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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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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. "

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
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