Wednesday, 10 June 2009

2mm English Civil War: Part 3: The Horse

Moving on to discuss the Royalist Horse at Naseby, the picture is made much clearer by the written record provided by the diary of a member of the King's Lifeguard, Richard Symonds; this gives detailed numbers and names up to the very eve of the battle.
In his entry for May 1645, the muster before Leicester, available in transcription at the website of Molyneuxs Regiment of re-enactors: 

we can see the following, which cross-references well with other historical sources:

The Northern Horse;
Major General Sir Marmaduke Langdale's Brigade, 3 divisions, Sir William Blakeston's Brigade, toto 1,500

(These units, along with Carey's below, formed the left wing of Horse, and have been described elsewhere as being eighteen regiments, under 100 in strength each, after Marston Moor, and due to desertions and failures in recruitment, with a surplus of officers, the personnel being mainly gentlemen and their manservants.)

Colonel Horatio Carey's Regiment, not 200, independent.

Col. Thomas Howard's Brigade, consisting of these seven regiments:

Col. Thom. Howard, 80
Col. Samuel Sandys, of Worcs, Governor of Worcester, 150
Col. Leveson, Governor of Dudley Castle, 150
Col. Bagott, Governor of Lichfield, 200
Col. Sir Robert Byron, 100
Col. Sir Henry Bard, Gov. of Campden House, commanded by __ Barker, 100
Col. Worthen (Warden), were Col. Morrowes Horse, 100
In toto 880.

(As I discussed in my previous post, I see these as forming the Horse element of the mixed Royalist second line. The right wing included the units below:)

King's Lifeguard of Horse, consisting of two troops, Kings and Queens, 130
Prince Rupert's Lifeguard of Horse, 1 troop, commanded by Sir Richard Crane, 140
Prince Maurice's Lifeguard of Horse, commanded by Lord Molyneux, 1 troop and Reformados, 120
Prince Rupert's Regiment off Horse, 8 troops, commander Col. Sir Thomas Dalyson, Lt. Col. Willaim Legge, 400
Prince Maurice's Regiment of Horse, commander Lt. Col. Guy Moulsworth, Maj. Robert Legge, 150
The Queen's Regiment, commanded by John Campsfield, 150
Each of Northampton's owne regiments, 250
Sir William Vaughn's Regiment of Horse, 7 troops, 400
Toto 1740

(The King's Lifeguard of Horse likely was in the reserve with the King and his Lifeguard of Foot, they galloped forward, led by the Sovereign, at the climax of the battle, until he was dissuaded by the Scots Earl of Carnwath - here you must affect a Highland accent: 
"Will you go upon your death?", I'm sure he finished the sentence with "Laddie!", but that part has been lost to history...)  

This information, which of course must be slightly adjusted for the passage of time, and the effects of wastage between Leicester and Naseby itself, underpins the conventional interpretation of the Horse element of the King's Army; and I am going to follow it as the likely best, and undoubtedly original, source. The only point to make is that some OOBs tend to include the 1,200 Newark Horse of Sir Richard Willys, however, most historians agree that this unit returned to the Newark area after the storming of Leicester.

A key element which appears missing from the conventional OOB for the Royalists is the presence of Dragoons. By this time in the Civil War, it is implicit that a regiment of Horse would include a troop's strength of Dragoons, and furthermore, Prince Rupert is noted as having employed mixed units of Horse and Commanded Shot on various operations, where they acted in mutual support of one another. It seems odd, therefore, that there is no obvious placement of Dragoons amongst the King's troops, either in most conventional accounts of the battle, nor in the Streeter engraving (at least as far as I can decipher). The counterpoint to this is the famous positioning of Colonel Okey's 12th Dragoon Regiment on the forward left of the Parliamentarian line in the Sulby Close and hedges.
One clue, perhaps, exists in the DeGomme plat of the planned layout of the Royalist Army made for Rupert prior to this campaign, where there appears in the rear of each cavalry unit a symbol which might represent a Dragoon element. Unfortunately, I have yet to see a decipherable or fully legible version of the written key, and so am unable to confirm this; however, it would seem a likely spot to plan to deploy a supporting element of Dragoons.

It may be possible to imagine, therefore, that troops of Dragoons would have stood in attendance upon the two wings of Royalist Horse, at least until they cantered off into the attack. Also it is significant that in his own account of the action, Okey records at one point, after Prince Rupert's Regiment had passed, that his musketeers lining the hedges came under attack, suffering a virtual encirclement; this could not have been by the Royalist main Foot line, as it had run in after the Horse, following few preliminaries, to have ago at Skippon. Perhaps these 'encirclers' might have been Dragoons; a bit of a mystery, then, unless they were still employed in escorting the Baggage Train in its slow progress in the wake of the King's sudden decision to turn and engage Fairfax.
Certainly, I feel the inclusion of a couple of small units in support of each wing of Horse is well within the bounds of probability.

I think the only remaining issue to address is the availability of artillery to the Royalists on the day, certainly most historians argue for some amongst the line, supported by a quote from Symond's diary: "they shotte two pieces of cannon, wee one; one of theirs was at the King's body of Horse...". Although all have been mindful of the slow progress of the train, and so it is reasonable to say that any pieces of ordnance would have been light, falconets, drakes or minions perhaps, that could have been manhandled along and kept pace with  the Foot as it deployed.
A good reference to the main part of the Royalist artillery is Cromwell himself, who in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons after the battle wrote of "12 guns: 2 bronze cannon, 2 demi-culverins, rest falcons....many left behind them."
I think it reasonable, then, to include a pair of light guns amidst the tertia, which is reflected in the Streeter picture, although he was probably only pointing out the likely positions, and making sure that the Royalist artillery matched the Parliamentarian, which definitely was in position; attempts to bolster the number of the enemy's troops always looks good when showing how a victory was close-fought, rather than you outnumbering him in the first place.

In the next post, I will be introducing the best bit, namely putting together the above as a coherent whole using 2mm miniatures, and then will be moving on to provide some pictorial evidence of the army en masse, with a comparison between a version of Streeter's view and my very own take upon stay tuned!


  1. Hi,
    I don't do ECW myself, but felt I had to comment and say how much I'm enjoying it all - good stuff, and impressive photos!

    I recognise some of the scenery as Irregular, but what do you use for other bits, hills, etc?


  2. Hi Craig, thanks for the comment, we aim to please!
    I tend to augment the scenics from Irregular with some of the 1/1200th scenery from Rod Langton; by rights this should be wrong for the nominal 1/900th scale of the former, but in visual terms actually can look pretty good.
    Woodlands and hedges are rather haphazardly scratch-built using cork or scrap plastic bases with Woodland scenics scatter as the foliage.
    With 2mm, I tend to use terrain cloths/mats, so contours/hills are piles of what ever is handy placed under the surface. (No love, I haven't seen you favourite blue cardigan - sorry! :-).)

    Cheers, SteelonSand.