1761 - French campaign in West Germany – French and Allied last operations

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The general situation after the Allied surprise attack against the French winter quarters in Hesse and the minor operations who took place before the opening of the campaign are described in our article Preliminary operations (April 20 to May 30, 1761).

The French manoeuvres to make a junction of their two armies, the battle of Vellinghausen and the stalemate which resulted after this battle are described in our article Campaign till the battle of Vellinghausen (June 1 to July 26, 1761).

Broglie's march eastwards through Westphalia, Soubise's advance on Münster, Broglie's first advance into Hanover, and Ferdinand's counter-attack towards Münden are described in our article French first attempt against Hanover (July 27 to September 6, 1761).

Broglie's second offensive into Hanover, Soubise's operations in East Frisia, and Ferdinand's counter-attack towards Kassel are described in our article French second attempt against Hanover (September 7 to October 5, 1761).


Broglie sends Prince Xavier against Wolfenbüttel and Braunschweig

On October 6, Broglie pushed Prince Xavier's reserve (16,000 men) on Wolfenbüttel with instructions to capture also the town of Braunschweig. This area was covered only by the weak detachments of Luckner, Freytag and Prince August, the latter was stationed at Hanover with a few bns. Prince Xavier's corps consisted of:

  • Auvergne infantry brigade
  • Lyonnais infantry brigade
  • the 2 Saxon brigades
  • 14 cavalry sqns
  • Artillery:
    • 12 x 12-pdr guns
    • 6 x howitzers
    • 2 x mortars

The same day, M. de Closen marched in the direction of Springe to attract the attention of Prince Frederick of Brunswick posted at Hildesheim with a small Allied corps. The latter reacted as anticipated, advancing to Coppenbrügge. Prince Xavier took advantage of this manoeuvre to advance to Lutter which he reached at 4:00 p.m.

On October 7, M. de Closen then marched to Sehlde at the confluence of the Neile and Innerste. The same day, Ferdinand returned to Volkmarsen.

On October 8, the Maréchal de Broglie was informed that Ferdinand's headquarters were not at Korbach as anticipated but rather at Arolsen (present-day Bad Arolsen). The Hereditary Prince was at Landau (unidentified location) and the British contingent at Wolfhagen. To threaten the Allied left flank, M. de Stainville sent Rochambeau's Corps across the Eder. Rochambeau established his corps in the plain on the right of this river to keep an eye on Fritzlar. He sent Chamborant Hussards forward to Frankenberg. Broglie also ordered two strong detachments under MM. de Maupéou and Caraman towards Hameln. Maupéou passed the Weser near Beverungen with the Volontaires de Verteuil (unidentified unit, probably some Volontaires de l'armée), the Légion Royale, Beaufremont Dragons and some cavalry but he met with a strong resistance and could not reach Brakel and Peckelsheim as planned. The same day, M. de Closen arrived in front of Braunschweig which he invested, cutting its communications with Wolfenbüttel. Meanwhile, Prince Xavier arrived in front of Wolfenbüttel with his vanguard at 1:00 p.m. He immediately summoned M. de Stammer, governor of the place, to surrender. Stammer refused and the trenches were opened in the evening.

On October 9 at daybreak, Caraman advanced towards Hameln. Near Halle, he came to contact with Stockhausen's Corps, attacking and defeating this corps and capturing Stockhausen. Caraman, joined by Chabot's Corps, was pursuing the defeated corps when Luckner's Corps and Prince Frederick of Brunswick came to its support, forcing Caraman and Chabot to retire, which they did in good order despite several lively charges by their pursuers. The French troops involved were: the battalion of chasseurs and grenadiers of Boccard Brigade, detachments of Orléans Dragons and Languedoc Dragons, the Carabiniers, Dauphin-Étranger Cavalerie, Chabrillan Cavalerie, Toulouse-Lautrec Cavalerie and Fumel Cavalerie under the command of M. de Lautrec who distinguished himself in this action. Chabot held for a while at Scharfendeldorf near Eschershausen. However, Luckner deployed to attack him and to turn his left. Furthermore, the battalion of grenadiers and chasseurs of Navarre Brigade, who had been sent to his support by M. de Poyannes, were attacked. Chabot then resolved to retreat on Stadtoldendorf where he made a junction with Poyannes. During the night, Luckner retired to Halle.

On October 10, Maupéou passed the Weser at Beverungen, surprised Freytag Jägers and destroyed them. Meanwhile, General Stammer, who defended Wolfenbüttel with 2 militia battalions, capitulated to Prince Xavier to prevent the entire destruction of the town. The same day, with the navigation on the Weser intercepted up to Hameln by the light troops of Chabot's vanguard, Ferdinand was in a difficult position to supply his army. He wanted to put a stop to the incursion of Soubise's detachments. Accordingly, he extended his right to receive his supplies from the country of Waldeck. He also sent the Hereditary Prince towards Lippstadt to threaten communications between Kassel and Frankfurt. Luckner left Halle and encamped by the wood of Hastenbeck near Hameln. At 11:00 p.m., Luckner decamped and marched towards Hildesheim.

Map of siege of Braunschweig in October 1761.
Copyright: Dinos Antoniadis
Key to the map:
A Position of French troops on October 11 as Prince Xavier vainly summoned Lieutenant-General von Imhoff to surrender the City of Braunschweig.
B An attack between the Stein and August Gates.
C Second attack against the Petri Gate.
D French entrenched advanced posts with some guns near Ölper.
E March of the Hanoverian relief force commanded by Prince Frederick of Brunswick.
F Attack on the entrenchments of the French forcing them to retire towards Braunswcheig.
G French retreat towards Wolfenbüttel.

On October 11, Broglie reached Einbeck. Meanwhile, Prince Xavier invested Braunschweig and opened the trenches before it. His artillery opened on the town defended by a small garrison. Prince Xavier had part of his army at Lehndorf and in the important pass of Ölper to cover the siege. He summoned General Imhof, commanding at Braunschweig, to surrender. However, he had too few artillery to represent a real threat to this well defended place and Imhof refused to capitulate. Prince Xavier then sent M. de Lutzelburg with 2 cavalry brigades and some infantry to complete the encirclement of the place and to link his positions with Closen's. Luckner had by then fallen back on Hildesheim. The same day, Ferdinand repassed the Diemel in 4 columns a little above Warburg and encamped at Borlinghausen, on his way to Hameln. The Allied bakery was transferred from Warburg to Höxter. Ferdinand then detached Wangenheim to Hanover and gave order to Prince August of Brunswick, who was stationed at Hanover with a few battalions, to relieve the city of Braunschweig.

On October 12, leaving M. de Blaisel to command in Wolfenbüttel, Prince Xavier passed the Oker with his entire Reserve and established his headquarters at the Monastery of Riddagshausen near Braunschweig. During the night, the construction of a battery in the gardens of the monastery, facing the August Gate, began. The same day, the Hereditary Prince arrived at Lippstadt where he was informed of Soubise’s retreat. He then encamped at Lipperode. Meanwhile, Ferdinand marched to Brakel with his army; and General Luckner and Prince Frederick of Brunswick arrived by force marches in the neighbourhood of Peine, 26 km west of Braunschweig. On the Lower Rhine, the French had by then completed the destruction of the fortifications of Meppen.

In the night of October 12 to 13, the artillery on the walls of Braunschweig cannonaded the French positions to slow down the erection of a battery at Riddagshausen.

By the morning of October 13, the French battery in front of Braunschweig was ready to open on the town. However, Prince Xavier was informed of the possible arrival of Allied reinforcements (Wangenheim and Luckner) and he interrupted his works. The same day, Ferdinand encamped near Marienmünster. Meanwhile, General Luckner and Prince Frederick of Brunswick, without waiting for reinforcements arriving under General Mansberg, proceeded directly towards Braunschweig.

In the night of October 13 to 14, realizing that all the roads leading to Braunschweig were blocked, Prince Frederick, covered by Luckner, attacked and drove back the French force (1,000 men) defending the entrenchments of Ölper. In this action, the Allies made 300 prisoners, including General Daston and 10 other officers, and captured 1 artillery piece. After the action, Luckner returned to Peine unmolested. Meanwhile, Prince Frederick entered into Braunschweig with 6 bns. The French retired to Fümmelse, about 14 km south of Braunschweig.

On October 14, Soubise assembled his various detachments and marched from Coesfeld to Borken where he cantoned. The same day, Prince Xavier panicked, lifted the blockade of Braunschweig and repassed the Oker. Nevertheless, he had reached his goals to divert part of Ferdinand's forces from the Weser. The same day on the Lower-Rhine, Ferdinand had recalled most of the corps of the Hereditary Prince who returned to the area of Lippstadt, encamping at Liesborn. Meanwhile Soubise remained idle in his cantonments.

On October 15, there were 5 French infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades at Einbeck; Prince Xavier even evacuated Wolfenbüttel after levying huge contributions, retiring in 3 columns from Flachstöckheim up to Lutter to make a junction with the main body of Broglie's Army, despite the fact that there were not a single additional Allied unit in the region; M. de Blaisel formed the rearguard with the garrison of Wolfenbüttel; Closen was at Gernrode; Chabot at Scharfoldendorf; Poyanne at Eschershausen; Guerchy at Stadtoldendorf; Maupéou at Holzminden; Talaru at Lippoldsberg; Rochechouart at Fürstenhagen and Stainville at Clausthal. Fearing for Einbeck, the Maréchal de Broglie moved part of the troops established on the Werra and the Fulda closer to this town. The same day, Ferdinand marched to Ottenstein on the Weser; Granby passed the Weser and encamped at Hastenbeck; Luckner was reinforced at Hildesheim; Bock made an incursion towards Ruden (unidentified location) on the Upper Diemel; the Hereditary Prince marched from Liesborn towards Paderborn and Detmold. During this time on the Lower Rhine, the reserve under the Prince de Condé reached Ramsdorf, Soubise's main army marched to Borken and light troops took position at Coesfeld, Velen, Grossreken and Kleinreken to protect the convoys who had set off from Meppen in the two previous days. The first division of the Gardes Françaises took the road to France, soon followed by a few other regiments.

On October 16, Ferdinand established his headquarters near the village of Ohr, 6 km south of Hameln where he threw a bridge of pontoons over the Weser. Granby took position at Hildesfelt (unidentified location) with a vanguard near Halle and the Hereditary Prince was at Hildesheim. Soubise had by then recalled his parties from East Frisia and retired towards Wesel. The Hereditary Prince left a detachment on the Lippe and rejoined the main Allied army on the Weser. The same day, Broglie was at Stadtoldendorf.

Ferdinand then fell ill and Allied operations were suspended until the beginning of November. Meanwhile, from October 17 to 28, the Hereditary Prince gradually retired towards Lippstadt, up to Steinheim.

Broglie prepares his winter-quarters

Considering the campaign terminated, the Maréchal de Broglie started to send part of his army in cantonments for the winter. The infantry belonging to Maupéou's and Guerchy's Corps as well as the infantry posted at Uslar and on the Upper Weser, and the grenadier and chasseur battalions all took their cantonments. Broglie was now deployed as follows:

  • 5 infantry brigades and 8 sqns at Einbeck
  • Prince Xavier at Gandersheim
  • Closen with his vanguard at Gehrenrode
  • Chabot, reinforced with the Légion Royale, at Scharfeldendorf
  • Poyannes with 2 infantry brigades at Eschershausen
  • Guerchy with 2 infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades at Stadtoldendorf
  • Maupéou with 2 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade and 1 dragoon rgt, 1 light troop rgt and the Volontaires de Verteuil at Holzminden
  • Talaru at Lippoldsberg
  • Rochechouart at Fürstenberg

Broglie then ordered Stainville to send Royal-Pologne Cavalerie, La Reine Cavalerie, Des Salles Cavalerie, Crussol Cavalerie and Moustiers Cavalerie, under the command of M. d'Aubigny, behind the Edder. Rochambeau, for his part, was sent with 9 bns to Frankenberg to support this cavalry, covering the river from Frankenau to Battenberg. In front of his position, d'Aubigny had Chamborant Hussards on the left bank of the Eder and a dragoon rgt in front of Fritzlar. The Grenadiers Royaux occupied various places and Normandie infantry brigade took position at Münden to guard the Weser up to Lippoldsberg. Finally, the Volontaires de Flandre deployed detachments in the region of Warburg.

On October 21 on the Lower Rhine, M. de Wurmser followed General Oheim's Corps up to Drensteinfurt. A few skirmishes took place.

On October 23, M. de Stainville marched from Kassel towards Duderstadt at the head of the Grenadiers de France, Escouloubre Cavalerie and 2 dragoon rgts. During his march, Stainville was informed of a Prussian corps at Halberstadt and of the arrival of Freytag's Corps at Seesen and Goslar. Stainville redirected his march on Grund and Clausthal where he was rejoined by 1 infantry and 1 cavalry brigades with the Volontaires de Verteuil. From this positions he was covering Prince Xavier's Corps at Gandersheim. Stainville sent back his artillery to Frankfurt.

On October 24, Soubise marched to Dorsten.

On October 25 on the Lower-Rhine, Soubise's Army reached Buer.

On October 26 on the Lower-Rhine, Soubise's Army marched to Essen and encamped from Lütgendortmund up to Mülheim an der Ruhr and Kettwig; while his light troops held Dortmund and reached Lünen and Hamm (defended by 2 bns of Hessian grenadiers and 2 bns of the Légion Britannique); and the Prince de Condé occupied Bochum. The Army of the Lower-Rhine had a supply of forage only till November 12.

On October 28, M. de Stainville reached Forste (unidentified location).

On October 29, M. de Stainville reached Seesen, pushing the Volontaires de Saint-Victor to Goslar and leaving a battalion at Clausthal.

From October 29 to November 3, the various corps of the Army of the Upper-Rhine remained in their positions, foraging in the areas of Halle, Capellenhagen, Alfeld, Bodenburg and Lutter.

On October 30 on the Lower Rhine, the Prince de Condé was at Meppen.

At the beginning of November on the Lower-Rhine, Soubise's Army started to take its cantonments between the Emscher and the Ruhr.

Ferdinand launches an offensive against Einbeck

At the beginning of November, Ferdinand had his headquarters at Ohr, near Hameln, on the left bank of the Weser. Broglie’s Army was deployed as follows on the right bank of the Weser:

  • 2,000 men in Harz
  • Lieutenant-General Stainville (16 bns) at Seesen
  • Prince Xavier of Saxony (19 bns) at Gandersheim
  • Maréchal de Broglie (8 bns) at Einbeck
  • General Chabot (15 bns) at Eschershausen
  • General Rochambeau (8 bns) at Kassel
  • the Irish Brigade on the Eder
  • the rest of the infantry with the cavalry cantoned in the villages behind the various camps

On November 2, Ferdinand having recovered, planned an attack against Poyanne at Eschershausen to drive the French from the right bank of the Weser and then to advance on Einbeck to prevent the concentration of the French army.

On November 3, the Hereditary Prince marched from Hildesheim and passed the Leine at Poppenburg; Luckner marched to Ringelheim, with his own detachment and the garrison of Wolfenbüttel; Granby to Coppenbrügge and Hardenberg marched from Blomberg. The same day, M. de Saint-Victor informed Stainville that Luckner was advancing beyond Kloster and Ringelheim, between Langelsheim and Gitter on the Nette. As soon as Broglie received the information, he immediately started to concentrate his forces.

On November 4, Luckner reached Lutter; the Hereditary Prince, Limmer near Alfeld in position to take possession of Einbeck the following day; Granby, Dusen (probably Dohnsen) to threaten the post of Capellenhagen; and Hardenberg, the neighbourhood of Bodenwerder to pass the Weser the following night. Meanwhile, Ferdinand threw 2 bridges on the Weser and passed the river at Ohr with his main army and encamped between Tündern and Hastenbeck, sending Lieutenant-General Conway to Borgel (unidentified location) and General Scheele to Bremke.

In the night of November 4 to 5, Broglie sent orders to the various corps of his army to assemble at Einbeck where he had only 5 infantry rgts. The same night, Lieutenant-General Hardenberg, who was supposed to take position at Amelungsborn after the passage of the Weser at Bodenwerder, was delayed on his way and did not manage to cross the river.

On November 5 at daybreak, the Maréchal de Broglie visited his advanced posts on the road to Hanover. Broglie sent M. d'Espiez at the head of some dragoons and hussars and 1 grenadier bn towards the village of Alfeld to delay the advance of the Allies. At 9:00 a.m., the Allied army started to debouch near Einbeck. Broglie put his corps under arms ans placed 2 infantry brigades on the heights of Brunsen, 6 km north of Einbeck. He was soon rejoined by 2 additional brigades and left one of them in the plain. Meanwhile, Ferdinand combined the movements of his 4 columns to isolate M. de Chabot, guarding the defiles of Eschershausen. Conway and Scheele made a junction near Halle; Luckner took position opposite Stainville’s Corps at Seesen; Granby took possession of Capellenhagen and reached Wickensen for the appointed rendez-vous with the main Allied army. The same day, Chabot realizing that he was going to be attacked retired from Eschershausen and marched towards Wickensen on his way to Einbeck where he intended to make a junction with Broglie's Army. However, Chabot soon found Granby's Corps blocking his advance. Chabot then redirected his march to Stadtoldendorf. The delay of Hardenberg's detachment had left a gap in the Allied positions, allowing Chabot to escape the trap by Dassel and to reach Einbeck where he arrived at noon, immediately taking position on the Huve. At 2:00 p.m., the Hereditary Prince found his advance on Einbeck blocked by Chabot’s positions. In front of such opposition, the Hereditary Prince hesitated till 3:00 p.m. He then moved closer to the French positions and open a cannonade against them. At 4:00 p.m., the Marquis of Granby and Lieutenant-General Conway appeared on the road from Erzhausen and made a junction with the corps of the Hereditary Prince. The artillery duel lasted till 6:00 p.m. Meanwhile, the various corps of Broglie's Army started to arrive: Guerchy's Corps arrived first, taking position on Broglie's left and placing 6 grenadier bns at the point of the heights commanding the débouchés of the Allied troops. Now that Broglie had had time to collect many troops, the Hereditary Prince abandoned his project. Ferdinand encamped at Eschershausen where Hardenberg finally joined him. At sunset, both armies were facing each other.

On November 6 at daybreak, Broglie was expecting an Allied attack. However, a thick fog prevented the French to observe the movements of the Allied corps. Several skirmishes took place around Einbeck.

On November 7 at 5:00 a.m., M. de Lostanges who had remained on the heights near the Allied positions, perceived important movements in their camps and informed the Maréchal de Broglie. The latter, thinking that the Allies were retreating, immediately prepared 2 large detachments to follow the Allied rearguard. The first detachment, consisting of Poyanne's infantry and Closen's cavalry, personally accompanied by Broglie, took position in front of the village of Brunsen from where they could observe the corps of the Hereditary Prince encamped on the heights of Ammensen. This corps then decamped and deployed in an impregnable position on the heights at the entry of the gorge of Alfeld. Meanwhile, Ferdinand also sent Granby’s Corps from Weenzen to Vorwohle. The second French detachment, under MM. d'Espiez and de Lostanges, was directed against Granby's rearguard. Lostanges drove the Allies out of their outposts between Wenzen and Holzen. Meanwhile d'Espiez came to contact with a battalion of Highlanders and drove it back before cannonading the cavalry supporting them. Granby counter-attacked and pushed the French back to the Huve. Discovering the Allied camp extending in 2 lines between Vorwohle and Wangelnstedt, the French detachment retired.

On November 8, Ferdinand reconnoitred the French positions and resolved to turn their left flank.

In the night of November 8 to 9, the Hereditary Prince retired from Ammensen towards Alfeld while part of Granby's Corps retired by its right towards Stadtoldendorf. Broglie then ordered to move his artillery from the heights, where it was now useless, to the road of Moringen, ready to move to Göttingen if necessary.

On November 9 at 3:00 a.m., Ferdinand marched to the height between Mackensen and Lüthorst; the Hereditary Prince replaced Granby at Vorwohle and Luckner replaced the Hereditary Prince at Ammensen. In the morning, Broglie detached MM. de Guerchy and de Poyanne with a few infantry brigades and the Carabiniers to observe the Allies. Stainville already occupied the heights of Lüthorst and Chabot the heights of Mackensen. When he was informed that the Allies were advancing against these heights, Broglie recalled Guerchy and Poyanne and reinforced Stainville with 2 infantry brigades. The French launched an attack against Granby's left but were repulsed. Major Fraser distinguishing himself greatly on this occasion. In the night, informed that his left flank was turned, Broglie quitted Einbeck and all the adjacent country. When Ferdinand crossed the Weser, he sent General Bloch forward to harass the retreating French.

On November 10, Broglie retired to Moringen where he took position in front of the town on the Heights of Iber and Stöckheim; with Closen's Corps on his right at Hollenstedt near Northeim; Stainville at Sülbeck; Chabot at Rotenkirchen; and Rochechouart in the area of Uslar to cover Sohlingen. Meanwhile Prince Xavier advanced from Gandersheim to Immensen on the right bank of the Leine. In the evening, a few parties of Allied hussars got close to the cantonments of Bercheny Hussards but retired when discovered. The same day, Soubise's Army started to pass the Rhine to take its winter-quarters on the left bank of the river. His movement was completed by November 15.

On November 11, Ferdinand encamped at Einbeck. Meanwhile, Broglie's Army remained in its positions. The same day, the Gendarmerie de France repassed the Lower-Rhine to take its winter-quarters.

On November 12, the cantonments of the Allied army were regulated. Meanwhile, Broglie's Army resumed its retreat, its headquarters being established at Harste while the rearguard under Stainville cantoned in Gladebeck and Asche. The same day on the Lower-Rhine, M. de Conflans retired from Dortmund to take his winter-quarters around Bochum.

The belligerents take their winter-quarters

On November 13, Ferdinand established his headquarters at Einbeck. The Allied army took its cantonments to the exception of a corps placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Conway who took position along the Huve near Einbeck. This corps consisted of the oldest battalions in each brigade, namely:

The same day, M. de Rochechouart quit Lippoldsberg and Uslar and retired Ahrenborn (unidentified location), placing 1 light troops rgt and the Légion Royale at Verlichhausen (unidentified location). The same day in the evening, the rearguards of M. de Closen's Corps were attacked near Katlenburg by the combined forces of Wangenheim, Luckner and Freytag while passing the Rhume near Northeim. The corps of Prince Xavier too retired behind the Rhume. A cavalry engagement took place between Luckner Hussars and Du Roy Dragons and La Ferronnaye Dragons. The French dragoons were forced to retire under the supporting fire of their infantry. The same day on the Lower-Rhine, Soubise arrived at Düsseldorf.

About this time, Scheiter, having advanced as far as Lünen with an Allied detachment, surprised and carried off a whole troop of Grenadiers à cheval with their arms. Furthermore, Major Wintzigerode took 1 French officer and 26 men prisoners near Fritzlar.

By November 15, Soubise's Army had taken its winter-quarters on the western side of the Rhine. Strong garrisons were also placed in Wesel, Düsseldorf, where Soubise fixed his headquarters, and Cologne.

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of the French Lower-Rhine Army (Soubise's) in its winter-quarters in 1761-62.

On November 16, Broglie's main army, having exhausted all forage on the left bank of the Leine, crossed to the right bank. Broglie's camp was established on the heights along the road from Göttingen to Northeim and the headquarters at the Castle of Hardenberg on the Hevet. Stainville covered the front at Angerstein; Chabot marched to Barterode; Rochechouart from Imsen up to the Weser to cover Münden. Meanwhile, Prince Xavier and Closen occupied the Rhume up to Gieboldehausen and some troops under M. de la Guiche remained at Northeim. The same day on the Lower-Rhine, the last French troops repassed the Rhine at Wesel and Düsseldorf.

On November 24, a French force advanced towards Northeim to cover the convoy transporting their heavy baggage over the Werra from the initiatives of Luckner, posted at Aldershausen (unidentified location).

On November 28, the British Guards and Highlanders marched out of their cantonments and proceeded to their winter-quarters. The battalions previously posted on the Huve rejoining their respective brigades. The same day, the first troops of Broglie's Army passed the Werra to take their winter quarters.

On November 29, the regiments destined to winter in France moved closer to the Rhine. Meanwhile, part of Broglie's Army reached Göttingen and took its winter-quarters in the same positions as in the previous campaign.

On November 30, Broglie went to Mülhausen to inspect the winter-quarters.

In the beginning of December, Broglie withdrew his troops from Nörten and his entire army marched to its winter-quarters. His infantry was distributed in the neighbourhood of Eisenach, Gotha and Mülhausen and his cavalry in the district of Fulda and the towns and villages about Frankfurt. Broglie established his headquarters at Kassel and placed large garrison in that city and Göttingen. These winter-quarters were in almost the positions as previous winter...

On December 2, Broglie went to Gotha to inspect the winter-quarters.

On December 4, Ferdinand established his headquarters at Hildesheim while the entire army marched to its winter-quarters. The British cavalry quartered in East Frisia, the British infantry in the Bishopric of Osnabrück. The Hereditary Prince had his quarters at Münster; General Spörcken at Hameln and General Luckner at Einbeck. The same day, Broglie went to Eisenach to inspect the winter-quarters and Soubise left the theatre of operation for Versailles. Lieutenant-General de Vogüé assumed command of the Army of the Lower-Rhine.

On December 5, Broglie went to Wanfried and Eschwege to inspect the winter-quarters.

On December 6, Broglie returned to Kassel where he had his headquarters. The Volontaires du Hainaut wintered at Langensalza.

On December 10, Soubise arrived at Versailles.

From December 11 to 16, the troops of the Army of the Lower-Rhine (47 bns, 41 sqns) marched to their winter-quarters were they were deployed as follows:

  • in the district of Cologne: 9 bns and 3 sqns under Dauvet
  • in the district of Düsseldorf: 7 bns and 6 sqns under M. de Vogüé
  • in the district of Moers: 7 bns and 4 sqns under M. d'Apchon
  • in the district of Wesel: 10 bns under M. de Langeron
  • in the district of Kleve: 9 bns and 6 sqns under M. de Saint-Chamond
  • in the district of Geldern: 3 bns and 3 sqns under M. de Beausobre
  • in the district of Liège: 2 bns and 20 sqns under M. d'Andlau

On December 18 and 19, the French army of the Upper-Rhine moved to its winter-quarters:

  • from Creuzburg to Gotha: 10 bns and 5 sqns under Prince Xavier
  • from Eschwege and Allendorf to the Castle of Lichtenau: 15 bns under M. de Roth
  • at Kassel, Melsungen, Treysa and Hungen: 18 bns and 10 sqns under M. de Muy
  • at Fritzlar, Wetter, Dillenburg and Giessen: 17 bns and 9 sqns under M. de Maupéou
  • at Weilburg, Limburg, Montabaur, Altenkirchen, Nieder-Hadamar, Ober-Hadamar, Hachenburg and Coblenz: 7 bns and 31 sqns under M. de Laguiche
  • at Aschaffenburg, Gelnhausen, Hanau, Offenbach, Frankfurt, Hoechst, Friedberg, Worms and Heppenheim: 15 bns and 21 sqns under M. Dessalles
  • at Fulda, Geisa, Bruckenau, Neustadt, Hamelburg: 4 bns and 25 sqns under M. de Lutzelburg
  • at Gemünden and Karlstadt: 18 bns under M. de Poyanne
  • at Mülhausen: a garrison of 2,000 men and 1,200 horses
  • at Göttingen: 4,200 men and 1,750 horses

On December 27, Broglie left for Versailles. De Muy assumed command during his absence. Broglie was later removed from command, losing his charge of Governor of Alsace and exiled.

By the end of the year, the Saxon Contingent consisted of 9,318 foot, 638 cavalrymen with 605 horses and 20 guns.

So ended this most arduous campaign, in which, though overmatched by two to one, Ferdinand had won a victory on the battlefield and lost little or no territory. The exertion demanded from his troops by incessant and severe marches told heavily upon their efficiency, and the more so since many of the men had been already much weakened by the winter campaign in Hesse. The waste of the army was in fact appalling, amounting to no fewer than 25,000 out of 95,000 men. Of these some few had been killed in action, considerably more had deserted, still more had been invalided, and fully one-half had died of hardship and disease. It was only at such a price that Ferdinand could make one army do the work of two; and the task would have been beyond even his ability had not one of the commanders matched against him been utterly incompetent, and the other hampered by constant interference from Versailles.


This article is essentially a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 524-527, 531-534
  • 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. 203-240
  • Jomini, Henri: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 4ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 2-78
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. V, Paris, 1891, pp. 187-238
  • Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885

Other sources

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


Harald Skala for information on the Saxon Army during this period