John Lambert - The Second Civil War.
When the Scottish army under the Marquis of Hamilton invaded England in the summer of 1648 in support of King Charles, Lambert was occupied in suppressing the Royalist rising led by Sir Marmaduke Langdale in the far north of his district and was heavily outnumbered. His situation was complicated by the need to once again siege Pontefract castle and garrison the city of Newcastle which tied up large numbers of his men. At the instigation of Parliament he was reinforced to some extent by units from Lancashire and the south.
Lambert was able to force Langdale north to Carlisle and inflict considerable losses on his Royalist rebels. A large Scottish army including 3000 Irish advanced south to aid the hard pressed Langdale. The Scottish army of 7000 cavalry and 16000 infantry considerably outnumbered Lambert who is estimated as having 2600 cavalry and 600 infantry at his disposal.
The invasion began on the 8th July 1648 and Carlisle was occupied by the Scots with 10500 men. However Lambert was still able to cleverly harass the Scots in the field and achieved a notable success on the 19th July near Bowes whilst withdrawing in the face a far larger Scottish force.
On the 2nd August Lambert fell back to Richmond to guard Yorkshire and await Cromwell and his reinforcements from the south. Lambert met Cromwell near Leeds on the 10th August to discuss the situation. The 2 combined and advanced to meet the Scots who had moved south in atrocious weather to Preston. Unaware of the approaching threat the Marquis of Hamilton and his Scots army were advancing in some confusion strung out over a long distance. On the 17th August the 2 armies made contact at Preston Moor. In a very hard fought encounter lasting 4 hours Lambert defeated Langdale’s infantry reinforced by some Scots cavalry led by Hamilton himself driving them back into Preston and taking many prisoners.
Cromwell pressed home this advantage by capturing bridges over the Rivers Ribble and Darwin and also Walton Hall, all after fierce fighting in the face of a numerically superior Scottish force. Cromwell marched south and finally defeated the Scots at Warrington in another hard fought encounter. Lambert pursued Hamilton to Uttoxeter where the Scots surrendered without a fight on the 25th August.
The defeat of the Scottish army effectively put an end to the Second Civil War.
The better trained and disciplined Parliamentarian army under Cromwell and Lambert had totally defeated a much larger invading force. John Lambert had certainly played a very significant role in the whole episode from start to finish and the campaign was a triumph for him personally and must have greatly enhanced his reputation. Cromwell returned to London and Lambert led the army into Scotland where he was left in charge until Cromwell’s return.
From December 1648 to March 1649 Lambert was involved in the protracted siege of the stubborn defenders of Pontefract Castle. He was therefore absent from London at the time of Pride's Purge and the trial and execution of the King and had no direct input into either. The Second Civil War had hardened the attitudes against the King of many in the army. Lambert almost certainly was no exception. He took no part in the trial and was not a regicide. His thoughts on the subject are not known but it is likely he did not object to the eventual outcome.
Lambert continued to enhance his reputation as a just and fair governor whilst in command in the north and was well respected. His links with the former pre war network of notables and gentry in Yorkshire prospered and personal differences arising out of the conflict seem to have had little influence of his decisions. He remained in England during Cromwell's Irish campaign. He was then was appointed second-in-command to Cromwell after Sir Thomas Fairfax declined to lead the army into Scotland against Charles II and his allies, the Scottish Covenanters. The Parliamentarian force entered Scotland on the 22nd July 1650 and the Third Civil War had begun.