Chevalier de Johnstone

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James Johnstone (1719 – c. 1800), also known as Chevalier de Johnstone, and who sometimes signed himself as Johnstone de Moffatt was an army officer who took part in the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the Seven Years' War. He is notable for his memoirs.

Johnstone joined the Jacobite Army in Perth shortly after the raising of the standard at Glenfinnan in 1745. He was twenty-six years old, and according to John Prebble, was "as proud of his kinship with Scots nobility as any Highlander". He served as aide-de-camp both to Lord George Murray and to Charles Edward Stuart, and fought with the Jacobites through the remainder of the campaign. He was present at the Battle of Culloden and, according to his memoirs, charged to within 20 yards of the Government lines before taking flight with the rest of the Jacobites. After Culloden, Johnstone had a number of narrow escapes; he hid in the Highlands for a while before deciding to venture to Edinburgh where he had more friends who could aid his escape. He later went to London, finally making his way to Holland disguised as a servant to Lady Jean Douglas. Johnstone later served the French in Canada, and wrote an account of the Siege of Louisbourg (1758) and the campaign of 1760.

His Memoirs of the rebellion in 1745 and 1746 were first published in an English translation in 1820 and provide a lively account of the Jacobite military campaigns and Johnstone’s hazardous flight after the battle of Culloden in 1746.


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