Monro His Expedition - The eighteenth Duty discharged of the second night's storm at Stralsund and of the success thereof.

The eighteenth Duty discharged of the second night's storm at Stralsund and of the success thereof.

The Lieutenant Colonel having visited me the next day at my lodging, being not able to stir out of my bed, he declared unto me the loss sustained by the regiment, both of officers and soldiers, and he suspecting the enemy would storm again at night, being battering the walls furiously the whole day, having shot at Frankendore near eight hundred shot, he desired to hear my opinion, how I would have the post beset at night with the regiment; my advice was, to cause beat a bank by the Drummer Major, and the whole drummers of the regiment athwart the city, commanding upon pain of death, that all officers, and soldiers able to carry arms under the regiment should repair at parade time, to the market-place, there to receive further orders, and that at their coming, to appoint all the officers, that were not hurt, to command the whole soldiers, to be all put under the Colonel's company, till such time, as the recruits should come from Scotland, and then every man should be suffered to serve again under their own companies, as before, and this order being followed, they would be well commanded having sufficient officers to lead them, giving them orders how to behave themselves, in case the enemy should storm their works, seeing they were not able to defend them long, being weak of forces, and the works almost ruined the night before.

This determined, the watch being drawn up, they march to the former post, getting orders from the Lieutenant Colonel, if the enemy should press them hard, they should retire themselves orderly to the ravelin, and quit the outer works, seeing that from the town wall, and ravelin, they were able with cannon and musket to cleanse out the enemy again.

So entering on their watch, and the night being come on, the enemy furiously did invade them, and they defended the works a long time, till in the end being pressed hard, they retired according to their orders, to the ravelin, whereupon the enemy followed them with a shout and a cry, as if the town had been won, which did put the burghers, and the rest of the soldiers that were on other posts, in great fear, thinking all was past recovery.

Notwithstanding of this sudden fear, our soldiers valiantly and bravely defended the ravelin with pikes and fireworks, the enemy having advanced bravely to the cutting of the palisades, pressing also to undermine the ravelin by working under it, which our folks did hinder, by countermining.

The enemy also, had another fortell, or advantage by reason of a new work, which was uncomplete, betwixt the ravelin and the outward works, where he did lodge himself, having the new works as a breastwork, to defend him from our shot.

The night thus passed furiously on both sides, not without great loss, being well fought, both of the pursuer and defender, in the morning our soldiers some of them being armed with corslets, head-pieces, with half pikes, morgensterns and swords, being led with resolute officers they fall out, pell-mell amongst the enemies, and chase them quite out of the works again, and retiring with credit, maintained still the triangle or ravelin; The enemy considering his loss, and how little he had gained, the town also being not void of fear, thinking the third night, the enemy might enter the walls, being thus doubtful on both sides, the enemy sends a trumpeter, to know if they will treat for conditions, our Lieutenant Colonel having the command, for the time (in Colonel Holke his absence) I think was glad of the offer, to prolong time, till his Majesty of Denmark might send a fresh supply. Pledges delivered hinc inde, a stillstand or cessation of arms was concluded on by both parties, for a fortnight's time, then articles were drawn up, to be advised on, which continued in advising certain days, in the end the treaty being almost agreed on, to the subscription, orders come to our Lieutenant Colonel to dissolve the treaty, seeing his Majesty of Denmark had folk in readiness to come in all haste with Colonel Holke, for their relief. Whereupon my Lord Spynie, a Scots nobleman, with his regiment, with sufficient provision of money and ammunition, were sent unto the town, and being entered, the treaty was rejected, and made void.

At this time also Sir Alexander Lesly, (an expert and a valorous Scots commander) with some Swedens forces, was sent to govern the town, his Majesty of Sweden having condescended with his Majesty of Denmark, that his Majesty of Denmark should dismiss the protection of Stralsund in favour of his Majesty of Sweden, and to that effect the Danes forces should be drawn out of the garrison, for to give place to the Swedens; in the mean time, the command was turned over upon Sir Alexander Lesly, whom Colonel Holke did assist with the Danes' forces, till they were removed, the absolute command being given to Sir Alexander Lesly, as governor for his Majesty of Sweden.

In time of the stillstand, I took a furlough under my Lieutenant Colonel his hand, & seal, to go by sea to Copenhagen, to be cured there, seeing no chirurgian in Stralsund would undertake to cut the bullet out of my knee, without hazarding me to be lame, which to prevent, I choosed rather, though with infinite pain, to keep the bullet a fortnight, till I came to Copenhagen, where happily I found better cure.

The eighteenth Observation.

Two things we must respect, so long as we live, our inward integrity, and our outward uprightness, our piety towards God, and our reputation amongst men, the one makes our life famous, the other our death happy, so both together bring credit to the name, and felicity to the soul, Then whensoever our breath is made but air, we shall be blessed, leaving a sweet odour behind us, and men will regrate our loss, as at this time they did our hurt.

He whom before I was wont to obey and visit, came now, and visited me, I not being able to stir, my Lieutenant Colonel came to comfort me, having need to be comforted himself by good advice, how to defend the works the second night, a general fear having possessed the hearts both of burghers and soldiers, and I, to encourage him, did tell him a story of Augustus the Emperor, who being near death commanded, that after his decease, all his friends should clap their hands, and laugh unfeignedly, as the custom was when a comedy was well acted: even so said I, though I was sorry at our loss; yet I was glad for being hurt, when I looked to be killed, and having acted my part of the play, for that time, and retired off the stage, all I could do was but to mind my comrades of their duties. In the mean time, the enemies' cannon having shot four great bullets of a hundred and sixty pound weight, out of mortars, through the top of my lodging even to the bottom, where I did lie, affrighting me still, when my feet were not able to shift away my body; yet recommending my soul to God, I resolved, he was well guarded, whom the Lord had a care of, and having delivered me from many dangers, I still confided he would not suffer me to be smothered under walls: For which and all his blessings I do infinitely thank his Majesty, in giving me time to do anything, that may please his Majesty, for my deliverance.

To make my Lieutenant Colonel laugh, I did tell him a story of a vision, that was seen by a soldier of the Colonel's company, that morning before the enemy did storm, being a predictive dream, and a true. One Murdo Mac-claude borne in Assens, a soldier of a tall stature, and valiant courage, being sleeping on his watch, awakened by the break of day, and jogs two of his comrades lying by him, who did find much fault with him for stirring of them, he replied, before long you shall be otherwise stirred, a soldier called Allen Tough a Lochaber-man, recommending his soul to God, asked him what he had seen, who answered him, you shall never see your country again, the other replied, the loss was but small if the rest of the company were well, he answered no, for there was great hurt and death of many very near, the other asked again, whom had he seen more, that would die besides him, sundry of his comrades he told by name, that should be killed: the other asked what would become of himself, he answered, he would be killed with the rest: in effect, he describeth the whole officers by their clothes that should be hurt: a pretty quick boy near by asked him, what would become of the Major, meaning me, he answered, he would be shot, but not deadly, and that the boy should be next unto me, when I were hurt, as he was.

This discourse ended, I wished my Lieutenant Colonel to set all care aside and to look to himself, and to the credit of his nation, in maintaining of the place, till the relief should come, and so we parted.

Here I did observe, that no city, be it never so strong, or so well beset, nor no armour, be it of what proof it will, is able to encourage a fearful heart, as in this city, and at this time, were many of the burghers, soldiers, strangers, officers, of women and children, who were tormented by the fear of death, and of their means, whose fear was generally so great, that they were bereft both of wisdom, and courage, as people given over, so that their fear in some sort did frustrate their lawful defences: the like I did never see, neither wish to see again, for the enemy could not, though victorious, put them in a worse habit, nor make them seem more miserable, than I did see them at this time, making themselves unfit to resist their enemies, and they were all of them in mine eyes, like to the swordfish, having weapons, but they wanted hearts; they had quaking hands without use: and in a word, if the enemy had seen them, as I did, he would rather pity them as cowards, than kill them like gallants.

Notwithstanding of this fear, which possessed the burghers, and those soldiers that had not been on occasion, yet our nation, that are ever most courageous in greatest extremity, failed nothing of their wonted valour, but having once retired to the ravelin, maintained it courageously, repelling the enemies' valour, with resolution built on virtue, and love of credit, so that they made their enemy with great loss, to be frustrate of his hoped for victory, finding the valour of the Scots tempered with constant resolution and vigorous spirits, his fury was made to setle by little and little, till at last, resolution, the strong armour of the discreet soldier prevailed against all the shuffles and cries of the enemy, and the defender, seeing the storm passed, and the tempest cease, he laughes and smiles, with as much honour, quiet and safety, as before he suffered toil, grief, or injury.

Here we see the use of treaty, and stillstand (or truce) ordained of policy, that every man may press to win his own aims. The soldiers that in six weeks before, were wounding, and killing one another, are now coming and discoursing together as friends, where I did remark and observe, that it is much easier to be reconciled with an enemy, than to conquer him.

Now in time of these stillstands, by discourse they press to find out one another's actions, and to observe one another's faults and excursions, treasuring up against the day of advantage, for the confounding of one another, at their first out-falling, and like the crocodile, they slime one at other's way, to make one another fall, coming in occasions again: and therefore it was the answer that Seneca gave unto himself, when he asked Quid est homini inimicissimum? he answered, Alter homo. Our enemies' studies are the plots of our ruin, leaving nothing unattempted, which may induce our damage, and the danger is ever most, when we see it not. Yet I think, he that can be a worthy enemy, can, reconciled, be a worthy friend; and he that, in a just cause, can fight against us, can likewise in the like cause, being reconciled, fight with us, and if he be unworthy reconcile him too, if it were but to be freed of his scandalous tongue, and that also will be worth thy labour, and he that upon good terms refuseth reconcilement, may be stubborn, but not valiant nor wise: for he that wilfully continues an enemy, teacheth his enemy to do him a mischief if he can: and that endeavour is well spent, that unmasks an enemy, or makes a friend: for as the one begets a treasure; the other, it may be, raiseth a siege; and that man is wise, that is kind to his friends and sharp to his enemies: but he is wiser, that can entertain his friends in love, and make his enemies like them, as our nation did here at Stralsund, in keeping their master's love to the best, for their loyalty, and in making their enemies think well of them, and love them for their brave carriage and valour.

Likewise I did observe here the benefit that ariseth to a kingdom, city or state through a good government; and what a blessing it was to a town perplexed, as this was, to get a good, wise, virtuous and valiant governor, in time of their greatest trouble, which shows that we are governed by a power above us: for oft-times, that, which we desire or fear, doth seldom happen. This city having feared the Emperor's tyranny to come over them, desired the King of Denmark as their protector, yet God, by his providence, gave them another, to wit, the invincible King of Sweden, who provided them an able governor in their greatest need, to wit, Sir Alexander Lesly, who immediately after his entry took the command upon him, keeping both the Dane, their soldiers, and the burghers under his command, and direction, as worthy of his authority, flowing from the King his master of most famous and of never dying memory, it faring then with Stralsund, as with Sara; she became fruitful when she could not believe it, and they became flourishing having gotten a Scots governor to protect them, whom they looked not for, which was a good omen unto them, to get a governor of the nation, that was never conquered, which made them the only town in Germany free, as yet, from the Imperial yoke, by the valour of our nation, that defended their city in their greatest danger.

To conclude then, for the love I bear to the crown, that doth protect them, knowing their dispositions by experience to be froward, factious, and proud, having as yet some wolves amongst them, that the fold may be quiet, let the factious heads be made higher by a pole than their bodies, cutting off the tumultuous; whereby their governor, by a majestic awe, may keep the rest in a strict subjection; lest slackness and connivance may undermine an unsettled Government; for it is no cruelty to deny false men liberty, that are so infected, though there be some honest men amongst them; let them serve their governor, and let him bear the sway, as becomes the dignity of the place, that having once won the field, he may be sure to keep it: for though I hate the evil people, for their former unthankfulness to our soldiers and nation, yet the love I bear to their protector and governor, makes me thus plain; whose happiness I wish to endure while there remaineth a stone in the city, and his fame eternally.

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