The Battle of Culloden[a] took place on 16 April 1746, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. A Jacobite army under Charles Edward Stuart was decisively defeated by a British government force commanded by the Duke of Cumberland, thereby ending the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Battle of Culloden
Part of the Jacobite rising of 1745

An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745,
by David Morier
DateApril 16, 1746; 278 years ago (1746-04-16)
Location57°28′38″N 04°05′33″W / 57.47722°N 4.09250°W / 57.47722; -4.09250
Result British government victory
 Great Britain Jacobites
Commanders and leaders
Duke of Cumberland
van Keppel
John Huske
John Mordaunt
Henry Hawley
Prince Charles Edward Stuart
George Murray
Donald Cameron
John O'Sullivan
John Drummond
James Drummond
6,900–7,200[1] 5,000–6,000[1]
Casualties and losses
c. 50 killed, 259 wounded [2] 1,500–2,000 killed and wounded[3]
376 captured
Reference no.BTL6

Charles landed in Scotland in July 1745, seeking to restore his father James Francis Edward Stuart to the British throne. He quickly won control of large parts of Scotland, and an invasion of England reached as far south as Derby before being forced to turn back. However, by April 1746, the Jacobites were short of supplies, facing a superior and better equipped opponent.

Charles and his senior officers decided their only option was to stand and fight. When the two armies met at Culloden, the battle lasted less than an hour, with the Jacobites suffering a bloody defeat. This ended both the 1745 rising, and Jacobitism as a significant element in British politics.



The Jacobite rising of 1745 began on 23 July when Charles Edward Stuart landed in the Western Isles, and launched an attempt to reclaim the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart.[5] After their victory at Prestonpans in September, the Jacobites controlled much of Scotland, and Charles persuaded his colleagues to invade England. The Jacobite army reached as far south as Derby, before successfully withdrawing.[6]

Charles Edward Stuart, painted late 1745 (original now lost)

Despite its lack of tangible result, the invasion boosted recruiting, bringing Jacobite strength to over 8,000.[7] These troops, along with French-supplied artillery, were used to besiege Stirling Castle, the strategic key to the Scottish Highlands. On 17 January, the Jacobites dispersed a government relief force under Henry Hawley at the Battle of Falkirk Muir, although the siege itself made little progress.[8]

Soon after, Cumberland arrived in Edinburgh to take over command from Hawley. On 1 February, the siege of Stirling was abandoned, and the Jacobites withdrew to Inverness.[9] Cumberland's army entered Aberdeen on 27 February, and both sides halted operations until the weather improved.[10] Although several French shipments were received during the winter, the Royal Navy's blockade left the Jacobites short of money and food. When Cumberland left Aberdeen on 8 April to resume the campaign, Charles and his officers agreed their best option was to gamble on a set piece battle.[11]



On 12 April, the government army forded the River Spey, which was guarded by a 2,000-strong Jacobite detachment under Lord John Drummond. However, Drummond decided he could not hold his position and withdrew towards Nairn, an action for which he was later criticised. By 14 April, the Jacobites had evacuated Nairn, and the government troops camped at Balblair just west of the town.[12]

Cumberland's route from Aberdeen towards Culloden

Although significant elements were absent elsewhere, the main Jacobite army of about 5,400 left Inverness on 15 April, and assembled in battle order at the Culloden estate, 5 miles (8 km) to the east.[13] The leadership was divided on whether to give battle or abandon Inverness, but with most of their dwindling supplies stored in the town, they feared retreat meant the army might disintegrate.[14] Sir John O'Sullivan, the Jacobite adjutant-general, identified a suitable site for a defensive action at Drummossie Moor,[15] a stretch of open moorland between the walled enclosures of Culloden Park to the north,[16] and those of Culwhiniac to the south.[17]

Jacobite Lieutenant-General Lord George Murray felt the relatively flat and open ground selected by O'Sullivan favoured the government troops. He suggested an alternative steeply sloping site near Daviot Castle, which was inspected by Brigadier Stapleton of the Irish Brigade and Colonel Ker on the morning of 15 April. They rejected Murray's suggestion, arguing the ground was "mossy and soft", while it also failed to protect the road into Inverness.[18] The debate remained unresolved by the time of the battle, while the Jacobite army ultimately formed their line west of the site originally chosen by Sullivan.[14]

Night attack at Nairn


On 15 April, the government army celebrated Cumberland's 25th birthday by issuing two gallons of brandy to each regiment.[19] Hoping they would be less vigilant as a result, the Jacobite leaders decided to conduct a night attack on the government encampment. Murray's instructions were for his troops to use only swords, dirks and bayonets, to overturn tents and subsequently to locate "a swelling or bulge in the fallen tent, there to strike and push vigorously".[20][note 1]

The plan drawn up by Murray called for simultaneous attacks on Cumberland's front and rear by his troops, and a second force under the Duke of Perth, supported by Lord John Drummond and Prince Charles. The Jacobite force did not begin its march until well after dark, partly due to avoid being spotted by ships of the Royal Navy then in the Moray Firth. Murray led it across country in order to avoid government outposts, but one participant, James Johnson, later wrote "this march...on a dark night [was] accompanied with confusion and disorder".[22]

As a result, it was one hour before dawn when Murray's leading elements reached Culraick, still 2 miles (3.2 km) from the intended crossing point over the River Nairn. After a heated debate, Murray concluded the attack should be aborted, but this message was not communicated to the 1,200 men under Perth. While Murray led his detachment back to camp along the Inverness road, Perth continued, unaware of the change in plan. One account claims his troops made contact with government sentries before realising their colleagues had turned around. Although some historians suggest the night attack might have remained viable if he had continued, most argue their numbers were too small to have any effect.[23][24]

Not long after the exhausted Jacobite forces had made it back to Culloden, an officer of Lochiel's regiment, who had been left behind after falling asleep in a wood, arrived with a report of advancing government troops.[25] By then, many Jacobite soldiers had dispersed in search of food or returned to Inverness, and others were asleep in ditches and outbuildings. Several hundred of their army may have missed the battle.


Battle lines at Culloden, including initial redeployments by both Charles and Cumberland
Culloden House, in 1746, where the Jacobite leader Charles Edward Stuart had his headquarters and lodgings in the days leading up to the Battle of Culloden

After the abortive night attack, the Jacobites formed up in substantially the same battle order as the previous day, with the Highland regiments forming the first line. They faced north-east over common grazing land, with the Water of Nairn about 1 km to their right.[26] Their left wing, anchored on the Culloden Park walls, was under the command of the titular Duke of Perth, James Drummond; his brother John Drummond commanded the centre. The right wing, flanked by the Culwhiniac enclosure walls, was led by Murray. Behind them, the Low Country regiments were drawn up in column, in accordance with French practice. During the morning, snow and hail "started falling very thick" onto the already wet ground and later turned to rain, but the weather turned fair as the battle started.[27]

Cumberland's army had struck camp and become underway by 5 am, leaving the main Inverness road and marching across country. By 10 am, the Jacobites finally saw them approaching at a distance of around 4 km. At 3 km from the Jacobite position, Cumberland gave the order to form line, and the army marched forward in full battle order.[28] John Daniel, an Englishman serving with Charles's army, recorded that on seeing the government troops the Jacobites began to "huzza and bravado them" but without response: "on the contrary, they continued proceeding, like a deep sullen river".[29] Once within 500 metres, Cumberland moved his artillery up through the ranks.[28]

As Cumberland's forces formed into line of battle, it became clear that their right flank was in an exposed position, and Cumberland moved up additional cavalry and other units to reinforce it.[30] In the Jacobite lines, Sullivan moved two battalions of Lord Lewis Gordon's regiment to cover the walls at Culwhiniac against a possible flank attack by government dragoons. Murray also moved the Jacobite right slightly forwards. That "changement", as Sullivan called it, had the unintended result of skewing the Jacobite line and opening gaps and so Sullivan ordered Perth's, Glenbucket's and the Edinburgh Regiment from the second line to the first. While the Jacobites' front rank now substantially outnumbered that of Cumberland, their reserve was further depleted, increasing their reliance on a successful initial attack.[31]

Artillery exchange


At approximately 1 pm, Finlayson's Jacobite batteries opened fire; possibly in response to Cumberland sending forward Lord Bury to within 100 m of the Jacobite lines to "ascertain the strength of their battery".[32] The government artillery responded shortly afterwards. Some later Jacobite memoirs suggest that their troops were then subjected to artillery bombardment for 30 minutes or more while Charles delayed an advance, but government accounts suggest a much shorter exchange before the Jacobites attacked. Campbell of Airds, in the rear, timed it at 9 minutes, but Cumberland's aide-de-camp Yorke suggested only 2 or 3 minutes.[33]

The duration implies that the government artillery is unlikely to have fired more than thirty rounds at extreme range: statistical analysis concludes that would have caused only 20–30 Jacobite casualties at that stage, rather than the hundreds suggested by some accounts.[33]

Jacobite advance


Shortly after 1 pm, Charles issued an order to advance, which Colonel Harry Kerr of Graden first took to Perth's regiment, on the extreme left. He then rode down the Jacobite line giving orders to each regiment in turn. Sir John MacDonald and Brigadier Stapleton were also sent forward to repeat the order.[34] As the Jacobites left their lines, the government gunners switched to canister shot, which was augmented by fire from the coehorn mortars situated behind the government front line. As there was no need for careful aiming when canister was used, the rate of fire increased dramatically, and the Jacobites found themselves advancing into heavy fire.[32]

On the Jacobite right, the Atholl Brigade, Lochiel's and the Appin Regiment left their start positions and charged towards Barrell's and Munro's regiments. Within a few hundred yards, however, the centre regiments, Lady Mackintosh's and Lovat's, had begun to swerve rightwards to try to avoid canister fire or to follow the firmer ground along the road running diagonally across Drummossie Moor. The five regiments became entangled as a single mass, converging on the government left. The confusion was worsened when the three largest regiments lost their commanding officers, all at the front of the advance: MacGillivray and MacBean of Lady Mackintosh's both went down; Inverallochie of Lovat's fell and Lochiel had his ankles broken by canister within a few yards of the government lines.

The Jacobite left, by contrast, advanced much more slowly, hampered by boggy ground and by having several hundred yards further to cover. According to the account of Andrew Henderson, Lord John Drummond walked across the front of the Jacobite lines to try and tempt the government infantry into firing early, but they maintained their discipline. The three MacDonald regiments (Keppoch's, Clanranald's and Glengarry's) stalled before resorting to ineffectual long-range musket fire. They also lost senior officers, as Clanranald was wounded and Keppoch killed. The smaller units on their right (Maclachlan's Regiment and Chisholm's and Monaltrie's battalions) advanced into an area swept by artillery fire and suffered heavy losses before falling back.[citation needed]

Engagement of government left wing

An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745, a painting that shows grenadiers of Barrell's 4th Foot regiment fighting highlanders of the Jacobite Army at the Battle of Cullodenin April 1746[35]
Colours of Barrell's Regiment, carried at Culloden
The Well of the Dead; modern remains of the park wall on the Jacobite right

The Jacobite right was particularly hard hit by a volley from the government regiments at nearly point-blank range, but many of its men still reached the government lines, and for the first time, a battle was decided by a direct clash between charging Highlanders and formed infantry equipped with muskets and socket bayonets. The brunt of the Jacobite impact, led by Lochiel's regiment, was taken by only two government regiments: Barrell's 4th Foot and Dejean's 37th Foot. Barrell's lost 17 killed and suffered 108 wounded, out of a total of 373 officers and men. Dejean's lost 14 killed and had 68 wounded, with the unit's left wing taking a disproportionately higher number of casualties. Barrell's regiment temporarily lost one of its two colours.[note 2] Major-General Huske, who was in command of the government's second line, quickly organised the counterattack. Huske ordered forward all of Lord Sempill's Fourth Brigade, which had a combined total of 1,078 men (Sempill's 25th Foot, Conway's 59th Foot, and Wolfe's 8th Foot). Also sent forward to plug the gap was Bligh's 20th Foot, which took up position between Sempill's 25th and Dejean's 37th. Huske's counter formed a five battalion strong horseshoe-shaped formation which trapped the Jacobite right wing on three sides.[36]

Poor Barrell's regiment were sorely pressed by those desperadoes and outflanked. One stand of their colours was taken; Collonel Riches hand cutt off in their defence ... We marched up to the enemy, and our left, outflanking them, wheeled in upon them; the whole then gave them 5 or 6 fires with vast execution, while their front had nothing left to oppose us, but their pistolls and broadswords; and fire from their center and rear, (as, by this time, they were 20 or 30 deep) was vastly more fatal to themselves, than us.

— Captain-Lieutenant James Ashe Lee of Wolfe's 8th Foot[37]
Bayonet drill innovation said to have been developed to counter the "Highland charge". Each soldier would thrust at the enemy on his right – rather than the one straight ahead – in order to bypass the targe of Highlanders.[38]

With the Jacobites who were left under Perth failing to advance further, Cumberland ordered two troops of Cobham's 10th Dragoons to ride them down. The boggy ground, however, impeded the cavalry, and they turned to engage the Irish Picquets whom Sullivan and Lord John Drummond had brought up in an attempt to stabilise the deteriorating Jacobite left flank. Cumberland later wrote: "They came running on in their wild manner, and upon the right where I had placed myself, imagining the greatest push would be there, they came down there several times within a hundred yards of our men, firing their pistols and brandishing their swords, but the Royal Scots and Pulteneys hardly took their fire-locks from their shoulders, so that after those faint attempts they made off; and the little squadrons on our right were sent to pursue them".[39][40]

Jacobite collapse and rout


With the collapse of the left wing, Murray brought up the Royal Écossais and Kilmarnock's Footguards, who were still unengaged, but when they had been brought into position, the Jacobite first line had been routed. The Royal Écossais exchanged musket fire with Campbell's 21st and commenced an orderly retreat, moving along the Culwhiniac enclosure to shield themselves from artillery fire. Immediately, the half battalion of Highland militia, commanded by Captain Colin Campbell of Ballimore, which had stood inside the enclosure ambushed them. In the encounter, Campbell of Ballimore was killed along with five of his men. The result was that the Royal Écossais and Kilmarnock's Footguards were forced out into the open moor and were engaged by three squadrons of Kerr's 11th Dragoons. The fleeing Jacobites must have put up a fight since Kerr's 11th recorded at least 16 horses killed during the entirety of the battle.

The Irish Picquets under Stapleton bravely covered the Highlanders' retreat from the battlefield, preventing the fleeing Jacobites from suffering heavy casualties. That action cost half of the 100 casualties that they suffered in the battle.[41] The Royal Écossais appear to have retired from the field in two wings; one part surrendered after suffering 50 killed or wounded, but their colours were not taken and a large number retired from the field with the Jacobite Lowland regiments.[42] A few Highland regiments also withdrew in good order, notably Lovat's first battalion, which retired with colours flying. The government dragoons let it withdraw, rather than risk a confrontation.[43]

One of at least fourteen standards or colours recorded as captured by government forces at the battle.[44] That and a similar blue saltire may have been used by the Atholl Brigade.[45]

The stand by the French regulars gave Charles and other senior officers time to escape. Charles seems to have been rallying Perth's and Glenbucket's regiments when Sullivan rode up to Captain Shea, commander of his bodyguard: "Yu see all is going to pot. Yu can be of no great succor, so before a general deroute wch will soon be, Seize upon the Prince & take him off ...".[42] Contrary to government depictions of Charles as a coward, he yelled "they won't take me alive!" and called for a final charge into the government lines:[46] Shea, however, followed Sullivan's advice and led Charles from the field, accompanied by Perth and Glenbucket's regiments.

From that point onward, the fleeing Jacobite forces were split into several groups: the Lowland regiments retired southwards, making their way to Ruthven Barracks, and the remains of the Jacobite right wing also retired southwards. The MacDonald and the other Highland left-wing regiments, however, were cut off by the government cavalry and were forced to retreat down the road to Inverness. The result was that they were a clear target for government dragoons. Major-General Humphrey Bland led the pursuit of the fleeing Highlanders, giving "Quarter to None but about Fifty French Officers and Soldiers".[42]

Conclusion: casualties and prisoners


Jacobite casualties are estimated at between 1,500 and 2,000 killed or wounded, with many of them occurring in the pursuit after the battle.[47][48] Cumberland's official list of prisoners taken includes 154 Jacobites and 222 "French" prisoners (men from the "foreign units" in the French service). Added to the official list of those apprehended were 172 of the Earl of Cromartie's men, captured after a brief engagement the day before near Littleferry.

In striking contrast to the Jacobite losses, the government losses were reported as 50 dead and 259 wounded. Of the 438 men of Barrell's 4th Foot, 17 were killed and 104 were wounded. However, a large proportion of those recorded as wounded are likely to have died of their wounds. Only 29 men out of the 104 wounded from Barrell's 4th Foot later survived to claim pensions, and all six of the artillerymen recorded as wounded later died.[47]

Several senior Jacobite commanding officers were casualties, including Keppoch; Viscount Strathallan; Commissary-General Lachlan Maclachlan; and Walter Stapleton, who died of wounds shortly after the battle. Others, including Kilmarnock, were captured. The only high-ranking government officer casualty was Lord Robert Kerr, the son of William Kerr, 3rd Marquess of Lothian. Sir Robert Rich, 5th Baronet, who was a lieutenant-colonel and the senior officer commanding Barrell's 4th Foot, was badly wounded, losing his left hand and receiving several wounds to his head. A number of captains and lieutenants had also been wounded.


The End of the 'Forty Five' Rebellion depicts the retreat of the defeated Jacobites.

Collapse of Jacobite campaign


As the first of the fleeing Highlanders approached Inverness, they were met by the 2nd battalion of Lovat's regiment, led by the Master of Lovat. It has been suggested that Lovat shrewdly switched sides and turned upon the retreating Jacobites, an act that would explain his remarkable rise in fortune in the years that followed.[49]

Following the battle, the Jacobites' Lowland regiments headed south towards Corrybrough and made their way to Ruthven Barracks, and their Highland units made their way north towards Inverness and on through to Fort Augustus. There, they were joined by Barisdale's battalion of Glengarry's regiment and a small battalion of MacGregors.[49] At least two of those present at Ruthven, James Johnstone and John Daniel, recorded that the Highland troops remained in good spirits despite the defeat and eager to resume the campaign. At that point, continuing Jacobite resistance remained potentially viable in terms of manpower. At least a third of the army had either missed or slept through Culloden, which along with survivors from the battle gave a potential force of 5,000 to 6,000 men.[50] However the roughly 1,500 men who assembled at Ruthven Barracks received orders from Charles to the effect that the army should disperse until he returned with French support.[51]

Similar orders must have been received by the Highland units at Fort Augustus, and by 18 April, the majority of the Jacobite army had been disbanded. Officers and men of the units in French service made for Inverness, where they surrendered as prisoners of war on 19 April. Most of the rest of the army broke up, with men heading for home or attempting to escape abroad,[49] although the Appin Regiment amongst others was still in arms as late as July.

Many senior Jacobites made their way to Loch nan Uamh, where Charles Edward Stuart had first landed at the outset of the campaign in 1745. There, on 30 April, they were met by two French frigates: the Mars and Bellone. Two days later, the French ships were spotted and attacked by three smaller Royal Navy sloops: the Greyhound, Baltimore, and Terror. The result was the last real engagement of the campaign. During the six hours in which the battle continued, the Jacobites recovered cargo that had been landed by the French ships, including £35,000 of gold.[49]

With visible proof that the French had not deserted them, a group of Jacobite leaders attempted to prolong the campaign. On 8 May, nearby at Murlaggan, Lochiel, Lochgarry, Clanranald and Barisdale all agreed to rendezvous at Invermallie on 18 May, as did Lord Lovat and his son. The plan was that there they would be joined by what remained of Keppoch's men and Macpherson of Cluny's regiment, which had not taken part in the battle at Culloden. However, things did not go as planned. After about a month of relative inactivity, Cumberland moved his army into the Highlands, and on 17 May, three battalions of regulars and eight Highland companies reoccupied Fort Augustus. The same day, the Macphersons surrendered. On the day of the planned rendezvous, Clanranald never appeared and Lochgarry and Barisdale showed up with only about 300 combined, most of whom immediately dispersed in search of food. Lochiel, who commanded possibly the strongest Jacobite regiment at Culloden, mustered 300 men. The group dispersed, and the following week, the government launched punitive expeditions into the Highlands that continued throughout the summer.[49][51]

After his flight from the battle, Charles Edward Stuart made his way towards the Hebrides, accompanied by a small group of supporters. By 20 April, Charles had reached Arisaig on the west coast of Scotland. After spending a few days with his close associates, he sailed for the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. From there, he travelled to Scalpay, off the east coast of Harris, and from there made his way to Stornoway.[52] For five months, Charles crisscrossed the Hebrides, constantly pursued by government supporters and under threat from local lairds, who were tempted to betray him for the £30,000 upon his head.[53] During that time, he met Flora Macdonald, who famously aided him in a narrow escape to Skye. Finally, on 19 September, Charles reached Borrodale on Loch nan Uamh in Arisaig, where his party boarded two small French ships, which ferried them to France.[52] He never returned to Scotland.


After Culloden: Rebel Hunting by John Seymour Lucas depicts the search for Jacobites after Culloden.

The morning after the battle, Cumberland issued a declaration to his troops claiming the rebels had been instructed to give "no quarter".[note 3] This alluded to the belief such orders had been found on the bodies of fallen Jacobites, versions of which were published in the Newcastle Journal and the Gentleman's Journal.[20] Only one copy still exists, which appears to be forged since it was not signed by Murray, and appears on the bottom half of a copy of a declaration published in 1745. Over the next two days, the moor was searched and wounded rebels were put to death. In total, over 20,000 head of livestock, sheep, and goats were driven off and sold at Fort Augustus, where the soldiers split the profits.[55]

While in Inverness, Cumberland emptied the jails that were full of people imprisoned by Jacobite supporters by replacing them with Jacobites themselves.[49] Prisoners were taken south to England to stand trial for high treason. Many were held on hulks on the Thames or in Tilbury Fort, and executions took place in Carlisle, York and Kennington Common.[53] In total, 120 common men were executed, one third of them being deserters from the British Army.[53][note 4] The common prisoners drew lots amongst themselves, and only one out of twenty actually came to trial. Although most of those who stood trial were sentenced to death, almost all of them had their sentences commuted to penal transportation to the British colonies for life by the Traitors Transported Act 1746 (20 Geo. 2. c. 46).[57] In all, 936 men were thus transported, and 222 more were banished. Even so, 905 prisoners were actually released under the Act of Indemnity that was passed in June 1747. Another 382 obtained their freedom by being exchanged for prisoners of war being held by France. Of the total 3,471 prisoners recorded, nothing is known of the fate of 648.[58] The high-ranking "rebel lords" were executed on Tower Hill in London.

Contemporary engraving depicting the executions of Kilmarnock and Balmerino at Tower Hill, on 18 August 1746[59]

Following up on the military success won by their forces, the British government enacted laws to further integrate Scotland, specifically the Scottish Highlands, with the rest of Britain. Members of the Episcopal clergy were required to give oaths of allegiance to the reigning Hanoverian dynasty.[60] The Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act 1746 ended the hereditary right of landowners to govern justice upon their estates through barony courts.[61] Prior to the Act, feudal lords (which included clan chiefs) had considerable judicial and military power over their followers such as the oft-quoted power of "pit and gallows".[53][60] Lords who were loyal to the government were greatly compensated for the loss of these traditional powers. For example, the Duke of Argyll was given £21,000.[53] The lords and clan chiefs who had supported the Jacobite rebellion were stripped of their estates, which were then sold and the profits were used to further trade and agriculture in Scotland.[60] The forfeited estates were managed by factors. Anti-clothing measures were taken against the Highland dress by an Act of Parliament in 1746. The result was that the wearing of tartan was banned except as a uniform for officers and soldiers in the British Army and later landed men and their sons.[62]

Culloden battlefield today

Memorial cairn erected in 1881[63]

It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.[64] Today, a visitor centre is located near the site of the battle. It was first opened in December 2007, with the intention of preserving the battlefield in a condition similar to how it was on 16 April 1746.[65] One difference is that it currently is covered in shrubs and heather. During the 18th century, however, the area was used as common grazing ground, mainly for tenants of the Culloden estate.[66] Those visiting can walk the site by way of footpaths on the ground and can also enjoy a view from above on a raised platform.[67] Possibly the most recognisable feature of the battlefield today is the 20-foot (6 m)-tall memorial cairn, erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881.[63] In the same year, Forbes also erected headstones to mark the mass graves of the clans.[68] The thatched roofed farmhouse of Leanach that stands today dates from about 1760; however, it stands on the same location as the turf-walled cottage that probably served as a field hospital for government troops following the battle.[66] A stone, known as "The English Stone", is situated west of the Old Leanach cottage and is said to mark the burial place of the government dead.[69] West of this site lies another stone, erected by Forbes to mark the place that the body of Alexander McGillivray of Dunmaglass was found after the battle.[70][71] A stone lies on the eastern side of the battlefield and is supposed to mark the spot from which Cumberland directed the battle.[72] The battlefield has been inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Historic Environment (Amendment) Act 2011.[73]

In 1881, Duncan Forbes erected the headstones that mark the mass graves of fallen Jacobite soldiers. They lie on either side of an early 19th-century road which runs through the battlefield.[68]

Since 2001, the site of the battle has undergone topographic, geophysical and metal detector surveys in addition to archaeological excavations. Interesting finds have been made in the areas on which the fiercest fighting occurred on the government left wing, particularly where Barrell's and Dejean's regiments stood. For example, pistol balls and pieces of shattered muskets have been uncovered here which indicate close-quarters fighting, as pistols were used only at close range, and the musket pieces appear to have been smashed by pistol/musket balls or heavy broadswords. Finds of musket balls appear to mirror the lines of men who stood and fought. Some balls appear to have been dropped without being fired, some missed their targets, and others are distorted from hitting human bodies. In some cases, it may be possible to identify whether the Jacobites or government soldiers fired certain rounds because the Jacobite forces are known to have used a large number of French muskets, which fired a slightly smaller calibre shot than that of the British Army's Brown Bess. Analysis of the finds confirms that the Jacobites used muskets in greater numbers than has traditionally been thought. Not far from where the hand-to-hand fighting took place, fragments of mortar shells have been found.[74] Though Forbes's headstones mark the graves of the Jacobites, the location of the graves of about 60 government soldiers is unknown. However, the recent discovery of a 1752 silver Thaler, from the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, may lead archaeologists to these graves. A geophysical survey, directly beneath the spot at which the coin was found, seems to indicate the existence of a large rectangular burial pit. It is thought possible that the coin was dropped by a soldier who once served on the Continent while he visited the graves of his fallen comrades.[74] The National Trust of Scotland is currently trying to restore Culloden Moor, as closely as possible, to the state it was in during the Battle of Culloden Moor. It is also trying to expand the land under its care to ensure the full battlefield is protected under the NTS. Another goal is to restore Leannach Cottage and allow visitors once again to tour its interior.

In art

Woodcut painting by David Morier of the Battle of Culloden first published just six months after the battle, in October 1746

In fiction

Culloden Memorial Cairn, Knoydart, Nova Scotia
  • The Skye Boat Song was composed in the late 19th century and recalled the journey of Bonnie Prince Charlie from Benbecula to the Isle of Skye.[80]
  • The Battle of Culloden is an important episode in D. K. Broster's The Flight of the Heron (1925), the first volume of her Jacobite Trilogy, which has been made into a TV serial twice: by Scottish Television in 1968, as eight episodes and by the BBC in 1976.
  • Naomi Mitchison's novel The Bull Calves (1947) deals with Culloden and its aftermath.[81]
  • Culloden (1964), a BBC TV docudrama written and directed by Peter Watkins, depicts the battle in the style of 20th-century television reporting.[82]
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (1992, London) is a detailed fictional tale, based on historical sources, of the Scots, Highlanders, and Lowlanders, mostly the Highlanders within Clan Fraser. It has the element of time travel, with the 20th-century protagonist knowing how the battle would turn out and was still, once transported to the 18th century, caught up in the foredoomed struggle. The battle figures in the 29th episode (Season 2, episode 13) of the STARZ series Outlander, based upon Gabaldon's series of books. The battle and its importance to Scottish history is alluded to many times in the books and throughout the TV series.
  • The Highlanders (1966–1967) is a serial in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who. The time-traveller known as the Doctor and his companions Polly and Ben arrive in the TARDIS in 1746, hours after the Battle of Culloden. The story introduces the character of Jamie McCrimmon.[83]
  • Chasing the Deer (1994) is a cinematic dramatisation of the events leading up to the battle, starring Brian Blessed and Fish.[84]
  • Drummossie Moor – Jack Cameron, The Irish Brigade and the battle of Culloden is a historical novel by Ian Colquhoun (Arima/Swirl 2008) that tells the story of the battle and the preceding days from the point of view of the Franco-Irish regulars, or 'Piquets', who covered the Jacobite retreat.[85]
  • In Harold Coyle's novel Savage Wilderness, the opening chapter deals with the protagonist's service battle of Culloden.
  • In the Star Trek novel Home Is the Hunter, Montgomery Scott is sent back in time to 18th-century Scotland by an alien angered over the death of a child, and he participates in the Battle of Culloden before he is returned to the 23rd century.
  • The Portuguese author Hélia Correia opens her novel Lillias Fraser (2001) in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. The work was praised by national critics when it came out and eventually won the PEN Club Fiction Award.
  • The Canadian novel No Great Mischief, by Alistair MacLeod, dealing with a Scottish family that emigrated to Canada after the Battle of Culloden and examining how their past influences their present, contains numerous references to the battle.


  1. ^ A Highland Jacobite officer wrote: "We were likewise forbid in the attack to make use of firearms, but only of sword, dirk and bayonet, to cutt the tent strings, and pull down the poles, and where observed a swelling or bulge in the falen tent, there to strick and push vigorously".[21]
  2. ^ An unknown British Army corporal's description of the charge into the government's left wing: "When we saw them coming towards us in great Haste and Fury, we fired at about 50 Yards Distance, which made Hundreds fall; notwithstanding which, they were so numerous, that they still advanced, and were almost upon us before we had loaden again. We immediately gave them another full Fire and the Front Rank charged their Bayonets Breast high, and the Center and Rear Ranks kept up a continual Firing, which, in half an Hour's Time, routed their whole Army. Only Barrel's Regiment and ours was engaged, the Rebels designing to break or flank us but our Fire was so hot, most of us having discharged nine Shot each, that they were disappointed".
  3. ^ Cumberland wrote: "A captain and fifty foot to march directly and visit all the cottages in the neighbourhood of the field of battle, and search for rebels. The officers and men will take notice that the public orders of the rebels yesterday was to give us no quarter".[54]
  4. ^ Out of 27 officers of the English "Manchester Regiment", one died in prison; one was acquitted; one was pardoned, two were released for giving evidence, four escaped, two were banished, three were transported and eleven were executed. The sergeants of the regiment suffered worse, with seven out of ten hanged. At least seven privates were executed, some no doubt died in prison, and most of the rest were transported to the colonies.[56]
  1. ^ /kəˈlɒdən/;[4] Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Chùil Lodair


  1. ^ a b Duffy 2015, p. 453 passim.
  2. ^ Pittock 2016, p. ?.
  3. ^ Harrington 1991, p. 83.
  4. ^ Collins Dictionary
  5. ^ Duffy 2003, p. 43.
  6. ^ Riding 2016, pp. 299–300.
  7. ^ Home 1802, pp. 329–333.
  8. ^ Riding 2016, pp. 209–216.
  9. ^ Home 1802, pp. 353–354.
  10. ^ Riding 2016, pp. 377–378.
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  12. ^ Reid 2002, pp. 51–56.
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  18. ^ Pittock 2016, p. 60.
  19. ^ Harrington (1991), p. 44.
  20. ^ a b Roberts (2002), pp. 177–180.
  21. ^ Lockhart (1817), p. 508.
  22. ^ Reid (2002), pp. 56–58.
  23. ^ Black 1998, p. 32.
  24. ^ Pittock 2016, p. 67.
  25. ^ Reid 2002, pp. 56–58.
  26. ^ Pittock (2016) p. 69
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  28. ^ a b Pittock (2016) p. 79
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  56. ^ Monod (1993), p. 340.
  57. ^ "An act to prevent the return of such rebels and traitors concerned in the late rebellion, as have been, or shall be pardoned on condition of transportation; and also to hinder their going into the enemies country."
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Film and documentaries

Further reading