The first of July, the Swedens of Axellile his regiment, that lay in Bernau, and we did break up, having got orders to march to old Brandenburg, being appointed then for the General rendezvous of our army to come together at. This Bernau is a town in the Mark of Brandenburg, renowned of old, for brewing of good beer, which during our residence there with the Swedes, we did merrily try, till that we had both quarrelling and swaggering amongst ourselves, who before our departure again were made good friends, reserving our enmity, till we saw our common enemy, and so we marched together following our orders towards old Brandenburg, taking but easy marches, being without fear of an enemy, and being tied to no particular diet, we took quarters, where we found the best entertainment to be, either in dorp or town.
Notwithstanding our easy march and good quarters, there were some under both the regiments unworthy the name of good soldiers, who in their march leaving their colours, and staying behind did plunder, and oppress the boors, for remedy whereof, the soldiers being complained on, accused and convicted, they were made, for punishment to suffer gatlop, where they were well whipped for their insolency.
Likewise on this march, some of our soldiers in their ranks, their colours flying, did beat one another, for which oversight I did cashier a sergeant, after I had cut him over the head, for suffering such abuse to have been done in his presence, where such insurrection, amongst soldiers being in their arms, might have brought the whole regiment into factions, where I alone was too weak, for all my authority, to command them asunder. And therefore such faults ought ever to be suppressed at first, and to be stilled by any officer, that chanceth to be nearest him, who did give the first evil example.
Having marched three days, the fourth we arrived at Brandenburg, the pest raging in extremity of the heat in the city, we were commanded to quarter without in the fields, and presently there was a certain quantity of the works about the leaguer appointed for us, within four days to complete and make ready: during which time, Robert Monro Furer to Captain Hector his colours, died of the pest, and was much regrated, being a youth of good hopes.
Here also did die of the plague, Segeant Robert Monro, Cull-crags son, and Andrew Monro was executed at Stettin, for having, contrary to his Majesty's articles and discipline of war, beaten a burgher in the night within his own house, for whose life there was much solicitation made by the Duchess of Pomerania, and sundry noble ladies, but all in vain, yet to be lamented, since divers times before he had given proof of his valour, especially at the siege of Stralsund in his Majesty's service of Denmark, where he was made lame of the left arm, who being young was well bred by his parents at home, and abroad in France, though it was his misfortune to have suffered an examplary death, for such an oversight committed through sudden passion, being Summum jus, in respect that the party had forgiven the fault, but the governor, being a churlish Swede, would not remit the satisfaction due to his Majesty and justice.
The eleventh Observation.
This regiment in nine years time, under his Majesty of Denmark, and in Dutchland, had ever good luck to get good quarters, where they did get much good wine, and great quantity of good beer, beginning first with Hamburg beer in Holstein, and after that in Denmark they had plenty of Rostock beer, and now at Bernau, and thereafter they tasted the good Calvinists beer at Zerbst, and our march continuing out of low Germany, towards the upper Circles of the Empire, as in Franconia, Swabland, Alsace and the Pfalz, they were oft merry with the fruits and juice of the best berries that grew in those circles, for to my knowledge, they never suffered either penury or want, I being the leader, but oft-times I did complain and grieve at their plenty, seeing they were better to be commanded, when they drank water, then when they got too much beer or wine. But my choice of all beers is Zerbster beer, being the wholesomest for the body, and clearst from all filth or barm, as their Religion is best for the soul, and clearst from the dregs of superstition.
Being once at dinner with the Rex Chancellor of Sweden, having drunk good Zerbster beer, he asked me what I thought of that beer; I answered it pleased my taste well, he replied merrily, no wonder it taste well to your palate, being it is the good beer of your ill religion. I asked his Excellence how the good wine on the Rhine would taste at Mainz, being the good wine of a worse religion; he answered, he liked the wine and the beer better than both the Religions. But I said, to be his excellence's neighbour, near Mainz in the Pfalz, at Kreuznach, I would be content to keep mine own religion, and to drink good Rhinish wine for my life time.
Nothing is more necessary on a march, then to keep good discipline, without which there is no order, nor fear of God amongst officers, that will suffer their soldiers to grind the faces of the poor by oppression, from whence oft-times doth come the unfortunate, and unhappy events of warlike enterprises and expeditions: for where the fear of God is taken away, there the common-weal must needs decay, and then the ruin of the people doth follow.
Likewise we see here, that all that come to the wars, (as many foolish men do think) are not killed, but some die, through one kind of death, and some by another; so that we ought ever be prepared and ready, not knowing how, when, or where to die. Happy then is that man that is prepared to die, as if he should die to morrow; for many have I seen rise well in the morning (the time of these wars) who went not to bed at night. Our care then should be still, to meditate on the end, that it may be good, and then doubtless we shall die well.
The infection being great at this time, in Brandenburg I contracted a sudden fit of sickness, that was vehement, and therefore did not continue above forty-eight hours: It was so vehement, that if I had not suddenly overcome it, doubtless it had overcome me, but praised be God, then I banished death by imagination, as I did divers times before, yet at last, I know he will have about with me, but my confidence is, that by the help of the Conqueror I will overcome him in th'end, as my captain and leader hath done, who is gone before me, and opened a door to me to enter at, where I may sing triumphing over my enemies, with those that follow the lamb in the Communion of the Saints blessed for ever.