Royal Highland Emigrants 1775-1783

n 1775 the American Revolutionary War began with the first shots fired at Concord and Lexington. British posts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point were quickly seized by American forces leaving Canada in a defenseless position. The New England Colonies planned an invasion of Canada. Montreal was to be taken first followed by an all out assault on Quebec. Two under-strength battalions of British Regulars in Canada could not meet this threat and orders were given to recruit - from the provinces of North America - two battalions of light infantrymen to be called the Royal Highland Emigrants. Captain Colin Campbell arrived in Newfoundland in September of 1775. By the end of the month he had dispatched 130 Newfoundlanders to Quebec, with another 50 to soon follow. The Newfoundlanders reached Quebec in time to play a prominent part in the siege of that city. The British withdrew from Montreal and marched to Quebec, allowing American forces to enter the city. In December the Americans, led by Generals Montgomery and Arnold, began the siege of Quebec. Unable to dislodge the defenders, the Americans began their assault on December 31. Montgomery was to attack from the South and Arnold from the North. Both attacks failed as the defenders were ready. Montgomery was killed early in the fighting and Arnold fell wounded several hours later. The Newfoundlanders, who were part of the Royal Highland Emigrants, saw heated action on both fronts. The siege of Quebec continued until the spring when the first ships to appear were British, causing the Americans to take full flight. The Royal Highland Emigrants were disbanded in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

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