As the larke begun to peep, the seventh of September 1631, having stood all night in battle a mile from Tilly's army, in the morning, the trumpets sound to horse, the drums calling to march, being at our arms, and in readiness, having before meditated in the night, and resolved with our consciences; we begun the morning with offering our souls and bodies, as living sacrifices unto God, with confession of our sins, lifting up our hearts and hands to Heaven, we begged for reconciliation in Christ, by our public prayers, and secret sighs, and groans; recommending ourselves, the success, and event of the day unto God, our Father in Christ; which done by us all, we marched forwards in God's name a little, and then halted again, till the whole army, both the Duke's, and ours, were put in good order: our army marching on the right hand, and the Duke's on the left, our commanded musketeers marching in the vanguard, being in one body before the army consisting of three regiments, whereof two of Scots, and one Dutch, all musketeers, led by three Scots colonels, men of valour and courage, fit for the command concredited unto them, being made choice of, as men, that could fight exemplary to others: (viz.) Sir James Ramsey, called the Black, Sir John Hamilton, and Robert Monro Baron of Fowles; we marched thus, both the armies in battle, horse, foot, and artillery, till about nine of the clock in the morning, we halted half a mile distant from the Imperial army; that were attending us in battle; consisting of forty four thousand men, horse, and foot, our army, consisting of thirty thousand men, whereof, to my judgement, his Majesty's army; were eight thousand foot, and seven thousand horse; The Duke also, would be eleven thousand foot, and four thousand horse; having refreshed ourselves with victuals, leaving our coaches behind us. The whole army did get green branches on their heads; and the word was given, God with us: a little short speech made by his Majesty, being in order of battle, we marched towards the enemy, who had taken the advantage of the ground, having placed his army on a place called God's Acre; where their General did make choice of the ground most advantagious for his foot, artillery, and horses; he also did beset the dorps, that environed the ground, which was left for us, with dragoniers and Crabbats: to encumber our wings by their evil neighbourhood: yet, notwithstanding of all the advantages he had of ground, wind, and sun; our magnanimous King and leader; under God, inferior to no General we ever read of, for wisdom, courage, dexterity, and good conduct, he was not dejected; but with magnanimity, and Christian resolution, having recommended himself, his army, and success to God, the Director of men and angels; able to give victory with few against many; He ordered his army, and directed every supreme officer of the field, on their particular charge and stations committed unto them, for that day: As also he acquainted them severally, of the form he was to fight unto, and he appointed platoons of musketeers, by fifties, which were commanded by sufficient officers to attend on several regiments of horse; and he instructed the officers how to behave themselves in discharging their duties on service. Likewise he directed the officers belonging to the artillery, how to carry themselves; which orderly done, the commanded musketeers were directed to their stand where to fight; his Majesty then led up the four brigades of foot, which were appointed to be the battle of the army, with a distance betwixt every brigade, that a regiment of horse might march out in gross betwixt the brigades, all four being in one front, having their ordnance planted before every brigade, being four pieces of great cannon, and eight small; whereof, four stood before the colours, that were the battle of the brigade, with ammunition and constables to attend them; on the right hand pikes, before the colours were the other four pieces of cannon, with ammunition and constables conform; and on the left wing of pikes and colours were placed the other four pieces of cannon, as we said before.
Behind these four brigades were drawn up the three brigades of Reserve, with their artillery before them, standing at a proportionable distance behind the other four brigades, with the like distance betwixt them, as was betwixt the brigades of the battle.
The brigades of horse which had platoons of musketeers to attend them, were placed on the right and left wings of the foot, and some were placed betwixt the battle of foot and the reserve, to second the foot as need were; other brigades of horse were drawn up behind the reserve of the foot brigades.
The Field Marshal Horne, General Banier, and Lieutenant General Bawtish were commanded to over-see the horsemen, his Majesty, the Baron Tyvell, and Grave Neles, were to command the battle of foot; Sir James Ramsey, as eldest Colonel, had the command of the fore-troops, or commanded musketeers; and Sir John Hepburne, as eldest Colonel, commanded the three brigades of reserve: Our army thus ordered, the Duke of Saxony and his Field-marshal Arnhem, having ordered their army (whereof I was not particularly inquisitive of the manner) they were ordained to draw up on our left hand, and being both in one front thus ordered, we marched in battle a little, and then halted again, till his Majesty had commanded out some commanded horsemen, on the wings of the army, a large distance from the body, to scour the fields of the Crabbats; we marched again in order of battle, with trumpets sounding, drums beating, and colours advanced and flying, till we came within reach of cannon to our enemies' army, then the magnific and magnanimous Gustavus the Invincible, leads up the brigades of horse one after another to their ground, with their platoons of shot to attend them: As also he led up the brigades of foot one after another to their ground, during which time we were drawn up according to our former plot, the enemy was thundering amongst us, with the noise, and roaring whisling and flying of cannon-bullets; where you may imagine the hurt was great; the sound of such music being scarce worth the hearing, though martial I confess, yet, if you can have so much patience, with far less danger, to read this duty to an end, you shall find the music well paid; but with such coin, that the players would not stay for a world to receive the last of it, being over-joyed in their flying.
By twelve of the clock on Wednesday the seventh of September, in despite of the fury of the enemies' cannon, and of his advantages taken, they were drawn up in even front with the enemy, and then our cannon begun to roare, great and small, paying the enemy with the like coin, which thundering continued alike on both sides for two hours and an half, during which time, our battles of horse and foot stood firm like a wall, the cannon now and then making great breaches amongst us, which was diligently looked unto, on all hands, by the diligence of officers in filling up the void parts, and in setting aside of the wounded towards Chirurgians, every officer standing firm, over-seeing their commands in their own stations, succeeding one another as occasion offered.
By half three, our cannon a little ceasing, the horsemen on both wings charged furiously one another, our horsemen with a resolution, abiding unloosing a pistol, till the enemy had discharged first, and then at a near distance our musketeers meeting them with a salvo; then our horsemen discharged their pistols, and then charged through them with swords; and at their return the musketeers were ready again to give the second salvo of musket amongst them; the enemy thus valiantly resisted by our horsemen, and cruelly plagued by our platoons of musketeers; you may imagine, how soon he would be discouraged after charging twice in this manner, and repulsed.
Our horsemen of the right wing of Finns and Hagapells, led by the valourous Field-marshal Horne, finding the enemies' horsemen out of order, with resolution he charged the enemies' left wing, forcing them to retire disorderly on their battles of foot, which caused disorder among the foot, who were forced then to fall to the right hand; our horsemen retiring, his Majesty seeing the enemy in disorder, played with ordnance amongst them, during which time, the force of the enemies' battles falls on the Duke of Saxony, charging with horse first in the midst of the battles, and then the foot giving two salvos of musket amongst them, they were put to the rout, horse and foot, and the enemy following them cried Victoria, as if the day had been won, triumphing before the victory; But our horsemen charging the remnant of their horse and foot, where their General stood, they were made to retire in disorder to the other hand towards Leipzig; our army of foot standing firm, not having loosed one musket; the smoke being great, by the rising of the dust, for a long time we were not able to see about us; but being cleared up, we did see on the left hand of our reserve two great battles of foot, which we imagined to have been Saxons, that were forced to give ground; having heard the service, though not seen it, we found they were enemies, being a great deal nearer than the Saxons were: his Majesty having sent Baron Tyvell to know the certainty, coming before our brigade, I certified him they were enemies, and he returning towards his Majesty, was shot dead; his Majesty coming by, gave direction to Colonel Hepburne, to cause the brigades on his right and left wing to wheel, and then to charge the enemy, the orders given, his Majesty retired, promising to bring succours unto us.
The enemies' battle standing firm, looking on us at a near distance, and seeing the other brigades and ours wheeling about, making front unto them, they were prepared with a firm resolution to receive us with a salvo of cannon and muskets; but our small ordnance being twice discharged amongst them, and before we stirred, we charged them with a salvo of muskets, which was repaid, and incontinent our brigade advancing unto them with push of pike, putting one of their battles in disorder, fell on the execution, so that they were put to the rout.
I having commanded the right wing of our musketeers, being my Lord of Rhees and Lumsdell's, we advanced on the other body of the enemies', which defended their cannon, and beating them from their cannon, we were masters of their cannon, and consequently of the field, but the smoke being great, the dust being raised, we were as in a dark cloud, not seeing the half of our actions, much less discerning, either the way of our enemies, or yet the rest of our brigades: whereupon, having a drummer by me, I caused him beat the Scots march, till it cleared up, which recollected our friends unto us, and dispersed our enemies being overcome; so that the brigade coming together, such as were alive missed their dead and hurt comrades.
Colonel Lumsdell was hurt at the first, and Lieutenant Colonel Musten also, with divers other ensigns were hurt and killed, and sundry colours were missing for that night, which were found the next day; The enemy thus fled, our horsemen were pursuing hard, till it was dark, and the blue brigade, and the commanded musketeers were sent by his Majesty to help us, but before their coming, the victory and the credit of the day, as being last engaged, was ascribed to our brigade, being the reserve, were thanked by his Majesty for their service, in public audience, and in view of the whole army, we were promised to be rewarded.
The battle thus happily won, his Majesty did principally under God ascribe the glory of the victory to the Swedes, and Finns' horsemen, who were led by the valorous Field Marshal Gustavus Horne; For though the Dutch horsemen did behave themselves valorously divers times that day; yet it was not their fortune to have done the charge, which did put the enemy to flight, and though there were brave brigades of Swedes and Dutch in the field, yet it was the Scots brigades fortune to have gotten the praise for the foot service: and not without cause, having behaved themselves well, being led and conducted by an expert cavalier and fortunate, the valiant Hepburne, being followed by Colonel Lumsdell, Lieutenant Colonel Musten, Major Monypeny, Major Sinclaire, and Lieutenant Colonel John Monro, with divers others cavaliers of valour, experience and of conduct, who thereafter were suddenly advanced unto higher charges. The victory being ours, we incamped overnight on the place of battle, the living merry and rejoicing, though without drink at the night-wake of their dead comrades and friends, lying then on the ground in the bed of honour, being glad the Lord had prolonged their days for to discharge the last honourable duty, in burying of their comrades.
Our bonfires were made of the enemies' ammunition wagons, and pikes left, for want of good fellows to use them; and all this night our brave comrades, the Saxons were making use of their heels in flying, thinking all was lost, they made booty of our wagons and goods, too good a recompense for cullions that had left their Duke, betrayed their country and the good cause, when as strangers were hazarding their lives for their freedoms.
Our loss this day with the Saxons, did not exceed three thousand men, which for the most part were killed by the enemies' cannon: of principal officers we lost a number, and chiefly our horsemen; as Colonel Collenbagh, Colonel Halle and Addergest; and of the foot colonels, the Baron Tivell, being all of them brave and valorous gentlemen, we lost also four lieutenant colonels, together with a number of rut-masters, captains, lieutenants and ensignes.
Of the Saxons were lost five Colonels, three Lieutenant Colonels, with divers rut-masters and Captains, and of inferiors officers many.
To the enemy were lost on the field near eight thousand, besides officers of note, such as the Field Marshal Fustenberg: the Duke of Holstein, the Count of Shomeberg: old General Tilly hurt and almost taken; a number of other officers of the field were killed, and taken prisoners. They lost also thirty two pieces of cannon, with three score wagons of ammunition, and their General, and Papingham were chased towards Halle, and from thence were forced with a small convoy to take their flight for refuge to Hameln on the Weser.
The sixteenth Observation.
First then we see here the goodness that follows on that laudable and Christian custom, used by those, that do first begin the works of their calling with their true humiliation to God by prayers, in acknowledging their sins and unworthiness, and in renouncing trust or confidence in anything but in God alone, knowing their own wisdom, strength and valour to be of no moment, without the special aid and assistance of the Almighty and powerful God; who alone can teach our fingers to fight, giving victory with few as with many.
And therefore it was that this magnanimous and religious warrior, with his whole army, publicly did call on the Lord, praying for his assistance against his enemies, and for a happy event of the day, before he begun to set his army to work against their enemies, the enemies of God and the true Catholic and Apostolic faith; which they had endeavoured to subvert with the professors of the truth, to hold up and maintain the man of sin and his erronious doctrine, by the power of the house of Austria, and of the Catholic League. We see then, this duty being religiously and piously discharged by his Majesty and his army, the fruit was answerable to their desire: having obtained victory over our enemies by the good command of his Majesty, and the ready obedience, dexterity and valour of his Majesty's supreme officers of the field; who in all charges did direct those under them to the ready discharge of their duties, every one of the whole united body of the army following the example of their head and leader, the magnific and magnanimous King, for to abate and lay down the pride of the house of Austria; and for to tear and strip naked that old proud and ambitious General Tilly of his former glory and honour; for having bragged and vainely gloried, he had conquered two kings before: here now the Captain of Kings, and King of Captains doth victoriously triumph, having robbed him of glory, and clipped the wings of the Empire with his little royal army.
Likewise, next unto God, a second help unto this glorious victory, was the great execution made by his Majesty's cannon; and though ever before, Tilly did pride himself all his lifetime in the course of the wars, in his dexterity of his great cannon; here from a master he was turned again unto a prentice, being cunningly overshot with cannon, so that his cannon, and three score wagons belonging thereto, were taken from him by Gustavus the first, and most valiant Captain of the world, with the help of the nation which was never conquered by any foreign enemy, the invincible Scots; whose prayers to God were more effectual through Christ, then theirs through the intercession of Saints.
The third cause of this glorious victory, was his Majesty's good discipline holden over the army, horse and foot, not suffering them without great and extraordinary punishment, to oppress the poor, which made them cry for a blessing to his Majesty and his army.
The enemy on the contrary provoked the wrath of God against themselves and their army, for their cruelty used in torturing the poor, and forcing their moneys from them did further their punishment, and his Majesty's glorious victory.
The fourth help to this victory, was the platoons of musketeers, his Majesty had very wisely ordained to attend the horsemen, being a great safety for them, and a great prejudice to the enemy, the musket ball carrying and piercing farther then the pistolet: As also the great celerity used in charging and discharging of our small cannon brought the enemies' battle in disorder, to the furtherance of this victory: As also the extraordinary care and diligence, that was used by his Majesty, and his officers, in seeing and foreseing of the defects and disorders amongst ourselves; which being suddenly remedied, was also a help to this victory: And last of all, the invincible courage and resolution both of officers and soldiers in standing firm, Notwithstanding of the fury of their enemies; and which was more, they were no ways dismayed or discouraged at the flight of the Saxons, but thought it their greatest glory to be victorious without them; standing resolutly till they saw the back of their enemies, the undoubted tokens of their glorious victory.
his Majesty's army on this service as at all times, might be called truly valorous, for those are called valorous Captains, and holden for such; that when their comrades are flying, they notably with hands, voice and wounds (if wounded) sustain the fight, doing at once the duty of soldiers and of Captains, by those means, bringing back, and restoring the suspected loss unto victory, for their credits. For as ignorance doth easily precipitate men into danger, even so to a generous heart nothing can seem difficult or fearful, being once resolved to fall on, though towards the mouth of the cannon; but before resolution flesh and blood have their own disturbances, even in the most valorous: and valorous men, as they fear nothing after resolution; so they disdain nothing entering upon danger.
Here also the resolution of our horsemen on this service was praiseworthy, seeing they never loosed a pistol at the enemy, till first they had discharged theirs: for the enemy being fierce and furious; while as ours were stout and slow, the enemy was made weary when ours were fresh, which made the enemy being weary, and charged with a fresh succour, being once set on going, they followed hard their victory, not giving them time to breathe, or recollect their forces again, till they were utterly defeated; that the night and darkness was their best safety. For I did observe here, that the duty of valiant commanders is to know not only the nature of their enemies, but also their spirit, and wherein they pride them most: we ought to make our best use for to deceive and out-shoote them in those same things wherein they delight and trust most unto. Likewise this day I did observe, that as the inticement to great travail and pains is glory and honour, even so courage and constant valour may be attained unto by exercise in war, and frequenting of dangers, wherein soldiers, companies or brigades are used with, and made once familiar with that cruel and vehement, horrible and terrible fellow, death, having seen many dead bodies before; and being inured to blood, such soldiers will stand to it and desire to fight, when ignorant novices (as the Saxons were) are afraid of death; who seeking their safety in flying, they were miserably cut down by their enemies.
I did likewise observe this day, that it is not the multitude doth the turn, but under God it is good command, good conduct, art, and skill in handling the weapons of our warfare, and in taking the occasions in time that beget victory.
Therefore he that would labour an army as Gustavus did, he will find fruit, yea even the best that groweth under the Empire, good Rhenish and Neckar wine, not only for himself, but for the meanest soldier, and that unto excess, which hath made me sometimes complain more of the plenty our soldiers had after this victory, through the abuse of it, then ever I did before for any penury. He is therefore in my opinion far deceived that thinks that it is the time or number of years that makes a good soldier; no, no, it is rather the continual meditation of exercise and practise; for soldiers should be in running, not in running away, as horsemen ordinarily do. But on the contrary, that with the greater force they may be able to invade their enemies, as our brigade did here, who seeing the enemy in confusion with their pikes charged ran fiercely upon them till they were beaten. And surely I do think no man so ignorant, but knows that more come to be good soldiers by exercise and frequency of danger and use, then by nature: and he is not a man that will not sweat, nor courageous, that eschews danger, when he should fight, as our comrades did the painted soldiers the Saxons, with their plumed officers; which feathers served them I think in their flight, for tokens rather to cut them down by, than for their safeties.
Courage should grow by frequency of danger, the only way, in my opinion, to fear nothing, and then he may be called stout, before the maker of a quarrel at home, who once drawing a sword, when he knows of twenty parters, or redders, is there called stout; but when he comes abroad to the wars, at first, the thundering of the cannon and musket roaring in his ears makes him sick, before he come near danger, as I have known some: but where virtue and honour doth grow, there labour, exercise and danger is needful: Nam ardua & difficilis virtutis est via, tamen, nil tam difficile est, quod non solertia vincat; And death itself is never bitter, when it leaves an immortall, and glorious name behind it; Vivit enim post funera virtus: & animus moderatis laboribus adjuvatur, immoderatis autem abluitur.
To conclude then this observation, we see that as courage in wars is much worth, for obtaining of victory: so is the wisdom of a General or leader in wars, as Gustavus was, of so much worth, even in the obtaining of this victory, that the spirit of him alone, and skill in direction, was better than thousands of armed men. The enemy being in this battle near twelve thousand men, at least, stronger than we; yet Gustavus alone on our side was better, and of more worth to us, then that multitude to our enemies.
We see then here, that no greater joy or pleasure can come to mortal man, than to overcome his enemy by arms: and we see also, that the event of battle doth not consist in number of fighters, but, under God, in the order and courage used in battle.
Here also we see, that a good cause and a good quarrel is ever to be had, if thou wouldst have victory over thine enemies; and who would wish a better quarrel than we fought for, this day being for the relief of our distressed friends, and for the liberty and promotion of Christ's Gospel; or who would not hazard, in such a quarrel, especially against such enemies, that had banished the daughter of our dread Sovereign, and her royal issue, from her kingdom and dignities?
O would to GOD I had once such a leader again to fight such another day; in this old quarrel! And though I died standing, I should be persuaded, I died well; and I wish, that as we have received the light of truth happily, that fought in that quarrel: even so we may happen to restore that light again pleasantly; that as we did overcome that day our carnal enemies; even so we may overcome in our last fight our spiritual enemies; that after death we may be crowned with immortal Glory.