The English Civil War: August 1643
The Earl of Manchester was appointed as Generalissimo of the Eastern Association. He takes over the Siege of Newark, subordinating Meldrum and Groby to himself.
Royalist sympathizers in Manchester petitioned the King to send forces to free their city from the tyranny of zealots. Their associates in Chester joined in the call, begging the King to support the towns and cities of the Northwest against zealotry and intolerance and anarchy.
Prince Rupert marched on London via. St. Albans, quickly overrunning the hastily-levied defenders of the city who were quickly killed, captured or dispersed. The garrison of London quickly closed the gates and manned the walls and called for the help of the Earl of Essex. He abandoned his siege of Oxford and marched to London via Reading. Prince Rupert blocked him and the two armies clashed at the Battle of Feltham
; although the Royalists perhaps had the better of the fighting in that they inflicted more casualties, Essex succeeded in forcing the Prince to retreat and abandon his attack upon London.
King Charles, after considering but rejecting plans to attack Waller around Hereford-Gloucester or Brereton in the Northwest, decided instead upon a bold attack on the Earl of Manchester's army which was besieging Newark. Manchester tried to withdraw in front of the King's army, but was brought to battle and defeated at Long Bennington
. The remnants of Manchester's army then fled post-haste into The Fens.
Cavendish continued the Royalist offensives, moving to relieve Chester. Brereton decided against offering battle, instead retiring towards Blackburn. Later, Brereton moved into Yorkshire and captured Bolton Castle.
In the Southwest, Bedford moved to Bodmin, and Goring withdrew to St.Austell.
Waller did not move, preferring to train his Foot. Hopton moved to Oxford to take control of the garrison there.
John Hampden brought the siege of Basing to a successful conclusion.
Newcastle at Carlisle with 3000 Foot, 1500 Horse
1000 Foot garrison Newcastle
Ethyin at York with 1000 Foot
1000 Foot garrison Preston
Fairfax at Hull with 2000 Foot, 750 Horse
Brereton at Bolton Castle with 3000 Foot, 2250 Horse
Cavendish at Chester with 4000 Foot, 2250 Horse
King Charles I at Newark with 6000 Foot, 3000 Horse
1000 Foot garrisoning Shrewsbury
Waller at Worcester with 3000 Foot, 1500 Horse
Manchester in The Fens with 6000 Foot, 1500 Horse
Rupert at St.Albans with 8000 Foot, 3750 Horse
1000 Foot garrisoning Gloucester
Hopton at Oxford with 2000 Foot, 750 Horse
Goring at St. Austell with 3000 Foot, 750 Horse
Cromwell at Chelmsford with 3000 Foot, 750 Horse
Essex at London with 10000 Foot, 3750 Horse
1000 Foot garrisoning Reading
Hampden at Basing with 2000 Foot
Massey with 1000 Foot at Bristol
Bedford with 5000 Foot, 2250 Horse at Bodmin
A very important month, as the Royalists launched three important offensives. Prince Rupert came quite close to being able to attack London and with his ability to assault cities, might just have carried it off. As it was, the Parliamentary forces were able to relieve the city and push Prince Rupert away, although at some cost. The King's effort to relieve Newark was more straightforwardly successful, since he relieved the city, caught Manchester's retreating army and defeated it. Cavendish also successfully relieved Chester. Overall, the situation seems to have tilted in the King's favour except in the South, where the slow but relentless advance of Bedford and Hampden have secured almost the whole south coast for Parliament. The key thing for the King will be to decide where to launch his next offensives: at London, at Hull and the North or Southwest to retake the important recruiting areas of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.