Culloden the Prince was served on the left flank by a Franco-Irish
cavalry regiment, Fitz-James's Horse, which had landed in
Scotland in late 1745 from Ostend. Under it's commander, Colonel
Robert O'Shea, it numbered only 70 at the Battle, many troopers
having surrendered on the march northwards out of England.
They were further handicapped by their horses having been
captured at sea. Nevertheless, they were the only cavalry
regiment on the Jacobite side at Culloden to fight the whole
battle on horseback. The regiment was clothed in red coats
turned up with blue, yellow skin breeches, black tricorn hats
laced with silver, and beneath their coats black painted iron
breast plates. Their weapons were carbines or muskets, pistols
and straight brass-hilted swords.
Of the original four squadrons, only one had landed at Aberdeen,
numbering about 120-130 men, the other three along with picquets
of five Irish regiments of foot still being aboard transports.
Unfortunately for the Prince, two of these transports were
captured by Commodore Knowles on Feb 24th. This was a bitter
loss, for the regiment had considerable experience in battle,
having seen recent service in Italy and on the Rhine with
the French army.
While the majority of the Irish picquets
and Fitz-James Horse were captured, about 359 and 36 officers
in all, a number of men from various regiments of the Irish
Brigade did see action in the campaign. About 750 soldiers
from the Irish regiments commanded by Brigadier Stapleton
and Lord Drummond’s French Royal Scots had landed
on the east coast at the end of 1745. The picquets were
mainly Irishmen drawn from the six Irish infantry regiments
in French service, and they along with their officers had
distinguished themselves earlier in the year at Fontenoy
against the same enemy. According to one eyewitness of the
Irish troops who were captured at sea, ‘the men are
all clothed in red, and the officers have mostly gold-laced
hats. To speak impartially the officers are as proper men
as I ever saw in my life, being mostly 5 feet 10 or 6 feet
high and between 40 and 50 years of age; and common soldiers
are very good looking men, and if they had landed might
have done a great deal of mischief.’
The Irish picquets who fought at Culloden for the Jacobite
cause were formed from three Irish regiments in French service
- Dillon’s, Ruth’s, and Lally’s. The men
wore red coats with the facings of their different regiments.
- Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection.
Osprey Military: Campaign Series
12 : Culloden 1746 by Peter Harrington