In 1625 Charles I became King of all of Great Briton at the age of 25. During the next four years he called four Parliaments into session but dissolved each one because the members would not submit to his demands. Charles believed strongly in the "divine right of kings". For the next eleven years Charles ruled without a Parliament. In 1639 he tried to force Scotland to use the English forms of worship. The Scots rebelled and Charles had to call a new Parliament to raise the money he needed to fight the rebels.

In 1642 when the new Parliament would not support the demands of Charles, he tried to seize five of the Parliamentary leaders. Although the nobility, gentry, and clergy supported Charles, the Puritans and the merchant class supported Parliament and civil war soon broke out. Charles I fled to the Netherlands.

The Scottish Parliament proclaimed Charles as their King. The proclamation was on the condition that he subscribe to their Covenant and accept Parliamentary direction in civil affairs and to the Presbyterian Assembly in ecclesiastical matters. Charles returned to Scotland and complied with this for a period of time but eventually the Scottish leaders sent Charles back to the English Parliament and he was convicted of treason and beheaded.

Very early in the summer of 1650 it became clear to the English Parliament that the rebellious Scots intended to invade England. Parliament decided that it would be better to fight on Scottish soil rather than at home, and on June 26th appointed Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of the English army, with orders to invade Scotland and put down the rebellion.

Cromwell's army, often called, "Ironsides", consisted of 10,500 foot soldiers under Major-General Lambert and 5,500 horse under Lieutenant-General Fleetwood. Most of Lambert's foot soldiers were equipped with new flint-lock rifles which played an important roll in the ensuing battles.

A Scottish army of 27,000 foot and 5,000 horse had been called up during the past six weeks and was commanded by David Leslie. There was good material among the officers at Leslie's command but he could not make use of all his assets. An intolerant church was in power and was suspicious of the fighters and might exclude all who did not sign the Covenant. This also excluded a lot of the best fighting material in all of Scotland, the Highland clans. Leslie took up a defensive position at Musselburgh in front of Edinburgh, the capitol. The land between Edinburgh and the English border was burned with all the crops destroyed and all stock moved north. This meant that the English army would have to be provisioned by sea somewhere between Berwick and Leith. An advance base was established at Dunbar.


On Monday, July 22nd, Cromwell crossed the border from Berwick. He could see the beacon fires across the Lammermuir Hills warning Edinburgh of his coming. By Friday he had picked up supplies from his ships at Dunbar and on Sunday, July 28th he met David Leslie's whole army at Musselburgh, four miles from the capitol, Edinburgh. For a week Cromwell tried to seize a position on high ground but failed. Western gales and floods forced Cromwell to fall back to Dunbar on Monday August 5th.

A week later, on August 12, he had replenished his supplies and was back at Musselburgh. There were two weeks of maneuvering and stalemate and on Friday the 30th Cromwell's council of war decided to fall back to Dunbar again and fortify a base there. Sunday September 1st, Cromwell's army reached Dunbar. The Scots did not pursue vigorously because of their disinclination to fight on the Sabbath but by the end of the day they had maneuvered the English into a trap from which they could not retreat, and where, if they fought, it would be at odds which would spell certain disaster. The most that Cromwell could do was to fortify Dunbar and trust the sea for his supplies.

David Leslie had blocked their escape to the south and occupied the high ground of the Doon Hills around Dunbar. He hoped that the English would only halt for a night at Dunbar and then continue their march to the south, in which case he intended to fall on their rear from the Doon. Sunday night had been difficult on the Doon for it rained all night and the men had no tents. Leslie was anxious about his supplies for everything had to be brought from Edinburgh. He could not continue indefinitely perched on the Doon.


Monday morning the Scots began their descent and Robert Junkins was among the Highlanders. It rained all that day. During the afternoon it became clear to Cromwell that the Scots were astir and were slowly moving down the hill. By four o'clock in the afternoon there was no doubt that Leslie was preparing for battle. Leslie was drawing up most of his troops on the gentle slopes to the south and east of Cromwell to prevent an escape during the night which meant an attack in the early morning.

After a conference with his commanders, Monk, Lambert, and Fleetwood, Oliver Cromwell decided to forestall the Scots by an attack before dawn. It was a wild night, cold and wet and gusty, and the moon did not show itself. The Scots position was the out-field and in-fields of the two farms of the Doon and they spent a night of misery crouching among the oat sheaves. Many of the officers left their men and sought shelter. About two in the morning the order was passed to the foot soldiers to extinguish their matches, except for their file leaders - a dangerous economy in the face of so near an enemy, but probably the rain had already extinguished many. Matches were cords or fuses used to fire the priming of match-lock guns. Flint-lock guns were more practical, their spark being available on a moment's notice but they were new and in short supply with the Scots.

Positions about 4 A.M.

About four o'clock the moment had come. The English guns opened on the far right and under cover a small body of horse crossed the Brock ravine and attacked the Scottish left. Robert Junkins, like all the others, had almost forgotten what it was like to be dry. He struggled from a deep slumber and hastily unwrapped his musket, which he had been trying to keep dry under his plaids. Those with match­ locks ran about seeking a light from those too few whose matches had not been extinguished. Pikemen milled this way and that trying to form ranks and Gunners crawled from beneath their weapons to fumble with shot and charges. Everywhere there was utter confusion.

On the right wing near the highway came a thundering clash of metal on metal. Robert Junkins could make out a mass of English horsemen and a tremendous wave of weapons pressing on the Scottish army. The onrushing horse halted and then fell back. The English were beaten. A few moments later the English were riding forward again and the Scottish cavalry moved to clash with them shouting "The Covenant! The Covenant!" Highlanders and Lowlanders shouted their defiance.

Robert moved down the hill over wet grass and through mud, side by side with the men of his clan. The Scottish officers shouted commands, striving to make themselves heard above the din. Leslie's forces churned in utter chaos. Flashes of fire from the match-locks, bursts of smoke, and the thunder of fieldpieces as artillery and infantry fired into the milling Scots. Robert heard shrieks of pain all around him. Some men surged forward and others backward, tripping over the fallen and slain. Never in his blackest nightmares had Robert pictured such a frightful pandemonium. 

Positions about 5:30 A. M.

By six o'clock in the morning the battle was over. Leslie's horse troops were driven back on his foot soldiers, and they were penned between the enemy and the upper ravine of the burn.  The Scots were a helpless mob, many had never come into action. Bewildered souls they must have been for their Lord had strangely forsaken them.

Three thousand Scots were slain and not more that thirty English. Ten thousand prisoners were taken, two hundred colors, and the whole of the Scottish baggage and artillery.  The wounded were released, but Robert Junkins along with five thousand others were dispatched to Haselrig, the governor of Newcastle. They sat on the battlefield all the rest of the morning and the early afternoon. In the middle of the afternoon they were formed into lines of two on the Great Road to Berwick. One mile south of Cove Harbour they spent the first, night between the road and the cliffs that went down to the sea. From there you could see Bass Rock and the conical shape of North Berwick Law.



They were marched south. At noon they were fed sacks of horse fodder. That night they stopped near the moors. They were divided into two groups and slept in the rough grass between the road and the sea.


By mid morning they reached the edge of Berwick at the Lamberton Toll. Three miles on to the Scots Gate at Berwick­ Upon-Tweed and on to English soil, never to see Scotland again. Across the fifteen arch stone bridge spanning the Tweed to Tweedmouth. Each prisoner was given three hard biscuits and a measure of peas. In the afternoon the two groups were merged together. That night they lay in a field beyond Tweedmouth. It rained all night.


In the afternoon the long lines of prisoners came in sight of Alnwick Castle. There had been no food distributed since the peas and biscuits four days ago. They were penn d up in the middle bailey of the castle. Many had died during the past four days.


The prisoners spent the day in Alnwick Castle. There was no food. More died. It rained all afternoon.


More died. No food.


The same. No food.


By this day more than one third of the prisoners had died.


Seven days in Alnwick with no food.


The gates of Alnwick opened and the two thousand five hundred remaining prisoners out of the five thousand that started the march were each given one biscuit and continued the march south.


In the afternoon they reached the town of Morpeth. Beyond the center of the town they were turned into a large walled garden which ran down to the River Wansbeck. The ground inside the garden was covered with cabbages. Fresh green cabbage! Before long the ground was bare, without a green leaf to be seen. They had not had anything green to eat in fifteen days. Nothing but a few biscuits, some horse fodder, and water. During the night there was the sound of retching and groaning in all parts of the garden. Men vomited or screamed that their bowels had fair dissolved.


By morning more men had died from eating the raw cabbage. The march continued. Many more died on the road. In the afternoon they reached Newcastle and went through the gates built upon part of the old Roman wall. They were locked up in a great stone church. Food was distributed, three biscuits per man.


In the morning one hundred and forty were too sick to march and were left behind to die. The sky was overcast. People lined the street and shouted and jeered and pelted the Scots with rotted vegetables and other filth. At the bridge crossing the Tyne the crowds thinned to a few sullen onlookers.

At darkness they reached the River Wear and the town of Durham. Through the marketplace and turned right and up the steep hill to a large open place, and beyond, a vast Norman church, Durham Cathedral.


Thirty more died last night, but this day they were fed great hampers of biscuits and hogs-heads of water.


Sixty men died of bloody flux.


One hundred and twenty more died of bloody flux.


At noon the English brought in baskets of coal for fires and large iron pots of thick bubbling stew. A wooden bucketful for each 6 men.


Twelve Scottish weavers were taken out at the request of the Mayor of Durham.


Forty men were taken for the saltworks at Shields and forty more for laborers.


An officer called for all Highlanders to step forward. An order had come from the Council of War in London to deliver "one hundred and fifty Highlander Scot prisoners to Augustine Walker in London, to be shipped from Newcastle to London with all possible speed."

The Scots were marched north again to Newcastle and to a quay at the rivers edge and herded aboard a ship.


At dawn this ship sailed for London with Robert Junkins on board.

On Monday, November 11, 1650 the "Unity" sailed from London under the command of Augustine Walker with one hundred and fifty Scots bound for the Massachusetts Colony.



Oliver Cromwell
          by John Buchan, 1934

The Junkins Family - Descendants of Robert Junkins
          Harry Alexander Davis, 1938

The Dictionary of National Biography, Volume XI
          by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee, 1917

The Popular History of England, Volume IV
          by Charles Knight, 1858

Piper to the Clan
          by Mary Stetson Clarke, 1970