Having rested here three days on the fields, till our Colonel came from Hamburg with a month's means to the regiment, our moneys paid, we got orders for a new march towards Ruppin in the Mark, where the old Markegrave von Turlaugh lay at Havelberg with a part of his Majesty's army, and the enemy lay against him on the other side of the Havel, our orders were to divide our regiment again, and to leave Major Dumbarre with four companies to beset Boizenburg Skonce, the enemies' army being then within five miles of it, ten thousand strong of foot besides horse. The other seven companies were ordained to march with the Colonel and Lieutenant colonel towards Ruppin, as said, is; we severed not without tears, both of officers and soldiers. But he that serves a master, must obey. The first night our comrades accompanied us to our quarters. The next morning our march continuing, news overtakes us, the enemy is set down before Boizenburg Skonce. In the relation of the service I must be succinct, being loath, having not seen the service, to set anything in record, but what I know to be truth, neither can I be particular in the declaration of this service done by our countrymen, though it be generally well spoken of, over all Germany, yet I must say somewhat, and if my report diminish from their credit, I protest it is not for lack of love, but for want of information.
The enemy hearing we were marched, and having gotten true intelligence how strong they lay in the skonce, he marched ten thousand strong, and lay down within a cannon shot of the skonce, and having begun his lines of approach, the first night, the Major made an out-fall, where having bravely shown their courage, and resolution, returned again without great loss.
The enemy longing to be repared of this their bravado, resolved to storm the skonce at all quarters, but finding resolution joined with valour against him, after long fighting in vain, he is beat off from the walls, and forced to retire at that time, with the loss of five hundred men at least. But having redoubled his forces the next time, sets on with greater fury than before, but is beat off the second time also, with loss; the third time he adventured, and, as was reported, the Scots defenders, as is well known, behaved themselves so well, that the enemy storming the walls, the defenders for want of powder threw sand in their enemies' eyes, knocking them down with the butts of muskets, having been divers times pell-mell through others; at last the enemy is forced to retire without effectuating anything.
Yet, gentle reader, think that at such play, the loss was not only of one side, but of both, for in defence of this skonce being so oft stormed; that ever praise-worthy Captain Learmond, brother to my Lord Balcomy, being twice shot with a musket, received death's wound, and after died at Hamburg, in perfect memory, discharging his duty Christianly to God, as he did during his life time both to God and man.
For his sake, and in remembrance of his worth and valour, the whole officers of the regiment did wear a black mourning ribbon: in this conflict also was killed his Lieutenant, called David Martin, an old, stout and expert officer: many other valourous fellows, that were there, carried the true marks of their valour imprinted in their bodies, for their country's credit. There was also, a Scottish gentleman under the enemy, who coming to scale the walls, said aloud, Have with you gentlemen, think not now you are on the streets of Edinburgh bravadoing: One of his own countrymen thrusting him through the body with pike, he ended there. This skonce so well maintained by our countrymen, is to their praise recorded at length in the Dutch story of the Dane's Wars, where the curious reader may learn more of it. The enemy finding this opportunity to fail, at another pass above this on the Elbe watched by Dutch surprising the watch, did come over the Elbe: the news coming to his Majesty, he presently sends orders in the night to Major Dumbarre, who commanded the skonce to retire, and to bring off his cannon, and to cut off the bridge, and then to come by water with his troups to Lauenburg, and to beset the Castle thereof with two companies, and to retire with the rest to Glückstadt, which accordingly was done, to their great credit.
Major Wilson being set with two companies on the castle of Lauenburg, the enemy falling down, General Tilly leading the army, coming before the castle, doth summon it to render, the Major refusing, he is besieged, the enemies' batteries having played a little on the castle, the Major parleys for accord, before the parley, General Tilly is shot through the thigh, pledges delivered, the accord agreed on, he should march out with bag and baggage, drums beating, Bale an Bouche, with a convoy granted to them to Glückstadt, the accord subscribed, but neither circumspectly nor wisely by the Major: at his out-coming his colours are taken from him, having forgot to insert them in his accord, he complaining of the breach is bidden read it, and finding it was so, was forced to march without colours to Glückstadt, where, for his over-sight, he was set from charge, with disgrace, and the company restored again to the right owner, Captain Duncan Forbesse, and incontinent Major Dumbarre, with four companies, was commanded to beset Stadt-holder Ransove his castle of Breddenburg in Holstein; the enemy having already fallen into the land. Which discourse I must now leave, and prosecute the continuance of our march towards Ruppin.
After this service the renown spread so abroad, wherever we came, that the gentry of the country were ready meeting us, providing all necessaries for us. The Duke of Weimar, the Dukes of Mecklenburg, with a number of gallant ladies, did visit us in our march, to congratulate with us the good fortune, and good service, done by our comrades. But if we should look to the outside of soldiers, these four companies were the meanest of our regiment to the outward appearance. Our march continues to Ruppin, where we were to receive further orders of General Major Slamersdorffe: our orders were to draw up in battle before the town of Ruppin, where the General Major would come, and see us, his intention being to bring the town under contribution, otherwise to fright them with inquartering of the regiment: his intention effectuated, we were led in quarters or dorps, for three days to rest us, seeing our intentions were to march unto Silesia.
The fourth Observation.
IN this observation, though the duty be suddenly discharged, we have much to amplify the observation; first, by reason of the dispute that did arise betwixt his Majesty and the Colonel, for offering to cashier some of his officers for alleged insufficiency, by the information of some malignant spirits amongst ourselves, whose names I will suppress, and the reasons also, letting some other tongue, not mine, divulge their shame. At this time also before our rising to this expedition we were discontented of the division made of our regiment, being absolutely divided by his Majesty's authority, without the consent of our Colonel, who would have been loath to have left Captain Learmond behind, that had done him so many notable good offices, and this noble gentleman of famous memory, at his leave-taking of his Colonel, my brother and me, being then his entirest comrades, with tears revealed unto us, whom he thought was the plotter of his stay, and withal did with grief in a manner foretell his own fall, alleging we should never meet again. Therefore, for the love I bare to my dear comrade, I will point at the heart of those, who had a hand in the separation of the regiment. I must therefore crave pardon a little, to express my duty for the loss of this noble, and virtuous cavalier, whose heart and eyes were ever fixed upon virtue, and upon his love to his dear friends. He hates nor, but with cause, that is unwilling to hate at all. And it is the end that shows the difference betwixt virtue and vice. Fie then upon those judgements, that, for their own aims, hatch the ruin of their comrades, in fore-thinking, and pursuing evil. And as the discharge of my last duty was tragical, the reasons of it I will set down obscurely, pointing at some, that every man may examine his own conscience, that had any hand in plotting, or hatching, (by villanous policy, bred of envy,) the ruin of their comrades, the reward whereof doth still await them with shame in a killing ambush, when the Lord of Hosts will bring to light the hidden plots of the malicious man. Here I could make some to blush, that I know plotted the fall of their comrades. But I will be dumb, doing by them, as Joseph thought to have done by Mary, in seeking to cover blemishes with secrecy, lest I should wound some so with my pen, as to make them by their comrades, to be pushed out of company. But I will rather show my charity to the delinquent, by concealing of his fault, and tell him of it in secret, than openly to divulge his mischief, seeing I wish his amendment before the world should know his amiss: I will not therefore be too harsh, or virulent, hoping for his penitency, wishing God may enlighten his conscience, that while he hath time, he may crave pardon for his hatched evil. Being sorry for the loss of these two worthy cavaliers, of famous memory, Learmond and Dumbarre, for whose sakes, with grief I have pointed thus obscurely at the forger of these cavaliers' fall, whose name I will suppress, though my heart knows him well; and hoping time may change him to another man, I will let him be his own beadle, and for his punishment, I would not care, though he were made to sing an invective against himself. But I pray God, we may be freed of the like ourselves, and not to look upon another, with a beamed eye, but rather to be our own antidotes, against all the poison that another is able to spit upon us. Let us then have our eyes fixed upon virtue, and we shall find a beauty, that will every day take us with some grace or other: For the world hath nothing so glorious in it as virtue, when she rides triumphing, as both these cavaliers do after death, in despite of their enemies, like Phoebean champions, praised by their enemies, for resisting their strongest assaults, are now renowned in despite of envy, and the abusive world. And the worthy soldiers, their associates in this memorable conflict, and hot storm, are not to be forgotten, but to be praised for their valour. For though, as I said, by appearance to look but on their outsides, they were the meanest in show of our whole regiment: yet God that gives hearts, and courage unto men, made them the instruments of our regiment's first credit in the wars of Germany. They were, I confess, led by brave officers, which were seconded and obeyed by resolute and stout soldiers, that gained victory, and credit, over their enemies in extremity, by casting sand in their eyes. This victory puts me in mind of a pretty story, showing that some times the meanest things, do help us much against our enemies, especially, when the LORD will bless our fighting, with mean Instruments, fighting for us for his own glory.
Jovianios Pontanus reports of Alphons being resolved by assault to take in Vicaro, his soldiers having at the first passed the counterscarp and fosse, scaling the walls, the inhabitants not able to repulse them with stones, and the enemy unawares having surprised them, that they got not leisure to arm themselves, they threw beehives amongst the enemy, which being dispersed, sticking under their arms, and in their faces, forced the enemy to retire, uneffectuating his design. Read Jovian in his seventh book of Alphons his deed, Cap. 2.
Jerome Osorius reports the like story, of one Captain Baregue, a Portugal, in his eighth book of Portugal, who by throwing bee-hives on his enemies, made them to retire. The like was done of late in Hungary, on a fort belonging to the Bishop of Agria, near the Turks, which with the like help was relieved of a sudden assault, the soldiers not having time to go to their arms, used this mean, and were saved thereby. We see then, that an immortal good name is attained unto by virtue, and not by villany.
Here also in this conflict we see, notwithstanding of the enemies' eager pursuit with fury, that resolution at last prevails; for the defenders having at first resisted their fury, the enemy with loss being forced to retire, the assailers were discouraged, and the defenders encouraged. Therefore it is the duty of a brave Captain, that is to be assailed, to resist the beginnings well, and then the end must needs be glorious.
In such occasions, happy is that Commander, that, in extremity of danger, is accompanied with a few trusty friends and soldiers: He may be assured not to be forsaken, as I have been some times by strangers. The valiant soldier is ever best known in the greatest extremity of danger, and a forebeaten enemy, once or twice repulsed, will be loath to continue his pursuit: But he that would gain honour, must resolve to contemn death, though ever before his eyes. Wherefore I would wish the brave soldier to be ever well prepared to die, who should glory in nothing earthly more than in the tokens of his valour, being known they were got with credit, and not by infamy, as many unworthy soldiers oft-times get wounds, but not with credit, while for their cowardice they are running away, yet they will vaunt amongst the unknowing, as if their wounds were credibly gotten. Here also we may see the resolution and courage of our countryman to be praise-worthy, though killed serving the Emperor; for though I loved him not, being mine enemy, yet I honour his memory, in serving them truly, whom he did serve, for his own credit.
Of all professions men of our profession ought to look nearst to their credits, being attained unto by much toil, and travail; and is lost with little. Therefore it is said, that a valourous man his credit hangs, as it were, at one hair, and one little error or oversight in command, can obnubilate all his former glory. Circumspect then had we need to be, to preserve this credit, so dearly bought, and easily lost.
We must not then look to the outside of a man, but unto his virtues; for he that judgeth men of our profession by physiognomy, shall oft-times be deceived; for he that is not stout by nature in our profession, having served out a seven years prenticeship under such a leader, as the magnanimous King of Denmark, such a one, though not stout by nature, by frequency of danger is made stout, as a sword, fearing nothing, not death itself. And soldiers thus used with danger, for the love of their leaders, to gain their favours and good opinion, will undertake the hazard of the greatest dangers for their commander's sake. Such then, that have travailed well, should by due have rest, since the crown is laid up and ordained for him that fights well. On the other part, to end this observation, as I did begin, there is no punishment more grievous, than the public ill-will of all men; especially for just causes. And in my opinion, it is better to be buried in oblivion, than to be evil spoken of to posterity,