The twenty-six of September, his Majesty divided the army in two deals or parts, considering the difficulty he had to march over Thüringer Wald with a strong army. And therefore being minded to march unto Franconia, to visit the Bishops of Bamberg and Würzburg, he took the one half of the army with himself, crossing over the Wald towards Bad Königshofen and Schweinfurt; and directed Lieutenant General Bawtish, and Sir John Hepburne, with the other half of the army, to march over the Wald unto Franconia, upon Schmalkalden and Neustadt, the rendezvous appointed for the army to meet at was Würzburg on the Main, being the Bishop his chief residence, where there was a great city and a strong citadel or castle, wherein lay a strong garrison, and the most part of the riches of the country, being esteemed by them as impregnable, in respect of the situation, being seated on a high hill unaccessible, save only from the town, so that it was hard to do it any hurt by cannon, being so strong by nature, and fortified with divers out-works, on the accessible side that lay to the city.
The army thus divided, and marching alike to one centre or rendezvous, his Majesty was provided to take in the strengths that lay in his way, and Bawtizen and Hepburne had orders to bring under contribution such cities, as they marched on, as they did.
His Majesty took in his way Bad Königshofen by accord, being strong, and having beset it with a garrison, he marched from thence to Schweinfurt, and took it in also, and having beset it with a garrison, the burghers being made to give their oath of fidelity; Duke Ernest of Weimar was appointed Stat-holder over Franconia.
In this time we marched over the Wald to Schmalkalden, and from thence to Neustadt, Mellrichstadt, Gemünden, and Karlstadt on the Main. The first night we quartered on the side of the Wald next unto Franconia, in a city called Schmalkalden, where we were well quartered; and the next morning we marched to Meiningen, from thence to Mellrichstadt, and then to Neustadt on the Salt, from thence to Hammelburg, from thence to Gemünden, and from Gemünden to Karlstadt; and these six cities we took in by accord; and having gotten a composition of moneys of them, they being sworn to give their obedience unto his Majesty, having quartered in them as we passed, they were free, paying the moneys they had promised, and the monthly contribution. In this march, though the General Lieutenant commanded in chief, and made the accord most to his own advantage; having got of these towns above fifty thousand Dollars, whereof he made neither account to his Majesty, nor yet was he any ways beneficiall to the Colonels, who did the service; but put all in his own purse; neither yet did he acknowledge Sir John Hepburne with the least token of his bounty, whose merit, at this time, was not inferior to his own.
His Majesty having taken in Schweinfurt, and beset it, he continued his march to Würzburg, and coming before the town, he summoned them to render, whereupon they did send Father Ogleby, Abbot of the Scots Cloister at Würzburg, to capitulate with his Majesty, in the behalf of the burghers, who got granted unto them the like accord, as was made with Erfurt, in all degrees; the accord subscribed, his Majesty entered the town the same day that our forces arrived at Karlstadt, being within two miles of them that night.
The city given over, the castle refusing to hear of any treaty, they begun from the castle-works to plague his Majesty's army with cannon; wherever they could lie or stand, within or without the city, on either side of the Main, they were cruelly tormented by the enemies' cannon; so that at last it went on in earnest on both sides, for his Majesty having had intelligence, that General Tilly with a strong army of fifty thousand men, being joined with the Duke of Lorraine, were coming for the relief of the castle; his Majesty resolved, that taking of time was best, and that it behoved him on the sudden to have it, or not at all.
This castle being a strong strength, sequestered on a height from the town; and the soldiers as they retired from the town, they did break off one arch of the bridge, to hinder his Majesty's passage over the bridge unto the castle; being the only way he could get to it; and the castle works did so command the bridge, that a single man could not pass over without great danger of life, being the whole bridge did lie open just under the castle; where there was one long plank laid over the broken arch, being distant in height from the water, near eight fathom, so that it seemed a hazard or torment to any man, to pass over alongst the plank; where some valourous officers and soldiers would rather adventure to go before the mouth of the cannon, than to cross over the plank, though there were no danger of the enemies' cannon or musket, which still played furiously on that pass of the bridge, to hinder his Majesty's soldiers in setting over; where at first, two valourous gentlemen of our nation, being brethren, were killed on the bridge (viz.) Sir James Ramsey his Major, called Bothwell and his brother.
Nevertheless, before our coming from Karlstadt, being within two miles; his Majesty had engaged the rest of our countrymen that were with him, on this piece of service, being the most desperate, and of the greatest importance, that was ever done in Dutchland during the continuance of the wars; And therefore Sir James Ramsey and Sir John Hamilton were made choice of, with their regiments by his Majesty, who knew both their worth and valour, being persuaded, if they refused it, none would undertake the service after them; the passage being so dangerous, and of such hazard, that without great difficulty, there was no probability to gain much credit there; and his Majesty resolved, except those cavaliers with their followers, would make way to others, the wished event could not be hoped for at that time, seeing the enemy was within three days march to relieve it; and to the end, they might show good example to others, they were commanded, with their fellows, being all musketeers, to cross the bridge, and to beat the enemy from the water side, and then to force a passage for the rest of the army towards the castle; the orders were as hard, as the passage was difficult, yet cavaliers of courage, being daring men, and once resolved, nothing could seem difficult unto them, to gain honour and credit to themselves and country; especially being made choice of by a King, out of his army, to give testimony publicly, in view of the whole army, of their valour and resolution exemplary, forcing their enemies to give ground for them and theirs, having had not one foot of ground on that side of the water, till they should gain it at their landing: for I was none of the actors, nor yet of the spectators, till I had viewed it the next day, being informed particularly by my comrades of the manner of their on-falling.
The bridge lay over the Main, with six arches in length, being a very fair and spacious bridge (over which sixty men could well march in front) lying open unto the castle batteries and works; the middle arch whereof being broke, a plank was set over, where with difficulty strong-headed soldiers might cross one after another, under mercy of cannon and musket; and while as they could but file over, the enemy could receive them with full bodies of pikes and muskets, which was a great disadvantage; and the distance, betwixt the water and the plank, would terrify any to venture over, for fear of drowning, though he were in no fear of an enemy; so that many, who went with resolution to pass over, returned again, choosing rather to cross alongst the water, in small boats; Notwithstanding, the enemy would empty salvos of muskets on them before their landing; Nevertheless, Sir James Ramsey and Sir John Hamilton, in obedience to his Majesty's commands, with a few soldiers adventured to cross the river with small boats; their soldiers giving fire before their landing, and in their landing, against their enemies: and being happily once landed, and beginning to skirmish, their soldiers they left behind them, who before durst not adventure to cross alongst the plank, seeing their officers and comrades engaged with the enemy, to help them, they ran over the plank one after another so fast as they could run; till at last they passed all and made a strong head against the enemy; till, by the valourous conduct of their leaders, and their following, they forced the enemy to give ground, retiring unto their works.
Their leaders, desirous to gain further honour and reputation, pursued the enemy so hard, till they had beaten them out of a torn, they had fled unto. At which time, Sir James Ramsey was shot lame in the left arm, and then his comrade Sir John Hamilton succeeding him both in command and courage; notwithstanding of the enemies' strength and great fury used against them, having disputed with long service for the ground; at last it was made good by Sir John and his followers; till such time his Majesty had set over after them the most part of the army, so that they were blocked up on all quarters, and forced to remain within their works; till that against night, the service being ceased, we with the rest of the army were come from Karlstadt, and quartered that night without the town on the other side of the Main.
His Majesty before day, gave orders to the Swedes, and some Dutch regiments, to storm the enemies' works, who having kept slight watch, were unawares surprised by some Swedes, that had entered with ladders over the wall, so that a panic fear having possessed them, they retired in disorder from their post; and the Swedes and Dutch followed so hard, that they had not time to draw up their draw-bridge, neither yet to let down the portcullis of their inward ports; being so amazed, our people flocking in after them, cut them down as they were found, giving no quarters at all, so that they that entered first made the best booty, though least service. Here fortune favoured his Majesty miraculously at this time, beyond men's expectation, as formerly; having got here a great deal of riches; as also many cannon, and great store of ammunition; and of all sort of victuals abundance. The fury past, his Majesty set a governor on the castle, and a garrison, which was strong, and he gave orders presently to begin to repair the works, seeing General Tilly, with his army, were drawing near; and his Majesty having got intelligence, that they were quartered within two miles off Würzburg, according to his accustomed manner, his Majesty with a party of horse and dragoniers fell upon their nearest quarters in the night, and defeated four regiments of their horse, and retired the next night unto Würzburg, attending when the enemy would seek for his revenge.
The twentieth Observation.
His Majesty at this time, as formerly, used great expedition in marching unto Franconia, knowing it was one of the circles of the whole Empire, that was of most importance for the enemy; being a straight and a strong country, by reason of the strengths within it: And therefore it was, that he divided his army in crossing the Wald, at divers places; that his artillery might pass the sooner through. For he knew, who ever was master of Würzburg, he commanded the whole River of the Main, and consequently, whole Franconia, which fortunately happened, according to his Majesty's deliberation.
Here also we see the evil that comes of greediness, in making general commanders to be hated by those that follow them; for Bawtizen having got a great sum of money of these towns, by the help and service of the foot, it became him, according to right and discretion, to have shared with the colonels, who commanded the brigades and regiments; but seeing his want of discretion in not acknowledging them, they being once joined again to his Majesty's army, would never consent to be commanded by him a foot-step afterwards, for aught his Majesty could do, having dealt so niggardly with cavaliers of their worth, so that his Majesty was forced to direct him to command elsewhere.
This greediness is the most pestiferous root, that ever grew in a general commander; for on this march, soldiers were usually commanded to lie in the fields, and not suffered to quarter in the towns, which they had taken, for fear to hinder the payment of the moneys imposed on them; so that public employment is ill bestowed upon a greedy person; and this greediness in a man of war, to gather riches, may lose him all his fortunes; and avarice hath been the loss of many armies, and of many kingdoms also; for no vice is more pestiferous in the extraordinary use, than this, to bring a man to be disdained of others, especially of those would follow him.
Here also we see, that of old, our nation was much esteemed of abroad, especially the clergy, who in all kingdoms, as in Germany, had their cloisters, as here, and at Erfurt; and he was a Scots man, that brought the Christian religion first into Franconia, but was evil rewarded, being there afterwards murdered.
It was the custom observed ordinarily by his Majesty of Sweden, to make use of our countrymen on service, wherein he desired they should show themselves examplary to others, as at this time, he made choice of Sir James Ramsey and Sir John Hamilton, to be the first should adventure, of the whole army, to force the enemy to give way to his Majesty to set his army over the Main; where, on that bridge Major Bodwell and his brother being killed, were buried in Würzburg Church, leaving the trophy of their valour amongst strangers, in honour of the nation, that was ever glorious abroad.
Sir John Hamilton disdaining the orders his Majesty did give, for storming the castle, having employed the Swedes and Dutch on the storm, neglecting him and the Scots, who had made the way to the rest, in the extremity of the danger, the cavalier, I say, therefore disdaining the service, seeing his countrymen neglected, he desired of his Majesty his honourable pass, which his Majesty delayed, promising to give content another time, which he utterly refused, but took his pass, seeing he thought the nation was wronged; for which in my opinion he merits praise: for if many such cavaliers thus served strangers, that would not care for them nor their service, when once they begin to neglect them, others that were but cavaliers of fortune of the nation, would be the better respected and used. Which should teach all cavaliers that serve truly abroad to take their time with credit of those they serve, seeing they do not respect cavaliers, but when they have most use of them,
Here then we see that no strength, be it never so strong, is able to hold out, when as God doth not watch the fort, the watch-man watches in vain, and we see by the submission of Franconia after this victory, that the victorious ensigns are ever followed: for where Fortune doth favour, there the commons do follow, and their study also with their favour follows the victorious.
Here also we see General Tilly, though beaten at Leipzig, in less then five weeks time, he draws together again a strong army, with fifty thousand men, and lies down within three miles of his Majesty's army, but his Majesty having wisely beset the passes on the Main, before his coming, winter drawing near, and the country being a strait country by nature, for woods, hills and water; As also, forage and provision for horses being taken out of his way, his horsemen in that country were made unprofitable for him to stay there, for lack of entertainment, which was defective for his foot also, so that it was impossible for him to stay long; so seeing his Majesty had resolved in that country, and for that season to make a defensive war, having divided his army, both horse and foot within towns and strengths, he suffered Tilly to ruin his young novices with marches in cold weather, who being for the most part French and Italians, could not endure the cold air of that country being hilly: his Majesty having beset all the garrisons on the Main stream, he suffered Tilly, as he did the year before, in Pomerania and Magdeburg and the Marks, to traverse with his army in the cold, while as he lay still with his soldiers within the warm stove; and when he found the storm over-past, he was ready to neglect no time.