1638 28 February Scots begin signing the National Covenant, committing themselves to oppose King Charles' proposed reforms.

1639 1 February Mobilisation of Fencibles begins as the breach widens and the Scots and English move towards what will be known as the First Bishops' War, or simply the Scots War.

13 March In response pro-Rovalist forces are mustered in the north-east by George Gordon, Marquis of Huntlv, but are disbanded shortly afterwards. Huntly is arrested by James Graham, Earl of Montrose, while under safe-conduct.

21 March Edinburgh Castle is stormed by pro-Covenant forces under the command of Alexander ('Sandie') Leslie. The gate is blown in with a petard — an early form of shaped charge - and the castle is taken without loss.

26 March Dumbarton Castle is seized by pro-Covenant forces in order to deny a landing place for Wentworth's army from Ireland.

14 May Another pro-Rovalist uprising in the north-east, led this time by Sir George Ogilvie of Banff and some of the Gordon lairds. It opens with a minor success later known as the 'Trot o' Turriff, so-called from the speed with which the pro-Covenant forces fled from the village.

20 May A Scots army under .Alexander Leslie assembles on the English border at Duns in Berwickshire. The King marches north to meet it, but except for an unsuccessful cavalry reconnaissance he avoids fighting.

15 June Northern Royalists, now led by Huntly's son Viscount Aboyne, advance southwards but are halted in a half-hearted battle at Megray Hill, some miles south of Aberdeen.

18 June First Bishops' War officially ends in a ceasefire known as the Pacification of Berwick. 18/19 ]une Unaware of this, the retreating northern Royalists try to hold the line of the river Dee outside Aberdeen; but are defeated by the Earl of Montrose in a two-day battle for the Brig o' Dee.

The burgh of Aberdeen is saved from being sacked by the arrival of a ship bearing news of the ceasefire.

1640 20 August Outbreak of Second Bishops' War. A Scots army, again led by Alexander Leslie, invades northern England.

28 August Leslie decisively defeats a Royalist force under Viscount Conway at the battle of Newborn on the river Tyne.

30 August The Scots follow up their victory by capturing the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne for the first time.

26 October Second Bishops' War ends with the Treaty of Ripon.

1641 25 August The Scots army is disbanded, though three regiments are retained in pay. Alexander Leslie is created Earl of Leven. The Earl of Montrose, hostile to some leading Covenanters of the Marquess of Argyle's party, is arrested on discovery of a pro- Royalist plot. 23 October Outbreak of Irish Rebellion; massacres and widespread 'ethnic cleansing' of Scots setder communities in Ulster by the rebels.

1642 3 February Raising of Scots volunteer regiments authorized for service in Ulster. 3 April Advance guard comprising the three regiments retained in 1641 lands at Carrickfergus, Ireland; further troops follow shortly afterwards.

22 August Formal outbreak of the (First) English Civil War between the forces of King and Parliament when Charles I sets up his standard at Nottingham.

23 October Scots professional officers serve on both sides in the first major battle of the English Civil War at Edgehill, Warwickshire, between c.l 1,000 Royalists and c. 13,000 Parliamentarians under the Earl of Essex; inconclusive result.

1643 18 August Mobilisation begins of a Scots army for possible service in England.

25 September Scots sign Solemn League and Covenant, committing them to an alliance with the English Parliamentarians against the King, in return for what they mistakenly believe is an English commitment to establishment of the Presbyterian form of worship.

1644 19 January Scots army led by the Earl of Leven invades England across Berwick bridge, but probably only mustering some 2,500-3,000 horse and 10,000 foot rather than the

21,000 men expected.

3 February (England) Leven is only narrowly forestalled from seizing Newcastle-upon-Tyne in a coup de main by the arrival of Royalist troops from the south. 19 February (England) Indecisive cavalry action at Corbridge on the river Tyne when English Royalists under Sir Marmaduke Langdale launch an unsuccessful raid on Scots quarters.

28 February (England) Scots army crosses the Tyne and seizes the port of Sunderland to serve as a base.

7/8 March (England) Royalist probe towards Sunderland led by Marquis of Newcastle is halted at Humbledon Hill.

19 March (Scotland) Royalist uprising in Aberdeen led by Marquis of Hundy.

20 March (England) Scots detachment storms Royalist fort at South Shields, closing the Tyne to Continental gun-runners bringing supplies to the Royalist forces.

25 March (England) Scots army led by Earl of Leven defeats English Royalists led by Marquis of Newcastle in night battle at Boldon, near Sunderland.

12 April (England) Marquis of Newcastle retreats southwards with intention of trying to hold the line of the river Tees, but then hears that Royalist city of York is in clanger. Leven hurries the Scots army in hot pursuit.

13 April (Scotland) Brief occupation of Dumfries by Scots and English Royalists led by James Graham, now named by the King as 1st Marquis of Montrose and openly in his service.

20 April (Scotland) Montrose's Royalists hastily evacuate Dumfries and flee to Carlisle when threatened by the Earl of Callendar.

24 April (Scotland) Royalist rebels led by Irvine of Drum storm the burgh of Montrose.

29 April (Scotland) Huntly's Royalist forces evacuate Aberdeen and disband shortly afterwards.

2 July (England) Battle of Marston Moor, outside York. Army of Both Kingdoms led by Earl of Manchester, Sir Thomas Fairfax and Earl of Leven (some 6,.500 horse, 700 dragoons and 14,500 infantry) defeats about 6,500 horse and 11,000 foot led by the King and Prince Rupert.

27 July (England) Scots army led by Earl of Callendar blockades Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 29 August (Scotland) Marquis of Montrose raises Royalist standard at Blair Castle to begin new Royalist uprising.

1 September (Scotland) Montrose, with a largely Irish force of c.3,000 infantry, destroys a similar force of local levies (2,500 foot, 350 horse) under Lord Elcho at Tippermuir, and afterwards sacks the burgh of Perth.

13 September (Scotland) Montrose, with 1,500 infantry and 80 horse, routs government force of 2,400 infantry and 300 horse at Justice Mills outside Aberdeen; the burgh is then ferociously pillaged.

19 October (England) City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne stormed by Scots army under Earl of Leven.

27 October (England) Royalists surrender Tynemouth Castle to Scots, but succeed in infecting the army with typhus.

28 October (Scodand) Indecisive engagement between Montrose and Marquess of Argyle at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire.

13 December (Scotland) Royalists seize Inverary as winter quarters.

1645 2 February (Scotland) 1,500 Royalist infantry and 50 horse commanded by Marquis of Montrose destroy government force of 2,500 foot led bv Marquess of Argyle and Campbell of Auchinbrec at Inverlochv.

9 February (Scotland) Elgin falls to the Royalists after the regular cavalry regiment commanded by Lord Gordon defects to Montrose.

15 March (Scotland) Royalists beaten up by cavalry raid on Aberdeen led by Sir John Hurry. 30 March (Scotland) Royalist advance halted at Ruthven on river Isla by government force under Lt.Gen.William Baillie.

4 April (Scodand) Royalist raid on burgh of Dundee ends in near disaster as Baillie catches Montrose in the act and pursues him back into the hills.

9 May (Scotland) Maj.Gen.Sir John Hurry, with 3,000 foot and 300 horse, defeated by Montrose with 1,400 foot and 200 horse in day-long battle of Auldearn, near Nairn, but Royalists too badly weakened to pursue.

30 May (England) Royalists storm Leicester, and massacre Scots mercenaries among the Parliamentary garrison.

14 June (England) The main Royal army under the King and Prince Rupert is decisively defeated by Parliament's reorganized New Model Army under Sir Thomas Fairfax and Cromwell at Naseby in Northamptonshire - the turning point of the First Civil War.

28June (England) Carlisle surrenders to a Scots force under David Leslie, while the main Scots army under the Earl of Leven moves south into the Severn Valley. 2July (Scotland) 2,000 Royalist infantry and 200 horse led by Montrose defeat Baillie's 1,800 government infantry and 300 horse at Alford, Aberdeenshire.

22July (England) Leven's Scots army storms Canon Frome, Herefordshire; the garrison is massacred in retaliation for the Scots killed at Leicester. 30 July (England) Leven begins siege of Hereford.

13 August (Scotland) Royalists move south in an effort to assist the King, and cross the river Forth.

15 August (Scotland) Montrose's 3,000 foot and 600 horse defeat and destroy Baillie's army of 3,000 foot and 350 horse at the battle of Kilsyth.

27 August (England) Earl of Leven raises the siege of Hereford and begins moving north in response to the threat from Montrose; cavalry brigade is sent ahead under Maj.Gen.David Leslie.

13 September (Scotland) David Leslie, with 3,000 horse and 500-plus dragoons and mounted infantry, surprises Montrose, with 1,100 horse and 500 foot, at Philiphaugh, near Selkirk, and fragments his force: Montrose is forced to flee for his life.

29 November (England) Scots army under Earl of Leven begins siege of Newark-on-Trent.

1646 29 April (Scotland) After raising a new force in the Highlands, Montrose lays siege to Inverness.

5 May (England) King Charles I surenders to the Scots army outside Newark (in preference to submitting to the English Parliamentarians), and afterwards orders all armies and fortresses to surrender likewise.

8 May (Scotland) Maj.Gen John Middleton raises siege of Inverness.

14 May (Scotland) Marquis of Hundy, with 1,500 infantry and 500 horse, storms Aberdeen, held by Col.Harie Barclay with 700 foot and 240 horse.

5 June (Ireland) Anglo-Scots army under Maj.Gen. Robert Monro defeated by Irish Confederates led by Owen Roe O'Neill at Benburb.

30July (Scotland) Montrose disbands his force at Rattray, near Blairgowrie, and flees abroad. Huntly is subsequently captured and executed.

1647 February (Scotland) The Scots armies are 'new-modelled' into a single force of five regular and two Highland regiments of infantry and a number of independent troops of horse. Some local levies also continue in service.

24 May (Scotland) David Leslie defeats Montrose's former ally Alasdair MacC.holla at Rhunahoarine Point in Kintyre. MacCholla flees to Ireland.

5 July (Scotland) Dunyveg Castle surrenders to Leslie.

26 December The Scots government changes sides, signing an 'Engagement' with Charles I committing it to support the King and assist Royalist uprisings in England, in return for the definitive establishment of the Presbyterian church in Scotland.

1648 23 March Second Civil War begins with outbreak of a series of Royalist uprisings in England and Wales, lasting until August. Lt.Gen.Oliver Cromwell crushes the western risings at Pembroke in July, and Sir Thomas Fairfax those in Kent and Essex, Colchester finally capitulating in August.

4 May Mobilisation of Scots army begins.

12June Scots dissidents defeated by the Earl of Callendar at Mauchline Moor, Ayrshire. 8 July Scots army led by the Duke of Hamilton invades England by way of Carlisle. 26 July Coljohn Lambert defeated by Scots cavalry at Stainmore, and retires to Barnard Castle.

17 August Hamilton's Scots army, with English Royalists led Sir Marmaduke Langdale, totalling some 3,000 horse and 9,000 foot, is defeated at Preston by Cromwell's 3,000 horse and 5,600 infantry.

19 August Scots again defeated at Winnington; their remaining infantry under Baillie then surrender at Warrington.

25 August Hamilton and Scots cavalry surrender at Uttoxeter.

5 September Anti-Royalist 'Kirk' party seizes Edinburgh and Stirling Castles as civil war breaks out afresh in Scotland.

12 September Pro-Royalist 'Engagers' led by Maj.Gen.George Monro recapture Stirling. 1 October Faced by threat of English intervention, both sides agree to disband their forces.

1649 30January King Charles I executed by English Parliament. Scots immediately proclaim his son Charles II, but stop short of military action.

8 May Pro-Royalist uprising led by MacKenzie of Pluscardine is defeated at Balvenie, Strathspey.

1650 27 April Pro-Royalist invasion force of some 1,200 men led by the returning Marquis of Montrose is ambushed and routed by Archibald Strachan at Carbisdale, Sutherland.

21 May Montrose is executed in Edinburgh.

24 June King Charles II signs the Covenant, and lands in Scotand.

25 June Mobilisation of Scots army begins.

22 July English army invades Scotland, led by Lord Gen.Oliver Cromwell.

26 July English halted by fortified line linking Edinburgh and Leith. Scots 'scorched earth' policy and cautious manoeuvres frustrate Cromwell's search for a decisive engagement.

28July Cromwell falls back to Musselburgh and then to Dunbar after outposts beaten up. 12 August English advance on Edinburgh resumes.

27 August Cromwell halted by Scots army under the Earl of Leven at Corstorphine south of Edinburgh.

28 August Further English outflanking move blocked by Leven at Gogar. His army weakened by disease, Cromwell concedes himself outmanoeuvred and retreats to Dunbar.

31 August Leven sends detachment to hold defile of Cockburnspath, blocking the road to England.

2 September David Leslie supplants the Earl of Leven as commander of the Scots army, and prepares to attack Cromwell's 7,500 foot and 3,500 horse at Dunbar, where they are suspected of preparing for evacuation by sea.

3 September Leslie's army - perhaps 8,000-9,000 infantry and 2,500-3,000 cavalry - are decisively defeated at Dunbar in Cromwell's surprise dawn attack led by Gen.John Lambert, which inflicts heavy casualties for marginal English losses.

23 December Edinburgh Castle surrenders.

1651 June Cromwell's advance is again blocked in front of Stirling.

17July Parliamentarian Gen.Lambert crosses Firth of Forth and establishes bridgehead at Inverkeithing.

20July Lambert defeats Scots under Maj.Gen.Holburne at Inverkeithing.

31 July Cromwell breaks out of the Inverkeithing bridgehead, but Scots army under King

Charles II and David Leslie marches south by a westerly route.

2 August Cromwell takes Perth. While Lambert's cavalry shadow Leslie's army, Cromwell races down the east coast and co-ordinates converging forces.

6 August Scots army crosses into England.

3 September Leslie's 16,000 Scots are defeated at Worcester by Cromwell's 20,000-strong regulars supported by some

10,000 additional levies.

21 November Marquis of Huntly A

3 December Earl of Balcarres tt—-

surrenders last Scots field army.

1652 26 May Dunottar Castle surrenders.

Colour taken at Dunbar or Inverkeithing (BM Harl.1460 Dunbar no.57). Only the central portion survived to be recorded by Fisher, and the uncoloured lettering is conjectural. The colour is white with a silver bear's head, black lettering and details. The crest and motto belong to the Forbes family, so this must be Colonel John Forbes of Leslie's own colour; the archaic inscription suggests that it may originally have been made in about 1644.



Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven (1582-1661), commander of the Scots army for much of the period, and arguably one of the best soldiers to fight in the Civil War on any side. Nearly 60 years of age when summoned home to command the Scots army in the First Bishops' War of 1639, 'Sandie' Leslie had spent much of his adult life as a professional soldier on the Continent, first in the Dutch and later in the Swedish service. A loyal senior officer in Gustavus Adolphus' army, Leslie distinguished himself during the Thirty Years' War, particularly in the defence of Stralsund against Wallenstein in 1628, and eventually rose to the rank of field marshal.

In March 1639 he seized Edinburgh Castle without loss. In August 1640 he led an army into England, beat the Royalists at Newburn and occupied Newcastle. After the Peace of Ripon Charles I sought to win over prominent Scots, and enobled Leslie as Earl of Leven; Parliament also rewarded him with a large cash grant. After leading the Scots forces in the Irish campaign of 1642 he returned to command the English expedition in accordance with the Solemn League and Covenant, of which he was a strong supporter. After the joint Parliamentarian/ Scottish victory of Marston Moor in July the Scots marched north to besiege Newcastle. It was to Leven that Charles I surrendered at Newark in May 1646, but the Scots soon handed the King over to Parliament.

Leven argued against the Duke of Hamilton's 1648 expedition in support of Charles which ended in disaster at Preston that August. The King's execution brought the Scots onto the Royalist side, and Leven was present at Dunbar in September 1650, although active command fell to David Leslie (no relation). Captured by the English in August 1651, he was soon released on parole, and lived out his last years on his estates at Balgonie.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment