Imágenes de páginas

1708. by the uth of November. The besiegers carried on their happroaches by the fap; and, the besieged sparing their small

stock of ammunition, as well as the besiegers, the attack of that fortress was maintained with considerable loss. On the 13th, the confederates lodged themselves by the palisadoes of the first covered way; and the next day they made themselves masters of the whole counterscarp, except two places of arms, which the enemy abandoned the 15th. The allies erected two batteries on that work, but did not design to play their artillery from thence, till they had lodged themselves on the second counterscarp: For which purpose, they prepared a great quantity of fascines, continued to drain the ditch, made several openings into it, passed the same the 17th in the night, and lodged themselves on the glacis of the fecond covered way, without any loss. Four days before the prince d'Auvergne was detached from la Baffeé, to attack the fort St. Venant upon the Lys, on the frontiers of Artois, in which the enemy had posted a hundred men, who, upon the approach of that prince, made only one discharge, and retired towards Aire.

While the fiege of the citadel of Lisle was carrying on with all the vigour that is confistent with the cautious method of fapping, both out of a just regard for the lives of valiant men, who had already gone through incredible fatigue and innumerable dangers, and for want of sufficient stores of ammunition; the enemy thought to have taken fuch infallible measures for diftreffing the allies, as well by their inundations between Bruges and Newport, as by their intrenchments along the Scheld, that their public ministers in Rome and Venice boldly asserted, “ That the confederate army was so to cooped up, that they would soon either be famished, or

obliged to abandon Lisle.” But the two great confederate generals being indefatigably intent upon their proper business, the duke of Marlborough in providing corn out of the country of Artois, and the districts of Furnes and Dixmuyde ; and prince Eugene in inanaging what was sent him by the duke of Marlborough, both armies lived in parfimonious plenty ; and the siege of the citadel was carried on with all the suc. cefs, that could be expected,

The enemy opened a new scene; their parties made inof Bavaria's curlions into the district of Boiflcduc, burning and ravaging design upon Brutleis,

part of the open country; and, at the same time, the elecfor of Bavaria approached Brussels with a body of ten thoufand men. But the duke of Marlborough, having concer-, ted measures with prince Eugene to pass the Scheld, immedi


The elector

ately dispatched orders for the feveral. British and Dutch regi- 1708. ments to be transported from Ostend to Antwerp, and sent to monsieur Pafchal, the governor of Brussels, to affure him, that he would certainly come to his relief. Upon which encouragement, the states deputies resolved to stay in Brussels; and the vigorous measures, they took with the council of state and the governor, were very instrumental in the preservation of that important place. Nor were the states general lefs solicitous for Antwerp, whither they dispatched some of their own members, with general Fresheim, an experienced officer, and ordered troops to hasten thither from Naerden, Heusden, Gavre, and other places. On the 22d of November, N. S. the elector of Bavaria invested Brussels (o); and, the next day, sent a trumpeter, with a summons to general Paschal to surrender, in these terms: “ His electoral highness “ knowing, that the commandant is not in a condition to “ defend himself with the few troops he has; if he obliges “ his electoral highness to begin the attack, he shall have no “ capitulation for himself or his garrison. Let not the com(6 mandant fatter himself, that he can retire with his garri“ fon to Antwerp, if he delays to surrender; for he is to “ know, that he will soon find troops posted to hinder his 66 retreat." The governor, who had nine battalions and a thousand horse under him, returned an answer by the same trumpeter : “ That he was very unfortunate in not having the 6 honour to be known to his electoral highness; that he " durft assure him, he would do all that a man of honour

ought to do, and that he was fatisfied with the garrison.” The elector was not a little surpriz'd at this resolute answer : and, on the 26th of November, in the morning, the enemy began to fire from their batteries against the city (but with little fuccess) and in the evening, with their smali shot against the men in the outworks, and, about nine at night, they attacked the counterscarp with great fury, between the gates

(0) Brussels is a very fair, large, Marlborough. The elector made and noble city of the Low-Coun- several furious assaults upon it tries, the marquisate of the duke- during the fiege of Lisle, but dom of Brabant in the quarter the duke ol Marlborough, pasof Brussels, subject to the queen fing the Scheld, made him preof Hungary, and the seat of her cipitately quit the fiege. It is chief governor for these parts. pleasantly seated on the river It was abandoned by the French Senne, twenty-four miles south immediately after the memorable of Antwerp, thirty south-east of battle of Ramillies, and made Ghent, and ninety-fix south of its submission to the duke of Amsterdam.

1708. of Louvain and Namur. The fire was terrible on botit a fides, and lasted till five the next morning ; during which

time the enemy made nine attacks, and at last lodged themselves on the glacis of the counterscarp. But about fix o'clock the besieged made a sally from the covered way sword in hand, with such success, that the enemy were driven out of their works, after a most obstinate and bloody engagement. The action ceafed the 27th, about ten in the morning, and the allies expected to be attacked a second time at night; for their spies unanimously reported, that the enemy had a design, not only to make a general assault, but would also fire with red-hot bullets, to excite the burghers to fedition ; upon which the besieged disposed all things as well as possible for resisting the enemy's attacks. But in the afternoon, instead of renewing the engagement, the elector of Bavaria demanded a suspension of arms, in order, as he pretended, to bury the dead, and draw off the wounded ; which proved but a stratagem to raise the fiege with less disadvantage. For upon the arrival of two couriers from Mons, with intelligence, that the duke of Marlborough and prince Eugene had passed the Scheld, in order to relieve Brussels ; his electoral highness fent away his baggage, and in the night marched off with his troops, without sound of trumpet or beat of drum, and with such precipitation, that the enemy left in their camp twelve pieces of cannon nailed up, two large mortars, and about twenty barrels of powder. They also lest about eight hundred men wounded in the adjacent villages; and the dragoons and husfars, who, the next morning, went out in pursuit of the enemy, brought in a great many prisoners, and some baggage. So that it was computed, that, what with their killed, wounded, prisoners, or deferters, this unsuccessful expedition cost them above three thousand men; whereas the loss of the allies did not amount to above five or fix hundred killed or wounded.

For this brave and resolute defence of the city of Brussels, lieutenant-general Paschal was justly advanced by king Charles III, to the dignity of a marquis. However, it had not been possible for that general to defend himself much longer, with a garrison of scarce five thousand men, in so large and unfortified a place. The preservation of Bruffels was therefore principally owing to the duke of Marlborough and prince Eugene, who, with incredible secrecy and expedition, passed the Scheld the 27th of November in the morning, with very little opposition; the French, in a panic fear, abandoning those lines and intrenchments, which they had


been cafting up for three months past. This affair was 1708. managed with so much precaution, as redounded greatly to the reputation of the confederate generals. For the duke of Marlborough being early acquainted with the extremity, which the city of Brussels was in, recalled the troops, which were in the district of Furnes, commanded by lieutenantgeneral Fagel, which joined the army at Rousselaer on the 22d, and also the detachment, which was at Lens and la Basseé. The same day they received advice, that the dam which the enemy had been making near Gavre, to stop the course of the Scheld, was broke and carried away by the rapidity of the stream, which very much facilitated their pasfing that river. The army arrived the 25th of Harlebeck, and continued there till four in the afternoon, for giving time to prince Eugene to come up to the place appointed.

The measures were concerted thus : that prince Eugene's Measures army should pass the river between Essenaffe and Hauterive ; concerted for the duke of Marlborough and count Tilly at Kerkhoven; and pafling the

Scheld, count Lottum, with the earl of Orkney, between Gavre and Asperon. Major-general Cadogan, and brigadier Evans, were sent before to lay the pontoons over the Scheld, who not only performed orders, but passed the river, and posted themselves and their detachment on the other fide, and put to flight a body of the French, which lay intrenched thereabouts. The confederate troops where therefore ordered to march with all possible expedition, and, as they passed the river, they formed themselves in order of battle. 'Prince Eugene, having advice of these proceedings, parfed directly over the river, and joined the duke of Marlborough at Kerkhoven. Upon their conjunction, they advanced to Berchem, in order to dislodge the enemy from that post; but monsieur Souteron, who commanded there, retired with the utmost precipitation. The Dutch cavalry perfued them, and happened to fall in with a party of grenadiers, who had lined some hedges and ditches, in order to secure the retreat of the reft. In this action the allies had about fixty men either ķilled or wounded; among the latter brigadier Baldwin, in the service of the states, was shot through the body; and the earl of Albemarle, prince William of Heffe, and count Maurice of Nassau, had their horses killed under them. The confederates pursued the enemy till it was dark, and incamped on the hills near Oudenard, to the joy of the whole army, who expected to have met with great difficulties in passing the Scheld, and to the surprize of the generals themselves, who


[ocr errors]

1708. could not have imagined, that the enemy would have so eaf

ly abandoned posts so advantageous to nature, and which they had fortified with so much application and labour. In the several pursuits, the confederate troops took great part of the enemy's baggage, their bread-waggons, several colours, standards, and two or three pair of kettle-drums, and killed and made prisoners near a thousand men (p).

The duke of Marlborough, upon his arrival at Oudenard, took the necessary measures for advancing towards Brussels, and, in his march, he was informed at Aloft, and the elector of Bavaria, upon the first notice of the passage of the Scheld, had quited the fiege with great precipitation, leaving all his artillery and wounded men behind him. The duke came to Brussels on the 29th of November in the morning, to take proper measures for sending a supyly of ammunition and stores to the liege of the citadel of Lisle, and to thank the garrison of Brussels for their vigorous defence. He was received with great acclamations of joy, and complimented by the states of Brabant, and the magistrates of the city, upon their deliverance, which they justly attributed to his

(p) Burnet says, The duke of without offering to make the least Marlborough, hearing the duke resistance; and they had drawn pf Bavaria was going to attack off their cannon the day before. Brussels, made a sudden motion. Our men were very weary with towards the Scheld: but, to de- the night's march, so they could ceive the enemy, it was given not pursue ; for the horse were out, that he designed to march not come up, nor did the garridirectly towards Ghent, and this son of Oudenard fally out; yet was believed by his whole army, they took a thousand prisoners. and it was probably carried to Whether the notice of the feint, the enemy; for they seemed that the duke of Marlborough to have no notice nor appre- gave out of his design on Ghent, henfion of his design on the occafioned the French drawing Scheld : he advanced towards it off their cannon, and their being in the night, and marched with so secure, that they seemed to the foot very quick, leaving the have no apprehensions of his horse to come up with the artil true design, was not yet certainlery: the lines were so strong, that ly known: but the abandoning it was expected, that, in the break- those lines, on which they had ing through them, there must been working for many weeks, liave been a very hot action : was a surprize to all the world : some of the general officers told their counsels seem'd to be weak, me, that they reckoned it would and the execution of them was have cost them at least ten thou- worse; so they, who were so fand men; but to their great long the terror, were now besurprize, as soon as they passed come the fcorn of the world. che river, the French ran away


« AnteriorContinuar »