ScotWars - Scottish Military History and Re-enactment
The Army of Gustavus Adolphus 1630
……….another forty thousand from foreign countries. We are all familiar with Captain Dugald Dalgetty, and some of us possibly with "Colonel Andrew Newport," an (imaginary) "Cavalier who served in the armies of his Majesty the king of Sweden, and after-words in that of Charles I of EngIand," and who left behind him a set of "memoirs," which have been strongly suspected of being the work of one Daniel Defoe of Cripplegate, London.
Less familiar but equally interesting is the book from which Scott acknowledges that he partly drew the portrait of the immortal Dugald: "Monro, his expedition with the worthy Scots' regiment called Mackey's regiment, levied in August, 1626, by Sir Donald Mackey, Lord Rhees, Colonel for his Majestie's service of Denmark, and reduced, after the battle of Nerling, to one company in Sept., 1634, at Worms in the Paltz ...first under the magnanimous king of Denmark...and afterwards under the invincible king of Sweden during his Majestie's life-time," etc.

Monro afterwards served the Covenant in Scotland, and got handsomely beaten by Montrose, but his book is one of the most entertaining that ever was produced on the military art, and I shall have frequent occasion to quote from him. His opening pages in Part II well illustrate the method, which Gustavus employed in levying troops, and the readiness of Scotchmen to serve for pay. "Our regiment," he says, "being thanked off by his Majestie of Denmark in May 1629, my Colonel being in England, I, hearing his Majestic of Sweden much engaged against the Pole in Spruce [Prussia], did stand in great need of a supply of foote, thought it was a fit time for me, being out of service, to offer my service unto his Majestie of Sweden." So he sent to treat with Gustavus for a commission and money, on terms to which the King instantly agreed. The regiment was then collected together and some companies sent to garrisons in Prussia, others to Sweden, till they should be ready to cross into "Dutch land," The Colonel (Lord Reay) came back and joined Monro in Denmark ; they crossed to Sweden, and made the winter journey from Gothenburg to Stockholm, visiting on the way " that worthy Cavaliere, Colonel Alexander Hamilton at his workehouses in Urbowe" (Orebro, which, by the way, Whitelocke in his "Swedish Embassy" calls Horseborough), "being then employed in making of cannon and fireworks for his majestie."

From the early part of the fifteenth century, and until far on in the sixteenth, the Scots had been in the habit of selling their swords to the court of France; later they found in the Netherlands a field for their valour, their Protestantism, and, it must be confessed, their cupidity ; and they were now proving themselves among the best, but by no means among the best-behaved, foreign troops that served on either side in the Thirty Years' War. The spirit in which such men as Monro undertook the life of mercenaries was perhaps ;I little more religious than that described in the Forfarshire song :

"Oh, Randal was a bonnie lad when he gae'd awa To fight the foreign loons in their ain countrie"

but, after all, it was little different in substance. Neither of them much cared what foreign loons he fought, or in whose service.

Three Scotch and two English regiments at first seem to have followed the King of Sweden, but I cannot ascertain their exact strength. Besides this, Colonel Falkenberg had been sent to Holland, and another man to Denmark, to raise troops. A large quantity of the disbanded Poles, Brandenburgers, and Dantzickers passed into the Swedish service; and in the Hanseatic cities , and all along the coasts of Mecklenburg and Pomerania, recruiting went on, chiefly by Leslie's agency from his fastness at Stralsund.

The total strength of the army, counting the troops in Prussia, Livonia, and Stralsund, is given in the spring of 1630 as seventy-six thousand. It must be remembered that Wallenstein had not yet been dismissed, and had on foot a victorious army of near one hundred thousand; while Tilly, with from thirty to thirty-five thousand, was giving proof that a "ragged soldier with a bright musket" can do most things that are required of him.

Gustavus, however, at his first landing in Germany, determined to take with him only thirteen thousand men, of which two regiments of cavalry and four of infantry were Swedes; four other infantry regiments being forrigners. But before the end of the year 1630, other regiments, native and foreign, rapidly followed, making the total in Germany a good forty thousand. Besides this, must be reckoned the perpetually fluctuating garrisons in Prussia and the Baltic Provinces.

Now it is quite evident that the King cannot have reckoned upon the resources of Sweden alone for any long period for the payment of these enormous armies.

His revenue was but little more than twelve million dollars, and there was a deficit of a million. Five sevenths of this was now set apart for the payment of the Army. Several interesting contemporary pamphlets gives us the scale upon which both branches of the service were paid; and it must further be remembered that a large sum was required to provide for the artillery and the engineering corps, both by far the best of their kind in Europe.

The monthly pay scale of a regiment of foot was as follows:

Position Dollars
Colonel 184
Lieutenant-Colonel 80
Sergeant-Major 61
Chief Quartermaster 30
Two Preachers 18 each
Two Schultz* 30
Four Surgeons 12 each
Clerk of Regiment 30
Clerk of Council of War 18
Four Provosts-Martia 12 each

*The regimental Schultz, were examiners and registrars of criminal cases brought before courts-martials

Taken from….
Gustavus Adolphus, Heroes of Nations, C.R.L. Fletcher
Page 112 1630

Return to Top

©2007-2011 ScotWars All Rights Reserved. [Disclaimer]
Site designed & compiled by....
Rab Taylor
Webmaster of PUBCAT  RomanScotland