Actione Et V1rtvte

Scots musketeer - detail after Kôler, c.1631. The soldiers in this well-known print were probably drawn from descriptions rather than from the life. In this particular case the tartan trews are rather too full above the knees, and what appears to be a butcher knife was almost certainly a dirk.

apprentices from their 'naked beds'; and in September he even press-ganged a partv of (presumably Catholic) Spanish seamen who came into the port for fresh water. In the meantime men were also demanded for the Earl Marischal's Regiment, and on 10 August 'seven score burgesses, craftsmen and apprentices were pressed and taken perforce... The honest men of the town, wondering at the manifold oppression, fled, took fisher boats and went to sea, till the storm passed.'

As if this were not enough, a third predatory colonel named Forbes then arrived in Aberdeen and 'commanded also to press and take up the fourth man per force of both poor and rich and ilk heritor to furnish his prest men with 40 days loan, and arms conform, to the effect this Colonel's regiment might be effectually made up, and those who disobeyed, the soldiers sat down in their houses, and lived upon their goods.'

In the early years the recruitment of Highlanders seems to have been comparatively limited. For the most part those who were enlisted -chiefly in Perthshire - were assimilated into regular units such as Sir James Campbell of Lawers' Regiment. In 1640 there had been 'some companies' attached to the Laird of Buchannan's Regiment; but otherwise those Highlanders who marched over the border in the 1640s -for example, in the Earl of Tullibardine's Regiment - were conventionally dressed in coat and breeches, and equipped with pike or musket. However, in Scotland itself increasing use was made of actual Highland regiments, such as Argyle's and James Campbell of ArdkingJas's, for what we may term conn ter-insurgency operations. .After Dunbar in 1650, manpower shortages also saw regiments recruited in the northern and western highlands included in the regular army; but it must be emphasized that their employment at Inverkeithing and more notably perhaps at Worcester in 1651 was quite exceptional.

While some Sheriffdoms were reckoned capable of raising one or more complete regiments, in other areas a number of smaller contingents had to be combined. This was particularly true as far as the cavalry was concerned. The Earl of Balcarres' Regiment of Horse was quite typical in being allocated four troops from Fife, four troops from the Mearns and part of Aberdeenshire, and 20 men from Angus.

Although it was much easier to raise infantry, a certain amount of re-allocation still had to be carried out in some instances. Tweeddale, for example, was judged capable of raising one regiment for the Earl of Bttccleugh and the better part of another one for the Master ofYeste r; however, the remainder of Yester's men were to come from the Sheriffdom of Linlithgow. This recruitment of regiments through the medium of these local committees, rather than by the exertions of individual officers, has fostered the erroneous idea in some secondary sources that they bore modern territorial titles such as the 'Tweeddale Regiment' and rather more bizarrely, the 'Linlithgow and Tweeddale Regiment'. In a minority of cases - such as Home's Merse Regiment and Rae's Edinburgh Regiment -territorial titles were indeed employed; but these were

Colour taken at Dunbar (BM Harl. Dunbar 42). White field, green wreath; pale grey castle, red windows, blue-grey rock. Blue sleeve, white cuff, natural hand and silver sword. The arms are those of the City of Edinburgh and the arm and sword device belongs to the regiment's colonel, Alexander Stewart. The lieutenant-colonel's colour (Dunbar 88) was very similar, but had a red field and a much squatter castle without a supporting rock.

Second captain's colour, Colonel Alexander Stewart's Edinburgh Regiment (BM Harl.1460 Dunbar no.95). Red field, white saltire, yellow stars, gold lettering. Five other colours were taken at Dunbar; 96 had no stars, while 98, 92 and 91 had three, five and six stars respectively. The last, no.56, had neither saltire nor stars.

Second captain's colour, Colonel Alexander Stewart's Edinburgh Regiment (BM Harl.1460 Dunbar no.95). Red field, white saltire, yellow stars, gold lettering. Five other colours were taken at Dunbar; 96 had no stars, while 98, 92 and 91 had three, five and six stars respectively. The last, no.56, had neither saltire nor stars.

exceptional, and in the vast majority of cases regiments were simply known by their colonels' names, e.g. Buccleugh's or Yester's.


Having been instructed by central government to raise a particular quota of men, the local Committee of War generally had considerable latitude in nominating the officers who were to lead them. In theory this could have led to all manner of abuses, but in point of fact the process was managed very sensibly in 1643. The man appointed as colonel was almost invariably a nobleman, drawn from one of the families traditionally seen as the natural leaders of the local community. However, the Estates insisted that his second-in-command - usually the man who would actually lead the regiment in the field - should be a professional soldier. Similarly, while the captain of a company might be a local laird or a burgh council nominee, his lieutenant was supposed to have real military experience. (It should be remembered that Scotland had a longstanding tradition of mercenary soldiering overseas, and that large numbers not only of officers but also of common soldiers had served in Continental armies at various times over the previous century, forming whole regiments and sometimes even brigades.) In the early years this svstem went a long way towards providing a solid core of experienced officers for the newly levied units intended to serve in the field armies.

On the other hand, the appointment of officers to units levied for policing duties, or even more hurriedly raised for local defence, was not usually so well organized. In the first place, the limited number of available professionals had generally already been snapped up by the regular units; and secondly, local politics played a much greater role. If a unit was raised wholly or pardy in a town such as Clasgow. the council may have been able to find the money to hire a professional soldier, but otherwise the choice could be less than inspired. We read that one troop commander appointed in 1640 was 'one Arthur Forbes; who, though he wer none of the mysest nor best commanders yet his father, Mr John Forbesse, sometymes minister at Alfurd, his sufferinge banishment in King James the sixths tyme for opposing Episcopacy, and his Sonne Arthur's being seised upon at sea, anno 1639, was caste for some tyme into prison at Neiugate, in Londone, by the King's warrant, was sufficient recommendation to preferre him.'

According to one hostile commentator, Sir Edward Walker, similar criteria were applied following the establishment of a commission for purging the army on 21 June 1650. It is popularly believed that this commission oversaw the dismissal of hundreds of otherwise competent officers who were arbitrarily deemed unreliable on political or religious grounds. In fact its impact was relatively limited, since known Royalists'

James (UnrjuesJ} r (Montrcfe, Earfe of £inpcairnc, Lord Crame, Baron oj (Mont aieie,tk.

Lieutenant overnour and Cav4 Oencra.1 jjor (Hi: (JAa.{'e in tKc f.injuomt of Scotland.

James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose (1612-1650), print after Dobson - the original portrait must have been painted in 1643 just before Montrose rode north to lead a Royalist uprising in Scotland. Never an anti-monarchist although originally a supporter of the Covenant, he served as a colonel in the Covenanting armies of 1639 and 1640. He quarelled with some other leaders of the movement, notably the Marquess of Argyle, and in 1642, shortly before raising his standard, King Charles I was instrumental in saving him from the consequences of this feud. The Covenanters vainly offered him a senior command in 1643; but mid-1644 found him in the Highlands leading a Royalist force of between 1,000 and 3,500 Scots and Irish against the Covenanters - particularly, his deadly enemies the Campbells -in a remarkable hit-and-run campaign. He showed great skill as a guerrilla general, holding together his motley and unpaid army in a war of sudden raid, ambush and hot pursuit, and forced marches in all weathers. (continued opposite)

had already been weeded out under a 1649 Act of Classes, and officers had still to be appointed to lead the 1650 levies. The actual number dismissed can probably therefore be counted in dozens rather than hundreds, although the colours of some the regiments involved do show clear evidence of disruption to their organisation.

Arthur Forbes, as it happened, turned out to be a singularly unhappy appointment, for he promptly distinguished himself by running away from a gang of bandits; and was dismissed shortly thereafter after taking up cattle-rustling himself. Otherwise it is important not to over-

At Tippermuir (September 1644), Inverlochy (February 1645), Auldearn (May 1645), Alford (July 1645), and Kilsyth (August 1645) Montrose convincingly defeated raw levies, Campbell clansmen, and veterans of Marston Moor alike, inflicting heavy losses. But his undisciplined army earned great hatred by needless slaughters of the defeated, and merciless and indiscriminate pillaging (as at Aberdeen); and when many drifted away after the victory of Kilsyth Montrose was unable to replace them. He unwisely let himself be cornered at Philiphaugh in September 1645, and David Leslie's Covenanter cavalry cut down most of his remaining men. Taking refuge on the Continent, in March 1650 he returned via the Orkneys with some 1,200 mercenaries. Routed at Carbisdale in Sutherland on 27 April, the fleeing Montrose was betrayed by the MacLeods of Assynt. Condemned for treason, he died bravely on the gallows in Edinburgh on 21 May.

Pikeman from de Gehyn's Exercise of Arms (1607). Civil War infantrymen were normally unarmoured, but equipment sent to the Marquis of Huntly in 1639 included 1,000 pikes with swords dramatize the consequences of an ideologically driven selection procedure. Religious fanaticism - occasionally bordering on mania -and military effectiveness are not always mutually exclusive. Sometimes the reverse is the case, and the ungodly have no monopoly on talent.

Whilst the colonels were in theory no more than the appointed nominees of the relevant committees, they frequently had considerable influence over how their regiments were raised. This was particularly true, of course, when they themselves sat on or even chaired those committees. In 1643 it was originally intended that Aberdeenshire should produce one complete regiment to be led by Lord Forbes, and that it should also supply large contingents to both Lord Gordon's Regiment and to the Earl Marischal's Regiment, which were also to be recruited in neighbouring Banffshire and the Mearns or

Kincardineshire respectively. However, the Marischal took advantage of Forbes' absence in Edinburgh to persuade the Aberdeen committee to have him excluded - largely, it would seem, as a result of some previous territorial disputes. Lord Gordon, whose family was traditionally in a state of feud with the Forbeses, readily supported this move. Unfortunately neither he nor the Marischal could then agree as to how Aberdeenshire should be carved up between them.

The wrangling, once started, was to continue for well over a year, hampering recruitment and delaying the march of the Aberdeenshire contingents for both regiments. Happily, however, the departure of three companies of the Earl Marischal's Regiment on 16 February 1644 provided John Spalding with the opportunity to record what is probably

BELOW So-called 'Swedish Brigade' as depicted by William Barriffe; this is actually a regimental rather than a brigade formation. The large blocks consist of '36 rotts' - files - of pikemen, the small of eight files of musketeers.

BOTTOM This brigade formation of three regiments, again taken from Barriffe, appears to have been employed by the Scots army at Dunbar in 1650.

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