When Charles Edward Stuart launched the last, and perhaps most famous, of the Jacobite Risings in the late summer of 1745, the British Army found itself ill-placed to respond. Its most effective troops were on the continent; regular units at home were weak, inexperienced or both; the Militia system was moribund and politically suspect. When the opposing forces first met in the field, the result was ignominious rout and retreat. Nevertheless, eight months after the Rising began, the Jacobite cause went down in crushing defeat at Culloden.
This collection of essays examines in detail some of the units that marched and fought for George II during this tumultuous period. Consideration is given to regular regiments of foot and dragoons as well as to the additional units raised for the emergency. In the latter category, different chapters examine the ‘noblemen’s regiments’ added to the regular line as a piece of political jobbery, the militias raised by clans loyal to the House of Hanover, and the bluecoated volunteer regiments fielded to resist the Jacobite invasion of England. Emphasising the fact that this was a civil war, two of the chapters specifically address units and men raised in Scotland to fight the Jacobites.
The experiences of the units in question varied greatly; some took part in the pivotal battles of Prestonpans, Falkirk, and Culloden whilst others never fired a shot in anger. Taken together, however, these studies provide a new and fascinating insight into the military response to the Jacobite ’45.