Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Skirmish at Glendale farm
This period covers the maneuvering of the units as they close on each other and the Skirmish at Glendale farm
(Note all directions are as you face the map, so left is the left side of the map etc)
Lord Warwick was most displeased to hear from his scouts that Thornycroft village was occupied by two Royalist Militia battalions. It occurred to him that the Royalists were intending to use the crossroads at Thornycroft as the concentration for their forces in Gloucester, just as he intended it for his.
He realised that where two Battalions were in place now, soon be it a matter of hours or days there would be others.
On reaching Ashley Lane Manor a mile so from the Village the Duke sat down with the 4th Brigade commander Maj General Lauriston and his Regimental and Battalion commanders.
The options discussed had been for a rapid march on Thornycroft village with the 4th Brigade to meet up with the Confederate 6th Militia Brigade and launch a concentrated attack on the village, however the down side of that option was as all commanders were only too aware how viciously the Royalists were defending their homes and the battle in Thornycroft village could seriously bog down and delay him while further Royalist forces gathered nearby or came to the support of the defenders.
It had therefore been decided that the 4th brigade would take the Glendale farm and then swing across behind Thornycroft village and then attack the village front and rear. It was far better to destroy the Royalists piecemeal rather than giving them the opportunity to concentrate.
The 6th Militia Brigade would initially only be required to screen the village until the 4th Brigade was in position behind it.
Colonel Borthwick commander of the 8th Confederation Regiment were to lead the assault in Glendale Farm, his two Battalions the 17th and 18th Foote battalions would be the first to engage.
The terrain made a rapid approach to the farm difficult as the road way they were marching on had very high and thick hedge lines either side, so march column made for the most rapid movement, however if he had kept all his units on the road they would have been strung out for miles, so once they had reach Ashley Lane Manor, he kept the 17th on the road and the 18th marched cross-country south from the manor.
His intention was to engage any forces in the area of Glendale farm frontally with the 17th, while the 18th moved around to the left of Glendale farm crossed the river with the intention of outflanking any enemy in the area of the farm. The other Regiment with the 91st and 121st Battalions would move in a south easterly direction across country with the intention of crossing the river to the the right of the open woods.
These two battalions were to prevent any reinforcements reaching Glendale from Thornycroft Village or indeed from the south (bottom of Map) and if not required to block enemy units one or both Battalions could assist with the attack on the farm.
Skirmish at Glendale Farm
12:15pm The Confederate 18th battalion (700) reaches Periwinkle farm and bridge, it begins changing from road column into line, a move that takes 5 minutes. It soon becomes obvious to the Battalion commander Major Evans that the area he has to form and attack across is quite restricted. First he has the river, then there is the open woods to the left of the farm and then the river itself bends around the farm, so there is no room for fancy maneuvers, he will form line, and move on the farm.
12:20pm The Battalion is line and he has received reports that the farm is occupied by one enemy Battalion of Militia.
The Battalion begins to advance through the river, it is not to deep but very swift and before long his line is quite disordered, on reaching the other side his battalion begins to reform, but as they do so they come under fire from the enemy Militia Battalion who have not restricted themselves to the farm, in fact they have lined the thick hedge line that runs alongside the road that passes through Glendale Farm.
12:25pm - The Royalist 22nd Militia battalion opens fire on the Confederate 18th Battalion inflicting 80 casualties, the 18th is shaken but completes forming line.
12:30pm - 18th battalion opens fire back on the 22nd Militia battalion causing 35 casualties, the 22nd replied causing 105 casualties on the 18th battalion, Major Evans is becoming concerned for his Battalions cohesion.
Major Evans receives 2 reports the first was from the 17th Battalion which is now in position to attack the Royalist battalion in the flank. He looks to his right and indeed can see the 17th forming line in a perfect position to outflank the enemy, but then the 2nd report arrives saying another Royalist battalion has been seen further south near Glenorchy farm.
12:35pm – The Commander of the Royalist 22nd Militia Battalion Major Claude Baring was becoming a worried man, he had managed to contain and seriously hurt the enemy battalion to his front, but now another was forming in line on his left flank and a few minutes earlier he had seen two enemy Battalions disappear behind the woods to his right, looking to his rear he could see his regiments sister Battalion the 23rd rushing to join him, but they were to few, too late and too far away to be of immediate assistance.
Major Baring realised he had to withdraw now while he could, the enemy to his front was shaken and would take time to form for an advance, the Battalion to his left would have to cross the river which means it would halt to reform; so now was the time to move. He sent dispatch riders to the commander of the 23rd to see if he could delay the enemy Battalions coming around the right of the woods, he also advised him and the Brigade Commander in Thornycroft that he would fall back to an area north of Glenorchy farm. He envisaged that inevitably he would be forced back to defend the area Lord Burns Manor north through Burns Timber-mill and rest the new flank on the river near Crecy church. He also asked for any available reinforcements as the area he would need to hold was far to big for a mere two Battalions to contain 4 battalions. Having made the decision to move he urged his Battalion to move back south to take up a position near Glenorchy farm.
The Battalion moved out in good formation, the Confederates realised too late that the Royalists were withdrawing and by the time they gained Glendale farm the Royalists were forming a new line behind the hedges on the main road just to the right of then Glenorchy farm.
Thus ended the skirmish at Glendale farm the Confederate 18th Battalion suffering 180 casualties the defending Royalist Battalion lost 61 men.
The situation entered a period of relative calm at this stage. The Royalist 18th battalion managed to withdraw back to near Glenorchy Farm and took up positions on the roadway, protected by the large thick hedge line. The 17th Battalion moved down to the bend of the road to face off the Confederate Battalions that had moved by hind the open woods.
The Confederate battalions drew up close to the Royalist lines and then a General calm spread over the battlefield, it was 1:30pm, the time that Lord Warwick had designated as the start of the next phase of the battle.
Events on the Right Flank
Mag Gen Blair Stevenson received the order that his6th Militia Brigade was to screen the village of Thornycroft from the north, he was not to attack the village until the 4th brigade was in position to the south of the village.
However as General Stevenson fumed, when his lead units had arrived at Stavely farm all he could see in Thornycroft village was 1 miserable Royalist militia battalion. He had 5 Battalions, he should have stormed the village there and then and that would have settled the issue with a lot less pain than they would suffer if ordered to attack later today.
Now as he looked the Royalists had at least 3-4 battalions in or near the village, which meant a long hard slog for his men.
The General however was no fool, he knew Lord Warwick all to well and he had his mind set on the fact that the regulars were going to have the glory this day, and as far as General Stevenson was concerned they should have the blood as well.
The 4th Militia Brigade was formed in an arc around the northern outskirts of the village, from that point all he could do now was wait. He heard the firing and realised the 4th Brigade was in a battle for Glendale farm, a little later he received a message declaring that the farm had been captured.
General Stevenson had sent several messages advising his Lordship that many enemy battalions had been seen marching quickly to the Thornycroft region, yet he still received no orders to attack.
He looked at his pocket watch and it was 1:30pm, and finally he could hear more firing, this time coming from the region of Glenorchy farm.
Next Post Covers the main Battle