The Scottish rebellion
The execution of King Charles began a series of events which lead to a Scottish army once again marching south into England.
Charles II was hoping to raise rebellion from Ireland but was thwarted by Parliaments campaign there.
He next turned to Scotland, where the Presbyterian Covenanters were outraged at the king's execution. It was they the Covenanters who had first raised rebellion against Charles when he tried to impose the English prayer book on them. During his imprisonment Charles I had secretly begun negotiations with them, during which he promised to impose the Scottish Presbyterian prayer book on the English it turn for support! Such was the changing face of allegiances in this period.
Charles was a Stuart King and Charles II now planned to use the Scots to win back the crown.
Parliament decided on a preemptory strike. Cromwell marched north with an army of 16,00 men. His way was blocked by David Leslie, a shrewd and capable commander who had fought beside Cromwell at such battles as Marston Moor.
Cromwell fell back to Dunbar where he found his route back to England blocked. Leslie had an army of 22,000 men, and he held the high ground, his intention was to starve the parliamentarians into surrender.
Cromwell's army ravaged by disease and hunger fell to just 11,000. The future looked bleak for the veterans of the new Model Army
But Leslie was pushed by his political and religious masters into an attack.
Cromwell could not believe his luck (in actual fact he believed it was divine intervention) and immediately launched a characteristic lightning strike. his own regiment the ironsides hammered into the Scottish flank and their army broke.
|The Ironsides smashed into the Scottish flank.||
Cromwell later claimed that he had killed 3,000 and captured 10,000 Scots, for the loss of only 40 of his men.
Preston and Dunbar were the two greatest battles of Cromwell's career.
Cromwell fell ill a short time later and Charles II again invaded England. He reached Worcester where he halted. The expected support from English volunteers did not materialize. The end was now close and Cromwell with a vastly superior force stormed the town and destroyed the Royalist army.