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young earl of Derby in Lancashire, and small parties in almost every county of the west and the midlands, were in arms for the king. North of the Tees, the earl of Newcastle, a great territorial magnate, was raising troops and supplies for the king, while Queen Henrietta Maria was busy in Holland arranging for the importation of war material and money. In Yorkshire opinion was divided, the royal cause being strongest in York and the North Riding, that of the Parliamentary party in the clothing towns of the West Riding and also in the important seaport of Hull. The Yorkshire gentry made an attempt to neutralize the county, but a local struggle soon began, and Newcastle thereupon prepared to invade Yorkshire. The whole of the south and east as well as parts of the midlands and the west and the important towns of Bristol and Gloucester were on the side of the Parliament. A small Royalist force was compelled to evacuate Oxford on the 10th of September.
On the 13th of September the main campaign opened. The king—in order to find recruits amongst his sympathizers and arms in the armouries of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire trained bands, and also to be in touch with his disciplined regiments in Ireland by way of Chester—moved westward to Shrewsbury, Essex following suit by marching from Northampton to Worcester. Near the last-named town a sharp cavalry engagement (Powick Bridge) took place on the 23rd between the advanced cavalry of Essex's army and a force under Prince Rupert which was engaged in protecting the retirement of the Oxford detachment. The result of the fight was the instantaneous overthrow of the rebel cavalry, and this gave the Royalist troopers a confidence in themselves and in their brilliant leader which was not destined to be shaken until they met Cromwell's Ironsides. Rupert soon withdrew to Shrewsbury, where he found many Royalist officers eager to attack Essex's new position at Worcester. But the road to London now lay open and it was decided to take it. The intention was not to avoid a battle, for the Royalist generals desired to fight Essex before he grew too strong, and the temper of both sides made it impossible to postpone the decision; in Clarendon's words, “it was considered more counsellable to march towards London, it being morally sure that the earl of Essex would put himself in their way,” and accordingly the army left Shrewsbury on the 12th of October, gaining two days' start of the enemy, and moved south-east via Bridgnorth, Birmingham and Kenilworth. This had the desired effect. Parliament, alarmed for its own safety, sent repeated orders to Essex to find the king and bring him to battle. Alarm gave place to determination when it was discovered that Charles was enlisting papists and seeking foreign aid. The militia of the home counties was called out, a second army under the earl of Warwick was formed round the nucleus of the London trained bands, and Essex, straining every nerve to regain touch with the enemy, reached Kineton, where he was only 7 m. from the king's headquarters at Edgecote, on the 22nd.
4. Battle of Edgehill.—Rupert promptly reported the enemy's presence, and his confidence dominated the irresolution of the king and the caution of Lord Lindsey, the nominal commander-in-chief. Both sides had marched widely dispersed in order to live, and the rapidity with which, having the clearer purpose, the Royalists drew together helped considerably to neutralize Essex's superior numbers. During the morning of the 23rd the Royalists formed in battle order on the brow of Edgehill facing towards Kineton. Essex, experienced soldier as he was, had distrusted his own raw army too much to force a decision earlier in the month, when the king was weak; he now found Charles in a strong position with an equal force to his own 14,000, and some of his regiments were still some miles distant. But he advanced beyond Kineton, and the enemy promptly left their strong position and came down to the foot of the hill, for, situated as they were, they had either to fight wherever they could induce the enemy to engage, or to starve in the midst of hostile garrisons. Rupert was on the right of the king's army with the greater part of the horse, Lord Lindsey and Sir Jacob Astley in the centre with the foot, Lord Wilmot (with whom rode the earl of Forth, the principal military adviser of the king) with a smaller body of cavalry on the left. In rear of the centre were the king and a small reserve. Essex's order was similar. Rupert charged as soon as his wing was deployed, and before the infantry of either side was ready. Taking ground to his right front and then wheeling inwards at full speed he instantly rode down the Parliamentary horse opposed, to him. Some infantry regiments of Essex's left centre shared the same fate as their cavalry. On the other wing Forth and Wilmot likewise swept away all that they could see of the enemy's cavalry, and the undisciplined Royalists of both wings pursued the fugitives in wild disorder up to Kineton, where they were severely handled by John Hampden's infantry brigade (which was escorting the artillery and baggage of Essex's army). Rupert brought back only a few rallied squadrons to the battlefield, and in the meantime affairs there had gone badly for the king. The right and centre of the Parliamentary foot (the left having been brought to a halt by Rupert's charge) advanced with great resolution, and being at least as ardent as, and much better armed than, Lindsey's men, engaged them fiercely and slowly gained ground. Only the best regiments on either side, however, maintained their order, and the decision of the infantry battle was achieved mainly by a few Parliamentary squadrons. One regiment of Essex's right wing only had been the target of Wilmot's charge, the other two had been at the moment invisible, and, as every Royalist troop on the ground, even the king's guards, had joined in the mad ride to Kineton, these, Essex's life-guard, and some troops that had rallied from the effect of Rupert's charg—amongst them Captain Oliver Cromwell's—were the only cavalry still present. All these joined with decisive effect in the attack on the left of the royal infantry. The king's line was steadily rolled up from left to right, the Parliamentary troopers captured his guns and regiment after regiment broke up. Charles himself stood calmly in the thick of the fight, but he had not the skill to direct it. The royal standard was taken and retaken, Lindsey and Sir Edmund Verney, the standard-bearer, being killed. By the time that Rupert returned both sides were incapable of further effort and disillusioned as to the prospect of ending the war at a blow.
On the 24th Essex retired, leaving Charles to claim the victory and to reap its results. Banbury and Oxford were reoccupied by the Royalists, and by the 28th Charles was marching down the Thames valley on London. Negotiations were reopened, and a peace party rapidly formed itself in London and Westminster Yet field fortifications sprang up around London, and when Rupert stormed and sacked Brentford on the 12th of November the trained bands moved out at once and took up a position at Turnham Green, barring the king's advance. Hampden, with something of the fire and energy of his cousin Cromwell, urged Essex to turn both flanks of the Royal army via Acton and Kingston, but experienced professional soldiers urged him not to trust the London men to hold their ground while the rest manoeuvred. Hampden's advice was undoubtedly premature. A Sedan or Worcester was not within the power of the Parliamentarians of 1642, for, in Napoleon's words, “one only manoeuvres around a fixed point,” and the city levies at that time were certainly not, vis-à-vis Rupert's cavalry, a fixed point. As a matter of fact, after a slight cannonade at Turnham Green on the 13th, Essex's two-to-one numerical superiority of itself compelled the king to retire to Reading. Turnham Green has justly been called the Valmy of the English Civil War. Like Valmy, without being a battle, it was a victory, and the tide of invasion came thus far, ebbed, and never returned
5. The Winter of 1642–43.—In the winter, while Essex lay inactive at Windsor, Charles by degrees consolidated his position in the region of Oxford. The city was fortified as a reduit for the whole area, and Reading, Wallingford, Abingdon, Brill, Banbury and Marlborough constituted a complete defensive ring which was developed by the creation of smaller posts from time to time. In the north and west, winter campaigns were actively carried on. “It is summer in Yorkshire, summer in Devon, and cold winter at Windsor,” said one of Essex's critics. At the beginning of December Newcastle crossed the Tees,