Thursday, 10 April 2014

Protagonists of the Jacobite Army ( 1745-1746 )

The Chevalier de Johnstone (see later) relates in his "Memoirs" that he was aide-de-camp to LORD GEORGE MURRAY, and from extracts of these Memoirs he seems to give a fairly balanced view of the man he knew so well. You may recall that Murray had taken part in previous uprisings (1715,1719)and like others, he spent some time in exile in France, before he was pardoned and returned to Scotland. Johnstone says of Murray " Lord George Murray was Lieutenant-General and had charge of the entire Jacobite army. He had a natural genius for war, and with his study of military art, was truly one of the greatest generals in Europe." This may be an exaggeration as Murray never had much in the way of battle field experience. Johnstone continues " He was tall, robust and brave and was the ideal man to lead the Highland clansmen in the only manoeuvre they knew, rushing the enemy with targe and sword as soon as they came in sight of them." In truth, there was none in the high command who would countermand an order from him, except the Prince on occasions. "He was not without his faults. fierce, haughty and proud, he desired always to dictate eveything by himself, and knowing none his equal, he did not wish to receive their advice." He disliked the Irish contingent, from which the Prince invariably sought advice, nor "could he derive any enlightenment from the Irish subaltern officers, with the exception of M. Sullivan. Subalterns' military knowledge consisted generally in knowing how to mount and relieve guard." An able general he may have been, but he was a difficult and irascible person to engage with. After his pardon by the Hanovarian authorities, Lord George had led a blameless political life, and seemed to have forgotten his Jacobite past. He was seen to have become an adherent of the House of Hanover. He had recently in a letter to someone, referred to Prince Charles as the "Young Pretender", something no Jacobite would ever say. As Deputy Sheriff for Perthshire (a government appointment) and only days before, he had visited General Cope to discuss provision of food and transport horses for Cope's army, then at Crieff. Deep down, Lord George Murray was always a Jacobite, so, in this sudden turn about renouncing his allegiance to King George, the decision to join Charles' army at Perth was not an easy decision for this 51 year old man to take. His wife viewed his decision with dismay. In a letter to his brother, James, Duke of Atholl, he said " My Life, my Fortune and the Happiness of my wife and children are all at stake (and the chances are against me),and yet a principle of (what seems to me) Honour and my Duty to King and Country outweighs everything." Such words seem to have been spoken by a man who felt trapped between accepting the status quo of peace under King George, and joining the Jacobites, as the Atholl Murrays had always done. His heart won over his head, but his head told him that this was an ill-fated venture. Murray was a pragmatist who knew the ultimate fate of this small army, whose demise he could foresee. JAMES DRUMMOND, 3rd titular Duke of Perth was, along with Lord George Murray, the other Lieutenant-General of the Jacobite army. He was brought up in Drummond Castle by his mother until his father's death, after which she took James and his younger brother to France to receive a Catholic education at Douai and Paris. Reaching manhood he returned to Scotland, but his father's estates were confiscated. He interested himself in agriculture and manufacturing. In July 1745, the authorities intended to arrest him as a precautionary measure, but he escaped to join Charles Edward Stuart at Perth. A highlight of his career was the manner in which he conducted the successful siege of Carlisle, actually ignoring the orders of Lord George Murray, who resigned in high dudgeon, only to sign on again ! The Duke of Perth was not at the Battle of Falkirk as he was left to continue the Siege of Stirling. He was very popular for the way he took Lord Loudon's camp by surprise at the Dornoch Firth. He and his men captured few prisoners, but came into possession of a great deal of booty. At Culloden he commanded the Jacobite left wing. made up of the various Macdonald clans who historically occupied the right of the line. Their resentment was such that they refused to move or fight, and many of them left the field of battle entirely. After Culloden he escaped to France on a French ship, but he died on board and his body was committed to the deep on 13 May 1746. His brother, John Drummond, also fought for the Jacobites in 1745-46 THE CHEVALIER DE JOHNSTONE (1719-1800) James Johnstone was born in Edinburgh, the son of a well-connected merchant, with Jacobite sympathies. He was swept up in the excitement caused by the arrival of Charles Stuart in Scotland, and joined the Jacobite army in Perth - He was 26 years old. He was appointed aide-de-camp to the Prince and Lord George Murray - a busy man. He did not distinguish himself at the Battle of Culloden, where he fought timidly and escaped the field with those around him. But in doing so, he wrestled with another man, and with the help of a Cameron friend took his horse from him, galloping off, leaving that man to his fate. He escaped to Holland and later served with the French in Canada in various theatres. He was eventually aide-de-camp to General Montcalm. He wrote about his experieces in the Jacobite Rising and his time with the French in Canada. Presumably it was the French who gave James Johnstone from Edinburgh the grand appellation of "Chevalier de James Johnstone." LORD ELCHO, David Wemyss (1721-1787) was a Scottish Episcopal peer and Jacobite officer, whose father was the 5th Earl of Wemyss, and his mother was the daughter of Colonel Francis Charteris (from of a rich family.) He was a poor student at Eton and the military academy at Angers, France. Fellow students said he could be violent at times. While in Rome (1740-41) he met James Stuart ("The Old Pretender") and Charles Edward Stuart ("The Young Pretender") whom he tried to dissuade from invading Britain unless he could raise a force of 30,000 men and a great deal of money. Lord Elcho was not impressed with the young prince. A few years later, when the army of Charles Stuart reached Edinburgh, Elcho finally joined the Jacobite Army in September, 1745, after a great deal of soul searching. He became an aide-de-camp to Prince Charles and Lord George Murray and was invited to join the Jacobite Council. He had friends in high places. He fought at Prestonpans,Falkirk and Culloden and after the Jacobite's final defeat, he escaped to France aboard the frigate, Le Mars, in May, 1746. All his lands and titles were forfeited, but he served in the French army of Louis XV and died in Paris in 1787, aged 65. Lord Elcho was an able and fearless soldier who gave no quarter. (He was brutal to the enemy, especially at Prestonpans). He detested Charles' coterie of Irish advisors, and in his "Memoirs" had a poor opinion of Charles Stuart. It was said that as Prince Charles left the battle fieled of Culloden, Elcho was said to shout "There you go, for a damned cowardly Italian." This is highly unlikely as Lord Elcho accompanied the Prince all the way to Arisaig, where they hoped a French vessel was waiting to take them to France.

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