Grim reminder of Falkirk’s past
Historical re-enactors and heritage groups gathered at the Battlefield Monument last Saturday to mark the carnage of the bloody Second Battle of Falkirk.
Fought on January 17, 1746, the Battle of Falkirk Muir was the last significant success of the doomed Jacobite cause, but made no difference to the outcome of a campaign that ended in the slaughter of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s army at Culloden.
The weekend’s memorial gathering had a Jacobite theme, involving the laying of white roses – classic symbol of the Jacobites – on the base of the memorial on Greenbank Road.
During the chaotic battle, fought in near-blizzard conditions, the Jacobite army under Lord George Murray had initially outmaneouvred experienced British general Henry Hawley.
A reckless pursuit of beaten redcoat regiments left the exuberant Highlanders open to flank attack from the British army’s disciplined and unbroken right wing.
But the battle was retrieved when the crack Irish Piquets, technically regular soldiers in the French army, were committed – it’s thought by Bonnie Prince Charlie himself. Hawley’s army, beaten but not broken, retreated to Linlithgow while the exhausted victors took possession of Falkirk town.
More combattants fought at Falkirk Muir than at any other battle of the Jacobite wars.