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English Civil Wars

1641 to 1651
Royalists — versus — Parliamentarians

Bishop's War — 1639-40     First Civil War in England — 1642-46     
First Civil War in Scotland — 1644-45      Second Civil War — 1648-49      Third Civil War in Scotland — 1649-1651      Third Civil War in Ireland — 1649-1653     

The English Civil Wars, which occurred between 1641 and 1651 are somewhat difficult to follow in detail, mainly because it was not a two-sided war, but rather, a many sided conflict involving the countries of England, Ireland and Scotland, each with several contending factions. In other words it was not strictly a civil war, between two factions within one country, but a series of wars between various alliances among three countries. Furthermore, it was a war largely motivated, not only by power, but by conflicting ideas and principles. The combatants involved made alliances based on expediency as well as common principles, and while these alliances were effective during combat they greatly complicated the problem of establishing a stable peace once the common enemy was defeated.

English Civil War
A MUSKETEER
The primary conflict, especially in England, was between King and Parliament and the issue at stake was whether the King should preserve his traditional powers or give up some of the control of government to parliament. There was broad agreement among the Parliamentarians that the monarchy should surrender power to parliament, but there was not universal agreement about what Parliament should do with their new-found power. Ideas ranged from minor changes to wholesale dismantling of the state-church and the monarchy itself. Some fought to retain or to increase their political influence in the kingdom while others fought for religious freedom or for the preservation of religious traditions. The Scots had very different ideas both of religious freedom and of political rights as did many Englishmen. The Irish were also involved, but they supported neither the Royalists nor Parliamentarians, but sought independence from either. The Aristocracy fought largely to protect their existing prerogatives while the newly wealthy, who largely controlled Parliament, sought to increase their own influence. Finally, the idea of Puritanism, which was considered by many to be a very radical interpretation of Christianity, was extremely controversial and generated both undying loyalty and patriotism in its adherents, and nearly hysterical opposition in its detractors.

This background is necessary to understand why, even after the King surrendered himself to his enemies and admitted defeat, several years elapsed before he was executed, and why his execution only triggered the outbreak of several additional wars. It is also necessary to understand why, even after the complete victory of Puritanism, and a decade of successful government in the hands of the commonwealth, there was wide-spread desire to return to a monarchical government after the death of Cromwell. There were many different points of view involved, and the dominance of an extreme faction tended to unite the opposition against it. Just as Charles I's intransigence regarding his royal prerogatives united all of Parliament against him, Cromwell's unbending stance regarding Puritanism united all but the most rigid nonconformists against him. With the restoration of Charles II, England ended up with a wishy-washy monarch with somewhat limited powers, which was in fact, what many people really desired in the first place.

Bishops' War : 1639-1640

The Bishops' war was a minor war with Scotland that preceded and helped to provoke the English civil war. Scotland was split into Presbyterians and Anglicans. The Presbyterians formed a political party called the Covenanters that opposed many of Charles I's reforms of the church, and openly defied him. The problem was, the king had dissolved Parliament and had no way to raise funds for a war against Scotland. He attempted to raise an army without Parliament, but things did not go well, and the Scots invaded Northern England. The King had to call Parliament in order to resolve the conflict, and it was this 'Long Parliament' that refused to dissolve and prepared to impose their reforms by force of arms.



DateBattle Summary
1639  
Battle of Bridge of Dee (Bishop's War ) Covenanters victory
Fought June 18, 1639, between the Covenanters, 2,300 strong, and the Royal troops under Lord Aboyne. The bridge itself was barricaded and held by 100 sharpshooters, under Colonel Johnstone, and Montrose, who led the Covenanters, finding the defenses too strong, succeeded by a stratagem in drawing off the main body of the defenders, whereupon they forced a passage. The losses on both sides were very small.
  
1640  
Battle of Newburn (Bishop's War ) Covenanters victory
Fought August 28, 1640, between 4,500 English, under Lord Conway, and the Scottish army, 22,500 strong, under Leslie. Conway endeavoured to hold the ford of Newburn, near Newcastle, but his raw levies, after a cannonade of three hours, fled in confusion. Conway was consequently obliged to evacuate Newcastle, which was occupied by the Scots. The losses on both sides were small.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Marquess of Montrose Royalist leader of the Scots during the English Civil War.


First Civil War in England : 1642-1646

Prince Rupert
RUPERT'S CHARGE AT EDGEHILL
After many long years of posturing between the king and parliament, the actual fighting began when the King raised his Standard at Nottingham in August 1642. For months in advance however, both sides had been preparing for hostilities, trying to gain the commitment of various towns and factions. This was complicated by the fact that the split was not regional, and many towns desired to remain neutral. In some families, members intentionally declared for opposite sides in the dispute so that family property would remain in the hands of some member of the family no matter who won. In general, the parliament had strong support in many of the large cities where the middle-class, base of non-conformist merchants was, and the king had strong support in the rural areas still controlled by the traditional aristocracies. At a local level, there were innumerable minor scuffles, which aimed at securing strategic fortresses or territories for one side or the other, so that when the main armies passed through, they would have some advantage.

The early fighting in England tended to go in favor of the royalists, but by mid 1643 the Parliament reorganized its army, and began to have more victories. The "New Model Army" was run by experienced soldiers with combat experience rather than lords of Parliament. It was in this army that Cromwell, who was in charge of the cavalry, rose to prominence. With his victory at Marston Moor, he demonstrated that the Parliamentarians could more than hold their own against the royalist cavalry, and from that point on, the Parliamentary army began to consistently win victories. In 1644 a war between the Scottish Royalists and the Covenanters broke out in Scotland, but its objectives were somewhat different than those of the war in England. During this same period the resources of the King began to be diminished, since Parliament had control of the major cities and most ports. Finally, at the battle of Naseby, the Royals suffered a decisive defeat, after which point the Royalist cause was effectively lost. The war dragged on for another year, but when Oxford fell in 1646, the King surrendered himself to the Covenanter army in Scotland.



DateBattle Summary
1642  
Battle of Edgehill (First ) drawn battle victory
The first battle of the Civil War, October 23, 1642, between the Royalists under Charles I, and the Parliamentarians, under Essex, each army being about 20,000 strong. The victory was claimed by both sides, but the advantage rested with the King, as the Parliamentarians failed to face Prince Rupert's cavalry, and the Royalists were not prevented from continuing their march on London.
  
1642  
Battle of Brentford (First ) Royalists victory
Fought November 12, 1642, between the Royalists under Prince Rupert, and a Parliamentary force under Denzil Holles. Three regiments stationed at Brentford were driven out of their entrenchments by the Royalists, losing 1,500 prisoners and 11 guns.
  
1643  
Battle of Braddock Down (First ) Royalists victory
Fought January 19, 1643, between the Royalists under Sir Ralph Hopton, and the Parliamentary forces under Ruthven. The latter had crossed the Tamar and occupied Liskeard, without adequate support, and was defeated by the Royalists with heavy loss.
  
1643  
Battle of Atherton Moor (First ) Royalists victory
Fought January 30, 1643, when the Parliamentarians, numbering 4,000, with a levy of armed peasants, were defeated by 10,000 Royalists under Newcastle. Fairfax, who commanded the Parliament force, succeeded in reaching Hull. The battle is also known as that of Atherton Moor.
  
1643  
Battle of Stratton (First ) Royalists victory
Fought May 16, 1643, between the Parliamentary troops, under General Chudleigh, and the Cornish Royalists, under Sir Ralph Hopton. The Royalists attacked the Parliamentarian position on Stratton Hill, and after severe fighting defeated them, capturing 1,700 prisoners, including Chudleigh, 13 guns and all their baggage and munitions of war.
  
1643  
Battle of Chalgrove Field (First ) Royalists victory
A cavalry skirmish fought June 18, 1643, between the Royalists under Prince Rupert, and the Parliamentarians under Hampden, and notable only for the fact that Hampden was killed in the affair.
  
1643  
Battle of Lansdown (First ) Royalists victory
Fought July 5, 1643, between the Royalists, under Sir Ralph Hopton, and the Parliamentarians, under Waller, who was endeavoring to prevent Hopton's advance upon Bath. The Royalists stormed Waller's entrenchments and forced him to retreat, though at a heavy cost to themselves.
  
1643  
Battle of Roundway Down (First ) Royalists victory
Fought July 13, 1643, when the Parliamentarians, under Waller and Hazlerigg, attacked the Royalists, under Prince Maurice, who was advancing to the relief of Devizes. The Parliamentarians were totally defeated, their attack on Prince Maurice being repulsed, while at the same time they were taken in the rear by a sortie from the town. Of 1,800 infantry, 600 were killed and the rest taken prisoners.
  
1643  
Battle of Newbury (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought September 20, 1643, between the Royalists, under Charles I, and the Parliamentarians, under Essex. The object of Charles was to stop Essex's march on London, and though his troops held their ground throughout the day, he could not be said to have gained a victory, as during the night he felt himself obliged to abandon his position.
  
1644  
Battle of Alresford (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought March 29, 1644, between the Royalists under the Earl of Brentford and Sir Ralph Hopton, and the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller. The Parliament forces were victorious, but their losses were so severe that Waller was unable to follow up his advantage, and the Royalists made an orderly retreat.
  
1644  
Battle of Cheriton (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought March 29, 1644, when the Royalists under Lord Firth were defeated by the Parliamentarians under Waller. This defeat prevented the threatened Royalist incursion into Kent and Sussex.
  
1644  
Battle of Selby (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought April II, 1644, between the Royalists, 3,300 strong, under Colonel John Bellasis, and a slightly superior force of Parliamentarians, under Sir Thomas Fairfax. Bellasis had occupied Selby with the object of preventing a junction between Fairfax's troops and those of the Scots at Durham. He was attacked by Fairfax and totally defeated, with the loss of 1,600 men and all his artillery and baggage.
  
1644  
Battle of Cropredy Bridge (First ) Royalists victory
Fought June 29, 1644, between the Royalists under Charles I, and a detachment of the Parliamentary army under Sir William Waller. Waller crossed the Cherwell near Banbury with the object of taking the Royalists in the rear, but was repulsed with considerable loss.
  
1644  
Battle of Marston Moor (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought July 2, 1644, between 18,000 Royalists, under Prince Rupert, and 27,000 Parliamentarians, under Manchester, Leven and Fairfax. For the first time in the war, Rupert's cavalry was repulsed by Cromwell's Ironsides, and though the right wing under Fairfax was broken, the left and centre were victorious, and the Royalists were totally defeated, with a loss of 4,000. This victory gave the Parliament complete control of the north.
  
1643  
Battle of Newbury (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought September 20, 1643, between the Royalists, under Charles I, and the Parliamentarians, under Essex. The object of Charles was to stop Essex's march on London, and though his troops held their ground throughout the day, he could not be said to have gained a victory, as during the night he felt himself obliged to abandon his position.
  
1645  
Battle of Naseby (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought June 14, 1645, between 14,000 Parliamentarians, under Fairfax, and 7,500 Royalists, under Charles I, with Prince Rupert in actual command. Rupert's first charge broke the Parliamentary left wing, but, as usual, the pursuit was carried too far, and before the cavalry returned, Cromwell on the right had turned the scale, and the battle was over. The Royalist infantry, overwhelmed by superior numbers, was almost annihilated, 5,000 prisoners, and all the artillery and munitions of war being captured.
  
1645  
Battle of Alford (First ) Royalists victory
Fought July 2, 1645, between the Royalists under Montrose, and the Covenanters under General Baillie. Baillie crossed the Don to attack Montrose, whom he imagined to be in retreat, but who was really waiting for him in a well-chosen position. The attack was repulsed, the Covenanters being routed with heavy loss.
  
1645  
Battle of Langport (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought July 10, 1645,between the Parliamentarians, under Fairfax, and the Royalists, under Lord Goring. The Royalists were routed, and driven by Cromwell's horse nearly into Bridgwater, with a loss of 300 killed and 1,400 prisoners.
  
1645  
Battle of Rowton Heath (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought September 24, 1645, when a body of Royalist cavalry, under Sir Marmaduke Langdale, which was endeavoring to prevent the investment of Chester, was attacked by the Parliamentary horse, under Colonel Poyntz. The first attack was repulsed with loss, but Poyntz receiving infantry support, rallied his troops, and drove the Royalists from the field, with aloss of 300 killed and wounded and 1,000 prisoners.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Charles I Second Stuart king. His quarrels with Parliament led to civil war and his execution.
Prince Rupert Commanded Royalist Cavalry during English Civil War, later an admiral, inventor and trader.
Thomas Fairfax Commander of the Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War. Declined to condemn Charles I to death.
Oliver Cromwell Military leader of Parliament who headed the Commonwealth government after death of Charles I.
Ralph Hopton Royalist Commander during the First English Civil War.


Story Links
Book Links
Civil War  in  Charles I  by  Jacob Abbott
King or Parliament?  in  Stories From English History, Part Second  by  Alfred J. Church
Civil War between King and Parliament  in  The Story of England  by  Samuel B. Harding
Ironsides in  Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Kings Last Battle in  Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Battle of Dunbar  in  Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
How the King and the Parliament Quarrelled  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Story of How the King was Brought to His Death  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Great Civil War  in  The Tudors and the Stuarts  by  M. B. Synge
Edgehill  in  The Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric Wood


Book Links
Charles I  by  Jacob Abbott
With the King at Oxford  by  Alfred J. Church
Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell  by  H. E. Marshall
Oliver Cromwell  by  Estelle Ross

First Civil War in Scotland : 1644-1645

englishcivil
DEFENSE OF WARDOUR CASTLE
The dynamics of the Civil War in Scotland were considerably different than that in England. The Scottish Royalists tended to be highlanders who preferred a distant and non-interfering government, to that of the lowland covenanters, who sided with the Parliamentarians. The highlanders disliked the Presbyterian churchmen who had control of the Scottish Parliament and favored a separation of church and state. This was exactly backwards from in England, where the Royalists tended to favor the state church. To complicate things further, long standing clan rivalries were involved so that religious affiliation was not a certain indicator of whether one was of the royalist or covenanter faction. Montrose, the leader of the Royalists had at one time fought on the side of the Covenanters, and several Catholic leaning highland clans fought for the covenanters in order to oppose their blood rivals, who fought for the Royalists.

The fighting in Scotland did not break out until 1644 and for the first year, went largely in favor of the Royalists. After a year of many victories however, Montrose and his remaining army were caught off guard and cut to pieces by a Covenanter army under Leslie at Philiphaugh. He tried to regroup and rebuild and army, but by then, the King was in captivity and he was told to lay down his arms.



DateBattle Summary
1644  
Battle of Tippermuir (First Scotland ) Royalists victory
Fought September 1, 1644, between the Covenanters, 6,700 strong, under Lord Elcho, and about 3,000 Scottish Royalists, under Montrose. The Covenanters were totally defeated, with a loss variously estimated at from 1,300 to 2,000 killed, and 800 prisoners, while the Royalist loss was trifling. Following up his victory Montrose occupied Perth.
  
1644  
Battle of Aberdeen (First Scotland ) Royalists victory
Fought September 13, 1644, between the Covenanters, 3,000 strong, under Lord Burleigh, and the Royalists, about 1,500 strong, under Montrose. The Covenanters were put to flight, and no quarter being given, they lost heavily before reaching Aberdeen. The Royalist losses were insignificant.
  
1645  
Battle of Inverlochy (First Scotland ) Royalists victory
Fought February 2, 1645, when Montrose, with 1,500 Royalist Highlanders, defeated 3,000 Campbells and Lowland Covenanters, with a loss of 1,700 men. Argyle left the command of his forces to Campbell of Auchinbrech, taking refuge in a vessel on Loch Linnhe. This defeat broke the power of the Campbells in the Highlands for many years.
  
1645  
Battle of Auldearn (First Scotland ) Royalists victory
Fought May 9, 1645, when Montrose and his Highlanders defeated a largely superior force of Covenanters under Sir John Hurry, who was marching northward to raid the lands of the Gordons.
  
1645  
Battle of Kilsyth (First Scotland ) Royalists victory
Fought August 15, 1645, between the Royalists, under Montrose, and the Covenanters, under Baillie. The Royalists won a signal victory, Baillie's infantry, 6,000 in number, being cut down almost to a man.
  
1645  
Battle of Philiphaugh (First Scotland ) Covenanters victory
Fought September 13, 1645, when 4,000 Lowland horse, under David Leslie, surprised and cut to pieces Montrose's force of Highlanders, encamped near Selkirk. Montrose escaped with a few followers.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Marquess of Argyll Head of the Covenanter government during the English Civil Wars. (A.k.a. Archibald Campbell)
Marquess of Montrose Royalist leader of the Scots during the English Civil War.
David Leslie Commander of the Covenanter Army in Scotland during the English Civil Wars.


Story Links
Book Links
The Marquis of Montrose  in  Red Book of Heroes  by  Mrs. Andrew Lang
Charles I.—How the Soldier Poet Helped the King  in  Scotland's Story  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Cromwell—How the Soldier Poet Died  in  Scotland's Story  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall


Second Civil War : 1648-1649

englishcivil
THE STORMING OF BRISTOL
Charles I surrendered to the Scottish Covenanters in mid 1646. For the next two years he was kept a virtual prisoner while the various factions argued and negotiated, trying without success to come to a common agreement about reforms and conditions under which the king might regain his throne. Between widely varying ideas of political reform, and even more widely varying ideas of religious obligations, no compromise or progress was possible and eventually frustration with the process turned into open revolt. Surprisingly, the form of the revolt was a renewed loyalty to the cause of the king. It was led, however, not by the old time Royalists, but by the 'moderate' Parliamentary faction, who, combined with the Scottish Covenanters, were frustrated by the radical religious and political reforms sought by the 'Puritan' faction. The reformist faction was not satisfied with minor changes to the form of English Government; some sought to strip the King of all effective power and others sought to dismantle the state church altogether. Yet many of the parliamentarians who had fought against the king sought only minor changes to assure the rights of Parliament, and it was these who now took up the Royalist cause.

When the rebellion finally did break out, it was not well organized. There were a great many sympathizers, but many of the old Royalists, who had been paroled on the promise of laying down their arms, refused to join their old cause. Armies were raised in several areas, but none could stand their ground against Cromwell's 'New Model Army'. The Second Civil War only lasted three months and involved only one major military campaign. When the covenanter army from Scotland failed to materialize, the Royalist cause was doomed. Cromwell and his army were far less sympathetic to the organizers of the rebellion than they had been after the first war and executed many of them as traitors. It was at this point, that the King himself was put on trial and executed, as an accessory to the rebellion.



DateBattle Summary
1648  
Battle of Preston (Second ) Roundheads victory
Fought August 17, 1648, when Langdale, with 4,000 Royalists, was deserted by the main body of the Scottish invading army, and left to face the attack of about 8,000 Parliamentarians under Cromwell, The Royalists fought desperately for four hours, but were overpowered, and the whole force killed or captured.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Oliver Cromwell Military leader of Parliament who headed the Commonwealth government after death of Charles I.
Langdale Royalist leader during the Second English Civil War


Story Links
Book Links
Lord Protector  in  Stories from English History, Part Third  by  Alfred J. Church
Oliver Cromwell  in  Famous Men of Modern Times  by  John H. Haaren
Cromwell, 1599-1658  in  Saints and Heroes Since the Middle Ages  by  George Hodges
Three Days' Battle in  Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Taking of Pontefract Castle  in  Historical Tales: English  by  Charles Morris
In the Days of Oliver Cromwell  in  The Awakening of Europe  by  M. B. Synge
Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth  in  The Tudors and the Stuarts  by  M. B. Synge


Third Civil War in Scotland : 1649-1651

englishcivil
A CAVALRY SKIRMISH
The Third Civil War was no less convoluted and complicated than first two. It took place in two different arenas, Scotland and Ireland, and the civil war in Scotland was carried on by three different factions.

Charles I, for all his faults was a Stuart King, and the Stuarts had ruled Scotland for hundreds of years. All of Scotland opposed his execution, and were united in their willingness to 'declare' for Charles II as their king. The problem was, the two different factions in Scotland which had fought each other during the first Civil War, that is, the Scottish Royalist vs. the Covenanters, were still at odds, and had very different ideas of the conditions under which they would allow Charles II to govern. Montrose, who had led the Scottish Royalists to a near victory in the first Civil War re-emerged as the Royalist leader, and tried to raise a new army. However, he was double-crossed by Charles II, who ended up siding with the Covenanters, mainly because he believed they would prevail. The first phase of the Third Civil War was brought to a swift conclusion at Carbisdale where the Royalist army under Montrose was soundly defeated, and Montrose, the great Royalist hero, was unceremoniously executed.

After the defeat of the Royalists, Cromwell led an English Parliamentary army into Scotland against the victorious Covenanters, because he adamantly opposed the restoration of the monarchy, even in Scotland. The Battles of Dunbar (1650), and Worcester (1651), took place precisely a year apart, and after the battle of Worcester, Charles II's cause in Scotland was lost. Cromwell tried hard to conciliate the Covenanters because he did not object to their religious demands, only to their royalist tendencies. The Scots agreed to withdraw their support of Charles II, but at the same time, they refused to turn him over to Cromwell, and for the months following the battle of Worcester, "Bonnie Prince Charles" was taken from hiding place to hiding place and protected by dozens of Scots until he was finally able to make good his escape. Cromwell returned to England, having conquered but not conciliated all who opposed him, and proceeded to set up a Commonwealth government, with a "Lord Protector", but no King.



DateBattle Summary
1650  
Battle of Carbisdale (Third Scotland ) Roundheads victory
Fought April 27, 1650, between the Royalists of Orkney, 1,000 strong, with 500 Swedish mercenaries, and a small Parliamentary force under Colonel Strachan. Montrose, who commanded the Royalists, saw his troops broken by the Parliamentary horse, only the Swedes offering any serious resistance. The Royalists lost 396 killed and wounded and over 400 prisoners, while Strachan only had lost 2 wounded. This was Montrose's last fight, and he was soon afterwards captured.
  
1650  
Battle of Dunbar (Third Scotland ) Roundheads victory
Fought September 3, 1650, between 14,000 Parliamentarians under Cromwell and Monk, and the Scottish Royalists, 27,000 strong, under David Leslie. Leslie left a strong position on the heights near Dunbar, to meet Cromwell, and was routed with a loss of 3,000 killed and wounded, and 10,000 prisoners. Cromwell's losses were small.
  
1651  
Battle of Worcester (Third Scotland ) Roundheads victory
Fought September 3, 1651, between 12,000 Royalists, under Charles II, and about 30,000 Parliamentarians, under Cromwell. Charles attacked Cromwell's wing, and was repulsed and driven into Worcester, where he was met by the other wing of the Parliamentary army, under Fleetwood. The Royalists were utterly routed and dispersed, losing 3,000 killed, among whom was the Duke of Hamilton, and a large number of prisoners, including Lords Derby, Lauderdale and Kenmure, and five generals. Charles himself escaped with difficulty. This was the last pitched battle of the Civil War.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Marquess of Montrose Royalist leader of the Scots during the English Civil War. Betrayed by Charles II, and killed.
Charles II Restored to the throne after death of Cromwell. Presided over the great fire and plague of London.
Oliver Cromwell Military leader of Parliament who headed the Commonwealth government after death of Charles I.
David Leslie Commander of the Covenanter Army in Scotland during the English Civil Wars.


Story Links
Book Links
Royal Oak  in  Stories from English History, Part Third  by  Alfred J. Church
Crowning Mercy  in  Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Commonwealth—The Adventures of a Prince  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Adventures of a Royal Fugitive  in  Historical Tales: English  by  Charles Morris


Book Links
Charles II  by  Jacob Abbott

Third Civil War in Ireland : 1649-1653

englishcivil
CROMWELL LEADING THE ASSAULT ON DROGHEDA
The Civil War in Ireland proceeded independently from those in England and Scotland. A major rebellion had broken out in Ireland in 1641, during a period when Parliament and the king were greatly at odds, but no fighting had yet begun. The Irish had been badly oppressed by the English, and the revolt started with a massacre of Protestants in Ireland. Eventually matters were brought under control in Ireland, by the Irish aristocracy itself, the government in England being too divided at the time to deal with the problem effectively. The provisional government in Ireland made peace with the Royalists, so they could focus on fighting a Covenant army that was sent against them, but this army was not sent until the First Civil War in Scotland was brought to a close. No parliamentary army arrived to opposed the Irish until after the King was executed in 1649. Shortly thereafter however, Cromwell led a his new Model Army into Ireland and wreaked a terrible vengeance for the massacres that had occurred eight years before. His siege and destruction of Drogheda, was legendary in its brutality, and Cromwell remained one of the most hated figures in Ireland for hundreds of years. He reduced Ireland to total subjugation, and brought the entire country under the realm of the Commonwealth of England.



DateBattle Summary
1641  
Siege of Drogheda (Rebellion of 1641 ) English victory
Siege was laid to this town, which was held by an English garrison under Sir Henry Tichborne, by the Irish rebels, under Owen Roe O'Neil, in December, 1641. The garrison held out successfully for three months, when O'Neil was compelled to raise the siege.
  
1646  
Battle of Benburb (Rebellion of 1641 ) Irish victory
Fought June 5, 1646, when 5,500 Irish rebels under O'Neill, totally routed the Scottish army under Monro. The Scots left 3,000 dead upon the field, and the fugitives were ruthlessly butchered by the Irish in their flight.
  
1647  
Battle of Dunganhill (Rebellion of 1641 ) English victory
Fought August 8, 1647, between the Irish rebels, and an English force under Colonel Michael Jones. The Irish were routed with a loss of 6,000.
  
1649  
Battle of Rathmines (Rebellion of 1641 ) Parliament victory
Fought August 2, 1649, between the Royalists, under Ormonde, and the Parliamentary garrison of Dublin, under Colonel Jones. Ormonde having ordered a night attack upon Dublin, the Parliamentarians made a sortie, and driving back the assaulting column, attacked the main body of the Royalists in their camp, totally routing them, with a loss of 4,000 killed and wounded and 2,000 prisoners. All Ormonde's artillery was captured.
  
1649  
Siege of Drogheda (Rebellion of 1798 ) Parliament victory
On September 3, 1649, siege was laid to the place by the Parliamentary army under Cromwell, the garrison of 2,500 English regulars being under Sir Arthur Aston. An assault on the 10th was repulsed, but on the 12th the town was stormed, and the garrison put to the sword. Four thousand soldiers and inhabitants, including Aston, are said to have perished.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Oliver Cromwell Military leader of Parliament who headed the Commonwealth government after death of Charles I.
Sir Arthur Aston Leader of the English Royalist Garrison that unsuccessfully defended Drogheda from Cromwell.
Owen Roe O'Neill Leader of the Irish Confederacy, founded after the Irish Rebellion of 1641.


Story Links
Book Links
Under the Stuarts  in  Ireland: Peeps at History  by  Beatrice Home
Taking of Drogheda  in  Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall


Image Links


View of Worcester
 in Charles II

A Cavalry Encounter
 in Stories from English History, Part Third

A Musketeer
 in With the King at Oxford

Halt of Officers
 in With the King at Oxford

A Gunner
 in With the King at Oxford

A Cavalry Skirmish
 in With the King at Oxford

A Pikeman
 in With the King at Oxford

A great army of Irishmen have swooped down on the Atholl.
 in Red Book of Heroes

Rupert's Charge at Edgehill
 in Through Great Britain and Ireland With Cromwell

The Marquis looked so handsome, grand, and grave that everyone was full of sad astonishment
 in Scotland's Story

He was sent in custody to London
 in  Sir Walter Raleigh

Prince Rupert at Edgehill
 in  Sir Walter Raleigh

A bullet of a great gun grazed on the ground
 in Story Lives of Great Scientists

A Map of England and Wales, showing the chief places where battles and sieges took place during the civil war
 in The Tudors and the Stuarts

The Defense of Wardour Castle Against the Roundheads
 in The Tudors and the Stuarts

A Puritan Soldier Preaching
 in The Tudors and the Stuarts

The storming of Bristol by the Royalists
 in The Tudors and the Stuarts

The Battle of Marston Moor
 in The Tudors and the Stuarts