In the action about to commence, the
combatants on both sides were deprived of the use of their artillery. The Highlanders,
from the rapidity of their march, left their cannon behind them, and those belonging to
Hawley's army, consisting of ten pieces, stuck fast in a swamp at the bottom of the hill.
The royal forces were greatly superior to the Highlanders in numbers, but the latter had
the advantage of the ground, and having the wind and the rain in their backs, were not
annoyed to the same extent as their adversaries, who received the wind and rain directly
in their faces.
The right wing of the Highland army
and Hawley's cavalry had remained upwards of a quarter of an hour within musket-shot of
each other, waiting the coming up of the other forces, when General Hawley sent an order
to Colonel Ligonier, to attack the Highlanders. At the time this order was despatched,
some of this troops destined for the centre of his second line had not reached their
posts, but Hawley, impatient of delay, and led astray by a mistaken though prevalent idea,
that the Highlanders could not stand the shock of Cavalry, resolved to commence the action
with the dragoons only Ligonier, who appears to have entertained more correct notions on
this subject than the general-issimo, was surprised at the order; but he proceeded to put
it in execution.
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