The reports were correct, a large Royalist force was approaching. Lord Melchett had gathered four units of foot, (Gerard's and Taylors regiments plus the musketeers from the White regiment and the local militia) and five of horse. Three were with Melchett (Carey's, Desmond's and Tyldsley's) and the other two (the gentlemen volunteers and a combined regiment), under the command of Colonel Rupert Winstanley, had crossed the Kelham upstream and were approaching the Swan from Melchett's right.
As speed was of the essence, I decided to send the horse over the bridge first, with the white musketeers lining the river bank to give some fire support. Normally, the Royalist cavalry have the edge when taking on Parliamentarian cavalry, but on this occasion, they had an off day. Tyldsley's made no progress at all against Livesey's and were gradually pushed back. Eventually, the remnants broke and fled the field,disrupting the progress of Carey's as they tried to cross the bridge.
Winstanley's cavalry arrived eventually and rushed to the aid of Melchett's attack. The Gentlemen Volunteers kept to the road and whilst passing Blists Wood were surprised by a volley from the dragoons. Although suffering some casualties, they pressed on,but progress towards the train was blocked by Lambert's horse, which Sir Victor had directed to the threatened area.
|Winstanley leads forward the Gentlemen Volunteers|
At the bridge Melchett's attempt to get his infantry across was going badly. The remains of his cavalry were now pressed close to the bridge, leaving no room for the infantry to deploy. When the cavalry routed they swept all before them and the Royalist attack was over.
At the inn, Meldrew's musketeers could not deter Taylor's regiment from advancing on them. When the pikes charged home there was little resistance and Meldrew found himself trying to stop his own regiment fleeing from the field.