The Douglas Archives

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Captain Douglas of the 74th (Highland) Regiment holds the dying Colonel Moorhouse at Bangalore, 1791

In 1787, faced with a renewed French threat to its Indian possessions, the East India Company raised several new regiments for defence. When that threat failed to materialise, it refused to pay for these units, or for their transportation to India. Instead, they were formed into four line infantry regiments in the British Army.

One of these was the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot, formed under Major-General Sir Archibald Campbell. It was sent to India just two years after its formation. While there, it fought in the Third Mysore War (1789-92), including the Battles of Bangalore (1791) and Seringapatam (1792), and the Second Polygar War (1800-05).

Next, during the Second Maratha War (1803-06), it fought at Ahmednuggar (1803) and at Assaye (1803), where every officer in the regiment was killed. What was left of the unit had to be led out of action by its regimental sergeant-major.

The East India Company awarded the regiment an honorary third colour for its 16 years in India, before it finally returned to Britain in 1805.

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