Civil War in Scotland 1644-1647 was an armed conflict during the Covenant movement in Scotland, coupled with the English Revolution of the 17th century and the First Civil War in England. The war was fought between the royalists, supporters of King Charles I, led by James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose; and the Covenants represented by the Parliament of Scotland. On the side of the royalists were Irish Catholics; on the Covenant side – the Parliament of England. Despite the fact that throughout the greater part of the Civil War victories were won by the Royalist armies, in 1646 they were completely defeated and the power of the Covenants in Scotland became even stronger.
The uprising of 1637 in Scotland and the adoption of the “National Covenant” in 1638 rallied virtually all the Scottish people in the struggle for the protection of the faith and against royal absolutism. At the same time, a revolution was gaining strength in neighboring England: the English parliament opposed its king, and in 1642, a civil war broke out in England between supporters of Charles I and the parliament. In Ireland, since 1641, a massive uprising of Catholics against the Protestant colonists developed into the bloody slaughter of English and Scottish Protestants in Ulster. English Parliament, concerned about the success of Catholics in Ireland and the first victories of the Royalist troops in England, turned to Scotland for help. In exchange for the performance of the Scottish army on the side of the British Parliament, it promised to declare Presbyterianism the state religion of England. This proposal was enthusiastically received by the Scottish Covenants, and on September 25, 1643, the British Parliament ratified the treaty of union with Scotland, known as the “Solemn League and the Covenant”.
At the beginning of July, the Irish troops, totaling about 1,600 men, landed on the coast of Ardnamurchan. In August, Montrose, accompanied by only two of his comrades, secretly headed through the Scottish Highlands to join with the Irish detachment. As the Irish and Montrose progressed, small groups of Scottish Highlanders from clans hostile to Campbell joined them. The army, assembled under the auspices of Montrose, consisted mainly of Irish and Scottish mountaineers.
The First Victories of Montrose
At the end of August 1644, Montrose’s army descended from the mountains into the valley of the Tay River and on September 1, broke the Covenant army in the battle of Tipperper. The city of Aberdeen was captured. Montrose gave the order to plunder the city. This was a significant mistake and alienated the inhabitants of Aberdeenshire from the Marquess, where traditionally the royalist sympathies were very strong. In October 1644, Montrose headed to Buchan, where he again defeated the detachments of the Covenant in the Battle of Thebes.
Under pressure from Alasder McCall and the Mountaineers, Montrose was forced in November 1644 to lead his troops to the west of the country. He tried to stop a new army of Covenants, led by the Marquess of Argyle, but a quick march through the mountains of Montrose left his pursuers. Montrose attacked the troops of Argyle and in the Battle of Inverlohi on February 2, 1645, completely defeated him.
Strengthening the Forces of the Royalists
The victory at Inverloha allowed the royalists to establish control over the entire northwestern part of the country. Many mountain clans moved to the side of Montrose and even Count Sefort, the commander of the northern contingents of the Covenant army, stopped resisting. In addition, the Marquis of Huntley and the Gordon clan, which he dominated in northeastern Scotland, also decided to support Montrose.
To fight Montrose, Covenanters sent a detachment of William Bailey, who had previously participated in military operations against Charles I in northern England. Dundee Bally almost succeeded in taking Montrose by surprise, but the royalists were able to regroup and go to the mountains. Pursued by the Covenants, Montrose retreated to Moray, where, on May 9, he defeated one of the Covenant armies at the Battle of Aldern. Two months later, on July 2, 1645, the troops of Bailly suffered a crushing defeat at Alford. Montrose, without encountering resistance, began an offensive in central Scotland. The last attempt to block the victorious march of royalists also failed: on August 15, hastily assembled and untrained detachments of Covenanters were routed by Montrose at Kilsite.
As a result, by the autumn of 1645, all the Covenant armies in Scotland were defeated, and the government remained virtually defenseless against the onslaught of the royalists. The Covenants were completely demoralized, which was also facilitated by the absence after Marston-Moore of any significant military successes of the Scottish army in England, while Oliver Cromwell’s troops continued to smash the royalists. In the meantime, Montrose took Glasgow and, using his powers of the viceroy Charles I in Scotland, announced the convening on October 20 of the Scottish Parliament.
Destruction of the Cavaliers
The victories of Montrose turned out to be ghostly. At the end of August 1645, his army began to melt. On September 13, 1645, the dilapidated army of Montrose was unexpectedly attacked by Filiphow in the Tuid valley by detachments of David Leslie, who had returned from England. The Covenant cavalry crushed the royalists and the battle ended in the complete rout of Montrose.
Montrose, until mid-1646, tried to reach an agreement with Huntley and resume military action against the Covenants. However, mutual distrust and lack of self-confidence prevented them from reaching a compromise. Meanwhile, in May 1646, King Charles I surrendered to the mercy of the Scottish army, recognizing the defeat of the royalists in the civil war in England.
End of the Civil War
The Parliament of Scotland invited Charles I to approve the Grand Prix and the Covenant and transfer control of the armed forces of both kingdoms to their parliaments. The king, however, refused. Fearing that the presence of Charles I in Scotland would cause a new uprising of the royalists, the Covenants accelerated negotiations with representatives of the British parliament on the conditions for the issuance of the king. On December 23, 1646, an agreement between England and Scotland was concluded on the payment of 400,000 pounds of the Scottish army for her participation in the civil war in England. On January 30, 1647, Scottish troops left Newcastle, transferring King Charles I to the hands of representatives of the British Parliament. Meanwhile, at the behest of the king, Montrose and Huntley dissolved their detachments. Montrose at the beginning of 1647 left Scotland, emigrating to Norway.