Intrepid and Loyal
: An Analysis of the Exceptional Nature of the Highland Regiments in the French and Indian War

  • Richard A. Loutzenheiser

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Today the Highland regiments of the British Army are generally regarded as legendary. The modern heroic perception of the Scottish soldier manifests itself most prominently in David Stewart of Garth’s seminal work Sketches of the Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland: with details of the Military Service of the Highland Regiments, which attributes their battlefield heroics to the nature of the Highlander himself. The fame and reputation of the Highland soldier was derived from a series of well-documented instances involving the men of the three Highland regiments that saw service during the French and Indian War of the 1750s and 60s.

No significant source disagrees with the central assertion that the Highland soldiers more than acquitted themselves in defeat and victory. Their reputation for intrepidity and loyalty is both well documented and well earned. It was reported throughout America and Britain by letter, dispatch, and newspaper, as well as being recorded in the journals and memoirs of participants on both sides. Moreover, their bravery, fortitude, and cohesion was remarkable when compared to their fellow brothers in arms. The actions of the Highland soldiers were further distinguished because they were quite often different from those of the men around them: fellow British soldiers, but men raised differently, drawn from disparate rather than similar locales and cultures, organized in some ways differently, and led in a far different way. The result being a very different level of bonding and cohesion within those units when compared to the Highlanders.

The Highland regiments do have a singular and almost unique nature, and the genesis of that nature stems from their formation and service in the French and Indian War. However, the causality for their courageous actions bears additional scrutiny and refinement in light of modern social science and today’s broader access to contemporary sources. This thesis examines the historical record through the paradigm of modern military psycho-sociology to show that Stewart of Garth was right, for the wrong reasons.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMatthew Ward (Supervisor) & Christopher Storrs (Supervisor)

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