The Jacobite Army
The Highland regiments were commanded by their chiefs, and generally officered by the kinsmen of that dignitary, according as they were near of kin. Each regiment had two Captains, two Lieutenants, and two Ensigns. The front rank of the regiments was filled by men of good birth, who in the Highlands, however poor in fortune, are styled as gentlemen, and who had for pay one shilling a day, while that of the ordinary man was only sixpence. The pay of the captains was half-a-crown, and the lieutenants two shillings, of the ensigns one shilling and sixpence. Each of the gentlemen of the front rank was completely armed, in the fashion of the Highlanders, with a musket, a broadsword, a pair of pistols, a dirk at the belt to which were attached a knife and fork; the left arm sustained a round target, made of wood and leather, and studded with nails; and some who chose to be armed with extraordinary care, besides the dagger at the belt, carried a smaller one stuck into the garter of the right leg, which they could use in certain situations, when the other was beyond their reach. The undistinguished warriors of the rear ranks were in general armed in a much inferior manner, many of them wanting targets.
History of the Rebellion of 1745 by Robert Chambers and Life of the Duke of Cumberland, London 1767
Highlanders Charge: The Jacobite army had an unconventional method of attack that was almost invincible until that fateful day at Culloden. The following description was recorded after the battle of Prestonpans.
"They advance with rapidity, discharge their pieces when within musket length of the enemy, and throwing them down, draw their swords, and holding a dirk in their left hand with their target, they dart with fury on the enemy through the smoke of their fire. When within reach of the enemy's bayonets, bending their left knee, they, by their attitude, cover their bodies with their targets that receive their thrusts of the bayonets, which they contrive to parry, while at the same time they raise their sword arm, and strike their adversary. Having once got within the bayonets, and into the ranks of the enemy, the soldiers have no longer any means of defending themselves, the fate of the battle is decided in an instant, and the carnage follows; the Highlanders bringing down two men at a time, one with the dirk in the left hand, and another with the sword. The reason assigned by the Highlanders for their custom of throwing their muskets on the ground is not without its force. They say they embarrass them in their operations, even when slung behind them, and on gaining a battle they can pick them up along with the arms of their enemies: but if they should be beaten they have no further use for them."
Attributed to Chevalier de Johnstone related in History of the Rebellion of 1745 by Robert Chambers, first published in 1840
The circumstances which lead to this conclusion were as follows: According the the journal-writer already quoted, the advancing mountaineers, on first coming within sight of Cope's army, heard them call out: 'Who is there? Who is there? Cannons! Cannons!. Get the cannons, cannoniers!' Andrew Henderson, a Whig historian, has also mentioned, in his account of the engagement, that the sentries, on first perceiving the Highland line through the mist, thought it a hedge which was gradually becoming apparent as the light increased. The event, however, was perhaps the best proof that the royal army was somewhat taken by surprise.
History of the Rebellion of 1745 by Robert Chambers, footnote on page 125
It has been suggested that the technique of the charge in its modern the form was introduced by Montrose's ally, Alasdair MacColla, who had used it in the battle of Laney in Coleraine in 1642. Before field artillery came into general use, the critical moment for an attacking force occurred when its advance brought it within effective musket range, perhaps 100 to 150 yards, particularly if the enemy was steady, well drilled, and, by platoon firing' in sequence, able to produce a sustained fire. By their appearance, their war cries and their reputation, Highlanders were often able to unsteady their opponents and reduce the danger of a succession of ordered volleys, while the sheer speed of their advance carried them through the first - and often only- volley with an acceptable proportion of casualties. Their own muskets were used to fire a single volley some thirty or forty yards from the enemy and were then immediately thrown down. The Highlanders burst through the cloud of black-powder smoke, broadsword drawn. dirk in the left hand and targe on the left forearm, while their enemy was reloading or fixing their bayonets. General Hawley, whose forces were overwhelmed by such a charge at Falkirk in 1746, described how the Highlanders altered formation as they charged, from line - to minimise casualties from musket fire - to bunches or clusters of a dozen or so at the moment of impact, to achieve penetration of the enemy line. It was a double or quits' tactic which may have been an attraction to the Highlander, coupled with its opportunities for individual velour. The charge either won a battle there and then, or it was all over; to withdraw, re-group and charge again was psychologically as well as tactically so difficult as to be impossible.
From Scottish Military Dress by Peter Cochrane
The Five Motions of the Highland Charge:
His first motion taken descending to battle was to place his bonnet firmly on his head by an emphatic "scrug": his second, to cast off his plaid or free himself of encumbrances: his third, to incline his body horizontally forward, cover it with his target, rush to within 50 paces of the enemy's line, discharge and drop his fusee or musket: his fourth, to dart within 12 paces and discharge and fling his iron-stocked pistol (or pistols) at the foe-man's head: fifth, to draw broad-sword and at him'
source to be identified
One thing which had become even more evident during the '45 was the fact that a Highland charge was one of the most terrifying features of warfare. These brawny and purposeful hill-men, once they were let loose, could put the fear of God into any but exceptionally highly disciplined troops. Their rapidity of movement and the devastating swing of their broadswords, accompanied by a ferocious appearance, and the deep-throated yells of slogans were too much for most of the English and Lowland regiments of that campaign. This was proved at Prestonpans, and Falkirk, where they made a blood-soaked shambles of the regiments, which tried to resist them. (Had they been equal in numbers and as well provided as the Government troops at Culloden, they might, quite possibly, have made a repetition of Killicrankie.)
The Independent Highland Companies 1603-1760 by Peter Simpson
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