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The Battle of Prestonpans, 21 September 1745 in VS .NET
The Battle of Prestonpans, 21 September 1745
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Having appointed Lord George Murray as his military commander, Charles began marching on Edinburgh On 17 September Charles took the city without difficulty and held an expensive party to celebrate Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Sir John Cope, commanding a 2000-strong government
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9: Risings and Rebellions: Jacobites and Americans
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army including two regiments of dragoons and six guns, had deployed at Prestonpans, six miles east of Edinburgh During the night of 20/21 September, Murray led the Jacobite army right around Cope s position Dawn found it deployed just 180 metres (200 yards) from the government army s left flank Cope s troops just had time to change front when the Highlanders charged A ragged volley failed to stop them It took only ten minutes of savage hand-to-hand fighting to destroy Cope s army, which sustained 1800 casualties, including 1500 prisoners, and lost all its guns Jacobite losses amounted to 30 killed and 80 wounded The outcome of the battle attracted sufficient recruits to the Young Pretender s cause for him to cross the border with an army of 4500 infantry and 400 cavalry He took Carlisle and Manchester and then marched on to Derby, which he reached on 4 December All seemed to be going his way, but concern was growing that no support was forthcoming from English sympathisers The Duke of Cumberland was coordinating the response to the Jacobite invasion, and Jacobite intelligence sources suggested that proceeding further into England would risk two strong government armies crushing the rebellion between them After some debate, Charles reluctantly fell back into Scotland
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The Battle of Falkirk, 17 January 1746
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Cumberland followed Charles closely until his advance guard got a bloody nose near Penrith The encounter, which took place on Clifton Moor, was the last battle fought on English soil Now back in Scotland, Charles laid siege to Stirling Castle, a task for which he was ill equipped Meanwhile, a government army under Lieutenant General Henry Hawley recaptured Edinburgh and was advancing to break the siege Murray deployed his Jacobites on the moorland above Falkirk and on 17 January 1746 Hawley s troops began emerging from the town to engage them They had barely formed up when the Highlanders launched a devastating charge that swept away most of Hawley s line Murray s forces killed or wounded about 350 of Hawley s men and captured 600, and the government army lost all its guns and baggage The Jacobite army s casualties were negligible Hawley went insane with rage For starters, he smashed his own sword against Falkirk s market cross Then he hanged 31 dragoons who rejoined their regiments after the battle on the idiotic charge of deserting to the rebels Finally, when the Jacobites began releasing their prisoners, he had 32 returned infantrymen shot for cowardice Forever after, he went by the nickname of the Hangman The irony was that on 1 February the Jacobites abandoned the siege voluntarily and retreated into the Highlands
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Part III: Wars of Succession, Independence, and Revolution
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The Battle of Culloden, 15 April 1746
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Shortly after the government humiliation at Falkirk, Cumberland arrived to take command in Scotland, and followed up the Jacobite withdrawal He trained his men rigorously in techniques of bayonet fighting designed to meet the Highlanders style of fighting with broadsword (a sword with a wide blade for cutting rather than thrusting) and targe (a light shield) On 15 April the Jacobite army was in position on Culloden Moor, five miles east of Inverness It was 5400 strong and consisted of 21 small (mainly Highlander) infantry battalions, 400 cavalry, and 12 guns Cumberland s army lay within striking distance to the east It was 9000 strong and consisted of 15 regular infantry battalions, four regiments of dragoons, a number of Scottish volunteer units, and 16 guns During the night the Jacobites tried to mount a surprise attack on Cumberland s camp Already on the verge of starvation and now utterly weary, they lost their way and had to return to their starting point Cumberland s army, fed and rested, followed up and deployed for battle as it approached Culloden For 30 minutes Cumberland s artillery hammered the Jacobite line The ordeal was too much for the patience of some clans They launched piecemeal charges that the government army easily defeated; a few men broke through the first line of infantry, only for the second line to despatch them A double envelopment by the government cavalry completed the destruction of Charles s army, which they pursued to within one mile of Inverness Cumberland s men killed about 1000 of the rebels and captured 558, together with all their guns Government losses amounted to 50 killed and 239 wounded Cumberland s savage treatment of his prisoners and the brutal repressive measures he imposed afterwards earned him the title of the Butcher, but he had won a decisive victory that destroyed Stuart ambitions forever Some people still regard the battle as a Scottish defeat In fact, more Scots were fighting for King George on 16 April than for Prince Charlie, whose army also included French and Irish elements Subsequent political measures destroyed the old clan structure Relieved of their responsibilities, the lairds (landowners) preferred sheep and deer to populate their glens rather than people, who provided less profit As a result of these evictions, called the Highland Clearances, Highlanders in their thousands emigrated to the New World or went to live in the cities They also provided a ready recruiting ground for some of the finest regiments in the British army (see the sidebar, The Highland regiments )
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