Friday, July 27, 2012

Mercy at Prestonpans

Prince Charles and his Highland army cheering after the Battle of Prestonpans.  
A captured cannon can be seen in the foreground

So inconceivably rapid was the onset, that the Camerons and Stewarts of Appin on the extreme left had swept over Whitefoord's artillery before he had time to fire more than five hasty rounds.  The guard, overwhelmed in the wave of tartan, made a brief stand behind the guns and then fled for their lives, leaving the two brave officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Whitefoord and Major Griffith, to the mercy of the enraged Celts.  Griffith was severely wounded and made prisoner, Whitefoord alone remained at his post, and when asked by Stewart of Invernahyle to surrender, made a desperate lunge at his antagonist with his sword by way of answer.  Invernahyle adroitly caught the point of the weapon in his targe, and in another instant Whitefoord would have met his fate at the hands of Invernahyle's stalwart miller, who seeing his laird in danger raised the Lochaber-axe he was carrying to cut down the obstinate Lowlander, but fortunately for that officer, Invernahyle was able to restrain his excited clansman, and Whitefoord seeing the utter futility of further resistance yielded to his magnanimous preserver."
"Whitefoord did not forget his obligation to Invernahyle, and after Culloden, when that chieftain was a fugitive among the hills, the brave colonel made the most strenuous efforts to secure his pardon, threatening to resign his commission if a protection was not granted for the lives and property of his preserver's wife and children.--Vide Introduction to "Waverley."
from pg. 98, volume 2, Life and Adventures of Prince Charles Edward Stuart by W. Drummond Norie

1 comment:

  1. I've just been writing about Prestonpans!!! I always felt rather sorry for poor John Cope, as he was always blamed for "abandoning" his men, while it was really the majority of his men who abandoned him! I think he was really just a cautious but basically conscientious officer, not the cock-sure fuddy-dud depicted in "The Ballad of Johnnie Cope".

    Thanks so much for posting this story about Whitefoord and Invernahyle. I always love learning new historical anecdotes to add to my ever-growing British history text in-the-making, and I will be sure to add this one to the mix!