The early morning mist that had hovered over Lessie's Moor dispersed, and much like a curtain rising, revealed the troops and battlefield that would be the the players and stage for the drama that would unfold near Loxley-Barrett Manor. Captain General Grundy, the leader of the forces loyal to Parliament, who fancied himself to have military talent that everyone else was sure he did not in fact possess, had taken up station on the low rise overlooking the Moor. He took a moment to enjoy the spectacle that lay before him."Looks pretty just now, but in a few hours all those expensive outfits I paid for last month will be stained with mud, powder, and blood, and worse!" The reality of War was not nearly so grand as the romantic writings of the chroniclers were wont to portray it! Such were the musings of Ninny #1.
On the far right of the Royalist host, Ninny # 2, young Prince Phillip, un-affectionately referred to by his men as The Prick Royal, had no such misgivings. His flying column had arrived from London the evening before. He retained under his personal command his own Lifeguard along with Prince Edward and Prince Gustavus' regiments of horse, all fine, experienced troopers trained in the latest "Swedish" tactics. Prince Phillip opened the action by having his trumpeter sound the advance. "View Halloo!" he shouted, his 16 year old voice cracking in the process, as he rode forward at the head of his Lifeguard!
In the Center of the Royalist army (they having won the toss at the start of the day), Ninny #3, Nigel Lord Pargetter directed the large Foot Brigade of the Borsetshire Association forward under the direction of Colonel David Archer. Colonel David had previously trotted well to the left of the starting position assigned to him by Lord Pargetter, which had cleverly left almost half of the brigade out of effective command. "Milord's head is just about as blank as his white banner!" grumbled Archer under his breath. When his troops balked at any further forward motion, the Horse Brigade of the Association under his brother, Colonel Josh Archer, decided to maintain their positions, thus protecting the flank of the Infantry. Ah, brotherly love... though there had been malicious rumors of buggery heard in the county for some time!
Thus it was that the initiative passed to Captain General Grundy and the men of Parliament. Even with his meager military acumen, Grundy recognized that he had a problem. His large 2nd Brigade of Horse, stationed at the Left of the army, was commanded by a drunkard who could barely stay upright in the saddle while he shielded his eyes from the sun... and any view of the actions of the Enemy. Thus Grundry felt there was little choice but for him to take command here in person. Fortunately, Colonel Sterling was perhaps the best officer on the field, and could be safely left in command of his brigade. The three regiments of Foote of the Borsetshire brigade were thus also without effective command, but at least they were stationed in a reserve position. Grundy rode off and joined Horrobion's regiment of Horse, a raw unit like most of his Cavalry. From there, he directed the Brigade to respond to the threat to their flank posed by the advance of the Horse of Prince Phillip.
In the Centre, Colonel Sterling urged his men forward, closing to within a short distance of the enemy Foote. Seen here stationed with the men of his own regiment of Redcoats, the Rundheads drew first blood, a devastating first volley throwing the opposing Greencoats of Kenton Archer's regioment into Disorder!
Kenton's men promptly returned their fire, and although his men were well trained, the chaos inflicted by the muskets of their foe lead their fire to be erratic and ineffectual.
With action in the Centre stalled, Colonel Sir Rex Fairbrother led his Brigade of Horse forward to keep pace with them. Certainly a prudent maneuver, if perhaps somewhat unimaginative!
With the initiave passing back to the supporters of the King, Prince Phillip dashed forwards with his Lifeguard, trying tio turn the flank of the Parliamentary Horse. He seemingly gave little thought to the risk of tiring out his horses, or leaving the rest of his men without Leadership. His hormone filled teenage brain thought only of glory... and the attention it might win him form the more comely lasses of Borsetshire!
In the Rotyalisy Centre, Colonel David Archer brought forward two trailing regiments of Foote, the raw and untrained "Trained bands" of Ambridge (blackcoats) and Penny Hassett (yellowcoats). Both regiments had rather a deficit of muskets and a surfeit of pikes. This didn't stop the men of Ambrdge form taking aim at the Roundhead Dragoons of McCreary, sheltering in amongst the hedgerows. Mc Creary's men, raw, untrained, and ill motivated (and also shaking off the raw Scotch of their enlistment "bonus"), promptly broke and ran, never to be heard from again! First point to the King...
In the Royalist Centre, Colonel Snell's well trained but shotte short regiment of Redcoats decided that their fortunes were better tried with pike than with powder, and charged the opposing untied Browncoats of Toby Fairbrother;s regiment. Raw and untried, the mere sight of the palisade of pikes approaching them was enough to throw them into Disorder, a state which the ensuing clash only worsened.
Meanwhile the greencoated Kenton Archer Regiment fired upon Sterling's redcoats, this time throwing them into disorder into return.
Overview of the Battlefield...
Meanwhile, D'Arcy's Royalist dragoons took a long range pot shot at the Parliamentarian Horse opposite them . Doubtless fatigued by their forced march from London town, their fire had no discernible effect.
View of the Parliamentary Left, as Captain General Grundy moves more of his cavalry to meet the threat posed by Prince Phillip and his Lifeguard.
With the action passing back to Parliament, Nicholas Carter's bluecoats fire at the white coated regimemnt of Colonel Aldridge which of course returned he favor. Both regiments held firm despite the whizzing of musket balls fired at close range.
Sir Rex Fairbrother's yellow coated cavalry charged the raw, untried Horse regiment of Treorran's redcoats, but came of the worse for their trouble.
Meanwhile the Borsetshire brigade did the "Shuffle off to Borchester" ("It's just a step to the Left..."), the Royalist threat on that flank seeming greater than that of the Parliamentary right.
Prince Phillips command continued to head forward pell mell, tiring its horses in his eagerness to close with the enemy and earn his sperm... er, uh *spurs*.
In an ominous development, the yellow coated Pennty Hasset Trained Bands have seized control of the Elves' Copse, supported by the Ambridge black coats.
Whilst the opposing Foote regiments glared at each other at close range to little effect, Sir Robin Fairbrother's Horse moved to turn the flank of D'Arcy's Dragoons.
In the twinkling of a comely lass's eye, the unfortunate Dragoons found them selves in a most compromised position!
In the Parliamentary rear, two of the three Borchester city regiments continued their shift to the Left, trying to counter the threat posed by the Ambridge and Penny Hassett men.
And with that, dear readers, we must allow the curtain to fall on Act 1 of "The Three Ninnies". Be assured that Act 2 will soon be forthcoming from my pen, and may be read in the next issue of The Borsetshire Bull. Meanwhile, might I suggest you patronize our sponsor, Boar's Shed Brewing. Remember their slogan, "Tis better to be known as a Boor than a Bore; Get sow-sed on Boar's Shed, and plant your arse on the Floor!" Kindly pay no heed to the vile rumors spread by the competition regarding the alleged porcine origin of the product.
- Reginald Soggybottom, Esq.