Battles of the Jacobite Rebellions – Killiecrankie to Culloden, Jonathan Oates

Battles of the Jacobite Rebellions – Killiecrankie to Culloden, Jonathan Oates

The Jacobite Campaigns were the last conventional land battles to take place on British soil, and although they are best known for the events of the 45, at the very end of the period, each of the three main outbursts of fighting contained notable battles. Although the focus is on the nine main battles of the Jacobite campaigns, we do get enough background and campaign information to put them in context and to see how the outcome of each battle affected the campaign.

One thing that becomes clear is that the Jacobite campaigns were actually something of an anomaly – in the nearly sixty years between Killicrankie and Culloden the wars only occupied eight, and there were surprisingly few significant battles – this book covers nine, three in each of the main outbreaks of fighting.

T he three campaigns are quite different. For part of the 1688-90 campaign James II was actively campaigning in Ireland, and the Jacobites could legitimately see themselves as representing the real monarch. By 1715 James was dead, but his son James had at least been born while his father was on the throne, and did reach Scotland (if rather too late). By 1745 the baton had been passed on to the ‘Old Pretender’s’ son Charles, who gave the cause glamour and a clear leader (although one who couldn’t always get his way), but less obvious legitimacy, which was perhaps reflected in the rather low turnout of English Jacobites. The nature of the government response is also different. In 1688-90 the response was led by the Scottish government, with largely Scottish forces and Scottish leaders.

The ’15 and ’45 came after the Union, so the response was led by the British government. By the time of the ’45 the conflict was part of a wider European war, and the Government response reflected that, with commanders coming back from the Continent, and European troops involved on both sides. The changing nature of the armies is demonstrated in the detailed troop lists the author provides, although even by Culloden the Government army still contained a sizable Scottish contingent.

The author has produced a well balanced account of the campaigns, seeing events from both sides. He avoids romanticising or condemning the Jacobite cause, and is very good on the aftermath of battle, pointing out that the victorious Jacobites pursued and killed their fleeing enemies with just as much enthusiasm as the government troops, as well as disproving some of the more famous stories about massacres after Culloden. He has made good use of sources from both sides, so we get a good view of the problems that beset the Jacobite commanders and of the decisions made by their government opponents as well as the wider reaction to the victories and defeats.


1 – The Origins of the Jacobite Campaigns, 1688-1689
2 – The Battle of Killiecrankie, 27 July 1689
3 – The Battles of Dunkeld and Cromdale, 1689-1690
4 – Peace and Storm, 1692-1715
5 – The Campaign of 1715
6 – The Battle of Preston, 12-14 November 1715
7 – The Battle of Sheriffmuir, 13 November 1715
8 – The End of the Campaign, 1715-1716
9 – The Battle of Glenshiel, 10 June 1719
10 – New Life for the Jacobite Cause, 1720-1745
11 – The Battle of Prestonpans, 21 September 1745
12 – The Jacobite High Tide, 1745-1746
13 – The Battle of Falkirk, 17 January 1746
14 – Endgame in the Highlands
15 – The Battle of Culloden, 16 April 1746
16 – The End of the Jacobite Campaigns

Author: Jonathan Oates
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 240
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2019

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