The first published mentions were, " The Prince Created a Committee for providing the army with forage. It was Composed of Lord Elcho President, Lord Dundee, Sir William Gordon of Park, Hunter of Burnside...... They issued out orders in the Princes name to all the Gentlemens houses who had employments under the Government to send in certain quanties of hay, straw, and corn upon, such a day, under the penalty of military execution if not complied with, but their orders were very punctually obeyed."
Lord Elcho had first met with the Prince, as youths, in Rome and they enjoyed each other's company.
Elcho joined the '45 in Edinburgh and was made aide de camp. He appointed David Hunter of Burnside, Captain in the Prince‘s Life Guards. A position he held until Culloden.
Whether due to a sense of forboding or merely affection, twelve days before the battle, David managed to stop of at Forfar on the route north and signed over the estate of Burnside to his wife Barbara. Without which the Hunter lands in Forfar would have been seized by the crown.
The next we hear of David was about the advance of the Government Forces, four days before Culloden, "The 12th, by Six o clock in the morning their advanced Guard appeared at Gordon Castle, and in half an hour after the whole army and a fleet of eight and twenty sail cast anchor at the mouth of the river. This fleet which carried their baggage and provisions and always sailed when the army marched, and cast anchor at night opposite to where the army encamped. Upon The Dukes armys appearing, the Duke of Perth and Lord John Drummond assembled all the troops they had with them upon the side of the Spey, and as it was not possible to prevent the passage of the river, as it was fordable every where, they retreated to Elgin in good order, where they arrived about twelve o clock. Lord John Drummond sent out Mr Hunter of Burnside with a party of Lord Elcho‘s troop to get intelligence. Mr Hunter went so near their advanced guards, as to get his horse shot under him, and if Mr Vaughan to the great risk of his life had not taken him on behind him, Mr Hunter would have been taken prisoner. Mr Hunter informed Lord John that the Dukes army had pitched their Camp on the north side of the Spey; at ten o'clock that night the Duke of Perth marched all the troops out of Elgin to Forress, and then to Nairn.