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The Battle of Culloden

The Aftermath


Lord Strathallan was the only person of distinction that fell among the low country regiments. Lord Kilmarnock and sir John Wedderburn were taken prisoners. The former, in the confusion of the battle, mistook, amidst the smoke, a party of English dragoons for Fitz-James's horse, and was taken. Having lost his hat, he was led bare-headed to the front line of the English infantry. His son, Lord Boyd, who held a commission in the English army, unable to restrain his feelings, left the ranks, and going up to his unfortunate parent, took off his own hat, placed it on his father's head, and returned to his place without uttering a word.

At other times, and under different circumstances, a battle like that of Culloden would have been regarded as an ordinary occurrence, of which, when all matters were duly considered, the victors could have little to boast. The Highland army did not exceed 5,000 fighting men; and when it is considered that the men had been two days without sleep, were exhausted by the march of the preceding night, and had scarcely tasted food for forty-eight hours, the wonder is that they fought so well as they did, against an army almost double in point of numbers, and which laboured under none of the disadvantages to which, in a more especial manner, the overthrow of the Highlanders is to be ascribed. Nevertheless, as the spirits of the great majority of the nation had been sunk to the lowest state of despondency by the reverses of the royal arms at Preston and Falkirk, this unlooked-for event was hailed as one of the greatest military achievements of ancient or modern times; and the Duke of Cumberland, who had, in consequence, an addition of 25,000 per annum made to his income by parliament, was regarded as the greatest hero of ancient or modern times. In its consequencs, as entirely and for ever destructive of the claims of the unfortunate house of Stuart, the battle was perhaps one of the most important ever fought. Though vanquished the Highlanders retired from the field with honour, and free from that foul reproach which has fixed an indelible stain upon the memories of the victors.

After the carnage of the day had ceased, the brutal soldiery, who, from the fiendish delight which they took in sprinkling one another with the blood of the slain, "looked," as stated by one of themselves, "like so many butchers rather than an army of Christian soldiers," dined upon the field of battle. After his men had finished their repast, the Duke of Cumberland marched forward to take possession of Inverness, and on his way received a letter, which had been addressed to General Bland, signed by six of the French officers in the insurgent army, offering in behalf of themselves and their men to surrender unconditionally to his royal highness. As he was about to enter the town he was met by a drummer, who brought him a message from General Stapleton, offering to surrender and asking quarter. On receiving this communication, the duke ordered Sir Josepth Yorke, one of his officers, to alight from his horse, who with his pencil wrote a note to General Stapleton, assuring him of fair quarter an honourable treatment. The town was then taken possession of by Captain Campbell, of Sempill's regiment, with his company of grenadiers.


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