89th Foot

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire from October 13 1759 by Major Staates Long Morris. In a few weeks, 760 men were assembled at Gordon Castle.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • from October 1759 to 1765: Colonel Staates Long Morris

The regiment continued to serve in India, distinguishing itself at the battle of Buxar, (October 23, 1764). It was disbanded on its return to Scotland in 1765.

Service during the War

In December 1759, the regiment marched to Aberdeen.

Early in 1760, half the regiment embarked for India under the command of Major Hector Munro. On September 2, this first contingent arrived in India to join the British forces conducting operations on the coast of Coromandel and the siege of Pondicherry. In September, shortly after their arrival, 150 men of the regiment were part of Monson's column who launched an attack on the Valdore Redoubt. The column pushed on, but having a considerable distance to march and the rear having lost its way, there was some little delay. The head of Monson's column having been brought on a road enfiladed by French guns, a single discharge of grape from an 18-pdr killed 18 men and wounded 36 others, including Colonel Monson shot through the thigh. Nevertheless, the first column rushed on to the attack and, after several repulses, the Valdore Redoubt was finally carried. In December, the rest of the regiment embarked at Portsmouth to join the first contingent in India.

In November 1761, the regiment arrived at Bombay.

Uniform

Not much is known of the uniform of the regiment: the coat was brick red; the facings, buff; and the tartan, Government Sett. Here we propose a reconstruction of the uniform based on these few indications.

Privates

Uniform in 1760 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer dark blue bonnet; headband laced with a white braid decorated with 2 red stripes; black cockade on the left side
Grenadier no information available
Neckstock white
Coat short brick red Highland jacket laced and edged white (no detail on the regimental braid) with 11 white buttonholes and 11 white buttons
Collar 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 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 government set tartan, aka Black Watch, (dark blue with dark green cross-hatching) 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 with with a "Brown Bess" muskets, a bayonet and a broadsword.

Officers

no information available

Musicians

The regiment probably abided by the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers and pipers of the regiment were clothed in 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.
The front or fore part of the drums was painted buff, with the king's cypher and crown, and the number “LXXXIX” under it. The rims were red.

Colours

Not much is known of the colours of the regiment but the distinctive colour of the regiment was buff. Here we propose a reconstruction of the colours based on this indication and on the hypothesis that they followed the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751.

King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXXXIX" in gold Roman numerals.

Regimental Colour: buff field with its centre decorated with a rose and thistle wreath around the regiment number "LXXXIX" in gold Roman numerals. The Union in the upper left corner.

King's Colour - Source: Richard Couture from a template by PMPdeL
Regimental Colour - Source: Richard Couture from a template by PMPdeL

References

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

McIntyre, Alastair: Eighty-Ninth Highland Regiment

Mills, T. F.: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)

Reid, Stuart: Highland Regiments in the Seven Years War - Part One: Keith's (87th) and Campbell's (88th) Highlanders, 18th Century Military Notes & Queries No. 4

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989

United Services Magazine 1863, Issue 3

Acknowledgements

Digby Smith for information provided on this junior regiment.