The story of the battle of Culloden has traditionally
been told from the Jacobite viewpoint. There is no doubt
that it was one of the decisive moments in Scottish
history but the battle did not of itself bring about
the destruction of clan society, or even initiate the
process, however it does dramatically symbolise it's
passing. For those who survived, the Rising was the
defining moment in their lives and so they seem to have
been compelled to produce a most remarkable body of
letters and memoirs describing it at length and in considerable
detail. While immensely valuable in itself this body
of literature is not matched by anything comparable
from the other side and so not only have the Jacobite
memoirs tended to set the agenda, but near total reliance
on those sources, and a partisan tendency to erroneously
refer to Cumberland's soldiers as Hanoverians, glosses
over the fact that Culloden was won by the British Army.
Indeed had the battle of
Culloden been fought against the French alone, the gallant
stand of Barrell's 4th Foot would rank among one of
the British soldier's most desperate fights - indeed
for a time the regiment bore Culloden as a battle honour.
Similarly, while the bloody pursuit by the British cavalry
is routinely condemned - that was exactly what cavalry
were trained to do. Indeed the irony is all the greater
in that Culloden actually ranks as one of the British
cavalry's more successful operations.
The purpose of this book
is therefore to rescue that British Army from an undeserved
obscurity; to describe the army, and also to go some
way to describing the battle as it was seen using letters
written by British officers and soldiers.