I'VE no idea where George F Campbell (Letters, April 13) gets his history ideas from, but his claim that the Jacobites almost won Culloden is beyond ludicrous.

The Jacobite army was tired and hungry after an abortive forced march for a surprise attack on Cumberland's troops the night before, their more numerous opponents by contrast were well fed and well rested, they picked terrain which made their charge at the redcoat ranks both exhausting and slow, and poor quartermastery meant their artillery was non-existent in comparison to Cumberland's.

To cap it all, driving sleet made communications between the elements of the Jacobite army difficult, resulting in Cumberland's artillery being given a free half-hour to pulverise the Jacobite lines unchallenged whilst the Jacobites stood frozen like toy soldiers awaiting their turn to be blown apart.

When the Jacobites did finally charge, they discovered – as the Zulus would in turn 133 years later at Rorke's Drift – that attacking a well-drilled wall of defenders armed with shot and long bayonet with shields and short weapons was suicide, especially with a line of Redcoats behind a flanking wall being given free reign to fire on the Highlanders as they did so unchallenged.

That the battle lasted just under an hour (only the equally farcical Battle of Sedgemoor was shorter) with Bonnie Prince Charlie's army fleeing in two separate directions (instead of a united organised retreat) says it all about this contest, five Jacobites dying for every Redcoat, a death toll which would have been worse had not the press-ganged Irish piquants – with nowhere to flee and no chance of being treated as prisoners of war – mounted a last stand, delaying Cumberland's troops from pursuing the rout.

Mark Boyle,

15 Linn Park Gardens, Johnstone.

CULLODEN has been subject to nationalist revisionism in recent years but George Campbell's that it was "so very nearly a Jacobite victory" the Duke of Cumberland "went haywire and started his programme of slaughter" is implausible.

The fact is that Cumberland brought back James Wolfe from the Continent and made him General Hawley's deputy after the shambles at Falkirk. This resulted in a huge improvement in his artillery which cut down the stationary Jacobite lines.

The arrival of 5,000 German troops, rather than the choice of battlefield by Prince Charles' sfoppish chum O'Sullivan, was decisive. Our soldiers had a poor record against Germans anyway but charging at them across a bog was just idiotic.

Rev Dr John Cameron,

10 Howard Place, St Andrews.