First-hand Accounts From Culloden Moor

We took The Scots Magazine‘s April 1746 issue to Culloden Moor for live readings of first-hand accounts of the battle


WITH instant connection to almost anywhere in the world, news travels fast in 2018.
Conflicts are reported on as they happen, with news videos broadcasted live on location. In the 18th century, however, this was far from the case.

On Wednesday, April 16, 1746, the final battle of the 1745 Jacobite Rising took place. Charles Stuart’s forces fought with government troops on Culloden Moor, and news of the outcome was slow in coming. The fastest way of word spreading was sending hand-written letters by horse to the major cities. It took four days for word to reach Edinburgh that the Jacobite army had been defeated.

History, they say, is written by the victors, and in the immediate aftermath of Culloden this certainly rings true. The only accounts available at the time were from the government side – and these were few and far between. The surviving Jacobite troops were in hiding – their side of the story didn’t emerge until much later. The first-hand accounts vary in consistency, too – especially when it comes to the size of the armies, and numbers of soldiers killed.

The editorial staff of The Scots Magazine collected as many of these letters and accounts as they could find. They were printed in the April 1746 edition, where 16 of its 48 pages to the battle and surrounding events. entitled Motions And Operations Of The Armies. For many waiting at home in Scotland, this was the only way to find out the fate of their loved ones.

Here are a few of the excerpts…



“On Wednesday the 16th, a decisive battle was fought, on Drummossie moor, South of Culloden house, two miles from Inverness. An express dispatched by the Duke of Athol from Perth reached Edinburgh late on Saturday night, with the news; and about the same time, or next day, letters were received from Aberdeen , all agreeing , that the King’s army under the command of the Duke had obtained a compleat and glorious victory.”


“The action begun by the fire of the rebels cannon; which ours answered with success, and very soon brought their first line, consisting altogether of their clans, in a great hurry to attack us. Their right wing outfronted our left; which fell in a little: but our men fairly beat them back with their bayonets, and made a great slaughter of them.”



Below you can re-watch David Weinczok’s fascinating live video from Culloden Battlefield, describing the events of the battle. There are also live readings of The Scots Magazine‘s April 1746 issue at 14 minutes in.

It was filmed as part of #ScotsMagOutlander’s Highland History campaign, where we explored the real history of Outlander. Click here to discover more.



Read the April 1746 issue yourself below! Click the images to enlarge them.






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