Lord George Murray's Letter to Prince Charles Stuart 17th April 1746
May it please your Royal Highness, - As no person in these kingdomes ventured more franckly in the the cause than myself and as I had more at stake than all the others put together, so to be sure I cannot but be very deeply affected with our late loss and present situation, but I declare that were your R.H. person in safety, the loss of the cause and the misfortunate and unhappy situation of my countrymen is the only thing that grieves me, for I thank god, I have resolution to bear my own and family ruine without a grudge.
Sr, you will I hope upon this occasion pardon me if I mention a few truths which all the Gentlemen of our army seem convinced of.
It was highly wrong to have set up the royal standard without having positive assurance from his most Christian majesty that he would assist you with all his force, and as your royal family lost the crown of these realms upon the account of France, The world did and had reason to expect that France would seize the first favourable opportunity to restore your August family.
I must also acquaint your R.H. that we were all fully convinced that Mr O' Sullivan whom your R.H. trusted with the most essential things with regard to your operations was exceedingly unfit for it and committed gross blunders on every occasion of moment: He whose business it was, did not so much as visit the ground where we were drawn up in line of Battle, and it was a fatal error yesterday to allow the enemy those walls upon their left which made it impossible for us to break them, and they with their front fire and flanking us when we went upon the attack destroyed us without any possibility of our breaking them, and our Atholl men lost a full half of their officers and men. I wish Mr O'Sullivan had never got any other charge in the Army than care of the Bagage which I have been told he has been brought up to and understood. I never saw him in time of Action neither at Gladsmuir, Falkirk nor in the last, and his orders were vastly confused.
The want of provisions was another misfortune which had the most fatal consequence. Mr Hay whom Y.R.H. trusted with the principal direction of ordering provisions of late and without whose orders a boll of meal or forthing of monie was not to be delivered, has served Y.R.H. egregiously ill, when I spoke to him, he told me, the thing is ordered, it will be got etc. but he neglected his duty to such a degree that our ruin might probably been prevented had he done his duty: in short the last three days which were critical our army starved. This was the reason our night march was rendered abortive when we possibly might have surprised and defeat the enemy at Nairn, but for want of provisions a third of the army scattered to Inverness he and the others who marched had not the spirits to make it quick as was necessary being faint for want of provisions.
The next day, which was the fatal day, if we had got plenty of provisions, we might have crossed the water of Nairn and drawn up so advantageously that we would have obliged the enemy to come to us, for they were resolved to fight at all hazards, at prodigious disadvantage, and probably we would in that case have done by them as they unhappily have done by us.
In short Mr O'Sullivan and Mr hay had rendered themselves odious to all our army and had disgusted them to such a degree that they had bred a mutiny in all ranks that had the battle (not) come on they were to have represented their grievance to Y.R.H. for a remedy. For my own part I never had any particular discussion with either of them, but I ever thought them incapable and unfit to serve in the stations they were placed in.
Y.R.H. knows I always told I had no design to continue in the army: I would of late when I came last from Atholl have resigned my commission, but all my friends told me it might be of prejudice to the cause at such a critical time. I hope your R.H. will now accept my demission. What commands you have for me in any other situation please honour me with them.
I am with great zeal,
Sr, Your R.H. most dutifull and humble servant,
Ruthven 17th April 1746