1705 – Campaign on the Rhine

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1705 – Campaign on the Rhine

The campaign lasted from May to November 1705

Introduction

The brilliant Allied victory in the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704 had dramatically changed the strategic situation in Germany. At the beginning of 1705, Emperor Leopold I was now master of Bavaria and did not have to fear a French invasion of his Hereditary Lands. The possession of Landau and the occupation of the Lines of the Lauter now allowed the Allies to enter into Lower Alsace; while the capture of Trarbach and Trier gave them opportunities to operate on the Moselle or on the Sarre rivers.

Map

Map of the Upper Rhine in 1700 - Copyright Dinos Antoniadis

Description

Winter-quarters and Preparations

At the beginning of January 1705, 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 to prevent Allied raids against his quarters.

The Allies had assembled a force of 10,000 men at Trier. They also established quarters on both banks of the Moselle: on one side up to Palatinate; on the other up to the gates of Cologne. They formed large magazines at Cologne, Koblenz and Trier.

D'Alegre was soon informed that the Allied forces in Tried had been reinforced with 3 hussar rgts.

On 12 January

  • Allies
    • The Allies crossed the Sarre at Saarlouis and marched towards Sierck (present-day Sierck-les-Bains).
  • French
    • D'Alegre immediately sent M. du Rosel with 500 horse and 300 grenadiers to observe them. In fact, this Allied detachment was just covering a raid conducted by 500 hussars who set the villages of Vigy and Gondreville.

The plan of the Allies for the campaign of 1705 called for 60,000 men under the Duke of Marlborough to operate on the Moselle; 30,000 men under the Margrave of Baden, on the Rhine; 30,000 men under Field Marshal Nassau-Ouwerkerk on the Meuse; and 30,000 men, on the Lower Scheldt in the area of Antwerp.

Louis XIV decided to assemble an army of 70 bns and 110 sqns on the Moselle under the Maréchal de Villars. Meanwhile, the Maréchal de Villeroy would second Elector Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria who would be at the head of an army of 50 bns and 72 sqns in Flanders; and finally an army of 40 bns and 60 sqns under Maréchal Marsin would be posted on the Rhine.

During winter, the French improved the Loines of the Moder and entrenched the posts securing communications between Alsace, the Sarre River and the Moselle River. Magazines were formed on the Moselle.

On 6 February, an Allied corps (500 hussars, 1,000 foot and 1,000 horse) crossed the Moselle between Kœnigsmacker and Homburg and advanced in the region of Metz, burning the villages of Chelaincourt, Hessange and Saint-Hubert. Another Allied detachment (approx. 1,000 men) with 3 cannon crossed the Saar, advanced on Blieskastel and attacked the castle defended by M. de Vernon with 300 men who drove them back with losses.

On 10 February, the Maréchal de Villars went to Metz. He found the infantry in a rather good condition but the cavalry was in a poor state. For example, the 6 sqns posted at Verdun counted a total of less than 100 men. To compensate for the weakness of his cavalry, Villars sent 7 sqns, recently arrived at Luxembourg from Flanders, to Metz and Thionville.

Villars presented plans to invest Trier and to occupy the Province of Lorraine. The latter proposition was rejected by the king.

Villars sent 5 bns from Metz to Thionville and asked M. de Vandal, who was defending Sierck with only 350 men, to hold to the last extremity.

On 14 February, Villars personally went to Thionville. However, the Allies did not invest Sierck.

On 15 February, Marsin left Strasbourg for the Court at Versailles.

Villars then went to Luxembourg to reconnoitre the country between this city and the Moselle and evaluate the possibility to establish a defensive line between Luxembourg and Sierck. He soon found that the project was not practicable. He then went to Sierck to inspect the place.

On 20 February, Villars inspected the region between the Moselle and the Sarre, riding on the road leading from Sierck to Saarlouis.

Villars then established outposts between Thionville and the Nied River under M. de Streiff. Villars was also informed of the arrival of additional Allied cavalry rgts at Trier and of the march of Hessian and Danish troops, previously posted on the Nahe and the Glan rivers, towards Trier.

At the end of February, remounts started to arrive for Villars’ Army. Villars then formed the project to make himself master of Homburg, Zweibrücken and Hornbach, and then to cut communication between Trier and Saarburg and lay siege to Saarburg.

On 7 March, Villars sent forward part of the troops destined to the capture of Homburg but soon realised that the roads were not practicable because of the torrential rains of the preceding days. He was forced to abandon his design against Homburg.

On 8 March, Villars personally left Metz to visit Louis XIV at Versailles. He confided command to the Marquis d’Alegre.

M. de Choisy, who commanded at Saarlouis, took measures to improve the defence of the place. He formed 6 coys (each of 60 men) with the burghers, asked the quartermasters for 100 oxen and 2,000 sheep, cut down the forest on the height of Wallerfangen, and destroyed the dikes of several ponds.

On 21 March, Villars arrived at Metz, returning from Versailles. Seeing that the Allies were still idle around Trier, he reconsidered an offensive against Homburg, Zweibrücken and Hornbach. To misguide the Allies, he organised a bread convoy for Saarlouis, intending to reuse the horses requisitioned from the peasant for his offensive.

Everything was soon ready for Villars’ offensive, but once more heavy rains and swelling rivers forced him to differ it. Bad weather persisted in the first days of April.

By the end of March, the French had completed the Lines of the Moder in Alsace.

At the beginning of April, the Allies made a few movements in their quarters on the left bank of the Rhine: 3 Hessian rgts and 2 Palatine rgts marched towards Zweibrücken

From 1 April, M. de Cheyladet, who had assumed command in Alsace during the absence of Marsin, employed 2,000 pioneers to improve the fortifications of Drusenheim.

On 5 April, Villars gave orders to initiate the offensive on April 10.

On 7 April, Villars received intelligence that the Margrave of Baden was assembling his troops near Wissembourg in Lower Alsace and that some Allied infantry had advanced to Selbach.

On 10 April, Villars was forced to postpone his offensive to 16 April. The troops which should leave Metz with him consisted of 11 bns and the elite of 10 sqns. This column was supposed to cross the Sarre at St. Johann and marched to Zweibrücken. Meanwhile, M. d’Alegre should march with a similar corps drawn from the garrisons of Thionville and Luxembourg, cross the Sarre at Saarlouis and attack Homburg; and a third corps under M. de Druys consisting of troops from Marsal, Vic and Moyenvic should advance by way of Sarreguemines and fall on Hornbach. During the march of these three corps, M. de Courcelles would assembled a fourth one at Metz and advanced to Bouzonville to serve as a reserve.

On 14 April Marlborough arrived at The Hague from London.

On 19 April

  • French
    • The corps of Villars, d’Alegre and Druys crossed the Sarre.
  • Allies
    • The Allies evacuated Hornbach, Zweibrücken, Landstuhl, Kaiserlautern and Kusel, and retired to Mainz and Landau.
    • The garrison of Homburg retired in the castle.

On 20 April, Villars interrupted his advance on Trier, heavy rain having once more made the roads impracticable. He assembled all his columns at Saarbrücken.

On 22 April

  • Allies
    • The Allies established a bridge on the Rhine downstream from Lauterbourg, near the village of Berg. A few units crossed the Rhine and marched in the direction of Landau while others encamped near Lauterbourg.
  • French
    • Villars sent his troops back to their quarters. Troops were gradually arriving from Flanders and from the interior of France to reinforce Villars’ Army.
    • M. de Cheyladet took measures to be able to assemble 30 bns near Haguenau within 24 hours.

On 23 April, Villars personally went from Saarbrücken to Saarlouis to inspect the frontier. He received intelligence that the Duke of Marlborough was arrived at The Hague; that Allied troops were on the move; and that 5 infantry rgts and 2 cavalry rgts were marching from Birkenfeld to Trier. Villars instructed M. de Choisy and M. de Marcé who commanded at Saarlouis to put this place in state of defence, specifying that, in case of a siege, he would defend the place with 12 bns (including 9 field bns), 300 men for free companies and 1 dragoon sqn.

Villars then reconnoitred Allied outposts in the region of Sierck. Everything indicated that the Allied corps at Trier was getting stronger each day. Marlborough was gradually assembling an army of 112 bns and 176 sqns in the region of Trier. For his part, by 20 May, the Margrave of Baden would be able to field 88 bns and 32 sqns. Villars asked the Court at Versailles to transfer some troops from the Army of the Rhine to his own Army of the Moselle.

On 24 April

  • Allies
    • The Allies sent 2 infantry rgts, 1 cavalry rgt and 1 dragoon rgt to the left bank of the Rhine using their bridge near Berg. Other Allied units began to assemble in the Lines of Stollhofen and near Philipsburg.
  • French
    • M. de Cheyladet went to Haguenau and sent 4 infantry rgts towards the Zorn River. He then returned to Strasbourg.

On 29 April

  • Allies
    • Field Marshal Thüngen arrived at Lauterbourg.
    • 4 additional bns crossed to the left bank of the Rhine and marched towards Rheinzabern.
    • A cavalry corps was encamped opposite Fort-Louis.

On 30 April. The Margrave of Baden arrived at Rastatt.

Campaign

On 5 May, an Allied corps (12,000 men) crossed the Rhine at Mainz and advanced towards Hunsrück.

On 7 May, Villars sent a corps under M. de Streiff to Bouzonville to prevent peasants of Lorraine to bring their forage to Trier. All troops posted along the Seille moved closer to the Nied, being replaced on the Seille by troops previously quartered in the rear.

On 8 May, the troops of the Chevalier de Rosel, which had advanced on the road leading from Thionville to Sierck, encamped at the Chartreuse of Rettel.

On 9 May

  • French
    • Villars personally went to Thionville.
    • The main body of the French Army of the Moselle cantoned between Metz, Thionville and the Nied.

On 10 May

  • French
    • Villars personally went to Sierck to identify advantageous positions for his army.

On 11 May, the Maréchal de Marsin arrived at Strasbourg to assume command of the Army of the Rhine which he had previously confided to M. de Cheyladet.

On 13 May, Villars returned to Thionville.

On 14 May, Villars was informed that Allied troops were posted in the region between Trier, Koblenz and Landau; and that the British Contingent was still in the area of Maastricht.

On 15 May

  • Allies
    • The Danish Contingent arrived at Trier.
    • The Hessian Contingent cantoned near Birkenfeld marched in the direction of Trier.
    • 5 infantry rgts and 2 cavalry rgts marched from Neustadt by way of Kaiserlautern and Landstuhl towards the Sarre River.
  • French
    • Louis XIV wrote to Villars to instruct him, if ever Marlborough launched an offensive in Flanders, to divide his army in two corps and to send one of these corps towards Luxembourg to support Villeroy’s Army of Flanders.

On 18 May

  • French
    • Villars assembled most of his army near Kœnigsmacker. He personally went to Bouzonville to reconnoitre the area. Villars could count on 70 field bns and 113 sqns (including 5 bns and 6 sqns which could not join the army before June). From this force, he destined 10 bns and 3 sqns to the garrisons of Saarlouis, Luxembourg and Thionville. Thus he could field only 55 bns and 104 sqns at the beginning of the campaign. He could also count on the Maison du Roi (13 sqns) and on troops that the Army of the Rhine could eventually spare for reinforcements.
    • II./Boulonnais Infanterie was not fit for field duty and was posted in Thionville. Similarly Conflans Infanterie was left in Luxembourg.
    • The Army of the Rhine should eventually count 40 bns and 60 sqns, but 6 bns and 5 sqns were not yet arrived and 5 other field bns were necessary for the defence of Alt-Breisach.

On 19 May, 5 Imperialist infantry rgts encamped at Kaiserlautern.

On 21 May

  • Allies
    • Marlborough’s Army reached Schleiden.
    • Marlborough arrived at Rastatt to confer with the Margrave of Baden.
  • French
    • The Maréchal de Marsin advanced his infantry between the Moder and the Zorn rivers, and all his cavalry on the Zorn. However, Marsin received a letter from Louis XIV asking him to lay siege to Landau or to send a reinforcement of 15 bns and 20 sqns to Villars’ Army of the Moselle. Marsin chose to reinforce Villars, considering that the siege of Landau was unfeasible in the present situation.

On 23 May, Marlborough set off from Rastatt and rode to join his army on the Moselle.

On 24 May, Marsin assembled 15 bns and 20 sqns at Saverne under Lieutenant-General de Lannion to reinforce Villars’ Army.

On 25 May

  • Allies
    • Marlborough’s Army arrived at Schönecken.
  • French
    • Lannion’s Corps set off from Saverne and marched to Sarrebourg.
    • Marsin distributed his remaining 25 bns and 35 sqns (another 4 bns and 5 sqns had not yet joined the army) along the Lines of the Moder: the infantry and the dragoons in first line; and the cavalry in second line. The places of Alsace continued to be garrisoned by 22 bns and 12 detached coys.

On 26 May, Marlborough personally rode to Trier where he conferred with the Prince of Hesse-Kassel, Prince François de Lorraine and the Prince of Württemberg.

On 27 May

  • Allies
    • Marlborough’s Army marched from Schönecken to Bitburg.
  • French
    • Lannion’s Corps marched from Sarrebourg to Marsal.
    • The Maréchal de Villars reconnoitred once more the vicinity of Haute-Sierck and gave orders to M. de Choisy to restore an old entrenchment on the ridge of Wallerfangen and to put a garrison of 400 men in them, in order to impede the march of the Allies on Saarlouis.
    • On his return to Rettel, Villars was informed of the march of Marlborough to Bitburg, that the troops of the District of Westphalia were marching towards the Moselle.

On 28 May

  • Allies
    • Marlborough’s Army (now counting 79 bns and 94 sqns) arrived on the heights between Wasserbillig and Igel where it worked at the establishment of a second bridge on the Moselle.

On 30 May, Villars was informed that Marlborough’s Army began to cross the Sarre River and occupied the heights of Saarburg. He immediately sent Lannion’s Corps to Bouzonville. But the information appeared to be false.

On 31 May

  • Allies
    • The Westphalian Contingent arrived at Cologne.
  • French
    • Lannion’s Corps marched to Freistroff.

On 2 June

  • Allies
    • Marlborough concentrated at Konzerbrück all Allied troops previously encamped between Konzerbrück and Trier. He also gave orders to his own army to follow on the next day. The baggage and train remained at Trier.
  • French
    • Villars advanced all his infantry on the heights of Haute-Sierck, leaving his cavalry on the bank of the Moselle. Hoping to induce Marlborough to attack, Villars did not entrench his new positions.

On 3 June

  • Allies
    • Early in the morning, Marlborough crossed the Sarre at Konzerbrück with the main body of his army and, after a force march, reached the height of Perl in sight of Villars’ Army in the evening. He took position with his right anchored on the Moselle and his left extending towards Scheuerwald.

On 4 June

  • Allies
    • Part of Marlborough’s artillery and additional troops joined his army on the heights of Perl. Marlborough took position with his right to the Moselle on the height behind Apach. His line extending behind the ravine of the Mensberg to the wood of Scheuerwald and up to Biestroff (unidentified location) in front of the village of Elst (unidentified location) where Marlborough established his headquarters.
    • 10 Palatine bns and 4 Palatine sqns marched from Kaiserlautern to Trier.
  • French
    • Villars recalled Lannion’s Corps to his camp. Villars was now at the head of 73 bns and 124 sqns. To make a better use of his cavalry, Villars moved the right of his infantry back and established his camp in two lines in a semicircle anchored on the bank of the Moselle. He placed the right of his infantry on the heights of Kerling (present-day Kerling-lès-Sierck), the centre on the heights of Freching and the left, anchored on the farmstead of Koenigsberg. The left wing of his cavalry occupied the terrain between the farmstead of Koenigsberg and the Moselle, behind the farmstead of Bechstroff. The right wing of his cavalry encamped between the right of the infantry and the Moselle. Entrenchments were erected in front of the centre which was the most accessible part of the positions. In these entrenchments, there were intervals of the width of a deployed squadron.

For several days, the two armies reconnoitred and skirmished.

On 6 June, a letter of the Maréchal de Marsin informed Villars that the Margrave of Baden was marching on Saarlouis to lay siege to the place. It now became clear that Marlborough only intended to fix Villars’ Army while the margrave would besiege and capture Saarlouis. Villars sent 200 men to reinforce the garrison of Saarlouis.

On 10 June, Louis XIV decided to transfer 15 bns and 15 sqns from the Army of Flanders and 10 bns from the Army of the Rhine to reinforce Villars’ Army of the Moselle.

On 11 June

  • Allies
    • The Prussian Contingent and the troops from Münster arrived at Tawern on their way to join the Allied army near Perl.

By June 13

  • Allies
    • A division of the army of the Margrave of Baden arrived at Trier. It was under the command of the Duke of Württemberg.
    • Villars sent 2 bns and 1 dragoon rgt to Luxembourg.
  • French
    • Villars had 76 bns and 127 sqns and estimated his force to 52,000 men.

On 15 June

  • French
    • The Maréchal de Marsin detached 15 sqns under M. de Saint-Jal to reinforce Villars’ Army. This detachment reached Saverne the same day.
    • After the departure of this detachment, Marsin’s Army still counted 25 bns and 23 sqns. Marsin then marched with 15 bns and 21 sqns, crossed the Moder and encamped between this river and the stream of Mertzwiller to cover the march of Saint-Jal’s detachment, establishing his headquarters at Haguenau.

On 16 June

  • Allies
    • The three divisions of the army of the Margrave of Baden had now assembled at Trier.
    • The Allied troops left in front of Marsin’s Army evacuated their outpost at Woerth and assembled in the Lines of the Lauter.
  • French
    • Saint-Jal’s detachment (15 sqns) reached Sarrebourg.
    • Villars received a letter of the Maréchal de Villeroy informing him that he was sending the requested 15 bns and 15 sqns under d’Alegre.
    • Marsin’s Army encamped at Durrenbach on the Surbach River.
    • Marsin sent 300 men and 50 hussars to occupy Woerth.
    • Louis XIV sent orders to Marsin to join the Army of the Moselle to assist Villars, confiding the command of the Army of the Rhine to M. de Cheyladet.

On the night of 16 to 17 June, Marlborough decamped from the area of Perl.

On 17 June, Villars sent a reinforcement of 12 grenadier coys and 2 dragoon rgts to the garrison of Luxembourg. He also sent couriers to d’Alegre and Saint-Jal to instruct them to halt where they were because he did not need reinforcements any more. The couriers reached d’Alegre at Marche-en-Famene and Saint-Jal at Vic. Villars also made ready to send reinforcements to Villeroy as soon as Marlborough would take the direction of the Meuse River.

On 18 June

  • Allies
    • Marlborough’s Army crossed the Sarre and the Moselle on the bridges of Konzerbrück and Igel. Marlborough assembled his entire army at Trier: the British and Dutch on the left bank of the Moselle, the German on the right bank.
    • The baggage of Marlborough’s Army set off from Trier in the direction of Stadtkyll, Aachen and Maastricht.

On 19 June

  • Allies
    • Marlborough set off from Trier with 30,000 men and marched towards Stadtkyll.
  • French
    • Villars sent the Maison du Roi to Luxembourg.

On 20 June

  • French
    • Saint-Jal’s detachment (15 sqns) marched from Vic to return to Alsace by way of Bouquenom.

On 21 June

  • French
    • Villars sent 10 bns and 12 sqns of his army, along with the Maison du Roi to reinforce Villeroy.

On 22 June

  • French
    • Villars was informed that Marlborough was marching towards the Meuse and that the Margrave of Baden was returning to the Rhine, leaving only Lieutenant-General Aubach with the Palatine Contingent (11 bns, 11 sqns) at Trier.
    • Villars sent an additional force of 5 bns and 8 sqns towards Luxembourg to reinforce Villeroy. He also destined 7 bns and 14 sqns to remain at the camp near Sierck under the command of M. de Druys; 2 bns to reinforce the garrison of Luxembourg; 1 bns to occupy Sierck and 2 bns to reinforce the garrison of Saarlouis, keeping only 43 bns and 63 sqns with him.

On 23 June

  • French
    • M. de Rosel and M. de Coigny assembled 20 bns and 7 sqns at Saarlouis.

On 24 June

  • French
    • Villars sent detachments under MM. Du Bourg and de Druys to make demonstrations against Saarburg and Trier.
    • Villars decamped from Sierck with the main body of his army and marched to Bouzonville where he encamped.
    • Villars instructed Rosel and Coigny to cross the Sarre at St. Johann near Saarbrücken and then march towards Alsace to reinforce Marsin’s Army of the Rhine.
    • Villars sent 5 additional bns to reinforce Villeroy in Flanders.

On 25 June

  • French
    • Villars marched from Bouzonville to Beaumarais near Saarlouis. There he received orders from Louis XIV requiring even more troops for Villeroy.

On 26 June

  • French
    • Villars detached 15 bns and 7 sqns from the main body of his army to reinforce Villeroy in Flanders.
    • Villars was now at the head of only 20 bns and 40 sqns. He decamped from Beaumarais and marched to Saarbrücken.
    • M. de Conflans was still at the head of 15 bns and 20 sqns left behind at the camp near Sierck. M. d’Alegre was on his way to replace Conflans at the head of this corps.

On 26 June

  • French
    • Villars’ Army marched to Sarreguemines. There he learned that the demonstrations of Du Bourg and de Druys on the Sarre had been successful and that the Allies had burned their magazines at Saarburg, demolished its defensive works and retired to Trier.
    • Villars gave orders to M. de Conflans to occupy Saarburg and Trier and to raze all entrenchments. Conflans immediately sent 200 men forward to occupy the Castle of Saarburg where they captured 2 cannon.
    • Marsin’s Army of the Rhine (what remained of it) was still posted at Durrenbach.
  • Allies
    • The Palatine Contingent (11 sqns, 11 bns, 8 artillery pieces) under Lieutenant-Lieutenant-General Aubach had then retired from Trier by way of Veldenz to Trarbach and burned its bridge of boats on the Moselle and a large forage magazine. It had retired so precipitously that it did not destroy the entrenchments erected in the vicinity of Trier. Aubach was supposed to be court-martialed, but the Elector of Palatinate prevented this. However, Aubach was relieved of his command.

On 28 June,

  • French
    • Conflans’ Corps marched from Sierck to Saarburg.

On 29 June

  • French
    • Villars’ Army marched from Sarreguemines to Bouquenom (present-day Sarre-Union).
    • Conflans’ Corps marched from Saarburg to Trier and encamped nearby. There, Conflans learned that General Aubach had stopped at Bernkastel instead of continuing his retreat to Trarbach and that the Allies were mining the Castle of Trarbach to demolish it if ever the French got close to the place.

On 30 June

  • French
    • Villars’ Army force marched to Petite-Pierre.

On 1 July

  • French
    • Villars’ Army marched to Mulhausen between Ingwiller and Pfaffenhoffen.

On 2 July

  • French
    • Villars sojourned at Muhlhausen to rest his troops.
    • Villars and Marsin personally met at Woerth to discuss of their plan for the next phase of the campaign. They decided to first drive the Allies out of the Lines of the Lauter and then to lay siege to Landau. However, Louis XIV asked them to postpone their design until September. He also instructed them to live off the land of the Empire.

On 3 July

  • French
    • Villars’ Army marched from Mulhausen to Woerth where it effected a junction with Marsin’s Army. Villars was now at the head of 59 bns and 95 sqns.
    • At Worth, the French generals were informed that the Allies had retired from Wissembourg to Lauterbourg, leaving only 2 cavalry rgts and 1 hussar rgt in their former camp and 2 bns and 400 picked men in Wissembourg as garrison. They had also sent their baggage to Landau.
  • Allies
    • The troops returning from the Moselle reached Landau.

Louis XIV soon changed his mind when he learned of the evacuation of Trier. He authorised Villars to take 10 bns and 12 sqns from Conflans’ Corps, which had been left behind on the Moselle, and informed M. d’Alegre that he should remain with the Army of Flanders since his presence was no more required on the Moselle.

On 4 July

  • French
    • At daybreak, Villars’ Army marched in four columns. Villars took the lead with 10 sqns, 1,000 grenadiers and all the hussars.
    • As Villars approached from Wissembourg, he drove back some 550 hussars who recrossed the Lauter River and took refuge under the walls of Wissembourg which was defended by 5 rgts (they had prepared for retreat but had received counter-orders during the night).
    • When Villars’ 10 sqns and the head of the columns of grenadiers were within range of the lines, 3 dragoon sqns dismounted and, under MM. De Coigny and Deszeddes,marched against redoubts which they stormed.
    • Captain de Bonnaire of the hussars crossed the Lauter and pursued the troops retiring from the lines up to Langenkandel, not far from Landau, taking 100 prisoners and some baggage.
    • Villars’ Army gradually arrived near Wissembourg and encamped on the right bank of the Lauter.
  • Allies
    • The main body of the Allied troops posted in the Lines of the Lauter retired towards Lauterbourg.

On 5 July

  • French
    • In the morning, Villars placed 5 bns and 8 sqns in Wissembourg to secure communication with Haguenau from where the supply convoys came.
    • Villars and Marsin then marched in two columns. Villars was at the head of the left column which consisted of the main body of the army. He followed the right bank of the Lauter. M. de Chamarande marched with 16 bns and 20 sqns along the left bank of the Lauter.
    • As Villars’ Army approached Lauterbourg, his hussars attacked a guard of 60 cuirassiers, capturing or killing all of them.
    • M. de Frezelière reconnoitred the Allied positions with 200 grenadiers and noticed a height at half-musket-range from their entrenchments, and was wide enough to establish 40 cannon there. However, when he brought labourers there, Allied troops posted in a nearby ravine opened fire. He was unable to maintain his position but managed to establish a battery a little farther.
    • Villars considered that the Allied camp was too strong and decided to blockade them in this entrenched camp and to live off of the surrounding land.
    • Villars’ Army encamped at Lauterbach (more probably Niederlauterbach) where the headquarters were established. Marsin established his own headquarters at Scheibenhardt.
    • M. de Chamarande’s Corps, after driving back the Allied outposts on the left bank of the Lauter, crossed the river and rejoined the main body of the army.
  • Allies
    • The Allies were posted in their entrenched camp with their right at Berg and their left at Lauterbourg.
    • The Allied corps posted at Irmenach near Trarbach marched by way of Kreuznach (present-day Bad Kreuznach) towards Landau.

Villars estimated that the Margrave of Baden was at the head of an army of approx. 40,000 men which included:

  • the troops of the District of Swabia and of the district of Franconia (approx. 20,000 men)
  • Austrian units (13,000 men)
  • Swiss Erlach Infantry (1,200 men) at Freiburg
  • Prussian Contingent (6,000 men)
  • Württemberger Contingent (4,000 men)
  • Westphalian Contingent (2,500 men)
  • Mainzer Contingent (2,500 men)
  • Würzburger Contingent (2,500 men)
  • Palatine Contingent (10 bns and 10 sqns)

Villars mentioned that his own army, after the arrival of the reinforcements (10 bns and 12 sqns) sent from the Moselle, would count 70 bns for a total of approx. 32,000 foot) and 108 sqns for a total of 14,000 horse.

On 7 July

  • French
    • Villars detached the Maréchal-de-camp de Silly to capture the Allied outposts at Seltz, Niederrœdern and Hatten. He easily captured these outposts, taking 400 prisoners. Villars gave orders to demolish the tower at Seltz and the entrenchments of the Allies along the Lauter.
  • Allies
    • Lieutenant-General Aubach was replaced by Lieutenant-General Baron Rehbinder as commander of the Palatine Contingent in Dutch pay.

On 10 July, his cavalry having consumed all forage in the vicinity of Niederlauterbach, Villars relocated his army closer to Wissembourg. The army marched in three columns and encamped with its right on a height next to Wissembourg and its left towards Schleithal, its rear covered by the Lauter River.

Meanwhile, M. de Reffuge worked to secure the frontiers of the Sarre and Moselle rivers.

On 11 July, Villars sent orders to M. de Conflans to rejoin the army with the 10 bns and 16 sqns previously posted on the Moselle. He also instructed M. de Reffuge to attack Homburg with the 5 bns and 8 sqns which still remained on the Moselle with the authorisation to use Conflans’ detachment during a few days.

On 14 July, M. de Conflans arrived at Saarlouis with 10 bns and 14 sqns. At Saarlouis, everything was ready for the siege of Homburg.

On 15 July, the Palatine Contingent in Dutch pay retired from Trarbach and marche by way of Kreuznach to Mainz.

On 17 July, Villars received a letter from Louis XIV, informing him that he should abandon any design against Freiburg but rather prepare for the siege of Landau at the beginning of October. Louis XIV also informed him that he intended to send reinforcements from Flanders for this siege. Villars immediately answered, presenting the many inconveniences which would make this siege impracticable and suggesting instead to capture Trarbach and Homburg.

Villars tried to live off of enemy territory and sent his foraging parties to the region between Landau and Lauterbourg. The Imperialists sent a cavalry corps under General Mercy to counter these incursions but the French drove all detachments back.

The Imperialists also reinforced their troops posted in the Lines of Bühl. Villars then sent M. de Coigny with 2 bns and 2 dragoon rgts to take post at Stattmatten, between Drusenheim and Fort-Louis and built entrenchments between the redoubts previously erected by Maréchal Marsin opposite Dahlunden Island on the Rhine.

On 18 July, M. de Reffuge’s detachment (5 bns, 8 sqns) effected a junction with Conflans’ Corps ( 10 bns and 14 sqns). M. de Reffuge took command of the combined forces.

On 22 July, M. de Reffuge marched from Saarlouis at the head of 15 bns and 22 sqns with 8 cannon and 2 small mortars. He crossed the Sarre at St. Johann Saarbrücken and invested Homburg., which was defended by some 400 Imperialist hussars and the II./Burscheidt Infantry.

On the night of 22 to 23 July, 3 grenadier coys belonging to Reffuge’s Corps made themselves master of the lower town of Homburg. Meanwhile, 400 Imperialist hussars retired from the lower town without opposing resistance.

On the night of 24 to 25 July, M. de Reffuge opened the trench in front of the Castle of Homburg.

On 26 July, the Castle of Homburg surrendered to M. de Reffuge with the honour of war. The French captured 6 cannon in the castle and the garrison marched to Mannheim.

On 27 July

  • french
    • Villars detached the Comte du Bourg with 10 bns and 12 sqns to occupy the gorge of Wissembourg and thus cover the siege of Homburg.
    • M. d’Alegre placed a garrison of 450 foot and 1 dragoon coy under M. de Faverolles (soon replaced by M. Duvernon) in the Castle of Homburg.
  • Imperialists
    • The garrison of the Castle of Homburg 700 men) set off for Mannheim but the largest part deserted and only 100 men reached Mannheim.
    • The Prince of Nassau-Weilburg was posted near Kreuznach with the Palatine Contingent destined to join the army of the Margrave of Baden.

On 29 July

  • French
    • The Comte du Bourg (10 bns, 12 sqns) reached Geisheim on the Blise River by way of Sarreguemines and Hornbach.
    • M. de Conflans (10 bns, 14 sqns) effected a junction with du Bourg at Geisenheim.
    • M. de Reffuge (5 bns, 8 sqns) returned to Trier.
    • Villars, informed that the Allies had managed to pass the Lines of the Ghete in Flanders, wrote to the king to offer a reinforcements of 10 bns and 10 sqns from his troops on the Moselle and the Sarre for the Army of Flanders.

On 31 July, the Maréchal de Marsin left the Army of the Moselle to join the Army of Flanders where he would second the Maréchal de Villeroy.

In August, after several requests from Emperor Leopold I, Elector Augustus II of Saxony sent a corps of about 3,000 men to the Rhine to amke a junction with the army of the Margrave of Baden. The Saxon corps, led by Lieutanant-General Count Wackerbarth, consisted of:

  • "Defensioner" militia (3 bns, each of 4 coys) under Colonel von Seiferitz
  • Wackerbarth Infantry (1 bn of 8 coys)
  • Weissenfels Infantry (1 bn of 4 coys)

On 1 August

  • French
    • Having exhausted forage in the region between the Lauter and the Queich, Villars retired to Surbourg on the left bank of the Surbach River where he encamped.
  • Imperialists
    • The Margrave of Baden arrived at Stollhofen.

On 2 August, Villars received instructions from Versailles to send 8 bns and 10 sqns from the Moselle to reinforce the Army of Flanders.

On 3 August, Villars decamped from Surbourg, crossed the Moder River in three columns at Neubourg, Haguenau and Bischwiller and established his new camp at Weyersheim on the left bank of the Zorn River.

On 4 August

  • French
    • 8 bns and 10 sqns marched from Geisenheim under M. de Conflans towards Namur by way of Saarburg, Thionville and Sedan. The Comte du Bourg remained at Geisenheim with the rest of the corps.
    • Villars, informed of the arrival of the Margrave of Baden at Stollhofen, instructed the Comte du Bourg to return to Alsace.
    • Villars personally visited Fort-Louis and its vicinity, concluding that it would be very difficult to protect this place while securing the Lines of the Moder and making incursions on the opposite bank of the Rhine.
  • Imperialists
    • The Margrave of Baden now had on the Rhine a larger army (approx. 50,000 men) than Villars.

On 5 August

    • Villars’ cavalry under M. de Lannion crossed the Rhine at Kehl and encamped behind the Kinzig River.
    • Villars’ infantry remained at the camp of Weyersheim.
    • The Comte de Coigny took position at Stattmatten with 2 bns and 2 dragoon rgts.
    • Villars also gave orders ti throw a bridge on the Rhine at Gambsheim near Offendorf to threaten the Lines of Bühl.
  • Imperialists
    • The Count of Nassau-Weilburg arrived at Langenkandel with the Palatine Contingent destined to the army of the Margrave of Baden and part of the garrison of Landau.
    • General Thüngen was preparing to march from the camp of Lauterbourg, on the left bank of the Rhine, towards Hatten.
    • The Margrave of Baden had recalled most of the garrison of Freiburg to his camp at Stollhofen.

On 7 August, the Rehbinder's Corps (the Palatine Contingent in Dutch pay) left for Flandres, Another contingent consisting of 3 bns (1 bn of Garde Grenadiers and 2 bns of Burscheidt Infantry) with 13 sqns remained in the Lines of the Lauter under the Count of Nassau-Weilburg.

On 9 August

  • French
    • Villars transferred 3 infantry brigades from the camp of Weyersheim to the camp of his cavalry at Kehl.
    • Villars also instructed M. d’Hautefort, who commanded the rest of the infantry at Weyersheim, to complete the bridge of Gambshein as soon as possible to to hold his corps in readiness to cross the Rhine.

On 11 August

  • French
    • Villars’ troops encamped near Kehl marched in three columns to Bischofsheim (unidentified location between Kehl and Renchen). Villars led the vanguard (1,000 grenadiers, 12 sqns).
    • M. d’Hautefort crossed the Rhine at Gambsheim with the infantry previously encamped at Weyersheim and effected a junction with the head of Villars’ Army as it reached Bischofsheim.
    • Villars’ Army encamped at Bischofsheim with its right towards the woods adjacent to the Rench River.
    • Informed that the Imperialists had only some 350 men at Renchen, Villars with the general officers of the day marched at the head of 200 grenadiers and a few sqns of dragoons and hussars. Near Renchen, they drove an Imperialist cavalry detachment back and the grenadiers then stormed the village of Renchen. The defenders retired to Lichtenau, followed by the French who brought back 150 prisoners.
    • The Comte du Bourg’s detachment, recalled from the Moselle, reached Drusenheim to support M. de Coigny.

On 12 August

  • French
    • Villars received intelligence that the Prussian and Palatine contingents were marching towards Flanders to reinforce Marlborough. Villars decided to threaten the Imperialist positions to force them to recall Nassau-Weilburg’s Corps. Accordingly, Villars advanced towards the Lines of Stollhofen with 200 grenadiers and 1,500 horse. He drove back a few outposts but did not manage to lure the Imperialists to come out of their lines.
  • Imperialists
    • Thüngen’s Corps, which was marching on Hatten, was recalled to the Lines of Stollhofen.
    • Nassau-Weilburg's Corps arived to the camp near Lauterbourg after having marched by way of Mainz, Speyer and Langenkandel.

On 14 August, Thüngen’s Corps (18 bns, 12 cavalry rgts) returned to its former camp at Lauterbourg where it was joined by Nassau-Weilburg’s Corps

On 16 August

  • French
  • Imperialists
    • At the insistence of the Elector of Palatinate, the States General agreed to the use of Palatinate troops on the Rhine. The strength of the Palatine Contingent led by the Count of Nassau-Weilburg, which were now assigned to the Margrave of Baden, was 4,752 foot and 3,350 horse fit for service.

On 17 August

  • Imperialists
    • The Margrave of Baden concentrated his army in the camp of Lauterbourg, Burscheidt Infantry secured the bridge near Lauterbourg.
    • In the evening, the Margrave of Baden came out of the Lines of Bühl with 62 bns and 86 sqns and marched on Renchen.
  • French
    • In the evening, Villars retreated to the left bank of the Rhine. He sent his baggage and part of his infantry under M. d’Hautefort across the Rhine by the bridge of Gambsheim to the camp of Weyersheim. Villars wanted to take a new position to protect Fort-Louis and the Lines of the Moder.

On 18 August

  • French
    • At daybreak, Villars, uninformed of the presence of the Imperialists at Renchen, marched from Bischofsheim with the rest of his infantry and his entire cavalry upstream along the Rhine to return to his camp at Kehl.
    • Around 6:00 a.m., when Villars was finally informed that the Imperialist Army was close, he deployed his army in order of battle.
    • After a while, seeing that the Imperialists were not showing up, Villars resumed his march to Kehl.

On 19 August, the Saxon Contingent (approx. 3,000 men) set off from Saxony to join the Imperialist Army of the Rhine.

On 20 August

  • French
    • In the evening, informed that the Margrave of Baden had returned to the Lines of Bühl and that he was marching towards Rastatt to cross the Rhine on his bridge at Berg, Villars decamped from Kehl, crossed the Rhine and marched all night to effect a junction with d’Hauteroft’s Corps already encamped at Weyersheim.
    • Coigny’s detachment remained at Stattmatten.
    • Du Bourg’s detachment remained at Drusenheim.

On 22 August

  • Imperialists
    • The Margrave of Baden crossed the Lauter and encamped on its right bank, his right at Schleithal and his left opposite Lauterbourg. He established his headquarters at Nieder-Lauterbach.

On 23 August

  • French
    • Villars’ Army (approx. 35,000 men) took position on the Moder with its left and headquarters at Bischwiller and its right at Drusenheim.
    • The Comte du Bourg advanced to Stattmatten to support M. de Coigny in the defence of Fort-Louis. Together, Du Bourg and Coigny had 20 bns and 30 sqns.
    • Villars received new orders from Louis XIV, who still ignored that the corps of the Prince of Nassau-Weilburg had returned to the Rhine. The king asked to sent additional reinforcements to Flanders. Villars answered that, in the present situation, he could not afford to detach additional troops to Flanders.
  • Imperialists
    • Thüngen had effected a junction with the main army of the Margrave of Baden which now counted some 70,000 men.

Soon counter-orders arrived from Versailles canceling the orders to send troops to Flanders.

On 25 August

  • Imperialists
    • The army of the Margrave of Baden marched with approx. 50,000 men and some 90 artillery pieces to Sultz (probably Soultz-sous-Forêts) from where he could threaten Fort-Louis or Haguenau.
  • French
    • Villars instructed M. de Reffuge to supply the Castle of Homburg in preparation for a siege. He also asked Louis XIV to order the Maréchal de Villeroy to send a detachment from the Army of Flanders to cover Homburg.

On 26 August

  • Imperialists
    • The army of the margrave extended its right up to Woerth and its left to Surbourg.
  • French
    • Villars detached M. de Silly and M. de Coigny with 4 dragoon rgts to occupy the heights of Pfaffenhoffen in front of the new Imperialist positions. Villars also sent 1 infantry brigade to Schweighausen (present-day Schweighouse-sur-Moder) upstream from Haguenau.
    • Villars recalled Du Bourg’s Corps from Stattmatten. This corps recrossed the Moder River and effected a junction with the main army. Only 1,000 foot and 12 sqns under Brigadier d’Anlezy were left behind on the plain of Fort-Louis.

On 28 August

  • Imperialists
    • The army of the Margrave of Baden marched by its right towards the head of the Lines of the Moder.
    • After the retreat of the French from Pfaffenhoffen and Ingwiller, the Imperialists made themselves master of this part of the Lines of the Moder
    • After
  • French
    • Villars moved his army closer to Haguenau, placing his left at Haguenau and his right at Bischwiller.
    • Coigny and Silly transported the flour and ammunition stored in Pfaffenhoffen and Ingwiller and retired on the main army with their troops.
    • Villars sent some reinforcements to the towns of Saverne and Phalsbourg.
    • Villars reestablished his bridge on the Rhine and Gambsheim to threaten the Lines of Bühl.
    • Villars wrote to the king to know if he should offer battle.

On 29 August

  • Imperialists
    • A strong corps (42 bns, 72 sqns) passed the Lines of the Moder between Pfaffenhoffen and Ingwiller and encamped in an advantageous at Morschwiller with its right at Pfaffenhoffen and its left at Morschwiller.
  • French
    • Villars reconnoitered the positions taken by the Imperialists at Morschwiller and considered them too strong to assault them.
    • Villars anchored the right of his army on the defensive works of Haguenau, advanced his centre to a march and a light wood, and his left to the Marienthal Abbey, reaching Bischwiller.

On the night of 29 to 30 August, the Imperialist army set off from Morschwiller and advanced on Villars’ camp.

On 30 August

  • Confrontation at Schweighausen
    • By 5:00 a.m., the heads of Imperialist columns were in sight of the French camp.
    • Villars deployed his troops in order of battle and advance towards Schweighausen to meet the enemy. He personally marched with the hussars, 2 dragoon rgts and 12 sqns of the right wing.
    • The Margrave of Baden halted his army near the village of Eckendorf (probably Ettendorf).

The French hussars of the right wing were initially driven back by the 10 Imperialist sqns but, supported by the dragoons, they pushed back the Imperialist cavalry on the heads of the columns.

    • Each army then retired to its camp.

On 5 September, Villars received new instructions from the king who let him all liberty to decide if it was better to offer battle or not.

On 6 September

  • French
    • One hour before daybreak, Villars’ Army marched in five columns (two infantry columns in the centre separated by a middle column formed by the artillery, and two cavalry columns on each side) from Haguenau towards the enemy. These columns came out of the woods near Harthouse. The army then deployed in order of battle in the plain and advanced beyond the villages of Bertsheim and Keffendorf.
    • At the beginning of the night, the Imperialists having remained in their strong positions, Villars’ Army retired to Bischwiller. Entrenchments were built between Haguenau and Marienthal.
    • Villars once more asked for reinforcements from Flanders to cover Trier and Homburg.

On the night of 6 to 7 September, M. de Lannion left the French camp with 2,000 men to intercept a convoy sent from Lauterbourg by the Imperialists. However, Lannion soon found that the convoy had already reached Woerth and that it had strong escort.

On the night of 7 to 8 September, M. de Lannion (3,000 foot, 2,000 horse) tried once more to intercept the convoy without more success. However, the delay caused to the convoy combined with the heavy rain damaged the provision of bread which proved to be unusable.

On 11 September, Villars received intelligence that the Prussian Contingent, which had left for the Netherlands, had returned to Mainz, taken the road to Landau, crossed the Lauter and encamped near Wissembourg.

On 12 September, Villars held a council of war where it was decided to move the army closer to Strasbourg. M. de Péry and M. du Portal convinced Villars that they could defend Haguenau. Villars gave them 1,000 picked men and 3 bns for the defence of the place. It was also decided to leave 6 bns (including 1 field bn) and 600 picked men under M. de Vaisse in Fort-Louis and another 300 men under M. de Conche in Drusenheim.

On 13 September

  • Imperialists
    • The Prussian Contingent marched from Wissembourg by way of Woerth to effect a junction with the army of the Margrave of Baden.

On 14 September

  • Allies
    • The Prussian Contingent and some Hessian troops effected a junction with the army of the Margrave of Baden.
  • French
    • At daybreak, Villars’ Army marched in three columns, crossed the Zorn River between Brumath and Weyersheim, and encamped with its right and its headquarters at Hoenheim near Strasbourg and its left at Mundolsheim.
    • The bridge of boats at Gambsheim was moved upstream to Wantzenau to prepare the crossing of the infantry to the right bank of the Rhine while the cavalry would cross at Kehl and advance towards the Lines of Bühl. However, when Villars learned of the arrival of the Prussians and Hessians, he abandoned his project against the Lines of Bühl.

On 16 September

  • Allies
    • The army of the Margrave of Baden decamped from Morschwiller and established its right at Brumath and their left at Weyersheim with the Zorn River in front of its camp.

On 17 September

  • Allies
    • The Margrave of Baden detached 10 bns (including the Palatine Garde Grenadiers) and some cavalry (including thr Palatine Hahn Dragoons) under FZM Count Friesen to invest Drusenheim and to throw a bridge on the Rhine upstream fro this place to establish communication with the Lines of Bühl and receive provisions from the right bank.

On 18 September

  • Allies
    • In the evening, FZM Count Friesen opened the trench in front of Drusenheim, His troops also attacked the small defensive work defending the dyke but were driven back.
  • French
    • Villars flooded the prairies between his camp and Offendorf with the waters of the Ill River.
    • Illness spread rapidly in the French cavalry and Villars was unable to use it for his operations.
    • Fort-Louis was defended by 6 bns and a detachment of 600 picked men.

On 20 September, the Saxon Contingent (approx. 3,000 men) reached Rastatt, where it was assigned to the corps of FM Thüngen.

On 21 September

  • French
    • M. de Vivans de Saint-Cristau set off from Saverne with 600 horse and surprised a small cavalry corps encamped at Hochfelden, setting their camp afire and capturing some prisoners.

On 23 September, the artillery of FZM Count Friesen opened fire on the locks of Drusenheim and 600 dragoons and 150 grenadiers stormed the place.

On 24 September, Drusenheim surrendered to the Imperialists and the garrison was escorted to Heilbronn as prisoners of war.

On 25 September

  • French
    • Villars was informed that General Thüngen was preparing to lay siege to Haguenau with the Prussian Contingent, covered by the army of the Margrave of Baden.

On 26 September

  • Allies

On 27 September

  • Allies
    • Thüngen’s Corps invested Haguenau from both sides of the Moder River.

On the night of 29 to 30 September, Thüngen opened the trench some 200 m. in front of the palisades of Haguenau.

The Margrave of Baden received new reinforcements: 1 Württemberger dragoon rgt and 2 rgts of the garrison of Freiburg.

Villars once more asked for reinforcements from the Army of Flanders. He also sent detachments to Saverne, Petite-Pierre, Phalsbourg.

On 1 October

  • Allies
    • Thüngen’s artillery (20 cannon) opened fire against the walls of Haguenau.

On 5 October, the walls of Haguenau were breached in three locations. M. de Péry, the commander of the French garrison, asked to capitulate but the Margrave of Baden refused to grant free withdrawal to the defenders. In the evening, Péry led a sortie from the Saverne Gate with all the garrison with the exception of 400 men under M. de Harlin, left in the covert ways. Péry surprised two cavalry detachments (approx. 60 men each) and continued his march towards Saverne.

On the night of 5 to 6 October, General Thüngen detached 2,000 horse to locate Péry’s force but they could not find it.

On 6 October

  • Allies
    • Thüngen occupied Haguenau and the Saxon Contingent was left there to garrison the place.
  • French

At daybreak, Péry reached Saverne. M. de Harlin soon followed him. Only 100 sick or wounded in Haguenau.

On 8 October, M. de Péry marched to Strasbourg with the former garrison of Haguenau (for their conduct, Péry would be promoted to lieutenant-general and Harlin, to brigadier).

On 15 October, deputies of the districts of the Empire met with the Margrave of Baden to plan winter-quarters.

For his winter-quarters, Villars planned to leave 20 bns and 20 sqns at Strasbourg and Kehl; to quarter a large number of troops behind the canal of Molsheim at Saverne and Phalsbourg; to cover the Sarre between Saarburg and Trier; to quarter a large body of cavalry in Lorraine and in the Trois-Évêchés; to improve the defensive works of Homburg and to increase its garrison.

On 29 October

  • Allies
    • The army of the Margrave of Baden (79 bns, 120 sqns) decamped from Weyersheim and took the road leading to Pfaffenhoffen. It crossed the Moder and encamped at Kindwiller.

On 1 November

  • French
    • Villars’ Army occupied the former Imperialist camp between Weyersheim and Brumath.

On 3 November

  • Allies
    • The Palatine Contingent and part of the Prussian contingent were detached to lay siege to Homburg. They marched by the valleys of the Lauter and Queich but stopped at Billigheim.

On 4 November

  • French
    • Villars detached 3 very weak Spanish bns and 9 Spanish sqns (most of them dismounted because horses were sick) to Saarburg.

On 8 November

  • Allies
    • The army of the Margrave of Baden decamped from Kindwiller and encamped in two lines with its right behind Haguenau and the left opposite Bischwiller with the Moder River in front of its positions.
  • French
    • Villars barracked his infantry and quarters his cavalry in the neighbouring villages.

On 10 November, the Palatine Garde Grenadiers, the II./Barbo Infantry and the Wittgenstein Dragoons arrived at Kaiserslautern.

On 11 November, Villars was informed that the Count of Nassau-Weilburg was marching by way of Bitche with 10,000 men, 20 cannon and 4 mortars to lay siege to Homburg.

On 12 November, Villars detached M. du Rosel with 9 bns and 12 sqns by way of Bouquenom towards Saarbrücken to cover the place of Homburg and to effect a junction with the Spanish troops which he had previously sent to the Upper Sarre. Another French detachment under M. de Streiff replaced the Spaniards at Saarburg.

On 14 November

  • Allies
    • Nassau-Weilburg’s vanguard reached the vicinity of Homburg.
  • French
    • Villars moved his infantry to quarters in the villages neighbouring Strasbourg and cantoned his cavalry in the villages on the right bank of the Bruche from Molsheim to Strasbourg where he established his headquarters.

On 15 November

  • Allies
    • Nassau-Weilburg’s vanguard received counter-orders and was recalled to the Rhine by way of Landstuhl and Kaiserslautern. During its retreat, it was harassed by a French detachment under M. de la Felonnière who commanded at Blieskastel.
    • Nassau-Weilburg’s Corps turned back and marched to Lower Palatinate where Palatine troops took up their winter-quarters.

On 16 November, du Rosel’s Corps arrived at Sarreguemines.

On 18 November, Villars was informed that the Prussian infantry was retiring to Billigheim and planned to recross to the right bank of the Rhine and to return to Prussia; that General Thüngen had quartered his cavalry in villages on the left bank of the Moder; and that only infantry remained in the camp of Bischwiller.

On 22 November, the Margrave of Baden finally sent his troops to their winter-quarters.

On 25 November, the French troops destined to take up their winter-quarters on the Sarre left Villars’ camp.

On 26 November, the Württemberger Contingent crossed the Rhine to take their winter-quarters. It was soon followed by the Swabian and Franconian contingents.

On 27 November, according to the king’s orders, Villars sent 30 grenadier coys to Provence, 6 bns to Savoy and 12 sqns to Roussillon.

At the end of November, the Imperialists had only 20 bns, 1 cavalry rgt and 1 dragoon rgt on the Moder to erect entrenchments on the right bank of the river from Haguenau to Marienthal and Bischwiller.

At the beginning of December, Villars visited various frontier posts from Strasbourg to Metz. He placed 300 men in Bitche under M. de Quadt and 2 bns in Zweibrücken.

At the beginning of December, Palatine troops took up their winter quarters: the Leibregiment zu Fuss and Efferen Infantry in Lautern; Bentheim Infantry in Rockenhausen and Otterberg; Barbo Infantry in Odenbach and Lauterecken; Rehbinder Infantry in Meisenheim, Ebernburg and Oberstein; Wiser Cavalry in Lichtenberg; Schellart Cavalry in Meisenheim; Frankenberg Cavalry in Bockenheim and Meisenheim; Stolzenberg Cavalry in Lautern; the Garde Grenadiers (2 bns in 16 coys) in Kreuznach and Alzey; Burscheidt Infantry (2 bns in 16 coys) in Klingenmünster, Billigheim, Minfeld, Wachenheim and Labsheim, the staff and 4 coys in Mannheim; Haxthausen Infantry (2 bns in 16 coys) in Heidelberg, Kaub, Ladenburg, Weinheim and Mannheim; the Battalion Bettendorf in Frankenthal; the Battalion Paderborn still garrisoned Trarbach; the Leibregiment zu Pferd in Neustadt, Alzey, and Germersheim; Venningen Carabiniers in Kreuznach, Simmern Stromberg and Bacharach; the Hahn Dragoons in Alzey and Oppenheim; the Wittgenstein Dragoons in Umstadt, Mosbach and Heidelberg; and the Kreiseskadron in the County of Leiningen.

On 9 December, Villars confided command in Alsace to M. de Cheyladet who took the troops of of their cantonments on the Bruche River and sent them to their winter-quarters, keeping 20 bns and 20 sqns at Strasbourg and at the Fortress of Kehl. He also kept with him Maréchal de Camp de Broglie, Brigadier de la Vrillière. He sent Lieutenant-General de Lannion and Brigadier Danlezy at Huningue; the Comte de Grammont at Besançon; and Maréchal de Camp de Streiff at Saverne. Meanwhile, M. de Reignac remained at Brissac and M. de Vaisse, at Fort-Louis.

On 10 December, all Imperialist troops still encamped at Bischwiller marched to the Moder River.

On 11 December, Villars personally went to Metz where he completed the allocation of winter-quarters before leaving for Versailles.

On the frontiers of the Trois-Évêchés, of the Sarre and of the Moselle, Lieutenant-General du Rosel and Maréchal de Camp de Silly took up their quarters at Thionville; M. de Druys with the maréchaux de camp de Ballivière and de Sylly and brigadiers de Permangle, de Massenbach and de Quadt at Bouquenom. Lieutenant-General de Courcelles remained at Luxembourg; M. de Reffuge at Metz; and M. de Choisy at Saarlouis.

Overall the Franco-Spanish army which took its winter-quarters in Alsace, in Franche-Comté, in Lorraine and in the Trois-Évêchés counted 58 field bns and 110 sqns.

On 20 December, Villars arrived at Versailles.

By the end of December, the winter-quarters of the Imperialists were distributed as follows:

  • 18 bns and 30 sqns belonging to the Palatine, Hessian and Hanoverian contingents were quartered on the Lower Moselle and in the Hunsrück
  • 33 bns, 6 cavalry rgts and 1 hussar rgt were quartered on the left bank of the Rhine between the Moder River and the Speyerbach
  • 11 bns, 1 cavalry rgt and 1 dragoon rgt were quartered on the right bank of the Rhine between Baden and Pforzheim

Part of the Palatine, Hessian, Hanoverian and Württemberger contingents and the entire Swabian, Franconian and Prussian contingents had returned to their country with the exception of 4 infantry rgts, 3 cavalry or dragoon rgts and 1 hussar rgt which had been sent to Bavaria to help the Austrian to quench the upheaval of the Bavarian peasants. They later returned from Bavaria to the Rhine to take up their winter-quarters.

References

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. 673-675
    • Vol. 5, pp. 381-550
  • Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925
  • Schuster/Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee part I, Leipzig 1885
  • Spanish Succession, War of the, in Encyclopaedia Britannica (c1910-1922), Vol. 25, p. 602