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32nd Regiment






Also known as Brig-Gen. William Douglas' Regiment

Brig-Gen. William Douglas commanded 1745 - 1747
Became the 32nd (Cornwall Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

1743 - 32nd at Dettingen. 27th June.

During the Battle of Dettingen am Main in Bavaria (June 27, 1743), an army of British, Hannoverians, and Hessians, under the command of George II, king of Great Britain and Ireland and elector of Hannover, defeated the French.

1745 - 32nd at Fontenoy.

At the Battle of Fontenoy in Flanders (May 11, 1745), the French under Marshal de Saxe defeated the Austrians and their allies and began the conquest of the Austrian Netherlands.

32nd were ordered home for the 'Rebellion in Scotland' and landed at Gravesend.

1746 - 32nd in Scotland, returned to Flanders, Battle of Roucoux.

1748 - 32nd at Chelmsford.

1747 - 32nd in Battle of Val or Laffeld.


The following are extracts from Historical Records of the 32nd (Cornwall) Light Infantry, 1893, with particular reference to it's Colonel, William Douglas of Kirkness


William Douglas {1745-47.)
Appointtd sgth May, 1743.

First commission, cajitain, 15th May, 1709; captain, Coldstream
Guards, gih Junu, 1720; second major, iglh December, 1740; first
major, aytli April, 1743; colonel, 32nd Regiment, 27lh May, 1745.

Shortly after 1715, the year in which the regiment was raised.
Captain Douylaa joined Croft's Light Dragoons (now gih lancers),
from which, in 1720, he was appointed to the Coldstream Guards.
He served with distinction in the War of the Austrian Succession,
and was given the command of the 32nd Regiment soon after


On 19th July, 1745, liitie more than two months after Fontenoy
had been fought, the young Chevalier landed in the Highlands, and
the Scottish clans began to rally round him, It was not until ihe
beginning of September that the king and his ministers began to realize
the importance of the crisis ; nay, had become fully aware that the
young Chevalier was actually at that moment upon British soil. A
message was then despatched to the Duke of Cumberland with
directions that a part of the Flanders army should at once return
home. The first general order which intimated such a movement
occurs under date of September 24th, when as after orders "all
"the posts of Sowles' (11th), Pultney's (13th), M. G. Howard's
"(19th), Bragg's (28th), Douglas' (32nd), Johnson's (33rd), and
" Cholmondeley's (34th) regiments to be relieved immediately.
** These seven regiments to be ready to march at an hour's warning."*

These regiments, with the exception of the 19th, and with the
addition of the brigade of Guards and the Buffs, embarked at
Wilhelmstadt in October, under the command of Sir John Ligonier,
and ten days later arrived off Gravesend. The steadiness and good
order of these troops on embarkation elicited the highest praise from

After its arrival in England, the 32nd Regiment (now commanded
by Colonel William Douglas,) in the army of the Duke of Cumber-
land, moved northwards. On 4th December the duke's head-quarters
were at Stafford, the young Pretender and the Highland army being
at Derby and in its neighbourhood. The Duke of Cumberland's
army was brigaded as the following extract from General Orders
shows : —


« L : G : Anstruther & Brigr Bligh— Sempill's (26th), Scotch Fuzileers,

" (21st), Johnson's (33rd), Douglas' (32nd).
" M : G : Skelton & Brigr Price— Howd* (3rd Buffs), Skelton's (12th).
" Brig' Douglas— Bowie's (IXth), Handyside's (31st), The Train."

The regiment subsequently did good service in Lancashire, but
does not appear to have taken part in the battles of Falkirk Moor or

In Henderson's History of the Rebellion y Douglas' regiment (32nd) is men-
tioned with others ** who had served so well under the eye of His Royal Highness
" in Lancashire and Cheshire."

The regiment pruceeded to Scotland on the dispersal of tlie clans,
remaining there but a short lime, as they could ill be spared from
Flanders, where their services were urgently needed. In the autumn
of 1746 they were back again in that country, under their old chief,
Sir John Li^oniei.

On 7th October a sharp affair occurred on the Jaar, in which the
French were repulsed ; but Saxe, reinforced by Clermont, re-crossed
that stream a few days later, and the Allies — instead oi opposing the
passage — sent off their heavy baggage to Maesiricht and chose a new
position in rear of the villages of Endist, Slinge, and FixhiJ, where
they awaited the French altaclc. Between Fixhe and Liers was a
plain, in front of the Hanoverians ; the Brili)^h and Hessians wi^re
posted in rear of Liers; the Hanoverian genera!, Zastrow, and
Brigadier Douglas, 32nd regiment, held Warem and Roucoux, and the
Prince of Waldeck occupied the suburbs of Liege. In this position
the Allies were vigorously assailed by the French, who advanced in
three columns, covered by a powerful artillery, and, though at first
repulsed on the left, gradually extended their attacks along the whole
front, driving Zastrow out of the villages of Warem and Roucoux
and compelling the Allies to fall back upon the Meuse, leaving five
thousand of their dead, chiefly Hessians, on the field. The French,
too, had been roughly handled, and the retreat was effected without

This affair ended the year's operations, and on 26th October the
British and Hessians marched to Venloo, whence they proceeded to
their winter quarters in the duchies of Limburg and Luxembourg.

The Allies were in the field again in April, 1747, the Duke of
Cumberland having made great prejiarations during the winter ; but
ill luck seemed to hover around them, and they were outnumbered
and outmancEuvred by the French.

Il appears from the same source (although not absolutely stated)
thai Douglas' regiment (32nd) occupied winter quarters in Breda,
1747-48, Early in March, 1748, troops were moved towards Maes-
tricht "for it IS thought that the French are going to lay siege to it."
There marrheil In defend that town, fifteen regiments of foot and five
of horse, two guns being sent to every foot regiment, following the
unaccountable fashion of the time; Douglas' (32nd) was apparently
not with this force.

" August ye 4th 1748.

"General Sickness thro' all y* English Regiments, Taken with a Pain in
" the head. Fever & Eague, above three fourths of y* Regiments had it
"and a Great Number Died, Especially those which Lay on y« Low
" Ground, the only remedy was Setons in y« neck and drinking ye water
" after it was boil'd."

Brigadier Douglas having died the year previous, viz., 1st December,
1747, was succeeded by Colonel Francis I-eighton, as colonel of the

On the conclusion of peace, before narrated, the whole of the
British troops were wididrawn from the Low Countries. In December,

1748, the 32nd Regiment was at Chelmsford, and was reduced by
two companies. In 1749 it was sent to Gibraltar, the scene of its
earliest experiences






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