A distinguished soldier whose suicide brought the tragic events of the
Napoleonic Wars right into the Edinburgh New Town.
- - 27 November 1814
- Dalness, Argyllshire
- James MacDonald, a younger son of Alexander, 2nd of Dalness.
- Having returned from service he was staying with his
brother at 42
- Colonel in the 57th Regiment from August 1811.
Caledonian March, still the official march of the regiment, is said
to have been a great favourite of his. (3)
- Duncan was wounded severely at Nivelle in November 1813, after
which he appears to have continued to follow the regiment, unfit for
command but reluctant to miss the battles. It seems that he was popular in his
regiment and not a harsh disciplinarian. When another officer lost control of
his company who plundered the deserted chateau at Aire in March 1814, the day
after a successful battle, the officer was able to escape punishment by blaming
the event on loss of discipline caused by MacDonald's continued presence.
MacDonald was persuaded to go home and recover his health, and he went to stay
with his brother Coll MacDonald, unaware of the
charge against him. But while there, he unexpectedly read his name in the
London Gazette as one of two officers 'dismissed from service', the other
being Colonel Peacocke of the 71st, a notorious coward. In shame at finding his
name linked with him, Duncan shot himself at his brother's house.
- Chapel connection
- funeral (1814)
- Related to
- Coll MacDonald, brother
- Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
- C.M.H. Millar, 'The dismissal of Colonel Duncan MacDonald of the 57th
Regiment' in The Clan Donald Magazine no.10 (1981) p.65-71
- 'Caledonian March' in Traditional Tune Archive (Online accessed 7 April 2012
Back to index