Today, the 16th April, in 1746 Stuart hopes of a revival and return to the English Crown were dashed for the last time. A Scottish army led by James II’s grandson, Charles Edward Stuart had occupied Edinburgh, then defeated a 2500 Royal army at Prestonpans. The next move was an invasion of England, capturing Carlisle and Manchester. They moved South to Derby(120 miles from London), but then believed stories of a non existent army blocking their way, turned tail and returned to Scotland. Slowly events turned against Charles and his Jacobite followers. On the 15th April they could no longer avoid battle, but chose to move on the Duke of Cumberland’s larger force by a night march which went wrong.
The English moved on the tired and dispirited Scots on the morning of the 16th. The Scots probably did not count more than 2000 and most were Highlanders, who still favoured a ferocious sword charge after a discharge of arms. They had some artillery, but few Cavalry.
Cumberland was King George II’s brother and a great soldier. His army was 9000 strong, including 3 Regiments of Cavalry and a Company of Royal Artillery. The Infantry weapon was the Flintlock rifle with bayonet. Cumberland knew the Highland charge was a potent weapon, so changed his Infantry tactics accordingly. Each man would not bayonet the man to his front, but the one to his right. Surprise would count for much, but the right side of a Highlander was less well protected than his left.
The outnumbered Scots never stood a chance and were routed in 30 mins. The whole force being lost to a loss to the English one of 50 casualties.
“Bonnie Prince” Charlie fled the field and never returned to Scotland, dying a bitter old man in France.