1760 - French campaign in West Germany – French offensive in Hesse
The campaign lasted from May to December 1760. This article describes the third phase of the campaign from July 11 to September 21, 1760.
The general situation at the beginning of the year, the last operations before taking winter-quarters and the sporadic operations while in winter-quarters are described in our article French campaign in western Germany – Winter operations (January 1 to April 28, 1760).
The French manoeuvres to make a junction of their two armies and the combat of Corbach are described in our article French campaign in western Germany – Campaign till the Combat of Corbach (April 29 to July 10, 1760).
French offensive in Hesse
On July 12, General Spörcken managed to make a junction with the Allied Army at Landau after marching by Büren and Stadtberg (present-day Marsberg).
On July 13, Spörcken was posted at Volksmarsen on the Diemel to protect Ferdinand's right; and then once more the two armies remained motionless and face to face, the French at Korbach, the Allies at Sachsenhausen. Ferdinand's total force was 66,000 men only, while that of the French numbered 130,000; yet such was the difference in the quality of the two armies that the Duc de Broglie dared not act except with extreme caution. His principal object was to envelope Ferdinand's right and cut him off from Westphalia at the line of the Diemel; and Ferdinand accordingly resolved to distract Broglie's attention to the opposite flank.
On July 14, Saint-Germain took position between Gembeck and Vasbeck with the left reserve to turn the Allied right wing. His position was linked with Broglie's main army by the Gardes brigades along with the Grenadiers de France and the Grenadiers Royaux deployed between Mühlhausen and Berndorf. Furthermore, the Carabiniers and the Royal Suédois Brigade occupied a position between Berndorf and the main army.
On the night of July 14, having intelligence that a French party (Anhalt Infanterie (3 bns), Royal Bavière Infanterie (3 bns), Bercheny Hussards and some light troops) under General Glaubitz was on its way to Ziegenhain from Marburg, evidently with the object of disturbing his communications, Ferdinand detached the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick to take command of 6 bns (Behr (1 bn), Marschalk (1 bn), Mansbach (2 bns) and Hessian 2. Garde (2 bns)) which were lying at Fritzlar, and to attack Glaubitz whose forces had encamped at Vasbeck for the night.
On the morning of July 15, the Hereditary Prince marched rapidly southward, being joined on the way at Zwesten (present-day Bad Zwesten) by Luckner's Hussars and by the 15th Light Horse (under Major Erskine), which had just arrived from Great Britain. On reaching the vicinity of Ziegenhain, he found that Glaubitz was encamped farther to the west, near the village of Emsdorf. His troops being exhausted by a long march, the Hereditary Prince halted for the night at Treysa. The same day, Spörcken, fearing for his positions retired to Volkmarsen on the Twiste. Still the same day, the Allied garrison (250 men) of the Castle of Dillenburg surrendered as prisoners of war after the castle had been set afire by bombs.
On July 16, the Hereditary Prince surprised Glaubitz brigade in the engagement of Emsdorf. He conducted the operation with such skill that the brigade was surrounded and forced to surrender (General Glaubiz, 180 officers and 2,500 soldiers). Only 262 men on 900 of the Bercheny Hussards were still available for service. However, the Hereditary Prince was unable to capture the magazines and the bakery established at Marburg which were timely rescued by M. de Stainville. The same day, Broglie sent a detachment under M. de Vair to attack an Allied detachment posted in a wood near Deringhausen (probably Höringhausen), in order to get closer to the Allied camp. After driving the Allied detachment out of the wood, M. de Vair immediately erected 2 redoubts at the point of the wood. Furthermore, responding to Ferdinand's manoeuvre, Broglie moved the left reserve to the plateau previously occupied by only 2 of its brigades. However, the French Main Army was still immobilized at Korbach, awaiting the establishment of a large magazine at Brilon which could take up to 26 days. To put this period to profit, Broglie decided to prepare for the siege of Ziegenhain from where the Allies could threaten his communication with Frankfurt.
On July 17, three Allied corps were encamped between Landau and Volkmarsen. On the French side, Saint-Germain's Corps deployed with its left near the escarpment of Arolsen (present-day Bad Arolsen) and its left near a hunting lodge, Saint-Germain establishing his headquarters at Canstein. The light troops of the left reserve where then pushed forward to Mengeringhausen (present-day an urban district of Bad Arolsen), on the road from Wolfhagen to Marsberg, with detachment at Helsen (present-day an urban district of Bad Arolsen) and Kappel (probably Capl appearing in an old map of Waldeck, south of Arolsen, in present-day maps there is a "Kappelgraben", a little creek or a drainage ditch near a homestead that might be related to this location), and even on the road to Kassel. The French light troops attacked the picquets of Granby's headquarters. The 20th Kingsley's Foot and the 25th Edinburgh Regiment of Foot (aka Home's Foot) immediately joined the picquets and repulsed the French light troops. The same day, Broglie sent M. de Stainville forward to clean the region between the Eder and the Schwalm from Allied light troops. When he was informed of the defeat of Glaubitz, Broglie redirected Stainville to reinforce Marburg. Prince Xavier closely followed Stainville, being instructed to advance on Frankenau, Gemünden/Wohra and Kirchhain by Asel and Bringhausen. In the evening Stainville reached Wetter.
On July 18 at 7:00 a.m., Prince Xavier finally reached Frankenau after a very difficult march. Meanwhile, Broglie inspected the camp of the Grenadiers de France and the Royal-Suédois and Castellas brigades. He ordered the establishment of advanced posts on the heights of Niedermarsberg and Obermarsberg which were reinforced by Royal Cavalerie. He also inspected the left reserve and reconnoitred up to Arolsen. The same day, the Allies evacuated Paderborn where a party of French soon entered. Still the same day, arriving from Ireland, the 4th Regiment of Horse (aka “The Black Horse”) under Colonel Honeywood joined the Allied army.
On July 19, Prince Xavier marched to Rosenthal where he received instructions to collaborate with Stainville to drive the Allied light troops from between the Eder and Schwalm rivers. Prince Xavier then marched to Wildungen (present-day Bad Wildungen). The same day, the Hereditary Prince rejoined the Allied Main Army.
On July 20, Saint-Germain resigned from his command of the French Army of the Lower Rhine, being replaced by the Chevalier de Muy. MM. de Voyer and de Luc who had previously seconded Saint-Germain were also removed from command.
On July 21, the French right reserve marched to Odershausen.
On July 22, the Hereditary Prince recaptured the Castle of Dillenburg, taking the garrison prisoners. Allied jägers and hussars harassed French convoys. Near Giessen, Captain Bülow at the head of a party of Hanoverian jägers captured a convoy of 300 wagons transporting provisions and ammunition.
On July 23, the French right reserve marched from Odershausen and made a junction with Stainville's Corps, forcing Luckner to precipitously repass the Eder and formed on the Heights of Bergheim. Meanwhile at Wasbeck, Broglie took personal command of a force consisting of Belzunce, Diesbach and Orléans brigades; Beaufremont Dragons and Apchon Dragons; and the Volontaires de Flandre et the Volontaires de Vair. The same day, the Allied hospitals were respectively moved from Münden to Minden, and from Kassel to Münden.
The two armies were facing each other. On the French side, Prince Xavier's Corps took position at Frankenberg theatening Kassel; Stainville's Corps at Marburg; the main army extended to the left up to the Diemel. M. de Muy at Mengeringhausen, occupying the Defile of Stadtberg. On the Allied side, the army was distributed in several divisions from the Eder on the left to Warburg and along the Diemel on the right with the main concentration near Sachsenhausen.
On July 24, with the intent to force Ferdinand out of his advantageous positions, Broglie subdivided his army into 3 corps:
- 15,000 men under Prince Xavier were detached towards Hersfeld and Fulda on the left of the Allied army
- a considerable corps under the Comte de Broglie (not to be confused with the commander-in-chief: the Duc de Broglie) and the Comte de Vair against the Allied right to cut off Spörcken's Corps from the Allied Main Army
- the French Main Army under the Duc de Broglie advancing towards Paderborn with the real intention of seizing the defiles of Münden
The same day, the French occupied Fritzlar. Broglie's main body advanced on Wetterburg while M. de Closen reached Landau and the Chevalier de Muy with the left reserve seized Volkmarsen.
During the night of July 24 to 25, Spörcken retired on Wolfhagen to avoid encirclement. Ferdinand immediately detached the Hereditary Prince to reinforce Sprörcken's Corps. Spörcken was harassed by the French corps under the Comte de Broglie. Spörcken's corps spent the night under arms near a narrow defile between Fischbach (probably present-day Viesebeck) and Wolfhagen, then Spörcken sent his cavalry in a wide turning movement of about 20 km around a hill. His infantry then passed the defile but before the Allied cavalry could join it, the rearguard (Post Infantry (1 bn), Estorff Infantry (1 bn) and 400 picquets) was attacked by French horse and foot. The Allied rearguard managed to gain a rising ground where it held for 2.5 hours till the arrival of Spörcken's cavalry (7 Hanoverian sqns and 2 Hessian sqns under Breitenbach). This cavalry attacked the French in flank and put them into confusion. During this action, the French lost about 1,000 men, the Comte de Vair was killed and the Comte de Belzunce and M. de Comeyras wounded. The Allied lost 200 men.
On July 25 at 4:00 a.m., Ferdinand was forced by the superiority of the French Army to retire from Sachsenhausen to Wolfhagen. At daybreak, Broglie's Corps followed up the retiring Allied Army and harassed its rearguard. At 10:00 a.m., Broglie reached the heights of Sachsenhausen with his vanguard and established his army on the Heights of Freienhagen while de Muy's Corps took position between Volkmarsen and Marburg. The same day, M. de Chabo passed the Erpe and took position on the heights in front of Ehringen; and the Chevalier de Muy occupied the Heights of Lütersheim before taking position at Landau.
Battle of Warburg and capture of Kassel
On July 26, Broglie chased Allied troops from the plain of Wolfhagen. De Muy arrived soon after and took position at Istha while the Comte de Broglie (not to be confused with the duc) took position in front of Wenigenhasungen. The same day, the Allied Army marched westward to Hohenkirchen a few km north of Kassel.
|Voices from the Past|
|On July 26, 1760, the Allies retire from Istha|
On July 27, the French right reserve of Prince Xavier was at Zierenberg while the left reserve of the Chevalier de Muy marched to Volkmarsen, then to Essentho and finally marched downstream along the Diemel on Warburg where it arrived at night. De Muy established his camp behind Warburg. Meanwhile, Stainville's Corps besieged the Fort of Ziegenhain (present-day Schwalmstadt). Broglie's manoeuvres aimed at cutting the Allies from Paderborn and Lippstadt. The same day, the Allied Main Army retired further north to Immenhausen while the Hereditary Prince went to Obervellmar; Wangenheim to Mönchehof; Kielmansegg under Kassel; Luckner near Zwehren; and Spörcken remained at Westuffeln. During the retreat of the last days, the Allied rearguard had been incessantly and severely engaged.
On July 28, the Chevalier de Muy passed the Diemel at Stadtberg at the head of the reserve and deployed his corps along the banks of that river to cut off communication of the Allied Army with Westphalia. Meanwhile the French Main Army under the Duc de Broglie advanced upon the Allied Main Army and Prince Xavier marched on Kassel. It became evident to Ferdinand that either Kassel or Westphalia must be abandoned, he detached a force under General Kielmansegg to strengthen the garrison of Kassel and resolved to attack de Muy.
Accordingly, at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon of July 29, Ferdinand sent Spörcken forward from Kalle to Liebenau. Spörcken's Corps then crossed the Diemel between Liebenau and Dringelburg (maybe the Dingel Hill or a wrong spelling for Trendelburg). In the evening, the Hereditary Prince followed with his corps (including 2 British Grenadiers bns, 2 Highlanders bns, the 2 sqns of the 2nd (The Queen's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards under Mostyn and the 2 sqns of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons aka Conway ).
On July 30, the French Main Army, moving towards Kassel, was encamped: his right in front of the village of Ehlen, his left towards Kaplenberg (unidentified location) and Zierenberg. The grenadiers, the Gendarmerie, the Gardes Brigade, 3 infantry brigades and the Prince de Robecq's Corps advanced on the village of Dörnberg. The grenadier and Robecq's Corps then attacked the village of Weimar, driving out an Allied detachment. Meanwhile, Prince Xavier had attacked the cascade, pushing back 2 Allied bns and had seized Weinenstein (unidentified location). This left de Muy's Corps dangerously isolated at Warburg. De Muy established his reserve in a very advantageous camp with his right to Warburg and his left to the Hill of Ossendorff. The Chasseurs de Fischer were posted in the town of Warburg. De Muy informed Broglie that an Allied corps (15,000 men) was encamped on the left bank of the Diemel, between Liebenau and Körbecke. Broglie then sent grenadiers and chasseurs battalions to occupy the villages of Weimar and Fürstenwald to observe the Allied Army. Indeed, the Allied Main Army remained under arms all day. The combined force (24 bns and 22 sqns) of Spörcken and of the Hereditary Prince encamped between Liebenau and Körbecke with their left on the Diemel, facing west, thus securing a passage on the Diemel. As soon as Ferdinand was informed of Broglie's fault, he prepared his army. At 11:00 p.m., the Allied Main Army marched off in 6 columns to Liebenau to pass the Diemel and thus support the Hereditary Prince.
On July 31, at 10:00 a.m., Broglie was informed that the Allied troops facing him were retiring on the Diemel. He sent Guerchy with 3 infantry brigades to reinforce de Muy at Warburg. He also ordered Saint-Pern to march towards Warburg with the Grenadiers de France, the Grenadiers Royaux and 8 pieces. Broglie then marched to the ford at Wolfhagen. However, these reinforcements came too late. In fact, the combined forces of the Hereditary and Ferdinand had fallen on the isolated corps of de Muy and defeated it in the Battle of Warburg. In the evening, de Muy retreated to the heights behind Volkmarsen where his troops lay all night on their arms. After the battle, Ferdinand had realised that he could not hold simultaneously Westphalia and Hesse. Accordingly, he had instructed Kielmansegg to abandon his position under Kassel and to retire to Münden. The same day, at 11:00 a.m., Prince Xavier had attacked the redoubts and entrenchments defending the Allied camp at Kassel. The Saxons along with La Marck Brigade had driven Kielmansegg's Corps out of its defensive positions. The Volontaires du Hainaut, Volontaires d'Austrasie and the dragoons then pursued Kielmansegg. At 7:00 p.m., Broglie entered into Kassel where he was informed of de Muy's defeat at Warburg. The same evening, Granby passed the Diemel with 10 British bns and 12 sqns and encamped on the heights before Welda. Prince Xavier occupied Kassel, and Hesse was thus laid at the mercy of the French. Ferdinand now took up a position along the Diemel from Trendelburg to Stadtberg, so as to seal up every passage over the river.
Manoeuvres and counter-manoeuvres
The first half of August was marked by continuous rain.
On August 1, fearing for Korbach, Broglie marched with the French Main Army in 5 columns from Zierenberg to Wettesingen. The same day, Prince Xavier passed the Fulda at Kassel and marched on Münden, establishing his camp at Lutterberg. De Muy marched to Wolfhagen.
On August 2, Broglie sent a corps (grenadiers, chasseurs, Carabiniers, 5 cavalry brigades from the left wing, 12 pieces, Turpin Hussards, Volontaires du Dauphiné, Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince) under the command of the Prince de Condé to dislodge the Légion Britannique from the woods on the left of his army. Saint-Pern covered Condé on the left and Guerchy (3 brigades) was in support. The Légion Britannique abandoned the woods without opposing resistance. Broglie sent orders to de Muy to detach Castries towards Korbach to escort a bread convoy. The same day, Prince Xavier marched from his encampment at Lutterberg at the head of the grenadiers and chasseurs of his corps and made himself master of the town of Münden by a coup de main, taking the 350 men of the garrison prisoners of war. The Volontaires d'Austrasie entered into the place through a door while other troops scaled the walls. Kielmansegg, instead of supporting the garrison, marched towards Göttingen. Prince Xavier sent Vogüé towards Göttingen and sent light troops on the Werra. The same evening at Welda, Granby struck his tents and his corps lay all night on their arms.
Meanwhile, on the Lower Rhine, M. de Castellas had been left in command of the Fortress of Wesel. He used M. de Cambefort to launch raids on the right bank of the Rhine to disrupt communications of the towns of Münster and Bentheim with East Frisia and the Netherlands. Cambrefort often had to fight Scheither's Corps.
On the morning of August 3, Granby repassed the Diemel and joined the Allied Army at Warburg. The same day, Navarre and Auvergne brigades were placed to the right and left of the cavalry of the main army. Chabo's Corps, reinforced with cavalry, was sent to Rhoden. Prince Xavier passed the defiles of Münden and encamped at Mielenhausen. Still the same day on the Lower Rhine, M. de Cambefort, who had been detached from the garrison of Wesel, made himself master of the town of Bentheim which was garrisoned by only 45 men.
On August 4, Broglie, informed that an Allied force was in Stadtberg (present-day Marsberg on the Diemel river), detached Vaubécourt and Alsace brigades under M. de Wurmser to reinforce Castries who was redirected on Stadtberg. Furthermore, Broglie instructed de Muy to march on Stadtberg with his corps. The 2 infantry brigades sent as reinforcements joined Castries near Stadtberg. Meanwhile, Broglie marched with the main army from Ehrsten and Zierenberg to Oberelsungen where he remained until August 22. The same day, Prince Xavier marched to Dransfled near Göttingen while Kielmansegg retired by Uslar and Beverungen. Prince Xavier established advanced posts at Northeim and Einbeck. In the following days, he moved closer to Göttingen where he remained until August 11. The Allied Army was deployed along the left bank of the Diemel from Stadtberg to its mouth.
On August 5, de Muy marched from Volkmarsen towards Stadtberg with his corps and, at 6:00 a.m., made a junction with Castries who had been sent forward with 6,000 men. De Muy took his quarters on the Heights of Erlinghausen where he remained until August 21. An Allied detachment having taken position on a nearby height, 2 bns of grenadiers and chasseurs were sent against them, forcing them to retire on Essentho where it joined the Légion Britannique. This Allied corps then retired to Dalheim Abbey. Meanwhile Fischer chased another Allied detachment from its advanced post at Westheim. The headquarters of the French Army were at Oberlistingen, it encamped upon the heights along the Diemel opposite the Allied positions which extended from Scherfeld (probably present-day Scherfede) on the right to Übelngönne on the left. General Kielmansegg was posted near Beverungen on the Weser.
On August 6, M. de Stainville laid siege to Ziegenhain (present-day Schwalmstadt). The same day, Luckner retired from Harste to Moringen and the Hereditary Prince at the head of about 19,000 men encamped behind the village of Meerhof. His light troops then forced the French detachment occupying Essentho to retire on Stadtberg. Fearing for his communication with Marburg, Broglie sent 600 men of the Chasseurs de Fischer to Bredlar and Madfeld, replacing them at Westheim with Turpin Hussards. Furthermore, the Grenadiers de France and the Grenadiers Royaux were placed at Rhoden between the main army and de Muy's Corps. The Volontaires de Saint-Victor were scouting the banks of the Weser between the Diemel and the Fulda.
Thus, the Allied Main Army was encamped near Warburg; while the French had de Muy at Erlinghausen near Stadtberg and Castries at Wolfhagen to cover the convoys. Both armies then spent most of August observing each other. Broglie first tried to operate on his left and to threaten the communications of the Allies with Lippstadt, laying siege to Ziegenhain.
On August 8, an Allied detachment under Luckner attacked Einbeck, forcing the Volontaires d'Austrasie to retire to Harste where they were soon joined by a dragoon rgt and the Royal-Nassau Hussards. Meanwhile Harcourt Dragons abandoned the heights of Wibbecke.
On August 9, the Volontaires de Wandersmesch, who were defending the bridge of Salzderhelden on the Leine, abandoned their post and retired to Northeim.
|Voices from the Past|
|On August 10, 1762, two Hessian hussars were buried at Gottsbüren|
On August 10, a French party of 500 horse and foot drove part of Luckner's Hussars out of Northeim. However, Allied jägers reinforced Luckner's Hussars and together they forced one of the gates of Northeim and stormed the place. In this action, the French lost 150 men killed; and 11 officers, 300 foot and 30 dragoons taken prisoners and conducted to Hameln. The same day, Colonel Donop attacked and dislodged the Volontaires de Saint-Victor (2,000 men), who had been detached into the woods of Sababurg to protect Broglie's line of communication with Prince Xavier. The French lost 500 men killed, wounded or taken prisoners; and 3 guns. The routed Volontaires de Saint-Victor took refuge into Münden. Kielmansegg had now been reinforced and was threatening Prince Xavier's positions. Prince Xavier then retreated from Esebeck to Mielenhausen with his corps, evacuating Göttingen.
On August 11, the Allied garrison of the Castle of Ziegenhain (700 men) surrendered to M. de Stainville as prisoners of war. In the town the French took possession of a large flour magazine. The same day, the Volontaires de Wandersmesch surrendered to an Allied detachment.
In the night of August 11 to 12, Prince Xavier's Corps marched to Imbsen where it was reinforced with 2 infantry brigades sent by Broglie. French light troops retired on Varlosen and Oberscheden.
On August 12, Saint-Victor reached Imbsen.
On August 15, Broglie drove back the Allied advanced posts.
On August 19 (???) on the Lower Rhine, an Allied force appeared in front of Bentheim and laid siege to the castle.
On August 20, both armies were still deployed along each bank of the Diemel. Broglie ordered the Corps of de Muy to Volkmarsen to support Prince Xavier. The same day, a large body of French tried to pass the Weser near Buschfelde (probably Bodenfelde) to support Prince Xavier but it was stopped by Wangenheim near Uslar.
On August 21, de Muy's Corps marched eastwards from Erlinghausen to Volkmarsen and Niederelsungen to get closer to the left wing of the main army, leaving a detachment at Stadtberg and in the outposts of Meerhoff and Ossendorf. French light troops attacked Scheither's Corps but were repulsed. Allied hussars captured a French outpost at Rhoden defended by 1 officer and 30 men of Royal Écossais Infanterie. Meanwhile, Prince Xavier advanced to Meesen (unidentified location) with the right wing reserve, the light troops of his right wing entering into Göttingen.
On the night of August 21 to 22, Broglie broke his camp and marched in 7 columns by his right with the main army. He encamped with his right at Mariendorff, his left at Hohenkirchen and the Fulda in his rear. Saint-Victor took post at Udenhausen with his vanguard reinforced with Turpin Hussards. The prince de Robecq's Corps took post at Grebenstein; Bercheny Hussards at Elsen; and the Chasseurs de Fischer at Dörnberg.
On August 22, de Muy's Corps arrived in the woods of Wilhelmstadt, his right behind the village of Mönchehof, his left at Vellmar and his headquarters at Heckershausen. His light troops occupied the Castle of Sababurg, Udenhausen, Grebenstein, Calden and Dörnberg. The same day, the Hereditary Prince crossed the Diemel with 12,000 men and advanced on Broglie's left flank, his vanguard reaching Zierenberg. His light troops engaged a French detachment (Royal Dragons, Thianges Dragons and part of the Chasseurs de Fischer) under M. de Travers, which had been left at Oberelsungen to observe the Allies' movements. The Allied light troops were soon supported by the Hereditary Prince at the head of the 2nd North British Dragoons (Scot Greys) and the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons and the British grenadiers. The French were finally driven back with considerable loss and took refuge into Zierenberg. Still the same day, the French garrison (3 officers and 85 men) of the Castle of Bentheim, under the command of M. de Rheinhardt, surrendered to Major de Wense as prisoners of war. Two battalions of the Légion Britannique were sent to cover the town of Osnabrück.
On August 23, Broglie was informed that the Allies were still holding their positions at Warburg and that the Hereditary Prince had established posts up to Zierenberg. The same day, the French Main Army arrived at Immenhausen. Ferdinand recalled the corps on his right and encamped at Bühne near Borgentreich, sending several divisions towards Bodenhagen (unidentified location), Beverungen and Deisel.
On the evening of August 24, Broglie sent 4 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigades and 12 pieces under the Prince de Croy to reinforce Prince Xavier. Broglie estimated that these reinforcements would allow Prince Xavier to advance directly against the camp of Uslar. Learning that Ferdinand was establishing his headquarters at Bühne, Broglie sent a detachment of infantry and cavalry to the Castle of Sababurg to support the detachments of M. de Closen and M. de Saint-Victor.
On August 25, the Royal-Suédois Brigade replaced the detachment sent the previous to the Castle of Sababurg. In the morning, the Prince de Croy arrived at Imbsen and Prince Xavier made preparations for a night attack on the camp of Uslar. However, intense rain forced him to postpone his project. A French detachment entered into Göttingen, the Hanoverian garrison being forced to retire. The same day, 3 battalions of the British Guards (one from each regiment) arrived from Great Britain under the command of General Caesar. They joined the Allied Army at Bühne where Ferdinand had his headquarters. The Hereditary Prince encamped at Breuna on the opposite bank of the Diemel. His light troops scoured the country as far as Winterstasten (unidentified location) near Kassel.
On August 26, Prince Xavier's Reserve marched through Göttingen, raising a contribution of 30,000 crowns. Prince Xavier then left a strong garrison in the town and marched to Esebeck where he encamped. The French artillery stationed at Münden marched to Kassel while the artillery previously stationed in Kassel advanced to Ziegenhain. M. de Vogüé drove an Allied detachment from Adelebsen to cover Prince Xavier's left flank. The Prince de Croy remained at Ellershausen to cover the débouchés of Münden in front of Wangenheim and Luckner's troops.
During these manoeuvres, the French had evacuated Zierenberg.
On August 28, the Bercheny Hussards were sent to Giessen to assume foot service.
On August 29, an Allied detachment marched towards Granby's headquarters at Burgholz.
On August 30, the Prince de Condé at the head of a strong corps (Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince, Volontaires du Dauphiné, grenadiers and chasseurs of the army) attacked Zierenberg. Upon Broglie's instructions, de Muy also advanced 2 dragoon rgts in the plain of Dörnberg; 4 infantry brigades and 3 cavalry brigades between Dörnberg and Weimar (the cavalry to the right and the infantry to the left); 1 infantry brigade and 1 cavalry brigade to the village of Mönchehof; and 1 infantry brigade to the village of Weimar. However, the attack was cancelled when the Allies retired from Zierenberg to the camp of the Hereditary Prince at Breuna. The Prince de Condé immediately threw the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince and the Volontaires du Dauphiné into Zierenberg and posted Turpin Hussards at Bodenhausen. Meanwhile, Fischer sent a detachment to Burghasungen.
On the night of August 30 to 31, the Hereditary Prince retired from Breuna and encamped near Warburg, leaving his light troops at Welda on the other side of the Diemel to observe the French troops at Stadtberg.
Towards the end of August, Stainville retired from Korbach to Frankenberg to cover communications with Frankfurt.
Ferdinand was now placed in an awkward dilemma. He had sent a few troops to Beverungen on the Weser to check Prince Xavier's advanced parties; but this detachment, though it had done its work well, was not strong enough to make head against an invasion in real force. Moreover Einbeck was disagreeably near to the border of his brother's dominions of Brunswick, which he would fain have saved from invasion if he could. Yet he could not move to the east bank of the Weser without uncovering Lippstadt, the one fortress which enabled him to prevent the perfect concert of the French armies of the Rhine and Main. In fact the situation was one of extreme trial and embarrassment.
On September 5, Ferdinand still had his headquarters at Bühne; the Hereditary Prince was still deployed between Warburg and Stadtberg; Granby's Reserve was at Burgholz; and Wangenheim was posted at Uslar. On the French side, Broglie was still encamped at Immenhausen while Prince Xavier's Corps (42 bns, 42 sqns and some light troops) encamped at Esebeck. The same day, a French corps (20,000 men) made a grand forage in the neighbourhood of Geismar (probably Hofgeismar). However, Ferdinand, informed of the French plan, had crossed the Diemel early in the morning and prevented them from doing this forage. Still the same day, the Hereditary Prince marched from Warburg to Malsburg (castle ruin on the Malsberg) without being detected. Seeing the negligence of the French in these quarters, Ferdinand then resolved to attack the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince (max. 600 horse and 600 foot) and Volontaires du Dauphiné (max. 600 horse and 600 foot) totalling 1,900 men stationed at Zierenberg. He ordered 5 bns and 150 Highlanders under the command of Captain McLeod, and 8 dragoon sqns to be ready to march at 8:00 p.m..
During the night of September 5 to 6, the Allied detachment passed the Diemel near Warburg. Maxwell's Grenadiers, the Highlander detachment and the 20th Kingsley's Foot formed the head of the Allied column. These were followed by 2 grenadier bns and Block Infantry. Then came Bock Dragoons (4 sqns), the 2nd North British Dragoons (Scot Greys) (2 sqns) and the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons (2 sqns). This Allied detachment made a junction with Bülow's light troops at the village of Witzen (unidentified location), about 5 km on the other side of the Diemel. The plan called for Bülow to turn the town of Zierenberg and to take post between this town and Dierenberg (probably the village of Dörnberg or the height of Dörenberg). The Allied force was guided by townsmen as well as deserters who manages to avoid outposts. The 2nd North British Dragoons (Scot Greys) and 6th Inniskilling Dragoons were posted at the entrance of a large wood, near Malsburg. Two grenadier battalions along with Block Infantry and Bock Dragoons were posted between Malsburg and Zierenberg. At a mill about 3 km from Zierenberg, in sight of the French outposts, Maxwell's Grenadiers took one road, the 20th Kingsley's Foot and the Highlanders another. Less than 1 km from Zierenberg they were challenged by French dragoons in advanced posts. The Allied column resumed its march in silence.
At about 2:00 a.m. on September 6, the Allied column was detected when it had almost reached the town. The grenadiers, who had been ordered to advance with unloaded muskets, ran towards the town, pushed back the piquets, killed the detachment of Volontaires du Dauphiné guarding the Warburg Gate, rushed into the town and drove everything before them. Meanwhile, two other gates were masked by Allied dragoons and 2 Hessian battalions. The columns of British grenadiers advanced in great order with their bayonet fixed without firing a shot by the two streets leading to the churchyard, the only open space in the whole town. The Allies surprised several French soldiers before they had time to come out of the houses and assembled in the churchyard. Upon reaching the churchyard, the Allies drove back the few French troops who had managed to assemble there. Meanwhile, the 2 dragoon regiments masking the other gates made an attempt against the Duremberg Gate but were repulsed by 400 French grenadiers. These dragoons made another unsuccessful attempt against another gate before managing to enter the town through a breach. At 3:00 a.m., the Hereditary Prince, fearing the arrival of reinforcements from the nearby French Army, ordered retreat. In this action, General Griffin was wounded, Lord George Lenox had his horse wounded under him. Overall, the Allied lost about 10 men and captured 428 prisoners (including Brigadier de Nortman commanding the French force and the brigadier of the Volontaires du Dauphiné, Colonel de Comeiras of Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince, his entire staff of 9 officers, 25 other officers, 231 privates of the Volontaires du Dauphiné and 161 privates of the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince) and 4 guns. The French losses were important. A detachment was sent to observe the retreat of the Hereditary Prince, recapturing 2 guns. At 8:00 a.m., the victorious Allied column was back to Warburg. M. de Vadreuil, colonel of the Volontaires du Dauphiné, who still had 400 foot and 200 horse, restored order in Zierenberg. The same day, Prince Xavier reoccupied Göttingen and Northeim and encamped at Einbeck.
On September 7 (???), Ferdinand detached Major Bülow to the Upper Eder to threaten Broglie's communication with the Main. Bülow entered that town, driving the French into the castle, capturing 8 officers and 70 men, and destroying the ovens of the French bakery. Bülow then sent Scheiter Dragoons forward to Butzbach where they captured 2 coys of Cavalerie Liégeoise along with 2 standards. During the same raid, they destroyed about 250 wagons of flour at Grünberg and Hungen.
On September 11, informed that an Allied corps was marching on Marburg, Broglie reacted quickly. He personally went to Martinhagen, where the Comte de Stainville was with his reserve, and ordered him to march immediately towards Marburg. The same day, learning of the approach of a French corps under the command of M. de Stainville, Bülow retired and made a junction with Colonel Fersen at Frankenberg/Eder.
On September 12, fearing for his communications, Prince Xavier retired to Witzenhausen while the Prince de Croy retired on Münden. The same day, Bülow advanced towards Frankenau and Stainville marched to attack him.
On the night of September 12 to 13, Broglie decamped from Immenhausen and fell back upon Kassel.
On September 13 at daybreak, M. de Stainville was marching towards Frankenberg when he clashed with a retiring Allied corps between Rhadern andMünden/Ork. Both forces were separated by a wood and a small stream flowing into the Eder. Stainville reinforced his left with Bouillon Infanterie (2 bns) placed in the Castle of Lichtenfels. Combat began around 10:00 a.m. M. de Scey at the head of Du Roi Brigade and M. de Melfort with the Légion Royale advanced. The Allies occupied positions on a steep hill. Nevertheless Auvergne Infanterie stormed these positions on the double. Fersen counter-charged the dragoons of the Légion Royal at the head of his cavalry but was made prisoner with some of his men. Then, the grenadiers and chasseurs of the brigades along with the dragoons of Légion Royale; du Roi, Auvergne, Bouillon and Royal-Pologne infantry brigades pursued the Allies up to the village of Neukirchen near Sachsenberg. Bülow was forced to abandon some guns to pass the defiles. In this action M. de Stainville took 400 prisoners and 8 pieces and considerable baggage. The same day, de Muy took position to his left at Wallerhausen (unidentified location) and Prince Xavier advanced once more on Göttingen, occupying positions between Friedland and Witzenhausen. The French Gendarmerie was posted at Lichtenau between the Fulda and the Werra. Broglie intended to force Wangenheim to retire.
On September 14, the French Main Army quitted Immenhausen and encamped to the right of Kassel, occupying a very strong camp with its right to the city and its left to the Village of Weissenstein. Meanwhile, M. de Stainville retired to Berleburg near Frankenberg. The same day, the Allied reserve under Granby passed the Diemel and encamped near Geismar (probably Hofgeismar) while Gilsa advanced towards Sababurg and Rheinhardswald, and Wangenheim towards Uslar, taking post at Löwenhagen. There were several skirmishes.
On September 15, Wangenheim encamped at Dransfeld, drove a detachment of Prince Xavier's Corps from the defiles of Scheden and launched an unsuccessful attack on the post of Münden. The same day, M. de Stainville retired to Allendorf. Meanwhile, Prince Xavier's Corps encamped near Kassel, maintaining its controls on the débouchés of Hohemünden.
On September 17, Broglie detached 8 grenadier and chasseur bns under M. de Rougé, along with the Grenadiers de France under Saint-Pern, the Carabiniers and the Reserve under the Marquis de Poyanne to support Prince Xavier. Meanwhile, M. de Chabot manoeuvred on Wolfhagen on the Allied right flank. By this date, the French army (137 bns, 159 sqns) was deployed as follows:
- Right Reserve (25 bns, 44 sqns) under Prince Xavier between Göttingen and Friedland with its left at Witzenhausen
- Main Army (58 bns, 28 sqns) in the surroundings of Kassel
- Left Reserve (20 bns, 20 sqns) under M. de Muy at Wahlershausen
- Chasseurs de Fischer and Volontaires de Saint-Victor
- Prince de Croy's Division (18 bns) along the Werra and the Fulda from Hedemünden to Spiekershausen
- Prince de Robecq's Division (13 sqns)
- M. de Chabo's Division (4 bns, 14 sqns) at Breitenbach/Embs
- Comte de Stainville's Division (10 bns, 14 sqns) at Frankenberg
- M. de Poyanne's Division (18 sqns) at Lichtenau
- Detachments to protect forage activities
On September 17, Wangenheim's Allied Corps quitted its camp at Uslar and encamped at Dransfeld. In the evening, Broglie sent grenadiers and chasseurs, the Grenadiers de France, the Grenadiers Royaux and 24 pieces to support Prince Xavier.
On September 18, the Corps des carabiniers de Monsieur le Comte de Provence was also sent in support of Prince Xavier.
On September 19, Broglie personally accompanied reinforcements for Prince Xavier, planning to attack Wangenheim. With these reinforcements, Prince Xavier's Corps counted between 25 and 30,000 men and consisted of:
- right column
- 1st line
- 2nd line
- left column
The same day, Wangenheim (4 bns and 6 sqns) redirected his right from Dransfeld to Bühren and his left at the débouché of the defiles of Löwenhagen. Meanwhile, Ferdinand had thrown a bridge at Hameln to establish communication with Wangenheim. At 11:00 a.m., Broglie with Prince Xavier's Corps and the reinforcements advanced on Dransfeld. He then marched on Löwenhagen with 32 bns and 18 sqns, and sent forward his 2 columns of cavalry but they arrived too late to stop the Allied cavalry from entering into the woods near Ellershausen protected by the Allied infantry. Prince Xavier's column then advanced against this wood. M. de Vaux entered into the wood at the head of the grenadiers and chasseurs of the Castellas and La Marck brigades while 3 bns of Grenadiers Royaux, under Major-general de Kleingemberg advanced on the wood by the right. Meanwhile, Broglie advanced 2 artillery brigades. The Allied infantry took cover in the wood, behind its artillery. Followed an artillery duel. Upon arrival, Diesbach Brigade supported the grenadiers who at 7:00 p.m., along with the Saxon bns, frontally attacked the Allied positions. At 8:00 p.m., the Allies retired, passed the Weser and retreated to their former position at Uslar. The Saxon grenadiers captured 2 guns and several prisoners. In this affair, Wangenheim lost 150 men killer, wounded or made prisoners and 4 guns. The French lost about 300 men. When the Prince de Croy heard of the fighting, he sent a detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel de la Borde who took possession of the bridge of Hameln but he was soon forced to abandon it. Prince Xavier then returned to Friedland, 14 km south of Göttingen while Broglie repassed the Werra.
On September 20, Broglie returned to Kassel, leaving to Prince Xavier the reinforcements sent in the previous days. He also instructed M. de Robecq to march to Göttingen. Broglie resolved to surround Göttingen with earthen walls to transform it into a permanent base for the army. However, his plan had failed to lure Ferdinand out of his positions on the Diemel. Broglie then decided to assemble troops quartered in Flanders and to join them with a few regiments under the command of M. de Castries to make movement by Wesel on the Allied rear.
The other phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:
- Allied offensive on the Lower Rhine (September 22 to October 22, 1760) describing the Allied attempt against Wesel, the French manoeuvres to relieve the fortress, the battle of Clostercamp and the Allied retreat.
- End of the campaign (October 22 to December 31, 1760) describing the Allied defensive measures, the French maoeuvres and the Allied attempt against Göttingen.
This series of articles is a compilation of 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. 521-528, 531-534
- Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 501-519
- 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. 137-184
- Jomini, baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 221-240
- Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. V, Paris, 1891, pp. 2-114