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Account of the Battle of Prestonpans
by Andrew Lumisden, private secretary to Prince Charles Stuart
September 1745

The Highlanders, pulling off their bonnets and looking up to heaven, made a short prayer, and ran forward.  In advancing Lord George Murray observed that by the turn of the morass [marsh], there was a great interval between his left and the ditch of the before mentioned inclosure: he therefore ordered the Camerons to incline that way, in order to take it up, to prevent being flanked by the enemy's dragoons.  by this movement there became a considerable interval in the center, which the second line was ordered to fill up.

We were now discovered by the enemy, who played their artillery furiously upon our left; yet only one private man was killed, and one officer wounded.  The Highlanders ran on with such eagerness that they immediately seized the cannon.  The Dragoons on right and left made a very regular fire, which was followed by close platoons of all their infantry, which our men received with great intrepidity.  But what by the Huzzahs of the Highlanders, and their fire, which was very brisk, the Dragoons were immediately thrown into disorder, which occasioned some confusion among their foot.  The Highlanders threw down their muskets, drew their swords, and carried all before them like a torrent: so that in seven or eight minutes both horse and foot were totally routed, and driven from the field of battle.  The Prince during the action was on foot on the second line.  He was with great difficulty prevailed on not to attack with the first line inasmuch that the officers refused to march if he insisted on it.  As soon as the victory declared for him, he mounted his horse and put a stop to the slaughter, calling out - 'make prisoners: spare them, spare them, they are my father's subjects'.  When General Cope saw how things were going, and that he could not rally his forces, he, with about 350 Dragoons, and some volunteer officers, gained Carberry Hill, by a road that led to it from Preston and as we had not time, nor horse to pursue, got away undisturbed to Lauder and from thence to Berwick.  As our second line had no occasion to engage, it may with justice be said that 1,400 highlanders, unsupported by horse or canon routed a regular army of 2,000 foot and 700 dragoons defended by a fine train of artillery, and obtained a most compleat victory.  Such is the impetuosity of a highland attack.

Editor's Note:  Scottish National Library, MS. 279, pp. 13-15.