1709 – Campaign in Flanders

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1709 – Campaign in Flanders

The campaign lasted from June to October 1709


The winter of 1708-1709 had been terrible in Europe in general and in France in particular, where agricultural products had been destroyed and magazines almost completely emptied. Grain had to be imported from North Africa and there were not enough vessels to protect the convoys transporting it. Money was also lacking for supply and the pay of the soldiers. Without recruits, without provisions on the frontiers, without means to assemble armies early enough to prevent the enterprises of the Allies, with mutiny in the garrisons, desertion and very low morale, things were not looking good for the French arms.

The Allies on the other hand had been less affected. their own countries having suffered less from frost and their merchant fleets being able to supply them in part.

Now that they were masters of Lille, Ghent and Bruges, the Allies could invade Picardie, Artois and the country along the Atlantic coast. Louis XIV had to support Philip V in Spain, where the situation seemed desperate, and the electors of Cologne and Bavaria, had lost their estates.

For the coming campaign, France planned to deploy five armies:

  • in Flanders (150 bns, 220 sqns) under the Maréchal de Villars
  • on the Rhine under the Maréchal d'Harcourt
  • in Dauphiné under the Maréchal de Berwick
  • in Catalonia under the Maréchal de Besons with the Marquis de Bay commanding the Spanish Army
  • in Roussillon under the Duc de Noailles

For their part, the Allies also put five armies in the field:


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


In January and February 1709, the Maréchal de Boufflers visited all the places on the frontier of Flanders, trying to improve the defences of these places and to quench the mutinies of the garrisons.

Between 3 January and 25 February several Palatine rgts (Leibregiment zu Pferd, Hahn Dragoons, Vehlen Dragoons, Wittgenstein Dragoons, Isselbach Infantry, Sachsen-Meiningen Infantry, Freudenberg Infantry and the Garde Grenadiers) were in the County of Cologne. Once the local supplies had been exhausted, these troops were transferred to other quarters: the Garde Grenadiers to Ladenburg, and Isselbach Infantry to the Palatine lands. Meanwhile, the II./Lybeck Infantry, Volkershoven Infantry and the whole Palatine cavalry had their quarters around Jülich.

On 22 January, the Elector of Saxony concluded a new treaty with the Maritime Powers (Great Britain and the Dutch Republic) by which he agreed to reinforce the Saxon Contingent operating in Flanders with 3 sqns and 4 infantry rgts (II./Garde zu Fuss, Königin, Kurprinz and Sachsen-Weissenfels. The Saxon Contingent in Flanders would now consist of 8,000 men under the command of General Mathias Johann Baron von Schulenburg assisted by Lieutenant-General Count Wackerbarth, Major-General von Milkau and Major-General von Kanitz.

  • Cavalry
    • Winckel Cuirassiers (4 sqns) under Colonel von Winckel)
    • Leibregiment Dragoons (4 sqns) under Colonel von Brockdorf
    • Milkau Dragoons (4 sqns) under Major-General von Milkau
  • Infantry
    • I./Garde zu Fuss (12 coys) under Colonel Stojentin
    • II./Garde zu Fuss (12 coys) under Colonel von Bose)
    • Königin (12 coys) under Colonel Duke Friedrich von Württemberg
    • Kurprinz (12 coys) under Major-General von Kanitz
    • Sachsen-Weissenfels (12 coys) under Lieutenant-Colonel Benkendorff
    • Fürstenberg (12 coys) under Colonel von Brown
    • Ogilvy (12 coys) under Colonel von Griesheim
    • Wackerbarth (12 coys) under Lieutenant-Colonel von Pflugk

On 2 March, Boufflers arrived at Versailles, after obtaining the king's authorisation to leave Flanders.

In March, Louis XIV reopened negotiations with the Dutch Republic, sending President Rouillé to the States General. After two months of negotiations, the Dutch rejected his proposals. The king also took some measures to prepare for the sieges of Lille or Menin.

Preparations for the Campaign

On 16 March, the Maréchal de Villars left Versailles to assume command in Flanders.

On 18 March, Villars arrived at Cambrai. He then visited all the places on the frontier of Flanders, which he found in very poor conditions: officers had not been paid, soldiers did not have enough bread, there were no magazines. Knowing that Louis XIV wanted to lay siege to Lille before the Allies could oppose his design, Villars examined the possibilities but found insurmountable obstacles and abandoned the project. He then decided to take Courtrai by surprise or, at least, to intercept the convoys destined for Lille, but still could not find the means to realise these designs.

In April, Villars assembled some troops from the various garrisons and established outposts in the castles of Lannoy and Templeuve, in the hope of disrupting commerce between Lille, Menin and Oudenarde. He also captured a large part of the workers repairing the highway between Lille and Menin.

During the last days of April, Villars visited the Lys, the Deule and the Scarpe downstream from Douai to find a proper location to assemble his army in such a way that he could oppose enterprises in Artois and attacks against Douai, Béthune and Aire.

On 1 May, Villars wrote to the king, informing him of the general situation and suggesting to abandon Ypres and Tournai to their fate, because he would be unable to properly support these two latter places if the Allies decided to besiege them. However, he would leave enough troops in these places to offer a long resistance. He also proposed to assemble his army at La Bassée and to establish a line of entrenchments between Douai and the Upper Lys near Saint-Venant.

Villars estimated that, from the 150 bns, 220 sqns destined to the Army of Flanders, he could form a field army of only 120 bns and 200 sqns, because he would have to leave about 30 bns in Ypres and Tournai in addition to their garrison and to complement the troops of Cologne and Bavaria. He thought that the huge Allied army (183 bns, 315 sqns) would be divided into two field armies.

Villars was informed that the Allies were preparing important magazines in Bruxelles and Ghent; that the troops who had taken their winter-quarters on the Rhine were marching towards the Low Countries; and that the garrison of the places on the Meuse had been instructed to set off on 9 May for Bruxelles. He then asked for the authorisation to visit the Court for a few days.

On 8 May, Villars arrived at Versailles where Louis XIV approved of his project to assemble his army at La Bassée and to establish a line of entrenchments between the Scarpe downstream from Douai and the Lys. The king also ordered to send 4 millions livres to the Army of Flanders. Furthermore, the quartermasters posted on the frontier were instructed to assemble as much provisions as possible. It was also decided to abandon Ypres and Tournai to their fate after reinforcing each garrison with 12 bns and 1 dragoon rgt. The defence of Tournai was confided to M. de Surville; and that of Ypres, to M. de Chevilly.

On 9 May, the Gardes Françaises and the Gardes Suisses set off from Paris and marched towards Cambrai and Valenciennes. Louis XIV asked the Elector of Bavaria to march his own Bavarian troops and the Spanish troops under his command to Mons and Valenciennes to make a junction with Villars' Army.

Villars set off from Paris after having taken all possible measures for the supply of his army.

On 12 May, Prince Eugène set off from Bruxelles to attend a conference at The Hague.

On 14 May, Villars arrived at Arras. He intended to assemble a corps of 40 bns and 2 cavalry rgts as soon as possible at La Bassée, but learning that Prince Eugène and Marlborough would meet in The Hague on 18 May, he postpone the concentration of his army.

By 17 May, there were only 5,700 bags of flour in the French magazines.

On 19 May, Villars set off from Arras and went to Béthune. After visiting the outposts between this place and the Lys River, and inspecting the works in the vicinity of Saint-Venant, he went to Douai.

On 20 May, the Allied troops quartered at Huy, Liège and Maastricht marched to new positions between Tongres (aka Tongeren) and Saint-Trond (aka Sint-Truiden).

On 21 May, the Prussian Contingent and the Württemberger Contingent marched from Aachen and Maastricht to make a junction with the troops assembled at Tongres.

On 22

  • Allies
    • Prince Eugène arrived at Bruxelles after his conference in The Hague.
  • French
    • Villars arrived at Douai. His army had not received the promised money nor the provisions and he found himself unable to assemble his troops as he had planned.

On 23 May, an Allied corps (30,000 men) encamped at Affligem near Alost (aka Aalst).

On 23 May, Prince Eugène personally went to Ghent.

On 24 May

  • French
    • Villars ordered the troops posted on the Meuse to march to Maubeuge and then to make a junction at Valenciennes with troops that he had taken from the garrisons in the Province of Hainaut. He also ordered M. de Puiguion to assemble the troops, presently quartered along the coast, at Saint-Omer.
    • All artillery horses available were sent to Douai. Grain was requisitioned in the main towns of Flanders and Artois and flour was produced night and day.

Villars planned to march with 50 bns and 15 to 20 sqns and take position behind La Bassée on 27 May. To spare what was left of forage, he also put out all his cavalry to pasture along the Scheldt and the Scarpe, and in the vicinity of Béthune and Saint-Omer.

The French Court sent the Maison du Roi towards the Somme River, and the Gendarmerie towards Arras.

Villars entrenches his Army to stop the Invasion

On 27 May

  • French
    • Villars marched from Douai with 4 bns and 2,000 horse detached from various garrisons, and reached Lens. He encamped with 31 bns and most of this cavalry with his right at Noyelle (Noyelle-sous-Lens) and his left at Lens with the canal in front of his positions.
    • Villars also sent M. d'Artaignan forward with 10 other bns, 200 horse and 1 hussar rgt towards La Bassée. D'Artaignan's detachment encamped at Bénifontaine behind the marsh of Hulluch.

According to Villars' orders, the troops arriving from Hainaut, the Meuse, and from the region between the Sambre and the Meuse should gradually reach Douai between 28 May and 4 June. However, Villars delayed their march because the troops arriving from Saint-Omer were now within reach of his camp. He occupied all the outposts between Douai and the Upper Lys, but, instead of marching towards La Bassée, Villars decided to deploy with his right leaning on the marsh of Hulluch and his left towards the marsh of Cuincy. He asked the king for the authorisation to offer battle to the Allies, but Louis XIV did not agree with this plan.

Villars was receiving contradictory reports on the movements of the Allies.

On 28 May, G.d.C. Count Vehlen set off from Düsseldorf with the Palatine cavalry and marched by way of Roermond, Herenthals and Antwerp towards Ghent. The march of the Palatine infantry under Lieutenant-General Baron Bettendorf was delayed.

At the end of May, Villars was finally informed that the Allies had established a chain of camps between Deynse and Bruxelles where the Count Tilly, commanding the Dutch troops, had brought the garrisons of the Meuse. Considering that the Allies were delaying their offensive, Villars instructed the Chevalier de Luxembourg to keep the troops arriving from the Sambre and the Meuse in the vicinity of Valenciennes, Bouchain and Cambrai to spare provisions. The Maison du Roi remained in the vicinity of Cambrai, the Gendarmerie near Hesdin and the troops arriving from the coast, in the vicinity of Saint-Omer.

The Maréchal de Villars was then informed of the failure of the negotiations at The Hague. Hoping to draw the Allies in his direction, instead of directing their attention on Namur and Mons, he did not complete the defensive works at La Bassée. This also confirmed his decision to deploy with his right leaning on the marsh of Hulluch and his left towards the marsh of Cuincy. Nevertheless, he still hoped that the Allies would decide to lay siege to Tournai and Ypres.

The troops of Bavaria and Spain were not yet ready to join Villars' Army. Villars asked the king to remove a few bns from the garrisons of Ypres and Tournai, and to transfer some troops from the Rhine to Flanders. The king authorised him to remove from 3 to 6 bns from each of the places.

In the first days of June, Villars sent M. de Puiguion with the force (18 bns and 32 sqns) which he had assembled at Saint-Omer to the Upper Lys to consume the forage in this area that the Allies would eventually have to cross. Villars also sent 20 sqns at Vendin-le-Vieil to forage the area. Finally, he recalled 4 bns from Ypres and 3 bns and 7 dragoon coys from Tournai.

On 6 June, the corps of M. de Puiguion encamped near Merville.

On 7 June, an Allied corps (40,000 men) arrived at Wakken on the Mandel River and sent detachments forward in the direction of Sint-Eloois-Vijve on the Lys River, and Harelbeke.

On 10 June, M. de Chamillart asked to be removed from his function and was succeeded by M. Voisin as War Minister.

On June 12, Prince Eugène set off from Bruxelles with the Duke of Marlborough and went to Ghent.

By 13 June, Villars had assembled his army in four camps at Lens, Bénifontaine, Vendin-le-Vieil and Annequin. The latter camp consisted of 26 bns and 3 sqns under M. de Goesbriant. M. de Puiguion marched from the camp of Merville with 32 sqns, crossed the Lys River and encamped at Calonne. He then foraged in the area.

Villars was now at the head of 121 bns and 213 sqns. Furthermore there were 14 bns and 44 sqns of Spanish and Bavarian troops who would not be ready for service before the end of the month.

On 14 June

  • French
  • Villars ordered the troops of the camps of Annequin and Bénifontaine to establish an entrenched camp between the marshes of Cuincy and Hulluch. He also ordered to entrench the bank of the Deule from Fort Scarpe, downstream from Douai, to Pont-à-Vendin and sent 17 bns to defend these entrenchments.
  • Louis XIV ordered the Maréchal d'Harcourt to detach 30 sqns from the Army of the Rhine to reinforce Villars in Flanders.

On 18 June, Prince Eugène and Marlborough arrived at Lille.

On 19 June

  • Allies
    • A corps marched from Wakken to Courtrai.
    • A corps marched from Gavere upstream along the Scheldt up to Kerkhove and Avelgem, where it joined a corps of 15,000 men.
    • The Allied army now occupied all the country between the Scheldt and the Lys rivers, threatening Ypres and Courtrai.
    • The troops previously posted along the Meuse were marching towards the Scheldt and the Palatine Contingent was advancing towards Ghent.
  • French
    • Near Malines a party of 100 mounted partisans under the Sieur Desmoulins attacked an Allied rearguard of 400 foot, capturing 1 captain, 1 lieutenant and 65 soldiers.

By 19 June, the French entrenched camp between the marshes of Cuincy and Hulluch had been completed.

Stand-off before the French Lines

On 20 June

  • Allies
    • The Allies marched in three columns and encamped in five lines in the plain of Lille, with their right at Mouscron, their centre at Tourcoing and their left at Roubaix. Their hussars and their artillery were posted at the head of the camp.
    • The 8 infantry bns (Isselbach, Sachsen-Meiningen, Freudenberg, Sulzbach, Garde Grenadiers, II./Lybeck, Haxthausen-Paderborn, Westerwald-Dillenbug) of the Palatine Contingent reached Ghent. The II./Haxthausen was then disbanded and its rank and file were allocated to the II./Lybeck and Westerwald-Dillenburg to bring their strenght to 10 companies.
  • French
    • As soon as Villars was informed of the movements of the Allies towards Lille, he recalled all troops left in the rear.

On 21 June, the Allied army marched towards Flers (maybe Flers-en-Escrebieux) and Roncq.

On 21 and 22 June, the French infantry previously stationed in Artois arrived at the camp of Lens. The cavalry marched from Calonne on the Upper-Lys and from Saint-Pol to the vicinity of Béthune. The Gardes du Corps and 1 cavalry rgt took position near Arras.

On 22 June

  • Allies
    • The entire Allied army was assembled in the plain of Lille. The Palatine Contingent consisted of 9 bns and 18 sqns.
  • French
    • All French troops under the Chevalier de Luxembourg, who were posted in the region of Cambrai, Bouchain, Saint-Amand, Marchiennes, Condé, Valenciennes and on the Hongnau (unidentified location) marched to Douai. A few bns were recalled from Tournai, leaving only 13 bns in the place.
    • Villars had a ditch added to the entrenchments of his camp between the marshes of Hulluch and Cuincy and established batteries protected by redoubts along the entire front, especially on the heights of Cambrin. The entrenchments along the Deule River were also improved to prevent navigation upstream from Lille and the lock at Pont-à-Don was destroyed. A few posts were fortified on the road leading from Béthune to Saint-Venant.

A few days later the Spanish (20 sqns) and Bavarian cavalry under the Maréchal d'Arco joined Villars' Army. The Spanish and Bavarian infantry was in such a poor condition that it could only be used to garrison some places.

On 23 June

  • Allies
    • Eugène and Marlborough advanced their troops on both sides of the Deule River, some 6 km upstream from Lille. Eugène encamped near Ennetières, on the left side of the Deule, while Marlborough encamped on the opposite side in the old Lines of Lille with the largest part of the army, his right at the Loos Abbey and his left at Annappes (unidentified location).
  • French
    • Villars left his camp near Lens and occupied the entrenchments with all his infantry (130 bns). Most of these bns were posted in the entrenched camp near Bénifontaine, which extended from the marsh of Hulluch on its right to the marsh of Cuincy on its left. Villars established his headquarters at Annay. The rest of his infantry was placed behind the entrenchments along the Deule Canal from Annay to Fort Scarpe, where he posed the Comte de Broglie with 9 bns, 14 dragoon sqns and 2 cavalry rgts. Almost all the infantry was deployed in a single line along the entrenchments, with only a few bns in reserve. All the cavalry, with the exception of the units allocated to Broglie, was placed between the camp of the infantry and Douai under the command of the Chevalier de Luxembourg. It could join his infantry within five hours.

On 24 June

  • Allies
    • Allied pioneers opened roads on the Bassée River.
    • The artillery advanced on both sides of the Deule towards La Bassée and Pont-à-Vendin.
    • General Top reconnoitred the area of La Bassée with 4,000 horse, while General Cadogan in disguise reconnoitred the French entrenchments.
    • Marlborough and Eugène reviewed their troops. Marlborough commanded 140 bns and 163 sqns, and Eugène, 60 bns and 108 sqns. There was also another corps posted near Alost to cover Brabant. The Allies could field 40,000 men more than the French.

On 25 June

  • Allies
    • The Allies remained idle. The artillery was sent back to Lille.
    • For two days, Marlborough and Eugène had vainly tried to convince the deputies of the Dutch State General to give battle. The Dutch did not want to risk a battle and preferred to lay siege to a French place.
  • French
    • Money arrived at Villars' headquarters.

On 26 June in the morning, Marlborough and Eugène, who had not been authorised to give battle, decided to manoeuvre and force Villars' Army to abandon its present positions.

In the night of 26 to 27 June

  • Allies
    • Marlborough and Eugène initiated movements against the French flanks in the area of Béthune and Saint-Venant and in the direction of Douai.
    • Eugène marched between the Deule and the Lys rivers with the Allied right wing, advancing towards La Bassée and then turning right towards Estaires and La Gorgue on the Upper Lys.
    • Marlborough crossed the Marcq with the Allied left wing and marched in the direction of the right of the French entrenchments between Douai and Orchies.
  • French
    • Villars, considering that his left wing was more exposed, sent 500 men to Saint-Venant and another detachment from Robecq under M. de Puiguion.
    • M. de Goesbriant was responsible for the defence of Aire.
    • M. de Puységur was instructed to improve the defence of the redoubts and outposts between Béthune and Saint-Venant.
    • Villars personally went to Mont-Bernanchon, near Béthune, with 500 men and had them established a large number of campfires. He also instructed M. de Tarneau, who commanded these 500 men, to advance towards La Gorgue and to spread the rumour that his detachment was in fact the head of the army. This ruse of war was successful and Eugène stopped his advance.

Operations during the Siege of Tournai

On June 27

  • Allies
    • The two wings of the Allied army remained in front of the French positions but did not make any movement. Finally, Marlborough and Eugène abandoned their plan to turn the French positions and agreed with the Dutch deputies to lay siege to a French fortress. They chose to besiege Tournai.
    • An Allied detachment occupied Mortagne and made itself master of Saint-Amand (Saint-Amand-les-Eaux), where the 100 men defending the place capitulated and were allowed to retire to Valenciennes.
    • The Count of Tilly, who commanded the Dutch troops, arrived by way of Templeuve (Templeuve-en-Pévèle) and Blandain in front of Tournai. He then crossed the Scheldt and invested the place on the right bank of the Scheldt, from Antoing to Château de Constantin (unidentified location), where he established a bridge.
    • In the evening, Marlborough advanced towards Tournai and established his headquarters at Villeméau (unidentified location), 2 km from the place on the road leading to Douai. His army encamped in three lines on the left side of the Scheldt River, with its right opposite Antoing and its left on the road leading to Lille, beyond the village of Ere.
    • Once he received confirmation that Tournai had been invested, Prince Eugène retired to Haubourdin, upstream from Lille.
  • French
    • As soon as Villars was informed that the Allies were marching on Tournai, he detached 700 dragoons under Brigadier de La Bretèche to reinforce the place, but he was unable to reach Tournai. Two other attempts with detachments of 500 horse and 450 grenadiers were also prevented from reaching the place. Villars also sent similar detachments of cavalry and dragoons to Condé and Valenciennes and both reached their destination.

On 28 June, Eugène marched towards Tournai and established his headquarters at Froyennes, 2 km from the place on the road leading to Courtrai. His troops encamped in three lines and completed the investment of Tournai on the left bank of the Scheldt. His cavalry formed a fourth line, from Antoing, extending to the mills of Longuesault, Esplechin and Camphin (Camphin-en-Pévèle) and ended on the Lower Scheldt. The Allies then undertook the Siege of Tournai.

On 29 June, to know the exact situation at Tournai, Villars advanced on the road leading from Douai to this place, and was informed that the Allies were in front of the fortress with all their troops and that their heavy artillery was being transported downstream on the Lys River towards Ghent from where it would move upstream on the Scheldt. Villars asked the king to give orders to fortify La Bassée and to put Aire in readiness for a siege. He also undertook works at Saint-Venant.

On 2 July

  • French
    • Louis XIV wrote to Villars, authorising him to fortify La Bassée and Saint-Venant if the Allies undertook the formal siege of Tournai. With their ongoing problems with provisions, the French could not undertake any serious diversionary action and had to content themselves with the defence of their frontier.
    • Villars sent 8 sqns under the Brigadier Comte de Nile to cover the region between Condé, Valenciennes and Bouchain and to protect the line of communication with Maubeuge.
    • Accompanied by a strong cavalry corps, Villars reconnoitred the country facing his camp, between the Deule River, Tournai and Lille. He did not find much provisions in the vicinity but ordered nonetheless to forage in this area every day to deprive the Allies of any forage left there. During his reconnaissance, Villars was informed that an Allied detachment (1,600 men) had been posted at Warneton to keep open a passage on the Lys River upstream from Menin. He decided to make himself master of this place and confided the task to M. d'Artaignan.

On 3 July, d'Artaignan marched on Warneton with 15 bns and 20 sqns. He was seconded by the maréchaux de camp de Vieuxpont and de Conflans. He crossed the Lys at Estaires and marched to Messines (Mesen).

On 4 July

  • French
    • D'Artaignan's Corps was joined near Messines by M. Dubuisson with 2,500 men and 6 artillery pieces arriving from Ypres. The entire force then marched on Warneton. D'Artaignan surprised the garrison and captured the place, taking some 800 prisoners, including 1 brigadier, 1 lieutenant-colonel, 6 captains, and 8 lieutenant. In this affair, the French lost only 2 men killed and M. Dubuisson, severely wounded.
    • D'Artaignan had been ordered to destroy the place, Accordingly, he razed the walls, destroyed the palisades, and brought back corn and flour. He then retired and encamped near the bridge of Estaires and remained in this area to consume forage.
  • Allies
    • Prince Eugène marched with 30,000 men to the relief of Warneton but arrived too late and returned to his former positions.

On 6 July, Villars reviewed the largest part of his army.

On 7 July

  • French
    • Villars detached 24 sqns under the Chevalier de Luxembourg to a camp near Bouchain to consume all forage.
    • Villars personally set off from his camp to inspect his positions, starting with Béthune, Saint-Venant, Aire and La Gorgue.

On 8 July, Luxembourg's cavalry corps marched to Saint-Saulve, near Valenciennes to consume all forage. He found lots of forage in the vicinity of Lallen (unidentified location) and made sure to keep it for urgent needs. He then visited Condé, Valenciennes and Bouchain and reconnoitred the country between the Scheldt and the Scarpe.

From 12 to 17 July, Villars reconnoitred the regions between Valenciennes and Douai, and between Bouchain and Condé to identify good posts for his army.

By 13 July, Villars' Army was deployed as follows:

  • 30 sqns encamped near Saint-Venant under M. de Puiguion
  • 15 bns and 20 sqns at the bridge of Estaires under M. d'Artaignan
  • the Garde du Corps, the Gendarmerie, the Carabiniers and the Bavarian cavalry encamped in front of La Bassée and foraging along the Upper Lys
  • 63 bns in first line and 50 sqns in second line in the the entrenchments of the marsh of Hulluch, under M. de Magnac and M. de Vivans, foraging between the Deule and the Lys rivers
  • 25 bns behind the entrenchments of the Canal of the Deule, between Courrières and Pont-à-Vendin, under M. d'Albergotti
  • 25 bns and 20 sqns behind the Canal of the Deule between Courrières and Auby, under the Comte de Broglie
  • 50 sqns with their right at Douai and their left towards Pont-de-Râches, under M. de Legal, foraging on the right bank of the Scarpe
  • 24 Spanish sqns encamped with their right at Bouchain and their left at Arleux, under M. de Toulongeon, foraging on the left bank of the Scheldt.
  • 8 Cologne sqns behind the Scheldt between Valenciennes and Bouchain, under M. de Saint-Maurice, foraging on the left bank of the Scheldt.
  • approx. 30 sqns encamped at Saint-Saulve, between Condé and Valenciennes, under the Chevalier de Luxembourg,, foraging on the banks of the Haine.

On 18 July, fearing for Valenciennes and Condé, once the Allies would have captured Tournai, Villars asked the king for instructions.

On 20 July, Louis XIV authorised Villars to offer battle to save Condé and Valenciennes, if he had any hope of success. Villars decided to occupy the country in front of Douai between the Scarpe and the Scheldt, without abandoning his entrenchments, where he would leave M. d'Artaignan with 64 bns.

On 21 July, Villars recalled d'Artaignan's Corps from the Upper Lys to his entrenched camp.

On 22 July, Villars marched from his entrenched camp with 64 bns and encamped near Douai, on the right bank of the Scarpe on the road leading to Valenciennes.

On 23 July, Villars' Corps marched from Douai to Écaillon. After a reconnaissance, the maréchal decided to take position between the Denain Abbey to Hélesmes, behind the woods of Saint-Amand.

On 24 July

  • French
    • Villars' Corps marched to these new positions between the Denain Abbey to Hélesmes, The infantry encamped in two lines with its right leaning on the Scheldt River, between Valenciennes and Bouchain, and its left on the Scarpe near Hélesmes between Saint-Amand and Marchiennes. Villars established his headquarters in Denain.
    • Villars recalled 28 bns from the camp of Annay: 12 of these bns were posted at Lewarde, 4 km from Douai, to cover the line of communication with d'Artaignan's Corps, and 16 bns joining him at Denain.
    • Villars was now at the head of 88 bns, Villars also ordered 78 sqns to join his corps. This cavalry formed two wings and encamped behind the left and the right of the infantry.
    • Besides his own corps, Villars had 34 sqns at Saint-Saulve near Valenciennes, 5 sqns at Thiant between Denain and Bouchain, 62 sqns at Écaillon, and 16 sqns on the Scarpe River near Douai. Altogether, the country between the Scarpe and the Scheldt was occupied by 92 bns and 195 sqns.
    • For his part, M. d'Artaignan still had 36 bns and 73 sqns at the camp of Annay. He moved the infantry of his left wing to reinforce his right wing. He placed 2 bns at Pont-de-Râches; 13 bns and 22 sqns behind the entrenchments of the Canal of the Deule, between Fort Scarpe and Courrières; 12 bns between Courrières and Pont-à-Vendin; 7 bns between Pont-à-Vendin and the marsh of Hulluch; and 15 sqns in the entrenchments between the marsh of Hulluch and the marsh of Cuincy.
    • The entire Army of Flanders now numbered 128 bns and 268 sqns (including the 20 sqns sent from the Army of the Rhine, recently arrived on the Scheldt River). Its positions extended on 56 km, with Douai located approximately in the centre.
    • In the evening, a French detachment (600 grenadiers) under M. Nangis stormed the Hasnon Abbey, which was defended by 200 men. The French took 80 prisoners.

On 25 July, Villars ordered to entrench his new camp.

On 29 July, Villars completed the entrenchments of his new camp. The vicinity of Condé were flooded.

On 30 July, the capitulation of the city of Tournai was signed.

On 31 July, M. de Surville retired in the citadel with 4,000 men, all that remained of the 7,000 men defending the place at the beginning of the siege.

On 1 August Louis XIV wrote to Villars to order him that, if he believed that he was in the impossibility of maintaining his positions in the Lines of Cambrin and in Denain, which were too distant, he should privilege the defence of the Lines of Cambrin, which was preventing the Allies from penetrating into France.

On 3 August

  • French
    • Villars sent 2 infantry brigades, previously posted at Lewarde near Douai to reinforce d'Artaignan's forces, while 3 other brigades advanced to the village of Aniche on the road leading from Valenciennes to Douai.
    • Villars answered the king that there was not enough forage left in the vicinities of the Lines of Cambrin and La Bassée, and that he would lose all supplies coming from Maubeuge and towns between the Sambre and the Meuse if he abandoned his position at Denain.

On 6 August

  • Allies
    • The two Allied armies (Eugène's and Marlborough's) were encamped in two lines opposite the centre of his own positions, with their right at Pont-à-Marcq and their left towards Marchiennes, between the streams of Coutiches and Beuvry. Their headquarters were at Orchies behind their centre. Their lines extended on 16 km. On their left wing, their line of communication with Saint-Amand was secured by outposts at the Castle of Loire, at Brillon and at the bridge of Tillet (more probably Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes). They had left only 30 bns and 12 sqns under Count Lottum and Count Schulenburg to continue the siege of the Citadel of Tournai. Since the Allies had also recalled the corps, which was previously posted in the vicinity of Alost, their field army numbered 182 bns and 293 sqns.
  • French
    • Dissatisfied by Villars's recent measures, Louis XIV positively ordered him to retire behind the Deule with the troops he had moved from these positions, with the exception of 18 bns (including the ordinary garrison) which the king ordered to leave in Valenciennes and 8 bns (including the ordinary garrison) in Condé.
    • In the morning, Villars was informed that the Allies were on the march, He immediately went to Auby on the Deule Canal to get some news and to discuss the situation with d'Artaignan and Broglie. On his arrival at Auby, he was informed of the new positions of the Allies.
    • Villars decided to reinforce his centre. For this purpose, he returned to the camp of Denain and then marched with 17 bns and 15 sqns to join the 16 sqns already posted near Douai. He encamped with these troops behind the Scarpe River with his right opposite Marchiennes and his left at Pont-de-Râches. He established his headquarters at Waziers in the centre of his positions, between Pont-de-Râches and Douai. Villars also sent 3 infantry brigades and 9 Cologne sqns to reinforce the troops recalled from Denain. He also recalled the Chevalier de Luxembourg from Saint-Saulve with 28 sqns, leaving only 11 sqns in this camp under the command of M. de La Frezelière. M. d'Albergotti was sent to Denain to command the right and M. d'Artaignan remained at Annay to command the left.

By 7 August, the French had 45 bns in the camp of Denain, 4 bns behind Marchiennes, 13 bns at Lallaing, 16 bns at Auby, 9 bns at Pont-à-Sault, 17 bns at Courrières, 6 bns at Pont-à-Vendin, 12 bns in the lines between Hulluch and Cambrin, 2 bns at Béthune and 1 bn at Saint-Venant. Including the 3 bns of artillery, Villars then had 128 bns. His 268 sqns were disposed as follows: 100 sqns at Denain and Saint-Saulve; 76 sqns at Écaillon and Waziers; 11 sqns behind the entrenchments of the Deule Canal near Douai; and 81 sqns behind the lines between Hulluch and Cambrin.

On 8 August

  • Allies
    • The Count of Schulenburg opened a second attack in front of the Citadel of Tournai, between the Secours and Saint-Martin gates.
    • In the evening, the Allies sent artillery, pontoons and a large part of their grenadiers from their left towards Marchiennes under the Count of Tilly to secure a passage on the Scarpe River. The post was defended by only 600 men.
  • French
    • Villars hurried to Marchiennes and the defenders opened fire on the troops which had come close to the walls. He also reinforced the place with 1 infantry brigade, supported by another brigade and by 2 dragoon rgts.

On 9 August

  • Allies
    • In the evening, the Allies abandoned their design against Marchiennes and retired.
  • French
    • Fearing another attempt, Villars decided to recall all the infantry bns which were still encamped at Denain and La Bassée, leaving only cavalry in these entrenched camps.
    • M. d'Albergotti marched with 45 bns and part of the cavalry from the camp of Denain and took position along the Scarpe River with his right between Marchiennes and Hélesmes and his left towards Pont-de-Râches, leaving the rest of his cavalry in the Lines of Denain under the Chevalier de Luxembourg.
    • M. d'Artaignan advanced 12 bns from the lines between Hulluch and Cambrin to Courrières, leaving only dragoons and cavalry in these lines.
    • To make his positions even stronger, Villars entrenched a few outposts along the Scarpe between Douai and Hélesmes. He also established a dam on the Scarpe near Marchiennes to flood the marshes from Marchiennes to Pont-de-Râches.

On 19 August, Villars visited the country between the canal of Lens and Béthune and ordered to improve the entrenchments between Béthune and Saint-Venant.

Villars then inspected the posts along the Scarpe River and the defensive works on the Scheldt between Denain and Condé. The most important of these works was a dyke between Condé and Valenciennes supported by several redoubts. Villars was so satisfied by these new works that he decided to leave only 300 foot and 6 dragoon coys to defend them. These troops were taken from the corps of M. de La Frezelière which numbered 11 sqns and was posted at Saint-Saulve.

On 24 August, the troops that Villars had removed from the defensive works between Condé and Valenciennes, encamped between Thiant and the village of Maing, near Prouvy, to secure the line of communication from the camp of Denain to Valenciennes.

On 25 August, to protect his left flank, Villars ordered to complete the line extending on 12 km from the Lawe River on its right by way of Béthune, Hinges, Mont-Bernanchon to Robecq near Saint-Venant.

On 26 August

  • French
    • Villars transferred 2 bns from Béthune and 1 bn from Douai to the Lines of Cambrin.
    • Informed that Prince Eugène was foraging in the vicinity of Carvin on the right bank of the Deule Canal, Villars marched with grenadiers, artillery and part of the cavalry under M. d'Artaignan to engage the Allies but, by the time he reached his destination, they had retired without completing their forage.

On 30 August, Villars was informed that the siege of the Citadel of Tournai was coming to an end, because the garrison had no provisions left. Expecting an attack against his positions when the Allies would have made themselves masters of Tournai, he gave precise instructions to all his generals to prepare them to react adequately and rapidly to any attack. M. d'Albergotti remained in command of the right wing from Denain to Pont-de-Râches and M. d'Artaignan of the left wing from Pont-de-Râches to Cambrin.

Louis XIV sent the Maréchal de Boufflers to Arras to be in a position to rapidly join the army if anything happened to the Maréchal de Villars. Even if Boufflers was senior to Villars, he gracefully accepted to serve under his command.

On 2 September in the evening, Eugène and Marlborough detached General Pallandt with 1,000 grenadiers and 400 horse to take Saint-Ghislain by surprise and thus secure a passage on the Haine River.

Battle of Malplaquet

On 3 September

  • Allies
    • At Tournai, Marlborough finally agreed to terms of capitulation for the citadel, specifying that the garrison would retire with the honours of war to Douai but could not serve before having been exchanged.
    • Eugène and Marlborough sent their heavy baggage and their artillery towards Mons. They also detached the Prince of Hesse with 4,000 grenadiers and 60 sqns to make himself master of the Lines of the Trouille and to invest Mons.
  • French
    • Boufflers arrived at Arras.

On 4 September

  • Allies
    • At 1:00 a.m., Pallandt's detachment reached Saint-Ghislain but the garrison was ready and the enterprise failed.
    • The Prince of Hesse crossed the Haine River at Havré, downstream from Mons.
    • The main armies set off from Orchies and made several demonstrations against various parts of the French lines.
  • French
    • The garrison of Tournai (now only 3,200 men) came out of the citadel and marched to Douai, and the exchange was concluded a few days later.
    • Boufflers arrived at Villars' headquarters at Sin-le-Noble, near Douai.

In the night of 4 to 5 September

  • Allies
    • The Allies crossed the Scheldt at Tournai, Antoing and Mortagne and encamped between Briffoeil and Estambruge (unidentified location). They had left 26 bns and 20 sqns near Tournau, excluding the garrison.
  • French
    • Informed that the Allies were crossing the Scheldt, Villars personally went to the camp of M. d'Albergotti. The latter had already detached the Chevalier de Luxembourg with 1 infantry brigade and 30 sqns towards Givry to support the troops defending the Lines of the Trouille.

On 5 September

  • Allies
    • The Allies marched towards Mons. Their army reached Casteau.
    • The head of the corps of the Prince of Hesse and the detachment of the Chevalier de Luxembourg arrived at the same time on the Trouille River.
  • French
    • Now sure that the Allies planned to lay siege to Mons or Charleroi, Villars ordered all his troops to join him and marched with the Maison du Roi, the Gendarmerie and the Carabiniers, crossed the Scheldt at Valenciennes and reached Quievrain in the evening and encamped there.

On 6 September

  • Allies
    • The main army moved closer to Mons. The Duke of Marlborough crossed the Haine River at Havré with all the left wing and deployed with his right anchored on the river and his left at Harmegnies on the Trouille River. Prince Eugène deployed the right wing with its right on the road leading from Mons to Bruxelles, near Saint-Denis, and its left near Havré.
  • French
    • In the morning, the Chevalier de Luxembourg, seeing that he was facing the entire Allied army, decided to abandon the Lines of the Trouille and to retire, after throwing a dragoon rgt into Mons.
    • 40 bns and all of Albergotti's cavalry made a junction with Villars' Corps near Quievrain. But d'Artaignan's infantry could not join the army before the next day. Villars sent 4 Spanish bns to reinforce the garrison of Mons.

On 7 September

  • Allies
    • In the afternoon, Marlborough crossed the Trouille and encamped with his right towards Quaregnon and his left towards Quévy-le-Petit, to cover the Siege of Mons.
  • French
    • Villars, having assembled all his army, crossed the Hongnau and encamped in two lines with his right at Athis and his left at Montroeul (Montrœul-sur-Haine), towards the Haine River. His headquarters remained at Quievrain behind the centre.

On 8 September

  • Allies
    • In the morning, Prince Eugène crossed the Haine and Trouille rivers and deployed on the right of Marlborough's positions. Marlborough extended his left up to the wood of Lanières, near Feignies. The corps of the Prince of Hesse rejoined the army and the corps left near Tournai was ordered to do the same. The entire army encamped in two lines with the right at Quaregnon, the left at Bettignies and the headquarters at Grand Quevy (unidentified location), near the centre. The right wing was covered by the woods of Boussu, Grand-Blaugies and Sars (Sars-la-Bruyère). There were two gaps between the wood of Sars, Jansart and another little wood in front of the centre. The left was covered by the woods of Jansart and Lanières.
  • French
    • The French army sojourned at the camp of Quievrain, awaiting the arrival of bread, but Villars and Boufflers were determined to take position opposite the gaps between the woods covering the centre of the Allies.

In the night of 8 to 9 September, Villars detached the Chevalier de Luxembourg to occupy the two gaps between the woods covering the centre of the Allied positions.

On 9 September

  • French
    • At daybreak, Luxembourg's detachment occupied the two gaps between the woods covering the Allied centre.
    • In the morning, Villars' Army marched in four columns: two columns of infantry, each with an artillery brigade at its head; and two cavalry columns, each preceded by a dragoon brigade. The Comte de Broglie formed the rearguard with a reserve.
    • Around 10:00 a.m., Villars' Army deployed near Malplaquet. During the march of his army, Villars had reconnoitred the plain and the woods.
    • Around noon, Villars advanced his army. He anchored his right to the wood of Jansart and Lanières and his left to the wood of Sars. The widest gap (about 2 km) was between the woods of Sars and Jansart. each the two other gaps was only 1 km wide. The first line extended on both sides beyond the gap behind the outskirts of the woods. The cavalry was deployed in several lines with the right facing the Jansart wood and the left, the Sars wood.
    • At 3:00 p.m., Villars' artillery opened against the positions of the Allies. The artillery duel lasted until nightfall.
  • Allies
    • At 9:00 a,m, informed of the advance of the French army, the Allies also marched forward to block the access through the gaps in front of their centre. They occupied the village of Aulnoit (unidentified location) and extended their positions up to Blaregnies, thus covering all gaps.

On 10 September

  • Allies
    • At 8:00 a.m., the artillery duel resumed. It would once more last until nightfall.
    • The Allied corps (26 bns, 20 sqns), which had been left near Tournai, made a junction with the main army. Marlborough and Eugène were now at the head of 162 bns and 300 sqns with 120 artillery pieces.
  • French
    • Villars was at the head of 120 bns and 260 sqns with 80 artillery pieces. He gave orders to his infantry to entrench the sections of the battlefield facing the gaps and to build abatis on both sides in the woods. The cavalry was commandeered to make fascines.

On 11 September

  • Allies
    • The Allies detached 2,000 men to make themselves masters of Saint-Ghislain, which was defended by only 200 men, and to thus cover their line of retreat towards Ath. The defenders surrendered without opposing any resistance.
  • Battle of Malplaquet
    • The Allies attacked the entrenched positions of the French army and won a Pyrrhic victory in the Battle of Malplaquet. They suffered so heavy losses that they contended themselves to resume the siege of Mons. The Maréchal de Villars was severely wounded during the battle and the Maréchal de Boufflers assumed command of the French army.

Operations during the Siege of Mons

On 12 September

  • Allies
    • The army retired to its camp at Quevy.
  • French
    • The army, now under the command of the Maréchal de Boufflers, deployed along the Ronelle River, which ran from Le Quesnoy to Valenciennes. It encamped in two lines on a front of 12 km with its right at Le Quesnoy and its left at Valenciennes. The headquarters were established in Ruesnes, near Le Quesnoy.

To recruits for the depleted bns of the army, Louis XIV ordered to take 50 men from each of the 42 bns or rgts garrisoning the places between the sea and the Meuse River. This made for a total of 2,000 men destined to be incorporated into the 42 weakest bns of the army.

On 16 September, the Maréchal de Boufflers reviewed his army.

On 17 September

  • French
    • Boufflers sent a few rgts back to various places: 3 bns to Condé, 3 bns to Maubeuge, 1 bn to Charleroi, 3 sqns to Douai, 2 sqns to Cambrai and 2 sqns to Landrecies. These troops were replaced by 4 bns coming from Ypres, 1 bn from Aire, 4 bns from Condé and 6 sqns from Douai.
    • Boufflers also detached the Brigadier de Coppy with 800 foot and 500 horse to Gommegnies in front of the right wing of the army; and another detachment of 800 horse to occupy outposts in front of the centre and left.

On 18 September, the Chevalier de Livry set off from Condé with 3 bns destined to reinforce the defenders of Mons.

On 19 September in the morning, Livry's detachment reached Mons.

During this time, the Allies had been reinforced by 30 bns taken from the garrisons of Flanders, Brabant and the Meuse. These units were replaced in these places by those which had suffered the most during the Battle of Malplaquet.

On 20 September

  • Allies
    • The Allied army set off from Quevy and moved closer to Mons.
    • The Prince de Orange-Nassau, destined to command the siege corps, invested the place with 30 bns and 30 sqns and established his headquarters in the Béliant Abbey.
    • The army of observation encamped in three lines with its right at Jemappes on the Haine River, an advanced corps at Hornu near Saint-Ghislain, its left at Villers-Sire-Nicole (unidentified location) on the Trouille River. Eugène established his headquarters in the Castle of Noirchain, behind the right; and Marlborough in Havré on the Haine River.

On 21 September, to limit foraging by the Allies and to threaten their convoys, Boufflers sent out three detachments:

  • the Comte de Broglie with 4 bns and 14 sqns encamped at Fresnes (Fresnes-sur-Escaut) near Condé
  • the Chevalier de Luxembourg with 7 bns and 15 sqns took position near Maubeuge
  • M. de Fraula with 4 bns and 6 sqns took position near Charleroi

After the departure of these three detachments, Boufflers still had 102 bns at the camp of Ruesnes.

On 24 September, Boufflers sent 2 cavalry rgts to Arras; 1 cavalry rgt to Doulens, 1 dragoon rgt to Béthune, and 1 dragoon rgt to Douai, He also sent a reinforcement of 2 bns, 2 cavalry rgts and 6 dragoon coys to the Comte de Broglie near Condé; and another detachment of 2 bns and 3 cavalry rgts to the Chevalier de Luxembourg at the camp of Maubeuge.

On 25 September, the Chevalier de Luxembourg marched from the vicinity of Maubeuge towards Charleroi and encamped with his right at Marcinelle and his left towards the village of Marchienne-au-Pont facing the Sambre River. The detachment of M. de Fraula joined Luxembourg's detachment there.

At the end of September, the Maréchal de Boufflers built a new line of entrenchments between Valenciennes and the Forest of Mormal, by way of Le Quesnoy. Boufflers also started to plan for winter-quarters for 104 bns and 151 sqns.

On 3 October, Boufflers detached M. de Toulongeon with 40 sqns to encamp near Maubeuge and to assist the Chevalier de Luxembourg in his attempts to harass the Allies.

In the night of 3 to 4 October, Marlborough retired his troops from the Trouille River and repositioned them with their right between Bougnies and Harmegnies and their left at Bray, on the Upper Haine, and the the Estinnes stream. Meanwhile, Prince Eugène extended his left towards Marlborough's right. His left remained at Jemappes on the Lower Haine.

Fearing for Maubeuge, Louis XIV instructed Boufflers to risk a second battle rather than to leave this place to its fate if the Allies decided to besiege it. The king also ordered the Maréchal d'Harcourt to transfer 10 bns from his Army of the Rhine to Mézières. However, Boufflers considered that the preservation of Le Quesnoy should take precedence over the potential loss of Maubeuge.

On 11 October, foraging parties engaged an action near Leuze. The Comte de Broglie with 1,500 foot and 1,500 horse drove the Allies back, taking 150 prisoners and capturing 300 horses.

On 15 October, Louis XIV approved the views of the Maréchal de Boufflers.

On 18 October

  • French
    • Boufflers sent 12 bns to Maubeuge, 10 of these bns were destined to reinforce the corps (40 sqns under the Chevalier de Luxembourg) posted nearby.
    • The Maréchal de Berwick, who had served with distinction in Dauphiné during this campaign, arrived at Boufflers' camp.

On 19 October, Boufflers and Berwick reconnoitred the country between Bavay, Mons and Maubeuge. They concluded that it was impossible to relieve Mons.

On 20 October

  • French
    • At noon, M. de Grimaldi asked to negotiate the capitulation of Mons. The garrison (now reduced to only 2,000 men) obtained the honours of war and had to evacuate the place on 23 October. The French would be escorted to Maubeuge and the Spaniards and Bavarians to Namur.
    • After the fall of Mons, Boufflers and Berwick decided to establish an entrenched camp near Maubeuge, on the right bank of the Sambre.

On 21 October

  • French
    • Work began at the entrenched camp near Maubeuge and a boat-bridge was established on the Sambre near Sassegnies.
    • In the evening, Boufflers, leaving Berwick at Maubeuge, returned to the camp of Ruesnes.

On 22 October, Boufflers sent 16 bns and 28 sqns with 20 field pieces to reinforce Berwick near Maubeuge. He also ordered the Chevalier de Luxembourg to place 6 bns and 1 dragoon rgt in Charleroi and to send 8 bns and 2 dragoon rgts to Namur and then to join the army of the Maréchal de Berwick with his cavalry. With all these reinforcements, Berwick was now at the head of 26 bns and 75 sqns.

On 23 October, the army of the Maréchal de Berwick encamped in two lines on the right bank of the Sambre River, with its right towards Ferrière-la-Petite and its left behind the entrenched camp. Work continued to improve the entrenched camp and the fortifications of Maubeuge.

On 26 October in the morning, the Allied army marched north-eastwards from the vicinity of Mons and encamped with its right towards Soignies and its left at Le Rœulx, where Marlborough established his headquarters. Prince Eugène personally left for Bruxelles and the artillery marched towards this place.

The Armies march to their Winter-Quarters

On 27 October

  • French
    • With Condé, Valenciennes and Le Quesnoy out of danger, Boufflers sent a new detachment of 26 bns under M. de Goesbriant to join Berwick's Army at Maubeuge and thus speed up the construction of the entrenched camp.
    • Berwick sent his cavalry to canton along the Sambre River, to ease its supply. M. de Toulongeon led 35 sqns to Saint-Gérard, and the Chevalier de Luxembourg, 40 sqns towards Charleroi.

On 28 October, the Allied army decamped from Le Roeulx and separated. The troops destined to take their winter-quarters on the Meuse River and beyond took the road to Nivelles; those destined for Flanders marched by way of Leuze; and those destined for Brabant retired towards Bruxelles, where Marlborough joined Prince Eugène.

On 28 and 29 October, Boufflers began to send some troops to their winter-quarters.

On 29 October, Boufflers personally went to Maubeuge to discuss the situation with the Maréchal de Berwick and to visit the entrenched camp and the country of the Sambre. The Maréchal de Montesquiou remained at the camp of Ruesnes.

On 30 October, Montesquiou sent all the field artillery to Douai, the chevau-légers to Cambrai and the Gendarmerie de la Garde to Saint-Quentin.

At the end of October, Marlborough left Bruxelles for The Hague. The Saxon Corps (now around 7,000 men) took up its winter-quarters in Mecheln, Louvain and Oudenarde.

On 1 November

  • French
    • Boufflers received orders from Louis XIV to send the troops to their winter-quarters.
    • The Maréchal de Berwick set off from Maubeuge to return to Versailles.
    • M. de Saillans, having heard of a detachment of 4,000 men marching in the direction of Luxembourg, set off from Namur with 8 bns and 15 sqns and marched to Emptinne, where he encamped.

On 2 November, Saillans sent 200 dragoons forward to Marche-en-Famenne to reconnoitre the positions of the Allies. He learned that they had already retired towards Maastricht.

On 3 November

  • Allies
    • Marlborough arrived at the Hague.
  • French
    • Saillans' detachment returned to Namur.

The Maréchal de Montesquiou, who would assume command in Flanders during winter, joined the Maréchal de Boufflers at Maubeuge after having sent the last troops of the camps of Ruesnes and Fresnes-sur-Escaut to their winter-quarters. Orders were also given to all troops posted between the Sambre and the Meuse, with the exception of the infantry working at the entrenched camp, to leave for their winter-quarters.

On 6 November

  • Allies
    • Most of the Palatine Contingent crossed the Meuse and marched to its winter-quarters in the Electorate of Palatinate. However, the Venningen Carabiniers were quartered in the neighbourhood of Maastricht, while Bettendorf Infantry was posted in Maastricht I./Lybeck Infantry in Limbourg.
  • French
    • The Maréchal de Boufflers left Maubeuge for Versailles, leaving Montesquiou in command.

The Maréchal de Villars, who had been sojourning in Le Quesnoy since he had been wounded at Malplaquet, was transported to Paris.

On 8 November, Prince Eugène left Bruxelles for The Hague.

On 12 November, the entrenched camp near Maubeuge being completed, Montesquiou went to Douai.


Thanks to the Maréchal de Villars, the campaign, which France had begun in a desperate situation, had produced very little tangible results for the Allies. Their plan to invade France had been foiled, they had won a Pyrrhic victory at Malplaquet and conquered two additional places in the Spanish Netherlands, with no gain in France.


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. 9, 1855, pp. 3-115
  • 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


Harald Skala for his participation in the creation of this article