1708 – Campaign on the Rhine
The campaign lasted from June to September 1708
On the Rhine, during the campaign of 1707, on their left, the Allies had been pushed back behind the Queich River and on their right, to the future Lines of Ettlingen. However, the French had been unable to make themselves masters of one of the three places which served as operational basis for the Allies: Freiburg, Landau and Philippsburg. For this reason, the Maréchal de Villars had been forced to take his winter-quarters on the left bank of the Rhine but he had retained four passages over this river at Huningue, Brisach, Kehl and Fort-Louis. On the right bank the defensive works of Selingen secured the passage from Fort-Louis.
For the winter of 1707-1708, the French kept only 36 bns and 45 sqns in Alsace. Their positions extended from Huningue and Belfort to the Lines of the Lauter. The rest of Villars's Army took up their winter-quarters in Franche-Comté, Lorraine and the Trois Évêchés.
During winter, Field Marshal Thüngen, who commanded the Imperialist forces on the Rhine, had fortifications erected between Daxlanden and Philippsburg, this line of entrenchments was known as the Lines of Ettlingen.
As early as 1704, Emperor Leopold I had promised Elector Johann Wilhelm the restitution of the County of Cham and Upper Palatinate. However, at the beginning of 1708, the Habsburg had not yet fulfilled their promise. Already in January 1706, a Palatinate envoy had visited the British Court to obtain its support on this question. In the autumn of 1707, a treaty had been signed with Great Britain to supply Palatine troops for the campaign in Spain. Because of the pending dispute, the Elector of Palatinate refused to place his remaining troops at the disposal of the Emperor. The commander-in-chief of the troops on the Rhine, Elector George Louis of Hanover, then informed the Emperor that he could accomplish nothing on the Rhine without the assistance of a Palatine contingent.
On 3 February 1708, negotiations were initiated in Vienna to discuss the restitution of some territories to the Elector of Palatinate (these negotiations would last until May). On 19 February, as a result of these negotiations, Lieutenant-General Baron von Bettendorf was instructed to place a Palatine Contingent under the command of Field Marshal Thüngen if necessary. This contingent consisted of:
- Volkershoven (717 men)
- Lindenfels (1,106 men)
- Battalion Westerwald-Dillenburg (500 men)
- Garde Grenadiers (800 men)
- Haxthausen (358 men) formed part of the garrison of Landau
- Cavalry (3,400 men)
- Wittgenstein Dragoons
- Hahn Dragoons
- Leibregiment zu Pferd
- Alt-Nassau Cavalry (200 men)
The Imperialists posted their army with their right on the Rhine and in the Lines of Ettlingen. Their positions extended from the Main River to Württemberg and Swabia. On the left bank of the Rhine, the Queich River and Landau formed the first line behind which they occupied the main towns up to Mainz.
For the campaign of 1708, Louis XIV agreed to the request of his young grandson and heir, the Duc de Bourgogne, who wanted to command in the Low Countries. The king placed him at the head of a great army and gave him the Duc de Vendôme as mentor.
Elector Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria assumed command of the French Army of the Rhine with the Duc de Berwick to advise him. The Maréchal de Villars assumed command of the Army of Dauphiné. The Duc d'Orléans assumed command of the Army of Spain, where he was assisted by the Comte de Besons. The Duc de Noailles assumed command of the Army of Catalonia. The general plan of Louis XIV called for a vigorous offensive in the Low Countries, while the French would remain on the defensive in the other theatres of operation.
On the side of the Allies, the Duke of Marlborough commanded the Army of the Low Countries; Prince Eugène, the Army of the Moselle; and the Duke of Hanover, the Army of the Rhine. The Duke of Savoy continued to command in Italy and Archduke Charles in Spain.
During winter, the Imperialist Army of the Rhine received reinforcements.
In February, some Imperial, Palatine and Hessian units arrived from Italy. For his part, Villars considered that he had not enough troops to launch an attack against the Lines of Ettlingen.
In April, the Duke of Marlborough, Prince Eugène de Savoie and the Grand Pensionary Heinsius met at The Hague. They foresaw the shift of the centre of gravity towards the Low Countries, and Prince Eugène agreed to transfer his own army, which was ostensibly destined for the Rhine campaign, to Brabant, thus repaying the debt of 1704. Marlborough and Eugène visited several courts in Germany to convince them to contribute additional troops.
On 18 April 1708, Villars received orders to send 15 of hos best bns and 15 sqns from Alsace to Luxembourg. They would soon be replaced by 13 bns and 14 sqns arriving from Franche-Comté.
On 20 April, Villars started to assemble the regiments destined for Luxembourg. However, the troops arriving from Franche-Comté could not reached the Lines of the Lauter before mid-May.
On 29 April, Villars received new orders from Louis XIV, authorizing him to retain 2 infantry rgts and 3 cavalry rgts from the contingent initially destined for Luxembourg.
Villars received intelligence that the Imperialists were concentrating their army between Bruchsal and Philippsburg and that boats were being assembled at Philippsburg to throw a bridge across the Rhine.
During this time, Versailles was taking dispositions to transfer Villars to the Alps, while the Elector of Bavaria, assisted by the Duc de Berwick, would command on the Rhine and the Duc de Bourgogne in Flanders.
On 30 April
- Villars redirected the 2 infantry rgts and 3 cavalry rgts towards the Lines of the Lauter.
- Villars was informed of his new assignment.
Imperialist troops who had wintered in Swabia, Franconia, Bavaria and on the Lower Rhine were on the march towards Philippsburg.
On 8 May, Field Marshal Thüngen concentrated his troops behind the Lines of Ettlingen. He then received orders from Prince Eugène to send part of his army to reinforce the Army of the Moselle. Most of the Palatine Contingent under Bettendorf was supposed to form part of these reinforcements. Another Palatine detachment posted at Neuburg under General Isselbach, which had just returned from Italy, was supposed to join these reinforcements.
On 9 May
- Villars left the Army of the Rhine and travelled to Versailles, leaving command to the Comte du Bourg.
- Since the restitution of the Upper Palatinate and Cham had still been delayed, the Elector of Palatinate instructed Bettendorf at Mannheim with the Palatine Contingent.
The Comte du Bourg sent 4 sqns to Alt-Breisach and posted at Colmar some of the troops arriving from Franche-Comté. He now had 47 bns and 45 sqns quartered from Strasbourg to Wissembourg and Lauterbourg.
On 13 May, a solemn declaration was issued in Vienna to the effect that the restitution of Upper Palatinate would take place within three weeks. The Palatine detachment arriving from Italy (Vehlen Dragoons, Isselbach Infantry, Sachsen-Meiningen Infantry and Hatzfeld Cavalry) was authorised to march to Frankfurt.
On 15 May, an Imperialist corps marched from Philippsburg towards Koblenz.
On 16 May, the Duc de Berwick arrived at Strasbourg and approved of du Bourg's dispositions and of his plan to transfer a cavalry corps to the right bank of the Rhine to spare forage in Alsace.
On 17 May, a French cavalry corps (19 sqns) under the Marquis de Vivans crossed the Rhine and encamped under the guns of Kehl.
Berwick received intelligence that the Allies were forming two armies: one on the Moselle River under Prince Eugène and another on the Rhine under the Duke of Hanover. The army of Prince Eugène (46 bns, 60 sqns) consisted of Saxon, Hanoverian, Danish, Hessian and Palatine units; while the army of the Duke of Hanover (24 bns, 30 sqns) consisted of Franconian, Swabian, Württemberger and Würzburger units along with the contingents of the Upper Rhine, Saxony and Mainz, and 4 imperial rgts.
On 21 May, the Elector of Bavaria arrived at Strasbourg to assume command of the Army of the Rhine. He immediately decided to send a corps (15 bns, 20 sqns) under Lieutenant-General de Saint-Fremont towards Homburg and to order 9 bns arriving from Metz to stop at Bouquenom so that they would be able to advance towards the Moselle or Alsace depending on the movements of the Allies. The elector could not march with his army before the end of May because he was still waiting for horses for his artillery and supply train.
On 23 May, Saint-Fremont's Corps (reduced to 14 bns, 23 sqns by the Elector) marched from Alsace towards Homburg.
On 24 May, a French detachment (800 horse) reconnoitred towards Offenburg and confirmed that part of the Imperialist army was marching towards the Moselle.
Louis XIV approved the decision of the Elector of Bavaria to detach a corps towards the Moselle and to then advanced towards the Lines of Stollhofen and Rastatt, in a position to attack the Lines of Ettlingen, or to raise contributions in the Empire or to support Saint-Fremont on the Moselle. Louis XIV also asked the Duc de Bourgogne to prepare a corps to oppose to the Imperialist forces assembling on the Moselle.
Now convinced that the main Imperialist offensive would take place on the Moselle, the Elector of Bavaria ordered the 9 bns waiting in the vicinity of Bouquenom and the 29 sqns currently marching towards Alsace to redirect their march to join Saint-Fremont's Corps. He then ordered Saint-Fremont to take position near Sankt Johann Saarbrücken. With all these reinforcements, Saint-Fremont would be at the head of 36 bns and 52 sqns.
On 28 May, Saint-Fremont's Corps marched from Bitche to Hornbach, where he received the Elector's latest order to march on Sankt Johann.
On 29 May
- Saint-Fremont's Corps marched to Homburg.
- The cavalry corps, which was encamped at Kehl, marched to Bischofsheim.
On 30 May, Saint-Fremont's Corps sojourned at Homburg.
On 31 May
- Saint-Fremont's Corps set off from Homburg.
- The cavalry corps advancing from Kehl reached Lichtenau, where it made a junction with the troops destined to form the army (31 bns, 42 sqns) excluding the 9 bns and 6 sqns left in the Lines of the Lauter under M. de Pery.
On 1 June, Saint-Fremont's Corps reached Felckling (unidentified location), not far from Sankt Johann Saarbrücken to wait for the reinforcements.
The Imperialists left only some 25 bns and 30 sqns in the Lines of Ettlingen under Field Marshal Thüngen while all other troops were marching towards Kastellaun and the Moselle.
On 2 June, the reinforcements under M. de Lee made a junction with Saint-Fremont's Corps at Felckling.
On 3 June, M. de Saint-Fremont sent a reinforcement (1 bn and 150 horse) to the garrison of Homburg. However, he was now convinced that Prince Eugène planned to cross the Moselle and the Sarre at Trarbach to make a junction with the Allied army in the Low Countries.
On 4 June, informed of the arrival of the head of the Imperialist columns at Kastellaun, the Elector of Bavaria set off from Lichtenau with his army, crossed the Rhine and marched to Haguenau. Meanwhile, M. de Bourg marched along the Lauter and encamped near Seltz.
However, Emperor Joseph I delayed the restitution of Upper Palatinate again, and Elector Johann Wilhelm instructed Field Marshal Nassau-Weilburg to stop at Kostheim with the Palatine Contingent. Prince Eugène had to personally intercede in Vienna in favour of the Elector of Palatinate, whereupon the Palatine Contingent received permission from the Elector to resume its march towards Koblenz.
On 5 June, M. du Bourg reached the Lines of the Lauter. He had 30 bns and 37 sqns for the defence of these lines.
On 6 June, the Elector of Bavaria was forced by heavy rain to sojourn at Haguenau. However, the Elector and the Duc de Berwick went ahead by way of Phalsbourg towards Bouquenom.
On 7 June, the army of the Elector of Bavaria marched from Haguenau to Bouquenom on the Sarre River.
On 8 June, the Elector and the Duc de Berwick reached Sarreguemines. Their army under M. d'Hautefort reached Bouquenom.
On 9 June, the Elector and the Duc de Berwick arrived at Felckling where Saint-Fremont's Corps was encamped. Meanwhile, their army reached Sarralbe. The Elector deployed Saint-Fremont's infantry in the plain of Saarlouis and sent his cavalry (57 sqns) across the Sarre River where they encamped near Siersburg. The Elector and Berwick decided to leave Hautefort's troops at Bouquenom and Sarralbe for the moment.
M. de Saint-Fremont was then informed that the Palatine Contingent destined for the Moselle had turned back and was marching towards the Rhine and that another Palatine corps previously encamped near Mannheim was marching upstream along the Rhine towards Philippsburg. It was believed that, together, these two Palatine corps totalled 7 bns and 11 sqns. M. du Bourg, who was defending the Lines of the Lauter with only 28 bns and 33 sqns, asked for reinforcements.
On 13 June
- The Elector of Bavaria detached 7 bns and 6 sqns from Bouquenom under M. de Vieuxpont to encamp at Ingweiler, in a position to support the Lines of the Lauter or the main army.
- The Duke of Hanover arrived at Ettlingen to assume command of the Imperialist Army of the Rhine (37 bns, 36 sqns).
On 14 June, M. de Vieuxpont reached Ingweiler with his detachment.
On 16 June, Berwick received intelligence that the Imperialists had now concentrated 22 bns and 12 sqns at Kastellaun.
On 18 June, the Elector and Berwick marched to Saarlouis with their main body: 28 bns and 46 sqns encamped near Saarlouis; 12 bns, 11 sqns and the artillery went to Forbach; and 42 sqns remained at Sarreguemines.
Berwick now considered Homburg as the most threatened place and rearranged his positions accordingly.
On 20 June, M. de Vieuxpont set off from Ingweiler and marched by way of Bitche towards Blieskastel.
On 22 June, Prince Eugène arrived at Koblenz to take command of the Army of the Moselle.
On 23 June
- The main body of the Army of the Rhine, previously encamped at Sarralbe and Bouquenom under M. d'Hautefort arrived at Blieskastel.
- The Elector and Berwick went to Sankt Ingbert.
- The restitution of the County of Cham and of Upper Palatinate to the Elector of Palatinate was officially concluded in Vienna. The Elector thanked Prince Eugène for his intercession and placed a Palatine Contingent under his command. This contingent consisted of 11 bns and 15 sqns:
On 24 June, the Elector and Berwick reached Blieskastel.
By 25 June, the Elector and Berwick had assembled 18 bns and 65 sqns at Blieskastel. M. de Saint-Fremont had been left behind at Saarlouis with 17 bns and 40 sqns; and M. de Lee at Sankt Johann Saarbrücken with 11 bns. The Elector and Berwick then inspected the defensive works of Homburg.
On 28 June, the Imperialist troops assembled at Kastellaun and the Palatine troops who had just joined them marched towards Koblenz. A detachment began to establish a bridge on the Moselle at Alken.
The French generals were now convinced that Prince Eugène planned to make a junction with Marlborough's Army in the Low Countries. The Elector and Berwick decided to move closer to the Sarre River.
On 30 June, the army of Prince Eugène completed the crossing of the Moselle and took the road to the Low Countries. A column was marching by way of Andernach and the other by Eyfeld (unidentified location).
On 1 July
- Most of the troops encamped at Blieskastel marched with the Elector and Berwick to Sankt Johann Saarbrücken. M. d'Imecourt was left behind on the Bliese River with 8 bns and 35 sqns.
- Saint-Fremont crossed the Sarre with most of his corps near Saarlouis and marched to Siersburg. According to orders he had left his artillery, the Spanish guards and the Bavarian cavalry at Saarlouis.
On 2 July
- The Elector, Berwick and the main body of their army marched from Sankt Johann Saarbrücken to Forbach. The Elector and Berwick then went to Saarlouis.
- Saint-Fremont advanced to the banks of the Moselle opposite Remich with most of his corps. He then established a bridge there.
On 3 July, Saint-Fremont marched from Remich to Luxembourg with 17 bns and 26 sqns, with instruction to reach Namur as soon as possible. The Elector and Berwick also ordered the rest of their troops to march to Remich, cross the Moselle and follow Saint-Fremont's Corps.
On 4 July, the Elector and Berwick reached Remich with the main body of their army.
On 5 July, a first division left Remich under M. de Lee.
On 6 July
- A second division left Remich under M. de La Châtre.
- D'Hautefort arrived at Remich with 10 bns and 3 sqns. M. d'Imecourt had been left behind at Neuheisel (unidentified location) on the Bliese River with 8 bns and 16 sqns
On 7 July, a third division left Remich under the Duc de Berwick. The three divisions and Saint-Fremont's Corps totalled 34 bns and 65 sqns.
|From this point, the operations of the Imperialist army of Prince Eugène and of the French army of the Duc de Berwick are described in our article 1708 – Campaign in the Low Countries
The Elector of Bavaria asked Louis XIV to be transferred to the Low Country but to have a command not subordinated to the Duc de Bourgogne. The king denied his request arguing that there could be only one commander-in-chief on a single theatre of operation and mentioning that he was counting on the Elector to protect Alsace.
After Berwick's departure, the Elector of Bavaria remained at the head of 1 artillery bn and his Bavarian troops (5 bns, 20 sqns), excluding d'Imecourt's Corps. But once a junction made with du Bourg's Corps in the Lines of the Lauter, the Elector would be at the head of 42 bns and 69 sqns, excluding the hussars.
On 8 July, d'Imecourt's Corps set off from Neuheisel and marched by way of Werth towards Wissembourg.
On 9 July, the Elector of Bavaria set off from Remich with his small army and marched towards Saarlouis. He personally reached Metz.
On 10 July, the Comte du Bourg sent 2 dragoon rgts to Marckolsheim. He also gave orders for the peasant of Upper Alsace to take position on the Rhine if the Imperialists attacked. Finally, he sent M. de Vieuxpont with 20 grenadier coys and 2 bns to support the Montheren Redoubt and thus prevent a crossing of the Rhine by the Imperialists.
On 10 and 11 July, d'Imecourt's Corps reached Wissembourg.
On July 16, the Elector of Bavaria reached Saverne.
After the departure of the various corps, there were only free companies to defend the region of the Moselle and Sarre rivers against the depredations of the imperial hussars posted at Koblenz and Trarbach.
On 17 July, the troops of the Elector of Bavaria reached Ingweiler.
On 18 July, the troops of the Elector of Bavaria reached Soultz.
On 20 July, the Elector of Bavaria arrived at Haguenau. He agreed to a plan proposed by M. de Broglie for an attack against the Lines of Ettlingen.
On 21 July
- The Elector of Bavaria went from Haguenau to Wissembourg, where he was joined by his cavalry arriving from Soultz. His cavalry encamped near Schweighausen.
- 5 Spanish bns marched to Soultz.
On 22 July
- The same 5 Spanish bns marched from Soultz to Wissembourg.
- The Elector of Bavaria inspected the Lines of the Lauter and then went to Neuburg where 77 boats, which had been assembled at Fort-Louis, arrived at 4:00 p.m. Immediately 2,000 grenadiers embarked and were ferried to the Island of Hagenbach, 2 km downstream from Neuburg. A bridge was then established to link the island with the left bank of the Rhine.
- The French artillery reached Haguenau.
On 23 July
- By 9:00 a.m., the bridge at Hagenbach was completed.
- The whole army encamped between Langenkandel on the right and Minfeld on the left, with a stream behind the camp. Small detachments had been left in the Lines of the Lauter, and to occupy Wissembourg, Lauterbourg and Hagenbach.
- The French artillery went to Soultz.
On 24 July, the French artillery went to Wissembourg.
On 25 July
- The French artillery joined the main army at the camp of Langenkandel. The forces assembled there consisted of 36 bns and 68 sqns. The Lines of the Lauter were defended by 5 bns; Fort-Louis by 1 bn, and Alt-Breisach by 2 dragoon rgts.
- The Elector planned to live off of the land in enemy territory for the rest of the campaign.
- M. de Broglie sent 300 grenadiers from the Island of Hagenbach to the right bank of the Rhine. They erected a redoubt and assembled an abatis to protect the bridge. Broglie sent hussar parties to reconnoitre up to Kuppenheim.
At the end of July, the Imperialists detached 1,000 horse to Landau to harass the French foraging parties.
On 1 August
- The Elector of Bavaria sent a reinforcement of 1 bn and 1 dragoon rgt to Brisach because the Imperialists were assembling a corps under General Mercy in the Schwarzwald.
- Louis XIV ordered the Elector of Bavaria to send 10 sqns to Dauphiné to support the Maréchal de Villars, who was facing an Allied offensive.
The 10 sqns, which included the dragoon regiment initially destined to reinforce Brisach, gradually took the road towards Colmar. These 10 sqns were supposed to be replaced by 10 other sqns sent from the army of the Duc de Berwick in Flanders.
Finally, Louis XIV wrote to the Elector to inform him that he could keep the 10 sqns destined to Dauphiné. This also dispensed Berwick from sending 10 sqns from Flanders to the Rhine. The 10 sqns waiting at Colmar were sent to Ottmarsheim on the Rhine.
On 14 August, Mercy's Imperialist corps (approx. 9 bns, 11 sqns) marched towards Pforzheim while General Mercy personally rode to the Lines of Ettlingen.
On 15 August in the evening, the Elector of Bavaria recalled M. de Vivans from Alt-Breisach with 1 dragoon rgt and 1 bn, leaving only 1 dragoon rgt at Alt-Breisach. Furthermore, 10 sqns were still posted at Ottmarsheim in Upper Alsace.
On 17 August, M. de Vivans's detachment set off from Alt-Breisach.
On 19 August, M. de Vivans's detachment reached Strasbourg.
On 20 August, M. de Vivans's detachment marched to Fort-Louis.
On 21 August, M. de Vivans's detachment reached the Marquisat Island on the Rhine.
On 22 August, M. de Vivans's detachment made a forage in the vicinity of Steinbach.
On 27 August, General Mercy marched from the Lines of Ettlingen to Hochenheim with 2 cavalry rgts and 1 dragoon rgt.
On 3 September in the morning, the French generals were informed that Mercy's detachment had crossed the Rhine at Philippsburg and was marching towards Landau.
In the night of 3 to 4 September
- A detachment (approx. 3,500 men) and a supply train followed Mercy's detachment in the direction of Landau.
- The Elector of Bavaria assembled 100 men of each bn along with the cavalry of his two wings to attack the flanks and rear of Mercy's detachment if it advanced on Minfeld where the headquarters of the French left wing had been established.
On 4 September at 6:00 a.m., seeing no enemy in sight of Minfeld, the Elector recalled his force to his camp.
The Duke of Hanover left the Army of the Rhine to return to his estates, leaving command to Field Marshal Thüngen.
In the night of 7 to 8 September, the Elector of Bavaria removed the bridge which he had established at Neuburg, sending back the boats to Strasbourg.
On 8 September, the Elector sent all the baggage of his army to Lauterbourg.
On 9 September, the Elector's Army marched in three columns from its camp of Langenkandel, crossed the Lauter. The infantry then camped in several groups between Lauterbourg and Wissembourg, while the cavalry encamped near Lauterbourg. The rearguard (all the grenadiers and 6 cavalry sqns, the Guards of the Elector and Verseilles Hussards) was placed under the command of M. de Vieuxpont. A detachment was left in the Island of Hagenbach under M. d'Imecourt.
On 9 September, the Elector of Bavaria left the army and went to Luxeuil.
On 10 September
- The Guards of the Elector left for Metz with his personal baggage.
- The cavalry took cantonments about 10 km behind the Lines of the Lauter. There were still 10 sqns at Ottmarsheim.
On 14 September, the Imperialists erected a redoubt on the right bank of the Rhine opposite the Island of Hagenbach.
On 16 September, the French troops posted in the Marquisat Island recrossed to the left bank of the Rhine and encamped near Röschwoog.
On 18 September
- Fearing an Imperialist offensive of the left bank of the Rhine, the Comte du Bourg recalled 23 sqns of his left wing from their cantonments and posted them at Reodselt.
- The 13 sqns posted at Röschwoog retired to Beinheim.
On 28 September, in the absence of any offensive movements from the Imperialists, the Comte du Bourg sent back his cavalry to their cantonments, keeping only 300 horse and the Verseilles Hussards at Altenstadt. He also sent 4 bns to reinforce the lines between Wissembourg and the mountains.
On 6 November, the Comte du Bourg sent 3 Bavarian cavalry sqns to Phalsbourg.
On 10 November, the Comte du Bourg sent the 12 other Bavarian sqns to Phalsbourg and Sarrebourg.
On 16 November, the Comte du Bourg transferred his headquarters from Wissembourg to Haguenau.
On 18 November, the Comte du Bourg sent the 4 sqns of Royal ?Dragons? to Strasbourg.
On 21 November, the Duc de Berwick returned from Flanders at Lauterbourg to take command of the Army of the Rhine.
On 27 November, the Imperialist cavalry, which was encamped near Speyer, recrossed to the right bank of the Rhine.
On 28 November, most of the Imperialist cavalry marched to their winter-quarters. Only a few rgts remained near Rheinhausen.
At the end of November, the Württemberger Contingent (4 bns, 9 sqns) returned to Württemberg.
On 1 December, the Imperialist troops destined to guard the Lines of Ettlingen took up their winter-quarters.
On 2 December, Berwick sent the troops destined to Lower Alsace to their winter-quarters. 5 bns were sent to winter on the Sarre River.
On 15 December, all troops who were not destined to spend the winter in Lower Alsace set off for their respective winter-quarters.
On 18 December, Berwick left the Army of the Rhine for Versailles, leaving command to the Comte du Bourg.
On 15 January 1709, the Rhine froze in the vicinity of Rheinau. The Comte du Bourg immediately sent 1 cavalry rgt there to prevent the crossing of Imperialist troops. A dragoon rgt also assembled between Brisach and Huningue.
On 16 January in the evening, the Comte du Bourg was informed that the Rhine was freezing at several locations.
On 17 January, the Comte du Bourg sent 19 sqns to Haguenau, Bischweiler, Drusenheim and Röschwoog. Meanwhile, M. de Pery sent 3 bns from the Lines of the Lauter to Roppenheim, Bühl and Hundsbach. A dragoon rgt was sent to Biesheim near Brisach, another dragoon rgt was sent from Strasbourg to the vicinity of Marckolsheim.
On 18 January, the Comte du Bourg sent 4 grenadier coys to Fort-Louis to reinforce its garrison. He also sent 2 bns from Saverne to Haguenau.
The bridge linking Alt-Breisach to the left bank of the Rhine was broken by ice floes.
On 27 January, the Rhine thawed. The Imperialists had made no attempt to cross the river while it was frozen.
On 31 January, M. de Pery sent his troops back to their winter-quarters.
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. 8, 1848, pp. 293-294, 304-356
- Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925