Jacobites almost won at Culloden

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IT was a decisive victory for the notorious Duke of Cumberland that marked the end of the '45 rebellion and left lasting scars of the Scottish psyche. For centuries, many historians believed that the redcoated government soldiers at Culloden conclusively outfought the indisciplined Jacobite forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie. But new excavations at the site of the battle, which entered Scots folklore after its bloody denouement in 1746, revealed that the Jacobites came far closer to victory than most contemporary accounts suggest. Dr Tony Pollard, of the Two Men in a Trench programme, and a team from Glasgow University archaeological research division, have discovered that the Highlanders came close to breaking the government line and rewriting history. The almost suicidal attack of the Young Pretender's 7000-strong army, armed with dirks and broadswords, forced Cumberland and his troops loyal to George II to turn his heavy mortars, previously held in reserve, on to their serried ranks to prevent a rout of his troops, according to the new evidence.

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