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Major-General Glenbucket's Regiment

History of the Regiment, 1745

The regiment was formed in Oct. 1745. Recruited from men from highland or near highland areas, and from highlanders owing no particular allegiance to any chief.

Glenbucket also recruited from the Duke of Gordon's estates, where he gained a reputation as "A most terrifying press officer", driving in every able bodied man and boy he could find. He also took every horse, not excepting those belonging to the duke. The jacobite authorities demanded that landowners should supply an able bodied man for the army, for every £100 (scots) of landed rent, alternatively they could pay £5 (sterling) in lieu of a man. Allegations were rife at the time that the Jacobites were more interested in getting the money than the recruits. Old John Gordon of Glenbucket however always refused offers of money instead of men.

The original size of the regiment is not known, but at Culloden it is listed as being 200 strong, but by that time it may have been well down on its strength due to losses and desertion, as was the entire Jacobite army.

It is known that the regiment was quite well equipped as, Murray of Broughton recorded that Gordon of Glenbucket's and the first battalion of Lord Ogilvy's were both equipped with arms captured from Cope's army at Prestonpans. But evidence suggests that by the time of Culloden, the entire Jacobite army was armed with French and Spanish muskets to simplify the ammunition supply.

It is also known that Glenbucket's had at least two cannon, which they used at Ruthven barracks. The regiment seems to have been quite well organised and disciplined, Colonel O'Sullivan, one of the Prince's Irish staff officers, commented that "John Gordon of Glenbucket was the only Scot I ever knew, who was able to start at the hour fixed".

Glenbucket's Regiment took part in the advance into England and the return from Derby. One Company of the Regiment formed part of the garrison which was left behind at Carlisle. The regiment also played its part in the Skirmish of Clifton on 18th December and the Battle of Falkirk on 17th January 1746. Shortly before Falkirk with the Highland Army under Lord George Murray drawn up near Bannockburn and expecting an attack from Hawley's superior force, about 1000 - 1200 men were left under the command of the Duke of Perth and Gordon of Glenbucket to continue the siege of Stirling Castle. Other sources maintain that Glenbucket's regiment were at this time in the north of Scotland, operating against the government's independent highland units. Another recorded action of the regiment is on the 11th of February 1746, when John Gordon and his regiment used a couple of guns to "persuade" lieutenant Molly to surrender Ruthven barracks in return for a safe passage to Perth. Glenbucket then proceeded to burn the barracks.

In March 1746, Glenbucket was again in Strathbogie levying money and forcing men out to the cause.

At the battle of Culloden, Glenbucket's had rejoined the main Jacobite army. Originally they stood on the left in the second line, flanked by the Perthshire Horse under Lords Strathallan and Pitsligo, but after Lord George Murray ordered the front line of highland regiments to close up to the right, Perth's and Glenbucket's were moved up to the first line to fill the gap which had been created on the left flank. When the Jacobite army advanced, both Perth's and Glenbucket's advanced with them, but due to swampy ground and small ponds to their front they were unable to make contact with the enemy. So for most of the battle they engaged in a firefight with the government troops opposite them. Glenbucket's and Perth's suffered relatively few casualties during the battle. When the government dragoons launched their attack, Glenbucket's and Perth's on the left flank were able to hold them off for a short time, presumably helped by the same swampy ground which had stopped their own advance. The dragoons soon bypassed the two regiments in search of easier targets. When the general retreat and disintegration of the Jacobite army began, both regiments were able to retire from the field virtually intact and in good order.

Along with the remnants of John Roy Stewart's regiment, Glenbucket's and Perth's escorted Prince Charles from the field for at least part of the way.

There is no record of what happened to Glenbucket's regiment after Culloden, it may have been amongst the units which gathered at Ruthven barracks after the battle, Perth's regiment was there. Whatever happened, the regiment was disbanded soon after Culloden, never to be heard of again.

Some mention is made of Glenbucket's regiment in the records of the trials held in the aftermath of the uprising. In a list of prisoners condemned to death and subsequently reprieved, there are two members of Glenbucket's mentioned. One was John Bennagh, sixteen, he had been pressed into the Prince's service when old Glenbucket went recruiting in Glenmachy; he was reprieved and sentenced to transportation to the Americas, but he died of starvation in prison before he could be taken to a ship. The other was James Gordon, the fifteen year old son of the Laird of Terpersie, he too claimed to have been pressed, but perhaps he did not mind this too much, for his brother was an officer of Glenbucket's, and was later to be hanged for it, and James himself was listed on the muster roll as a Lieutenant of artillery. He was reprieved, but spent two years in prison before a transport took him to Jamaica, where Lord Adam Gordon found him twenty years later.

Another member of the regiment mentioned in some books is the regimental priest, Father John Tyrie. In Strathavon when recruiting was taking place, Fathers Grant and Tyrie cast lots to see who would have the honour of going to war with their communicants. Father Tyrie won and went off to march to Derby, armed with prayers and pistols. He is also mentioned at Culloden as "standing in line next to old Glenbucket with sword and targe, when it all ended at Culloden".

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