Cavalry Operations: A question of balance

[posted by Gavin Robinson, 7:00 am, 9 October 2013]

In the previous post, we saw that having enough cavalry was vital for an army to be able to move safely. But how many is enough? (more…)

Wharton Letters: 30 September 1642

[posted by Gavin Robinson, 8:00 am, 30 September 2012]

This post is part of a series of letters from parliamentary soldier Nehemiah Wharton during the English Civil War, which will be posted on the anniversary of the day they were written. For more information see the introduction. To find the rest of the series, use the “wharton letters” tag. The original of this letter is held by the UK National Archives, reference SP 16/492/28, ff. 80-81. The text of the letter is out of copyright. Images are available for non-commercial use only at Flickr (click on folio numbers for individual page images).

This week, Wharton sends more information about the battle of Powicke Bridge, and decides that Worcester is like Sodom and Gomorrah

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Wharton Letters: 26 September 1642

[posted by Gavin Robinson, 8:00 am, 26 September 2012]

This post is part of a series of letters from parliamentary soldier Nehemiah Wharton during the English Civil War, which will be posted on the anniversary of the day they were written. For more information see the introduction. To find the rest of the series, use the “wharton letters” tag. The original of this letter is held by the UK National Archives, reference SP 16/492/21, ff. 68-69. The text of the letter is out of copyright. Images are available for non-commercial use only at Flickr (click on folio numbers for individual page images).

This week, the army marches to Worcester, and the cavalry get into a fight with Prince Rupert.

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Cavalry Generals: Cromwell and Balfour

[posted by Gavin Robinson, 5:54 pm, 29 August 2008]

The 350th anniversary of the death of Oliver Cromwell is coming up soon (even if you’re pedantic enough to commemorate it on 3rd September Old Style it’s not that far off!) so Ted Vallance is organizing a one-off Cromwell themed blog carnival. It’s probably no surprise that I’ve decided to look at Cromwell’s early career as a cavalry officer in the First Civil War. Cromwell is more famous for becoming commander of the New Model Army, and then Lord Protector. Although these things didn’t happen until much later they have seriously skewed perceptions of Cromwell’s military career from 1642-46. For a long time there was a strong Whiggish tendency to look for signs of future greatness in his earlier actions (much as I love C. H. Firth he was one of the major offenders here). This hasn’t been helped by Cromwell’s own self-mythologizing or parliamentarian/Independent propaganda in the Thomason Tracts. I’m going to try to disregard all that and compare Cromwell as a cavalry commander with one of his contemporaries, Sir William Balfour. By 1644 Cromwell and Balfour had similar rank and responsibilities, but Balfour didn’t go on to be Lord Protector and so has been largely forgotten.

[I wrote this off the top of my head and never got round to checking all the facts or putting in references. It doesn’t matter too much because it’s mostly just about my personal opinion, but be aware that some of it might be wrong. The best source for Balfour is Edward Furgol’s article in the DNB]

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