The Jacobite uprisings - specifically "The '45" - hold a place of great romance and legend.
The clandestine affair of rebellion, the secret language, acts of heroism, tragic loss, and daring escapes -
what more could you ask for?
Handsome young Prince Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie"), born in exile and
raised on stories of a people waiting for his return, attempted to retake the throne in 1745
(with more success than the English were honestly prepared).
After reportedly selling his grandmother's jewels to help raise the money for his 'invasion',
Charlie started out from France with two ships :
the larger ship had to turn back due to terrible weather,
so Charlie landed in Scotland with all of one small ship and seven men.
three being elderly - a tutor, a "former" calvary officer, and Scottish Marquis of Tullibardine;
plus an Irish colonel, an Irish clergyman, a "former" tutor, and a French banker.
At this point, had you been one of those seven, would you have continued south?
Or had a nice glass of something warm and a laugh before going home??
But Charlie was not to be deterred by something as trivial as no army -
so he raised his father's banner and in a matter of months rallied 2,500 men.
They had a number of actual victories, including capturing Edinburgh for the Stuart cause -
where the Prince held court at Holyrood Castle for weeks
and was declared Regent to James III's reign.
At this point George II returned to England from Hanover,
issuing a staggering £30,000 reward for Charlie's capture - £6 million today -
and when Charlie heard this, he issued the same reward for the capture of George!
(For the record, neither reward was ever claimed.)
His advisors were ready to settle in and strengthen their hold on Scotland -
but not Charlie! Now that he had his army,
something as trivial as the English having three armies would not stop him.
Charlie argued that they had momentum now.
And he was a bit right: more Highland lords and chiefs were abandoning their "wait and see"
position to take up arms for the dashing young hero who traveled amongst his men,
declaring he would march all the way to London wearing the Scottish plaid tartan.
They took Carlisle.
They took Manchester.
Charlie's force grew to as large as 7,000 and pushed as far south as Derby -
a mere 130 miles from London!
At that point the London shops were closed out of fear, and George II sent his youngest son,
William Lord Cumberland, to quell the rebellion once and for all.
Charlie had expected more French support by now, and his advisors told him to turn back and
regroup before trying to fully take London. Charlie and his army turned back north,
but Cumberland caught up to them on the
Charlie decided this was the place to make a stand against the larger Government force -
contrary to the urgings of his advisors...
The moors of Scotland are wide, flat, and often soft from the cold rains that seem to perpetually
mist down. This was not the rocky downhill landscape that supported the legendary
Highland Charge that had been so successful in earlier battles.
(Picture looking uphill into a mass of screaming Scotsmen with weapons held high,
running at full speed plus gravity, leaping over and off of stones - towards you. THAT was the Highland Charge.
But that was not in the moors.
Instead the Jacobites lined up along the tree line, with the Cumberland's force mirroring the line
on the opposite side of the flat field. When the rebels charged, they slowed in the softened earth,
bringing an uneven line within range of the waiting guns...
The English army roundly and unequivocally crushed the rebels at the Battle of Culloden on
April 16, 1746, effectively ending any future Stuart efforts for the throne.
While 50 Government deaths were recorded, there were up to 2,000 Jacobite fatalities.
Stone markers were erected to mark the mass graves,
where the Scotsmen were buried by clan according to the plaids they wore.
At this time, both Cumberland and Charlie were a mere 25 years old.
Further Jacobite fatalities and punitive actions occurred afterward :
the order for "no quarter" was given, and most injured soldiers were killed;
supporters, their families, and all suspected of giving aid were persecuted;
the so-called Dress Act of 1746 outlawed the wearing of plaid and tartan;
bagpipes were banned;
lords and clan chiefs who supported the rebellion were stripped of lands, property, and titles.
Charlie narrowly escaped, hiding in shadows towards Scotland's northern coast, and finally
boarded a ship for France disguised as a ladies' maid.
The Jacobite passions faded, and any support that remained was more social than active. It was
at this point that more engraved glass and small medals started to appear, as manufacturing
improved and supporters tried to keep the fires alive for a future effort that never came.
The campaign is still the inspiration for songs, paintings, and collections.
And Bonnie Prince Charlie's legacy -
all based on his one and only year in Scotland -
Caroline Harrison Kelly,
M. Ford Creech Antiques