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Portrait engraving of Marshal MacDonald

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Portrait engraving of Marshal MacDonald
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Engraving of Marshal MacDonald (1765 - 1840). His father, Neil MacEachan, was from South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, but had fled to France after Culloden. The Marshal was born in Sedan and the family later lived in Sancerre, where there was an exiled Jacobite community.

MacDonald's rise through the French military from 1792 to 1804 was meteoric. What he lacked in flamboyancy he made up for in loyalty, becoming one of Napoleon's favourite Marshals. It was said that Napoleon never placed him within the sound of bagpipes, in case his loyalties were torn, but this may be romantic exaggeration.

Napoleon promoted him Marshal of France on the battlefield of Wagram in 1809. In 1825 MacDonald visited Scotland, taking back to France some earth and potatoes from the family property at Howbeg, South Uist. He also visited the battlefield of Culloden.

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