Colonel Simon Fraser
78th Regiment of Foot, 1757-63

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Lieutenant Alexander Gregorson, 78th Regiment

Lieutenant Alexander Gregorson, of Ardtornish [1730-1789] - s/o James Macgregor & Marjorie Campbell [dau. of Alexander Campbell of Airds] - a gentleman volunteer gazetted an ensign on June 10, 1758 after the death of Lieutenant John Cuthbert created a vacancy. 

Colonel Simon Fraser recommended him for the promotion before the regiment sailed for Halifax and Louisbourg in a letter, 23 April 1758, to Lord Loudoun, describing Mr. Gregorson as "very strongly recommended by Colonel Campbell & to whose friends I am so much indebted that I should take his being provided for as a very great favour." And while the real identity of Colonel Campbell is not known, the introduction of Gregorson as a civilian suggests no earlier military service. The recording of his commission in the British Army Lists advocates his assignment with Colonel Fraser as his first post.

Gregorson, a descendant from Clan Macgregor, and whose brother, John, also served in Quebec with the 2nd Battalion of the 60th Royal American Regiment, was listed among the officers who sailed for Louisbourg in 1758; fought at Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759 where he, along with Ensign McKenzie and Lieutenant Alexander Fraser, was described in the journal kept by Malcolm Fraser as "slightly wounded." Additionally, he sustained injuries at the Battle of Sainte-Foy on April 28, 1760, where he was taken a prisoner and almost killed by Indians, but erroneously documented as "dead" in Governor Murray’s Return of Prisoners of War.

List of Officers Sent in Governor Murray’s Return not Included in the List of English Prisoners returned from Canada, June 14, 1760
Fraser’s: Ens. Alexr. Gregorson: Prisoner on Parole at Quebec. Dead.
                Ens. Malcolm Fraser: Prisoner on Parole at Quebec. Dead.
Otway’s: Capt. Ince: Dead
Lascelle’s: Capt. Archbold: Dead
Amherst’s: Ens. Montgomery: Dead
Lawrence’s: Lt. Forbes mentioned in Govr. Murray’s is Dead.
A contemporary newspaper account from the period captured the death of Captain Ince and the four other officers correctly.

The Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1760
That Captain Ince, of Otway's, and four other Officers, wounded and taken Prisoners the 28th of April, died of their Wounds at Montreal.

The ensign was promoted to lieutenant on April 29, 1760 in room of Lt. Cosmo Gordon, killed.

Alexander's brother, John, having knowledge his regiment were to remain and provide the guard to Quebec after the war, joined the 78th in the summer of 1763 in order to return to Europe.  The Highlanders' sailed home in October and "broke" at Glasgow on December 14, 1763, where both men were exchanged to half-pay.

Gregorson returned to active service on January 23, 1788 as a then-58-year-old lieutenant in the Landguard Fort Invalid Company, and was discharged dead the following year.

The Edinburgh Evening Courant, October 16, 1789
INVALIDS. Lieut. Robert Thomas, from  Capt. James Malcolm's Independent Company at Sheerness, to be Lieutenant in Captain William Pemble's Independent Company at Landguard Fort, vice Alexander Gregorson, deceased.

Note: Since the publishing of this post, new evidence has surfaced suggesting Alexander's brother, John Gregorson, transferred from the 78th Regiment to the 2nd Battalion, 60th Royal Americans prior to September 1761.

Sources:
Fraser, Malcolm. Extract from a Manuscript Journal Relating to the Siege of Quebec [Quebec, 1886].

Marie Fraser, “Officers of the 78th Regiment.” Clan Fraser Society, Canada, 2001.

Macgregor, Amelia Georgiana Murray. History of the Clan Gregor: from public records and private collections. Vol. 2 [William Brown, 1901].

©  Jeffrey Campbell, Fraser's 78th Regiment of Foot, 2017. 

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