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Memoirs and Adventures of Sir John Hepburn
Chapter XIV. The Friendship of Hepburn and Munro


The night was passed upon that sanguinary field, and with daybreak the soldiers began to search for their comrades among the dead and dying, who lay in every furrow of the ploughed land, among the green sedges of the Lober, the hedges and the highways. Those whose wounds required immediate care were borne to the nearest villages, where the surgeons, with which the regiments of Sweden (unlike those of the Empire) were well furnished, attended to their cure. The dead were interred by twenties in gigantic graves; and by nine o’clock the working parties were called in, and the whole army was mustered in "Battaglia,” the soldiers of each regiment being called by the muster-roll around the colours.

Prayers were returned for the victory, after which the king expressed his thanks to several regiments for their valour on the preceding day, and particularly to the Scottish brigade of Hepburn.

From this victorious field, the army, in hope of fresh conquests, marched towards Leipzig, where Gustavus invested the garrison with a column of horse; and pushing on towards Halle, three days after captured the castle of Mersberg, where a thousand men were cut to pieces, and Major Groshen and Captain Winkelmann, with five hundred, taken prisoners. Marshal Herman was left with the Saxon troops to continue the blockade of the town and castle of Leipzig, on both of which more than one furious assault was made.

In one of these Colonel Hay’s regiment carried by storm an outwork of the town. Captain Alexander Mackenzie of Suddy, when in the act of assisting the colonel over the palisades, was severely wounded in the head, which his helmet failed to protect; but he had still strength remaining to run his pike through the body of his assailant. He was borne off by his soldiers, and was afterwards sent home to Scotland for the recovery of his health.

Thomas Kerr, a Scottish major-general, was slain on this service. The castle and town yielded by capitulation, the garrison marching out with ten red ensigns furled, their swords sheathed, and drums unbeaten. On the 11th September Hepburn’s brigade marched to a field near Halle, where Gustavus had appointed a general rendezvous of his forces, as he intended moving towards Franconia and the far-famed Rhine, leaving the conquest of Bohemia to the wavering Elector of Saxony; for he was bent on watching his doubtful allies the French, and displaying his banners in central Germany, where he hoped to paralyse for ever the mighty power of the Imperial league. The valour of his Swedes and auxiliaries made them everywhere triumphant; and the whole country, from the sluggish waters of the Elbe to those of the rapid Rhine, submitted to him.

On arriving at the general rendezvous of his troops, and while the whole array of his army, twenty-five thousand strong, was under arms in the field or plain to which their different leaders and princes had marched them, Gustavus, accompanied by a glittering train of plumed cavaliers and steel-clad general officers, rode up to that iron brigade, which was alike his right wing and right arm in battle, at the head of which Hepburn was sitting on horseback sheathed in his magnificent armour. Dismounting, the king approached on foot, and, while his fine face was lighted up with admiration and respect for the courage and discipline of Hepburn’s soldiers, he made them a long address, commending their conduct in the highest terms, and, thanking them for their great share in winning the victory at Leipzig, promised never to forget the debt he owed them.

Hepburn, Lumsden, Munro, and other field officers, leaped from their horses and kissed his hand, while the drums rolled, the green standards were bent to the earth, and the soldiers cried repeatedly, "Vivat Gustavus! We hope to do your majesty better service than ever!”

On the same day, (Sunday, 11th September,) Hepburn at their head marched into Halle, taking possession of this Saxon castle and city, an hour or so after the fugitive Tilly had quitted it in a litter for Halbertstadt, enduring the greatest torment from his wounds, which had been roughly probed and dressed by the barber of Halle, who thus had ocular demonstration that this aged and abhorred leader was, as he pronounced it, gefirom—i.e.wounded—but yet, by magic, impenetrable to shot.

The town is pleasantly situated on the side of an eminence, which is crowned by the fortress of Moritzburg. A wing of the building alone survives, and is used for the peaceful purpose of a Calvinistic church. Captain William Stuart of Munro’s regiment led the musketeers who took possession of it, capturing fifty veteran soldiers, who immediately took service under the Swedish flag.

Attended by all the leading officers of his army, Gustavus in the evening went to the church of St Ulric, the cathedral of the Bishop of Halle, where they returned thanks to God for all their victories, and were regaled, saith Colonel Munro, “with the sweetest musicke that could be heard, and where I also did see the most beautifull women Dutchland could afoord.”

On Monday the Elector of Saxony and several of the Protestant princes paid Gustavus a visit, for the purpose of planning future operations, and cementing their friendship in the right old German fashion, by all drinking merrily together in the high-arched hall of the Moritz-burg. Hepburn and other leaders who were present were severally presented to the electoral Duke of Saxony.

The handsome face of Gustavus lighted up with pleasure at the sight of his stout Scottish Cavaliers. "Though rather inclining to corpulency, he possessed an air of majesty that impressed the beholders with reverence. His complexion was fair, his forehead lofty, his hair auburn, his eyes large and penetrating, his cheeks tinged with the glow of health.”

“Munro,” said he, taking that brave officer by one hand, while putting the other kindly round his shoulder, “I wish you could be master of the bottles and glasses to-night, and bear as much wine as old Major-General Sir Patrick Ruthven, that you might assist me to make my guests merry; but you lack strength of head to relieve me on such an occasion.”

Then, turning to the Elector, John George, he paid many encomiums to the valour of the Scottish soldiers and the services they had performed to his father and himself—last and best of all at Leipzig; and, having again beckoned Hepburn, “he did reiterate the former discourse, and much more in commendation of the Scots; and who,” continues the author of the Expedition, “is more worthy to be chosen for a friend than one who hath shown himself both so valiant and constant against his enemies as the worthy Hepbume, who is generally so well-known in all armies, that he needs not the testimony of a friend, having credit and reputation enough even among the foe.”

A strong sentiment of friendship and regard subsisted between Hepburn and Munro. They were ever together in the revelry of the board and the rivalry of the battle. On whatever service (no matter how desperate) Hepbum commanded, Munro, either as a duty or as a volunteer, was his second. Hepburn had been long in the Swedish service before the shipwreck of Munro at Rugenwalde. They were proverbially a pair of inseparables, as the brave cavalier frequently tells us, and, side by side, fought together in every battle and skirmish, from the shores of the Baltic to the vine-clad mountains of the Tyrol.


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