Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


274 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. The peace, however, which had brought them this happy relaxation was not of long duration. The regiment marched to England next year5 and in 1805 ‘embarked for Gibraltar. From thence removed to Portugal, it served in the memorable campaign under Sir John Moore in 1808 ; next in the fatal expedition to Walcheren ; and returned for a short time to Scotland in 1810. From England, in 1812, the 42d Regiment again embarked for Portugal; and, joining the army of the Duke of Wellington immediately after the capt,ure of Badajoz, was consolidated with the second battalion of the corps, which had been two years previously in the Peninsula. The share of the united corps in the engagements which followed from that period till the short peace in 1814 is too well known to require repetition. The gallant band then returned to Ireland, but speedily re-embarked for Flanders, where, as every one knows, it was present at the decisive fields of Quatre Bras and .Waterloo. The glory there acquired by the various Scots regiments is matter of history, and interwoven with many a (‘tale of Waterloo.” The warm reception with which the Royal Highlanders were greeted on their return to England, after the peace of Paris; at once demonstrated how their conduct was appreciated by our neighbours of the south ; and in Edinburgh, where they arrived in the spring of 1816, their welcome was most enthusiastic. The following account of their reception is interesting :- “Arrival of the 42d Beyi~neati n Edidury?b.-h the 19th and 20th March the 42d Rcgiment marched in two divisions into Edinburgh Castle from Haddington. Colonel Dick rode at the head of the first division, accompanied by I\lajor General Hope, of the North British Staff, and Colonel David Stewart of Garth,’ who formerly belonged to the regiment, and who was wounded under their colours in Egypt. Nothing could exceed the enthusiasm with which these gallant veterans were welcomed in every town and village through which their route lay. Early on the 19th vast crowds were collected on the streets of this city, in expectation of their arrival. The road as far as Musselburgh was crowded with people ; and as they approached the city, so much was their progress impeded by the multitude, that their march from Piershill to the Castle (less than two miles) occupied nearly two hours. House-tops and windows were also crowded with spectaiors ; and as they passed along the streets, amidst the ringing of bells, waying of flags, and the acclamations of thousands, their red and white plumes, tattered colours (emblems of their well-earned fame in fight), and glittering bayonets, were all that could be seen of these heroes, except by the few who were fortunate in obtaining elevated situations. The scene, viewed from the windows and house-tops, was the most extraordinary ever witnessed in this city. The crowds were wedged together across the whole breadth of the street, and extended in length as far as the eye could reach ; and this motley throng appeared to move like a solid body, slowly along, till the gallant Highlanders were safely lodged in the Castle.” The non-commissioned officers and privates were sumptuously entertained at dinner in the evening in the Assembly Rooms. Sir Walter Scott was amongst the gentlemen who superintended the entertainment. Each soldier was also presented with a free ticket to the Theatre. The 78th, ‘( another of our gallant Scots regiments,” having arrived in Edinburgh a few days after, a splendid fkte, in “honour of the heroes,” was given in.Corri’s Rooms, on the Author of the “Sketches of the Character, Manners, and present state of the Highlanders of Scotland ; with details of the Military Service of the Highland Regiments.” Afterwards Governor of St. Lucie, where he died.
Volume 9 Page 364
  Enlarge Enlarge  
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 275 3d of April following. We shall quote the description of this animating scene :- ‘‘ Upon entering the lobby of C o d s Rooms, the soldiery were so placed as to be seen forming a string of sentries leading to the principctl portico, which, upon entrance, struck the eye with that magical illusion we read of in fairy tales. It was impossible to say which might be considered the head of the room, as much attention as possible being paid to avoid any point of precedence ; each end blazed with hundreds of lamps. The band of the 42d occupied the large orchestra, being more numerous than the 78th. The front bore a very neat transparency of a thistle, surrounded by a motto, Prenez Garde. Festoons of the 42d tartan reached from side to side, on the front of which hung the shields of the Duke of Wellington and the Marquis of Huntly, supported by appropriate trophies. On the top were three cuirasses, taken at the late memorable battle ; over the band, figures 42 surrounded by a wreath of laurel ; the whole formed of lamps, had a most brilliant effect. This was surmounted by an illuminated crown. Along the cornice of the room the word WATERLOaOls,o in lamps, supported by wreathed pillars of the bame brilliaut materials, completed the device in compliment to the Xoyal Highlanders. We ought to add that other trophies, formed of musketry, flags, and cuirasses, against the walls, supported the words EGYPT and CORUNNA. “At the other end the band of the 78th Regiment occupied the smaller orchesba, the device in front of which was composed of lamps similar to that of the other regiment, with the shields of Sir Samuel Auchmuty and General Picton ; instead of a crown, a brilliant star topped the number 78. On each side were the words ASSATE and MAIDA. Under this orchestra was a beautiful transparency, representing an old man, with his bonnet, giving a hearty welconie to two soldiers of the 42d and 78th regiments, while a bonnie lassie is peeping out from a cottage door, smiling upon the newly arrived heroes. The background formed a landscape, with Edinburgh Castle in the distance. “ The bands in succession played some most beautiful military airs, while the centre of tlie room, filled with all the beauty and fmhion of Edinburgh, enlivened by the uniforms of the officers of the several regiments, seemed to move in a solid mass to the clash of the cymbals and beat of the hollow drum. About eleven o’clock Gow was called for ; and his corps succeeded that of the 42d. The light fantastic toe ,was soon upon the trip ; and twelve sets were soon made up, which continued the memy dance until after two o’clock. In fact the tout ensern7~Ze was a scene quite enchanting.” Such was the genuine enthusiasm with which the return of the heroes of Waterloo was hailed. The Print prefixed to this sketch was executed at this joyous period. SERGEADNUTF Fw as a gallant soldier-loved his country with all the affection of a true Scot-was humane in disposition-of a free affable manner-and much esteemed by his fellow-soldiers. He had seen a good deal of warfare, and was one of the few instances of individuals rising from the ranks to hold a commission in the British army. His father was a soldier of the Royal Highlanders ; and he may be said to have been born in the corps. He is, however, set down in the books of the regiment as a native of Banffshire, and his enlistment is dated on the 16th of August 1806, he then being only fourteen years of age. Four years afterwards he was promoted to the rank of Corporal, and in 1812 to that of Sergeant. In his capacity of a non-commissioned officer, Sergeant Duff fought on the Pyrenees, at Pampeluna, Neville, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse, and was wounded at the storming of Burgos. At Waterloo, the last of the hostile fields, and
Volume 9 Page 365
  Enlarge Enlarge