Muster Books and Pay Lists (WO 12/5478-5479) : 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion : 1760 - 1767, 1774 - 1786.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .G7W3M8R7
Category: Military
Creator: Great Britain. War Office.
Description: 2 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm

The Royal Highland Regiment was first formed in 1739 as The Highland Regiment of Foot. It became a numbered regiment, the 42nd Regiment of Foot, in 1751. The designation Royal was conferred in 1758.

With the outbreak of the French and Indian War (the Seven Years War) in North America, the 42nd, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Grant, embarked for New York, stationing at Albany. The second battalion united with the first in 1759 and accompanied British forces which, under General Amherst, occupied Ticonderoga & Crown Point and Isle aux Noix (after being evacuation by the French). In the campaign of 1760, both battalions were involved in the operation resulting in the capture of Montreal and the conquest of Canada. During 1762, combined battalions were sent on an expedition against Martinique and then Cuba. In 1763 they fought at the Battle of Bushy Run while trying to relieve Fort Pitt during Pontiac's Rebellion. During the next 5 year the 42nd was employed in harassing service against the natives in North America.

The regiment left for Cork, Ireland, from Philadelphia in 1767 and remained there until 1775. In July of 1776, they arrived in New York and fought in Battles at Long Island, Harlem Heights, and Fort Washington. During 1777, the Regiment was sent to New Jersey and Philadelphia. Here they served in campaigns including the Battles of Brandywine, Paoli, and Monmouth Court House. They returned to New York in 1778. In September of the same year the Regiment was engaged in the relief of Newport, and from there were ordered to East Florida. They participated in the Siege of Charleston, and the raid on Portsmouth, Virginia in 1780, then returned to Charleston and finally were sent to New York. The Colonel of the 42nd Regiment was Lord John Murray.

At the end of the war when New York was evacuated, the 42nd Regiment arrived in Halifax and stayed in Nova Scotia between 1783-1789. Many soldiers settled on lands in Nova Scotia, including the area that was to become New Brunswick, in 1784. One group settled on the Nashwaak River, a tributary of the St. John River, not far from the City of Fredericton, New Brunswick. A second battalion of the Regiment was formed in 1781 and sent to India. In 1786 that battalion was re-designated as the 73rd Regiment of Foot.


The muster rolls of the 1st Battalion, 42 Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Regiment), are recorded chronologically for the years 1760-1786 and are available on two reels of microfilm.

Reel 1, 1760-1767, 1774-1778; Reel 2, 1778-1786. The musters are arranged by company with the names of the officers and men listed by order of rank. The usual annotations describing the status of each individual are given and include: on duty, sick, recruiting, transferred, absent with leave, dead, prisoner, deserted, and discharged. The muster rolls during and immediately after the American Revolution are much longer, and contain more detailed information than the ones from the earlier years. The musters were usually compiled for a period of three or six months, and both the date and the location where the information was compiled are given. With the use of this information, the movements of the various companies can be traced.

In Reel 1, for example, Fort Edward and other Hudson River locations are mentioned, and they are followed by Saratoga, Montreal, Staten Island, Long Island, Philadelphia, Ireland, etc.

Reel 2 begins in Philadelphia, followed by several locations on Long Island, New York, Camp near Greenwich, and Paulus Hook on 6 October 1783. The next recorded location is Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 17 January 1784, and there are several muster rolls for that location. The musters for Paulus Hook and Halifax contain long lists of discharged soldiers and the date of discharge for each man. After June 1784, the lists are shorter, but still contain discharge information. Annapolis and Sydney, Nova Scotia, are locations mentioned in 1786.

Originals: The original records are held by The National Archives in London.
Archival Ref. No.: TNA WO 12/5478-5479.
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