Royal Highland Emigrants

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Royal Highland Emigrants

ROYAL HIGHLAND EMIGRANTS. This Provincial regiment was the result of Allan McLane's efforts to enlist veteran Highland soldiers who had settled in Canada and the American colonies after the end of the French and Indian War. The first officers were commissioned in June 1775, and they spread out over northeastern British North America to recruit veterans as well as recently arrived emigrants from the Highlands. Two battalions were eventually raised, the First under Lieutenant Colonel MacLean at Quebec and the Second at Halifax, Nova Scotia, under Lieutenant Colonel John Small. Although the First Battalion was initially outfitted in green coats, the standard color of the Provincial service, both eventually received red coats with blue facings, bonnets, and kilts, uniforms modeled on that of the Forty-second Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Regiment). The First Battalion remained in Canada throughout the war, rendering its most important service in helping to defeat the American attack on Quebec City in December 1775–January 1776. A detachment was sent to the relief of Fort Cumberland in 1776; other detachments participated in raids on the American frontier. The Second Battalion sent detachments far and wide in British North America, from Newfoundland to Jamaica, serving most notably in the South after April 1781. Placed on the British Establishment in December 1778–January 1779 as the Eighty-fourth Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants), the Second Battalion was disbanded in Nova Scotia in 1783 and the First Battalion in Upper Canada in 1784.

SEE ALSO MacLean, Allan.


Cole, Nan, and Todd Braisted. "The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies." Available online at

Katcher, Philip R. N. Encyclopedia of British, Provincial, and German Army Units, 1775–1783. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1973.

Mills, T. F. "Land Forces of Britain, the Empire, and Commonwealth: 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants)." Available online at

Smith, Paul H. "The American Loyalists: Notes on Their Organization and Numerical Strength," William and Mary Quarterly, third series, 25 (1968): 259-277.

                             revised by Harold E. Selesky

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Royal Highland Emigrants

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