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Updated 02/09/2018


93rd Highlander's Welcome to Glasgow

The 93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot was raised from the Sutherland Fencibles by Major-General William Wemyss on behalf of the Countess of Sutherland on 16 April 1799.   The first muster of the regiment took place at Skail in Strathnaver in August 1800. One of the soldiers who attended the muster was Sergeant Samuel Macdonald, a soldier who stood six feet ten inches tall and had a chest measuring 48 inches. The Countess of Sutherland, on seeing Sergeant Macdonald, donated a special allowance of 2 shillings 6 pence a day, and stated that anyone as large as Macdonald "must require more sustenance than his military pay can afford." According to historian James Hunter, at a time when the Duke of Wellington who was the British military's most eminent commander could describe his soldiers as "the very scum of the earth" who were eked out of precarious livelihoods on the outermost margins of urban society, the Highlanders of the 93rd Regiment of Foot, were, by contrast, described as "the children of respectable farmers"; "connected by strong ties of neighborhood and even of relationship"; "a sort of family corps". Hunter also noted that in an era when military order was customarily maintained by regular floggings, one Sutherland Highlander company went nineteen years without having a single man punished. Thus it transpired that the 93rd were a "highly valued, picture of military discipline and moral rectitude".

The regiment was dispatched from Fort George to Guernsey in September 1800. It returned to Scotland in September 1802 from where it was deployed to Dublin in February 1803 to assist in quelling an insurrection. It was ordered to embark for Jamaica in July 1805 but, after fortnight aboard ship, the orders were canceled and the regiment sailed for the Cape of Good Hope. It arrived at Table Bay in January 1806 and joined the Highland Brigade which landed at Lospard Bay with orders to capture Cape Colony from the Dutch forces there. The regiment took part in the Battle of Blaauwberg which led to the surrender of the Dutch forces a few days later. It remained in the colony until April 1814 when it embarked for home.

A second battalion was raised in Inverness in May 1813. The 2nd Battalion was deployed to Newfoundland in April 1814 but embarked for home in October 1815 and was disbanded the following year.

Meanwhile, the 1st battalion embarked for North America in September 1814 for service in the War of 1812. It anchored at the entrance of Lake Borgne off the Gulf of Mexico in December 1814 and then advanced up the left bank of the Mississippi River towards New Orleans. It came under fire from an American armed schooner on the river and destroyed it. The regiment next saw action at the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815. British troops overran and captured the American position on the right bank of river while, on the left bank where the main assault occurred, a detachment of light infantry companies including that of the 93rd Regiment of Foot, captured the advance on the American right beside the river. However, the British assault on the left bank faltered and General John Keane led the main body of the 93rd Regiment of Foot diagonally across the field to support the faltering British right flank attack near the swamp. Following the death of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Dale, the regiment's commanding officer, no orders were issued either to advance or to withdraw so the regiment stood fast and was mown down. General John Lambert having taken command upon the death of General Edward Pakenham finally sent orders to withdraw and after a futile attempt to advance the regiment withdrew from the field.

The regiment embarked for the West Indies in November 1823. It was based in Barbados until February 1826 when it moved to Antigua and Saint Kitts. It embarked for home again in April 1834. New colors were presented to the regiment by the Duke of Wellington in October 1834. The regiment then moved to Dublin in October 1835. It embarked to Canada in January 1838 to service in the Patriot War: it landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in March 1838 and saw action at the Battle of the Windmill in November 1838. It remained in Canada until embarking for home in August 1848.

The regiment arrived at Stirling Castle in October 1848 and provided a Guard of Honor for Queen Victoria on her visit to Glasgow in August 1849. It embarked for the Crimea for service in the Crimean War in February 1854. As part of Brigadier-General Colin Campbell's Highland Brigade, it took part in the Battle of Alma in September 1854. On 25 October 1854, it was stationed outside the British-controlled port of Balaklava as part of its very thin defenses. The Russian Army sent a large force to attack Balaklava, precipitating the Battle of Balaclava. The Russian threat was countered in part by the charge of General James Scarlett's Heavy Cavalry Brigade but the rest of the Russian force headed straight for the 93rd Regiment of Foot.

Campbell told the men of the 93rd Regiment of Foot as he rode down the line: "There is no retreat from here, must die where you stand." One of the troops, John Scott, responded: "Ay, Sir Colin. An needs be, we'll do that." As the younger soldiers moved forward for a bayonet charge, Campbell called out: "93rd, 93rd, damn all that eagerness!" The Times journalist W.H.Russell commenting on the action reported:

The Russians dash at the Highlanders. The ground flies beneath their horses' feet; gathering speed at every stride, they dash on towards that thin red streak topped with a line of steel.

This led to the regiment's nickname: "The Thin Red Line".

The regiment also took part in the Siege of Sevastopol in June 1855 before embarking for home in June 1856.

The regiment sailed for India in June 1857 to help suppress the Indian Rebellion.

As part of the Cardwell Reforms of the 1870s, where single-battalion regiments were linked together to share a single depot and recruiting district in the United Kingdom, the 93rd was linked with the 92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, and assigned to district no. 56 at Castlehill Barracks in Aberdeen. On 1 July 1881 the Childers Reforms came into effect and the regiment amalgamated with the 91st (Argyllshire Highlanders) Regiment of Foot to form the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.