Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/337

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

1322 A.D.]

Invasion and Counter-Invasion.


could take the field, the Scots were again in force on the English side of the Border, having crossed the West March in two bodies, one under King Robert himself,[1] the other under under Douglas and Moray. They penetrated eighty miles into England, passing south of Preston; and on their return they invested Carlisle for five days.

Harcla, the governor, who had been created Earl of Carlisle for his defeat and capture of the Earl of Lancaster, was too cautious to venture from behind his defences; and the Scots were allowed to return to their own country with much booty on July 24th, the day before that appointed for the muster of the English army at Newcastle.

It behoved the King of Scots now to look to the safety of his own dominions. It was not his policy to risk another trial of strength with England; faithful to his favourite tactics he moved northward, causing every head of cattle, every sack of corn, every bale of goods, to be driven and carried out of Edward's line of march. It is in masterly, though unobtrusive, details like this that the genius of a great strategist may be recognised, as surely as in brilliant manœuvres and dashing victories. Having made these preparations, King Robert retired beyond the Forth, stationed himself at Culross and awaited developments.

The English began their march in the first days of August, 1322. On the 5th of that month they were at Gosford in East Lothian.[2] So faithfully had King Robert's instructions been carried out, that all

  1. Lanercost, 246.
  2. Bain, iii., 142.