Resolutions from General Wade’s Council of War regarding Carlisle. The council conclude they cannot continue to try and recapture Carlisle. They do not have sufficient supplies, the roads are bad and weather conditions harsh. If the rebels leave Carlisle, it would be dangerous to pursue them into the highlands (SP 36/74/19).
At a Council of War held at Field Marshal Wade’s Quarters at Hexham, November 19th 1745
The Field Marshall
Comte de Nassau
Lieutenant General Schwartzenberg. Lieutenant General Lord Tyrawley
Lieutenant General Wentworth
The Field Marshall having communicated to the Council of War, an account he had received that the Rebels enter’d the City & Castle of Carlisle the 15th instant, by a Capitulation, made, without the advice or consent of Colonel Durand, the Commandant who says, that the Garrison was able to have held it out a month: and as the Chief motive of marching towards Carlisle, was in order to relieve it and that having now ceased by its being surrendered to the Rebels, The Question is whether, the Army shall proceed according to the Resolution of the last Council of War.-
We are unanimously of opinion that it cannot be pursued for the following reasons-
The great difficultys we have met with from the severity of the season, and the great snows that have lately fallen since our march from Newcastle, have rendered the Roads almost unpassable, insomuch, that it was midnight before the Army arrived at their ground [though] the march was but ten miles and the Artillery remained 24 hours behind, and part of its carriages are not yet arrived this day at 11 in the morning
2nd That there was so much difficulty in providing straw and carriages for the draught of it, that many of the soldiers were obliged to lye on the ground, [though] covered with snow.
3rd The want of Forage [food found by hunting and gathering], wood and straw, should we advance further, for by the best intelligence the Rebels have either made use of or destroyed all the Forage & provisions for 15 miles on this side of Carlisle.
4th That having no artillery above three pounds we could not hope to recover the Town & Castle nor have we a sufficient force to invest it.
5th And a supposition that the Rebels should abandon Carlisle, and march either North or South we could not follow them over those barren and mountainous countrys through which they may probably pass but must of necessity return to Newcastle, in order to subsist, and leave our sick soldiers behind, whose numbers daily increase.
6th The disappointment of carriages for the Biscuit proposed to carry with us on our march hath reduced the quantity from eight days provision to three.
Under these difficultys we shall immediately be obliged to return from this camp to Newcastle where we may be better supply’d with ammunition, bread, than we can be in our present situation or follow the Rebels should they make any movement North or South. But if the Troops cannot soon be put under cover by cantonments the whole body will be rendered incapable of further service.
W.M.C. De Nassau
Soon after the above Resolutions was taken, the Field Marshall received intelligence from Penrith dated yesterday, that at three o ’clock that afternoon, a Quarter Master belonging to the Rebels Army, came there to bespeak Billets [arrange lodgings] for two squadron of Horse, which he said would be 250, & for 8000 Foot against tomorrow, which with the other reasons already given, confirm us more in the resolution we had taken before.