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The Battle of Culloden

Men Return to their Homes

Besides the men who were absent on the expeditions in Lochaber and Sutherland, there were many others who had returned to their homes, either discontented with the situation in which they found themselves after they came to Inverness, or to see their families or friends. Up to the period of their arrival there, they had received their pay punctually, but at Inverness the face of affairs was completely changed in this respect, and instead of money the troops were reduced to a weekly allowance of oatmeal. The men murmured at first at the stoppage of their pay, but their clamours were quieted by their officers, who gave them assurances that a supply of money would soon be received from France. This expectation would have been realised, but for the misfortune which befell the Prince Charles, and in consequence of that event, the soldiers began to murmur afresh, and some of them seeing no pressing occasion for their attendance, and choosing rather to enjoy a frugal repast with their friends at home than serve without pay, left the army. These absentees, however, had no intention of abandoning the service, and were resolved to rejoin their colours as soon as they saw a probability of coming to action. Accordingly, many of those who had returned to their homes set out on their own accord to rejoin the army, on hearing of the Duke of Cumberland's advance, though few of them arrived in time for the battle.

Reduced in numbers as the prince's army was from the causes alluded to, they still burned with impatience to meet the enemy; and when intelligence of the Duke of Cumberland's march from Aberdeen reached Inverness, it was hailed with joy by the portion there assembled. From the fatigues and labours they had experienced during the campaign, and the numerous inconveniences to which they had been subjected from the want of pay, there was nothing the Highlanders dreaded more then another march to the south; but the near prospect they now had of meeting the English army upon their own soil, and of putting an end to the war by one bold and decisive blow, absorbed for a while all recollection of their past sufferings. By drawing the Duke if Cumberland north to Inverness, it was generally supposed that the prince could meet him on more equal terms than at Aberdeen, as he would have a better and more numerous army at Inverness, than he could have carried south. This unquestionably would have been the case had Charles avoided a battle till he had assembled all his troops, but his confidence on the present occasion got the better of this prudence.

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