Skip to main content
Select Source:

Leslie, Alexander

Leslie, Alexander (c.1580–1661). Leslie was a good professional soldier, who served for many years with great distinction in the Swedish army and fought alongside Gustav Adolf at Lützen in 1632. When the Scottish presbyterians began armed resistance in 1639, Leslie was placed in command of the covenanting army. In 1640 he brushed aside royalist resistance at Newburn and occupied Newcastle. During the armed truce before the outbreak of the Civil War, he was created earl of Leven [S] in 1641. He remained at the head of the Scottish forces in alliance with the English Parliament and fought at Marston Moor. When Charles II, after the execution of his father, reached an understanding with the Scottish presbyterians, Leslie once more commanded their forces, but was badly beaten by Cromwell at Dunbar in 1650. Captured in 1651, he spent some time in the Tower of London. Leslie was a competent experienced man with unusual gifts of conciliation and tact.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Leslie, Alexander." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Leslie, Alexander." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/leslie-alexander

"Leslie, Alexander." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved September 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/leslie-alexander

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Leven, Alexander Leslie, 1st earl of

Alexander Leslie Leven, 1st earl of (lĕv´ən), 1580?–1661, Scottish general. He served in the Swedish army some 30 years, being knighted by Gustavus II and fighting in the Thirty Years War. Returning to Scotland in 1638, he led the army of the Covenanters in the Bishops' Wars. Charles I made him earl in 1641, hoping to gain his support. Nevertheless, following the conclusion of the Solemn League and Covenant between the Scots and the English Parliament (see English civil war), Leven led (1644) an army into England and took part in the defeat of the king at Marston Moor. When Charles surrendered to the Scottish army in 1646, Leven had charge of him until the royal prisoner was handed over to the English in 1647. Although Leven resigned actual command of the army to his nephew David Leslie before the Scottish Covenanters (by then royalists) were defeated (1650) at Dunbar, he was twice imprisoned briefly in the Tower of London.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Leven, Alexander Leslie, 1st earl of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Leven, Alexander Leslie, 1st earl of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/leven-alexander-leslie-1st-earl

"Leven, Alexander Leslie, 1st earl of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/leven-alexander-leslie-1st-earl

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Leslie, Alexander

Leslie, Alexander

LESLIE, ALEXANDER. (c. 1740–1794). British general. A descendant of the earl of Leven, Leslie was lieutenant colonel of the Sixty-fourth Foot at Halifax before being sent to Boston. He commanded the raid intended to destroy a reported artillery depot at Salem, Massachusetts, on 26 February 1775. Confronted by a raised drawbridge, growing numbers of armed militia, and abusive crowds, Leslie could have anticipated Lexington then and there. However, he avoided an armed clash with admirable coolness and restraint, eventually accepting a compromise which allowed him to cross the bridge and immediately march back again without doing any damage. The only casualty was a local militiaman who, having smashed in the last boat on the river, had bared his breast to the troops and received a slight bayonet wound. Leslie was a brigadier general of light infantry at Long Island and Kips Bay and was in command of the British outposts in the fighting at Harlem Heights—the skirmish that significantly bolstered American morale—on 16 September 1776. At White Plains he found a ford across the Bronx River and led two regiments in an unsuccessful bayonet attack on Chatterton's Hill. At Maidenhead on 3 January 1777, his brigade failed to detect Washington's night march on Princeton by a route about three miles away.

In 1780, now a major general, Leslie was ordered by Clinton to the Chesapeake to meet, or at least act as a diversion in favor of, Cornwallis's thrust north into Virginia. Landing at Portsmouth, he received orders from Rawdon, the acting commander while Cornwallis was ill with fever, to bring his twenty-five hundred men to Charleston. Landing there on 16 December, he did not reach Camden until 4 January 1781; his slowness indirectly delayed Cornwallis's reinforcements for Tarleton, so contributing to the Cowpens debacle. Five days later he received orders to join Cornwallis at Winnsboro for the invasion of North Carolina; he arrived just as Tarleton appeared with the survivors of Cowpens. On 1 February, Leslie and O'Hara were almost drowned at Cowan's Ford on the Catawba when the floodwaters swept their horses downstream. Leslie was in command of the British right at the beginning of the attack at Guilford Courthouse on 15 March and joined O'Hara for the final phase. In July, his health now deteriorating, Leslie was sent back to Charleston and thence to New York. Instead of sending him back on 28 August, as intended, Clinton kept him at headquarters, where he took part in the councils of war during the Yorktown campaign. He finally sailed for Charleston in October to take command in the southern theater after Cornwallis's surrender. Arriving at Charleston on 8 November, he quickly saw that he must limit his operations to hanging onto the city. Exercising the discretion given him by Clinton, he had the Savannah garrison evacuated by sea on 11 July 1782. He left Charleston on 14 December 1782.

Leslie's service was solid rather than distinguished. He was courageous and persistent, and his refusal to be drawn into combat at Salem was commendable. On the other hand, his carelessness at Maidenhead and his slow march to Camden both had serious consequences for the British cause.

SEE ALSO Cowpens, South Carolina; Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina; Harlem Heights, New York; Kip's Bay, New York; Long Island, New York, Battle of; Salem, Massachusetts; White Plains, New York.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Mackesy, Piers. The War for America, 1775–1783. London: Longman, 1964.

                                  revised by John Oliphant

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Leslie, Alexander." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Leslie, Alexander." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/leslie-alexander-0

"Leslie, Alexander." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Retrieved September 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/leslie-alexander-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.