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The Battle of Culloden

Lord George Murray Advances into Battle


Galled beyond endurance by the fire of the English, which carried destruction among the clans, the Highlanders became quite clamorous, and called aloud to be led forward without further delay. Unable any longer to restrain their impatience, Lord George had just resolved upon an immediate advance, but before he had time to issue the order along the line, the Macintoshes, with a heroism worthy of that brave clan, rushed forward enveloped in the smoke of the enemy's cannon. The fire of the centre field-pieces, and a discharge of musketry from the Scotch Fusileers, forced them to incline a little to the right; but all the regiments to their right, led on by Lord George Murray in person, and the united regiment of the Maclauchlans and Macleans on their left, coming down close after them, the whole moved forward together at a pretty quick pace. When within pistol-shot of the English line, they received a murderous fire, not only in front form some field-pieces, which for the first time were now loaded with grape-shot, but in flank from a side battery supported by the Campbells and Lord Loudon's Highlanders. Whole ranks were literally swept away by the terrible fire of the English.

Yet, notwithstanding the dreadful carnage in their ranks, the Highlanders continued to advance, and, after giving their fire close to the English line, which from the density of the smoke, was scarcely perceptible even within pistol-shot, the right wing, consisting of the Athole Highlanders and the Camerons,rushed in sword in hand, and broke through Barrel's and Munroe's regiments, which stood on the left of the first line. These regiments bravely defended themselves with their spontoons and bayonets; but such was the impetuosity of the onset, that they would have been entirely cut to pieces had they not been immediately supported by two regiments from the second line, on the approach of which they retired behind the regiments on their right, after sustaining a loss in killed and wounded of upwards of 200 men. After breaking through these two regiments, the Highlanders, passing by the two field-pieces which had annoyed them in front, hurried forward to attack the left of the second line. They were met by a tremendous fire of grape-shot from the three field-pieces on the left of the second line, and by a discharge of musketry from Bligh's and Sempill's regiments, which carried havoc through their ranks, and made them at first recoil; but, maddened y despair, and utterly regardless of their lives, they rushed upon an enemy whom they felt but could not see, amid the cloud of smoke in which the assailants were buried.

The same kind of charge was made by the Stewarts of Appin, the Frasers, Macintoshes, and the other centre regiments, upon the regiments in their front, driving them back upon the second line, which they also attempted to break; but finding themselves unable, they gave up the contest, not, however, until numbers ha been cut down at the mouths of the cannon. While advancing towards the second line, Lord George Murray, in attempting to dismount from his horse, which had become unmanageable, was thrown; but, recovering himself, he ran to the rear and brought up two or three regiments from the second line to support the first; but, although they gave their fire, nothing could be done, - all was lost. Unable to break the second line, and being greatly cut up by the fire of Wolfe's regiment, who had formed en potence on their right flank, the right wing also gave up the contest, and turning about, cut their way back, sword in hand, through those who had advanced and formed on the ground they had passed over in charging to their front.


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