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This content is taken from the The University of Edinburgh & National Museums Scotland's online course, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds The British Army soldier of 1745, best known as “the redcoat soldiers,” for obvious reasons, was a very different type of soldier with a different type of fighting to anything that he saw on a Jacobite battlefield. These were professional, paid and trained soldiers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they had any more battlefield experience than their Jacobite enemies, so they could be just as intimidated by the things they were witnessing. But unlike the Jacobite Highlander, who wants to get up close and personal with his broadsword and targe, the British soldier wants to keep his enemy at a relative distance. And that’s because he relies, for battlefield superiority, on firepower.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds What he uses to gain that firepower is the Brown Bess musket, a flintlock gun that is designed to fire a small lead ball, whistling through the air towards the enemy, at relatively close range. The guns are fired by the striking of a flint against a piece of steel, creating enough spark to ignite the gunpowder charge. And when they’re presented towards the enemy in massed volleys, their devastating firepower could take an enormous toll in lives. If the enemy does get too close, the British soldier was trained to rely on his bayonet. So like the Jacobite, in the end, it’ll come down to a contest of cold steel. And the bayonet transforms the musket from a gun into a spear.

Meet the opposition: Hanoverian

Now watch this short film in which Arran Johnston is dressed as a Hanoverian to demonstrate the weapons they used in battle against the Jacobites.

Think about these weapons being used by professional soldiers – a disciplined, well-equipped force against the tired and depleted Jacobites at the battle of Culloden.

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This video is from the free online course:

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

The University of Edinburgh