Siege of Fort Augustus (March 1746)

Last updated
Siege of Fort Augustus
Part of the Jacobite rising of 1745
Fort Augustus (old fort).jpg
Fort Augustus
Date22 February to 1 March 1746
Location
Result Jacobite victory
Belligerents
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg Kingdom of Great Britain Jacobite Standard (1745).svg Jacobites
Commanders and leaders
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg Major Hugh Wentworth Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Colonel Stapleton
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Colonel James Grant
Strength
300 (estimated) 1,500–1,800 (estimated)
Casualties and losses
None None

The Siege of Fort Augustus took place from 22 February to 1 March 1746, during the Jacobite rising of 1745. [1] After a short siege, the government garrison surrendered to a Jacobite force, which then moved on to besiege Fort William, using artillery captured at Fort Augustus.

Jacobite rising of 1745 attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart

The Jacobite rising of 1745, also known as the Forty-five Rebellion or simply the '45, was an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart. It took place during the War of the Austrian Succession, when the bulk of the British Army was fighting in mainland Europe, and proved to be the last in a series of revolts that began in 1689, with major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719.

Siege of Fort William

The Siege of Fort William took place in the Scottish Highlands during the 1745 Jacobite Rising, from 20 March to 3 April 1746.

Contents

Background

After the 1715 rising, a line of forts was built along what is now the Caledonian Canal: the three most important were Fort George, Inverness; Fort Augustus; and Fort William. Their garrisons were reinforced when the 1745 rising began, but the defences had been neglected and were in a poor state. However, it was not until the Jacobites retreated from Stirling Castle in February 1746 that a serious effort was made to capture them. [2]

Jacobite rising of 1715 British monarchy succession dispute

The Jacobite rising of 1715, was the attempt by James Francis Edward Stuart to regain the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland for the exiled House of Stuart.

Caledonian Canal canal

The Caledonian Canal connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William in Scotland. The canal was constructed in the early nineteenth century by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.

Fort William, Highland town in the Highlands of Scotland

Fort William is a town in Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands, located on the eastern shore of Loch Linnhe. As of the 2011 Census, Fort William had a population of 10,459, making it the second largest settlement in the Highland council area, and the second largest settlement in the whole of the Scottish Highlands — only the city of Inverness has a larger population.

Despite being well-supplied, Fort George surrendered without fighting; its governor, Major Grant, a close relative of the Jacobite Lord Lovat, was later court-martialled and dismissed. [3] The garrisons at Fort Augustus and Fort William had been raiding the surrounding countryside, much of which belonged to Lochiel and MacDonald of Keppoch. To protect their lands, they demanded that the forts be taken; on 21 February, a contingent of the French regulars under Colonel Stapleton and 1,500 Cameron and MacDonald clansmen arrived outside Fort Augustus. [4]

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat Scottish Jacobite and Chief of Clan Fraser of Lovat

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, nicknamed 'the Fox', was a Scottish Jacobite and Chief of Clan Fraser of Lovat, known for his feuding and changes of allegiance. In 1715, he had been a supporter of the House of Hanover, but in 1745 he changed sides and supported the Stuart claim on the crown of the United Kingdom. Lovat was among the Highlanders defeated at the Battle of Culloden and convicted of treason against the Crown, following which he was sentenced to death and subsequently beheaded.

Donald Cameron of Lochiel Scottish Highland Clan Chief

Donald Cameron of Lochiel, was hereditary chief of Clan Cameron, traditionally loyal to the exiled House of Stuart. His father John was permanently exiled after the 1715 Rising and when his grandfather Sir Ewen Cameron died in 1719, Donald assumed his duties as 'Lochiel.'

Alexander Macdonald, 17th of Keppoch

Alexander Macdonald, 17th of Keppoch was a Scottish clan chief, military officer, and prominent Jacobite who took part in both the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite risings. He was killed at the Battle of Culloden leading a regiment composed largely of members of his clan, the Macdonalds of Keppoch.

The siege

Fort Augustus and Loch Ness, from military road (foreground) Fort Augustus and Loch Ness from General Wade's military road - geograph.org.uk - 19953.jpg
Fort Augustus and Loch Ness, from military road (foreground)

Fort Augustus is at the south-west end of Loch Ness, at a key junction of the military roads constructed after 1715; built in 1729, the fort replaced a barracks known as Kilwhimen Barracks. Instead of being built on high ground, it was placed on a peninsula surrounded by Loch Ness and the Rivers Oich and Tarff. [5] Cumberland felt it could not be defended for more than a few days, and wrote that Fort William was the only one of any importance. [6]

Loch Ness Lake in Scotland, United Kingdom

Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37 kilometres southwest of Inverness. Its surface is 16 metres above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie". It is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness, ultimately leading to the North Sea via the Moray Firth. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil.

Old military roads of Scotland list of roads in Scotland

A network of military roads, sometimes called General Wade's Military Roads, was constructed in the Scottish Highlands during the middle part of the 18th century as part of an attempt by the British Government to bring order to a part of the country which had risen up in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715.

River Oich river in Scotland

The River Oich is a short river that flows through the Great Glen in Scotland. It carries water from Loch Oich to Loch Ness and runs in parallel to a section of the Caledonian Canal for the whole of its 5.6 miles (9 km) length. The Great Glen Way runs between the two watercourses. The river's largest tributary is the Invigar Burn. The only significant settlement on the river is Fort Augustus at its NE end.

Square in plan with angled bastions on each corner, the fort was designed "more ... for ornament than strength", as a demonstration of the government presence in the Scottish Highlands. The walls were weak, while the six-pounder guns that provided defensive fire were installed on top of the four bastions, in full view of an attacking force. [4] The garrison consisted of three companies from Guise's Regiment, commanded by Major Hugh Wentworth. He lacked trained gunners and stationed one of his companies in the old Kiliwhimen Barracks, an isolated position to the south of the fort. This was quickly taken by the French regulars under Stapleton, and his engineer Grant began siege operations on 22 February 1746. [4]

Scottish Highlands Place

The Highlands is a historic region of Scotland. Culturally, the Highlands and the Lowlands diverged from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands. The term is also used for the area north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, although the exact boundaries are not clearly defined, particularly to the east. The Great Glen divides the Grampian Mountains to the southeast from the Northwest Highlands. The Scottish Gaelic name of A' Ghàidhealtachd literally means "the place of the Gaels" and traditionally, from a Gaelic-speaking point of view, includes both the Western Isles and the Highlands.

Royal Warwickshire Regiment

The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, previously titled the 6th Regiment of Foot, was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in continuous existence for 283 years. The regiment saw service in many conflicts and wars, including the Second Boer War and both the First and Second World Wars. On 1 May 1963, the regiment was re-titled, for the final time, as the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers and became part of the Fusilier Brigade.

According to an eye witness, the Jacobites had three batteries, one opposite the main gate and two firing from the north. These had little effect, with most of the damage being done by three coehorn mortars; on the first day, a shell from one of these blew up the fort's magazine, destroying one of its bastions. A second shot caused the explosion of another magazine the next day, but firing then continued for another four days without further impact. The garrison capitulated on 1 March without any casualties, and Wentworth was considered to have surrendered too early; he was subsequently court-martialled and dismissed from the army. [7]

Coehorn

A Coehorn was a lightweight mortar originally designed by Dutch military engineer Menno van Coehoorn.

Magazine (artillery) Place of storage for ammunition or other explosive material

Magazine is the name for an item or place within which ammunition or other explosive material is stored. It is taken originally from the Arabic word "makhāzin" (مخازن), meaning storehouses, via Italian and Middle French.

Aftermath

Another drawing of the old fort c.1788 Fort Augusts (Old Fort) 2.png
Another drawing of the old fort c.1788

The Jacobites moved on to Fort William, the last government strong point along the Great Glen, a much stronger facility. The Siege of Fort William was abandoned in early April. [8]

Related Research Articles

Fort Augustus human settlement in the United Kingdom

Fort Augustus is a settlement in the parish of Boleskine and Abertarff, at the south-west end of Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands. The village has a population of around 646 (2001). Its economy is heavily reliant on tourism.

Fort George, Highland 18th-century fortress built in the Scottish Highlands in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rising of 1745

Fort George, is a large 18th-century fortress near Ardersier, to the north-east of Inverness in the Highland council area of Scotland. It was built to control the Scottish Highlands in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745, replacing a Fort George in Inverness constructed after the 1715 Jacobite rising to control the area. The current fortress has never been attacked and has remained in continuous use as a garrison.

Battle of Prestonpans battle

The Battle of Prestonpans, also known as the Battle of Gladsmuir, was fought on 21 September 1745, near Prestonpans, in East Lothian; it was the first significant engagement of the Jacobite rising of 1745, which is generally viewed as a subsidiary conflict of the War of the Austrian Succession.

Ruthven Barracks

Ruthven Barracks, near Ruthven in Badenoch, Scotland, are the best preserved of the four barracks built in 1719 after the 1715 Jacobite rising. Set on an old castle mound, the complex comprises two large three-storey blocks occupying two sides of the enclosure, each with two rooms per floor. The barracks and enclosing walls were built with loopholes for musket firing, and bastion towers were built at opposite corners. Destroyed by Jacobites following their retreat after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the Barracks ruins are maintained as a Scheduled Monument by Historic Scotland. They are accessible at all times without entrance charge.

William Blakeney, 1st Baron Blakeney Irish soldier

Lieutenant General Sir William Blakeney was an Irish-born British army officer whose active military service began in 1695 and ended in 1756. In addition to being a tough, reliable and courageous soldier, Blakeney also had a reputation for an innovative approach to weapons drill and training. From 1727 to 1757, he was Member of Parliament for his local constituency of Kilmallock, Ireland, although often absent.

Christopher Duffy is a British military historian.

The Lovat Hotel is a hotel in Fort Augustus, at the southern end of Loch Ness in Scotland, originally built in the 1860s. It stands on the site of Kilwhimen Barracks, one of only four Hanoverian forts built to pacify the Highlands after the Jacobite rising of 1715 & Jacobite rising of 1719. The west curtain wall of the old fort still stands in the hotel grounds and measures 34 metres long by 4 metres high.

Siege of Inverness (1746)

The Siege of Inverness took place in February 1746 and was part of the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Siege of Ruthven Barracks (1745) siege of 1745

The Siege of Ruthven Barracks by Jacobite rebels of a small group of government soldiers took place in August 1745 and was part of the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Siege of Ruthven Barracks (1746) siege of 1746

The Siege of Ruthven Barracks that took place over the 10 – 11 February 1746 was part of the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Siege of Stirling Castle (1746)

The Siege of Stirling Castle took place from 8 January to 1 February 1746, during the 1745 Rising, when a Jacobite force besieged Stirling Castle, held by a government garrison under William Blakeney.

Skirmish of Loch Ailort

The Skirmish of Loch Ailort was a conflict that took place on 9 May 1746 at Loch Ailort, in the district of Moidart, Scottish Highlands and was part of the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Skirmish of Arisaig

The Skirmish of Arisaig took place on 16 May 1746 at Arisaig, Scotland and was the last armed conflict of the Jacobite rising of 1745. It was fought between a British Government force and Jacobites of the Clan Macdonald of Clanranald.

Raids on Lochaber and Shiramore

The Raids on Lochaber and Shiramore took place in the Scottish Highlands between 22 May and 31 August 1746 and were part of the closing operations of the British-Hanoverian Government to bring to an end the Jacobite rising of 1745. Sometimes referred to as the "mopping up" operations many rebels surrendered themselves and their arms, while others were captured and punished. It also included the hunt for the Jacobite leader Bonnie Prince Charles Edward Stuart otherwise known as the Young Pretender. Most of the work was done on behalf of the Government by the Independent Highland Companies of militia and also the Campbell of Argyll Militia.

Mars, was a French privateer. Mars was involved in a naval battle in Loch nan Uamh during the Jacobite rising. She was captured by HMS Dreadnought off Cape Clear in 1747.

Bellone, was a French privateer. Bellone was involved in a naval battle in Loch nan Uamh during the Jacobite rising. She was captured in 1747. She was taken into Royal Navy service as HMS Bellona and was sold in 1749.

Atholl raids

The Atholl raids of 14 - 17 March 1746 were a series of raids carried out by Jacobite rebels against the British-Hanoverian Government during the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Lieutenant-Colonel Caroline Frederick Scott was a Scottish soldier and military engineer who served in the British Army before transferring to the East India Company.

Siege of Culloden House (1745)

The Siege of Culloden House took place on the night of 15/16 October 1745 and was part of the Jacobite rising of 1745. 200 men of the Jacobite Clan Fraser of Lovat attempted to capture Duncan Forbes, Lord Culloden who was the Lord President of the Court of Session, the most senior legal officer in Scotland.

References

  1. Clark, GN (1922). "The Highland Forts in the 45" (PDF). The English Historical Review. 37: 362.
  2. Clark, pp. 362–363
  3. Clark, p. 371
  4. 1 2 3 Duffy, Christopher (2007). The '45, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Untold Story of the Jacobite Rising. p. 451. ISBN   9780753822623.
  5. "Fort Augustus". CastleFortsBattles.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  6. Clark, p. 371
  7. Clark, p. 372
  8. Duffy, Christopher (2007). The '45, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Untold Story of the Jacobite Rising. p. 452. ISBN   9780753822623.

Sources