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Thread: Red Hackle day

  1. #1

    Red Hackle day

    Greetings all. Happy New Year & Salutations for Red Hackle Day.

    Although as we know the story of the Red Hackle remains mysterious, there was nonetheless a fight at the village of Geldermalsen on 5th January 1795, in which the 42nd Royal Highlanders were engaged, and suffered their only fatal casualty of the campaign.

    Here, in a less familiar account of the action, is a rarely told episode involving the Black Watch. The recapture of the guns, omitted in this version as well as in Stewart's history of the 42nd in the same work, was not their only contribution that day.

    'The army lay on the snow for two nights, and, on the 31st, were put into barns till they were removed to Gildermalsen, on which place the enemy advanced in force on the 5th of January 1795.

    The 78th was drawn up in two wings in front of the village, leaving the road open between the wings, and having the Light company, with two howitzer guns, in advance. The 42d, in support, occupied the different avenues to the village; the 12th and 19th regiments were at some distance to the right, and the 33d, with a squadron of the 11th dragoons, in the advanced post of Meteren. The enemy made his attack with such vivacity, that the outposts were quickly driven in.

    A regiment of French Hussars, dressed in an uniform similar to that of the emigrant regiment of Choiseul in our service, pushed forward under cover of this deception, and galloped along the road, with great fury, crying "Choiseul, Choiseul!" This so far succeeded, that they were allowed to get close to the advanced company of the 78th before the truth was discovered, when they were instantly attacked and checked, but not sufficiently to prevent a part pushing, at full speed, through the intervals between the two wings towards the village. Here they were met by the Light company of the 42d, whose fire drove them back, and scattered them in an instant.'

    '78th or Ross-shire Buffs. Military Annals,Sketches of the Highlanders, etc.' Col. David Stewart, 1822.

    Nemo me impune lacessit
    Last edited by Jf42; 5th January 2018 at 19:02.

  2. #2
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Happy Red Hackle Day to you as well.

    Extract of a letter from General Walmoden to H.R.H. The Duke of York, dated Amerongen, 6th January, 1795

    The severity of the weather has increased; and the intense cold of the 3rd and 4th induced the enemy, on the latter day, to pass the Waal near Bommel. Having driven in our advanced posts, they again took possession of Thuyl.

    General David Dundas, however, thought he should be able to defend Metteren and to check the further progress of the enemy; but the advanced posts of the Hessians, nearest to General Dundas' position, having also been obliged to fall back, I agreed with the other Generals to send orders to Generals Dalwick and Dundas to unite their forces immediately, and, at daybreak of the 5th, to make a vigorous attack on the enemy, and to spare no efforts to drive them across the Waal.

    General Dundas probably found the enemy in too great force to venture the attack; but about ten o'clock he was himself attacked at Geldermalsen by a large body of the enemy's cavalry, supported by their Tirailleurs. Their charge was so impetuous, both on our cavalry and infantry, that at first they had the advantage, and took two pieces of cannon; but the reserve coming up, the guns were retaken, the enemy repulsed, and the post preserved.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Thanks Chalky and same to you and all Black Watch people. Fife branch had a great gathering for our annual Red Hackle breakfast with gunfire in Glenrothes, with a good attendance of 21 old and bold. Bill..


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