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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wrath, Ruin, And The Red Dawn

Approximately 13 battles or skirmishes occurred on this day in history from 1066 to 1962. I will commemorate a couple of them and "chase a rabbit trail" at the end of the post.

- 1066: Battle of Hastings: This battle determined who the King of England would be and had an enormous impact on English culture, as well as Scottish. The battle was fought on Senlac hill, with the Normans, under William the Conqueror, attacking. A later trademark of English tactics, William relied on his archers to "soften" the enemy before the main charge. This strategy did not work completely at first, as the English deflected most of the arrows with their shields and successfully repelled the first attack. After about an hour of fighting, the Norman left flank broke and some of their less disciplined opponents charged the gap. The Normans were able to reform their line, however, and after a couple of counter attacks against the weakening English line, William ordered his archers to shoot over the shield wall into the mass of knights beyond. This discharge was so effective that King Harold ll was killed outright. At this point the battle became a slaughter as the disheartened English ran for their lives.

- 1322: Battle of Old Byland: This battle was not as decisive from a political standpoint, but is nonetheless interesting. It was fought between King Robert the Bruce and John De Bretagne, 1st Earl of Richmond.
After the Battle of Bannockburn, conflict between the English and the Scots continued. This was during a time of Scottish dominance and the northern English towns were often raided. These raids were usually led by "The Black Douglas", one of the Bruce's greatest knights. Douglas began a large scale raid into England in January of 1322 and plundered at his leisure because the English king, Edward ll, was involved in a civil war and had ordered that his army should concentrate on the rebellious nobles and not the Scots. After he had quelled the uprising, however, he led a massive invasion of Scotland. King Robert employed the tactics of Wallace, as he scorched the ground in front of the army, making it difficult for the English to live off the land as they had done in past invasions. Edward ll finally realized the futility of his campaign and ordered a retreat back to England. As they retreated, he left the army in command of John, Earl of Richmond, and joined his wife at a place called Rievaulx Abbey. As the English retreated, Bruce swooped down upon them at Scawton Moor, where John had taken up a seemingly invincible position. Using the same tactics he had in a earlier battle, Bruce divided his army, sending one portion around to hit the rear of the English. Both detachments attacked simultaneously the front and rear of the English line, causing panic among the English and sending them running for London.

Ok, here's the rabbit trail: The mountain range separating England and Scotland is called the Cheviot Hills. These were the hills that the Black Douglas raided over time and time again. The English became so scared of him, that they refused to resist him. The raids of the Black Douglas were often referred to as the "Chevy Chase", Chevy from the Cheviot Hills and chase comparing the raid to a fox hunt or chase. Chevy Chase later became the name of a popular dance tune from this area. It was brought to America in the early 1700's by the Scottish settlers. At one time Patrick Henry himself, an accomplished fiddler, played this tune through one hundred times.

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Blogger Son3 said...

That's odd, I was just about to ask you if you'd seen the movie "Red Dawn"!

Interesting day in history... sort of bloody, though.

October 14, 2008 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Well, I have actually never seen Red Dawn. The title of the post comes from one of the motivating speeches from the Lord of the Rings.

October 14, 2008 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger Son3 said...

Oh! *chuckle*

I've never read anything by Tolkien, so I wouldn't know.

What does the book refer to when it speaks of a "red dawn"?

The movie is really good. The director was a 2nd Amendment supporter.

October 14, 2008 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Did you ever see the movies? It was in the LOTR movie also. Red Dawn as in bloody dawn.

I'll have to check out Red Dawn. You are the second person to recommend it to me.

October 14, 2008 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Ana Smith said...

Very interesting info on the tactics involved with the Battle of Hastings. My ancestors were probably there. I'm a descendant of Charlemagne through his son DeVesci. My paternal grandmother's maiden name is Veazey. Some Veazeys came into England with William the Conqueror. Then they stuck around long enough to have control over Alnwick Castle (I think), fight with the English at Bannockburn (ouch, I don't like that bit of my family history, but I do have some Scottish and Irish ancestry on other sides of my family...guess I'm ok :-)), one descendant was a baron that made naughty King John sign the Magna Carta, and then later one family emigrated to the colony of Maryland in the seventeenth century.

October 14, 2008 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Son3 said...

No, I never saw any of the LOTR movies.

Neither C.S. Lewis nor Tolkien have ever really appealed to me.

In my own mind, I just can't justify their use of sorcery.

October 14, 2008 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Ana: Wow! Thanks for sharing that, it was very interesting!
I did a short series on my ancestor who fought at Bannockburn a few months ago. You might have already read it:

It's really a sobering thought....that our ancestors fought against each other. But for the love of Christ and we'd be in their position.

Son3: You are a man after my own heart! I must confess, the books were pretty cool, I was absolutely stunned by Tolkien's genius, but it was really because of peer pressure that I read the books and eventually watched the movies. Even if you don't care for the background, LOTR has the coolest sword fights EVER.

October 14, 2008 at 10:18 PM  

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