The Jacobite Rising - My trip to Culloden & Fort George

Bootie

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Culloden Battlefield - site of the last major pitched battle fought on British soil. Here, on 16 April 1746 two armies clashed in a final confrontation over the thrones of Britain. In just one hour the army of the British government under Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland crushed forever the Jacobite army under Prince Charles Edward Stuart. The moor where the battle took place and where more than 1500 men are buried is wild and atmospheric and I spent Monday after a 2.5 hour drive north pacing the battlefield and taking it all in.

I started in the visitor centre alongside the battlefield. It is full of interesting artefacts from the period and of the battle. The highlight for me was the battle of Culloden Experience. You stand in a large room with each wall a full size TV. You look to your left and see the line of Highland Warriors on the left wall..... look to the right the line continues.... behind you you look at the wall and see the second row of Scots.... ahead of you in the distance the red line of the Hanoverian troops are projected on the wall. The call goes out and the battle begins... all 4 walls moving in perfect time with each other... to your right and left the charging Scots.... look over your shoulder into the throng of Scots forming the second row... ahead the red line growing larger..... truley hair raising.

 

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I did some research and the clan Im descended from The MacGregors fought for the Jacobites in Farquharson of Monaltrie's Battalion which was part of Lord John Drummond's Division. Other MacGregors also formed up with the MacDonald of Keppoch's Regiment part of The Duke of Perths Division.

I paid a visit to their grave as directed by researchers within the visitors centre and spent a few moments in silence just listening to the wind blowing through the heather. The MacGregors were buried alongside the Donalds.

 

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The MacGillivray chief Alexander was shot through the heart. His body, after lying for some weeks in a pit where it had been thrown with others, was taken up by his friends and buried across the threshold of the kirk of Petty. His brother William was also a warrior, and gained the rank of captain in the old 89th regiment, raised in about 1758. After the Battle of Culloden the clan emigrations began across the Atlantic.

Alexander Macgillivray was shot at this well... after the battle the Hanoverian troops tended their wounded from its waters.



 

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After spending the first half of the day walking the battlefield I left and visited Fort George which is roughly 5 miles north east of the battlefield.

Fort George is quite simply the finest example of 18th-century military engineering you’ll find anywhere in the British Isles. This vast garrison fortress was begun in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden (1746), which crushed the final Jacobite Rising. It took over 20 years to complete and in the event it was never attacked. It remains virtually unaltered today, and still serves as an important military base.

The Jacobite Rising of 1745–6 proved to be the last attempt by the Stewart dynasty to regain the British throne from the Hanoverians. Following Culloden, fought just 8 miles (12km) from Fort George, the government introduced ruthless measures to prevent such a Rising happening again. Fort George was one of them, named after King George II (1727–60).

It was designed as the main garrison fortress in the Scottish Highlands, holding two field battalions and staff officers (some 2,000 men) and an awesome armament of over 80 guns.

Fort George never fired a shot in anger. Later in the 18th century, after the Jacobite threat had evaporated, the fort became a recruiting base and training camp for the rapidly expanding British Army. Many a Highland lad passed through its gates on his way to fight for the British Empire across the globe. Between 1881 and 1964 the fort served as the depot of the Seaforth Highlanders. The regimental museum of the Highlanders (Seaforths & Camerons) is there today. So is the British Army.

Fort George is the only property in the care of Historic Scotland still serving its original purpose.

Pictures to follow tomorrow....
 
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cillmhor

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I read John Prebble's 'Culloden' recently, quite a good read, although quite an old book. Lots of nuggets of personal information from primary sources. Some of the romance of Culloden is pushed to one side, and you see that the Highlanders had no chance on the day for any number of reasons. The fate and treatment of many of the prisoners afterwards is given in a very sobering light.

I keep meaning to visit the battlefield and musuem. We're frequent visitors to Invnerness.
 

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Fort George is surrounded by a moat... funny thing is they could only fill it at high tide and had to open a gate to do so. If an attack happened at low tide it was basically a big trench.



I still wouldnt like trying to get across it with the bridge up.

Left and right looking from the draw bridge.



 
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