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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Memorable Day

Lots of blog fodder today. I could choose to blog on 9/11, or on the Scottish Parliament, which came into being on this day in 1997, or on the battle of Stirling Bridge. Well, I thought, most folks will probably be blogging on 9/11. So, that rules that out, what about the Scottish parliament? Other than acknowledging the date and perhaps a short history of Scottish politics, which are extremely complicated, that would be a mighty short post. So that narrows the field down to the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

I would argue that Stirling, Scotland has the richest military history of any place in the world. It's strategic location caused it to be the battlefield for hundreds of years. On this day in 1207 the Scottish forces under Sir William Wallace fought the English army, commanded by the Earl of Surrey and Hugh de Cressingham. One look at the battlefield and the positions of the two armys
would have made clear that the English were being very stupid. The fact that Surrey, who was the supreme commander, was over 60 years old and ill probably added to the confusion. The English had 1-3000 cavalry and anywhere from 15,000 to 50,000 infantry. The Scottish army had approximately 10,300 infantry and cavalry.

Wallace made a very strategic and smart decision. He had realized early in the war that he could manipulate a much larger force by controlling a small portion of that force. Also, the Scots realized that if they lost this battle, they would be hunted to death and their families would be killed. The fact that they had so much to lose would dictate how they fought. As Stonewall Jackson once said, "The patriot volunteer, fighting for his country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth". That certainly applied to the Scots at Stirling Bridge and the reason the English would lose is because they did not realize that fact. They thought the Scots would fight according to certain rules of engagement.

They were wrong.

As you can see from the map above, the English began to cross over the River Forth at Stirling Bridge. Because of the narrowness of the bridge, the soldiers could only cross two abreast. This seriously prolonged the time it took for the army to cross. The Scots watched from their position on Abbey Craig until about 5,700 English had crossed over. At this point, Wallace ordered the charge and led his men against the English. The first thing they did was capture the mouth of the bridge, which denied the English reinforcements. The English were now trapped, with the river on three sides of them and the Scots in front. The battle then became a massacre.

Only one English knight escaped the carnage, Sir Marmaduke Tweng. This was a key battle in the fight for independence and would put Edward I on notice that the Scots were serious about freedom.

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Blogger Son3 said...

You'd think that after so many defeats through the centuries the Anglish would've eventually learned how to stay in their place!

Makes me sick how many Americans fawn all over the Queen of England, calling her "Highness" and what-not.

September 11, 2008 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Thanks for the comment.
The struggle of the Scots for freedom is very similar to the Christian struggle today. We are always fighting against tyranny, seeking to be as Christ-like as we can.

September 12, 2008 at 8:54 AM  

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