MY researches (which began
several years ago) regarding " The Brave Sons of Skye," having now come to a
close, it only remains for me to offer, once more, my warmest thanks to
those ladies and gentlemen who have so cordially helped me in my work, and
without whose enthusiastic assistance this book would never have seen
daylight. Much of the military history of the Island of Skye has undoubtedly
been lost for ever; but, while we deplore this loss, we have reason to be
proud of the noble heritage of valorous deeds—some of which are still unique
in the annals of war—that has come down to us from the " brave and the true
" of our kith and kin. Let this fact be remembered for ever, to the credit
of the people of Skye, that, in the many official records (and they lie not,
neither do they screen the worthless) which were searched in the course of
this inquiry, only three cases of alleged misconduct against Skyemen came to
light, and that, after due investigation, all the three charges broke down,
and the individuals concerned were " honourably acquitted."
The ordinary daily pay of
private soldiers varies from one shilling to one shilling and ninepence, and
of non-commissioned officers from one shilling and threepence to six
shillings, according to rank and branch of the service. A private soldier
receives without payment a daily ration of three-quarters of a pound of good
meat and one pound of bread. Vegetables and groceries are provided for by a
stoppage from his pay of threepence or threepence-halfpenny a day. On active
service a fuller ration, including vegetables and groceries, is issued free.
After deducting all stoppages, however, a well-conducted soldier has, at his
own disposal, about five shillings a week. Gratuities varying from £2 to
£12, according to length of service, are paid to men passing from the
colours to the reserve. Soldiers serving in the reserve are paid fourpence
or sixpence a day according to the class in which they are placed.
If a soldier stays in the army for twenty-one years, and serves for at least
three years as a non-commissioned officer, he earns a pension for life
varying from £22 to £50, according to his rank and service as a
noncommissioned officer. If he becomes a warrant officer he can earn a
pension of £80 a year.
A soldier may, if he qualifies himself for it, rise to be a commissioned
officer. There are at the present time in the army over seven hundred
officers who enlisted as private soldiers. With the view of affording
Government employment to deserving soldiers, the Postmaster-General has
decided that certain vacancies among provincial letter carriers, and the
auxiliary postmen in London, are in future to be offered to discharged
soldiers and Army Reserve men. Work is also provided for many old soldiers
in the Royal Arsenal, the Royal Army Clothing Department, the Army Ordnance
Department, the Customs, and other Government Departments, as well as in the
Police forces, Railway Companies, Corps of Commissionaires, and otherwise
through agencies established for the purpose at the headquarters of all
regimental districts, and by means of the National Association for the
Employment of Reserve and Discharged Soldiers whose chief office is in
London, but of which numerous branch offices have been established in other
Schools for the education of
non-commissioned officers and men are established in nearly all military
stations, with a view to enable men who are desirous of promotion to obtain
the qualifying certificate of education. The schools are under the control
of the generals commanding districts, and are managed and conducted by
experienced schoolmasters. There are no charges for tuition, and books and
all the necessary materials are supplied free. During the daytime the
schools are used for the education — free — of soldiers’ children and the
children of pensioners in the employment of the Crown.
In every unit there is a
Regimental Institute, formed for the exclusive benefit and convenience of
the troops, and with the following objects :— To supply them with good
articles at reasonable prices, without in any way interfering with their
right to resort to any other shops or markets, and to organize and maintain
the means available for their recreation and amusement.
The Regimental Institute is divided into two branches:—
(1.) Refreshment department, which includes the canteen, grocery shop, and
(2.) Recreation department, which embraces the library, recreationroom,
skittle alley, shooting gallery, cricket, football, sports, theatricals,
Libraries are established in
all military stations. Their object is to afford to the troops the means,
within the barracks, of employing their leisure hours usefully.
Libraries are established in all military stations. Their object is to
afford to the troops the means, within the barracks, of employing their
leisure hours usefully.
The books embrace every subject, including light literature, sciences,
languages, travels, adventures, &c., &c.
Recreation rooms are
established with the same object as libraries.
When the construction of barracks affords it, there are two rooms. One is
used as a recreation room, the other as a room for games. Usually in the
latter a coffee bar is placed, where the soldier can obtain refreshments of
almost every description, at nearly the cost price of the articles.
Writing materials are also supplied and every facility given to the men to
spend their leisure moments in a profitable manner. The rooms are well
furnished, lighted, warmed, and supplied with every necessary.
Territorially considered the
Isle of Skye does not occupy a high place among the islands of the world,
occupying only some 700 square miles of the earth’s surface, yet wherever
the Gaelic language is spoken and Skye mentioned it is almost invariably
referred to as “the Island” (“An t.-Eilean”) par excellence.
Tradition tells us of the heroine, Princess Sgathach, who dwelt at
Diin-Sgathaich in Sleat (so named after herself), where she presided over
the most notable military college of that dim and distant time. Skilful of
thrust, cunning of fence, and matchless in the use of the “gath-bolg” were
the pupils of the royal school of Diin-Sgathaich; but first and foremost
among them all was the mighty chief of Skye, Cuchullin, who led a party of
his countrymen against the Romans.
Be the many marvellous tales regarding Skye’s heroes and heroines of
prehistoric times true or not, a spirit of warlike enterprise has existed in
the island from the earliest period of which we have any authentic record,
and has been fostered by passing events (involving the strife of arms)
century after century up to the present day. But it is with the share that
“the Brave Sons of Skye” took in Britain’s great wars in foreign lands that
this work more particularly deals.
William Pitt (afterwards Earl of Chatham), addressing the House of Commons,
said: “I have sought for merit wherever it could be found. It is my boast
that I was the first Minister who looked for it, and found it in the
mountains of the north. I called it forth, and drew into your service a
hardy and intrepid race of men; men who, when left by your jealousy, became
a prey to the artifices of your enemies, and had gone nigh to have
overturned the State in the war before last. These men in the last war were
brought to combat on your side; they served with fidelity, as they fought
with valour in every quarter of the globe.”
“The Island of Mist” made a noble response to the patriotic appeal of the
great Minister. We have it on the authority of a former Adjutant-General of
the Forces that, in the 40 years preceding 1837, Skye had furnished for the
public service 21 Lieutenant-Generals and Major-Generals, 45
Lieutenant-Colonels, 600 Majors, Captains, and subalterns, 10,000 private
soldiers, 120 pipers, four Governors of British Colonies, one
Governor-General of India, and one Adjutant-General of the British army. It
has also been stated on the same testimony that 1,600 Skyemen fought in the
British ranks at the battle of Waterloo.
“They have had
representatives in every Peninsular and Indian battlefield. Of the
miniatures kept in every family more than one half are soldiers, and several
have attained to no mean rank. . . . And in other services the Islesman has
drawn his sword. Marshal MacDonald had Hebridian blood in his veins. . . .
The tartans waved through the smoke of every British battle, and there were
no such desperate bayonet charges as those which rushed to the yell of the
bag-pipe. At the close of the last and the beginning of the present century
half the farms in Skye were rented by half-pay officers. The Army List was
to the island what the Post Office Directory is to London.”
Download the book here in pdf format
I’m writing to introduce my book on the life and experiences of the 92nd
Foot Highlander ‘Private Donald Campbell’.
Donald Campbell was born in 1784 in Teangue, Parish of Sleat, Isle of Skye,
and signed-on for ‘unlimited service’ in the 92nd Regiment of Foot (the
Gordon Highlanders) in 1803 when war was declared on Napoleonic France.
In January 1809, after most of the British army had been evacuated from
Corunna, Donald was left behind and was placed in the 1st Battalion of
Detachments. In 1809 he fought at the Battle of Talavera where he was shot
in the left arm. Donald was shot in the bridge of the nose during the Battle
of Nivelle in 1813, and in 1814 he was shot in the forehead at the Battle of
Garris, the ball rolling around the inside of his skull and exiting the back
of his head. This information is recorded on his discharge document and in
‘The Brave Sons of Skye’ by Lt. Col. John MacInnes.
Donald survived all his injuries and carried on fighting. He was awarded
five clasps with his General Service Medal, and received the Waterloo medal.
He was discharged in Port Royal, Jamaica in 1822 where many had died of
yellow fever during the preceding 3 years.
In 1822, at the age of 38 years, Donald returned to Teangue, Isle of Skye as
a Chelsea out-pensioner, receiving an army pension of one shilling per day,
and continued his life as a crofter. In 1824 he married and had 6 children.
This book describes the dramatic events and experiences during Donald’s
lifetime in historical context, and is projected through eye-witness
diaries, military records and contemporary accounts. Donald experienced the
extreme trauma of campaigning, witnessed the horrors of war, survived wounds
and diseases, and became one of ‘The Brave Sons of Skye’.
Malcolm ‘Don’ Campbell
The paperback and eBook are available exclusively on Amazon, and can be
found by typing ‘Private Donald Campbell’.
I’ve attached the
‘Life in Teangue’ chapter from my book ‘Private Donald Campbell’
that you may like to add to your website.
I’ve also attached
the Table of Contents from the eBook version. Please note that the
Sheldt Expedition chapter was added to the book for historical
context and continuity, as many troops died of ‘Walcheren fever’ or
suffered long-term symptoms of it. Donald Campbell was not on the
Sheldt Expedition as he was not evacuated from Corunna. He fought
instead at the Battle of Talavera in the 1st Battalion of
Detachments where he was wounded, and then returned to England to
rejoin the 92nd.
The chapters ‘Life in
Teangue’, ‘Return to Teangue’ and ‘Final Chapter’ all contain social
history, but of course the majority of the book is regarding the
campaigning of the 92nd Foot.
To set the scene
there’s a brief chapter ‘Background History’ which includes the
sub-chapters of ‘Clan Kinship to Patriarchal Tenancy’, ‘18th
Century Highlands’, ‘French Revolution’ and ‘The Rise of Napoleon
throughout the book there are short descriptions of background
history as a reference to the military action of the 92nd.
A ‘family tree’ of
the Campbells of Teangue has been added for those that may be
interested in linking their genealogy to Skye and the parish of
I hope the above and
attached info will be of interest to your readers.
Table of Contents
Private Donald Campbell (92nd Foot)
Life In Teangue
Map - Teangue (Teanga), Isle of Skye
Art – Highland Whisky Still
Art - Crofters’ huts and interior
Art - Croft cottage
Art - Crofter with caschrom
Recruitment and Early Service
Art – Infantry Barracks, Castlehill, Aberdeen circa 1800
Art - Satire of Napoleon with George III, June 1803
The Danish Expedition
Map - Køge
Map - British artillery around Copenhagen, Sept.1807
The Swedish Expedition
First Peninsular Campaign
Art - Maceira Creek, August 1808
Art - Lisbon from Chapel Hill
Art - Lisbon at Convent de St. Jerome de Belem, circa 1808
Map - Retreat to Corunna and Vigo
Art – Villafranca 1809
Art - On the road to Corunna
Battle of Corunna
Map - Battle of Corunna
Art - Corunna, 17th January 1809
The Sheldt Expedition
Map - British army movements in the Sheldt
Second Peninsular Campaign (part 1)
Combat of Grijó
Crossing of the Douro
Map - Crossing of the Douro at 3 positions, May 1809
Map – Crossing Of The Douro, May 1809
Art - Bridge of boats across the Douro
Map - Army movements in northern Portugal
Combat of Salamonde
Map - Talavera Campaign
Battle of Talavera
Art - Troops drinking at Portina brook
Map - Battle of Talavera 3pm-5pm 28th July 1809
Return to England
Second Peninsular Campaign (part 2)
Map - The Lines of Torres Vedras 1810
Map - Portugal and Spain
Battle of Fuentes d’Onoro
Map - Battle of Fuentes d’Onoro, 3rd May 1811
Map - Battle of Fuentes d’Onoro, 5th May 1811
Battle of Arroyo Dos Molinos
Map - Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos
Combat of Almaraz
Map - Combat of Almaraz
Combat of Alba de Tormes
Art - Soult at Alba de Tormes
Art - The Billets at Banos, Feb. 1813
Battle of Vitoria
Art - The Plains and City of Vitoria
Map - Battle of Vitoria
Map - Army movements during the Battle of Vitoria
Art - Flight of Joseph Bonaparte from Vitoria
Combat at Maya Pass
Map - Combat at Maya Pass
Combat of Beunza
Map - Combat of Beunza and 2nd Battle of Sorauren
Combat of Venta De Urroz
Battle of the Nivelle
Map - Battle of the Nivelle
Passage of the Nive
Art - Lt. Col. Cameron and the 92nd crossing the Nive
Battle of the Nive
Map – Battle of the Nive
Battle of St. Pierre
Art - The 3 Pipers at St. Pierre
Map - Battle of St.Pierre
Map – Bayonne to Orthes
Battle of Garris
Map - Battle of Garris
Passage of the Gave at Arriverete
Battle of Orthes
Map – Battle of Orthes
Map - French retreat, Orthes to Aire
Combat of Aire
Map - Combat of Aire
Map - Orthes to Toulouse
Battle of Tarbes
Map - Battle of Tarbes
Battle of Toulouse
Map – Battle of Toulouse
Combat at Bayonne
Map - Bayonne and St.Etienne
The Waterloo Campaign
Battle of Quatre Bras
Map - Battle of Quatre Bras 3pm
Map - Battle of Quatre Bras 9pm
Battle of Waterloo
Map - Battle of Waterloo 11:15am
Map - Battle of Waterloo 7:45pm
Art - Battle of Waterloo
Map - Battle of Waterloo 8:05pm
Art - French lampoon of Highlanders in mini-kilts (Paris 1815)
Service after Waterloo
Map - Kingston and Port Royal Harbours
Return to Teangue
Art - Croft cottage interior
The Final Chapter
The Campbells of Teangue
Life in Teangue from
‘Private Donald Campbell 92nd Foot 1803-1822
Please find attached a short article I’ve written for your website entitled
Skye and the Napier
By 1883 the British government could no longer ignore the evictions and
brutal treatment of the crofting tenants in the Highlands and Islands.
Led by Francis Napier as chairman, the Napier Commission gave the crofters
an opportunity to reveal their hardships.
The interviews conducted at Isle Ornsay on the 17th May 1883 included those
for the hamlet of Teangue. The representative for Teangue was Allan
Campbell. Allan was the eldest son of Donald Campbell, of whom the life and
military service in the Napoleonic Wars is recorded in the book ‘Private
Donald Campbell 92nd Foot 1803-1822’.
Allan’s evidence to the Napier Commission is shown at the end of the article
which I hope your readers will find interesting.
I’ve attached a file named ‘The
92nd Gordon Highlanders at Waterloo’.
This is an extract from the Chapter ‘The Waterloo Campaign 1815’ from my
book ‘Private Donald Campbell 92nd Foot 1803-1822’ that you may like to add
to your website.
The charge of only 230 remaining infantry of the 92nd towards Marcognet’s
French column of 3,000 infantry at Waterloo is legendary.
The distinguished reputation of the Gordon Highlanders is celebrated in the
Netherlands by the re-enactment group ‘The Gordons Living History’.
www.gordonslivinghistory.nl. Their primary focus is the regiment during
the Napoleonic wars where they portray the Light Company of the 92nd
Regiment, and often work together with their sister unit based in Germany
which portrays the Grenadier Company. They also show the civilians who would
have been in the camp and followed the army.
In Austria, ‘The Gordon Highlanders of Austria’
www.gordon-highlanders.com is a mix of Scottish tradition with
Burgenland culture. In the spring of 1995 the ‘Schottenverein Donnerskirchen’,
the ‘Gordon Highlanders of Austria’ was officially included in the register
of associations in Austria. Every year since 1996 the association has held
the Highland Games. In 2000, the association was given its own march ‘The
Donnerskirchen Highlander’. In 2002 the association received the Europe-wide
award, the ‘St. Andrews Award’ for efforts to promote Scottish culture. In
addition to dealing with everything Scottish such as whiskey tastings, trips
to Scotland are one the programs of the association. In 2009 their own pipe
band, ‘The Drums & Pipes Gordon Highlanders’, was formed.
I hope my attached extract and info above will be of interest to your