Thursday, 28 May 2009

Sherrifmuir, 13th November 1715.

On the 13th November 1715, two armies clashed at Sherrifmuir on the Ochils slopes near Dunblane in Perthshire, Scotland. One was led by John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar, and bore the royal standard of James Stuart would be King of the British Isles. The other, the government and the new Hanoverian Kings army sent to stop a rebellion that aimed a restoration of the Stuart dynasty.

Mar, with his largely Scots Jacobite army, had swiftly taken control of Perth and most of the northern Highlands. After several skirmishes with Argyll's troops, he, Mar, was persuaded to lead his army south on the 10th, a movement that was reported to Argyll who swiftly moved his army to counter.

The scene was set, at Sherrifmuir the armies faced each other. Numbers were, depending on the source, some 8000 Jacobites versus Argylls 4000, giving Mar a two to one advantage.

Argyll, assembled his army uphill, with General Witham commanding his left. In response the Jacobite right and centre is said to have attacked this wing with such ferocity that the Hanoverian left fled, Witham himself rushing off to Stirling carrying tales of Argylls defeat. Unknown to him however, Argyll's right had smashed the Jacobite left forcing it back two miles. Nightfall put an end to the fighting leaving little change the lefts of both armies had been beaten while the right wings had proved victorious. However, in reality both armies had suffered for no gain, Argyll withdrew to Dunblane, while Mar retreated to Perth. From those positions, both sides proclaimed victory, but neither had actually won.

One has to wonder why Mar, still with a number advantage, did not continue the fight, many historians accuse him of losing interest. Whatever, Argyll won the propaganda war, with the Jacobites now proving so demoralised that even James Stuart's arrival in the December failed to arouse their spirits. The 1715 rebellion was over and he returned to France while his proud army disbanded.

(The map showing the OB, is from the 'Scot Wars' site.)

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