Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Jacobite Army Moves Down Through Scotland.

The newly raised Jacobite army ( about 1600 to 1800 strong) remained in Glenfinnan for two more days (August 20,21) before moving off, reaching Kinlocheil, from where Charles sent out a large number of letters to the supporters of the Cause throughout Scotland, asking for money and arms. During the last two weeks Neil and Donald had cultivated the company of the young Macdonald officer who had kept them informed of matters in the Jacobite camp. They rode beside young Seamus Macdonald from Keppoch in the van of a large body of Highlanders. It was while resting at Kinlocheil that Seamus shared this hardly believable piece of information. Seamus : "Last evening while the Prince was at Kinlocheil, he was shown a proclamation of the London Government offering £30,000 for his person, dead or alive. This was something entirely new for a king to offer a reward for the capture of his royal cousin. Charles felt that this was beneath contempt." Donald : " This is a huge amount of money, which shows how serious the government is to capture the Prince and crush the rebellion ." Neil : "Seamus a' bhalaich (Gael. 'lad'), one could buy the Island of Lewis three times over for that money." Seamus : "Can you see anyone in the Highlands claiming that reward, and staying around to enjoy it?" While still at Kinlocheil, Charles received word that General Cope was heading for Fort Augustus. This pleased the Highlander mightily, as they were frustrated that they had not yet joined battle with the 'English'. On reaching Invergarry on Loch Ness side, the Prince received some more reinforcements, where he was joined by 260 Stewarts of Appin, and further groups of Macdonalds from Knoydart and Morar, who impressed the Prince with their handsome appearance, but probably more by the fact they were completely armed. And skulking nearby was an emissary from Fraser, Lord Lovat, probably the most two-faced and duplicitous wretch in the Highlands. Seamus Macdonald : " Lovat has just told the Prince that because of his old age and infirmities, he would not be able to serve him in person, although he wished the Prince well. The Lovat man, Fraser of Gortleg, reminded the Prince that during a previous campaign, the Prince's father King James had issued two commisions, one making Lovat 'Lord Lovat' or 'Lord Beaufort', the other appointing him Lord-Lieutenant of Inverness-shire. Charles said he would give his requests serious consideration. But the strangest of Lovat's requests was that the Prince authorise the murder of Lord President Forbes ( as one does). Forbes of Culloden was 'a near neighbour' of Lovat, a staunch Hanoverian and since 1737 Lord Advocate of the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh. And to cap it all, Lovat was advising the Prince to take his army north to Inverness, where waiting there to join him were the Frasers (but not old Lovat himself),the Macleods, the Macdonalds of Sleat and the Mackenzies. These last three clans had declared early on that they would not join the Prince's Cause." Neil : " Who in the hell is this man ? He is deranged and certainly talks through his arse.. Why would Prince Charles have any dealings with this man ? " On August 27, Charles left Invergarry for Aberchalder, and on this march he wore Highland dress for the first time since landing, which delighted his Highland men. At the end of this march he picked up more recruits, 400 extra Macdonalds from Glengarry and 120 Glencoe Macdonalds. However, on the debit side, a number of Keppoch' Macdonalds who were granted a day's leave of absence, chose to leave permanently and desert. It began to look as if the two armies were 'dancing round each other' keeping a distance from one another.. The Government army under Cope was certainly averse to engaging in battle with the Highlanders, who were a formidable force in the mountains and glens, the playgrounds of their youth. Even when scouting parties were sent out to find the Hanoverian forces, none were seen. In council, Charles decided or was persuaded that while Cope was up north near Inverness, the Jacobite army should leave immediately for the Lowlands, now entirely unprotected. On August 29 and 30, Charles and his army rested at Dalwhinnie and later at Dalnacardoch, which is near Blair Atholl. It looked as if Charles might have a clear run on his march south.

No comments:

Post a Comment