THE INDEPENDENT COMPANIES
The Independent Companies were recruited in the Highlands during the 1745 Rebellion by Lord Louden in an attempt to prevent the rebels from joining the Jacobite armies. Companies were offered to eight northern Clan chiefs, including Lord Fortrose, who raised the men from their estates.
In all, a large body of Highlanders were recruited, and spent much of their time marching through the Highlands on one pretext or another. It is not clear where the Independent Companies were on 16 April 1746, but none were present at Culloden. After the battle, they were used to round up the suspect rebels and brought many in to give up their arms. Before being disbanded in August / September 1746, lists of the men were made, presumably to claim payment for their keep. Not all of the lists survive, but those that do show many hundreds of men were involved.
It is recorded that the MacKenzie Company was at Shiramore in Badenoch in June 1746, and Captain Colin MacKenzie's Independent Company is listed with names and designations and includes more than sixty MacRaes, many of them from Kintail. It is often said that the MacRae clan were wiped out at Sheriffmuir and there were no men available to fight at Culloden. However the Independent Companies show that the MacRaes were not decimated at Sheriffmuir, but lived to fight another day.