16th April 1746

Jacobites fight in the Battle of Culloden

The Battle of Culloden was an unusually swift and bloody fight. In less than an hour, more than 2000 men had been killed or injured on Drummossie Moor, and the Jacobite campaign to win the British throne for Charles Edward Stuart – Bonnie Prince Charlie – son of James, was at an end.

The previous year, Stuart had arrived in Scotland and led an army of supporters that had captured Edinburgh and proclaimed his father king of Scotland. They then marched into England, as far south as Derbyshire. The government in London had no choice but to defend itself. It called back thousands of troops from Europe, and Stuart and his supporters returned to Scotland and were eventually clustered primarily outside Inverness.

Jacobite forces depleted

By the time of the battle on 16 April, the Jacobite forces had been severely depleted. Many had returned home, but still others were simply in the wrong place after a breakdown in communications had seen almost a third return to the city without the knowledge of the remaining two thirds.

The two sides formed up in the morning and the battle commenced at lunchtime, initially with a barrage of artillery fire from government forces. Stuart’s men suffered attacks from both sides and many were lost to musket fire. Stuart was removed from the battlefield for his own safety. Their formations broken up, the Jacobites were forced to retreat, in the process of which many more were killed by the advancing government forces. Casualty numbers on the Jacobean side vastly outnumbered those who had been fighting for the government cause – possibly by as much as six to one.

Flora MacDonald

Although plans were made for a Jacobite resurgence, they didn’t come to fruition. Charles Edward Stewart fled to the Hebrides and eventually Skye. Here, he met Flora MacDonald who helped him escape to France.

In the days following the battle, government forces confiscated livestock, which they sold for profit, and took Jacobite loyalists south across the border to stand trial for treason. Many of those who were convicted were executed or suffered transportation.



Other events that occured in April

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