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Re: Musicians, Highland 84th Regiment

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  • Kim Stacy
    MUSICIANS The 84th had drummers, fifers, and pipers. The pipers were not authorized until after 1780. As well as communications duty, the musicians played for
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 2001

      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
      of men."
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