Monday, September 21, 2015

Prestonpans



This is the memorial to those who fell in battle at Prestonpans, Scotland, on September 21, 1745.
I furrowed my brow, trying to recall every last scrap of information. I could conjure a mental picture of the small, tattered brown copy of A Child’s History of England, read by the flickering light of a kerosene lantern in a mud hut somewhere in Persia. Mentally flicking the pages, I could just recall the two-page section that was all the author had seen fit to devote to the second Jacobite Rising, known to historians as “the ’45.” And within that two-page section, the single paragraph dealing with the battle we were about to fight.

“The Scots win,” I said helpfully.

“Well, that’s the important point,” he agreed, a bit sarcastically, “but it would be a bit of help to know a little more.”

“If you wanted prophecy, you should have gotten a seer,” I snapped, then relented. “I’m sorry. It’s only that I don’t know much, and it’s very frustrating.”

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 36, "Prestonpans". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
From Wikipedia:
To prevent a surprise attack during the night, [the English General] Cope kept fires burning in front of his position and posted no less than 200 dragoons and 300 infantry as pickets. At the crack of dawn however, at 6 am on 21 September 1745, Cope's dragoons beheld the spectacle of 1,400 Highlanders charging through the early mist making "wild Highland war cries and with the bloodcurdling skirl of the pipes...."
For more information about the history of the battle, look here and here.



You may have heard about the Prestonpans Tapestry, a series of 104 handmade tapestry panels commemorating the battle.  The tapestry was completed in 2010.  The panel shown above depicts the wounded men from both sides being cared for after the battle, just as we saw in DRAGONFLY. (Click on the photo for a bigger view.)

I'm really looking forward to seeing these events depicted in Season 2 of the OUTLANDER TV series!

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