“The Battle of Philiphaugh” Summary


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The Battle of Philiphaugh

Sir David Lesly, while advancing on Philiphaugh near Selkirk with an army of Covenanters, asks an old man where the Marquis of Montrose’s Royalist army lies. The old man first fears that Lesly’s men are Royalists who have come from the north but, when Lesly reveals who he is, the old man gives him information about Montrose’s army and advice about how to attack it. He tells him he should split his army into two parts that could approach from different directions. One should attack and feign retreat so that the enemy soldiers would leave their defences in pursuit and would then be caught in the open between the two forces. Lesley guesses that the old man must have been a soldier and the old man confirms this. Lesley tells the old man he will be rewarded if he leads his men rightly but that he will be hanged if he betrays them and the old man assures him that Montrose has plundered him and that he is opposed to him. Lesley follows the old man’s advice and wins the battle. The narrator rejoices in the defeat of Montrose.