Thursday, 24 July 2014

Culloden. The Aftermath.

The British Government's fear that war with France was always a possibility, it was imperative that the Highlands were 'dealt with' once and for all. Their brutal military occupation of the Highlands was designed to snuff out the last vestiges of Jacobitism, which was always a threat to the Government. They went further by destroying the Catholic chapels and Episcopalian churches in the West Highlands where these religions were strongest among the Jacobites. The British government wanted to crush the very culture and way of life of the Gealic speaking peoples, and brought forward legislation that was crippling. In 1746 the Disarming Act was passed, prohibiting the carrying of weapons (understandible, you might think), and prohibiting the wearing of the kilt and tartan, which was to remove centuries old symbols of Highland culture. The bagpipes were likewise banned as 'instruments of war'. A year later in 1747, the Heritable Jurisdiction Act removed any legal powers the chiefs had over their clansmen, and Jacobite estates were forfeited to the Crown. Even clans who had supported the government, were now affected by these acts (eg. wearing of tartan and playing the bagpipes). Great changes were wrought in the Highlands after Culloden, but long before this, the Highlands had undergone radical changes , especially within the clan system. Clan ties were loosening, as the Highlanders looked beyond the glens, to seek a living further afield. In the years after Culloden, many of the Jacobites joined the newly formed Highland Regiments. The British government thought that persuading their erstwhile enemy to take the 'King's shilling' was an ideal way of integrating them with the rest of the kingdom. Into the bargain, these regiments were permitted once more to wear tartan and the kilt. Some Highlanders took advantage of the opportunities now afforded by the large and expanding British Empire, and this only increased further Highland emigration. Now that the Highlanders were fully 'integrated' with the rest of the United Kingdom, it was felt that some of the repressive orders and laws could be lifted. The Disarming Act of 1746 was repealed in 1782, and in 1784 many of the Jacobite estates were returned to their rightful owners, but these days the clan chiefs felt more at home in their London clubs. Modern methods of farming and estate management were now all the fashion, and the Highland Chiefs would discuss these matters with their richer counterparts in England, whose estates were large and productive. They encouraged animal husbandry, fishing, kelp processing on their estates, but the rents kept spirraling and in the end surviving chiefs broke their traditional ties with their clansmen in order to make their estates pay. What followed over the next one hundred years, saw cruelty and destitution visited on the ordinary Highlander on a par with anything meted out by the Redcoats. Clan chiefs were now clearing their lands of their own kinsfolk, and bringing in thousands of the large Cheviot breed of sheep. Many thousands of Highlanders were forced onto barren rocky ground, while others were forced to emigrate . With the infamous Highland Clearances, life in the Highlands would never be the same again.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The King's Mercy.

The cruelty and slaughter which took place on Culloden Field did not end there. Government troops launched a savage programme of repression to punish Jacobite Scotland and in particular the Gaelic heart of the Highlands. In the beginning, people living near the garrison towns of Inverness, Fort Augustus and Fort William were terrorised and and whole communities hounded out. Women found sheltering a wounded or starving prisoner were strip-searched and raped. Those people found with arms were taken out and shot. Houses were plundered and burned, while all the appurtenances used to sustain life (ploughs, farming equipment, boats and fishing tackle) were destroyed. All their cattle, which was the mainstay of their economy, was plundered and sold to dealers from Lowland Scotland and Northern England. Cumberland's army shared in the handsome profits, while people whose only 'crime' was being Highland were left to starve. By mid-July 1746, the Duke of Cumberland felt that the Highlands had been 'pacified', Prince Charles was a fugitive and the Jacobite clan chiefs were either dead, in hiding or festering in English prisons. The clansmen of Gaeldom were now leaderless and starving. The new Commander-in-Chief was William Keppel, the Earl of Albemarle who had commanded the government front line at Culloden. He hated Scotland, 'this cursed country' and firmly believed in the same harsh government as Cumberland. To cut down on the large number of 'rebels' in prisons, an order in council was issued stating that henceforth prisoners who were not Gentlemen or Men of Estates, should draw lots : that out of every twenty, one should stand trial for his life, the charge being treason, and the remainder transported to the colonies. One of the first to be tried for treason was Francis Townley, Colonel of the Manchester Regiment, who was tasked with holding Carlisle during the Jacobite retreat north. The government held the ultimate punishment for someone found guilty of treason. Drinking the health of Prince Charles was enough to have you tried for treason. Found guilty of treason, the Judge passed sentence on Francis Townley 'that he be severally hanged by the neck, but not till he be dead, for he must be cut down alive; his bowels must be taken out and his genitals severed and all burned before his face; then his head must be severed from his body and his body severally divided into four quarters, each quarter to be displayed in prominent locations throughout the country.' Townley, wearing a newly tailored black velvet suit, met his dreadful fate on Kennington Common on 30 July, with courage and dignity. A further one hundred executions followed, to 'entertain' the immense crowds which assembled on Kennington Common. On 28 July there was an even greater stir on the opening of the trials of the three Jacobite peers, Lord Balermino, Lord Kilmarnock and Lord Cromartie. Horace Walpole wrote to a friend that he should be in town on the 28th 'as London will be as full as at a Coronation.' Stands had been erected within Westminster Hall with special boxes for the Prince and Princess of Wales,the Duke of Cumberland and foreign ambassadors. These were show trials at the highest levels but the judges comprising 136 dukes, earls and viscounts pronounced the expected guilty verdicts. Two of the Scottish peers, Kilmarnock and Balermino died on the block, while Lord Cromartie was given a reprieve at the last moment. Lord Lovat was arrested and transported to London, where he was found guilty on the testimony of 'Evidence Murray'(of Broughton). Lovat was unbowed, full of energy and wit during his trial, but parted this life on the executioner's block. A year after Culloden the Government still had the task of shipping over 900 prisoners to the colonies, people fortunate enough to have been granted the King's Mercy of transportation and perpetual banishment as indentured persons. Prisoners would be shipped to America for £5 a head, but many of them would die of disease in transit or, as could happen, they might be captured by a French man-of-war and then released as free people on one of the French Caribbean islands. Some prisoners were able to find clansmen or compatriots in America who might be generous enough to pay £7 to buy their indentures and give them their liberty.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The End of the Affair.

In the Battle of Culloden many Jacobites were killed or wounded, but, even so, there were still some 2000 fighting men in the field, who believed that Charles had planned to re-group at Fort Augustus on the Friday after the battle. The intention was to fight Cumberland again, this time in the hills and defiles where government artillery and cavalry would be of no advantage. The Jacobites were as wrong about the Prince's intentions as they were about the location of the rallying point. Since the word 'defeat' was not in the Prince's lexicon, he had never planned a rendezvous. Most of the surviving Jacobite troops had made, not for Fort Augustus, but for Ruthven in Badenoch, believing that this was the rallying point. Most of the Jacobite leaders believed so too, including Lord George Murray, the Old Duke of Atholl, the Duke of Perth, Lord John Drummond and Lord Ogilvie. Lord Elcho had helped Charles's escape from the the battlefield at Culloden. Now Charles headed westwards, accompanied by Elcho, Sir Thomas Sheridan, John William O'Sullivan, Captain Felix O'Neil, an Irishman in the French service, and his ADC, Alexander Macleod whose servant Ned Burke from North Uist would be the party's guide. Charles kept his Irish 'advisors' always close to him. With the Prince on the run, this was a shadow which clouded the moment of triumph for the House of Hanover. Charles never intended to continue the fight, but left his followers a message to 'seek the means of escape as well as they can'. The Chevalier de Johnstone observed that this was a 'sad and heart-breaking answer for the brave men who had sacrificed themselves for him'. Maxwell of Kirkconnel said that the troops who assembled at Ruthven, having no orders from the Prince, 'simply dispersed', with no idea of their fate, nor if their days would end on the scaffold. Here at Ruthven on the day after the battle, Lord George, full of pent-up resentment, gave vent to his long-standing feelings in a lengthy, bitter letter to the Prince, detailing the disasterous conduct of the campaign. It was some weeks before the Prince received the letter, for which he never forgave Lord George. There would never again be any communication between the two men. Knowing that serious retribution would be sought by the government, most of the Jacobite lumenaries knew they had to leave the country as best they could. Two French ships arrived off Arisaig bringing 35,000 louis d'or to support the rising, but they were late, of course. Murray of Broughton, who was too ill to appear at Culloden, was now well enough to don the mantle of the Prince's Secretary in claiming 5,000 for 'current expensives' and burying the rest in two places near Loch Arkaig. The two ships, the 'Mars' and the 'Bellona', returned to France taking with them into exile Lord Elcho, Sir Thomas Sheridan, the dying Duke of Perth and his brother Lord John Drummond. Lochiel and Murray of Broughton stayed behind. Lochiel made it to France, where he was given command of a French regiment fighting in Flanders. Murray bid farewell to his young pregnant wife and headed for the East Coast hoping to arrange passage to Holland for himself. A party of dragoons eventually captured him at his sister's house in Peebles-shire, and as a rich prize for the Government, he was transported ot the Tower in London to be 'interrogated'. He told all he knew, which didn't amount to much, but his evidence in relation to Lord Lovat virtually signed the old man's death warrant. He would go down in history as 'Mr. Evidence Murray' or the 'Jacobite Judas'. He was later released from prison with a small government pension, but never returned to Scotland, dying in England some thirty years later.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

After Culloden. Death and Destruction.

With the battle now over and victory declared, the British infantry hung around the battlefield enjoying a meal of biscuits, cheese, brandy and rum, courtesy of the Royal Navy. Between mouthfuls, they killed any wounded men they saw crawl out from the heaps of Highland dead. The rest of Cumberland's army were marching on Inverness with drums beating and colours flying. Going on ahead, on the Duke's instructions, a company of Sempill's under Captain James Campbell of Arkinglas took formal possession of the town. The first thing they did was to open the jails, releasing all government soldiers and sympathisers, and packing them with the large number of Jacobites, who until now had escaped the sabre or the bayonet. There were nineteen Highland officers lying wounded in the grounds of Culloden House when a detachment of Royal Scots happened on them. They carried the officers outside and leaning them against a wall, told them to prepare themselves for death. All nineteen Highlanders were shot from a range of six feet. The Royal Scots took to burning huts and bothies with the Highlanders inside. In one case 18 men were burned alive, locked inside a hut. A Jacobite prisoner, John Farquarson, described the scene in the prisons "....the wounded festering in their gore and blood, some dead bodies covered quite over with pish and shit, and the living standing in the middle of this, their groans would have pirsed a heart of stone." Lieut-Col. Thomas Cockayne of Pulteney's Regiment was ordered by the Duke to proceed to Moy House, with 2 Captains, 6 Subalterns and 200 'volunteers' to arrest Lady Anne Macintosh, the great Jacobite heroine, 'Colonel Anne'. When a young officer came to her house and started hammering at her door, calling for that 'bloody rebel', Lady Macintosh. Anne opened the door and calmly asked them to come into her home. Colonel Cockayne's officrs were taken aback by her youth and beauty and her dignified demeanour. Later, Anne mounted her horse and was taken under armed escort to Inverness where she was interviewed by Cumberland. She spent the next six weeks in the guard room, where Colonel Anne received visits from young Hanoverian officers with whom she drank tea. ' I drank tea yesterday with Lady Macintosh. She really is a very pretty woman. Pity she is a rebel,' wrote one young officer to his brother. Cumberland's policy was to inflict terror throughout the Highlands, which was designed to stamp out any remaining resistance. He issued orders calling on all sheriffs and magistrates to report on any persons who had been at any time 'in arms against His Majesty'. In every town in Scotland, proclamations were read out, demanding, under pain of hanging, the surrender of all arms, the laying of information against hidden rebels, and the surrender of the Young Pretender. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, meeting in May 1746, one month after the slaughter at Culloden, presented Cumberland with an address praising his valour, referring to the 'public blessings which the House of Hanover had conferred on mankind'. In May the Duke moved his main force from Inverness to Fort Augustus with the purpose of controlling and terrorising all of the Highlands. General Blakeney would hold Inverness with four battalions, while Brigadier Mordaunt with three battalions went to Perth and Aberdeen. In the West, General John Campbell of Mamore took over operations in Lochaber and Appin. The Royal Navy patrolled the West Coast against any French vessel, which may have been sent to rescue the 'fugitive', Charles Edward Stuart. The news of his son's victory reached George II at St.James's Palace on the 25 April. The King was greatly moved, and on hearing that his son came through unscathed, he said "Then, all's well with me". 'Unable to speak for joy', he withdrew to a quiet room, but outside the guns were firing salutes and the bells were ringing out from every steeple in London. The Duke of Cumberland, William Augustus would soon be known as 'Sweet William' in Whig circles, after the small pink and white flower which had been named after him.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Battle of Culloden. Visions of Hell.

'It was a hard, misty, rainy day with the wind blowing in the face of the Prince's army'. The Jacobite guns sounded, bringing the troops into two lines. In the rear was Charles' cavalry of less than 200 horse, and in the front he had twelve cannon, consisting of three batteries of four on the right, left and centre of the front line. There were still bitter arguments between senior commanders over their position in the line, particularly among the Macdonalds who lost their traditional position on the right of the line. There were important defensive areas within the Jacobite army which were unguarded due to depleted numbers ( regiments still on their way from Inverness, and men who had failed to appear, still searching for food and rest ). At noon, Cumberland's army came into view, taking the Jacobites by surprise as they were still getting their line in battle order. The Jacobite army was further back than they had been on the day before, when they faced an open field. Their present position now lay between the walls of the two enclosures on their right and left. Lord George Murray thought that the walls of the enclosures would give protection to his troops, but as there was a lack of men to occupy the enclosures, this might allow the enemy to break through the walls and outflank the Jacobites. This is exactly what happened. The government troops were a picture of confidence and self discipline as they marched towards the enemy in columns, taking up battle positions, ending up in two lines. Cumberland advanced with drums beating and colours flying. The Jacobite guns opened up first, but they had little effect on the enemy line. Now the British cannon opened up leaving large holes in the Jacobite line. Charles sent an order to Murray to advance, but Murray delayed. The government artillery now switched from round shot (cannon balls) to grapeshot, which devastated large numbers of Jacobites. The Jacobite men could no longer take this bombardment and charged the Hanoverian lines. This charge was ineffective as those on the left side got bogged down in marshy ground. Additionally, on the left wing, the Duke of Perth and Lord John Drummond were having trouble persuading the Macdonald regiments (Clanranald, Keppoch and Glengarry) of moving forward at the commencement of the battle. In total, these three regiments amounted to around 1,000 men but many of these had already left the battlefield, bitterly resenting being placed on the left by the Prince. Even after moving forward, cajoled by the Duke and his brother, none of them actually raised a sword in anger. They just walked away. Because of the slope of the land here, forcing others to veer right, only a small section of the Government troops came under attack. The charge was ineffectual and caused chaos in the regiments coming directly behind. Despite this, a large number of Highlanders reached the government lines, but, as warned earlier, they came under gunfire from government troops who had penetrated the enclosure walls to the right and left of them. The right flank of the Jacobites broke through the British line on its left with sword and targe, but this attack was soon halted by Cumberland's second line. The fighting became bitter hand-to-hand combat. The Jacobites sustained heavy casualties, and those who had broken through were trapped by British troops who had practiced much and now used the bayonet to deadly effect. Lord George Murray tried to rally his troops but it came to nothing. Cumberland's army was victorious - it was all over in less than an hour. About 1300 Jacobites had been killed, 1250 were wounded and 380 taken prisoner, whereas the government forces lost 50 killed and had less than 300 wounded. Accounts of the action tell of heads being 'cleft from crown to collar-bone', of limbs being completely severed, and of bodies rammed through and skewered by bayonets. At this juncture 'the whole of the Prince's army wheeled round and fled'. Those fleeing from the battle field on the road to Inverness were pursued by the English cavalry who, carrying their sabres aloft, slaughtered the Highlanders as they ran. "The road from Culloden to Inverness was all along strewed with the dead. The Duke of Cumberland had the cruelty to leave the wounded among the dead upon the field of battle, despoiled of their clothes, from Tuesday, the day of our miserable battle, till Friday, when he sent detachments to kill all those whom they should find alive, and there were many of them." (Memoirs of the Chevalier Johnstone) You will remember how Cumberland had an Act passed in Parliament which indemnified him from the heinous acts he ordered that day, contrary to the laws of Great Britain. "Cumberland's cruelties showed a soul cowardly and ferocious". (Johnstone). An officer in Cumberland's dragoons had this to say ."The heavily armed mounted soldiers closed in on them from both wings, and then followed a general carnage. The moor was covered with blood; and our men, what with killing the enemy, dabbling their feet in the blood, and splashing it about on one another, looked like so many butchers." Their Commander-in-Chief would forever be known as 'Butcher Cumberland'.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Battle of Culloden. Looking into the Jaws of Hell..

The decisions which led the Jacobite Army to engage with the forces of the Duke of Cumberland on Culloden Moor on 16 April 1746 were so misconceived and eventually so disastrous that an ancient people, its culture and language would be changed forever. After seeing that Cumberland and his army had put off battle until the next day ( 16th April ), the Jacobites returned to Culloden House. Charles with his officers discussed a battle plan, but a suggestion was advanced that instead of waiting to be attacked, they should march through the night and attempt to surprise Cumberland while he and his troops were recovering from the night before. For days now, the Jacobites were starving and were forced to go scavenging for food to fill their empty bellies as all they had was water and a handful of oatmeal each day. While they were still in Inverness, many Highlanders returned home for provisions which caused their late arrival in rejoining the army again. Some were so late they missed the battle entirely. The Highlanders were ordered to march through the night in single file, which stretched the line considerably, causing more delay. The Jacobite soldiers were so hungry and tired that they fell asleep on the track side against stone walls or in the heather. At seven in the evening (15th April) the army moved off on its night march with 2,000 men missing. Lord Cromartie with a good part of the Jacobite Army was presumably still in Sutherland while Cluny Macpherson and the Master of Lovat with their clansmen had not arrived, although they were expected. The arrival in camp of Macdonald of Keppoch with 200 of his clansmen raised spirits a little. This would in normal circumstances have been a fairly straightforward march of ten miles, albeit in the dark, but with hunger and tiredness their progress was slow and by two in the morning of the 16th they had barely covered six miles in six hours and had another four miles to reach Cumberland's camp. It would be daylight before they could launch their 'surprise attack', and so in the end it was unanimously decided to abandon this attack and simply to march back to Culloden. With still nothing to eat and now even more fatigued, the Jacobites were in no shape to face Cumberland's 7,500 strong, well-fed, well-drilled professional army. The Chevalier Johnstone wrote "I never could comprehend the idea of the Prince wishing to attack the English army, so superior in number to his own, with even only a part of his own force in disorder, without waiting till the whole force came up,and without getting them formed into battle array, to present a front of attack"......." the Highlanders, overpowered with fatigue, dispersed and lying in profound sleep in the cottages and enclosures of the neighbourhood, it was impossible that he could bring them forward to the combat. Besides, what could be hoped for from people in their situation ; overcome for want of sleep and nourishment, and altogether cut up by this night's march," worse than any they had experienced in England. It was madness for Charles and O'Sullivan to choose Culloden and Drummossie Moors as the site for the battle. Of course, Lord George Murray had argued for the area across the River Nairn which was 'hilly and bogie', ideal ground for the Highlanders' reknowned charge. The Prince was determined to fight on Drummossie Moor. Even at this late hour, Murray and many of his officers still considered a tactical retreat the best course of action. At the approach of Cumberland with 9,000 men, the Prnce and the principal commanders of the Jacobite army mounted their horses, 'ordered the pipes and drums to play, which alarm caused great hurry and confusion amongst people half dead with fatigue' ( Account of Lord Elcho ). The Prince ordered his 5,500 men to march out to Culloden and form up in battle order. They were looking into the Jaws of Hell.