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A THREE DAYS' BATTLE
It was through this busy Lancashire, of which we have been reading in the last chapter, that Cromwell came
marching to meet the Scots. The Scots leader, the Duke of Hamilton, was a bad general. His officers quarrelled
among themselves and with the English Royalists, and he was not strong enough to make them agree and do as he
commanded. Each wanted to go his own way, yet there was no great man among them who could force them to act
together. Indeed, he would have been a clever man who could have made Scots Presbyterians and English
Episcopalians do that.
Hamilton's line of march was so long and straggling, that his army was really divided into three parts. Most of
the horse was at Wigan; Hamilton himself at Preston, fifteen miles behind, and a third party at Kirby Lonsdale,
in Westmorland, thirty miles still farther off, when Cromwell attacked them.
It was upon the English Royalists under
Lang-  dale, and a few Scottish horse under Hamilton, that the first shock of battle fell. For four hours they fought
gallantly in the hedge-ringed fields of Preston Moor. But from hedge to hedge they were beaten back, till at
last, with ranks broken and disordered, they fled towards Preston pursued by the Ironsides. Through the streets
they fled, and over the bridge which crossed the Ribble, then scattering, some fled northward to carry the news
of disaster to the Scottish foot; some southward to Wigan; some they knew not where. Of the army which had
fought that day on Preston Moor, few indeed remained, for a thousand lay dead upon the field, and four thousand
more were prisoners—"nothing hindering the ruin of that part of the enemy's army but the night," wrote
Cromwell. "Where Langdale and his broken forces are I know not; but they are exceedingly shattered."
In the Scottish camp there was gloom and despair, yet the leaders were no more united than before. Some wanted
to make a stand and fight where they were. Others wished to march away in the darkness and try to join the
horse at Wigan. This they decided to do. They had no horses to carry their baggage and ammunition. All must be
left behind. So each man filled his powder-flask, and the rest was left to fall later into the hands of
Cromwell. Then, without sound of drum or pipe, in the rain and silence of the
 night, the already weary, hungry men began their march southward. So quietly did they go, so weary were the
pursuing Ironsides, that they were already three miles on the way before Cromwell found out that they had gone.
Then he started in pursuit.
While the Scottish foot were thus marching southward in the rain and dark, the horse from Wigan marched
northward to meet them. They went, however, by different roads, and so missed each other. But Middleton, the
leader of the horse, finding out his mistake, turned back again, and, coming between the foot soldiers and
Cromwell's pursuing army, beat him back again and again.
So at last, the weary soldiers reached Wigan. They were faint with hunger, wet to the skin and covered with
mud, for it had poured with rain all day and the roads were like marshes. Cromwell and his men were close
behind and encamped outside the town, being "very dirty and weary, and having marched twelve miles of such
ground as I never rode in all my life," says Cromwell.
But there was no rest for the weary Scots with the terrible Ironsides pursuing. Having plundered Wigan,
Royalist town although it was, for food and clothes, they marched on again, hoping to reach Warrington and put
the Mersey between themselves and their foes.
 The heavy rainclouds now blew over, and a watery moon shone out. It shone upon those who wearily fled, and upon
those who, almost as weary, pursued. Next morning at Winwick, a few miles from Warrington, Cromwell came up
with the Scots. Again there was a desperate fight. Again the Royalists were defeated. Leaving behind them a
thousand dead and two thousand prisoners, they continued the spiritless march. After them came the Ironsides;
but the chase was nearly over. At Warrington, four thousand more surrendered to Cromwell, Hamilton and a few
thousand horse only escaping. "They (the Scots) are so tired and in such confusion," writes Cromwell, "that if
my horse could but trot after them, I could take them all. But we are so weary, we can scarce be able to do
more than walk after them. They are the miserablest party that ever was. I durst engage myself, with five
hundred fresh horse, and five hundred nimble foot, to destroy them all. My horse are miserably beaten out; and
I have ten thousand prisoners."
The three days' fight named from Preston was over. "A wonderful great mercy and success," the Parliament called
it. The great Royalist army of the North was utterly crushed by a force scarcely one-third its size. The
fleeing remnants, one way or another, fell into the hands of Cromwell. And so the second Civil War ended,
having lasted only a few months. Of the ten thousand
 prisoners, some were allowed to go free, after promising never again to take up arms against the Parliament.
Others were sent as slaves to the plantations of Virginia and the West Indies.