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REID, STUART - SCOTS ARMIES OF THE 17th CENTURY. 1/. COVENANT FORCES 2/. SCOTS COLOURS. 3/. THE ROYALIST ARMIES. 1989 Partizan Press. 

 

A three-volume study of the Scottish armies and their involvements in the British Revolution, (or English Civil War as it is known to those who think only of the events South of the Border regions). The format of the trilogy is odd, in that Reid separates the campaigns of the opposing armies for independent study instead of showing the campaigns in direct context with one another. The middle book looks at the various insignia, colours and flags used by each army, which will be a useful guide for re-enactors, The middle book acts as an interval to the action driven first and third books. The odd numbered works deal with each army in turn, looking at leading commanders like Baile (Covenant), and  Montrose (Royalist). There are detailed lists of the names of the men known to command divisions, i.e., Manus O’Cahan, an Irish mercenary serving under Montrose. Major battles from Brig’ O’ Dee to Philipaugh are looked at briefly. This is a useful study, with each pamphlet-sized volume easily transportable. The books are popular ones to find on the stalls at re-enactment events where members of the Sealed Knot and such societies are regular customers for such work. The author himself has fought as a re-enactor, and his enthusiasm for the subject shows. The study shows that the Irishry who served Montrose arrived in Scotland badly equipped with few swords or muskets. Interestingly, the first major clash between Montrose and the Covenanters at Tippermuir may have been done with leading Royalists like MacDonnell and Lachlan being present. Others were tending to Alastair MacColla’s conquests at Mingary, while manus O’Cahan was delivering messages to the agents of Lord Antrim in Ireland (there was a desperate call for reinforcements to be sent to Scotland from Ireland. They never arrived in time). The O’Cahan at Tippermuir may not have been Manus, but a cousin, Donohue O’Cahan. Reid doesn’t give detailed accounts of battles. He is more concerned with highlighting who was present and who was absent on various occasions. While the information is useful to re-enactors, especially in the regimentes and events concerned, such a listing of names will mean little to the general reader eager to get an insight into the events of this turbulent period.

 

Copyright. Arthur Chappell                                  

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