Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic (ESR) How Many Highlanders?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by General Slade General Slade 4 months ago.

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  • #116544

    Hello all,

    I’m easing my way into Napoleonics with Et Sans Resultat this summer, planning to do a small Anglo-Allied force that I can expand if all goes well.  My FLGS has a large selection of Old Glory 10mm figures, but they mostly aren’t labeled by nationality, so when I spotted some packs of kilted Highlanders I jumped on the one thing I could readily identify.

    2x NAP-503 + 1x NAP-504 gives me 20 battalion stands for ESR, each with one command and one infantry strip.  I happily prepped and primed them yesterday, but as I’m doing painting research I’m finding that while a fair number of regiments (~20) bore the Highland title at one point or another many lost or re-gained that status at various points, sometimes changing uniforms in the process.  OOBs for individual battles are useful, but does anyone know of a more comprehensive source?

    Here’s what I have so far:
    2 Battalions – 42nd Royal Highlanders “Black Watch”
    2 Battalions – 71st Highland Light Infantry
    1 Battalion – 74th Highlanders (became 74th Foot before the Peninsular, lost their kilts?)
    2 Battalions – 79th Cameron Highlanders
    2 Battalions – 92nd Gordon Highlanders (became 92nd Foot after Corunna, kept their kilts?)

    I’m looking for any other units that were in action (ideally in the Peninsular War) that wore kilts (or could be reasonably assumed to have done so).  Did some of the other sometimes-Highland units (most of the 70s-numbered regiments were Highlanders at one point or another) keep their kilts like the the 92nd seems to have?  Did any non-Highland units wear them, or did any expatriate or foreign units do so?

    Regards!

    #116556

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    How many Highlanders? Well, in the end, there can be only one.

    All seriousness aside, that seems pretty comprehensive to me. The only ones that come to my mind are the Atholl Highlanders, who I think postdate the Napoleonic wars and were mainly ceremonial anyway. But might be cool if you wanted to be a little flexible with your history?

    #116558
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    Welcome to Napoleonics! (And to ESR!)

    Highland regiments I am aware of:

    42nd Royal Highlanders ‘Black Watch’
    71st Highlanders
    72nd Highlanders
    73rd Highlanders
    74th Highlanders
    75th Highlanders
    76th Highlanders
    77th Highlanders
    78th Highlanders
    79th Cameron Highlanders
    84th Highlanders
    89th Gordon Highlanders
    90th Highlanders
    91st Highlanders
    92nd Gordon Highlanders
    93rd Highlanders
    94th Highlanders

    Not all of these kept their kilts and many lost theirs before the end of the period. For that I’ll have to dig more.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #116559

    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    43rd later renumbered as 42nd Highlanders now the Black Watch (the Royal Highland Regiment)

    71st Highland Light Infantry (not kilted)

    73rd Highlanders

    78th Rossshire

    79th Highlanders, later the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders,

    92nd Highlanders the Gordon Highlanders

    Raised during the Napoleonic wars

    93rd Sutherland Highalnders

    97th Strathspey Highlanders

    98th Argylshire

    #116562
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Although the 71st did not wear the kilt, they did wear a blue shako with a diced headband.

    #116563

    Many thanks!

    I did some more digging following the leads you all mentioned, and figured I’d share what I’ve found for 1803-1815:

    42nd (The Black Watch) – 2 Btn.
    71st (Glasgow Highlanders) – 2 Btn. *Redesignated the 71st Highland Light Infantry in 1810.  Gave up their kilts?
    72nd (Seaforth Highlanders) – 2 Btn. *Lost Highland status in 1809.  2nd Battalion 1804-1816.
    73rd Highlanders – 2 Btn. *Lost Highland status in 1809.  2nd Battalion 1809-1817.
    74th Highlanders – 1 Btn. *Lost Highland status in 1809.
    75th Highlanders – 1 Btn. *Lost Highland status in 1809.
    78th (Ross-shire Buffs) – 2 Btn.  2nd Battalion 1804-1816.
    79th (Cameron Highlanders) – 2 Btn.  2nd Battalion 1804-1815.
    91st (Argyllshire Highlanders) – 2 Btn. *Lost Highland status in 1809.  2nd Battalion 1804-1815.
    92nd (Gordon Highlanders) – 2 Btn.  *Lost Highland status in 1809, possibly in name only.  Kept their kilts?  2nd Battalion 1803-1814.
    93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) – 2 Btn.  2nd Battalion 1813-1816.

    The regiments that lost Highland status in 1809 did so because of recruiting difficulties.  Many of them had recently returned from heavy fighting in India or the Peninsula, while others had added or were adding second battalions, so they had to widen their recruiting pool.  It’s not clear to me whether this was fully implemented, as the 92nd is often referred to as highlanders and depicted in kilts for later battles, including Waterloo.

    Several other Highland regiments were created and disbanded in the late 1700s, as well as a number of local “Fencible” regiments for home defense, but all had been disbanded by 1803.

    In any case, I’m satisfied, as this comes out to a round 20 battalions to match what I ended up with!

    #116566
    General Slade
    General Slade
    Participant

    I’m looking for any other units that were in action (ideally in the Peninsular War) that wore kilts (or could be reasonably assumed to have done so). Did some of the other sometimes-Highland units (most of the 70s-numbered regiments were Highlanders at one point or another) keep their kilts like the the 92nd seems to have? Did any non-Highland units wear them, or did any expatriate or foreign units do so? Regards!

    Hi Brooks,

    I think unfortunately you have got more Highlanders than you are ever going to need for a British Peninsular army.  As far as I am aware the only kilted regiments that took part in the campaign were the 42nd, 79th and 92nd, though according to Haythornthwaite in Uniforms of the Peninsular War 1807-1814, the 71st officially should have been wearing Highland dress in the Corunna campaign but were either wearing tartan trews or grey overalls (he also notes that prior to being issued with light infantry shakos many in the regiment had stripped the feathers from their feather bonnets and sold them to Portuguese ladies).

    The other bit of bad news is that even though these regiments were composed of two battalions only one battalion of each regiment was present in the Peninsula at a time.  In the case of the 79th and 92nd this was because the 2nd battalions stayed at home to recruit and provide reinforcements to the 1st battalions. Both battalions of the 42nd served in the Peninsula but not together.  The 1st battalion was evacuated after Corunna, the 2nd battalion then arrived and stayed until 1812, at which point it was replaced with the 1st battalion which fought on until the end of the war.

    I’m afraid no non-Highland units fought wearing kilts during the Napoleonic Wars.  As far as I am aware the battle in which the most kilted regiments were present was Waterloo where there were four battalions in Highland dress: 42nd, 78th, 79th and 92nd.

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