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Fort Loudoun a site for 1746 Scottish battle re-enactment

May 22, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

FORT LOUDON, PA. - As ominous clouds rolled over the mountains around the fort, bagpipe music and the smell of fire-cooked meat caught the wind and pushed their way into lightweight, cream-colored tents that dotted the field.

Children in traditional garb darted around adults wearing the colors of Scottish clansmen and clanswomen. Bayonets and crude dinnerware rested on tables at tent entrances.

Only the sight of a teenager snapping a picture with a cell phone reminded visitors that this was a re-enactment and not the 1700s.

The re-enactment Saturday and Sunday transformed Fort Loudoun into the United Kingdom's mainland for the April 1746 Battle of Culloden, which ended the two-year Jacobite rising and had profound effects on the Highland Scots.

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"The Scottish lost, and it broke up the clans in Scotland," said Robin Houtz, secretary of the Fort Loudoun Historical Society.

Thousands of Jacobite forces were killed or wounded in the quest of Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, for the throne. After the defeat, restrictions placed on the highlanders drastically altered their way of life.

The Battle of Culloden is re-enacted every two years in different places, and one man from Scotland told Houtz the topography of Fort Loudon reminded him of home, she said.

"A lot of the Scottish immigrated over here and especially to this area," Houtz said.

The festivities drew 300 campers and a few hundred visitors for the clash between the Jacobite forces and Royal Army, organizers said.

"It was the last hurrah of the Highland clans," said Addison Miller, national chief of the Clan of the Wolf, which portrays the Clan of Cameron. This weekend, he portrayed "Gentle" Lochiel, the clan chief who was on the clan council and an adviser to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The Clan of Cameron fought on the right flank of forces during the main battle, Miller said.

About 38 of the 275 Clan of the Wolf members, hailing from five countries, attended the re-enactment, he said.

"It's for people who enjoy the old Highland ways," Miller said. Unlike other clans, his doesn't require Scottish descent as part of membership, he said.

"We're attracting younger people mainly because we're getting long in the tooth," said Miller, who has been a part of the clan for 16 years and was joined at the re-enactment by his wife.

Next month, the historical society will mark the 250th anniversary of Fort Loudoun with guest speakers, re-enactments and demonstrations. A schedule of events is available at www.fortloudoun-pa.com.

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