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CHAP. was, at that time, prisoner with the enemy. He LVIII. attacked at Aberdeen the Lord Burley, who commanded a force of 2500 men. After a sharp combat, by his undaunted courage, which, in his situation, was true policy, and was also not unaccompanied with military skill, he put the enemy to flight, and in the pursuit did great execution upon them.b
BUT by this second advantage he obtained not the end which he expected. The envious nature of Huntley, jealous of Montrose's glory, rendered him averse to join an army, where he himself must be so much eclipsed by the superior merit of the general. Argyle, reinforced by the earl of Lothian, was behind him with a great army: The militia of the northern counties, Murray, Ross, Caithness, to the number of 5000 men, opposed him in front, and guarded the banks of the Spey, a deep and rapid river. In order to elude these numerous armies, he turned aside into the hills, and saved his weak, but active troops, in Badenoch. After some marches and counter-marches, Argyle came up with him at Faivy-castle. This nobleman's character, though celebrated for political courage and conduct, was very low for military prowess; and after some skirmishes, in which he was worsted, he here allowed Montrose to escape him. By quick marches through these inaccessible mountains, that general freed himself from the superior forces of the covenanters.
SUCH was the situation of Montrose, that very good or very ill fortune was equally destructive to him, and diminished his army. After every victory, his soldiers, greedy of spoil, but deeming the smallest acquisition to be unexhausted riches, deserted in great numbers, and went home to secure the treasures which they had acquired. Tired too, and spent with hasty and long marches, in the depth of winter, through snowy mountains, unprovided with
11th of Sept. 1644. Rush. vol. vi. p. 983. Wishart, cap. 7. 5
every necessary, they fell off, and left their CHAP.
WITH these, and some reinforcements of the Atholemen and Macdonalds whom he had recalled, Montrose fell suddenly upon Argyle's country, and let loose upon it all the rage of war; carrying off the cattle, burning the houses and putting the inhabitants to the sword. This severity, by which Montrose sullied his victories, was the result of private animosity against the chieftain, as much as of zeal for the public cause. Argyle, collecting three thousand men, marched in quest of the enemy, who had retired with their plunder; and he lay at Innerlochy, supposing himself still at a considerable distance from them. The earl of Seaforth, at the head of the garrison of Inverness, who were veteran soldiers, joined to 5000 new-levied troops of the northern counties, pressed the royalists on the other side, and threatened them with inevitable destruction. By a quick and unexpected march, Montrose hastened to Innerlochy, and presented himself in order of battle before the surprised, but not af frightened, covenanters. Argyle alone, seized with a panic, deserted his army, who still maintained their ground, and gave battle to the royalists. After a vigorous resistance they were defeated, and pur- 2d Feb. sued with great slaughter. And the power of the Campbells (that is Argyle's name) being thus broken; the Highlanders, who were in general well affected to the royal cause, began to join Montrose's camp in great numbers. Seaforth's army dispersed of itself, at the very terror of his name. And lord Gordon, eldest son of Huntley, having escaped from his uncle Argyle, who had hitherto detained him, now joined Montrose with no contemptible num
< Rush. vol. vi. p. 985. Wishart, cap. 8. VOL. VII.
CHAP. ber of his followers, attended by his brother, the earl of Aboine.
THE Council at Edinburgh, alarmed at Montrose's progress, began to think of a more regular plan of defence against an enemy, whose repeated victories had rendered him extremely formidable. They sent for Baillie, an officer of reputation, from England; and joining him in command with Urrey, who had again enlisted himself among the king's enemies, they sent them to the field, with à considerable army, against the royalists. Montrose, with a detachment of 800 men, had attacked Dundee, a town extremely zealous for the covenant; and having carried it by assault, had delivered it up to be plundered by his soldiers; when Baillie and Urrey, with their whole force, were unexpectedly upon him. His conduct and presence of mind, in this emergence, appeared conspicuous. Instantly he called off his soldiers from plunder, put them in order, secured his retreat by the most skilful measures; and having marched sixty miles in the face of an enemy much superior, without stopping, or allowing his soldiers the least sleep or refreshment, he at last secured himself in the mountains.
BAILLIE and Urrey now divided their troops, in order the better to conduct the war against an enemy, who surprised them, as much by the rapidity of his marches, as by the boldness of his enterprises. Urrey, at the head of 4000 men, met him at Alderne, near Inverness; and, encouraged by the superiority of number (for the covenanters were double the royalists), attacked him in the post which he had chosen. Montrose, having placed his right wing in strong ground, drew the best of his forces to the other, and left no main body between them; a defect which he artfully concealed, by shewing a few men through the trees and bushes, with which
d-Rush. vol. vii, p. 228. Wishart, cap. 9.
which that ground was covered. That Urrey might C H A P. have no leisure to perceive the stratagem, he instantly led his left wing to the charge; and making a furious impression upon the covenanters, drove them off the field, and gained a complete victory. In this battle, the valour of young Napier, son to the lord of that name, shone out with signal lustre.
BAILLIE now advanced, in order to revenge Urrey's discomfiture; but, at Alford, he met, himself, with a like fate. Montrose, weak in cavalry, here lined his troops of horse with infantry; and after putting the enemy's horse to rout, fell with united force upon their foot, who were entirely cut in pieces, though with the loss of the gallant lord Gordon on the part of the royalists. And having thus prevailed in so many battles, which his vigour ever rendered as decisive as they were successful, he summoned together all his friends and partisans, and prepared himself for marching into the southern provinces, in order to put a final period to the power of the covenanters, and dissipate the parliament, which, with great pomp and solemnity, they had summoned to meet at St. Johnstone's.
WHILE the fire was thus kindled in the north of the island, it blazed out with no less fury in the south: The parliamentary and royal armies, as soon as the season would permit, prepared to take the field, in hopes of bringing their important quarrel to a quick decision. The passing of the self-denying ordinance had been protracted by so many debates and intrigues, that the spring was far advanced before it received the sanction of both houses; and it was thought dangerous by many to introduce, so near the time of action, such great innovations into the army. Had not the punctilious principles
12d of July.
CHAP. of Essex engaged him, amidst all the disgusts which
del of the army.
ment; this alteration had not been effected without
THOUGH the discipline of the former parliamen-
NEVER surely was a more singular army assembled, than that which was now set on foot by the parliament. To the greater number of the regiments, chaplains
Rush. vol. vii. p. 126, 127.