Jenn Scott, I am Minded to Rise (Helion, 2020)
In I am Minded to Rise, another book in Helion’s excellent Century of the Soldier series, Jenn Scott surveys the clothing, weapons, and accoutrements of Jacobite supporters between the Battles of Killiecrankie in 1689 and Glenshiel in 1719. Scott begins with a handy timeline of events, followed by a background chapter on the clan system in the Highlands during the 17th Century and into the Rebellion era. Religious divisions played a role in who supported the Stuarts, and many Highlanders had military experience, though not as many went around armed as previously thought. Nevertheless, those outside the Highlands viewed clansmen as nothing short of barbarians. Highlanders also became synonymous with bright tartans and blue bonnets, but, in the first of quite a few surprises in this book, these were rarely attributed to any particular clan.
Scott examines the Jacobites in greater detail in subsequent chapters. Those who best fitted the classic description of Highlanders fought in the first rising, complete with long hair and beards while carrying swords, targes, dirks, and Lochaber axes, and some still carried bows – firearms became more popular in future campaigns. The proliferation of edged weapons led to the famous and devastating Highland charge. Scott describes that in among her accounting of the all the weapons used by the various Highland contingents. The demographics changed for the 1715 rebellion with many more coming to join the Standard from outside the Highlands. Tartan still dominated Jacobite dress, but long wool or linen shirts became common as did coats with waistcoats or vests underneath. Stockings and boots or shoes, and a wee leather bag, known as a sporran, completed the ensemble. The Spaniards arrived in 1719 to help the cause. They wore regulation uniforms in the Battle of Glenshiel, which was fought almost exclusively with guns rather than swords. Another significant difference there was the lack of beards and long hair. Scott concludes her brief but interesting book, about seventy pages of information, with descriptions of the colour plates of soldiers and flags and an extensive bibliography.
Reenactors, wargamers, and historians of dress will welcome this book. Scott’s ambitions are limited as you might expect given the subject, but she achieves her goal of informing while entertaining, and I enjoyed reading this. 9/10