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The Lion Rampant

 

Culloden - Lismore in Alba

Rev Ian Carmichael, DSO, MC

The story of the rescue of the Appin Standard at the battle of Culloden indicates that, despite the Presbyterianism of the inhabitants, Lismore contributed active support to the Stuart cause. Carmichaels are said to have been hereditary standard-bearers of the Stewarts of Appin and the Livingstones of Bachuil provided the body-guard. At the fatal field of Culloden eight Carmichaels, with the Christian name of Donald, were either killed or wounded in defence of the standard and when the last fell, Donald Livingstone, aged 18, a member of the body-guard, sprang forward and snatching the banner from the standard, escaped from the battle-field. When some distance away, he wrapped it round his body and was almost immediately knocked down by a bullet. The folds of the banner saved him from injury, however. Catching a riderless horse, which was passing, Donald Livingstone continued his flight on horseback. Two dragoons chased him and he turned to give battle, killed one and put the other to flight. He ultimately succeeded in getting to Lismore via Morven and restored the banner to the Stewarts.

The Appin Banner has a yellow St. Andrew's Cross on a back- ground of light blue silk ; the dimensions 5 feet hoist, with a fly of 6 feet 7 inches. It is now in the Military Museum, Edinburgh Castle, hanging beside the banner of the English troops-Barrel's Regiment (King's Own Royal)-whom the Appin Regiment charged and broke. Dark stains, said to be the blood of its defenders, are still to be seen, together with the marks of bullet holes.

Twelve banners of the Highland Clans flew at Culloden. Only the banner of the Appin Regiment came home again. The remaining eleven were publicly burned by the common hangman at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh.

Charles Stewart, Laird of Ardsheal, commanded the Appin Regiment at Culloden, as the Chief was still too young. Ardsheal was a man of great personal strength and a proficient swordsman-one of the best in the highlands when he and Rob Roy met, the latter suggested that they test each other's skill. Ardsheal proved his superiority and Rob Roy was so disgusted with his own exhibition that he threw his sword into Loch Voil, declaring that that was the first time it had failed him.

The '45 took a heavy toll of the manhood of the Appin district, and Ardsheal was forced to flee into exile, where he was later joined by his wife and family. John McLachlan, the Episcopalian, who was closely associated with the Appin men in the campaign, in a letter to Bishop Forbes in 1748 said: "all my late charge almost were killed in battle." This was an exaggeration, although Culloden alone accounted for 92 killed and 65 wounded.

Last updated 22 May, 2008