Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Disgrace and Vexation.

The Jacobites losses at Falkirk had been 'small'(50 killed) while Hawley's losses had been much heavier, 20 or more officers killed and 'several hundred' other ranks. During the following two days, 'several hundred' more English prisoners were rounded up. When General Hawley reached Linlithgow, his mood was of great anger at the 'cowardice' of some section of his army. He had the unenviable task of writing a letter of explanation to his patron, HRH. The Duke of Cumberland, who had placed so much faith in him. "Sir, my heart is broke. I can't say why we are quite beat today.........We had enough to beat them for we had 2,000 men more than they. But suche scandalous cowardice I never saw before. The whole second line of foot ran away without firing a shot. Pardon me sir, your most unhappy, but most faithfull and dutifull your Royal Highness has. H. Hawley." To raise the morale and spirits of the army, he had thirty-one of Hamilton's Dragoons hanged for desertion, and thirty-two foot soldiers shot for cowardice. Executions, Hawley believed it was the best way 'pour encourager les autres'. Then there was the case of the poor Captain Archibald Cunningham of the Royal Artilley who had failed so badly during the battle. He was arrested, and after a failed suicide attempt, he was court martialled and sentenced to be cashiered 'with infamy'. This was a painful proceedure which involved having his sword broken over his head, his sash cut in pieces and thrown in his face and finally 'a kick on the posteriors' administered by a member of the Provost Martial's Office. After the news of the Jacobite's retreat from Derby, there had been great optimism in the capital, but now, with a retreating army defeating a large government force at Falkirk, there was now only consternation. When the news of the defeat was received at a gathering in St.James's Palace, there was the deepest gloom on all the faces, except that of Sir John Cope, who seemed quite cheerful. Hawley was no longer Commander-in-Chief, and it was now felt in London that only one man was capable of restoring the morale of Government forces in Scotland, HRH. the Duke of Cumberland, who arrived in Edinburgh on the 30 January to assume overall command. Meanwhile the Government forces received substantial reinforcements - a fresh artillery train with a complement of regular gunners, Campbells Royal Scots Fusiliers, Sempill's 25th Regiment and three squadrons of Lord Mark Ker's Dragoons. Further reinforcements were expected - Bligh's Regiment of Foot and between 4,000 and 5,000 German mercenaries from Hesse ie. the Hessians. On 8 February Cumberland's brother-in-law, Prince Frederick of Hesse landed at Leith with his Hessians. His 'Serene Highness' received various gun salutes from ships on the Forth, and from the garrison at Edinburgh Castle. He did the social rounds of the city being invited to balls, concerts and assemblies. " The Germans, both men and horses, looked well" and it took three or four days to land them. Hessian mercenaries had been employed by the British government 50 years earlier in the First Jacobite Rising (1715).

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