Muster Books and Pay Lists (WO 12/8741 & 8806): 84th (Royal Highland Emigrants) Regiment of Foot: 1778-1798

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .G7W3M8R6
Category: Military
Creator: Great Britain. War Office.
Description: 2 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            War Office 12, generated by the Commissary General of Musters Office, comprises the Household troops, the cavalry, Guards and regular infantry regiments of the line; as well as, special regiments or corps, colonial troops and various foreign legions and troops.

The muster rolls record the name, rank, military station and pay period of each soldier while they were with the regiment.  They were prepared by the commanding officer of each company of a regiment for the purpose of paying the officers and soldiers.  During a muster, each man was physically checked against his name on the roll and a note was made if their circumstances had changed since the last muster, for example, on duty, recruiting, sick, furlough, deserted, transferred or died.  In addition, notes related to officers include promoted, absent, and resigned.  Pay lists record rate of pay.

Three regiments have ranked successively as the 84th Foot.  The first was the 84th Foot of 1758-64 raised in England by the famous Sir Eyre Coote.  A second 84th regiment was raised on the outbreak of the American War of Independence to defend the province of Quebec and Atlantic Canada from the constant land and sea attacks by the Americans and consisted of two battalions wearing full highland garb.  Pertaining to this period, the first battalion was raised in Canada and commanded by Colonel Allan Maclean; the 2nd battalion was raised in Nova Scotia and commanded by Major General John Small.  Recruiting was directed mainly at highlanders, many who had fought in the Seven Years' War.   The two battalions operated independently of each other and saw little action together.  During the American War of Independence, the Colonel of the 84th was Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton until Lieutenant General Sir Guy Carleton took over in 1783.  In 1779, the regiment was finally commissioned as a member of the Regular Establishment as the 84th (Royal Highland Emigrants) Regiment of Foot, and its officers were supplied with commissions in the permanent army.  Pertaining to the 2nd battalion, Captain Alexander McDonald commanded the companies in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. For operational command he came under the Commanding General for Nova Scotia and his administrational command came from Major Small in New York.

The 1st battalion's involvement included the following:
  • 1775 Moore's Creek Bridge, North Carolina
  • 1775 Siege of Fort St. Jean, Quebec.
  • 1775 Battle of Quebec.
  • 1778 Raid on Lake Champlain.
  • 1780-82 Raids into the Mohawk Valley, New York.
To protect the Atlantic from American privateers, the 2nd battalion was scattered around different locations at different times: Fort Cumberland (Amherst), Fort Howe at the mouth of the Saint John River, Fort Edward at Windsor which became the headquarters, Fort Ann at Annapolis, Fort Cornwallis (Kentville), Fort Frederick (Placentia, Newfoundland), Sydney Mines Battery (Spanish River, Sydney) and Halifax including detachments at Fort Needham (Halifax), Fort Sackville (Bedford), Fort Charlotte (George's Island) and Spry East Battery. Here are some of its involvement:
  • 1776 Charlestown, South Carolina; two companies of the battalion engaged in the Battle of Fort Sullivan.
  • 1776-78 Battle of Newport Rhode Island; two companies participated.
  • 1777 Fought at Fort Howe, Saint John.
  • 1777 Captured a fort at an important privateering port in Castine, Maine on the Penobscot River.
  • 1778 Raid on Cape Sable Island by American privateers, under command of Ronald MacKinnon; destroyed vessel.
  • 1780 Five companies sent South with General Leslie, stopped first in Virginia briefly before proceeding to reinforce General Cornwallis at Charlestown.
  • 1780-81 Served in the field under General Leslie, then Lt. Col. Lord Rawdon, and lastly Lt. Col. Alexander Stuart at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, the last major battle in the Carolinas. Here it was commanded by Captain Robert Campbell at this battle.
The battalions were disbanded in Canada and Nova Scotia in 1784. In 1793 the third 84th Foot was raised.
            The collection of muster rolls involves both battalions of the regiment and covers the following dates which relate to its involvement in North America during the American Revolution and again in the following decade during the French Revolutionary period: 1st battalion (25 June 1780 - 24 December 1781, 2 November 1792 - 24 June 1798); and 2nd battalion (28 December 1778 - 24 June 1779, 25 June 1782 - 7 November 1783, 31 May 1794 - 24 June 1796). These documents provide snapshots of the regiment and its men, and its movements.   

Arrangement:  The muster rolls are organised into the 2 battalions and subdivided within each chronologically, with some out of order. Volume 8741 (1st battalion) is on reel 1; volume 8806 (2nd battalion) is on reel 2. 

Detailed Content:  The places accompanying the signatures for the 1st battalion are:  Sorel, Batiscan, St. Anne, Champlain, Three Rivers [Trois Rivieres], Newry (Ireland), and Cape of Good Hope; for the 2nd battalion:  Windsor (Nova Scotia), Fort Augusta (Georgia ?), Halifax, Fort Edward,  Brooklyn Heights, and Cape of Good Hope.  Additional remarks written beside soldier's names for the 1st battalion include:  leave at Halifax, duty at Annapolis, prisoner with the rebels; also, Major Thomas Murray is Aid de Camp to General Robertson, Governor of New York, and Captain Robert Campbell's company is the 8th or Light Company.  On the 1780 muster for
the 1st battalion, Lt. Col. Allan MacLean is listed as Commanding the District of Montreal.  Some musters include proof tables of effectives.

The company captains listed for the 1st battalion during the War of American Independence are: Major John Adolphus Harris, Captain George Lawe, Lieutenant Colonel Allan MacLean, Captain Neil MacLean, Brigade Major William Dunbar, Captains John Nairne, Alexander Fraser, Malcolm Fraser, Patrick Sinclair, Bright Nodder, Alexander Fletcher, and David Alexander Grant. Company captains for the 2nd battalion during the same period are: Colonel in Chief Sir Guy Carleton, Lieutenant Colonel John Small, Major Thomas Murray, Captains Alexander McDonald, Duncan Campbell, Ronald McKinnon, Murdoch McLaine, Allan Mcdonald, John Mcdonald, Robert Campbell, Niel Campbell, and Alexander Murray,

Originals: The original records are held by The National Archives, Public Record Office, Kew.
Archival Ref. No.: TNA (formerly PRO) WO 12/8741, WO 12/8806
Finding Aids:
            See Electronic Finding Aid section for a spreadsheet with the following data for each muster roll:  Commander, Payroll start and end dates, Company captains, Place noted, Date, and Notes.  The Notes were selectively taken usually pertaining to the company captain.             
Electronic Finding Aid Record: List of Contents. 84th Regiment (WO12 8741) Battalion 1.pdf
List of Contents. 84th Regiment of Foot (WO12 8806) Battalion 2.pdf
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