James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose was born in 1612. he was a soldier and poet who gained success and fame during the civil wars of 1638-51. In the Bishop’s Wars of 1638-1641 Montrose signed the National Covenant and became one of the principal Covenanter leaders,  playing an important part at the Battle of Newburn in 1640. Montrose increasingly distanced himself from the Covenanting movement lead by the Earl of Argyll before finally breaking with them over the signing of the Solemn and Covenant in September 1643 . He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Scotland in 1644 and Captain General the year after. Montrose promptly raised a small army including a contingent of 2000 under Alasdair MacColla from the MacDonald clan in Ireland who had developed an intense feud with the Clan Campbell, supporters of the Covenanters regime in Scotland.

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