It is with great account that I shall report to thee of the seizure of the King's Skonce on the outskirts of the rebel city of Newark on this day the 25th of May in the year of our Lord 1646. Enclosed herein is the report to Parliament of the actions which led to our army's victory.
|Thyne humble servant twas given commission to take forth an army and by force of arms, if necessary, remove the defenders of Fort Beacon from their positions and to pursue their retreat to the King's Skonce and from there to the City of Newark. If the opportunity should arise, to exploit the enemies weaknesses.
I did receiveth charge of Parliament's regional association of troops on the 24th of May, 1646. I will report to thee of the saddened state of my troops. We did but have few pikemen and few field pieces for which to engage the enemy. A siege under such conditions would be akin to a death sentence, for all of the most moderne texts concerning the art of engineering doth commit word to paper and require a force of no less than one third of that which is being besieged. I was cheered to see that our army did bear finest musketeers of the Northern Association, who were fit for a fight with any of the King's men. After a forced march we dideth arrive at the outskirts of Fort Beacon, whereupon we were advised to take heed of the small troop garrisoned within the redoubt. Although night dideth bear upon us and my men were quite exhausted, I did confer with my officers to press the attack and force the King's army from Fort beacon. We did this by driving home a frightful musket engagement. For each shot heard in the name of the King, three were heard for our beloved Parliament. The King's artillery was brought to bear upon us. Yea, but with little effect on our body of soldiers, for night did not fare well for an artillerist, as our soldiers were but ghosts upon the darkness. The King's soldiers were forced from Fort Beacon with little burden upon our army.
Upon receipt of our new position I dideth force the once hostile guns of the King to serve Parliament and all of England, whereupon, the gunners did turn their pieces about and deliver fire upon the King's Skonce. This twas done to great effect for the watchtower therein, wherein were the Officer's Quarters, bursted into flames and was razed to the ground. When pressed by my officer's to continue the fight, I dideth decide to hold fast and engage no further troops until a better reconnaissance of our situation was gained. This twas done by first light, when a scouting party reported that the King's Skonce had been reinforced by a body of pike and heavy artillery during the early hours on the 25th of May. Upon receipt of this intelligence I dideth convene a Council of War with my officers, whereupon it twas decided to commence the attack forthwith.
At nine in the morning on the 25th of May, I dideth hold parlay with the commander of the King's Skonce. I was astonished to find that the commander was Captain Robert Fox, who I recognized as having served with Sir Alexander Hamilton's troops in the service of Swedes. He had recognized me too, for I dideth serve the Swedish king also, but with the Lord Reay, Donald MacKay's Regiment. I dideth give my old friend one chance to recognize the hopelessness of his situation, and gave him good leave to take his troops without harm nor hindrance, from their positions to the safe haven of Oxford, whereupon the army of Parliament may deal with them at a later date. He dideth refuse my offer and I wasted nary a further minute, for I recognized that he had grown older and foolish since our time on the continent, and I saw no further use of idle talk.
Our guns were brought to bear upon the Skonce and the battle was afoot with the roar of our artillery. During the artillery barrage I was stricken ill, but quickly regained my health. Several sorties were led to the left and right flank by soldiers of his Lordship, the Earl of Essex's Regiment, who dideth make good accord of themselves on this glorious day. The King's artillery, being of greater size than ours, did reign upon us shot after shot. Some rounds dideth bear upon our powder magazine, whereupon it twas decided to relocate the magazine to another area within the redoubt.
A spectacle of unseemly brutality was forced upon our army, whence a detachment of our skirmishers were captured. One of the captured twas a young woman who was hungry and was in search of food for her family. These Royalist dogs within the parapets of the King's Skonce dideth take great vengeance upon this poor woman. She was drawn before the Skonce and ridiculed. When told to swear for the King she merely murmured "Never." With those words her fate twas sealed, and she was shot dead and laid upon the field to feed God's creatures.
Alone, this action twould be seen as an unfortunate consequence of war, but not five minutes passed before a young boy was presented to us. He was a lad who dideth follow Lord Essex's Regiment, and to whom the musketeers had grown quite fond of. His younger brother watched in horror as an officer dideth put rapier to throat and slit the boy from ear to ear. His brother cried out "Who shall take care of me now, my mother and father are dead, and now my brother?" Leftenant Littlewood dideth out of the mercy of his heart say "The Lord shall taketh thee into the kingdom of heaven." With this, Leftenant Littlewood dideth cut the boy's throat. It is my belief that the child is in better hands than amongst these mortal savages.
It twas decided to hold parlay with the Cavaliers and offer to them one last opportunity to retire by their own accord, since we dideth make a full demonstration of our resolve to evict them from their dens. I was taken back to find that Captain Fox would not attend this parlay, for he was indisposed. Instead the King was represented by a Captain and a Leftenant of Prince Rupert of the Rhine's Regiment of Foote. Both lads appeared to be wet behind the ears, the older one, who is actually the junior officer, goes by the name of Leftenant Frye, and is quite the braggart. It twas he who gave the order to shoot the young woman and who dideth put the young boy to death. Ye though he tis quite bold when dealing with woman and children and a tad bit more experienced than his Captain, his manners do not belie a reputable officer. Alas, he will make a good man for the King, seeing as the King has seen fit to hire such rogues and rakes. The Captain, who's name is William Kunze, twas full of fight and quick of tongue. I found him to be much more congenial while we dideth have discourse. An offer twas made in the name of Parliament to garnish coin to the first officer or officers of the King's army to deliver the garrison to Parliament. While both Captain Kunze and Leftenant Frye dideth deliberate our offer to great length, the offer was ultimately declined and the parlay dideth break apart.
Unbeknown to me, my lordship, Leftenant Littlewood had sent a skirmish party led by Sergeant Leitzel to seize the officer's of his majesty's army. The ploy dideth almost meet with spectacular success, for the King's Skonce was caught totally by surprise. Alas, our body of musketeers dideth become entangled in the woody underbrush and could nary make the sweep to the rear, which would have severed all escape for the King's parlay. It twas truly worth the spectacle and twas done without loss of life for Parliament.
At the 11th hour on the morning of the 25th of May, I dideth receive a dispatch from your Lordship to make a full demonstration against the King's Skonce. We did this with great haste and formed up all of the musketeers within the redoubt and marched out the rear gate to encircle around to the front. This twas done without the benefit of a third of our number who were on patrol, being led by Sgt. Leitzel. Once formed to the fore of our redoubt a great mistake twas quickly realized, for the King's army was already formed up in front of the Skonce and were now pressing to engage our beleaguered force of musketeers. The order twas given to fire two volleys and retire over the north-east face of the parapet; however, this approach twas made more difficult by the steep incline of the parapet and wet grass. Thyne humble servant couldeth nary scamper over it's top. I took flight around the western wall to the rear; whereupon, I was accosted by a single King's musketeer of elderly stature who I dispatched with the thrust of my partizan. Alas, no sooner had I retired to the redoubt, than the cause was lost and the King's men were inside Fort Beacon. Although the enemy dideth make his appointment within our redoubt well know, our musketeers dideth force their hasty retirement.
At 2 in the afternoon on the 25th of May, I dideth receive dispatch to address a situation within our baggage train. It dideth appear that the teamsters hadeth nary an ounce of control over their beasts. Two of the men threatened to mutiny. To which I had the Provost Marshall make haste with their proceedings, and the two lads were put to the sword and buried with full rights. Upon my return to Fort Beacon I was pleasantly surprised to see that Leftenant Littlewood had maintained the defenses quite well. I dideth arrive in timely fashion for the King's army stationed within the Skonce made bold to seize our position within Fort Beacon. Alas, I believeth their confidence to be misguided, for the loss of a third of our musketeers did nary occur upon their second attempt to seize our fortification. As the formation of the King's pike dideth appear in front of their Skonce, I ordered my soldiers to take up position three ranks in depth to their facing. The musketeers began to fire at the Steadfast once the King's pike reached our musket range. It shall be noted that earlier that morning fifty yards were marked off, with tree branches, from all facings of the redoubt, to instruct my less experienced officers as to when to give the order to fire. This allowed our men to maximize the effect of their musket volleys. Once within range of our muskets, Parliament's artillery opened up upon the pike square with devastating effect. As the army approached even closer, our guns changed to grape shot, which tore through their ranks with devastating effect. Thyne humble servant twas stunned to see great holes open and close within the King's pike. What was left and dideth make approach to our parapets, was faced with double rank volley fire.
It must be said that those loyal citizens who were trapped within our redoubt that very day dideth heave boiling water and stones upon the enemy to great effect. The King's army was stalwart in its determination to seize our position, charging our defenses three times before turning tail and retiring in disgrace to their dens. Many a pikemen left his weapon within our redoubt and to the face of the parapet. In truth only two pikemen ever laid foot within our defenses, which I dispatched with my pistols.
A great lull began to envelope the siege and our artillery took this opportunity to drive home their rounds. For several hours the sound of artillery dideth ring in my ears. Upon the hour of half past three in the evening, I dideth hear an uproarious commotion outside my quarters to which I inquired. It turned out to be the shots of our expatriate artillerymen. These lads dideth lay shot upon shot in the King's Skonce. This dideth bring great cheer upon our tired compliment. Forward scouts reported the death of an officer, who later turned out to be the gallant Captain Kunze, and the havoc that reigned as result of our barrage twas quite beneficial to the merriment of my soldiers and camp followers.
At four on the evening of the 25th of May, I dideth convene my last officer's counsel to which was decided to create a demonstration to the face of the King's Skonce and apply a petard to the side wall. Leftenant Littlewood would lead the engineering party while I would personally lead the demonstration to the redoubt. This twas done with full knowledge of Parliamentarian reinforcements within two hours march from Fort Beacon. The forces were amassed and artillery prepared for the final assault. The main body of troops took up position in front of our redoubt and marched to a predetermined position upon which we halted. Musketeers were given the order to fire at will, and the regimental gun opened fire from our right flank. Leftenant Littlewood dideth apply his petard to great effect and a breach was instilled, but the battle twas already afoot making his efforts in vane, since most of the soldiers were already committed on the parapets of the Skonce.
The King's garrison commander, Captain Robert Fox, dideth surrender his defenses to the mercy of Parliament at the fifth hour on the evening of the 25th of May, 1646. As a benevolent gesture on the part of Parliament, I, as commanding officer of the regional military forces, dideth grant the King's army the permission to maintain their arms and troop their colors. With this done, the siege twas laid to rest in the name of Parliament, for our forces had reigned victorious that day.
I have the honor to be Your Obedient Servant,
Captain Lars Norberg
Parliamentarian Garrison Commander
Fort Beacon 1646
(An engaging little story, and for the most part, true - at least, I'm sure, from Captain Norberg's view...I am intrigued to know who the actual author of the letter is, as I distinctly remember dropping the dear Swede like a polaxed cow during the final melee, assisted by my fellow "wet behind the ears" officer, Captain Kunze. I suppose that the dear, foriegn, stinky b****rd could have recovered from his wounds, considering I only had a rapier handy AND NOT A BLOODY HARPOON! Kiss-Kiss, Sweetie - Darling! Lt. Frye)