This article challenges the assumption that garrisons in post-union Scotland were confronted with an “uninflammable” and easily controlled urban population. The emphasis is instead placed on the distinctive aspects of eighteenth-century Scottish society, characterized as it was by a combination of dispersed settlement and the fastest growing urban sector within the British-Irish Isles. These factors severely complicated and challenged the army’s ability to consistently and effectively control Scotland’s villages, towns and cities. Yet confrontation was not the only mode of interaction between local garrisons and the civic world of the burghs. The article argues that excessive concentration upon large scale urban tumults, such as the Malt Tax or Porteous Riots, has detracted from the subtle and sophisticated social and cultural practices which not only regulated relations between both groups but that increasingly eroded the boundaries and definitions of what constituted a “soldier” and a “civilian” in eighteenth-century Scotland.