[History of the Highlands Contents]
MONTROSE now entertained confident expectations that many of the Royalists of the surrounding country, who had hitherto kept aloof, would join him; but after remaining three days at Perth, to give them an opportunity of rallying about his standard, he had the mortification to find, that, with the exception of the Lords Dupplin and Spynie, and a few gentlemen from the Carse of Gowrie, who came to him, his anticipations were not to be realized. The spirits of the Royalists had been too much subdued by the severities of the covenanters for them all at once to risk their lives and fortunes on the issue of what they had long considered a hopeless cause; and although Montrose had succeeded in dispersing one army with a greatly inferior force, yet it was well known that that army was composed of a raw and undisciplined militia, and that the covenanters had still large bodies of well trained troops in the field.
Thus disappointed in his hopes, and understanding that the earl of Argyle was fast approaching with a large army, Montrose crossed the Tay on the fourth of September, directing his course towards Cupar Angus, and encamped at night in the open fields near Collace. His object in proceeding northward was to endeavour to raise some of the loyal clans, and thus to put himself in a sufficiently strong condition to meet Argyle. Montrose had given orders to the army to march early next morning, but by break of day, and before the drums had beat, he was alarmed by an uproar in the whole camp. Perceiving his men running to their arms in a state of fury and rage, Montrose, apprehensive that the Highlanders and Irish had quarrelled, immediately rushed in among the thickest of the crowd to pacify them, but to his great grief and dismay, he ascertained that the confusion had arisen from the assassination of his valued friend Lord Kilpont, who now lay before him weltering in his blood. He had fallen a victim to the blind fury of one of his own vassals, James Stuart of Ardvoirlich, with whom he had slept the same night, and who had long enjoyed his confidence and friendship. Lord Kilpont’s father, the earl of Airth, had frequently warned him against continuing his intimacy with this man, whom he always suspected, but he disregarded his father’s injunctions, and put himself entirely under the guidance of this perfidious person. It is asserted that it was by his advice that Lord Kilpont joined Montrose, and that wishing to ingratiate himself with the covenanters he formed a design to assassinate Montrose or his major-general, Macdonald; but as he thought that he could not carry his plan into execution without the assistance of his too confiding friend, Lord Kilpont, he endeavoured to entice him to concur in his wicked project. He, therefore, on the night in question slept with his lordship, and having prevailed upon him to rise and take a walk in the fields before daylight, on the pretence of refreshing themselves, he there disclosed his horrid purpose, and entreated his lordship to concur therein. Lord Kilpont rejected the base proposal with horror and a virtuous indignation, which so alarmed Stuart, that, afraid lest his lordship might discover the matter, he suddenly drew his dirk and wounded his lordship mortally in several places. Stuart, thereupon, fled, and killed in passing, a sentinel who stood in his way. A pursuit followed, but, owing to the darkness of the morning which prevented his pursuers from seeing beyond the length of their pikes, he made his escape,1 and thereafter joined the Earl of Argyle, who gave him a commission in his army in reward for what in those times, and by one class of persons, was considered if not a meritorious, at least far from a condemnatory action.
Having taken farewell of the body of his amiable friend, which he embraced with transports of grief, and consigned it to the care of the deceased’s friends for interment, Montrose marched down upon Dundee, which he summoned; but the inhabitants, confident in their own strength, refused to surrender. Not wishing, however, to waste his time upon the hazardous issue of a siege with a hostile army in his rear, Montrose proceeded through Angus and the Mearns, and in the course of his route was joined by the Earl of Airly, his two sons, Sir Thomas and Sir David Ogilvy, and a considerable number of their friends and vassals, and some gentlemen from the Mearns and Aberdeenshire. This was a seasonable addition to Montrose’s force, which had been greatly weakened by the absence of some of the Highlanders who had gone home to deposit the spoils they had collected after the battle of Tippermuir agreeably to their usual custom, and by the departure of Lord Kilpont’s retainers, who had gone to Monteith with his corpse.
After the battle of Tippermuir, Lord Elcho had retired, with his regiment and some fugitives, to Aberdeen, where Lord Burleigh and other commissioners from the convention of estates were. As soon as they heard of the approach of Montrose, Burleigh, who acted as chief commissioner, immediately assembled the Forbes’s, the Frazers, and the other friends of the covenanting interest, and he did every thing in his power, to gain over to his side, as many persons as he could from those districts where Montrose expected assistance. In this way, Burleigh increased his force to two thousand five hundred foot and five hundred horse, but some of these, consisting of Gordons, and others who were obliged to take up arms, could not to be relied upon.
When Montrose heard of these preparations, he resolved, notwithstanding the disparity of force, his own army now amounting only to fifteen hundred foot and forty-four horse, to hasten his march and attack them before Argyle should come up. On arriving near the bridge of Dee, he found it strongly fortified and guarded by a considerable force. He did not attempt to force a passage, but, directing his course to the west, along the river, crossed it at a ford at the Mills of Drum, and encamped at Crathas that night. This took place on Wednesday the eleventh day of September. The covenanters, the same day, drew up their army at the Two Mile Cross, a short distance from Aberdeen, where they remained till Thursday night, when they retired into the town. On the same night, Montrose marched down Dee side and took possession of the ground which the covenanters had just left.2
On the following morning, viz. Friday the thirteenth of September, about eleven o’clock, the covenanters marched out of Aberdeen to meet Montrose who, on their approach, dispatched a drummer to beat a parley, and sent a commissioner along with him bearing a letter from Montrose to the provosts and bailies of Aberdeen, commanding and charging them to surrender “the town to him, lieutenant to his majesty, and in the king’s name, whereby he might receive peaceable entrance to use his majesty’s proclamations and such others as he thought fitting, promising assurance that no more harm nor prejudice should be done to the town, but to take their entertainment for that night; otherwise, if they would disobey, that then he desired them to remove old aged men, women and children out of the way, and to stand to their own peril.”3 Immediately on receipt of this letter, the provost called a meeting of the council which was attended by Lord Burleigh, and, after a short consultation, an answer was sent along with the commissioner declining to surrender the town. On their return the drummer was killed by the covenanters, at a place called Justice Mills, which violation of the law of nations so exasperated Montrose, that he gave orders to his men not to spare any of the enemy who might fall into their hands. His anger at this occurrence is strongly depicted by Spalding, who says, that “he grew mad, and became furious and impatient.”
As soon as Montrose received notice of the refusal of the magistrates to surrender the town, he made the necessary dispositions for attacking the enemy. From his paucity of cavalry, he was obliged to extend his line, as he had done at Tippermuir, to prevent the enemy from surrounding or outflanking him with their horse, and on each of his wings be posted his small body of horsemen along with select parties of musketeers and archers. To James Hay, and Sir Nathaniel Gordon, he gave the command of the right wing, and he committed the charge of the left to Sir William Rollock, all men of tried bravery and experience.
The covenanters began the battle by a cannonade from their field pieces, and, from their commanding position, gave considerable annoyance to the royal forces, who were very deficient in artillery. After the firing had been kept up for some time, Lord Lewis Gordon, third son of the Marquis of Huntly, a young man of a very ardent disposition, and of a violent and changeable temper, who commanded the left wing of the covenanters, having obtained possession of some level ground where his horse could act, made a demonstration to attack Montrose’s right wing; which, being observed by Montrose, he immediately ordered Sir William Rollock, with his party of horse, from the left wing to the assistance of the right. These united wings, which consisted of only forty-four horse, not only repulsed the attack of a body of three hundred, but threw them into complete disorder and forced them to retreat upon the main body, leaving many dead and wounded on the field. Montrose restrained these brave cavaliers from pursuing the body they had routed, anticipating that their services might be soon required at the other wing, and he was not mistaken, for no sooner did the covenanting general perceive the retreat of Lord Lewis Gordon than he ordered an attack to be made upon the left wing of Montrose’s army; but Montrose, with a celerity almost unexampled, moved his whole cavalry from the right to the left wing, who, falling upon the flank of their assailants sword in hand, forced them to fly, with great slaughter. In this affair, Montrose’s horse took Forbes of Craigievar and Forbes of Boyndlie, prisoners.
The unsuccessful attacks on the wings of Montrose’s army, had, in no shape, affected the future fortune of the day, as both armies kept their ground, and were equally animated with hopes of ultimate success. Vexed, but by no means intimidated by their second defeat, the gentlemen who composed Burleigh’s horse, consulted together as to the best mode of renewing the attack, and, being of opinion that the success of Montrose’s cavalry was owing chiefly to the expert musketeers, with whom they were interlined, they resolved to imitate the same plan, by mixing among them a select body of foot, and renewing the charge a third time, with redoubled energy. But this scheme, which might have proved fatal to Montrose, if tried, was frustrated by a resolution he came to, of making an instant and simultaneous attack upon the enemy. Perceiving their horse still in great confusion, and a considerable way apart from their main body, he determined upon attacking them with his foot before they should get time to rally; and, galloping up to his men, who had been greatly galled by the enemies’ cannon, he told them that there was no good to be expected by the two armies keeping at such a distance – that in this way there was no means of distinguishing the strong from the weak, nor the coward from the brave man, but that if they would once make a home charge upon these timorous and effeminate striplings, as he called Burleigh’s horse, they would never stand their attack. “Come on, then,” said he, “my brave fellow-soldiers, fall down up on them with your swords and muskets, drive them before you, and make them suffer the punishment due to their perfidy and rebellion.”4 These words were no sooner uttered, than, on the word of command being given, Montrose’s men rushed forward at a quick pace and fell upon the enemy, sword in hand. The covenanters were paralyzed by the suddenness and impetuosity of the attack, and, turning their backs, they fled in the utmost trepidation and confusion, towards Aberdeen. The slaughter was tremendous, as the victors spared no man. The road leading from the field of battle to Aberdeen was strewed with the dead and the dying; the streets of Aberdeen were covered with the bodies, and stained with the blood of its inhabitants. “There was,” says Spalding, “little slaughter in the fight, but horrible was the slaughter in the flight, fleeing back to the town, which was our townsmen’s destruction; whereas, if they had fled, and not came near the town, they might have been in better security; but, being commanded by Patrick Leslie, the provost, to take the town, they were undone; yet, himself and the prime covenanters being on horseback, wan safely themselves away. The lieutenant follows the chace into Aberdeen, his men hewing and cutting down all manner of men they could overtake, within the town, upon the streets, or in their houses, and round about the town, as our men were fleeing, with broad swords, but (without) mercy or remeid. Their cruel Irish, seeing a man well clad, would first tyr (strip) him, and save his clothes unspoiled, syne kill the man.”5 In fine, according to this writer, who vas an eye-witness, the town of Aberdeen, which, but a few years before, had suffered for its loyality, was now, by the same general who had then oppressed it, delivered up by him to be indiscriminately plundered by his Irish forces, for having espoused the same cause which he himself had supported. For four days did these men indulge in the most dreadful excesses, “and nothing,” continues Spalding, was “heard but pitiful howling, crying, weeping, mourning, through all the streets.” Yet Guthrie says that Montrose “shewed great mercy, both pardoning the people and protecting their goods.”6
It is singular, that although the battle continued for four hours without any determinate result, Montrose lost very few men, a circumstance the more extraordinary as the cannon of the covenanters were placed upon advantageous ground, whilst those of Montrose were rendered quite ineffective by being situated in a position from which they could not be brought to bear upon the enemy. An anecdote, characteristic of the bravery of the Irish, and of their coolness in enduring the privations of war, has been preserved. During the cannonade on the side of the covenanters, an Irishman had his leg shot away by a cannon ball, but which kept still attached to the stump by means of a small bit of skin, or flesh. His comrades-in-arms being affected with his disaster, this brave man, without betraying any symptoms of pain, thus cheerfully addressed them:- “This, my companions, is the fate of war, and what none of us ought to grudge: go on, and behave as becomes you; and, as for me, I am certain my lord, the marquis, will make me a trooper as I am now disabled for the foot service.” Then, taking a knife from his pocket, he deliberately opened it, and cut asunder the skin which retained the leg, without betraying the least emotion, and delivered it to one of his companions for interment. As soon as this courageous man was able to mount a horse, his wish to become a trooper was complied with, in which capacity he afterwards distinguished himself.7
Hoping that the news of the victory he had obtained would create a strong feeling in his favour among the Gordons, some of whom had actually fought against him, under the command of Lord Lewis Gordon, Montrose sent a part of his army towards Kintore and Inverury, the following day, to encourage the people of the surrounding country to declare for him; but he was sadly disappointed in his expectations. The fact is, that ever since the appointment of Montrose as lieutenant-general of the kingdom, – an appointment which trenched upon the authority of the Marquis of Huntly as lieutenant of the north, the latter had become quite lukewarm in the cause of his sovereign; and, although he was aware of the intentions of his son, Lord Lewis, to join the covenanters, he quietly allowed him to do so without remonstrance. But, besides being thus, in some measure, superseded by Montrose, the marquis was actuated by personal hostility to him, on account of the treatment he had formerly received from him; and he resolved to gratify his spleen by remaining a passive observer of a struggle which involved the very existence of the monarchy itself. These were certainly the reasons which influenced the Marquis of Huntly to withhold his support from Montrose, although Gordon of Sallagh says he cannot determine what they were; because, as he oddly observes, “great men’s reasons are best known to themselves.”8 But, whatever may have been Huntly’s reasons, his apathy and indifference had a deadening influence upon his numerous retainers, who had no idea of taking the field but at the command of their chief.
As Montrose saw no possibility of opposing the powerful and well appointed army of Argyle, which was advancing upon him with slow and cautious steps, disappointed as he had been of the aid which he had calculated upon, he resolved to march into the Highlands, and there collect such of the clans as were favourably disposed to the royal cause. Leaving, therefore, Aberdeen on the sixteenth of September, with the remainder of his forces, he joined the camp at Kintore, whence he dispatched Sir William Rollock to Oxford to inform the king of the events of the campaign, and of his present situation, and to solicit him to send supplies.
We must now advert to the progress of Argyle’s army, the slow movements of which form an unfavourable contrast when compared with the rapid marches of Montrose’s army; but it seems scarcely fair at this period to ascribe the tardy progress which Argyle made towards the north to cowardice on his part. He might, no doubt, have dreaded a collision with his distinguished adversary, but we are forced, in candour, to attribute his apparent inactivity rather to the delays consequent upon the transportation of heavy artillery and a large quantity of baggage, than to any disposition of avoiding a hostile meeting.
On the fourth of September, four days after the battle of Tippermuir, Argyle, who had been pursuing the Irish forces under Macdonald, had arrived with his Highlanders at Stirling, where, on the following day, he was joined by the earl of Lothian and his regiment, which had shortly before been brought over from Ireland. After raising some men in Stirlingshire, he marched to Perth upon the tenth, where he was joined by some Fife men, and Lord Bargenny’s and Sir Frederick Hamilton’s regiments of horse, which had been recalled from Newcastle for that purpose. With this increased force, which now consisted of about 3000 foot and two regular cavalry regiments, besides ten troops of horse, Argyle left Perth on the fourteenth of September for the north, and, in his route, was joined by the Earl Marshall, the lords Gordon, Fraser, and Crichton, and other covenanters. He arrived at Aberdeen upon the nineteenth of September, where he issued a proclamation, declaring the marquis of Montrose and his followers traitors to religion and to their king and country, and offering a reward of 20,000 pounds Scots, to any person who should bring in Montrose dead or alive.9 Spalding laments with great pathos and feeling the severe hardships to which the citizens of Aberdeen had been subjected by these frequent visitations of hostile armies, and alluding to the present occupancy of the town by Argyle, he observes, that “this multitude of people lived upon free quarters, a new grief to both towns, whereof there was quartered on poor old Aberdeen Argyle’s own three regiments. The soldiers had their baggage carried, and craved nothing but house-room and fire. But ilk captain, with twelve gentlemen, had free quarters (so long as the town had meat and drink), for two ordinaries, but the third ordinary they furnished themselves out of their own baggage and provisions, having store of meal, nolt, and sheep, carried with them. But, the first night, they drank out all the stale ale in Aberdeen, and lived upon wort thereafter.”10
Argyle was now within half a day’s march of Montrose, but strange to tell, he made no preparations to follow him, and spent two or three days in Aberdeen doing absolutely nothing. This extraordinary inactivity did not escape the observation of Spalding, who sneeringly remarks upon it in the following strain. “It is said the marquis of Argyle had followed thir Irishes who fled out of his country about ten weeks time, but could never win (reach) within two and a half days’ journey towards them. But now his foot army lying in Aberdeen, was within half a day’s journey towards them lying about Inverury, and in the Garioch; and so Argyle himself, with his troopers lying now at Drum, was within like distance to them: but little following was there now, ilk (each) party harrying and destroying the country wherever they came in their bestial nolt, sheep, kine, victuals and other goods, and finding their horses, troopers, and baggage horses, with corns, about both Aberdeens, felt the smart. Marvellous to see Argyle with his horse troopers and foot army so near his enemy, and to lye still without pursuing of them so long time!”11
After spending three days in inglorious supineness, Argyle put his army in motion in the direction of Kintore. Montrose, on hearing of his approach, concealed his cannon in a bog, and leaving behind him some of his heavy baggage, made towards the Spey with the intention of crossing it. On arriving at the river, he encamped near the old castle of Rothiemurcus; but finding that the boats used in passing the river had been removed to the north side of the river, and that a large armed force from the country on the north of the Spey had assembled on the opposite bank to oppose his passage, Montrose marched his army into the forest of Abernethy. Argyle only proceeded at first as far as Strathbogie, but instead of pursuing Montrose, he allowed his troops to waste their time in plundering the properties and laying waste the lands of the Gordons in Strathbogie, and the Enzie, under the very eyes of Lord Gordon and Lord Lewis Gordon, neither of whom appear to have endeavoured to avert such a calamity. Spalding says that it was “a wonderful unnaturalitie in the Lord Gordon to suffer his father’s lands and friends in his own sight to be thus wreckt and destroyed in his father’s absence;” but Lord Gordon likely had it not in his power to stay these proceedings, which, if not done at the instigation, may have received the approbation of his violent and headstrong younger brother, who had joined the covenanters’ standard. On the twenty-seventh of September, Argyle mustered his forces at the Bog of Gicht, which were found to amount to about four thousand men, but although the army of Montrose did not amount to much more than a third of that number, and was within twenty miles distance, he did not venture to attack him. After remaining a few days in Abernethy forest, Montrose passed through the forest of Rothiemurcus, and following the course of the Spey, marched through Badenoch.
When Argyle heard of the departure of Montrose from the forest of Abernethy, he made a feint of following him. He, accordingly, set his army in motion along Spey-side, and, crossing the river himself with some horse, he marched up some distance along the north bank, and re-crossed, when he ordered his troops to halt. He then proceeded to Forres to attend a committee meeting of covenanters to concert a plan of operations in the north, at which the earl of Sutherland, Lord Lovat, the sheriff of Moray, the lairds of Balnagown, Innes and Pluscarden, and many others were present. From Forres Argyle went to Inverness, and after giving some instructions to Sir Mungo Campbell of Lawers, and the laird of Buchanan, the commanders of the regiments stationed there, he returned to his army, which he marched through Badenoch in pursuit of Montrose. It was the intention of the latter to have proceeded instantly into Athole, but he was prevented from moving for a few days by a severe illness. When the covenanters heard of this intelligence they could not restrain their joy, and as people will readily believe any occurrence they long for, reports of his death were speedily circulated and believed with avidity. Even the ministers could not restrain the satisfaction they felt on the occasion, and they asserted with confidence that the Lord of Hosts himself had slain Montrose.12 The speedy recovery of Montrose, and his sudden appearance in Athole,13 however, soon put an end to these rejoicings. From Athole he sent Macdonald with a party of five hundred men to the Western Highlands to invite the laird of Maclean, the captain of Clanranald, and others to join him. Marching down to Dunkeld, Montrose proceeded rapidly through Angus towards Brechin and Montrose.14
The delay occasioned in Montrose’s movements by the indisposition with which he was seized, was fully compensated for by the tardy motions of Argyle, who, on entering Badenoch, found that his vigilant antagonist was several days’ march a-head of him. This intelligence, however, did not induce him in the least to accelerate his march. Hearing, when passing through Badenoch, that Montrose had been joined by some of the inhabitants of that country, Argyle, according to Spalding, “left nothing of that country undestroyed, no not one four footed beast;” and Athole shared a similar fate.
At the time Montrose entered Angus, a committee of the estates, consisting of the Earl Marshall and other barons, was sitting in Aberdeen, who, on hearing of his approach, issued, on the tenth of October, a printed order, to which the Earl Marshall’s name was attached, ordaining all persons of whatever age, sex, or condition, having horses of the value of forty pounds Scots or upwards, to send them to the bridge of Dee, which was appointed as the place of rendezvous, on the fourteenth of October, by ten o’clock, A. M., with riders fully equipped and armed; with certification, in case of failure, that each landed proprietor should be fined in the sum of one thousand pounds: every gentleman not a landed proprietor, in five hundred pounds Scots, and each husbandman in one hundred merks, besides confiscation of their horses. Copies of this proclamation were sent to the moderators of the adjoining Presbyteries, who were directed to instruct the ministers of the parishes to notify the same to every man within their parishes, and to read it from their pulpits upon Sunday. With the exception of the Lord Gordon, who brought three troops of horse, and Captain Alexander Keith, brother of the Earl Marshall, who appeared with one troop at the appointed place, no attention was paid to the order of the committee by the people, who had not yet recovered from their fears, and their recent sufferings were still too fresh in their minds to induce them again to expose themselves to the vengeance of Montrose and his Irish troops. “Many men and women,” says Spalding, “with their young children, carried on women’s backs, fled the town of Aberdeen, (there having fallen, the same Sunday, a storm of snow,) howling, lamenting, and crying, not knowing where to go for safety of their lives, which was pitiful to behold; but their fear was more nor needed, for they all returned back to their houses shortly, for that Montrose came not to Aberdeen.”15 Disappointed and chagrined at the disobedience of the country people, Ramsay, who had been appointed by the committee major-general of these expected horse, destroyed the grain crops of the farmers.
After refreshing his army a few days in Angus, Montrose prepared to cross the Grampians, and to march to Strathbogie to make another attempt to raise the Gordons; but, before setting out on his march, he released Forbes of Craigievar and Forbes of Boyndlie, on their parole, upon condition that Craigievar should procure the liberation of the young laird of Drum and his brother, from the jail of Edinburgh, failing which, Craigievar and Boyndlie were both to deliver themselves up to him as prisoners, before the first of November. This act of generosity, on the part of Montrose, was greatly admired, more particularly as Craigievar was one of the heads of the covenanters, and had great influence among them. In pursuance of his design, Montrose marched through the Mearns, and upon Thursday the seventeenth of October, crossed the Dee at the Mills of Drum, with his whole army. In his progress north, contrary to his former forbearing policy, he laid waste the lands of some of the leading covenanters, burnt their houses, and plundered their effects. He arrived at Strathbogie on the nineteenth of October, where he remained till the twenty-seventh, without being able to induce any considerable number of the Gordons to join him. It was not from want of inclination that they refused to do so, but they were unwilling to incur the displeasure of their chief, who they knew was personally opposed to Montrose, and who felt indignant at seeing a man who had formerly espoused the cause of the covenanters preferred before him. In order to avoid the personal solicitations of Montrose, and the pain of refusing his request, many of the leading men of the clan concealed, or absented themselves. Had Montrose been accompanied by any of the marquis of Huntly’s sons, they might have had influence enough to have induced some of the Gordons to declare for him, but the situation of the marquis’ three sons was at this time very peculiar. The eldest son, Lord Gordon, a young man “of singular worth and accomplishments,” was with Argyle, his uncle by the mother’s side; the earl of Aboyne, the second son, was shut up in the castle of Carlisle, then in a state of siege; and Lord Lewis Gordon, the third son, had, as we have seen, joined the covenanters, and fought in their ranks.
In this situation of matters, Montrose left Strathbogie on the day last mentioned, and took up a position in the forest of Fyvie, where he despatched some of his troops who took possession of the castles of Fyvie and Tollie Barclay, in which he found a good supply of provisions, which was of great service to his army. During his stay at Strathbogie, Montrose kept a strict outlook for the enemy, and scarcely passed a night without scouring the neighbouring country to the distance of several miles, with parties of light foot, who attacked straggling parties of the covenanters, and brought in prisoners from time to time, without sustaining any loss. These petty enterprises, while they alarmed their enemies, gave an extraordinary degree of confidence to Montrose’s men, who were ready to undertake any service, however difficult or dangerous, if he only commanded them to perform it.
When Montrose crossed the Dee, Argyle was several days march behind him. The latter, however, reached Aberdeen on the twenty fourth of October, and proceeded the following morning towards Kintore, which he reached the same night. On the following morning, he marched forward to Inverury, where he halted at night. Here he was joined by the earl of Lothian’s regiment, which increased his force to about two thousand five hundred foot, and twelve hundred horse. In his progress through the shires of Angus, Kincardine, Aberdeen, and Banff, he received no accession of strength from the dread which the name and actions of Montrose had infused into the minds of the inhabitants of these counties.
The sudden movements of Argyle from Aberdeen to Kintore, and from Kintore to Inverury, form a remarkable contrast with the slowness of his former motions. He had followed Montrose through a long and circuitous route, the greater part of which still bore recent traces of his foot-steps, and instead of showing any disposition to overtake his flying foe, seemed rather inclined to keep that respectful distance from him, so congenial to the mind of one, who, “willing to wound,” is “yet still afraid to strike.” But although this questionable policy of Argyle was by no means calculated to raise his military fame, it had the effect of throwing Montrose in the present case off his guard, and had well nigh proved fatal to him. The rapid march of Argyle on Kintore and Inverury, in fact was effected without Montrose’s knowledge, for the spies he had employed concealed the matter from him, and while he imagined that Argyle was still on the other side of the Grampians, he suddenly appeared within a very few miles of Montrose’s camp upon the twenty-eighth day of October.
The unexpected arrival of Argyle’s army did not disconcert Montrose. His foot, which amounted to fifteen hundred men, were little more than the half of those under Argyle, while he had only about fifty horse to oppose to twelve hundred. Yet, with this immense disparity, he resolved to await the attack of the enemy, judging it inexpedient from the want of cavalry, to become the assailant by descending into the plain where Argyle’s army was encamped. He might have thrown a large body of his troops into the castle of Fyvie and stood a siege, but as such a mode of defence did not suit his views, and was considered by him inconsistent with his own military reputation, and the splendour of his victories, he disdained to adopt such a course. His plan was this: On a rugged eminence behind the castle of Fyvie, on the uneven sides of which several ditches had been cut and dikes built to serve as farm fences, Montrose drew up his little but intrepid host; but before he had marked out the positions to be occupied by his divisions, he had the misfortune to witness the desertion of a small body of the Gordons, who had joined him at Strathbogie. They, however, did not join Argyle, but contented themselves with withdrawing altogether from the scene of ensuing action. It is probable, that they came to the determination of retiring, not from cowardice but from disinclination to appear in the field against Lord Lewis Gordon, who held a high command in Argyle’s army.
The secession of the Gordons, though in reality a circumstance of trifling importance in itself, (for had they remained, they would have fought unwillingly, and consequently might not have had sufficient resolution to maintain the position which would have been assigned them,) had a disheartening influence upon the spirits of Montrose’s men, and accordingly they found themselves unable to resist the first shock of Argyle’s numerous forces, who, charging them with great impetuosity, drove them up the eminence, of a considerable part of which Argyle’s army got possession. In this critical conjuncture, when terror and despair seemed about to obtain the mastery over hearts to which fear had hitherto been a stranger, Montrose displayed a coolness and presence of mind equal to the dangers which surrounded him. Animating them by his presence, and by the example which he showed, in risking his person in the hottest of the fight, he roused their courage by putting them further in mind of the victories they had achieved, and how greatly superior they were in bravery to the enemy opposed to them. After this emphatic appeal to their feelings, Montrose turned to Colonel O’Kean, a young Irish gentleman, highly respected by Montrose for his bravery, and desired him, with an air of the most perfect sang froid, to go down with such men as were readiest, and to drive these fellows, (meaning Argyle’s men,) out of the ditches, that they might be no more troubled with them. O’Kean quickly obeyed the mandate, and though the party in the ditches was greatly superior to the body he led, and was, moreover, supported by some horse, he drove them away, and captured several bags of powder which they left behind them in their hurry to escape. This was a valuable acquisition, as Montrose’s men had spent already almost the whole of their ammunition. A curious observation made by one of OʻKean’s men upon getting hold of the bags of powder has been related. Finding that the enemy had left no ball, he exclaimed, “What! have they left no ball? but we must take them afterwards from these niggardly rascals.”
While O’Kean was executing this brilliant affair, Montrose observed five troops of horse, under the earl of Lothian, preparing to attack his fifty horse who were posted a little way up the eminence, with a small wood in their rear. He, therefore, without a moment’s delay, ordered a party of musketeers to their aid, who, having interlined themselves with the fifty horse, kept up such a galling fire upon Lothian’s troopers, that before they had advanced half way across a field which lay between them and Montrose’s horse, they were obliged to wheel about and gallop off.
Montrose’s men became so elated with their success that they could scarcely be restrained from leaving their ground and making a general attack upon the whole of Argyle’s army; but although Montrose did not approve of this design, he disguised his opinion and seemed rather to concur in the views of his men, telling them, however, to be so far mindful of their duty as to wait till he should see the fit moment for ordering the attack. Argyle remained till the evening without attempting any thing farther, and then retired to a distance of about three miles across the Spey; his men passed the night under arms. The only person of note killed in these skirmishes, was Captain Keith, brother of the Earl Marshall.
Next day Argyle resolved to attack Montrose with the view of driving him from his position. He was induced to come to this determination from a report which had reached him that Montrose’s army was almost destitute of ammunition, a report, by the by, too well founded; but, on arriving at the bottom of the hill, he changed his resolution, not judging it safe, from the experience of the preceding day, to hazard an attack. Montrose, on the other hand, agreeably to his original plan, kept his ground, as he did not deem it adviseable to expose his men to the enemy’s cavalry by descending from the eminence. With the exception of some trifling skirmishes between the advanced posts, the main body of both armies remained quiescent during the whole day. To supply his want of shot, Montrose melted down all the pewter dishes he could collect, including a certain utensil, in reference to which, one of his men, after discharging his musket, jocularly said, “I have certainly broke one traitor’s face with a ch— p—.”16
Argyle again retired in the evening to the ground he had occupied the preceding night, whence he returned the following day, part of which was spent in the same manner as the former; but long before the day had expired, he led off his army, “upon fair day light,” says Spalding, “to a considerable distance, leaving Montrose to effect his escape unmolested.” A more remarkable instance of utter imbecility, or rather pusillanimity, than that exhibited in the conduct of Argyle on the present occasion, it is scarcely possible to conceive; and it seems surprising that, after thus incurring “disgrace among his friends, and contempt from his enemies,” he should have still been allowed to retain a command for which he was evidently altogether unfitted.
Montrose, thus left to follow any course he pleased, marched off after night-fall towards Strathbogie, plundering Turriff and Rothiemay house in his route. He selected Strathbogie as the place of his retreat, on account of the ruggedness of the country and of the numerous dikes with which it was intersected, which would prevent the operations of Argyle’s cavalry, and where he intended to remain till joined by Macdonald, whom he daily expected from the Highlands with a reinforcement. When Argyle heard of Montrose’s departure on the following morning, being the last day of October, he, forthwith, proceeded after him with his army, thinking to bring him to action in the open country, and encamped at Tullochbeg on the second of November, where he drew out his army in battle array. He endeavoured to bring Montrose to a general engagement, and in order to draw him from a favourable position he was preparing to occupy, Argyle sent out a skirmishing party of his Highlanders; but they were soon repulsed, and Montrose took possession of the ground he had selected.
Baffled in all his attempts to overcome Montrose by force of arms, Argyle, whose talents were more fitted for the intrigues of the cabinet than the tactics of the field, had now recourse to negotiation, with the view of effecting the ruin of his antagonist. For this purpose he proposed a cessation of arms, and that he and Montrose should hold a conference previous to which arrangements should be entered into for their mutual security. Montrose knew Argyle too well to place any reliance upon his word, and as he had no doubt that Argyle would take advantage, during the proposed cessation, to tamper with his men, and endeavour to withdraw then from their allegiance, he called a council of war, and proposed to retire without delay to the Highlands. The council at once approved of this suggestion, whereupon Montrose resolved to march next night as far as Badenoch; and that his army might be able to accomplish such a long journey within the time fixed, he immediately sent off all his heavy baggage under a guard, and ordered his men to keep themselves prepared as if to fight a battle the next day.17 Scarcely, however, had the carriages and heavy baggage been despatched, when an event took place which greatly disconcerted Montrose. This was nothing less than the desertion of his friend Colonel Sibbald and some of his officers, who went over to the enemy. They were accompanied by Sir William Forbes of Craigievar, who, having been unable to fulfil the condition on which he was to obtain his ultimate liberation, had returned two or three days before to Montrose’s camp. This distressing occurrence induced Montrose to postpone his march for a time, as he was quite certain that the deserters would communicate his plans to Argyle. Ordering, therefore, back the baggage he had sent off, he resumed his former position in which he remained four days, as if he there intended to take up his winter quarters.
In the meantime Montrose bad the mortification to witness the defection of almost the whole of his officers, who were very numerous, for, with the exception of the Irish and Highlanders, they outnumbered the privates from the Lowlands. The bad example which had been set by Sibbald, the intimate friend of Montrose, and the insidious promises of preferment held out to them by Argyle, induced some, whose loyalty was questionable, to adopt this course; but the idea of the privations to which they would be exposed in traversing, during winter, among frost and snow, the dreary and dangerous regions of the Highlands, shook the constancy of others, who, in different circumstances, would have willingly exposed their lives for their sovereign. Bad health, inability to undergo the fatigue of long and constant marches – these and other excuses were made to Montrose as the reasons for craving a discharge from a service which had now become more hazardous than ever. Montrose made no remonstrance, but with looks of high disdain which betrayed the inward workings of a proud and unsubdued mind, indignant at being thus abandoned at such a dangerous crisis, readily complied with the request of every man who asked permission to retire. The earl of Airly, now sixty years of age and in precarious health, and his two sons, Sir Thomas, and Sir David, out of all the Lowlanders, alone remained faithful to Montrose, and could, on no account, be prevailed upon to abandon him. Among others who left Montrose on this occasion, was Sir Nathaniel Gordon, who, it is said, went over to Argyle’s camp in consequence of a concerted plan between him and Montrose, for the purpose of detaching Lord Lewis Gordon from the cause of the covenanters, a conjecture which seems to have originated in the subsequent conduct of Sir Nathaniel and Lord Lewis, who joined Montrose the following year.
Montrose, now abandoned by all his Lowland friends, prepared for his march, preparatory to which, he sent off his baggage as formerly; and after lighting some fires for the purpose of deceiving the enemy, took his departure on the evening of the sixth of November, and arrived about break of day at Balveny. After remaining a few days there to refresh his men, he proceeded through Badenoch, and descended by rapid marches into Athole, where he was joined by Macdonald and John Muidartach, the captain of the Clanranald, the latter of whom brought five hundred of his men along with them. He was also reinforced by some small parties from the neighbouring Highlands, whom Macdonald had induced to follow him.
In the meantime Argyle, after giving orders to his Highlanders to return home, went himself to Edinburgh where he “got but small thanks for his service against Montrose.”18 Although the Committee of Estates, out of deference, approved of his conduct, which some of his flatterers considered deserving of praise because he “had shed no blood;”19 yet all impartial persons had formed a very different estimate of his character, during a campaign which had been as inglorious to himself as humiliating to the cause which he had endeavoured to support. Confident of success, the heads of the covenanters looked upon the first efforts of Montrose in the light of a desperate and forlorn attempt, rashly and in considerately undertaken, and which they expected would be speedily put down; but the results of the battles of Tippermuir, Aberdeen, and Fyvie, gave a new direction to their thoughts, and the royalists, hitherto contemned, began now to be dreaded and respected. In allusion to the present “posture of affairs,” it is observed by Guthry, that “many who had formerly been violent, began to talk moderately of business, and what was most taken notice of, was the lukewarmness of many amongst the ministry, who now in their preaching had began to abate much of their former zeal.”20 The early success of Montrose had indeed caused some misgivings in the minds of the covenanters; but as they all hoped that Argyle would change the tide of war, they showed no disposition to relax in their severities towards those who were suspected of favouring the cause of the king. The signal failure, however, of Argyle’s expedition, and his return to the capital, quite changed, as we have seen, the aspect of affairs, and many of those who had been most sanguine in their calculations regarding the result of the struggle, began now to waver and to doubt.
While Argyle was passing his time in Edinburgh, Montrose was meditating a terrible blow at Argyle himself to revenge the cruelties he had exercised upon the royalists, and to give confidence to the clans in Argyle’s neighbourhood, who had been hitherto prevented from joining Montrose’s standard from a dread of Argyle, who having always a body of five or six thousand Highlanders at command, had kept them in such complete subjection that they dared not, without the risk of absolute ruin, espouse the cause of their sovereign. It is said that Montrose intended at first to have transferred the seat of war at once to the Lowlands, where he expected to be better able to support his troops during winter, but that he was induced to give up this plan by Macdonald and the captain of Clanranald, who, having a strong dislike at Argyle, advised him to invade the territory of their common enemy. Nothing could be more gratifying to Montrose’s followers than his resolution to carry the war into Argyle’s country, as they would thus have an ample opportunity of retaliating upon him and his retainers the injuries which, for a course of years, they had inflicted upon the supporters of royalty in the adjoining countries, many of whom had been ruined by Argyle. The idea of curbing the power of a haughty and domineering chief whose very word was a law to the inhabitants of an extensive district, ready to obey his cruel mandates at all times, and the spirit of revenge, the predominating characteristic of the clans, smoothed the difficulties which presented themselves in invading a country made almost inaccessible by nature, and rendered still more unapproachable by the severities of winter. The determination of Montrose having thus met with a willing response in the breasts of his men, he lost no time in putting them in motion. Dividing his army into two parts, he himself marched with the main body, consisting of the Irish and the Athole-men, to Loch Tay, whence he proceeded through Breadalbane. The other body, composed of the Clan-Donald and other Highlanders, he despatched by a different route, with instructions to meet him at an assigned spot on the borders of Argyle. The country through which both divisions passed, being chiefly in possession of Argyle’s kinsmen or dependants, was laid waste by them, and particularly the lands of Campbell of Glenorchy.
When Argyle heard of the ravages committed by Montrose’s army on the lands of bis kinsmen, he hastened home from Edinburgh to his castle at Inverary, and gave orders for the assembling of his clan, either to repel any attack that might be made on his own country, or to protect his friends from future aggression. It is by no means certain that he anticipated an invasion from Montrose, particularly at such a season of the year, and he seemed to imagine himself so secure from attack, owing to the intricacy of the passes leading into Argyle, that although a mere handful of men could have effectually opposed an army much larger than that of Montrose, he took no precautions to guard them So important indeed did he himself consider these passes to be, that he had frequently declared that he would rather forfeit a hundred thousand crowns, than that an enemy should know the passes by which an armed force could penetrate into Argyle.21
While thus reposing in fancied security in his impregnable strong hold, and issuing his mandates for levying his forces, some shepherds arrived in great terror from the hills, and brought him the alarming intelligence, that the enemy whom he had imagined were about a hundred miles distant, were within two miles of his own dwelling. Terrified at the unexpected appearance of Montrose, whose vengeance he justly dreaded, he had barely self-possession left to concert measures for his own personal safety by taking refuge on board a fishing boat in Loch Fyne, in which he sought his way to the Lowlands, leaving his people and country exposed to the merciless will of an enemy thirsting for revenge. The inhabitants of Argyle being thus basely abandoned by their chief, made no attempt to oppose Montrose, who, the more effectually to carry his plan for pillaging and ravaging the country into execution, divided his army into three parties, each under the respective orders of the captain of Clanranald, Macdonald, and himself. For up wards of six weeks, viz. from the thirteenth of December, sixteen hundred and forty-four, till nearly the end of January following, these different bodies traversed the whole country without molestation, burning, wasting, and destroying every thing which came within their reach; villages and cottages, furniture, grain, and effects of every description were made a prey to the devouring element of fire. The cattle which they did not succeed in driving off were either mutilated or slaughtered, and the whole of Argyle as well as the district of Lorn soon became a dreary waste. Nor were the people themselves spared, for although it is mentioned by one writer, that Montrose “shed no blood in regard that all the people (following their Lord’s laudable example) delivered them selves by flight also,”22 it is evident from several contemporary authors that the slaughter must have been immense.23 One of these24 says, that Montrose spared none that were able to bear arms, and that he put to death all the men who were going to the rendezvous appointed by Argyle. Probably the eight hundred and ninety-five persons mentioned by the author of the Red Book of Clanranald, as having been killed by the party of Clanranald without opposition, may be those alluded to by Wishart. In fact, before the end of January, the face of a single male inhabitant was not to be seen throughout the whole extent of Argyle and Lorn, the whole population having been either driven out of these districts, or taken refuge in dens and caves known only to them selves.
Having thus retaliated upon Argyle and his people in a tenfold degree the miseries which he had occasioned in Lochaber and the adjoining countries, Montrose left Argyle and Lorn, passing through Glencoe and Lochaber on his way to Lochness. On his march eastwards he was joined by the laird of Abergeldie, the Farquharsons of the Braes of Mar, and by a party of the Gordons. The object of Montrose, by this movement, was to seize Inverness, which was then only protected by two regiments, in the expectation that its capture would operate as a stimulus to the northern clans, who had not yet declared themselves. This resolution was by no means altered on reaching the head of Lochness, where he learned that the earl of Seaforth was advancing to meet him with an army of five thousand horse and foot, collected from Moray, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness, including the veteran garrison of Inverness, and the clan of the Frasers. Although Montrose had only at this time about fifteen hundred men, in consequence of the temporary absence of the Highlanders, who, according to custom, were occupied in securing at home the booty which they had acquired in Argyle, he resolved to encounter Seaforth’s army, which, with the exception of the two regular regiments, was composed of raw and undisciplined levies.
While proceeding, however, through Abertarf, a person arrived in great haste at Kilcummin, the present Fort Augustus, who brought him the surprising intelligence that Argyle had entered Lochaber with an army of three thousand men; that he was burning and laying waste the country, and that his head quarters were at the old castle of Inverlochy. After Argyle had effected his escape from Inverary, he had gone to Dumbarton, where he remained till Montrose’s departure from his territory. While there, a body of covenanting troops, who had served in England, arrived under the command of Major-General Baillie, for the purpose of assisting Argyle in expelling Montrose from his bounds; but on learning that Montrose had left Argyle, and was marching through Glencoe and Lochaber, General Baillie, instead of proceeding into Argyle for the purpose of following Montrose, determined to lead his army in an easterly direction through the Lowlands, with the intention of intercepting Montrose, should he attempt a descent. At the same time it was arranged between Baillie and Argyle, that the latter, who had now recovered from his panic, in consequence of Montrose’s departure, should return to Argyle and collect his men from their hiding places and retreats; but as it was not improbable that Montrose might renew his visit, the Committee of Estates allowed Baillie to place eleven hundred of his men at the disposal of Argyle, who, as soon as he was able to muster his men, was to follow Montrose’s rear, yet so as to avoid an engagement, till Baillie, who, on hearing of Argyle’s advance into Lochaber, was to march suddenly across the Grampians, should attack Montrose in front. To assist him in levying and organizing his clan, Argyle called over Campbell of Auchinbreck, his kinsman, from Ireland, who had considerable reputation as a military commander. In terms of his instructions, therefore, Argyle had entered Lochaber, and had advanced as far as Inverlochy, when, as we have seen, the news of his arrival was brought to Montrose.
Montrose was at first almost disinclined to believe, from the well known character of Argyle, the truth of this intelligence, but being fully assured of its correctness from the apparent sincerity of his in former, he lost not a moment in making up his mind as to the course he should pursue. He might have instantly marched back upon Argyle by the route he had just followed; but as Argyle would thus get due notice of his approach, and prepare himself for the danger which threatened him, Montrose resolved upon a different plan. The design he conceived could only have originated in the mind of such a daring and enterprising commander as Montrose, before whose towering genius difficulties, hitherto deemed insurmountable, at once disappeared. The idea of carrying an army over dangerous and precipitous mountains, whose wild and frowning aspect seemed to forbid the approach of human footsteps, and in the middle of winter too, when the formidable perils of the journey were greatly increased by the snow which had obliterated the faint tracks of the wild deer and adventurous hunter, and filled up many a dangerous chasm, however chimerical it might have seemed to other men, appeared quite practicable to Montrose, whose sanguine anticipations of the advantages to be derived from such an extraordinary exploit, more than counterbalanced in his mind the risks to be encountered.
The distance between the place where Montrose received the news of Argyle’s arrival, and Inverlochy, is about thirty miles; but this distance was considerably increased by the devious track which Montrose followed. Marching along the small river Tarf in a southerly direction, he crossed the hills of Lairie Thierard, passed through Glenroy, and after traversing the range of mountains between the Glen and Ben Nevis, he arrived in Glennevis before Argyle had the least notice of his approach. Before setting out on his march, Montrose had taken the wise precaution of placing guards upon the common road leading to Inverlochy, to prevent intelligence of his movements being carried to Argyle, and he had killed such of Argyle’s scouts as he had fallen in with in the course of his march. This fatiguing and unexampled journey had been performed in little more than a night and a day, and when, in the course of the evening Montrose’s men arrived in Glennevis, they found themselves so weary and exhausted that they could not venture to attack the enemy. They therefore lay under arms all night, and refreshed themselves, as they best could, till next morning. As the night was uncommonly clear and enlightened by the moon, the advanced posts of both armies kept up a small fire of musketry during the night, which led to no result.
In the meantime Argyle, after committing his army to the charge of his cousin Campbell of Auchinbreck, had the dastardliness to abandon his men, by going, during the night, on board a boat in the loch, accompanied by Sir John Wauchope of Niddry, Sir James Rollock of Duncrub, Archibald Sydserf, one of the bailies of Edinburgh, and Mungo Law, a minister of the same city. Argyle excused himself for this pusillanimous act, by alleging his incapacity to enter the field of battle, in consequence of some contusions he had received by a fall, two or three weeks before; but, his enemies averred, that cowardice was the real motive which induced him to take refuge in his galley, from which he witnessed the defeat and destruction of his army.
It would appear, that it was not until the morning of the battle, that Argyle’s men were aware that it was the army of Montrose that was present, as they considered it quite impossible, that he should have been able to bring his forces across the mountains, and they imagined, that the body before them consisted of some of the inhabitants of the country, who had collected to defend their properties, But they were undeceived, when, in the dawn of the morning, the warlike sound of Montrose’s trumpets, resounding through the glen where they lay, and reverberating from the adjoining hills, broke upon their ears. This served as the signal to both armies to prepare for battle. Montrose drew out his army in an extended line. The right wing consisted of a regiment of Irish, under the command of Macdonald, his major-general; the centre was composed of the Athole-men, the Stuarts of Appin, and the Macdonalds of Glencoe, and other Highlanders, severally under the command of Clanranald, McLean, and Glengary; and the left wing consisted of some Irish, at the head of whom was the brave Colonel O’Kean. A body of Irish was placed behind the main body as a reserve, under the command of Colonel James McDonald, alias O’Neill. The general of Argyle’s army formed it in a similar manner. The Lowland forces were equally divided, and formed the wings, between which the Highlanders were placed. Upon a rising ground, behind this line, General Campbell drew up a reserve of Highlanders, and placed a field piece. Within the house of Inverlochy, which was only about a pistol shot from the place where the army was formed, he planted a body of forty or fifty men to protect the place, and to annoy Montrose’s men with discharges of musquetry.25 The account given by Gordon of Sallagh, that Argyle had transported the half of his army over the water at Inverlochy, under the command of Auchinbreck, and that Montrose defeated this division, while Argyle was prevented from relieving it with the other division, from the intervention of “an arm of the sea, that was interjected betwixt them and him,”26 is certainly erroneous, for the circumstance is not mentioned by any other writer of the period, and it is well known, that Argyle abandoned his army, and witnessed its destruction from his galley, – circumstances, which Gordon altogether over looks.
It was at sunrise, on Sunday, the second day of February, in the year sixteen hundred and forty-five, that Montrose, after having formed his army in battle array, gave orders to his men to advance upon the enemy. The left wing of Montrose’s army, under the command of O’Kean, was the first to commence the attack, by charging the enemy’s right. This was immediately followed by a furious assault upon the centre and left wing of Argyle’s army, by Montrose’s right wing and centre. Argyle’s right wing not being able to resist the attack of Montrose’s left, turned about and fled, which circumstance had such a discouraging effect on the remainder of Argyle’s troops, that after discharging their muskets, the whole of them, including the reserve, took to their heels. The route now became general. An attempt was made by a body of about two hundred of the fugitives, to throw themselves into the castle of Inverlochy, but a party of Montrose’s horse prevented them. Some of the flying enemy directed their course along the side of Loch-Eil, but all these were either killed or drowned in the pursuit. The greater part, however, fled towards the hills in the direction of Argyle, and were pursued by Montrose’s men, to the distance of about eight miles. As no resistance was made by the defeated party in their flight, the carnage was very great, being reckoned at fifteen hundred men, or about the half of Argyle’s army. Many more would have been cut off had it not been for the humanity of Montrose, who did every thing in his power to save the unresisting enemy from the fury of his men, who were not disposed to give quarter to the unfortunate Campbells. Having taken the castle, Montrose not only treated the officers, who were from the Lowlands, with kindness, but gave them their liberty on parole.
Among the principal persons who fell on Argyle’s side, were the commander, Campbell of Auchinbreck, Campbell of Lochnell, the eldest son of Lochnell, and his brother, Colin; McDougall of Rara and his eldest son; Major Menzies, brother to the laird, (or Prior as he was called) of Achattens Parbreck; and the provost of the church of Kilmun. The chief prisoners were the lairds of Parbreck, Silvercraig, Innerea, Lamont, St. McDonald in Kintyre, the young laird of Glensaddel, the goodman of Pynmoir, the son of the captain of Dunstaffnage, Lieutenant-Colonels Roche and Cockburn, Captains Stewart, Murray, Hume, and Stirling, Robert Cleland, alias Clydson, and MacDougall, a preacher. The loss on the side of Montrose was extremely trifling. The number of wounded is indeed not stated, but he had only three privates killed. He sustained, however, a severe loss in Sir Thomas Ogilvie, son of the earl of Airly, who died a few days after the battle, of a wound he received in the thigh. Montrose regretted the death of this stedfast friend and worthy man, with feelings of real sorrow, and caused his body to be interred in Athole with due solemnity.27 Montrose immediately after the battle sent a messenger to the king with a letter, giving an account of it, at the conclusion of which he exultingly says to Charles, “give me leave, after I have reduced this country, and conquered from Dan to Beersheba, to say to your Majesty, As David’s general to his master, come thou thyself, lest this country be called by my name.” When the king received this letter, the royal and parliamentary commissioners were sitting at Uxbridge negotiating the terms of a peace; but Charles was induced by this imprudent letter to break off the negotiation, a circumstance which led to his ruin.
1 Wishart, p. 84. – Guthry, p. 129.
2 Spalding, vol. ii. p. 263.
3 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 264.
4 Wishart, p. 89.
5 Spalding, vol. ii. p. 264.
6 Memoirs, p. 131.
7 Wishart, p. 91.
8 Continuation, p. 527.
9 Spalding, vol. ii. p. 270.
10 Spalding, vol. ii. p. 271.
11 Ibid. p. 271.
12 Wishart, p. 94.
13 October 4, 1644.
14 Guthry, p. 231.
15 Troubles, vol. ii. p. 277.
16 Wishart, p. 100.
17 Wishart, p. 102.
18 Spalding, vol. II. p. 287.
19 Guthry, p. 134.
20 Memoirs, pp. 134-5.
21 Wishart, p. 107.
22 Guthry, p. 136.
23 Spalding, vol. II. p. 294, Wishart, p. 108 – Red Book of Clanranald, MS.
24 Wishart I.
25 Spalding, vol. II. p. 295.
26 Continuation, p. 522.
27 Spalding, vol. ii. p. 29-6. – Wishart, p. 111, et seq. – Guthry, p. 140.
6 thoughts on “Chapter XVI., pp.342-364.”