World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

42nd Regiment of Foot

42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot
Active 1661–1718
Country Scotland
Kingdom of Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Branch British Army
Type Line Infantry
Nickname(s) Black Watch
Black Jocks
Motto (Scotland's) Nemo me impune lacessit
Battle honours

The 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot was a Scottish infantry regiment in the British Army also known as the Black Watch. Originally titled Crawford's Highlanders or The Highland Regiment and numbered 43rd in the line, in 1748, on the disbanding of Oglethorpe's Regiment of Foot, they were renumbered 42nd and in 1751 formally titled the 42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot. [1] In 1881 the regiment was named The Royal Highland Regiment (The Black Watch), being officially redesignated The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) in 1931. In 2006 the Black Watch became part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • First action and Mutiny 1.2
    • The Americas 1.3
    • 19th century 1.4
    • Corunna and the Peninsular War 1.5
    • Waterloo 1.6
    • The Empire 1.7
  • Popular culture 2
  • Notable soldiers 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6


Early history

After the [2] He was commissioned to build a network of roads to help in the task.[3] The six Independent Highland Companies were recruited from local clans, with one company coming from Clan Munro, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Grant and three from Clan Campbell. These companies were commonly known as Am Freiceadan Dubh, or the Black Watch, this name may well have been due to the way they dressed.[4] Four more companies were added in 1739 to make a total of ten Independent Highland Companies.[5]

The ten Independent Highland Companies of "Black Watch" were officially formed into the "43rd Highland Regiment of Foot", a


External links

  • Simpson, Peter (1996). The Independent Highland Companies, 1603–1760. Edinburgh: J. Donald.  


  1. ^ Pollard 2009, p. 63.
  2. ^ Simpson 1996, p. 113.
  3. ^ Sir K.S.Mackenzie, "General Wade & his Roads", paper before the Inverness Scientific Society,13 April 1897
  4. ^ Simpson 1996, pp. 113-114.
  5. ^ a b Simpson 1996, pp. 116-117.
  6. ^ Simpson 1996, pp. 207-208.
  7. ^ Pollard 2009, pp. 71-72.
  8. ^ History of Pittsburgh and environs George Thornton Fleming, American Historical Company, American Historical Society, Incorporated, New York, 1922. "They waited on the commander of the fort, Captain William Murray (captain), who received them politely and introduced them to the Rev. Mr. McLagan, the chaplain of the 42d Highlanders, then the garrison of the fort."


Notable soldiers

A number of songs were composed about the regiment including "The Gallant Forty Twa".

Popular culture

The regiment captured its regimental Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The regiment formed part of the Highland Brigade in the Crimean War, at Cawnpore and Lucknow in 1858, and in the Anglo-Boer War.

The Empire

The 2nd battalion was disbanded in 1814, as the war with France was now apparently over, and some of its number transferred to the permanent 1st battalion. The now single battalion 42nd fought at the chaotic Battle of Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815 and was one of four battalions mentioned in despatches by Wellington. Two days later at the Battle of Waterloo, the 42nd and also the 2nd/73rd Highlanders, which was later to become the new 2nd Battalion, Black Watch, were both in some of the most intense fighting in the battle and lost 289 men.

Black Watch at Quatre Bras


As the 1st Battalion left, the 2nd Battalion was dispatched from Ireland to Spain where it served throughout the Peninsular War in the Duke of Wellington's Army. The 2nd fought with great distinction in the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro and the bloody Siege of Badajoz. The 1st battalion returned to the peninsula in time to fight in the Battle of Salamanca and then served throughout the rest of the war in Spain and on into southern France, including the Battle of Vittoria and the Battle of Nivelle.

At the battle of Corunna it was a soldier of the 42nd Highlanders who carried the mortally wounded General Sir John Moore to cover, and six more who carried him to the rear, but only after he had witnessed the victory in which the stout defence of the Black Watch played a major part. Moore's army was evacuated from Spain and the 1st Battalion of the 42nd Highlanders went with them.

Corunna and the Peninsular War

The Black Watch fought in a dozen battles of the Napoleonic Wars. During the battle of Alexandria in 1801 a major in the regiment captured a standard from the French.

Black Watch depicted guarding Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

19th century

The regiment returned to Glasgow in 1790. The Royal Highland Regiment never officially recognized the battle honours for their part in the American War of Independence, because it was decreed that battle honours should not be granted for a war with kith and kin.

During the Battle of Long Island and the later battles of Harlem, Fort Washington, Piscataway, Brandywine (light infantry and grenadier Companies only), Germantown (Light Company only), Monmouth, and the Siege of Charleston. On September 5, 1778 a detachment from the regiment raided Fairhaven, Massachusetts, inflicting severe damage on the town's shipping industry.

Between 1758 and 1767 it served in America. In August 1763, the Black Watch fought in the Battle of Bushy Run while trying to relieve Fort Pitt, modern Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during Pontiac's Rebellion.[8] The regiment went to Cork, Ireland in 1767 and returned to Scotland in 1775.

During the French and Indian War, at the first battle of Ticonderoga, also known as the Battle of Carillon (1758), the regiment lost over half of its men in the assault. At that time they were already officially recognized as a Royal regiment. The second battalion of the Black Watch was sent to the Caribbean but after the losses of Ticonderoga, the two battalions were consolidated in New York. The regiment was present at the second battle of Ticonderoga in 1759 and the surrender of Montreal in 1760. They were sent to the West Indies again where they saw action at Havana, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

"An Officer & Serjeant of a Highland Regiment." Illustration depicting soldiers of the 42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot, c. 1790s.

The Americas

When the Jacobite rising of 1745 broke out, the regiment returned to the south of Britain in anticipation of a possible French invasion. However one company of the regiment fought for the British-Hanoverian Government under Dugald Campbell of Auchrossan at the Battle of Culloden, where they suffered no casualties.[7] From 1747 to 1756 they were stationed in Ireland and then were sent to New York.

The regiment's first full combat was the disastrous Battle of Fontenoy in Flanders in 1745, where they surprised the French with their ferocity, and greatly impressed their commander, the Duke of Cumberland. Allowed "their own way of fighting", each time they received the French fire Col. Sir Robert Munro ordered his men to "clap to the ground" while he himself, because of his corpulence, stood alone with the colours behind him. For the first time in a European battle they introduced an infantry tactic (alternately firing and taking cover) that was not superseded. Springing up and closing with the enemy, they several times drove them back, and finished with a successful rear-guard action against French cavalry. Robert Munro's cousin John Munro, 4th of Newmore also fought bravely and was afterwards promoted to be a lieutenant-colonel.

The regiment's earliest days were inauspicious: ordered to London in 1743 for an inspection by King West Indies to fight in the War of Austrian Succession, and many left for Scotland. They were recaptured, three of the leaders shot in the Tower of London, and the remainder of the regiment shipped to Flanders.

First action and Mutiny


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.