Charles I, heading a Scots army, needed Royalist backing to snowball en route if his dash south was to succeed. However, Cromwell, supposedly stranded in northern Scotland, had anticipated the invasion, and had placed suspected Royalist sympathisers under close surveillance, while grassroots Presbyterian support failed to materialize. By the time Cromwell caught up with Charles at Worcester, the Parliamentarians had a 2:1 numerical advantage, and Cromwell’s preparations left nothing to chance, cutting off lines of retreat. When the Parliamentarians converged on Worcester, the Royalists fought spiritedly in the meadows to the east of the city, and actually repulsed the enemy at first at the River Teme. But Cromwell used a pontoon bridge to flank Colonel Pittscottie’s Highlanders and a rout ensued. Only a valiant cavalry charge along Worcester High Street enabled Charles to escape. 10,000 of his troops were taken prisoner, and the last battle of the Civil War concluded in decisive victory for Cromwell.
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