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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Portrait Of A Man: William Cleland

William Cleland was born sometime in 1661, near the Douglas estate in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Raised in a Godly home, his parents were able to send him to St. Andrew's University for further education. After completing his studies at St. Andrew's, he joined one of the militia groups of the Covenanters. Quickly rising in rank, he raised his own unit which would later come to be known as the Cameronians. Their first fight was at Drumclog, which ended in victory for the Covenanters. Seeking redress for their grievances and believing that, with their recent victory, the crown would be willing to negotiate a peacful ending to the long bloodbath. Unfortunantly, the magistrates would not listen to them and a bloody battle was fought at Bothwell Bridge, in which the Covenanters were defeated by overwhelming forces. The Cameronians survived this battle, though soon after, Cleland had to flee to Holland to avoid capture and subsequent execution. He returned to Scotland in 1685, went back to Holland, and returned, for the final time, in 1688 as an agent for William of Orange. Cleland rejoined the Cameronians, his old command, and was made Lieutenant-Colonel.

But this peaceful time was short lived, as the Jacobites began their first rising for the Stuart tyrant. The Cameronians were assigned to protect the strategic town of Dunkeld and it was here that the Jacobites first attacked. Flushed with their early victory at Killiecrankie, they attacked the town on this day in 1689. The Cameronians were so hard pressed that they had to strip lead from the roof tops for ammunition. This ferocious fight had been going on about a hour when Col. Cleland fell, killed instantly by a head shot. George Munro assumed command and around 11:00 that evening drove the Highlanders from the town. They fled to their mountain homes, saying they could "fight against men.....but no longer against devils". Such was the fierceness of the Presbyterian's defense.

William Cleland had bound his life to the Covenant and had died defending it. May we follow his example!

Here's a post I did on William's personal battle flag.

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