Charles rode out of the city of Worcester by the western gate. He spurred the horse and raced towards Montgomery’s regiments. The men cheered and waved their hats as he passed, their officers sending a good number of them in his wake.
He arrived to find a line of musketeers on the north back of the Temes, taking shots at the still distant red coated regiment marching determinedly in their direction, pikes held upright and silver helmets gleaming in the sun.
He called to officers by name, taking off his hat so the men could recognize him and in a short time had them shouting back at him, hefting their pikes up in the air with short energetic stabs and showing muskets.
From the nearing red coats came their chanting of the a psalm of David, to which someone nearby Charles quickly made up a replying taunt. Charles laughed, and soon the entire Royalist regiment was chanting to back at the red coats with great gusto. He rode to the side and kept pace with them on his horse as they started to advance towards the riverfront without being bid, eager for the confrontation to come .
The nearly entirely destroyed Powick bridge over the river had one sole remain plank left in it that would allow a single man to cross, should he dare. It was too late now to set another charge, they would have to leave it as it was. Colonel Keith, the commanding officer of the regiment came riding up beside him, grinning widely.
“I thought perhaps we were going to be left out of things way over here on the western side!’” he said and Charles shook his head.
“No, not in the least I’m afraid. Montgomery thinks Deane is headed towards you, and Fleetwood is bringing pontoons up the Severn. If he gets those boats in position, Cromwell will be coming this way. He’s got three regiments on the bank, and Pitscottie is facing Fleetwood. Can you hold Deane back here?” he asked and Keith nodded.
“We'll by doin' our best sir!” the Scotsman said with a quick salute and Charles nodded.
“That’s all I ask Colonel. I’ll tell Dalzeil’s brigade to be ready to move up closer in support on my way back.” he said as a loud boom thundered from the east. They both looked over to see a faint puff of smoke rising from the hill above the town.
It was followed by a second and third shot as well, the sound floating across the fields as the fresh puffs of smoke drifted upwards. The New Model Army was firing artillery at the eastern side of the town, and from more than one position. That meant something serious was about to happen, Charles was sure of it.
Within minutes the guns on top of Fort Royal were answering, their roars much louder and deeper. He saw a tree explode into a cloud of greenery and splinters on the slope of Red Hill, but no men were near it.
The guns atop the fort were much larger and overlooked the eastern field facing the red coats, but they could not be moved the way field artillery could be. He briefly wondered if they would be enough. He certainly hoped so.
He saluted the Colonel and rode before the men, getting them to yell back enthusiastically and then headed back up the road that would take him into the town and whatever was about to happen on the other side of it.
WIP Title:‘OF CROWNS & QUILLS’–Copyright 2009 by S. M. Vickoren -All rights reserved
Category: Historical Fiction