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who would not allow a permanent settlement to this wretched people, who it is said were sent to the mines where they soon perished.
Here I must again remark, in regard to the West India climate, that the health of the troops is always best while in front of an enemy, however constant and harassing the service; whereas, in the less active duties of a common nature, such as a change of stations, either from one island to another, or from one quarter to another in the same island, they seldom failed to be attacked by the diseases incident to the climate. Hence, when the troops remain healthy, the prudence of a change of quarters, without necessity, may be questioned. It sometimes happens, that injurious effects ensue even although the movement has been from an unhealthy to a healthy station, as from St Lucia to Barbadoes#. Troops became so accustomed to the unhealthy climate of the former island, that, in twelve months, the deaths did not exceed 5O out of 600 men. Of the same number of men, when removed to Barbadoes, 12 officers and upwards of 200 men have died in a few months, without any apparent alteration in the climate, or any material change in the health of those who were previously in the island. But when troops become unhealthy, no time should be lost in removing them to another station.
The mortality this year among the troops in the West Indies was lamentably great. From May 1796 to June 1797, the deaths amounted to 264 officers and 12,387 soldiers. But of those whose strength of constitution, or mode of life, enabled them to resist the evil effects of the climate, no one enjoyed a more vigorous state of health than the venerable commander, who, although in the sixty-fourth year of his age, generally slept in his body-clothes; indeed, always when in the field. He was on horseback every day an hour before day-light, and was ever found where his presence was necessary. He returned to England in September, when the temporary command of the army devolved upon Major-General Charles Graham,' who was this year promoted from the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 42d to be colonel of the 5th West India regiment . Major James Stewart succeeded to the lieutenant-colonelcy, and Captain Stirling as major. Some time previously, Captain Alexander Stewart succeeded Major Christie, who died of the fever, and Lieutenant David Stewart was promoted to be captain-lieutenant.
* Examples of this have been seen even in the same Island. The Highlanders were removed from the woods in St Vincent, to the barracks near Kingston, a situation considered remarkably healthy. Before a week passed 59 men were in hospital, who left the woods in perfect health, and in ten days 21 men died. The distance they marched was only twenty-two miles; they were two days on the march, consequently the fatigue was moderate.
The Commander-in-Chief returned from England early in February 1797, and immediately collected a force for an attack on Trinidad, which surrendered without opposition. Encouraged by this success, and having received intelligence of the favourable disposition of the inhabitants of Porto Rico, he determined to make an attempt on that island. Accordingly, he ordered the 26th light dragoons, dismounted, the 1 ith, 42d, Md, a battalion of the 60th regiment, a detachment of Lowenstein's corps, and the Tobago Rangers, to be assembled at St Christopher's, whence they sailed on the 15th of April, and anchored off Congregus's Point on the 17th. A landing was effected, with slight opposition from the enemy, who retreated when the men disembarked.
• General Graham was son of Colonel Graham of Drainie, one of the original officers of the Black Watch, and was for many years the commanding officer. General Graham had the benefit of a good example from his father. Born in the regiment in which he had all his life served, he intimately understood the character and peculiar dispositions of the men. An excellent disciplinarian, strict, but judicious, just and humane, with a fine voice, and a clear distinct manner of communicating his orders, and explaining his directions, he was admirably fitted for his situation as commander of the Highland regiment. The promotion to the rank of general officer, which removed him from the command, was a severe loss to the corps. He went out second in command to Sir Ralph Abercromby to the West Indies in 1795, and died at Cork, where he commanded, in zoo.
The town and Moro or castle of Porto Rico stand on a point, separated from the main-land by a narrow arm of the sea, over which was thrown a bridge of eleven arches, forming the only communication with the island. The Moro is strongly fortified with the best materials, and almost inaccessible. The bridge being destroyed, the lagoon could not be crossed in boats, in the face of three tiers of batteries, which the Moro presented. From the outside of the lagoon the distance was too great for the batteries of the invaders to produce any effect, either on the town or castle; and, whatever the disposition of the people had been, no symptom was now shown of any inclination to surrender. A number of French privateers had taken shelter in the harbour, when they heard of the approach of the fleet. The crews landed, and manned the batteries, determined to hold out to the last in defence of their vessels and prizes. In these circumstances, and as our force was insufficient to blockade more than one side of the garrison, or prevent a free communication with the country, the Commander-in-Chief determined to give up the attempt and reembark. This was accomplished on the 30th of April, the enemy still keeping within their defences. The loss sustained on this occasion was 1 captain killed, 1 lieutenantcolonel and 1 captain wounded, and 98 rank and file killed and wounded; and a lieutenant and 121 rank and file missing, supposed to have deserted to the enemy. • The troops returned to their different stations, and the Highlanders to Martinique. This was the last attempt against the enemy in that country during the continuance of the war.
The 79th Highlanders having been now two years in Martinique, orders were sent out, as I have already noticed, to allow them to volunteer into the Royal Highlanders, then ready to embark for England, with permission to all who chose to remain to join other corps in the country. The number thus received by the 42d exceeded the casu.nl
• This officer, and the 121 soldiers, were foreigners in our service.
ties of the two preceding years, making the detachment stronger than when they embarked at Portsmouth in October 1795. The order to send the 42d home complete was the first interruption of the system of drafting, which, as I have already mentioned, has since been abolished. The regiment embarked free of sickness, and landing at Portsmouth on the 30th July, in equally good health, marched to Hillsea Barracks. A body of 500 men landing from the West Indies, and marching, without leaving a man behind, was no common spectacle. *
After remaining a few weeks in Hillsea, the five companies were again embarked for Gibraltar, where they joined the five companies which had been ordered thither when driven back by the gales of 1795 and 1796.
The regiment was now 1100 strong; but the moral feelings of the troops were sensibly deteriorated. In addition to the number of indifferent characters introduced into the regiment in 1795, the cheap and free indulgence in wine permitted in the garrison affected the conduct of a considerable proportion of the men. However, it had no influence on their health; for, during a stay of one year in Gibraltar, from October 1797 to October 1798, only 11 died out of 1187 men, including all ranks. But, as I have observed, the moral habits of many evinced a melancholy change. An instance of murder occurred. One of the soldiers, in a fit of rage and intoxication, quarrelled with an inhabitant, and stabbed him to the heart with his bayonet. He was tried and executed. Two men deserted to the Spaniards. One of them had for some years possessed a good character, but latterly had contracted habits of drinking; the only reason that could be assigned for his conduct. He was soon cured of those habits which had led to his defection, and heartily repented his breach of allegiance. He entered the Spanish service, in which the soldier's pay affords nothing to expend on liquor, —nay, sometimes not a sufficiency to procure necessaries, and in which, even if the pay had been more liberal, the example of sobriety which the Spanish soldiers always exhibit would have discountenanced any excess. To his former comrades within the garrison he found means to send communications, in which he deplored his folly, and called upon them to be faithful to their King, and not to make themselves miserable, like him, by joining the enemies of their country. Fortunately, however, for the regiment, they were soon removed to Minorca, where their old habits and conduct were in a great measure restored by the excellent discipline of Brigadier-General Oakes, under whose immediate command they were for several months placed.
* A state of the troops on board was sent to Portsmouth, after the ships came to anchor. When it was received, directions were given to correct the mistake of omitting the number of sick arrived from the West Indies.
Government having determined to attack the Island of Minorca, a small armament was prepared and placed under the command of Lieutenant-General the Honourable Sir Charles Stuart, Major-General Sir James St Clair Erskine, and Brigadier-Generals John Stuart and Oakes, together with the 28th, 42d, 58th, and 90th regiments; the naval part of the expedition being under the command of Commodore Duckworth. These regiments, which had been quartered in Gibraltar, sailed from thence on the 24th of October, and reached the island of Minorca on the 6th of November. A landing in the Bay of Addaya was next morning effected without opposition. The first division, consisting of 800 men, disembarked, and repulsed 2000 of the enemy, who, after a feeble resistance, retired. The state of the roads, and the multitude of high and strong stone inclosures, rendered the progress of the army as slow as in a mountainous country. It was therefore the 14th of November before they could invest Cittadella, the principal garrison, where the Spanish Commander had concentrated his forces. Here the judicious arrangements of the General supplied the deficiency of troops, and of the artillery necessary for a siege: he formed his small army on the little eminences which surrounded the garrison, leaving only a few light infantry, who lay concealed in the intermediate hollows. By this disposition of force, large fires being kept