Saturday, July 3, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 21, Culloden

We stopped at Culloden on June 1st on the way to Loch Maree.  Anyone who has visited the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, can identify with the feeling one gets while standing on this moor covered with thick clumps of gorse and other course greenery. The first thing that occurs to you is the quote from Will Henry Thompson's poem The High Tide at Gettysburg.

Above the bayonets, mixed and crossed,

Men saw a gray, gigantic ghost

Receding through the battle-cloud,

And heard across the tempest loud

The death-cry of a nation lost!

The pain still vibrates in the air like an echo. It's still etched in every Scottish face. Not only because the blood of Scots brothers, fathers, and sons was spilled, but because of the repercussions that followed the battle.

The defeat at Culloden was the death of a political idea to replace the Hanoverian King George II with a Charles Edward Stuart (the Young Pretender).

But the Jacobite cause was much more than a fight to replace the King with a man they felt followed  the royal blood line more dear to their hearts. It was also waged because of the  fear of religious repression under King George's rule. Most of the highlanders who fought on the battlefield of Culloden were Roman Catholic or Scottish Episcopalian.

And added to the mix was the power those clan chiefs, landlords, or clan superiors had over the clansmen. Centuries of tradition was hard to shake off.  Most of the men were farmers and were untrained for warfare and poorly armed.  But when the Laird of your clan insisted you rise to the call, you followed him into battle.  And they did.  Between 1500 and 2000 men were killed or wounded and 154 were captured.

Jacobite clanmen  weren't the only group to fall at Culloden. With them were French soldiers enlisted for their cause by Charles Stuart.  222 of them were captured. 

Of the Hanoverian Government troops who fought, made up of English and Scottish soldiers, 50 were killed and 259 were wounded.

This burial Carne has been constructed in the middle of Culloden moor in memorial to all who lost their lives.

The repercussion of the Battle of Culloden and the entire Jacobite uprising ricocheted through the highlands.
Under the Duke of Cumberland's orders the clansmen were given no quarter.  Every injured man still found alive on the field was bayonetted to death.  Indiscriminate killing went on for days in the area with any man seen bearing arms hanged wherever he might be and his women raped.  Whole families were burnt out of their homes, and their possessions and livestock confiscated. They were left to starve while 20,000 head of livestock, both sheep and goats, were driven to market at Fort Augustus and the money split among the soldiers.

Prisoners were taken to England for trial. The high ranking lords were charged with high teason and executed and their property confiscated, and sold.  The common man fared better. 120 were executed, 936 were transported to the colonies, and 222 were banished. 382 were freed as exchanged prisoners with
France.  905 were actually released.


With the physical repercussions exhausted the political ones took over.  The clan system of Laird justice was disolved. No longer would the chief of a clan have judicial or military power over the clansmen.  A special act was passed by Parlament that forbad any clansman or woman from wearing highland dress except as part of a military uniform.  The bagpipes were banned from being played and an attempt was made to do the same with  the Gaelic language.  In other words, Scotland was supposed to become an integral part of Great Britain and leave it's culture behind.


But the Scots were made of sterner stuff than King George II knew.   Their culture is alive and well today.

The new Culloden Memorial  Center opened in October of 2007.  It has wonderful exhibits which help you understand the conflict and the sacrifices made during and after it. You can actually go up on the roof and view the entire moor. 

This small bouquet of flowers placed so lovingly at the base of this marker seemed so poignant, it brought tears to my eyes. 

Happy fourth of July to you all.
Teresa R.


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I felt the same way as you at Culloden. I could feel the ghosts and souls of the men who died there. It was an overcast day, but not cold. Nonetheless I still felt chilled until we left the parking lot. We spent a lot of time wandering around and looking at the stones with the Clans listed. Definitely therir Gettysberg. Wonderful accounting. May I also save this one?

Jody said...

Actually it wasn't to replace the Hanovarian gov't with Bonnie Prince Charlie but to replace them with his father James VIII or III who was to bring back the Stuart monarchy to not only Scotland but also England and ireland and was recognized by the French king. That he was passed over by his half- aunts Mary and Anne because he like his father was a Catholic and with the union of the crowns the monarchy had to be a protesant/ Anglican.

As it was George I who followed Anne was also a Stuart, his grandmother was Elizabeth Stuart who was the sister of James VI/I but being raised in Hanover he was protestant which made him a better choice for the crown of Great Britain who was after the Reformation of Henry 8th a Anglican country.

I often wonder if when in 1715 when James first tried to come back to Scotland and or when BPC came in 1745 that if theyhad come back just for the Scottish throne all of Scotland whether Presbyterian or Catholic would have supported him. But he wanted the whole kingdom for his father and the Jacobites.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for reading the blog. And yes you may certainly keep the blog. I'm so glad you liked it so well.


Katt said...

Thank you.

For the first time in my life I've felt a connection to my own ancestry.

I hated history classes in high school but somehow, your castle tour has piqued my interest.


Regencyresearcher said...

The Duke of Cumberland was called Butcher after that battle. There was no need or reason for such savagery and inhumanity.
The slaughter continued off the field with the attainder and execution of many of the nobles of Scotland. In many ways it was far bloodier than Gettysburg.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for adding information here in your comments. I believe Bonnie Prince Charlie was out for himself as much as his father. Men of power rarely do anything that won't benefit themselves.

And yes, I too wondered if he had been content with Scotland if his plan might have succeeded. But then I think he believed he might get more support from France than he did. Had France invaded England,as he wanted them to do, he could have gotten the whole ball of wax.
And because all these uprisings had been going on since 1688 (1715) then on to 1746. I believe the English crown had had enough and decided they'd settle things once and for all. Thus, the brutality. And this is just my opinion I believe that the Duke of Cumberland understood exactly what he was doing when he loosed the brutality of the army on the survivors. And those who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. "Butcher"
would have been a better name for him than "Sweet" for certain.
Write on,
Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for saying that. I made a mistake on one of the blogs and luckily a friend emailed me about a fact I had confused about Mary Queen of Scots so I could fix it. But I have tried to make things interesting and keep the facts as close to right as I can comprehend them.
I'm so glad you're finding them so inspiring!!!
That thrills me.
Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

Regency Researcher:
I totally agree. And to think that the troops were many of them Scottish and they could treat their own people that way and go along with some of the punishments without protest, is mind boggling to me as well.
Thank you for reading the blog!!
Teresa R.

Anita Clenney said...

This was so touching. I can almost hear the cries of death. And I'm thrilled to see these pictures. Thanks so much for this glimpse into history.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for following the blog.
I appreciate it.
I'm so glad you liked it.

Lynne Connolly said...

Interestingly we were discussing the Clearances last night. They followed about 50 years after Culloden. It was our Scots friend who pointed out that it wasn't the English who insisted on the Clearances. Many of them voted against it and thought it too cruel. It was the Scottish noblemen who wanted the land free for sheep who insisted on the depopulation of their lands. I came home and looked it up. She was right.

Bonnie Prince Charlie was a drunk and a wife-beater, not a romantic hero. The more you learn about him, the less romantic he appears, not to mention that after Culloden, he left Scotland, never to return, dumping all his erstwhile allies and never standing up in their defence. He could have returned, as he paid several visits to England over the following twenty years, but chose not to. He was half Italian by birth, French and Italian by upbringing, and spoke English with an Italian accent.

Culloden was as much chiefs settling old scores as anything else, and by the time of the battle, most of the army had deserted and fled home. They knew the game was up. As a political commentator said, "The Scots could have been a really great nation, if they'd stopped fighting each other for long enough to fight someone else."
And let's not forget the awful tragedy of Glencoe.

I think the most haunted battlefield I ever visited was Marston Moor, scene of the bloodiest battle of the English Civil War. Terrible place.

Lynne Connolly said...

Ah yes, and religious toleration was far more likely under the Hanoverians. You could only expect it if you were Catholic. BPC converted to Anglicanism, but it was a cynical move to gain political credence in England, and he reverted soon after the campaign.
Loved the pictures, though, and the stones. The Scots know how to do romantic, don't they?

B. Fox said...

Wow, Teresa. I have been following your castles, never commented before but had to now. This is amazing and on the fourth, makes me well up with patriotic pride, whether it be fore the US or Scotland.

Teresa Reasor said...

As I said before, men in power seldom do anything that doesn't benefit them. Prince Charlie with the military manuevering for the crown and the Scottish Novelmen with the clearance.

I didn't get to go to Glencoe. I will always regret that I didn't. It was one of the places I was most interested in.
And there was another instance of power run amuke.

The King hid behind the Campbell who was ordered by him to kill the MacDonalds. Had he had any balls he'd have stepped up and said, "Yes I ordered it. You will bow to me or else."

That's another thing men in power all have in common. When the heat is on find a scape goat. And quick.

But then Campbell had a choice. It is a written regulation that should an act of war proove too heinous to perform, an officer has an obligation to follow his moral compass and refuse. He had that choice and didn't do it.

Makes you wonder how he could have followed through with those orders and what kind of guilt he had to deal with afterward.

Thanks for reading the blog.

Teresa Reasor said...

B Fox:
Thanks for commenting. I love for readers to do so. It lets me know someone out there is truly reading the blogs.

And I love the discussions. It makes history come alive, doesn't it?

And isn't it wonderful that we can still feel outraged by the things that happened after so many hundreds of years.

Happy 4th!
Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

Perhaps the Campbell officer at Glencoe had a few scores to settle himself, since the Campbells and MacDonalds didn't much care for each other and were always in a power struggle trying to gain favor with the crown.

Ahh to understand the minds of men---especially those hundreds of years ago.

Lynne Connolly said...

What an interesting conversation, and how kind you are to reply so quickly!
I did at one time plan a book on the Jacobite uprising of 1745, but I got more and more depressed reading about it. A cynical gesture by both sides, with the poor ordinary man stuck in the middle and suffering the most.
Since the King at the time was William II, I'm not sure he cared too much about doing anything but keeping the factions apart. Unless you mean James II, the king in exile, whose dithering indirectly caused the massacre.
Lifelong hatred between the clans did it really. Great comments you made about it, and definitely food for thought.
Glencoe is beautiful, but frightening, really scary. And really remote.
And the Stuarts wilfully ignored the part of British law that says the monarch is there "by the will of the people." Parliament says no, he's not King. It wasn't a personal possession.

P.L. Parker said...

So interesting and so sad.

Teresa Reasor said...

I have so much enjoyed the conversation. Glencoe will always be the saddest turn of events in Scottish History. A travesty that should have never happened.
When I first read about it, I wanted very much to write a story about it.I might do so yet. Without a happy ever after it won't be a romance.
Write on,
Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

P L:
Thanks so much for reading the blog.
It's always great to hear from you.
Teresa R.