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The Battle of Culloden

Lord George Murray Advances Right to Left


In consequence of the unwillingness of the left to advance first as directed, Lord George Murray had sent the order to attack from right to left; but, hurried by the impetuosity of the Mackintoshes, the right and centre did not wait till the order, which required some minutes in the delivery. had been communicated along the line. Thus the right and centre had the start considerably, and quickening their pace as they went along, had closed with the front line of the English army before the left had got half way over the ground that separated the two armies. the difference between the right and centre and the left was rendered still more considerable from the circumstance, as noted by an eye-witness, that the two armies were not exactly parallel to one another, the right of the prince's army being nearer the duke's army than the left. Nothing could be more unfortunate for the prince than this isolated attack, as it was only by a general shock of the whole of the English line that he had any chance of a victory.

The clan regiments on the left of the line, apprehensive that they would be flanked by Pulteney's regiment and the horse which had been brought up from the corps de reserve, did not advance sword in hand. After receiving the fire of the regiments opposite to them, they answered it by a general discharge, and drew their swords for the attack; but observing that the right and centre had given way, they turned their backs and fled without striking a blow. Stung to the quick by the misconduct of the Macdonalds, the brave Keppoch, seeing himself abandoned by his clan, advanced with his drawn sword in one hand and his pistol in the other; but he had not proceeded far, when he was brought down to the ground by a musket-shot. He was followed by Donald Roy Macdonald, formerly a lieutenant in his own regiment, and now a captain in Clanranald's, who, on Keppoch's falling, entreated him not to throw away his life, assuring him that his wound was not mortal, and that he might easily join his regiment in the retreat; but Keppoch refused to listen to the solicitations of his clansman, and, after recommending him to take care of himself, the wounded chief received another shot, and fell to rise no more.

Fortunately for the Highlanders, the English army did not follow up the advantages it had gained by an immediate pursuit. Kingston's horse at first followed the Macdonalds, some of whom were almost surrounded by them, but the horse were kept in check by the French piquets, who brought them off. The dragoons on the left of the English line were in like manner kept at bay by Ogilvy's regiment, which faced about upon them several times. After these ineffectual attempts, the English cavalry on the right and left met in the centre, and the front line having dressed its ranks, orders were issued for the whole to advance in pursuit of the Highlanders.


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