ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Colonel Anne Mackintosh

Scotland's Beautiful Rebel

Foreword Review — May / June 2001

Some people define success by what they have acquired or accomplished. For others, living for a greater cause is the true measure. Anne Farquharson Mackintosh was one of the latter.

In her book, Colonel Anne Mackintosh, author Jean Mackintosh Goldstrom recounts the efforts of her ancestor Lady Anne, sixteenth century Scottish Jacobite revolutionary and wife of a clan chief, who risked everything in support of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” Charles Stuarts’ effort to reclaim the Scottish throne seize and the English throne in 1745. This was Anne’s call to arms.

Goldstrom’s detailed narration of Prince Charles’ bid for the throne and Anne’s role in it makes clear how unusual Anne’s position was. She lived in a time when women were not encouraged to demonstrate independent thought and self-reliance. It was especially unusual, Goldstrom explains, for a woman to oppose her husband. Anne was married to Angus Mackintosh, chief of the Mackintosh Clan and of Clan Chattan, an allied group of families in the Highlands. Though these families were largely supporters of the prince, Mackintosh himself was a member of the Black Watch Highlander regiment, a military force organized by the English government to help quell the political uprisings instigated by Charles. Still, Anne stood firm in her allegiance to her prince and to her ideals.

Anne’s greatest contribution to the cause earned her the nickname “Colonel Anne.” Using her influence as a chief’s wife and lady of the clans, she persuaded as many as 800 men to fight for the prince. A man accomplishing the same feat automatically would have been assigned the rank of colonel. Being a woman, Anne was given the affectionate moniker.

The prince won many minor battles, but ultimately lost the war on April 12, 1746, at Culloden Moor. Thousands of Scots died and many were taken prisoner. Anne, her mother-in-law, and other female supporters of the prince were arrested the following day. They were imprisoned for some time, and Anne was eventually released into the custody of her husband.

Goldstrom tells the story with respect and admiration for her ancestor, who lived a life of integrity and substance. The book was reviewed for historical accuracy by the present-day chief of Clan Mackintosh, and provides a list of families belonging to a number of clans. Anyone interested in this snippet of history will find Colonel Anne Mackintosh both useful and interesting.

Dawn Williams