Alexander Leslie and the Scottish Generals of the Thirty by Alexia Grosjean

By Alexia Grosjean

Box Marshal Alexander Leslie was once the top score commander from the British Isles to serve within the Thirty Years’ battle. notwithstanding Leslie’s lifestyles presents the thread that runs via this paintings, the authors use his tale to discover the affects of the Thirty Years’ warfare, the British Civil Wars and the age of army Revolution.

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43 These troops fought at the siege of Haarlem, where most perished upon the Spanish capture of the town on 14 June. 45 James Haliburton, provost of Dundee, stood as guarantor for Captain Strachan, and his caution specifies not only how the levies were to be used (not against Protestants) but also who could be levied and how they were to behave. 49 The emphasis on siege warfare and garrison service allowed many Scots to gain insights into military techniques they simply could not get in Scotland, and Dutch service certainly did function as a ‘nursery of arms’ for aspiring professional soldiers.

86 This reputation for hardiness found expression also from Scottish and European observers. 87 What may be considered to be a national boast by Monro found currency among the German population. 88 One reason for their ability to move rapidly in such conditions was their preference for light weaponry and minimal covering of armour. 90 We get an idea of what a typical retinue was armed with from the Moray wapinschaw of 1596, for example. 93 This legislation sought to standardize weapons in each area, allowing for men to turn out in the first wapinschaw of the year with whatever weapons they had, but with a caveat that at the next showing later in the year a degree of standardization would be achieved in each region.

In each scenario Leslie would have followed the infantry tradition, the role in which he would excel for the rest of his military career. While the domestic warfare which Leslie witnessed as he was growing up was prevalent, there was another strand to Scottish military culture which also had a part to play in domestic events. That came through the redeployment of the Scottish soldier from his base overseas. This is the place where we find ourselves in more certain ground in the early military careers of Alexander Leslie and those who would become his fellow generals in the Thirty Years’ War.

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