The heralds have proclaimed it across the British Isles...the Rebellion is over. But it was very nearly a different story. Both armies had assembled near Glenshiel in the western Highlands and it was do or die for the Scots. But the high drama continued amongst the commands of both sides and there were some VERY surprising developments that left the Hanoverians angered and the Jacobites stunned and feeling betrayed.....
In the Hanoverian camp a messenger arrived and made his way into the cramped interior of the Duke of Argyll's tent and handed him a note from the Captain General, John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, recalling him to London. It read:
My dearest Duke,
As you are aware, there has been dissatisfaction with some aspects of the campaign from the highest levels of His Britannic Majesty’s government and after much deliberation it has been decided that you are to return to London for further discussions of your position. You are to immediately hand over command of His Majesty’s Forces in Scotland and especially those in the vicinity of Glenshiel to General Carpenter. Should he, in his wisdom, wish to retain your services, you may remain to assist him in the defeat of the Rebellion. If not, at your discretion, you may retire from the campaign with the blessings of His Majesty, King George I and the gratitude of Parliament and the British peoples.
Well, Argyll's (Ross') response was a cynical laugh and language that was unrepeatable. He duly handed the Field Commander's baton to General Carpenter (Nick) and withdrew to the refreshments corner of my garage to drown his disappointment and sorrow in some very strong coffee and chocolate biscuits. (he wasn't all that put out, but just muttered something about letting Nick see if he could do any better!).
Across the cold and misty moors the Jacobites received an even more unsettling despatch. In the cold gray dawn Brigadier William Mackintosh- the Laird of Borlum (Ralph)- received the most disturbing news:
My Dearest Laird,
You are to command my beloved forces at this most crucial time. I have taken leave of the field of conflict and have been accompanied by his grace the Earl of Mar to Spain where, it is hoped we can gain much needed assistance for our just and righteous cause. The Cowardly French have deserted us but there is hope that his Most Catholic Majesty of Spain, Phillip V will grant us an audience and help my family to regain its rightful place amongst the monarchs of Europe. I commend to you my loyal forces and I know that you will lead them to victory on this hallowed field.
Good Luck and God’s Blessings
King James III of England and Ireland and James VIII of Scotland
King James III of England and Ireland and James VIII of Scotland
Well needless to say, Ralph's response was also unrepeatable. There was also something muttered about 'leaving my a** in the air'. He received the news knowing that he was on his own and that Mar and James Stuart had left him well and truly in it up to his neck.
So he sat with his three fellow commanders (Chris, Blake and Richard) and devised a cunning plan to win a victory over the forces of George I.
Carpenter (Nick) deployed his troops with his favoured tactic in mind- a mad rush at the enemy in an attempt to overwhelm them in a welter of musketry and cold steel. Nick never asks how many there are, just where they are...and charges. So he spoke to his subordinates - Roger and Phil- and gave them detailed and explict orders- "Charge!"
|The right of the Hanoverian line- The loyalist Clan Campbell in the foreground|
|Hanoverian Left resting on the small bridge that crossed the stream.|
The Hanoverians deployed on a wide front and in contrast the Jacobites had a small force positioned in the very center of their deployment area.
As the deployments were revealed Carpenter (Nick) knew that there were Jacobites hidden somewhere in an ambush position. Accordingly he ordered his Dragoons forward…but in column…..and it was in that formation that they were ‘jumped’ by the Jacobite cavalry…and sadly the first Squadron of the 2nd Dragoons (Portmore's- later the Royal Scots Grey) was sent packing.
The Jacobite guns fired into the advancing Hanoverian infantry and and although they inflicted some casualties on the Dragoons and the Pallandt Dutch infantry Regiment, the crews found themselves on the receiving end of disciplined Dutch volleys and a spirited charge which cleared the Jacobite guns away from the hill where they stood.
|The Jacobite center- French volunteers, Irish in the middle, Earl of Derwentwater's Lowland foot on the right.|
|The left center of the Hanoverians- the Dragoons would advance out in column and be ambushed by Jacobite cavalry behind the hill in the top left corner.|
Shortly after this the main line of British and Dutch infantry began an exchange of fire with the French, Irish and the Earl of Derwentwater’s regiments of foot. As this exchange continued more British and Dutch troops were drawn into the maelstrom in the deployment center of the Jacobite army.
On the Jacobite left the loyalist Highlanders(commanded by Phil) strode up the hill, held by a single clan regiment- and weight of numbers (and luck as well as some skill) saw the Jacobites sent packing and the flank of the Jacobite center was open. That center was beginning to waver under the weight of musketry from the Dutch and British troops. The French volunteers folded very quickly- despite holding off three British regiments- but once again it was the superb veteran Irish that inflicted serious damage on the advancing Hanoverians- and they sent two enemy regiments to hell with their disciplined volleys.
As the Jacobite line began to crumble- they were holding on by the skin of their teeth- the Laird of Borlum (Ralph) played his trump card. From behind the large line of hills to the Jacobite right there came a great rumble as wave after wave of Highlanders came pouring over the hill. They swept down the large hill and splashed through the stream at the base of the hill. The front units caught blasts of lead from the Redcoats on the Hanoverian left but this failed to stop the lead units as the Redcoat Regiment on the extreme end of the line was swept away in the first charges.
It was at this point that the Jacobite center completely collapsed and Nick began to look to redeploy his center units- of which he still had the loyal Highlanders, 3 Dutch regiments (2 Veteran) and 4 regiments of Redcoats. The Highlanders were still poring across the boggy stream, jostling to gain position to assault the line of redcoats who were desperately trying to redeploy. On the Hanoverian left flank things were looking pretty grim.
|The Hanoverian battle line(left) engages the Jacobite regulars (right). Center front- the 26th Regiment, next the 36th Foot and then the Dutch Van Welderen. Behind them the Van Nassau Regt.|
|The Clans swarmed down the hill|
Were the Highlanders about to win a major victory? Could the Highlanders have destroyed King George's army?Well time was getting away from the Brothers who were still playing (it was 1am!)…and 6 Hanoverian units had been destroyed, 3 others had seriously high casualties. There were 5 Jacobite units destroyed and another 3 near complete depletion. The Laird of Borlum, despite having conducted a brilliant action and having won a tactical victory, called a halt to the onslaught. To take on the remaining Hanoverians would be a daunting task as General Carpenter and his subordnates would certainly put up a bitter resistance. He was also aware that even if he achieved a greater level of victory there were more Hanoverian armies massing to the south. So, deserted by his Monarch, and wanting to spare further bloodshed amongst his beloved Highlanders, the Laird dispersed his forces.
The Rebellion was over.
Or was it?
|The Tartan Clad Horde splashes across the river|
(Historical Note: The Rebellion of 1715 really only consisted of two battles: Prestons and Sherriffmuir and by early 1716 the Rebellion was over. However the Jacobites rose again in 1719- (with Spanish help) and only one battle was fought- Glenshiel- which again was a Hanoverian victory.)
|The Horde sweeps forward.|
|The one remaining Jacobite regular unit in the center- surrounded by Hanoverian units to the front- and the Loyalist Clan Monroe in the foreground.|