77th Foot

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Origin and History

The regiment was created on January 4 1757 as the “62nd Regiment of Foot”. It assembled at Stirling under the command of Colonel Archibald Montgomery. The regiment consisted of 13 companies of 105 men for a total of 1,460 men (including sergeants, pipers and drummers).

On June 15 1758, the regiment was renamed the “77th (Montgomery's Highlanders) Regiment of Foot”.

In December 1763, the regiment was disbanded in America. Several men decided to remain there and received land grants.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from January 1757 to December 1763: Archibald Montgomery

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment was ordered by Prime Minister Pitt to North America to defend the Southern Colonies. The regiment embarked at Greenock for Ireland. On June 30, it left Ireland and sailed directly to Charlestown, South Carolina, arriving on September 3. The regiment suffered in near-absent winter-quarters with little local support.

In April 1758, the mission of the regiment was changed and it was assigned to the expedition against Fort Duquesne (present-day Pittsburgh) under Brigadier John Forbes. By the end of June, Forbes' Army was on the march from Philadelphia, slowly progressing towards Fort Duquesne by Raystown, Shippensburg and Loyalhannon. In September, a detachment of the regiment took part in a raid on Fort Duquesne but the affair was mismanaged and more than 200 men of the regiment were killed when counter-ambushed by the French and their Indian allies. At the end of November, Forbes' Army marched on the fort which was destroyed by the French before retiring.

By the end of June 1759, the regiment had joined the British army, assembling under the command of Lord Jeffrey Amherst, at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George) for the planned expedition against Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga). On Saturday July 21, after a long delay, the regiment finally embarked aboard the flotilla which set sail over Lake Saint-Sacrement and reached the Narrows at the outlet of the lake before nightfall. At daybreak on Sunday July 22, the British force disembarked, occupied the heights, and then advanced to the line of entrenchment of Carillon. On the night of July 23, most of the French force retired down Lake Champlain, leaving only 400 men to defend the place as long as possible. At 11:00 p.m. on July 26, the French, who had abandoned the fort, blew one of its bastion to atoms. On August 1, the British force also took possession of a destroyed Fort Saint-Frédéric (present-day Crown Point) which had been abandoned by its French garrison. The British force then spent months rebuilding the two forts and adding some outworks while vessels were being built to take command of Lake Champlain. It was not until October 11 that the British troops re-embarked aboard their flotilla. On October 18, due to bad weather, Amherst resolved to cancel out the expedition and to retreat to Crown Point.

From March 1760, 700 men of the regiment took part in the expedition against the Cherokee Indians. In mid June, the expedition destroyed the Indian town of Little Keowee before retiring to Fort Prince George. A second raid against the Cherokee settlements was launched and Fort Loudon in Virginia soon captured.

In 1761, six companies of the regiment took part in the expedition against Dominique. They embarked at New York and arrived off Dominique on June 6. The island surrendered the following day.

In 1762, a detachment of the regiment took successively part in the expedition against Martinique and in the expedition against Cuba. At the end of October, the detachment was back in New York. Meanwhile, 2 companies who had been left in New York, took part to the recapture of Saint-John's Newfoundland in September.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer dark blue bonnet; headband laced with a white braid ; black cockade on the left side (in America this was replaced by a black bearskin tuft)
Grenadier probably a black bearskin with a small red front flap edged white and carrying a white edged embroidered "GR"
Neckstock white
Coat short brick red Highland jacket laced and edged white (white braid without decoration) with 11 white buttonholes and 11 white buttons
Collar gree laced white (same lace as above)
Shoulder Straps red (right shoulder only)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs green (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with white buttonholes and white buttons on the sleeve
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above) with white buttons
Kilt government set tartan, aka Black Watch, (dark blue with dark green cross-hatching) with a black or dark brown sporran; with a black or dark brown sporran
Gaiters none long stockings with red and white diagonal dicing
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt black
Waistbelt black leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed a variety of weapons including a broadsword, a musket with wooden ramrod, a bayonet, a pistol and a cartouche box worn on the waistbelt.

Officers

Officers of the regiment wore the same uniforms as the private soldiers but with the following differences

  • silver gorget around the neck
  • a silver aiguilette on the right shoulder
  • silver lace on the coat, cuffs, buttonholes, waistcoat
  • a crimson sash

Officers wore the same headgear as the private soldiers under their command; however, officers of the grenadier company wore a more decorated mitre cap.

Officers generally carried a spontoon, however, in battle some carried muskets instead.

Musicians

According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers and pipers of the regiment were clothed in green, lined and faced with red, and laced in such manner as the colonel shall think fit for distinction sake, the lace, however, was of the colours of that on the soldiers' coats.
The front or fore part of the drums was painted green, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXXVII” under it. The drums had red rims, white cords and a brass barrel.

Colours

King's Colour: Union with a centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath on the same stalk around the regiment number "LXXVII" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: green field with a centre device consisting of a rose and thistle wreath on the same stalk around the regiment number "LXXVII" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

King's Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: PMPdeL

References

Aylor, Ron: British Regimental Drums and Colours

Boscawen, Hugh: The Capture of Louisbourg, 1758, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2011

Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899

Mills, T. F.: Website - Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately seems to have vanished from the web)

Reid, Stuart: Highland Regiments in America During the Seven Years War, 18th Century Military Notes & Queries No. 1

Scottish Regiments – The Black Watch, ElectricScotland.com

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.