Tyger's Head Books

The first Battle of Newbury: Parliamentarian account (Mercurius Britanicus)

In Berkshire on September 20 at 2:45 am

20 Sep 1643 (Wed) || [The Earl of Essex] marched for Newbery on Tuesday, but when he came within two miles of the Towne, the enemy appeared on the top of the hill, with horse and Artillery, so that night also his Excellency lay in the fields, our army being very hardly put to it for victualls, having no bread, the enemy having swept the Country round about of all victualls, and what wine or bear [beer] they could not make use of themselves, they staved the vessells, letting all run out in wast, purposely that our army might not have any use of it, to the extreame losse of the Countrey: On wednesday by day breake, the enemies foot were come to the hill, and by six a clocke both the enemies horse and foot were put in Batalia, and gave us an over-shot, we called a Councell of Warre, and though our much wearinesse and want of victualls were sufficient motives to have caused us to have declined the battell that day: yet such was the Noble courage of his Excellency, that to try his Souldiers mindes, he went from Regiment to Regiment, and put the question of a battell unto them, telling them the enemy had all the advantages, as the hill, the Towne, the hedges, the lanes and the river, they all cried let us fall on, we will beat them from them all; and in six houres fight our foot with the assistance of our horse gained all, and we planted our Ordnance on the top of the hil, where the Kings Ordnance began first to play upon us, and then we were on equall tearmes with the enemy for ground, but the Kings foot, we beate from hedge to hedge, and so scattered them that hardly a foor Souldier was to be seem except the dead bodies they had left on the ground, having drawne off thirty seven cart loads of their slaine, before we got the hill. The enemy seeing their foot utterly routed, and like to loose their Ordnance, wheeled about with a great body of horse, and about three quarters of a mile below the hill, fell upon the Rear of our Army, where our carriages were, which occasioned us to withdraw a part of our army from off the hill to assist that Brigade that was engaged, who cut off many of the Kings horse, but in the interim the enemy drew off their Ordnance to Newbery, and carried away 30. cart loads of wounded men, the fight continued till eleven at night; our souldiers in all this fight could not get water to drink: his Excellencie, during this battell, behaved himselfe with as noble and valiant resolution, as ever did Generall in any battell, himselfe in person leading up the City-Regiments, and when the enemies horse had broken thorow them, he rallied them together, and led them on againe. The enemy lost the Earles of Carnarvan, and Sunderland, and Lord Faulkland, besides severall Lords were carried away in coaches desperately wounded: The King was so sore put to it (being there in person to behold the destruction of his Subjects with no small content to the Queene) that he was forced to command his principall secretary of State, and such neer attendants on him to help or all was lost: His Excellency with the foot body of his Army, kept the field, he had wun, all night long, and Colonell Middleton with the horse was likewise possest of the Kings field quartering for his horse, and stad there all night also, and the next day Prince Rupert sent a trumpet to beg the body of the Lord Faulkland; and yet I beleeve at Oxford they will be so impudent, as to say they lost not an inch of ground, nor one Lord slaine or hurt, most of their foot that were slaine, they stript as they fell, except some poore beggerly Welch, which lay by douzens and twenties in heaps in ditches and other places, where we stood all night; they lost in number neer six for one; Men of note that were slaine on our side: Colonell Bamfield; Colonell Tucker a City Colonell, and Captaine Ware Captaine of Horse, and Captaine Hurt, and two of foot more. Those of the enemy that were taken prisoners confesse they lost at least 3000. on the place. || Robert White & George Bishop – Mercurius Britanicus (P)