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Fighting for Liberty uses original sources to give a blow by blow account of the campaign of 1685. A conflict that started in Orkney and ended on the battlefield of Sedgemoor. Today, there is a myth that the rebels were a misguided peasant rabble, easily put down by lines of red-coated soldiers, but this is not reflected in original letters, marching orders, and documents. These tell a quite different history. So, why is our understanding of the campaign unlike the eyewitness accounts? Answering this question has been the focus of over 20 years of research and the result, Fighting for Liberty, offers a fresh perspective on the events called the Monmouth Rebellion.
After the political purges of 1683, rebel Whigs have been planning an invasion of Britain. Their aim is to restore the liberty of Parliament and stop the divine rule by Kings. They have vast stockpiles of the latest weapons, including bayonets, grenades, and firelock muskets. On the death of Charles II in February 1685, and the succession of his brother James, they load ships with soldiers, arms, and ammunition. Led by the Earl of Argyll and the Duke of Monmouth, they have an audacious plan to attack in three strategy locations, supported by an uprising in London. With enough drums, colors, and officers to raise three well led and paid armies, the fight for liberty can begin. To counter this threat the Government of King James locks down the country, closing borders and arresting dissenters across the Country. As the Militia struggle to contain the invasions, and the Whig armies growing day by day, James rushes regular forces to the landing sites. But even with a network of spies, and the nation's military resources in play, James still struggles to gain the initiative against the Whig invaders.
For centuries, historians have ignored the planning and logistical aspects of the conflict, instead the focus has been on the personalities of Monmouth, Marlborough, and James II. However, the military campaign reveals the true scale of the conflict, it shows us forgotten skirmishes and naval actions. By returning to the original sources to understand Whig strategy, the events in England and Scotland merge into a single operation against the Government of James. Fighting for Liberty describes the whole campaign, from the initial planning by the Whigs, to the military reaction by the Government. Each army movement is placed in the historic landscape, and the detail of every battle covered; from the weapons, uniforms, and drill, to the Regiments deployed. For the first time, the campaign of 1685 is shown as a Whig invasion, that placed the Government and its unprepared forces on the back foot. It is not a forgone conclusion, instead it is a fight between two professional armies, with commanders struggling to gain the initiative, both facing different operational challenges. Fighting for Liberty offers a fresh and vibrant account of the Monmouth Rebellion, the Battle of Sedgemoor and warfare in the late 17th Century.