ON MAJOR GENERAL SAMUEL COCKBURN (COBRON) (B. CA 1574, D. DEC 1621), SCOTTISH MERCENARY IN SWEDISH SERVICE

The pay-lists of the Swedish foreign mercenaries during the seventeenth century are orderly and detailed mostly by German scribes. German immigrants were the backbone of Swedish bureaucracy at the time. They had started arriving in the sixteenth century and are one of the reasons that Swedish administrative procedures are working well to this day. While Germany provided much manpower the French provided most of the cash for Sweden’s wars on the continent of Europe in the religious Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 1648).

One source tells us that Cobron’s Regiment in 1615 had 7 companies

Capt. Hans Stifert’s (Stuart)
Capt. Donoway’s
Capt. Hay
Patr. Ruthven
Ramsay
Gern
Wallace

An early source is The Scots in Sweden (1907) by Thomas Alfred Fischer. Much literature has been added since that on the subject of mercenaries including a 3 volume work by Swedish author Bertil Haggman (The Multinational Swedish Army, 2009, 2010 and 2011). The mercenary force included English, Germans, Swiss, Saxons, Poles and a host of other nations with the backbone of the army being Swedes and Finns.

For a mercenary army like the Swedish payment on time was crucial. No pay meant desertion and problems with discipline.

Major General Cobron is buried in Turku cathedral, Finland.

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