1st January, 1836.
His Majesty has been pleased to command, that, with a view of doing the fullest justice to Regiments, as well as to Individuals who have distinguished themselves by their Bravery in Action with the Enemy, an Account of the Services of every Regiment in the British Army shall be published under the superintendence and direction of the Adjutant-General; and that this Account shall contain the following particulars, viz.,
—— The Period and Circumstances of the Original Formation of the Regiment; The Stations at which it has been from time to time employed; The Battles, Sieges, and other Military Operations, in which it has been engaged, particularly specifying any Achievement it may have performed, and the Colours, Trophies, &c., it may have captured from the Enemy.
—— The Names of the Officers and the number of Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates, Killed or Wounded by the Enemy, specifying the Place and Date of the Action.
—— The Names of those Officers, who, in consideration of their Gallant Services and Meritorious Conduct in engagements with the Enemy, have been distinguished with Titles, Medals, or other Marks of His Majesty's gracious favour.
—— The Names of all such Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates, as may have specially signalized themselves in Action.
—— The Badges and Devices which the Regiment may have been permitted to bear, and the Causes on account of which such Badges or Devices, or any other Marks of Distinction, have been granted.
By Command of the Right Honourable
GENERAL LORD HILL,
The character and credit of the British Army must chiefly depend upon the zeal and ardour, by which all who enter into its service are animated, and consequently it is of the highest importance that any measure calculated to excite the spirit of emulation, by which alone great and gallant actions are achieved, should be adopted.
Nothing can more fully tend to the accomplishment of this desirable object, than a full display of the noble deeds with which the Military History of our country abounds. To hold forth these bright examples to the imitation of the youthful soldier, and thus to incite him to emulate the meritorious conduct of those who have preceded him in their honourable career, are among the motives that have given rise to the present publication.
The operations of the British Troops are, indeed, announced in the "London Gazette," from whence they are transferred into the public prints: the achievements of our armies are thus made known at the time of their occurrence, and receive the tribute of praise and admiration to which they are entitled. On extraordinary occasions, the Houses of Parliament have been in the habit of conferring on the Commanders, and the Officers and Troops acting under their orders, expressions of approbation and of thanks[Pg iv] for their skill and bravery, and these testimonials, confirmed by the high honour of their Sovereign's Approbation, constitute the reward which the soldier most highly prizes.
It has not, however, until late years, been the practice (which appears to have long prevailed in some of the Continental armies) for British Regiments to keep regular records of their services and achievements. Hence some difficulty has been experienced in obtaining, particularly from the old Regiments, an authentic account of their origin and subsequent services.
This defect will now be remedied, in consequence of His Majesty having been pleased to command, that every Regiment shall in future keep a full and ample record of its services at home and abroad.
From the materials thus collected, the country will henceforth derive information as to the difficulties and privations which chequer the career of those who embrace the military profession. In Great Britain, where so large a number of persons are devoted to the active concerns of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, and where these pursuits have, for so long a period, been undisturbed by the presence of war, which few other countries have escaped, comparatively little is known of the vicissitudes of active service, and of the casualties of climate, to which, even during peace, the British Troops are exposed in every part of the globe, with little or no interval of repose.
In their tranquil enjoyment of the blessings which[Pg v] the country derives from the industry and the enterprise of the agriculturist and the trader, its happy inhabitants may be supposed not often to reflect on the perilous duties of the soldier and the sailor,—on their sufferings,—and on the sacrifice of valuable life, by which so many national benefits are obtained and preserved.
The conduct of the British Troops, their valour, and endurance, have shone conspicuously under great and trying difficulties; and their character has been established in Continental warfare by the irresistible spirit with which they have effected debarkations in spite of the most formidable opposition, and by the gallantry and steadiness with which they have maintained their advantages against superior numbers.
In the official Reports made by the respective Commanders, ample justice has generally been done to the gallant exertions of the Corps employed; but the details of their services, and of acts of individual bravery, can only be fully given in the Annals of the various Regiments.
These Records are now preparing for publication, under His Majesty's special authority, by Mr. Richard Cannon, Principal Clerk of the Adjutant-General's Office; and while the perusal of them cannot fail to be useful and interesting to military men of every rank, it is considered that they will also afford entertainment and information to the general reader, particularly to those who may have served in the Army, or who have relatives in the Service.
There exists in the breasts of most of those who have served, or are serving, in the Army, an Esprit de Corps—an attachment to every thing belonging to their Regiment; to such persons a narrative of the services of their own Corps cannot fail to prove interesting. Authentic accounts of the actions of the great,—the valiant,—the loyal, have always been of paramount interest with a brave and civilized people. Great Britain has produced a race of heroes who, in moments of danger and terror, have stood, "firm as the rocks of their native shore"; and when half the World has been arrayed against them, they have fought the battles of their Country with unshaken fortitude. It is presumed that a record of achievements in war,—victories so complete and surprising, gained by our countrymen,—our brothers,—our fellow-citizens in arms,—a record which revives the memory of the brave, and brings their gallant deeds before us, will certainly prove acceptable to the public.
Biographical memoirs of the Colonels and other distinguished Officers, will be introduced in the Records of their respective Regiments, and the Honorary Distinctions which have, from time to time, been conferred upon each Regiment, as testifying the value and importance of its services, will be faithfully set forth.
As a convenient mode of Publication, the Record of each Regiment will be printed in a distinct number, so that when the whole shall be completed, the Parts may be bound up in numerical succession.
The natives of Britain have, at all periods, been celebrated for innate courage and unshaken firmness, and the national superiority of the British troops over those of other countries has been evinced in the midst of the most imminent perils. History contains so many proofs of extraordinary acts of bravery, that no doubts can be raised upon the facts which are recorded. It must therefore be admitted, that the distinguishing feature of the British soldier is Intrepidity. This quality was evinced by the inhabitants of England when their country was invaded by Julius Cæsar with a Roman army, on which occasion the undaunted Britons rushed into the sea to attack the Roman soldiers as they descended from their ships; and, although their discipline and arms were inferior to those of their adversaries, yet their fierce and dauntless bearing intimidated the flower of the Roman troops, including Cæsar's favourite tenth legion. Their arms consisted of spears, short swords, and other weapons of rude construction. They had chariots, to the[Pg viii] axles of which were fastened sharp pieces of iron resembling scythe-blades, and infantry in long chariots resembling waggons, who alighted and fought on foot, and for change of ground, pursuit, or retreat, sprang into the chariot and drove off with the speed of cavalry. These inventions were, however, unavailing against Cæsar's legions: in the course of time a military system, with discipline and subordination, was introduced, and British courage, being thus regulated, was exerted to the greatest advantage; a full development of the national character followed, and it shone forth in all its native brilliancy.
The military force of the Anglo-Saxons consisted principally of infantry: Thanes, and other men of property, however, fought on horseback. The infantry were of two classes, heavy and light. The former carried large shields armed with spikes, long broad swords and spears; and the latter were armed with swords or spears only. They had also men armed with clubs, others with battle-axes and javelins.
The feudal troops established by William the Conqueror, consisted (as already stated in the Introduction to the Cavalry) almost entirely of horse; but when the warlike barons and knights, with their trains of tenants and vassals, took the field, a proportion of men appeared on foot, and, although these were of inferior degree, they proved stout-hearted Britons of stanch fidelity. When stipendiary troops were employed, infantry always constituted a considerable portion of the military force;[Pg ix] and this arme has since acquired, in every quarter of the globe, a celebrity never exceeded by the armies of any nation at any period.
The weapons carried by the infantry, during the several reigns succeeding the Conquest, were bows and arrows, half-pikes, lances, halberds, various kinds of battle-axes, swords, and daggers. Armour was worn on the head and body, and in course of time the practice became general for military men to be so completely cased in steel, that it was almost impossible to slay them.
The introduction of the use of gunpowder in the destructive purposes of war, in the early part of the fourteenth century, produced a change in the arms and equipment of the infantry-soldier. Bows and arrows gave place to various kinds of fire-arms, but British archers continued formidable adversaries; and owing to the inconvenient construction and imperfect bore of the fire-arms when first introduced, a body of men, well trained in the use of the bow from their youth, was considered a valuable acquisition to every army, even as late as the sixteenth century.
During a great part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth each company of infantry usually consisted of men armed five different ways; in every hundred men forty were "men-at-arms," and sixty "shot;" the "men-at-arms" were ten halberdiers, or battle-axe men, and thirty pikemen; and the "shot" were twenty archers, twenty musketeers, and twenty harquebusiers, and each man carried, besides his principal weapon, a sword and dagger.
Companies of infantry varied at this period in numbers from 150 to 300 men; each company had a colour or ensign, and the mode of formation recommended by an English military writer (Sir John Smithe) in 1590, was:—the colour in the centre of the company guarded by the halberdiers; the pikemen in equal proportions, on each flank of the halberdiers; half the musketeers on each flank of the pikes; half the archers on each flank of the musketeers; and the harquebusiers (whose arms were much lighter than the muskets then in use) in equal proportions on each flank of the company for skirmishing. It was customary to unite a number of companies into one body, called a Regiment, which frequently amounted to three thousand men; but each company continued to carry a colour. Numerous improvements were eventually introduced in the construction of fire-arms, and, it having been found impossible to make armour proof against the muskets then in use (which carried a very heavy ball) without its being too weighty for the soldier, armour was gradually laid aside by the infantry in the seventeenth century: bows and arrows also fell into disuse, and the infantry were reduced to two classes, viz.: musketeers, armed with matchlock muskets, [Pg xi]swords, and daggers; and pikemen, armed with pikes, from fourteen to eighteen feet long, and swords.
In the early part of the seventeenth century Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, reduced the strength of regiments to 1000 men; he caused the gunpowder, which had heretofore been carried in flasks, or in small wooden bandoleers, each containing a charge, to be made up into cartridges, and carried in pouches; and he formed each regiment into two wings of musketeers, and a centre division of pikemen. He also adopted the practice of forming four regiments into a brigade; and the number of colours was afterwards reduced to three in each regiment. He formed his columns so compactly that his infantry could resist the charge of the celebrated Polish horsemen and Austrian cuirassiers; and his armies became the admiration of other nations His mode of formation was copied by the English, French, and other European states; but, so great was the prejudice in favour of ancient customs, that all his improvements were not adopted until near a century afterwards.
In 1664 King Charles II. raised a corps for sea-service, styled the Admiral's regiment. In 1678 each company of 100 men usually consisted of 30 pikemen, 60 musketeers, and 10 men armed with light firelocks. In this year the king added a company of men armed with hand-grenades to each of the old British regiments, which was designated the "grenadier company." Daggers were so contrived as to fit in the muzzles of the muskets, and bayonets[Pg xii] similar to those at present in use were adopted about twenty years afterwards.
An Ordnance regiment was raised in 1635, by order of King James II., to guard the artillery, and was designated the Royal Fusiliers (now 7th Foot). This corps, and the companies of grenadiers, did not carry pikes.
King William III. incorporated the Admiral's regiment in the Second Foot Guards, and raised two Marine regiments for sea-service. During the war in this reign, each company of infantry (excepting the fusiliers and grenadiers) consisted of 14 pikemen and 46 musketeers; the captains carried pikes; lieutenants, partisans; ensigns, half-pikes; and serjeants, halberds. After the peace in 1697 the Marine regiments were disbanded, but were again formed on the breaking out of the war in 1702.
During the reign of Queen Anne the pikes were laid aside, and every infantry soldier was armed with a musket, bayonet, and sword; the grenadiers ceased, about the same period, to carry hand-grenades; and the regiments were directed to lay aside their third colour: the corps of Royal Artillery was first added to the army in this reign.
About the year 1745, the men of the battalion companies of infantry ceased to carry swords;[Pg xiii] during the reign of George II. light companies were added to infantry regiments; and in 1764 a Board of General Officers recommended that the grenadiers should lay aside their swords, as that weapon had never been used during the seven years' war. Since that period the arms of the infantry soldier have been limited to the musket and bayonet.
The arms and equipment of the British troops have seldom differed materially, since the Conquest, from those of other European states; and in some respects the arming has, at certain periods, been allowed to be inferior to that of the nations with whom they have had to contend; yet, under this disadvantage, the bravery and superiority of the British infantry have been evinced on very many and most trying occasions, and splendid victories have been gained over very superior numbers.
Great Britain has produced a race of lion-like champions who have dared to confront a host of foes, and have proved themselves valiant with any arms. At Crecy, King Edward III., at the head of about 30,000 men, defeated, on the 26th of August, 1346, Philip King of France, whose army is said to have amounted to 100,000 men; here British valour encountered veterans of renown:—the King of Bohemia, the King of Majorca, and many princes and nobles were slain, and the French army was routed and cut to pieces. Ten years afterwards, Edward Prince of Wales, who was designated the Black Prince, defeated, at Poictiers, with 14,000 men, a French army of 60,000 horse, besides infantry, and took John I., King of France, and his son[Pg xiv] Philip, prisoners. On the 25th of October, 1415, King Henry V., with an army of about 13,000 men, although greatly exhausted by marches, privations, and sickness, defeated, at Agincourt, the Constable of France, at the head of the flower of the French nobility and an army said to amount to 60,000 men, and gained a complete victory.
During the seventy years' war between the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the Spanish monarch, which commenced in 1578 and terminated in 1648, the British infantry in the service of the States General were celebrated for their unconquerable spirit and firmness; and in the thirty years' war between the Protestant Princes and the Emperor of Germany, the British troops in the service of Sweden and other states were celebrated for deeds of heroism. In the wars of Queen Anne, the fame of the British army under the great Marlborough was spread throughout the world; and if we glance at the achievements performed within the memory of persons now living, there is abundant proof that the Britons of the present age are not inferior to their ancestors in the qualities [Pg xv]which constitute good soldiers. Witness the deeds of the brave men, of whom there are many now surviving, who fought in Egypt in 1801, under the brave Abercromby, and compelled the French army, which had been vainly styled Invincible, to evacuate that country; also the services of the gallant Troops during the arduous campaigns in the Peninsula, under the immortal Wellington; and the determined stand made by the British Army at Waterloo, where Napoleon Bonaparte, who had long been the inveterate enemy of Great Britain, and had sought and planned her destruction by every means he could devise, was compelled to leave his vanquished legions to their fate, and to place himself at the disposal of the British Government. These achievements, with others of recent dates in the distant climes of India, prove that the same valour and constancy which glowed in the breasts of the heroes of Crecy, Poictiers, Agincourt, Blenheim, and Ramilies, continue to animate the Britons of the nineteenth century.
The British Soldier is distinguished for a robust and muscular frame,—intrepidity which no danger can appal,—unconquerable spirit and resolution,—patience in fatigue and privation, and cheerful obedience to his superiors. These qualities, united with an excellent system of order and discipline to regulate and give a skilful direction to the energies and adventurous spirit of the hero, and a wise selection of officers of superior talent to command, whose presence inspires confidence,—have been the leading causes of the splendid victories gained by the[Pg xvi] British arms. The fame of the deeds of the past and present generations in the various battle-fields where the robust sons of Albion have fought and conquered, surrounds the British arms with an halo of glory; these achievements will live in the page of history to the end of time.
The records of the several regiments will be found to contain a detail of facts of an interesting character, connected with the hardships, sufferings, and gallant exploits of British soldiers in the various parts of the world where the calls of their Country and the commands of their Sovereign, have required them to proceed in the execution of their[Pg xvii] duty, whether in active continental operations, or in maintaining colonial territories in distant and unfavourable climes.
The superiority of the British infantry has been pre-eminently set forth in the wars of six centuries, and admitted by the greatest commanders which Europe has produced. The formations and movements of this arme, as at present practised, while they are adapted to every species of warfare, and to all probable situations and circumstances of service, are calculated to show forth the brilliancy of military tactics calculated upon mathematical and scientific principles. Although the movements and evolutions have been copied from the continental armies, yet various improvements have from time to time been introduced, to ensure that simplicity and celerity by which the superiority of the national military character is maintained. The rank and influence, which Great Britain has attained among the nations of the world, have in a great measure been purchased by the valour of the Army, and to persons, who have the welfare of their country at heart, the records of the several regiments cannot fail to prove interesting.
 A company of 200 men would appear thus:—
The musket carried a ball which weighed 1/10 of a pound; and the harquebus a ball which weighed 1/23 of a pound.
 The 30th, 31st, and 32nd Regiments were formed as Marine corps in 1702, and were employed as such during the wars in the reign of Queen Anne. The Marine corps were embarked in the Fleet under Admiral Sir George Rooke, and were at the taking of Gibraltar, and in its subsequent defence in 1704; they were afterwards employed at the siege of Barcelona in 1705.
 The brave Sir Roger Williams, in his Discourse on War, printed in 1590, observes:—"I persuade myself ten thousand of our nation would beat thirty thousand of theirs (the Spaniards) out of the field, let them be chosen where they list." Yet at this time the Spanish infantry was allowed to be the best disciplined in Europe. For instances of valour displayed by the British Infantry during the Seventy Years' War, see the Historical Record of the Third Foot, or Buffs.
 Vide the Historical Record of the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot.
 "Under the blessing of Divine Providence, His Majesty ascribes the successes which have attended the exertions of his troops in Egypt, to that determined bravery which is inherent in Britons; but His Majesty desires it may be most solemnly and forcibly impressed on the consideration of every part of the army, that it has been a strict observance of order, discipline, and military system, which has given the full energy to the native valour of the troops, and has enabled them proudly to assert the superiority of the national military character, in situations uncommonly arduous, and under circumstances of peculiar difficulty."General Orders in 1801.
In the General Orders issued by Lieut.-General Sir John Hope (afterwards Lord Hopetoun), congratulating the army upon the successful result of the Battle of Corunna, on the 16th of January, 1809, it is stated:—"On no occasion has the undaunted valour of British troops ever been more manifest. At the termination of a severe and harassing march, rendered necessary by the superiority which the enemy had acquired, and which had materially impaired the efficiency of the troops, many disadvantages were to be encountered. These have all been surmounted by the conduct of the troops themselves; and the enemy has been taught, that whatever advantages of position or of numbers he may possess, there is inherent in the British officers and soldiers a bravery that knows not how to yield,—that no circumstances can appal,—and that will ensure victory when it is to be obtained by the exertion of any human means.
RICHARD CANNON, Esq.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, HORSE GUARDS.
ILLUSTRATED WITH PLATES.
PARKER, FURNIVALL, & PARKER,
30, CHARING CROSS.
M DCCC XLVII.
London:—Printed by W. Clowes & Sons, Duke Street, Stamford Street,
For Her Majesty's Stationery Office.[Pg xxi]
THE ROYAL REGIMENT OF FOOT
Bears on its Colours, as a Regimental Badge,
THE ROYAL CIPHER WITHIN THE CIRCLE OF ST. ANDREW, SURMOUNTED WITH A CROWN.
In the corners of the second Colour
THE THISTLE AND CROWN,
WITH THE MOTTO
"NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT":
AND THE FOLLOWING INSCRIPTIONS:—
"EGMONT-OP-ZEE,"—"ST. LUCIA,"—"EGYPT,"—"CORUNNA,"—"BUSACO,"—"SALAMANCA,"—"VITTORIA,"—"ST. SEBASTIAN,"—"NIVE,"—"PENINSULA,"— "NIAGARA,"—"WATERLOO,"— "NAGPORE,"—"MAHEIDPOOR,"—"AVA."
|882||Origin of the Scots Guards at the French Court||1|
|1420||Scots Auxiliaries sent to France||2|
|1421||Battle of Baugé||3|
|1422||Scots Gendarmes instituted in France||—|
|——||Capture of Avranches||—|
|1423||Battle of Crevan||—|
|1440||Scots Garde du Corps instituted in France||—|
|1495||Conquest of Naples||4|
|1515||Battle of Pavia||—|
|1590||Origin of the Royal Regiment||—|
|1613||Scots Regiment in the service of Sweden||7|
|1615||Capture of Kexholm, and siege of Plesko||—|
|1620||—— Riga, Dunamond, and Mittau||8|
|——||Scots Companies in the service of the King of Bohemia||—|
|1621||Battles of Prague and Fleurus||—|
|1625||Hepburn's Scots Regiment in the Swedish Service||9|
|——||Capture of Selburg, Duneberg, Nidorp, and Dorpat; and battle of Semigallia||—|
|1626||Relief of Mew||—|
|1627||Capture of Kesmark and Marienberg, and action at Dirschan||10|
|1628||Capture of Newburg, Strasberg, Dribentz, Sweitz, and Massovia||—|
|——||Defence of Stralsund||—|
|1629||Skirmish near Thorn||—|
|1630||Relief of Rugenwald||12|
|——||Blockade of Colberg||13|
|1631||Capture of Frankfort on the Oder||14|
|——[Pg xxiv]||—— Landsberg||16|
|1631||Defence of the fortified camp at Werben||17|
|——||Battle of Leipsic||—|
|——||Capture of Halle, and services in Franconia||21|
|——||—— Wurtzburg and Marienberg||22|
|——||Defence of Oxenford||—|
|——||Capture of Frankfort on the Maine||23|
|——||—— Oppenheim and Mentz||24|
|——||Forcing the passage of the Lech||27|
|——||Capture of Augsburg||—|
|——||Siege of Ingoldstadt||—|
|——||Capture of Landshut and Munich||28|
|——||Relief of Weissemberg||—|
|——||Defence of Nurenberg||—|
|——||Capture of Rayn and Landsberg||30|
|——||Relief of Rayn||31|
|1633||Skirmish near Memmingen||32|
|——||Capture of Kaufbeuren||—|
|——||Siege of Kempten||—|
|1634||Battle of Nordlingen||33|
|Hepburn's Scots Regiment in the French Service:|
|——||Siege of La Motte, and relief of Heidelberg||34|
|1635||Hepburn's two regiments incorporated||35|
|——||Action near Metz||36|
|1636||Capture of Saverne||—|
|1638||Siege of St. Omer||38|
|1639||Capture of Renty, Catelet, and Hesdin||39|
|——||Skirmish near St. Nicholas||40|
|1643||Battle of Roucroy||41|
|——||Capture of Thionville and Turin||—|
|1644||Capture of Gravelines||42|
|1646||—— Courtray and Dunkirk||43|
|1648||Battle of Lens||—|
|1649||Siege of Paris||44|
|1652||Action in the suburbs of Paris||45|
|——||Skirmish at Villeneuve, St. George's||47|
|——||Capture of Bar le Duc, and Ligny||48|
|1653 [Pg xxv]||Capture of Château Portien and Vervins||49|
|1661||The Regiment proceeds to England||52|
|1662||Returns to France; Scots Guards incorporated in the Regiment||53|
|1666||Proceeds to England, and afterwards to Ireland||—|
|1668||Returns to France||54|
|1672||Capture of Grave||—|
|1674||Skirmishes near Heidelberg||—|
|——||Battle of Molsheim||56|
|1675||Capture of Dachstein||57|
|——||Defence of Treves||—|
|1676||Skirmish near Saverne||58|
|1677||—— Kochersberg and capture of Fribourg||59|
|1678||Returns to England||60|
|——||Grenadier Company added||—|
|1679||Stationed in Ireland||—|
|1680||Four Companies proceed to Tangier||61|
|——||Action with the Moors||—|
|——||Twelve additional Companies proceed to Tangier||62|
|——||Actions with the Moors||63|
|1683||One Company from Tangier to England||67|
|1684||Fifteen Companies ditto||—|
|——||Five Companies from Ireland to England||—|
|——||Styled "The Royal Regiment of Foot"||—|
|——||Reviewed by King Charles II.||68|
|1685||Battle of Sedgemoor||70|
|——||Rewards to Wounded Officers and Men||72|
|——||Reviewed by King James II.||73|
|1686||Divided into Two Battalions||74|
|——||2nd Battalion proceeds to Scotland||—|
|——||1st " encamps on Hounslow Heath||—|
|1688||1st " ditto||75|
|——||2nd " from Scotland to England||—|
|1689||The Regiment mutinies||77|
|——||2nd Battalion proceeds to Scotland||79|
|——||1st " the Netherlands||—|
|——||1st " Battle of Walcourt||—|
|1690 [Pg xxvi]||2nd Battalion proceeds from Scotland to Holland||80|
|1692||Battle of Steenkirk||81|
|1695||1st Battalion, Siege of Namur||87|
|1696||Reviewed by King William III.||91|
|1698||Embarks for Ireland||92|
|1701||Embarks for Holland||93|
|1702||Covering the siege of Kayserswerth||94|
|——||Skirmish near Nimeguen||—|
|——||Covering the sieges of Venloo and Ruremonde||95|
|——||Capture of Stevenswart and Liege||—|
|1703||—— Huy and Limburg||97|
|1704||Battle of Schellenberg||99|
|——||Covering the siege of Landau||105|
|1705||Re-capture of Huy||106|
|——||Forcing the French lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem||107|
|——||Skirmish near the Dyle||108|
|1706||Battle of Ramilies||109|
|——||Covering the sieges of Dendermond, Ostend, and Menin||—|
|——||Capture of Aeth||110|
|1707||The regimental badge changed from the Cross to the Circle of St. Andrew||—|
|1708||Battle of Oudenarde||111|
|——||Covering the siege of Lisle||112|
|——||Battle of Wynendale||113|
|——||Forcing the passage of the Scheldt||114|
|——||Capture of Ghent||—|
|1709||Capture of Tournay||115|
|——||Battle of Malplaquet||116|
|——||Covering the siege of Mons||118|
|1710||—— Douay and Bethune||—|
|——||Capture of Aire||119|
|1712||Covering the siege of Quesnoy||120|
|1714||Returns to England||121|
|1715||Proceeds to Ireland||122|
|1741 [Pg xxvii]||2nd Battalion proceeds to the West Indies||123|
|1742||2nd Battalion proceeds to England||123|
|1743||" returns to Ireland||—|
|——||1st Battalion proceeds to Flanders||—|
|1745||" battle of Fontenoy||124|
|——||" embarks for England||125|
|——||2nd Battalion —— ditto||—|
|——||" marches to Scotland||126|
|1746||" battle of Falkirk||—|
|——||" —— Culloden||127|
|——||1st Battalion, expedition to L'Orient, &c.||128|
|1747||" proceeds to Holland||130|
|——||" relief of Hulst, and defence of Fort Sandberg||—|
|1748||2nd Battalion proceeds to Holland||131|
|1749||Both Battalions proceed to Ireland||132|
|1751||Regulation respecting Colours and Clothing; and designated "The First, or Royal Regiment of Foot"||—|
|1757||2nd Battalion proceeds to North America||134|
|1758||" capture of Louisburg||—|
|1759||" —— Ticonderago, and Crown Point||135|
|1760||2nd Battalion, expedition against the Cherokees||136|
|——||" capture of Isle aux Noix, and Montreal||141|
|——||1st Battalion proceeds to Quiberon Bay; returns to Ireland||142|
|1761||2nd Battalion, expedition against the Cherokees||—|
|——||" capture of Dominico||144|
|1762||" capture of Martinico, and the Havannah||—|
|——||" re-capture of Newfoundland||147|
|1763||" returns to England||148|
|1764||" proceeds to Scotland||—|
|1768||1st Battalion —— Gibraltar||—|
|——||2nd Battalion returns to England||—|
|1771||" proceeds to Minorca||—|
|1775||Both Battalions return to England||—|
|1780 [Pg xxviii]||1st Battalion proceeds to the West Indies||149|
|1781||1st Battalion, capture of St. Eustatia, St. Martin, and Saba||149|
|1782||" defence of St. Christopher||—|
|——||" returns to England||152|
|1784||2nd Battalion proceeds to Gibraltar||153|
|——||1st Battalion —— Ireland||—|
|1790||" —— West Indies||—|
|1793||2nd Battalion, defence of Toulon||—|
|1794||" descent on Corsica; capture of Convention Redoubt, and Calvi||156|
|——||1st Battalion proceeds to St. Domingo||159|
|——||" capture of Fort L'Acal||—|
|——||" attack on Bombarde||160|
|——||" defence of a Block House||—|
|——||" capture of Port-au-Prince||—|
|——||" defence of Fort Bizzeton||161|
|1795||" —— an out-post||—|
|1796||2nd Battalion proceeds to Elba||162|
|1797||1st Battalion returns to England; proceeds to Scotland||162|
|——||2nd Battalion proceeds to Portugal||—|
|1798||1st Battalion —— Ireland||163|
|1799||2nd Battalion returns to England||—|
|——||" expedition to Holland||—|
|——||" action near the Helder||—|
|——||" —— Shagen||164|
|——||" battle of Egmont-op-Zee||—|
|——||" returns to England||165|
|1800||" expedition to Ferrol and Cadiz||—|
|——||1st Battalion proceeds to Scotland||166|
|1801||2nd Battalion, expedition to Egypt||—|
|——||" battle of Aboukir||—|
|——||" —— Alexandria||168|
|——||" skirmishes at Hamed, El Aft, &c.||170|
|——||" capture of Cairo, and Alexandria||—|
|——||1st Battalion returns to England||171|
|——||" proceeds to the West Indies||—|
|—— [Pg xxix]||" capture of St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. John, and Santa Cruz||172|
|1801||2nd Battalion proceeds to Malta||172|
|1802||" —— Gibraltar||—|
|1803||" returns to England||—|
|——||" proceeds to the West Indies||—|
|——||" capture of St. Lucia, and Tobago||173|
|——||1st Battalion —— Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice||174|
|1804||Two additional Battalions embodied||—|
|1805||4th Battalion proceeds to Ireland||—|
|——||3rd Battalion —— England||—|
|——||2nd Battalion —— England||175|
|1806||4th Battalion —— England||—|
|1807||2nd Battalion —— the East Indies||—|
|——||3rd Battalion —— Ireland||—|
|——||4th Battalion —— Scotland||—|
|1808||" —— England||176|
|——||3rd Battalion, expedition to Spain||—|
|1809||" battle of Corunna||177|
|——||" embarks for England||178|
|——||" expedition to Walcheren||179|
|——||" siege of Flushing||—|
|——||" returns to England||180|
|1810||1st Battalion, capture of Guadaloupe||—|
|——||3rd Battalion proceeds to Portugal||181|
|——||" battle of Busaco||—|
|——||4th Battalion proceeds to Scotland||182|
|1811||3rd Battalion, battle of Fuentes d'Onor||—|
|1812||" siege of Ciudad Rodrigo||183|
|——||Styled, "First Regiment of Foot, or Royal Scots"||—|
|——||3rd Battalion, siege of Badajoz||—|
|——||" skirmish near Torrecille de la Orden||184|
|——||" battle of Salamanca||—|
|——||" siege of Burgos||185|
|——||" skirmish near Palencia||—|
|——||1st Battalion proceeds to Canada||186|
|1813||" attack on Sackett's Harbour||188|
|——||" —— Sodius||—|
|——||" skirmish near Four-mile Creek||189|
|——||" —— Cross-roads||—|
|—— [Pg xxx]||" capture of Fort Niagara||—|
|1813||1st Battalion, capture of Black-rock and Buffalo||190|
|——||3rd Battalion, skirmish near Osma||192|
|——||" battle of Vittoria||—|
|——||" capture of St. Sebastian||193|
|——||" passage of the Bidassoa||195|
|——||" battles of Nivelle and Nive||196|
|——||4th Battalion proceeds to Swedish Pomerania||—|
|1814||1st Battalion, action at Longwood||197|
|——||" skirmish near Chippewa||198|
|——||" battle of Lundy's Lane||199|
|——||" siege of Fort Erie||201|
|——||" action at Cook's Mills||202|
|——||2nd Battalion employed against the Pindarees||203|
|——||3rd Battalion, blockade of Bayonne||—|
|——||4th Battalion, siege of Bergen-op-Zoom||—|
|——||" returns to England||204|
|——||" proceeds to Canada||205|
|——||3rd Battalion, repulsing the sortie from Bayonne||—|
|——||" proceeds to Ireland||206|
|1815||1st and 4th Battalions return to England||207|
|——||3rd Battalion proceeds to Flanders||—|
|——||" battle of Quatre Bras||208|
|——||" —— Waterloo||210|
|——||" advances to Paris||212|
|——||4th Battalion proceeds to France||—|
|1816||" returns to England, and disbanded||214|
|——||1st Battalion proceeds to Ireland||—|
|1817||3rd Battalion returns to England, and disbanded||215|
|——||Order respecting inscriptions on the colours||—|
|——||2nd Battalion, services against the Pindarees||216|
|——||" battle of Nagpore||217|
|——||" —— Maheidpoor||221|
|1818||" capture of Fort Talnere||223|
|——||" capture of Forts Gawelghur, and Narnullah||225|
|——||" operations against Peishwah Bajee Rao||226|
|——||" capture of Forts Unkye, Rajdeir, Inderye, Trimbuck, and Malleygaum||227|
|1819 [Pg xxxi]||2nd Battalion capture of Asseerghur||229|
|1821||The title of "First, or Royal Regiment of Foot" restored||236|
|1825||2nd Battalion embarks for Rangoon||—|
|——||" action at Donabew||237|
|——||" skirmishes at Padoun Mew||240|
|——||" action at Simbike||244|
|——||" action near the Irawaddy||246|
|1826||1st Battalion, Service Companies proceed to the West Indies||248|
|——||" Reserve Companies proceed to Scotland||249|
|——||2nd Battalion, action at Melloone||250|
|——||" —— Pagahm Mew||251|
|——||" returns to Madras||252|
|1831||" embarks for England||254|
|1832||" proceeds to Scotland||249|
|——||The colours of both Battalions assimilated||—|
|1833||1st Battalion, Reserve Companies proceed to Ireland||255|
|——||2nd Battalion proceeds to Ireland||256|
|——||1st Battalion, Service Companies proceed to Ireland||—|
|1836||2nd Battalion, —— proceed to Canada||—|
|1837||" Depôt companies proceed to England||257|
|——||" Service Companies, action at St. Charles||—|
|——||" —— action at Point Olivière||258|
|——||" —— action at St. Eustache||259|
|1838||1st Battalion proceeds to Scotland||261|
|1839||" Service Companies embark for Gibraltar||—|
|1841||" Depôt Companies proceed to Ireland||—|
|1843||2nd Battalion, Service Companies embark for the West Indies||—|
|—— [Pg xxxii]||" Wreck of the Premier Transport, and return of the head-quarter division to Quebec||—|
|1844||2nd Battalion, head-quarters, and three Companies proceed to Nova Scotia, and embark for the West Indies||261|
|1846||" Service Companies embark for Scotland, and joined by Depôt Companies||—|
|——||1st Battalion, Service Companies embark for the West Indies||262|
|SUCCESSION OF COLONELS.|
|1633||Sir John Hepburn||265|
|1637||Lord James Douglas||—|
|1655||Lord George Douglas||268|
|1688||Frederick Duke Schomberg||—|
|1691||Sir Robert Douglas||270|
|1692||Lord George Hamilton||271|
|1737||Honourable James St. Clair||272|
|1762||Sir Henry Erskine, Bart.||273|
|1765||John Marquis of Lorne||—|
|1782||Lord Adam Gordon||274|
|1801||His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent||275|
|1820||George Marquis of Huntly||279|
|1834||Thomas Lord Lynedoch||280|
|1843||Sir George Murray, G.C.B.||285|
|1846||Sir James Kempt, G.C.B.||288|
|Colours of the Regiment, to precede||Page 1|
|Colonel Sir Robert Douglas, at the Battle of Steenkirk, to face||83|
|Uniform in 1838, to face||261|
The Royal Regiment of Foot is the representative of a body of gallant Scots, formerly in the service of the celebrated Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden; and of another body of Scots, many years in the service of the Kings of France; and it claims an origin anterior to that of any other corps in the British army; but, although a laborious research has been made, and much information procured, yet, owing to the little attention which was paid to the history of military bodies previously to the last century, all the circumstances connected with its origin have not been ascertained. Its first Colonel was Sir John Hepburn, a distinguished officer, well known in Europe during the early part of the seventeenth century; but it appears to have existed some time as independent companies before it was constituted a regiment. Tradition has connected its early services with the ancient Scots Guards at the French court; and, in order that the claims of the Royal Regiment to antiquity may be clearly understood, a brief statement of the origin and services of the Scots Guards is introduced into this record.
The Scots have been celebrated for deeds of arms for many centuries, and they have been described by historians as a hardy, valiant, and generous people. Led by a native ardour for military fame, many Scotsmen have quitted their own country, and, like the daring adventurers of the remote ages, they have sought renown in foreign lands, where they have acquired celebrity for martial achievements, long before the practice of forming military bodies into regiments existed. It is recorded in history, that as early as the year 882, Charles III., King of France, had twenty-four armed Scots, in whose fidelity and valour he reposed confidence, to attend his person as a guard.
The life of Louis IX. is stated to have been twice preserved,—once in France, and afterwards in Egypt during the Holy War, by his faithful and valiant Scots attendants; and that monarch, after his return from Palestine, in 1254, increased the number of Scots who attended his person to about one hundred, and constituted them a Corps of Guards. The practice of having armed Scots attendants appears to have been continued by the succeeding sovereigns of France, and Charles V. is stated to have placed this corps on a regular establishment.
When King Henry V. of England, after having gained the memorable victory at Agincourt, on the 25th of October, 1415, and captured many of the principal towns and castles of France, was acknowledged as heir to the French throne by Charles VI., the Scots Guards appear to have quitted the court, and to have taken part with the Dauphin (afterwards Charles VII.), in his resistance to the [Pg 3]new arrangement which deprived him of the succession to the crown. At the same time 7000 men were sent from Scotland, under the command of John Earl of Buchan, to assist the Dauphin, and these auxiliaries having evinced signal gallantry on several occasions, especially at the battle of Baugé, on the 22nd March, 1421, when the Duke of Clarence and above a thousand English were killed, King Charles VII. selected from among them one hundred "Men at Arms," and one hundred "Archers," whom he constituted a corps of Guards for the protection of the Royal Person, which corps was subsequently designated the "Gendarmes Ecossoises:" at the same time, the Scots Commander, the Earl of Buchan, was appointed Constable of France. The Scots continued with the French army, and signalized themselves at the capture of Avranches, in Normandy, in 1422; and at the battle of Crevan, in 1423. An additional force of five thousand men was sent from Scotland to France in 1424, and the Scots gave proof of personal bravery at the battle of Verneuille, in 1424; and in the attack of an English convoy under Sir John Falstolfe, in 1429; and after these repeated instances of gallantry, Charles VII. selected a number of Scots gentlemen of quality and approved valour, whom he constituted a Guard, to which he gave precedence before all other troops in France, and this guard was designated Le Garde du Corps Ecossoises. The Scots Gendarmes, and Garde du Corps, continued to form part [Pg 4]of the French military force until about the year 1788; but for more than a hundred years before their dissolution the officers and men were nearly all French.
About the year 1484, another auxiliary force proceeded from Scotland to France; and the Scots in the French service signalized themselves in various parts of Europe, but especially in Italy in the year 1495, and they acquired the principal glory in the conquest of Naples. There were also Scots troops with the French army serving against the Venetians in 1509, and with King Francis I. of France, in Italy, in 1515, in which year the Scots Guards were nearly all killed in defence of the King's person before Pavia, where he was taken prisoner. After this fatal battle King Francis is stated to have exclaimed, "We have lost everything but our honour!"
Two historical accounts of the origin and services of the First, or Royal, Regiment of Foot, have already been printed, in which this corps is stated to be a continuation of the ancient Scots Guards at the French Court but this is an error,—the Scots Guards were Cavalry, and this was always an Infantry corps, and it never sustained any character in the French army, but that of a regiment of the line. The supposition, that this Regiment was formerly the Body Guard of the Scottish kings is also without foundation.
Milan, a military historian of the 18th century, who evinced much zeal and assiduity in tracing the origin of every British corps, designates the Royal Regiment an "Old Scots Corps; the time of its rise uncertain;" [Pg 5]and in the two editions of his succession of Colonels, published in 1742 and 1746, he did not give the date of the appointment of its first Colonel, Sir John Hepburn; but, in a subsequent edition, he states the 26th of January, 1633, to be the date of this officer's commission, as Colonel of the Old Scots Corps. This date appears to be correct, as Sir John Hepburn did not quit Germany until 1632, and no mention of a Scots Regiment in the French service has been met with in any of the military histories, or other French works (of which many volumes have been examined), previously to 1633. This corps must, however, have existed some time as independent companies, previously to its being constituted a regiment, as Père Daniel, in his history of the French army, states, that this regiment, which he designates "Le Regiment de Douglas," was sent from Scotland to France in the reign of James VI. (James I. of England), and this monarch commenced his reign in 1567, when he was only a child, and died in 1625; hence it is evident that it had been in France some years before its formation into a regiment, under the command of Sir John Hepburn, took place. Père Daniel also alludes to this corps, in connexion with Henry IV. of France, and thus associates its services with the wars between that monarch and the Leaguers, which fixes the date of its arrival in France about the second year of his reign, viz. 1590. Francis Grose, the author of the British Military Antiquities, does not profess to be in possession of any information respecting the Royal Regiment, beyond what he obtained from Père Daniel; and the French historians of the seventeenth century introduce the regiment into their works abruptly, without saying a word about its origin. Thus, the only [Pg 6]intelligence extant relating to the origin of this distinguished corps, and which is corroborated by collateral evidence, amounts to this:—"A body of Scottish Infantry proceeded from Scotland to France in the reign of James VI., to assist Henry IV. in his wars with the Leaguers; and was constituted in January, 1633, a regiment, which is now the First, or Royal, Regiment of Foot in the British line." The companies which proceeded to France were probably raised and commanded by men who had served in the Scots Guards at the French Court, which might give rise to the tradition of the Royal Regiment being connected with that corps; and, as the Scots Guards have ceased to exist, the Royals may be considered as the representative of that ancient body.
The occasion of these Scots companies being raised and sent to France in the reign of James VI., was the succession of Henry of Navarre, a Protestant prince, to the throne of France, in 1589, by the title of Henry IV., when a sanguinary war commenced between him and the combined Roman Catholic princes and nobles, called the Leaguers, who opposed his accession to the throne with all their power and influence. Queen Elizabeth furnished the French monarch with auxiliary English forces; the King of Scotland permitted his subjects to aid the Protestant cause, and several companies of Scottish foot were raised and sent to France. The British troops highly distinguished themselves under the Lord Willoughby, Sir John Norris, Sir Roger Williams, and other commanders. The English afterwards quitted France, but Henry IV., having discovered the value of these companies of hardy and valiant Scots, retained them in his service.
In 1609, and the early part of 1610, Henry IV. made[Pg 7] preparations for engaging in a war with the House of Austria; but he was murdered in the streets of Paris on the 14th of May, 1610; and, after his death, his son, Louis XIII., being a minor, the preparations for war were discontinued, and part of the army was disbanded.
Leaving the Scots companies in France, where they appear to have been employed in garrison duty for many years, the Record commences the narrative of the services of another body of Scots, under the King of Sweden, of which the Royal Regiment is also the representative.
Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, who was designated "the lion of the north," succeeded to the throne in 1611, and he soon began to take an important part in the affairs of Europe. Having heard of the valour of the Scots, he procured, in 1613, a number of companies from Scotland and from the Netherlands, and formed two Scots regiments. He also hired fifteen ships from the Scots nation, which took the town and district of Drontheim, and sailed afterwards to the southernmost shores of Sweden.
A peace was soon afterwards concluded between Sweden and Denmark; but Gustavus retained his Scots veterans in his service; and in 1615 he commenced a war with Russia. He soon rendered himself master of the province of Ingria,—took by storm the strong fort of Kexholm, and besieged Plesko; but he was induced to desist from further enterprises by the pacific interposition of King James I. of England, and a cessation of hostilities took place.
The Scots in the service of Gustavus were, however, allowed but a short period of repose before they were again called upon to take the field. In 1617 Gustavus invaded Poland; and his troops were engaged in various actions until 1619, when a truce was agreed upon by the contending powers.
In 1620 the King of Sweden renewed the war; and the Scots, under Colonels Ruthven and Seaton, distinguished themselves at the siege and capture of Riga, the capital city of Livonia. The towns of Dunamond and Mittau were also captured soon afterwards; and these successes were followed by another truce.
Meanwhile events had transpired which gave rise to the formation of another body of Scots, with whose services the Royal Regiment is also connected. The Protestants of Bohemia having revolted from the dominion of Austria, elected to the throne the Count Palatine, who was assisted by an English regiment under Sir Horace Hore; and had also in his service a regiment of English and Scots, under Colonel Gray; and one of the Scots companies was commanded by John Hepburn, who was the first Colonel of the Royal Regiment. Gray's regiment was employed in 1620 to guard the King of Bohemia's person; but after the loss of the battle of Prague in 1621, His Majesty fled to Holland. Gray's regiment formed part of the force rallied by the Earl of Mansfield; after many enterprises, it retreated to the Palatinate, and was employed in Alsace and Germany.
After the Princes of the Union had made peace with the Emperor, it retreated through Alsace and Lorraine, and along the borders of France to the Netherlands, and was engaged with a Spanish force near Fleurus (30th August, 1622), when Sir James Ramsay and Captains Hepburn and Hume evinced signal gallantry. The army[Pg 9] afterwards proceeded to Holland, and was disbanded; when Hepburn and his company entered the service of the King of Sweden. About the year 1625, Gustavus Adolphus appointed John Hepburn Colonel of a Scots regiment, of which the Royal Regiment of Foot is the representative.
The King of Sweden renewed hostilities with Poland in 1625, and conquered Selburg, Duneberg, Nidorp, and Dorpat; and defeated the Polish army on the plains of Semigallia.
During the succeeding year he captured several places belonging to the Elector of Brandenburg; and in a short time afterwards gained possession of Polish Prussia.
Historians have omitted to state the part which the Scots regiments took in these services; but it is recorded that at the relief of Mew, a town near the conflux of the river Versa into the Vistula, Colonel John Hepburn's Scots soldiers highly distinguished themselves. These veterans being sent upon a desperate service, climbed a steep and difficult eminence with surprising alacrity to attack the Poles.
"When Thurn and Hepburn had gained the summit, which lay near the banks of the Vistula, they found the Polish soldiers entrenching themselves, and fell on them with incredible fury. But as the Poles poured in fresh troops every moment, the fight was maintained for two hours with surprising obstinacy. During this interval Gustavus threw a supply of men and ammunition into the town. And here, once more, it appeared that infantry were able to resist an equal or superior body of cavalry, for the fire of Thurn's soldiers was irresistible, and the pikemen stood immovable, like a wall of brass." The Poles, dismayed at the desperate re[Pg 10]solution of their opponents, raised the siege, and Gustavus entered the town on the same evening.
The King of Sweden made his appearance in Prussia in 1627, at the head of a brave and well-appointed army, of which Colonel Hepburn's regiment formed a part; he took Kesmark by assault, and defeated, on the same day, a division of Polish troops marching to its relief. He afterwards besieged and captured Marienberg; and defeated the Poles at Dirschan.
The army was joined in 1628 by nine thousand Scots and English soldiers, and from this period the British troops took an important part in the military operations of the Swedish monarch, who was now at the head of 2,000 cavalry, 24,000 infantry, and 3,000 archers. He repulsed the Poles in a sharp skirmish, and captured four field-pieces and fourteen colours; and he subsequently besieged Dantzic, but he afterwards relinquished his design on this place, and captured, by surrender, Newburg, Strasberg, and Dribentz, and took Sweitz and Massovia by storm.
This year Stralsund was besieged by the Imperialists, and two Scots regiments in the service of the King of Denmark, with a detachment from the King of Sweden's army, under the Scots Colonel, Sir Alexander Lesley, assisted in the defence of the town; after a siege of three months, the Emperor's General, Albert Count Walstein, having half-ruined a numerous army, retired from before the place.
In the succeeding year the Emperor Ferdinand II. commenced measures for the extirpation of the protestant religion in Germany, where it had taken deep root for about a century; he also sent troops to the assistance of the Poles in their war with Sweden; but Gustavus was enabled to oppose the united armies, and to hold them in check. In a partial action between the advance-guards, a few[Pg 11] 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. Soon afterwards the King of Poland, having nearly exhausted his resources, became disposed to enter into pacific relations with Sweden, and a treaty was concluded in the summer of this year.
This peace gave the King of Sweden an opportunity of executing his design of interposing in behalf of the persecuted protestants of Germany, in which he was abetted by England, France, and Holland, and the Scots in his service had the honour of taking part in this glorious enterprise.
Preparations were made for this great undertaking with perseverance and judgment. It is recorded in history that the King of Sweden had in his service ten thousand English and Scots soldiers, well nurtured and experienced in war, in whom "he always principally confided, conferring on them the glory of every critical and trying adventure." Amongst these forces, Colonel John Hepburn's Scots Regiment appears to have held a distinguished character for gallantry on all occasions; and no troops appear to have been found better calculated for this important enterprise than the Scots, who proved brave, hardy, patient of fatigue and priva[Pg 12]tion, frugal, obedient, and sober soldiers. In addition to the British troops already in his service, Gustavus afterwards entered into a treaty with the Marquis of Hamilton, who engaged to raise eight thousand English and Scots for the service of the Swedish monarch.
When the King sailed with his main army for Pomerania, where he arrived towards the end of June, 1630, Colonel Hepburn's Regiment was stationed under the renowned Chancellor Oxenstiern in Polish Prussia; but it was soon afterwards engaged in operations in Outer Pomerania; and was subsequently again stationed in Prussia, from whence it was suddenly ordered to Rugenwald, in consequence of the following extraordinary occurrence.
One of the Scots regiments in the service of Sweden, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Monro, having embarked from Pillau in the middle of August, in order to join the main army, was shipwrecked a short distance from Rugenwald in Pomerania, which place was occupied by a garrison of Imperialists. These brave Scots, being cast ashore, drenched with wet, without ammunition, and having only their pikes and swords, and a few wet muskets, found themselves surrounded by garrisons of the enemy, and at a distance of eighty miles from the king and his army; yet, with astonishing resolution [Pg 13]and courage, under such disadvantageous circumstances, they concealed themselves near the shore until night, and, having secretly procured a few dry muskets and some ammunition from a Pomeranian officer, they took the town by a midnight assault, and maintained themselves, fighting and skirmishing with the enemy, until Colonel Hepburn arrived with his regiment to their relief.
A Swedish army of eight thousand men was soon afterwards assembled near Rugenwald, and Colonel Hepburn's Regiment, having been relieved from garrison duty, advanced to Colberg, and was engaged in the blockade of the town; a detachment of the regiment was also sharply engaged with a body of Imperialists which was advancing to relieve the place, but was defeated.
During the winter the regiment marched to the vicinity of Stettin, the capital of Pomerania: it was subsequently employed in several operations; and in March, 1631, it was encamped at Schwedt, in the province of Brandenburg, where it was formed in brigade with three other Scots regiments, viz.—Mackay's, Lumsdell's, and Stargate's. This brigade was commanded by Colonel Hepburn, whose regiment took the right, and was designated Hepburn's Scots Brigade or the Green Brigade: other brigades were also formed and designated the Yellow Brigade, the Blue Brigade, and the White Brigade.
Advancing from Schwedt on the 24th of March, the regiment proceeded with the main army, commanded by Gustavus in person, to Frankfort on the Oder, and was employed in the attack on the town. The army arrived before the town during the afternoon preceding Palm Sunday, and the regiment was posted opposite Gubengate. On the following day, after divine service had been twice performed, the King sent Captain Guntier of the regiment, with a serjeant and twelve private men, to ascertain if a body of troops could be lodged between the outer and inner walls; and this little party having, with fine courage, waded the ditch and ascended the mud wall, gained the required information, and returned without sustaining any loss; the King immediately afterwards commanded the town to be attacked by storm; Hepburn's Scots Brigade was ordered to commence the assault, and a select body of pikemen, with Sir John Hepburn at their head, took the lead in this splendid enterprise.
The fascines and scaling ladders being ready, the King called Colonels Hepburn and Lumsdell, and said, My valiant Scots, remember your countrymen slain at Old Brandenburg. The next moment the cannon fired a volley, and the storming party rushing through the smoke instantly attacked the town. Colonel Hepburn and his gallant pikemen waded the ditch, in doing which they were waist deep in mud and water, and carried the outer wall in gallant style. The enemy fled from the wall towards a great sallyport, followed by Hepburn and his valiant pikemen in full career; but when within a few paces of the port, Hepburn was wounded in the leg and forced to halt; his place was [Pg 15]instantly supplied by the Major of his regiment, who was shot dead the next moment; many of the pikemen also fell, and the remainder shrank back before the tempest of bullets which assailed them. But in a few moments the pikemen, led by Colonel Lumsdell and Lieutenant-Colonel Monro, returned to the charge, and forced the sallyport; the enemy, being confounded by the fury of the onset, omitted to let down the portcullis. Having gained the streets, the pikemen formed up, and a division of musketeers formed on each flank; the musketeers opened their fire, the pikemen charged along the street, and the enemy was routed, when a dreadful slaughter ensued, for during the fury of the assault no quarter was given. Lieutenant-Colonel Masten, with a party of musketeers of Hepburn's Brigade, followed the pikemen into the town, and joining in the charge, augmented the confusion and slaughter of the enemy. Meanwhile Major John Sinclair and Lieutenant George Heatly, with another party of fifty musketeers of Hepburn's Brigade, scaled the walls with ladders and drove their opponents into the town; but were immediately afterwards charged by a troop of Imperial cuirassiers. The brave Scots retired a few paces, and placing their backs to the wall, kept up such a sharp fire that they forced the cuirassiers to retreat.
While Hepburn's Scots Brigade was thus carrying all before it, the Yellow and Blue Brigades attacked another part of the town, where they were warmly received by an Irish Regiment in the Emperor's service, and were twice repulsed. The Irish behaved to admiration, but being eventually overpowered, nearly every man was killed; and their Colonel, Walter Butler, being shot through the arm, and pierced through the thigh with a pike, was taken prisoner.
The slaughter continued for some time. The Impe[Pg 16]rialists beat a parley twice, but the noise and tumult of the conflict was so great that the drum was not heard; and they eventually fled over the bridge, leaving nearly two thousand men and fifty colours behind them, besides stores, treasure, and much valuable property, which fell into the hands of the victors. The leading division of pikemen of Hepburn's Brigade, which, after he was wounded, was commanded by Colonel Lumsdell, captured EIGHTEEN COLOURS. This officer highly distinguished himself; and after the town was taken, the King bid him ask what he pleased and his request should be granted.
Frankfort being thus gallantly won, a Scots officer, Major-General Lesley, was appointed governor of this important acquisition; and on the 5th of April, the King, placing himself at the head of a select body of men from each brigade, commanded by Colonel Hepburn, proceeded in the direction of Landsberg, and while on the march, the advance guard defeated a regiment of Croatians. On the 8th of April a strong fort in front of the town was attacked. The King, having through the invention of a floating-bridge, and the ingenuity of a blacksmith, surprised an out-guard and gained some advantage, the fort surrendered, and the town soon afterwards followed this example. It was a remarkable circumstance that the garrison exceeded in numbers the besieging army; but the valour of Gustavus's troops, and the high state of discipline which prevailed in his army, enabled him to perform astonishing exploits. Colonel Hepburn and Lieutenant-Colonel Monro acquired great credit by their conduct on this occasion.
After placing a garrison in Landsberg, the detachment[Pg 17] commenced its march on the 18th of April, back to Frankfort; and Hepburn's Regiment proceeded soon afterwards to the vicinity of Berlin. Attempts were made to induce the Duke of Brandenburg to join with the Swedes, and when persuasion proved unavailing, the city of Berlin was invested. The Duke, alarmed at this hostile proceeding, sent his Duchess and the ladies of the court to entreat Gustavus to forbear; but the Swedish monarch proved inexorable, and the Duke of Brandenburg was forced to comply.
In July the regiment proceeded to Old Brandenburg, and on its arrival, a pestilential disease raging in the city, the regiment was ordered to encamp in the fields. During the same month the Marquis of Hamilton arrived in Germany with six thousand British troops, which had been raised for the service of the King of Sweden.
The regiment was subsequently engaged in several operations. It encamped a short time near the banks of the Elbe, in the vicinity of Werben, where an entrenched camp was formed, which was attacked several times by the Imperialists without success.
The Saxons at length united their force with the Swedes; at the same time the Imperialists, under the Count de Tilly, invaded Saxony, and captured several towns, including Leipsic. The Swedish and Saxon armies advanced against the invaders, and this movement was followed by the decisive battle of Leipsic, in which Colonel Hepburn's Regiment took an important part.
Having passed the night in order of battle, at day-break, on the morning of the memorable 7th of September, 1631, divine service was performed in th[Pg 18]e Swedish army, and the troops afterwards advanced against the enemy. The Swedes took the right, and the Saxons the left. The advance guard was composed of three regiments, two Scots and one Dutch, led by three Scots colonels; and Hepburn's Scots Brigade formed part of the reserve, which was commanded by Colonel Hepburn. The engagement commenced about mid-day; and after a tremendous cannonade, the cavalry of both armies advanced and engaged in a series of charges, in which the Swedish and Finland horse had the advantage; and the King was enabled to change his position so as to avoid the evil effects of a high wind and clouds of dust which nearly blinded his soldiers. At length the enemy attacked the Saxons on the left with great fury, and drove them out of the field. The Imperialists then directed their main force against the Swedes, and a detachment from the Scots regiments highly distinguished itself in a conflict with the enemy's cavalry. During the heat of the conflict Hepburn's Scots Brigade was moved from the rear of the centre to the left flank, which had become exposed by the flight of the Saxons. Immediately afterwards two columns of the enemy were seen coming down upon the left of the Swedish army, and the King ordered Hepburn's Scots Brigade to wheel [Pg 19]to the left and confront the enemy. Before this movement was executed, the Imperialists were within musket shot; in a moment the artillery on both sides opened a tremendous cannonade; this was followed by two volleys from the musketeers, and the next moment Hepburn's pikemen went cheering to the charge with distinguished bravery, and, breaking in upon the front of the first column, drove it back with terrible confusion and slaughter. Meanwhile Hepburn's right wing of musketeers, commanded by Colonel Monro, fell with great fury upon the enemy's troops which protected the cannon and captured the guns. The slaughter would have been great, but the ground where the battle was fought being very dry, and newly ploughed, and the wind high, the clouds of dust favoured the escape of the enemy. When Hepburn's Brigade was attacking the enemy's columns, the King sent the Blue Brigade and a body of musketeers to its assistance; but before the arrival of these reinforcements the Scots were triumphant. The Imperial columns being broken, the Swedish horsemen pursued the fugitives until dark and made great slaughter. Success having attended the Swedish arms in other parts of the field, the victory was complete; but the conquerors had the misfortune to lose their baggage, which was plundered by their friends, the runaway Saxons.
The Scots gained great honour in this action, particularly the brigade of which Hepburn's regiment formed part. Colonel Monro, who commanded the right wing of musketeers, writes—"The victory and credit of the day was ascribed to our brigade; we were thanked by hi[Pg 20]s Majesty for our service in a public audience, and in view of the whole army, and we were promised to be rewarded." In another place the same author observes—"His Majesty did principally, under God, ascribe the glory of the victory to the Swedish and Finland horsemen, who were led by the valorous Velt-Marshal Horne; for though the Dutch horsemen did behave themselves valorously divers times that day, yet it was not their fortune to make the charge which did put the enemy to flight; and though there were brave brigades of Swedes and Dutch in the field, yet it was the Scots brigades' fortune to gain the praise for the foot service, and not without cause, for they behaved themselves well, being led and conducted by an expert and fortunate cavalier, the valiant Hepburn."
The pursuit was continued until the Imperial army was literally cut to pieces, excepting a few regiments, which, being favoured by the clouds of dust and smoke, escaped. The Imperial camp was left standing, and the Swedish troops passed the night in their enemy's tents. The Imperial cannon, the greater part of the baggage, and many standards and colours, were captured by the victorious Gustavus. Such were the results of the famous battle of Leipsic,—the most important action which had been fought for more than half a century,—and where the regiment, which is now represented by the First, or Royal Regiment, in the British line, acquired great honour.
After passing the night on the field of battle the army assembled in column, and divine service was again performed; after which the King of Sweden addressed the several regiments on the subject of their exploits on the[Pg 21] preceding day, and again returned thanks to Hepburn's Scots Brigade for its distinguished gallantry. From the field of battle the army advanced to Leipsic, and invested the town, but the recapturing of this place was left to the Saxons. Meanwhile part of Hepburn's Brigade proceeded to Halle, and captured the town and castle on the 11th of September. While the army lay near this place several protestant Princes, with the Elector of Saxony at their head, visited the King, on which occasion his Majesty passed many encomiums on the Scottish nation, and beckoning to Colonel Hepburn, who stood in another part of the room, recommended him, Lumsdell, and Monro, to the Elector's more immediate notice.
From Halle the brigade marched to Erfurt, in the famous forest of Thuringia, and was afterwards destined to take part in the reduction of the Circle of Franconia. From Erfurt the brigade advanced, with other troops, through the forest of Thuringia,—proceeded a distance of one hundred and eleven miles along difficult roads, and took by capitulation six large towns, in the short [Pg 22]period of eight days. Having arrived at Wurtzburg, the town soon surrendered; but a strong castle, called Marienberg, standing on an eminence on the other side of the river Maine, being garrisoned by a thousand men, well provided with every means of defence, held out against the Swedish arms, and the Scots were selected to commence operations against this place. The approach was hazardous beyond description; one arch of the bridge was blown up, and the batteries raked the bridge from one end to the other. A few daring Scots musketeers, however, passed the river in small boats on the 5th of October, and, leaping on shore in the face of a sharp fire, were soon warmly engaged. A plank had, in the meantime, been laid across the broken arch of the bridge, and a number of veteran Scots running across one after another, joined their companions in the fight, and a lodgment was effected beyond the river, and some advantage gained. The castle was afterwards taken by storm; and this having been deemed an impregnable fortress, it was found well stored with corn, wine, ammunition, and treasure; and small arms were found for seven thousand men.
While the brigade lay at Wurtzburg, the King sent out so many detachments that he had only about ten thousand men at head-quarters, and an army of fifty thousand men, commanded by the Duke of Lorraine, advanced against him. His Majesty having received information that the enemy designed to pass the Maine at Oxenford and attack him, the King proceeded, on the same evening, after dark, to the quarters of Hepburns's Scots Brigade, and commanded the men to assemble under arms immediately. Having selected eight hundred musketeers, his Majesty commanded them to follow him, while the pikemen and colours remained[Pg 23] behind. The musketeers, being led by Brigadier-General Hepburn, and accompanied by eighty Swedish horsemen, continued their march throughout the night, and at two o'clock on the following morning arrived at Oxenford, and formed up in the market-place, while fifty of the horsemen advanced to observe the motions of the enemy. Soon afterwards the report of pistols was heard, when his Majesty sent out a lieutenant and fifty musketeers to skirmish and to cover the retreat of the horse, which service was gallantly performed. The enemy, however, proved too numerous, and the fifty musketeers were forced to retire, when the King sent a hundred musketeers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Monro, to restore the fight, and they drove back a superior body of the Imperialists, for which they were applauded by the King. These few Scots having thus frustrated the designs of the enemy, his Majesty returned to Wurtzburg, leaving Hepburn, with his musketeers, to defend the place; and this excellent officer made such a formidable disposition of his men, and kept so good a countenance, that, although the enemy advanced with his army up to the town with drums beating and colours flying, as though he was about to storm the place, yet he afterwards retired. The musketeers, having thus boldly confronted a large army and maintained their post, were afterwards ordered to return to Wurtzburg.
On the 7th of November Hepburn's Scots Brigade, or the Green Brigade, advanced with the army towards Frankfort on the Maine, a place celebrated throughout Europe for its annual fairs; and while traversing the rich plains and beautiful scenery of one of the most fruitful parts of Germany, several strong towns surrendered to the army. The brigade crossed[Pg 24] the Maine at Aschaffenberg, on the 14th of November, and arrived at Frankfort on the 16th, when the city surrendered.
In the early part of December Hepburn's or the Green, and the Blue brigades, were employed in the siege of a strong fort near Oppenheim, and while performing this service, these hardy veterans were encamped in the midst of a deep snow. The enemy made a sally in the night, but were repulsed by the Scots pikemen, and on the following morning the fort surrendered. The two brigades afterwards attacked a fort, and also the castle belonging to the town. A party of gallant Scots having stormed the wall between the outward fort and castle, they found the drawbridge down, and, forcing an entrance into the castle, they put the Spanish garrison to the sword; at the same time another party stormed the fort with such fury that nine companies of Italians were soon overpowered and forced to surrender. These Italians afterwards engaged in the Swedish service, and were attached to the Green Brigade; but they all deserted during the following summer. The King having passed the Rhine with part of his army to attack the town on the other side, the place surrendered.
Notwithstanding the severity of the season, the King resolved to continue operations, and one Sunday afternoon, in the early part of December, in tempestuous weather, with frost and snow, the army appeared before Mentz. Hepburn's Scots, or the Green Brigade, took its post before the town; and the men having prepared [Pg 25]the batteries during the night, the fire of the cannon commenced at day-break with such fury that the besieged were dismayed, and they surrendered in the middle of December. The brigade was afterwards placed in garrison in the town, where it continued during the remainder of the winter.
During the preceding campaign, several additional regiments arrived in Germany from Scotland, namely, Sir James Lumsdell's, the Master of Forbes', Sir Frederick Hamilton's, and Colonel Monro's; also Colonel Austin's English regiment; recruits also arrived for the old regiments; and in the beginning of 1632 there appear to have been thirteen Scots regiments and five English regiments in the service of the King of Sweden. There were also two Scots generals, three major-generals, three brigadier-generals, twenty-seven colonels, fifty-one lieutenant-colonels, and fourteen Scots majors, in the Swedish army: and the First, or Royal, Regiment of Foot, in the British line, being the only one of these eighteen British regiments which has continued to exist to the present time, it is the representative of the whole of this gallant force.
Hepburn's veterans remained in garrison at Mentz, recruiting in vigour and in numbers, until the beginning of March, 1632, when they proceeded to Frankfort on[Pg 26] the Maine, and, advancing from thence to Aschaffenberg, were reviewed in the fields before the town on the 6th of March, by the King of Sweden. From Aschaffenberg the brigade continued its march to Weinsheim, where it was reviewed by the Elector Palatine, who complimented this distinguished body of Scots on the high character it had acquired for deeds of valour.
After this review the brigade advanced with the army to invade Bavaria, and on the 26th of March it appeared before Donawerth on the Danube, when the King posted part of the troops on the heights above the town. On the following day, a battery having been constructed to command the bridge, the enemy made a furious sally, and, having driven back some Swedish troops, captured the guns; but a number of Hepburn's veterans rushing forward sword in hand, the Bavarians were repulsed and driven back into the town. During the night, Sir John Hepburn marched his brigade with great silence five miles up the Wernitz, and having crossed the river, returned by the opposite bank to an angle which commanded the bridge over the Danube, where he posted his musketeers behind garden-walls and hedges, and formed the pikemen into three bodies under the cover of the enclosures. At day-break the enemy's garrison attempted to force its way through the besieging army; eight hundred musketeers rushed suddenly out of the town towards the bridge where Hepburn's men were posted, when the Scots musketeers opened a destructive fire, and before the smoke had cleared away, the pikemen came cheering forward to the charge, while the musketeers drew their swords and joined in the attack, and the enemy's column was broken and cut to pieces. Many of the Bavarians fled towards the town; Hepburn's veterans, following in full career, entered the town with the fugi[Pg 27]tives, and made great slaughter in the streets. Meanwhile, the enemy's troops, which sallied on the other side of the town, were also nearly all destroyed. The governor escaped, but he saved only a small portion of his garrison. Thus Donawerth was captured in forty-eight hours after the army appeared before the town; and in this exploit the gallant veterans under Sir John Hepburn acquired new laurels.
This success enabled the King to penetrate into Bavaria; and in the early part of April Hepburn's Brigade took part in the brilliant enterprise of forcing the passage of the river Lech in the face of a superior army, and the success which attended this daring exploit alarmed one half of Europe, and astonished the other.
The brigade was afterwards engaged in the siege of Augsburg, which place capitulated on the 10th of April. From Augsburg the brigade proceeded with the army to Ingoldstadt, and, being engaged in the siege of this town, it had one very trying night's service: the King, expecting a sally from the garrison, ordered Hepburn's veterans to stand all night under arms on some high ground near the town; the enemy kept up a constant fire against the brigade with dreadful execution, and the men had to stand like targets to be shot at, without the power of making resistance. "To my mind," observes the brave Colonel Monro, "it was the longest night in the year, though in April, for at one shot I lost twelve[Pg 28] men of my own company." The first attack not succeeding, the King raised the siege and retired.
After quitting the precincts of Ingoldstadt, the brigade was detached against Landshut, a pretty little town with a castle, in Bavaria, which place surrendered on the 29th of April.
Having completed this conquest, the brigade proceeded to Freysingen, where it rejoined the main army, and advanced from thence to Munich. This celebrated city surrendered immediately, and the King being desirous of preserving it from plunder, he made a present of about five shillings English to every soldier in the army, and posted Hepburn's Scots Brigade at the bridge to prevent the ingress of stragglers. The army was afterwards encamped without the town, excepting the old Scots brigade, which entered the city with the King, and Hepburn's own regiment furnished the guard at the market-place, while the remainder of the brigade furnished the King's guard at the castle. As no other brigade was admitted into Munich, this circumstance proves the high estimation in which this old Scots corps was held. Its commander, Brigadier-General Hepburn, was appointed governor of Munich.
Leaving this city on the 1st of June, the brigade again directed its march towards Donawerth, where it arrived on the 4th. It subsequently marched to the relief of Weissemberg, which was besieged by the enemy; but the garrison surrendered before the troops marching for its relief arrived. The brigade then continued its march to Furt, where an encampment was formed. It was afterwards employed in several operations of a defensive character. The King having to defend Nurenberg, and to confront an army of 60,000 men with only[Pg 29] 20,000, his Majesty formed an entrenched camp round the city, where the brigade was stationed some time.
The enemy's army, commanded by the Duke of Bavaria and Count Walstein, appeared before Nurenberg, and by means of their immense superiority of numbers endeavoured to cut off the supplies of provision from the Swedish army, but were unable to accomplish their object. The opposing armies lay watching each other's movements until the 21st of August, when, reinforcements having arrived for the Swedes, the King attacked the enemy's fortified camp; the old Scots Brigade was sharply engaged in the attack of the heights of Altenberg, and in the attempt on Altenberg Castle, in which service it lost many officers and men; but the attack failed at every point. The King afterwards formed a fortified camp within cannon shot of the enemy, and the two armies confronted each other until the 8th of September, when his Majesty retired, and five hundred musketeers of the old Scots Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Sinclair, covered the retreat to Neustadt. A few days afterwards, the Marquis of Hamilton being about to return to England, Brigadier-General Hepburn obtained permission to accompany him, and the regiment was left under the command of the Lieutenant-Colonel. When the gallant Hepburn and several other officers took leave of their companions in arms, Monro informs us that "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."
The brigade was now commanded by Colonel Monro,[Pg 30] and towards the end of September it marched to the relief of Rayn, which was besieged by the enemy; but this garrison also surrendered before the troops marching to its relief arrived. The King, however, resolved to retake the town, and having arrived before the walls on the 3rd of October, he took advantage of a thick fog, and brought his cannon to bear upon the works unperceived, when the garrison immediately surrendered.
The brigade being much exhausted and decreased in numbers from its recent hard services, it was placed in quarters of refreshment in Bavaria, while the King marched with part of the army into Saxony. Before his departure, his Majesty expressed his approbation of the conduct of these veteran Scots on all occasions, and exhorted the commanding officers to use every possible expedition in replacing the casualties in the ranks of their respective regiments; but this proved the final separation between the great Gustavus Adolphus and these distinguished regiments; his Majesty marched to Saxony, and was killed at the battle of Lützen, which was fought on the 6th of November, 1632.
After the death of the King of Sweden the old Scots [Pg 31]Brigade served for a short time under the Elector Palatine, and was employed in the siege and capture of Landsberg, a town of Upper Bavaria on the Lech; and while before this place a dispute about precedence arose between this and another (Ruthven's) brigade: "But," observes Colonel Monro, "those of Ruthven's Brigade were forced, notwithstanding their diligence, to yield the precedence unto us, being older blades than themselves, for in effect we were their schoolmasters in discipline, as they could not but acknowledge."
When the capture of Landsberg was effected, the old Scots Brigade marched to the relief of Rayn, which was closely beset by the Bavarians, who raised the siege on the approach of the Scots, and retired into Saxony.
From Rayn the brigade marched to the vicinity of the [Pg 32]ancient city of Augsburg, where the men lay two months of extreme cold weather in the open fields; the loss of the great Gustavus Adolphus was now seriously experienced, the generals were indecisive, and operations were suspended.
But in February, 1633, the brigade was again called into action. It proceeded, in the first instance, to Ulm, a considerable town on the banks of the Danube, and from thence towards Memmingen, to attack a division of the enemy stationed in the town; but, having halted at some hamlets within three miles of the place, the houses took fire in the night, and the brigade lost much baggage, and saved its cannon and ammunition with difficulty. This misfortune did not, however, prevent the troops from marching against their adversaries, who after some sharp skirmishing, retired.
Soon afterwards the brigade proceeded to Kaufbeuren, a small town on the Wertach, and having invested the place, the garrison held out two days, and then surrendered. Having refreshed the men with three days' rest at Kaufbeuren, the brigade marched with part of the army towards the Iller, and, having passed the river by a temporary bridge, besieged Kempten (the ancient Campodunum). But while the brigade lay before the town, it was suddenly ordered to proceed by forced marches to the Duchy of Wirtemberg.
Having been recalled from Wirtemberg, the brigade proceeded to Donawerth on the Danube, where it was stationed during a great part of the summer; while a convention of the Protestant princes of Germany was held at Heilbronn. The pay of the troops being a long time in arrear, they resolved not to engage in any further operations until their arrears were paid. Thus disorder[Pg 33] and confusion found its way into the Swedish army, and the Scots regiments were no longer recruited with the same facility as formerly.
The old Scots Brigade, however, continued at its post of duty, and it formed part of the army, commanded by Marshal Horn and the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, which advanced to the relief of Nordlingen; and this movement brought on a general engagement, which was fought in the vicinity of the town on the 26th of August, 1634, when the confederates were defeated, and the Scots Brigade suffered so severely, that one of the regiments (Monro's) was reduced a few days afterwards to one company. After the battle, the wreck of this distinguished brigade retreated to Worms, a town situate on the left bank of the Rhine; and, Marshal Horn having been taken prisoner, the veteran Scots were under the orders of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar.
The loss of the battle of Nordlingen almost ruined the protestant interest in Germany, but soon afterwards the court of France agreed to support this depressed and declining cause. The prospect of immediate succours from France allayed the consternation which prevailed amongst the confederate princes. A French army approached the Rhine, and several towns in Alsace admitted French garrisons.
In the French army which thus approached the Rhine, the celebrated Sir John Hepburn appeared at the head of a Scots regiment in the French service. When this officer quitted Germany in 1632 (as before stated), he was not satisfied with the manner in which the Swedish affairs were conducted: on his arrival in England he was knighted; in the following year he tendered his services[Pg 34] to Louis XIII.; and a regiment having been constituted of the old Scots companies and some newly-raised men, he was appointed its Colonel, by commission dated the 26th of January, 1633. He served in 1634 with the French army, commanded by Marshal de la Force. During the summer he was engaged in the siege of La Motte (or La Mothe), which place surrendered on the 26th of July; and Hepburn's Regiment lost one captain and several men in this service. On the 19th of December, Sir John Hepburn passed the Rhine with his own and six other regiments of infantry, seven cornets (or troops) of cavalry, and a train of artillery, and took post at Manheim, from whence he sent forward parties to reconnoitre the enemy. The remainder of the French army afterwards passed the Rhine, and Sir John Hepburn marched to the relief of Heidelberg, an ancient city situate on the river Neckar, at the foot of the mountain called the Giesberg. This city was besieged by the Imperialists, and defended by the Swedes. After some sharp fighting, in which Sir John Hepburn distinguished himself, the besieging army retreated, and the city was delivered to the French on the 23rd of December.
After this success, part of the French army marched to Landau, and formed a junction with the Swedish forces under the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, which had escaped after the defeat at Nordlingen. Thus the remaining few veterans of Hepburn's Scots Regiment in the Swedish service, and Hepburn's Scots Regiment in[Pg 35] the French service, were brought into contact to fight together in the same cause, and the two regiments appear to have been incorporated into one. This union would, doubtless, prove agreeable to both corps; the veterans in the Swedish service had long been without pay, and the strongest attachment existed between them and their former leader, Sir John Hepburn, who had been their companion in toil, in danger, and in victory; and this union of the two corps placed them again under their favourite commander: at the same time, Hepburn's regiment in the French service was already much decreased in numbers from a long campaign, and the addition of these renowned veterans would prove a valuable acquisition. Thus Hepburn's Regiments, or Le Régiment d'Hebron in the Swedish service, and Le Régiment d'Hebron in the French service (for the French historians use the same title for both regiments), appear to have become one corps in 1635; and there is reason to believe that the remains of several other Scots corps in the Swedish service were added to Hepburn's Regiment, as its establishment, two years afterwards, is stated to have amounted to the extraordinary number of 8316 officers and soldiers. There appear also to have been two other Scots regiments in the French service in 1635, namely, Colonel Lesley's and Colonel Ramsay's, besides the Scots Gardes du Corps and Gendarmes spoken of at the beginning of this Memoir.
Hepburn's Regiment served during the campaign of 1635 with the French array in Germany, commanded[Pg 36] by the Cardinal de la Valette; and the remains of the Swedish army, which had escaped after the defeat at Nordlingen in 1634, continued to co-operate with the French, and were commanded, under the Cardinal, by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar. Little advantage, however, accrued from placing an ecclesiastical dignitary at the head of the army. The supplies of provision were intercepted by the Germans, the French troops were reduced to the necessity of subsisting on roots gathered about the villages, and the horses were fed on the leaves of trees. At length the army, after burying its cannon and destroying its baggage, retreated through mountainous parts of the country; the Germans followed and attacked the rear; Hepburn's Regiment was sharply engaged amongst the mountains; and the Imperialists were severely punished for their temerity in a sharp action in September, near Metz.
During the summer of 1636 Hepburn's Regiment served with the army commanded by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and in the month of May it appeared before Saverne, a town of Alsace, situated on the banks of the river Sarre, which was defended by an Imperial garrison commanded by Colonel Mulhein. The siege of this place was immediately commenced, and the garrison made a desperate resistance. A breach having been effected, three assaults were made on the 20th of June, and were repulsed with great loss. On the following day the batteries against the town opened their fire with greater fury than before, and during the progress of the siege the gallant Sir John Hepburn was shot in the neck, and [Pg 37]died, regretted, not only by his old companions in arms, but also by the court of France, where his valour and abilities were well known and appreciated. After holding out a few days longer the garrison surrendered; and Louis XIII. conferred the vacant Colonelcy of the regiment on Lieutenant-Colonel James Hepburn, whose name appears amongst the Scots lieutenant-colonels in the service of the King of Sweden in 1632.
The regiment appears to have continued to serve in Alsace, under the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, whose army consisted of French, Scots, Swedes, and Germans, in the pay of France; and during the year 1637 it was engaged in several skirmishes with the Imperialists, but no considerable action was performed by either side.
This year Colonel James Hepburn was killed, and he was succeeded in the command of the regiment by Lord James Douglas, second son of William, first Marquis of Douglas. From this period the regiment was known in France by the title of Le Régiment de Douglas.
While the regiment was in Alsace, Picardy was invaded by the Spaniards, and in 1637 this corps of hardy Scots appears to have been withdrawn from the army commanded by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and stationed near the frontiers of Picardy.
In the spring of 1638 it was placed under the command[Pg 38] of the Marshal de Chastillon, for the purpose of penetrating into the Earldom of Artois, which at this period formed part of the Spanish Netherlands.
The army having been assembled near Amiens, passed the Somme on the 18th of May, 1638; Douglas' Regiment, forming part of the division under Lieutenant-General Hallier, passed the river at Abbeville, marched from thence to Doullens, and, after taking part in the capture of several small forts, was engaged in the siege of St. Omer, a place of great strength, and provided with a good garrison. The trenches were opened on the night between the 29th and 30th of June. On the 12th of July three hundred of the garrison issued out of the town to attack the men in the trenches, and encountering a party of Douglas' Scots, a fierce combat ensued, and the Spaniards were driven back with the loss of many men killed and taken prisoners; the enemy also lost a [Pg 39]strong post which they had held until that time. A Spanish force, however, advanced to the relief of the garrison, and having succeeded in throwing succours into the town, the siege was raised by the French.
After quitting the vicinity of St. Omer, the regiment was engaged in the siege of Renty, a small town on the river Aa. The army appeared before this place on the 1st of August, and on the 9th the garrison surrendered.
The next service in which the troops were employed was the siege of Catelet, a town of Picardy, which the Spaniards had captured in 1636; and this place was taken by storm on the 14th of September.
Having passed the winter in quarters in Picardy, Douglas' Regiment marched in the early part of May, 1639, to the rendezvous of the army at Doullens, and served this year against the Spaniards, forming part of the army commanded by General Meilleraie. The French commander marched first towards Aire, but after reconnoitering the defences of this place, he proceeded to Hesdin,—a town situated amongst marshes on the little river Canche, where he arrived on the 19th of May, and commenced the siege of the place with great vigour. Louis XIII. visited the camp, that his presence might animate the soldiers in their attacks; and, the garrison having surrendered on the 29th of June, the King was so well pleased with the manner in which this siege had been conducted, that he presented General Meilleraie with the baton of a Marshal of France; the ceremony was performed in the breach he had made in the fortress, and the King commanded Te Deum to be sung in the principal church of the town.
After repairing the works, the army advanced against the Spanish forces under the Marquis de Fuentes; and Douglas' Regiment took part in a sharp skirmish near the village of St. Nicholas, on which occasion four pieces of cannon were captured from the Spaniards.
The regiment continued to take part in the military operations against the Spaniards. Meanwhile Scotland was violently agitated by an attempt made by King Charles I. to introduce the English Liturgy. This was followed by an unfortunate misunderstanding between the King and his Parliament in England, which produced a civil war; but, in the scenes of slaughter and devastation which followed, this regiment did not take part. It was in the service of Louis XIII. of France, who was engaged in a war with Austria and Spain; and the French King had urgent occasion for the presence of the three Scots regiments with his armies.
While the civil war was raging in England, Louis XIII. died (14th May, 1643), and was succeeded by his son Louis XIV., who was afterwards designated Louis le Grand; at the time of his accession he was in his minority. Notwithstanding this event the war was prosecuted with vigour, and the court of France procured, in 1643, an additional regiment of foot from Scotland, commanded by Colonel Andrew Rutherford, afterwards Earl of Teviot. This regiment was designated in France Le Régiment des Gardes Escossois, or the Regiment of Scots Guards: but the title was only honorary, as it was never employed near the royal person. The date of its formation has not been ascertained; [Pg 41]but, as it was afterwards incorporated into Douglas' Regiment, now the First Royals, this corps is its representative, and its services have a place in this Memoir.
Immediately after the regiment of Scots Guards arrived in France, it was ordered to advance to the relief of Roucroy, a town of the Ardennes, which was besieged by the Spaniards. The troops employed in this service were commanded by Louis de Bourbon, Duc d'Enghien, who was afterwards celebrated for military achievements under the title of Prince of Condé, or the Great Condé. The Spaniards had a superiority of numbers: the two armies engaged near Roucroy, on the 19th of May, when the French gained a decisive victory, and captured the cannon, baggage, and many of the standards and colours belonging to the Spaniards. Rutherford's Scots' Regiment had the honor of taking part in this battle. It was soon afterwards employed in the siege of Thionville, a town situated on the river Moselle; and had one captain and four men killed, and one major and several private men wounded in the attack of the counterscarp. This siege being prosecuted with vigour, the town surrendered on the 10th of August, and the regiment appears to have marched immediately afterwards for Italy.
Meanwhile Douglas' Regiment had been removed from the Netherlands and placed under the orders of Prince Francis-Thomas of Savoy, who commanded the French army in Italy; and, having been engaged in several operations, it was employed in the autumn in the siege of the city of Turin, in Piedmont, which place was invested on the 14th of August. The Scots Regiment of Guards also arrived in Piedmont in time to take part in the siege, which was terminated on the 27th of Sep[Pg 42]tember by the surrender of the city, when Douglas' Regiment was placed in garrison.
Before the following campaign the regiment was, however, removed from Piedmont to Picardy; and passing from thence to the Netherlands, it served, in 1644, under the Duke of Orleans, who held, during the minority of Louis XIV., the title of Lieutenant-General to the King. The army in the Netherlands was this year of considerable magnitude, and Douglas' Regiment formed part of the division commanded by Marshal Meilleraie, and was engaged in the siege of Gravelines, a town situated on the river Aa, nine miles from Dunkirk. The communication of Gravelines with the sea rendered it a place of great importance to the Spaniards, who made strenuous exertions for its preservation. Two sorties were made by the garrison in the early part of July, when Douglas' Regiment was sharply engaged, and the enemy was repulsed. Every attempt made by the Spaniards to relieve the place was defeated, and the town surrendered on the 28th of July, 1644. This success was followed by the capture of several forts, and places of minor importance, near the sea.
While the Scots regiments in the service of France were gaining laurels in Italy and Flanders, England continued the theatre of civil war, and many desperate engagements were fought with varied success. At length the King's army, after suffering a series of reverses, was [Pg 43]found unable to withstand the forces of the Parliament; and a number of officers and soldiers, who had fought in the royal cause, fled to France, and were taken into the service of Louis XIV. Five English battalions were formed, and added to the French army in Flanders; and, during the campaign of 1646, the British troops were employed in the siege and capture of Courtray, a considerable town on the river Lys; and they afterwards took a distinguished part in the siege of the city of Dunkirk, which surrendered to the French army on the 10th of October, 1646.
The British troops continued to take part in the war in Flanders: and in 1648 a troop of Scots cuirassiers, and the regiment of Scots Guards, had an opportunity of distinguishing themselves at the battle of Lens, in Artois, under that distinguished commander the Prince of Condé. This battle was fought on the 10th of August, 1648. The Spanish army, commanded by Archduke Leopold, suffered a complete overthrow, and lost thirty-eight pieces of cannon, and upwards of one hundred standards and colours.
Soon after this victory an insurrection broke out in Paris; the court removed to Rouel, and afterwards to St. Germain, and part of the army was recalled from Flanders to besiege the capital, and to reduce the Parliament of Paris to obedience.
In this year (1648) a treaty was concluded at Munster, which restored peace to a great part of Europe, but the war was continued between France and Spain, and the British troops were continued in the service of France. Mean[Pg 44]while King Charles I. of England, having fallen into the power of Cromwell, was beheaded at Whitehall Palace on the 30th of January, 1649.
While these events were taking place in other parts of Europe, Paris was besieged by the French army, of which Douglas' Regiment continued to form a part; but an amicable arrangement between the Court and Parliament took place in the spring of 1649. This was, however, followed by insurrections in several of the provinces, and the Spanish commanders, availing themselves of the distracted state of France, recaptured several places in the Netherlands.
While France was disturbed with internal commotions, three hundred veteran Scots, who had been left in garrison at Ypres in West Flanders, were engaged in the defence of that place against the Spaniards, and, after a gallant resistance, were eventually forced to surrender: but obtained honourable conditions, and marched out on the 6th of May, 1649, with drums beating and colours flying.
The commotions in France occasioned a decrease in the revenues of Louis XIV., and Douglas' veterans, with the other Scots regiments in the French service, could not procure their pay. Meanwhile, King Charles II., who had been an exile on the continent for some time, was entering into a treaty, called the Covenant, with the Scots, through whose means his Majesty expected to recover the sovereignty of Great Britain; at the same time, application was made to the French court for permission for Douglas' and the other regiments to return to Scotland with the King; but these gallant veterans were so beloved and esteemed in France for their good conduct on all occasions, that Louis XIV. declined to accede to this request, and promised to give them their pay with greater regularity in future.
Had these distinguished regiments accompanied their sovereign to Scotland, great advantage would, doubtless, have accrued to the royal cause. But, instead of accompanying their King, they were employed in the defence of several strong towns on the frontiers of Picardy and Flanders. The internal disorders in France continued, a want of money prevailed in the army, and many of the French soldiers deserted. At the same time the Spaniards, being in communication with the disaffected in France, recovered several more of the towns which had been wrested from them in the preceding campaigns, and besieged Dunkirk.
While these events were occurring on the continent, Charles II. was crowned King in Scotland; but his affairs not prospering in the north, he penetrated into England, and the Scots troops sustained a decisive overthrow at Worcester on the 3rd of September, 1651. The King fled from the field, and, after remaining in concealment with several loyal families for a short time, he escaped in disguise to France.
Meanwhile, the troubles in France were increasing. The Duke of Orleans and the Prince of Condé were opposed to the court; the latter was at the head of an army; and Douglas' Regiment was employed in operations against the insurgents.
After several marches and manœuvres, the opposing armies came in contact in the summer of 1652, in the vicinity of Paris; the royal army was commanded by Marshal Turenne; and the rebel army by the Prince of Condé, who erected barricades in the Fauxbourg of St. Antoine, where he was attacked on the 2nd of July, 1652. The fighting had been continued for some time [Pg 46]with great resolution on both sides, when Douglas' and three other regiments attacked a barricade across one of the streets near the river, which they carried sword in hand, and, having dislodged the enemy from the houses, established themselves on this spot. Immediately afterwards a troop of royal horse, attempting to pass the barricade, was repulsed by the insurgent horsemen, who were driven back in their turn by the fire of Douglas' and another regiment from the houses. Scarcely had the horse quitted the street, when two bodies of insurgent foot came rushing forward with great fury to retake the barricade, but Douglas' and another regiment opened so destructive a fire from the houses, and the regiments which guarded the barricade made so resolute a defence, that the rebels were repulsed with great loss. A general attack was afterwards made on the other posts occupied by the rebels in the suburbs of Paris, and the rebellion would probably have been crushed at once, but the Parisians opened their gates and admitted the insurgents into the city, and thus protected them from the fury of the royal army. The city of Paris having thus manifested a determination to take part with the insurgents, Douglas' Regiment, with the remainder of the royal army, retreated on the same day to St. Denis, where his Majesty and the court had retired.
While the Prince of Condé held possession of Paris, and the royal army lay at St. Denis, a large Spanish army prepared to penetrate from the Netherlands into France, to act in concert with the French insurgents; when the court of Louis XIV. removed to Pontoise, and the army [Pg 47]marched to Compeigne, and encamped under the walls of the town. The Spanish army entered France, but after a short stay it retired to the Netherlands, when the army of Louis XIV. advanced towards Paris, and encamped near Gonesse. This movement was followed by the return of the Spanish forces under the Duke of Lorraine, when the army under Marshal Turenne attempted to intercept the enemy, and a sharp skirmish occurred at Villeneuve St. Georges, nine miles from Paris, and the designs of the Duke of Lorraine were frustrated. But the Prince of Condé marched out of Paris, and succeeded in forming a junction with the Spaniards at Ablon; and the united armies were double the number of the forces under Marshal Turenne, who constructed two temporary bridges over the Seine, threw up entrenchments, and maintained his post for several weeks. While the two armies confronted each other, frequent skirmishes occurred in the fields and vineyards, in which Douglas' Scots took a conspicuous part. On one of these occasions a captain of the regiment was taken prisoner, who escaped from the enemy a few days afterwards, and brought information that the Prince of Condé had left the Spanish army in consequence of indisposition. The enemy not being so watchful as before, and the King's army being in want of provisions, it retired with great secrecy during the night of the 4th of October, and continued its march to Courteuil, when the enemy quitted the vicinity of Paris, and marched into winter quarters in Champagne and other parts of France.
When the absence of the united rebel and Spanish army from Paris was ascertained, the royal family of France proceeded with a strong guard to the capital, and obtained possession of the city; and Douglas' Regiment,[Pg 48] with the remainder of the King's army, marched for Champagne, to attack the enemy in his quarters.
During the winter Douglas' Regiment was engaged in the siege of Bar le Duc; the lower town was taken by storm, and, about the middle of December, when two practicable breaches were made, the upper town and castle surrendered; when an Irish regiment in the Spanish service was made prisoners. The Irish finding that the Duke of York was with the French army, in command of the Scots gendarmes and a regiment of foot called the Regiment of York, they obtained permission to enter the French service, and were incorporated into the Duke's regiment.
From Bar le Duc, Douglas' Regiment marched a distance of nine miles, to Ligny, a town situate on the river Ornain, and was engaged in the siege of the castle. A mine being ready, on the 21st of December, "Marshal Turenne commanded the regiments of York and Douglas to prepare for the attack at the springing of the mine, and ordered his own regiment to be in readiness to second them. All things being prepared in this manner, fire was given to the mine, and in the midst of the smoke, before it could be discerned what effect the mine had produced, the Count d'Estrées, who commanded the attack, ordered it to be instantly made. Accordingly, they fell on, passing over the ditch, which was very broad, upon the ice. But when they came to the ditch, they perceived that the mine had failed their expectation, and there was no possibility of mounting the breach. Upon this there was a necessity of making a retreat; the ice broke under the men, and most of them fell into the ditch, which gave leisure to the enemy to do execution on them. Thus,[Pg 49] for want of a little patience to see what effect the mine had wrought; the regiment of York lost four captains, some lieutenants and ensigns, and about a hundred men, slain outright, and the regiment of Douglas two captains and near fifty private soldiers; besides many officers and soldiers hurt." Immediately after this failure another mine was commenced, and the garrison surrendered on the 22nd of December.
A garrison having been placed in Ligny, the army proceeded to Château Portien, a small town of the Ardennes, situate on the right bank of the river Aisne; and while on this march the weather was so severe, that several of the soldiers were frozen to death on the road. The siege of this place was commenced in the beginning of January, 1653, and the town was delivered up in less than ten days.
Having completed this conquest, the troops proceeded through a difficult tract of country, and besieged Vervins. The weather continued inclement, the men were suffering from the want of food, and great difficulties had to be overcome; yet the attacks were made with such spirit and determination, that possession was gained of this town on the 28th of January.
The troops were now exhausted, and Douglas' Regiment was sent into quarters of refreshment. It again took the field in June following; but the enemy had so great a superiority of numbers, that the greater part of the year was passed in defensive operations.
The regiment appears to have passed the year 1654 in garrison. In 1655 it was employed in the Netherlands; its Colonel, Lieutenant-General Lord James Douglas,[Pg 50] commanded a flying camp between Douay and Arras; several skirmishes occurred, and on one occasion Lord James Douglas was killed; he was succeeded in the Colonelcy by his brother, Lord George Douglas, afterwards Earl of Dumbarton. This change in its Colonel did not alter the title of the corps, as it continued to be distinguished by the title of Douglas' Regiment.
This year (1655) the King of France concluded a treaty with Cromwell, who was at the head of the British nation with the title of Lord Protector; and it was stipulated that a body of Cromwell's forces should proceed to Flanders to co-operate with the French against the Spaniards.
This treaty occasioned King Charles II. to unite his interests with those of Spain; the Duke of York quitted France, and obtained a command in the Spanish army; and a great part of the Royal British troops, which had escaped from England and entered the French army, transferred their services from the crown of France to that of Spain. The cavalier gentlemen, who thus transferred their services to the crown of Spain, were formed into a troop of Horse Guards, of which Charles Berkeley (afterwards Earl of Falmouth) was appointed Captain and Colonel; and the remainder were formed into six regiments of foot—one English, one Scots, and four Irish. The determination thus manifested, by the British troops in the service of France to preserve their loyalty to King Charles II., appears to have occasioned [Pg 51]measures to be adopted by the French commanders to prevent Douglas', and the other old Scots regiments, from following this example; and these corps appear to have been placed in remote garrisons, as they are not mentioned in the histories of the military transactions in the Netherlands in 1657 and 1658, in which years the French army and Cromwell's forces captured St. Venant and Mardyk, defeated the Spanish army, and afterwards took Dunkirk, Ypres, Bruges, Dixmude, Furnes, Gravelines, Oudenarde, and Menin; and Dunkirk was occupied by the English.
In September, 1658, Cromwell died; and in 1659 the Prince of Condé disbanded his forces, and having tendered his submission to the crown of France, he was received into the favour of Louis XIV. At the same time a treaty of peace, called the Peace of the Pyrenees, was concluded between France and Spain, and Dunkirk was ceded to England.
After this treaty was concluded the strength of the French army was decreased, and Douglas' Regiment was reduced to eight companies. These events were followed by the restoration of King Charles II. to the throne of Great Britain; when the British troops which had been in the service of Spain were placed in garrison [Pg 52]at Dunkirk; and Douglas' Regiment, in the French service, was in garrison at Avennes.
Soon after the restoration, King Charles II. disbanded the army of the Commonwealth, which he found in England at his return. It was, however, deemed necessary to have a regular force established, for in January, 1661, a number of religious fanatics, called millenarians, or fifth monarchy-men, took arms against the government, and, although this insurrection was suppressed in a few days, yet it was deemed necessary to send for the Duke of York's troop of Guards from Dunkirk, and afterwards for Douglas' veteran Scots regiment from Flanders.
The regiment having arrived in England in the spring of 1661, it obtained rank in the British army from that date. It appears, however, to have had rank in the Swedish army from about the year 1625, and in the French army from 1633. No instance has been met with of its having been distinguished by any other title than the name of its Colonel, except during part of the time it was in the Swedish service, when it was designated, together with three other Scots regiments of which it is now the representative, the Green Brigade.
Soon after its arrival in England the establishment of the regiment was augmented, and its presence at this particular period was of great service to King Charles II. But his Majesty having (after disbanding the whole of [Pg 53]the army of the Commonwealth) established three troops of Life Guards, a regiment of Horse Guards, and two regiments of Foot Guards, in England; and a troop of Life Guards, and a regiment of Foot Guards in Scotland; it was not deemed necessary to detain Douglas' veteran corps in England, and it was, accordingly, sent back to France in 1662.
At the same time, General Andrew Rutherford, who commanded the battalion of Scots Guards in the French service, having been appointed Governor of Dunkirk by King Charles II., his battalion was incorporated in Douglas' Regiment. There was also another battalion of Scots Foot in the service of France, commanded by Lord James Douglas, and this battalion was likewise incorporated into Douglas' veteran regiment, which now consisted of twenty-three companies of one hundred men each, and its established numbers, including officers and non-commissioned officers, were upwards of 2500.
The King of France having, after the treaty of the Pyrenees, placed his army upon a peace establishment, the strength of Douglas' Regiment was reduced to eight companies of one hundred men each.
Three years after its return to France, a war broke out between England and Holland; and in the succeeding year Louis XIV. took part with the Dutch against England, when Douglas' regiment was again ordered to quit the French service, and to return to England: it accordingly landed at Rye, in Sussex, on the 12th of June, 1666, and mustered eight hundred men.
The Roman Catholics in several counties in Ireland were, at this period, in a state of insurrection; and in a short time after the arrival of the regiment from France,[Pg 54] it was ordered to proceed to Ireland, where it appears to have remained upwards of twelve months.
After the conclusion of the peace of Breda in 1668, the insurrections in Ireland having been suppressed, the regiment was again sent to France; and in an order issued by Louis XIV. in 1670, respecting the rank of regiments, it appears one of the first.
A war commenced in 1672 between the French monarch and the States General of Holland; King Charles II. of England also declared war against the Dutch; and a British force, commanded by the Duke of Monmouth, was sent to France to co-operate with the army of Louis XIV. in an attack upon Holland. Douglas' Regiment had, in the meantime, been augmented to sixteen companies, and when the army took the field, it formed two battalions; and was in the division of the army commanded by Marshal Turenne. Several fortified towns were captured by the main army; and in June, Douglas' Regiment, being encamped in the vicinity of Nimeguen, was detached with several other corps under the Comte de Chamilly to besiege Grave. The attack on the town commenced towards the end of June, and in the early part of July the governor surrendered. A number of the subjects of the British crown, who had entered the service of Holland, being found in garrison, they were permitted to engage in the service of Louis XIV., and were received as recruits in Douglas' Regiment. In August the regiment was withdrawn from [Pg 55]the vicinity of Grave, and ordered to join the forces under Marshal Turenne.
In 1673 eight thousand British troops served with the French army, and were engaged in the siege of Maestricht, in which service they evinced signal gallantly; and in repulsing a sally of part of the garrison, the Duke of Monmouth, Captain Churchill (afterwards the great Duke of Marlborough), and twelve private men of the English Life Guards (a squadron of which corps was serving with the French army), highly distinguished themselves. The town surrendered on the 2nd of July.
Before the following year King Charles II. concluded a treaty of peace with the Dutch Republic; but his Majesty did not withdraw the whole of his troops from France; and during the campaign of 1674 Douglas' Regiment, with the Scots regiment of Hamilton, and the English regiments of Monmouth and Churchill, served with the French army on the Rhine, commanded by Marshal Turenne. In the early part of June, Douglas' Regiment was encamped near Philipsburg, a town in the west of Germany about half a mile from the Rhine, and was formed in brigade with the French regiments of Plessis and La Ferté, with a battalion of detachments, commanded by Brigadier-General the Marquis of Douglas.
The opposing armies having taken the field, Douglas' Regiment was suddenly withdrawn from the vicinity of Philipsburg, and, after crossing the Rhine, advanced towards the ancient city of Heidelberg, to prevent the junction of the forces under the Duke of Lorraine and [Pg 56]the army commanded by the Duke of Bournonville. This movement brought on several skirmishes, in which the regiment took part; it was also engaged in a sharp action on the 16th of June, when the Imperialists were defeated; and in the accounts of this action published at the time, the conduct of the regiment is spoken of in terms of commendation.
After chasing the enemy out of the Palatinate, the regiment retired with the army across the Rhine, to join the reinforcements from Alsace and other places; and after the arrival of these troops, the army re-passed the Rhine, and Douglas' and two other regiments were detached to the vicinity of Landau, and ordered to encamp within a league of the town. The regiment was subsequently detached towards Manheim, and, after taking part in several operations, in the beginning of October it was encamped at Lavantzenaw, in Alsace.
Information having been received that the Germans had passed the Rhine and advanced to Molsheim, the French and British troops quitted their camp about an hour after midnight on the 3rd of October, and after a march of several hours, arrived at the enemy's camp, and attacked them with great spirit. The conflict took place amongst woods and broken grounds, and the British troops displayed signal gallantry, fighting with a spirit and resolution which the enemy could not withstand. Many officers and men fell, yet the conflict was continued, and Lord Duras (afterwards Earl of Feversham) had three horses killed under him. Eventually the enemy were driven from the field, with the loss of ten pieces of cannon, thirty standards and colours, and several prisoners.
The Germans were subsequently reinforced by a number of fresh troops, when Marshal Turenne retired with the French and British forces, and took up a position near Saverne in Alsace, by which he prevented the Imperialists deriving much advantage from their superiority of numbers.
During the depth of the winter, when the Germans had retreated, Douglas' Regiment was placed, with several other corps, under the orders of the Marquis of Vaubrun, and engaged in the siege of Dachstein, a town in the department of the Lower Rhine. The trenches were opened during the night of the 25th of January, 1675; and during the night of the 28th, Douglas' veterans were engaged in storming the works, and lost several officers and men. Amongst the killed was the Major of the regiment, who is stated by the French historians to have been an officer of great merit. On the following day the governor surrendered the town, when the regiment was sent into quarters.
It again took the field in the month of May, and was encamped for a short time near Strasburg; at the same time the Germans, under the Count de Montecuculi, menaced the city of Philipsburg with a siege; but the French and British forces passed the Rhine on the 7th of June, when the Germans changed their position, and the two armies confronted each other, and manœuvred for several days in the territory bordering on the Rhine. Douglas' Regiment, having been on a detached service for some time, was suddenly ordered to join the main army, from whence it was afterwards sent to Treves to[Pg 58] reinforce the garrison. Several sharp skirmishes occurred; and on the 27th of July, as Marshal Turenne was reconnoitring the enemy, he was killed by a cannon-ball. After the death of this celebrated veteran, the army was commanded ad interim by the Count de Lorge, who retreated across the Rhine. The Germans attacked their adversaries while making this retrograde movement, when the gallant conduct of two battalions of veteran Scots saved the main army from a severe loss. Treves was afterwards besieged by the Germans, and Douglas' Regiment highly distinguished itself in the defence of this ancient city, under the command of Marshal de Crequi. The French troops mutinied, and endeavoured to compel the governor to surrender, but Douglas' Scots stood by the Marshal in the desperate defence of the town, and were thanked for their conduct by Louis XIV. Treves was surrendered on the 5th of September, and the regiment was bound by the articles not to serve for three months, either in the field or in the defence of any town.
The French monarch having employed the greater part of his forces in making conquests in the Netherlands, a small army, of which Douglas' and Hamilton's Scots regiments formed part, was employed on the Rhine during the campaign of 1676, under the orders of Marshal Luxembourg. The imperial army, commanded by the Duke of Lorraine, had great superiority of numbers. In the beginning of June, the two armies were manœuvring and skirmishing in Alsace; and on the 5th of that month, while the French were retiring through the mountains near Saverne, the Germans attacked the rear-guard with great fury, and, having forced a defile, put several French squadrons into confusion. But as the German horsemen galloped between the mountains in pursuit, two battalions of Scots foot having taken post on some high ground[Pg 59] beyond the defile, the musketeers opened so tremendous a fire that the pursuing squadrons were checked and forced to retire, when a regiment of German horse, and several squadrons of Lorraine dragoons, were nearly destroyed. In this rencontre Sir George Hamilton and several other officers of distinction were killed. The French army subsequently formed an entrenched camp near Saverne; and the Germans besieged Philipsburg, which was surrendered on the 15th of September.
During the campaign of 1677, the French army on the Rhine was commanded by Marshal de Crequi. The British troops with this army consisted this year of two squadrons of Royal English horse, and two battalions of Douglas' and a battalion of Monmouth's regiments. The opposing armies took the field, and after much manœuvring and skirmishing, the Prince of Saxe-Eysenach, who commanded a division of Germans, having been driven into an island on the Rhine, was forced to capitulate. A sharp skirmish afterwards took place at Kochersberg, in Alsace, when the Imperialists were defeated, and sustained great loss. Fribourg was subsequently besieged by a detachment from the French army, and the garrison surrendered on the 16th of November, when Douglas' regiment proceeded into winter quarters.
At length the conquests effected by France occasioned the English Court and Parliament to become sensible of the necessity of restraining the ambition of Louis XIV.;[Pg 60] and King Charles II., having concluded a treaty with the Dutch, gave orders for the British troops in the French service to return to England; at the same time, his Majesty issued commissions for an augmentation of about twenty thousand men to the English army, and declared his determination of engaging in the war with France. Dumbarton's Regiment, as it was now designated, accordingly received orders in the early part of the year 1678 to quit the service of the French monarch, and from this period it has been permanently on the British establishment.
Soon after the arrival of the regiment from France, a number of men, who each carried a large pouch filled with Hand-Grenades, were added to the establishment, and formed into a company, under the command of Captain Robert Hodges. These men were instructed to ignite the fuses, and to cast the grenades into forts, trenches, or amidst the ranks of their enemies, where the explosion was calculated to produce much execution; and the men, deriving their designation from the combustibles with which they were armed, were styled Grenadiers. Their duties were considered more arduous than those of the pikemen or musketeers; and the strongest and most active men were selected for the grenadier company. And although the hand-grenades have long been laid aside, yet one company, which is designated the "Grenadier Company," continues to form part of every battalion.
In 1679, Dumbarton's Regiment, which consisted at this period of twenty-one companies, was stationed in Ireland. In the autumn of this year, Tangier, in Africa (which had been ceded by Portugal to Charles II., in 1662, as part of the marriage-portion of his consort,[Pg 61] Donna Catherina, Infanta of Portugal), was besieged by the Moors, who destroyed two forts at a short distance from the town, and then retired.
They, however, again appeared before the town in the spring of 1680, when four companies of Dumbarton's Regiment were ordered to reinforce the garrison; and these companies having embarked at Kinsale in the James and Swan frigates, landed at Tangier on the 4th of April.
Fort Henrietta, which stood at a short distance from the town, was at this time besieged by the Moors, and two breaches having been made, and the works undermined, the garrison could not maintain the place; consequently a sally from the city was resolved upon, to give the garrison an opportunity of blowing up the fort, and of cutting their passage through the Moorish army to the town; and Captain Hume, Lieutenant Pierson, Lieutenant Bayley, four serjeants, and 80 private men, of Dumbarton's Regiment, were selected to form the forlorn-hope in the sally. Accordingly, at eight o'clock on the morning of the 12th of May, Dumbarton's veterans issued from the town, and made a gallant attack on the Moorish army; at the same time the garrison in the fort blew up the building, and rushed forward, sword in hand, to cut their passage through the barbarians. The conflict was sharp: the Moors came running forward in crowds to cut off this devoted band; yet these resolute Britons forced the first trench, and gained the second. This was, however, twelve feet deep; and while struggling to overcome the difficulty, Captain Trelawny and 120 men were killed by the Moors; and only forty-four officers and men succeeded in joining Captain Hume and his party of veteran Scots. This party was also attacked by several bodies of Moorish horsemen, who were all[Pg 62] expert lancers; but the barbarians were repulsed. One Moorish chieftain rode over Captain Hume; but his horse fell, and the barbarian was immediately killed. The men continued skirmishing, and retiring in good order until they arrived under the protection of the guns of the fortress. The companies of Dumbarton's Regiment lost on this occasion fifteen men killed, and Captain Hume and several men wounded.
In a few days after this action a cessation of hostilities was agreed upon with the Moors for four months; and during the summer twelve additional companies of Dumbarton's Regiment arrived at Tangier, from Ireland, under the command of Major Sir James Hackett. The arrival of these celebrated veterans is thus announced in one of the publications of that period:—"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."
Hostilities again commenced in September, when the garrison quitted the town, and encamped under the walls; and the Lieut.-Governor, Sir Palmes Fairborne, is reported to have made the following speech to Dumbarton's Scots:—"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 expectations of the Lieutenant-Governor, with regard to these celebrated Scots, appear to have been realised; and in the various skirmishes and actions which followed, they always signalised themselves. In the account of a sharp action fought on the 20th of September, it is reported that "The grenadiers under Captain Hodges behaved themselves very bravely." On the 22nd of the same month, "Some of the Moorish horse advanced resolutely to the very line where our men were lodged, but were repulsed, and several of them killed. Several of the Scots grenadiers, who were very active and daring, advancing a little too far, were killed, and others, advancing to their relief, were likewise hard put to it." A sharp skirmish was afterwards kept up throughout the day, and "The Scots and the seamen from the fleet were hotly engaged, having[Pg 64] beat the Moors out of several trenches." While retiring, Captain Fitzpatrick was attacked by a Moorish chieftain, but was delivered by a shot which brought the barbarian down at the moment he was about to spear the captain. A Scots grenadier, of undaunted bravery, being desirous of possessing the Moor's charger, leaped over the trenches and seized the horse; but this brave man was immediately afterwards cut to pieces by a party of Moors, who came galloping forward at the moment he was about to retire with the horse. On the same day it was resolved, in consequence of a newly-erected fort being completed, to retire within the walls, when Sir James Hackett, at the head of Dumbarton's Scots, covered the retrograde movement, and repulsed several charges made by the Moorish lancers.
A sally was made from the town on the 24th of September, when the Scots again distinguished themselves, and had Captain Forbes and eight men killed. The Lieut.-Governor, Sir Palmes Fairborne, also received a mortal wound, and was succeeded in the command of the garrison by Lieut.-Colonel Sackville of the Foot Guards.
On the 27th of September, a general sally of the garrison was made on the Moorish lines, where between fourteen and fifteen thousand barbarians were encamped. About three in the morning, the troops issued in silence from the town, and formed in order of battle. Soon afterwards the signal for the attack was given, when Dumbarton's company of Scots grenadiers, led by Captain Hodges, and followed by the remaining companies of the regiment, rushed towards the Moorish lines with the [Pg 65]velocity of lightning. The Moors, who were reposing beyond their trenches, were suddenly aroused by the sound of a trampling multitude rushing to battle; and the next moment a shower of hand-grenades bursting amongst them put them in some confusion; yet they sprang to their arms, and, standing firm to receive the charge, disputed the ground with firmness. Soon the action became general, and "Nothing was heard but the roaring of cannon, the firing of muskets, and the loud acclamations of the Christians, who, ever and anon, when they gained any trench of the enemy, raised a shout which pierced the clouds, and echoed in the sky." Dumbarton's veterans quickly carried the first trench, then mixing in fierce combat with the Moors, soon proved that a valiant Scot was more than a match for one of the dusky sons of Africa. The first trench having been won, a portion of it was levelled for the cavalry, and the British and Spanish horsemen charged the Moors, and plunging amidst the dark masses, trampled and cut down the astonished Africans. At the same time the British grenadiers were seen using their hatchets with dreadful execution on one side, the pikemen were bearing down all before them on another, and, the musketeers, having slung their muskets, were fighting, sword in hand, with an impetuosity which the Moors could not withstand. The waving masses of barbarians were broken, and they fled like a scattered swarm over the land; the British troops pursued, and a number of single combats followed, for the Moors were more expert in personal conflicts than in fighting in large bodies. These combats, however, generally terminated in favour of the British; and the Scots, particularly Captain Hodges and his grenadier [Pg 66]company, were distinguished for the number they slew. Thus the siege of Tangier was raised, and Dumbarton's veteran Scots captured a splendid colour from the Moors. The regiment lost in this action, Lieutenants Scott and St. Leger; Ensigns Farrell, Murray, Bell, and Rhue; six serjeants, and thirty private soldiers killed; Captains Lockart, Lundy, Hume, Douglas, and Percy; Lieutenants Glascock, Murray, Ennis, Corson, Bainesman, Macrohen, Stuart, Aukmooty, and Butler; with Ensign Mowast, and one hundred serjeants and private men wounded.
In a few days after this engagement a truce was concluded with the Moors for six months; and in the early [Pg 67]part of December a regiment of foot (now the Fourth, or King's own), with 200 recruits for Dumbarton's Regiment, arrived from England.
During the winter, Lieut.-Colonel Kirk was sent on an embassy to Muley-Ismael, Emperor of Morocco. In the spring of 1681, a treaty of peace for four years was concluded and sent to England by Captain Thomas Langston.
King Charles II., however, found the maintenance of a sufficient garrison at Tangier too expensive to be continued without the aid of a grant from parliament. At the same time the nation was more alarmed at the prospect of a popish successor to the throne than at the apprehension of losing this fortress, which they feared would become a nursery for popish soldiers. The advantage derived from the Levant trade, and other arguments, were brought forward in favour of maintaining Tangier; but the parliament refused the necessary supply; and towards the end of 1683, Admiral Lord Dartmouth was sent with a fleet to demolish the fortress, and to bring away the garrison and British inhabitants.
One company of Dumbarton's Regiment arrived from Tangier, in November, 1683, and landed at Gravesend; and the remainder arrived in the river Thames in February, 1684, and, having landed at Rochester, were quartered—eight companies at Rochester and Chatham, six at Winchester, and two at Southampton. At the same time directions were sent to the Duke of Ormond, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, to send the five companies of the regiment in that country to England.
In June of this year four companies attended the Duchess of York (afterwards Queen of England) at Tunbridge Wells; and in the autumn King Charles II.[Pg 68] conferred upon this celebrated regiment the title of The Royal Regiment of Foot.
On the 1st of October, sixteen companies of the Royal Regiment, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Sir James Hackett, were reviewed, with a number of other corps, by King Charles II., on Putney Heath. "The Coldstream, my Lord Dumbarton's, and the Admiral's Battalions, successively exercised all three by beat of drum, the military postures of pike, sword, and musket, every man dexterously discharging his duties with an exact and general readiness, to the great delight of their Majesties and Royal Highnesses, who vouchsafed, all the time of exercise, to grace the arms with their presence. The other two battalions of the Royal Regiment had not fallen short of the like performance, if illness of weather, when they just intended it, had not prevented: the day proving wet and showery was a general impediment from proceeding at that time to any other motions customary upon the like reviews; and all decamped sooner than otherwise they would have done." In the Army List, published by Nathan Brooks, in October, 1684, the Royal, or Dumbarton's Regiment, is [Pg 69]stated to "consist of twenty-one companies, two lieutenants to each company, three serjeants, three corporals, and two drums, established; distinguished by red coats lined with white; sashes white, with a white fringe; breeches and stockings light grey; grenadiers distinguished by caps lined white, the lion's face, proper, crowned; flys St. Andrew's cross, with thistle and crown, circumscribed in the centre, 'Nemo me impunè lacessit.'"
After the review, the regiment was stationed in extensive cantonments in the county of Kent, where it remained until the death of King Charles II., on the 6th February, 1685, when it was suddenly ordered to march into quarters in London and the adjacent villages. Although King James II. was known to be a papist, yet no opposition was made to his accession to the throne; and in March four companies proceeded to Yarmouth, and four to Rochester, leaving thirteen companies in quarters in the metropolis.
The tranquillity of the kingdom was, however, suddenly disturbed in June, 1685, by the rebellion of James, Duke of Monmouth, who appeared on the western coast with a band of followers, and asserted his pretensions to the throne, when orders were issued for the Royal Regiment to be augmented to one hundred men per company, and five companies were sent from London to Portsmouth, to increase the strength of that garrison.
Shortly afterwards, Brigadier-General Lord Churchill (afterwards the Great Duke of Marlborough) was sent to the west of England with a body of troops to oppose the rebels; and another division of the army followed under the direction of Lieut.-General the Earl of Feversham,[Pg 70] who was appointed to the command of the royal forces. At the same time five companies of the Royal Regiment of foot, under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Douglas, and a troop of the Royal Horse Guards, commanded by Sir Francis Compton, were sent from London with the train of artillery to be employed on this service. The four companies of the Royal Regiment at Yarmouth were at the same time ordered to march to London; so that during Monmouth's rebellion the regiment was employed as follows:—Five companies with the army; five in garrison at Portsmouth; seven attending the court in London; and four at Rochester.
The five companies of the Royal Regiment, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel Douglas, with nine field-pieces, having joined the army under the Earl of Feversham, the rebels found it necessary to move to Bridgewater. The King's forces advanced to the village of Weston, where they arrived on the 5th of July, and the cavalry having been quartered in the village, the infantry encamped on Sedgemoor. The Royals, being formed in one small battalion, took the right of the line, and were posted behind a deep ditch; a squadron of horse and fifty dragoons were sent forward as an advanced guard, and one hundred of the Royals were kept under arms in readiness to support the cavalry out-guards. During the night the rebels marched out of Bridgewater, with the design of surprising the King's forces; but the guard having given an alarm, the five companies of the Royal Regiment were formed in order of battle in a few moments, and opening their fire upon the advancing [Pg 71]rebels with good effect, held them in check, and gave time to the other battalions to form, and for the cavalry to draw out of the village. The rebel cavalry, under Lord Grey, first attempted to charge the Royals, but being unable to cross the ditch, they were driven back by the steady fire of the veteran Scots. The rebel infantry, headed by the Duke of Monmouth, directing their march by the fire, first attacked the Royals, and extending along the moor, a sharp combat of musketry ensued in the dark. The rebel foot, consisting principally of miners, fought with desperation; but their cavalry was soon chased out of the field by the King's horsemen; and when daylight appeared, the Life Guards, Royal Horse Guards, and Royal Dragoons, charged the right flank of the rebel infantry, and put Monmouth's untrained battalions into disorder. A complete rout ensued; the insurgents fled from the moor; and numbers were slain and made prisoners in the adjoining fields. The companies of the Royal Regiment were foremost in the pursuit, and captured the Duke of Monmouth's standard with his motto in gold letters,—"Fear none But God."
The Duke of Monmouth was taken prisoner soon afterwards, and was beheaded on the 15th of July on Tower-Hill, London.
Thus the rebellion was suppressed; and the sum of 397l. was paid to the officers and soldiers of the Royal Regiment of foot who were wounded in this service, as is set forth in the following warrant, copied from the public accounts of that period:—
"Whereas by the establishment of our forces, we have been graciously pleased to direct that an allowance be made to such officers and soldiers as should be wounded or hurt in our service; our will and pleasure is, that out of such monies as are or shall come to your hands for the contingent use of our guards, &c., you cause the sums following to be paid to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers, of our Royal Regiment of Foot, hereunder mentioned, viz.:—
|Capt. Jas. Moncrief||40||0||0|
|Lieut. Jno. Stirling||20||0||0|
|" Rob. Dury||20||0||0|
|" Thos. Bruce||20||0||0|
|" Jno. Livingston||35||0||0|
|" Jno. M'Kullock||25||0||0|
|" Jas. Law.||15||0||0|
|Edwd. Correll, jun.||8||0||0|
|John Mackenzie, jun.||2||0||0|
|John Adams, jun.||8||0||0|
"Which sums, amounting to three hundred and ninety-seven pounds, are to be paid to the said persons, in satisfaction for their wounds received in our service during the late rebellion; provided none of them be already admitted to the allowance appointed for our Royal Hospital, near Chelsea. And for so doing, this, together with the acquittances of the said persons, or their assigns, shall be your discharge.
"Given at our Court at Whitehall this 16th day of May, 1686.
"By his Majesty's command,
"To our trusty and well-beloved Cousin and Councillor Richard, Earl of Ranelagh, our Paymaster-General, &c. &c. &c."
The following men of the Royal Regiment, who were admitted into the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, received the sums set down against their names:—
|J. Batchelor, 10 marks||6||13||4|
Serjeant Weems of the Royal Regiment particularly distinguished himself; and a warrant of James II. directs that he should be paid "Forty pounds for good service in the action at Sedgemoor, in firing the great guns against the rebels."
A few days after the battle, the establishment of the Royal Regiment was reduced from 100 to 50 private men per company; and in August eleven companies were encamped on Hounslow Heath, where they were reviewed by the King. In September, thirteen com[Pg 74]panies marched to Winchester, to attend the court at that city; and the regiment passed the winter at Portsmouth and Exeter, with one company detached to Lynn.
At this period the establishment of the regiment consisted of 1 colonel, 1 lieutenant-colonel, 1 major, 18 captains, 1 captain-lieutenant, 41 lieutenants, 21 ensigns, 1 adjutant, 1 chaplain, 1 quarter-master and marshal, 1 chirurgeon, 1 chirurgeon's mate, 1 drum-major, 1 piper, 42 drummers, 63 serjeants, 63 corporals, and 1050 private soldiers. The privilege of having two lieutenants and three serjeants to each company appears to have been peculiar to this regiment; and a warrant of King James II., dated the 1st of January, 1686, directs that "As any of the lieutenants of the Royal Regiment shall die, or be displaced, their number be reduced to one lieutenant only in each company of this regiment; and that as the serjeants shall die, or be displaced, they be in the same manner reduced to two in each company."
On the 1st of March, 1686, a second adjutant and a second surgeon's mate were added to the establishment, and the regiment was again divided into two battalions; the first battalion consisting of eleven, and the second of ten companies; and in April the second battalion embarked at Gravesend for Scotland. At the same time the whole of the first battalion was placed in garrison at Portsmouth, from whence it marched in June following to the vicinity of Hounslow, and on the 24th of that month erected its tents on the heath, where about twelve thousand men were encamped, under the orders of Lieut.-Generals the Earls of Feversham and Dumbarton, and[Pg 75] were frequently exercised in presence of the royal family. In July, four companies marched from Hounslow Heath, and encamped near Tunbridge Wells, to attend the Princess Anne (afterwards Queen Anne) during her residence at that place; and in August the battalion struck its tents, and marched to Yarmouth and Bungay, with a detachment at Landguard-Fort, where it passed the winter.
From these quarters the first battalion was removed in the spring of 1637 to the vicinity of London, where it halted a few days, and afterwards proceeded to Portsmouth, and passed the summer months in that garrison. In the autumn it marched into Yorkshire; and the men were employed dining the winter in working on the fortifications at Hull.
In April, 1688, the first battalion was recalled from Yorkshire, and was stationed at Greenwich, Woolwich, and Deptford, until the 26th of June, when it encamped on Hounslow Heath.
In the meantime the second battalion had marched from Scotland to York. In August it proceeded to Hertford and Ware; and in September to Gravesend, where the first battalion had previously arrived from Hounslow Heath; and the two battalions being again united, occupied Gravesend, Tilbury-Fort, Sheerness, and other places along the banks of the Thames and the coast of Kent.
At this period the nation was violently agitated by political events. The King, being a roman catholic, and being guided by jesuitical councils, and countenanced and encouraged by a few families of the same persuasion, was attempting to effect the subversion of the established religion and laws. At the same time many noblemen and gentlemen who felt the greatest concern for the welfare of their country had invited the Prince of Orange to[Pg 76] come to England with a Dutch army to aid them in resisting the proceedings of the court. Thus the kingdom was divided against itself, and men were looking forward, with a mixed feeling of hope, terror, and consternation, to the great convulsion which threatened the State. The King made preparations to avert the danger, and augmented his army, when the Royal Regiment was increased to 26 companies, and the total strength to 1858 officers and soldiers, each battalion having now a grenadier company.
In the early part of November, the Dutch fleet having sailed past Dover, the Royal Regiment was ordered to the west; and when the Prince of Orange had landed at Torbay and advanced to Exeter, it proceeded to Warminster, which was the most advanced post of the royal army. The head-quarters were at Salisbury, and King James reviewed his army on Salisbury Plain on the 21st of November. But his Majesty found that his conduct had alienated the affections not only of his subjects in general, but of the officers and soldiers of his army, many of whom forsook his camp and joined the Prince of Orange. Yet, while many of the nobility and gentry, with officers and soldiers from almost every regiment in the army, were quitting the King's standard daily, the Royal Regiment of Foot was an exception; it preserved its ranks entire, and stood with an unshaken loyalty amidst the general defection which prevailed in the kingdom.
When the King ordered his forces to retire towards London, the Royal Regiment marched, first to Devizes, and afterwards to Windsor, where it arrived on the 29th of November. The desertions continuing, the King sent orders to Lieut.-General the Earl of Feversham to make no further resistance to the Prince of Orange, and his Majesty afterwards attempted to effect his escape to[Pg 77] France. These orders produced much confusion. Several corps were disbanded; and the men spreading themselves in parties over the country, committed many disorders. The Royal Regiment, however, appears to have been equally conspicuous for good order as for loyalty, and continued at its post of duty until directed by the Prince of Orange to march to Oxford.
Although the King failed in his first attempt to escape to France, yet he afterwards succeeded, and having been followed by the Earl of Dumbarton, the Colonel of the Royal Regiment, the Prince of Orange conferred the Colonelcy on one of his most distinguished officers, Marshal Frederick De Schomberg, afterwards Duke Schomberg.
After these events had transpired, a convention was assembled, which declared the throne abdicated and vacant, and conferred the sovereignty on William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange. Many of the officers and men of the Royal Regiment were, however, not satisfied with the new arrangements. Their regiment had been King James's favourite corps, on account of its antiquity, valour, and good conduct, and its having served with his Majesty in France, when he was an exile. Having preserved their loyalty to the last, the officers and men did not expect much favour from the new king. At the same time they were not pleased that a foreigner, Marshal Schomberg, though an officer of distinguished merit, should be placed at the head of a national Scots corps. While these feelings were prevalent in the breasts of the officers and men, the regiment received orders to embark for the Netherlands to replace the Dutch troops which were in England. This order was considered premature: the national assembly in Scotland had not declared for King William, and the Scots officers and[Pg 78] soldiers did not consider themselves bound to obey the commands of a king who had not been acknowledged in Scotland. Under this impression a number of officers and men mutinied, and, seizing the money appointed for their pay, marched with four pieces of cannon towards Scotland. At the same time the Royal Regiment of Scots Horse, commanded by Major-General Viscount Dundee, deserted from its quarters at Abingdon, and proceeded in the same direction. The King sent Major-General Sir John Lanier with his own (now the First Dragoon Guards), and Colonel Langston's regiment of horse, and Lieut.-General De Ginkell (afterwards Earl of Athlone) with three regiments of Dutch dragoons, in pursuit of the mutineers; and these troops having overtaken the men of the Royal Regiment in Lincolnshire, about twenty officers and five hundred men, who had previously become convinced of their error, laid down their arms and submitted themselves to the King's clemency. King William III. is reported to have repeatedly expressed his admiration of the firm loyalty and attachment evinced by the officers and soldiers of the Royal Regiment to their former sovereign, when he was forsaken by almost every other person; and the King, after dismissing three or four officers, pardoned the remainder of the regiment, and ordered the first battalion to be completed to its establish[Pg 79]ment from the second, and to proceed to its original destination.
The second battalion of the Royal Regiment having transferred its serviceable men to the first, proceeded to Scotland; and the first battalion embarked for the Netherlands, where it arrived in the beginning of May, 1689, and joined the Dutch camp at Tongres in the early part of June. The British troops were commanded by the Earl of Marlborough, and the combined army by Prince Waldeck. The Royals were employed in several operations; and on the 25th of August they took part in a sharp action with the French troops commanded by Marshal d'Humieres, at Walcourt, in the province of Namur. The enemy attacked a foraging-party, and this brought on a sharp action, in which the British infantry evinced firmness and intrepidity, particularly a detachment under Colonel Robert Hodges; and the French were repulsed with considerable loss.
During the winter, the second battalion of the Royal
Regiment, having recruited its ranks, was sent from Scotland to Holland; and in the summer of 1690 both battalions took the field. On the 21st of June, the regiment was on its march to Brussels; but Prince Waldeck, without waiting for the arrival of the British troops, engaged the French at Fleurus, and was defeated. This disaster reduced the combined army to the necessity of limiting its operations, and acting on the defensive during the remainder of the campaign.
On the 1st of July, 1690, Marshal Duke Schomberg was killed at the battle of the Boyne in Ireland; and the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment remained vacant until the 5th of March, 1691, when it was conferred by King William III. on Lieut.-Colonel Sir Robert Douglas.
The regiment having been withdrawn from its winter quarters in the month of March, 1691, was encamped at Halle, in South Brabant, where the first battalion was formed in brigade with the Scots Foot Guards, and the regiments of Ramsay, Angus, Mackay, and Hodges; and the second battalion was posted, with O'Ffarrel's regiment, between two divisions of Dutch infantry. The French besieged Mons, and the confederates being unable to relieve the place, the garrison surrendered on the 31st of March, when the French troops went into quarters.
After the surrender of Mons, the Royal Regiment was sent into garrison, from whence it was withdrawn in May, and was encamped near Brussels, and both battalions were formed in one brigade with the Scots regiments of Mackay, Ramsay, O'Ffarrel, and Angus, under the orders[Pg 81] of Brigadier-General Ramsay. The summer was passed by the opposing armies in manœuvring on the rich plains of the Netherlands; and in October the troops marched into quarters for the winter.
In the spring of 1692, Louis XIV. marched into the Netherlands with an immense army and besieged Namur, when the Royal Regiment was called from its cantonments, and advanced with the army, commanded by King William III. in person, to the relief of the place; but the march having been delayed by heavy rains, the garrison surrendered on the 20th of June. On the 23rd of that month, Colonel Sir Robert Douglas, with 2 captains, 2 lieutenants, 2 ensigns, and 120 private men, of the Royal Regiment, was detached, with other troops, to attempt the surprise of Mons. After marching all night, the detachment arrived about one o'clock on the following morning within a short distance of the town, when the troops were ordered to halt, and Sir Robert Douglas and Colonel O'Ffarrel, having proceeded to consult with the Prince of Wirtemberg, who commanded the party, mistook their way in the dark, and fell into the hands of a detachment of French cavalry, and were made prisoners. The enemy being found prepared to resist, the detachment returned to the camp at Mellé, and Sir Robert Douglas was released on payment of the regulated ransom, and rejoined the regiment on the 29th of June.
After several changes of position, King William resolved to attack the French army commanded by Marshal Luxembourg, at its camp, near Steenkirk. On the evening of the 23rd of July (O.S.), the first battalion of the Royal Regiment, commanded by Sir Robert Douglas, the second battalion of the 1st Foot Guards, with the regiments of Fitzpatrick and O'Ffarrel, and two bat[Pg 82]talions of Danes, were ordered forward to commence the attack on the French army, and were accompanied by a detachment from each battalion of Brigadier-General Churchill's brigade, with hatchets and spades to make a passage through the woody grounds between the two armies. Between ten and eleven o'clock on the following morning these troops arrived in front of the French camp, and took post in a thick wood, beyond which there was a small valley intersected with hedges lined with French infantry, and on the opposite side of the valley appeared the French camp. About eleven o'clock two batteries opened their fire upon the enemy; and when the main body of the army had arrived within a mile of the wood, the leading regiments issued from amongst the trees and commenced the attack. "Certainly never was a more dreadful and at the same time bolder firing heard, which for the space of two hours seemed to be a continued thunder. Our van-guard behaved in this engagement to such wonder and admiration, that though they received the charge of several battalions of the enemy, one after another, yet they made them retreat almost to their very camp." Amongst the foremost in this action was seen the brave Sir Robert Douglas at the head of the first battalion of the Royal Regiment, emulating the noblest actions recorded in the annals of war. Having led his battalion against the troops behind the first hedge, he soon cleared it of French combatants, and drove one of the enemy's battalions from the field in confusion. A second hedge was attacked and carried by the gallant Scots in a few moments:—a third was assaulted,—the French stood their ground,—the combatants fought muzzle to muzzle,—and again the Royals proved [Pg 83]victorious, and the third hedge was won. The toil of conflict did not cool the ardour of the veteran Scots; but forward they rushed with a loud huzza, and attacked the troops which lined the fourth hedge. Here the fighting was severe; but eventually the Royals overthrew a fourth French battalion, and drove a crowd of combatants from their cannon. In this conflict the first battalion lost one of its three colours. 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. "Thus the Scots commander improved upon the Roman general; for the brave Posthumius cast his standard in the middle of the enemy for his soldiers to retrieve; but Douglas retrieved his from the middle of the enemy, without any assistance, and cast it back to his soldiers to retain." While the leading regiments were thus carrying all before them, the main body of the army was a mile in the rear, and could not be brought up in time to sustain the corps in advance: the Royals and other regiments of the advance-guard, after displaying a degree of constancy and valour seldom equalled, were forced to retire; and eventually the army retreated to its camp.
The loss of the regiment in this action has not been ascertained. Mention has, however, been made in history of two Captains, viz. Mackraken and Levingston, of the Royal Regiment, who were killed; and from the returns published at the time, the brigade to which the regiment belonged lost 6 field officers, 14 captains, 24 subalterns, and 507 men killed; and 6 field officers, 20 captains, 32 subalterns, and 608 men wounded; and doubtless a number of these belonged to the Royal Regiment.
A few days after the battle, King William conferred the Colonelcy on Lord George Hamilton (afterwards Earl of Orkney) from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
On the 2nd of August, a detachment of the Royal Regiment, commanded by Captain Rowland Mackenzie, was engaged with a party of French troopers in a wood near the camp, and took twenty prisoners. Towards the end of September the regiment marched from the camp to Bruges, from whence parties were detached to Scotland to procure recruits.
Having passed the winter at Bruges, where the losses of the preceding campaign were replaced by recruits from Scotland, the regiment marched out of its quarters towards the end of April, 1693, and pitched its tents on the levels near the town, from whence it proceeded to the villages near Brussels, where it arrived on the 13th of May. On the 17th, it marched out of its village cantonments and joined the camp at Dieghem, from whence it subsequently marched to Parck camp in front of Louvaine, and had its post on the heights near Birbeck. Here it was stationed until the early part of July, when the army advanced, and, after several marches, the regiment was in position on the 18th of July, near the village [Pg 85]of Neer-Winden, in South Brabant. The first battalion had its post in the village of Neer-Landen, near the left of the line, and its grenadier company occupied a strong building at the head of the village. The second battalion was stationed on the right of the village, where a slight entrenchment was made during the night.
On the morning of the 19th of July, when the first rays of light appeared, a French army, commanded by Marshal Luxembourg, of nearly double the numbers of the confederates under King William, was discovered in order of battle within cannon-shot of the position. The batteries instantly opened their fire, and, about eight o'clock, six French brigades attacked the post at Laér and Neer-Winden, but were repulsed. The enemy next attacked the village of Neer-Landen with four brigades, and the first battalion of the Royal Regiment stood its ground manfully. The French came rushing to the attack with great fury, but the head of their column was pierced by a shower of musket balls, and the killed and wounded crowded the street, while the grenadiers of the Royal Regiment threw their grenades, with unerring aim, from the windows of the house they occupied. The French, however, pressed forward, and the battalion, being unable to resist the host of combatants which assailed it, was forced to retire; at the same time the house occupied by the grenadiers was set on fire. At this moment the Queen Dowager's Regiment (now 2nd Foot, or Queen's Royal) advanced to the assistance of the Royals, and the two battalions renewed the fight [Pg 86]with great bravery. Prince Frederick's and Fagel's Dutch regiments also advanced to support the two British battalions; at the same time King William came galloping to that part of the field, and his presence inspired the combatants with new ardour. The French disputed the ground for some time, but after a fierce conflict of about two hours' duration, they gave way, and were driven through the defile into the plain; and the Royal and Queen Dowager's battalions, which had fought together at Tangier in Africa, stood triumphant at the end of the village, and were thanked for their gallantry by the King. Notwithstanding this success, the fortune of the day turned eventually in favour of the French, who carried the village of Neer-Winden, and broke into the King's camp, when their superiority of numbers gave them a decided advantage. The Royals were withdrawn from their post; and the King ordered a retreat, which was effected with difficulty, and was attended with great loss. The loss of the enemy was, however, so great, that he derived little advantage from this victory, excepting the power of besieging Charleroi, which was taken in the autumn. The loss of the Royal Regiment does not appear to have been great; the only officers of this corps mentioned by D'Auvergne amongst the killed and wounded are—Captain Young died of his wounds, with Captain Sir James Cockburn, Lieutenants Brown and Blake, and Ensign White wounded. In October the regiment marched to Bruges, and parties were again sent to Scotland to procure recruits to replace the loss sustained during this campaign.
On the 18th of May, 1694, the first battalion marched out of its winter quarters, and on the following day encamped near Ghent; and, resuming its march on the 21st, proceeded to the general rendezvous of the army[Pg 87] near Louvaine, where it arrived on the 28th of that month.
Meanwhile, the second battalion remained in garrison at Bruges, and in June it marched out of the town and encamped along the banks of the canal towards Ghent, where a small army of observation was assembled under the orders of the Spanish general, Count de Merode Thian.
The first battalion marched with the army commanded by King William in person, from the vicinity of Louvaine, on the 13th of July, and was afterwards encamped at Mont St. André. In the middle of August the King attempted by a forced march to cross the enemy's lines and penetrate into French Flanders; but the French, by extraordinary exertions, gained the pass first, and thus preserved their country from an invasion.
Towards the end of August the second battalion quitted its post on the Bruges Canal, and joined the first battalion at the camp at Rousselaér; and both battalions formed part of the covering army during the period the Prussians and Dutch were engaged in the siege of Huy, and the men, having to remain in the fields in wet weather, erected huts of wood and straw. Huy surrendered on the 17th of September, and in October the Royal Regiment returned to its former station at Bruges.
Having passed the winter and spring in convenient quarters, the Royal Regiment again took the field on the 26th of May, 1695; and on the 21st of June the first battalion, commanded by Colonel Lord George Hamilton, was detached to engage in the siege of the strong fortress of Namur; at the same time, the second battalion remained with the covering army, commanded by the Prince of Vaudemont, encamped near the river Lys.
Namur was, at this period, deemed almost impregnable,[Pg 88] and the garrison, consisting of twenty battalions of infantry, and twenty-four squadrons of dragoons, was commanded by Marshal Boufflers, an officer celebrated for bravery and perseverance; a vigorous defence was consequently anticipated.
The first battalion of the Royal Regiment was stationed for several days at Templeux, a post about five miles from Namur, and on the 8th of July it took its station in the lines of circumvallation, and was ordered to take part in an assault upon the covered-way near the hill of Bouge, on the same evening. The signal for the attack was given about seven o'clock, when the Foot Guards advanced boldly up to the enemy's palisades, and placed the muzzles of their muskets between the staves, fired a volley which put the French into some confusion. The palisades were afterwards broken, and the troops rushed forward to attack the second covered-way. During the first attack the Royals supported the Dutch Foot Guards, but when the first palisades were broken down, the Scots rushed furiously forward with the Foot Guards, the second covered-way was carried, the French were overpowered, driven from their works, and chased amongst the batteries on the brow of the hill, and many of them sought a refuge from the fury of their assailants in the stone pits. The Royals gained great credit for their conduct on this occasion; and had Captains Sanderson and Dixon, Lieutenant Penefather, and Ensign Cockburn, killed; and Colonel Lord George Hamilton, Captain Hamilton, and Ensigns Carre and Vernal, wounded.
On the 10th of July the battalion was on duty in the trenches, and as it marched out on the following day Major Macilivan was killed by a cannon-ball from the castle of Namur: on the same day its Colonel was pro[Pg 89]moted to the rank of Brigadier-General. The battalion was again on duty in the trenches on the 13th of July; and on the evening of the 17th it was engaged in storming the counterscarp. The attack was commenced by the grenadiers, who rushed to the glacis, cast their grenades over the palisades into the covered-way, and, following up this attack with spirit, the troops carried the counterscarp in gallant style.
An assault was made on the 23rd of July, on the covered-way and traverses between the bastion of St. Roche and the Porte de Fer, and the first battalion of the Royal Regiment formed part of the storming party. The attack was made a little before sunset, and, after a sharp contest, a lodgment was effected. The only loss sustained by the battalion in this service appears to have been Lieutenant Archibald Hamilton and a few private men wounded. The Dutch and Brandenburgers were also successful at their points of attack, and on the 24th of July, when preparations were making for another assault, the garrison hoisted a white flag, and agreed to surrender the town, which was delivered up on the following day, when the garrison retired into the castle, where they resolved to defend themselves to the last extremity.
After the surrender of the town of Namur the first battalion of the Royal Regiment marched from the lines of circumvallation to Genappe, where a small force was assembled under the Earl of Athlone to co-operate with the covering army; Captain Burgh and Lieutenant Wallis of the Royals, however, remained with the forces engaged in the siege of the castle, in the capacity of engineers. From Genappe the first battalion marched to the village of Waterloo, and there pitched its tents.[Pg 90] Meanwhile, the second battalion had been engaged in several movements for the preservation of Ghent, Bruges, and the maritime towns of Flanders, and was, at this period, encamped near Brussels. The confederate army being thus divided, part carrying on the siege of the castle of Namur, and the remainder stationed in various places in the Netherlands, the French commander, Marshal Villeroy, having assembled an immense army, advanced to Brussels and bombarded the city; he afterwards marched towards Namur, with the design of raising the siege of the castle; when both battalions of the Royal Regiment, with the remainder of the covering army, proceeded to the vicinity of Namur, and took up a position to cover the siege. This position the French commander did not venture to attack, and the siege of the castle was prosecuted with vigour. On the 20th of August, the grenadier companies of the Royal Regiment quitted the covering army to take part in an assault upon the castle, and were engaged in storming the counterscarp and breach of the Terra Nova, under the orders of Lord Cutts. This proved a severe and sanguinary service; the assailants and defenders fought with distinguished bravery, and, although the castle was not carried, yet several lodgments were effected. The Royals had Lieutenant William Hamilton and several men killed, and others wounded; Lieutenant Archibald Hamilton, who was wounded in the third attack on the town, was again wounded on this occasion. Preparations were afterwards made for a second assault, when the garrison surrendered, and marched out on the 26th of August (O.S.) Thus this important conquest was effected, and the military reputation of King William was elevated; at the same time, new lustre was reflected on the confe[Pg 91]derate arms. The summer having been spent in making this capture, after the works were repaired, the Royals marched back to Bruges.
In this city they passed the winter, and the losses of the preceding campaign were replaced. On the 9th of May, 1696, they marched out of Bruges, and pitched their tents along the banks of the canal towards Ghent; and having received their new clothing from England a few days before, they were reviewed, with several other corps, on the 16th of May, by the Prince of Vaudemont, and on the 28th by King William, and their appearance and discipline excited admiration.
The regiment passed this summer in camp along the banks of the Bruges canal, having its post on the right of the bridge at Mary-Kirk; and in the autumn it again proceeded into quarters at Bruges, where five regiments of cavalry and eleven of infantry were stationed during the winter.
In the spring of 1697, when the Royal Regiment took the field, four companies were left in garrison at Bruges, where they remained during the summer. The remainder of the regiment marched to Brussels in the early part of March, and advanced from thence on the 12th of April to Waterloo, where a camp was formed of four English and eight Dutch battalions. The regiment was subsequently engaged in the several operations of the main army under King William; during the latter part of the month of May and the beginning of June it was encamped, with the army, on the plain of Bois-Seigneur-Isaac, and was stationed in front of the King's quarter; in the middle of June it marched to the vicinity of Brussels, and was encamped before that city until the war was terminated by the treaty of Ryswick, which was[Pg 92] signed during the night between the 10th and 11th of September, 1697.
After the conclusion of the peace of Ryswick the Royal Regiment marched from Brussels to Ghent, and during the winter it embarked for Ireland; at the same time a reduction of four companies was made in the establishment. A further reduction was subsequently made, and in a warrant under the sign manual, bearing date the 1st of May, 1699, the numbers of the regiment are fixed at 22 companies of 3 officers, 2 serjeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 34 private men each.
Events transpired in Europe at the close of the year 1700 which occasioned the regiment to be again placed on a war establishment and sent on foreign service.
These events were the decease of Charles II., King of Spain, on the 1st of November, 1700, without issue, and the accession of Philip Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV. of France, to the throne of Spain, in violation of existing treaties, and to the prejudice of the house of Austria. Several European states being averse to the accession either of an Austrian or Bourbon prince to the throne of the Spanish monarchy, a partition had been contemplated; but the sudden acquisition of the dominions of Spain by a grandson of the most potent and ambitious monarch in Europe, with the prospect of France and Spain being eventually united under one sovereign, rendered the partition-treaty abortive, agitated the public mind, and produced a sensation of alarm throughout the greater part of Christendom.
The interest of every state being affected by the change in the dynasty of Spain, the standing armies were augmented,[Pg 93] and, while the din of hostile preparation was heard on every side, negotiations were commenced with the view of preventing a war. The French monarch, however, sent a body of troops to take possession of the Spanish Netherlands, and detained 15,000 Dutch, who, in virtue of a convention with Spain, formed the garrisons of the barrier towns. The loss of so large a body of their best troops, with the advance of a French army towards their frontiers, alarmed the States General of the United Provinces, and King William sent thirteen British battalions to Holland to assist the Dutch.
The Royal Regiment, having been augmented to 24 companies of 3 officers, 3 serjeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, and 59 private men each, was one of the corps selected to proceed on foreign service; it accordingly embarked at the Cove of Cork on the 15th of June, 1701, in two ships of war, and sailing on the following day, arrived at Helvoetsluys, on the island of Voorn, in South Holland, on the 8th of July. Here the English troops were removed from the ships of war on board of Dutch vessels, and sailed up the river Maese to the several garrisons of Breda, Gertruydenberg, Huesden, Worcum, Gorcum, and Borsch. From these stations they were recalled in the middle of September to the vicinity of Breda, and encamped on Breda Heath, where they were reviewed on the 21st of that month by King William, and afterwards returned to their former stations.
Meanwhile the death of King James II. had occurred at St. Germain in France, and Louis XIV. caused the Pretender to be proclaimed King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. This indignity offered to the British[Pg 94] sovereign and nation aroused the indignation of the people; the army was again augmented, and in the following spring additional forces were sent to Holland.
The Royal Regiment, having passed the winter amongst the Dutch, quitted its cantonments on the 10th of March, and proceeded to Rosendael, where the British infantry assembled and encamped under the orders of Brigadier-General Ingoldsby. Here the troops received information of the death of King William III. on the 8th of March, and of the accession of Queen Anne. They also learnt that Her Majesty was resolved to prosecute the war with vigour, and the officers and soldiers took the oath of allegiance to the Queen.
In the middle of April a strong fortress on the Lower Rhine called Kayserswerth, which was occupied by the French, was besieged by the Germans, and a few days afterwards the Royal and other British corps quitting their camp at Rosendael, marched across the country to the Duchy of Cleves, where they joined a body of Dutch and Germans under the Earl of Athlone, and encamped at Cranenburg on the Lower Rhine to cover the siege. While the Royal Regiment lay with the army at this camp, a French force of superior numbers, commanded by the Duke of Burgundy and Marshal Boufflers, traversed the forest of Cleves, and advanced through the plains of Goch to cut off the communication of the allied army with Grave and Nimeguen. In consequence of this movement, the allied army struck its tents a little before sunset on the 10th of June, and having continued its retreat throughout the night, arrived about eight o'clock on the following morning within a few miles of Nimeguen, at the same time the French columns appeared on both flanks and in the rear, marching with all possible expedition to surround the allies. Some sharp[Pg 95] skirmishing occurred; the Royals, Foot Guards, and other British corps forming the rear guard, behaved with distinguished gallantry, and having taken possession of some hedges and buildings, held the enemy in check while the army effected its retreat under the works of Nimeguen: in three days afterwards Kayserswerth surrendered.
In the meantime additional forces had arrived from England, and the Earl of Marlborough assumed the command of the British, Dutch, and auxiliary troops. The French had, at this period, overrun the Duchy of Cleves, and were menacing the frontiers of Holland; but when the Earl of Marlborough had assembled the troops of the several nations, he advanced against the enemy, and by skilful movements forced the French commanders to retire. The Royals formed part of the force under the Earl of Marlborough, and were engaged in several movements designed to bring on a general action, which the enemy avoided. In September the regiment was encamped a few miles from Maestricht, and formed part of the covering army during the siege of Venloo, a town in the province of Limburg, on the east side of the river Maese, which surrendered on the 25th of September. In a few days after the capture of this place, the siege of Ruremonde was undertaken; at the same time one battalion of the Royal Regiment, commanded by Brigadier-General the Earl of Orkney, was detached, with other troops, from the main army near Maestricht to besiege Stevenswart, or Fort St. Etienne, situated on a small island in the river Maese, nineteen miles from Maestricht. Two batteries opened a sharp fire against the fort in the beginning of October, and at day-break on the morning of the third of that month the troops reared their ladders against the walls and began to ascend to attack the place sword in hand, when the[Pg 96] garrison beat a parley and surrendered. The battalion of the Royal Regiment rejoined the army on the 6th of October, and Ruremonde surrendered on the same day. On the tenth, at one o'clock in the morning, the main army struck its tents and advanced in two columns towards the city of Liege, and at four in the afternoon encamped near the works. The French set the suburb of St. Walburgh on fire, and retired into the citadel and Chartreuse, when the magistrates delivered up the city, and the army commenced the siege of the citadel, which was taken by storm on the 23rd of October; the British grenadiers and fusiliers engaged in the assault highly distinguished themselves, and had 154 officers and soldiers killed, and 380 wounded. The Chartreuse surrendered a few days afterwards; and these conquests terminated the campaign. The British troops quitted the pleasant valley of Liege on the 3rd of November, and marched to Tongres, where they halted one day, and afterwards continued their route to Holland; the Royal Regiment proceeded to Breda, in which city it appears to have passed the winter in garrison, together with a battalion of Foot Guards and two or three other corps.
Leaving these quarters towards the end of April, 1703, the Royal Regiment traversed the country to the vicinity of Maestricht. Meanwhile the Dutch and Germans were besieging Bonn, a strong town on the Rhine; and the French commanders, Marshal Villeroy and Boufflers, thinking to take advantage of the dispersed state of the army, made a sudden advance to surprise the troops in their quarters. The first attack was made on two British regiments at Tongres, a town surrounded by a wall and defended by a few dilapidated towers; these [Pg 97]regiments, however, defended themselves upwards of twenty-four hours before they surrendered. While the contest was in progress at Tongres, the Royals, with a number of other corps, struck their tents, and proceeding to Maestricht, formed in order of battle near the works; the French commanders advanced and reconnoitred the position, and, after a sharp cannonade, retreated to Tongres.
Bonn surrendered in the middle of May, and the army was afterwards assembled in the vicinity of Maestricht, where the first battalion of the Royal Regiment was formed in brigade with the battalion of Foot Guards, and the regiments of Stewart, Howe, Ingoldsby, and Marlborough, under the orders of Brigadier-General Withers; and the second battalion with the regiments of North and Grey, Derby, Row, and Ferguson, under the command of Brigadier-General the Earl of Derby. On the 24th of May the army advanced towards Tongres, when the French quitted their post and made a precipitate retreat, and the confederates encamped at Thys. The army subsequently made several movements for the purpose of bringing on a general engagement, which the French avoided, and took post behind their fortified lines, where the Duke of Marlborough was desirous of attacking them, but was prevented by the Dutch generals and field deputies. In August the army advanced to Huy, a strong fortress on the Maese above the city of Liege, which was besieged and captured in ten days. Another proposal to attack the French lines was declined by the Dutch; and the main army afterwards advanced to St. Trond; at the same time a detachment [Pg 98]invested Limburg, a city of the Spanish Netherlands situated on a pleasant eminence amongst the woods near the banks of the little river Wesdet. The siege of this place was commenced on the 10th of September, and on the 27th the governor, with a garrison of 1400 men, surrendered at discretion. Thus Spanish Guelderland was delivered from the power of France, and the Dutch were freed from the dread of an invasion. The capture of Limburg was followed by the separation of the army for the winter; the Royal Regiment struck its tents on the 10th of October, and proceeded to the neighbourhood of Tongres, where it halted ten days, and afterwards continued its march through the province of Limburg to Holland.
While the army, of which the Royal Regiment formed part, was engaged in operations in the Netherlands, the Elector of Bavaria took arms against the Emperor of Germany; and a French force commanded by Marshal Villiers having traversed the Black Forest and joined the Bavarians, the united armies were making considerable progress in the heart of Germany. This event occasioned the Royals, with a great portion of the English and Dutch forces under the Duke of Marlborough, to transfer their services from the Low Countries to Germany, to arrest the progress of the French and Bavarians.
Previous to quitting the Netherlands, the regiment sent a detachment of six hundred men to Maestricht to garrison that city, while the Dutch troops were working at the entrenchments on the heights of Petersberg. In the early part of May, 1704, the remainder of the regiment marched from its winter quarters towards the Rhine, and was joined at Bedburg by the detachment from Maestricht. On the 19th of May the army directed its march from Bedburg along the course of the Rhine to[Pg 99]wards the Moselle, and traversed both rivers at Coblentz on the 25th and 26th of that month; thence proceeding towards the Maine, arrived at the suburbs of Mentz in the beginning of June; the cavalry being in advance with the Duke of Marlborough, the infantry and artillery a few stages in the rear under General Charles Churchill. From the Maine the infantry directed its march through the Landgraviate of Hesse, towards the Neckar, passed this river on the 15th of June, and proceeding in the direction of the Danube, was soon afterwards at the seat of war in Germany, and co-operating with the forces of the empire.
On the 2nd of July, at three o'clock in the morning, the army marched in the direction of Donawerth, to attack a body of French and Bavarians under the Count d'Arco, in an entrenched camp on the heights of Schellenberg, on the left bank of the Danube. After traversing a difficult tract of country, the troops crossed the river Wernitz and arrived in front of the enemy's camp, and about six in the evening the leading division, consisting of a detachment from each British regiment, with the Foot Guards, Royals, and Ingoldsby's regiment (23rd), commanded by Brigadier-General Fergusson, and a Dutch force under General Goor, advanced under cover of a heavy cannonade, to attack the enemy's entrenchments. When these brave troops arrived within the range of the enemy's cannon they were assailed by a volley of grape, which produced a dreadful carnage. General Goor and many brave officers fell; Lieut.-Col. White of the Royals was severely wounded; yet the assailants moved forward with a firm tread until they arrived at a ravine which they were unable to pass, when they shrunk back before the shower of bullets which assailed them. At this moment the enemy issued from[Pg 100] the entrenchments and charged the British and Dutch with great fury, but were gallantly opposed by the English Foot Guards. The Royals and Ingoldsby's regiment also confronted the charging Bavarians with firmness, and the enemy was repulsed and driven back into the entrenchments. A second attack was soon afterwards made on the heights, and the Royals were again sharply engaged. The French and Bavarians made a vigorous resistance, and sallying from the trenches attacked the leading regiments of the allies; the British and Dutch infantry being exhausted by a continued struggle up a rising ground, and their ranks thinned by a destructive fire, once more shrunk back; they were, however, supported by the cavalry under Lieut.-General Lumley, and having rallied, they returned to the attack with great resolution. This protracted contest shook the strength and weakened the resistance of the enemy. The Imperialists, commanded by the Margrave of Baden, arrived at the scene of conflict and attacked the enemy's left; at the same time the British and Dutch made another furious attack. Three field-officers of the Royals had already been carried from the field wounded, yet the regiment was seen pressing upon the enemy, and making a desperate effort to force the entrenchments; the Scots Greys dismounted to join in the attack; and the French and Bavarians were overpowered and driven from the heights with dreadful carnage. The cavalry under General Lumley charged the fugitives, and completed the overthrow of the enemy. Sixteen pieces of artillery, a number of standards and colours, with the enemy's tents, and the equipage, and the plate of Count d'Arco, fell into the hands of the confederates.
Thus the Royals were triumphant near the same ground where the regiment, when forming part of the[Pg 101] Green Brigade in the service of Gustavus Adolphus, distinguished itself in March 1632.
The first battalion of the Royal Regiment had Captain Murray, Ensigns M'Dugal and M'Ilroy, one serjeant, and 38 rank and file killed; and Lieut.-Colonel White, Major Cockburn, Captains Hume, Irwin, and Brown; Lieutenants Kid and Ballatine; Ensigns Stratton, Cunningham, and Stewart; with 3 serjeants, and 103 rank and file, wounded.
The second battalion had Captain Baily and Lieutenant Levingston, with 1 serjeant and 76 private men, killed; and Major Kerr, Captain Carr, Lieutenants Pearson, Moore, Vernel, Hay, Dickson, and Hamilton, Ensigns M'Queen, M'Onway, Moremere, Elliot, Inglis, and Moore, with 12 serjeants, and 184 rank and file, wounded.
The victory at Schellenberg was immediately followed by the flight of the enemy from Donawerth, which place was taken possession of by the allies. At the same time the Royal Regiment crossed the Danube, and advancing into Bavaria, was engaged in operations with the army; while the French and Bavarians, having made a hasty retreat to Augsburg, formed an entrenched camp near that city. The enemy also abandoned several small towns, which were taken possession of by the allies, and Rayn was captured after a short siege. The army afterwards advanced towards Augsburg, and halted a short time within sight of the enemy's fortified camp. In the mean time each regiment sent out parties to plunder the country. This occasioned the Elector of Bavaria to engage in a treaty with the view of an accommodation; but he soon afterwards received information that another reinforcement of French troops had traversed the Black Forest, when he broke off the treaty, which so incensed the Imperialists that they laid a great part of Bavaria in ashes.
The fortified camp at Augsburg being found too strong to be attacked with any prospect of success, the troops retired a few stages, and the siege of Ingoldstadt was undertaken by a detachment of Germans, at the same time the Royal Regiment formed part of the covering army.
The Elector of Bavaria quitted his entrenched camp, and having formed a junction with the reinforcements which Louis XIV. had sent to his aid, the united armies encamped in the valley of the Danube, near the village of Blenheim. At the same time the allied army, commanded by the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy, had advanced to the village of Minster, and was encamped with its left to the Danube.
At three o'clock on the morning of the eventful 13th of August, 1704, the allies advanced to attack the French and Bavarians. About seven the heads of columns arrived in presence of the enemy, and a pause ensuing, the chaplains performed the usual service at the heads of their respective regiments. About mid-day, a column, of which one battalion of the Royal Regiment formed part, advanced under the direction of Lieut.-General Lord Cutts and Major-General Wilks, to attack the village of Blenheim, where the French commander, Marshal Tallard, had posted a considerable number of troops, and entrenchments and pallisades had been constructed. This column, consisting of the two British brigades, commanded by Brigadier-Generals Row and Fergusson, a brigade of Hessians, and a brigade of Hanoverians, proceeded to the banks of the little river Nebel, and took possession of two water mills, which the enemy evacuated, and set on fire. Thence advancing towards the inclosures, the leading brigade received the fire of the troops in Blenheim, and many officers and men fell; but the gallant Row struck his sword in the enemy's pallisades before he gave the[Pg 103] word "fire." His brigade was, however, unable to force the entrenchments against the superior numbers of the enemy; and while retiring it was charged by the French cavalry, but the enemy was repulsed by the Hessians. Soon afterwards, Fergusson's brigade and the Hanoverians traversed the Nebel, near the lower water-mill, and attacked the front of the village, but were repulsed three successive times; the firing was, however, continued against Blenheim; and the remainder of the forces traversed the rivulet, and attacked the main body of the French army. The other battalion of the Royal Regiment was now brought into action; the blaze of musketry extended along the whole front; and the troops of the several nations fought with distinguished bravery. The combat of musketry, and the charges of the cavalry, were continued for some time with varied success. Eventually the main body of the enemy was overpowered, and chased from the field with great slaughter; many prisoners were also captured, and amongst them the French commander, Marshal Tallard.
When the main body of the French army was defeated, the troops posted in Blenheim attempted to escape by the rear of the village, but were repulsed. A second attempt was made in another direction, but was checked by the Scots Greys. A third attempt was also made, but the French were again driven back, and forced to take shelter behind the houses and inclosures. Though encompassed and intercepted on every side, the French obstinately defended their post. Additional forces were brought against them; the batteries opened a tremendous fire; Lieut.-General the Earl of Orkney attacked the French troops posted in the churchyard with eight battalions; Lieut.-General Ingoldsby attacked the right side of the village with four battalions, supported by the Royal Irish[Pg 104] (late 5th) Dragoons; and both battalions of the Royals were now engaged. A sharp struggle ensued, which ended in a parley, and eventually twenty-four French battalions of infantry, and twelve squadrons of cavalry, surrendered prisoners of war. The Germans who attacked the enemy's right were also triumphant. Thus the struggle of this eventful day ended in a complete victory, which reflected lustre on the confederate arms, and showed in its native colours the true character of the British soldier. The French and Bavarians are reported to have lost in killed, wounded, prisoners, and from other causes, about forty thousand men, with nearly all their tents, cannon, and ammunition, and a great number of standards, colours, and kettle-drums.
The Royal Regiment lost in this action Lieut.[Pg 105]-Colonel White, Ensigns M'Conway and Craig, killed; Captain Lord Forbes died of his wounds; and Captains Montgomery, Bruce, and Lindsay, with Lieutenants Harrowby and Lisle, and Ensign Hume, wounded.
The number of French and Bavarians taken on this occasion was so great that the second battalion of the Royals, with the regiments of Prince George of Denmark, Lords North and Grey, Row and Meredith, commanded by Brigadier-General Fergusson, were sent to Holland in charge of the prisoners. These troops marched with the prisoners to Mentz, where they embarked in boats and sailed to Holland, and, having delivered them into the charge of other corps, were placed in garrison for the remainder of the year.
Meanwhile the first battalion continued with the army in Germany; and the enemy abandoned several important cities, which were occupied by the allies. The battalion of the Royal Regiment proceeded through the circle of Swabia and directed its march to Philipsburg, where it crossed the Rhine on the 7th of September, and subsequently formed part of the covering army during the siege of Landau, a town in the Bavarian circle of the Rhine, situated in a beautiful valley on the river Queich. On the 13th of October this battalion, with the regiments of Hamilton, Ingoldsby, and Tatton, marched from the covering army encamped at Croon-Weissemberg to Germersheim, and embarking in boats, sailed down the Rhine to Holland, and were placed in garrison for the winter.
In the following spring, the losses of the preceding campaign were replaced with recruits from Scotland; and in April the regiment quitted its quarters, and directed its march towards Maestricht, passed that city on the 13th of May, and proceeded to Juliers. From Juliers the regiment proceeded through a mountainous country[Pg 106] to the valley of the Moselle, in the midst of which stands the ancient city of Treves, where both battalions encamped on the 28th of May. The British and Dutch, with several German corps, having assembled in the neighbourhood of Treves, the army passed the Moselle and the Saar on the 3rd of June, and advanced towards Syrk, near which place a French army of superior numbers, commanded by Marshal Villiers, was encamped. The allied army halted a short distance from the enemy, and awaited the arrival of the Imperialists under the Margrave of Baden, who had promised to co-operate with the Duke of Marlborough in carrying on the war in this direction: but this co-operation was delayed so long that the British commander was forced to return to the Netherlands, where the French were making considerable progress.
The retreat was commenced during the night of the 17th of June; and on the 20th, Lieut.-General the Earl of Orkney was detached with all the grenadiers, and one hundred men of each battalion, to observe the motions of a detachment which Marshal Villiers had sent towards the Netherlands.
The approach of the army towards the Maese alarmed the French, and they raised the siege of the citadel of Liege and retired. On the 4th of July the first battalion of the Royal Regiment was detached, with other forces under General Schultz and Lieut.-General the Earl of Orkney, to besiege Huy, which had been captured by the French during the absence of the army up the Moselle. On the 6th a battery of twelve cannon and six mortars opened a sharp fire upon Fort Picard; and during the afternoon of the same day the troops forced the covered-way and reared their ladders against the walls, when the French quitted this fort and also Fort Rouge, and fled to the castle. On the 10th the batteries were brought[Pg 107] to bear on the castle and on Fort Joseph, and on the following day the garrison surrendered.
Meanwhile the French army, commanded by Marshal Villeroy and the Elector of Bavaria, having taken refuge behind their fortified lines, the Duke of Marlborough had formed a scheme for forcing these stupendous barriers, and the first battalion of the Royal Regiment rejoined the army in time to take part in this splendid enterprise. The lines were menaced by a detachment on the south of the Mehaine, which drew the greater part of the French army to that quarter; and during the night of the 17th of July the allied army marched to its right, and at four o'clock on the following morning the leading regiments approached the works at Neer-Hespen and Helixem. Both battalions of the Royal Regiment were in the leading division. Their advance was concealed by a thick fog, and under the cover of this obscurity one column cleared the village of Neer-Winden and Neer-Hespen, another gained the bridge and village of Helixem, and a third carried the castle of Wange, which commanded the passage over the Little Gheet. Then rushing through the inclosures and marshy grounds, the troops forded the river, and crowded over the defences with an ardour which overcame all opposition. The French guards were surprised and overpowered, and a detachment of dragoons fled in a panic. Thus the lines were forced; the pioneers were instantly set to work, and in a short time a passage was made for the cavalry. While this was in progress, the Marquis d'Allegre advanced with twenty battalions of infantry, and fifty squadrons of cavalry, and opened a sharp cannonade; but his advance was retarded by a hollow way, which gave time for more troops to pass the lines; and eventually his forces were attacked and defeated, and the allies[Pg 108] took many prisoners, and also captured a number of standards and colours. Speaking of this action, the Duke of Marlborough observes in a letter published in his memoirs,—"It is impossible to say too much good of the troops that were with me, for never men fought better."
The enemy made a precipitate retreat, and took up a position behind the river Dyle. The Duke of Marlborough advanced with the design of passing the river, but was prevented by heavy rains. On the 21st of July, a small body of French troops passed the Dyle, when the first battalion of the Royal Regiment was ordered forward, and a slight skirmish ensued. The French fled to their lines, and a few companies of the Royals pursuing too far, were fired upon from the works, and had one captain killed and several men wounded. Major General Wood was also wounded.
The Royal Regiment was subsequently engaged in several manœuvres; but the designs of the British commander were frustrated by the inactivity and want of co-operation on the part of the Dutch generals. The French lines were demolished in the autumn; and a detachment was sent to invest a small town and fortress on the Scheldt, called Sandlivet, which surrendered on the 29th of October. In the early part of November the regiment marched back to Holland, and was placed in garrison for the winter.
The Royal Regiment again took the field in May, 1706, and proceeding to the province of Limburg, arrived at the general rendezvous of the army at Bilsen, near Tongres, on the 19th of that month. Advancing from Bilsen, the army proceeded in the direction of Mont St. André; and on Whit-Sunday, the 23rd of May, as the troops were on the march, the enemy's army, commanded by Marshal Villeroy and the Elector of Bavaria, was discovered forming in order of battle in the position of[Pg 109] Mont St. André, with their centre at the village of Ramilies, which was occupied by a considerable body of troops.
The allied army, diverging into the open plain of Jandrinœuil, formed line, and advanced against the enemy. The Royal Regiment, having its post near the right of the first line, formed on the heights of Foulz; then descending, with several other British, Dutch, and German corps, into the low grounds near the river, menaced the villages of Autreglise and Offuz with an attack. This movement occasioned the enemy to weaken his centre to support his left flank, when the duke of Marlborough made a powerful attack on the enemy's centre and right. The Royals were spectators of the fight for above an hour; at length a critical period in the engagement arrived, and the regiment was brought forward. The veterans of Schellenberg and Blenheim fought like men resolved to die rather than lose their reputation; and the French, Spaniards, and Bavarians, were overthrown and driven from the field with a terrible slaughter. The fugitives were pursued many miles, and an immense number of prisoners, with cannon, standards, and colours, was captured. Thus a complete and decisive victory was gained over an army of superior numbers in less than three hours.
The wreck of the French army continued its precipitate flight to Louvain, and immediately afterwards abandoned that city, and also Brussels. The States of Brabant, and the magistrates of Brussels, renounced their allegiance to the Duke of Anjou. The principal towns of Brabant, and several others in Flanders, were immediately delivered up, and others surrendered on being summoned, or in a few days afterwards. Dendermond held out, and was blockaded in the early part of June; and Ostend was afterwards besieged by a detachment[Pg 110] from the main army, and surrendered on the 6th of July. Menin was besieged on the 25th of July, and surrendered in August; and Dendermond was delivered up in the early part of September. During these sieges the Royals continued to form part of the covering army; but after the surrender of Dendermond, one battalion of the regiment was detached under Marshal d'Auverquerque and Lieut.-General Ingoldsby, to besiege Aeth, a town and fortress on the river Dender. This place was invested on the 16th of September: the several attacks were carried on with vigour, and the garrison surrendered on the 3rd of October. The capture of Aeth was the last important event of this glorious campaign: and in the early part of November the Royal Regiment marched into garrison at Ghent.
Here the regiment passed the succeeding winter and spring, and again took the field on the 16th of May, 1707, when the first battalion was formed in brigade with the Foot Guards and the regiments of Godfrey and Sabine (now 16th and 23rd), commanded by Brigadier-General Meredith; and the second battalion with the regiments of Webb, Ingoldsby, and Tatton, (now 8th, 18th, and 24th), and Temple's (since disbanded), under the command of Brigadier General Sir Richard Temple, afterwards Viscount Cobham. The opposing armies, however, passed the campaign in manœuvring, and observing each other's movements; the French avoided a general engagement; and in October the Royals returned to Ghent.
In this year, the Union of Scotland with England having taken place, the Cross of St. Andrew was placed on the colours of the English regiments in addition to the Cross of St. George—previously displayed; and the Royal Regiment obtained as a regimental badge—the Royal Cypher, within the circle of St. Andrew, sur[Pg 111]mounted with a crown; instead of St. Andrew's Cross, which it had formerly borne on its colours.
While the regiment was reposing in winter quarters in Flanders, the King of France fitted out a fleet and embarked a body of troops at Dunkirk for the purpose of making a descent on the British coast in favour of the Pretender; and the Royals, with the Foot Guards and seven other corps, were ordered to return to England to repel the invaders. The Royal Regiment marched from Ghent on the 8th March, 1708 (O.S.), embarked at Ostend on the 15th, and arrived at Tynemouth on the 21st. Meanwhile the French fleet, with the Pretender on board, had sailed from Dunkirk; but being chased by the British men-of-war, the enemy returned to Dunkirk without effecting a landing. The Royals were then ordered back to Flanders, and having landed at Ostend on the 20th of April, proceeded in boats along the canal to Ghent.
The regiment remained at Ghent until the 22nd of May, when it took the field and engaged in the general operations of the army, and soon afterwards the French obtained possession of Ghent and Bruges by treachery. A more important advantage was, however, gained on the 11th of July by the allied army commanded by the Duke of Marlborough, who crossed the Scheldt and defeated the French army, commanded by the Duke of Burgundy and Marshal Vendôme, near Oudenarde. The Royals formed part of the division of twenty battalions commanded by the Duke of Argyle, and having traversed the Scheldt by the pontoon bridge between Oudenarde and the Abbey of Eename, they ascended the heights of Bevere; then, inclining to the right, engaged the enemy in the fields and open grounds beyond the rivulet. A fierce conflict of musketry ensued, and charge succeeded charge, until the shades of evening gathered over the scene of conflict, and the combatants[Pg 112] could only be discerned by the flashes of musketry which blazed in the fields and marshy grounds. The French, having been driven from hedge to hedge, and from thicket to thicket, were eventually overpowered. Part of their army being separated from the remainder was nearly surrounded and destroyed, and the work of destruction was continued until the darkness became so intense that it was impossible to distinguish friends from foes, when the troops were ordered to cease firing. Night favoured the enemy; many of the corps, which were nearly surrounded, escaped in the dark, and the wreck of the French army made a precipitate retreat to Ghent, leaving the allies in possession of the field of battle, with many prisoners, standards, colours, and other indisputable marks of victory.
The Royals were subsequently employed in covering the siege of Lisle, the capital of French Flanders, which was captured by Louis XIV. in 1667, and ceded to France by the treaty of peace in 1668. This city being situated on a plain watered by several streams, and protected by a series of stupendous works constructed under the superintendence of Vauban, the celebrated French engineer, and being defended by a garrison of 15,000 men commanded by the veteran Marshal Boufflers, who was prepared with everything requisite for a protracted defence, the siege was considered an undertaking of great magnitude, and it excited universal attention. The French made strenuous exertions to preserve the place, and an immense body of troops advanced against the covering army, of which the Royal Regiment formed a part; but the French Marshals were dismayed by the determined countenance of the allies, and frustrated by the superior tactics of the Duke of Marlborough. The enemy next attempted to cut off the supplies of military stores and provision from the army; and a quantity of stores having[Pg 113] been sent from England to Ostend, and there placed in waggons, one battalion of the Royal Regiment, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Hamilton, was detached from the covering army to protect the stores from Ostend to the camp. This battalion was sent, in the first instance, to Oudenburg, with orders to wait there until the convoy had passed, and afterwards to join the escort at Turout. The waggons left Ostend on the 27th of September, and continued their route towards the army; at the same time the French commanders sent a detachment of 22,000 men under the orders of Count de la Motte to intercept the convoy. After the waggons had proceeded a considerable distance on their way, the battalion of the Royal Regiment quitted Oudenburg and proceeded to Turout, where information was received of the movements of the enemy, when the battalion marched with all possible expedition to succour the convoy, and arrived at the wood of Wynendale at the moment when Major-General Webb was forming the few troops he had with him in an opening beyond the wood. The French had to pass through the wood, and Major-General Webb placed a battalion in ambush amongst the trees on each side of the defile, and drew up the main body of his detachment, which consisted of about 8000 men, in an open space at the end of the defile. The French advanced in full confidence to overwhelm a force which did not amount to half their own numbers; but, when passing through the wood, they were assailed by the ambush on their left, which put them in some confusion. They, however, continued to advance and broke through two of the battalions of the allies posted at the end of the defile; but the battalion in ambush on the enemy's right having opened its fire, and the head of their column being attacked, the French were repulsed and driven back through[Pg 114] the wood. They soon rallied and returned to the attack, and were again assailed by a destructive fire in front and on both flanks, and they shrunk back in dismay. The attack was repeated, and the destructive cross fire was again opened with the same results; and Count de la Motte, being unable to induce his men to return to the charge, he was forced to relinquish the contest and retire. At this moment Lieut.-General Cadogan arrived with a few squadrons of cavalry, and the convoy was conducted in safety to the army. This gallant exploit excited great admiration, and Major-General Webb was honoured with the thanks of parliament, and the approbation of the Queen, for his conduct on this occasion.
The Royal Regiment continued to form part of the covering army, and was employed in several services connected with the procuring of provision and stores for the besieging troops. In November, the Elector of Bavaria besieged Brussels, and the Royals formed part of the force which advanced to relieve the place. The strong positions of the enemy behind the Scheldt were forced on the 27th of November; and when the troops advanced upon Brussels, the Elector of Bavaria raised the siege, and made a precipitate retreat.
The citadel of Lisle, being vigorously pressed, surrendered on the 9th of December. The period for military operations had passed away; but notwithstanding the lateness of the season the Duke of Marlborough resolved to besiege Ghent, and the Royal Regiment was one of the corps selected for this service. An attack was made on the out-posts of the town on the night of the 24th of December, when a detachment of the Royals formed part of the forlorn-hope, and had several men killed and wounded. The trenches were opened during the same night, and the siege being prosecuted with spirit and[Pg 115] vigour, the garrison surrendered on the 2nd of January, 1709. Bruges was also vacated by the French; and the Royal Regiment, having marched into Ghent when that city was delivered up, remained there during the winter.
The regiment, having reposed for a few months in convenient quarters, and obtained a body of fine recruits from Scotland, advanced from Bruges to the plain of Lisle, and was afterwards encamped with the army on the banks of the Upper Dyle. The French had constructed a new line of entrenchments and forts: the allies advanced with the apparent design of attacking the enemy, when Marshal Villars drew a number of troops out of the neighbouring garrisons, and prepared to make a determined resistance. This was what the Duke of Marlborough wished; and no sooner had a considerable detachment of French troops quitted the garrison of Tournay, than the allies struck their tents, marched to the left, and invested the town. Both battalions of the Royal Regiment were in the besieging army, and took an active part in the several attacks on the works, and in repulsing the sallies of the garrison. On the 29th of July, while preparations were making to attack the town by storm, the governor surrendered. The citadel still held out; but five British regiments, which had not taken part in the siege of the town, were selected for the siege of the citadel, and the Royal Regiment joined the covering army.
During the period the siege of the citadel of Tournay was in progress, Lieut.-General the Earl of Orkney was detached, with the grenadier companies of the Royal and several other regiments, and twenty squadrons of cavalry, towards St. Ghislain, to seize on certain passes, and to facilitate the subsequent operations of the campaign; and the citadel having surrendered on the 3rd of September, the army afterwards proceeded towards[Pg 116] Mons, the capital of the province of Hainault, which the allies intended to besiege. While the troops were on the march, Marshal Villars made several movements with the view to prevent the loss of Mons; and on the 10th of September the French army was in position in front of Taisniere and the hamlet of Malplaquet, and having thrown up entrenchments and constructed abatis de bois and other defences, until their camp resembled a fortified citadel, they there awaited the attack of the allies.
At three o'clock on the morning of the 11th September, the forces of the several nations which composed the army commanded by the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy, were under arms. The two battalions of the Royal Regiment appeared on parade on the ground where they had passed the night, and divine service was performed by the chaplain. The French camp was a short distance in front; but a thick mist overspread the woods and open grounds, and concealed the armies from each other. Under cover of the fog, the artillery was brought forward, and dispositions made for the attack: the French heard the din of hostile preparations, and seized their weapons, and two powerful armies, headed by commanders of renown, stood arrayed against each other. The troops of both armies had confidence in their leaders, and were anxious for the combat; the one to acquire new laurels under their favourite chiefs, and the other to retrieve the disasters of eight successive campaigns. The fog lingered on the ground until about half-past seven, when the sun broke forth. The fire of the artillery instantly opened on both sides, and the columns of attack moved forward, and commenced one of the most sanguinary and hard-contested battles on record, in which there was a greater sacrifice of life than at the battles of Blenheim, Ramilies, and Oudenarde, put to[Pg 117]gether. "It is impossible to express the violence of the fire on either side. Besides the enemy's advantageous situation, they defended themselves like brave men, and made all the resistance that could be expected from the best of troops; but then nothing could be a finer sight than to see our foot surmount so many obstacles, resist so great a fire, force the enemy's entrenchments, beat them from thence, and drive them quite out of the wood, and after all, to draw up in good order of battle on the plain, in sight of our enemies, and before their third entrenchments."
The Royals formed part of the division commanded by General Count Lottum, and were engaged in the assault of the entrenchments in the wood of Taisniere. Two battalions of Foot Guards led the attack, and, having overcome several local difficulties, they commenced ascending the enemy's breastwork, but were repulsed and driven back. The Royals seconded the Foot Guards; Argyle's regiment (3rd Buffs), and several other corps, prolonged the attack to the left; and these troops, rushing forward with the native energy and resolution of Britons, forced the entrenchments in gallant style, and the French fell back fighting and retreating into the woods. The Royals, and other corps, pressed forward: the trees and foliage being thick, the ranks were broken; every tree was disputed, and the wood echoed the turmoil of battle on every side.
When the fighting in the wood of Taisniere, where the Royals were engaged, had assumed the character of a series of skirmishes, a most sanguinary conflict was raging in other parts of the field, particularly in the centre, where the Prince of Orange led the Dutch infantry[Pg 118] against the enemy's treble entrenchments, and at the points of attack allotted to the Germans. Eventually the enemy's position was broken, and a conflict of cavalry ensued, in which the allies proved victorious. Meanwhile the Royals, and other corps engaged in the woods, continued to gain ground, and the French were forced to retreat. The allies captured a number of prisoners, colours, standards, and cannon; but this victory was purchased at an immense expense of human life, especially of Germans and Dutch. The Royals having fought a great part of the day in the wood, where the men were partly covered by the trees, the regiment did not sustain a very severe loss. Lieutenant Haley and a few private men were killed; and Lieutenants J. Stratton, Dixon, and W. Stratton, were wounded.
The victory at Malplaquet was followed by the siege and capture of Mons, which was terminated by the surrender of the garrison on the 20th of October. The Royals formed part of the covering army during the siege, and afterwards marched back to Ghent.
The regiment having passed the winter in its former quarters, quitted Ghent on the 14th of April, 1710, and directing its march towards the frontiers of France, arrived at the rendezvous of the army, in the vicinity of Tournay, on the 19th of that month. The allies, by a forced march, succeeded in passing the French lines at Pont-a-Verdun without opposition, and invested Douay. The Royals formed part of the covering army during the siege. The French army advanced and menaced the allies with an attack, but retreated after a sharp cannonade, and Douay surrendered on the 27th of June.
After the capture of Douay, the Royals marched in[Pg 119] the direction of Aubigny, and formed part of the covering army encamped at Villers-Brulin during the siege of Bethune. This place having surrendered on the 28th of August, the Royals were afterwards detached from the main army, and sent under the command of the Prince of Anhault, to besiege the town of Aire, which is situated on the banks of the river Lys. The governor of this place made a vigorous defence; and the regiment was sharply engaged several times in carrying on the attacks and storming the outworks, and had a number of men killed and wounded. The garrison having surrendered on the 9th of November, the regiment afterwards marched back to its former winter-quarters at Ghent, where it arrived on the 23rd of November.
The Royals again took the field towards the end of April, 1711, and, advancing up the country, joined the army near Douay, and were reviewed with the remainder of the British infantry, on the 8th of June, by the Duke of Marlborough, at the camp at Warde. On the 14th the army advanced to the plains of Lens. The enemy had thrown up a new line of entrenchments; and the French army, commanded by Marshal Villars, was posted behind these formidable works, which were deemed impregnable. But the British commander, by menacing the enemy's left, occasioned the French troops to be drawn to that quarter; then, by a forced march, passed the lines at an unguarded part at Arleux, and afterwards invested Bouchain, a fortified town of Hainault, situated on both sides of the river Scheldt. The Royals formed part of a division of twenty battalions, commanded by Lieut.-General the Earl of Orkney, which took post on the north and north-west side of the town and river.
The French, by a night march, gained possession of[Pg 120] the heights of Wavrechin, from whence they expected to be able to relieve the town; and the Royals formed part of a division of infantry which advanced to dislodge the enemy; but the position was found too formidable to be attacked, and the regiment retired without firing a shot. During the night a series of works was constructed; a causeway was also made through the deep inundations which the enemy had, by means of sluices on the river, caused to overflow the low grounds near the town; and thus Bouchain was completely invested, and all communication with the troops on the heights of Wavrechin cut off. The siege was then prosecuted with vigour, and the Royals took their turn of duty in the trenches, and in carrying on the attacks, and had several men killed and wounded. The total loss of the British troops in this siege was 1,154 officers and men killed and wounded. The garrison agreed to surrender on the 13th of September. The Royals remained at Bouchain until the works were repaired, and afterwards went into quarters for the winter.
In the early part of April, 1712, the regiment once more took the field, and on the 19th of that month pitched its tents near Tournay, where the Duke of Ormond arrived on the 9th of May, and took command of the army, the Duke of Marlborough having, for a political cause, been removed from his military appointments.
On the 19th of May the army advanced, and on the 21st encamped on the hills of St. Denis, near Bouchain; thence proceeding across the Scheldt, arrived a few days afterwards near the frontiers of France; and the two grenadier companies of the Royal Regiment, forming part of a reconnoitring party, advanced a few miles into Picardy.
The siege of Quesnoy was afterwards undertaken, and[Pg 121] the Royal Regiment, forming part of the covering army, was encamped at Cateau-Cambresis; but was not engaged in any act of direct hostility. The garrison surrendered on the 4th of July; and soon afterwards the Duke of Ormond having received orders to proclaim a suspension of arms between the British and French, preparatory to a general treaty of peace, the British troops retreated from the frontiers of France to Ghent.
The French monarch having agreed to deliver the city of Dunkirk into the hands of the British as a pledge of his sincerity in the negociations for peace, it was taken possession of by six battalions from England; and on the 4th of August, the Royals, with four other British regiments, twenty pieces of cannon, and four mortars, under the command of Lieut.-General the Earl of Orkney, marched from the camp near Ghent to Dunkirk, where they arrived on the 6th, and the regiment remained in garrison in this city nearly two years.
A treaty of peace having been concluded at Utrecht, the British troops were ordered to return from Flanders. Several regiments embarked in the spring of 1714; the Royals marched from Dunkirk, in May, to Nieuport, where they remained until after the decease of Queen Anne and the accession of King George I., which occurred on the 1st of August, 1714. The first battalion embarked a few days after this event, and landed—seven companies at Dover, and five at Greenwich and Deptford—on the 15th of August; and the second battalion landed at Gravesend and the borough of Southwark on the 22nd of that month. Both battalions assembled in the vicinity of London, and having been reviewed by the Duke of Ormond, afterwards proceeded into garrison at Portsmouth and Plymouth. At the same time a reduction [Pg 122]of four companies took place, and the establishment of each battalion was fixed at 10 companies, of 3 officers, 2 serjeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 36 private men each.
After the arrival of King George I. from Hanover, the Protestant succession to the throne appearing to be peacefully established, the Royals were ordered to proceed to Ireland, where the presence of a considerable military force was deemed necessary to restrain the Roman Catholics from taking arms in favour of the Pretender. The regiment was accordingly relieved from garrison duty at Portsmouth and Plymouth by the Third Foot Guards, in March, 1715, and proceeded to Chester, where both battalions embarked for Dublin.
During the remainder of the reign of George I. and the early part of the reign of George II. the regiment was stationed in Ireland. In 1717 its establishment was fixed at 22 companies, of 3 officers, 2 serjeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 38 private men each; and the expense of the regiment was estimated at £16,710 18s. 4d. per annum. Thus it continued for several years; but in 1727, when 10,000 men were held in readiness to embark for Holland to assist the Dutch in the war with Austria, an augmentation of 20 serjeants, 20 corporals, 20 drummers, and 500 men, was added to the establishment; no embarkation, however, took place, and the regiment was afterwards placed upon a peace establishment.
In January, 1737, Field Marshal the Earl of Orkney, who had commanded the Royals nearly 45 years, and had often led the regiment to battle and to victory, died in London; and in June King George II. conferred the Colonelcy on the Honorable James St. Clair, from the 22nd Regiment of Foot.
The death of Charles VI., Emperor of Germany, having occurred in the autumn of 1740, the succession of the Archduchess Maria-Theresa, as Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, was disputed by the Elector of Bavaria, and immediate signs of war appearing, an augmentation was made to the strength of the Royal Regiment; and its establishment was increased to 1628 officers and men.
Previous to this period both battalions had usually been employed at the same station: they were considered as one corps, and few instances occurred of their being engaged in separate services, even for short periods; but on the 21st of October, 1741, while the first battalion remained in Ireland, the second battalion, having been placed on the English establishment, embarked at Cork for the West Indies. It however remained in the West Indies only a few months, and arrived in England in December, 1742, together with the 6th, 15th, and 24th regiments. In the following year it returned to Ireland.
In the meantime, the French having taken part with the Elector of Bavaria against the Archduchess Maria-Theresa, a British force had been sent to Flanders to co-operate with the Austrians; and in the spring of 1743 the first battalion of the Royal Regiment was ordered to proceed from Ireland to Flanders to join the army. It accordingly embarked from Ireland, and on its arrival at Ostend, in June, took charge, together with three other regiments, of the clothing for the army which had marched from Flanders to Germany. From Ostend the Royals marched with the clothing to Brussels, where they arrived on the 10th of July; thence, continuing their route for Germany, passed the Maese on the 14th[Pg 124] and joined the army at Hanau, a few days after King George II. had gained a victory over the French at Dettingen. The Royals were afterwards engaged in operations in the west of Germany, but returned to the Netherlands in the autumn.
During the following year the first battalion of the Royals formed part of the army commanded by Field Marshal Wade, and was employed in several operations in the Netherlands; but no general engagement occurred.
In the spring of 1745 the French besieged Tournay; and the Royals formed part of the army commanded by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, who advanced to the relief of the town. The French took up a position near the village of Fontenoy to cover the siege; and the Duke of Cumberland, though inferior to the enemy in numbers, resolved to attack the position. The army accordingly advanced to the vicinity of Tournay, drove in the French out-posts on the 10th of May, and on the morning of the following day moved from its camp-ground to attack the enemy. Having passed through some narrow defiles and broken ground, the troops deployed on the plain in front of the enemy, and the British infantry commenced the attack with a spirit and resolution which overcame all opposition. But the Dutch having failed in their attack on the village of Fontenoy, and a brigade of infantry ordered to storm a battery above Vezont having delayed its attack, the British infantry, which had forced the French lines, were exposed to a dreadful cross-fire, and were ordered to retire. A second attack was afterwards made, with similar results: the cavalry advanced to charge; but the failure of the Dutch on Fontenoy, and the delay of the brigade detached against the flank battery at Vezont, rendered a retreat necessary; and the army withdrew from the field of battle, and halted that night[Pg 125] under the cannon of Aeth. Although the attack failed, yet the army succeeded in impressing the French with a sense of British valour and magnanimity, and the honour of the British arms was preserved untarnished. The loss on both sides was nearly equal; that of the first battalion of the Royal Regiment was 2 serjeants and 85 rank and file killed; with Captains Thompson and Edmonstone, Lieutenants Cockburn, Nairn, Elliott, Abernethy, and Grant, Ensign Jones, 5 serjeants, and 178 rank and file, wounded; also 8 rank and file missing.
The Royals were subsequently encamped with the army on the plain of Lessines, from whence they retired to Grammont, and afterwards occupied a position near Brussels to cover Dutch Brabant; but the French, by means of their immense superiority of numbers, captured several towns in the Austrian Netherlands. In the autumn the army went into winter quarters.
Meanwhile Charles-Edward, the eldest son of the Pretender, being encouraged by several chiefs of the Highland clans, who were disaffected to the Protestant succession, landed on the western coast of Scotland, and was soon joined by a number of hardy mountaineers, with whom he advanced to Edinburgh, and obtained possession of that city. This success of the young Pretender occasioned the first battalion of the Royal Regiment to be withdrawn from the Netherlands, and it arrived in the Thames on the 25th of October. It was afterwards ordered to form part of the army assembled in the south of England to oppose the threatened descent of the French.
In the meantime the second battalion, having embarked from Dublin on the 30th of September, 1745, had arrived in England, and formed part of the army under Field Marshal Wade, assembled in order to prevent the[Pg 126] advance of the Highlanders into England. The rebels, however, succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the King's troops, and penetrated as far as Derby. The second battalion of the Royal Regiment was at this time in Yorkshire; and when the young Pretender, being disappointed of the expected aid in England, was forced to make a precipitate retreat to Scotland, this battalion marched in pursuit of the rebels, and arrived at Newcastle-on-Tyne on the 24th of December. From Newcastle this battalion marched to Edinburgh, where it arrived in the early part of January, 1746, and was placed under the command of Lieut.-General Hawley.
The young Pretender had, in the meantime, been joined by some new levies, and having procured a supply of artillery and ammunition, he occupied the town of Stirling and commenced the siege of the Castle. A few regiments having been assembled at Edinburgh, one division, commanded by Major-General Huske, advanced on the 13th of January and drove a party of rebels out of Linlithgow; another division advanced to Barroustouness, and on the 16th the whole proceeded to Falkirk and encamped near the town. On the 17th, about mid-day, the rebel army was discovered advancing towards the high grounds on Falkirk Moor; the King's troops quitted their camp and marched through the broken and rugged grounds towards the enemy, and between three and four in the afternoon the action commenced. But at this moment a tremendous storm of wind and rain beat in the faces of the King's troops and nearly blinded them, and their muskets became so wet that the soldiers could not fire. At the same time the storm beating on the backs of the Highlanders caused them little annoyance, and they charged their nearly blinded antagonists under such advantageous circumstances, that several regiments were[Pg 127] instantly broken and driven from the ground. The reserve, however, stood firm, and the Royals having rallied, joined these troops under Major-General Huske. This body of troops made a resolute stand; the storm had abated a little, and when the Highlanders attempted to charge the reserve, they were assailed by a shower of bullets, which caused them to shrink back; and they were eventually driven up the hill with precipitation. This division, of which the Royals formed part, maintained its ground to the last, and remained on the field until dark, when no enemy being in sight, and the night being cold and stormy, the troops retired from the Moor to their camp, and afterwards to Linlithgow, where the soldiers, who were all dripping wet and nearly exhausted, were put under cover, and on the following day they marched to Edinburgh.
Additional forces were afterwards sent to Scotland; the Duke of Cumberland arrived at Edinburgh and took the command; and on the 31st of January the troops were again in motion towards the Highlanders, who raised the siege of Stirling Castle and made a precipitate retreat for Inverness, and one division for the Highlands.
The second battalion of the Royal Regiment also took part in the several movements which preceded the battle of Culloden, which was fought on the 16th of April, on Culloden Moor, a few miles from Inverness. The army had advanced on the 14th to the Royal burgh of Nairn, about 16 miles from Inverness. During the night between the 15th and 16th of April, the Pretender attempted, by a forced march, to surprise the Royal camp, but the out-posts were found alert and the surprise impracticable, and he retreated towards Inverness, and halted on Culloden Moor. On the following[Pg 128] day the King's army was discovered advancing in order of battle, with the second battalion of the Royal Regiment on the right of the first line, commanded by Lieut.-General the Earl of Albemarle. The action commenced between twelve and one, and in less than one hour the rebel army was overpowered and chased from the Moor with dreadful slaughter. This victory was decisive. The young Pretender fled from the field, and after wandering for some time in disguise amongst the isles and mountains, he escaped to France. The Royals, after returning from the pursuit of the fugitive Highlanders, pitched their tents near Inverness, where they remained for several weeks, and afterwards marched to Perth.
The rebellion being thus finally suppressed, part of the forces in England became disposable for other services; and the nation being at war with France, an attack on the French possessions in Canada was meditated; and the first battalion of the Royal Regiment, being at this period in the south of England, was selected to form part of the expedition, under its Colonel, Lieut.-General the Hon. James St. Clair, which was accompanied by a naval force under Admiral Lestock. The fleet was, however, detained so long by contrary winds that the attack on Canada was deferred, and an attempt on L'Orient, a considerable sea-port on the north-west of France, and the principal station for the French East India Company's shipping and stores, was resolved upon. The expedition sailed from Plymouth on the 14th of September, and on the 20th a landing was effected in Quimperle Bay, and a body of French troops were driven from the shore. On the following day the troops advanced in two columns towards L'Orient, the Royals being in the right column; some French militia fired upon the troops from the woods, but a few skirmishers[Pg 129] were thrown out, and the militia were driven back. On arriving at Plemur the leading companies of the column entering the village were fired upon from the houses; but this resistance was speedily overcome, and the villagers were punished for their temerity. On the 22nd the troops appeared before L'Orient, when the governor sent a flag of truce, and proposed to surrender the town on certain conditions. These conditions were, however, considered too favourable to the French, and they were rejected in consequence of a report of the engineers stating the practicability of reducing the town. The siege was immediately commenced, the sallies of the garrison were repulsed, and the town was set on fire in three places by the bombs; but the expedition proved of insufficient force for the capture of the town, and the siege was raised on the evening of the 26th. The roads being bad, four pieces of cannon, one mortar, and some ammunition, were left behind; and the troops retreated to Quimperle Bay and re-embarked without opposition.
In the early part of October another descent was made on the French coast. The troops effected a landing on the peninsula of Quiberon, and Lieut.-General St. Clair, at the head of the Royals and 42nd Highlanders, took a fort with 18 guns, and having fortified the isthmus the troops were cantoned in the villages and farm-houses. The forts and guns in the peninsula, with those in the isles of Houat and Hedic, having been destroyed, and the country laid in ruins, the troops re-embarked and returned to England.
The war had, in the meantime, continued to rage in the Netherlands, and the French, having reduced the Austrian provinces, advanced, in April, 1747, into Dutch Flanders, and captured Sluys and Sas van Ghent, and besieged Hulst. The 1st battalion of the[Pg 130] Royal Regiment had, in the meantime, proceeded to Holland, and was in cantonments in the province of Zealand, from whence it was detached, with Bragg's (28th) and Lord John Murray's Highland (42nd) Regiments, under the command of Major-General Fuller, to the relief of Hulst, and, having landed at Stapledyke on the 1st of May, was employed in the defence of an outwork called Fort Sandberg. On the 3rd of May the French attacked Sandberg by storm; the Dutch made a gallant resistance, and, on the advance of the British brigade, the enemy was driven back. On the 5th the Royals were on duty in the fort, and the French, having carried the sap along the dyke to within a few paces of the pallisades, attacked the place by storm about nine o'clock in the evening. The assailants advanced with all the spirit and fury which usually distinguishes the first attack of the French; the out-guards and piquets were instantly forced back into the garrison, and a Dutch regiment was disconcerted and gave way. The enemy continued his triumphant career until he encountered the Royals, when a most sanguinary conflict of musketry ensued, which was kept up throughout the night. "The narrowness of the ground in which the battalion was drawn up would not admit of wheeling outwards to the right and left, as is requisite in common street-firing, as it contained only a platoon abreast; so the first platoon fired their 24 rounds, and then filed off man by man, and were succeeded by the next and following platoons, which acted in the same manner; and what is extraordinary, all this, though in the night, was performed without any disorder and confusion."
The morning light had already dawned upon this[Pg 131] 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 the enemy, 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. In this desperate service Major Sir Charles Erskine was killed; Lieut.-Colonel Abercrombie, Lieutenants Forbes, Grant, Gordon, and Rutherford, with Ensigns Campbell and St. Clair, were wounded; and several of these officers afterwards died of their wounds: the battalion had also about four hundred non-commissioned officers and private men killed and wounded.
The fire of the French batteries being resumed with increased fury, Fort Sandberg was rendered untenable a few days afterwards, and the Dutch governor, General La Roque, having resolved to vacate the Fort and surrender the town of Hulst, the British brigade proceeded to Welshorden, where it was attacked by the French; but, having repulsed the enemy, it embarked in small vessels, and, sailing to South Beveland, went into cantonments on that island. The Royals appear to have remained in South Beveland some time, and they did not engage in any other military operation this year.
In the spring of 1748 the 2nd battalion of the Royal
Regiment, having been withdrawn from Scotland, embarked for Holland, and joined the allied army commanded by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, at the camp near Ruremonde. Preliminary articles for a treaty of peace having been agreed upon, a suspension of arms took place.
After the conclusion of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, the British troops were withdrawn from Holland, and both battalions of the Royal Regiment proceeded to Ireland, and were placed upon the Irish Establishment in 1749.
On the 1st of July, 1751, a warrant was issued under the sign manual for regulating the standards, colours, and clothing of the army, in which numerical titles were given to the several corps, and this was styled the "First, or Royal Regiment of Foot." The rank of the several regiments was first established by a board of general officers assembled in the Netherlands, by command of King William, on the 10th of June, 1694; another board of general officers was assembled by Queen Anne in 1713, to decide on the rank and seniority of regiments raised after 1694; and a third board was assembled by command of King George I. in 1715, on the same subject. These boards decided that English regiments raised in England should take rank from the date of their formation, and Scots and Irish regiments, with English regiments raised for the service of a foreign power, should take rank from the date of their being first placed on the English establishment. Thus the Royal Regiment obtained rank from 1661, as before stated.
In the warrant of 1751 the facing of the Royals is directed to be Blue. "In the centre of their colours [Pg 133]the King's cypher, within the circle of St. Andrew, and the crown over it; in the three corners of the second colour, the thistle and crown. The distinction of the colours of the second battalion is, a flaming ray of gold descending from the upper corner of each colour towards the centre.
"On the grenadier caps the same device as in the centre of the colours, white horse, and the King's motto over it, on the little flap.
"The drums and bells of arms to have the same device painted on them, with the number or rank of the regiment under it."
Both battalions remained in Ireland until the undetermined limits of the British territory in North America gave rise to another war. The colonies on the coast had extended themselves on every side, while the Indian trade drew many wandering dealers into the inland country, where they found well-watered plains, a delightful climate, and a fruitful soil. These advantages appearing to compensate for the distance from the sea, a company of merchants and planters obtained a charter for a tract of land beyond the Allegany Mountains and near the river Ohio, and commenced establishing a settlement. The French laid claim to this part of the country, drove away the new settlers, and built a strong fort called Du Quesne, to command the entrance into the country on the Ohio and Mississippi. Another dispute had, in the meantime, occurred respecting Nova Scotia.
These aggressions on the part of the French occasioned a body of British troops to be sent to North America in 1755. War was declared against France in [Pg 134]1756; and in May, 1757, the 2nd battalion of the Royals embarked at Cork, and proceeded with the 17th, 27th, 28th, 43rd, 46th, 55th, and 58th regiments to Halifax, in Nova Scotia, where they arrived in the early part of July, being designed to form part of an expedition under the Earl of Loudoun against an island belonging to the French in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, called Cape Breton. On arriving at Halifax the Royals were landed and formed in brigade with the 28th, 44th, and 55th regiments, commanded by Major-General Hopson; and the expedition was deferred until the succeeding year.
In May, 1758, the troops were again embarked, and sailed under the orders of Lieut.-General Amherst (afterwards Lord Amherst)—the naval force being under Admiral Boscawen; but owing to the unfavourable state of the weather a landing could not be effected on the island until the 8th of June, when the troops proceeded in boats towards the shore in three divisions. The Royals, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Forster, formed part of the right division under Brigadier-General Whiteman, which proceeded towards White Point to make a diversion, while the men of the centre division, led by the gallant Brigadier-General James Wolfe, jumped into the water, in the face of a tremendous fire of cannon and musketry, hastened to the shore, attacked the French with fixed bayonets, and drove them from their posts in gallant style. The other divisions followed; but the surf was so high that several boats were overset, others were dashed to pieces, and many men were drowned.
The siege of Louisburg, the capital of the island, was afterwards commenced; and in carrying on the approaches the troops underwent great fatigues with a cheerful alacrity which redounded to their honour. By their[Pg 135] meritorious perseverance, and the co-operation of the fleet, the town was taken by surrender on the 26th of July, and with it the whole island and two other small islands in the Gulf also surrendered. The French garrison was made prisoners, and eleven stand of colours were sent to England. The Royals lost in this service Lieutenants Fenton and Howe, killed; with Lieutenants Fitzsimmons, Bailey, and Ashe, and Ensign Waterton, wounded. This conquest was considered of great importance to the nation, and the meritorious conduct of the officers and soldiers was rewarded with the approbation of their Sovereign and the thanks of Parliament.
While the Royals were at Cape Breton, a body of British troops, employed on the continent of North America under the command of Major-General Abercrombie, had advanced against the fort at Ticonderago, which had been built by the French in 1756 on the west shore of Lake Champlain; and in the attack on this place the British troops were repulsed. Lieut.-General Amherst, having received information of this disaster, embarked from Louisburg on the 30th of August with the 2nd battalion of the Royals, 17th, 47th, and 48th regiments, and Frazer's Highlanders, and sailed to Boston, where he disembarked the troops, and, marching through the woods to Lake George, joined the camp of the forces under Major-General Abercrombie.
A resolution to attack the French possessions in North America at four different points at one time was ultimately agreed upon; and the Royals were selected to form part of the force, under Lieut.-General Amherst, designed to make a second attempt on Ticonderago.
The troops assembled for this purpose on the east bank of Hudson's River, about fifty miles from Albany, in the beginning of June, 1759, where they were encamped three weeks. Advancing from thence on the[Pg 136] 21st of June, they arrived at the banks of Lake George in the evening, and there pitched their tents, and commenced erecting a fort; at the same time means were used to collect boats to convey the troops along the lake. This occupied one month, and on the 21st of July the regiments struck their tents, went on board the boats, and, using blankets for sails, arrived at the second Narrows on the following morning, and effected a landing. Thence, advancing towards Ticonderago, the van-guard encountered 400 French regulars and native Indians near the saw-mills two miles from the fort, and routed them in a few moments. The French commander, M. Bourlemaque, had fortified a post in front of the fort, but, when he saw the steady resolution of his opponents, he quitted his lines, placed a garrison in the fort, and embarked with his main body for Crown Point, another fort on Lake Champlain, erected by the French in 1731. The siege of Ticonderago was then prosecuted with vigour, and on the 25th of July the garrison blew up the fort and sailed to Crown Point; which place the French commander also abandoned, and retired down the lake to Isle aux Noix. The Royals and other forces afterwards proceeded to Crown Point and commenced erecting a new fort; vessels were also built in order to have a naval force on the lake. This work was in progress until the 11th of October, when the large boats, with a brigantine mounting eighteen guns and two swivels, and a sloop mounting sixteen guns, being ready, the troops embarked, and sailed down the lake in four divisions; but afterwards encountering high northerly winds, and a severe frost having set in, the expedition was countermanded; the troops returned to Crown Point and Ticonderago, and the Royals proceeded to New York for winter quarters.
Meanwhile the Cherokee Indians had been carrying[Pg 137] on a cruel warfare against the settlers on the frontiers of the southern provinces of North America, and in the early part of 1760 the two flank and four battalion companies of the Royals, mustering 400 men, were ordered to proceed, under the command of Major Frederick Hamilton, to South Carolina, to strike a decisive blow against the aggressors. They accordingly embarked from New York, and, with a battalion of Highlanders and some provincial troops commanded by Colonel Montgomery, sailed to Charleston, and marched from thence up the country to Fort Ninety-six, situate on the borders of the Cherokee territory. Having halted a short time at this place, the troops advanced on the 28th of May, and arrived on the 1st of June at Twelve-mile River. The scouts being unable to find any Indian tracks, it was concluded that the Cherokees were not informed of the march; and, although the men had already traversed twenty miles of rugged ground that morning, from Beaver-dams to the river, the commanding officer resolved to push forward immediately. The tents, waggons, and cattle, were placed in a square, a guard was placed over them, and, just as the sun was sinking beneath the horizon, the troops moved quietly forward along the rugged wood-lands. After a march of sixteen miles the detachment arrived at an Indian hamlet called Little Keowee, and the light company of the Royals was ordered to surround the houses and bayonet the inhabitants. As the Royals approached the houses, a company of Indian warriors, who were sleeping under the trees near the hamlet, raised their usual war-cry, and opened a scattering fire; but the soldiers—undaunted by the dismal yell of their antagonists—fired one volley,—then, rushing forward, encountered the Indians in close fight, and bayoneted the whole except the women and children. The troops then continued their route, and just as the[Pg 138] first rays of morning began to dawn they arrived at Estatoe, the capital of the Lower Cherokees; the town had, however, been abandoned nearly an hour before; but about a dozen warriors were intercepted and slain. The town, which was found well provided with ammunition, provision, and magazines of corn, was plundered and laid in ashes, and many of the inhabitants who had concealed themselves perished in the flames. This service performed, the troops resumed their march, and laid several other towns and villages in ashes; an act of necessary severity, which excited painful feelings in the breasts of the brave men who executed it. Colonel Grant observes, in his narrative of these transactions, published in the South Carolina Gazette,—"I could not help pitying them; their villages were agreeably situated, their houses neatly built and well provided, having abundance of everything; they must be pretty numerous, for Estatoe and Sugartown consisted at least of two hundred houses, and every other village of at least one hundred houses. After killing all we could find, and burning every house, we marched to Keowee, and arrived on the 2nd of June, after a march of sixty miles without sleeping, at Fort Prince George, at four in the evening." This service was performed with the loss of four men killed, and Lieutenants Marshal and Hamilton, of the Royals, wounded.
After this severe chastisement, pacific overtures were made to the Cherokee nation, but without the desired effect; and a second expedition into their country was resolved upon. For this purpose the six companies of the Royals and other troops were in motion at day-break on the morning of the 24th of June, taking with them six days' provision, and arrived that night at Orkonee Creek. Thence proceeding on the following day through woody dells and narrow tracts and chasms[Pg 139] between mountains, reached War-woman's Creek in the evening. Continuing the march on the 26th through a country wild and rugged beyond description, the detachment arrived on the following morning within eighteen miles of the Indian town called Etchöey, and the troops proceeded forward with caution. A few horsemen marched in front and on each flank,—the grenadiers and light infantry scoured the thickets,—and the four battalion companies of the Royals marched in the rear. Arriving at a valley covered with trees and bushes, and overlooked by hills on both sides, Captain Morrison and a few men pushed forward into the thickets, and were assailed by a straggling fire, which proved fatal to the captain, and the next moment the woods echoed with the dismal howlings of a thousand Indians raising their war-cry. Undaunted by this appalling noise, the grenadiers and light infantry rushed forward amongst the trees to encounter the Indian warriors,—the four battalion companies of the Royals supported the attack,—while the Highlanders pushed forward on the left to cut off the retreat of the Indians to the hills. The savage warriors soon gave way,—the Highlanders intercepted them in their retreat,—the Royals pressed upon the rear, and a number of Indians were slaughtered amongst the trees on the side of the hill. The main body of the Indian army appeared soon afterwards on the face of the mountain on the left of the line of march, and, with frantic gestures and horrid sounds, bid defiance to their white adversaries. The Royals, having gained the front of the column, pushed forward to engage their fierce opponents with distinguished bravery. The Indians opened a scattering fire, and made the valley echo with their whooping and howling; but this noise produced little effect on the soldiers, who dashed through the bushes[Pg 140] and thick foliage with a "valour, discipline, and steadiness, worthy of admiration;" and, although the warriors kept up a sharp fire with their rifles for some time, yet they eventually gave way. "The action lasted about an hour. Captain Manley Williams, of the Royals, was killed: he was truly a gentleman and an extreme good officer." The Royals had also eight private men killed; and Captain Peter Gordon, Ensigns Edrington and Knight, one serjeant, and thirty-two private men, wounded.
The Indians fled from the field of battle towards Etchöey, to alarm their women and children; and the soldiers pressing forward soon drew near the town, when a band of warriors opened a straggling fire from amongst some trees and then fled. The town was found deserted, but well stored with corn. The Cherokees, finding themselves unable to resist the troops, abandoned several other towns and fled to the mountains. At the same time Colonel Montgomery, having no place of safety where he could leave his wounded men, did not advance any farther, but retired on the 28th of June to War-woman's Creek. The Indians, taking courage from this retrograde movement, returned in swarms from the mountains, and on the morning of the 29th the woods and bushes on the line of march appeared crowded with warriors ready to attack the troops in their retreat; but two officers and fifty men of the Royals being sent out to scour the bushes on the right of the road, and the same number of the Highlanders on the left, they were chased from their lurking-places, and the retreat was continued to Fort Prince George.
The Commanding Officer, in his despatch, observes:—
"The fatigue was immense, yet not an officer or soldier complained. The detachment has been all along in high spirits, judging nothing too difficult. Never did greater harmony appear than amongst the corps of our little army."
The two flank companies marched soon afterwards to Charleston, and there embarked for New York, leaving the four battalion companies in South Carolina under the command of Major Frederick Hamilton.
The four battalion companies left in quarters at New York, under Lieut.-Colonel Forster, had in the meantime advanced up the country to Crown Point, of which place the Lieut.-Colonel was appointed Commandant. Embarking from thence on the 11th of August, the four companies sailed, with several other corps under Colonel Haviland, down Lake Champlain towards Isle-aux-Noix, and, having landed on the 16th, encamped on the left bank of the River Richlieu. The enemy occupied a fort near the river; but when the batteries opened their fire against it, the French commandant retreated with the greater part of the garrison, leaving an officer and 30 men to capitulate, who were made prisoners. Two other forts were also abandoned by the French, and the Isle-aux-Noix was taken possession of by the English. In the meantime a British force, under General Amherst, had proceeded to Oswego, embarked from thence on Lake Ontario, and, sailing down the River St. Lawrence, invaded the French settlements in Canada on that side, and advanced upon Montreal. Quebec had been captured in the preceding year; and an army, commanded by Major-General Murray, was advancing from thence towards Montreal. The four companies of the Royals and other troops, under Colonel Haviland, were also advancing towards the same point by lake Champ[Pg 142]lain and the River Richlieu; and the whole were united near Montreal on the 7th of September. The French Governor, being unable to withstand the forces opposed to him, surrendered on the following day; and thus the conquest of Canada was effected with trifling loss. When the French battalions laid down their arms their colours were demanded; and their Commander answered:—"Although the several regiments had brought with them their colours from France, they had, finding them troublesome and of little use in this woody country, destroyed them."
While the second battalion of the Royal Regiment was thus engaged in North America the first battalion had embarked from Ireland, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Horne Elphinston, and sailed for Quiberon Bay, on the coast of France, which station was appointed for the rendezvous of an expedition under the orders of Major-General Kingsley, designed for the capture of one of the French islands in the Bay of Biscay, called Belle-Isle; but the death of King George II. occurring (25th October, 1760) before all the troops arrived, the expedition was laid aside, and the battalion sailed back to Ireland.
The four companies of the second battalion left in South Carolina, under Major Hamilton, were stationed at Charleston; and, the Cherokee Indians having rejected the proposed conditions for a peace, these companies, with two of the 17th, three of the 22nd, and eight of newly-raised provincials, proceeded up the country in March, 1761, again to make war on the refractory Indians. These companies encamped a short time on the banks of the Congaree, from whence they proceeded in May to Fort Prince George, and were joined by twenty Chickasaw warriors from the country on the east side of[Pg 143] the Mississippi, and by King Heigler, with twenty Catawbas warriors. From Fort Prince George this company of regulars, provincials, and savages, advanced in the early part of June against the middle Cherokees, through a most difficult country. An officer of the expedition, in a letter published in July, 1761, observes:—"The defiles and passes along War-woman's Creek are horrid; on one side high and rocky mountains hanging over our heads, the path rocky, and no wider than for a single pack-horse; and on the other side a deep and frightful precipice, at the bottom of which is the creek." On the 10th of June, as the troops were on the march along the banks of a river, the Indian army was discovered, arranged for battle on a high woody hill on the right of the line of march, with a straggling line of warriors beyond the river. The Indian riflemen opened an irregular fire, and immediately afterwards more than a thousand warriors raised the dismal war-whoop, which echoed in the woods and dells. This produced little effect on the soldiers, who advanced in regular order to engage their savage antagonists. The commanding officer observed, in his report:—"The troops behaved with great spirit and coolness, and by the heavy fire of their platoons dislodged the enemy from the advantageous posts which they had taken possession of." The firing continued until two in the afternoon, when the Indians were driven from their posts and fled. The loss of the four companies of the Royals was three men killed; with Ensign Joseph Knight, and six men wounded.
After this victory the expedition continued its advance into the Cherokee country: the Indians fled to their mountain fastnesses; and the soldiers laid fifteen towns and villages in ruins, destroyed the crops of corn, and afterwards returned to Fort Prince George. This pro[Pg 144]ceeding convinced the Indians of their inability to resist the King's forces, and they sued for peace, which was accordingly granted them.
The other four battalion companies of the second battalion of the Royal Regiment, which had been engaged in the conquest of Canada in the preceding year, had in the meantime proceeded from Montreal, across the country, to New York, and, leaving the two flank companies in garrison, embarked in April, 1761, for the West Indies, under the orders of Colonel Lord Rollo. About this period the British government had resolved to capture the Island of Dominico, which was declared neutral by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, but had become subject to France; and when the four companies of the Royals arrived at Guadaloupe they were selected to form part of the expedition for this service. Sailing from Guadaloupe on the 4th of June, the troops soon arrived at Dominico, effected a landing on the 6th, under a sharp fire of cannon and musketry, captured a flanking battery, and took the town of Roseau, the capital of the island, in a few hours. In the evening of the same day the troops assaulted and carried the intrenchments above the town, and captured the French commandant and several other officers; and no further resistance was made. Thus the whole island was reduced with trifling loss; and Lord Rollo observed, in his despatch:—"As to the King's troops, I cannot enough applaud the coolness and intrepidity with which they acted on this occasion."
Leaving Dominico in December, the four companies of the Royals proceeded to Barbadoes, where a body of troops was assembled, under the orders of Major General the Hon. Robert Monckton, for an attack on the French island of Martinico. A landing was effected[Pg 145] in the early part of January, 1762, and the island was reduced in the succeeding month. "I cannot," observes the general, in his despatch, "find words to render that ample justice which is due to the valour of His Majesty's troops which I have the honour to command. The difficulties they had to encounter in the attack of an enemy possessed of every advantage of art and nature were great; and their perseverance in surmounting these obstacles furnishes a noble example of British spirit."
While the contest at Martinico was in progress, the four companies of the Royals which had been engaged in the war with the Indians embarked from Charleston, and sailed to the West Indies under the orders of Colonel Grant. War had, in the meantime, been declared against Spain; an attack on the Spanish settlements in the West Indies had been resolved upon; and the four companies of the Royals were placed under the orders of General the Earl of Albemarle, to proceed against the valuable settlement of the Havannah, in the island of Cuba. Proceeding through the Straits of Bahama, the expedition arrived within six leagues of the Havannah on the 6th of June; a landing was effected on the following day; and on the 9th the troops took up a position between Coximar and the Moro. The Moro fort being the key-position of the extensive works which covered the town, the capture of this place was of great importance; and the four companies of the Royal Regiment formed part of the force destined to make the attack on this formidable fortress. The hardships endured in carrying on the operations were very great: a thin soil, hardly sufficient to cover the troops in their approaches, a scarcity of water, and the labour of dragging the artillery several miles over a rocky country, and under a burning sun,[Pg 146] were happily overcome by the unanimity which existed between the land and sea forces. The progress made in erecting batteries, carrying forward approaches, and sapping and mining the works, with the fire of the artillery, having alarmed the Spanish governor, he resolved to attempt to relieve the Moro. 1500 men were ferried over the harbour, and they made three separate attacks on the British line; the four companies of the Royals were brought forward to sustain the posts, and the Spaniards were repulsed, with considerable loss. The siege was afterwards continued with vigour; two mines were sprung; a practicable breach was made, and a detachment of the Royals was ordered to form part of the storming party, under Lieut.-Colonel Stuart, of the 90th Regiment. The attack was made on the 30th of July. Lieut. Charles Forbes, of the Royals, led the assault, and, ascending the breach with signal gallantry, formed his men on the top, and soon drove the enemy from every part of the ramparts. The garrison was taken by surprise; the Spanish commander, Don Louis de Velasco, exerted himself to save the fortress; and, while endeavouring to rally his men, he was mortally wounded. The confusion amongst the ranks of the enemy was thus augmented; nearly 150 Spaniards were killed, 400 threw down their arms and were made prisoners, and the rest were either killed in the boats, or drowned in attempting to escape to the [Pg 147]Havannah. As Lieutenants Forbes, of the Royals, Nugent, of the 9th, and Holroyd, of the 90th Regiments, were congratulating each other on their success, the two latter were killed by a party of desperate Spaniards, who fired from the light-house. Lieutenant Forbes, being exasperated at the death of his companions, attacked the light-house with a few men, and put all in it to the sword.
The capture of the Moro facilitated the attack on the Havannah; and on the 11th of August a new series of batteries opened so well-directed a fire that at two o'clock in the afternoon the guns of the garrison were silenced, and flags of truce were hung out from every part of the town and from the ships in the harbour. The capitulation was signed on the 13th, and on the following day the British troops took possession of this valuable settlement. Three Spanish men-of-war, with a company's ship, were found sunk at the entrance of the harbour, nine men-of-war were delivered up to the victors, and two were found upon the stocks. The loss sustained by the Royal Regiment in this important service was Lieutenants Cook and Ashe, 1 serjeant, and 31 rank and file, killed; Captain Balfour, Lieutenant Ruth, Ensign Keating, 2 serjeants, 1 drummer, and 75 rank and file, wounded; two rank and file missing; 3 men dead of their wounds, and 12 from diseases arising from the climate and severe exertions in carrying on the siege.
The British government having withdrawn many troops from North America to the West Indies, the French sent an armament across the Atlantic, and took possession of St. John's, Newfoundland. Detachments were immediately ordered from the British garrisons to dislodge the enemy; and the two flank companies of the second battalion of the Royal Regiment, having been left in North[Pg 148] America, were employed in this service, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel William Amherst. A landing was effected, on the 13th of September, at Torbay, and the troops gained possession of the strong post of Kitty Vittiy. A detachment was sent to the top of a high rock which commanded the ford, and under cover of the fire of these men the light companies of the Royal and Montgomery's Highlanders passed the river. The grenadiers of the Royal and 77th Regiments supported the attack; and the French were driven from their post on a hill beyond the river. Two other heights were afterwards carried; and on the 17th, a battery being ready to open its fire on the fort, the French commander surrendered.
In November of this year General the Hon. James St. Clair died at Dysart; and the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment was conferred on his cousin, Sir Henry Erskine, from the Twenty-fifth Regiment.
At the peace in 1763 the Havannah was restored to Spain; and the several companies of the second battalion were withdrawn from North America and the West Indies, and sailed for England. In 1764 this battalion proceeded to Scotland, where it remained four years.
Sir Henry Erskine died in August, 1765, and was succeeded in the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment by John Marquis of Lorne, afterwards Duke of Argyle.
In January, 1768, the first battalion embarked from Ireland for Gibraltar, and was stationed in garrison at that important fortress for several years.
The second battalion remained in Scotland until the spring of 1768, when it returned to England; and in April, 1771, it embarked with the 51st and 63rd Regiments for the island of Minorca, to relieve the 3rd, 11th, and 67th Regiments.
The first battalion was relieved from garrison duty at[Pg 149] Gibraltar in the autumn of 1775, and arrived in England in December of the same year. The second battalion was also relieved at Minorca in a few weeks afterwards, and arrived in England in February, 1776; and both battalions remained in Britain until the autumn of 1780.
The contest on the subject of taxation between Great Britain and her North American Colonies having given rise to hostilities in 1775, the insurgents were abetted by France, Spain, and Holland. The French monarch openly declared in favour of the rebellious colonists in 1778, the Spaniards in 1779, and a secret treaty between the Dutch and Americans was discovered in 1780. Thus the contest assumed a formidable character; hostile proceedings extended from North America to the West Indies; and in November, 1780, the first battalion of the Royal Regiment embarked from Portsmouth to take part in the contest.
On arriving in the West Indies the Royals proceeded, with other troops commanded by Major-General Vaughan, and a naval force under Sir George Brydges Rodney, against the Dutch island of St. Eustatia, which surrendered on the 3rd of February, 1781, together with the neighbouring isles of St. Martin and Saba. Property to an immense amount was captured on this occasion, and a severe blow was thus inflicted on the Dutch.
The first battalion was afterwards stationed on the island of St. Christopher, together with the flank companies of the 15th, and a detachment of the Royal Artillery, which, with a few militia, constituted the whole military force on the island, and was commanded by Lieut.-Col. Thomas Fraser of the Royals, "a brave old officer," who [Pg 150]acted as Brigadier-General under the Governor, Major-General Thomas Shirley.
In the early part of January, 1782, a French naval force, and a fleet of transports with an army on board, appeared before the island; and the commander of the British troops, being unable to oppose so formidable a host, retired to Brimstone Hill, where he was joined by the governor with a few militia. Unfortunately, the principal inhabitants were in the interest of the enemy; so much so, that twelve brass 24-pounders, two 13-inch mortars, and a quantity of ammunition, sent from England for their defence, were suffered, by the Council and Assembly of the island, to lie in a useless state at the foot of Brimstone Hill. The French Commander, the Marquis de Bouillé, immediately landed 8000 men and a formidable train of artillery, and advanced towards the hill on which the garrison had taken post. The ground occupied by the Royals, flank companies of the 15th, and militia, was about 200 yards in diameter, and remarkably strong; but the fortifications were old and in a ruinous state, and the troops had no intrenching tools: they, however, resolved to defend the place as long as possible, in hopes of being relieved.
Although the French had so great a superiority of numbers they did not venture to attack the little band of stout-hearted Britons on Brimstone Hill by storm, but commenced the siege in regular form,—breaking ground on Sommerfall's estate on the north-west side, and on Rawlin's estate on the old road-side. The French artillery opened its fire on the 19th of January, and from that day a storm of balls and bombs rattled round Brimstone Hill with increasing fury, until the houses on the heights were battered to pieces, and the old works were nearly destroyed.
During this period Rear-Admiral Hood appeared before the island with a British naval and land force, and a body of troops effected a landing on the 29th of January; but the French had so great a superiority of numbers, and they had completely surrounded Brimstone Hill, so that these few troops could not be of any use in attempting to save the island, and they re-embarked.
The fire of the French batteries had, in the meantime, dismounted or disabled nearly all the guns on the hill; several large breaches had also been made in the works on the north-west side of the fort; the garrison was reduced by sickness and other casualties to about 500 men; the want of intrenching tools rendered it impossible for the men either to repair the damaged works or throw up intrenchments; the provision-stores had also been destroyed by the French batteries; and the few remaining men fit for service had to be under arms every night, expecting the enemy to storm the hill. Yet, under all these disasters, the garrison evinced that valour, firmness, and constancy, for which the British soldier has been distinguished at periods of extreme danger and privation.
At length the governor and commander of the forces "thought they should be wanting in humanity to the brave soldiers who had behaved so long with such fidelity and courage if they should subject them to all the horrors of an assault, which, from the superior numbers of the enemy, and the ruinous condition of the place, could not fail to succeed. They therefore proposed a cessation of arms on the 12th of February, for adjusting the terms of capitulation, which was done, as the Marquis de Bouillé did not impose hard terms[Pg 152] on the soldiers of a garrison who had acquitted themselves so well and had suffered so much."
The garrison marched through the breach with drums beating and colours flying, and, having laid down their arms, the militia proceeded to their homes, and the regular troops were sent to England, on condition that they should be considered as prisoners of war until exchanged. Brigadier-General Fraser observed, in his despatch:—"Notwithstanding the event has proved unfortunate, I should be wanting in doing justice to the troops under my command if I concluded without saying that both officers and soldiers deserve the highest commendation. Under a constant fire of shot and shells, night and day (that I doubt has, in any instance, been exceeded), the officers showed a constant and universal cheerfulness, and by their example the soldiers bore the greatest fatigue with a firmness that deserves my acknowledgments." The loss sustained by the battalion during this siege was, Lieutenants Wilson and Clerk, Quarter-master Shungar, 3 serjeants, 2 drummers, and 22 rank and file, killed; Captains Wallace and Buckeridge, Surgeon Young, 6 serjeants, 4 drummers, and 84 rank and file, wounded; 2 private men missing.
After the capitulation the battalion proceeded to England, where it arrived in May, and, its exchange having been settled, it resumed military duty.
On the 9th of May, 1782, the Duke of Argyle was removed to the 3rd Foot Guards; and the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment was conferred on Lord Ada[Pg 153]m Gordon, fourth son of Alexander, second Duke of Gordon.
Both battalions remained in England until the autumn of 1783, when, peace having been concluded, the second battalion embarked for Ireland, from whence it proceeded, in the following year, to Gibraltar to relieve the Hanoverian corps, which had been performing duty in that garrison during the war. At the same time the first battalion proceeded from England to Ireland, where it remained until January, 1790, when it embarked for the West Indies to relieve the 3rd Foot, and on its arrival at its destination it was stationed at Jamaica.
Meanwhile a revolution had broken out in France; and in 1793 the French Monarch, Louis XVI., was beheaded by his subjects. Anarchy, confusion, and bloodshed prevailed in that kingdom, and the revolutionary party sought to involve other nations in the like horrors. War was the result. A powerful party, with principles favourable to monarchy, still existed in France; and, although the kingdom was governed by republicans, who maintained their authority by the terrors of the guillotine, yet many patriots stood forward with boldness in the cause of royalty; and a union took place between the cities of Marseilles, Lyons, and Toulon, in favour of Louis XVII., which alarmed the ruling powers. A republican army was sent against them, and Marseilles immediately surrendered. At the same time the inhabitants of the celebrated port of Toulon, the principal station of the French navy, joined with Admiral Turgot in proposing a negotiation with Admiral Lord Hood, who commanded a British naval force in the Mediterranean, and the port was taken possession of in August, 1793, by the British, in the name of Louis XVII. The French general had no sooner obtained possession of[Pg 154] Marseilles than he advanced against Toulon. Strenuous exertions were made to procure troops to defend the place: besides French loyalists and a few British troops, detachments of Spaniards, Neapolitans, and Sardinians, were procured, and the second battalion of the Royal Regiment embarked from Gibraltar to take part in this service.
The battalion landed at Toulon towards the end of October, and marched on the evening of the same day to an out-post called Les Sablettes, where it was partially engaged with the enemy. Three companies were afterwards detached to Fort Mulgrave, an important post on the heights of Balaguier, which covered the town and harbour. This post was attacked on the evening of the 15th of November by a strong body of French republicans, who were repulsed and driven back. Lieut.-General O'Hara stated in his despatch on this subject:—"I have particular pleasure in mentioning that, on this occasion, the very spirited exertions of the British troops stationed in Fort Mulgrave, consisting of a detachment of the second battalion of the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot, commanded by Captain Duncan Campbell, and of a detachment of the Royal Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Lemoine, were the principal means of repulsing the enemy, and of saving that important post. Our loss, including Spaniards, Neapolitans, and Sardinians, amounted only to 61. Among the wounded were Captain Duncan Campbell, of the Royals, and Lieutenant Lemoine, of the Artillery."
The enemy afterwards erected a battery on the heights of Arenes, which much annoyed one of the principal out-posts; and a detachment of the Royals formed part of the force, consisting of 400 British, 300 Sardinians, 600 Neapolitans, 600 Spaniards, and 400 French, commanded[Pg 155] by Major-General David Dundas, which issued from Toulon on the morning of the 30th of November, crossed the river, traversed the olive-grounds, ascended the heights of Arenes, and carried the battery with signal gallantry. British valour was conspicuous on this occasion; but, unfortunately, an excess of ardour led to a disastrous result. The French fled in dismay down the hill; the British and other troops, following in full career, passed the valley, and ascended other heights at a considerable distance; and when out of breath, and exhausted with the chase, they encountered a superior body of fresh adversaries, and were forced to retreat, and Lieut.-General O'Hara was taken prisoner. Sir Gilbert Elliot, Bart., who was an eye-witness, observed, in a letter to the Secretary of State:—"It is a real consolation to know that the courage of the British was conspicuous from the beginning of the action to the end; and that an excess of that good quality was the true and only cause of the miscarriage." The Royals lost, on this occasion Lieutenant M'Kellar, 1 serjeant, and 9 rank and file, killed; Lieutenants Mackenzie and Colin M'Donald, with 2 serjeants, 1 drummer, and 32 rank and file, wounded; Captains Reeves and Finnay wounded, and taken prisoners; Lieutenant Bird, 2 serjeants, 1 drummer, and 17 rank and file, missing.
The defence of Toulon with only 12,000 men of five different nations, against an army of between 30,000 and 40,000 men, was found a difficult service. The garrison had to occupy a circumference of fifteen miles, by a number of posts, which required 9000 men for their protection. In the middle of December the republican army attacked the line of posts with great fury, and forced a passage at several places. The Royals were engaged in the defence of Fort Mulgrave, and lost[Pg 156] 1 serjeant, 1 drummer, and 18 rank and file. After the line of posts was forced it was found impossible to maintain the town; the French shipping, magazines, and arsenal, were consequently set on fire, and the men of the several nations embarked on board the fleet on the 19th of December. Detachments of the troops took part with the seamen in the work of destruction; and Lieutenant Ironmonger, of the Royals, is stated to have been the last officer who quitted the dock-yard gates. With the republican army which attacked Toulon was an officer of artillery, named Napoleon Bonaparte, who afterwards arrived at the dignity of Emperor of France.
After the evacuation of Toulon the fleet remained five weeks in the bay of Hieres, during which time arrangements were made for attacking the island of Corsica: the fleet weighed anchor on the 24th of January, 1794, but was dispersed by a gale of wind, and the Royals were driven to one of the ports in the island of Elba, where they remained several days. On the 5th of February they again put to sea, and on the evening of the 7th landed, with the 11th, 25th, 30th, 50th, 51st, and 69th Regiments, in an open bay in the Gulf of Fiorenzo, in the island of Corsica. On the following day the Royals and 51st were detached, under Lieut.-Colonel (afterwards Sir John) Moore, with a small howitzer and a six-pounder carried on the shoulders of a party of seamen, against Fornelli Tower, and after traversing eight miles of rocky mountainous country, destitute of roads, arrived at the heights above the tower, but found the distance too great for the light artillery to reach it; and the two battalions afterwards retired. Batteries were subsequently erected against Convention Redoubt, which was considered the key to the works on this part of the island; and, the fire of the artillery having produced some effect, the Royals,[Pg 157] commanded by Captain Mackenzie, and 51st Regiment, moved from their camp-ground on the morning of the 17th of February to attack the advanced point of the redoubt; at the same time the 50th Regiment marched against the centre of the work, and the 21st proceeded along the sea-shore; the whole commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Moore. After traversing some rocky grounds covered with myrtle-bushes with great caution, the troops arrived in the vicinity of the redoubt unperceived by the enemy; then, rushing forward, entered the works, and with their bayonets drove the French and Corsicans down the steep hill in the rear. The enemy soon afterwards evacuated the town of Fiorenzo, with the towers and batteries in the gulf, and retreated to the Tower of Tichine, situated on a high mountain between Fiorenzo and Bastia, an important sea-port and the capital of the island. Speaking of this event, Lieut.-General Dundas observed in his despatch,—"The conduct of Lieut.-Colonel Moore, of the several commanding officers, and of the officers and soldiers under his orders, was firm and judicious, and merits every commendation."
Bastia was afterwards besieged by sea and land, and surrendered on the 22nd of May. An assembly of the Deputies afterwards agreed to unite the island to Great Britain, which was performed with the solemnities customary on such occasions. But Calvi, a fortified town thirty-three miles from the capital, and situated on a tongue of land which forms one of the most beautiful harbours in the island, still held out; and the Royals formed part of the land force commanded by Lieut.-General Stuart selected for the siege of this place. The battalion accordingly embarked from Bastia, and, having landed near Calvi on the 19th of June, took post on a ridge of mountains three miles from the town. Owing[Pg 158] to the numerous rocky heights and steep mountains before the town, the soldiers and seamen had to make roads along difficult precipices, to drag the guns up the mountains, and to carry up materials for erecting the batteries, which they performed with cheerful alacrity. The fire of the heavy artillery having made a practicable breach on the west side of the Mozello, on the 18th of July the light infantry and Royals, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Moore, "proceeded with a cool, steady confidence, and unloaded arms, towards the enemy, forced their way through a smart fire of musketry, and, regardless of live shells flung into the breach, or the additional defence of pikes, stormed the Mozello; while Lieut.-Colonel Wemyss, with the Royal Irish Regiment, and two pieces of cannon, under the direction of Lieutenant Lemoine, equally regardless of opposition, carried the enemy's battery on the left, and forced the trenches without firing a shot." The capture of these posts proved of great importance, and, the siege being continued with vigour, the garrison surrendered on the 10th of August. The loss sustained by the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment was very trifling, viz., about four men killed and Captain Colin M'Donald and seven men wounded. The battalion was afterwards stationed in garrison at Calvi, where it remained nearly two years.
The republican principles which produced the revolution in France soon extended to the French West India settlements; and the inhabitants of colour in the island of St. Domingo (now the black empire of Hayti), having imbibed the doctrine of equality, rose in arms against the whites, and carried fire and bloodshed through[Pg 159] the settlement. Many of the planters having, from the distracted state of France, no hope of relief from that country, were desirous of placing themselves under the protection of Great Britain: a body of troops was accordingly sent to their aid, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Whitelocke; and while the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment was engaged in the defence of Toulon and the capture of Corsica, the 1st battalion embarked from Jamaica and sailed to St. Domingo.
Much resistance was met with from the republican troops and revolted negroes on the island. In February, 1794, the light company of the Royals advanced against the fortress of L'Acal, in the vicinity of Leogane. Part of the force designed for this service was embarked in transports, and the remainder, including the light company of the Royals, proceeded by land. The wind proving unfavourable, the troops in transports could not disembark; the remainder, however, advanced against the fort,—ascended the hill, which was rendered difficult by trees placed in all directions,—and, attacking the enemy with fixed bayonets, drove them from their works. After obtaining possession of the fort, two officers and thirteen private men were killed by the explosion of a magazine, which was fired by a negro recently from Africa, who did not know the use of gunpowder. One of the officers thus killed was Captain Morshead, of the light company of the Royals, who was wounded in the assault of the fort. Captain Hutchinson, of the Royals, who was doing duty with the artillery, was wounded at the commencement of the attack, but he continued at his post of duty until the fort was carried.
Part of the battalion was afterwards engaged in an[Pg 160] unsuccessful attack on Bombarde, in which service sixteen men were killed and twenty-six taken prisoners. The attack was made before day-break in the morning, and, the retreat being sudden, Ensign John Garston, of the Royals, with eight men of his company, became separated from the detachment, and, losing the road, wandered in a wrong direction. Towards mid-day he fell in with a patrol of six men of the enemy, and was called upon to surrender; but this brave young officer answered by a threat to fire upon them if they attempted to interrupt him. He continued to stray farther from his intended point; the enemy followed at a distance, and again called upon him to surrender, but he constantly refused. At night the patrol, fatigued with following him over dry and sandy plains, retired. The ensign and his little party continued to wander—fainting with hunger, thirst, and fatigue—two days and a night, during which time two men died of want and weariness, having found nothing but the fruit of Indian fig-trees and aloes. At length they arrived at a demolished port, where they found an old fishing-boat, in which they embarked, and arrived on the morning of the third day at the entrance of the bay of the mole St. Nicholas, from whence the fishermen brought them into the town.
Lieutenant M'Kellar, of the Royals, who commanded the light company after the death of Captain Morshead, occupied an unfinished block-house near the fortress of L'Acal, where he was attacked by the enemy; but he repulsed the assailants with signal gallantry, and his conduct on this occasion was mentioned in orders.
Port-au-Prince, the capital of the French possessions[Pg 161] in the island, was still in the power of the republicans, and the siege of this place was resolved upon. The flank companies of the battalion took part in this service, and the enemy evacuated the town on the 4th of June, and it was immediately occupied by the British troops. Unfortunately, a malignant fever broke out in the town, and the British lost 40 officers and 600 rank and file within two months after the surrender of the place.
A detachment of the Royals, under Lieutenant Clunes, formed part of the garrison of 120 men at Fort Bizzeton, which was attacked on the 5th of December by 2000 of the enemy, who were repulsed with considerable loss. Major-General Sir Adam Williamson, speaking of this affair in his public despatch, stated,—"Captain Grant (13th) and his two Lieutenants, Clunes of the Royals and Hamilton of the 22nd 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." The loss of this little garrison was, one serjeant and four rank and file killed; three officers, one serjeant, and thirteen rank and file, wounded.
A detachment of the battalion was engaged in the defence of an out-post at the commencement of the year 1795; and Lieutenant Spencer was wounded, and Lieutenant Watts killed, by the blowing up of a block-house.
The 2nd battalion had, in the mean time, remained in garrison at Calvi, in the island of Corsica; but the French having violated the neutrality of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and taken possession of the city of Leghorn, directed the cannon of the fortresses against the British shipping in the road, and seized on British property; it was believed they had the same design against[Pg 162] Porto Ferrajo, in the island of Elba; and the Royals were withdrawn from Corsica in July, 1796, to take possession of this place. Meanwhile the success of the French arms in various parts of Europe, particularly the victorious career of General Bonaparte in Italy, had produced a revolution of feeling amongst the inhabitants of Corsica. Bonaparte was a native of the island, and the Corsicans gloried in him as a man who reflected honour on his country; this produced a feeling of regret that the island had become annexed to Great Britain, and they began to plot measures to effect its separation. It appearing evident that the cost of the defence would exceed the advantage derived from the possession of the island, it was evacuated in October, and the remainder of the troops proceeded to Elba, where the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment was stationed.
The 1st battalion had, in the meantime, been much reduced in numbers by its arduous services in the island of St. Domingo; and in May, 1797, it returned to England, from whence it was ordered to Scotland to recruit.
The French republic had concluded a treaty of peace with Spain, and entered into negociations with the Portuguese; but the Queen of Portugal refused to ratify the treaty, and agreed to receive British troops into several ports of Portugal. The 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment was, in consequence, withdrawn in the summer of 1797 from the island of Elba to proceed to Portugal; calling at Gibraltar, it there received drafts from the several regiments in that garrison, and, on its arrival in the river Tagus, it was placed in garrison at Cascaes, a small sea-port in the district of Torres Vedras, fifteen miles west of Lisbon, where the battalion was stationed during the remainder of this and the following year.
In 1798 the 1st battalion, having recruited its numbers, proceeded from Great Britain to Ireland; and in the beginning of 1799 the 2nd battalion was withdrawn from Portugal, and after its arrival in England it was encamped on Barham Downs.
Bonaparte was at this period in Egypt, French troops were also engaged in operations on the Rhine, on the Danube, and elsewhere; and a favourable opportunity appeared to present itself for rescuing Holland from the power of France, into which it had fallen after the unfortunate issue of the campaign in the Netherlands in 1794. A plan of co-operation was concerted between Great Britain and Russia, in the expectation that the Dutch would rise in arms against the French, and in favour of the Prince of Orange, and, aided by the Anglo-Russian force, would exert themselves to effect their emancipation. The 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment was selected to form part of the expedition to Holland, and it sailed from Deal on the 13th of August, with several other corps commanded by General Sir Ralph Abercombie, and, after some delay from contrary winds, landed on the 27th on the Dutch coast, near the Helder. A considerable body of French and Dutch troops assembled near the point of debarkation, some sharp fighting occurred, and in the evening the enemy retreated to a position six miles in his rear. The garrison in the Helder also abandoned its post, which was taken possession of on the following day by the 2nd battalion of the Royals and the 92nd Regiment. A numerous train of heavy and field artillery was found in this important post; and two days afterwards the Dutch fleet surrendered without striking a blow, and hoisted the colours of the Prince of Orange.
The Dutch people did not, however, manifest a dis[Pg 164]position to rise against the French; but on the 10th of September the united French and Dutch forces attacked Sir Ralph Abercombie's position near Shagen, and were repulsed by the steady valour of the British troops. The British commander observed in his despatch,—"It is impossible for me to do full justice to the good conduct of the troops." The 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment had Lieutenant Gordon and three private men wounded on this occasion.
Additional forces were sent from England, and His Royal Highness the Duke of York arrived and took the command of the army. A Russian force also arrived; and on the 19th of September an attack was made on the enemy's position, but, owing to the inconsiderate valour of the Russians, it failed. On the 2nd of October another attack was made on the enemy's positions between Bergen and Egmont-op-Zee, in which the Royals had another opportunity of signalizing themselves. "The points where this well-fought battle were principally contested were from the sea-shore in front of Egmont, extending along the sandy desert, or hills, to the heights above Bergen, and it was sustained by the British columns under those highly-distinguished officers General Sir Ralph Abercrombie and Lieut.-General Dundas, whose exertions, as well as the gallantry of the brave troops they led, cannot have been surpassed by any former instance of British valour." The Royals were engaged with the enemy's troops occupying the sand-hills in front of Egmont-op-Zee, and lost on this occasion seven private men killed, Captains Barns and Hunter, Lieutenants Ainslie, Edmonston, Patten, Bowe, Fraser, and Johnstone, Ensign [Pg 165]Birmingham, four serjeants, and sixty-one rank and file wounded, Lieutenant Hope wounded and taken prisoner, and ten rank and file missing.
The gallant conduct evinced by the battalion on this occasion was afterwards rewarded with the Royal permission to bear the word "Egmont-op-Zee" on its colours.
The Dutch people were not aroused by these gallant exertions on their behalf to make any attempt to deliver themselves from the power of France; and, several circumstances, calculated to render the expedition unsuccessful having occurred, it was decided that, instead of fighting for a people who were not resolved to be free, the troops should be withdrawn from Holland. A convention was in consequence concluded with the enemy, and the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment returned to England.
The 1st battalion was stationed during the whole of this year in Ireland.
The 2nd battalion did not remain long on home service before it was again ordered to embark; and it formed part of the force under Lieut.-General Sir James Pulteney which landed on the 25th of August, 1800, on the coast of Galicia, in Spain, with the view of attacking the strong fortress of Ferrol, a sea-port situated at the influx of the river Javia into the extensive inlet called the Bay of Corunna. Having made good their landing, the troops advanced to the heights which overlook the town; some sharp skirmishing took place, and the Royals had one private soldier killed, and Lieutenant Edmonston and one private soldier wounded. After viewing the town and its defences, Sir James Pulteney resolved not to lose time in attacking this place, but to re-embark the troops and proceed to join General Sir Ralph Abercrombie, who commanded a British force in[Pg 166] the Mediterranean. The united forces afterwards sailed to Cadiz, and summoned the governor to surrender; but a disease was ravaging the city at the time, and the fleet quitted the coast for fear of infection, and proceeded to Gibraltar.
During the summer the 1st battalion quitted Ireland, and proceeded to Scotland, where it continued during the remainder of the year.
After its arrival at Gibraltar the 2nd battalion was selected to form part of an expedition under the orders of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, designed to drive the French army out of Egypt; and in November it sailed from Gibraltar to the island of Malta, where the men were disembarked to refresh themselves after having been many months at sea. The abundance of fresh provisions which the island afforded, the comforts of the beautiful city of Valetta, with the luxury of the scenery, soon restored and reanimated the troops; and on the 20th of December the expedition sailed for the Bay of Marmorice, in Asiatic Turkey, where the fleet arrived in nine days.
Here the troops remained for several weeks, in a bay surrounded by mountains, which presented to the eye the most picturesque scenery imaginable; the regiments were successively disembarked and exercised; Turkish horses were purchased for the cavalry; gun-boats were procured to cover the landing of the troops in Egypt, and a plan of co-operation was arranged with the Turks. The delays of the Turks detained the fleet some time; but on the 23rd of February, 1801, it again put to sea, when a gale of wind dispersed the Greek and Turkish vessels. The British continued their course, and having arrived on the 1st of March off the celebrated city of Alexandria, the ancient capital of Egypt, they bore down at sunset into the bay of Aboukir.
The 2nd battalion of the Royals was formed in brigade with the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 54th, and the 92nd Highlanders, commanded by Major-General Coote, and formed part of the van-guard of 5000 men, which entered the boats on the morning of the 8th of March, to effect a landing. At nine o'clock the boats moved forward, and as they approached the shore, the French troops poured down a shower of shot, shells, grape, and musketry, which cut the surface of the water into deep furrows, and sank several of the boats. Yet the undaunted Britons pressed forward;—the reserve leaped out of the boats on the shore and formed as they advanced;—the 23rd and flank companies of the 40th rushed up the heights in the face of dangers and difficulties sufficient to intimidate ordinary men;—the 28th and 42nd also formed and mounted the position;—while the Foot Guards and 58th prolonged the attack;—and the Royals and 54th pushed forward to sustain their brave companions in arms. A column of French infantry advancing through a hollow way with fixed bayonets against the left flank of the Foot Guards, encountered the Royals and 54th; the British pressed forward to engage their antagonists with their characteristic ardour; the French hesitated, fired a volley, and then retreated; and the Royals and 54th continued their advance. The regiments, which first ascended the enemy's position, had already gained considerable advantage, and when the Royals reached the heights and joined in the attack, the French retreated. They, however, maintained a scattered fire from the rear sand-hills for about an hour and a half, when they were obliged to retreat, with the loss of eight pieces of cannon and many horses. Sir Ralph Abercrombie expressed his approbation of the conduct of the troops in general orders in the following terms:—"The gallant behaviour of the[Pg 168] troops in the action of yesterday claims from the Commander-in-Chief the warmest praise that he can bestow; and it is with particular satisfaction that he observed their conduct marked equally for ardent bravery, and by coolness, regularity, and order." The loss of the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment was—Lieutenant Lyster, 1 serjeant, and 11 rank and file, killed; Captain—— M'Donald, Lieutenants Graham and Fraser, 3 serjeants, and 40 rank and file, wounded.
In the evening after the action the victorious troops advanced three miles on the road towards Alexandria; on the 10th they advanced three miles further, and, owing to the depth of the sand, the men were three hours proceeding that short distance. On the 12th they encamped near Mandora Tower, and on the succeeding day marched through the wood of date-trees to attack the enemy on the ridge of heights in front. Some sharp fighting occurred, and the French were driven from their position, and forced to retreat over the plains to their lines on the heights before Alexandria. The Royals lost during this day's service 4 men killed and 21 wounded.
After this victory the British troops took up a position with their right to the sea, and their left to the canal of Alexandria; and the Arabs visited the camp and brought sheep, goats, fowls, eggs, and everything the country afforded, and appeared happy to engage in a friendly intercourse with their deliverers. On the 19th 500 Turkish troops arrived and encamped three miles in the rear of the army. The French at Alexandria having been increased in numbers by troops from the interior, advanced on the 21st of March to attack the British, and the Royals had another opportunity of acquiring laurels on the distant shores of Egypt. The battalion, being on the right of the 1st brigade, had its post in the[Pg 169] centre of the front line, on the left of the Foot Guards. As soon as the day dawned a column of French grenadiers advanced, supported by a heavy line of infantry, to assault this part of the position. The Foot Guards threw forward a line of skirmishers; these being driven in, and the French column near, the brigade opened its fire with great precision. The enemy attempted to turn the left flank of the Guards, but was checked; and the Royals, with the remainder of their brigade, coming forward at the moment to engage the enemy, the French grenadiers were driven from their ground and forced to retreat. A crowd of French sharp-shooters afterwards advanced against the Royals and other regiments at this part of the field, and the French artillery played incessantly. But the British stood their ground manfully, and repelled the attacks of the enemy with a constancy and valour which redounded to their honour. The French were repulsed at every point of attack, and forced to retreat; and at 10 o'clock A.M. the action ceased. The splendour of the victory was, however, clouded with the fall of the British commander, Sir Ralph Abercrombie, who was wounded in the action and died a few days afterwards. The loss sustained by the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment was—9 rank and file killed; with Captain Goodson, Lieutenants Gordon, M'Pherson, and Johnstone, 1 serjeant, and 68 rank and file, wounded. Four days after the battle, between five and six thousand Turks arrived. Soon afterwards a body of British and Turks traversed the country to the city of Rosetta, situated near the mouth of one of the great channels of the river Nile, a place distinguished by the beauty of its environs, being completely embosomed in a grove of date, banana, sycamore, orange, lemon, and pomegranate trees, while the lofty palm-tree, towering over all, added[Pg 170] magnificence to the landscape. This place was soon captured; but the fort of St. Julian held out, and, while the siege was in progress, the Royals marched across the country to Hamed, on the Nile, five miles above Rosetta, where they arrived on the 12th of April. A small force of British, Turks, and Greeks, assembled at this place, to cover the siege, several skirmishes occurred, and the Royals had two drummers and eight private men killed.
After the surrender of St. Julian, General Hutchinson, who commanded the British forces in Egypt, having left a body of troops before Alexandria, advanced with the remainder, on the 5th of May, along the banks of the Nile, through a rich country, abounding in rice, sugar, wheat, barley, and other necessaries and luxuries of life, and on the 7th of May drove the French from the post of El-Aft. He also forced the enemy to quit their fortified post at Rahmanie, and to retire through the desert to the city of Cairo, the metropolis of modern Egypt. The Royals had three men wounded in the skirmish near Rahmanie. The British and Turks continued their route along the banks of the Nile, and arrived, on the 1st of June, within sight of the Pyramids. On the 8th they encamped within a few miles of these stupendous structures, where they halted several days; then advanced to Cairo and commenced the siege of the city, and in a few days the French surrendered the place.
The capture of the capital of Egypt added additional lustre to the British arms; and the brave men, whose skill and prowess gained these honours, were rewarded with the approbation of their Sovereign and the thanks of Parliament. From Cairo the British and Turks retired down the Nile, and proceeded to the vicinity of Alexandria, and, having driven in the French out-posts,[Pg 171] besieged the city, which was surrendered in the beginning of September. The Royals had one serjeant and seven private men killed before Alexandria, and also sustained considerable loss from the effects of fatigue and climate.
The nations of Europe had witnessed with anxiety the progress of this important struggle, and, when the veterans of France were overpowered, the dawn of liberty appeared above the distant horizon.
The British troops having, by a display of gallantry and heroism which exceeded the most sanguine expectations of their country, overcome the boasted "Invincible" legions of Bonaparte, and forced the French "Army of the East" to evacuate Egypt, from whence its ambitious and tyrannical leader had vainly imagined he should be able to extend his conquests throughout Asia, King George III. conferred upon the Royals and other corps, which had thus exalted the military fame of Great Britain, the honour of bearing on their colours the Sphynx, and the word "Egypt," as a distinguished mark of His Majesty's royal approbation of their conduct.
The 1st battalion had, in the meantime, marched from Scotland to England; and it sailed on the 1st of January, 1801, from Portsmouth for the West Indies, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Nicholson. A combination had been entered into by the courts of Sweden, Denmark, and Russia, to support the principles of an armed neutrality, contrary to the stipulations of treaties, and injurious to the interests of Great Britain; orders were in consequence issued for the attack of the Swedish and Danish islands in the West Indies; and the Royals joined the expedition, commanded by Lieut.-General Thomas Trigge, at the island of St. Bartholomew, on the 22nd of March. On the 24th the troops[Pg 172] made good their landing on the Danish island of St. Martin. After landing, the Royals, with the 11th and 2nd West India regiments, proceeded to the French quarter and took possession of Lee Hill, which commanded Fort Chesterfield. The artillery was dragged up the heights, and preparations made for commencing the attack, when the governor surrendered.
One wing of the battalion, and a detachment of the Royal Artillery, were left at St. Martin's under Lieut.-Colonel Nicholson, who was appointed to the command of the troops and the charge of the administration of the island. The other wing, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel J. C. Cowell, proceeded with the expedition to the island of St. Thomas, which surrendered, together with St. John, and their dependencies, on the 28th of March; and on the 31st of the same month the Danish island of Santa Cruz was taken. The battalion was then stationed, half at the island of St. Martin, and half at St. Thomas.
In August, 1801, General Lord Adam Gordon died, and was succeeded in the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, from the 7th Royal Fusiliers.
In November of the same year the 2nd battalion was withdrawn from Egypt, and proceeded to the island of Malta, where it remained upwards of four months.
The victories gained by the British troops in Egypt, the West Indies, and other parts of the globe, were followed by a treaty of peace, which was concluded at Amiens; and in May, 1802, the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment proceeded from Malta to Gibraltar.
It quitted Gibraltar in the beginning of 1803, and proceeded to England. Soon after its arrival the war again broke out, and it was ordered to the West Indies,[Pg 173] where it arrived in June. It was inspected at Barbadoes by Lieut.-General Greenfield, and immediately afterwards proceeded with an expedition against the French island of St. Lucia. The 1st division, consisting of the Royals and two field-pieces, landed on the island in the afternoon of the 21st of June, under the orders of Brigadier-General Brereton. The other corps followed; the French out-posts were driven in, and the town of Castrées taken possession of. On the following morning, before daylight, the Royals and 64th regiment advanced to attack the strong post of Morne Fortuné by storm. The Royals led the assault in gallant style; the redoubt was carried with fixed bayonets, and the enemy immediately surrendered. On the same day Lieut.-General Greenfield issued a general order, in which he stated:—
"The Commander of the Forces has the honour to congratulate the troops under his command on the gallant attack and capture of the fortress of Morne Fortuné, and the unconditional surrender of the island of St. Lucia.
"He shall have particular satisfaction in reporting to the King the readiness with which the troops forming the expedition were embarked on the shortest notice: he must, in particular, speak of the gallant behaviour of the second battalion of the Royals."
The loss of the battalion on this occasion was 1 serjeant, and 8 rank and file, killed; Lieut.-Colonel Macdonald, Captain Chaloner, 2 serjeants, and 43 rank and file, wounded; and 1 rank and file missing. Both the officers afterwards died of their wounds.
As a mark of His Majesty's approbation of the signal gallantry evinced by the Royals on this occasion, they were permitted to bear the words "Saint Lucia" on their colours.
After the capture of St. Lucia the expedition proceeded to Tobago, where it arrived on the 30th of June. The troops landed without opposition, and marched in column towards Scarborough; the French governor, General Berthier, was summoned, and he surrendered the island on the same day. The Royals were afterwards stationed at the island of Tobago for several months.
The first battalion, which had been in the West Indies since 1801, was employed in 1803, under Lieut.-General Greenfield, in capturing the islands belonging to the Batavian republic. Essequibo and Demerara surrendered on the 20th of September, 1803; and the island of Berbice surrendered to Lieut.-Colonel Robert Nicholson, of the Royals, on the 23rd of that month, when the Batavian garrison, of upwards of 600 men, was made prisoners.
While the first and second battalions were in the West Indies two additional battalions were embodied at Hamilton, in North Britain, on the 25th of December, 1804, and added to the establishment of the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot, which now consisted of four battalions, all fit for active service.
Soon afterwards the fourth battalion marched to Stirling Castle, and, after doing duty there a short time, embarked for Ireland.
In May, 1805, the third battalion marched from Scotland to the south of England.
In February of the same year the two flank companies of the second battalion were detached from Tobago, for the defence of the island of Antigua; and the battalion companies embarked for the defence of Trinidad; and in July the whole returned to Tobago, where the battalion remained until November of the same year, when, after transferring its effective non-commissioned officers,[Pg 175] drummers, and private men to the first battalion, it embarked for England, and landed in January, 1806, a mere skeleton.
This year (1806) the fourth battalion quitted Ireland, and on its arrival in England it was quartered at Horsham, and afterwards at Bexhill barracks. The third battalion was also stationed, during the winter of the same year, at Bexhill barracks.
In the meantime information arrived in England of the revolt of two battalions of Sepoys, in the service of the East India Company, at Vellore, and of their attack on a few companies of the King's troops at that place in July, 1806; also of the alarming spirit of insubordination evinced by the native troops in other parts of India; and the second battalion of the Royal Regiment was immediately ordered to embark for India, to strengthen the European force in that country. When the order arrived the battalion only mustered about 500 men; but it was completed in twenty-four hours to 1000, by volunteers from the third and fourth battalions, then at Bexhill barracks. On the 17th of April, 1807, it embarked at Portsmouth in six China ships, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel A. Stewart, arrived off the west coast of the Malay peninsula in September following, and landed on the 18th of that month on the Prince of Wales's Island.
The third battalion had in the meantime proceeded to the island of Jersey, from whence it embarked, in September, for Ireland.
The fourth battalion, consisting, after it had transferred its service-men to the second, of about 40 rank and file, embarked in April of the same year at Portsmouth, for Scotland; arrived at Glasgow on the 29th of that month, and commenced recruiting its numbers.
While the second battalion remained at the Prince of Wales's Island it lost about 100 men from disease. In November it embarked for the continent of India, landed at Madras in December, and, marching into the interior, was stationed at Wallajahbad and Bangalore, where it remained until March, 1808, when it returned to Madras.
During the summer of 1808 the fourth battalion, having recruited its ranks, embarked from Scotland, and arrived in England in August.
The resistance of the Portuguese and Spaniards to the tyrannical government of Napoleon had, in the meantime, occasioned a British force to be sent to their aid; and Portugal had been freed from the power of France. Spain was overrun by the legions of Napoleon; the Spaniards were rising in arms in every quarter; and a British force was ordered to their aid, under the command of Lieut.-General Sir John Moore. The third battalion of the Royal Regiment was selected to form part of this force; and it accordingly embarked at Cork in September, 1808, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Andrew Hay, and sailed for Spain with a body of troops under the orders of Lieut.-General Sir David Baird. These troops landed at Corunna in October, and marched up the country; at the same time another British force was advancing into Spain from the frontiers of Portugal, under Sir John Moore; and a junction was effected on the 20th of December at Majorga, from whence the united forces advanced on the following day to Sahagun, in the province of Leon. The Spaniards had, however, been defeated and dispersed; and the few [Pg 177]troops under Sir John Moore were unable to cope with the overwhelming numbers with which Napoleon advanced to attack the British army. A retreat was consequently resolved upon; and the third battalion of the Royal Regiment shared with the other corps in all the fatigues and privations consequent upon a retrograde movement, continued for a distance of 250 miles, along roads covered with snow, over mountains and rivers, and through narrow defiles, with an enemy above three times as numerous as themselves following in full career, and frequently skirmishing with the rear-guard. Yet such was the ability of the British commander, and the native energy and resolution of the troops, that this retrograde movement was successfully executed, and in the middle of January, 1809, the army arrived, unbroken, in front of Corunna. Napoleon, having been foiled in his object, had desisted from the pursuit; but he had detached a large body of troops, under Marshal Soult, to pursue the British to the sea-shore; and a general engagement was fought on the 16th of January, when the British were victorious. The third battalion of the Royal Regiment was formed, on this occasion, in brigade with the 26th (Cameronians), and the second battalion of the 81st, under Major-General Manningham, in the division commanded by Sir David Baird. Before the action commenced, Captain Rowan was sent forward with 100 men of the Royals, and joined the 81st Regiment, which had also been posted in advance. On the approach of the enemy this party was attacked by very superior numbers, and Captain Rowan brought back very few of his men. When the enemy approached Sir David Baird's division, it did not wait to be attacked, but advanced under a heavy fire to meet its opponents; on no occasion was the valour of British troops more[Pg 178] manifest, and the Royals, with the remainder of their brigade, were thanked in general orders for their gallant conduct. This victory was, however, purchased at the expense of many valuable lives; and the death of Sir John Moore, who was killed by a cannon-ball, was an irreparable loss to his country. The British troops afterwards embarked at Corunna, and returned to England. When the Royals arrived in England, it was discovered that they had sustained, in killed, wounded, missing, and death from fatigue, a loss of about 250 men: and their gallantry was rewarded with the Royal permission to bear the word Corunna on their colours.
This year (1809) the 2nd battalion marched, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel H. Conran, from Fort St. George, Madras, to take the field. Previously to quitting this station the following order was issued by the Governor-General in Council:—
"On the march of the 2nd battalion of the Royals from the garrison of Fort St. George, Lieut.-Colonel Conran will assume the command of the force under the orders of march to the ceded districts, without interfering with the command of the troops in the centre division of the army.
"The Governor-General in Council is pleased to express his entire approbation of the conduct of the 2nd battalion of the Royals while they have been stationed at Fort St. George.
"The Governor-General in Council requests Lieut.-Colonel Conran will accept the expression of his warmest thanks for the able and satisfactory manner in which he has conducted the duties incidental to the command of the troops in the garrison of Fort St. George."
After the Royals had been in the field a short time[Pg 179] they were separated, and one wing proceeded to Hyderabad, and the other to Masulipatam, a considerable sea-port in the district of Condapilly, where they remained during the succeeding year.
The 3rd battalion had, in the meantime, been selected to form part of an expedition to Holland, under the command of the Earl of Chatham, for the purpose of destroying the enemy's shipping, arsenal, &c., on the Scheldt. It accordingly embarked from Portsmouth in July, under the command of Major Gordon, and landed at Walcheren, one of the Dutch islands in the German ocean, situated at the mouth of the river Scheldt, and was engaged in the siege of Flushing, the capital of the island. On the 7th of August the enemy issued from the town, and attacked the British troops. "Their principal effort was directed against the small wood on the left of our advanced piquet on the dyke; and their left column advanced towards that point in a heavy mass, attempting to deploy while they entered the small meadow which lies between the two woods. Here they were received with a most destructive fire by the Royals, posted on the dyke, and were gallantly charged by the light company of that regiment." These gallant exertions being seconded by the 5th and 35th regiments, and two six-pounders, the enemy fell back, having sustained very considerable loss.
An attempt was afterwards made to drive the enemy from their posts in front of the advanced piquets. "The 3rd battalion of the Royals advanced along the sand-hills; and the light company of that battalion, under Captain Hay, charged the enemy most gallantly. Very little resistance was made, and the enemy retired into the suburbs of the town, to which they set fire. They had with them two small field-pieces, one of which was[Pg 180] taken in a most gallant manner by Lieutenant Jackson and thirty men of the Royals." The Commander of the Forces expressed his approbation of the conduct of the Royals on this occasion, in general orders, and attributed the success principally to the rapid and gallant charge made by Captain Hay with the light company at the moment of the enemy's deployment.
The siege was afterwards prosecuted with vigour, and the town surrendered on the 15th of August. After the capture of this place, the expedition prepared to carry the original design into execution; but the enemy had, in the meantime, removed his shipping higher up the Scheldt, and collected so large a body of troops for the defence of Antwerp, that further proceedings were abandoned, and the troops returned to England. The loss of the Royals in this expedition was—Lieutenant M'Lean, 1 drummer, and 8 private men, killed; Captain J. Wilson, Lieutenants Jackson and M'Kenzie, 7 serjeants, and 81 rank and file, wounded; and 6 rank and file missing. The unhealthy climate of Walcheren, however, produced a much greater loss from disease.
The 1st battalion had continued in the West Indies, and was stationed at Demerara and Tobago, from whence fifty men were detached, under the command of Captains Lynch and Mullen, to form part of an expedition under Lieut.-General Sir George Beckwith, K.B., against the island of Guadaloupe. The Royals formed part of the 2nd battalion of light infantry, under Lieut.-Colonel David Stewart, of the 8th West India Regiment. A landing was effected on the 28th of January, 1810, and the [Pg 181]Royals took part in the operations, by which the enemy was forced to surrender the island in the early part of February. The Royals had 3 rank and file killed, and 1 serjeant and 12 rank and file wounded, in this service.
A British army was at this period in Portugal, under the command of Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Wellesley; and the 3rd battalion of the Royal Regiment, having, after its return from Walcheren, been recruited to 1000 rank and file, embarked at Portsmouth in February, 1810, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Barns, for Portugal. After landing at Lisbon it joined the army under Sir Arthur Wellesley, and formed part of Major-General Leith's division. Marshal Massena was advancing from Spain with an immense army, and he vaunted that he would drive the English into the sea. The British and Portuguese troops manœuvred to retard the advance of the enemy, and in September the army took up a position on the rocks of Busaco. This position was attacked by the enemy on the 27th of September; a desperate engagement ensued, and the British, by astonishing efforts of valour, overcame their antagonists, and stood triumphant on the lofty heights. Sir Arthur Wellesley, in his despatch, stated,—"Major-General Leith reports the good conduct of the Royals;" and the royal permission was afterwards obtained for the regiment to bear the word Busaco on its colours, in commemoration of the good conduct of the battalion in this engagement.
The army afterwards retired to the lines of Torres Vedras, where a series of works constructed with skill opposed an insurmountable barrier to the progress of the[Pg 182] enemy. The French Marshal, after reconnoitring the works, retired to Santarem, and the two armies confronted each other during the remainder of the year.
The 4th battalion proceeded, in August of this year, from England to Scotland; the 1st battalion continued in the West Indies; and the 2nd battalion passed the year at Hyderabad and Masulipatam, in the East Indies.
In the early part of 1811 the left wing of the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment proceeded by forced marches from Hyderabad to Masulipatam, where it joined the right wing, in the expectation of embarking with the expedition commanded by Lieut.-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty, against the Dutch island of Java. The battalion mustered 1036 rank and file, and the officers and men panted for an opportunity to signalize themselves; but, to their great regret, the order for their embarkation was countermanded. They remained at Masulipatam until July, when they proceeded to Trichinopoly, a strong city in the Carnatic.
The 3rd battalion remained opposed to the French army in Portugal. Marshal Massena occupied his position at Santarem until his numbers were reduced by sickness and privation, and on the night of the 5th March, 1811, he retreated towards the frontiers. The Royals, moving forward with the army, took part in the operations which followed; the French retired into Spain, leaving a garrison in Almeida, which was blockaded by the allies. Having crossed the frontiers, the Royals were engaged on the 5th of May at Fuentes d'Onor, on which occasion the French Marshal was defeated in[Pg 183] his attempt to relieve Almeida. The Royals had one serjeant and 8 rank and file wounded in this action.
This battalion was also before the strong fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo, when it was besieged by the allied army in January, 1812, and captured by storm on the 19th of that month.
On the 11th of February, 1812, "His Royal Highness the Prince Regent was pleased, in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, to approve of the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot, being in future styled, The First Regiment of Foot, or Royal Scots."
From the province of Leon the 3rd battalion marched towards Spanish Estremadura, and was before the city of Badajoz when that fortress was besieged and taken by storm in the month of April; in which service the Royals had two officers wounded; namely, Lieutenant[Pg 184]s Rea and O'Neil, who were attached to the engineer's department.
After the capture of Badajoz the battalion proceeded with its division (the 5th) towards Ciudad Rodrigo, and advanced upon Salamanca, which city the French were forced to evacuate in the middle of June. The enemy retreated beyond the Douro, and part of the allied army advanced to Trabancos. The French subsequently re-passed the Douro, when the Royal Scots, with the remainder of the division, advanced to Torrecille de la Orden, to cover the retreat, and insure the junction of the corps in advance. On the 18th of July the French army commanded by Marshal Marmont pushed forward, some sharp skirmishing occurred, and the Royals were partially engaged, and had two men wounded. The allied army afterwards retreated, and took up a position on the rocky heights near Salamanca.
On the 22nd of July, while the French army was manœuvring and extending to the left, the British commander commenced the attack at a favourable moment. The 3rd battalion of the Royal Scots, with the remainder of the 5th division, formed behind the village of Arapiles; and, advancing from thence, attacked the enemy in front with distinguished bravery, and, engaging in a fierce combat of musketry, drove the French from one height to another. Lieut.-General Leith, commanding the division, was carried out of the field wounded. Lieut.-Colonel Barns was severely wounded while leading the battalion to the charge, and obliged to withdraw, and the command of the Royal Scots devolved on Major Colin Campbell. The battalion continued to press forward, and forced the legions of Napoleon to give way. A decisive victory was ultimately gained; and the valour of the Royal Scots was rewarded with the[Pg 185] Royal permission to bear the word Salamanca on their colours. Major Campbell signalized himself at the head of the battalion after the fall of Lieut.-Colonel Barns, and was promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel in the army. The loss of the battalion in action was,—Lieutenant Neils Falks, 1 serjeant, and 22 rank and file, killed; Lieut.-Colonel Barns, Captain Logan, Lieutenants Kellett, O'Neil, M'Killigan, and Clark, Ensign Stoyte, 7 serjeants, 2 drummers, and 120 rank and file, wounded. Volunteer M'Alpin, who was attached to the Royal Scots, was also wounded.
After this victory the battalion advanced with the army to Madrid, and was present at the surrender of the Retiro on the 14th of August. From Madrid the battalion proceeded to Burgos, where it remained during the siege of that fortress, in which Lieutenant Rea of the regiment, who was acting as engineer, was again wounded. When the British Commander found himself unable to withstand the overwhelming numbers which were advancing against him, he retired, and while on the retreat the Royal Scots were detached to Palencia, to protect the men employed in the destruction of the bridges over the Carrion. The enemy assembled a considerable force at this point, and Lieut.-Colonel Campbell retreated to Villa Muriel; the battalion was sharply engaged during this day's manœuvres, and had 2 serjeants and 6 rank and file, killed; 1 serjeant and 7 rank and file wounded; and 1 serjeant and 26 rank and file missing. The retreat was continued to the frontiers of Portugal, where the Royal Scots passed the winter.
During this contest the tyrannical decrees published[Pg 186] by Napoleon, with the view of destroying the commerce of Great Britain, had occasioned the government to issue orders in council respecting the trade of neutral nations, for the purpose of counteracting the intentions of the French Emperor. The enforcing of these orders, and the pressing of British seamen on board of American ships, eventually brought on a war between the British Crown and the United States of North America; and the 1st battalion of the Royal Scots was withdrawn from the West Indies, where it had been stationed since 1801, to strengthen the British force in Canada. Five companies and the head-quarters embarked from Demerara on the 24th of April, and sailed for Barbadoes. During their passage a remarkable eruption of Mount Souffre, in the island of St. Vincent, took place on the 1st May, when a total darkness ensued, which continued for nearly six hours, accompanied by a fall of volcanic ashes which covered the decks and rigging of the vessels. The five companies stationed at Tobago and Berbice had previously arrived at Barbadoes; and on the 24th of June the whole battalion, mustering 1094 rank and file, under the command of Major John Gordon, sailed in seven [Pg 187]transports for Quebec. During the passage one of the transports was captured by an American frigate; but it was afterwards allowed to proceed on its voyage on conditions of not serving against the United States until regularly exchanged. In the early part of August the battalion arrived at Quebec; and on the 14th of that month the flank companies, under Major Gordon, and a detachment of the Royal Artillery with a light three-pounder, proceeded in bateaux to Point Levi, but returned to Quebec towards the end of the same month.
In the beginning of September the flank companies sailed up the St. Lawrence to Montreal, and proceeded from thence to Chambly, a fort on the river Sorel, which issues from Lake Champlain. In November the head-quarters and five battalion companies marched, under the command of Major Gordon, for St. John's; but on their route they received orders to proceed direct to Montreal, to resist the threatened attack of an American force under General Dearborn. The plans of the enemy were disconcerted, and General Dearborn retreated without making the attack, when the five companies of the Royal Scots proceeded to their original destination.
The 2nd battalion, in the East Indies, remained at Trichinopoly; and in July, 1812, four companies, commanded by Captain John Gordon, were ordered to suppress a mutiny amongst the Company's native troops at Quilon, which then threatened most serious consequences to the British possessions in India. After performing this service, the four companies returned to their former quarters at Trichinopoly.
Three of the companies and the head-quarters of the 1st battalion in Canada were withdrawn from St. John's in April, 1813, to Montreal, where two other companies[Pg 188] also arrived from Quebec. Soon afterwards an attack on the American post at Sackett's Harbour, on Lake Ontario, was resolved upon; and 2 serjeants and 25 rank and file of the Royal Scots were placed under the orders of Colonel Baynes, to take part in this service. The grenadier company was also ordered from Chambly to engage in the expedition; but before its arrival, the other troops sailed from Kingston, and, having effected a landing on the 29th of May, advanced with great gallantry along a causeway connecting the island with the main land, dashed into a thick wood, and, encountering the Americans, drove them from amongst the trees. The detachment afterwards set fire to the American storehouses near the fort, and retired. The Royal Scots had 2 private men killed, 7 wounded, and 1 taken prisoner by the enemy, in this service.
During the same month, the light company of the Royal Scots was sent from Chambly to Kingston, for the purpose of instructing the flank companies of the Canada militia regiments, which had been formed into a light battalion, in light infantry drill.
On the 4th of June the head-quarters and one company arrived at Kingston, from Montreal; on the 17th seven companies advanced to Four-Mile Creek; and on the following day two companies embarked from Kingston, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, to attack a strong post occupied by the Americans at Sodius. The detachment made good its landing on the 20th of June, captured a great quantity of stores, and burnt the public buildings; and re-embarking on the same day, sailed to Four-Mile Creek; having sustained a loss of 3 private men killed, and 1 serjeant and 3 private men wounded.
While the battalion lay at Four-Mile Creek, frequent skirmishes occurred between the British and Americans; and on the 12th of August the Royal Scots had several private men wounded.
From Four-Mile Creek the battalion proceeded to St. David's, and went into cantonments at that place until the 1st of September, when it marched to Cross-roads, and was there partially engaged with a body of Americans, but experienced little loss. The battalion encamped a short time at Cross-roads; and on the 8th of October some sharp fighting took place, in which the Royal Scots had 5 private men wounded, and 1 taken prisoner. On the 11th the battalion went into quarters at Burlington.
Notwithstanding the severity of a Canadian winter, military operations were continued; and on the 17th of December the grenadier and one battalion companies of the Royal Scots marched from Burlington, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, towards Niagara; and on the 19th the grenadiers, commanded by Captain Bailey, assisted at the storm and capture of Fort Niagara without sustaining any loss; and the battalion company advanced to dislodge the enemy from the heights of Lewiston. Colonel Murray, in his report of this transaction to Lieut.-General Drummond, observes—"I have to express my admiration of the valour of the grenadier company of the Royals under Captain Bailey, whose zeal and gallantry were very conspicuous;" and in a general order published at the time, Lieut.-General Drummond stated—"The troops employed on this occasion were the grenadier company of the Royal Scots, 100th regiment, and flank companies of the 44th. Their instructions were, not to fire, but to carry the place at the point of the[Pg 190] bayonet. These orders were punctually obeyed—a circumstance that not only proves their intrepidity, but reflects great credit on their discipline.
"Lieut.-General Drummond will perform a most gratifying duty in bringing under the notice of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, through his Excellency the Commander of the Forces, the admirable execution of this brilliant achievement on the part of every individual concerned.
"The Lieut.-General has received from Major-General Riall a very favourable report of the zeal and alacrity of the detachment of the Royal Scots under Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, and the 41st battalion companies under the command of Major Friend, who advanced under the Major-General's command to dislodge the enemy from the heights of Lewiston. The Lieut.-General has only to regret that the enemy's rapid retreat from Lewiston heights did not afford to Major-General Riall an opportunity of leading them to victory."
After this success five companies of the battalion, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, crossed the Niagara river, and were employed, on the 29th of December, in storming the enemy's batteries at Black Rock and Buffalo, and in burning and laying waste the enemy's frontier between these places and Fort Niagara; in which service 2 corporals and 13 private men were killed, and 3 serjeants and 27 rank and file wounded, and 6 rank and file were missing. The conduct of the troops on this service was described in general orders as follows:—
"The conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of the advance-corps of the right division having been crowned with the most complete success by the capture[Pg 191] of Fort Niagara, with all the enemy's guns and stores, and the destruction of four armed vessels, and of the cover along the whole of their frontier from that fort to Buffalo Creek—a measure dictated not only by every consideration of military policy, but authorised by every motive of just retaliation—it only remains for Lieut.-General Drummond to thank the troops for their exertions, and to express his admiration of the valuable qualities which they have displayed in the course of that short but severe service, in which they have cheerfully borne the absence of almost every comfort, and the rigours of a climate for which they were far from being prepared. The immediate reward of their gallant conduct the Lieut.-General trusts will be felt in the repose which they have so well earned for themselves, by depriving the enemy of all the means of present annoyance; the more remote recompense of their exertions will be found in the approbation of their king and country."
While the 1st battalion was actively employed in Canada, the 2nd battalion marched to Bangalore; and in April, 1813, the right wing, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel M'Kellar, took the field, and joined the force in the southern Mahratta country, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel Dowse, and remained in the field twelve months.
Meanwhile the 3rd battalion, advancing from the frontiers of Portugal into Spain, was actively employed in operations. The French army, disconcerted by the superior tactics of the British commander, retreated, and took up a position in front of Vittoria. The allied army followed the retreating enemy in full career, traversing rocks and mountains, passing rivers, and overcoming[Pg 192] difficulties heretofore deemed insurmountable, still hovering round the retiring enemy, and attacking his columns when an opportunity offered. On one of these occasions the Royal Scots were engaged (18th June) near Osma, and had 3 rank and file killed, 9 wounded, and 4 missing.
On the 21st of June the army advanced in three columns to attack the enemy in his position in front of Vittoria. The Royal Scots, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Campbell, being in the left column under Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, advanced against the enemy's right flank. This portion of the army carried the heights commanding the village of Abechuco, and then advanced against the village of Gamarra Major, which was carried in gallant style, the enemy being dislodged at the point of the bayonet with great slaughter, and the loss of three guns. Lieut.-Colonel Campbell of the Royal Scots was severely wounded, and the command of the battalion devolved on Major Peter Fraser. Towards the close of the action the Royal Scots, with the remainder of the division, crossed the river Zadora, turned the enemy's right, and cut off his retreat by the Bayonne road. The other divisions were also successful at their several points of attack; the French army was completely routed, with the loss of its cannon, ammunition, baggage, and military chest; and it fled a mere wreck to the frontiers of France. The gallant conduct of the Royal Scots in this memorable action was rewarded with the Royal permission to bear the word "Vittoria" on their colours. The battalion lost Captain Hay and Lieutenant Glover, who died of their wounds; 11 rank and file killed; Lieut.-Colonel Campbell, Lieutenants[Pg 193] Armstrong, Rea, M'Killigan, and Cross, Ensign Green, Volunteer Dobbs, 4 serjeants, and 92 rank and file, wounded.
After this victory the Royal Scots marched towards the coast, and were engaged in the siege of the strong fortress of St. Sebastian. A breach having been made on the left flank, Major-General Hay was directed to storm the fortress with his brigade, of which the Royal Scots formed a part.
The battalion had passed the night of the 24th of July in the trenches. At day-break on the following morning it led the attack under the orders of Major Peter Fraser, and, though exposed to a most destructive shower of grape and musketry, which thinned the ranks, it advanced in the teeth of this storm of fire, in the most cool and determined manner. Major Peter Fraser, while gallantly encouraging his brave followers by his example, was killed; and Captain Mullen, being next in seniority, assumed the command of the battalion, which duty he performed with much credit. Though the cannon of the fortress thundered in front, the French soldiers poured down their volleys of musketry, and hand-grenades, shells, and large stones, flew in showers through the darkened air; yet onward went the Royal Scots, and assailed the breach with a degree of valour and intrepidity which rivalled the gallant exploits of their predecessors under the great Gustavus Adolphus. But the defences round the breach had not been destroyed, and success was found to be impossible; the storming party was consequently ordered to retire. The [Pg 194]battalion lost, on this occasion, Major Fraser, Captain Cameron, Lieutenants Anderson, Clark, Massey, and Adjutant Cluff, 6 serjeants, and 75 rank and file, killed; Captains Arguimbeau, Logan, Stewart, Macdonald, and Buckley, Lieutenants O'Neil, Eyre, and Reynolds, Volunteer Miller, 7 serjeants, and 230 rank and file, wounded; Lieutenant Reynolds died of his wounds, and Lieutenant Eyre was taken prisoner.
The siege was afterwards prosecuted with vigour, and on the 31st of August the fortress was again attacked by storm. The Royal Scots, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Barns, were directed to make their attack on the left of the second breach, and were supported by the 38th regiment. The assault was made with great gallantry; some of the traversers of the semi-bastion were carried by the leading companies, but were retaken by the enemy. Nothing could exceed the bravery and steadiness of the troops employed at this point; and the enemy, observing the whole division in motion, sprung a mine on the top of the curtain; but the explosion was premature, and only a few of the leading men of the Royal Scots suffered from it. Yet undismayed by the bursting mine, and fierce opposition of the enemy, the Royal Scots pressed forward upon their adversaries, and carried the coverlain; the troops crowded into the [Pg 195]town in every direction, and in the course of an hour were masters of the place, excepting the citadel.
On the 8th of September batteries mounting fifty-four pieces of ordnance opened a tremendous fire upon the citadel. In less than three hours the enemy hoisted a flag of truce, and, after some discussion, surrendered. As a testimony of the royal approbation of the signal valour evinced by the Royal Scots during this siege, and of the value attached to their services, they were permitted to bear the words "St. Sebastian" on their colours. Their loss in the successful storm of the town was, Ensign Boyd, 3 serjeants, 1 drummer, and 48 rank and file, killed; Lieutenants Armstrong, Holebrooke, Macdonnell, Clark, and Suckling, 7 serjeants, and 133 rank and file, wounded. Captain James Stewart, who was performing the duty of aide-de-camp to Major-General Hay, was killed from the castle while reconnoitring the works on the 4th of September. Captain Robert Macdonald was promoted to the rank of Major in the army, for his distinguished services at the storm of St. Sebastian.
After the capture of this fortress the troops advanced to the frontiers; and on the 7th of October the light company of the Royal Scots, commanded by Lieutenant J. N. Ingram, crossed the Bidassoa, followed by the remainder of the battalion and that portion of the army which had reduced St. Sebastian; the Royal Scots being the first British corps of the allied army[Pg 196] which entered France. Thus, after driving the legions of Napoleon out of Portugal and Spain, the seat of war was transferred to the enemy's country; and the interior of France became the scene for the display of British prowess. After crossing the Bidassoa the troops drove the enemy to the heights of Irun, a distance of about three miles.
On the 10th of November the enemy's formidable line of works on the river Nivelle were attacked, and the Royal Scots, with the other regiments of the 5th division, drove the enemy from a field redoubt, and pursued them under the guns of Bayonne. The battalion lost, on this occasion, 1 rank and file, killed, and 4 serjeants and 15 rank and file wounded. Further operations were retarded by snow and rain; but in the early part of December the army passed the river Nive, and drove the French into their entrenched camp in front of Bayonne; from whence they issued on the three following days, and attacked the allies, but were repulsed. The Royal Scots were warmly engaged on these occasions, and their gallantry was rewarded with the royal permission to bear the word "Nive" on their colours. Their loss was 3 rank and file killed, and 1 serjeant and 3 rank and file wounded.
In the meantime important events had transpired on the continent of Europe. The invasion of Russia by Napoleon, the burning of Moscow, the disastrous retreat of the French army from the north, and the separation of Prussia, Austria, and other states, from the interest of Napoleon, were followed by a treaty of alliance and subsidy between Great Britain and Sweden, in which it was stipulated that a Swedish army commanded by the Crown Prince should join the allies; and on the 2nd of August, 1813, the 4th battalion of the Royal[Pg 197] Scots embarked under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Muller for Stralsund, in Swedish Pomerania, forming part of an expedition sent thither under the orders of Major-General Gibbs. Thus a battalion of the regiment proceeded to the same part of the world to which a body of daring Scots, who formed the nucleus of this distinguished corps, proceeded exactly 200 years before, to engage in the service of the Swedish monarch. The battalion remained at Stralsund until the middle of December, when it advanced to support the army of the Crown Prince of Sweden on the Elbe, and halted on the 24th of December at Lubeck.
Thus at the conclusion of the year 1813 the regiment had four battalions on foreign service in three different quarters of the globe; namely—
|1st||battalion in||Upper Canada,||America.|
|2nd||"||the East Indies,||Asia.|
The services of the 1st battalion were limited, during the early part of 1814, to the usual duties of a corps stationed on an enemy's frontier. On the night of the 3rd of March, Captain Stewart received information of the appearance of a strong body of Americans in Longwood, in advance of Delaware town; and he directed the light companies of the Royal Scots, and 89th regiment, to march at day-break, to support the advance posts. At five o'clock on the evening of the 4th the Americans were discovered, in very superior force, posted on a commanding eminence, protected with breastworks formed of logs of wood. The companies of the Royal Scots and 89th instantly attacked the enemy in front, "in the most gallant manner," while a company of rangers, and a detachment of Canadian militia, made a flank movement to the right, and a small band of Indians made a similar movement to the left, with a view of gaining the rear of[Pg 198] the position. "After repeated efforts to dislodge the enemy in an arduous and spirited contest of an hour and a half's duration, which terminated with the daylight, the troops were reluctantly withdrawn, having suffered severely, principally in officers." The Royal Scots had Captain David Johnstone, 1 serjeant, and 9 private men killed; Lieutenant Angus Macdonald, 2 serjeants, and 37 private men, wounded; and a bugler taken prisoner.
The battalion assembled at Fort George on the 1st of June; and on the 3rd of July two flank and five battalion companies marched from that place towards Chippewa. In the meantime a body of Americans had landed at Black Rock, and had driven in the garrison of Fort Erie. On the 4th the enemy advanced in force by the river, and the light company of the Royal Scots was engaged in a skirmish with the American riflemen. On the 5th of July a severe engagement with very superior numbers of the enemy took place. The attack was not attended with success. Major-General Riall, speaking of the conduct of the troops in general orders, observed—"Although their efforts were not crowned with the success they deserved, yet he has the greatest satisfaction in saying 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 Royal Scots had Captain E. P. Bailey, 5 serjeants, and 71 rank and file killed; Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, Lieutenants W. Campbell, A. Macdonald, A. Campbell, J. T. Connell, B. Fox, George [Pg 199]Jackson, and Charles Hendrick, 12 serjeants, and 132 rank and file, wounded; Captains E. M. Bird and John Wilson severely wounded and taken prisoners; 5 serjeants and 72 rank and file missing.
Fort Erie afterwards surrendered to the superior numbers of the enemy; the Royal Scots returned to Fort George; and on the 13th of July seven companies took up a position at Fifteen-mile Creek.
The three companies left at Fort George quitted that place a few days afterwards, and, having crossed the Niagara river on the 25th of July, marched to Lewiston to attack a body of the enemy; but the Americans fled, and the Royal Scots captured a quantity of stores and other articles. The three companies afterwards re-passed the river at Queenstown; and, advancing to the Falls of Niagara, formed in the position of Lundy's Lane, under the orders of Lieut.-General Drummond. In the mean time the other seven companies were on the march from Fifteen-mile Creek towards the Falls.
The three companies of the Royal Scots had scarcely taken their post in the centre of the position of Lundy's Lane, when about 5000 Americans advanced, and attacked the British troops with great fury; and a most sanguinary contest ensued. During the heat of the conflict the seven companies of the Royal Scots arrived from Fifteen-mile Creek, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, and took post on the right of the line. The enemy attempted to force the centre for the purpose of gaining the crest of the position, but were repulsed with loss, and the Royal Scots distinguished themselves in driving back the assailants. 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[Pg 200] 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 the Lieut.-General's particular notice." The three companies in the centre of the line particularly distinguished themselves, and were twice mentioned in the Lieut.-General's public despatch in terms of the highest commendation. The Royal Scots lost on this occasion Lieutenant William Hemphill, 3 serjeants, 1 drummer, and 48 rank and file, killed and missing; Captain Brereton, Lieutenants Haswell and Fraser, 4 serjeants, and 93 rank and file, wounded; Lieutenants Clyne, Lamont, and Fraser taken prisoners. The conduct of the battalion on this occasion, with the distinguished bravery evinced by the grenadier company in the storm of Fort Niagara on the 19th of December, 1813, obtained the Royal [Pg 201]permission to bear the word "Niagara" on the colours of the regiment.
An attack on Fort Erie having been resolved upon, the 1st battalion of the Royal Scots appeared before this place on the 4th of August, and formed part of the besieging force. During the progress of the siege several slight skirmishes occurred; and on the 10th of August the Royal Scots had Lieutenant Gregor M'Gregor and 3 private men killed and 9 private men wounded.
The batteries having produced an impression on the place, a general assault was made on the fort and adjoining works on the 15th of August before day-break; and two companies of the Royal Scots formed part of the force selected to storm the fort and entrenchments leading from it to the lake. This portion of the storming party made its attack with signal gallantry, and after a desperate resistance succeeded in effecting a lodgment in the fort through the embrasures and demi-bastion, and turned the guns against the enemy, when a sudden explosion of some gunpowder placed under the platform occurred, and almost all the men who had entered the place were either killed or dreadfully mangled. This occasioned the troops to retreat; the enemy opened a heavy fire of musketry, and the storming party retired. The eight companies of the Royal Scots which had not taken part in the storming of the fort were immediately thrown out to cover the retreat—"a service which that valuable corps executed with great steadiness." The loss of the battalion in this unfortunate affair was—Captain Torrens and 32 rank and file killed, 2 serjeants and 37 rank and file wounded.
The troops continued before the fort, and on the 9th of September 2 private soldiers of the Royal Scots[Pg 202] were killed, and Lieutenant P. Grant wounded by a shell. On the 17th the enemy made a sortie, and an engagement took place, which lasted nearly five hours. "On the right the enemy's advance was checked by the 1st battalion Royal Scots, supported by the 89th regiment, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Gordon of the Royals; and in the centre he was driven back by the Glengarry light infantry, under Lieut.-Colonel Battersby, and directed by Lieut.-Colonel Pearson, inspecting field officer." On this occasion the battalion lost 2 serjeants and 22 rank and file killed and missing; Lieut.-Colonel Gordon, Lieutenant Rutledge, and 30 rank and file, wounded. Lieutenant Rutledge died on the same day, and Lieut.-Colonel Gordon on the 25th.
On the 17th of October the battalion marched to Chippewa, and engaged the enemy at Cook's Mills, drove the Americans from their post, without sustaining any loss. Shortly afterwards the battalion proceeded to Fort Niagara, where it was stationed during the remainder of the year.
In April, 1814, the left wing of the 2nd battalion in the East Indies marched to Bellary; at the same time the right wing, forming part of the force in the southern Mahratta country, quitted the field, and joined the left [Pg 203]wing at Bellary in May. Soon afterwards the battalion proceeded to Hyderabad, where it remained until the beginning of November, when it received orders to proceed to Ellichpoor, to join the field force under the command of Brigadier-General Doveton, and was subsequently employed against a barbarous people called the Pindarees, who infested the British territory in India at this period, and committed dreadful ravages wherever they appeared.
The 3rd battalion was employed in the spring of 1814 in the blockade of the strong fortress of Bayonne, in France; while a great part of the allied British, Spanish, and Portuguese army, which had passed the Pyrenees mountains, advanced up the country.
In the meantime the Dutch had made an energetic struggle to free themselves from the power of Napoleon, and a strong party had declared in favour of the Prince of Orange. A British force was sent to Holland under the orders of Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, and the 4th battalion of the Royal Scots was ordered from the north of Germany to join the troops in Holland. The battalion accordingly commenced its march from Lubeck on the 17th January, 1814, and encountered many difficulties, from the inclemency of the weather. While traversing the forest of Shrieverdinghen, 120 men were lost in a snow storm; much extreme suffering occurred during the journey; and on the 2nd of March the men went into cantonments at Rozendalh. After halting six days the battalion was ordered to join the force destined to make an attempt on the strong fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom; and was selected to form part of the 4th column of attack; at the same time its flank companies were detached to join another column. The attack was made about ten o'clock[Pg 204] on the night of the 8th of March. The Royal Scots succeeded in crossing the Zoom, and forced an entrance by the water-port. Having gained possession of the ramparts round the water-port gate, the battalion was exposed to a heavy fire of grape and musketry from two howitzers, and a strong detachment of French marines, stationed near the arsenal: two companies were detached to keep the enemy in check, and were relieved every two hours by two other companies of the battalion. These companies were actively engaged in this service from eleven o'clock until daylight; when the enemy made a furious attack in strong columns, which bore down all before them. The two detached companies of the Royal Scots were attacked by a host of combatants, and driven in. A heavy fire of grape was opened upon the battalion from the guns of the arsenal; and it was forced to retire by the water-port gate, when a detached battery opened upon it. Being thus placed between two fires, with a high palisade on one side, and the Zoom filled with the tide on the other, the battalion was unfortunately obliged to surrender. The colours were first sunk in the river Zoom by Lieutenant and Adjutant Galbraith: the battalion then surrendered, on condition that the officers and men should not serve against the French until exchanged. The failure of the coup-de-main on Bergen-op-Zoom occasioned an immense sacrifice of gallant men. Of the Royal Scots, Captains M'Nicol, Edward Wetherall, and Purvis, Lieutenant Mills, 1 serjeant, and 36 rank and file, were killed; Lieutenants Robertson, Stoyte, Midgley, and Stewart, 7 serjeants, 1 drummer, and 63 rank and file, wounded.
On the following day the battalion marched out of Bergen-op-Zoom, and on the 8th of April it embarked for England: on the 21st it arrived at Hilsea barracks,[Pg 205] where it was supplied with clothing and equipments, and on the 6th of May it embarked on board the Diomede and Leopard (two sixty-fours, armed en-flute), and sailed for Canada.
Meanwhile the success of the arms of the allied sovereigns in various parts of Europe had been followed by the abdication of Bonaparte, and the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty to the throne of France. This event occurred in April, 1814, at which time the 3rd battalion of the Royal Scots was employed in the blockade of Bayonne. The French commandant in this fortress, not believing the statement of Bonaparte's abdication to be true, made a sortie with the garrison on the morning of the 14th of April, and gained a temporary advantage; but was afterwards repulsed. Major-General Hay, Lieut.-Colonel of the Royal Scots, was killed at the first onset; the battalion also had 5 rank and file killed; [Pg 206]Captain Buckley, Lieutenant Macdonnell, 1 serjeant, 1 drummer, and 32 rank and file, wounded; also a few private men missing.
This was the last action of the war; and the British troops, after vanquishing the legions of Bonaparte in various parts of the globe, stood triumphant in the interior of France, and saw the fall of that gigantic power which had shaken the throne of every sovereign on the continent of Europe, and, aiming at universal empire, had sought to rule the world with Asiatic despotism. The Royal Scots remained encamped near Bayonne until August, when they marched back to Spain, and were the last British corps which quitted the French territory after the termination of this glorious war. The battalion, having embarked at Passages for Ireland, landed at the Cove of Cork on the 13th of September, 1814.
His Royal Highness the Prince Regent was pleased to confer upon the 3rd battalion the honour of bearing the word "Peninsula" upon its colours, as a mark of his royal approbation of its meritorious conduct in Portugal and Spain.
The right wing of the 4th battalion, which sailed for Canada in May, arrived at Quebec on the 26th of June, and on the 1st of July sailed up the St. Lawrence to Three Rivers; but the left wing, in the Leopard, was wrecked on Anticosti, a barren island in the mouth of the river St. Lawrence, and lost all its arms and baggage. The right wing afterwards returned to Quebec, and, the left having joined it, the battalion formed part of that garrison until May of the following year.
In January, 1815, the first battalion quitted Fort Niagara, and proceeded to Queenstown. From this place it proceeded to Fort George, Kingston, Prescott, Mont[Pg 207]real, and Three Rivers, which latter place it reached on the 25th of May, when it embarked for Quebec; and on its arrival off Cape Diamond, peace having been concluded with the United States, it was removed on board of transports. At the same time the 4th battalion was withdrawn from garrison at Quebec, and, having embarked on board the fleet, both battalions sailed for England, and arrived at Portsmouth on the 17th and 18th of July.
In the meantime Napoleon Bonaparte, with that perfidy which had ever marked his conduct, had quitted the island of Elba, and, attended by 600 men, made his appearance on the shores of France. The French troops joined the standard of the invader, the royal family fled, and Bonaparte reascended the throne with a rapidity which exceeded the wildest flights of poetry or romance. The peace of Europe was thus broken. The allied sovereigns resolved to wage war against the usurper; and in April, 1815, the 3rd battalion of the Royal Scots was suddenly ordered from its quarters at Fermoy to the Cove of Cork, to embark for the Netherlands, where a British force was assembling to engage in the approaching contest, under Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington—a leader under whose eye this portion of the Royal Regiment had already acquired numerous laurels in the Peninsular War.
The battalion landed at Ostend in the early part of May, and proceeded to Ghent, and from thence to Brussels, where it was stationed several weeks. It formed part of the 9th brigade, commanded by Major-General Sir Denis Pack, and was placed in the 5th division, under the command of Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Picton.
During the night between the 15th and 16th of June,[Pg 208] while the Royal Scots were reposing in comfortable quarters at Brussels, the men were suddenly aroused by the bugles sounding and drums beating to arms. Instantly quitting their beds, the soldiers prepared for action, and, seizing their muskets, issued in bands from every part of the city; and in a few hours the British regiments were passing through the dark forest of Soignes in the direction of Charleroi, a sharp conflict having already commenced between the corps in advance and the enemy. After a march of about twenty-two miles, the 5th division arrived at the scene of conflict soon after mid-day on the 16th of June, and, diverging from the high road, confronted the enemy on the undulating grounds near the farm-house of Quatre Bras.
The Royal Scots, advancing from their post in the centre of the 5th division, by a movement to their left through a field of corn which reached to the shoulders of the tallest men, encountered a column of French infantry, and by a determined charge drove it from its ground. The enemy's musketeers rallied under the protection of their formidable cavalry, and opened a galling fire, which was returned by the Royal Scots with steadiness and precision. The enemy, having the advantage of a rising ground, poured down volley after volley of grape and musketry with dreadful execution. The Royal Scots stood their ground with unflinching firmness; and, after fighting for some time in line, the battalion formed square, to resist the French cavalry, which was advancing in great force. The valour and intrinsic merit of the corps were now tested; but in vain the foaming squadrons of cuirassiers came rushing forward—in vain the daring swordsmen sought to penetrate the square; neither the superiority of their numbers, nor the fury of their charge, availed against the Royal[Pg 209] Scots; the battalion stood firm, and resisted every attack of the enemy with an unshaken fortitude, which reflected honour on the corps. After repulsing the formidable onsets of the enemy's steel-clad horsemen, the battalion deployed; again the French cuirassiers and lancers advanced, and the battalion once more formed square. The daring squadrons rushed forward in full career; the battalion sent forward a shower of balls, which emptied a hundred saddles, and the remaining horsemen wheeled round, and galloped away. Thus the Royal Scots were triumphant, and they were soon afterwards moved to sustain the 28th regiment, which had suffered severely: another furious onset was made by the French cavalry, when the two corps formed one square, and repulsed their assailants with firmness. The French, dismayed by the sanguinary resistance of their adversaries, and being attacked in turn, were already giving way. Sir Thomas Picton placed himself at the head of the Royal Scots and 28th regiment, and leading them to the charge, the enemy was driven from his position with loss.
The battalion passed the following night on the field. The Prussians had been attacked on the 16th of June at [Pg 210]Ligny, and forced to retreat to Wavre; a corresponding movement was made by the Duke of Wellington, to keep up the communication with the Prussians, and the Royal Scots, retreated on the 17th of June, with the remainder of the army, to the elevated grounds in front of the village of Waterloo, where the troops passed a stormy night in the open fields, drenched with rain.
On the memorable 18th of June the battalion formed part of the reserve under the gallant Sir Thomas Picton. At the commencement of the battle, when the enemy sent forward a cloud of skirmishers, and developed his massy columns of attack, the Royal Scots, commanded by Major Colin Campbell, were instantly engaged with the legions of Napoleon. "I have great pleasure," observes an officer, who was an eye-witness, "in detailing the conduct of the gallant 3rd battalion of the Royal Scots, and though I have been present with the battalion at the battles of Busaco, Fuentes d'Onor, Salamanca, Vittoria, both stormings of St. Sebastian, the passage of the Bidassoa, &c., &c., in all which they bore a most conspicuous part, and suffered severely, I can assure you they never evinced more steadiness, or more determined bravery, than at the late battle.
"About nine o'clock on the morning of the 18th June, the battalion was attacked by the enemy, and, with very little interruption, the entire day it formed a line of skirmishers in front of the brigade.
"I have often seen the battalion engaged, but, I must confess, on this trying day, it far excelled anything I had ever witnessed; and indeed, so pleased was the late General Picton with its gallantry and good conduct, that he several times expressed it himself to the battalion in the most flattering terms."
Thus, while the thunder of 400 cannon, the roll of[Pg 211] musketry, the occasional explosion of caissons, the hissing of balls and grape-shot, the clashing of arms, and the impetuous shouts of the combatants, produced an awful scene of carnage and confusion, the Royal Scots were seen amidst the storm of battle, boldly confronting the torrent of superior numbers, and fighting with a constancy and valour which the enemy could not overcome. Corps after corps advanced; but amidst the dense smoke which often prevented the combatants from distinguishing each other, the British colours waved triumphant, and the shout of victory rose above the din of combat. Paralyzed by the astonishing resistance of the British arms, the attacks of the enemy relaxed; the Prussians arrived on the left, to co-operate, the Anglo-Belgian army formed line, and with one impetuous charge overthrew the French host, and drove it in wild confusion from the field of battle, with the loss of its cannon and equipages. Those warlike and numerous legions, which a few hours before meditated only rapine and conquest, were mingled in utter confusion along the road, and over the fields, while the allied squadrons poured on their shattered flanks and rear, and sabred the panic-struck fugitives without mercy or intermission. Thus ended a battle, the greatest of past or present times, the importance and character of which are above the reach of sophistry or mis-statement; a battle, which may in itself be considered an era, and the story of it, serving as a monument to commemorate the national glory, will survive when the brightest historical epochs on record shall be lost amid the obscurity and confusion of ages. In the important conflicts on the 16th and 18th of June, the Royal Scots had Captain Buckley, Lieutenants Armstrong, O'Niel, and Young, Ensigns Kennedy, Robertson, and Anderson, 1 serjeant-major, 4 serjeants, and 29 rank and file,[Pg 212] killed; Major Campbell; Brevet-Majors Arguimbeau, M'Donald, Massey, and Dudgeon; Lieutenants Rea, Ingram, Simms, Clark, Mann, G. Stewart, Alstone, Dobbs, Morrison, Miller, Lane, Black, Scott, and Adjutant Cameron; Ensigns Cooper, Stephens, and M'Kay; Quarter-Master Griffith; Volunteer Blacklin; 20 serjeants, and 275 rank and file, wounded.
The battalion advanced with the main army into France, and encamped on the 6th of July at Clichy, on the banks of the Seine, two miles from Paris, where it remained nearly four months.
In the meantime the 1st and 4th battalions had arrived at Portsmouth from Canada (as before stated), and the 4th having been completed to 1000 effective rank and file, by the transfer of men from the 1st, sailed for the Netherlands, to join the allied army under the Duke of Wellington; at the same time the remainder of the 1st battalion sailed for Scotland, and was stationed in Edinburgh Castle.
The 4th battalion having landed at Ostend, marched up the country to Paris, and pitched its tents at Clichy, where the 3rd battalion was also encamped.
After the flight of Bonaparte, and the restoration of Louis XVIII. to the throne of France, rewards were conferred on the officers who had distinguished themselves during the war; and the honour of bearing the [Pg 213]word "Waterloo" on its colours, was conferred on the 3rd battalion of the Royal Scots; every officer and man present at the battles on the 16th and 18th of June, 1815, also received a silver medal, to be worn on the left breast, attached by a crimson and blue riband, and the soldiers had the privilege of reckoning two years' service towards additional pay and pension on discharge.
The 3rd battalion quitted the camp at Clichy on the [Pg 214]29th of October to go into cantonments for the winter: it occupied successively Maule, Montmorency, and Gillecourt, and their adjacents.
During the winter the 4th battalion was ordered to return to England, where it arrived in the early part of 1816. From the period of its formation the 4th battalion was considered as a depôt to the other battalions of the regiment, until it embarked for Germany, in 1813. All recruits enlisted for the regiment, volunteers from the militia, and sick and wounded men sent home from foreign service with any prospect of being again fit for military duty, joined the 4th battalion; and the recruits were completely drilled before they were sent to join the other battalions. Peace having been restored, the battalion was disbanded at Dover on the 24th of March, 1816.
In February of the same year the 1st battalion marched from Edinburgh Castle to Port Patrick, where it embarked for Ireland, and remained in that country nearly ten years.
The 3rd battalion, forming part of the army of occupation in France, marched from Gillecourt in [Pg 215]January, 1816, and went into garrison at Valenciennes. It quitted this place in March, 1817, and proceeded to Calais, where it embarked for England, and landed at Dover on the 24th of the same month. It shortly afterwards marched to Canterbury barracks, where it was disbanded on the 24th of April, 1817.
The regiment was thus reduced to its former establishment of TWO BATTALIONS; and the men of the 3rd battalion having been transferred to the 1st and 2nd battalions, His Royal Highness the Prince Regent was pleased to grant permission to the 1st and 2nd battalions to bear the words "Busaco," "Salamanca," "Vittoria," "St. Sebastian," "Nive," "Peninsula," and "Waterloo," on their colours, in commemoration of the distinguished services of the 3rd battalion of the regiment, as before narrated.
In the meantime the 2nd battalion had continued actively employed in the East Indies against the Pindarees, and these barbarous hordes being composed entirely of horsemen, the services of the corps were of an arduous and trying nature; traversing extensive districts by forced marches, passing rivers and thickets, and attempting to surprise these bands of plunderers, were duties calculated to exhaust the physical powers of Europeans when performed under an Indian sun.
While the Royal Scots were engaged in these services, several of the native princes prepared to wage war against the British. Their designs were partly discovered and disconcerted by the Marquis of Hastings. Hostilities, however, followed, and the battalion was called upon to engage in the contest. The eight battalion companies formed part of the second division under the command of Brigadier-General Doveton; and the flank companies were destined to form part of the 1st division of the army of the Deccan, under Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Hislop, Baronet.
The battalion was stationed at Jaulnah; from whence the flank companies marched on the 11th of October, 1817, under the command of Captain Hulme, with two regiments of native cavalry, and four guns, to join the head-quarters of the 1st division, and arrived at Hurda on the 22nd. The battalion companies quitted Jaulnah on the 15th of October, under the command of Brevet Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, (Lieut.-Colonels N. M'Leod, and Neil M'Kellar having the command of brigades,) and arrived, with the remainder of the 2nd division, its [Pg 217]train of elephants, camels, and horses, at Meiker, on the 23rd. From this place the Royal Scots were detached, with the battering train, down the Berar Ghats, with the design of taking part in the reduction of Asseerghur, an important fortress, belonging to a native sovereign named Scindia; but the order was suddenly countermanded, and the division was directed to proceed to Nagpore, the capital of the Mahratta territories, an attack having been made on the British force at that place. The division proceeded for this station without delay; and the Royal Scots, following by forced marches, rejoined the head-quarters on the 7th of November, at Oomrouttee. From this place Brigadier-General Doveton pushed forward with the Royal Scots, and part of his division, and having encountered excessive fatigue, by constant marching, arrived on the 12th in the vicinity of Nagpore, where he was joined by the remainder of the division on the following day. In the meantime the British troops at this place had taken post on two strong eminences near the residency, on which attacks had been made by the Rajah's forces, and one of the eminences had been carried by a great superiority of numbers; but the other, though attacked, had been maintained.
On the arrival of Brigadier-General Doveton's division, the Rajah was inclined to come to terms, and he at length agreed to surrender his guns and disperse his troops; but the treachery he had already evinced induced the Brigadier-General to dispose his troops in order of battle when he advanced to take possession of the guns. The troops were accordingly formed in the following order:—Two regiments of native cavalry and six horse artillery six-pounders on the height; on its left Lieut.-Colonel M'Leod's brigade, composed of a wing of the Royal Scots, four regiments of native infantry,[Pg 218] and the flank companies of another native regiment; Lieut.-Colonel M'Kellar's brigade, consisting of a division of the Royal Scots, a regiment of native infantry, and a detachment of horse artillery with four guns; on its left was Lieut.-Colonel Scot's brigade, of a division of the Royal Scots, a regiment of native infantry, and a detachment of foot artillery with sappers and miners, and two guns; a reserve of native infantry supported the line, and the principal battery of the artillery was posted in the rear of Lieut.-Colonel M'Leod's brigade. On the left of the position was an enclosed garden; beyond it the Nagah Nuddee; a small river ran from thence past the enemy's right; and three parallel ravines, terminating in the bed of the river, crossed the space between the infantry and the enemy; but in front of the cavalry, and on their right, the country was open. The enemy's position was masked by irregularities of the ground and clusters of houses and huts, and a thick plantation of trees, with ravines, and a large reservoir. On this ground the Rajah had formed an army of 21,000 men, of which 14,000 were horse, with seventy-five guns. Such was the ground on which the battle of Nagpore was fought. Beyond the river lay the city, from the walls of which the movements of both armies could be perceived.
The Rajah had agreed, after much procrastination, to surrender his guns at noon on the 16th of December; and the British force was put in motion to receive them. The first battery was taken possession of without opposition; but on the troops entering the plantation, the enemy treacherously opened a sharp fire of musketry on them. The action then commenced. The columns deployed. The brigades under Lieut.-Colonels M'Leod and M'Kellar carried the enemy's right battery with[Pg 219] great gallantry, and afterwards drove the right wing from its ground. The other batteries were also carried, and the supporting troops routed, and the enemy was driven from all his positions, and pursued a distance of five miles. The enemy's camp equipage, 40 elephants, and 75 guns were captured; and the Royal Scots added to their former honours that of standing triumphant in the interior of India, over an immense superiority of numbers of the enemy. The battalion lost on this occasion 9 rank and file killed, and 26 wounded.
After this success the siege of the city of Nagpore was commenced. The troops which defended this place, consisting of about 5000 Arabs and Hindoostanees, insisted upon extraordinary terms; and these not being granted, they resolved on a desperate defence. On the 23rd of December a breach was made at the Jumma Durwazza gate, and an assault on the place was resolved on. One company of the Royal Scots, under the command of Lieutenant Bell, with five of native infantry, and a proportion of sappers and miners, were allotted for this service; and two other companies of the Royal Scots, under the command of Captain H. C. Cowell, were destined to attack the city at another gate; and the remaining five companies were kept for the protection of the batteries.
At half-past eight o'clock on the morning of the 24th of December the signal was given, when the storming party, rushing from the trenches, gained the breach, but were instantly assailed by a heavy fire of matchlocks from the adjoining buildings; at the same time the British troops were unable to injure their numerous antagonists, either by the fire of musketry or coming to close quarters. The Arabs, thus sheltered behind walls, each marked with fatal aim, and with impunity, his destined victim;[Pg 220] and their fire under these circumstances is destructive at distances beyond that where European musketry is considered effective. Lieutenant Bell, of the Royal Scots, a most promising officer, who had served with the 3rd battalion during a great part of the war in Spain, was killed while gallantly leading his men to the attack; and the breach being found untenable, the troops were ordered to withdraw. The other storming parties succeeded in gaining the desired points; yet their positions were also untenable, and they were ordered to retire.
On the following day the Arabs renewed their offer to surrender; and their terms being acceded to, they marched out of the city on the 1st of January, 1818, and were allowed to go where they pleased, with the exception of proceeding to Asseerghur. The loss of the Royal Scots in the attack on Nagpore was 1 lieutenant (Bell) and 10 rank and file killed, with 2 serjeants and 49 rank and file wounded.
Brigadier-General Doveton, in his despatch to the Commander-in-Chief in India, stated—"During the operation in the field of the 2nd division of the army of the Deccan under my command, the conduct of the 2nd battalion of His Majesty's Royal Scots, under the immediate command of Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, has been invariably such as to entitle that valuable corps to my highest approbation and applause; and more particularly in the action with the enemy's army at this place on the 16th ultimo, their gallantry, steadiness, and good conduct were most exemplary."
Thus, whether Europe, Asia, Africa, or America be the scene of conflict, the conduct of the Royal Scots appears to have been uniformly the same; and the gallantry displayed by the 2nd battalion on this occasion was rewarded by the royal permission, dated the 29th[Pg 221] of March, 1823, to bear the word "Nagpore" on its colours.
In the meantime the two flank companies, commanded by Captain Hulme, had been engaged in several movements with the 1st division of the army of the Deccan, and passed the Nerbuddah in flat-bottomed boats on the 30th of November. On the 8th of December the division arrived at Peepleea, and after four marches encamped in the vicinity of Oojain, a short distance from Maheidpoor, where the army of Mulhar Rao Holkur, one of the coalesced Mahratta powers against the British interests in India, was assembled. After various fruitless negociations, the division advanced against the enemy on the morning of the 22nd of December; and as the troops were crossing the ford of the Seeprah river they were exposed to a powerful and concentrated cannonade. About half a mile beyond the river stood the army of Holkur; and after passing the stream Brigadier-General Sir John Malcolm advanced with two brigades of infantry to attack the enemy's left and a ruined village situated on an eminence near the centre. The companies of the Royal Scots formed part of this force; and in the action which followed they evinced their native valour in a signal way. The enemy's left was brought forward in anticipation of the attack, and a destructive fire of grape shot was opened on the British; yet, encouraged by the example of Sir John Malcolm and Lieut.-Colonel M'Gregor Murray, the Royal Scots rushed forward in the face of this tremendous fire; the enemy's infantry were driven from their position, and the village and batteries were carried at the point of the bayonet; [Pg 222]the enemy's artillerymen were resolute, and stood their ground until they were bayoneted. While the Royal Scots were victorious at their point of attack, the enemy's right was overpowered; his centre gave way on the appearance of a brigade ascending from the river; and his troops, occupying a position where his camp stood, also fled on the advance of a British force to attack them. Thus the army of Mulhar Rao Holkur was routed; and in a general order, dated the 23rd of December, the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the Deccan observed—"The undaunted heroism displayed by the flank companies of the Royal Scots in storming and carrying, at the point of the bayonet, the enemy's guns on the right of Lieut.-Colonel Scot's brigade, was worthy of the high name and reputation of that regiment. Lieutenant M'Leod fell gloriously in the charge, and the conduct of Captain Hulme, Captain M'Gregor, and of every officer and man belonging to it entitles them to his Excellency's most favourable report and warmest commendation."
The loss of the Royal Scots on this occasion was Lieutenant Donald M'Leod, 1 serjeant, and 7 rank and file, killed; Lieutenants John M'Gregor and Charles Campbell, 4 serjeants, 1 drummer, and 27 rank and file, wounded. In commemoration of the valour evinced by these two companies the battalion obtained the royal permission to bear the word "Maheidpoor" on its colours.
Arrangements having been made for the pursuit of Holkur, the troops advanced on the 28th of December, and on the 30th formed a junction with part of the Bombay army, under the command of Major-General Sir William Keir Grant, at Taul. Advancing from thence on the following day, the troops encamped in the[Pg 223] beginning of January, 1818, at Mundesoor, and soon afterwards, Holkur's government having been brought to submission, the presence of the 1st division of the army of the Deccan being no longer necessary in this part of India, it marched southward. On the 22nd of January it crossed the Seeprah river, on the 24th it reached Oojain, where it halted until the 28th. On the 30th it was at Indoor; on the 13th of February it recrossed the Nerbuddah, and proceeding in the direction of the Taptee, encamped on the left bank of that river on the 27th, in the vicinity of Talnere, a town and fortress belonging to Holkur, formerly the capital of the sultans of the Adil Shahy dynasty, in the fifteenth century, which, it had been agreed, should be delivered up to the British government, but which, unexpectedly, opened a fire upon the advanced part of the division. A summons was sent to the Killedar, who commanded the garrison, warning him of the consequences of resistance; and, no answer being returned, a battery was brought to bear on the fort, which silenced the enemy's fire in a few hours, but not before several casualties had occurred from the well-directed fire of matchlocks from the walls. On a further examination of the fort, one of the outer gates was discovered to be in a ruinous state; and the flank companies of the Royal Scots and of the Madras European regiment, were placed under the orders of Major Gordon, of the Royal Scots, for the attack of the gate. The garrison offered to capitulate; and an unconditional surrender was demanded without delay; but, the evening being advanced, it was suspected the enemy would attempt to escape during the approaching darkness, and the storming party advanced up to the gate. A passage for single files between the walls and the frame of the outer gate was discovered,[Pg 224] and no opposition being offered, the storming party and pioneers entered: they subsequently passed the second gate, and at the third were met by the Killedar and some natives. Lieut.-Colonel Conway, the Adjutant General to the army, with Lieut.-Colonel M'Gregor Murray, had entered with the storming party, and they passed through the third and fourth gates; but at the fifth and last gate they were stopped, though the wicket was opened. A hurried conversation about terms of surrender now took place; and Colonel Murray, concluding that there was an urgent necessity for establishing such a footing as would secure eventual success should the enemy hold out, entered by the wicket with Major Gordon and three grenadiers of the Royal Scots, but refrained from drawing his sword, to show he had no intention of breaking off the parley. Five persons only had passed the wicket when the enemy fell upon them, and in a moment laid them all dead, excepting Colonel Murray, who fell towards the wicket covered with wounds. The enemy attempted to close the wicket, but were prevented by a grenadier, private Sweeny, of the Royal Scots, who thrust his musket into the aperture: Lieut.-Colonel M'Intosh and Captain M'Craith forced the wicket open, and it was held in this state while the captain was with one hand dragging Colonel Murray through, and with the other warding off blows with his sword. A fire was then poured in through the wicket, which cleared the gateway sufficiently for the grenadiers of the Royal Scots, under Captain M'Gregor, who formed the head of the storming party, to enter, and the fort was carried by assault, but at the expense of the captain's life. The garrison was put to the sword, and the Killedar was hanged on the same evening. The Royal Scots had Major Gordon, Captain P. M'Gre[Pg 225]gor, and 3 private men killed; Lieutenant John M'Gregor (brother to the captain), and 3 rank and file, wounded. The conduct of the Royal Scots on this occasion was spoken of, in general orders, in terms of commendation; and the intrepidity and courage of Major Gordon and Captain M'Gregor were especially noticed.
In the meantime, the 2nd division of the army of the Deccan, with which the eight battalion companies of the Royal Scots were serving, had been withdrawn from Nagpore, and proceeded (22nd January) towards Ellichpoor. In the early part of February, detachments from the division captured the two strong hill-forts of Gawelghur and Narnullah. The division was afterwards encamped at Ootran; in March it proceeded to Copergaum, and on the 17th of that month encamped on the left bank of that noble river the Godavery, near Fooltaumba; at the same time the 1st division was encamped on the opposite bank of the river. Here the 2nd division resumed its former designation of the Hyderabad division. Two flank and three battalion companies of the Royal Scots were directed to proceed to Hyderabad; and the remaining five companies continued in the field with the force under Brigadier-General Doveton. These companies were commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, and on his appointment to the command of a brigade, by Captain Joseph Wetherall, the next officer in seniority.
The division was engaged in operations against Peishwah Bajee Rao (one of the Mahratta confederacy), who, with an army of cavalry said to amount to 20,000 men, studiously avoided a conflict with the British field force, and sought to accomplish his object by sudden marches and surprises. Information having been received of an intended attack of this chief on the cantonments of Jaulnah, the Hyderabad division, with which were three companies of the Royal Scots, commanded by Captain Wetherall (the other two companies remaining at Fooltaumba), proceeded seventy-two miles in two forced marches, and before the remaining thirty miles were accomplished, the Peishwah had proceeded in another direction. After a short halt, the division continued the pursuit of the flying enemy, encountering many difficulties while traversing parts of the country which had never before witnessed the presence of a British army, and using the most indefatigable exertions, it frequently occurring that the troops occupied the ground which Bajee Rao had left on the preceding day. After a circuitous route, having performed forty-one marches in forty days, at the hottest period of the year, during which time the division had only two halts, the troops returned for supplies to Jaulnah, where they encamped on the 11th of May. In this difficult service the European soldiers had not evinced any want of physical power; they had performed their marches cheerfully, and their only com[Pg 227]plaint was not being able to overtake the flying enemy. After a halt of two days, the division again resumed the chase of its flying foe, and continued the pursuit until the Peishwah surrendered himself to the British government, when it returned to Jaulnah.
Meanwhile the two companies of the Royal Scots left at Fooltaumba, under the command of Lieutenant Bland, had marched with a body of troops, under Lieut.-Colonel M'Dowall, of the East India Company's service, into the Candeish country, and had captured the fort of Unkye, situated on the summit of the Candeish Ghats, also the forts of Rajdeir and Inderye, in which service the two companies had a few private men wounded. They were next engaged in the reduction of the strong hill-fort of Trimbuck, situated near the source of the river Godavery, which surrendered on the 25th of April; their loss on this occasion was 1 serjeant, 1 drummer, and 8 private men, wounded. The conduct of the Royal Scots in this service was spoken of in terms of commendation in detachment orders. The capture of Trimbuck was followed by the surrender of seventeen other forts.
After this service the detachment proceeded to the strong fort of Malleygaum, situated on the river Moassum, and defended by a party of the Arabs, who surrendered to Brigadier-General Doveton at Nagpore. This place was defended by two lines of works, with very high walls, the inner one of superior masonry and surrounded by a ditch 25 feet deep and 16 feet wide. On the 18th of May a sortie of the garrison was repulsed; and on the 19th two batteries opened their fire. A breach having been effected, an attempt was made to carry the fort by storm: 2 officers and 50 rank and file of the Royal Scots, commanded by Lieutenant Bland,[Pg 228] formed part of the principal storming party against the breach, and Lieutenant Orrock and 25 rank and file part of a column destined to make an attack on another point; but success was found impracticable, and the storming party was withdrawn. Another point of attack was afterwards selected, and new batteries raised. Two of the enemy's magazines having been blown up, the garrison surrendered, and the British flag was hoisted on the walls of Malleygaum, on the morning of the 13th of June. The Royal Scots lost in this siege 5 rank and file killed; Ensign Thomas, 1 serjeant, 1 drummer, and 11 rank and file, wounded.
The whole of the hill-forts in the Candeish being reduced, the two companies of the Royal Scots proceeded to Jaulnah, and joined the other three companies of the battalion, with the Hyderabad division at that place. Here the troops expected to take up their monsoon quarters; but, when all who were obliged to live under canvass were busily engaged in making arrangements to mitigate the severity of the approaching rains, the division was ordered to proceed with all possible expedition to Nagpore. Quitting Jaulnah on the 7th of August, the troops commenced the march, and the dreaded rains immediately set in; the roads became almost impassable; the baggage was unable to keep up with the troops, and the tents were consequently in the rear, so that the men were frequently exposed for twenty-four hours to incessant rain; no shelter could be procured in the villages, and every comfort was wanting. Exposed to these calamities, the troops arrived at Ellichpoor on the 3rd of September in such a state as to be totally unfit to proceed any further. Here they halted until the 21st of December, when they were again put in motion,[Pg 229] and halted at Walkeira on the 30th, where the five companies of the Royal Scots were, in consequence of their long service in the field, relieved by a division of His Majesty's 30th regiment from Hyderabad. The five companies then returned to Jaulnah, expecting to continue their march to the Deccan, but were ordered to proceed to Boorhaunpoor in charge of a battering train which lay at Jaulnah. On the 1st of March, 1819, they rejoined the Hyderabad division, encamped near the city of Boorhaunpoor, and marched to engage in the siege of the celebrated fortress of Asseerghur, which, on account of its strength, was termed "the Gibraltar of the East." This fortress is situated on a detached hill, not commanded by any other in its neighbourhood. It consists of an upper and lower fort; the upper one, of an irregular form, about 1100 yards from east to west, and about 600 from north to south; it crowns the top of the hill, which is about 750 feet in height; and all round it, with the exception of one place which is strongly fortified, there is a perpendicular precipice from 80 to 120 feet, surmounted with a low wall full of loop-holes. Below this are two lines of works, the outer one forming the lower fort, which rises directly above the pettah, and the entrance to which is protected by strong gateways and flanking works; and immense labour and great skill had been employed in rendering this naturally strong post almost impregnable. Such was the formidable fortress against which the five companies of the Royal Scots were about to be employed.
The Hyderabad division was encamped at Neembolah, about seven miles from this celebrated fortress, belonging to his Highness Doulat Rao Scindia, and, negotiations having failed, about twelve o'clock on the night of the 17th of March, five companies of the Royal[Pg 230] Scots, commanded by Captain J. Wetherall, with the flank companies of the 30th, 67th, and Madras European regiments, five companies of native infantry, and a detachment of sappers and miners, the whole commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, of the Royal Scots, and a reserve, commanded by Major Dalrymple, of the 30th, assembled at the camp for the attack of the pettah of Asseer; another party was also directed to co-operate in this service from Sir J. Malcolm's division.
Between one and two o'clock the column commenced its march; advancing up the bed of a deep nullah, or small river, nearly dry at the time, the assaulting party arrived unobserved within 500 yards of the pettah, then rushed upon the gate with the greatest ardour and steadiness, the five companies of the Royal Scots leading the way. The enemy was surprised, and, after discharging a few rounds of grape, retired without making further opposition. The head of the attacking column forced the gate, and, proceeding up the main street, encountered an advanced piquet of the enemy, which retired to the lower fort, firing occasionally at the head of the column. Major Charles M'Leod, of the East India Company's service, Deputy Quartermaster-General, acted as guide on the occasion, and by his direction the leading files of the Royal Scots pursued the enemy close under the walls of the fortress, from whence an incessant fire of artillery and matchlocks was kept up, and a few ill-directed rockets were also discharged. The[Pg 231] leading sections of the Royal Scots, which had pursued the enemy up the hill, were joined by one or two files of the 30th and 67th regiments, the whole amounting to about 25 or 30 men; and as soon as the enemy saw the small force before which they had so precipitately fled, they immediately rallied, and came shouting down the hill with augmented numbers to attack this small party, but were repulsed by a spirited charge with the bayonet, which, with a few rounds of musketry, obliged them to retreat within the works, some of which were within 50 or 60 yards of this handful of men, leaving their chief, who was shot by a soldier of the Royal Scots, and several men, on the ground. Major M'Leod, being wounded, proceeded to the rear; and the enemy having established a cross fire from the walls of the lower fort and from two cavaliers, Captain Wetherall ordered the advanced party to retire a short distance to a post established by Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, where there was some cover for the men. The loss of the leading sections in this affair was 1 private soldier killed; Major M'Leod, Lieutenant Bland, and 11 rank and file, wounded. The remainder of the column did not sustain any loss, the men being protected from the enemy's fire by the houses in which they had established themselves.
The assaulting party maintained its post until night, when it was relieved by fresh troops, and the five companies of the Royal Scots returned to their tents, which had been left standing at Neembolah; but Lieut.-Colonel Fraser remained in command of the troops at the pettah. At day-break on the 19th a heavy gun battery opened against the fort. At dusk in the evening a party of the enemy issued from the lower fort, crept unperceived down a deep ravine to the rear of the pettah, and gained the main street, where they encountered the British troops, and were repulsed and forced to abandon their enterprise. Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, of the Royal Scots, while in the act of gallantly encouraging the soldiers, and directing them to withhold their fire and give the enemy the bayonet, was shot in the head and fell dead on the spot: his body was afterwards conveyed to the camp at Neembolah and interred with military honours.
On the 21st of March the five companies of the Royal Scots took their turn of duty in the pettah, where they arrived a little before day-break. As soon as it was light a heavy gun battery opened on the forts with great effect, but it had only fired about a dozen rounds when, from some accident which could not be explained, the magazine in the rear of it, containing 130 barrels of gunpowder, exploded, killing a conductor[Pg 233] of ordnance, a native officer, and 34 non-commissioned officers and rank and file, and wounding another native officer and 65 non-commissioned officers and rank and file. Such was the violence of the explosion that about six inches of the top of a bayonet was blown nearly six hundred yards from the battery. From this period until the 29th new batteries of heavy guns and mortars were erected, and, a breach having been effected in the wall of the lower fort, the enemy abandoned it and retired to the upper one: the lower fort was taken possession of on the morning of the 30th by part of Sir John Malcolm's division.
The Royal Scots, with the remainder of the Hyderabad division, had in the meantime removed from their ground at Neembolah and occupied a position three miles north-east of the fortress. During the progress of constructing the new batteries on elevated and commanding situations, the dragging of ordnance into many of them was performed by the European soldiers, who literally worked like horses; and during the whole of the time they were annoyed by a constant fire of matchlocks from the walls of the upper fort, but which was too distant to prevent the execution of this herculean labour, which was performed with that ardour and cheerfulness so characteristic of British soldiers, when necessity demands any extraordinary exertions from them.
On the 31st of March part of the Bengal army, consisting of 2,200 native troops, with 22 pieces of heavy ordnance, commanded by Brigadier-General Watson, joined the besieging force; and these guns were soon placed in battery, and opened on the fort. The storm of war now raged round Asseerghur with awful fury; the shot and shells from the numerous British batteries flew in showers, a dozen shells sometimes exploding[Pg 234] within the area of the upper fort at the same moment, and a breach was soon effected in the outer retaining wall at the only assailable part of the fort; at the same time two batteries of 18 and 24-pounders were directed against the inner wall. This unremitting fire was continued until the 6th of April, when the garrison, apprehending the consequences of having to sustain an attack on the works by storm, forced the Killedar to sue for terms, namely, "liberty to preserve their arms and to depart with their personal property." These conditions being refused, hostilities recommenced; the Killedar, however, accepted the terms offered on the 8th, and agreed on his part to surrender the fort on the morning of the 9th, and the firing ceased; but, as he said he could not answer for the garrison, the control of which he had lost, preparations were made for renewing operations in case of refusal. The garrison, however, submitted; a British guard took possession of the gates at the appointed hour; and a union flag was sent, with an escort of 100 Europeans and the like number of native infantry, to the upper fort, and hoisted under a royal salute from all the batteries. The garrison, amounting to 1200 men, marched out at noon and grounded their arms. Their loss was inconsiderable, from having such good cover from the fire of the British batteries, being only 43 killed, and 95 wounded; and this was chiefly occasioned by the bursting of shells. The loss of the besieging army was 11 European and 4 native officers, and 95 European and 213 native soldiers killed and wounded, including the loss at the explosion of the magazine on the 21st of March. Of this number the Royal Scots had only 7 rank and file killed and wounded in addition to the loss on the 18th of March. The force employed against Asseerghur amounted to[Pg 235] about 20,000 men; the ordnance of all calibre to 61 guns and 40 mortars and howitzers: the enemy had 119 guns and mortars mounted on the works, and some of the guns were of immense calibre—one a 384-pounder.
In a general order, dated Madras, 28th April, 1819, the conduct of the five companies of the regiment was spoken of in the following terms:—
"The conduct of the detachment of His Majesty's Royal Scots under the command of Captain Wetherall, and of His Majesty's 30th Foot, under Major Dalrymple, during the siege of Asseer, has been most exemplary, and such as to reflect the most distinguished credit on their several commanding officers, as well as on the whole of the officers and men composing those detachments."
After the capture of this fortress the services of the five companies of the Royal Scots being no longer required with the Hyderabad division, on the morning of the 11th of April they commenced their march for the Deccan, for the purpose of joining the head-quarters and the other five companies, which had quitted Hyderabad in December, 1818, and had proceeded to Wallajahbad, forty-seven miles from Madras: and on the 24th of July the several companies of the battalion were united at that station.
The battalion remained at Wallajahbad until the 21st of December, when it marched for Trichinopoly, where it arrived on the 11th of January, 1820.
On the 23rd of January, 1820, the much-lamented event, the decease of His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, occurred, which occasioned great grief to the corps, His Royal Highness having always evinced a[Pg 236] constancy of attention to, and interest in, the welfare and credit of the regiment, which endeared his name in the grateful remembrance of the officers and men.
The Colonelcy of the regiment was conferred, on the 29th of January, on Lieut.-General George Marquis of Huntly, only surviving son of Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon, from the 42nd Highlanders.
In August of the following year His Majesty King George IV. was pleased to approve of the regiment resuming its designation of the "First, or the Royal, Regiment of Foot," instead of the "First, or Royal Scots, Regiment of Foot."
The 2nd battalion remained stationary at Trichinopoly until June, 1824, when it marched to Madras, where it halted until September. In the meantime hostilities had commenced between the British and the Burmese empire; and in September the battalion embarked from Madras and sailed for Calcutta, where it arrived on the 10th of October. Towards the end of the year it marched to Barrackpore for the purpose of suppressing a mutiny amongst the Company's native troops at that place; and after the performance of this painful duty it returned to Calcutta.
In the middle of January, 1825, it received orders to proceed to Rangoon, a city and principal port of the Burmese empire, situated on the north bank of the river Irawaddy, thirty miles from the sea, to reinforce the troops under Brigadier-General Sir Archibald Campbell, employed against the Burmese army. It accordingly embarked from Calcutta under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Armstrong, on the 15th of that month; [Pg 237]and on its arrival at Rangoon, the enemy having been driven from his position in its vicinity, the flank companies advanced with the army upon Prome, a city situated about 150 miles up the river Irawaddy, while the battalion companies formed part of the reserve.
The advance was commenced on the 12th of February; owing to the nature of the country and the want of sufficient means for transporting the necessary military stores, part of the force proceeded by land, and the remainder in boats up the river Irawaddy. The flank companies of the Royals, commanded by Captain Tenison, formed the advance-guard of the land column, which was commanded by Brigadier-General Sir A. Campbell. Proceeding along a narrow and difficult path, tending obliquely toward the Irawaddy river, the column marched through the provinces of Lyng and Sarrawah; and on its arrival at Mophi, between two and three thousand Burmese, commanded by Maha Silwah, quitted an old pegaun fort, where they had evinced some determination to resist, and dispersed into a close jungle in the rear. From Mophi the column continued its progress, uninterrupted by the enemy, and forded the river Lyng at Thaboon on the 1st of March. The Carian inhabitants of the country through which the army marched viewed the expulsion of the Burmese with much satisfaction, and assisted the troops in making roads and in procuring supplies of rice and buffaloes. On the 2nd of March the division arrived at Sarrawah, on the Irawaddy, where its junction with the water column had been intended. This column had destroyed several of the enemy's stockades, and had continued its course up the river until it arrived within sight of Donabew, where a series of formidable stockades extending nearly a mile along the banks of[Pg 238] the Irawaddy, and protected by about 15,000 Burmese, presented a formidable opposition. Information was received of a gallant but unsuccessful attack having been made on this post by the water column; and Sir Archibald Campbell resolved to retrace his steps with the land column, and concentrate his force for the reduction of this formidable position. He accordingly crossed the Irawaddy at Sarrawah by means of canoes and rafts, which, owing to the insufficiency of the craft employed, was not effected in less than five days. After halting two days at Henzada, the column pursued its march along the right bank of the river, and arrived before Donabew on the 25th of March: on the 27th a communication was opened with the water column, under Brigadier-General Cotton, of the 47th regiment, and both columns co-operated in the reduction of the place. Batteries were constructed without delay, and during the progress of these operations the enemy made several spirited sorties: on one occasion seventeen elephants were sent out, each carrying a complement of men, supported by a body of infantry; but the result proved the inutility of employing such means against British troops. In the beginning of April the batteries opened their fire, and shortly afterwards, the Burmese commander, Maha Bandoola, having been killed by the bursting of a shell, the enemy deserted the place and retreated through the jungles in the direction of Lamina. The intrenchments were immediately taken possession of, and considerable stores of grain and ammunition, with a number of guns of various descriptions, fell into the hands of the British. The Royals at this place had only one private man wounded.
After the capture of Donabew the troops resumed their march; and having crossed the Irawaddy on the[Pg 239] 7th of April, at Sarrawah, were joined at that place by the reserve from Rangoon, consisting of eight companies of the Royals, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Armstrong, a regiment of native infantry, and a supply of elephants; the whole under the orders of Brigadier-General M'Creagh. Thus reinforced the army pushed forward; the Burmese retreated; and the British troops arrived before Prome without the necessity of firing a shot: this city, though strongly fortified, was deserted, and in part burnt. Shortly afterwards the wet season set in, and during the heavy rains the army remained inactive; but no opportunity was omitted of entering upon pacific negociations with the Burmese government.
Information having been received of the approach of the enemy with a considerable force towards the British position, a reconnoissance was made up the river in a steam-boat by fifty men of the Royal Regiment, under Brigadier-General Cotton; and on the 15th of August the enemy was discovered at Meeaday, on the left bank of the river, about forty miles from Prome, with a force of between 16,000 and 20,000 men, who appeared all armed with muskets: they had also a small force on the right bank of the river. The Burmese opened a battery of 16 guns upon the reconnoitring party, but the width of the river being upwards of three-quarters of a mile, their shot fell short. On the 16th the steam-boat returned to Prome.
In the early part of September pacific overtures were made by the enemy, and an armistice was afterwards concluded, when the Royals were selected to preserve the line of demarcation between the two armies. Terms of peace were also proposed, namely,—"a large portion[Pg 240] of territory was to be ceded by the Burmese, and two crores of rupees paid as an indemnification for the expenses of the war." These conditions produced the utmost indignation at the court of Ava, and a determination to resist their invaders and prosecute the war with vigour. Hostilities recommenced on the 16th of November; and three bodies of British native infantry were soon afterwards repulsed in an attack upon the enemy's advanced position;—the Burmese being in greater force than was anticipated, and the troops sent against them insufficient to contend against so considerable a superiority of numbers.
The result of this attack inspired the Burmese generals with a high but false idea of their own power; and they advanced from their position with their whole force, amounting to between 50,000 and 60,000 men. Brigadier-General Campbell had only about 6000 men to oppose to this formidable host, which threatened to surround him; but though so very inferior in numbers to the enemy, he calmly awaited their approach, and determined to avail himself of any favourable opportunity of attacking them. In the meantime, in order to prevent the enemy's attempts to intercept his communication with Rangoon, and cut off his supplies, which had to be brought a distance of 150 miles up the river Irawaddy, the British commander established 100 men of the Royal Regiment, and an equal number of native infantry, under the command of Captain Deane of the Royals, at Pagahm-Mew, a few miles below Prome, on the Irawaddy, supported by a division of the flotilla on the river under Lieutenant Kellett, of the Royal Navy. This detachment was frequently attacked by superior numbers, and the meritorious conduct of both[Pg 241] officers and men is detailed in the following copies of letters from Captain Deane to the Adjutant-General of the Forces serving in Ava:—
20th November.—"I have the honour to report, for the information of the Commander of the Forces, a brush which took place between the party under my command and the enemy this morning.
"In the early part of the morning the fog was so thick as to preclude our seeing anything in our front, and on its clearing up I discovered, by means of a reconnoitring party, that the enemy were in considerable force on the edge of the jungle in front of my left, and shortly afterwards I discovered them marching in three columns across my front, for the attack of my right, left, and centre;—their main object being evidently to gain the right of the village. I, consequently, detached a party to turn their left, and had, in a few minutes, the satisfaction to observe that column retiring in confusion, and with considerable loss. I then moved forward with the remainder of my party to attack their centre, which also retired in confusion after a very few rounds: during this time their right was engaged with a strong piquet which I had placed to dispute the passage of a bridge on the left of the village—this the piquet effectually did. In both the defence of my centre and left, I was much indebted to the prompt assistance afforded me by Lieutenant Kellett, R.N.
"The enemy's force consisted of two gilt chattahs, and about 800 men armed with muskets and spears, with two or three jinjals; their loss I conceive to have been about 25 or 30 men killed. We had not, I am happy to say, a single man wounded. The enemy, however, from the great extent of the village, succeeded[Pg 242] in setting fire to it at both ends, but very little damage was done, as we extinguished it almost immediately. The Rajah and all his attendants deserted the place the moment the firing commenced; he has, however, just returned, and appears much more composed, and highly delighted with the result."
November 25th.—"I have the honour to report, for the information of the Commander of the Forces, another affair which we have had with the Burmese this morning.
"A little before day-break we had embarked 20 men of the Royals, and 30 sepoys of the 26th Madras native infantry, in light row-boats, intended to co-operate with Lieut.-Colonel Godwin, on the opposite side of the river. They were just in the act of shoving off from the shore when the enemy, to the amount of 5000 or 6000, made a rush at our works, howling most horribly, and, at the same time, setting fire to the village, which they had entered at all points. We had fortunately got an 18-pounder into battery late yesterday evening, which, added to two 12-pounders which we had before, did great execution. Lieutenant Kellett, R.N., was at this moment shoving off with the row-boats, but instantly returned to our assistance with all his men, and kindly undertook the superintendence of our guns, the well-directed fire of which so mainly contributed to our success. The enemy, after nearly two hours' sharp firing, retired in admirable order, carrying off great numbers of dead and wounded; so much so, that we have not been able to find more than 10 or 12 dead bodies. I am happy to add, that, with the exception of one man slightly grazed in the elbow by a musket-shot, we have not a man either killed or wounded. The Rajah's house[Pg 243] was very early in flames, and is burnt to the ground; indeed, I may say the village is completely destroyed. The guns in the boats were of the greatest assistance in scouring the village with grape. We got possession of one jingal and three muskets. The enemy appeared to have several mounted men, but I cannot say what they were."
November 26th.—"The enemy appeared in great force this morning at day-break all along our front, and had a good deal of skirmishing with the piquets; but we could not succeed in drawing them within musket-shot of our works. They are all armed with muskets, and have a great many jinjals, and two or more guns, with which they annoyed us very considerably, having taken up a position in the woody part of the village, from whence they opened a musket fire on the boats. From this I determined to dislodge them, and sent out a strong party for that purpose; these came close upon them, and drove them out, with, I have every reason to believe, considerable loss. They are, however, by no means discomfited, and are, I understand, determined to entrench themselves round us, and make regular approaches, as their orders are peremptory to carry the place. In confirmation of this a number of their entrenching tools were left behind by the killed and wounded. Our only casualty this morning, I am happy to say, is one Lascar severely, but not dangerously, wounded: the shot first grazed the jaw-bone, entered the shoulder, and came out under the arm-pit. From one of the prisoners taken this morning, whom I have, by this opportunity, forwarded to Major Jackson, I learn there are absolutely 5500 men now here, and that a[Pg 244] further force is hourly expected from Puttow-down, where, he says, the Setahwoon now is."
Thus 200 British troops resisted the attack of between 5000 and 6000 of the enemy; which occasioned Sir Archibald Campbell to observe in his despatch, "the meritorious conduct of both officers and men, as detailed in the enclosed copies of letters from Captain Deane, will, I am certain, obtain for them the approbation of the Right Honourable the Governor-General in council."
While this detachment was maintaining its post against such very superior numbers of the enemy, Brigadier-General Sir A. Campbell had resolved to make an attack upon every accessible part of the Burmese line, to the east of the Irawaddy, extending from a commanding ridge of hills to two villages about eleven miles north-east of Prome. The enemy's army was divided into three corps, all protected by stockades, and occupying positions of difficult approach; but each separated from the other by local obstructions, so that they could be attacked separately.
Leaving four native regiments for the defence of Prome, the General marched early on the morning of the 1st of December against the enemy's left flank at Simbike; during this movement the battalion companies of the Royals were on board the flotilla under Sir James Brisbane, diverting the attention of the enemy from this movement by an attack upon another part of their position, and otherwise co-operating with the land force. On arriving at the Nawine river the army was divided into two columns. The right, under Brigadier-General Cotton, in which were the flank companies of the Royals, proceeding along the left bank of the river,[Pg 245] came in front of the enemy's works, consisting of a series of stockades, covered on both flanks by thick jungle, and by the river in the rear, and defended by a considerable force, in which were 8000 Shans, a people of Laos, under their native chiefs, who bore a high character for gallantry, and these people were inspired with confidence by the presence of a female, whom they considered a prophetess. Notwithstanding the formidable appearance of these works, crowded with Burmese and Shans, and bristling with spears, the flank companies of the Royals, commanded by Captain Harvey, with the 41st and 89th regiments, supported by the 18th Madras native infantry, the whole commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Godwin, instantly stormed the stockades, in gallant style, and carried them in less than ten minutes. The Burmese fled,—the Shans, who had never encountered British troops before, fought manfully a short time, but were soon overpowered, and their prophetess mortally wounded. The enemy left 300 dead, including their veteran commander, Maha Memiow, who was 75 years of age, in the works; also their stores and ammunition, with a considerable quantity of arms, and 100 Cassay horses. The left column, under Sir Archibald Campbell, having crossed the Nawine, came up as the fugitives were retreating, and completed the dispersion of this wing of the Burmese army. The loss of the flank companies of the Royal Regiment in this action was—1 serjeant and 2 rank and file, killed: Ensign Campbell, who died on the succeeding day, and 5 rank and file, wounded.
Following up this advantage, Sir A. Campbell resolved to attack the centre division of the Burmese army, posted on the Napadee hills, which was not effected without considerable difficulty and some loss, but which proved quite successful; the Burmese were driven from their stockades and entrenchments, and forced to seek safety in a precipitate flight.
The battalion companies of the Royals, having quitted the flotilla, joined the division under Brigadier-General Cotton, which crossed the Irawaddy in the course of the night of the 4th of December, to attack the enemy's right wing under Sudda Woon, posted on the left bank of the river. On the following morning the attack was made in conjunction with the navy and flotilla, and the Burmese were soon driven from their extensive works near the banks of the stream. On taking possession of these defences it was discovered, that the enemy had a stockaded work about half a mile in the interior, completely manned and occupied by guns. Against this stockade the troops instantly advanced with their native energy and fortitude;—Brigadier-General Armstrong, of the Royals, Colonel Brodie, and Colonel Godwin, moved against the enemy's centre and right; at the same time Brigadier-General Cotton advanced with the companies of the Royal Regiment against the left, and the work was instantly carried,—the enemy leaving 300 dead on the field, and dispersing in every direction. Several prisoners were taken, and from 300 to 350 muskets, which the Burmese had abandoned in their flight, were broken by the soldiers. Brigadier-General Cotton [Pg 247]observed in his despatch,—"I have to add my warmest acknowledgments to Brigadier Armstrong, who commanded the advance; to Colonel Brodie, who had charge of the light companies; and to Colonel Godwin, who commanded the reserve; and to every officer and man engaged. I am happy to say this service was performed with the trifling loss of one man killed and four wounded." Thus in the course of four days the immense army of Ava, which had threatened to envelope Prome, and to swallow up the little body of British troops which had penetrated into the interior of the Burmese empire, was driven from its positions; and, as the timorous herd is put to flight by the lion of the forest, so the legions of Ava fled with precipitation before the fierce attacks of the British, and sought for shelter amongst their thick jungles.
The British force was now at liberty to advance upon Ummerapoora, the modern capital of the Burmese empire, situated on the shores of a romantic lake at a short distance from the left bank of the Irawaddy. Part of the Burmese army had been rallied and had taken post on some strong positions near Meeaday. Against these positions the British troops advanced in two divisions; the Royals were embarked and sailed up the river in the flotilla, to support one of the land divisions under Brigadier-General Cotton. During the first stages of the march the troops proceeded along a difficult road through thick jungle, and the men were frequently deluged with rain, which proved injurious to their health, and many of them suffered from attacks of the cholera. When the troops drew near to Meeaday the Burmese evacuated their position and took post at Melloone, on the right bank of the Irawaddy, on a series of fortified heights, and a formidable stockade, which[Pg 248] was considered the chef-d'œuvre of the Burmese engineers. The British troops took post at Patanagoh, on the left bank of the river, opposite the enemy's works. The Burmese sent a flag of truce, and expressed a desire to put an end to the war; they also not only permitted the flotilla, on which the Royals had embarked, to pass close under their works without interruption, but likewise sent out two gaudy war-boats to act as pilots, and the British naval force anchored above the town, by which the enemy's retreat by the river was cut off. The conditions of the treaty were afterwards discussed. The Burmese negotiators objected to the payment of money, and stated they were unable to raise such a sum. They stated they might, by using great economy, pay a million baskets of rice within a year, but they did not grow rupees; and, if the British had any objection to the rice, there were abundance of fine trees in the forests which they might cut down and take away instead of the money. Finding these and other arguments unavailing, the treaty was concluded, and a limited time given for its being ratified. In the meantime a cessation of hostilities had been agreed upon until the 18th of January, 1826, and the troops remained stationary.
While the 2nd battalion was thus employed in the interior of the Burmese empire, where British troops had never appeared before, the 1st battalion remained in Ireland, whither it had proceeded in the early part of the year 1816, as before stated. On the 25th December, 1825, it was separated into six service and four reserve companies; and in January, 1826, the service companies embarked at Cork for the West Indies, and the reserve companies embarked, at the same time and place, for the Isle of Wight: the former landed at Barbadoes in the spring, and the latter, after remaining a[Pg 249] short time in the south of England, embarked at Gravesend for Scotland, and landed at Leith in July.
Leaving the 1st battalion at Barbadoes and in Scotland, the record resumes a statement of the military operations in which the 2nd battalion was engaged against the barbarian forces of Ava. The armistice being in force, a free intercourse prevailed between the two armies; and on the 6th of January, 1826, a boat arrived at Patanagoh from Ava with letters from Surgeon Sandford and Lieutenant Bennett, of the Royal Regiment: these officers had left Prome while the battalion was stationed at that place in order to proceed to Rangoon, in consequence of ill health, and fell into the enemy's hands a little below Padoun.
The treaty of peace not having been ratified within the stipulated time, and the Burmese authorities appearing to follow a system of perfidy and evasion, hostilities recommenced on the morning of the 19th of January; and, after the British batteries had made an impression on the enemy's works at Melloone, the position was attacked by storm and carried in gallant style. The Burmese fled in confusion and dismay, leaving their ordnance and military stores behind; and the terror of the British arms filled the court of Ava with consternation: but, still indulging a vain and delusory hope of eventual success, new levies were made, and a new general and a new army took the field.
On the 25th of January the army resumed its march towards the enemy's capital, and on the 31st it was met by Dr. Price, an American missionary, and Dr. Sandford, whom the sovereign of Ava had despatched as messengers of peace. Terms, similar to what had already been agreed upon, were offered, but the British commander refused to halt until they were accepted; he, however, promised not to pass Pagahm-Mew, which was between him and the capital, in less than twelve days.
The Burmese resolved once more to try their fortune in battle, and their army was formed in position to stop the advance of their invaders. This brought on an action, which was fought on the 9th of February, near Pagahm-Mew; and on this occasion the Burmese abandoned their system of combating behind barriers, and encountered the British force in the open field; but after a contest of five hours the barbarians were overthrown, and the conquerors were left in possession of Pagahm-Mew, with all its stores, ordnance, arms, and ammunition.
No opposing army now remained between the British and the capital of the Burmese empire; the troops continued their route through a country which presented a wide extent of rich and well-cultivated grounds, thickly interspersed with copsewood and villages; while temples and pagodas adorned the banks of the river, and gave an imposing effect to this glittering eastern scenery. Terror and consternation prevailed at the Burmese court; and when the army had arrived within four days' march of the capital, it was met by the ratified treaty, which put an end to the war. A party of officers from the army visited the capital, and were received by the humbled monarch with every honour.
Thus an eastern empire, with its myriads of inhabitants, was subdued by the constancy and valour of a handful of British troops, who had marched from victory to victory, and had forced a haughty monarch to sue for peace. The following is an extract from an order issued by the Governor-General of India on this subject:—
"While the Governor-General in Council enumerates, with sentiments of unfeigned admiration, the achievements of the First, or Royals, the 13th, 38th, 41st, 45th, 47th, 87th, and 89th Regiments, the Honourable Company's Madras European Regiment, and the Bengal and Madras European Artillery, as the Euro[Pg 252]pean troops which have had the honour of establishing the renown of the British arms in a new and distant region, his Lordship in Council feels that higher and more justly-merited praise cannot be bestowed on those brave troops than that, amidst the barbarous hosts which they have fought and conquered, they have eminently displayed the virtues and sustained the character of the British soldier."
The meritorious conduct of the Royals was rewarded by King George IV. with the honour of bearing the word "Ava" on their colours.
The object of the war having been accomplished, the troops commenced retiring in the early part of March; the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment proceeded down the river Irawaddy in boats to Rangoon, where it arrived on the 25th of March. After remaining at this place a few days, the 1st division, under Lieut.-Colonel Armstrong, embarked for Madras, where it landed on the 18th of May. The 2nd division, under Captain L. MacLaine, followed, and, having landed on the 19th of June, the battalion was encamped near Madras until the beginning of July, when it marched to Bangalore.
The service companies of the 1st battalion remained at Barbadoes until 1827, when they were ordered to Trinidad; and they were stationed at that island during the succeeding four years.
The 2nd battalion remained at Bangalore until July, 1830, when it was ordered to Arnee, as a preparatory measure previous to its embarkation for Europe. From [Pg 253]Arnee the battalion proceeded to Marmalong Bridge, about seven miles from Madras, where it was encamped for several weeks; and while at this station the following order was issued:—
"Fort St. George, 25th February, 1831.
"GENERAL ORDER BY GOVERNMENT.
"The Right Honourable the Governor in Council cannot permit His Majesty's Royal Regiment to quit India, after forming a part of the army of this presidency for 23 years, without publicly recording his high sense of its distinguished merits.
"During the Mahratta war the Royal Regiment was more than three years in the field.
"It nobly maintained the character of British soldiers [Pg 254]at the battle of Maheidpoor; and, after gallantly sharing in other conflicts of that eventful period in the peninsula, it embarked for Rangoon, and assisted in maintaining the honour of the British arms, and in establishing peace with the Ava dynasty.
"The Right Honourable the Governor in Council has only further to add, that the conduct of the officers and men of His Majesty's Royal Regiment, when in garrison, has been such as to meet with the entire approbation of Government, and that his best wishes for their continued welfare and fame will accompany them in whatever part of the world the national interest and honour may call for their services."
The first division of the battalion embarked for England on the 29th of January 1831; the remainder proceeded on the 21st of March to Fort St. George, and the second division embarked at Madras on the same day. The other divisions embarked on the 3rd and 16th of June, 9th of July, and 5th of September.
The first five divisions arrived in England during the summer and autumn of 1831; and on the 25th of December they embarked at Chatham for Scotland, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel G. A. Wetherall, and landed at Leith on the 6th of January following.
The last division disembarked at Chatham on the 15th of January, 1832; and the battalion passed that and the succeeding year in Scotland.
In October of this year His Majesty was pleased to approve of the following regulation:—
"That the devices and distinctions on the colours and appointments of the two battalions of the First, or Royal Regiment of foot, be the same in each battalion, as is the case in the several battalions of the[Pg 255] three regiments of Foot Guards, and also in those regiments of the line which formerly consisted of two or more battalions.
"18th October 1832."
In the meantime the service companies of the 1st battalion had removed from the island of Trinidad,—three companies and head-quarters to St. Lucia, and three companies to Dominica. On their departure from Trinidad, the following order was issued by the Governor of the island:—
"Trinidad, 16th January, 1832.
"AFTER BRIGADE ORDERS.
"His Excellency Major-General Sir Lewis Grant cannot allow the head-quarters of the Royal Regiment to quit Trinidad without expressing to Lieut.-Colonel Carter, and the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the regiment, the very great satisfaction their general conduct, both as officers and men, has afforded him since his landing at Trinidad.
"The decorous conduct of the corps, and the perfect manner in which its duties have been performed, entitle it to the greatest praise. For this His Excellency returns to Lieut.-Colonel Carter his particular thanks, and requests he will make a communication to the same effect to the officers and others under his command.
"His Excellency assures the officers and men of the Royal Regiment that they carry with them his best wishes for their welfare."
On the 26th of October, 1833, the reserve companies of the 1st battalion embarked from Glasgow for Ireland, and landed at Londonderry on the 28th of that month.
In December of the same year the second battalion embarked from Glasgow, and, having landed at Belfast, was stationed in Ireland two years and a half.
His Grace the Duke of Gordon was removed in December, 1834, to the Third, or Scots Fusilier Regiment of Foot Guards; and the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment was conferred by His Majesty King William IV., on General Thomas Lord Lynedoch, G.C.B., from the 14th Regiment of Foot.
The six service companies of the 1st battalion quitted the West Indies in December, 1835, and proceeded to Ireland, where they arrived in the early part of 1836; and, having joined the reserve companies, the battalion remained in that part of the United Kingdom upwards of two years.
During the summer of 1836, the 2nd battalion was divided into six service and four depôt companies; and in July the service companies embarked at Cork for Canada, leaving the depôt companies at Boyle, from whence they were removed in the succeeding year to Newbridge.
The service companies landed at Quebec on the 24th of August, and passed the winter and succeeding spring in garrison at that city.
In May, 1837, two serjeants and twenty rank and file were detached from Quebec to Grosse Isle, where they were stationed, with a detachment of the Royal Artillery, and of the 15th and 66th regiments, under Major Jackson. The remainder of the service companies proceeded in July from Quebec to Montreal, where they were stationed, with the 32nd and a small detachment of the 15th, under the orders of Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall, K.H., of the Royals. A detachment of nine rank and file of the Royals was stationed at Sorel;[Pg 257] and in August the party was withdrawn from Grosse Isle.
On the 24th of September the depôt companies of this battalion embarked at Kingstown for England, and landed on the 26th at Devonport.
Previous to the arrival of the Royals in Lower Canada, the minds of the inhabitants of that flourishing colony were agitated by factious men, who sought to dictate to the Government measures not deemed conducive to the welfare of the state. During the summer, the House of Assembly refused to proceed in its deliberations until the demand for the total alteration of the legislative powers was complied with; and this was followed by the appearance of many of the colonists in arms, and by open violations of the law. The revolt rapidly extending, the law-officers of the Crown and the magistrates of Montreal applied to Lieut.-General Sir John Colborne, K.C.B. (now Lord Seaton), the commander of the forces in Canada, for a military force to assist in apprehending several persons charged with high treason, who were supposed to be at the villages of St. Denis and St. Charles; and Colonel Gore was sent with detachments of the 24th, 32nd, and 66th regiments, and one howitzer, with a magistrate to St. Denis; at the same time Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall, K.H., of the Royals, was directed to move with Captain David's troop of Montreal cavalry, four companies of the Royals, a detachment of the 66th, and two six-pounders, from Chambly, on St. Charles, a village seventeen miles from the ferry at Chambly, to assist the magistrates in executing the warrants.
The detachment under Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall passed the river Richelieu by the upper ferry at Chambly; but the severity of the weather, and the bad state of the roads, impeded the march, and information having been[Pg 258] received of the increased numbers of the rebels at St. Charles, the detachment halted at St. Hilaire until joined by another company of the Royals from Chambly. On the 26th of November the detachment resumed its march, and on arriving within a mile of St. Charles it was fired upon by the insurgents on the opposite side of the river, and one man of the Royal Regiment was wounded. Several rifle shots were also fired from a barn in front, which was burnt by the detachment. On arriving at the vicinity of St. Charles 1500 rebels were found posted in a close stockaded work, which was attacked; and after firing a few rounds, the troops assaulted and carried the defences by storm, killed a number of the rebels, took sixteen prisoners, and burnt the buildings. The Royals had 1 Serjeant and 1 rank and file killed; 8 rank and file severely, and 7 slightly, wounded. Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall's horse was shot under him during the action, and Major Warde's horse was severely wounded, and died afterwards. The detachment of the 66th had 1 man killed and 3 wounded.
Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall observed in his despatch:—"Every officer and man behaved nobly. Major Warde carried the right of the position in good style, and Captain Glasgow's artillery did good execution. He is a most zealous officer. Captain David's troop of Montreal cavalry rendered essential service during the charge."
After this success the detachment retired, on the 27th of November, to St. Hilaire, and advanced on the following day towards Point Olivière, to attack a body of rebels who had taken post at that place, and constructed an abatis, for the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the detachment; but when the troops formed[Pg 259] for the attack, the rebels, after exchanging a few shots, fled, leaving two guns mounted on carts behind them. The detachment returned on the same day with 25 prisoners to Chambly, the men having suffered much from heavy rains, roads knee-deep in mud, and also from frost and snow.
In the meantime the detachments under Colonel Gore had, from obstructions of a formidable nature, and from the severe state of the weather, failed in the attempt on St. Denis, and had retired. The conduct of Lieutenant Lysons of the Royal Regiment, attached to the Quarter-Master General's department, who was employed on this service, was spoken of in terms of commendation, and also the exertions of Surgeon Farnden, in rendering assistance to the wounded. After the success of the Royals at St. Charles, the rebels broke up from their post at St. Denis.
The rebellion was, however, not arrested in its progress, and the troops had much harassing duty to perform in severe weather. On the 13th of December Lieut.-General Sir John Colborne proceeded with all his disposable force (including the companies of the Royal Regiment) towards St. Eustache, to put down the revolt in the country of the Lake of the Two Mountains, where the insurgents had driven the loyal inhabitants from their homes, and had pillaged an extensive tract of country. The Royals, with the Montreal rifles, and Captain Globinsky's company of volunteers, formed a brigade under Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall. The volunteers were detached to the woods bordering on the upper road to St. Eustache, to drive in and disperse the rebel piquets. The remainder of the brigade, with the other disposable troops, crossed the north branch of the Ottawa river on the ice, on the 14th[Pg 260] of December, advanced upon St. Eustache, and entered the village at several points. The Royals and Montreal rifles advanced up the main street, and took possession of the most defensible houses. An officer was detached to bring up the artillery; but he was driven back by the fire of the rebels, who had taken post in the church. The artillery entered the village by the rear, and opened their fire on the church door, while some companies of the Royals and rifles occupied the houses nearest to the church. After about an hour's firing, and the church doors remaining unforced, a party of the Royals assaulted the presbytery, killed some of its defenders, and set it on fire. The smoke soon enveloped the church, and the remainder of the battalion advanced; a straggling fire opened upon them from the Seignior's house, forming one face of the square in which the church stood, and Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall directed the grenadiers to carry it, which they did, killing several, taking many prisoners, and setting it on fire. At the same time part of the battalion commanded by Major Warde entered the church by the rear, drove out and slew the garrison, and set the church on fire. 118 prisoners were made in these assaults. The Royals had 1 man killed and 4 wounded in this service.
On the 16th the Royals advanced with the remainder of the disposable force to St. Benoit, where no opposition was offered; and the rebels sent delegates to say they were prepared to lay down their arms unconditionally. The Royals returned to Montreal, where they arrived on the 17th of December with the prisoners. The good results of these movements were the return of the peasantry to their usual occupations, and the disappearance of armed parties of the rebels.
In May, 1838, the first battalion proceeded from Ireland to Scotland.
In November, 1839, the first battalion was again directed to prepare for foreign service, and the six service companies were embarked from Greenock for Gibraltar on the 11th and 25th of that month, on board the troop ships Athol and Sapphire.
The four depôt companies remained in Scotland until May, 1841, when they were embarked for Ireland.
In September, 1843, three companies of the second battalion were embarked at Toronto for the West Indies; and on the 28th October the head-quarters, with the other three companies, under the command of Major Bennett, were embarked at Quebec for the same destination on board of the Premier transport, which was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but fortunately no lives were lost, and the three companies returned to Quebec on the 12th November.
On the 18th December, 1843, General Lord Lynedoch died, and the colonelcy of the regiment was conferred by Her Majesty on General the Right Honourable Sir George Murray, G.C.B., from the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment.
The head-quarters and the three companies of the second battalion, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Bell, again embarked from Quebec on the 20th May 1844, and arrived on the 1st June at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they remained until November, when they proceeded from Halifax to the West Indies, and arrived at Barbadoes on the 8th and 17th November.
The service companies of the second battalion returned from the West Indies in January, 1846, and arrived at Leith on the 21st March, from whence they proceeded[Pg 262] to Glasgow, where they were joined by the depôt companies, which embarked from Belfast in May, 1845.
The service companies of the first battalion embarked from Gibraltar for the West Indies, on the 17th February, 1846, and arrived at Barbadoes on the 21st March. The depôt companies, which proceeded from Glasgow to Dublin in 1841, remained in Ireland.
On the 28th July, 1846, General the Right Honourable Sir George Murray, G.C.B. died, and Her Majesty was pleased to confer the colonelcy of the First or Royal Regiment of Foot on General the Right Honourable Sir James Kempt, G.C.B., from the Second, or Queen's Royal Regiment of Foot.
The head-quarters of the first battalion are at Trinidad: the depôt companies at Newbridge: the second battalion is at Edinburgh, at the close of the year 1846, at which period this record is concluded.
The foregoing account proves the antiquity of the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot, and gives a statement of its services for a period of more than 200 years, during which it has acquired laurels under the great Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, and under the French Marshals, Turenne, the Prince of Condé, Luxembourg, and De Crequi: it has since formed a part of the British army which has fought and conquered under King William III., Marlborough, Abercromby, Moore, and Wellington, the most celebrated warriors and consummate generals of their periods; thus establishing a fame and distinction which, it is presumed, few, if any, other military bodies in Europe can claim. The career of the Royal Regiment has not evinced a feverish and uncertain valour, sometimes emitting sudden flashes which startle and surprise, and at others betraying weakness and pusillanimity, but it has proved uniform and invincible; and whether employed against the barbarous tribes of Asia, Africa, and America, or the disciplined legions of Europe, the officers and men of the Royal Regiment have, on all occasions, displayed the native energy, firmness, and contempt of danger peculiar to Britons; and by their victories in every quarter of the globe, they have established a reputation for future ages to emulate.
Posterity, looking back at the splendid achievements of the British arms in various parts of the world, will naturally inquire what regiments won honour and fame in the several fields of glory where British valour was sternly proved. To this it may be answered that, in the seventeenth century, when Gustavus Adolphus stood forth the champion of the Protestant princes of Germany, this[Pg 264] regiment fought and conquered in that glorious cause; and it claims the honour of having fought at the battle of Leipsic, famous in the history of Sweden, and at Roucroy, celebrated in the annals of France.
In the succeeding century, when the balance of power in Europe was destroyed by the union of France and Spain, and Louis XIV. sought to dictate laws to Christendom, this regiment was one of the first which appeared at the scene of conflict, and it shared in the victories of Blenheim, Ramilies, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet, also in the honour of capturing the fortresses which that ambitious monarch had erected as bulwarks to his kingdom; and thus purchased peace for Europe.
When Bonaparte, whose hatred and jealousy of England were unalterable, sought to become more than the dictator of Europe, this regiment met the legions of the usurper, and fought and triumphed in battles, which are inscribed on its colours as monuments to stimulate to deeds of valour the men of future generations, who shall enrol themselves under the banners of the Royal Regiment. Besides these leading features of its career, in which the national character and influence have been elevated, this regiment has evinced equally brilliant qualities in actions which, though less important in their bearing on the affairs of Europe, have attested the intrinsic merit of the corps, and have purchased numerous advantages to the commerce, power, stability, and happiness of Britain.
 Bishop Lesley; and Abercromby's Martial Achievements of the Scots Nation.
 L'Escosse Françoise, par A. Houston; and the Translator's Preface to Beauge's History of the Campaigns in 1548 and 1549.
 Milan, a military publisher remarkable for correct dates, states, in an account of the French army printed in 1746, that the Scots Gendarmes were instituted in 1422, and the Scots Garde du Corps in 1440. Père Daniel, the French military historian, adduces proof that they were instituted by Charles VII., but does not give the dates.
 Bishop Lesley; and Philip de Commines.
 List of the French army printed at the time.
 L'Ecosse Françoise, par A. Houston.
 Histoire de la Milice Françoise, par Le Père Daniel. 2 tom. 4to. Paris, 1721.
 The companies obtained from the Netherlands were part of a distinguished body of Scots, who had been many years in the service of the States-General of the United Provinces; and were, in consequence of a truce having been concluded for 12 years, at liberty to engage in the service of Sweden. Vide Historical Record of the Third Foot.
 Introduction de Puffendorf, tome iv. p. 84.
 Harte's Life of Guslavus Adolphus.
 The regiment alluded to was raised by Donald Mackay, Lord Reay, in 1626, for the service of the King of Denmark; it was afterwards in the service of the King of Sweden, and was reduced in 1634 to one company. In 1637, Colonel Robert Monro, who had served in the regiment from the time it was raised, published an historical account of its services, under the title of Monro's Expedition; from which history much valuable information has been obtained relating to the Royal Regiment, and its first Colonel, Sir John Hepburn, who had lived in terms of intimacy and strict friendship with Colonel Monro from the time they were schoolfellows.
 Monro's expedition; and Harte's Life of Gustavus Adolphus.
"He maintained his post for nine weeks, repulsing every attempt to retake it, till he was relieved by a Scotch regiment (the Royals) under Colonel Hepburn, and a body of Swedish troops."General David Stewart's History of the Highland Regiments, published in 1822.
 Swedish Intelligencer.
 Monro's Expedition.
 The Imperialists had previously enacted a cruel tragedy on a party of Scots at Old Brandenburg.
 Harte's Life of Gustavus Adolphus; Monro's Expedition; and the Swedish Intelligencer.
 In a list of Gustavus's army published at the time, in the Mercure François, the regiment is stated to have displayed four colours at the battle of Leipsic.
 "The King having noticed that the Duke of Saxony was leaving the field, and that Count Tilly was ready to charge his main body, selected 2,000 musketeers of the brave Scots nation, and placed 2,000 horse on their flanks. The Scots formed themselves in several bodies of six or seven hundred each, with their ranks three deep (the King of Sweden's discipline being never to march above six deep;) the foremost rank falling on their knees, the second stooping forward, and the third standing upright, and all giving fire together, they poured, at one instant, so much lead amongst the enemy's horse, that their ranks were broken, and the Swedish horse charging, the enemy were routed."—Account of the battle of Leipsic published at the time.
 "We were as in a dark cloud, not seeing the half of our actions, much less discerning either the way of our enemies, or the rest of our brigades; whereupon, having a drummer by me, I caused him to beat the Scots March, till it cleared up, which re-collected our friends unto us."—Monro's Expedition.
 Monro's Expedition.
 "His Majesty, accompanied by a great and honourable train of cavaliers, alighted from his horse at the head of our brigade; the officers coming together about his Majesty in a ring, his Majesty made a speech of commendation of the brigade, thanking them for their good service, and exhorting them to the continuation thereof, promised he would not forget to reward them; and turning towards the superior officers, they did kiss his Majesty's hand; the inferior officers and soldiers crying aloud, they hoped to do his Majesty better service than ever they had done."—Monro's Expedition.
"His Majesty bestowed particular encomiums on the Swedish and Finland horse, conducted by Horne; as also on that brave body of Scottish infantry which Hepburn commanded."—Harte's Life of Gustavus Adolphus.
 "The foot brigades were commanded to their several posts. Colonel Hepburn's brigade (according to custom) was directed to the most dangerous post, next the enemy; and the rest to theirs. The night coming on, we began our approaches, and prepared for making ready our attacks, when certain men were ordered to make cannon baskets, some to provide materials, some to watch, some to dig, some to guard the artillery, some to guard the workmen, and some to guard the colours before the brigade. The day approaching, we having made ready the batteries in the night, the service on both sides beginneth with cannon and musket."—Monro's Expedition.
 Monro gives the name of every British officer above the rank of Captain in the Swedish army. Many Scots officers had been promoted to the command of Swedish, Finland, and Dutch regiments.
 "Here also we see the valour of Hepburn and his brigade praiseworthy, being, first and last, the instruments of the enemy's overthrow."—Monro's Expedition.
"The King returned Hepburn public thanks for suggesting the idea of crossing the Wernitz, and for executing his plan with such judgement and valour."—Harte's Life of Gustavus Adolphus.
 In some accounts of the battle of Lützen the Green Brigade, of which Hepburn's regiment formed a part, is mentioned by mistake amongst the troops engaged, instead of the White Brigade. As Colonel Monro commanded the brigade at the time the battle was fought, his narrative is considered sufficient authority for stating that it was not present.
 Gustavus Adolphus King of Sweden was born on the 9th of December, 1594. He learnt the duty of a musketeer as soon as he could carry a musket; and when seventeen years of age he was Colonel of a Cavalry corps, and served a campaign against the Danes. In the same year (1611) his father died, and the young Gustavus succeeded to the throne of Sweden; and he soon afterwards evinced, to the surprise of all Europe, the most distinguished abilities as a commander, a hero, and a politician. The discipline which he introduced into his army was strict beyond all precedent, and to this many of his victories may be attributed. His improvements in arms, equipment, and in military tactics, were particularly important; and he was brave even to rashness. He was wounded in action on six different occasions, had three horses killed under him, and was several times in the power of the enemy, but was rescued by his own men. On the fatal 6th of November, 1632, he fought sword in hand at the head of the Smoland cavalry, and was shot through the left arm, but continued fighting until his voice and strength failed from loss of blood, when he attempted to retire. At that instant an Imperial cavalier came galloping forward, and, crying "Long have I sought thee," shot the King through the body; and the next moment one of his Majesty's attendants shot the cavalier dead on the spot. As the King and his attendants were retiring, they were charged by a troop of cuirassiers; his Majesty was held for a few moments on the saddle, but his horse, being shot in the shoulder, made a desperate plunge, and threw the rider to the ground. After his fall the King received five wounds in different parts of his body, and was shot through the head. Thus fell the brave Gustavus, the most distinguished warrior of his age; with whose life the early services of Hepburn's regiment, now represented by the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot, are intimately connected.
 Monro's Expedition.
 In the Mercure François and other French works he is called Colonel Hebron and Le Chevalier d'Hebron; Père Daniel, the French historian, gives the following reason for this change—"On l'appelloit en France 'le Chevalier d'Hebron,' son nom d'Hepburn étant difficile à prononcer."
 This transfer of men from the service of the Crown of Sweden to that of France was not peculiar to Hepburn's veterans; but the German and Swedish forces which, after the defeat at Nordlingen, retreated, under the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, towards the Rhine, were nearly all taken into the pay of France.
 Mercure Françoise; Anderson's History of the Reign of Louis XIII.; and the Complete History of Europe.
 "The most deplorable accident was the death of the Scottish "Colonel Hepburn, who, with his usual coolness, surveying the breach, received a ball in his neck, and died, extremely regretted in the army, and by the Court of France."—Anderson's History of France, vol. v. p. 90.
"Le combat fut fort opiniâtre en ceste prise, et de telle façon; que le Colonel Hebron Escossois, y fut tué d'une mousquetade dans le col, qui luy passoit dans les reins, ayant laissé une reputation digne de sa valeur, fidelité, et experience au fait de la guerre."—Mercure François, tom. xxi. p. 277.
 The following return of the establishment of the regiment in 1637 was procured by its Colonel, General Lord Adam Gordon, who died in 1801:—
|Colonel (Lord James Douglas)||1|
|Lieutenant-Colonel (Colonel Monro)||1|
|Major (Sir Patrick Monteith)||1|
|48 Companies of 150 Privates each||7200|
 Mercure François.
 In a plan of the siege of Hesdin, published at Paris in 1639, Douglas' Scots Regiment appears formed in brigade with the Regiment of Champaigne.
 The three Scots regiments in the service of France at this period, are designated by the French historians, the regiments of Douglas, Chambers, and Praslin.
 Père Daniel.
 Mercure François; and Le Histoire Militaire de Louis le Grand, par M. Le Marquis de Quincy.
 This division consisted of the following corps; viz.: The French Guards, the Swiss Guards, the regiments of Picardy, Douglas, La Meilleraie, Grancy, and Molondin.—Mercure François.
 Account of the battle of Lens, published at the time; Life of the Prince of Condé; and Histoire Militaire de Louis le Grand.
 A detailed account of this action is given in the Life of King James II., from the memoirs written with his own hand, and published by the Rev. J. S. Clarke in 1818. His Majesty was then (1652) Duke of York, and was serving with the French Army, of which Douglas' Regiment formed part.
 Life of King James II., from the Memoirs written with his own hand.
 The forces were designated by the following titles:—
|The Duke of York's Troop||afterwards the third troop of Life Guards, and disbanded in 1746.|
|The King's Regiment of Guards,||afterwards constituted, with a battalion of Guards raised in England in 1661, the First Foot Guards.|
|The Duke of York's Regiment||The few remaining men of these regiments were, in 1660, placed in garrison at Dunkirk; they were afterwards removed to Tangier, and incorporated in the Second, or Queen's Regiment of Foot.|
|The Duke of Gloucester's Regt.|
|The Earl of Bristol's Regiment|
|Lord Newborough's Regiment|
|Colonel Richard Grace's Regt.|
 "Ce Régiment de Douglas, étant en garnison à Avesnes en 1661, eut ordre de passer en Angleterre, où il rendit des services très considerables au Roy Charles II.
"Il n'était que de huit compagnies en partant de France, et se trouva en y revenant, un an aprés, de trente-trois compagnies, qui étoient composées pour le moins de cent hommes chacune. Mylord George Douglas l'a toujours commandé en France."—Père Daniel.
 London Gazette; and Military Records in the State Paper Office.
 "Le Régiment de Douglas Escossois. Ce Régiment a servi plusieurs années en France, et s'y est fort distingué. Je trouve dans l'Ordonnance de Louis XIV., de l'an 1672, pour le rang des Régimens, qu'il étoit un des premiers."—Père Daniel.
 Comte de Chamilly's despatch, in the original correspondence respecting the campaign of 1672, published in France.
 See the Historical Record of the Life Guards, p. 43.
 Histoire du Vicomte de Turenne par L'Abbé Raguenet.
 Mémoires de deux dernieres Campagnes de Monsieur de Turenne en Allemagne.
 London Gazette.
 The Colonel of the Regiment, Lord George Douglas, was created Earl of Dumbarton on the 9th of March, 1675; but the French historians continued to designate the corps, "Le Régiment de Douglas."
 In the order of battle for the French army on the Rhine in 1677, printed in the Histoire Militaire de Louis le Grand, the First Battalion of Douglas' Regiment appears formed in brigade with the regiments of La Marine, Couronne, and Vendôme, and the second battalion is posted between two cavalry brigades, on the left of the line.
 "Captain Hume, who commanded our advance-party, showed great conduct and courage, standing several charges of the enemy's horse; and when the action was over, and he was upon his retreat to the main body, one of the Moors' chief commanders charged the rear of his party and overthrew him; but the Moor's horse falling, he was immediately killed."—London Gazette.
 Tangier's Rescue by John Ross, fol. 1681.
 Tangier's Rescue by John Ross, fol. 1681.
 "This day the Scots and their grenadiers charged first, if there was any time at all between their charging: for, like fire and lightning, all went on at once."—Tangier's Rescue.
 Tangier's Rescue.
 Four colours were captured in this action; one by Dumbarton's Scots, one by the Admiral's battalion, one by the English horse, and one by the Spaniards. Three guns were also taken; two by the Foot Guards, and one by the battalion of Marines and Seamen.
 The following return shows the loss sustained by the British troops in this engagement:—
|Narrative of the Siege of Tangier, published by authority, fol. 1680.|
|Four troops of English Horse, now Royal Dragoons||5||2||5||9|
|Three do. of Spanish Horse, disbanded in 1683||1||13||24||6||30||25|
|Battalion of Foot Guards||7||1||51|
|The Earl of Dumbarton's Regiment, now 1st Royal||6||36||15||100|
|The Earl of Inchiquin's do., now 2nd or Queen's Royal||2||34||10||124|
|Vice Admiral Herbert's Battalion, consisting of Marines and Seamen||2||10||24|
 The First Regiment of Foot Guards was for several years designated the Royal Regiment. There was also at this period a Royal Regiment in Ireland, which was sometimes styled Foot Guards. This corps adhered to King James II. at the Revolution in 1688. One battalion had previously arrived in England, and, being composed of papists, it was disbanded by William III. The men were confined a short time in the Isle of Wight, and afterwards transferred to the service of the Emperor of Germany. The other battalion fought in the cause of James II. in Ireland, until the surrender of Limerick in 1691, when it proceeded to France, and remained in the French service until it was disbanded.
 The author of the account of this review here means two battalions of the 1st Foot Guards.
 War-Office Records.
 War-Office Records.
 Sixteen field-pieces were employed. Nine were sent from the Tower of London, and seven from Portsmouth.
 Lediard, and several other historians, attribute the preservation of the King's army from a complete overthrow at Sedgemoor to the excellent conduct of the Royals, in being under arms so quickly as to be able to hold the rebels in check until the other corps had time to form their ranks.
 Fountainhall's Diary, p. 59.
 War-Office Establishment Book.
 Sir John Dalrymple, and several other historians who wrote many years after these events occurred, have mistaken the Royal Regiment of Scots Horse for the Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons, now the 2nd or Royal North British Dragoons, or Scots Greys; but the latter regiment did not mutiny. The Scots Horse escaped to Scotland, and many of them joined the Highlanders in their resistance to King William III.; and the regiment was taken off the establishment of the army and was not afterwards restored.
 List of troops sent to the Netherlands, in 1689, under the Earl of Marlborough:—
 This officer commanded the Grenadier Company of the Royal Regiment when it was raised in 1678; and frequently distinguished himself against the Moors at Tangier in 1680. In October, 1688, Lieut.-Col. Archibald Douglas of the Royal Regiment was appointed Colonel of a newly-raised regiment, now the 16th Foot; and was succeeded in December of the same year by Lieut.-Col. Hodges, from the Royal Regiment, who was killed at the battle of Steenkirk.
 D'Auvergne's History of the Campaigns in Flanders.
 "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, and Sir Robert Douglas, at the head of one battalion of his own regiment, having driven four battalions of the enemy from their cannon."—London Gazette.
 Memoirs of Captain George Carleton.
 The General History of Europe.
 The French brigades, which attacked the post occupied by the first battalion of the Royal Regiment, were those of Bourbonnois, Lyonnois, Anjou, and Artois, and King James' Royal Regiment, or Irish Guards, were amongst them.—(D'Auvergne.)
 Official Records in Ireland.
 Millner's Journal of the Marches, Battles, and Sieges of the British troops on the Continent from 1701 to 1712.
 Portmore's, now 2nd or Queen's Royals, and Elsts, afterwards disbanded.
 Now the 9th, 15th, 23rd, and 24th Regiments.
 Now the 10th, 16th, 21st, and 26th Regiments.
 The following Return shows the number of Officers killed and wounded in each British Regiment at the battle of Blenheim:—
|The Queen's Horse, now||1st||Dragoon||Guards||0||2|
|Lieut.-Gen. Wood's Regt.||3rd||"||"||2||5|
|Colonel Cadogan's "||5th||"||"||1||0|
|Duke of Schomberg's||7th||"||"||3||3|
|Royal Scots Dragoons||2nd||Drags.||(Greys)||0||0|
|Royal Irish Dragoons, late||5th||"||"||0||1|
|Foot Guards, one battalion||"||"||"||1||5|
|Royals two do.,||now||1st||Foot||"||3||7|
|Prince George's Regt.,||"||3rd||"||"||2||9|
|Brig.-Gen. Webb's "||"||8th||"||"||0||2|
|Ld. North & Grey's "||"||10th||"||"||8||9|
|Earl of Derby's||"||16th||"||"||4||12|
|Dk. of Marlborough's||"||24th||"||"||3||9|
 Milner's Journal.
 London Gazette, &c.
 War-Office Marching-Order Book.
 War-Office Establishment Book.
 Records of the Adjutant-General's Office.
 Extract of a letter from an officer.
 "The troops did honour to their country, particularly the 1st battalion of the Royal Scots, who were put to the hardest trials, behaved heroically, and suffered much."—Scots Magazine.
 London Gazette, &c. &c.
 In 1684, and for many years afterwards, the facing of the regiment was white.
 His Majesty's commands were issued in October, 1832, directing that the colours of both battalions of the Royal Regiment should bear the same devices and distinctions.
 South Carolina Gazette.
 Return of troops engaged in the assault of Fort Moro, on the 30th July, 1762.
|Officers.||Serjeants.||Rank and File.|
|To sustain them—|
 Stedman's History of the American War.
 Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain from 1727 to 1783, by Robert Beatson, Esq., LL.D.
 Lieut.-General Stuart's despatch.
 Afterwards General Sir William Hutchinson, K.C.H.
 Rainsford's Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti.
 The Duke of York's despatch.
 This officer rose to the rank of Major-General, and was killed before Bayonne in 1814.
 Journal of Quartermaster-General Brownrigg, laid before Parliament.
 Captain Mullen was on the Staff at Barbadoes, but volunteered his services on this expedition.
 Now Lieut.-General Sir J. Stevenson Barns, K.C.B., Colonel of the Twentieth Regiment of Foot.
 In this year (1811) was living at the village of Delmes, in Scotland, John Reed, aged 100 years; he was a private in the 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment at the battle of Culloden, in 1746, and was in the battalion upwards of 40 years.
 At a Scots corporation dinner, held in London on the 4th of May, 1811, on the health of the Duke of Kent, the 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 Lieut.-Colonel M'Leod, 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.
 This officer was shot through the hand whilst bearing the colours, the ball passing through the flag.
"Demerara, 20th of April, 1812.
"Major-General Carmichael cannot refrain from expressing his regret on the departure of the Royal Scots. The honourable testimony from Governor Bentinck and the inhabitants of the good conduct of the regiment for nearly nine years corresponds with the opinion the Major-General has formed of their correct discipline and military order in all respects, which evince the incessant attention of Colonel Stewart and the officers of the corps. He sincerely wishes them every happiness, and looks forward with the pleasing hope of meeting the regiment on future service.
(Signed) "A. Stewart,
 "The Royals led the attack, on which occasion the distinguished gallantry of this corps was most conspicuous."
"The Royals refused to give way in the least, until General Hay received orders, through General Oswald, from General Graham, to retire, it having been found that success was physically impracticable, as the defences round the breach were not destroyed; and, from the showers of musketry, grape, hand-grenades, shells, and large stones, with which the attacking column was assailed, it appears miraculous that any escaped."—Extract from Sir T. Graham's despatch.
"The Royal Regiment proved, by the numbers left in the breach, that it would have been carried, had they not been opposed by real obstacles, which no human prowess could overcome."—Extract from Division Orders.
 "Major-General Hay speaks most highly of the conspicuous gallantry of Colonel Barns in the successful assault of the coverlain, with the brave battalion of the Royal Scots.
"Indeed I conceive our ultimate success depended upon the repeated attacks made by the Royal Scots."—Sir Thomas Graham's despatch.
 Extract from General Orders.
 The Americans were about 6000 strong, and the British only 1500: namely, Royal Scots, 500; 1st battalion King's Own, 480; 100th regiment, 450; one troop 19th Light Dragoons; and a proportion of artillery.—London Gazette.
 The Americans were 5000 strong; the British were 2800.London Gazette.
 Lieut.-General Drummond's Despatch.
 General Orders.
 A stone was placed in the church at Montreal, Lower Canada, with the following inscription:—
"In memory of Lieut.-Colonel John Gordon, commanding the 1st battalion Royal Scots Regiment of Foot, who departed this life on the 25th of September, 1814, in consequence of a wound received in action with the enemy in front of Fort Erie, on the 17th of the same month.
"This slab is placed by the officers of the battalion, to commemorate their high esteem for him as a man, and their respect for his character as a soldier."
 This valuable and gallant officer had served many years in the Royal Regiment, in which he had a son, Captain George Hay, killed at the battle of Vittoria.
A monument was erected to his memory in the cemetery of the church of Etienne, Bayonne, with the following inscription:—
This tomb is placed here By the officers of the 3rd battalion, 1st, or Royal Scots Regiment of Foot, As a testimony of respect to the memory of The late Major-General Andrew Hay, Commanding the First Brigade of the Fifth Division of the British Army in France, Who gallantly fell on the morning of the 14th of April, 1814, In defence of the ground in which His body is deposited, Aged 52 years.
Near the north door of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, a monument has also been erected to the memory of this gallant veteran. He is represented falling into the arms of Valour, with a soldier standing, lamenting the loss of his commander.
 "The 3rd battalion of the Royal Scots distinguished itself in a particular manner. Being removed from the centre of the 5th 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."Mudford's Historical Account of the Campaign in the Netherlands in 1815.
 "Though charged six or seven times by an infinite superiority of numbers, the French cavalry never for an instant made the slightest impression upon the square of the Royal Scots."Narrative by an Officer who was an eye-witness.
"Whitehall, 13th December, 1815.
"His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, taking into His Royal Highness's consideration the highly distinguished services of Colonel James Stevenson Barns, Lieut.-Colonel of the 1st, or Royal Scots Regiment of Foot, Companion of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, and Knight of the Royal Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword, manifested by him on divers important occasions in the campaigns of Toulon, Corsica, Holland, Egypt, and during the recent arduous operations and splendid achievements of His Majesty's arms in Portugal, Spain, and France, and being desirous of conferring upon that officer such a mark of favour as may in an especial manner evince the sense his Royal Highness entertains of the intrepidity and valour displayed by him at the battle of Busaco, wherein, as Lieut.-Colonel of the Staff, he commanded a brigade; at the capture of Badajoz, on the 6th of April, 1812; at the victory of Salamanca, where, in leading his battalion to the charge, he was severely wounded; and his distinguished gallantry at the assault and capture of St. Sebastian, and the battles of the Nive, hath been pleased, in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, to grant unto the said Colonel Barns, His Majesty's Royal license and authority that he and his descendants may bear the following honourable augmentation to the arms of his family:—
"A chief, thereon the representation of the curtain of a fortification; and above the words 'St. Sebastian,' as also a canton charged, with the representations of the gold cross presented by His Majesty's command to the said James Stevenson Barns, and of the badge of the Royal Portuguese Military Order of the Tower and Sword pendant from the ribands from which the said distinctions are respectively attached.
"And the following crest of honourable augmentation:—
"Issuant from a broken battlement, a dexter arm in armour, the hand grasping a banner inscribed 'St. Sebastian;' in allusion to the conspicuous conduct of the said Colonel Barns, on the 31st of August, 1813, when he gallantly led the 3rd battalion of the Royals, and assaulted and carried the curtain of the fortress, thereby eminently contributing to the ultimate capture of that important place; provided the said armorial distinctions be first duly exemplified, according to our law of arms, and recorded in the Herald's Office; otherwise His Majesty's royal license and permission to be void, and of none effect."
"Port Chatlerain, 29th November, 1815.
"The 4th battalion of the Royals, the 42nd and 92nd regiments, are to march to-morrow morning for Meulans, on their route for Boulogne, to embark for England.
"Major-General Sir Denis Pack, cannot allow these corps to depart from his command without expressing his regret at losing them.
"The conduct of the 4th battalion, Royals, in camp and quarters has been, like that of the 3rd battalion and the two regiments, orderly and soldier-like; and he is confident, from the high state of discipline these corps appear in, they would have emulated their comrades in the 3rd battalion, had the same glorious opportunity been afforded them."
 The following return shows the number of men drafted from the 4th to the other battalions on foreign service:—
|Date of transfer.||To what Battalion.||Serjeants.||Corporals.||Drummers.||Privates.||Boys.||Total.|
 This officer was promoted to the rank of Major-General in 1830, and was drowned in the 'Frolic' steam-boat, between Tenby and Bristol, in March, 1831, with his wife, Lady Arabella M'Leod.
 This officer was Deputy Adjutant-General to the King's troops, and he placed himself with the flank companies of the Royal Scots on the right, and encouraged the men by his example.
 This officer received a severe wound while protecting his brother's body.
 Captain Wetherall afterwards rose to the rank of Major in the regiment, and he wrote an historical record of his corps, which was printed in 1832, at the expense of the Colonel, the Duke of Gordon. Although there are some inaccuracies in the work, particularly as regards the formation and early services of the regiment, yet the record was as correct as could be expected from the limited information he was in possession of; and he evinced much laudable zeal and industry in its compilation. He followed the idea of Hamilton, who, in his printed sketch of the Royal Regiment, supposes it to have been a continuation of the Scots Guards at the French Court; but this has been proved to be an error. Major Wetherall died, while serving with the 1st battalion at Dominica, on the 7th August, 1833.
 It is only an act of justice to state that such was the soldier-like feeling and esprit de corps of the men, after they were made acquainted with the duty that lay before them, that on their falling in with their companions in the camp at Neembolah at twelve o'clock on the night of the 17th of March, there was not one individual amongst them in the least intoxicated, or unfit for duty.
 "The promptitude and energy with which the attack was made by the troops under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, of His Majesty's Royal Scots, reflect high credit on him and on all the officers and men employed. Our loss has been trifling; Lieutenant Bland, of the Royal Scots, is wounded. We are now in complete possession of the pettah, and the superintending engineer is employed in erecting a mortar battery to bombard the fort."Brigadier-General Doveton's Letter to Captain Stewart, Acting Resident at the Court of Doulat Rao Scindia.
 "Yesterday evening a desperate and unexpected sally from the fortress was made upon an advanced post of our troops in the pettah; and it is with extreme regret I have to add that Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, of His Majesty's Royal Scots, who had been appointed by me to command in the pettah, was killed when in the act of gallantly rallying the party and keeping the advance in their position. The enemy was, however, immediately driven back, and compelled to retire again into the fort."Brigadier-General Doveton's Despatch.
 Lieut.-Colonel Blaker's Mahratta War.
 Afterwards Lieut.-General Sir Archibald Campbell, Bt. G.C.B., Colonel of the 62nd Regiment, who died at Edinburgh on the 6th October, 1843.
 Now Major-General Sir Richard Armstrong.
 "The attack upon Simbike was most handsomely led by Lieut.-Colonel Godwin, with the advanced guard of the right column, consisting of the flank companies of His Majesty's Royals, &c. &c."London Gazette.
 This division consisted of 250 of the Royals, 270 of the 41st, 260 of the 89th, the light company of the 28th Madras native infantry, and 100 pioneers.London Gazette.
 When Dr. Sandford and Lieutenant Bennett were captured, preparations were made to crucify them, but, after an hour's suspense, they were sent away from the river, and eventually forwarded in chains to the capital, a distance of 300 miles. On reaching Ava they were thrown into a loathsome dungeon, crowded with criminals and deserters, where the Doctor remained five, and Lieutenant Bennett ten days, with nothing but a little rice to support them, and even this was occasionally omitted. After being released from gaol they were kept separate. The Doctor was a prisoner at large in the house of an American missionary (Mr. Price), and the king's interpreter; and Lieutenant Bennett was placed under charge of a Burmese constable, and was in chains in a lonely situation during the troubled and fearful state of Ava. From the vindictive and sanguinary disposition of some of the Burmese ministers and chiefs, the lives of the prisoners were in constant jeopardy, particularly during the moments of excitement produced by disastrous intelligence from the army. The prisoners had also to dread that, through the influence and fury of the Queen and Priests, they should be sacrificed as a propitiatory offering to the Burmese gods. On the nearer approach of the British army, the Doctor and Lieutenant Bennett were frequently consulted on European modes of concluding treaties of peace; and the Burmese acknowledged they could not reconcile to their minds the idea that a victorious army, with nothing to impede its progress, should halt within a day or two's march of the capital, and terminate the war on conditions; this was not Burman custom. To use their own simile, they could not believe the cat with the mouse in her claws would refrain from demolishing it; and, therefore, they concluded the pecuniary demand of the English general was merely a ruse to obtain as much precious metal as possible, and afterwards as much territory would be retained as was deemed convenient. To raise their opinion of British faith, the Doctor engaged to convey a letter to the British camp, and to return of his own accord, and his re-appearance astonished the Burmese ministers, and whole population of Ava.
Lieutenant (now Major) Bennett wrote an interesting narrative of the various scenes and incidents he met with, all of a novel and singular nature, and exhibiting traits and peculiarities of the Burman character, which his situation as a prisoner of war could alone develope. This narrative was published in the first and second volumes of the United Service Journal.
 Copy of a letter from Major-General Sir Theophilus Pritzler to the Colonel of the Royal Regiment:—
"Bangalore, East Indies, 30th July, 1830.
"My Lord Duke,
"The 2nd battalion of the Royal Regiment having been under my command for nearly five years, I cannot allow it to march from Bangalore without conveying to your grace the high opinion I entertain of it both collectively and individually. Its zeal and good conduct as soldiers have been equally conspicuous as its anxiety to produce harmony and good fellowship in society; and it will leave a lasting impression upon the inhabitants of this place, which has been marked in a most flattering manner.
"This battalion has of late been commanded by a particular friend of mine (Lieut.-Colonel Wetherall), in a manner which has produced the goodwill of his officers and soldiers in an eminent degree, and placed the battalion in the highest state of discipline; and I only regret that your grace cannot see it in the state in which it leaves this station, which, after a service in India of 23 years, has, I believe, astonished our Commander-in-Chief, who is now here.
"The corps of officers is highly respectable, and amongst them are some of the finest young men in the army. I am, therefore, confident that, under your grace's protection, the 2nd battalion of the Royals will very soon rival our best regiments in England.
"I trust your grace will excuse this long intrusion; I sincerely hope that you enjoy your health; and I have the honour to be,
"My Lord Duke, "Your faithful and obedient servant,
"To His Grace the Duke of Gordon."
John Hepburn descended from the Hepburns of Bothwell, an ancient and distinguished family, which for many ages had extensive possessions in East Lothian. His father was proprietor of the lands of Althestaneford, and gave young Hepburn a liberal education. From his earliest youth he was remarkable for spirit and resolution. When he quitted college he made the tour of part of Europe (in 1615), and the rising fame of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, of whose character he heard frequent commendations, gave birth to a spark of military ardour within his breast which was never extinguished till his death. Soon after his return from his travels, when the attempt was made to rescue Bohemia from the power of Austria, he engaged in the cause of liberty, and commanded a company of foot at several sieges and actions in Bohemia, Alsace, and Germany, and at the battle near Fleurus. When the King of Bohemia's forces were disbanded, he entered the service of the Swedish monarch. In his first essay in arms he displayed an ardour which procured him the favour and approbation of Gustavus, whose vigilant eye soon detected in this aspiring youth all the qualities requisite to constitute an excellent soldier. After a [Pg 266]short service in the subordinate commissions he was quickly advanced to the command of a regiment, and was employed in services which required a considerable portion of skill and valour. He was invariably either at the head of his regiment, or at the head of the brigade of which his regiment formed part, and, as his regiment was incorporated into a Scots corps in the French service, now the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot, his services are set forth in the historical record of this corps, where his name will be found associated with deeds of valour and heroism of particular brilliancy. He appears to have been celebrated equally for bravery, skill, and humanity: he was beloved and esteemed by Gustavus Adolphus, and also by his companions in arms, both officers and soldiers; and his presence inspired confidence in the ranks of the brave Scots who fought under his command.
That innate spirit and fire which constituted a part of his character, rendered him incapable of brooking even an imaginary injury; and Gustavus Adolphus, who was equally remarkable for the fiery temperament of his constitution, having uttered one or two sharp expressions to the brave Scottish warrior, he declared he would never more unsheath his sword in the Swedish quarrel. The king is said to have placed more confidence in this officer than in any other colonel in the Swedish army; and some days before their disagreement his Majesty had appointed him to the command of half the infantry in the camp at Nuremberg. The king afterwards made several condescensions to Hepburn, and appeared particularly desirous of retaining this valuable officer in his service; but the Scottish hero was inflexible, and he quitted the Swedish army in 1632. On his arrival at the British court, his fame having preceded him, he was knighted. He soon afterwards tendered his services to the king of France, who was too well acquainted with the character, capabilities, and experience of this renowned Scot, not to give him employment, and he was placed at the head of a regiment, constituted[Pg 267] of some new levies and old Scots companies in the French service, now the First, or Royal Regiment of Foot, in the British line. His commission was dated the 26th of January, 1633; and at the head of this corps he distinguished himself in Alsace and Germany, and had the satisfaction of seeing many of the veterans of his former regiment incorporated in his new corps. He commanded a division of the French army on the Rhine, and was on the point of being advanced to the dignity of a Marshal of France; but he was killed at the siege of Saverne, before the diploma reached him. Thus terminated the career of one of the best officers Scotland ever produced. He was known in France by the title of the Chevalier Hebron; and such was the fame of his gallantry, that, although he was killed in the reign of Louis XIII., a monument was erected to his memory some years afterwards by Louis XIV., in the cathedral of Toul. A contemporary historian (Lithgow) states "he was one of the best soldiers in Christendom, and, consequently, in the world."
This officer was cousin to Sir John Hepburn, and heir apparent of the ancient house of Wachton. He was one of the gallant Scots, who, led by a native ardour for military fame, sought renown in foreign lands, and fought under the great Gustavus Adolphus in the glorious attempt made by that monarch to rescue the Protestant princes of Germany from the power of the emperor. In toils, dangers, and triumphs, he was the companion of Sir John Hepburn. He rose to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel in the Swedish army; and having transferred his services to the crown of France, he succeeded Sir John Hepburn in the Colonelcy of the Scots corps, now the Royal Regiment. He was killed in action in Lorraine a few months afterwards; but the particular circumstances connected with his fall have not been ascertained.
Lord James Douglas, second son of William, first Marquis of Douglas, acquired celebrity in the wars between the house[Pg 268] of Austria and the Protestant league, and distinguished himself in France, Flanders, Italy, and Germany. He obtained the Colonelcy of the Scots corps, now the Royal Regiment of Foot, in 1637; and was killed while in the command of a flying camp between Douay and Arras in October, 1655. A monument was erected to his memory in the church of St. Germain de Prez, at Paris, with an inscription in Latin.
Lord George Douglas was the son of William, first Marquis of Douglas, by his second wife Mary, daughter of George, first Marquis of Huntly. In his youth he was page of honour to Louis XIV. Having made choice of the profession of arms, he entered the service of the king of France, and succeeded his brother in the Colonelcy of the Scots Regiment, now the Royal Regiment, in the British line. In 1672 he served with the French army in the Netherlands, and was attached to the division commanded by Marshal Turenne. He afterwards served several campaigns with the French army on the Rhine; highly distinguished himself in the defence of Treves, and was promoted to the rank of Major-General in France. He was created Earl of Dumbarton on the 9th of March, 1675.
In the early part of the reign of King James II. the Earl of Dumbarton was Commander-in-Chief in Scotland; and he commanded the troops which suppressed the rebellion of the Earl of Argyle in the summer of 1685. He was subsequently elected a Knight Companion of the Order of the Thistle. He held the rank of Lieut.-General in England, and was second in command of the army encamped on Hounslow Heath in 1687 and 1688. At the Revolution he adhered to King James II., whom he followed to France, where he died in 1692.
Frederick de Schomberg descended from an ancient and noble family of that name of the Palatinate, or Lower Rhine; and, during the struggle made by the Protestant states of Europe against the power of Austria and Spain, he served[Pg 269] under Frederick Henry Prince of Orange, after whose death he engaged in the service of the King of France.
Portugal, after having been subject to Spain many years, asserted its independence in 1640; and a sanguinary war commenced between the two kingdoms. The Spaniards had penetrated into the heart of Portugal, and were anticipating its speedy subjugation, when Louis XIV. sent General de Schomberg secretly to the aid of the house of Braganza. He was already famous for his successful defence of Bourbourg against two powerful armies, and for his conduct in the wars in Rouissillon; and, when placed at the head of the Portuguese forces, his name at once aroused the desponding adherents of the Braganza family, and inspired them with new hopes and new expectations. While his presence infused courage into the army, his discretion, for which he was always remarkable, directed its energies to advantage; towns were taken, battles were won, and finally a powerful army headed by Don John of Austria was defeated, and the Spanish monarch forced, in 1668, to acknowledge the independence of Portugal, and to conclude a peace with the house of Braganza. His success excited the surprise of Europe, and his achievements were celebrated by poets and orators in several languages.
After his success in Portugal he commanded a French force against the Spaniards in Catalonia; and his merits became so conspicuous, that in 1675 he was promoted by Louis XIV. to the dignity of a marshal of France. He subsequently commanded the French army in the Netherlands, and in 1676 he forced the Prince of Orange to raise the siege of Maestricht. In a few years afterwards the king of France endeavoured to suppress the Protestant religion in his kingdom, when Marshal de Schomberg, refusing to become a papist, his services appear to have been, to a certain extent, forgotten. Various means had formerly been used, and prospects of advancement to the highest honours held out, to induce him to change his religion, but in vain; and he now obtained liberty to quit France on condition of his proceeding to Portugal. Soon afterwards he obtained permission to proceed to Germany;[Pg 270] and the emperor designed to have placed this distinguished veteran at the head of his armies, but was prevented by the influence of the Jesuits. The Elector of Brandenburg availed himself of the services of Marshal de Schomberg, and appointed him a minister of state, and Generalissimo of Prussia.
When William Prince of Orange (afterwards William III.) was preparing an army for a descent on Britain, to oppose the proceedings of James II., his Highness was desirous of obtaining the services of Marshal de Schomberg, who was considered one of the greatest captains of his time, and, being devoted to the Protestant interest, he consented to accompany the Prince. The success which attended this enterprise enabled his Highness to reward the veteran commander, who was appointed Colonel of the Royal Regiment, and Master-General of the Ordnance. He was also constituted a Knight of the Garter, and created Baron of Teyes, Earl of Brentford, Marquis of Harwich, and Duke Schomberg. During the summer of 1689 he was sent Commander-in-Chief to Ireland to relieve the persecuted Protestants, and to rescue that kingdom from the power of King James; and he was killed at the battle of the Boyne, in July, 1690, while gallantly advancing with a regiment of foot to charge the enemy. Thus terminated the life of this distinguished veteran in the 84th year of his age. He was buried at St. Patrick's, Dublin, where a stone with an inscription was placed over his tomb by the Dean and Chapter of the church.
Amongst the many officers which Scotland has produced, who have signalized themselves in war, few have evinced brighter military virtues than the brave Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie. He was second cousin to the Earl of Dumbarton; he served many years in the Royal Regiment, in which he rose to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel; and he was known as a brave and generous aspirant to military fame, when King William III. promoted him to the Colonelcy of the Regiment. Bright prospects of future glory were before him. He had already given astonishing proofs of personal bravery at the[Pg 271] battle of Steenkirk, when he saw one of the colours of his regiment in the hands of the French. He instantly rushed forward into the thickest of the enemy's ranks, and rescued the colour at the expense of his life, as more fully detailed in the historical record of the Royal Regiment. He lived beloved and admired, and fell regretted by his sovereign and country, but more particularly by the officers and men of his regiment, with whom he had served in various parts of the world, and in whose breasts his memory was cherished with particular tenderness. By his fall he purchased a renown which more fortunate commanders have failed to acquire; and the story of his gallantry will survive to the remotest ages.
Lord George Hamilton, fifth son of William Duke of Hamilton, was an officer in the Royal Regiment in the reign of Charles II., and also of James II., and, adhering to the Protestant interest at the Revolution in 1688, he was advanced to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel, and on the 1st of March, 1690, to the brevet rank of Colonel. He served under King William III. in Ireland, and distinguished himself at the battle of the Boyne; and in 1691 he was at the siege of Athlone, at the battle of Aghrim, and at the capture of Limerick. In January, 1692, he was appointed Colonel of the 7th Royal Fusiliers, at the head of which corps he distinguished himself at the battle of Steenkirk, and his gallantry was rewarded with the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment. Continuing to serve under King William in the Netherlands, he distinguished himself in 1693 at the unfortunate battle of Landen, and in 1695 at the siege and capture of Namur, and while engaged in this service he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General. On the 3rd of January, 1696, he was advanced to the peerage by the title of Baron Dechmont, Viscount of Kirkwall, and Earl of Orkney; and in March, 1702, he was promoted to the rank of Major-General. He served the campaign of this year under the Earl of [Pg 272]Marlborough, and was engaged in the siege of Stevenswart. He commanded a brigade of infantry during the campaign of 1703, was advanced to the rank of Lieut.-General, and invested with the Order of the Thistle in 1704; and, having proceeded with the army into the heart of Germany, took part in gaining the glorious victories of Schellenberg and Blenheim. In 1705 he distinguished himself at the siege and capture of Huy; and in the following year at the battle of Ramilies, and the siege of Menin. He also took a distinguished part in the battle of Oudenarde; in covering the siege of Lisle; and in forcing the passage of the Scheldt in 1708. In 1709 he distinguished himself in the movements which preceded and led to the battle of Malplaquet, and during this hard contested action he signalized himself at the head of fifteen battalions of infantry. He also signalized himself at the siege of Douay in 1710; and in the beginning of the following year he was promoted to the rank of General. He was also engaged in passing the French lines in 1711, and commanded twenty battalions of infantry at the siege of Bouchain.
On these occasions the Earl of Orkney had evinced personal bravery and military talents of a superior character. At the close of the war he was a member of the Privy Council, and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. On the accession of George I. he was appointed one of the Lords of the Bedchamber to His Majesty, and Governor of Virginia; and in January, 1736, he was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. He was many years one of the sixteen representatives of the Scottish peerage, and died in January, 1737.
This officer entered the army in the reign of Queen Anne, and had the honour of serving under the celebrated John Duke of Marlborough. He was several years in the 3rd Foot Guards; and in 1722 he obtained the brevet rank of Colonel. In October, 1734, King George II. appointed him Colonel of the 22nd Foot; and in 1737 promoted him to the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment. He obtained the rank of Brigadier-General in 1739, that of Major-General in 1741, and Lieut.[Pg 273]-General in June, 1745, at which time he was performing the duty of Quarter-Master General to the army in the Netherlands, commanded by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland. In the following year he commanded an expedition which was originally designed for an attack on the French settlements in Canada; but was countermanded, and afterwards made an attack on the French sea-port L'Orient, and on the peninsula of Quiberon. He was subsequently employed on an embassy to the courts of Vienna and Turin. On the decease of his brother in 1750, he became entitled to the dignity of Lord Sinclair, a Scottish peerage; but he preferred a seat in the House of Commons, of which he had been many years a member, and he therefore did not assume the title. He was promoted to the rank of General in 1761, and died at Dysart in November, 1762.
Sir Henry Erskine was an officer of the Royal Regiment, in which corps he was appointed Captain on the 12th March, 1743; in April, 1746, he was promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel, and held the appointment of Deputy Quarter-Master General to the expedition under Lieut.-General St. Clair, which made a descent on the French coast, in which service he was wounded. In June, 1759, he was promoted to the rank of Major-General; and in October, 1760, he obtained the Colonelcy of the 67th regiment, from which he was removed in 1761 to the 25th Regiment, and in 1762 to the Colonelcy of the Royals. He was a Member of Parliament, and Secretary to the Order of the Thistle, and died in August, 1765.
John Campbell entered the army in the reign of King George II., and was appointed Lieut.-Colonel of the 54th Regiment, [Pg 274]now the 43rd Light Infantry, on the 25th of April, 1745, and served a short time on the Continent. The rebellion breaking out in Scotland in the same year, he quitted the Netherlands, and joined General Hawley with 1000 Argyleshire highlanders in January, 1746, on the day of the unfortunate battle of Falkirk. He subsequently joined the Duke of Cumberland at Perth, and accompanied his Royal Highness to the north. In November, 1755, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, and appointed Aide-de-camp to the King. In the following month he obtained the Colonelcy of the 54th Regiment, then first embodied, from which he was removed in April, 1757, to the 14th Dragoons, and two years afterwards he was promoted to the rank of Major-General, and appointed Colonel of the Argyleshire Fencibles. In January, 1761, he was promoted to the rank of Lieut.-General. On the decease of his uncle, Archibald, third Duke of Argyle, in 1761, his father, General John Campbell, of the Scots Greys, succeeded to that title, and Lieut.-General Campbell of the 14th Dragoons obtained the designation of Marquis of Lorne. In 1762 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in Scotland, and in 1765 he obtained the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment of Foot. He was again appointed Commander-in-Chief in Scotland in 1767, and in 1770 he succeeded to the title of Duke of Argyle. In March, 1778, he was promoted to the rank of General; four years afterwards he was removed from the Royals to the 3rd Foot Guards, and he was advanced to the rank of Field Marshal in 1796. The many virtues for which his Grace was distinguished occasioned him to be highly honoured and respected in society; and he died lamented on the 24th of May, 1806, in the 83rd year of his age.
Lord Adam Gordon, fourth son of Alexander second Duke of Gordon, was appointed Captain in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment of Foot on the 12th of December, 1746, and Captain and Lieut.-Colonel in the Third Foot Guards on the 2nd of January, 1756. In 1758 he proceeded with the expedition under General Bligh against the French coast; was at the[Pg 275] capture of Cherbourg, and the descent on the coast of Brittany, and distinguished himself at the head of his company while bringing up the rear of the army when attacked by the enemy during the embarkation at St. Cass. He was promoted to the Colonelcy of the 66th Regiment in January, 1763, and subsequently held a command in North America. In May, 1772, he was promoted to the rank of Major-General; in December, 1775, he was removed to the 26th Cameronians; and in the following year he rose to the rank of Lieut.-General. He was appointed Governor of Tynemouth Castle in 1778; was removed to the Royal Regiment in 1782; and appointed Commander-in-Chief in Scotland in 1789. He was further promoted to the rank of General in 1793, and in 1796 he was appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle. He was several years a Member of Parliament, but vacated his seat in 1788. He prided himself much on being Colonel of the Royal Regiment, and took particular interest in everything connected with the corps. His decease took place in August, 1801.
During the early part of this century the Royal Regiment of Foot had the honour of being commanded by a Prince who was distinguished alike for his social and military virtues,—namely, Field Marshal His Royal Highness Edward Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the father of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen Victoria.
Prince Edward, fourth son of His Majesty King George III., was born on the 2nd of November, 1767. In the eighteenth year of his age he proceeded to Germany for the completion of his studies, and resided successively at Lunenburg and Hanover, and was appointed, on the 30th of May, 1786, Colonel of the Hanoverian Guards. During the succeeding year he removed to Geneva, and while pursuing his studies at this place, His Majesty conferred upon him the Colonelcy of the 7th Royal Fusiliers. Early in 1790 he returned to England; and after passing a few days with his family he embarked, in obedience to the King's command, for Gibraltar, in order to acquire a knowledge of garrison duty under[Pg 276] Major-General O'Hara. While at Gibraltar he commanded for several months the 2nd, or Queen's Regiment, until the arrival of the 7th Royal Fusiliers, as a reinforcement to the garrison, in August, 1790. In 1791 he sailed with his regiment from Gibraltar for Quebec; and while serving in Canada he was promoted to the rank of Major-General. From North America he proceeded, during the winter of 1793-4, through the United States to Boston, where he embarked for the West Indies, and joined the army under General Sir Charles Grey, at the commencement of the siege of Fort Bourbon, in the island of Martinique, and commanded the detached camp at La Coste, above Point à Petre. During the several attacks His Royal Highness's conduct excited the admiration of the army: his life was frequently exposed to the most imminent peril; and his aides-de-camp, Captain, afterwards General Sir Frederick, Wetherall, and Lieutenant Vesey, were wounded near his Royal Highness's person. In compliment to the gallantry evinced by His Royal Highness on this occasion, the lower fort, called Fort Royal, was subsequently named Fort Edward.
After the capture of Martinique, the army proceeded to St. Lucie; and His Royal Highness commanded the grenadier brigade, which, in conjunction with the light infantry brigade, under Major-General Thomas Dundas, formed the storming-party which carried Morne Fortuné. From St. Lucie the army proceeded to the island of Guadaloupe; and the flank companies were detached under Prince Edward and Major-General Dundas, who succeeded in gaining possession of Morne Marscot and Fleur D'Epée, commanding Point à Petre. His conduct again excited admiration, and His Royal Highness received the thanks of Parliament. After the capture of the French West India Islands, His Royal Highness returned to [Pg 277]North America, and was shortly afterwards appointed Commander of the Forces in Nova Scotia and its dependencies. On the 12th of January, 1796, he was promoted to the rank of Lieut.-General; and, having returned to England on account of ill health, he was created, on the 23rd of April, 1799, Earl of Dublin, in Ireland, and Duke of Kent and Strathearn, in Great Britain; in the following month he was promoted to the rank of General, and appointed Commander-in-Chief of all the forces in British North America. On his return to North America his arrival was greeted by all ranks; and during his stay in that country he introduced numerous improvements in the system of conducting public business. In August, 1800, His Royal Highness returned to England; and in the following year he was appointed to the Colonelcy of the Royal Regiment of Foot. In 1802 he was appointed Governor of the important fortress of Gibraltar, whither he immediately proceeded; and while attempting to effect the removal of several long-existing abuses and irregularities, His Royal Highness experienced that opposition which has attended every attempt to remedy evils, when the private interests and privileges of individuals are concerned. The Duke of Kent returned in 1803 to England, where he continued to reside upwards of fifteen years. He was promoted to the rank of Field-Marshal on the 5th of September, 1805; he was also elected a Knight of the Garter; constituted a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath; and appointed Keeper and Ranger of Hampton Court Park.
During the period His Royal Highness resided in England the Royal Regiment of Foot experienced the advantage of his constant care and anxiety for its interests, and of his influence in the kingdom. It was recruited with facility, and he had the satisfaction of having four battalions on foreign service, amounting to 5000 men, at the same time in three different quarters of the globe. The attachment of His Royal Highness to his corps was evinced on all occasions, and he frequently expressed himself in terms of exultation at its achievements. His concern was not, however, limited to his regiment, as there was scarcely a public charity in the metropolis which did not derive benefit from his patronage, personal eloquence, and contributions, and over many he presided. His private acts of benevolence, in the cases of widows and orphans who were known to His Royal Highness as deserving objects of relief, were very numerous, and the instances of his charity and philanthropy were attested by the grateful acknowledgments of those who had no claim on His Royal Highness's bounty beyond the circumstance of a husband, father, or other relative, having performed faithful service under his command. The provision made by His Majesty's Government for His Royal Highness had not been equal to his necessary expenditure to support the dignity of a Prince of the royal blood, particularly for the periods he was on foreign service; and in 1816 economical views induced him to proceed to the Continent. In May, 1818, he was married at Coburg, according to the Lutheran rites, to Her Serene Highness Victoria Maria Louisa, youngest daughter of the late reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Shortly after the solemnities the royal pair proceeded to England, and were remarried at Kew Palace on the 11th of July, 1818, according to the rites of the Church of England. In a few weeks after this ceremony the Duke returned with his bride to the Continent; in the succeeding year they revisited England; and on the 24th of May, 1819, the Duchess gave birth, at Kensington Palace, to a daughter, named Alexandrina Victoria, Her present Majesty.
In a few months after this happy event this amiable Prince, whose social, private, and public virtues endeared him to his family and friends, and procured him a place in the affections of the British people, was attacked by pulmonary inflamma[Pg 279]tion, produced by accidental cold, and he died at his temporary residence at Sidmouth on the 23rd of January, 1820. The remains of His Royal Highness were removed from Sidmouth and deposited in the royal vault at St. George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle, on the 12th of February, 1820, with the usual honours and solemnities observed at the funerals of the members of the Royal Family.
George Marquis of Huntly, son of Alexander fourth Duke of Gordon, was appointed to a commission in the 35th Regiment in 1790. He soon afterwards raised an independent company of foot, and was appointed, on the 25th of January, 1791, Captain in the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. In July, 1792, he was appointed Captain-Lieutenant and Lieut.-Colonel in the 3rd Foot Guards; and, proceeding with his company to the Netherlands in the following year, he was engaged with the French at St. Amand and Famars, and in the siege of Valenciennes; also in the action before Dunkirk, and the affair at Lannoy. In the beginning of 1794 his Lordship raised the 100th (afterwards 92nd) regiment, of which he was appointed Lieut.-Colonel Commandant; and he proceeded with his regiment to Gibraltar, but on his return to England he was captured by a French privateer. He subsequently rejoined his regiment at the island of Corsica, where he served upwards of a year, and obtained the rank of Colonel on the 3rd of May, 1796. He was soon afterwards appointed Brigadier-General in Ireland, where he served during the rebellion. In 1799 he proceeded with the expedition to Holland, and was actively employed until the 2nd of October, when he was wounded. His Lordship was promoted in 1801 to the rank of Major-General; and in 1803 he was appointed to the Staff in North Britain, where he served three years. In January, 1806, he was removed to the Colonelcy of the 42nd Royal Highlanders; and on the 25th of April, 1808, he was promoted to the rank of Lieut.-General. He commanded a division of the army in the expedition to Walcheren in 1809, and was promoted to the rank of General on the 12th of August, 1819. In the following year he obtained the Colo[Pg 280]nelcy of the Royal Regiment, and was constituted a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath about five months afterwards. He succeeded, on the decease of his father, in 1827, to the dignity of Duke of Gordon, and was also appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle, and Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland; and in 1834 he was removed from the Royals to the 3rd Foot Guards. This kind-hearted and gallant nobleman and soldier, who was distinguished for an uninterrupted succession of acts of kindness and philanthropy, died on the 28th of May, 1836.
Amongst the most distinguished of the able and scientific soldiers who led the conquering armies of England from the Tagus to the Seine, was the venerable General Lord Lynedoch, whose death took place on the 18th December, 1843, at his residence in London.
The early life of this eminent man was that of a private country gentleman, but one whose mind had been cultivated in no ordinary degree. The classical attainments of his father, and the many elegant accomplishments of his mother, were directed to that which formed with them a never ceasing object, namely, the education of their son, who, owing to the death of both his elder brothers, had become heir to the family estate. The family from which he is descended, is a branch of that from which the Dukes of Montrose trace their origin. His father was Thomas Graham, Esq., of Balgowan, and his mother was Christiana, fourth daughter of the first Earl of Hopetoun. He was born at Balgowan (Perthshire), in the year 1750. In 1774 his father died, and, in the same year, he married the Hon. Mary Cathcart, one of the three daughters of the ninth Lord Cathcart. Thus Mr. Thomas Graham apparently settled down for life in the quiet, unobtrusive, happy condition of an independent country gentleman; and thus he continued in the enjoyment of great domestic felicity, surrounded by many estimable and attached friends, for a period of nearly 20 years. He had by this time attained[Pg 281] the mature age of forty-two, and to all external seeming was one of the last men in the world likely to enter upon a military life.
In the year 1792, however, his domestic happiness was brought to a termination by the death of his wife. The effect of this melancholy event unsettled the mind of Mr. Graham, and his case adds one to the instances that might be adduced in which domestic calamities have procured, for the State, services of the highest order in the field and the cabinet. It may be said, that this change in his condition and prospects, imparted almost a romantic character to the tenor of his life. His grief was such as injured his health, and he was recommended to travel, with a view of alleviating the one, and restoring the other, by change of scene and variety of objects. While at Gibraltar in 1793, he was led into military society, and from that period he commenced to devote himself to the profession of arms.
Lord Hood was then about to sail for the south of France, and Mr. Graham had recently been a traveller in that country. He therefore gladly acceded to his proposition to accompany him as a volunteer. In the year 1793, he landed with the British troops at Toulon, and served as extra aide-de-camp to General Lord Mulgrave, the father to the present Marquis of Normanby, who marked by his particular thanks the gallant and able services of the elderly gentleman who had thus volunteered to be his aide-de-camp: the events of that period gave Mr. Graham ample means of indulging his taste for military life: nor did he neglect any opportunity which circumstances presented; he was always foremost in the attack, and on one occasion, at the head of a column, when a private soldier fell, Mr. Graham took up his musket and supplied his place in the front rank.
On returning to this country, he received a letter of service for raising a regiment in his native country, of which he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant on the 10th February, 1794, and which having been since retained on the establishment of the army, is now the Ninetieth Light Infantry, or Perthshire Volunteers. This regiment formed part of the army under the command of Lord Moira (afterwards Marquis of Hastings). It passed the summer of 1795[Pg 282] at Isle Dieu, whence it proceeded to Gibraltar. On the 22nd of July, 1795, the rank of Colonel in the Army was conferred on Lieutenant-Colonel Graham.
He continued for some months with his regiment at Gibraltar, when he obtained permission to join the Austrian Army. His connexion with that service continued during the summer of 1796, taking the opportunities which his position presented him of sending to the British Government intelligence of the military operations and diplomatic measures adopted by the commanders and sovereigns of the Continent: his despatches at this period evinced, in a remarkable degree, the great talents and characteristic energy of the writer.
During the investment of the city of Mantua by the French, he was shut up there for some time with General Wurmser, but, impatient of remaining inactive, he succeeded in making his escape, under cover of night, encountering great difficulty and imminent hazard.
Early in the year 1797, he returned to England, but in the following autumn rejoined his regiment at Gibraltar, whence he proceeded to the attack of Minorca with Sir Charles Stuart, who bestowed the warmest eulogiums on the skill and valour displayed by Colonel Graham. The part which he took in the reduction of Minorca is thus described in a work, published some years ago, detailing those transactions:—
"After the debarkation of the troops innumerable difficulties opposed themselves to their operations. There is not in any part of Europe to be found a greater variety of natural obstacles to an invading army than in this island. Reports from deserters and others, contradictory in their purport, rendered General Stuart for a short time irresolute what course to pursue. He, however, resolved to proceed by a forced march to Mercadel, and by possessing that essential post, to separate the enemy's force. To effect this object, Colonel Graham was sent with 600 men, and by dint of the utmost effort arrived at Mercadel, a very few hours after the main body of the enemy had marched towards Candarello. Here he made a considerable number of prisoners, seized several depôts of ammunition, &c., and established his corps in front of the village. The reduction of Minorca being completed, Colonel Graham repaired to Sicily, where he employed himself in[Pg 283] the service and for the assistance of its legitimate monarch; and such were his exertions, that he received repeated acknowledgments and tributes of gratitude and esteem from the King and Queen of Naples."
In September, 1798, Colonel Graham, having been appointed to the local rank of Brigadier-General, commanded the force, consisting of the 30th and 89th Regiments, and some corps embodied under his immediate direction, in the siege of the island of Malta. Brigadier-General Graham, aware of the prodigious strength of the place, with the assistance of the fleet, resorted to a blockade, when, after a resistance of nearly two years' duration, a reinforcement of troops under the command of Major-General Henry Pigott was sent to assist in reducing the garrison, which capitulated on the 5th September, 1800, as announced in the following despatch from Major-General Pigott, addressed to Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Abercromby, then commanding the forces in the Mediterranean.
"Malta, September 5, 1800.
"I have great satisfaction in acquainting you with the surrender of the fortress of La Valette, with all its dependencies, after sustaining a blockade of two years. The capitulation has been signed this day.
"During the short time you were here, you must have been sensible of the great exertions which Brigadier-General Graham must have made with the limited force he had, previous to my arrival with a reinforcement: he has ever since continued these exertions, and I consider that the surrender of the place has been accelerated by the decision of his conduct in preventing any more inhabitants from coming out of the fortress a short time before I came here. He was sent to negotiate the terms of capitulation with General Vaubois, and I am much indebted to him for his assistance in that business."
On the completion of this service, General Graham came home for a few months, and, again anxious for active service, proceeded to Egypt, but before his arrival that country had been completely conquered. He returned through Turkey, making some stay at Constantinople, and during the peace of Amiens resided for a short time at Paris. His active and enterprising spirit had now to endure a period of repose.[Pg 284] In 1808, however, he proceeded with General Sir John Moore to Sweden, where he availed himself of that opportunity to traverse the country in all directions. Shortly afterwards Sir John Moore was ordered to Spain, and Major General Graham served there during the whole campaign of 1808. He was afterwards appointed to command a division in the expedition to Walcheren, but having been attacked with fever he was obliged to come home. In February, 1811, having been previously raised to the rank of Lieutenant-General, he was appointed to the command of an expedition to attack the rear of the French army then blockading Cadiz, an operation which led to the celebrated battle of Barrosa. The thanks of Parliament were voted to him and the brave force under his command, and never were thanks more nobly earned or bestowed in a manner more honourable to those who offered and those who received them. He was at that time a member of the House of Commons, and in his place in Parliament he received that mark of a nation's gratitude. In acknowledging the honour thus conferred on him, Lieutenant-General Graham spoke as follows:—
"I have formerly often heard you, sir, eloquently and impressively deliver the thanks of the house to officers present, and never without an anxious wish that I might one day receive this most enviable mark of my country's regard. This honest ambition is now fully gratified, and I am more than ever bound to try to merit the good opinion of the house."
Barrosa was to Lord Lynedoch what Almaraz was to Lord Hill, and Albuhera to Lord Beresford.
After this series of events, and having been appointed a Knight of the Bath in February, 1812, Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Graham joined the army under the Duke of Wellington; but from ill health he was obliged to revisit England for a short period. Early in 1813, however, he returned to the Peninsula, and commanded the left wing of the British army at Vittoria. Mr. Abbott, then Speaker of the House of Commons, (afterwards Lord Colchester,) in alluding to General Graham's distinguished career at this period, stated that his was "a name never to be mentioned in our military annals without the strongest expression of respect and admira[Pg 285]tion;" and Mr. Sheridan, speaking of the various excellences, personal and professional, which adorned his character, said:—
"I have known him in private life; and never was there seated a loftier spirit in a braver heart."
Alluding to his services in the retreat of the British army to Corunna, he continued:—
"In the hour of peril, Graham was their best adviser; in the hour of disaster, Graham was their surest consolation."
He was second in command at the siege and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo; and commanded the army employed in the siege of St. Sebastian, and also the left wing at the passage of the Bidassoa; but soon after, in consequence of ill health, he was obliged to resign his command to Sir John Hope. In 1814 he was appointed to the command of the forces employed in Holland, and on the 3rd of May in the same year he again received the thanks of Parliament, and was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Lynedoch, of Balgowan, in the county of Perth.
As years advanced, and the infirmities of age began to accumulate, Lord Lynedoch found the climate of Italy better calculated to sustain his declining energies than the atmosphere and temperature of his own country; he, therefore, spent much time on the continent; but, on a recent occasion, so anxious was he to manifest his sense of loyalty and his personal attachment to the Queen, that when Her Majesty visited Scotland, he came home from Switzerland for the express purpose of paying his duty to Her Majesty in the metropolis of his native land.
Lord Lynedoch's first commission in the army, that of Lieut.-Colonel, was dated 10th February, 1794; and he was promoted Colonel, by brevet, on the 22nd July, 1795. His commissions in the grade of General Officer were,—Major-General, 25th September, 1803; Lieut.-General, 25th July, 1810; and General, 19th July, 1821. He was successively Colonel of the 90th Regiment, at the head of which he continued nearly twenty years; of the 58th; and of the 14th Regiment, from which he was removed to the Royal Regiment on 12th December, 1834, when the Duke of Gordon was appointed to the Colonelcy of the Scots Fusilier[Pg 286] Guards. He was also Governor of Dumbarton Castle in North Britain. He wore a Cross for his services at Barrosa (as Commander of the Forces), at Ciudad Rodrigo, Vittoria, and St. Sebastian (where he commanded a division), and he was a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath, and of the foreign Order of St. Michael and St. George.
To advert at greater length to Lord Lynedoch's services as a soldier would be superfluous. Conspicuous, in action for his talents, in council for his sagacity, and in private life for unassuming worth and the most estimable qualities, his character displayed a rare union of skill, chivalry, and amiability, and his widely-spread fame, his long and intimate connexion with the army, which have been the admiration of the present generation, will continue to hold a prominent place in British history. Though his titles have become extinct, he has left behind him a name which will be held in honoured remembrance while loyalty is considered a virtue, and military renown a passport to fame.
Sir George Murray was a native of Scotland, and entered the army at the age of 17, as an Ensign in the 71st Regiment, on the 12th of March, 1789. He was shortly afterwards removed to the 34th Regiment, and to the 3rd Foot Guards in July, 1790, from which time, to the close of the war in 1815, he was almost constantly employed in the active military service of his country, in the Netherlands, in the West Indies, in Egypt, in the north of Europe, and in the peninsula of Spain and Portugal.
He was first under fire with the 3rd Guards in Flanders, and participated in the campaigns of 1793 and the two following years, being present at the affair at St. Amand, sieges of Tamars and Valenciennes, attack of Lincelles, investment of Dunkirk, &c.; and he accompanied the army on its retreat through Holland and Germany.
In 1795 he served as aide-de-camp to Major-General A. Campbell on the expedition to Quiberon Bay; and in the autumn he proceeded to the West Indies with the force under[Pg 287] Sir Ralph Abercromby. Having returned home in ill health, he continued on the Staff of Major-General Campbell, first in North Britain, and then in Ireland.
In the year 1799 Lieut.-Colonel Murray was employed in the Quarter-Master General's department of the army under the Duke of York in Holland; and he was wounded in the action on the Helder. He subsequently embarked from Cork for Gibraltar with part of the force destined to be employed under Sir Ralph Abercromby in the Mediterranean; and, being again placed in the Quarter-Master General's department, he was ordered to precede the army to Egypt, for the purpose of making arrangements for the debarkation of the troops. He was present in the action on the landing of the force, in the affairs of the 13th and 21st March, 1801, at the siege of Rosetta, and the investments of Cairo and Alexandria.
From Egypt Lieut.-Colonel Murray proceeded to the West Indies, where he served for twelve months in the situation of Adjutant General.
Returning home, he was, in the early part of 1803, appointed one of the Assistant Quarter-Masters General at head-quarters; in November, 1804, he was appointed Deputy Quarter-Master General to the army in Ireland.
While holding that commission he was detached, as Quarter-Master General, with the expedition to Stralsund, and likewise with the force employed under Lieut.-General the Earl Cathcart at Copenhagen. He resumed his duties in Ireland; and in 1808 was again detached, as Quarter-Master General, with the force sent to the Baltic under Lieut.-General Sir John Moore; and when these troops proceeded to Portugal, Lieut.-Colonel Murray accompanied that force, and was engaged at the battle of Vimiera, at Lugo, and Villa Franca, as well as at Corunna, and his services as a staff officer were particularly alluded to and commended in Lieut.-General Hope's despatch containing the account of that victory.
In the year 1809 Colonel Murray was appointed Quarter-Master General to the army under Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Wellesley, but returned home in 1811, and in May of the following year was appointed Quarter-Master General in Ireland, where he remained until September, 1813, when he[Pg 288] again proceeded to the Peninsula, and served there at the head of the Quarter-Master General's department until the close of the war, participating in all the important operations of that eventful period, and evincing all the talents which are indispensable in a staff officer with an army employed in such arduous and trying circumstances: he received a Cross and five Clasps for his services in the field.
In June, 1814, Major-General Sir George Murray was appointed Adjutant-General to the army in Ireland, a situation which he vacated in December following for the purpose of undertaking the governorship of the Canadas; but on the resumption of hostilities in the spring of 1815, he quitted America for the purpose of joining his former companions in arms. He did not, however, succeed in reaching the army until the allies had entered Paris; but he continued to serve on the Continent, with the local rank of Lieut.-General, until the return of the Army of Occupation to England, in 1818.
In August, 1819, Lieut.-General Sir George Murray was appointed Governor of the Royal Military College; in March, 1824, he was nominated Lieut.-General of the Ordnance, and in March, 1825, he proceeded to Dublin as Lieut.-General, commanding the forces in Ireland, where he remained till the year 1828, and in September, 1829, he received the appointment of Governor of Fort George in North Britain.
Sir George Murray's career was not, however, limited to his military employments. Having sat in two successive Parliaments as member for his native county of Perth, he was offered the seals of office as Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, which he accepted, and held from 1828 to 1830. His merits and talents, whether in a military or political point of view, were thus kept in view by the Duke of Wellington, then Prime Minister. In 1834 and 1835 he filled the situation of Master-General of the Ordnance, and in 1841 that appointment was again conferred upon him, and he continued to hold it till within a short period of his decease, which occurred on the 28th July, 1846.
Sir George Murray was successively Colonel commandant of a battalion of the 60th Regiment, Colonel of the 72nd Regiment, and of the 42nd Royal Highlanders, which he held[Pg 289] upwards of twenty years, when he was removed to the Colonelcy of the First, or Royal Regiment, in December, 1843.
He was a Knight of the Crescent; and, in addition to the Orders of Leopold of Belgium, St. Alexander Newski of Russia, the Red Eagle of Prussia, the Tower and Sword of Prussia, Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria, and St. Henry of Saxony, Sir George Murray was decorated with the Crosses of the First Class of the Order of the Bath, and of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order.
 Historians have fallen into several errors respecting this distinguished officer. Père Daniel states that he was esteemed by Henry IV. of France, whereas Henry IV. died in 1610, and young Hepburn did not leave school until 1614; Hamilton states that he was knighted on his return from the continent by James VI.; but this monarch died in 1625, and Colonel Hepburn did not return until 1632; and Harte, in his life of Gustavus Adolphus, states that Colonel Hepburn was killed in a duel in France; whereas there is abundant proof that he was killed at the siege of Saverne.
 Colonel Monro, afterwards Lord Monro, speaks of Hepburn in the highest terms of praise; they were first schoolfellows at college—then companions in their travels—and afterwards associates in war, partaking of the same toils, dangers, and triumphs.—See Monro's Expedition part ii. p. 75.
 Abrégé de la Vie de Frederic Duc de Schomberg, par M. de Luzaney.
 Captain in the Royal Regiment in 1684. Vide Nathan Brooke's Army List, dated 1st October, 1684; also in 1687. Vide Bibl. Harl. 4847.
 Vide Historical Record of the Royal Regiment, page 129.
 David Hume, the historian, was secretary to General St. Clair during the expedition to the coast of France, and the embassy to Vienna and Turin.
 When Prince Edward was ordered to storm Morne Tartisson and Fort Royal, on the 17th of March, 1794, he placed himself at the head of his brigade of grenadiers, and addressed them as follows:—"Grenadiers! This is St. Patrick's day; the English will do their duty in compliment to the Irish, and the Irish in compliment to the Saint!—Forward, Grenadiers!"
 In commemoration of the important captures in the West Indies, at the period above stated, an anniversary dinner takes place at the United Service Club on the 17th of March (St. Patrick's day), as it was on that saint's day his late Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, at the head of his Grenadier brigade, carried Fort Royal by escalade, when both his aides-de-camp, General Sir Frederick Wetherall, and the late Major-General Vesey, were severely wounded close to His Royal Highness. The following officers attended on the 17th March, 1838:—The Marquis of Thomond, General Viscount Lorton, Admiral Lord Colville, General Sir Lowry Cole, G.C.B., General Lord Howden, G.C.B., General Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Bart., Lieutenant-General Sir H. S. Keating, K.C.B., Sir William Pym, K.C.H., and Major-General Reeves, C.B. All these officers, with the exception of the Admiral, served in the Grenadier brigade, under the orders of their illustrious commander, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.