The twenty-fourth of March 1631, his Majesty having disposed of his army, in putting them in good order of brigades, horse and foot, through the several occasions and accidents happening in war, his Majesty before his march, finding the enemy lay strong in the Silesian and at Landsberg, lest he might fall down unto Pomerania and Mark, to disturbe the new forces that were expected to come from Prussia, and from Scotland, his Majesty directed Field-marshal Horne, with a part of his horse that crossed the bridge at Schwedt unto Pomerania, and the Warthe, to collect the forces there, for to be fured and led towards the Warthe and Landsberg, to give the enemy somewhat to think on, while as his Majesty might march with the rest of the army (consisting then of ten thousand foot and horse) towards Frankfurt, where under the command of the Field-marshal Tuffenback, and the Grave Von-Schonberg governor of Frankfurt on the Oder, there were drawn together of the Imperialists near nine thousand foot and horse. General Tilly, with this main army then lying at Ruppin, after his return, from Brandenburg with two and twenty thousand foot and horse, his Majesty then not being sure, neither of his brother in law the Duke of Brandenburg, nor yet of the Duke of Saxony, though the league was ended with the King of France, his Majesty's affairs thus standing doubtful, we marched towards Frankfurt, with a resolution to pry into the enemies' designs, more than anyways resolved for a beleaguering, having such strong enemies and armies about us, without assurance of our pretended friends and confederates: yet having continued our march till within a mile of Frankfurt, our enemies retiring out of all quarters were come into one body at Frankfurt, who having joined, we did hear the enemy was almost as strong within, as we were without, and he having of us the advantage of the town behind him for his retreat, we expected no other thing, than that the enemy should come out, and offer us battle. Wherefore his Majesty himself discharging the duty of a General Major (as became him well) having sought the aid and assistance of Sir John Hepburne, beginneth to put the army, horse, foot, and artillery in order of battle, the commanded musketeers, as his forlorn hope, advanced before the army, having placed platoons of them by fifties, to march with his squadrons of horse, all being in even front, the sign given for advancing, trumpets sounding, drums beating, colours displayed, advanced and flying, every commander directed and appointed on his command and station; the magnific and royal King leads on; this royal army marching in battle order for half a mile, as comely as one body could do, with one pace, and one measure, advancing, stopping, moving, and standing alike, till at last coming near the town, and finding no hostile rencounter made by the enemy, we halt standing a while in battle, and then resolved, being the enemy durst not meet us in the fields, we would press on the sudden to be masters of Frankfurt, or not at all; knowing of the nearness of our enemies, and of the great strength they had together: and seeing we were not sure of the princes, we resolved the taking of time was the best for us; and incontinent, his Majesty commanded out the most part of his cavalry, to make a caracole behind us, betwixt us and Berlin, fearing General Tilly with his army might come behind us, whiles we were engaged with the town, keeping only of all the cavalry the Rhinegrave and his regiment, besides the infantry, in case of out-falling, to second us against the horsemen, that were within the town.
The cavalry thus directed, his Majesty then perceiving the fear of his enemies, having voluntarily fired their fore-town (took their fear as a presage of his future victory) commanded a part of the commanded musketeers to go in, through the fore-town being on fire, and to lodge themselves, being advanced to the very port, till such time as his Majesty should dispose of the rest of the army, in directing every brigade apart to their several posts. The yellow and the blue brigade were directed to lodge in the vineyards on the side of the town next Castrene, being commanded to advance their guards before them, while as the rest of the brigade should lodge and lie in one body at their arms, to be still in readiness in case of an out-fall; the white brigade, called Damits brigade, was appointed to lodge in the fore-town, to guard the commanded musketeers that lay betwixt them and the danger, at the port right under the walls. Hepburne his brigade was commanded to lie near unto the other port, and to advance their guards also; the rest of the commanded men to lie near vnto the other port, and to advance their guards also; the rest of the commanded musketeers being commanded by Major John Sinclaire, were commanded to lie on a height near a church-yard, that was direct before the enemies' works, besides which, there was a battery made, and the artillery and ammunition of the army (as commonly was usuall) was placed behind our brigade, and the Rhinegrave's horsemen behind us; all things thus ordered and placed, commanded folks out of all brigades were commanded out proportionally for making of cannon baskets, and for casting of trenches.
Then, according to custom, his Majesty himself and Colonel Tyvell went to recognosce near the wall, where Colonel Tyvell was shot in the left arm, his Majesty then making openly great moan for him, alleging he had no help then, but of Hepburne; in the same instant my Lieutenant David Monro was shot in the leg with a musket bullet, and my Major John Sinclaire, commanding the commanded musketeers near to his Majesty, where the battery was making, the enemy hanging out a goose in derision, they presently fell out above two hundred of them upon our guard, who received them with volleys of musket, and they being too strong for the guard, his Majesty commanded the major to send an officer and fifty musketeers more to second the guard. Nevertheless, the enemy still pushing our guard backwards, making them give ground, incontinent his Majesty commanded the major with a hundred musketeers more to fall on, and to resist the enemy in relieving the guard, which the major suddenly obeyed, making the enemy retire with greater haste than he advanced, where their lieutenant colonel and a captain were taken prisoners, and after the major taking in a church-yard, that lay right before the enemies' works, and keeping his guard there, he did keep the enemy under awe, so that we were no more troubled with their out-falling, though diverse of our officers and soldiers were hurt by them from their works, the church-yard being no shelter for our guard, that lay just under their works. On Sunday in the morning, being Palm Sunday, his Majesty with his whole army in their best apparel served God; his Majesty after Sermon, encouraging our soldiers, wished them to take their evil days they had then in patience, and that he hoped before long, to give them better days, in making them drink wine instead of water they were then drinking, and immediately his Majesty gave orders unto General Bannier, to command all the brigades to be in readiness, with their arms, against the next orders: this command given, some of the commanded men, that were under Sinclaire, suspecting a storm, provided themselves of some ladders.
By five of the clock in the afternoon, his Majesty coming towards our brigade, called for a Dutch captain under Hepburne's regiment named Guntier, and desired him to put on a light corselet, with his sword drawn in his hand, and to take a sergeant and twelve other good fellows with him, and to wade through the graff, and then to ascend to the top of the wall, and to see if men could be commodiously lodged, betwixt the mud-wall of the town, and the stone-wall, and then to retire so suddenly as they might, which being done, his Majesty getting resolution, that there was room betwixt the two walls to lodge men, the brigades being already in battle, they fall on at a call, the captain being retired without hurt; wherupon his Majesty directed Bannier and Hepburne with our brigade, to pass the graff, and to storm; And if they repulsed the enemy from the outward wall, to lodge under the stone wall, betwixt both the walls, and if the enemy fortuned to retire to press in with him; the like orders given to the rest of the brigades, all being in readiness, his Majesty having a number of cannon great and small charged on the batteries, caused to give notice at all posts, that when the cannon had discharged, the first salvo in the midst of the smoke, they should advance to the storm, as they did, where in passing the graff, we were over the middle in water and mud, and ascending to storm the walls, there were strong palisades, so well fastened and fixed in the wall, that if the enemy had not retired from the walls in great fear, we could not, but with great hazard, have entered.
The enemy feebly retiring, our commanders and leaders following their orders received from his Majesty, we press to follow in after the enemy, at a great sallying port, that was betwixt both the walls, that opened with two great leaves, where they entered: after their retreat, they planted a flake of small shot, that shot a dozen of shot at once; besides which there were set two pieces of small ordnance, that guarded also the entry, and musketi•rs besides, which made cruel, and pitifull execution on our musketeers, and pikemen, the valorous Hepburne, leading on the battle of pikes, of his own brigade, being advanced within half a pike's length to the door, at the entry he was shot above the knee, that he was lame of before, which dazling his senses with great pain forced him to retire, who said to me, bully Monro, I am shot, whereat I was wondrous sorry, his major then, a resolute cavalier, advancing to enter was shot dead before the door, whereupon the pikes falling back and standing still, General Banier being by, and exhorting all cavaliers to enter, Colonel Lumsdell and I, being both alike on the head of our own colours, he having a Partizan in his hand, and I a half Pike, with a head-piece, that covered my head, commanding our pikes to advance we lead on shoulder to shoulder, Colonel Lumsdell and I fortunately without hurt, enter the port, where at our entry some I know received their rest, and the enemy forced to retire in confusion, being astonished at our entry, they had neither wit nor courage, as to let down the portcullis of the great port behind them, so that we entering the streets at their heels, we made a stand till the body of our pikes were drawn up orderly, and flanked with musketeers, and then we advanced our pikes charged, and our musketeers giving fire on the flanks, till the enemy was put in disorder.
After us entered General Banier, with a fresh body of musketeers, he following the enemy in one street, and Lumsdell and I in another, having rencountered the enemy again, they being well beaten, our officers took nine colours of theirs, which were to be presented to his Majesty, and the most part of the soldiers were cut off, in revenge of their cruelty used at Neubrandenburg, but some of their officers got quarters, such as they had given to ours.
This regiment defeated, we directed an officer with a strong party to possess the bridge, and that to hinder their escape: their passage being cut off, they were also cut down themselves, till the streets were full of dead bodies, and that the most part of our soldiers and officers disbanded to make booty, leaving me and a few number of honest soldiers to guard my colours, which disorder, I confess, stood not in my power to remedy. Thus far for Lumsdell's part and mine, which I dare maintain to be truth.
And as I have spoken truth of our own actions, without ostentation, which no man can controll that is friend to virtue: I will now relate other men's actions, so far as I know to be truth by relation of my honest comrades.
Lieutenant Colonel Musten, being appointed to command the musketeers of Lumsdell's regiment, and of my Colonel's, then under my command he seeing us entered did follow after us, and commanded those he led on execution apart, giving no better quarters than we did. The Dutch also remembering the enemies' cruelty used at Brandenburg, they gave but slight quarters.
Major John Sinclaire, as I was credibly informed, being accompanied with Lieutenant George Heatly, being both resolute and stout, were the first that came over the walls with ladders, who at their first entry having but a few musketeers with them, they were charged on the streets by the enemies' cuirassiers, or best horsemen, where they were forced to stand close, their backs to the wall where they entered, and to give several salvos of Muskets upon the enemy, till they were made to retire.
Likewise after we were entered, the yellow and the blue brigades, being esteemed of all the army both resolute and courageous in all their exploits; they were to enter on the Irish quarter, where they were twice with great loss furiously beaten off, and were cruelly spoiled with fireworks thrown by the Irish amongst them. But at last they having entered, notwithstanding the inequality of their strength, the Irish though weak stood to it, and fought with sword, and pikes within works a long time, till the most part of the soldiers fell to ground, where they stood fighting, so that in the end, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Butler, who commanded the Irish, being shot in the arm, and pierced with a pike through the thigh, was taken prisoner, so that the next day, it was to be seen on the post where the best service was done: and truly had all the rest stood so well to it, as the Irish did, we had returned with great loss, and without victory.
The fury passed, the whole street being full of coaches and rusty wagons richly furnished withal sorts of riches, as plate, jewels, gold, money, clothes, mules and horses for saddle, coach and wagons, whereof all men that were careless of their duties, were too careful in making of booty, that I did never see officers less obeyed, and respected than here for a time, till the height of the market was passed: and well I know, some regiments had not one man with their colours, till the fury was passed, and some colours were lost the whole night, till they were restored the next day, such disorder was amongst us, all occasioned through covetousness, the root of all evil and dishonesty.
At last the execution passed, his Majesty entered himself, being guarded with the Rhinegrave, and his horsemen, who immediately were commanded to cross the bridge, and to follow the enemy at their heels, being on flight towards Glogau, where the Field Marshal Tuffenbacke, the Count of Schonberg, and Mounte De Cuculé had retired with such as escaped.
His Majesty having but scarce quartered in the town, the fire beginning to burne the city accidentally; orders were given with stroke of drum with a bank beaten in all streets, that all officers and soldiers, under pain of death, should repair presently to their colours, on the other side of the Oder, in the outer works, where Sir John Hepburne was ordained to command within the works, except such as were appointed to guard the ports of the town, his Majesty's quarter and the generals lodging on the market place, where a strong guard was kept to suppress plundering, and the insolency of soldiers. Nevertheless these orders proclaimed and published, many disobeyed remaining in the town for plundering.
In this conflict, the enemy lost near three thousand men, besides the officers that were killed (viz.) four Colonels, Herbenstine, Heydo, Wallenstein and Ioure, and above thirty six officers were killed.
Likewise there were taken prisoners, Colonel Sparre with five Lieutenant Colonel of Dutch and one Irish cavalier, that behaved himself both honourably and well; colours also they did lose, as I did see the next day made Count of before General Bannier, forty-one, and cornets of horse nine.
On our side were lost also at least eight hundred men, whereof the blue and yellow, for their parts, lost five hundred.
His Majesty also did get here a great deal of provision for the army, as corn, ammunition, and eighteen pieces of ordnance.
The next day his Majesty appointed General Major Lesly as Governor over the town, giving him orders to repair the ruinous works, and walls, as also orders were given for burying of the dead, which were not buried fully in six days, in th'end they were cast by heaps in great ditches, above a hundred in every Grave.
The next day we were ordained to assemble our regiments, and to bring them together in arms, that they might be provided of what they wanted of arms, having lost many in their disorder.
The eighth Observation.
His Majesty going to rencounter his enemy, before his rising from his royal leaguer at Schwedt, did wisely dispose of his army, in making it into brigades, that coming unto the action, he should not need to think on the theory, when it were time to practise, as many young commanders are forced to do, beginning to learn of others, that which is defective in themselves, who are to be pitied, that undertake to lead others being ignorant themselves: but this wise general, at this time, did not only order his army, as he would have them to stand in battle, but also knowing the gifts, and several parts, his chief officers of the field were endued with, he disposeth of them, in appointing such places for them, in fighting against their enemies, as did best befit their virtues, which all he knew before hand, partly by his own experience, and partly, by enquiring of others, their qualities and virtues.
Secundo, his Majesty doth forecast with himself, what the enemy, being strong might intend against him, and accordingly, he foresaw wisely how to prevent him, in dividing his army, by sending the Field Marshal on the one side of the Oder with a part of his army, going himself on the other, leaving the bridge and passage at Schwedt well fortified and beset with soldiers, to the end, that which of both army's might be constrained to retire over the bridge, being safe might then conveniently join with the other.
As his Majesty was wise in foreseing what might happen, he was also diligent, in taking time of his enemies on the sudden, before they could come together; so that after this victory obtained, his Majesty did not only get elbow room by the enemies removing over the Elbe and the Oder; but also he did gain time to settle his affairs with the princes; for those who would not before this victory, scarce keep correspondence with his Majesty, afterwards his Majesty having freed their country from their enemies, they were then content to entreat for his friendship, by their ambassadors, and he like to a cunning gamster, taking the ball at the right rebound, embraced their friendship, and confederacy, having bound them up, in a more strict manner then before till in th'end, they were forced to dance after his pipe.
Here likewise I did observe, that it is never good, to trust too much unto our own strength, as our enemies did, who at their banqueting, and inter pocula, before that the storm went on, though hearing the noise of our cannon, they fell a laughing, as wondering what the Swedens meant, thought they to fly over the walls, and granting he could enter, were they not so strong as he? Many more idle discourses they had,extolling themselves in their pride, boasting of their strength and courage, not setting God before them, they disdained and contemned their enemies, but suddenly in an instant they found their own follies, being brought unto fear and astonishment, so that at last, their wits confounded, and consequently their actions confused, and their enemies, though weak instruments, by the power of the God of armies were made strong and courageous, for punishing them in repaying of their former barbarity, and cruelty used by them at Neubrandenburg, where we see, the lord repayeth their wickedness, when they least expected.
Tiffenbacke, the field marshal was much to blame for his command, being so strong within the town as we were without, that he did not adventure to fight us in the fields, or at least, to have tried our conduct and valour, with a strong party: his not daring to adventure with us made us the more courageous and resolute to seek him, though with disadvantage, having once found him to be a timorous enemy, keeping himself close within walls, for we know well, the greater his strength was within, if once we entered, his confusion would be the greater: for a multitude within a strength especially horsemen, many servants and baggage breede ever confusion, for avoiding whereof, the governor had the more reason to have tried us in the fields, whereby he had encouraged his garrison, who seeing he durst adventure to meet us without, being retired, they would not be afraid within walls.
So it is never good to resolve to be always the defender, but rather according to the time, and circumstances, sometimes to try fortune, as well by pursuing, as by defending, that our credit may not be called in question, neither for too much slowness, nor for too much forwardness, but still to press for the mediocrity, being the true virtue of fortitude, without which no soldier can attain commendation, if he do participate of either extremes, as this field marshal did, staying within walls. Yet some, I know will object, that I ought rather to praise the actions of the enemy, to make ours the more glorious, to which I answer, ours at all times, as here, were so splendid, that no Lustre could be added unto them, our leader Gustavus being Illustrissimus himself, and the favourite of Fortune, to whom all things succeeded fortunatly by taking of time, the most precious of all things, especially in wars, which sometimes helps as much as virtue itself.
The forwardness and courage of Major John Sinclaire, and of his colleague, Lieutenant Heatly, is not to be over-passed, they being the first gave good example to enter this town, in going over the walls with ladders, with a weak party of fifty musketeers, that ventured to follow them, which were hardly received by the enemies' horsemen, nevertheless they valorously defended themselves, and made their enemies to retire with loss, so that, as my intention here, is not to over-praise my friends virtue, I would not on the other part be silent in giving them their due, answerable to their merits, and no more.
We see also by experience daily, that at all times, as here, no man ever served God for nought, who rewardeth men, though not through merit in respect of his God-head, of whom we can merit nothing, yet of his infinite bounty is ever ready to reward them truly that do serve him: his Majesty with his army having served God in the morning, at night he was made victorious over his enemies.
And that his Majesty in the afternoon on the Sabboth pursued his enemies, there was a necessity in it: General Tilly's army being on their march for the relief of the town, his Majesty was forced to take the opportunity of time, which once being past doth never return.
Here we may see the evil, that fear bringeth within a city or strength causing disorder and confusion, but if all those within this town had stood to their defence as Lieutenant Colonel Butler did and the Irish, Frankfurt had not been taken.
Therefore, when resistance is not made, as it ought to be, the victory is easily attained: for nothing encourageth more, then good example, Et contra. And I did observe here, that no nation esteemed good soldiers, are inferior to the Dutch in maintaining a storm, or in extremity of danger, they being otherwise good soldiers for obedience to command, in watches, marches, working about works, and in doing all other duties befitting their profession, being in company of others.
Pike-men being resolute men, shall be ever my choice in going on execution, as also in retiring honourably with disadvantage from an enemy, especially against horsemen: and we see oft-times, as we found here, that when musketeers do disbandon, of greediness to make booty, the worthy pike-men remain standing firm with their officers, guarding them and their colours, as being worthy the glorious name of brave soldiers, preferring virtue before the love of gold, that vanisheth while virtue remaineth.
This vice of avarice is alike common to the superior officer, and to the inferior soldier, which oft-times makes the superior to be despised as well by the common soldier, as by his betters: And therefore public employments of command should never be given to such greedy persons; for as sparing in a private person is commendable, being done without hurt to another; even so the virtue of liberality is due to him that is publicly employed: as also he ought to have splendor in his carriage, and not to give evil example to others his inferiors, if once he be honoured with command in leading of others. I must then again condemn this kind of avarice, that makes men for booty abandon their colours and their duty, they being the cause oft-times of the overthrow of their worthy comrades standing to fight, when they were employed in making of booty, for which many time, they are contemned, and their money taken from them by the multitude, with disgrace and danger of their lives: for though sometimes they make booty, they have not the fortune to enjoy it one quarter of an hour, thanking God to be rid of it with their lives, though not with their credits.
It is the duty of valiant commanders, and of brave soldiers, when ever fire entereth into a city, strength or leaguer, suddenly with their arms to repair to their colours, lest at such times, the enemy being near [at] hand should be ready to take advantage: but here the baser sort of soldiers, neither for obedience to his Majesty's command, nor for love of their officers, nor of their own credits, would stir to attend their colours, though the enemy had showed himself to pursue the city.
Here also, the enemy was to blame, for leaving provision and ammunition behind them, whose duty it was rather to destroy it by fire or water, then to leave it to their enemies. But we see, there is no counsel against the Lord invented by man, able to work, blessed be his name for ever.