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The Battle of Culloden

Cleaning Up After the Battle


After securing his prisoners in the town, the Duke of Cumberland released the soldiers who had been confined in the church of Inverness by the insurgents, and who, if the government accounts be correct had suffered great hardships. They had indeed, about a week before the battle of Culloden, been almost stripped of their clothes by an officer of the Highland army, to clothe a new corps he had raised; but a complaint having been brought to Lord George Murray on the subject, he obtained an order from the prince, in consequence of which the clothes were restored. The duke on the present occasion presented each of these men with a guinea, and gave orders that they should be taken care of.

Besides the military prisoners, several gentlemen supposed to be disaffected to the government were apprehended by the duke's orders, shutup with the common prisoners, and were for some time denied the use of bedding. Nor did the softer sex, whose Jacobite predilections had pointed them out as objects of displeasure, escape his resentment. Several ladies, among whom were Ladies Ogilvy, Knloch, and Gordon, were seized and kept in durance in the common guard, and were limited along with the other prisoners of the miserable pittance of half-a pound of meal per day, with scarcely as much water as was necessary to prepare it for use. As the wounded prisoners were utterly neglected, many who would have recovered, if properly treated, died of their wounds; and so much were the rites of Christian sepulture disregarded by the royal officers, that the bodies of these unfortunate victims were carried naked through the streets by beggars, who were employed to inter them in the churchyard.

Knowing that there were several deserters from the royal army among the insurgents, the duke ordered a strict inspection to be made of the prisoners in order to find them out. No less than thirty-six were recognised, and being brought to a summary trial, were convicted, and suffered the death of traitors. Among these was one Dunbar, who had been a sergeant in Sowle's regiment. He had taken a suit of laced clothes from Major Lockhart at the battle of Falkirk, which being found in his possession, he was dressed in them, and hanged, and his body exposed for forty-eight hours on the gibbet. A young gentleman of the name of Forbes, a relative of Lord Forbes, is also said to have perished on this occasion. He had served as a cadet in an english regiment, but, being from principle attached to the Jacobite interest, had joined the standard of the prince.

An incident occurred after the execution of this unfortunate gentleman, which assumed an alarming appearance, and might have led to serious consequences had the war been continued. Before Forbes was cut down from the gibbet, an English officer, with a morbidness of feeling which seems to have seized the officers as well as the common soliders of the army, plunged his sword into the body of Forbes, exclaiming, at the same time, that "all his countrymen were traitors and rebels like himself." This exclamation being heard by a Scottish officer who was standing hard by, the offended Scotchman immediately drew his sword, and demanded satisfaction for the insult offered to his country. The englishman instantly accepted the challenge, and in a short time the combat became general among the officers who happened to be on the spot. The soldiers, seeing their officers engaged, beat to arms of their own accord, and drew up along the streets, the Scotch on one side and the English on the other, and commenced a warm combat with fixed bayonets. Information of this affray having been brought to the Duke of Cumberland, he hastened to the scene of action, and by his persuasions put an end to the combat. He found the Scotch greatly excited by the affront offered them; but he soothed their wounded feelings by complimenting them for their fidelity, their courage, and exemplary conduct.


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