I'd been planning to put on a game to recreate the first of the Covenanter battles from what was known as the 'Killing Times' for quite a while. It was pure fluke that a slot opened up for the game on the 348th anniversary of the actual battle...
... I took the opportunity to field the armies I'd been teasing the club members with over the past couple years as I had been painting them up - namely a Covenanter Army modeled in 28mm and primarily consisting of Warlord Games figures plus a sprinkling of Perry and Renegade characters. Against them were arrayed Charles II's Scots Army consisting primarily of North Star 1672 (ex Copplestone), Front Rank and some Warlord Games Highlanders -again in 28mm.
I also decided to use the game as an opportunity to trial Sam Mustafa's Maurice rules on the club members, these are unique in that they use cards to drive the action on the tabletop. the general opinion after the game was that the rules worked well and it was worth putting on some more games using the rules stem.
Anyway, enough of that, mre about the battle!
The Battle of Rullion Green is significant as the only battle 1666 Covenanter rebellion, also known as the Pentland Rising. It ends the uprising and results in a further 13 years of violent repression against the Covenanters, known as the ‘Killing Times’ culminating in the battles of Drumclog & Bothwell Bridge(1679).
A Covenanter army under the command of Colonel James Wallace had risen in south-west Scotland and had advanced to Edinburgh to attempt to win support, all the while pursued by a Government army sent after them under Sir Thomas Dalziel. At it’s height the rebel army numbered some 3,000 men, however, as November progressed, the rebels faced constant losses of manpower to desertion. The Government finally caught up to the Covenanters at Rullion Green and defeated them after a stiff fight.
was forthcoming from Edinburgh, which was raised in alarm against a rumoured Dutch invasion and Wallace's army reluctantly turned from the capital, wishing to retreat to the safety of the west, their staunchest support base. The way west, however, was blocked by Dalziel's army and the insurgent force headed east and then south toward Biggar via the Linton Road, using the line of the Pentland Hills as cover.
Major General William Drummond, who commanded the vanguard of Dalziel's army, had intended to engage the insurgents outside Edinburgh but upon learning of their directional change, he was able to anticipate their new objective. He intercepted the Covenanter force in Glencorse Parish, where Wallace's army had halted at Rullion Green to rest and to wait for stragglers. Having sighted a small forward party of government cavalry, Wallace arranged his infantry on the eastern slope of Turnhouse Hill flanked on either side by troops of horse.
A skirmish with Dalziel's vangaurd occurred to the north-east of Wallace's main position. Repelling this attack, the Covenanters waited on their strong, high ground as Dalziel's full force assembled across the glen. Once Dalziel's vanguard and his main body of cavalry and infantry were united, they forded the Glencorse River and arrayed themselves against the Covenanters at the bottom of Turnhouse Hill. From this position Dalziel attacked Wallace's left three times, only managing to turn the line in the final attempt by pushing forward his full force along the entirety of Wallace's line.
The Covenanters, unable to reinforce their weak right side and thrown into confusion, broke and fled into the night.
He had to flee Scotland in 1654 after being involved in a Highland rising against Cromwell after which a price of 200 guineas was offered for him dead or alive. He went to Russia and saw service for the Tsar of Russia in the Russo-Polish War and against the Turks and the Tartars.
He returned to Scotland on the restoration of Charles II in 1660, becoming Commander-in-Chief of the army in Scotland in 1666 with orders to suppress the Covenanters.
His actions in the wake of the Pentland Rising earned him the sobriquet 'Bluidy Tam'. According to one story, Sir Thomas on one occasion played cards with the Devil and won.
He was replaced as Commander-in-Chief by the Duke of Monmouth in 1679, and despite being reinstated by Charles II, did not appear at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge until after the fighting was over.
In 1681, he was the first Colonel of the Royal Scots Greys Regiment, which was originally constituted as a dragoon regiment.
Colonel James Wallace, commander of the Covenanter forces at Rullion Green, also had a long military career, first serving in the Parliamentarian and then Covenanter armies during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.
He was captured during the Battle of Kilsyth in 1645 while fighting against Montrose and then again at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, where he was serving in the Scottish army of the restored Charles II.
C-in-C: Colonel James Wallace
2-in-C: Major Joseph Learmont
2 Troops Dumfries Horse
1 Troop Ayrshire Horse
1 Troop Lanarkshire Horse
1 Regiment of Dumfries Foote
1 Regiment of Renfrewshire Foote
1 Regiment of Ayrshire Foote
1 Regiment of Lanarkshire Foote
1 Frame Gun
The quality of each Troop or Regiment will not become evident until it first becomes engaged with the Royalist forces arrayed against it.
At worst these units will be comparable to Royalist Militia, at best they will be equivalent to Royalist Regulars.
All forces should be deployed on the table top at the start of the game, the Frame gun, once placed cannot be moved, although it may be protected by gabions.
Fanatics are armed with ‘Grenadoes’, one or more may be placed in any or all of the Regiments of Foote, if the enemy comes within 6 inches of the regiment the fanatics in that regiment will immediately rush out and conduct grenade attacks against the enemy unit. After the attack the fanatics are eliminated from the game.
Clergy can be allocated to Regiments of Foote, Troops of Horse or to Commanders / Officers to give them spiritual guidance. Details of which will be revealed once the game begins….
Your aim is to hold on until darkness falls, give the Royal Army a bloody nose and then under cover of that darkness your small army can slip away and fight another day. 2VP for each enemy unit that is broken, 1 VP for each of your own units that survive on the hill until nightfall.
C-in-C: General ‘Tam’ Dalziel of Binns
2-in-C: Maj-General William Drummond
1 Troop of Life Guards
2 Troops Oxford Horse
2 Troops Lowland Dragoons
1 Militia Troop
2 Regiments English Foote
1 Regiment Scots Foote
1 Regiment Highland Foote
1 Regiment Scots Militia
1 Scots Gunne
1 English Gunne
By the grace of his majesty King Charles II, you have been placed in command of his Royal Army in Scotland to suppress this rebellion.
You have been pursuing the rebellious scum for nearly two weeks, your forces strengthening as you go but their leader, one James Wallace, has proved to be a slippery devil.
Finally you have cornered the rebel forces by the small village of Rullion Green, it is mid-day, to pin the rebels in place you’ve dispatched your vanguard consisting of your Horse & Dragoons, under your second in command William Drummond.
As such you must deploy your Horse & Dragoons on the table-top at the start of the game.
An order of march must be set-up for your Regiments of Foote & Gunnes, as these will arrive during the course of the aftrernoon. All troops will arrive along the Glencourse Road to your rear.
The Marksman is a member of one of your Regiments of Foote, he has the ability of attempting to kill a rebel officer if they come within range, once used he is eliminated.
Hurry, you have limited time, it is late November and light will be fading and the rebels will melt away into the hills, to win you must destroy the rebel force. You gain 3VP for each enemy unit that is broken, plus 1 VP for each Rebel Notable killed or captured.