Buchan, Thomas (DNB00)
BUCHAN, THOMAS (d. 1720), general of the Jacobite forces in Scotland, was descended from a family which claimed connection with the earls of Buchan, and which had been proprietors of Auchmacoy in the parish of Logie-Buchan, Aberdeenshire, as early as 1318. He was the third son of James Buchan of Auchmacoy and Margaret, daughter of Alexander Seton of Pitmedden. Entering the army at an early age he served with subordinate rank in France and Holland, and in 1682 was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the Earl of Mar's regiment of foot in Scotland. From letters of thanks addressed to him by the privy council it would appear that in 1684 and 1685 he was actively engaged against the covenanters. In 1686 he was made colonel of the regiment. While serving in Ireland in 1689 he was promoted by King James to the rank of major-general, and after the death of Dundee at Killiecrankie was appointed commander-in-chief of the Jacobite forces in Scotland. At a meeting of the highland chiefs held after his arriving from Ireland, it was resolved to continue the war with renewed vigour; and meanwhile, till the muster of the clans was completed, it was arranged that Buchan, at the head of 1,200 men, should employ himself in harassing the enemy along the lowland border. On 1 May 1690 he was surprised and totally defeated by Sir Thomas Livingstone at Cromdale, as many as four hundred of his troops being taken prisoners. The catastrophe forms the subject of the humorous ballad, 'The Haughs o' Cromdale,' the imaginary narrative of a fugitive highlander, who gives the result of the battle in the terse lines —
Quo' he, the highland army rues
That e'er we came to Cromdale.
After being reinforced by a body of six hundred Braemar highlanders, Buchan entered Aberdeenshire, and presented so formidable an attitude to the Master of Forbes that the latter hastily fell back on Aberdeen. This was the last effective effort of Buchan in behalf of the Jacobite cause. He made no attempt to enter the city, but marched southward till threatened by the advance of General Mackay, He then retreated northwards, with the purpose of attacking Inverness; but the surrender of the Earl of Seaforth to the government rendered further active hostilities impossible. For a time he retained a number of followers with him in Lochaber, but finally dismissed them and retired, along with Sir George Barclay and other officers, to Macdonald of Glengarry. After the submission of the highland chiefs, he and other officers were, on 23 March 1692, transported to France. Notwithstanding the failure of his efforts in behalf of the Stuarts, he retained their confidence, and did not cease to take an active interest in schemes to promote their restoration. He continued a correspondence with Mary of Modena after the death of James II, and in a letter dated 3 Sept. 1706 expressed his readiness to raise the highlands as soon as troops were sent to his assistance (Hooke's Correspondence, Roxburghe Club, 1870-1, i, 302). In 1707 he was commissioned by a person in the service of the Pretender to visit Inverness and report on its defences, and his letter to Hooke in June of that year reporting his visit, with plans of Inverlochy fort and Inverness, will be found in Hooke's 'Correspondence' (ii. 828). At the rising in 1715 he appears to have offered his services in the highlands, for the Marquis of Huntly, in a letter to him dated 22 Sept. 1715, commends his 'frankness to go with me in our king and country's cause,' and expresses himself as ready 'to yield to your command, conduct, and experience.' On this account he is supposed to have been present at the battle of Sheriffmuir, 13 Nov. following; but it is not improbable that circumstances prevented him joining the rebels, as had he been present he would in all likelihood have held a prominent command. He died at Ardlogie in Fyvie, and was buried in Logie-Buchan, in 1720.
[Buchan's View of the Diocese of Aberdeen, 1730, pp. 361-2; New Statist. Acc. of Scot. xii. 806-7; Smith's New History of Aberdeenshire, 903-5; Memoirs touching the Scots War carried on for their Majesties by Major-general Mackay against the Viscount Dundee, and after him Cannon, and at last Major-general Buchan, for the late King James (Bannatyne Club, 1833); Macpherson's Original Papers; Colonel Hooke's Correspondence (Roxburghe Club, 1870-1).]