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Battle of Falkirk


During the prince's short stay at Falkirk, a misunderstanding took place between a party of the Camerons and Lord Kilmarnock, which had nearly proved fatal to that nobleman. As this incident affords a remarkable illustration of clanship, the particulars cannot fail to be interesting.

Lord Kilmarnock, having passed the evening of the battle in his house at Callander, came next morning to Falkirk with a party of his men, having in their custody some Edinburgh volunteers, who, having fallen behind Hawley's army in its march to Linlithgow, had been taken and carried to Callander House. Leaving the prisoners and their guard standing in the street, opposite to the house where the prince lodged, his lordship went up stairs and presented to him a list of the prisoners, among whom was Mr Home, the author of the Tragedy of Douglas and the History of the Rebellion. Charles opened the window to survey the prisoners, and while engaged in conversation with Lord Kilmarnock about them, as is supposed, with the paper in his hand, a soldier in the uniform of the Scots Royals, carrying a musket and wearing a black cockade, appeared in the street, and approached in the direction of the prince.

The volunteers who observed this man coming up the street were extremely surprised, and, thinking that his intention in coming forward was to shoot the prince, expected every moment to see him raise his piece and fire. Observing the volunteers, who were within a few yards of the prince, all looking in one direction, Charles also looked the same way, and seeing the soldier approach appeared amazed, and, calling Lord Kilmarnock, pointed towards the soldier. His lordship instantly descended into the street, and finding the soldier immediately opposite to the window where Charles stood, the earl went up to him, and striking the hat off the soldier's head, tramped the black cockade under his feet. At that instant a Highlander rushed from the opposite side of the street, and, laying hands on Lord Kilmarnock, pushed him violently back. Kilmarnock immediately pulled out a pistol, and presented it at the Highlander's head; the Highlander in his turn drew his dirk, and held it close to the earl's breast.

They stood in this position about half a minute, when a crowd of Highlanders rushed in and drove Lord Kilmarnock away. the man with the dirk in his hand then took up the hat, put it on the soldier's head and the Highlanders marched off with him in triumph.

This extraordinary scene surprised the prisoners, and they solicited an explanation from a Highland officer who stood near them. The officer told them that the soldier in the royal uniform was a Cameron: "Yesterday,' continued he, "when your army was defeated he joined his clan; the Camerons received him with joy, and told him that he should wear his arms, his clothes, and every thing else, till he was provided with other clothes and other arms. The Highlander who first interposed and drew his dirk on Lord Kilmarnock is the soldier's brother; the crowd who rushed in are the Camerons, many of them his near relations; and, in my opinion," continued the officer, "no colonel nor general in the prince's army can take that cockade out of his hat, except Lochiel himself."

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