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<i>An incident in the rebellion of 1745</i>, by <a href="/content/David_Morier" style="color:blue">David Morier</a>
An incident in the rebellion of 1745, by David Morier

The Battle of Culloden (/kəˈlɒdən/;[20] Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Chùil Lodair) was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart were decisively defeated by Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

Queen Anne, the last monarch of the House of Stuart, died in 1714, with no living children. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, a daughter of James VI and I.

Raising an army consisting mostly of Scottish clansmen along with smaller units of Irish and Englishmen from the Manchester Regiment, Charles' efforts initially met with success and at one point began to threaten London. However, a series of events forced the army's return to Scotland, where they were soon pursued by an army raised by the Duke of Cumberland. The two forces eventually met at Culloden, on terrain that made the highland charge difficult and gave the larger and well-armed British forces the advantage. The battle lasted only an hour, with the Jacobites suffering a bloody defeat. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle.[18][19] In contrast, only about 300 government soldiers were killed or wounded.[18]

The Hanoverian victory at Culloden halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never again tried to challenge Hanoverian power in Great Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.[21]

The battle and its aftermath continue to arouse strong feelings: the University of Glasgow awarded the Duke of Cumberland an honorary doctorate, but many modern commentators allege that the aftermath of the battle and subsequent crackdown on Jacobitism were brutal, and earned Cumberland the sobriquet "Butcher". Efforts were subsequently made to further integrate the comparatively wild Scottish Highlands into the Kingdom of Great Britain; civil penalties were introduced to weaken Gaelic culture and undermine the Scottish clan system.


On 23 July 1745 Charles Edward Stuart landed on Eriskay in the Western Islands in an attempt to reclaim the throne for Great Britain for his exiled father James, accompanied only by the "Seven Men of Moidart".[22] Most of his Scottish supporters advised he return to France, but enough were eventually persuaded and the rebellion was launched at Glenfinnan on 19 August. The Jacobite army entered Edinburgh on 17 September and James was proclaimed King of Scotland the next day.[23] On 21 September, a government force was defeated at the Battle of Prestonpans; the London government now recalled the Duke of Cumberland, the King's younger son and commander of the British army in Flanders, along with 12,000 troops.[24]

The Prince's Council, a committee formed of 15-20 senior leaders, met on 30 and 31 October to discuss plans to invade England. The Scots wanted to consolidate their position and although willing to assist an English rising or French landing, they would not do it on their own.[25] For Charles, the main prize was England; he argued removing the Hanoverians would guarantee an independent Scotland and assured the Scots that the French were planning to land in Southern England, while thousands of English supporters would join once across the border.[26]

Despite their doubts, the Council agreed to the invasion on condition the promised English and French support was forthcoming; the Jacobite army entered England on 8 November.[27] They captured Carlisle on 15 November, then continued south through Preston and Manchester, reaching Derby on 4 December. There had been no sign of a French landing or any significant number of English recruits, while they risked being caught between two armies, each one twice their size; Cumberland's, advancing north from London, and Wade's moving south from Newcastle upon Tyne; despite Charles' opposition, the Council was overwhelmingly in favour of retreat and turned north the next day.[28]

Apart from a minor skirmish at Clifton Moor, the Jacobite army evaded pursuit and crossed back into Scotland on 20 December. Entering England and returning was a considerable military achievement and morale was high; Jacobite strength increased to over 8,000 with the addition of recruits from the Frasers, Mackenzies and Gordons, as well as Scottish and Irish regulars in French service.[29] French-supplied artillery was used to besiege Stirling Castle, the strategic key to the Highlands. On 17 January, the Jacobites dispersed a relief force under Henry Hawley at the Battle of Falkirk Muir, although the siege made little progress.[30]

On 1 February, the siege of Stirling was abandoned and the Jacobites retreated to Inverness.[31] Cumberland's army advanced along the coast and entered Aberdeen on 27 February; both sides halted operations until the weather improved.[32] Several French shipments were received during the winter but the Royal Navy's blockade led to shortages of both money and food; when Cumberland left Aberdeen on 8 April, Charles and his officers agreed giving battle was their best option.[33]

Opposing forces

The Jacobite Army is often assumed to have been largely composed of Gaelic-speaking Catholic Highlanders whereas in reality some of its most effective units were recruited from the Lowlands.[35] By 1745, Catholicism was confined to the Highlands and Islands and large numbers of those who joined the Rebellion were Non-juring Episcopalians.[36] Finally, while predominantly Scottish, it contained English recruits plus significant numbers of French, Scottish and Irish professionals in French service. Regardless of nationality, regulars were treated as Prisoners of War and exchanged, rather than being tried for treason.

One problem for the Jacobites was the difference between clan warfare, which was short-term and often based on raiding, versus military operations, which required greater professionalism and training; even the colonels of the Macdonald regiments of Clanranald and Keppoch considered their men to be uncontrollable.[37][1] A typical clan regiment was made up of a small minority of gentlemen (tacksmen) who would bear the "clan name", and under them the common soldiers or "clansmen" who bore a mixed bag of names.[39] The clan gentlemen formed the front ranks of the unit and were more heavily armed than their impoverished tenants who made up the bulk of the regiment.[40] Because they served in the front ranks, the gentlemen suffered higher proportional casualties than the common clansman. The gentlemen of the Appin Regiment suffered one quarter of those killed, and one third of those wounded from their regiment.[39]

The Jacobites started the campaign poorly armed; at Prestonpans, many were armed only with swords, Lochaber axes, pitchforks and scythes. Although Highlanders are often pictured equipped with a broadsword, targe and pistol, this normally applied to only officers or gentlemen.[41] After Culloden, Cumberland reported 2,320 firelocks were recovered from the battlefield, but only 190 broadswords; this implies that of the roughly 1,000 Jacobites killed at Culloden, no more than one fifth carried a sword.[42] As the campaign progressed, supplies from France improved their equipment considerably and by the time of Culloden, many were equipped with 0.69 in (17.5 mm) calibre French and Spanish firelocks.[41]

During the latter stage of the campaign, the Jacobites were reinforced by French regulars, many drawn from the French Irish Brigade, including Fitzjames's Horse and Irish volunteers or Picquets. The majority were Irish born, with the exception of the Royal Écossais, a Scottish unit in French service, which was led by John and Louis Drummond, grandsons of the Earl of Melfort, Secretary of State to James II & VII.[43] Lists of prisoners at Marshalsea, Berwick and prison interviews conducted by Captain Eyre show some were English born, claiming to have been press-ganged or seized as prisoners on British ships. Fitzjames's Horse was the only Jacobite cavalry unit to fight the whole battle on horseback.[43] Around 500 Irish Picquets in the French army fought in the battle, some of whom were thought to have been press-ganged from 6th (Guise's) Foot taken at Fort Augustus. The Royal Écossais also contained deserters, and John Drummond attempted to raise a second battalion after the unit had arrived in Scotland.[44] The Jacobite artillery is generally regarded as playing little part in the battle, all but one of the cannon being 3-pounders.[44]

The government army at Culloden was made up of infantry, cavalry, and artillery; of the 16 infantry battalions present, four were Scottish units and one was Irish.[45] As with their opponents, the officers came from the upper classes and aristocracy, with the rank and file predominantly recruited from poor agricultural workers. On the outbreak of the Jacobite rising, extra incentives were given to lure recruits to fill the ranks of depleted units. For instance, on 6 September 1745, every recruit who joined the Guards before 24 September was given £6, and those who joined in the last days of the month were given £4. Regiments were named after their colonel. In theory, an infantry regiment would comprise up to ten companies of up to 70 men. They would then be 815 strong, including officers. However, regiments were rarely anywhere near this large, and at the Battle of Culloden, the regiments were not much larger than about 400 men.[46]

The government cavalry arrived in Scotland in January 1746. They were not combat experienced, having spent the preceding years on anti-smuggling duties. A standard cavalryman had a Land Service pistol and a carbine. However, the main weapon used by the British cavalry was a sword with a 35-inch blade.[47]

The Royal Artillery vastly out-performed their Jacobite counterparts during the Battle of Culloden. However, up until this point in the campaign, the government artillery had performed dismally. The main weapon of the artillery was the 3-pounder. This weapon had a range of 500 yards (460 m) and fired two kinds of shot: round iron and canister. The other weapon used was the Coehorn mortar. These had a calibre of ​4 2⁄5 inches (11 cm).[48]

Lead-up to battle

On 30 January, the Duke of Cumberland arrived in Scotland to take command of the government forces after the previous failures by Cope and Hawley. Cumberland decided to wait out the winter, and moved his troops northwards to Aberdeen. Around this time, the army was increased by 5,000 Hessian troops. The Hessian force, led by Prince Frederick of Hesse, took up position to the south to cut off any path of retreat for the Jacobites. The weather had improved to such an extent by 8 April that Cumberland again resumed the campaign. The government army reached Cullen on 11 April, where it was joined by six battalions and two cavalry regiments.[49] Days later, the government army approached the River Spey, which was guarded by a Jacobite force of 2,000, made up of the Jacobite cavalry, the Lowland regiments and over half of the army's French regulars. The Jacobites quickly turned and fled, first towards Elgin and then to Nairn. By 14 April, the Jacobites had evacuated Nairn, and Cumberland camped his army at Balblair just west of the town.[50]

The Jacobite forces of about 5,400 left their base at Inverness, leaving most of their supplies, and assembled 5 miles (8 km) to the east near Drummossie,[51] around 12 miles (19 km) before Nairn. Charles Edward Stuart had decided to personally command his forces and took the advice of his adjutant general, Secretary O'Sullivan, who chose to stage a defensive action at Drummossie Moor,[52] a stretch of open moorland enclosed between the walled Culloden[53] enclosures to the North and the walls of Culloden Park to the South.[54] Lord George Murray "did not like the ground" and with other senior officers pointed out the unsuitability of the rough moorland terrain which was highly advantageous to the Duke with the marshy and uneven ground making the famed Highland charge somewhat more difficult while remaining open to Cumberland's powerful artillery. They had argued for a guerrilla campaign, but Charles Edward Stuart refused to change his mind.

On 15 April, the government army celebrated Cumberland's twenty-fifth birthday by issuing two gallons of brandy to each regiment.[49] At Murray's suggestion, the Jacobites tried that evening to repeat the success of Prestonpans by carrying out a night attack on the government encampment. Murray proposed that they set off at dusk and march to Nairn. Murray planned to have the right wing of the first line attack Cumberland's rear, while Perth with the left wing would attack the government's front. In support of Perth, Charles Edward Stuart would bring up the second line. The Jacobite force however started out well after dark at about 20:00. Murray led the force cross country with the intention of avoiding government outposts. This however led to very slow going in the dark. Murray's one time aide-de-camp, James Chevalier de Johnstone later wrote, "this march across country in a dark night which did not allow us to follow any track, and accompanied with confusion and disorder".[55] By the time the leading troop had reached Culraick, still 2 miles (3.2 km) from where Murray's wing was to cross the River Nairn and encircle the town, there was only one hour left before dawn. After a heated council with other officers, Murray concluded that there was not enough time to mount a surprise attack and that the offensive should be aborted. O'Sullivan went to inform Charles Edward Stuart of the change of plan, but missed him in the dark. Meanwhile, instead of retracing his path back, Murray led his men left, down the Inverness road. In the darkness, while Murray led one-third of the Jacobite forces back to camp, the other two-thirds continued towards their original objective, unaware of the change in plan. One account of that night even records that Perth and Drummond made contact with government troops before realising the rest of the Jacobite force had turned home. Not long after the exhausted Jacobite forces had made it back to Culloden, reports came of the advancing government troops.[55] By then, many Jacobite soldiers had dispersed in search of food, while others were asleep in ditches and outbuildings.

However, military historian Jeremy Black has contended that even though the Jacobite force had become disordered and lost the element of surprise the night attack remained viable, and that if the Jacobites had advanced the conditions would have made government morale vulnerable and disrupted their fire discipline.[56][57]

Battle on Culloden Moor

Early on a rainy 16 April, the well-rested government army struck camp and at about 05:00 set off towards the moorland around Culloden and Drummossie. Jacobite pickets first sighted the government advance guard at about 08:00, when the advancing army came within 4 miles (6.4 km) of Drummossie. Cumberland's informers alerted him that the Jacobite army was forming up about 1 mile (1.6 km) from Culloden House – upon Culloden Moor.[58][59] At about 11:00 the two armies were within sight of one another with about 2 miles (3.2 km) of open moorland between them.[58] As the government forces steadily advanced across the moor, the driving rain and sleet blew from the north-east into the faces of the exhausted Jacobite army.

The Jacobite army was originally arrayed between the corners of Culloden and Culwhiniac parks (from left to right): the three Macdonald battalions; a small one of Chisholms; another small one of Macleans and Maclachlans; Lady Mackintosh and Monaltrie's regiments; Lord Lovat's Regiment; Ardsheal's Appin Stewarts; Lochiel's Regiment; and three battalions of the Atholl Brigade. Murray who commanded the right wing, however became aware of the Leanach enclosure that lay ahead of him, a wall that would become an obstacle in the event of a Jacobite advance. Without any consultation he then moved the brigade down the moor and formed into three columns. It seems probable that Murray intended to shift the axis of the Jacobite advance to a more northerly direction, thus having the right wing clear the Leanach enclosure and possibly taking advantage of the downward slope of the moor to the north.[60]

However, the Duke of Perth seems to have misinterpreted Murray's actions as only a general advance, and the Macdonalds on the far left simply ignored him. The result was the skewing of the Jacobite front line, with the (left wing) Macdonalds still rooted on the Culloden Parks wall and the (right wing) Atholl Brigade halfway down the Culwhiniac Parks wall. In consequence, large gaps immediately appeared in the severely over-stretched Jacobite lines. A shocked Sullivan had no choice but to position the meagre 'second line' to fill the gaps. This second line was (left to right): the Irish Picquets; the Duke of Perth's Regiment; Glenbuchat's; Lord Kilmarnock's Footguards; John Roy Stuart's Regiment; two battalions of Lord Ogilvy's Regiment; the Royal Écossais; two battalions of Lord Lewis Gordon's Regiment. Farther back were cavalry units. On the left were: Lord Strathallan's Horse Bagot's Hussars and possibly Balmerino's Lifeguards. On the right were Lord Elcho's Lifeguards and Fitzjames's Horse. And in the centre was Charles Edward Stuart's tiny escort made up of Fitzjames's Horse and Lifeguards. When Sullivan's redeployment was completed Perth's and Glenbuchat's regiments were standing on the extreme left wing and John Roy Stuart's was standing beside Ardsheal's.[60]

Cumberland brought forward the 13th and 62nd to extend his first and second lines. At the same time, two squadrons of Kingston's Horse were brought forward to cover the right flank. These were then joined by two troops of Cobham's 10th Dragoons. While this was taking place, Hawley began making his way through the Culwhiniac Parks intending to outflank the Jacobite right wing. Anticipating this, the two battalions of Lord Lewis Gordon's regiment had lined the wall. However, since the government dragoons stayed out of range, and the Jacobites were partly in dead ground they moved back and formed up on a re-entrant at Culchunaig, facing south and covering the army's rear. Once Hawley had led the dragoons through the Parks he deployed them in two lines beneath the Jacobite guarded re-entrant. By this time the Jacobites were guarding the re-entrant from above with four battalions of Lord Lewis Gordon's and Lord Ogilvy's regiments, and the combined squadron of Fitzjames's Horse and Elcho's Lifeguards. Unable to see behind the Jacobites above him, Hawley had his men stand and face the enemy.[60]

Over the next twenty minutes, Cumberland's superior artillery battered the Jacobite lines, while Charles, moved for safety out of sight of his own forces, waited for the government forces to move. Inexplicably, he left his forces arrayed under government fire for over half an hour. Although the marshy terrain minimized casualties, the morale of the Jacobites began to suffer. Several clan leaders, angry at the lack of action, pressured Charles to issue the order to charge. The Clan Chattan was first of the Jacobite army to receive this order, but an area of boggy ground in front of them forced them to veer right so that they obstructed the following regiments and the attack was pushed towards the wall. The Jacobites advanced on the left flank of the government troops, but were subjected to volleys of musket fire and the artillery which had switched from roundshot to grapeshot.

Despite this many Jacobites reached the government lines and, for the first time, a battle was decided by a direct clash between charging highlanders and formed redcoats equipped with muskets and socket bayonets. The brunt of the Jacobite impact was taken by just two government regiments – Barrell's 4th Foot and Dejean's 37th Foot. Barrell's regiment lost 17 and suffered 108 wounded, out of a total of 373 officers and men. Dejean's lost 14 and had 68 wounded, with this unit's left wing taking a disproportionately higher number of casualties. Barrell's regiment temporarily lost one of its two colours.[2] Major-General Huske, who was in command of the government's second line, quickly organised the counter attack. Huske ordered forward all of Lord Sempill's Fourth Brigade which had a combined total of 1,078 men (Sempill's 25th Foot, Conway's 59th Foot, and Wolfe's 8th Foot). Also sent forward to plug the gap was Bligh's 20th Foot, which took up position between Sempill's 25th and Dejean's 37th. Huske's counter formed a five battalion strong horseshoe-shaped formation which trapped the Jacobite right wing on three sides.[61]

Located on the Jacobite extreme left wing were the Macdonald regiments. Popular legend has it that these regiments refused to charge when ordered to do so, due to the perceived insult of being placed on the left wing.[64] Even so, due to the skewing of the Jacobite front lines, the left wing had a further 200 metres (660 ft) of much boggier ground to cover than the right.[3] When the Macdonalds charged, their progress was much slower than that of the rest of the Jacobite forces. Standing on the right of these regiments were the much smaller units of Chisholms and the combined unit of Macleans and Maclachlans. Every officer in the Chisholm unit was killed or wounded and Col. Lachlan Maclachlan, who led the combined unit of Macleans and Maclachlans, was gruesomely killed by a cannon shot. As the Macdonalds suffered casualties they began to give way. Immediately Cumberland then pressed the advantage, ordering two troops of Cobham's 10th Dragoons to ride them down. The boggy ground however impeded the cavalry and they turned to engage the Irish Picquets whom Sullivan had brought up in an attempt to stabilise the deteriorating Jacobite left flank.[4][66]

With the collapse of the left wing, Murray brought up the Royal Écossais and Kilmarnock's Footguards who were still at this time unengaged. However, by the time they had been brought into position, the Jacobite army was in rout. The Royal Écossais exchanged musket fire with Campbell's 21st and commenced an orderly retreat, moving along the Culwhiniac enclosure in order to shield themselves from artillery fire. Immediately the half battalion of Highland militia commanded by Captain Colin Campbell of Ballimore which had stood inside the enclosure ambushed the Royal Écossais. Hawley had previously left this Highland unit behind the enclosure, with orders to avoid contact with the Jacobites, to limit any chance of a friendly fire incident. In the encounter Campbell of Ballimore was killed along with five of his men. The result was that the Royal Écossais and Kilmarnock's Footguards were forced out into the open moor and were rushed at by three squadrons of Kerr's 11th Dragoons. The fleeing Jacobites must have put up a fight, for Kerr's 11th recorded at least 16 horses killed during the entirety of the battle. The Irish picquets bravely covered the Highlanders' retreat from the battlefield and prevented a massacre. This action cost half of the 100 casualties suffered in the battle.[67] The Royal Écossais appear to have retired from the field in two wings. One part of the regiment surrendered upon the field after suffering 50 killed or wounded, but their colours were not taken and a large number retired from the field with the Jacobite Lowland regiments.[68]

This stand by the Royal Écossais may have given Charles Edward Stuart the time to make his escape. At the time when the Macdonald regiments were crumbling and fleeing the field, Stuart seems to have been rallying Perth's and Glenbuchat's regiments when O'Sullivan rode up to Captain Shea who commanded Stuart's bodyguard: "Yu see all is going to pot. Yu can be of no great succor, so before a general deroute wch will soon be, Seize upon the Prince & take him off ...".[68] Shea then led Stuart from the field along with Perth's and Glenbuchat's regiments. From this point on the fleeing Jacobite forces were split into two groups: the Lowland regiments retired in order southwards, making their way to Ruthven Barracks; the Highland regiments however were cut off by the government cavalry, and forced to retreat down the road to Inverness. The result was that they were a perfect target for the government dragoons. Major-general Humphrey Bland led the charge against the fleeing Highlanders, giving "Quarter to None but about Fifty French Officers and Soldiers He picked up in his Pursuit".[68]

Jacobite casualties are estimated at 1,500–2,000 killed or wounded.[18][19] Lord Cumberland's official list of prisoners taken includes 154 Jacobites and 222 "French" prisoners (men from the 'foreign units' in the French service). Added to the official list of those apprehended were 172 of the Earl of Cromartie's men, captured after a brief engagement the day before near Littleferry.

In striking contrast to the Jacobite losses, the government losses were 50 dead and 259 wounded. However, a large proportion of those recorded as wounded are likely to have died of their wounds. (For example, only 29 out of 104 wounded from Barrell's 4th Foot survived to claim pensions. All 6 of the artillerymen recorded as wounded died).[18]

The only government casualty of high rank was Lord Robert Kerr, the son of William Kerr, 3rd Marquess of Lothian.


As the first of the fleeing Highlanders approached Inverness they were met by a battalion of Frasers led by the Master of Lovat. Tradition states that the Master of Lovat immediately about-turned his men and marched down the road back towards Inverness, with pipes playing and colours flying. There are however varying traditions as to what happened at the bridge which spans the River Ness. One tradition is that the Master of Lovat intended to hold the bridge until he was persuaded against it. Another is that the bridge was seized by a party of Argyll Militia who were involved in a skirmish when blocking the crossing of retreating Jacobites. While it is almost certain there was a skirmish upon the bridge, it has been proposed that the Master of Lovat shrewdly switched sides and turned upon the fleeing Jacobites. Such an act would explain his remarkable rise in fortune in the years that followed.[71]

Following the battle, the Jacobites' Lowland units headed south, towards Corrybrough and made their way to Ruthven Barracks, while their Highland units headed north, towards Inverness and on through to Fort Augustus. There they were joined by Barisdale's Macdonalds and a small battalion of MacGregors.[71] The roughly 1,500 men who assembled at Ruthven Barracks received orders from Charles Edward Stuart to the effect that all was lost and to "shift for himself as best he could".[72] Similar orders must have been received by the Highland units at Fort Augustus. By 18 April the Jacobite army was disbanded. Officers and men of the units in the French service made for Inverness, where they surrendered as prisoners of war on 19 April. The rest of the army broke up, with men heading for home or attempting to escape abroad.[71]

Some ranking Jacobites made their way to Loch nan Uamh, where Charles Edward Stuart had first landed at the outset of the campaign in 1745. Here on 30 April they were met by the two French frigates – the Mars and Bellone. Two days later the French warships were spotted and attacked by the smaller Royal Navy sloops – the Greyhound, Baltimore, and Terror. The result was the last real battle in the campaign. During the six hours in which the ferocious sea-battle raged the Jacobites recovered cargo on the beach which had been landed by the French ships. In all £35,000 of gold was recovered along with supplies.[71] Invigorated by the vast amounts of loot and visible proof that the French had not deserted them, the group of Highland chiefs decided to prolong the campaign. On 8 May, nearby at Murlaggan, Lochiel, Lochgarry, Clanranald and Barisdale all agreed to rendezvous at Invermallie on 18 May. The plan was that there they would be joined by what remained of Keppoch's men and Cluny Macpherson's regiment (which did not take part in the battle at Culloden). However, things did not go as planned. After about a month of relative inactivity, Cumberland moved his regulars into the Highlands. On 17 May three battalions of regulars and eight Highland companies reoccupied Fort Augustus. The same day the Macphersons surrendered. On the day of the planned rendezvous, Clanranald never appeared and Lochgarry and Barisdale only showed up with about 300 combined (most of whom immediately dispersed in search of food). Lochiel, who commanded possibly the strongest Jacobite unit at Culloden, was only able to muster about 300. The following morning Lochiel was alerted that a body of Highlanders was approaching. Assuming they were Barisdale's Macdonalds, Locheil waited until they were identified as Loudoun's by the "red crosses in their bonnets". Locheil's men dispersed without fighting. The following week the Government launched punitive expeditions into the Highlands which continued throughout the summer.[71][72]

Following his flight from the battle, Charles Edward Stuart made his way towards the Hebrides with some supporters. By 20 April, Stuart had reached Arisaig on the west coast of Scotland. After spending a few days with his close associates, Stuart sailed for the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. From there he travelled to Scalpay, off the east coast of Harris, and from there made his way to Stornoway.[73] For five months Stuart criss-crossed the Hebrides, constantly pursued by government supporters and under threat from local lairds who were tempted to betray him for the £30,000 upon his head.[74] During this time he met Flora Macdonald, who famously aided him in a narrow escape to Skye. Finally, on 19 September, Stuart reached Borrodale on Loch nan Uamh in Arisaig, where his party boarded two small French ships, which ferried them to France.[73] He never returned to Scotland.

The morning following the Battle of Culloden, Cumberland issued a written order reminding his men that "the public orders of the rebels yesterday was to give us no quarter".[5] Cumberland alluded to the belief that such orders had been found upon the bodies of fallen Jacobites. In the days and weeks that followed, versions of the alleged orders were published in the Newcastle Journal and the Gentleman's Journal. Today only one copy of the alleged order to "give no quarter" exists.[76] It is however considered to be nothing but a poor attempt at forgery, for it is neither written nor signed by Murray, and it appears on the bottom half of a copy of a declaration published in 1745. In any event, Cumberland's order was not carried out for two days, after which contemporary accounts report then that for the next two days the moor was searched and all those wounded were put to death. On the other hand, the orders issued by Lord George Murray for the conduct of the aborted night attack in the early hours of 16 April suggest that it would have been every bit as merciless. The instructions were to use only swords, dirks and bayonets, to overturn tents, and subsequently to locate "a swelling or bulge in the fallen tent, there to strike and push vigorously".[76] [6] In total, over 20,000 head of livestock, sheep, and goats were driven off and sold at Fort Augustus, where the soldiers split the profits.[78]

While in Inverness, Cumberland emptied the gaols that were full of people imprisoned by Jacobite supporters, replacing them with Jacobites themselves.[71] Prisoners were taken south to England to stand trial for high treason. Many were held on hulks on the Thames or in Tilbury Fort, and executions took place in Carlisle, York and Kennington Common.[74] The common Jacobite supporters fared better than the ranking individuals. In total, 120 common men were executed, one third of them being deserters from the British Army.[74] [7] The common prisoners drew lots amongst themselves and only one out of twenty actually came to trial. Although most of those who did stand trial were sentenced to death, almost all of these had their sentences commuted to penal transportation to the British colonies for life by the Traitors Transported Act 1746 (20 Geo. II, c. 46).[81] In all, 936 men were thus transported, and 222 more were banished. Even so, 905 prisoners were actually released under the Act of Indemnity which was passed in June 1747. Another 382 obtained their freedom by being exchanged for prisoners of war who were held by France. Of the total 3,471 prisoners recorded, nothing is known of the fate of 648.[82] The high ranking "rebel lords" were executed on Tower Hill in London.

Following up on the military success won by their forces, the British Government enacted laws further to integrate Scotland – specifically the Scottish Highlands – with the rest of Britain. Members of the Episcopal clergy were required to give oaths of allegiance to the reigning Hanoverian dynasty.[83] The Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act 1746 ended the hereditary right of landowners to govern justice upon their estates through barony courts.[84] Previous to this act, feudal lords (which included clan chiefs) had considerable judicial and military power over their followers – such as the oft quoted power of "pit and gallows".[74][83] Lords who were loyal to the Government were greatly compensated for the loss of these traditional powers, for example the Duke of Argyll was given £21,000.[74] Those lords and clan chiefs who had supported the Jacobite rebellion were stripped of their estates and these were then sold and the profits were used to further trade and agriculture in Scotland.[83] The forfeited estates were managed by factors. Anti-clothing measures were taken against the highland dress by an Act of Parliament in 1746. The result was that the wearing of tartan was banned except as a uniform for officers and soldiers in the British Army and later landed men and their sons.[85]

Culloden battlefield today

Today, a visitor centre is located near the site of the battle. This centre was first opened in December 2007, with the intention of preserving the battlefield in a condition similar to how it was on 16 April 1746.[87] One difference is that it currently is covered in shrubs and heather; during the 18th century, however, the area was used as common grazing ground, mainly for tenants of the Culloden estate.[88] Those visiting can walk the site by way of footpaths on the ground and can also enjoy a view from above on a raised platform.[89] Possibly the most recognisable feature of the battlefield today is the 20 feet (6.1 m) tall memorial cairn, erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881.[86] In the same year Forbes also erected headstones to mark the mass graves of the clans.[90] The thatched roofed farmhouse of Leanach which stands today dates from about 1760; however, it stands on the same location as the turf-walled cottage that probably served as a field hospital for government troops following the battle.[88] A stone, known as "The English Stone", is situated west of the Old Leanach cottage and is said to mark the burial place of the government dead.[91] West of this site lies another stone, erected by Forbes, marking the place where the body of Alexander McGillivray of Dunmaglass was found after the battle.[92][93] A stone lies on the eastern side of the battlefield that is supposed to mark the spot where Cumberland directed the battle.[94] The battlefield has been inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Historic Environment (Amendment) Act 2011.[95]

Since 2001, the site of the battle has undergone topographic, geophysical, and metal detector surveys in addition to archaeological excavations. Interesting finds have been made in the areas where the fiercest fighting occurred on the government left wing, particularly where Barrell's and Dejean's regiments stood. For example, pistol balls and pieces of shattered muskets have been uncovered here which indicate close quarters fighting, as pistols were only used at close range and the musket pieces appear to have been smashed by pistol/musket balls or heavy broadswords. Finds of musket balls appear to mirror the lines of men who stood and fought. Some balls appear to have been dropped without being fired, some missed their targets, and others are distorted from hitting human bodies. In some cases it may be possible to identify whether the Jacobites or government soldiers fired certain rounds, because the Jacobite forces are known to have used a large quantity of French muskets which fired a slightly smaller calibre shot than that of the British Army's Brown Bess. Analysis of the finds confirms that the Jacobites used muskets in greater numbers than has traditionally been thought. Not far from where the hand-to-hand fighting took place, fragments of mortar shells have been found.[96] Though Forbes's headstones mark the graves of the Jacobites, the location of the graves of about sixty government soldiers is unknown. The recent discovery of a 1752 silver Thaler, from the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, may however lead archaeologists to these graves. A geophysical survey, directly beneath the spot where the coin was found, seems to indicate the existence of a large rectangular burial pit. It is thought possible that the coin was dropped by a soldier who once served on the continent, while he visited the graves of his fallen comrades.[96] The National Trust of Scotland is currently attempting to restore Culloden Moor, as closely as possible, to the state it was in during the Battle of Culloden Moor. They are also attempting to expand the land under its care to ensure the full battlefield is protected under the NTS. Another goal is to restore Leannach Cottage and allow visitors to once again tour the interior.

Order of battle: Culloden, 16 April 1746

Charles Edward Stuart Colonel John William Sullivan

Captain-General: HRH Duke of Cumberland Commander-in-Chief North Britain: Lieutenant-General Henry Hawley

See the following reference for source of tables[114]

  • Of the 16 British infantry battalions, 11 were English, 4 were Scottish (3 Lowland + 1 Highland), and 1 Irish battalion.
  • Of the 3 British battalions of horse (dragoons), 2 were English and 1 was Scottish.

British Army casualties

See following reference for source of table[118]

The Battle of Culloden in art

  • An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745 (as shown in the info box at the top of this page), by David Morier, often known as "The Battle of Culloden", is the best-known portrayal of the battle, and the best-known of Morier's works. It depicts the attack of the Highlanders against Barrell's Regiment, and is based on sketches made by Morier in the immediate aftermath of the battle.
  • David Morier in fact made two paintings depicting the battle, the second (pictured right) is a coloured woodcut painting that shows a plan of the battlefield.[119]
  • Augustin Heckel's The Battle of Culloden (1746; reprinted 1797) is held by the National Galleries of Scotland.[120]
  • Frank Watson Wood, (1862–1953). Although he was better known as a Naval artist who mainly painted in water colours Frank Watson Wood painted The Highland Charge at the Battle of Culloden in oil. Frank Watson Wood exhibited at Royal Scotland Academy, The Royal society of painters in water Colours and The Royal Academy.
  • Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus was written as a tribute to the Duke of Cumberland following the Battle of Culloden.[121]
  • The Battle of Culloden and consequent imprisonment and execution of the Jacobite prisoners of war is depicted in the song "Tam kde teče řeka Flee" ("Where the Big Water Fleet flows") by the Czech Celtic-rock band Hakka Muggies.
  • The Argentine band Sumo made a song titled Crua Chan,[122] chronicling the development of the battle. The work was composed by the Italian-Scottish bandleader Luca Prodan; he learned of the battle as a student in Gordonstoun, Scotland.

The Battle of Culloden in fiction

  • The Battle of Culloden is an important episode in D. K. Broster's The Flight of the Heron (1925), the first volume of her Jacobite Trilogy, which has been made into a TV serial twice: by Scottish Television in 1968 as eight episodes, and by the BBC in 1976.
  • Naomi Mitchison's novel The Bull Calves (1947) deals with Culloden and its aftermath.[123]
  • Culloden (1964), a BBC TV docudrama written and directed by Peter Watkins, depicts the battle in the style of 20th-century television reporting.
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (1992, London) is a detailed fictional tale, based on historical sources, of the Scots, High, and Lowlanders, mostly the Highlanders within Clan Fraser. It has the element of time travel, with the 20th Century protagonist knowing how the battle would turn out and was still – once transported to the 18th century – caught up in the foredoomed struggle.
  • Basis for Season 2 of the STARZ series Outlander, based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon.
  • The Highlanders (1966–67) is a serial in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who. The time-traveller known as the Doctor and his companions Polly and Ben arrive in the TARDIS in 1746, hours after the Battle of Culloden. The story introduces the character of Jamie McCrimmon.
  • Chasing the Deer (1994) is a cinematic dramatisation of the events leading up to the battle, starring Brian Blessed and Fish.
  • Drummossie Moor – Jack Cameron, The Irish Brigade and the battle of Culloden is a historical novelby Ian Colquhoun (Arima/Swirl, 2008) which tells the story of the battle and the preceding days from the point of view of the Franco-Irish regulars or 'Piquets' who covered the Jacobite retreat.[124]
  • In Harold Coyle's novel Savage Wilderness, the opening chapter deals with the protagonist's service battle of Culloden.
  • In the Star Trek novel Home Is the Hunter, Montgomery Scott is sent back in time to 18th century Scotland by an alien angered over the death of a child, where he participates in the Battle of Culloden prior to being returned to the 23rd century.
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