88th Foot

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> 88th Foot

Origin and History

The regiment was raised at Stirling in Scotland on January 1 1760 by Major John Campbell of Dunoon, formerly of the 78th Fraser's Highlanders. It initially consisted of 800 men to whom 2 companies of the 87th Keith's Highlanders were later added. Its officers also came from the 87th Foot. Usually known as Campbell's Highlanders, the regiment was also designated as the 88th Royal Highland Volunteers.

Highland units were used as a light troops or raiders. The men received little formal training other than to advance with the bayonet. The soldier's backgrounds, extensive cattle raiding in the Highlands, made them well suited to their role in Germany. The unit was often combined with the 87th Keith's Highlanders and both were heavily engaged in petite guerre operations gaining a fearsome reputation.

In 1763, the unit was shipped, via the Netherlands, home. It landed at Tilbury Fort and marched to Scotland. As was common with the light units of the period after wars end, the regiment was then disbanded at Linlithgow in July.

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

  • from 1760 to 1763: John Campbell of Dunoon

Service during the War

In May 1760, the regiment was part of the reinforcement of six battalions and two regiments of Highlanders sent to Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. On June 29, the regiment disembarked at Bremen and soon joined the Allied army where it was incorporated in the grenadier brigade of colonel John Beckwith. On July 31, the battalion took part in the battle of Warburg but was not involved in heavy fighting. On September 5, 150 highlanders took part in a successful raid on a French outpost at Zierenberg. They led the assault on the town and surprised the French stationed there. The losses of the Highlanders in this affair were 3 privates killed and 6 wounded. In October, they were sent to reinforce the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick who was besieging Wesel. On October 14, they made a junction with the Prince's army. On October 16, at the battle of Clostercamp the Highlanders corps was the last Allied unit to retreat. In this action lieutenants William Ogilvie and Alexander Macleod of the Highlanders, 4 sergeants, and 37 rank and file were killed, and Captain Archibald Campbell of Achallader, lieutenants Gordon Clunes, Archibald Stewart, Angus Mackintosh of Killachy, and Walter Barland, and 10 rank and file were wounded.

On July 15 1761, the regiment took part in the battle of Vellinghausen where it was heavily engaged during the evening. Initially driven back, they recovered, counter-attacked and stabilized their position until morning. The next day they and the rest of Granby's infantry were ordered forward when another French assault fell into confusion. In the action, the Highlanders corps succeeded in cutting off and capturing Rougé Infanterie but suffered fairly heavy losses. Major Archibald Campbell, Lieutenant James Grant, Lieutenant Angus Mackintosh and lieutenant William Ross together with a sergeant and 31 men were killed. As for the wounded, they included Captain James Fraser and Lieutenant Archibald McArthur, two sergeants and 70 men. The commander in chief, in a general order, thus expressed his approbation of the conduct of the corps in this action:

"His serene highness, duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, had been graciously pleased to order colonel Beckwith to signify to the brigade he has the honour to command his entire approbation of their conduct on the 15th and 16th of July. The soldier-like perseverance of the Highland regiments in resisting and repulsing the repeated attacks of the chosen troops of France, has deservedly gained them the highest honour. The ardour and activity with which the grenadiers pushed and pursued the enemy, and the trophies they have taken, justly entitle them to the highest encomiums. The intrepidity of the little band of Highlanders merits the greatest praise".

On June 24 1762, the regiment took part in the battle of Wilhelmstal where it was lightly engaged with 5 dead, 10 wounded and 12 missing. On September 21, it was at the Combat of Amöneburg (aka Brücker-Mühle). In this action, the two Highlanders regiments had Major Alexander Maclean and 21 rank and file killed, and Captain Patrick Campbell, Lieutenant Walter Barland, 3 sergeants, and 58 rank and file wounded.

Uniform

Later paintings illustrate green facings. However, there are also references to buff facings.

Privates

Uniform in 1760 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer dark blue bonnet; headband laced with a white braid ; black cockade on the left side
Grenadier 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 green (or buff) laced white (same lace as above)
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs green (or buff) (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 probably government set tartan, aka Black Watch, (dark blue with dark green cross-hatching) with a black or dark brown sporran

OR

green with narrow blue green vertical and horizontal stripes with very thin black stripes; 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 42" barrel carbine 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. Furthermore, line Officers also had a cockade of white feathers attached to the bonnet.

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 (or buff), 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. Furthermore, they probably wore the Royal Stewart tartan. This is described as "scarlet, with medium stripes of dark green arranged in pairs, the pairs spaced widely apart. Over the green stripes were alternating thin over-stripes of yellow and white."
The front or fore part of the drums was painted green (or buff), with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXXXVIII” 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 "LXXXVIII" in gold Roman numerals.

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

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

References

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, S. Highland Regiments in the Seven Years War, 18th Century Military Notes & Queries No. 4

Osprey’s British Redcoat 1740–93 (Warrior 19)

Links: