1703 – Campaign in the Low Countries

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1703 – Campaign in the Low Countries

The campaign lasted from February to September 1703


During the winter of 1702-1703, Queen Anne of England made the Earl of Marlborough a duke. Furthermore, the Allies conducted successful diplomatic negotiations, convincing the Duchy of Savoy (treaty signed on 5 January) and Portugal (treaty signed on 16 May) to join the Grand Alliance.

In 1703, Bavaria was the centre of gravity of the French operations, and only campaigns of the methodical and non-committal kind were planned for Italy and the Low Countries. Villeroy and Boufflers commanded the French in the Low Countries, Tallard on the Moselle to hold Margrave Louis of Baden in check at Stollhofen on the Upper Rhine, Villars in Alsace to push through the Black Forest and join hands with the Elector of Bavaria, and Vendôme in Italy where, before the defection of Victor Amadeus II, the joint forces of France and Savoy were to advance through Tirol to the Inn Valley and combine with Villars and the Elector for a march on Vienna. When Savoy aligned with Austria, this part of the plan had to be abandoned.

The French army was increased. In the Low Countries, the field army (54 bns and 103 sqns) under Villeroy and Boufflers was behind the Lines of Brabant, the Spanish troops in the Lines of Flanders (Antwerp-Ghent-Aire). Together the two armies considerably outnumbered Marlborough (90,000 against 50,000).

The design was grand enough in conception; but Marlborough too had formed plans for striking at the enemy in a vital part. A campaign of sieges was not to his mind, for he conceived that to bring his enemy to action and beat him was worth the capture of twenty petty fortresses.


Map of the Spanish Netherlands in 1700 published in Wikimedia Commons by user Rebel Redcoat and released in the public domain



In Great Britain, the force voted by Parliament for the campaign consisted, as in the previous year, of 18,000 British and 24,000 Germans. There had been much talk of an increase of the army but when the session closed no provision had been made for it, and Marlborough had to settle the details by himself. Four new British regiments (5 battalions) were raised: Gorges, Pearce, Evans, Elliott, and Macartney. Finally, small contingents from a host of petty German states brought the total of mercenaries to 28,000, which, added to 20,000 British, made up a nominal total of 50,000 men in the pay of England. But none of these additional troops could take the field until late in the campaign.

Early operations on the Lower Rhine

At the end of January, the Prince of Hesse-Kassel, who had assembled an Allied army near Koblenz, marched on Trarbach. He made himself master of the town but the garrison (6 infantry coys) had enough time to take refuge in the castle.

When the French Court was informed of the Allies attempt against Trarbach, it charged Tallard to assemble a corps near Metz and instructed Boufflers to send him reinforcements in Luxembourg.

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Franco-Spanish reinforcements sent to Luxembourg in February 1703

On 1 February, Boufflers ordered to assemble 22 bns and 25 sqns to reinforce Tallard in Luxembourg.

On 3 and 4 February, Boufflers's reinforcements marched for Luxembourg.

On 7 February, the Fortress of Rheinberg, which had been blockaded by the Allies since the end of October 1702 and had no more supply, capitulated. The garrison led by M. de Grammont obtained the honours of war and was escorted to Louvain. Louis XIV promoted M. de Grammont to lieutenant-general in recognition of his service during the defence of the place.

In the night of 24 to 25 February, the Prince of Hesse-Kassel, fearing the arrival of Tallard's relief force, lifted the siege of Trarbach.

On 25 February, Boufllers left the Low Countries for Versailles where he intended to discuss of the next campaign.

For the coming campaign, the Dutch raised new units: the Flemmish Gardes and two battalions in Liège, an independant battalion (Chamart) and the Baron Wallef Dragoons.

On 12 March, Boufflers arrived at Bruxelles. By this date, recruits and remounts had brought back his army, especially his cavalry, to full strength. The same was true for the Spanish cavalry and dragoons but the Spanish infantry (49 bns) was still missing 6,000 to be at full effective. Louis XIV authorised the Spaniards to raise troops in French Flanders, and Artois.

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Spanish infantry on 14 March 1703

On 17 March, Marlborough arrived at the Hague where he advocated immediate invasion of French Flanders and Brabant. But the project was too bold for the Dutch, whose commanders had changed and changed for the worse. Old Athlone was dead, and in his stead had risen up three new generals: Nassau-Ouwerkerk, who had few faults except mediocrity and age; Slangenburg, who combined ability with a villainous temper; and Opdam, who was alike cantankerous and incapable.

Towards the end of March, the Allies, fearing for the Army of the Margrave of Baden posted on the Rhine, sent troops (13 infantry rgts and a few cavalry rgts) to Koblenz under Lieutenant-General Baron Goor. They also started to assemble their main army in the Dutch Republic. Very reluctantly Marlborough had been compelled to undertake the siege of Bonn, he himself commanding the besiegers, while Nassau-Ouwerkerk handled the covering army. Coehoorn would supervise the siege, he expected to capture Bonn rapidly and was given 90 24-pdr guns and 50 large mortars to do so. Notwithstanding Dutch procrastination, Marlborough's energy had succeeded in bringing the Allies first into the field.

In the first days of April, Boufflers sent 10 bns and 1 cavalry rgt towards the Dutch frontier.

On 8 April, Marlborough left the Hague to make his first dispositions. He visited all places on the Meuse up to Liège and gave orders to assemble the Army of the Meuse at Maastricht. He then went to Cologne to assemble the Army of the Rhine destined for the siege of Bonn.

On 16 April, Louis XIV wrote to Boufflers to instruct him to assemble the field army and prepare to make a diversion on Liège. He also informed him that the Maréchal de Villeroy would soon leave for Bruxelles to take command of the army.

On 21 April, Villeroy left Versailles.

On 24 April, Villeroy arrived at Bruxelles. Boufflers and him then sent the Maison du Roi to Bruxelles, Louvain (Leuven) and Malines (Mechelen) and gave orders to the troops stationed in the places of Flanders and Hainaut to march towards Bruxelles and Namur. They planned to encamp their troops in part on the Meuse and the Mehaigne; in part on the Grote Gete, Kleine Gete, Demer, Dyle and Scheldt. Artillery was concentrated at Namur for the planned siege of Liège.

On 25 April

  • Allies
    • The cavalry of the Army of the Rhine invested Bonn.
    • The Army of the Meuse continued to concentrate around Maastricht. Already 15,000 to 20,000 had been assembled in Tongres (Tongeren), Bilzen and Munsterbilzen on the Demer.

On 26 April

  • Allies
    • Marlborough arrived in front of Bonn with the Allied infantry of the Army of the Rhine. The Siege of Bonn would last until 15 May when the city surrendered to the Allies.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • The French commander of the City of Bonn, M. d'Alègre was resolved to resist as long as possible to give Villeroy the opportunity to make a diversion elsewhere.

Villeroy and Boufflers, while concentrating 60 bns and 103 sqns, still hesitated to act against Liège and referred to the king for the final decision. They cantoned their army in two parts: 34 bns and 51 sqns between Diest, Louvain and Lierre (Lier); and 26 bns and 52 sqns around Namur on the right bank of the Meuse as well as between this river and Spanish Flanders. Meanwhile, 19 bns and 12 sqns formed three camps to cover Brabant and Spanish Flanders: the first camp (6 bns, 4 sqns) between Lierre and Antwerp; the second (6 bns, 3 sqns) in Waasland; and the third (7 bns, 5 sqns) behind the canal from Ostend to Bruges and between Bruges and Ghent. Finally, 22 bns remained in garrison in places from Nieuport (Nieuwpoort) and Ostend to Lierre (Lier). (N.B.: troops of the Electorate of Cologne (2 bns, 9 sqns) and the garrisons of Diest, Léau (Zoutleeuw), Namur, Huy, Limbourg, Geldern, Bonn and Luxembourg are not included in this list).

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Allied army in the Low Countries in May 1703

Order of battle of the Franco-Spanish Army on 4 May 1703

On 1 May, Villeroy and Boufflers left Bruxelles and reached Louvain.

By 2 May, Louis XIV wrote to Villeroy, explaining him that he expected more initiative from his part.

In the night of 3 to 4 May, the Allies opened the trenches before Bonn. Engineer-General Coehoorn was charged of the attack of Fort Bourgogne while generals Fagel and the Hereditary Prince of Hesse led the two other attacks.

On 4 May, Villeroy and Boufflers arrived at Diest. It was resolved that the Marquis de Bedmar would command from Antwerp up to the sea while M. de Tserclaes would command a small corps following the main army. By that date, French and Spanish troops had reached their new cantonments but most of the artillery was still on its way.

On 6 May, Villeroy and Boufflers were informed of Villars's successful march across the Black Forest for the planned junction of his army with the army of the Elector of Bavaria. They then abandoned their design against Liège and resolved to assemble their army for an eventual attack on the Allied quarters on the left bank of the Meuse.

On 7 May, Villeroy and Boufflers marched from Diest to Tirlemont (Tienen) and formed two camps: one behind Tirlemont (35 bns, 45 sqns); the other (19 bns, 48 sqns) at Wasseiges on the Mehaigne. Furthermore, 30 guns arrived from Namur.

On 8 May

  • Franco-Spanish
    • The entire Army of Flanders (56 bns, 103 sqns) assembled at Montenaken (Gingelom).
    • Tserclaes's Corps consisted of 6 bns and 11 sqns, including the 2 bns and 9 sqns of the Elector of Cologne who were instructed to assemble at Waremme.
    • In Brabant and Spanish Flanders, Bedmar had Lieutenant-General de Lamothe-Houdancourt with 19 bns and 12 sqns under his command.
    • There were 40 bns in various places from the sea to the Rhine.
    • Overall, the Franco-Spanish armies in the Low Countries totalled 121 bns and 126 sqns.

On 9 May

  • Franco-Spanish
    • At daybreak, Villeroy's Army decamped from Montenaken and marched in eight columns in the direction of Allied quarters in the neighbourhood of Tongres (Tongeren).
  • Allies
    • The Allies had time to precipitously retire to the counterscarp of Maastricht, leaving only 2 bns under Brigadier Deltz in Tongres. The French vainly summoned Deltz to surrender. From 4:00 p.m. to midnight, they opened on the walls of the town with four 12-pdrs.
    • A British contingent of 10,000 men arrived at Maastricht.

On 10 May

  • Franco-Spanish
    • In the morning, the French guns reopened on Tongres and the garrison was forced to surrender as prisoners of war. The French captured four colours.
    • The Franco-Spanish army encamped at Bommershoven and the Duke of Berwick, who had supervised the capture of Tongres, was charged to demolish its fortifications.
  • Allies
    • The Allies retired from Liège to Maastricht, leaving only 3 bns in the Citadel of Liège. They encamped with their right between Pietersheim and Lanaken and their left anchored on the counterscarp of Maastricht.
    • Several garrisons were on the march to join the Allied Army of the Meuse.

In the night of 13 to 14 May, Villeroy's Army marched towards the positions of the Allies near Maastricht.

On 14 May

  • Confrontation at Maastricht
    • At 8:00 a.m., Villeroy's cavalry arrived within range of the Allied camp near Maastricht. His infantry and artillery joined at noon. The French occupied the Height of Houzeberg (unidentified location) and deployed in front of the positions of the Allies.
    • After the arrival of Villeroy’s Army, the Allies moved their right wing forward to occupy the village of Lanaken. Troops were detached from their left wing to reinforce their right. They started to erect an earthwork along a sunken road leading from Lanaken to Maastricht. The village itself was surrounded by marshes and protected by ditches.
    • At 3:00 p.m., considering the positions of the Allies too strong to be attacked, Villeroy and Boufflers marched back towards their camp of Bommershoven which they reached before nightfall.
  • Allies
    • At Bonn, the besiegers created a large breach in the fortifications.

On 15 May at Bonn, M. d'Alegre capitulated with the honours of war. The garrison (3,600 men) was escorted to Luxembourg. It later joined Tallard's Army on the Upper Rhine.

On 16 May, Tserclaes arrived at Waremme to take command of the troops of the Electorate of Cologne (2 bns, 9 sqns) which he reinforced with 4 bns and 2 sqns. This small corps was charged to protect convoys. Since the design on Liège had been abandoned, the heavy artillery was transferred from Namur to Maubeuge.

Operations in the Low Countries

On 17 May, Marlborough marched with the Army of the Rhine from Bonn towards the Low Countries.

On 18 May, when they heard of the capitulation of Bonn, Villeroy and Boufflers adopted a defensive stance. They ordered the bns and sqns newly raised in France to replace the garrison of the various places who would then join the main army. Three bns were sent to Luxembourg to bring its garrison to five bns. They also asked Bedmar to encamp his field army as follows:

  • near Lierre (10 bns, 7 sqns)
  • in Waasland (5 bns)
  • near the Bruges Canal (4 bns, 5 sqns)

On 19 May, Marlborough arrived at Maastricht where his troops gradually joined him. After the junction of the Army of the Rhine with the Army of the Meuse, the Allies constituted two armies: one on the Meuse, one in Dutch Flanders.

Marlborough kept Villeroy in continual suspense as to whether his design lay eastward or westward, against Huy or against Antwerp. Louis XIV also feared for Nieuport. Consequently, Villeroy instructed M. de Lamothe, encamped near Bruges with 4 bns and 5 sqns, to recall the 5 bns stationed in Waasland. Villeroy also asked Bedmar to advance on Ghent with the 10 bns and 7 sqns encamped near Lierre and to reinforce the garrison of Damme.

In the night of 24 to 25 May, Marlborough left his camp at Maastricht, passed the Meuse over many bridges and encamped with his right at Glons, his centre at Houtain and his left anchored to the Meuse.

On 25 May, after reconnoitring the new positions of the Allies, Villeroy and Boufflers rearranged their own positions to better cover Huy. At 4:00 p.m., the army marched in two columns by its right, upstream along the Geer. The French headquarters remained at Bommershaven; an infantry brigade and 2 dragoon rgts were thrown into Tongres, supported by another infantry brigade.

On 26 May

  • Allies
    • Marlborough advanced his right at Freeren (unidentified location), his centre at Neudorp (unidentified location) and his left at Waroux.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • The French marched upstream along the Geer and encamped at Opheers with their right extending to Waremme and their left to Flemay (unidentified location).
    • Tongres was evacuated after destroying the subsisting towers.
    • Tserclaes (6 bns, 11 sqns) marched to Léau to cover Lierre.

On 27 and 28 May, Marlborough (75 bns, 120 sqns) sent back his heavy baggage to Maastricht, inducing Villeroy to believe that he planned a force march or a direct action.

On 28 May

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Informed that the Allies planned an advance on Nieuport, Bedmar marched from Lierre with 10 bns and 7 sqns and encamped at Saint-Nicolas (Sint-Niklaas) in Waasland where he was joined by Lieutenant-General Guiscard and an artillery brigade with 10 guns.
    • M. de Lamothe was encamped behind the canals from Ghent down to Ostend with 9 bns and 5 sqns.

On 30 May, Marlborough's Army advanced on Villeroy's positions. Both armies deployed in order of battle separated only by the Geer River. Finally, the Allies retired and encamped with their right at Russon (Rutten) and their left at Momalle. For their part, the French marched by their right and encamped at Hasselbroek with their right at Waremme and their left at Milenhoven (unidentified location).

Towards the end of May, several Allied corps (Opdam, Spaar, Coehoorn and Tilly) marched towards Brabant and Flanders. The 11 bns of infantry who had taken part in the siege of Bonn were transported on the Rhine to Berg-op-Zoom and other maritime places; while the cavalry took the road to Geldern and encamped at Kempen before advancing on Breda. Two new British bns debarked at Rotterdam; there were already an Allied corps (17 bns, 4 sqns) in Dutch Flanders:

  • on the Island of Cadzand: unidentified militia and regulars (2 bns)
  • at Sluis
    • Dutch Scottish Lauder (1 bn)
    • Dutch Plettenberg (1 bn)
    • Dutch Huguenot Viçouse (1 bn)
    • Dutch Lindeboom (1 bn)
    • Mecklenburger Prinz von Mecklenburg Schwerin (1 bn)
  • in Yssendick: Dutch Vegelin van Claerbergen (1 bn)
  • near Yssendick: Dutch Schlippenbach Dragoons (1 sqn)
  • at Biervliet: Dutch Scottish George Hamilton (1 bn)
  • at Philippines: Dutch Prott (1 bn)
  • at Sas van Gent
    • Dutch Vassy (1 bn)
    • ???? Vribander von Neuburg (1 bn)
  • at Axel: Dutch Swiss Capol (2 bns)
  • at Hulst
    • Dutch Menno Baron van Coehoorn (1 bn)
    • Dutch Gideon van Coehoorn (1 bn)
    • Dutch Schratenbach (1 bn)
    • Dutch Free Company Lely (1 coy)
  • in the region of Hulst: unidentified cavalry regiment (3 sqns)

On 31 May

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Now fearing for Antwerp, Damme and Ostend; Bedmar moved closer to the Scheldt and encamped at Haasdonk with 11 bns and 8 sqns.
    • 3 newly arrived bns under M. de Hessy encamped at Stekene.

When Villeroy and Boufflers were informed of the movements of the Allies along the sea, they reinforced their main army with 2 bns and 1 cavalry rgt and instructed M. de Tserclaes to march towards Aarschot.

On 4 June, Tserclaes marched from Léau towards Aarschot with 5 bns and 11 sqns.

On 5 June

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Tserclaes marched to Booischot. With the arrival of Tserclaes, Bedmar now had 27 bns and 23 sqns under his command, encamped from Lierre to Ostend while he had another 30 bns in various places.
    • As new Allied corps appeared near Sluis and Damme, Bedmar sent 2 newly arrived bns to reinforce M. de Lamothe and instructed him to leave only detachments of peasants support by 3 sqns behind the canal between Ghent and Bruges, to move closer to the sea with his 9 bns and to entrench 4 or 5 of these bns in the redoubt of Beckaf (unidentified location) on the canal between Damme and St Donas (unidentified location) and to entrench the rest of them at Plassendale at the junction of the canals of Nieuport and Ostend.
    • M. de Chevilly at the head of 2 bns of the garrisons of Ostend and Nieuport and 1 sqns formed a camp at Mariekerke in the Camerling-Ambacht.
    • 6 French galleys arrived at Ostend to prevent a raid of the Allies between Nieuport and Ostend.
  • Allies
    • General Coehoorn was encamped at Lillo with a few Allied bns, awaiting the arrival of the troops returning from Bonn.

On 6 June, contrarily to his order, M. de Lamothe encamped with his entire force under the walls of Damme. Overall, including the garrisons between Ghent and Nieuport, Lamothe was at the head of 24 bns and 4 sqns.

On 8 June

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Informed that the Allied cavalry recently arrived from the Rhine at Kempen was marching by Bois-le-Duc on Breda, Bedmar moved his headquarters from Haasdonk to Burcht on the left bank of the Scheldt, closer to Antwerp. He also detached M. de Thoy with 2 bns and 3 sqns at Merksem on the opposite bank; sent an infantry detachment to protect the head of the bridge of Antwerp; erected two batteries on the wharf of Antwerp; and asked Tserclaes to march to Lierre with his 5 bns and 11 sqns.
  • Allies
    • The Allies had 5 corps near the sea:
      • 8 bns and 1 dragoon rgt encamped near Sluis
      • 5 bns, 1 dragoon rgt and 1 cavalry rgt at Sas van Gent
      • 5 bns, 1 dragoon rgt and 1 cavalry rgt at Biervliet
      • 9 bns at Lillo
      • 4 bns, 1 dragoon rgt and 4 cavalry rgt under Tilly near Breda

N.B.: Coehoorn and Spaar commanded the four first corps.

Villeroy, Boufflers and Bedmar could not pierced the real design of the Allies.

On 9 June

  • Allies
    • At 7:00 a.m., Marlborough decamped from Russon, marched by his left and encamped at Haneffe with his right between Limont and Remicourt and his left near Warfusee and with the stream of Verlaine running in front of his positions.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Villeroy and Boufflers left Hasselbroek, passed the Geer near its source and encamped in a strong position covered by gullies and marshes at Lens-Saint-Servais with their right at Braives on the Mehaigne and their left at Darion on the Geer.

The two armies then remained in these positions till the end of June, undertaking only a few outpost engagements.

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Franco-Spanish Army on 17 June 1703

Around mid-June the Franco-Spanish armies in the Low Countries totalled 184 bns and 135 sqns:

  • the main army consisted of 61 bns and 101 sqns with another 11 sqns on their way to reinforce the army
  • Bedmar's Army between Nieuport and Lierre counted 53 bns and 12 sqns
  • Tserclaes's Corps with 5 bns and 11 sqns
  • in the various places there were 65 bns
    • 20 bns between Nieuport and Lierre
    • 20 bns between Lierre and Luxembourg
    • 25 bns between Longwy and Dunkerque

Allies advance on Antwerp

While the two main armies were idly facing each other, the Allied corps under Coehoorn, Spaar and Tilly were constantly being reinforced. When Coehoorn heard of Marlborough's idea of attacking Huy, he abandoned his design against Ostend and decided to march on Antwerp to levy contributions.

On 14 June, Bedmar was informed that the Allied corps encamped at Biervliet had effected a junction with the other Allied corps encamped at Breda and that these two corps had then marched together to Bergen-op-Zoom. Bedmar immediately ordered Tserclaes to march from Lierre to Wijnegem. He also sent a reinforcement of 4 bns and 2 sqns to Sint-Gillis in the Waasland region.

On 16 June, Bedmar was informed that the Allied corps encamped at Bergen-op-Zoom and Lillo had effected a junction and taken position, under the command of Coehoorn and Tilly, with their right at Stabroek and their left behind Kapellen, only 12 km north of Antwerp; that Opdam would soon assume command of this army (21 bns, 16 sqns); and that the two other Allied corps encamped at Sluis and at Sas van Gent totalled 13 bns, 2 dragoon rgts and 1 cavalry rgt.

In the night of 16 to 17 June, Bedmar decamped from Burcht, passed the Scheldt upstream from Antwerp and encamped at Deurne. In this new position, Bedmar was close to Tserclaes's Corps, on his right at Wijnegem, and to Thoy's detachment to his left at Merksem. Together, these three Franco-Spanish corps totalled 17 bns and 19 sqns. Bedmar also asked to Lamothe, encamped near Damme, to send him 6 bns, thus reducing Lamothe's Corps to only 6 field bns, 3 sqns and 12 garrison bns between Ghent and Nieuport. Similarly, Hessy's Corps posted in Waasland was reduced to 5 bns and 1 sqn.

On 23 June in the morning, the Allied corps posted at Sluis and at Sas van Gent effected a junction at Bentille where Spaar was now at the head of 13 bns, 2 dragoon rgts, 1 cavalry rgt, 16 guns, a few mortars and 20 pontoons. He was in a position to threaten Damme, Waasland or the canal from Bruges to Ghent.

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Allied Corps operating in Western Flanders on 24 June 1703

On 24 June

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Lamothe marched from his camp near Damme to Sint-Joris behind the canal from Bruges to Ghent. He had with him 3 sqns, 6 grenadier coys and 150 foot, leaving 2 bns to guard the passages of the canal, 2 bns in his camp and 2 bns behind the canal from Bruges to Ostend. Bedmar for his part was now at the head of 23 bns and 19 sqns.
  • Allies
    • Opdam was still encamped at Stabroek but his corps had been reinforced and now counted 24 bns and 23 sqns. He detached Coehoorn to 's Gravenwezel with instructions to pass to the left bank of the Scheldt and to make a diversion against the Lines of Waasland near Calishoek (unidentified location) while Spaar would lead the main attack on Stekene.

On 25 June

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Lamothe marched from Sint-Joris to Aalter.
  • Allies
    • The Allies passed the canal of Sas van Gent near Fort Saint-Antoine and encamped at Rieme.

On 26 June

  • Allies
    • In the morning, Spaar advanced on Stekene while Coehoorn embarked and sailed on the Scheldt to Calishoek.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Bedmar sent 3 bns to defend the passage at Calloo, reinforced Hessy with 1 bn and 2 cavalry coys and instructed Lamothe to support Hessy.
    • Villeroy and Boufflers sent a reinforcement of 4 bns to Bedmar.

On the night of 25 to 26 June, Marlborough suddenly broke up his camp at Haneffe, crossed the Geer and encamped with his right at Opheers and his left on the Geer near Louesche (unidentified location).

On 26 June, Villeroy and Boufflers marched northwards from Lens-Saint-Gervais to Landen with their right at Cras-Avernas and their left at Wellen.

On 27 June

  • Allies
    • At 3:00 a.m., the Allies launched attacks on Calishoek and Stekene. Coehoorn (approx. 2,000 men) easily dislodged the 150 men defending Calishoek. Spaar (12 bns, 8 sqns, 20 guns and 12 mortars) breached the defences at Stekene in less than four hours and finally forced Hessy to abandon this position and retire on Lokeren, Fort Saint-Jean and Zwijndrecht. In this action, Spaar lost more than 1,200 men (300 killed and 900 wounded) while Hessy's troops well protected behind their fortifications had lost only 60 men.
    • Spaar then encamped near Stekene which he plundered, seized the magazines and put Waasland to contributions.
    • Opdam decamped from Stabroek and marched to Ekeren, only 5 km from Bedmar's camp at Merksem. Opdam then encamped with his right at Ekeren and his left at Brasschaat.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Lamothe was on the march to support Hessy when he was informed that Stekene had fallen. He then return to Ghent with Hessy.

On 28 June

  • Allies
    • At 2:00 a.m., Allied cavalry took position at the mill of Waremme to mask the movement of the Allies towards Borgloon.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • At 10:00 a.m., when Villeroy and Boufflers were informed of Marlborough’s movement, they passed the Kleine Gete and hastened with all speed for Diest in order to be there before Marlborough. Their vanguard arrived early at Diest and their rearguard joined at 10:00 p.m.

When Marlborough was informed that Coehoorn had made a raid into Western Flanders, leaving Opdam in the air at Ekeren on the other side of the Scheldt, he said “If Opdam be not on his guard, he will be beaten before we can reach him.” Furthermore, he despatched messengers instantly to give Opdam warning.

In the morning of 29 June, the French marshals received letters from Bedmar requesting reinforcements to attack Opdam at Ekeren. Another letter from Guiscard asked their authorisation to attack Spaar in Waasland. At 8:00 a.m., the marshals sent 30 grenadier coys, 15 horse sqns and 15 dragoon sqns to Bedmar by Aarschot. Boufflers personally took command of these reinforcements. At 10:00 p.m., Boufflers arrived at Bedmar's camp with his troops.

On 30 June

  • Battle of Ekeren
    • By 6:00 a.m., the French had assembled an army of 28 bns and 49 sqns at Deurne.
    • At 8:00 a.m., Boufflers and Bedmar marched in four columns on Opdam's positions.
    • They surprised Opdam, who had taken no precautions, and put his corps to flight at the Battle of Ekeren before Marlborough could come to his assistance.
  • Allies
    • Marlborough marched by Diepenbeek, Hasselt and Herkenrode to Beringen. However, the defeat of Ekeren broke up the whole of his combinations.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Villeroy's Army marched from Diest to Ramsel near Aarschot.

On 1 July, Boufflers and Bedmar sent detachment to retrieve wounded on the battlefield of Ekeren and to bring back artillery carts left behind by the Allies. Bedmar's and Tserclaes's troops were sent back to defend the lines and Boufflers's Corps stationed in villages between Bedmar's camp and Lierre, within reach of Villeroy's main army.

On 2 July

  • Franco-Spanish
    • At 1:00 a.m., Villeroy was finally informed of Boufflers's victory at Ekeren.
  • Allies
    • Marlborough advanced from Beringen to Olmen, Balen and Mol at the head of the Grote Nete River.

On 3 July

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Villeroy's Army retired to the Lines of Lierre, encamping at Nazareth where Boufflers's Corps effected its junction.
  • Allies
    • Marlborough marched from Balen to Herentals and encamped with his right at Thielen and his left at Lichtaart, closer to Antwerp.

On 4 July

  • Franco-Spanish
    • The main army marched from Nazareth to Zandhoven to prevent the junction of Marlborough's Army with the defeated Allied army still encamped under the walls of Lillo.

On 5 July, the main Franco-Spanish army marched to Massenhoven behind a little stream.

On 6 July, the Chevalier de Rosel at the head of 600 horse reconnoitred in the direction of Herentals where he engaged a party of Allied horse, capturing 1 officer and 23 men. From these prisoners, the French learned that Marlborough intended to march by his right, away from Antwerp.

On 7 July, Marlborough's Army marched from Herentals to Vorselaar and encamped in a strong position with its right at Beerse, its center at Rooien and its left at Gierle.

On 9 July, Boufflers and Villeroy marched from Massenhoven to Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor.

Coehoorn and Spaar, now master of a part of the Lines of Waasland, had assembled their troops (17 bns, 10 sqns) in the polder of Arenberg. They could act against Calloo, Fort la Perle and Fort Marie; and even advance on Antwerp.

Boufflers and Villeroy were still uncertain about the intentions of the Allies, so they took the following measures to simultaneously defend Antwerp, and the forts of Waasland, Flanders and Brabant:

  • 4 bns were entrenched at the head of the dyke of Burcht on the left bank of the Scheldt
  • the polders neighbouring the forts of Waasland were flooded
  • 2 bns encamped near Fort Sainte-Marie and started to cut the head of the dyke of Calloo
  • Lamothe still had 26 bns and 7 sqns to cover Damme

On 13 July

  • Franco-Spanish
    • The troops (18 bns, 5 sqns) encamped at Deurne under M. de Guiscard passed to the left bank of the Scheldt and encamped at Burcht. Simultaneously, Tserclaes's Corps marched from Wijnegem to replace the units of Guiscard's Corps who had previously occupied Merksem. Finally, 2 bns were sent to the neighbouring of Dendermonde.
  • Allies
    • Coehoorn retired from the polders of Arenberg and Calloo and entrenched his corps near the Fort of Kieldrecht which he had recently conquered.

Around this time, 22 Allied warships arrived in the area of Ostend.

On 16 July, the French transferred 6 bns previously occupying places to Waasmunster behind the Durme and placed them under the command of the Duc de Bisache.

Coehoorn's Corps was then subdivided into two detachments; the first (10 bns, 5 sqns), under Spaar, embarked at Liefkenshoek (unidentified location) and went to Lillo; the second (7 bns, 5 sqns), still under Coehoorn, marched to Sint Jansteen near Hulst. Coehoorn was very frustrated to have been forced to abandon his project.

The Allies then established a bridge on the Scheldt between Lillo and Liefenshoek with 92 large boats.

On 19 July, with Waasland evacuated by the Allies, the Franco-Spanish troops encamped at Burcht returned to Deurne and Merksem. Only 4 bns were left at the Tête de Flandre and 7 bns under the Duc de Bisache were transferred from Waasmunster to Lokeren to be closer to Ghent and Flanders. Boufflers and Villeroy were still encamped at Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor with the main army and, with these new dispositions, expected to be able to assemble 90 bns and 117 sqns within within four hours.

On 23 July

  • Allies
    • Marlborough left his camp at Vorselaar and marched by his right, encamping with his right at Loenhout and his left at Hoogstraten. He also occupied the village of Brecht.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy sent back their baggage behind the lines but remained in their camp at Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor.

On 24 July

  • Allies
    • At daybreak, Marlborough marched to a new camp, placing his right at Kalmthout and his left at Wuustwezel.
    • Slangenburg's Corps encamped at Lillo marched towards the main army, encamping with its right at Hoevenen and its left at Kapellen. It had virtually effected its junction with the main army.
    • Marlborough could now count on 85 bns and 150 sqns.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • At 9:00 a.m., judging that the Allies were now too superior to their army, Boufflers and Villeroy decamped from Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor and took refuge behind the lines. Their army occupied the lines between Deurne and Oleghem (unidentified location) and they established their headquarters at Wijnegem.
    • Tserclaes's Corps remained at Merksem and was reinforced with 6 bns.
    • Guiscard returned to Burcht with 20 bns.

On 26 July

  • Franco-Spanish
    • 2 French dragoon rgts and a brigade of 10 field pieces, who had marched from Deurne, passed the Durme at Waasmunster and encamped at Mariekerke near Ghent. A bridge was established on the Rupel to ease communication between Antwerp, Dendermonde and Ghent; and work on a new bridge on the Scheldt between Dendermonde and the mouth of the Durme was undertaken.
    • The Duc de Bisache was still at Lokeren with 7 bns.
    • Lamothe (26 bns, 7 sqns) was still deployed between Ghent and the sea.

On 27 July, Boufflers and Villeroy sent M. de Berwick with 5 cavalry brigades and 1 dragoon rgt to Nazareth near Lierre.

In the night of 29 to 30 July, fearing an attack of the Allies in these quarters, the Franco-Spanish opened all sluice gates between the Batterie des Bourgeois and Fort Saint-Philippe.

The quarrels of the Dutch generals among themselves left no hope of success in further operations. Failing to persuade the Dutch to undertake anything but petty sieges, Marlborough resigned himself to a war of small sieges on the Meuse.

On 1 August, Slangenburg's Allied Corps decamped from Kapellen and effected a junction with the main Allied army at Kalmthout. Slangenburg had detached 5 bns to Lillo where they embarked and joined Coehoorn at Sint Jansteen. Coehoorn was now at the head of 12 bns and 5 sqns.

On 2 August

  • Allies
    • Marlborough marched by his left with the main army, Slangenburg's Corps acting as rearguard. The Allied army then encamped in its old camp at Vorselaar.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy immediately instructed the Duc de Berwick to pass the Grote Nete and to take position along the road leading from Lierre to Booischot, to protect Diest.
    • M. de Gacé was posted between the Grote Nete and the Kleine Nete with 4 infantry brigades detached from the right of the main army.
    • Most of the artillery was established at the bridge of Duffel.

On 3 August

  • Allies
    • Marlborough marched by his left and encamped at Lichtaart and Kasterlee.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy decamped from Wijnegem and advanced to Booischott with the entire right wing. Their left wing encamped at Edegem.
    • Tserclaes's Corps marched from Merksem to Embleken (probably Emblem) near Lierre.
    • Guiscard retired from Burcht and occupied the camps of Deurne and Merksem where he was reinforced with 2 dragoon rgts and by 3 bns sent by the Duc de Bisache from Lokeren.

On 4 August

  • Allies
    • Marlborough (80 bns and 150 sqns) marched to Mol and Balen.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy marched to Aarschot with their entire army while Tserclaes advanced to Booischot. The French maréchaux estimated that there were no serious threat against Flanders anymore and recalled 13 bns from the camp of Deurne, the last 4 bns of Bisache's detachment, and 5 sqns from the troops posted in Flanders. These troops were instructed to assemble in Louvain (Leuven). They consisted of:
      • Infantry (17 bns)
        • Spanish Tercio de Flandes (1 bn) aka Amezaga
        • Spanish Deynse (1 bn)
        • Spanish Westerloo (1 bn)
        • Spanish Bryas (1 bn) unidentified unit
        • Spanish Ruppelmonde (1 bn)
        • Spanish Sars (1 bn)
        • Spanish Benavides (1 bn) unidentified unit
        • Spanish Fusiliers of Artillery (1 bn)
        • French II./Vexin (1 bn)
        • French d'Entragues (1 bn)
        • French Courten Suisse (3 bns)
        • French II./Charolais (1 bn)
        • Spanish Caraccioli (1 bn)
        • Spanish Reales Guardias Valonas (2 bns) aka Royal-Fusiliers d'Espagne
      • Cavalry (5 sqns)
        • Spanish Heyden (2 sqns) unidentified unit
        • Spanish Flavacourt Dragons (3 sqns)

On 5 August, both armies sojourned but Boufflers and Villeroy sent M. de Pracontal to Diest with 1 infantry brigade and 1 cavalry brigade.

On 6 August

  • Allies
    • At 2:00 a.m., Marlborough force marched towards Helchteren, Houthalen, Meuvem (unidentified location) and Spipelbach (unidentified location).
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy decamped from Aarschot, passed the Demer and encamped in several lines between Montaigu (present-day Scherpenheuvel) and Zichem near Diest.
    • Pracontal marched from Diest to the village of Rummen.
    • By that date, with the troops recalled from Flanders, the main army counted 84 bns and 117 sqns; Guiscard still had 11 bns and 4 sqns at Deurne and Merksem; and Lamothe had 15 bns and 2 sqns in the field in Flanders.

On 7 August

  • Allies
    • Marlborough marched to Zonhoven, Curange (Kuringen) and Hasselt, advancing on both banks of the Demer.
    • Slangenburg marched to Zutendaal and Genk near Maastricht.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy marched from Zichem to Heylissem Abbey (near Helecine), establishing their right there and their left at Orsmael (unidentified location) on the Gete.
    • Tserclaes effected a junction at Hoegaarden with the troops recalled from Flanders, thus forming a corps of 20 bns and 19 sqns destined to the protection of Huy.

On 8 August

  • Allies
    • Marlborough completed the passage of the Demer and encamped with his right at Borchloon and his left near Geer, in front of Tongres.
    • Slangenburg's Corps, escorting the heavy baggage and most of the artillery, encamped with its right at Coelen Abbey and its left on the stream of Herck beyond Borgloon.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Villeroy asked to M. de Ximenès, commanding at Namur, to send a reinforcement of 300 men to Limbourg from the 5 newly raised bns stationed at Namur.

On 9 August

  • Franco-Spanish
    • At 4:00 p.m., Boufflers and Villeroy marched with the right wing of their army and encamped at Jandrain. They confided the left wing, encamped at Heylissem, to M. de Coigny with instructions to cover Léau and Diest.
    • Tserclaes advanced to Wasseiges where he was joined by Pracontal.
    • The French maréchaux could hardly come to the relief of Huy without exposing Brabant to an offensive of the Allies.

At about this time, Coehoorn, encamped at Sint Jansteen, was reinforced with 3 bns and some artillery. He was now at the head of 15 bns and 5 sqns. Guiscard passed the Scheldt with 11 bns and 4 sqns and encamped Burcht to observe Coehoorn's movements. Meanwhile, Lamothe encamped at Lokeren with 7 bns and 2 sqns. He still had 8 bns behind the canals.

On 13 August

  • Allies
    • At daybreak, Marlborough marched from Borgloon to Opheers, anchoring his left at Corswarem and Berloz.
    • Slangenburg marched to Coelen leaving heavy baggage under the walls of Maastricht.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy sent 200 men to reinforce Huy.

On 14 August

  • Allies
    • Marlborough marched upstream along the Geer and encamped with his right at Rosoux, his centre between Lens-Saint-Servais and Lens-les-Béguines and his left towards Tourinne. His camp extended from the Geer to the Mehaigne.
    • The Comte de Noyelles was detached with a force of 12 bns and 12 sqns and passed the Meuse on a bridge of boats at Sclessin upstream from Liège and encamped at Manderen (maybe Nandrin) in the direction of Huy. He was soon reinforced by 3 bns from the garrison of Maastricht and 1 bn of the garrison of Liège.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Tserclaes passed the Mehaigne at Wasseiges and took position with his right near Montigny (unidentified location) and his left on the Mehaigne.
    • Boufflers and Villeroy marched from Jandrain to Wasseiges with the right wing of their army.
    • Coigny marched from Heylissem to Jauche near Orp-le-Petit with the left wing of the army.
    • All infantry of the Franco-Spanish army was deployed in a single line and its cavalry in two lines.

On 15 August

  • Allies
    • At daybreak, the entire army marched to Vinalmont and where it encamped with its right at Verlaine and Borset and its left at Onzoul (unidentified location). Marlborough established his headquarters at Val-Notre-Dame near Wanze, covered by 12 bns.
    • Noyelles reached the plain of Thyhange (unidentified location) and occupied posts on the Hoyoux and the ravines surrounding the castle and the town of Huy, thus investing the place from that side.
    • The bridge of boats was moved from Sclassin to the village of Neuville-sous-Huy, 4 km downstream from Huy. The Allies established two other bridges of boats at Taverne-à-Meuse (unidentified location) and at the Castle of Oha.
    • The Allies also occupied the part of Huy located on the left bank of the Meuse.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy, considering that the Allied positions were unassailable, remained idle.

On 16 August

  • Allies
    • Lieutenant-General von Sommerfeld crossed the Mehaigne with 15 bns and 10 sqns and encamped on the Meuse to cover the bridges of boats, thus completing the investment of Huy.
    • Noyelles’ Corps (now 16 bns, 10 sqns) constituted the siege corps.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy, unable to prevent the siege and the eventual capture of Huy, decided to make a diversion in Waasland against Coehoorn. They detached M. de Labadie with 10 bns to reinforce Bedmar in Waasland. The detachment immediately marched to Tourines-la-Chaussée (maybe Tourinnes-la-Grosse).

On 17 August

  • Allies
    • Noyelles summoned Huy, threatening to plunder the town if it did not immediately surrender. After some discussions, it was agreed that the town would capitulate but that the garrison of the town (only 80 men) would join the garrison of the castle (1,000 men under M. de Millon).
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Labadie marched to Louvain.
    • Boufflers and Villeroy detached Tserclaes and Pracontal who passed the Meuse at Namur and encamped near Jambes. Tserclaes was then recalled to Spain and Pracontal assumed command of the two detachments.
    • The Duc de Berwick was detached to occupy the previous positions of Tserclaes and Pracontal behind the Meffle and Hemptinne streams.
    • Several bridges were established on the Mehaigne to ease communications between the various corps of the Franco-Spanish army.

On 18 August

  • Allies
    • Noyelles’ forces entered into Huy and prepared for the attack of the castle.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy decided to extend the Lines of the Gete up to Namur, between Wasseiges and Gelbressée.
    • Labadie marched to Malines with 10 bns:
      • Spanish Tercio de Flandes (1 bn) aka Amezaga
      • Spanish Westerloo (1 bn)
      • Spanish Bryas (1 bn)
      • Spanish Fusiliers de Flandres (1 bn) maybe the Fusiliers of artillery
      • French d'Entragues (1 bn)
      • Swiss Courten Suisse (3 bns)
      • Swiss Meyer (2 bns)

On the night of 18 to 19 August, the Allies opened the trenches in front of the Castle of Huy.

On 19 August, the 4,000 soldiers and 3,000 peasants started to work on the Lines of the Gete, covered by an infantry brigade and a dragoon rgt under the Prince of Birkenfeld who took position at Hanret.

On 20 August, Pracontal advanced to Grandpré Abbey, 8 km south-east of Namur. By this date, Labadie's detachment (10 bns) had made a junction with Guiscard's Corps (11 bns, 5 sqns) at Burcht.

In the night of 20 to 21 August, the Allies opened the trenches in front of Fort Joseph and Fort Picard belonging to the fortifications of the Castle of Huy.

On 21 August

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Guiscard and Labadie, now at the head of 21 bns and 5 sqns, marched from Burcht to Sint-Gillis where they were joined by Lamothe's 7 bns and 2 sqns arriving from Lokeren. The Franco-Spanish now had a corps of 28 bns and 7 sqns to oppose to Coehoorn's Corps (15 bns, 5 sqns) encamped at Sint Jansteen near Hulst. Under the protection of this corps, 4,500 pioneers immediately started to reconstruct the lines which had been destroyed by the Allies between Fort Saint-Jean and Fort Bedmar. Workers were covered by 8 bns under M. de Lamothe who took position at Kalf.

In the morning of 22 August, the Allies already had 42 guns and 30 mortars planted in the trenches in front of the Castle of Huy. They opened on Fort Joseph and Fort Picard. The former was forced to capitulate during the evening.

On 23 August

  • Franco-Spanish
    • In the morning, Fort Picard capitulated.
  • Allies
    • After the capitulation of Fort Picard, the Allies directed all their efforts against the Castle of Huy, firing 70 guns and 46 mortars against its walls.
    • In Waasland, Coehoorn retired from Sint Jansteen under the walls of Hulst.

On 24 August

  • Allies
    • Marlborough called a council of war where he proposed that, after the fall of Huy, the Allies should attack the lines where the Franco-Spanish had taken position. All British, Danish, Hessian and Hanoverian generals supported this plan but the Dutch opposed their veto.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy instructed Pracontal (8 bns, 17 sqns) to abandon his positions at Grandpré and to retire to Jambes.

On 25 August

  • Allies
    • In the afternoon, the breach in the walls of the Castle of Huy became practicable. Millon and the garrison repulsed the first two attacks of the Allies but Millon lost so many men that he was in no condition to sustain a third assault and surrendered his garrison as prisoners of war under the condition that they would be exchanged for two Allied bns captured at Tongres at the beginning of the campaign.
    • In Waasland, M. de Thoy stormed the redoubt of Antoniushoek, capturing 32 prisoners. Coehoorn embarked 10 bns at Hulst, sending part of them at Sas van Gent and part at Sluis. He remained at Hulst with 5 bns and 5 sqns.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Pracontal retired to Marchovelette near Gelbressée.
    • With the fall of Huy, Boufflers and Villeroy were worried for Léau, Diest and Lierre.

On 26 August

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Bedmar sent M. de Lamothe to Bruges with 4 bns and 1 sqn to observe the movements of the Allies in these quarters. From these troops, 2 bns were placed in Damme and 2 bns behind the canal between Ghent and Bruges. These reinforcements brought the Franco-Spanish forces in this area to 18 bns and 1 sqns. The dyke of Kieldrecht was cut thus flooding areas in Dutch Flanders and covering the frontier. On the lines re-established in Waasland, Bedmar sent back to Louvain 7 of the 10 bns that M. de Labadie had brought to him. Bedmar still had 17 bns and 6 sqns in Waasland.

Still uncertain about Marlborough next goal, Boufflers and Villeroy established two small forts (Sainte-Barbe and Bouges) to cover Namur and prevent a bombardment of the place.

On 31 August, Boufflers and Villeroy demolished the Castle of Dinant to prevent its capture by the Allies.

On 4 September

  • Allies
    • The Allies placed 2 bns into Huy.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy were informed that the Allied army was preparing to march. They detached M. de Bay with 1,200 horse to observe the movements of the Allies.

On 5 September

  • Allies
    • In the morning, Marlborough's Army marched northwards from Vinalmont and encamped with its right at Avernas-le-Bauduin, its left at Avennes on the Mehaigne and its front only 4 km distant from the Franco-Spanish lines. Marlborough then reconnoitred the enemy positions at the head of 2,000 horse.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Pracontal's Corps took position to cover the right flank of the Franco-Spanish army.
    • M. de Roquelaure advanced to Noduwez near Heylissem with an infantry brigade and the second line of the cavalry left wing to cover the left flank.
    • 4 artillery brigades were distributed along the line.

On 6 September

  • Allies
    • After reconnoitring the Franco-Spanish positions once more, Marlborough marched northwards by his right and encamped at Saint-Trond (Sint-Truiden) where he anchored his right, extending his left to Milenhoven (unidentified location). The front of his camp was covered by several streams.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy marched by their left from Wasseiges and encamped at Weser (unidentified location) near Léau (Zoutleeuw).
    • Pracontal took position at the Castle of Jauche to cover the right.
    • Labadie (7 bns and 5 sqns) advanced to Buvinghen (more probably Budingen) to cover the left, throwing a detachment of 300 men into Halen.
    • Six bridges were thrown over the ditches of Léau to ease communications with the place.

In the night of 8 to 9 September, 600 horse of the Allies invested Limbourg.

On 9 September

  • Allies
    • Marlborough detached 24 bns and 34 sqns from his army under the Hereditary Prince of Hesse-Kassel to lay siege to Limbourg which the French maréchaux were considering undefendable. This Allied detachment encamped at Robermont near Liège under the command of the Prince of Hesse.

On 13 September

  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy increased Pracontal's Corps to 15 bns, 15 sqns and 10 guns to prevent the advance of the Prince of Hesse-Kassel towards the Moselle. Pracontal then marched to Longchamps.

On 14 September

  • Allies
    • Marlborough joined the siege corps in front of Limbourg, leaving command of the main army to Nassau-Ouwerkerk.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Pracontal marched to Jambes near Namur.

On 18 September, informed that the Prince of Hesse-Kassel had marched from Robermont to Limbourg, Pracontal marched to Ciney.

On 21 September, fodder becoming scarce for the French cavalry of the main army, the Maison du Roi and 2 dragoon rgts marched to Rothem (unidentified location) near Halen. Bridges were established on the Gete and the Demer to ease foraging.

On 23 September

  • Allies
    • Marlborough received the artillery that he had requested for the siege of Limbourg. He now had 23 bns, 18 sqns, 41 guns and 20 mortars for the siege.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • M. de Reignac, commanding the French garrison of Limbourg (1,400 men) offered to surrender but his conditions were rejected.
    • Pracontal marched to Jemeppe (probably Jannée), near Marche-en-Famenne where he waited for the end of the siege of Limbourg.

In Waasland, with all danger of an Allied offensive eliminated, Bedmar returned to Bruxelles, leaving Guiscard in command of 12 bns and 6 sqns who returned from Sint-Gillis to Saint-Nicolas. Bedmar also sent 5 bns back to Louvain to rejoin the main army.

On 26 September, the Allied artillery opened on the humble defences of Limbourg (earthworks with two weak bastions).

By noon on 27 September, the Castle of Limbourg was breached in several places and Reignac's troops surrendered as prisoners of war. They were brought to Maastricht.

After the capture of Limbourg, Marlborough posted Hessian and Hanoverian troops at Stembert near Verviers, sending the rest of the siege corps back to his main army and the siege artillery to Maastricht. He then returned to his main camp at Saint-Trond which he entrenched.

After Villars's victory at Höchstädt (30 September), Louis XIV asked to Villeroy to prepare Pracontal's Corps to join Tallard's Corps in front of Landau if necessary.

From 3 to 10 October, the Count of Lottum, who was blockading the City of Geldern with an Allied corps, bombarded the place with 40 guns and 30 mortars, reducing most houses and buildings to ashes.

On 9 October, the Hessians marched from Stembert to Jalhay on the road to Stavelot.

On 10 October

  • Allies
    • The army marched to Tongres where it encamped with its right towards Bilzen and its left at Tongres.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy sent 5 bns and 18 sqns under M. de Saint-Maurice to Namur in order to threaten Huy and Limbourg and to get closer to Pracontal's Corps.

On 11 October, Pracontal advanced from Jemeppe to Grune (unidentified location).

On 12 October, Boufflers and Villeroy sent 6 additional bns to Namur.

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Franco-Spanish corps at Namur and the Moselle in mid-October 1703

By 13 October

  • Allies
    • Marlborough personally went to Düsseldorf to meet Archduke Charles, the candidate of the Allies for the throne of Spain, who was on his way to the Dutch Republic to embark for Portugal. *Franco-Spanish
    • Franco-Spanish troops at Namur amounted to 11 bns and 24 sqns.

On 14 October, Pracontal, fearing for Saint-Vith and Salm, marched to Neuville Haut.

On 15 October

  • Allies
    • Flood interrupted the bombardment of Geldern but the blockade continued.
  • Franco-Spanish
    • Boufflers and Villeroy personally went to Namur. To induce the Allies to keep the Hessian contingent in the area of Huy and Limbourg, they moved some artillery to Namur.

Around mid-October, Sir George Rooke, with a small squadron, proceeded to the Dutch Republic to convoy Archduke Charles to Spithead whence he was to be escorted to Lisbon.

From 15 to 17 October, 2 infantry rgts, 2 cavalry rgts and most of the Maison du Roi successively arrived at Namur, replacing Hornes's Corps (6 bns, 9 sqns) who marched to Marche-en-Famenne to reinforce Pracontal. With these new troops, Pracontal was now at the head of 21 bns and 24 sqns.

By 17 October, Boufflers and Villeroy had distributed their main army in 10 camps in the area of Diest.

On 18 October, Pracontal marched from Neuville Haut to Grinchamps.

On 20 October, Pracontal marched to Noville between Bastogne and Houffalize, closer to the Moselle.

On 23 October, Marlborough, who was back at the camp of his main army at Tongres, left for The Hague, leaving Nassau-Ouwerkerk in command at Tongres.

On 24 October, fearing an attack by Pracontal, the Hessian and Hanoverian contingents retired from Jalhay and marched to Baelen near Limbourg where they were reinforced by 4 bns from the garrison of Maastricht. They then marched to Kornelimünster where they were joined by additional German units.

Pracontal marched from Noville to Bertrange near Luxembourg.

At the end of October, the main armies of the Allies and French started to march to their winter-quarters.

At the beginning of November, the Prince of Hesse-Kassel suddenly marched from Kornelimünster towards the Rhine to relieve the troops besieged in Landau.

On 1 November, Boufflers and Villeroy were informed that the British were marching on Weert and Eindhoven in the direction of Breda and Bois-le-Duc and that the rest of the Allies army had left Tongres.

On 4 November, Boufflers and Villeroy personally went from Diest to Louvain. Were they gave instructions to reinforce the fortifications of Diest and Léau.

By 5 November, the Franco-Spanish army had taken its winter-quarters. Boufflers left for Bruxelles. The same day, Pracontal after assembling his corps marched towards the Moselle to reinforce the French troops besieging Landau.

On 6 November, Pracontal passed the Moselle.

On 7 November, Boufflers left Bruxelles for Versailles.

Villeroy then inspected the frontier from Antwerp to Ostende and Nieuport, realizing that most of these places could not effectively withstand a siege and that the lines were the only way to defend them.

On 10 November, Pracontal reached Saarlouis and continued his march to the Rhine but the Prince of Hesse-Kassel had managed to precede him, thanks to carts which had been prepared for his little army along the Rhine.

On 13 November, the Prince of Hesse-Kassel arrived at Spires. (N.B.: the ensuing events are described in our article on the campaign of 1703 on the Rhine).

On 19 November, Villeroy returned to Bruxelles.

On 20 November, Coehoorn appeared in front of Fort Bedmar and entrenched his corps on the dyke of Kijkuit (more probably Koewacht) near Hulst. Lamothe immediately sent a few troops to reinforce the sector between Fort Rouge and Stekene.

On 23 November, Coehoorn retired from Kijkuit and encamped at Lapscheure where he barracked his corps.

Order of Battle
Allied army on 1 December 1703

At the beginning of December, 10 French bns were sent from the Low Countries to join the troops assembling at Lyon and Bayonne. Furthermore, the Duc de Berwick left to assume command of a corps sent to Spain.

On 5 December, Villeroy proposed to the French Court to attack Lillo.

On 7 December, Archduke Charles landed at Portsmouth.

On 7 and 8 December, the so-called “Great Storm” decimated and dispersed the Anglo-Dutch fleet assembling for the planned expedition against Spain. Losses were estimated to 30 warships and to 30,000 men, including 12,000 British and Dutch soldiers who drowned. This disaster seriously delayed the departure of Archduke Charles for Portugal.

On 15 December, the City of Geldern finally capitulated to the Allies and the garrison under General Betis was allowed to retire to Louvain and Malines with the honours of war.

In the night of 27 to 28 December, the Allies suddenly assembled 36 bns and 40 sqns from the garrisons of Roermond, Venlo, Weert, Maaseik, Aachen, Maastricht, Liège and Huy. They encamped in two lines on the Mehaigne between Wasseiges and Merdorp and started to dismantled the defensive lines. Villeroy had received intelligence of such an enterprise a few days before and had concentrated 13 bns and 22 sqns at Namur and others at Louvain.

On 29 December, the Allies retired to their respective garrison places.

In the night of 29 to 30 December, the Franco-Spanish units assembled at Namur marched by the Castle of Gennevaux (more probably the Castle of Gembloux); and those of Louvain by Tourines.

On 30 December

  • Franco-Spanish
    • The corps arriving from Namur and Louvain effected a junction at Grand-Rosier (unidentified location). Villeroy was advancing towards the lines when he was informed that the Allies had already retired. He then inspected the lines and found that the Allies had destroyed only the curtains and that the lines could be quickly re-established.
  • Allies
    • In Waasland, Coehoorn at the head of 1,000 men made another attempt against the lines near Fort Bedmar but soon retired.


For all their efforts, the Allies had only captured two rather unimportant places: Huy and Limbourg.


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. 3 pp. 3-146, 721-724, 753, 771-772
  • Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 5, Vienna 1877, p. 125, 622-633
  • Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. I, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 411-415
  • Spanish Succession, War of the, in Encyclopaedia Britannica (c1910-1922), Vol. 25, p. 601
  • Kane, Richard: Campaigns of king William and queen Anne, from 1689 to 1712, London: J. Millan, 1745, p.41
  • Clowes, Wm. Laird: The Royal Navy – A History from the Earliest Time to the Present, Vol. II, Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London: 1898, p. 389