Monro His Expedition - The fifteenth Duty discharged of our March from Lolland to Elsinore, and from thence to Stralsund by water.

The fifteenth Duty discharged of our March from Lolland to Elsinore, and from thence to Stralsund by water.

The eighth of May 1628, I being at Copenhagen, soliciting for our regiment, orders were given unto me, to be sent to Lolland and to Fune, to make our regiment march in all haste to Elsinore, and there to attend for their orders: the orders I did direct to Captain Mac-Kenyee, commanding him to keep good discipline in his march, and strict, being in his Majesty's own land; he receiving the orders breaks up the twelfth of May from Lolland, and continues his march to the rendezvous. The garrisons also in Fyn break up the said day, and continued their march towards their rendezvous. On the march through Zealand, Captain Mac-Kenyee his soldiers being quartered in a dorp, the boors go to arms to hinder their inquartering, the soldiers seeing the boors take arms, stayed not to be led by their officers, but entered the skirmish with the boors, where at the first salvo, four of the boors were killed dead, and sundry hurt, the rest fly away, leaving the dorp to the soldiers to be quartered in; the blame of this accident was laid on the commissary appointed for the convoy, who being absent was to answer for the wrong; but the commissary caused for revenge, a boor's daughter to complain on three soldiers of Captain Mac-Kenyee his company, alleging they had all three forced her, so that the soldiers were apprehended, conveyed in irons to Copenhagen, to be examined there before the General Commissary, the Stadt-holder and me: who being examined, no proof was found against them but accusations, whereupon they were remitted to prison till further trial, where there was an act made, they should suffer no trial, except I were present. Nevertheless, in my absence, they were all three executed, (viz.) Donald Rosse, James Dumbarre, and Alexander Caddell, who went to death without acknowledging the fact, still pleading their innocency. The Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Seaton, being then come from Holland, was ordained by his Majesty in all haste to ship three companies, and to go with them for the relief of Stralsund, I being appointed to stay for the other companies' coming; they being come to Elsinore, were shipped also, and arriving at Copenhagen, it behoved me in all haste to ship, and follow the Lieutenant Colonel, for relief of Stralsund being hard beleagered, where I entered the twenty-eight of May, and was no sooner drawn up in the market place, but presently we were sent to watch at Frankendore, to relieve the other division, that had watched three days and three nights together uncome off, that being the weakest part of the whole town, and the only post pursued by the enemy, which our Lieutenant Colonel made choice of, being the most dangerous, for his country's credit; where we watched forty eight hours together, till we were relieved again by the other division, and so singulis noctibus per vices, during six weeks time, that my clothes came never off, except it had been to change a suit or linens.

The fifteenth Observation.

This town of Stralsund being hard beleagered by the Imperialists, they desired humbly the protection and assistance of his Majesty of Denmark, which was willingly granted unto them: having accorded on their conditions, his Majesty made choice of our regiment to be sent thither, having had sufficient proof of our former service, in his Majesty's presence, and under command of others his Majesty's generals; So that before others we were trusted on this occasion, where we did come with a timely relief to those burghers, that were wearied and toiled with watching, and also hurt by their enemies, whom they had beaten from their walls twice before our coming.

In this accident, which happened in Zealand betwixt the boors and our soldiers, we may see the antipathy that is betwixt soldiers and boors, where the one cannot with patience endure the sight of the other, without some present jar, so that it were impossible to make them agree together, if military discipline were not strictly observed, and the transgressors exemplarily punished.

Here also I cannot omit the over-sight committed by those belly-gods the commissaries, that serve the public state worst, yet are oft-times best recompensed; whose neglect on this march, was the cause of shedding the innocent blood of the poor labourers, and of the soldiers also: and it was pity, such a King should entertain so many of this sort of belly-gods, that studied nothing so much, as to fill their own coffers, and to raise their houses, without any care had of the public weal.

Here also I cannot allow of that vain custom amongst the officers, that will make a bad choice for a little ostentive credit, having the good in their election, to make choice of the worst; for in occasions against our enemies, we should rather take all advantages, as of strength, of ground, of sun and wind: and shall he not be thought yet unwiser, who may be the instrument to save his people on service, that willingly will make choice of a place to lose them.

No menagry in my opinion comparable to that which spares the lives of men from losing, and I persuade myself, I need not insist in this reprehension, seeing the actor, though out of time, was sorrowful enough for his evil choice.

Here also I did observe, that frequent danger doth encourage the feeblest soldier, who by daily dangers, and the familiarity made with death, in stepping every day over the bodies of dead men, who perhaps never before had seen one die naturally, much less to see daily and hourly examples of violent death, learning wit, by by-passed losses, and experience had in the exercise of our calling, being hardened with toil and travail. Therefore, in my judgement, no man is more worthy of the name of a soldier, than he that endures best wearisome toil and travail in this honourable calling, not withdrawing the shoulder, but by pushing it forwards courageously, having once begun: for though in all affairs of this kind, the beginnings seem hard and difficult, yet soon after we find it lighter, according to the measure of our advancement, and reward in the end, we enjoy still the greater contentment, as became of me the first time my friends led me up a steep hill, when my breath begun to fail me, looking behind, and seeing what way I had put by, the rest to the top of the hill seemed nothing unto me, being so near the end of my travail, but was pleasant rather than tedious. And therefore we use to say, He that beginneth well hath half ended.

At our entry in this town, our travail and toil once begun, continued night and day for six weeks, till we grew hard with travail, yet not hard, as many of the Dutch, that are hard against the musket bullet, this proof we lacked. He that shows himself honest in his calling and travails, the travail passeth, the honesty remaineth: But on the contrary, when we have taken delight in evil, the delight passeth, and the evil remaineth. Happy therefore are those who travail in well-doing; for when the pains are gone, then do they enjoy the pleasure.

We read of Cincinnatus brought from the plough to the Senate, to be made Consul for his travail: the like we read of Quintus taken from his plough to be consul also; a great change. No wonder then to take a man from the plough to be a soldier; as the porter of Fowls, called Mac-Weattiche, who, in this town of Stralsund did prove as valiant as a sword, fearing nothing but discredit, and the down-look or frown of his officers, lest he should offend them.

xxxx

Prev Next