Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, North Carolina
Members of the 84th Highland Regiment were in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge,
North Carolina, in early 1776. On 27 February 1776, the 84th Regiment, with a number
of new recruits, was marching to the port of Wilmington, North Carolina. There they
were to join with a force arriving from Europe and participate in operations in the
southern colonies. The recruited force, at first numbering 1,600 American Loyalists but
reduced during the march by desertions to fewer than 800, faced off against 1,000
American Patriots. The American Loyalists' movement was blocked by Patriot forces on
two occasions, but the Loyalists managed to bypass them to reach the bridge over
Widow Moore's Creek. Captain McLeod, who had survived the Battle of Bunker Hill,
was killed leading the charge at Moore's Creek Bridge. Half of the regiment was
captured and thirty were killed; with ninety six officers and men taken prisoner. The
majority of the Carolina recruits were never able to join the regiment since the Loyalist
forces were scattered after the battle.
Military operations – Quebec
Under McLean's command, the First Battalion acted primarily to defend Quebec from
American Patriot forces. It marched from Quebec in an attempt to repel Brigadier General
Richard Montgomery's invasion in the Siege of Fort St. Jean, Quebec. The regiment made
two attempts to relieve the fort, but eventually returned to Quebec, where it helped to
stiffen the resolve of the civil population until Carleton's return from Montreal.
The regiment was also involved in the Battle of Quebec. Montgomery and Benedict Arnold,
who led an expedition through the wilderness of what is now Maine, combined forces and
mounted attack on Quebec City. At a crucial moment in the battle, Captain McDougal led
120 of the 84th and 60 Royal Navy sailors against a force of New Hampshire troops
commanded by Henry Dearborn. They overwhelmed Dearborn's men, forcing the
survivors to surrender.
Battle of the Newcastle Jane, Newfoundland
On October 23, 1776, under Captain Murdock MacLaine, the 84th Regiment was in
the Battle of the Newcastle Jane. This battle was the first in which a merchant British
vessel defeated an American Privateer vessel. The 84th Regiment was on the transport
ship Newcastle Jane off the coast of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Onboard the ship was
20,000 pounds sterling and 3,000 sets of uniforms, much of which was for the 84th
Regiment. On October 23 at 4:00 am American privateer came within 30 yards of the
Newcastle Jane. The American had ten carriage guns and twelve swivel guns and the
Jane had only 6 three-pound carriage guns and a few swivels. The ships opened fire on
each other. After a 24-hour standoff, the 84th Regiment had outmaneuvered the
Americans, leaving them with many wounded and a damaged vessel. By the time the
battle was over, the Newcastle Jane only had two rounds of shot left.
One of the crew in the Battle of the Newcastle Jane was a young recruit Lachlan
Macquarie, who eventually became known as "the Father of Australia." Macquarie
began his military career in 1776 at the age of fourteen when he sailed from Scotland
to the New World. The attackers were repulsed and, six months later, on 9 April 1777,
he obtained an ensigncy in the 84th Regiment. He did garrison duty, first in Nova Scotia,
and then in New York and Charleston.
He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 71st Regiment in January 1781. In 1784 he
returned to Scotland from his posting in Jamaica, and was reduced to half-pay.
Siege of Saint John (1777)
Machias, Maine was used as a base for privateering against Nova Scotia and as a
staging and supply point for American Patriot attacks on Fort Frederick, Saint John and
Fort Cumberland. In 1776, privateers from Machias had burned Fort Frederick at Saint
John to the ground. In 1777, American forces briefly controlled Saint John. In response,
Major John Small personally led a force to drive out the Americans. When the 84th
Regiment landed at Saint John on June 30, 1777, the Americans retreated to the woods.
The 84th marched through the woods and were ambushed by the American. Twelve
Americans and one member of the regiment were killed. Weeks later, on July 13, 1777,
American privateers again attacked Saint John and were repulsed by the 84th. In August
1777, the Americans attacked yet again and were successful, carrying off 21 boatloads
of plunder. The 84th immediately began to replace the low-lying Fort Frederick with Fort
Howe, which overlooked the settlement. Fort Howe became instrumental in curtailing
privateer action and was used as an assembly point for attacks on the 13 Colonies.
Raid on Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia
On September 4, 1778, the 84th Regiment, under the command of Ranald
MacKinnon, was in the Raid of Cape Sable Island. Privateers were threatening Cape
Sable Island when the 84th arrived; they surprised the ship in the night and
destroyed it. For his aggressive action, MacKinnon was praised highly by Brigadier
General Eyre Massey. In response, one of his friends, Captain MacDonald, wrote to
Major John Small, "McKinnon was embarrassed by the praise of the General and
requested it not be inserted in the record since he only did his duty."
Upon leaving New York, the Second Battalion, 84th Regiment was engaged
in the Southern theatre of the American Revolutionary War. The Southern theater
was the central area of operations in the second half of the American Revolutionary
War. During the first three years of the conflict, the primary military encounters
had been in the north, focused on campaigns around the cities of Boston, New York,
and Philadelphia. Earlier in the war, the 2/84th Regiment was involved in trying to
take Charleston, South Carolina, in the Battle of Sullivan's Island.
On June 24, companies of the 2/84th Regiment from Boston and New York left their
ports to descend upon Fort Sullivan (later renamed Fort Moultrie), South Carolina.
Four days later the 84th Regiment from New York, on June 28, 1776, engaged in the
Battle of Fort Sullivan (see Fort Moultrie National Monument). The fleet bombarded
the fort and suffered excessive damage by return fire. The attack was a failure; 38
of the regiment died.
The 2/84th Regiment was involved in a skirmish at Wiboo Swamp, Savannah River,
Clarendon County, South Carolina (1781). 3 of the 84th Regiment were killed as
were about 18 American Patriots.
The 2/84th Regiment was then involved in protecting the Loyalist stronghold of
Augusta, Georgia. The first skirmish was at Wiggin's Hill, Savannah River, Georgia,
in April 1781. The Patriots surprised the regiment at Wiggin's Hill, but were twice
repulsed. The 84th then took prisoners, killed many of them and burned their homes.
Captain McKinnon tried to stop what he considered his own regiments "barbarity".
The 84th was also involved with trying to protect Fort Motte in the Siege of Fort Motte,
Georgia (1781). The 2/84th Regiment was forced to surrender on May 12 and were