Campaigns of Montrose: overview

The loyal Marquis terrorizes the Covenanters in Scotland

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, was commissioned lieutenant-general of the King's forces in Scotland in February 1644. He attempted to incite a Royalist uprising against the Covenanters in south-western Scotland during the spring of 1644 but was forced to retreat into England. Montrose returned to Scotland in August where he joined forces with Alasdair MacColla's Irish Brigade.

With MacColla's Irishmen and a band of Highland clansmen as the nucleus of his army, Montrose defeated Lord Elcho at Tippermuir in September 1644 then captured and sacked Aberdeen. Early in 1645, Montrose and MacColla mounted a guerrilla campaign against the Campbell clan and their leader the Marquis of Argyle, inflicting a grievous defeat on the clan at the battle of Inverlochy in February 1645. After plundering Dundee in April 1645, Montrose was pursued back into the Highlands by Major-General Baillie. Constantly outwitting the Covenanters, he defeated Colonel Hurry at Auldearn in May 1645 and Baillie at Alford in June. In August 1645, Montrose achieved his greatest victory when he defeated Baillie at the battle of Kilsyth, which left him for a short time master of Scotland.

Montrose's victories in Scotland kept up the morale of the Royalists in England. The King's main strategic objective after the defeat at Naseby was to join forces with him. When Montrose moved into the Lowlands in preparation for an advance into England, however, his troops began to desert. He was decisively defeated by superior Covenanter forces under Major-General David Leslie at Philliphaugh in September 1645. Montrose remained in Scotland for another year but he was unable to pose a serious threat to the Covenanters again. In July 1646, King Charles, having surrendered himself to the Covenanters ordered Montrose to cease hostilities. Montrose sailed into exile on 3 September 1646.