Earl of Argyll's Regiment of Foot

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Argyll's Regiment of Foot
Lord Lorne's Regiment (from April 1694)
Active April 1689 - February 1697
Disbanded February 1697
Allegiance Scotland Scotland to May 1692
 England to February 1697
Type Infantry
Role Line infantry
Garrison/HQ Perth
Fort William
Brentford
Diksmuide
Damme
Engagements Jacobite Rising 1689-92
Massacre of Glencoe
Nine Years' War
Storming of Dottignies
Siege of Dixsmuide
Commanders
Colonel The Duke of Argyll to April 1694
Lord Lorne to February 1697
Lt-Colonel Duncan Campbell
Robert Jackson
Patrick Hume
Robert Duncanson

Argyll's Regiment of Foot was a Scottish infantry regiment formed in April 1689 to suppress Jacobite opposition in the Highlands. In February 1692 it took part in the Glencoe Massacre, moved to Brentford near London in May then to Flanders in early 1693 where it fought in the Nine Years War. It became Lord Lorne's Regiment in April 1694 and was disbanded on February 1697.

Formation[edit]

On 19 April 1689, the Earl of Argyll was commissioned by the Scottish Estates to raise a regiment of 600 men, later expanded to 800; it was the first regular Highland regiment rather than militia.[a][1] There is a difference between where a regiment was recruited versus who paid for it; since Scotland and England were separate states at this time, the Argylls were on the Scottish establishment until May 1692 then transferred onto the English.

As a result of British Civil Wars 1638-1651 many English and Scottish politicians of the late 17th century saw standing armies as a danger to the liberties of the individual and a threat to society itself.[2] To prevent this, regiments were treated as the personal property of their Colonel, changed names when transferred and were disbanded as soon as possible.[3]

Commissions were assets that could be bought, sold or used as an investment; one person could simultaneously hold multiple commissions and there were no age restrictions. Henry Hawley, commander of government forces at the Battle of Falkirk Muir in 1746 obtained his first commission when he was only nine years old. Holding a commission did not require actual service and at senior levels in particular, ownership and command were separate functions. Many colonels or lieutenant colonels played active military roles as staff or regimental officers but others remained civilians who delegated their duties to a subordinate.[4]

Lord Lorne, later 2nd Duke of Argyll; appointed Colonel in 1694 at the age of 14

An individual could join a regiment in Scotland, be appointed to another in Flanders and transfer to one in Jamaica without leaving Edinburgh or participating in military duties. Many fail to appreciate this eg Robert Holden's 1905 article devotes considerable energy to defending the Earl of Argyle on the assumption that as Colonel he participated in Glencoe.[5]

In most regiments, operational command was exercised by the Lt-Colonel, although Major Robert Duncanson appears to have largely performed this function from July 1690 to disbandment in February 1697.[6] Duncanson's patron Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck was Lt-Colonel until June 1691 when Robert Jackson was appointed, followed by Patrick Hume who was succeeded by Duncanson when severely wounded at the Siege of Namur in July 1695.[b][7]

Highland regiments were formed by first appointing Captains, usually landowners or minor gentry, each responsible for recruiting sixty men from their own estates. Muster rolls of the 2nd Company for October 1691[8] show the vast majority came from Argyllshire, including Cowal and Kintyre, areas settled by Lowlander migrants and badly affected by the suppression following the 1685 rising.[9] There are relatively few named Campbell but many are from Campbell septs, spelt in a variety of ways.[10]

Officers like Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon officially received 8 shillings per day but there were many opportunities to substantially increase this eg deductions for equipment, food etc.[11] Highland regiments could be especially lucrative as the clan system made some military service to the Chief obligatory, allowing a larger margin between what the government paid and soldiers received.[12] One purpose of muster rolls was to curb the practice of claiming pay for non-existent soldiers and official numbers should be treated with care.

Scotland; 1689-1692[edit]

Still partially trained and understrength,[c] in July 1689 the Argylls were used to garrison Perth after the Jacobite victory at Killiecrankie. A year later they moved to the new military base at Fort William as part of the force responsible for pacifying the Highlands. This was commanded by Colonel John Hill, the military governor and included Hill's own regiment under Lt-Colonel Hamilton which is sometimes confused with the Argylls. The next 18 months were spent retaking or destroying Jacobite strongpoints including Castle Stalker, Duart Castle and Cairnburgh Castle.[13]

Duart Castle; surrendered to the Argylls in early 1692

In the winter of 1691/92, the Argylls were besieging Invergarry Castle, primary seat of Glengarry, the MacDonald chief and containing remnants of the Jacobite army.[14] A witness later testified that at the end of January 1692 two companies of the Argylls under Glenlyon came to Glencoe from the north Glengarry's house being reduced.[15] They were carrying orders to collect tax or 'cess' payments; the Highlands was a largely non-cash society and 'free quarter' commonly used as an alternative.[16] Although initially suspicious, the MacDonalds accepted their presence while individual Argylls later testified they were unaware of any other motive until the morning of 13 February.[17]

Duncanson's written orders to Glenlyon [d]

As instructed by Lord Stair Secretary of State for Scotland, Hill ordered Hamilton to block the northern exits from Glencoe at Kinlochleven with 400 men of Hills Regiment. At the same time, 400 men from the Argylls under Major Duncanson would join Glenlyon's detachment and sweep northwards up the glen, killing anyone they found, removing property and burning houses.[18]

On the evening of the 12th, Duncanson sent his own orders to Glenlyon carried by Captain Drummond, commander of the Argyll's Grenadier company and thus senior Captain.[e] Glenlyon was to commence the killings at 5:00 am the next day, with Duncanson joining him as close to that time as possible but whether by accident or design, both he and Hamilton arrived only after the killings were over. In all, 38 men died either in their homes or as they tried to flee the glen, including nine who were first tied up and then shot; details of the killings were given to the Commission in 1695.[19] Another 40 women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

The Parliamentary Commission of 1695 focused on whether the orders had been exceeded, not their legality; it concluded Stair and Lt-Colonel Hamilton had a case to answer but left the decision to William.[20] No charges were made against those involved.

England and Flanders; 1692-1697[edit]

In May 1692, fears of a Jacobite invasion meant the Argylls and other Scottish units were transferred onto the English military establishment and based at Brentford in England. The invasion threat was ended by the Anglo-Dutch naval victories of Barfleur and La Hogue and the Argylls sent to Flanders in early 1693. On 9 July, the regiment took part in an assault on the French fortifications at Dottignies in current day Belgium and suffered heavy casualties, particularly among the Grenadier company led by Captain Drummond.[21]

Second Siege of Namur, 1695; its recapture was the major Allied achievement of the war.

In April 1694, Argyll transferred his commission as Colonel to his eldest son and it became known as Lord Lorne's Regiment.[22] Lord Lorne was only 14 at the time but as explained elsewhere, this was not unusual.

Colonel Hume was severely wounded at Namur in 1695, leaving Duncanson in command when the regiment was part of the garrison of Diksmuide, an important strategic position.[23] This was besieged by the French; the Allied commander Ellenberg capitulated after only two days but Duncanson refused to sign the terms of surrender. Ellenberg was later executed while Duncanson was promoted to Lt-Colonel in August as a reward.[24]

Garrisons who surrendered were normally allowed free passage rather than being held prisoner and Lorne's was released and went into winter quarters at Damme. By 1696 the war in the Netherlands was winding down and the unit engaged in garrison duties around Nieuport and Bruges. Lorne's is listed in the records of the House of Commons as disbanded or 'broke' in February 1697.[25] The Treaty of Ryswick formally ended the Nine Years War in September 1697.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ This is often debated but tracing the origins of modern regiments is extremely complex; many regimental histories were written in the late 19th or early 20th century when establishing regimental precedence or seniority was almost an obsession.
  2. ^ Some sources state Hume was killed rather than wounded.
  3. ^ At this stage, only five of the eight authorised companies had been recruited.
  4. ^ You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebells, the McDonalds of Glenco, and put all to the sword under seventy. you are to have a speciall care that the old Fox and his sones doe upon no account escape your hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to putt in execution att fyve of the clock precisely; and by that time, or very shortly after it, I’ll strive to be att you with a stronger party: if I doe not come to you att fyve, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the Kings speciall command, for the good & safety of the Country, that these miscreants be cutt off root and branch. See that this be putt in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King nor Government, nor a man fitt to carry Commissione in the Kings service. Expecting you will not faill in the full-filling hereof, as you love your selfe, I subscribe these with my hand  att Balicholis  Feb: 12, 1692.
  5. ^ Drummond also featured in the Darien Scheme.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holden, Robert Mackenzie (October 1905). "The First Highland Regiment: The Argyllshire Highlanders" (PDF). The Scottish Historical Review. 3 (9): 27–28. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  2. ^ Childs, John (1987). The British Army of William III, 1689-1702 (1990 ed.). Manchester University Press. p. 184. ISBN 0719025524.
  3. ^ Chandler David, Beckett Ian (1996). The Oxford History Of The British Army (2002 ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-19-280311-5.
  4. ^ Guy, Alan (1985). Economy and Discipline: Officership and the British Army, 1714–63. Manchester University Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-7190-1099-3.
  5. ^ Holden, Robert Mackenzie (October 1905). "The First Highland Regiment: The Argyllshire Highlanders" (PDF). The Scottish Historical Review. 3 (9): 34–35. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  6. ^ Dalton, Charles (1896). English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714. Government and General Publishers. p. Sections 89, 414, 415.
  7. ^ Dalton, Charles (1896). English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714. Government and General Publishers. p. Sections 89, 414, 415.
  8. ^ Prebble, John (1973). Glencoe: The Story of the Massacre. Penguin. ISBN 0140028978.
  9. ^ Argyll Transcripts, ICA (1891). "An Account of the depredations committed on the Clan Campbell and their followers during the years 1685 and 1686". Historical Manuscripts Commission. 11: 12–24.
  10. ^ Clan Campbell Society North America. "Official List of Septs of Clan Campbell". Clan Campbell Society. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  11. ^ Walton, Clifford (1894). History of the British Standing Army 1660 to 1700 (2010 ed.). Nabu Press. p. 389. ISBN 1149754761.
  12. ^ Guy, Alan (1985). Economy and Discipline: Officership and the British Army, 1714-63. Manchester University Press. p. 33. ISBN 0719010993.
  13. ^ Holden, Robert Mackenzie (October 1905). "The First Highland Regiment: The Argyllshire Highlanders" (PDF). The Scottish Historical Review. 3 (9): 27–40. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  14. ^ Love, Dane (2007). Jacobite Stories. Neil Wilson Publishing. ISBN 1903238862. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  15. ^ Cobbett, William (1814). Cobbett's Complete Collection Of State Trials And Proceedings For High Treason And Other Crimes And Misdemeanors (2011 ed.). Nabu Press. p. 904. ISBN 1175882445.
  16. ^ Kennedy, Allan (2014). Governing Gaeldom: The Scottish Highlands and the Restoration State 1660-1688. Brill. p. 141. ISBN 9004248374.
  17. ^ Scott Walter, Somers John (2014). A Collection Of Scarce And Valuable Tracts, On The Most Interesting And Entertaining Subjects: Reign Of King James II. Reign Of King William III. Nabu Press. p. 537. ISBN 1293842222.
  18. ^ Scott Walter, Somers John (2014). A Collection Of Scarce And Valuable Tracts, On The Most Interesting And Entertaining Subjects: Reign Of King James II. Reign Of King William III. Nabu Press. p. 538. ISBN 1293842222.
  19. ^ Cobbett William, Howell Thomas (1814). Cobbett's Complete Collection Of State Trials And Proceedings For High Treason And Other Crimes And Misdemeanors (2011 ed.). Nabu Press. p. 902. ISBN 1175882445. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  20. ^ Scott Walter, Somers John (2014). A Collection Of Scarce And Valuable Tracts, On The Most Interesting And Entertaining Subjects: Reign Of King James II. Reign Of King William III. Nabu Press. p. 545. ISBN 1293842222.
  21. ^ Childs, John (1991). The Nine Years' War and the British Army, 1688-1697: The Operations in the ... Manchester University Press. p. 229. ISBN 0719034612.
  22. ^ Childs, John (1991). The Nine Years' War and the British Army, 1688-1697: The Operations in the ... Manchester University Press. p. 345. ISBN 0719034612.
  23. ^ Childs, John (1991). The Nine Years' War and the British Army, 1688-1697: The Operations in the ... Manchester University Press. p. 285. ISBN 0719034612.
  24. ^ Walton, Clifford (1894). History of the British Standing Army 1660 to 1700 (2010 ed.). Nabu Press. ISBN 1149754761. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  25. ^ Journals of the House of Commons, Volume 12. Great Britain House of Commons. Retrieved 9 December 2017.

Sources[edit]

See also[edit]