After the 7 Years War

What happened when the 7 Years War ended?


When the Seven Years' War ended, plans were made to ship the Regiment home to be disbanded. Subsistence rolls, taken in Quebec in August 1763, shows that the 78th Fraser Highlanders were still a formidable fighting machine after six years of campaigning in America: 36 commissioned officers, 95 NCOs, 20 drummers, and 736 private soldiers - a total strength of 887 all ranks. Any officer or soldier who opted to remain in America could take their discharge in Quebec, and 170 NCOs and privates accepted this offer. Of this number, 80 wished to settle in upstate New York, and as a special privliege, were given sufficient rations to reach Albany. Those who opted to 'solder on,' 358 NCOs and men, were drafted into other regiments remaining on the establishment in America including the 15th and 27th Foot, but the majority were drafted in the 60th Foot or Royal American Regiment. The remainder, 359 all ranks, boarded the transports Briton and Neptune in Quebec on 12 October 1763 and sailed for Scotland. The Regiment was officially disbanded in Glasgow on 14 December 1763. A large portion of those who remained in Canada settled in the Fraserville or Rivière-du-Loup areas of Quebec. Many of these veteran soldiers would later emigrate to British North America with their families and friends, and some would once again serve the British crown during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).

Settlement in Quebec

Since a number of the men spoke French (due to their Jacobite connection) and were Catholic, they were well respected by the French Canadians in the area. Many decided to stay on land grants and married into French Canadian families. During their short stay in Quebec, members of the Regiment:

  • established the first Presbyterian church in Canada;
  • established the first Masonic Lodge; and,
  • introduced the game of curling on the frozen rivers and lakes.

About 90 of the men settled in the Fraserville or Riviere-du-Loup area.

A remarkable legacy

Many of the men and their descendants became fur trade merchants and explorers of the Canadian and American West. During the American Revolution, veterans of the 78th re-enlisted in the 84th Regiment, Royal Highland Emigrants, and some received land grants on Prince Edward Island.

Others returned independently to establish business concerns, notably in the fur trade, where they or their descendants explored and opened the continent naming such rivers as the MacKenzie and the Fraser.

The influence of the original 1,500 men of this Regiment on Canadian and North American history is still evolving. New historical discoveries are still being made which further indicate that this Regiment deserves a special place in our military tradition.


stewart2David M. StewartDuring preparations for Montreal's EXPO'67, the Montreal Military & Maritime Museum (now called The David M. Stewart Museum) revived two historic Regiments - La Compagnie Franche de la Marine and The 78th Fraser's Highlanders. Through the leadership of Colonel J. Ralph Harper and Colonel David M. Stewart, research was undertaken to reproduce the uniform and equipment of these 18th century soldiers. With the prototype in hand, the call was issued, and the ranks were quickly filled with eager university, college and high school students.

Since the 1960s these two corps have paraded daily throughout the summer months at the Old Fort on St.Helen's Island, Montreal. This exhibition of living history has been enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors. The Fraser Drill company has demonstrated its piping, drilling and battle formation skills in numerous Canadian and US. cities and historical sites. The squad has also distinguished itself by acting as Guard of Honour to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II on three occasions.

The squad is composed entirely of students mainly from the Montreal area, although some young men have come from outposts as far away as Calgary and Atlanta. These young men already play bagpipes or drums, and are required to learn highland dancing and the 18th century manual of drill with the Brown Bess musket. The aim is to provide healthy and stimulating summer employment which stresses military tradition and discipline. Their training includes a strong introduction to 18th century history and military life. Since its inception, the squad has been supported entirely through private donations from individuals, members of our garrisons and corporations. The annual budget is in excess of $75,000 which includes salaries and scholarships, along with uniform and equipment maintenance. The Museum provides a professional support staff including gunsmiths and seamstresses.

Photos of 78th Frasers