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Scotland and the Scots, 1707-2007

Christian Auer

II. Jacobitism

10. A Soldier’s Letter, 1746

Texte intégral

1The following is a letter from a soldier who fought against the Jacobites. Also see introduction to text 7.

2“A Copy of a Letter from a Soldier in Cobham’s Dragoons sent to his Brother at Cirencester, May 11th, 1746”, in Robert Forbes, The Lyon in Mourning, or, A collection of Speeches, Letters, Journals etc. relative to the Affairs of Prince Charles Edward Stuart by the Rev. Robert Forbes A. Bishop of Ross and Caithness 1746-1775, vol. 1, Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable, 1895, p. 380-382

May 11th, 1746: Stonehive, 80 miles this side Inverness.

  • 18 Reference to the battle of Culloden that took place on 16 April 1746.
  • 19 William, Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765), second surviving son of King George II and Queen Caroline (...)
  • 20 The Duke of Cumberland.
  • 21 See introduction to chapter 2, p. 27.
  • 22 The Duke of Cumberland.

To which we marched since that glorious 16th of April18 which gave liberty to three kingdom. These rapacious villains thought to have destroyed their prisoners, and by their orderly books, had they got the better, we were to have been every soul of us cut off, and not have had one prisoner, and for the Duke19 he was to have been cut as small as herbs for the pot, thus they and their books declare. But, God be praised, he wou’d not suffer such inhumanity and such barbarous villains to thrive, and I pray God our young hero20 is preserved to be a second deliverer to church and state; he beeing the darling of mankind, for we had certainly been starved had it not been his care to bring ovens and bakers with him. I say, Down on your knees all England and, after praise to God who gives victory, pray for the young British hero, for had he been at Falkirk21 these brave Englishmen that are now in their graves had not been lost, his presence doing more than five thousand men; and every man stands an equal chance for his life without partiality; which has not been the case for these six months last past. Your news papers give you a tolerable account, so I shall not, nor can I, give you a better within the compass of a letter. Since the last I sent you we find kill’d amongst the rebels no less than ten colonels, seven majors, fifteen captains, and as to lieutenants and ensigns, a volume of them. I leave you to guess at the number of rank and file that must fall. In short, ‘tis mine and every bodie’ s opinion no history can brag of so singular a victory and so few of our men lost, that we lost but one man; ‘tho I fear I shall lose my horse, he having at this moment of writing a ball in his leftbuttock. ‘Twas pritty near Enoch that time, but, thank God, a miss is as good as a mile, as we say in Gloustershire. And now we have the pleasure of a bed and not hard duty; but for six weeks before the battle few of Cobham’s heroes (thank God, that is our caracter from the Duke and the general officers, except General Hawley, who does not love us because our regiment spoke truth about Falkirk job), I say for six weeks before I had not my cloaths off once, and had it not been for our dear Bill22, we had all been starved, only for the good loaves he order’d for the army, and some provisions that came by shipping. But thank God, I am well and in good quarters for this country, and I hope I shall live to see you once more. I have the vanity to believe Cobham’s will be welcome to England now; for the regiment has always been in front upon all occasions where hard and dangerous duty was to be done: from our first setting off to Stone fild where the sneaking dogs stole away in the night, at Clifton-Moor where we dismounted and fought on foot and the Duke thanked us at the head of the regiment and so he has done several times. I shou’d be glad to hear what the caracter of Cobham’s is in England. Direct for me at Stonehive or else-where. ‘Tis impossible for me to tell you what hard duty we have done since we have been in the north, but had we done ten times more, ‘tis what I shou’d think of with pleasure so as we serve our King and country. We are all hearty that is left of us, and we thank and praise God for our deliverance. We have not lost above one troop and one hundred horses, which I think a miracle. As to what you say about agents, you must think I tried long ago. But, in short, the officers don’t care how little cash they have about them in these parts, especialy in war; for every time we thought of a battle the officers’ servants had all the regiment’s cash, rings, and watches. I sold my watch a little before Falkirk’s battle, and the dear lad that bought it was kill’d the first fire, so that he and all he had fell to these inhumane dogs. He was my particular friend. I hope all is now over. We are guarding the coast that Charles may not get off. I pray God I had him in this room, and he the last of the Stuart race; it wou’d be my glory to stab the villain to the heart. Beside it wou’d look well in history for him to fall by the hand of a Bradshaw. I dare say did the rankest Jacobite in England know the misery he has brought on the north of England, he wou’d be sick of the name of Stuart; for I have a shocking story of their villainy, which wou’d make even a papist tremble at the reading of it. My humble service to all friends in general. I pray God I had a flicth of your bacon, but am well, and we have bread and brandy in plenty.—

Yours, enoch bradshaw.


18 Reference to the battle of Culloden that took place on 16 April 1746.

19 William, Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765), second surviving son of King George II and Queen Caroline, was 25 at the time of the battle of Culloden.

20 The Duke of Cumberland.

21 See introduction to chapter 2, p. 27.

22 The Duke of Cumberland.

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