1702 – Campaign on the Rhine
The campaign lasted from March to December 1702
For the campaign of 1702, Austria did not have to worry about an uprising in Hungary because Rákóczi had been captured. Even though he had later managed to escape, he had taken refuge in Poland. Furthermore, Emperor Leopold I received large subsidies from Great Britain and from the Dutch Republic to finance war effort.
Most of principalities and circles of the Holy Roman Empire pledged support for the Habsburg. Only the Electorate of Bavaria, the Electorate of Cologne, the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg were reluctant to join the alliance.
Leopold resolved to assemble an Imperial army of 40,000 men on the Rhine where it would join contingents from various principalities of the Holy Roman Empire. This army would be placed under the command of his son Joseph King of the Romans seconded by Margrave Louis of Baden.
In France, Louis XIV raised 100 new infantry rgts (each of 1 bn) and a few additional cavalry and dragoon rgts as well as several free companies. He also ordered to arm and train the Milices Gardes-Côtes, to arm all warships and several corsairs. Louis XIV also sent 19 bns and 19 sqns to Spain to assist his grandson.
Not expecting a full scale Imperialist offensive on the Rhine, Louis XIV estimated that an army of 45 bns and 68 sqns would be sufficient in this theatre of operation. He appointed Maréchal Catinat, the same who had been recalled from Italy the previous year, as commander-in-chief of the Army of the Rhine. Catinat would be assisted by eight lieutenants-generals, 13 maréchaux-de-camp, M. de la Frezelière to command the artillery and M. de La Houssaye as quartermaster-general.
The Imperialist had prepared three lines of entrenchments to defend the Upper-Rhine:
- a line along the Speyerbach to cover Palatinate
- a line between Stollhofen and Bühl to protect the Rhine Valley
- a line from Säckingen, by Kaltenberg, Hornberg and Schwabach to protect the Black Forest
At the beginning of the year, the Margrave of Baden was at the head of 5 Imperial infantry rgts (2 of them being raised) and 3 Imperial cavalry rgts. He could also count on the still incomplete Palatine Army and, under certain conditions, on the contingents (8 infantry rgts, 5 cavalry rgts) of the Circles of Franconia and Swabia. Furthermore, the Circle of the Upper-Rhine should supply 2 infantry rgts and 1 dragoon rgt; the Circle of Electoral Rhine, 4 bns and 1 cavalry rgt. With all these troops, the Margrave planned to assemble, by the end of May, an army of 50,000 foot and 20,000 horse to lay siege to Landau or Thionville.
Before the arrival of the French Maréchal Catinat in Alsace, the Lieutenant-General Marquis d'Huxelles was entrusted with the preparations for the campaign: supplying the places of Landau and Huningue and assembling boats to establish a bridge on the Rhine.
At the beginning of March, it became known that the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg would contribute contingents in French pay. However, the troops of the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel were still in their quarters at Königslutter, Lichtenberg, Gravenshagen, Lutter am Barenberg, Schöningen, Seesen and Weser (unidentified location). Furthermore, a few companies belonging to the Bishopric of Hildesheim were at Peinz.
On 3 March, the Elector of Palatinate decided in a war council in Düsseldorf to initially provide 7 bns (Garde Grenadiers, Lybeck, Isselbach and 1 bn of Sachsen-Meiningen) and 18 sqns (Leibregiment zu Pferd, Hochkirch Cuirassiers, Leiningen Dragoons and Wittgenstein Dragoons) for the campaign on the Upper Rhine.
Meanwhile, the Palatine Lieutenant-General Philipp Ludwig von Count Leiningen had entrenched at Germersheim with 2 Palatine bns and his own Leiningen Cavalry (a total of approx. 2,000 men) to block access to Landau from the Rhine. His troops also occupied the villages of Bellheim, Knittelsheim, Hagenbach and Lingenfeld. and he reconnoitred towards the Lauter River. The rest of the Palatine Contingent was in a camp near Lustadt, 13 km east of Landau.
|Order of Battle
|French infantry stationed in Alsace on 10 March 1702
On 7 March, the Marquis d'Huxelles arrived at Strasbourg after having spent part of winter at Versailles. He found the 140 boats, which had been put under repair the previous year, ready. Furthermore, there was enough wood at Huningue to build 50 additional boats. There were already 36 French bns, 43 detached cavalry coys and 9 sqns in various places in Alsace: Béfort, Landskrone, Huningue, Neuf-Brisach, Fort Mortier, Schlestadt, Strasbourg, Fort Louis, Landau, Phalsbourg and Lichtenberg.
Other Palatine troops protected the works started the previous year at Speyer, Neustadt (Neustadt an der Haardt) and Kaiserlautern.
In mid-March, the Margrave of Baden ordered his Imperial rgts to march out of their winter-quarters in Further Austria. Nassau-Weilburg Infantry and Buttlar Infantry, both belonging to the contingent of the Circle of the Upper-Rhine were at Worms; the Swabian and Franconian contingents at Offenburg and Pforzheim; the main body of the Palatine Army (6 infantry rgts and 6 cavalry rgts), was posted along the Speyerbach near the Queich and camped at Lustadt which was occupied by 800 men. Leiningen's Corps was in support.
Shortly after his arrival at Strasbourg, d'Huxelles was informed that the Margrave of Baden had ordered to establish a bridge at Speyer and another at Germersheim; that the Imperialists should come out of their winter-quarters on 15 March and marched downstream along the Rhine to Philippsburg; that the peasants on the right bank of the Rhine had to bring forage at Philippsburg which was the place of assembly of the Imperial army; that 6 mounted rgts were on their way from Hungary; that the troops of Saxony, Poland and the circles of the empire should join the Imperial army; and finally that the Margrave of Baden planned to lay siege to Landau. Huxelles, who had only 35 bns, 43 detached coys and a few cavalry rgts in Alsace, immediately asked for reinforcements. Of Huxelles's troops, 13 bns were still working at the fortifications of Neuf-Brisach. To speed up things, d'Huxelles put 800 pioneers to work.
Louis XIV instructed Boufflers, commanding in the Low Countries, to immediately send 8 bns to d'Huxelles.
In the night of 19 to 20 March, the Celler Villers Dragoons and Bothmer Dragoons suddenly marched on Schöningen and Königslutter in the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; while the Hanoverian Bülow Dragoons, Noyelle Cavalry and Schulenburg Dragoons advanced on Seesen and Weser in the neighbourhood of Wolfenbüttel. Furthermore the Hanoverian General Sommerfeld took Peine, chasing the soldiers of the Bishop of Hildesheim from the town. This sudden attack succeeded completely; a large part of the army of the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was taken prisoners while the rest took refuge in Braunschweig.
On 20 March, delegates from Celle and Hannover arrived in Braunschweig and categorically required the duke to abandon his French alliance. After much negotiations and protestations, Duke Rudolf August finally ceded. In this situation, the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg quickly reconsidered his allegiance and peacefully allowed Prussia to take its 6,000 men strong army in its own service.
D'Huxelles was then informed that the Imperialists were on their way to Philippsburg where the rendezvous had been fixed for 8 April; that the deputies of the circles of the empire would soon meet at Nördlingen and were expected to join the Grand Alliance; that considerable magazines were being made in Heidelberg and Speyer; that the Margrave of Baden was requisitioning all boats passing by Speyer on the Rhine to establish his bridge there; that Joseph King of the Romans would soon leave Vienna to take command of the Imperial Army of the Rhine; that a camp had already been marked between Lustadt and the Queich for this army; and that an Imperial corps (about 9,000 men) would be left in front of Huningue on the Upper-Rhine.
By 23 March, several circles of the empire had joined the Grand Alliance. Franconia should supply 8,000 men; Swabia, 10,800 men; Austria, 16,000 men; Upper-Rhine, 3,000 men; and Lower-Rhine, 6,500 men. Westphalia was still hesitating.
By the end of March, Imperial troops, although much incomplete, had made a junction with the garrisons previously occupying Alt-Breisach, Freiburg and Rheinfelden in the region of Philippsburg and Rastatt. Together, they consisted of Thüngen Infantry (4 bns), Baden Infantry (2 ¼ bns), Brandenburg-Bayreuth Infantry (2 ¼ bns), Carl Joseph Lothringen Infantry aka Osnabrück (2 ¼ bns), Fürstenberg Infantry (3 bns), Alt-Hannover Cuirassiers (6 sqns), Cusani Cuirassiers (6 sqns) and Limburg-Styrum Dragoons (6 sqns). Furthermore, the Bishop of Würzburg had sent the Schad Dragoons (4 sqns) to assist Imperial troops.
In mid-April, d'Huxelles transferred 4 bns from various garrisons to reinforce Strasbourg and sent 12 sqns (including a rgt previously encamped at Wissembourg) to encamp near Haguenau which was occupied by 400 men. Chamillart, the secretary to war, informed d'Huxelles that the king wished that he would take measure to assemble as many troops as possible, even if he had to slow down work at Neuf-Brisach by removing all regiments besides the necessary garrison.
The Margrave had his headquarters at Rastatt. The bridges at Speyer and Mannheim allowed for an easy junction of the Imperial army with the Palatine Corps posted on the left bank of the Rhine.
On 19 April, Duke Rudolf August of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel signed a treaty by which he was joining the Grand Alliance, promising to contribute 2 infantry rgts (each of 1,200 men in 12 coys), 3 cavalry and 2 dragoon rgts (each of 817 men) to the Allied armies. To guarantee the fidelity of the duke, the Hanoverian immediately brought these regiments into Hannover. The Imperial ambassador also convinced the Bishop of Hildesheim to contribute an infantry regiment of 800 men to the Alliance. The same day, the Margrave marched from Rastatt to Ettlingen with his cavalry.
Imperialists advance on the left bank of the Rhine
On 20 April, the Imperial cavalry reached Speyer while part of the infantry crossed the Rhine. A detachment (3 infantry rgts and 4 cavalry rgts) was then immediately sent at Dudenhofen and Lingenfeld. Meanwhile, other Imperial troops passed the Rhine at Germersheim and occupied several villages on both banks of the Queich. Furthermore, 2 infantry rgts and 1 cavalry rgt of the Palatine Army, which were previously posted at Neustadt an der Haardt, advanced to Germersheim. The French Court instructed d'Huxelles to assemble enough troops to prevent the capture of Billigheim (present-day Billigheim-Ingenheim) located between Landau and Wissembourg.
On 21 April, the Imperial army reached the Queich at Bellheim where it effected a junction with the Palatine Corps.
On 22 April, Nassau-Weilburg Infantry and Buttlar Infantry marched to the Speyerbach while the Imperial FML Count Friesen was ordered to march from Rastatt with the Imperial infantry and artillery and to pass the Rhine at Au. Meanwhile, Leiningen's Corps advanced towards the Lauter. Colonel Frankenberg at the head of the Leiningen Cavalry occupied Lauterbourg and the Saint-Rémy Castle (unidentified location) and then marched up to Wissembourg. The Palatine Lybeck Infantry and Sachsen-Meiningen Infantry with 8 regimental guns took part in this action.
On 23 April, Friesen passed the Rhine at Au and took position with 5 bns at Berg at the mouth of the Lauter. Leiningen's Corps retired from the Queich and effected a junction with Friesen's Corps.
The Margrave of Baden subdivided his army into three corps: the first and largest (including 4 guns) marched on Billigheim, the second at Rheinzabern, and the third encamped on the right bank of the Queich near Bellheim where the margrave established his headquarters. Meanwhile, the Palatine troops posted at Germersheim since the previous day, leaving only 800 men behind to complete the entrenchments, marched on Lauterbourg and made themselves master of the place. Other Palatine troops were already occupying Speyerbach, Neustadt and Kaiserlautern.
On 24 April, the Margrave of Baden sent detachments on the Lauter who made themselves master of Wissembourg. Meanwhile, the margrave's corps advanced to Kandel where he established his headquarters. Being master of the Lauter, he had a good defensive line against the French and had cut communications with Landau. In the afternoon, the Margrave, his staff and his engineers reconnoitred the Fortress of Landau. This place was garrisoned by 7 bns (Nettancourt, 2; Royal-Artillerie, 2; II./La Sarre; II./Bourbon, II./Soissonnais) and Forsat Cavalerie.
On 25 April, emplacements for bridges were selected at Lauterbourg and Au. The Palatine Major-General Rehbinder with the Garde Grenadiers and the Vehlen Dragoons took possession of Annweiler, 12 km to the west of Landau, and blockaded the fortress from west side.
The margrave then dismantled his bridge at Speyer.
Catinat arrives in Alsace
|Order of Battle
|French Army of the Rhine, end of April 1702
On 26 April, the Imperialists broke all bridges on the Lauter between Wissembourg and Sankt Remigius. Entrenchments were also erected along the Lauter. Quartermaster-General Harsch reconnoitred the area of Bergzabern. Palatine detachments from Rehbinder's Corps occupied the Castle of Wörbelsheim (unidentified location), and Albersweiler aund its valley. The same day in the evening, Maréchal Catinat, now old and worn out, arrived in Strasbourg to take command of the French Army of the Rhine. Satisfied by d'Huxelles' measures, he did not modified the dispositions of his army. However, he sent order to the cavalry stationed in the Trois-Évêchés to march for Alsace.
On 27 April, Catinat received instructions from Versailles to get closer to Landau, to force the Imperial army to repass the Speyerbach and, if possible, to drive the Imperialists out of Germersheim.
On 28 April, Catinat was informed that the contingents of the circles of Franconia and Swabia were marching to the Rhine.
On 30 April, although war had not yet been declared, Imperialist troops were instructed to treat French troops as hostile and raiding parties were sent into French territory.
At the beginning of May, the Margrave of Baden was at the head of an army of approx. 15,000 foot (7,350 Imperial foot, 7,440 Palatine foot), 6,500 horse (3,800 Imperial horse, 2,700 Palatine horse) and 24 field pieces.
By 1 May, Nice Infanterie and Peri Infanterie had reached Saverne.
On 3 May, the Franconian contingent crossed the Neckar. Meanwhile, the Imperialists worked at a bridge on the Rhine near Daxlanden, downstream from the mouth of the Lauter, to establish a line of communication with the Franconian and Swabian contingents.
On 4 May, the Swabian contingent, under the command of the Margrave of Baden-Durlach, arrived on the right bank of the Rhine opposite Strasbourg, at Kappel and Altenheim where it entrenched.
Reinforcements (Bibra Infantry and Fuchs Infantry of 2,000 men each) joined the Margrave of Baden. They came from the Bishopric of Würzburg and had been taken in imperial pay. The Imperial corps encamped near Lauterbourg consisted of 5 bns.
The Imperialists were now deployed as follows on the Rhine:
- GFWM Margrave von Baden-Durlach (6 bns of the Reichsarmee, 3 militia bns and a few sqns) between Kehl and Illingen
- FML von Stauffenberg (Stauffenberg Cavalry and Württemberg Cavalry) in Grefferen to the north of Lichtenau/Rhine
- Colonel Reischach (1 bn near Auenheim, 1 bn at Bischofsheim, 1 militia bn from Oberkirchen above Bischofsheim, 20 horse) between Kehl and Bischofsheim
- Colonel von Helmenstadt (1 bn and 2 guns at Freistetten; 1 Württemberger militia bn near Freudenstadt; 1 regular bn at Grauelsbaum)
- Colonel Schönberg (1 bn in the entrenchments of Hügelsheim, 100 men in Ettlingen, 24 Mann in Rastatt)
- Lieutenant-Colonel von Siebold (1 bn and 2 guns) between Ottersdorf and Plittersdorf
- 1 Durlacher militia bn at Plittersdorf
With an Imperial army posted on the Lauter, the French were concerned with a possible advance into the Duchy of Lorraine. Catinat sent 1 dragoon rgt and 7 newly formed cavalry coys to Sarrebourg and 1 infantry rgt to Marsal to prevent enemy incursions in this area.
On 5 May, Mélac the French commander of the Fortress of Landau, made two sorties: a successful one to drive Imperialist cuirassiers away from his defensive works and an unsuccessful attempt to destroy a bridge on the canal of Landau. When the Margrave of Baden learned that the French had assembled 7,000 men at Haguenau, he sent a reinforcement of 400 foot and 200 horse to General Rehbinder posted at Annweiler, bringing his force to 6 bns and 2 sqns. The same day, Captain Mayer of the Imperialist army completed the bridge at Daxlander.
By 7 May, the Imperialists (detachments of Swabian and Austrian troops as well as militia from Further Austria) steadily worked at entrenchments to secure the right bank of the Rhine. These defensive works allowed the Margrave to join most of the Swabian contingent to his main army. The Swabian Stauffenberg Cavalry advanced from Bühl and passed the Rhine.
By 8 May, the only French reinforcements already arrived at Saverne consisted of 3 bns and part of the cavalry.
By 11 May, the Margrave had extended his line of posts from Lauterbourg to Wissembourg. He then posted the Palatine GFWM von Junkheim at Essingen with some 1,800 men from the Upper-Rhine and Palatine contingents to block any communication from Landau through Bornheim, thus completing the encirclement of the Landau.
On 12 May, Catinat detached M. de Gevaudan (2 bns, 2 sqns) to Rheinau.
On 14 May, Catinat assembled at Brumath all the regiments which he could spare for the campaign: 13 bns, 14 sqns, excluding troops currently assembling at Saverne. Catinat's other units were necessary to guard the various places: 1 bn in Marsal; 1 bn in Longwy, 28 bns and 9 sqns in the garrisons of Alsace.
In the first half of May, Vienna gradually sent additional troops (Zanthe Cuirassiers, Gronsfeld Cuirassiers, Jung-Hessen-Darmstadt Cuirassiers, Bayreuth Dragoons, 4 sqns of Castell Dragoons, Loosy Hussars, Kollonits Hussars, Esterházy Hussars, Czungenberg Hussars, Forgách Hussars, Gombos Hussars, Salm Infantry and Marsigli Infantry) from the Hereditary Lands to the Margrave of Baden now encamped near Langenkandel.
On 15 May, an Imperialist party reached Bitche.
On 16 May, an Imperialist party advanced up to Rheinweiler.
On 17 May, the French artillery sent from Metz finally arrived at Saverne escorted by 1 bn and 1 cavalry rgt.
On 19 May, Catinat ordered the reinforcements assembled at Saverne to march to Brumath, leaving only 300 foot and 4 mounted coys to garrison Saverne. His field army now consisted of 21 bns and 43 sqns at Brumath and 11 sqns at Haguenau. The rest of his troops were deployed as follows:
- at the camp of Haguenau: 11 sqns
- in Saverne: 1 bn and 1 sqn
- at the camp near Rheinau: 2 bns and 2 sqns
- in Blefort: 1 bn
- in Huningue: 2 bns and probably 3 dragoon sqns
- in Neuf-Brissac: 3 bns
- in Schlettstadt and Fort Mortier: 2 bns and probably 1 cavalry sqn
- in Strasbourg: 5 bns and probably 2 dragoon sqns
- in Fort-Louis: 3 bns and probably 1 dragoon sqn
- in Landau: 7 bns and 2 sqns
- in Marsal: 1 bn
Catinat tried to persuade Louis XIV to send him additional reinforcements but the latter was convinced that the Imperial army could not be bigger than 40,000 men and that Catinat was in a position to harass this army.
On 25 May, the Franconian contingent (some 4,500 foot, a few dragoon coys and 6 guns) passed the Neckar at Neckarsulm. The Margrave of Bayreuth, who led the contingent, was instructed to effect a junction with Swabian infantry at Offenburg with his infantry, and to join the Swabian cavalry at Stollhofen with his cavalry.
In the last days of May, the Margrave of Baden inspected all his positions along the Rhine up to Basel while Field-Marshal Thüngen reconnoitred the Lauter.
On 29 May, the Franconian contingent arrived near Philippsburg.
On 30 May, the Franconian contingent passed the Rhine near Philippsburg and effected a junction with the Imperial army.
At the end of May, the Holy Roman Empire, Great Britain and the Dutch Republic officially declared war to France.
On 1 June, Imperial reinforcements (3,000 men) arrived at Zeiskam and Essingen.
On 3 June, Catinat's field army (24 infantry bns, 1 artillery bn, 46 cavalry sqns and 10 dragoon sqns) marched northwards from Brumath to Schweighouse-sur-Moder. He left behind 34 bns and 12 sqns to garrison various places (including 2 sqns of Asfeld Dragons to Marsal; 1 bn Brie Infanterie and 1 bn Hainaut Infanterie to Huningue; 1 bn Nivernais Infanterie to Neuf-Brissac).
On 5 June, Catinat sent 2 sqns of Alsfeld Dragons to Marsal and ordered that 2 bns out of the 3 bns (Brie, Hainaut, Nivernais) which on their way to join his army at Schweighouse-sur-Moder should be redirected to Huningue and the third to Neuf-Brisach.
The Margrave Louis of Baden expected the arrival of 30 guns and 18 mortars sent downstream from Freiburg (probably Freiburg-im-Brisgau) to Philippsburg and a train of artillery marching from Ulm.
On 12 June, 4 rgts of the Circle of Swabia under FML Count Prosper Fürstenberg arrived at Kandel to replace Imperial troops.
On 13 June, the Imperialist heavy artillery finally arrived from Philippsburg and Daxlanden. The Margrave of Baden detached the Franconian FML Aufsess with 12 sqns to Wissembourg; while the Margrave of Baden-Durlach remained near Offenburg with 600 men.
On 15 June, the reigning Duke of Württemberg at the head of his bodyguard and of a cavalry regiment joined the Imperialist army.
Investment and siege of Landau
|Order of Battle
|French Army of the Rhine, on 3 June 1702
By 16 June, the Imperial troops previously encamped at Kandel had moved closer to Landau. The Franconian contingent was encamped at Sinzheim and that all the troops of the Circle of Swabia had effected a junction with the Imperial army, leaving only 600 men at Offenburg. The Imperial army gradually extended its positions on the right bank of the Queich between Arzheim and Merlenheim; and on the left bank from Dammheim to Nussdorf. The Margrave of Baden established his headquarters at Impflingen.
On 17 June, the circumvallation around Landau was completed. The Margrave of Baden had a redoubt erected on the canal.
On 18 June, a large part of the Imperial artillery, who had passed the Rhine on the bridge of Dachsland (unidentified location), arrived at the camp near Landau.
On 19 June, the Margrave of Baden opened trenches and the Siege of Landau began (it would last till 9 September) while work started on 3 batteries.
On 25 June, Catinat received new instructions from Louis XIV who proposed, in case that the Margrave of Baden would lay siege to Landau, to gather a large part of the regiments presently garrisoning places in Alsace and to make a diversion by laying siege to Kehl. However, Catinat, as he had done in Italy the previous year, found ceaseless excuses to remain idle in his positions.
Finally, Louis XIV resolved to send 12 bns and 16 sqns to Thionville to guard the Sarre and to be in measure to quickly reinforce Catinat if need be. From this point, Landau was abandoned to itself. It was garrisoned by 7 bns (including 2 artillery bns), 2 sqns and a strong artillery under Governor de Melac. It was also well supplied with ample ammunition.
On 26 June, Joseph King of the Romans left Vienna for the Rhine where he would assume command of the Imperial army.
During the month of June, Zanthe Cuirassiers, Gronsfeld Cuirassiers, Darmstadt Cuirassiers, Bayreuth Dragoons, Castell Dragoons and the Würzburger Schad Dragoons joined the Imperial Army of the Rhine.
In July, 1,000 workers were requisitioned in Further Austria and sent them to erect entrenchments around Landau.
On 2 July, the artillery of the Margrave of Baden opened against Landau.
Meanwhile, another Imperial corps (1,447 regulars and 3,196 militia) was assembling between Limbourg and Kehl. This corps was posted as follows:
- at Kappel under Major von Stein: 500 foot and 100 horse with 1 Durlacher militia bn of 300 men
- at Weissweil: 1 Durlacher militia bn of 300 men
- at Nonnenweier: 1 militia bn of 476 men
- at Altheim: 1 Württemberger militia bn of 300 men
- at Goldscheuer: 1 militia bn of 320 men
- at Kehl: a garrison of 847 men
- below Kehl at Ober-Auenheim: 1 Württemberger militia bn of 300 men
- at Unter-Auenheim: 1 militia bn of 300 Mann.
- in the entrenchments of Hügelsheim: 1 Badener militia bn of 300 men
- in the entrenchments of Riethdorf: 1 Durlacher militia bn of 300 men
- between the Murg and Illingen: 1 Durlacher militia bn of 300 Mann.
Louis XIV wanted Catinat to move closer to Haguenau but the latter represented that it was impossible.
On 17 July, Emperor Leopold I confirmed the nomination of his son Joseph as commander-in-chief in Germany.
On 18 July, Catinat was informed that the Margrave of Baden had thrown three bridges on the Lauter at Wissembourg, Alstad (unidentified location) and Saint-Rémy.
On 19 July, Catinat decamped from Schweighouse-sur-Moder, retired southwards behind the Zorn and encamped at Hoerdt closer to Strasbourg. He also evacuated Haguenau and transferred 1 bn from Strasbourg to Fort Louis. On the same day, the Imperial forces besieging Landau had reached the glacis.
On 20 July, Catinat sent 2 cavalry rgts to Brisach.
On 25 July, Catinat received another letter from the Court urging him to act offensively before the whole of Alsace would be in the hands of the Imperial army. The same day, the King of the Romans arrived at Heidelberg to take command of the Imperial army.
|Order of Battle
|Order of battle of the Imperialist Army of the Rhine on 31 July 1702
On 27 July, the King of the Romans joined his army in front of Landau.
Around the end of July, the Imperial rgts Salm Infantry (17 coys) and Marsigli Infantry (17 coys) and Kolonits Hussars joined the army of the Margrave of Baden. The two Swiss infantry rgts Diesbach and Erlach as well as the two Würzburger infantry rgts Bibra and Fuchs also joined the Imperial Army of the Rhine.
By 3 August, the siege of Landau had not markedly progressed.
On 4 August, the Marquis de Villars personally went from Metz to Thionville to assume command of a corps of 12 bns and 16 sqns arriving from Flanders.
On 5 August, Catinat ordered M. de Villars to march on Saarbrücken with all his corps, reinforcing it with troops taken from various garrisons.
On 8 August, Villars marched from Thionville and encamped at Longeville-lès-Metz, requisitioning 12 guns at Metz.
On 9 August, Villars marched to Delme.
On 10 August, Villars marched to Moyenvic where he sojourned. Meanwhile, Catinat held a council of war at his camp at Hoerdt with his subordinates where it was resolved to retire with the main army under the walls of Strasbourg and to pitch an entrenched camp.
Catinat sent instructions to Villars to march to Phalsbourg on 14 August and to Saverne on 15 August.
On 12 August, Villars marched towards Saarbrücken.
On 13 August, Villars arrived in front of Saarbrücken where he waited for new instructions from Catinat.
When Louis XIV realised that Villars was more inclined to act offensively than Catinat, he took dispositions to send him 10 additional bns who had been raised in the previous year. These reinforcements were expected at Metz at the beginning of September.
On 14 August, Catinat, realizing that his army was too large to encamp under the walls of Strasbourg as planned, changed his mind and decided to retire from Hoerdt to Ingenheim, closer to Villars' Corps. Catinat transferred 1 bn from Besançon to Belfort; recalled to the army 1 bn from Huningue, 1 bn from Neuf-Brisach (3 bns remained in this place), and 2 bns from Strasbourg. Fort-Louis was still garrisoned by 6 bns. Catinat also left 5 sqns in Strasbourg, Phalsbourg and Saarbrücken. After these adjustments, Catinat's field army counted 41 bns and 77 sqns.
On 15 August, Villars marched to Phalsbourg according to his orders.
By mid-August, the Imperial Hohenzollern Cuirassiers, Loosz Hussars (5 coys), Gombos Hussars, Forgách Hussars, Csonka Beg Hussars and Esterházy Hussars had joined the army of the Margrave of Baden. The Imperial army then counted 73 bns and 116 sqns (excluding Austrian hussars).
On 16 August, Villars marched to Saverne. The same day, the Imperialists besieging Landau reached the covert way.
On the night of 16 to 17 August, the Imperialists made themselves of the France Gate at Landau.
On 17 August, as planned, Catinat marched from Hoerdt to Ingenheim. The same day, M. de Melac drove back the Imperial troops occupying the France Gate but he did not reoccupy it.
Villars is sent to assist the Elector of Bavaria
On 30 August, Catinat's army marched from Ingenheim, passed the Zorn and encamped at Schwindratzheim. The same day, Louis XIV wrote to Catinat to inform him that the Elector of Bavaria was on the verge of launching an offensive against Ulm and that the king had promised him assistance (up to 40 bns and 50 sqns) of a detachment of Catinat's Army under the Marquis de Villars.
On 31 August, Catinat's army marched to Weyersheim.
On 1 September, Catinat's army marched to Drusenheim and encamped on the left bank of the Moder. The army then sojourned for two days, waiting for a convoy of bread.
The King of the Romans, informed of Catinat's advance towards the Lauter, quickly sent 11 cavalry or dragoon rgts and 3,000 foot to Lauterbourg.
On 4 September, having received the king's letter, Catinat advanced to Roeschwoog.
The King of the Romans personally visited Lauterbourg to take dispositions in the eventuality of an attack. Troops were diverted from the siege of Landau to Lauterbourg.
On 8 September, the Elector of Bavaria with 25,000 men made himself master of Ulm by surprise and declared a local war on the House of Habsburg and the Imperial "Circles" of Swabia and Franconia, officially taking side with France.
On the night of 8 to 9 September, M. de Melac repulsed an assault against Landau. FML Bibra then brought reinforcements from the camp of Landau for the Margrave of Baden-Durlach posted at Wissembourg and the Margrave of Bayreuth assumed command on the Lauter.
On 9 September, ironically enough, now that Catinat was finally acting offensively, he received a letter from the court instructing him to stop his advance on the Lauter because it worried the Elector of Bavaria, making him doubt of the king's promise to send him reinforcements. The same day in the afternoon, after a fierce defence, Landau capitulated.
On 10 September, Imperial troops entered into Landau.
On 11 September, Catinat decamped from Roeschwoog, repassed the Moder and encamped at Drusenheim, on his way to Strasbourg, thus reassuring the Elector of Bavaria.
On 12 September, Catinat repassed the Zorn and took position at Mundolsheim. The same day, M. de Melac delivered Landau to the Margrave of Baden and marched out of the place to Billigheim with the honours of war.
On 13 September, Catinat sojourned at Mundolsheim. Meanwhile, the French garrison of Landau was escorted to the Lauter.
|Order of Battle
|Arco's Bavarian Corps in 1702
On 14 September, Catinat encamped under the walls of Strasbourg with his right at Schiltigheim and his left at Eckbolsheim. The same day, the Elector of Bavaria detached a corps (14 bns, 26 sqns) under the Count d'Arco to march from Offenhausen (unidentified location ) near Ulm towards Stühlingen, some 80 km east of Huningue where he planned to rendez-vous with the French army on September 22. The elector even specified that the French army sent to his support should count 40 bns and 50 sqns.
Catinat informed the Elector of Bavaria that he would soon send a corps to his support but that, in the present circumstances, he was unable to spare as large an army as the elector requested. Catinat also asked the Elector to advance Arco's Corps up to Friedlingen, just opposite Huningue on the Rhine.
On 15 September, d'Arco's Bavarian Corps marched from Offenhausen to Pfullendorf.
On 16 September, the town of Überlingen, feeling threatened by the advancing Bavarian corps who had now reached Scheer, asked the city of Konstanz for assistance.
On 17 September, M. de Melac arrived at Strasbourg with the former garrison of Landau. D'Arco, now at Rast, sent a detachment (some 1,000 men) to Stockach and Steißlingen. Nevertheless, according to the king's renewed instructions, Catinat had to send a large corps to support the elector, even at the risk of exposing Alsace. Accordingly, one of the couriers of the Elector of Bavaria was charged to inform his master that a French army under the command of Lieutenant-General Villars would arrive at Huningue on 2 October and that d'Arco's Corps should move closer to the Rhine to ease the junction of the two forces. The same day, the Imperialist army marched from Landau Weissenburg, leaving 6 bns under General Count Friesen to occupy the place.
On 18 September, d'Arco reached Mösskirch.
On 19 September, a Swiss company stationed in Bern went to Hilzingen, a few km from d'Arco's detachment at Stockach. The same day, the Imperialist army took possession of Bischwiller.
On 20 September, the Swiss company marched from Hilzingen to Konstanz and d'Arco's detachment marched back from Stockach towards d'Arco's main camp at Pfullendorf. D'Arco then retired a few km towards Ulm, establishing his new camp at Mengen. The same day, FZM Count Fürstenberg was sent precipitously sent back towards Freiburg on the Rhine with a strong Imperialist detachment of cavalry, infantry and hussars
From 20 September, the Margrave of Baden, in order to defend his own country, to prevent the junction of Catinat's forces with the Elector, and to win back the latter to the Habsburg side, recrossed the Rhine and hurried to Kehl with the greater part of his army (some 25,000 men), leaving a garrison in Landau (6 bns) and a corps of observation on the Lauter.
On 21 September, the King of the Romans was recalled to Vienna and marched to Lauterburg, leaving command to the Margrave of Baden.
On 22 September, d'Arco heard rumors that an Imperial corps of 12 rgts was marching against him. Meanwhile, the Margrave of Bayreuth marched with the main Imperialist army to Hatten on the northern edge of the Haguenau Forest on the road leading to Fort Louis and Drusenheim..
On 23 September, Catinat sent 2 dragoon rgts and 1 bn to Huningue.
On 24 September, Catinat sent 2 bns to Ottmarsheim on the Rhine, 24 km downstream from Huningue. The same day, the Margrave of Baden rejoined the main Imperialist army near Hatten while the King of the Romans reached Heidelberg.
On 25 September, Villars marched from Eckbolsheim to Erstein with the corps destined to the Elector of Bavaria. He had vainly tried to persuade Catinat to make a diversion on Hochfelden in the region of Haguenau. On the contrary, Catinat chose this day to send back 8 bns and 15 sqns from Saverne to Phalsbourg while he himself retired under the walls of Strasbourg with 12 bns and 21 sqns. The same day, d'Arco's Bavarian Corps retired eastwards to Schussenried (present-day Bad Schussenried).
On 26 September, Villars advanced in two columns from Erstein to Marckolsheim. The same day in the morning, d'Arco resumed his retreat towards Memmingen by Biberach/Riß.
On 27 September, Villars marched to Fessenheim. The same day, the Imperial corps still on the left bank of the Rhine decamped from Hatten, passed the Moder and took position on the right bank of this river with its left at Bischwiller and its right at Schweighouse-sur-Moder, occupying Drusenheim and throwing a bridge on the Rhine at Stattmatten to ease communications between the Imperial corps posted on both banks of the Rhine. General Count Daun occupied Haguenau with a few bns. The Margrave of Baden also ordered Captain Mayer to transport bridging equipement from Philippsburg and to establish a bridge of boats at Stollhofen. He sent 500 foot and a few hussars from Bischwiller to cover this operation.
On 28 September, Villars' Corps sojourned at Fessenheim while Villars personally went to Huningue to take dispositions to pass the Rhine and to send news to the Elector of Bavaria. Meanwhile, Catinat retreated from Strasbourg, passed the Ill and encamped at Illkirch.
Villars passes the Upper-Rhine
On 29 September, Villars started the construction of a bridge at Huningue and the erection of batteries on the island facing Friedlingen. Meanwhile, his corps encamped at Ottmarsheim. However, Imperial troops (estimated by Villars at 7,000 men) already occupied the débouchés around Friedlingen on the right bank of the Rhine. Nevertheless, Villars planned to pass the river and to attack the Imperial forces. The same day, the detachment sent to cover Mayer's operation made itself master of some redoubts near Fort Louis.
On 30 September, part of Villars' Corps marched from Ottmarsheim to Huningue. The same evening, the Count of Fürstenberg arrived at the Imperial camp near Friedlingen with 40 sqns but this did not alter Villars's plans.
On the night of 30 September to 1 October, the Imperial commanders launched several large boats loaded with stones on the Rhine in a vain attempt to break the French bridge at Huningue.
On 1 October at 9:00 a.m., Fürstenberg's Imperial Corps arrived at Friedlingen. The same morning, the rest of Villars's Corps as well as his artillery arrived at Huningue. By noon, the bridge linking the place with Schuster Island on the Rhine was completed. Villars immediately sent his artillery to the island and threw a bridge on the small arm of the Rhine opposite Friedlingen. The same day, the Margrave of Baden sent guns and mortars to the detachment posted near Stollhofen. FM Count Limburg-Styrum assumed command of the Imperialist forces on the left bank of the Rhine.
At 1:00 a.m. on the night of 1 to 2 October, a detachment of Fürstenberg's Corps advanced against the French bridgehead in front of Friedlingen but the columns were soon spotted. They were dirven back after an engagement which lasted 45 minutes.
|Order of Battle
|Order of battle of the Imperialist Army of the Rhine on 2 October 1702
On 2 October, estimating that the Imperial forces opposing him were too strong to pass the Rhine under their fire, Villars decided to wait for the approach of d'Arco's Bavarian Corps before passing the river. In fact since he had heard of the fall of Landau, the Elector of Bavaria was beginning to waver in his allegiance to the French alliance. The same day, the Margrave of Baden joined Fürstenbeg's Corps on the right bank of the Rhine. The margrave also sent General Count Gronsfeld in the Black Forest with 1,000 men.
On the nights of 2 to 3 October and 4 to 5 October, Imperial detachments unsuccessfully attacked French defensive works around their bridge leading to Friedlingen. However, during this time, the Imperial commanders strengthened their own entrenchments covering their left wing.
On October 4, the Margrave of Baden arrived at the camp of Friedlingen with 3 cavalry rgts. He had left the camp of Bischwiller under the command of General Thungen. He was now at the head of 15,000 men (21 bns, 28 sqns) and ordered to prepare two defensive lines interspersed with redoubts extending from the great redoubt of his camp to the Rhine; and to fortify the crest overlooking the plain.
On October 5, Louis XIV wrote to Villars to inform him that he had ordered Catinat to send him a reinforcement of 10 bns and 20 sqns so that he would be able to engage the Imperial army posted at Friedlingen without the help of the Elector of Bavaria.
On 7 October, Villars and Catinat received confirmation that the Elector of Bavaria was still procrastinating and had decided to make himself master of Memmingen (captured on 30 September) instead of making a junction with the French army which he had so insistently requested.
Villars erected works to threaten the Margrave's new entrenchments on his right wing but purposefully avoided to undertake any initiative against the Margrave's left which was the weak point of his positions.
On 9 October, the reinforcements destined to Villars marched from the camp of Illkirch near Strasbourg.
On the night of 9 to 10 October, the Margrave of Baden strengthened his left wing with new entrenchments.
On 10 October in the evening, Villars detached M. de Laubanie with some infantry to reconnoitre the neighbourhood of Neuenburg and see if an enterprise in these quarters would be possible. In Neuenburg, there were only 300 men from the Swiss regiment garrisoning Freiburg and 50 dragoons.
On 11 October, Villars was informed that, after the capture of Memmingen, the Elector of Bavaria had marched to Kempten, even farther from Huningue. It was now clear that he could not depend on the assistance of the Elector. Villars sent 2,000 foot, 2 dragoon rgts and some boats to M. de Laubanie with instructions to seize Neuenburg.
|Order of Battle
|Order of battle of the Imperialist Corps posted at Friedlingen on the Rhine on 12 October 1702
On 12 October, the Kings of the Romans set off from Heidelberg, marching towards Vienna by Weinheim, Bobenhausen, Aschaffenburg, Rothenburg, Prague and Znaim. The Margrave of Baden planned to move from Friedlingen with Fürstenberg's Corps and to take a flanking position at Binzen. He considered that in this new position he could prevent any junction between the Bavarians and the French. Accordingly, he took disposition for the march towards Binzen and for the evacuation of Friedlingen.
On the night of 12 to 13 October, M. de Laubanie passed the Rhine and made himself master of Neuenburg.
On 13 October, M. de Guiscard at the head of the reinforcements destined to Villars (10 bns, 20 sqns) advanced directly on Neuenburg. Meanwhile, Villars sent 2,000 pioneers to work at the entrenchment of this post and to establish a bridge on the Rhine. The same day, Margrave Ludwig of Baden set off from Friedlingen to rejoin the main Imperialist army at Bischwiller, leaving command to Fürstenberg. According to plan, the latter set off from Friedlingen to take the position at Binzen. Around noon, as he reached Mühlheim (unidentified location) at the head of all the cavalry of his right wing, Fürstenberg learned about the capture of Neuenburg. Meanwhile, Villars had advanced his army across the Rhine in the bridgehead previously established at Friedlingen. The Margrave of Baden immediately sent order to Styrum, posted at Bishwiller, to pass the Rhine as soon as possible and to join him. Simultaneously, Fürstenberg's cavalry returned to the camp of Friedlingen and Villars abandoned his project. He now planned to pass the Rhine at Neuenburg, leaving M. de Chamarande at Huningue with an infantry brigade and 1,200 horse. On the same day, 13 deputies of the Swiss city of Basel came to Villars' camp to inform him that the passage of French troops across their territory would be a breach of their neutrality. Villars reproached them their partiality towards the Imperialists.
On the night of 13 to 14 October, Fürstenberg evacuated Friedlingen. Lieutenant-Colonel Count Mercy formed the rearguard with 400 horse. He occupied entrenchments on the right wing of the former positions.
On 14 October in the morning, Villars was informed that the Imperial army was abandoning its entrenchments at Friedlingen to march on Neuenburg. Immediately, Villars sent some infantry across the Rhine to occupy the entrenchments abandoned by the enemy. In the ensuing Battle of Friedlingen, Villars won the first victory of his brilliant career. In the evening, he summoned the Fort of Friedlingen but its commander refused to surrender.
On 15 October, the French artillery cannonaded the Fort of Friedlingen. In the evening, Villars summoned the commander of the place once more and he capitulated. He was allowed to retire with the disarmed garrison. The French captured 33 guns in this fort. The same day, Villars detached M. de Biron with 3,000 picked men towards Schopfheim and Säckingen to locate the army of the Elector of Bavaria. Villars could not advance through the mountains without being sure to receive bread from the Elector of Bavaria. Still the same day, General Thüngen, commanding the Imperial corps posted on the Moder, received orders to repass on the right bank of the Rhine at Dahlunden.
Villars requisitioned peasants to raze the entrenchments that the Imperial troops had erected around Huningue and to strengthen his positions at Neuenburg.
On 16 October, Biron's detachment reached Schopfheim but could not get any information concerning the location of the Bavarian Army. The same day, the Margrave instructed Field Marshal Styrum to halt at Kenzingen.
By 18 October, the only Imperial corps remaining on the left bank of the Rhine consisted of 11 bns and some cavalry who had taken position behind the Lauter under the command of General Thüngen. Haguenau, Bischwiller, Drusenheim and all outposts previously occupied by Imperial troops between Offendorf and Fort-Louis had been abandoned, and the bridge at Dahlunden dismantled. The same day, Villars, now encamped at Binzen, personally went to Schopfheim and vainly sent reconnaissance parties in all direction to get news about the Bavarians.
On 19 October, Louis XIV promoted Villars to Maréchal de France. He also recalled Maréchal Catinat to Versailles, appointing the Marquis d'Huxelles to replace him in Alsace while Villars would assume command of the Army of the Rhine. Louis XIV also ordered to raze Fort Friedlingen. Meanwhile, M. de Laubanie was fortifying Neuenburg. The same day, the Margrave of Baden instructed Field Marshal Styrum to join him with his cavalry (about 60 sqns) and to send his infantry (about 30 btns) at Freiburg.
On 21 October, Villars was informed that the defeated Imperial army had assembled between Staufen im Brisgau and Freiburg im Brisgau.
On 23 October, 2 bns sent by Catinat from Strasbourg (Villars had asked for 4 to 5 bns) arrived at Neuenburg, bringing its garrison to 11 bns. Meanwhile, Villars marched back from his camp of Binzen to Friedlingen.
The French razed all the entrenchments made by the Imperials on the Moder and the Lauter.
On 24 October, the King of the Romans finally reached Vienna. The same day, Styrum arrived at Staufen with his corps.
On 28 October, the Margrave of Baden retired to Heitersheim with his army.
On 29 October, the vanguard of the Imperial army advanced from Breisgau up to 2 km from Neuenburg and encamped. Neuenburg was not yet in a perfect state of defence.
On 30 October, when the fog lifted, the Imperial army (estimated at 49 bns and 124 sqns by the French commanders) could be seen encamped on the heights near Neuendorf.
On 31 October, Villars was informed that the Elector of Bavaria had recently moved closer at Ehingen and Didenhausen from where he had detached 400 foot and 500 horse to rendez-vous with Villars' Army at Stühlingen.
On the night of 31 October to 1 November, the Imperial army suddenly decamped from the neighbourhood of Neuenburg and hastily marched towards Freiburg im Breisgau. Villars thought that the Margrave of Baden was planning an offensive in Lorraine.
During the month of October, the Imperial Mercy Cuirassiers (unidentified unit) joined the army of the Margrave of Baden.
On 1 November, Catinat quitted Strasbourg to return to Versailles. The same day, the Imperialist army of the Margrave of Baden reached Kenzingen and Herbolzheim.
On ? November, Villars detached the Comte du Bourg and M. de Gévaudan with 1 infantry brigade, 12 cavalry sqns and 6 dragoon sqns who took position between Breisach and Rheinau to observe the movements of the Imperialists.
Villars marches downstream along the Rhine
On 2 November, Villars abandoned all hope of effecting a junction with the army of the Elector of Bavaria. The conduct of the latter getting more and more suspicious. Villars' Army marched from Friedlingen towards the bridge at Neuenburg. Meanwhile, Villars at the head of 2,000 horse conducted a reconnaissance towards Freiburg im Brisgau where he received confirmation that the Imperial army was on the march towards Kappel-Grafenhausen. Villars feared that they would throw a bridge at Kappel-Grafenhausen where they had several boats.
On 3 November, Villars' Army continued its march downstream along the Rhine, Villars establishing his headquarters at Ottmarsheim.
On 4 November, Villars' army encamped upstream from Breisach.
On 5 November, Villars' army reached Diebolsheim where Villars was informed that the Imperial army was encamped at Kenzingen. He sent du Bourg with 2 cavalry brigades to Strasbourg.
On 6 November, Villars detached M. de Legal to Offendorf; a party of 200 horse to Fort-Louis; and 200 men to occupy the Castle of Bischwiller abandoned by the enemy. Villars also sent 1 bn, 2 dragoon sqns and 1 cavalry rgt back to Neuenburg and ordered to speed up work on the entrenchments at Huningue.
On 8 November, Villars sent 1 additional bn to Neuenburg; 3 bns encamped between Neuenburg and Neuf-Brisach; 3 bns downstream of Neuf-Brisach; and 3 bns at Rheinau. Furthermore, 1 cavalry brigade was sent to Schlestadt (unidentified location) while the main body of the infantry took cantonments between Benfeld and Strasbourg. Finally, Villars at the head of 1 infantry brigade (5 bns) and all his cavalry (39 sqns) encamped at La Wantzenau, pushing an outpost at Drusenheim.
On 11 November, Villars decamped from La Wantzenau to take his cantonments in the area of Saverne where ample forages were still available.
On 14 November, Villars' Army took up its winter-quarters. Exclusing garrisons, 30 bns and 30 sqns wintered in Alsace; 3 cavalry rgts were cantoned near Belfort; the rest of the army established itself along the Sarre and in the neighbourhood of Metz.
On 16 November, Tallard returned to Saarlouis with his cavalry after his offensive on the Moselle (see 1702 – Allied offensive in the Low Countries for details of these operations) while M. de Locmaria marched to Consaarbrück (unidentified location) with his infantry.
On 17 November, Locmaria passed the Sarre at Consarbruck and marched towards Thionville.
On 18 November, the Imperial army decamped from Kenzingen; left strong garrisons in Freiburg im Breisgau and Alt-Breisach; and took its cantonments downstream from Kappel-Grafenhausen to Philippsburg. Some rgts were sent to the left bank of the Rhine to replace Palatine rgts in the entrenchments along the Lauter. The Margrave of Baden personally went to Ettlingen.
To prevent any Imperialist offensive in Lorraine, the French Court wanted to secure the city of Nancy even if the Duc de Lorraine refused to open its gates. Villars seconded this advice and mentioned that he was ready to supply additional troops to Tallard to invade Lorraine because this would break the isolation of Alsace.
On 29 November, Villars started to send troops to Metz. Meanwhile, Tallard sent 5 bns and 4 sqns to Toul; and 25 sqns to Vic-sur-Seil and Marsal. His artillery and ammunition were loaded on 100 boats who would move upstream on the Moselle.
At the end of November, Imperialist troops went to their winter quarters. The Palatine Contingent was quatered as follows:
- Garde Grenadiers in Kreuznach
- Lybeck Infantry in Homburg and Leuterecken
- Sachsen-Meiningen Infantry in Kaiserslautern and Weißenburg
- Leibregiment zu Fuss in St. Wendel and Kaiserslautern
- The cavalry regiments most probably near Mannheim and Heidelberg.
On 1 December, an envoy of the French Court met the Duc de Lorraine to expose to him the reasons why a French army should occupy his duchy. At first, the duke wanted to remain neutral and invoked the clauses of the Treaty of Ryswick. He finally ceded to the injunctions of Louis XIV, asking that French troops should conduct a mock attack to justify his surrender.
On 2 December, the Duc de Lorraine left Nancy and established himself at Lunéville with his guards and leaving only 100 foot in his palace at Nancy.
On 3 December, Tallard appeared in front of Nancy with 6 bns and 4 sqns and entered into the city unopposed. Charging M. d'Hautfort to command at Nancy, Tallard then returned to Metz.
Villars was then informed that the Imperial army was marching to its winter-quarters. Palatine troops took their quarters in the areas of Neustadt, Alzey and Kreuznach; Luneburger and Hessian troops in the neighbourhoods of Bingen and Koblenz; Imperial troops in four corps:
- one corps in Bavaria under General Gronsfeld
- one corps in the Black Forest under the Count von Styrum
- one corps in the Waldkirch and Kinzig valleys
- one corps behind the Lines of the Lauter
The Margrave of Baden established his headquarters at Rastadt and General Thungen at Philippsburg. His army then counted 106 bns and 187 sqns.
On 5 December, Villars started to send his army into its winter-quarters.
On 12 December, Villars personally went from Saverne to Strasbourg to confer with the Marquis d'Huxelles about the dispositions of winter-quarters in Alsace. They decided to keep 30 bns and 30 sqns in this province in addition to the garrisons.
|Order of Battle
|French Corps on the Sarre and in the Trois Évêchés, 23 December 1702
On 19 December, Villars personally went to Metz to arrange winter-quarters on the Sarre, in Lorraine, around Metz and in Luxembourg. Overall, 27 bns and 37 sqns wintered in these regions.
To secure the Sarre, Villars sent troops to Fénétrange.
On 23 December, French troops occupied Sarralbe, Bouquemont and Sarreguemines all belonging to the Duc de Lorraine. On the same day, the Maréchal-de-camp de Magnac was promoted to lieutenant-general for his conduct at Friedlingen.
Imperialist troops occupying Bitche, Homburg/Saar and other posts in German Lorraine abandoned them.
On 27 December, Villars left Lorraine for Versailles.
On 28 December at Châlons, Villars received a letter from the court informing him that the Elector of Bavaria had finally seized Lauingen and Burgau and that the king had decided to launch a winter offensive on the Rhine to assist the elector. Villars did not interrupt his journey to Versailles but informed the court that the two possible targets would be Kaiserslautern or a diversion on Kehl by Neuenburg.
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. 2 pp. 283-454, 829-843, 872
- Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 4, Vienna 1877, pp. 13-42, 54-55, 415-513, 519
- Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925
- Treuenfest, A. v.: Geschichte des k. k. Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 20 Friedrich Wilhelm, Kronprinz von Preussen, Vienna 1878
- 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