1704 – Allied offensive on the Rhine and the Moselle
The campaign lasted from September to December 1704
After Marlborough's march to the Danube, the junction of his army with an Imperial army under the command of Prince Eugène de Savoie and their resounding victory in the Battle of Blenheim, the Franco-Bavarian army retreated towards the Rhine abandoning Bavaria.
For their part, Marlborough and Eugène decided to launch an offensive on the left bank of the Rhine., leaving a corps in Bavaria to complete the conquest and occupation of the electorate.
At the end of August 1704, the Maréchal de Villeroy and the Maréchal de Marsin received new instructions from King Louis XIV who intended to form an army of 60 bns and 100 sqns in Alsace under the command of Marsin while Villeroy would take position on the Moselle with 32 bns, 68 sqns.
On 26 August
- Marlborough's British and Dutch troops set off from Söflingen and marched towards the general rendezvous in the vicinity of Philippsburg.
By 28 August
- The remnants of Tallard's Army reached Haslach.
- The armies of the Elector of Bavaria and Marsin sojourned at Peterzell in the vain hope of receiving the 18 Bavarian sqns expected from Munich.
- Villeroy assembled his army at Wolsteich to form the rearguard. Meanwhile, Coigny's Corps marched to Drusenheim.
On 29 August
- Prince Eugène and Marlborough departed from their camp at Söflingen near Ulm to rejoin their army which was marching towards the Rhine.
- The Imperialist troops which had not been assigned to the siege of Ulm (including Esterházy Hussars, Czungenberg Hussars, Gombos Hussars and Csáky Hussars) marched towards Philippsburg with the artillery and baggage.
- Marlborough's own troops marched in three columns by Lonsee, Gross-Süßen, Ebersbach, Gross-Heppach, Mundelsheim, Gross-Gartach and Eppingen towards Stettfeld and Hockenheim..
- Tallard's Army reached Offenburg.
On 30 August
- On his way to Rottweil, Prince Eugène was informed by G.d.C. Vehlen that the French were preparing to retreat completely across the Rhine and that they were no more threatening the two Imperialist corps posted on the Rhine. Eugène then decided to modify his itinerary.
- Marlborough visited the Duke of Württemberg at Stuttgart.
- Tallard's Army, along with the troops that Villeroy had left behind at Offenburg, reached Kehl.
- Villeroy's Army reached Haslach.
On August 31
- In the evening, Prince Eugène arrived at Rastatt. That same evening he gave Field Marshal Nassau-Weilburg the order to march all troops presently posted in the Lines of Stollhofen and near Rottweil to Philippsburg. For the planned siege of Landau, he also ordered to move the boat-bridges from Heidelberg towards Philippsburg; and the siege artillery and equipment from Heilbronnand Schorndorf on the Neckar River to Mannheim.
- Marlborough joined the British column of his army at Mundelsheim.
- Tallard's Army passed the Rhine at Kehl and encamped at Wantzenau and Brumpt (unidentified location).
- The Elector's and Marsin's armies reached Offenburg and their cavalry was sent to Wilstett (unidentified location).
- Villeroy's Army also reached Offenburg. Meanwhile, Coigny's Corps marched to Beinheim.
- Villeroy and the Elector of Bavaria then personally went to Strasbourg.
On 1 September
- Reconnaissance parties sent towards Kehl confirmed that all French detachments had evacuated the right bank of the Rhine.
- The corps of FM Nassau-Weilburg left the Lines of Stollhofen and marched to Mühlburg.
- King Joseph left Vienna to assume command of the Imperialist army on the Rhine.
- Tallard's Army marched from Brumpt and Wantzenau to Haguenau.
- Marsin's Army marched from Offenburg, passed the Rhine at Kehl and encamped at Weyersheim. The Bavarian army marched to Strasbourg.
On 2 September
- Prince Eugène went to Philippsburg to overseen the installation of the boat-bridges and established his headquarters in the Capuchin Monastery near Waghäusel.
- The corps of FM Nassau-Weilburg arrived at Philippsburg.
- In the evening, Prince Eugène sent 2 Palatine grenadier bns across the Rhine to occupy a bridgehead on the opposite bank. He then personally reconnoitred the area up to the Speyerbach.
- Marlborough's Army crossed the Neckar at Lauffen.
- Villeroy personally went to Haguenau to take command of the troops assembled there. He sent the infantry at Wissembourg and a cavalry detachment at Sultz (unidentified location).
- Coigny's Corps marched from Beinheim to Lauterbourg.
- The Bavarian army marched to Saverne where it rested for a few days before taking the road to Flanders through the Duchy of Luxembourg.
- The remnants of Tallard's infantry were sent to various places and his cavalry to Hochfelden.
On the morning of 3 September, Villeroy marched at the head of the cavalry posted at Haguenau and Sultz, crossed the Lauter and advanced to Billigheim (unidentified location) to maintain communication with Landau. During his march, Villeroy was informed that Eugène had re-crossed the Rhine. Nevertheless, he asked Marsin to send troops to Wissembourg.
On 4 September
- Marsin arrived at Wissembourg. The French generals then received intelligence that Marlborough intended to lay siege to Landau. Villeroy advanced to the Queich with his cavalry left wing, encamping his troops at Offenbach/Queich. His cavalry right wing and his infantry remained at Billigheim and Steinweiler.
On 5 September
- Prince Eugène took dispositions to cross the Rhine near Philippsburg, assembling boats, establishing an additional boat-bridge, assembling the artillery park and organising the transport of the artillery pieces and ammunition.
- Vehlen's Corps marched from Rottweil in two columns. Its cavalry advanced by way of Nagold and Pforzheim to Bruchsal; while its infantry marched by way of Freudenstadt towards Philippsburg.
- The heads of the British and Danish columns of Marlborough's Army reached Hockenheim.
- The Hanoverians of Marlborough's Army reached Graben.
- The Dutch and Hessians of Marlborough's Army reached Bruchsal.
- Marlborough personally arrived at Philippsburg.
- Reconnaissance parties reported Allied troops near Speyer. Villeroy then went to Wissembourg to confer with Marsin. They resolved that, if the Allies crossed the Rhine at Speyer, they would advance all their troops to the Queich; and that Marsin's cavalry would advance to the Queich on the next day and deploy between Bellheim and Ottersheim. However, they lost track of the Allies and Villeroy, fearing that they would cross the Rhine further downstream, sent M. de Souternon with 1,000 horse to Germersheim.
On 6 September
- In the morning, Marlborough rode to Eugène's headquarters at Waghäusel.
- The Prussians of Marlborough's Army reached Stettfeld.
- The Imperialist cavalry under G.d.C. Prince of Hanover reached Bretten.
- Marlborough sent a few British cavalry rgts across the Rhine to reinforce the 2 Palatine bns posted in the bridgehead.
- Prince Eugène ordered the rest of the 8 Palatine bns, the 2 Upper-Rhine bns and 4 Westphalian bns to cross the Rhine and reinforce the troops defending the bridgehead.
- Villeroy joined Souternon near the plain of Heiligenstein to reconnoitre the bridge of the Allies.
- Marsin and Villeroy deployed their armies along the Queich. Germersheim was occupied by 2 French bns. Orders were also sent to Tallard's cavalry, posted at Hochfelden, to join the army despite its poor conditions. Finally Villeroy wrote to the Elector of Bavaria, asking him to send forward his Bavarian troops.
On 7 September
- At 6:00 a.m., the Allies passed the Rhine on two bridges near Heiligenstein. Brigadier Coppé, who commanded the Palatine Leibregiment zu Fuss covered the passage of the rest of the army with the troops already on the left bank of the Rhine (an Imperialist corps of 8,000 foot and 250 horse, supported by 500 foot and 250 horse from Marlborough's troops).
- Around 8:00 a.m., Coppé marched on Germersheim. On his way, he engaged French troops and drove them back. However, facing the strong French garrison (now 13 bns) in Germersheim, he had to retire between Lingenfeld and Schwegenheim.
- The Allies encamped with their right on the Speyerbach and their left at Heiligenstein.
- Margrave Louis of Baden, who had marched by Aschaffenburg, effected a junction with the main Allied army. So did the Allied troops guarding the lines towards Strasbourg.
- At daybreak, Marsin's infantry marched to Germersheim.
- When he heard that the Allies had crossed the Rhine, Villeroy then sent 9 bns and 25 sqns under M. de Guiscard at Germersheim. The rest of the army encamped some 6 km behind Germersheim, extending its left towards Landau. The headquarters were established at Bellheim.
- At 10:00 a.m., while reconnoitring the Queich, Villeroy was informed that the Allies had attacked Germersheim and stormed the outposts. However, M. de Guiscard soon announced him that they had retired. Villeroy sent 4 additional bns to Germersheim bringing its defenders to a total of 15 bns.
|Order of Battle|
|Order of battle of the Allied Army in September 1704|
On 8 September
- The last corps of the Allied army (the Prussians of the Prince of Anhalt-Dessau and the Imperialist cavalry of the Prince of Hanover) completed the crossing of the Rhine.
- The Margrave of Baden also arrived at the camp of the Allies.
- Marlborough and Eugène were now at the head of an army of 83 bns and 166 sqns.
- Villeroy held a council of war where it was decided to retreat.
On the night of 8 to 9 September, Villeroy threw 8 additional field bns into Landau which was already defended by 4 garrison bns, 2 sqns, gunners, bombardiers and engineers, all under the command of Lieutenant-General de Laubanie. The place had provisions and ammunition for an entire year. Its garrison now consisted of 4,750 foot and 250 horse for a total of 5,000 men.
On 9 September
- Before daybreak, the Allies marched southwards in eight columns to attack Villeroy's left flank. However, at daybreak, Villeroy started his retreat to Langenkandel (probably Kandel).
- The Allies were very surprised to find that the French had already evacuated Germersheim and the whole line on the Queich. They encamped in the positions previously occupied by the French between Bellheim and Offenbach/Queich, and sent a cavalry corps forward to the heights near Landau.
- Imperial hussars of the vanguard had spotted a French supply convoy and, assisted by 200 Palatine horse under Colonel Frankenberg, they attacked this convoy, capturing 1 officer and 20 carabiniers while the rest fled to Landau and Langenkandel.
- The Allies agreed that Margrave Louis of Baden would lay siege to Landau. Meanwhile, Marlborough and Prince Eugène would march to the Lauter to cover the siege.
At midnight on the night of 9 to 10 September, Villeroy sent his baggage forward.
On 10 September
- The Allies marched to Langenkandel where they anchored their left and extended their right up to Barbelroth at the foot of the mountains, occupying a front of 10 km.
- Colonel Count Sinzendorf remained near Landau with the Limburg-Styrum Dragoons and the Castell Dragoons to observe the place and to protect the baggage.
- Vehlen's Corps crossed the Rhine at Philippsburg and marched to Bellheim. The infantry of this corps (2 Imperial bns, 4 Palatine bns and 4 Swabian bns) under Major-General Baden-Durlach established the blockade of Landau.
- King Joseph, who had travelled by way of Pilsen and Cham, arrived at Hersbruck.
- At daybreak, Villeroy's Army decamped from Langenkandel, passed the Lauter and took position behind this river with its headquarters at Schleithal.
On 11 September
- Colonel Frankenberg with 300 horse of the Venningen Carabiniers, supported by 2 Imperial cuirassier rgts (Mercy and Hannover) occupied Altenstadt. After a strong counterattack by the French, he had to evacuate Altstadt. However, when he received reinforcements which had been sent by Major-General Mercy, Frankenberg reoccupied Altstadt.
- King Joseph reached Nuremberg, where he was informed of the general state of operations.
- Villeroy retired behind the Moder and encamped with his right at Bischwiller, his left at Schweighouse-sur-Moder and his headquarters at Haguenau. All his troops (85 bns, 113 sqns) were now assembled in these positions.
- Villeroy threw 5 additional bns into Fort-Louis. Villeroy's Army was in very poor condition with an average of only 50 men per squadron.
- In the evening, Villeroy evacuated Wissembourg, which was immediately occupied by Major-General Count Mercy. Prince Eugène sent 2 Palatine bns to garrison the town.
- The remnants of Tallard's Army had not yet made a junction with Villeroy's Army. Tallard's infantry garrisoned various places and his cavalry was still at Hochfelden.
- The Elector's Army marched from Saverne to escort him on the road to Metz.
On 12 September
- The Allies encamped at Cron Weissemburg (unidentified location) near Landau.
- The Elector of Bavaria personally set off from Strasbourg towards Metz and Luxembourg, on his way to the Spanish Netherlands.
Villeroy estimated that it would be impossible to defend Lower Alsace. However, Marsin urged the Court to maintain the army on the Moder and, meanwhile, to prepare a fortified line on the Zorn. Marsin also insisted on the importance of occupying Lorraine and of repairing the fortifications of Nancy. Villeroy finally rallied to Marsin's advice and maintained his army behind the Moder.
During the siege of Landau, Villeroy deployed the remnants of Tallard's cavalry (46 sqns forming only 19 effective sqns) along the road to Metz up to Sarrebourg. For their part, Villeroy's own 113 sqns had only 7,000 horses.
On 13 September
- With no attack to be feared, Marlborough sent Brigadier Ferguson to Mainz with the 1st Foot Guards (1 bn), Prince George of Denmark's Foot (1 bn, aka Churchill), Lord North and Grey's Foot (1 bn), Scots Fusiliers (1 bn, aka Rowe) and Thomas Meredith's Foot (1 bn). Officially, this brigade would escort the French prisoners from Hanau to the Dutch Republic. However, Marlborough's true objective was the capture of Trarbach.
On 15 September, Villeroy sent 1 bn and some engineers to Saverne to repair the walls and put the citadel in defence condition.
On 18 September, the first contingents of workers arrived on the Moder to work at the new line of defence. Overall, 8,000 pioneers had been requisitioned in Alsace and 10,000 in Bourgogne and the Évêchés. Furthermore, 4,000 soldiers were put to work.
On 19 September, work on the Line of the Moder (approx. 36 km long) began near Drusenheim. Meanwhile, Villeroy detached M. de Coigny with 6 weak cavalry rgts to Metz.
On 21 September, Villeroy detached 8 additional cavalry rgts to Metz. These troops were followed by the artillery train destined to Flanders. However, 50 pieces were kept on the Moder.
On 26 September
- The former garrison of Ulm (now reduced to 1,400 Frenchmen and 300 Bavarians most of the latter having deserted on the way) finally arrived at Strasbourg.
- Villeroy personally went to Strasbourg to confer with Marsin. They decided to extend the Lines of the Moder upstream of Neubourg to Pfaffenhoffen and then to direct it towards the Zorn.
On 28 September, the Lines of the Moder were completed between Drusenheim and Haguenau.
On 29 September, 3,000 workers arriving from the Évêchés were put to work on the Lines of the Moder between Haguenau and Schweighouse-sur-Moder while the workers who had now completed the entrenchments between Drusenheim and Haguenau were redirected between Schweighouse-sur-Moder and Neubourg.
On 30 September, Villeroy sent 4 of the bns recently arrived from Ulm to reinforce M. de Coigny on the Moselle. Meanwhile, the remnants of the 5 Bavarian bns set off for Flanders. Villeroy also sent the Maison du Roi to Hochfelden.
On 1 October, instructed by the king to follow the Elector of Bavaria in the Spanish Netherlands, Villeroy personally went to Strasbourg to confer with Marsin on the dispositions for the defence of Alsace.
On 2 October on the Moselle, Coigny formed a camp at Kœnigsmacker (20 sqns, 5 garrison bns, the 4 bns returning from Ulm) to intervene if the Allies advanced on Trier and Trarbach.
On 8 October, after a long convalescence in Strasbourg, Marsin finally joined the army on the Moder.
On 10 October, M. de Coigny died from sickness and was replaced by the Marquis d'Alegre on the Moselle.
On 11 October, Villeroy set off for Versailles to meet the king before continuing his travel towards Flanders.
For the campaign of the next year, Marlborough formed the design of carrying on the war along the Moselle to the Counties of Luxembourg and Lorraine. During a council of war, it was agreed that Margrave Louis of Baden with 40,000 Imperial troops should, early in the spring of 1705, join Marlborough on the Moselle.
In mid-October, judging that the French could not relieve the garrison of Landau, Marlborough sent off British and Dutch troops. The infantry went down the Rhine by boats as far as Nijmegen from whence they dispersed into winter-quarters; the cavalry marched by land the same way they had come up.
On 13 October, 4 British bns under Brigadier Meredith set off from Cron Weissemburg and marched to Germersheim to be transported on the Rhine towards Bonn. where they would temporarily guard the French prisoners.
On 17 October, a Dutch corps of 3 bns and 6 sqns was sent from Cron Weissemburg to Homburg. This corps marched by way of Auweiler and Pirmasens. Homburg would serve as a base of operation for Marlborough's operations and its defensive works had to be improved.
On 20 October
- Marlborough sent 14 guns and 4 mortars from Cron Weissemburg, escorted by 3 bns, to reinforce the detachment already posted in Homburg.
- Marsin detached M. de Reffuges with 6 bns to Metz. He also decided to extend the Lines of the Moder from Pfaffenhoffen to Ingwiller. Finally, he sent his artillery to Strasbourg.
On 21 October
- Marlborough sent 22 bns from Cron Weissemburg towards Homburg.
- Marsin sent 4 bns to occupy Bouquenom (present-day Sarre-Union), Saarbrücken, Sarreguemines and Fénétrange. These troops were soon followed by 3 cavalry rgts and 1 Spanish dragoon rgt.
On 22 October
- Marlborough sent 48 sqns under Lieutenant-General Hompesch from Cron Weissemburg towards Homburg.
On 23 October
- Marlborouch personally left Cron Weissemburg to join his army at Homburg. He had left 12 bns and 34 sqns behind on the Lauter River under the command of Prince Eugène. As he reached Auweiler, Marlborough was informed that the French were establishing their line of defence on the Sarre River.
- Marlborough, considering that he did not have to fear a relief attempt against Landau any more, asked Prince Eugène to send him the 12 bns and 34 sqns which he had left behind.
On 24 October, Marlborough personally joined the Allied forces (27 bns and 48 sqns for a total of only 12,000 men with 14 cannon and 4 howitzers), Prussians, Hanoverians and Hessians in British pay, assembled at Homburg.
On 25 October
- Marlborough set off from Homburg with his corps and marched towards Trier.
- Marsin sent the rest of the troops destined for Flanders to Metz.
On 26 October
- Marlborough reached Sankt Wendel within a short distance of Trier with the cavalry of the corps which he had previously assembled at Homburg.
- D'Alegre reviewed his corps at Kœnigsmacker on the Moselle: his 5 infantry rgts totalled only 2,152 men; and his 27 cavalry rgts only 2,832 horses fit for duty.
- Marsin sent the first part of a corps of 39 bns and 43 sqns towards Metz.
On 28 October, Marlborough reached Hermeskeil with his cavalry, while his infantry reached Nonnweiler.
In the night of 28 to 29 October, a deputation of the City of Trier arrived at Marlborough’s camp to ask to occupy their city as soon as possible to avoid retaliations by the French.
On 29 October
- At daybreak, Marlborough marched from his camp at Hermeskeil with all his horse and 4 bns against a fort defended by 300 French near Trier. The defenders retired over the Moselle without opposing any resistance and Marlborough made himself master of Trier.
On 31 October
- Marlborough’s infantry reached the Moselle River.
- Marlborough collected 6,000 peasants to repair and strengthen the fortifications of Trier and posted his cavalry at Konz (aka Consarbrück) to cover the operations.
- Marsin sent the last part of a corps of 39 bns and 43 sqns towards Metz. Part of this corps was destined to defend the eastern frontier of Brabant, while the other part would take its winter-quarters in France.
- After sending this corps, Marsin had only 36 bns and 58 sqns in the Lines of the Moder.
On 1 November, Marsin sent the cavalry of his right wing to the Zorn.
On 2 November, Marsin sent the cavalry of his left wing to the Zorn.
On 3 November
- After settling the distribution of winter-quarters in the vicinity of Trier, Marlborough personally went to Bernkastel near Trarbach where 12 Dutch bns sent from Malmédy on the Meuse were already waiting for him.
- Marlborough had left the corps assembled at Trier under the command of Lieutenant-General Hompesch.
- Marlborough then surveyed the vicinities of Trarbach, which was defended by a small garrison of 600 men, and gave the necessary directions to the Prince of Hesse for the siege of the place. The prince would be assisted by the Ingénieur-General de Trognée.
On 4 November, Marlborough returned to the main Allied camp at Cron Weissemburg near Landau.
On 5 November
- The Allies sent a detachment of 800 foot and 400 horse over the Sarre. They made themselves masters of Wasserbillig.
- D'Alegre received additional reinforcements who brought up his corps to 8,000 foot and 4,000 horse. He recalled 6 guns from Metz.
On 6 November
- D'Alegre sent 3 bns to Luxembourg.
On the night of 6 to 7 November, Lieutenant-General Hompesch passed the Sarre at Consarbrück with all his cavalry, 26 bns and the available artillery. He let his cavalry occupy the heights of Beurig.
On 7 November
- Hompesch invested Saarburg and began the construction of a battery.
- The 3 bns sent by d'Alegre arrived at Luxembourg.
On the night of 7 to 8 November, fearing for Saarburg, d'Alegre detached the Chevalier de Nesle with 500 horse to reconnoitre Hompesch’s Army.
On 8 November
- Hompesch’s artillery opened against the Castle of Saarburg.
- In the evening, the garrison of Saarburg surrendered to the Allies as prisoners of war.
- At Trarbach, the Prince of Hesse finally received the necessary artillery and opened the trench.
- 5 additional bns arrived at d'Alegre's camp.
- D'Alegre was then informed that Hompesch had already invested Saarburg.
- The garrison of Trarbach consisted of 500 men under the command of Colonel de Bars.
On 9 November
- Hompesch, leaving 300 men in the Castle of Saarburg, returned to Trier, after having razed part of the walls of Saarburg.
- D'Alegre decamped from Kœnigsmacker and retired under the walls of Thionville, leaving only 500 horse to observe the Allies on the Sarre.
On the night of 9 to 10 November, the governor of Freiburg, Major-General Winkelhofen, set off with 8 bns and 100 horse, preceded by 20 wagons loaded with weapons and ammunition and marched on Alt-Breisach, hoping to surprise its garrison (4 bns and 6 free coys).
On 10 November
- Winkelhofen’s force made an unsuccessful attempt to storm Alt-Breisach. The Allies retired to Freiburg.
- Another Allied detachment (800 grenadiers and 1,200 horse) crossed the Moselle and advanced towards Echternach.
Marsin then sent 2 additional bns to Breisach.
On 15 November
- The Allied detachment occupied Echternach when the small French garrison evacuated it.
- At Landau, the Allies finally managed to establish a lodgement on the parapet of the demi-lune.
On 17 November
- The Allied detachment occupying Echternach retired to the Moselle.
- Echternach was re-occupied by a free coy (150 men) and 100 grenadiers.
- Marsin sent 2 bns to Saverne and 1 bn to Strasbourg.
On 18 November, three batteries of Allied artillery, established on the Günterberg, opened against the walls of Trarbach. Work also began on additional mortar batteries on the left bank of the Moselle.
On 23 November
- The Prince de Hesse tried to storm Trarbach but the small garrison (500 men) repulsed the attack. Colonel de Bars, who commanded the garrison, lost a foot when a cannonball hit it.
- At 10:00 a.m., the garrison of Landau finally surrendered. M. de Laubanie obtained the honours of war for the garrison.
On 24 November, the capitulation of Landau was signed. After the capture of Landau, Prince Eugène returned to Bavaria to complete the occupation of the electorate.
On 26 November, the garrison of Landau marched towards Haguenau where it arrived on 29 November.
On 28 November, Colonel de Bars, who cammanded the French garrison of Trarbach was killed by a bomb. Lieutenant-Colonel du Claux then assumed command.
In the last days of November, the Prince of Hesse threw 10,000 men in Trier and the rest of his corps took quarters on the Kyll and the Lower Moselle, and in the Jülich country. Another corps penetrated into the Duchy of Luxembourg to make itself master of Schönecken but was driven back by partisans under Lacroix and retired on Trier. Another Allied party made itself master of the Castle of Dachstuhl.
The Palatine Contingent took up its winter-quarters in the Electorate of Palatinate: the Leibregiment zu Fuss at Neustadt an der Haardt; Rehbinder Infantry at Deidesheim and Wachenheim; Bentheim Infantry at Klingenmünster, the Garde Grenadiers at Kreuznach, Bourscheidt Infantry and Sachsen-Meiningen Infantry garrisoned Landau (1 bn of the latter was in the Kronweißenburg); Frankenberg Cavalry at Neustadt; Wiser Cavalry at Haßloch; and Stolzenberg Cavalry at Wormns. The rest of the contingent spent inter in the country of Zweibrücken.
With his offensive on the Moselle, Marlborough had thus cleared the river of all French garrisons from Trier to Koblenz.
On 1 December, Marsin was informed that the Allies were moving their bridge at Hagenbach upstream to Dahlund (unidentified location). He prepared a convoy of provisions and ammunition and sent it to Fort-Louis.
Louis XIV decided that the Army of the Rhine would comprise 42 bns and 60 sqns, excluding garrisons, the troops defending Landau, and 8 infantry rgts defending the Lines of the Moder.
On 2 December, d'Alegre's troops destined to take up their winter-quarters in Luxembourg, Metz and Sarrelouis set off from his camp at Nieder-Yuttz (unidentified location).
From 3 to 6 December, Marsin gradually sent his troops in their winter-quarters in the Évêchés, Lorraine and France-Comté, retaining only those destined to take up their winter-quarters in Alsace. Marsin also ordered 6 bns and 1 dragoon rgt to erect a redoubt and entrenchments at Beinheim to better support Fort-Louis.
On 7 December, part of d'Alegre's Corps took their winter-quarters at Thionville and the Bavarian cavalry set off for the Spanish Netherlands.
On 8 December, the Prince of Hesse launched another attack against the French defenders of Trarbach, but the assault was driven back.
On 9 December, d'Alegre personally went to Luxembourg after having inspected the surrounding country.
On 10 December, the Ingénieur-General de Trognée ordered his miners to work under the glacis of Trarbach.
From 10 to 12 December, Marsin sent the infantry stationed on the Moder and the cavalry posted on the Zorn to their winter-quarters.
On 11 December, the work of the Allied miners before Trarbach was destroyed and Ingénieur-General de Trognée was killed during the combat.
By 17 December, the breach in the fortifications of Trarbach was practicable.
On 18 December, the French garrison of Trarbach asked to capitulate and obtained the honours of war.
On 20 December, the garrison of Trarbach was escorted by way of Trier and Wasserbillig to Thionville.
On 22 December, Marsin was informed that the Allies had 19 bns, between Speyer and Landau; and a few cavalry and hussar detachments between the Lauter and the Queich. Other Allied troops were quartered on the left bank of the Rhine, occupying Palatinate and the Bishoprics of Worms and Mainz; and on the right bank from the Lines of Stollhofen to the Main River.
On 25 December, the garrison of Trarbach (now reduced to 440 men) arrived at Thionville.
After the capture of Trarbach, the Allies took up quarters along the Moselle and in the Hunsrück where they continued to occupy Homburg, Hornbach, Zweibrücken and Kaiserlautern. They also remained masters of the Castle of Saarburg.
On the night of 30 to 31 December, three Allied detachments set off from Trier to attack French outposts on the Moselle and the Sûre. The first detachment (700 men) passed the Moselle at Nittel and marched to Grevenmacher, capturing part of its small garrison; the second detachment (800 men and 4 guns) took drove back the garrison posted on the heights of Wasserbillig on the left bank of the Sûre and set the defence afire; and the third detachment (1,000 men) reached the heights of Echternach but realized that the defenders were ready to resist and the detachment retired to Trier.
The Marquis d'Alegre broke all fords and most of the bridges on the Sarre between Saarlouis and Sarrebourg. He also decided to occupy Sarralbe, Puttelange-aux-Lacs, Saint-Avold, Boulay-Moselle and Forbach.
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. 4 pp. 602-673
- Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 6, Vienna 1879, pp. 555-568, 589-595
- Coxe, William: Memoirs of John Duke of Marlborough with his Original Correspondence, Vol. 1, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Browne, 1818, pp. 311-336
- Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925
- Hamilton, F. W.: The origin and history of the First or Grenadier Guards, London: John Murray, 1874, Vol. 1, pp. 444-456
- Spanish Succession, War of the, in Encyclopaedia Britannica (c1910-1922), Vol. 25, pp. 601-602
- Kane, Richard: Campaigns of king William and queen Anne, from 1689 to 1712, London: J. Millan, 1745, pp. 44-58
- Treuenfest, A. v.: Geschichte des k. k. Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 20 Friedrich Wilhelm, Kronprinz von Preussen, Vienna 1878