Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Pass of Killiekrankie

In 1688 John Graham was given command of all the armies in Scotland and created the first Viscount Dundee by James VII. When later the same year James was removed in the Glorious Revolution, John Graham was one of those who remained loyal. He raised the Scottish Royal Standard on Dundee Law (hill) in support of the king, his country and the Jacobite cause. The people of Dundee were however unimpressed, they regarded James as a tyrant and the city was occupied by forces loyal to King William. Still 'Bonnie' Dundee managed to raise an army of six thousand Highlanders.


On 27th July 1689 the two armies met at the Pass of Killiekrankie in the Highlands of Perthshire. The whole day passed with the two armies facing each other. The Highlanders had the slope above King William's troops. General Mackay the commander of King William's army dared not attack and John Graham would not attack until the sun went down so as not to blind his men. At 7 o'clock in the evening John Graham rode along his lines issuing his orders. The Highlanders removed their plaids, so the garments would not get in the way of their charge.

When 'Bonnie' Dundee gave the order to advance his soldiers cheered wildly. They started slowly accompanied by the skirl o the pipes, and as they closed in on the enemy picked up their speed and broke through King William's lines.

'Bonnie' Dundee rode at the front of his small band of cavalry, easily recognizable he took off his hat with its white feather,  to further urge his men forward when he was struck by a musket shot. He teetered in the saddle and fell to the ground.

"How does the day go," he asked?
"Well for the King (meaning James VII) replied the man, "but I am sorry for your lordship."
"It is less the matter for me" said Dundee,"seeing the day goes well for my master."
Then he died.