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The Battle of Prestonpans 1745

After the Battle

There was a lot of mopping up to do after the main battle had finished. Small pockets of redcoat resistance were induced to surrender in the ditch near Bankton and over at the Baggage Train at Cockenzie. The officers' baggage, official documentation and, crucially, the war treasury were all captured at Cockenzie House.


Prince Charles gave orders for the wounded to be tended, many in private houses or in the schoolhouse at Prestonpans. Most however were taken to Bankton House which became the field hospital for the wounded of both sides. There were hundreds of wounded to deal with, and surgeons came out from Edinburgh to attend them. Those who had fallen were buried by local folk under orders from the Jacobites. The prisoners were assembled on the beach between Prestonpans and Cockenzie, accounted and then marched to Edinburgh under guard.


The Prince himself, after taking a glass of claret and slice of cold beef beside the captured cannons, left the field once all these matters had been attended to. It was probably around lunch time. He travelled only as far as Pinkie House in Musselburgh, where he rested and considered the implications of his success. The short film to the right was created for the battle's 270th anniversay and imagines what the Prince and his adjutant-general John William O'Sullivan might have been thinking. It was filmed on location in the Painted Gallery at Pinkie House, where some of the wounded Jacobites are also thought to have been attended.


When the Prince returned to Edinburgh the following day, he entered to the tune of "When the King Enjoys His Own Again". As word spread the army doubled in size, distributing arms and preparing for the next move. They left Edinburgh on 1st November on their march towards London...


The prisoners of Prestonpans meanwhile were dispersed, mainly around Perthshire where they were considered behind the lines. Noble efforts were made to try to ensure they were provided for, no easy task as the Jacobites were trying to supply their own forces too. Many simply slipped away or were released on parole. Many officers were eventually paroled as well, and many ignored orders to break their vows and return to their regiments.