1759 - Allied counter-offensive in Western Germany

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1759 - Allied counter-offensive in Western Germany

The campaign lasted from August 1759 to January 1760


General situation

The crushing defeat inflicted by Ferdinand of Brunswick to the Marquis de Contades on August 1, 1759 at the Battle of Minden put a stop to the French offensive in West Germany. Since the Hereditary Prince had already cut the line of communication from Minden to Paderborn, where the French had considerable magazines, the French army was forced to retreat through countries where it had no subsistence.

The Allies now had the initiative and proceeded to a general counter-offensive in West Germany.

Allied Advance in Hesse

Map of Part of Hesse-Kassel - Source: Fortescue J. W., "A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899"

On August 1 at 4:00 p.m., the French army started to pass the Weser.

In the night of August 1 to 2, after burning its two wooden bridges on the Weser, the French army bivouacked at Bückeburg.

On August 2

  • Allies
    • At 6:00 a.m., the Allied army deployed on the battlefield of Minden for rejoicing and did not undertake any serious pursuit.
    • At 9:00 a.m., Ferdinand summoned the town of Minden whose garrison (about 2,500 regulars and 300 light troops under Brigadier Dagien) surrendered at noon, becoming prisoners. The French had also left more than 1,500 wounded at Minden.
    • At 6:00 p.m., there was a feu de joie.
    • The Hereditary Prince, who had taken position at Quernheim near Kirchlengern after his victory at Gohfeld, received contradictory reports on the movements of French army and he returned to Gohfeld.
  • French
    • Contades’ Army started its retreat towards Einbeck despite the proposal of the Duc de Broglie to cross the Weser above Hameln and to march towards Paderborn to make a junction with d'Armentières' Corps.
    • D’Armentières, who was blockading Lippstadt, received Contades’ orders to send his artillery park, 10 bns and 1 dragoon rgt back to Wesel and Düsseldorf, and to make a junction with the main army with the rest of his corps.
    • A French detachment, which was posted at Schwöbber to observe the Fortress of Hameln, retired towards Kassel.
    • In the evening, Contades’ Army, hindered by its artillery park and numerous small baggage, finally reached Kleinen-Bremen on the northern slopes of the Weser Mountains, where it spent the night under arms.

On August 3

  • Allies
  • French
    • Lieutenant-General Saint-Germain was sent forward to Hameln with 3 infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades, to screen the march of the main French army as it crossed the region. Lieutenant-General von Brunck had sent an Allied detachment of 600 men with 2 guns under Colonel von Fersen to Holtenden, north of Hameln, to harass the French. However, after a brief engagement, Fersen retired in Hameln.
    • Contades' main army crossed the Weser Mountains (Porta Westfalica) and encamped near Hessisch-Oldendorf. The Duc de Broglie covered the retreat with the Reserve, frequently skirmishing with the Hanoverian hussars and jägers.
    • The French heavy baggage retired from Rehme by way of Lemgo. Between Detmold and Billerbeck, an Allied detachment (150 dragoons, 250 foot jägers, 100 mounted jägers and 200 men of the Stockhausen Freikorps) under Lieutenant-Colonel von Freytag managed to capture part of it, including the baggage of Maréchal de Contades along with several of his letters. The rest of the convoy reached Detmold where it halted and took refuge in the castle.

On August 4

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand’s Army marched from Minden to Gohfeld.
    • The Hereditary Prince marched to Rinteln.
    • Freytag marched in the direction of the Weser, as instructed by the Hereditary Prince, and crossed the river near Polle, north of Holzminden to follow, like the other Allied light troops, the retiring French army.
  • French
    • The main French army rested for a day near Hessisch-Oldendorf, waiting for the artillery park to catch up.
    • Saint-Germain with 3 infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades supported by Broglie's Corps covered the army in the direction of Hameln, skirmishing with Allied light troops.
    • The French did not realise that their line of retreat from Detmold was now open and the bulk of their heavy baggage remained in Detmold. The commander of the convoy asked d’Armentières for help.
    • D'Armentières' Corps (19 bns, 18 sqns) lifted the siege of Lippstadt. D'Armentières sent away his heavy artillery and baggage to the Lower Rhine escorted by a detachment of 10 bns destined to reinforce the garrisons of Wesel and Düsseldorf, and set off with the rest of his troops through Paderborn, where he joined M. de Chevreuse. The latter had previously retired from Bielefeld to Delbrück, retiring his sick and his supply of flour. When Allied advanced parties had showed up at Herford, Chevreuse had sent all his artillery to the Lower Rhine along with a detachment of 10 bns and 1 dragoon rgt under M. de Maupéou.
    • M. de Castellas, commanding at Wesel, placed 1 bn in Geldern and Cologne and formed a camp at Xanten.

On August 5

  • Allies
    • The main army marched from Gohfeld to Herford, threatening Contades to arrive ahead of him at Münden and Kassel.
    • The Hereditary Prince reached Hameln around 5:00 p.m. and crossed the Weser with 16 bns and 23 sqns (about 15,000 men), including most of the light troops of the army to pursue the French army retiring towards Hesse.
    • The Prussian Finckenstein Dragoons, along with 400 grenadiers belonging to Urff’s detachment, appeared before Detmold, while the rest of the detachment reached Lemgo.
  • French
    • Contades sent Broglie forward with the Reserve (26 bns and 36 sqns) by way of Afferde, Harderode and Halle to cover the march of the army between Einbeck and Göttingen, to keep the difficult crossing of the Weser at Münden open and to protect Kassel where the French had their main magazines.
    • Contades’ main army reached the vicinity of Bisperode.
    • Saint-Germain’s Corps occupied the heights near Hastenbeck.
    • D'Armentières' Corps continued his march towards Warburg.

On August 6

  • Allies
    • The main army marched from Herford to Bielefeld.
    • When Urff’s detachment appeared before Detmold, the part of the French baggage train and the 600 men who escorted it, which had taken refuge in the castle, surrendered to the Allies. The booty included the baggage and horses of Prince Xavier, as well as the the Saxon military chest.
  • French
    • Contades' main army marched to Eschershausen.

On August 7

  • French
    • Contades arrived at Oldendorf (present-day Stadtoldendorf) with the remnants of his army.
    • D'Armentières arrived at Warburg and encamped at Oberlistingen. He took possession of a few passes in the country of Waldeck, including the pass of Warburg on the Diemel.
    • The French garrisons of Münster, Dülmen and Warendorf destroyed the magazines in these places and retired towards the Rhine.
  • Allies
    • Colonel Boyd was sent to Münster with a party of regulars, heavy artillery and mortars.
    • The 2 Hanoverian grenadier bns, which had previously been posted on the eastern bank of the Weser, joined Urff’s detachment at Stukenbrock, bringing it to 7 grenadier bns and 20 sqns.

On the night of August 7 to 8, the French fought a rearguard action against Allied light troops near Einbeck.

On August 8

  • Allies
    • The main army marched to Stukenbrock.
  • French
    • Contades' main army marched to Einbeck.

On August 9

  • Allies
    • The main army marched to Paderborn where it took 400 prisoners. The Allied managed to capture the magazines of Osnabrück, Bielefeld and Paderborn intact.
    • Ferdinand sent detachments to recapture the passage of the Diemel at Warburg.
    • Urff’s detachment joined the main army at Paderborn.
  • French
    • Contades' main army marched to Parensen.
    • Broglie's Reserve reached Dransfeld. After brief skirmishes, Broglie made himself master of the crossing of the Weser at Münden.
Map of the engagement near Dransfeld, on August 10, 1759
Copyright: Dinos Antoniadis
Key to the map:
On August 10, the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick attacked the rearguard of the French army, which was retreating through the defiles near Oberscheden between Dransfeld and Münden. The Hereditary Prince marched by way of Harste and Batteroda, and reached the Batteroder Berg.
A French army retiring.
B Advance of the Hereditary Prince from the Batteroder Berg.
C Hill occupied since the previous evening by French light troops and hussars with a battery of 10 cannon. It was attacked by Allied jägers and dragoons.
D Hill occupied by French dragoons and volunteers with a battery of 6 cannon.
E Hill occupied by French troops with a battery of 3 cannon.
F Hanoverian hussars and jägers.
G Attack of the Hanoverian hussars and jägers, who captured the battery of 3 cannon.
H Allied jägers with Hanoverian and Prussian hussars, who attacked the French rearguard.
I Saint-Germain's rearguard.

On August 10

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince advanced against Saint-Germain's Corps at Dransfeld.
  • French
    • Contades reached the defiles of Münden, passed the Werra and marched to Lutterberg.
    • Saint-Germain had taken post at Dransfeld to protect the passage of the French army.
  • Engagement near Dransfeld
    • Allied troops appearing on the heights, Saint-Germain formed 2 rearguard detachment:
    • The Allies first moved against the rightmost detachment but Picardie and Belzunce formed in battle at the head of the defile, putting a stop to the Allied advance.
    • The Allies then moved against Saint-Germain's Corps but the Auvergne and Aquitaine brigades attacked them and drove them back. M. de Muret, who was hidden with volunteers in the woods on their flank, pursued them for 30 minutes.
    • Saint-Germain crossed the Weser on the following night.

On August 11

  • Allies
    • The main army marched from Paderborn to Dalheim.
    • The Duke of Holstein reached Stadtberg (present-day Marsberg on the Diemel River) with his detachment (Finckenstein Dragoons, Holstein-Gottorp Dragoons, Pruschenk Cavalry, Hessian Grenadiers (1 bn), Prinz Wilhelm Infantry (1 bn), Hessian Leib-Regiment (1 bn), Mansbach Infantry (1 bn)).
    • Major-General von Scheiter advanced with his detachment (7 converged grenadier bns, Hessian Leib Dragoons) to Hardehausen, on the road leading from Paderborn to Warburg across the Weser.
    • Colonel Boyd arrived from Lippstadt before Münster with 3 Hanoverian bns with 6 heavy artillery pieces. He summoned M. de Gayon, the French commander of the place and, on his refusal, erected some batteries and started the bombardment of the place. Boyd was later reinforced by 3 bns from Lippstadt. However, his force was not sufficient to invest the place and he finally retired to Lippstadt.
    • The Allies captured a large field hospital at Paderborn.
  • French
    • Contades reached the neighbourhood of Kassel, passed the Fulda and encamped on its left bank while Saint-Germain’s Corps remained at Lutterberg and Fischer's corps on the Upper Werra.
    • Broglie's Reserve encamped at Obervellmar.
    • The French garrison of Münster had evacuated the city, but soon reoccupied it.

During their retreat the French had been constantly harassed by the corps under the command of the Hereditary Prince. He had overtaken their rear-guard at Einbeck and captured many prisoners and much spoil. However, he had failed to stop the retreat of the main body and Contades had been able to successfully bring his troops back to Kassel, half starved, worn out by hard marching and utterly demoralized by indiscipline and pillage. Desertion had been very high among the Saxon troops and the German regiments in the French service. The Saxon contingent was sent to Hanau to recover.

Order of Battle
Deployment of the French army in West Germany by August 11 1759 .

On August 12

  • Allies
    • After 6 consecutive marches, the main army encamped at Stadtberg on the Diemel River.
  • French
    • Contades’ Army concentrated at Kassel.
    • Saint-Germain remained at Lutterberg.
    • D'Armentières marched from Warburg to Wolfhagen to cover the French left flank and protect communications with Fritzlar and Marburg.

By August 12, the French army in the region of Kassel numbered approx. 60,000 men, including d'Armentières' Corps. Part of the army was in thoroughly shattered conditions. The main body, under Contades consisted of 57 bns and 53 sqns and was encamped on the left bank of the Fulda near Wehlheiden, west of Kassel. Broglie was posted at Ober-Velmar with 22 bns and 35 sqns; and Saint-Germain, to Lutterberg with 12 bns and 16 sqns. D’Armentières covered the left flank near Wolfhagen with 19 bns and 28 sqns. His vanguard was near Volkmarsen.

On August 13

  • Allies
    • The main army crossed the Diemel near Stadtberg and encamped near Erlinghausen, in the country of Waldeck, in an attempt to gain the French left flank.
    • Major Friedrichs with his jägers captured the small French garrison of the Castle of Trendelburg on the Diemel.
    • The Hereditary Prince took possession of Münden and Witzenhausen.

In the night of August 13 to 14, the Hereditary Prince passed the Weser at Bursfelde near Herstelle, leaving his light troops on the Werra and marched towards Wolfhagen to join Ferdinand's main force in its attempt against d'Armentières.

On August 14

  • Allies
    • Holstein reached Frederinghausen, where he was reinforced by the troops who had previously been under General von Scheiter at Hardehausen.
    • Wangenheim’s Corps advanced on the road leading to Arolsen, as far as Massenhausen.
    • The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick reached Warburg.
    • Ferdinand was encamped Erlinghausen in front of Stadtberg.

On August 15

On August 16

  • Allies
    • The corps of the Hereditary Prince advanced to Volkmarsen.
    • The Duke of Holstein reached Korbach.
  • French
    • D'Armentières was ordered to stop at Ippinghausen, because Contades feared to be outflanked. Leaving M. de Chabo at Wolfhagen with the Légion Royale, d’Armentières established his camp between Balhorn and Altenstädt.

To force the French to evacuate Kassel, Ferdinand decided to drive d’Armentières out of Wolfhagen and to threaten the line of retreat of the French towards Warburg. The Hereditary Prince should advance from Volkmarsen and General von Wangenheim from Massenhausen by way of Arolsen. Both corps would then converge on Wolfhagen. Meanwhile, the Duke of Holstein would advance by way of Sachsenhausen towards Naumburg.

On August 17

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand was informed of the disastrous results of the Battle of Kunersdorf.
  • French
    • The French rgts sent to the rear arrived at Ziegenhain.
    • Broglie's Reserve marched to Breitenbach to support d'Armentières at Balhorn.
  • Confrontation near Balhorn
    • The Hereditary Prince marched upon d'Armentières' position, forcing the Volontaires de Flandre and the Volontaires de Haller, occupying advanced positions in front of Naumburg, to retire into the woods towards Fritzlar; and d'Armentières' Corps on Broglie's Reserve.
    • The II./Grenadiers Royaux de Narbonne under Lieutenant-Colonel de Flavigny, which had been sent to Naumburg to support the French light troops, were forced to surrender to the Duke of Holstein.
    • In the evening, Contades ordered d'Armentières and Broglie to retire to Fritzlar by the defiles of Breitenbach and Netze. The united corps of Broglie and d'Armentières totalled 35 bns and 50 sqns.
    • The various Allied columns had not proceeded according to plan and d'Armentières had enough time to retire without great losses.
    • When he reached Wolfhagen, the Hereditary Prince only met the French rearguard, which was already retreating.
    • The Hereditary Prince established himself at Wolfhagen and Holstein encamped on the heights of Naumburg.

On August 18

  • French
    • Seeing his communications with Friedberg and Frankfurt endangered, Contades evacuated Kassel as expected, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel de Villeterque to protect the sick and wounded (about 1,050 men) who could not be transported.
    • Contades retired in three columns by forced march, passed the Eder at Obermöllrich and Niedermöllrich and encamped in two lines near Zennern and the Castle of Weege.
    • The Légion Royale occupied Fritzlar.
    • The rearguard (3 infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades), under M. de Saint-Germain, remained on the left bank of the Eder.
    • As instructed by Contades, d'Armentières and Broglie retired to Fritzlar. D'Armentières encamped at Heimarshausen to the left of the Eder and linked his positions with Broglie's Corps blocking the road leading from Wildungen to Zwesten and Kerstenhausen.
  • Allies
    • The corps of the Hereditary Prince and of the Duke of Holstein followed the retiring French army.

On August 19

  • Allies
    • The Hanoverian Jägers under the command of Major Friedrichs summoned the garrison of Kassel (about 400 men) which soon surrendered as prisoners of war. In this town, the Allies also captured more than 1,050 sick and wounded and a large magazine.
    • The corps of the Hereditary Prince, which had been reinforced by Wangenheim’s Corps, reached Naumburg.
    • The Duke of Holstein advanced up to Züschen, in the direction of Fritzlar. His advanced detachments reached the Eder River.
    • Ferdinand, while still pursuing his march southward, detached Lieutenant-General von Imhoff with 5 bns (Alt-Zastrow, Rhoedern, Marschalk, Post and the Brunswicker Zastrow) and 6 sqns (Busche Dragoons, and 2 sqns of Hesse-Kassel Hussars) to recapture Münster.
  • French
    • The rgts sent to the rear reached Marburg.
    • Fischer's Corps sent detachments from Kloster-Haina towards Wildungen, Frankenau and Frankenberg.

On August 20

  • Allies
    • The main army encamped between Rhadern and Goddelsheim, near Korbach, after marching by Arolsen and Mengeringhausen in the previous days.
    • Allied reconnoitring parties were sent towards Frankenberg (500 foot and 30 horse), Oberorke and Niederorke.
    • In the afternoon, Ferdinand received a letter written by King Frederick at Reitwein on August 15, asking him to send a detachment towards Halle and Leipzig to cover Prussia against a potential incursion of the Reichsarmee. However, Ferdinand had already detached Imhoff to lay siege to Münster and considered that he could not weaken his army (approx. 47,000 men, excluding light troops) anymore. He could only detach some 450 men towards the Saale River.
    • The corps of the Hereditary Prince and of the Duke of Holstein effected a junction near Wildungen.
  • French
    • Contades' main army marched to Gilsa.
    • Broglie's Corps went to Halsdorf
    • D'Armentières' Corps marched to Gilserberg.

On August 21, Ferdinand marched from Korbach to Fürstenberg.

On August 22

  • Allies
    • The main army marched to Frankenberg.
    • The Hereditary Prince took post at Heina where he was joined by Holstein's and Wangenheim's corps.
  • French
    • Broglie's and d'Armentières' corps moved closer to Marburg.

On August 23

  • Allies
    • The main Allied army marched by way of Frankenberg to Münchhausen.
    • Lieutenant-Colonel von Freytag attacked the Castle of Ziegenhain with the entire Hanoverian Jägerkorps. The governor of the castle capitulated after a defence of an hour with the 400 men of the garrison, who were made prisoners of war. Freytag advanced towards Neustadt.
  • French
    • The main army arrived near Marburg, encamped behind the Ohm River and established its headquarters at Großseelheim with his left towards Marburg and d'Armentières' Corps further left behind the Lahn towards Goßfelden.
    • Broglie’s and Armentières’ corps retired towards Marburg and occupied the heights north of the city: Broglie near Cölbe and Armentières near Gossfelden. The Chasseurs de Fischer occupied an advance post near Wetter.
    • D’Armentières was then recalled to the Lower Rhine and his former corps was incorporated in Broglie’s own corps.

On August 24

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince and of the Duke of Holstein reached Albshausen and Wohra in the flank of the retiring French army.
    • Lieutenant-General von Imhoff personally arrived at Telgte, east of Münster, where the British Colonel Boyd was already posted with 3 bns (Wrede, Goldacker converged bn and Monroy converged bn), 200 picked cavalrymen and 160 Hessian Jägers. At Lippstadt, the Hessian Landgrenadierbataillon guarded 8 heavy artillery pieces.

On August 25

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince marched to Schönstadt, only 14 km from Ferdinand's positions at Münchhausen.
    • In Westphalia, Imhoff’s 5 bns and 6 sqns reached Telgte. Imhoff then sent detachments to Coesfeld and Dülmen to prevent any surprise attack coming from Wesel. With the rest of his siege corps, he took position east of Münster.
  • French
    • The Maréchal d'Estrées arrived at Großseelheim to arbitrate the conflict between Contades and Broglie, who accused each other for the defeat of Minden.
Voices from the Past
On August 26, 1759, soldiers of the Chasseurs de Fischer occupy Wetter

The city of Münster was only defended by General Gayon with 2 militia bns, 700 picked regular foot and 80 horse. However, the garrison had enough artillery and ammunition to sustain a siege. The defensive works of the place were also in good condition.

On August 26

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand sent the Hereditary Prince towards Todenhausen, Wangenheim towards Treisbach. The Duke of Holstein encamped near Wohra, south of Gemünden with 4 bns and the 2 Prussian dragoon rgts. Ruesch Hussars, Freytag Jägers, Stockhausen Freikorps and Trümbach Battalion were placed in observation along the Ohm River.
    • The Hereditary Prince advanced to Aumönau between Wetter and Biedenkopf.
    • In Westphalia, Imhoff made himself master of St. Mauritz, the southeastern suburb of Münster. The construction of trenches and batteries along the eastern side of Münster, which began soon after, progressed very slowly due to lack of material, persistent rain and sorties of the defenders.
  • French
    • Saint-Germain's Corps joined Broglie's Reserve.

By that date, the entire French army in Hesse amounted to 49,271 foot, 3,500 light troops, 10,154 horse (no more than 100 men per sqn) and 2,128 dragoons; in addition to 3 sqns of Gendarmerie de France and 6 severely depleted cavalry rgts.

On August 27

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand sent the Hereditary Prince and General Wangenheim to attack Fischer's Corps isolated at Oberwetter, a strong position in a peninsula on the Lahn.
  • French
    • The cavalry of Saint-Germain and Broglie was placed in second line under the command of M. de Chevreuse.
    • Contades detached d'Armentières to the Lower Rhine with 2 brigades and 16 guns. D'Armentières would then take command of a few regiments recently arrived from France at Wesel. The rest of d'Armentières' Corps was placed under the command of Broglie whose forces now amounted to 42 bns, 16 dragoon sqns and 35 pieces.

During the night of August 27 to 28, the Hereditary Prince and Wangenheim marched towards Broglie's positions at Oberwetter.

On August 28

  • Engagement of Oberwetter
    • In the morning, Wangenheim's troops managed to climb a steep height on the left flank and to launch a surprise attack on Fischer's Corps (about 2,000 men) at Oberwetter.
    • Most of Fischer's corps escaped across the Lahn River, but 50 men were killed and 350 were taken prisoners.
    • Colonels Harvey and Beckwith at the head of some British cavalry distinguished themselves in this action.
    • Fischer's Corps withdrew towards Marburg.
    • The Hereditary Prince then took position at Wetter, opposite Broglie's Corps. Meanwhile, Wangenheim’s Corps marched to Warzenbach.

On August 29

  • Allies
    • The main army marched from Münchhausen and encamped between Mellnau and Amönau near Wetter. The headquarters were established at Wetter. The main army would remain in these positions until September 10.
    • Ferdinand advanced Wangenheim’s Corps to Niederweimar.
    • In Westphalia, Imhoff opened the trenches in front of Münster.
  • French
    • Broglie’s isolated corps on the western bank of the Lahn was now dangerous and he retired behind the Lahn and marched towards Giessen, taking position between Cappel and Wolfshausen, while one of Saint-Germain's brigade was posted on the road of Kirchhain to maintain his communications with the main army. He also threw Fischer's Corps into Marburg.

In the last days of August, 18 heavy artillery pieces, destined to Imhoff’s siege corps at Münster, were escorted from Hameln by Fersen Infantry. With the arrival of this last unit, Imhoff would be at the head of 10 bns and 6 sqns. He reorganised his 6 Hanoverian bns to form 3 additional bns, for a total of 13 bns.

On August 30

By August 31, the French army counted 128 bns and 136 sqns in Germany:

  • d'Armentières' corps: 11 bns, 4 sqns
  • garrisons in Wetteravia: 15 bns, supported by 19 cavalry sqns
  • Fitzjames' Corps: 14 sqns
  • Andlau's Corps: 6 sqns
  • main army between Amöneburg and Marburg
    • Nicolaï's Corps (first line): 33 bns
    • Noailles' corps (second line): 37 bns
    • reserve of infantry, under M. de Saint-Pern: 11 bns, 19 sqns, 6 sqns of Bercheny Hussards
  • Duc de Brissac's corps: 14 sqns
  • Dumesnil's Corps: 8 sqns
  • Duc de Broglie's Reserve at Holzhausen: 18 bns, 31 sqns, 4 sqns of Royal-Nassau
  • reserve of cavalry, under M. de Poyanne: 18 sqns
  • reserve of dragoons, under the Duc de Chevreuse: 16 sqns
  • artillery under M. Pelletier: 3 bns
  • Chabot's Corps: 6 sqns of Turpin Hussards, Légion Royale, Volontaires de Flandre, Volontaires du Hainaut, Volontaires Étrangers, Volontaires du Dauphiné, Volontaires de Haller, Chasseurs de Fischer

N.B.: the Gendarmerie de France was so depleted that each squadron counted about 120 men.

By September 2, Ferdinand’ s main army comprised 28 bns and 40 sqns, for a total of 29,263 men; the corps of the Hereditary Prince, 11 bns and 10 sqns, for a total of 10,213 men; and Wangenheim’s Corps, 8 bns and 10 sqns, for a total of 7,340 men. Thus the Allies had a grand-total of 46,816 men in these quarters.

On September 2

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince and Wangenheim crossed the Lahn near Goßfelden and marched to Elnhausen on the French left.
    • Wangenheim’s vanguard (2 sqns of Luckner Hussars, 1 sqn of Malachowski Hussars, the Jäger Brigade of Major Friedrichs, 500 grenadiers) under Luckner, accompanied by the Hereditary Prince, attacked by surprise a detachment of Broglie’s Corps near Niederweimar, capturing 70 men. Wangenheim occupied the post while the Hereditary Prince marched to Allna, sending parties to Hohensolms.
    • Ferdinand moved Bevern's detachment (4 bns, 4 x 12-pdrs, 16 light guns) closer to Marburg where it took post on a height overlooking the Castle of Marburg.
    • Holstein advanced to Schwarzenborn.
  • French
    • With the Allies converging on Marburg, Fischer took refuge into the Castle of Marburg, supported by Saint-Germain.

On September 3

  • Allies
    • Wangenheim’s Corps encamped near Allna, southwest of Marburg.
    • Prince Karl von Bevern appeared with a detachment in front of the Castle of Marburg and made preparations to bombard it.
    • The Duke of Holstein reached the Ohm River.
    • In Westphalia, Imhoff’s three batteries, erected between the Aa River and the suburb of St. Mauritz, opened against Münster. The part of the city located behind the Hoxter Gate was set afire. Fire momentarily ceased when Imhoff vainly summoned the defenders to surrender. The bombardment resumed shortly afterwards.

On the night of September 3 to 4, Imhoff’s troops captured a redoubt located on the canal near Münster.

On September 4

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand pushed Allied detachments towards Wetzlar.
    • Holstein's Corps occupied the former French camp at Großseelheim.
  • French
    • Maréchal d'Estrées, considering the general situation, could but continue the retreat. Therefore, abandoning the line of the Ohm and Lahn, he quitted his positions between Marburg and Amöneburg and fell back towards Giessen, encamping that night at Mainzlar behind Lollar, leaving M. du Plessis to defend Marburg.
    • Broglie's Corps took position along the Lumda River, which flows into the Lahn at Lollar.
    • In Westphalia, d'Armentières arrived at Borken with 10 bns and some militia drawn from the garrisons of Düsseldorf, Cologne and Wesel.

On September 5

  • Allies
    • The Allies took possession of Marburg but the French garrison under M. du Plessis of Piémont Infanterie retired into the castle.
  • French
    • In Westphalia, in attempt to relieve Münster, d'Armentières, who had marched from Wesel with 11 bns and 4 sqns, reached Coesfeld, driving back the Allied outposts established in this town and in Dülmen.

On September 6

  • Allies
    • Lord George Sackville left for Great Britain and the Marquis of Granby succeeded him as commander of the British troops in Germany.
    • In Westphalia, Imhoff raised the siege of Münster. He marched with his corps (7,319 men including 873 horse) to Telgte where he encamped. He kept only 4 heavy artillery pieces with him and sent the rest back to Hameln and Lippstadt. Imhoff wanted to continue his retreat towards Minden, but he received orders from Ferdinand, instructing him to hold his current positions.
  • French
    • D’Armentières reached Münster with provisions for the garrison.

On September 7

  • French
    • The main French army decamped from Mainzlar and encamped at Grossen-Buseck with its left at Schiffenberg, closer to Giessen, and its headquarters at Annerod, behind the Wieseck River. Light troops were thrown into the villages of Burkhardsfeld, Oppenrod, Grossenaltenbuseck and Wieseck.
    • Broglie's reserve encamped on the heights of Münchholzhausen, on the south bank of the Lahn, with its right at Dutenhofen and its left extending to Wetzlar.
    • In Westphalia, d’Armentières encamped under the walls of Münster. He received a reinforcement of 4 additional rgts from the main army. Armentières would remain in the vicinity unmolested until September 11.

On September 9

  • Allies
    • Bevern and Schaumburg-Lippe opened the trenches in front of the castle of Marburg. By then, Ferdinand had divided the Allied army into 4 corps: at Wetter, on the heights of Marburg, at Weimar and at Langenstein.
    • In Westphalia, the Hessian Landbataillon Gundlach, sent from Lippstadt, joined Imhoff’s siege corps at Telgte.

On September 10

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand set off from his camp near Wetter and marched to Niederweimar.
    • Wangenheim’s Corps advanced form Allna towards Damm.
    • On the east bank of the Lahn, the Duke of Holstein followed the retreating French army, his advanced troops reaching the Lumda River, where they skirmished with French light troops.

During the night of September 10 to 11, du Plessis surrendered with the garrison (39 officers and 818 men) of the castle of Marburg.

On September 10 and 11, the duke of Holstein quitted Frauenberg to join the Allied army at Niederweimar while Freytag advanced towards Lollar, Daunbringen, Mainzlar and Allendorf.

On September 11

  • French
    • In Westphalia, d’Armentières set off from Münster, leaving 2 of his bns to reinforce the garrison, and marched back to Wesel by way of Coesfeld.
  • Allies
    • In Westphalia, after d'Armentières' departure, Allied light troops once more occupied outposts between Coesfeld, Dülmen and Haltern to cover Münster. Major-General von Zastrow occupied Hiltrup, south of Münster, with 4 bns and 150 horse. Imhoff’s main body remained at the camp near Telgte.

On September 13

  • Allies
    • Holstein repulsed the attack of a French detachment against his advanced posts.
  • French
    • A cavalry corps under Beauffremont took post at Kleinlinden about 4 km southwest of Giessen near Broglie's position.

Around mid-September, the Saxon Contingent (approx. 3,700 men) left the main army and went to Frankfurt/Main to replenish its ranks.

On September 17

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand advanced Wangenheim’s Corps to Hohensolms, its hussars reaching the Dill River.

On September 18

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand encamped at Salzböden near Staufenberg.
    • Colonel von Luckner advanced towards Wetzlar with the light troops but met with strong resistance and was forced to recross the Lahn.

On September 19

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand marched to Krofdorf, a little to northwest of Giessen, near the French camp. His army encamped with its right at Rodheim and its left at Wissmar, and entrenched its positions.
    • A detachment (7 grenadier bns and the Prussian dragoons) under the Duke of Holstein covered the left flank of the main army at Odenhausen, while Wangenheim covered the right flank.
    • In Westphalia, Imhoff once more invested Münster at Ferdinand’s express order. However, he did not completely encircled the city, establishing trenches only on its east and north sides.
  • French
    • Broglie made himself master of Wetzlar.

On September 20

On September 21

  • French
    • D’Armentières set off from Wesel with 8 bns, 4 sqns and the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince and marched to Dorsten on his way to Münster. He also sent detachments to Haltern and Unna.
    • Meanwhile, a convoy of provisions and ammunition was assembled in Wesel. Maréchal de Camp d’Auvet had been charged to escort this convoy to Münster with 2 bns and 4 sqns.

On September 22

  • Allies
    • Luckner's detachment undertook an expedition against Usingen where it captured the equipage and sick of the Royal-Nassau Hussards before retiring through Limburg an der Lahn.
    • In Westphalia, when Imhoff was informed of the approach of d'Armentières' Corps, he detached Major-General von Zastrow to Lüdinghausen.
  • French
    • The main army rearranged its positions, moving slightly westwards so that its left wing reached Kleinlinden to support Broglie’s Corps if the Allies attacked it.
    • In Westphalia, d'Armentières advanced to Recklinghausen.

On September 23

  • French
    • Chabot was sent to Butzbach in Hesse. Chabot then remained in the area of Usingen with the Légion Royale and the Volontaires de Muret. Another detachment of 3 bns and 4 sqns was left at Friedberg to support Chabot.
    • In Westphalia, d'Armentières advanced from Recklinghausen by way of Dorsten to Lünen, sending an advanced party to Hamm. He hoped that this would induce Imhoff to retire from Münster towards Lippstadt.
  • Allies
    • Allied light troops under Lückner and Freytag arrived at Limburg an der Lahn. From this place, they launched raids against the French rear as far as Frankfurt, cutting communications between the main French army and d'Armentières' Corps.
    • In Westphalia, when Imhoff was informed that d’Armentières had reached Lünen, he sent Zastrow’s detachment to Drensteinfurt.

On September 24, Imhoff's Allied corps marched to Ahlen.

On September 25, the main French army was deployed with its left at Kleinlinden, its right at Annerod. Other corps and detachments were deployed as follows:

Altogether with these detachments, the main French army totalled 70 bns and 72 sqns:

N.B.: one of the 2 bns of Bouillon Infanterie had been sent back to France while 12 sqns under M. de Monteynard had been sent to the Lower Rhine.

On September 27, Schlenberg at the head of an Allied detachment (200 foot and 200 horse) advanced to Neukirchen on the river Solms where he surprised a party of Royal-Nassau Hussards and destroyed a large magazine.

On September 28

  • French
    • In Westphalia, d’Armentières, unable to force Imhoff to raise the blockade of Münster, retired from Lünen to Recklinghausen.
  • Allies
    • The Allies thought that he would continue his retreat towards the Rhine. The Hesse-Kassel Hussars re-occupied Lünen, but no outposts were established in the vicinity of Coesfeld, Dülmen and Haltern.

On September 30

  • French
    • In Westphalia, d'Armentières' Corps made a junction at Nottuln with Auvet’s convoy arriving from Wesel by way of Coesfeld.
  • Allies
    • In Westphalia in the evening, the light troops of the Allies were still posted at Lünen, and Zastrow’s detachment near Drensteinfurt.

At the end of September, the Hanoverian Veltheim Cavalry and the Hessian Pruschenk Cavalry joined Imhoff’s Corps near Münster.

On October 1

  • French
    • D’Armentières escorted, unmolested, the supply convoy to Münster.
  • Allies
    • When Imhoff finally heard of the arrival of Armentières' entire corps in the immediate vicinity of Münster, he precipitously assembled his own corps near Lütkenbeck, to the southeast of the city.

On October 2

  • French
    • D’Armentières returned to Dorsten.
  • Allies
    • Early in the morning, Imhoff was informed that Armentières was retiring to Dorsten.

On October 3

  • Allies
    • With d'Armentières' Corps marching by way of Coesfeld, Imhoff decided to undertake the Siege of Münster, including, this time, the western side of the city. The siege would last until November 20.

On October 4, d'Armentières continued his retreat towards the Rhine, reaching Coesfeld.

On October 5, d’Armentières retired to Dorsten.

On October 6, an Allied party entrenched at Homberg on the Ohm.

On October 8, d'Armentières' Corps marched from Dorsten to Bochum, closer to Lippstadt. This offered the Allies the possibility to threaten the line of communication of the French corps with Wesel.

On October 10, Ferdinand sent 6 infantry rgts and 2 cavalry rgts as reinforcements to Imhoff at Münster.

On the night of October 10 to 11, Major von Bülow (Ferdinand’s adjutant) was detached by Imhoff with 2 bns and 2 sqns, all his light troops and 3 artillery pieces by way of Dülmen, to prevent the relief of Münster by d'Armentières.

On October 11

  • Allies
    • Imhoff received a reinforcement of 4 bns and 6 sqns. Imhoff took position between Nottuln and Appelhülsen with these reinforcements, leaving command of the forces blockading Münster to General von Post.
    • Imhoff detached Bülow (light troops supported by some infantry) from Dülmen towards Dorsten.

By October 12, the two main armies were still facing each other: Ferdinand at Krofdorf and d'Estrées at Giessen.

On October 12

  • Allies
    • Major Bülow attacked a French outpost (200 men) guarding the bridge at Dorsten. He stormed the town and captured 4 officers and more than 70 men.
    • Bülow’s cavalry pursued the French up to the gates of Wesel.
    • When d’Armentières reoccupied Dorsten, Bülow rejoined Imhoff’s detachment, which had advanced from Appelhülsen to Dülmen.

On October 14, an Allied detachment (20 jägers and 40 grenadiers) guarding the bridge of Oberlimb (probably Oberlemp on the Lahn) repulsed a surprise attack by a French party (300 men).

On October 16

  • Allies
    • Imhoff’s detachment retired to its previous positions between Appelhülsen and Nottuln. His light troops occupied Coesfeld and Dülmen.
    • Ferdinand was granted the Order of the Garter by George II.

On October 19, Contades sent 2 infantry brigades (Waldner and Planta), 2 cavalry brigades (Orléans, Damas), d'Invilliers artillery, 200 wagons and Fischer's Corps from the Army of the Main and an additional 6 bns to reinforce d'Armentières on the Lower Rhine.

On October 20, the reinforcements destined to d'Armentières reached Oberwesel.

On October 21, the reinforcements destined to d'Armentières reached Camberg (probably Bad Camberg).

On October 22, the reinforcements destined to d'Armentières reached Katzenelnbogen.

On October 23, Lückner with a party of light troops attacked a French post at Niederbrechen on the Lahn, killing 54 men, taking 71 prisoners and capturing 100 horses and 112 wagons.

On October 24, the reinforcements destined to d'Armentières left Katzenelnbogen and marched to Braubach and Oberlahnstein.

On October 25

On October 26

  • Allies
    • In Westphalia, the siege of Münster had gone ill for the Allies and been transformed into a blockade.
    • Ferdinand sent a reinforcement of 4 bns (Hanoverian Block, Laffert, Estorff, Hessian Erbprinz) and 4 sqns (Breitenbach Dragoons) under Lieutenant-General von Gilsa from his camp at Krofdorf to Imhoff at Münster.
    • Now, Ferdinand considered his main army too weak to attempt further operations until the fall of Münster.

The two main armies then remained in their fortified positions until the beginning of December. The Allies established numerous redoubts and batteries on the heights of Krofdorf.

At the beginning of November

  • Allies
    • The Allied artillery necessary for the siege of Münster finally arrived.
  • French
    • The main French army still numbered 51,000 men, excluding light troops.
    • Wetzlar, the seat of the 'Reichskammergerichts (Reich Chamber Court) was declared neutral.

On November 1, Broglie arrived at Frankfurt after a visit to Paris.

On November 2

  • French
    • Broglie rejoined the main army at Kleinlinden while Contades and d'Estrées were ordered to leave Germany along with all general officers with more seniority than Broglie (including Fitzjames and the Prince of Beauffremont). Therefore, Monteynard, Fumel and Cornillon were replaced by the Count of Broglie (not to be confused with the Duc de Broglie), Belzunce and Lameth. Broglie assumed full command. This nomination was not very popular among the commanders of the army and caused the resignation of Chevreuse, Noailles and Brissac.

On November 3, Broglie instructed the Duke of Württemberg to march to Gemünden with his contingent.

Around November 5

  • Allies
  • French
    • Broglie moved his cavalry forward to Butzbach.

On November 5, when he was informed that his heavy artillery had finally left Lippstadt, d'Armentières quitted Bochum.

On November 6, the planned reinforcements finally joined d'Armentières corps at Bochum. Meanwhile, d'Armentières had collected forage, raised contributions and sent detachments on Unna, Dortmund and Schwerte.

On November 8, d'Armentières marched once more from Bochum to Dorsten, a better position to launch an eventual relief operation of Münster. D'Armentières then barracked his infantry and cantoned his cavalry in the area.

On November 11

  • French
    • Broglie informed Belleisle that it was impossible for him to spare any force to reinforce d'Armentières. Broglie then contented himself to extend his lines up to Camberg. He also ordered to keep bateaux ready at Coblence and Rheinfels for the embarkment of troops.
    • The Duke of Württemberg reached Gemünden on the Main River with the Württemberger Contingent (15 bns and 12 sqns with artillery for a total of 9,140 men). The duke sent his hussars to the Kinzig River.
    • Broglie instructed the Duke of Württemberg to march to Fulda.

On November 14

  • Allies
  • French
    • D'Armentières finally departed from Dorsten to relieve Münster.

On November 15, the Allied batteries before Münster were completed.

On November 16, d'Armentières encamped at Haltern.

On November 17

  • French
    • D'Armentières encamped at Seppenrade, sending his grenadiers towards Lüdinghausen.
  • Allies
    • Imhoff retired from his advanced posts at Appelhülsen to Schapdetten.

On November 18

  • French
    • D'Armentières advanced on Senden, just 18 km south of Münster.
  • Allies
    • Imhoff's advanced posts retired from Schapdetten to Roxel.

On November 19

  • Engagement near Hiltrup
    • Imhoff marched by his left to block the road leading from Münster to Dülmen. He was reinforced with part of the siege corps.
    • Around noon, an engagement between light troops took place near Hiltrup.
    • D’Armentières took position near Albachten.
    • Imhoff vainly sent 2 bns to drive the French out of Albachten.
  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick reached Hamm with reinforcements.

During the night of November 19 to 20, part of d'Armentières' Corps under Fischer attacked the village and castle of Albachten, dislodging some Hanoverian jägers. Imhoff then took dispositions to attack d'Armentières the following morning.

On November 20

  • Allies
    • Bevern’s Corps marched by way of Dillenburg and Siegen to Freudenberg. Bevern left a detachment (3 bns, 4 sqns) there and took up his winter-quarters in the vicinity, sending strong patrols towards Cologne to threaten d'Armentières' rear.
    • The Hereditary Prince was sent with 6 bns, 8 sqns and 16 artillery pieces by way of Lippstadt and Warendorf towards Münster. Upon arrival in Westphalia, the Hereditary Prince should replace Imhoff as commander-in-chief in this region.
  • French
    • When some Allied guns opened on Albachten, Armentières did not dare to attack, knowing that the Hereditary Prince was approaching with reinforcements.
    • Armentières abandoned all hope that the garrison of Münster could break through the encirclement and join his corps. He retired from Senden to Seppenrade, on his way to Dorsten, planning to take up his winter-quarters.

On November 21

  • French
    • The Württemberger Contingent reached Fulda. Broglie had given orders to harass the left flank of the Allies, to destroy its supplies and to raise contributions. The contingent established its quarters along the Fulda River, which flowed by way of Pfordt and Schlitz towards Hersfeld.
    • Broglie had sent 500 hussars under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel von Nordmann of the Turpin Hussards to Lauterbach near Hersfeld, on the road leading from Fulda to Marburg, and the Royal-Nassau Hussards under Lieutenant-Colonel von Wurmser near Herbstein, on the Kinzig River to support the manoeuvre of the Duke of Württemberg.
    • The Gorcy Hussars took position in the vicinity of Hersfeld, to secure communications Nordman’s detachment
    • Broglie also sent 9 Saxon bns from Hanau to Aschaffenburg to cover the line of retreat of the Württemberger Contingent.
    • Thus strengthened, Broglie vainly tried in the following days to interrupt Ferdinand's communications with Kassel with a detached corps of 20,000 men.
    • In Westphalia, M. de Gayon, commanding the garrison of Münster, demanded terms of capitulation.
    • D'Armentières resumed his retreat towards Wesel, marching from Seppenrade to Dorsten.
  • Allies

On November 22, the French garrison marched out of Münster with the honours of war and marched towards Wesel. The Allies took possession of the town.

On November 23, Imhoff established his headquarters at Münster. He garrisoned the city with 6 bns and sent detachments to Haltern, Dülmen, Coesfeld and Olfen.

On November 24, d'Armentières crossed the Rhine at Wesel, leaving d'Auvet's Division stationed at Mettmann on the right bank of the Rhine. Maupéou's Division then marched to Cologne while d'Armentières put his corps into quarters in the Duchy of Kleve.

On November 25

  • Allies
    • Bevern’s Corps reached Marburg, by way of Siegen and Dillenburg. There it made a junction with the corps of the Hereditary Prince. Furthermore, 1 sqn of Ruesch “Black Hussars” and Luckner's “White” Hussars and 100 jägers of the Trümbach Battalion joined this force. The Hereditary Prince was now at the head of 7 bns and 12 sqns for a total of more than 8,000 men.

On November 27

  • Allies
    • Taking advantage of the capture of Münster, Imhoff moved closer to the Lippe, marching towards Dortmund.
  • French
    • Broglie was informed that an Allied corps was marching on Fulda.

On November 28

In the night of November 28 to 29, Ferdinand received the news of Finck’s capitulation at Maxen.

On November 29

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince continued his march by way of Romrod towards Lauterbach. His vanguard repulsed a detachment of the Royal-Nassau Hussards.
    • The Hereditary Prince remained near Lauterbach and his hussars took position near Landenhausen.
  • French
    • Lieutenant-Colonel von Nordmann retired from Lauterbach to Schlitz where 1 bn was already posted. During his retreat, a cuirassier regiment suffered losses. Then these French forces recrossed to the east bank of the Fulda River.

On Friday November 30

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince launched an attack on Fulda, forcing the Würtembergers to retreat precipitously southwards on Brückenau in the general direction of Franconia and Württemberg.
    • A corps of 7 bns and 7 sqns under Major-General Zastrow reached Dorsten by way of Dülmen.
  • Württemberger Contingent
    • General Wolff, whom the duke had detached to Hersfeld had great difficulties to rejoin the retiring Württemberger Contingent by way of Tann and Milseburg.

On December 1

  • Allies
    • The Württemberger prisoners were sent to Hersfeld, escorted by Major Marshall while the Hereditary Prince remained at Fulda.
    • Holstein arrived at Grünberg with his corps.
    • Imhoff’s vanguard under Lieutenant-General von Gilsa arrived at Elberfeld, while the main body of his corps reached Hattingen.

On December 2, the Hereditary Prince retired from Fulda, and marched by way of Herbstein towards Ruppertenrod, thus turning Broglie's right flank.

On December 3, Wolff’s detachment finally made a junction with the rest of the Württemberger Contingent near the Monastery of Thulda, to the northeast of Hammelburg.

On December 4

  • Allies
    • The corps of the Hereditary Prince reached Ruppertenrod.
    • Ferdinand then recalled 6 bns (the 2 Brunswicker grenadier bns, Behr Infantry, La Chevallerie, Alt-Zastrow) and 6 sqns (Hammerstein Cavalry, Veltheim Cavalry, Bremer Cavalry) from Imhoff’s Corps, which was still in the neighbourhood of Münster. This detachment marched under Lieutenant-General Gilsa by way of Soest towards Stadtberg, where it was joined by 16 artillery pieces sent from Lippstadt.

On December 5

  • French
  • With his right flank thus threatened, the Duc de Broglie decided to retire to Friedberg. He decamped from Kleinlinden and retired southwards by way of Butzbach. His infantry and cavalry took up new quarters in the vicinity of Friedberg and along the Nidda River. A vanguard under Saint-Germain remained near Butzbach. Furthermore, a force of 2,000 men was left in Giessen under the command of Major-General Blaisel.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand sent two detachments to pursue the retiring French army and ordered his infantry to take cantons in the villages round Krofdorf.

On December 6

  • Allies
    • A corps (14 bns, 20 sqns and some light troops) under the command of Holstein invested Giessen and vainly summoned the garrison to surrender. The garrison made several sorties but the Allies did not bombard the place.
  • French
    • Broglie took its cantonments around Friedberg with his army cantoned in the villages between Friedberg and Butzbach.
    • Saint-Germain was posted at Butzbach with 40 grenadier coys.
    • The Saxon contingent took its winter-quarters in Würzburg. Extreme cold had forced the armies to use barracks instead of camps.

On December 7

  • Allies
    • Imhoff reached Hamm with the rest of his corps and took up quarters in the vicinity
    • Zastrow quartered his detachment in Münster.

On December 8

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand was informed of the capture of Diericke’s Corps near Meissen. He ordered the Hereditary Prince and Lieutenant-General von Gilsa to make a junction near Wanfried and to march to the support of King Frederick in Saxony.

On December 10

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince marched by way of Lauterbach, Hersfeld, Sontra to make a junction with Gilsa’s detachment near Wanfried.

On December 11, an Allied detachment surprised 300 French horse in the village of Bellersheim near Hungen, taking most of them prisoners.

On December 12, d'Armentières' Corps moved towards the Allied left flank by Crainfeld and Herbstein, Fischer advancing up to Hattingen.

On December 15

  • Allies
    • Gilsa’s detachment reached Wanfried/Werra, by way of Kassel, to make a junction with the corps of the Hereditary Prince.
    • Now at the head of 12 bns and 20 sqns with 16 heavy artillery pieces, the Hereditary Prince started his march towards Saxony by way of Langensalza, Erfurt and Weimar. His departure rendered Ferdinand powerless for further aggression.
  • French
    • M. de Muy arrived at the French headquarters on the Lower Rhine to replace d'Armentières.

On December 16, the Duc de Broglie was promoted maréchal de France.

On December 17, Broglie was informed of the departure of an important Allied corps under the Hereditary Prince to reinforce the Prussian army in Saxony.

On December 18

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince at the head of his own corps and Gilsa's arrived at Erfurt.
  • French
    • Lieutenant-General Comte de Vogüé, who had been charged to make a diversion with 8 bns and 16 sqns, arrived at Limburg/Lahn. He was then instructed to remain in this region and to send detachments towards Herborn and Dillenburg to disrupt the supply lines of the Allies.

From December 19 to 23, the Württemberg contingent (now only 7 bns) was at Steinberg, their dragoons occupying Neuhof and their hussars Freienseen while M. de Wurmser was at Herbstein.

The Allied infantry was barracked on the heights of Gleiberg, the Allied cavalry cantoned on the Dille, part of the Allied light troops in front of Giessen while another part was at Lich and Laubach. The Duke of Holstein occupied Annerod and the Hereditary Prince was on his way towards Rotenburg and Saxony.

On December 21, Broglie was informed of his promotion to maréchal de France.

During the night of December 21, 1,200 men of the French garrison of Giessen made a sally to surprise Hanoverian Behr Infantry cantoned at Kleinlinden. However, the Allied piquets gave the alarm and the infantry repulsed the French attack, killing 2 officers and 20 men; and capturing 1 officer and 18 men.

On December 22

  • French
    • Hoping to take advantage of the departure of the Hereditary Prince for Saxony, Broglie decided to send d'Armentières' Corps form the Lower Rhine against the Allied right wing and the Duke of Württemberg against the left wing while he would advance frontally on Giessen with the main army. Meanwhile, Voyer's corps would march towards Limburg on the Lahn. Accordingly the first column of the Army of the Lower Rhine under d'Armentières marched from Düsseldorf to Opladen.
    • Broglie decided to launch an offensive against the front and the left flank of the Allies.
    • The Duke of Württemberg advanced to Crainfeld, threatening the left flank of the Allies.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand decided to recall General von Scheither from Westphalia with 5 bns, 7 sqns, 8 artillery pieces, the Hessian Jägers and the Hesse-Kassel Hussars; and to move his heavy artillery out of its winter-quarters to join the army. Rumours that Broglie planned to offer battle strengthened Ferdinand in his decision to accept a fight in his entrenched positions at Krofdorf. However, he did not want to expose the troops detached to the left bank of the Lahn and Wieseck to a battle during their retreat, and he voluntarily renounced to maintain the blockade of Giessen.

On December 23

  • French
    • A thaw allowed d'Armentières to resume his advance in 2 columns with the army of the Lower Rhine.
    • The Duke of Württemberg advanced his infantry to Freienseen and his hussars to Schotten.

On December 24

  • French
    • General Voyer set off from the vicinity of Düsseldorf with 12 bns, 900 horse and the Chasseurs de Fischer, and marched to threaten the right flank of the Allies as instructed by Broglie.
    • The French troops cantoned in the neighbourhood of Kleve marched to Düsseldorf, leaving only 1 infantry regiment at Engheim (unidentified location) and 1 dragoon regiment at Xanten and Kalkar to patrol long the Rhine.
  • Allies
    • The Duke of Holstein retired from Giessen to Staufenberg. French light troops followed his corps up to the Lahn River. They then clashed with Allied outposts all along the line of defence. Fog made it impossible to estimate the strength of the French troops who had advanced against the Lahn. Various reports suggested that the French were about to launch a general assault. Ferdinand deployed his troops on the heights of Krofdorf, where they bivouacked for the night. On the right wing, Lieutenant-General von Wangenheim was posted near Herrmannstein. On the left wing, Lieutenant-General von Wutginau, who assumed interim command during the sickness of the Duke of Holstein, concentrated his corps at Staufenberg.

On December 25

  • French
    • The duke of Württemberg marched to Schotten while Wurmser marched to Laubach. The Württemberger dragoons took position between Laubach and Ulrichstein.
    • The first column of the Army of the Lower Rhine reached Eil.
    • Viomesnil's forces detached from Broglie's main army entered into Giessen but no action ensued.
  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince the Hereditary Prince made a junction with Frederick’s Army at Chemnitz. This Allied contingent would remain in Saxony until February 1760.

On December 26, the first column of the Army of the Lower Rhine marched to Siegburg.

On December 27

  • French
    • D'Armentières quitted the army, leaving effective command to de Muy.
    • The first column of the Army of the Lower Rhine crossed the Sieg River.
    • The rest of the Württemberger infantry joined the Duke of Württemberg.

On December 28

  • French
    • The first column of the Army of the Lower Rhine reached Uckerath while the second column (14 bns, 900 horse), under Lieutenant-General Chevalier de Muy, arrived at Siegburg, after marching from the Lower Rhine by way of Cologne. M. de Groslier had been left behind to protect Kleve and M. de Castellas to cover Wesel.
  • Allies
    • When Ferdinand realized that an attack was unlikely, he let his troops return to their quarters, keeping only 6 bns and 6 sqns, which would be relieved each day, in a camp on the heights of Krofdorf.
    • A detachment (5 bns, 7 sqns), under Major-General von Scheither, belonging to Imhoff's Corps arrived from Westphalia at Oberweimar about 20 km from Krofdorf.

On December 29

  • French
    • The first column of the Army of the Lower Rhine marched to Altenkirchen.
  • Allies
    • Colonel von Luckner drove back a detachment of 400 Volontaires de l'armée led by Muret, who were part of Vogüé’s Corps and who had advanced to Dillenburg. Luckner captured 5 officers and approx. 160 men.

On December 30, the first column of the Army of the Lower Rhine marched to Hachenburg.

On December 31

  • French
    • To divert the attention of the Allies from the movements of Voyer and de Muy, Broglie made a demonstration with 8 bns and several sqns against Staufenberg on the opposite wing of the Allied positions. The Allied hussars and jägers retired behind the Lumda River.
    • Voyer’s Corps reached Hachenburg, after marching by way of Siegburg.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand reduced the force occupying the heights of Krofdorf to 4 bns and 4 sqns.

At the news that French troops were on the march from the Lower Rhine to threaten his right flank, Ferdinand instructed Imhoff to send detachments into the Duchy of Berg.

In the night of December 31 to January 1, 1760, Captain von Scheither crossed the Rhine near Kaiserwerth with 50 grenadiers and 150 horse and surprised a detachment of 150 men of **An Allied party under Scheiter passed the Rhine and captured the baggage of Jenner Infanterie in Ürdingen, east of Krefeld. He burnt down a magazine and recrossed the Rhine with 75 prisoners and some booty.

On January 1, the Allied hussars and jägers reoccupied their former positions near Staufenberg.

On January 2, Vogüé made a junction with Voyer’s Corps, arriving from the Lower Rhine, near Driedorf, southwest of Dillenburg. Voyer then assumed command of the converged corps (approx. 11,000 men).

On January 3

  • French
    • The Army of the Lower Rhine finally reached the banks of the Dill. De Muy sojourned near Hachenburg.
    • Voyer sent Vogüé against Herborn, which was occupied by a garrison of 100 Hanoverians under Captain von Issendorff. Surrounded by a superior force, Issendorff was forced to surrender after a brave resistance.
    • Voyer marched towards Dillenburg. The castle of Dillenburg, which was defended by 100 Hanoverians under Captain von Düring, was then summoned while M. de Voyer occupied the town with Waldner Infanterie (2 bns) and some grenadier companies. Voyer then cantoned his corps in the neighbourhood.
  • Allies
    • To prevent the French from advancing beyond the Dill River, Ferdinand instructed General von Scheither to march from Oberweimar to a position to the south-east of Dillenburg.

Almost surrounded and with additional French troops on the march, Ferdinand retreated to the vicinity of Marburg. The troops stationed in Westphalia where instructed to join the main army there. Only Münster and Lippstadt remained occupied. The Allied army took new positions west of the Lahn River, while the Duke of Holstein, who had re-assumed command of his corps, was posted near Amöneburg. Wangenheim's Corps marched towards Gladenbach; and Scheither's, towards Endbach.

On January 5

  • French
    • Broglie arrived at Giessen and ordered to follow the Allies during their retreat. On his extreme right wing, the Württemberger Contingent advanced to Grünberg.
    • Advanced detachments followed the Allies northwards, on both banks of the Lahn.
    • The French light troops posted along the Dill crossed the river.

If he wanted to take his winter-quarters in Hesse, Ferdinand had to put a stop to Broglie’s advance. For this purpose, he had to maintain control of Marburg and Dillenburg. He charged General von Wangenheim with the defence of Marburg with 7 bns and 6 sqns. The operation was planned for January 7.

On January 7

  • Allies
    • In the morning, Ferdinand, wanting to dislodge Voyer established on his right flank, made a diversion of the Dill River, to the south of Dillenburg with 6 bns and 9 sqns. Colonel von Luckner covered Ferdinand’s right flank with the Luckner Hussars, 400 picked infantrymen and 1 Highlander bn. Near Eibelshausen, Luckner attacked an outpost defended by occupied by 100 men of the Beaufremont Dragons, capturing 80 men and 120 horses.
    • Wangenheim advanced from Lixfeld on Dillenburg, by way of Hirzenhain. His artillery had difficulties crossing the steep hills. His corps reached the vicinity of Dillenburg at nightfall. The place was garrisoned by Waldner Infanterie under Brigadier Marquis Paravicini, who had not established any outpost and only posted a few guards at the gates. The troops destined for the attack (600 picked soldiers under Colonel von Laffert, Spörcken Infantry, Jung Zastrow Infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel la Motte and Major von Hohnhorst) entered the town through three gates. The greatest part of the garrison was taken prisoners after a stubborn resistance. A reinforcement of 100 men and fresh provisions were then sent to the Allied garrison of the castle. Before daybreak, Wangenheim evacuated the town of Dillenburg and retired towards his own quarters near Gladenbach. In this action, he had captured, 7 colours, 2 artillery pieces, 40 officers and 700 men. The French had lost 150 men killed or wounded, while the Allies had lost only 2 officers and 20 men killed; 1 officer and 77 men wounded; and 28 men taken prisoners or missing.

On January 8

  • Allies
    • Wangenheim's detachment reached Gladenbach.
    • Ferdinand sent the Duke of Holstein advanced against French troops, who had reached the Zwester-Ohm. Holstein advanced by way of Beltershausen, southeast of Marburg, He drove the French out of Ebsdorf where he left the Stockhausen Freikorps and the Malachowski Hussars, before retiring to his winter-quarters.
  • French
    • Voyer retired by way of Driedorf towards Mengerskirchen.
    • In front of Holstein<s Corps, the French retired behind the Lumda River.

On January 11, Broglie finally decided to send his troops to their winter-quarters.

Muy and Voyer retired towards Cologne. Their troops took up their winter-quarters on the Lower Rhine between Kleve, Liège, Roermonde and Geldern. The main French army with the Württemberger Contingent and the Saxon Contingent retired to the Neckar, Main and Lahn rivers. Broglie established his headquarters at Frankfurt. His army took its quarters in four lines. The Saxons under Count von Solms, who had momentarily replaced Prince Xavier, took position on the right wing of the first line on the Main River between Schweinfurt and Würzburg. This corps stood near the left wing of the Reichsarmee, which was posted in the vicinity of Bamberg. The Württemberger Contingent under Major-General von Wolff was posted on the Main River downstream of Würzburg, down to Wertheim and along the Tauber. The right wing of the main French army was in the vicinity of Gelnhausen. From there, the first line extended towards Friedberg, Limburg, Koblenz and Neuwied. Voyer's Corps was posted on the Lahn River with the headquarters at Limburg. The positions were covered by light troops: the Württemberger Gorcy Hussars were posted near Brückenau in communication with outposts of the Reichsarmee near Königshofen; a cordon of light troops was deployed from Brückenau, by way of Schlüchtern, Birstein, Büdingen, Friedberg, Butzbach and Giessen up to Wielburg. A garrison occupied Giessen. Thus, the French occupied much the same ground as at the beginning of the campaign.

On January 14, Imhoff reached Laapsche with the troops returning from Westphalia.

In mid-January, Ferdinand sent his army to its winter-quarters. Lord Granby was instructed to enter the Bishopric of Osnabrück with the British Contingent and to take up quarters there. The Hessian and Hanoverian heavy artillery retired to the Bishopric of Paderborn. General von Spörcken with 17 bns and 18 sqns took up his quarters in the Bishopric of Münster. The rest of the Allied troops (11 bns, the Prussian dragoons, Malachowski Hussars, the Volontaires de Trümbach) under the Duke of Holstein took up their winter-quarters in the Duchy of Westphalia.

On January 22, Ferdinand of Brunswick set off from Marburg for his new headquarters in Paderborn.

Lieutenant-General von Imhoff remained in Hesse and was charged to secure the winter-quarters. His corps comprised 11 bns, 10 sqns, and the Hanoverian and Hessian light troops. They formed a cordon from Dillenburg, by way of Marburg, Hersfeld, Vacha and along the Werra River up to Treffurt.

Thus ended the campaign of 1759, leaving both parties in occupation of the same territory as at its beginning.


This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 417-422
  • Carlyle T. History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Vol. 19
  • Fortescue J. W., A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 478-498
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 11 Minden und Maxen, Berlin, 1912, pp. 42-48, 269-297
  • Hotham (probably), The operations of the Allied Amy under the command of his Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand Duke of Brunswic and Luneberg beginning in the year 1757 and ending in the year 1762, London: T. Jefferies, 1764, pp. 74-135
  • Jomini, baron de, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 47, 56-64
  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. IV, Paris, 1891, pp. 424-478

Other Sources

Rogge, Christian, The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009

Savory, Reginald, His Britannic Majesty's Army in Germany during the Seven Years War, Oxford University Press: 1966

Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885

Service historique de l'armée de terre - A1 3518, pièce 40

Susane, Louis, Histoire de l'infanterie française, Librairie Militaire Maritime et Polytechnique de J. Corréard, Paris: 1876

Westphalen, Christian Heinrich Philipp, Geschichte der Feldzüge des Herzogs Ferdinand von Braunschweig-Lüneburg, Berlin: 1859


Harald Skala for information on the Saxon Army during this period