Friday, 26 July 2019

More on Cheriton - Orders of Battle

After my last post, I started thinking more about getting Cheriton on to the gaming table. First thoughts turned to the order of battle, so I reached for all the books on my shelves that 'covered' Cheriton, and I also searched for key sites on the internet, to see what they had to say.

If you're interested in the ECW you'll probably not be surprised that information is thin on the ground. There is mention of a few specific units and leaders on each side (but nowhere near the full order of battle). There are some names common to all sources, and a few that only pop in one place or another. Overall troop numbers are given with a remarkable degree of confidence in most of the books, but with not much consistency and with little in the way of sources quoted. I have to say here and now that I do not (yet) possess any of the books specifically about Cheriton published in the last 50 years, and they might reveal more. At 28 pages I don't anticipate a lot of detail in the Spring book; the Sawyer booklet seems currently unavailable; asking prices on the Adair book are beyond what I'm currently prepared to pay; and the Jones book is not yet published. Maybe I should get down to the library this weekend to see if I can find the Adair book through the inter-library lending service.

Being the slightly-OCD geek that I am (if you can be slightly OCD) I tabulated the sources thus:

Source
Author
Sources referenced
With Pike and Musket: Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Battles for Wargamers
CF Wesencraft
No sources referenced
The English Civil War 1642-1651: An Illustrated History, (London 1983)  pp76-7
Philip Haythornthwaite
Not specifically referenced. Select bibliography includes Cheriton, Adair, J (Kineton 1973)
A Battlefield Atlas of the English Civil War, (Leicester 1986) pp51-53
Anthony Baker
No sources referenced. No bibliography.
The Complete Guide to the Battlefields of Britain with Ordnance Survey Maps (London 1993) pp 152-153
David Smurthwaite
Not specifically referenced. Select bibliography does not show any primary sources or anything specifically related to Cheriton.
Usefully overlays supposed dispositions onto OS Map but with no cited authorities.
The Great Civil War: A Military History of the First Civil War 1642-1646 (London 1959)
Alfred H Burne and Peter Young
Not specifically referenced. Bibliography includes Gardiner; Lord Hopton ‘Bellum Civile’; Thomason Tracts; Godwin, The Civil War in Hampshire (London 1904); E.Walsingham, Brittanicae Virtutis Imago; Webb & Webb, ‘Military Memoirs of Colonel John Birch’ (Camden 1873)
BCW Project

John Adair, Roundhead General, a military biography of Sir William Waller (London 1969)
C.E.H. Chadwyck-Healey (ed), Bellum Civile (Somerset Record Society 1902)
Stuart Reid, All the King's Armies (Staplehurst 1998)
Laurence Spring, The Campaigns of Sir William Waller's Southern Association 1643-45 (Bristol 1997)
Laurence Spring, The Battle of Cheriton 1644 (Bristol 1997)
Wikipedia

  • Adair, John Eric (1973). Cheriton 1644: The Campaign and the Battle. Kineton,
  • Godwin, G. N. (1918). The Civil War in and around Winchester. Winchester,
  • Spring, Laurence (1997). The Battle of Cheriton 1644. English Civil War battles series. Bristol
  • Memoirs of Colonel John Birch, London: Camden Society, 1st ed., 1846.
P. R. Newman, "Atlas of the English Civil Wars", 44-5
UK Battlefields Resource Centre



Overall numbers of troops quoted on the royalist side vary from 5000 to 7900. On the Parliamentarian side the lowest number given is 8000 but most quote 10000. Again I tabulated what I found in the various texts. The squared bracketed numbers against Baker are my suppositions derived from his comment that the Roundhead cavalry was over 1/3 of the 10000 strong army.




Royalists
Parliamentarians
Source
Horse
Dragoons
Foot
Guns
Total
Horse
Dragoons
Foot
Guns
Total
With Pike and Musket: Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Battles for Wargamers
4100 (breakdown doesn’t add up)
3800 (breakdown doesn’t add up
11
7900
5800 (breakdown doesn’t add up)
3100 (breakdown doesn’t add up)
a few
8900
The English Civil War 1642-1651: An Illustrated History, (London 1983)  pp76-7




Some 6000




10,000
A Battlefield Atlas of the English Civil War, (Leicester 1986) pp51-53





Over 1/3
[3500]
[6500]

10,000
The Complete Guide to the Battlefields of Britain with Ordnance Survey Maps (London 1993) pp 152-153


1000 musketeers under Appleyard

6000
300 under Hazelrig



10000
The Great Civil War: A Military History of the First Civil War 1642-1646 (London 1959)
Nearly 3000

3000
11
Not less than 6000




Outnumbered Hopton’s army by several thousand
BCW Project
3800

3200

7000
3000
600
5000

8600
Wikipedia
2500

3500

6000
3500

6500

10000
UK Battlefields Resource Centre




c 5000




c 10000

Apologies for the small font on the table. I was struggling to fit it in.

On no stronger a basis than them being the most commonly quoted numbers, I'll probably go with 6000 Royalists vs 10000 Parliamentarians. Note of warning - the fact they're so frequently quoted but without good references probably suggests they're mostly repeating what some other secondary source said. Some of the books give some detail on the make up of the horse and foot, such as the oft quoted 'Appleyard's 1000 musketeers' sent to Cheriton Wood by Hopton.

Some leaders are mentioned, sometimes linked to specific units. The most useful sources in this regard are Burne & Young,  the BCW Project and Wikipedia. Putting them together we have the following:

Royalists
Titular commander:               Earl of Forth
De facto commander:            Hopton
Cavalry Commander:             Lieut. General Lord John Stuart
Major General of Horse:        Sir John Smith (Right wing cavalry?)
Left wing cavalry:                   Sir Henry Stowell
Commanded musketeers:      Col. Matthew Appleyard

Unfortunately not much else is clear about the infantry commanders.

Also mentioned; Col. George Lisle, who is the subject of one of my favourite anecdotes from the Civil War*, and Sir Henry Bard, the villain of the piece at Cheriton from the Cavalier point of view.

Parliamentarians
Commander:                           William Waller
Right Wing Cavalry:                William Balfour
Left Wing Cavalry:                  Sir Arthur Haselrig (I surmise he was in overall command)
                                                (he of the Lobsters, not present at Cheriton)
London Brigade# (infantry):    Major General Sir Richard Brown
London regiments (infantry)
in Cheriton Wood:                   Col. Walter Leighton (possibly a sub-unit of Brown's command?)

*# 4 regiments mentioned by Burne and Young: being the Red, White, Yellow and Green, of which White and Yellow were sent into Cheriton Wood under Leighton.

As with the Royalists, the PBI don't seem to get much of a look in.

In looking at the Smurthwaite book, I noticed that he has the Parliamentarian starting positions north of the Petersfield Road, and atop the ridge seen in my photo of Broad Lane in the previous post. This, if accurate, answers a conundrum for me. Most accounts refer to the 'arena' created by the ridges which run north, east and south of the field of battle. On walking the ground I found there was a ridge between the usually quoted starting positions of Hinton Ampner for the Roundheads and the monument near Scrubbs Farm for the Royalists. So the note with my fourth picture in the previous post wrongly says this is were the Parliamentarian line was - they would have passed through that way, but carried on to the next ridge. That being said, there is still a spur of higher ground jutting from Cheriton Wood into the eastern half of the field between the two starting positions as seen in this OS based map from the Battlefield Trust.

http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/media/575%2Epdf

As I can testify, the spur does not have particularly steep slopes, but it is high enough to block line of sight of anything not near the crest. I would say it is a significant enough feature to represent on the gaming table. Talking of which, from that map I reckon an area modelling 2.5km by 1.5m would be needed as a minimum. My table, at my usual 1mm to the yard groundscale, is not deep enough. I'm about 700mm out. Hmmm! Back to the drawing board.

Totally a propos of nothing, except this post being short of pictures, I wonder if this car has anything to do with the late Dan O'Herlihy.



* Captured after the siege of Colchester in 1648, Lisle was sent before a firing squad with his friend Charles Lucas. Lucas was first and opened his shirt and invited the 'Rebels' to "do your worst". Lisle came next and having kissed his dead friend, invited the firing squad to step closer. "Sir, I warrant we will hit you", declared the officer in charge. Lisle smiled, then replied, "I have been nearer to you, friend, when you missed me".

11 comments:

  1. I got lucky a few years ago and scored a copy of the Adair book cheap... he is a proponent of the Petersfield road battle field setting which in terms of where the wood is always made more sense to me.. others (as you said I think) seem to think it was the next set of ridges north... I think the Adair view makes more sense.. the ridge is definitely more pronounced.. either way, I can hoik Adair out this weekend and scan any OOB detail if you want it??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Steve. Thanks for the kind offer. Sounds like I need to get the Adair book and read the whole thing. And I've been down to the library to order it through the inter-library lending service. I like it when there's a debate about the facts of a battle. I'll probably order Jones from Helion Books too, then when I've read all that, do the walk again.

      In the meantime I'll put the 're-fight' on hold as I need to solve the table size question: simple thing would be to change my scale but having based my units for 1mm:1 yard it would bugger up what the bases represent. Horse is not too bad but foot is more problematic.
      Chris

      Delete
    2. Adair's Cheriton has not long been reprinted (Sapere Books, Sept 2021). Softback about a tenner, hardback for £20. There's a Kindle edition too for all those heathens who don't like books made from paper.

      Delete
    3. Ah! That’s where your comment got to! See my reply below. Originally in the wrong place:
      “For some reason your recent comment (Dec 2021) isn’t showing here despite being approved.

      I hadn’t realised that the Adair book was being re-printed so thanks for that. I see that Jones’ book still isn’t available on Helion. Hopefully a good sign that it’s getting lots of last minute checking and tweaking.”

      Delete
  2. A scholarly piece of work my friend that is of great help to those of us interested in the period. It is quite scary when you compare the often wildly different "facts" so often quoted and amazing to think that in a literate period (of sorts) so,little information was recorded regarding events of such importance. I'm going to read your list of sources again to see if there's one you might have missed out - but I'm not confident of finding one. It's a sad reflection of our "Information Age" that I'd forgotten you could actually go to a library! Keep up the good work. JBM.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks JBM. I'm glad to 'put something back' having enjoyed so many informative and entertaining blogs over the years. It sounds as much as anything that there's a difference of opinion about the actual site as well as numbers. As Steve pointed out above, my first thought about the Roundhead position might have been right after all.

      Libraries: ah yes. I remember them myself now and again. It's so easy to click and order things these days, which is great for those of us with the money to just fulfil our desires on a whim. The less libraries get used, the closer they'll be to closure when 'Efficiency' is king. As a kid I relied on libraries and we were well served and my parents were AVID readers. Nowadays someone in the same income bracket as my family was, would be buggered without libraries, so, at the risk of sounding pompous, I suppose it's my duty to use them. It links into my thought that I was very lucky to be born when I was and benefitted from the Welfare State from the good qulity state-owned house I was born in and grew up in, to the free* higher education I received. All undermined since those days. Sorry I went off on one there!

      Chris

      * I've easily paid it back in taxes mind!

      Delete
  3. The most useful source I've seen on Cheriton is

    Wanklyn, M., Decisive Battles of the English Civil War (Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2014).

    I don't recall the outcome, but none of the standard interpretations come out very well and it remains a confusing and confused battle.

    I doubt that helps, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it was helpful. Cheap copy found and ordered. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Delete
    2. Hear hear, Polemarch.. Nundanket, good buy..

      Delete
  4. Helion have a Cheriton time in the pipeline. It was due for publication a couple of weeks ago, not available on their website yet. Of course, I don't know if it will be any good...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For some reason your recent comment (Dec 2021) isn’t showing here despite being approved.

      I hadn’t realised that the Adair book was being re-printed so thanks for that. I see that Jones’ book still isn’t available on Helion. Hopefully a good sign that it’s getting lots of last minute checking and tweaking.

      Delete