Battle of Falkirk (1746)

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The Battle of Falkirk on January 17, 1746 between troops of the British Crown and the Jacobite army under Prince Charles Edward Stuart took place during the Scottish Jacobite Rising of 1745, southwest of Falkirk , Scotland , and ended in a Jacobite victory.

After the defeat of the British government troops in the Battle of Prestonpans , General John Cope was relieved and replaced by Lieutenant General Henry Hawley as Commander in Chief. After their victory, the Jacobite army, led by Charles Edward Stuart, marched into England and advanced to Derby , but then had to retreat to Scotland in front of outnumbered government troops.

"Bonnie Prince Charlie" and his army, consisting largely of highlanders, joined the troops who besieged Stirling Castle , which was defended by a garrison under Major General Blakeney . General Hawley marched out of Edinburgh with a total of about 7,000 men to free Blakeney. On January 17, 1746, the vanguard of the government army watched the Jacobites, led by Lord George Murray , line up with about 5,000 men to fight on Falkirk Muir , a flat area southwest of the town. Hawley was taken from his quarters and rode into the government camp in such a hurry that he forgot to take off his napkin. The weather was very bad, it was raining and it was dark.

Believing that the Highlands would not withstand his cavalry, Hawley formed his troops so that three regiments of dragoons formed the front line on his left wing. The artillery got stuck in the mud and did not take part in the battle. Hawley ordered the Dragoons to attack. The highlanders received them with a volley of musket, whereupon the three regiments disbanded and fled. The highlanders now attacked the infantry, which had been set up in two lines, and also routed them, with the exception of three regiments, which held together and formed the rearguard when the government troops withdrew towards Edinburgh. These soldiers also dragged the guns that had stopped so as not to let them fall into the hands of the enemy. The battle had only lasted 20 minutes. The highlands had only 40 dead, about 80 wounded and one prisoner to mourn. The much higher losses of the government troops are not known. The victory gave the Jacobites one last respite until the Battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746, brought about the final collapse of their uprising.

See also: List of Wars , List of Battles

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