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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


?745.1 THE CASTLE BLOCKADE WITHDRAWN. 331 Livingstone?s Yard, where a Highlander was assassinated by a soldier, who crept towards him with a pistol. The same night a party of the 47th made a sally against the same post, and captured Captain Robert Taylor and thirty privates. On the morning of the 4th Preston commenced a wanton and destructive bombardment, chiefly in the direction of James?s Court, and continued it till dusk, when, ?led by Major Robertson, a strong party, with slung muskets, sallied with spades and axes to the Castle Hill, where they formed a trench fourteen feet broad and sixteen deep, midway between the gate and the reservoir. From the breastwork formed by the de?bris that night zoo muskets, besides field pieces, continued to blaze upon the city, in unison with the heavy 32-pounders, which from the lofty batteries above swept the entire length of the High Street with round shot, grape, and canister. Many persons were killed and wounded; but the following night the Same operations were renewed with greater vigour. Under this tremendous fire the 47th (then numbered as the 48th) made another sally, pillaged all the houses in their vicinity, and, after obtaining a supply of bread and ale, and several barrels of water from the reservoir, set on fire several houses, and a deserted foundry, after which they retired behind their trench. Many of the poor citizens who attempted to extinguish the flames were killed, for once more the batteries opened with greater fury than ever. The glare of the burning houses, the boom of so many field and battery guns, the hallooing of the soldiers, the crash of masonry and timber as chimneys and outshots came thundering down on all sides, together with the incessant roar of zoo muskets, struck the inhabitants with such consternation, that, abandoning their houses, goods, and chattels, they thought only of saving themselves by flight. A miserable band of half-clad and terrified . fugitives, bearing their children, their aged parents, their sick and infirm friends, to the number of many hundreds, issued from the Nether Bow Gate, and fled towards Leith, but were met midway by the inhabitants of that place, flying from similar destruction, for at that time the Fox, and LudZow CastZe, two frigates (whose captains, from the Roads, had heard the cannonading, and seen the blaze of the conflagration) were hauled close in-shore, and lay broadside towards Leith, and with a villainous cruelty-for which English hostility towards Scotland was no apology-were raking and bombarding the streets with the most fatal effects. . When the fugitives met ?all was perplexity and dismay ; the unhappy citizens stood still, wringing their hmds, and exe,crating the cruel necessities of war.? Fodteen days after, the Pox was wrecked on the rocks of Dunbar, when Captain Edmond Beavor and all his crew perished.? The Highlanders maintained their posts without Bmching amid all this peril and consternation, and at five o?clock next evening, in defiance of field and battery guns, led by their officers, and inspired by their pipers, they stormed the breastwork by one wild rush,.sword in hand, driving in the garrison, which retired firing by platoons; but the capture was made with such rapidity that the Prince lost. only one officer and twenty privates. As the trench was too exposed, it was abandoned. Several balls went through the Luckenbooths, and many lodged in the walls of the Weigh-house, where they were found on its demolition in 1822 j and Charles Edward, seeing the misery to which Preston ex-. posed the people, generously withdrew the blockade; and thus ended the last investment of the Castle of Edinburgh ; and it was said to be about this time that he made the narrow escape from, capture in the Provost?s house in the West Bow. An act of hostility was committed by General, Preston on the z 1st September, when, overhearing some altercation in the dark at the West Port, where the Highland guard made some delay about. admitting a lady in a coach drawn by six horses, he ordered three guns to be loaded with grape,. depressed, and fired. Though aimed at random, the coach was pierced by several balls, and its fair occupant, Mrs. Cockburn, authoress of the modern version of the ?:Flower$ of the Forest,? had a narrow escape, while Willkm Earl of Dundonald,. captain in Forbes?s Foot, who rode by her side, had his horse shot under him. At that moment, hlrs. Cockburn, who was returning from Ravelston, and who was a keen Whig, had in her pocket a burlesque parody on one cif Prince Charles?s proclamations, to the air of ?? Clout the Cauldron.? Another hostile act was committed when the Highland army, now increased to double its first strength, was reviewed on the Lipks of Leith prior to the march for England, when the guns from the Argyle Battery compelled Charles to change the scene of his operations to the Links of Musselburgh, at a time when the Forth was completely blocked up by ships of war. On the 30th the Prince slept at Pinkie House, and ?on the 31st he commenced his memorable invasion of England, with an army only six thousand in number, but onein rivalry and valour. They departed in three columns ; at the head of the third Charles marched on foot, clad in the Highland garb, with his clay-- more in his hand, and a target slung over his left s!ioulder.?
Volume 2 Page 331
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