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John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee was called "Bluidy Clavers" (Bloody Claverhouse) by his opponents, but regarded as human and fair by his followers among the Jacobites.
He began his military career in 1672 in a Scots’ Regiment in the service of the French King, Louis XIV. In 1674, during the Battle of Seneffe, he rescued the young Prince William of Orange when his horse fell in marshy ground. Two years later, following an unsuccessful siege of Maastricht, Graham resigned his commission and returned to Scotland.

In 1689, after the overthrow of King James VII of Scotland, he became a fervent supporter of the Stuart cause. Viscount Dundee raised his standard on Dundee Law in support of the Jacobite cause. His greatest victory was at the Battle of Killiecrankie (on 27 July 1689) against much greater Williamite forces led by General Hugh Mackay. The Highlanders were completely victorious, but their leader, in the act of encouraging his men, was pierced beneath the breastplate by a musket ball of the enemy, and fell dying from his horse. Graham reputedly asked a soldier “How goes the day?” The man replied “Well for King James, but I am sorry for your lordship.” The dying Graham replied, “If it goes well for him, it matters the less for me.”   

The battle, disastrous as it was to the government forces, was in reality the end of the insurrection, for the controlling and commanding genius of the rebellion was no more. Killicranckie had little overall effect on the outcome of the war. Without their leader the Jacobites’ forces were scattered at the Battle of Dunkeld the next month.

The Battle of Killiecrankie has made a deep impression. The government drew the lesson it had to build roads to secure and get faster its troops moving. Between 1725 and 1737 general Wade directed the construction of some 250 miles (400 km) of road, plus 40 bridges, a formidable task which still constitutes the backbone of communication channels of Scotland. The Jacobites immortalized their victory a century later in a poem by Walter Scott where John Graham of Claverhouse has received the posthumously nickname of “Bonnie Dundee”. Today’s only known by this nickname Graham never heard it during his lifetime.

      Killicranckie Pass and the soldier’s leap

During the battle, one of Mackay’s soldiers, Donald MacBean, is said to have jumped (loosing one shoe) 18ft across the River Garry to safety at what is now known as the "Soldier’s Leap".

The words are by Sir Walter Scott, but there is an older lyric version called "Jockey’s Escape to Dundee." The tune may have been composed by Charlotte Sainton-Dolby in the 19th Century.
The song has been used as a regimental march by several Scottish regiments in the British army and was adapted by Confederate troops in the American Civil War (the song “Riding a Raid” takes place during the 1862 Antietam Campaign).


The version below is from The Corries.

To the Lords o’ Convention
’twas Claverhouse spoke
E’er the King’s crown go down
there are crowns to be broke
So each cavalier who loves honour and me
Let him follow the bonnets
o’ Bonnie Dundee

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can
Come saddle my horses and call out my men
Unhook the West Port and let us gae free
For it’s up with the bonnets o’ Bonnie Dundee

Dundee he is mounted and rides up the street
The bells they ring backward,
the drums they are beat
But the provost douce man says just let it be
For the toon is well rid o’ that devil Dundee


There are hills beyond Pentland
and lands beyond Forth
Be there lords in the south,
there are chiefs in the north
There are brave downie wassles
three thousand times three
Cry hey for the bonnets o’ Bonnie Dundee


And awa tae the hills, tae the lee and the rocks
Ere I own a userper I’ll couch with the fox
So tremble false whigs in the mid’st o’ yer glee
For ye’ve no seen the last o’ my bonnets and me

Chorus * 2


  Aux Lord de la convention,
  Claverhouse s’adressa
  Avant celle du roi
  bien des têtes choiront
  Que chaque cavalier de son honneur épris
  se rallie aux bonnets
  de Bonnie Dundee

  Venez remplir ma coupe, venez remplir ma gourde
  Venez seller mes chevaux et appeler les miens
  Quittez le port de l’ouest et soyez libre
  de suivre les bonnets de Bonnie Dundee

  Dundee sur son cheval remonte la rue
  Les cloches sonnent à toute volée
  et les tambours battent
  Le prévôt, un homme avisé, dit “laissez partir
  ce diable de Dundee”


  Il y a des collines au delà de Pentland
  et des terres après le Forth
  Les seigneurs sont au sud,
  les chefs de clan au nord
  Mais il y a
  Neuf mille courageux
  qui supportent les bonnets de Bonnie Dundee


  Loin dans les montagnes ventées et rocailleuses
  à l’usurpateur je préfère partager la tannière
  Tremblez maudits Whigs et vivez vos derniers instants de joie
  Car vous ne m’avez pas encore vu, moi et mes bonnets

  Refrain * 2


The Corries

The McCalmans

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