Background on the 74th Regiment of Foot

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In the year 1787 four new regiments were ordered to be raised for the service of the state, to be numbered the 74th, 75th, 76th, and 77th. The first two were directed to be raised in the north of Scotland, and were to be Highland regiments. The regimental establishment of each was to consist of ten companies of 75 men each, with the customary number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers. Major-General Sir Archibald Campbell, K.B., from the half-pay of Fraser's Highlanders, was appointed colonel of the 74th regiment.

The establishment of the regiment was fixed as ten companies, consisting of:

I Colonel and Captain. 1 Adjutant.
1 Lieutenant-Colonel and 1 Quartermaster.
Captain. 1 Surgeon.
1 Major and Captain. 2 Surgeon's Mates.
7 Captains. 80 Sergeants.
1 Captain-Lieutenant. 40 Corporals.
21 Lieutenants. 20 Drummers.
8 Ensigns. 2 Fifers, and
1 Chaplain. 710 Privates.

A recruiting company was afterwards added, which consisted of:

1 Captain. 8 Corporals.
2 Lieutenants. 4 Drummers.
1 Ensign. 80 Privates.
8 Sergeants.
Total of Officers and Men of all ranks, 902.

The regiment was styled "The 74th Highland Regiment of Foot." The uniform was the full Highland garb of kilt and feathered bonnet, the tartan being similar to that of the 42nd regiment, and the facings white; the use of the kilt was, however, discontinued in the East Indies, as being unsuited to the climate.

[a lot of history is detailed on the site, including award-winning service in India. Jumping ahead to the period we are interested in...]

The 74th embarked at Cork for Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the 13th of May, leaving one depôt company, which was sent to the Isle of Wight. The companies were divided between St. John¹s, Newfoundland, St. John's, New Brunswick, and Fredericton, where were headquarters and five companies. The regiment remained in North America till 1828, in August of which year proceeding to Bermudas, which it left at the end of the next year for lreland, where it arrived in the beginning of 1830. In 1818 the regiment had been reduced to ten companies of 65 rank and file each, and in 1821 it was further reduced to eight companies of 72 rank and file. In 1825, however, the strength was augmented to ten companies - six service companies of 86 rank and file, and four depot companies of 56 rank and file each.

The regiment remained in Ireland till 1834, during part of which time it was actively employed in suppressing the outrages consequent on the disturbed state of the country. In the latter part of 1834 the regiment was divided into four depot and six service companies; three of the latter were sent to Barbados, while the headquarter division, consisting of the three remaining companies, was sent to the island of Grenada. In November 1835 the two service divisions were sent to Antigua, where they remained till February 1837. From thence the headquarter division proceeded to St. Lucia, and the other three companies to Demerara, both divisions being sent to St. Vincent in June of the same year. The regiment was kept moving about among these western islands till May 1841, when it proceeded to Canada, arriving at Quebec at the end of the month. While the regiment was stationed at Trinidad it was attacked by fever and dysentery, which caused great mortality; and fever continued to prevail among the men until the regiment removed to Trinidad. With this exception the 74th remained remarkably healthy during the whole of its residence in the West Indies.

The 74th remained in the North American colonies till 1845, being removed from Canada to Nova Scotia in May 1844, and embarking at Halifax for England in March 1845. On arriving in England in the end of that month, the service companies joined the depot at Canterbury.