Who were the 78th Fraser Highlanders?
In 1757, Simon Fraser, son of Lord Lovat of northwest Scotland, raised the 78th Regiment of Foote - Fraser Highlanders. The formation, comprised of approximately 1,500 men from his clan, served King Georges II in North America during the Seven Year War.
The regiment, which was active in Canada from 1758 to 1763, played a major role in the conflict between the French and British and fought in the battles that became synonymous with this period in Quebec history: Louisbourg (June 1758), Montmorency and Beauport (July 1759), Plains of Abraham (September 1759), Sainte-Foy (April 1760), Montreal (September 1760 - reddition), and St. Johns, Newfoundland (September 1762).
The Frasers spent their first North American winter, that of 1757-58, in Connecticut. In spring of 1758, the regiment joined the force being assembled for the assault of Louisbourg that led to the surrender of the fortress in July 1758. Fraser's Highlanders then moved to New York, where they were to pass the winter, but were transferred first to Boston and then, as a result of the disaster at Ticonderoga, to Albany.
General Wolfe and the Plains of Abraham
Fraser's Highlanders joined General Wolfe's Quebec expedition in the spring of 1759, and served with distinction throughout the campaign. They were the only Highland troops present, and they formed the largest Regiment in Wolfe's main battle line at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.
Three Highland Regiments Together
The Regiment remained in Quebec during the trying winter of 1759-60, and took part in the Battle at Sainte Foy on 29 April 1760. Subsequently, a detachment of the 78th accompanied General Murray's force in the advance on Montreal, where it met with the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment (The Black Watch) and the 77th (Montgomerie's Highlanders) Regiment, both of Amherst's force. Here, for the first time, the three Highland Regiments serving in North America during the Seven Years' War came together.
The regiment was disestablished in Quebec City in December 1763, and its soldiers received parcels of land as compensation. Many of them married French Canadian women and worked their land. Others became gentlemen farmers overseeing expansive estates and took up important public administration duties. Still others went on to make their fortunes in business, primarily in the fur and timber trades. The descendants of these Scotsmen travelled the continent, leaving lasting reminders of their explorations and notably giving their names to the Fraser and Mackenzie Rivers.
The modern 78th Frasers are a North-America wide historical society whose primary mission is the preservation of the memory of the original Regiment, their commanders, comrades-in-arms and their adversaries. With its headquarters in Montreal, the modern 78th Frasers have Garrisons located in Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, British Columbia, Vancouver, Washington and Atlanta, Georgia.