1702 – Siege of Rheinberg
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The siege took place in October 1702
In the Autumn of 1702, the Allied offensive in the Low Countries was going from success to success. The Allies had captured Venlo (23 September), Stevensweert (2 October), Roermond (6 October). After the capture of Roermond, the Allies sent the Hanoverian contingent and part of the Prussian contingent towards Cologne to assemble 15 bns and 25 sqns to oppose the French in these quarters. On October 13, an Allied corps invested the Chartreuse of Liège and occupied the city.
An Allied corps had assembled on the Lower Rhine under Prince Frederick, the brother of the King of Prussia. The prince resolved to lay siege to Rheinberg.
On 21 October, Prince Frederick, the brother of the King of Prussia, arrived in front of Rheinberg with 18 bns, 8 cavalry rgts and 2 dragoon rgts (a total of approx. 10,500 men) previously encamped under Cologne. By 10:00 a.m., the Prussians had invested the place which was defended by 4 bns and 50 dragoons under the Marquis de Grammont. Prince Frederick was seconded by the Baron von Heyden and the Baron von Lothon who vainly summoned Grammont to surrender. The Allied army encamped at Ossenberg, 3 km from Rheinberg.
On 22 October, the Allies made a large quantity of gabions and fascines.
On 23 October, the Allies advanced their trenches at half cannon range from the place and established batteries who opened on Rheinberg.
In the night of 23 to 24 October, the French garrison kept a steady fire on the trenches of the Allies, preventing them to make any significant progress.
On 24 October, the artillery of the place greatly hindered siege work. The same day, Grammont established three guns near a windmill to the right of Rheinberg towards the Rhine. They were supported by carabiniers and grenadiers. From this position these guns could fire in the rear of the trenches of the Allies.
In the night of 24 to 25 October, the Allies could hardly make any progress under the heavy fire maintained by the garrison.
On 26 October, facing a very strong defence, the Allies abandoned their siege works in front of Rheinberg. They unsuccessfully summoned the place for a second time and then contented themselves to cannonade the place and its outer works.
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 around 2:00 p.m., 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 and retiring to Wesel and the surroundings of Rheinberg. His siege artillery was sent back to Düsseldorf.
On 31 October, two detachments of Allied dragoons burned the camp of the Allies.
During this siege, the Allies lost 400 men killed and more than 200 wounded. The French lost 1 officer and 4 soldiers wounded.
Pelet and François Eugène de Vault: Mémoires militaires relatifs à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV, Vol. 1 pp. 156-188, 615-621