Worse than the Premiership
The story of the Redcoat is as much about the men who led the troops as the battles they fought and so an illuminating place to dig is into the personalities leading the russet coated masses. Forget dying for the colours. Even a cursory look at the careers of prominent military figures of the period tells a tale which is often hard to follow in its twists and turns. Although some of these men were motivated by cause and conscience it is clear that power and wealth played a large part in the transfer market. This type of behaviour was not restricted to British officers but a swift tour through a few resumes begins to unpick some of the misconceptions associated with modern views of the times.
|A General officer perhaps the venal Major General Kirke|
During the Monmouth Rebellion William of Orange ‘lent’ the brigade to his father in law James II under Mackay’s command although it did not see much action. In 1688 when William invaded England, Mackay’s men were in the Dutch vanguard. As commander in Chief of Williamite forces in Scotland he was soundly beaten at Killiecrankie by Dundee despite a 2:1 numerical advantage. He subsequently redeemed himself by subduing the Highlands during 1691. He was instrumental in the Williamite victory at Aughrim in 1691. He was killed valiantly leading his brigade at the disastrous Battle of Steenkirke in 1692. He was dead at 52 having lived the epitome of a 17th century soldier’s career and held by most to be man of high principles.