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New and Revised Edition

Images added by John A Duncan of Sketraw, FSA Scot.


Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie

Charles Edward Stuart

Bonnie Prince Charlie

HAVING been for some years resident in the neighbourhood of the Culloden [now Allanfearn] Railway Station, the Author's attention has been a good deal engaged with the scene and incidents of the expiring struggle of the Stuart dynasty, and the last battle fought on British ground. The Culloden family take a warm interest in all matters connected with the action; and though the battle of Culloden has been repeatedly described in the course of works of more general history and disquisition, the circumstances are becoming unfamiliar to the public at large; and it has been thought that a separate account, embracing a survey of what has been said on various controverted points by different writers, with the addition of more minute topographical details, and the aid of received local tradition, might be acceptable, more especially to strangers visiting the field of battle. . . .

The Plans have been accurately and tastefully prepared by Mr. James Fraser, land and engineering surveyor, Inverness; and to his labours much of any success which may attend the publication will fall to be ascribed. . . .

It has been deemed proper to add a description of the interesting collection of Stone Circles and Cairns at Clava, in the near vicinity of the battle-field, as well deserving inspection. . . .

INVERNESS, lst July, 1867.

Half-a-century ago my father believed that the circumstances connected with the Forty-Five were becoming unfamiliar to the public at large. The last fifty three years have seen a renascence of interest in the Stuart risings, and the printing of a number of contemporary records has led to a juster estimate of the events that culminated on Culloden Moor. and of the actors that played their parts therein.

It has, however, been represented to me that the place filled by my father's little book - which has been long out of print - has not been otherwise occupied; and filial piety readily prompts me to agree to Mr. Mackay's suggestion that it should be reprinted with such alterations as are called for by recent changes in the locality, and its means of access. No attempt has been made to introduce fuller historical details, but a short list has been appended of the more authoritative recent works in which such details may be found.

It is a source of peculiar gratification to express indebtedness to Mr. James Fraser, who has renewed in 1920 his services to the book, which my father acknowledged in 1867.




PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD's army commenced its memorable march into England, from its position near Dalkeith, on the 1st of November, 1745. It consisted of about 6000 foot, one-half Highlanders, and some 500 cavalry; but when mustered at Carlisle their number was found to be reduced by desertion to about 4500, to whom were added at Manchester 200 to 300 recruits. With this small force the Insurgents penetrated to Derby, within 127 miles of London. Here they learned that they were being environed by three armies, amounting to 30,000 men - one under General Wade at Newcastle; a second, composed of veteran troops, under William, Duke of Cumberland, in Staffordshire; and a third, less formidable, mustered on Finchley Common, - while reinforcements ordered from Scotland were not on the way. In the lack of all co-operation, the leaders, to the Prince's deepest chagrin and bitter disappointment, and equally to the mortification of the inferior ranks, deemed it indispensable to make a timely retreat.

The retrograde movement, concerted with great secrecy, accordingly on the morning of the 6th December, and was conducted with much skill and complete success. The invasion had been regarded at first with supineness by the English, as a piece of mere infatuation; and the leading Jacobites in England and Wales hung back, from distrust of the fortunes of so small a force. By this time, however, the nation and the government were thoroughly alarmed, and many well-wishers were on the very eve of joining the insurrection; while the French Ministry had made serious preparations for a large armament, and 10,000 troops were mustered, in order to a descent on the south of England. So it is probable that, had the Prince's eagerness to risk all the hazards of the die prevailed, his romantic enterprise might have achieved at least the temporary reinstatement of the Stuarts on the throne of Britain.

The Insurgents retreated by Carlisle, Dumfries, Nithsdale, Hamilton, and Glasgow. They left the latter city on the 3rd of January, 1746, and occupied Falkirk and villages between that town and Stirling, which place the Prince, waiting reinforcements from the North, set about reducing.

Duncan Forbes of Culloden  

Duncan Forbes of Culloden


During the absence of the Prince's forces in England, Duncan Forbes of Culloden, Lord President of the Court of Session, had continued the strenuous labours whereby he was so instrumental in rendering the Rising abortive, by persuading many of the most powerful of the Highland chiefs to hold aloof; and having been intrusted with commissions for the purpose, accompanied by a mere promise of repayment of his advances, but with no supply of money, he succeeded in embodying at his own expense, as Independent companies, nearly 2000 Highlanders in the service of government, who rendezvoused at Inverness, and who, though perhaps but lukewarm in the Royal cause, were thus kept from swelling the ranks of insurrection. They were placed under command of the Earl of Loudoun. Possession of Inverness was thus preserved for government till the return of the Prince, and the spread of disaffection was powerfully counteracted.

The difficulties and dangers of the President's position are thus described by himself:-


"The prospect [of dissuading the chiefs] was at first very flattering, and the errand I came on had no appearance of difficulty; but the Rebels' successes at Edinburgh and Prestonpans soon changed the scene. All Jacobites, how prudent soever, became mad, all doubtful people became Jacobites; and all bankrupts became heroes, and talked nothing but hereditary rights and victory; and what was more grievous to men of gallantry, and, if you will believe me, much more mischievous to the public, all the fine ladies, if you will except one or two, became passionately fond of the young adventurer, and used all their arts and industry for him in the most intemperate manner. Under these circumstances I found myself alone, without troops, without arms, without money or credit; provided with no means to prevent extreme folly, except pen and ink, a tongue, and some reputation; and (if you will except MacLeod) whom I sent for from the Isle of Skye, supported by nobody of common sense or courage." - Culloden Papers, p. 250.


In the opposite interest, Lord Lewis Gordon, in Banff and Aberdeen shires, raised a regiment of two battalions. The Laird of MacLeod having been despatched from Inverness to interrupt his recruiting, and having incautiously advanced with an insufficient force, Lord Lewis - who had received reinforcements at Aberdeen from Forfar and Kincardine, with the Farquharsons of Invercauld, mustering in all about 1200 men - surprised the MacLeods at Inverurie, and drove them back to Elgin. Lord Strathallan had been left by Charles in the chief command in Scotland, and had collected a considerable body of troops and a quantity of military stores at Perth. There he was joined by Lord Lewis Gordon, and by portions of various clans, including the Frasers, under the Master of Lovat. The MacIntoshes, 400 strong though the chief was ostensibly a Royalist and had joined the Royal army, were embodied by his lady, a daughter of Farquharson of Invercauld, and devoted to the cause of the Chevalier, who, from her spirited and thoroughgoing conduct (she rode at times at the head of the regiment, with a man's hat on her head, and pistols at her saddle-bow), was popularly styled " Colonel Anne." An important accession to the troops at Perth consisted of the bulk of 1000 auxiliaries from France, whom Lord John Drummond had embarked at Dunkirk and landed at Montrose, with a considerable quantity of stores and ammunition. The Prince's army was reinforced at Stirling by these troops.

The Duke of Cumberland had been recalled from Carlisle under the apprehension of an invasion on the south coast of England; and the command of the Royal army in Scotland had been meantime committed to Lieutenant-General Henry Hawley, a brave soldier, who fell into the grave mistake of undervaluing his opponents. He left Edinburgh with a force of nearly 8000 men, to offer battle to the Highlanders. His want of precaution enabled the latter, whose numbers were about equal, on the 17th of January, to gain the advantage of the weather gauge, and of a commanding position on Falkirk Moor. The result was a speedy victory by the Highlanders; but - from the shades of evening preventing due recognition of the relations of the hostile armies; from the right wing of the Royal army happening to have been left unscathed, owing to the broken character of the ground, when the rest gave way; and from the vague impression that so easy a victory was too good news to be true, and the difficulty with an irregular army of mustering the men after any operation - it was not followed up as it might have been at the decisive moment, though eventually Falkirk was occupied that night by a portion of the Highland army, and Hawley's camp and baggage, and a considerable quantity of ammunition, some cannon, and a number of muskets, fell a spoil to the Insurgents. siege of Stirling, which had been interrupted by Hawley's advance, was now resumed.

Meanwhile the Duke of Cumberland arrived in Edinburgh on the 30th of January, and set forward on the following day - the army now amounting to about 10,000 men - to raise the siege of Stirling Castle, and give battle to his opponent. The Highland chiefs, however, under the erroneous impression that a large number of their men who were straggling about had returned home, and that not more than 5000 could be mustered, had, but with difficulty, prevailed on the Prince to retreat to the North, where they represented that double the number could be brought into the field. The Forth was crossed on the 1st of February. They speedily distanced the more encumbered regulars; and when the Duke reached Perth, he found that the clans under the Prince's command had proceeded due north by Crieff and Dalnacardoch, and were well on their way to Inverness; while Lord George Murray, with the rest of the force, had directed his course to the same point by Aberdeen and the coast.

At Perth the pursuit was for the present discontinued. The Prince of Hesse at this time arrived in the Firth of Forth with 5000 auxiliaries. When the Duke leisurely moved on to Aberdeen, the Hessians were left to guard the southern passes, and Sir Andrew Agnew was  sent  with a body of troops to occupy the


Duke of Cumberland


Duke of Cumberland

Castle of Blair.

The march of the Highlanders to Inverness was signalised by a narrow escape by Prince Charles. On Sunday 16th February, with a small escort, he advanced to Moyhall, with the intention of resting there till the arrival of the rest of his men, and Lord Loudoun having been informed of this hurried from Inverness with a force of 1500 men, in the hope of making him prisoner. Lady MacIntosh was, however, apprised of the danger by a boy of the clan, who from Inverness contrived to outstrip the military, and breathlessly in the course of the night announced their approach. Being hastily summoned, the selfpossessed hostess appeared "in her smock petticoat," and arrangements were made for the Prince's withdrawing towards his advancing friends. The lady had luckily used the precaution, taking counsel with Donald Fraser, blacksmith at Moybeg, a shrewd and courageous man, to have a look-out on the road from Inverness. Fraser accordingly, with the small number of four other men, had taken up a position at a pass on the hill of Craig-an-Oin, at the boundary between the parishes of Moy and Daviot, on a now disused portion of General Wade's military road between Crieff and Inverness. Here they had ensconced themselves at distant intervals behind some heaps of peat and turf set up to dry. On the Royalists being descried in the dusk, the little party at once comprehending the emergency, a command was passed by Donald, and from man to man, in a stentorian voice, "The MacIntoshes, MacGillivrays, and MacBeans to form the centre, the MacDonalds on the right, and the Frasers on the left." A few shots were fired, when one of the advanced guard, a piper of distinction, was killed. A panic seized the van: possibly, the force consisting mainly of the Independent companies raised in the North, they had no great zeal in their mission. So it is that the distracted commander, conjuring the peat-hags into armed men, was so persuaded that he had the Highland host confronting him, that he ordered his men rightabout. The whole body fled with precipitation and in great confusion to Inverness. This singular affair is characteristically styled, "The Rout of Moy." On the Prince's advancing on February 18th to Inverness (via General Wade's bridge 50 yards to the west of the present Bridge of Faillie), he found Lord Loudoun and his troops making the best of their way across the Moray Firth at Kessock Ferry.

Bair Castle Atholl  

Bair Castle Atholl


The Prince took up his quarters in a house in Church Street, that of Lady Drummuir, mother of the Laird of MacIntosh. It has been replaced by the large block of buildings opposite old St. John's Episcopal Chapel. The style of social life in Inverness at the period is indicated by the tradition, that it was the only mansion in the town which had a sittingroom not serving the purpose also of a sleeping apartment.

The Castle overhanging the river - where the County Buildings now stand - would seem at this time to have been an imposing building, six storeys high, with sharp-pointed roofs and turrets at the angles, and battlemented in the finest style of old Scottish architecture. A couple of bastions,  with curtain-wall  between, on the  side of the

 ascent from the Castle Wynd to the summit, are the only portions now remaining of the old fortifications. This stronghold was then a government fort, and called Port George. It was garrisoned by a party of Grants and MacLeods and of regular troops, and. having shortly fallen into the hands of the Prince, was destroyed by his orders, to the gratification of the Highlanders, who had a rooted dislike to the government forts.

During the Duke of Cumberland's sojourn at Aberdeen, waiting the advance of spring, several minor enterprises were conducted with skill and success by his adversaries. Fort-Augustus was reduced. Lord Loudoun was pursued through Ross-shire into Sutherland, and was dislodged from Dornoch by the Duke of Perth, whose troops were ferried across from the vicinity of Tain in a flotilla of boats which had been secretly collected at Findhorn, and carried across the Moray Firth during the night by Moir of Stoneywood. The Royalists, of whom a party were made prisoners, were followed to the head of Loch Shin. Here the Mackays returned to their own country of Reay, and the MacLeods made their way to Skye, accompanied by Loudoun and President Forbes.

Lord John Drummond was posted at Fochabers in command of a detachment, and his men were successful in some dashing skirmishes to the east of the Spey. But the most noteworthy exploit was one by Lord George Murray, of which General Stewart of Garth says in his Sketches, "I know not if the whole of the Peninsular campaigns exhibited a more perfect execution of a complicated military service." To obviate the danger of an apprehended concentration of the Hessian troops and Argyleshire Highlanders in Athol, and, by the reduction of Blair Castle, to keep the way unimpeded in case of a second descent on the Lowlands; by way of retaliation, too, for reported excesses on the part of the soldiery in that quarter; Lord George proceeded from Inverness with a battalion of the Athol Brigade. Being Joined by a body of MacPhersons under Cluny their chief, this force, to the number in all of about 700 men, reached Dalnaspidal, in Drumouchter, the well-known pass through the Grampians, and close by the foot of Loch Garry, on the evening of the 10th March, and were told off into several parties, destined to the attack of a number of outposts of the enemy, at different scattered points, as far south as Fascally, garrisoned by the Campbell Highlanders, with instructions to rendezvous at Bruar. Reckoning all the different houses so occupied, there were not fewer than about thirty fortified stations. The various expeditions met with brilliant success. Sir Andrew Agnew's picquets near Blair, having reached the Castle and reported an enemy's presence, he with a strong force sallied out in quest of the aggressors.

Lord George was at the time at the appointed rendezvous, with only four-and-twenty men, anxiously awaiting the return of the assailing parties. It was essential for their safety not to abandon their position. Having, fortunately, all the pipers with him, ho ordered his men to secrete themselves at considerable intervals behind a turf dyke. By the appearance of numbers, produced by the brandishing of swords and din of the pipes in the uncertain dawn, the regulars were brought to a halt, and their really brave commander, deeming discretion for the nonce the better part of valour, marched his troops back to the Castle, which the delighted Highland leader was speedily possessed, by the return of his men, with the means of investing. The ordnance of the besiegers proved of too light calibre to make any impression on the walls, and the expedient of directing red-hot shot at the  roof was perseveringly  practised, doing a good


Looking along Drumochter Pass

Looking along Drumochter Pass

deal of damage. The Hessians would not venture through the Pass of Killiecrankie, and the garrison were reduced to great straits, being unable to get intelligence of their predicament communicated. But at last the Earl of Crawford, being apprised of their situation, pressed to their relief, when he found the leaguer abandoned, the Highlanders having been recalled to the North.

Fortune was unpropitious to Charles in the privation of supplies of money forwarded from France. The vessels by which these were sent were in some instances captured, and in others were unable to reach the coast, from the vigilance of the English cruisers. But the Prince maintained his cheerfulness notwithstanding, acting, as on almost all occasions during this eventful episode of his life, in the spirit of the motto on a fowling-piece which belonged to him, and which is now preserved at Auchnacarry,

"Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito."

Considerable gaiety prevailed in Inverness to within a few days of the fatal day when the clans of Culloden were scattered in fight.

The want of money was a most serious drawback; and it would appear from a letter of Secretary Murray's dated at Fort-Augustus, 14th March, 1746, to Lochiel, then engaged in the siege of Fort-William, that a plan of operations at that time contemplated was that the Highland army should make another descent on the Lowlands, with the view partly of replenishing the military treasure-chest, and partly of withdrawing Cumberland from Aberdeen, and thereby having the east coast left more open for friendly vessels from abroad. The Insurgent leaders laboured also under a fatal disadvantage in the lack of sources of authentic intelligence regarding the state of matters in Aberdeenshire. It was commonly believed that the Duke's force was not numerically one-half as strong as it really was; and this impression, combined with his long delay there, wait for the advance of spring, seems to have induced a degree of fatal security, and to have given rise to a notion that he had no serious intention of attempting to penetrate beyond the Spey. Whatever the causes, the dispersion of the various portions of the Prince's army engaged in the disconnected services alluded to was allowed to continue too long. They could not be recalled in the nick of time on the day of need from such remote distances.

Gordon Castle Fochebers 1830 print  

Gordon Castle Fochebers 1830 print


In Sutherland there were 700 men left under the Earl of Cromartie, including MacDonald of Barrisdale, MacGregor of Glengyle, and MacKinnon, with their men, after Lord Loudoun's escape. Cromartie was cleverly kidnapped along with his son, Lord MacLeod, by a party of the Earl of Sutherland's militia at Dunrobin. Cluny's men remained in Badenoch, after Lord George Murray's return to Inverness. The Camerons, and the Keppoch and some other MacDonalds, with the Stuarts of Appin, were vainly attempting the reduction of Fort-William, ably defended by Captain Scott; and though they did rejoin before the battle of Culloden, it was with diminished numbers; while many men from the different regiments had returned to their homes during seed-time. Provisions, too, had become exceedingly scarce, and the Prince's army was reduced to 

a scanty supply of food, and that of an inferior quality.

When he did move, Cumberland stole a march on his adversaries. Part of his troops had already advanced as far as Strathbogie, and on the 8th of April he left Aberdeen with the remainder; and, pushing on by Banff and Cullen, he succeeded in crossing the Spey on the 12th, fording that deep and rapid river at three places - at Garmouth, near Gordon Castle, and close by the Church of Bellie. While the poor Highlanders were so insufficiently fed, the Royal army was supplied by a fleet of victualling-ships, which coasted the shores of the Firth. Lord John Drummond has been censured for not having vigorously opposed the progress of the Royal army at the passage of this river, which was regarded as a formidable barrier, where it had been expected that Cumberland's advance might have been at least so far retarded as to have given time for the full concentration of the clans. To protect the fords some batteries were raised. But the Duke's artillery was so powerful as to have forced a passage; and when Lord John abandoned the position and fell back upon Inverness, his conduct was justified by Lord George Murray. To dispute the passage with any chance of success, the whole Highland army ought to have been on the spot; and, indeed, had the Prince's contingent been complete in time, it is understood that he would have moved forward to dispute the passage in earnest. The celerity of the Duke's movements disappointed the calculations of his opponents, and, in the absence of so large a proportion of their force, the presence of the Royal troops on the west side of the Spey was the cause of great disquietude at Inverness.

On the 14th the Royal army reached Nairn, and encamped at Balblair, and on the heights of Kildrummie, west of that town, and within about 14 miles of Inverness. The rear of the Highlanders, under Lord John Drummond, did not quit Nairn till some shots had been exchanged. They were pursued by part of the Duke's cavalry for some distance, but the Prince unexpectedly came up with reinforcements. On the 15th, the Duke's birthday, the Royal army lay inactive at Nairn, where they were regaled with extra cheer, and indulged in festive relaxation. The Duke took up his quarters in the old portion, still extant, of the house of Balblair, on the estate of Cantray.



Chapter 1, Chapt. 2, Chapt. 3, Chapt. 4, Chapt. 5, Chapt. 6, Next


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