The David Morier painting may be the iconic image of Culloden but it is inaccurate.
Scottish nationalists like to portray the Jacobites as 'noble savages'; as fearless warriors who took on the more modern and clinical British government forces, at whose hands they faced a tragic and inevitable defeat on the moors of Culloden. The romanticism of this 'lost cause' is a central part of Scottish nationalist mythology, with its narrative of Scottish v English conflict in which Scotland perpetually plays the role of the oppressed underdog.
The previous three articles in our 4-part series have debunked Scottish nationalist attempts to frame the Jacobite Risings incorrectly as Scottish v English conflicts, Highland v Lowland, or Catholic v Protestant.
Our fourth article debunks the myth of the Jacobite army as some sort of backwards, anachronistic force, relying on martial prowess and a warrior spirit as they charged sword-in-hand against ranks of redcoat musketeers.
In fact the Jacobite army in the '45 was a well drilled and conventional military force which fielded mostly musket-armed infantry alongside horse and artillery, backed by a core of elite French troops and organised under a wealth of French and British military experience.
Ironically, the Scottish nationalist myths do a great disservice to the Jacobite forces!
An Organised and Conventional Army
The Jacobite army was a highly organised conventional force divided into regimental units with battalion majors, company commanders, company officers and so on. It was not the Braveheart-esque rabble of Scottish nationalist myth. It had a staff organisation, implemented by Irishman Colonel Sullivan, that was as sophisticated as that of any 18th Century army.