Battle of Glenshiel
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An easy cache just of the A87 on the way to Skye just before Shiel Bridge. Parking in layby nearby.
The Battle of Glen Shiel (Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Ghleann Sheile) was a battle in Glen Shiel, in the West Highlands of Scotland on 10 June 1719 between the British government and an alliance of Jacobites and Spaniards, resulting in a victory for the British forces. It was the last close engagement of British and foreign troops on mainland British soil. The Battle of Glenshiel is sometimes considered an extension of the 1715 rising, but is more correctly a separate rebellion and was the only rising to be extinguished by a single military action
The great natural strength of the Jacobite position had been increased by hasty fortifications. A barricade had been constructed across the road, and along the face of the hill on the north side of the river entrenchments had been thrown up. Here the main body was posted, consisting of:
A Spanish regiment, which now only paraded some 200 strong, under its Colonel, Don Nicolás Bolaño
Clan Cameron of Lochiel with about 150 men
About 150 of Lidcoat’s and others, 20 volunteers
Rob Roy, chief of Clan MacGregor with 40 men
50 men of Clan MacKinnon
200 from the Clan MacKenzie, commanded by Sir John Mackenzie of Coul. The chief of Clan MacKenzie, Lord Seaforth, was on the extreme left, up on the side of Scour Ouran, with 200 of his best men.
Lord George Murray, son of the chief of Clan Murray, was positioned on the hill on the south bank of the river, the right of the position, was occupied by about 150 men under Tullibardine cornmanded in the centre, accompanied by Glendaruel.
Brigadier Mackintosh of Borlum was with the Spanish Colonel. The Chief of Clan Keith, George Keith, the Earl Marischal, and a rebel Brigadier Campbell were with Seaforth on the left.
The government army's right wing was commanded by Colonel Clayton and composed of:
150 grenadiers under Major Milburn; Montagu’s Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence
A detachment of 50 men under Colonel Harrison
Huffel's Dutch Regiment
Four companies of Arnerongen's from the Clan Fraser, Clan Ross and the Clan Sutherland.
On the flank were 80 men of Clan MacKay led under their chief Lord Strathnaver, Ensign Mackay.
The government army's left wing, which was deployed on the south side of the river, consisted of:
Clayton’s Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Reading
On the flank were about 100 men of the Clan Munro under George Munro of Culcairn.
The government dragoons and the four mortars remained on the road.
The Battle of Glen Shiel
After moving around for one month, the Spaniards had learned by the beginning of June that Ormonde would never come. In spite of this, they gathered clansmen for a last action, with a total of 1,000 troops.
On 5 June, British government forces composed of both English and Scottish soldiers under General Joseph Wightman came from Inverness to block their march. They consisted of 850 infantry, 120 dragoons and 4 mortar batteries.
They confronted the Jacobites at Glen Shiel, just a few miles from Loch Duich, on June 10, near the Five Sisters hills. The Spanish occupied the top and the front of one of the hills, to their advantage, while the Jacobite Scots manned barricades on the sides.
The engagement began between about five and six o'clock when the left wing of the British government army advanced against Lord George Murray's position on the south side of the river. The position was first shelled by the mortar batteries and then attacked by four platoons of Clayton's regiment and Munro's. After some initial stubborn resistance, Lord George Murray's unsupported men were driven from their position and forced to retreat.
Once the Jacobite right wing had been dislodged, Wightman ordered his right wing to attack the Jacobite left.
The detachment, commanded by Lord Seaforth, was strongly positioned behind a group of rocks on the hillside. It was against them that Harrison's and Montigue's regiments were directed. Seaforth was reinforced by his own men under Sir John MacKenzie. Hard pressed, Seaforth sent for further reinforcements. Another group of men, under Rob Roy, went to his aid, but before it could reach him, his men gave way, and Seaforth himself was badly wounded.
Wightman concentrated his troops on the flanks, while the mortars battered the whole and pinned the Spaniards in their positions. Wightman's whole force was now directed toward the Jacobite centre.
The Spanish regulars stood their ground well, but found that most of their allies had deserted them, so they too retreated up the hill. Rob Roy was severely wounded and his MacGregors left the battle to save him. Other clans followed and left their allies retreating uphill.
At 9 o'clock in the evening, they surrendered, three hours after the start of the combat, while the remaining Jacobites fled into the fog, to escape execution as traitors.
The Jacobites were poorly provisioned and armed, and when the expected Jacobite support from the Lowlanders was minimal, spirits fell completely. The Rising was abandoned and the Jacobites dispersed to their homes.
The mountain in Glen Shiel on which the battle took place is called Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe, it has a subsidiary peak which was named Sgurr nan Spainteach (The Peak of the Spaniards) in honour of the Spanish forces who fought admirably in the battle.
Three of the Jacobite commanders, Lord George Murray, Lord Seaforth, and Rob Roy, were badly wounded. John Cameron of Lochiel, however, after hiding for a time in the Highlands, made his way back to exile in France. George Keith, chief of Clan Keith and the last Earl Marischal, fled into exile in Prussia, where his brother Francis Keith wrote a narration of the battle. In spite of a later pardon, Keith never returned to Great Britain and became the Prussian ambassador to France and later to Spain. The 274 Spanish prisoners were reunited with their comrades in Edinburgh and by October, negotiations allowed their return to Spain.
On the government side, casualties were lighter; George Munro of Culcairn was wounded in the legs by musket shot, but survived.
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Last Updated: on 11/15/2017 3:34:10 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (11:34 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum