The eleventh of April 1628 we got orders to ship again, and being shipped we sailed along the coast of Holstein, till we arrived before Ekernförde, where lay a garrison of the Imperialists, being five hundred strong, half dragoniers and half foot soldiers, having anchored while we were providing for our landing, the town being no strength the dragoniers marched away, leaving the captain of foot to defend the place, who had a skonce without the town, with a running line from the skonce to the port of the town, and thinking us to be but a weak flying party, that durst not remain long on the land, seeing the enemy lay strong of horse, and foot near by, he resolved as his best, to defend the skonce without, whereunto he drew his strength: his Majesty commanded us to land our forces, and to storm the skonce, he staying a-shipboard looking on us, we land in all haste, being almost two thousand foot of several nations, English, Scots, Dutch, and French: all about equal strength; we threw dice for the vanguard, who should fall on first, concluding those [who] threw most should have the leading, and so successively to second one another, having thrown sixes, the honour of the vanguard or leading fell on me and mine; the English falling next unto us, having put ourselves in order, and dealt out ammunition, recommending the success to the Lord, by our preacher Mr. William Forbesse, companion of our dangers, and having directed Ensign Allane to recognosce or spy the best advantage, being retired, I commanded Captain Lieutenant Carre with fifty musketeers to a broken house, that flanked on the skonce, giving him orders to give fire from thence on their backs, as we marched to them in front, and in case of their retreat to the town, to cut off their passage, or at least to march in with them. Thus done, I gave charge to my musketeers that no man should give fire till I commanded, but to follow their leaders still in good order. The ground we were to advance on to the skonce, was plain as pavement; the skonce not being high, our resolution was to storm without giving fire, and as we advanced those of the skonce did give three several salvoes of musket thundering amongst us, whereof some felt the smart, and Captain Mac-Kenyee was favourably shot in the leg, and I more favourably in the hilt of my sword, which afterwards I gave to Mac-Kenyee. The most hurt was done to the English marching after us, led then by Captain Chamberlaine, a worthy and a valorous gentleman. In this time we were advancing, our musketeers commanded by Carre, giving fire on their flanks many were hurt, and the captain shot in the arm seeing us give no fire, but marching hard to storm, he quit the skonce and retired to the town, and enters the port before us, shutting us out, and leaving a few hurt men behind him; we broke down the stacket, and the town not walled, we entered the broad side, and follow the enemy to the market-place, thinking he would fight us there. But he retired into the church, and shutting the doors defends the church, shooting out he did us great hurt: our soldiers not having forgotten their cruelty used at Breddenburg, resolved to give no quarters, and with a huge great ladder and the force of men we ran-forced the door and entered. I thinking to get the officers prisoners, entered withal, but could not find them: incontinent perceiving a great quantity of powder spread athwart the Church, fearing the blowing up of the powder, I commanded every man upon pain of death to retire, the word not well spoken, the powder blew up, blowing the top of the Church, above a hundred were killed, and a number burnt pitifully, and I with Lieutenant David Monro standing behind me, was also pitifully burnt: the blast passed, Captain Chamberlaine entering, finds the officers, and gives them quarters as his prisoners: of the soldiers few or none of two hundred and fifty escaped. The town was plundered, and his Majesty fearing the coming of the enemies' horsemen before our retiring, we got orders every man to ship again as we might best.
The twelfth Observation.
This service being but short, having had ado (as formerly) with a slight enemy, my observation must be the shorter: but to my great grief, as we found afterwards the next day, this day's service was but like a pleasant weathergall, the fore-runner of a greater storm; for they made booty this day, that had not the happiness to enjoy it eight and forty hours, as you shall hear in the next observation.
Our hap here and good success in making of booty was soon restrained: no man, no beast, no creature, but hath some thing to ballast their lightness. One scale is not always in depression, nor the other lifted ever high, but by the beam is ever kept in motion; nothing but hath some thing to awe it: man with man is awed and defended, the world is but a perpetual war, and a wedding. When the Assyrian fell, the Persian rose, when the Persian fell, the Grecian rose; the loss of one man is the gain of another. It is vicissitude that maintains the world. Here (I say) our soldiers made booty by oppression, which brought a sudden consumption with it, Hodie mihi, cras tibi. The dying fly lectures out the world's mortality, and though frequent, miserable man never thinks of his end, till it be too late, ever epicuring ourselves with this world's joy, till at last we are seized on unawares.
Here I must not forget the memory of our preacher Master William Forbesse, a preacher for soldiers, yea and a captain in need, to lead soldiers on a good occasion, being full of courage, with discretion and good conduct, beyond some captains I have known, that were not so capable as he: at this time he not only prayed for us, but went on with us, to remark, as I think, men's carriage, and having found a sergeant neglecting his duty, and his honour at such a time (whose name I will not express) having chidden him, did promise to reveal him unto me, as he did after their service, the sergeant being called before me, and accused, did deny his accusation, alleging if he were no pastor that had alleged it, he would not lie under the injury; the preacher offered to fight with him, that it was truth he had spoken of him; whereupon I cashiered the sergeant, and gave his place to a worthier, called Mongo Gray, a gentleman of good worth, and of much courage. The sergeant being cashiered, never called Master William to account, for which he was evil thought of, so that he retired home and quit the wars.
Some men perhaps will blame our conduct here, for pursuing men retired to a church, being a place of refuge. First, I answer, our orders we had of our master, were to beat our enemies, in taking them prisoners, or by killing them, which we could not effect, neither the one nor the other, without entering the church.
Secondly; They having banished the gospel, and the preachers of it out of the Church, we had good reason to banish them, who had made of the house of God a den of thieves and murderers, as they were at Breddenburg, having killed our comrades, and massacred our preacher, being on his knees begging mercy, and could find none.
Thirdly; They treacherously retired themselves to a loft apart in the church, for their own safeties, and left trains of powder to blow us up at our entry, which made our compassion towards them the colder; for when the subject of our hatred is sin, it cannot be too deep; and for my own part, I refused not to show compassion on those, who did beg it of me, and what others did in their fury, I did tolerate, not being powerful to hinder them: yet truly my compassion was so much, that when I saw the house ordained for God's service defiled with their blood and ours, and the pavement of the church covered over with the dead bodies of men, truly my heart was moved unto the mild streams of pity, and wept, as is reported of Caesar, when he heard how Pompey died. For in my opinion, pity, though she be a downy virtue, yet she never shines more brightly, than when she is clad in steel, and it is thought that a martial man's compassion shall conquer, both in peace and war, and by a two-fold way get victory with honour. And generally we have found and observed, that the most famous men of the world, have had in them both courage and compassion, and oft-times wet eyes as well as wounding hands. Fabius did conquer, as well by delaying, as Caesar by expedition. To end this observation, reason teacheth us to cast the blood of the slain upon the unjust authors of it. That which gives the mind security, is a just cause, and a just deputation; let me have these, and of all others, I shall think this one of the noblest and most manly ways of dying.