NEITHER Mark Boyle nor the Rev John Cameron (Letters, April 16) name their sources in their accounts of the Battle of Culloden, but mine was an eye-witness to the battle whose account has been passed down in the family for more than 250 years, hardly recent revisionism. A few years ago an elderly Chisholm told me “exactly” the same account had been relayed to him in early boyhood.

Why the weather should have made communication difficult for one army rather than both is beyond me. What is generally overlooked, though, is that Cumberland’s much superior artillery was rendered largely ineffective because of the wind being directly at the gunners’ backs. The gunners had great difficulty in finding the range because almost every time they fired, a rolling cloud of thick black gunsmoke prevented them from seeing where the shot was landing.

To say that that the Jacobite army was tired is a poor generalisation. The right wing was made up largely of local Frasers and Chisholms who were well fed and rested and it was they who did the bulk of the fighting. The effect of the enfilading fire is overrated, because with the Highlanders charging in straight lines, very few at a time were exposed to the fire.

I don’t know about the Irish Piquants, but if Mr Boyle were to read Hanoverian soldier Michael Hughes’s account, he will see reference to the Irish Pickets breaking ranks just before the battle started and marching round to the rear of the Jacobite left. That is where a few minutes later they surrendered and were placed in a walled enclosure, guarded for their own protection by a squadron of cavalry. They were very much legitimate prisoners of war, which is why they surrendered in the first place and not put to the sword like many of their comrades. A letter to Cumberland from his secretary some weeks later asks what happened to them as they were on the list of prisoners who left Inverness, but not among those who arrived in England. It seems they were spirited away home as their reward.

As for the German Hessians, they were not even at Culloden. They refused to fight because Cumberland would not allow them to enter into a parole agreement with the Jacobite command and they spent much of the campaign manning forts and outposts across the Highlands.

Anyway, who am I to spoil such a fine collection of myths with a few hard facts?

George F Campbell,

26 Bruce Road, Pollokshields, Glasgow.