Under an order dated 1 January 1836, signifying the royal commands that an historic account of the services of every regiment in the British Army should be published under the superintendence of the Adjutant-General, the work of compilation was entrusted to Cannon, at that time principal clerk in the Adjutant-General’s office. During the ensuing 17 years historical records of all then existing regiments of cavalry, and of 42 regiments of infantry of the line, were thus issued ‘by authority’, all of which were prepared under Cannon’s direction.
The Richard Cannon books set the standards to be expected of all future regimental histories. His modus operandi was to liaise directly with the regiments concerned, relying upon them to consult their own records, and to write and proofread their own texts. His function was essentially that of co-ordinator and editor. The resultant work was authoritative and reliable. Based upon a combination of archival sources and personal knowledge of past and servicing officers it provided accurate information regarding dates, engagements, moves and locations. The book contained helpful illustrations – often executed to a high standard – showing details of uniforms and equipment. There was little, if any, of the fine detail or human interest which later generations of readers came to expect, but the essential blueprint has been drawn.
The 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot was a British Army line infantry regiment, raised in 1787. Under the Childers Reforms it amalgamated with the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot to form the Highland Light Infantry in 1881.
The regiment also saw action at the Battle of Mallavelly in March 1799 and went on to form part of the storming party at the Siege of Seringapatam in April 1799 during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War.It subsequently saw action at skirmishes in spring 1803 during the First Anglo-Maratha War and went on to fight at the Battle of Assaye in April 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War: at Assaye the regiment suffered terrible losses under a hail of cannon fire. From a strength of about 500, the 74th lost ten officers killed and seven wounded, and 124 other ranks killed and 270 wounded. The regiment went to fight at the Battle of Argaon in November 1803 and the Capture of Gawilghur in December 1803. It returned to England in February 1806 and then lost its Highland status due to recruiting difficulties, becoming the 74th Regiment of Foot in April 1809
The regiment embarked for Portugal in January 1810 for service in the Peninsular War. It saw action at the Battle of Bussaco in September 1810, the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro in May 1811 and the Battle of El Bodón in September 1811 before further combat at the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in January 1812, the Siege of Badajoz in March 1812 and the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812. It also fought at the Siege of Burgos in September 1812 and the Battle of Vitoria in June 1813. It then pursued the French army into France and saw action at the Battle of the Pyrenees in July 1813, the Battle of Nivelle in November 1811 and the Battle of the Nive in December 1813.After that it fought at the Battle of Orthez in February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse in April 1814 before embarking for Ireland in June 181