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made them retire under their main body. We advanced, and came to the bottom of a steep hill: we could not well get up but by some tracks; which our men essaying to do, the body of the enemy endeavored to hinder; wherein we prevailed, and got the top of the hill. This v'as done by the Lincolneers, who had the vanguard.
When we all recovered the top of the hill, we saw a great Body of the enemy's horse facing us, at about a musket-shot or less distance; and a good Reserve of a full regiment of horse behind it. We endeavored to put our men into as good order as we could. The enemy in the meantime advanced towards us, to take us at disadvantage: but in such order as we were, we charged their great body, I having the right wing; we came up horse to horse; where we disputed it with our swords and pistols a pretty lime; all keeping close order, so that one could not break the other. At last, they a little shrinking, our men perceiving it, pressed in upon them, and immediately routed this whole body; some flying on one side and others on the other of the enemy's Reserve; and our men, pursuing them, had chase and execution about five or six miles.
I perceiving this body which was the Reserve standing still unbroken, kept back my Major, Whalley, from the chase; and with my own troop and the other of my regiment, in all being three troops, we got into a body. In this Reserve stood General Cavendish; who one while faced me, another while faced four of the Lincoln troops, which was all of ours that stood upon the place, the rest being engaged in the chase. At last General Cavendish charged the Lincolneers, and routed them. Immediately I fell on his rear with my three troops; which did so astonish him, that he did give over the chase, and would fain have delivered himself from me. But I pressing on forced ' them' down a hill, having good execution of them; and below the hill, drove the General with some of his soldiers into a quagmire ; where my Captain-lieutenant slew him with a thrust under his short ribs. The rest of the body was wholly routed, not one man staying upon the place.
After the defeat which was so total, we relieved the Town with such powder and provision as we brought with us. We had notice that there were six troops of horse and 300 foot on the other side of the Town, about a mile off us: we desired some foot of my Lord Willoughby's, about 400; and, with our horse and these foot, marched towards them: when we came towards the place where their horse stood, we went baclc with my troops to follow two or three troops of the enemy's who retired into a small village at the bottom of the hill. When we recovered the hill, we saw in the bottom, about a quarter of a mile from us, a regi
ment of foot; after that another; after that the Marquis of Newcastle's own regiment; consisting in all of about SO foot colors, and a great body of horse;—which indeed was Newcastle's Army. Which, coming so unexpectedly, put us to new consultations. My Lord Willoughby and I, being in the Town, agreed to call off our foot. I went to bring them off: but before I returned, divers of the foot were engaged; the enemy advancing with his whole body. Our foot retreated in disorder; and with some loss got the Town; where now they are. Our horse also came off with some trouble; being wearied with the long fight, and their horses tired; yet faced the enemy's fresh horse, and by several removes got off without the loss of one man; the enemy following the rear with a great body.
The honor of this retreat is due to God, as also all the rest. Major Whalley did in this carry himself with all the gallantry becoming a gentleman and a Christian. Thus you have this true relation, as short as I could. What you are to do upon it, is next to be considered. The Lord direct you what to do.
Gentlemen, I am,
Your faithful servant,
About two miles south of Gainsborough, on the North-Scarle road, stands the Hamlet and Church of Lea; near which is a 'Hill,' or expanse of upland, of no great height, but sandy, covered with furze, and full of rabbit-holes, the ascent of which would be difficult for horsemen in the teeth of an enemy. This is understood to be the 'Hill' of the Fight referred to here. Good part of it is enclosed, and the ground much altered, since that time; but one of the fields is still called 'Redcoats Field,' and another at some distance nearer Gainsborough 'Graves Field;' beyond which latter,' on the other or western face of the Hill, a little over the boundary of Lea Parish with Gainsborough Parish, on the left hand (as you go North) between the Road and the River,' is a morass or meadow still known by the name of 'Cavendish's Bog,' which points out the locality.f
Of the 'Hills' and 'Villages' rather confusedly alluded to in the second part of the Letter, which probably lay across Trent Bridge on the Newark side of the river, I could obtain no eluci
dation,—and must leave them to the guess of local antiquaries interested in such things.
'General Cavendish,' whom some confound with the Earl of Newcastle's brother, was his Cousin, ' the Earl of Devonshire's second son;' an accomplished young man of three-and-twenty; for whom there was great lamenting ;—indeed a general emotion about his death, of which we, in these radical times, very irreverent of human quality itself, and much more justly of the dresses of human quality, cannot even with effort form any adequate idea. This was the first action that made Cromwell to be universally talked of: He dared to kill this honorable person found in arms against him !' Colonel Cromwell gave assistance to the Lord Willoughby, and performed very gallant service against the Earl of Newcastle's forces. This was the beginning of his great fortunes, and now he began to appear in the world.'*
Waller has an Elegy, not his best, upon 'Charles Ca'ndish.'f It must have been written some time afterwards: poor Waller, in these weeks, very narrowly escapes death himself, on account of the ' Waller Plot;'—makes an abject submission; pays £10,000 fine; and goes upon his travels into foreign parts!
Gainsborough was directly taken, after this relief of it; Lord Willoughby could not resist the Newarkers with Newcastle at their head. Sir William Waller, whom some called William the Conqueror, has been beaten all to pieces on Lansdown Heath, about a fortnight ago.
* Whitlocke (1st. edition, London, 1682,—as always, unless the contrary be specified), p. 68. t Fenton's Waller, p. 209
In the very hours while Cromwell was storming the sand-hill near Gainsborough ' by some tracks,' honorable gentlemen at St. Stephen's were voting him Governor of the Isle of Ely. Ely in the heart of the Fens, a place of great military capabilities, is much troubled with ' corrupt ministers,' with 'corrupt trainbands,' and understood to be in a perilous state; wherefore they nomi. nate Cromwell to take charge of it.* We understand his own Family to be still resident in Ely.
The Parliament affairs, this Summer, have taken a bad course; and except it be in the Eastern Association, look everywhere declining. They have lost Bristol ;f Essex's Army has melted away, without any action of mark all Summer, except the loss of Hampden in a skirmish: in the beginning of August, the King breaks out from Oxford, very clearly superior in force; goes to settle Bristol; and might thence, it was supposed, have marched direct to London, if he had liked. He decides on taking Gloucester with him before he quit those parts. The Parliament, in much extremity, calls upon the Scots for help; who under conditions will consent.
In these circumstances, it was rather thought a piece of heroism in our old friend Lord Kimbolton, or Mandevil, now become Earl of Manchester, to accept the command of the Eastern Association: he is nominated 'Sergeant-Major of the Associated Counties,' 10th August, 1643; is to raise new force, infantry and cavalry; has four Colonels of horse under him; Colonel Cromwell, who soon became his second in command, is one of them j Colonel Norton, whom we shall meet afterwards, is another.J
* Commons Journals, iii , 186 (of 28 July, 1643); ib., 153, 167, 180, &C, to 637 (9 October, 1644). t 22 July, Rushworth, v., 284.
t Husbands, ii., 286, 276-8.
'The Associated Counties are busy listing,' intimates the old Newspaper; 'and so soon as their harvest is over, which for the present much retardeth them, the Earl of Manchester will have a very brave and considerable Army, to be a terror to Northern Papists,' Newarkers and Newcastles, ' if they advance Southward.'* When specially it was that Cromwell listed his celebrated body of Ironsides is of course not to be dated, though some do carelessly date it, as from the very ' beginning of the War;' and in Batesf and others are to be found various romantic details on the subject, which deserve no credit. Doubtless Cromwell, all along, in the many changes his body of men underwent, had his eye upon this object of getting good soldiers and dismissing bad; and managed this matter by common practical vigilance, not by theatrical claptraps as Dr. Bates represents. Some months ago, it was said in the Newspaper, of Colonel Cromwell's soldiers, 'not a man swears but he pays his twelve-pence no plundering, no drinking, disorder, or impiety allowed.J We may fancy, in this new levy, as Manchester's Lieutenant and Governor of Ely, when the whole force was again winnowed and sifted, he rnigh* complete the process, and see his Thousand Troopers ranked before him, worthy at last of the name of Ironsides. They were men that had the fear of God; and gradually lost all other fear. "Truly they were never beaten at all," says he.—Meanwhile:
August 21st. The shops of London are all shut for certain days :§ Gloucester is in hot siege; nothing but the obdurate valor of a few men there prevents the King, with Prince Rupert, called also Prince Robert and Prince Robber, from riding roughshod over us. || The City, with much emotion, ranks its Trained Bands under Essex; making up an Army for him, despatches him to relieve Gloucester. He marches on the 26th; steadily along, in spite of rainy weather and Prince Rupert; westward, westward;
* 29 August, 1643, Cromwelliana, p. 7. t Elenchus Motuum.
t May, 1643, Cromwelliana, p. 5. § Rushworth, v., 291.
|| See Webb's Bibliotheca Gloucestrensis, a Collection, &c. (Gloucester, 1825), or Corbet's contemporary Siege of Gloucester (Somers Tracts, v. 296), which forms the main substance of Mr. Webb's Book.