A letter written by a Parliament officer, Nehemiah Wharton, 13 September 1642
(Catalogue ref: SP 16/492/11)
These are sections from a letter by Nehemiah Wharton, a Parliamentary officer in the Civil War, written to George Willingham, a merchant.
Wharton was a Puritan gentleman from the Midlands (near Leicester). His letters have proved very useful in giving us a picture of the impact of the Civil War on ordinary people.
This source comes from an early stage of the war – less than one month in and a month before the first big battle at Edgehill in October. As well as the big battles, there was a lot of smaller fights or skirmishes in the Civil War.
Skirmishing meant small-scale mini-battles between units of Royalist and Parliamentary troops. Apart from fighting each other, the top priority of each army was to find food and supplies for the soldiers and horses. Each side often took anything they could find from local farms, villages and towns. They often took able-bodied men and forced them into their armies.
Wharton was a Puritan, a hard-line Protestant. During the war Puritans became increasingly powerful and important in the army.
They and their men spent a lot of time at religious services, reading and discussing the Bible. As the war went on, many army officers and soldiers began to see themselves as chosen by God to protect the Protestant Church and Parliament from men like Archbishop Laud (who wanted to make changes to the church) and from possible plots by Catholics.