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Battle of Culloden

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The Culloden Battlefield is 5 miles east of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands with an entrance fee to visit.

The Battle of Culloden took place on the 16th April 1746 between the mainly Scots Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart, and Loyalist troops of the King led by the Duke of Cumberland.

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The Loyalist won a decisive battle here with the use of modern weapons.

This was the last major battle on the UK mainland, with the Hanover Royals and their descendants ruling the UK to this day, without any more challenges. Postcode: IV2 5EU

The image top right is of the Battle of Culloden Visitor Centre with a huge car park, cafe, and large museum. You can learn the history of the battle, and view weapons from the battle. There are guides to show how the weapons were used, and period costumes for photos.

Close to the visitor centre is the thatched Leanach Cottage. The cottage was where the government troops, Loyalists, were situated. It is believed the cottage would have been used as a field hospital.

The image below the cottage is of the Government line during the battle. It is believed about 700 Jacobite's were killed here by Government troops in hand to hand fighting, bayonet against sword.

As you approach the large battlefield cairn, there are a number of mass Jacobite graves. This area certainly gets your attention, and gives a real sense of how brutal war can be.
Large Image of the Graves

Mass graves include the Athol Highlanders, Fraser, MacClachlan, MacClean, MacGillivray, Mackintosh, Stuart's, Mixed Clans, and Government troops.

The local landowner, Duncan Forbes, had the large memorial cairn built here in 1881. Forbes was said to be a descendant of a key figure in the Government side. Trees have also been cleared that grew at the battlefield, and grave markers added.

The writing on the cairn states:
The Battle of Culloden was fought on this moor 16th April 1746

The graves of the gallant highlanders who fought for Scotland & Prince Charlie, are marked by the names of their clans.

Large Image of the Cairn

Jacobite Risings

James VI Stuart of Scotland became king of England in 1603 after Elizabeth I of England died without leaving an heir.

James gained the throne as he was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, a great-grandchild of Henry VII of England. He was then known as James VI of Scotland, and James I of England. King of Scotland, England and Ireland.

The Stuart's were kings of Scotland, England and Ireland from 1603 till Queen Anne Stuart died in 1714 without leaving an heir.

Queen Anne was succeeded by her second cousin, the protestant George I of the House of Hanover in Germany, who was a descendant of the Stuart's through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, a daughter of James VI and I.

With George being a protestant German, many nobles in the UK campaigned to have George replaced with Anne's catholic half-brother, James Francis Edward Stuart.

This led to a series of battles known as the Jacobite rebellions, from 1715 to 1746.

The first rebellion saw the Jacobite's win a series of battles, taking control of most of northern Scotland.

1716 early, the government forces had regained control of Scotland, leading to James Francis Stuart leaving from Montrose to live in Avignon in France.

1745, the last Jacobite rising began led by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie), in an attempt to overthrow George II.

Charles Edward Stuart was backed by the French who were at war with the English at that time.

1745 September, the Jacobite's defeat Government troops at the Battle of Prestonpans by Edinburgh, winning the first major battle of the second rising.

The success at Prestonpans, led to Jacobite forces moving south, taking control of Carlisle and as far south as Derby in England.

By December 1745, the Jacobite army had began retreating whilst being attacked by a number of English forces.

23rd December, the Battle of Inverurie was a victory for the Jacobite's.

Late December, the Jacobite's lost control of Carlisle during a siege that lasted nine days.

17th January 1746, the Jacobite's won at the Battle of Falkirk.

20th March to 3rd April, the Jacobite's failed to take control of Fort William.

15th April, Jacobite's were defeated at the Battle of Littleferry.

16th April, the final defeat of the Jacobite's was at the Battle of Culloden.

Battle of Culloden

The Battle of Culloden saw about 6,000 Jacobite's engage about 8,000 government troops.

The Jacobite's are said to have had 12 cannon, and the Government forces 10 cannon and 6 mortars.

The bulk of the Jacobite forces were Scottish catholic Highlanders, also with some English, Irish and French troops.

The Jacobite's were mainly armed with 3 feet long broad swords, shields and pistols.

The Government forces were mainly English protestants, also with a number of Scottish mainly protestant forces.

Most of the Government forces were armed with Flintlock rifles with bayonets, about 7 feet in length together. They were used in close combat to form a wall of bayonets, similar to pikes in battles of the 1300s.

These were only effective if troops held their nerve and stayed close together.

The Battle

The Jacobite forces were being hit by Government cannon for about 20 minutes before they were given the order to charge.

The Jacobite highland charge saw about 6,000 highlanders running towards the Government troops waving swords, shields and yelling.

The highland charge had been successful in many earlier battles, creating so much fear in the opposing troops, they could not load their weapons, and broke their lines to run off.

The charge at Culloden may not have been as affective as other battles, as boggy ground slowed the charge in places, much reducing the fear factor of fast approaching screaming warriors.

The Government lines held at Culloden with each soldier managing to fire about three rounds per minute. The Government cannon also began firing grape-shot to cause mass casualties.

The many Highlanders that made it to the Government line, ran into a wall of bayonets, as the line held firm. The outer Government troops then moved round to encircle the Highlanders and inflict mass casualties.

It is thought around 700 Jacobite's were killed in one small area. Up to 1,500 Jacobite's are said to have died during the battle that lasted less than an hour.

50 Government troops are said to have died in the battle, many more from their wounds in the days after.

Thousands of Jacobite's were taken prisoner at the end of the battle, or over the following weeks as they were hunted down.

Many prisoners were executed, died in prison, or were transported to the colonies.

Prince Charlie survived the battle, travelling to the Isle of Sky, then back to France. He died in Rome of a stroke on the 30th January 1788, aged 67.

The closest Stuart descendants are the Stuarts of Mount Stuart mansion on the Isle of Bute, and the Stuarts of Traquair House / Castle by Peebles in the Borders.

If Scotland became independant, and wanted a king or queen, these two families would be top of the list.

1970, the National Trust for Scotland built a visitor centre and began work to restore the battle site, as close as possible, to how it was at the time of the battle.

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