1st Foot

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Origin and History

Some sources indicate the regiment was part of the Scottish Establishment at its creation in 1633. However, there was no regular Scottish army at that time, nor was there a Scottish Establishment. The regiment was raised by a Royal Warrant, and was raised solely for the purpose of foreign service.

Some sources indicate the regiment dates back to 1625, when it was in Swedish service. Though Hepburn commanded a regiment in Swedish service, this was not a Scottish regiment. The regiment of 1633 should be regarded as a new corps.

Though a Scottish regiment, the regiment was never part of Scottish Establishment – except for a battalion between 1686 and 1688.

The regiment remained the only two battalion regiment of the British army, other than the Guards, for many years, Contrary to the foot guards, the regiment served as one regiment with both battalions – the foot guards dispatched battalions for overseas service.

Acknowledgement: Wienand Drenth

The regiment was raised for French service by a Royal Warrant dated March 28, 1633. The regiment was commanded by Sir John Hepburn and was known in French as “Regiment d’Hebron”; it consisted of 1,200 men. Hepburn’s commission from the French King Louis XIII dates from January 26, 1633.

In late 1634 or early 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment absorbed the remnants of Scottish regiments formerly in Swedish service, that had been decimated at the battle of Nordlingen. At this time the regiment numbered 8,316 men all ranks, in forty-eight companies. It then joined the French Army in Flanders, taking part in the siege of La Motte (aka La Mothe) before occupying Mannheim and relieving Heidelberg.

In 1635, it campaigned with the French Army of Germany, taking part in a rearguard action near Metz. In 1636, it participated in the siege of Saverne where Colonel John Hepburn was killed in action. King Louis XIII conferred the vacant colonelcy of the regiment on Lieutenant-Colonel James Hepburn. In 1637, the regiment campaigned in Alsace where Colonel James Hepburn was killed, and he was succeeded in the command of the regiment by Lord James Douglas, second son of William, first Marquis of Douglas. From this period the regiment was known in France by the title of “Regiment de Douglas”. It then numbered 1,200 men. During the year, it was transferred to Picardie which had been invaded by the Spaniards. In 1638, it took part in the invasion of the Duchy of Artois in the Spanish Netherlands, in the unsuccessful siege of Saint-Omer, in the capture of Renty and in the storming of Catelet in Picardie; in 1639, in the siege and capture of Hesdin, and in a skirmish near Saint-Nicolas.

During the English Civil War (1642–1651), the regiment remained in the service of France. In 1643, it was sent to Italy where it took part in the siege and capture of Turin. In 1644, the regiment returned to Picardie and took part in the siege and capture of Gravelines. In 1649, it participated in the siege of Paris; in 1651, in the defence of several strong towns on the frontiers of Picardie and Flanders, and in operations against the insurgents of the Fronde.

On July 2, 1652, the regiment fought in the Battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. During the following winter, it took part in the siege and capture of Bar le Duc and in the assault upon the Castle of Ligny where it suffered heavy losses. In 1653, it participated in the siege and capture of Château Portien in the Ardennes, in the siege of Vervins. In 1654, it assumed garrison duties. In 1655, it was employed in the Netherlands where its colonel, Lieutenant-General Lord James Douglas was killed in action; he was succeeded in the colonelcy by his brother, Lord George Douglas, afterwards Earl of Dumbarton. In 1657, the regiment was placed in remote garrison to prevent it from joining Charles II who had sided with Spain.

In 1658, the regiment fought in the Battle of the Dunes, alongside the Cromwellian regiments that served with the French army, and against the Royalist regiments formed from exiles that served with the Spanish army.

In 1660, after the signature of the Treaty of the Pyrenees between France and Spain, the “Regiment de Douglas” was reduced to eight companies. These events were followed by the restoration of King Charles II to the throne of Great Britain. Meanwhile, the regiment, still in the service of France, was in garrison at Avennes. In the Spring of 1661, the eight companies of the regiment were sent from Flanders to England to assist Charles II, following the Restoration. It obtained rank in the British Army from that date. Soon after its arrival in England, the establishment of the regiment was augmented with soldiers of another Scottish regiment in French service. In 1662, Charles II having raised several new regiments, it was not deemed necessary to detain the “Regiment de Douglas” veteran corps in England, and it was, accordingly, sent back to France. The same year, the battalion of Gardes Écossaises of General Andrew Rutherford and the battalion of Lord James Douglas were both incorporated in the regiment which now consisted of 23 companies of 100 men each. In 1663, it was reduced to only eight companies of 100 men each.

In 1665, the Second Anglo-Dutch War (March 4 1665–July 31, 1667) broke out between England and the Dutch Republic. In 1666, Louis XIV sided with the Dutch against England. The “Regiment de Douglas” was then ordered to quit the French service, and to return to England. From June 12, the regiment again served as part of the English establishment. On July 12, the 800 men of the regiment landed at Rye, in Sussex. Shortly after its arrival from France, the regiment was ordered to proceed to Ireland, where it appears to have remained upwards of twelve months. It remained in the English establishment until October 12, 1667.

In 1668, after the conclusion of the Peace of Breda, the insurrections in Ireland having been suppressed, the regiment was again sent to France. By an ordnance of Louis XIV issued on March 26, 1670 the regiment was ranked as 13th regiment of foot.

It served as part of the British Brigade in French service between 1672 and 1678, during the French-Dutch War.

In 1672, the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78) broke out. King Charles II of England also declared war against the Dutch Republic; and a British force, commanded by the Duke of Monmouth, was sent to France to co-operate with the army of Louis XIV in an attack upon Holland. In the meantime, the regiment had been augmented to 16 companies and, when the army took the field, it formed two battalions. It served as part of the British Brigade in the division of the army commanded by Maréchal Turenne. Several fortified towns were captured by the main army. The regiment took part in the siege and capture of Grave. A number of the subjects of the British crown, who had entered the service of the Dutch Republic, being found in garrison, they were permitted to engage in the service of Louis XIV, and were received as recruits in the “Regiment de Douglas” who later joined Turenne's Army. In 1674, even though King Charles II had concluded a treaty with the Dutch Republic, he authorised the regiment to continue to serve with the French Army on the Rhine. In 1675, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Dachstein, and in the defence of Trier; in 1676, in a campaign on the Rhine where Lord George Hamilton was killed in a rearguard action; in 1677, in a campaign in Alsace.

On January 29, 1678, King Charles II having concluded a treaty with the Dutch Republic, he recalled the regiment to England, where it was reintegrated into the English Army as the "Earl of Dumbarton's Regiment of Foot". This marked the end of an almost unbroken period of 45 years in service of the kings of France. It was then the oldest Scot regiment of the army. Soon after the arrival of the regiment from France, a number of men, who each carried a large pouch filled with hand-grenades, were added to the establishment, and formed into a company, under the command of Captain Robert Hodges. These men were instructed to ignite the fuses, and to cast the grenades into forts, trenches, or amidst the ranks of their enemies, where the explosion was calculated to produce much execution; and the men, deriving their designation from the combustibles with which they were armed, were styled “grenadiers”. Their duties were considered more arduous than those of the pikemen or musketeers; and the strongest and most active men were selected for the grenadier company.

On March 25, 1679, the Dumbarton's Regiment, which consisted at this period of 21 companies (including one company of grenadiers), was transferred to the Irish Establishment and stationed in Ireland. In the autumn of 1679, Tangier in Africa (which had been ceded by Portugal to Charles II, in 1662, as part of the marriage-portion of his consort, Donna Catherina, Infanta of Portugal), was besieged by the Moors, who destroyed two forts at a short distance from the town, and then retired. In the Spring of 1680, the Moors reappeared before the town and four companies of the regiment were ordered to reinforce the garrison of Tangier. These companies embarked at Kinsale in the James and Swan frigates. On April 4, they landed at Tangier. Fort Henrietta, which stood at a short distance from the town, was at this time besieged by the Moors. Two breaches had been made and the works undermined, and the garrison could not maintain the place; consequently a sally from the city was resolved upon, to give the garrison an opportunity of blowing up the fort, and of cutting their passage through the Moorish army to the town. Captain Hume, Lieutenant Pierson, Lieutenant Bayley, 4 sergeants and 80 privates of the regiment were selected to form the forlorn-hope in the sally. Accordingly, on May 12 at 8:00 a.m., they issued from the town and made a gallant attack on the Moorish army; at the same time the garrison in the fort blew up the building, and rushed forward, sword in hand, to cut their passage through the besiegers. Out of the 165 men forming the garrison of Fort Henrietta, only 44 managed to effect a junction with Captain Hume's party. This party was also attacked by several bodies of Moorish horsemen who were all repulsed. The party continued skirmishing and retiring in good order until it arrived under the protection of the guns of the fortress. In this action, the regiment lost 15 men killed, and Captain Hume and several men wounded. During the summer 12 additional companies of the regiment arrived at Tangier, from Ireland, under the command of Major Sir James Hackett. Hostilities resumed in September. On September 24, the regiment distinguished itself and had Captain Forbes and eight men killed. On September 27, it took part in a general sally on the Moorish lines, quickly carrying the first trench, then mixing in fierce combat with the Moors, they routed them. In this action, the regiment lost 6 officers and 36 men killed and 15 officers and 100 men wounded. Thus the siege of Tangier was raised. In December, the regiment received 200 recruits sent from England. In the Spring of 1681, a treaty of peace for four years was concluded. Towards the end of 1683, the Parliament refusing the necessary supply for Tangier, Admiral Lord Dartmouth was sent with a fleet to demolish the fortress, and to bring away the garrison and British inhabitants. In November, one company of the regiment arrived from Tangier and landed at Gravesend. In February 1684, the 15 remaining companies of the regiment arrived in the river Thames and landed at Rochester. Eight companies were quartered at Rochester and Chatham; six at Winchester; and two at Southampton. At the same time, directions were sent to the Duke of Ormond, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, to send back the five companies of the regiment still stationed in that country to England. On May 1, 1684, King Charles II conferred upon the regiment the title of "His Majesty's Royal Regiment of Foot", which ranked first among the line infantry regiments. By October, the regiment consisted of 21 companies (2 lieutenants, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals and 2 drummers per company).

On February 6, 1685, when King Charles II died, the regiment was ordered to march from the County of Kent into quarters in London and the adjacent villages. In March, four companies proceeded to Yarmouth, and four to Rochester, leaving thirteen companies in quarters in London. In June, the Duke of Monmouth rebelled. The regiment was increased to 100 men per company and five companies were sent from London to Portsmouth, to increase the strength of that garrison. Furthermore, five companies of the regiment, under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Douglas, were sent to the West of England to curb Monmouth's rebellion. The four companies of the regiment at Yarmouth were at the same time ordered to march to London; so that during Monmouth's rebellion the regiment was employed as follows:

  • 5 companies with the army
  • 5 companies in garrison at Portsmouth
  • 7 companies attending the court in London
  • 4 companies at Rochester

The five companies of the regiment, under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas, with 9 field-pieces, having joined the army under the Earl of Feversham, the rebels found it necessary to move to Bridgewater. The King's forces advanced to the village of Weston, where they arrived on July 5, and the cavalry having been quartered in the village, the infantry encamped on Sedgemoor. The 5 companies of the regiment, being formed in one small battalion, took the right of the line, and were posted behind a deep ditch; a squadron of horse and 50 dragoons were sent forward as an advanced guard, and 100 men of the regiment were kept under arms in readiness to support the cavalry out-guards. During the night the rebels marched out of Bridgewater, with the design of surprising the King's forces; but the guard having given an alarm, the five companies of the regiment were formed in order of battle in a few moments, and opening their fire upon the advancing rebels with good effect, held them in check, and gave time to the other battalions to form, and for the cavalry to draw out of the village. The rebel cavalry, under Lord Grey, first attempted to charge the regiment, but being unable to cross the ditch, they were driven back by the steady fire of the veteran Scots. The rebel infantry, headed by the Duke of Monmouth, directing their march by the fire, first attacked the regiment, and extending along the moor, a sharp combat of musketry ensued in the dark. The rebel foot, consisting principally of miners, fought with desperation; but their cavalry was soon chased out of the field by the King's horsemen; and when daylight appeared, the Life Guards, Royal Horse Guards, and Royal Dragoons, charged the right flank of the rebel infantry, and put Monmouth's untrained battalions into disorder. A complete rout ensued ; the insurgents fled from the moor; and numbers were slain and made prisoners in the adjoining fields. The companies of the Royal Regiment were foremost in the pursuit, and captured the Duke of Monmouth's standard with his motto in gold letters, “Fear none but God.” The Duke of Monmouth was taken prisoner soon afterwards, and was beheaded on July 15 on Tower-Hill, London. A few days after the battle of Sedgemoor, the establishment of the regiment was reduced from 100 to 50 privates per company. In August, eleven companies were encamped on Hounslow Heath, where they were reviewed by the King. In September, thirteen companies marched to Winchester, to attend the court at that city. The regiment passed the winter at Portsmouth and Exeter, with one company detached to Lynn. At this period the establishment of the regiment consisted of:

  • 1 colonel
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 major
  • 18 captains
  • 1 captain-lieutenant
  • 41 lieutenants
  • 21ensigns
  • 1 adjutant
  • 1 chaplain
  • 1 quartermaster and marshal
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 surgeon's mate
  • 1 drum major
  • 1 piper
  • 42 drummers
  • 63 sergeants
  • 63 corporals
  • 1,050 privates

On March 1, 1686, a second adjutant and a second surgeon's mate were added to the establishment, and the regiment was again divided into two battalions: the first battalion consisting of eleven, and the second of ten companies. On March 20, the second battalion was placed on the Scottish Establishment, in exchange for the battalion of Scots Foot Guards. In April, this second battalion embarked at Gravesend for Scotland. At the same time the whole of the first battalion was placed in garrison at Portsmouth, from whence it marched in June to the training camp of Hounslow. In July, four companies marched from Hounslow Heath and encamped near Tunbridge Wells, to attend the Princess Anne during her residence at that place. In August, the first battalion struck its tents, and marched to Yarmouth and Bungay, with a detachment at Landguard-Fort, where it passed the winter.

In the Spring of 1687, the first battalion was sent to garrison Portsmouth. In the Autumn, it marched into Yorkshire and the men were employed during the winter in working on the fortifications at Hull.

In April 1688, the first battalion was recalled from Yorkshire and stationed at Greenwich, Woolwich, and Deptford, until June 26, when it encamped on Hounslow Heath. In the meantime the second battalion, which had been transferred to the English Establishment, had marched from Scotland to York. In August, it proceeded to Hertford and Ware; and in September to Gravesend, where the first battalion had previously arrived from Hounslow Heath. The reunited battalions occupied Gravesend, Tilbury-Fort, Sheerness and other places along the banks of the Thames and the coast of Kent. In September, the regiment contributed four companies to form the nucleus of Archibald Douglas’s Regiment (the future 16th Foot). At this period, many noblemen and gentlemen who felt the greatest concern for the welfare of their country had invited the Prince of Orange to land in England with a Dutch army to aid them in resisting the proceedings of the court. King James II made preparations to avert the danger, and augmented his army. The Royal Regiment was increased to 26 companies, and its total strength to 1,858 officers and soldiers, each battalion having now a grenadier company. In the early part of November, the Dutch fleet having sailed past Dover, the Royal Regiment was ordered to the west. When the Prince of Orange landed at Torbay and advanced to Exeter, the regiment proceeded to the advanced post of Warminster. On November 21, King James reviewed his army on Salisbury Plain. However, many officers and soldiers of his army deserted from his camp and joined the Prince of Orange. The Royal Regiment of Foot was an exception; it preserved its ranks entire, and stood with an unshaken loyalty amidst the general defection which prevailed in the kingdom. When the king ordered his forces to retire towards London, the Royal Regiment marched, first to Devizes, and afterwards to Windsor, where it arrived on November 29. The desertions continuing, the King sent orders to Lieutenant-General the Earl of Feversham to make no further resistance to the Prince of Orange, and his Majesty afterwards attempted to effect his escape to France. These orders produced much confusion. Several corps were disbanded and the men spreading themselves in parties over the country, committed many disorders. The Royal Regiment, however, appears to have been equally conspicuous for good order as for loyalty, and continued at its post of duty until directed by the Prince of Orange to march to Oxford. The Earl of Dumbarton, the colonel of the regiment, having fled to France with James II, the Prince of Orange conferred the colonelcy on one of his most distinguished officers: Marshal Frederick de Schomberg, afterwards Duke Schomberg.

In 1689, a convention declared the throne abdicated and vacant, and conferred the sovereignty on William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange. The regiment received orders to embark for the Netherlands to replace the Dutch troops which were in England. This order was considered premature: the national assembly in Scotland had not declared for King William, and the Scots officers and soldiers did not consider themselves bound to obey the commands of a king who had not been acknowledged in Scotland. A number of officers and men mutinied and, seizing the money appointed for their pay, marched with four pieces of cannon towards Scotland. At the same time the Royal Regiment of Scots Horse, commanded by Major-General Viscount Dundee, deserted from its quarters at Abingdon, and proceeded in the same direction. William III sent Major-General Sir John Lanier with his own regiment of horse and Colonel Langston's Horse, and Lieutenant-General de Ginkell (afterwards Earl of Athlone) with three regiments of Dutch dragoons, in pursuit of the mutineers. These troops overtook the men of the Royal Regiment in Lincolnshire, about 20 officers and 500 men laid down their arms and submitted themselves to William's clemency who dismissed four officers and pardoned the remainder of the regiment. William III then ordered the first battalion to be completed to its establishment from the second, and to proceed to its original destination. The second battalion of the Royal Regiment having transferred its serviceable men to the first, proceeded to Scotland.

In the Spring of 1689, when England got involved in the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the first battalion embarked for the Netherlands, where it arrived in the beginning of May, and joined the Dutch camp at Tongres in the early part of June. On August 25, the first battalion took part in the Battle of Walcourt. During the winter, the second battalion of the Royal Regiment having recruited its ranks, was sent from Scotland to the Dutch Republic. In the Summer of 1690, both battalions took the field. On June 21, they were still on the march to Bruxelles when the Allies were defeated at Fleurus. On July 1, Marshal Duke Schomberg was killed at the battle of the Boyne in Ireland and the colonelcy of the Royal Regiment remained vacant until March 5, 1691, when it was conferred by King William III on Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Douglas. On June 23, 1692, Colonel Sir Robert Douglas, with 2 captains, 2 lieutenants, 2 ensigns, and 120 privates of the Royal Regiment, was detached, with other troops, to attempt the surprise of Mons. On June 24 at 1:00 a.m., the detachment arrived within a short distance of the town and the troops were ordered to halt while Sir Robert Douglas and Colonel O'Farrel proceeded to consult with the Prince of Württemberg, who commanded the party. However, they mistook their way in the dark, fell into the hands of a detachment of French cavalry and were made prisoners. The enemy being found prepared to resist, the detachment returned to the camp at Mellé and, on June 29, Sir Robert Douglas was released on payment of the regulated ransom and rejoined his regiment. On August 3, the regiment took part in the Battle of Steenkerque where the first battalion distinguished itself, storming three trenches. In this battle, the regiment lost its colonel, Sir Robert Douglas, killed in action. A few days after the battle, King William III conferred the colonelcy on Lord George Hamilton (afterwards Earl of Orkney) from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The regiment took its winter-quarters in Bruges. On July 29, 1693, the regiment fought in the Battle of Landen. In May 1694, the first battalion joined the army assembling near Louvain while the second battalion assumed garrison duties at at Bruges before joining the small army of observation of Count de Merode along the banks of the canal leading to Ghent. Towards the end of August, the second battalion quitted its post on the Bruges Canal, and joined the first battalion at the camp at Rousselaer. The regiment then took part in the coverage of the siege of Huy. In October, the regiment returned to Bruges where it took its winter-quarters. In May 1695, it took the field and the first battalion took part in the siege and capture of Namur while the second battalion formed part of the covering forces. In 1696, the regiment passed the Summer in camp along the banks of the Bruges canal and took its winter-quarters in Bruges. In the spring of 1697, when the regiment took the field, four companies were left in garrison at Bruges, where they remained during the summer. The remainder of the regiment took part in the several operations of the main army under King William III. After the conclusion of the Peace of Ryswick the regiment marched from Brussels to Ghent.

On March 26, 1699, the regiment was placed in the Irish Establishment. It then embarked for Ireland. A reduction of four companies was made in its establishment. On May 1, the regiment was further reduced to 22 companies, each of 3 officers, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 1 drummer and 34 privates. At the end of 1700, events in Europe convinced the king to place the regiment on a war establishment. Accordingly, it was augmented to 24 companies, each of 3 officers, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers and 59 privates.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1701, the regiment was sent the Dutch Republic. By mid-September, it was posted to the vicinity of Breda. In 1702, as part of the British contingent, it joined a body of Dutch and Germans under the Earl of Athlone, and encamped at Kranenburg on the Lower Rhine to cover the siege of Kaiserwerth. In June, Athlone had to precipitously retire under the walls of Nijmegen, the regiment along with the Foot Guards and other British units forming the rear guard. The regiment now formed part of the force under the Earl of Marlborough. It covered the siege of Venlo. One battalion then took part in the siege of Stevensweert. The entire regiment then participated in the siege and capture of Liège. In 1704, it took part in Marlborough's famous march to the Danube, in the Battle of the Schellenberg, in the screening of the siege of Ingoldstadt and in the victorious Battle of Blenheim. Afterwards the second battalion of the regiment formed part of the escort who accompanied prisoners to the Dutch Republic. In September, the first battalion was with the force who covered the siege of Landau. In 1705, the first battalion took part in the siege and recapture of Huy. In July, the regiment took part in the passage of the French lines in the Low Countries. In 1706, it took part in the Battle of Ramillies and then formed part of the covering army during the sieges and capture of Dendermonde, Ostend and Menin. One battalion then took part in the siege and capture of Ath. In the Spring of 1708, the regiment was ordered to return to England to repel the invaders. When the menace of invasion disappeared, it was sent back to Flanders and took part in the Battle of Oudenarde. It was subsequently employed in covering the siege of Lille and one of its battalion took part in the engagement of Wijnendale. The entire regiment then took part in the relief of Bruxelles and in the siege of Ghent. In 1709, it took part in the sieges of Tournai and Mons and in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710, it formed part of the covering army during the sieges of Douai and Béthune and later took part in the siege of Aire. In 1711, it took part in the siege and capture of Bouchain. In 1712, the regiment covered the siege of Le Quesnoy. When peace negotiations started, the French monarch agreed to deliver the city of Dunkerque into the hands of the British as a pledge of his sincerity. The regiment was among the six battalions who occupied the place. It remained in garrison in this city nearly two years.

In May 1714, the regiment marched from Dunkerque to Nieuport, where it remained until after the decease of Queen Anne and the accession of King George I, which occurred on August 1. In August, the two battalions returned to England and assembled in the vicinity of London, and having been reviewed by the Duke of Ormond, afterwards proceeded into garrison at Portsmouth and Plymouth.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment fought at the battle of Fontenoy (May 11 1745).

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British infantry, the regiment was designated as the "1st Royal Regiment of Foot".

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

  • since June 27 1737: James St. Clair (Lord Sinclair)
  • from December 17 1762 to September 11 1765: Sir Henry Erskine

Service during the War

1st Battalion

In 1759, the 1st Battalion (about 700 men) was stationed in Ireland to defend the island against a potential French invasion.

In 1760, the 1st Battalion embarked from Ireland, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Horne Elphinston, and sailed for Quiberon Bay, on the coast of France, in preparation of an expedition against Belle-Isle. However, the death of King George II on October 25 led to the cancellation of the expedition and the battalion sailed back to Ireland.

2nd Battalion

The 1st Royal Regiment, 2nd Battalion was selected for the planned 1757 Campaign against Louisbourg or Québec. On May 7, the transport fleet sailed from Cork, Ireland, arriving at Halifax on July 9. Three French Naval Squadrons reinforced Louisbourg that summer and the British expedition was cancelled. The battalion spent the Winter 1757/1758 at Halifax.

In Spring 1758, the 1st Royal Regiment joined the successful Louisbourg Campaign departing Halifax on May 28. On June 8, when Lieutenant-General Jeffrey Amherst's army landed near Louisbourg, the battalion was part of the right brigade under Whitmore. Between May and July, the battalion took part in the siege of Louisbourg which surrendered on July 27. In these operations, the battalion lost Lieutenants Fenton and Howe, killed; with Lieutenants Fitzsimmons, Bailey, and Ashe, and Ensign Waterton, wounded. When Amherst was informed of the British defeat in the Battle of Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga), he decided to return to Boston with part of his army. On August 30, the regiment embarked at Louisbourg and sailed for Boston where it arrived on September 14. It then marched through the woods to Lake George to effect a junction with Abercrombie's Army.

At the beginning of June 1759, the regiment joined the British army assembling near Albany under the command of Amherst, at the head of Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George) for the planned expedition against Carillon and Fort Saint-Frédéric (present-day Crown Point). On June 21, the army advanced to the banks of Lake Saint-Sacrement. 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 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. During the following winter the companies were dispersed once again: 4 to Amboy, New Jersey, 4 to Brunswick, and 2 to Trenton, New Jersey.

In March 1760, Amherst was compelled to send 1,100 men (6 companies from the 2nd battalion (400 men) of the 1st Royal Regiment of Foot and 700 men of the 77th Montgomery’s Highlanders) to the south to quell a rising of Cherokee Indians. On June 27, at some 8 km from Etchoe, the lowest settlement of the Cherokee Middle Towns, a company of rangers forming Montgomery's advanced guard was ambushed in a deep valley. The Indians burst upon the rangers suddenly, as they had upon Braddock, with hideous whooping and howling, and a scattered but deadly fire of rifles. Captain Morrison, and a number of his rangers were killed and the rest ran off. The grenadiers and light infantry companies moved forward to support the rangers while the 1st Royal Regiment of Foot came forward on rising ground to the right of the Cherokee. The 1st Royal Regiment of Foot was thrown back into open ground by heavy rifle fire and it took some time to reform and fight off the Cherokee counter-attack. Montgomery now extended his line on the left with the 77th Montgomery's Highlanders, who turned the Indian right. The Indians retired from this advance and came into contact with the 1st Royal Regiment of Foot in a brisk encounter from which they retreated to a position on a hill from which they could not be dislodged. Montgomery ordered an advance through the pass and on to the town, but some of the Cherokee ran to warn the inhabitants to leave. Some of the warriors had got around his flanks and attacked his pack animals and supply train whose loss would cripple the army. This attack was eventually driven off. This engagement cost the British over 80 men killed and wounded. After the battle, Montgomery found himself with a large number of seriously wounded men which he could neither leave behind if he advanced or retreated. He also lost many of his pack animals so that it was impossible to proceed any farther. He had to abandon the advance along with a large quantity of supplies in order to provide pack horses to transport the wounded to safety. The British force retreated back to Fort Prince George. In this campaign, Captain Manley Williams and 8 privates were killed. At the end of June, the 2 flank companies marched to Charleston where they embarked for New York, leaving only 4 battalion companies in South Carolina under the command of Major Frederick Hamilton. Meanwhile, the 4 other companies advanced to Fort Saint-Frédéric to take part in the three pronged attack against Montréal. On August 11, they sailed towards Isle-aux-Noix under Colonel Haviland and were later present at the capitulation of Montréal.

Four battalion companies of the 2nd battalion under Major Hamilton spent the winter of 1760-61 in South Carolina. In April 1761, three companies participated in a new expedition against the Cherokee Indians. Meanwhile, the four companies who had wintered in Montréal proceeded to New York, and, leaving the two flank companies in garrison, embarked in April for the West Indies, under the orders of Colonel Lord Rollo. In June, they took part in the expedition against Dominica. In December, they proceeded to Barbadoes.

From January to March 1762, four companies of the battalion took part in the expedition against Martinique. Meanwhile, the four companies operating in South Carolina embarked at Charleston and and sailed to the West Indies under the orders of Colonel Grant. These companies then took part in the siege and capture of Havana. In September, the two flank companies left in New York took part in the recapture of Newfoundland.



Uniform in 1758 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade (left side)
1st Foot Grenadier Mitre Cap - Published with the kind authorisation of the Royal Scots Museum - Photo: Dallas Gavan
British mitre with: a dark blue front embroidered with the regimental badge (king's cypher within the circle of St. Andrew and a crown over it); a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red back; a dark blue headband wearing the number I in the middle part behind
Neckstock white
Coat brick red lined dark blue and laced and edged white (plain white braid) with 3 white buttonholes under the lapels (same lace as above)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a white button (left shoulder)
Lapels dark blue laced white (same lace as above) with 7 pewter buttons and 6 white buttonholes (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets with white laces (same lace as above), each with pewter buttons
Cuffs dark blue (slashed in the British pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with white buttonholes on the sleeve
Turnbacks dark blue
Waistcoat brick red laced white (same lace as above) with white buttons and white buttonholes
Breeches dark blue
Gaiters white with black buttons
brown, grey or black during campaigns (black after 1759)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural 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 sword. They also carried a dark brown haversack with a metal canteen on the left hip.


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

  • gilt gorget around the neck
  • an aiguilette on the right shoulder
  • golden lace instead of normal lace
  • 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.


According to the Royal Clothing Warrant of 1751:

The drummers of the regiment wore the royal livery. They were clothed in red, lined, faced, and lapelled on the breast with blue, and laced with the royal lace (golden braid with two thin purple central stripes).
The front or fore part of the drums was painted blue, with the regimental badge (king's cypher within the circle of St. Andrew and a crown over it), and the number “I” under it. The rims were red.


King's Colour: Union with its centre decorated the regimental badge (king's cypher within the circle of St. Andrew and a crown over it). The regiment number "I" in roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.

Regimental Colour: blue field; centre device consisting the regimental badge (king's cypher within the circle of St. Andrew and a crown over it); the Union in the upper left corner; the thistle and crown in the 3 other corners. The regiment number "I" in roman gold numerals superposed to the Union in the upper left corner.

N.B.: since this regiment exceptionally counted 2 battalions, the colours of the 2nd Battalion were distinguished by a flaming ray superposed to the upper left branch of the saltire.

King's Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
King's Colour 2nd Battalion - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour 2nd Battalion - Copyright: Kronoskaf


This article is mainly a condensed and abridged version of the following book which is in the public domain:

  • Cannon, Richard: Historical Record of the First or Royal Regiment of Foot, London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker, 1847

Other sources

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

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

George II: The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II, p. 90-103

May R. and Embleton G. A.: Wolfe's Army, Osprey Publishing, London, 1974

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

Tortora, Daniel J.: Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756–1763, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

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


Wienand Drenth for additional information on the lineage and history of the regiment