Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

1

columns. Sir Robert Hamilton was our commander in chief. The gallant general Hackstone stood on that spot with his brave men. Along the river, and above the bridge, Burley's foot, and capt. Nesbit's dragoons were stationed. For one hour we kept the enemy in check. They were defeated in every attempt to cross the Clyde. Livingstone sent another strong column to storm the bridge. I shall never forget the effect of one fire from our battery, where my men stood. We saw the line of the foe advance in all the military glory of brave and beautiful men. The horses pranced-the armour gleamed. In one moment nothing was seen but a shocking mass of mortality. Human limbs, and the bodies and limbs of horses, were mingled in one huge heap; or blown to a great distance. Another column attempted to cross above the bridge. Some threw themselves into the current. One well directed fire from Burley's troops threw them into disorder, and drove them back. Meantime, while we were thus warmly engaged, Hamilton was labouring to bring down the different divisions of our main body into action. But in vain he called on col. Cleland's troopin vain he ordered Henderson's to fall in-in vain he called on col. Fleming's. Hackstone flew from troop to troop. All was confusion. In vain he besought, he entreated, he threatened. Your disputes, and fiery misguided zeal, my brother, contracted a deep and deadly guilt that day. The whig turned his arms, in fierce hate, that day against his own vitals. Our chaplains Cargil, and King, and Kid, and Douglas, interposed again and again. Cargil mounted the pulpit; he preached peace; he called aloud for mutual forbearance. "Behold the banners of the enemy," cried he; "hear ye not the fire of the foe, and of our own brethren? Our brothers and fathers are falling beneath their sword. Hasten to their aid. See the flag of the covenant. See the motto in letters of gold, "Christ's crown and covenant." Hear the voice of your weeping country. Hear the wailings of the bleeding kirk, Banish discord; and let us, as a band of brothers, present a bold front to the foemen. Follow me, all ye who love their country and the covenant. I go to die in the fore front of the battle." All the ministers and officers followed him, amidst a flourish of trumpets; but the great

body remained to listen to the harangues of the factious. We sent again and again for ammunition. My men were at the last round. Treachery, or a fatal error, had sent a barrel of raisins instead of powder. My heart sunk within me, while 1 beheld the despair on the faces of my brave fellows, as I struck out the head of the vessel. Hackstone called his officers to him. We threw ourselves around him. "What must be done?" said he in an agony of despair. "Conquer, or die!" we said as if with one voice; "we have our swords yet. Lead back the men, then, to their places, and let the ensigns bear down the white and scarlet colours. Our God and our country be the word." Hackstone rushed forward. We ran to our respective corps-we cheered our men, but they were languid and dispirited. Their ammunition was nearly expended, and they seemed anxious to husband what remained. They fought only with their carbines. The cannons could no more be loaded. The enemy soon perceived this. We saw a troop of horse approach the bridge. It was that of the life guards. I recognised the plume of Clavers. They approached in rapid march. A solid column of infantry followed. I sent a request to capt. Nesbit to join his troop to mine. He was in an instant with us. We charged the life guards. Our swords rung on their steel caps. Many of my brave lads fell on all sides of me. But we hewed down the foe. They began to reel. The whole column was kept stationary on the bridge. Clavers' dreadful voice was heard, more like the yell of a savage, than the commanding voice of a soldier. He pushed forward his men; and again we hewed them down. A third mass was pushed up. Our exhausted dragoons fled. Unsupported, I found myself by the brave Nesbit and Paton, and Hackstone. We looked for a moment's space in silence on each other. We galloped in front of our retreating men. We rallied them. We pointed to the general almost alone. We pointed to the white and to the scarlet colours floating near him. We cried "God and our country." They faced about. We charged Clavers once more. "Torfoot,” cried Nesbit, "I dare you to the fore front of the battle." We rushed up at full gallop. Our men seeing this, followed also at full speed. We broke the enemy's line, bearing down.

[ocr errors]

those files which we encountered. We cut our way through their ranks. But they had now lengthened their front. Superior numbers drove us in. They had gained the entire possession of the bridge. Livingstone and Dalzell were actually taking us on the flank. A band had got between us and Burley's infantry. "My friends," said Hackstone to his officers, "we are the last on the field. We can do no more. We must retreat. Let us attempt, at least, to bring aid to the deluded men behind us. They bave brought ruin on themselves and on us. Not Monmouth, but our divisions have scattered us."

At this moment one of the life-guards aimed a blow at Hackstone. My sword received it; and a stroke from Nesbit laid the foeman's hand and sword in the dust. He fainted, and tumbled from his saddle. We reined our horses, and galloped to our main body. But what a scene presented itself here! These misguided men had their eyes now fully opened on their fatal errors. The enemy were bringing up their whole force against them. I was not long a near spectator of it; for a ball grazed my courser. He plunged and reared; then shot off like an arrow. Several of our officers drew to the same place. On a knoll we faced about. The battle raged below us. We beheld our commander doing every thing that a brave soldier could do with factious men, against an overpowering foe. Burley.and his troops were in close conflict with Clavers' dragoons. We saw him dismount three troopers with his own hand. He could not turn the tide of battle; but he was covering the retreat of these misguided men. Before we could rejoin him, a party threw themselves in our way. We formed, and received them. Kennoway, one of Clavers' officers, led them on. "Would to God that this were Grahame himself," some of my comrades ejaculated aloud. "He falls to my share," said I, "whoever the officer be." I advanced; he met me. I parried several thrusts. He received a cut on the left arm; and the sword by the same stroke, shore off one of his horse's ears; it plunged and reared. We closed again. I received a severe stroke on the left shoulder. My blow fell on his sword arm. He reined his horse around, retreated a few paces, then returned at full gallop. My courser reared instinctively as

his approached. I received his stroke on the back of my ferrara, and by a back stroke I gave him a deep cut on the cheek; and before he could recover a position of defence, my sword fell, with a terrible blow, on his steel cap. Stunned by the blow, he bent himself forward, and grasping the mane, he tumbled from his saddle; and his steed galloped over the field. I did not repeat the blow. His left hand presented his sword; his right arm was disabled his life was given to him. My companions having disposed of their antagonists (and some of them had two a-piece) we paused to see the fate of the battle. Dalzell and Livingstone were riding over the field like furies, cutting down all in their way. Monmouth was galloping from rank to rank, and calling on his men to give quarters. Clavers, to wipe off the disgrace of Drumclog, was committing fearful havoc. "Can we not find Clavers," said Halhead. "No," said capt. Paton, "the gallant colonel takes care to have a solid guard of his rogues about him. I have sought him over the field, but I found him, as I now perceive him, with a mass of his guards about him." At this instant we saw our general, at some distance, disentangling himself from the men who had tumbled over him in the melè. His face, and hands, and clothes were covered with gore. He had been dismounted, and was fighting on foot; we rushed to the spot, and cheered him; our party drove back the scattered bands of Dalzell. "My friends," said sir Robert, as we mounted him on a stray horse, "the day is lost! but you, Paton, you, Brownlee of Torfoot, and you, Halhead, let not that flag fall into the hands of these incarnate devils. We have lost the battle; but, by the grace of God, neither Dalzell nor Clavers shall say that he took our colours. My ensign has done his duty. He is down. This sword has saved it twice-I leave it to your care; you see its perilous situation." He pointed with his sword to the spot, we collected some of our scattered troops, and flew to the place. The standard bearer was down, but he was still fearlessly grasping the flag-staff; while it was borne upright by the mass of men who had thrown themselves, in fierce contest, around it. Its well-known blue and scarlet colours, and its motto, "Christ's crown and covenant," in brilliant gold letters, inspired us with a sacred enthu

siasm. We gave a loud cheer to the wounded ensign, and rushed into the combat. The redemption of that flag cost the foe many a gallant man. They fell beneath our broad swords, and with horrible execrations dying on their lips, they gave up their souls to their Judge.

Here I met in front that ferocious dragoon of Clavers, named Tam Halliday, who had more than once, in his raids, plundered my halls; and had snatched the bread from my weeping babes. He had just seized the white staff of the flag, but his tremendous oath of exultation (we of the covenant never swear) had scarcely passed its polluted threshold, when this andro-ferrara fell on the guard of his steel, and shivered it to pieces.." Recreant loon!" said I, "thou shalt this day remember thy evil deeds." Another blow on his helmet laid him at his huge. length, and made him bite the dust. In the melè that followed, I lost sight of him. We fought like lions, but with the hearts of Christians. While my gallant companions stemmed the tide of battle, the standard, rent to tatters, fell across my breast. I tore it from the staff, and wrapt it round my body. We cut our way through the enemy, and carried our general off the field.

Having gained a small knoll, we beheld once more the dreadful spectacle below. Thick volumes of smoke and dust rolled in a lazy cloud over the dark bands mingled in deadly fray. It was no longer a battle, but a massacre. In the struggle of my feelings, I turned my eyes on the general and Paton; I saw in the face of the latter an indescribable conflict of passions. His long and shaggy eyebrows were drawn over his eyes. His hand grasped his sword. "I cannot yet leave the field," said the undaunted Paton. "With the general's permission, I shall try to save some of our wretched men, beset by these hell hounds. Who will go? At Kilsyth I saw service. When deserted by my troop, I cut my way through Montrose's men, and reached the spot where colonels Hacket and Strachan were. We left the field together. Fifteen dragoons attacked us, we cut down thirteen, and two fled; thirteen next assailed us, we left ten on the field, and three fled; eleven highlanders next met us; we paused, and cheered each other. "Now, Johnny," cried Hacket to me, put forth your mettle, else we are gone," Nine

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »