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Osprey Men-at-Arms 253 : Wellington's Highlanders

On the outbreak of war with France on 1 February 1793, six of the British Army's 77 regiments of infantry [excluding the Footguards] bore the designation 'Highland'; and within two years this number had risen to a temporary high of 15, besides a number of regiments of highland Fencibles. Ironically some of the latter, raised originally as home defence battalions, saw more action, in Ireland, than some of the short-lived regular units. In the north of Scotland 'going for a soldier' had none of the stigma which attached to it in England at this time. The highlands were badly over-populated and enlistment in the army was widely regarded as an entirely respectable alternative to emigration, particularly since the unusually high bounties on offer meant that some measure of provision could be made for those relatives left behind. Ultimately, regiments are judged by their behaviour in battle; and highlanders, whether recruited in Lochaber of the lowlands of Aberdeenshire, have always had a reputation as 'stormers', exemplified by the impetuous charge of the Gordons at Waterloo, intermingled with the Scots greys. This reputation probably resulted at least in part from an unusually close bonding between officers and men, and an assumption that highlanders were natural soldiers, possessed of an impetuous spirit and temperamentally more inclined to use the bayonet. Stuart Reid examines the uniforms of Wellington's Highlanders complemented by many illustrations, including eight full page colour plates by Bryan Fosten.

    Contents
  • Raising a Regiment
  • Highland Uniform
  • Regular Regiments
  • Fencibles
  • The Plates

 

Osprey Men-at-Arms


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