Saturday, December 6, 2014

Balcarres' Horse

Alexander, 1st Earl of Balcarres was commissioned to raise a regiment of horse by the Estates for service with the field army in England.

In the field with Leven, they served under Major Alexander Home, a veteran of the Thirty Years war.  The regiment saw action at both the sieges of York and Newcastle, and formed part of the left wing at Marston Moor, under Leslie.

In the autumn, the regiment headed north in response to Montrose's depredations. Joining with Lothian's Foote and Hacketts Horse they formed the garrison in Aberdeen during late February.  However, lack of pay and the rigors of campaigning for nearly a year had left the regiment on bad shape, with basic clothing being noted to be in poor condition.

By mid March they had joined Hurry and where involved in the capture of Aberdeen, slaying many notable royalists and capturing their horse.  Joining with Ballie's army the marched south but where to late to stop Montrose's sack of the town.

With Halketts Horse, they were active in the pursuit of Montrose's force, clashing with the rearguard.  On the second day, they contacted the royalist at Careston ford on the River Esk.  The pursuit was so effective that Montrose's men could not forage, having, in effect, to fight their way back to their Highland fastness.

The regiment was based around Cromar with Baillie and missed Auldearn.  

At Alford, the regiment was split into three squadrons and placed on the left flank.  Here Ballie hoped the first two squadrons would hold Gordon's Horse, allowing the third and the supporting infantry to charge in.  Unfortunately as the action unfolded, the third squadron held back allowing Gordons the upper hand, as their infantry came up in support.

Although mauled, Balcarres held their cohesion and were with the field army at Kilsyth.  Placed on the right of the line, with the Midlothian Foote and Crawford-Lindsays Fife Levies, they were involved in the "flank" march which strung out the Covenanter line.  At first they hard pushed the royalist line, but as Aboyne brought his men in support, the Covenanter line wavered then broke.

Given their lateral position, it is surprising that any of the regiment escaped, perhaps only the fleetness of their horses saving them.

Retiring to East Lothian, the regiment began to reform but missed the final encounter at Philiphaugh.  Perhaps the troops had other ideas during this time, as one of them was charged for "fornication" by the presbytery of Haddington.

Brought up to strength by November, the regiment headed south to England joining the field army at Newark, where its strength was recorded as 488 officers and men.  The government where again slow with pay and supplies as were the local English parliamentarians. Because of this, the regiment developed a reputation for living "off the land" 

By the end of the year, it was back in Scotland, underpaid and with a reputation for being hard living.  Four men where charged with drunkeness, fornication, fathering a bastard and adultery - though not all at once!  By 1647 the regiment was disbanded but with a reputation for resilience undiminished.

At the moment, I just pained the troop to provide some extra figures for the regiments at Auldearn, which in turn will bulk up Balacarres at Alford.  The standard is pretty generic, Scottish Cavalry always seeming to make good their escape in the battles.  If anything it is more like Campbell of Lawers.

Figures are all Perry, made up from their Moss Troopers and generic helmeted troopers from the English range. I've already mixed and matched it with the other regiments to get more blue bonnets.

Good fun to paint, the abundance of buff coats and the odd bit of tartan make it look a hard fighting, hard loving bunch of ragamuffins! 























8 comments:

Michael Mills said...

Wonderful brushwork mate!

Rank Bajin said...

Thanks Michael

Phil said...

Fantastic paint job, beautiful units!

Simon Quinton said...

They look great!

Rank Bajin said...

Thanks fellas

DeanM said...

Very impressive. Haven't seen many of this range from Perry on the blogs, so seeing yours so lovely looking is a delight.

Rank Bajin said...

Dean - Perry's still have a lot of missing images on their site - so good to get some on the web :-)

elcid1099 said...

Looking really good! That's a lot of horse.