British 42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot

  • The Napoleonic War
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Raised from Scotland, The 42nd Regiment was a British Line Unit – mustered into Royal Service in 1728. Originally a Composite Regiment of 2 other Scottish Regiments – upon reorganization, they were renumbered, The 42nd. After The Jacobite Revolts, Britain needed a dedicated Scottish Force to deploy and Garrison in Scotland. The Revolts severely depleted The “standing” British Army. Raising local “Loyalist” Regiments, they were set as “Watches”. Due to the Regiment being used for night Guard (in the Black of Night) – The 42nd would be nicknamed 'The Black Watch”. Originally deployed to fight in The War For Austrian Succession, this caused open Mutiny which resulted in many of the Regiment being captured and executed for Treason!

Disciplined, the survivors were re-deployed to fight in The Battle of Fontenoy (Flanders) – in 1745. They distinguished themselves with their fierce “Clan” attack of a “massed infantry charge” (somewhat devoid of organized battlefield discipline!). Redeployed back to Scotland for the “last” of a Jacobite Uprising – The 42nd (fighting against their own people) – distinguished themselves yet again at Culloden. The Regiment suffered no casualties. The Regiment was shipped over to The Colonies during The French and Indian Wars and Garrisoned to Fort. Ticonderoga (NY). They valiantly defended the Fort against repeated French and Native American assaults.

The Regiment lost over half of it's number in the engagement. The Regiment would return in the late 18th Century to fight against George Washington and his Patriot Army during The American Revolution. They fought in many of the more “well known” battles of The War (and were often admired by their enemies, as their Dark Tartan Skirts appeared from smoke and fog during battle, all the while “playing” their “Pipes”). They also charged Andrew Jacksons positions at New Orleans during The War of 1812 (America). Their charge was “covered” by Congreve Rockets (and was described as a “noble sight to see”) - even by their enemies The Americans.

The “Black Watch” would fight during The Napoleonic Wars – and were present at Waterloo. They lost over 289 Officers and Men in that engagement. The Regiment continued to serve The Empire through The Crimean War and Boer War. (distinguishing themselves even more). Still an Active Component of The British Army, The “Black Watch” is also World renown for it's excellent Military Band with Massed Pipers (who perform around The World).