foot soldiers threw away their arms, and the cavalry utterly dispersing, rode every man for his life across the country.
The dejection was universal and extreme.
At Gemappe some resistance was attempted, and a brisk lire of musketry was kept up for a few minutes from behind a barricade of overturned cannon and carriages.
But a few shots from the Prussian horse artillery soon dispersed the enemy, and the town was taken amidst loud cheers, and with it Napoleon
's travelling carriage, private papers, hat, and sword.”
Let me remind the reader that this was the panic flight, not of volunteers, who that day heard the roar of hostile cannon for the first time; nor of young men fresh from their offices, counting-rooms, workshops, and farms; but of veterans seamed with the scars of a hundred battles; some of whom had followed the victorious eagles of the greatest of modern commanders from Cairo
The English press, with scarce an exception, finds in the recent panic at Bull Run
not merely a theme for the bitterest taunts, but the completion of the proof that “the bubble of democracy has burst.,” as if a drawn battle, or, if you please, an ignominious rout, suffered by an army of raw volunteers at the commencement of a war, proved any thing one way or another, in reference to the comparative stability of different forms of government.
What bubble burst when Charles Edward
, on the 25th of July, 1745, landed from “a little bark” of eighteen guns, (furnished by a private gentleman in France
,) on the western coast of Scotland
, for the conquest of Great Britain
, and the overthrow of the House of Brunswick
At the head of a handful of clansmen, of whom half were armed with scytes and bludgeons, the youthful adventurer marched upon the ancient capital of Scotland
— an object, one would have thought, to England
, in the middle of the last century, not so much of fear as of pity.
A monarchy consolidated by ages, whose virago queen two centuries before had brought the royal beauty of Scotland
to the block — whose armies, under Marlborough
, in the preceding generation, had humbled the pride of Louis XIV.
in the dust — quailed before an unbreeched rabble of two thousands men from the Highlands.
Panic fear marched in their van ; the royal army blundered up to the north, while the Pretender was hurrying southward; the gates of Edinburgh
flew open, and on tle 17th of September, just three weeks after his landing, the heir of the Stuarts was seated on the throne of his ancestors in Holyrood House. “That two thousand men,” wrote the Marquis
to Lord Milton, who had escaped from Edinburgh
, “and these the scum of two or three highland gentlemen, the Camerons, and a few tribes of the Macdonalds, should be able in so short a time to make themselves masters of Edinburgh
, is an event which, had it not happened, I should never have believed possible.”
“The panic,” says another letter, “wrought so powerfully on some, and worse
arguments on others, that the town is now in the hands of the rebels.”
What bubble burst, when the forces of the Pretender, a few days later, met the royal army at Preston
the numbers about equal, but the Highlanders
without artillery or cavalry, while the royalists were provided with both — troops that had triumphed under George II.
two years before, and had suffered a defeat scarcely less glorious than a triumph in the spring of this year, at the memorable battle of Fontenoy
At four in the morning the young Pretender roused himself from his pillow of pease straw, beneath the open canopy of heaven, and the fight began; and “in less than five minutes,” says the Chevalier de Johnstone
, who was in the battle, “we obtained a complete victory, with a terrible carnage on the part of the enemy.
It was gained with such rapidity, that in the second line, where I still was by the side of the Prince
, we saw no other enemy on the field of battle than those who were lying on the ground, killed and wounded, though we were not more than fifty paces behind our first line, running always as fast as we could to overtake them, and near enough never to lose sight of them.”
Not a bayonet was wet, nor is it in one battle out of a hundred.
Artillerymen and dragoons fled at the approach of the Highlanders
, who threw away their guns — those who had guns — and with terrific screams rushed on with the claymore.
“All remedies,” says Rolt, a royalist, “in every shape, were exerted by General Cope
and his brother officers, among whom was the Earl
, (afterward commander-in-chief in this country,) to regulate the disorder, but in vain.
Neither the example nor the entreaty of the officers could animate the dastardly dragoons to the charge; the other body of dragoons joined in the flight; they opprobriously fled without wielding their swords, through the town of Preston
A portion of the infantry made a momentary resistance under the brave Colonel Gardiner
, who, after the flight of the dragoons, dismounted and placed himself at the head of the foot, “where he gloriously perished.”
Like the noble Lyon
, the other day, in Missouri
, seeing a detachment of infantry fighting without a leader, he exclaimed, “These brave fellows will be cut to pieces for want of a commander,” placed himself in their front, cheered them on, and was soon cut in two with a Highland scythe.
Not above 170 of the royal infantry escaped, all the rest being killed or taken prisoners.
Twenty captains, twenty-four lieutenants, twenty-nine ensigns, with all the train of artillery, baggage, tents, colors, and military chest, containing £ 6,000, a valuable acquisition for the Pretender, who, as he had only two captains and thirty men killed, and eighty-three wounded, made a triumphal entry into Edinburgh
, carrying all the wounded prisoners, with the colors and baggage, in procession through the city, guarded by the Highlanders
, and attended