When the English saw him approach they recoiled somewhat from the square, and Douglas, being now better able to see what was going on, commanded his followers to halt, saying that Randolph would speedily prove victorious without their help, and were they now to take part in the struggle they would only lessen the credit of those who had already all but won the victory. Seeing the enemy in some confusion from the appearance of the reinforcement, Randolph and Archie now gave the word for their men to charge, and these, rushing on with spear and axe, completed the discomfiture of the enemy, killed many, and forced the rest to take flight. Numbers, however, were taken. Randolph is said to have had but two men killed in the struggle.
Chapter XXVII Bannockburn
After the complete defeat of the party under Lord Clifford, and the failure of their attempt to relieve Stirling, Randolph and Douglas returned together to the king. The news of their success spread rapidly, and when Randolph rode down from St. Ninians to his division, loud cheers broke from the whole Scottish army, who were vastly encouraged at so fair a commencement of their struggle with the English.
The English army was still advancing slowly, and Bruce and his leaders rode down to the front of the Scottish line, seeing that all was in order and encouraging the men with cheering words. When the English army approached the stream King Edward ordered a halt to be sounded for the purpose of holding a council, whether it was best to encamp for the night or at once to advance against the enemy. The Earls of Gloucester and Hereford, who commanded the first division, were so far ahead that they did not hear the sound of the trumpet, and continuing their onward march crossed the Bannock Burn and moved on toward the Scotch array. In front of the ranks of the defenders the king was riding upon a small palfrey, not having as yet put on his armour for the battle. On his helmet he wore a purple cap surmounted by a crown. Seeing him thus within easy reach, Sir Henry de Bohun, cousin of the Earl of Hereford, laid his lance in rest and spurred down upon the king. Bruce could have retired within the lines of his soldiers; but confident in his own prowess, and judging how great an effect a success under such circumstances would have upon the spirits of his troops, he spurred forward to meet his assailant armed only with his axe. As the English knight came thundering down, the king touched his palfrey with his spur, and the horse, carrying but a light weight, swerved quickly aside; De Bohun’s lance missed his stroke, and before he had time to draw rein or sword, the king, standing up in his stirrups, dealt him so tremendous a blow with his axe as he passed, that it cleft through helmet and brain, and the knight fell dead to the ground.