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being manifest, and our armies almost round about them, in great tumult and disorder they hurried away, leaving behind them many costly moveables, which afterwards became a rich booty to their unfaithful servants.
The King being gone, immediately the intelligence thereof was brought unto his Excelleney, and the active and vigilant Sir William Waller was desired to attend him, who being come to Whitney, with his forces, which is but five miles from Burford, where the King then was, his Majesty's scouts came galloping in, and brought the sad news that our forces were at hand: On this, in a great fright, they all cried out, To horse, to horse; and the King, with his sword drawn, did ride about the town, to hasten his men away.
About a day or two after, his Majesty's forces, in a flying march, did come to Parshaw bridge, which they pulled up, and (necessity being the mother of invention) they laid loose boards upon stones, for a party of their forces then behind to pass over: which being done, they intended to take the boards away, to hinder the passage of Sir William Waller's forces that were in their pursuit; but, this party being come to the bridge, and hastily passing over it, the loose boards did slip from the stones, and they who were upon the bridge did fall into the river, and were drowned: The valiant Sir William Waller did lose no time to overtake the forces of the King: And his Excellency well knowing what a considerable and sufficient strength he had to prosecute the pursuit, and believing that Colonel Massey would join his forces with him, he resolved to march westward, and, with what speed he could, to send relief to the distressed town of Lyme; but, before the forces intended could arrive, Prince Maurice was gone, and the siege raised by our renowned Lord Admiral, the Right Honourable the Earl of Warwick.
This town being thus seasonably relieved (where the besieged, both male and female, and of all ages shewed incomparable examples of fortitude and patience, to the wonder of their adversaries, and of gene rations to come) the Lord Admiral did advertise his Excellency, that, for the more speedy reducing of the west, he would be assistant to him, and to that purpose, that, as he moved by land, he would sail by sea, to attend him in his marches. The town of Weymouth, a Haven-town, was summoned, which, understanding that his excellency the Earl of Essex was coming before it by land, and the Lord Admiral by sea, it presently did submit unto the noble Sir William Belfore, who did summon it for his Excellency, upon conditions, that the commanders and officers should go away on horse-back, with their swords and pistols, and the common soldiers only with staves in their hands: There were taken in the town twenty-seven pieces of ordnance, fifty picces lying in the harbour, and all the ships in it, and near unto it, and above an hundred barrels of powder, besides much arms and ammunition.
His excellency being now come into the center of the west, the countries round about did come in unto him, and the garisons did surrender at the first sound of his trumpet; they opened their gates to entertain his army, and they opened their hearts to entertain himself. There came unto him at Chard, within the circuit of twelve miles, at least four-thousand men, who were all in one meadow drawn into ranks and files, where his excellency came in person to welcome them, and the Lord Roberts, Lord Marshal of the Field, made them an excellent speech, which they received with loud and repeated acclamations, offering to live and die, in the cause of the Parliament, as their friends at Dorchester did before them.
Much about the same time, his excellency having understood that Prince Maurice had drawn a great part of the garison from Barnstable, and the inhabitants being confident of his assistance and approach, the other part of the garison being marched forth upon some plundering design, they resisted them upon their return, and would not grant admittance to them; and a party of horse commanded by the Lord Roberts, and Sir Philip Stapleton, came so opportunely to their aid, that they chaced them from that garison, and, being received themselves with great joy, they became absolute masters of it for the Parliament.
Not long after, the most noble the Lord Roberts was designed by his Excellency to march into Cornwall, which did so encourage the garison of Plymouth, that they did put on a gallant resolution to make a sally forth; which they so well performed, that, about seven miles from Plymouth, they did beat up a quarter of their enemies, and took forty-four horse, wlth their riders; and although that Sir Richard Greenvile did attempt to rescue them, with a considerable strength, he was beaten off, and forced to Ay in great disorder, with the loss of divers of his ablest men. In this service two of the chiefest commanders of the enemy were slain, and Colonel Digby, brother to George Lord Digby, was wounded in the face, and Greenvile himself, who before had lost his honour, was so close put to it, that he was in apparent danger of the loss of his life.
The conclusion of one victory was the beginning of another; for this gallant service was no sooner atchieved, but his excellency understood the glad tidings of the taking of Taunton Castle, by the forces which he sent thither, under the command of Sir Robert Pye, and Colonel Blake. This was a castle-town, and of great strength and great concernment, as in the year following the enemies proved to their
cost, who, with a mighty power, did lie long before it, but were never able to take it, either by force, or by persuasion. In it they found four iron pieces, six murther. ers, great store of arms, of ammunition, and provision.
His excellency was now on his march towards Plymouth, which his enemies no sooner understood, but, though they were at least three thousand strong, they presently abandoned their holds, and retreated into Cornwall. By this means his excellency possessed himself of MountStamford, Plimpton, Salt-Ash, and divers other small garisons, with their ordnance, which, by reason of the strength of their fear, and the apprehension of their sudden danger, they were not able to draw off. From these places adjoining unto Plymouth, his excellency advanced towards Tavistock: Here Sir Richard Greenvile's house was stormed, the enemy, in vain, hanging out a white flag, and desiring parley; quarter for life was granted 10 all, the Irish excepted. In this house were taken two pieces of cannon, eight hundred arms and more, a great quantity of rich furniture, and three-thousand pounds in money and in plate. Sir Richard Greenvile was not here in person ; he was retired to Newbridge, which is a passage into Cornwall, which he strongly guarded, but the forces of his excellency, after some dispute, did beat him from it, having slain about an hundred and fifty of the enemy, and taken many prisoners, and become masters of that passage: Lanceston at the first approach of his excellency did submit itself unto his mercy: From Newbridge Sir Richard Greenvile retreated, or rather fled to Horsebridge, but the right valiant the Lord Roberts did pursue him with his brigade, and forced his passage over the bridge; and, about Lestuthiel, overtook him, and encountered with him: He found his forces to be stronger than fame had at the first reported them. But valour regards not numbers, for he charged on them with such dexterity, judgment, success, and resolution, that he covered the place with the carcases of his enemies, and took about one hundred and fifty of them prisoners, Immediately upon this, Bodwin, Tadcaster, and Foy did stoop unto his excellency, and that with such willing humility, that they seemed rather to honour and embrace than to fear their conqueror: a conqueror he was, who overcame his enemies as much by his goodness as his greatness, and obliged them rather by his humanity than his power.
His majesty understanding that his excellency, with his army, was advanced into Cornwall, he was resolved to march after him, for he found that his army did daily increase in number, the presence of a prince, by a secret attraction, always prevailing on the affections of the people; whereupon his excellency did write unto the Parliament, that a considerable party might be sent unto him, to charge the rear of his Majesty's army, whilst he did fall upon the van, which might prove a speedy and a happy means for the securing of the King's person, and for the concluding of the war. He advertised them, that he found the people to be a wild and disproportioned body of several and uncertain heads, and uncertain hearts, and that they were apt to profane in the evening, what with so much zeal and joy they received in the morning. He desired that money might be sent unto him, to encourage his soldiers, and to confirm the people.
But his majesty, although he was marched up after his excellency, and was now about Exeter, was forced to send for provisions for his army into Somersetshire, of which Lieutenant-General Middleton hav. ing received intelligence, he valiantly encountered their convoy, and took many of their horse, and seized on many of their carriages.
Not long after he encountered with Sir Francis Dorrington's and Sir William Courtney's forces, which consisted of a considerable body of horse and dragoons, and, although the dragoons had lined the hedges, he did beat them from them, and, with great resolution charging the horse,' at the first encounter he did rout them, and pursued the victory almost as far as the town of Bridgewater. In this service he took some commanders prisoners, divers troopers, and fourscore horse. Much about the same time, a pernicious design of the enemy, to blow up his excellency's train of artillery, was wonderfully discovered and prevented.
His excellency, with a labouring expectation, did attend the supplies of men and money to be sent unto him. The armies of the King, and of his excellency, were now drawn near, and daily facing one another. A party of the enemy, consisting of about three-hundred horse, bad one morning cast themselves into three divisions, and, advancing near his excellency's quarters, did dare our men to an encounter: the gallant young gentleman Major Archibald Straughan, not able to endure the
indignity, desired of his excellency, that he might have leave to charge them, but with one hundred horse. His excellency applauding his courage did easily condescend unto it.
He received the first impression of the enemy without stirring from the place whereon he stood, and not firing on the enemy, until they came breast unto breast, he made such a havock amongst them, that many of them were observed to fall to the ground together, and the rest began to fly. Encouraged with this success, he charged the second division, and ihat with so much fury, that they began to fly in great confusion, not able to endure the shock and tempest of the charge.
After this he charged the third division, and having his men well armed, their pistols being all before discharged, they did now full in pellmell upon them with their swords, and did soon force them, by an ignominous speed, to fly to the main body of their army for their protection. The King himself was then in person in the field, and was a sad beholder of this slaughter, and disorder of his men.
For this brave service his excellency rewarded this victorious Major, who was a gentleman of Scotland, with many thanks, and appellations of honour, and with a gallant horse, esteemed to be worth one hundred pounds.
His excellency having a long time waited for the supplies of ammunition, avoney, and men, and finding that none arrived, he much wondered at the cause; and the rather, because that he was so straitened, by the iniquity of the place wherein he was encamped, that his horse had no room for forage, and he found the army of his enemy did daily ipcrease in number, and in power; wherefore a council of war being called, it was concluded, that three thousand of our horse, under the command of the resolute Sir William Belfore, should break through the main body of the enemy, which was accordingly performed; and that with such a tempest, that they did bear down many of the enemy before them, and snatched from them several colours, which they brought with them safe to Plymouth, as the testimony of their valour: his excellency disposed of himself to sea, attended with the Lord Roberts. He took shipping at Foy, and the seas danced to receive him whom our land was not worthy of. He landed first at Plymouth, and not long after he put to sea again, and safely arrived at Southampton.
In the mean time, the most resolute Major-General Skippon, improve ing his necessity into a virtue, did gallantly encourage his soldiers, who were all resolved to live and die, like soldiers, with him; and, the forces of the enemy advancing towards then, they were received with such undaunted courage, that the enemy were forced, for their own safety, not only to give them quarter, but to condescend to very honourable articles on our parts, but those articles were violated, and that almost in the face of the King
I have been often informed, that Major-General Skippon, being diz. poiled of his scarlet coat, his case of pistols, and rapier, did ride up unto the King, and, very roundly, told him of the violation of the articles by his soldiers, as at all times in general, so at this present in particular. The King, not well remembering him, did ask him who he was; he replied, that his name was Skippon. The King demanded who were
those soldiers who had thus injured him; he shewed them to his Majes. ty, for, as yet, they continued within the reach of his eye; they were about nine in number.
Immediately, the Marshal was called, and those soldiers were apprehended; seven of the nine were condemned to the tree, and suffered according to their sentence.
I do believe, therefore, that his Majesty was not accessary to this perfidious rudeness of his soldiers, which though, peradventure, it had a connivance and a toleration from others, it received a punishment from him. But the protesting Cornish, who, before the advance of his majesty's army, had so freely devoted themselves to the obedience of the Parliament, and the commands of his Excellency, did shew the deepest dissimulation, and expressed the greatest inhumanity that could be put in execution; for they stripped our soldiers stark naked from head to foot, and left them nothing to comfort themselves in this distress, but the fellowship and the number of the distressed.
In this condition of innocence and injury, they came unto Southampton; but the indignity thereof in lively characters was written in their breasts, and will shortly be revenged by their hands. And, indeed, not long after they did meet them again at Newbury, and forgetting almost the military order to actuate their revenge, they did fall upon them like so many lions, and, having made a great slaughter of them, they did redeem their clothes, with the destruction of their adversaries, who, having nothing to cover them but their own blood, they did remain, the next day, a woeful spectacle to the conquerors.
His Excellency was not then present, but, remembering his virtue, they fought by his example; he was about that time at Southampton, sick in body and in mind.
There is no man who by honourable dangers did ever adventure more for wounds thau he, and yet in all the wars he managed he never received any hurt, but what he did take inwardly, which, by a magnanimous and gallant patience, he admirably always both concealed and cured.
The wisdom of the parliament thought it now expedient to call home those commanders in chief, who conducted their armies in the field, that, after the great service performed for the state, the kingdom might now enjoy as much benefit by the strength of their counsels, as it received safety by their arms; and, indeed, who can give better instructions for the field, than those who have been the leaders of our armies in it?
His Excellency, with as much chearfulness, was ready to lay down his arms, as with resolution he did take them up; and, joining with the parliament, as well in person and presence, as in affection, he did much advance and facilitate the victories to come.
And now, about the latter end of March, there was a conference beiween both houses of parliament, concerning the new model for the settling of the army, the former commanders being called to sit in the houses of parliament. It was before ordered, that Sir Thomas Fairfax should be commander in chief of twenty-one thousand horse and foot, to be selected for this service, and that Major-General Skippon, now governor of Bristol, should be major-general of the whole army. At