Defence of Ruthven Barracks by Sergeant Molloy (Hanoverian Army).
August 1745: While General Cope was in the Highlands and some distance from the Jacobite army John Gordon of Glenbucket hatched a plan to attack Ruthven Barracks which was defended by Sergeant Terry Molloy of Lee's 55th Foot and twelve soldiers and three or four of the permanent staff. Colonel John Sullivan, a Staff Officer with the Jacobite army, was against the plan but reluctantly took part in the raid.
"It was determined the next day, yt the Prince wou'd not follow Cope, but wou'd make the best of his way to Blair, to raise the Athol men. The day the Prince was to decamp, Sullivan parted as usual to reconnoitre the Camp, & prepare the Prince's quarters, with Lochgarry & some other officers and about thirty men; John Murray was sent in all diligence after him with orders to take the road of Revin, where he'd meet with Archy Cameron, & attack those Barracks, where there was only a sergeant & sixteen men. Sullivan cou'd not but obey, but represented the difficulty of it, & yt there were no Barracks, without being surrounded by walls & flanked, but one Gordon who was of yt neighbourhood, & was the man yt gave the project, assured it was an open house only. Sullivan parted & met with Mr. Cameron about three mils from Reven, continued his march as near as he cou'd to the Barracks without being discover'd; he clad himself there inhighland cloaths,& went to reconnoitre, found this open house to be two buildings upon a sugar loaf, joyned together by a very high rampart with a parapet, wch formed a Square & flanked at every corner; there were stables detached from the barracks & surrounded by a wall breast high, & the & windings yt we ramp inaccessible in a manner."
1745 A Military History of the Late Jacobite Rebellion by Stuart Reid pages 19-20 also see Journal of Aeneas Macdonald, Forbes Papers
30th August 1745: After the unsuccessful attack by the Jacobites, Sergeant Molloy was encouraged to write a report to General Cope with his version of the attack.
'Ruthven Redoubt, August 30th 1745
Honourable General, This goes to acquaint you, that Yesterday there apeared in the little Town of Ruthven above 300 Men of the Enemy, and sent Proposals to me to surrender this Redoubt, upon Condition that I should have Liberty to carry off Bag and Baggage. My answer was, that I was too old a Soldier to surrender a Garison of such strength. without bloody Noses. They threatened hanging me and my Men for Refusal. I told them I would take my Chance. This Morning they attacked me about twelve o'Clock, by my Information with about 150 Men: They attacked Fore-Gate and Sally-Port, and attempted to set the Sally?Port on Fire, with some old Barrels and other Combustibles, which took Blaze immediately; but the Attempter lost his life by it. They drew off about half an Hour after Three. About two Hours after they sent to me, that two of their Chiefs wanted to talk with me. I admitted and spoke to them from the Parapet. They offered Conditions: I refused. They desired Liberty to carry off their Dead men; I granted. There are two Men since dead of their Wounds in the Town and three more they took with them wounded as I am informed. They went off Westward, about eight o'clock this Morning. They did the like March Yesterday in the Afternoon, but came back at Night fall. They took all the Provisions the poor Inhabitants had in the Town; and Mrs McPherson, the Barrack?Wife and a Merchant of the Town who spoke to me this Moment, and who Advised me to write to your Honour: And told me there were above 3000 Men all lodged in the Cornfields West of the Town last Night, and their grand Camp is at Dalwhinny: They have Cluny McPherson with them Prisoner, as I have it by the same Information. I lost one Man shot through the Head by foolishly holding his Head too high over the Parapet, contrary to orders. I prevented the Sally-Port taking Fire by pouring Water over the Parapet. I expect another Visit this Night, I am informed, with their Pateraroes [swivel guns] but I shall give them the warmest Reception my weak, Party can afford. I shall hold out as long as possible. I conclude, Honourable General, with great Respect.
Your most obedient and humble Servant.
Cope, pages 64-65 & 1745 A Military History of the late Jacobite Rebellion by Stuart Reid pages 21 & 22
Note: On 12th September 1745 Sergeant Molloy was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in Colonel Lee's Regiment of Foot.
10th February 1746:
John Gordon of Glenbucket was again at the walls of Ruthven demanding surrender. Lieutenant Molloy is reported to have said to Glenbucket, "That it was not consistent with his Honour to do so, and he would not give up his Garrison until he was besieged in Form, and that he could not see yet but he was able to make a good Defence." Colonel James Grant and John MacPherson went to the gate of the barracks and delivered a summons which was in the same terms as was given by government forces to the garrison at Carlisle Castle.
"There are by his R.H. Order. I send you this to desire you will surrender, without Loss of Time, to give up the Barrack, and so render yourselves Prisoners at Discretion; or these are to certify, you are to expect no Mercy. GORDON."
Molloy offered his own terms.
"Sir, I don't see but I am in a Condition to make a good Defence in my Garrison. Still I know I cannot stand a long regular Siege, especially against Cannon; yet I am resolved to the last Extremity, in every respect, to sustain the Character of a Gentleman, and to answer the Expectation and Confidence of my Royal Master, with Regard to what he has committed to my Trust. To be brief, I will not surrender until your Prince's Approach to this place, and then upon the following Conditions only; 1st. That my Men and I be humanely treated, as I am inform'd of the Revenge and Threats denounced against us by the Clans who attacked this Garrison last August. 2nd, That we shall not be rifled or pillaged; and that your Prince grant me my Parole of Honour, and set my men at Liberty as he has done other Prisoners hitherto, considering the Difference betwix Prisoners of this Kind, and those taken in the Field of Battle - Gen. Gordon, an experienced humane Officer, can't deny this reasonable Intreaty; and upon Preformance thereof, I will deliver the Keys of the Garrison to your Prince, and upon giving a Guarantee to fulfill the above Conditions. Further I permit Gen. Gordon to send his Horses and Grooms to my Stables this night, without Arms: All I require for my Honour and Security on this Head, is, that Col. Grant may be permitted to stay as a Hostage in my House until the Prince's Arrival.
Molloy surrendered to the Jacobite army at noon the following day. The barracks were burnt on the 14th and the stables the following day. The damage must have been slight as the barracks were still in intermittent use afterwards.
Lieutenant Molloy and his men were set at liberty and arrived in Perth on 27th. By 1753 Molloy was the senior Lieutenant in his regiment. In 1755 he fought his way out of Braddock's Disaster on the Monongahela. He eventually was promoted to Captain-Lieutenant but sold his commission to Lieutenant William Littler on 5th November 1755. Nothing else is known of Molloy.
1745 A Military History of the Late Jacobite Rebellion by Stuart Reid pages 107 & 108
Ruthven Barracks, situated near the village of Kingussie. The Barracks played a minor role during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
How to get to Ruthven Barracks
From Perth take the A9 road to Inverness. Ten miles south of Avimore at Kingussie Village look to your right; Ruthven Barracks can be clearly seen from the road. To visit the site enter Kingussie Village and follow the signs for the barracks. Entry to the barracks is free of charge. Car parking facilities are available close to the barracks.
PUBLIC NOTICE AT SITE
This is the northern terminal of the traditional "Summer Road to Ruthven" used in the eighteenth century by Hanoverian soldiers travelling from Blair Atholl and Dalmacardoch by the Minigalg and Galck Passes to Ruthven Barracks. From here the old military route goes south for five miles to cross the River Tromie north of Bhran Cottage. It is in places indistinct and there is no public bridge over the river. An alternative low-level route starts at Tromie Bridge one and three quarter miles to the east of here, at GR NN 790 995.
Scottish Rights of Way Society