All of the regular Scots forces differed from contemporary English ones in that with the exception of the Ulster army they were primarily raised bv a form of conscription. In each Sheriffdom a Committee of War was appointed and granted wide-ranging powers to raise, equip and maintain soldiers. The actual process involved may best be understood by studying the mobilisation of the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant in 1643.
In the summer of 1642 the First Civil War between King and Parliament had broken out in England. Initially both sides were confident of victory, but after the first campaigns ended in stalemate they began looking for allies. The Scots government was willing to assist the English Parliamentarians, and even before a formal treaty was signed the raising of troops got underway.
On 28Julv 1643 the Estates ordered the levying of five companies of foot and three troops of horse, to be mustered at Leith by 13 September. These men appear to have been volunteers rather than conscripts, and a loan of £40,000 Scots (the exchange rate was £12.00 Scots to £1.00
sterling) was authorized to pay for their equipment. This formation was then used to sieze the important - though undefended -border fortress of Berwick on Tweed (see commentary to Plate C), and thus to prevent any interference in the main levy by English Royalist forces. In the meantime, on 18 August, the full mobilisation began with the issue of a proclamation ordering a general muster within 48 hours of publication.
In Scotland, as in most feudal countries, 40 days'
military service was demanded of barons, freeholders (or heritors), and the inhabitants of the numerous Royal Burghs, as a condition of tenure. On receipt of such a proclamation they were bound to present themselves and their retainers aged between 16 and 60 years, with provisions for 40 days; the horsemen were to be armed with pistols, broadswords and steel caps, and infantrymen with muskets or pikes and swords. When they presented themselves at local musters or wapinschaws (weapon-showings) they would be inspected by the authorities, and rolls would be compiled of all the /enables— that is, of all those judged fit to carry 'arms defencible'. How strictly these rolls were compiled evidently varied from place to place. A system of fines could be imposed on those who were 'deficient' in either arms or men; but in February 1639 an Aberdeen chronicler named John Spalding noted that 'the Earl Marischal mustered his men, tenants and servants within his lands of Kin tore and Skene, and inrolled their names so strictly, that few men were left to hold or drive the plough.'
Naturally, there was no intention of carrying out an unwieldy levee en masse. Copies of the wapinschaw rolls were passed on to the central government, which used them as a basis for determining how any levies should be allocated in order to form regiments of a uniform size. In 1643 even' fourth and every eighth man on the roll was to be conscripted or 'put out', but as a rule in subsequent levies only the eighth man seems to have been taken.
Recruiting could sometimes be brutally direct. In June 1640 the Aberdeen Committee was peremptorily ordered to find 300 men in order to bring Major General Robert Monro's Regiment up to strength. So keen was he to get them that on the 18th of that month he dragged 16 men and
This green colour with a yellow saltire (BM Harl.1460 Dunbar no.72) must also belong to Forbes of Leslie's Regiment. The shield in the centre is evidently intended to display the arms of the old earldom of the Garioch in Aberdeenshire: green, a fess checquy silver and purple, gold crowns. The title had become extinct long before the Civil War and this was evidently a locally inspired device. The company captain's name is unknown. Five similar colours were taken, of which three (70, 71 and 78) had no central device, one (75) had the Forbes stag's head crest, and one (74) the crest of the Christall family - a tree growing through a table, with two ginger cherub heads appearing from clouds above and the motto PER ANGVSTA AD AVCUSTA in red on the two upper arms of the saltire.
Unidentified cavalry cornet taken at Dunbar or Inverkeithing (BM Harl.1460 No.31). Blue field and fringe, white saltire, silver cloud; gold hand, sword, wreath and lettering. The wording predates 1650, which may indicate that the cornet was carried by either Leven's or David Leslie's regiments.
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