Colyear's regiment of the Scots Brigade

59 Colyear's Scottish regiment
painting with Colyear's wife Alida
Walter Philip Colyear married Alida
van Leyden van Leeuwen, picture by
Daniel Mytens the younger
Commanded by:
Sir Alexander Colyear1675
James Douglas1680
John Wauchope1685
George Ramsay1688
Sir Charles Graham1692
Walter Philip Colyear31 Oct. 1695

1 Origins of Colyear's regiment of Foot

1.1 The third Scottish regiment

Traditionally there had always been three Scottish regiments of foot in the army of the United Provinces. In the second war with England the States General decided to turn these into national regiments, i.e. nominally Dutch troops. One of these regiments defended Maastricht in the Franco-Dutch war, and was commanded by colonel Erskine and lieutenant-colonel Allan Coutts. In 1673 Erskine was succeeded by Jacques de Fariaux, Heer van Maulde, and it seems to have lost its Scottish character completely1.

2 Colyear's regiment

2.1 founded in 's Hertogenbosch in 1675

The third Scottish regiment we're dealing with here is the one which was founded in 's Hertogenbosch in 1675. Upon the formation in Den Bosch and the years immediately following the regiment looked somewhat like this2:

Companies in Colyear's regiment in 1675
Col. Alexander Colyer a. 16 Jan 1675Robert Douglas
Lt-Col. Hugh Mackay a. 8 Jan 1675William Wauchope
St-maj. William Mac Dougall a. 9 April 1674William Middleton
David ColyearJohn Hails
John GibsonJames Wauchope
James DouglasEdward Lloyd
Patrick Wesley

2.2 Alexander Colyear

In order to get to grips with this regiment we'll look Alexander Colyear (c. 1635-1680). Alexander was the son of David Colyear (c. 1600 - c.1657) and probably his second wife Jean Bruce. Alexander became a captain of Graham's regiment on 22 November 1661. In May 1672 Alexander Colyear was mentioned as captain of a company in the fortresses of Bergen op Zoom4. He became sergeant-major of Graham's regiment on 1 April 1673.

On 1 July 1673 Alexander Colyear became adjudant-general of Stadholder William III, an influential position. In 1673 he was instrumental in planning the conquest of Naarden. On 1 January 1675 he became colonel of this regment.

Later on Alexander Colyear would participate in the 1676 failed siege of Maastricht and the 1678 Battle of Saint Denis. On 20 February 1677 he became an English baron. He died in early February 1680 possible at Bergen op Zoom. In 1656 Alexander Colyear had married Johanna Murray, probably the daughter of Lieutenant-colonel Walter Murray. They had 5 children, amongst which David Colyear 1st Earl of Portmore (11 April 1657 - 2 January 1730); Walter Phillip Colyear (27 August 1658 - 8 December 1747); and Lieutenant-colonel James Colyear (10 July 1664 - at least 1703); a daugther Jean married Patrick Wesley colonel of what would later become the 5th Foot3.

On 1 June 1675 Stadholder William III reviewed Colyear's regiment near Lier and found it to be very good5. In the night of 20-21 July 1676 Colyear's regiment guarded the trenches in the siege of Maastricht6. After this siege had failed the army marched west an reached Ulbeek on 1 September. It then marched to Gembloux, and Colyear's regiment was part of it7. In 1677 it probably missed the Battle of Cassel.

2.3 Colyear regiment at Saint Denis

In August 1678 the Colyear regiment did fight in the Battle of Saint Denis. Here it lost: captains Bruce and Dallyal killed; Lt-Col Douglas wounded and prisoner; Captains Ramsay and Mackay mortally wounded8.

3 Douglas regiment

3.1 Regiment of James Douglas (1680-1685)

Of James Douglas' appointment we know not more than that it was occassioned by Colyear's death and that he was the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment before he became colonel.

3.2 Regiment of John Wauchope (1685-1688)

The regiment then passed to John Wauchope in 1685. In September 1685 Wauchope's participated in maneuvers near Palace het Loo9. On 14 August 1686 it was in camp near Nijmegen10. In 1687 Wauchope's participated in the maneuvers near Dieren11.

4 Ramsay's regiment

4.1 Nobody;s regiment?

When the regiment embarked in 1688 in order to invade England it did not have a colonel. In the first days of November, probably on 4 November 1688 George Ramsay was appointed as colonel of the regiment12.

4.2 Ramsay Regiment at Killiecrankie

The Ramsay moved into the Highlands in July 1689 in a small force under Mackay, which also had the regiments of Balfour and Mackay. At the 27 July 1689 Battle of Killiecrankie this force was beaten by Dundee. Here half of Ramsay's battalion behaved well, and the other half fled before the Highland charge. Ramsay was abandoned by his men, but soon after he was able to rally about 200 men of the regiment about two miles from the battlefield, and joined in the retreat to Castle Drummond.

5 Graham regiment

5.1 Battle of Steenkerque

On 1 September 1691 Charles Graham became colonel of the regiment13. In August 1692 Graham was wounded in the Battle of Steenkerque14. In July 1694 Graham's regiment was in camp at Mont Saint André15.

5.2 Defending Dixmuiden

In late 1694 the alliance had conquered Dixmuiden. In July 1695 Charles Graham's regiment was among the 9 battalion garrison which held this lightly fortified place while the Siege of Namur was underway. Dixmuiden was under the command of Major-general Ellenberger and could be expected to hold out for 8 days before coming to an honarable surrender.

What happened was that the place was closed in on 25 July and surrendered on 27 July, with the garrison of 4,046 soldiers prisoners of war16. This immediately raised suspicions of bribery. In view of the garrisons numbers and a comparison with comparable affairs one can only support this accusation or attribute it to a mental weakness of the commander17.

5.3 Colonel Graham Court martialed

After the surrender of Namur King William III arrested Boufflers because the garrisons of Dixmuiden and Deynse had not been released as promised by Louis XIV. This effected that these garrisons were indeed released by the French and arrived at Gent in about October 1695. There Ellenberger and also Colonel Graham were arrested on gounds of bribery or neglect of duty. At Gent a Court Martial was held from 19 October till 4 November 1695. It convicted Ellenberger to death and dismissed Graham from the service18.

6 Walter Philip Colyear's regiment

6.1 Two Colyear regiments

On 31 October 1695 (probably O.S. and therefore after Graham's dismissal) Walter Philip Colyear was appointed to the regiment that had once been his father's19. This meant that in 1696 there were two Colyear regiments. In the papers of the House of Lords the contemporary awareness of which regiment was which and when it had been founded then becomes very clear. In the journal for 28 October 1696, containing the army estimates, we have Sir David Colyear's regiment (the later Dutch nr. 62) as an English regiment ranked between Tidcomb's (later 14th Foot) and Lesly's (later 15th Foot). Our Colyear regiment, designated as 'Colonel Coljear's, late Sir Cha. Graham's' was in between Mackay's (later Dutch nr. 58) and Lauder's (Dutch nr. 57)20.

6.2 Walter Philip Colyear

Walter Philip Colyear was born in Bergen op Zoom on 27 August 1658. He was the son of Alexander Robertson Colyear and Johanna Murray. At age 17 he entered this regiment, whereof his father was colonel 1675-1680. One year later he switched to the Guards of Stadtholder William III. With these he fought in the failed siege of Maastricht and the 1677 Battle of Cassel. After the Battle of Saint Denis he became a captain. In 1690 he fought at the Boyne, and he was in one of the sieges of Limerick. He next fought at Steenkerken and Landen (1693). After that he became a colonel (of this regiment?) and fought at Namur.

In the Spanish Succession War he became a Brigadier-General, and in 1704 Major-General. He was in all campaigns in the Southern Netherlands, and fought in 7 battles and 8 sieges. In 1707 Colyear became governor of Bonn, in 1708 of Namur. In 1725 he became Lieutenant-General, in 1727 General of Infantry. In 1745 Colyear asked for his dismissal due to old age. On 16 November 1747 he became a Field Marshal.

In December 1681 Colyear married Alida Rhijnburg van Leyden van Leeuwen (6 March 1660 - October 1706), daughter of Diederik Pietersz van Leyden van Leeuwen (1628-1682) often envoy to England, and Alida Paets. Colyear got 8 children, of whom 2 daughters married.

6.3 Uneventful service

For the years after 1695 we have few particulars for Colyear's regiment. The regiment's actions in 1696 are uncertain, it could have been in the second line of the allied army in the Spanish Netherlands province of Brabant21. For 26 May 1697 we are certain that Colyear's regiment was in the second line of King William III's army next to Lauder's22. In January 1699 the States General determined the Colyear regiment to be in garrison in Namur23.

7 The War of the Spanish Succession

7.1 In Bergen op Zoom

The Colyear regiment probably started the War of the Spanish Succession in Bergen op Zoom, because on 25 April the regiment was in Bergen op Zoom and had not yet received its recruits24. On 21 December 1702 Colyear's was in Bergen op Zoom25.

7.2 Battle of Ekeren

On 30 June 1703 Colyear's regiment was in the Battle of Ekeren, where it suffered 91 killed, 49 wounded and 91 missing or prisoner, leaving 504 effective men26. On account of the losses Walter Philip Colyear wrote to Heinsius from his camp at Boudene on 24 August 1703. He asked for lieutenant-colonel William Murray to be appointed as Colonel-commandant; for captain Edward Halkett to be promoted to Lieutenant-colonel and for captain Simon Fraser to be appointed as major of the regiment27. Later the Colyear participated in the operations that covered the Siege of Huy. On 5 September 1703 Colyear's regiment was in the main force near Hannut, just north of Huy28. At the end of December 1703 the Colyear regiment participated in destroying the lined near Wasseige under Noyelles29.

8 Notes

1) Ferguson part 1 page 465: about the original third regiment of the Scots Brigade.
2) Ferguson part 1 page xxx: has the Staten van Oorlog from which this composition can be deduced.
3) This little biography of Alexander Colyear can be found in Nieuw Nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek deel 7 under Alexander Colyear
4) De verdediging van Nederland in 1672 en 1673 by Jan Willem Sypesteyn; Bijlage I; Zamenstelling van het Nederlandsche Leger in de maanden mei en juni 1672, has Colyear's company in Bergen op Zoom.
5) Journaal gedurende de veldtochten der jaren 1673, 1675, 1676, 1677 en 1678 by Constantijn Huijgens den zoon, Kemink & zoon, Utrecht 1888, page 30 under 1 June: S.A. fut voir le regiment de Colyear qu'il loua fort, et me dit, estant de retour, qu'il l'auoit trouvé tel, me demandant par deux fois pourquoy je n'estois pas venu le voir.
6) Huijgens under 20 July 1676: has Coljear's regiment in the trenches
7) Huijgens under 7 September 1676: Le soir des larrons, que on sooupconna avoir été de régiment de Colyear etc.
8) Holllandsche Mercurius for 1678 page 184 for the losses of Alexander Colyear's regiment in the Battle of Saint Denis.
9) At DIGAM is a map: Campement van soodanige trouppes als waarover Sijne Hoogheyt Revue heeft gedaan, ende deselve doen excerceren it has Wachop's regiment
10) At DIGAM is a map: Plan du campement sur la Bruierie de Mock (Mookerheide) le 14 August 1686 it has a regiment 'Wacop'
11) At DIGAM is a map: Campement de l'Armee de Son Altesse Monseigneur le Prince d'Orange a Dieren, l'annee 1687 it has a regiment 'Wachops'
12) Huijgens Journaal van 21 oktober 1688 tot 2 september 1696 eerste deel under 4 November 1688: Ramsay kreegh het regiment van Wauchup.
13) English Army lists and commissions registers, page 6 has 1 September 1691 as date of Charles Graham's appointment
14) Europische Mercurius under August 1692, page 95: Has Colonel Graham wounded at Steenkerken.
15) Europische Mercurius under July 1694, page 52: Has a Graham regiment under Brigadier Fitzpatrick, together with other Scottish regiments.
16) Europische Mercurius under August 1695, page 145: Has the conquest of Dixmuiden.
17) One can compare to e.g. the affair at Tongeren in 1703; the conquest of Deynse or the Battle at the Schellenberg.
18) The Present State of Europe under December 1695, page 444: Has the Court Martial at Gent.
19) English Army lists and commissions registers, page 6 has 31 October 1695 as date of Walter Philip Colyear's appointment.
20) House of Commons Journal for 28 October 1696 for Walter Philip Colyear's regiment in the estimates for 1697.
21) Digam has a 1696 map under 'Schlachtordnung der Franzosen in Brabant, 1696, which is titled as L'armee du Roy en Braband on the map itself, and is indeed about King William III's army, where this Colyear regiment is present as 'Colliare' next to Lauder's. David Colyear's is present as 'Coliere' next to Webb's. On the map itself however, nothing is said about the year, and the text mentioning that 45 designated squadrons were in a detachment under 't Serclaes seems to point to 1697 in stead of 1696.
22) Digam has a 1697 order of Battle under 'Schlachtordnung der Briten bei St-Kwintens-Lennik und der Bayern bei Ternat, 26 Mai 1697, which is titled as Ordre de Battaille de l'armée commande par le Mayst Britannique au camp de St. Quintins Lenick et Eyseringen le 26 Maj. 1697. where this Colyear regiment is present as 'Colliare' next to Lauder's. David Colyear's is present as 'Colliar' next to Stanley's.
23) Europische Mercurius for 1699 part 1 page 139 has the Dispositie der cavallery, dragonders, en infantery voor den garnisoenen van den Jaare 1699, with 'Coljar's regiment in Namur.
24) Heinsius archive for 1702 has a 25 April 1702 letter from Noyelles to Heinsius from Bergen op Zoom: ..., mais n'ayant que trois bataillon isi, dont seluy de Colliar est fort foible n'ayant pas ancor repseu les recrues,....
25) Pelet for 1702 has: Etat des troupes Hollandaises. Anglaises et autres, en garnison dans les places ennemies, du 21 Décembre 1702, with Colyart in Bergen op Zoom.
26) Staatse Leger Volume 8 part 1 page 725: in a list about losses suffered at Ekeren, has Colyear's regiment.
27) Heinsius archive for 1703 has this 24 August 1703 letter from W.P. Colyear to Heinsius written at Boudene in resume.
28) DIGAM has the Ordre de Bataille de l'armée des Alliés au camp de Hannuë le 5me Sept. 1703, with Colliars regiment in Colliars brigade.
29) DIGAM has the Plan de la Situation du payx et lingne Ennemis entre la Rivière Mahangne et Geete Fait le Decembre 1703., it has the regiment Colyar.