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b. Jacobites

Era:  ’45 Jacobite Uprising

Battle:  Battle of Inverurie 23rd December 1745

Wargamers:  Ian M,  Duncan M, Hugh C and Andy D

Venue:  Targe 2009: Kirriemuir Wargames Convention

Rules used:  Wellington in India” by Charles S. Grant and Stuart Asquith

Useful links:  http://www.1745association.org.uk/

The Battle of Inverurie 1745

In an attempt to reinstate his father as King of Great Britain, “Bonnie Prince Charlie” marched on London with a 6000-strong army.  Obtaining little support in England and a fear of Hanoverian troops massing in the capital, Prince Charles and his army turned around and headed back to Scotland.

Throughout the autumn of 1745, the arrival of French troops in Scotland accompanied a second wave of Jacobite supporters taking up arms, from across Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Kincardineshire and Angus.  This army consisted mainly of “lowland” volunteers, and was commanded by Lord Lewis Gordon, younger brother of the Duke of Gordon and a former naval officer.  They were joined by 150 soldiers from the “Royal Ecossais”, a Scots/French Regiment of both infantry and grenadiers who had been professionally trained in Europe and well equipped; they had run the blockade of the British Navy and landed at Montrose, Stonehaven, Aberdeen and Peterhead.  

By the 23rd December the main Jacobite force had almost reached Glasgow. But as the sun set on that winter’s evening, this second Jacobite army of 1200 men advanced from both the south and the east on the Hanoverian-defended town of Inverurie.

Alarmed by the rise of these anti-establishment “rebels”, Aberdeen council petitioned Lord Loudon of Inverness, a government officer, to send an army to help regain control of the city.  It was the Hanoverian Clan Chief Norman MacLeod of MacLeod who led 700 men out of Inverness and marched east to quell the uprising.  These men were exclusively highlanders made up of seven “Independent Highland Companies” raised in Skye, Harris, Assynt, Inverness-shire and Sutherland in the same manner as the previous Black Watch Regiment, which was now fighting in Flanders.

It was at the town of Inverurie that the two sides met, and although well equipped the Government highlanders were driven back up the slopes of the rigs and farm fields by the Jacobite “lowlanders” who had forded both rivers, the main column taking up a temporary defensive position at the local geographical feature of “The Bass”, “Little Bass” and Inverurie Kirk. 

By the light of the full moon and with a ground frost forming, a running fire-fight through the alleys, gardens and yards ensued.  Finally units of the MacLeod companies managed to organise a holding action half way up High Street at the Market Square.  As the well-drilled volley fire of the Royal Ecossais gathered momentum the Hanoverians broke, and ran for their lives.

It is said that the Hanoverians did not stop until they crossed the Spey, although no more than 25 men lay dead and 50 Hanoverians captured (including all the divinity students) this engagement had a major impact on both the financial and political support of the Jacobite cause in the North East of Scotland.

Most of the Jacobite units who fought at Inverurie joined the Prince’s army early in January and were at both battles of Falkirk (January 1746) and Culloden (April 1746).  After the defeat of the Jacobites, Lord Lewis Gordon made his escape to France, where he died nine years later, they say “of a “broken heart”.

Norman “The Red Man” MacLeod of MacLeod, 22nd Chief, reaped the rewards for his support of the Hanoverian Government of George II, but his over-ambitious building projects bankrupted him and in 1772 he died leaving huge debts to his successor.

Jacobite Army list

1st Column

  • Lord Lewis Gordon, Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeen and Banff, Governor of the City of Aberdeen and Regimental Commander                
  • Major Lancelot Cuthbert “Royal Ecossais” Professional Soldier and Military Advisor with 150 “Royal Ecossaias” (2 or 3 companies, Fusiliers, possibly some grenadiers)   
  • James Crichton of Auchingoul commanding an Independent Company of 50 “lowland” volunteers
  • James Moir 4th Laird of Stoneywood “The Stoneywoods” Battalion 200 men commanding: 1st Company of Stoneywoods 100 well equipped Lowland volunteers and Charles Moir commanding  2nd Company of Stoneywoods 100 well equipped Lowland volunteers
  • Sir James Kinloch 2nd Battalion, Lord Ogilvie’s Regiment. Detachment of Angus Militia of approximately 100 lowland volunteers.
  • Sir Alexander Bannerman of Elsicks Battalion commanding 1st company of Elsicks 100 Lowland volunteers.
  • Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie “Baron Bann”, Mar Battalion 300 men, commanding: 100 mixed quality highlanders and lowlanders mustered from Mar.  James Farquharson of Balmoral, “Balmoral the Brave” with 100 mixed quality highlanders.  John Farquharson of Invercauld with 50 mixed quality highlanders.  Laird on Inverenzie commanding a Company of 50 MacGregor highlanders.


 2nd Column

  • Major John Gordon “Royal Ecossais” Professional soldier and Military advisor commanding 2nd column.
  •  Colonel John Gordon of Avochie Battalion “Strathbogies Battalion” commanding a Company of 100 mixed quality “mainly highlanders”.   Maj. David Tulloch of Dunbennan’s  Company of 100 mixed quality “mainly highlanders”.  Captain Charles Gordon of Blelack’s company of 100 mixed quality highlanders.


Hanoverian Army list

 1st Column

  • Sky Chief Norman MacLeod of MacLeod  commanding four Independent companies of 100 men of the Clan Macleod of Sky and Harrisbut including some MacDonalds.  Captain John Macleod of Macleod of Talisker with 100 well equipped highlanders.  Captain Norman Macleod of Waterstein with 100 well equipped highlanders.  Captain Norman Macleod of Bernera (Unish) with 100 well equipped highlanders.  Captain Macdonald Macdonald 3rd of Castleton with 100 well equipped highlanders
  •  One Independent Highland Company of 100 Clan Macleod of Assynt Highlanders with Captain Hugh Macleod of Geanies commanding.

 2nd Column                                                                                                                           

  • Captain George Munro of Culcairn, professional soldier commanding two Independent Highland Companies of Lord Loudon’s own Regiment: An  Independent Highland Company of 100 Clan Munro including  Munros, Grants and Mackenzies and Captain Peter (Patrick) Sutherland of Kinminity commanding (2nd) Independent Highland Company of 100 men of the Clan Sutherland.

 Aberdeenshire volunteers:                                                            

  • Group of 40 local volunteers including Mr Chalmers principal of Kings College with some divinity students, Mr Forbes from Echt and various gentlemen of consciencer.  All untrained and ill equiped.