Bleak Culloden Moor (near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands) is the backdrop for one of the worst and bloodiest defeats in Scottish history. The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Taking place on 16 April 1746, the battle saw the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart against an army commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, loyal to the British government. The Jacobite cause to overthrow the reigning House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne was dealt a decisive defeat at Culloden; Charles Stuart never mounted any further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.
Charles Stuart's army consisted largely of Scottish Highlanders, as well as a number of Lowland Scots and a small detachment of Englishmen from Manchester. The Jacobites were supported and supplied by the Kingdom of France; French and Irish units loyal to France were part of the Jacobite army. The Government force was mostly English, but also included both Highland and Lowland Scots, a battalion of Irishmen and a small number of Hessians and Austrians. Meeting on Culloden Moor, the battle 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, while Government losses were only 50 dead and 259 wounded. The aftermath of the battle and subsequent crackdown on Jacobitism was brutal, earning Cumberland the sobriquet 'Butcher'. Efforts were taken to further integrate Scotland into Great Britain; civil penalties were introduced to weaken Gaelic culture and attack the Scottish clan system.
Visitors to Culloden Moor often feel sadness as they walk the land that was the tragic deathplace for so many men. There are frequent sightings of gloomy battle scenes and unearthly cries of pain sometimes pierce the morning
It would be all too easy
to imagine that the footsteps in the snow at Culloden Moor were made by
the spirits of fallen soldiers . . . and maybe they were . . .