Note: Here is the text of two letters from Fairfax to the House of Commons, the first written from Moretonhampstead on the morning of Jan. 15, 1645, immediately after the 'Battle' of Bovey, and the second written from Ashburton on Jan. 11. The date was 1646 according to our reckoning; in those days the new year started at the end of March.
See also Sprigge
'A true relation of the Fight at Bovy-Tracy between the Parliaments Forces under the command of Sir Tho: Fairfax, and three regiments of the Kings Horse. Wherein were taken Four hundred Horse, and seven Horse-colours, with divers Offices and Souldiers'
As it was sent in two LETTERS, The one, to the Honorable William Lenthal Esq., Speaker to the Honorable House of Commons.
The other, to the Honored Edw. Prideaux Esq; a Member of the said House.
Ordered by the Commons assembled in Parliament, That this Relation be forthwith Printed and Published
Hen. Elsynge, Cler. Parl. D. Com.
London, Printed for Edw. Husband, Printer to the Honorable House of Commons, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Sign of the Golden Dragon in Fleetstreet, neer the Inner-Temple, January 15. 1645.
To the Honorable William Lenthall Esq., Speaker of the Honorable House of Commons.
Sir, whilest Sir Hardres Waller yesterday amused the Enemy with a party of horse and foot near Okehampton, two Regiments of foot, and one of horse marched from Crediton to Bovy-Tracy about fourteen miles, and about six at night fell on three Regiments of the Enemies horse at Bovy-Tracy, took near four hundred horse and five colours, some prisoners, many escaping in the dark. The Rendezvouz for the rest of the army is this morning near Bovy-Tracy, from whence they march on a further Design, of which shortly you will hear more. Hasten two thousand Musqnets to Lyme, it will be of great concernment they be speeded.
Moreton. I am, Sir, your most humble servant. Jan. 10 1645. 9 in the morning.
To the honoured Edmund Prideaux Esq; a Member of the House of Commons.
Sir, I thought fit to send this expresse unto you, for the betteer confirmation of that I writ unto you yesterday. We took at Bovy four hundred horse at least, and seven horse Colours, whereof one is the Kings, having the crown and C.R. upon it, a Major and some officers and Souldiers were taken prisoners; We lost but one man, divers of the Enemy sore wounded, some slain; some of their chief officers being in a house, shut the door, and threw out at the window about ten pounds in silver, which the foot Souldiers were so busie about the getting their shares, that the officers escaped in the meantime over the River, through the darknesse of the night; about six score of those that escaped a foot got into Ellington church that night, and sent to the Lo: Wentworth for relief; we drew out a party of horse and foot next morning to surprise them but they footed it away to their other quarters, and so escaped. The Army advanced the next day being Saturday to Ashburton, but the enemy having received a hot alarm by those that escaped, quit that place being their head-quarter, in great confusion sending their foot one way and their horse another way, and our Forlorn hope pursued them so fast through Ashburton, that we took twenty horse and nine prisoners: This day the Generall advances to Totnes, where the Enemy hath a Foot-quarter, and we thought would have disputed the pass, but just now Intellignce is come, they have quit the Town: I hope in my next I shall inform you they have quit their works before Plymouth, and left their ordnance, for certainly this weather they cannot draw them off. Truly our Souldiers march with that cheerfulnes, as I never see them before on this service; the great inconvenience happens to the horse, by reason of the sliperinesse of the way, and (as yet) little besides straw to be gotten for them, the Enemies horse are ill shod, and not frosted, neither can they tell how to get them shod or frosted, which is an undoubted Argument they dare not attempt to break through Eastward at this season: for stay they must not, either for shoe or nail; we frost every day, such is the slipperinesse of the way, and if we did not so, we could not move with horse; the prisoners say they did not expect our motion this weather, and that Orders are given to flye into Cornwall, very suddenly you shall year from further from
Your most humble Servant,
Ashburton, Jan. 11. 1645 12 at noon. F.R.
Since the writing hereof, Intelligence is come &c. Sir Hardres Waller hath beaten up their quarters at Okehampton, and taken many prisoners, so they are alarmd on all hands.
Source: (West Country Studies Library) Pamphlet: 'A true relation of the Fight at Bovy-Tracy between the Parliaments Forces under the command of Sir Tho: Faifax, and three regiments of the Kings Horse, addressed to the Honorable William Lenthall Esq., Speaker of the Honorable House of Commons.'