Cromwell busied his army with solidifying his hold on the territories to the south side of the Frith. He knew that to maintain order he should make certain that there were no pockets of resistance. He determined to reduce any castle not already in allegiance with him. To that end, Cromwell sent Colonel Fenwick with his own and Colonel Syler’s regiment to take Hume Castle. Hume fell after a short bombardment breached one of its walls. Monck attacked Dirleton Castle near Haddington in October, but it was ably defended by Captain Watt. In November Lambert joined Monck and their combined force of sixteen hundred men brought about the castle’s capture. Sixty Scottish soldiers were taken prisoner and Watt was executed. Monck next captured Roslin, near Dalhousie on the the River Northesk. It fell without much of a fight. Cromwell, himself took to the field with Borthwick Castle as his goal. The 10th Lord of Borthwick commanded the castle. The Committee of Estates called on Colonel Ker of the Western Association to relieve the castle, but he refused to march to the laird of Borthwick’s help. On 22 November, failing to receive the reinforcements he sorely needed, the laird of Borthwick surrendered his ancestral home to nthe English. Colonels Monck and Lambert next attempted to take the last major stronghold of the Scots between Dunbar and Linlithgow, Tantallon Castle, located on the coast just to the east of Dirleton. Tantallon held out for nearly forty-eight hours before its governor surrendered.
The failure of Colonel Ker to reinforce the Laird of Borthwick spelled out the disagreements between the Committee of Estates and the Western Association. It gave Oliver Cromwell the motivation to attempt to use those disagreements for his own benefit.
Cromwell, taking advantage of the Scottish disunity, made a number of attempts to win the Scottish generals, Straughon and Ker, over to the side of the English. His attempts no doubt tempted Straughon to switch allegiance, as will be seen later, but Ker was another matter. Cromwell resolved himself to the fact that he would have to use force to subdue Ker.
Near the end of November, 1650 Cromwell sent Major General Lambert and Commissary General Whalley with five regiments of cavalry toward the town of Hamilton, on the south side of the River Clyde.
Ker, itching to meet the English in battle, unlike Leslie, made his way to Peebles, arriving there with five regiments about the 26th of November. He soon discovered that a superior force consisting of two to three thousand cavalry troops under Lambert was about to meet him at Peebles. Thinking the odds not so good, Ker retreated. Whalley and Lambert now joined their forces together and followed after Ker. Arriving at Lanark on the 28th, the English forces gave up the chase and rested for a couple of days.
Cromwell led a force of eight cavalry regiments westward from Edinburgh along the north side of the Clyde. This force arrived at Hamilton on 29 November, finding Ker’s forces in control of the Bothwell Bridge. The weather was very inclement, and after only a short while, Cromwell turned back to Edinburgh.
Ker, receiving intelligence that Lambert and Whalley had separated their forces and that Lambert had retained only twelve hundred cavalry troops. When he received word that Lambert had arrived at Hamilton, Ker determined that it would be a propitious time to attack. He accordingly led a force of fifteen hundred horse and dragoons on an overnight march against Lambert’s camp. Ker’s approach was not entirely a surprise to the English troops. They were on extra guard, being so deep in the Western Association lands, and the night was brightly lit by the moonlight. As the Scottish troops marched across the frozen ground, the English army became alerted, and attempted to put up a spirited but futile resistance.
The initial success emboldened Ker’s Remonstrator troops, and they moved confidently on into the town where the main body of English troops were encamped. One of the English captains roused his company of forty soldiers, and with the unwitting help of a tree that had fell across the road by which Ker was heading, held the Scots at bay until the rest of the English force could be roused and assembled. Lambert sent a part of his troops out to attempt to come up on the Scots’ rear with the design to trap Ker. The Scottish general perceived the maneuver and quickly turned his men about, but he was not quick enough to escape. During the brief battle that ensued, Ker lost nearly one hundred men and almost the same number were taken prisoner. Ker, himself, was also taken captive after having his arm shattered.
The Scots who managed to escape from Hamilton fled toward Air where Straughon attempted to reorganize them. The English were in pursuit. This last gasp of the Remonstrator army numbered perhaps no more than one hundred and fifty men. Without much effort, the Scots were subdued by the English. Straughon, sensing the end had come and a pitched fight would mean his death, surrendered to Lambert. It was widely believed that Straughon would not have given up so easily, had he not been aleady considering switching sides. He was universally condemned as a traitor by his fellow Scotsmen.
There was still one thorn in the Lord General’s side; Edinburgh Castle was still in the hands of the Scots. On the 12th of December, 1650 Oliver Cromwell called on Sir Walter Dundas, governor of the castle at Edinburgh, to surrender. Dundas responded by asking for a truce of ten days in order for him to consult with the Committee of Estates, which had left Edinburgh following the defeat at Dunbar. Cromwell would not agree to that, and began the bombardment of the castle on the following day.
Edinburgh Castle ~ Source unknown.
Governor Dundas received word of current events when the Dutch ‘moss-trooper’, Captain Augustine Hoffmann arrived at Edinburgh. He had started out from Fife with supplies to relieve the Edinburgh garrison and one hundred and twenty men. Flying southward, Hoffmann scattered all opposition before him. His company had been reduced to thirty-six during the dramatic relief mission; and he could boast of having killed eighty in the process. He arrived at Edinburgh and broke right through the English defences. The news he delivered to Dundas shocked Edinburgh’s governor, not having received any news other than what Cromwell allowed to be filtered in. He vainly tried to renegotiate with the English Lord General, but to no avail.
On the 17th of December the English bombardment of Edinburgh Castle commenced again with renewed vigor. Governor Dundas began to lose his faith in winning, and so agreed to Cromwell’s terms of surrender. The Castle was formally given up on 24 December, 1650.
Near the end of the year, supply ships arrived from London. They brought the English army not only food and equipment, but also twenty seven flat bottom boats for the purpose of transporting troops across waterways. The Success commanded by Captain Butler was the most welcomed by the rank and file because it brought £80,000 for the payment of their wages.