First Siege of Carlisle – 9-15 November 1745

Having beaten Cope at Prestonpans and taken Edinburgh City, but not the Castle, Prince Charles recruited more Regiments into the Jacobite Army then decided to march south into England to claim the throne on behalf of his father. His Army commenced its march on 1st November 1745.

The Jacobite Army marched as two Divisions. The Lowland Division, commanded by the Duke of Perth, took a direct route to Carlisle via Moffat. The Highland Division, commanded by Lord George Murray and with Prince Charles accompanying it, initially headed South East towards Newcastle, before swinging South West across the Borders through Jedbugh. The Highland Division’s feint succeeded in pinning Wade’s Northern Army (comprising a British Division and a Dutch Division) in Newcastle. In a well executed plan the Highland Division and Lowland Division met up just outside Carlisle within a few hours of each other.

It was decided that the Lowland Division would besiege Carlisle, whilst the Highland Division acted as a blocking force to prevent Wade advancing from Newcastle. This suited their abilities, since the Highlanders were happy to fight, but less happy to dig trenches. The Highland Division, accompanied by Prince Charles, marched to Brampton just before the Pennine Hills.

Here is my wargame Highland Division.

Prince Charles and his staff are out in front, followed by an escort from the Prince’s Life Guards. Behind them is Lord George Murray and his ADC.

On the right of the Highland Division (left as you look at the picture) is the MacDonald Brigade comprising the Regiments of MacDonald of Keppoch, MacDonald of Clanranald, 1st Battalion Macdonnell of Glengarry and 2nd Battalion Macdonnell of Glengarry (Barisdale’s). They are commanded by Donald Macdonnell of Lochgarry. He had been a company commander in the 64th Loudoun’s Highlanders, but then defected to the Jacobites taking his company with him.

The next Brigade is commanded by Cameron of Locheil and comprises his own large Cameron Regiment and the smaller regiment of Stewart of Appin.

The third Brigade is commanded by MacPherson of Cluny, who had also a been a company commander in 64th Loudoun’s Highlanders before defecting to the Jacobite cause, again taking his company with him. His Brigade comprised the large MacIntosh (Clan Chattan) Regiment, raised by Lady Anne MacIntosh, and his own smaller MacPherson Regiment.

Next to them is a cavalry contingent, commanded by Sir John MacDonald, who had arrived in Scotland with Prince Charles. He is in the uniform of his Regiment the Fitzjames Horse of the French Army. He has a contingent of the Prince’s Life Guards and a smaller contingent of Bagot’s Hussars.

Finally, on the Jacobite Left (right of the picture as you view it) is some Jacobite Artillery. In his excellent book “The Sieges of the ’45” on Page 75, Jonathan Oates says the Highland Division had all of the Jacobite artillery with them. I rather doubt that. It seems more logical to me for the Lowland Division to retain the heavier guns and mortars for the siege, while the Highland Division took the lighter and more mobile 1½ lb Curricle Guns, which had been captured at Prestonpans. That is what I have shown here. with the three model guns (representing six real ones) being accompanied by one ammunition wagon. I think that the Jacobite Artillery Commander, Colonel Grante, would have remained at Carlisle to supervise the preparations for the siege, so I an showing the artillery accompanying the Highland Division as commanded by Captain Findlayson, who had joined the Jacobite Army after Prestonpans and later commanded the Jacobite Artillery at Culloden.

Here is my model of the Highland Division at Brampton, ready to block any attempt by Wade marching from Newcastle to relieve the siege of Carlisle.

The river on the left of the picture represents the River Irthing. Brampton is shown as a small village, but was actually a small market town. The hills of the right of the picture represent the start of the Pennines, with the road to Newcastle running through them.

Here is a close up of the hills, so you can see more of my very versatile modular hill system.

The Jacobite Artillery is deployed astride the road in advance of the Highland Division, with their train horses and ammunition wagon further back. I have shown one French artillerymen with the centre gun and Captain Findlayson just behind him.

The MacDonald Brigade is on the right, with Keppoch’s and Clanranald’s Regiments in the first line, whilst the two Glengarry Battalions formed a second line. I prefer my wargame units to be in a single rank, since they were really 3 or 4 ranks deep, which on my 1:30 figure ratio needs to be in a single rank to correctly show the proportions of the deployed unit. They are however shown here two ranks deep, due to the constraints of my small 4 foot x 2½ foot wargames table in my study.

Here is the Highland Division centre, formed by Cameron of Locheil’s Brigade, his own large Regiment in the first line and the smaller Stewart of Appin’s Regiment in the second line.

The Highland Division left is formed by MacPherson of Cluny’s Brigade, with the MacIntosh (Clan Chattan) Regiment in the first line, supported by the MacPherson Regiment.

I have shown Lord George Murray and his ADC, Colonel Ker, in the centre. Colonel Ker is wearing the uniform of his Spanish Irlanda Regiment with a Scots bonnet. Both figures are on 20mm x 30mm oval bases, which slot into a 50mm diameter Divisional Command sabot

Slightly further back is Prince Charles accompanied by Colonel O’Sullivan and a Standard Bearer, followed by an escort from the Prince’s Life Guard. Prince Charles and his staff are on a 60mm Corps (or small Army) command sabot.

Out in front of the Highland Division, the Jacobite Cavalry led by Bagot’s Hussars, advanced through the Pennines and established that Wade’s Army was still at Newcastle. The Highland Division therefore returned to Carlisle but continued to fulfil their blocking role.

Meanwhile, at Carlisle the Lowland Division had the role of conducting the siege itself. Here are my wargame figures of the Division.

On the Jacobite Right (left as you look at the picture) are the three battalions of the Atholl Brigade accompanied by the combined MacLachlan’s and Macleans Regiment. They are commanded by Lord Nairne.

Next to them are the two battalions of Lord Ogilvy’s Regiment, commanded by Lord Ogilvy himself.

Next to them are the two battalions of the Duke of Perth’s Regiment accompanied by the MacGregor Regiment. I have shown this Brigade as commanded by Major Stewart.

The last infantry Brigade of the Division is commanded by Roy Stuart and comprises his own Edinburgh Regiment and Gordon of Glenbuchat’s Regiment.

The Cavalry of the Lowland Division is shown as commanded by Lord Kilmarnock and comprises Pitsligo’s Horse (in the front line) followed by Strathallan’s Horse and Kilmarnock’s Horse Grenadiers in the second line.

The artillery with the Lowland Division is on the left of the picture. It is commanded by Colonel Grante and comprises three models (representing six guns) of French “Swedish” 4 pounders, followed by two models of Cohorn Mortars and one model of a larger Royal Mortar (these mortars being captured at Prestonpans) plus the 17th Century 3 pounder Falcon gun brought from Blair Atholl Castle. Two ammunition carts accompany the artillery.

Here is a plan of the siege. The Jacobites originally considered deploying their artillery to the west of the town, but then switched to the east.

Here is my model of the siege. With hindsight, I should have moved the model of the town a bit further to the front of the table to make it line up better with the Jacobite siege line.

Here is a view of the town from the Jacobite position.

Here is the Jacobite siege line viewed from the town.

Here is one of the Jacobite 4 pounder gun positions, It has one French Gunner and one Lowland Gunner. Colonel Grante is standing just behind the gun. You can just see two Jacobite Pioneers at the bottom of the picture. Colonel Durand, the Carlisle Garrison Commander, described the Jacobite Entrenchments as “nothing but a poor paltry ditch” but nonetheless that ditch served its purpose.

Here is the Mortar Battery on the right of the Jacobite siege line. They have models of two Cohorn mortars (representing four real ones) and one Royal mortar (representing two real ones). They have one French Gunner and five Lowland Gunners. The cavalry on the right are Strathallan’s Horse followed by Kilmarnock’s Horse Grenadiers..

The siege was conducted by the Duke of Perth. I have shown his ADC as Lieutenant John MacArthur, who was in the Duke of Perth’s Regiment, but due to his name I decided to use some artistic licence and depict him in that ADC role.

The Lowland Division would have been spread out completely encircling Carlisle. However I have shown them all behind the siege line. Here is the left of the position. Roy Stuart’s Brigade of his own Edinburgh Regiment and Gordon of Glenbuchat’s Regiment of on the right of the picture. On the left of the picture are the two battalions of the Duke of Perth’s Regiment and their attached MacGregor Regiment.

Here is the right of the Jacobite position. On the right of the picture are the two battalions of Lord Ogilvy’s Regiment. On the left are the three battalions of the Atholl Brigade plus the attached combined MacLachlan’s and Macleans Regiment

The Jacobite artillery was not strong enough to breach the walls, but they just held their fire and the militia and volunteers in Calisle thought the Jacobite Artillery was more powerful than it actually was. On the night of 14th November most of the Militia and armed volunteers abandoned their post. The town was willing to surrender, but the Jacobites, following their experience at Edinburgh, insisted that the Castle surrender as well, or they would destroy the city and massacre the inhabitants. On 15th November Durand surrendered.

The British officers were allowed to leave, having given a parole not to fight again. The Jacobites siezed a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition from the castle. Durand faced a Board of Enquiry into his surrendering, but the blame was largely placed on the collapse of the militia. The conclusion was that “Colonel James Durand has done everything in his power that became an experienced, diligent and brave officer”.

The victorious Jacobites now marched towards London

9 thoughts on “First Siege of Carlisle – 9-15 November 1745

  1. Peter van Vugt March 6, 2023 / 11:42 am

    Lovely illustrated by beautiful pictures!



  2. rodwargaming March 6, 2023 / 12:29 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Many thanks. I have discovered that I can make my pictures bigger and they now fit the page better.



  3. General Whiskers March 6, 2023 / 1:24 pm

    I love your “bathtubbed” battles. I am in awe of your plastic model conversion skills. Keep up the good work. Best wishes. Paul


  4. mosstrooper7 March 6, 2023 / 2:44 pm

    Excellent ! , I wonder what would have happened if Wade had managed the march from Newcastle ?


  5. rodwargaming March 6, 2023 / 4:56 pm

    Well, Wade was not a very dynamic leader. Half of his Army were Dutch and they may well have not been too keen to fight. The 10 British Regiments were all ones which were later at Falkirk, where several did not do particularly well, but they did better at Culloden. Coming out of the Pennines after a long march in November, they would have been tired and exhausted. Their artillery may well have had problems keeping up, as happened at Falkirk. If the Jacobites picked a good position they could have made it difficult for Wade to deploy properly. It might be an interesting scenario to wargame sometime.



  6. molesgallerium March 6, 2023 / 9:15 pm

    Fantastic stuff, my degree dissertation was about the militia in the siege. Much maligned but largely scapegoats in my findings.



    • rodwargaming March 6, 2023 / 11:28 pm

      Hi Graham,

      I enjoyed researching the Cumberland and Westmorland Militia. I wrote up more about them in my earlier post here:

      Defence of Carlisle

      I actually found more about them in 1715 than in 1745. I would be interested to read your dissertation,

      Best wishes



  7. bradleyschat5348 March 7, 2023 / 8:43 pm

    Another brilliant report! I really am happy to have found your page, its packed full of very interesting articles. Thank you for keeping up your blog.


    • rodwargaming March 7, 2023 / 8:46 pm


      Glad you liked it. My next post will be about the 2nd Siege of Carlisle in December 1745.



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