In his book The Cunntr published in 1628 (re-pnnted 1643 . Koln-rt Norton divided artillery iato four classes; 'Gannons of Battery. Culverins and their 'consorts', I'erior* shooting stone, and Mortars, murtherers. petards etc.' However, these classification* svere based not 011 use or size of shot but rather on the proportion between total length and lx»re. Thus a lull cannon firing a shot of 63 lb and a minion firing a shot of 3J lb came into the lame class, In practice the distinction was between gun* which fired shot heavy enough to l»c of use in sieges, th<»*c which were light enough to be employed on the battlefield, and those which were used for the ckise defence of fortresses.
England had few modern fortresses in 1(142, but many of its towns retained their medieval walls which, when reinforced by earth ramparts, could ssithstand a long siege conducted by an enemy without siege guns. The poor quality of the roads meant that for long journeys the heavier siege guns could only Ite moved by water. Many Itesieged garrisons owed their survival more lo iheir inaccessibility rather than to the strength of their defences.
The Royalists were successful in their efforts to obtain a large train of artillery, and at Naseby maintained two dcmi-cannon (27 to 30 lb shot;, t\*o demi-culverin (q to 10 lb shot , eight sakers 15 to <i lb shot) and two mortars. The crew required for these guns were:
Demi-camion: 3 gunners, ti matros.se*. 17 horses Demi-culvcnn: a gunners. 4 matrosses. 10 horses Saker: a gunners. 4 mairosses, 5 horses
Monar: 1 gunners. 6 matrowrs, 20 horses
These crews may have been armed like those of the train at the siege rtf Lit hlield in t<»43, where live gunners and 1 2 matntvses carried long jtole-axes, and two wheelwrights carried swords.
The Royalists may have had other guns, much
TW bridle gauntlet waa m railed bfcaaw il mi, worn I* protect Ik« Hand thai held the korw bridlt. A common ploy daring cavalry nHtti wn 10 (ry 10 rat aa opponent'» rriat or alaak hi» left arm ao I ha I he wowtd laat coalxl u t kit moonl. t'alihe many damaged gauntlet«, lUt eaample retain» tike lleaible hand and Anger Ktliaat wUck permitted the amall wrlM movement a uaed to control the hoeae. I National Army Muaetaml
smaller ami more mobile, attached to regiment.« or brigade* of foot rather than to the Train of Ordnance. Many experiment» had l>een made during Kuro|>can war* to construct gum which were light but which could still deliver a worthwhile charge of musket balls or round shot. One answer was to mount several small guns together to make what were known as "frames* or 'cases'. The most famous light artillery piece was the leather gun developed by tbr Swedes. This svas constructed of bronze or brass tube*, about one-third of an inch thick at the muzzle, which were hound with cord an int h and a quarter thick. This was treated with plaster of Paris, and the whole covered in shrunken-on leather. Guns of ibis kind had to Ik- used with care and were considered as 'one shot' weapons to be used to support an assault or as a last ditch defence. Light guns of this type were used during the Civil War and lived up to the expectations of their mobility. Two such guns accompanied the all-cavalry force which the Royalists sent to relieve Devizes, and which was victorious at Roundwav Down.
Loading and firing a gun was dangerous, but nol as time-consuming as some historians have claimed. Benjamin Robin's .Vrtc Prima pit t of
Gumnrry, although published a century after the Marl of the Civil War. explains the procedure that: a Civil War artillery crew would have followed:
'Have in readiness powder. Bullets. I.insiticks, Scowrers, Rammers, and the rest of your tliingv Slick up your Liiistttck to Leeward of you; then to work with your Piece. First, clerr your Picce within with the scowrer, and see that the touch] hole Ik- clear, and not stopped, and so clear, that] no dirt or filth be in the same; Then let him thai it by to avsist. (Ibr a Piece cannot be managed by; le» than two; bring the Budg-barrcl with the powder just before the mouth of your Piece, put then your Iridic into the same and fill it, and ifil l>e over-full, give it a little jog, that the overplui may lall down again into ihc barrel; after this, (Mil it gently in at the mouth of the piece; even unti tbe end of the Iridic In- thrust up to the Britch end of the Piece; then must you turn the l~»dlc genthrj and softly and let it lie within the Chamber of tht Piece, drawing out your Ladle almost to the Muzzle of the Piece, put il back again to take up the loose corns, which were spilt by the way, andj to bring them up to the Charge of Powder, thai done, ihe Gunner must draw out his Ladle, and lake out of the Budg-barrcl a second Ladle l'ut,j and so pulling it in the Piese up to tbe former Ladle-full, then you may draw ii out, and do ar you did Ix-fore. that no lotwc corns may lie in the! Itottom of ihe Piece; and in drawing oul lii% l-tdlr, he must have a care that he let not fall anr powder upon the ground; for it is a thing uncomly in a Gunner, to trample |xtwdcr under feel. Then take a wisp of Straw, llav or any other thing, and put it hard in at the mouth of the Piece, then tun your Iridic end Ibr end to come it» the Rammer, thrust it into the Piece after the wisp, and drive d up with it. and it will carry all the loose com which possibly may lie scattered in tbe Mold cf the Piece; having driven the wad up to tbr powder, give il (wo or three gentle shoves to m.ikr il lie close only, but drive it not too hard least yoo break your powder too much, which would hinder its force; The wisp or wad l>eing close M the powder, draw out the Rammer and put in the Bullet, which rowle gently in the Piece up to the wad that ssas !>efore put in to keep up the powder, the Shot l>eing in, put in a second wad after the Bullet, and thrust it also home to the Bullet.
Always remembering whilst the powder is putting in and wadding up, one be ready at the touch hole and keep it stopt with his thumb that no powder By out at the touch hole, but that it be likewise filled with powder which may be supplyed out of bis powder-horn'.
Artillery also fired 'murthering shot' or case-♦hot, which was several musket balls or pieces of wrap metal loaded in canisters of tin or lanthorn or bags of canvas. This was particularly effective »hen used to defend a breach or passageway, and many obsolete guns were retained in fortresses so that they could give one devastating shot at any attackers approaching them.
Civil War artillery has a reputation for inaccuracy, and a slow rate of fire: but this was not the view c»f those who faced it, as borne out by soldiers hkc Elias Archer. The Royalist garrison at Basing House was c<|iiip|>cd with three gunners, two h lb and one 3 lb guns; for these they had roundshot and five case-shot j»er gun. Archer reports that men from Sir William Waller's own company of his regiment of loot N il foul of these guns during an attack:
'Sir William's Captain? Lieutenant by an unfortunate mistake in the way to the place where he «¡U designed 10 ROT on, went will) his party which he then commanded up a lane where the enemy had planted two drakes with case-shot, which being fired slew both him and many of his men, whose losse was very much lamented*.
Richard Atkyns, 7he Vindication of Richard Atkyns (in Military Memoirs: the (.'nil War, ed. Peter Young, London 1967) Nathancal Burt, Militant Imtructions, or 7 heSouldur turd for the ust oj tht Dragoon, W'apping 1644. (In John Adair, Hy tht Sword Dindtd, London 19H3 John Cruso, Militant Instructioas for tht Caiallerie.
Cambridge 1632 J.B., Some Hrttf Instructions for tht Exercising of the Horse-Troopes (in William BarriJI'e, Militant DiS' cipline, London. 1661)
The arm* of a lun|«fb«iHr ia 1643. From iW Uilkmr rol-iKtloa, ckia act typifies ihc * lassie idea of Use Crscswtllua ratalry trooper, yel ll auy dale Iron a I in.« aW« CMtttotll was a linlr-ksoMK captain of Horse. |By roartvsy of the Board of Trustees. Royal Armowries 11
Gervase Markham 1 he Souldiers Accidence. London 1625
Gervase Markham The Souldiers Grammar. London 1627
Gervase Markham The Souldiers Exercise, London «643
George Monk. Observations upon Military and Political AJfairt, London 1671 Robert Norton. The Gunner: Sheuing the ll'holt
Practice of Artillerie, l»ndon 1628 Benjamin Robins, .\Vw Principles of Gunnery.
la>ndon 1742 Sir John Smvlhe. Imtructions, Observations and Orders Mylitane. Ixindon 1595
Sir James Turner, Pallas Armala: Militant Essayes of lAr Ancient Grecian. Roman and Modern Art of iV'ar, 1670-1
John Vernon, The ymg Horse-Men or tht Honest
Platn-Dealing (.at alter. London 1644 Roberl Ward. Animad:rrnons of 11 'arrt, London ,639
L. Bovnton, ike Elizabethan Militia 1558-1638,
London 1967 C.H. Firth, Cromwell's Army, London 1902 P. Haythomthwaite, The English Civil Mar /ftf? 51: A» Illustrated Militan Histon. Poole
P. Young, Edgehill 1642: Tht Camfsaign and
Hattlt. Kineton 1 <>67 P. Young. Tht Engltth Cutl II ar Armies. Rea "
1973 :Osprey Nlen-at-Arms 14) English Civil War .\otes and Quenti — the ot magu/ine dedicated to the period. Partie Prev», 26 Clilfsea Grove, Lcigh-on-Sea, Sl tNQ,
Thousands of people regularly re-enact hattles the Kngluh Civil War. Ifyou would like int ii<m about this exciting hohhy, vvrite to the a address.
"The Triyatd Bands of the scvcrall Counties of Kngland and Wales Collected Feb9th 1637" (From SP 16/381/66. The last full muster of the trained bands In*(ore the Cavil Wars shows that tome counties still raised the types of horte lhat had liern ipcrihcd in Tudor time». The largr nurnttrrs of horse raised in the counties ihai Here to form the hastern Association give some indication of the rr-wHirers thai were available for the formation of Cromwell's forrnidaMe cavalry (oree. |
Was this article helpful?