The Battle of Culloden

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If Bannockburn was where Scottish independence was established, then Culloden, fought on April 16, 1746, near Inverness, Scotland, was where that independence was finally lost. But more than independence was lost at Culloden. The way of life of the Highlands was lost as well. In the years that followed, many Highlanders, including our ancestors were forced to emigrate. According to A.D. MacDonald in Mabou Pioneers, John Beaton, the great-grandfather of the Donald Beaton who settled in Galena, Illinois, "took an active part in the campaign...on behalf of Bonnie Prince Charlie on the Field at Culloden Moor." With John at Culloden were two of his brothers, Donald and Alexander, and his uncle, Gillies MacBain, who died a famous death on the battlefield.

The Battle of Culloden was the culmination of a campaign that began in July, 1745, when Charles Edward Louis Philip Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, landed in Scotland. This signaled the Second Jacobite Rebellion known as "The Forty-Five." There were initial successes and the Jacobite army advanced as far as Derby, about 100 miles from London, before retreating back to Scotland.

The battle lasted less than an hour and was more massacre than real battle. The Highlanders attacked with swords against muskets and cannon. For the most part, they didn't get close. Gillies MacBain was an exception. Wounded, he was cornered and killed thirteen of the enemy with his sword before being killed himself. A description of this deed can be found in many accounts of the battle.

After the battle, the royalist forces sought out and killed prisoners, wounded, and anyone else they could find in the vicinity, whether or not they had taken part in the battle. That was the beginning of the Highland Clearances and the intentional destruction of the Highlanders.

This site created by Harry E. Connors III

Music is The White Cockade sequenced by Ron Clarke

I have found a couple of detailed accounts of the campaign and the battle on the Internet.

Culloden: Click on the painting on the main page of this site to see a larger version. The central figure is Gillies MacBain.

Culloden: Another detailed account of the campaign and the battle.

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This page last modified on Sunday, November 25, 2007

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