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Burying the Dead

Clan Grave Stones

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Burying the Dead

This stone marks the mass grave for those killed in the battle from Clans MacGillivray, MacLean, and MacLachlan as well as those from the Athol Highlanders.

Photograph © 2007 Patricia A. Hickman

With the battle lost, the Prince was taken from the field and the remnants of the army, led by Lord George Murray, retreated towards Ruthven. Arriving there the next day, the troops were met by the sobering message from the Prince that the cause was lost and that each man should save themselves as best they could. Back at Culloden, a dark chapter in British history began to play out. Following the battle, Cumberland's troops began to indiscriminately kill the wounded Jacobites, as well as fleeing clansmen and innocent bystanders, frequently mutilating their bodies. Though many of Cumberland's officers disapproved, the killing continued. That night, Cumberland made a triumphant entrance into Inverness. The next day, he ordered his men to search the area around the battlefield for hiding rebels, stating that the Prince's public orders the previous day called for no quarter to be given. This claim was supported by a copy of Murray's orders for the battle, to which the phrase "no quarter" had been clumsily added by a forger.

In the area around the battlefield, government troops tracked down and executed fleeing and wounded Jacobites, earning Cumberland the nickname "the Butcher." At the Old Leanach Farm, over thirty Jacobite officers and men were found in a barn. After barricading them in, the government troops set the barn on fire. Another twelve were found in the care of a local woman. Promised medical aid if they surrendered, they were promptly shot in her front yard. Atrocities such as these continued in the weeks and months after the battle. While Jacobite casualties at Culloden are estimated at around 1,000 killed and wounded, many more died during later as Cumberland's men combed the region. The Jacobite dead from the battle were separated by clan and buried in large mass graves on the battlefield. Government casualties for the Battle of Culloden were listed as 364 killed and wounded.

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