official website of the
79th Highlanders Living History Association in Colorado
79th Highlanders Pipe Band
Patterned after the Scots in the American Civil War:
The 79th NY Highlanders
The 79th Highlanders Living History Association (of Colorado) is based in small town
of Kiowa, Colorado, with members from throughout the state, and beyond.
The group has three features:
The 79th is seeking recruits!
This is our recruiting poster, based on the original recruiting poster of 1861:
Families are welcome!
Dues are currently $35 a year ($50 for a family). For information, please contact Jim Campbell via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 719-541-4275.
See our Facebook page! Lots of great information.
The pipe band generally meets weekly for practice on Sundays at the Kiowa Masonic Lodge (except in the Summer, when we meet on Thursday evenings in Cherry Valley). We have four members in the Calhan area, five in Elizabeth, plus members from Louisville and Thornton, Evergreen, Aurora and Denver down to Colorado Springs. Kiowa is sort of in the middle!
around twice or three times a month, during the warmer months (March
We can be seen
performing at events both large and small, including the Elizabeth Celtic Festival, the Colorado Scottish Festival when it was at Highlands Ranch, and,
at one time, the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Festival. However, we do
enjoy supporting the Calhan Loyalty Day Parade and the Sedalia St.
Patrick's Day Parade—both great small events. We feel that there are
several local events that deserve the support, and we strive to give it.
In 2010, the band purchased new kilts in the Cameron of Erracht Tartan, which is the same tartan worn by the Civil War era 79th New York Highlanders. (Prior to that, we had Black Stewart tartan.) Our goal is to create a pipe band that is uniformed like the original 79th.
Because there is some doubt about the existence of a pipe band
associated with the regiment in 1861, we say that we are a group
"inspired by" the 79th New York Infantry Regiment (Highlanders), not
that we are "portraying" the regiment in every way. We do make the
history of the regiment a critical part of what we communicate.
We've just completed the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. We want to
promote the learning and understanding of the history of the American
Civil War and the role of the Scots and Irish immigrants in the whole of
the American experience. In Colorado, Scots and Irish immigrants (and people whose ancestors came from Scotland and Ireland), made their mark here as Mountain Men, Cattlemen, town-builders and teachers. Some were named Cameron. Our organization has supported local historical preservation groups, by performing at their significant events.
Our Inspiration: A "Kilted" Regiment in the American Civil War
The original regiment that inspires our organization was The 79th New York Highlanders, a regiment formed in 1859 in New York City, just before the beginning of the American Civil War (1861-1865). It was brought about under the auspices of the Caledonian Society of New York, and with the encouragement of the British Consul of New York, Captain David Cameron. Capt. Cameron had been an officer in the 79th Cameron Highlanders of the British Army; so, when the number "79" was available for a New York regiment, he recommended that they pattern a regiment after the Cameron Highlanders.
Before the war, the regiment had four "kilted" companies, amounting to around 260 men, all told. Besides drilling as a militia regiment
(equal to our national guard now), the 79th Highlanders provided a contingent of soldiers for visiting dignitaries and
special events. They were part of a review for the Prince of Wales, as well as welcoming the Japanese ambassador. They were sometimes known as the Seventy-ninth Militia; the Highlanders; the Cameron Rifle Highlanders; the Highland Guard;
and the Bannockburn* Battalion.
With the firing on Fort Sumter and the immediate threat to the nation's capital, the Regiment "volunteered to a man" to answer President Lincoln's call for 75,000 men to restore order and the rule of law. First, however, they needed to meet war department "manning standards" and had to recruit up to wartime levels. That meant that four companies would not be enough: they had to have ten companies.
Their first battle was Bull Run, and they were under the brigade command of (then) Colonel William T. Sherman (later
the famous General). In that battle, they fought well and suffered much...in fact, their regimental commander, Col. James Cameron (brother of the Secretary of War),
was killed and the regiment suffered the most casualties of any Union Army regiment, and was the last to leave the field,
covering the Army's retreat.