Final Stand of the Royalists Rupert eventually managed to rally between three and five troops of cavalry on the Royalist right flank, which he used to temporarily delay Parliamentary reinforcements converging on the battlefield. By the time the King arrived in mid-November his army of 12,000 men faced one twice the size. By this point, the scattered Royalist cavalry was returning to the field, and under their pressure Essex was forced to withdraw. There was little or no direct contact with the enemy. During this time, each side assembled its forces.
Two chaplains, Adoniram Byfield and Thomas Case, published accounts of the battle. Both sides camped on the battlefield overnight. As the armies gathered, it was clear battle formations would be entirely conventional. King Charles I raises his standard: Battle of Edgehill 23rd October 1642 in the English Civil War In Nottingham, King Charles was considered to be at risk to any determined Parliamentary attempt on his person. Such uncertainty was also seen in the first big battle of the English Civil War, at Edgehill, in Warwickshire. Few would have worn helmets, but most pikemen did.
By the time the royalists finally approached London the Earl had been able to bring his army back to the capital and to muster the 6,000-8,000 strong London Trained Bands in support. The Battle of Edgehill left the Royalists with the upper hand. One report claims firing had continued until 6 pm. They worked in small groups, often trading point-blank fire with the enemy. However badly executed, the raising of the standard signaled the start of the English Civil War, a contest between the king and Parliament over who was to dominate the affairs of the country. There were, on either side, two basic types of foot soldier—the pikeman and the musketeer. London Royalist Newsletter their foot that stood by their Ordnance, most of the enemy's horse being gathered to their foot, most of our horse also gathered to our foot, and so we stood horse and foot one against the other till it was night.
Prince Rupert knew how to handle these sprigs of the nobility and gentry because, in a sense, he was one of them. If I forget thee, forget thou not me. The king essentially had stolen a march on Essex. Such compilations - along with their own bias - can inadvertently create, disguise or misdirect the narrative of the battle, but these quotes have largely been included to provide the general reader with an insight into the realities of this early modern battle. Prince Maurice applied the older system of tactics, which relied heavily on the use of firearms as against shock. The more radical members of Parliament moved immediately to destroy the man they considered to be nothing more than a despot.
Having either killed or driven off the firelocks, Balfour dismounted and shouted for nails to drive through the touchholes to disable the guns. The skill of the Royalist cavalry was offset to a significant degree by its lack of discipline. Again, as before at Marston Moor, both sides placed their infantry in the center with cavalry on both flanks, the Parliamentary dragoons hiding behind a hedge to the left. By mid-October 1642, King Charles judged the time was right for a march on London, which was the heart and mind of the Roundhead rebellion. The King held his ground ready for a further contest in the morning if required.
As the horse was the main means of transport in England a large pool of experienced horsemen, many of whom hunted on horseback for recreation was available for the mounted regiments of each side. Essex had failed to break through and had retreat northward, to the security of the parliamentarian garrison at Warwick. A chance to do this came when the Earl of Essex and a largely untrained army of Londoners marched right across England to save the besieged garrison in Bristol and then, short of food and supplies, headed back to the capital. The Parliamentarian horse proved no match and were soon routed. The arrival of additional Roundhead forces in Kineton throughout the afternoon put a stop to the Royalist plunder of the Parliamentary wagon train.
However, the advantage was not all with the Royalists. The first major battle in the English Civil War had begun. In fact, the two sides were drawing near to each other, but it was more by accident than by design. In support were the artillery forces; the Royalists had six batteries positioned on Edgehill and fourteen lighter guns embedded with the infantry brigades. The king held a council of war during which he and his generals, after some discussion, decided to attack the Roundheads. The Parliamentarians didn't have their entire army at the battlefield, but their number still amounted to around 12,500. Rupert, already in motion, had seized the strategic high ground of a rise the locals called Edge Hill.
The cavalry advanced at a measured pace, the troopers packed so tightly that their boots were almost touching. However, Byron's and Wentworth's men employed this defensive response effectively even if their musketeers were not daring to shoot a shot. Edgehill: Battlefield visit notes and observations. And in this posture they stood from eight of the Clock in the morning. Fortunately for his army, a half mile opposite Edgehill was a small rise. The Parliamentarians might have had the best of the fighting, but King Charles still stood between them and London. He was prepared to die for him, but was not prepared to assist the King financially.
The Battle of Edgehill was the first Battle of the Civil War. Prince Rupert, and his brother Prince Maurice, spent the rest of the month and much of August, in evading the naval ships of the Parliament, and sailing to Newcastle, from where they rode to join King Charles. By sheer luck, the royal army was between the Earl of Essex and London. Civil War: The Wars of Three Kingdoms 1638-1660. Charles needed an army to deal with the subsequent Bishops Wars and this required money. To further increase his numbers, he marched this force west to Shrewsbury on the Welsh border.
The prince was about to try something new and unconventional. Rupert delighted in fine clothes and looked more fashion plate than fighter. But in the smoke and confusion of the battle the remaining Parliamentary cavalry saved the day. Hampden urged a resumption of the battle in the morning, but Essex refused; much of the Parliamentary Horse was missing, and several of the regiments of foot had suffered badly. Matchlock muskets were smoothbores, inaccurate beyond 50 yards.