Monday, April 30, 2012

Changing Foundations

When a country changes foundations from God's law to man's law (or man's law to God's law), the change can be seen in the culture.  In Europe, the men quit using blue tattoos, donned clothing, and began protecting women and children--all as a result of the preaching of brave Christian missionaries in the years 100-700 A.D.
On the other hand, France changed from God's law to man's law in the 18th century, and it could be seen even in the battle flags that they carried.  France's cavalry was among the best of the time, and the premier cavalry regiment was Regiment Colonel-General.  From 1657 until 1759, the regiment was commanded by various members of the Turenne family.  Under them, the cavalry carried a flag which proudly displayed the pillar of cloud and fire which guided the Israelites.
In 1759, the colonelcy of Regiment Colonel-General passed to Marquis de Bethune.  He changed the flag to show Hercules's club.
This anecdote shows that, by the mid-18th century, France's foundations were changing.  While the flag had upheld Biblical principles, it now glorified pagan Greek myth.  When man's law eclipsed God's law, the stage was set for the bloody French Revolution.
Flag from

Monday, April 16, 2012

Royal Ecossais at Culloden

Today marks the Battle of Culloden, the battle that ended the Jacobite Rising of 1745. After a lengthy campaign, the Duke of Cumberland brought the Jacobites to battle at Culloden Moor. Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobite leader, ordered his men to stand and fight. His right wing charged and smashed Barrell's 4th and Monro's 37th, but was decimated in a counter-attack by more British infantry. The Jacobite left did not charge and withdrew at the same time the survivors from the right wing fled. All the Jacobites were fleeing for Inverness. Cumberland's cavalry was brought up, ready to cut many of the Highlanders down...

Illustration by the author

In God's Providence, the French had sent two regiments to support him: Royal Ecossais (in English Royal Scots) and detachments from the Irish Brigade. The Royal Ecossais was in reserve at Culloden, and valiantly covered the retreat. They distracted the cavalry and saved many Jacobites from being cut down. One battalion of the Royal Ecossais was captured, but the other escaped.

The captured battalion was exchanged for captured British soldiers and the Royal Ecossais served gallantly for several more years until they were disbanded in 1762.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Isabel Sharp

"Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the earth."--Ephesians 6:2-3

Isabel Sharp was the daughter of James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews. She was born c. 1660. I do not know when she died, nor when she married John Cunningham of Fife.
On May 3, 1679, Archbishop Sharp and his daughter Isabel were returning home by carriage when their coachman noticed nine armed men pursuing them. He endeavored to outride them, but one of them stopped the coach. They then dragged the Archbishop out to murder him, but not without interposition, for
"The Primate (Archbishop James Sharp)...protected by his daughter, who, repressing female weakness with a pious courage as rare as admirable, strove to interpose and preserve him. But, wounded in the hand and in the thigh, she at length fell into a swoon, and the villains ceased not from their violence, till they left the old man murdered..."--pg. 259, volume I, Memorials and Letters Illustrative of the Life and Times of John Graham of Claverhouse by Mark Napier.

The injustice of wounding the young woman is recognized by both Mark Napier, a Royalist, and Douglas Bond, a Covenanter. Quotes from King's Arrow, pgs. 76 and 97
"'They dragged out the traitor, who fell to his knees and begged for the life of his daughter.'
'His daughter?'
'Aye, his daughter. Sharp begged for her life--which the noble executioners spared, though she was wounded.'
'Foul indeed' said Sandy M'Kethe, shaking now with anger as he reconstructed the scene in his mind.
'Aye, he was, but he's with the devil now.'
'Ye mistake my meaning, man. Carry on with yer tale of woe.'"
"'Brutally murdering a man--even such a man as Sharp--in full view of his daughter, and wounding her in the bargain, man!'"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Halkett Family at Monongahela

At the Battle of the Monongahela (July 9,1755), there were two British regiments: Colonel Halkett's 44th and Colonel Dunbar's 48th. Colonel Peter Halkett had his two sons, Lieutenant James Halkett and Captain Francis Halkett, with him on that battlefield.

Colonel Halkett commanded the rearguard when the Indians attacked Braddock's column. The Indians aimed at the officers, and one bullet pierced the Colonel. His son Lieutenant James ran to his father, but was killed by another Indian's bullet.

According to Sargent's History of Braddock's Expedition:

"Among the most distinguished of the dead was Sir Peter Halket of Pitferran, Colonel of the 44th, and a gallant and sagacious soldier; whose two sons were fighting by his side when he fell. One of these, Lieutenant James Halket of his own regiment, hastened at the moment to his aid, and with open arms bent to raise the dying form. But pierced by an Indian bullet his body dropped heavily across his leader's corpse, and father and son lay in death together."

Captain Francis, however, escaped the battlefield alive, and returned to the Monongahela with General John Forbes in 1758. He examined the field and found the bodies of his father and brother, who were respectfully buried.

An interesting story of love of parents and a multigenerational legacy.

This story was recently re-created in 1/30th scale by one of my favorite toy soldier manufacturers, John Jenkins of John Jenkins Designs. Read more about this set at