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Battle of Falkirk


On the afternoon of Saturday the 4th of January, the Highlanders had nearly surrounded the town; but they did not complete the investment till next day, which was partly occupied in cutting down some trees intended for fascines, on which they meant to construct a battery. About eight o'clock in the evening they sent a drummer to the east gate with a message; but, being fired upon by the sentinels, he threw away his drum and fled. The insurgents fired several shots into the town during the night, which were responded to by the volunteers, who were all under arms, and posted in different parties at the different by-ways and paths into the town, and at such parts of the wall as were deemed insufficient. During the night the utmost alarm prevailed among the inhabitants, and few of them went to bed. Some fled from the town, and others retired into the castle; but the magistrates and the other principal inhabitants remained all night in the council chamber in which they had assembled, to give such direction and assistance as might be necessary, in case an assault should be attempted during the night.

Next morning the insurgents were discovered erecting a battery within musket-shot of the town, almost opposite to the east gate, in a situation where the cannon of the castle could not be brought to bear upon them. The volunteers kept up a constant fire of musketry upon them; but, in spite of this annoyance, the Highlanders completed the battery before noon. Charles, thereupon, sent a verbal message to the magistrates, requiring them instantly to surrender the town; but , at their solicitation, they obtained till ten o'clock next day to make up their minds. The message was taken into consideration at a public meeting of the inhabitants, and anxiously debated. The majority having come to the resolution that it was impossible to defend the town with the handful of men within, two deputies were sent to Bannockburn, the head-quarters of the Highland army, who offered to surrender to terms; stating that, rather than surrender at discretion, as required, they would defend the town to the last extremity. After a negotiation, which occupied the greater part of Tuesday, the following terms of capitulation were agreed upon: viz., that no demand should be made upon the town revenues,- that the inhabitants should not be molested in their persons or effects, - and that the arms in the town should be returned to the castle. Pending this negotiation, the Highlanders, to terrify the inhabitants into a speedy submission, as is supposed, discharged twenty-seven shots from the battery into the town, which, however, did no other damage than beating down a few chimney tops. After the arms were carried into the castle, the gates were thrown open on Wednesday the 8th, and the Highlanders entered the town about three o'clock in the afternoon.

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