Battle of Killiecrankie, Talk:Battle of Killiecrankie
Battle of Killiecrankie
was fought chiefly between highland Scottish clans supporting James II and VII
and government troops (mostly lowland Scots
, often incorrectly labeled "English") supporting William of Orange
on July 27
, during the Glorious Revolution
. Although it was a stunning victory for the Jacobites, it had little overall effect on the outcome of the war and with their leader dead, their forces were scattered at the Battle of Dunkeld
the next month.
William of Orange, invited to England by certain Protestant lords who were not pleased to have a Catholic king who now had a son who was to be raised as a Catholic, as well, invaded in 1688. King James attempted to flee the country on December 11, and succeeded in doing so on December 23. In February 1689, the English Parliament declared that, by fleeing, James had abdicated, and offered the throne jointly to William and Mary
, (Mary was King James' elder daughter; William was her husband and James' nephew), both Protestant
The Scots were divided on what to do. The Stuart line had sat at the head of the combined Scottish/English throne since 1603, and on the throne of Scotland for over 300 years. Although there were few Catholics in the lowlands, there were many in the highlands; and even among Protestants some supported King James. A Convention was called in Edinburgh
to determine the Scottish government's course of action; it opened on March 14 1689
. The majority of the Convention backed William of Orange.
A number of people remained loyal to James, including many of the Highland clans and John Graham of Claverhouse
, Viscount Dundee, a lowland Scot and Episcopalian. Dundee left the Convention, planning, with others loyal to King James (called Jacobites
, from the Latin for James, "Jacobus") to summon another convention at Stirling in James' name. The others, irresolute, decided to attend the Edinburgh Convention once more, and asked Dundee to delay his departure. He refused, and with some of the men from his troop rode away from Edinburgh and to his home, Dudhope Castle
near Dundee. When summoned lay down his arms and return to the Convention, he wrote back, pointing out that he was not, in fact, in arms, that there were threats against his life in Edinburgh, and that his wife was about to give birth, and requested that the summons be either revoked or delayed. Instead, the Estates declared him a rebel and a fugitive on March 30. On April 4, they declared that King James had forfeited the throne, and on April 11 offered it to William and Mary
. Dundee raised the royal standard on Dundee Law, and left for the Highlands in order to raise an army. Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel
, Chief of Clan Cameron, set about forming a confederation of highland clans
loyal to James as soon as William had arrived in England, and Dundee was in contact with him. When Dundee went north, he was pursued by a governmental force of about 3,500, led by General Hugh Mackay
of Scourie, a Highlander who had been in Dutch service with the Scots Brigade for many years. Dundee, moving quickly, outmanoeuvered Mackay, and on May 16 arrived in Glenroy, where the clans had been summoned to meet him on May 18. With a total of some 1800 men, Dundee marched, in hopes of meeting Mackay on grounds favorable to the Highlanders. Unable to do so, he retreated back to Glenroy, where he arrived on June 11. Many of the Highlanders returned to their homes with whatever spoils they had gathered, but Dundee kept some with him.
Blair Castle was a key position that controlled access to the Lowlands. It was owned by the Marquis of Atholl; he promptly headed south to Bath to take the waters for his health. His heir, Lord Murray, was on the government's side. Dundee ordered Patrick Steuart of Ballechin, a relative of the Murrays', to hold Blair Castle for the King; Lord Murray ended up besieging his own castle. Dundee learned that Mackay was at Perth, on his way to assist in taking Blair Castle.
Dundee was determined to intercept Mackay near Blair Atholl
, astride the road through the hills that Mackay would have to pass. Many of the clans had not arrived yet, but he set out anyway and ordered them to follow "with all haste." Ewen himself also had a force of about 240 Camerons with him at the time, and tried to catch up while he dispatched his sons to raise support along the path of march. Ewen overtook Dundee just before he reached Athole, where they were joined by about 300 Irish, under the command of Major-General Cannon.
Dundee held a quick war council with those clan leaders that had arrived, and then immediately set out for the field with his force, now numbering about 2,400. He arrived at the pass before Mackay and set up position on a ridge above the pass. When Mackay arrived they saw they had no hope of attacking Dundee's force, they instead deployed in a line and started firing on them with musket
The Jacobite line was shorter than the Government, due to the disparity in numbers, leaving Ewen in the middle with an open flank on the left. By the time all of the forces were formed up it was late afternoon and the Jacobites had the sun in their eyes, so they simply waited for sunset under the desultory fire from Mackay's forces.
At seven o'clock Dundee gave the order to advance, at which point the entirety of the Highlanders dropped their gear, fired what few muskets they had, and charged. Mackay's forces, realizing the battle was on, stepped up their rate of fire. Eventually the lines met and Mackay's men in the center were "swept away by the furious onset of the Camerons." So fast was the Jacobite charge that many Government troops had insufficient time to fix their bayonet
s, leaving them defenceless at close-quarters (bayonets of this period fitted into the barrel of the musket and prevented firing, so had to be fixed before hand-to-hand fighting.) The battle soon ended with the entirety of Mackay's force fleeing the field, quickly turning into a rout that killed 2,000.
However, the cost of victory was enormous. About one-third of the highlander force was killed. Dundee was fatally wounded at the very beginning of the battle. The latter loss would prove fatal to the Jacobite cause.Category:1689Category:JacobitismKilliecrankie 1689