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Jacobite risings

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Portrait of King James II by Sir Godfrey Kneller

The Jacobite Risings were a series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746. The uprisings were aimed at returning James VII of Scotland and II of England, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne after he was deposed by Parliament during the Glorious Revolution. The series of conflicts takes its name from Jacobitism, from Jacobus, the Latin form of James.

The major Jacobite Risings were called the Jacobite Rebellions by the ruling governments. The "First Jacobite Rebellion" and "Second Jacobite Rebellion" were known respectively as "The Fifteen" and "The Forty-Five", after the years in which they occurred (1715 and 1745).

Although each Jacobite Rising had unique features, they were part of a larger series of military campaigns by Jacobites attempting to restore the Stuart kings to the thrones of Scotland and England (and after 1707, Great Britain). James was deposed in 1688 and the thrones were claimed by his daughter Mary II jointly with her husband, the Dutch-born William of Orange.

After the House of Hanover succeeded to the British throne in 1714, the risings continued, and intensified. They continued until the last Jacobite Rebellion ("the Forty-Five"), led by Charles Edward Stuart (the Young Pretender), who was soundly defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. This ended any realistic hope of a Stuart restoration.

Glorious Revolution

During the 17th century, the kingdoms in Great Britain and Ireland suffered political and religious turmoil in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The Commonwealth ended with the Restoration of Charles II, re-establishment of the Church of England and imposition of Episcopalian church government.

In 1685 Charles II was succeeded by his Roman Catholic brother, James II and VII. James was not naturally sympathetic to Covenanters. He understandably saw them as troublemakers and initially tried to end their influence in Scotland. The new king also tried to impose religious tolerance of Roman Catholics and to a lesser extent Protestant Dissenters, but antagonized many of the Anglican establishment by this action as they were suspicious of Catholic power. James' half-hearted attempts to woo the Presbyterians seemingly did not win him much popularity among that section of society either. They remembered his earlier suppression of them and did not believe him to be sincere in his recognition of Presbyterianism. Although these actions were widely unpopular, at first the majority of his subjects tolerated these acts because James was in his 50s and both of his daughters were committed Protestants. It seemed that James' reign would be short and the throne would soon return to Protestant hands. In 1688 however James's young second wife Mary of Modena gave birth to a boy, Prince James who was promptly baptized a Roman Catholic. Due to English and Scottish succession laws, Prince James immediately supplanted his older half sisters as heir to the throne. Now the prospect of a Catholic dynasty on the English, Scottish and Irish thrones seemed all but certain.

The " Immortal Seven" invited James's daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange to depose James and jointly rule in his place. On 4 November 1688 William arrived at Torbay, England. After he landed, James fled London, returned and finally left for France on 23 December. In February 1689 the Glorious Revolution formally changed England's monarch, but many Catholics, Episcopalians and Tory royalists still supported James as the constitutionally legitimate monarch.

Scotland was slow to accept William, who summoned a Convention of the Estates which met on 14 March 1689 in Edinburgh. It reviewed a conciliatory letter from William and a haughty one from James. On James's side, a modest force of a troop of fifty horsemen gathered by John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee was in town. Graham attended the convention at the start but withdrew four days later when its support for William became evident. The convention set out its terms, and William and Mary were proclaimed at Edinburgh on 11 April 1689, then had their coronation in London in May. Crucially perhaps, William and Mary definitively accepted the Church of Scotland as a Presbyterian institution after decades of intermittent efforts by various monarchs, including James VI, Charles I, Charles II and James VII to mould the Church of Scotland into an Episcopalian institution more pliable to Royal control and possibly more acceptable to those monarchs who happened to be Catholic. Therefore the already doubtfull potential popularity of Jacobitism among those of the Presbyterian persuasion in Scotland was quite possibly lessened by this act, but on the other hand, for those Scots of an Episcopalian or Catholic persuasion the appeal of Jacobitism could only have been enhanced by this acknowledgement of Presbyterianism in Scotland by William and Mary.

The Rising of 1689–92

On 16 April 1689 John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, raised James' standard on the Dundee Law. Presbyterian historians later labelled him "Bluidy Clavers" for his presence as an officer in the service of government forces loyal to the King at several altercations between government forces and Covenanters during the reign of the Catholic James VII who was later deposed. One example is the Battle of Drumclog, while another is the Battle of Bothwell Brig. In letters written by the Viscount Dundee's own hand he was however an advocate of lenient treatment of the Covenanters. James VII also happens to be the origin of the epithet "Jacobite". After James was exiled his followers were named after the Latin for James, "Jacobus", and the name Jacobite was later used for those who sought to restore his dynasty even after his death, citing his descendants as the rightful monarchs. Thus, the appropriateness of the title "Bluidy Clavers" being used to describe John Graham of Claverhouse aside, the Jacobite hero has clearly not always been viewed in a positive light by those sympathetic to the Covenanters or Cameronians. With respect to the Viscount Dundee Sir Walter Scott coined the more romantic nickname "Bonnie Dundee". This was from a poem Sir Walter Scott wrote in 1830 which later became a well known song. James VII had already arrived in Ireland and a letter was on the way promising Irish troops to assist the rising in Scotland.

At first Viscount Dundee had difficulty in raising many supporters. The ineffectiveness of the Williamite commander Major-General Hugh Mackay of Scourie encouraged support. Three hundred Irish troops successfully landed at Kintyre to add to Dundee's forces. Dundee also received support in the western Scottish Highlands from both Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland clans.

By July the Jacobites had eight battalions and two companies, almost all Highlanders. Dundee gained the confidence of the clans by cultivating the allegiance of each Highlander and respecting the precedence of the clans. He realised that to them, the cause of Jacobitism was secondary. At a time when infantry were trained to fight in formation, the Highlanders' method was more informal. They set aside their plaids and other encumbrances before the battle, and dropped to the ground to avoid enemy volleys. After quickly returning fire, they pursued their foes, screaming in the Highland charge. They used heavy broadswords and targe (shield), or whatever weapons they had, including pitchforks or Lochaber axes (a combined axe and spear on a long pole). Such a charge was devastating to troops struggling to reform their lines, or fix the recently introduced 'plug' bayonets.

The Highland charge routed a much larger Williamite force at the Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July 1689. About two thousand Willamite troops were killed. Approximately six hundred Highlanders were killed including Dundee. At the street fighting of the Battle of Dunkeld on 21 August, the Jacobite Highlanders were decisively defeated by the Cameronians who were led by George Munro, 1st of Auchinbowie. Much of the North remained hostile to the English government. Expeditions to subdue the highlands were met with a series of skirmishes.

Jacobite forces suffered a heavy defeat at the Haughs of Cromdale on 1 May 1690. Later that month Mackay constructed Fort William on the site of an old fort built by Cromwell. News in July of William's victory over James at the Battle of the Boyne caused Jacobite hopes to fall. On 17 August 1691 William offered all Highland clans a pardon for their part in the Jacobite Uprising, provided that they took an oath of allegiance before 1 January 1692 in front of a magistrate. The Highland chiefs sent word to James, now in exile in France, asking for his permission to take this oath. James eventually authorised the chiefs to take the oath, but it was mid-December before his message arrived. Despite difficult winter conditions, a few took the oath in time. The brutality of the Massacre of Glencoe sped acceptance by the clans. By the spring of 1692 the Jacobite chiefs had all sworn allegiance to King William.

The Jacobite war in Ireland

The Williamite war in Ireland was the opening conflict in James' attempts to regain the throne. It influenced the Jacobite Rising in Scotland which "Bonnie Dundee" started at about the same time. By its end in October 1691, the Irish Jacobite army left Ireland for France, becoming the Irish Brigade. This later provided forces assisting The 'Forty-Five (Second Jacobite Rebellion of 1745) in Scotland.

The Old Pretender

After the death of James II in 1701, the Jacobite claim to the thrones of Scotland and England was taken up by his only surviving legitimate son, James Francis Edward Stuart (1688–1766). His supporters proclaimed him James III of England and Ireland, and James VIII of Scotland. The French king Louis XIV and Pope Clement XI formally recognised the Catholic monarch as King James III & VIII. Later, James was called "the Old Pretender", to distinguish him from his son, Charles Edward Stuart (1720–1788), who became known as "the Young Pretender".

Planned invasion of 1708

After a brief peace, the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 renewed French support for the Jacobites. In 1708 James Stuart, the Old Pretender, sailed from Dunkirk with 6000 French troops in nearly 30 ships of the French navy. His intended landing in the Firth of Forth was thwarted by the Royal Navy, under Admiral Byng. Over the tearful protests of James himself, the French admiral chose not to risk a landing and opted to retreat instead of fight. The British pursued the French fleet round the north of Scotland, losing ships and most of their men in shipwrecks on the way back to Dunkirk.

The Rising of 1715 ('The Fifteen')

Following the arrival from Hanover of George I in 1714, Tory Jacobites in England conspired to organise armed rebellions against the new Hanoverian government. They were indecisive and frightened by government arrests of their leaders. In Scotland 1715 was the time of the First Jacobite Rebellion (or Rising).

The Treaty of Utrecht ended hostilities between France and Britain. From France, as part of widespread Jacobite plotting, James Stuart, the Old Pretender, had been corresponding with the Earl of Mar. In the summer of 1715 James called on Mar to raise the Clans. Mar, nicknamed Bobbin' John, rushed from London to Braemar. He summoned clan leaders to "a grand hunting-match" on 27 August 1715. On 6 September he proclaimed James as "their lawful sovereign" and raised the old Scottish standard. Mar's proclamation brought in an alliance of clans and northern Lowlanders, and they quickly overran many parts of the Highlands.

Mar's Jacobites captured Perth on 14 September without opposition. His army grew to around 8,000 men. A force of fewer than 2,000 men under the Duke of Argyll held the Stirling plain for the government and Mar indecisively kept his forces in Perth. He waited for the Earl of Seaforth to arrive with a body of northern clans. Seaforth was delayed by attacks from other clans loyal to the government. Planned risings in Wales, Devon and Cornwall were forestalled by the government arresting the local Jacobites.

See separate article on the Jacobite uprising in Cornwall

Starting around 6 October, a rising in the north of England grew to about 300 horsemen under Thomas Forster, a Northumberland squire. They joined forces with a rising in the south of Scotland under Viscount Kenmure. Mar sent a Jacobite force under Brigadier William Mackintosh of Borlum to join them. They left Perth on 10 October and were ferried across the Firth of Forth from Burntisland to East Lothian. Here they were diverted into an attack on an undefended Edinburgh, but having seized Leith citadel they were chased away by the arrival of Argyll's forces. Mackintosh's force of about 2,000 then made their way south and met their allies at Kelso in the Scottish Borders on 22 October, and spent a few days arguing over their options. The Scots wanted to fight government forces in the vicinity or attack Dumfries and Glasgow, but the English were determined to march towards Liverpool and led them to expect 20,000 recruits in Lancashire.

The Highlanders resisted marching into England and there were some mutinies and defections, but they pressed on. Instead of the expected welcome the Jacobites were met by hostile militia armed with pitchforks and very few recruits. They were unopposed in Lancaster and found about 1,500 recruits as they reached Preston on 9 November, bringing their force to around 4,000. Then Hanoverian forces (including the Cameronians) arrived to besiege them at the Battle of Preston, and the surviving Jacobites surrendered on 14 November.

In Scotland, at the Battle of Sheriffmuir on 13 November, Mar's forces were unable to defeat a smaller force led by the Duke of Argyll and Mar retreated to Perth while the government army built up. On 22 December 1715 a ship from France finally brought the Old Pretender to Peterhead in person. But an ailing James proved far too timid and melancholy to inspire his followers. He briefly set up court at Scone, Perthshire, visited his troops in Perth and ordered the burning of villages to hinder the advance of the Duke of Argyll through deep snow. The highlanders were cheered by the prospect of battle, but James's counsellors decided to abandon the endeavour and ordered a retreat to the coast, giving the pretext of seeking a stronger position. James boarded a ship at Montrose and escaped to France on 4 February 1716, leaving a message assigning his Highland adherents to shift for themselves.

Aftermath of 'The Fifteen'

In the aftermath of the 'Fifteen', the Disarming Act and the Clan Act made some attempts to subdue the Scottish Highlands. Government garrisons were built or extended in the Great Glen at Fort William, Kiliwhimin (later renamed Fort Augustus) and Fort George, Inverness, as well as barracks at Ruthven, Bernera ( Glenelg) and Inversnaid, linked to the south by the Wade roads constructed for Major-General George Wade.

On the whole, the government adopted a gentle approach and attempted to 'win hearts and minds' by allowing the bulk of the defeated rebels to slip away back to their homes and committing the first £20,000 of revenue from forfeited estates to the establishment of Presbyterian-run, Scots-speaking schools in the highlands (the latest in a series of measures intended to promote Scots at the expense of Scottish Gaelic).

The Rising of 1719 ('The Nineteen')

Cardinal Giulio Alberoni

With France at peace with Britain and enjoying a rapprochment due to the Anglo-French Alliance, the Jacobites found a new ally in Spain's Minister to the King, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni. An invasion force set sail in 1719 with two frigates to land in Scotland to raise the clans. Twenty-seven ships carried 5,000 soldiers to England, but the latter were dispersed by storms before they could land. When the two Spanish frigates successfully landed a party of Jacobites led by Lord Tullibardine and Earl Marischal with 300 Spanish soldiers at Loch Duich, they held Eilean Donan Castle. They met only lukewarm support from a few clans. At the Battle of Glen Shiel, the Spanish soldiers were forced to surrender to government forces.

Further action by Wade

In 1725 Wade raised the independent companies of the Black Watch as a militia to keep peace in the unruly Highlands, but in 1743 they were moved to fight the French in Flanders. Their commander at the Battle of Fontenoy in May 1745 was the Duke of Cumberland, soon to command at Culloden.

The Young Pretender

Planned invasion of 1744

In 1743 the War of the Austrian Succession drew Britain and France into open, though unofficial, hostilities against each other. Leading English Jacobites made a formal request to France for armed intervention and the French king's Master of Horse toured southern England meeting Tories and discussing their proposals. In November 1743 Louis XV of France authorised a large-scale invasion of southern England in February 1744 which was to be a surprise attack. Troops were to march from their winter quarters to hidden invasion barges which were to take them and Charles Edward Stuart, with the guidance of English Jacobite pilots to Maldon in Essex where they were to be joined by local Tories in an immediate march on London. Charles, (later known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender) was in exile in Rome with his father ( James Stuart, the Old Pretender), and rushed to France.

As late as 13 February the British were still unaware of these intentions, and while they then arrested many suspected Jacobites the French plans really went astray on 24 February when one of the worst storms of the century scattered the French fleets which were about to battle for control of the English Channel, sinking one ship and putting five out of action.

The barges had begun embarking some 10,000 troops and the storm wrecked the troop and equipment transports, sinking some with the loss of all hands. Charles was officially informed on 28 February that the invasion had been cancelled. The British lodged strong diplomatic objections to the presence of Charles, and France declared war but gave Charles no more support.

The Rising of 1745 ('The Forty-Five')

Such is the connection between 1745 and the rising in the Gaelic mindset, that the '45 is known as Bliadhna Theàrlaich (Charles' Year) in Scottish Gaelic.

Charles continued to believe that he could reclaim the kingdom and recalled that early in 1744 a small number of Scottish Highland clan chieftains had sent a message that they would rise if he arrived with as few as 3,000 French troops. Living at French expense, he continued to petition ministers for commitment to another invasion, to their increasing irritation. In secrecy he also developed a plan with a consortium of Nantes privateers, funded by exiled Scots bankers and pawning of his mother's jewelry. They fitted out a small frigate Du Teillay and a ship of the line the Elisabeth and set out from Nantes for Scotland in July 1745 on the pretence that this was a normal privateering cruise, leaving a personal letter from Charles to Louis XV of France announcing the departure and asking for help with the rising. The Elisabeth, carrying weapons, supplies and 700 volunteers from the Irish Brigade, encountered the British Navy ship HMS Lion and with both ships badly damaged in the ensuing battle the Elisabeth was forced back, but the Du Teillay successfully landed Charles with his seven men of Moidart on the island of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides on 2 August 1745.

The Scottish clans and their chieftains initially showed little enthusiasm about his arrival without troops or munitions (with Alexander MacDonald of Sleat and Norman MacLeod of MacLeod refusing even to meet with him), but Charles went on to Moidart and on 19 August 1745 raised the standard at Glenfinnan to lead the Second Jacobite Rising in his father's name. This attracted about 1,200 men, mostly of Clan MacDonald of Clan Ranald, Clan MacDonell of Glengarry, Clan MacDonald of Keppoch, and Clan Cameron. The Jacobite force marched south from Glenfinnan, increasing to almost 3,000 men, though two chieftains insisted on pledges of compensation before joining.

David Morier's painting Culloden shows the highlanders still wearing the plaids which they normally set aside before battle, where they would fire a volley then run full tilt at the enemy with broadsword and targe in the " Highland charge" wearing only their shirts.

A list of clans that "came out" to join the Pretender, or were prevented from doing so, is given below.

Britain was still in the midst of the War of the Austrian Succession and most of the British army was in Flanders and Germany, leaving an inexperienced army of about 4,000 in Scotland under Sir John Cope. His force marched north into the Highlands but, believing the rebel force to be stronger than it really was, avoided an engagement with the Jacobites at the Pass of Corryairack and withdrew northwards to Inverness. The Jacobites captured Perth and at Coatbridge on the way to Edinburgh routed two regiments of the government's Dragoons. In Edinburgh there was panic with a melting away of the City Guard and Volunteers and when the city gate at the Netherbow Port was opened at night, to let a coach through, a party of Camerons rushed the sentries and seized control of the city. The next day King James VIII was proclaimed at the Mercat Cross and a triumphant Charles entered Holyrood palace.

Cope's army got supplies from Inverness then sailed from Aberdeen down to Dunbar to meet the Jacobite forces near Prestonpans to the east of Edinburgh. On 21 September 1745 at the Battle of Prestonpans a surprise attack planned by Lord George Murray routed the government forces, as celebrated in the Jacobite song Hey, Johnnie Cope, Are Ye Waking Yet?. Charles immediately wrote again to France pleading for a prompt invasion of England. There was alarm in England, and in London a patriotic song which included a prayer for Marshal Wade's success in crushing the rebels was performed, later to become the National Anthem.

The Jacobites held the city of Edinburgh, though not the castle. Charles held court at Holyrood palace for five weeks amidst great admiration and enthusiasm, but failed to raise a regiment locally. Many of the highlanders went home with booty from the battle and recruiting resumed, though Whig clans opposing the Jacobites were also getting organised. The French now sent some weapons and funds, and assurances that they would carry out their invasion of England by the end of the year. Charles's Council of war led by Murray was against leaving Scotland, but he told them that he had received English Tory assurances of a rising if he appeared in England in arms, and the Council agreed to march south by a margin of one vote.

Success at Prestonpans had not, as is often claimed, left the rebels in control of Scotland, for the great bulk of the population remained bitterly hostile to the absolutist Stuarts who, prior to their expulsion in a popular revolution, had presided over the notorious persecutions known as Scotland's ' Killing Times'. Many Scottish burghs offered burgess status to any man who would volunteer to fight against the Jacobites and, when the rebels passed near the town of Ecclefechan in Dumfriesshire, local loyalists mounted a raid on their baggage train.

The Jacobite army of under six thousand men had set out on 3 November. During the delay the government had brought seasoned troops back from the continent and an army under General George Wade assembled at Newcastle. Charles wanted to confront them, but on the advice of Lord George Murray and the Council they made for Carlisle and successfully bypassed Wade. At Manchester about 250 Episcopalians formed a regiment, but no other Englishmen joined the Prince. At the end of November French ships arrived in Scotland with 800 men from the Écossais Royeaux (Royal Scots) and Irish Regiments of the French army.

The Jacobite army, now reduced by desertions to under 5,000 men, was manoeuvred by Murray round to the east of a second government army under the Duke of Cumberland and marched on Derby.

They entered Derby on 4 December, only 125 miles (200 km) from London, with a resentful Charles by then barely on speaking terms with Murray. Charles was advised of progress on the French invasion fleet which was then assembling at Dunkirk, but at his Council of War he was forced to admit to his previous lies about assurances. While Charles was determined to press on in the deluded belief that their success was due to soldiers of the regulars never daring to fight against their true prince, his Council and Lord George Murray pointed out their position. The promised English support had not materialised, both Wade and Cumberland were approaching, London was heavily defended and there was a fictitious report from a government double agent of a third army closing on them.

March of the Guards to Finchley (1750), William Hogarth's satirical depiction of troops mustered to defend London from the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.

They insisted that their army should return to join the growing force in Scotland. This time only Charles voted to continue the advance, and he assented while throwing a tantrum and vowing never to consult the Council again. On 6 December, the Jacobites sullenly began their retreat, with a petulant Charles refusing to take any part in running the campaign which was fortunate given the excellent leadership of Murray, whose brilliant feints and careful planning extracted the army virtually intact. The French got news of the retreat and cancelled their invasion which was now ready, while English Tories who had just sent a message pledging support if Charles reached London went to ground again.

There was a rearguard action to the north of Penrith. The Manchester Regiment was left behind to defend Carlisle and after a siege by Cumberland had to surrender, to face hanging or transportation. Many died in Carlisle Castle, where they were imprisoned in brutal conditions along with Scots prisoners whom Morier allegedly painted to depict the kilted clansmen in battle. Many of the cells there still show hollows licked into the stone walls, as prisoners had only the damp and moss on these stones to sustain themselves.

The Young Pretender had his headquarters at the County Hotel during a 3-day sojourn in Dumfries towards the end of 1745. £2,000 was demanded by the Prince, together with 1,000 pairs of brogues for his kilted Jacobite rebel army, which was camping in a field not one hundred yards distant. A rumour, however, that the Duke of Cumberland was approaching, made Bonnie Prince Charlie decide to leave with his army, with only £1,000 and 255 pairs of shoes having been handed over.

By Christmas the Jacobites came to Glasgow and forced the city to re-provision their army, then on 3 January left to seize the town of Stirling and begin an ineffectual siege of Stirling Castle. Jacobite reinforcements joined them from the north and on 17 January about 8,000 of Charles's 9,000 men took the offensive to the approaching General Henry Hawley at the Battle of Falkirk and routed his forces.

The Jacobite army then turned north, losing men and failing to take Stirling Castle or Fort William but taking Fort Augustus and Fort George in Inverness by early April. Charles now took charge again, insisting on fighting an orthodox defensive action, and on 16 April 1746 they were finally defeated near Inverness at the Battle of Culloden by government forces made up of English and Scottish troops and Campbell militia, under the command of the Duke of Cumberland. The seemingly suicidal Highland sword charge against cannon and muskets had succeeded when launched against unprepared or disordered troops in earlier battles but failed now that it was pitted against regulars who had time to form their ranks properly. Charles promptly abandoned his army, blaming everything on the treachery of his officers, even though after the defeat the stragglers and unengaged units rallied at the agreed rendezvous and only dispersed when ordered to leave.

Charles fled to France making a dramatic if humiliating escape disguised as a "lady's maid" to Flora MacDonald. Cumberland's forces crushed the uprising and effectively ended Jacobitism as a serious political force in Britain. The decline of Jacobitism left Charles making futile attempts to enlist assistance, and another abortive plot to raise support in England.

Planned invasion of 1759

During the Seven Years' War, the French drew up a plan to invade the British Isles and met with Charles Stuart to discuss the possibility of his landing in either Ireland or Scotland to raise a rebellion. Charles refused, saying he would only cross the channel if it was to lead a rebellion in England. The French were not convinced that Charles could deliver on his promises of raising large support in Britain, and cut him out of the plan. Nonetheless they hoped that Jacobites would support their forces once they landed. The planned invasion was eventually abandoned following British victory at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in November 1759 which dramatically weakened the French navy.

Many of the Highland clans which had previously taken up arms for the Jacobite cause were now fighting with British forces around the world, where they played an important part in the many British victories during the war.

List of clans that joined the Pretender

Eventually the following clans "came out" to join the Pretender: Clan Baird, Clan Cameron, Clan Chisholm, Clan Drummond, Clan Farquharson, Clan Grant of Glenmoriston, Clan Hay, Clan MacLea, Clan MacBain, Clan MacColl, Clan Macdonald of Clanranald, Clan MacDonald of Glencoe, Clan MacDonnell of Glengarry, Clan MacDonald of Keppoch, MacDonnell of the Isles, Clan Macfie, Clan Macgillivray, Clan MacGregor, Clan MacInnes, Clan Mackintosh, Clan MacIver, Clan Mackinnon, Clan Maclachlan, Clan MacLaren, Clan MacLeod of Raasay, Clan MacNeil of Barra, Clan Macpherson, Clan Menzies, Clan Morrison, Clan Ogilvy, Clan Oliphant, Clan Robertson, Clan Stewart of Appin, Clan Urquhart.

Furthermore, the regiment of Atholl Highlanders was mostly made up of members of Clan Murray, Clan Fergusson, and Clan Stewart of Atholl. Significant numbers of men from Clan Elphinstone, Clan Forbes, Clan Keith, Clan MacIntyre, Clan MacKenzie, Clan MacLean, Clan MacLeod of MacLeod, Clan MacLeod of Lewis, Clan MacTavish, Clan MacMillan, Clan Maxwell, Clan Ramsay, Clan Wemyss and a few members of the Clan Innes also joined the Jacobite army.

The Clan Fraser also joined the pretender and fought at Culloden. Many men of the Clan Gordon joined the Jacobites led by the chief's brother Lord Lewis Gordon. Although the chief of Clan Gordon claimed to support the British government his brother raised two regiments in support of the Jacobites.

Some chieftains who were trying or planning to raise their clan for the Pretender were stopped or even imprisoned, notably Sir James Campbell of Auchnabreck and Alexander MacDougall of Dunollie, who were stopped from raising Clan Campbell of Auchnabreck and Clan MacDougall by Campbell of Argyll, and Sir Hector MacLean and Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry, who would have raised Clan MacLean and Clan MacTavish had they not been imprisoned by the government.

Common misconceptions about the Jacobites and the '45

  • It was not a war between Highlanders and Lowlanders. Many major Highland clans supported the British government including: Clan Sutherland, Clan Sinclair, Clan Campbell, Clan MacKay, Clan Munro, Clan Ross, Clan Gunn, Clan MacLeod, Clan Grant of Freuchie and others, along with Scottish Lowlands regiments. On the Jacobite side, Scottish Episcopalians provided over half of their forces in Britain, and although Dundee's rising in 1689 came mostly from the western Highlands, in later risings Episcopalians came roughly equally from the north-east Scottish Lowlands north of the River Tay and from the Highland clans. In the '45 the Jacobite forces were joined by about 250 English Episcopalians, and at Culloden by 800 men from the Écossais Royaux (Royal Scots) and Irish Brigade Regiments of the French army.
  • It was not a war between England and Scotland. It was actually a bid to reclaim not just the defunct Scottish throne but that of Great Britain as well as the Irish throne with support from Europe. Though donning Highland garb for psychological effect, the Jacobite army was made up of both Highland and (about one-third) Lowland troops, not to mention French and Irish troops and small numbers of northern English (a contingent which is often overlooked).
  • Jacobite soldiers were not always plaid-wearing, sword-wielding highlanders. Many Jacobite troops dressed as any other Northern-European man would've at the time, bar their Scottish bonnets. The romanticised view of the kilted highlander only applied to troops from mountainous areas. Few troops also carried swords and shields, but instead would use local firearms or imported French muskets and equipment. Contrary to popular belief, the highlanders by this point did not wield two-handed so-called Claymores, but would only use broadswords by the time of the uprising, or the Lochaber axe, a simple polearm.
  • Not all Lowlanders were forced to join the Jacobite army. Recruiting records show the Lowlands north of the Tay provided many volunteers, including some gentry. England also supplied some volunteers, including a small regiment. Indeed, Highlanders were probably more often pressed into service than Lowlanders. The act of pressing was not exclusive to the Jacobites; it was also used by most other contemporary armies, including the British Army.
  • Although the Jacobite army's organisation has been characterised as a backward clan-based relic, with inexperienced commanders and untrained troops, it was similar to most other contemporary armies. Many Jacobite commanders had seen service in various armies, and field commander George Murray was capable and experienced in modern warfare. While many Jacobite soldiers were of poor appearance, some without even shoes, they proved capable of defeating British regulars under certain circumstances. The hardiness, individuality, and resourcefulness of Highlanders made them known as some of the best troops in the British Army.
  • It is said that London was defenceless and might easily have fallen to the rebels had they advanced in 1745. In fact London was garrisoned by significant forces at that time and King George II had no intention of abandoning his capital.
  • It is said that Jacobite soldiers were ordered to "give no quarter" at Culloden. That is what Cumberland’s troops believed, because that is what Cumberland told them after the battle: that an order to that effect, signed by the Jacobite General Lord George Murray, had been found on a prisoner. But the 'order' was apparently a forgery, which helped to dehumanise the Jacobite troops and perpetuate their image as savages. Many in Britain at once believed the story of a "no quarter" order, and many also thought it justified their own army’s uncommonly savage behaviour after winning the battle, when government troops abused and butchered many prisoners, and even onlookers (including children). To deepen the mystery of who wrote the alleged order, it has been persuasively argued that the 'forgery' was no such thing; that "Whoever wrote it cannot seriously have drawn it up with a view to passing it off as genuine orders issued by Lord George." On the contrary, the inserted command "to give no Quarters to the Electors Troops on any account whatsoever" may genuinely have been found on the official, signed orders in a Jacobite prisoner's pocket; it may indeed have been interpolated by a Jacobite hand, and Cumberland may have been sincere when he announced the discovery of the apparently incriminating document to his outraged army. After issuing instructions for the coming battle, Lord George Murray tried to pre-empt it by leading a bungled attempt to ambush the Hanoverian army in their tents as they slept. He refused to give any separate orders for this attack because "everybody knew what he had to do": that is, "to cut the tent strings and pull down the poles, and where we observed a swelling or bulge in the fallen tent there to strike and push vigorously” with “sword, dirk and bayonet". It is conceivable that a Jacobite officer, in the absence of any separate orders for the intended merciless night-attack, simply amended those he had already been given. (Speck, 148–155). Nonetheless, in the morning the exhausted Jacobite soldiers were certainly not ordered to “give no quarter” at the Battle of Culloden itself.
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