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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
The Battle continues


Meanwhile Lord George Murray, who observed the confusion in Hawley's army, was, moving down the hill with the Athole men in good order, for the purpose of attacking it on its retreat. He had sent orders by Colonel Ker, to the reserve to advance on the left, and having met scattered parties of the Macdonalds returning up the hill, he endeavoured to rally them as he marched dawn, but without effect. Before reaching the bottom of the hill, Lord George obtained a complete view of the disorder which prevailed in the enemy's ranks. With the exception of the three regiments of foot, and Cobham's dragoons, which were marching rapidly towards Falkirk, and covering the rear of the other fugitives, the remainder of the royal army was running off to the right and left, by forties and fifties; but as Lord George had not more than 600 or 700 men with him, and as the rest of the Highland army was scattered over the face of the hill, he resolved to halt at its foot.

Here he was joined by the Irish piquets, and by Lord John Drummond, and other officers. Some of the officers advised a retreat towards Dunipace, that the men might obtain shelter during the night from the rain, which was excessive; but his lordship strongly advised that they should endeavour to obtain possession of Falkirk immediately, while the confusion lasted, declaring that he would either lie in the town or in paradise. While this discussion was going on, the prince arrived, and approved highly of the views of his lieutenant-general. Charles was advised, in the meantime. to retire to some house on the face of the hill, till the result of the attempt should be known.

It was now almost dark, and as the fires of Hawley's camp indicated an apparent intention on his part to retain possession of the town, the officers assembled at the bottom of the hill, considered it unsafe to advance farther, till they had ascertained the state of matters. To procure intelligence, Mr. Drummond, eldest son of Lord Strathallan, and Oliphant, younger of Gask, entered Falkirk, disguised as peasants, and having ascertained that General Hawley,after issuing orders to set fire to his tents, had abandoned the town, and was retreating on Linlithgow, they immediately returned to their friends with the information. The body collected at the foot of the hill now advanced upon Falkirk, in three detachments; one of which, under Lochiel, entered the town at the west end, another under Lord George Murray, at the centre, and the other, under Lord John Drummond, by a lane called the Cow wynd, at the east end. Some stragglers, who had remained behind, were taken prisoners, one of whom fired at Lord John Drummond, when about to seize him, and wounded him slightly in the arm. Information of the occupation of the town, by the Highlanders, was sent to the prince, who immediately repaired thither, and took up his residence in a house which fronts the steeple.

So great was the disorder that existed in the Highland army, occasioned by the rash and impetuous conduct of the Macdonalds, in leaving their ranks, and by the check received from the three regiments, that it was about four hours after the close of the battle, which lasted scarcely twenty minutes, before the greater part of the army had any information of the result. The Highlanders were dispersed in every direction over the hill, and the different clans were mingled together pell-mell. The confusion was greatly increased by the obscurity of the night, and for several hours they wandered over the moor, uncertain whether they were to meet friends or foes.

Early in the evening, many of the Highlanders had retired from the field of battle, either thinking it lost, or intending to seek shelter from the weather. During this disorder, the fate of the prince himself was equally unknown. Early in the action, he had sent one of his aides-de-camp with an order; but, on returning with an answer, the prince was no more to be seen. The officer, in searching for him, fell in with the prince's own life-guards, drawn up in order of battle, near a cottage on the edge of the hill, with their commander, Lord Elcho, at their head; but his lordship could give him no information respecting chiefs of the clans, ignorant even of the fate of their own regiments, met together at the seat of Mr. Primrose, at Dunipace, where they were joined by other officers all equally ignorant of the result of the battle. At length, about eight o'clock in the evening, all doubt was removed from the minds of this party, by the arrival of Macdonald of Lochgarry, who announced that the Highland Army had obtained a complete victory, - that the English were flying in disorder towards Edinburgh, - and that the prince was in possession of Falkirk, and in the quarters which had been occupied by General Hawley. He added, that he had been sent to Dunipace, by the prince, with orders to the rest of the army to repair to Falkirk next morning by break of day.

Partly from the darkness of the evening, and partly from the impossibility of collecting a sufficiently numerous body of the Highlanders together, the prince was unable to continue the pursuit. About 1,500 of them had entered the town, but so intent were they upon securing the spoils of the English camp, that it was with difficulty that sufficient guards could be got for the town, and the prince's person, during the night. Besides, the Highlanders had been upon their legs for twelve hours, without receiving ant refreshment, and were completely drenched to the skin, so that even had pursuit been otherwise practicable, they must have speedily desisted from excessive fatigue, and might probably have suffered from the dragoons which covered the rear of Hawley's foot.

In addition to seven pieces of cannon which had been abandoned by the captain of the train at the commencement of the action, Hawley left behind him all his baggage, and a large quantity of military stores. Owing to the rain, very few of his tents, to which he had set fire, were consumed. Besides the materičl of the royal army, several standards and stands of colours fell into the hands of the victors. According to the official returns, the loss of the English, in killed, wounded, and missing, was 280, including a considerable number of officers; but these returns are supposed to be greatly underrated. There were sixteen officers killed on the government side, viz, Colonel Sir Robert Munro of Foulis; Lieutenant-colonel Whitney of Ligonier's regiment of dragoons; Lieutenant-colonel Biggar of Munro's regiment; Lieutenant-colonel Powell of Cholmondeley's regiment; five captains and one lieutenant of Wolfe's; and four captains and two lieutenants of Blakeney's regiment. Sir Robert's regiment, which consisted chiefly of his own clan, had particularly distinguished itself at the battle of Fontenoy; but on the present occasion it partook of the panic which had seized the other regiments on the left, and fled, leaving its colonel alone and unprotected.

In this situation Sir Robert was attacked by six men of Lochiel's regiments, and, for some time gallantly defended himself with his half-pike. He killed two of his assailants, and would probably have despatched more, had not a seventh come up and shot him in the groin with a pistol. On falling, the Highlander struck him two blows across the face with his broadsword, which killed him on the spot. Dr. Munro of Obsdale, his brother, who, from fraternal affection, had attended Sir Robert to the field to afford him any medical assistance he might require, was standing close by his brother when he fell, and shared his fate at the hands of the same Highlander, who, after firing a pistol into his breast, cut him down with his claymore. The bodies of the two brothers having been recognised the next day, were honourably interred in one grave in the churchyard of Falkirk in presence of all the chiefs.

The loss on the side of the Highlanders amounted only to about 40 men, among whom were two or three captains, and some subaltern officers. They had, however, nearly double that number wounded. Besides Lord John Drummond, young Lochiel and his brother, and Dr. Archibald Cameron, were slighly wounded. Hawley's army could boast of only one prisoner, who fell into their hands by mere accident. This was Major Macdonald of Keppoch's regiment, cousin to the chief. Having pursued the flying English farther than any other person, he was in the act of returning to his corps, when in his way he observed, in the dusk of the evening, a body of men at some distance standing in a hollow near the bottom of the hill. Imagining this body to be Lord John Drummond's regiment and the French piquets, he ran forward towards the party with his sword still drawn, and when near them, cried out with a feeling of strong emotion, "Gentlemen, what are you doing here? Why don't ye follow after the dogs, and pursue them?" Scarcely, however, had he uttered these words, when he discovered that the body he accosted was an English regiment, (Barrel's,) and the cry, "Here is a rebel! here is a rebel!" at once met his ears.

Escape being impossible, the major, thinking that he would not be discovered by the colour of his white cockade, which was quite dirty with the rain and the smoke of the firing, pretended that he was one of their own Campbells; but General Huske observed that it was easy to discover what the prisoner was by his sword, the blade of which was covered over with blood and hair. Huske gave orders "to shoot the dog instantly," and a party of musketeers immediately presented their pieces at the major’s breast; but Lord Robert Ker generously interposed, and, beating down the muskets, saved the major's life. The general having refused to receive the major's arms, they were accepted by Lord Robert. When pulling his pistol from his belt, previously to surrendering his arms, Huske was alarmed, and exclaimed with an oath, that "the dog" was going to shoot him; but Macdonald indignantly observed , that he was more of a gentleman than to do any such thing, and that he was only pulling off his pistol to deliver it up.

The Major was carried to Edinburgh, and committed to the castle next day, and, after a few months' confinement, tried, convicted, and executed.

The victory would have been complete by the utter annihilation of the English army, had the prince taken the usual precautions to preserve unity of action among the different sections of his undisciplined host.

Early in the morning, Lord George Murray had submitted a plan of the battle to his royal highness, and requested that he would name the officers that were to command, and assign them their stations; but with the exception of Lord George himself, who was appointed to march at the head of the army, and who consequently had the command of the right wing, no other appointment appears to have been made. It seems to have been understood by Charles himself, that Lord John Durmmond was to have commanded the left wing; but if such was the case, Lord John could have obtained no distinct notification thereof, as he never appeared in his place.

It is maintained by Lord George Murray, that had there been an officer in command on the left, to have brought up two or three battalions from the second line, or from the corps de reserve so as to have extended the first line still farther to the left, and thus to have faced the English regiments which outflanked them, the whole of Hawley's foot must have been taken or destroyed, and that few even of the horse would have escaped, as the Highlanders would not have given over the chase till they had reached Linlithgow, - and that, in short, had the three regiments which outlined the Highlanders been faced, the battle would oF have lasted ten minutes, as these regiments, instead of keeping their ground, pouring in part of their fire on the left flank of the Highlanders, and compelling those who attacked the right and centre of Hawley's foot sword in hand to retire to their former ground, would have given way with the rest of the main body.

In the absence of Lord John Drummond, it was the duty of O'Sullivan, who, as adjutant-general, was chiefly intrusted by the prince with the formation of the left wing, to have brought up men for the purpose of extending the line; but instead of riding along the line as he should have done before the action, none of the officers of the first line of the Highland army saw him till the battle was over. While Lord John Drummond could not but be sensible of the error which had been committed on the left, he retaliated upon the lieutenant- general, by ascribing the escape of Hawley's army to the conduct of Lord George himself, who prevented part of the right wing from joining in the charge upon the foot, after the flight of the dragoons.


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