On 5 March, 1851, headquarters and 4 companies of the 92nd under command of Lt.-Col. Atherley sailed from Queenstown for the Ionian Islands. The regiment disembarked at Corfu on March 29th, and on May 17th was joined by the other two service companies under command of Major Lockhart.
While in the Ionian Islands, the 92nd received notice that kilted regiments were to use the Glengarry bonnet as a forage cap, with the regimental band or border similar to that on the feather bonnet.
The 92nd remained in the Ionian Islands until March 1853, embarking in three detachments for Gibraltar on the 21st, 23rd, and 28th of that month, respectively. During its stay in the Ionian Islands it was regularly inspected, and was invariably complimented, we need scarcely say, by the inspecting officer, on its high state of efficiency in all respects.
While the regiment was in Gibraltar, the war between this country and Russia broke out, and in consequence the 92nd was augmented to 1120 of all ranks, and subsequently to 1344. This increase, however, was soon destined to be considerably reduced, not by the casualties of war,—for the 92nd was not fortunate enough to be in the thick of the fray, —but by the large numbers who volunteered into other regiments destined for the Crimea. So large a number of men volunteered into those regiments about to proceed to the scene of the struggle, that little more than the officers, colours and band remained of what was the day before one of the finest, best drilled, and best disciplined regiments in the army.
The depot companies, stationed at the time at Galway, volunteered almost to a man into the 42nd and 79th. The men of the service companies entered English regiments, and on their arrival at Varna asked to be allowed to enter Highland corps. This, however, could not be done, and on the conclusion of the war many of those that were left unscathed petitioned to be allowed to rejoin their old corps, saying they had volunteered for active service, and not to leave their regiment. Their request was not granted; but so strong was their esprit de corps, that at the expiration of their first period of service many of them re-enlisted in the 92nd, two of their number bringing back the Victoria cross on their breasts. Such a loss to the regiment as these volunteers occasioned almost broke the spirit of the officers and of the soldiers left; but by unsparing exertions the regiment was recruited in an incredibly short time with a very superior class of men, mostly from the Highland counties, but all from Scotland.
On the 25th of June 1855 Lt.-General John M’Donald, C. B., was appointed to the colonelcy of the regiment, to replace the deceased Sir William M’Bean, K.C.B.
The 92nd was, after all, sent to the Crimea, but too late to take any part in active operations. At the request of Lord Clyde the regiment was sent out to join his division before Sebastopol, and about 600 officers and men left Gibraltar during September 1855, landing at Balaklava just after the taking of Sebastopol. Though the 92nd was actually under fire in the Crimea, it did not obtain any addition to the numerous names on its colours.
It remained in the Crimea till May 1856, on the 23rd of which month it embarked at Balaklava for Gibraltar, where it remained for eighteen months longer before embarking for India, previous to which the establishment of the regiment was considerably augmented, the service companies alone numbering upwards of 1100 officers and men. The 92nd embarked on the 20th of January 1858, to take part in quelling the Indian Mutiny; and before leaving, both in general orders and in brigade orders, Lt.-Col. Lockhart and the officers and men were eulogised in the highest terms for the splendid character of the regiment.
The light companies of the 92nd disembarked at Bombay on the 6th of March, under the command of Col. Atherley; the other two companies, under the command of Lt.-Col. Mackenzie, joined head-quarters at Bombay on the 30th of March. The 92nd, during its stay in India, was employed in the Central Provinces, under Sir Hugh Rose, formerly a 92nd officer, and distinguished itself by the rapidity of its forced marches and steadiness under fire; but although it took part in many combats, skirmishes, and pursuits, doing good and important service to its country, it had not the good fortune to be in any great victory such as to be thought worthy of being recorded on the colours beside such glorious names as Egypt and Waterloo. Lt.-Col. Lockhart was made a C.B. for his services while commanding the 92nd in this campaign. We shall endeavour briefly to indicate some of the services performed by the regiment while taking its share in the suppression of the mutiny.
On the 30th of March a detachment, under the command of Major Sutherland, proceeded to Surât on field-service, rejoining headquarters on the 8th of June. Four days after, the right wing of headquarters, under command of Lt.Col. Archibald Inglis Lockhart, proceeded to Mhow on field-service, but must have returned before the 22nd of August, on which day headquarters, consisting of Nos. 1, 3, 7, and 10 companies, marched upon Oojein, to the north of Indore, having received sudden orders to that effect on the afternoon of the 21st. The companies formed part of a field-force column, which was required to put down some rebellious symptoms that had shown themselves near Oojein. The column was placed under the command of Lt.-Col. Lockhart, and reached Oojein on the 25th. Here all was found quiet, and the column was directed toward Mundesoor, but on its march intelligence was received that the rebels had crossed to the right bank of the Chumbul river, and in consequence the march of the column was directed upon Agoor, which place it reached on the 28th, having marched 50 miles through a most difficult country in 38 hours. After remaining here for three days the column advanced to Soosneer, 16 miles to the northward; and intelligence having been received that a force of 15,000 rebels, with 38 guns, had taken possession of the fortified town of Jhalra Patun, it was resolved to wait at Soosneer until support arrived. On the 9th of Sept. a squadron of H.M.’s Lancers and 2 guns of the Bengal Artillery joined the camp; on the morning of the 10th, a change in the enemy’s movements having meantime taken place, the reinforced column marched to Zeera poor, about 10 miles south of Machilpoor, to which the enemy had moved, both towns being on the right bank of the Kallee Sind. At Zeerapoor the column was joined by another force under the command of Lt.-Col. Hope of the 71st Highland Light Infantry, which was also under Col. Lockhart’s orders. On the same night, the 10th, Major-General Michel, C.B., commanding the Malwah division, joined and assumed command, entirely approving of the arrangements which had been made. The united column set out in pursuit of the rebels on the 12th, and marching by Buliwarrah and Rajghur, on the 15th came upon the enemy’s camp at a short distance from the latter town, but found it had been quite recently abandoned, the rebels having evidently beat a precipitate retreat. The European infantry was left here to breakfast and grog, and the Major-General, with the cavalry, native infantry, and artillery, pushed on and brought the enemy to a stand in a jungly country. The latter opened a well-sustained fire upon their pursuers, which, however, proved nearly harmless. On the European infantry coming up, the 92nd, under Captain Bethune, and the 4th Bombay Rifles deployed into line and advanced, covered by their own skirmishers, and supported by the 71st Highlanders and the 19th Bombay Native Infantry. According to orders not a shot was fired until the jungle thinned so much as to enable the skirmishers to see the enemy. After a few rounds from the guns, the infantry again advanced, and the rebels abandoned their position and fled, pursued by the cavalry. The infantry proceeded to Bhowra, where they encamped, having marched 20 miles in the course or the day under a burning sun, by which many of the men were struck down. The only casualties of the 92nd in the above action were 2 men wounded.
The force halted at IBhowra until bhe 18th of Sept., the whole being formed into one brigade under Lt.Col Lockhart. Setting out on that lay, the force marching by Seronj reached Mungrowlce on the 9th of Oct., when just as the tents had been pitched, it was reported that the rebels were advancing in force, and were within half a mile of the camp. The squadron of the 17th Lancers was immediately pushed forward, rapidly followed by the artillery and infantry, the 92nd being commanded by Captain Bethune. The enemy, taken by surprise, retreated, and took up position on an eminence 3 miles distant from Mungrowlee, and crowned by the ruins of a village. The rebels covered their front with guns placed in a strip of jungle, which was filled with cavalry and infantry. The British infantry deployed into line, and, covered by skirmishers, advanced upon the enemy’s position. The guns of the latter at once opened, and there was also a well-sustained but not very effective fire of small arms kept up from the jungle. The skirmishers directing their fire on the enemy’s guns (whose position could only be ascertained from their smoke), steadily advanced. After an ineffectual attempt to turn the left wing of the British by the enemy’s cavalry, the latter gave way, leaving their infantry to be severely handled by the Lancers. The line continued to advance, and six guns were taken by a rush of the skirmishers, many of the gunners being shot and bayoneted when endeavouring to escape. The guns being now brought up, the rebels soon were in rapid retreat. There appears to have been no casualties to the 92nd in this well-fought action.
It having been ascertained that the rebels had crossed the Betwa, and were now located on the right bank of that river, Major-General Michel arranged with Brigadier Smith, commanding a field column in the Chundaree district, that the two forces should make a combined movement, and for this purpose they were divided into three columns. The left column, consisting of the infantry of his brigade, under Brigadier Smith, was to move down the left bank of the river towards the Chundaree, prepared to cross to the right bank if necessary. The cavalry and horse artillery of both brigades, forming the centre column, under the immediate command of Major-General Michel, was to cross at the ford by which the enemy had retreated. The right column, consisting of the infantry and artillery of Lt.-Col. Lockhart’s brigade, under that officer, was to cross the river by the Khunjea Ghaut and proceed to Nurat. This place it reached on the 17th of October, and on the 18th was joined by the centre column, which had been unable to penetrate the very dense jungle.
On the morning of the 19th, the 92nd being led by Captain A. W. Cameron, the two combined columns marched upon the village of Sindwaho, about 12 miles distant, and where the enemy were reported to be in strength. The force halted within half a mile of the village, to the right of which the enemy were discovered drawn up in order of battle. The cavalry and horse artillery advanced to the attack, and the infantry, who were to advance upon the village, under Lt.-Col. Lockhart, were deployed into line, covered by skirmishers. The 71st passed to the right of the village, the 92nd through the village and thick enclosures on the left, and the 19th Bombay Native Infantry were on more open ground to the left of the 92nd. The enemy were found to have abandoned the village, but many were shot down in the advance of the skirmishers through the enclosures. When clear of the village, the infantry advanced in echelon of battalions from the right. While the 71st took ground to the right, and the 19th Bengal Native Infantry went to the help of the Bombay Artillery, the 92nd, under Captain Cameron, advanced in the face of a large body of cavalry, who had posted themselves under a large tope of trees on a rising ground and frequently threatened to charge. By this time the 92nd was quite separated from the rest of the force. A battery of artillery having been sent to join the 92nd, and as the enemy still threatened to charge, the skirmishers were recalled, and fire opened from right to left; as shot and shell were at the same time thrown into the tope, the enemy retired, and were soon in rapid retreat, pursued by the cavalry.
During the 20th the force halted at Tehree and on this as on previous occasions the Major-General issued an order congratulating the troops on their success, and justly praising the exertions and bravery of officers and men. On this last occasion, Col. Lockhart’s ability in handling his brigade elicited the Major-General’s warmest approbation.
The force set out again on the 21st, and marching each day reached Dujorial on the 24th. The Major-General having heard that the enemy were at Kimlasa, moved on Kuraya at 2 A.M. on the 25th, and at dawn the whole of the rebel army was discovered crossing in front just beyond Kuraya. When the cavalry, which had started an hour later than the infantry, came up, they found that the infantry under Col. Lockhart, having cut through the enemy’s line of march, had just wheeled to the right and part advanced skirmishing. The infantry had indeed dispersed the enemy when the cavalry arrived; the latter therefore set out in rapid pursuit, the infantry following for about five miles and clearing the villages of the rebels.
The force remained at Kuraya till the 2 7th, when it proceeded south, and reached Bhilsa on the 2nd of November. On the 4th the Major-General proceeded with the cavalry in pursuit of the rebels, who had crossed the Nerbudda, leaving the infantry and La Mar-chant’s battery of artillery to watch Bhilsa and Bhopal, both being threatened by bodies of local rebels. The infantry remained at Bhilsa until the 9th, when, proceeding by Goolgong, they reached Bhopal on the 17th, leaving it on the 23rd for Sehore.
The rebels, in the meantime, after crossing the Nerhudda, had been again repulsed by the troops in Candeish. One hundred men of the 92nd, part of a small column under Major Sutherland, proceeded on the 20th of November to cross the Nerbudda, and on the 24th reached Jeelwana, where they were joined by another 50 men of the 92nd and a like number of the 71st mounted on camels. On the morning of the 24th Major Sutherland proceeded with 120 Highlanders and 80 sepoys, partly on camels, and soon ascertaining that the rebels, under Tantéa Topee, with two guns, were on the road to Rajpoor, pushed on in pursuit. On approaching Rajpoor, the rebel force was perceived passing through it, and the Highlanders, on camels, pushing rapidly forward, came on the enemy in half an hour. Before the men, however, could dismount for the attack, the rebels again retired. By this time the men following on foot, both Europeans and natives, having marched at a very rapid pace in rear, overtook the men on camels. The whole now advanced together direct upon the enemy, who had taken up a strong position, in order of battle, on a rocky and wooded ridge, their two guns on the road commanding the only approach. The Highlanders, supported by the native troops, at once advanced, and rushing up the road under a shower of grape, in a very short time captured the guns, on which the rebels precipitately abandoned their position. In this attack, Lt. and Adjutant Humfrey was wounded.
Major Sutherland’s force remained in the neighbourhood of Kooksee until the 27th of December, when it was ordered to join headquarters at Mhow.
Lt.-Col. Lockhart’s column left Sehore and marched upon Indore on the 29th of Novernher, that town being considered in danger of an attack by the rebels. Indore was reached on December 4th, and the column halted there until the 6th, when it returned to quarters at Mhow, having detached No. 10 and part of No. 3 companies under Captain Bethune to join a small force proceeding towards Rutlâm. These companies were subsequently attached to Brigadier Somerset’s column, and mounted on camels, they underwent great privations and severe fatigue during the rapid pursuit in the Banswarra country. On the morning of the 1st of January 1859, the column came up with the rebels at daylight at Baroda, but the men had scarcely dismounted era the rebels had, as usual, commenced a rapid retreat; this, however, they did not effect before being considerably cut up by the cavalry and guns attached to the force. These companies did not rejoin headquarters until the 24th of May 1859.
On the 2nd of March, headquarters, numbering about 1000 officers and men, marched from Mhow to Jhansi, there to be quartered; but, on reaching Bursud, they were directed by Brigadier-General Sir R. Napier to assist in clearing that neighbourhood of some rebels said to be located in the jungles. For this purpose all the heavy baggage was left at Bursud in charge of a company, and the remainder proceeded in light order to Ummeerghur and subsequently to Karadev. The jungles were in vain searched for any rebels, and on the 25th the force again got on to the main road at Goona and proceeded towards Jhansi, which it reached on the 7th of April. Nos. 8 and 9 companies proceeded direct to Lullutpoor, where they were stationed on detached duty under Major Sutherland. Remnants of rebels who had, after being broken up into small parties, reunited under Feroze Shah, and taken refuge in the dense jungles, were by the junction of forces from Lullutpoor and other places driven from their refuge, without, however, their having been actually come in contact with. The duty was, nevertheless, of a harassing nature, and was rendered more so by the sickness which had latterly prevailed at Lullutpoor and reduced the men stationed there to a weak condition.
On the 1st of June 1859, No. 7 company was detached to Seepree, and on the evening of the 30th, 40 men of that company under Ensign Emmet, mounted on elephants, proceeded with a mixed native force, the whole under the command of Major Meade, to surprise a numerous party of rebels who had located themselves in a village about 28 miles distant. The village, which was situated on an eminence and surrounded by thick jungle, was reached by 5.30 A.M. on the 1st of July, and the attack immediately commenced. The rebels in considerable numbers took refuge in a large house well loop-holed, and kept up a warm fire of musketry on their assailants; they were not finally subdued until the house caught fire. Of the 92nd, 4 rank and file were wounded, and Major Meade, in reporting the affair to the commanding officer, said :—" I cannot speak too highly of
Ensign Emmet and your men; their coolness and steadiness was most conspicuous."
On the 14th of October, Nos. 1 and 2 companies proceeded, mounted on camels, as part of a small force ordered from Jhansi under command of Col. Lockhart, in conjunction with 6 other columns, to clear the Bundelcund jungles of rebels. The force continued in the field until the 14th of December. Some difficult and harassing marches were performed in the course of these operations, but the rebels having broken through the circle to the northeast, the Jhansi column, being stationed on the west, did not come in contact with them.
Thus it will be seen that the 92nd performed important and harassing duties during the suppression of the great Indian Mutiny, and certainly seem to have deserved some outward mark of the services they then rendered to their country. Brigadier-General Sir Robert Napier, in bidding farewell to the officers and men of the Gwalior division on the 11th of January 1860, specially acknowledged the important assistance he had received from Col. Lockhart and the men under his command. Notwitstanding the fatiguing work the 92nd had to undergo, both Sir Robert Napier and Lord Clyde, in reporting on their inspection, spoke in the highest terms of the condition of the regiment.
The various detachments having joined headquarters at Jhansi, the regiment, numbering about 960 officers and men, under command of CoL Lockhart, C.I.B., left Jhansi on the 15th of March for Dugshai, there to be quartered.
The 92nd remained in India for nearly three years longer, during which little occurred in connection with the regiment calling for special notice. Besides the places already mentioned, it was stationed at Umballa, Benares, Rajghaut, and Calcutta, and, on its half-yearly inspection, invariably elicited the unqualified commendation of the inspecting officers and the War Office authorities; the regimental school gained the special praise of the latter.
While stationed at Dugshai, in September 1861, the regiment received the gratifying intelligence that Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to authorise the 92nd being designated "The Gordon Highlanders," by which name it was popularly known at the period of its being raised and for some time afterwards; indeed we suspect it had never ceased to be popularly known by this title.
The Gordon Highlanders embarked at Calcutta for England in two detachments on the 24th and 28th of January 1863, respectively, and rejoined at Gosport on the 20th of May. This was the first time the regiment had been quartered in England since the 22nd of August 1816. Before the 92nd left India, 396 men volunteered into regiments remaining in the country; the deficiency was, however, soon filled up, as, on its being made known, Scotchmen serving in English regiments gladly availed themselves of the opportunity of serving in so distinguished a corps.
The 92nd did not remain long at Gosport. It embarked at Portsmouth on the 10th of July for Edinburgh, arriving off Granton Pier on the 13th, and marching to the Castle through an enthusiastic crowd. It was 17 years since the Gordon Highlanders had last been in Edinburgh. Shortly after its arrival the regiment was inspected by its Colonel, General Sir John M'Donald, K.C.B., who had formerly commanded the 92nd for the long period of 18 years.
The regiment remained scarcely a year in Edinburgh, during which time only one event occurred to mark the "even tenor of its way;" this was the presentation of new colours on the 18th of April 1864. The Highlanders, on that day, were formed in review-order on the Castle Esplanade, shortly after which Major-General Walker, C.B., commanding in Scotland, arrived on the ground accompanied by his staff. General Sir John M’Donald, K.C.B., the veteran colonel of the regiment, was also present, along with Lady M’Donald and other members of his family. After the usual ceremony had been gone through with the old colours, and after the Rev. James Millar, Chaplain of Edinburgh Castle, had offered up an appropriate prayer, the Major-General placed the new colours in the hands of Lady M’Donald, who addressed the regiment in a few most appropriate words:-
"It would be, I believe," she said, ‘‘ according to established custom, that, in placing these colours in your hands, I should remind you of the duty you owe to them, your Queen, and your country; but, to the Gordon Highlanders, any such counsel would, I feel, be superfluous; their glorious deeds of the past are sufficient guarantee for the future, that wherever and whenever these colours are borne into action, it will be but to add new badges to them and fresh honour to the regiment. I cannot let this opportunity pass without touching on the many happy years I spent among you, without assuring you of the pleasure it gives me to see you again, and of my warmest wishes for your welfare and prosperity."
On the 25th of May 1864, the 92nd left Edinburgh for Glasgow under the command of Col. A. I. Lockhart, C.B. Detachments were also sent to Paisley and Ayr. The 92nd remained in Glasgow till March 1865, during which time it took part in a large sham fight in Renfrewshire, and was present at the inauguration by the Queen of a statue of Prince Albert at Perth, the first erected in the kingdom. On the 25th of January 1865, the depot joined headquarters from Stirling. It is unnecessary to say that in all its public appearances, and at all inspections while in Scotland, as elsewhere, the Gordon Highlanders received, and that deservedly, the highest encomiums on their appearance, discipline, and conduct.
On the 6th of March 1865, the 92nd, consisting of 1033 officers, men, women, and children, embarked on the Clyde for Portsmouth, en route for Aldershot, arriving at the Camp on the 10th of the same month. While at Aldershot, Major C. M. Hamilton was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and succeeded to the command of the regiment in place of Col. Lockhart, C.B.
Lockhart was placed on half pay in 1865 and promoted to Lieutenant- General in 1877. He died in 1879.