C) First Civil War - Military Events

Military events of the first English Civil War

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  • Created by: lucyf
  • Created on: 17-04-14 15:54
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  • First Civil War - Military Events
    • Strengths + Weaknesses
      • Parliament
        • Controlled more populated + prosperous parts of kingdom
          • London - vital source of wealth
        • War finances on much sounder footing than Charles'
          • Pym set up efficient tax-gathering mechanisms
            • Compounding - well-organised system of exploiting estates of Royalist supporters in Parliamentary areas.
            • Monthly assessment
        • Control of Navy = control of trade
          • Able to ensure London continued to be trading capital
          • Restricted Charles' ability to trade with continent
            • Military supplies + troops from neighbouring monarchs
          • Had been unpaid by Charles
          • Partly due to popularity of Earl of Warwick (appointed commander by Parliament)
      • King
        • Had advantages in early months
          • Cavalry probably better
            • German nephew Prince Rupert = talented cavalry commander
        • Financial problems
          • Controlled poorer north and west
          • Had to rely partly on individual gifts + gold and silver plate given by Oxford colleges
            • Many commanders paid troops themselves
          • Although fundraising = well organised in some areas, in general, money became one of the major factors in defeat
            • Clarendon: 'the incurable disease of want of money'
        • In theory: war effort should have been more co-ordinated (Charles = Commander-in-Chief)
          • BUT factions + rivalries undermined the common cause
            • Digby tried to turn Charles against his field commanders (esp. Rupert)
            • Some Royalist officers (ie. Lord George Goring) = as interested in plundering as in winning battles
    • Battle of Edgehill (October 1642)
      • Charles advances on London
        • Army of c.10,000
        • Parliamentary commander = Earl of Essex
          • Had some military experience
          • Gave status to parliamentary cause
          • Cautious + uninspiring leader (took coffin on expeditions - morale)
      • Battle
        • Royalist cavalry swept away Parliamentary cavalry
        • Parliamentary infantry beat Royalist infantry
          • Only saved by reappearance of Royalist cavalry
        • Essex withdrew
          • Route to London left open
      • After
        • Swift advance on London might have meant Royalist victory
          • King (perhaps shaken by first battle witnessed) = hesitant
            • Took Oxford before advancing on London
        • November 1642: Essex + army move to London in front of King
          • Londoners turned out in 1000s
            • Women built trenches
            • By the time Rupert = burning Brentford (learnt in 30 years war), Essex had 24,000 ready to defend City at Turnham Green (outskirts)
        • Charles ignored Rupert's advice to force defences + withdrew to Oxford
          • Ensured war would go on
          • Best chance of quick victory
            • Raw citizen soldiers might have panicked + fled
            • Royalists might have been overwhelmed in bitter hand-to-hand street fighting by Londoners (eager to defend property against plundering)
            • Therefore - in long run - lost whole war
    • 1643
      • Armies
        • Royalist
          • Duke of Newcastle: Northern army
            • Clarendon (disliked): 'as fit to be a General as a Bishop'
          • Sir Ralph Hopton in west
            • Supported by cavalry of Sir George Goring
          • Main field army centred around Oxford
            • Rupert commanding cavalry
        • Parliament
          • Main field army under Essex
          • Eastern Association (Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Lincolnshire) under Earl of Manchester
          • Western army under Sir William Waller
          • Fairfaxes (father + son) in Yorkshire
            • Fought vs. Newcastle for clothing-town strongholds of Leeds + Bradford - lost
      • Newcastle's failure
        • Advanced into Lincolnshire threatening Eastern Association heartland
          • Near Stamford (extreme south Lincolnshire), decided to retreat + besiege Hull with main forces
            • Result of sharp checks he + forces received from Cromwell's newly trained cavalry
              • Cromwell rose to prominence as a cavalry commander in Eastern association
                • Promoted soldiers purely on merit + insisted on iron discipline
            • Also suffered supply lines becoming stretched + fear of attack on rear by Hull garrison
        • War in East returned to series of cavalry raids + skirmishes rather than determined + dangerous Royalist advance
      • Hopton's failure
        • Hopton's attack in South (Hampshire + Sussex) = most successful
        • Supply lines eventually halted him
        • Troops reluctant to march too far from home counties
      • Siege of Gloucester + Battle of Newbury (1643)
        • Strategy had broken down - decided to besiege Gloucester (held out for Parliament in Royalist West)
          • Had important position across Charles' supply lines
          • Fall would have catastrophic effect on Parliamentary morale
            • Already shaken - king's strategy = breaking down but Parliament hadn't had any decisive victories + initiative still seemed to be with king
        • Essex relieved Gloucester + found King barring path at Newbury on return to London on 20 September 1643
        • Battle = draw
          • Strategic victory for Essex (forces able to continue march to Lodnon
    • Scottish and Irish (Autumn 1643)
      • Scots - Solemn League + Covenant (September)
        • Scottish forces coming south would trap Newcastle's forces between them + Eastern Association
      • 1633 = indecisive fighting
        • Both sides tried to swing balance through outside help
      • Irish - Cessation
        • King negotiated ceasefire with Irish rebels
          • Able to bring back English regiments from Ireland
            • No advantage - troops captured by Brereton + changed sides
    • Battle of Marston Moor (July 1644)
      • Parliament (with Cromwell's cavalry in lead) attacked
        • King's Northern Army destroyed
        • Eastern Association cavalry showed to be a match for Royalist
        • Newcastle's regiment (Whitecoats) died to a man
          • Newcastle fled to continent
        • Rupert escaped with c.6,000 men
      • Rupert's mistakes
        • Offered battle at Marston Moor on 2 July
          • Should have gathered own + Newcastle's forces and retreated (as  Newcastle advised)
            • Inferior force - c. 9,000 less
          • May have believed orders from king = offer battle
            • Dynamic, ruthless attitude to war = wanted to offer battle if possibly could
        • Believed (as evening was drawing on) there would be no battle
      • King had lost north - York surrendered within fortnight
      • Could easily have been final blow for Royalists - opportunity not taken
        • Scots went to besiege port of Newcastle
        • Fairfax engaged in 'mopping up' operations vs. individual strongholds
        • Earl of Manchester returned to East
    • Problems for both sides
      • Localism
        • Throughout first 2 years
        • Reluctance of troops raised in one area to move far from home
          • London Trained Bands =  anxious to return after relief of Gloucester
          • Hopton's Cornish Trained Bands = no wish to campaign in Hampshire
        • Money raised locally often spent locally, rather than on armies
          • Prob. less than 10% of monies raised by Parliamentary county committees ever left county
        • Even Eastern Association (most successful organisation in uniting county efforts) not immune
      • Disagreement + command structure
        • Parliament
          • United, in theory, after 1643
            • Under command of Committee of Two Kingdoms
          • In practice - commanders would ignore their urgings
            • Essex + Manchester made own decisions
        • Royalist
          • In theory, should have been more coordinated (Charles as Commander-in-Chief)
          • Mirrored court before 1642
            • Factions + rivalries undermined common cause
              • Digby tried to turn Charles against field commanders (esp. Rupert)
              • Some officers (e.g. Goring) didn't always obey orders
        • Individuals tended to act alone
        • Neither side (at this stage) had coordinated grand strategy being carried out by a national military machine
          • One reason why First Civil War = so long
    • Royalist recovery
      • Essex + Waller
        • Meant to advance on Oxford together
        • Rivalries = couldn't cooperate for long
          • Essex decided to attack Royalist strongholds in west (Lyme Regis still holding out for Parliament)
          • Charles defeated Waller at Cropredy Bridge (6 June)
            • Waller's army disintegrated
            • King pursued Essex in West
              • Essex decided to attack Royalist strongholds in west (Lyme Regis still holding out for Parliament)
      • Earl of Manchester's failure (October)
        • Manchester failed to chase Royalists after their retreat after second Battle of Newbury
    • New Model Army creation (winter 1644)
      • Cavalry
        • At first = most reliable element
          • Whole army gradually gained discipline + coherence
        • Largely drawn from old Eastern Association - Cromwell's 'Ironsides'
      • Commanders
        • Philip Skippon (professional soldier in 30 years war) commanding infantry
          • Overshadowed by Fairfax + Cromwell
      • Religious independency
        • Hostile to Anglicanism + Presbyterianism
        • Spread rapidly (esp. in cavalry)
        • Majority of officers = Independents
      • Promotion by merit
        • Revolutionary
        • Led to rise of officers from humble backgrounds
          • Caused Royalists (Hyde) + social conservatives (Holles) much concern
            • Majority of senior officers were, and remained, from gentry families (Cromwell, Skippon, Lambert, Fleetwood)
              • Although some prominent colonels were tradesmen
      • After failures, Cromwell accused Manchester of not wanting to win + raised fear in Parliament that war = forever unless new measures + commanders put in place
        • Polite removal of Essex + Manchester
        • Creation of New Model Army
          • Paid for by Parliament (not local organisations)
    • Battle of Naseby (June 1645)
      • Rupert failed to see 'big picture'
      • Royalists = completely destroyed
        • King lost last field army capable of fighting a major pitched battle
      • After
        • New Model Army fought series of 'mopping up' operations (e.g. Goring's Langport force) + drawn-out sieges of Royalist strongholds
        • March 1646: Sir Jacob Astley (courageous commander of remaining Royalist infantry) surrendered at Stow-on-the-Wold
        • King surrendered to Scots in May 1646
        • Last Royalist stronghold (Oxford) surrendered in June 1646
    • Conclusion - why Parliament won
      • Greater financial resources (East, South + London)
        • Better organisation of financial resources - Pym
          • Possession of London + East Anglia (trade + wealth)
      • Possession of London + East Anglia (trade + wealth)
      • King's strategic failures 1642-3 (still had some real chance of victory)
      • Control of sea - prevented arms/troops from abroad reaching King
      • Solemn League + Covenant = Scottish help in north
      • Eventual creation on central command structure + New Model Army
  • Monthly assessment
  • Charles ignored Rupert's advice to force defences + withdrew to Oxford
    • Ensured war would go on
    • Best chance of quick victory
      • Raw citizen soldiers might have panicked + fled
      • Royalists might have been overwhelmed in bitter hand-to-hand street fighting by Londoners (eager to defend property against plundering)
      • Therefore - in long run - lost whole war
  • Irish - Cessation
    • King negotiated ceasefire with Irish rebels
      • Able to bring back English regiments from Ireland
        • No advantage - troops captured by Brereton + changed sides
  • Voluntarily rejoined army Essex had formed once in Parliamentary territory
    • Infantry (though disarmed) = so badly treated by Royalists

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