The fifty-odd years of Scottish history dominated by the Jacobite Risings are amongst its most evocative and whilst the last battle, Culloden in 1746, is deservedly remembered as a national tragedy, the first battle on the braes of Killiecrankie was unquestionably the most dramatic. It was very much a Scottish battle. The later Jacobite risings would be launched against kings and governments in London. Killiecrankie, on the other hand, pitted Scot against Scot in the last bloody act of the bitter religious struggle known as ‘The Killing Times’. Killiecrankie saw the first, and most successful, Highland Charge, as the clansmen broke the line of the Government’s redcoats in the twinkling of an eye, and though outnumbered the Jacobites achieved a stunning victory. The Highlanders, however, suffered debilitating losses of almost one third of their strength, and their leader, John Graham the Viscount of Dundee, was killed. The Jacobites continued their advance until stopped by Government forces at the Battle of Dunkeld a little more than three weeks later. Though the Jacobites had failed, the struggle of the Highland clans to return the Catholic James, and his successors, to the throne of Scotland and England would continue for the next two generations.
BATTLE OF KILLIECRANKIE 1689 The Last Act of the Killing Times
Rather than viewing the Killiecrankie campaign as the first of the Jacobite rebellions, Stuart Reid frames it within the context of the Killing Times in which many of the fighting men on both sides participated. This was especially the case for Viscount Dundee, James Graham of Claverhouse, dubbed “Bloody Clavers” for his supposed cruel and atrocious behaviour in conducting the governmental campaigns against the hardcore Covenanters who opposed him.