Battle of Philiphaugh
Battle of Philiphaugh
13th September 1645
Name: Battle of Philiphaugh
Date: 13 September 1645
War period: Civil War
Start time and Duration: 10:00am lasting for around two hours
Outcome: Covenanter victory
Armies and losses: Royalist: 2,000 foot and perhaps around 800 horse; Covenanter: around 4,000 horse and some dragoons. Losses: Royalist:1,400 foot, many were captured with perhaps 250 foot and a few horse killed; Covenanter: less than 20 killed.
Location: Fought in the enclosures of Philiphaugh, west of Selkirk and north of Ettrick Water
Map details: Grid reference NT454281 (345498, 628102); OS Explorer Map 338; OS Landranger map 73
A surprise attack by veteran Covenanter cavalry on a Scottish royalist army caught them unaware and defeated them after a hard fight in enclosed ground.
After his dramatic victory at Kilsyth, Montrose intended to recruit his royalist army before attempting to complete his military control in Scotland. However, because the Lowlands were a Covenanter stronghold and, moreover, as a result of the destruction wreaked on the general population by his forces, Montrose was unable to significantly strengthen his army. Indeed many of his troops left the army in the weeks following Kilsyth.
In early September the royalists marched into the Borders to disrupt the mustering of the Covenanter levies. On the night of the 12th September they camped at Philiphaugh, just to the west of Selkirk. But Montrose was poorly served by his scouts throughout this campaign. Most importantly he seems to have been unaware that, on the 6th September, Sir David Leslie had marched north out England with a large Scottish army. On the 11th Leslie had rendezvoused with Lothian forces at Gladsmuir (west of Haddington) and marched south. On the night of the 12th, unbeknown to Montrose, the Covenanter army approached Selkirk, beating up the quarters of Montrose's advance guard.
On the morning of the 13th September, at Philiphaugh, the battle hardened forces of this Covenanter army won the decisive action of the Civil War in Scotland. Montrose's army was effectively destroyed and, most importantly, the myth of his invincibility was shattered. Never again would he muster enough troops to be able to face the Covenanters in open battle.
A REPORT ON THE BATTLE, PREPARED FOR HISTORIC SCOTLAND BY THE BATTLEFIELDS TRUST, IS AVAILABLE FROM THE DOWNLOAD AREA ON THE LEFT