Home yesterday after a great trip to the USA but, due to volcanic ash, eight days later than scheduled. My distraction as I travelled (and waited) was a book from a second-hand bookshop in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania: '1776' by David McCullough, a remarkable account of the tough campaigning of that year - first steps on the road to a United States of America.
Washington, who struggled to keep the Yankees, the New Englanders and the Virginians together, would have been appalled at the three day horror which was Gettysburg. I spent a fascinating day there and was struck by the statistic that total casualties at Gettysburg were more than three times larger than the total combatants at Culloden.
Returning to Newark we crossed the Delaware at Trenton, where a brilliant Christmas Eve night manoeuvre by Washington changed the course of the war. Charlie's last-throw night march on the eve of Culloden similarly expected to find the enemy drunk. But the Highland Army arrived when the porridge was already on the boil, and they returned to camp exhausted.
When I am next at Culloden I will be much better able to answer questions from American visitors who are looking for familiar yardsticks for the history they are learning in Scotland.