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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Battle for Scotland

For almost two weeks the English Army had dogged the heels of their Scottish counterparts. So far it neither side had seen battle as being in their favor. Finally Prince Charles and the clan Chiefs had grown frustrated and insisted that it was contrary to the honor of the army and Scotland to surrender Edinburgh or Glasgow without a fight. General de Burre counseled they continue to maneuver and not give battle on unfavorable ground against greater numbers. Accusation of cowardice rang out from several Clan Chiefs and had the Prince not shouted for silence and demanded apologies from the offenders duels might well have resulted. After much argument a compromise was reached the Army would offer battle but only on ground of it’s choosing. Like many military compromises it was a bad choice. Sir Murray found a position in the ground between Glasgow and Edinburgh where a swamp would cover the Left flank and a low hill would cover the right. General de Burre expressed his disapproval as the right would be almost completely open, but the Prince stood fast on his decision. So Burre suggested his Irish troops and the Scot Cavalry (which was too small face the English horse head on) to make a march around the swamp and attack the English flank and rear, as the Scots struck from the front.

On the Day of battle the Scots formed up from left to right by regiment Atholl, Stewart of Appin, 1st Battery, Duke of Perth, Frasier of Lovet, Cameron of Lochiel, Manchester, Cameron, Glenbucket with the Grant/MacDonald regiment on the left with the 2nd Battery on the hill to their right. The English came in with their Cavalry on the Right and a long line of English infantry stretching to the road in the center were the Brunswick regiments stood. The English sent their Cavalry against the artillery on the left; the French Gunners stood their ground sending the 17th Light Dragoons tumbling back Glenbucket and Grant/MacDonald formed “sheltron” back to back in face of the on rushing cavalry. The rest of the English line moved forward steadily. The French gunners choose sell their lives dear, pivoting and firing grapeshot into the Scots Grays and Queens Dragoons.

More English troops arrived to the left of the Brunswick troops, six fresh regiments in all and every Scottish heart sank on seeing this for it was too many was too many as General de Burre had warned. English cannons began their deadly work firing on Manchester and Cameron. The English Cavalry struck the Scots Grays, may the traitors burn in hell, charged Grant and Macdonald while English Hussars struck at Glenbucket. General Mixter, Exiled scion of MacDonald, cried for his men to stand and stand they did striking the traitorous Grays as they came near. Both Regiments held and the English horse stymied fell back, though the 17th Lt. Dragoons stood with sabers bright over the bodies of the gallant French gunners who had fought to the last.

As the English move forward the Scots strain to hold fast as they are coiled like a spring waiting for the order to charge, all know the battle may already be lost but perhaps fortune will favor the bold. The on the left the sound of shill fiefs and snap of drums joined soon by the sound of Scottish pipes can be heard. The Wild Geese the Sons of Ireland by way of France have come General de Burre riding Sword draw with Highland Cavalry. The Men of Athol and Appin see them and charge forward swords and bayonets bright. The English 9th regiment is over thrown and a scatter the 35th is also thrown back but the Highland Cavalry, half its men know dead or unhorsed has fought its last. Brave de Burre his sword red with blood falls back and rejoins the Wild Geese. Perth charges and drives back the Brunswick of regiment Von Specht, and to its right Frasier drives back Prince Fredrick’s regiment, but the Camrons of Lochiel face a tougher foe, Von Riedesel ‘s men meet them with disciplined fire and drive them back. The Manchester regiment struck the 5th Foot a telling blow sending their men back and George II watches his men stream past him and he can see the Scottish blades reaching for him… but it is not to be. The Carmon charge against the 59th Foot die on English bayonets. On the Left Mixter and the Brave men of Grant and MacDonald charge headlong at the 17th regiment’s flank but the commander of the 17th is ready his men wheel to face the charge and fire a devastating volley and the sons of Grant and MacDonald lay on the field in a mass as they had charged at their head would be found the gallant Mixter his Claymore still in his hand.

The Scottish attack is worthy of song but the English take it, absorb it and strike back with equal furry. The 33rd and 38th Regiments avenge their fallen brothers as their musketry cuts down the sons of Atholl and Appin the wheat before the scythe. Perth and Lovet face attacks form the surviving Brunswickers and are driven back. The men of Manchester are struck on three sides, by the 10th foot on their left, and the Royal Welsh on their right while the 5th foot rallies at the sight of their king and strikes them from the front. A blood bath ensues the Manchester Regiment is cut down. Glenbucket now alone on the right faces attack the Queens dragoons and Luckner’s Hussars. Somehow they hold and throw the English horsemen back.
All this General de Burre sees he orders the picked men of Frances Scottish and Irish Regiments to fall back; they do so with good discipline facing fire from the 33rd, 38th and hand to hand fighting with the grenadiers of the 3rd and 4th Foot. The Regiments Perth and Lovet form a wall around Prince Charles and make their way off the field. Cameron of Lochiel falls back with them tough without order ad English artillery rips in to their ranks. The men of Glenbucket make their own way off backing away from the English host, of all the clan regiments theirs has faced more than any other and survived all.

Congratulations to Luke on his first victory, the Scots lost about 7,500 men form their ranks. Five Scottish regiments were so badly damaged (Manchester, Cameron, Grant/MacDonald, Appin and Atholl) that they had to be disbanded. The surviving men were placed in the remaining regiments to bring them up to strength. The four Scottish Regiment (Duke of Perth, Frasier of Lovet, Cameron of Lochiel and Glenbucket) and the 1st and 2nd Gaelic Picquets Royal (picked men from the Irish and Scottish Regiments in France) withdraw, barely escaping the English pursuit making their way to the walled city of Perth where they dig in and hope the French and negotiate a deal for them. Sorry no pictures you can look at the Scottish regiments on my Face book. I tried to tell this one in a more ‘epic’ tone hope it worked for people.