Highlander, Independent Company, 1730
Early Highland company dress
In the 17th century order was preserved in the Highlands by Companies of soldiers locally recruited, like the Scouts of the North West Frontier in India. The first Companies were raised as early as 1624, then disbanded in 1717, and new Companies raised in 1725. These new Companies were organised in a manner like the regular army and assembled as a battalion once a year. The dress was in the hands of the commander. They wore red coats and were armed with fuzil, broad sword, dirk, a Highland pistol, and a target. Companies were ordered to provide plaids ‘as near as they can of the same sort or colour’ for their men. Later all Companies wore the same tartan. Each man had a numbered badge, which had to be handed on to his successor. The men were of good family. After the rising of 1715 the carrying of arms was normally forbidden, but arms in the Highlands was a mark of standing so many men joined the Companies to continue to bear arms, as they were accustomed to. Here is a Highlander in the type of dress common to all the Companies which, apart from the colour of the coat, was little different from that which would be worn off duty. It is like Highland dress worn today.
|Dimensions||24 × 37.5 cm|