The movement to restore the Stuart line of monarchs – known as Jacobitism – was first assembled in 1689 after the ‘Glorious Revolution’ had removed James II from power. The rebel leaders sought manpower wherever they could find it, but perhaps their most famous source was from the Highlands of Scotland – the House of Stuart’s country of origin. However, it would be wrong to assume that the Jacobite rebellions were a conflict between England and Scotland, as the composition of both rebel and government armies was diverse.
Nonetheless, the Highland clansman, with his warlike nature and distinctive ‘charge’, would become the most distinctive rebel unit, fighting in a number of uprisings until the Jacobite cause was ultimately crushed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Led by Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’), the poorly-led, disorganised force of Jacobite troops was cut down by a government force under the Duke of Cumberland.
This picture depicts a scene from towards the end of the battle, as the Jacobite force entered a stage of collapse and rout. With the main engagement on the moor won by Cumberland’s infantry, three squadrons of Kerr’s 11th Dragoons were ordered to move across a re-entrant in front of them. On a crest above the re-entrant, the Jacobite rearguard – consisting of non-clan ‘Lowland’ regiments recruited north of Edinburgh – were subsequently pushed back by the dragoons, who reported 3 dead, 3 wounded, and no less than 19 horses lost.
By Ibrahim Zamir