James Graham 1st marquis of Montrose

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Montrose, James Graham, 1st marquis of [S] (1612–50). Though his activities were necessarily on a small scale, Montrose was the most brilliant commander on the royalist side during the Civil War and a ray of hope for a sinking cause. He inherited the earldom in 1626 when he was 14 and spent the years 1633–6 in continental travel. In 1639 he joined the covenanters but changed sides, and spent several months in 1641 in confinement in Edinburgh castle. He joined the king at Oxford, was raised to marquis in 1644, and appointed to command the king's forces in Scotland, such as they were. Montrose rode north from Carlisle with two companions and put together a scratch force, never many more than 4,000 men, composed mainly of Irish and Macdonalds. His speed of movement, courage, and tactical skill won him a series of remarkable victories against the odds—at Tippermuir (September 1644), Aberdeen (September 1644), Inverlochy (February 1645), Auldearn (May 1645), Alford (July 1645), and Kilsyth (August 1645). After Inverlochy, where his great enemy Argyll watched in discomfort, Montrose wrote to the king: ‘I doubt not before the end of this summer I shall be able to come to Your Majesty's assistance with a brave army.’ It was an illusion. No man could defy the odds for ever. At Philiphaugh in September 1645 he was surprised and beaten, and forced to flee abroad. Returning in 1650 with a forlorn hope, he was defeated at Carbisdale, betrayed, and hanged at Edinburgh in May.

J. A. Cannon

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Montrose, James Graham, 1st Marquess of (1612–50) Scottish general. He helped compose the Covenant in support of Presbyterianism, but allied with Charles I in the English Civil War. Montrose's army of Highland clansmen achieved dramatic victories against the Covenanters at Tippermuir, Inverlochy and Kilsyth (1644), but were decisively defeated at Philiphaugh. He fled into exile in Europe. In 1650, Montrose returned but was captured and hanged.