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Dawn, 21st September 1745

On the 19th August 1745 Prince Charles Edward (Bonnic Prince Charlie) raised his standard in the vale of Glenfinnan and declared his father King James VIII of Scotland and II of EngIand and IreIand.
Gathering the cIans who had come to support him he set off towards the lowIands. With hardiv any opposition the Jacobite army captured Perth and Edinburgh. The army made camp in King's Park near Duddingston, 2.5UO men in all.
Meanwhile. Lieutenant General Sir John Cope who was in command of the Government troops in Scotland for King George II (almost 3.000 men in all) after receiving word of the Jacobite rising set ofT North with his armv. However he failed to intercept the Jacobites. On hearing by messenger that the HighIanders had captured Edinburgh he marched his troops to Aberdeen and embarked his force on ships and sailed southward where he Ianded at Dunbar on the 15th of September.
On the 19th of September Cope set out with his army towards Edinburgh by way of Haddingtoii where they made camp. Sir John Cope and his army marched at 9am on the 20th of September. turning right by the village of Trabroun and past Elvingston till they reached Longniddry then marching past St Germains and Seton Palace. They halted for one hour needing food and rest.
After resting Cope led his army into the open field two miles in length and one and a half miles in breadth. The field extended right to the wall of Preston, this Field was entirely clear of crop. the last sheaves having been carried in the night before. Neither cottage or bush were in the whole extent. except one solitary Thorn tree.
The army marched straight to the west end of this Field until they came near the walls of the enclosure of Preston. This part of the field was divided into three rigs or shots, as they were called. "under-shot", "middle-shot" and "upper-shot".
On 19th September. Prince Charles slept at Duddingston with his troops. Early the next morning the army set off to meet the foe.
They halted at Carberry Hill. the Princes scouts informed him that Cope's army had halted at Preston.
The HighIanders directed their course by Fa'side then Birsley until they came within sight of the enemy. The Prince's troops raised a shout of defiance which was heartily responded to by Copc's troops.
Being late in the afternoon the Jacobite army settled down for the night in a field of peas. a little to the north-west of Tranent.
General Cope. on seeing this, took up his position with his army facing south. Cope was happy with his position between his army and the Jacobites. The ground was very rough with ditches and boggy ground. This would make it impossible for the HighIanders to make their famous wild charge.
Cope's heavy guns would be able to pick off the enemy with case. He had six one and a half pounders and six mortars. The HighIand army had no heavy guns.
Late in the afternoon. Lord George Murray. Commander of the Jacobites, sent a scouting party down to the Tranent church yard to observe the enemy. However, they were spotted and the cannon that was only 300 yards away opened fire and sent them scurrying back to camp.
A good number of local people from Tranent had come to observe all the activity, among them were two young men who were to be important in the impending battle. They were Robert Anderson. a Humbic lad and his friend. James Hepburn from Tranent. On discussing the two armies Anderson said "If I were the HighIanders, I would attack from the east because that is where I go shooting for game, the ground is a lot firmer and dryer on that side". Hepburn. who had a good feeling for the Jacobites said, "You should tell that to the Commander of the HighIanders". Off they went. Lord George Murray listened to them, went and had a talk with the Prince who called a Council with his officers and had a pIan approved.
The Prince's army set off about 3am on Saturday the 21st of September. The scheme was to go around the south side of Tranent, over Tranent Muir northwards and down by Riggonhead to Seton. then to come in by Meadowmill westwards to take Cope's forces from behind.
Cope, who had been sleeping at Cockenzie. received word that the HighIanders were on the move. rushed back to the fields and started organising his heavy guns. his foot soldiers and his cavalry to face east.
Lord George Murray sent a division down the waggon way past the Tranent Church and ordered his men to wait until the main bodv attacked, then they were to attack the heavy artillery.
Just at break of day. the main body of the HighIand army loomed out of the morning mist. Cope's sentries, seeing them. fired off their pistols and ran back to give warning. Seeing they were discovered the HighIanders rushed forward firing their hand guns and muskets, giving wild yells. threw away their guns. drew their broad swords and advanced at a fast pace.
The heavy guns of Cope's army belched forth what might have been a murderous fire. but terror sei/.cd the gunners and the grapeshot flew harmless over the foes' heads.
With hideous yells, the HighIanders fell upon the foot troops slashing and cutting. Cope's cavalry, under Colonel Whitney. tried to make a charge but all was confusion so they wheeled about and rode off towards Dolphinston half a mile off
Colonel Gardiner yelled for his dragoons to charge but only eleven followed him, the rest wheeled and followed Whitney to Dolphinston. Colonel Gardiner continued fighting although being wounded several times, at last being brought down with a mighty blow to the head. Later he was carried to the Manse in Tranent where he died the next forenoon.
On examination of his body he was found to have eight wounds, two from gunshot on the right side and six severe cuts on the neck and head. He was buried at Tranent Old Church.
General Cope with a white cockade in his hat similar to that worn by the HighIanders passed through their midst without recognition, made his way up past Bankton House up to Lauder and down to Berwick with news of his defeat.
Though acquitted of cowardice at his trial, he will go down in history for two reasons. Firstly, being the first General to bring news of his own defeat and secondly, by the words of a song set to verse by Adam Skirving, a farmer in Garleton. near Haddington: "Hey! Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin yet?"
The actual battle was over in a very short time, about thirteen minutes, what followed was mere carnage.
Casualties in Cope's army were estimated at 300 dead. 1,000 taken prisoner of whom many were seriously wounded.
The Jacobites - 30 killed. 70 wounded.

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