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CAMPAIGNS

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 606 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CAMPAIGNS .ry' 1690 -1794 in the NETHERLANDS . LA CAPE {,LE ROCROI w Qr } Miles Lens Lierr< ASSEL r Srrmu.. • hear! ~{~ihPp.ri/4 L. Cat the Austrians who were still left in Lombardy (Castiglione, Sept. 9) the battle of Turin practically ended the war in Italy. Both in the north and in the south the tide had now receded to the frontiers of France itself. Louis could now hope to gain Changing the objects of the war only partially and by sheer Conditions endurance. But it is from this very point that the of the War. French operations cease (though only gradually it is true) to be the ill-defined and badly-joined patchwork of forays and cordons that they had hitherto been. In the place of Tallards, Marsins and Villeroys Louis made up his mind to put his Villars, Vendbmes and Berwicks, and above all the approach of the allied armies roused in the French nation itself a spirit of national defence which bears at least a faint resemblance to the great uprisings of 1792 and 187o, and under the prevailing dynastic and professional conditions of warfare was indeed a startling phenomenon. For the gathering of this unexpected moral force 1707 afforded a year of respite. The emperor, desiring to occupy Naples and Lombardy with the least possible trouble, agreed to permit Medavy-Grancey to bring off all the Italian garrisons, and with these and the militia battalions of the Midi Marshal Tesse formed a strong army for the defence of the Alpine frontier. In Spain the campaign opened with the brilliant success of Berwick at Almanza. In Germany Villars not only pricked the bubble reputation of the lines of Stollhofen,l but raided into Bavaria, penetrating as far as Blenheim battle-field before he gave up the attempt to rouse the Bavarians again. The Imperialists and Piedmontese in the south succeeded in turning the Alpine barrier, but they were brought to a complete standstill by Tesse's gallant defence of Toulon (August) and having, like their predecessors in 1692, roused the peasantry against them they retired over the mountains. In Belgium the elector of Bavaria, who was viceroy there for King Philip, and was seconded by Vendome, remained quiescent about Mons and Gambloux, while Marlborough, paralysed more completely than ever before by the Dutch, spent the summer inactive in camp on the Gheete. The respite of 1707 had enabled Louis to gather his strength in Flanders. Henceforward operations on the Rhine and in Dauphine are of quite secondary importance, so much so that Eugene and the main Austrian army are always found in the Low Countries fighting side by side with the Anglo-allied army of Marlborough. In 1708 Eugene foresaw this shift of the centre of gravity and arranged with Marlborough to transfer the army which was Campaign ostensibly destined for the Rhine campaign to of 1708. Brabant, repaying thus the debt of 1704. Indeed the main army of the French was markedly superior in numbers to Marlborough's and hardly inferior to Marlborough's and Eugene's combined. Placing the elector of Bavaria, with Berwick to advise him, at the head of the small army of Alsace, he put his young grandson and heir, the duke of Burgundy, at the head of the great army which assembled at Valenciennes, and gave him Vendome as mentor. But the prince was pious, mild-mannered, unambitious of military glory and also obstinate, and to unite him with the fiery, loose-living and daring Vendome, was, as Saint-Simon says, " mixing fire and water." At the end of May operations began. Vendome advanced to engage Marlborough before Eugene, whose purpose had become known, should join him. As the French came on towards Brussels, Marlborough, who had concentrated at Hal,Rfell back by a forced march to Louvain. Vendome having thus won the first move, there was a pause and then the French suddenly swung round to the west, and began to overrun Flanders, where their agents had already won over many of the officials who had been installed by the allies since 1706. Ghent and Bruges surrendered at once, and to regain for King Philip all the country west of the Scheldt it only remained to take Oudenarde. On the day of the surrender of Ghent Marlborough was in pursuit, and one long forced 1 The Margrave Louis of Baden had died during the winter of 1706-1707. He was succeeded by the incompetent margrave of Bayreuth, who was soon displaced. This general's successor was the elector of Hanover, afterwards King George I. of England.march brought his army almost within striking distance of the receding enemy. But though Eugene himself had joined him, Eugene's army was still far behind, and the duke was stopped by demands for protection from the officials of Brussels. Vendome soon moved on Oudenarde. But scarcely had he begun this investment when Marlborough was upon him. The duke discussed the situation with Eugene, who had placed himself under his friend's orders. Marlborough was half inclined—another general would have been resolved—to wait for Eugene's troops before giving battle, for he knew that Vendome was no ordinary opponent, but Eugene counselled immediate action lest the French should escape, and relying on his own skill and on the well-known disunion in the French headquarters, Marlborough went forward. As he approached, the French gave up the siege of Oudenarde and took up a position at Gavre, 7 M. lower down the Scheldt, so as to be able to act Oudenarde. towards either Ghent or Oudenarde. Marlborough's advanced guard, boldly handled by Cadogan, slipped in between Gavre and Oudenarde. At once the dissensions in the French headquarters became flagrant. Vendome began to place part of the army in position along the river while the duke of Burgundy was posting the rest much farther back as another line of defence. Cadogan was thus able to destroy the few isolated troops on the river. Thereupon Vendome proposed to the duke to advance and to destroy Cadogan before the main body of the allies came up, but the young prince's hesitations allowed the chance to pass. He then proposed a retreat on Ghent. " It is too late," replied Vendome, and formed up the army for battle as best he could. The allied main body, marching with all speed, crossed the Scheldt at all hazards and joined Cadogan. In the encounter-battle which followed (see OUDENAxpE) Marlborough separated, cut off and destroyed the French right wing. The French re-treated in disorder on Ghent (July 11) with a loss of 15,000 men. Nevertheless Oudenarde was in no way decisive, and for the rest of the campaign the two armies wandered to and fro in the usual way. Berwick, recalled from Alsace, manoeuvred about Douay, while Vendome remained near Ghent, and between Siege of them Marlborough's and Eugene's armies devoted Lille. themselves to the siege of Lille. In this town, one of Vauban's masterpieces of fortification, the old Marshal Boufllers had under-taken the defence, and it offered a long and unusually gallant resistance to Eugene's army. Marlborough covgred the siege. Vendome manoeuvred gradually round and joined Berwick, but though 90,000 and later 120,000 strong, they did not attack him. Berwick was a new element of dissension in the distracted headquarters, and they limited their efforts first to attempting to intercept a hugh convoy of artillery and stores that the allies brought up from Brussels for the siege,2 and secondly to destroy another convoy that was brought up from Ostend by the General Webb known to readers of Esmond. The futile attack upon the second convoy is known as the action of Wynendael (Sept. 28). The only other incident of the campaign in the open was an unsuccessful raid on Brussels by a small corps under the elector of Bavaria from the Moselle via Namur. On the 8th of December the brave old marshal surrendered, Eugene complimenting him by allowing him to dictate the terms of capitulation. Ghent and Bruges were retaken by the allies without difficulty, and, to add to the disasters of Oudenarde and Lille, a terrible winter almost completed the ruin of France. In despair Louis negotiated for peace, but the coalition offered such humiliating terms that not only the king, but—what in the 18th century was a rare and memorable thing—his people also, resolved to fight to the end. The ruinous winter gave force to the spirit of defence, for fear of starvation, inducing something akin to the courage of despair, brought tens of thousands of recruits to the colours. Of the three invasions of France attempted in this memorable year two were insignificant. On the Rhine the elector of "- An excellent illustration of 18th century views on war is afforded by the fact that the completely successful defence of this convoy was regarded by his contemporaries as Marlborough's greatest triumph. Hanover (King George I.) was held in check by the duc d'Harcourt on the Lauter and finally retired to the lines of Stoll- hofen, while a smaller allied corps under the imperialist general Count Mercy was defeated with heavy loss by Harcourt's second in command, Du Bourg, at Rumersheim in Upper Alsace (Aug. 26). On the Alpine frontier Berwick, abandoning the fashionable method of " lines," pre- pared a remarkable system of mobile defence pivoted on Briancon, on which Victor Amadeus's feeble attacks made no impression. These affairs were little more than diversions. The main, indeed the only, attack was Marlborough's and Eugene's, and the Malplaquet campaign is one of the few episodes of 18th century warfare that retain a living and passionate interest. Long before this Marlborough had proposed to dash straight forward into France, masking the fortresses, but this scheme was too bold even for Eugene, who preferred to reduce the strong places before going on. Lille having been successfully besieged, Tournai was the next objective, and--while Villars and his lieutenants Montesquiou and Albergotti lay inactive in their entrenchments at Bethune, Douai and Denain on the Scheldt, training their thousands of recruits and suffering severely from the famine that followed upon this bad winter—the allies sud- denly and secretly left their camps before Lille as if for an attack on the Douai lines (June 26-27). But before noon on the 27th they had invested Tournai. A few days afterwards their siege guns came up from Menin by water (down the Lys and up the Scheldt) and the siege was pressed with intense vigour. But it was the 3rd of September before the citadel capitulated. Then Marl- borough, free to move again, transferred his army secretly and by degrees to the river Haine, beyond Villars's right. East of St Ghislain Villars's long lines of earthworks were but thinly held, and after a march of 50 M. in 56 hours through rain-sodden country, the allied advanced guard passed through them un- opposed (Sept. 6th). Mons, too, was weakly held, and Marl- borough hoped by the rapidity of his operations to take it before Villars could interrupt him. Based on Mons and Brussels, he could then, leaving the maze of fortresses in the Arras-Valen- ciennes region to his right, push on (as eighty years afterwards Coburg attempted to push on) straight to the heart of France. But Villars also moved quickly, and his eager army was roused to enthusiasm by the arrival of Marshal Boufflers, who, senior as he was to Villars, had come forward again at the moment of danger to serve as his second in command. Thinking that the allies were somewhat farther to the east than they were in fact, the French marshal marched secretly, screened by the broken and wooded ground to the south of the fortress, and occupied the gap of Aulnois-Malplaquet (Sept. 9), one of the two 1 practicable passages, where he set to work feverishly to entrench himself. Marlborough at once realized what had happened, and giving up the siege of Mons brought his army to the south-east of the place. Preparing, as at Oudenarde, to attack as rapidly as his brigades came on the scene, he cannon- aded the French working parties and drew the return fire of all Villars's guns. At this crisis the duke submitted the question of battle—unwillingly, as one may imagine—to a council of war, and Eugene himself was opposed to fighting an improvised battle when so much was at stake. Others thought the capture of the little fortress of St Ghislain was the best solution of the problem, and it was not until the 11th that the allies delivered their attack Malplaquet. on the now thoroughly entrenched position of the French. The battle of Malplaquet (q.v.) was by far the most desperately contested of the war. In the end Boufflers, who took command when Villars was wounded, acknowledged defeat and drew off in good order, the left to Valenciennes, the right to Bavay and Le Quesnoy. Eugene was wounded, and Marlborough, after the most terrible experience in any soldier's lifetime, had only enough energy remaining to take Mons before he retired into winter quarters. The loss of the French is given variously as 7000 and 12,000. The allies sacrificed no less, probably more, than 20,000 men, and if the English and Austrian survivors could count themselves the bravest soldiers alive, one 'The other, scarcely less celebrated, is that of Jemappes. considerable part of the allied army at least, the Dutch contingent, was ruined for ever. Even at Fontenoy, thirty-six years later, the memory of Malplaquet made them faint-hearted. From his bed the wounded Villars wrote triumphantly to Louis: " If God gives us another defeat like this, your majesty's enemies will be destroyed." In 1710 Villars lay entrenched behind a new series of lines, which he called Ne plus ultra and which extended from Valenciennes to the sea. Marlborough made no attempt Campaign to invade France from the side of Mons, for Villars at of/71o. the head of the army which had been through the ordeal of Malplaquet was too terrible an opponent to pass by with impunity. In England, too, the anti-Marlborough party was gaining the upper hand in the queen's council. So Marl-borough took no risks, and returning to the Lille side, captured Douai (June 26) and Bethune (Aug. 26). No attack was attempted upon the lines. In Dauphine, Berwick again repulsed the Austrians and Piedmontese. 1711 was Marlborough's last campaign, and it was remarkable for the capture of the Ne plus ultra lines by manoeuvres that must be recorded as being the ne plus ultra of the 18th-century way of making war by stratagem. In May the sudden death of the emperor completely altered the political outlook, for his successor Charles was the coalition's claimant to the throne of Spain, and those who were fighting for the " balance of power " could no more tolerate a new Charles V. than they could see Louis XIV. become a Charlemagne. Before the allies could agree upon any concerted action, Eugene's army had departed for Germany, and Marlborough alone was left to face Villars's great army. But in pursuance of the policy of passive endurance the marshal remained on the defensive behind the lines, and Marlborough determined to dislodge him. What force could not achieve, the duke trusted to obtain by ruse. The lines extended from the sea along the Canche, thence to Arras, and along the Sensee to Bouchain on the Scheldt. Marlborough held Lille, Tournai, Bethune and, in front of these places, Douai, while Villars's strong places, other than those in the lines, were Valenciennes, Conde, Le Quesnoy, &c. As the western part of the lines, The Ne Plus besides being strong, were worthless from the ultra Lines. invaders' point of view because their capture could not lead to anything, Marlborough determined to pass the barrier between Arras and Bouchain. Here the front was difficult of access, because of the inundations and swamps of the Sensee valley, but two causeways crossed this valley at Arleux and Aubanchoeil-au-Bac respectively. On the 6th of July Marl-borough, who had encamped in the plain of Lens, sent a detachment to capture Arleux. He then marched away to the west as if to attack the lines between Arras and the headwaters of the Canche. Villars followed suit, but left a corps behind, as Marlborough had expected and desired, to retake Arleux. The commander of the garrison then sent urgent messages to say that he could not hold out, and Marlborough sent off Cadogan to relieve him. Cadogan, the only officer in the army in the duke's confidence, moved slowly, and the garrison had to surrender (July 22). Villars razed the defences of Arleux. The plot of the comedy now thickened. Marlborough lost his usual serenity, and behaved in so eccentric a manner that his own army thought him mad. He sent off one part of his forces to Bethune, another back to Douai, and ordered the small remainder to attack the lines between the Canche and Arras, where, as every one knew, Villars's whole army was massed. Mad. On the 24th of August he personally reconnoitred borough's the lines with a large staff, and calmly gave his Manoeuvre. generals instructions for the lines to be stormed. But Cadogan was hastening to give the duke's real orders to the corps at Bethune and Douai. In the night of the 4th-5th of August the main army set out for Aubanchoeil-au-Bac, at the highest possible speed. The Scarpe was crossed, the Bethune column came in punctually, `and the word was passed down the ranks that Cadogan had crossed the lines at Arleux. Thereupon the pace was increased, though thousands of the infantry fell out and scores died from exhaustion. Five hours ahead of the French Campaign of 1709. army and level in the race with Villars and the cavalry, the red-coats crossed the rivers at Arleux, while Marlborough and the horse hurried on to Aubanchoeil-au-Bac, crossed there and turned back along the Sensee to meet the French squadrons. The army reassembled between Aubanchoeil-au-Bac and Cambrai, and its leader, declining Villars's offer of a battle in front of Cambrai, manceuvred still farther to the east and invested Bouchain. The siege, covered by a strong " line of circumvallation " which Villars did not attempt to attack, ended with the surrender of the place on the 13th of September, and so terminated a series of manoeuvres which to the modern mind is so extraordinary as to be almost incredible. In December of this year, his party opponents in England being now triumphant, the man who was so consummate a master both of the 18th-century and the Ramillies-Oudenarde methods of making war was dismissed the service in disgrace. In June 1712 the British contingent, under the duke of Ormonde, withdrew from the Low Countries, the discontent of the men at Marlborough's disgrace breaking out in open mutiny, and thus ignominiously ended the career of the army of Blenheim and Malplaquet. The coalition practically dissolved. But Holland and Austria determined to make one last effort to impose their own terms on Louis. Eugene's army, which had been used in 1711 to influence the imperial election instead of to beat Villars, was brought back to the Low Countries. Reading the meaning of Marlborough's fall, he quietly made preparations to take over the various allied contingents into Imperial or Dutch pay. Thus when England seceded, Ormonde only marched away with some 12,00o sullen men, and over roo,000 remained with the prince. Misfortunes at Versailles helped Eugene in his first operations, for three members of Louis's family died within a week and all was in confusion, not to speak of the terrible misery that prevailed in the country. But the old king's courage rose with the danger and-hetold Villars that if the army were beaten he would himself join it and share in its fate. Villars, though suffering still from his Malplaquet wound, took command on the loth of April, and spun out time on the defensive until the end of May, when Ormonde's contingent withdrew. Eugene, apparently with the intention of regaining the Mons line of operations, as the defection of England had made further operations near the sea unprofitable, neglected to besiege, not only Arras, but Valenciennes and Conde as well, and, based temporarily on Douai and Marchiennes and Bouchain he took Le Quesnoy (July 4) and moved thence on to Landrecies, which was closely invested. Then followed the last serious fight of the war, the battle of Denain, which saved the French monarch and completed the disintegration of the coalition. In order to protect his camps around Landrecies, Prince Eugene constructed the usual lines of circumvallation with such speed that Villars, on coming up, found that they were too formidable to attack. Next, in order to guard the movements of his convoys between Marchiennes-on-Scarpe and the front against attacks from Cambrai or Valenciennes, he hedged in the route on both sides with continuous lines of breastworks, to the defence of which he assigned his Dutch corps. Villars anxiously looked out for an opportunity of breaking these modern " long walls." At Denain, the besiegers' route crossed the Scheldt. From this point to the front, streams and other Denala. obstacles reinforced the defence, but the marshal was told by a country priest that the lines were assailable north of Denain, and resolved to attack them there. The enterprise, like Marlborough's forcing of the 11 %e plus ultra lines, involved an extraordinary combination of resolution and skill—i.e. force and fraud—for the point of attack was far away and the opposing army almost within cannon-shot. Some days were spent by Villars in deceiving Eugene and his own army as well, as to his real intentions, and by various feints Eugene was induced to mass his main body about Landrecies and Le Quesnoy on the south side of the Scheldt. Then on the night of the 23rd of July the French army moved off silently, with its bridging train in the vanguard and cavalry posted everywhere along itsright flank to conceal the march. By 9 a.m. on the 24th Villars's army had completely deployed on the north bank of the Scheldt. Eugene himself saw them and galloped away to bring up his army from Landrecies. But, long before it arrived, Villars's troops, without wasting precious moments in formal preparations, stormed the lines. The Dutch—spiritless since Malplaquet—were huddled into the narrow avenue between the two entrenchments and forced back on Denain. Their generals were taken. The broken mob of fugitives proved too heavy a load for the bridges at Denain, and many were drowned, while the rest, pinned against the bank of the now impassable river, tamely surrendered. Eugene arrived on the other bank with some brigades of the imperial infantry, but after losing heavily gave up the attempt to reopen the passage. Villars followed up his victory at once. Montesquiou captured Marchiennes and Albergotti St Amand, and in these places all Eugene's reserve stores, pontoons and guns fell into the hands of the French. On the 2nd of August Eugene broke up the siege of Landrecies and retreated by a roundabout route to Mons, while Villars's lieutenants retook Douai and Bouchain (September-October). Before the next campaign opened the treaty of Utrecht had been signed, and although the emperor continued the struggle alone for another year, the enfeebled combatants were content to accept Villars's captures of Landau (July 22, 1713) and Freiburg (Nov. 21) as decisive. The treaty of Rastatt, between Austria and France, was signed on the 7th of March 1714, Eugene and Villars being the negotiators. See J. W. Fortescue,His'. British Army, vol. i. (London, r899) ; lives of Marlborough; the Austrian official Feldzuge des Prinzen Eugen (Vienna, 1871–1892); Roder v. Diersburg's Markgraf Ludwig von Baden (Karlsruhe, 1850); Arneth's Prinz Eugen; Memoiree militaires relatifs a in succession d'Espagne (1833; ed. De Vault); detailed histories of the French army, and monographs in the French general staff's Revue d'histoire. (C. F. A.)
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