The course of British, European and world history was changed at Culloden on 16 April 1746. A ferocious war had come to Scotland, dividing families and setting clan against clan. It was here that the Jacobite army took their last stand to reclaim the thrones of Britain from the Hanoverians for a Stuart king. The Jacobites fought to restore the exiled James VIII as king and were led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart, James’s son; George II’s government army (led by the Duke of Cumberland, George’s son) was equally determined to stop this happening.
National Trust for Scotland
Although a road was built across the battlefield in 1835, attempts have been made by the National Trust for Scotland to restore the parts of the site in their care to how they would have appeared to participants in the battle. Archaeological investigations, including the use of metal detectors to recover musket balls and other battlefield debris, have pinpointed the spots where the heaviest fighting took place. It seems that the Jacobites were using muskets in greater numbers than was first thought, while the recovery of heavy iron shell fragments shows that the government army fired mortars in a bid to halt the onrushing Jacobites.
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This 20-foot-high memorial cairn was erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881. Forbes was the owner of Culloden House (now a luxury hotel), which had been in the hands of his family since the 17th century, and was the descendant of a key figure on the government side in 1746.
On Culloden Moor on April 16 1746 arguably the last Scottish army sought to restore Prince Charles’ father James to a multi-kingdom monarchy more aligned to European politics than colonial struggle. Forget any idea of Highland clans against British regiments. The Jacobites were heavily armed with muskets and formed into conventional regiments. They were drilled according to French conventions and some British army practice and fought next to Franco-Irish and Scoto-French allies. They possessed numerous artillery pieces and fired more balls per man than the British.