Battle of Falkirk II
Battle of Falkirk II
17th January 1746
Name: Battle of Falkirk II
Date: 17 January 1746
War period: Stuart Uprising
Start time and Duration: afternoon start with the battle lasting only a short time.
Outcome: Jacobite victory
Armies and losses: Government: circa 8,000 in total made up of around 5,500 regular infantry, 800 dragoons, 800 Highlanders and about 700 militia; Jacobites: just over 6,000 in total made up of about 5,800 infantry and 360 cavalry. Losses: Government: 300-400 killed, 300 captured: Jacobite: 50 killed and up to 80 wounded.
Location: The battlefield is located south-west of Tamfourhill on the south side of Falkirk with the Jacobite left protected by a ravine and the right by an area of marshy ground at the time of the battle.
Map details: Grid reference: NS868788 (286840, 678837); OS Explorer Map 349; OS Landranger map 65
A Jacobite victory which led to government forces changing tactics to deal with the Highland change, resulting in the success at Culloden three months later.
After their devastating victory at Prestonpans, the Jacobite army had marched into England. However, when the expected French invasion and English Jacobite uprising failed to materialise they retreated back into Scotland, fighting a rearguard action on Clifton Moor in Cumbria. At the same time the siege of the government forces in Stirling Castle continued. In response a government army under Lt General Hawley marched north. He assembled his forces at Edinburgh, then moving north west to relieve Stirling. Lord George Murray’s Jacobite army blocked Hawley’s path at Falkirk.
Falkirk II was the second of the Jacobite victories during the 1745-6 campaign. Unlike Prestonpans, where untested government troops had broken in the face of the Highland charge, here it was well trained veteran troops under an experienced commander. This was arguably the high point of the Jacobite campaign of 1746, but it was not the devastating victory that might have been achieved. It was a propaganda success but in reality it had revealed the great weaknesses of the Jacobite forces.
A REPORT ON THE BATTLE, PREPARED FOR HISTORIC SCOTLAND BY THE BATTLEFIELDS TRUST, IS AVAILABLE FROM THE DOWNLOAD AREA ON THE LEFT