His Majesty after overcoming his enemies at Gartz, and Greifenhagen, having retired to Stettin, and made preparation for a happy new-years march in the beginning of January, 1631. We broke up from Stettin, taking our march towards Neubrandenburg, the earth clad over with a great storm of snow, being hard frost, we carried along great cannons of battery, and a number of small cannon, being well provided of all things belonging to artillery; our little army consisting then of eight thousand horse, and foot, having left the rest of the army under command of the Field Marshal Horne, before Landsberg in the Mark: our march the first night went no further, then beyond the pass of Loeknitz, where we quartered overnight: breaking up the next morning, we continue our march for three days towards Brandenburg, where there lay in garrison as commandant, Colonel Marizane with five hundred horse, and twelve hundred foot; being as complete to look on, as you could wish.
His Majesty, being come by three o'clock in the afternoon, within shot of cannon to the town, drew us in battle, and then divided out the posts, where the brigades should lie, commanded out the horse watches, to lie without the foot, other troops were also commanded forth for battering the streets, and the rest of the horsemen, being directed to quarters, The foot battle ordered, drums beating, colours advanced, and flying, every brigade by divisions marched to their posts, where being arrived, their watches duly set, the rest were settled in their quarters, being commanded, both officers and soldiers, not to stir out of quarters from their arms, but to attend on orders.
In our by-going, being within distance of cannon to the town, we were saluted with cannon, hackbuts of crock, and with musket; where, within a short time, we rendered unto them their exchange with the interest; the service continuing so long, as they did (the night bringing silence over all, till day begun to break again) and then at our post there lay before the port, a little triangle, with a water-graff about it, and a drawbridge, we passing through the graff, that was not deep, stormed the triangle, and made the enemy retire within the town walls, who fearing a general storm, did presently cause to beat a drum, desiring a parley, which was granted; pledges delivered hinc inde, the treaty went on, and the accord was made, and subscribed; they should march out with bag and baggage, horse and foot, with full arms, which should have a convoy to Hagelberg, and so accordingly they marched out; and then his Majesty to refresh the army, caused to make quarters for the whole foot within the town, where we lay two nights well entertained.
His Majesty having a greater enterprise in hand, he commanded out a thousand choice musketeers towards Treptow, two miles from Brandenburg, and the enemy being acquainted with their coming, he did retire to Demmin, the leader of the party leaving two companies in Treptow, marched forwards with the party to take in a castle on a pass lying in his way, betwixt Treptow, and Demmin; whereon were fifty commanded musketeers; who after a little defence made for their credit, did capitulate for quarters, being afraid of the army's coming, they gave over both castle and pass. His Majesty (leaving a few number of commanded men in Brandenburg, with a commissary, for ingathering of contribution, and proviant for the army) he did break up, and marched towards a little town, lying on the pass below Demmin, called Loitz: where in the castle there lay above six hundred men of the Imperialists, that might have foughten for good quarters; but being careless of their watch, our commanded musketeers, having passed the bridge, were suffered to enter within the castle, before the garrison could get to their arms, and being thus surprised, they got worse quarters, then if they had fought.
The soldiers and officers that first entered, made good booty; and having got gold chains and money in abundance, by reason the Imperialists had lain long there, who though they gathered the whole money of the country, yet they had not the wit to transport it away, being silly simple Italians, and without courage, the poorest officers that ever I looked on, and unworthy the name of soldiers; for though they knew of our march, they suffered themselves pitifully to be surprised.
The Fourth Observation.
Notwithstanding of the extremity of cold, we see his Majesty's diligence, neglecting no time, making use of winter, as of summer, being an expert general, who in his judgement was nothing inferior to the greatest general we read of, as do witness his valorous actions. He seeing at our coming to Brandenburg, what advantage the ground yielded to the enemy, to have hindered our coming unto it, As also perceiving what hurt the enemy was able to have done us, before our down-lying (having known their strength, that were within, both of horse and foot) if he had been a resolute, and a courageous commander, as he was not, he had tried our fore-troops, before our coming so near, which made his Majesty judge they would not hold out long.
Here at this time, a young cavalier desirous of honour, and greedy of good instruction, could have learned fron this king the way to command well; as likewise with order to direct all things fitting, how to pursue any place or strength he came before, as his Majesty did there, being the first part, wherein I did observe his Majesty's dexterity in command, discharging the duties of several officers, being but one man, he never doubted to put in execution what he once commanded, and it was well done; and no alteration was to be found in his orders; neither did he like well of an officer, that was not as capable to understand his directions, as he was ready, in giving them. Nevertheless, he would not suffer an officer to part from him, till he found he was understood, by the receiver of the order.
Such a general would I gladly serve; but such a general I shall hardly see: whose custom was; to be the first and last in danger himself, gaining his officers love, in being the companion both of their labours and dangers; for he knew well how his soldiers should be taught to behave themselves, according to the circumstances both of time and place, before they were led to fight, and being careful of their credits, he would not suffer their weakness, or defects to be discerned, being ready to foresee all things, which did belong to the health of his soldiers, and his own credit. He knew also, the devices and engines of his enemy, their counsel, their armies, their art, their discipline: As also the nature and situation of the places they commanded; so that he could not be neglective in anything belonging to his charge; and he understood well, that an army being brittle like glass, that sometimes a vain and idle brute was enough to ruin them; and to break them, like the brittlest glass that is.
His Majesty's further diligence, after the in-taking of Brandenburg we see, he giving neither time, nor leisure to the nearst garrisons that were at hand, to resolve, what they had to do; for one strength was no sooner taken, but incontinent, the commanded musketeers, and horsemen, were presently closing up the passages of the rest, before they could either retire, or send for supply; And so being long, sleeping in a careless security, some of them were taken, before they could be prepared for to fight, or to take about their ports or bridges; so far were they out of use with hunting, and making good cheer, that they were surprised, inter pocula: having regarded their bellies, more then their credits.
Where I did see, the saying of the prophet cleared, that saith, men do annoy themselves, in gathering goods, and cannot tell who shall enjoy them; For I think the Italians never minded, that the riches which they gathered in Pomerania, should be suddenly transported from the sun unto the northern crags and cliffs of Sweden; being led by the Lion of the North, the Invincible King of Sweden, of never dying memory.