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Editor's note: The background is faded GlenGyle
Battles MacGregors Fought

Preamble-

In 1390, the hereditary grand chief of the MacGregors, John MacGregor, died without leaving a satisfactory successor. Colin Campbell of Lochaw, although having only a flimsy claim, was not slow to grab the land and title. He was strong enough to withstand the opposition of the MacGregors.  By 1440, bands of MacGregors were seeking shelter further and further eastwards of Argyle. Two main branches of the clan formed roots of sorts in Glen Dochart and Glen Lyon. Small bands of them were also finding their way to Loch Rannoch.   These MacGregors had been driven out of their ancestral lands by the Campbell dragon and were continuously hounded by the authorities driven by Campbell greed and treachery. 

It was a time when the kings of Scotland were powerless to prevent strong barons from pillaging weaker neighbours, and the Campbells somehow acquired a Royal Proclamation from Robert III acknowledging their right of ownership. The MacGregors did not take this lying down, but their only answer was the sword. This they did not hesitate to use but gradually they were harried out of their lands which one after the other passed into the hands of the Campbells, until there was not a glen that the MacGregors could call their own. Brave and fearless though they were in battle, they were no match for the diplomacy of the Campbells, and they had no one to speak for them ‘in court’. As they were driven from their homes they took to living by raiding and slaughter. Their anger grew and their name struck terror into the heart of all.

While it is generally known that Clan Gregor fought on the losing side in many battles, it is less well known that we also fought on the winning side of  many struggles.

Here are some of both listed chronologically:


Battle of Balquhidder (early 15th century)
Clan Gregor wins precedence at the Balquhidder Church

During the 15th century, a MacLaren on his way home to Balquhidder from St. Kessog's Fair at Kilmahog was overtaken by a band of Buchanans.  Thinking he was a bit simple they began to taunt him and one smacked him across the face with a salmon he was carrying, knocking off his bonnet in the process.  The MacLaren retorted that they were brave men to pick on a solitary MacLaren and dared them to repeat it at the next St. Angus Fair in Balquhidder.Balqhuhidder

When the fair came around the Buchanans were surprised to find most of the Clan MacLaren waiting for them fully armed and ready to fight.  Early in the battle, a Buchanan's hand was cut off and his young son grabbed the severed limb and ran as fast as he could back to Kilmahog where he showed it to his grandfather.

The call went out and many Buchanans rushed to the reinforce their clansmen in the struggle.  A group of MacGregors, who had been watching from the sidelines offered to help the MacLarens, who were now outnumbered, but on one condition and that was to have the right to enter Balquhidder church before any of the other congregation - a right that belonged to the Clan MacLaren while all others had to wait until all the MacLarens were seated before they could enter.

The offer was quickly accepted and up went the battle cries "Craig an Tuirc" (Rock the Boar) shouted the MacLarens -"Ard Choille" (High Wood) yelled the Clan Gregor, as the combined force overran the Buchanans who were pushed back to a waterfall near the river Balvaig and driven over to drown or be slain as they tried to escape and fled in all directions hotly pursued.

One was slain by a MacGregor about a mile distant and the other was killed near Strathyre at Stron Leny (Leny's Point).  The waterfall at the spot is still called "Linan an Seicachan" (Falls of the dead bodies.)

A postscript to this battle took place years later when the MacLarens reneged on their agreement and unsuccessfully sought to retrieve by force the right of precedence at the Balquhidder church.   


Battle of Caochan na Fola (1480)
Clan Gregor wins a foothold in Loch Rannoch

In 1480, occurred an incident which resulted in the MacGregors establishing a stronger foothold in Rannoch. At Dunan, a mile or two west of Loch Rannoch, there was a tribe called Clan lain Buidhe (Clan of John of the Yellow hair). This tribe waylaid a party of Stewart peddlers or merchants who were travelling with goods from Perth to Appin. Loch Rannoch, home to many MacGregors since 1440 They murdered two of them. The others escaped and when Dugald Stewart of Appin was told what had happened to his kinsmen he hastily gathered a force bent on revenge. He made his way without delay and as he was passing through Glen Lyon he encountered the MacGregors of Roro who had recently been driven from Glen Orchy. He was treated so well by the MacGregors, he was given the fattest calves for his party to feed on, that he asked them to join him in the forthcoming battle.

The two parties, Stewarts and MacGregors together attacked the Buidhe Clan. It was a fiercely contested fight in which many of the defenders were killed. Blood flowed freely: the nearby burn is still called by the old people Caochan na Fola, the Rill of Blood. Those who survived escaped over the river while the victors divided the spoils. Dugald took the cattle back to Appin and the MacGregors took the land. Here they were much safer from attacks and it was a good base from which to launch raids. The country was a natural stronghold protected by Schichallion in the east with further three thousand foot mountains in the south. The north faced miles of wild mountainous country while the wilderness of Rannoch Moor guarded the western approaches.


Battle of Glen Fruin(1603)
A great victory results in condemnation of Clan Gregor

The background-

By the 16th century, in return for services to the crown, the Campbells of Argyll had become the largest landowners in Scotland and had since 1528 been appointed the hereditary title of "Lord Justice General of Scotland".  This gave them the power of life or death over  most of Scotland's people.

With successive government edicts of fire and sword granted to Campbells, Murrays, Stewarts and other Royal favourites who coveted MacGregor property in 1563, 1588, 1590 and 1597, and were renewed at later intervals over a hundred and thirty years.  The intent was to exterminate them.  Driven from their hereditary territories and denied protection of the law, MacGregors, in order to survive,  became outlaws.  Their legendary fierceness in battle served them well as they fought to survive in a world in which they no longer held any political power.  They became pawns in others' manipulations.

Most MacGregors became tenants of the Campbells, who knew how to use others' abilities to their own advantage.  Fiercely loyal to their own Chiefs, they coalesced like beads of mercury when harassed.  They uncannily recognized each other despite living under assumed names forced on them by circumstances beyond their control.  By the early 1600s, they had actually increased in numbers and had become a source of anxiety to the Royal government in far off Edinburgh.

In the southern Highlands, an ambitious Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, Laird of Luss and overseer of a vast personal empire around Dunbarton, had became a thorn in the side of the Earl of Argyll, blocking his expansion southwards.  Sir Humphrey was a Royal favourite and  held sway over a fortress at Rossdhu, the lands of Luss, and demanded loyalty from several  lesser tenant clans including the Buchanans and Grahams.  Argyll called upon the MacGregor Chiefs and assured them that Colquhoun territory was fair game.


The provocation-

In the late 1500s, two young MacGregors while returning home along the western banks of Loch Lomond from a market in Dumbarton, were caught in a heavy snowstorm.  Shunned by hostile locals, and denied shelter, they eventually found a vacant barn and stayed there for the night.  They killed a stray sheep and cooked it for supper.

They were spotted by some locals who contacted Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, who dispatched a troop of men to apprehend the  two men.  They were imprisoned and a trial was quickly organized - with only one outcome possible, they were beheaded and their heads stuck on either side of the gates at Rossdhu, the home of Sir Humphrey.

This ruthless act encouraged retribution from MacGregors who began to make daring raids into Colquhoun territory.  Sir Humphrey complained to the Earl of Argyll, who was legally responsible for the actions of the Glenstrae MacGregors.  Argyll, one of the most powerful men in Scotland, ignored this and allowed the MacGregors to continue plundering as they wished, as he had his own axes to grind with respect to Sir Humphrey.  Coincidentally, lifted cattle were afterwards sold to the Earl at rock bottom prices.

These MacGregor raids increased in size and scope until there was a confrontation between Duncan MacEwan MacGregor, who was leading a party of his clansmen and a large force of Colquhouns.  Several of the latter were killed and some wounded.  Sir Humphrey decided to appeal directly to the King, who he knew had an aversion to the sight of blood.

Sir Humphrey led a grand parade 200 Colquhoun women carrying spears with their men kinfolk's shirts dripping sheep blood right into the Royal presence at Stirling.  This ploy worked and King James VI granted the right of "Fire and Sword"  to Colquhoun, thereby granting him licence to exterminate every man, woman, and child of the clan Gregor using any force deemed necessary.

Colquhoun immediately began to raise a large force to attack MacGregor territory.  The powerful Earl of Argyll viewed a military excursion into his neighbourhood by the Laird of Luss as an affront and a direct threat to his own ambitions and duly advised his tenants they were free to join up with the MacGregor cause.

Word soon spread and Alasdair sent a message to Sir Humphrey requesting him to meet them at the head of Glen Fruin west of the Trossachs to apologize for the slaughter of the two MacGregors and  to offer compensation to their families, as was the traditional Highland method of resolving such disputes.

MacGregor further suggested that he would bring 100 clansmen with him and Colquhoun should do the same, to which Colquhoun readily consented.  Colquhoun gathered his forces near his fortress at Rossdhu.  His own clansmen were reinforced by Buchanans and Grahams, and many able bodied free men form Dumbarton.  His combined force numbered at least 500 foot and over 300 horsemen.  Colquhoun was planning on setting a trap for the MacGregors.

With Argyll's blessing, Alasdair sent out the "fiery cross", (a wooden cross covered in goat's blood) the traditional Clan Gregor method of summoning their clansmen when confronted with a menacing enemy.  Some 400 MacGregors arrived at Balquhidder from as far away as Loch Rannoch, armed with claymores, halberts, Lochaber axes, longbows and other weapons.  When confronted by a common enemy, MacGregors of any persuasion, throughout Argyll and Perthshire, whether tenants of whatever Lairds, would quickly become the most formidable and battle hardened fighters in all of Scotland.

Among them were Camerons, Campbells, and an eager detachment of MacDonalds from Glencoe.   The MacDonalds of Glencoe had also been used by the Campbell GlenOrchy Lairds in the past.  Cutting MacGregor throats for Campbell paymasters did not prevent Glencoe men from becoming MacGregor allies in the next generation.  When faced with a lowland threat, highlanders of various clans often coalesced into a common cause. The phrase, "Blood is thicker than water" originated in Highland Scotland.

This campaign would be a total Clan Gregor effort, with the overall strategy in the hands of the military genius, Robert Aberach MacGregor of Lochaber, and it was Callum of Glen Gyle, of the Dougal Ciar MacGregors,  (grandfather of Rob Roy) who actually led the combined force.  Each of the four MacGregor tribes was led by their respective Sub-Chief although Alasdair was the most prestigious, and was the titular Commander in chief.  This would be a maximum Clan Gregor effort as the Clan's very survival was in severe jeopardy.

Word of the impending confrontation spread and Scotland braced for the showdown: 


The battle-

The MacGregor army left the braes (fields) of Balquhidder on a bitter winter morning on the 3rd of February, 1603, crossed Loch Lomond from Glen Arklet to the Pass of Arrochar, and swung down the eastern shore of Loch Long to come up on Colquhoun territory.  Alasdair approached the head of Glen Fruin with his designated 100 clansmen but had sent his brother, Ian Dubh, ahead with the larger force to a secluded spot some distance from the meeting place in case any trouble arose.

Meanwhile everyone for miles around had heard of the meeting, and large crowds turned out expecting a great battle and a MacGregor defeat.  Among the crowd were a number of students from the University of Dunbarton who were taken by their headmaster.  Sir Humphrey brought 400 of his own men hiding most of them behind a nearby hill for an ambush of the MacGregors as they returned to their home territory after the meeting.

As Sir Humphrey approached the MacGregors, the two forces lined up facing each other.  The two Chiefs came forward and talked.  After some time, Alasdair turned to his own men and proclaimed that there would be no blood spilled on this day.  The clan Gregor party left the meeting place to return home but by a different route than which they had come, thereby unknowingly evading the Colquhoun ambush.  

Seeing this , Sir Humphrey yelled a war cry which alerted his hidden forces and suddenly the MacGregors were being charged by two groups of Colquhouns.  Realizing an ambush had been set, Alasdair and his men took flight and did not stop until they were across the Fruin river, where they turned to face the Colquhouns in battle formation.  

Sir Humphrey's men waded into the numbingly cold river but could not gain ground as the MacGregors had secured the only two shallow crossing points on that stretch of river.  When the river was full of men, Alasdair signaled to his brother who was nearby with his larger force, and from the hillsides a torrent of arrows fell among the Colquhouns.  The Colquhouns began losing many men to the superior MacGregor tactics.

A large number of men broke away from the main Colquhoun force to attack Ian Dubh' s men.  As they approached, the MacGregors withdrew as if to retreat.  They pulled back into a narrow gully between two hills  where they turned to face their foe.  As the fighting raged hand to hand, the MacGregor bowmen sprinted up the hillsides and began to deliver a torrent of deadly arrows into the crammed Colquhoun men.   The Colquhouns were an easy target packed tightly in the confines of this narrow space and many were killed.  Their horsemen were of no help in this terrain.  This pass was known ever after as "Bealach na Dunach" (Pass of Disaster).

As pandemonium broke, many Colquhouns began to flee from the slaughter .  The Colquhoun army still greatly outnumbered the MacGregors and Sir Humphrey tried to reorganize them into battle formation but they could not resist the onslaught of the pursuing MacGregors, who overran the much larger force with their renowned fierce fighting. 

As Alasdair pursued his retreating enemy, he came across the 37 students and their headmaster, who fearing for their safety, put them in Alasdair's care.  Alasdair, who was preoccupied with pursuing the Colquhouns, ordered a clansman to take them to a nearby vacant barn and watch over them and continued in hot pursuit.   This clansman stood guard outside the barn door with sword in hand for he had mistakenly understood they were Colquhoun prisoners and he their jailer.

Further on the MacGregors came across the freemen of Dunbarton who were armed but no match for the battle-hardened MacGregors and were quickly all slain.  When Sir Humphrey's men reached the foot of Glen Fruin, they scattered in all directions.  Alasdair decided not to pursue them any further and gathered all his clansmen to return home.  Over 140 of Colquhoun's men lay dead on the battlefield and many more were injured while only two MacGregors were killed in action.

The MacGregors were in good cheer as theyA simple stone slab marks the event which was both the greatest MacGregor victory and the watershed of our proscription. headed home until Alasdair suddenly spotted the clansman he had  left in charge of the students.  He asked the man what he had done with the students.  The clansman replied that they had become agitated and were shouting and screaming at him but he could not understand their English, nor they his Gaelic.  Apparently the barn was small and they were crammed in so tight they began to suffocate and tried to break out.  Believing his life in danger, the clansmen slew them all as they tried to overpower him.

Alasdair was shocked at what he had heard and went back to check for himself.  Sure enough, upon opening the barn doors, he found all were dead lying in a pool of blood.  He said to his clansmen who thought he had done no wrong, that he had placed them in his care to save them  from harm and not as prisoners and God help the MacGregors from this day on. 

In 1609 in 'Pitcairn's Trials', it is recorded that a MacIntauch of Glen Coe was accused of having murdered "with his bare hands forty puir nakit persons at Glenfroon".  A warrant for his arrest was issued though there is no evidence of his punishment having been carried out.  It was unlikely to say in the least that the prisoners were naked, as if so, they would have surely died of exposure in the freezing temperatures of the February of 1603.


The aftermath-

Clan Gregor's thwarting of a Royal decree could not have come at a worse time.  James VI was all packed up to go to London and was in no humour to leave a large area of central Scotland under his antagonists' control.  He applied all the force and fury at his disposal against the MacGregors to destroy them and wipe them off the face of the earth:  his primary target  was Alasdair, who was an honest man and accepted responsibility.

The entire Clan Gregor was proscribed  and a hefty price was put on Alasdair's head.  By Royal proclamation, anyone who was recognized as having participated in the MacGregor victory at Glen Fruin was condemned to death by hanging without trial.

In a deed of treachery, the Earl of Argyll captured him, but could not hold him.  Alasdair slipped away from a boat and swam off in the dark.  Alasdair received word from the Argyll, whom he regarded as a friend and advisor.  Argyll promised that he would get him pardoned if he gave himself up.  Alasdair hesitated for there was a price on his head and his safety could not be guaranteed on any journey.  Argyll promised that he would get him to the English border safely where he could make his way to London where he was unknown.

Alasdair and 11 relatives  agreed to this gesture by Argyll and were escorted over the border by the Earl of Edinburgh.  When they reached Berwick and stepped over the border, they were met by a force of Edinburgh town guards who forced them straight back to Edinburgh where they were imprisoned.

The following morning, Alasdair and his men were brought for trial before a jury consisting of his worst enemies.  During the trial, Alasdair stated that he was encouraged to attack the Colquhouns by the Earl of Argyll and was asked to commit many similar acts which he had refused.  The result was a foregone conclusion, for the Justice General of Scotland was none other than the Earl of Argyll himself, the man who had just betrayed him.

When Clan Gregor heard of  their Chief's betrayal by Campbell, and while the mock trial of their Chiefs in Edinburgh  was still proceeding, the fiery cross was again sent out.  The clan spontaneously rose and took terrible vengeance on Sir Duncan Campbell of GlenOrchy, whom they believed to be Argyll's prompter.

The records of the GlenLyon Campbells declared that when the storm broke, 'Even Sir Duncan quailed.  They laid waste to Culdares and Duneaves in Fortingall, Crannuich in Breadalbane, Glenfalloch and Bochastel in Menteith, and burnt his castle at Archallader.'

Clan Gregor then went to earth.  Their Chief's execution, the sudden accession of James VI to the English throne in March 1603, and his departure for London on 5 April, with all that on the move entailed for Argyll and Atholl, took heat out of their pursuit.    They submitted to law in so far as they took the surnames of the clans on whose ground they happened to be living -Murray, Campbell, Drummond, Graham, Buchanan, and others, while some went back in time to their origins and retook the name MacAlpin - yet their family branches kept in constant  communication and their unity in good stead.  They watched and waited.

Alastair  MacGregor of Glenstrae, who claimed to be descended without interruption from Fergus King of the Scots,  and his 11 relatives  were hanged in a most blasphemous manner a year after the battle.  James VI, himself, claimed the same lineage but with much less authentication.  Alastair was ultimately more than avenged on both Argyll and James.  James' second son, Charles I, died on the scaffold in 1649.  Argyll's son and grandson also were both publicly executed, the first in 1661, the other in 1685.

The Acts of Proscription were five times renewed, each time with renewed vigor and with graver consequences - in 1611, 1613, 1621, 1627 and in 1633, when the clergy were forbidden to christen babies with the name Gregor.  Since the execution of Alasdair of Glenstrae, the clan had no chief whom the entire clan would accept, yet they remained strong units able to cooperate.  

The most active and energetic branch became Clan Dughaill Ciar, based in GlenGyle.  Their powerful neighbours felt a growing desire to conciliate them, for their friendship would allow their own tenants more peace of mind.  An example was the Earl of Moray's call on the GlenGyle MacGregors' help in 1624, when Malcom Og sped north with three hundred men to expel encroaching warriors of the Clan Chattan Confederacy.   Two centuries of persecution had made Clan Gregor into the toughest and most skilled guerrilla force ever to operate in Scotland.


The Great Civil Wars (1642-1651)

The two Civil wars in Britain were actually part of a larger struggle between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism throughout Europe for domination in the 17th century.  Tensions between the catholic Charles I and the protestant parliament  were brought to a head on January 4th, 1642 when Charles attempted to arrest five members of parliament. This attempt failed, since they were spirited away before the king's troops arrived.

Charles left London and both he and parliament began to stockpile military resources and recruit troops.  Charles officially began the war by raising his standard at Nottingham in August, 1642. Robert Devereux (3rd Earl of Essex) was made parliamentary commander.  At this stage of the wars, parliament had no wish to kill the king. It was hoped that Charles could be reinstated as ruler, but with a more constructive attitude to parliament.

The majority of the country was neutral in the civil wars, and both sides only had about 13,000 men in 1642.  The areas of Royalist support tended to be the North, West and Wales. Parliament were supported by the richer South and East, including London. Parliament also held most of the ports, since the merchants that ran them saw more profit in a parliament-lead country.  Parliament definitely had access to more resources than the king, and could collect taxes. Charles had to depend on donations from his supporters to fund his armies.

The first war stretched from 1642 to 1646, beginning with the king's raising of the standard.  Charles marched on London, hoping for a quick victory that would negate the benefits of parliament's resources. He was met at Edgehill (Oct 23 1642) by Essex and a battle was fought. This battle proved inconclusive, but failed to stop Charles' advance. He was met by another force at Turnham Green, however, and was forced to turn away from London.  Charles withdrew to Oxford, where his headquarters was based for the rest of the war.

In 1643, many battles were fought all over the country.  The royalist forces won at Adwalton Moor (June 30), taking control of Yorkshire. They also won at Lansdowne and Roundway Down (July) in the South-West, allowing Prince Rupert to take Bristol.  The forces of parliament won at Winceby (Oct 11), taking Lincoln, but on the whole had the worst part of military actions for the year.

At Newbury, a large battle took place that was inconclusive. After this testing of the major armies, both sides sought allies elsewhere.  Parliament drew up the Solemn League Covenant", which promised the Scots religious reforms in return for their help.

Charles negotiated a cease-fire in Ireland that freed English troops for action on the mainland.  In 1644, military actions were more balanced. Parliament won at Marston Moor (Jul 2), allowing them to take York with the Scots' help. They lost at Lostwithiel in the South-West, and withdrew from Newbury after a second inconclusive battle.

In 1645, the "New Model Army" was formed by Fairfax. This army won two important victories, at Naseby (June 14) and at Langport (Jul 10), effectively destroying all of Charles' armies.  In 1646, Charles had little choice but to disband his remaining forces. Oxford surrendered, and Charles fled North seeking refuge with the Scots, bringing the first war to a close.

Charles was ransomed by parliament, and held at Holmby House while parliament drew up proposals. In the mean time, parliament began to disband its army.

However, the army was unhappy about issues such as arrears of pay and living conditions, and resisted the disbandment. Eventually the army kidnapped Charles in an attempt to win a bargaining piece. However, Charles escaped to the Isle of Wight.  Increasingly concerned, the army marched to London (Aug 1647) and debated proposals of their own at Putney.  Charles took advantage of this shift of emphasis away from him to negotiate a new agreement with the Scots, again promising church reform (Dec 28 1647). This agreement lead to the second war.

A series of royalist rebellions and a Scottish invasion (Jul 1648) took place. However, all were defeated by the now powerful standing army. This new betrayal by Charles caused parliament to debate whether Charles should be returned to power at all. Those who still supported Charles' place on the throne tried once more to negotiate with him.

The army, angry that parliament were still considering Charles as a ruler, marched on parliament and conducted "Pride's Purge" (named such since the commanding officer of the operation was Sir Thomas Pride). 45 MP's were arrested, 146 were kept out of parliament, and only 75 were allowed in, and then only to do the army's bidding.

This rump parliament was ordered to set up a high court of justice in order to try Charles I for treason in the name of the people of England.  The trial of the king (Jan 1649) found Charles guilty as charged, and he was beheaded on January 30th.  Oliver Cromwell then lead the army in quelling revolts in Ireland and Scotland (1649-50) to finally restore an uneasy peace.

Charles II was then crowned in Scotland, claiming that the throne was rightfully his. He marched with the Scots on England. Cromwell beat the Scottish forces at Dunbar (Sep 3 1650), but could not prevent Charles II marching deep into England.  Cromwell finally engaged the new king at Worcester (Sep 3 1651) and beat him. Charles II fled abroad, ending the civil wars.  The Commonwealth was then established, with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of England.

Cromwell ruled over an uneasy domain, as several rebellions broke out in Scotland and Ireland that kept his standing army on the move until his death in.  Parliament then recalled Charles II to the throne.  In England, Charles was astute in his dealings with parliament but in Scotland there were old scores to settle.


Battles of Kilsyth & Inverlochy
MacGregors slaughter Campbells for a change-

In Scotland, the Great Civil War became a showdown between the great rival families of Campbell of Argyll, and Graham, Marquis of Montrose.  The Highland clans, except for  the Campbells and their close allies, ranged themselves behind Montrose.  It was virtually a racial conflict between Highlanders and Lowlanders, with the ironic twist that the Lowlanders were led by the Highlander, Duke of Argyll.

The MacGregors took a heavy revenge on their hereditary persecutors.  At Kilsyth, they were present at what was, in effect, a massacre of the Covenanters, who were trapped in a peat bog and shot without mercy.  Of 41 men who were conscripted from Ansthruther for the Covenanters, not one returned.  Even at the beginning of the 1800s, old people used to speak of relatives who marched against Montrose and were seen no more.

At Inverlochy, near Ben Nevis, after an astonishing crossing of Drumalban, the spine of Britain, in the depths of a severe winter, which no regular troops could have endured, and in which the poet Ian Lom MacDonald (the Bald) took part, Montrose's clans fell on the Duke of Argyll and his forces and destroyed them.  MacCailean Mhor, the Argyll himself, was forced to flee in his galley down Loch Linnhe.


Battle of Callander(1645)
Royalists win the day over the Campbells.

While marching through Strathspey in 1645 on a campaign to attack the garrison at Inverness, the Royalist General, Montrose, received a report that an Army of Campbells, together with some allied clans, were marching to attack Atholl.  He immediately dispatched Graham of Inchbrakie and young John Drummond of Balloch to warn and organize the Atholl highlanders who had remained at home to defend their territory.

Many of the Campbell army had been hiding and living in the wilds after they had heard that Sir Alexander MacDonald and a large force were attacking the Campbell's homeland of Argyll after losing the Battle of Kilsyth.  A combination of hunger and a call to arms by Campbell of Ardkinlass forced them to abandon their caves and hiding places.  Over 1200 Campbells were joined by Stuarts from Balquhidder and Menzies, who numbered over 300.

At first they attacked MacGregor and MacNab settlements who were allied with Montrose and then laid siege to Castle Ample near Loch Earn.  Loch EarnBy now word of this action had reached Atholl and a large number of Atholl highlanders under the Laird of Inchbrakie and Balloch were on the march to face them.

Although Inchbrakie only had a force of 700, his opponents had no idea as to the size of the army marching against them, so the Campbell tactics were to withdraw their forces to a position behind the river Teith at Callander and leave a large part of musketeers to guard the ford downstream.

The Royalist army from Atholl, although exhausted from their forced march form the north, attacked immediately.  Inchbrakie sent some of his men in a head on attack against the musketeers to divert attention from the rest of his army which had swam across the river further upstream and had come around to the rear of the Campbell force.

Outflanked and totally surprised, the Campbells broke ranks and despite a spirited fight retreated towards Stirling in complete disorder.  At least 80 of the Campbell men were killed during this action.  The victors devastated the whole of Argyll's country, burning Inverary and Campbeltown.


Battle of Beal an Duine(1645)
A woman's swift action saved the clan's island fortress

During the Civil War, Clan Gregor and other clans in the Trossachs were using guerilla tactics against Cromwell's army.  Individually they could not raise enough numbers to do battle so they used hit and run tactics and where better than the wilds of the Trossachs.  One such action took place when a troop of Cromwell's soldiers were marching through the dense forest at the foot of Ben A'an, when they were ambushed and one of the Republican troops killed.

This spot became known for a long time as Bealach an Duine (Pass of the Man).  The troop decided to seek revenge and marched on Loch Katrine where they knew of clan Gregor's hiding place for their women, children and livestock on Eileen Molach (the shaggy isle).  One of the troop sergeants volunteered to swim over to the island and return with one of the boats moored there. 

As he reached the boat and was pulling himself on board, Helen Stewart pulled a dagger from under her apron and in one swift movement cut off his head.  The rest of the troops were so horrified by the Sergeant's death scream that they turned back from whence they came, never to return.


Battle of Caithness(1650) 
MacGregors and Campbells fight on the same side.

When Campbell of GlenOrchy married the widow of the 6th Earl of Caithness, and wished to take over his new Earldom, he was opposed by the Caithness Sinclairs.  He raised a force of  Campbells and was supported by Donald Glas MacGregor's eldest son John with a strong force of his clan from Glen Gyle.  They marched to the neighbourhood of Wick, where , having crossed the Ord of Caithness, a mountain ridge, they met the Sinclairs.

The mixed force of former clan rivals camped by the Altimarlach Burn, while the Sinclairs sat up all night drinking and carousing in Wick.  "Merry nichts mak dowie morns" was a proverb well illustrated.  The wild charge of the Glen Gyle and Glen Orchy men resulted in such a slaughter of Sinclairs that the victors passed over the burn dryshod upon their corpses.  The victors immediately set to, and, in a very successful liaison, composed the two pipe tunes, "The Campbells are Coming" and the "Braes of Glen Orchy".

In Gaelic the first is "Baile Inbhearaora" or Inverary Town".


 


Battle of Duchray(1653)

General Monck, Cromwell's Commander in Chief in Scotland, had swept through the Trossachs stamping out any opposition and ordering the destruction of large tracts of forest that could be harbouring Royalist sympathizers.  Homes and property of any known opponents were burned to the ground including that of Graham of Duchray.

Shortly afterwards Monck left Scotland to take charge of Cromwell's fleet in England.  In 1653, a meeting took place at Lock Earn which was attended by the Earl of Glencairn, the Earl of Atholl, Lord Lorn, Glengarry, Lochiel, Graham of Duchray, Donald MacGregor, Farquharson of Inverary, Robertson of Strowan, MacNaughton of MacNaughton and Colonel Blackadder of Tullyallan.

At this meeting which lasted a number of days, it was agreed that all present should raise every man possible, and place them under Glencairn's command.  The plan was for Glencairn to remain in the general area while all the clan Chiefs and Lairds went home, raised their forces and return to the same meeting place.

It took six weeks before all the forces eventually arrived.  In the meantime an impatient Glencairn wandered through the local mountains surrounding the Trossachs.


Battle of KILLIECRANKIE (1689)
Highland Clans win the battle but lose their leader

The Background-

On 12 March 1689, King James Stuart landed in Ireland to give birth to a national uprising to place himself on the British throne and send the usurper William packing back to Holland.  The clans would only rise with the advent of a field commander who inspired their full confidence.  That man would be Iain Dubh nan Cath, "Black John of the battles" the name by which John Graham, Viscount Dundee, was known to Highlanders for his black hair and wide battle-experience in France, the Low Countries, and Britain.

One morning in May 1689, Donald Glas MacGregor received word that his nephew, Gregor of Glenstrae, Chief of Clan Gregor, required his presence. Gregor was the ninth of the Glenstrae line and had received King James Stuart's letter calling out clan Gregor.  Donald Glas was the clan's most experienced leader and must act as such in the field as was the ancient custom of the clan.

Later in the month the King again wrote to Gregor appointing him as Colonel of the Clan Gregor Regiment but he never took the field.   Instead he appointed Donald as Major of the Glen Gyle MacGregors and as such would later sign documents for the entire Clan Gregor in his stead.  The various units of the clan marched north separately in their own time.  Some failed to make Dalmucomar but joined the rising later.

General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, a veteran of the Dutch wars, had led William's advance into England, and now commanded in Scotland, where the main threat to William lay.  Mackay formed his army from the English dragoons, the Scots Brigade from Holland and local Edinburgh militia.  He pursued Dundee through several counties with an army of four thousand five hundred, to no avail as Dundee knew the country best and made the most of it.  Dundee recruited as he went forming an army of about  two thousand seven hundred.

Rob Roy was merely eighteen and he was greatly impressed by all the tough talk, the stirring colours of the different clans, and the presence of so many Scottish heroes from the last uprising.  The protestant Rob began to realize that he was not fighting for King nor Catholicism but for a way of life that William and those who called upon him to be sovereign  were out to destroy. 

 

 

MacKay had nine regiments of foot and two of horse which was nearly double that of Dundee's army. He had issued them with bayonets which was the first time they were used on Scottish soil.  At Creag Ealaich, the clans lay straggled across the hill-flank.  As scouts reported the enemy were entering the lower end of the pass, the clans began to move back up the hills to their stations.

When Mackay's advancing troops spotted Dundee's detached force, and halted.  Then they looked up and saw the clans in the hills.  MacKay spurred his horse and rode back with his officers and hid in the trees.  After half an hour the enemy foot began to come forward.  Their front ranks were extended the breadth of the valley to outflank the smaller Highland army, and were only two men deep, far too few to withstand the impetus of a Highland charge.

Dundee had arrayed his men in eight battalions.  The GlenGyle and Balhaldie MacGregors stood left of centre with the Camerons.  The enemy had marched 14 miles on a hot day and were tired. In contrast, the Clansmen  were fresh and rested.   Dundee was content to let Mackay move down through the narrow pass and out into the valley.  Dundee decided that Mackay was doomed and gave his last orders to the assembled clan unit chiefs.  They were to hold their fire until the target was assured.

Dundee waited until a half hour before sunset so the sun was not in his men's eyes.  Suddenly, Dundee blew the bugle, turned around and charged ignoring his chief's advice to stay out of danger, he led the charge.  The clansmen threw off their plaids and with a great roar charged down the slopes in their yellow shirts, led at centre by Sir Ewen Cameron barefooted.

They came down the hills six or seven deep in a panic-causing, yelling avalanche with the pipes blowing loudly instilling courage in the clans and fear in the enemy.  They met a withering fire that decimated about 600 of the leading men.  With barely a check, the great wave surged on to Mackay's men, remembering to hold fire until at 30 yards, they fired with deadly effect.  They threw down their guns and brandished their broadswords in one hand a dirk in the other, as the enemy fumbled with their newfangled bayonets that were proving difficult to affix. 

The flash of the blades lit the field.  They  ran into a panicked enemy, for they had fired too soon to be able to screw on the bayonets.  The Highlanders were on them with blades whistling and dirks stabbing.  Eye-witnesses reported that Mackay's men were cut down through the skull and neck to the breasts, others had skulls cut off above the ears.  Pikes and small swords were cut like willows.  Broadswords and dirks were less spectacular but faster.

In five minutes Mackay lost two thousand men.  Survivors unable to escape through the throat of the pass, which had become choked with dying and fleeing men, and seeing no chance of surrender or hope of quarter, threw themselves into the Garry river where most drowned.  They were followed by their own dragoons who were pushed into the river by the weight of the Highland charge.

Mackay was lucky to escape but Dundee had taken a mortal bullet wound in the head.  He died that night at Blair Castle.  His death was to mean the end of the Stuart dynasty as there was no one to take his place.  The great Highland nobles who were conspiring with Dundee before the battle, would have joined his cause if he had survived Killicrankie.  Now their numbers including, the Breadalbane Campbells, Atholl, Seaforth, and most others, who hesitated and would not join a cause without a respected leader.

Hugh Mackay, his army utterly routed and destroyed, was left the defacto victor.  The only shot in the battle that accounted for anything was the one that downed Dundee.

The aftermath-

Donald Glas MacGregor, and his sons Duncan and Rob, survived the battle unharmed, but never again would Donald swing his great claymore.  The best man to lead was Sir Ewen Cameron, but the clan chiefs would not serve under another chief, so next day Cannon took command and marched the triumphant army to Dunkeld, where it was joined by the Atholl clans - Murrays, Robertsons, Menzies, Stewarts, the MacGregors of Roro, and others.  Some of the clans who had suffered heavy casualties returned home.  Mackay and his survivors fled to Stirling, where they regrouped, but on hearing of Dundee's death Mackay returned to Perth.

He had the effrontery to offer the clans terms of surrender.  They laughed that one off and Cannon led his army north to Braemar to recruit more men.  There he was joined by the Farquharsons, Macphersons, Frasers, and Gordons, and now had an army or more than five thousand men, an army stronger than ever but leaderless. 

Cannon led his men back to Dunkeld in mid-August only to find the town and cathedral held by the protestant Cameronians.  Cannon unwisely launched a full scale attack on the town, he soon lost all control as the Highlanders were entirely inexperienced in street fighting.  The Cameronians repulsed them after four hours with great losses.  Cannon hesitated and the clans realized his worthlessness, realized it was harvest time and many deserted back to their own homelands.  Rob Roy's older brother, Duncan, was captured in this battle and was taken to the Edinburgh Tolbooth prison.

Donald with other chiefs was called to Blair Castle on 24 August.  Events had taken an ominous turn but all was not lost.  King James was still fighting in Ireland and Louis of France might still send help.  So they resolved to play for time and would sign a Bond of Association to bond themselves to each other and meet again in September and to bring aid to any one who was attacked.  Donald Glas signed the accord for Clan Gregor promising one hundred men.  The other clan chiefs signed with none promising no more than two hundred men.  The spirit gone out of these men after Dundee's death.


Battle of Cardross (1690)
 MacGregors are pursued by two army regiments 

In 1690, a force of MacGregors about 130 strong, were on a raiding mission through Menteith, lifting all the cattle and sheep that they came across.  As they passed through the estates of Cardross, they were spotted by a troop of dragoons who gave chase.

The MacGregors enticed them into a trap, killing 14 and taking captive their captain and some others.  The highlanders carried on their raids unaware that a few of the dragoons had escaped back to the garrison at Cardross and reinforcements had been speedily sent for from Dunblane.

The Commander at Dunblane was a Menteith man - Colonel Fullerton who left immediately with two regular companies of Cameronians together with a troop of Cardross dragoons who had been stationed there at the time.

The government forces caught up with the MacGregors in the Trossachs and a ferocious battle ensued.  The MacGregors were well outnumbered and lost 40 of their best men.  Around the same number, including many of their chiefs were captured while the rest fled into the hills.


Battle of Strathspey(1690)
Rob Roy comes to the aid of an ancient clansman.

Patrick Grant was a flamboyant chieftain of Strathspey who had a falling out with the MacIntoshes over water rights to his mill. The MacIntoshes had built another mill upriver and threatened to burn  Grant's mill.   Grant called on his ancient cousin, Rob Roy, nearly a hundred miles away, for help and Rob obligingly, took a large body of Glen Gyle men to Strathspey.

Soon after, the MacIntoshes sat menacingly on all the adjacent hillocks, Rob appeared, accompanied by a solitary piper.  On being querulously asked by Grant where the rest of the Clan Gregor was, Rob slapped him on the back and said "Cheer up, what though the purse be light in the morning, who can say how heavy it may be by nightfall?"

He then bade the piper to blow a pibroch "The Rout of Glen Fruin" and as the notes swelled, bands of MacGregors sprang from the rocks and bushes, fully armed.  As they appeared, the MacIntoshes disappeared in inverse ratio.  The force of Grants and MacGregors then set fire to Macintosh's mill, while the piper composed a new air to fill in with the roar and crackle.

It was named "The Burning of the Black Mill" and is still given as a set piece in piping competitions.


The Jacobite Rebellion of 1715
Background, The Highland Dilemma

In 1713, half of Scotland's population of 1,050,000 lived north of the Highland line where about 30,000 men were only seasonally employed.  This restive reservoir of manpower was a source of dread to the far away sovereign in London.  The Scottish Lowlanders were safely tucked away in the bosom of mother England but the Highlanders still harbored many who owed their allegiances to the Stuarts, not the Kings or Queens who were delegated by the English.

Queen Anne foresaw a crisis brewing after her death, as she had no heirs and the majority Protestants in Britain would not want another Catholic Stuart on the throne.  She implemented the Act of Settlement, which denied the throne to any one who was not of Protestant persuasion.  This effectively denied the throne to James.  He refused to bend to his many advisors who pleaded with him to convert to Protestantism.  If he had, the throne would have been his.

Upon Queen Anne's death, the British Parliament asked the Protestant George, Elector of Hanover to become King.  He was the great grandson through the female line of James VI.  George was also unilingual German-speaking and would be a handy tool for the British Parliament to control.  He accepted, setting a scenario where the Jacobites (followers of James) in Scotland and England felt they had been betrayed and could not accept this foreigner.  In 1715, James VIII ordered his followers to raise the sword and he would soon set sail from France for Scotland to lead his army into London.  As now, with the longstanding union of the Scottish and English crowns in effect, there was no possibility of the English allowing a separate Scottish monarchy on any grounds.


Securing Loch Lomond
Denying Loch Lomond to the Earl of Argyll


SheriffMuir
The beginning of the end of the Jacobite cause

 


Pacification of Lowland Perthshire & Fife
Rob Roy in his element

Rob and his men had a skirmish at Dunkeld, from which they emerged losers, so they took over Falkland Palace in Fife, there they hibernated in all the crude comfort of early Scottish kings, and took a heavy toll of provisions from 'Howe' of Fife. 


The Burning of Auchinchisallen
Defending Clan Gregor homes against Whig atrocities


The Herrship of Kippen
Rob Roy takes revenge on the Whigs 

Rob conceived a great raid on Sir Alexander Livingston when he was to drive a valuable herd of cattle to Stirling through the Lennox and Menteith.  Livingston had professed devotion to the  Stuarts when they were in power, only to turn against them when they lost it.  He was a rebel in Jacobite eyes and was ripe for the picking.

By September of 1691, Rob was 20, the son of a chieftain, and had proved his abilities.  

he was privy to knowledge of all the major drives as he was the son of the Captain of "The Watch", the government-sponsored agency that was responsible for protecting all cattle drives in or near the Highlands.   He summoned the young MacGregor men of Glengyle, Craigrostan, Arklet, Strath Gartney, and upper Balquhidder to gather at Lendrick meadow fully armed.

On the day of Livingston's drive, they were out at first light, fording the Black Water on to the Menteith Hills, then over the pass to Aberfoyle.  On the way down the mountain, they stopped at the Witch's Stone, a big boulder above the hollow where each man, from a tradition immemorial, would make an offering by casting  a stone into the creek.   From there they entered Flanders Moss.

About 09:30 AM they arrived at the small town of Buchlyvie on the drove road to Stirling.  Rob dispersed his men throughout the town's alleys so they could wait and not be seen.  Local field workers began to come into town when they saw that a large body of clansmen had halted there. When they saw these clansmen were MacGregors, armed to the teeth and taciturn about their intentions, word was sent out to other towns to send help in repelling these raiders.

As the day wore on, the local men grew more confidant and called on the MacGregors to get out.  Rob, knew when not to put up a fight and withdrew his men discreetly to the open hearthland of Kippen Muir above the town, where they  had a better view of the countryside.  The Kippen men had taken time to arm themselves with farm weapons; toothed sickles, flails, cudgels, straight-handled scythes.  Some moved up into the higher ground placing the MacGregors between the two hostile forces.

At 05:00PM, Livingston's drove was sighted.  As Rob descended with his men, the Kippen men blocked their path so a fight could no longer be avoided.  Using only the flat of their broadswords, the MacGregors tried to break through the Kippen rank.  However, when the towns people began to  press home their advantage of numbers and drew blood, the MacGregors finally turned their broadswords on edge and with quick thrusts and parry cut down the townspeople, in a few minutes it was all over.   Those few who escaped the slaughter, ran into town screaming, thus frightening all the residents into a mass evacuation.

Rob split  his forces in two, one column drove the spreidh north towards Aberfoyle pass by  Loch Ard; the other he led to Kippen.  His intent was to reason with the locals and discuss the useless shedding of blood but could find no one there who would stand and talk.  If no man was ready to defend the town's stock, he would let them pay.  He took cattle from every local field to make a second herd and drove north to Callander, then by Glen Artney to Creiff.

A part of both herds was kept in the Trossachs for wintering as was the custom.  The rest were sold to willing recipients.  No figure was ever quoted for the number of head of cattle taken; however it was big enough for the 'Herrship of Kippen' to be well known a century later.


The Nineteen(1719)

In 1719, another rising took place with help from Spain.  Storms scattered this latter day Spanish Armada, and only two ships carrying 300 Spaniards reached the Isle of Lewis.  They crossed to the mainland.  Helped only by the Earl of Seaforth's MacKenzies and a contingent of Rob Roy's MacGregors, they were defeated by regular soldiers near what is still known as the Spaniard's Pass in Glenshiel.

Shivering in the sub-Arctic winter, the Spaniards, in their sub-tropical outfits,  were only too happy to surrender.  The Highlanders, becoming disenchanted with the campaign, elected to take their best way home.


The Burning of Inversnaid (1720, 1745)
Inversnaid is burned to the ground (twice) by MacGregors

After the 1715 uprising, the government was persuaded by the Whig Duke of Montrose, that the only way to control Clan Gregor was to build a fort and garrison it with substantial numbers of troops in the Trossachs area.

Inversnaid proved to be an excellent site for it stood on a plateau high above the north east shores of Loch Lomond and on the track which connected Loch Lomond with Loch Katrine, thereby able to protect the Shire of Dumbarton and the country between the Forth and the Clyde from this "awful" clan.

The erection of this garrison was an affront to the clan, as Inversnaid was in MacGregor territory.  Rob Roy had to plan carefully, for a full attack was suicidal and Rob did not want to place his clan in jeopardy.  After watching the construction work from a vantage point on the hillside, he realized that the workforce would be an easier target than the troopers, so late one night Rob knocked quietly on the door to the builders quarters and abducted all of them.

They were later released miles away from the site and unable to identify their captors.  Rob's tactics of delay and harrying worked for a while but eventually the fort was built in the winter of 1719.  Rob was to later capture and burn it down.  The garrison was rebuilt again but suffered the same fate at the hands of Rob's oldest son, James Mhor (Big James).

A Major in the Jacobite army, during the '45, James Mhor attacked the fort with a band of only 12 MacGregors against a garrison of 100.  He burned it to the ground for the second time.

In 1746, the government rebuilt Inversnaid for a third time under the auspices of a certain 20 year old, but methodical, Captain James Wolfe, later in 1759 to be the Commanding General in the attack on the French citadel of Quebec.. and destroyed forever French ambitions in North America.


The Battle of Invernenty burn(1734)
A clash with Stuarts of Appin is averted by Rob's insight.

A mile below Inverlochlarig, on the far side of Stob Breac, the Invernenty stream coursed through a grassy glen from a pass above Loch Katrine.  The flat farmlands of Wester Invernenty had long been tenanted from Athol by Rob's cousin Malcom, but Malcom had died impoverished and his children were now in the GlenGyle Chief's guardianship.  The elder boy was in need of land.

The family's resumption of Invernenty, where rent had no doubt long been in arrears, was refused by Stuart of Appin, who had bought the farm and then given it to one John MacLaren.  Clan Gregor were emphatic that by ancient right of occupation the land should be theirs.  Rob served notice on MacLaren that he would reject his tenancy, and the MacLarens appealed for help from the Stuarts of Appin, who were descended from a lady of MacLaren stock.

Appin mustered two hundred men and came down to Balquhidder.  Rob called out his men and confronted him.  When the two sides met near the church, the MacGregors were greatly outnumbered.  A battle's toll in dead and wounded would, in Rob's calculation, be out of proportion to the worth of the clan's cause.

Rob talked to Appin and declared that the two clans should not fight over such a petty thing.  They were both Jacobite and both fought on the same side at Killiecrankie and Sheriffmuir, and would undoubtedly fight on the same side again.  The MacGregors would forego their claim on Invernenty.

Then, that no man would think he had shirked a fight, Rob offered himself up for a trial of arms.  Appin consulted with his staff.  Several were eager to try one of the best swordsmen of the day, as a duel of honour would not be pressed to the death.  Appin chose Alasdair of Invernahyle, who was a young, athletic man, short, but well-made and an excellent fencer.

They fought with targe and broadsword until Rob's right arm was cut.  He dropped his sword and congratulated Stuart as the first man ever to draw his blood with the sword.  Alasdair responded gracefully stating it was only due to his youth and suppleness that he had managed to score.   So ended a confrontation that could have had disastrous consequences if it had gotten out of control.


The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745(1745-46)
A final grand effort to reinstall the Stuart dynasty fails.

Background-

The son of James III (the old pretender) was Charles Edward, better known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie".

With hindsight it is a miracle that the final Jacobite rebellion lasted as long and as fortuitous as it did until the inevitable disastrous battle of Culloden ended its splendid but short life.  Charles should never have had the opportunity to land on Scotland's shores and he should not have been able to gather such a determined and skillful group about him so as to, in his greatest hour, threatened the Hanoverian court in London from a mere twenty miles distant.  The threat caused so much panic that the Hanoverian court was packed and ready to flee England for the safety of continental Europe.

His 10,000 man "Jacobite" army consisted mostly of Highland Scots.  With few other resources open to him, he won every battle except the last.  Arrayed against him were more Highland Scots than were with him, all the Lowland Scots, a huge complement of German mercenaries, and the entire English Regular Imperial Army.

His struggle was doomed form the very beginning as his was a cause of the past, out of touch with reality of the times.  He failed to rally strong support in England and without that support he was forced to retreat back into Scotland, with two huge armies on his tail.   Out-gunned, out-manned, outclassed and on the run, his rag-tag, starving army put up a valiant although hopeless stand at Culloden moor only to be massacred during and after the bloody event.

The draconian laws that followed were designed and implemented to eradicate any semblance of Scottish nationalism from the face of the earth.  Scotland was left a bleeding, barren, and pacified skeleton of what it once was.  The best migrated overseas, either by force or by choice, to escape the misery of life in a gutted and humiliated land.


The Capture of Doune Castle (1745)
A sideline to the '45 uprising.
Glen Gyle MacGregors on the march

In 1745, Gregor Glun Dubh (black knee), the sub-Chief of the Glen Gyle (Dughall Ciar) MacGregors, led a force of 200 clansmen through Aberfoyle on his way to join Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite army.

The clansmen rested on the village green where the local girls made much of these dashing strangers and pinned white cockades on their bonnets.

From here they marched by the lake of Menteith to Doune where they easily took control of Doune Castle and freed all the political prisoners there.


The Battle of Prestonpans(1745)
MacGregors comprise the centre of the Jacobite army.

At the battle of Prestonpans, the centre of the Jacobite army consisted of the Duke of Perth's men, the MacGregors of GlenGyle under James Mhor, and the rest of the Clan Gregor under Murray of GlenCarnoch.  Leading his MacGregors into the charge, Mohr was hit by five bullets, one which shattered his thighbone, but he continued to urge his men forward.

The MacGregors were conspicuous for their wild charge and the carnage they inflicted on the enemy.  Armed only with scythes bound on long poles, they cut the legs of the horses and then severed the bodies of their riders in half.  

While he was recovering in an Edinburgh hospital, he was unable to march south with Prince Charlie, but when recovered he remained in the capital to direct new recruits from the north southwards and to raise the western clans.  In pursuit of this goal in Argyll with some of his men, he was attacked by three companies of Lord Louden's regiment and was lucky to escape capture.  Mohr successfully raised more MacGregors and rejoined the Prince's army with six companies.


The Battle of Falkirk(1746)