Captain Campbell of Carrick's Reel
X:1 T:Captain Campbell of Carrick's Reel M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:McGlashan - Strathspey Reels (c. 1780/81) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D D3F A/A/A A>F|A>Bd>A F/F/F F>D|E3F B/B/B B>A|d>fe>d B/B/B B>d| D3F A/A/A A>B|A>BdA F/F/F F>D|(G2 G>)B (F2 F>)A|(E2 E>)F B/B/B B>d| (D2 D>)F A/A/A A>F|A>Bd>A F/F/F F>A|E3F B/B/B B>A|d>fe>d B/B/B Bc/d/| (D2 D>)F A/A/A A>B|A>Bd>A F/F/F F>D|G>BG>B F>AF>A| E>DE>F B/B/B B>A||d3f d/d/d d>A|B>Ad>A F/F/F F>D|e3f e/e/e e>f| a>ef>d B/B/B B>A|(d2 d>)f d/d/d d>A|B>Ad>A F/F/F F>D|G3B F3A| E3F B/B/B B>A|(d2 d>)f d/d/d d>e|B>Ad>A F/F/F F>A|(e2 e>)f e/e/e ef/g/| a>ef>d B/B/B B>e|(d2 d>)f d/d/d d>A|B>Ad>A F/F/F F>D|(G2 G>)B (F2 F>)A|E>Deg f>def||
CAPTAIN CAMPBELL OF CARRICK'S REEL. Scottish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The title may possibly refer to Captain John Campbell of Carrick, a Scottish soldier who met his death at the Battle of Fontenoy in Flanders. Carrick was fighting with the forces of the Duke of Cumberland (William Augustus, King George's son) who had ambitions of thwarting the French in their bid to capture the Netherlands (during the War of the Austrian Succession). There were several Highland units fighting with the British at that time, and the Duke was anxious as to their performance, as there was strong Jacobite sentiment at the time (Culloden would only be a year later). The Scottish soldiers made an admirable fight, however, and quickly allayed the Duke's fears. One strapping Highlander famously lay about with his broadsword and slew nine French soldiers before being stopped by a musket-ball that took off his arm. Sir Robert Munro of Fowlis, their lieutenant-colonel and an accomplished soldier, commanded the Scottish troops. He understood the Highland mentality and fighting customs, which were sometimes at odds with established British army procedure. He obtained leave of the Duke to allow his troops to fight in their own manner, practiced in the centuries of war with the English. The Highlanders, rather than standing amass in formation to receive the fire of the enemy, would display in front of the enemy until they perceived the foe was ready to volley. Just before the enemy fired the Highlanders quickly dived to the ground, escaping the fusillade just in time, only to rise up and individually rush the enemy line to discharge their weapons before their antagonists had reloaded. All except their commander, that is, for Sir Robert had a great corpulent body. When in trenches he was of necessity hauled out by the legs and arms by his own men! He was not without considerable reserves of energy, however, and was everywhere with his troops. While his regiment clapped to the ground to evade the enemy fire, however, Sir Robert's great bulk would not suffer him to rise so quickly. As a consequence Sir Robert stood while all his troops dove for cover, braving alone the volley of the French. Miraculously, he was not killed or even wounded, and his preservation was the surprise and astonishment of the whole army.
Captain Campbell was not so lucky, his head having been carried off by a cannon ball early in the action. An account of the army unit the Black Watch in Flanders describes him as one of the most accomplished gentlemen of his day, a mannered and brave man who was also an agreeable companion who "was regarded by the people as one of those who retained the chivalrous spirit of their ancestors. A poet, a soldier, and a gentleman, no less gallant among the ladies than he was brave among men; he was the object of general admiration; and the last generation of Highlanders among whom he was best known, took great pleasure in cherishing his memory and repeating anecdotes concerning him." This is perhaps the spirit that could have given rise to his being honored by the reel may named after him.
John Campbell of Carrick also received posthumous notice for events that took place after his death, at least in legal circles. The Black Watch account gives that he married a sister of General Campbell of Mamore, afterwards Duke of Argyll, however, while it may have been a de facto marriage, it was not a legal union. Leah Leneman published an article called "The Scottish Case that Led to Hardwicke's Marriage Act" published in the Law and History Review (17:1, Spring, 1999). The abstract reads: "By going back to the original Edinburgh Commissary Court records the detail of the Scottish case alleged to have precipitated the ending of irregular marriage in eighteenth-century England has been ascertained. Jean Campbell had lived with Captain John Campbell of Carrick for some twenty years, but after his death in 1746 another woman, Magdalen Cochran, claimed that the Captain had secretly married her prior to his irregular marriage to Jean, and that she was therefore his lawful widow. The case ran for seven years, with an enormous amount of oral evidence. During its course it was appealed more than once to the Court of Session and finally, after that court upheld the Commissary Court's decision that Jean Campbell was the lawful widow, to the House of Lords. The ramifications led Parliament to legislate for an end to all forms of irregular marriage in England. Scotland, however, continued to contend that in spite of such potential pitfalls, free consent was the only thing necessary to constitute a marriage, and thus the laws of the two lands diverged."