Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jacobite Skirmish at Culwhinic Moor

The two battalions of the Atholl Brigade protect the Jacobite left flank near the town of Cardhu. Click on all Pix to enlarge the view.

On May 8, 1745 the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie fought a bloody action against the Government forces of King George II on Culwhinic Moor, not too far from Curmudgeon Castle. As our readers may recall, the Jacobite army descended on the supply depot at Curmudgeon and routed the Government forces out of the village, out of the second line of redoubts, and chased them back into Curmudgeon Castle. For the past few months, the Government garrison has held out, defying the rebels overtures to surrender. Finally, the Government sent out a relief expedition to seccour its forces in the castle and hopefully deal the rebels a severe blow. This then, is the account of the battle between Lord Keith Leidy of Woodstock's Government army, and the Jacobites commanded by Lord George Murray and the Earl of Talisker.

Lord Woodstock surveys his deployment with a certain degree of detachment. "Tis just a little tussle with the rebel rabble. It ought to be over in a matter of minutes," sayeth His Grace. (View of the Jacobite center atop of Culwhinic Moor with its left anchored by the town of Cardhu. The Earl of Talisker (me) commands the Jacobite left).

We assembled in the wine cellar of Lord George Murray (Randy F.) to settle our differences on the Field of Mars. The Earl of Talisker (der Alte Fritz) and Lord George Murray commanded the Jacobite forces. We rolled for the charisma of Prince Charles, which today was Poor (-1) so needless to say, we did not bother to attach the Prince to any Jacobite unit for morale enhancement. Keith L. (Lord Woodstock) and Bill P. (Lord Brown Deer) commanded the Government forces:


Lord Talisker (left wing)
5 x 30 Clan Regiments - Veteran
1 x 30 ECW Unit - Veteran

Prince Charles (center reserve)
1 x 24 French Regiment d'Albanie - Veteran
6 x Mounted Bodyguard - Superior Hussars/Elite
6 x ECW Hussars - Baggot's Hussars - Superior Hussar/Elite

Lord George Murray (right wing)
1 x 60 Royal Ecossais French - Veteran
1 x 45 Camerons - Veteran
1 x 60 Black Watch standing in for Highlanders - Veteran
1 x 25 ECW Scots standing in for Highlanders - Veteran
2 x 4pdr artillery with 8 crew- Trained

The Jacobite center, with artillery and the Royal Ecossais and Atholl Brigade on the front line. The clan regiments can be seen skulking behind the ridge, waiting for an opportunity to charge.

The Government forces were divided into two wings, each of 3 x 60 figure battalions of redcoats. The right wing under Lord Woodstock was to hold back and perhaps contest control f the village of Cardhu, thereby keeping the Jacobites from reinforcing the center. The left wing was commanded by Major General Lord Brown Deer. He had the two 6-pd Royal Artillery battery attached to his command. He also controlled the reserve of 43 converged grenadiers and 12 mounted 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (the "Greys").

Lord Woodstock (right wing)
1 x 60 3rd (Buffs) Foot - Trained
1 x 60 8th (King's Regt.) Foot - Trained
1 x 60 27th (Inniskilling) Foot - Trained

Lord Brown Deer (left wing)
1 x 66 44th Foot - Trained
1 x 72 46th Foot - Trained
1 x 54 60th Foot - Trained
2 x 6pdr Royal Artillery - Veteran

1 x 43 converged grenadiers - Veteran
1 x 12 horse grenadiers - Veteran

Jacobite center (2nd Atholl and Royal Ecossais) gang up on the 8th Foot and charge down Culwhinic Moor and open up a huge hole in the center of the Government battle line.

I had not played the Jacobite BAR rules for quite awhile and so I watch three 60 man red coat battalions march towards the town of Cardhu with some trepedation. I pulled back several of my clan regiments to get them away from the dreaded British first fire bonus and hopefully draw them in and attack any kink in their battle line. Then I remembered that the rules favor the Jacobite charging and getting into melees, so I sent in the 2nd Atholl and the Royal Ecossais, from our center, where they outnumbered and overwhelmed the Government's 8th Foot. I had not consulted the rules and forgot that the first fire bonus is only +3 instead of the normal BAR +5. Also, the redcoats were only trained, rather than veterans, but I did not know that at the time. So we charged.

The fury of the Highland Charge routs the 8th Foot from the field with 2nd Atholl losing more than half of its men, while the Royal Ecossais lost a hole stand of 15 figures. Very bloody. Very deadly.

The Clan Fraser Regiment plays "capture the flag" with the 27th Foot. This picture gives one a sense of the whirling back and forth nature of fighting the melee-focused Jacobites.

The 1st Atholl battalion finishes off the 27th Foot, but the Buffs do an about face and prepare to finish off the 1st Atholl instead. This is the "Before" picture.

And here is the "After" picture after the Buffs have shot the Athollmen in the flank and rear. The Buffs would then charge and finish off the Athollmen.

I was too busy to keep track of what was going on over on our right flank around the town of Drambui. There was an intense hand to hand fighting inside the town, and I heard that The Blade and Captain von Bergmann of Tradgardland both fell in battle. (The two heros were later given the benefit of a second saving throw and both survived to tell their tales).

The fight over Drambui (the town, not the whiskey unfortunately). Government redcoats at the bottom of the picture fight the red coated Camerons (top right) and some ECW Scots that we drafted into the Jacobite army. Pikemen counted as two fighters in the melee, a good idea that Bill made up on the spot. The Government captured Drambuie by the end of the game.

The Cameron Clan Regiment (Center left with red flag) and the Black Watch (upper left) stand in for Jacobite units in the game. Both are actually the Black Watch, but since they were wearing kilts, we drafted them into Prince Charlie's army.

The Royal Artillery blasts the Jacobite long arm into kingdome come at very close range.

Well that riles up Clan Stewart of Appin, which comes roamin' from the gloamin' (out of the blue so it seemed) and avenged the Jacobite artillery by charging into the flank of the Royal Artillery battery and wiping it out.

But then the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons materialize on the flank of the Black Watch and make them pay for switching sides. Again, one gets a feel for the sense that units from both sides are charging hither and yon and seemingly hitting each other in the flank. There were no secure flanks by the end of the game.

By the end of the game, the Government forces had captured the towns on each flank of the original Jacobite position, while the Jacobites held the center of the field with two strong battalions of French regulars and a few remaining clan regiments. Lord George Murray advised the Prince that it would be a good idea to retire from the field and pick up stragglers. Lord Woodstock's relief force was in tatters and as he aptly put it, "my relief force needs some relief!"

Thus we assumed that the Jacobites would probably withdraw back towards Curmudgeon Castle and lift the seige and consolidate their army so that it could fight another day. Lord Woodstock decided that he would not be able to fight his way through to the Castle, so he withdrew his forces back to the coast where the Royal Navy could protect them until more red coats arrived.


  1. And what news of that giant Scot, Pipe Major Sean MacLeod? The Court of Saxe-Bearstein wants to know if that worthy took part in this conflict . . . and, if so, what chanced with him.

    -- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

  2. Beautiful!
    Also, I forget which officious body I sent in ... hope he did well on the table (unless, like most Frankszonian minor nobility, he was under the table)

  3. I that if you look closely at the picture of the Stewarts over running the Royal Artillery, you will see Piper McLeod at the forefront (or at least on the movement stand). He inspired them greatly.

  4. Thanks for the battle report and super pics!
    best wishes

  5. Jeff, for more information about the Giant Piper McLeod check out the Campaigns in Germania blog. He did well.

  6. Enjoyable reports on the battle (here and on the Campaigns in Germania blog)! I can almost hear the pipes!

  7. Thank you Der Alte for this fine report. What a game? And a small one too. Readers! YOU can do this too. Easy.

  8. Very good point Bill. We had the equivalent of 6 or 7 units in total and completed the game in under 3 hours, I would estimate. Nobody had any shortage of troops and there was plenty of maneuver, to and fro, and back and forth to the game. All on a 12 foot by 6ft table.

    This will be close to the size of our first 1806 game on July 11, 2009.

  9. Der Alte,

    I found it amusing that both you made your post for the game on the same day that I putt up a post on the Campaigns Blog, and no we did not time it this way. Good Report and description of the game.

  10. Jim,

    I was pleased to see that two of my "Gentlemen Adventurers" (young Alistair Campbell and Count Pavlov) were both featured in some of the fighting. Thanks for allowing them to participate in your two battles. I'm sure they will both have thrilling stories to tell around the campfires once they return.