Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Road to Culloden 2016

For the second year in a row, the event called "The Road to Culloden" was held at the Backus-Page House Museum in Wallacetown, ON. This event recalls the Scottish rising of 1745 to restore the Stuart line to the throne of Britian. As I'm sure you know, this attempt was unsuccessful, but it is held close in the memory of so many Scots and it is celebrated in fiction and poetry since that time. I personally find it sad to say that some folks still carry a grudge about this event, so bad blood still remains even after 270 years.
The event at the museum makes an attempt to celebrate this time and the glorious attempt by "Bonnie Prince Charlie" to gain the throne for his father James III and VIII (III of England and VIII of Scotland.) It's a bit romanticized and a bit slanted toward the Stuarts, but it is also a family event. I've been present for both as a Scots militiaman allied to George II and the House of Hannover. I do this primarily because most people coming out want to be Jacobites ("supporters of James") and the government forces are badly outnumbered everytime. It is far more romantic to wear four different tartans and a blue bonnet compared to a red coat faced yellow and a tricorn.
Camps were set up and, yes, we government folks were outnumbered... again.

(Photos courtesy of John Stephens, Bard Judith, my wife, Photos by MG, and the odd photo I took.)

The morning parade
"Indeed, Madam?" Andre reacts to Sarah... and I don't know why!

Morning parade marching off

Jacobite troops on parade

The outnumbered Government forces in council

Some civilians engaged civilian activities.

Nick arrives and the party can start.
This is actually a good view of the uniform Beth made for me -
Highland jacket, tartan trews (Black Watch tartan) and Scots bonnet.

Nick decided to try on John's grenadier mitre.
Nick's uniform is of the 14th of Foot while John's in the 1st of Foot.
John wondered if he should wear his mitre of his tricorn.
We all agreed that the mitre would add a lot to the look
and he's surely tall enough to be a grenadier.
Steven takes us through some period drill.
Most of us are 1812 reenactors and needed some training on the earlier drill.
"Shoulder your firelock!" (one-two) "Present your firelock!" (one-two)

John in his full kit. As a "Royal regiment", the 1st of Foot (The Royal Scots)
had blue facing and blue trousers. Note he also has two cartridge boxes.
Seamus, the man in charge and official power-behind-the-throne, had some vignettes planned during the day. In one, we government men were "on patrol" when one of our Scots militiamen, Tom, meets his "father", Seamus. Seamus demands a conversation. As sergeant, I forbade it. Seamus came forward and (at his prompting) I grabbed his lapel and was treated to "GET YER DIRTY PAWS OFF OF ME, YOU BLOODY SASSANACH!!!" followed by 10 or 12 Jacobite fighters who - I swear - materialized out the the ground. I ended up looking down the barrel of Jamie's blunderbus - which is quite an incentive!. I was also nose-to-nose with the sergeant major of the Prince's bodyguard, Mike, who's my height but far more fit, who shouted "STAND DOWN!" I bravely whispered "Make me." and he resonded "Do you want me to?" "Hell, no!" was my answer. We let the "family" talk and we all drifted away, continuing to give and receive the hairy eyeball.

Seamus in full battle array.

The confrontation of Seamus and Thomas with your blogger sweating puttyballs.

"Stand down! We're outnumbered, lads!"
Discretion IS the better part of valour. It's good to be descreet around a blunderbus.
Mike and I - nose to nose. He's a big guy... but so am I.

Wee Tom makes his decision. Steven keeps the Jacobites honest.
The afternoon's battle was based on a government patrol returning to our base at the cannon and being ambushed. The ambush eventually came from three sides and included the slaughter of the cannon crew. It was loud, smokey, and confusing... and the crowd loved it. All of us reenactors enjoyed it, too. It was one of those "What the...?" moments where almost anything you'd do was right and order are being shouted left and right. Each side had a piper as well, so two different songs being played against each other added to the din. We were all captured in the end and the regulars surrendered while the militia changed sides and put on the white cockade.

Jacobites make ready to spring the trap.

"... and you take the one in the middle."

The regulars and the command section react to the attack.

And the gun crew is down.

We ended up firing is all directions because it as "a target rich environment" as it were.

Trying to keep up a steady fire.

A second group moves to ambush the Redcoats.

Meanwhile back at the gun, things are not going so well.

This is how we looked as the trap began to close.

Now we're pretty much surrounded.
Clan MacLachlan came in last and dashed any hope of escape.

Our last few rounds.
We were told to kneel, but for me, kneeling is easy. Getting back up is hard.

"For you, the war is over."

The regulars are marched off at "clubed arms" to witness the raising of the Prince's banner.

It appears that the reversed arms was the symbol of surrender in those days.
The Duke of Sutherland's Fencibles change sides.

Fritz and I in our new Jacobite-ness.
Sunday was a bright, breezy day and we reenacted Culloden. The Jacobites are on the run and are trying to keep the Prince from being captured. The Government forces end up bayoneting all the wounded. It isn't a pretty thought but it does make for a lot of action on the field.

The back field of the museum grounds is a natural amphitheatre, allowing the crowd  a great view of the action.

Seamus narrating the events to the crowd.

The Government artillery was set up on the hill.

Jacobite flankers

The woman and children attempt to escape.

The Prince retreats...

... but he'd rather stay and fight! He has to be physically dragged off the field.

Wee Tom is quite aggressive.

The colour party with Lord Louden (Andre) and an artillery officer.

We militia were off to the right flank with the regulars closer to the crowd.
They had nicer uniforms.

Tom, Bill, and I keep up a hot fire.

The regulars volleyed like the veterans they were.

The Jacobite response.

The Regulars' kit is impressive. They are all experience French and Indian War reenactors.

They know how to volley and make it look good.
Wee Tom when hand to hand and Sergeant Major Mike took him out.
I bellowed "HE'S MINE!" and got off a good shot. A misfire would've been embarassing.

Now we were told to "bayonet" the wounded.
Basically, you walk up, poke the ground next to the person, and murmmer "Stab-stab."

The Piper plays the lament.

And the dead rise.
The Artillery is man-handled back to camp.

The focesof King George lead the way up the hill.

Standing on display.

The Prince and his body-guard.

Clan MacLachlan

The Prince (Chris) speaks to the crowd about remembering the past without glorifying war.

He then sprinkled some soil from the battlefield of Culloden on the field of the Museum.

A fine gesture!
One of Sunday's highlights (that I had no part in) was a "proper tea" for the ladies that the Prince visited at one point. The shortbread was provided by a local baker who make EXCELLENT shortbread and the silver tea service was donated to the museum by the daughter of a member of my congregation when her mother had passed away. It was nice to see such things proper used.

Tea and shortbread and other confections

Seamus warms up the crowd.

The weather was glorious for the event.

Period music.

Waiting for His Royal Highness

Open to all ages.

The Tea Ladies. That's my wife holding the tea pot.
And a few parting photos:

Tom H. as the MacLachlan

Jacobite sentinel (Bard Judith 2016)

Government forces at drill (Bard Judith 2016)

Closing parade

Besides a blunderbus, Jamie has sheep.

The Prince's Lifeguard and Seamus
Lizabeth Walker MacGregor and Sean O'Daleigh  (Bard Judith 2016)