CULLODEN, Scotland (AP) _ With bagpipes wailing, 4,000 Scottish clansmen rallied on the bleak, windy moor where 250 years ago Scottish Highlanders with swords lost their final battle to the grapeshot and bayonets of British troops.

Clansmen placed wreaths Tuesday near the 20-foot stone cairn marking the site of the 1746 Battle of Culloden, which ended a royal rebellion and scattered Scots around the world.

``Culloden is a very powerful event in our history and one that we will never forget,'' said Donald McLaren, chief of the McLaren clan, as he trudged through the heather on Drummossie Moor.

Two thousand Scottish Jacobite rebels died in the hour-long frenzy, which is legendary for its brutality. Many wounded Scots were shot or bayoneted. Some 30 men who took refuge in a cottage were locked inside and burned alive. Retreating Scots were slaughtered all along the five-mile road to Inverness.

Only 300 British troops were killed or wounded in the battle.

Scotland and England had joined under a single monarch in 1603. But in 1746, Highlanders supported a bid by Prince Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, to restore the Catholic Stuarts to the British throne.

After the defeat at Culloden, Highlanders were forbidden to wear their national dress, the hereditary authority of the Highland chiefs was abolished, and the Gaelic language was suppressed. Thousands of Highland Scots went abroad in search of a new life.

Some of their descendants returned Tuesday from America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany.

Many wore traditional kilts and carried the flags and banners of their clans. They observed a brief silence for the dead.

``There are a lot of Americans and Canadians who would not be where they are today if it were not for Culloden,'' said Ross Mackenzie, who manages the 165-acre site for the National Trust for Scotland.