3 Sept. 1651 - Worcester / First Light
WIP Title:‘OF CROWNS & QUILLS’–Copyright 2009 by S. M. Vickoren-All rights reserved
Category: Historical Fiction
Charles, Wilmot and Buckingham stood atop the tall tower of Worcester Cathedral, spyglasses in hand. It was barely light out but already the morning mist was dissipating. It was going to be a warm day. From this height they could see all around the walled city very well, even down the small valley to the south where the Severn River wound its way towards Worcester, the Temes River feeding into it from the west. Both of them were good sized, fast moving rivers that no horse could easily swim, and the bridges across them had been destroyed, making them obstacles now.
“Here they come Charles,” Buckingham said, his spyglass aimed at the Severn. Charles immediately swung his own in that direction and frowned. A large body of red coated figures were slowly making their way north along the west side of the river.
“That’s Fleetwood, bringing the boats. Tough fighter.” Wilmot said, also considering the scene. The men of the New Model Army struggled and tugged at the ropes they had tied to the large boats they were hauling against the current of the waterway. Pontoon boats – large enough for horse troops to cross over and there were almost two dozen of the things following the first. It was slow going, but they were making headway against the current; their method was working well.
Charles saw Pitscottie, leader of the Royalist forces closest to where the Temes and Severn met already stirring his men, several blue coated scouts at the very junction of the river. That was good; Fleetwood and his boats had already been spotted. Puffs of smoke told him the scouts were already taking shots at the red coats. He lowered the glass and noticed that three brigades of men on the hills just east of town were suddenly following one lone horseman, a man clad in grey and green, who was leading them away from the hill, obviously headed towards Fleetwood and the River.
“Cromwell’s moving men off the hill.” He said and the other two both lowered their glasses and looked surprised.
Charles thought. Three brigades was a lot to withdraw at one time. It meant there were that many less men on Red Hill and in Perry Wood just to the east of the town. He had three brigades already at those gates ready to enter the field upon hearing the word.
“Harry, it appears to me that Mr. Cromwell just expects us to sit and wait for him to finish helping Fleetwood before we act in any form. What do you say we ‘upset his expectations’?” he asked. Wilmot gave him a wicked grin and laughed lowly.
“I was just thinking something along those same lines myself, your majesty. Rather rude of the fellow, taking off whenever he pleases with three entire regiments to go for a morning stroll. Now, you’ve got Leslie’s cavalry to the north of the city, Hamilton at the far northeast. Buckingham’s in the center, and mine on the southeast. And now there are a lot less of them on that hill to the east….” He said suggestively and Charles smiled and nodded.
“I’d say it’s time for the battle to begin in earnest gentlemen, wouldn’t you? If Mr. Cromwell is going to give me such opportunities, I would hate to be so rude as to not take them. I think it’s time we see if this New Model Army of his is willing to play so early in the morning, don’t you?” he asked and Buckingham grinned widely, snapping closed his spyglass.
“Oh yes, imagine how bored they all are, just sitting there twiddling their thumbs waiting for Cromwell to come back. We can’t have that, now can we?” he asked, already heading for the stairs down.
“Keep your head down George!” Charles called after him. He brushed down the buff coat he wore and re-situated his red sash. Wilmot looked over at the silver armor on the table.
“Will you be joining us on the field for playtime, your majesty? If so – “ he started and nodded at the armor. Charles made a face of dismay.
“It’s going to be hot Harry!” he objected and the Cavalier shook his head, going over and picking up the silver breastplate with it’s sturdy leather strapping.
“You won’t notice once you get busy. Here, I insist. Hells Bells boy, I should be the one insisting you stay up here in the nice safe little tower, not inviting you out to play with the Army! At least wear the armor Charles, please?” he asked.
Charles quickly gave in. There was no way he was staying out of this, not with the numbers of men on the field and so much at stake. Cromwell had another thing coming if he thought he could just waltz off and Charles would do nothing. He would show the man all right, and in person.