Sunday, 15 December 2013

Meet the Campbells

The Scottish Government order of battle for Inverlochy 1645. 


The Scottish government force at the battle of Inverlochy was different in one key respect to all of the other forces that fought in battles against Montrose. The majority of the troops were from a general rising of highlanders from the Campbell clan and their close allies, rather than regular soldiers. This rising was in response to the Winter campaign in which the Scottish royalists had marched unopposed through the Campbell heartland, pillaging and plundering for all they were worth. After initially being taken by surprise at the invasion of his heartland in late 1644, the Marquis of Argyle was now intent on reasserting his authority on Argyle and Lochaber. Strategically he was also trying to trap Montrose between his forces and the Northern Covenanters based around Inverness. In addition to the irregular clansmen of Clan Campbell and their allies, Argyle was also supported by a lowland force from the Covenanting Scottish Government regular army. The Covenanters sent these lowland soldiers freshly returned from their campaign in Northern England to the North West under General William Baillie. Baillie, a professional soldier, was not prepared to abdicate his command to The Marquis of Argyle despite Argyle's importance in the government. Baillie and Argyle seemed to have compromised through Baillie agreeing to transfer 16 companies of infantry (the best part of two infantry regiments) to Argyle's command, while Baillie then marched the rest of his force Northward, via a different route.  

The Covenanters had around 3,000 men at Inverlochy and about 1,000 of these were made up of the regular infantry from the Government army. The make-up and detailed organisation of the remaining 2,000 is not clear. Argyle had delegated military command of his army to Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck. Auchinbreck was an experienced soldier and also Lieutenant Colonel of Argyle's Highland Regiment. Auchinbreck and his regiment had been serving with the Covenanting Scottish army in Ulster when he was recalled by Argyle to help deal with the Royalist 'invasion'. It is assumed that the whole regiment returned with its commander. Not only would Argyle have wanted this trusty cadre of experienced and well equipped men in his force, but they themselves no doubt wanted the opportunity to avenge themselves on the various MacDonalds, Papist Irish and other Royalists who had been laying waste to their very homes. 

So, we have an army made up of irregular highlanders, a strong force of lowland infantry, and also Argyle's regular highland regiment. The accounts of the battle also provide Argyle with some pieces of artillery, almost certainly light pieces, due to the extreme difficulty of moving anything around the highlands, let alone large field guns, and particularly during the winter. There is no record of any Covenanter horse at the battle. The very small number of Royalist Horse who were present seem to have caused some alarm to the Covenanters suggesting they indeed felt exposed by their own lack of horse.

Commander-in-Chief

(Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyle, 8th Earl of Argyle, chief of Clan Campbell, and the most influential man in the Scottish Government abdicated command in the battle to the far more martial character of his relative, Auchinbreck.  Argyle, spent the battle as a spectator, safely aboard his birlinn (or galley) on Loch Linnhe, a situation that can have done little to inspire his clansmen!)
"The flight of Argyll from Inverlochy". An evocative print showing the fleeing Campbell troops at the end of battle, with Argyle's birlinn slipping away down Loch Linnhe


Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck, 2nd Baronet and 6th Lord Auchinbreck, hereditary Lieutenant Colonel to the Campbell clan.  

Auchinbreck was an experienced military officer although he can have had little experience of major field actions, his fighting in Ulster being confined to small scale sieges and skirmishes.  He was considered cruel and heartless by his enemies, and even his fellow Covenanter, General Baillie, thought him "a stout soldier but a vicious man".


Vanguard 

(Vanguard commanded by) Gillespie, son of Gillespie Og, Lord of the Bingingeadhs.

The Marquis of Argyle's Highland Regiment - 500 men

This is the formation described in the sources as being made up of the Campbell's "prime men" armed with "guns, bows and axes", which we can speculate was the Marquis' own regiment returned from Ulster to protect their chief's honour and avenge the wasting of their lands.  To reconcile their status as a regular regiment, with the slightly anachronistic description of their arms, I intend to field this unit organised as a regular regiment with a central melee armed block with two missile armed sleeves.  The central block will be armed with fearsome Lochaber axes, which makes sense both as they are fighting in defence of part of their homeland known as Lochaber, and that pikes would have provided little or no advantage against an enemy with little or no Horse.  One of the two sleeves will be armed with matchlock muskets, and the other with bows, which gives a nice 'highland' feel while matching the contemporary account.  At 500 men the regiment, although well below full establishment strength, would be considered a strong regiment.

Main Body

Campbell Highland Levies - 1000 men

These men would have been the result of the general raising of the highland clansmen by the lairds and chieftains who owed fealty to Argyle as Chief of Clan Campbell, the MacCailen Mor in gaelic.  Although mostly drawn from clan Campbell, there were also allied clans included in this great levy such as MacDougalls and Lamonts.  The lists of dead and captured after the battle provide a long list of the gentlemen who lead these highlanders.  With no regular organisation the highlanders would have fought side by side with their kith and kin, following their own chiefs and lairds.  For the purposes of the war-game this conglomerate of soldiers is split in to 4 large highland units which will be lead by:

  • Archibald Campbell, The Provost of Kilmun
  • John Campbell, Laird of Lochnell
  • Sir James Lamont
  • Captain Hew MacDougall
This force also contained the Campbell battle standard, and two pieces of light artillery.

Right Wing

(Right wing commanded by) Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Roughe

Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Roughe's provisional battalion - 500 men

Roughe was commander of 8 Companies of infantry from the Earl of Tullibardine's Regiment that were transferred from General Baillie's force to Argyle's army.  These would have been conventional pike and shot armed, lowland infantry.  They had been raised in 1643 for the invasion of England and so would have seen action around the North of England in 1644 (including the siege of Newcastle), but did not take part in the Battle of Marston Moor itself, so although veterans to some degree they had probably not seen a major field action.

Archibald Campbell, Laird of Glencarradale - 250 men

Roughe's lowland regulars were supported by further Campbell highland levies (see the Main Body above).  For the purpose of the war-game these are formed in to another large highland unit and command by one of the Campbell Lairds known to be present at the battle.

Left Wing

(Left wing commanded by) Lieutenant Colonel John Cockburn

Lieutenant Colonel John Cockburn's provisional battalion - 500 men

Cockburn was commander of 8 Companies of infantry from Sir John Wauchope of Niddrie's Regiment that were transferred from General Baillie's force to Argyle's army.  These would have been conventional pike and shot armed, lowland infantry.  They had been raised in 1644 for the invasion of England and so would have seen action around the North of England in 1644 (including Newcastle), but did not take part in the Battle of Marston Moor itself, so although veterans to some degree they had probably not seen a major field action.

John Campbell, Laird of Ardchattan - 250 men

Cockburn's lowland regulars were supported by further Campbell highland levies (see the Main Body above).  For the purpose of the war-game these are formed in to another large highland unit and command by one of the Campbell Lairds known to be present at the battle.

Detachment - 50 men

A small body of lowland musketeers were detached to man the remains of Inverlochy Castle walls, which stood on the army's extreme left flank, and to provide flanking fire in to the Royalists as they advanced against Cockburn's wing.

Total Forces 

Around 3,000 infantry, 2 pieces of artillery and a Birlinn (!).

1 comment:

  1. I reckon your Birlinn probably refers to a Berlin coach. Gaelic pronunciation (admittedly in western Ireland) would give that spelling exactly (bir is pronounced like ber and linn means 'with us' but is pronounced exactly like -lin in English).

    However the Berlin was designed about 1670 (Fredrick William of Brandenburg had one)so the account would have to have been written post 1670 for this to be true (it is possible any Scottish description would have been written later from accounts passed by word of mouth as was the case in Ireland in the 1640s). I reckon a description of a large/unusual coach/carriage would have morphed over time to a Berlin as the latter became more familiar. Maybe.

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