« ElőzőTovább »
CURIOSITIES OF WAR.
BATTLES ON SUNDAYS.
How remarkable is it to notice the numerous battles which have been fought on Sundays, particularly on Palm, Easter, and Whit Sundays. It is a stern necessity, that offers so sad a contrast to the prayer which then is ascending from ivied village church or stately city fane, to preserve us "from battle and murder, and from sudden death."
Colonel Monro, in his "Expedition," speaks of the battle of Ravenna, fought on Easter-day, 1512, between the French and Dutch and the Spaniards, in which " one shot of a double cannon did kill forty horsemen."
There are two instances of Sunday battles during the contest between the Houses of York and Lancaster.
Turn then the attention to four centuries since. Two hostile armies are on the eve of engaging— Edward of York is about to lead on his troops, while poor King Henry, almost desirous of shuffling off his
sovereignty, is envying the condition of the "homely
"Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
The air is darkened by the snow, which, being blown in the faces of the Lancastrian host, has made their red rose white. Warwick has slain his horse, and has sworn to stand by Edward to the last gasp, and the latter soon gains the day. This victory was obtained at Towton, on Palm Sunday, the 29th of March, 1461; and the old chronicler has quaintly said, "this day was celebrated with lances instead of palms."
Ten years afterwards, and the two parties of York and Lancaster again appeal to arms. Barnet is the scene, and the day is Easter Sunday, 14th of April, 1471. Warwick, who had since earned the title of King-maker, fights against his former sovereign Edward, and has sent away his horse, that his soldiers may see he is resolved to share their fate. Deserted by his son-in-law, "false, fleeting, perjured Clarence," Warwick has fought his last fight, and, mortally wounded, is forced to exclaim :—
"Lo, now my glory smear'd in dust and blood!
Edward is once more victorious; and, after his
success at Tewkesbury, on the 4th of May following, reigns without further opposition.
Two centuries later, and on Sunday, the 23rd of October, 1642, is to be fought one of the first battles between Charles and his Parliament. The very melancholy natural to the former has something indicative of his sad career; and even his presents appear typical, as witness his gift of a splendid cope to the Cathedral of Durham, which had embroidered on it David holding in his hand the head of Goliath. There is a curiosity of war, too, connected with this battle at Edge Hill, besides its being fought on a Sunday, for Cromwell is said to have viewed the contest from the church of Burton Dasset. Strange hiding-place for the future Protector!
In this battle Sir Gervase Scroop, fighting valiantly for the King, received twenty-six wounds, and was left on the ground amongst the dead. Next day his son Adrian obtained leave of the King to find and fetch away his father's corpse, and his hopes pretended no higher than a decent interment thereof. Such a search was thought in vain amongst so many naked bodies disguised with wounds, and where pale death had confounded all complexions together. However, having some general hint of the place where his father fell, he at last found the body, which had still some warmth within it; this heat was, with rubbing, within a few moments improved to motion, that motion within some hours into sense, and that sense within a day into speech; and in a few weeks he arrived to a perfect degree of recovery, living more than ten years after, a monument of his son's affection, filial care, and perseverance.
The conflict with the Covenanters at Loudon Hill was fought by Captain Graham, of Claverhouse, afterwards the celebrated Viscount Dundee, on Sunday, the 1st of June, 1679.
Forty-nine years later, and the cause of James II. sustains a defeat at Aghrim, in Ireland. This occurred in the evening of Sunday, the 12th of July, 1691.
It is singular to read the account of the battle of Ramillies, given at the time; for it is stated, that being Whit-Sunday, 12th of May, 1706, O.S., the Duke of Marlborough obtained a complete victory over the Elector of Bavaria and Marshal Villeroy at Ramillies, as if the day had anything to do therewith. His Grace had a narrow escape here, for Colonel Bingfield's head was carried off by a cannon-ball while holding the stirrup for the Duke to remount.
This incident recalls to mind the anecdote of the officer who kept bowing and taking off his hat to the Duke of Marlborough during some hotly contested battle, and was requested to waive ceremony. Whilst thus bowing, however, a cannon-ball passed over, and took off the head of one of the Duke's staff, when the officer is said to have remarked: "Your Grace perceives that one loses nothing by politeness."
The disastrous battle of Almanza was fought on Easter Sunday, the 25th of April, 1707. The Earl of Galway, a Frenchman, commanded the English army, and the Duke of Berwick, an Englishman, being the son of James II., by Marlborough's sister, was the leader of the French troops. This circumstance originated the witticism that the English had beaten the French, and not the French the English.
On Sunday, the 13th of November, 1715, was