Popular report states this battle to have been lost by treachery; and the communication between the earls of Dunbar and Angus and King Edward, as well as the disgraceful flight of the Scottish cavalry without a single blow, corroborates the suspicion. But the great superiority of the English in archery may account for the loss of this as of many another battle on the part of the Scots. The bowmen of Ettrick Forest were faithful; but they could only be few. So nearly had Wallace's scheme for the campaign been successful, that Edward, even after having gained this great battle, returned to England, and deferred reaping the harvest of his conquest till the following season. If he had not been able to bring the Scottish army to action, his retreat must have been made with discredit and loss, and Scotland must have been left in the power of the patriots.
From 'Exploits and Death of William Wallace, the "Hero of Scotland" ' by Sir Walter Scott.
The Battle of Dunbar took place on April 27, 1296. Dunbar followed the Massacre at Berwick in the Wars of Scottish Independence. It was the first and final major confrontation between Scots and English during that calendar year. John Balliol led the field for the Scots in what became a complete rout for the English under Balliol's father-in-law, John de Warenne, the Earl of Surrey. After the short-lived battle was over, King Edward I rode in to Dunbar Castle, which readily surrendered in the face of a much superior force.