|The Battlefield at Thornycroft with DVs allocated.|
Friday, May 17, 2013
The setting for the skirmish at Thornycroft Village
Battle for Thornycroft Village.
4th Brigade –
8th Foot Regiment = 17th Foot, 18th Foot,
9th Foot Regiment = 96th Foot, 121st Foot
6 th Militia Brigade –
4 Battalions of Militia
1 Battalion of Jager Militia
4th Militia Brigade -
5th Militia Brigade –
The Battle for Thornycroft Village was a totally unexpected affair, it was a most unlikely contest between what were two small flanking forces. The Royalist Duke of Gloucester had been ordered to gather his militia in the Bichester area so as to protect the left flank of the regular Royalist Army further to the east in Royston.
However on hearing that the Royalists had won a significant victory near Luton in Royston and in the expectation that the Royalists would advance into Northampton the Duke ordered his Militia to concentrate further north, if possible in the area of Banbury.
Meanwhile the Duke of Warwick with his original intention of advancing south parallel to the main Confederation Army asit moved south from Northampton to Royston was aiming for Bichester. The Duke had already committed 1 of his Regular Infantry Brigades to the Royston Campaign which left him with barely sufficient forces for an offensive in Gloucester. However he had received intelligence from Confederation sympathisers that the Duke of Gloucester had sent all his regular units to General Roberts in Royston, thus Warwick correctly assumed all Gloucester would have would be Militia and they were spread out over the county garrisoning towns and villages against rebellion and possible Confederation raiders.
The situation changed a little for the Duke of Warwick when he learnt that Lord Ashley had been defeated in Royston and as a consequence had retreated back into Northampton. Along with that news came a request for further reinforcements, a request that infuriated Warwick beyond belief. Having already committed half his regular Army to Lord Ashley in Royston he was being asked to now commit more when he was on the eve of his own advance through Gloucester. Finally however he decided that Ashley had to be reinforced or his own forces would become isolated being too far forward, so he dispatched his sole Cavalry force, two regiments of Heavy cavalry to Lord Ashley. This left him with the 4th Regular Brigade and the 6th Militia Brigade, he now had no Cavalry and no artillery; not a very satisfactory situation. It was quite evident to Warwick that a advance on London through Gloucester was now out of the question, the best he could hope to do was find a suitable place to to hold and defend until the situation in Northampton rectified itself.
Looking at the map Warwick saw the village of Thornycroft was a vital road junction and with no possibility of any significant Royalist forces in the area he would settle there and await events.
Meanwhile the Duke of Gloucester had received news of Warwick's advance and realised he was far two spread out to oppose Warwick at the outset, thus he had to decide on a point to concentrate his militia, the point he focused on was Thornycroft village, not too far forward but vital to hold in case Duke Warwick intended to swing east and take General Grahams force in Royston in the flank or rear.
Gloucester had 2 Battalions of the 4th Militia Brigade garrisoning the village so all that was required was that the other 6 Militia battalions move on the village and await events. Of course things were be a little precarious because all his artillery and Cavalry had been sent to Royston, so his Militia army had no eyes for reconnaissance and no support in artillery.
Thus the scene for the Skirmish at Thornycroft was set.