By John Williams, 1746
By Hugh Douglas Hamilton, 1785
The Decapitation of Rebel Lords on Great Tower Hill by Robert Wilkinson (1846)
After Culloden, by John Seymour Lucas (1884)

The Jacobite defeat left the field free for the English who did not hesitate to promulgate laws seeking to annihilate the Scottish way of life. For example, the Dress Act of 1746 forbade the wearing of tartan and highland dress. Anyone wearing the tartan could thus 6 months of imprisonment and sending to the colonies in case of recidivism. The ban on carrying arms was reinforced. The bagpipes were forbidden. The authority of the clan leaders was suppressed and Scottish Gaelic banned. This law was abandoned in 1782 but dealt a very hard blow to Scottish culture and added to the rancor that the Scottish people already bore to the English. 

Charles VIII must flee. He takes refuge first with Frazer de Lovat, Hanoverian supporter who does not have the courage to refuse hospitality to this sad and dejected prince. Bonnie Prince Charlie's head is priced at 30,000 pounds, and he wanders for nearly a year in the Islands and Highlands before finally leaving Scotland, disguised as a woman, in September 1746. Edge of the Happy, a French frigate. 

He will end his alcoholic life and never see Scotland again 

The British army suffered only fifty dead and 259 wounded. Only an officer, Lord Robert Kerr, lost his life. Another, Colonel Rich, lost a hand and was severely wounded in the head. Some captains and lieutenants were also slightly injured. 


The Scots, which numbered approximately 6000 men, suffered about 2000 deaths. 336 Jacobites and 222 French were taken prisoner. 

The ensuing Jacobite hunt allowed Cumberland to take more prisoners and nearly 3,500 Scots were imprisoned. 

936 of them were sold as slaves and sent to the cotton fields in the colonies. 

More than a hundred executions were given in public places in London. Senior Jacobite officers were beheaded. Many other prisoners were hanged, drowned, or quartered. 

The Battle of Culloden by David Morier
Le duc de Cumberland by David Morier
Charles Edouard Stuart
The Jacobites at Prestonpans
Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie
George Murray -unknown artist
Sir John Cope, by William Aikman
Donald Cameron - unknown artist
Charles Edouard Stuart by William Mosman 1750
Charles Edouard Stuart

Sir John Cope, the general commanding government forces in Scotland, is ordered to break the revolt. He rallies his troops, but the vast majority of his recruits have no real experience, and he is embarrassed by a multitude of setbacks, including the illness of the commander of his cavalry. Nevertheless, the Hanoverian officers seem convinced that the rebels will never dare to attack an army with both infantry and cavalry. During their march, they tell the locals that there will be no battle. 

Charles's army captured Edinburgh almost without a fight on September 16th; Cope, leaving Aberdeen by boat, arrives too late to face them. 


Charles Edourad Stuart 

and Lord John Murray 

 2500 men 

(including 300 Irish) 

Commander in chief : 

       John Cope 

 2300 men whose 

500 dragons (cavalry) 

- 6 guns 

- 6 mortars 

Jacobite Army 

Governmental Army 

English fusilier - Royal Scotian fusilier - Highlander jacobite - Highlander of the Black Watch (loyalist) 

Charles Edward Stuart, eldest son of Prince Jacques François Stuart and the pretender Stuart to the English and Scottish crowns, landed in Eriskay, an island in North West Scotland, on July 23, 1745 to create an insurrection in Britain and thus overthrowing the Hanoverian king, George II to place on the throne, his father, Prince Jacques. 

He hopes to get the support of the French fleet but it is badly in point and Louis XV is late in making the decision to support him. He finds himself alone in having to raise an army in Scotland where many clans, Catholic or Protestant, support the Jacobite cause. 

The Jacobite left flank is struggling to progress. The ground is very muddy and the distance separating them from the government forces is greater than for the rest of the army. The load is slowed down by the mud, the losses are enormous. The MacDonalds suffer very severe losses and all officers of the Chisholms unit are killed. The MacDonalds are starting to flee. Cumberland immediately seizes the opportunity by sending 2 troops of Dragons chasing highlanders. The ground prevents the Dragons from pursuing the fleeing troops and they turn to the Irish pickets that were to stabilize the Scottish left flank. The Jacobite left flank is now completely destroyed. Murray decides to send the Royal Scotsman and the Kilmarnock Guards into battle. When they engage in combat, the entire Jacobite army is already routed. They then fall on a Campbell regiment, exchange gunshots and begin a retreat in order. The Scottish militia (government forces) commanded by a Campbell, then ambushes them and forces them to expose themselves. They are then attacked by 3 squadrons of the Dragons of Kerr which will undergo, in addition, heavy losses, thus proving the ferocity and the value of these two regiments. The maneuvers of the Royal Scots and the Guards of Kilmarnock, moreover, certainly gave Prince Charles Stuart time to flee. 

The Irish pickets, meanwhile, will cover the retreat of the Highlanders, suffering very heavy losses but preventing an additional massacre. 


It can be said that the battle turned into a massacre. 

The Duke of Cumberland ordered his troops not to make quarter to the enemies. The governmental cavalry gives the hunt to the highlanders and the massacres on sight. We also see that civilians are killed by government forces. The wounded are completed on the battlefield and many prisoners will be executed. Only certain French troops will be captured without being shot. Some Jacobite officers taken prisoners still escape execution on the field to be decapitated later, in public place. In the days following the battle, the hunt continues and anyone suspected of being Jacobite will be imprisoned or executed on the spot. 

These abuses will be worth in Cumberland the nickname of 'Cumberland the butcher' ... 

The next 20 minutes, the government artillery proves its superiority by watering the Scottish ranks while Charles, out of reach, waiting for government troops to move. The Jacobites wipe enemy fire for more than half an hour. The order to charge is finally given to the Scots. The marshy terrain forces the Scottish troops to deviate on their right flank, regrouping them under the English fire (muskets and cannon shots). Despite this, many of them reach the English ranks. The Jacobite losses are nevertheless already considerable at this moment of the battle. 

The morning of April 16th is rainy. The government troops are rested and the Jacobite army is exhausted ... The men have hardly eaten anything for 24 hours. 

Government forces are setting up camp and leave at 5am. The first Irish pickets are spotted around 8:00 am and at 11:00, the two armies face each other. 

Murray, who commands the right Jacobite flank, realizes that in front of him, a low wall will greatly disrupt his advance. He then decides, without consulting or informing anyone, to move towards the interior of Culloden Moor by forming 3 columns. The Duke of Perth misinterprets this troop movement and believes in a general advance. The left flank does not move. 

The result is catastrophic: Huge holes are formed in the Jacobite ranks which are then blocked with the second line of the troops. The prince is in the center with a small escort and some bodyguards. 


Cumberland, meanwhile, extends his first and second line with some regiments from behind. He covers his right flank with part of his cavalry. On the left flank, Hawley prepares to overflow the Jacobite right flank. Anticipating this movement, the two battalions of Lord Lewis Gordon have positioned themselves at the wall but government troops remain out of reach. The Gordon decide to come back to cover the rear of the army. The Dragons then cross the low walls and find themselves face to face with 3 Scottish regiments, at the rear of the army. 

Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, who succeeds Cope and Hawley, after their failures, decides to wait until the end of winter and moves his troops north of Aberdeen. This period of rest enabled him to amass an additional 5,000 men, German Hessian mercenaries led by Prince Frederick II of Hesse-Cassel. These regiments also block the entire south side to prevent any retreat of the Jacobite troops. 


With the weather improving on April 8, Cumberland decided to resume his campaign and headed for Inverness, where more than 5,000 Jacobites and their leader, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, were holed up. The prince decides to leave Inverness and takes the command of his troops in person in order to give a battle which is seen as decisive. 

Against the advice of his senior officers, Prince Charles chooses the battlefield of Culloden ... 


On the night of April 15, the Jacobite army attempted a surprise attack but the march was long and disorganized and the attack failed miserably, most of the Scottish troops not even meeting the enemy. 

At the beginning of November 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie became aware of the need to act. The Jacobite army crosses the border and heads south. As the prince feared, the army withered along the way, the Highlanders not being known for their discipline. But it is still 5,000 Jacobites who appear before Derby in early December. Opposite, three armies are en route to intercept it. In the north-east, General Wade maneuvered to cut off his retreat, the Duke of Cumberland advanced in the Midlands and Finchey set up a third corps to defend London. In all, 30,000 soldiers with a large artillery park. Derby is separated from the English capital by only 200 kilometers, so in London panic wins the population. Even George II settles on a yacht, ready to leave England for Hanover if the situation goes wrong. But, against the advice of the king who wishes to go ahead, the Jacobite staff decides to turn back. 


Back in Scotland, the Jacobites can enrich their numbers, reaching 8,000 men. They receive from France a meager reinforcement, more symbolic than anything else: a battalion (700 men) of the Royal Scots and a little artillery. On 17 January, they crushed General Hawey's government force in the Battle of Falkirk Muir at the foot of Stirling Fortress, the English infantry still unable to stop Highlanders. There, the brave Bonnie Prince Charlie makes a big mistake in not trying to seize the fortress, fortified point very important, while the garrison, abandoned by the army that flees to Inverness, is demoralized. 


The night of February 16, 1746 at Moy Hall, the English army is ridiculed when, terrorized by five men hidden in the dark and making a deafening din, the 1700 soldiers of General John Campbell, Earl Loudoun escape (this fact of war remained famous under the name of 'rout of Moy Hall'). They thought they were dealing with MacDonald, Cameron and MacKintosh clans in their entirety. Completely panicked, Lord Loudoun even abandons Inverness, adding to the confusion among the English. The unfortunate officer then falls on the Jacobite vanguard commanded by the Duke of Perth. His army is cut to pieces. One of his officers, Captain Angus MacKintosh, is taken prisoner and returned to his wife, Lady Anne Farquharson-MacKintosh, who has become chief of the clan since the betrayal of her husband. 

Finally, the Prince's charisma and his infectious enthusiasm bend the Jacobite rulers. Lochiel and 700 Cameron join him, like 400 MacDonald of Clanranald, 120 of Glencoe, and another 400 of Lochgarry. Finally, it is more than 3,000 highlanders from the west who stand under the banner of the pretender Stuart, and walk to the east to the sound of bagpipes. 

Arrived at Ivergary, the Jacobite army still swelled, with the junction of MacDonald of Sleat, MacLeod, MacKenzie, Grant, MacKintosh and even Fraser. From Invergary, 260 Appin's Stewart join them. More in the north, the fierce MacGregor, still deprived of the use of their name, descend from the mountains and seize Inversnaid, capturing the garrison. 

Bonnie Prince Charlie then marches on Edinburgh which he conquers without difficulty on September 16, 1745 



    HARRINGTON Peter – Culloden 1746 – Ed. Osprey, 1991 

    Wikipédia – La bataille de Prestonpans – 

    NikoMagnus sur Sao-Alba  

In the crevasse, at the dawn of September 21, 1745, the dragons of Cope see the spectacle of a load of 1,400 Highlanders accompanied by the wild war cry of the Highlands. 

Cope's inexperienced troops flee, despite Cope and his officers, who try to force them to charge under the threat of gunfire. Cope's army is overrun on his left by the Jacobites, but the ditch and the wall of the park now block their retreat. 

Jacques-Edouard is crowned King of Scotland on September 17 under the title of James VIII at Holyrood. Settled in Edinburgh, the king, very moved, saw many clans come from all over Scotland. 

We had not seen that since Robert the Bruce. Glenmoriston's Grant, MacLachlan and Atholl's Nairne, in turn, pledge their allegiance. But it is obvious that George II will not stay without reacting. 

The battle is over in five minutes with hundreds of Hanoverian soldiers killed or wounded and 1500 captured. The Highlanders, for their part, have to deplore the loss of a hundred fighters killed or wounded. The Jacobites give the wounded and prisoners the best possible care. 

The battle goes up particularly the morale of the followers of the Stuarts, who see many recruits swell their ranks. The victory appears on the side of the Jacobites, but the situation will change, the following year, with the battle of Culloden, near Inverness. 

On September 20, Cope's forces meet the Jacobite vanguard. Cope decides to hold the ground and attack the Jacobite army. He has his army behind a ditch, the park wall that surrounds Preston House protecting his right flank. Charles's lieutenant-general, Lord George Murray, knows the area well, and during the night he moves his army from one side to the other of the ditch, far to the left of Cope's army. For its part, Cope lets the fires burn and moves his troops during the night, while the Highlanders advance, protected by the darkness. 

The first clash took place on September 21, 1745, against the English of General Cope, coming from Aberdeen. 

From Prestonpans to Culloden

September 21, 1745: The Battle of Prestonpans
April 16, 1746: The Battle of Culloden

To life to death with the Highlanders
Invitation to travel 


To the north-west of Scotland stretch the misty lakes and hills of the Highland region. It is on this earth that in the middle of the 18th century a clan rises. The Jacobite Highlanders, refusing England's rule, are fighting for their identity and honor. A final struggle that still marks the castles, moors and memories of the region.

At the end of the ticket, you will find a report proposed by Arte in 2018
To life to death with the Highlanders. Invitation to travel 

By Valérie Gay-Corajoud