| On the morning of the 20th, Charles, with his Highlanders,
left Duddingston, and set out to meet the foe.
They drew up at Carberry Hill, but finding Cope had kept down
towards Preston, the Highlanders directed their course by
Fawside and Birslie, even til! they came in sight of the enemy,
when they roused a shout of defiance, which was heartily responded
to by the Royalists at Preston.
Cope took up his position with Preston Loch directly in front
of him. The whole of that afternoon was spent by both armies
in evolutions, the Highlanders shifting down latterly towards
In the evening a party of Highlanders entering by the west-end
of Tranent proceeded down the Heuch and stationed themselves
in the churchyard, some five hundred yards off the Royal army,
but they were observed and compelled to beat a retreat.
The Highlanders pitched their tents for the night a little
to the west of Tranent, on what is now the old, but was then
the main post-road, and lay in a field of peas. During the
night, Mr Robert Anderson of Whitburgh, son of Mr Anderson
at that period proprietor and occupier of Wester Windygoul,
Tranent, explained to his friend Hepburn of Keith that he
knew of a better mode of attack than that which the Highlanders
in council had resolved to follow. Hepburn advised him to
acquaint Lord George Murray at once with the information,
and to his lordship the plan appeared so eligible that he
did not hesitate a moment to use the same freedom with the
Prince as young Anderson had used with him. The Prince sat
up in his bed of pea-straw and listened to the scheme with
great attention, called a council at once, and had the plan
Anderson being a native of the district knew every inch of
the ground. His scheme was to go round the south side of Tranent
eastwards, over Tranent Muir northwards, and down by Riggonhead
to Seton; then coming in by Meadowmill westwards, to take
the Royal forces unawares from behind. And on the Saturday
morning, 2ist, about three o'clock, the movement was begun.
In drawing up the army some difficulty arose as to who should
form the right wing. The honour was ultimately assigned to
Clan Cola, because the Bruce had assigned that honour to these
M'Donalds at Bannockburn. The Camerons under Lochiel, and
Stuarts of Appin under Ardshiel, composed the left wing; while
the Duke of Perth's men under Major James Drummond, and the
Clan M'Gregor with Glencairney, filled the centre. The Duke
of Perth commanded the right wing, and Lord George Murray
the left. The Athol men, the Robertsons, the M'Donalds of
Glencoe, and the M'Lauchlans, under Lord Nairn, formed a second
line some fifty yards behind. The Prince took his place between
the lines. The Highland army consisted in all of 2400 men.
When the alarm gun fired, Charles thus addressed his men:
—" Follow me, gentlemen, and by the assistance of God,
I will this day make you a free and happy people. "
Cope, who is said to have passed the night at Cockenzie, on
learning that the Highlanders were moving, hastened to join
his troops; and in order to meet the foemen face to face he
changed the position of his army, disposing his men so that
from facing the south they looked towards the east, their
front forming almost a direct line with the old waggon-way
from where Meadowmill now stands to the village of Cockenzie.
The artillery remained on the right with Colonel Whitney's
squadron of cavalry in the rear between them and the infantry,
the want of space for Colonel Gardiner's squadron to manoeuvre
causing his dragoons to form a second line behind Colonel
Scarcely were the men in position when they beheld looming
through the mist the advance guard of the Highland army. They
advanced on their knees as if in the act of deerstalking,
and hoped in this manner to take their enemy unawares. The
real state of affairs was soon discovered, and the Royalists
firing off their pistols, hastened back to make known the
approach of the Highlanders.
Seeing they were discovered, three bodies of Highlanders advanced
at once with the greatest impetuosity, attacking the right
wing, where the artillery with Whitney's and Gardiner's dragoons
Just then the Royalist artillery belched forth what might
have been a murderous fire upon the approaching foe, but terror
had already seized them, and grapeshot and cannister alike
flew harmlessly over their heads.
The Highlanders, after discharging their muskets, threw them
away, and drawing their broadswords, with hideous yells fell
foul upon their enemy.
The Camerons under Lochiel were the first to grapple with
the foe. Sweeping past the cannon they found themselves directly
in front of Whitney's dragoons who were advancing to meet
them, but halting at the first onset, they wheeled about,