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Braemar Highlands
Part the Fourth - Chapter IV


Rising of ’45—Battle of Falkirk—Second Gathering— Culloden and its Results, etc.

'NOW wonderfully deep and abiding' writes an highlander, ‘was our love for Prince Charlie!’ And it was indeed something extraordinary, that after suffering so much as a people at the recent rising of '15 the Braemarians were again found so ready to face suffering and death to support the claims of the 'Pretender.’

This last rising of ’45 seems to have been even more of a popular movement than the former one. There was now no Earl of Mar to summon them out as lord superior. Yet so strong was the current of popular feeling in favour of the Pretender, that neither his successor Lord Braco, nor the Earl of Aboyne, nor the laird of Invercauld’ though all on the side of Government, could stem it. That this was the case, the following extracts from the Legends of the Braes of Mar make evident:—

‘Lord Braco, who supplanted Allen Quoich and Dalmore, was a favourer of the established Government. Invercauld himself was an old man, and what influence he possessed he freely used for the same party as Braco: his son had a commission in the Black Watch. But these two proprietors’ opposition was of little moment. The whole of the district was Jacobite—rich and poor, young and old, men and women.’

The thought forcibly strikes one, that some cause must have existed, of strength sufficient to produce this state of feeling. Paragraphs like the following give some inkling as to what it might have been :—

‘And how about the Rev. Alexander Gordon of Gairnside? Why, he accompanied all the following of Balmoral as chaplain; and perhaps the “bra’ lads’” hearts were none the less daring, from knowing they would have his services on the battle-field. And perhaps the swords of Mar were none the less efficient, that he besought the Lord of hosts in their behalf.

‘The men of Gairn under Fleming of Anchintoul\ and the three Macgregors with their followers, convened at Dalfad. Besides his arms and accoutrements, each man carried only a bag of meal sufficient for three days’ vivers, and a spare pair of new brogues. As they went out, the Glaschoille Macgregor of Inverigny, after doubtless meditating on their bare and unprovided condition, exclaimed, “A soldier, my lads, should always go away poor and come home rich.”

“When men go forth to battle, Inverigny,” returned Mr. Gordon the priest, “there is a store of other riches besides those of this world to be thought of and striven after.”

The effects of such teaching on minds so little cultivated can be easily appreciated. They were fighting not only for 'Charlie,’ but also for the re-establishment of Popery.

But to return. The chieftainship of the Clan Farquharson belonged of right to Finla, son of Colonel Peter Farquharson of Inverey, lately deceased. But Finla being an imbecile, his uncle, James Farquharson of Balmoral’ took his place. Balmoral was joined by Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie, commonly named the Baron Ban, or Fair-haired Baron, and Charles Gordon of Blellack and Pronie Gairnside; these three being the great leaders of the movement.

Braemar at one time, like many other places in the Highlands, had the advantage of one living in it who could not only see into futurity, but also occasionally tell them when events of importance were transpiring in places at a distance, just at the exact time, or perhaps a little before.

Accordingly, it is stated that ‘on the 25th July 1745, the seer of Glen-Lui Duncan Calder, intimated to the men of Mar that Prince Charlie was that very day landing at Moidart. One of the incredulous lairds of the district despatched a messenger to verify the tidings, but ere he returned the country was ringing with the din of arms.’ Be that as it may, the tidings of ‘Charlie’s’ arrival soon reached Braemar. Again the Farquharsons mustered in all their strength. The place of meeting was probably Carn-a-qitheen.

Lewis Farquharson of Auchindryne was now dead ; but his three sons, Alastair, William, and James, assembled with all their followers, the Farquharsons of Tidlochcoy in their company.

Among the men of Dalmore and Allen Quoich, the Ephiteach and his cousin MacRobaidh Mhoir shone pre-eminent. Lord Braco, though opposed to it, could not hinder his men from rising. Nor Invercauld, it seems, either; for his daughter even, 'the Lady M‘Intosh,’ took the field, and in her train were many of her father’s followers.1 She figured largely in the battle of Falkirk. A little before it began, the following conversation took place :—

Balmoral,” said Lochiel, “why did you not bring Invercauld with you?”

“Invercauld, you see, thinks differently from us,” answered Balmoral; “but there is the less to regret, as I see his daughter the Lady M'Intosh here; and some of the men following her, I could swear, live not ten oxgangs from Invercauld?

The lady was then passing at the head of three hundred gallant lads, wearing a man’s bonnet, a habit of tartan richly laced, and having a pair of pistols at her saddle-bow.’ Here I may notice also, that on a subsequent occasion the Prince owed no less than his life to this lady.

To return to Braemar. Cattenach of Bealleachbhui was still in fighting trim, and ‘went out’ with his son-in-law, Malcolm' Durward of Mullach. Harry Farquharson of Whitehouse also gathered with his Cromar men; Patrick Fleming of Auchintoul' with several M'Gregors and all the Gairnside men, as in ‘’15.’ In short, all in the district, except Lord Braco, Invercauld, and the Earl of Aboyne, hasted to throw off their allegiance and join the standard city of a loyal militia captain by a party of the insurgents, was actually brought as a prisoner into the presence of his wife, who was then acting a semi-military part in the Chevalier’s army. She said with military laconism, “Your servant, Captain;” to which he replied with equal brevity, “Your servant, Colonel.” Lady M‘Intosh was a daughter of Farquharson of Invercauld,\ a friend of the Government.’—Chambers History of the Rebellion. of rebellion; and any who remained at home were compelled to contribute of their substance. For instance:

On the 26th November Lewis Gordon writes from Huntly to Moir of Stonywood thus: I have a letter from Blellack, who has execute his orders to very good purpose, notwithstanding the opposition he met with from Inver-call, whose people, as well as Lord Braco’s in that country, he has obliged to comply in paying a “cess” for the Prince.’

On the 9th December Blellack writes from Tarland to Stonywood: ‘I would have given Mackie the party ye desair, if Munaltry and I had not sent a good many of the men we had upon fitt with Mr. M‘Gregor of Inverenzie to Aberdeen, which will be with you before this comes to hand. ... I have sent the list of the Ses Lonmay inclosed to Munaltry up the country, where he is just now, who will certainly ack conform to the directions. I am just now sending a part of our men to Aberdeen. . . . At my desair the Earl of Aboyne’s tennants sen in their ses by the bearer.’

It would be tedious to give the details of all the doings of the men of Mar, but one or two short traditions respecting their exploits at the various engagements may be interesting.

The battle of Falkirk was fought on the 16th January 1746. The traditional account of it is as follows: 'The 16th January was a wild, stormy day ; but what mattered the weather to men who had often passed the most inclement nights of winter by the shelter of a stone in the open air? It was a steep rough climb up the heights of Falkirk; but what mattered it to the hunters of the deer through the wilds of Braemar?

(Opposed to Balmoral was Munro’s regiment of horse. Balmoral drew up his men in the form of a wedge, thus : he marched at their head, two men followed in the second rank, three in the third, and so on to the rear.

Now, my lads,' cried he, “march in silence. Fire not a shot till you can discern the colour of the horses’ eyes, then give one volley all together; throw down your guns, and rush upon them; cut the bridles, hamstring the horses, and we will then arrange with the men.”

At this moment Colonel Munro was galloping up and down before his regiment, conspicuous for the splendour of his harness and plume floating gracefully in the breeze.

'Is there no deerslayer among you, lads? ’ cried Balmoral back to his men as they advanced in silence. Down at once on their knees dropped two or three of them. A sharp knell followed, the clouds of smoke rose into the air, and Munro’s horse galloped away with empty saddle.

With bonnets tightly drawn down, and plaids streaming in the wind, they pressed up the heights. In evil hour a bullet hit Balmoral in the shoulder.

'Four men,’ cried his henchman, 'to carry our wounded chief to the rear!’

'Never!’ cried Balmoral the Brave. 'Four men to carry your chief at the head of his children into the thickest of the fight! ’

A dread hurricane was sweeping over the heights of Falkirk, but one still more dread of carnage and death swept over the combatants, as a volley that scattered destruction flamed out from the advancing wedge, who then with claymore, etc., rushed furiously to their work of death. Hundreds fell and rolled down the heights together, horse and rider, friend and foe.

Alastair Farquharson of Auchindryne had borne the standard of his clan up the heights; at length, overpowered with fatigue, wind, and rain, he could do no more.

'Am beil Uilleam againn an sin?' i.e. ‘Is our William there? Tell him to come and take the standard.’

Imrich thu fhein do luideag Alastair; siovnadh baistidh math a dliithe thu, nach d'ithe mise riamh;’ i.e. ‘Carry yourself your standard, Alastair; many a good bread plate you have emptied that I never did;’ meaning that his brother was older, and therefore better able to stand the fatigue.

In all, the battle of Falkirk lasted but a quarter of an hour. The close fire and terrible charge of the Highlanders could not be withstood. The dragoons were broken, and fled amain. ‘So ended Falkirk, with glory, honour, and fame to those who went away from Mar'.

It seems as if, according to the usual custom among the Highlanders, the Braemar men had gone home after the battle of Falkirk, as their second and last gathering took place at Castletonon the 15th of February 1746. As Balmoral had been severely wounded, Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie, or the Yellow-haired Baron, took the command. They had been successful in their last campaign, and they were going out exulting in the idea that they would be so again. But while ail were thus indulging in the bright hope, the seer of Glen-Lid suddenly exclaimed —‘You are going away, men, hearty, merry, and cheery; but, alas! alas! you will return sad, and sorrowful, and heart-broken.’

Monaltrie was so provoked at this outburst of discouragement, that he struck down the now aged, bent, and hoary seer; the deed was no sooner done, however, than he bitterly repented of his rashness.

‘Honour and loyalty' said he to his men as he led them away, ‘call us out, be our return what it may.’

Harry of Whitehouse and Gordon of Blellack had the Cromar men all assembled at Tarland when Monaltrie arrived there from Braemar. They rested for the night; and next morning early, with banners displayed, and bagpipes playing the ‘ Rough Tykes of Tarlandl they marched three times round the Auld Kirk, then departed in the direction of Kildrummy. Three hundred Farquharsons were in this company ; yet a short time after, perhaps a month, William Farquharson of Auchindryne returned to Braemar to raise more, and had succeeded in raising another hundred, when the news reached him that the Duke of Cumberland had left Aberdeen; so William with his new recruits hurried away through Badenoch.

On the morning of the battle, William and his company reached a small farm not far from Culloden where he rested for a little to refresh his men. After breakfast some of them began to dance. While thus engaged, the thunder of the cannon on Drummossie Moor reached their ears. Then it was up and away. But it was too late. The Highland army was completely routed, and all was over with the ‘ Suaith-neas-ban ’—the House of Stuart—and for ever.

‘The history of the battle is but too well known; I concern myself, therefore, with the men of Mar. Our lads were stationed beside the brave M‘Intoshes on the right, and rushed forward with them in their chivalrous attack; and with them, sword in hand, cut their way back again, when all was lost. The army assembled there should have gained Prince Charles Edward Stuart a very bright crown; but through dire mismanagement and bad generalship it was cut to pieces, and with it perished for ever the hopes of the Stuarts and the power of the Highlands.

The Baron of the yellow hair, who led on the Farquharsons, lost seventy-nine men, with sixteen subaltern officers, and was himself taken prisoner. He was carried to London, and with three brother officers condemned to death. On the night before the execution, a reprieve came for Monaltrie. His three companions met their fate on the following day. He was the last detained in prison for the affair of the ’45.

The gallant Harry of Whitehouse also fell on Drummossie Moor. Eighteen men, who lived between the two bridges in Glengairn, also fell on the same fatal | field, and many more from other parts of it. The priest of Gairnside, Alexander Gordon, was taken prisoner and died in confinement.

M‘Gregor of Inverigny and Fleming of Auchintoul fell wounded side by side ; a ball had broken one of Auchintoul’s legs. In the evening, while both lay writhing with pain, some soldiers passed, and seeing M'Gregor move, drove his bayonet through his shoulder; and thus died the laird of Inverigny. Fleming wore a pair of excellent new boots, which caught the eye of one of the soldiers, who proceeded instantly to possess himself of them. He lay still while the boot was drawn off the sound limb; but alas when the operation was repeated on the broken one ! He bore the pain, however, unmoved ; and when unbooted, let the broken member fall to the ground,' as if lifeless. The fate of his companion was a warning to him. ‘I have been in danger' he used to say, 'and I have seen death face to face; but my fortitude and courage were never more severely tried than by the undoing of my boots on Drummossie Moor!

Malcolm Durward of Mullach saw his two brothers fall by his side, at the moment the clansmen broke through the first rank of the red-coats. He himself got unhurt out of the confusedmelee of the rout. In his flight he met a convoy for the English army, and without a word he cut out with his sword the first horse of the train, and mounting him, rode off. Not one of' the drivers, though armed, durst interfere: his size and apparent strength terrified them.’

The prediction of the seer, Duncan Calder, was now amply verified. A broken remnant only reached home; and no sooner had they done so, than the ‘ red-coats,’ as they termed the soldiers, were at their heels. All fled to the hills and various hiding-places. Charles Farquharson, son of Andrew of Allergue, with several others, had their hiding-place in Craig Cluny. Then it was that he heard the revelling of the soldiers in his own house, during their unsuccessful visits in search of him. The houses of Auchintoirt, Inverigny, Mo7ialtrie, and Auchindryne were burnt to the ground. Garrisons also were re-established at Corgarjf, Aber-geldie, the Castle of Braemar, and at the Dubrach, to enforce the various enactments consequent on the defeat of the rising.

In what tones of deep dejection have the results of that day, so fatal to the hopes of the Stuarts, been recorded by some local chroniclers!—‘ that dreadful 16th of April, a day of bitterness, a day of death, a day stained with the blood of the brave/ etc.

‘Scarcely' says one, ‘had the boom of the cannon ceased, when another cry of anguish arose throughout the Highlands  and what wonder!—the ruthless soldiers were at the door. Old men were butchered without mercy. Our children were tossed on the bayonet’s point, and our houses made a heap of blackened ruins.’

Naturally and strongly as our sympathies flow out to the vanquished and suffering, yet the conelusion in this instance cannot be avoided, that the disastrous results of that day have been beneficial—that the great and evil events of the period have been overruled for the general good of our country.


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