Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Culloden Battlefield, Lest We Forget

Culloden Battlefield, Looking toward the English Camp
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising. On 16 April 1746, Jacobite forces led by Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland near Inverness. The Hanoverian victory at Culloden halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne. After the tragic Jacobite loss, Charles Stuart fled Scotland, never to return again. The conflict at Culloden was the last battle fought on British soil, though the aftermath was devastating for the Scottish people and lead to the infamous clearances and banning of bagpipes and clan tartans.
The battle on Culloden Moor was both quick and bloody, taking place within an hour. Following an unsuccessful Highland charge against the government lines, the Jacobites were routed and driven from the field. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the battle, while government losses were lighter with an estimated 50 dead and 259 wounded. 
Our Battlefield Guide
I visited the Culloden Battlefield site last May. The visitor's center has done a marvelous job of compiling relics from the period. It is a sacred and emotional experience to enter into the film room, to be surrounded by the Highlanders and Government troops of 1746. The reenactment puts visitors in the midst of battle. Tears stung my eyes as cannons blasted and men fell.
On the battlefield, the guide pointed out the Highland and English lines, and where the grave sites lay. I opened the manifest of soldiers who appeared that day, and found all my Scottish family names...Semphill, Wallace, and Trotter. 
I've recently learned that the Scottish government released plans to open up 16 home plots only 400 meters from the battle site. I truly hope this plan does not come to fruition. For this is not just Scotland's battle site. With so many Scottish descendants scattered throughout the world, whose ancestors were victims of the clearances or tied to the uprising in some way, this is a monument which belongs to the world and should be revered.


A Cottage on the site, much the same as it would have been in 1746

10 comments:

  1. I, too, hope the development doesn't happen. It's sad to visit historic sites and see fast food joints on land one knows should be respected, as what's happened here in Virginia. So many Civil War battlefields are mere glimpses of what they were.

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    1. Me too, Kittie. I like your new picture!

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  2. Great post. Visiting the battlefield is an emotional and haunting experience. I definitely hope the development doesn't happen.

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  3. This is something I hope doesn't happen.

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  4. Wow, can you just imagine what happened on that land? It is so, so sad to see historic lands be taken by corporations. It ruins it. There must be some line that business cannot cross; this is one of them. Who would even want to live in such a home?

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    1. I signed a petition to stop the development. Not sure how much we can do from here, but I agree with you SC!

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  5. Thanks for posting about this, Amy. I, too, signed the petition. I don't know why these people would want to ruin a tourist attraction. Seems kind of like shooting yourself in the foot to me.

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    1. Either shooting in the foot or greed. There are so many other places to build. It isn't as if Inverness is densely populated. Hmm.

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