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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Second Time Lucky?

The battle of Culloden on 15 March 1746 was a turning point in Britain’s history. Not only was Bonnie Prince Charlie defeated, but that day also marked the end of the Highlanders’ traditional way of life. Tonight, a team will attempt to recreate the Jacobites’ stealthy march across the moors. The canny Highlanders hoped to strike the Duke of Cumberland’s troops while they were still snoozing under their blankets. But the sneak attack was called off just hours before the battle. It will be very interesting to see how the archaeologists get on with their re-enactment. But even if the Highlanders had succeeded with their plan, would it really have changed the ultimate outcome? The Hanoverians had greatly superior weapons, and were much better trained than the Highlanders. It’s one of those fascinating ‘What ifs’ which we'll never really know the answer to.

Image: Charles Edward Stuart, James Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, (National Illustrated Library, circa 1852.)

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