1702 – Allied offensive in the Low Countries
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The campaign lasted from June to October 1702
During the winter of 1701-1702, France actively prepared for war. Louis XIV ordered to raise 100 foot regiments (each of 1 battalion). He also made a promotion of 17 lieutenants-generals and 49 maréchaux de camp and 81 brigadiers (42 for the infantry and 39 for the cavalry).
With the year 1702 the real struggle began. Villars and one or two others of Louis XIV's best counsellors urged the king to concentrate his attention on the Rhine and the Danube, where, they pointed out, was the centre of gravity of the coalition. This advice was disregarded, and with political aims, which it is hard to imagine, the largest French army was employed on the side of the Meuse in the Low Countries, while the Rhine front was entrusted to smaller forces acting on the defensive.
On the Meuse the French, in concert with the garrisons of the Spanish Netherlands, had fortified a line of defence more than 100 km long from Antwerp to Huy, as well as another line, longer but of only potential importance, from Antwerp along the Scheldt-Lys to Aire in France. Besides the so-called "Lines of Brabant", Boufflers held all the fortresses of the Meuse below Huy except Maastricht.
For the Low Countries, Louis XIV decided to assemble two distinct armies: a French army that would advance on the Lower Rhine to support the Electorate of Cologne and a Spanish army that would march to the sea in Flanders. Overall commands of the two armies was confided to the Duc de Bourgogne; Maréchal Boufflers assumed command of the French army while the Marquis de Bedmar commanded the Spanish army. Furthermore, the Maréchal de Boufflers would assume overall command until the arrival of the Duc de Bourgogne in this theatre of operation.
In January 1702, the French established outposts in the dunes from Dunkerque to the Dutch Island of Cadzand to watch all naval activities in this area.
On January 3, the assembly of the Principality of Liège was required to raise 5,000 men for its defence and the necessary funds to improve the fortification of Liège.
The Maréchal Boufflers proposed to Louis XIV to establish a strong camp (around 5,500 men) near Bonn to secure this region. The king accepted this proposal and even offered 20 sqns initially destined to his Army of Germany, under the condition that these squadrons would be back by the end of March. In the Low Countries, excluding the 20 sqns destined to the Army of Germany, the Franco-Spanish army counted 177 bns and 154 sqns.
|Squadrons offered to Boufflers till the end of March 1702|
|Order of Battle|
|French army destined to the Low Countries on 21 January 1702|
At the end of January, the British Parliament resolved to supply 40,000 men for the Allied army and as many for the fleet, which according to the Treaty of the Hague should count 120 warships. Furthermore, Emperor Leopold I planned to put 90,000 men in the field; the Dutch Republic 102,000 men (including 10,000 Hessians recently taken in Dutch pay). Therefore, the Allies could count on 232,000 men excluding the troops of King Frederick I of Prussia, of the Electorate of Palatinate and of the Circle of Westphalia which continued their movements towards the Electorate of Cologne.
At the beginning of February, the French had 25 bns and 24 sqns under the Marquis de Montrevel in the Electorate of Cologne at the request of Elector Joseph Clemens. It was impossible to send more troops at that time of the year, forage being insufficient. However, 6 additional bns were stationed on the Meuse in support of Montrevel.
On 18 February, Boufflers sent reinforcements and supply, a convoy of 400 wagons, to the Marquis de Montrevel at Bonn. The convoy advanced by Thionville, Mertert, Christnacht, Bettendorf, Oberseggen, Carlshausen, Bronsfeld, Ormunth, Kronenbourg, Zintzen, Breidenheid, Mill and reached Bonn on the first days of March. On the same day, an inventory of the arms indicated that there were 45 guns and 3 mortars fit for the defence of Kaiserswerth; and 40 guns for Rheinberg.
|Reynold (1 bn) Swiss
Brendlé (3 bns) Swiss
|Condé (2 sqns)|
Royal-Étranger (3 sqns)
Around 9 March, Boufflers ordered to create magazines of wheat, oat and forage in the Electorate of Cologne and pressed for the completion of the bridge of boats at Kaiserswerth, intending to make another one at Bonn. The bridge at Kaiserswerth required 95 boats and it was necessary to requisition boats in cities along the Rhine and its tributaries.
On 11 March, M. de Puysegur, who had been sent to Versailles to receive the King's intructions, rejoined Maréchal Boufflers and confirmed to him the nomination of the Duc de Bourgogne as commander-in-chief of the Army of Flanders. Boufflers would be second-in-command, a situation which he gracefully accepted.
Recruitment of the 20 new Spanish bns was underway but not proceeding as rapidly as expected. Furthermore, nothing had been done yet at Liège to raise the 5,000 men required from the assembly.
For their part, the Dutch could field 78 bns and 7 Swiss rgts for a total of 56,240 foot; and 95 sqns for a total of 13,075 horse and dragoons. Other contingents composed the Allied army: Danish (9,000 men), Prussian (10,330 men), British (10,000 men). The Allies also hired the service of troops from Braunschweig-Lüneburg, Braunschweig-Celle, Hessen-Cassel, Anspach and Mecklenburg. Altogether, the Allies could muster force of 110,000 men.
Around 15 March, the Allies started to leave their winter-quarters and to assemble along the frontiers of Brabant, of Upper Guelderland and the Electorate of Cologne, forming four camps: at Goch (under the Count van Tilly) near Nijmegen, Maastricht (22 bns and 13 sqns under Coehoorn), Roosendaal (20 bns and 10 sqns under the Earl of Athlone) between Breda and Berg-op-Zoom, and on the Rhine (Dutch, British and Palatine troops under the Prince of Nassau Saarbrück) near Düsseldorf.
Boufflers sent forward some detachments: at Antwerp and Lierre to observe Allied camps at Roosendaale, on the Demer to support Upper Guelderland and on the Ourthe to support the Electorate of Cologne. There were 7 bns and 2 dragoon sqns in Rheinberg; 5 bns and 50 dragoons in Kaiserswerth; and 12 bns (6 French bns, 6 bns of the Electorate of Cologne) in Bonn.
On 19 March, King William III of Great Britain died.
On 20 March, the Gardes Françaises and Gardes Suisses marched from Paris towards the Spanish Netherlands.
On 25 March, when Boufflers was informed of the death of the King of Great Britain, he halted his troops.
By the end of March, the Allies had 25,000 men in their camp at Roosendaale; 20,000 men in their camp of Goch near Nijmegen.
|Order of Battle|
|Dispositions of French troops in the Low Countries on 6 April 1702
Franco-Spanish army of the Marquis de Bedmar in the Low Countries on 18 April 1702
French troops along the Dutch border on 17 April 1702
At the beginning of April, seeing that the Allies had not interrupted their preparations, Boufflers ordered his detachments to resume their marches. They concentrated on the Demer downstrean of Antwerp, near Maastricht and near Bonn. Garrisons had been left in Venlo, Geldern, Rheinberg and Kaiserswerth. A few camps were also formed in maritime Flanders and in Waasland.
On 7 April, a skirmish took place near Bonn between a detachment of the Allied corps encamped at Duisburg and a French detachment.
On 11 April, Boufflers joined the main body of his army at Diest on the Demer. He organised his army in three corps:
- Bedmar's Corps to cover the zone from the sea to Diest
- Prince of Tserclaes' Corps to cover Liège and to contain the garrison of Maastricht
- Tallard's Corps to occupy the Electorate of Cologne
Boufflers also sent an important detachment to Upper Guelderland to draw the attention of Athlone encamped at Roosendaal and his vanguard to Roermond, planning to advance towards Cologne or Upper Guelderland by Roermond and Jülich.
The Allies besiege and capture Kaiserswerth
On 12 April, the Allies formed a camp of 16,000 men (12 Dutch infantry rgts, 10 Prussian infantry rgts, 7 Dutch cavalry rgts and 6 Prussian cavalry rgts) under the command of the Prince of Nassau Saarbrück at Duisburg at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr.
On 16 April, the Prince of Nassau Saarbrück invested Kaiserswerth on the right bank of the Rhine in the Electorate of Cologne.
On 17 April, M. de Chamillart, the French Secretary of State for War, wrote to Boufflers that the king and himself disapproved the division of his army. They considered that this division made Boufflers' army weak everywhere and favoured initiatives of the Allies.
On 18 April, informed of the arrival of the Allies in front of Kaiserswerth, Boufflers marched from Diest to Peer with part of his army (36 bns) but without his artillery, who had not yet joined the army, leaving the Prince of Tserclaes' Corps behind to contain the Allied corps encamped at Maastricht.
In the night of 18 to 19 April, the Allies undertook the formal Siege of Kaiserswerth.
On 19 April
- Louis XIV wrote to Boufflers to give him instructions to seek engagement with the Allies besieging Kaiserswerth.
- The Comte de Tilly marched from Goch to Xanten and Sonsbeck with an Allied corps (16,000 men).
- The Prince of Nassau-Saarbrück continued the siege of Kaiserswerth. He was now at the head of 22,000 men.
- Athlone's Corps posted at Roosendaal counted 18,000 men; Coehoorn's Corps in Dutch Flander, 15,000 men; another corps (17,000 men) at Maastricht; 6,000 men at Berg-op-Zoom; 16,000 men at Bois-le-Duc, Grave and Breda; and 6,000 men with the Dutch fleet.
By 20 April
- Boufflers was still at Peer. He marched to Stevensweert, leaving only 3 bns and 3 sqns at Peer.
- The Marquis de Bedmar was encamped with 15 bns and a few sqns in the lines between Antwerp and Lier.
- The first Allied pieces opened against Kaiserswerth.
On 21 April, Boufflers passed the Meuse and encamped between Roermond and Melick. He sent forward a reinforcement of 500 men to Kaiserswerth.
On 23 April, Boufflers marched to Breyell on the Niers.
On 24 April
- The Allied corps posted at Roosendaal marched towards Grave.
- The Prussians stormed the island in front of Kaiserswerth and the redoubt defending it.
- Boufflers passed the Niers and encamped at Wachtendonk with 34 bns, 48 sqns and 20 guns. He had left the Maison du Roi (20 sqns) at Weert and 20 sqns between Diest and Roermond to cover the march of the Duc de Bourgogne, who was supposed to leave Versailles on 25 April.
On 25 April
- Boufflers detached the Chevalier de Rosel with 1,000 horse to reconnoitre the Allied camp at Xanten. This detachment bumped into an Allied patrol of 300 horse, took 15 prisoners and pursued the Allies up to Wesel.
- As planned, the Duc de Bourgogne left Versailles and went to Péronne.
On 26 April, the Duc de Bourgogne reached Mons.
In the night of 26 to 27 April, Boufflers marched from Wachtendonk.
On 27 April
- Around noon, Boufflers arrived on the Height of Alpen with his cavalry. His infantry arrived much later around 6:00 p.m.
- The Duc de Bourgogne arrived at Bruxelles where he sojourned for a few days.
- The Comte de Tilly had had enough time to prepare his retreat. His artillery and his heavy baggage had already been sent across the Rhine.
In the night of 27 to 28 April, Tilly's Allied Corps retired between Kalkar and Kleve.
On 28 April at daybreak, a French detachment (400 horse and 400 grenadiers under the Sieur d'Aremberg) entered the camp of Xanten. Boufflers' army then marched and encamped with its right at Xanten and its left at Sonsbeck where the Allies had left 10,000 bags of grain, 100,000 oat rations and a large quantity of hay. In these new positions, Boufflers deprived the Allies from their line of communication with Wesel and prevented them to cover the siege of Kaiserswerth from the left bank of the Rhine.
On 29 April
- Boufflers detached M. de Souternon with 1,000 foot and 300 horse to occupy Büderich and to reconnoitre the bridgehead of the Allies on the bridge leading to Wesel, hoping to cannonade it.
- Another French detachment (8 bns, 12 sqns under the Comte de Tallard) was sent towards Düsseldorf where the Allies had another bridge on the Rhine.
- A French detachment under the Comte de Gacé attacked and captured the Castle of Kervendonk near Kervenheim, taking 60 men prisoners.
- The King of Prussia, who was at Wesel, had ordered to dismantle the bridge, while the Elector of Palatinate had ordered to remove the bridge at Düsseldorf.
- Tilly's Allied Corps continued its retreat to Donsbrüggen and Kranenburg, 14 km to the east of Nijmegen, where it was joined by 28 sqns belonging to Athlone's Corps.
On 30 April
- 11 British bns and the rest of Athlone's Corps reinforced Tilly, whose force now consisted of 34,000 men, at Donsbrüggen.
- The Allied corps besieging Kaiserswerth had been very active.
- The French garrison of Kaiserwerth sallied and destroyed part of the siege works.
- The Duc de Bourgogne set off from Bruxelles to join his army.
By the end of April, the 20 new Spanish bns were not yet completed.
In the night of 1 to 2 May, Boufflers detached the Sieur of Aremberg with 500 horse to reconnoitre the Allied camp at Kranenburg. This detachment was ambushed by a force of 1,000 Allied horse and lost 121 men dead or wounded, and 135 horses.
On 3 May, the Duc de Bourgogne arrived at Boufflers' camp at Xanten. He immediately inspected the left wing of his new army.
On 4 May
- The Allies made themselves master of the redoubt on the Kreuzberg near Kaiserswerth.
- The Duc de Bourgogne inspected the right wing of his army. The arrival of the Duc de Bourgogne allowed Boufflers to recall the troops which had covered his approach.
On 5 May
- The Duc de Bourgogne ordered a general forage and sent forward 300 Gardes du Corps and 2,700 horse under M. de Coigny to reconnoitre the Allied camp near Kranenburg, vainly hoping to draw Tilly's and Athlone's corps in the plain.
- The Maison du Roi, 12 sqns and 4 bns arrived at Xanten. The army which was of only 34 bns and 42 sqns before the duke's arrival now counted 38 bns and 67 sqns. However, its artillery and most of its ammunition were still in Bruxelles, Malines (Mechelen) and Lierre (Lier) and could not be expected before 20 May.
- A reinforcement of 700 men, arms and supply were thrown into Kaiserswerth. The Duc de Bourgogne and Boufflers then resolved to reinforce Tallard in the area of Düsseldorf, sending him 12 sqns and 6 bns from Bonn under M. de Montrevel, and 6 sqns from Kempen under M. de Labadie.
On 6 May
- Tallard, now at the head of 14 bns and 30 sqns, advanced from Beckrath, passed the Niers at Odenkirchen and encamped at Heerdt opposite Düsseldorf. He then gave orders to prepare five ways to get access to Kaiserswerth.
- Tallard was taking disposition to bombard Düsseldorf when the Allies declared that they would retaliate by bombarding Bonn. Boufflers instructed Tallard to abandon his design against Düsseldorf and to concentrate his attention on the siege works of the Allies around Kaiserswerth.
On 7 May???, at the other end of the Dutch Republic, General Coehoorn marched with 20 bns, 7 sqns, 12 guns and 21 mortars on Middelburg.
On 8 May, Coehoorn made himself master of Middelburg and of the redoubts surrounding it and took position to the north of the Franc of Bruges (Brugse Vrije).
On 9 May
- Tallard's batteries, protected by 2 bns and 1 cavalry rgt, opened against the siege works at Kaiserswerth. Meanwhile, he steadily supplied the French garrison.
- On the western border of the Dutch Republic, Coehoorn (now with 14 bns and 5 sqns) took dispositions for the siege of Saint-Donas (Sint-Donaas). Another Allied corps (14 bns, 17 sqns) came out of Maastricht and Bois-le-Duc to make a coup-de-main on Namur.
On 10 May, when the Allies realised that their endeavour against Namur had been discovered, they marched on Huy where a detachment managed to enter into the town.
|Order of Battle|
|Dispositions of French troops in the Low Countries in mid-May 1702|
On 11 May, fearing that the siege of Kaiserswerth was just a diversion and that the main Allied offensive would take place near Bruges (Brugge), Louis XIV sent instructions to Boufflers to redeploy his army as follows:
- Boufflers (40 or 42 bns, 90 sqns) at the camp of Xanten
- Tallard (18 or 20 bns, 25 sqns) near Kaiserswerth
- Prince de Tserclaes (10 bns, a few sqns) in Liège and the Chartreuse
- Bedmar (21 bns, 25 sqns not including garrisons) towards the sea, by decreasing his garrisons to 20 bns, Bedmar could increase his army to 33 bns and 29 sqns
- rest of the cavalry in various posts
The French Court also advanced troops from Calais to Dunkerque and ordered the militia of Boulonnais to take position in the following towns:
- 1 bn at Ambleteuse, Calais, Gravelines and Dunkerque
- 1 bn marching from Boulogne to Ambleteuse and Calais
- 1 carabinier coy and 4 cavalry coys marching from Boulogne to Nieuport
- 2 coys and 2 dragoon coys marching from Boulogne to Guines, Gravelines and Dunkerque
- 2 cavalry coys marching from Boulogne to Ambleteuse, Calais and Gravelines
- 2 cavalry coys marching from Boulogne to Calais
Charolais Infanterie, garrisoning the citadel of Dunkerque, would march to Ostend as soon as the militia would have replaced it.
On the same day (11 May)
- The French managed to throw 200 foot and 30 horse into Huy and to drive the Allies out of the place.
- Bedmar marched from Antwerp with 7 bns (Furstemberg (2 bns), Idiaquez (1 bn), Capres (1 bn) and Courten (3 bns)) and 5 sqns (Guardias de España (1 sqn), Noirmont (2 sqns) and Brancaccio (2 sqns)), leaving behind 6 bns (Sparre (2 bns), Luxembourg (1 bn), Deynse (1 bn), Fusiliers d'Espagne (1 bn) and Del Valle (1 bn)) and 8 sqns (Grigny (2 sqns), Chacon (2 sqns), Berghes (2 sqns) and Cécile (2 sqns)) under M. de Ximenès. Only 3 bns (Grimaldi-le-Jeune (1 bn) Thouy (1 bn) and Barrois (1 bn)) were left in Waasland.
- Coehoorn's artillery (12 guns, 21 mortars) opened on Saint-Donas.
On 12 May
- Informed that a Dutch detachment (500 men) had been sent from Maastricht to reinforce the party at Huy, the Prince de Tserclaes sent the Comte de Lannion at the head of 500 horse and 7 grenadier coys to pursue them. The Dutch detachment took refuge in the Castle of Horion. Lannion called for reinforcements to storm the castle. The Prince de Tserclaes personally led a good part of the troops stationed in Liège with 4 guns and a few miners. Upon arrival, the prince summoned the Dutch commander who refused to surrender.
- Boufflers sent the Commandeur de Courcelles with 7 sqns at Weert to cover the road that the artillery convoy would follow from Bruxelles and Malines.
On 13 May
- On the western Dutch frontier, Bedmar (7 bns, 5 sqns) effected a junction with M. de Lamothe (15 bns, 11 sqns). Bedmar then made a diversion on Hulst with 13 bns and 11 sqns but did not succeed to distract Coehoorn from the siege of Saint-Donas.
- In the region of Liège, Tserclaes cannonaded the Castle of Horion until the Dutch commander asked to capitulate. However, informed that a relief force was on its way from Maastrich, he delayed negotiations during the approach of the relief force and Tserclaes was forced to retire to Liège.
- Boufflers moved some heavy artillery from Roermond to Venlo and the bridge at Stevensweert downstream as if he intended to invest Grave.
On 14 May
- The Dutch detachment occupying the Castle of Horion evacuated it and retired to Maastricht.
- Another detachment (6 Dutch rgts) was sent out of Maastricht towards Grave.
- 10,000 men destined to serve with the Dutch fleet were redirected to Nijmegen while Hessian and Hanoverian troops were ordered to hasten march towards the Rhine. All these movements diminished pressure on Bedmar's Corps (53 bns, 29 sqns) defending the western region near the sea.
Tallard continued to cannonade the Allied siege works from the left bank of the Rhine. He also threw 3 additional bns into Kaiserswerth, bringing its garrison to 8 bns.
On the night of 15 to 16 May, the French evacuated the Fort of Saint-Donas after nailing their guns and flooding the fortifications. During the defence of Saint-Donas, they had lost 50 men.
On 16 May
- Boufflers detached M. de Coigny (6 bns, 16 sqns) to rendezvous with the expected convoy at Beringen.
- Coehoorn threw 600 Dutch troops into Saint-Donas to re-establish its defences.
On 17 May, Bedmar returned to Antwerp with 9 bns and 8 or 10 sqns to secure the place, leaving Lamothe behind with 22 bns and 4 sqns to defend the canal of Bruges in front of Coehoorn's Corps. Lamothe posted 2 bns in Nieuport, 3 bns in Ostend, 4 bns in Damme, 4 bns in Bruges, 4 bns in Ghent and the rest of his corps (5 bns and 4 sqns) in a camp near Bruges.
When the Duc de Bourgogne and Boufflers realised that they could not force the Allies to lift the siege of Kaiserswerth, they resolved to attack the Allied camp at Kranenburg. However, they had to wait for their artillery and ammunition ,which had not yet left Bruxelles and Malines.
On 19 and 20 May, the Prince of Nassau-Saarbrück abandoned his works around Kaiserswerth along the Rhine.
On 20 May, the convoy (artillery, ammunition, supply) destined to Boufflers' army finally set off from Bruxelles.
On 21 May
- The Prince of Nassau-Saarbrück concentrated his attacks on the eastern face of Kaiserswerth.
- The French supply convoy reached Beringen where the Comte de Coigny was waiting for it with 6 bns and 16 sqns. M. de Ximenès also sent a detachment from Antwerp to cover the convoy on the side of Breda and Bois-le-Duc while the Prince de Tserclaes detached 800 horse from Liège to protect the convoy from any attack coming from Maastricht which had a 6,000 men strong garrison.
On 23 May, the French convoy reached Bocholt.
On 24 May, the French convoy reached Roermond where it had to sojourn because horses needed rest. All along its way, the Dutch garrisons of Breda, Bois-le-Duc and Maastricht had vainly tried to impede the progress of the convoy.
On 26 May, the French convoy reached Venlo.
On 27 May, the French convoy reached Geldern.
On 28 May, the French convoy finally arrived at Boufflers' camp near Xanten.
In the first days of June, Boufflers required reinforcements from Bedmar.
On 3 June, Bedmar detached 6 bns and 10 sqns under M. de Caraman to take position at Olmen between Herentals and Peer. Meanwhile, 2 cavalry rgts were sent to Diest.
On 5 June, a new French convoy left Malines and reached Booischot the same day.
On 6 June, the French convoy reached Olmen where M. de Caraman was waiting for it with 6 bns and 10 sqns.
On 7 June, the French convoy, now escorted by Caraman, reached Bocholt.
On 8 June
- The French convoy reached Roermond where it was joined by 1 cavalry rgt sent from Liège.
- Tallard managed to send 3 more bns and a detachment of 500 men as well as arms and ammunition into Kaiserswerth.
Athlone's army (40 bns, 60 sqns) occupied a strong position with its right at Kranenburg and its left towards Kleve with the forest of Kleve to its front, defended by several abatis. The main accesses were protected by entrenchments. However, Boufflers was now at the head of an army of 54 bns and 104 sqns, including Tallard's and Caraman's corps. He planned to leave Xanten on 10 June to encamp between Goch and Uedem, and to attack Athlone's right at Kranenburg on 11 June. Meanwhile, Tallard would have concentrated his corps at Rheinberg by 10 June. He would then march to Kalkar. Similarly, Caraman's Corps would advance from Roermond to Venlo on 9 June; and take position midway between Venlo and Goch on 10 June.
On 9 June
- The Allies made themselves masters of the covert way of Kaiserswerth.
- In the evening, Boufflers sent a detachment (1,200 horse, 500 grenadiers) under MM. d'Alegre, de Souternon and de Silly along the Niers towards Goch and Gennep.
- According to plans, Tallard set off from Heerdt and Caraman marched from Roermond to Goch, halfway to Venlo.
In the night of 9 to 10 June, the Duc de Maine marched with Boufflers' left wing to support the detachment sent forward in the evening. The Duc de Maine was closely followed by the Maison du Roi which joined him at Uedem.
On 10 June
- At daybreak, the Duc de Bourgogne marched at the head of the rest of the army to Kessel on the Niers, anchoring his left on the marsh of Mook.
- Alegre's detachment entered into the forest of Kleve vainly trying to find a passage. D'Alegre sent a detachment of dragoons and grenadiers to his left where they drove the Allies out of a defile. D'Alegre then used this defile to send parties forward.
- Tallard marched to Rheinberg.
- At 6:00 p.m., the Earl of Athlone was in his camp at Kranenburg, still ignoring that the Duc de Bourgogne was on the march. At 8:00 p.m., when he was informed of the approach of the French army, Athlone gave orders to decamp. At 10:00 p.m., the Allied army started to retire towards Nijmegen.
In the night of 10 to 11 June at 2:00 a.m., the Duc de Bourgogne marched to reach the defile that d'Alegre had occupied.
On 11 June
- At daybreak, d'Alègre realised that Athlone was in full retreat. He informed the Duc de Bourgogne and he followed up Athlone's army.
- The Duc de Bourgogne immediately send forward M. de Guiche with Mestre de Camp Général Dragons and the Carabiniers to support d'Alegre, who was trying to delay the Allies. Meanwhile, the duke gave orders to his infantry and artillery to fasten pace. He left 3 bns and 2 sqns to guard the baggage at Kessel and then galloped to join d'Alegre and Guiche.
- The cavalry of the French left wing arrived around 8:00 a.m. soon followed by a few bns and by the cavalry of the second line of the right wing. The Duc de Bourgogne then ordered to pursue the Allies who were still marching in order of battle.
- Engagement near Nijmegen
- When the French cavalry finally caught up with the rear of the Allies, they had already reached the vicinity of Nijmegen.
- At 1:00 p.m., with the arrival of their infantry, the French deployed in two lines with the cavalry on each wing. Two batteries were planted in the centre and another one on the left.
- Attacks resumed on the retreating Allies, their infantry took shelter in the covert way and in the ditches while their cavalry deployed on the glacis.
- The Maison du Roi attacked the Allied cavalry on the right while the cavalry of the Duc de Maine did the same on the left. Furthermore, 50 men were moved forward from each battalion of the first line of the left wing.
- Until 5:00 p.m.. the infantry and artillery maintained a steady fire. The Allies retired through and around Nijmegen towards the bridge on the Waal, covered by the guns on the wall of the city.
- Tallard's and Caraman's corps had not enough time to join the French army (Tallard managed to reach Kalkar) so only 36 bns and 58 sqns were present. The force of the Earl of Athlone is estimated to 27 bns and 61 sqns.
- In this action, the French lost 50 men killed and 84 wounded; the Allies lost nearly 1,000 men killed, wounded or taken prisoners. The Allies also lost a standard, 400 artillery horses and 1,500 draught horses.
- At 5:00 p.m., the Duc de Bourgogne retired his army out of range of the guns of Nijmegen. His army spent the night under arms. Two brigades were sent towards the Waal in the hope to capture baggage or to engage Allied troops.
The same day (11 June) on the western border of the Dutch Republic, M. de Lamothe-Houdancourt at the head of 14 bns and 7 sqns recaptured the town of Middelburg.
In the night of 11 to 12 June, Tallard's cavalry marched from Kalkar to within 5 km of the main army and his infantry reached Kleve. Meanwhile, Caraman's Corps, who had already reached Kessel, moved closer to the main body.
By 12 June
- At daybreak, Athlone's Army had passed to the right bank of the Waal.
- At 9:00 a.m., the Duc de Bourgogne marched back to Donsbrüggen where he encamped.
- On the western border of the Dutch Republic, M. de Lamothe-Houdancourt made himself master of the Castle of Middelburg. M. de Bedmar joined him with troops from Antwerp (5 bns, 5 sqns) and they demolished the fortifications of the town and of the castle.
After their retreat, the Allies established a camp behind the Waal in front of Nijmegen and another one at Fort Schenck (unidentified location). They extended their positions up to Wesel to guard the banks of the Rhine. They also sent 4 rgts to reinforce the garrison of Grave.
The French were now master of the Kleve country from which they obtained ample provisions and forage.
|Order of Battle|
|Franco-Spanish corps of the Marquis de Bedmar near Aardenburg on 13 June 1702|
On 13 June
- On the western border of the Dutch Republic, M. de Lamothe-Houdancourt and M. de Bedmar encamped near Aardenburg with 19 bns and 12 sqns. Besides these troops, Bedmar also had 29 bns and 7 sqns in the various places between Ostend and Antwerp for a total of 48 bns and 19 sqns.
- General Coehoorn's smaller army was forced to retire into an entrenched camp under the guns of Sluis with 9 bns and 4 sqns; the rest of his troops being dispersed in the Island of Cadzand and other districts of the Dutch Flanders.
On 14 June
- The French at the camp of Donsbrüggen received a convoy of bread arriving from Venlo and Geldern.
- The Duc de Bourgogne sent Tallard's Corps (15 bns, 34 sqns) towards Marienbaum, midway between Kleve and Rheinberg.
- The batteries of the Allied corps besieging Kaiserswerth opened. Since the departure of Tallard's army from this area on 9 June, the Allies had re-established their bridges at Düsseldorf and near Mülheim and transferred some troops to the left bank of the Rhine to occupy Tallard's former camp at Heerdt.
By 15 June in the morning, Kaiserswerth was a heap of ruins. M. de Blainville capitulated with the honours of war after 58 days of open trenches. Louis XIV later promoted Blainville to lieutenant-general.
On 16 June, Tallard marched from Marienbaum to Budberg, closer to Rheinberg. He also detached M. de Souternon with 4 bns and 7 sqns to Appeldorn, near Marienbaum, to support Rheinberg.
On 17 June, the French garrison of Kaiserswerth (11 weak bns) marched to Venlo. The Allies started to raze the fortifications of Kaiserswerth.
Around 18 June, the Duc de Bourgogne instructed M. de Bedmar to send him a reinforcement of 6 bns and 4 sqns. Louis XIV wanted that the army of the Duc de Bourgogne would lay siege to Jülich but the latter needed more artillery and more provisions before being able to undertake this project.
On 19 June, French marauders managed to enter into Fort Schenck by ruse and to plunder it.
By 25 June
- The Dutch had a squadron of 11 vessels (1 x 80-guns, 2 x 60-guns, 8 x 40 guns) at the Schooneveld Shoal to guard the mouth of the Scheldt and cover Zeeland and Cadzand.
- The French had 6 vessels (1 x 64-guns, 2 x 52-guns, 3 x 40-guns) at Dunkerque under the command of M. de Pointis. The Spaniards had the Santa-Maria (58) and the Reina (50) at Ostend along with 6 French galleys.
On 27 June, a small engagement took place between 300 Gardes du Corps and some 550 Allied horse near Nijmegen. In this affair, the French lost 30 men, the Allies 50.
On June 30, Louis XIV sent counter-orders to the Duc de Bourgogne and the Maréchal de Boufflers. The Margrave of Baden having laid siege to Landau, Louis XIV required that the duke would transfer 12 bns and 16 sqns to Alsace. These reinforcements would march by Luxembourg to Thionville.
|Poitou (2 bns)
La Reine (3 bns)
|Royal-Piémont (3 sqns)|
Condé (2 sqns)
For their part, the Allies were still deployed in several corps in the Low Countries:
- Athlone's Corps was separated in several camps between the Waal and the Rhine, then along the right bank of the Rhine up to Wesel
- Prince of Nassau-Saarbrück's Corps after the capture of Kaiserswerth had marched downstream along the Rhine to get closer to Athlone's Corps, and occupied several camps at Duisburg, Dinslaken, Spellen near Wesel, Büderich, Rees and Emmerich/Rhine (its heavy artillery had reached Wesel on 26 June)
- Troops (6,050 men) from Hanover (under Lieutenant-General Sommerfeld) and Celle were underway since 14 June to join these two corps at Nijmegen
- Hanoverian Gardes du Corps
- 2 Hanoverian cavalry rgts (each of 6 coys of 50 men)
- 4 Hanoverian infantry rgts (each of 7 coys)
- 3 Celler bns (each of 7 coys)
- 4 Celler dragoon coys (each of 100 men)
- a British contingent (8 bns, 2 cavalry rgts, 1 dragoon rgt) currently at sea on its way to Nijmegen
- Hon. James Stanley's Foot (1 bn)
- William Stewart's Foot (1 bn)
- Huguenot Belcastel's Foot (1 bn)
- Gustavus Hamilton Viscount Boyne's Foot (1 bn)
- Mountjoy's Foot (1 bn)
- Charlemont's Foot (1 bn)
- Ventris Columbine's Foot (1 bn)
- Thomas Fairfax's Foot (1 bn)
- Wood's Horse
- Queen's Regiment of Horse aka Lumley
- Charles Ross' Dragoons
A large Allied army would then assemble at Nijmegen. After considerable dispute, the Earl of Marlborough was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the allied forces, and then not without provoking much dissatisfaction among the Dutch generals, and much jealousy in the Prince of Nassau-Saarbriick and in the Earl of Athlone, both of whom aspired to the office.
|Order of Battle|
|Franco-Spanish army of the Marquis de Bedmar in the Low Countries 1 July 1702
British contingent in the Low Countries in July 1702
On 1 July, weakened by the reinforcements that he had had to send to the Duc de Bourgogne, M. de Bedmar retired from the area of Aardenburg in Dutch Flander with his corps (40 bns, 14 sqns) and redistributed it as follows:
- 22 bns and 4 sqns between Nieuport and Ghent under M. de Lamothe to secure canals between Ostend and Ghent
- 18 bns and 10 sqns between Ghent and Lierre (Lier) under his personal command
The same day, 6 French galleys under the command of M. de La Pelleterie defeated a Dutch squadron of 12 warships under Vice-Admiral Herversen in front of Ostend. For his victory, M. de La Pelleterie was promoted to chef d'escadre.
Marlborough takes command of the Allied army
On 2 July, the Earl of Marlborough left The Hague to join the army at Nijmegen. The Dutch Republic sent two of its Council of State to act as their Field Deputies with Marlborough. When he arrived in Nijmegen and took command of the Allied army, Marlborough concentrated 60,000 men of whom 12,000 only were British (7 horse and dragoon rgts 14 bns and 56 guns).
On 3 July
- The Duc de Bourgogne decamped from Donsbrüggen and marched in 5 columns, passing the Niers and encamping at Hassum near Goch. In this new position, he had ample provisions and forage and could easily move left or right depending on the manoeuvres of the Allies.
- The duke recalled Souternon's detachment from Appeldorn but Tallard's Corps was left at Rheinberg within easy reach.
- Now that war was officially declared, the Elector of Palatinate promised to send 4 infantry rgts (Garde Grenadiers, Leibregiment zu Fuss aka Aubach, Lybeck, Burscheidt) and 4 cavalry rgts (Hochkirch Cavalry, Leibdragonerr, Wittgenstein Dragoons and Bentheim Dragoons) to reinforce the corps of the Dutch General Dopff, who was harassed by the French in Maastricht.
On 4 July, Maréchal Boufflers threw two floating bridges on the Meuse at Heijen as if intending to lay siege to Grave. Furthermore, several passages were prepared on the Niers.
On 5 July, the Duc de Bourgogne detached M. de Montrevel with 1,200 foot and 1,500 horse across the Meuse. This detachment advanced up to the gates of Grave unopposed.
On 6 July, the Allies started to pass the Waal on three bridges that they had built near Nijmegen and encamped at Overasselt with their right towards Grave and their left anchored on Nijmegen. Then once more the obstruction of Marlborough's colleagues caused delay.
On 8 July, the Duc de Bourgogne sent M. de Surville at the head of reinforcement (12 bns, 16 sqns) destined to Germany as ordered by Louis XIV. To mislead the Allies on his intentions, Surville initially marched southwards to Bocholt.
On 9 July, the Duc de Bourgogne recalled from Venlo the 11 bns which had previously defended Kaiserswerth. Informed that the Allies had detached some 3,500 horse under the Duke of Württemberg to attack a supply convoy, the Duc de Bourgogne made several detachments to protect his convoy. He then remained on the defensive in his camp at Hassum.
On 10 July
- Surville reached Bocholt where he made a junction with a detachment (6 bns, 8 sqns under M. de Chamarande) from Bedmar's and Tserclaes' corps.
- The French convoy left Malines (Mechelen) and Lierre (Lier) and reached Westerloo.
- Marlborough had assembled his army on the left bank of the Waal.
On 11 July, the French convoy reached Beringen.
On 12 July, the French convoy reached Bocholt after traversing the dangerous defile of Kleine-Brogel. There were a few minor skirmishes near Eindhoven.
On 13 July, the French convoy passed the defile of Bocholt.
On 14 July, the French convoy reached Roermond and then arrived at the French camp at Hassum.
The Field Deputies made clear to Marlborough that the Dutch wanted to clear the Meuse of all French garrisons between Holland and Maastricht. However, Marlborough considered that the French camp at Hassum was too strong to be attacked. He rather formed a plan to draw the French after him with the positive object of bringing his opponent to battle at a disadvantage.
On 15 July
- The French troops destined to Germany, which had protected the passage of the convoy, resumed their march from Roermond.
- Marlborough's army took new positions along the Meuse, its right at Heumen near Mook and its left at Vickum (unidentified location, probably Wijchen) above Grave. Marlborough threw two bridges on the Meuse. He also left 4,000 men in Nijmegen and a few bns and 22 sqns on the right bank of the Rhine between Mülheim and Wesel.
- Only Coehoorn's Corps was still isolated from the main Allied army.
The Duc de Bourgogne did not react to Marlborough's manoeuvres, waiting to know his real intents. He just ordered to build entrenchments between Gennep and the Meuse and on the fords of the Niers; and to evacuate the isolated outpost at Genneperhuis.
On 18 July, the French reinforcements destined to Germany reached Diest.
On 20 July, Tallard, having exhausted resources around Rheinberg, moved his infantry to a new camp near the monastery of Kamp, between Geldern and Rheinberg. He then rode with his cavalry to Kalkar where he vainly waited for the planned rendezvous with the Elector of Cologne's little army.
On 22 July
- The Palatine Barbo Infantry marched from Jülich to Mülheim, while Rehbinder Infantry remained in Jülich.
- The French reinforcements destined to Germany arrived at Liège. Bridges were thrown on the Meuse, supposedly to supply the camp with forage.
On 23 July, Tallard's cavalry joined his infantry at Kamp.
On 25 July in the evening, Marlborough sent his baggage and artillery to the left bank of the Meuse.
On 26 July
- Marlborough's entire army passed the Meuse on three bridges near Grave and encamped at Zeeland and Uden at the head of the marsh of Peel.
- The Duc de Bourgogne, realising that the Allies had taken position between his own army and the Spanish Netherlands, detached 6 bns and 6 sqns from Tallard's Corps and sent them to Roermond to establish communication with Bedmar's Army. He also sent his heavy baggage, his artillery, his second line of infantry and part of his second line of cavalry to Venlo. Finally, he sent instructions to Bedmar to assemble as many units as possible between Antwerp and Lierre (Lier).
- Tallard threw 6 bns commanded by the Marquis de Grammont into Rheinberg
On 27 July
- Marlborough marched towards Eindhoven, encamping at Mierlo and Geldrop.
- At daybreak, the Duc de Bourgogne hastily decamped from Hassum with the rest of his army and marched to Tegelen, 4 km above Venlo.
On 28 July
- The Duc de Bourgogne marched to Roermond with his army, passed the Meuse on three floating bridges and encamped with his right at Buggenum covered by the Neer and his left beyond Horn.
- Tallard marched from Kamp to Brüggen.
- A small garrison was thrown into the Castle of Graven-Broek and a small detachment (600 horse under M. de Souternon) was posted at Weert to support this garrison and to reconnoitre the positions of the Allies.
On 29 July and on the following morning, the French made a grand forage as if they planned to stay in their camp along the Meuse for a while.
On 31 July
- Marlborough ordered his army to strike their tents, to march with baggage to Graven-Broek and to lie on their arms all night.
- At 3:00 p.m., informed that the Allies were advancing on Graven-Broek and Hamont, the Duc de Bourgogne, who wanted to remain in communication with the Lines of Brabant, marched towards Bree until 11:00 p.m.
On 1 August
- At noon, the Allies reached the Castle of Graven-Broek which was defended by only 80 men. The castle refusing to surrender, it was cannonaded for 4 hours and then surrendered to discretion.
- The Allies then assembled all their forces (7 infantry rgts and 4 cavalry rgts arriving from Nijmegen, the garrisons of Breda and Bois-le-Duc bringing Marlborough's army to a total of 70 bns and 150 sqns) resumed their march, reaching Kaulille and Achel where they pitched camp in the evening.
- At daybreak, the Duc de Bourgogne resumed his march to Bree where he arrived at 8:00 a.m. with his cavalry. His infantry joining him at 11:00 a.m.
- Tallard (5 bns, 20 sqns) had marched from Brüggen and was encamped at 5 km on the left of the main army.
- Including Tallard's Corps the Duc de Bourgogne was at the head of an army of 53 bns and 92 sqns, worn out by a week of desperate marching.
- M. de Tserclaes marched from Liège with 4 bns and 11 sqns to Huy to make a junction with the French main army, leaving 3 bns and 7 free coys in the Citadel of Liège and a similar force in the Chartreuse.
- M. de Gacé marched from Booischot with 10 bns and 8 sqns to Diest.
On 2 August
- Confrontation near Bree
- At daybreak, as expected, the Duc de Bourgogne started his march from Bree southwestwards in the direction of Hasselt, covered on his left by Tallard's Corps.
- At 6:00 a.m., the Allies took new positions with their right at Kleine-Brogel and their left at Sint-Huibrechts-Lille. The Allied army was now deployed ready to fall on the army of the Duc de Bourgogne.
- Marlborough was well posted to strike a paralysing blow to the French. However, the Field Deputies of the Dutch Republic prayed him to abandon his design. Marlborough reluctantly complied and retired with his army.
- At the of the day, the French army encamped at Zonhoven, 5 km from Hasselt, well posted to reach the Lines of Brabant.
- M. de Gacé (9 bns, 10 sqns) marched from the neighbourhood of Diest to Herkenrode on the Demer to effect a junction with the French main army.
- M. de Tserclaes (3 bns, 11 sqns) was also making all speed from Liège to join the army of the Duc de Bourgogne.
On 3 August
- Marlborough detached General Obdam (his force included the Royal Regiment of Ireland under Lord Cutts) to accompany the bread-wagons and paymasters arriving from Grave.
- Confrontation near Peer
- The French moved to threaten the Allied convoy but Marlborough took position to cover it and instructed Obdam to join him on the heath of Peer. Both armies were now deployed in order of battle facing each other.
- A lively cannonade ensued.
- Marlborough was about to engage combat when the Field Deputies asked him to postpone the engagement until morning, content to see the army that had threatened the Dutch Republic with invasion driven off to a safe distance without bloodshed.
- The delay allowed Tallard to reach Halen and Boufflers to take refuge behind the Lines of Brabant.
On 4 August
- The Duke of Bourgogne marched from Zonhoven to Beringen where he anchored his left and extended his right to Heusden with an advanced corps at Koersel.
- M. de Gacé made a junction with the main army.
- Tallard reached Diest.
On 5 August
- Marlborough encamped at Peer with his right at Grote-Brogel and his left at Eelicum (unidentified location).
- M. de Tserclaes made a junction with the French main army.
- The Duc de Bourgogne was now at the head of 75 bns and 103 sqns. He wanted to re-establish communication with Upper Guelderland, which was now at the mercy of the Allies.
- M. de Labadie was sent at Roermond to assume command; 1 bn was transferred from Geldern to Roermond; 1 bn from Weert to Roermond; 1 bn from Rheinberg to Geldern; 1 bns from Rheinberg to Venlo. With there movements, there were now 4 bns and 1 sqn in Roermond; 4 bns and 1 sqn in Venlo; 2 bns and 50 horse in Geldern; and 4 bns and 50 dragoons in Rheinberg.
On 9 August at 2:00 a.m., the army of the Duc de Bourgogne marched northwards from Beringen to Balen. The Duc de Bourgogne planned to turn the Allied right.
On 10 August
- The army of the Duc de Bourgogne continued its march north-eastwards to Riethoven, only 13 km from Eindhoven. The right was anchored on Eersel and the left on the Dommel at Dommelen. Several bridges were thrown on the Dommel from Dommelen to Eindhoven which was occupied by M. du Rosel with 500 grenadiers and 300 carabiniers.
- Tallard encamped at Luyksgestel and Tserclaes at Duizel to cover the main army from west and south. The Dutch fortress of Maastricht was now cut from its supply coming from Bois-le-Duc.
On 12 August
- Marlborough decamped from Peer and marched northwards to Hamont in three columns. The main body took position with its right at Hamont and its left at Achel and the Castle Graven-Broek.
- The Count of Tilly encamped at Mierlo and Helmond with an Allied corps (10,000 men) to cover communications between Bois-le-Duc and Maastricht.
- The French reinforced their garrison in Eindhoven with 600 additional grenadiers and 2 dragoon rgts.
On 13 August
- An Allied derachment under General Schulz appeared in front of Weert.
- The Duc de Bourgogne sent M. de Berwick to reinforce Eindhoven with 6 bns, 7 sqns, 1 artillery brigade and 10 guns.
- A convoy of bread arriving from Lierre (Lier) and escorted by 2,000 horse under M. d'Imecourt, reached the French camp.
- M. de Coigny was detached with 1,000 horse and dragoons northwestwards.
On 14 August, Coigny reached Tilburg, sending parties to Heusden, Breda and Geertruidenberg to raise contributions and to spread panic in the region.
On 15 August, Coigny returned to the French camp at Riethoven without having met the enemy.
On 16 August, the Duc de Bourgogne planned to attack Tilly at Mierlo. He ordered Berwick to march from Eindhoven with 6 bns and 13 sqns while his cavalry left wing marched to Eindhoven. However, Berwick discovered that Tilly's Allied corps was much larger than expected. With Marlborough at only 10 km with the Allied main army, the Duc de Bourgogne abandoned his design. Indeed Marlborough rapidly advanced to Leende and Heeze to support Tilly.
On 17 August
- An Allied force bombarded the Castle of Weert. His defender, M. de Champfort capitulated and obtained the honours of war.
- Tilly, who had retreated northeastwards, encamped at Gemert.
- On the Rhine, two Allied corps passed the river at Wesel and Düsseldorf and respectively advanced to Büderich and Neuss.
On 18 August, Tilly escorted to Helmont the long awaited convoy arriving from Bois-le-Duc.
On 19 August, the Allied convoy finally reached Marlborough's camp at Hamont.
On 22 August
- Marlborough marched from Hamont southwards to Peer.
- The Duc de Bourgogne decamped from Riethoven to follow the Allies as closely as possible, encamping at Exel.
On 23 August
- Marlborough resumed his advance southwards, reaching Helchteren. He had just received 11 bns from the garrison of Maastricht, bringing his army to a total of 92 bns and 132 sqns.
- The Duc de Bourgogne vainly tried to catch up with the Allied rearguard.
- Confrontation near Helchteren
- At noon, the Duc de Bourgogne deployed his army (70 bns, 113 sqns) in order of battle within range of the Allied artillery.
- Marlborough's army came out of its camp and deployed in order of battle in a very advantageous position covered to its front by impassable marshes and ditches.
- Around 2:00 p.m., the Allied artillery opened on a village on the right of the French position, occupied by 18 bns and 2 dragoon rgts under Tallard.
- The Allies continued to establish batteries on all their front. The French did the same.
- At 5:00 p.m., Marlborough directed the whole of his right to fall on the French left but, to his surprise and dismay, the right did not move. General Obdam, who was in command of this right wing, refused to execute his orders.
- A lively cannonade ensued which was to last till nightfall. Each army lost a few hundreds man.
In the night of 23 to 24 August, the two armies remained in order of battles.
On 24 August
- Marlborough made preparations for an attack. But when the time came the Dutch deputies interposed, entreating him to defer the attack till the morrow morning. "By tomorrow morning they will be gone," answered Marlborough; but all remonstrance was unavailing.
- The Duc de Bourgogne reconnoitred the Allied positions but found no place to attack. In the evening, he repassed the defile of Hechtel. His artillery left two hours before nightfall, followed by the rest of his army in eight columns, the Maison du Roi and 4 dragoon rgts forming the rearguard under the personal command of the Duc de Bourgogne.
- At the western end of this theatre of operation, M. de Bedmar marched from the area of Antwerp with 9 bns, 5 sqns and 10 guns towards the Dutch border.
On 25 August
- At daybreak, when the French army resumed its march, Marlborough sent forward 30 bns and a few sqns to the defile of Hechtel. They temporarily occupied the village of Hechtel and the surrounding hedges.
- The French army then marched unmolested and encamped at Balen where it found water and forage.
- A convoy of bread also arrived from Lierre (Lier), escorted by 800 horse under M. de Caylus.
The Allies capture the fortresses on the Meuse
Marlborough saw that he would not be able to convince the Dutch deputies to give battle. With unconquerable patience and tact, he excused Obdam's conduct in his public despatches. He thought it prudent to pacify the Dutch by clearing the Meuse of the French garrisons.
On 26 August
- Marlborough detached General Obdam (10,000 men) towards Upper Guelderland to make a junction with the two German corps totalling 20 bns and some cavalry, which had passed the Rhine at Wesel and Düsseldorf and encamped at Kempen between the Meuse and the Rhine. Obdam planned to lay siege to Venlo.
- The French army sojourned at Balen. The Duc de Bourgogne detached M. de Tserclaes to Diest to cover the Demer.
- Bedmar reached Steckene, only 10 km south of Hulst, where he was reinforced with 4 bns. Bedmar sent orders to M. de Lamothe to join him with the troops assembled at Ghent and Bruges.
In the night of 26 to 27 August, M. de Bedmar marched in three columns towards Hulst.
On 27 August
- Obdam arrived in front of Venlo and encamped on the west side of the Meuse.
- A detachment of a German corps made itself master of the Castle of Linn near Rheinberg.
- Venlo was protected only by a covert way and a ditch, and a dry wall on the side of the Meuse. A floating bridge linked the place to the left bank of the Meuse where a small pentagonal fort, known as Fort St. Michael protected the bridgehead. Venlo was defended by the Comte de Varo, governor, and by M. de Labadie commanding the garrison.
- The Duc de Bourgogne encamped at Beringen with his right anchored on a hamlet near Beringen and his left at Beverlo. Once more the two main armies were facing each other, only separated by the stream of Spipelpaede.
- Bedmar established his headquarters at Sint-Gillis and confided the direction of the siege to M. de Vauban. Meanwhile Bedmar's three columns advanced on Hulst. However, the forts and entrenchments defending the approaches of Hulst were stronger than expected. The right column (3 bns) under Thouy, sent against two forts had to widen a road to establish a battery; the left column (3 bns, 3 sqns) under Ximenès, sent against the Fort of Moerspoje on the canal from Ghent to Axel, found that the tide had flooded the dyke. The centre column (3 bns) under Courtebonne, sent to attack three small forts stormed the forts of Kapersgat and Sint-Andree. Only Fort Ferdinand resisted.
On the Meuse, several small fortified posts (Wachtendonk, Kempen, the Castle of Linn near Rheinberg) quickly fell into the hands of the Allies.
On 28 August, the French made themselves master of Fort Ferdinand in front of Hulst.
On 29 August
- Marlborough decamped from Helchteren and marched with all his army to As, closer to Maastricht to cover the siege of Venlo. He took position with his right at Opglabbeek and his left at Genk. His march was covered by 40 sqns.
- The Prince of Nassau-Saarbrück arrived on the east side of the Meuse with an Allied corps (18,000 Prussians, Hanoverians and Hessians) and carried approaches against Venlo. The German corps was placed under the command of the Baron von Heyde; Coehoorn directed the siege and the Prince of Nassau-Saarbrück assumed overall command of the operations against Venlo. His army then counted 34 bns and 28 sqns, soon reinforced by a contingent of 2,000 men from Münster.
On 30 August
- Marlborough shortened his front, bringing his right to As while keeping his left at Genk.
- At Hulst, the column of M. de Thouy managed to make a lodgement near Fort Kykuyt. Thouy was wounded and lost 200 men dead or wounded.
- M. de Lamothe arrived near Hulst with 4 bns and 1 dragoon rgt. He took position at Sint-Jansteen. Bedmar was now at the head of 17 bns and 8 sqns.
On 31 August, the Duc de Bourgogne was informed that Venlo had been invested. He held a war council where Maréchal Boufflers and the other generals considered that it was almost impossible to relieve Venlo in presence of Marlborough's large covering force. They recommended to make a diversion against Hulst on the western border of the Dutch Republic.
Louis XIV approved the planned siege of Hulst and ordered Boufflers to send as large a reinforcement as possible to M. de Bedmar to speed up the operations.
On 1 September, the Duc de Bourgogne sent to M. de Bedmar a reinforcement of 6 bns (Spinola, 2 bns; Sillery, 1 bn, Laonnais, 1 bn, Furstemberg, 2 bns) and 6 sqns (Richebourg Dragons, 3 sqns; Hautefort Dragons, 3 bns) under the command of M. d'Usson.
On 2 September
- The Allies, master of the sea, threw reinforcements into Hulst, bringing its garrison to 8 bns.
- M. de Vauban was forced to admit that the siege of Hulst was a failure and started to retire troops and batteries. The forts taken by the French were destroyed as well as the tower of Sint-Jansteen.
- Bedmar assembled his troops at Sint-Gillis, where he remained for a few days before sending Lamothe back to Bruges and returning to Antwerp.
On 6 September, the Duc de Bourgogne left his army.
On 8 September, the Duc de Bourgogne arrived at Versailles.
|Order of Battle|
|Franco-Spanish army of the Maréchal de Boufflers at the camp of Beringen in the Low Countries on 10 September 1702|
On 10 September, the Prince de Nassau-Saarbrück finally received his heavy artillery and ammunition arriving from Grave.
In the night of 10 to 11 September in front of Venlo, the Dutch engineer Coehoorn opened three trenches towards Fort St. Michael.
On 11 September, with a view to protect Liège country, Boufflers marched with his army from Beringen towards Tongres (Tongeren), encamping at Herk.
In the night of 11 to 12 September, the Prince de Nassau-Saarbrück opened the trenches in front of Venlo.
On 12 September, Boufflers marched to Brustem.
On 13 September
- Marlborough marched from As to Maastricht, encamping with his right at Soetendaal (unidentified location) near Bilsen and his left at Lanaken near Maastricht. Bridges were thrown on the Meuse to allow forages on its right bank.
- At Venlo, the Dutch batteries finally opened against the fortress.
- Boufflers marched to Bommershoven, only 8 km west of Tongres where he placed a brigade. He then encamped his army with his right at Konissem (probably Kortessem) and his left at Borgloon. His front was protected by a stream and several ponds.
On 15 September, the Prussian batteries also opened against Venlo.
Boufflers then decided to make a diversion on the Rhine while keeping watch on Liège with his main army. He planned to detach Tallard towards Bonn with the instruction to make a junction with the troops of the Elector of Cologne (6 bns, 7 sqns) and then to make an attempt against Siegburg and to put Bergh country under contribution. To replace part of Tallard's detachment, Boufflers recalled 4 bns (Swiss Villars (3 bns), Spanish Del Valle (1bn)) and 4 sqns (Berghes (2 sqns), Chacon (2 sqns)) from Bedmar's Corps to his main army.
|Order of Battle|
|Franco-Spanish corps of Tallard in the Low Countries on 17 September 1702
Franco-Spanish army in the Low Countries on 28 September 1702
On 18 September
- Obdam had almost reached the glacis of Venlo. He gave orders to make a lodgement to attack the covert way and to join the three trenches by a parallel line. He then stormed Fort St. Michael.
- M. de Tserclaes marched to Liège with 2 bns (Swiss Hessy (2 bns)) and 11 sqns (Hornes (2 sqns), Bar (2 sqns), Havré (2 sqns), Fraula (2 sqns), Ferrar Dragoons (3 sqns)) to protect the convoys coming from this place and to threaten Allied troops foraging on the right bank of the Meuse. He also sent 2 bns to Limbourg.
- Tallard's Corps (16 bns, 25 sqns and 12 field pieces) marched from Tongres by way of Aywaille and Vaux-Chavanne to Maldingen where he sojourned, waiting for his train.
On ?? September, a French detachment darted from Rheinberg and stormed and burned Sonsbeck, taking 1 captain, 2 lieutenants and 80 men prisoners.
On 23 September
- The Allied artillery (67 guns, 41 mortars, 100 grenade mortars) bombarded Venlo. By the afternoon, a breach had been created on the side of the Meuse and the Allied armies on both sides of Venlo drew down as near to the town as possible. With his garrison reduced to only 800 men and the inhabitants on the verge of revolt, M. de Varo, the governor of the place sent an officer to negotiate a honourable capitulation which was rapidly granted.
- Tallard's train arrived at Maldingen in such a bad condition that he had to burn half of his carts and wagons before resuming his march towards Bonn by way of Schoppen, Reifferscheid, Kall and Miel.
On 24 September, Obdam passed the Meuse and effected a junction with the corps of the Prince of Nassau-Saarbrück and then marched to Stevensweert and Roermond.
On 25 September
- The Allies invested Stevensweert.
- A garrison of 4 bns (including 1 bn of Rehbinder Infantry) occupied Venlo.
- The French garrison of Venlo marched by way of Weert, Hamont and Herentals towards Antwerp.
On 26 September
- The Allies under the command of Prince Walrad von Nassau-Saarbrück invested the Fortress of Roermond which was defended by the Comte de Hornes with 3 bns.
- Boufflers sent a reinforcement of 3 bns and 4 sqns to M. de Tserclaes at Liège.
On 27 September
- An Allied corps of 9 bns and 12 sqns under General de Noyelles attacked Stevensweert, which was defended by M. de Castellas with a single bn.
- Boufflers inspected the fortifications of Liège. He considered that the place was not very strong and could not sustain a long siege.
On 28 September, Louis XIV instructed Boufflers to give priority to the defence of Liège even if that meant the loss of Brabant.
On 29 September, Tallard arrived at Miel near Bonn. He sent M. Filley with 150 horse and 200 foot to reconnoitre Siegburg, which was defended by 1,000 foot and 150 horse. Filley marched upstream along the left bank of the Sieg and found easy fords at Menden and Bergheim (unidentified location) but the river was too high to be forded at that time. Nevertheless, after his reconnaissance, Filley estimated that the castle and the town of Siegburg could be taken within six days. Furthermore, Tallard did not find any suitable artillery in Bonn to assist him in the projected siege.
On 2 October
- Stevensweert, in very bad condition after the bombardment of the Allied artillery (30 x 24-pdrs, 20 x large mortars) surrendered with the honours of war and the garrison obtained free passage to Namur.
- The Allies opened trenches in front of Roermond.
- Tallard passed the Rhine at Emmerich.
On 3 October
- Boufflers wrote to the king to expose to him the dangers of concentrating his army (51 bns, 100 sqns) in front of Liège when the Allies could easily assemble 112 bns and 150 sqns if the armies of Marlborough and of the Prince de Nassau-Saarbrück would make a junction and advance on the place.
- On the Lower Rhine, Tallard effected a junction with all the troops of the Elector of Cologne and assembled a few boats.
In the night of 3 to 4 October, the Allies evacuated the camp of Mulheim and passed to the left bank of the Rhine and established themselves in front of Cologne.
On October 4, Tallard passed the Sieg with his entire corps. However, he found that he could not lay siege to such a strong position as Siegburg without any mortar. He then marched to Bergheim (unidentified location) near the Allied camp of Mulheim. The Elector joined him at this camp. Tallard sent detachments up to Düsseldorf to take hostages and put the Duchy of Bergh to contribution.
On 5 October, Tallard reconnoitred Cologne and a few guns shot at him. Nevertheless, he forced the city to accept neutrality and the Dutch regiments occupying the place under the command of the Prince of Sachsen-Zeitz were allowed to leave. Tallard also made himself master of the Castle of Lülsdorf, controlling the Rhine between Bonn and Cologne.
Louis XIV finally consented to give priority to Brabant, leaving sizable garrisons in the Citadel of Liège ( 2 free coys, 3 miner coys and 5½ bn: 2 bns Charost, 1 bn Spanish Westerloo, 2 bns Swiss Castellas, 7 coys of the Elector of Cologne) and the Chartreuse (5 bns: 1 bn Spanish Grouff, 3 bns Swiss Hessy, 7 coys of the Elector of Cologne, and a detachment of miners).
On 6 October, the walls of Roermond, under the fire of the Allied siege artillery (60 x 24-pdrs, 50 x large mortars, 100 x small mortars) since four days, were breached between the Venlo and Roer gates. The Comte de Hornes capitulated with the honours of war and was allowed to retire to Louvain (Leuven) with the garrison. Masseik surrendered too. The Meuse was now cleared of French garrisons up to Maastricht.
After the capture of Roermond, Marlborough held a council of war where it was decided that Obdam's Corps (12 bns, 20 sqns) would be recalled to the main army. This corps went upstream along the Meuse and made a junction with Marlborough's Army. The Hanoverian contingent and part of the Prussian contingent were sent towards Cologne to assemble 15 bns and 25 sqns to oppose Tallard's manoeuvres in these quarters.
On 8 October
- In the morning, Boufflers' army, which was encamped near Tongres, marched westwards to Oreye, reinforcing Liège with 2 additional bns and continuing to occupy Tongres. There were also 2 bns at Limbourg.
- Tallard signed a convention by which the city of Cologne would remain neutral.
On 13 October
- At daybreak, Marlborough decamped from Soetendaal, marched in two columns, passed the Geer on three bridges near Fort St-Pierre (aka Petersbourg), 10 km above Maastricht, and marched to Liège, encamping in front of the city. Immediately, 50 sqns invested the city from the side of Sainte-Walburge, Saint-Gilles, Saint-Marguerite (unidentified location) and Saint-Nicolas on the left bank of the Meuse.
- The Allied troops (now under Frederick of Hesse) who had besieged Roermond arrived the same day on the right bank of the Meuse and invested La Chartreuse.
- The magistrates of Liège brought the keys of the city to Marlborough and received a garrison. The Allies then invested the citadel. Ingenieur-General Coehoorn led the siege of the citadel.
- The French troops in Liège had just enough time to retire into the citadel while Tserclaes' Corps (12 cavalry sqns and 3 dragoon sqns) precipitously retired from Saint-Gilles to Trognée to avoid encirclement.
- When Boufflers was informed of the advance of the Allies, he evacuated Tongres and marched to Montenaken to protect the towns located on the Demer. He also sent a reinforcement of 500 men to the Castle of Huy.
On 17 October, Boufflers marched sout-westwards from Montenaken to Thines. He anchored his right on the Méhaigne near Avennes and extended his left up to Orp-le-Petit (present-day part of Orp-Jauche). His army was so inferior to Marlborough's that Boufflers asked Bedmar for reinforcements and sent orders to Tallard to come back to the Meuse after having taken measures to secure Bonn.
Tallard, leaving a French garrison in Bonn, marched with his corps and the corps belonging to the Elector of Cologne (a total of 16 bns and 25 sqns) towards Blankenheim. However, at Stadtkyll on his way to Bitburg, he received new orders from Louis XIV instructing him to march towards the Moselle where he would be joined by M. de Locmaria at the head of 10 bns and 12 sqns. After this junction, he would make himself master of Trier and of the Castle of Trarbach in Palatinate, and put the region to contribution. However, Villars' victory at Friedlingen (14 October) soon made this diversion useless. Tallard then continued his march to the Moselle by way of Vianden and Luxembourg, where the Elector of Cologne established himself.
The same day (17 October), Prince Walrad von Nassau-Saarbück died from illness at his camp near Roermond.
On 20 October, Marlborough opened the trenches in front of the Citadel of Liège.
On 21 October
- Marlborough already had 40 guns and 25 large mortars playing on the Citadel of Liège. The Allied artillery was gradually increased to 80 guns and 50 large mortars.
- On the Lower Rhine, Prince Frederick, the brother of the Elector of Brandenburg, arrived in front of Rheinberg with 18 bns, 8 cavalry rgts and 2 dragoon rgts previously encamped under Cologne. He immediately invested the place which was defended by 4 bns and 50 dragoons under the Marquis de Grammont.
On 22 October, Prince Frederick summoned the Marquis de Grammont, who refused to surrender the place of Rheinberg, The trenches were opened in the evening at the foot of the Annaberg.
On 23 October
- A considerable breach had been made in the walls of the Citadel of Liège. At 4:00 p.m., 1,000 Allied grenadiers supported by 10 bns launched an attack. The French defenders (7 grenadier coys and 4 bns under M. de Violaine) fled and the Allies easily stormed the advanced defensive works and continued their attack against the main part of citadel. They were initially driven back but a renewed attack made them master of the citadel. Overall, 168 officers and 1,898 men were taken prisoners and sent to Grave and Nijmegen.
- At Rheinberg, the Allies advanced their trenches within half cannon range from the place.
Boufflers then instructed M. de Millon, commander at the Chartreuse to spare his troops and to ask for capitulation.
On 25 October
- Boufflers, worried for his own army, marched from Thines and entered into the Lines of Brabant, encamping at Jandrain with his right at Wasseiges on the Méhaigne and his left at Orp-le-Petit. He also recalled to Tirlemont (Tienen) 15 bns and 5 sqns previously belonging to Bedmar's Corps and sent M. de Gassion with the 2 sqns of Mousquetaires to Tirlemont. Furthermore, Boufflers sent 3 bns and 8 sqns belonging to the Elector of Cologne towards Namur.
- On the Moselle, Tallard made himself master of Trier.
On 26 October on the Lower Rhine, facing a very strong defence, the Allies abandoned their siege work in front of Rheinberg, contenting themselves to cannonade the place and its outer works.
On 27 October on the Moselle, Tallard occupied Trarbach and invested the castle, defended by only 300 men.
On 29 October, the Allied artillery opened on the Chartreuse. At noon, the convent was afire. At 2:00 p.m., M. de Millon capitulated and obtained the honours of war.
In the night of 29 to 30 October, the Allies retired part of their artillery from the trenches in front of Rheinberg.
On 30 October, realising that Allied troops were retiring from the trenches in front of Rheinberg, the Marquis de Grammont made two sallies with 4 grenadier coys supported by his infantry and dragoons. He chased the rest of the Allies from the trenches and burnt their fascines and gabions.
In the night of 30 to 31 October, Prince Frederick lifted the siege of Rheinberg, burning his camp and retiring to Wesel and the surroundings of Rheinberg. His siege artillery was sent back to Düsseldorf.
On 31 October, the French garrison of the Chartreuse was accompanied to Antwerp. The capture of the Chartreuse closed the campaign on the Meuse.
On 1 November on the Moselle, Tallard opened the trenches in front of the Castle of Trarbach.
On 3 November, the Allied troops who had taken part in the siege of Liège were ordered to their former quarters. An Allied garrison of 12 bns and 12 sqns was left in Liège. Another 3 bns and 1 cavalry rgt supported by 3,000 horse were left at Tongres. The Allies then marched to Maastricht.
On 4 November
- The Allied troops returning from Liège marched from Maastricht, where they left 12 bns and 14 sqns, to their old camp of Soetendaal.
- Prince Frederick of Hesse, who had been encamped in front of the Chartreuse in Liège, was detached with a corps of 12,000 German troops towards Koblenz, reaching Henri-Chapelle in the evening.
- Boufflers sent M. de Gacé with 17 sqns towards Diest and Aarschot.
The British contingent then returned to the Dutch Republic.
On 5 November, the Maison du Roi left Boufflers' army for Louvain (Leuven) and Namur. M. de Gassion left for Namur with 8 bns and 13 sqns. Boufflers now had only 37 bns and 47 sqns at the camp of Jandrain.
On 7 November
- When matters were settled for quartering the troops, Marlborough went down the Meuse in a yacht with the Field Deputies. When he had gotten below Venlo, a party of French partisans from Geldern seized the horses that drew the yacht and made them all prisoners. The Field Deputies produced the Duc de Bourgogne's pass and made a handsome present to the partisans. Not knowing Marlborough, after rifling the yacht of some valuable things, the partisans let them pass and they got safe to The Hague.
- The garrison of Trarbach (300 men), having run out of ammunition, surrendered to Tallard. He then redirected his attention to Veldenz, which he captured, taking its garrison prisoners. Tallard then put the electorates of Trier and Mainz and the Palatinate to contribution.
Tallard marched back to Metz with part of his troops, leaving the other part in good places along the Moselle.
On 9 and 10 November, Boufflers' troops gradually left Jandrain to canton in Brabant and between the Sambre and the Meuse.
On 12 November, Boufflers personally went to Louvain (Leuven).
On 15 November
- Prince Frederick of Hesse marched to Andernach, which he immediately attacked.
- Boufflers personally went to Bruxelles where, together with M. de Bedmar, he organised the march of the troops to their winter-quarters. The garrison of Tirlemont evacuated the place and were distributed among the garrisons of Namur, Diest and Louvain. Strong garrisons were also left at Léau (Zoutleeuw) and Huy, and 300 men were transferred from Rheinberg to Geldern, which was defended by only 2 weak bns.
By November 16, Tallard had reached Sarre-Louis with his cavalry.
On 17 November
- M. de Lettiers, commanding the French garrison (300 men) at Andernach, capitulated. The garrison obtained the honours of war and was conducted to Bonn.
- Several Allied detachments seized the Castle of Sinzig where they took 1 captain and 60 men prisoners. They also occupied places evacuated by M. d'Alègre. Furthermore, Rheinberg and Geldern were blockaded.
- Tallard arrived at Thionville with his cavalry while Locmaria continued his march towards Consaarbrück with the infantry.
On 26 November, Boufflers received from Versailles the disposition of the troops who would serve in the Low Country the following year. Louis XIV planned to have an army of 179 bns and 129 sqns (excluding the Gardes and the Maison du Roi) in this theatre of operation.
|Order of Battle|
|Allied army on 21 December 1702|
For its part, the Allied army of Marlborough amounted to 178 bns and 222 sqns (excluding the troops from Münster and 3 hussar rgts stationed in the Electorate of Trier).
On 29 November, Maréchal Boufflers left for Versailles, leaving command to M. de Bedmar.
On 18 December, Boufflers after several conference with the minister at Versailles, arrived at Bruxelles.
At the end of the campaign, the Earl of Athlone, like an honest man, confessed that as second in command he had opposed every one of Marlborough's projects, and that the success was due entirely to his incomparable chief.
In November, on his return to England, Marlborough was created a duke. He had checked the main enterprise, or at least the main army, of the French. Every man in the army knew, moreover, that but for the Dutch deputies the enemy would have been destroyed.
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Pelet and François Eugène de Vault: Mémoires militaires relatifs à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV
- Vol. 1 pp. 156-188, 539, 543, 552-555, 565, 606
- Vol. 2 pp. 3-130, 455, 487-488, 493, 536, 547-548, 581, 596
- Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 4, Vienna 1877, pp. 523-570
- Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925
- Kane, Richard: Campaigns of king William and queen Anne, from 1689 to 1712, London: J. Millan, 1745, pp.31-41
- Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. I, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 401-407
- Spanish Succession, War of the, in Encyclopaedia Britannica (c1910-1922), Vol. 25, p. 600
Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Bezzel's work