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January 17, 1612 - Sir Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax (right) is born.  Educated at Cambridge, Fairfax saw early service in the Netherlands and during the Bishops' Wars.  With the start of the English Civil War in 1642, he stood with his father and opposed King Charles I.  Together the two Fairfaxes led the Northern Association's army before being forced to retreat to Hull in 1643.  That September, the younger Fairfax ferried his cavalry across the River Humber and began operating with the Eastern Association.  The following year, Fairfax took part in the key Parliamentarian victory at Marston Moor and aided in eliminating Royalist resistance in the north.  Recognized as a gifted commander, he received command of the New Model Army in early 1645.  Aided by gifted subordinates in Philip Skippon and Oliver Cromwell, Fairfax crushed Charles at the Battle of Naseby in June 1645.  This was followed a month later with a victory at Langport.  Winning additional triumphs that fall, Fairfax destroyed the remnants of Royalist opposition in the West Country before capturing Oxford in June 1646.  Named commander-in-chief of Parliamentarian forces in 1647, he disliked the political intrigue of his post.  With the beginning of the Second Civil War in 1648, Fairfax conducted an effective campaign in Kent.  Though named to the High Court to try Charles in January 1649, he stopped attending after realizing that a guilty verdict was preordained.  Remaining in command into 1650, Fairfax resigned his post at the start of the Third Civil War as he did not wish to mount a preemptive strike into Scotland. Serving in Parliament through the 1650s, he played little role in military matters.  In 1659, Fairfax aided in paving the way for the restoration of Charles II.  Following the Restoration, he retired to his estate in Yorkshire.

The English Civil War:

Photograph Source: Public Domain


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