Battle of Sedgemoor, July 6. 1685

What happened at the Battle of Sedgemoor?

The Battle of Sedgemoor was last battle of English soil was fought on July 6, 1685, on the open moor near Bridgwater called the King’s Sedgemoor. On July 5, the Earl of Feversham with a strong Government Army encamps at Westonzoyland. From his base at Bridgwater, the Duke of Monmouth saw an opportunity, and overnight marched his Army across the moor. His plan was to make a bold attack on the Government camp. By watching this video you will walk the battlefield as Monmouth’s Army makes its assault on Feversham’s men asleep in their tents.

The Wider Sedgemoor and Battlefield
The Opposing Armies

The Government Army under the Earl of Feversham numbers 3,600 in 6 Battalions of Infantry, 5 Squadrons of Cavalry, and 16 artillery pieces. While just 3 miles away at Middlezoy are two Militia regiments and a squadron of Militia of horse. 

The Whig Army under the Duke of Monmouth numbers 4,000 in 6 large Battalions of Infantry, 4 Squadron’s of Cavalry, and 3 light artillery pieces.  While on the Bristol Road are another 2,000 soldiers and an artillery piece acting as baggage guard.

The Night March

The Battle of Sedgemoor, the March to the Battlefield, after Monmouth leaves Bridgwater in the evening to arrive at Peasey Farm at 23:00 on 5 July 1685

Army disposition before the Battle of Sedgemoor
The Cavalry Clash

The first clash at the Battle of Sedgemoor is at 1:30 in the morning as Monmouth’s Army enters the moor and after a warning Compton attacks the Whig Army.

Compton attacks Hucker’s squadron at 1:30 on 6 July 1685
Race Across the Moor

The race is on while the Government foot rush to form-up, Monmouth takes his infantry across the moor at double time. However, the broken Whig cavalry cause chaos in the track from Bridgwater.

The Whig’s race to the camp
The Fire-fight Begins

Monmouth’s infantry press forward to attack the Government foot, while Lord Grey attempts to cross the lower Plungeon. As the fire fight begins, Oglethorpe’s patrol returns from Bridgwater. The fire-fight at the Battle of Sedgemoor begins.

The fire fight begins
Monmouth’s Last Chance

As the Battle of Sedgemoor unfolds, Jones’ squadron of Whig horse attempts to break into the encampment while the Government artillery starts into deadly fire into the Whig infantry. In the centre the fire-fight continues as the battle line extends to the east.

Monmouth orders one last push
Feversham’s Counter-Attack

Feversham starts the Government counter-attack at the Battle of Sedgemoor and Jones’ Whig squadron is broken by the Government horse, allowing Oglethorpe to attack the Whig infantry. Lord Grey returns to the battle.

Breaking Jones’ Squadron
Monmouth’s Orders a Retreat

Monmouth attempts to withdraw from the battle of Sedgemoor, but his left wing is attacked by the Government horse making it impossible to pull back in order.

Oglethorpe is beat back
Rout of the Whig Left Wing

As Monmouth tries to withdraw his Army from the battle of Sedgemoor, his men are pressed on both flanks and with the Government foot, lead by Grenadiers, the Whig Army is forced back. On the left the Whig Foot breaks under the pressure.

Monmouth left wing under assault
Monmouth’s Last Stand

The remaining Whig Infantry retreat and Monmouth’s finally leaves the battle of Sedgemoor, the Monmouth Rebellion is over, but the fugitives still need to escape.

The Fighting Retreat

By sunrise the Battle of Sedgemoor was over. This was the final battle of the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685.

This account is based on a more detail description of the Earl of Argyll’s & the Duke of Monmouth’s campaign of 1685 available from Helion & Company in my Book Fighting For Liberty.