Powered By Article Dashboard Confederate Military Ranks

PARLIAMENT:

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A Perfect Diurnall of some Passages in Parliament, issue 26

King's mind, but later instructions that Rupert was to join him if the city could not be relieved point towards a view that Charles did not intend Rupert to fight at all costs. Lord Culpeper saw a copy of the letter shortly after it had been sent, and was aghast: 'Why, then", he said, 'before God you are undone, for upon this peremptory order he will fight, whatever comes on't'4. Whatever the case, Rupert carried the letter with him for the rest of his life to justify his conduct in the operations to relieve York.

By 30 June Rupert was at Knaresborough, some 12 mites (19 kilometres) from York. The Parliamentary generals, fearing being sandwiched between Rupert and the city garrison, marched out to meet him, barring his path from Knaresborough to York. By the simple expedient of a circuitous route, Rupert evaded the combined army and lifted the siege. This was all he had been instructed to do, but the Prince seems to have been determined to fight, irrespective of the true meaning of the King's letter. I te seems not to have entered the city itself, but instead sent Goring to instruct Newcastle to draw his army out of York and join Rupert for an encounter with the Parliamentary and Scottish armies. Had Newcastle been able to read the King's instructions for himself, reason might have prevailed; as it was, some 17,000 Royalists (many hungry and dispirited by 10 weeks' siege) prepared to take on perhaps 2X,ooo (though other estimates put their opponents* strength at around 22,000).

Influenced by the Scots, the Parliamentary commanders decided to withdraw to ground of their own choosing, retiring on Tadcaster and covering Rupert's two presumed routes, to join the King or invade the Eastern Association. But when Sir Thomas Fairfax, commanding the rearguard, saw the approach of the Royalist horse, the Parliamentary army was forced to deploy upon Mars ion Moor. Rupert was a more capable commander than he has sometimes been described, but at times seems to have shown limited tactical ability; instead of catching the Parliamentarians attempting to deploy from line of march, he spent the time drawing up his own battleline in preparation for a 'set-piece'action. It was not until about 4 p.m. on 2 July that the Parliamentary and Scottish armies settled into their positions in line of battle.

Their right wing, around 5,000 strong, consisted of the horse of Lord Fairfax's army, commanded by his son. Sir Thomas, with three Scottish regiments in reserve; the Swedish tactic of interspersing bodies of 'commanded' musketeers between units of horse was used by both sides. The Parliamentary centre was organized in four lines: the first and third composed of units of foot from each of the three armies, and the second and fourth entirely Scottish, totalling perhaps 11,000 iir considerably more. Leven commanded the centre, but exact details are unclear; Lord Fairfax may-have commanded his own foot, but as Manchester had a major-general for this purpose (Crawford), he may have exercised persona! command over the Eastern Association troops in the third line. The left wing was composed of horse, Cromwell and that of Manchester's army in the first line, the Scottish horse under Major-General David Leslie in the third, and the second mixed; in all something over 5,000. Rupert's army had its right wing of some 2,600 horse and interspersed musketeers under Lord Byron, The bulk of the Royal foot occupied the centre, perhaps 10,000 in number, and the left comprised the northern horse, commanded by Goring, some 2,100 strong with 500 musketeers. Rupert held back a reserve of 700 horse, including his own and Newcastle's Lifeguard. But Rupert's dispositions were unsound; his line was within Parliamentary cannon shot and hampered by hedges and ditches. Newcastle's foot, his Whitecoats, were the last to arrive 'rather uncharitably described as 'all drunk'5 by Rupert',

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Marston Moor 2nd July 1644 Battle Layout

MARSTON MOOR Royalist Army

1 Byron's Horse and musketeers 2 Tuke's Regt of Horse 3 Molyneux s House 4 Rupert's Regt of Horse 5 Napier's Foot 6 Trevor's Regi of Horse 7 Eythin's Foot (commanded by Tillier & Mackworth) 8 Blakeston's Horse 9 Reserve Horse (Rupert's Lifeguard, Widdringion's & Porter's) 10 Goring's Horse and musketeers 11 Goring's reserve horse (Lucas Ef Dacre) 12 Langdale's Horse

13 Carnaby's Regt. of Horse

Parliamentary Army

14 Cromwell s Horse 15 Leslie's Scots Horse

16 Manchester's Foot (Crawford) 17 Lord Fairfax s Fool 18 Baiilie's Scots Foot 19 Lumsden's Scots Fool 20 Scots Fool 21 Manchester's Fool 22 Sir Thomas Fairfax's Horse 23 Lambert's Horse 24 Eglinion's Scots Horse d: ditches w White Close scale represents one mile (1.6 kilometres)

commanded by Lord Eythin the Scottish professional soldier, General King, who may have commanded the Royal centre). Rupert showed him a plan of his dispositions; Eythin was appalled: 'By God, sir, it is very fyne in the paper, but ther is no such thinge in the ¡fields'.6 Rupert offered to withdraw, but by then it was too late; as he had said to Newcastle that morning, 'Nothinge venture, nothinge have*1» though Rupert claimed he would have attacked earlier had he not been waiting for Newcastle).

The lateness of the day suggested that if battle were ever joined, it would be on the morrow; but Leven thought otherwise and called a conference of his generals, Probablv Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax were

45. 46 Musketeers, Royalist northern foot 47 Sergeant, Royalist northern foot

Plate 18 illustrates the Marquis of Newcastle's gallant White coat regiments immortalized by their 'last stand' at White Syke Close. Marston Moor

Probably the white uniform colour was not intentional, but adopted simply because undyed cloth was more readily available ihan the red which Newcastle is believed to have favoured: a legend exists that the Whitecoats requested that their uniforms be left uncoloured, so that they could dye them in the blood of their enemies! Red uniforms were worn, however. as were unusual insignia (perhaps badges for valour), as noted in the following, concerning the siege of York in June 1644 a souldier of the Marquess of Newcastle was taken .. he was in a red suit. Some more of the Marquesse his souldiers were taken prisoners also: they had while coats (made of the plundered cloalh laken from the Clothiers in these parts) with crosses on the sleeves, wrought with red and blew silk, an ensigne wee conceive of some Po[p]ish Regiment'V

The musketeer wearing a buff-coat is shown blowing upon the match of his musket preparatory lo firing, ensuring that it is glowing sufficiently to ignite the charge The second musketeer is tammmg down the charge of his firelock, with which some of Newcastle's troops are known to have been armed, including Percy's Regiment which provided the firelock guard for the artillery train. The sergeant wears a grey uniform (as may some of the Whitecoats) faced with silver and including a helmet, gorget and his badge of rank, a halberd

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still with their respective wings, and as Lord Eairfax and Manchester were comparatively inexperienced they must have bowed to Leven's recommendations. The probable absence of Cromwell and 'Black Tom' Fairfax would have had no great effect on the decision, for Fairfax never shunned u fight and Cromwell's Eastern Association horse, the 'ironsides', were as reliable troops as existed. About seven in the evening the entire Parliamentary and Scottish line rolled down the gentle siopc from their position towards the hedge and ditch in from of the Royal army. For the Royalists it must have been a great shock, both to the soldiers eating their supper and to the commanders; assured by Rupert that no action would occur. Newcastle was lighting his pipe in his coach when the attack began. It coincided with an immense thunderclap and a torrent of rain, extinguishing musketeers' matches and making the sight of the rapidly advancing Allied army even more terrifying.

The Allied centre rolled over the ditch and engaged the Royalist foot behind it with some success, but on

Royalist Musketeers

45 Musketeer, flovalist northern fool

46 Musketeer, Royalist northern toot

47 Sergeant, Royalist northern foot

45 Musketeer, flovalist northern fool

46 Musketeer, Royalist northern toot

47 Sergeant, Royalist northern foot

Deployment of regiments of foot in alternate blocks of pikes and muskets, with artillery interspersed (from Sprigge's plan of Naseby)

The Train guarded wilh Firelocks': the Parliamentary baggage camp at Naseby (from Joshua Sprigge's Anglia Rediviva)

than Fairfax's. Aided by a premature countercharge by Byron's horse, and even more by pressure from the impetuous Crawford's foot, Byron's first line was swept away by the Ironsides. Rupert, who had been eating his supper when the attack began, led his reserve in person to his right Hank, where Byron was taking a beating; the (light of that part of Byron's wing commanded by the triple-turncoat Urry should not be regarded as sinister; it was Urry's practice to change sides between battles, not in the middle of one). Newcastle himself attempted to rally some of the Heeing horse, but in vain; he then led Hlakiston's brigade of horse against the Parliamentary centre, pushing them back and causing considerable havoc. Newcastle must have broken his sword in the fight, for he continued to lay about him with his page's sword,and as the Allied front collapsed a single pikeman made a one-man stand against the entire Royalist troop the right the attack went badly. Fairfax's horse came under heavy fire from the 'commanded* musketeers with Goring, and came off worst in the furious mêlée which followed; Sir Thomas received a cut on the check, and his brother Charles was mortally wounded. I'art of the Cavalier horse pursued the broken elements of Fairfax's wing, whilst Sir Charles Lucas, who had executed a similar manoeuvre at Fdgehill, prepared to charge the foot on the right of the Allied centre.

Cromwell's attack on the left achieved much more

Deployment of regiments of foot in alternate blocks of pikes and muskets, with artillery interspersed (from Sprigge's plan of Naseby)

Provision waggon (engraving by Jacques Cal lot)

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