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CHARLES EDWARD AT INVERNESS.
Charles Edward at Inverness. The duke of Cumberland at Aberdeen.--The passage of
the Spey.-The duke at Nairn.-The prince at Cuiloden.- Projected night attack on the king's camp.–The victory of Culloden.--Barbarities after Culloden.-Inipolicy of the treatment of the rebels.--Trials and executions.-Trials of the rebel lords.-Their demeanour.- Balmerino, Kilmarnock, and Lovat.--Hidings of Charles Ede ward.- His return to France.
The Highland army, marching rapidly in two divisions-one by Blair Athol, and one by the coast-reached Inverness on the 18th of February. The duke of Cumberland, moving much more slowly, took up his head-quarters at Aberdeen. Five thousand Hessian troops had arrived to strengthen the forces of the British government. Whilst Cumberland remained inactive at Aberdeen, Charles had taken the citadel of Inverness; and Fort Augustus had been destroyed by one of the Highland parties. Fort William and Blair Castle held out against him. The interval which elapsed between the prince's arrival at Inverness, and the duke’s advance to attack him, was unfavourable to the success of the insurrection. The insurgents were cut off from the abundant supplies of the Lowlands. The king's ships intercepted the provisions and the gold which were occasionally dispatched from France. The active and hardy mountaineers engaged in various expeditions ; but the advantages which they gained were of little importance in the great issue which was approaching. Time was working to their destruc. tion. The Highland army was without pay; and they sold their allowances of oatmeal “for their other needs, at which the poor creatures grumbled exceedingly." * They were certainly not in the best fighting condition, when, on the Sth of April, the duke of Cumberland commenced his march from Aberdeen. As he advanced along the coast, his army of about nine thousand men were abundantly provided from the transports, which “moved along shore with a gentle breeze and a fair wind.” † On the with the army reached the Spey. As the duke approached, lord John Drummond, who was posted to guard the passage of the deep and rapid river, fell back. The Highland officer says in his journal, " to guard the Spey was ane easy matter." Volunteer Ray con"Lockhart Papers," vol. ii. p. 303.
† Ray, p. 312.
firms this opinion, in his description of the passage of the English troops : “I was in my station at the head of the regiment, where I very narrowly escaped being shot; for some of the rebels fired at us across the river, kneeling and taking sight as' at a blackbird. We entered the river with a guide wading on foot to show where the ford lay ; which was bad enough, having loose stones at the bottom, which made it very difficult for man or horse to step without falling, the water belly deep and very rapid. The ford not lying right across, we were obliged to go mid-way into the river, then turn to the right, and go down it for about sixty yards, and then turn to the left, inclining upwards to the landing-place. In this situation, had the rebels stood us here it might have been of bad consequence to our army, they having a great advantage over us, and might have defended this important pass a long time, to our great loss; but they wanted to draw our army over, and farther into their country, from whence, in their imagination, we were never to return. When we got up the banks on the other side of the river, the rebels were all fled, and appeared on a hill about half a mile distant, from which they retreated out of sight, as we advanced.” * On the 15th the duke's army reached Nairn, and there halted. The prince's army was encamped on Culloden Moor, about twelve miles distant. The greater part of the moor is in the parish of Daviot. The district is not mountainous. “ The land rises like a broken wave from the sea, in some places with a bank of considerable steepness and height; then sinks into a vale of moss land (from whichi, till reduced to cultivation, the town of Inverness used to be supplied with rushes); thence it ascends again to the parish of Croy and the Moor of Culloden, which extends along the ridge.” | On this flat moor, so unsuited to their peculiar tactics, the Highland army awaited the coming struggle. But doubts came over their leaders, and something bolder might be attempted.
In the afternoon of the 15th a night attack upon the royal army was resolved upon. The English, it was deemed, would be sleeping, after the drunken revels of the duke's birthday, which they had halted at Nairn to celebrate. The Highland officer says, “ We set out about eight o'clock that night, with express orders to observe the profoundest silence in our march. Our word was
king James the Eighth. We were likewise forbid in the attack to make any use of our fire-arms, but only of sword, dirk, and bayonet; to cut the tent-strings, and pull down the poles, and where we observed a swelling or bulge in the fallen tent there to • Ray, p. 317
| "Statistical Account of Scotland"-Inverness-shire.
PROJECTED NIGHT-ATTACK ON THE KING'S CAMP.
strike and push vigorously." * The project utterly failed. The darkness of the night made the way uncertain over the rough and swampy waste. The men were weary and half-famished. Lord George Murray had the command of the van. About two o'clock he halted; for there were four miles still to march, and there was a great interval between the two columns. A surprise had become impossible. “It was found impracticable,” says lord George, “ to be near the enemy till it was within an hour of daylight; and as our only hope was surprising them, and attacking them before day, we were forced to give it up and return to Culloden, where we got about five." +
On Monday, the 14th of April, says a narrative of the period, " the young chevalier mustered his troops in the town of Inverness, and marched along the lines, encouraging them as he passed. Never were men in more exalted spirits.” I On the 15th, writes the chaplain, MacLachlan, in his Journal, “ our prince royal had a review in the Muir of Culloden. And as I chanced to come close to him stepping up the hill, I saluted him in my ordinary way"God bless and prosper your royal highness.' To which he vouchsafed a reply in a familiar manner, and with a charming smile, ' It will be Gladsmuir, wherever it be.” Never, under any circumstances, did this confidence in his destiny appear to have deserted the adventurer-a confidence that might have betrayed him earlier to his ruin, had he not been surrounded by men of judgment and experience. The projected surprise at Nairn would probably have terminated fatally, had the attack upon the royal camp been made after the sun had risen-if the desire of the prince to attack at any hour had been complied with. The jaded men who returned to Culloden Moor after that night march were in a very unfit condition for the final struggle of the morning of the 16th. Great exertions were made to procure them food upon the dreary waste ; but many had gone to Inverness to seek refreshment for themselves. The duke of Cumberland was close at hand. Murray had been convinced the day before that the open muir“ was certainly not proper for the Highlanders.” He caused the ground “on the other side the water of Nairn "to be viewed. “It was found to be hilly and boggy, so that the enemy's cannon and horse could be of no great use to them there.” § When it was proposed to take this better position, the old confidence in some miraculous success prevailed, and the insurgents prepared for battle.
It was eleven o'clock when the king's army was seen advanc• "Lockhart Papers," p. 508.
+ " Jacobite Memoirs,' p. 122. : "The Young Chevalier," p. 2.
$ " Jacubite Memoirs,' p. 126.
ing. It was formed in three lines, one of which was a reserve. The two foremost lines were so disposed that if the first line were broken by the Highland charge, the second line should stand firm. Cannon were placed between the battalions, and cavalry on the flanks. The men had been trained to remain steady under a rush such as that which had been so fatal at Preston-Pans; and they had been instructed to direct the bayonet against the right breast of each opposing Highlander, so as not to be met by his target. Te battle-field, so unfavourable to Highland onslaughts and surprises, rendered these precautions in some degree unnecessary; but they evince the judgment of the young commander, who had profited by the fatal lessons of the past. Charles Edward, accord ing to some accounts, was in considerable danger while in the heart of his ranks, which had been drawn up in two lines. “As soon as the duke's cannon were placed, he began cannonading; which was answered by the prince's, who rode along the lines to encourage his men, and posted himself in the most convenient place to see what passed, where one of his servants was killed by his side." * The chaplain, MacLachlan,-one who from his pushing character always endeavoured to be near the prince, --sars, "From the time I entered the field, especially after the action began, I sat on horseback near our prince royal ; and observing many cannon-bullets flying over our heads, whereof one did knock dead his highness's principal groom that stood at twenty paces distance behind us, I rode up to sir Thomas Sheridan, and begged of him to take notice of the imminent danger the prince was exposed to, without any occasion for it, and therefore to persuade him to withdraw a little. Whereupon sir Thomas addressed him, and prevailed with him to retire.” This is scarcely compatible with the statement that after the servant was killed, whilst the prince was in the lines, “he coolly continued his inspection.” † The cannonade upon which Cumberland wisely relied, in the first instance, to renew in the Highlanders that awe of artillery which they had once felt, had caused deadly havoc in their ranks, before a charge was ordered. It was made at great disadvantage, for a violent storm was driving hail and sleet in their faces. But that terrible onset, which few disciplined troops could stand, carried the Ilighlanders partly through the first line. The second line stood firm. Then one volley from the unbroken ranks, three deep, utterly disordered the right and centre of the rebel army. They fled in irredeemable confusion. The Clan MacDonald, which had
* Colonel Ker's Narrative in “ Jacobite Memcirs," p. 141,
THE VICTORY OF CULLODEN.
been placed in the left wing, and were offended, to use the words of one of their officers, at not having " this day the right hand in battle,”—the honour which “ Robert the Bruce bestowed upon Angus MacDonald, Lord of the Isles," *-refused to make an onset. Their chief, Keppoch, fell, exclaiming, “ My God! have the children of my tribe forsaken me!” The contest became an indiscriminate slaughter. The conduct of Charles Edward lias been variously represented. He has been accused of want of courage ; but the disproof of this charge was manifested on too many occasions, to allow an implicit credit to the statement of lord Elcho, in his manuscript Memoirs, that he “ requested the Chevalier to charge in person at the head of the left wing, after the right was routed, and that on his not so advancing, lord Elcho called him an Italian scoundrel, or a worse epithet, and declared he would never see his face more.” We again quote from the chaplain MacLachlan, who followed the prince from the field : “I chanced to meet the duke of Athol coming off from his retreating brigade ; and as I. had the honour to be well known to him, he told me with an oath, 'The Highlanders are broken.' To which I replied, “I am heartily sorry to hear it, my Lord Duke; I fear all is lost.' The prince, knowing of the disaster, stepped on, and a good number of retreaters followed him.” This battle, which conclusively ended a dynastic contest of fifty seven years, did not continue for fifty-seven minutes.
If we could here close the narrative of the battle of Culloden, and of the military proceedings which resulted from the victory of the established government, we should not have necessarily to excite the indignation of every reader against the author of barbarities which, happily, very rarely occur in the wars of civilized nations. We scarcely know how to deal with the details of those atrocities which a young prince of the house of Brunswick deemed it necessary to perpetrate. In the valuable collection of “ Jacobite Memoirs," there are a hundred and seventeen pages headed Barbarities after Culloden." To enter minutely into a view of these disgusting occurrences, is scarcely necessary for any lessons of historical importance. To slur them over, would be a vain attempt to cancel a very black page in our country's annals. We doubt, however, whether a rapid summary, or a minute exposition, of these facts, can have its use “in showing how liable an improved system of government, like that of the Brunswick family, is to fall into the worst errors of that which preceded it, and how liable the people
Journal of Highland Officer-Lockhart Papers," p. 51. "Quarterly Rev.cw," vol. xxxvi. p.213.