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.

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. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Soldiers of the 78th Regiment Remaining in North America After 1763

Once question more commonly asked of those researching the 78th Regiment is, how many soldiers remained in North America at the conclusion of the war? And while exact numbers are not known, by studying available published material for the regiment we can arrive at a fairly close approximation.

It can be stated with a certain degree of confidence that about 528 soldiers initially remained; 170 discharged soldiers, plus an additional 358 men who transferred to other military regiments in the area. How many soldiers of the latter group stayed after 1768 remains a mystery.

During the official demobilization at the conclusion of the war, the disposition of each soldier was dependent on one of the four following categories:

     - Returned home and discharged in Scotland.
     - Discharged in North America.
     - Joined the 2d Battalion, 60th R.A. Regiment.
     - Joined the 15th Regiment.
     - Recommended to Royal Chelsea Hospital in London.

Let's take look at how we calculated these numbers to get a better understanding of what transpired.

The Numbers
An analysis of the Subsistence Rolls in the summer 1763 indicates the regiment's strength as follows:

- 865 + 22 soldiers
- 28 women
Total: 915

Note: 22 soldiers do not appear on the rolls as having received their subsistence pay in 1763, but must be accounted for in the final totals.

From that, we need to make a few subtractions.

- 283 soldiers listed as returning home in October 1763.
- 76 invalid soldiers separately listed as returning home in October.
Total: 359

So, we have 887 – 359 = 528 [women have been removed from the equation.]

Additionally, 170 soldiers discharged in North America. These men appear on the Subsistence Rolls and need to be separated from the other soldiers.

528 – 170 = 358

Now, we have two separate groups that remained consisting of 170 and 358 men respectively. The group of 358 soldiers continued military service with one or more of two regiments that remained to guard the government through 1768. There is no evidence to support any of Colonel Fraser's men joining the 27th Foot.

In his 12 September 1763 letter to the Earl of Loudon, Major James Abercrombie affirms a transfer of soldier strength. The majority of the men of the 78th were only subsisted to the 13th of the month, one day later. 

"...The 47th & 78th have been drafted to compleat the 15th, 27th 2d Bn. Royal Americans, those three Regts. remain in this govt. & trois rivieres..."
The major's statement is further reinforced by this contemporary newspaper account:

St. James Chronicle or British Evening Post, London, 8 December 1763
Edinburgh, December 3. From Glasgow we have Advice that only the Officers and 200 private Men of Colonel Frazer's Regiment from Quebec had arrived at Greenock, and that 400 of them, before they left that Place, had been draughted into General Amherst's Regiment of Royal Americans.

It's unclear the exact disbursement of soldiers in support of the three remaining regiments, but the 15th Regiment, by 12 September, received 254 draughts, 18 recruits; General Amherst stated, "...the majority of the men from the 78th...." And a thorough review of their muster rolls confirms that about 164 soldiers of the 78th Regiment transferred to the 15th Regiment on 25 August 1763. The remaining soldiers most likely went to the Royal Americans as stated in the newspaper.

A letter from General Amherst to Governor Thomas Gage, dated 1 August 1763 at New York, provides an insight to the challenges the general faced in supplying troops to the three remaining regiments.

"...The Reduced States in which the several Corps at prest. are, The Difficulty in Recruiting them in this country, and the absolute Necessity there is to have them compleat, obliges me to Draft men from those Regiments that are ordered home, as well as take every man of the Disbanded Corps fit for service and who are not Entitled to their Discharge, to fill up the others..." He further continued, "Should there be any men belonging to the Corps in your Government, that are really Invalids, or are Intitled to their Discharges, and are Willing to accept thereof in this Country which I would much rather they should, as I think they can get their Livelyhood by working in America, Easier than at home, you will be pleased to Discharge them accordingly, but they should have a right to be sent to Europe, Agreably to the King's Intentions."
We also discovered evidence supporting 80 soldiers of the 78th Regiment applying for passage to Albany, in a letter from Governor James Murray to General Amherst dated 15 September 1763. And it only makes sense this group was part of the 170 discharged soldiers.

"...Major Abercrombie has apply'd to me for a march route & Provisions to Albany for Eighty of the Men of His Regt. who chuse to remain in America rather than go home. I this day allow'd them to march, and I flatter myself you will approve. At Albany every man will go to his respective Destination..." 
Amherst's approval arrived by letter from New York three weeks later on 6 October 1763.

"...I am glad to find that so many Men of the 78th have Chose to come to Albany, where I hope they will be able to fix on Places to settle in, to their liking, Nothing could be more reasonable than your allowing them provisions to that place."

In Conclusion
A conservative estimate is about 60 percent of the demobilized regiment initially remained in North America, at least for a few years after the war. And of the original 528 men thought to have stayed, we have currently identified 234 [plus or minus] applying for Crown land in Quebec, New York, and Vermont from 1765-1802. 

Author and librarian W.S. Wallace wrote, in a 1948 article, "It has been estimated that two or three hundred of the regiment remained in Canada." And while it has been suggested that as many as 400 men may have never returned to Scotland at all, the lack of available paperwork offered as confirmation further concretes this mystery. 

One thing is for certain, though: both family love and public interest solidifies the continued search for official records of these courageous men and women. And as more information becomes available perhaps one day we'll finally have the answers.

Do you have a Highlander ancestor you would like to share? We would love to hear your story! If you could please reach out and contact us with your information it would be greatly appreciated.

Treasury Board Papers, "Subsistence Rolls of Fraser's Highlanders (the 78th), 1763." LAC, T.1, vol. 422.

Ibid, "Subsistence Rolls of Fraser's Highlanders (the 78th), 1763." TNA, T.1, vol. 422.

Marie Fraser, "Subsistence Rolls of Fraser's Highlanders (the 78th), 1763." Clan Fraser Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2001.

McIntosh, Walter H. 78th or Colonel Simon Fraser's Regiment [Topsfield, Massachusetts, n.d.]

General James Murray, "Letter addressing various campaign issues." War Office Records: Amherst Papers. Letters from the Governor of Quebec to the Commanders-in-Chief, New York, 1760-63. LAC, W.O. 34, vol. 2.

Earl John Chapman, "Soldiers of the 78th in North America." Email letter received 20 Nov. 2017. 

General James Murray, "Embarkation Return of Soldiers of the 78th Regiment [and others.]" October 1763. LAC, War Office Records: Amherst Papers. Miscellaneous Correspondence, Papers and returns, 1759-1763. W.O. 34, vol. 4. 

Royal Chelsea Hospital. Chelsea Pensioners: 78th Regiment of Foot, January-June 1764. TNA, Series W.O. 116/5. 

Wallace, W.S. The Footprints of Fraser's Highlanders on the Sands of Time [Quebec, 1948.]

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Unlucky Accident in Connecticut Involving Soldiers of the 78th Regiment of Foot, Dec. 1757

Dr. Sir
I have just heard of an unlucky accident that happened today at Stratford, a Sergt. & Corporal of our grenadier Company having quarrel'd (both I'm afraid drunk) the Corporal was killed, the account I have had is very imperfect but from it the deceased seems to have been the Aggressor, how soon I can have it properly enquired into I take the Opportunity of the bearer who is just setting out to beg you will if you think it necessary mention it to My Lord Loudoun for his directions whether the Man should be try'd by civil or Military Law, Or if you don't think it necessary to trouble My Lord with it, Be so good to let me have your Advice how I am to proceed - If You happen not to be in a writing vein Make Maj. Halket write me a few lines by the first Opportunity to, Stratford ----- Examining the quarters, as far as I have got We seem pretty well off.
                                                                               I am
                                                                               Dr. Sir Your obedient & most
                                                                               humble Servt. S. Fraser

Fairfield Dec. 28th. 1757

Colonel Simon Fraser, "Letter of Colonel Simon Fraser to Colonel Forbes, Adjutant General, at His House in the Broadway or at the Fort, New York." NAS, GD 45-2-29-1.

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

Court of Inquiry Regarding the Death of Corporal James Macky, 63rd Regiment, Jan. 1758

Proceedings of a Court of Inquiry held by Order of Lieut. Colonel Simon Fraser of his Majesty's 63d or Second Highland Battalion concerning the Manner of the Death of Corporal James Macky of the above regiment.

Captain Charles Baillie, President
Lieut. John Cuthbert
Lieut. Charles McDonnell
Lieut. John Fraser
Ensign Simon Fraser

The Evidence of William McKardy then acting as Corporal.

William McKardy declares that about 11 o'clock Tuesday night the 27th Serjt. Alexander Fraser came to the gaurd and inquir'd if they were all present & if they had their Arms, they reply'd they had, upon this Corporal Macky who acted as Serjt. of the gaurd & was lying asleep in Bed, got up, & how soon he saw Serjt. Fraser he damn'd him for disturbing his gaurd, & said he woud confine him, for he knew what for a fellow he was, Serjt. Fraser gave up his sword & sat down, after a few minutes he got up & went to the door, Macky immediately follow'd him, & getting before him gave him a desperate cut with his sword upon the Temple, and seiz'd him by the hair, the men of the gaurd disengaged them & laid hold on Fraser, disengaged his righthand, and getting hold of his durk, struck a Blow at hazard over his shoulder, for he was almost blinded with the Blood that guſh'd from his Wound, Macky received the Blow in the Neck & immediately drop't down.~

William McPherson Granadier & Robert Robertson Soldier in the Colonels Company concur in everything with the preceeding Evidence.

The Prisoner Serjt. Fraser being examin'd says, that being the Night of the 27th in Company with some of his Acquaintances at the Quarters of Alex'r McLeod Soldier, about half a Mile from the gaurd, he was surpris'd to see Corporal Macky, who acted as Serjt. of the gaurd come there about nine of the Clock, & advised him in a friendly manner to return to his gaurd as he might remember what happen'd others, for the like offence, about 11 o'Clock Serjt. Fraser was inform'd, that there was some shot fir'd about the gaurd, & that a party from the gaurd was inpursuit of some offenders, He then recollected that Macky was drunk, & perhaps not at his gaurd, & therefore he thought it his duty to repair there immediately, upon coming to the gaurd, found two firelocks at the door of the gaurd, on the outside, which made him conclude the gaurd was not alert, As to what happen'd from the time of his coming to the gaurd, till the blow was given, he gives the same Account as the preceeding Evidence and says that his Intention in coming to the door was to bring in the firelocks that were left out in the rain.
Sign'd Chas. Baille Captain

Captain Charles Baille, "Court of inquiry concerning the manner of death of Corporal James Mackay." NAS, GD 45-2-29-2B.

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Private Donald McKinnon, 78th Regiment of Foot

The personal affidavit of Donald McKinnon, 78th Regiment of Foot, 21 March 1800.

City & District of Quebec

Before me Peter Stuart, Esquire, one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said District, personally appeared Donald McKinnon, formerly a private Soldier in the late Seventy Eighth or Royal Highland Regiment of Foot, who being Duly Sworn upon the Holy Evangelists deposeth and faith, that he was a private Soldier in Captain Alexander Campbell's Company, in the said 78th Regiment, and was discharged therefrom at the general reduction which took place shortly after the conquest of Canada, when he became an Inhabitant of this Province and hath ever since remained therein ~ That he had the Misfortune to be plundered, many years ago when on the coast of Labradore by some Indians, of his Chest & effects and at that time lost his Discharge or certificate from said Regiment. ~ That he is a Married man and has had Twenty Children, ten of whom are living, and that he has never received any part of His Majesty's Bounty in Lands in virtue of the Royal Proclamation of October 1763 either in this or any other of His Majesty's Colonies or Goverments in America - in his own right or in behalf of his wife Angelique, or children by name Joseph, Louis, Lacerte, Etienne, Charles, Angelique, Magdalene, Marguerite, Rose and Elizabeth - And that he the Deponent is about Seventy eight years of Age and is settled in the Parish of Berthier on the South Shore.

Sworn before me at
Quebec this 21st of March 1800

Peter Stuart, J.P.                                                                        

Donald  X  McKinnon
[his mark]

Note: Donald McKinnon appears with Captain Alexander Campbell during the regiment's reduction in Quebec in the summer of 1763, but his name does not appear as one of 170 soldiers discharged in America.' The names Donald McKinven and Donald McKinvan appear on muster rolls as entering the 15th Foot on 25 August 1763 in the companies of Captain Maxwell and Major Irving respectively.

"Schedule of certificates and discharges of non-commissioned officers and soldiers reduced in America." LAC, Lower Canada Land Papers, RG1 L3L, vol. 157.

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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Private James Forbes, 78th Regiment of Foot

Born in the Nairn, Scotland in 1723, Private James Forbes enlisted in the army in 1757 and served about seven years with the 78th Foot in various campaigns in North America. At the conclusion of the war in the summer of 1763, his name appears in Captain John Nairn's Company on the Subsistence rolls of Fraser's Highlanders, dated 23 August, as having received 21 days subsistence pay, and also on the official roster of 78th Foot: Soldiers Discharged in America. His official discharged date is listed as 10 September 1763, and there is no indication of continued service.

Private Forbes' name is included in a land petition with 22 former soldiers of the 78th Foot, dated 19 May 1765 at Quebec, for lands "at or near the Bay of Gaspe or Chaleurs."

Discharge Certificate

His Majesty's 78th Regiment of foot whereof Simon Fraser is Colonel

These are to certify, That the Bearer hereof, James Forbes, Soldier in Captain John Nairns Comp of the aforesaid Regiment, Born in the Parish of Ardclach in or near the Market-Town of ..... in the County of Nairn, Aged 40 years and by Trade a Labourer Hath served honestly and faithfully in the said Regiment Seven years: But by Reason that the Regiment is to be Reduced is hereby Discharged, and humbly recommended as a proper Object of His Majesty's Royal Bounty of CHELSEA HOSPITAL. He having first received all just Demands of Pay, Clothing, &c. from his entry into the said Regiment, to the Date of this Discharge, as appears by his Receipt on the Back hereof.

Given under my Hand, and the Seal of the Regiment at Quebec in Canada this tenth Day of September 1763.

N.B. When a Soldier is discharged, his Wounds and Disorders must be particularly mentioned, when, where, and how they were contracted, and the Surgeon must sign the Certificates as well as the Field Officer.

The Bearer James Forbes being one of the Reduced Soldiers of the 78th Regiment in which he has served faithfully for the space of seven years is Hereby recommended to any of the Kings Governors of North America authorized to grant lands to the reduced Officers & Soldiers for a share therein according to His Majesty's most gracious intentions signified for the Commander in Chief of his Forces in this country.

James Abercrombie
Major 78th Regt.

"Schedule of certificates and discharges of non-commissioned officers and soldiers reduced in America." LAC, Lower Canada Land Papers, RG1 L3L, vol. 157. #77081-71.

Treasury Board Papers, "An Account of His Majesty's Royal Bounty of Fourteen Days Subsistence, also the Sword Money paid the following Men of the 78th Regiment Discharged in America." LAC, Series RG4, C2, vol. 1, Microfilm 10462.

Treasury Board Papers, "Subsistence Rolls of Fraser's Highlanders (the 78th), 1763." LAC, T.1, vol. 422.

"Land Petitions of Lower Canada, 1764-1841." Library Archives Canada. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca [Oct. 2015].

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Private Donald Kennedy, 15th & 78th Regiments

Personal Affidavit 

District of Quebec

Personally appeared before me Peter Stuart Esquire, one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said District, Donald Kennedy of the parish of St. Charles - who being duly sworn on the HOLY EVANGELISTS, deposeth that he has served as a private soldier during the French War for the space of Twelve years, as appears by the annexed Certificate of Discharge, dated 24th August 1769 ~ Six years of which period he served in the late 78th Regt. & was reduced therein at Quebec in 1763 - and was re-inlisted in the 15th whom he accompanied to England, and after obtaining his Discharge therefrom he returned to Canada where he has settled ever since and has a Wife & four Sons, that he was born in North Britain near the Market Town of Killmany - that he is a Labourer by trade and has never received His Majesty's Bounty in Lands as a reward for his said Services - and further the Deponent saith not

Sworn before me this Twenty Ninth day of
March - in the year 1800.
               Peter Stuart J.P                                                    Donald  X  Kennedy
                                                                                                        [his mark]

Certificate of Discharge

HIS Majesty's XVth Regiment of Foot, whereof
Charles Hotham is Colonel,

These are to Certify that the Bearer of Dond. Kennedy Soldier in Capt. Henry Hamilton's Company of the aforesaid Regiment, born in N. Britain in or near the market Town of Killmany in the County of Inverness, Aged Thirty Eight Years, 5 Feet 3 1/2 Inches high, Brown Complexion, by Profession a Labourer hath served honestly and faithfully in the said Regiment the Space of Six Years, and Six in the late 78th Regiment of Foot; But at his own Request

He is hereby disgharg'd, and humbly recommended as a proper Object of his Majesty's royal Bounty of Chelsea Hospital, having first received a full and true Account of his Cloathing, Pay, and Arrears of Pay, and all just Demands whatever, from the Time of his Entry in the said Regiment to the Date hereof, as appears by his Receipt on the other side.

Given under my Hand and Seal of the Regiment at Glenc--- this 24th Day of August 1769

                                                                                  P. AEmils. Irving 
                                                                                  Major of the 15th Regt. Foot

NB - Donald Kennedy was reduced in the 78th at Quebec in 1763 and drafted into the Fifteenth, which he accompanied to England where he was discharged in 1769.

Note: Donald Kennedy appears with Captain John Nairn during the regiment's reduction in Quebec in the summer of 1763.

"Schedule of certificates and discharges of non-commissioned officers and soldiers reduced in America." LAC, Lower Canada Land Papers, RG1 L3L, vol. 157.

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Land Petition of Sundry Private Soldiers of the 78th Regiment of Foot

In 1802, eleven former soldiers of the 78th Regiment of Foot reduced in America petitioned the Quebec Government for wastelands of the Crown pursuant to the proclamation of 1763. Having never previously received approval for land for any number of reasons; lost paperwork and the inability to accurately prove who they were, including former military service, would have certainly delayed or even forgone the original approval process.

Quebec 9th. February 1802

To His Excellency Sir Robert Shore Milnes, Baronet, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Lower Canada &c, &c, &c, in Council~

The petition of Sundry Non-Commissioned officers and private Soldiers of British Regiments and Provincial Corps who were reduced in America – in behalf of themselves and their several and respective families whose names and designations are inserted in a General Schedule hereunder annexed~

Humbly Shewith,

That your petitioners faithfully served His Majesty at various periods of their lives and were reduced in America, thereby coming within the description of persons entitled to grants of certain portions of the waste lands of the Crown, under the authority of the Royal Proclamation and Instructions.

That from want of due information and advice as well as labouring under many other local disadvantages diverse of Your Petitioners who bore arms at the conquest of Canada, and have ever since been settled in the province, were thus deprived of the benefits which would have resulted for themselves and families had they at the time received His Majesty’s Bounty, pursuant to the proclamation of 1763, when in the prime and vigor of their lives they were best able to enjoy and improve their lands.

That such of Your Petitioners come under the foregoing description, humbly conceive it would be an act of justice and indemnity, should it please Your Excellency in Council to comprehend them under the same regulations which govern the Grants to His Majesty’s reduced Forces of 1783 and since the American War, by allowing to them severally Two Hundred Acres and to their wives & Children fifty acres each, as extended by Lord Dorchester to the Loyalists and various other persons.

That Your Petitioners have never received their bounty lands in this or any of His Majesty’s Colonies or provinces in America.

That unable to ascertain what tracts are open for application at present –

Your petitioners humbly prey-

That Your Excellency in council will be pleased to assign unto them Two Hundred Acres each, and such as are married Fifty Acres to their wives and Child respectively, in any Township of equal quality to those awarded to Loyalists and meritorious subjects-
And as in duty bound will ever pray-

                                                                                     R Phillips in behalf
                                                                                     of the Petitioners

Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 10 Septr. 1763
Trade or Occupation: Labourer
Remarks: 78th Regt.

Name: John McLeod
Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 10 Septr. 1763
Trade or Occupation: Farmer
Remarks: 78th Regt.

Name: Robert Robertson
Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 10 Septr. 1763
Trade or Occupation: Labourer
Remarks: 78th Regt.

Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 
Trade or Occupation: 
Family: Wife & 10 Children
Remarks: 78th Regt., By affidavit

Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 12 years
Discharged: 24 Augt. 1769
Trade or Occupation: 
Family: A Wife & 4 Children
Remarks: 15th & 78th Regt.

Name: John Frazer
Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 11 Septr. 1763
Trade or Occupation: 
Family: A Wife & 9 Children
Remarks: 78th Regt.

Name: William Ross
Rank: Corporal
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 11 Septr. 1763
Residence: Rimouskie
Trade or Occupation: 
Family: A Wife & 6 Children
Remarks: 78th Regt. Received an order for 1200 acres

Name: Rand. McDonell
Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 11 Septr. 1763
Residence: New Carlisle
Trade or Occupation: Farmer
Family: A Wife & 3 Children
Remarks: 78th Regt. Certificate annexed

Name: Duncan Cumming
Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 8 years
Residence: Montreal
Trade or Occupation: 
Family: A Wife & 7 Children
Remarks: 60 & 78th Regt. Certificate annexed

Name: John Fraser
Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 11 Septr. 1763
Residence: St. Anns
Trade or Occupation: Blacksmith
Family: A Wife & 9 Children
Remarks: 78th Regt. Certificate annexed

Name: John Buchanan
Rank: Private
Born: Scotland
Time of Service: 7 years
Discharged: 20 Septr. 1763
Trade or Occupation: Labourer
Remarks: 78th Regt. Certificate annexed

"Schedule of certificates and discharges of non-commissioned officers and soldiers reduced in America." LAC, Lower Canada Land Papers, RG1 L3L, vol. 157.

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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Monies paid to Captain Alexander Campbell, 78th Regiment

By the Honble James Murray Esqr.
Governor of Quebec
You are hereby required and directed out of such Monies as are or shall come into your hands for the Contingent Expenses of His Majesty’s Forces under my Command, to Pay or cause to be paid to Captain Alexander Campbell Paymaster of his Majesty’s 78th Regiment of Foot or his assigns, the sum of Seven hundred Seventy one Pounds, three shillings and two pence Sterling, in Dollars at four shillings and eight pence each without Deduction, being for Subsistence of said Regiment, from the 25th of August to the 24th October 1763 both days inclusive as p the annexed amount, and for so doing this with the acquittance of the said Captain Alexr. Campbell or his assigns, Shall be your Sufficient Warrant and Discharge.

Given under my Hand at Quebec
This 15th day of October 1763.
/Signed/ Ja: Murray

To John Powell Esqr.
Paymt. To His Majesty’s
Forces in Quebec
/Counts of H.J. Cramahe
                 42 Serjeants @ 1/p diem.. £2  2  --
    42 Corpls………..8d………………. 1  8 –
    22 Drumr………..8d………………. --  14  8
    337 Private……..6d……………….. 8  8  6
                               Total for one day   £12  13  2
                               Total for 61 Days…………………£771  3  2
                                                                Alexr. McLeod Captain
                                                                                78th Regiment
                                                                Alexr. Campbell Paymaster
                                                                                78th Regiment

Note: This muster of 443 soldiers accounts for 170 discharged soldiers that remained in North America at the conclusion of the war, and 273 soldiers [10 less than initially reported] that returned home in December 1763.

James Murray, “Monies paid to Captain Alexander Campbell, 78th Regiment.” Letterbook/Copie de lettres, 1763-1771. LAC, RG4, C2, vol. 1.

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

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Memorial of James Babbidge, late Lieutenant of the 78th Regiment of Foot

The Memorial of James Babbidge, a reduced lieutenant of the late 78th regiment, stating his services at Louisbourg &c. and praying for employment. [Undated.]

To The Right Honourable The Earl of Dartmouth &c. &c.
The Memorial of James Babbidge a Reduced Lieutenant in the late 78th Regiment of Foot

"That he had the Honour of Serving in the 15th Regiment of Foot as Lieutenant and Quartermaster and was at the Reduction of Louisbourg Quebec Montreal & Martinico &c. where he was sevearly wounded & otherwise suffer'd very much in the Service, which brought upon him a Complication of Disorders. That on the Commencement of the Race He was in such a State of Health that it was the advice of the Physicians that returning to His native air was the only chance he had to save His Life, which laid Him under the disagreeable necessity of exchanging into a young Regiment that was Returning to Britain and embracing the only alternative that offer'd. That after languishing several years of the above Disorders, He is now thank God perfectly recovered. That with His health his desire of serving is return'd therefore prays His Lordship will bepleased to recommend Him to some employment either Civil or Military in America."

James Babbidge: (c1730-c1791) - Began his military career as an English NCO and experienced QM of the 15th Regiment of Foot, who exchanged officership with John Macdonell of the 78th Regiment, as of November 14, 1763, so that the latter could serve in an older regiment and continue his military career. Babbidge went on half-pay with most other 78th officers the following month and returned to England. He returned briefly to full pay as a lieutenant in the Plymouth Invalid Company on December 30, 1789.

Military Assignments
Date:  0175
Regiment:  15th Regiment of Foot
Company:  Jeffrey Amherst's Company
Grade:  Sergeant

Date: 1758-12-21
Regiment:  15th Regiment of Foot
Grade:  Quartermaster

Date:  1762-09-10
Regiment:  15th Regiment of Foot
Grade:  Lieutenant

Date:  1763-11-14
Regiment:  78th Regiment of Foot
Grade:  Lieutenant
Date:  1763-12-24

Date:  1789-12-30
Regiment:  Captain John Hatfield's Invalid Company - Plymouth
Grade:  Lieutenant
Date:  1794-04-20

Earl of Dartmouth, William Legge, "Memorial of James Babbidge." LAC, MG23, A1, vol. 2.

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

Plains of Abraham, "Military Assignments of James Babbidge." The National Battlefields Commission, Government of Canada. July, 2017. Web.

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Colonel Simon Fraser's Letters to Lord Murray

The Scottish Highlanders who served in North America were recruited by a variety of methods, but records do indicate most were volunteers. Economic depression swarmed their homelands, and the thoughts of prosperity and securing a better livelihood in the new world certainly would have contributed to each man's decision to enlist. Recruiters scoured the countryside, some concentrating their efforts to the immediate lands around their estates, while others traveled the length of Aberdeen to "make out their recruits." With competition to enlist men coming from Colonel Montgomery of the First Highland Battalion, recruiting was at a premium from a country sorely depleted in able-bodied men. The Recruiting Act of 1756-57 specified commissioners and their representatives may only enlist men aged 17-45; fit to serve His Majesty; free from ruptures and distemper; and non-Papists. Albeit there are no records available indicating recruiting officers compelled men in Scotland to sign and swear to a religious certificate, records do indicate this was a requirement at that time throughout Ireland.

On February 7, 1757, Simon Fraser had personally visited the offices of the Board in Edinburgh, to impress and extol the need for rapid recruitment. He, and others found that traveling the country securing men for the regiment simply came with the territory, -- it was part of the job. In a letter to his brother dated April 8, 1757, Major James Clephane, second in command, described the exhausting need to continuously oversee the recruiting efforts across Scotland for his personal company.

"My dear johnie,

No doubt you'll be much surprised that, till now, you have had no letter from me ever since I came to this place, which is now 20 days, but I'm persuaded you'll give great allowance for my silence, when I tell you that till yesterday I have not been 24 hours at one time here; sometimes one day at Inverness, next day return here, and a third at Nairn, and so on alternately, and often reviewing my recruits, and Kilraick and I engaging good men and dismissing worse."

Hon. Simon Fraser to Mr. Murray of Strowan
Dunkeld, 19th Feb. 1757.

Dr Sir, -- I have seen some men that are brought in here by a Constable, some of whom say they have had money for Col : Montgomery, & one in particular was inclinable to prefer enlisting wt. me to any other. As I suppose they came here by the Duke’s order, I would not attempt doing any thing without his Grace’s permission. At same time, as his Grace was so good as to say he wou’d not discountenance my recruiting, if any of the men prefer enlisting wt. me to going elsewhere, I flatter myself His Grace will have no objection to my getting any who are still unengaged, & make that choice. The man I mentioned to have already made it, had received no money & was perfectly disengaged, but I wou’d do nothing wt. him without asking his Grace.

Pardon this trouble. I am just setting out. God bless you, & do me the justice to believe me very much your faithful servt.


Colonel Fraser departed Dunkeld, Perthshire on February 19, 1757, after posting his letter to Mr. Murray, and appears to have quartered at Moulinearn Inn, about three miles southwest of Ballyoukan, where he sends a second letter, postmarked the same day. 

Hon. Simon Fraser to Mr. Murray of Strowan
Mulenairn, Satud. night, 19 Feb. 1757.

Dr Sr, -- When you did me the honor to call this afternoon, the number of fiddle faddle letters I had just been writing had quite jumbled my Judgement, & it was only upon the road that I began to consider that you said the men I saw were sent for by my Lord Duke for Coll. Montgomery. I had been informed they were impressed to fill up the quota of the county, & seeing a constable with them made me think it was so, & the men themselves thought so. But I suppose the case is that one or two of them may be wanted for that, and the Duke means to make use of it to give the rest to Coll. Montgomery. If I had understood that to be the case when I saw them, I should have not interfered so far as to ask one of them to make his choice of me, & I beg to recall any demand I made of that sort. If they are men the Duke intended & sent for to be given to Col. Montgomery, I wou’d not presume to interfere wt. his Grace’s intentions so far as to take them if they came out and offered themselves, & I shall be obliged to you if you’l do me the honor to present my complts. To His Grace, and tell him this, & that when I took the liberty to send to you before I took them to be impressed men for the county.

I beg leave to offer my complts. To the Dutches & Lady Charlotte. Pray don’t be angry wt. me for this trouble, but believe me wt. great regard,

Dr Sir,
Yr most obt. & hult. Servt.

My paper & ink are very bad, but the place offers no better.


Note: Murray, of Strowan, is Lord George Murray (1694-1760), a Scottish Jacobite general most noted for his 1745 campaign under Bonnie Prince Charlie in England. In 1728, he married Amelia, daughter, and heiress of James Murray of Strowan and Glencarse and had five children, Lady Charlotte being the fourth child, second daughter.

Atholl, John James Hugh Henry Stewart-Murray, et al. Chronicles of the Atholl and Tullibardine families [Edinburgh, 1908].

William Congreve. "Letter to Wilmot indicating not one of the recruits were papists or had falsely signed the religious certificates." Dated 10 March 1757. PRO Northern Ireland, T3019/3122.

Mackillop, Andrew. Military recruiting in the Scottish Highlands 1739-1815: Col. Fraser in Edinburgh, February 7, 1757 [September 1995].

H. Rose and Lachlan Shaw. A genealogical deduction of the family of Rose of Kilravock: with illustrative documents from the family papers, and notes [Edinburgh, 1848].

“Lord George Murray (General).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_George_Murray_(general). Accessed 17 Sept. 2017.

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Petitions of Captain Hugh Fraser

Petition of Capt. Hugh Fraser, born on the Estate of Lovat, late of the 78th Regiment, for a farm. He had served his Majesty 28 years, 26 of which in the 27th Regiment. In the war before the last in the West Indies, and in Scotland all the winter Campaign during the late rebellion, and all the last war in America, and was at the reduction of Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Isle aux Noire, and Montreal. He purchased a Company in the Hon. Col. Simon Fraser’s corps, but the peace following soon thereafter the regiment was reduced, and he way put on half-pay. Read 13 Feb. 1764.

Petition of Capt. Hugh Fraser, late of the 78th Regiment, has been above 30 years in the service, and in the last Campaign in America as a Capt. In the 78th Regt., and on the peace being concluded the regiment was disbanded. Had prevailed on his uncle, Andrew Fraser of Aigas, to give up a small possession of Inchlair, of £7, 12s. 1d. ster. of rent, and having laid out some expenses, although only from year to year, hopes to get a lease of the same. Read 27 Feb. 1769.

Millar, A. H. A Selection of Scottish Fortified Estate Papers, 1715; 1745 [Edinburgh, Scottish Historical Society, 1909].

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Raising of the Highland Regiments in 1757

In his eloquent survey of the career of the elder Pitt Lord Stanhope says---

     Was it not he who devised that lofty and generous scheme for removing the disaffection of the Highlanders by enlisting them in regiments for the service of the Crown? Those minds which Culloden could not subdue at once yielded to his confidence; by trusting he reclaimed them; by putting arms into their hands he converted mutinous subjects into loyal soldiers.

And he afterwards quotes Pitt's own words, spoken a few months before his death.

     I remember how I employed the very rebels in the service and defence of their country. They were reclaimed by this means; they fought our battles; they cheerfully bled in defence of those liberties which they had attempted to overthrow but a few years before.

Whether the final pacification of the Highlands was mainly due to this policy of trust, or to that harsher policy which, by exiling the chiefs, gradually loosened the tie between them and their clans, is perhaps open to question. At any rate the raising of the Highland regiments was a bold and wise measure, for which Pitt deserves credit. But the credit is not due to him exclusively, nor did the idea originate with him. The needs of America, not of Scotland, gave birth to it.

Eight years before, the duke of Bedford had proposed to send out Highlanders to Nova Scotia as settlers, and the duke of Cumberland had promised to support this scheme, 'as it is much to be wished that these people may be disposed of in such a manner as to be of service to the government, instead of a detriment to it.' And in 1751 Wolfe, who was at that time commanding a regiment in Scotland, wrote to a brother officer in Nova Scotia that he should imagine two or three independent companies of Highlanders would be found useful in the desultory frontier warfare which was then going on: 'they are hardly, intrepid, accustomed to a rough country, and no great mischief if they fall.'

Braddock's disaster in 1755, and the French reinforcements sent to Canada in the early part of the following year, made it an urgent matter to send out British reinforcements. But it was not easy to find them. The standing army of Great Britain, normally 19,000, had been raised to 34,000 men; but this was a little more than one-fifth of that of France. England was threatened with invasion, and when Hessians and Hanoverians to the number of 19,000 were brought over to guard it they had to be sent back to Germany because of the popular outcry, of which Pitt took the lead. The Mediterranean garrisons could not spare men to reinforce it, and it was driven to capitulate.

Lord Loudoun, who had been very useful in the Highlands at the time of the rebellion, was sent to America to take the chief command; but only two weak battalions accompanied him. One of these was the Black Watch, the earliest Highland regiment, which had been formed out of independent companies in 1739. So many Highland recruits were set out to join it that in a few months' time it numbered 1,300 men. In spite of the opposition of Pitt and his friends, money was voted for a regiment of four battalions to be raised in America from Swiss and German protestants settled in Pennsylvania and New York. One-third of the commissions were given to officers of those nationalities. This regiment, at first known as the Royal American, is now the King's Royal Rifle Corps, or 60th Rifles.

After various acts of hostility on both sides, war was declared between England and France in May 1756. In the course of that month a plan for carrying on the war was submitted to the duke of Cumberland. It proposed an increase in the establishment of British regiments, and the procuring of some German regiments for service in America, and added, 'Two regiments, a thousand men in a corps, may be raised in the north of Scotland for the said service and on the same terms. No men in this island are better qualified for the American war than the Scots Highlanders.' It further suggested that the Scots regiments in the Dutch service should be recalled, and 2,000 Protestants raised in the north of Ireland.

Pitt was sworn as principal secretary of state on 4 Dec., and the duke soon afterwards sent him by Lord Albemarle the plan described above. As regards the Highlanders, the matter was quickly settled, for in the course of that month the duke wrote the following letter, marked 'Most private,' to Lord Loudoun:---

St. James De 23d 1756.
     My Lord Loudoun,--- I write this private letter to you to assure you of the thorough satisfaction your conduct has given me, and will not fail to support you to the utmost of my power through the many difficulties you find in the executing of your orders, and in opposition to the public service. Nothing can be worse than our situation here at home, without any plan, or even a desire to have one, great numbers talked of to be sent you, but without any consideration of how, and from whence, without considering what they should carry with them. But that you may know what can be done for you, I write in my own Hand, trusting to your Honour, that you will burn this as soon as read.
     The King will spare you five old Battalions from Europe and two thousand new raised Highlanders, which will make 6,000 men, officers included: and I will send a proper train of artillery with them. Prepare your own plan for one army up the St. Lawrence River, and for the other to keep the enemy in check from where your army now is. I will send you my thoughts more fully with a plan of mine for your operations, which you shall be left at liberty, either to adopt, in part, or not at all, as you shall find it proper from your better information. I don't doubt a moment of your burning this letter, so don't answer it, but send your plan and thoughts without taking any notice of this most private letter. I remain very sincerely your most affectionate Friend.

The 2,000 Highlanders here referred to were to form two battalions, to be raised respectively by Archibald Montgomery, afterwards the earl of Eglinton, and Simon Fraser, master of Lovat. Montgomery was a major of Lord Robert Manners's regiment (88th Foot), but Fraser was in a different position and has never held the king's commission. His father, Lord Lovat, had made him join the Jacobite army in 1746 at the head of his clan. He had afterwards received a pardon, and become an advocate (as readers of 'Catriona' may remember). He now applied to be allowed to raise a regiment, and was supported by the duke of Argyle, who told the government that under no other person would the clan of Fraser enlist.

Among the Cumberland Papers at Windsor there is a list of officers from Fraser's regiment, endorsed, 'These papers delivered to me by the Duke of Argyle on 2d Jan. 1757, and approved the next day by the King. [Initialed] W.' Out of a total of thirty-nine officers thirteen are Frasers, and there is a note to that
     Mr Fraser being to raise so great a number of men, it is necessary to recommend many gentleman of the name of Fraser who have not been in the service before, but who from their connections and interest in the country can raise most men.

The two majors in this list are Campbells, but one of them was afterwards appointed to Montgomery's regiment.

The duke of Newcastle, whom Pitt had driven out of office, watched the measures of the new minitsry with the disapproval which was to be expected. On 4 Jan. 1757 he wrote to Lord hardwicke about the reinforcements for America---
     The Duke will not part with more than 4 regiments from hence, the new lord-lieutenant will spare only 1,000 from thence, and the old governor of Scotland cannot muster up above 2,000 of his Highland Friends, which altogether will not amount to much above 6,000 men. Mr. Pitt insists upon 8,000.
Hardewick replied on the 7th---

     I find this measure of raising 2,000 Highlanders alarms many of the best affected, particularly the making councillor Fraser colonel of one of the Battalions. . . . Nothing could more affectually break in upon the plan which has been pursuing for that country, ever since the last Rebillion, and I dare say the scheme is to put an end to it.
Two days later Newcastle wrote again---
     I most entirely disapprove the method of their Highland regiments. The Duke, I hear, disapproves and submits. It is wholly the duke of Argyle.

There seems to be nothing to bear out the statement that the duke of Cumberland disapproved the raising of these regiments. The fact that Henry Fox supported the measure in the house of commons is an indication to the contrary. The situation is pretty clear. Pitt was bent on vigorous action in America, but his hand were to some extent tied by his opposition to the employment of foreign soldiers. Whether or not he welcomed the scheme at that time as a message of peace to Scotland, it was practically indispensable for waging war in America. The king and the duke, as captain-general, were unwilling to denude the country of troops, especially as they cherished a hole that some British regiments would join the army which was to be formed for the defence of Hanover. Highlanders had fought under the duke at Fontenoy, and against him at Culloden, and he knew their value. As already mentioned, the Black Watch had been sent to America before Pitt became a minister. The opinions of Argyle and Loudoun, Campbells both, would be likely to weigh with him, especially when they furnished a means of reconciling his views with those of the imperious minister.

Recruits came in so freely that the establishment of the two regiments increased. They were sent to America in a few months. Montgomery's regiment served under Forbes in the successful expedition against Fort Duquense (where Braddock had met with disaster), while Fraser's took part in the capture of Louisbourg and Quebec, and won the praise of Wolfe. The regiments were brought into the line as the 77th and 78th respectively, but were disbanded at the peace of 1763, the men receiving grants of land in America.
E.M. Lloyd.

Lloyd, E.M. The Raising of the Highland Regiments [The English Historical Review, Vol. 17, No. 67, pp. 466-69, London, 1902].

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