Two Accounts of the Battle fought on April 16, 1746, by contemporary observers, David, Lord Elcho and General Robert Wightman
Read by DOUGLAS ALLEN and WILLIAM CRICHTON
The first of these contemporary accounts of the battle of Culloden was written by Lord Elcho, who commanded a regiment of horse in Prince Charles Edward 's army. The account was preserved in MS. for many years at the Earl of Wemyss's house at Gosford, and was not printed until 1907. It is a curiously dispassionate account, businesslike, and fairly accurate in details. The second account, however, presents a great contrast to Lord Elcho's description of the battle. It is taken from an unpublished letter written by General Robert Wightman , an officer in the Hanoverian army. It is dated a week after the battle and is of particular interest because of the references it contains to the rumours then current in Edinburgh. Quite clearly General Wightman was not convinced that Culloden marked the end of the '45 rising: ' I am far from thinking our calamity at an end and your part of the country safe ', he wrote. ' I am not so sanguine as to think the rebellion terminated by the victory, as the honest people here flatter themselves..... It is said that the Pretender is taken, but I do not credit it absolutely..... He is certainly hotly pursued and runs no small risk '.
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