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The Black Watch
42nd Regiment of Foot Private c.1756
French and Indian War

by D.J. NEARY
Black Watch Private c. 1756

THE SHARP NOTES OF THE BAGPIPE mingle with the ring of sapper's axes as dappled sunlight, breaking through oak and hemlock branches, falls on red coats, dark plaids, and the dull steel of broadsword and dirk—The Black Watch has come to America. Thirty one years before, their sombre blue and green Tartan inspired the name "Am Freicadan Dubh," (The Black Watch) when they served as Independent Companies policing the turbulant Highlands for King George I. They retained this name when they merged to form the 43rd Regiment of Foot in 1739. An English observer, watching the new regiment muster for the first time in 1740, reported that each man carried a "fusil, a broad sword, a dirk, a Highland pistol all of steel...The use of these arms they learn from infancy, and are extremely adroit with them." He also observed that, "the nature of their country, their manor of living, and their continual exercise in hunting, fishing, and fowling render them hardy, robust, enterprising, and equally capable of long marches, and of sustaining patiently the want of food and rest." On May 10, 1745, these hardy soldiers fought their first battle at Fontenoy in Flanders, where they turned back repeated charges of French cavalry. In 1749 the regiment was renumbered as the 42nd Foot.

IT WAS IN AMERICA, where the regiment arrived in 1756, that the men of the 42nd truely earned their reputation for valor and fighting skill. In 1758, the 42nd joined in the assault on the French Fort Carillon, later named Fort Ticonderoga, which guarded the narrows between Lakes Champlain and George. At first, the Highlanders were relegated to the reserve, but after the British assaults had failed, the Scots could bear the inaction no longer and rushed forward to storm the walls. Again and again, the men of the 42nd hurled themselves at the obstacles of sharpened tree branches that the French had concealed near the fort's palisades, trying to hack their way forward with their broadswords under a devastating fire from the defenders. A few actually fought their way into the fort, but to no avail—the Black Watch withdrew, leaving 647 casualties strewn before the barricades. The regiment recovered from its losses, and before the French and Indian War ended in 1763, fought with extraordinary bravery at Crown Point, Louisbourg, Martinique and Guadaloupe. In 1758, the 42nd received the title "the Royal Highland Regiment" from a grateful King George II. To this day, their story remains one of the most stirring in Scotland's long martial history.

by Harris J. Andrews, III

Limited Edition Print Signed & Numbered by D.J. NEARY

Edition of 1500 | $75 each | Overall size: 16" x 20"
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