The Battle of Falkirk 1746


A letter from a private soldier of Barrel's regiment, at Edinburgh,
dated Jan 19th 1746
From the Gentlemen's Magazine Vol. XVI 1746

On the 16th inst. we marched, and encamped at Falkirk, six miles from Stirling, and about five from the camp of the rebels. We lay on our arms all that night, and the next day we were alarmed, that the rebels were advancing towards us ; and about one o'clock we saw their whole body marching towards a hill lying on the left of our camp: General Hawley instantly gave orders for us to form the line of battle, and march in order to take the hill before them ; but it being very high and steep, made it impracticable for us to get our cannon on ; however, we formed ourselves in two lines, our left reaching the top of the hill, and our right down into the valley. The attack was begun with our three regiments of dragoons, who broke through the enemy and behaved like bold fellows, and afterwards rallied again : ______s regiment, being the left of our front line, fired on the rebels, but it being one of the most turbulent rainy days I ever knew, one fourth of our pieces missed fire, which caused ______s regiment to give ground, the rebels having ten to one the advantage over us, the wind and rain being in their backs. At the running away of ______s regiment, like a catching infection the whole front followed, and likewise the rear, not one regiment being left in the field but ours: The R______ ______ being [in] the right of the front, ran before they were engaged ; we [marched up, and] took their ground, and maintained it in spite of the rebels ; one party of them came running upon us, and fired, but at too great a distance, and did us but little harm ; they threw away their guns, being their usual way of fighting, and advanced sword in hand ; we gave them a volley of shot, and kept a reserve, which caused them to halt and shake their swords at us ; we gave them three huzzas and another volley, which caused them to run ; we pursued them, and took some few prisoners.

All our general officers behaved exceeding well, who came to our regiment to return us thanks for our courage, as they were pleased to express it, telling us we saved the honour of the field, besides many thousands of lives : Brigadier ______was pleased to express his satisfaction to our behaviour, by kissing our men, and making us a present of ten guineas. The engagement began about three in the afternoon, and had not night come on, I doubt not, but by the blessing of God, we should have totally routed them : as to the number killed on either side I cannot give, but I believe they lost three times our number. We marched the same evening to Litbgow, about six miles ; our regiment had but one man killed, and some few wounded ; our grenadiers brought one cannon out of the field by yoking themselves to it.

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