Tyger's Head Books

The first Battle of Newbury: Royalist account (Mercurius Aulicus; cont.)

In Berkshire on September 21 at 2:40 am

21 Sep 1643 (Thu) || This day was not altogether more free from action, and towards noon (hunger & scarcity of Ammunition pressing them) the Rebels were forced to rise, and were couragiously followed by a great fresh body of our Horse, and such Forces as His Majesties thought fit to send in the Reare of them, under the command of the Lord Wilmott, Lieutenant Generall of the Horse, and the noble Earle of Northampton. These Lords having faced the fugitive Rebels Army late the last night, advertised His Mahesty thereof, desiring part of the Foot to march up to them, which accordingly was ordered, and instantly put in execution: by these the last blow was given to the Rebels (who made all shifts possible to get and steale severall wayes in the night) about three miles from Newbury towards Reading, in which Prince Rupert (who had three horses shot under him) giving them a fierce charge in their Reare, two of their Horse Regiments were routed and chased into their Foot, we doing good execution upon them for a farewel, that so they might carry assured tokens of their own defeat to their friends at London, whither they hasd with as much speed, as feare and a victorious Army pursuing them did enforce.

As a further evident Argument of the Victory His Majesties Army obtained over the Rebels, they were forced to leave behind their heavy Carriages, with many Barrels of Musket and Pistoll Bullets, and very many Chirurgions Chests full of Medicaments. Some of the Cannon they buried is since taken up, and severall heapes of their dead were found cast into Wells, Ponds, and Pits, one Draw-well of 30 fathoms deepe being filled to the top with dead bodies, 8 or 9 whereof some of His Majesties owne Troop tooke the paines to pull up, but left off the rest as not able to endure the noysomenesse of the implyoment; and in sundry places with armes and legges sticking out, besides those above ground whom they had not time to cover: great numbers of their maimed Officers and common men they shamefully left behind, they being so struck with an apprehension of His Majesties pursuing them, that the Earle of Essex was faine to dispatch his Tickets to a Levite of their owne, for the speedy buriall of his Souldiers to save his credit, not daring to stay to see it done himselfe, An originall whereof came to our hands under the Earles owne hand and seale in these words:

These are to will and require, and straightly charge and command you, forthwith upon sight hereof, to bury all the dead bodies lying in and about Enborn and Newbery-wash, as you or any of you will answer the contrary at your utmost perill. Dated 21 of Septemb. 1643.

To. M. Fulke Minister, and the Constables of the Parish of Enborne. Essex.

But His Majesty taking pious care of the one and the other, gave a strict command for the buriall of their dead, and the cure of the wounded by His owne Warrant to the Maior of Newbury, a Copy whereof we have here transcribed.

Our will and Command is that you forthwith send into the Townes and Villages adjacent, and bring hence all the sicke and hurt Souldiers of the Earle of Essex’s Army, and though they be Rebels and deserve the punishment of Traytours, yet out of Our tender compassion upon them as being Our Subjects, Our Will and pleasure is that you carefully provide for their recovery, as well for those of Our owne Army, and then to send them to Oxford. Given, &c.
To the Maior of Newbury and the Officers thereof.

Divers scores of Prisoners of all sorts wee have taken, and the Marquesse of Winchester with his forces at Basing hath also gathered up many straglers, whereof some are Officers. These Prisoners say (and wee find it with the least) that wee have slaine above 1000 of the Rebels and wounded a great multitude, as we find true by those they left in our hands.

The Rebels espying from the Hill where many in the Field stood bare-headed in a part of our Army, made above fortie great shot at the place, doubtlesse for the safetie of the Kings Royall Person, whom by that token they beleeved to be there; doing as much at night as the greatest fire for the like loyall reason: But Almighty God coveted the head of his Anointed.

His Majesties Army is now returning with the spoyles, and this day solemne Thanksgivings have beene publikely performed for the safetie of His Majesties Sacred Person, which He spared not to expose to the danger and incommodities of so long and troublesome a march. But you will have a more perfect and exact Relation of all particulars within a few houres from a farre better hand. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)