|King James II
One of those who helped Prince Charles actually get to Scotland was Lord Charles O’Brien, Viscount Clare. A Jacobite with a long record of service in the French army he would eventually attain the rank of Marshal of France and be made a knight of the Holy Spirit. It was Lord Clare who put Prince Charles in touch with the Irish shipping magnates who helped arranged the gathering of the men, material and funds the Prince would need to launch his expedition. At the time, Lord Clare was the commander of the Irish Brigade in the army of His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XV. This was a unit originally formed for French service in exchange for a larger contingent of French troops that were sent to Ireland to fight for King James II. When Prince Charles finally set out for Scotland he was accompanied by the “Seven Men of Moidart” of whom four were Irishmen; Sir Thomas Sheridan, Parson George Kelly, Sir John Macdonald and Sir John William O’Sullivan. Sheridan had been the tutor of Prince Charles and was over seventy when the expedition launched. His age would have made campaigning difficult and he was soon sent back to Rome to keep Prince James informed of the progress of the uprising. Parson George Kelly, likewise, did not remain too long in Scotland as he was sent back to France after the battle of Prestonpans to spread the word of the stunning Jacobite victory.
Sir John William O’Sullivan was born in County Kerry, sometime around 1700, and was trained for the priesthood in Rome and Paris. However, when his father died, he returned to Ireland to take over the family estates. Unfortunately, he ran afoul of the Penal Laws and forfeited his ancestral lands, returning to France and joining the army. His time as a tutor in a French military household likely gave him the notion to take up a career in the army. O’Sullivan showed considerable talent and rose rapidly in rank, finally becoming a colonel. He served in Corsica and on the Rhine where he gained a high reputation for irregular warfare. It seems most likely that it was his record as an accomplished guerilla fighter that brought O’Sullivan to the attention of Prince Charles and, in any event, the two became very close and lasting friends. When the Prince set out for his effort to restore his house in Britain he named O’Sullivan his adjutant and quartermaster-general. From the time of their landing until the bitter end O’Sullivan never left the Prince’s side.
As Quartermaster-general, O’Sullivan had the difficult and unenviable task of keeping the Jacobite forces fed and armed. Many ardent Jacobites professed that he gave good service in this position but O’Sullivan (like the Prince) was constantly at odds with Lord George Murray and the partisans of Murray tend to lay much of the blame for the Jacobite failure at the door of O’Sullivan if not the Prince himself. At the last battle at Culloden Moor, once again, Lord Murray did not want to fight, insisting that the ground was too soft and their position less than ideal. Prince Charles, however, was determined to have at the enemy at least one more time, regardless of the circumstances, before admitting defeat. Colonel O’Sullivan, as usual, agreed with the Prince and many have since placed at least some of the blame for the lost battle on O’Sullivan for choosing such poor ground to fight on. Whatever the case, O’Sullivan has also been credited with helping to arrange the safe escape of Prince Charles back into exile. The colonel himself escaped on a French frigate (which also had an Irish captain) and was later knighted by Prince James (King James III to the Jacobites) for his part in saving the life of his son. He married well and died sometime in the early 1760’s.
|Prince Charles Edward Stuart