Jacobite soldiers were ‘modern’ fighters, new book claims

Fight for Throne book cover
Fight for Throne book cover
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A FRESH take on the 1745 Jacobite Rising - a pivotal moment in British history – claims ‘hardy Highlanders’ fighting the cause for Bonnie Prince Charlie were ‘more modern’ than originally thought.

To celebrate its 270th anniversary year, Dr Christopher Duffy, Chairman of the 1745 Association, has launched his work Fight for a Throne. The Jacobite ’45 Reconsidered at the Culloden Centre – the site of the Jacobites’ brutal and final defeat.

“The 1745 Rising is an extraordinary episode,” said Dr Duffy, who taught Military History at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and the College of the British General Staff.

“How was it possible for a handful of men without arms or any preparation to have landed on a remote coast of Scotland and, within a matter of months, to have put the regime of King George II within thinkable distance of its overthrow?

“Hard-headed men of the time were using the words ‘miraculous’ and ‘epic’ when they looked at something that seemed to defy the laws of probability.

“I think readers will be surprised to learn that the army of Prince Charles was more ‘modern’ than has so far been appreciated.

‘They were a well-disciplined and well-drilled force, which brought together hardy Highlanders, steady Lowlanders and contingents of French Regulars and military experts.

“Time and time again the Jacobites beat their enemies in open battle, and almost until the end, they proved themselves to be superior in the fields of supply, intelligence and mobility.”

Duffy argues that the Duke of Cumberland’s victory at Culloden set in train the processes that, over the course of many years, were to transform the face of Scotland - and through emigration, exercise a profound effect on parts of the world as distant as Canada and New Zealand.

“It is all the more surprising - in fact, almost incredible - that the scene of the combat, still largely wild and intact, should now be under threat of being destroyed by development,” he adds.

The launch of Fight for a Throne took place at the National Trust for Scotland’s Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre just outside of Inverness. Dr Duffy gave a talk, discussing his personal journey re-examining the Jacobite Rising.

The book, published by one of the world’s leading military history publishers Helion & Company Ltd., can be ordered online at www.helion.co.uk

“Dr Duffy has published some 20 books on military history,” said Publisher Duncan Rogers. “His special interest in the Jacobite Rising makes him the perfect choice to retell the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart.

“We are privileged to have worked with him on a book that I believe will appeal to both academics and those who have a passion for Scottish history. This particular episode has an enduring appeal, which benefits greatly from Dr Duffy’s meticulous reappraisal.”

Katey Boal, learning manager of Culloden said: “Although brief, the Battle of Culloden is a topic which has fascinated for centuries. We look forward to reading Dr Duffy’s latest examination of this critical event in our history.”

Established in 1931, the National Trust for Scotland protects and promotes Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy. With over 310,000 members it is the largest conservation charity in Scotland.

Culloden Battlefield is an important part of Scotland’s story and the trust has been managing the site since the 1930’s.

At this site on 16 April 1746, the Jacobite army fought to reclaim the throne of Britain from the Hanoverians for a Stuart king.