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Jacobite joy followed by tears

Updated: Mar 4

Having raised the highland clans we gathered yesterday to re-fight Falkirk Muir (1746) with the aim of restoring the rightful King James Stuart to the British throne.

The Hanoverians were tardy in their deployment as their commander, Henry Hawley, was otherwise engaged enjoying a second breakfast in the company of his hostess Mrs Gordon (whose husband was fighting for the Jacobites).

Led by Clan MacDonald the Jacobites marched swiftly across the face of the government army (just out of musket range) as the latter began to deploy. The artillery on both sides lagged behind as they struggled to make it over the muddy ground.

Encountering the dragoons sent against them on the far left of the Hanoverian line, the MacDonalds of Clanranald charged bravely forward. Terrified by the highland charge the dragoons immediately turned and fled in terror. Their supporting units were swept up in the panic that ensued.

Meanwhile Lord Drummond led the Stewarts, Camerons, Frasers and Farquharsons around the open Hanoverian right flank. Prince Charles deployed his French trained regulars in a reserve position behind them.

Shaken by the collapse of their left flank, the government troops failed to hold when charged yet again by the ferocious MacDonalds. The Hanoverian line was rolled up from the left as their men abandoned their positions and fled for their lives.

It was a short, fast and furious game with a clear Jacobite victory. With plenty of time before the pub opened we decided to reset, change sides and have another go.

Having benefited from seeing the devastation of a highland charge in the first game, the new Hanoverian players (formerly the Jacobites) decided it was essential to get in a few volleys of musketry in first. They sent their dragoons forward to disrupt the Jacobite deployment, giving their foot time to deploy.

Although the Hanoverian dragoons were badly mauled by the highlanders they did succeed in forcing the Jacobites to deploy before they could outflank the Hanoverian left. They also bought time for the government foot to deploy in good order and deliver a couple of fairly ineffective volleys on the enemy.

This time, the Hanoverian foot held their ground when the highlanders charged, helped in no small way by the personal intervention of General Cholmondeley who fought alongside his men. The fighting was fierce and swung first one way and then the other. Eventually the smaller highland units were worn down. Many of them were destroyed. Lord Murray, leading the MacDonalds, only narrowly escaped capture by fleeing the field when his men were dispersed.

This second game resulted in a narrow Hanoverian victory. Many of the highland units had been decimated and although Prince Charle’s reserve was moving in on the Hanoverian right, they took many casualties from musketry and were in no position to press home an attack. The artillery on both sides remained stuck in the mud and played no part in the battle.

The games were played using Close Fire and European Order rules with amendments for this later period and to take into account the highland charge.

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It was an excellent day, although quite a grim day for me as I played both Hawley, the Hanoverian commander in the first game and Prince Charles in the second! 😢😅

However Mrs Gordon was VERY engaging and obliging..................😉😂


One of the benefits of the game reaching a conclusion so quickly the first time, was being able to play it again from the other side in a second game. The lines of red-coated battalions and the clan units of wild highlanders looked superb.

Scots Wha Hae!

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