Bonnie lad beats English at Culloden

What if? Battle of Culloden

The Scottish people (Scots: Scots Fowk; Scottish Gaelic: Albannaich) or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland (or Alba) in the 9th century. The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart: Date of the Battle of Culloden: 16th April 1746 (Old Style) (27th April 1746 New Style). The dates here are given in the Old Style.

The armies gathered south east of Inverness and a few miles south west of Nairn, on the heroic side were the Jacobite Army of Prince Charles and the others Royal Troops of King George II led by the Duke of Cumberland.There were said to be 7,000 in the Jacobite Army and 8,000 in the Royal Army.Although like Bannockburn, there were probably many more on the Scottish side watching, hoping for a win and booty. Apart from a minor skirmish at Clifton Moor, the Jacobite army evaded pursuit from Derby and crossed back into Scotland on 20 December. 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. On 1 February, the siege of Stirling was abandoned and the Jacobites retreated to Inverness. On the 16 April, in the sleet/rain/snow the Jacobite army was arrayed between the corners of Culloden and Culwhiniac parks: the three Macdonald battalions; Chisholms; 900 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. The second line was (left to right): Irish Picquets; 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 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. At the command, the whole Scots front line jogged forward, then trotted, than ran like hell – The highlanders’ charge was fearsome; clansmen running at top speed with broadswords, target shields and dirks, yelling their clan war cries. In the two previous battles, Prestonpans and Falkirk, the highlanders’ charge had been sufficient to cause the Royal regiments to collapse in fright without waiting for contact. Cumberland’s artillery battered the Jacobite lines, while Charles moved for safety out of sight of his own forces. Although the marshy terrain minimized casualties, the morale of the Jacobites was high. Clan Chattan was first of the Jacobite army to move but boggy ground in front of them forced them to veer right so that they joined more highlanders desperate to be first to fight. It doesn’t take long for Highlanders to run 100 yards and they hit the stunned redcoats like a hammer all along their front line. The regiment of Maclachlans and Macleans: 900 men strong were right in the thick of fit, commanded by Lachlan Maclachlan of Castle Lachlan and Maclean of Drimmin. Taking casualties the Macleans sought out the Campbells in a bid to raise morale, a shout went up that they were hiding in the enclosure behind a wall. At hearing this Maclean of Drimmin sent a runner to the Macdonalds to join them, this they did. The two clans sought out the dreaded Campbells – half a battalion of Highland militia commanded by Captain Colin Campbell of Ballimore which had stood inside the enclosure were slaughtered to a man.The boggy ground impeded the English/German cavalry and they turned to engage the Irish Picquets on the left flank. The Royal Écossais and Kilmarnock’s Footguards forced redcoats into the open moor and were rushed at by three clans at the same time, and slaughtered. The Irish picquets bravely covered the Highlanders’ right from the battlefield and prevented a massacre. All over the battlefield redcoats were either surrendering or running, Cumberland and his officers were seen on the Aberdeen road riding hell for leather in terror. Major-general Humphrey Bland led a charge against the Highlanders, giving “Quarter to None” but he was surrounded and given his own medicine by a group of Mull Macleans.

In short – Prince Charlie had won at Drummossie Moor, the English ran home – similar to Bannockburn, not to trouble Scotland again. This outcome led to a new world order, with the French being allies, there was no war with Napoleon, No war in the American colonies, Scotland once again had Stuart Kings, the country returned to wholly Catholic, treaties were signed all over Europe, in following centuries Britain become one under the Stuarts again, there were no German monarchs, the first major war was the First World War, which Scotland took part on the winning side. Scotland today is rich in its history and the proudest nation on earth.

Of course all of this is my imagination running away with itsel’. But ask the same question; what if Charlie boy had won that day, where would we be now?  Paul McLean, Perth, 2019.