Re: Musicians, Highland 84th Regiment
The 84th had drummers, fifers, and pipers. The pipers were not
authorized until after 1780. As well as communications duty, the
musicians played for the men's entertainment during fatigue duties.
Drummers and Fifers:
There are few references to musician's uniforms in the 84th records.
The drummers and fifers do appear on all of the return at two per
company. The musicians were uniformed as per regulation. The drummers
were issued full drummers kit from the Newcastle Jane shipment 1776:
In increments of 40; "drummers purses, drummers caps, drummers
feathers, drummers belts, slings, drummers swords, and drummers
cases." The fifers would have been uniformed from this issue.
"...the coats of the drummer and fifers of all the Royal regiments are
to be red, faced and lapelled with blue, and laced with Royal lace.
The waistcoats, breeches, and linings of the coats to be the same
color as that which is ordered for their respective regiments...
drummer's and fifer's caps... to have black bearskin caps. On the
front, the King's crest, of silver plated metal, on a black ground,
with trophies of colours and drums. Drums... painted with the color of
the facing of the regiment with the King's cipher and crown, and the
number of the regiment under it." Royal Warrant 1768.
"For drummers: [In increments of 40] Broad swords, pistol belts, sword
belts, kilt belts, purses mounted, caps, drum belts and slings."
London, April 8th, 1776, C.O. 5/93/389
"...will issue plaids to the Drum Major to the pipers and to the
tallest drummers and half plaids to each of the youngest drummers
smallest in size." Halifax, July 29th, 1777, M.M.
"I asked ______of you for one of your drummers to act as Drum Major
for us whilst the two companies remained here. I certainly meant he
should act as Drum Major also to wear our Drum Major coat and bonnet."
May 8th, 1778, H.P.
"...in want of drums, for by the carelessness of the boys (in spite of
the Drum Major's attention) and the destruction of the rats almost all
those we had are destroyed. Should you not think proper to send a
whole new set at any rate it will be proper to send a quantity of drum
heads and snares cords and drum sticks. But whatever whole drums come
I beg (now that the Regiment is established) they may be properly
painted as those of other regiments which you know our former ones
were not." Halifax, January 20th, 1779, A.M.
"Drummers coat," 1779, Halifax, M.M.
Pipers were not dressed as musicians. They were not authorized (until
after 1780) in the Regiment and thus were serving as private soldiers.
Their pay was supplemented by the officers for their playing before
1780. After 1780, they were paid on the regimental account at an
additional 4 pence per diem to their privates pay. The only known
picture of a period piper, possibly a pipe major, is from the 25th
Regiment circa 1770.
"To your pipes and other furnishings till allowed by the commanding
officer, 44 pounds." [This was later disallowed during an audit]. F.P.
"Piper Neil MacLain disallowed 4.13.4 pipe set." May 18th, 1776, M.M.
The York and Lancaster Museum has the Second Battalion's pipe banner
in their collection. The banner is blue silk with very elaborate
embroidery. The decorations include, but not limited to: Horns and
half moons, crown, laurels, "GR", 84th crest, St. Andrews crest, and
12 lines of embroidered verse in Gaelic. It is dated 1777.
Translation: Prayer or wish of the Gael over his enemy - "Decisive
victory in time of battle, shoulder to shoulder with their weapons and
Highland garb around them, that they keep up, as was their custom, the
fortitude and bearing of gentlemen and retain like a precious thing,
to renown their forebears and handed down to them. Let them have their
sword, their shield, pistol, long gun and dirk and, instead of music
of harp or fiddle, let them have the war music of the pipes to march
to. Motto: "With God's will in spite of men" or "God willing in spite