| then galloped all over the ground among their own harmless
A panic seized the whole line. The artillerymen deserted their
guns and fled in all directions. Gardiner's dragoons \vere
then ordered to advance; their gallant commander led them
in person. These however had not proceeded far, when, receiving
a few shots from the Highlanders, they reeled in their saddles,
turned and fled, following their terrified companions.
Hamilton's dragoons at the other extremity of the line behaved
in a similar manner. As soon as they heard the yells of the
Highlanders, they turned and fled without ever discharging
a carbine. The rout was already complete, and Cope himself
was not the hindmost in the race.
The cavalry gone, and the commander amongst them, it was not
to be thought that the infantry could long hold the field.
They soon broke down and got into utter confusion; and now,
with no one to lead them, each man for himself became the
order of the day. Of all the Royal army only a handful of
the infantry made any resistance, and even these were without
a leader. Seeing this, Colonel Gardiner, who had been deserted
by his dragoons, and was already suffering from shot and sabre
wounds, hastened to their assistance, loudly exclaiming as
he went, " Those brave fellows will be cut to pieces
for want of a commander. " Placing himself at their head
he led them into the heart of the strife, shouting high above
the thundering noise, " Fire away, my men, and fear nothing.
" But it was all in vain, the gallant colonel who from
his commanding appearance offered a good mark for the enemy,
was cut down from behind by a M'Gregor with one of those dreadful
scythes with which so many were armed. And with the downfall
of Gardiner ended the battle of Preston; what followed was
a mere rout.
Gardiner is supposed to have fallen in the vicinity of the
Thorn Tree. His body was sought out by his own body-servant,
who on beholding him fall fled to the mill in the meadows,
and, arrayed in the garb of a miller, had him borne from the
field, and for greater security up to the manse at Tranent,
where he died during the evening in the arms of one of the
minister's nieces. He ceased to breathe while she was holding
a glass of water to his lips, for which he had asked in almost
the last words he uttered. He died at the age of 57 years
8 months and a few days.
His body, on examination, was found to have received eight
wounds—two from gun shots in the right side, and
six sabre cuts on the head. He was buried at the west end
of the south oblong of Tranent old church, where a monumental
inscription was set over his remains by his widow, the Lady
Frances Erskine, a daughter of David, fourth Earl of Cardross,
but what became of the tablet remains a mystery.
When the present church was built (1799), the contractor broke
up a great many fine old tombstones, and built up the walls
with them. It is understood that the tablet to the memory
of Colonel Gardiner shared a similar fate.
As a tribute of regard to the memory of this brave man, there
was in 1853 a monument erected in front of Bankton House,
once the property and residence of Colonel Gardiner. It bears
the following inscriptions: —
On the north side—"To Colonel Gardiner, who fell in the
battle of Prestonpans, 21st September 1745. 'A faithful man,
and feared God above many'—Neh. vii. 2. "
On the east side—" This neighbourhood, alike hallowed
by his life, and renowned by his death, gratefully accepts
the guardianship of his memory. "
On the west side, this excellent couplet is quoted from a
poem on Gardiner's death, by the late Hugh Miller—
" His valour, his high scorn of death,
To fame's proud meed no impulse owed;
His was a pure, unsullied zeal
For Britain and for God.
" He fell—he died—the savage foe
Trod careless o'er the noble clay;
Yet not in vain that champion fought
In that disastrous fray. "
On the south side—"Erected by public subscription, 1853.
Archibald Ritchie, Sculptor, Edinburgh. "
NOTES ON AND AFTER THE BATTLE.
The mode of fighting as practised by the Highlanders at the
battle was this, —they advanced with the utmost rapidity towards
the enemy, gave fire when within a musket-length of the object,
and threw down their pieces, then drawing their swords, and
holding a dirk in their left hand along with their target,
darted with fury on the enemy through the smoke of their fire.
When within reach of the bayonets of their opponents, bending
the left knee, they contrived to