1758 - French offensive in Hesse

From Project Seven Years War
Jump to navigationJump to search

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1758 - French offensive in Hesse

The campaign lasted from July to December 1758


This article deals with Soubise's campaign in Hesse in 1758. Another article deals with the simultaneous French invasion of Westphalia by an army under the command of Contades.


French retreat behind the Rhine

During the first months of 1758, the Duc de Broglie took over command of the French troops in Lower Hesse, as the Prince de Soubise, governor of Kassel until then, preferred to spend winter in Paris.

In February, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive in Hanover against the Maréchal Duc de Richelieu, Broglie too had to retreat. On March 21, he evacuated Lower Hesse. The bulk of his army marched to Düsseldorf and Deutz (Cologne).

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was now free from French troops. Landgrave Wilhelm VIII was thus able to return in his estates.

On April 3 and 4, most of Broglie's Army crossed the Rhine. This army was initially supposed to represent the French contingent put at the disposal of Austria for the campaign of 1758. However, with the consent of the court at Vienna, this French army was redirected to operate in Hesse. After the withdrawal behind the Rhine, Versailles gave orders to Soubise to return to Hesse which was completely devoid of enemy troops within 65 km.

Accordingly, by May, a force of 9 bns and 18 sqns under the command of the Comte de Lorges had assembled in the Hesse-Hanau area.

On May 6, Landgrave Wilhelm VIII arrived at Kassel.

On May 9, Ferdinand detached the Lieutenant-General Prince von Ysenburg to Marburg, to organize, at the request of the landgrave, the defence of Hesse-Kassel against Soubise's Army. Ysenburg left Westphalia with a force of 2 bns, 2 sqns, 2 light troops coys and a few artillery pieces:

  • Hessian infantry
  • Hessian cavalry
  • Hanoverian light troops
    • Jägers (2 coys).

By May 19, Lieutenant-General Prince Ysenburg was at the head of 6,600 men (2 regular bns (Prinz Ysenburg Infantry and Canitz Infantry), 4 militia bns (Grenadiers, Gundlach, Wurmb, Freywald), 3 Jäger coys (2 coys of Freytag Jägers and 1 coy of Hessian Jägers), 2 Invalid coys, 7 sqns (2 sqns of Pruschenk Cavalry, 4 sqns of Prinz Friedrich Dragoons and 1 sqn of Hesse-Kassel Hussars) and 10 artillery pieces) assembled near Marburg. From this force, 3 sqns from Prinz Friedrich Dragoons were still dismounted.

With his small army, Ysenburg could not consider an offensive against his opponent, but he had to dispute any advance of the French into Hesse-Kassel and retreat to Hameln only in the last extremity.

Ferdinand estimated Soubise’s force at 16,000 men and believed that it would move downstream along the Rhine instead of entering into Hesse-Kassel.

On May 31, Ferdinand of Brunswick crossed the Rhine at the head of the Allied main army to operate on the west bank of the Rhine against Clermont's Army.

In the first days of June, Soubise's Army left its cantonments and concentrated at Hanau and Höchst. Meanwhile Ysenburg, who was posted at Marburg, progressively retired to Kassel. Broglie followed Ysenburg during his retreat with a corps consisting of:

On June 23, Ferdinand defeated Clermont's Army in the Battle of Krefeld. This defeat delayed the concentration of Soubise's Army in Hesse. However, Soubise received instructions to invade Hesse with his 24,000 men. The French hoped that this offensive would induce Ferdinand to recross the Rhine.

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of Soubise's Army in July near Friedberg.

By July, Soubise's Army amounted to some 30,000 men in 39 bns and 32 sqns assembled near Hanau. This army was formed of the bulk of the German and Swiss regiments in French service. Furthermore, Soubise expected to be soon reinforced by a Württemberger Contingent of some 6,000 men.

The various contingents under French pay (Palatinate, Württemberg and Saxony) were instructed to make their junction with Soubise as soon as possible.

French invasion of Hesse

Soubise received instructions from Paris to advance into the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel and to occupy the principality before marching into the Electorate of Hanover and the Duchy of Brunswick; thus forcing Ferdinand to abandon his campaign on the left bank of the Rhine and allowing Contades to cross to the right bank of the Rhine with the main French army and then effect a junction with Soubise’s Army.

On July 11, Soubise’s Army, which had advanced northwards from Hanau, reached Friedberg. Broglie led the vanguard. He planned a slow and hesitant advance to give Ysenburg a sentiment of security and then to attack him by surprise.

On July 16

  • French
    • Soubise advanced from Friedberg to Grosslinden where he established his headquarters.
    • Broglie, commanding Soubise's vanguard, sent forward the Royal-Nassau Hussards and the Chasseurs de Fischer to surprise Marburg.
  • Allies
    • Ysenburg retired behind the Ohm to keep his line of communication with Kassel open.
Allied and French manoeuvres in Hesse from mid-May to September 1758.
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab
Courtesy: Tony Flores

On July 17, the Allied garrison retired from Marburg just before the arrival of the troops sent ahead by Broglie.

On July 18, Soubise's Army encamped near Marburg.

On July 19, Soubise's Army marched from Marburg towards Kassel.

On July 21

  • French
    • Broglie moved to Gilserberg, chasing the Hessian Corps of the Prince von Ysenburg in front of him. Broglie hoped to make contact with the enemy and to engage combat. Accordingly, he ordered the Royal-Nassau Hussards to advance cautiously and to retire hastily if the Hessians found them. This way, Broglie wanted to inspire confidence to Ysenburg so that he would finally encamp in reach of a forced march. In preparation for this plan, Broglie moved his artillery forward in the village of Kerstenhausen where grenadiers and dragoons were already positioned. He also formed 7 bns, each of 400 picked men to act as vanguard and to march swiftly if there were any chance of contacting the enemy.
    • At 10:00 p.m., M. Wournesen sent M. de Sermone, an engineer, to inform the Duc de Broglie that enemies were still in their camp at nightfall and that there were no activity indicating that they intended to leave during the night. Immediately, Broglie ordered the 7 picked bns and all the cavalry to march at midnight. In the mean time, he also ordered dragoons, grenadiers and Royal-Nassau Hussards to move on Fritzlar.
  • Allies
    • At 11:00 p.m., while the French were preparing their assault, Ysenburg's Corps left its camp, marched through Kassel and passed the Fulda about 5 km from Kassel.

On July 22

  • Allies
    • Considering that Kassel was indefensible, Ysenburg took position on the heights of Sandershausen, 5 km east of Kassel, intending to offer battle. The Hessian Jägers and Hesse-Kassel Hussars temporarily occupied Bettenhausen.
    • The landgrave left Kassel and took refuge in Rinteln (he would later leave for Bremen).
    • Ysenburg’s train was transferred to Münden under the escort of the 3 dismounted sqns of Prinz Friedrich Dragoons.
  • French
    • Broglie arrived personally in Fritzlar at daybreak. His main force camped at Dorla, between Fritzlar and Kassel. The Chasseurs de Fischer arrived on the heights near Kassel. The deputies of Kassel assured the Duc de Broglie that Ysenburg planned to march towards Münden the following day. Broglie estimated that it was now impossible to catch them and considered resting his troops who were harassed by ten days of continual marches on awful roads. He disposed the cantonments accordingly and ordered his rgts to part at the village of Oberzwehren, some 4 km to the southwest of Kassel and to go each to their assigned cantonment.
    • Broglie then left at 7:00 a.m. from Oberzwehren with the corps under his command and discovered the Allied camp at about 4 km from Kassel on the road to Münden. Seeing this, Broglie sent the guards, who were supposed to assume police and security duties in the place, to take possession of Kassel. He also advanced his grenadiers with volunteers from various infantry regiments up to the city gates with interdiction to enter. He instructed these troops to leave their baggage, to feed their horses and to wait for his orders. Meanwhile, he requested infantry and artillery to arrive as soon as possible.

On July 23

  • French
    • Two French bns entered into Kassel.
    • About noon, 6,000 French foot passed through Kassel while 4,000 French horse forded the Fulda. Broglie then sent his entire corps across the Fulda.
    • Broglie himself went to Kassel where he could perfectly see the enemy camp from the house that he occupied and he could observe their movements and orchestrate his own accordingly.
  • Allies
    • Ysenburg, fearing to be too hardly pressed during his retreat, took position at Sandershausen.
  • Combat of Sandershausen
    • The French soon began to skirmish with the Hessian Jägers, following them up to Sandershausen. Broglie vigorously attacked and defeated Ysenburg in the Combat of Sandershausen.
    • The Allies lost some 1,000 men.
    • At the end of the combat, the remaining Hessian troops retired in good order to Landwehrhagen and then to Münden.
    • By this single action, Soubise became master of Hesse-Kassel. He was now free to push farther in Hanover and Westphalia. This manoeuvre became dangerous to Ferdinand.

On July 24

  • French
    • At Belleisle's bidding, Broglie pushed towards Hanover.
    • The Royal-Nassau Hussards reached Münden and almost captured the Prince von Ysenburg who was still in this town. Nevertheless, they captured some of his horses and found 8 guns abandoned by the Hessians after breaking down their carriages. The French continued to make prisoners. Royal-Nassau Hussards then proceeded to Göttingen.
    • The Chasseurs de Fischer (800 men) took position at Northeim.
  • Allies
    • Ysenburg retired towards Einbeck.
    • Ferdinand, who was posted on the west bank of the Rhine, moved towards the Meuse to draw the French main army away from the Rhine.

On July 25

  • French
    • French patrols, who had followed up the Hessians up to Göttingen, informed Broglie that a very small number of Hessians had reached this town.
    • Soubise arrived at Kassel with the main body of his army. Surprisingly, he then remained idle in his camp at Zwehren (present-day Oberzwehren) for an entire month, only sending a small vanguard towards Warburg.
  • Allies
    • Ysenburg reached Einbeck where Hessian foresters joined his small army. He decided to make a stand at Einbeck while he recruited and awaited small reinforcements from Hanover. Soon, he received 1,000 uniformed recruits from Minden (the 1,000 hunters of the King of Hanover were assembled at Uslar under the command of M. Wenhausen to form a new regiment) and a few artillery pieces from Hameln.

On August 3, a British contingent of 12,000 men, under the command of the Duke of Marlborough, disembarked at Emden on the coast of East Frisia. Indeed, the successes of Frederick II at Rossbach during the previous year and those of Ferdinand in Hanover since January had enticed the British Government to send reinforcements.

On August 8, the Württemberger Contingent (13 bns for a total of approx. 6,000 men) effected a junction with Soubise’s Army near Kassel.

On August 9 and 10, fearing an attack by Soubise on the 12,000 British troops recently landed and anxious about his bridge on the Rhine, Ferdinand recrossed to the right bank of the Rhine with his army and then burnt his bridges. Meanwhile, General Hardenberg evacuated Düsseldorf and retired to Lippstadt.

On August 18 (???), Soubise detached a large body to Warburg and another to Geismar. At the same time, Fischer quit Göttingen.

On August 19, the Marquis Contades, following up Ferdinand, finally completed the crossing of the Rhine. With Contades’ Army now on the right bank of the Rhine, even though nothing prevented him from advancing in Hanover, Soubise rather contemplated to push troops forward on Paderborn and to capture Lippstadt as Belle-Isle so urgently requested. Meanwhile he raised more than 6½ millions Gulden in contribution in Hesse-Kassel.

On August 25

  • French
    • While the French Army of the Lower Rhine advanced to Schermbeck and then to Recklinhausen, Soubise received the order to leave his camp of Zwehren and to move towards Lippstadt.
  • Allies
    • Since both French armies were now converging on Lippstadt, which was defended by Hardenberg with only 3 bns, Ferdinand immediately detached Lieutenant-General von Oberg with 7 bns and 8 sqns to cover this place and to stop the French advance in this quarter. General Zastrow was ordered to support Oberg while covering the Allied magazines at Warendorf. Oberg himself had been instructed to maintain communication with Ysenburg’s Corps. These measures taken by Ferdinand effectively put a halt to the advance of Soubise.

On August 30, Oberg’s cavalry left its camp on the Lippe south of Dülmen and marched eastwards in the direction of Beckum.

On September 2, Oberg followed with his 7 bns.

On September 4, Oberg reached Lippstadt with his entire corps. He would remain there until September 13.

On September 5, Ysenburg’s Corps marched from Einbeck to Moringen where it encamped.

Soubise offensive

By the end of the summer, Contades was elaborately manoeuvering to capture Lippstadt or some fortress in the Rhine-Weser countries. However, as long as he could not cross the Lippe, it was impossible to Soubise's Army to advance in Hanover beyond the Werra River. Therefore, Soubise waited at Kassel for almost a month for Contades to advance close enough to allow for mutual support.

By September 8, Soubise had assembled 28 bns and 20 sqns near Münden, leaving only a detachment (9 bns and 12 sqns) near Warburg, and 6 bns in Kassel. He had decided to advance into Hanover.

The Prince von Ysenburg, now reinforced with a few Hanoverian jägers had some 7,500 men. He reoccupied Göttingen.

Allied and French manoeuvres in Hesse from September to November 1758.
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab
Courtesy: Tony Flores

On September 9,

  • Allies
    • Ysenburg marched from Einbeck to Moringen but realising that the French force was much larger than his own, he retired to Uslar on his way to Hameln.
    • The armies of Oberg and Soubise still observed each other on the Lippe.

On September 10,

  • French
    • Soubise reached Göttingen with his army (28 bns, 20 sqns) and retook possession of the place. He had left Kassel and its important magazines almost unprotected.

On September 11

  • French
    • Soubise’s Army reached Northeim where it halted.
  • Allies
    • Ysenburg’s Corps arrived at Hameln.

When Ferdinand was informed of the advance of Soubise in Hanover, he gave orders to Oberg to march to Paderborn to threaten Kassel. He also sent Oberg a reinforcement of 3 bns and 2 sqns.

On September 13, Oberg and Ysenburg asked for Ferdinand’s authorization to effect a junction and then advance against Soubise.

On September 14, Soubise marched to Einbeck. The Chasseurs de Fischer made incursion in the Electorate of Hanover, pushing forward up to the gates of the city of Hanover, plundering the silver mines of the Harz on their way.

On September 15, after having made several demonstration, as if he intended to cross the Weser, Oberg suddenly moved to Paderborn with 14,000 men. Oberg would remain at Paderborn until September 22.

On September 16

  • French
    • When the French commander at Warburg saw elements of Oberg’s cavalry near the town, he decided to retire to Westuffeln.
  • Allies
    • General Zastrow marched from Warendorf towards Hameln to join Ysenburg.

On September 17, Zastrow's Corps made a junction with Ysenburg at Coppenbrügge. Ysenburg then threw a bridge on the Weser at Holzminden to simulate a crossing.

Ysenburg had exchanged his militia bns for 2 regular bns which previously garrisoned Lippstadt. Furthermore, the recently raised Hanoverian Marsschalck Infantry joined his corps. With these new units, Ysenburg was now at the head of 7 bns and 10 sqns. Together, Ysenburg and Oberg could field 18 bns and 20 sqns. The moment seemed to be well chosen to drive Soubise out of Hanover and Hesse.

On September 19

  • Allies
    • Oberg sent a detachment (4 dragoon sqns, grenadier coys of his 7 bns and Luckner's Corps) from Paderborn towards Warburg against the camp of Dumesnil's Corps (5 bns, 8 sqns and Royal-Nassau Hussards).
  • French
    • Dumesnil decamped upon their approach, passed the Diemel and marched a further 15 km.
    • Fearing a junction of Oberg's forces with those of Ysenburg for a combined action against one of his corps, and worried for the safety of Kassel, Soubise retreated from Northeim to Göttingen.

On September 20

  • Allies
    • Part of Luckner's Corps passed the Diemel.
    • The detachment sent by Oberg arrived at Warburg.
  • French
    • Dumesnil retired from Warburg to Kassel.

On September 22, Ysenburg’s Corps set off from Hameln.

On September 23, Oberg’s Corps set off from Paderborn without waiting for the arrival of an additional Hanoverian bn (Wrede Infantry).

On September 24

  • Allies
    • Oberg’s vanguard marched from Warburg.
  • French
    • Soubise received intelligence that Oberg was on the move and that his vanguard had already reached Kleinenberg and Warburg while his main force was advancing along the road of Driburg and Peckelsheim.

On September 25

  • Allies
    • Oberg attacked a large French detachment under the command of M. de Waldner who had been sent from Kassel, cutting off about 200 of Waldner's light troops.
    • Oberg’s Corps reached Hofgeismar.
    • Ysenburg’s Corps crossed the Weser at Holzminden on its way to effect a junction with Oberg’s Corps.
  • French
    • Soubise’s Army retired from Göttingen in two columns: the main column by Münden, the other by Witzenhausen. It marched to Münden.

On September 26

  • Allies
    • In the morning, after a very slow advance from Warburg in the latter days, Oberg marched on Kassel. The French detachment at Westuffeln retired before him without opposing resistance. Oberg finally arrived in front of Kassel, where Soubise had left all his baggage and a large magazine before advancing on Hanover. Only a small French detachment ( 9 Württemberger bns) was defending the entrenched camp. There was much confusion among this garrison. Some burghers went to Oberg’s camp to report on the situation, mentioning that the walls were unguarded, the streets full of wagons and carts hindering movements, and that the garrison was unwilling to fight. Lieutenant-Colonel Luckner immediately propose to lead a raid against Kassel but Oberg did not authorize the attack, preferring to wait for the arrival of Ysenburg’s Corps.

On the night of September 26 to 27, the advanced elements of Soubise’s Army arrived at Kassel.

On September 27

  • French
    • In the morning, the Swiss Waldner Brigade and the German Bentheim Brigade entered into Kassel. They were soon followed by Soubise's vanguard.
    • The rest of Soubise's Army was not far behind at Witzenhausen. In the morning, it reached the heights near Kassel and entrenched itself.
  • Allies
    • Ysenburg advanced up to Hohenkirchen, 6 km from Kassel. He deployed his army so that it connected with Oberg's positions. Oberg was now at the head of 17 bns and 20 sqns in his camp near Obervellmar, to the northwest of Kassel. He encamped on the heights behind Harleshausen, his left on the heights in front of Mönchehof.

On September 28

  • French
    • Soubise deployed his 25,000 men with their left anchored on a hillock in front of Wahlershausen and extending up to Kirchditmold. His centre was deployed on either sides of Rothenditmold. His right wing, protected by a scarp, extended up to Kassel. Entrenchments were dug in Kirchditmold and two redoubt were erected between this village and Rothenditmold. The front line of the French army consisted of infantry while the cavalry was deployed in two lines to the rear, behind a small brook. The artillery park was installed at Wehlheiden as well as Soubise's headquarters.
    • Soubise asked Contades for reinforcement.
  • Allies
    • Oberg's right wing, consisting mainly of grenadiers, was anchored on Wahlershausen while his left extended up to Obervellmar where he had his headquarters.

During all these manoeuvres, Contades had remained idle in his camp at Recklinghausen where he was since August 19.

Oberg’s and Soubise’s armies encamped face to face until early October. Initially, Oberg had considered to turn the French left wing but he soon abandoned his plan when reconnaissances revealed the difficulty of the planned attack. Meanwhile, Allied hussars often skirmished against Fischer's light troops.

On September 29, Contades detached General Chevert from the French main army at Unna with 22 bns (including the Saxon Contingent) and 24 sqns to reinforce Soubise near Kassel. Chevert should march by way of Soest and Büren.

On September 30, the Duc de Fitzjames set off from Werl with another 10 bns and 12 sqns destined to Soubise’s Army. Fitzjames should follow Chevert’s Corps in its march.

On October 2, Oberg was informed that new reinforcements had been sent to Soubise from the French main army. These reinforcements threatened the rear of his positions.

On October 3

  • Allies
    • At 8:00 a.m.,Oberg retired northwards to new positions at Hohenkirchen while Ysenburg moved to Rothwesten. By 2:00 p.m., their redeployment was completed. Oberg decided to cross to the right bank of the Fulda before the arrival of the French reinforcements.
  • French
    • The detachments of MM. de Clausen and de Castries closely followed the Allies during their retreat. Clausen advanced on the left, towards Wahlershausen and Obervellmar, with some infantry and light troops. Fischer's Corps skirmished with Allied light troops of the rearguard. Castries advanced along the road to Warburg up to Obervellmar and Niedervellmar, at the head of a much larger force consisting of light troops, dragoons, cavalry and infantry.
    • Chevert’s Corps reached Niedermarsberg, 48 km to the northwest of Kassel.

During the night of October 3 to 4, the Allies retired along the Fulda River through a reputedly impassable dale.

On October 4

  • Allies
    • Major-General von Fürstenberg crossed the Fulda on a bridge of boats near Speele and Wilhelmhausen with 3 bns and 4 sqns. He drove back a strong French detachment from the heights near Landwehrhagen.
    • At noon, Prince Ysenburg crossed the Fulda with the second line.
    • Fürstenberg’s and Ysenburg’s corps halted south of Landwehrhagen.

On October 5

  • Allies
    • Oberg crossed the Fulda with the rest of his army and encamped south of Landwehrhagen, taking possession of Witzenhausen and Göttingen.
  • French
    • Soubise’s Army was encamped between Wehlheiden and Oberzwehren, they also occupied Bettenhausen on the other bank of the Fulda.

On October 8

On October 9

  • French
    • Soubise, now reinforced with Chevert's Corps and expecting Fitzjames during the day, decided to attack the Allies before they could receive reinforcements.
    • At dawn, the Légion Royale, Chasseurs de Fischer, 20 grenadier companies, 20 pickets and 460 carabiniers were detached as vanguard of the right wing under the Marquis de Voyer. Meanwhile, the vanguard of the left wing was assigned to the Comte de Lanion with 300 infantrymen, 200 horse and the Royal-Nassau Hussards. Voyer was supposed to attack the village of Heiligenrode, an advanced position on the left flank of the Allies.
    • Then the main body of the French army under Soubise, leaving all its tents standing, deployed in 5 columns, crossed to the east bank of the Fulda and took position near Bettenhausen between the river and the hills, behind the Losse Stream.
    • In the afternoon, a number of grenadier coys, with some sqns and with the light troops were sent forward to Dahlheim, 2 km to the southeast of Uschlag to secure the narrow road leading towards Landwehrhagen.
    • Chevert's Corps deployed on the right with its own cavalry forming the right wing while Soubise's cavalry was on the left wing.
    • Fitzjames’ Corps arrived during the evening and encamped near Waldau, 1 km behind the French Army.
  • Allies
    • Oberg was encamped in a strong defensive position on the plateau of Sandershausen. The Allied cavalry mounted as soon as they saw the French vanguards. Meanwhile the Allied infantry deployed in two lines on the plateau of Sandershausen with the cavalry to its rear. The Allied lines extended from the scarps of the Fulda on their right to the woods on their left which was also covered by a deep ravine. Furthermore, the Sandershausen brook ran across their front.
    • Oberg sent his train to Münden.
  • Attack on Heiligenrode
    • Soubise launched an attack against the village of Heiligenrode where he met only a weak resistance. Once this village secured, Soubise ordered his army to encamp and the Allies progressively returned to their camp.

On the night of October 9 to 10

  • Allies
    • Around 1:00 a.m., Oberg, fearing for his lines of communication, decamped from Sandershausen, passed the village of Landwehrhagen, and marched in several columns towards Lutterberg.
  • French
    • The strong detachment posted at Dahlheim was further reinforced.
    • Around 3:00 a.m., Chevert arrived at Dahlheim with the rest of his corps.

On October 10

  • Battle of Lutterberg
  • Allies
    • The same day, near Mellingen (unidentified location), Luckner attacked a French party consisting of some infantry and of the Royal-Nassau Hussards, capturing 3 officers and 56 privates.

During the night of October 10 to 11

  • Allies
    • Oberg's Army passed the defile leading to Münden.
    • By midnight, the whole Allied army had marched through Münden. It then crossed to the right bank of the Werra and lay under arms in a little plain a few km downstream near Ginpen (unidentified location, maybe Gimte). When possible, the wounded had been transported with the army. Although severely wounded men were left behind at Münden.
    • The Bückeburg Infantry drove back the French hussars who had been sent forward to pursue the retreating army. Most sick and wounded were carried from Münden however, 150 men had to be left there because of their condition. The garrison of Münden abandoned the town and joined Oberg's Army.
  • French
    • Soubise’s Army bivouacked on the battlefield. Only a few detachments of hussars pursued the Allies on a short distance into the woods.

On October 11

  • Allies
    • At daybreak, Oberg's army resumed its retreat unmolested to Guntersheim (unidentified location) where it encamped. Oberg intended to retreat up to Moringen.
  • French
    • In the morning, a strong French detachment reached Münden where it halted.
    • Soubise marched to Lutterberg where he established his headquarters.

On October 12, the corps of Chevert and Fitzjames quitted Soubise’s Army to rejoin Contades’ main army in Westphalia.

On October 15, Oberg’s Army reached Moringen.

On October 16, Soubise returned to Kassel with his army after having remained almost idle at Lutterberg for several days.

Contades now thought that he had his chance against Ferdinand. But when the latter heard of Oberg's defeat at Lutterberg, he decided to manoeuvre to prevent the junction of Contades and Soubise and to stop Soubise from advancing into the Electorate of Hanover. Ferdinand's endeavour was successful and the two French army were unable to form a junction.

On October 28, Soubise moved his army to Hohenkirchen, 10 km north of Kassel, and cantoned his troops, leaving a garrison in Münden.

General Ysenburg put some troops in Göttingen and cantoned his corps in the neighbourhood.

On November 22, Soubise abandoned Münden.

On November 22, Soubise evacuated Münden and began to retire behind the Lahn.

Voices from the Past
On November 24, 1758, Josephus Clarte soldier in the Chasseurs de Fischer married at Merzhausen

On November 23, Soubise, considering that it was impossible to maintain his army at Kassel during winter, evacuated the town. He seized Giessen, throwing a garrison of 3,000 picked troops in this town. He also took possession of Friedberg in der Wetterau. Finally, he took his winter-quarters which extended from the mouth of the Lahn, along this river and the Main. Soubise established his headquarters at Hanau and his hospital at Marburg. At Giessen as well as in Friedberg, 400 peasant were requisitioned to repair the fortifications.

The Saxons took their winter-quarters in the area Katzenelnbogen, Limburg, Wetzlar and Marburg. Prince Xaver then went to Paris where he obtained the renewal of subsidies for another year.

Order of Battle
Detailed breakdown of the Allied troops in their winter-quarters in December 1758 in Hesse and Westphalia.

On November 24, Prince Ysenburg took up cantonments near Münden.

On November 25, Prince Ysenburg advanced to Kassel.

By November 30, Prince Ysenburg had established his winter-quarters from Kassel to Fritzlar.

On December 1

  • Allies
    • Part of Ysenburg's Corps marched to Fritzlar while the rest marched to the Bailiwick of Gudensberg where they took their quarters.
  • French
    • At 5:00 a.m., the Marquis de Castries appeared before St. Goar Gate with Saint-Germain Infanterie which had been transported on the Rhine. Some troops scaled the walls and captured the place, taking 50 prisoners.
    • At 8:00 a.m., Castries summoned the Castle of Rheinfels whose garrison (300 Hessian militiamen) surrendered as prisoners of war without opposing any resistance.

A few days later, 50 Hessian militiamen were forced to evacuate Burg Katz.


This article is essentially a compilation of texts from the following books who are now in the public domain:

  • Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 306-309, 331
  • Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 230-232
  • Bourcet, M. de: Principes de la guerre de montagnes Ministère de la guerre, Paris, 1775, pp. 193-200
  • Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 18
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 8 Zorndorf und Hochkirch, Berlin, 1910, pp. 380-383, 390-396, 405-406, 432-433
  • Hotham (probably): The operations of the Allied Amy under the command of his Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand Duke of Brunswic and Luneberg beginning in the year 1757 and ending in the year 1762, London: T. Jefferies, 1764, pp. 51-70
  • Jomini, Henri: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 45-46, 56-60, 61-65
  • Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
  • Tory, J.: A Journal of the Allied army's marches from the first arrival of the British troops in Germany to the present time, J. W. Kisling, Osnabruck, 1762, pp. 3-5

Other sources

Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009

Service historique de l'armée de terre, A4, 27, pièce 58

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar


Harald Skala for information on the Saxon Army during this period