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William Wallace-The Brave Heart

Part Six-The Decline

Edward approached Falkirk with over 80,000 men made up of mostly Welsh and Irish who had little loyalty to Edward and were more interested in his gold and the prospect of plunder.This massive force had made use of the latest technology.Siege engines,artillery,bridging devices and more however they lacked something every army needs.Edward's military advisors misjudged how much food they should take and the English army had to depend on supply ships for this.

One day a supply ship brought a full stock of wine and nothing else and Edward seeking to boost morale had it given to his soldiers.This was a grevious error for on their empty stomachs the soldiers became drunk beyond belief especially the Welsh.The Welsh began having fist fights with their English comrades and when a group of chaplains sought to quell this uprising they paid with their lives.The English retailiated by killing 80 Welsh soldiers and their desertion seemed highly probable the army was at a dangerously low morale so Edward withdrew his forces into Edinburgh giving up his pursuit of the ever evasive Scottish army led by William.

The Scottish army was playing a waiting game with the English.William knew that the English could not stay long and if he kept holding off his attack he could defeat them without even fighting.But this was not to be so.Scouts from England on July 21st sent word to Edward that the Scottish army had been found only 18 miles away and were waiting to attack the English in case they attempted to retreat.Edward was elated and was quoted as saying...
"God be praised who has delivered me out of every strait!They shall have no need to follow me,for i go to meet them and on this very day."
The English struck camp right then and marched to meet the Scots.
 

Edward's luck would turn ill once more.While he lay sleeping his war horse was loosened and the monarch was trampled under it's hooves.Edward got out of it with only some broken ribs and in a show of strength got up and mounted the horse and ordered that they march on through the night which served to upset Wallace's plans for Wallace was using the Highland way of combat which was to strike and run and Wallace didn't have the manpower for a head on fight but he was forced into one near Falkirk where the two armies met.Wallace couldn't run the open area around Falkirk would make them easy pickings for the pursuing English.Wallace was forced to fight defensively.

Wallace decided to use his schiltrom strategy his first row of men sitting or squatting held long spears to impale cavalry horses upon.The second line was made up of men standing with swords and behind all this were Scottish archers and cavalry.Wallace had nothing to do know but hope that his training of his men would work William gave his men one last command....
"I have brought you into the ring now dance the best you can!"
...the English stood poised and ready on the other side of the field no terms were presented and the fight began as the English knights in their shining armor and bright colored garments charged fast and hard right into a swampy area the spectacle must have been hilarious to the Scots and humiliating to the English however the knights righted themselves up again and went around the marsh and the confrontation truly began.

The Scottish schiltroms held fast and firm and it looked as if the Scots would pull off and upset victory but some of the men in a group commanded by Red John Comyn panicked and a hole was made in the Scottish defences.The fighting became chaotic and Edward sent his infantry into the fray.Sir John Stewart who commanded the archers and was one of William's friends was thrown from his horse and killed the battle was lost and Wallace gave the order to retreat.The Scots fled north into a forest and past the river Carron and past Falkirk itself.The Scottish cavalry was still in good condition but they would have to find another commander for Wallace gave up his role as the Guardian of Scotland.

The English marched into Stirling finding the city and castle burned.Edward promptly made this his new headquarters.Edward the set out to totally subdue Scotland.Robert the Bruce led some successful skirmishes against the English but it was all for naught the only part of Scotland Edward couldn't take was the highlands.Unlike the last time he invaded Scotland Edward found that the Scots had tasted true freedom and they like it soon all Scots were up in arms even rivals for the crown Robert Bruce and John Comyn put aside their diffrences and concentrated on pushing the English back they became the new Guardians of Scotland.

Wallace went back to his role as a soldier and even as a self made diplomat.Wallace the soldier had all but starved the English forces occupying Stirling and Wallace the diplomat made an excursion to enlist the aide of France's King Phillip the Fair in August of 1299.Wallace was popular in France for his deeds against Edward had made him a hero to the French.King Phillip gave William letters of safe passage and even had Wallace stop the pirate Thomas de Longueville.Wallace was also popular with King Haakon the Fifth and Pope Boniface.Alas despite pressure from other countries and the pope to leave Scotland alone, Edward still attacked with Sir John de Segrave leading his forces against Red John Comyn and during this time in a barn in Elcho Wallace was waiting for his next chance to strike.

 Part Seven-The Price