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BOOK - Sons of the Mountains: The Highland Regiments in the French and Indian War, 1756-1767, Vol. 1 and 2
By Ian Macpherson McCulloch.
Three proud Highland regiments fought in North America during the Seven Year's War--the 77th Foot (Montgomery's Highlanders), the 78th Foot (Fraser's Highlanders), and the famous Black Watch, more correctly known at the time as the Royal Highland Regiment. Undoubtedly, the exploits of the 42nd, 77th and 78th Highlanders in some of the most bloody and desperate battles on the North American continent were a critical factor in transforming the overall image of Highlanders from Jacobite rebels to Imperial heroes in the latter half of the 18th century. But the everyday story of these regiments --how they trained, worked, played, fought and died from their own point of view--has never been seriously told.
Sons of the Mountains: A History of the Highland Regiments in North America During the French & Indian War, 1756-1767, is a two-volume co-published by Purple Mountain Press and the Fort Ticonderoga Museum and in Canada by Robin Brass Studio. It chronicles the Highland regiments' fighting performance and experiences from the time they were raised in the Highlands and stepped ashore in North America, to their disbandment in 1763; or, as in the case of the 42nd, reduced in establishment and left on lonely garrison duty in the American wilderness until their recall and return to Ireland in 1767.
Volume One of Sons of the Mountains follows all three regiments on their various campaigns in the different theatres of war. As they range from the wilderness of the Ohio Forks to the wind-swept crags of Signal Hill in Newfoundland, and from the waters of the Great Lakes to the torrid swamps and cane fields of the "Sugar Islands," the reader will be exposed to all the major conflicts and actions of the "Great War for Empire" as seen though the eyes of the Highland soldier.
Cluny, the 27th Hereditary Chief of Clan Macpherson, writes from Blairgowrie, Scotland: "As a direct descendant of a Clansman who was present on the Heights of Carillon and at Fort Ticonderoga in July 1758 I feel that I understand now far better how my forebear and his fellow Highlanders must have felt and lived and fought, and relate much more closely to those 'Sons of the Mountains' of long ago. I warmly commend Lt Colonel McCulloch's book to readers across the Atlantic and here in Scotland. He has done a great service to the memory of those who fought and died with these distinguished Regiments."
Volume Two of Sons of the Mountains will appeal to all families of Scottish descent and serious genealogists. It features comprehensive biographical histories of all regimental officers from all the major clans (over 350 entries) who served in the regiments.
Also included in the glossaries are regimental muster rolls and land petitions of discharged Highlanders.
Marie Fraser editor of Canadian Explorer, newsletter of the Clan Fraser Society of Canada writes: "Besides being compelling Highland history, SOTM is a valuable genealogical resource for all of Scottish heritage. With over 350 officers' biographies, career details and genealogical notes in the annexes, McCulloch has identified the complex ties of kinship, marriage and friendship that bound the most prominent Scottish families of the day together during the Seven Years War between Britain and France fought in North America, known to some as the French & Indian War."
Lavishly illustrated with artwork by Robert Griffing, Steve Noon, Peter Rindisbacher, Charles Stolz and John Buxton, as well as with contemporary prints, maps and portraits from the collections of the Black Watch Museums of Scotland and Canada, the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, the Fort Ligonier Museum, the William L. Clements Library, the National Army Museum, Chelsea, the David M. Stewart Museum, Montreal, the National Archives of Canada and the Library of Congress, Sons of the Mountains is a visual delight.
Without a doubt, Sons of the Mountains is the most complete and informative work on the history of early Highland regiments of the British army in North America to date.
Sons of the Mountains, Volume 1, consists of 17 chapters, that chronologically follows the formation, deployment and operations of the 42nd Foot `Black Watch,' 77th Foot `Montgomery's,' and 78th Foot `Fraser's' in both America and Canada. The level of military detail and the research that went into this volume is impressive - far beyond a mere regimental history. Rather, this volume is almost an operational-level history, but viewed through the tactical lens of three very elite regiments. The author's feel for this subject is crucial in delivering the importance of the role of these units, particularly in outlining the history behind the Highlanders after the defeat at Culloden in 1745. Forbidden to wear their kilts in Scotland, the proud Scottish Highlanders could only wear their clan regalia while serving in the British Army. Thus the irony, that the Highlanders were willing to serve in the ranks of their former foes, adds a level of interest and uniqueness to this narrative.
Volume 1 revolves around five critical battles or campaigns: Louisburg 1758, Ticonderoga 1758, Fort Duquesne 1758, Quebec 1759-60 against the French and Bushy Run 1763 against the Indians. Each action is well supported by detailed tactical maps that depict both terrain and unit movements. Unlike some other recent books on the French and Indian War, like Fred Anderson's Crucible of War, the maps in Sons of the Mountains are actually legible and useful for describing a military action. Indeed, the greatest value in this series - in addition to providing a great glimpse into the personal experiences of Highland soldiers at war - is in adding a level of military detail that has been sorely lacking from the standard histories of the French and Indian War. Reviewer: R. A Forczyk
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