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Battles of the 42nd, 77th and 78th Highland Regiments with Lists of the "Killed and Wounded"

Thanks goes to Deborah for this series of articles, which she generously donated to The Canadian Military Heritage Project and which is used here with consent.

After years of warlike activity with France, England officially declared war on May 18, 1756, beginning the Seven Year's War in Europe. But the focus of the war soon shifted away from the continent to the colonies. Echoeing the conflicts in Europe, the final struggle for the empire was to take place in North America and in the West Indies. British regulars and American militia joined forces against France and her Indian allies in a campaign commonly known as the French and Indian Wars. After suffering numerous defeats and disappointments, England and her colonies successfully reversed the course of events and conquered the Canadian and regular armies of France. Peace between Britain and France was proclaimed with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763; however, warfare against the Indians endured for sometime after.

The following accounts of the French-Indian Wars focus mainly on the involvement of the Highland Regiments in the battles and expeditions listed below. However, a list of other regiments involved, and the field officers in general command during these battles, have been noted in order to facilitate further research.

Battle of Bushy Run (Pontiac's Rebellion), Aug-Nov, 1763

Source: "Sketches of the Character, Manners and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland; with details of The Military Service of The Highland Regiments", by Major-General David Stewart, Vol I & II, (1825), Edinburgh.

  • Highland Regiments: Royal Highlanders (42nd) & Montgomery's Highlanders (77th)
  • Other Regiments: detachment of the 60th.
  • Battle Under General Command of: Colonel Henri Bouquet (Swiss soldier in British service).

Abridged text: During the winter season the Royal Highlanders were stationed in Albany. In the summer of 1763 they were put under the command of Colonel Bouquet of the 60th regiment, and ordered to the relief of Fort Pitt, along with a detachment of Bouquet's own regiment, and another of the 77th; in all 956 men.

A variety of causes had combined to irritate the Indians, whose passions were already inflamed by the intemperate use of spirituous liquors. But the principal causes of complaint were the encroachments of the colonial settlers, which were greatly exaggerated by French emissaries, who were naturally anxious to recover the territory they had lost, or at least to render the possession of as little advantage as possible to the British, by attempts to instigate and irritate the Indians against them. The consequence of these irritations was soon seen. The revenge of the Indians first broke forth against those settlers and traders who had chiefly provoked it. The warriors of different nations united, and attacked in succession all the small posts between Lake Erie and Pittsburgh, while the terror excited by their approach was increased by exaggerated accounts of their numbers, and of the destruction that attended their progress. So little suspicion of these designs had been entertained by our Government, that some of the posts were dependant on the Indians for their supplies of provisions. In those enterprises they displayed no small degree of sagacity, and a great improvement in their discipline and manner of fighting.

Colonel Bouquet, with his detachment and a convoy of provisions, reached Bushy Run about the end of July. Beyond this place was a narrow pass, having steep hills on each side, and a woody eminence at the further extremity. It was his intention to penetrate this pass in the night; but, towards the close of day, his advanced guard was suddenly attacked by Indians. The Light infantry of the 42nd regiment, being ordered to the support of the advanced guard, drove the enemy from the ambuscade, pursuing them to a considerable distance. But the Indians soon returned, and took possession of some neighbouring heights. From these they were again driven; but no sooner were they forced from one position than they appeared on another, till, by continual reinforcements, they became so numerous, that they soon surrounded the detachment, when the action became general. The enemy made their attacks on every side with increasing vigour, but were constantly repulsed. Night concluded the combat, which was renewed early the following morning by the enemy, who kept up an incessant fire, invariably retiring as often as any part of the troops advanced upon them. Encumbered by the convoy of provisions, and afraid of leaving their wounded to fall into the hands of the enemy, our troops were prevented from pursuing to any distance.

The enemy becoming bolder by every fresh attack, a stratagem was attempted to entice them to come to closer action. Preparations being made for a feigned retreat, two companies, which were in advance, were ordered to retire and fall within the square, while the troops opened their files, as if preparing to cover a retreat. This, with some other dispositions, had the desired effect. The Indians, believing themselves certain of victory, and forgetting their usual precaution of covering themselves with trees or bushes, rushed forward with much impetuosity. Being thus fully exposed, and coming within reach, they were vigorously charged in front, while two companies, making a sudden movement, and running round a hill, which concealed their approach, attacked them in flank. They were thus thrown into great confusion; and, in retreating, they were pursued to such a distance that they did not venture to rally. Colonel Bouquet resumed his march, and reached Fort Pitt without farther molestation. In this skirmishing warfare the troops suffered much from the want of water and the extreme heat of the weather.

42nd Highland Officers Killed (plus 1 sergeant, and 26 soldiers):

  • Lieutenants: John Graham; and James Mackintosh (NB: one of these may have been a Captain)
42nd Highland Officers Wounded (plus 2 sergeants, 2 drummers, and 30 soldiers):
  • Captain: John Graham of Duchray
  • Lieutenant: Duncan Campbell
77th Highland Officers Killed (only 1 drummer, and 5 soldiers):
  • Nil recorded
77th Highland Officers Wounded (plus 3 sergeants, and 7 soldiers):
  • Lieutenant: Donald Campbell
  • Volunteer: John Peebles


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