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Battle of Falkirk

COLONEL LIGIONIER PLANS HIS ADVANCE


Before advancing, Colonel Ligonier made several motions, with the design of drawing off the fire of the Highlanders, and riding in among them , and breaking their ranks; but they did not fire a shot. Conjecturing that the dragoons were to be supported by a body of infantry in their rear, Lord George Murray, to whom no such description of force was discernible at the time, sent Colonel Roy Stuart and Anderson, the guide at the battle of Preston, forward on horseback to reconnoitre. On receiving their report that they had not observed any foot, Lord George resolved to anticipate his opponent Ligonier, by attacking the dragoons. Accordingly he gave orders to the right wing to advance slowly, and, passing along the line, desired the men to keep their ranks, and not to fire till he gave them orders.

Lord George, with his sword in his hand, and his target on his arm, then took his station at the head of the first line, which, with the second, continued to advance in good order. The dragoons, on observing the approach of the Highlanders, also began to move forward, and were instantly at the full trot. They came up in very good order, till within pistol-shot of the first line of the Highlanders, when Lord George Murray presented his piece as the signal to fire. The Highlanders, thereupon, discharged a volley with such precision and effect, that the dragoons were entirely broken, and many of them were killed and wounded. Hamilton's and Ligonier's regiments instantly wheeled about, and galloped down the hill, riding over and trampling upon some of their party, and carrying along with them a company of the Glasgow regiment.

Cobham's regiment, which had just returned from foreign service, however, stood its ground for some time, and breaking through the first line of the Highlanders, trampled many of them under foot. A singular combat then ensued. Deprived of the use of their broadswords, some of the Highlanders, who lay stretched on the ground, had recourse tom their dirks, which they plunged into the bellies of the horses. Others seized the riders by their clothes, and dragging them from their horses, stabbed them with the same weapon.


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