War in Scotland and Ireland

Even though King Charles I had been executed and fighting in England had stopped, Cromwell still faced threats to his regime in Scotland and Ireland. A lot of resources were used to subdue local populations and to fight armed forces. There were atrocities in both countries and ordinary civilians were killed.


…Cromwell must fight or be gone [from Scotland]. His men eat nothing but bread and cheese, drink ill water, and lie on the ground without huts, which they will not long endure. He has probably lost 2,000 men in killed, wounded, and run away; 400 of his men came over to the Scots; they would not suffer them to stay in the army, but sent them into good quarters, under the command of Weldon. They are thinking of a model for an army to wait on the King into England, but Cromwell must be beaten or retire first. So much for Scotland.

Out of Ireland all I hear is that the plague has made a horrid desolation there; 1,100 a week died in Dublin; Connaught is clear, and kept by Lord Clanricarde, who has a pretty [skilful] army, and so has Castlehaven; but they have no means to hold them in a body three weeks together, but must quarter them abroad. Hugh O’ Neile, (nephew of Owen, who defended Clonmel so gallantly), has gathered up 2,000 or 3,000 men, the relics of the Bishop of Clogher’s army in Ulster, and is considerable to the enemy. On the other side, Ireton [Cromwell’s officer] is weak in foot; only the Scots have now recruited him in Ulster, but he has 6,000 horse [troops that fought mounted as cavalry] in several places. There was a talk that three regiments of the horse would be sent to England.

« Return to Christmas is cancelled!

Extract from a letter to Secretary Nicholas, September 1650

  1. What does this letter suggest about the success of Cromwell’s armies in Scotland and Ireland?