Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 13
This was the advice of a good general. Lord George contended that they ought, in the unfit state of the men, to cross to the south side of the river Nairn, where the country was hilly, and inaccessible to cavalry; but, as lord George intimates, Sir Thomas Sheridan and other officers from France grew outrageous at that proposal, contending that they could easily beat the English, as they had done at Prestonpans and Falkirk - forgetting that the Highlanders then were full of vigour and spirit. Unfortunately, Charles listened to this foolish reasoning, and the fatal die was cast.
The English army was now in full march against them. About eight o'clock in the morning one of the men who had been left asleep in the wood of Kilravock came running to Culloden House, where Charles and his chief officers were resting, to announce that Cumberland's troops were coming. There was then a hurried running and riding to get the army drawn up to receive them. Cumberland came on with his army, divided into three columns of five battalions each. The artillery and baggage followed the second column along the sea-coast on the right; the cavalry covered the left wing, which stretched towards the hills. The men were all in the highest spirits, and even the regiments of horse, which had hitherto behaved so ill, seemed as though they meant to retrieve their characters to-day. The Highlanders were drawn up about half a mile from the part of the moor where they stood the day before, forming a sad contrast to Cumberland's troops, looking thin and dreadfully fatigued. In placing, also, a most fatal mistake was made. They were drawn up in two lines, with a body of reserve but the clan Macdonald, which had always been accustomed to take their place on the right since Robert Bruce placed them there in the battle of Baniockburn, were disgusted to find themselves now occupying the left. Instead of the Macdonalds now stood the Athol brigade, and in the centre the Camerons of Lochiel, the Stuarts of Appin, the Frazers, Macintoshes, Maclauchlins, Macleans, Fergusons, and the Roy Stuarts. The second line consisted of lord Ogilvie's regiment to the right, next to them lord Lewis Gordon's men, the regiment of Glenbucket, the troops of the duke of Perth, lord John Drummond, and on the extreme left the Irish piquets, commanded by Stapleton on the left. Lord George Murray commanded the right wing, and lord John Drummond the left. On the right, somewhat behind the first line of infantry, stood the few troops of horse that were now left after the hard marches and the grievous want of fodder. Charles placed himself on a small eminence with the body of reserve, consisting of lord Kilmarnock's regiment of foot guards and a few dozen horse, the last remains of the cavalry of lords Pitsligo and Strathalian. The prince's position was behind the right of the second line, a strong park wall protecting the flank of his army on that side.
Cumberland came up at eleven o'clock within half a mile of the Highland army, where he halted and made a final disposition of his forces; and now would have been the time for the Scots to have made one of their impetuous rushes upon him, had they had their usual strength and spirit; as it was, they stood tamely watching his movements. He threw his columns into two lines of foot, with a morass and the sea-coast on his right, and the old park-wall on his left. There on his left he posted his cavalry, to fall on the enemy's right. Next came a powerful body of reserve, consisting of Kingston's horse, with several regiments of English and Argyllshire foot. In the first line to the left stood Burrel's brave regiment, and to the right the Royal Scots. The second line consisted of six regiments, with Howard's on the right, and Wolfe's on the left. Ten pieces of artillery were placed in the intervals betwixt the regiments of the first line. Other regiments were brought up from the reserve as the fight went on, to strengthen the lines. Lord Albemarle led the front centre, major-general Blandon the right flank, and lord Ancram on the left. The duke took his post in the second line to the right, and Hawley in the same to the left.
Thus stood face to face the armies which were to decide the fortunes of Guelph and Stuart. There could be very little doubt which would preponderate. Cumberland, heavy, matter-of-fact, and pitiless, had brought up his forces with every attention to their physical vigour; Charles, displaying more and more of the fatal characteristics of his race as the contest had proceeded, had neglected every precaution which his most skilful generals had endeavoured to impress upon him. Like his forefathers, he learned nothing by experience, but had lost the charm of youthful enthusiasm which carried his followers so triumphantly over the fields of Prestonpans and Falkirk. Neglecting, or not perceiving, as the simplest common sense would have taught him, to maintain the physical vigour of his men, or to elude by strategy the shock of battle, he brought up a handful of. outworn, famished, enfeebled, and, therefore, inefficient men, to combat a much superior force, buoyant with every comfort and advantage. That was enough to ensure defeat; but Heaven itself now seemed to fight against him, and put a period to the bloody and hopeless struggle. The wind, which favoured him at Falkirk, now favoured his adversary. As the battle began, a snowstorm began to blow in the faces of the Highlanders, which greatly confounded them, Cumberland, before ordering the onset, begged any men who were reluctant to fight because they had relations in the Highland army, or from any other cause, to retire, preferring, he said, one thousand determined men at his back to ten thousand who were lukewarm. The answer was loud cries of " Flanders! Flanders!" and the cannon began to play along the opposing lines.
On approaching the Highlanders the English ranks came upon boggy ground, and had to drag their cannon by their own strength. The cannon of the Highlanders was both inferior and worse served than that of the English; and when, at one o'clock, the duke began to play on their ranks with his artillery, he made dreadful havoc amongst them. Several times the Highlanders endeavoured to make one of their impetuous rushes, running forward with loud cries, brandishing their swords, and firing their pistols; but the steady fire of the English cannon mowed them down and beat them off. Seeing, however, a more determined appearance of a rush, colonel Belford began to charge with grape shot. This repelled them for a time; but at length, after an hour's cannonade, the Macintoshes succeeded in reaching the first line of the English. Firing their muskets, and then flinging them down, they burst, sword in hand, on Burrel's regiment, and cut their way through it. The second line, however, consisting of Sempill's regiment, received them with a murderous fire. Cumberland had ordered the first rank to kneel down, the second to lean forward, and the third to fire over their heads. By this means, such a terrible triple volley was given them, as destroyed them almost en masse. Those left alive, however, with all their ancient fury, continued to hew at Sempill's regiment; but Cumberland had ordered his men not to charge with their bayonets straight before them, but each to thrust at the man fronting his right-hand man. By this means his adversary's target covered him where he was open to the left, and his adversary's right was open to him. This new manoeuvre greatly surprised the Highlanders, and made fearful havoc of them. From four to five hundred of them fell betwixt the two lines of the English army.
Whilst the Macintoshes were thus immolating themselves on the English bayonets, the Macdonalds on their left stood in sullen inaction, thus abandoning their duty and their unfortunate countrymen from resentment of their post of honour on the right having been denied them. At length, ashamed of their own conduct, they discharged their muskets, and drew their broadswords for a rush; but the Macintoshes were now flying, and the grape-shot and musket-shot came so thickly in their faces, that they, too, turned and gave way.
On the English right Hawley had managed to pull down portions of the wall that covered the right of the Highlanders, and, leadilng through the Campbells of Argyllshire, took the insurgent on their flank, whilst the heavy mass of cavalry posted there charged furiously on their front. The Highlanders were in no condition to bear up against such force and the deadly havoc of the artillery, and they broke, also, on that wing.
Whilst Charles stood on his mound, watching the rout of his army to right and left, he called frantically to those who fled wildly by to stand and renew the fight. At this moment lord Elcho spurred up to him, and urged him to put himself at the head of the yet unbroken reserve, and make a desperate charge to retrieve the fortune of the day; but the officers around him declared that such a charge was hopeless, and could only lead the men to certain slaughter, and prevent the chance of collecting the scattered troops for a future day. Charles, who, like Napoleon in our own time, had vowed that he would conquer or fall, like that great adventurer, forgot the vow when the time was come to dare it, listened to the less manly advice, and declined the charge. Then lord Elcho, who was a man of fiery temper, according to his own account, turned away from the prince, with an oath that he would never look upon his face again. This oath, however, he did not keep; for, amongst the names of the earliest of his followers who waited on him in Paris, appears lord Elcho. Though he did not attempt to resist the victorious enemy, which was now hopeless, he seems to have lingered, as if confounded, on the spot, till O'Sullivan and Sheridan, each seizing a rein of his bridle, forced him from the field.
The defeated Highlanders fled from the field in two directions. The greater number made for the hills, and took the way by Ruthven into Badenoch. The Frazers, lord John Drunimond's regiment, and the Irish piquets, were mercilessly pursued to within a mile of Inverness, by Cumberland's cavalry, shooting and cutting them down without quarter or remorse. Not only did the spirit of their sanguinary commander possess them, but the men who had fled before these fugitives so disgracefully at Colt- bridge, Preston, and Falkirk, now took the bully's revenge on them. Tradition still tells us of a blacksmith who lived on this side of the battle-field, who, seeing the ruthless fury of the English troopers, seized a cart-shaft, and rushing amongst them, brought down a good many of them before he was killed. The ashes of his smithy might still a few years ago be seen. The French and Franco-Irish laid down their arms at Inverness, and were admitted to quarter; but to none else was quarter Conceded, except to such as were reserved for public execution. The English calculated their loss at only three hundred and ten killed and wounded, but of the Highlanders fell one thousand, or a fifth of their army. Fourteen stands of colours, two thousand three hundred firelocks, and all their cannon and baggage, fell into the hands of the English. The diabolical cruelty with which even the wounded were massacred by the command of the ferocious Cumberland, has left a stamp on his name to all time. He seemed to revel in blood and misery, and to be ambitious of earning the name he there won of the Butcher. These barbarities were the more monstrous, as they were in such contrast to the humanity of his now defeated cousin and rival. When the wounded had writhed in their agonies all night they were dispatched by the bayonets of the Butcher. They were hunted out of all their hiding-places in the woods, and moors, and tenements of Inverness, and massacred without any regard to their pleadings for mercy. Twenty wounded men, who had crept into a farm-house, were shut up and deliberately burnt in it. The prisoners in Inverness were treated with equal cruelty. Though they were consumed with thirst and cried for water, it was rarely given them.
Such was the battle of Culloden, which extinguished for ever the hopes of the Stuarts. The battle-field still remains a black and blasted heath. The remains of the old wall where the right wing of the Highlanders was posted, runs along it. The mounds of the dead look light and green amid the black sea of heather, and the crumbling bones and bullets may be turned up under almost every sod, as we ourselves have seen.
Charles, accompanied by O'Sullivan, Sheridan, and other gentlemen, rode away to Gortuleg, a seat of lord Lovat's. The wild gallop of horsemen startled that wily old fox in his lair; and when he heard the news he began to tremble for his own safety. There are different accounts of his reception of the fugitive prince. One says that he was so occupied with thinking of making his own escape, that he hardly showed common courtesy to the prince and his companions, and that they parted in mutual displeasure. Another, that Lovat strongly urged the same advice as lord George Murray had done, still to get up into the mountains, and make a bold face, by which time might be gained for fresh reinforcements, or at least for making some terms for the unhappy people. But it is clear that Charles had now lost all spirit, if he had ever retained much after he was compelled to retreat from Derby. He and his party rode away again at ten o'clock at night, and reached Invergarry, the castle of Glengarry, about two hours before daybreak. The castle was destitute of provisions, and they must have suffered utter want of food had not a fisherman caught a couple of salmon in the river. Worn out with fatigue, they threw themselves down on the floor in their clothes. Meantime, old Lovat, who was too infirm to ride, was carried in a sort of hammock into the mountains.
Lord George still entertained the idea of keeping together a large body of Highlanders. He had already with him one thousand two hundred. Charles had stolen away from Invergarry to Arkaig, in Lochaber, and thence to Glen- boisdale, where the messengers of lord George found him, accompanied only by O'Sullivan, O'Neile, and Burke, his servant, who knew the country, and acted as guide. All the rest of his train had shifted for themselves. Lord George entreated the prince not to quit the country, but to continue to gather a force in the mountains, and thus resist and harass their enemies till they received reinforcements; but Charles sent him word that the only chance was for himself to hasten over to France, and use all his interest to bring over an efficient force. He therefore sent lord George a written plan of his intentions, which was not, however, to be opened till he had sailed; and he desired lord George to request the different chiefs and their men to seek their own safety as best they mighty That act terminated the Rebellion.
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