Battle_logo3_(2) SBT logo 6 small

The Battle of Prestonpans 1745

DSCF2603 13320537_1104309789620494_8584699276750529597_o

The British Army of Sir John Cope

The Jacobite army of Prince Charles

INFANTRY: 2,100 regulars of varying experience

CAVALRY: 650 dragoons

ARTILLERY: 6 light cannon, 6 mortars

 

Sir John Cope commanded all the British government's forces in Scotland, but this amounted only to a relatively small force as most of the army was committed to war in Europe. Leaving a few small scattered garrisons, Cope pulled together a field force of around 2,100 infantry - armed with muskets and bayonets - and 650 dragoons - mounted troops capable of fighting as cavalry or as mobile infantry as the situation demanded. Levels of experience varied considerably, and the dragoon horses had been "at grass" meaning they had not yet been exercised properly for battle. Nevertheless, these were all trained professional soldiers, well equipped and more than capable of over-awing the Jacobites with firepower. The artillery lacked professional crews, so drafted in volunteer sailors and invalids.

INFANTRY: 2,300, mainly Highlanders

CAVALRY: 36

ARTILLERY: 0

 

The Jacobite army - so named because of its loyalty to King James (Jacobus in Latin) - was raised by the Prince along the march. After 1,200 joined him at Glenfinnan, the army grew steadily as it moved out of the western Highlands and into Perthshire.  Most of its recruits were therefore Gaelic speaking Highlanders, with little experience of war. The best armed men, the officers and gentlemen of the clan, would form at the front to inspire and lead their men on. The Jacobite forces were all uniformed at this stage, wearing their own clothing and bearing what weapons they owned or the Prince's staff supplied. Firearms were becoming more accessible, but some men were equipped only with Lochaber axes or improvised weaponry. The only cavalry were the 36 troopers of the Perthshire Horse, who served as scouts ahead of the army.

DSCF2883 DSCF0598 DSCF5261 IMG_4131