to former recruits. This difference of character was more particularly marked in their habits and manners in quarters, than in their conduct in the field, which was always unexceptionable. Having been embodied for upwards of eighteen months, and having been subject to a greater mixture of character than was usual in Highland battalions, these corps had lost much of their original manners, and of that strict attention to religious and moral duties, which distinguished the Highland youths on quitting their native glens, and which, when in corps unmixed wsth men of different characters, they always retained. This intermixture pro'duced a sensible change in the moral conduct and character of the regiment.


Expedition to the West India, 1795—Tempestuous weatherBarbadoes—St Lucia, 1796—St Vincent—Trinidad, 1797—Porto RicoEnglandGibraltarMinorca, 1798—Sir Ralph Abe cromby assumes the command, 1800—CadizMalta.

At this period Sir Ralph Abercromby assumed the command of a numerous armament, preparing for an expedition to the West Indies. The evils sustained in the late unfortunate expedition to the Continent made Government sensible of the necessity of providing the soldiers with a proper equipment, and with articles adapted to the climate and the service in which they were to be engaged. In fitting out the present armament, therefore, a most laudable attention was paid to the comfort of the troops, and the preservation of their health. In the medical department, the zeal and exertions of Dr Thomas Young, the Physician-General, were indefatigable. He was ably supported by Dr William Wright, whose " diversified knowledge, extensive skill in medicine, and long experience in those diseases, which attack Europeans in the West Indies," peculiarly fitted him for that duty; and indeed the whole of this department,—so essential an accompaniment in all military enterprises, more especially in tropical climates,—consisted of men of talent, zeal, and experience. Ships of war were appropriated as transports. Sixteen East Indiamen, and a great number of West India ships,—all excellent and well appointed, were employed for the same purpose. The troops were furnished with flannel to protect them from the damps and chills of midnight,—more destructive to soldiers than heat, in a West India campaign. Abundant supplies of potatoes and other vegetables were assigned for the use of the troops; likewise filtering stones for purifying the water; and nothing, in short, was wanting which could contribute to their comfort while on board the transports. If, therefore, we consider the talents of the commanders, the courage and discipline of the troops, their health and efficiency, the excellent state of the ships, and the skill of those by whom they were navigated, few expeditions have ever sailed from this country more completely appointed. *

• The yellow-fever having been very destructive in the West Indies, during the two preceding years, many precautions were taken to guard the soldiers against its effects by a change of clothing, and other measures. Among those changes, the plaid, kilt, and bonnet of the Highlanders were laid aside, and their place supplied by Russia duck pantaloons, and a round hat. On the subject of this alteration there were various opinions. While some argued that no species of dress was worse calculated for service in a tropical climate than that of the Highlanders; others again reprobated the linen pantaloons, which they said were so far improper, that, in the frequent torrents of rain to which the men would necessarily be exposed, the pantaloons, when wet, would stick to their legs and thighs, and before they were dried, after the falling of one shower, would be wet by the next; so that, by keeping the lower parts of the body constantly damp, agues, rheumatisms, and various other diseases, would be generated. And the bat being of a coarse felt, of the value of half-a-crown, the first shower of rain would destroy its shape;—it would stick close to the men's heads, and form no protection against the sun. As the felt retained the VOL. i. 2d

« 前へ次へ »