Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/131

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1298 A.D.]
97
The Campaign of Wallace.

were filled with Selkirk bowmen,[1] under the command of Sir John of Bonkill, brother of the Steward. The cavalry was formed on the flanks of the line of columns.

A peat moss lay in front of the Scottish position: nevertheless, Edward relied on his cavalry to dislodge the enemy. De Bigod, Earl Marshal, led the first line of cavalry to the attack, and, finding the morass impracticable, made a detour to the left. The Bishop of Durham, in command of the second line, turned to the right, and the two bodies charged the Scots on both flanks simultaneously. The pikemen stood their ground stoutly, but the Scottish cavalry left the field in panic at the first onset. Sir John of Bonkill fell mortally wounded, and Hemingburgh testifies to the devotion of his archers, tall, handsome men, he calls them, who perished round their leader. Still the pikemen held out gallantly, but as often as they repelled the English horse, flights of arrows and showers of sling-stones poured with fatal effect upon their densely serried ranks. At last, Macduff and Graham having fallen, the formation gave way, and terrible carnage ensued. The field of Falkirk was lost and won, and Surrey and Cressingham were avenged.

It is idle to speculate on the numbers of Scots

  1. At no period of their history did the Scots rely much on their archers, who were always vastly inferior to the English. It is said that, unlike the English, they did not draw the arrow to the right ear, but discharged it from the hip. The pike was ever the chosen weapon of the Scots, until the introduction of gunpowder, and indeed long after.