Monro His Expedition - The third duty discharged of our March from the Weser towards Boizenburg on the Elbe.

The third duty discharged of our March from the Weser towards Boizenburg on the Elbe.

Having thus remained the space of ten weeks under the command of General Morgan on the Weser side, we got orders to break up, and to continue our march over the Elbe under Hamburg, and from thence, toward Boizenburg Skonce, to join with the rest of our regiment, the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel being absent, Major James Dumbar commanded then in chief, receiving all necessaries fitting for our march, as ammunition; proviant, and wagons, for our baggage, our sick soldiers being cared for, were left behind, and we broke up from the Weser the tenth of July 1627, a regiment of horse being commanded with us for our convoy to the Elbe, the first night we quartered at Rotenburg a strong pass, having a great marsh on both sides, accessible only by one narrow causeway which leads through the marsh to the castle, which is well fenced on both sides with moats, drawbridges, and slaught-booms, without all.

The next day our march continuing, in the morning our fore-troops having gotten alarm retired on us, whereupon we drawing into battle, resolved to fight, and provided ourselves accordingly for the enemies' coming, which being found, but a false conception, nothing followed on it, but the continuance of our march, without further interruption.

The next night we lying in quarters, our guards orderly disposed, before day we had another alarm, our duty duly discharged of all, both horse and foot, if the enemy had come we were provided; But the alarm proving false, we broke up, continuing our march toward Buxtehude appointed for our first rendezvous: where we were commanded to send to his Majesty at Stade, for receiving of further orders, and a company of horse being directed with me, for my convoy, I was made choice of, to go to his Majesty for bringing orders unto the regiment. His Majesty being absent, orders were given to me by a general commissary to continue our march thorough Buxtehude and to quarter overnight in the old land by the Elbe side, till the next day we should cross the River of the Elbe at Blankenese, and from thence to march by Hamburg through their territories, and pass towards Lauenburg, where we quartered a mile from it, continuing our march the next morning towards Boizenburg, where we quartered in the fields, for five nights, till we knew of his Majesty's further resolution.

The third Observation.

All marches are occasioned by the accidents of the warfare. The reason of this march was the enemies' army drawing strong to a head in Lüneburg land, of intention to force a passage over the Elbe to come the easier to Holstein: his Majesty being weak of foot in this quarter, having no great fear of his enemy on the Weser, where we lay before we were therefore called to join with the rest of our regiment at Boizenburg. Another reason of this march was, the King's forces in Silesia being also weak of foot, standing in great need of a timely supply, we being able to endure a long march, his Majesty resolved after besetting well the pass on the Elbe, to send us for a supply unto the Silesian army: Nevertheless many times we see in wars, though things be long advised on, and prosecuted after advice duly, yet the event doth not always answer to man's conjectures: For it is a true old saying; Man proposeth, but God disposeth.

A commander having the charge of a regiment, or party, on a march, ought in all respects to be as careful and diligent as a general, that leads an army, being subject to the like inconvenience of fortune. Wherefore he ought to be well provided of all things fitting for his march, that, in time of rencounter with the enemy, he might the better discharge his duty, especially being provided with good store of ammunition, both for the mouth and service, with sufficient fix arms.

He ought also, for his march ever to have good intelligence, lest his enemy should circumvent him. He ought also to order his march, according to the country's situation he marches thorough, appointing his rendezvous nightly, short, or long, as his quarters may fall in best security.

He ought also to keep his officers and soldiers in continual good order of discipline, without suffering the one, or the other to fall off from their stations, without great and urgent occasions; and if any of them chance to fall off, he is obliged to foresee to their timely returns.

Likewise he ought not in any manner of way suffer violence to be used to boors, or strangers in his march, and if such doth happen, he is obliged to do justice to all, and to see exemplary punishment done, to terrify others from the like. He ought also, to be careful to give none under his command just occasion of complaint, for want of their dues, either in quarters, or in distributing of their victuals, according to their strengths. He ought also on his march to be provident, in causing to bring their proviant timely to their rendezvous, or halts; seeing it to be rightly distributed, for avoiding of contentions happening most commonly at such times.

Also he must foresee before he makes a halt, that the ground be convenient where he draws up, whether he be in fear of an enemy, or not; and at such times, he must be careful, that sentries be duly placed, at all parts needful, and that no man be suffered to wander, or go astray, from the halting part, for fear he be to seek, when occasion should present either to break up, to march, or otherwise, in case of alarm, to have his officers, or soldiers wandering, while as the enemy should charge, were a gross error.

Likewise, he ought to be of strict command, and authority to punish those that on a march leave their arms behind them, or that are careless in keeping their arms both fix, and clean. In quartering either in village, field or city, he must give orders for his posts to keep guards upon, and he ought himself to recognize all avenues, and inquire of the known countrymen, the passes, whereby his enemies may come unto him, and of the distance he is from his enemy; he must also direct parties on all quarters of horsemen to get intelligence, and conceit of his enemy, lest unawares he should be surprised.

Likewise at his upbreaking from quarters, he should take notice of all complaints, and do justice accordingly: And he should have a special care of the sick, either to transport them, or to foresee for their good usage, in case necessity, or weakness force him to leave them behind. He ought also, to foresee before he march for his guides and to give charge to keep them from running away; and he ought to learn of the guide the inconveniences on the way that may be hindersome unto his march, that timely he might provide a remedy. His guide should also know how far to go, that when he comes his length, he may timely provide for another. He ought also to learn the best way for his baggage, and ammunition to march on, and in case of suspected danger, he ought to ordain a guard of musketeers with a sufficient officer to command for their convoy, and if it be such way, as that on occasion his ammunition cannot be steadable unto him, in such a case he must not part from his ammunition wagons; but rather to keep one way, though it should be far about.

He ought never for pastime, or pleasure, on a suspected march near an enemy, to go from the sight of his troops; for fear he should be absent in greatest need, or that some misfortune might happen between those he commands himself, or against others incurring in their ways. If occasion of service offer, he must never be dejected, but to encourage ever his own most in the greatest extremity, showing testimonies of his inward valour and settledness of mind, by his by-past experience, testifying he is no novice, not taking counsel of others, when he is with resolution to rencounter a brave enemy.

He must be of judgment to consider on the sudden his enemies' design, and timely he ought to oppose his enemy, either with few, or with many, as he finds his best advantage, And if his enemy be too far stronger than he, he must timely resolve how to make a safe retreat, being forced thereto; preserving his soldiers, to a fitter opportunity: for once far engaged, the retreat will be the more difficult to make without great loss; He ought always to keep a good reserve of fresh, brave, resolute fellows to keep faces on their enemies, while as others should be forced to turn back on them: at such times, and in such occasions the resolution, the courage, and the judgment of a valourous commander is best known; for many can advance rashly, that have never the wit, or judgment to retire bravely, as is ordinarily seen in many such commanders, more stout, than wise. But lest I should enter too far to this purpose in this observation, for fear to be blamed myself for not retiring in time, it being a large field I entered in, let this suffice for this march of the leader's duty.

Now to retire, being quartered a mile from Lauenburg in a dorp, where the boor for fear quit his lodging, so that for want of provision we were forced to send our sutler called John Matheson, towards Lauenburg: in his absence our boys made use of his rug to cover their faces; in drowning of bee-hives, the rug being rough did lodge a number of the bees, which, when the boys had drowned the bee-hives, they threw away: The sutler coming late home we being abed, went to rest; and putting off his clothes, drew his rug to cover him, but as soon as the bees found the warmness of his skin, they began to punish him for his long stay, that he was forced roaring like a madman, to rise, and throw off his rug, not knowing (though well he felt) the smart of his sudden enemies; we called to him, asking, if he was mad: he made no answer, but still cried the devil had bewitched him, in piercing him in a thousand parts, still rubbing and scratching, crying with pain, not knowing the reason, till a candle was lighted, and seeing the bees, threw his rug in a draw-well; The gentle reader may judge whether, or not, he was punished, for his long stay. Thus Seria mista jocis.

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