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Battle of Falkirk


The prince spent the 18th, the day after the battle, at Falkirk; but, as the rain fell in torrents during the greater part of that day, few of the officers quitted their lodgings. Notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the weather, the slain were interred by order of the prince, and a considerable body of Highlanders marched to Linlithgow, of which they took possession. Charles now took the advice of his friends as to the use he should make of his victory. Some were for following up the blow which had been struck, and driving Hawley out of Scotland. Others were for marching directly to London before the enemy had time to recover from their consternation. They argued that it was not to be supposed that Hawley would again face the prince and his victorious army till he should receive reinforcements; that even then the troops which had been beaten would communicate terror to the rest; and that the prince's army, flushed with victory, could never fight with greater advantages on their side.

There were others, however, who thought differently and maintained that the capture of Stirling castle was the chief object at present; that it had never been before heard of that an army employed in a siege, having beaten those that came to raise it, had made any other use of their victory than to take the fortress in the first place; that any other conduct would argue a great deal of levity; and that it was of the utmost importance to obtain possession of the castle, as it opened an easy and safe communication between the prince (wherever he might happen to be,) and his friends in the north. This last view was supported by M. Mirabelle de Gordon, a French engineer of Scotch extraction, who gave the prince the strongest assurances that the castle would be forced to surrender in a few days, and added, moreover, that if the prince went immediately upon another expedition he would be obliged to sacrifice all his heavy artillery which he could not carry with him into England.

The opinion of an individual, decorated with an order, and who was consequently considered a person of experience and talents, had great weight with the prince, who, accordingly, resolved to reduce the castle of Stirling before commencing any other operations, but Charles discovered, when too late, that Mirabelle's knowledge as an engineer was extremely limited, and that he had neither judgment to plan nor knowledge to direct the operations of a siege. This person, whose figure was as eccentric as his mind, was called, in derision, Mr Admirable by the Highlanders.

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