1762 - French campaign in West Germany – Junction of the French armies

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1762 - French campaign in West Germany >> 1762 - French campaign in West Germany – Junction of the French armies

Introduction

The general situation at the beginning of the year and the minor operations who took place before the opening of the campaign are described in our article Preliminary operations (March 10 to June 4, 1762).

The Allied approach on Kassel, the battle of Wilhelmsthal and the progressive retreat of the French Army of the Upper Rhine out of Hesse are described in our article Allied reconquest of Hesse (June 6 to July 15, 1762).

Description

On July 16, the Allied army encamped on the heights of the wood of Habichtswald, its right to the ravine near Hoof, its left to the Dörnberg, facing Kassel. Soubise and d'Estrées then recalled Chevert's Corps from Dransfeld as well as the army of the Prince de Condé. The latter marched immediately from Coesfeld to Hausdülmen, leaving only a few thousands men on the Rhine under the command of d'Auvet and Cambefort with some light troops in the country of Münster. His march was accomplished under a heavy rain who damaged the roads. Allied light troops seized the opportunity to capture a quantity of baggage and horses and to take many prisoners. Meanwhile, d'Estrées sent a counter-order to M. de Vaux to remain in Göttingen but this order arrived too late, measures having been already put to execution. The same day, Granby returned to Gudensberg.

On July 17, the Prince de Condé marched to Haltern on the Lippe, passed the river and encamped at Bossendorf. The same day, Soubise instructed de Vaux to return to Göttingen and to repair the defences of the town. Still the same day, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick returned to the Lippe.

On July 18, the Prince de Condé marched westward to Westerholt. The same day, informed of Condé's march, the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick marched from Wolbeck to Mark near Hamm to observe Condé's movements.

On July 19, the Prince de Condé marched southward to Bochum on his way to make a junction with the army of the Upper Rhine.

On July 20, the Prince de Condé marched eastward to Dortmund.

On July 21, the entire left wing of the French army of the Upper Rhine advanced up to the banks of the Eder. Furthermore, Stainville quitted the entrenched camp of Kassel, leaving command to M. de Chevert, and advanced to Melsungen.. To observe its movements, Ferdinand encamped between Niedenstein and Kirchberg with 4 brigades at Gudensberg. Meanwhile, Granby's corps took position at Kerstenhausen on the Schwalm; Luckner's Corps on the heights of Wabern with a new corps; Luckner's former corps, now placed under the command of General Waldhausen, had marched from Holzhausen to Wilhelmshausen in the Rheinhardswald, and then to Hombressen to cover Warburg and the Diemel. The same day, the Prince de Condé (31 bns, 32 sqns, and some light roops) received Soubise's new orders to march towards the Lahn, leaving M. d'Auvet behind on the Lower Rhine with 5 bns, 4 sqns, the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince and the Chasseurs de Cambefort in addition to the units already garrisoning places. M. d'Andlau remained in command on the Meuse and on the left bank of the Rur. The army of the Prince de Condé consisted of:

By July 22, the Hereditary Prince had reached the left bank of the Lippe between Hamm and Lippstadt. The French right wing was now defended only by the Saxon Contingent of Prince Xavier and by the cavalry brigade of Royal-Roussillon. The same day, Granby's Corps marched from Gudensberg, crossed the Eder on a stone bridge at Fritzlar and encamped near Kerstenhausen. Meanwhile, Ferdinand advanced from Hoof to Gudensberg, establishing his headquarters at Niedervorschütz. Observing that the French right wing was over extended between Lutterberg and Münden, Ferdinand resolved to dislodge Prince Xavier's Corps (the Saxon Contigent supported by 13 French squadrons) from Lutterberg. His plan was as follows:

  • Gilsa (8 bns) would pass the Fulda at Speele
  • Block (8 sqns) would cross the Fulda at Spiegehmuhl (maybe a mill near Spiekerhausen)
  • Zastrow would pass the Fulda at Wilhelmshausen
  • Waldhausen would post Colonel Plesse at Bonaforth to cover the left flank of the attack from any intervention by the French garrison of Münden
  • Waldhausen in conjunction with Colonel Schlieben would pass the Werra at Hedemünden to turn Prince Xavier's position

In the evening of the same day on the Upper Rhine, the various Allied corps assigned to the attack on Prince Xavier's Corps assembled at Wilhelmsthal. At 9:00 PM, they departed from this town to reach the places where they were supposed to passed the Fulda.

On July 23 at 4:00 AM, the Allied forces passed the Fulda and attacked the French right in the combat of Lutterberg, completely defeating it (no British troops were engaged in this combat). During the attack on Lutterberg, another Allied corps under Prince Frédéric of Brunswick had advanced on the entrenched camp of Kratzenberg and had cannonaded it to prevent any intervention of this force in the combat. After the defeat, the French fell back to Melsungen on the Fulda. Meanwhile, the Allied corps who had taken part in the attack on Lutterberg retired behind the Fulda and encamped near Hohenkirchen. The artillery train of the French army of the Upper Rhine retired to Hessisch Lichtenau. The Saxon Contingent was moved from Landwehrhagen to Crumbach. The same day, Granby's Corps (circa 15,000 men) marched to Singlis, 4 km south of Homberg (Efze) where the French had a strong post on neighbouring heights. Meanwhile, Luckner's Corps encamped near Neukirchen. Still the same day, the Prince de Condé started his march towards the Lahn: Lévis was at Dortmund; Auffry's and Montazet's Corps near Hattingen; Saint-Chamans' and d'Auvet's Corps at Essen; the mobile hospital at Mühlheim; Conflans on the heights of Ruthen; Condé's headquarters at Hattingen. Meanwhile, the Hereditary Prince was at Wolbeck with an Allied corps.

On July 24, Lévis' Corps reached Hagen; Auffry's Corps, Elberfeld; Montazet's Corps, Schwelm; Saint-Chamans' Corps, Rahn (unidentified location); d'Auvet's Corps, Sterkrade; Conflans, Arnsberg; the mobile hospital, Kalkum; Condé's headquarters, Wülfrath. The same day, Granby sent the II./1st Regiment of Foot Guards, a Hanoverian bn and 100 men from each of his other regiments to dislodge the French from the heights near Homberg/Efze. This party then occupied the heights all night. In the evening, Ferdinand crossed the Eder with 3 infantry brigades and 8 horse sqns.

On July 25 at 1:00 AM, Granby also marched from Singlis through Homberg. The two Allied forces made a junction on the heights of Falkenberg. Ferdinand planned to attack the left flank of the French Army of the Upper Rhine posted along the Fulda from Melsungen to Hilgenberg near Malsfeld. Meanwhile, Spörcken should pass the Eder at Felsberg to attack the centre of the French positions; and Prince Frederick of Brunswick should do the same at Brunslar to attack their right flank. In the morning, the Allies manoeuvred against the centre and the wings of the Army of the Upper Rhine: in the afternoon, Ferdinand took position in the wood of Oberstenholz; Lord Granby on the heights of Borken, being replaced at Kerstenhausen by Waldegrave's corps; Luckner passed the Schwalm and took position on its right bank; Zastrow and Gilsa marched to the wood of Habichtswalde; Bock, Waldhausen and Holdenberg went to Niedermessel (unidentified location); Colonel Schliefen took position at Geismar to cover the Allied magazines on the Weser. Meanwhile, General Rochambeau joined the French army and encamped on the left wing towards Melsungen. Ferdinand then reconnoitred the French positions and, seeing Rochambeau's Corps isolated on the left bank of the Fulda while the main army was on the right bank, he resolved to attack this corps. For this purpose, Ferdinand marched with his right wing up to Wolfershausen and Mostheim (unidentified location) while Spörcken advanced to the Eder near Felsberg with the rest of the Allied army. At 8:00 PM, Ferdinand deployed his columns into line and Spörcken's artillery opened on the French positions. However, after reconnoitring the French entrenched positions at Heiligenberg (unidentified location), Ferdinand realised that he could not successfully attack such a strong position. At 10:00 PM, Ferdinand retired to the heights of Falkenberg, leaving only picquets in his former positions. By then Kassel had flour for only 6 weeks, and the country between the Fulda and the Werra had very few resources left. The same day, Lévis' Corps reached Breckerfeld; Auffry's Corps, Solingen; Montazet's Corps, Richrath; Saint-Chamans' Corps, Kalkum and Kaiserwerth; d'Auvet's Corps, Wesel; the mobile hospital, Düsseldorf where it made a junction with Condé's Corps; Condé's headquarters were at Haan. Conflans reconnoitred the area of the Winterberg.

On July 26, Lévis' Corps reached Lüdenscheid; Auffry's Corps, Mulheim; Montazet's Corps, Saint-Chamans' Corps and Condé's headquarters sojourned. The same day, Granby's Corps occupied Heslar abandoned the previous day by the French army. Ferdinand, marching by Oberstenholz, returned to Gudensberg. Luckner advanced from Neukirchen to Hersfeld (present-day Bad Hersfeld). At about 9:00 PM, Luckner launched an unsuccessful attack to capture the place, losing 2 men killed and 30 wounded in this affair. Luckner then marched by Schlitz to Fulda which he captured, taking the garrison (400 men) as prisoners of war, a large quantity of baggage, a convoy of wine, 300 oxen, and 70,000 florins. The French Army of the Upper Rhine then retired its exposed left wing to the right bank of the Fulda. It had now lost all communications with Frankfurt.

On July 27, the Army of the Upper Rhine continued its movement towards Melsungen and reached Crumbach. Meanwhile, Ferdinand continued his retreat to repass the Schwalm at Harle and then the Eder at Niedermöllrich. However, Ferdinand left Granby's Corps on the heights of Falkenberg with instruction to immediately occupy Melsungen if ever the French would retreat behind the Fulda during the night. Incidently, this is exactly what the French did, Soubise deciding to move closer to Kassel. They left a body of about 10,000 men under Lieutenant-general de Guerchy facing Melsungen while the main body retook positions between Kassel and Lutterberg and Stainville advanced along the Fulda up to Rotenburg with 4 dragoon rgts but fell into an ambush set up by Freytag near Morschen. Stainville's detachment suffered great losses. Ferdinand had by then succeeded in cutting communications between the French Army of the Upper Rhine and its Reserve led by the Prince de Condé. The same day, Lévis' Corps and Auffry's Corps sojourned; Montazet's Corps reached Wisdorf and Littard; Saint-Chamans' Corps Mannheim and Rheindorf; and Condé's headquarters, Opladen.

On July 28, the Allies managed to cut Soubise's communications with the Main. The same day, Stainville marched to Vacha where he defeated a small Allied party of 400 light troops. He then resumed his march towards Mansbach and Hünfeld. Meanwhile, Lévis' Corps reached Meinerzhagen; Auffry's Corps, Lohmar; Montazet's Corps, Spich; Saint-Chamans' Corps, Ensen; Condé's headquarters, Mülheim.

On July 29, the Hereditary Prince arrived at Stadtberg (present-day Marsberg on the Diemel river). The same day, Lévis' Corps reached Neustadt (unidentified location); Auffry's Corps, Ruppichteroth; Mantazet's Corps, Uckerath; Saint-Chamans' Corps, Honnef (present-day Bad Honnef), Rheinbreitbach and other villages along the Rhine; Condé's headquarters, Siegburg.

On July 30, Lévis' Corps reached Freudenberg; Auffry's Corps, Wissen; Montazet's Corps, Altenkirchen; Condé's headquarters, Weyersbusch. Menawhile, Saint-Chamans' Corps sojourned.

On July 31, learning of Stainville's approach, Luckner retired from Fulda to Grossenlüder. Meanwhile, Lévis' Corps, Auffry's Corps, Montazet's Corps and Condé's headquarters sojourned. Saint-Chamans' Corps reached Leutesdorf where it awaited new orders.

On August 1, both armies were fortifying their respective positions and erecting batteries on each side of the Fulda. The same day, a French detachment under MM. de Rochechouart and de Lostanges surprised an Allied detachment near Uslar, taking 200 prisoners. These two French general then advanced with their own forces in different directions: a force marched towards Karlshafen (present-day Bad Karlshafen) and the other towards Beverungen. They captured and destroyed one magazine and 29 boats laden with provisions. Meanwhile, M. de Verteuil destroyed another Allied magazine at Brakel and took 60 prisoners. The same day, Condé's headquarters reached Hachenburg while Lévis' Corps reached Siegen; Montazet's and Auffry's Corps, Hachenburg. The Baron de Blaisel marched from Giessen to Amöneburg where he surprised and captured an Allied detachment of 400 men.

On August 2, General Freytag posted at Neumorschen on the Fulda repulsed a French attack. On the Fulda, both armies were so closed that soldiers of each camp often met in the same fields to gather roots, amicably assisting each other and conversing friendly. However, Ferdinand issued orders to interdict any conversation with the enemy. The same day, Condé's army marched to Höhn, sending its light troops forward to the Dill. Meanwhile, the Hereditary Prince, who was marching parallel, to the Prince de Condé reached Marburg and encamped at Oberweimar, between the left wing of the French Army of the Upper Rhine and its approaching Reserve.

On August 3, Condé's army marched to Roth (probably Rodenroth or Nenderoth).

On August 4, Condé's army passed the Dill at Herborn and marched to Hohensolms where it sojourned for bread distribution and to take some rest. The Prince de Condé then detached 4 rgts to Gladenbach and sent detachment forward between Marburg and Giessen. Conflans remained between the Upper-Ohm and the Upper-Eder to threaten the rear of the Allies. The same day, the Hereditary Prince had reached Wetter.

On August 5???, the Hereditary Prince marched from Wetter to Langenstein near Kirchhain.

On August 6, the Prince de Condé who had marched by Düsseldorf and through the Duchy of Berg, passed the Lahn at Gießen and encamped at Alten-Buseck. If Ferdinand wanted to force the French army of the Upper Rhine to retire from the region of Kassel, he had to prevent at all cost that the Prince de Condé could make a junction with it. For this reason, Ferdinand decided to attack the army of the Upper Rhine before the arrival of the Prince de Condé. The army of the Upper Rhine was still deployed behind the Fulda from Münden to Spangenberg with Stainville at Bebra in front of Rotenburg. By this time, Ferdinand was encamping on the heights from Neuenbrunslar to Langenberg; Luckner at Rotenburg facing Stainville; Freytag at Neumorschen; Lord Granby in the woods beyond Melsungen; Gilsa and Zastrow in the Habichtswalde. Prince Frederick of Brunswick was detached with Waldhausen's Corps. The Hereditary Prince personally went to Geismar (a little town near Fritzlar) to take command of another Allied Corps.

On August 7 at daybreak, Prince Frederick left with Waldhausen's Corps to pass the Weser, move upstream along the Werra, outflanking the French right wing, and march to Eschwege and Wanfried on the rear of the French army of the Upper Rhine. Ferdinand also took his disposition for an attack on the French positions the following day: Luckner should leave a detachment of light troops to observe Stainville's corps and then pass the Fulda at Heinebach and march to Spangenberg and Bergenheim (unidentified location); Freytag should pass at Neumorschen and march to Morshen. Lord Granby should stand in arms in front of his camp near Melsungen; Conway should pass the Eder in 3 columns at Altenbrunslar with 12 British bns and the necessary artillery and seize the woods between Altenbrunslar and Wagenfurth; Spörcken should occupy the heights between Baunerherberg (unidentified location) and Haldorf with 12 bns and 29 sqns; Bock, with his corps reinforced with 12 bns and Hanoverian artillery, should march to Brand (unidentified location) to make a junction with the corps of the Hereditary Prince who was himself reinforced with 12 sqns and Gilsa's brigade; and General Malsburg should march to the Habichtswalde with his brigade and 4 sqns. The same day, The same day, Stainville suddenly appeared in front of Friedewald with 800 men; the village surrendered after a severe cannonade, its garrison (50 men) being taken as prisoners of war. Stainville's troops then plundered the village. Meanwhile, Condé's army marched to Grünberg and encamped on the heights of Stangenrod. The vanguard, under the command of M. de Lévis, took position at Bernsfeld to reconnoitre the Ohm. M. de Viomesnil took position at Allendorf an der Lumda. M. de Chamborant advanced up to Lauterbach and Schlitz to establish a communication line with the left wing of the main army through Hersfeld (present-day Bad Hersfeld). A detachment under M. de Polleresky made a raid on Homberg and managed to enter into the town. However, the castle being well guarded, Polleresky was forced to retire. On his arrival at Grünberg, the Prince de Condé was incorrectly informed that the Hereditary Prince had passed the Ohm and had encamped at Grossseelheim. In fact, the Hereditary Prince's Corps was still encamped the heights near Homberg and occupied a chain of posts and castles from the mouth of the Ohm to the Vogelsberg. On this day in the morning, Lieutenant-general Caesar died at his quarters of Elvershausen after having fallen from his horse.

On August 8 at 1:00 PM, when all Allied corps had reached their assigned positions, Lord Granby opened a cannonade on the French positions. He also detached Wangenheim to Malsfeld with 2 bns and 4 sqns to throw a bridge on the Fulda. Meanwhile, Conway drove back the French outposts between Grebenau and Büchenwerra and planted his artillery on the Ellenberg to cover the construction of his bridge near Büchenwerra. Spörcken occupied the mills of Grifte; Malsburg advanced to Niederzwehren; and the Hereditary Prince occupied the defiles of Wilhelmshaven (unidentified location), Spelle (unidentified location) and Wohnhausen (unidentified location). At 6:00 PM, all Allied batteries opened a lively cannonade on the French camp. However, a sudden rain had rendered the Fulda unfordable. Nevertheless, Wangenheim managed to pass the Fulda at Malsfeld and take position in the wood to the left of the French positions; while 200 men belonging to Conway's corps passed the Fulda in the peninsula of Büchenwerra above Guckshagen to drive back French outposts and to entrench themselves behind a strong abatis on the right bank. The Allied cannonade lasted till 10:00 PM but no attack was launched on the French camp. Meanwhile, Lieutenant-colonel McDowal was ordered to attack Melsungen with a detachment from the II./2nd Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards and II./3rd Scots Regiment of Foot Guards. However, he was unable to force a single gate. The same day, M. de Stainville was still at Bebra where he was gradually reinforced by the Légion Royale, 4 bns of Grenadiers de France and 4 bns of Grenadiers Royaux. This brought his total force to 32 sqns and 8 bns. Meanwhile, Condé detached M. de Wurmser, who unsuccessfully attacked the post of Ulrichstein, sent M. de Flammarens across the Ohm at Burg-Gemünden to reconnoitre the Allied left and instructed M. de Lévis to make demonstrations on the Ohm. On the Eder, a detachment of 200 men of Conflans Corps attacked the post of Battenberg and a neighbouring redoubt. After a stubborn defence, the Allied garrison (72 men) was taken prisoners of war.

In the night of August 8 to 9, Condé sent M. d'Affry, at the head of a large French detachment of horse and foot, 4 guns and 2 howitzer, to capture the Castle of Ulrichstein. Condé also ordered M. de Lévis to make demonstrations with his vanguard upon the front of the camp of the Hereditary Prince on the heights of HombergéOhm. The same night, M. de Flavigny at the head of Lyonnais Brigade vainly tried to storm the British entrenchments at Büchenwerra, losing about 100 men killed or wounded in the engagement.

On August 9, the Allies continued to make preparatory manoeuvres but, due to torrential rains who had delayed Prince Frederick, the attack against the French Army of the Upper Rhine was cancelled. The same day, finding no Allied forces towards Schlitz, M. de Chamborant rejoined Condé's main force. The same day at at 8:00 AM, M. de Lévis began his attack. Meanwhile, d'Affry invested and cannonaded the Castle of Ulrichstein whose garrison (60 foot and 50 jägers) surrendered at noon after a bombardment of 60 minutes. Lévis then ceased his attack and retired.

On August 10, all Allied corps returned to their initial positions: Luckner towards Bebra; Wangenheim to Malsfeld; Freytag to Neumorschen; the Hereditary Prince with the corps temporarily under his command to Brand; the main army with its left on the Baunerherberg, its centre towards Haldorf and Ellenberg; and its right near the wood of Melsungen; Granby to the right of the main army with his centre behind Melsungen; the original corps of the Hereditary Prince still at Homberg on the Ohm, observing the army of the Prince de Condé at Stangenrod. The same day, on the Eder, M. de Conflans stormed the town of Frankenberg, capturing 140 men, 3 officers and 4 guns. This success allowed the French to send detachments on the Allied lines of communication at Fritzlar but the Hereditary Prince took such good countermeasures that his communications were not threatened. Still the same day, the Prince de Condé received instructions from Soubise to take position in the region of Giessen and to remain on the defensive.

On August 11, Soubise and d'Estrées learned that the Prince de Condé had already reached Grünberg.

On August 14, Soubise and d'Estrées received a letter from the Court consenting to the evacuation of Göttingen and, if need be, even of Kassel and giving them all liberty to decide the next phases of the campaign.

Ferdinand was seriously threatening French communications with Frankfurt. Soubise and d'Estrées, considering that the army of the Upper Rhine would have difficulties to obtain supplies, resolved to march to Friedberg to get closer to the Prince de Condé and to their magazines at Frankfurt. The garrisons of Göttingen and Münden were recalled to join the army.

On August 16, M. de Vaux finally evacuated Göttingen after destroying part of its ramparts and set fire to the powder magazine. The resulting explosion killed 60 Saxon soldiers. The French garrison then retreated by Witzenhausen, abandoning 3 brass cannon and a great quantity of ammunition. Prince Frederick of Brunswick, then posted at Einbeck, immediately marched to take possession of Göttingen. The same day, M. de Rochechouart evacuated Münden.

In the night of August 16 to 17, leaving a strong garrison (16 bns and 300 horse in 2 rgts) in Kassel under the command of M. de Diesbach, the French Main Army marched in 5 columns from its positions between Münden and Melsungen to the camp of Spangenberg, on its way to Hersfeld. The columns were organised as follows:

  • Left column under M. d'Espiez
    • Royal-Roussillon Cavalerie Brigade
    • Royal-Normandie Cavalerie Brigade
    • Orléans Dragons
    • Rearguard under M. de Rochechouart at Münden on the Lower-Fulda and the Lower-Werra
    • Garrison of Göttingen (joined the column at Konnefeld)
    • Chabo's Corps (left Witzenhausen and the column at Konnefeld)
  • 1st Column under M. de Duras
  • 2nd Column under M. de Mailly
    • Castellas Brigade
    • Cuirassiers Brigade
    • Rearguard under M. de Traisnel
      • Navarre Brigade
      • Converged Grenadiers and Chasseurs (2 bns)
  • 3rd Column under M. de Muy
    • Colonel-Général Cavalerie Brigade
    • Saxon Contingent
    • Rearguard under M. de Roth
      • Picardie Brigade
      • Saxon Cuirassiers
  • 4th Column under the Marquis de Poyanne
    • Carabiniers (10 sqns)
    • Artillery Park
    • Train
    • Provisions
    • Mobile Hospital
    • Reaguard under M. de Bréhant
      • Royal-Suédois Brigade
      • La Marck Brigade
      • Poitou Brigade

During this march, Stainville's corps formed the vanguard. The same day, Prince Frederick of Brunswick entered into Münden.

On August 18, guessing that Soubise and d'Estrées intended to make a junction with the corps of the Prince de Condé and then retake the offensive to relieve Kassel, Ferdinand resolved to march parallel with them on their western flank. Accordingly, he marched to Homberg/Efze while Granby took position at Burnshashuten (probably Bernshausen). Prince Frederick of Brunswick blockaded Kassel and summoned the garrison. The same day, the main French army marched from Spangenberg to Licherode near Wichte in 4 columns:

  • 1st Column under M. de Duras
    • Vaubécourt Brigade
    • Lyonnais Brigade
    • Auvergne Brigade
    • Chatellux Brigade
    • Rearguard under M. de Ségur
      • Champagne Brigade
  • 2nd Column under M. de Poyannes
    • Converged Grenadiers and Chasseurs Brigade
    • Corps Royal de l'Artillerie
    • Train of the headquarters
    • Rearguard under M. de Traisnel
      • Castellas Brigade
      • Navarre Brigade
  • 3rd Column
    • Saxon Contingent
    • Army Train
    • Rearguard under M. de Muy
      • Colonel-Général Cavalerie Brigade
      • Picardie Brigade
  • 4th Column under M. de Poyannes
    • Carabiniers (10 sqns)
    • Provisions
    • Train
    • Pontoons
    • Mobile Hospital
    • Heavy Artillery Park
    • Reaguard under M. de Bréhant

On August 18 after its march, the main French army encamped at Bebra. M. de Castries commanded the rearguard of the army.

On August 19, the Hereditary Prince sent Colonel Riedesel to drive drove M. de Conflans out of Frankenberg, forcing him to retire on Battenberg. In this engagement, Riedesel lost 1 captain and 70 men. The Hereditary Prince then encamped at Wetter in Hesse. The Prince de Condé immediately sent reinforcements to strengthen the garrison of Marburg. The same day, Ferdinand marched to Obergeis with the main Allied army. The same day, the main French army continued its march towards Hersfeld through difficult countries. It encamped on the heights of Petersberg and Sorga while Castries' rearguard reached Licherode. Meanwhile, M. de Vaux almost joined the main army, only 12 km separated them. Poyannes' column being slower, only its head reached Sorga.

  • Poyannes' Column
    • Carabiniers (10 sqns)
    • Provisions
    • Train
    • Mobile Hospital
    • Rearguard under M. de Bréhant
  • 1st Column under M. de Duras
    • Champagne Brigade
    • Auvergne Brigade
    • Lyonnais Brigade
    • Chatellux Brigade
    • Rearguard: Grenadiers Royaux Brigade
  • 2nd Column under M. de Roth
    • Picardie Brigade
    • Navarre Brigade
    • Saxon Infantry
    • Rearguard under M. de Castellas
  • 3rd Column under M. de Muy
    • Colonel-Général Cavalerie Brigade
    • Cuirassiers Brigade
    • Royal-Cravates Cavalerie Brigade
    • Royal-Roussillon Cavalerie Brigade
    • Saxon Cuirassiers

On August 20, Ferdinand marched to Neuenstein and the Castle of Hausen with the Allied Main Army. Meanwhile, the French Main Army sojourned near Hersfeld for two days. The same day on the Lower Rhine, the Marquis d'Auvet invested Hamm. The following night his artillery opened on the town firing red-hot balls and burning several houses.

On August 21, the Allied Main Army sojourned. Luckner, who was encamped at Eisenbach, and Bock were detached to reinforce the Hereditary Prince who was still facing the Prince de Condé. They joined him the same day. Luckner then dislodged Wurmser's Corps from Ruppertenrod, inflicting it heavy casualties and capturing 1 captain, 1 lieutenant and 120 men, 1 gun and several horses.

On August 22, Ferdinand marched to Grebenau with the main Allied army. He then remained in his camp for 2 days, observing the movements of the French army of the Upper Rhine. Meanwhile, the Hereditary Prince passed the Ohm in 4 columns, made a junction with Luckner's Corps and advanced on Condé's forces which were encamped at Reinhardshain with a vanguard at Atzenhain. The Hereditary Prince managed to push back Lévis' vanguard on Condé's main body but he was forced to cancel his attack because two of his columns had been delayed. Lévis lost about 150 men in this affair. The armies of the Hereditary Prince and of the Prince de Condé then drew up in order of battle till night. The same day, the French Army of the Upper Rhine marched from Sorga to Hünfeld, establishing its headquarters at Moor (probably Großes Moor). Castries marched from Bebra with the rearguard and Guerchy threw bridges over the Fulda at Pfordt.

In the night of August 22 to 23, the Prince de Condé retired towards Annerod and Giessen.

On August 23, the French Army of the Upper Rhine encamped at Maberzell near the Schulzenberg near Fulda. Stainville's and Guerchy's Corps took position at Kleinlüder on the Lüder where they were soon joined by Duras' and Castries' Corps. Meanwhile, M. de Sombreuil passed the Fulda and captured some men of Freytag Jägers. The same day, Ferdinand marched to Niederjossa. Meanwhile, Luckner's Corps effected a junction with the army of the Hereditary Prince who encamped his infantry at Grünberg and followed up the Prince de Condé with his cavalry. The latter, when he saw the Allied cavalry appear, formed his army in order of battle and the Hereditary Prince retired to his camp.

On August 24, the French Army of the Upper Rhine sojourned at Maberzell because heavy rains had made the road impracticable. In the morning, Stainville's and Guerchy's Corps marched to Weidenau with the goal to reinforce Condé. For their part, Duras' and Castries' Corps passed the Fulda at Pfordt and occupied the heights of Schlitz. D'Auvet reached Hamm where the Hereditary Prince had left only the Volontaires de Trümbach in garrison. Nevertheless their force was sufficient to dissuade d'Auvet to make an attempt against the place and he contented himself throwing a few bombs into the town. The same day, the Hereditary Prince marched from Lich on the camp of the Prince de Condé at Grüningen but, by the time he arrived, Condé had already evacuated his camp. The Hereditary Prince then followed up the Prince de Condé but discovered him deployed in an excellent position on heights in front of the Landwehr Canal near Grüningen.

On August 25, the French army of the Upper Rhine marched from Maberzell to Freiensteinau. Heavy baggage and the artillery taken from Göttingen took the road of Gemünden throught the Valley of Brükenau (present-day Bad Brükenau). The left column consisting of most of the artillery and transports followed the Valley of the Kinzig. Meanwhile Castries at the head of the rearguard reached Ober-Moos, Nieder-Moos and Crainfeld, observing a few Allied patrols. Throughout its advance, this army was preceded by Stainville's and Guerchy's corps which was always one march ahead. The same day in the morning, the Hereditary Prince tried to dislodge Condé from his position at Grüningen but he was met with a strong resistance. After a two hours cannonade, he was forced to retire and to repass the Wetter, taking position at Lich while Luckner went to Münzenberg. In this engagement, the Allies lost 5 officers, 50 men and 3 field pieces. Meanwhile, Ferdinand marched to Maar with the Main Allied Army. The same day on the Lower Rhine, learning that an Allied detachment (4,000 men) was coming to the relief of Hamm, d'Auvet lifted the siege of the town and retired to the Rhine.

On August 26, Ferdinand marched to Ulrichstein with the main Allied army. Meanwhile the Hereditary Prince returned to Grünberg. The same day, the French army of the Upper Rhine marched to Hitzkirchen where it encamped. Since its departure from Kassel the main French army had marched under constant heavy rains. On that given day it rained so heavily that bridges were taken away. Meanwhile, Stainville and Guerchy debouched from the gorge of Büdingen by Mariaborn and entered into the plains of Wetteravia where it cantoned at Windecken on the Nidda, establishing communication with the corps of the Prince de Condé who had marched in the direction of Friedberg and reached Pohl-Göns. During its march the Army of the Upper Rhine was arranged as follows:

  • Left Column under M. de Flavigny
  • Right Column under M. de Roth
    • Champagne Brigade
    • Chatellux Brigade
    • Castellas Brigade
    • Royal-Suédois Brigade
    • Auvergne Brigade
    • Navarre Brigade
    • Picardie Brigade

On August 27, the Prince de Condé established his headquarters at the salt marshes near Nauheim (Bad Nauheim) with troops on the Johannisberg and light troops up to Schwalheim, Dorheim and Melbach, effecting contact with Stainville's and Guerchy's Corps posted at Dorn-Assenheim and Niederflorstadt. The same day, the main French army reached the neighbourhood of Mariaborn after a very difficult march through flooded country. Troops were exhausted and had to sojourn for a few days to recover. The Army of the Upper Rhine was now posted in the country between the left bank of the Nidda and the right bank of the Main near Hanau. The rearguard of the left wing was established at Gelnhausen while Castries remained at Büdingen with his own rearguard. Still the same day, Ferdinand marched to Herbstein with the Main Allied Army. Still the same day, a British Corps under Conway appeared in front of Marburg and started to invest the place.

On August 28, Ferdinand marched to Schotten. The situation of the French army which had seemed hopeless earlier in the summer then looked much better. King Louis XV even wanted to retake the offensive towards Giessen and Marburg and to eventually relieve Kassel if it was besieged.

In the night of August 28 and 29, threatened by the combined advance of the Hereditary Prince, Luckner and Ferdinand; the Prince de Condé retired from his positions around the Johannisberg towards Bommersheim.

Early on August 29, the Prince de Condé encamped at Rodheim vor der Höhe. However, Condé was soon ordered to return to his former camp on the Johannisberg. Meanwhile, the French Army of the Upper Rhine marched to Windecken and encamped at Roßdorf to the left of the Nidder. Meanwhile, Guerchy passed the Nidder and took position on the heights of Reichelsheim with 18 bns, 6 sqns, the Carabiniers and 2 artillery brigades to support Stainville's vanguard deployed along the Nidda between Staden and Ilbenstadt. The same day, Ferdinand marched to Nidda with the Main Allied Army to make a junction with the Hereditary Prince, who had advanced to Wölfersheim, still hoping to prevent the junction of the two French armies.

French advance again

On August 30 in the morning, Condé left Bommersheim as ordered to encamp at Ober-Rorbach (more probably Rosbach vor der Höhe) with his vanguard on the Johannisberg. His vanguard had barely reached the Johannisberg that it was attacked by the Hereditary Prince who had followed him closely all the way from the Rhine and had encamped at Atzenhain. During the combat of Nauheim the Hereditary Prince was repulsed with considerable loss. In the evening, as soon as Ferdinand was informed of this setback, he detached his second line on Bingenheim and Staden to prevent the French from exploiting their success. The same day, the main French army was on the march from Roßdorf to Friedberg (all baggages were left behind at Roßdorf):

  • Left Column under M. de Rochechouart
  • 1st Column
  • 2nd Column
    • Cuirassiers Brigade
    • Auvergne Brigade
    • Lyonnais Brigade
    • Royal-Suédois Brigade
    • Boccard Brigade
    • Castries' infantry
  • 3rd Column

Furthermore, all of Lillebonne's light troops and part of Castries' light troops occupied the country between the Nidder and Nidda rivers to cover the flank of the army. After the combat of Nauheim, the French Army of the Upper Rhine established itself around the heights of Nieder-Wöllstadt. Prince Xavier encamped at Windecken with the Saxon Contingent, 1 dragoon rgt and the Volontaires d'Austrasie. The Prince de Condé remained on the Johannisberg and his vanguard occupied Langenhain (unidentified location). M. de Conflans sent detachments to Hoch-Weisel and Ostheim, and Stainville encamped between the Johannisberg and Ockstadt. The Hereditary Prince retired but remained on the heights of Wölfersheim and Melbach.

In the night of August 30 to 31, the two French armies finally completed their junction, encamping with their right at Nidda and their left on the Johannisberg, with their headquarters at Friedberg. The Saxon contingent took position between Bergen and Vilbel (present-day Bad Vilbel) and Castries' corps at Karben. Ferdinand had vainly tried to prevent the junction of the two French armies. However, he had now succeeded in driving the French out of Hesse.

On August 31 in the morning, Ferdinand marched to Bingenheim and Staden with the rest of his army and encamped behind the Wetter opposite to the now united French armies while Granby took position at Geiss-Nidda . The Hereditary Prince soon made a junction with the main Allied army, taking position at Butzbach.. Meanwhile, the British Contingent abandoned the siege of Marburg and retired precipitously on Amöneburg. The French Army was in no position to take advantage of Condé's success at Nauheim. It first had to wait for its train for a few days.

Continuation

The other phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:

  • French attempts to relieve Kassel (September 1 to November 2, 1762) describing the French manoeuvres to turn Allied lines and relieve Kassel, including the combat of Amöneburg.
  • French evacuation of Germany (November 3 to December 31, 1762) describing events during the peace negotiations in Fontainebleau.

References

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. 547-557
  • 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. 258-270
  • Jomini, Henri; Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 4ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 160-187
  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. V, Paris, 1891, pp. 306-466