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Memoirs and Adventures of Sir John Hepburn
Chapter XXI. Hepburn is made Governor of Munich


After lying five days in the neighbourhood of Mosburg, a town which belonged to a Count of the same name, Hepburn and Gustave Home were ordered with eight thousand horse and foot to invest Landshut, a beautiful little town at the conflux of the Ampter and Iser—the rapid-rolling Iser of Campbell’s well-known poem.

On the march, and during their recent operations, the Scots brigades, as well as others, suffered from the religious fanaticism of the Bavarians. Soldiers who denied the Papal authority were viewed as a new and unheard-of phenomenon; and the preachers held them up to the execration of the people, as children of hell and the worshippers of Antichrist. Woe betided the poor straggler who became wearied on the hot dusty march, and fell into the hands of the peasantry! Every torment that cruelty could devise was inflicted upon them, and the sight of their mangled bodies excited their comrades to due retaliation.

On the road between Ingolstadt and Augsburg, no less than fifty soldiers were cruelly murdered by the a boors, who tore out their eyes, cut off their noses, hands, and feet, and otherwise savagely mutilated them; in revenge for which the Swedes and Scots shot all the Bavarians who fell into their hands, burned two hundred towns, villages, and chateaux, driving the inhabitants into Swabia and the Tyrol.

Gustave Home led the three thousand horse, and Hepburn the five thousand infantry, which approached Landshut with the utmost circumspection. The town had a palace and ancient castle built in 1204; the strong wall which encircled it secured also the passage of a venerable bridge, beneath which lay “the Iser rolling rapidly.” The lofty tower of St Martin’s Church (deemed the highest in Bavaria) formed a conspicuous object as the column approached, with the pikemen in the centre, the musketeers on their flanks, and Home’s horsemen in advance and rear.

On seeing the glitter of arms as they descended from the hills towards Landshut, thirteen hundred bold Bavarian cavalry, who after a hard and furious ride had thrown themselves into the town with the intention of defending it, mounted, and prepared to retire from a force so overwhelming. As the advanced guard approached, the sharp report of calivers was heard, smoke curled from the loopholes of the town wall, and, shot dead, a lieutenant and several of Home's troopers rolled from their saddles. The hoarse roar of an exploding mine followed, and a column of dust that ascended into the air announced that the bridge of the Iser had been blown up; and, with their armour glittering in the sunshine, the Bavarian troopers were seen retiring at full speed along the opposite bank.

On this Marshal Horne took possession of the town, making Hepburn interim governor, until the arrival of Gustavus, who entered next day, and received the keys from the citizens, who knelt with all humility before him.

"Rise,” said he: "it is your duty to kneel to God, but not to me.”

He levied a heavy contribution on the inhabitants, who had undertaken to maintain six troops of horse for the war against him. He received a hundred thousand dollars, Home twenty thousand; but Hepburn had only the honour of being governor for two days—a small reward, at which (whatever he felt) he disdained to complain. On the second day the troops marched against Freysingen, on the route to Munich, the whole way to which was now without obstruction.

On halting and bivouacking for a night among the green fields and parks that lay on the banks of the Masach, Gustavus heard that the great Duke of Friedland (to whose temporary dismissal by the Emperor the Catholics attributed all their misfortunes) was on his march to Prague, at the head of forty thousand men, being the shattered bands of Tilly and the newer levies of the Empire. Undaunted by this intelligence, the Swede and his generals, leaving the hills and woods behind them, on the 7th May 1632 entered Munich, a large and beautiful city, standing in the centre of a vast plain watered by the Iser, and exhibiting all the greenness and fertility of summer. Fearing that some resistance might be made, on the night of the 6th Gustavus sent Hepburn’s brigade round the town, by a circuitous road, to the bridge of the Iser, where their leader kept them under arms till daybreak; consequently the three Scots regiments of the Green Brigade had the honour of entering first.

Their entrance in the morning twilight, and the din of their drums beating the Old Soots March, mingled with the wild war-pipes of Lord Beay’s Highlanders, ringing in the empty and stately streets of the Bavarian capital, spread terror and consternation among the citizens, who placed all their hopes in the magnanimity of the conqueror and the mercy of his chivalric soldiers. The whole of the Swedish army encamped without the walls, none being permitted to occupy the city except the Green Brigade and the Lord Spynie’s regiment, also of Scots, who entered with the King.

Hepburn, who when last at Munich was but a youthful subaltern in the Scottish bands of Sir Andrew Gray, now placed guards at all the gates, and took possession of the spacious market-place where the great fairs of St James and the Three Kings of Cologne were wont to be held. The regiments of Spynie and Munro were quartered in the magnificent Electoral Palace, where they made pretty free with the rich wines of the cellars and whatever came in their way. “We were ordained” says the colonel of the latter, “to lie in the great court in our arms, night and day, to guard both the Kings persons.

Hepburn was appointed military governor of Munich by Gustavus, who, to prevent all plundering, gave a gratuity of five shillings per man to every soldier over and above his pay; thus showing that, if he had not forgotten the terrible fate of Magdeburg, with the generosity of a true soldier he forgave it, and contented himself with the more noble triumph of conducting the fugitive Frederick into the ancient palace of Maximilian of Bavaria—the same Duke Maximilian who, twelve years before, on that disastrous day, by the white mountain of Prague, had rent from his feeble hands the sceptre of Bohemia.

And thus (as in 1620) he was again guarded by Scottish troops, among whom were many of those Border veterans who had followed Sir Andrew Gray, and now served with Hepburn. That they should have been chosen for this important service by Gustavus, in preference to both his Swedes and Dutch, was an honour, the memory of which was long proudly cherished by the Green Brigade.

When pressed by some of his officers to revenge on Munich the atrocities of the Imperialists, Gustavus nobly replied—

“No, cavaliers! let us not imitate our ancestors, the barbarian Goths, who have rendered their memory detestable by an abuse of the right of conquest, in violating the laws of humanity, and destroying the most precious works of art.”

Around the old palace where Hepburn was quartered were beautiful gardens, with fish-ponds and jets-d’eau. One of these was crowned by a statue of Perseus, with the head of Medusa, from whose neck the water spouted in several streams. There was a stately gallery attached to this edifice, and a magnificent library of ancient MSS. and rare works. There, too, was preserved the two-handed sword of Duke Christopher; and there again Hepburn and Munro could at leisure revive the studies of their college days, by dipping into the classic pages of Sallust, of Nepos, and of Plutarch.

On examining the great arsenal, Hepburn found armour, clothing, and arms sufficient to equip ten thousand infantry; but all the carriages were minus their cannon. The whole of these had been buried beneath the floors of the palace, but were discovered by the treachery of an artisan. Hepburn’s men tore up the flooring, and disinterred one hundred and forty beautiful pieces of ordnance, many of which were of the largest calibre. Among them were twelve, named the Apostles; and others that had been captured from the Elector-Palatine and Duke of Brunswick, whose arms and ciphers they bore. In one, a hundred and fifty thousand Hungarian ducats of gold were discovered, sewn up in a cartridge, which were presented to Gustavus, who ordered the artillery to be immediately mounted and sent to Augsburg.

While Hepburn superintended this operation, Gustavus held some grand reviews on the green plain before the gates of Munich, and on several occasions dismounted and took a pike or musket to show the more awkward of his soldiers the correct platoon exercise—for in his youth he had served as a private musketeer against the Danes; and now before the walls of their own capital the Bavarians saw the Swedish and Scottish troops charging in line, and practising that steady mode of firing by platoons, which on the plains of Leipzig struck such terror into the Imperialists. The Scots always carried their pikes steady when at the charge.

“When battelles cometh of push of ptcke,” according to the old tactitian, Sir Thomas Kellie, “good commanders sayeth, that your pickemen must not push by advancing and retiring their arme as is commonlie done; but onelie goe joyntlie on together in a rout, without moveing their armes.”

During this time the Elector of Bavaria was shut up in Ratisbon, where, with the remnant of his terrified forces, he awaited those succours with which Wallenstein was marching from Bohemia, and endeavoured to amuse Gustavus, and keep him inactive by negotiations. But the Swedish conqueror was too acute, and too distrustful, to be deceived by a policy so shallow. Leaving Hepburn with his brigade to overawe the Bavarian capital, and indeed the whole Electorate he advanced to Augsburg, to give battle to Ossa, the Imperial commissary, who, after hovering there with seven thousand men, retired towards Lindau, on the lake of Constance, where General Ruthven followed him closely, while Gustavus remained in Augsburg.


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