Sketches of The Character, Manners and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland; with Details of the Military Service of the Highland Regiments
By Colonel David Stewart,
Second Edition by John Donald Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh 1977
(Public Record Office Library - reference no. 86.002)
Volume II, pages 43-80: 71st Fraser’s Highlanders
Page 67: 71st regiment lost: -
At Battle of Camden, 16 August 1760:
Lieut Archibald Campbell and 8 soldiers killed,
also Capt Hugh Campbell and Lieut John Grant, 2 sergeants and 30 privates wounded.
At Cowpens, 17 January 1781 – no figures for casualties
At Guilford Courthouse, 15/16 March 1781 – 8 of 71st Highlanders killed
At Yorktown, October 1781: 9 of 71st Highlanders killed, then all prisoners until the conclusion of hostilities in 1783.
Journal of The Society for Army Historical Research,
Volume 16, 1937, pages 3-23
(in National Army Museum Library, Chelsea)
‘British Forces in North America, 1774-1781: Their Distribution and Strength’
by C T Atkinson
page 20: The force in Carolina under Cornwallis on 1st September 1780, includes
1st battalion 71st Highlanders: 21 officers and 202 rank and file
(effective men from 8 companies?)
2nd battalion 71st Highlanders: 16 officers and 150 rank and file
(effective men from 8 companies?)
1025 men sick and wounded (30 wounded from 71st regiment, plus very many sick from 71st regiment before the battle on 16 August 1780)
413 prisoners (with the rebels – mainly the 71st)
Stewart’s book identifies 2340 Highlanders were enlisted (in 1775?). These could be in 2 battalions of 10 companies with 105 private men each, plus 4 sergeants, 4 corporals, 2 pipers and 2 drummers per company. (This can be checked from PRO records in warrant for formation in 1775. They may be the establishment numbers, but some companies may never have had numbers up to full strength. There are no traces of pipers on the muster rolls.) Many would not have survived the two-month journey across the Atlantic, with deaths from scurvy and other shipboard diseases. There were also high death rates among the troops in New York, caused by an epidemic brought from Great Britain with the drafts in the Autumn of 1779 (see Atkinson’s article pages 17/18).
Stewart’s book identifies that there were no deserters from this regiment! However the muster rolls signed in 1783 clearly identify many deserters from this regiment, particularly in 1779, 1781 and in May 1783 after a considerable number from the 2nd battalion had returned to Scotland (sailing February 1783?). The muster rolls do not identify any drafts received into this regiment between 1778-1783. In summary, about 400 to 700 men could have been lost from disease and desertion before the Battle of Camden. Atkinson’s article shows a decrease in numbers for this regiment in the years prior to 1780. Stewart’s book identifies that a company of Light Infantry from the 71st were at Camden, which contradicts Atkinson’s article revealing that Clinton returned to New York with the Grenadier and Light Infantry battalions!
Information from Stewart’s book on casualties, compared to Muster Rolls
There are no muster rolls after August 1783, for example to identify where men were discharged when the regiment was finally disbanded. Were they given land in Canada or did they return to Scotland? Many from the 74th (Argyllshire Highland) and 82nd (Duke of Hamilton’s Lowland) regiments were given 200 acres each in Nova Scotia. How were the men treated as prisoners of war? Did the deserters from the 71st regiment enlist with the rebel army?
There are muster rolls for the earliest period of the regiment, for 1775 and 1776. If a really accurate list of those who were present at Camden in August 1780 is required, then a data base should be compiled, using copies of the earlier 1775-76 rolls and matching individual men in each company onto the composite rolls available for 1778-83. This would eliminate many who deserted or died before August 1778. There are very many with identical names, even within each company, coming from the same family and clan. Because of these soldiers with identical names and the muddle incorporated into the 1778-83 muster rolls, it may never be possible to identify a definite list of soldiers from the two battalions of this regiment who participated in the Battle of Camden.