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The Battle of Sheriffmuir

November 13, 1715

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The last of the Royal Stuarts in the Protestant succession, Queen Anne, died in 1714.  Her successor was the Hanoverian King George I.  In Scotland the antagonism to the succession of a German "princeling" who spoke little English was acute, especially among the Highlanders.  King James III, from his exile in France, believed that the time was right to launch another Jacobite uprising.  He chose "the clever, devious" Earl of Mar as his commander-in-chief in Scotland.  Songs were written to rally the Highlanders; one or two of which have survived indicate that numerous clans were being appealed to.

In September of 1715 Mar raised the Royal standard at Braemar and eventually found himself in command of 12,000 men, the largest Jacobite army which had ever been raised in Scotland.  Opposing Mar's further passage into Lowland Scotland were 6,000 of King George's troops, under the command of the Chief of Clan Campbell, the Duke of Argyll.

John Cameron, XVIII Captain and Chief of Clan Cameron led the men of Clan Cameron at Sheriffmuir.  Unaware of the dispositions of the other, the opposing generals drew up their forces so that their right wings overlapped the other's left.  The Jacobite troops which were intended to comprise the left wing (among which were the Camerons) which were hastening uphill to the higher ground of Sheriffmuir in four columns of march were suddenly confronted by the right wing of the Hanoverian army.  A confused, incomplete deployment into line of battle convened.  A Lowland Jacobite regiment of the left wing (either Huntly's or Panmure's foot) which had got itself out of place and in front of the Camerons "broke" after receiving fire from the Hanoverian army.  As stated by John Cameron, as this regiment broke and ran it carried the Camerons with them in flight.  He had gone a little way ahead to reconnoiter and could only watch the headlong flight in dismay.  

In contrast, the right wing of Mar's Jacobite army, consisting of Clan Donald, the Macleans and the Breadalbane Campbells had swept away the Hanoverian left wing before them.  As a result of their respective general's deployment, both opposing left wings were defeated.  When night fell and the fight was over neither side knew which had won, though Argyll had lost more men than Mar.  The next morning, however, Mar's army was not to be seen, having withdrawn northward towards Perth.  The Duke of Argyll was master of the field.  

For all practical purposes, "The '15" ended on the field at Sheriffmuir, though there were minor skirmishes afterwards.  John Cameron would go into exile in France during June of 1716, leaving Achnacarry to his sixteen year old eldest son Donald, later known as "The Gentle Lochiel."