MACKAY, HUGH (c. 1640-1692), Scottish general, was the son of Hugh Mackay of Scourie, Sutherlandshire, and was born there about 1640. He entered Douglas's (Dumbarton's) regiment of the English army (now the Royal Scots) in 1660, accompanied it to France when it was lent by Charles II. to Louis XIV., and though succeeding, through the death of his two elder brothers, to his father's estates, continued to serve abroad. In 1669 he was in the Venetian service at Candia, and in 1672 he was back with his old regiment, Dumbarton's, in the French army, taking part under Turenne in the invasion of Holland. In 1673 he married Clara de Bie of Bommel in Gelderland. Through her influence he became, as Burnet says, " the most pious man that I ever knew in a military way," and, convinced that he was fighting in an unjust cause, resigned his commission to take a captaincy in a Scottish regiment in the Dutch service. He had risen to the rank of major-general in 1685, when the Scots brigade was called to England to assist in the suppression of the Monmouth rebellion. Returning to Holland, Mackay was one of those officers who elected to stay with their men when James II., having again demanded the services of the Scots brigade, and having been met with a refusal, was permitted to invite the officers individually into his service. As major-general commanding the brigade, and also as a privy councillor of Scotland, Mackay was an important and influential person, and James chose to attribute the decision of most of the officers to Mackay's instigation. Soon after this event the Prince of Orange started on his expedition to England, Mackay's division leading the invading corps, and in January 1688-89 Mackay was appointed majorgeneral commanding in chief in Scotland. In this capacity he was called upon to deal with the formidable insurrection headed by Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee. In the battle of Killiecrankie Mackay was severely defeated, but Dundee was killed, and the English commander, displaying unexpected energy, subdued the Highlands in one summer. In 1690 he founded Fort William at Inverlochy, in 1691 he distinguished himself in the brilliant victory of Aughrim, and in 1692, with the rank of lieutenant-general, he commanded the British division of the allied army in Flanders. At the great battle of Steinkirk Mackay's division bore the brunt of the day unsupported and the general himself was killed.
Mackay was the inventor of the ring bayonet which soon came into general use, the idea of this being suggested to him by the failure of the plug-bayonet to stop the rush of the Highlanders at Killiecrankie. Many of his despatches and papers were published by the Bannatyne Club in 1883.
See Life by John Mackay of Rockville (1836) ; and J. W. Fortescue, History of the British Army, vol. i.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)