The twelfth of August, 1630, having received his Excellence orders the Rex Chancellor, for to ship my soldiers at the Pillau, and from thence to transport them unto Dutchland, towards Wolgast in Pomerania, in obedience to the orders, having divided the companies at the Pillau, my own company, Captain Hector Monro's, and Captain Bullion's company, were put with myself in a ship of his Majesty's called the Lilly-Nichol; The other three companies, (viz.) Major Senott's, Captain John Monro's and Lermond's, were put on another ship of his Majesty's, called the Hound, our horses and baggage being put on a small scout or boat, the wind favouring us, we being victualled for a week, we make sail from the Pillau towards Pomerania, having calm weather for two days: The third day with a strong wind, and a great tempest from the West, we were severed from the fleet, and our ship striking a leak, we were driven unto Bornholm road in Denmark, where the tempest being past, we go ashore, to victual our ship anew: the wind favouring us, we weigh anchor again, and setting sail, we take our course towards Wolgast, being near the coast, the wind contrary, we were not able to double our course, and our ship being leak, we durst not adventure far from land, and putting forty-eight soldiers to pump continually by turns, they were not able to keep her dry, and being overcharged with much water, though there blew a great wind after us, we made but a slow course, our resolution was, being turned back, and before the wind, to make for Danzig as our best refuge: But keeping so near the land, under night, we bayed within lands, the wind blowing hard with a great tempest on the shore, being a shallow sandy coast, all sails being up, by eleven o'clock at night, we struck on ground, our ship old and weak breaks in the midst below, but kept fast above, our soldiers coming all above hatches, they were pitifully drenched and wet with the waves, and being in danger of out-washing, they tie themselves with ropes to the ship sides; yet two that took a pride in their swimming, (a Dane, and a Scot, called Murdo Piper) thinking by swimming to gain the shore, were both drowned, the mariners setting out one boat after another, were both broken, and they being feeble fellows they lost courage; thus under the mercy of the raging seas and waves, going higher then the masts over the ship sides, we patiently attended the Lord's mercy with prayers, till one of the clock the next day, during which time, I forced the mariners and soldiers, that could best work, having cut the masts, and the ends of the cross yards, with deals and the decks of the ship to make a float; being made, it was tied to the ship within with tows, hanging at it, which the waves could carry ashore, the float thus ready, with strength of men was let down by the ship's side, whereon four of the most courageous soldiers did adventure to go, some boors ashore having got hold of the tows, that were bound to the float, with the help of the waves, draw the float ashore, and being drawn back to the ship, we did continue in this manner ferrying out our soldiers, till at last the most part were landed, who being landed sought along the coast, and finding a boat, did bring it with horses on a wagon, whereof we made use in landing the rest of our soldiers, whereof I remained the last; till I saw our arms landed. But our ammunition and baggage being lost, we were in a pitifull fear, being near unto our enemies, and above Twenty Dutch miles from his Majesty's army, being without fixed arms, and lacking ammunition, we had nothing to defend us, but swords, and pikes, and some wet muskets, the enemy being near, our resolution behoved to be short, where having learned of the boors, how near the enemy was unto us, I suffered none to go from us, lest we might be discovered to our enemies.
After advisement I sent Captain Bullion with a guide, to the captain of the castle of Ruegenwalde, belonging to the Duke of Pomerania, offering if he would furnish us some fixed muskets, with some dry ammunition and bullets, we would cut off the enemy that lay in the town, and defend town and castle from the enemy for his Majesty, till such time as his Majesty might relieve us, the proposition so pleased the Captain; that he gave way to my suit, and withal, he, for fear of such suspicion, goes unto the country, having sent a gentleman with ammunition to me, to convey me a secret way unto the castle, where I should receive fifty muskets, my captain retiring to me, with the gentleman and ammunition, I marched till I came safe to the castle, and then from the castle falling on the town, with commanded musketeers, under the command of Captain Bullion, I stayed myself with the reserve, my folks entering the town, the enemy aloft drew to arms: thus service begun; my party being strongest, some of the enemy shot, the rest got quarters and mercy, our watch duly set, the keys of the town and castle being delivered unto me, my greatest care was then, how to put ourselves in safety against our enemies, being at Kolberg within seven miles of us, I begun to learn from those on the castle, what passes did lie betwixt us and Kolberg, I was told of a little river did lie two miles from us, which was not passable but at one bridge, where I went to recognosce, and finding it was so, I caused them to break off the bridge, where I did appoint a company of boors, with arms, and horses by them to watch the pass, and if in case the enemy should pursue them, they had orders from me to defend the pass so long as they could, commanding them also at the first sight of the enemy to advertise me, wherby they might be supplied, and I put on my guard.
Being retired from the pass, immediately I did send a boor on horseback, in the night, to acquaint his Majesty of Sweden (the army then lying at Stettin twenty Dutch miles from us) with the manner of our hard landing, and of our happy success after landing; as likewise, disiring to know his Majesty's will, how I should behave myself in those quarters, the enemy being strong, and I very weak, his Majesty returned for resolution unto me, that I should do my best to fortify, and beset the passes, that were betwixt me and the enemy, and to keep good watch, and good order over the soldiers, and not to suffer them to wrong the country people, whom I should press to keep for my friends.
This order being come, I begun with the country boors, first, to fortify the passages without me, and next to make skonces and redoubts without the town, as also to repair the fortifications about the castle, and in cleansing of the moat, that it might be deeper of water; the other parts also without me, I brought under contribution to his Majesty, by sending parties of dragoniers athwart the country, in Hinder Pomerania, betwixt me and Danzig, being twenty Dutch mile in length, which all in short time I did bring under contribution to his Majesty. As also the enemy having had a magazine of corn, at Ruegenwalde, and Stolpe, by our landing here, was made good for his Majesty's use and his army.
Being thus busied for a few days, another ship of the same fleet, being long beaten with the tempest at sea, at last was forced for scarcity of victuals, to anchor on the same coast, being four hundred men, of Colonel Fretz Rosse his regiment of Dutch, his Lieutenant Colonel called Tisme Howsne did come ashore, entreating me to supply him with victuals, which I did. In the meantime he asked my advice, if he might land his soldiers there, I told him I had no counsel to give him, seeing there was no necessity of his landing, and which was more, his orders were to land at another part, so that he had to advise whether he should follow his orders, or for second respects if he might neglect his orders, so that on all hazards he landed his people also, which were quartered with me in the town: Shortly after, he would contest with me for command, which bred a coldness betwixt us. Whereupon I again advertised his Majesty of our difference, desiring his Majesty might dispose of the command; his Majesty offended with the other, did send an absolute warrant unto me, to command him, and the whole garrison at my pleasure, for the well of his Majesty's service, during our being there, where we remained nine weeks, fighting and skirmishing with the enemy, till Sir John Hepburne with his regiment was sent by his Excellence the Rex Chancellor from Prussia to relieve us.
The First Observation.
Having thus by the providence of God happily landed again on the fair, fertile, and spacious continent of Dutchland, with a handful of old experimented soldiers, able to endure all misery, toil, or travail, being valourous to undertake any peril or danger, they were to be commanded upon, being led by such a General as GUSTAVUS the Invincible, their new master was: (under whose command and conduct, as their supreme leader, and me, as his Majesty's and my Colonel's inferior officer, they marched from the coast of Pomerania, out of Ruegenwalde, through Dutchland, unto the foot of the Alps in Schawbland.)
This city of Ruegenwalde in Pomerania, lies midway betwixt Danzig, and Stettin, being alike distant, twenty Dutch mile from both, and is a pleasant seat, being one of the Duke of Pomerania his chief Residence, not distant above one English mile from the Sea, it doth abound in corn, fruit, and store, cattle, horses of good breed, fishponds, and parks for deer, and pastorage, whereof it hath enough, where we were nobly entertained, and kindly welcomed of the inhabitants, especially of the captain and his civil bed-fellow, to whom, under God, we were beholden for our safeties, the remembrance whereof we are bound never to forget.
Here, I did remark as wonderful, that in the very moment when our ship did break on ground, there was a sergeant's wife a shipboard, who without the help of any women was delivered of a boy, which all the time of the tempest she carefully did preserve, and being come ashore, the next day, she marched near four English mile, with that in her arms, which was in her belly the night before, and was christened the next Sunday after sermon being the day of our thanksgiving for our deliverance, our preacher Mr. Murdow Mac-kenyee a worthy and religious young man, having discharged his part that day, after with much regret did sever from us, and followed my Lord of Rhee our Colonel unto Britain.
Being thus escaped from danger of sea, and from our enemies, I did keep the soldiers ever exercised in watching, in working, in parties against our enemies, lest that resting from hostile employment, they should become seditious, immodest, and turbulent; and to this effect, when they were not employed in parties against the enemies, I sent them by parties in the country, on military execution, to bring the possessors under contribution to his Majesty, making them hate and renounce the Imperialists, whom formerly they were forced to obey; so that by this means, the country was brought into subjection to the King, and my soldiers were put under as good discipline and command, as any served his Majesty; which discipline made their contiuance the longer in the service: where it was rare to find one regiment in an army, that did change so many officers as they did in four years, as the observations on their duties will clear to the world, in despite of their enviers whatsoever. But I hope no worthy spirit or Heroic mind will think an evil thought of the virtuous.
We may see here, that in the greatest extremities, both officers and soldiers have greatest need of courage, and resolution: For nothing should seem hard to daring men, that are of courage, which never doth beget, but the opinion and censure of virtue. For we see at this time, that to dare was the beginning of victory, being better to hazard to save ourselves and others, then to be the instrument to lose us all by flying, as some of our officers advised me at our landing, to march back to Danzig, which if we had, the enemy getting intelligence, he could with ease overtake us, and cut us all off, as he did, some years before, cut off in the same country three regiments of Dutch who were going to serve his Majesty against the Pole.
Here also, I found by experience, that the steadfast, and invincible vigour of the mind rising against crosses, doth help much, especially where necessity requireth such resolution. For being in the greatest extremity of danger, resolving with God, I thought as my safest course to bide God's leisure, I sat on the gallery of the ship, being assured it would be the last part, that would remain together of the whole, and being so near land, I was never dejected and cast down, nor did I doubt of our safe landing, seeing we had victuals and were in hope, the storm would not continue, being in the midst of August.
Here we may see by this Christian advertisement, that no part of our life is exempted or freed from grief or sorrow: But on the contrary, we are exposed to all kind of miseries and troubles, so that we see, that children do suck with the milk of their Nurses, certain beginnings of the evil to come, our misery growing as doth our age; and we see it true: for the godly; they sigh and groan under the burden of their adversities, having no comfort they can enjoy, but out of the written word of God, a fruit whereof the wicked hath no part. Therefore they said well, who said, that philosophical precepts were not so powerful to heal the wounds of the soul, as are those of the word of God.
Men of our profession ought ever to be well prepared, having death ever before their eyes, they ought to be the more familiar with God, that they might be ever ready to embrace it, not caring a rush for it when it came, doing good while they may. For now we flourish, in an instant we wither like grass; now we stand, presently we fall, our life carrying with it when we received it, the seed of death, and that which did begin our life, doth open the door to it, to go away: For in our birth, our end did hang at our beginning; and, according to the custom of that worthy Emperor, our actions should be ever before our eyes, as if presently we were to appear in judgment, before the Eternal our God, and that cry should never depart out of our ears, cried unto Philip King of Macedon, Philippe, memento mori, Philip remember, thou must die: For man shall never behave himself as he ought in this world, except at all times he have death before his eyes, thinking on the hour and moment of his departure always, contemning the exterior things of this world, giving himself unto the inward cogitations, that do profit the soul and the life thereof, rejoicing beyond all things in the testimony of a good conscience.