This Day in History: 1645-04-06

On 6th April 1645, the Royalist garrison, having attended divine service on Easter Sunday, was ordered to arms (Nathan Drake, a contemporary chronicler of the siege, must have used the Julian calendar as in the Gregorian system Easter Sunday would have been 16th April). Strong parties were sent in different directions to make a combined and general attack on the enemy’s positions. Captains Washington and Beale commanded the horse attended by fifty musketeers under Captain Munroe. Captain Flood commanded another body of fifty musketeers. To each of these bodies were added twenty-five men, volunteers who served under the four colonels within the castle. The first party sallied forth out of Swillington Tower, up Northgate and made a long and desperate attack upon the enemy’s positions which were bravely defended. The other party went out of the lower gate to the Low Church and, having dispersed the guards, it turned up the south side of the town by the Halfpenny House to the enemy’s trenches where an attack was made. While these parties were engaged with the enemy they were partly protected and assisted by the fire of their friends in the castle. The principal loss fell to the besiegers, having 130 killed besides the wounded. The besieged had only two men killed and two wounded and took one prisoner, a quantity of muskets and swords and one drum. On the same evening, a party of 100 men sallied forth up Northgate and thence into the market place where they kept up a severe fire, blowing up about twenty men, many of whom were killed and the rest so badly burned that there was little chance of recovery.