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where, on the second charge (so hot was the service) they forced the enemy's foot, who lined the hedges, to betake themselves unto their heels, and through the hedges, so gauled the enemy with the shot, that about one hundred of them lost their lives upon the place, and the rest did fly for their safety, and were well content to leave the prize, which they had taken, and the purchase of our two drakes behind them. It is most certain, and the papers printed at Oxford do confirm it, that Prince Rupert, in this last service, had three horses shot under him; peradventure he was one of thosB, who in the vanity of their morning mirth, did boast at Newbury, that although the roundheads were marching unto Reading, they would make calves of many of them, before they came unto the Veal.
The enemy in this manner being beaten back, the forces of the parliament, who had expressed themselves to be gallant men, had afterwards an unmolested march unto the Veal, and the next day to Reading, where having reposed themselves for a few days, they marched in triumph unto London, their companies so full, that it hardly could be discerned, \yhere any were missing; with a general consent, they declared their chearful resolution, that whensoever his excellency, their heroick general, should command their service, they would most readily advance with him, and esteem it their greatest happiness, to partake with him in the honour of his dangers; the lord mayor and the aldermen of the city did meet the trained bands at Temple-bar, and entertained them with great joy, and they had many thousand welcomes from the people, as they passed in martial order through the streets. His excellency also [being come to London] had solemn thanks returned him by the parliament for his faithful unwearied services for the state and kingdom; and now, the winter coming on, *he had the leisure for a while to refresh himself, and to make new provisions for war against the ensuing spring, to reduce peace unto the kingdom, and the King unto his parliament, and Oxford and the malignant garisons in the west, to the obedience of both; and this groat work must ask some time, for the preparations of it.
Therefore on Monday, May the 13th, he sent his carriages from London, his soldiers were marched away before, and on Tuesday May the 14th, very early in the morning, he followed after them, towards Oxford. The gallant commander Sir William Waller advanced with him, but at some distance to ease the countries, through which they marched, and great care was taken to punish all disorders in his soldiers, as may appear by this his proclamation:
ROBERT, Earl of Essex, Captain General of the Army, employed for the Defence of the Protestant Religion, King, Parliament, and Kingdean.
WHEREAS these countries have been very much afflicted and oppressed by the enemy, and we are now come to relieve them of their hard bondage: it is therefore my express will and pleasure, and I do hereby straightly charge and command all officers, and soldiers, of horse, foot, and dragoons, belonging to the army, under my command, that they, and every of them, due forthwith, after proclamation hereof made, forbear (notwithstanding any pretence whatsoever) to plunder or spoil any of the goods of the inhabitants of these countries, or to offer any violence, or other prejudice unto them, upon pain of death, without mercy.
Given under my hand and seal.
His excellency being now in the field, with a resolution to encounter with the King's armies, wheresoever he could meet them, he received intelligence, that the Earl of Forth, and the Lord Hopton, had made a late muster of them upon Wantage Downs. There is no where to be found a fairer place for two armies, to try the justice of their cause by battle: But they, hearing that the Earl of Essex was advancing towards them, retired towards Abingdon; his excellency did send a party after them, of three-thousand horse and foot, which were commanded by the Field-Marshal, the most noble Lord Roberts, and by Sir Philip Stapleton, lieutenant general of the horse, who advanced towards them, with, so much resolution, that in some disorder they abandoned the town, which was immediately entered by the Lord Roberts, his excellency, with the main body of the army, following after, and intending to take up his quarters in that town himself.
The enemy, at their departure, had drawn off their artillery, and took with them their magazine, which they did send to Oxford, but a great body of their army, consisting of five-thousand horse and foot, and commanded by the Lord Hopton, did march by Oxford unto Islip, which is in the way to Worcester, and there they took up quarters for one night; but Captain Temple, who was sent from Newport-pagnel with some troops of horse to discover only, and not to charge the enemy, being in the height of his youth, and full of the gallant fire of courage, and finding withal so fit an opportunity, he resolved to beat up the enemy's quarters; which he performed with so much resolution and success, that he took fifty brave horses, eighteen prisoners, whereof one was a knight, eight packs of kersey, which came from Exeter, and 1501. in ready money, and gave such an alarm to the enemy, that they fled from Islip to Oxford, crying out, Essex was at their heels; which did strike such a terror into them at Oxford, that they did shut the gates of the city, and for a while (until better information was received) they would not suffer Colonel Aston's own troop to enter, which was one of the three troops which this gallant captain did so bravely rouse in their quarters at Islip.
Not long after, the Earl of Essex, having first rode round about the city of Oxford, and taken a perfect view of it, did sit down before it, with so powerful an army, that his Majesty on Monday, June the third, about twelve of the clock at night, did take horse, attended with certain troops who carried some foot mounted behind them: There followed him thirty coaches of ladies, who, conceiving that Oxford would be besieged, were unwilling to endure the fur 'f the siege, and therefore the danger 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. Excellency, 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 rtsolved 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 generations 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 pieces 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 garisonsdid 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 sallyforth; 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, with their riders; and although that Sir Richard Greenvile did attempt to rescue them, with a considerable strength, he was beaten off, and forced to fly 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 theircost, 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 to 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 hit enemies, and took about one hundred and fifty of them prisoners, Immediately upon this, Bodwin, Tadeaster, 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 having 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,rand daily facing one another. A party of the enemy, consisting of about three-hundred horse, had 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