Better Begging than Fighting

The Royalist Army in exile in the war against Cromwell 1656-1660

John Barratt

Date Published :
December 2016
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Century of the Soldier
Illustration :
c 30 b/w illustrations, 8pp color plates and maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781910777725
Pages : 136
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Available


Cromwell’s alliance with France in 1657 opened for the English Republic and Charles II’s army in exile a new theater of war in Flanders - in addition to England’s ongoing war with Spain. It resulted in the old opponents of the Civil Wars in Britain meeting in combat once again. This book tells the story of the two armies: Charles II’s polyglot army of Irish, Scottish and English soldiers - fighting for the Stuarts for a variety of reasons - and the expeditionary force dispatched by Cromwell to assist his French allies, with the objective of securing Dunkirk as an English possession.

The book, the first detailed study in English, will relate how the two armies were raised and equipped; the commanders and their colorful personalities; and the lives of the soldiers and their campaigns - climaxing with the Battle of the Dunes and the siege of Dunkirk. It will examine the English garrison, and the later history of this and of Charles II’s 'forgotten army'. It will also look at the Spanish and French armies, with which Royalists and Republicans were allied. Full use will be made of contemporary and more modern sources - including the letters, journals and memoirs of participants on both sides. The book will be of interest to historians and students of the period, re-enactors and wargamers, and to all interested in a little-known conflict fought across an area much more familiar to English readers for its later wars.

About The Author

John Barratt is a leading authority on the Royalist Armies in the Civil War. Author of over a dozen books on the subject, including Cavaliers the first detailed study of the Royalist forces, and a nuber of campain histories. His latest books with Helion include Rabble of Gentility the story of the Northern Horse, and The Last Battle: The Stow on the Wold Campaign. He lectures regularly on historical subjects and lives in the Welsh Marches, an area rich in history!


“It is an excellent introduction to a relatively obscure chapter in the history of the British Army, as well as providing a useful outline of the conduct of sieges in the immediate pre-Vauban era.”

- Casemate: Journal of the Fortress Study Group

“ … An interesting and informative book… recommended to anyone who wishes to understand more about the latter stages of the Civil War.”

- Battlefield

"In 2015 Helion began issuing the volumes of the Century of the Soldier series...Although they lack an index, these volumes, distributed in the U.S. by Casemate, comprise not only a valuable introduction to the military practice and history of the times for the novice, but will also be of interest to those more familiar with the period."

- The NYMAS Review

More from this publisher