Prestonpans opens with Claire off in the woods to “pish” but is brought up short by the corpse of a Highlander who died at the hands of the Redcoats. Claire takes the man’s weapon and returns to a waiting Jamie fearing there is nothing Jamie and she can do to prevent the future. The troops are at Prestonpans and Claire knows the Jacobites will win the day but one battle isn’t the war and knowing the outcome doesn’t prepare you for those who will get hurt or die. Claire has seen far too many men killed in war.
In a tactical meeting with Charles’s advisors, Quartermaster Sir John O’Sullivan (the Irishman) and Lieutenant-General Lord George Murray of Clan Murray (who is more favored than the Quartermaster) are arguing over strategy. O’Sullivan wants to attack quacking but Murray wants to hold the higher ground. The problem is to execute any attack they would need to cross Tranent Meadow which is likely boggy ground and will ultimately trap anything trying to cross it. Charles seems like he’s at a complete loss and Jamie suggests a cavalry field trip to determine if the meadow is passable. But they have no cavalry which is something else that angers the advisors. Charles points out how he took Perth and Edinburgh without firing a shot but it is quickly brought to his attention that they surprised General Cope which will not happen again.
Charles then has the brilliant idea to offer Cope generous terms of surrender, which is ludicrous in the extreme, because he informs his advisors, “We are all brothers, after all.” Everyone is stunned and O’Sullivan tells Charles he has a generous heart but the troops are there to fight and win.
Jamie tells the Laird of Clan McDonald to tell his men to “await further order, which may be some time,” while the advisors continue to argue. Jamie leaves followed by Charles who tells Jamie he must succeed because he’s promised God and his father. Am I the only one annoyed by the “Mark Me” line? Stop it.
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