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22
Oct

Words from the Road: Culloden Moor

   Posted by: Dan   in Better Know Our Route, Quest

On April 16, 1746, the last battle to be fought on British soil took place in Northern Scotland, just five miles west of the highland city of Inverness, near a town called Culloden. On Culloden’s moor, an estimated 1500 rebel soldiers, led by a man commonly referred to today as the Young Pretender or Bonnie Prince Charlie, would be mown down by an English loyalist force that would lose only 50 men in the frighteningly fast battle.

Drew and I visited the moor on October 15th, and took as many pictures as we could manage. It was a solemn place, and while the trip was a good one, it is one that will haunt me for a long time.

This is a recreation of the building that stood in its place during the battle. Its predecessor was used to hide flanking troops belonging to the English.

The amazing detail with which the Culloden historians are able to pinpoint the battle tactics of the day fascinates me, and I took over a hundred pictures while we wandered the gigantic field.

Grave stones were erected by local interested parties. The English got one, too, for the 50 soldiers who were killed in the battle.

At a ratio of 30 to 1, the men fighting for the rebel army (calling themselves “Jacobites” and coming from as far afield as France in support of Charles’ claim to the throne) died on Culloden Moor.

Each large clan got their own gravestone, but smaller clans – and the bodies buried without identification – were marked by stones like this one, which reads “Mixed Clans”

So many men died, with such poor records recovered from the Jacobite army as it was routed (where it was routed – a significant portion of the men were just killed), that many men were never identified. In their honour, gravestones for “Mixed Clans” were placed.

For those of you who have read a certain Gabaldon novel, this stone is relevant to your interests.

This picture’s a bit of a throw-away because I like reading strangely non-genre-specific pseudo-historical-fiction. Enjoy, those of you who recognize the relevance!

Drew’s ancestors are Drummonds and Frenchmen; a Lord Drummond commanded the French regiment right here at Culloden, so we thought this an appropriate shot.

I sought out a stone for the MacGregors, my closest clan-relation, but we found a stone that explained that Lord Drummond had commanded the French troops at Culloden for Charles – two close connections to Drew’s family.

The starting battle lines of each army were marked with flags – red for the loyalist British army, blue for the rebel “Jacobite” army.

Both battle lines were marked by giant flags. This was the furthest to the right flank of the Jacobite army – the portion of their army that was hit the hardest, both with cannons and the first to charge and die by musket and sword.

Culloden is a deeply spiritual place, and something entirely unlike anything you can find in Canada. If you ever have the opportunity, I would not pass up a chance to see this battleground.

 
This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2012 at 16:40 and is filed under Better Know Our Route, Quest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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