Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Unsung Hero

There are many people in the Jacobite Uprising of '45 that do not get the credit they should. Far too many brave men and women go unremembered in history, and it's usually the normal people who bring their stories down through the ages.

Today, I am going to talk about a man named Roderick MacKenzie

Near Inverness, by the River Moriston there is a cairn with the inscription:

At this spot in 1746 died Roderick MacKenzie an officer in the army of Charles Edward Stuart. Of the same size and of similar resemblance to his Royal Prince when surrounded and overpowered by the troops of the Duke of Cumberland gallantly died in attempting to save his fugitive leader from further pursuit.

Roderick MacKenzie was a Jacobite and, as the plaque said, he resembled Bonnie Prince Charlie. One day when he was going down the road, he met up with an English patrol. Seeing his likeness to the Bonnie Prince, they overpowered him and killed him. As Roderick lay dying, he was reported to have said, "You have slain your prince," making them think they really had killed Charlie, and thus keeping the redcoats from their chase a little bit longer.

The redcoats cut off poor Roderick's head and brought it back to London for identification, hoping to collect the 30,000 pound reward for the head of Prince Charlie. It is a well known fact that, though there was a huge reward for Prince Charlie, no one ever betrayed him. Too many times before in history had Scotland betrayed it's heroes (like in the cases of Wallace and Montrose) and the people responsible for it had gone down in history as quislings and traitors and were not mentioned without being spat at. No one wanted to be the one to go down in history for being the person who betrayed the Bonnie Prince, so they helped Charlie hide and escape instead of betraying him for the huge reward offered by the crown. Roderick MacKenzie felt this way, and he gave his life for his prince.

Roderick's friends found his body and buried him close to where he fell by the Stream of the Merchant. (This was possibly named for Roderick, him being a merchant.) The grave oridinally had no headstone, but the Clan MacKenzie Society, who have a commemoration there every year to honor the hero, donated a plaque to tell about what happened to Roderick.

It reads:

"Here in consecrated ground rest the mortal remains of Roderick MacKenzie, merchant of Fisherow and son of an Edinburgh Jeweller, slain by Cumberland's Redcoat troops late in July 1746, three months after the Battle of Culloden, because he selflessly encouraged them to mistake him for Prince Charles Edward Stuart, whom he closely resembled in age, stature and colouring and whom he served faithfully to the end."

Roderick's story is a wonderful example of true Scottish loyalty, and though not much is known about him, this little bit of a story, is, I think, a wonderful addition to the Jacobites' history.

Slainte, Hazel

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Book Review

Because we've been talking about the Jacobites all month, I have decided to recommend to you what I think is one of the best works of fiction on the Jacobites that has ever been written. If you have not yet read Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, you should definitely have a go at it.

Stevenson is probably one of my favorite writers ever. I have loved all his books that I have ever read but Kidnapped is one of my favorites. For those of you who have not read the story, it's set about five years after the Jacobite Rising of '45 and is about a boy, David Balfour, who goes to find his inheritance after his parents are dead. His crazy uncle has him kidnapped and put aboard a ship to be sold as a slave in America. On the voyage, the ship meets with a small boat that is carrying a passenger who was supposed to be getting on a ship to France, but because of the fog that had grown thick, there was a mixup and he ended up on the same ship as David. The man's name is Alan Breck and he is a Jacobite who carries gold from the Highland clans to Bonnie Prince Charlie exiled in France.

This really is a wonderful story, exciting and with history woven through it. It has great historic people like Alan Breck and Cluny McPherson and even an appearance by one of Rob Roy's sons. The story is based heavily around the incident of the Appin Murder (I will post something on this next) which actually happened. This is, in short, a perfect book for anyone who enjoys either a good adventure or Scottish history.

I'll be back monday, have a good weekend!

Slainte, Hazel

Sunday, April 18, 2010


So, the Scots lost Culloden and their whole way of living was in danger of being destroyed by English rule. I always find it so amazing that Scotland has always survived even though they have been beaten and battered through their long history of invasion and terror and tyranny. It's one of the smallest countries in the world, but they have had one of the biggest world-wide impressions. (It's been said that the Scots invented the modern world) and they show their faces through everyone's history. Instead of just talking about the aftermath of Culloden, I decided to post this poem I wrote conveying some of the feelings I thought someone who fought under Prince Charlie might have had after the defeat at Culloden. It's called "Highlander's Lament After Culloden."

Where is the Highland courage
That we saw in days lang gone?
When oor men fought wi' nae reserve
An' money a battle won.

Scotland's courage is noo a' fled
An' we're left wi' a hollow land.
Oh, why this e'er had tae be
I'll ne'er understand!

We met the English on Drumossie Moor
Where we fought the battle sair;
Wi' oor rightful king at oor head,
Ye'd think that wouldna dare!

But the Sassenachs stripped us of oor rights
Tae be Scottish anymore.
They've ta'en awa' oor tartan plaid
An' oor e'er true Claymore.

They've chased us oot o' oor dear land,
Made fugitives of us a'.
But one thing we ken in each oor heairts
Is that we will defy them until we fa'.

Mony are exiled on France's shores,
Perhaps ne'er tae see their land again.
Captive wi' their king in a foreign land,
Chased frae the field of battle we couldna win.

Other hae been ta'en captive,
Tried and butchered in London Toon.
But oor men are brave and oor heairts are true,
And at least in spirit they'll ne'er bring us doon.

We're hunted and harried and murdered and tried,
We're exiled and ta'en awa' frae oor hames.
A' oor brave men lay on bloody Culloden,
The birds picking o'er their bleach-ed banes.

Perhaps some day, the time will come
When Chairlie will come once more.
He may be triumphant, he may right oor wrangs;
He may be defeated like we were before.

But until that time, we'll drink a toast,
Always tae the King O'er the Sea.
And do or die, we'll wait for him
Until he comes back oor king tae be!

Here's a song for the day as well: Highlander's Farewell

Slainte, Hazel

Friday, April 16, 2010

Culloden Part 2

Yesterday, we left off with the Highlanders standing on Drumossie Moor, awaiting the English under the Duke of Cumberland and his army to come and give them battle. The mustering was confusion; officers were riding around, trying to get the Highland men into proper battle formation. There were many deserters, leaving the field because they lost hope that there would be a fight at all. Highlanders are not very patient when it comes to fighting. By ten o'clock in the morning, about five thousand exhausted and weary Highlanders stood on the moor. It was sleeting and gusty and they had not been fed for lack of provisions and time.

Cumberland, on the other hand had fed his men on bread and cheese and brandy and was taking his own sweet time to get to the moor, his men in good order; weapons at the ready. He had fifteen infantry regiments, eight hundred mounted dragoons and artillery of ten three pounder guns and six mortars (Cannons). 

By eleven o'clock a.m. the two armies could see each other across the field, Cumberland's troops in two lines with the flanking dragoons and their guns in front. The Jacobite army was outnumbered by about two to three thousand men and they were drawn up loosely, with the clansmen in the center and the lacking cavalry at the rear. There were about five hundred meters between the two armies of boggy moorland. The officers had been in much debate about the choice of place for their pitched battle. Highlanders had been accustomed to fighting in the hills with fantastic result (as in the Battle of Killiecrankie), and were devastating when charging down hill. Lord George Murray, one of the officers, saw Culloden as a death trap. He knew that charging on flat ground against English cannon was not an ideal way to win a battle.

The engagement started around noon. Cumberland ordered for his artillery to open fire on the Scotsmen and the cannonballs were soon plowing into the ranks of the massed Highlanders, just standing on the field awaiting an order to charge. The line of communication was in turmoil and it took forever to issue the order.

Finally, with a shout of "CLAYMORE!" the signal to charge, all the clansmen surged forward, shouting their clans' war cries and throwing off their heavy, sodden tartans so they would have more freedom of movement. They ran forward right into the line of fire. The English were now using grapeshot (a deadly canister of musket balls and metal bits that scattered widely) and it reeked havoc among the Highland troops. Nothing was to stop the Jacobites though, they ran right to the line of English soldiers, with their swords and dirks and targes. 

The English had been trained against the Highland charge, by attacking the Scotsman coming up on their right instead of the one right in front of them. It was a bit of a tricky situation, for if the man standing next to you failed to dispatch the Highlander coming right at you, then you would both die. Obviously, they were not all successful, because the Highlanders were able to break the line if only briefly.

Many of the Highlanders now were laying dead and wounded on the field. Despite their fury, they were no match for English guns and they were soon forced to retreat the field or all be slain. The last resistances were put down by the English dragoons who chased the Jacobites off the field. The Scots had lost about 1,500; far too outnumbered to fight against the Hanoverian troops again. 

There were many losses for the Highland clans. The chief of the MacDonalds of Keppoch was killed and Cameron of Lochiel, a loyal follower of the Bonnie Prince was carried off the field by his clansmen after both his ankles had been shattered by a cannonball. Lord George Murray managed to rally some of the men and withdraw in a more orderly fashion. He was the last to leave the field. It is recorded that Prince Charlie was escorted off the field in tears after he saw the destruction and deaths of the men who followed him faithfully.

The men were forced to disperse into the Highland hills where they could escape from the English dragoons sent to follow them and kill as many as they could. All the wounded left on the battlefield were soon put to the sword.

The battle itself marked the decline of the clan system. The English proclaimed that Highland dress including tartan, kilts, and even bagpipes were outlawed and anyone who had taken part in the Jacobite Uprising was hunted down and executed in London at Tyburn. The last resistance of men hid in the Highlands where the Bonnie Prince was now too in hiding. he eventually escaped and was able to get away back to France with the hopes of coming back to fight again someday. 

Culloden, as you can see, was one of the darkest milestones in Scotland's history. It is still remembered today and anyone who goes to Culloden can feel the horror that happened there. It's still a forlorn looking place. Empty and barren. Commemorations are held every year for the brave men who fought and died there for the right of Scotland's freedom against English tyranny.

Here is your song for the day: Culloden's Harvest
This is a very sad but beautiful song that I think captures the feelings perfectly. 

I'll be back next week for more Jacobite related posts. Have a good weekend!

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Culloden Part 1

"THE BATTLE OF CULLODEN was fought on this moore 16th of April 1746. 
The Graves of the Gallant Highlanders who fought for SCOTLAND & PRINCE CHARLIE are marked by the names of their clans."

This is the inscription on the Memorial Cairn on Culloden Moore, erected in 1881. Culloden used to be called Drumossie Moor; it was a bleak place, covered in heather and bracken and boggy ground. A typical Highland moore perhaps, but it is the place of one of the most remembered battles that ever happened in Scotland's history.

The battle was actually supposed to happen the day before on the 15th. After Prince Charlie and his Scottish troops came back up north into the Highlands, they took Inverness up by Loch Ness, and made that the army's headquarters. The troops were hungry. Their supplies and reinforcements, coming from the French, were blockaded by the British Navy and waylaid. William, Duke of Cumberland, was leading the English army closer and closer by the day. Charlie was faced with the decision to either flee farther into the Highlands, or make a stand. Obviously, they decided it best to fight. On April 14th, Cumberland reached Nairn, twenty kilometers from Inverness and the Jacobites knew that if they were to abandon their position now, it would mean loosing all their ammunition stores in Inverness and the precious little food they had left. 

Messages were sent to recall all units who had gone out on missions, and on the 14th of April, Prince Charlie rode out of Inverness at the head of his men to go to Culloden House, just to the east of Inverness and quickly made it his new headquarters. 

At six o'clock on the morning of Tuesday, April 15th, the Jacobite army formed up on the moor and waited for the English army to come. Prince Charlie was determined to meet The Duke of Cumberland in pitched battle. The day was cold and wet in the spring weather, and the moore, being low ground must have pooled freezing water around the unprotected feet of the Highland men; the freezing, sleety rain soaking their wool tartans. They waited there all day, but the Duke never showed. It was only found out later that he had ordered a rest day for his troops in celebration of his twenty-fifth birthday. If you thought Johnny Cope was bad, what do you think about this? Absolutely appalling!

When they realized that he wasn't going to appear, Lord George Murray, one of the commanders, urged the Jacobites to take the upper hand while they had it and make an offensive attack on the English. Prince Charlie liked the idea, so they set off for a night attack. The men, who had been standing in the rain and cold all day were exhausted and heavy-hearted, and this sudden plan, didn't go over to well in their minds. They started out at mine o'clock that night and by two in the morning, they had only gotten six kilometers. They were traveling over rough terrain, keeping off the rode, and no one knew where they were going. By dawn, they were still six kilometers away from the enemy, and all their chances of surprise were taken away by the coming of the morning light, so the officers called a retreat. When Prince Charlie heard this, he shrugged and said, "It is no matter, then; we shall meet then and behave like brave fellows."

When they men got back to Culloden, they immediately fell to the ground and slept, exhausted and starving. Soon though, the pipes skirled out a muster and the clans were roused to take their positions once again on the moore in battle fashion. Cumberland's troops were spotted only six kilometers away and were coming in fast...

That was part one, I will post part two tomorrow and talk about the real Battle of Culloden.

Here's your song for the day: The Wee Grey Finch

Slainte, Hazel

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Overview

Prince Charlie's campaign, did not have as many high points as he would have liked. When he got to Scotland's shores, he went to Glenfinnan where he met his loyal Highlanders and led them off to the war. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on the battles right now, because I will tell about them in later months when they actually happened, but the first blow was an amazing victory for the Jacobites. It happened at Prestonpans, on the 21st of September in 1745. The English commander, General Johnny Cope (immortalized in the folk song) challenged Prince Charlie to battle. The Jacobites attacked the English early in the morning before they knew what was going on, and, under the cover of a think fog, the Highlanders won the day, loosing only about thirty men when the English lost over two hundred! 

Charlie took his army south into England. Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army, are known as the Scots who have gotten the farthest on an English invasion. They got all the way down to Derby in the freezing winter of 1745. They had planned to march on London as well but the weather did not permit it and they marched back up north to fight the final battles of the war.

The next battle happened on January 17th 1746 at Falkirk Muir. It was most commonly known as a draw, but I think the Jacobites really did have the upper hand. After that battle, Prince Charlie decided that he needed to fight the battle that would decide the fate of Scotland, as he put it. That was what brought them to Culloden, up in the north by Inverness, and disaster.

That was a very short synopsis of what went on, but as I said, I will go into more detail later. This week I will be telling in detail about the Battle of Culloden, so come back!

Here are two songs for the day:

Johnny Cope (This is one of my personal favorites!)

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully!

Slainte, Hazel

Friday, April 9, 2010

White Roses and Blue Bonnets

I've already told about where the Jacobites got their name from and all that. Today I am going to talk about the symbol they used. The popular symbol for the Jacobites, was a white rose (The White Rose of York) adopted from the heraldic symbol used in the War of the Roses. When worn it was made into a cockade of ribbon and usually worn in the bonnet with the clan badge and representative plant so that everyone could see that as well as being, say, a MacDonald, the wearer was also a Jacobite. Anyone not a Jacobite (usually the Lowlanders were Whigs) would wear a black cockade in their bonnets, saying that they were for England. Most of the time, if you look at English military uniforms from the 17 and 18 hundreds, you can see that they wear a black cockade in their hats. The white rose today is still used as a representative flower in Scotland, while the red rose is usually a symbol of England. There is a story that the white rose originated as the Jacobite symbol when Bonnie Prince Charlie picked a wild rose and stuck it in his hat. 

The Jacobites also made famous the blue bonnets. They wore these with the white cockades and these became known as the typical look for the Jacobite armies of 1745. I have not as yet been able to find where the blue bonnets originated, if anyone has any information on this, please share. I do know that in heraldry, the color blue represents loyalty, so that may have something to do with it since the Jacobites were loyal to the true king of Scots. 

Here's your song for the day. The White Cockade, sung by The Corries! Enjoy!

I'll be back next week with more posts as we approach the Battle of Culloden, have a good weekend!

Slainte, Hazel

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Tartan Day!!

Taking a wee break on Jacobite matters for the day, I want to wish you all a happy Tartan Day! Tartan Day is a holiday celebrated by Scottish-Americans so they get a day to wear the tartan too! Here's a website all about it. So wear a bit of tartan today, weather it's a kilt or not, to celebrate the Scots.

Today is also a historical event. After Robert the Bruce fought at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, he might have one Scotland's freedom in his own mind, but, as with all wars, things very rarely end on the battlefield. There was a lot of cleaning up to do before England would see Scotland as a free country. More battles were fought, and finally led to a two year truce, enacted by Edward II of England. Bruce took this opportunity to make diplomatic maneuvers abroad. He appealed to the pope, but because of the incident where he had killed Red Comyn in a church, the pope had excommunicated him so he would not give him the help he needed. Bruce didn't give up and set about penning a document with his council for the pope, asking him to recognize him as the King of Scots. This document became known as the Declaration of Arbroath, today is the day, in 1320, when it was said to be received by the pope.

The Declaration of Arbroath is very much like America's Declaration of Independence. The language both the documents use is very similar. One of the most popular parts in the Declaration of Arbroath is this:

"For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, we shall never on any conditions be subjected to English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honors that we fight, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up except with his life."

Slainte, Hazel (And once again, Happy Tartan Day!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Bit of Backstory

I have already said a little about the Jacobites in my last post, but now I am going to talk a little about the history behind what we are going to be talking about this month. The Jacobites were formed after the Union (that is the union between England and Scotland creating Britain) and, unlike the Wars for Independence in Bruce and Wallace's day, they were trying to get, not a king on their own throne, but a king on the throne of both England and Scotland. In the sixteen hundreds, when you had the great leaders like Montrose and Bonnie Dundee, they were trying to get the Stuart heir on the throne. The Stuarts, as I have probably said before are the royal family of Scotland and have been since Robert the Bruce. (His daughter married a Stuart, thus creating the royal family.) Montrose (James Graham)  fought for Charles I (famous for getting his head cut off) and Bonnie Dundee (John Graham of Claverhouse) fought for James II (VII of Scots). The English wanted William of Orange (a Dutchman) on the throne, thus starting what I like to call the "foreign invasion" of Britain. This wasn't only a war for rightful rulers, but also one of religion which made it all the more bloody and horrible. By the time the 1715 Uprising came around with James III, religion had been forgotten, and the Scots only wanted their rightful ruler on the throne. This was the time when the Hanoverians (a German family) were set on the throne of Britain. This caused outrage among a lot of people, because the new king of England couldn't even speak English without a translator. In the 1745 Uprising, George II was on the throne and he earned himself the nickname "German Gerogie" or in the Scottish dialect "Jarmin Geordie". There was a popular song at the time that says, "What the divil do we have for a king but a wee, wee German lairdie?" This caused animosity in Scotland so they decided to try again to get a Stuart leader on the throne. This leader came in the form of Charles Edward Stuart, the twenty-five-year-old son of James III who was in exile for his troubles in the '15. He wanted to pick up where his father had failed and took a boat from France where he was staying at the time and went to Scotland to gather the clans to him for his fight. Prince Charles (Called Bonnie Prince Charlie by the Scots) was the model leader at the time. He was young, charismatic, and exceptionally handsome. He had blond curly locks and the lassies all loved him to death. The only problem was that he was not a very strong leader. The Highlanders flocked to his banner at Glenfinnan in 1745 and vowed that they would fight to the death for him. I always like to imagine the hundreds of plaided, kilted Highlandmen gathering by the loch at Glenfinnan, marching in with their pipes skirling and their drums beating and in the middle of them all, stands Bonnie Prince Charlie at the foot of his banner. This is one of those moments that shows the real romanticism of Scotland.

So the clans have gathered and the Bonnie Prince is ready for his battle against the English. We'll leave it at that for the day and also with this song called "Up and War then A' Willie" (This is actually one of my favorites, I don't know why!)

Also I did find the link to the Robert Bruce Heritage Center, so take a look if you want.

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Well, it's April now, spring has sprung and it's far too hot for me now, but that just means more time inside doing research and more time to write! This month there will be lots more posts then last month, due to the fact that I actually have something to talk about this month and also that I have finished writing the book I was working on, so my mind is clearer for more historical research!

This month, I am going to be talking about the Jacobites of the 1745 uprising. Perhaps I should explain first what a Jacobite is. The name "Jacobite" comes from Jacobus the Latin name for James. This was in reference to the Stuart kings (the royal family of Scotland) who, at the time of the first Jacobites, were going through a spirt of being called James. The Jacobites, in turn, were the ones loyal to the Scottish kings, and thus against English rule. The opposite of a Jacobite is a Whig, or Whigamore who were pretty much, Scots who had nothing against English rule. The Jacobites I'm going to be talking about this month are actually some of the last Jacobites who fought in the last Jacobites uprising. I have mentioned before that Rob Roy was a Jacobite and that he fought in the 1715 and 1719 uprisings. Those were for James the III of England and (if my calculations are correct) VIII of Scots. The Jacobite uprising of 1745 was for his son, Charles Edward Stuart, more commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. Most people who have read anything about Scottish history have heard of the Bonnie Prince and also of the infamous Battle of Culloden where the clan system was broken. My reason for talking about the Jacobites this month is because the Battle of Culloden was fought on the 16th of April in 1746. It was a sad loss for the Scots and Scottish people today still hold commemorations for the brave men who fought and died on the cold rainy moor. 

So several times a week, this month, I will be posting short things on the 1745 uprising, like the battles that were fought, some of the people who were involved in it and hopefully some good books on the matter. I will also accompany every post with a link to a Jacobite song for your enjoyment. So please check back regularly!

Also some new news to interest you Scottish historians who live in Scotland, they have finally opened the Robert the Bruce Heritage Center in Renton, so if you live anywhere close to that, go see it! You can find more out on The Society of William Wallace website. I seem to have lost the link to the actual Center website, but when I find it again, I will post it.

Also, here is another reminder about the Wallace safe conduct letter. Please go and sign their petition! 

So here's your song for the day. One of my favorites! Here's the Corries singing Johnny Cope 

So keep looking back for posts on the Jacobites!

Slainte, Hazel