Battle of Culloden Living History Weekend 2006: Going Deeper at a site that took you to Scotland
By Chris Timm
On the weekend of May 19-21, for the first time the Culloden Living History Weekend came to Pennsylvania. Held at Fort Loudon, the site couldn't have been more perfect. Ringed with mountains, the lovely rural location gave the feel of being on the moor near Inverness Scotland. Being the 160th anniversary of the watershed event, it was even more appropriate to hold it at such a location. With a stockaded fort serving as headquarters for the red-coated Crown Forces and a two-story historic home serving as the residence of Prince Charles with his army encamped around it, the stage was set for the memorable weekend.
On Friday evening, after a torch lit march the calling of the clans and raising of the Stuart Standard at Glenfinnan in 1745 was re-created. Then the clans loyal to the Stuart cause pledged their support to HRH Prince Charles at a bonfire lit ceremony.
On Saturday the weather was perfect, though a bit windy. After a morning of camp activities, drill and first person interaction, it was time to fight for the public the Battle of Prestonpans. Though the Government forces led by George Reilly possessed an impressive train of artillery, the superior mobility and speed of the highland infantry was able to carry the day. After maneuvering for position the Jacobite army unleashed the feared highland charge, sweeping away the red coat line as happened in 1745.
The remainder of the day was devoted to times of celebration and social interaction. To start, the women of Clan Chattan hosted a delightful ladies tea. With music provided by the talented Robert Mouland and an eye-popping display of sweets and pastries, the stage was set for a wonderful time of society. Prince Charles arrived to mix and mingle with the ladies, escorted by the lovely Lady MacCrimmon (Susan Gable).
Meanwhile, a spirited set of highland games was underway led by the ever-faithful Clan Cameron. The absence of a caber was no impediment for the intrepid clan who was able to find an appropriate substitute thus ensuring the highlight of the games went on. After a lively competition, the winners were treated to a glass of brandy with the Prince in his personal suite.
The night sky was alive with stars and the camp came alive during the evening's ceileigh. Led by Robert Mouland, it featured not only this man's considerable talents but also that of many other groups and individuals. It was a fitting end to an excellent day.
Sunday again dawned gloriously clear with a bit of wind. Appropriate for the beautiful day, Bill Jeffrey, Chaplain of the Army of King James, led an open-air period church service. His exhortations and prayers were appreciated by all that attended.
With the focus shifting to the period immediately before Culloden in 1746, the Army of King James received a ration of oat cakes and cheese from the Prince while the Government Forces were reorganizing under their new commander, the Duke of Cumberland (Dan McMahon).
Once it came time to face off in the afternoon, the enthusiasm of the Jacobites was no match for the Crown's resolve. On the field the superior artillery and disciplined firepower of the Crown infantry was more than the Jacobites could handle. A ragged attempt at the highland charge was easily repelled and their ensuing advance swept the field of opponents. As happened 160 years ago, the day, and ultimately the campaign, belonged to King George.
Fort Loudon was an excellent site, the administrator very accommodating, the ground varied and ambiance tremendous. Thanks goes out to Malcolm MacWilliam and the host group Clan Chattan for helping to maintain the tradition of excellence with this event.
Plans are underway for next year's installment which will mark the tenth anniversary of this unique event and time period. In anticipation of it, the organizers are looking for individuals and clan groups to join the Jacobite Order of Battle and red-coated Crown Forces and artillery to serve King George.
For more information on future events dealing with the 1745 Jacobite rising and this unique time period visit our website and online forum at: http://www.1745rising.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org