Jacobite Risings and the Battle of Culloden (16 April 1746)
for union had been close, especially if one discounts the votes of
self-seeking nobles (such as Argyll, it must be said), even though the
economic benefits of union were to prove beneficial for Scotland overall.
loved their country. But why would they support the Stuarts, who had been
so cruel to them? Most of them didn't. Truthfully, whether they were happy
with the union or not, there was no love lost between protestant Scotland
and the Stuart dynasty.
highlands were a different story. Here, many of the clans were still
Catholic and supported a Catholic dynasty, particularly one with its roots
in Scotland. Another factor was the highland loathing for the Campbells.
Staunchly Protestant from the beginning, the Campbells, for many reasons,
were extremely unpopular in the highlands. The chiefs' tendencies were
always to oppose the Campbells, in whatever way they could.
only about half the Highland clans participated in the risings. They would
have been no threat at all, had the Highlanders not been such feared and
fearsome warriors. In any case, the Highlands were always seen as the best
"jumping off" point in any affort to restore the Stuart dynasty.
rising, in 1715, was poorly planned and executed and failed very quickly.
James Francis Edward Stuart seemed himself rather ambivalent about the
throne, not ill content in exile. This rising had no French backing and,
therefore, no money. James turned around and left practically on the heels
of his arrival. Argyll defeated the Jacobite troops under Mar at
Sheriffmuir on November 13 and that was about it. James retired from
Scotland and continued his life on the continent.
Rising was instigated by James' son, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the
young Pretender. He was much more brash and ambitious than his father,
arriving on the west coast with seven men and refusing to leave. Finally,
Cameron of Lochiel was persuaded to back him and quickly other clans
this attempt had great success, with a defeat of General Cope at
Prestonpans. Pressing on into England was a mistake, and the army ended up
in a slow retreat back to the north of Scotland, though meeting attack
with victory along the way (Falkirk). Nevertheless, the lengthy retreat,
with no money and little food, sapped their strength. Half-starved and
weary men were forced to battle at Culloden, falling in droves to
year of playing hide-n-seek with the Brits, Charles made his escape and
returned to exile. He was fortunate. Cumberland "the Butcher"
pursued and killed the highlanders without mercy. Worse, the government in
London, having come near to panic when Charles first entered England, now
passed a series of extreme measures bent on destroying the clan system and
the highland way of life. Bagpipes and tartans were outlawed. Guns were
outlawed. The military bonds between tenants and clan chiefs were
outlawed. All powers were stripped from the chiefs over their tenants.
Missionaries came to force Presbyterianism, roads was pushed through the
glens and mountains, the entire area was policed.
passed the end of an age. From the landing of the Dalriada Scots in 501
AD, the clan chiefs had led, succored, and guided their people. Now, few
could even afford to keep their lands. The years following would produce
the horrifying Highland Clearances, forcing thousands of highlanders to
emigrate or move to lowland cities. Thousands of men, unable to wear their
clan tartans, would chose to wear the tartans of the Scots regiments,
where at least they could enter battle under the prompting of the pipes.
The moor of
Culloden is littered with large stone markers, each engraved simply with
the name of the clan whose men lie in mass graves beneath. Legend says
they come out and fight on the anniversary of the great battle. Perhaps
they rest a little easier now that the Stone of Destiny has resumed its
Following the battle of Falkirk the Duke of Cumberland arrived in
Edinburgh on 30th January 1746. The next day the royal army marched north.
The final encounter took place on Culloden Moor. The royal army had on
15th April 1746 celebrated the Duke’s birthday in its camp outside Nairn.
On that day the highlanders attempted a surprise approach but failed,
falling back to Culloden. On 16th April the royal army followed the
rebels. The royal troops came upon the highland army in a state of
exhaustion and hunger and the two sides took up positions on the moor
outside Culloden House.
The armies formed facing each other and the battle began with an
artillery exchange. The Jacobite artillery was poorly served. By contrast
the Duke had ensured that he had a full artillery train properly manned by
gunners and officers of experience. The royal fire told heavily on the
Eventually there was a charge by the Atholl Brigade, the Camerons,
Appin Stewarts, Frasers and Mackintoshes largely against the royal left.
There was time for a single volley into the highlanders followed by savage
hand to hand fighting. The highlanders veered to their right away from the
fire of Campbell’s and Price’s and the attack fell on Barrel’s and
Munro’s on the royal left (as the casualties indicate).
It is said that at this battle the musket and bayonet had the better of
the highland broadsword. The old spirit had largely left the rebel army
and only part of their line charged. The highlanders were overcome and the
Jacobite army left the field pursued by dragoons and royal foot. The
battle took around 45 minutes.
fought for the prince at Culloden: Cameron, Campbell of Glenlyon (not
Argyll), Chisholm, Drummond, Farquarson, Forbes of Pitsligo, Fraser,
Gordon, Grant, MacBean, MacDonald, MacGillivray, MacGregor, MacIntosh,
MacKenzie, MacLachlan, MacLaren, MacLean, MacLeod, MacNeil, MacPherson,
Menzies, Murray, Ogilvie, Robertson, Stuart. And many smaller clans and
Few Douglases were involved. We are researching those who were
present, and will add details in due course.
Details of one who made good his escape are emerging (March 2005) in
It is an intriguing tale!
Sir William of Glenbervie. First son of former Sir William. Married
Had one daughter, Isabel Douglas. Was a supporter of Prince Charlie and
a Jacobite. After Culloden fled to Caithness, and took refuge with his
kinsmen, the Douglas's of Thurso or Wick. Was subject to the Act which
confiscated all estates and titles Of Jacobires. Died at Wick and was
buried at Lysbter Cemetery.
There is a good story from
Sunderland of one survivor.
further contributions to the is article would be very welcome.