See also David Leslie the Scottish rugby player.
David Leslie (c. 1600–1682) was a cavalry officer and general in the English Civil War. The son of the 1st Earl of Lindores, he fought for the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus as a professional soldier during the Thirty Years War. On the outbreak of the Civil Wars in Britain, he returned to his native Scotland, to command the armies of the Covenanter Scottish government. Leslie was second in command of the Scottish armies who were sent to fight for the English Parliament from 1644 and had won the day at the critical Battle of Marston Moor, west of York, for a wounded Oliver Cromwell, leading a cavalry charge that defeated the Royalist Cavaliers.
In 1646, after the Royalist defeat in the English Civil War, Leslie was sent back to Scotland to deal with the Royalists there during the Scottish Civil War. He routed the main Royalist force under the Marquis of Montrose at the battle of Philiphaugh and afterwards mopped up the remaing Royalists in Kyntyre in the west of Scotland.
In 1650, after Montrose had made another attempt at a Royalist uprising, Leslie used treachery to have him arrested. Laird Neil Macleod who had fought with the Marquis of Montrose during the siege of Inverness delivered him up to the Covenanters. General Leslie, who was then at Tain, had sent Major General James Holborne with a troop of horse to fetch James Grahame (Montrose) to meet his judges. Whilst Montrose was being led to his death Leslie dispatched five troops of horse, including some from Major General James Holborne and the Earl of Sutherland's regiments to Dunbeath castle. The defenders refused to yield, holding out valiantly for some days until their water supply was cut off, forcing them into surrender. They were finally marched under escort to Edinburgh, where Montrose was executed.
By 1650, the Scottish Covenanter government had grown disillusioned with the English Parliament, and instead backed Charles II to impose their political and religious agenda on Britain. Leslie accordingly now found himself fighting for the King. When the Parliamentarian army under Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland in July 1650 Leslie commanded the Scottish forces. By refusing battle, Leslie withstood a siege at Edinburgh and when the English were forced to retreat in August 1650 he pursued them down the east coast, eventually trapping 11,000 English soldiers south of Dunbar with an army of 23,000 Scottish. But a divided Royalist command gave Cromwell the opportunity to inflict a decisive defeat on the Scottish at the Battle of Dunbar on 3 September 1650. Leslie escaped with a tiny remnant of his army.
Leslie led the Royalist army on another invasion of England in 1651, where he was again defeated by Cromwell, at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. After his capture he was sent to the Tower of London. Released from captivity on the Restoration of Charles II, Leslie was granted the title Baron Newark. David Leslie, 1st Baron Newark, died in 1682.
Last updated: 08-08-2005 01:26:14