Saturday, 19 February 2011

Jacobites Occupy Inverness - On this day in Scottish Military History - 1746

On the 16th of February 1746 the Earl of Loudon had tried to capture Bonnie Prince Charlie at Moy Hall south of Inverness. He had taken a large number of his troops with him after he had heard that the Prince had left the main body of his army to visit some sympathisers at Moy.

Unfortunately for Loudon his advance was spotted and a very small number of Jacobites attacked Loudon's much larger force whilst they were still forming up for their own attack.

It was a night attack and the inexperienced government forces didn't know what was happening when the small number of Jacobites under Lady MacIntosh attacked them.

Panic set in and in a very short time Loudon's force was streaming back in disorder to Inverness. The night's fiasco would go down in history as the 'Rout of Moy'

Back in Inverness Loudon understood that his rag-tag army of clansmen and new recruits would be no match for the Jacobites if he had to defend Inverness. Even though the Jacobites had retreated from Derby they had still to be beaten in the field by a government army.

Loudon did have a small fort in the town, Fort George, which was a temporary post built at the mouth of the Ness and not the huge fortress built at Ardersier after the Rebellion which still is a garrison today.

He hoped the fort would frustrate the Jacobites hopes to use Inverness as a base whilst he moved north to try and stop Northern Jacobite sympathisers coming to the aid of Prince Charles.

Leaving Patrick Grant of Rothiemurcus in charge of Fort George with some men of the 64th Highlanders, on this day 265 years ago Loudon took the main body of his troops to Kessock and crossed to the Black Isle. At the same time, Jacobites of Prince Charles Edwards force entered Inverness and started to besiege Fort George.

Within two days the Jacobites had taken Fort George and Lord George Murray's force arrived from Aberdeen. The Jacobite army was once again united and in a base with stores of food and materiel. After a long retreat from Derby it now had winter quarters.

Loudon had failed to deny the Jacobites a base and they could now consolidate their position on their home ground.

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