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Title: A History of the British Army, Vol. 1 - First Part—to The Close of The Seven Years' War
Author: Fortescue, J. W. (John William), Sir
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of the British Army, Vol. 1 - First Part—to The Close of The Seven Years' War" ***


  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

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  Footnote anchors are denoted by [number], and the footnotes
  themselves have been placed at the end of the book.

  This volume covers the period up to 1713 when the Julian calendar
  was still in use in England. The change to the Gregorian calendar
  took place in Europe beginning in 1582, though much later in
  Protestant regions, and not in Britain until 1752. This produced a
  difference of eleven days in contemporary documents and books using
  the Julian Old Style (OS) and those using the modern Gregorian New
  Style (NS) dates.

  The author follows the convention of using the dates as recorded
  at the time of the event, so that events in England, Scotland and
  Ireland are noted in the text and Sidenotes in Julian OS, and
  events in (Catholic) Europe after 1582 are noted in NS. When a
  specific day is noted for an event in Europe the corresponding
  Sidenote will with few exceptions give both dates in the format

  Some minor changes are noted at the end of the book.


  [Illustration: (Publisher's colophon)]

  A History of

  The British Army




  VOL. I

  _Quæ caret ora cruore nostro_


  _All rights reserved_


The civilian who attempts to write a military history is of
necessity guilty of an act of presumption; and I am not blind
to my own temerity in venturing to grapple with such a task as
the History of the British Army. But England has waited long
for a soldier to do the work; and so far no sign has been given
of the willingness of any officer to undertake it beyond the
publication, a few years since, of Colonel Walton's _History of the
British Standing Army from 1660 to 1700_. Nor is this altogether
surprising, for the leisure of officers is limited, the subject is
a large one, and the number of those who have already toiled in
the field and left the fruit of their labour to others is sadly
small. A civilian may therefore, I hope, be pardoned for trying
at any rate to make some beginning, however conscious of his own
shortcomings and of the inevitable disadvantage from which he
suffers through inexperience of military life in peace and, still
more fatally, in war. His efforts may at least stimulate some one
better qualified than himself to treat the subject in a manner
better befitting its dignity and its worth.

My design is to write the history of the Army down to the year
1870, the two present volumes carrying the story down to the Peace
of Paris in 1763, and two future volumes bringing it forward to
the great reforms which virtually closed the life of our old Army
and opened that of a new. It would have been easy to have filled a
score of volumes with matters germane to the subject and of genuine
interest to at least some groups of military students; nor would
such treatment have been foreign to the methods of one school of
British historians. There is indeed much to be said for it from
the writer's standpoint, for it simplifies his task beyond belief.
To me, however, rightly or wrongly, it seemed better to gather
the story if possible into a smaller compass, even at the cost
of omitting many instructive statistics and picturesque details.
Accordingly I have compressed the six hundred years of our military
history from Hastings to Naseby into one-third that number of
pages, endeavouring only to set down such points and incidents as
were essential to a coherent sketch of the growth of our military
system. Even after Naseby and up to the reign of Queen Anne I have
dealt with the history in a like arbitrary spirit, thus passing
over, not I confess without regret, the Irish campaigns of Cromwell
and King William, though entering with some detail into that of
Schomberg. All could not be written down, as any one can bear me
witness who has attempted to go below the surface of the Great
Civil War alone. The reader must decide whether I have judged well
or ill in that which I have left unwritten.

I must plead guilty also to deliberate omission of sundry small
details which are rather of antiquarian than of true military
interest, minute particulars of dress, armament and equipment
and the like, the real place for which is rather in a military
dictionary than in a military history. These I have sacrificed,
not because I felt them to be trivial, but because I thought that
the space which they demanded would be more profitably occupied
by a sketch of the political relations between the Army and the
country. I cannot, however, claim completeness for this sketch:
and I am conscious that many questions of great constitutional
importance are left unresolved, as I must frankly acknowledge,
through my inability to cope with them. I have sought our
acknowledged authorities on constitutional questions in vain; not
one is of help. I confess that I have been amazed when reading our
innumerable political histories to see how unconcernedly Army,
Navy, and the whole question of National Defence are left out of

It is this, the political not less than the military aspect of
the Army's history that I have endeavoured, however slightly and
however unsuccessfully, to elucidate, at the sacrifice sometimes
of purely military matters; and it is this which makes the
subject so vast as to be almost unmanageable. The difficulties
of tracing military operations are frequently trying enough, but
they are insignificant compared to those presented by the civil
administration of the Army, and by the intolerable complication of
the finance. Here again the reader must judge whether or not I have
chosen aright; and I would ask him only not to attribute to neglect
omissions which have been made after mature deliberation.

My authorities from the reign of Queen Anne onward, and
occasionally before, are quoted at the foot of the page; but in the
earlier portion of the first volume I have been content to group
them in a brief note at the close of each chapter or section;[1]
and I have followed the same plan with some modification
throughout. I must, however, mention that these notes rarely
comprise the whole of the authorities that I have consulted, much
less all that lie open to consultation. It would be a simple
matter, for instance, to cover a page with works consulted on the
subject of the Civil War alone; but while I have, as I trust, taken
pains to make my work thorough, I have been content frequently to
refer the reader to such authorities as will guide him to further
sources of information, should he desire to pursue them. I have
spared no pains to glean all that may be gleaned from the original
papers preserved at the Record Office in reference to the military
administration and to the various campaigns, and I have waded
through many thousands of old newspapers, with and without profit.
What unknown treasures I may have overlooked among the archives
preserved by individual regiments, I know not, since with an army
so widely dispersed as our own it seemed to me hopeless to attempt
to search for them; but such regimental histories as exist in print
I have been careful to study, sometimes with advantage but not
always with profound respect for their accuracy.

Maps and plans have been a matter of extreme difficulty, owing to
the inaccuracy of the old surveys and the disappearance of such
fugitive features as marsh and forest. I have followed contemporary
plans wherever I could in fixing the dispositions of troops, but
in many cases I should have preferred to have presented the reader
with a map of the ground only, and left him to fill in the troops
for himself from the description in the text. Blocks of red and
blue are pleasing indeed to the eye, but it is always a question
whether their facility for misleading does not exceed their utility
for guidance. Actual visits to many of the battlefields of the
Low Countries, with the maps of so recent a writer as Coxe in my
hand, did not encourage me in my belief in the system, although, in
deference to the vast majority of my advisers I have pursued it.

It remains to say a few words on some minor matters, and first as
to the question of choosing between Old Style and New Style in the
matter of dates. Herein Lord Stanhope's rule seemed to be a good
one, namely to use the Old Style in recording events that occurred
in England, and the New for events abroad. But I have supplemented
it by giving both styles in the margin against the dates of events
abroad; lest the reader, with some other account in his mind,
should (like the editor of Marlborough's Despatches) be bewildered
by the arrival in England of news of an action some days before it
appears to have been fought in the Low Countries. One difficulty
I have found insuperable, which is to discover when the New Style
was accepted in India; but finding that the dates given by French
writers differ by eleven days from those of Orme I have been driven
to the conclusion that the Old Style endured at any rate until
1753, and have written down the dates accordingly.

Another difficulty, more formidable than might be imagined, has
been the choice of orthography for names of places abroad. Before
the war of 1870 the French form might have been selected without
hesitation; but with the rise of the German Empire, the decay of
French influence in Europe and the ever increasing importance of
German writings in every branch of literature, science and art,
this rule no longer holds good. Finding consistency absolutely
impossible, I have endeavoured to choose the form most familiar
to English readers, and least likely to call down upon me the
charge of pedantry. Even so, however, the choice has not been easy.
Take for instance the three ecclesiastical electorates of the
Empire. Shall they be Mainz, Köln and Trier, or Mayence, Cologne
and Trèves? The form Cologne is decided for us by the influence
of Jean Maria Farina; Trèves is, I think, for the present better
known than Trier; but Mainz, a large station familiar to thousands
of British travellers, seemed to me preferable to the French
corruption Mayence, as reminding the reader of its situation on
the Main. For German names of minor importance I have taken the
German form, since, their French dress being equally unfamiliar
to English readers, there seemed to be no reason why they should
not be written down correctly; but the French form is adopted
so exclusively in contemporary histories that possibly not a
few instances of it may have escaped my vigilance. In Flanders
again it is frequently necessary to choose between the French and
the Flemish spelling of a name; and, where it has been possible
without pedantry, I have preferred the Flemish as nearer akin
to the English. Thus I have always written Overkirk rather than
Auverquerque, Dunkirk rather than Dunquerque, Steenkirk rather
than Estinquerque (the form preferred for some reason by Colonel
Clifford Walton), since the French forms are obviously only
corruptions of honest Flemish which is very nearly honest English.
Actual English corruptions I have employed without scruple,
though here again consistency is impossible. It is justifiable
to write Leghorn for Livorno; but The Groyne, a familiar form
at the beginning of this century, is no longer legitimate for
Corunna, any more than The Buss for Bois-le-duc (Hertogenbosch) or
Hollock for Hohenlohe. Then there is the eternal stumbling-block
of spelling Indian names. Here I have not hesitated to follow the
old orthography which is still preserved in the colours of our
regiments. Ugly and base though the corruptions may be they are
at any rate familiar, and that is sufficient; while they probably
convey at least as good an idea of the actual pronunciation as the
new forms introduced by Sir William Hunter. Here once more it would
be confusing to write Ally for Ali or Caubool for Cabul, though
possibly less so than to confront the reader with Machhlípatan
or Machlípatan (two forms used indifferently by Colonel Malleson)
for Masulipatam, and Maisur for Mysore. We are an arbitrary nation
in such matters and very far from consistent. Even in such simple
things as the names of West Indian Islands we have dropped the old
form Martinico in favour of Martinique, though we still affect
Dominica in lieu of Dominique. All that a writer can do is to study
the prejudices of his readers without attempt either to justify or
to offend them.

Lastly, I must give the reader warning that I have spoken of
our regiments throughout by the old numbers instead of by their
territorial titles. As I do not propose to carry the history beyond
1870 I may plead so much technically in justification; but apart
from that I would advance with all humility that life is short,
and that it is too much to ask a man to set down such a legend as
"The First Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment" (in itself
probably only an ephemeral title), when he can convey the same
idea at least as intelligibly by writing the words Sixty-fifth. I
have also called regiments by their modern appellations (so far
as the numbers may be reckoned modern) throughout, ignoring the
anachronism of denominating what were really regiments of Horse by
the term Dragoon Guards, for the sake of brevity and convenience.
An Appendix gives the present designation of each regiment against
its old number, so that the reader may find no difficulty in
identifying it. I may add that I have written the numbers of
regiments at full length in the text in all cases where such
regiments have survived up to the present day, so that the reader
need be in no doubt as to their identity; and I have carefully
avoided the designation of disbanded regiments by the numbers which
they once bore, in order to avoid confusion.

In conclusion, I have to express my deepest thanks to Mr. G. K.
Fortescue at the British Museum and to Mr. Hubert Hall at the
Record Office for their unwearied and inexhaustible courtesy in
disinterring every book or document which could be of service to me.

  J. W. F.

  _June, 1899._





  The true Starting-Point for a History of the Army                  1

  The Primitive Army of the English                                  5

  Its Distinctive Peculiarity                                        6

  Battle of Hastings                                                 6

  The English at Durazzo                                             7

  The Introduction and Insufficiency of Knight-Service               8

  Persistence of the old English Tactics; Battle of Tenchbrai        9

  Battles of Brenville, Beaumont and the Standard                   10

  Blending of Offensive and Defensive Arms of Infantry              11

  Rise of the Cavalry; the Tournament                               11

  Henry II.'s Military Policy                                       11

  The Assize of Arms                                                12

  Richard I. and the Crusades                                       13

  Introduction of the Cross and of the Military Band                14

  Decay of the Feudal Force and its Causes                          14

  The Great Charter and its Results                                 15

  Reforms of Edward I.; Commissions of Array; Statute of
        Winchester                                                  16

  Battle of Falkirk                                                 17

  Battle of Bannockburn                                             18

  Revival of old English Tactics at Halidon Hill                    19


  The System of Hiring Troops by Indent                             22

  Chivalry; the Men-at-Arms                                         23

  Horses                                                            25

  Retinue of the Knight                                             26

  Administrative Organisation and Tactical Formation of
        Men-at-Arms                                                 26

  Pauncenars and Hobelars                                           27

  Welsh Spearmen; English Archers                                   28

  General Organisation of the Army; Pay; Corrupt Practices          30


  Invasion of France by Edward III.                                 33

  Edward's Retreat to Creçy                                         33

  Battle of Creçy                                                   35

  Renewal of the War                                                37

  The Black Prince's Advance to the Loire and Retreat to Poitiers   38

  Battle of Poitiers                                                39

  Peace of Brétigny                                                 41

  The Free Companies; Battle of Cocherel                            42

  Battle of Auray                                                   43

  The White Company                                                 44

  The Black Prince's Invasion of Spain; Sir Thomas Felton           45

  Battle of Navarete                                                46

  Revolt of Gascony and Aquitaine                                   47

  Death of the Black Prince                                         48


  The Spread of English Tactics; Battle of Sempach                  50

  The Free Companies; Rise of the Purchase System                   51

  Sir John Hawkwood                                                 51

  Battle of Aljubarotta                                             53

  Improvement of Firearms                                           53

  Henry V.'s Invasion of France                                     54

  Siege of Harfleur; the March for Calais                           55

  Battle of Agincourt                                               58

  Scots enter the French Service; Battle of Beaugé                  62

  Death of Henry V.                                                 63


  Continuation of the War under the Duke of Bedford                 64

  Battle of Crevant                                                 64

  Battle of Verneuil                                                65

  Siege of Orleans; Battle of the Herrings                          67

  Joan of Arc                                                       68

  Decline of the English Efficiency; Defeat of Patay                69

  Artillery used against the Archers                                69

  Foundation of the French Standing Army                            70

  Continued Decline of the English                                  70

  Their Final Defeat at Chatillon                                   71

  Discontent and Disorder in England                                72

  Wars of the Roses; Edward IV.                                     74

  Battle of Towton                                                  74

  Battle of Barnet                                                  76

  Introduction of Firearms; Decay of Old English Tactics            77

  Martin Schwartz at the Battle of Stoke                            77

  Close of the First Period of English Military History             78



  Renascence of the Art of War in Europe; John Zizka                81

  Rise of Swiss Military Power                                      82

  Swiss Tactics                                                     83

  Decline of the Swiss; Marignano, Bicocca, Pavia                   85

  Rise of the Landsknechts                                          85

  Their Organisation                                                86

  Their System of Discipline                                        90

  Their Tactics                                                     91

  French Invasion of Italy in 1496                                  93

  The Artillery of the French Army                                  93

  French Military Terms                                             93

  Corruption in the French Army                                     95

  Rise of the Spanish Military Power                                96

  Gonsalvo of Cordova                                               97

  Pescayra's Firing System                                          97

  Spanish Arquebusiers                                              98

  Spanish Discipline                                                99

  Spanish System of Training                                       100

  Their Improvements in Firearms                                   101

  Rise of Dragoons                                                 102

  Change in Tactics of Cavalry                                     102

  Old Surgery and Gunshot Wounds                                   103

  Missile Tactics of the Reiters                                   104

  The Military Renascence founded on Classical Models              106


  Accession of the Tudors                                          108

  Results of the Loss of France; Calais                            108

  Dislocation of the old Military Organisation                     109

  Coat- and Conduct-Money; Yeomen of the Guard                     110

  The Tudor Colours                                                111

  The Office of Ordnance                                           111

  Military Efforts of Henry VIII.                                  112

  War with France; Defects of the Army                             112

  Slow Improvement in Organisation                                 113

  Foreign Mercenaries                                              114

  The Northern Horsemen                                            114

  Battle of Flodden                                                115

  Continued Discouragement of Firearms                             117

  Scheme for Rearmament of Infantry Abandoned                      119

  The Artillery Company                                            119

  The Great Review of 1539                                         119

  The Breed of English Horses                                      121

  Henry as an Artillerist                                          122

  The Three Divisions of the English Forces                        123

  The Lords-Lieutenant                                             124

  New Statute of Defence under Philip and Mary                     125

  Loss of Calais                                                   126


  Disorder in the Military System on Elizabeth's Accession         127

  Great Efforts to Restore Efficiency                              128

  Report of the Magistrates on Existing Means of National
        Defence                                                    128

  The New School of Soldier                                        129

  Opportunity lost for Erecting a Standing Army                    130

  English and Scots Volunteers aid French Protestants              131

  War with France; Unreadiness of England                          131

  A Corps of Arquebusiers formed                                   132

  Insurrection in the North; Bad Equipment of English Troops       133

  Gradual Displacement of Bows and Bills by Pikes and Firearms     133

  First English Volunteers sail for the Low Countries              135

  London leads the Way in Military Reform                          135

  Gradual Introduction of Foreign Methods and Terms                135

  Outburst of Military Literature at the close of Elizabeth's
        Reign                                                      136


  Revolt of the Netherlands; Morgan's English Volunteers           141

  The English School of War in the Netherlands; Sir Humphrey
        Gilbert                                                    142

  Thomas Morgan                                                    142

  John Norris; Battle of Rymenant                                  143

  Elizabeth's Double-dealing with the Dutch Insurgents             144

  Despatch of Leicester to the Low Countries                       146

  Battle of Zutphen                                                147

  Edward Stanley                                                   150

  The Camp at Tilbury                                              151

  Maurice of Nassau                                                152

  Reorganisation of the Dutch Army                                 152

  The Infantry                                                     153

  The Cavalry                                                      155

  Francis Vere                                                     155

  Corruption in the Army                                           156

  The British taken into Dutch Pay                                 157


  The Campaign of 1600                                             159

  Battle of Nieuport                                               160

  The Defence of Ostend                                            165

  Death of Francis Vere                                            167

  The Twelve Years' Truce                                          168

  Renewal of the War                                               168

  The British Officers in the Dutch Service                        169

  Some peculiar Types                                              170

  Improvement of the British Soldier                               171


  The British School of War in Germany                             173

  Early Entry of Scots into the Swedish Service                    173

  Mackay's Highlanders                                             175

  Their early Exploits in the Service of Denmark                   175

  Their Defence of Stralsund                                       178

  Their Entry into the Service of Gustavus Adolphus                179

  Reforms of King Gustavus; the Infantry                           179

  The Cavalry                                                      182

  The Artillery                                                    184

  His Matching of Mobility against Weight                          185

  Battle of Leipsic                                                186

  The Action with Wallenstein before Nürnberg                      189

  The Scots Regiments enter the French Service                     190


  King James I.; Repeal of the Statute of Philip and Mary          191

  King Charles I.; Buckingham's Military Mismanagement             191

  Lord Wimbledon's efforts to Restore Military Efficiency          193

  Military Writers; Hopeless Condition of the English Militia      194

  Collapse of the Military System at the Scotch Rebellion
        of 1639                                                    194

  The Collapse repeated in 1640                                    195

  Resistance to enforcement of the Military Requirements of the
        King                                                       196

  Rout of the English at Newburn                                   198

  The Scots Army subsidised by the Parliament                      198

  Widening of the Breach between King and Parliament               198

  The Futile Struggle of both Parties for the Militia              198

  Outbreak of the Civil War                                        199

  The Rival Armies; Prince Rupert                                  199

  Oliver Cromwell; Rupert's Shock Action at Edgehill               200

  Cromwell sees the Remedy for ensuring Victory over the
        Royalists                                                  200

  Helplessness of the Parliament in the Early Stages of the War    201

  Superiority of the Royalist Cavalry                              201

  The King's Success in the Campaign of 1643                       202

  It is checked by Cromwell                                        203

  Fairfax and Cromwell at Winceby Fight                            204

  Parliament votes a Regular Army                                  204

  The Scots cross the Tweed; the Committee of both Kingdoms        205

  Marston Moor                                                     205

  Sir William Waller urges the Formation of a Permanent Army       207

  Collapse of the Existing System of the Parliamentary Army        208

  The New Model Army voted                                         208



  Fairfax appointed to Command the New Model                       211

  Philip Skippon his Chief Officer                                 212

  The Making of the Army; Red Coats                                213

  The Organisation of the Army; Infantry and Cavalry               214

  Shock Action                                                     215

  The Dragoons; the Artillery                                      217

  The Engineers                                                    219

  Organisation of the War Department                               219

  List of the Army                                                 220

  The Ruling Committee's Plan of Campaign                          222

  It is upset by Montrose's Victory at Auldearn                    223

  Cromwell appointed Lieutenant-General                            223

  Battle of Naseby                                                 224

  The New Model's victorious Campaign in the West                  227

  Charles's Last Hope destroyed at Philiphaugh                     228


  The English and Scots                                            229

  The Parliament and the Army                                      230

  Fatuous Behaviour of Parliament                                  231

  The Army advances on London                                      232

  The House purged                                                 233

  Charles throws himself into the arms of the Scots                234

  Cromwell's Dash into Yorkshire; Preston                          234

  The Army appeals for Justice upon Charles                        235

  Cromwell accepts the Command in Ireland                          236

  The Mutiny at Burford                                            237

  The Irish Campaign                                               237

  Threatened Invasion of Scots; Fairfax resigns                    239

  Cromwell succeeds Him; George Monk                               239

  The Coldstream Guards                                            240

  The Campaign in Scotland                                         240

  Cromwell Outmanœuvred; Retreat to Dunbar                         241

  Leslie's False Movement                                          242

  Battle of Dunbar                                                 243

  Reduction of the Lowlands                                        245

  The Scots unite again under Charles Stuart                       245

  Cromwell's Plan of Campaign                                      246

  Battle of Worcester                                              247


  Gradual increase of the Army during the Civil Wars               248

  Measures for reducing it                                         248

  The Dutch War; George Monk                                       249

  The Expulsion of the Rump by Cromwell                            250

  The United Kingdom under Military Government                     251

  George Monk in Scotland                                          251

  His Highland Campaign                                            252

  Henry Cromwell in Ireland                                        254

  Oliver Cromwell in England                                       256

  Military Districts and Mounted Constabulary                      257


  The West Indian Expedition                                       258

  The Plan of Campaign                                             259

  Faults in the Composition and Direction of the Force             260

  Refusal of Barbados to assist                                    261

  Failure of the Attack on St. Domingo                             262

  Capture of Jamaica; the bulk of the Expedition returns to
        England                                                    263

  Frightful Mortality among the Troops in Jamaica                  263

  War with Spain; Six Thousand men sent to Turenne in Flanders     266

  Excellence of their Discipline                                   267

  Their Mad Exploit at St. Venant                                  268

  Sufferings of the Troops in Winter Quarters                      268

  Sir William Lockhart appointed to Command                        269

  The British Regiments in the two contending Armies               270

  Battle of Dunkirk Dunes                                          271

  The King's English Guards                                        273

  Further Exploits of the Six Thousand                             273

  Death of Oliver Cromwell                                         274

  Richard Cromwell resigns; the Officers restore the Rump          274

  Monk concentrates at Edinburgh and moves South                   275

  The Camp at Coldstream                                           276

  Monk's March to London                                           276

  The Rump dissolves itself under Monk's pressure                  277

  The Restoration                                                  277


  The Revival of the Military Spirit in England                    279

  The new type of Soldier introduced by Cromwell                   280

  Discipline of the Army                                           281

  Incipient Organisation of a War Department                       283

  Stoppages of Pay; Barracks                                       284

  Abolition of Purchase                                            284

  Suppression and Revival of Fraudulent Practices                  285



  The Disbandment of the New Model                                 289

  The First Guards and Blues raised                                290

  The Coldstream Guards reserved from the New Model                290

  The Life Guards                                                  291

  The First Foot brought to England                                292

  Second Foot and Royal Dragoons raised                            292

  Reorganisation of the Militia                                    292

  Growth of the Empire                                             293

  War with the Dutch                                               293

  The English Regiment in Holland returns, to become the Buffs     294

  France and England declare War against Holland                   295

  James, Duke of Monmouth; John Churchill; William of Orange       296

  Tangier                                                          297

  The Fourth Foot formed                                           298

  Accession of James II.; his Powers of Administration             298

  Monmouth's Rebellion                                             299

  Fifth to Eighteenth Foot, First to Sixth Dragoon Guards, and
        Third and Fourth Hussars established                       300

  The Camp at Hounslow                                             300

  The Twelfth Foot refuses to accept the Declaration of
        Indulgence                                                 303

  Tyrconnel and the Army in Ireland                                303

  Invasion of William; Sixteenth and Seventeenth Foot raised       305

  Desertion of Officers and Flight of James                        306


  Administration of the Army; the Commander-in-Chief               308

  The Office of Ordnance                                           309

  Finance                                                          310

  The Secretary-at-War                                             311

  The Staff at Headquarters                                        312

  No Means of Enforcing Discipline                                 313

  Pay of the Army; General Corruption                              314

  Regimental Organisation and Equipment; the Cavalry               321

  Dragoons; the Scots Greys                                        323

  The Infantry                                                     324

  The Artillery                                                    328

  Chelsea Hospital and Kilmainham                                  328



  Accession of William; Discontent in the Army                     333

  Mutiny of the First Foot                                         334

  The First Mutiny Act passed                                      335

  Increase of the Army                                             336

  Seventh Dragoon Guards and Nineteenth to Twenty-fourth Foot
        raised                                                     337

  Rottenness in the Military System                                337

  Marlborough's First Fight with a Marshal of France               338

  The Rebellion in Scotland; Twenty-fifth Foot raised              338

  Killiecrankie                                                    339

  Twenty-sixth Foot formed                                         340

  Dunkeld                                                          341

  Socket Bayonet introduced by Mackay                              341

  Londonderry and Enniskillen                                      342

  The Fifth Lancers, Inniskilling Dragoons and Twenty-seventh
        Foot formed                                                342

  Schomberg sails for Ireland                                      343

  The Campaign breaks down                                         344

  Disgraceful State of the Army                                    345

  Preparations for a New Irish Campaign                            348


  The Theatre of War in the Low Countries                          351

  The French passion for a Siege                                   354

  The old-fashioned Campaign as then understood                    355

  The Allies and French compared                                   356

  Campaign of 1691                                                 357

  Campaign of 1692                                                 358

  Namur captured by the French                                 359-360

  Battle of Steenkirk                                              360

  End of the Campaign                                              367


  Additions to the Army; Eighth Hussars raised                     368

  The Campaign of 1693                                             369

  Battle of Landen                                                 370

  Increase of the Army for next Campaign; the Seventh Hussars      376

  Tolmach's failure at Brest                                       377

  Campaign of 1695                                                 377

  Siege of Namur                                                   378

  Peace of Ryswick                                                 379


  Financial Exhaustion of England                                  381

  Kidnapping of Recruits                                           382

  The Troops unpaid                                                383

  The cry of No Standing Army                                      384

  Harley's Motion for Reduction of the Army carried                384

  Abuse heaped on the Army in consequence                          385

  Distress of the Army through withholding of its Arrears          385

  William tries to keep a larger Army                              386

  The English Establishment reduced to Seven Thousand Men          386

  Distribution of the Army so reduced                              388

  Renewed outcry of Soldiers for their Arrears                     389

  Helplessness of the Commons                                      390

  The outcry increased owing to the Resumption of Crown Grants     391

  Renewal of the War; King William                                 392



  The Spanish Succession                                           397

  Increase of the Army; Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth Foot         398

  Marlborough sails for the Low Countries                          399

  Twenty-eighth to Thirty-second Foot, Thirty-seventh and
        Thirty-ninth Foot raised                                   400

  Opening of the Campaign of 1702                                  401

  Marlborough takes the Field                                      402

  His Campaign ruined by the Dutch Deputies                        403

  The Centre of Operations tends towards the Danube                406

  The Descent on Cadiz                                             407

  Marlborough's Escape from Capture in Flanders                    407

  He is raised to a Dukedom                                        408

  Scandals in the Paymaster's Office                               408

  The Office reconstituted                                         410


  Increase of the Army                                             411

  The French Plan of Campaign                                      412

  Marlborough's Plan                                               413

  A Second Campaign ruined by the Dutch                            414

  French Successes on the Rhine and Danube                         415

  Eugene of Savoy                                                  416

  Marlborough's Plan for a March to the Danube                     416

  Disposition of the French                                        418

  The March to the Danube                                          419

  Action of the Schellenberg                                       423

  Pursuit of the defeated Bavarians to Friedberg                   427


  Tallard marches for the Danube                                   429

  Eugene follows parallel with him                                 429

  Junction of Marlborough and Eugene                               431

  Battle of Blenheim                                               432

  The close of the Campaign                                        444

  Effect of the Victory in England                                 445


  A British Army sent to the Peninsula                             447

  Siege of Gibraltar                                               448

  The Fortress relieved by Admiral Leake                           450

  Increase of the Army; the Thirty-eighth Foot                     450

  Marlborough's design to carry the War into Lorraine              451

  It is foiled by the supineness of the Allies                     451

  He returns to Flanders                                           451

  The Lines of the Geete                                           451

  The Campaign again ruined by the Dutch                           456

  Peterborough in Catalonia                                        459

  Capture of Barcelona                                             460

  Catalonia and Valencia gained                                    463


  Increase of the Army                                             464

  Marlborough's Plan for a Campaign in Italy                       465

  He reluctantly abandons it for Flanders                          465

  The French move from the Dyle to meet him                        466

  Battle of Ramillies                                              466

  The pursuit after the Action                                     472

  Fruits of the Victory                                            473

  Ostend and Menin taken                                           474

  Close of the Campaign                                            475


  The War in the Peninsula                                         476

  Peterborough in San Mateo                                        477

  His Capture of Nules                                             479

  His Relief of Valencia                                           481

  Galway's Advance from Portugal to Madrid                         482

  He is cut off from his base and marches for Valencia             483

  Peninsula Campaign of 1707                                       484

  Galway defeated at Almanza                                       485

  Peterborough leaves the Peninsula                                488


  Marlborough's Campaign of 1707                                   490

  His only chance ruined by Dutch Deputies                         491

  His Difficulties in England                                      492

  His Campaign of 1708                                             493

  Ghent and Bruges betrayed to the French                          494

  His march to Oudenarde                                           495

  Battle of Oudenarde                                              496

  The Siege of Lille                                               503

  Marlborough shifts his base to Ostend                            507

  Action of Wynendale                                              507

  The Elector of Bavaria invests Brussels                          509

  Marlborough's march to relieve it                                509

  Fall of Lille; recovery of Ghent and Bruges                      510

  Capture of Minorca                                               511


  Unsuccessful Negotiations for Peace                              512

  Campaign of 1709; Villars in command of the French               513

  Siege of Tournay                                                 513

  The march upon Mons                                              515

  Indecisive Action of the Allies                                  517

  Battle of Malplaquet                                             517

  Fall of Mons                                                     526


  The Peninsular Campaign of 1709; Siege of Alicante               528

  Death of General Richards                                        529

  Campaign in Portugal; Action of the Caya                         529

  Catalonian Campaign of 1710                                      530

  Combat of Almenara                                               531

  Action at Saragossa                                              531

  Reinforcement of the French; Evacuation of Madrid                532

  The Defence of Brihuega                                          532

  British forced to Capitulate                                     534

  Action of Villa Viciosa                                          534

  Virtual close of the War in the Peninsula                        535

  Political Changes in England                                     536

  Marlborough's Campaign of 1710                                   537

  Fall of the Government in England                                538

  Insults offered to Marlborough                                   538


  The _ne plus ultra_ of Villars                                   540

  Death of the Emperor Joseph                                      541

  Opening of the Campaign of 1711                                  541

  Eugene's Army withdrawn                                          541

  Marlborough's Stratagem for passing the French Lines             542

  Despair in his Army                                              544

  The French Lines passed                                          545

  Perversity of the Dutch Deputies                                 547

  Capture of Bouchain                                              548

  Marlborough dismissed from all Public Employment                 549

  The Command for 1712 given to the Duke of Ormonde                549

  Rage of the British Troops at their withdrawal from the
        Allied Army                                                550

  Mutiny                                                           551

  Peace of Utrecht; Virtual Banishment of Marlborough              552

  Honour paid to him in the Low Countries                          553


  Growth of the British Army during the War                        554

  Apparent defects in its Organisation                             556

  Opposition of Marlborough to the System of Drafting              557

  The chief Causes of Waste in Men                                 558

  Unpopularity of Colonial Service                                 560

  Neglect of Soldiers' Welfare in England                          562

  The sources of Recruiting                                        563

  The Recruiting Acts                                              564

  Introduction of Short Service                                    566

  Abuses under the Recruiting Acts                                 567

  Desertion                                                        569

  Reforms for the Soldiers' Benefit                                570

  The Board of General Officers                                    571

  Good Discipline of Marlborough's Army                            572

  Officers                                                         572

  Colonel Chartres                                                 573

  Hardships of Officers; Recruits                                  574

  Remounts                                                         575

  Dishonesty of Agents                                             576

  Contributions to Pensions                                        577

  Infant Officers                                                  577

  Order for Abolition of Purchase                                  578

  Marlborough's Intervention                                       578

  General Administration; Effects of the Union with Scotland       580

  Marines made Subject to the Admiralty                            581

  Enhanced Powers and Change of Status of the Secretary-at-War     581

  The Office of Ordnance                                           582

  Armament; Disappearance of the Pike                              584

  The British Musket; Marlborough's Fire-discipline                585

  Drill and Discipline of the Infantry                             585

  The Cavalry; Shock Action; Defensive Armour                      586

  The Artillery                                                    587

  The Duke of Marlborough                                          587


  The Campaign of 1346                               _To face page_ 36

  The Campaign of 1356                                     "        40

  The Campaign of 1367                                     "        46

  The Campaign of 1415                                     "        62

  Dunbar, 1650                                             "       244

  Dunkirk Dunes, 1658                                      "       272

  Steenkirk, 1692                                          "       366

  Landen, 1693                                             "       376

  Namur, 1695                                              "       378

  Schellenberg, 1704                                       "       426

  Blenheim, 1704                                           "       442

  Gibraltar, 1705                                          "       450

  Lines of the Geete                                       "       454

  Barcelona, 1705                                          "       462

  Ramillies, 1706                                          "       472

  Oudenarde, 1708                                          "       500

  Malplaquet, 1709                                         "       524

  The Campaign of 1711                                     "       548

  The British Islands and Northern France: Map  1      _End of volume_

  The Netherlands in the 18th Century      Map  2             "

  Spain and Portugal                       Map  3             "

  Germany, 1600-1763                       Map  4             "



The history of the British Army is commonly supposed to begin with
the year 1661, and from the day, the 14th of February, whereon
King Charles the Second took over Monk's Regiment of Foot from the
Commonwealth's service to his own, and named it the Coldstream
Guards. The assumption is unfortunately more convenient than
accurate. The British standing army dates not from 1661 but from
1645, not from Monk's regiment but from the famous New Model, which
was established by Act of the Long Parliament and maintained, in
substance, until the Restoration. The continuity of the Coldstream
regiment's existence was practically unbroken by the ceremony of
Saint Valentine's day, and this famous corps therefore forms the
link that binds the New Model to the Army of Queen Victoria.

But we are not therefore justified in opening the history of the
army with the birth of the New Model. The very name indicates the
existence of an earlier model, and throws us back to the outbreak
of the Civil War. There then confronts us the difficulty of
conceiving how an organised body of trained fighting men could have
been formed without the superintendence of experienced officers. We
are forced to ask whence came those officers, and where did they
learn their profession. The answer leads us to the Thirty Years'
War and the long struggle for Dutch Independence, to the English
and Scots, numbered by tens, nay, hundreds of thousands, who fought
under Gustavus Adolphus and Maurice of Nassau. Two noble regiments
still abide with us as representatives of these two schools, a
standing record of our army's 'prentice years.

But though we go back two generations before the Civil War to find
the foundation of the New Model Army, it is impossible to pause
there. In the early years of Queen Elizabeth's reign we are brought
face to face with an important period in our military history, with
a break in old traditions, an unwilling conformity with foreign
standards, in a word, with the renascence in England of the art
of war. For there were memories to which the English clung with
pathetic tenacity, not in Elizabeth's day only but even to the
midst of the Civil War, the memories of King Harry the Fifth, of
the Black Prince, of Edward the Third, and of the unconquerable
infantry that had won the day at Agincourt, Poitiers, and Creçy.
The passion of English sentiment over the change is mirrored to
us for all time in the pages of Shakespeare; for no nation loves
military reform so little as our own, and we shrink from the
thought that if military glory is not to pass from a possession
into a legend, it must be eternally renewed with strange weapons
and by unfamiliar methods. This was the trouble which afflicted
England under the Tudors, and she comforted herself with the
immortal prejudice that is still her mainstay in all times of doubt,

                         "I tell thee herald,
      I thought upon one pair of English legs
      Did march three Frenchmen."

The origin of the new departures in warfare must therefore be
briefly traced through the Spaniards, the Landsknechts, and the
Swiss, and the old English practice must be followed to its source.
Creçy gives us no resting-place, for Edward the Third's also was
a time of military reform; the next steps are to the Battle of
Falkirk, the Statute of Winchester, and the Assize of Arms; and
still the English traditions recede before us, till at last at
the Conquest we can seize a great English principle which forced
itself upon the conquering Normans, and ultimately upon all Europe.

This then is the task that is first attempted in this book: to
follow, however briefly and imperfectly, the growth of the English
as a military power to the time of its first manifestation at
Creçy, and onward to the supreme day of Agincourt; then through
the decay under the blight of the Wars of the Roses to the revival
under the Tudors, and to the training in foreign schools which
prepared the way for the New Model and the Standing Army. The
period is long, and the conditions of warfare vary constantly from
stage to stage, but we shall find the Englishman, through all the
changes of the art of war unchangeable, a splendid fighting man.

       *       *       *       *       *

The primitive national army of the English, as of other Teutonic
nations, consisted of the mass of free landowners between the ages
of sixteen and sixty; it was called in the Karolingian legislation
by the still existing name of _landwehr_, and known in England as
the fyrd. Its term of service was fixed by custom at two months
in the year. The force was reorganised by King Alfred or by his
son through the division of the country into military districts,
every five hides of land being required to provide an armed man at
the king's summons, and to provide him with victuals and with pay.
Further, all owners of five hides of land and upwards were required
to do thane's service, that is to say, to appear in the field as
heavily-armed men at their own charge, and to serve for the entire
campaign. The organisation of the thanes was by shires. With the
conquest of England by Canute a new military element was introduced
by the establishment of the royal body-guard, a picked force of
from three to six thousand Danish troops, which were retained by
him after the rest of the army had been sent back to Denmark, and
were known as the house-carles.

It was with an army framed on this model--the raw levies of the
fyrd and the better trained men of the body-guard--that King
Harold, flushed with the victory of Stamford Bridge, marched down
to meet the invasion of William of Normandy. The heavily-armed
troops wore a shirt of ringed or chain-mail, and a conical helmet
with a bar protecting the nose; their legs were swathed in bandages
not wholly unlike the "putties" of the present day, and their arms
were left free to swing the Danish axe. They carried also a sword,
five missile darts, and a shield, but the axe was the weapon that
they loved, for the Teutonic races, unlike the Latin, have ever
preferred to cut rather than to thrust. The light-armed men, who
could not afford defensive armour, came into the field with spear
and shield only. Yet the force was homogeneous in virtue of a
single custom, wherein lies the secret of the rise of England's
prowess as a military nation. Though the wealthy thanes might ride
horses on the march, they dismounted one and all for action, and
fought, even to the king himself, on their own feet.[2]

The force was divided into large bands or battalions, of which
the normal formation for battle was a wedge broadening out from a
front of two men to a base of uncertain number; the officers and
the better armed men forming the point, backed by a dense column
of inferior troops. It was with a single line of such wedges,
apparently from five-and-twenty to thirty of them, that Harold
took up his position to bar the advance of the Norman army. Having
no cavalry, he had resolved to stand on the defensive, and had
chosen his ground with no little skill. His line occupied the
crest of a hill, his flanks were protected by ravines, and he had
dug across the plain on his front a trench which was sufficient
to check a rapid advance of cavalry. Moreover, he had caused each
battalion to ring itself about with sharp stakes, planted into
the ground at intervals with the points slanting outwards, as a
further protection against the attack of horse.[3] The reader
should take note of these stakes, for he will find them constantly
reappearing up to the seventeenth century. There then the English
waited in close compact masses, a wall of shields within a hedge
of stakes, the men of nine-and-twenty shires under a victorious
leader. There is no need to enter into details of the battle. The
English, as has been well said,[4] were subjected to the same trial
as the famous squares at Waterloo, alternate rain of missiles and
charges of cavalry, and as yet they were unequal to it. Harold's
orders had been that not a man should move, but when the Normans,
after many fruitless attacks, at last under William's direction
simulated flight, the order was forgotten and one wing broke its
ranks in headlong pursuit of the fugitives. Possibly, if Harold had
been equal to the occasion, a general advance might have saved the
day, but he made no such effort, and he was in the presence of a
man who overlooked no blunder. The pursuing wing was enveloped by
the Normans and annihilated; and then William turned the whole of
his force against the fragment of the line that remained upon the
hill. The English stood rooted to the ground enduring attack after
attack, until at last, worn out with fatigue and choked with dead
and wounded, they were broken and cut down, fighting desperately to
the end. Indiscipline had brought ruin to the nation; and England
now passed, to her great good fortune, under the sway of a race
that could teach her to obey.

But the English had still one more lesson to learn. Many of the
nobles, chafing against the rule of a foreigner, forsook their
country and, taking service with the Byzantine emperors, joined the
famous Varangian Guard of the Emperor Alexius Comnenus. At Durazzo
they for the second time met the Normans, under the command of
Robert Guiscard. True to their custom, they dismounted and fought
on foot, a magnificent corps, the choicest of the whole army. As
at Hastings, the Normans attacked and were repulsed, and as at
Hastings, the undisciplined English broke their ranks in pursuit.
Robert Guiscard saw his opportunity, hurled his cavalry on to their
flank, and then surrounding them on all sides cut them down, in
spite of a furious resistance, to the very last man. So perished
these untameable, unteachable spirits, the last of the unconquered

The Conquest was immediately followed by the institution of
knight-service. But this system, as introduced into England,
differed in many material respects from that which reigned on the
continent of Europe. It was less distinctly military in character,
and far less perfect as an organisation for national defence.
The distribution of England into knight's fees, however clearly
it might be mapped out on paper, was a work of time and not to
be accomplished in a day. Moreover, there was disloyalty to be
reckoned with; for the English were a stiff-necked people, and were
not readily reconciled to the yoke of their new masters. We find,
therefore, that in very early days the practice of accepting money
in lieu of personal service crept in, and enabled the Norman kings
to fight their battles with hired mercenaries. For this reason
England has been called the cradle of the soldier; the soldier
being the man who fights for pay, _solde_, _solidus_, or, as we may
say by literal translation of the Latin, the man who fights for a

The sole military interest therefore of the reigns of the Norman
kings is to follow the breakdown of the feudal system for military
purposes, and the rapid reversion to the Saxon methods and
organisation. William Rufus was the first to appeal to the English
to arm in his cause, and he did so twice with success. But in the
seventh year of his reign he played them a trick which lost him
their confidence for ever. The fyrd had furnished twenty thousand
men for service against the Norman rebels in France, and had
provided every man, at the cost of his shire, with ten shillings
for the expenses of his journey or, to use a later expression,
for his conduct-money. William met them at the rendezvous, took
their two hundred thousand shillings from them to hire mercenaries
withal, and dismissed them to their homes. This Rufus has been
selected by an historian of repute as the earliest example of an
officer and a gentleman; he should also be remembered as the first
officer who set the fashion, soon to become sadly prevalent, of
misappropriating the pay of his men. The reader should note in
passing this early instance of conduct-money, for we shall find in
it the germ of the Queen's shilling.

[Sidenote: 1106.]

[Sidenote: 1116.]

[Sidenote: 1125, 25th March.]

The reign of Henry the First is interesting in that it shows us
English knights serving in the field against Robert of Normandy
under the walls of Tenchbrai. We find that the old order of
battle, the single line of Hastings,[5] has disappeared and has
given place to the three lines of the Byzantine school, but that,
strange to say, the Saxons have forced their peculiar principle
upon the Normans. Henry caused his English and Norman knights to
dismount, formed them into a solid battalion and placed himself at
their head, keeping but one small body still on their horses. The
enemy's cavalry attacked Henry's mounted men and dispersed them;
but the phalanx of the dismounted remained unbroken, pressed on
against the rabble of hostile infantry, broke it down and almost
annihilated it. The victory was hailed by the English as atonement
for the defeat at Hastings, so bitter even then was the rivalry
between ourselves and our gallant neighbours across the channel.
Ten years later the English were again in France, fighting not
only against rebellious Norman barons but against their ally, the
French King Louis the Sixth. A long and desultory war was closed by
the action of Brenville. Again Henry dismounted four hundred out of
five hundred of his knights and following the tactics of Tenchbrai
won, though not without hard fighting, a second victory. A third
engagement, known as the battle of Beaumont, saw the old English
practice repeated for the third time with signal success; but here
must be noticed the entry of a new force, a company of archers,
which contributed not a little to the fortunate issue of the day.
For as the Norman cavalry came thundering down on the English
battalion, the archers moved off to their left flank and poured in
such a shower of arrows that the horsemen were utterly overthrown.
These archers must not be confounded with the famous English bowmen
of a later time, for most probably they were merely copied, like
the order of battle, from the Byzantine model; but they taught
the English the second of two useful lessons. Henry had already
discovered that dismounted knights could hold their own against
the impetuous cavalry of France; he now learned that the attack of
horse could be weakened almost to annihilation by the volley of
archers. This, at a time when cavalry held absolute supremacy in
war, was a secret of vital importance, a secret indeed which laid
the foundation of our military power. Henry, evidently alive to
it, encouraged the practice of archery by ordaining that, if any
man should by accident slay another at the butts, the misadventure
should not be reckoned to him as a crime.

[Sidenote: 1141.]

The miserable reign of Stephen, so unsatisfactory to the general
historian, possesses through the continued development of English
tactical methods a distinct military interest. The year 1138
is memorable for the Battle of the Standard, the first of many
actions fought against the Scots, and typical of many a victory
to come. The English knights as usual fought on foot, and aided
by archers made havoc of the enemy. Here is already the germ of
the later infantry; we shall find lances and bows give way to
pikes and muskets, but for five whole centuries we shall see the
foot compounded of two elements, offensive and defensive, until
the invention of the bayonet slowly welds them into one. At the
battle of Lincoln, on the other hand, we find the defensive element
acting alone and suffering defeat, though not disgrace; for the
dismounted knights who stood round Stephen fought with all the old
obstinacy and yielded only to overwhelming numbers. Thus, though
two generations had passed since the Conquest, the English methods
of fighting were still in full vigour, and the future of English
infantry bade fair to be assured.

Nor was the cavalry neglected; for amid all the earnest of this
turbulent reign there was introduced the mimic warfare known as the
tournament. This was an invention of the hot-blooded, combative
French, and had been originally so close an imitation of genuine
battle, that the Popes had intervened to prohibit the employment
therein of any but blunt weapons. The tournament being not a duel
of man against man, but a contest of troop against troop, was a
training not only for individual gallantry, but for tactics, drill,
discipline, and leadership; victory turning mainly on skilful
handling and on the preservation of compact order. Thus by the
blending of English foot and Norman horse was laid, earlier than in
any other country of Europe, the foundation of an army wherein both
branches took an equal share of work in the day of action.

[Sidenote: 1181.]

The next in succession of our kings was a great soldier and a great
administrator, yet the work that he did for the army was curiously
mixed. Engaged as he was incessantly in war, he felt more than
others the imperfection of the feudal as a military system. The
number of knights that could be summoned to his standard was very
small, and was diminished still further by constant evasion of
obligations. He therefore regulated the commutation of personal
military service for payment in money, and formed it, under the
old name of scutage, into a permanent institution. Advantage was
generally taken of the system, and with the money thus obtained
he took Brabançon mercenaries, the prototypes of the landsknechts
of a later time, permanently into his pay. When he needed the
feudal force to supplement these mercenaries, he fell back on the
device of ordering every three knights to furnish and equip one
of their number for service; and finally, driven to extremity,
he re-established the old English fyrd as a National Militia by
the Assize of Arms. This, the earliest of enactments for the
organisation of our national forces, and the basis of all that
followed down to the reign of Philip and Mary, contained the
following provisions:--

Every holder of one knight's fee shall have a coat of mail,[6] a
helmet, a shield, and a lance; and every knight as many coats of
mail, helmets, shields, and lances as there are fees in his domain.

Every free layman having in chattels or rent to the value of
sixteen marks shall keep the same equipment.

Every free layman having in chattels or rent ten marks, shall keep
an habergeon,[7] a chaplet[8] of iron, and a lance.

All burgesses and the whole community of freemen shall have a
wambais,[9] a chaplet of iron, and a lance.

It is noteworthy that neither the bow nor the axe appear in this
list of the national weapons, an omission for which it is difficult
to account, since the bow was evidently in full use at the time.
Possibly the temptation to employ it for purposes of poaching may
have been so strong as to make the authorities hesitate to enjoin
the keeping of a bow in every poor freeman's house. The influence
of the poacher will be found equally potent when the time comes
for the introduction of firearms.

Richard the Lion-Heart, like his predecessors, preferred to
employ mercenaries for his wars, while even the knights who
accompanied him to the Crusade were in receipt of pay. Were it not
that his achievements in the Holy Land had left little mark on
English military history they would be well worthy of a detailed
narrative, for Richard was beyond dispute a really great soldier,
a good engineer, and a remarkably able commander. The story of
his march from Joppa to Jerusalem and of his victory at Arsouf is
known to few, but it remains to all time an example of consummate
military skill. A mixed force compounded of many nations is
never very easy to control, and it was doubly difficult when the
best of it was composed of knights who hated the very name of
subordination. Yet it was with such material, joined to a huge body
of half-disciplined infantry, that Richard executed a flank march
in the presence of the most formidable of living generals, and
repulsed him brilliantly when he ventured, at an extremely trying
moment, to attack. The plan of the campaign, the arrangements and
orders for the march, the drill and discipline imposed on the
knights, and the handling of the troops in the action are all
alike admirable. Yet, as has been already stated, the lessons of
the Crusades wrought little influence in England, mainly because
she had already learned from her own experience the value of a
heavily armed infantry, and of the tactical combination of missile
and striking weapons. In the rest of Europe they were for a time
remembered but very soon forgotten;[10] and England was then once
more left alone with her secret.

Two small relics of the Crusades must however find mention in this
place. The first is the employment of the cross as a mark for
distinguishing the warriors of different nations, which became in
due time the recognised substitute for uniform among European
soldiers. Each nation took a different colour for its cross, that
of the English being at first white, which, curiously enough, is
now the regular facing for English regiments of infantry. The
second relic is the military band which, there seems to be little
doubt, was copied from the Saracens. In their armies trumpets and
drums, the latter decidedly an Oriental instrument, were used
to indicate a rallying-point; for though at ordinary times the
standards sufficed to show men the places of their leaders, yet in
the dust of battle these were often hidden from sight; and it was
therefore the rule to gather the minstrels (such was the English
term) around the standards, and bid them blow and beat strenuously
and unceasingly during the action. The silence of the band was
taken as a proof that a battalion had been broken and that the
colours were in danger; and the fashion lasted so long that even in
the seventeenth century the bandsmen in all pictures of battles are
depicted, drawn up at a safe distance and energetically playing.

[Sidenote: 1214.]

The reign of King John accentuated still further the weak points
of the English feudal system as a military organisation. The
principle introduced by the Conqueror had been to claim for the
sovereign direct feudal authority over every landholder in the
country, suffering no intermediate class of virtually independent
vassals, such as existed in France, to intercept the service of
those who owed duty to him. Of the advantages of this innovation
mention shall presently be made elsewhere, but at this point it
is necessary to dwell only on its military defects. The whole
efficiency of the feudal system turned on the creation of a caste
of warriors; and such a caste can obviously be built up only by
the grant of certain exclusive privileges. The English knights
possessed no such privileges. There were no special advantages
bound up with the tenure of a fief. Far from enjoying immunity
from taxation, as in France and Germany, the knights were obliged
to pay not only the imposts required of all classes, but scutage
into the bargain. Again the winning of a knight's fee lay open
to all ranks of freemen, so that it could not be regarded as the
hereditary possession of a proud nobility. Yet again, the grant of
the honour of knighthood was the exclusive right of the sovereign,
who converted it simply into an instrument of extortion. Briefly,
there was no inducement to English knights faithfully to perform
their service; the sovereign took everything and gave nothing;
and at last they would endure such oppression no longer. When
John required a feudal force, in the year 1205, he was obliged to
arrange that every ten knights should equip one of their number
for service. Moreover, the knights who did serve him showed no
merit; the English contingent at Bouvines having covered itself
with anything but glory. Finally, came mutiny and rebellion and the
Great Charter, wherein the express stipulation that fiefs should
be both alienable and divisible crushed all hopes of an hereditary
caste of warriors for ever.

[Sidenote: 1252.]

After the Charter the national force was composed nominally of
three elements, the tenants in chief with their armed vassals, the
minor tenants in chief, and the freemen subject to the Assize of
Arms, the last two being both under the orders of the sheriffs.
It made an imposing show on paper, but was difficult to bring
efficient into the field. No man was more shameless than Henry
the Third in forcing knighthood, for the sake of the fees, upon
all free landholders whom he thought rich enough to support the
dignity; yet, when the question became one not of money but of
armed men, he was forced to fall back on the same resource as his
greater namesake. He simply issued a writ for the enforcement of
the Assize of Arms, and ordered the sheriffs to furnish a fixed
contingent of men-at-arms, to be provided by the men of the county
who were subject thereto.

[Sidenote: 1282.]

The defects of feudal influence in military matters were now so
manifest, that Edward the First tried hard to do away with them
altogether. Strictly speaking the feudal force was summoned by a
special writ addressed to the barons, ordering them to appear with
their due proportion of men and horses, and by similar directions
to the sheriffs to warn the tenants in chief within their
bailiwicks. The system was however, so cumbrous and ineffective
that Edward superseded it by issuing commissions to one or two
leading men of the county to muster and array the military forces.
These Commissions of Array, as they were called, will come before
us again so late as in the reign of Charles the First.

[Sidenote: 1285.]

But, like all his predecessors, Edward was careful to cherish the
national militia which had grown out of the fyrd. The Statute of
Winchester re-enacted the Assize of Arms and redistributed the
force into new divisions armed with new weapons. The wealthiest
class of freemen was now required to keep a hauberk[11] of iron,
a sword and a knife, and a horse. The two lower classes were now
subdivided into four, whereof the first was to keep the same arms
as the wealthiest, the horse excepted; the second a sword, bow and
arrows, and a knife; the third battle-axes, knives, and "other less
weapons," in which last are included bills;[12] and the rest bows
and arrows, or if they lived in the forest, bows and bolts, the
latter being probably less deadly to the king's deer than arrows.
Here then was the axe of Harold's day revived, and the archers
established by statute. It is evident, from the fact that they wore
no defensive armour, that the archers were designed to be light
infantry, swift and mobile in their limbs, skilful and deadly with
their weapons. The name of Edward the First must be ever memorable
in our history for the encouragement that he gave to the long-bow;
but we seek in vain for the man, if such there was, who founded the
tradition, still happily strong among us, that the English whatever
their missile weapon shall always be good shots. Even at the siege
of Messina by Richard the First the archers drove the Sicilians
from the walls; "for no man could look out of doors but he would
have an arrow in his eye before he could shut it."

[Sidenote: 1297.]

[Sidenote: 1298.]

The bowmen had not long been a statutory force before they were
called upon for active service. The defeat of the English by
William Wallace at Cambuskenneth had summoned Edward from France
to take the field in person against the Scots; and he met them on
the field of Falkirk. The Scottish army consisted for the most part
of infantry armed with pikes, not yet the long pikes of eighteen
feet which they were to wield so gallantly under Gustavus Adolphus,
but still a good and formidable weapon. Wallace drew them up
behind a marsh in four circular battalions ringed in with stakes,
posting his light troops, which were armed principally with the
short-bow, in the intervals between them, and his one weak body of
horse in rear. The English knights were formed as usual in column
of three divisions, vanguard, battle and rearguard, and with them
was a strong force of archers. Untrue to its old traditions, the
English cavalry did not dismount, but galloped straight to the
attack. The first division plunged headlong into the swamp (for
the mediæval knight, in spite of a hundred warnings, rarely took
the trouble to examine the ground before him), did no execution,
and suffered heavy loss. The second division, under the Bishop of
Durham, then skirted the swamp and came in sight of the Scottish
horse. The Bishop hesitated and called a halt. "Back to your mass,
Bishop," answered one contemptuous knight. His comrades charged,
dispersed the Scottish cavalry, and drove away the archers between
the pikemen; but the four battalions stood firm and unbroken, and
the knights surged round them in vain. Then the king brought up
the archers and the third division of horse. Pushing the archers
forward, he held the cavalry back in support until an incessant
rain of arrows had riddled the Scottish battalions through and
through, and then hurling the knights forward into the broken
ranks, he fairly swept them from the field. It was the old story,
heavy fire of artillery followed by charges of cavalry, the
training of the Scots as Hastings had been of the English, for the
trial of Waterloo.

[Sidenote: 1314.]

It is interesting to note that Edward made an effort even then
for the constitutional union of the two countries which had so
honourably lost and won the day at Falkirk, but he was four
centuries before his time. The war continued with varying fortune
during the ensuing years. The maker of the English archers died,
and under his feeble son the English army learned at Bannockburn
an ignominious lesson in tactics. The Scotch army, forty thousand
strong, was composed principally of pikemen, who were drawn up, as
at Falkirk, in four battalions, with the burn in their front and
broken ground on either flank. Their cavalry, numbering a thousand,
a mere handful compared to the host of the English men-at-arms,
was kept carefully in hand. Edward opened the action by advancing
his archers to play on the Scottish infantry, but omitted to
support them; and Bruce, seeing his opportunity, let loose his
thousand horse on their flank and rolled them up in confusion. The
English cavalry then dashed in disorder against the serried pikes,
failed, partly from want of space and partly from bad management,
to make the slightest impression on them, and were driven off in
shameful and humiliating defeat. So the English learned that their
famous archers could not hold their own against cavalry without
support,[13] and they took the lesson to heart. The old system of
dismounting the men-at-arms had been for the moment abandoned with
disastrous results; the man who was to revive it had been born at
Windsor Castle just two years before the fight.

[Sidenote: 1327.]

[Sidenote: 1333.]

Thirteen years later this boy ascended the throne of England as
King Edward the Third, and almost immediately marched with a
great host against the Scots. The campaign came to an end without
any decisive engagement, but on the one occasion when an action
seemed imminent, the English men-at-arms dismounted and put off
their spurs after the old English fashion. Peace was made, but
only to be broken by the Scots, and then Edward took his revenge
for Bannockburn at Halidon Hill. The English men-at-arms alighted
from their horses, and were formed into four battalions, each of
them flanked by wings of archers, the identical formation adopted
two centuries later for the pikemen and musketeers. The Scots,
whose numbers were far superior, were also formed on foot in four
battalions, but without the strength of archers. "And then," says
the old historian,[14] "the English minstrels blew aloud their
trumpets and sounded their pipes and other instruments of martial
music, and marched furiously to meet the Scots." The archers shot
so thick and fast that the enemy, unable to endure it, broke their
ranks, and then the English men-at-arms leaped on to their horses
for the pursuit. The Scotch strove gallantly to rally in small
bodies, but they were borne down or swept away; they are said to
have lost ten thousand slain out of sixty thousand that entered the

The mounting of the men-at-arms for the pursuit gave the finishing
touch to the English tactical methods, and the nation was now ready
for war on a grander scale. Moreover, there was playing round the
knees of good Queen Philippa a little boy of three years old who
was destined to be the victor of Poitiers. It is therefore time,
while the quarrel which led to the Hundred Years' War is maturing,
to observe the point to which two centuries and a half of progress
had brought English military organisation.

  AUTHORITIES.--By far the best, so far as I know the only,
  account of the rise of English tactics and of English military
  power is to be found in _Die Entwickelung des Kriegswesens in
  der Ritterzeit_, by Major-General Köhler, vol. ii. pp. 356 sq.,
  and vol. v. pp. 97 sq., a work to which my obligations must be
  most gratefully acknowledged. The authorities are faithfully and
  abundantly quoted. Freeman's _Norman Conquest_, Mr. J. H. Round's
  _Feudal England_, Hewitt's _Ancient Armour_, Oman's _Art of War
  in the Middle Ages_, Grose's _Military Antiquities_, and Rymer's
  _Fœdera_ are authorities which will occur to every one, as also
  the Constitutional Histories of Hallam, Stubbs, and Gneist.


Attention has already been called to the defects of the feudal
system for military purposes, and to the shifts whereby successive
sovereigns sought to make them good. With Edward the Second resort
was made to a new device. Contracts, or as they were called
indents, were concluded by the King with men of position, whereby
the latter, as though they had been apprentices to a trade, bound
themselves to serve him with a force of fixed strength during a
fixed term at a fixed rate of wages. In some respects this was
simply a reversion to the old practice of hiring mercenaries; but
as Edward the Third placed his contracts for the most part within
his kingdom, the force assumed a national character. The current
ideas of organisation were still so imperfect that the contractors
generally engaged themselves to provide a mixed force of all arms;
but as they naturally raised men where they could most easily get
hold of them, that is to say in their own neighbourhoods, there was
almost certainly some local or personal feeling to help to keep
them together. For the rest the contractor of course made his own
arrangements for the interior economy of his own particular troops,
and enjoyed in consequence considerable powers, which descended
to the colonels of a later day and have only been stripped from
them within the last two generations. It is not difficult to
imagine that men thus enlisted should presently, when released
from national employment, have sold their services to the highest
bidder and become, as they presently did become, _condottièri_.
It is characteristic of the commercial genius of our race that
England should be the cradle not only of the soldier but of the
_condottière_;[15] in other words, that she should have set the
example in making warfare first a question of wages, and next
a question of profit. But her work did not end here; for these
reforms created the race of professional soldiers and through them
the renascence of the Art of War. In short, with the opening of the
Hundred Years' War the British army quickens in the womb of time,
and the feudal force sinks into ever swifter decay.

But there is another side to this picture of feudal inefficiency.
Moral not less than physical force is a mighty factor in war; and
it was precisely the military defects of the English feudal system
that first made her a military power. Though the growth of a caste
of warriors was checked, it was to make room for that which was
worthy to overshadow it, a fighting nation. For in England there
was not, as in other countries, any denial of civil rights to the
commons of the realm. Below the ranks of the peerage all freemen
enjoyed equality before the law; nay, the peerage itself conferred
no privilege except on those who actually possessed it, the sons of
peers being commoners, not as elsewhere noble through the mere fact
of their birth. In England there were and are nobility and gentry:
in other countries nobility and gentry were merged in a single
haughty exclusive caste, and between them and other freemen was
fixed a great and impassable gulf. Thus the highest and the lowest
of the freemen were in touch with each other in England as nowhere
else in Europe. More than two centuries later than Creçy, so great
and gallant a gentleman as Bayard could refuse with disdain to
fight by the side of infantry. In England, whatever the pride of
race, the son of the noblest peer in the land stood shoulder to
shoulder with his equal when the archer fell in by his side, and
where the son stood the father could feel it no shame to stand.
No other nation as yet could imitate this; no other could recall a
Hastings where all classes had stood afoot in one battalion. Other
nations could indeed, when taught by experience, dismount their
knights and align cross-bowmen with them, just as at this day they
can erect an upper and lower chamber and speak of a constitution on
the English model; but then as now it was the form only, not the
substance, that was English.

So far for the commercial and political influence that helped to
mould our military system; there remains yet another great moral
force to be reckoned with. Chivalry, which had been growing slowly
in England since the Third Crusade, burst in the fourteenth century
into late but magnificent blossom. The nation woke to the beauty
of a service which gave dignity to man's fighting instincts, which
taught that it was not enough for him to be without fear if he were
not also without reproach, and that though the government of the
world must always rest upon force, yet mercy and justice may go
hand in hand with it. The girding on of the sword was no longer a
social but a religious act; it marked not merely the young man's
entrance into public life, but his ordination to a great and noble
function. Concurrently there had arisen a sense of the charm of
glory and adventure. Hitherto the English knights had gained no
repute in Europe. Hatred and jealousy had held the Saxon aloof from
his Norman master; now there was no more Saxon and Norman, but the
English, united and strong, a fighting people that thirsted for
military fame.

Let us now briefly consider the composition and organisation of
the armies that were to work such havoc in France. The cavalry
was drawn for the most part from the wealthier classes, though,
as has been seen, there was one division of the freemen under the
statute of Winchester which was called upon to do mounted service.
The more important branch, the men-at-arms, was composed of two
elements, knights and squires. From the first institution of
the feudal system, the number of men required from the greater
vassals had forced them to equip their sons and serving-men, who
after many changes were finally in the thirteenth century merged
together under the generic name of _servientes_, a term which
was soon corrupted into its present form of sergeants. In the
year 1294 these _servientes_ were dignified by the higher title
of _servientes equites_, mounted sergeants, which was six years
later abandoned for the familiar name of squires. These squires
must not, however, be confounded with a different class of the
same appellation, namely, the apprentices who were the personal
attendants of the knights. The squire of which I now speak was
rather a knight of inferior order corresponding to the _bachelier_
(_bas chevalier_) of France. The word knight itself gives us a hint
of this inferiority, being the same as the German _knecht_, whereas
_ritter_ is the German term that expresses what is generally
understood as a knight in English. The inner history of chivalry is
the story of the struggle of the sergeants to rise to an equality
with the knights of the first order, and in the fourteenth century
they were not far from their goal. Even now they were considered
the backbone of the English army, and were equipped in all points
like the class above them.

Men-at-arms, an expression derived from the French, were so
called because they were covered with defensive armour from top
to toe; but as the middle of the fourteenth century is a period
of transition in the development of armour, it is difficult to
describe their equipment with any certainty. Their offensive arms
were the lance, sword, dagger, and shield. Trained from very early
youth in the handling of weapons they were doubtless proficient
enough with them; but they do not seem to have been great horsemen,
and indeed it is recorded that they were sometimes tied to the
saddle. Monstrelet, writing in the year 1416, tells us of the
astonishment which certain Italians created among the French
because they could actually turn their horses at the gallop. It
is probable that the bits employed were too weak, and that the
cumbrousness of the saddle and the weight carried by each man were
sad obstacles to good horsemanship; but it is worth remembering
in any case that, as this passage plainly shows, men-at-arms in
the saddle were reduced to one of two alternatives, to move slowly
and retain control of their horses, or to gallop for an indefinite
period wherever the animals might choose to carry them.

The favourite horses, alike for speed, endurance, and courage,
were the Spanish, which, as they could only reach England by the
journey overland through France, were not always very easily
obtained. Philip the Bold in 1282 refused to allow one batch
of eighty such horses to be transhipped to England; but from a
contract still extant, of the year 1333, it appears that Edward the
Third still counted on Spain to provide him with remounts. These
horses, however, were only bestridden for action, being committed
on the march to the care of the shield-bearers or squires, who
led them, as was natural, on their right-hand side, and thus
procured for them the curious name of _dextrarii_.[16] The usual
allowance of horses for a knight was three, besides a packhorse
for his baggage, the smallest of which, named the palfrey, was
that which he rode on ordinary occasions; in fact, to put the
matter into modern language, a knight started on a campaign with a
first charger, a second charger, and a pony. The first charger was
always a stallion; the rest might be geldings or mares. From the
year 1298 the practice of covering horses with defensive armour
was introduced into England, an equipment which soon came to be
regarded as so essential that one branch of the cavalry, and that
the most important, was reckoned by the number of barded horses.

The personal retinue of the knights was made up of apprentices or
aspirants to the rank which they held. The squire or shield-bearer
took charge of the knight's armour on the march, and was
responsible for maintaining it in proper order; and it is worth
remarking that the English squire took a pride in burnishing the
metal to the highest pitch of brilliancy, thus early establishing
those traditions of smartness which are still so strong in our
cavalry. It was also the squire's duty, among many others, to
help his master to don his harness when the time for action
came, beginning with his iron shoes or sollerets, and working
upwards till the fabric was crowned by the iron headpiece, and
the finishing touch added by the assumption of the shield. The
reader will readily understand that a really efficient squire must
have been invaluable, for if an engagement came in any way as a
surprise there was an immediate rush for the baggage, and a scene
of confusion that must have beggared description. Fortunately,
the fact that both sides were generally alike unready, and the
punctiliousness of chivalric courtesy, permitted as a rule
ample time not only for the equipment of all ranks, but for the
marshalling of the host.

In the matter of administrative organisation the men-at-arms were
distributed into constabularies, being commanded by officers called
constables. The strength of a constabulary seems to have varied
from five-and-twenty to eighty; and this variety, together with the
absence of any tactical unit of fixed strength, makes it impossible
to state how many constabularies were included in the next tactical
division. This was called the banner, and was commanded by a
banneret, a rank originally conferred only upon such as could bring
a certain number of followers into the field. Promotion to the
degree of banneret was marked by cutting off the forked tail of the
pennon which was carried by the ordinary knight, and leaving the
remnant square. So at the present day, the pennons of lances are
forked, the square being reserved for the standards of squadrons
and regiments.

The independent employment of small bodies in action was
almost unknown, the rule being to pack an indefinite number of
men-at-arms, hundreds or even thousands, into a close and solid
mass, its depth almost if not quite as great as its frontage.
The _haye_, or thin line, is of much later date. Ordinarily some
modification of the wedge was the formation preferred; that is to
say, that the frontage of the front rank was somewhat less than
that of the rear; the mass of that particular shape being judged
to be less liable to disorder and better adapted for breaking
into a hostile phalanx. The relative strength of the front and
rear ranks depended entirely on the numbers that were packed in
between them, and it may readily be supposed that the evolutions
which so unwieldly a body could execute were very few. Probably,
until the moment of action came, sufficient space was maintained
to permit every horse to turn on his own ground, after the Roman
fashion, to right, left, or about; but for the attack ranks
and files were closed up as tightly as possible, and all other
considerations were sacrificed to the maintenance of a compact
array. It was said of the French knights who marched with Richard
the Lion-Heart that an apple thrown into the midst of them would
not have fallen to the ground. We must therefore rid ourselves
of the popular notion of the knight as a headlong galloping
cavalier. The attack of men-at-arms could not be very rapid unless
it were made in disorder; and though it comes strictly under the
head of shock-action, the shock was rather that of a ponderous
column moving at a moderate pace than of a light line charging at
high speed. By bearing these facts in mind it will be easier to
understand the failure of mounted men-at-arms to break a passive
square of infantry.

Next after the men-at-arms came a species of cavalry called by
the name of pauncenars,[17] which was less fully equipped with
defensive armour, but wore the habergeon[18] and was armed with the

Lastly came the light cavalry of the fyrd, originally established
to patrol the English coast. These were called hobelars, from the
hobbies or ponies which they rode, and were equipped with an iron
helmet, a heavily padded doublet (_aketon_), iron gloves, and a

Turning next to the infantry, there were Welsh spearmen, carrying
the weapon which gave them their name, but without defensive
armour. Indeed it should seem that they were not overburdened
with clothes of any kind, for they were every one provided at the
King's expense with a tunic and a mantle, which were by express
direction made of the same material and colour for all. These Welsh
spearmen therefore were the first troops in the English service
who were dressed in uniform, and they received it first in the
year 1337.[19] The colour of their clothing unfortunately remains
unknown to us.

Next we come to the peculiar strength of England, the archers.
Though a certain number of them seem generally to have been
mounted, yet, like the dragoons of a later day, these rode for
the sake of swifter mobility only, and may rightly be reckoned as
infantry. As has been already stated, the archers wore no defensive
armour except an iron cap, relying on their bows alone. These bows
were six feet four inches long; the arrows, of varying length
but generally described as cloth-yard shafts, were fitted with
barb and point of iron and fledged with the feathers of goose or
peacock. But the weapon itself would have gone for little without
the special training in its use wherein the English excelled. "My
father," says Bishop Latimer (and we may reasonably assume that in
such matters there had been little change in a hundred and fifty
years), "My father was diligent in teaching me to shoot with the
bow; he taught me to draw, to lay my body to the bow, not to draw
with strength of arm as other nations do, but with the strength
of the body. I had my bows bought[20] me according to my age and
strength; as I increased in these my bows were made bigger and
bigger." The principle was in fact analogous to that which is
taught to young oarsmen at the present day. The results of this
training were astonishing. The range of the long-bow in the hands
of the old archers is said to have been fully two hundred and forty
yards, and the force of the arrow to have been such as to pierce at
a fair distance an inch of stout timber. Moreover, the shooting was
both rapid and accurate. Indeed the long-bow was in the fourteenth
century a more formidable weapon than the cross-bow, which had been
condemned by Pope Innocent the Second as too deadly for Christian
warfare so far back as 1139. It was at no disadvantage in the
matter of range, while it could be discharged far more quickly; and
further, since it was held not horizontally but perpendicularly
to the ground, the archers could stand closer together, and their
volleys could be better concentrated. Thus the long-bow, though the
cross-bow was not unknown to the English, was not only the national
but the better weapon. In action the archers were ranked as deep
as was consistent with the delivery of effective volleys, the rear
ranks being able to do good execution by aiming over the heads of
the men before them. It may be imagined from the muscular training
undergone by the archers that they were physically a magnificent
body of men.

Strictly speaking the archers were the artillery of the army,
according to the terminology of the time,[21] the word _artillator_
being used in the time of Edward the Second to signify the officer
in charge of what we now call the ordnance-stores. But to avoid
confusion we must use the word in its modern sense, the more so
since we find among the stores of the custodian[22] of the King's
artillery in 1344 the items of saltpetre and sulphur for the
manufacture of powder, and among his men six "gonners." Gun, it
should be added, was the English, cannon the French name for these
weapons from the beginning. It will presently be necessary to
notice their first appearance in the field.

As to the general organisation of the army, the whole was divided
into thousands under an officer called a millenar, subdivided
into hundreds, each under a centenar, and further subdivided
into twenties, each under a vintenar. The commander-in-chief was
usually the King in person, aided by two principal officers,
the High Constable and the Marshal, whose duties were, roughly
speaking, those of Adjutant and Quartermaster-General. For tactical
purposes the army was distributed into three divisions, called the
vanguard, battle and rearguard, which kept those names whatever
their position in the field or on the march, whether the host was
drawn up, as most commonly, in three lines, or in one. Trumpets
were used for purposes of signalling, though so far as can be
gathered they sounded no distinct calls, and were dependent for
their significance on orders previously issued. The failing in this
respect is the more remarkable, inasmuch as the signals of the
chase with the horn were already very numerous and very clearly and
accurately defined.

The pay of all ranks can fortunately be supplied from the
muster-roll of Calais in 1346, and although I shall not again
encumber these pages with a pay-list I shall for once print it

  The Prince of Wales         20s.         a day.
  The Bishop of Durham         6s. 8d.     "  "
  Earls                        6s. 8d.     "  "
  Barons and Bannerets         4s.         "  "
  Knights                      2s.         "  "
  Esquires, Constables, }
  Captains, and Leaders }      1s.         "  "
  Vintenars                        6d.     "  "
  Mounted Archers                  6d.     "  "
  Pauncenars                       6d.     "  "
  Hobelars                         6d.     "  "
  Foot-Archers                     3d.     "  "
  Welsh Spearmen                   2d.     "  "
    "   Vintenars                  4d.     "  "
  Masons, Carpenters, Smiths, Engineers, Miners,
    Gunners, 10d., 6d., and 3d.

It is melancholy to have to record that even so early as in 1342
corruption and fraudulent dealing had begun in the army. The
marshals were ordered to muster the men-at-arms once a month,
and to refuse pay for men who were absent or inadequately armed
or indifferently mounted. We shall see the practice of drawing
pay for imaginary men and the tricks played on muster-masters
increase and multiply, till they demand a special vocabulary and a
certain measure of official recognition. A favourite abuse among
men-at-arms was the claim of extortionate compensation for horses
lost on active service, leading to an order in this same year that
all horses should be valued on admission to the corps, and marked
to prevent deception. Thus early was the road opened that leads to
the broad arrow. The taint of corruption, indeed, clings strongly
to every army, with the possible exception of the Prussian, in
Europe. War is a time of urgency and stress, which does not admit
of strict audits or careful inspections, and poor human nature
is too weak not to turn such an opportunity to its profit. It
is an unpleasant thought that dishonesty and peculation should
be inseparably associated with so much that is noble and heroic
in human history, but the fact is indisputable, and must not be
lightly passed over. Moreover the days when English cavalry shall
go to war on their own horses may not yet be numbered; and it may
be useful to remember that the mediæval man-at-arms would mount
himself on his worst animal in order to break him down the quicker,
and claim for him the price of his best. It is only by constant
wariness against such evils that there can be built up a sound
system of military administration.

  AUTHORITIES.--As for previous chapter.


[Sidenote: 1339.]

[Sidenote: 1340, June 24.]

Having now sketched the composition of the English forces, let
us move forthwith to the scene of action. We must omit the early
incidents of the war, and the assumption by Edward of the famous
motto wherein he consecrated his claim to the crown of France,
_Dieu et mon droit_. We must pass by the famous naval action of
Sluys, where the English commanders in their zeal to follow the
precepts of Vegetius, thought it more important to have the sun in
the enemy's eyes than the wind in their own favour, and where the
archers, acting as marine sharp-shooters, were the true authors
of the English victory. We must overlook likewise the innumerable
sieges, even that of Quesnoy, where the English first came under
the fire of cannon, merely remarking that owing to their ignorance
of that particular branch of warfare, the English were uniformly
unsuccessful; and we must come straight to the year 1345, when
Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, landed at Bayonne with a force
of three thousand men for a campaign in Gascony and Guienne. The
name of our first artillery-officer has been given; attention must
now be called to our first engineer, this same Earl of Derby, who
had lately been recalled from service with the Spaniards against
the Moors at the siege of Algesiras, and was the first man who
taught the English how to take a fortified town.

[Sidenote: 1346, June.]

Derby then with his little army harried Gascony and Guienne for a
time, until the arrival of a superior French force compelled him to
retire and gave him much ado to defend himself. Accordingly, in
June 1346 Edward the Third impressed a fleet of innumerable small
vessels, none of them exceeding sixty tons burden, embarked thereon
four thousand men-at-arms, ten thousand archers and five or six
thousand Welsh spearmen, and sailed for the coast of France. On the
12th of July he put into St. Vaast de la Hogue, a little to the
east of Cherbourg, dispersed a French force that was stationed to
oppose him, and successfully effected his landing. Six days were
allowed to recruit men and horses after the voyage, and the army
then moved eastward to the Seine, leaving a broad line of ruin and
desolation in its wake, and advanced up the left bank of the river.
King Philip of France had meanwhile collected an army at Rouen,
whence he marched parallel to the English along the right bank of
the Seine, crossed it at Paris, and stood ready to fall upon Edward
if he should strike southward to Guienne. But Edward's plans were
of the vaguest; his diversion had already relieved Derby, and he
now crossed the Seine at Poissy and struck northward as if for
Flanders. Philip no sooner divined his purpose than he too hastened
northward, outmarched the English, crossed the Somme at Amiens,
gave orders for the occupation of every bridge and ford by which
the English could pass the river, and then recrossing marched
straight upon Edward's right flank.

The position of the English was now most critical, for they could
not cross the Somme and were fairly hemmed in between the river and
the sea. At his wits' end Edward examined his prisoners, and from
them learned of the ford of Blanche Tache in the tidal water about
eight miles below Abbeville. Thither accordingly he marched, and
after waiting part of a night for the ebb-tide, forced the passage
in the teeth of a French detachment that had been stationed to
guard it, and sending six officers to select for him a suitable
position pursued his way northward through the forest of Creçy. On
the morning of the 26th of August he crossed the river Maie, and
there swinging his front round from north to south-east he turned
and stood at bay.

[Sidenote: August 26.]

The position was well chosen. The army occupied a low line of
heights lying between the villages of Creçy and Wadicourt, the left
flank resting on a forest, the right on the river Maie. Edward
ordered every man to dismount, and parked the horses and baggage
waggons in an entrenched leaguer[23] in rear. The army was too weak
to cover the whole line of the position, so the archers were pushed
forward and extended in a multitude of battalions along the front,
and backed with Welsh spearmen. Echeloned in rear of them stood
the three main divisions of the army; foremost and to the right
the vanguard of twelve hundred men-at-arms under the Black Prince,
next to it the battle of as many more under the Earl of Arundel,
and behind it, covering the extreme left, the rearguard, consisting
of fifteen hundred men-at-arms and six thousand mixed archers and
infantry under the King. The country being rich in provisions
Edward ordered every man to eat a hearty meal before falling into
his place, for he knew that the Englishman fights best when he is
full. When the host was arrayed in order he rode round the whole
army to cheer it; and then the men lay down, the archers with their
helmets and bows on the ground before them, and waited till the
French should come.

Philip meanwhile had crossed the Somme at Abbeville on the
morning of the 26th, and turned eastward in the hope of cutting
off the English. Finding that he was too late, he countermarched
and turned north, at the same time sending forward officers to
reconnoitre. The afternoon was far advanced, and the French were
wearied with a long, disorderly march when these officers returned
with intelligence of the English. Philip ordered a halt, but the
indiscipline and confusion were such that the order could not
be obeyed. The noblest blood in France was riding on in all its
pride to make an end of the despised English, and a mass of
rude infantry was waiting to share the slaughter and the spoil.
So they blundered on till they caught sight of the English lying
quietly down in order of battle; and therewith all good resolutions
vanished and Philip gave the order to attack.

It was now nearly five o'clock, and the heaven was black with
clouds, which presently burst in a terrific thunderstorm. The
English archers slipped off their bowstrings to keep them dry,
and waited; while six thousand Genoese cross-bowmen, jaded by
the long march, drenched and draggled with the rain that beat
into their faces, conscious that they were almost disarmed by the
wetness of their bowstrings, shuffled wearily into their stations
along the French front. Their leaders complained that they were
unfairly treated. "Who cares for your rabble?" answered the Count
of Alençon. "They are nothing but useless mouths, more trouble than
help." So the cross-bowmen sulkily took their position, and the
rest of the French army, from twelve to twenty thousand men-at-arms
and some fifteen thousand infantry, ranged themselves in three
massive lines behind them. A vast flight of ravens flew over the
opposing arrays, croaking loudly over the promised feast of dead

Then the storm passed away inland into France, and the sun low
down in the west flashed out in all his glory full in the faces
of the French. The Genoese advanced and raised a loud cry, thrice
repeated, to strike terror into the English: the archers over
against them stood massive and silent. The loud report of two or
three cannon, little more harmful than the shouts of the Genoese,
was the only answer; and then the archers stepped forward and drew
bow. In vain the Genoese attempted to reply; they were overwhelmed
by the torrent of shafts; they shrank back, cut their bowstrings
and would have fled, but for a line of French mounted men-at-arms
which was drawn up in their rear to check them. The proud chivalry
of France was chafing impatiently behind them, and Philip would
wait no longer. "Slay me these rascals," he said brutally; and
the first line of men-at-arms thundered forward, trod the hapless
Genoese under foot, and pressed on within range of the arrows.
And then ensued a terrible scene. The great stallions, maddened
by the pain of the keen barbed shafts, broke from all control.
They jibbed, they reared, they swerved, they plunged, striking and
lashing out hideously, while the rear of the dense column, carried
forward by its own momentum, surged on to the top of the foremost
and wedged the whole into a helpless choking mass. And still the
shower of pitiless arrows fell swift as snow upon the thickest
of the press; and the whole of the French fighting line became a
confused welter of struggling animals, maimed cross-bowmen, and
fallen cavaliers, crippled by the weight of their armour, an easy
prey to the long, keen knives of the Welsh.

[Illustration: THE CAMPAIGN OF 1346.

  _To face page 36_

Nevertheless some few of the French men-at-arms had managed to
pierce through the archers. The blind king of Bohemia had been
guided by two faithful knights through the centre, Alençon had
skirted them on one flank, the Count of Flanders on the other,
and all had fallen upon the Black Prince's battalion. The danger
was greatest on the left flank; but the Earl of Arundel moved up
the second line of the echelon to his support, and the English
held their own. Then the second line of the French advanced, broke
through the archers, not without heavy loss, and fell likewise
upon the English men-at-arms. The Prince of Wales was overthrown,
and was only saved by the devotion of his standard-bearer, but the
battalion fought on. It was probably at this time that Arundel
sent a messenger to the King for reinforcements. "Is my son dead
or hurt?" he asked. "No, sire, but he is hard beset." "Then return
to those who sent you and bid them send me no more such messages
while my son is alive; tell them to let the boy win his spurs."
The message was carried back to the battalion, and the men-at-arms
fought on stoutly as ever. The archers seem also to have rallied
and closed on the flank and rear of the attacking French. Alençon's
banner could still be seen swaying behind a hedge of archers, and
Philip, anxious to pour his third and last line into the fight,
had actually advanced within range of the arrows. But the power of
the bowmen was still unweakened, the ground was choked with dead
men and horses, and the light was failing fast. He yielded to the
entreaties of his followers and rode from the field; and the first
great battle of the English was won.

When morning dawned the country was full of straggling Frenchmen,
who from the sudden change in the direction of the advance had
lost all knowledge of their line of retreat; the few that retained
some semblance of organised bodies were attacked and broken up.
Never was victory more complete. The French left eleven great
lords, eighty-three bannerets, over twelve hundred knights and some
thousands of common soldiers dead on the field. It was a fortunate
issue to a reckless and ill-planned campaign. It is customary to
give all credit for the victory to the archers, but this is unjust.
Superbly as they fought they would have been broken without the
men-at-arms, even as the men-at-arms would have been overwhelmed
without the archers. Both did their duty without envy or jealousy,
and therein lay the secret of their success.

[Sidenote: 1355.]

[Sidenote: 1356.]

[Sidenote: July.]

[Sidenote: August 28.]

The siege and capture of Calais followed, and then by the mediation
of the Pope peace was made, and for a time preserved. Petty
hostilities however never ceased in Brittany, and finally in
1355 the war broke out anew. Three armies were fitted out,--one
of a thousand men-at-arms under the Black Prince for operations
in Guienne, a second under the Earl of Derby for Brittany, and a
third under the personal command of the King. Little, however, was
effected in the campaign of 1355. The King was recalled to England
by an invasion of the Scots, and the operations of 1356 in Brittany
were checked by the appearance of the French King in superior
force. But at the close of July the Black Prince suddenly started
on a wild raid from the Dordogne in the south to the Loire. His
object seems to have been to effect a junction with Derby's forces
at Orleans; but it is difficult to see how he could have hoped for
success. He had reached Vierzon on the Cher when he heard that the
King of France was on his way to meet him in overwhelming strength.
Unable to retreat through the country which he had laid waste on
his advance, he turned sharp to the west down the Cher and struck
the Loire at Tours. There for four days he halted, for what reason
it is difficult to explain, since the delay enabled the French to
cross the Loire and seriously to threaten his retreat.

There was now nothing for the Prince but to retire southward with
all haste. The French were hard on his track, and followed him
so closely that he was much straitened by want of supplies. On
the 14th of September the English were at Chatelheraut and the
French at La Haye, little more than ten miles apart, and on the
15th the French made a forced march which brought them fairly
to southward of the Prince, and between him and his base at
Bordeaux. All contact however had been lost; and the French King,
making sure that the Prince had designs on Poitiers, swung round
to the westward and moved straight upon the town. On the 17th,
while in full march, his rearguard was suddenly surprised by the
advanced parties of the Prince. As in the movements after the
Alma, each army was executing a flank march, quite unconsciously,
in the presence of the other. The French rearguard pursued the
reconnoitring party to the main body of the English, and after a
sharp engagement was repulsed with heavy loss. The French army had
actually marched across the line of the Black Prince's retreat, and
left it open to him once more.

[Sidenote: Sept. 18.]

Edward lost no time in looking for a suitable position, and
presently found it at Maupertuis some fifteen miles south-west
of Poitiers. There to the north of the river Miosson is a plain
seamed with deep ravines running down to that stream; and behind
one of these he took his stand, facing north-east. The sides of the
ravine were planted with vineyards and blocked by thick hedges, so
that it was impossible for cavalry to cross it except by a track
which was broad enough for but four horsemen abreast; and these
natural advantages the Prince improved by repairing all weak places
in the fences and by digging entrenchments. One exposed spot on
his left flank he strengthened by a leaguer of waggons as well as
with the spade. He then told off his archers to line the hedges
which commanded the passage across the ravine, and drew up his
men-at-arms, all of them dismounted, in three lines behind it. The
first line he committed to the Earls of Warwick and Suffolk, the
rearmost to the Earl of Salisbury, and the centre he reserved for
himself. His whole force, augmented as it was by a contingent of
Gascons, did not exceed six or seven thousand men, half of whom
were archers.

So passed the day of the 18th of September on the English side.
The French on their part, instead of blocking up their retreat to
the south and reducing them by starvation, simply moved down from
Poitiers to within a league of the English position and halted for
the night. Their force amounted to sixty thousand men, and they
might well feel confident as to the issue of an action. Indeed,
when the Black Prince, fully alive to the desperate peril of his
situation, negotiated for an evacuation of the country, they
imposed such terms that he could not in honour accept them. They
therefore reconnoitred the English position, and laid their plans
for the morrow. Three hundred chosen men-at-arms, backed by a
column of German, Italian, and Spanish knights, were to charge down
the ravine upon the archers, disperse them, and attack the English
men-at-arms on the other side. Three lines, each of three massive
battalions containing from three to four thousand men-at-arms, with
lances shortened to a length of five feet, were to follow them
afoot, and the English were to be crushed by their own tactics.

[Sidenote: Sept. 19.]

It is hardly surprising that in the night the Black Prince's heart
failed him. He resolved while he could to place the Miosson between
him and the French, and at dawn began his retreat, leaving the
rearguard, however, still in the position at Maupertuis in case
withdrawal should be impossible.[24] He also sent two knights to
watch the French army, who however approached too closely to it and
were captured. His first line had already crossed the Miosson when
intelligence reached him that the French had advanced, and that the
rearguard was engaged. He at once ordered the vanguard to return,
and himself hastening back with his own division, despatched three
hundred mounted men-at-arms and as many mounted archers without
delay to strengthen his right wing. The French meanwhile had moved
forward, gaily singing the song of Roland, to find the way blocked
by the hedges and vineyards of the ravine. Undismayed they plunged
down into the narrow track; and then the English archers behind
the hedges opened at close range a succession of frightfully
destructive volleys. The foremost of the horsemen fell headlong
down, the rear plunged confusedly on the top of them, and the pass
was blocked with a heaving, helpless crowd, on which the arrows
hissed down in an eternal merciless shower. The supporting column
of foreign cavalry was unable to act in the confusion; it was
already under the fire of the archers, and before it could move the
English mounted men on the right wing came down full upon its left
flank, and killed or captured every man.

[Illustration: THE CAMPAIGN OF 1356.

  _To face page 40_

And now the wounded French horses, mad with pain and terror,
many of them riderless and all beyond control, dashed back on to
the first line of the dismounted French men-at-arms. It was a
charge of mad animals, the most terrible of all charges, and the
huge battalion fell into confusion before it. Edward was watching
the battle keenly from his position; he had already ordered his
men-at-arms to mount, and now Sir John Chandos, whose name must
always be linked to Edward's as that of Collingwood to Nelson,
broke out aloud with, "Forward, sire, forward, and the day is
yours!" "Aye, John," answered the Prince, with a thought perhaps of
the morning's retreat, "No going backward to-day. Forward banner,
in the name of God and St. George!" The preliminary attack of the
mounted men on the right had already cleared the way for them. The
English cavalry scrambled in haste down into the ravine on the
right, and fell upon the French men-at-arms. The front and centre
divisions, already much shaken, were easily broken and dispersed;
the third and strongest still remained, and against this, which
resisted desperately, the whole force of the English was turned.
The lesson of Falkirk was remembered. The mounted archers made the
gaps and the men-at-arms rode into them. The division was broken,
the King was captured, and the mass of the fugitives making for
Poitiers found the gates closed against them and were cut down by
hundreds. The action began at six in the morning, and lasted till
late into the afternoon. The French losses were enormous. Over and
above the King and many great lords two thousand men-at-arms were
captured, and two thousand five hundred more were left dead on the
field; the number of the unhappy foot-men that were slain it is
impossible to state. The English loss is variously set down, the
reports ranging from half the force to sixty-four men. The battle,
from the disparity between the strength of the two sides, must
remain ever memorable in the annals of war. To the English, who had
but lately risen above the horizon as a military power, it gave a
prestige that has never been lost.

[Sidenote: 1360.]

[Sidenote: 1364, May 16.]

The peace of Brétigny closed the war, and the English army was
disbanded. But the soldiers, like the ten thousand Greeks who
returned from Cunaxa, were too deeply bitten with their profession
to abandon it for the tedium of peace. They therefore formed
themselves into independent bodies, or Free Companies, and for
years were the scourge of France, their chamber as they called
it, which they plundered and ravaged at their pleasure. The
greatest of their leaders was John Hawkwood, of whom something
more must presently be said, but these bands, in less or greater
numbers, were constantly to be found fighting for hire against the
French. Thus three hundred of them fought for the King of Navarre
against the King of France at Cocherel. The numbers engaged were
little more than fifteen hundred on each side, but the action
is interesting as showing the efforts of the French to meet the
peculiar tactics of the English. In order to have no more trouble
with unruly horses the French men-at-arms dismounted and fought
on foot, and now for the first time the archers found themselves
outdone. The armour of the French was so good that it turned the
cloth-yard shafts; and being slightly superior in numbers the
French men-at-arms forced their enemy off the field. It was but a
slight success, but a defeat even of a small body of English was
such a rarity in those days that it gave the French great hopes for
the future, hopes which were soon to be dashed to the ground.

[Sidenote: 1365.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 29.]

In the following year a quarrel as to the succession to the
Duchy of Brittany between Charles of Blois and John of Montfort
brought the English again into the field. The French King Charles
the Fifth sent assistance to support the former, whereupon John
of Montfort at once appealed to the English. John Chandos and
several more of the garrison in France, eager for fresh battle
against their old enemies, asked permission to join Montfort as
volunteers. "You may go full well," answered the Black Prince.
"Since the French are going for Charles of Blois, I give you good
leave." The English, both volunteers and mercenaries, accordingly
hurried to the scene of war; and at Auray they fought the action
which decided the campaign. The numbers engaged did not exceed
four thousand in either army. Both sides dismounted, and the
French men-at-arms discarding the lance as unfit for fighting
afoot equipped themselves with battle-axes, so that there promised
to be a stubborn fight. The English archers as usual opened the
engagement, but as at Cocherel their shafts could not penetrate the
armour of the French; whereupon with great deliberation they threw
down their bows, and boldly advancing to the French men-at-arms
plucked their axes from their hands and plied the weapons against
their astonished owners with terrible effect. The whole proceeding
furnishes so good an example of the thoughtless, thick-headed
gallantry of the English soldier, that one can only marvel that the
battle of Auray should be practically unknown to Englishmen. The
intensely ludicrous picture that can be conjured up of a series of
detached struggles between the brawny active Englishmen in their
doublets and hose, and the unhappy Frenchmen cased stiffly in their
mail, the panting, the staggering, and the rattling, the agonised
curses from behind the vizor, and the great broad laugh on the
honest English face--this alone should have saved it from oblivion.
The English men-at-arms came quickly to the support of the bowmen,
and after a long and desperate engagement, for the noble and
gallant Bertrand du Guesclin was in command of the French, the
English drove their enemy from the field and as usual finished
the pursuit on horseback. There was no question in the action of
superior archery or advantage of position, though Chandos indeed
handled his reserve in a masterly fashion, but it was simply a
matter of what the Duke of Wellington called bludgeon-work; and at
this too the English proved themselves the better men.

[Sidenote: 1366.]

By this time the oppression of the Free Companies had become so
insufferable that, in order to rid the country of them, Charles
the Fifth ordered Bertrand du Guesclin to take a certain number
of them into service and march with them to fight for the bastard
Henry of Trastamare against Pedro the Cruel of Castile. It would be
a mistake, we must note in passing, to look upon these companies as
composed simply of low ruffians; they seem on the contrary to have
been made up largely of the class of esquires, while there were
poor noblemen serving even among the archers. On entering Spain
they took to themselves a white cross, the old English colour of
the Crusades, as their distinctive mark, and were apparently the
first English troops that introduced this substitute for uniform.
Further, they called themselves the White Company, and were in this
respect the forerunners of the Buffs and Blues. They did little
profitable work under du Guesclin, and were presently dismissed,
just in time to be re-enlisted to the number of twelve thousand by
the Black Prince, who, dreading an alliance of France with Spain,
was preparing an expedition for the rescue of Peter the Cruel. The
vassals of Aquitaine and Gascony were also summoned to the Prince's
standard, a reinforcement under the Duke of Lancaster was sent from
England to Brittany, whence it marched overland to the south, and
by December 1366 thirty thousand mounted troops were concentrated
on the frontier of Navarre. It was by general consent admitted to
be the finest army that had ever been seen in Europe; so rapid
had been the growth of military efficiency in England under the
two great Edwards. It was organised in the usual three divisions,
the vanguard being under command of the Duke of Lancaster, with
Sir John Chandos at his side. The battle was under the command of
the Prince himself, and the rearguard under a Gascon noble and
famous soldier, the Captal de Buch. Every man wore the red cross
of St. George on a white surcoat and on his shield, a badge which
henceforth became distinctive of the English soldier for two
centuries. The Spaniards, it is worth noting, wore a scarf, a
fashion which, already two generations old, was destined to last
through our great Civil War, and to survive, in the form of a sash,
to the present day.

[Sidenote: 1367.]

On Monday the 22nd of February 1367 the first division crossed
the Pyrenees by the Pass of Roncesvalles. The next two followed
it on the two succeeding days, and the whole force was reunited
at Pampeluna. The Prince had now two lines of operations open to
him, both leading to his objective, Burgos; the one by Vittoria
and Miranda on the Ebro, the other by Puente la Reyna and Logrono.
He chose the former, the identical line followed in the contrary
direction by Wellington in chase of the beaten French, and sent
only a small detachment of volunteers under Sir Thomas Felton
along the latter route. This party of Felton's deserves mention as
the first body of English irregular cavalry under a reckless and
daring officer. No exploit was too hare-brained for them and they
did excellent service, for they were the first to find contact
with the Spanish army, at Navarete, and having obtained it they
preserved it, keeping the Prince admirably informed of the enemy's
movements. Henry of Trastamare, on learning the advance of the
English, crossed the Ebro and marched on Vittoria, but finding that
the Black Prince had been beforehand with him fell back on Miranda.
Felton's volunteers stuck to him so persistently and impudently
during this retreat that the Spaniards at last lost patience and
attacked them in overwhelming force. The English, a mere hundred
men, were too proud to retire but stood firm on the hill of Arinez,
the very spot where Picton broke the French centre in the battle
of the 21st of June 1813, and were killed to a man. Henry then
recrossed the Ebro to his first position at Navarete; the Black
Prince crossed the same river at Logrono, and on the 3rd of April
the two hosts stood face to face on the plain between Navarete and

[Sidenote: April 3.]

It is not easy to ascertain the force engaged on each side, but
it is certain that the Black Prince, with about ten thousand
men-at-arms and as many archers, was superior in numbers and very
decidedly superior in the quality of his troops. Nevertheless the
force had suffered much hardship, and the men were individually
enfeebled by want of food. The Spanish army was distributed into
four divisions. The first of these, consisting of dismounted
knights, was placed under the command of Bertrand du Guesclin and
formed the first line. The remaining three formed the second line;
the largest of them, composed of mounted men-at-arms and a rabble
of rude infantry, being drawn up in rear of the vanguard, while
the other two, made up chiefly of light cavalry copied from the
Moorish model, were drawn up on either flank slightly in advance of
the second and in rear of the first line. The arrangement of the
Black Prince's army was similar but more massive; first came the
vanguard under John Chandos, then a second line with two flanking
divisions pushed slightly forward, as in the Spanish army, and
lastly the third line in reserve. Every man in the English host
was dismounted. The battlefield was a level plain; and the sight
of the two armies advancing against each other, armour and pennons
glancing under the morning sun was, in Froissart's words, great
beauty to behold.

[Illustration: THE CAMPAIGN OF 1367.

  _To face page 46_

The English archers as usual opened the engagement, and then the
divisions of Chandos and du Guesclin, the two most gallant and
chivalrous soldiers of their day, met in full shock. In spite of a
furious resistance the English, weakened by privation, were for a
moment borne back. Chandos was overthrown and went near to lose his
life. But meanwhile the English archers in the flanking divisions
had driven off the light horse that stood before them, and now
wheeling inward enveloped du Guesclin's devoted band on both
flanks. The bastard Henry strove gallantly to save the day with
the second line, but the Black Prince brought up not only a second
line but a third, and the battle was soon over. Then the English
men-at-arms flew, as at Poitiers, to their horses, and the defeat
was turned into a rout. A rapid torrent, spanned by but a single
bridge, barred the retreat of the fugitives; the narrow passage
was choked by the press of the flying, and thousands were taken or

This battle marks the zenith of early English military power.
But the campaign was after all a failure. The ill faith of Pedro
the Cruel forced the Black Prince to tax Gascony heavily for the
expenses of the war; the province appealed to the King of France,
and the Prince was summoned to be judged before his peers at
Paris as a rebellious vassal. He shook his head ominously when
he received the message. "We will go," he said, "but with helmet
on head and sixty thousand men at our back." The war with France
broke out anew, and petty operations were soon afoot all over the
country; but now noble after noble in Aquitaine and Gascony forsook
his allegiance and revolted to the French. Disaster came thick upon
disaster. The Earl of Pembroke, a new commander, disdaining the
help of the veteran Chandos, was defeated, and Chandos himself,
while advancing to his relief, was slain in a skirmish, to the
grief alike of friend and of foe. The Prince, already sickening
of a mortal disease, turned in fury upon the insurgent town of
Limoges, besieged it, took it, and ordered every soul in it to be
put to the sword. Three thousand men, women, and children were cut
down, crying "Mercy, mercy!" but the stern man, too ill to ride,
looked on unmoved from his litter, till at the sight of three
French knights fighting gallantly against overwhelming odds his
heart softened, and he gave the word for the slaughter to cease.

A few weeks later his little son, but six years old, the boy upon
whom the great soldier had lavished all that was tender in his
nature, died suddenly at Bordeaux. The blow aggravated the Prince's
sickness, and the physicians ordered him to England, in the faint
hope that he might get better at home. He returned, hid himself
in strict seclusion in his house at Berkhampstead, and waited for
the end. Meanwhile things in France went from bad to worse. A
great naval defeat before Rochelle cost England the command of the
sea, and with the loss of the sea Guienne and Gascony were lost
likewise. An expedition under John of Gaunt landed at Calais and
marched indeed to Bordeaux, but lost four-fifths of its numbers
through sickness on the way. By 1374 the English possessions in
France were reduced to Calais, Bordeaux, and Bayonne; so swiftly
had victory passed away with the withdrawal of the master's hand.

[Sidenote: 1376.]

At length, in 1376, the Prince came up to Westminster to attend,
even in his sick-bed, the deliberations of Parliament. This was
his last effort. Two months later, on the 8th of June, he summoned
his faithful comrades to his chamber to bid them farewell, and as
they filed past he thanked them for their good service and asked
their pardon for that he could not reward them as he wished. Then
he entreated them to be faithful to his son as they had been to
himself: and they swore it, weeping like women, with all their
hearts. The end came with a flash of the imperious soldier's
spirit. Observing that a knight who had offended him had come in
with the rest, the Prince instantly bade him begone and see his
face no more; and then the noble heart cracked, and with a last
ejaculation that he forgave all men as he hoped to be forgiven,
the Black Prince, the hope and pride and treasure of England, sank
back and died. Two months later he was buried with military pomp
in the cathedral at Canterbury; and over his tomb were hung, and
still hang, his helmet, his surcoat, his gauntlets, his crest, his
shield, and his sword,[25] the veritable arms worn by the first
great English soldier.[26] For a great soldier he was and a great
commander. He could be stern and he could be merciless, but those
were stern and merciless times, and the man whose last thoughts
were for his comrades-in-arms was a chief who could hold men to him
and a leader whom they would follow to the death. Men no longer
pray for his soul in the chapel which he founded in the crypt of
the cathedral; but morning and evening the voice of the trumpet,
calling English soldiers to their work and dismissing them to their
rest, peals forth from the barracks without and pierces faintly
into the silence of the sanctuary, no unfitting requiem for the
great warrior who, waiting for the sound of a louder trumpet,
sleeps peacefully beneath the shadow of his shield.

  AUTHORITIES.--The principal authority for the period is of
  course Froissart, whose narrative has been elucidated, by the
  help of minor authorities, by Köhler with his usual care and
  pains. See his vol ii. pp. 385-523, and in particular the list of
  authorities on pp. 385 and 417.


[Sidenote: 1382.]

The works of the Black Prince lived after him. Not that we must
look for them immediately in England, where we now enter on forty
years of intestine division and civil strife. We do indeed find
that Richard the Second, on his invasion of Scotland in 1385,
adopted for his army the organisation that had been taught by his
father at Navarete; but we discover no trace of military progress.
Far more instructive is it to look to the continent of Europe and
watch the spread of English military ideas there. It has already
been seen that the French, not daring to meet the English archers
on horseback, adopted the English system of dismounting for action;
and it is interesting to note that the same fashion spread to
Germany and Italy, steadily tending to overthrow the supremacy of
cavalry wrought by the feudal system, and to make a revolution
in the art of war. Not one of the nations, however, seems to
have grasped the pith of the English tactics, the combination of
the offensive and defensive elements in the infantry. The French
indeed, under King Charles the Sixth, strove to raise up archers,
and with all too good success, for they became so efficient
that they were esteemed a menace to the nobility, and were soon
effectively discouraged out of existence. Perhaps the most striking
example of the misapplication of the English system is the conduct
of the Austrian commander at Sempach, who by dismounting his
knights deliberately gave away every advantage to the Swiss, and
thus helped forward that nation on the way to make its infantry the
model of Europe; a very significant matter in the history of the
art of war.

But the truest disciples of the Black Prince were the English
Free Companies, from whom there descended to England, and indeed
to Europe, a legacy of a remarkable kind. These companies were
military societies framed very much on the model of the ancient
trade-guilds, and had as good a right to the name as they. A
certain number of adventurers invested so much money in the
creation of a trained body of fighting men, and took a higher
or lower station of command therein, together with a larger or
smaller share of the profits, according to the proportion of their
venture. If any man wished to realise his capital he could sell
out, provided that he could find a buyer; if any one partner seemed
to the rest to be undesirable they would buy him out and take in
another. Thus grew up what was known as the purchase-system. The
abuse of their monopoly by these companies drove the sovereigns of
Europe after a time to issue commissions to their subjects to raise
companies for their own service only; but even so the commercial
basis of the company remained unchanged, being only widened when
the time came for the amalgamation of companies into regiments.
These military adventurers taught the nations the new art of war,
and the nations could not but follow their model.

[Sidenote: 1387.]

[Sidenote: 1391.]

The greatest leader of free companies was an Englishman, a pupil
of the Black Prince but greater even than his master, John
Hawkwood. It is true that he did his work for foreign nations and
in a foreign land, but even so his name must not be omitted from
a history of the British Army. The company which he commanded,
English almost to a man, was the terror of Italy, and not only the
most formidable in the field but the smartest to the eye, for its
arms were burnished till they shone like silver. Hawkwood, though
a mercenary, was celebrated as the only one who never broke faith,
and as a general his reputation was European. The action which
he fought at Castagnaro, when, in spite of great inferiority in
numbers, he deliberately laid his plans for a sudden counterstroke,
after the manner of Poitiers, extorts the admiration even of modern
generals. Still more remarkable is his once famous retreat in the
face of an overwhelming force from the Adda to the Adige, and
perhaps greatest of all was the closing scene of that retreat. For,
as he lay encamped in the plains by the Adige, the enemy broke the
dykes of the river and turned the whole flood of its waters upon
his army. It was night, and the men were encamping, weary after
a hard day's march, when the deluge came upon them. Everything
conspired to create a panic, but Hawkwood's coolness and confidence
were equal to the danger. He bade every horseman take up one of
the foot-men behind his saddle, and then placing himself at their
head he led them through ten miles of the trackless waste of water,
never less than girth-deep, and brought them out by sheer sagacity,
not indeed without loss but without heavy loss, to the dry bed of
the river. This was in his last campaign, when he was past seventy
years of age; and Florence, the state which he had long faithfully
served, voted him a pension for life and a monument even during his
lifetime. He was making arrangements to return to England when he
died; and King Richard the Second begged the city of Florence that
the bones of so famous a warrior might be returned to his native
land. The request was gracefully granted by the citizens, but the
last resting-place of Hawkwood is now unknown. His monument in the
Cathedral at Florence records that he was the most skilful general
of his age, a height of military fame that has been reached by one
other Englishman only, John, Duke of Marlborough.

[Sidenote: 1385, August 14.]

Yet another action must be briefly noticed to show the value set
on English military skill. During the invasion of Portugal by
the King of Castile, in 1385, the Portuguese were joined by a
party of about five hundred English adventurers, whose leaders
appear to have directed most of the operations. It was under their
guidance that the decisive battle of Aljubarotta, of which the
Portuguese are still proud, was finally fought; and it is worthy
of remark that, finding no advantageous position to hand, they
deliberately constructed by means of abattis an imitation of the
position of Poitiers, making it unassailable from the front except
through a narrow strait, which was purposely left open and lined
with archers. Marvellous to relate, the Spaniards and the French,
who were fighting with them, rushed straight into the trap, and
were of course utterly overthrown; whereupon, in due accordance
with precedent, the Portuguese made their counter-attack and won
a complete victory.[27] All this was due, as Froissart says, to
the counsel of the English; and indeed, little though we may be
conscious of it, it is doubtful whether even after Waterloo the
prestige of English soldiers was greater than at the end of the
fourteenth century.

But while the English military doctrines were thus spreading
themselves over Europe, fresh innovations, which were destined to
render them obsolete, were already making rapid progress. Artillery
in the hands of the Germans was tending more and more to lose its
cumbrous character and to take new form in mobile and practicable
weapons. The heavy bombards, which could be neither elevated nor
traversed, had before the close of the fourteenth century given
place to lighter guns of smaller bore fixed on to the end of a
shaft of wood and supported on a fork or hook, whence they derived
their name of _Hakenbüchse_, a word soon corrupted by the English
into hackbut, hagbush, and finally harquebus. A later improvement
had fitted guns with a stock like that of the cross-bow, which
could be brought up to the shoulder, thus more readily aligning
the barrel to the eye. The step from this to the hand-gun, which
could be served out as the individual weapon of a single man, was
but a short one and was soon to be taken. But as the traditions of
Wellington and the Peninsula were to be tried once more at Alma
and Inkerman before they finally perished, so the system of the
two great Edwards was to be revived forty years after Navarrete at

[Sidenote: 1415.]

It is unnecessary to dwell on the pretensions which were put
forward to excuse the wanton aggression of Henry the Fifth
against France. Ambitious, like Frederick the Great, of military
glory he made his will the true ground for his action, counting
on the spirit of a people that was never strongly averse from a
French war. The military devices introduced by the Edwards, the
commissions of array,[28] and the system of indentures, were still
in good working order, while the discipline of the Black Prince,
like his order of battle, was stereotyped in a written code of
Ordinances of War. All the old machinery was therefore to hand;
and perhaps the most noteworthy change that had come over the
English military world was the doubling of the archers' wages
from threepence to sixpence a day. Parliament voted the King a
large sum of money, which however proved to be insufficient, for,
significantly enough, not a contractor would furnish his contingent
of men without security for the repayment of his expenses. The
crown jewels were pledged in all directions, ships were hired in
Holland and in England, seamen were impressed, artisans of every
trade, from the miner to the farrier, were engaged, and on the 7th
of August 1415 the army embarked at Southampton and the adjacent
ports, and sailed for the Seine. The whole fleet numbered some
fourteen hundred vessels, and the army is reckoned at thirty
thousand men, men-at-arms with their attendants, and archers both
mounted and afoot, all distinguished by the red cross of St.
George. Further, there was a great train of the newest and best
artillery, great guns called by pet names such as the London and
the King's Daughter, the whole under the charge of four German

On the second day out the fleet anchored before Harfleur. A day was
taken up by the disembarkation, which was unhindered by the French;
and by the 19th of August the town was fully invested. Then came a
month of siege, wherein the art that was dying blended strangely
with that which was just coming to birth; wooden towers and quaint
engines that might have been employed by the Romans plying side
by side with sap and mine and countermine and the latest patterns
of German artillery. The French made a most gallant defence, and
dysentery breaking out in the English camp swept off thousands of
the besiegers; but at length the heavy guns prevailed. The garrison
begged for terms, praying that the King would make his gunners
to cease, "for the fire was to them intolerable." On the 22nd of
September the capitulation was agreed on, and Harfleur received
an English garrison. It was the first town that the English had
reduced by the fire of cannon.

But Henry was not yet satisfied. Two-thirds of his force had melted
away, dead or invalided, but he had no intention of re-embarking at
Harfleur. He devoted a fortnight to the repair of the defences of
the captured town, and then collecting provisions for eight days
he marched northward for Calais with an army, or, as we should now
call it, a flying column, of nine thousand men.

Meanwhile the French, disorganised though they were by the insanity
of their king, Charles the Sixth, began to bestir themselves, and
collecting an army of sixty thousand men, fourteen thousand of
them men-at-arms and several thousand archers and cross-bowmen,
determined to hold the line of the Somme and bar Henry's passage of
the river. Henry's idea, dictated like the whole of his campaign
by the precedent of Edward the Third, had been to cross the Somme
by the ford of Blanche Tache. He now learned that the passage was
defended by the French in force. He wheeled at once to the right,
and following the left bank of the river upward, tried in vain to
find a crossing-place. Every bridge was broken down and every ford
beset. It was plain that he was more effectually entrapped even
than his predecessor Edward.

[Sidenote: October.]

The eight days' supply of provisions was now consumed, and the
position of the English became most critical. Retreat Henry would
not, force the passage of the Somme he could not. He decided to
follow the river upward to its head-waters, and on reaching Nesle
learned from a countryman of a ford, the access to which lay across
a morass. Two causeways that provided a footing over it had been
broken down by the French, but these were quickly repaired with
wood and faggots and straw till they were broad enough to admit
three horsemen abreast. Henry himself was indefatigable in the
work. He took personal charge of one end of the passages, and
appointed special officers to attend to the other. The baggage
was carried over along one causeway, and the men by the second.
Thus the passage both of morass and river was accomplished between
eight in the morning and an hour before dusk of an October day.
The French, who were lying in force at Peronne, now for some
unexplained reason retreated towards the north-west, but sent,
according to custom, a challenge to Henry to fix time and place for
battle. "I am marching straight to Calais through open country,"
he replied. "You will have no difficulty in finding me." And he
continued his advance.

At Peronne the English struck the line of the French march and
looked for an immediate engagement. The force moved in order of
battle, every man armed and ready for action, while the archers by
Henry's order carried a stake, eleven feet long and pointed at both
ends, to make them defence against cavalry. To their surprise no
enemy appeared; and Henry was presently able to disperse his force
along a wider front, with the advantage alike of obtaining easier
supply of victuals and surer information of the enemy. The English
were much distressed by want of bread: other provisions were
abundant, but grain was absolutely undiscoverable. Nevertheless
discipline was most strictly enforced, and the order of the
columns, as the speed of the march can avouch, was quite admirable.
Robbery of churches or peasants, the slightest irregularity on
the march or in the camp, the presence of women in the camp, all
offences alike were visited with the severest punishment. One man,
whom Shakespeare has immortalised as Bardolph, was detected in
the theft of a pyx: he was paraded through the army as a criminal
and hanged. Even French writers admit that the English dealt
more mercifully with them than their own countrymen. The King
himself avoided anything that might seem to indicate the slightest
discouragement. One night he missed the camping-ground assigned to
his division and took up that of the vanguard. "God forbid that in
full armour I should turn back," he said; and pushing the vanguard
further forward, he halted for the night where he stood.

On the 24th of October, Henry, who was lying at Frevent on the
river Canopes, was informed by his scouts that the French were
moving forward from St. Pol and must inevitably get ahead of
him. He pushed on to Blangy, crossed the river Ternoise there,
and advancing to Maisoncelle drew up his army in battle order
before it. The whole French army was before him at Ruisseauville,
but as dusk fell without an attack he withdrew for the night to
Maisoncelle, and conscious of his desperate situation opened
negotiations with the French, offering to restore Harfleur and make
good all injuries if he might be permitted to evacuate France in
peace. His overtures were rejected and he was warned to fight on
the morrow. On the same evening the French moved down to a narrow
plateau between the villages of Tramecourt and Agincourt, and
there, cramped into a space far too narrow for sixty thousand men,
they halted till the morrow within less than a mile of the English

The night was spent in very different fashion in the two camps. The
French, doubtless much inconvenienced by the straitness of their
quarters, were shouting everywhere for comrades and servants as
noisily as a mob of sheep; while some, forgetting the lesson of
Poitiers, gambled for the ransom of the prisoners that they were
to take in the morrow's battle. Huge fires were kept burning round
their banners, for the rain was incessant, and the English could
see everything that passed among them. They too began shouting like
the French till sternly checked by the King; and then the English
camp fell silent, and the men, forbidden to forget their situation
in the din of their own voices, sat down to face it in all its
stern reality. They could be excused if they felt some misgiving.
They had covered over three hundred miles in a continuous march of
seventeen days, often in hourly expectation of a fight; for four
days they had not tasted bread; and now, after a few short hours
more of waiting in the ceaseless pattering rain, they were to meet
a host outnumbering them by five to one. Arms and bowstrings were
overhauled and repaired; and the priests had little rest from the
numbers that came to them for shrift. But in the discipline of that
silence lay the promise of success.

[Sidenote: October 25.]

At dawn of the next morning Henry was astir, fully armed but
bare-headed, riding a gray pony. Presently he led the army out of
Maisoncelle to a newly-sown field, which was the position of his
choice, and drew it up for battle. Every man was dismounted, and
horses and baggage were parked in the rear under the protection of
a small guard. But the numbers of his army were so weak that the
favourite formation of the Black Prince could not be followed. The
vanguard under the Duke of York became the right, the battle under
the King the centre, and the rearguard under Lord Camoys the left
of a single line, which even then was ranked but four men deep. It
was a first example of English line against French column. Henry
made the men a short speech, recalling to them the deeds of their
fathers, and then the whole host kneeled down, thrice kissed the
ground, and rose upright again into its ranks.

Meanwhile not a sign of attack came from the French. Their order of
battle had been determined many days before, but it was ill adapted
to so narrow a position. It was evident that only the vanguard
could possibly come into action, and such was the indiscipline that
every man of rank wished to command it. Finally the whole of the
magnates were placed in the vanguard, and its strength was made up
to about seven thousand men-at-arms, every one of them dismounted.
On each flank was a wing of twelve hundred more dismounted men, and
on their flanks again two small bodies of cavalry, three hundred
on the right, and eight hundred on the left, which were designed
to gallop down upon the archers. This was the first French line.
The second was also made up of about eight thousand dismounted
men-at-arms; while the remainder, who were ordered to dismount but
would not, composed the third line. The whole stood on ploughed
ground, soaked by the rain of the previous night and poached deep
by the trampling of innumerable feet.

The French took advantage of the delay to give their men breakfast,
an example which Henry immediately followed. Then seeing that
the enemy remained motionless he prepared to attack. A gray
old warrior, Sir Walter Erpingham, galloped forward with two
aides-de-camp to make the necessary changes of formation. The
archers were deployed in front and flanks, and when all was ready
old Sir Walter tossed his baton into the air and sang out "Now
strike." Then galloping back to the King's battalion he dismounted
and took his place in the ranks. The King, already dismounted,
gave the word "Forward banner," and the English answered with a
mighty cry, the forerunner of that "stern and appalling shout"
which four centuries later was to strike hesitation into so fine
a soldier even as Soult. Then the whole line advanced in close
array, with frequent halts, for the ground was deep, and the
archers in their leathern jackets and hose, ragged, hatless, and
shoeless after two months of hard work, could easily wear down the
men-at-arms in their heavy mail. Artillery in such a sea of mud
could not be brought into position on either side, and the German
gunners took no part in the fight. The French on their side stood
firm and closed up their ranks. They were so heavily weighted with
their armour, always heavier than that of the English, that they
could hardly move, and their front was so much crowded that they
could not use their archers; so they broke off their lances as at
Poitiers to the length of five feet, and stood in dense array,
thirty-one ranks against the English four.

Arrived within range the archers struck their stakes slantwise into
the ground, and drew bow. The French vanguard then shook itself
up and advanced slowly, while the cavalry on their flanks moved
forward against the archers. The division of three hundred lances
on the right made but a poor attack; little more than half of them
really came on, and even these their horses, maddened as at Creçy
by the pain of the arrows, soon carried in headlong confusion to
the rear. The stronger division on the left charged home, and the
leader and one or two others actually reached the line of stakes;
but the stakes had no firm hold in the mud; the horses tripped over
them and fell, and not one rider ever rose again. The remainder
had as usual been carried back by their wounded horses upon their
comrades in rear, and thence with them upon the wings of dismounted
men-at-arms in which they tore terrible gaps. The centre of the
French vanguard fared little better. Dazzled by the eastern sun
that shone full in their eyes, and bending their heads before the
sleet of arrows, they lost all idea of their direction, and became
so clubbed together that they could not use their weapons. By
sheer weight they forced back the English men-at-arms a lance's
length, and for a time they fought hard. King Henry was twice
struck heavily on the helmet, one blow lopping a branch from the
crown that encircled it. But meanwhile the archers had noted the
gaps torn by the horses in the wings of the French fighting line.
They dropped their bows, and with whatever weapon--axe, hammer,
or sword--that hung at their girdle, they fell, light and active,
upon the helpless, hampered men-at-arms and made fearful havoc of
them. The French centre, exposed by the defeat of the wings to
attack on both flanks, gave way before the King's battalion, and
their first line was utterly defeated. There was no question of
flight among the French men-at-arms, for the unhappy men could not
move. The English simply took off the helmets of their prisoners,
and, leaving them thus exposed, pressed on against the second line.
This, however, was already shaken by the defeat of the vanguard;
and though one leader who had arrived late in the field, the Duke
of Brabant, set a gallant example, he was quickly cut down, and the
defeat of the second line followed quickly on his fall. The third
line still remained, but being mounted, contrary to orders, had no
mind to stay and fight, but turned and fled, leaving some few of
their leaders alone to redeem French honour by a hopeless struggle
and a noble death.

This battle was hardly won when word was brought to Henry that
his baggage, with all his treasure as well as all the horses, was
in the hands of plunderers. The guard in fact had been unable
to resist the temptation to join in the fight, and had left the
baggage to take care of itself. The momentary confusion hereby
caused gave some of the French time to rally, and Henry, not
knowing how great the danger might be, ordered every man to kill
his prisoners. The English hesitated, less possibly from humanity
than from reluctance to lose good ransom, whereupon Henry told
off two hundred archers for the duty, which was promptly carried
out. He can hardly be blamed, for the fight had been won less by
the slaughter than by the capture of the men-at-arms; and the
risk of undertaking a new attack in front with some thousands of
unwounded prisoners in rear, was serious. Be that as it may, the
deed was done. Henry then advanced against the rallied French and
quickly broke them up; and at four o'clock, the victory being at
last complete, he left the field. The French loss in nobles alone
numbered from five to eight thousand men killed, exclusive of
common men. A thousand prisoners and a hundred and twenty banners
were taken. The losses of the English are uncertain, but probably
did not exceed a few hundreds, the most distinguished of the fallen
being the Duke of York.

So ended the great fight which King Harry himself decreed to be
called by the name of Agincourt.[29] It sums up in itself the
leading features of Creçy, Poitiers, and Cocherel, in a word of all
the finest actions of the Edwards. But it was, as fate ordained,
but the afterglow of the glory of the Plantagenets, not the light
of a sun new risen like a giant to run his course.

[Illustration: THE CAMPAIGN OF 1415.

  _To face page 62_

[Sidenote: 1420.]

To attempt to follow the later campaigns of Henry the Fifth in
France would be alike tedious and unprofitable. To the last he
stuck to the principles of the Black Prince, but his military
talents ripened year after year, and while he lived France
trembled under his sword. Finally, torn to pieces by the strife of
Burgundian and Armagnac, France by the Treaty of Troyes surrendered
her kingship into his hand. The contempt of the English for their
enemy was such that the men once assaulted and captured a town
without orders. But in the very next year came a reverse that boded
ominously for the future. The Duke of Clarence was defeated at
Beaugé, less by the French than by a body of Scottish auxiliaries,
who had been sent to their assistance under the Earl of Buchan.
Henry had hoped that the Scots would not fight against him, and
ordered them henceforth to be treated as rebels, but it was to no
purpose. The reader should take note of this fateful year 1421,
for it marks the permanent entrance of the Scots into the service
of France, a fact full of import for both countries. Moreover, he
will in due time see a regiment, still called the Royal Scots,
withdrawn from the French army to become the first of the English

[Sidenote: 1422.]

The return of King Henry to France after Beaugé soon re-established
the ascendency of the English arms; and then, while still in the
prime of life, he sickened even in the midst of his operations and
died. He was but thirty-four years of age, a great administrator,
a great captain, and above all a grand disciplinarian. Yet he was
no brutal martinet; nay, when once he had cast his wild days behind
him he never even swore. "Impossible," or "It must be done," was
the most that he said. But "he was so feared by his princes and
captains that none dared to disobey his orders, however nearly
related to him, and the principal cause was that if any one
transgressed his orders he punished him at once without favour or
mercy."[30] He and the army that fought with him at Agincourt are
the true precursors of Craufurd and the Light Division. His body,
borne with mournful pomp from the castle of Vincennes, still rests
among us in Westminster Abbey, and above it still hang his saddle,
his shield blazoned with the lilies of France, and the helmet,
deeply dinted by two sword-cuts, which he wore at Agincourt. Not
for three centuries was another soldier to rise up in England of
equal fame with the Black Prince, John Hawkwood, and King Harry the

  AUTHORITIES.--For the life of Hawkwood see Temple Leader's _Sir
  John Hawkwood_. For the campaign of Agincourt, _Gesta Henrici
  Quinti_ and Monstrelet's Chronicles are the chief authorities,
  while Sir Harris Nicholas's _Agincourt_ furnishes a quantity
  of supplementary information. Other authorities will be found
  enumerated in Köhler, who is always the best guide in respect of
  military operations.


It is now our sad duty to watch the military glory of the
Plantagenets wane fainter and fainter, until it disappears, to
be followed by a period of darkness until the light is slowly
rekindled at the flame of foreign fires. The decline of our
supremacy in arms was not at first rapid. John, Duke of Bedford,
possessed a combination of military and administrative talent
little less remarkable than that of his brother the late King, and
as Regent of France he took up the reins of government and command
with no unskilful hand. Everything turned upon the maintenance
of existing factions in France. England working with Burgundy,
the red cross of St. Andrew with the red cross of St. George,
could preserve the English dominion; otherwise that dominion must
inevitably fall. The French, after the lull created by Henry's
death, gathered an army together of which the kernel was three
thousand Scots, and marched into Burgundy to besiege Crevant.
A body of four thousand picked English and Burgundians at once
hastened after them, and although outnumbered, and compelled,
by the advance of a second French army in their rear, to fight
their battle and win it at whatever cost, they defeated the enemy
completely and cut the Scots to pieces almost to a man. All was
still done as King Harry had done it. English tactics were forced,
on pain of death, upon English and Burgundians[31] alike, and
discipline was most strictly preserved. It was not a promising
beginning for the French, but Scotland was ready to furnish
more men, and France not less ready to receive them; and so the
extraordinary struggle of French against French, and English
against Scots was renewed once more.

[Sidenote: 1424.]

Early in 1424 ten thousand Scottish men-at-arms, under Archibald,
Earl of Douglas, arrived at Rochelle, and were welcomed with
eagerness by the French. Douglas was created Duke of Touraine, and
all went merrily until on the 17th of August French and English,
with their allies, met under the walls of Verneuil. The French and
Scots numbered close on twenty thousand men, the English twelve
thousand, of whom eight thousand were archers. Contrary to the
hitherto accepted practice, the French formed their army into a
single huge central battalion of dismounted men, with cavalry on
each wing, the mounted men being designed to fall upon the English
flanks and rear. Bedford, who commanded the English, imitated the
enemy in forming only a single battalion, but dismounted the whole
of his force, covering his front and flanks with archers, who as at
Agincourt carried stakes as a defence against the attack of horse.
His baggage he parked in rear, the horses being tied collar to tail
that they might be the less easily driven off; and he appointed as
baggage-guard no fewer than ten thousand archers.

For the whole morning the two armies stood opposite to each other
in order of battle, each waiting for the other to attack; but at
last, at three in the afternoon, the French advanced and were
received by the English with a mighty shout. The French cavalry on
the wings charged, broke through the archers, and sweeping round
the English rear fell upon the baggage. They were greeted by the
guard with a shower of arrows, but contrived none the less to carry
off some quantity of spoil, with which they galloped away, feeling
sure that the day was won.[32] But meanwhile the two battalions of
dismounted men-at-arms, those on the French side being exclusively
Scots, had closed and were fighting desperately. For a moment the
English were beaten back by superior numbers; but Salisbury, John
Talbot, and other tried leaders were with them, and they soon
recovered themselves. The archers on the wings rallied to their
aid, while those of the baggage-guard, freed from all further alarm
of cavalry, hurried up with loud shouts in support. The Scots
wavered, and the English pressing forward with one supreme effort
broke through their ranks, split up the battalion, and threw the
whole into helpless confusion. And then began a terrible carnage,
for the Scots had told Bedford that they would neither give nor
receive quarter, and they certainly received none. Five thousand
men, mostly Scots, were killed on the French side, John Stewart,
Earl of Buchan, the Earl of Douglas and James his son being among
the slain, and two hundred more were taken prisoners. Of the
English some sixteen hundred only went down.

[Sidenote: 1428.]

To France Verneuil was a disaster little less crushing than
Agincourt, and indeed it seemed as though she had passed
irrevocably under English dominion. All was however spoiled by
Bedford's brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who, having made
a match with a rich heiress, Jacqueline of Holland, carried away
English troops to take possession of her dower-lands, and, worst
of all, gave the deepest offence to Burgundy. At home Humphrey was
equally troublesome, so much so that in 1425 Bedford was compelled
to return to England to set matters right. It was not until three
years later that he took the field again, well reinforced with
men and with a powerful train of artillery. So far we have rarely
found artillery employed except for sieges, but henceforth we see
gunners regularly employed at the high wage of a man-at-arms, one
shilling a day, and "hand-cannons" and "little cannons with stone
shot of two pounds weight," playing ever a more prominent part in
the field.

[Sidenote: 1429.]

Against his better judgment Bedford now resolved to carry the
war across the Loire, and detached the Earl of Salisbury with
ten thousand men to the siege of Orleans. The operations opened
unfortunately with the death of Salisbury, who was mortally
wounded by a cannon-shot while examining the enemy's works; but
the investment was carried on with spirit by the Earl of Suffolk,
and a little action at the opening of 1429 showed that the English
superiority still held good. This, the battle of Roveray, better
known as the action of the Herrings, has a peculiar interest,
though the occasion was simple enough. Lent was approaching;
and as, among the many complications of mediæval warfare, the
observance of the fast was by no means forgiven to fighting
men,[33] it was necessary to send provisions of "Lenten stuff,"
principally herrings, to the besieging force round Orleans. The
convoy being large was provided with an escort of sixteen hundred
men under command of Sir John Falstolfe. The French and Scots
decided to attack it on the march, but unfortunately could not
agree as to their plan; the Scots insisting that it was best
to dismount, the French preferring to remain in the saddle.
Meanwhile Falstolfe with great dexterity drew his waggons into a
leaguer, leaving but two narrow entrances defended by archers. It
was the trap of Poitiers once more. The French and Scots after
long discussion agreed to differ, and attacked each in their own
fashion. The English archers shot with admirable precision; the
Scots lost very heavily, the French after a short experience of
the arrows rode out of range, and Falstolfe led his herrings
triumphantly into Orleans, having killed close on six hundred of
the enemy with trifling loss to himself. This was the last signal
employment of the tactics of Poitiers, the last brilliant success
of the English in the Hundred Years' War, the first glimpse of a
lesson learnt by England from the military genius of a foreign
power. For the tactics of the waggon were those of John Zizka, the
greatest soldier of Europe in the fifteenth century.

From this point the story is one of almost unbroken failure for
the English in France. They were now about to pass through the
experience which later befell the Spaniards in the Low Countries,
and the French themselves in the Peninsula. The turning-point is
of course the appearance in the field of Joan of Arc, a phenomenon
so extraordinary that it has become the exclusive property of
the votaries of poetry and sentiment, and is, perhaps rightly,
not to be rescued from their hands. It is certain that her
military talents were of the slightest; but, on the other hand,
she possessed the magic of leadership and the amazing power of
restoring the moral strength of her countrymen, which had been
impaired as never before by an endless succession of defeats.
The English not unnaturally attributed this power to witchcraft:
for by what other agency could a peasant girl have checked the
ever-victorious army? and the punishment of witchcraft being the
fire they burnt her to death. Any other nation would have done the
same in their place then, and there are still a few folks both in
France and the United Kingdom who would do so now. But the fire in
the market-place of Rouen availed the English little. "The French,"
as Monstrelet says, believed that "God was against the English";
and the English began to believe it themselves.

[Sidenote: 1430.]

For the woman's quick instinct and the pure insight of a saintly
soul had guided the maid aright. The moral quality of the English
force was corrupted, and needed only to meet some loftier spirit
to fall into decay. The chivalrous character of the war was gone.
Hostile commanders no longer laid each other friendly wagers on the
success of their next operations. The army too was ceasing to be
national; the English element was growing smaller and smaller in
number, and fast sinking to the level of the lawless adventurers
who furnished the majority in the ranks. Long contempt of the
enemy had bred insolence and carelessness, and the old discipline
was almost gone. The sight of a deer or a hare sufficed to set a
whole division hallooing, sometimes, as at Patay, with disastrous
results. On that day the French scouts, who were feeling for the
enemy, roused a stag, which ran towards the English array, and was
greeted with such a storm of yells as told the French all that they
wanted to know. The English force blundered on, without advanced
parties of any kind, till it suddenly found itself on the verge
of an engagement. Then the leaders wrangled as to the question
of fighting in enclosed or open country, and, having finally in
overweening confidence selected the open, were surprised and routed
before the archers could plant their stakes in the ground. Worst of
all, an officer in high command, Sir John Falstolfe, seeing that
defeat was certain, disobeyed the order to dismount and galloped
away. He was disgraced by Bedford, but was afterwards for some
reason reinstated, though had Harry been king he would assuredly
have lost his head.[34]

[Sidenote: Sandacourt, 1431.]

Among the French the revival of the military spirit soon showed
itself in a remarkable development of new ideas. They had
long copied, though with a bad grace, the English practice of
dismounting men-at-arms and furnishing archers with a palisade of
stakes, but in 1434 at Gerberoy they used the three arms, cavalry,
infantry, and artillery, in combination, with signal success.
Artillery was still so far a novelty in the field that only three
years before a whole army collected by the Duke of Bar had flung
itself howling to the ground at the first discharge; but the
English archers, though they knew better than to behave thus, were
sadly dismayed when the round stone shot came bounding within their
trusted palisade. It was just after this, too, that two fatal
blows were struck at the English by the shifting of Burgundy to the
French side, and by the death of their ablest leader, John, Duke of

Still the war, wantonly and foolishly continued by an inefficient
Government, dragged on and on, and, though not unbroken by
occasional brilliant exploits, turned steadily against the English.
The behaviour of the soldiers was sullied more and more by shameful
barbarity; and gradually but surely their hold on Normandy and
Guienne slipped from them. Truce was made at last in 1444, and
Charles the Seventh seized the opportunity to execute a series
of long-meditated reforms in the French army. He established a
national militia of fifteen companies of men-at-arms and archers,
each six hundred strong, organised garrisons of trained men for
the towns, took the greatest pains for the equipment, discipline,
and regular payment of the troops, and formed the finest park of
artillery thitherto seen. In a word, he laid the foundation of
the French standing army, with the Scottish archers and Scottish
men-at-arms at its head, two famous corps that remained in their
old place on the army-list until the French Revolution. Thus French
military organisation, spurred by a century of misfortune, made one
gigantic bound ahead of English, and may be said to have kept the
lead ever since.

[Sidenote: 1440.]

[Sidenote: 1449.]

[Sidenote: 1450, April 18.]

In England there had been no such improvement. A feeble effort had
been made to check by statute fraudulent enlistment and the still
graver abuse of embezzlement of the soldiers' pay by the captains,
but this was of little help when the enforcement of the Act[35]
was entrusted to so corrupt and avaricious a commander as the Duke
of Somerset. Throughout the truce the soldiers on the English side
behaved abominably; but, since they were robbed of their wages
by their officers, it is hardly surprising that they should have
repaid themselves by the plunder of the country. When finally the
truce was broken, and the French invaded Normandy, the English
dominion fell before them like a house of cards. Town after town,
their garrisons depleted to fill Somerset's pocket, surrendered
to superior force, and the English as they marched forth had the
mortification to see the Normans gleefully doff the red cross of
St. George for the white cross of France. An attempt to save the
province was foiled by the rout of the English reinforcements at
Fourmigny, and Normandy was lost. Anjou and Maine had been already
made over to the father of Henry the Sixth's Queen, and Guienne
and Gascony, which had been English since the reign of Henry the
Second, alone remained. Next year they too went the way of Normandy
and were lost.

[Sidenote: 1453, July 20.]

Gascony, however, notwithstanding her hot southern blood, was
in no such anxiety as Normandy to be quit of the English, and
sent messages to England that, if an army were sent to help her,
she would revolt against the French to rejoin her old mistress.
England lent a willing ear, and John Talbot, the veteran Earl of
Shrewsbury, was sent out to this, his last campaign. The decisive
battle was fought under the walls of Chatillon. The French were
strongly entrenched, with three hundred pieces of artillery in
position, a striking testimony to their military progress. The
English fought with the weapon which for a century had won them
their victories, and for the last as for the first battle of the
Hundred Years' War, every man alighted from his horse. John Talbot
alone, in virtue of his fourscore years, remained mounted on his
hackney; and with the indomitable old man at their head the English
hurled themselves upon the entrenchment. It was a mad, desperate,
hopeless venture, but they stormed forward with such impetuosity
that they went near to carry the position. For a full hour they
persisted, until at last, riddled through and through by the fire
of the artillery, they fell back. Then the French sallied forth
and turned the defeat into a rout. Old John Talbot's pony was shot
under him, and being pinned to the ground under the dead animal he
was killed where he lay. Young John Talbot, Lord Lisle, refused
to leave his father, and fell by his side. The army was dispersed
over Aquitaine, and the ancestral domains of seven generations
of English kings passed from them for ever. By the irony of fate
a Scottish soldier[36] was appointed to hold for the crown of
France the French provinces that had clung with such attachment
to England. Of all the great possessions of the English in France
Calais now alone was left, to break in due time the heart of an
English Queen.

At home the discontent over the national disgrace was profound. The
people of course cast about to find a scapegoat, and after one or
two changes finally fixed upon the blameless and unfortunate Henry
the Sixth. Want of a strong central government was undoubtedly
the disease from which England had suffered ever since the death
of King Henry the Fifth, but for this the nation itself was
principally responsible. It had chosen for its rulers the House
of Lancaster because Henry of Bolingbroke had agreed to accept
constitutional checks on the royal power before the country was
ripe for self-government. It had thrown off the yoke of discipline
which alone could enable it to tug the heavy load of English weal
and English honour, and it paid the inevitable penalty. Numbers of
republics have made the same mistake during the present century and
have suffered or are suffering the same punishment. There is no
surer sign of an undisciplined nation than civil war.

In the England of the fifteenth century the disease had been
deeply aggravated by the interminable campaigns in France. All
classes at home, from the highest to the lowest, were equally
selfish and apathetic in respect of the national good: internal
order was at an end, and riots and outrages which amounted to
private war continued unceasingly and remained unrepressed. The
system of indentures between king and subject for the supply of
troops had been extended from subject to retainer and, as has
been well said, the clause "for the King's service" could easily
be dropped out of the contract.[37] The red cross of St. George
never appears in the English battlefields; red rose and white were
indeed the emblems of contending factions, but we hear far more of
the badges of great families, the ragged staff, the cresset and
the like, and of the liveries, which, though forbidden by statute
to any but the king, were conspicuous all through the Civil War.
The loss of France furnished but too much material to the hands
of violence and strife. England was full of unemployed soldiers,
who had been trained in the undisciplined school of French faction
to treachery and plunder and all that is lowest and most inhuman
in war. Hundreds of men who had held comfortable posts in French
garrisons, and had turned them to purposes of brigandage, were cast
adrift upon England, barbarised, brutalised, demoralised, to recoup
themselves in their own country. After the peace of Brétigny the
disbanded soldiery had made France their chamber and swept down
thence upon Italy; the like men[38] were now to be let loose upon
England, and France was to be well avenged of her old enemy. Worst
of all, the leaders of factions, in the madness of their animosity,
were not ashamed to import foreign troops and set them at each
other's throats.

[Sidenote: 1460.]

[Sidenote: 1461.]

I shall not dwell upon this miserable and disastrous period,
marking as it does the wreck of our ancient military greatness.
Such few military points as present themselves in the scanty
chronicles of this time must be noted, and no more. Of the
principal figures one only is to be remarked. Warwick the
"King-maker" must be passed over as rather a statesman than a
soldier; Margaret of Anjou--the pestilent, indomitable woman--must
be remembered only for her importation of mercenaries; Edward the
Fourth, full of the military genius of the Plantagenets, alone is
deserving of lengthier mention. There was not an action at which he
was present wherein he did not make that presence felt. It was he
who at Northampton turned his treacherous admission to the left of
the Lancastrian position to instant and decisive account. It was
he who in the following year, still only a boy of twenty, crushed
Owen Tudor at Mortimer's Cross; it was he who held supreme command
at that more terrible Marston Moor of the fifteenth century, the
battle of Towton.

[Sidenote: March 28.]

This action has a peculiar interest as an example of English
tactics and tenacity turned upon themselves. The Lancastrians,
sixty thousand strong, were formed up on a plateau eight miles
to the north of Ferrybridge, facing south-their right resting on
a brook, called the Cock, their left on the Great North Road. It
was a strong position, but too much cramped for their numbers,
having a front of less than a mile in extent. They were probably
drawn up according to the old fashion in three lines of great
depth. The Yorkists numbered but five-and-thirty thousand, but they
were expecting an additional thirteen thousand under the Duke of
Norfolk, which, advancing from Ferrybridge, would come up on their
own right and against the left flank of the enemy. Edward appears
to have remedied his numerical inferiority after the pattern of his
great ancestor at Creçy by forming his army in echelon of three
lines, refusing his right. The foremost or left line of the echelon
was commanded by Lord Falconbridge, the second by Warwick, and the
third by Edward in person. The Yorkists advancing northward to
the attack had just caught sight of the enemy on a height beyond
a slight dip in the ground called Towton Dale, when there came
on a blinding snowstorm, which so effectually veiled both armies
that it was only by their shouts that they could know each other's
position. Falconbridge with great readiness seized the moment to
push forward his archers to the edge of the plateau, whence he bade
them shoot flight-arrows, specially adapted to fly over a long
range, into the Lancastrian columns. This done he quickly withdrew
his men. The Lancastrians thereupon poured in a tremendous shower
of fighting arrows, all of which fell short of their supposed mark,
and maintained it till their sheaves were well-nigh exhausted. Then
Falconbridge again advanced and began to shoot in earnest; his men
had not only their own stock of shafts but also those discharged by
the enemy. The rain of missiles was too much for the Lancastrians:
they broke from their position on the height and poured down across
the dip to drive the Yorkists from the slope above it. Then the
action became general and the whole line was soon hotly engaged.

What followed for the next few hours in the driving snow no one
has told us, or, it is probable, could ever have told us. All that
is certain is that the Lancastrians, though occasionally they
could force the Yorkists back for a space, could never gain any
permanent advantage, a fact that points to extremely judicious
handling of the refused division by Edward. From five in the
morning until noon the combat raged with unabated fury, and the
pile of the dead rose so high that the living could hardly come to
close quarters. At length at noon the Duke of Norfolk's column,
timely as Blücher's, appeared in the Great North Road on the left
flank of the Lancastrians, and began to roll them back from their
position and from the line of their retreat. Slowly and sullenly
the Lancastrians gave way; there was probably little attempt to
alter their disposition to meet the attack in their flank; but
for three long hours more they fought, disputing every inch of
ground, till at last they were forced back from it upon the swollen
waters of the Cock. Then the rout and the slaughter became general;
thousands were drowned in the brook; and the pursuit, wherein
we again see the hand of Edward, was carried to the very gates
of York. Thirty-five thousand Lancastrians and eight thousand
Yorkists perished in the fight, an appalling slaughter for so
miserable a cause. But this was a contest not merely of faction
against faction, but of North against South; and the North never
spoke disrespectfully of the South again. This perhaps was the
principal result of what must be reckoned the most terrible battle
ever fought by the English.

[Sidenote: 1471, April 14.]

The decisive battle of Barnet furnishes a still more brilliant
instance of Edward's skill, and of his quickness to seize the vital
point in a campaign. All turned upon his forcing his enemies to
action before they could gather their full strength about them.
Edward marched his men up to Warwick's position actually after dusk
had fallen, a rare accomplishment in those days, and drew up his
men as best he could in the dark. When day broke with dense fog he
discovered that his army far out-flanked Warwick's left, and was as
far out-flanked by Warwick's on his own left. The result seems to
have been that the two armies edged continually round each other
until their respective positions were reversed,[39] for some of
Warwick's cavalry, coming back from the pursuit of Edward's left,
found itself on its return not, as it supposed, in rear of Edward's
army, but of its own. The cry of treason, always common in the Wars
of the Roses, was quickly raised, and in the general confusion the
battle was lost to Warwick. None the less the victory was due to
Edward's promptness; and indeed the rapidity alike of his decisions
and of his marches stamp him as a soldier of no ordinary talent,
and as in many respects far in advance of his time.

[Sidenote: 1487.]

For the rest the Wars of the Roses show unmistakable signs of the
changes that were coming over the art of war.[40] A most important
point is the ever increasing employment of artillery in the field
and the greater value attached to it. Richard, Duke of York, is
said to have had a great train of ordnance and so many as three
thousand gunners with him at Dartmouth in 1452. Artillerymen were
becoming far more common, and as a natural consequence bade fair to
command a smaller price in the wage-market. From this time also it
may be said that the duel of artillery tends to become the regular
preliminary to a general action. Still more significant is the
augmented prominence of the common foot-soldier, known from his
peculiar weapon as the bill-man, who now begins to supplant the
dismounted man-at-arms in the work of infantry, and as a natural
consequence restores the latter to his proper station among the
cavalry. New weapons again make their appearance in the hands of
the foot-soldier. Both Edward and Warwick introduced hired bands
of Burgundian hand-gun men, whereby the English became acquainted
with the new arm that was to drive out the famous bow. Again, on
the field of Stoke there were seen two thousand tall Germans armed
with halberd and pike, under the command of one Martin Schwartz,
who fought on the losing side, but stood in their ranks till they
were cut down to a man.[41] Lastly, the old order of battle in
three lines was becoming rapidly obsolete. At Bosworth both armies
were drawn up in a single line, with the cavalry on the wings; and
the cavalry itself was beginning at the same time to forsake the
formation in column for that in line, or as it was called, _en

All these changes were symptoms of a great movement that was
passing over all Europe. The art of war, like all the other arts,
was undergoing a transformation so fundamental that it has received
the name of a renascence. England, cut off by her expulsion out of
France from her former contact with continental nations, exhausted
by her civil wars, reduced to her true position as a naval power,
and above all wedded to the peculiar system which had brought her
such success, lagged behind other nations in the path of military
reform. The century of the Tudors' reign is for the English army
a century of learning, and to understand it aright we must first
look abroad to the countries that were before her in the school,
and glance at the innovations that were introduced by each of them
in the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Not without
such study can we trace to their source innumerable points, great
and small, that are observable in our army of to-day, nor grasp to
the full the greatness of the English soldiers who, long before the
renascence of the art of war, had divined its leading principles,
had established for their country noble military traditions, and
above all had made it a national principle that the English must
always beat the French.

  AUTHORITIES.--Monstrelet as before is the most important
  authority for the wars in France. The _Wars of the English in
  France_ (Rolls Series) are valuable in elucidation. For the rise
  of the Scots in France M. Francisque Michel's _Les Ecossais en
  France_, and Forbes Leith's _Scots Men-at-Arms in France_. For
  the Wars of the Roses the sources of information are proverbially
  meagre, but the material has been worked up with admirable skill
  by Mr. Oman in his _Warwick_, to which I am greatly indebted. For
  the reorganisation of the French Army Daniel's _Ancien milice
  Française_ may be consulted.



[Sidenote: 1420.]

Five years after the battle of Agincourt the religious wars in
Bohemia had given birth to one of the great soldiers of the
world's history, John Zizka, the blind general of the Hussites.
His military genius, quickened by fanaticism and spurred by the
stern necessity of encountering an enemy always superior in
numbers and equipment, had led him to ideas which were far in
advance of his age. A master in organisation and discipline, he
had evolved literally out of nothing the most famous army of its
day in Europe, and by inexhaustible activity and resource had
rendered it invincible. Beginning with such rude material of war as
waggons and flails, and with no more skilful men than poor Bohemian
peasants, he matured a system of tactics which defeated not only
the chivalry of Europe but even the light irregular cavalry, soon
to become famous as hussars, of Hungary. As victory supplied him
with the means of procuring better arms, he rose rapidly to the
occasion. Throwing all military pedantry to the winds he fought as
his own genius dictated, and in the rapidity of his movements and
unrelenting swiftness with which he followed up a victory he bears
comparison with Napoleon. He was the first man to make artillery
a manœuvrable arm, the first to execute complicated evolutions in
the face of an enemy, and the first to handle cavalry, infantry,
and artillery in efficient tactical combination. The employment of
waggons for defence we have already seen copied by the English at
the battle of the Herrings, but Zizka's influence[42] spread far
wider than this by breaking down the strength of European chivalry,
and showing that drill, discipline, and mobility could make the
poorest peasant more than a match for the armoured knight.

[Sidenote: 1382.]

Zizka, however, had not been the first to deal a blow at the
supremacy of feudal cavalry. The English archers and dismounted
men-at-arms had been before him, and another power, which was
destined to abolish that supremacy for ever, had been in some
respects the predecessor even of the English. Allusion has already
been made to the victory of the Swiss over the Austrian chivalry at
Sempach; from that day it may be said that they began their advance
to the highest military reputation of Europe. Appointed from the
ruggedness of their country as well as by their own poverty to
fight rather on their own feet than on horseback, cut off in great
measure by the same causes from the feudalism that had overrun the
rest of Europe, they were by nature destined to be infantry, and
as infantry they developed their fighting system. Beginning like
all primitive foot-men in all countries with the simple weapons of
shield, spear, and axe, they improved upon them to meet their own
peculiar wants. The problem before them was, how to defeat mounted
men mailed from head to foot in the open field, how to keep the
horses at a distance and cut through the iron shells that protected
the men. The instinct of a Teutonic nation led them to give first
attention to the cutting weapon. The English had turned their
axes into broad-bladed bills; the Flemings had gone further and
produced the _godendag_, a weapon good alike for cut and thrust;
the Swiss, improving upon the _godendag_, invented the halberd,
which combined a hook for pulling men out of the saddle, a point to
thrust between the joints of their armour, and a broad heavy blade,
the whole being set on the head of an eight-foot shaft. The weight
of the halberd made it, as an old chronicler[43] says, a terrific
weapon, "cleaving men asunder like a wedge and cutting them into
small pieces." Altogether it was calculated to surprise galloping
gentlemen who thought themselves invulnerable in their armour.

[Sidenote: 1422.]

[Sidenote: 1444.]

[Sidenote: 1476.]

[Sidenote: 1477.]

[Sidenote: 1515.]

[Sidenote: 1522, 1525.]

But the halberd did not solve the problem of keeping horses at
a distance. For this purpose the primitive spear was lengthened
more and more till it finally issued in the long pike, the pike
of the eighteen-foot shaft, which for nearly two centuries ruled
the battlefields of Europe. The birthplace of the long pike is
obscure,[44] but it was undoubtedly first brought into prominence
by the Swiss, and that by a series of brilliant actions. Arbedo
attested the firmness of the new infantry in the field; St.
Jacob-en-Birs, where the Swiss detached sixteen hundred men to
fight against fifty thousand, its boundless confidence; and finally
the three crushing defeats of Charles the Bold at Granson, Morat,
and Nancy, established its reputation as invincible. For action
the Swiss were generally formed in three bodies, van, battle,
and rear--the van and rear being each of half the strength of
the battle or main body. These bodies were always of a very deep
formation, and if not actually square were very solidly oblong.
Occasionally the whole were massed into one gigantic battalion in
order that the proportion of pikes to halberds, which was about one
to three, might go further in securing immunity from the attack
of cavalry. The van, from the desperate nature of its work, was
called the _Verlorener Hauf_, from which is derived our own term,
not yet wholly extinct, forlorn hope.[45] As regards discipline
the Swiss appear to have been orderly and sober men until spoiled
by the multitude of their successes, but at the last they became
intolerably insubordinate. The cantons indeed were so deeply bitten
with the military mania, that all great occasions, feasts, fairs,
and even weddings, were made the occasion of some form of military
display, while the very children turned out with drums, flags, and
pikes, and marched with all the order and regularity of full-grown
soldiers. In fact fighting became the regular trade of Switzerland,
and as her people enjoyed for a time a practical monopoly of that
trade they soon became grasping and avaricious, and would dictate
to generals under threat of mutiny when and where they should
fight, select their own position in the order of battle, and open
the action at such time as they thought proper. Their officers lost
control of them, and would plaintively say that if they could but
enforce obedience in their men they would march through France from
end to end. This insubordination was their ruin. The French, who
were their chief employers, at last lost all patience with them,
and gave them at Marignano a lesson which they did not speedily
forget. The suppression of this mutiny, which was in fact a two
days' battle of the most desperate description, cost the Swiss
twelve thousand men; and it speaks volumes for the fine qualities
that were in them that the defeat attached them more closely than
ever to the cause of France. But the spell of their invincibility
was broken, and two more severe defeats at the hands of a rival
infantry at Bicocca and Pavia destroyed their prestige for ever.
Nevertheless they were superb soldiers, and as their good fortune
delivered them from a meeting with the English archers, who would
certainly have riddled their huge bristling battalion through
and through, they became as they deserved the fathers of modern
infantry. Let it be noted that they marched in step to the music
of fife and drum, that they carried a colour in each company, and
that several of the cantons carried a huge horn, whose sound was
the signal for all to rally around it.

It was not to be expected that the Swiss should long enjoy their
monopoly as the infantry of Europe without exciting competition.
In the last quarter of the fifteenth century arose the rivals who
were to wrest their supremacy from them, namely, the landsknechts
of Swabia, or as the contemporary English called them, the
lance-knights of Almain, who were the direct forerunners of the
modern German infantry. The records that survive of them are very
full, and as it was through them that the teaching of the Swiss
was carried into England, with results that are visible to this
day, a brief study of their history is essential to the right
understanding of the history of our own army.

The Swabian infantry was called into existence by the imperative
necessity for preventing any potentate who might be so fortunate
as to enlist the Swiss, from dictating his will to Europe. Swabia
being the province next adjoining Switzerland was not unnaturally
the first to learn the methods of her neighbour; and though at
first all fighting men who imitated the tactics and equipment of
the mountaineers were known by the generic name of Swiss, yet the
Swabians, as if from the first to point the distinction between
them and their rivals, took the name of landsknechts, men of
the plain, as opposed to men of the mountains. Maximilian the
First, seeing how valuable such a force would be in the eternal
contest of the House of Hapsburg against the House of Valois, more
particularly since the Swiss were the firm allies of the French,
gave them all possible countenance and encouragement; and very soon
the landsknechts grew into one of the weightiest factors on the
battlefields of Europe. Though mercenaries like the Swiss and the
still earlier bands of Brabançons, and as such engaged on all sides
and in all countries, they yet cherished not a little national
sentiment; and the greatest of all their work was done in the
service of the Empire.

When therefore the emperor needed infantry he issued a commission
to some leader of repute to enlist for him a corps of landsknechts.
The colonel[46] thus chosen thereupon selected a deputy or
lieutenant-colonel and captains[47] according to the number of
men required, and bade them help him to raise his regiment. Then
the fifes and drums were sent into the district, with a copy of
the Emperor's commission, to gather recruits. The recruits came,
gave in their names and birthplaces to the muster-master, were
informed of the time and place of assembly, and received a piece
of money,[48] conduct-money as the English called it, to pay the
expense of his journey thither and to bind the bargain. Here we
draw a step closer to the Queen's shilling. At the assembly the men
were formed in two ranks, facing inwards. An arch[49] was built
by planting two halberds into the ground and laying a pike across
them, and then every man passed singly beneath it under the eye
of the muster-master and of his assistants, who watched every one
sharply, rejecting all who were physically deficient or imperfectly
armed, and above all taking care that no man should pass through
twice, nor the same arms be shown by two different men. For
captains were still unscrupulous, and were ever striving to show
more men on their roll than they could produce in the flesh, and
put the pay that they drew for them into their own pockets. So old
was the trick and so deep-rooted the habit, that even in Hawkwood's
bands the legitimate method of increasing a captain's pay was to
allow him a certain number of fictitious men, called _mortes payes_
(dead heads), and permit him to draw wages for them. This practice
in a legitimised form continued in our own army within the memory
of living men.

Four hundred men was the usual number assigned to a company[50]
of landsknechts, but there was as yet no certainty either in the
strength of companies themselves or in the number of them that were
comprised within a regiment. The muster[51] over, the men formed
a ring round the colonel, who read aloud to them the conditions
of service and the rate of pay, including under the former all
the ordinary points of discipline. The men thereupon raised their
hands, and with three fingers uplifted, swore by the Trinity that
they would obey. The colonel then called into the ring the officers
whom he had selected to be ensigns,[52] and delivered to each the
colour of his company, exhorting him to defend it to the death.
Nor must it be supposed that the ensign was then the beardless boy
with which our own later experience has accustomed us to identify
the title. He was rather a hardened, grizzled old warrior, who
could be trusted at all critical times to rally the men around him.
Pursuant to Oriental tradition, the fife and drum of each company
were under the ensign's immediate orders, so that the position of
the colour might always be known by sound if not by sight. The
flag itself, which gave the officer his title, bore some colour or
device chosen by the colonel, and among the landsknechts was always
very large and voluminous, probably to contrast with the flags of
the Swiss, which were the smallest in Europe. The landsknechts
prided themselves on the grace and skill with which they handled
these huge banners, and indeed all the dandyism (if the term may
be allowed) observable in later years in the manipulation of the
colour may be traced to them.

This ceremony over, the various companies separated and formed
each a distinct ring round its captain and ensign. The captain
then selected his lieutenant,[53] and calling him under the
colours bade the men obey him. He then chose also his chaplain
and quartermaster, and having added to these a surgeon his
patronage was exhausted. The men were then handed over to the
senior non-commissioned officer,[54] a very important person, who
was responsible for all drill and for the posting of all guards,
and received his appointment directly from the colonel. Under
his guidance the company elected a sergeant, who then in turn
selected himself an assistant;[55] the assistant then chose a
reconnoitrer,[56] and the reconnoitrer a quartermaster-sergeant.
Finally, the company was distributed into files[57] of ten men
apiece, which selected each of them a file-leader,[58] who, though
he received no extra pay, enjoyed certain privileges within his
file, such as the right to a bed to himself in quarters and the
like. With his election, the file being the unit of the company,
the hierarchy was complete.

It is unnecessary to trouble the reader with a list of the
regimental staff, but a word must be said of the provost. His
principal function was the maintenance of discipline, for which
purpose he was provided with a staff of gaolers and an executioner,
and his title is still attached to the same duties in the English
army of to-day. But apart from this, it was his office to fix the
tariff of prices of goods sold by the sutlers who accompanied the
regiment. It was a most difficult and dangerous duty, for if he
fixed the price too high the men became discontented and mutinous,
and if too low the sutlers deserted the camp and left it to provide
for itself, which was an alternative little less formidable
than the other. In consideration of the perils of his office the
provost received certain perquisites in addition to his salary,
such as the tongue of every beast slaughtered and an allowance for
every cask broached, and even so was none too well paid.[59] It is
hardly necessary to point out that in this commercial side of the
provost's duties there lies the germ of our modern canteen, wherein
the practice of taking perquisites, though strictly forbidden,
still prevails among canteen-stewards.

The duties of another officer, whose name must be written down in
the original, the _Hurenweibel_, show the early methods of coping
with a difficulty which particularly besets our Indian army. Every
regiment of landsknechts was accompanied by a number of followers
on the march; and although by strict rule no woman was allowed
to accompany a man except his lawful wife, yet we hear without
surprise that there were many women following the colours whose
status was not recognised by the rule above referred to. The poor
creatures led a hard life. The washing, cooking, scavenging, and
all manner of unpleasant duties, as well as the more congenial task
of nursing the sick and wounded, was entrusted to them, and in case
of a siege they were required to make the fascines and gabions.
Their masters treated them very brutally, and as every colonel
naturally wished to cut down their numbers as low as possible, no
pains were spared to make their lives a burden to them. Over all
this rabble the _Hurenweibel_ was king, the sceptre of his office
being a thick stick called a "straightener,"[60] which he used
unmercifully. Yet these followers loved the life and tramped after
their lords all over Europe, increasing their numbers as they went;
the boys as they grew up being employed to carry the men's weapons
or harness on the march. Such boys, or rather fags, were called in
French _goujats_, and are a curious feature in the armies of the
time. The greatest of all _goujats_, if legend may be trusted, was
Thomas Cromwell, the Hammer of the Monks.

For the trial of military offences a board of justices accompanied
each distinct body, but there were some corps of landsknechts that
enjoyed the privilege of the trial of the long pikes,[61] which
gave the rank and file sole jurisdiction in respect of crimes
that brought disgrace on the regiment. In such cases the provost
laid his complaint; and the ensigns, thrusting their flags point
downward into the ground, vowed that they would never fly them
again until the blot on the fair name of the regiment was removed.
The culprit was then tried according to a certain fixed procedure
by his comrades alone, without the intervention of any officer.
If he were found guilty, the men drew themselves up in two ranks,
north and south, facing inwards; the ensigns, with colours flying,
posted themselves at the east end of the lane thus formed, and the
prisoner was brought to the west. The ensigns then exhorted him to
play the man and make bravely for the colours, and the provost,
clapping him thrice on the shoulder in the name of the Trinity,
bade him run. Then the doomed man plunged into the lane, and every
comrade plied pike and halberd and sword on him as he passed.
The swifter he ran the sooner came the end, and as he lay hewn,
mangled, and bleeding, gasping out his life, his comrades kneeled
down together and prayed God to rest his soul. Then all rose and
filed in silence three times round the corpse, and at the last the
musketeers fired over it three volleys in the name of the Trinity.

The strength of a regiment of landsknechts varied very greatly.
There might be thirty companies or there might be ten; the total
force sometimes reached ten or twelve thousand men, and in such a
case was frequently strengthened by a contingent of artillery. The
weapons were the pike, the halberd, and a proportion of firearms,
which last tended constantly to increase. Every man found his
own arms, and the dress of the landsknechts, being that which it
pleased each man best to wear, was generally both fantastic and
extravagant, for they had all the soldier's ambition to let their
light shine before women. Maximilian's courtiers were so jealous
of their gorgeous apparel that they begged him to forbid it, but
the emperor was far too sensible to do anything so foolish. "Bah!"
he said, "this is the cheese with which we bait our trap to catch
such mice," a sentiment which English officers will still endorse.
Not all the prejudices of dying feudalism could induce Maximilian
to discourage his new infantry; on the contrary, meeting a regiment
once on the march he dismounted, shouldered a pike, and marched
with them for the rest of the day. It is worth noting that the
drum-beat of the landsknechts, whereof they were extremely proud,
probably the selfsame beat as that to which Maximilian strode along
that day, still preludes the marches of our own military bands.[62]

The drill of the landsknechts was probably crude enough. There
was no exercise for pike or halberd, and there is no sign of the
complicated manœuvres that were so common at the opening of the
seventeenth century; but as they always fought, like the Swiss, in
huge masses, there was probably little occasion for these. The men
fell in by files, probably at sufficient distance and interval to
allow every man to turn right or left about on his own ground; but
for action they were closed up tight in vast battalions far too
unwieldly for any evolution. Moreover, few of the officers knew
anything of drill. They were selected for bravery and experience,
no doubt, in some cases, but not for military knowledge; and it is
the more probable that the colonels, according to custom, sold the
position of officer to the highest bidder, since Maximilian could
rarely furnish them with money for their preliminary expenses. The
one duty expected without fail of officers was that they should be
foremost in the fight, and as a rule they one and all took their
place in the front rank with the colonel for centre, and, armed
like their men, showed the way into the enemy's battalion. Not one
remained on a horse in action, though he might ride regularly on
the march; and indeed the landsknechts disliked to see an officer
mounted on anything larger than a pony at any time, admitting
no reason for an infantry-man to ride a good horse except that
he might run away the faster. The duties of officers being thus
defined, it is easy to see why the colonel reserved to himself the
appointment of the colour-sergeants, for they were practically the
only men who knew anything of drill or manœuvre. The colonel might
prescribe the formation of his battalion for action, but only the
colour-sergeants could execute it; and hence arose the rule that
sergeants should be armed with no weapon but a halberd, since any
heavier weapon would impede them in the eternal running up and
down the ranks which was imposed on them by their peculiar duty.
The influence of these traditions was still visible in our army
until quite recently. But a few years have passed since sergeants
shouldered their rifles as though they carried a different weapon
from the men, and officers have only lately ceased to depend on
them greatly in matters of drill.

Such was the new infantry of Europe at the close of the fifteenth
and the opening of the sixteenth centuries, not yet perfected,
but advancing rapidly to an efficiency and importance such as had
for many centuries been unknown in Europe. And now the nations
poured down into the fair land of Italy to teach each other in
that second birthplace of all arts the new-born art of war. France
was the first that came; and few armies have caused greater
wonder in Europe than that which marched with Charles the Eighth
through Florence in 1496. The work begun for the expulsion of
the English from France had been steadily continued. Louis the
Eleventh had hired Swiss sergeants to drill his infantry, and
Picardie, the senior regiment of the old French line, was already
in potential existence. But it was not these, but other men who set
the Florentines at gaze. For there were to be seen the Scottish
archers, the finest body-guard alike for valour and for stature in
the world, the Swiss, marching by with stately step and incredible
good order, the chivalrous gentlemen of France, mailed from top
to toe and gorgeous in silken tabards, riding in all the pride of
Agincourt avenged, mounted archers less heavy but more workmanlike
as befitted light cavalry, and lastly a great train of brass
artillery, cannons and culverins, and falcons, the largest weighing
six thousand pounds and mounted on four wheels, the smallest made
for shot no bigger than a doctor's pills and travelling on two
wheels only. Already the quick-witted French had thought out the
principle of the limber, and had made two wheels of their heavy
guns removable. Already too they had trained the drivers of the
lighter ordnance to move as swiftly as light cavalry.[63]

We cannot follow this army through the triumphs and the disasters
of the next half century, but we must needs glance briefly at the
rapid progress of French military organisation. Louis the Twelfth
took the improvement of his foot-soldiers seriously in hand and
increased the number of the companies, or bands as they were
called, that had been begun by the bands of Picardy. The number
of these bands, permanent and temporary, demanded the appointment
of an officer who should be intermediary between the general and
the captains of independent companies. About the year 1524 such
an officer was established with the new title of colonel,[64] and
the companies placed under his command were said, in French,
to be under his regiment. The word soon grew to be used in a
collective sense, and such and such companies under Colonel
A.'s regiment became known simply as Colonel A.'s regiment. The
colonel had a company of his own, but having no leisure to attend
to it made it over to a captain, who was called the colonel's
lieutenant or lieutenant-colonel. Another company was commanded
by the sergeant-major, the word sergeant, which we met with first
at the very beginning, having come into use in France with a new
meaning in the year 1485. As already mentioned in speaking of the
landsknechts, the name of sergeant became for some reason bound
up with the functions of drill, and the sergeant-major was to the
regiment what the sergeant was to the company. He was therefore
the only officer who remained on his horse in action, his duties
compelling him continually to gallop from company to company for
the correction of bad formation, and for the ordering of ranks
and files. It will be seen that the sergeant-major, or as we now
call him major, originally did the work which is now performed in
England by the adjutant.

Captain was of course an old title, and had been used for the chief
of a band in France ever since 1355, having been borrowed possibly
from the free companies. The captain's _locum tenens_ or lieutenant
had been instituted by the reforms of Charles the Seventh in 1444,
and together with him his standard-bearer or ensign,[65] but there
were other junior officers who came later even than the colonels to
supplement the new military vocabulary. In 1534 we encounter for
the first time _fouriers_, _caps d'escouade_, and _lancepessades_.
The first of these, which existed for a time in the corrupted form
_furrier_, has passed from the English language.[66] The second
is the French form of the Italian _capo de squadra_, head of the
square, a reminiscence of the days when men were formed into square
blocks, squads or squadrons, which passed into _caporal_ and so
into our English corporal. The third, again a French form of the
Italian _lanz pesato_, signified originally a man-at-arms whose
horse had been killed and who was therefore compelled to march with
the foot. Being a superior person, he was not included among the
common infantry-men but held this distinctive and superior rank,
whence in due time was derived the prefix of lance to the titles of
sergeant and corporal. Finally, in the year 1550 foot-soldiers in
France began to be called by the collective name of _fanterie_ or
_infanterie_. This word, too, was a corruption from the Italian,
for Italian commanders used to speak of their troops as their
boys, _fanti_, and collectively as _fanteria_; and from them the
term passed into all the languages of Europe. Nothing could better
commemorate the situation of Italy in the sixteenth century as at
once the cockpit of the nations and the school of the new art of

But before leaving France there is another aspect of her military
institutions to be touched on. After the death of Francis the
First, and particularly during the period of the religious wars,
the discipline and tone of the French army underwent woeful
deterioration. Captains from the first had been proprietors of
their companies, which indeed were sometimes sold at auction by
the colonel to the highest bidder; and, as they received a bounty
in proportion to the numbers that they could show on their rolls,
the rascality and corruption were appalling. The enforcement of
strict discipline was bound to cause desertion, and every deserter
meant a man the less on the captain's roll and a sum the less in
the captain's pocket. No effort therefore was made to restrain the
misbehaviour of soldiers when off duty; they were allowed to rob
and plunder at their own sweet will, and they had the more excuse
since they were encouraged thus to indemnify themselves for the
pay stolen from them by their officers. This recognised system of
pillage was known as _picorée_,[67] a word which has passed through
the English language in the form of pickeer. Yet another method
there was among many of falsifying the muster-rolls, namely on the
day of inspection to collect any yokels or men that could be found,
thrust a pike into their hands, and present them as soldiers. They
were duly passed by the muster-master, and as soon as his back was
turned were dismissed, having served their purpose of securing
their pay for the illicit gain of the captain till next muster.
Such men were called _passe-volans_, a word which also was received
into the military terminology of Europe, and like _mortes-payes_
received at last official recognition. It must not be thought
that such abuses were confined to France, but it is significant
that she was the country to find names for them.[68] Nor must the
reader be unduly impatient over the mention of these details in the
military history of foreign nations. The English soldier for the
next century and more is going to school, where like all pupils he
will learn both good and evil; and it is impossible to follow his
progress unless we know something of his schoolfellows as well as
of his tutors.

[Sidenote: 1495.]

[Sidenote: Atella, 1496.]

[Sidenote: 1503.]

[Sidenote: 1512.]

Last of the nations let us glance at Spain, at the close of the
fifteenth century just emerging triumphant from eight centuries
of warfare against the Moors and girding herself for a great
and magnificent career. Her training in war had been against an
Oriental foe, swift, active, and cunning, and it is not surprising
that when first she entered the field of Italy and met the massive
columns of the Swiss at Seminara she should have given way before
them. But at the head of the Spanish troops was a man of genius,
Gonsalvo of Cordova, who was quick to learn from his enemies.
Confining himself for a time to the guerilla warfare which he
understood the best, he mingled pikes among the short swords
and bucklers which were the distinctive weapons of the Spanish
infantry, and within a year had gained his first victory over the
Swiss. His next campaign found him with a body of landsknechts
in his pay, when he quickly perceived the possibilities that lay
not only in the pikes but still more in the fire-arms which they
brought with them. Before the year was past he had routed Swiss
infantry and French cavalry in two brilliant actions at Cerignola
and on the Garigliano, and fairly driven them out of Naples. He
then set himself to remodel the Spanish foot by the experience
which he had gathered in his later campaigns, and this with full
appreciation of the moral and physical peculiarities of his
countrymen. Thus though it was in the Spanish tongue that the
pike was first named the queen of weapons, yet the value of the
sword in the hand of a supple active people was never overlooked,
and at Ravenna no less than Cerignola the rush of nimble stabbing
Spaniards under the hedge of pikes had proved fatal to the
lumbering unwieldy Teuton.

[Sidenote: 1522.]

[Sidenote: 1525.]

Still more remarkable was the rapid development of the power of
musketry in Spanish hands. At Bicocca the Marquis Pescayra met
the attack of a gigantic Swiss battalion by drawing up a number
of small squares or squadrons of Spanish arquebusiers in front
of his own battalion of pikes. His instructions were that not a
shot should be fired without orders, a fact that points to early
excellence in what is now called fire-discipline, but that each
front rank should fire a volley by word of command and having done
so should file away to the rear to reload, leaving the remaining
ranks to do the like in succession. The results of this manœuvre
were disastrous to the Swiss; and this ingenious method of
maintaining a continuous fire of musketry was the law in Europe
for the next century and a half. In fact, if it were necessary to
fix an arbitrary date for the first really effective use of small
fire-arms in the battlefield the day of Bicocca might well be
selected. But we must not fail to note concurrently the drill and
discipline which made Pescayra's evolution possible. Three years
later, at the famous battle of Pavia, this same skilful soldier
attempted a still bolder innovation with his arquebusiers, and with
astonishing success. Being threatened with a charge of French heavy
cavalry (men-at-arms) he deployed fifteen hundred of his marksmen
in skirmishing order before his front, who, taking advantage of
every shelter and moving always with great nimbleness and activity,
maintained a galling fire as the cavalry advanced, and finally,
taking refuge under the pikes of the battalions which were drawn
up in their support, smashed the unfortunate French as effectively
as the English archers at Creçy. In truth, the effect of this
daring experiment on military minds in Europe was hardly less
than that of Creçy itself. Henry, Duke of Guise,[69] an excellent
soldier, was so much struck by its success that he showed how the
principle might be indefinitely extended and find ultimate shape,
as many years later it did, in the formation of distinct corps of
light-infantry. His own attempt to organise such a body in France
was however a failure, and the Spanish arquebusiers long held their
own as the first in Europe, a proud position which they had most
worthily gained.

The remarkable prowess of the Spanish infantry soon made it popular
with the nation. The cavalry, in the palmy days of chivalry
the most gorgeous in Europe, lost its attraction for the young
nobles, who enrolled themselves as private soldiers in the ranks
of the foot, and carried pike and arquebus with the meanest of
the people. Charles the Fifth himself once shouldered a piece,
and marched, like Maximilian, in the ranks, until ordered by
the commander-in-chief[70] of his own appointment not to expose
himself to unnecessary danger, when like a good soldier he at
once obeyed orders. And this leads us to another eminent feature
of the Spaniards, the excellence of their discipline. English
and French contemporary writers[71] agreed that they owed their
victories to nothing else but obedience and good order, for that
they were not in themselves remarkable as a fighting people. "I am
persuaded," says Roger Williams, "that ten thousand of our nation
would beat thirty thousand of theirs out of the field, excepting
some three thousand [the choicest of the army] that are in the Low
Countries." Gonsalvo was the man who had laid the foundation of
this discipline, and it was worthily maintained by his successors.
Charles the Fifth went so far in his respect for it as always to
salute the gallows whenever he happened to pass them. And yet there
are no signs of extraordinary brutality in the Spanish army, but
on the contrary most remarkable tokens of good fellowship between
officers and men, and of healthy _esprit de corps_. There was a
system of comradeship which was the envy of all Europe. The two
officers of each company, the captain and ensign,[72] would each
take to themselves and entertain from three to six comrades from
the young nobles who served in the ranks; sergeants would also take
one or two such comrades, and the privates formed little messes
among themselves in like manner, with the result, unique in those
days, that fighting and brawling were unknown in a Spanish camp.
Quite as striking was the pride which the old soldiers took in
themselves and their profession. It is recorded that a party of
Spanish recruits, who had arrived at Naples, ragged, slovenly, and
unkempt, and were staring about them in a clownish and unsoldierly
fashion, were at once taken in hand by the old soldiers, who
lent them good clothes, made them tidy, and taught them proper

For the rest the Spaniards originated a system which, though it now
seems obvious enough, was in those days a new thing. It consisted
simply in the maintenance of a nucleus, or as we should now call
it a depôt, of trained men sufficiently numerous to teach recruits
their duty. All recruits were trained in the garrisons at home, and
from thence passed into the ranks of the regiment wherein they were
needed; and every draft so disposed of was immediately replaced
by an equal number of new recruits. When it is remembered that,
according to the ideas of the time, seven thousand trained infantry
and three thousand cavalry were judged sufficient to leaven an army
of fifty thousand men, the strength which her system of recruiting
gave to Spain is not easily exaggerated. The trained regiments
of Spanish infantry were but four, and their united strength did
not exceed seven thousand men, but their ranks were always full.
The number of companies into which they were distributed was
uncertain, and the strength of the companies themselves varied
from one hundred and fifty to three hundred men, a curious defect
in the most perfect organisation of the time. Lastly, the Spanish
regiments were known by the name of tercios,[74] a term with
which the reader must not quarrel, as he will encounter it on the
battlefield of Naseby.

[Sidenote: 1475.]

[Sidenote: 1567.]

Not less remarkable than their forwardness in organisation
and discipline was the ready quickness of the Spaniard in the
improvement of fire-arms. The primitive hand-gun, as I have already
said, differed little except in size from the smaller cannon of
the time. It consisted simply of a barrel with a vent at the top,
and though indeed attached to a wooden stock had no lock of any
description. Hand-guns were often made so short that they could
be held even by a mounted man with one hand and fired with the
other. Match-cord or tinder for purposes of firing the charge by
the vent was already in full use. The next step was to increase
the length of the barrel and support it on a forked rest, a plan
introduced by the Spaniards at Charles the Fifth's invasion of
the Milanese in 1521. Ten years later a vast stride was made by
the substitution of a pan at the side of the barrel for a vent at
the top, and by the addition of a grip to the stock to hold the
match-cord, which was brought in contact with the pan by pressing a
trigger. In a word, the barrel was fitted with a lock. An extremely
ingenious Italian in the French service, Filippo Strozzi, then
took the improvement of fire-arms in hand, copying however, as
always, from the Spanish model. The bore of the harquebus (for the
primitive German _hakenbuchse_ had by this time found its permanent
corrupted form) was by him enlarged to bear a heavier charge and
carry a larger bullet; and so perfect was the workmanship of the
Milanese gunsmiths whom he employed that he succeeded in killing a
man at four hundred and a horse at five hundred paces. The stock
being long and the recoil very severe, men suffered not a little
from bruises and contusions with this weapon; but its efficiency
was proved. Strozzi also introduced another Spanish improvement,
namely the practice of making all his arquebuses of one bore,
which, though it now sounds obvious enough, waited for some years
to find general acceptance in Europe. Hence the weapons were
known as arquebuses of calibre, which phrase in England was soon
shortened simply to calivers. These however were arms of small
bore:[75] it was, as usual, the Spaniards who were the first to
arm their infantry with muskets[76] of large calibre. Alva was the
man who introduced them, and the rebels of the Low Countries the
first who felt their power. It needed but the substitution of a
flint-lock for a match, and the abolition of the rest, to turn this
weapon into Brown Bess, never so famous in English hands as in the
battlefields of Alva's home. Bandoliers and cartridges had long
been known to the Spaniards, and even to the French[77] before the
middle of the sixteenth century, so that the general progress in
arms and equipment was rapid.

But the weapons had hardly been improved for infantry before
cavalry also began to crave for them. The simplest method of course
was to place pike and arquebus in the hands of mounted men and
turn them into mounted infantry, which was duly done in the French
army by Piero Strozzi in 1543, and has earned him the title of the
father of dragoons.[78] But still earlier in the century there had
grown up in Germany a new kind of cavalry, called by the simple
name of Reiters, which had perfected the smaller fire-arms, the
petronel[79] and the pistol, and had finally adopted the latter for
its principal weapon. The result was an important revolution in the
whole tactics of cavalry.

[Sidenote: 1554.]

Mention has already been made of the abandonment, at the close of
the fifteenth century, of the dense column of mounted men-at-arms
in favour of the less cumbrous formation in line, or as it was
called _en haye_. The lance being still the principal arm of the
cavalry, the freedom of movement gained by the change brought
the attack of horse much nearer to the shock-action which is the
rule at the present day. The new formation had, however, its
disadvantages, for in the imperfect state of military discipline
there was no certainty that the whole line would charge home.
Retirement was so easy that cowards would drop back, feigning to
bleed at the nose, to have lost a stirrup or cast a shoe,[80] while
men of spirit, and this was especially true of the impetuous
French, would race to be the first into the enemy's squadron, and
from premature increase of speed would arrive at the shock in loose
order, and with horses blown and exhausted. So well was this defect
realised that a shrewd French officer, Gaspard de Tavannes, at the
battle of Renty deliberately reverted to the old dense column and
overthrew every line that he met.

Yet another cause was contributing to restore the column as the
favourite formation for the attack of cavalry. With the steady
improvement in fire-arms, the bullet became more and more potent in
velocity and penetration, and increasingly difficult to fend off by
means of armour. It must never be forgotten that a bullet-wound,
for a century and more after the introduction of fire-arms,
generally meant death. The primitive surgery of the time, misled by
the livid appearance of the edges of the wound, pronounced bullets
to be in their nature venomous, and treated the hurt somewhat
as a snake's bite, with such tortures of boiling oil and other
descriptions of cautery as are sickening even to read of. Wise men
took refuge in the virtues of cold water, and kept the surgeons at
a safe distance. "Trust a doctor and he will kill you; mistrust him
and he will insult you," wrote a Frenchman[81] who had suffered
much from the profession. But above all, men relied on prevention
rather than cure; so to keep bullets out of their bodies they
made their armour heavier and heavier, covering themselves with
stithies, to use the words of contemptuous critics,[82] till they
could neither endure swift movements themselves nor find horses
that could maintain any pace under the burden.[83] It was obvious
therefore that if cavalry was to act by shock, the shock must be,
as in former days, that of ponderous weight rather than of high

Moreover, quite apart from all questions of formation there was
much in the prevailing tactics of infantry to encourage cavalry to
change the lance for the pistol. Huge square battalions, bristling
with eighteen-foot pikes and garnished with musketeers, were not
easily to be broken by a charge, but presented a large mark at a
fairly safe range to the mounted pistolier. Thus all circumstances
conspired to favour a great and radical reform in the tactics of
cavalry, the change not only from line to column, but from shock
to missile action. When once the pistol was recognised as the
principal weapon of the horsemen, it was obvious that all other
tactical considerations must give way to the maintenance of a
continuous fire. To this end there was but one system known, namely
the old method of Pescayra, that the front rank should fire first
and file away to the rear to reload, leaving successive ranks to
come up in its place, and go through the same performance in turn.
Plainly, therefore, a reversion to the old dense column, as great
in depth as in breadth of front, was imperative. It was accordingly
re-introduced, and from its quadrate outline was called by the
name of a squadron, which from this period tends to become a term
applied exclusively to cavalry. Massed together in such squadrons
men could move slowly and steadily, willingly sacrificing speed
that they might take the better and surer aim.

[Sidenote: 1557.]

Such was the new principle brought forward early in the sixteenth
century by the mounted mercenary bands of Germany, and with
ever-increasing success. Very soon the reiters become recognised as
a valuable force, and received from Charles the Fifth something of
the encouragement that the landsknechts had gained from Maximilian.
The military aspirants of the Empire, forsaking the ranks of the
once honoured infantry, hastened to enrol themselves among the
new horse, and the landsknechts decayed that the reiters might
flourish. That the new service was as honourable as the old may
be doubted, for the reiters were proverbial for brutality, and
their practice of blackening their faces betokens something of
a ruffianly spirit; but, be that as it might, they forced their
system, in spite of bitter opposition, upon the cavalry of Europe,
and from the day of the battle of St. Quentin may be said to have
assured their evil supremacy.

It is therefore necessary to glance briefly at their organisation.
The tactical unit was the squadron, which was of uncertain
strength, varying from one hundred to three or even five hundred
men. The officers were a captain,[84] lieutenant, ensign,[85] and
quartermaster,[86] and the staff was completed by a chaplain,
a sergeant[87] and a trumpeter. As every man brought his own
equipment there was no precise uniformity, but it may be assumed
as certain that all wore complete defensive armour to the waist,
and some even to mid-thigh. For offensive purposes a pistol, or
rather a brace of pistols, was indispensable. As in the case of
the landsknechts, all matters of drill were the business of the
sergeant, but it does not appear that the reiters ever attained
great proficiency in manœuvre. Thus in action the successive
ranks of the squadron seem to have been unable to file to the
rear except to their left, so that it was impossible to post them
on the right wing without bringing them into collision with the
centre of their own line of battle. The trumpeters, it is worth
noting, were required to be masters of but six calls,--Saddle,
Mount, Mess, March, Alarm, Charge,--of which the French employed
the first two and last two only. We shall presently make further
acquaintance with these six calls, but it is sufficient meanwhile
to call attention to their existence in the middle of the sixteenth
century. The reiters however, should not be forgotten, for though
not comparable to the landsknechts for quality as troops, they
furnished the model for the first famous regiment of English

Lastly, let me close this necessarily brief and imperfect account
of the renascence of the art of war by a remark which should
perhaps have come first rather than last. Amid all the innovations
which went forward during the sixteenth century in the province
of armament, classical models reigned supreme in organisation and
manœuvre. The whole story of the renascence resembles, if I may
be allowed to use the metaphor, a long musical passage in pedal
point, on the deep bass note of classical tradition. For this the
revival of classical learning was doubtless responsible. When
generals celebrated a triumph, as more than one general did, in the
Roman manner after a victory, the pageant could hardly be complete
without the presence of legions; and when Machiavelli declared that
the Swiss tactics were those of the Macedonian phalanx, military
students could be in no doubt where to seek out models for their
own imitation. Francis the First adopted in 1534 both the name and
organisation of the Roman legions for a time, while no military
writer omitted to recommend the Roman ideal to aspirants of his
profession. Every soldier steeped himself in ancient military lore,
and quoted the Hipparchicus of Xenophon[89] and the Tactics of
Ælian, the Commentaries of Cæsar and the expeditions of Alexander,
Epaminondas' heavy infantry and Pompey's discipline. A Frenchman
could not even praise the merits of the Englishman as a marine
without calling him _epibates_. In a word Europe for two centuries,
went forth to war with the newest pattern of musket in hand, and
a brain stocked with maxims from Frontinus and Vegetius and Æneas
Poliorceticus, and with examples from Plutarch and Livy and Arrian.
She might well have found worse instructors; but their lessons
were for the most part imperfectly understood, and their broad
principles seldom correctly deduced or intelligently applied. An
opportunity was thus afforded for the demon of pedantry, which was
eagerly and joyfully seized. Nevertheless, the present armies of
Europe still double their ranks and files, by whatever name they
may designate the evolution, after the manner prescribed by Ælian,
and by him borrowed, it is likely, from the stern martinets of
ancient Lacedæmon.

  AUTHORITIES.--The chief authorities for Zizka's campaigns and
  organisation are Æneas Sylvius, Balbinus, _Miscellanea Rerum
  Bohem._ 1679; Dubravius, _Hist. Bohem._ 1602; Palacky, _Gesch.
  v. Böhmen._ His articles of war will be found in _Neuere
  Abhandlungen der königl. Böhm. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaft_,
  Band I. p. 375. For the Swiss, Simler, _de Repub. Helvet_; John
  of Winterthur, Pirckheimer, and the _Chronicle of Berne_. All
  the authorities for the battle of Sempach have been collected in
  Liebenau's memorial volume. A fantastic work, but not without
  useful information, is Karl Bürkli's _Der wahre Winkelried_,
  1886. Köhler has handled both Bohemians and Swiss with his
  wonted thoroughness. For the landsknechts there are Adam
  Reissner's _Georg von Frundsberg_ (1st ed. 1568, 3rd ed. 1620);
  Fronsperger's _Kriegsbuch_; Hortleder's _Der römischen Kaiser_,
  etc.; _Adelspiegel_, von Cyriack Spangenberg, 1594; the whole
  of which are more or less summarised in Barthold's _Georg von
  Frundsberg_, 1833, and in a still more compact form by Dr.
  Friedrich Blau, _Die deutschen Landsknechte_, 1882. The Spanish
  military reforms are more difficult to ascertain. I have relied
  principally on Roger Williams's brief account, sundry notices
  in Brantôme's _Vie des hommes illustres_; Paul Jove's _Vita
  Gonsalvi Magni_, and, perhaps most valuable of all, Reissner.
  For the French there are Daniel's _Ancien milice_; Susanne's
  _Hist. de l'ancienne infanterie française_; Paul Jove, and the
  _Memoires_ of Vieilleville, Du Bellay, Villars, de Mergey, de la
  Noue, Tavannes, Onosandre, Brantôme, Monluc, and others. I have
  also consulted, among Italian writers, Julius Ferrettus, _De re
  militari_, 1575; Domenico Mora, _Il soldato_, 1570; Savorgnano's
  _Arte militare_; and of course Machiavelli. Lastly, I have not
  failed to study the classical authorities quoted in the text.


The accession of the Tudors to the throne of England marks an
important period in our military history. The nation, after
thirty years of furious internal war, during which it had lost
all sense of national honour, began to settle down once more to
a life of peace, and awoke to the fact that England was now no
more than an insular power. France was lost to her except Calais,
but Calais was something more than a mere sentimental possession.
It was the bridge-head that secured to the English their passage
of the Channel; and while it remained in the hands of an English
garrison there was always the temptation to engage in Continental
wars and to employ the army for purposes of aggression as well
as of defence. Still the prospects of regaining the ancestral
possessions of the Plantagenets in France seemed so hopeless that
the English sovereigns might well doubt whether it were not now
time to give the Navy the first and the Army the second place; and
this question, already half decided by the keen good sense of King
Henry the Eighth, was finally determined by the loss of Calais
itself. There was, of course, always a frontier to be guarded on
the Tweed, but with the cessation of expeditions to France, which
had invariably called the Scotch armies across the border, there
was no longer the same danger of Scottish invasion; and moreover,
England and Scotland were now beginning to draw closer together.
Thus it would seem that after the death of Queen Mary there
should have been little reason for the existence of an English
army, and indeed it will be seen that the national force became
in many respects lamentably deficient. But meanwhile the wars of
Europe changed from a contest between nation and nation to a death
struggle between Catholic and Protestant. It was religion that drew
the Scotch from their old alliance with the French to their former
enemies the English; and it was religion which led the English to
the battlefields of the Low Countries, where they learned the new
art of war. The reign of the Tudor dynasty therefore falls for the
purpose of this history into three periods, which are conveniently
separated by the fall of Calais or the more familiar landmark of
the accession of Elizabeth, and by the first departure of English
volunteers to the Low Countries in 1572.

It is extremely difficult to discover the exact condition of
England's military organisation when Henry the Seventh was fairly
seated on the throne. The old feudal system, which had been turned
by the nobles to such disastrous account for their own ends in
the Civil War, seems to have been but half alive. Compositions,
indents, and commissions of array had already weakened it in the
past, and indents in themselves had been shown to be unsafe. The
difficulties wherein Henry found himself are shown by two statutes
imposing the obligation of military service on two new classes,
namely holders of office, fees or annuities under the crown, or
of honours and lands under the King's letters patent. It was
stipulated that they should receive wages from the day of leaving
their homes until the day of their return to them; but they were
strictly forbidden to depart without leave, and their service was
declared to be due both within the kingdom and without. But in
fact the sovereign seems to have been driven back on the force
which represented the old Saxon fyrd, and had its legal existence
under the Statute of Winchester. Noblemen and gentlemen could of
course still show a body of retainers, but many, indeed most, of
the ancient magnates had perished, and recent experience had shown
the danger of permitting their retinue to become too powerful.
A curious complication, to which I shall presently return, in
the collapse of the old feudal service was the extreme dearth of
good horses. Altogether everything tended to compel resort to the
national militia as the principal military force of England. Two
allowances to the levies of the shire seem to have been finally
established in this reign, namely coat-money and conduct-money.
The first, as its name denotes, helped the soldier to provide
himself with clothing and was a step further towards uniform; and
indeed it is possible that it was deliberately designed to exclude
the liveries of the nobility, already condemned by statute, in
favour of the national white with the red cross of St. George. The
conduct-money was simply the old allowance which was seen in the
days of William Rufus, but which from henceforth apparently was
refunded to the shire from the Exchequer. Both, however, though
paid in advance to the soldier, were ultimately deducted from his
pay, and are therefore of interest in the history of the British
soldier's stoppages. Finally, we find indications of a stricter
discipline in a statute that makes desertion while on service
outside the kingdom into felony, and subjects captains who defraud
men of their pay to forfeiture of goods and to imprisonment.

[Sidenote: 1485.]

A few points remain to be mentioned before we pass to the reign of
Henry the Eighth. The first was the establishment of that royal
body-guard, which with its picturesque old dress and original
title of Yeomen[90] of the Guard still survives among us. Though
doubtless imitated from the Scottish Guard of the French kings,
it is of greater interest as being composed not of aliens but of
Englishmen, and as the first permanent corps of trained English
soldiers in our history. Another smaller matter cannot be ignored
without disrespect to military sentiment. After the victory of
Bosworth Field Henry offered at the altar of St. Paul's Cathedral a
banner charged with "a red fiery dragon" upon a field of white and
green, the ensign of Cadwallader, the last of the British kings,
from whom he was fond of tracing his descent. The scarlet of this
red fiery dragon became from this time the royal livery, and was
for the present reserved, together with purple, to the King's use
alone.[91] But the green and white was more liberally distributed
both to soldiers and mariners. A white jacket with the red cross
of St. George had long been a common distinction of the English
soldier, and the white as a colour of the Tudors now became so
general that for a time "white coat" was used as a synonym for

Lastly must be noticed the definite establishment of the Office
of Ordnance for the custody of military stores. The early history
of the office is exceedingly obscure, and the existence of King
Edward the Second's _artillator_ hardly warrants us in assuming the
permanent foundation of the department in the fourteenth century.
The record of a Clerk of the Ordnance in 1418 sets the office on
surer ground, and in 1483 the appointment of a Master-General
advances it to a stage at which it becomes recognisable by us even
at the present day; for the title of Master-General was held by
John, Duke of Marlborough, and by Arthur, Duke of Wellington.

With Henry the Eighth we reach a new example in our history of an
English soldier-king. Young, able, accomplished, and ambitious, he
was strongly imbued with the military spirit, and possessed many
qualities that must have made him a popular and might have made him
a distinguished commander. He excelled in every exercise of arms;
he was the finest archer in his kingdom; he had studied the art of
war in the best authorities; he understood the conduct both of a
siege and of a campaign; and lastly, he was no mean artillerist.
This last attribute, however, he shared with several sovereigns of
his time. Artillery was a favourite hobby with the crowned heads of
Europe, possibly as a symbol of their military strength, for being
unable to give themselves the pleasure of a great review owing to
the inevitable confusion and expense, they were fain to console
themselves with the several pieces, each one of them called by its
pet name, that composed their park of ordnance. Altogether Henry
was a prince who bade fair to restore the military prestige of

[Sidenote: 1509.]

[Sidenote: 1511.]

His first step was to increase his standing force by the creation
of a second body-guard of men-at-arms,[92] composed of young men
of noble blood; the reason given being that there were far too
many such young men in the kingdom who were untrained in arms. The
corps, as might have been expected with the best dressed sovereign
in Europe, was so gorgeously arrayed that it perished after a few
years under the weight of its own cost. His next act was more
practical, a writ to the sheriffs for the better enforcement of
the Statute of Winchester, which is interesting for its attempt to
restore the command of the forces of the shore to their original
holders.[93] Concurrently, however, we encounter a large number
of the old-fashioned indents and commissions of array, all issued
in prospect of English intervention in the eternal strife of the
Hapsburgs and the Valois.[94] In 1512 an expedition was sent to the
south of France, and there the defects of the army were lamentably
seen. Although the importation of hand-guns and arquebuses shows
that England was not blind to the progress of fire-arms in Europe,
this force was armed principally if not exclusively with the
old-fashioned bows and bills, and worse than all, these bows, which
had been issued from the stores in the Tower, were found nearly
all of them to be useless. Moreover, the victuals were "untruly
served" to the men, their pay was withheld from them, and, acutest
of all grievances, they could get no beer. The Council of War,
in which the command was vested, could never agree as to a plan
of operations, and though it kept the men thus inactive made no
attempt to drill or exercise them. The natural result was a mutiny.
One large band struck work for eightpence a day in lieu of the
regular sixpence, several others swore that nothing should keep
them from going home, and the disturbance was only quelled by the
hanging of a ringleader.[95]

[Sidenote: 1513.]

Henry seems to have had suspicions of the state of affairs, for
in the same year Acts were passed to renew the existing statutes
against desertion and fraud; though from the incessant re-enactment
of these particular provisions it is clear that they were either
easily evaded or negligently enforced. In the following year,
however, Henry took the field in person in Normandy, where his
presence appears materially to have altered the complexion of
affairs. His force was designed to have consisted of thirty
thousand men, but was reduced by impending trouble with Scotland
to less than half that number. The details of its organisation
are still extant, and it is curious to find that, after but two
generations of severance from France, the French terms vanguard,
battle, and rearguard have given place to fore-ward, mid-ward,
and rear-ward. Another novelty is the addition of wings, which
had formerly been attached to the vanguard only, to the midward
also; which was clearly a new departure.[96] There is again a
strong tendency, which after a year becomes a rule, to make the
tactical units of uniform strength, one hundred men being the
common establishment for a company. Every captain too has an
officer under him called his petty captain, a name which appears
in the statutes of the previous reign, and was not yet displaced
by the title, as yet reserved to the King's deputies only,[97] of
lieutenant. The ensign[98] does not yet make his appearance, for
the grouping of companies is strictly territorial, and one standard
apparently alone is allowed to each shire. Every company, however,
has the distinctive badge of its captain, and the archers of the
King's Guard are dressed in uniform of white gaberdines. Lastly,
there are in the army fifteen hundred Almains, the landsknechts
of whom account was given in a previous section, eight hundred
of whom, "all in a plump," marched immediately before the King.
Possibly this place of honour was granted to them to kindle
the emulation of the English, but more probably because Henry,
following the evil example of the French, trusted more to trained
mercenaries than to his own subjects. We shall constantly meet with
such contingents of aliens among the English during the next forty
years, until at last England awakes, like every other nation in
Europe, to the truth that her own children, as carefully trained,
are worth just double of the foreigners.

The most remarkable of the mounted men in this army were the
Northern Horsemen, who, called into being at some uncertain period
by the eternal forays on the Scottish border, now appear regularly
on the strength of every expedition as perfectly indispensable.
They were light cavalry, the first deserving the name ever seen
in our army, and probably the very best in Europe. They wore
defensive armour of back and breast and iron cap, carried lance
and buckler or sometimes a bow, and were mounted on "nags" which
were probably nearer thirteen than fourteen hands high. For duties
of reconnaissance they were perfect, and they must be reckoned the
first regular English horse that were the eyes and ears of the
army. We shall see them at a later stage merged in a mounted body
much resembling them, namely the demi-lances, which were destined,
during the period of transition that is before us, to fill the
place already almost vacated by the men-at-arms.

There is no need to dwell on the incidents of a not very eventful
campaign. The panic flight of the French at the Battle of the
Spurs upheld the old belief that they could not stand before the
English; and the siege and capture of Terouenne under the personal
direction of Henry helped to confirm it. A fruitless attack on an
English convoy, curiously resembling the Battle of the Herrings in
its main features, also helped to maintain the ancient reputation
of the English archers. Lastly, the siege of Tournay gave Henry
an opportunity of showing off some of his new artillery. There
were twelve huge pieces, called the twelve apostles, of which he
was particularly proud; but as St. John stuck in the mud and was
unfortunately captured, it is well not to say too much of them.
But the French were by no means impressed with the appearance of
their old enemies in the field. "The English," wrote Fleuranges in
a patronising way, "are good men and fight well when parked in a
strong position, but otherwise I make no great account of them."

[Sidenote: 1513, September.]

[Sidenote: September 9.]

But while Henry was plying his apostles against Tournay, some
still older enemies of the nation had formed a very different
opinion of the English. For in September, Thomas, Earl of Surrey,
met the Scots at Flodden Field, and dealt them a blow from which
they never wholly recovered. The odds against the English were
heavy, for they could bring but twenty-six thousand men against
forty thousand or, as some say, eighty thousand Scots, and the
position taken up by James the Fourth was so strong that Surrey
could not venture to attack it. With ready intelligence he made a
detour from south to north of the Scottish host, and James, who
had not attempted to molest him during the movement, hurried down,
fearful of being cut off from his base, to meet him in the open
field. The sequel is an example of the helplessness of pedantry,
even of the newest pattern, in the face of genuine military
instinct. The Scotch had studied the methods of the landsknechts;
they were armed principally with pikes; they were drawn up in five
huge battalions, after the Swiss model, and they advanced to the
attack in silence "after the Almain manner." Lastly, they had with
them some of the finest artillery hitherto seen.[99] Yet all this
availed them nothing. The English too were formed, after a method
which had lately come into fashion, in two divisions, fore-ward
and rear-ward, each with two wings; but Surrey boldly wheeled both
into one grand line,[100] holding but one small body of horse in
reserve, and appears to have overlapped the cumbrous masses of the
enemy. There is no need to give details of the battle; it began
between four and five in the evening and was over in an hour. The
English leaders seem to have shown not only bravery but skill. The
English archers as usual wrought havoc against unarmoured men; the
English bills got the better of the Scottish pikes, and the English
light cavalry, admirably handled, twice saved the infantry from
defeat. Ten thousand Scots were slain, and James himself, with
the head and heir of almost every noble house in Scotland around
him, lay covered with ghastly wounds among the dead. He had, from
some whimsical return to an obsolete practice, dismounted his
men-at-arms, who, in obedience to the new fashion which counselled
protection against the new-fangled bullets, were clad in the
heaviest armour. Arrows fell harmlessly from them, and even bills
could not cut them down with less than half a dozen strokes; but
they could not fly, and the bill-men did not weary of killing. And
so on Flodden Field was shown a forecast of what was to be seen
later in Italy, when infantry, finding men-at-arms prostrate on the
ground, hammered them to death like lobsters within their shells
before they could break through their armour.

Still the lesson of Flodden to the English was mainly that bows
and bills were still irresistible; and to a conservative people
none could have been more welcome. Henry, who was an enthusiastic
archer, had already renewed a statute of his father's prohibiting
the use of the cross-bow without a licence, and he now withdrew
all licences and extended the prohibition to hand-guns.[101] The
long-bow, on the other hand, received all the encouragement that
enactments and sentiment could afford it. Henry dressed himself
and his body-guard in green, which was the archer's peculiar
colour; and the Venetian ambassador Giustiniani writing in 1519
described, with but slight exaggeration, the English military
forces as consisting of one hundred and fifty thousand men, whose
peculiar though not exclusive weapon was the long-bow. Men-at-arms
were extinct, light cavalry insignificant in number. Giustiniani,
however, did not add that the archers were now more efficiently
equipped than at any previous period, being provided with two
stakes instead of one, and further protected by a breastplate.[102]
Nor did he notice a new weapon, the Moorish or Morris pike, which
had lately come into use among the English, and had brought them a
little closer to the famous infantry of the Continent.

[Sidenote: 1520.]

It is, however, almost with a smile that we see Henry with
undiminished satisfaction flaunting his archers in the face of
Francis at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Francis on his side produced
his Swiss, and gave the English an opportunity of studying the
first infantry in Europe. Fleuranges was at their head, and as
his eye wandered from the scarlet and gold of the body-guard to
the white and green of the other English troops, he probably felt
justified in his opinion that they could not meet his own men in
the open field. Henry, however, was unchangeable,[103] and the only
sign of novelty that we see at this famous pageant is a horn-shaped
flag borne in the retinue of Cardinal Wolsey, the _cornette_, which
was in due time to give its name to the standard-bearers of the
English cavalry.[104]

[Sidenote: 1522.]

[Sidenote: 1523.]

[Sidenote: 1525.]

Peace never endured long in those days, and in 1522 Henry was again
at war with Francis, in alliance with Charles the Fifth. Again the
English deficiencies became patent. In his expedition to France,
which led to little result, Henry was forced to rely principally
on Charles for cavalry;[105] and when it was evident that France
would require to be fought on the Scottish border also, the Earl of
Surrey, who held command in the north, begged for a reinforcement
of four thousand landsknechts. The French, he said, would certainly
bring pikes with them, and the English were not accustomed to
pikes, though they would soon learn from the Almains.[106] In plain
words, the English soldiers with their existing equipment were
unfit to meet the French in the field. Fortunately the Duke of
Albany, who was opposed to Surrey, was a coward, and little came of
the alarm in the north. But the danger seems for the moment to have
aroused Henry to a sense of his backwardness, for we find in 1523
a scheme for the purchase of ten thousand eighteen-foot pikes and
corselets, five thousand halberds, and ten thousand hand-culverins
with matches,[107] bullet-moulds and powder-flasks complete. This
is the first indication of a design to equip the army according
to the best rules of the age, and, if it had been adopted, little
change would have been needed for a century and a half. It is
difficult to say why it was not, for at this time there are signs
of an intention to take the improvement of the army seriously in
hand.[108] But Henry changed his policy. Peace was made, and was
immediately followed by a proclamation to enforce the statute
for the encouragement of the long-bow and the discountenance of
cross-bows and hand-guns.[109] We must come down to the prolonged
rejection of breech-loading artillery by the country in our own day
before we can find a parallel to such perversity.

[Sidenote: 1539.]

Nevertheless, in spite of all Henry's efforts fire-arms seem to
have taken some hold on England, and particularly on London. In
the general alarm that followed the insurrection known as the
Pilgrimage of Grace, the King relied principally on London; and in
1537 he granted a Charter of Incorporation to the Artillery Company
of the city, an association formed for the improved training of
the citizens in weapons of volley, which term included hand-guns
and cross-bows as well as the long-bow. This association survives
as the Honourable Artillery Company. Again, at the great review of
the London trained-bands two years later we find like symptoms of
a change. The old account of this pageant is of singular interest
for the sight which it gives us of the most efficient soldiers in
England. The force consisted of fifteen thousand picked men, all
able-bodied and properly equipped, and all, except the officers,
clothed in white even to their shoes. White was at once the old
colour of England, the colour of the city, and the colour of the
Tudors. The men paraded at Mile End, the famous drill-ground which
was later to pass into a proverb, at six o'clock in the morning,
and at eight moved off on their march to Westminster, in the three
orthodox divisions of fore-ward, mid-ward, and rear-ward. First
came the artillery, thirteen field-pieces, with their ammunition
and "gun-stones," for shot was not yet always made of metal, in
carts behind them. Then came the banners of the city, and then
the musketeers, five in rank, with five feet of distance between
ranks; after them came the bowmen in open order, every man a bow's
length[110] from his neighbour; then followed the pikemen with
their morris-pikes, "after the Almain manner," and lastly came the
bills. Every one of the five divisions in each ward had its own
band, its own colours, and its officers riding at its head; and
it is worthy of note that the hand-guns and pikes took precedence
of the bows and bills. So they marched on in their spotless white
to Westminster, where the King awaited them on a platform. As the
musketeers passed him they fired volleys, for a volley was of
old the salute to the living as well as to the dead, the great
guns were manœuvred and "shot off very terribly," doubtless to
an accompaniment of female screams, and the force marched back
through St. James' Park to the city. The review was intended as a
demonstration against the menaces of foreign powers, and it had its
due effect.

[Sidenote: 1544.]

The danger passed away; but within four years Henry was again in
the field fighting with Charles the Fifth against the French.
There is little that is worth remarking in the campaigns that
followed. The English as usual took with them their bows and
bills, and the archers still came off with credit. A contingent of
landsknechts was with them, who behaved so ill as to draw upon
themselves more than ordinary dislike; and indeed the palmy days
of the landsknechts were over. One portion of the English army
alone provoked the warm admiration of Charles, namely, the Northern
Horsemen. Wallop, the English commander, took justifiable pride in
them, and detached them to clear the country before the Emperor on
his departure. Away started the sturdy border-men on their tough
little ponies, while Charles watched with all his eyes; and when he
saw them breast an ascent before them and "hurl" up the hill, he
cried out with honest delight.[111]

Nevertheless it must be confessed that Henry, though the eight and
thirty years of his reign were perhaps the most eventful in the
history of the modern art of war, did singularly little for the
army. The passion for the bow, which evinced itself in repeated
enactments and proclamations to the very close of his reign,
and the false system of hiring mercenaries, led to a neglect of
the infantry which might easily have proved disastrous. For the
cavalry, though here again he was inclined to use mercenaries,
he showed more care. He was much exercised by the decay of the
English breed of horses, and passed three several Acts for its
remedy. The wording of these throws a flood of light on our ancient
troop-horse. To improve the breed it was enacted that every owner
of a park should keep from two to four brood-mares not less than
thirteen hands high, and that no stallions under fourteen hands
should be employed for breeding; the hand to be reckoned as four
inches and the measurement to be made to the withers. From the
operation of this Act the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland,
and Westmoreland, the home of the Northern Horsemen, were excluded.
By a subsequent Act it was ordained that all chases, forests,
and commons should be driven once a year, the unlikely mares and
foals slaughtered, and no stallions allowed to run free that were
under fifteen hands in height. What effect these measures may
have wrought I am unable to say; but the knowledge of the small
stature of brood-mares can help us to a better understanding of
the difficulties which beset the maintenance of an efficient

[Sidenote: 1513.]

But the arm wherein Henry worked most improvement was undoubtedly
the artillery. We find him at first purchasing all his guns abroad,
for the most part in Flanders, and procuring his gunners also from
foreign parts; but it is clear, from the number of Englishmen
whose appointment to the post of gunner remains on record, that
the English were rapidly learning their business from their
instructors, while as early as 1514 we find Lord Darcy pleading
for the employment of native gunners.[113] There is evidence too
that the artilleryman's art was by no means so rare as it had
been, gunners receiving no more than the ordinary soldier's pay of
sixpence a day.[114] The casting of ordnance in England was less
common, though there are scattered notices of English gun-founders
from the beginning of the reign. Finally, in the year 1535 John
Owen began to make even the largest guns, and obviated the
necessity of depending on foreign makers for artillery. In 1543,
moreover, Henry induced two foreigners to settle in England, Peter
Bawd and Peter van Collen, who among other improvements devised
mortar-pieces[115] of large calibre and shells to fire from them.
Shell, indeed, was frequently used in the campaign of 1544, and
Henry was early in appreciating its advantages. There was, however,
still the difficulty of finding horses to draw the field-guns,
which he seems to have attempted to overcome as early as in the
third year of his reign by some kind of registration of waggoners
and teams. The drivers were to wear the white coat and red cross,
and to be mustered and paid every month; and for their protection
it was ordered that their paymaster should take no bribes from them
beyond one penny a month from each man, a curious commentary on the
financial morality of the army. Be that as it may, however, there
exists no doubt that Henry the Eighth created the British gunner
who, as his proud motto tells, has since worked his guns all over
the world.

[Sidenote: 1542.]

[Sidenote: 1544.]

His zeal as an artillerist led Henry also, perhaps almost
insensibly, towards the peculiar organisation for defence which
was copied at a later period by the colonies, and for a short
time was expanded even into an imperial system. The mounting of
valuable guns entailed the necessity of maintaining a small body of
trained men to keep them in order; and thus grew up the practice
of stationing small independent garrisons in all the principal
fortresses, which garrisons were immovably attached to their
particular posts and constituted what was really a permanent force.
Thus almost at a stroke the military resources of England fell into
three divisions--the standing garrisons just mentioned, the militia
which could be called out in case of invasion, and the levies,
nominally feudal but in reality mercenary, which were brought
together for foreign service and disbanded as soon as the war was
over. The attention devoted by Henry to the defence of the coast
identifies his name peculiarly with certain modern strongholds,
which stand on the same site and bear the same appellation as he
gave them three centuries ago. Nor must it be forgotten that,
though he did comparatively little for the army, Henry did very
much for the navy, and perceived that the true defence of England
was the maintenance of her power on the sea.

Two small points remain to be mentioned before we dismiss the most
popular of English kings. A dear lover of music he took an interest
in his military bands, and we find him sending all the way to
Vienna to procure kettle-drums that could be played on horseback
"after the Hungarian (that is to say the Hussars') manner,"
together with men that could make and play them skilfully. Ten
good drums and as many fifers were ordered at the same time, with
advantage, as may be hoped, to the English minstrels. Lastly, Henry
was the first man of whom we may authentically say that he brought
the English red-coats into the field for active service. Red garded
with yellow was the uniform worn by his body-guard at the siege of
Boulogne; and perhaps it was right that the scarlet should have
made its first appearance in the presence of such old and gallant
enemies as the French.

[Sidenote: 1547.]

[Sidenote: 1549.]

Under the rule of his boy successor we find little change in the
old order of things. There was the usual fight with the Scotch on
the border, and yet another crushing defeat, at Pinkie, of the old
inveterate enemy. But hired Italian musketeers contributed not a
little to the victory; and the state of the forces of the shires
was most unsatisfactory. Fraudulent enlistment and desertion,
doubly expensive since the payment of coat- and conduct-money had
been instituted, were as common as ever, and the dishonesty of
officers was never more flagrant. A stringent Act was passed to
check these irregularities, with apparently the usual infinitesimal
measure of success. Foreign troops were never so much employed
in England, though even they complained of unjust dealing. The
insurrection in the west was suppressed principally by landsknechts
and Italian harquebusiers, not however before they had suffered
one repulse from the men of Devon, beyond doubt to the secret joy
of all true Englishmen. Nevertheless the reign saw the rise of the
Gentlemen Pensioners and, more important still, the appointment
of a lord-lieutenant in every county, to be responsible for the
forces of the shire. The latter was no doubt a stroke in the right
direction, but it did not touch the heart of the matter. The
worn-out machinery which had been patched and tinkered for five
centuries was not so easily to be repaired; and a new fly-wheel,
though it might turn magnificently on its own axis, could not keep
the other broken-down wheels in motion.

[Sidenote: 1553.]

The reign of Queen Mary brought the most important change in the
military system of the country that had occurred for two centuries.
The Statute of Winchester was superseded and a new Act enacted in
its place. The reform, however, was in reality quite inadequate to
the occasion. It provided for the supply of more modern weapons
and for a new distribution, according to a new assessment, of the
burdens entailed by the maintenance of a national force; but in
substance the new statute was drafted on the lines of the old, and
the variations were very superficial. The extinction of men-at-arms
hinted at by Guistiniani is sufficiently proved by the mention of
two different kinds of cavalry, "demi-lances" or "medium" horse and
the light horse with which we are already acquainted; and progress
in the equipment of the infantry is shown by the mention of long
pikes and corselets and of harquebuses. But alongside of these
improved weapons are the familiar bows and bills; and a clause
which, considering that Mary had married the heir of Spain is truly
marvellous, provides that a bow shall in all cases be accepted as
an efficient substitute for an arquebus. These details, however,
are comparatively unimportant. The difficulty was one, not of arms,
but of men; and Mary knew it. She would have formed a standing
army if she had dared, but as she designed it principally for the
coercion of her own subjects she ventured neither to ask for the
money to establish it nor to brave the indignation that would have
followed on its establishment.

[Sidenote: 1557.]

[Sidenote: 1558.]

Her unpopularity at the close of her reign, so strikingly in
contrast with the devoted loyalty which she had enjoyed on first
mounting the throne, told heavily against the efficiency, always
largely dependent on sentiment, of the forces of the shire.
Never children crept more unwillingly to school than the English
contingent which joined the Spaniards after the battle of St.
Quentin. Never half-witted woman looked on with more helpless,
impotent distraction at the robbery of her jewels than the once
iron-willed Mary, when Guise marched up to Calais. The English
garrison made all the resistance that could be expected of brave
men, but they were outnumbered, and the commanders asked in vain
for reinforcements. The Government awoke to the danger too late;
and, yet more sadly significant, the forces of the shires came
unwillingly to the musters and came unarmed. Yet Mary's name is
bound up with two material benefits conferred on the British
soldier. The men who went to St. Quentin received eightpence a day,
the sum for which her father's men had mutinied forty years before;
and from this time, for two full centuries, eightpence replaces
sixpence as the soldier's daily stipend. More thoughtful too than
any of the kings that came before her, she left directions in her
will for the provision of a house in London, with a clear endowment
of four hundred marks a year, "for the relief and help of poor,
impotent and aged soldiers" who had suffered loss or wounds in the
service of their country. For all her man's voice and masculine
will, she had a woman's heart which warmed to the deserving old
soldier, and whatever her demerits in the eyes of those who wear
the gown, her memory may at least be cherished by those who wear
the red coat.


[Sidenote: 1558.]

We enter now on the fateful reign of Queen Elizabeth. The
condition of England at its opening after the previous years of
misgovernment was most unpromising. Wrenched from its moorings by
the Reformation, the country had been tossed about by a hurricane
of religious fanaticism, which, working round through all points
of the compass, had left her helpless and bewildered, uncertain
by which course to steer or for what port to make head. Elizabeth
was by political exigency rather than religious conviction a
Protestant, but her great object in life was to sail, if she could,
clear of the circular storm and lie outside it. The design was an
impossible one, and her obstinate persistence therein went near
to bring England to utter ruin, but in the extremely difficult
position wherein she found herself on her accession to the throne
she had much excuse for a tortuous policy. The finance was in
hopeless disorder, and the realm through long neglect virtually
defenceless. There was no discipline in such forces as the country
could raise; and the military stores, which her father had taken
such pains to collect, appear to have perished. The French were in
Scotland in considerable force, and, as the Council pointed out,
France was a state military, while England was established for
peace. There in reality lay the kernel of the whole matter. England
was behind all Europe in military efficiency, and all Europe was
keenly alive to the fact.

The situation was so desperate that heroic measures, however
distasteful to the Queen from their expense, were inevitable.
Arms were purchased hastily in vast quantities in Flanders, the
forces of the shire were called out, and Elizabeth exercised in St.
James' Park with fourteen hundred men of the trained-bands, who
had been equipped by the city with caliver, pike, and halberd. But
up in the north, the loyalty of the troops was doubtful, and their
discipline more doubtful still. Fraud again was rife among the
officers. The landsknechts during their stay had set the fashion
of extravagance in clothing, and some captains, as it was quaintly
said, carried twenty to forty soldiers in their hose. Thus, though
the muster-rolls of the army in Scotland showed eight thousand men
for whom the Queen paid wages, but five thousand were actually with
the colours, and the pay of the remaining three thousand went of
course into the captains' pockets. This state of things was put
down with a strong hand by special Commissioners, and the little
army round Leith became orderly and efficient; but corruption had
sunk so deep that it had eaten its way even among the officials of
the ordnance at the Tower of London.

[Sidenote: 1560.]

The French, however, were in due time compelled to evacuate
Scotland, and the danger in the north ceased to be pressing.
There was, however, constant trouble in Ireland; and to provide
the necessary troops to keep it in order, resort was made to an
instrument of which we shall hear much in the years that follow,
namely, the press-gang. None the less the revelations discovered
by the war in Scotland prompted Cecil to require a report from the
magistrates all over England as to the condition of the population
and the working of the statutes enacted for national defence.
The answer was by no means complimentary to the influence of the
Reformation, nor encouraging in respect of military efficiency. The
people, reported the magistrates, were no longer trained to the
use of arms, because the gentlemen no longer set them the example.
In plain words the old system of the fyrd, a people in arms, was
obsolete. Not one but many causes had conspired to make it so.
The country was passing through a social as well as a religious
revolution; old landmarks were vanishing, old customs dying out;
and the loss of the old faith had become to many an excuse for
disburdening themselves of every irksome duty. Again, Calais was
lost, and though there were still vague hopes that it might yet be
regained, England was now strictly insular and France was closed as
a field of national adventure. The people had awaked to the fact
that their heritage was the sea; and the life of the corsair, free,
stirring, lucrative, and dangerous, appealed powerfully to a race
at once adventurous and grasping, energetic and casual, bold and
born gamblers.

Moreover, the national weapon, the long-bow, and the tactics that
went with it, were things of the past, while the new arms were at
once distasteful and costly, and in the unsettled state of the
country not to be trusted in every man's hand. The whole business
of war, too, was becoming difficult and elaborate, and was passing
through transitions too rapid to permit it to be learned once for
all. Military training no longer consisted in friendly matches at
the archery butts, but in precise movements of drill and manœuvre,
unwelcome alike because their advantages were unrecognised, and
because they could no longer be learned from the old masters. The
acknowledged leaders in hundred and parish and shire gave place
to experts trained in foreign schools, men who swaggered about in
plumed hats and velvet doublets and extravagant hose, swearing
strange oaths of mingled blasphemy taught by Spanish Catholics and
Lutheran landsknechts, and prating of besonios and alferez, of
camp-masters and rote-masters, of furriers and huren-weibels, of
false brays, mines and countermines, in one long insolent crow of
military superiority. Such instructors were not likely to soften
the painful lesson that war had become a profession, and could no
longer be tacked on as a mere appendage to the everyday life of the

Now, therefore, if ever, was the time for the establishment of a
standing army in England. She was menaced by foreign enemies on all
sides, and in perpetual peril of intestine insurrection. There was
unceasing trouble in Ireland, and eternal anxiety on the Scottish
border. The forces of the shires had been proved to be worthless,
and the service was not only inefficient but unpopular; the
people came unwillingly to the muster, and would gladly have paid
to be relieved of the burden. Great results would have followed
from the institution of a standing force; order would have been
maintained at home; interposition in foreign affairs would have had
redoubled weight; untold expense through unreadiness, knavery, and
inefficiency would have been spared; and finally, the British Army
would have grown up to be honoured as a great national possession,
called into existence to stave off a great national peril, instead
of to be abused as an instrument of tyranny, and to be condemned to
a blighting heritage of jealousy and suspicion.

But Elizabeth would have none of such things. She refused, to her
credit, to employ foreign mercenaries, and by breaking off that
evil tradition did lasting good. But she was incapable of living
except from hand to mouth. She hated straight dealing for its
simplicity; she hated conviction for its certainty; above all she
hated war for its expense. She loved her money as herself, and to
these twain she would sacrifice alike the most faithful servant
and the most friendly State. She was so mean and dishonest in
defrauding even such troops as she employed of their due, that
no one seems to have dared even to hint to her the expediency of
keeping a standing army. It may be urged that this was well for
the liberties of England, but, on the other hand, it went near to
destroy them altogether; and, after all, a standing army did not
save either James the Second of England or Louis the Sixteenth of
France. The people of England, however, saw more clearly than
their tricky inconstant Queen, and made good her delinquencies in
their own way.

[Sidenote: 1562.]

The French had not long evacuated Scotland when the desperate
condition of the Protestants in France forced the Prince of
Condé to offer Elizabeth Havre and Dieppe as pledges for the
restoration of the lost Calais, if she would send him money and
men. Elizabeth consented; and seven or eight thousand men were
despatched to garrison these two ports. Five hundred of them,
English and Scots, at once volunteered to cut their way into Rouen,
which was closely besieged by Guise, and fell at the capture of
the town, fighting desperately till they were cut down almost to
a man. These volunteers should be remembered, for they cleared
the ground for the foundation-stone of the British Army, English
and Scots fighting side by side for the Protestant cause in a
foreign land. The remaining troops were, as was inevitable under
the parsimonious rule of Elizabeth, ill-equipped and ill-provided,
a miserable contrast to the armies of the Plantagenets, and a
shameful example which has been followed only too faithfully since.
War between France and England at once broke out in earnest, and
the garrison of Havre required reinforcement. No troops of course
were ready, and it was necessary to raise recruits in a hurry. The
prison doors were opened; the gaols were swept clean; robbers,
highwaymen, and cut-purses, the sweepings of the nation, were
driven into the ranks; and a second evil precedent, companion to
the press-gang, was set for the misleading of England the Unready.
None the less these poor men fought gallantly enough against the
besieging French, until the plague suddenly broke out among them;
and then they went down like flies. Between the 7th and 30th of
June the effective strength of the garrison of Havre sank from
seven thousand to three thousand men. More men were hurried across
the channel to perish with them, but the waste was greater than
the repair, and in another fortnight but fifteen hundred of the
whole force were left. Further requests for men and arms were met
by the despatch of raw boys and of all the worn-out ordnance in the
Tower--"The worst of everything is thought good enough for this
place," wrote the General, Lord Warwick, in the bitterness of his
soul--and finally after a grand defence Havre was surrendered.

Nevertheless, little or nothing was done to make good defects in
the years that followed. The dishonesty of the officers and the
indiscipline of the men in Ireland was past all belief; but it was
only with extreme difficulty that Elizabeth was induced to remedy
the evil, which brought untold misery and oppression upon the
forlorn Irish, by the simple process of paying her soldiers their
wages. It was not until 1567, when the movements of Philip the
Second gave the alarm of invasion, that a corps of arquebusiers,
four thousand strong, was formed for the defence of the coast
towns from Newcastle to Plymouth, and prizes were given for the
encouragement of marksmanship with the new weapon. Even so,
practice with the bow was still enjoined upon the villagers, as
though no better arm could be discovered for them.[116]

[Sidenote: 1569.]

Then came the rebellion, which but narrowly missed a most serious
character, of the Catholic nobility in the North. Disloyalty was
widespread in Yorkshire, and it was proverbial that the Yorkshire
levies would not move without pay; but Elizabeth was too economical
to send the train-bands from London to nip the insurrection in the
bud, and only at the last moment consented to provide money for
the payment of the troops on the spot. The difficulties of the
commanders were frightful. The numbers that came to muster were far
short of the true complement; horsemen were hardly to be obtained
by any shift, and the footmen that presented themselves came with
bows and bills only, there being but sixty firearms, and not a
single pike, among two thousand five hundred infantry. The rebels,
on the other hand, were very well equipped, and had a force of
cavalry armed after the newest pattern of the Reiters. "If we had
but a thousand horse with pistols and lances, five hundred pikes
and as many arquebuses," wrote Elizabeth's commanders, "we should
soon despatch the matter"; but even so trifling a contingent as
this could not be produced except after infinite difficulty and

For all this Elizabeth was responsible; but the peril was so great
that it stirred even her avaricious soul. From this year bows
and bills began slowly to make way for pikes and firearms; and a
manuscript treatise in the State Papers shows that the reform was
brought under the immediate notice of the Royal Council.[118]

[Sidenote: 1570.]

An alarm of invasion by the French in the following year led also
to a general stirring of the sluggish forces of the shire. The
French ambassador reported that one hundred and twenty thousand men
could take the field in different parts of the country; and the
muster-rolls showed the incredible total of close on six hundred
thousand men. Yet when we look into these muster-rolls we find
simply a list of able-bodied men and of serviceable arms in each
shire without attempt at organisation. In truth, throughout the
long reign of Elizabeth we feel that in military matters one effort
and one only is at work, namely, in Carlyle's words, to stretch the
old formula to cover the new fact, to botch and patch and strain
the antiquated web woven by the Statute of Winchester and newly
dyed by the Statute of Philip and Mary to some semblance of the
pattern given by the armies of France and Spain.

But when we turn from the Queen to the people we perceive the
energy of a very different force. The English army indeed was
not created by a sovereign or a minister; it created itself in
despite of them. The superior equipment of the northern rebels over
that of the forces of the Queen was typical of the whole course
of English military progress in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. The army was conceived in rebellion, born in rebellion,
nurtured in rebellion. Protestantism all over Europe went hand in
hand with rebellion; and Elizabeth, always irresolute and incapable
of conviction, was distracted between a political preference for
Protestantism and a natural abhorrence of disloyalty. For years
she struggled by the most contemptible trickery to be true to
both these opposing principles, and for a time, by the help of
extraordinary good fortune, she attained the success which only
a false woman could compass. But long before she could make up
her mind, the people had taken matters into their own hands, and
thereby begun the creation of our present army. It was on May Day
1572, four years later than the first rising of the Low Countries
against Spain, that the army took its birth from a review of
Londoners before the Queen at Greenwich. In the ranks that day were
many captains and soldiers who had served in Scotland, Ireland,
and France, and were now adrift without employment on the world.
Subscriptions were raised by sympathetic Protestants in the city,
and three hundred of them were organised into a company and sent
to fight for the Dutch under Captain Thomas Morgan. From this
beginning we must presently trace the history of the English
regiments in the Low Countries to the eve of the Civil War; and
for the next seventy years therefore our story must flow in two
distinct streams--the slender thread that runs through England
itself, and the broader flood which glides on with ever-increasing
volume in the Low Countries, on the Neckar, and even in distant
Pomerania. And since at every great national crisis the two streams
for a time unite, the lesser tributary may be dismissed forthwith
by a brief review of the progress of the military art in England
to the close of the sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: 1573.]

London as usual led the van of military improvement. In the year
following the departure of Morgan's company, three thousand men
of the train-bands were formed into a special corps, which was
mustered three times a week for exercise, and having been armed
with weapons of the newest pattern was regularly drilled by
experienced officers on the once famous ground at Mile End. William
Shakespeare, it is evident, was one of the spectators that went
from time to time to see them, and no doubt laughed his fill at
the failings of the recruits. These were sometimes not a little
serious. Thus one caliverman left his scouring-stick in the barrel,
and accidentally shot it into the side of a comrade, whereof
the comrade died; so that the whole body of calivermen gained
the enjoyment of a military funeral in St. Paul's Churchyard,
whither they followed the corpse with trailing pikes and solemn
countenances, and at the close of the ceremony fired their pieces
over the grave.[119]

[Sidenote: 1587.]

Something therefore had at least been learned from the
landsknechts, and other changes were coming fast. The old white
coat and red cross seems to have disappeared abruptly at the
beginning of the reign, and coats, or, as they were called,
cassocks,[120] generally red or blue, were provided by shires and
boroughs in their stead. Once, indeed, these bright hues are found
condemned as too conspicuous for active service in Ireland, and
some dark or sad colour, such as russet, is recommended in its
stead,--a curious anticipation of our modern _khaki_.[121] Again,
to turn to smaller changes, the word petty captain had dropped out
of use since 1563, to yield place to the title of lieutenant, and
the word ensign seems to have been accepted generally at about the
same time. Sergeant had been the title of the expert at drill since
1528, but in 1585 there is a distinct order that the men appointed
to instruct the bands of the shires shall be called corporals.[122]
Two years later we find officers of higher rank asking for a new
denomination, and proposing that they may bear the title of colonel
and the officers next below them that of sergeant-major, or, as
we now call it, major. It was indeed time, for the word regiment
came likewise into use at the same period, and a regiment without a
colonel is naught. Before the end of the century the term infantry
had also passed into the language, while the flags of the infantry,
from their diversity of hues, had gained the name of colours.[123]

But far more striking than these superficial changes is the sudden
deluge of military pamphlets which burst over England from the
year 1587 onwards. The earliest military treatise, so far as I
have been able to discover, that was delivered to the English in
the vulgar tongue is _The Ordering of Souldiours in battelray_,
by Peter Whitehorn, which was published in 1560. This book
produced, no doubt, some effect in its time, but it is of small
import compared with those that follow. The earliest written by an
Englishman, though not published until four years after his death,
was the work of one William Garrard, gentleman, who had served
with the King of Spain for fourteen years and died in 1587. It is
a remorseless criticism of the existing English military system.
The author sweeps away bows and bills in a single contemptuous
sentence, and lays it down for a dogma that there are but two
weapons, for the tall man the pike and for the little nimble man
the arquebus. But in the matter of equipment, he notes that the
English are lamentably deficient. As good an arquebus could be
made in England as in any country, but the armourers had already
learned to make cheap and nasty weapons for common sale to the poor
men of the shire. Again, other nations carried their powder in
flasks or metal cartridges, but the English actually carried theirs
loose in their pockets, ready to be kindled by the first spark or
spoiled by the first shower, and in any case certain to suffer from
waste. Such slovenliness, says the indignant Garrard, is fit only
"for wanton skirmish before ladies"; it is impossible for such
arquebusiers to attain to the desirable consummation of "a violent,
speedy, and thundering discharge." The pikemen, again, instead of
a light poniard carried "monstrous daggers like a cutler's shop,"
fitter for ornament than use. Moreover, the dress of both was open
to objection. Colour was a matter of indifference, though some fine
hue such as scarlet was preferable for the honour of the military
profession, but all military garments should be profitable and
commodious, whereas nothing could hamper the limbs more than the
great bolstered and bombasted hose that were then in fashion. I
cannot resist the temptation of transcribing Garrard's picture of
the march of the ideal soldier, and the delicate appeal to the
soldier's vanity.

"Let the pikeman march with a good grace, holding up his head
gallantly, his face full of gravity and state and such as is fit
for his person; and let his body be straight and as much upright
as possible; and that which most important is that they have their
eyes always upon their companions which are in rank with them and
before them, going just one with another, and keeping perfect
distance without committing the least error in pace or step. And
every pace and motion with one accord and consent they ought to
make at one instant of time. And in this sort all the ranks ought
to go sometimes softly, sometimes fast, according to the stroke
of the drum.... So shall they go just and even with a gallant and
sumptuous pace; for by doing so they shall be esteemed, honoured
and commended of the lookers on, who shall take wonderful delight
to behold them."

Earlier in appearance though not earlier composed than Garrard's
was a shorter work by one Barnaby Rich, which appeared in 1587,
and wherein the writer had the courage to condemn the practice of
emptying the gaols into the ranks; but the great military book
of the year was a translation from the French of La Noue, one of
the noblest and ablest of the Huguenot commanders. Though written
of course for Frenchmen, the soundness of doctrine in respect of
discipline and equipment and the commendations of the Spanish
system were of value to all; while of still greater import to
England was the impassioned advocacy of the missile tactics of the
Reiters for cavalry. But perhaps most striking of all in the light
of later events is the deep note of Puritanism to which every page
of the treatise is attuned. In La Noue's Huguenot regiments there
were no cards, no dice, no swearing, no women, no leaving the
colours for plunder or even for forage, but stern discipline at all
times and public prayers morning and evening. It is difficult to
suppress the conjecture that this book had been read and digested
by Oliver Cromwell.

The strong opinions expressed in these books of course provoked
controversy. Sir John Smyth, knight, an officer of some repute,
boldly took up the cudgels on the other side, and undertook to
prove even in 1591 that the archer was more formidable than the
arquebusier and the arrow than the bullet, which was an argument
only too welcome to old-fashioned insular Englishmen. On the other
hand, he enters minutely and intelligently into points of drill
and manœuvre, condemns the bombasted hose as vehemently as Garrard
himself, and prescribes a more serviceable dress for the soldier.
From him we learn our first knowledge of the manual exercise of
the pike, how it should be advanced and how shouldered with comely
and soldierlike grace, and how men should always step off with
the right foot. From him also we obtain sound instruction for
the shock attack of cavalry, and some mention of the Hungarian
light horsemen, called "ussarons"; and from him finally we gather
information of the extraordinary inefficiency even at the close
of the reign of the shire-levies of England, of the neglect of the
arms and the corruption of the muster-masters.

Roger Williams, whom I have already quoted, also entered the
lists at this time with an account of the Spanish organisation,
and combated warmly for the superiority of the lance over the
pistol as the weapon of cavalry; and a translation by Sir Edward
Hoby from the Spanish of Mendoza (1597) also upheld the cause of
shock-action. Hard upon these followed a version of the striking
work of Martin du Bellay, with its complete scheme for what we
now call the short-service system; and in the same year (1598)
appeared a dialogue by one Barret, which sought to close the
whole controversy. A conservative gentleman who upholds bows and
bills is utterly demolished by a captain who pleads for pike and
musket, would abolish the shire-levies bodily as useless, and would
substitute a reorganised force on the favourite model, already
once adopted in France, of the Roman legion. But Barret knew his
countrymen and expected little. "Such as have followed the wars,"
he says, "are despised of every man until a very pinch of need doth
come"; and military reform then as now could not be pushed forward
except under pressure of a scare of war.

So matters drifted on to the close of the sixteenth century and
beyond it. The military spirit was abroad, and the military pen
busy beyond precedent. The character of the old soldier became
a favourite with beggars and vagabonds, and was rewarded so
freely at the hands of the charitable that it was necessary to
suppress the imposture by special statute. Yet in spite of all
this simmering and seething nothing was done in England for the
English army. Soldiers who wished to learn their profession
sought service elsewhere than with the Queen; even in Ireland
the value of a company sank to fifty pounds;[124] and the most
conspicuous type of warrior that was to be found at home was the
worst. Shakespeare, who saw everything and into the heart of
everything, marked these impostors and reproduced them with such
genial satire, such incomparable humour, that in our delight in the
dramatist we overlook the military historian. Yet he is as truly
the painter of the English army in his own day as was Marryat of
the navy in later years. Falstaff the fraudulent captain, Pistol
the swaggering ensign, Bardolph the rascally corporal, Nym the
impostor who affects military brevity, Parolles, "the damnable
both sides rogue," nay, even Fluellen, a brave and honest man but
a pedant, soaked in classical affectations and seeking his model
for everything in Pompey's camp--all these had their counterparts
in every shire of England and were probably to be seen daily on
the drill ground at the Mile End. Not in these poor pages but in
Shakespeare's must the military student read the history of the
Elizabethan soldier.


The arrival of the first English volunteers, under Thomas Morgan,
in the Low Countries was, as fate willed it, most happily timed to
synchronise with the movement that laid the foundation of Dutch
Independence. In April 1572 an audacious enterprise of the fleet
of Dutch privateers under the Count de la Marek had led to the
surprise and capture of the town of Brill, a success which at once
fired the train of revolt in the seven provinces north of the Waal
and shook the hand of Spain from town after town first in Holland
and Zealand, and later in Friesland, Gelderland, Utrecht, and
Overyssel. The incident, which time was to prove so far reaching
in its results, was a curious commentary on the latest phase of
Elizabeth's policy. She had just reconciled herself with Alva and
forbidden De la Marck's privateers to enter English ports: the
sea-rover's reply was to beard Alva in his own stronghold and deal
Elizabeth's friend a blow from which he never recovered. The whole
island of Walcheren, excepting Middelburg, fell into the hands of
the insurgents, and Alva, who was a splendid soldier, whatever his
other failings, lost no time in attempting to recover the port of
Flushing. By the irony of fate Morgan's volunteers arrived in the
very nick of time to save it, and in the sally which brought them
first face to face with the dreaded troops of Spain they made a
brilliant beginning for the new British Army. Of the three hundred,
fifty were killed outright in this action, the first of fifty
thousand or twice fifty thousand who were to lay their bones in
Holland during the next seventy years.

Morgan, having rescued Flushing, at once wrote letters to England
to point out the importance of the town which he held and to beg
for reinforcements. In the autumn accordingly appeared Colonel
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, with a regiment, the first of many English
regiments that were to enter the Dutch service, of ten companies
and fourteen hundred men, raw troops under a raw leader. Morgan
would have been the better commander, but he was a modest
unambitious man; Gilbert, on the other hand, suffered from fatal
ignorance of his own incapacity. Sir Humphrey at once launched
out boldly into complicated operations which he was utterly
incompetent to direct, was outwitted and outmanœuvred, fell back on
swearing when things went wrong, and not only lost his own head but
completely broke the spirit of his men. The new regiment in fact
behaved very far from well. "I am to blame to judge their minds,"
wrote Roger Williams, the ablest of Morgan's officers, after
Gilbert's first defeat, "but let me speak truth. I believe they
were afraid." He adds elsewhere a gentle but telling criticism,
that lays the blame on the right shoulders. "A commander that
enters the enemy's countries ought to know the places that he doth
attempt: if not he ought to be furnished with guides." So ignorant
were even educated Englishmen of the alphabet of war. Gilbert,
however, did not learn his lesson quickly. A slight success,
wherein the English displayed conspicuous gallantry, heated his
ambition once more to boiling-point; he essayed another adventure
in the grand manner, failed utterly, and sailed home with the
scanty remnant of his regiment, a sadder and wiser man.

Morgan meanwhile had gone home and raised ten more companies, with
which however he could do very little. The men were not paid on
their disembarkation in Holland, as William of Nassau had promised
them, and they became discontented and insubordinate. Morgan
naturally took their part, and the result was, that after some few
petty engagements against the Spaniards, he took his departure in
dudgeon and sailed with the seven hundred men that were left to
him to England. He had done good work, and his name deserves to be
remembered; for he was the first man who made perfect arquebusiers
of the English, and the first who taught them to love the musket.
Fifty years had flown since the Spaniards had shown the way, and
the English were only just beginning to follow. Roger Williams on
Morgan's retirement took service with the Spaniards for a time,
in order to learn his duty the better, and presently returned,
without reproach, to wield the knowledge that he had gained against
themselves. To such shifts were British officers reduced who wished
to master their profession.

[Sidenote: 1578, January 29.]

[Sidenote: August.]

To follow the actions of sundry other corps of volunteers during
the succeeding years would be tedious. I pass at once to the
landing in July 1577 of a company of three hundred Englishmen
under the command of John Norris, one of the first and most
eminent of the new school of officers who were the fathers of
our Army. He had learned his work first in Ireland, and later in
France under a great disciplinarian, the Admiral Coligny. He too
arrived at a critical time. A few months after his disembarkation,
while he was still in garrison at Antwerp, Don John of Austria
surprised the Army of the States at Gemblours, and not only
defeated it but shattered it to fragments. Six months later Don
John attempted to repeat the blow against a second Army of the
States, a heterogeneous force of English, Scotch, and Flemings,
under the command of the veteran Huguenot, De la Noue. Having but
fourteen thousand men against thirty thousand of the finest troops
in Europe, De la Noue took up a strong position at Rymenant, near
Malines, and stood on the defensive. After trying in vain to draw
him from his entrenchments Don John finally launched a desperate
attack on the quarter held by the English and Scotch under Norris.
Four companies of Scots bore the first brunt of the assault, but
were presently reinforced, just in time, by Norris's eleven
companies of English; and then the struggle became as desperate as
ever was fought by British soldiers. The Spanish troops were the
flower of the army, the Old Regiment,[125] which had not its peer
in Europe; but with all their magnificent training and discipline
they could not carry the position. Three times they forced the
British back, and three times when success seemed assured they were
met by a resistance that would not be broken, and were hurled back
in their turn. The day was intensely hot, and the British, scorning
all armour, fought in their shirt-sleeves, but they fought hard,
and not only hard but, thanks to John Norris, in good order. Norris
himself, always in the thickest of the fight, had three horses
killed under him in succession, but never lost hold of his men; and
at last the famous infantry of Spain drew back, beaten, and Don
John abandoned the attack. It was a great day for old "Bras de fer"
De la Noue, but a still greater for John Norris and his British.
They had, by general admission, not only saved the day, but they
had repulsed the most formidable troops in the world.

During the years that follow Norris and his companies were
incessantly engaged, generally victorious, though once at least
defeated with heavy loss; their gallant leader, though frequently
wounded, reappearing always whenever work was to be done. Their
highest trial was when they encountered the greatest General of the
day, Alexander of Parma, and the whole Spanish army with him, in a
rearguard action, and beat them off with such persistent bravery
that the French volunteers after the engagement crowded to their
colours and begged to be allowed to serve under them. Norris indeed
was the Moore of the sixteenth century, alike as a teacher in the
camp and as a General in the field.

[Sidenote: 1584, July 10.]

Nevertheless, brilliant as his service was, he could not stay the
victorious advance of the Spaniards. After ten years of fighting
the Dutch States had lost almost the whole of Spanish Flanders
except a few large towns and the sea-coast from Dunkirk to Ostend,
and still Elizabeth would not move to help the Dutch insurgents in
a task, no less vital to England than to them, which lay beyond
their strength. At last the assassination of William the Silent
forced her to make up her uncertain mind to the inevitable rupture
with Spain. The United Provinces were in the utmost need; the
strong hand of Alexander of Parma was at the throat of Antwerp, and
unless its grip could be relaxed the city must inevitably fall. The
States threw themselves upon the English Queen, entreating her even
to make them a part of her realm, and at last, after much paltry
haggling, Elizabeth consented to send them four or five thousand
men, taking over the towns of Brill, Flushing, Rammekins, and
Ostend as security for their obligations towards her. Elizabeth was
always careful to look after the money.

[Sidenote: 1585.]

This agreement being at last concluded the press-gang[126] was at
once set to work in England; four thousand men were raised and
dressed in red coats, and within a fortnight after the signing
of the Treaty they had crossed the North Sea, only to find that
Antwerp was already in Parma's hands and that they had come too
late. Norris, however, at once took the force in hand, and was
carrying on active operations with brilliant success when he was
stopped by a peremptory rebuke from the Queen; the troops had been
transported for the relief of Antwerp, and she would not have them
employed on any other service. The States, naturally exasperated by
this contemptible double-dealing, received the troops reluctantly
into the cautionary towns and left them with no very good grace
to take care of themselves. Elizabeth, as her nature was, had
refused to send a penny of money or an ounce of supplies, and the
soldiers, ill-fed, ill-clothed, and ill-lodged, began to melt away
by hundreds through death and desertion.

[Sidenote: 1586.]

In December, however, Robert, Earl of Leicester, was sent out as
Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the Low Countries, and as
he brought with him a reinforcement of cavalry, and also money
sufficient to pay the arrears of the soldiers' wages, it was hoped
that matters would be placed on a better footing. But it was not to
be. Elizabeth was not yet in earnest in breaking with Spain, and
Leicester, gathering an inkling of her intentions from her refusal
to provide him with additional funds, went very unwillingly to
take up his command. On arriving in Holland he found things even
worse than he had anticipated. The men were in a shocking state,
dying fast of cold and hunger; they had not a penny wherewith to
supply themselves; and their clothing was so deficient that for
very nakedness they were ashamed to appear in public. Leicester
with all his faults had evidently a genuine tenderness for his
unfortunate soldiers; he wrote letter after letter pressing
vehemently for money, but Elizabeth would not give a farthing. The
natural consequences followed. By February half the men were dead,
and the half that remained alive were in a state of suppressed
mutiny. No good officer would accept a command in the army on
such terms, and the companies fell into the hands of unscrupulous
swindlers who sent their men out to plunder and did not omit to
take their own share, rejoicing over every soldier who died or
deserted for the money that would pass into their pockets when the
long-deferred pay-day should come. There have been many sovereigns
and many ministers in England who have neglected and betrayed their
soldiers, but none more wantonly, wilfully, and scandalously than

[Sidenote: July.]

Nevertheless, as the spring of 1586 approached, it behoved
Leicester to open a campaign of some kind. Parma was advancing
along the line of the Maas, evidently bent on taking every
fortified town on the river, and it was necessary if possible to
check him. The Generals, however, were ill-matched; Parma easily
brushed aside Leicester's feeble opposition, and having secured
the line of the Maas turned next to that of the Rhine. Meanwhile a
large reinforcement of men, unarmed and untrained, had been sent
from England; and Leicester concentrated his forces, summoning
all the garrisons of the cautionary towns to join him at Arnheim.
Philip Sidney came from his government at Flushing, Lord Willoughby
came from Bergen-op-Zoom, John Norris and his brother Henry hurried
up likewise, the veteran Roger Williams joined them, and lastly, in
the retinue of Lord Willoughby, came a young man of greater promise
than any, named Francis Vere. The plan of operations was soon
determined; since Parma could not be checked on the Rhine, he must
be called away from it by a diversion in the north on the Yssel,
where the Spaniards still held the towns of Doesburg and Zutphen.

All turned out as had been expected. Doesburg was easily captured,
and Parma no sooner heard that Leicester was before Zutphen than
he abandoned his operations on the Rhine and marched north to
relieve it. Halting on the evening of the 21st of September at
some distance from the town, he sent forward a convoy of supplies
towards it, protected by an escort of three thousand men under the
command of the Marquis of Pescayra.[127] The convoy was to start
at midnight, and it was reckoned that it would be within a mile
and a half of Zutphen by daybreak. Pescayra was then to halt at
an appointed place, send a messenger into the town and concert
arrangements with the Governor for a sortie to facilitate the
entrance of the convoy.


  Sept. 22
  Oct. 2.

Intelligence of Parma's design was duly brought to Leicester, who,
calling John Norris, ordered him to take two hundred horse and
three hundred foot and lie with them in ambuscade by the road by
which the convoy was expected to arrive. Norris readily picked out
two hundred horse, ordered Sir William Stanley to follow them with
three hundred pikemen, and before dawn of the 22nd had successfully
taken up the position assigned to him. No force appears to have
been detailed by Leicester to support the ambushed party, and no
scouts to have been sent forward by Norris to give warning of the
enemy's approach. The morning broke with dense impenetrable fog,
amid which the English could hear a distant sound of rumbling
waggons and tramping men. Presently Norris was joined by all the
adventurous gentlemen--Lord Essex, Lord Audley, Lord North, and
many others--who were to be found in Leicester's camp: they had not
been able to resist the temptation of an action, and came galloping
up with their retinue at their heels to see the sport. The sounds
of the approaching convoy became more distinct, but nothing could
be seen till the fog suddenly rolled away and revealed straight
before them the three thousand Spaniards, horse and foot, marching
by their waggons in beautiful order.

The English gentlemen threw all discipline to the winds at the
sight: they never dreamed of anything but a direct attack, and
one and all went at once, each in his own way, to work. Young
Lord Essex called on his squadron of troopers to follow him,
and couching his lance flew straight upon the enemy's cavalry,
overthrew the foremost man and horse, flung away his broken lance
for his curtel-axe, and with his handful of men hard after him
burst into a heavy Spanish column and shivered it to pieces.
The routed Spaniards fled in disorder to the shelter of their
musketeers, with Essex still spurring at their heels; and then
Spanish discipline told. The musketeers fired a volley which
brought down many of the English horses and compelled the rest to
wheel about. Then the action became simply a series of furious
personal combats. Sir Philip Sidney's horse was killed under him
at the first charge, but he mounted another and plunged into the
hottest of the fight. Lord North, unable owing to a recent wound
to draw on more than one boot, dashed in half-booted as he was and
fought as busily as any. Sir William Russell swung his curtel-axe
so murderously that the Spaniards vowed he was a devil and no man.
Lord Willoughby was so beset with enemies that only great good
fortune and immense personal strength served to pluck him out.
Sir William Stanley's horse was struck by seven bullets but found
strength to carry him safe out of action. And meanwhile the drivers
of the waggons had fled, and English and Spanish soldiers were
tugging the heads of the teams this way and that with oaths and
yells and curses; but still Spanish discipline told, and still the
convoy moved slowly forward. Again and again the Spanish horsemen
shrank before the English cavaliers, but the firm ranks of the
musketeers always gave them shelter, and, charge as the English
might, the waggons crept on and on till they fairly entered the
town. Nothing was gained by the action. The attack, if supported,
might have been fatal to Pescayra, but no support could be looked
for from Leicester, and there was so little intelligence in the
onslaught that no one seems to have attempted even to hamstring
the waggon-horses. Zutphen therefore remains no more than one of
the maddest of the many mad exploits performed by English officers
of cavalry, and is remembered chiefly through the death of one of
the noblest of them. Before the action, Philip Sidney had given
the thigh-pieces of his armour to the Lord Marshal, Sir William
Pelham; at its close he was seen riding painfully back, with the
unprotected thigh shattered by a musket bullet. He lingered in
agony for some days and then died. His body was brought back to
England to be followed to St. Paul's Churchyard by the London
train-bands and laid to rest, as befitted a good and gallant
soldier, under the smoke of their volleys.[128]

Yet another scene of desperate valour was witnessed at Zutphen
before the campaign came to an end. One principal protection of
the town was an external sconce,[129] which on a former occasion
had resisted the troops of the States for a whole year, and was
now carried by the English by assault. The breach was barely
practicable, the footing on the treacherous sandy soil being so
uncertain that the storming party could hardly mount it. Their
leader, Edward Stanley, however, was not to be turned back. Dashing
alone into the breach he caught the head of a Spanish soldier's
pike that was thrust out against him and tried to wrench the weapon
from his grasp. Both men struggled hard for a time, while a dozen
pikes were broken against Stanley's cuirass and a score of bullets
whistled about his ears. At last Stanley, without quitting his
hold, allowed the Spaniard to raise the pike, used the purchase
so gained to help him up the wall, scrambled over the parapet and
leaped down alone into the press of the enemy with his sword.
His men, redoubling their efforts, hoisted each other up the
breach after him and the sconce was won. Stanley, marvellous to
say, escaped unhurt, and received not only warm commendation in
Leicester's despatches, but a pension for life from Leicester's own
pocket, for the most daring act that is recorded of the whole of
that long war.

[Sidenote: 1587.]

[Sidenote: 1588.]

The plot of the Spanish Armada now began to thicken, and the scene
must be shifted for a moment to England. In the Low Countries Parma
was looking about for a port of embarkation from which to ship his
men across the North Sea. He fixed upon Sluys, and in spite of a
desperate resistance from a handful of gallant Englishmen, led
by Roger Williams, he succeeded in capturing it after a siege of
three months. At the end of 1587 Leicester resigned his command
and returned to England; and in the following year all the best
officers, and many of the English companies, were gathered together
in the camp at Tilbury. Leicester was in chief command, with
John Norris for his second, and Roger Williams among others for
assistant, but these officers were not on very friendly terms with
each other; and, indeed, the less said of Tilbury Camp as a whole
the better. Contemporary writers indeed aver that it was a pleasant
sight to see the soldiers march in from the various shires, "with
cheerful countenances, courageous words and gestures, leaping
and dancing";[130] but such a display was a better indication of
loyalty than of discipline, and sadly different from the pace,
full of gravity and state, which had been enjoined by the best
authorities. There was, moreover, great disorder and deformity of
apparel; most of the men wore their armour very uncomely, and the
whole army refused point-blank to use the headpieces issued from
the Tower. Ammunition again was short, provisions were scanty,
organisation was extremely defective, and the general confusion
incredible. Four thousand men who had marched, pursuant to orders,
twenty miles into Tilbury, found that they must go that distance
from the camp again before they could find a loaf of bread or a
barrel of beer. A thousand Londoners who were likewise in the march
were ordered to halt unless they could bring their own provisions
with them. Leicester might safely remark that "great dilatory wants
are found upon all sudden hurly-burlies,"[131] but there was no
excuse for such chaos after the incessant warnings of the past
thirty years. Elizabeth must bear the chief share of the blame. The
woman who in her imbecile parsimony starved the fleet that went
forth to fight the Armada could not be expected to show better
feeling towards the army. It was no thanks to the Queen that the
Spanish invasion was repelled.

[Sidenote: 1589.]

[Sidenote: 1590.]

I shall not follow the veterans John Norris and Lord Willoughby
on their expeditions to Corunna and Brittany in the following
year. Far more important to us is the rise of a great leader,
and the opening of a new era in the war of the Low Countries.
On Leicester's resignation of the chief command, there was
appointed to succeed him a man whose name must ever be venerated
in the British Army, Prince Maurice of Nassau,[132] second son of
William the Silent. Though but twenty years of age when selected
as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the United Provinces, he had
already made up his mind that if the War of Independence were to
end in victory it must be fought not, as heretofore, with a mob of
irregular levies, but with a trained, disciplined, and organised
army. His own natural bent lay chiefly towards mathematics, which
he cultivated as a means to the mastery of military engineering,
and eventually reduced to practice by so sedulous a use of the
spade in all military operations as to provoke many a sneer from
soldiers of a more primitive type. But Maurice knew his own mind,
and was not to be deterred by sneers. His principal assistant was
his cousin, Louis William, Stadtholder of Friesland, an industrious
student of classical antiquity with the rare faculty of adapting
old systems to modern requirements. To his diligence was due
the instruction of the army in drill and discipline, and to his
influence must be ascribed Maurice's admiration for the _Tactics
of Ælian_.[133] His new and elaborate manœuvres also elicited
the scorn of the old school of officers,[134] but he too was not
easily discouraged; and the two cousins worked hand-in-hand,
the one at the broader principles, the other at the hardly less
important details, of their profession, until they raised up an
army which supplanted the Spanish as the model for Europe. Not
the least weighty of Maurice's reforms was the regular payment
of the men, and the stern repression of fraudulent practices
among the officers. In a word, he appreciated the value of sound
administration no less that of pure military skill and training in
the conduct of a war.

The tactical organisation of the new army was not so perfect
as, with the Spanish model before us, we might with reason have
expected. The tactical unit of infantry was the company, and the
regiment still consisted of an uncertain number of companies
temporarily united under the command of a colonel. The composition
of the companies again was uncertain. The normal strength was one
hundred and thirteen men, which was later reduced to eighty, but
colonels had double companies--some even double regiments--and
there appears to have been no very great exactitude, probably
because men could only be persuaded to serve under the captain of
their choice. The officers of a company were of course captain,
lieutenant, and ensign; the non-commissioned officers included
two sergeants and three corporals, as well as a "gentleman of
the arms," who was responsible for the condition of the weapons.
Lastly, there were two drummers, who, it should be noted, like the
trumpeters in the cavalry, were not the mere signal-makers that
they now are, but the men regularly employed in all communications
with the enemy, and as such expected to possess not only discretion
but some skill in languages. They received far higher pay than the
common soldier, and if they did a tithe of that which was expected
of them they were worth every penny of it.

Every company was divided into three corporalships, each of
which was the peculiar care of one of the three corporals and
of one of the three officers. In equipment there were at first
three descriptions of arms--halberds, pikes, and muskets--of
which however the halberds soon disappeared, leaving pikes and
shot in equal numbers, but with an ever-growing tendency towards
preponderance of shot. The normal formation of a company was in
ten ranks; and the men were never less than three feet apart from
each other, such open order being essential to the execution of
the prescribed evolutions. To increase the front, the ranks were
doubled by moving the even ranks into the intervals of the odd;
to diminish the front, the files were doubled by the converse
process.[135] To take ground to flank or rear every man turned to
right or left or about on his own ground, and it is worth remarking
that the best men were always stationed in the front rank and the
next best in the tenth, and that while the captain was posted in
front of his company, the lieutenant, except in a charge, remained
always in the rear.

The musketeers were usually drawn up in two divisions, one
on either flank of the pikes; and the problem that eternally
confronted the captain was how to handle the two elements in
effective combination and yet contrive never to confuse them. In
action the musketeers generally moved in advance of the pikes,
firing by ranks in succession, according to Pescayra's method, and
filing to the rear to reload. Sometimes they were extended across
the front of the pikes, but more often they kept their place on
the flanks. Meanwhile the pikemen, heavily weighted by helmet,
corselet, and tassets (thigh-pieces), moved stolidly on: as they
drew nearer the enemy the musketeers fell back until they were
first aligned with them, and then abreast of the fifth or sixth
rank. If neither side gave way, matters came to push of pike and a
general charge, wherein the musketeers ceased firing and fell in
with the butt, a method of fighting which was peculiarly favoured
by the English. To resist cavalry the musketeers fled for shelter
under the pikes, generally in considerable disorder, and the outer
ranks of pikemen, lunging forward, stayed the butts of their pikes
against the hollow of the left foot.

The cavalry was divided at first into lancers and carbineers,
the former being fully covered with armour to the knee; but the
lance, in deference to the fashion of the Reiters, was soon[136]
discarded for the pistol. The carbineers carried a carbine[137]
with a wheel-lock, and were trained to shoot from the saddle, the
ranks firing in succession according to Pescayra's system. The
tactical unit was the troop or cornet, which, after many changes,
was finally fixed at a strength of one hundred and twenty men,
and divided, like the company, into three corporalships. Captain,
lieutenant and cornet, three corporals, a trumpeter, a farrier,
and a quartermaster made up the higher ranks of the troop, no such
title as a sergeant appearing in the cavalry. Of artillery I shall
say nothing, since the Dutch organisation was in this respect
peculiar, and could not serve like that of the infantry and cavalry
as a model for the English.

[Sidenote: 1589.]

Concurrently with the rise of Maurice as Commander-in-Chief must
be noted that of a new English General, whose name is bound up
for ever with the actions of his countrymen in the Low Countries.
Francis Vere came of the old fighting stock of the Earls of
Oxford. The seventh Earl had fought with the Black Prince at
Creçy and Poitiers, the twelfth with King Harry at Agincourt, and
succeeding holders of the title had distinguished themselves on the
Lancastrian side in the Wars of the Roses. Francis, grandson of the
fifteenth Earl, was born about 1560, came to Holland with Leicester
in 1585, and after brilliant service at the defence of Sluys and
elsewhere rose to be sergeant-major of infantry, a sure proof that
he was not only a gallant man but an adept in his profession.
Finally, in August 1589 he was appointed sergeant-major-general of
the Queen's forces in the Low Countries, where he was joined by
two gallant brothers, Horace and Robert, who worthily upheld the
honour of the name.

[Sidenote: 1591.]

[Sidenote: 1595.]

[Sidenote: 1596.]

His task, as that of every officer who had to do with such a woman
as Elizabeth, was at first no easy one. His force being very small
required constant reinforcement, and was accordingly strengthened
by five hundred of the "very scum of the world," such being the
description of recruit that Elizabeth preferred to supply. He took
care, however, to procure for himself better material, and at the
opening of 1591 had no fewer than eight thousand men under his
command. But as fast as he trained them into soldiers Elizabeth
required their services for her own purposes, and frittered them
away in petty meaningless operations in France, filling their place
with some more of the very scum of the world, which could be swept
out of the gaols and taverns at a moment's notice. The system was
in fact that of drafting, in its most vicious form. Vere for a
time bore it in silence, but at last he protested, and like all of
Elizabeth's best men was soundly abused for his pains. Still the
Queen knew his value well enough to withdraw not only his troops
but himself from the expedition to Cadiz, and the disastrous
island-voyage to the Azores.

A far more serious difficulty was the corruption of departments and
contractors at home and the vicious system of paying the men. The
wages of a private at eightpence a day were reckoned for the year
at £12 : 13 : 4, of which £4 : 2 : 6 was deducted for two suits
of summer and winter clothing,[138] £6 : 18 : 6 paid in imprests
at the rate of 2s. 8d. a week, and the balance, £1 : 2 : 6, alone
made over in money. Even in theory the allowance does not sound
liberal, but in practice it was ruinous. The men drew their pay
and clothing from their captains, and the captains received the
money in uncertain instalments, the balance due to them being
made good at the close of every six months. This in itself was
wasteful, since it enabled the captain to put in his own pocket
the wages of soldiers who had died or had been discharged in the
interval. But apart from this the captains frequently withheld the
clothing altogether, or served out material of uncertain quality,
charging the men treble the just price for the same; or again they
would make their own contract for victualling the men, of course
to their own profit, in lieu of paying to them the weekly 2s. 8d.
which was due to them for subsistence. How widely the practice may
have obtained among officers it is difficult to say, but the system
was presently altered to the advantage alike of the State and the
soldier by the officials in London. The officers also had their
complaints, not a whit less sweeping, against those officials, and
they preferred them in uncompromising terms. Such representations
were not likely to meet with encouragement. Elizabeth was not
friendly to soldiers, and hated to be troubled with obligations
towards men who had faithfully served her. An Act had been passed
in 1593 throwing the relief of crippled or destitute soldiers on
their parishes, and she could not see what more they could want.
Bloody Mary had shown them compassion; not so would Good Queen
Bess; she would not be pestered with the sight of the "miserable
creatures." As to the complaints of officers, she had heard enough
of their ways, and would take the word of the Treasurer of the
Forces against theirs. Still Vere and his captains persisted, and
at last the shameful truth was revealed that the Treasurer himself
was the culprit, and had for years been cheating alike his Queen,
her officers, and her men.

It is easy therefore to understand the relief with which the
English commanders in the Low Countries must have welcomed a
new treaty made in 1598, whereby Elizabeth was quitted of her
engagement to furnish the United Provinces with auxiliary troops,
and all English soldiers were ordered henceforth to take their
pay from the States and their orders from the Dutch Generals. The
troops in the Low Countries were now comparatively freed from the
caprices of the Queen and could work in harmony with their masters.
From this point therefore the English fairly enter the school of
the new art of war.


[Sidenote: 1600.]

So far I have abstained from any attempt to describe the military
operations of the States, or even the brilliant little enterprises
of Vere himself, since his assumption of the command: but at
this point, when we enter upon the palmy days of the English in
Holland, it is worth while to be more precise. So far Maurice had
occupied himself principally with the task of recovering the towns
occupied by the Spaniards within the seven provinces;[139] the
States-General in the year 1600 resolved upon the bold step of
carrying the war into the enemy's country. Ostend, which was held
by the Queen of England, was to be the base of operations, and
the design was to land a force on the Flemish coast and besiege
first Nieuport, to the west of Ostend, and afterwards Dunkirk.
Maurice and Vere both thought the enterprise hazardous in the
extreme, but they were overruled by the civilians. A force of
twelve thousand infantry, sixteen hundred cavalry and ten guns was
assembled at Flushing, and a fleet was collected to transport it
to its destination. The army was organised in the three familiar
divisions, vanguard, battle, and rearguard, of which the rearguard
under Sir Francis Vere consisted of sixteen hundred English
veterans, two thousand five hundred Frisians, two hundred and fifty
of Prince Maurice's body-guard, and ten cornets of horse, making in
all four thousand five hundred men. With Vere were men whose names
through themselves or through their successors were to become
famous--Sir Edward Cecil, Sir Charles Fairfax, Captain Holles, and
others. In another division of the army was a regiment of Scots
under Sir William Edmunds, which had recently been recruited to the
high strength of one hundred and fifty men to each company. English
and Scots already loved to fight side by side.

The force embarked on the 21st of June, but being delayed by
calms landed short of Nieuport, marched overland, capturing the
fort of Oudenburg on the way, and on the 1st of July was before
Nieuport. The Spanish commander, the Archduke Albert, no sooner
heard what was going forward than he at once concentrated his
army at Ghent for an immediate advance; and Maurice, who was
busily preparing for the siege of Nieuport, was surprised by the
sudden intelligence that his little garrison at Oudenburg had been
overwhelmed, and that the Spanish forces were in full march for
his camp. The situation in which he found himself was now very
critical. Expecting no such movement Maurice had divided his forces
round Nieuport into two parts, which were cut off from each other
by the haven that runs through the town. Though dry at low water
this haven was unfordable at high tide, and the bridge which was
constructing across it was still unfinished. Worst of all, it was
the weakest division of the force, three thousand five hundred men
under Ernest of Nassau, that stood on the side of the haven nearest
to the enemy; and a battle within twenty-four hours was inevitable.

[Sidenote: July 2.]

The question therefore arose whether the action should be fought
in dispute of the enemy's passage over a stream called the Yser
leet which barred the line of his advance, or on the sandy dunes
by the sea-shore, where the Spaniards would certainly seek it
if the passage were successfully accomplished. Vere was for the
former course, and Maurice, thinking the advice good, ordered
Count Ernest's division to march straight for the bridge on the
Yser leet, saying that he would shortly follow with the rest of
the army. Vere protested in vain that this was a perversion of his
counsel: either the whole army must march with Count Ernest, or no
part of it must move at all; for to send forward a weak division
in the hope of delaying the Spanish advance was simply to court
defeat. Maurice, however, stuck to his opinion, and at midnight
Count Ernest marched off with his division unsupported to the
bridge. He arrived too late, for the Spaniards had already secured
the passage, and he therefore took up the best position that he
could find, behind a dyke, to defend himself as well as he could.
The first shot had hardly been fired when his men began to run.
It was such a panic as has rarely been matched in the annals of
war. Cavalry and infantry, Dutchmen and Scots, threw down their
arms, took to their heels and fled like swine possessed of devils
into the sea. The Scotch officers of Sir William Edmunds' regiment
strove to rally the fugitives, but in vain: they were cut down one
after another, and the men that escaped death by lead or steel were
swallowed up literally in the waves. Two thousand five hundred men,
including a thousand massacred at Oudenburg, were thus lost, and
Maurice had now to face his enemy with a weakened army and with
his retreat barred by the haven behind him. Defeat would mean not
only annihilation but the undoing of all the work of the rebellion.
With superb courage he ordered his fleet of transports to sea, and
staked all on the hazard of the coming battle.

Meanwhile Vere, whose division had this day the place of the
vanguard, had moved at daybreak down to the bank of the haven
and was waiting for the ebb-tide to cross it, when the news came
that the Archduke's army was in full march along the sea-shore.
As soon as the tide permitted he forded the haven with all haste,
not allowing the men to strip, for, as he said, by nightfall they
would have dry clothes or want none. Presently he came in sight
of the enemy, ten thousand foot, sixteen hundred horse and six
guns, moving along the flat sands of the sea-shore. The space
between the sea and the enclosed country was broken up into three
descriptions of ground running parallel one to another; next the
sea was the narrow plain of the strand between high- and low-water
mark, next the strand were the broken hillocks of the sand-dunes,
and between the dunes and the enclosed land ran a margin of
unbroken green, called by Vere the Greenway. Vere lost no time in
taking up a position at the narrowest point that he could find,
distributing his division skilfully among the hillocks to repel
an advance through the dunes, and posting two guns, by Maurice's
order, to command the Greenway. To his right rear stood the battle
or second division, one thousand strong, and in rear of the battle
the third division of rather more than two thousand men. The army
was thus formed in echelon of three lines with the right refused,
its left resting in the sea, its right on the enclosed land.

Weak in cavalry, the Spaniards halted till the rising tide had
covered all but thirty yards of the strand, and then moved the
whole of their horse to the Greenway and of their infantry into
the dunes. Maurice likewise withdrew his cavalry from the shore
and massed it in columns on the Greenway, leaving but two troops,
both of them English, still standing on the beach. For two whole
hours of a beautiful summer's afternoon the two armies waited
each for the other to advance, and at last, at half-past two, the
Spaniards began to move. Vere, taking every possible advantage of
the sandhills to protect and conceal his men, had thrust forward
small parties to contest every inch of ground; and it was against
the foremost of these, two and fifty English and fifty Frisians,
that the first attack of five hundred of the flower of the Spanish
infantry was directed. Meanwhile the Spanish cavalry moved forward
along the Greenway. This cavalry, disordered by the fire of Vere's
two guns and galled in flank by a detachment of his musketeers,
soon gave way before the cavalry of the States; but the struggle
of the infantry in the van was very severe. The first attack of
the Spanish vanguard was repulsed, but being quickly reinforced it
moved forward again and the fight then became desperate. For a time
the battle seems to have resolved itself into a furious contest
for the possession of a single sandhill, round which, as round the
two-gun-battery at Inkermann, both sides fought madly hand to hand,
each alternately repelling and repelled, till at last this "bloody
morsel," as Vere called it, was finally carried by the English.

The Archduke without delay brought up his centre in line with his
vanguard, and essayed to force his way through Vere's right. The
columns were met by a murderous fire from a party of musketeers
which had been posted by Vere to check any such movement, and were
driven back; and then the whole strength of the Spanish attack
was concentrated once more upon Vere's main position. Husbanding
his strength to the utmost, Vere gradually drew the whole of his
English into action and fought on. So far, owing to the skill of
his dispositions, little more than half of his force had been
engaged, but seeing that they were likely to be overwhelmed by
numbers, he sent messengers to summon his reserve of two thousand
Frisian infantry, and to beg Maurice to help him with cavalry
from his right. Messenger after messenger was despatched without
result. Vere went down among his few remaining men, and the little
force, cheered by his presence, fought gallantly on and still held
the enemy at bay. He was struck by a musket ball in the thigh and
by a second in the leg, but he concealed the wounds and held his
men together. Yet the expected reinforcements came not, and the
English were slowly forced back, still in good order and still
showing their teeth, from the dunes on to the beach, the Spaniards
following after them, but afraid to press the pursuit. As the
English retired, Vere's horse was shot under him and fell, pinning
him helpless to the ground. Three of his officers ran up and freed
him; and mounted on the crupper behind one of them, he continued
calmly to direct the retreat.

Arrived on the sands he found his reserve of Frisians still
halted in their original position, having never received orders
to move, and with them the two troops of English horse. A charge
of the cavalry, supported by two hundred infantry under Horace
Vere, soon swept the Spaniards back into the dunes, and then at
last Sir Francis made himself over to the surgeon, while Maurice
came forward, cool and unmoved, to save the day. The Spaniards
now massed two thousand infantry together for a further advance,
while the English officers, weary with fighting and parched with
heat and sand, exerted themselves to rally their men. The English
were quickly reformed, so quickly that the Spaniards, who had sent
forward a party to disperse them, promptly withdrew it at the sight
of Horace Vere returning with his two hundred men from the beach.
Maurice saw the movement and exclaimed joyfully, "Voyez les Anglais
qui tournent à la charge." He at once ordered up the cavalry from
the right under Sir Edward Cecil; and meanwhile Horace Vere and his
brother officers hastily decided that their only chance was at once
to charge the two thousand Spaniards with their handful of men.
They rushed desperately down upon them; the Spaniards, worn out by
a long march and hard fighting, gave way, and Maurice catching the
supreme moment launched Cecil's troopers into the thick of them.
A second charge disposed of the Spanish horse; Maurice ordered a
general advance, and the battle was won. Three thousand Spaniards
were killed outright; six hundred more with all their guns and one
hundred and twenty colours were captured. On the side of the States
the loss fell almost wholly on the English. Of their captains eight
were killed, and but two came out of the field unhurt; of the
sixteen hundred men eight hundred were killed and wounded. They
with the Frisians had borne the brunt of the action, and Maurice
gave them credit for it. So ended the fight of Nieuport,[140] the
dying struggle of the once famous Spanish soldier, and the first
great day of the new English infantry.

[Sidenote: 1601.]

[Sidenote: July 9.]

Next year the Archduke Albert sought revenge for his defeat by
the investment of the one stronghold of the United Provinces in
Flanders, the little fortified fishing-town of Ostend. The garrison
had made itself so obnoxious to the surrounding country that
the States of Flanders petitioned the Archduke to stamp out the
pestilent little fortress once for all; and hence it was that in
the following years the principal operations grouped themselves
around the siege. The Archduke's army consisted of twenty thousand
men with fifty siege-guns; the garrison of barely six thousand men,
half English and half Dutch, of which fifteen hundred English,
all dressed in red cassocks, were a reinforcement just imported
from across the sea. Francis Vere was in supreme command, and his
brother Horace commanded a regiment under him.

I shall not weary the reader with details of Vere's skill and
resource in improving the defences of the town, or of the incessant
encounters that took place during the first weeks of the siege.
The Spanish fire was so hot and the losses of the besieged so
heavy that the garrison was fairly worn out with the work. Vere
was dangerously wounded in the head within the first three weeks
and compelled to throw up the command until restored to health,
and at the close of the first month hardly a red cassock of the
fifteen hundred was to be seen, every man being wounded or dead.
Nevertheless, the sea being always open to the besieged, fresh
men and supplies could always be poured into the town to repair
the waste. Two thousand English, for a wonder well equipped and
apparelled, were the first to arrive, and were followed by a
contingent, of French and Scots. They too went down with terrible
rapidity. The town was but five hundred yards across, and the
Spanish batteries were built within musket-shot of the defences.
Hardly a house was left standing, and the garrison was compelled to
burrow underground as the only refuge from the incessant rain of
missiles. The winter set in with exceptional rigour, the defenders
dwindled to a bare nine hundred effective men, and at Christmas
Vere, in the face of foul winds and failing supplies, was compelled
to resort to a feigned parley to gain time. By a fortunate change
of wind four hundred men were able to enter the harbour and recruit
the exhausted garrison.

[Sidenote: 1602.]

So far the Spaniards had fired one hundred and sixty-three thousand
cannon-shot into the town, and they now decided on a general
assault. On the 7th of January Vere received intelligence of the
coming attack, and, though his force was far too weak to defend
the full extent of his works, made every preparation to repel it.
Firkins of ashes, barrels bristling with tenterhooks, stones,
hoops, brickbats, clubs, what not, were stored on the ramparts, and
at high tide the water was dammed up into the ditch. At nightfall
the Spanish columns fell on the devoted town at all points. They
were met by a shower of every description of missile; flaming hoops
were cast round their necks, ashes flung in their eyes, brickbats
hurled in their faces; and storm as they might they could gain
no footing. Thrice they returned to the assault, and thrice they
were beaten back, and at last they retired, sullen and furious,
for the tide was rising, and on one side they could advance to the
town only by a passage which was not fordable at high water. Vere
opened the sluices of the ditch as they retreated, and the rush of
water swept scores if not hundreds of them out to sea. The Spanish
loss was two thousand men; that of the garrison did not exceed one
hundred and thirty.

[Sidenote: 1603-1604.]

I shall not further follow this memorable siege. Vere and his
brother Horace left the town worn almost to death in March 1602,
but still the defence was maintained. Reinforcements from England
came in by hundreds and by thousands. Rogues, vagabonds, idle,
dissolute, and masterless persons were impressed impartially
together with men of honesty and reputation, clapped into red or
blue cassocks and shipped across to Ostend. Volunteers of noble and
of humble birth, some in search of instruction, some with a thirst
for excitement, hurried likewise to the siege, and Ostend became
one of the sights of Europe. Governor after governor, gallant
Dutchmen all of them, came to take command. Three of them were
killed outright, but still the defence continued, until at last on
the 13th of September 1604 the heap of ruins which marked the site
of Ostend was surrendered into the generous hands of Spinola. The
siege had lasted three years and ten weeks, and had cost the lives
of one hundred and twenty thousand men.

Before the town fell the campaigns of Francis Vere were ended. In
1602 he accompanied Maurice to the siege of Grave, where he was
once more dangerously wounded, and in the summer of 1604 he retired
from the service of the States, from whom he deservedly received a
pension for his life. In the very same year King James the First
made a treaty with the Archdukes of the Spanish Netherlands,
which left the Dutch patriots henceforth to fight their battles
by themselves; but nations like the English and Scotch are not
bound by the decisions of such a creature as James. The British
troops not only remained in the service of the State but grew
and multiplied exceedingly, and Francis Vere, who had made their
service honourable and given their efforts distinction, could feel
that his work was well done. A few short years of rest closed a
life that was shortened by hardship and wounds; and on the 28th of
August, 1609, within four months of the signing of the truce which
gave breathing time to the exhausted combatants of the Dutch war,
the old soldier died peacefully in his house in London. His tomb
in Westminster Abbey is admired by thousands who know not one of
his actions, but surely it is no derogation to art to remember
that the recumbent marble effigy, and the four noble figures that
kneel around it are those not of conventional heroes, but of honest
English fighting men, typical of many thousands who perished in
the cause of Dutch freedom and lie buried and forgotten in the
blood-stained soil of the Netherlands.

[Sidenote: 1619.]

The twelve years' truce gave the English regiments a rest which,
though not wholly unbroken, left some of the more daring spirits
free for other adventure. The cause of the Elector Frederick, a
prince less interesting to the English as the Winter King than as
the husband of their favourite Princess Elizabeth, called Horace
Vere and many another gallant gentleman with four thousand good
soldiers into the Palatinate, where however their bravery could not
avail to save them from inevitable failure. King James of course
had no part in the venture; so far from moving a finger in aid of
the Protestant cause in Germany, he even conspired secretly with
Spain for a partition of the Netherlands, which was to be effected
by the English troops in the Dutch service, the very men who had
made the cause of the United Provinces their own and had carried it
through the perils of Nieuport and Ostend. It is hardly surprising
that such a man should, not indeed without searching of heart but
without stirring a hand, have suffered Germany to drift into the
Thirty Years War.

[Sidenote: 1621.]

[Sidenote: 1624.]

[Sidenote: 1625-1637.]

The lapse of the twelve years' truce found a large contingent of
English under the command of Sir Edward Cecil attached to the
army of Prince Maurice; and three years later the final breach
of England with Spain increased its number from six to twelve
thousand, and in 1625 even to seventeen thousand men. It would
be tedious to follow them through the operations of the ensuing
campaigns; it must suffice to call attention to the rise of men who
were to become famous in later days and thus bridge over by a few
stepping-stones the connection of the British army with the old
Dutch schools of war. The first names are those of Philip Skippon,
whom we find wounded before Breda in 1625, and of Captain John
Cromwell, a kinsman of the great Oliver, who was also wounded in
the same action. Coming next to the siege of Bois le Duc in 1629
we find the list far longer--Lord Doncaster, Lord Fielding, who
trailed a pike in Cecil's regiment, Lord Craven, a Luttrell, a
Bridgeman, a Basset, a Throgmorton, a Fleetwood, a Lambert, a
second Cromwell, Thomas Fairfax, Philip Skippon, Jacob Astley,
Thomas Culpeper, the veterans Balfour and Sandilands from north of
the Tweed, and many more. Lastly, at the siege of Breda in 1637 we
see Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice, sons of the Winter King, as
forward in the trenches as any needy cadet could be, working side
by side with Philip Skippon, Lord Warwick, and George Goring. Of
these Skippon and Goring divided the honours of the siege. Skippon
at a post of extreme danger drove off two hundred Spaniards at
push of pike with thirty English; he was struck by five bullets
on helmet and corselet and at last shot through the neck, but he
merely sat down for ten minutes and returned to his work until
recalled by the Prince of Orange. Goring in the extreme advanced
sap paid extra wages from his own pocket to any who would work with
him, and remained there while two-and-twenty men were shot down
round him, until at last he was compelled to retire by a bullet in
the ankle. Meanwhile fresh volunteers kept pouring in--Herbert,
son of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Sir Faithful Fortescue of the
King's cavalry in Ireland, Sir Charles Slingsby, with many more,
and lastly Captain George Monk of Potheridge in Devon, one day
to be the first colonel of the Coldstream Guards, and even now
distinguished by peculiar bravery.

There they were, brave English gentlemen, all wearing the scarf of
orange and blue, fighting side by side with the pupils of Francis
Vere, learning their work for the days when they should be divided
into Cavaliers and Roundheads and flying at each other's throats.
It was a merry life enough, though with plenty of grim earnest.
Before each relief marched off for the night to the trenches
it drew off in _parado_[141] to the quarters of the colonel in
command, heard prayers, sang a psalm and so went to its work; but
though there was a preacher to every regiment and a sermon in the
colonel's tent, there was no compulsion to attend, and there were
few listeners except a handful of well-disposed persons.[142] It
was to be a very different matter with some of them ten years
later, but that they could not foresee; and in truth we find among
the gentlemen volunteers some very familiar types. One of them
arrived with eighteen suits of clothes, got drunk immediately
on landing and remained drunk, hiccuping "thy pot or mine," for
the rest of his stay. It is not difficult to understand why this
gentleman was sent to the wars. Another, Ensign Duncombe, came for
a different reason; he had fallen in love with a girl, who though
worthy of him was not approved of by his parents. So he too was
sent out to forget her, as such foolish boys must be; and he became
a great favourite and did well. But unluckily he could not forget;
so one day he sat down and wrote two letters, one full of passion
to his beloved, and another full of duty to his father, and having
done so, addressed the passionate epistle, as is the way of such
poor blundering boys, to his father and the dutiful one to the
lady. And so it came about that some weeks later the regiment was
horrified to hear that young Duncombe had shot himself; and there
was an ensign the less in the Low Countries and a broken heart
the more in England, sad silence at the officers' table and much
morbid discussion of the incident in the ranks. It is such trifles
as these that recall to us that these soldiers of old times were
really living creatures of flesh and blood.

The men too were learning their business with all the elaborate
exercise of musket and of pike, and familiarising themselves with
the innumerable words of command and with the refinements in
the execution of the same. The pikeman learned by interminable
directions to handle his weapon with the better grace, and listened
to such cautions as the following. "Now at the word _Order your
pikes_, you place the butt end of your pike by the outside of your
right foot, your right hand holding it even with your eye and
your thumb right up; then your left arm being set akimbo by your
side you shall stand with a full body in a comely posture." The
musketeer too grasped that the minutest motion must be executed
by word of command. Stray grains of powder spilled around the pan
disappeared at the word _Blow off your loose corns_, sometimes by
a puff or two sometimes by a "sudden strong blast," but always
in accordance with regulation. At the word _Give fire_ again he
learned the supreme importance of "gently pressing the trigger
without starting or winking," and soon revived the old English
reputation, first won by the archers, for fine marksmanship. An
eye-witness records with delight that after each shot they would
lean on their rests and look for the result as coolly as though
they had been so many fowlers watching for the fall of their bird.
Lastly, they learned a new feat, untaught in any drill-book, with
which this section may fitly be closed. Pikemen and musketeers were
drawn up in line, every pike with a wisp of straw at its head, and
every musket loaded with powder only; and at the word every wisp
was kindled and every musket fired in rapid succession. The volley
met with a stop at first, to use the words of our authority, as was
perhaps natural at a first attempt, but eventually it ran well; and
thus was fired before Bois le Duc in the year 1629 the first _feu
de joie_ that is recorded of the British Army.[143]

  AUTHORITIES.--The chief sources of information for the actions of
  the British in the Low Countries are the histories of Meteren,
  Grimeston and Commelyn; Roger Williams's _Actions of the Low
  Countries_; Hexham; Vere's _Commentaries_; the _Leicester
  Correspondence_ (Camden Society); the _Calendars of State
  Papers, Domestic and Foreign Series_; and the _Holland Papers_
  in the Record Office. These last, consisting of several scores
  of portfolios of manuscript documents, I cannot pretend to have
  studied exhaustively. Sir Clements Markham's _Fighting Veres_
  and Mr. Dalton's _Life of Lord Wimbledon_ are the best modern
  books on the subject, and I wish to acknowledge to the full my
  obligation to them. Hexham's _Principles of the Art Military_ is
  the best authority for the Dutch system of drill. The _Tactics of
  Ælian_, translated with commentary by Captain John Bingham, 1616,
  is also valuable. Last, but not least, the reader will supply for
  himself the familiar name of Motley.


It is now needful to turn to the second and perhaps more important
school of the British Army. As in the Low Countries we found
English and Scots fighting side by side, but gave to the English,
as their numerical preponderance demanded, the greater share of
attention, so now in the German battlefields of the Thirty Years'
War we shall see them again ranked together, but must devote
ourselves for the same reason to the actions of the Scots.

The North Britons seem to have found their way very quickly to the
banners of Gustavus Adolphus, and to have fought with him in his
earlier campaigns long before he had established himself as the
champion of Protestantism. To mention but two memorable names, Sir
John Hepburn and Sir Alexander Leslie had risen to high rank in his
service many years before he crossed the Baltic for his marvellous
campaigns in Germany. But to trace the history of the famous
Scottish regiments aright, they must be briefly followed from their
first departure from Scotland to take service under King Christian
the Fourth of Denmark, who curiously enough forms the link that
connects the two schools of Maurice of Nassau and Gustavus Adolphus.

[Sidenote: 1626, August 17.]

It was in reliance on promises of subsidy from the English King
Charles the First that Christian first levied an army and took
the field for the Protestant cause. His plan was for a defensive
campaign, but this was impossible unless his soldiers were
regularly paid, which they would be, as he hoped, with English
money. Needless to say, Charles when the moment came was unable
to fulfil his promise; Christian was driven to take the offensive
and was completely defeated by Tilly at Lutter. The unhappy king
appealed indignantly to Charles for help, but Charles could send
nothing but four English regiments which had been raised for
service in the Low Countries two years before, and were now,
through the prevailing maladministration in every department of
English affairs, weak, disorganised and useless. Their numbers were
however supplemented by the press-gang, and a body of some five
thousand men, unpaid and ill-found, ripe for disease and disorder,
were shipped off to the Elbe.

A little earlier than the defeat at Lutter one of the many
gentlemen-adventurers in Scotland, Sir Donald Mackay, had obtained
leave from King Charles to raise and transport five thousand men
for King Christian's ally, the famous free lance, Count Ernest
Mansfeld. It does not appear that he succeeded in recruiting
even half of that number, for heavy drafts had already been made
upon the centre and south of Scotland for levies. Still some two
thousand men were collected by fair means or foul, and even if
some of them were taken from the Tolbooth at Edinburgh, it was
fitting that in a corps so famous there should be representatives
from the Heart of Midlothian. But it is certain that a goodly
proportion were taken from the northern counties and in particular
from the district of the Clan Mackay, and that these took the
field in their national costume and so were the first organised
body deserving the name of a kilted regiment. The officers, from
their names and still more from their subsequent behaviour, seem
to have been without exception gentlemen of birth and standing,
worthy to represent their nation. Some of them probably had already
experience of war; one at least, Robert Munro, the historian of
the regiment, had served in the Scottish body-guard of the King of
France, and had learned from sad experience the meaning of the word

[Sidenote: 1627.]

The regiment sailed in divisions from Cromarty and Aberdeen and
arrived at Glückstadt on the Elbe in October 1626. The winter was
spent in training the men, but not without riot and brawling. The
officers were constantly quarrelling, and there was so little
discipline among the men that a sergeant actually fell out of the
ranks when at drill to cudgel a foreign officer who had maltreated
one of his comrades. Meanwhile Count Mansfeld, who had originally
hired the regiment, was dead, and in March 1627 Sir Donald Mackay
offered its services to the King of Denmark. Christian accordingly
reviewed it, and having first inspected the ranks on parade, "drums
beating, colours flying, horses neighing," saw it march past and
paid it a handsome compliment. The men were then drawn, after the
fashion of the landsknechts, into a ring, where they took the oath
and listened to a rehearsal of the articles of war; and so their
services began. Half of them were despatched with the English
regiments to Bremen, and the remainder were stationed at Lauenburg
to guard the passage of the Elbe.

[Sidenote: July.]

After a vast deal of marching and counter-marching four companies,
under Major Dunbar, were left at Boitzenburg, at the junction
of the Boitze and the Elbe, while Mackay with the remaining
seven was moved to Ruppin. Three days after Mackay's departure,
Tilly's army, ten thousand strong, marched up to Boitzenburg and
prepared to push forward into Holstein. Dunbar knowing his own
weakness had strengthened his defences, but eight hundred men
was a small garrison against an army. On the very first night he
made a successful sortie; and on the next day the Imperialist
army assaulted his works at all points. The first attack was
repulsed with loss of over five hundred men to the assailants.
Reinforcements were brought up; the attack was renewed and
again beaten off, and finally a third and furious onslaught was
made on the little band of Scots. In the midst of the fighting
the ammunition of the garrison failed and its fire ceased. The
Imperialists, guessing the cause, made a general rush for the
walls. The Scots met them at first with showers of sand torn from
the ramparts, and presently falling in with pike and butt of
musket fought the Imperialists hand to hand, and after a desperate
struggle drove them out with the loss of another five hundred men.
Tilly then drew off and crossed the Elbe higher up, and Dunbar by
Christian's order marched proudly out of Boitzenburg. This was the
first engagement of Mackay's regiment, a fitting prelude to work
that was to come.[145]

[Sidenote: October.]

The headquarters of the regiment was presently moved from Ruppin
to Oldenburg to hold the pass against Tilly's advance, and here
they too came into action. They were ill supported by their foreign
comrades, for the Danes gave way, the Germans of Christian's army
took to their heels, and the brunt of the engagement fell upon half
the regiment of Scots. After two hours of heavy fighting they were
relieved by the other half, and so the two divisions, taking turn
and turn, maintained the struggle against vastly superior numbers
from seven in the morning till four in the afternoon, when the
enemy at last drew off owing to the darkness. The spirit shown by
the Scots was superb. Ensign David Ross received a bullet in the
chest; he retired for a few minutes to get the wound dressed, and
returned to the fight; nor did he afterwards miss an hour's duty
on the plea that he was wounded. Hector Munro of Coull, being shot
through the foot, refused to retire till he had fired away all
his ammunition, and before he could do so was shot in the other
foot also. Yet another, Hugh Murray, being ordered to bring away
his brother's corpse under a heavy fire, swore that he would first
empty his brother's bandoliers against the enemy, and was shot
in the eye, though not fatally, while fulfilling his oath. Yet
these were young soldiers, of so little experience that they left
their reserve of ammunition exposed, and suffered heavily from the
explosion of a barrel of powder. They lost sixteen officers and
four hundred men that day.

That night the Danish army retreated to Heiligenhaven, but some
German Reiters that were attached to it were so unsteady that
they speedily turned the retreat into a flight; and when the
harbour was reached the cavalry crowded on to the mole to seize
all the transport-vessels for themselves. Sir Donald Mackay, who
was himself wounded, was not the man to suffer his regiment to
be sacrificed; he calmly ordered his pikemen to advance, swept
the whole of the Reiters into the sea, seized the nearest ship,
brought others out of the roadstead and proceeded to the work of
embarkation. The last boat's load shoved off surrounded by the
enemy's horse, and the last of the Scots, a gallant boy named
Murchison, though wounded in the head and shot through the arm,
swam off to the boat under a heavy fire, only to die two days later
of his injuries. The rest of the Danish army, thirty-five troops
of horse and forty companies of foot, surrendered without a blow.
Hence it is hardly surprising that, when next the Scots found
themselves in quarters alongside Danish horse, there was a furious
riot which cost the lives of seven or eight men before it could be
suppressed. But in truth Mackay's regiment was so much weakened
by its losses that both colonel and lieutenant-colonel returned
perforce to Scotland to raise recruits.

[Sidenote: 1628.]

I shall not follow the various small actions of the earlier part
of the campaign of 1628 in Holstein, though many of them were
brilliant enough. It must suffice that Scotch and English fought
constantly side by side not only against the enemy, but once
riotously against the Danes themselves, whom they considered to be
unduly favoured in the matter of rations. In May the Imperialists
moved up in force to occupy Stralsund; and the burghers having
appealed to Christian for assistance received from him the seven
companies, now reduced to eight hundred men, of Mackay's regiment.

[Sidenote: June 26.]

On arrival their commanding officer at once selected the most
dangerous post in the defences, as in honour bound, and for six
weeks the regiment was harassed to death by exhausting duty. The
men took their very meals at their posts, and Monro, who was now
a major, mentions that he never once took off his clothes. They
suffered heavily too from the enemy's fire, a single cannon shot
strewing the walls with the brains of no fewer than fourteen men;
but still they held out. At last Wallenstein came up in person,
impatient at the delay, and vowed that he would take the town in
three nights though it hung by a chain between heaven and earth.
His first assault was hurled back by the Scots with the loss of a
thousand men. But the Highlanders also had been severely punished;
three officers and two hundred men had been killed outright, and
seven more officers were wounded. On the following night the attack
was renewed and again repulsed, but the garrison was now compelled
to open a parley in order to gain time; and the negotiations were
prolonged until the arrival of a second Scottish regiment under
Lord Spynie enabled the defenders to renew their defiance.

[Sidenote: 1630.]

[Sidenote: February.]

Shortly after the King of Sweden charged himself with the defence
of Stralsund. Alexander Leslie, whom we shall meet again, was
appointed to take the command, and Mackay's and Spynie's regiments
after a final sortie were withdrawn to Copenhagen. Of Mackay's,
five hundred had been killed outright in the siege, and a bare
hundred only remained unwounded; in fact the regiment required
virtually to be reconstructed. The work of recruiting and
reorganisation occupied the winter months, at the close of which
the corps, now raised to ten companies and fifteen hundred men, was
honourably discharged from the service of Denmark, and free to join
itself, as it presently did, to Gustavus Adolphus.

Its first duty was to learn the new drill and discipline introduced
by the King of Sweden; and as his system was destined to be
accepted later by all the armies of Europe, no better place can be
found than this, when it was just brought to perfection and first
taught to British soldiers, to give some brief account of it.

The infantry of Gustavus Adolphus, as of all other civilised
armies at that period, was made up of pikemen and musketeers, and
beyond all doubt had originally been trained and organised on the
models of the Spanish and the Dutch. Enough has already been said
of these to enable the reader to follow the reforms introduced by
the Swedish king. First as regards weapons: the old long pike was
cut down from a length of fifteen or eighteen feet to the more
modest dimension of eleven feet, and the old clumsy musket with its
heavy rest was replaced by a lighter weapon which could be fired
from the shoulder without further support. The defensive armour
of the pikeman was also reduced to back, breast, and tassets; and
thus both divisions of the infantry, carrying less weight than
heretofore, were enabled to move more rapidly and to accomplish
longer marches without fatigue. This was a first step towards
the mobility which the great soldier designed to oppose to the
old-fashioned forces of mass and weight.

Next as to the tactics of infantry: Gustavus's first improvement
was to reduce the old formation from ten ranks to six; his second
and more important was to withdraw the musketeers from their old
station in the flanks of companies, and to mass pikes and shot into
separate bodies. It is abundantly evident that he looked upon the
development of the fire of musketry as of the first importance in
war, and to this end he sought to render the musketeers independent
of the protection of the pikes. This idea led him to a curious
revival of old methods, nothing less than a modification of the
stakes which were seen in the hands of the English at Hastings
and Agincourt, and which now took the name of hog's bristles or
Swedish feathers. This, however, was a small matter compared to
his improvement in the method of maintaining a continuous fire.
Pescayra's system was one which, on the face of it, was not suited
to young or unsteady troops. In theory it was a very simple matter
that the ranks should fire and file off to the rear in succession,
but in practice the temptation to men to get the firing done as
quickly as possible and to seek shelter behind the ranks of their
comrades was a great deal too strong. The retirement was apt to
be executed with an unseemly haste which was demoralising to the
whole company, and there was no certainty that the retiring ranks,
instead of resuming their place in rear, would not disappear from
the field altogether. Gustavus therefore made the ranks that had
fired retire through[146] instead of outside their companies,
where, through judicious posting of officers and non-commissioned
officers, any disposition to hurry could be checked by the blow
of a halberd across the shins or by such other expedients as the
reader's imagination may suggest. In an advance, again, he made the
rear ranks move up successively through the front ranks, and in a
retreat caused the front ranks to retire through the rear.

This reform was as much moral as tactical; but the next made a
great stride towards modern practice. Not content with reducing
ten ranks to six Gustavus on occasions would double those six into
three, and by making the front rank kneel enabled the fire of all
three to be delivered simultaneously. Here is seen the advantage of
abolishing the old musket-rest, with which such a concentration of
fire would have been impossible. Still following out his leading
principle, he encouraged the use of cartridges to hasten the
process of loading; and finally to perfect his work he introduced
a new tactical unit, the _peloton_, called by Munro _plotton_ and
later naturalised among us as the platoon of musketeers, which
consisted of forty-eight men, eight in rank and six in file, all
of course carefully trained to the new tactics. Yet with all
these changes the drill was of the simplest; if men could turn
right, left, and about, and double their ranks and files, that was

In the matter of pure organisation Gustavus again improved upon all
existing systems. First he made the companies of uniform strength,
one hundred and twenty-six men, distributed into twenty-one
_rots_ or files, and six corporalships. A corporalship of pikes
consisted of three files, and of musketeers of four files;[147]
and to every file was appointed a _rottmeister_[148] or leader,
who stood in the front, and an _unter-rottmeister_ or sub-leader,
who stood in the rear rank. Both of these received higher pay than
the private soldier. Two sergeants, four under-sergeants and a
quartermaster-sergeant completed the strength of non-commissioned
officers, while three pipers and as many drums made music for
all. Moreover each company carried a kind of reserve with it in
the shape of eighteen supernumerary men who bore the name of
_passe-volans_, the old slang term for fictitious soldiers since
the days of Hawkwood, and; were allowed to the captain as free
men, unmustered. The officers of course were as usual captain,
lieutenant, and ensign.

Eight such companies constituted a regiment, which was thus one
thousand and eight men strong, with a colonel, lieutenant-colonel,
and major over all. The regimental staff included many officials
borrowed from the landsknechts' model for the trial and punishment
of offenders, and for a complete novelty, four surgeons. The
provision of medical aid had formerly been left to the captains,
and it is to Gustavus that we owe the first example of a sounder
medical organisation.

Four companies or half of such a regiment were called either a
squadron or by the Italian name _battaglia_, to which must be
traced our modern word battalion. Two such regiments were called
a brigade, which marks the latest advance in organisation made by
Gustavus. Maurice of Nassau had been before him in the formation of
brigades but had not reduced them to uniform strength. The Swedish
brigades had a stereotyped formation for battle, and were called
after the colour of their standards, the white, the blue, the
yellow, and finally the green, better known as the Scots Brigade,
which is that wherein we are chiefly interested.

Passing next to the cavalry, the marks of Gustavus's reforming
hand are not less evident. The force at large was divided into
cuirassiers and dragoons. Of these the latter, who were armed with
muskets and were simply mounted infantry, may be dismissed without
further observation. The cuirassiers, except outwardly, bore a
strong resemblance to the Reiters, for, though stripped of all
defensive armour except cuirass and helmet, they still carried two
pistols as well as the sword. Gustavus, however, here as with the
infantry, took a line of his own. He began by reducing the depth of
the ranks from the bottomless profundity of the Reiters to three
or at most four; and though he still opened his attack with the
pistol and so far adhered to missile tactics he to a considerable
extent combined with them the action by shock. As in the infantry,
it was Pescayra's system that he wished to supersede. The Reiters,
as we know by the testimony of many eye-witnesses, were often so
anxious to go to the rear and reload that they fired their pistols
at absurd ranges, sometimes indeed hardly waiting to fire before
they turned about. Unable to apply to cavalry the system which
he had adopted for the infantry, and failing in common with all
his contemporaries to grasp the principle that, since a horse has
four legs and a man two, the evolutions of horse and foot must be
fundamentally different, Gustavus none the less determined that his
cuirassiers should at all events come to close quarters with their
enemy. He therefore trained them not to fire till they could see
the white of their opponents' eyes, and having fired to strike in
with the sword.

Hence he has the credit, which is not wholly undeserved, of having
restored shock-action, and is said to have made his cavalry charge
at the gallop; but the first statement is misleading, and the
second in the face of contemporary accounts incredible. In the
first place, the sword is a singularly ineffective weapon against
mailed men, and a true restorer of shock-action would almost
certainly have reverted to the lance. In the second place, mounted
men who open their attack with pistols will infallibly check
their horses at the moment of firing in order to ensure greater
accuracy of aim. Lastly, Gustavus's favourite plan for the attack
of cavalry was to intersperse his squadrons with platoons of
musketeers, which advanced with them within close range[149] and
fired a volley into the enemy's horse. This preliminary over, the
cuirassiers advanced, fired their pistols, fell in with the sword,
and retired; by which time the musketeers had reloaded and were
ready with another volley. Close range of the musket of those days
would not have allowed space for a body of horse to gather way for
a shock-attack in the modern sense, and it is therefore more than
doubtful whether the Swedish squadrons charged at higher speed than
the trot. Gustavus's system was in fact simply a revival of Edward
the First's at Falkirk, which had already been developed with
great success by Pescayra at Pavia. Nevertheless, by reducing the
depth of squadrons and insisting that his men should come to close
quarters, Gustavus unquestionably did very much for the improvement
of cavalry.[150]

Most remarkable of all were his reforms in the matter of artillery.
Profoundly impressed by the power of field-guns he spared no
effort to make them lighter and more mobile, so as to be at once
easily manœuvred and capable of transport in larger numbers.
Here again Maurice had been before him, not without success,
but Gustavus possessed in the person of a Scotch gentleman, Sir
Alexander Hamilton, an artillerist of wider views than lay to the
hand of the great Dutch soldier. Hamilton's first experiment was
to make leathern guns,[151] strengthened by hoops of metal and
with apparently a core of tin, which could easily be carried on
a pony's back or stacked away by the dozen in a waggon. Gustavus
used them frequently in his earlier campaigns but discarded them
at latest after the battle of Breitenfeld, finding that their life
did not extend beyond ten or a dozen rounds. He then fell back on
light two-pounders and four-pounders, which required few horses
for draught, and could be loaded and fired by a skilful crew more
rapidly even than a musket. A few such guns were attached to each
regiment and called regimental pieces; and very effective they were
presently found to be.

Further, Gustavus was a consummate engineer, as fond of the spade
as Maurice himself, and a past master of field-fortification. On
stepping ashore in Germany he first fell on his knees and prayed,
and then picking up a spade began to dig with his own hands. This,
it may here be mentioned once for all, was the one point in his
system which the Scots could not endure; they always grumbled when
called upon to use the spade, and in spite of the King's occasional
reproaches, always made less progress with field-works in a given
time than any other corps in the army.

Lastly, to turn to broader principles, the great innovation of
Gustavus, visible in all his reforms, was to match mobility
against the old system of weight. He never massed his troops
in unwieldy bodies, but distributed them in smaller and more
flexible divisions, allowing plenty of space for facility of
manœuvre. His order of battle was that which was customary in
his time, consisting of two lines with infantry in the centre
and cavalry on the flanks; but he always allowed three hundred
yards of distance between the first and second line, and erected
the practice of keeping a reserve, which had been intermittently
observed for centuries, into an established principle. Again, he
carefully studied the effective combination of the three arms with
a thoroughness unknown since the days of Zizca, supplying artillery
to his infantry, and supporting impartially horse with foot and
foot with horse. Finally, as the backbone of all, he enforced with
a strictness that had never been seen before him the observance of

[Sidenote: 1631.]

Such was the Army and such the General to which Mackay's regiment
now joined itself. In June 1630 it embarked for Germany as part of
the thirteen thousand men which formed the Swedish army, half of
the companies at Elfsknaben, the remainder under Munro at Pillau.
The latter detachment was wrecked off Rügenwalde, which was held
by the Imperialists, and lost everything; but having made shift
to obtain arms calmly attacked the Imperial garrison and captured
the town--as daring a feat of arms as ever was done by Scotsmen.
After several small engagements Monro rejoined his headquarters at
Stettin, and in January 1631 Gustavus, who boasted with justice
that his army was as effective for a winter's as for a summer's
campaign, invaded Brandenburg and marched for the Oder. The Scotch
were organised into the famous Scots Brigade, consisting of four
picked regiments--Hepburn's, Mackay's, Stargate's, and Lumsden's,
the whole under the command of Sir John Hepburn.

[Sidenote: May.]

We must pass over the operations in Brandenburg, where the Scots
Brigade distinguished itself repeatedly, and come forthwith to
Saxony, whither Gustavus had been called from the Oder by Tilly's
advance upon Magdeburg. Arriving too late to save the unhappy
city he entrenched himself at Werben, at the junction of the Elbe
and the Havel, and gave the world a first notable example of his
skill as an engineer. Tilly, having lost six thousand men in the
vain attempt to storm the entrenchments, invaded Saxony, whither
Gustavus at once followed him and offered him battle on the plain
of Leipsic.

On the 7th of September Tilly took up his position facing north,
on a low line of heights running from the village of Breitenfeld
on the west to that of Seehausen on the east. His army was drawn
up in a single line. On each wing as usual was posted the cavalry,
seven regiments under Pappenheim on the left, seven more under
Furstenburg on the right, all drawn up in the dense columns beloved
of Charles the Fifth. In the centre was Tilly himself, with
eighteen regiments of infantry, his famous Walloons among them,
massed together in the old heavy Spanish formation. On the heights
above him were his guns. The whole force numbered forty thousand
men, and their General was a man who, though seventy years of age,
had never lost a battle.

[Sidenote: Sept. 7.]

On the other side the armies of Gustavus and of his allies the
Saxons were drawn up in two lines. On the left were the Saxons,
fourteen thousand strong, and on the right, with which alone we
need concern ourselves, the Swedes. In touch with the Saxon right,
the Swedish left under Field-Marshal Horn was made up, both in
the first and second lines, of six regiments of horse, with four
platoons of musketeers between each regiment. The right wing under
Gustavus himself was similarly composed. In the centre the first
line was made up of four half brigades of foot, supported by a
regiment of cavalry and eight platoons of Scots; and the second
line of three brigades, of which Hepburn's was one. In rear of both
lines was a reserve of cavalry, and in the extreme rear a further
reserve, the first ever seen, of artillery.

The battle opened as usual with a duel of artillery, which was
continued from noon till half-past two, the Swedish guns, more
numerous and better served than Tilly's, firing three shots to
the enemy's one. Then Pappenheim, on Tilly's left, lost patience,
and setting his cavalry in motion without orders came down upon
the Swedish right. He was met by biting volleys from the platoons
of musketeers and charges from the cuirassiers at their side; his
men shrank from the fire, and edging leftward across the front of
Gustavus's wing swept down towards its rear. General Bauer, in
command of the reserve cavalry of the first line, at once moved out
and broke into them; and the whole Swedish right coming into action
drove back Pappenheim's horse, after a hard struggle, in disorder.
Gustavus checked the pursuit, for Tilly had pushed forward a
regiment of infantry in support of Pappenheim, and turning all his
force on this unhappy corps annihilated it.

On the Imperialists' left Furstenburg, following Pappenheim's
example, had also charged, and had driven the entire Saxon army
before him like chaff before the wind.[152] He followed them in hot
pursuit; and had Tilly at once advanced with his centre against
Field-Marshal Horn, the situation of the Swedes would have been
critical, for their left was now completely uncovered. But owing
to the faulty disposition of his artillery Tilly could not advance
directly without putting his guns out of action, and he therefore
followed in the track of Furstenburg to turn Horn's left flank.
The delay gave Horn time to make dispositions to meet the attack.
Hepburn's brigade came quickly up with another brigade in support,
and the Scots after one volley charged the hostile infantry with
the pike and routed it completely. Gustavus meanwhile had again
advanced with his cavalry on the right, and sweeping down on the
flank of Tilly's battery captured all his guns and turned them
against himself. The battle was virtually over, but four splendid
old Walloon regiments stood firm to the last, and though reduced to
but six hundred men retreated at nightfall in good order.

The victory was crushing; and yet of all the Swedish infantry two
brigades alone had been engaged, and of these the Scots had done
the greater share of the work. The battle marks the death-day of
the old dense formations and the triumph of mobility over weight,
and is therefore of particular interest to a nation whose strength
is to fight in line.

[Sidenote: 1632.]

From Leipsic Gustavus marched for the Main, where the Scots were as
usual put forward for every desperate service, and held his winter
court at Mainz. In the spring of the following year he marched
down to the line of the Danube with forty thousand men, forced the
passage of the Lech in the teeth of Tilly's army, entered Bavaria
and by May was at Munich. Then hearing that the towns on the Danube
in his rear were threatened he turned back to Donauwörth, whence
he was called away by the movements of Wallenstein in Saxony to
Nürnberg. Such marching had not been since the days of Zizca. He
now turned Nürnberg, as he had turned Werben in the previous year,
into a vast entrenched camp; for he had now but eighteen thousand
men against Wallenstein's seventy thousand, and it behoved him
to make the most of his position. Wallenstein, however, without
risking an engagement, took the simpler course of making also an
entrenched camp, cutting off Gustavus's supplies from the Rhine
and Danube, and reducing him by starvation. Reinforcements came to
the Swedes, which raised their army to five-and-thirty thousand
men; Wallenstein allowed them to pass in unmolested to consume
the provisions the quicker. The pinch of hunger began to make
itself felt in the Swedish camp, pestilence raged among the unhappy
troops, and at last Gustavus in desperation launched his army in a
vain assault upon Wallenstein's entrenchments. For twelve hours his
men swarmed up the rugged and broken hill with desperate courage,
three times obtaining a momentary footing and as often beaten
back. The cannonade was kept up all night, and it was not till
ten o'clock on the following morning that the Swedes retreated,
leaving four thousand dead behind them. The Scots Brigade suffered
terribly. Monro, out of a detachment of five hundred men, lost
two hundred killed alone, besides wounded and missing. His
lieutenant-colonel who relieved him at night brought back but
thirty men next morning. Other corps had lost hardly less heavily,
and Gustavus, foiled for once, retreated to Neustadt, leaving
one-third of his force dead around Nürnberg.

[Sidenote: 1634, August 26.]

Sir John Hepburn, in consequence of a quarrel with the Swedish
king, now took leave of him and entered the service of France; and
the Scots Brigade, weakened to a mere shadow, was left behind at
Dunkerswald to await reinforcements, while Gustavus marched away
to his last battlefield at Lützen. We need follow the fortunes of
the Brigade little further. The famous regiments, together with the
other Scots and English in the Swedish service, now some thirteen
thousand men, did abundance of hard and gallant work before the
close of the war. The ranks of Mackay's regiment were again swelled
to twelve companies and fifteen hundred men, but at Nördlingen it
was almost annihilated, and emerged with the strength of a single
company only. Times had changed, and discipline had decayed since
the death of Gustavus; and in 1635, on alliance of France with
Sweden, and the outbreak of war between France and Spain, the
fragments of all the Scotch regiments were merged together, and
passed into the service of France under the command of the veteran
Sir John Hepburn as the Regiment d'Hebron.

[Sidenote: 1636.]

There for a short period let us leave it, wrangling with Regiment
Picardie for precedence, claiming, on the ground that some officers
of the Scottish Guard had joined it, to be the oldest regiment
in the world,[153] and earning the nickname of Pontius Pilate's
guards. Hepburn commanded it for but one year, for he fell at its
head at the siege of Saverne, but it fought through many actions
and many sieges, the battle of Rocroi not the least of them, before
it returned to the British Isles. We shall meet with it again
before that day under a new name, and under yet a third name shall
grow to know it well.

  AUTHORITIES.--Munro's _Expedition_ is far the most valuable; it
  has been abridged and supplemented by Mr. John Mackay in his _Old
  Scots Brigade_. Harte's _Life of Gustavus_ wrestles manfully with
  the military details, which are very clearly summed up in Mr.
  Fletcher's _Gustavus_ in the Heroes of the Nations Series. Some
  few details will be found also in Fieffé's _Histoire des troupes


Once more we return to England and take up the thread of the army's
history within the kingdom. Of the reign of James the First there
is little to be recorded except that at its very outset the Statute
of Philip and Mary for the regulation of the Militia was repealed,
and the military organisation of the country based once more on
the Statute of Winchester. James was not fond of soldiers, and
military progress was not to be expected of such a man. Enough has
already been seen of his methods through his dealings with the Low
Countries, and there is no occasion to dwell longer on the first
British king of the House of Stuart.

[Sidenote: 1625.]

Charles the First was more ambitious, and sufficiently proud of the
English soldier to preserve the ancient English drum-march.[154]
Soon after the final breach with Spain he imbibed from Buckingham
the idea of a raid on the Spanish coast after the Elizabethan
model, which eventually took shape in the expedition to Cadiz. Of
all the countless mismanaged enterprises in our history this seems
on the whole to have been the very worst. There was abundance of
trained soldiers in England who had learned their duty in the Low
Countries; and Edward Cecil, he whom we saw some few years back
in command of the cavalry at Nieuport, begged that liberal offers
might be made to induce them to serve. Officers again could be
procured from the Low Countries, and therefore there should have
been no difficulty in organising an excellent body of men. In the
matter of arms, however, though English cannon was highly esteemed,
Charles was forced to purchase what he needed from Holland, which
was a sad reflection on our national enterprise. Accordingly over
a hundred officers were recalled from Holland; and two thousand
recruits were collected, to be sent in exchange for the same number
of veterans from the Dutch service. Eight thousand men were then
pressed for service in various parts of England, and the whole
of them poured, without the least preparation to receive them,
into Plymouth, where they gained for themselves the name of the
plagues of England. Sir John Ogle, a veteran who had served for
years with Francis Vere, eyed these recruits narrowly for a time,
old, lame, sick and destitute men for the most part, and reflected
how without stores, clothes, or money he could possibly convert
them into soldiers. Then taking his resolution he threw up his
command and took refuge in the Church. Very soon another difficulty
arose. The States-General firmly refused to accept two thousand
raw men in exchange for veterans, and shipped the unhappy recruits
back to England. They too were turned into Plymouth and made
confusion worse confounded. Then the arms arrived from Holland,
and there was no money to pay men to unload them. The port became
a chaos. Buckingham had already shuffled out of the chief command
and saddled it on Cecil, and the unfortunate man, good soldier
though he was, was driven to his wit's end to cope with his task.
His tried officers from Holland were displaced to make room for
Buckingham's favourites, who were absolutely useless; and yet he
was expected to clothe, arm, train, discipline, and organise ten
thousand raw, naked men, work out every detail of a difficult
and complicated expedition, and make every provision for it, all
without help, without encouragement, and without money. Cash indeed
was so scarce that the king could not afford to pay the expenses of
his own journey to Plymouth.

Under such conditions it is hardly surprising that the enterprise
was a disastrous failure. A few butts of liquor left by the
Spaniards outside Cadiz sufficed to set the whole force fighting
with its own officers, and after weary weeks at sea, aggravated by
heavy weather and by pestilence, the result of bad stores, Cecil
and the remains of his ten regiments returned home in misery and

[Sidenote: 1626.]

A similar enterprise under Lord Willoughby in the following
year failed in the same way for precisely the same reasons; but
Buckingham, still unshaken in his confidence, led a third and
a fourth expedition to Rochelle with equal disaster and equal
disgrace. The captains had no more control over their men than over
a herd of deer.[156] At last, at the outset of a fifth expedition,
which promised similar failure, the dagger of Lieutenant Felton, a
melancholy man embittered by deprivation of his pay, put an end to
Buckingham and to all his follies. On the whole he had not treated
the soldiers worse than Elizabeth, but a man of Elizabeth's stamp
was more than could be borne with.

Nevertheless, amid all these failures there were still plenty of
men in England who had the welfare of the military profession at
heart. Foremost among them was the veteran Edward Cecil, now Lord
Wimbledon, who strove hard to do something for the defence of the
principal ports, for the training of the nation at large, and in
particular for the encouragement of cavalry. The mounted service
had become strangely unpopular with the English at this time,
whether because the eternal sieges of the Dutch war afforded it
less opportunity of distinction, or because missile tactics had
lowered it from its former proud station, it is difficult to say.
Certain it is that officers of infantry, and notably Monro, never
lost an opportunity of girding at horsemen as fitted only to run
away, and as preferring to be mounted only that they might run away
the faster. But Cecil, though in this respect unique, was by no
means the only man who made his voice heard. Veteran after veteran
took pen in hand and wrote of the discipline of Maurice of Nassau
and, as time went on, of the system of Gustavus Adolphus; while
on the other hand one ingenious gentleman, still jealous of the
old national weapon, invented what he called a "double-arm," which
combined the pike and the bow, the bow-staff being attached to the
shaft of the pike by a vice which could be traversed on a hinge.
Strange to say this belated weapon was not ill-received in military
circles and found commendation even among Scotsmen.[157] On one
important point, however, there was a general consensus of opinion,
namely that the condition of the English militia was disgraceful,
its system hopelessly inefficient and the corruption of its
administration a scandal. The trained bands were hardly called out
once in five years for exercise; few men knew how even to load
their muskets, and the majority were afraid to fire a shot except
in salute of the colours, not daring to fire a bullet from want of
practice.[158]. The Londoners, as usual, alone made a favourable
exception to the general rule.

[Sidenote: 1639.]

The real root of the evil was presently to be laid bare. The
disputes between Charles the First and his subjects were assuming
daily an acuter form, until at last they came to a head in the
Scotch rebellion of 1639. It was imperative to raise an English
force forthwith and move it up to the Border. Charles, as usual
in the last stage of impecuniosity, thought to save money by an
exercise of old feudal rights, and summoned every peer with his
retinue to attend him in person as his principal force of cavalry.
It was a piece of tactless folly whereof none but a Stuart would
have been guilty: the peers came in some numbers as they were bid,
but they did not conceal their resentment against such proceedings.
The foot were levied as usual by writ to the lord-lieutenant
with the help of the press-gang, they behaved abominably on their
march to the rendezvous, and on arrival were found to be utterly
inefficient. Their arms were of all sorts, sizes, and calibres,
and the men were so careless in the handling of them that hardly a
tent in the camp, not even the king's, escaped perforation by stray
bullets. In other respects the organisation was equally deficient;
no provision had been made for the supply of victuals and forage;
and altogether it was fortunate that the force escaped, through the
pacification of Berwick, an engagement with the veterans from the
Swedish service under old Alexander Leslie that composed a large
portion of the Scottish army.

[Sidenote: 1640.]

The following year saw the war renewed. This time the farce of
calling out a feudal body of horse was not repeated, but unexpected
difficulties were encountered in raising the levies of foot.
In 1639 the infantry had been drawn chiefly from the northern
counties, where the tradition of eternal feuds with the Scots made
men not altogether averse to a march to the Border. But in 1640
the trained bands of the southern counties were called upon, and
they had no such feeling. It is possible that unusual rigour was
employed in the process of impressment, for the authorities had
been warned, after experience of the previous year, to allow no
captains to play the Falstaff with their recruits. Be that as it
may, the recalcitrance of the new levies was startling. From county
after county came complaints of riot and disorder. The Wiltshire
men seized the opportunity to live by robbery and plunder; the
Dorsetshire men murdered an officer who had corrected a drummer
for flagrant insubordination; in Suffolk the recruits threatened
to murder the deputy-lieutenant; in London, Kent, Surrey, and
half a dozen more counties the resistance to service was equally
determined; and when finally in July four thousand men reached the
rendezvous at Selby, old Sir Jacob Astley could only designate them
as the arch-knaves of the country. Money being of course very
scarce, the men were ill-clothed and ill-found, and their numbers
were soon thinned by systematic desertion. A new difficulty cropped
up in the matter of discipline. Lord Conway, who commanded the
horse, had executed a man for mutiny; he now found that his action
was illegal and that he required the royal pardon. If, he wrote,
the lawyers are right and martial law is impossible in England, it
would be best to break up the army forthwith: to hand men over to
the civil power is to deliver them to the lawyers, and experience
of the ship-money has shown what support could be expected from

There, in fact, lay the kernel of the whole matter; indiscipline
was not only rife in the ranks but widespread throughout the
nation. From long carelessness and neglect the organisation of the
country for defence by land and sea had become not only obsolete
but impossible and absurd. For centuries the old vessel had been
patched and tinkered and filed and riveted, occasionally by
statute, more often by royal authority only, but chiefly by mere
habit and custom. But now that the reaction which had established
the new monarchy was over, and men, stirred by a counter-reaction,
subjected the military system to the fierce heat of constitutional
tests, the whole fabric fell asunder in an instant, and brought the
new monarchy down headlong in its fall. The story is so instructive
to a nation which has not yet given its standing army a permanent
statutory existence, that it is worth while very briefly to trace
the progress of the catastrophe.

According to ancient practice, the various shires were called
upon to provide their levies for the Scotch war with coat-money
and with conduct-money to pay their expenses till they had passed
the borders of the county, from which moment they passed into the
king's pay. The writs to the lord-lieutenants distinctly stated
that these charges would be refunded from the Royal Exchequer, and
though the chronic emptiness of the Royal Exchequer might diminish
the value of the pledge, the form of the writ was distinctly
consonant with custom and precedent. Many of the county gentlemen,
however, refused to pay this coat- and conduct-money; they had been
encouraged by the attacks made on military charges in the Short
Parliament; and the Crown, aware of the general opposition to all
its doings, did not venture to prosecute. Another incident raised
the general question of military obligations in an acuter form.
In August 1640, Charles, sadly hampered by the general objections
to military service on any terms, fell back on the old system of
issuing Commissions of Array to the lord-lieutenants and sheriffs.
In themselves Commissions of Array, especially when addressed
to these particular officers, were nothing extraordinary; they
had been in use to the reign of Queen Mary, and though more or
less superseded by the appointment of lord-lieutenants, were by
implication sanctioned by a statute of Henry the Fourth.

Now, however, these Commissions at once raised a storm. The
deputy-lieutenants of Devon promptly approached the Council with an
awkward dilemma. To which service, they asked, were the gentry to
attach themselves, to the trained bands or to the feudal service
implied in the Commissions of Array; since both were equally
enjoined by proclamation? The Council answered that the service
in the trained bands must be personal, and the feudal obligation
satisfied by deputy or by pecuniary composition; in other words,
if the gentry halted between two services, they could not go wrong
in performing both. A second question from the deputy-lieutenants
was still more searching: how were the bands levied under the
Commissions to be paid? The reply of the Council pointed out that
the laws and customs of the realm required every man, in the event
of invasion, to serve for the common defence at his own charge.
Here Charles was strictly within his rights; and the plea of
invasion was sound, since the Scots had actually passed the Tweed.
Parliament, however, seized hold of the Commissions of Array, and
after innumerable arguments as to their illegality, took final
refuge under the Petition of Right. Stripped of all redundant
phrases, the position of the two parties was this: Charles asked
how he could raise an army for defence of the kingdom, if the
powers enjoyed by his predecessors were stripped from him; and
Parliament answered that it had no intention of allowing him any
power whatever to raise such an army.[159]

[Sidenote: August 28.]

[Sidenote: 1641, May.]

The campaign in the north was speedily ended by the advance of
the Scots and by the rout of the small English detachment that
guarded the fords of the Tyne at Newburn. The Scots then occupied
Newcastle, and England to all intent lay at their mercy. Nothing
could have better suited the opponents of the king. A treaty was
patched up at Ripon which amounted virtually to an agreement to
subsidise the Scotch army in the interest of the Parliament. The
Scots consented to stay where they were in consideration of eight
hundred and fifty pounds a day, failing the payment of which it was
open to them to continue their march southward and impose their own
terms. Charles could not possibly raise such a sum without recourse
to Parliament, and the assembly with which he had now to do was
that which is known to history as the Long Parliament. Within seven
months it had passed an Act to prevent its dissolution without its
own consent, and having thus secured itself, it allowed the English
army to be disbanded, while the Scots, having played their part,
retired once more across the Tweed.

[Sidenote: 1641-2.]

[Sidenote: 1642.]

It would be tedious to follow the widening of the breach during
the year 1641. Both parties saw that war was inevitable, and both
struggled hard to keep the militia each in its own hands. The
scramble was supremely ridiculous, since it was all for a prize
not worth the snatching. Charles has been censured for throwing
the whole military organisation out of gear because he wished to
employ it for other objects than the safety of the kingdom, but it
would be difficult, I think, for any one to explain what military
organisation existed. By the showing of the Parliamentary lawyers
themselves, there was no statute to regulate it except the Statute
of Winchester; in strictness there was no legal requirement for men
to equip themselves otherwise than as in the year 1285. It was to
the party that first made an army, not to that which preferred the
sounder claim to regulate the militia, that victory was to belong.
Strafford had perceived this long before, but three years were yet
to pass before Parliament should realise it. The few movements
worth noting in the scramble may be very briefly summarised. The
king reluctantly consented to transfer the power of impressment
to the justices of the peace with approval of Parliament, and
abandoned his right to compel men to service outside their
counties. But he refused to concede to Parliament the nomination of
lord-lieutenants or the custody of strong places, and Parliament
therefore simply arrogated to itself these privileges without
further question. In July the Commons resolved to levy an army of
ten thousand men, in August the King unfurled the Royal Standard at
Nottingham; and so the Civil War began.

The lists of the two opposing armies of 1642 are still extant: the
King's, of fourteen regiments of foot and eighteen troops of horse,
and the Parliament's, of eighteen regiments of foot, seventy-five
troops of horse, and five troops of dragoons; but it would be
unprofitable to linger over them, for except on paper they were not
armies at all. Two names however must be noticed. The first is that
of the commander of the royal horse, Prince Rupert, a son of the
Winter-King. He had now been domiciled in England for seven years,
in the course of which he had found time to serve the Dutch, as we
have seen, at the siege of Breda in 1639, and the Swedes in the
following year, commanding with the latter a regiment of horse in
more than one dashing engagement. He was now three-and-twenty, not
an unripe age for a General in those days, as Condé was presently
to prove at Rocroi. The second name is that of the Captain of the
Sixty-Seventh troop of the Parliamentary horse, Oliver Cromwell,
a gentleman of Huntingdon, not inconspicuous as a member of
Parliament but unknown to military fame. He was already forty-three
years of age, and so far was little familiar with the profession of

On the 23rd of October these two men met at Edgehill, the first
important action of the war, on which I shall not dwell further
than to notice the part that they played therein. Rupert, knowing
the deficiency of fire-arms in the royal cavalry, before the battle
gave his horsemen orders to keep their ranks and to attack sword in
hand, not attempting to use their pistols till they had actually
broken into the enemy's squadrons. Here was an improvement on the
Swedish system, a step nearer to shock-action, which was crowned
by complete success. Oliver Cromwell having seen the havoc wrought
by the Royalist cavalry, sought and found after the battle the
cause of the inferiority of the Parliament's. "Your troops," he
said to John Hampden, "are most of them old decayed serving-men
and tapsters: their troops are gentlemen's sons and persons of
quality. Do you think the spirits of such base and mean fellows
will ever be able to encounter gentlemen who have courage, honour,
and resolution in them? You must get men of a spirit that is likely
to go as far as gentlemen will go, or you will be beaten still."
Hampden heard and shook his head; he was a wise and worthy person,
but he had probably an idea that no men except such as those which
had been swept into the ranks by the King and the King's father
could possibly be induced to become soldiers. So he said that it
was a good notion but impracticable. Captain Cromwell set to work
to show that it was not impracticable, and began to raise men who,
in his own words, made some conscience of what they did, and to
teach them discipline.

[Sidenote: December.]

Meanwhile the helplessness of the Parliament in the early stages
of the war was almost ludicrous; and though indeed few things are
more remarkable than the rapid growth of administrative ability
between the years 1642 and 1658, it must be admitted that at
first the civil leaders of the people were little better than
children. Nearly the whole nation, and with it the majority of
legislators, had made up their minds that the first battle would
decide the contest, and they were woefully disappointed when it did
not do so. Failing at first to realise the elementary principle
that money is the sinew of war the Houses trusted at first to
irregular contributions for its support, nor was it until pressed
to extremity that they determined to employ general taxation.
Money was the first and eternal difficulty, which however pressed
even harder on the King than on the Parliament. The next obstacle
was the utter collapse of the existing military organisation. The
county levies were ready enough to fight in defence of their own
homes, but they were unwilling to move far from them; and when the
enemy had left their own particular quarter they thanked God that
they were rid of him and returned to their usual avocations. This
again was a difficulty that beset both sides and was never overcome
by the King. The Parliament tried to meet it by the establishment
of associations of counties, which were virtually military
districts, and did something, though not much, to widen the narrow
sympathies of the militiamen. But these associations, though a step
in the right direction, depended too much on the individual energy
of the men at their head to attain uniform success; and one only,
the Eastern, wherein Cromwell was the moving spirit, did for a time
really efficient work.

A third and most formidable danger was the superiority of the
Royalist cavalry. The long neglect of the mounted service left
the supremacy to the ablest amateurs, and the majority of these,
though there were hundreds of gentlemen on the Parliamentary
side, were undoubtedly for the King. Nor was it only the courage,
honour, and resolution of which Cromwell had spoken that favoured
them; they had from the nature of the case better horses, a
higher standard of horsemanship and equipment, a quicker natural
intelligence and a higher natural training. The thousand lessons
which the county gentlemen learned when riding with hawk and hound
were of infinite advantage in the casual and irregular warfare
of the first two or three years; and whatever may be said of
Rupert's ability on the battlefield, there can be no question
that the work of his innumerable patrols was admirably done. The
dashing character of Rupert was also an advantage in a sense to the
King's cause, for it attracted to him a group of fellow hot-heads
similar to those that had followed Thomas Felton under the Black
Prince. One fatal defect however marred what should have been a
most efficient cavalry, the blot that had been hit by Cromwell,

[Sidenote: 1643.]

The campaign of 1643 found Parliament little wiser than before as
to the true method of conducting a war. Though it had named Lord
Essex as General it gave him no control over the operations of
any army but his own, and there was consequently no unity either
of design or of purpose. Charles, on the contrary, had a definite
plan, which had been mapped out for him by some unknown hand and
was within an ace of successful execution. He himself with one army
fixed his headquarters at Oxford; a second army under Newcastle
was to advance from the north, a third under Prince Maurice and
Sir Ralph Hopton from the extreme west, both converging on Charles
as a centre; and the united forces were then to advance on London.
Hopton, an experienced soldier and as noble a man as fought in the
war, executed his part brilliantly, advancing victoriously into
Somerset from Cornwall, and finally defeating the force specially
sent to meet him by the Parliament at Roundway Down. This action
is memorable for the appearance, and it must be added the defeat,
of what was probably the last fully mailed troop of horse ever seen
in England, Sir Arthur Hazelrigg's "Lobsters," so called from the
hardness of their shells. Hopton's advance was only stayed by the
unwillingness of his Western levies to move any further from their
homes. In the north again the Parliament had suffered disaster; the
Fairfaxes, who were the mainstay of the cause, sustained a crushing
defeat, and but one man stood in the way to bar Newcastle's march
upon London.

That man however was Oliver Cromwell. Already he had begun to put
in practice the scheme which Hampden had pronounced impracticable.
He had chosen his recruits from the Puritan yeomen and farmers of
the Eastern Counties, men who had thrown themselves heart and soul
into the religious struggles of the time, who made some conscience
of what they did, "who knew what they were fighting for and loved
what they knew," and who thought it honourable to submit to rigid
discipline for so noble a cause. Cromwell was now a colonel,
and he had already shown the mettle of his force, while it was
still incomplete, by defeating a body of twice its numbers in a
skirmish at Grantham. This too he had done not by any novelty in
tactics, for he admits that he attacked only at a pretty round
trot, but by superiority of handling and of discipline. With the
same troops strengthened and improved he now advanced and met a
strong force of Newcastle's advanced horse at Gainsborough; and
by skilful manœuvring and full appreciation of the principle, as
yet unwritten, that in the combat of cavalry victory rests with
him that throws in the last reserves, he routed it completely.
Following up his success he came, unexpectedly as he admits, upon
the main body of Newcastle's army, both horse and foot. Horses and
men were weary after a hard day's work and a long pursuit, but they
showed a bold front; and Cromwell, drawing them off by alternate
bodies, once again a movement which was not to be found in the
text-books,[161] safely effected his retreat. In truth the man was
a born soldier, and probably a great deal fonder of the profession
of arms, late though he had entered upon it, than he would have
cared to admit. "I have a lovely company," he wrote shortly after
this action, with the genuine pride of a good regimental officer;
and in spite of the rigour of his discipline his troops increased
until they were sufficient to fill two complete regiments.

The danger from the north was averted for the moment, but the
situation was so critical that the Parliament authorised the
impressment of men and raised Essex's army to a respectable total.
But meanwhile negotiations had been opened with the Scots for the
advance of their army against the King's forces in the north, and
by September the conditions, military, financial, and religious,
were agreed upon. This treaty brought home to the Parliament the
necessity for immediately opening up its communications with the
north and making a way whereby the Scots might penetrate further
southward. The difficult task was achieved by the united efforts of
two men who here fought their first action together, Thomas Fairfax
and Oliver Cromwell. The day of Winceby must for this reason remain
memorable in the history of the Army, not the less so because it
brought Cromwell nearer to his death than any action before or
after it.

[Sidenote: 1644.]

By the close of the year Parliament began to realise that if the
war were to be carried to a successful issue, some more effective
force than mere trained bands must be called into existence. It
accordingly voted that Essex's army should be fixed at a permanent
establishment of ten thousand foot and four thousand horse with
a regular rate of monthly pay. This was progress in the right
direction, but in the disorder of the financial administration it
was extremely doubtful whether the scheme would not be wrecked by
its cost. Meanwhile the Scots had crossed the Tweed and fairly
entered as partners with the Parliament in the rebellion. This
new factor led to the formation of a Committee of Both Kingdoms
for the subsequent conduct of the war, an important step towards
unity of design and administration but clogged by one fatal defect,
namely, that the military members--Essex, Manchester, Waller, and
Cromwell--were all absent in the field, and that the direction of
operations therefore fell entirely into the hands of civilians.
A Committee was better than a whole House, and that was all that
could be said, for the new directorate soon came into collision
with its officers in the field. On the invasion of the Scots,
Charles of necessity altered his plan of campaign and detached
Rupert to the north, who marked the line of his advance in deeper
than ordinary lines of desolation and bloodshed. The Parliamentary
generals in the north, Fairfax and Manchester, were at the time
engaged upon the siege of York. The Committee, scared by the
terror of Rupert's march, ordered them to raise the siege and move
southward to meet him. They flatly refused; and their persistence
in their own design led to the greatest military success hitherto
achieved by the Parliament, the victory of Marston Moor.

[Sidenote: July 2.]

Of no battle are contemporary accounts more difficult of
reconciliation than those of Marston Moor, but the main features
of the action are distinguishable and may be briefly set down.
Both armies consisted of about twenty-three thousand men, and were
drawn up in two lines, the infantry in the centre and the cavalry
in the flanks. On the Royalist side Rupert, as was usual for the
Commander-in-Chief, led the right wing,[162] five thousand horse in
one hundred troops; his centre, fourteen thousand foot, was under
Eythin, a veteran officer imported from Germany; his left, four
thousand cavalry, was led by Goring. On the Parliamentary side
Ferdinand, Lord Fairfax, commanded the right wing of horse, the
first line consisting of English, the second of Scots; the centre
was composed principally of Scottish infantry under old Alexander
Leslie, Earl of Leven; the left wing of horse was commanded by
Cromwell, his first line being composed of English, and the second
of Scots under the leadership of David Leslie.

With extraordinary rashness and folly Rupert led his army down
close to the enemy and posted it within striking distance, trusting
that a ditch which covered his front would suffice to protect him
from attack. The two forces having gazed at each other during the
whole afternoon without moving, he at last dismounted between
half-past six and seven and called for his supper, an example
which was followed by several of his officers. The Parliamentary
army seized the moment to advance with its whole line to the
attack. Cromwell on the left led his cavalry across the ditch,
and, though Rupert was quickly in the saddle to meet him, routed
the leading squadrons of the Royalists. Rupert's supports however
were well in hand, and falling on Cromwell threw his troops into
disorder[163] till David Leslie, an excellent officer, brought up
the Parliamentary supports in their turn and routed the Royalists.
Then superior discipline told; Cromwell's men quickly rallied and
the whole of Rupert's horse fled away in disorder. In the centre
the Parliamentary infantry was for a time equally successful, but
the horse on the right wing came to utter disaster. The ground on
the right was unfavourable for cavalry, being broken up by patches
of gorse; and although Thomas Fairfax with a small body of four
hundred men, armed with lances, broke through the enemy and rode
in disorder right round the rear of the Royalist army, the main
body was hopelessly beaten. Goring, after the Swedish fashion, had
dotted bodies of musketeers among his horse, who did their work
admirably. Part of Goring's troopers galloped off first to pursue,
and then to plunder the baggage, while the remainder turned against
the Scotch infantry and pressed them so hard that, in spite of
Leven's efforts, almost every battalion was broken and dispersed.
Three alone behaved magnificently and stood firm, till in the
nick of time Cromwell returned from the left to rescue them. His
appearance turned the scale, and the victory of the Parliament was
made certain and complete.

Rupert after the action gave Cromwell the name of Ironside; he
had never encountered so tough an adversary before. Marston Moor
may indeed be termed the first great day of the English cavalry.
We find, curiously enough, examples of three different schools
in the field, the old school of the lance under Thomas Fairfax,
the Swedish of mixed horse and musketeers under Goring, and the
new English of Rupert and Cromwell; but the greatest of these is
Cromwell's. He alone had his men under perfect control, and had
trained them not only to charge, but what is far more difficult, to

Little more than a week later came the first sign of an entirely
new departure in the Parliament's conduct of the war. In spite of
Marston Moor the general position of its affairs was anything but
favourable. The inefficiency of local committees and the narrow
self-seeking of local forces, combined with the jealousy of rival
commanders and the absence of a commander-in-chief, threatened
to bring swift and sudden dissolution to the cause. Time had
aggravated rather than diminished the evil, and unless it were
remedied forthwith, it would be useless to continue the war. Sir
William Waller, an able commander, who had frequently suffered
defeat less from his own incapacity than from the impossibility
of keeping a force together, gave the authorities plainly to
understand that unless they formed a distinct permanent army of
their own, properly organised, properly disciplined, and regularly
paid they could not hope for success.

Mutiny, desertion, and indiscipline had dogged every step of the
local levies, as the Parliament very well knew; but experience
still more bitter was needed before it could be induced to take
Waller's advice. For the present it voted the formation of an army
of ten thousand foot and three thousand horse and ordered it to
be ready to march in eight days. Ignorance and infatuation could
hardly go further than this. Shortly after came a great disaster in
the west, nothing less than the capitulation of Essex's whole army.
Then came the second battle of Newbury, which left the King in a
decidedly improved position. Finally at the close of the campaign
the Parliamentary forces sank into a condition which was nothing
short of deplorable, the dissensions among the commanders rose
to a dangerous height, and as a crowning symptom of the general
collapse the Eastern Association, the strongest of all the local
bodies, declared that its burden was heavier than it could bear and
threw itself upon the Parliament. In the face of such a crisis the
Houses could hesitate no longer, and on the 23rd of November they
made over the whole state of the forces to the Committee of Both
Kingdoms, with directions to consider a frame or model of the whole

Thus the work that should have been done years before by Elizabeth
was at length taken in hand; and the broken-down machinery of the
Plantagenets was at last to be superseded. There was of course
jealousy as to the hands in which so powerful an engine should be
placed, and the difficulty was overcome only by the Self-denying
Ordinance, which debarred members of both Houses of Parliament
from command, and laid the ablest soldier in England aside as
impartially as inefficient peers like Manchester and Essex. But
such an evil as this could be easily remedied, for something more
than an ordinance is required at such times to exclude the ablest
man from the highest post. To bring the New Model into being was
the first and greatest task; and this was done by the Ordinance of
the 15th of February 1645. The time was come, and England had at
last a regular, and as was soon to be seen, a standing army.



[Sidenote: 1645.]

Even before the Ordinance for the establishment of the New Model
Army had been passed, Parliament had voted, on the motion of Oliver
Cromwell, that the chief command should be given to Sir Thomas
Fairfax. There is little difficulty in discovering the reason for
this choice. If by the Self-denying Ordinance all members of both
Houses were to be excluded from command in order to rid the country
of incompetent officers, there could be no doubt that Fairfax was
the man best fitted to be captain-general. He had been the soul
of the Parliamentary cause in the north, and, though by no means
uniformly successful in the field, had shown vigour in victory,
constancy in defeat, and energy at all times. Though not comparable
to Cromwell in military ability, and perhaps hardly equal either
to Rupert on the one side or to George Monk on the other, he was
none the less a good soldier and a gallant man, though if anything
rather too fond of fighting with his own hand when he should
have been directing the hands of others. He knew the value of
discipline and was strong enough to enforce it, but he understood
also the art of leading men as well as driving them to obedience.
Heir of a noble family and born to high station, he could fill a
great position with naturalness and ease; being above all things
a gentleman, honourable, straightforward, disinterested, and
abounding in good sense, he could occupy it without provoking envy
or jealousy. No higher praise can be given to Fairfax than that
every one was not only contented but pleased to serve under him.

Joined with him as sergeant-major-general, and therefore not
only as commander of the foot but as chief of the staff, was
the veteran Philip Skippon. His long experience of war in the
Low Countries, and the respect which such experience commanded,
doubtless prompted his selection to be Fairfax's chief adviser.
The post of lieutenant-general, which carried with it the command
of the cavalry, was left unfilled. Every one knew who was the
right man for the place, and there could be little doubt but that,
notwithstanding all self-denying ordinances, he must sooner or
later be summoned to hold it. For the present he was employed,
pending the expiration of the forty days of grace allowed him by
the Ordinance, in watching the movements of the Royalist forces
in the west. Though there had been trouble even with his famous
regiments in the general collapse at the close of 1644, yet it was
noticed that in January 1645 no troops had appeared so full in
numbers, so well armed, and so civil in their carriage as Colonel
Cromwell's horse. "Call them Independents or what you will," said
one newspaper, "you will find that they will make Sir Thomas
Fairfax a regiment of a thousand as brave and gallant horse as any
in England."

This however was not to happen at once. Fairfax, having obtained
the Parliament's approval of his list of officers, was busily
engaged with Skippon in hewing rougher material than Cromwell's
troopers into shape. Many of the disbanded regiments of Essex lay
ready to his hand, but they had lately shown a mutinous spirit
which it required all Skippon's tact and firmness to curb. The old
man, however, as he was affectionately called, knew how to manage
soldiers, and the promise of regular pay, notwithstanding that one
quarter of the same was deferred as security against desertion,
soon brought them cheerfully into the service. Nevertheless
there were, even so, not voluntary recruits enough to supply the
twenty-two thousand men required by the Ordinance; more than
eight thousand were still wanting, and the Committee of Both
Kingdoms could think of no better means for raising them than the
press-gang. This was the system which, when enforced by Charles
the First, had been denounced as an intolerable grievance, and it
was not less violently resisted when sanctioned by Parliament.
The Government, however, carried matters with a strong hand, and
a couple of executions soon brought the recalcitrant recruits to

The scene of the making of the New Army which was destined to
subdue the King was, by the irony of fate, royal Windsor. It is
on the broad expanse of Windsor Park and on the green meadows by
the Thames, before the wondering eyes of the Eton boys, that we
must picture the daily parade of the new regiments, the exercise
of pike and musket and the assiduous doubling of ranks and files,
old Skippon, gray and scarred with wounds, riding from company
to company and instituting mental comparisons between them and
the English soldiers of the Low Countries, and the younger
sprightlier Fairfax, still but three-and-thirty, watching with all
a Yorkshireman's love of horseflesh the arrival of troopers and
baggage-animals. Every day the scene grew brighter as corps after
corps received its new clothing, for the whole army, for the first
time in English history, was clad in the familiar scarlet. Facings
of the colonel's colours distinguished regiment from regiment; and
the senior corps of foot, being the General's own, wore his facings
of blue.[164] Thus the royal colours, as we now call them, were
first seen at the head of a rebel army.

The senior regiment of horse was also in due time to be clothed in
the same scarlet and blue. For Cromwell's two regiments of horse
had been selected, as was their due, to be blent into one and to
take precedence, as Sir Thomas Fairfax's, of the whole of the
English cavalry. In this same month of April the regiment was in
the field, turning out quicker than any other corps on the sounding
of the alarm, while the "lovely company" of which the colonel had
boasted, now called the General's troop, was distinguishing itself
above all others. Modern regiments of cavalry that wear the royal
colours need not be ashamed to remember that they perpetuate the
dress of Oliver Cromwell's troopers. Excluded though Cromwell was
from the making of the New Model Army, he was none the less its
creator, for it was he who had shown the way to discipline and
regimental pride.

It is now necessary briefly to sketch the organisation of the New
Model. Beginning therefore with the infantry, the foot consisted of
twelve regiments, each divided into ten companies of one hundred
and twenty men apiece. As all the field-officers, even if they held
the rank of general, had companies of their own, the full number
of officers to a regiment was thirty: colonel, lieutenant-colonel,
major, seven captains, ten lieutenants and ten ensigns. Each
company included moreover two sergeants, three corporals, and
one, if not two, drums.[165] The privates were divided as usual
into an equal number of pikemen and musketeers: the weapons of
officers being, for a captain, a pike; for a lieutenant, the
partisan; and for an ensign, the sword. Since Skippon, a veteran of
the Dutch school, was at the head of the infantry, it can hardly
be doubted that the Dutch system of drill was preferred to the
Swedish. Gustavus Adolphus, it must be remembered, was chiefly
concerned with the Scots; while the contemporary drill books of the
English prefer the teaching of Maurice of Nassau. It is therefore
reasonably safe to conclude that the normal formation of the
infantry of the New Model was not less than eight ranks in depth.

The cavalry consisted of eleven regiments, each of which contained
six troops of one hundred men. Here again every field-officer
had a troop of his own, so that the full complement of officers
to a regiment numbered eighteen, namely, colonel, major, four
captains, six lieutenants, and six cornets. Three corporals and a
trumpeter were included among the hundred men; and the admirable
system which sorted each troop into three divisions, each under
special charge of an officer and a corporal, was in full working
order. In the matter of drill and tactics, the English cavalry was
before rather than behind the times. The modified shock-action of
Gustavus Adolphus had, under the influence of Rupert and Cromwell,
been virtually superseded. The men indeed were still armed,
according to the old fashion, with iron helmet and cuirass, and
still carried each a brace of pistols as well as a sword; but they
were instructed to trust to their swords in the charge, and to use
their fire-arms only in the pursuit. Gustavus had formed his horse
as a rule in four ranks; Rupert fixed the depth at three;[166]
the Parliamentary officers went so far as to reduce the ranks to
two, sacrificing depth to frontage, and trusting to speed, we
cannot doubt, to overcome weight. Last and most daring innovation
of all, they abolished the file as the tactical unit of the troop
and substituted the rank in its place.[167] No better testimony
to the improvement of English discipline could be found than this
reduction in the depth of the ranks of cavalry. For once it may be
said that the English horse stood in advance of all Europe.

As regards the duties of reconnaissance, not a treatise on cavalry
omits to mention that it is the function of the horse to scour the
ways in advance of an army; but there are no precise directions
as to the manner of fulfilling it. Cromwell's constant references
to a "forlorn" of horse show that he employed advanced parties
regularly, and attention has already been called to the efficiency
of Rupert's patrols. There is no evidence, however, that the men
received any instruction in the matter of reconnaissance, and it
is only from the Royalist Vernon that we learn that vedettes were
posted then, as now, in pairs.

The dragoons of the New Model seem, in spite of a resolution of
the Commons that they should be regimented, to have been organised
in ten companies, each one hundred strong. Their officers were a
colonel, a major, eight captains, ten lieutenants, and ten ensigns.
The dragoons were mounted infantry pure and simple, riding for the
sake of swifter mobility only, and provided with inferior horses.
They were armed with the musket and drilled like their brethren
of the foot; their junior subalterns were called ensigns and not
cornets, and they obeyed not the trumpet but the drum. Their
normal formation was in ten ranks of ten men abreast. For action,
nine out of the ten dismounted, and linking their horses by the
simple method of throwing the bridle of each over the head of his
neighbour in the ranks, left them in charge of the tenth man.[168]

Next we must glance at the Artillery which, together with the
transport, was comprehended under the head of the Train. The only
organised force of which we hear as attached to the train is two
regiments of infantry and two companies of firelocks, which were
used for purposes of escort only. The firelocks were distinguished
from the rest of the army by wearing tawny instead of scarlet
coats, and seem therefore to have been a peculiar people, but the
immediate connection of flint-lock muskets with cannon is not
apparent. The truth seems to be that the English were behind the
times in respect of field artillery, and indeed we hear little of
guns, except siege-cannon, during the whole period of the Civil
War. English military writers of the period rarely make much of
artillery in a pitched battle. They recommend indeed that the
enemy's guns should be captured by a rush as early as possible, and
they generally agree that cannon should be posted on an eminence,
since a ball travels with greater force downhill than uphill. On
the other hand, it was objected even to this simple rule that if
guns were pointed downhill there was always the risk of the shot
rolling out of the muzzle, so that in truth the gunner seems to
have been sadly destitute of fixed principles for his guidance in

The neglect of field artillery in England is the more remarkable
inasmuch as English gun-founders enjoyed a high reputation in
Europe. The cannon of that day were necessarily heavy and cumbrous,
since the bad quality and slow combustion of the powder made great
length imperative; but there was no excuse for not imitating the
light field-pieces of Gustavus Adolphus. The probable reason for
the backwardness of the English was the peculiar organisation of
the Dutch artillery, which gave no opening for the instruction of
English gunners in the school of the Low Countries. Nevertheless
there was a distinct drill for the working of guns, with thirteen
words of command for the wielding of ladle and sponge and rammer.
A gun's crew consisted of three men--the gunner, his mate, often
called a matross, and an odd man who gave general assistance; and
the number of little refinements that are enjoined upon them show
that the artillerymen took abundant pride in themselves. Thus the
withdrawal of the least quantity of powder with the ladle after
loading was esteemed a "foul fault for a gunner to commit," while
the spilling even of a few grains on the ground was severely
reprobated, "it being a thing uncomely for a gunner to trample
powder under his feet." Lastly, every gunner was exhorted to
"set forth himself with as comely a posture and grace as he can
possibly; for the agility and comely carriage of a man in handling
his ladle and sponge is such an outward action as doth give great
content to the standers-by." Nevertheless artillerymen seem
nowhere, and least of all in England, to have been very popular.
They had an evil reputation all over Europe for profane swearing,
a failing which is attributed by one writer to their enforced
commerce with infernal substances, but which was more probably
due to the fact that, being less perfectly organised than other
branches of the army, they were less amenable to rigid discipline.

But if the gunners were but a casual and ill-administered force,
much more so were the drivers. Over a thousand draught-horses were
collected for the general use of the New Model, but how many, if
any, of these were set apart for the artillery, it is impossible to
say. Ordinary waggoners with their teams were impressed or hired
to haul the guns, and it is recorded that the hackney-coachmen
of London performed the duty more than once. The chief use of
the escort of infantry was therefore to prevent the drivers
from running away. It is doubtful whether the guns themselves
travelled on four wheels or on two, contemporary drawings showing
instances of both; but in either case there was no approach to
what is now called the limber, the horses being harnessed simply
to the trail.[169] The ammunition again was transported in
ordinary waggons, the powder being indeed occasionally made up
into cartridges, but more often carried simply in barrels which
were unloaded behind the gun when it was posted for action. It
was the function of the odd man of the gun's crew to cover up the
powder-barrel between each discharge of the gun, to avert the
danger of a general explosion. In fact, one principal link alone
connects the artillery of the New Model with the artillery of
to-day, the gun-carriages were painted of a fair lead-colour.

Lastly we come to the Engineers, a corps which is more obscure to
us even than the Artillery. Even in the days of the Plantagenets
the English kings had taken Cornish miners with them for their
sieges; and in the war of Dutch Independence Yorkshire colliers
were specially employed for the digging of mines. But, although
by the middle of the sixteenth century the Germans had already
organised a corps of sappers,[170] no such thing existed in
England. In truth, the British were not fond of the spade.
The English indeed handled it often enough under Vere and his
successors, while the Scots, though sorely against the grain,
were forced to do the like by Gustavus Adolphus. But considering
the schools wherein the British were trained, nothing is more
remarkable in the Civil War than the neglect of field-fortification
and the extreme inefficiency with which at any rate the earlier
sieges were conducted. It is significant that the pioneers,[171]
who are the only men that we hear of in connection with the
unorganised corps of engineers, were the very scum of the army, and
that degradation to be "an abject pioneer" was a regular punishment
for hardened offenders. It is still more significant that the
principal engineers of the New Model Army bear not English but
foreign names.

So much for the various branches of the military service: it
remains to say a few words of the Army as a whole. Of the
organisation of what would now be called the War Department, it is
extremely difficult to speak. There was a parliamentary Committee
of the Army, which seems to have enjoyed at first an intermittent
and later a continuous existence, and which was entrusted with
the general direction of its affairs and in particular with the
business of recruiting. There were also Treasurers at War, who
were charged with the financial administration, and there was the
already venerable Office of Ordnance, which was responsible for
arms and equipment. Speaking generally, though the functions of
the Committee and of the treasurers seemed to have overlapped
each other at various points, the military administration seems to
have tended to the following allocation of responsibility: that
the Committee of the Army took charge of the men, the Office of
Ordnance of the weapons and stores, and the Treasurers at War of
the finance, while the Commander-in-Chief was answerable for the
discipline of the Army.

Passing next to purely military organisation, which of course fell
within the province of the Lord-General, it is to be remarked
that the makers and commanders of the New Model knew of no better
distribution of command than under the three heads of Infantry,
Cavalry, and Train. There was no such thing as a division
comprehending a proportion of all three arms under the control of a
divisional commander; and though we do hear frequently of brigades,
the word signifies merely the temporary grouping of certain corps
under a single officer, rarely an essential part of the general
organisation. The subjoined list gives a tolerable idea of the
allotment of functions among the members of the staff. It is only
necessary to add that all orders of the commander-in-chief were
issued through the sergeant-major-general, distributed by him to
the sergeant-majors or, as they are now called, majors of the
different regiments, and by the sergeant-majors in their turn to
the sergeants of every company and the corporals of every troop.


  His Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, Knight, Captain-General.


  (_Chief of the Staff_)--Major-General[172] Skippon.

  _Commissary-General of the Musters._--Comm.-Gen. Stone (with
  two deputies).

  _Commissary-General of Victuals._--Comm.-Gen. Orpin.

  _Commissary-General of Horse Provisions._--Comm.-Gen. Cooke.

  (_Transport_) _Waggon-Master-General._--Master Richardson.

  (_Intelligence_) _Scout-Master-General._--Major Watson.

  (_Military Chest_) Eight Treasurers at War (civilians),
  (with one deputy).

  _Judge Advocate-General._--John Mills (civilian).

  (_Medical_) _Physicians to the Army._--Doctors Payne and

       "           _Apothecary to the Army._--Master Web.
       "           _Chaplain to the Army._--Master Boles.

  (_Military Secretary_) _Secretary to the Council of War._--Mr.
  John Rushworth (civilian), with two clerks.

  (_Aides-de-Camp_) _Messengers to the Army._--Mr. Richard
  Chadwell, Mr. Constantine Heath.


  _Major-General_                    Skippon.
  _Quartermaster-General_            Spencer.
  _Assistant-Quartermaster-General_  Master Robert Wolsey.
  _Adjutant-General_                 Lieutenant-Colonel Gray.
  _Marshal-General_                  Captain Wykes.

Ten regiments of foot; each regiment of ten companies; each company
of one hundred and twenty men, exclusive of the officers.

    1st.     { Sir Thomas Fairfax.
             { Lieut.-Colonel Jackson.
    2nd.     { Major-General Skippon.
             { Lieut.-Colonel Frances.
    3rd.       Sir Hardress Waller.
    4th.       Hammond.
    5th.       Harley.
    6th.       Montague.
    7th.       Lloyd.
    8th.       Pickering.
    9th.       Fortescue.
   10th.       Farringdon.


  _Lieutenant-General_     Oliver Cromwell.
  _Commissary-General_     Henry Ireton.
  _Quartermaster-General_  Fincher.
  _Adjutants-General_      Captains Fleming and Evelyn.
  _Marshal-General_        Captain Laurence.
  _Mark-Master General_    Mr. Francis Child.

Eleven regiments of horse; each of six troops; each troop of one
hundred men, besides officers.


   1st.    { Sir Thomas Fairfax.
           { Major Disbrowe.
   2nd.      Butler.
   3rd.      Sheffield.
   4th.      Fleetwood.
   5th.      Rossiter.
   6th.      Lieut.-General Cromwell.
   7th.      Rich.
   8th.      Sir Robert Pye.
   9th.      Whalley.
  10th.      Graves.
  11th.      Comm.-General Ireton.

The captain-general's bodyguard consisted of one troop, taken from
his regiment of horse, under Colonel Doyley.


  Colonel Okey.

  Ten companies each of one hundred men, besides officers.


  _Lieut.-General of the Ordnance_      Lieut.-General Hammond.
  _Controller of the Ordnance_          Captain Deane.
  _Engineer General_                    Peter Manteau van Dalem.
  _Engineer Extraordinary_              Captain Hooper.
  _Chief Engineer_                      Eval Tercene.
  _Engineers_                           Master Lyon, Master Tomlinson.
  _Master Gunner of the Field_          Francis Furin.
  _Captain of Pioneers_                 Captain Cheese.
  _A Commissary of Ammunition_
  _A Commissary of the Draught Horses_
  Two Regiments of Infantry                { Colonel Rainborough's.
                                           { Colonel Weldon's.
  Two companies of Firelocks.

[Sidenote: April 30.]

The regiments of the New Model were not yet complete when Fairfax
received orders from the Committee of Both Kingdoms to march
westward to the relief of Taunton. It is extraordinary that this
presumptuous body of civilians, even after it had provided the
General with an efficient army, still took upon itself to direct
the plan of campaign. It is still more extraordinary that Fairfax,
who had disregarded it before Marston Moor, should now have meekly
obeyed. Charles, whose chief hopes rested in a junction with the
gallant and victorious Montrose, was actually moving northward
to meet him while Fairfax was tramping away to Taunton. Nay,
even after Taunton had been relieved, the sage Committee could
think of no better employment for the New Model than to set it
down to the siege of Oxford. Fatuity could hardly go further than
this. There were in the field on both sides four armies in all,
ranged alternately, so to speak, in layers from north to south.
Northernmost of all was Montrose, below him in Yorkshire lay Leven
with the Scots, south of Leven was Charles, and south of Charles
the New Model. And yet the Committee proposed to keep Fairfax
inactive before Oxford while Charles and Montrose crushed Leven
between hammer and anvil.

[Sidenote: May 9.]

A brilliant victory of Montrose at Auldearn brought matters to
a crisis. Leven was compelled to retreat into Westmoreland; and
the Scots insisted that Fairfax must break up from before Oxford
and move up towards the King. Charles, meanwhile, with his usual
indecision had suspended his march northward for the sake of
capturing Leicester, and was now lying at Daventry, uncertain
whither to go next. Fairfax called a council of war, which decided
to seek out the enemy and fight him wherever he could be found,
and, more important still, requested the appointment of Cromwell to
the vacant post of lieutenant-general. The Parliament meanwhile had
come to its senses, and resolved that the General should henceforth
conduct his own campaign without the advice of a committee of
civilians. Having done so, it could hardly refuse to sanction the
return of Cromwell. He was therefore summoned to headquarters; and
Fairfax began to work in earnest. So energetic were his movements,
when once the paralysing hand of the Committee was withdrawn, that
the Royalists at once jumped to the conclusion that "Ironside" had
rejoined the army.

He had not yet rejoined it, and yet the Royalists were right, for
it was his spirit, the spirit of discipline, that was abroad in
the army. The New Model was by no means perfect when it marched
from Windsor at the end of April 1645. The old failings of
insubordination, desertion, and plunder, natural enough among a
body of men largely recruited by impressment, showed themselves
abundantly at the outset of the march to Oxford, but they were put
down with a strong hand, not by preaching, but by hanging. Nor
was it by severity only that Fairfax brought men to their duty.
According to custom, every regiment was told off in succession to
furnish the rearguard, but when the turn of Fairfax's regiment
came, the men claimed that, being the General's own, they had a
right to a permanent place in the van. Fairfax said nothing, but
simply jumped off his horse and tramped along in the midst of them
in the rearguard; and after this there were no more quarrels over
precedence. After a month in the field the newspapers could report
that oaths, quarrelling and drunkenness were unknown in the New
Model. "Yea, but let Cromwell be called back," they added; and
before long this too was done. At six o'clock on the morning of
the 13th of June, while Fairfax was sitting at a council of war,
Cromwell marched into the camp at Kislingbury at the head of his
regiment. It was but a small reinforcement of six hundred troopers,
but as they rode in a cheer rose from the cavalry which was taken
up by the whole army, as the word ran round the camp that Noll was

[Sidenote: June 14.]

Next day was fought the battle of Naseby. It was not a well-managed
fight. After considerable shifting of position, so much prolonged
that Rupert came to the conclusion that Fairfax wished to decline
an engagement, the New Model Army was finally drawn up on the
plateau of a ridge about a mile to the north-east of Naseby
village. It lay behind the brow of a hill which slopes down
somewhat steeply to a valley below called the Broadmoor, and was
formed according to the usual fashion of the time. Six regiments
of three thousand six hundred horse formed the right wing, seven
thousand infantry under Skippon made up the centre, two thousand
four hundred more horse under Ireton made the left. Ireton's flank
was covered by a hedge, which by Cromwell's direction was lined
with dismounted dragoons.

The disposition of the Royalists was of the same kind, though
their force was of little more than half the strength of the New
Model. The right wing of cavalry was under Rupert, the centre of
infantry under old Sir Jacob Astley, the left wing of cavalry under
Sir Marmaduke Langdale. Each army held two or three regiments of
infantry in reserve.

Rupert, conspicuous in a red cloak, opened the action by a rapid
advance with his horse against Fairfax's left. Ireton thereupon
drew over the brow of the hill to meet him, and Rupert, evidently
rather astonished to find so large a force in front of him,
incontinently halted. Ireton then made the fatal mistake of halting
likewise. Whether he was hampered by the ground or unequal to the
task of handling so large a body of horse, is uncertain; but,
whatever the reason, his wing was in disorder, and instead of
continuing the advance he began to correct his dispositions. Rupert
at once seized the moment to attack. A few divisions under Ireton's
immediate leadership charged gallantly enough and held their own
until driven back by Rupert's supports, but the rest hung back, and
Rupert pressing on, as was his wont, scattered them in confusion.
Ireton, losing his head, instead of trying to rally them, plunged
down with his few squadrons on the Royalist infantry, was beaten
back, wounded and taken prisoner; and in fact the left wing of the
New Model was for the time completely overthrown. Away went Rupert
in hot pursuit with his troopers at his heels for a mile beyond the
battlefield, and galloping up to the park of Parliamentary baggage,
summoned it to surrender. He was answered by a volley of musketry,
and then too late he recollected himself and rode back to the true
scene of action.

In the centre also matters again had gone ill with the Parliament.
Skippon was wounded early in the day, and though he refused to
leave the field was unable actively to direct the engagement.
Either his dispositions were incomplete, or his colonels were
helpless without him; but the left centre, its flank exposed by
Ireton's defeat, gave way and in spite of all the efforts of the
officers could not be rallied. Fortunately Fairfax's regiment on
the right centre stood firm; and the steadiness of three regiments
in the reserve enabled the Parliamentary infantry to maintain the

But it was on the right that the best soldier in the field was
stationed, and his presence counted for very much. He too was
hampered by bad ground, patches of gorse and a rabbit-warren on his
extreme right preventing all possibility of a general advance of
his wing. But instead of halting like Ireton he took the initiative
in attack. The leftmost troops under Whalley, having good ground
before them, at once moved down, fired their pistols at close
range,[174] and fell in with the sword. Langdale's horse met them
gallantly enough, but were beaten back and retired in rear of the
King's reserve, where they rallied. But Whalley's supports came up
quickly to second him, and meanwhile the rest of Cromwell's wing
came up as best it could over the broken ground, and falling on
the opposing bodies of Royalist horse routed all in succession.
The Royalists retreated for a quarter of a mile and rallied; and
Cromwell, detaching part of his horse to watch them, rode down
with three regiments against the King's reserve of horse. Charles,
to do him justice, bore himself gallantly enough, but some one
gave the unlucky word, "To the right turn--march!" whereupon the
whole of his men turned tail and sweeping the King along with
them joined their beaten comrades in rear. Thither also presently
came Rupert with such a following of blown and beaten horses as
he could collect. Ireton's wing had rallied, and was pressing so
close on his rear that he dared not stop; and Rupert's foolish and
premature pursuit had squandered his squadrons as effectually as a

The whole of Charles's army was now beaten or dispersed except
his centre, and against this the whole force of the Parliamentary
army was now directed. Okey, who commanded the dragoons, finding
the ground clear before him, made his men mount and attacked it in
flank; Fairfax's regiment of foot engaged it in front, and Ireton's
rallied troopers in rear. All soon laid down their arms excepting
a single battalion,[175] which stood alone with incredible courage
and resolution till it was fairly overwhelmed. Even so, however,
Fairfax dared not advance further till he had reformed his whole
line of battle. But the Royalists could not face a second attack;
they turned and fled; and the Parliament's cavalry pursued the
fugitives for fourteen miles, capturing the whole of the King's
artillery, his baggage, and practically his entire army. It was a
decisive victory though not a very glorious one. But for Cromwell,
who alone after Skippon's fall seems to have kept his wits about
him and his men in hand, Naseby would probably have added one more
to the indecisive battles of the Civil War.

[Sidenote: 1646.]

[Sidenote: Sept. 13.]

Nevertheless the New Model had won its first action, and Fairfax
now started on a campaign to the west, which did not end until he
had penetrated through Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall, and crushed
Royalism under foot even to the Land's End. It was a long march of
incessant and at first of severe fighting, which taxed the mettle
even of his best soldiers, but the army gathered strength, in
spite of constant hardships, in its swift progress from victory
to victory, and by the summer of 1646 it had finished the work
begun at Naseby and was virtually master of England. Meanwhile
the persistent folly of the King had raised it from a partisan to
a national army. Charles, who had no spark of patriotic feeling
in him, had from the first striven not only to set nationality
against nationality within the British Isles, but had appealed to
foreigners from France, Lorraine, and Holland to uphold his rights.
All these transactions had been revealed by the capture of his
baggage at Naseby; and his defiance of all the insular prejudice
of the English damaged him unspeakably even with those who were
most sincerely attached to his cause. Margaret of Anjou was not
yet forgotten; and if men coupled Charles's name with hers, it
was no more than he deserved. Now, however, he was beaten, beaten
on every side. In the first six months of 1645 Montrose, perhaps
the most brilliant natural military genius disclosed by the Civil
War, had scored success after success with a handful of Scots and
Irish. A woman in emotion and instability, a man in courage, and a
magician in leadership, he was an ideal leader for such untameable,
combative spirits, the stuff of which Dundonalds are made. Yet
Montrose's work had been undone at Philiphaugh, and Charles's last
hope was gone. A few more ineffectual struggles to divide England
against herself, and he was to be purged away as a public enemy by
the ever victorious army.


[Sidenote: 1646.]

On the subjugation of the west the English Parliament thought
for the present only of securing its position within England
itself. It has been seen how at the first outbreak of the war the
Parliamentary leaders had taken the Scottish army into pay, and
how even after the formation of the New Model they had tried to
saddle it with the hardest of the work. In truth, the behaviour
of the Parliament towards the Scots had been sufficiently shifty
and ungracious; it had taken at any rate some care to pay its own
troops, but it persistently neglected its allies, who had done
excellent service in the north. Indeed, had Leven yielded to the
English Parliament's wishes, had he not in fact been forced by the
victory at Auldearn to retreat, the Scots instead of the English
might have won the Naseby of the Civil War, an event which would
have led to untold complications. Now however that the English army
had done the work for itself, all parties in England became anxious
to be rid of the Scots. Matters were somewhat confused by the fact
that in 1646 Charles threw himself into the hands of Scotland;
but by the close of the year it was agreed that the Scottish army
should be paid off and withdrawn over the border, and that the
King should be surrendered to the English, who had conquered him.
The Parliament therefore gained its great object, a free hand for
the management of its own affairs. It overlooked however in its
calculations one important factor, the Army.

[Sidenote: 1647.]

At the opening of 1647 there was a general cry throughout
England for peace. The country was exhausted; the finance of the
Parliament was in hopeless disorder; and the people groaned under
the enormous expense of the war. Obviously the most natural item
for retrenchment was the Army; its work was done, and there was no
further reason for its existence; it should therefore be disbanded
or at any rate very greatly reduced. Moreover economy was not the
only motive that prompted such a policy. The Parliament, united
for the moment in the general desire to get quit of the Scots,
fell back, almost immediately after this was accomplished, into
faction. Presbyterians and Independents were the original names
of the two rival parties, but for our purpose it is simpler to
narrow them forthwith to Parliament and Army; for among many of the
Presbyterian members who had held commands in the first years of
the war, there existed a professional as well as a political and
religious jealousy of the successful officers who had supplanted
them. Parliament having created the Army by a vote thought that it
could extinguish it by the same simple process; having used it as a
ladder whereon to rise to undisputed supremacy it now proposed to
kick it down. But such an Army was not disposed to make itself a
plaything of Parliament.

Petitions from various quarters for the disbandment of the New
Model turned the heads rather than strengthened the hands of the
two Houses. The only safe and honest course, if the Army must be
disbanded, was to discharge the whole of the country's obligations
to it in full. Now the pay of the foot was eighteen weeks and of
the horse forty-two weeks in arrear, and the total debt due to
the forces amounted to three hundred and thirty thousand pounds.
The Parliament was in straits for money and by no means inclined
to make the necessary effort to raise this sum. It proposed as an
alternative to turn twelve thousand of the soldiers into a new
army for the pacification of Ireland, and this without a word as
to the terms on which the men had taken service, and without the
least mention of a settlement of arrears. Further, as if it were
not enough to irritate the men, the Parliament did its best to
alienate the officers. It passed resolutions insulting to the army,
insulting to Fairfax, insulting to Cromwell. So deeply injured
indeed was Oliver by this ungrateful treatment, that he thought
seriously of carrying his sword and such troops as he could raise
to the wars in Germany. Such was the pitch of disgust to which the
Parliament had driven the ablest of its servants.

The Army raised its first protest in the form of a respectful
petition from the men: the Parliament met it with violent and
ungracious censure. Certain officers who had supported this
petition then tendered a vindication of their conduct: the Commons
refused even to read it. Finally, as if to aggravate the Army to
extremity, the Lords proposed to grant the troops six weeks' pay in
temporary satisfaction of arrears. This was too much. Discontent
grew apace in the ranks, the men refused to have anything to do
with service in Ireland, and finally the Army, by the election
of two representatives for each regiment, organised itself for
the orderly maintenance of its just claims. These representatives
were called agitators, a name which in those days signified simply
agents. The degradation of the term in our own time into a synonym
for political busy-bodies must not mislead us, nor blind us to the
dignified patience, under extreme provocation, of this irresistible
body of disciplined men.

[Sidenote: May 25.]

For the moment the Parliament was awed into concessions and
promises, but its leaders did not lightly submit to humiliation,
and rather than yield to the Army looked about for a force to
countervail it. First they turned to the City of London, which
was strongly Presbyterian, and sought an armed force in the City
train-bands. Next they resorted to Scotland, which was intensely
jealous of the New Model, and formed a coalition with it in favour
of the King, thereby sowing the seeds of a quarrel between North
and South Britain. Finally, after stultifying itself by a promise
of attention to the Army's complaints, it passed an Ordinance for
its disbandment without further ado. This was past endurance. The
soldiers broke into open mutiny; and Fairfax and Cromwell, having
striven in vain to gain justice for their men, and at the same time
to keep them in subordination to the Parliament, placed themselves
at the head of a movement which they could no longer repress. It
was indeed high time, for the Presbyterian leaders had already
invited the Prince of Wales to place himself at the head of the
Scots for an invasion of England.

[Sidenote: August 6.]

On the 4th of June the Army assembled about four miles from
Newmarket at Kentford Heath. There in the course of the next
few days it erected a general council, composed of the general
officers who had taken the side of the men and of two officers and
two privates from each regiment, and made a written declaration
of its policy. Still the Parliament remained obstinate, and now
endeavoured to enlist the discharged soldiers of the earlier armies
in order to meet force with force. The Army advanced to Triplow
Heath, whither Parliament sent a last message to propose terms for
an agreement. The overtures were rejected, and the Army continued
its advance. In panic fear the Parliament now offered bribes to
any officers or men who would desert the Army. This contemptible
device was a total failure. It then tried to raise troops, to
reopen negotiations with the Army, to call out the London trained
bands, to forbid the Army's further advance, to gain certain
troops, which were not of the New Model, from the north; all was
in vain. Irresistible as fate, the Army marched on. At St. Albans
it halted and issued a manifesto demanding the expulsion of eleven
of its enemies from the Commons, and receiving no encouragement
advanced to Uxbridge. There again it halted and spent three weeks
in the hopeless effort to arrange a peaceful settlement with the
King; and finally it marched straight into London and occupied the

Still the Commons persevered in opposition to the Army; and at last
Cromwell, without the orders and in spite of the unwillingness of
Fairfax, gave the Presbyterian majority a strong hint to convert
itself into a minority. His arguments consisted of one regiment of
horse, stationed in Hyde Park, and a small party of foot at the
door of the House; and they were sufficient and conclusive. The
House thus purged, Cromwell turned to the task which was to occupy
the remainder of his life and drive him worn-out to his grave, a
final settlement of the original quarrel. Wisely enough he thought
that this could be effected only by agreement with the King; and
it was to negotiation with Charles Stuart for this object that he
now devoted the whole of his energy. But negotiation with a man who
was constitutionally incapable of straightforward and honourable
dealing could have but one end. The lower ranks of the Army,
not more far-seeing but less sanguine than their leader, again
interposed. A section of extremists, known at that time by the name
of Levellers, began, as is usual at such times, to raise its head,
and condemning all further traffic with the King boldly put forward
a revolutionary scheme of its own.

Herein, however, the Levellers mistook their man. However Cromwell
might be distracted by the difficult questions of a settlement, he
was perfectly clear on one point, that the discipline of the Army
must be maintained. Symptoms all too significant appeared that
that discipline was impaired, and he lost no time in restoring
it. One regiment refusing to obey his orders, Cromwell promptly
drew his sword and rode single-handed straight into the middle of
the malcontents. His resolution speedily convinced the men that
he would not be trifled with; the mutineers yielded, and a single
execution sufficed to re-establish order.

[Sidenote: 1648, January.]

Then as usual the portentous folly of the King united all parties
not only in the Army but in England against himself. He might have
made honourable terms with Cromwell; he preferred to throw himself
into the arms of the Scots. Both Houses of Parliament thereupon
broke with their North British allies, and the dispute assumed
the new phase of a quarrel between English and Scots. English
refugees inflamed national feeling at Edinburgh, and on the 11th
of April the Scottish Parliament pronounced the treaty between the
two nations to be broken. By the first week in May the army which
was to invade England began slowly to assemble, and on the 8th of
July it crossed the border, ten thousand five hundred strong, and
occupied Carlisle.

[Sidenote: July.]

Meanwhile the energies of the English had been distracted by
Royalist risings in Kent and in Wales which kept Fairfax and
Cromwell both busily employed; and it was not till the 11th of July
that Cromwell was able to leave Pembroke and march to the north.
Even then his force, after a trying campaign in very inclement
weather, was in no very good state. He was entirely destitute
of artillery, and his men were most of them both shoeless and
stockingless. In one principal respect, however, the force was
strong, for it was perfect in spirit and in discipline. I shall not
dwell on the details of Cromwell's dash from Wales into Yorkshire.
The Scots, embarrassed by a multitude of commanders, suffered
him to attack their far more numerous army in detail, when it
was divided on opposite banks of the Ribble; and after one sharp
engagement at Preston the campaign resolved itself into a mere
pursuit of the beaten Scots. How hotly Cromwell pressed the chase,
and with what hardships to his own little army, may be read in his
own despatches. Unfavourable weather, torrents of rain, and the
miserable state of the roads brought men and horses to the last
stage of exhaustion. "The Scots," wrote Cromwell, "are so tired
and in such confusion that if my horse could but trot after them
we could take them all, but we are so weary we can scarce be able
to do more than walk after them ... my horse are miserably beaten
out, and we have ten thousand prisoners." The memory of this swift
raid into Yorkshire, and of the unrelenting chase that followed it
should be treasured by the British cavalry that fought through the
Pindarri war and the Central Indian campaign of 1857-58.

With the close of the pursuit after Preston, the second Civil War
came to an end. The operations of Fairfax in the south had shown
him at his very best, swift, active, and resolute, and had been
brilliantly successful. Those of Cromwell in the north, though
they were directed against Royalist Scotland only, not yet the
sterner Scotland of the Covenant, had been crushing. England was
now completely under the sway of the Parliament; but it became a
question whether Parliament was its own master. A movement arose
in the Army for the punishment of the men who had brought all
this bloodshed upon the country, and in particular of the chief
delinquent, Charles Stuart, who was guiltiest of all. By a final
overture for a settlement the Army gave the King a last chance, and
on its failure appealed to Parliament to bring him to justice.

[Sidenote: 1649.]

Ireton seems to have been the moving spirit in the actions that
followed, though there can be no doubt that Cromwell was in full
sympathy with them. Oliver was intensely English in spirit, and had
been greatly exasperated by the English Royalists who had called
the Scots over the border. He was vehement for justice upon them,
and upon the King as the chief of them. Parliament, on the other
hand, was engaged in nominal negotiations with Charles; and it was
therefore not to be expected that it would comply with the Army's
request that he should be brought to trial. But the Army was not to
be stopped. The King's person was seized; the Parliament was purged
of recalcitrant members; and from these actions to the High Court
of Justice the march was short. One leading soldier, Fairfax, did
indeed recoil from the final step, but the majority of the officers
pressed on; and on the 30th of January 1649, the King was brought
out into the ring of red coats to meet his death. He had done his
worst against the British Isles. He had invited foreign armies
against England, and when he failed had roused Welsh, Scots, and
Irish to a hopeless effort to subdue her. But he succeeded only in
establishing her strength; and the fall of his head was but the
first instalment of the great work done by Cromwell and the Army
towards the unity of the islands under the supremacy of England.

We have a pleasant glimpse of Oliver in his lighter moods
before he next unsheathed his sword. On the evening of the 23rd
of February, as he and Ireton were returning from dinner with
Bulstrode Whitelocke, their coach was stopped by the soldiers who
were in charge of the streets. They explained who they were, but
the captain of the guard would not believe them and threatened to
put them into the guard-room. Ireton began to lose his temper, but
Cromwell laughed, and pulling out twenty shillings gave them to the
men as a reward for doing their duty. Less than three weeks later
he was summoned to take command of the army that was collecting for
the reconquest of Ireland; for that unlucky island had been chosen
by the Royalists as the base of operations for the invasion of
England. Rupert, now turned admiral, had already sailed to Kinsale
to enlist Irish sailors, and the faithful Ormonde had invited
Charles the Second to place himself at the head of the loyal party
in Ireland. Cromwell was not unwilling to undertake the duty. He
had no idea of yielding England either to Scots or Irish, least
of all to the Irish, whose land was regarded rather as a colony
than as an integral part of the realm, and was also a stronghold
of papistry. Still he declined to accept the command until he
had assured himself that all the wants of his troops should be
satisfied; he loved his men and would not suffer them to be enticed
by the magic of his name to thankless or unprofitable service.

Four regiments of foot and one of horse were then chosen by lot,
and the men were informed that they need not go to Ireland unless
they wished, but that if they refused they would be discharged from
the Army. Several hundred men thereupon at once threw down their
arms and were dismissed; but by some blunder, which was none of
Cromwell's, not a word was said about the payment of the arrears
that were due to them. The idea spread through the ranks that they
must either go to Ireland or forfeit those arrears; discontent
was naturally aroused and presently burst out into formidable
mutiny. Fairfax and Cromwell, however, could depend on their own
regiments, and faced the danger with extraordinary swiftness and
energy. The mutineers were suppressed with a strong hand. One
ringleader was executed in St. Paul's Churchyard, a cornet and a
corporal were shot before the eyes of their comrades against the
walls of Burford Church, and discipline was again restored. Shortly
after, Parliament passed an Ordinance to relieve the financial
difficulties of the soldiers, and the preparations for the Irish
campaign were resumed. It is curious to note the extreme slowness
with which the civilians learned that soldiers were after all men
of flesh and blood, not puppets to be hugged or broken according to
the caprice of the hour.

The details of the preparations for the war in Ireland may still
be read in the State Papers of the time. There are still to be
seen the orders for fifteen thousand cassocks, "Venice-red colour,
shrunk in water," the like number of pairs of breeches "of grey
or other good colour," ten thousand shirts, ten thousand hats and
bands,[176] one thousand iron griddles, fifteen hundred kettles,
giving a curious picture of the equipment of the first English
regular army for what was then esteemed to be foreign service.
But I shall not follow the red coats through the terrible Irish
campaign of 1649. It was not, like the later war with the Scots,
an honourable contest for supremacy: it was rather the stern
suppression of a rebellion, wherein the spirit of the masters was
inflamed by the insolence of long superiority, by the bitterness of
religious hatred, and by the recollection of past outrages which,
even if truly reported, would have kindled men to vengeance, and
when exaggerated by rage and fear fairly blinded them to mercy.
If any Englishman doubted whether the Irish could fight with
desperate gallantry he was undeceived at the storm of Drogheda and
at Clonmel: but they could not stand, untrained and unorganised
as they were, against the veterans of the New Model. Much has
been said about Cromwell's cruelty, and that he was ruthlessly
severe there can be no question; but when we speak of cruelty we
should take at any rate some account of the standard of humanity
in the warfare of the seventeenth century. The Irish War was a
war of races, a war of creeds, and a war of vengeance. That there
should therefore have been such slaughter as at Drogheda and at
Wexford is nothing surprising,[177] however deplorable. What is
really remarkable in such a war is that Cromwell, from the moment
of landing, should have paid his way, visited plunder with the
sharpest penalties, and upheld the sternest and most inflexible
discipline. Forty years later, when the conquest of Ireland was
undertaken by a former marshal of France and a king long schooled
in war against the first generals of the time, they were glad to
search out Cromwell's plans for his Irish campaign and follow them
at such a distance as they might.

[Sidenote: 1650, January 8.]

[Sidenote: June 12.]

[Sidenote: June 26.]

Cromwell was still in full career of victory when the alarming
news of a treaty between Charles the Second and the Scots moved
the Parliament to recall him to watch over its own safety. He
arrived in London on the 1st of June, and was joyfully welcomed
not only by Fairfax and the officers of the Army but by all ranks
and all classes. It was now almost certain that the Scots would
invade England in the King's name, and no time was lost by the
Council of State in appointing Fairfax and Cromwell to command the
English army in the north. That they would work loyally together
in the field no one could doubt; but when the Council consulted
the two generals as to plan of campaign, their opinions were found
to be diametrically opposed to each other. Cromwell was for taking
the bull by the horns and carrying the war into Scotland before
the Scots could cross the border; Fairfax, never quite at his
ease since the establishment of the Commonwealth, thought such
aggressive action unjustifiable. It is impossible to believe that
this was his true military opinion, but not all the arguments of
the Council nor the pressing entreaty of Cromwell could prevail
with him to alter it. Despite all protests he resigned his
commission on the plea of physical infirmity, and from this moment
passes out of the history of the Army. Never perhaps has that Army
possessed a more popular and deservedly popular commander-in-chief.

Only one man could be his successor. On the self-same 26th of
June Cromwell received his commission as captain-general and
commander-in-chief; and two days later he started on his journey
to the north. Charles Fleetwood was his lieutenant-general, John
Lambert, an excellent soldier, his major-general; and joined to
his staff was another officer whom we saw fighting in the Low
Countries many years ago, Colonel George Monk. He had served in the
Civil War first with the Royalists, and had been taken prisoner
by Fairfax at Nantwich in January 1645; he had then passed some
time in confinement in the Tower, and finally had taken service
with the Parliament in Ireland, where his merit had attracted the
attention of Cromwell. Oliver was now anxious to provide him with a
regiment; but the corps which he had designed for him was unwilling
to receive a Royalist for colonel. Five companies were therefore
taken from Sir Arthur Hazelrigg's regiment at Newcastle and as many
more from Colonel Fenwick's at Berwick; and the ten companies were
united into Monk's regiment of foot. Thus was formed the oldest
of our existing national regiments, the one complete relic of the
famous New Model,[178] the one surviving corps which fought under
Oliver Cromwell, itself more famous under its later name of the
Coldstream Guards.

On the 19th of July Cromwell halted near Berwick, where he mustered
sixteen thousand men, a third of them cavalry; and on the 22nd he
crossed the Tweed and marched up the coast upon Edinburgh. A fleet
on the east coast provided him with supplies as he advanced, which
furnishes an interesting precedent for the system that was to be
seen later under Wellington in the Peninsula. On the 28th of July
he was at Musselburgh, and on the following morning he came in
sight of the Scottish army, which was entrenched along the line
from Leith to the Canongate.

The Scottish force comprehended a nominal total of twenty-six
thousand men, of which eighteen thousand were foot and eight
thousand horse. It was under the command, in deed if not in name,
of David Leslie, the same excellent officer who had routed the
brilliant Montrose at Philiphaugh and had handled his cavalry so
efficiently at Marston Moor. His troops however were inferior in
quality to the English. It is true that in 1647 the Scotch had
followed the example of England in remodelling their army, but the
total strength of this force was but five thousand foot and fifteen
hundred horse; and this, even supposing the whole of it to have
been efficient, was but a small leaven among twenty-six thousand
men. Leslie therefore stood carefully on the defensive and resisted
all Cromwell's temptations to a pitched battle. After a couple
of days Cromwell was compelled to fall back to Musselburgh for
supplies. He then determined to march round Edinburgh and push on
to Queensferry, where he could regain touch with his fleet on the
northern side of the town. Political reasons, however, induced him
to linger in the execution of this project; and the delay enabled
Leslie to take up a position which rendered it impossible. Unable
to force Leslie to an engagement, and not daring to attack him with
inferior numbers, Cromwell found himself completely outmanœuvred.
Dysentery broke out in the English troops; supplies began to fail;
and he was compelled to fall back by Haddington and Musselburgh
to his ships at Dunbar. There he arrived on the 1st of September
with "a poor, shattered, hungry, discouraged army." The Scots had
pressed the pursuit very closely, the rearguard had been constantly
engaged, and, most significant of all, the English discipline even
under Oliver himself had begun to fail.[179] Having driven his
enemy into the peninsula of Dunbar, Leslie sent forward a force
to bar a defile on the road to Berwick at Cockburnspath, and cut
off his retreat. The situation of the English was desperate, and
Cromwell was at his wits' end. His army was reduced by sickness to
eleven thousand men, while the Scots still numbered twenty-three
thousand; he could expect no relief from Berwick; and Leslie lay
in a strong position, from which it was hopeless to attempt to
dislodge him, between him and the Tweed.

[Sidenote: Sept. 2.]

Leslie on his side might well feel confident that he held his
enemy in the hollow of his hand. He had but to remain on his
hill-side and watch the English army melt away, or wait for the
most favourable moment to attack it either in the effort to embark
or while struggling through the defile in retreat. He was, however,
not his own master, but was controlled by an Aulic Council called
the Committee of Estates, which urged him to descend from his
weather-beaten position on the hill and move to the ground below,
where he would not only find greater convenience of supplies but
stand within closer striking distance of his enemy. Down therefore
he came, not altogether unwillingly, and took up a new position on
a triangle of ground enclosed between the sea, the hill which he
had just left, and a small stream called the Broxburn. This stream,
which runs at the bottom of a course from forty to fifty feet
deep, covered the whole of his front. On his extreme left it runs
close under the steep declivity of the hill and forms with it, so
to speak, the apex of the triangle; but further down it quits the
slope and takes its own course to the sea, leaving plenty of space
between it and the hill for a camping-ground. Half-way between the
open space and the sea, by the grounds of Broxmouth House, the
deep banks of the stream give place, as is usual with such waters,
to gentle inclines, not unfavourable to the action of cavalry.
This point by Broxmouth House formed Leslie's extreme right. The
whole position, as he judged, was not ill suited to a force with
great superiority in cavalry. He could post his foot on his centre
and on his left behind the deep trench dug by the Broxburn, and
mass his horse on the right where it could dash down the gradual
incline and across the shallow water without risk or difficulty.
By four o'clock in the afternoon of the 2nd of September his new
dispositions were complete.

[Sidenote: Sept. 3.]

Cromwell from the other side of the stream followed every movement
with intense attention. At last turning to Lambert he said that he
thought the enemy gave him an opportunity. Lambert replied that
the very same idea had occurred to him. Monk, who had probably
received higher military training than any officer in the army, was
next appealed to, and cordially agreed. If Leslie's right, at the
base of the triangle, could be turned, the whole of his force must
be pent up between the hills and the burn, his horse hurled on to
the backs of his foot, and the entire army forced up to the gorge
at the apex of the triangle in ever increasing confusion, and, in
a word, lost. The time of attack was fixed for the morrow before
dawn, and the details of the English dispositions were entrusted
to Lambert.

Rain fell in torrents all through the night, and the Scotch
picquets laid themselves down to sleep with what comfort they could
among the corn-shocks. The English, as ever even during the worst
and most disorderly of retreats, had recovered themselves at the
prospect of battle. At four the moon rose and found Lambert already
hard at work. The bulk of the force, six out of eight regiments of
horse and three and a half regiments of foot, was moved down to
the extreme English left. Five regiments of horse under Lambert
were to cross the burn by Broxmouth House and attack the Scottish
cavalry in front; three regiments of foot and one of horse, all
picked corps, were to cross the water farther down and sweep round
upon its right flank. Cromwell himself took command of this turning
movement, and the regiment of horse which he took with him was
that which he had made six years before on the model of his own
"lovely company." The remainder of the force with the artillery was
stationed along the edge of the trench of the Broxburn to check any
movement of the enemy's centre and left.

The light was beginning to creep over the sea before Lambert had
posted the artillery to his liking. There was some stir in the
Scotch camp; a trumpet sounded _boute-selle_; and Cromwell, fearful
lest the enemy should gain time to change position, grew impatient
for Lambert's coming. At last he came, and both columns moved
off. Lambert's regiments of horse advanced to the burn; and then
the trumpets rang out, and the troopers dashed across the water
and poured up the opposite slope to the attack. The Scots, though
unprepared, met them gallantly enough. Foreigners would have called
them ill-equipped, for they carried lances, an obsolete weapon, in
their front rank; but the lance was in place in the shock-combat
which Cromwell had taught to the English cavalry, and the first
onset of the English horse was borne back across the burn. The
supports came quickly up and the fight was renewed, though against
heavy odds, for the Scots could bring infantry and guns to the aid
of their horse, which the English could not yet. But while the
combat of cavalry was still swaying to and fro, the infantry of
Cromwell's turning column came up steady and inexorable upon the
flank of the Scots. Still Leslie's gallant men fought on for a
short time undismayed. They had been faultily disposed, as Cromwell
had noted, and could not easily change front,[180] but they met the
new attack as best they might and even checked the leading regiment
of English infantry. But Cromwell's own regiment of foot came up in
support, strode grimly forward straight to push of pike, and swept
the stoutest corps of Scottish infantry into rout.

[Illustration: DUNBAR.

September 3^{rd} 1650.

  _To face page 244_

Then the Scots lost heart and wavered; the English, horse and
foot, gathered themselves up for a final terrible charge; and the
Scottish cavalry, reeling back upon the foot, carried it away in
choking disorder towards the gorge. Meanwhile Cromwell was urging
his third regiment of foot to the left, always farther to the left;
and as, panting and breathless, they climbed the lower slopes of
the hill they saw the whole length of the battle spread out before
them and the Scotch all in confusion. "They run, I profess, they
run!" cried Oliver as he looked down. And while he spoke the sun
leaped up over the sea, and flashed beneath the canopy of smoke
on darting pikes and flickering blades and glancing casques and
swaying cuirasses, as the red-coats rolled the broken waves of the
Scottish army before them. "Now let God arise and let His enemies
be scattered," cried Cromwell in exultation, for the victory was
won. The Scots, wedged tighter and tighter between hills and
stream, were caught like rats in a pit, and like rats they ran
desperately and aimlessly up the steep slope, only to be caught
or turned back by the English skirmishers above them. Their horse
fled as best they could with the English cavalry spurring after
them, till Cromwell ordered a rally. While the broken ranks were
reforming he sang the hundred and seventeenth Psalm, the chorus
swelling louder and louder behind him as trooper after trooper
fell into his place. Then the psalm gave way to the sharp word of
command, and the horse trotted away once more to the pursuit past
Dunbar and Belhaven even to Haddington. Three thousand of the Scots
fell in the field; ten thousand prisoners, with the whole of the
artillery and baggage and two hundred colours, were taken. It was
the greatest action fought by an English army since Agincourt.

Cromwell lost no time in following up his success. On the day after
the battle he sent Lambert forward with six regiments of horse to
Edinburgh, and occupied the port of Leith and the whole of the
town, except the Castle, without resistance. Leaving sufficient
men to blockade the Castle and hold the works at Leith he pushed
on against Leslie, who had entrenched himself with five thousand
men at Stirling; but finding his position unassailable he returned
to Edinburgh and busied himself with the reduction of the Castle,
while Lambert completed the subjugation of the West. In the middle
of September the Castle surrendered, and therewith all Scotland
south of the Forth and Clyde was subject to the English.

[Sidenote: 1651.]

At Westminster the joy over the victory of Dunbar was enthusiastic,
and found vent in the grant of a medal[181] and of a gratuity to
every man who had fought in the campaign. This, the first medal
ever issued to an English army, bore, in spite of his protests, the
effigy of Cromwell upon the obverse, no unfitting memorial of the
first founder of our Army of to-day. But the struggle even now was
not yet over. Royalist Scotland had been beaten at Preston, the
Scotland of the Covenant at Dunbar; but Charles Stuart was able,
by unscrupulous lying and shameless hypocrisy, to unite both for a
last effort in his cause, and to gather a new army around that of
David Leslie at Stirling. Accordingly on the 4th of February 1651
Cromwell left his winter-quarters for Stirling, but was compelled
by the severity of the weather to retreat, with no further result
to himself than a dangerous attack of fever and ague, which kept
him on the sick-list until June.

On the 25th of June the English army was concentrated on the
Pentland Hills, and from thence marched once more to Stirling.
Leslie, true to the tactics which had proved so successful in
the previous year, had occupied an impregnable position which
no temptation could induce him to quit. After a fortnight's
manœuvring, therefore, Cromwell decided, like Surrey before
Flodden, to move round Leslie's left flank and to cut off his
supplies from the north. It is plain, from the fact that Monk had
been engaged in operations for the reduction of Inchgarvie and
Burntisland on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth, that
Cromwell's plans for this movement were fully matured.

[Sidenote: July 19-20.]

The first step was to send Lambert across the Firth with four
thousand men to entrench himself at Queensferry. Leslie met this
move by detaching a slightly inferior force against Lambert, which
was utterly and disastrously routed, with a loss of five-sixths of
its numbers. Ten days later Inchgarvie and Burntisland fell into
Cromwell's hands, and, his new base being thus secured, he advanced
quickly into Fife. Meanwhile he sent orders to General Harrison,
whom he had left at Edinburgh with a reserve of three thousand
horse, that he was to move at once to the English border in the
event of Leslie's marching southward. By the 2nd of August he had
received the surrender of Perth, but, even before he could sign the
capitulation, intelligence reached him that the Scots had quitted
Stirling two days before and were pouring down to the border.
Leaving five or six thousand men with Monk to reduce Stirling, he
at once hurried off in pursuit.

[Sidenote: August 4.]

Two days sufficed to bring his army to Edinburgh, where he halted
for forty-eight hours. Harrison had already marched for the Border,
and with ready intelligence had mounted some of his infantry to
strengthen his little force. Lambert was now despatched with
three thousand horse to hang upon the enemy's rear; a letter was
despatched to the Speaker exhorting the Parliament to be of good
heart; and on the 6th of August Cromwell resumed his advance. Both
armies, English and Scots, were now fairly started on their race
to the south. Charles, in the hope of picking up recruits, stuck
to the western coast and the Welsh border, moving by Carlisle,
Lancaster, and the ill-omened town of Preston. Cromwell's course
lay farther east; he passed by Newburn, a scene of English defeat,
and by the more famous field of Towton, where the south had first
taught a lesson of respect to the north. Lambert and Harrison
united, and on the 16th of August obtained contact with the enemy
at Warrington, but not venturing to attack retired eastward to
cover the London road and to draw closer to the line of Cromwell's

[Sidenote: Sept 3.]

The Ribble and the Aire once passed, the two armies began to
converge. On the 22nd of August Charles halted with the Scots at
Worcester and proceeded to fortify the town, and four days later
Cromwell occupied Evesham. Charles had but sixteen thousand men;
while Cromwell by a masterly concentration had collected no fewer
than twenty-eight thousand. The militia, which had been reorganised
by the Parliament in the previous year, had been called out and
had answered admirably to the call. There could be little doubt of
the issue of an action where the advantages both of numbers and
of quality were all on one side, and there is no need to dwell on
the battle fought on the anniversary of Dunbar at Worcester. It
was a victory in its way as complete as Sedan: hardly a man of
the Scottish army escaped. But it was also the crown of the great
work of the Army, the establishment of England's supremacy in the
British Isles.


The victory had not long been reported to Parliament when the House
began to consider the question of reducing the forces. Silently
and almost imperceptibly the strength of the Standing Army had
grown since 1645 until it now amounted to thirty regiments of foot,
eighteen of horse and one of dragoons, or close on fifty thousand
men. Besides these there were independent companies in garrison
to the number of seven thousand more, and several more regiments
which were borne permanently on the Irish establishment. Five
whole regiments, thirty independent companies, and two independent
troops were ordered to be disbanded forthwith; other regiments
were reserved for service in Ireland or to replace the disbanded
companies in garrison; and the establishment for England and
Scotland was fixed at eighteen regiments of foot and sixteen of
horse. It appears too that the actual strength of companies was
reduced from one hundred and twenty to eighty, and of troops from
one hundred to sixty, thus diminishing the number of men while
retaining the name of the corps intact. The system is no novelty in
these days, but this is the first instance of its acceptance in the
history of the Army.

[Sidenote: 1652.]

[Sidenote: 1652-53.]

A revolutionary Government, however, does not easily find peace. By
June 1652 the recruiting officers were abroad again, and regiments
were increasing their establishment owing to the outbreak of the
Dutch War. The quarrel with the United Provinces was curious,
inasmuch as the English commonwealth had expected sympathy from
the sister-republic which had been made by English soldiers, and
had even sought to unite the two republics into one. But there
is no such thing as national gratitude; and the discourtesy of
the Dutch soon led the English to exchange friendly negotiations
first for the Act of Navigation and very shortly after for war.
The story of that war belongs to the naval history of England,
wherein it forms one of its most glorious pages. Never perhaps
has more desperate fighting been seen than in the six furious
engagements which brought the Dutch to their knees. Yet in these
too the red-coats to the number of some two thousand[182] took
part, under the command of men who had made their mark as military
officers--Robert Blake, Richard Deane and, not least, George Monk.
The last named was so utterly ignorant of all naval matters that
he gave his orders in military language--"Wheel to the right,"
"Charge"--but he made up for all shortcomings by his coolness and
determination. When Deane, his better-skilled colleague, was cut
in two by a round shot at his side he simply whipped his cloak
over the mangled body and went on fighting his ship as though
nothing had happened. Finally, in the last action of the war he
boldly met the greatest admiral of the day, and one of the finest
sailors of all time, with but ninety ships against one hundred and
forty, fought him not only with superb gallantry but with skilful
manœuvre, and wrenched from him the supremacy of the sea.

[Sidenote: 1653, April 20.]

And meanwhile the Army ashore had done the deed whereof the
Nemesis has never ceased to pursue it. So far, except for a few
intervals too brief to be worth noting, the Commonwealth had been
occupied with the business of war, and the principal function of
the Parliament had been to provide ways and means for the conduct
of war. Incapable of dissolution save by its own act, the House of
Commons had resolved just before the execution of the King that
it would put an end to itself in three months; but this had been
rendered impossible by the Irish and Scotch campaigns. After the
victory of Worcester Cromwell as a private member again brought
forward the question of dissolution, but the Rump, as the small
remnant that remained after several purgings was called, now showed
no disposition to part with the authority which it had so long
enjoyed. Frequent conferences were held between the officers of the
Army and the members of the House, with the only result that the
latter introduced a Bill which, while providing in some fashion or
another for the settlement of the nation, reserved to themselves
a perpetuity of power. The Army did not conceal its objections
to this Bill; and the climax came when certain members tried to
smuggle it through the House before the officers could interfere.
Then Cromwell went down to Westminster, and with twenty or thirty
musketeers quickly settled the whole matter.

It is difficult to see how things could have ended otherwise. The
House had been sufficiently warned at the close of the first civil
war that the Army would not submit to do all the hard work in order
that a handful of civilians might reap the profits. The prestige
of that Parliament rested and still rests on the achievements of
its armed forces, and it depended for its life on the exertions of
men who had subjected themselves for its sake to the restraint of
military discipline and to the hardships and dangers of war. The
Parliament itself had shown no such devotion and self-sacrifice.
While soldiers were in distress for want of the wages due to them,
corrupt members were making money; while soldiers were flogged and
horsed for drunkenness or fornication, drunkards and lewd livers
passed unpunished in the House. Even in matters of administration,
if we judge by financial management, the Parliament had not shown
extraordinary capacity. Its difficulties were certainly enormous,
but not a few of them had been evaded rather than honestly met. The
Army, on the other hand, for once contained more than its share of
the brains of the nation, and comprehended not less administrative
talent and far more patriotic feeling than was to be found in the
Parliament. It was therefore too much to expect that it would
resign all share in the settlement of the nation to such a body as
the Rump. If the question of legality be raised, a House of Commons
indissoluble without its own consent, and working without the
checks of lords and sovereign, was as unknown to the Constitution
as a standing army, and at least as dangerous a menace to liberty.
If the Long Parliament taught a salutary lesson to kings, the Army
taught a lesson no less salutary to parliaments. It would have been
better perhaps for the future of the British Army had Cromwell
suffered the Rump to remain in power until it should be dissolved
in anarchy and confusion, instead of taking the initiative and
keeping stern order during the next five dangerous years. But it
would have been incomparably worse for England.

[Sidenote: Dec. 16.]

Nine months later, after the Little Parliament had been summoned
and had in despair resigned its powers, the soldier who had ousted
the Rump and taken over its authority to himself was installed
as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and
Ireland. Since 1652 he had been Commander-in-Chief, the first in
our history, of the forces in all three Islands; in virtue of
that command he now took over the general government. As was to
be expected, he chose his deputies and chief advisers from the
officers of the Army; and if thereby he placed the realm under
military rule we must not allow ourselves to be scared by the
phrase from recognition of the worthiness of the administration.
There is nothing to make a soldier blush, unless with pride, in the
military government of the Protectorate.

[Sidenote: 1654.]

Let us begin first with Scotland, which at the close of the Dutch
War had been placed under the charge of George Monk. The country
was as yet by no means quiet. Agents of Charles Stuart were busy
making mischief in the Highlands: and the English found themselves
confronted for the first time with the difficulties of a mountain
campaign. Monk's predecessor, Robert Lilburn, had essayed the task
with but sorry results; Monk himself accomplished it with a success
that suffices of itself to stamp him as a great soldier.

Without going into elaborate detail it is worth while to notice
his plan for reducing the Highlands. The Royalist forces and
their Highland allies were gathered together principally in two
districts, in Lochaber under Glencairn, and in Sutherland under
Middleton. Monk's design was to cut the Highlands in twain along
the line of the present Caledonian Canal, that he might pen his
enemy at his will into either half of the country thus divided, and
deal with his forces in detail. North of this line the country was
sufficiently circumscribed by nature; south of it he was compelled
to fix his own boundaries. The east and south was already guarded
by a strong chain of posts running from Inverness through Stirling
to Ayr, while one corner to the south-west was secured by the
neutrality of the Campbells, which had been gained by diplomacy.
Monk now established three independent bases of operations, one at
Kilsyth to southward, two more at Perth and Inverness. He then left
one column at Dingwall, under Colonel Thomas Morgan, an officer
of whom we shall hear more, to hinder the junction of Middleton
and Glencairn; and arranged that another column, under Colonel
Richard Brayne, of whom also we shall hear more, should sail with
all secrecy from Ireland and seize Inverlochy, which was to be his
fourth independent base to westward. This done he advanced himself
with a third column into the hills from Kilsyth, attacked and
defeated Glencairn, and closed the one gap in the net which he had
drawn round the Highlands between Loch Lomond and the Clyde.

Then hearing that Middleton had eluded Morgan and passed into
Lochaber, he suddenly shifted his base to Perth and advanced into
the heart of the mountains. In two days he had established an
advanced magazine at Loch Tay, where the news reached him that the
Northern clans had been summoned to assemble at Loch Ness. He at
once gave orders that the enemy should be allowed to pass to the
southward, and concerted a combined advance of himself, Brayne, and
Morgan from the south-west and east to crush him. Unfortunately
Morgan, in his eagerness to close in behind the Highlanders,
arrived before them and headed them back again to northward. Monk,
however, pursued them even thither, hunting them for a week from
glen to glen by extraordinary marches, such as the Highlanders had
not looked for from mere Englishmen.

Retiring after this raid to Inverness Monk sent Morgan away by sea
to threaten the Royalist headquarters at Caithness. The feint was
successful. Middleton, who was again in command in the north, at
once came down towards the south. His march was seen and reported
from the English station at Blair Athol, and Monk was presently on
his track over the Grampians. The chase lay through the Drumouchter
Pass, Badenoch, Athol, and Breadalbane, thence westward to the head
of Loch Awe and back again into Perthshire and over the mountains
to Glen Rannoch; and there, as Monk had arranged, Middleton ran
straight into the jaws of Morgan's column and was utterly routed.
He fled to Caithness with Morgan hard at his heels; while Monk
dispersed the few remaining forces of Glencairn in the hills and
destroyed every Highland fastness about Loch Lomond. By August 1654
the work was done; and the Highlands, if ever they may be said to
have been conquered, were conquered by George Monk. The English who
now wander in thousands over that rugged and enchanting land should
remember that the first of their kind that were ever seen therein
were Monk's red-coats.[183]

Such very briefly was the first English mountain campaign,
admirably designed and admirably executed. The difficulties of
military operations in so wild and mountainous a tract were
extraordinarily great, and were increased by constant rain and
tempest; yet Monk's movements were amazingly rapid. His column
on one occasion covered sixty miles in the twenty-four hours.
Still more remarkable is his recognition of the fact that in such
a campaign success depends mainly on the efficiency of advanced
parties and outposts. He never moved without a cloud of scouts
on front and flanks; he made it a rule never to march after
mid-day; and when he halted he marked out the camp, and posted
every picquet and every sentry himself. He showed himself to be
the first English exponent of the principle of savage warfare. He
invaded the enemy's country, carrying his supplies with him, and
sat down. If he was attacked he was ready in a strong position; if
not, he made good the step that he had taken, left a magazine in a
strong post behind him, and marched on, systematically ravaging the
country and destroying the newly-sown crops. The enemy was obliged
to move or starve, and wherever they went he swiftly followed.
If they turned and fought, he asked for nothing better than the
chance of dispersing them at a blow; if they dodged, he brought
forward another column from another base to cut them off, while he
destroyed the fastnesses which they had deserted. Finally, when his
work was done he settled down quietly to govern the country in a
conciliatory spirit. He was able gradually to reduce his military
establishment, and, ruling at once with mildness, firmness,
watchfulness, and unflagging industry, showed himself to be not
less able as an administrator than as a general. Scotland has known
many worse rulers and few better than her first English military

[Sidenote: 1655.]

[Sidenote: 1657.]

[Sidenote: 1654-1658.]

In Ireland, after Cromwell's departure, the reduction of the
country to order was carried on also by a number of flying columns.
Of their leaders but two of the most successful need be named,
namely Robert Venables and John Reynolds, the latter Cromwell's
kinsman by marriage and sometime captain in his regiment of horse.
Ireton had been appointed Lord Deputy on Cromwell's departure, but
dying in November 1651 was succeeded by another soldier, Charles
Fleetwood. Though a valuable man when under the command of a strong
officer Fleetwood was soon found to be useless when invested with
supreme control, and he was soon practically superseded by Henry
Cromwell, the Protector's second surviving son. Henry had entered
the army at sixteen, had fought with his father in Ireland, and
had become a colonel at two-and-twenty. He was appointed Lord
Deputy of Ireland at the age of twenty-eight. The country was quiet
enough at his accession so far as concerned open rebellion; the
Tories had been mercilessly hunted down from bog to bog, and the
Irish fighting men had been transported in thousands by recruiting
officers to the armies of Spain and of France. What gallant service
they did under Lewis the Fourteenth, for they did not greatly
love the service of Spain, has been told with just pride by Irish
writers; and we too shall encounter some of their regiments before
long. Henry Cromwell's difficulties lay not with the native Irish
but with his own officers, the veterans of the Civil War, who
were alike jealous of his appointment and insubordinately minded
towards the Protector. Immediately on Henry's arrival some of these
malcontents held a meeting, wherein they put it to the question
whether the present government were or were not according to the
Word of God, and carried it in the negative. The very members of
the Irish Council, old field-officers who should have known better,
were disloyal to him, but being old comrades of Oliver's could not
be dismissed. Young as he was, however, Henry gave them clearly to
understand that he intended to be master, and therewith proceeded
to the difficult, nay impossible, task of executing what is known
as the Cromwellian settlement of Ireland. He showed conspicuous
ability in extremely trying circumstances, abundant firmness and
foresight, and a tolerance of spirit towards the men of other
creeds, even Catholics, which was as rare as it was politic. The
military governor of Ireland under the Commonwealth was assuredly
not a man of whom the British Army need feel ashamed.[184]

Lastly we come to England, where Oliver Cromwell himself sat at
the head of the Provisional Government which he was honestly and
unceasingly striving to settle on a permanent basis. He defined
his own position accurately enough: he was a good constable set
to preserve the peace of the parish. But that parish was in a
terribly disturbed condition. All that the most visionary could
have dreamed of in the subversion of the old order had been
accomplished, had even been crowned by the execution of the King;
yet still the expected millenium was not yet come. All factions of
political and religious dissent, all descriptions of dreamers, of
fanatics, of quacks, and of self-seekers had been welded together
for the moment by the pressure of the struggle against Royalism
and against the rule of alien races. That pressure removed, the
whole mass fell asunder into incoherent atoms of sedition and
discontent, for which Royalism, as the one element which strove
for definite and attainable ends, formed a general rallying-point.
Good and gallant soldiers who had followed Cromwell on many a
field--Harrison, Okey, Overton--fell away into disloyalty. Sexby,
who had brought the news of Preston to Westminster, became the
most dangerous of conspirators. There is nothing more pathetic in
history than the desertions; from Cromwell after the establishment
of the Protectorate. Nevertheless the misfortune was inevitable,
for an army which meddles with politics cannot hope to escape the
diseases of politics. Yet, through all this, Cromwell on one
point was resolute; he would not allow successful rebellion to be
followed by a riot in anarchy. Come what might, he would not suffer

To preserve the peace, however, in such a hot-bed of plots and
conspiracies was no easy matter; and before he had been eighteen
months Protector, Cromwell brought military government closer
home to the people by parcelling England into at first ten and
then twelve military districts, each under the command of a
major-general. The force at the disposal of these officers for
the suppression of disorder varied in the different districts
from one hundred to fifteen hundred men, and was composed almost
exclusively of cavalry. It amounted on the whole to some six
thousand men, all drawn from the militia, who received pay to the
amount of eighty thousand pounds annually. Strictly speaking,
therefore, it was rather a force of mounted constabulary than of
regular cavalry, and there can be no doubt that, if order was to
be preserved, such a body of police was absolutely necessary. Yet
it is probable that no measure brought such hatred on the Army as
this. The magnates of the counties were of course furious at this
usurpation of their powers, and the poorer classes resented the
intrusion of a soldier and a stranger between themselves and their
old masters. After little more than a year the major-generals were
abolished, to the general relief and satisfaction. Their brief
reign has been forgotten by the Army, which can hardly believe that
it once took complete charge of the three kingdoms and administered
the government on the whole with remarkable efficiency. But the
major-generals have not been forgotten by the country. The memory
of their dictatorship burned itself deep into the heart of the
nation, and even now after two centuries and a half the vengeance
of the nation upon the soldier remains insatiate and insatiable.


It is now time to pass to the foreign wars of the Protectorate;
for though they be little remembered they fairly launched the Army
on its long career of tropical conquest, and of victory on the
continent of Europe.

[Sidenote: 1654.]

It is not easy to explain the motives that prompted Cromwell to
make an enemy of Spain. He was eagerly courted by both French and
Spaniards, and it was open to him to choose whichever he pleased
for his allies. The probability is that he was still swayed by
the old religious hatred of the days of Elizabeth, and, like
her, looked to fill his empty treasury with the spoils of the
Indies. He did not perceive that the religious wars of Europe
were virtually ended, and that nations were tending already to
their old friendships and antagonisms as they existed before the
Reformation. Be that as it may, he was hardly firm in the saddle
as Protector when he began to frame a great design against the
Spanish possessions in the New World. His chief advisers were
one Colonel Thomas Modyford of Barbados, who had his own reasons
for wishing to ingratiate himself with the Protector, and Thomas
Gage, a renegade priest, who had lived long in the Antilles and
on the Spanish Main and had written a book on the subject. The
most fitting base of operations was obviously Barbados, which,
from its position to windward of the whole Caribbean Archipelago,
possessed a strategic importance which it has only lost since
the introduction of steam-vessels. It lay ready to Cromwell's
hand, having been an English possession since 1628, and was, if
Modyford were to be believed, ready to give active assistance in
the enterprise. There remained the question whether the expedition
should be directed against an Island or against the Main. Gage was
for the latter course, and named the Orinoco as the objective:
Modyford recommended Cuba or Hispaniola,[185] and Modyford's
opinion prevailed.

Gradually the design matured itself, and presently assumed gigantic
proportions. A footing once established on one of the Spanish
Islands to leeward, there was to be a general contest with the
Spaniards for the whole of the South Atlantic. Two fleets were to
be employed, one in seconding the army's operations on the Islands
and making raids upon the Main, the other in cruising off the
Spanish coast so as to interrupt both plate-fleets from the west
and reinforcements from the east. Lastly, not England only, but New
England was to play a part in the great campaign. Supplies would
be one principal difficulty, but these could be furnished from
English America, and not only supplies but settlers, who, trained
to self-defence by Indian warfare, should be capable of holding
the territory wrested from Spain. Thus the English from both sides
of the Atlantic were to close in upon the Spanish dominions in the
New World, and turn Nova Hispania into Nova Britannia. There was no
lack of breadth and boldness in the design.

All through the latter half of 1654 mysterious preparations went
forward with great activity in the English dockyards, and France,
Spain, and Holland each trembled lest they might be turned against
herself. But the existing organisation in England was unequal to
the effort. To equip two fleets of forty and of twenty-five ships
for a long and distant cruise was a heavy task in itself; but to
add to this the transport of six thousand men over three thousand
miles of ocean for an expedition to the tropics was to tax the
resources of the naval and military departments to excess. The
burden of the duty fell upon John Desborough, major-general and
commissioner of the Admiralty, who was not equal to thinking out
the details of such an enterprise nor disposed to give himself
much trouble about them. His difficulties were increased by
the rascality of contractors, and by the composition of the
expeditionary force. By a gigantic error, which has not yet been
unlearned, Cromwell, instead of sending complete regiments under
their own officers, made up new corps, partly of drafts selected
by various colonels and probably containing the men of whom they
were most anxious to be rid, and partly of recruits drawn from the
most restless and worthless of the nation. He returned in fact to
the old system that had so often been found wanting in the days of
Elizabeth, of James, and of Charles.

The distribution of command was also faulty. The military
commander-in-chief was Robert Venables, who had made a reputation
as a hunter of Tories in Ireland; the Admiral joined with him was
William Penn, who is unjustly remembered rather as the father
of a not wholly admirable Quaker than as one of the ablest and
bravest naval officers of his day. But as if two commanders were
not already sufficient, there were joined with them three civil
commissioners, one Gregory Butler, an officer who had served in
the Civil War, Edward Winslow, a civilian and an official, and the
Governor of Barbados, Daniel Searle. There was of course nothing
new in the presence of civil commissioners on the staff, and a
general's instructions since the days of Henry the Eighth had
usually bound him to act by the advice of his Council of War only;
but it is abundantly evident that Winslow was employed not only as
a commissioner, but as a spy on his colleagues, or on some one of
them whose loyalty was suspected. It is strange that so sensible a
man as Cromwell should have made such a mistake as this. Monk was
the man whom he had wished to send, could he have spared him from
Scotland; but failing Monk, Penn and Venables were both of them
men who had shown ability in their previous service.

With immense difficulty the expedition was got to sea at the end of
December 1654, just two months too late. Even so it sailed without
a portion of its stores, which Desborough promised faithfully to
send after it without delay. The fleet reached Barbados after a
good passage on the 29th of January 1655; and then the troubles
began. From too blind faith in the promises of Thomas Modyford, the
Protector had trusted to Barbados in great part to equip his army,
and to help it on its way. Barbados, from its Governor downwards,
refused to move a finger. It had no desire to denude itself of
arms or of men, and so far from assisting the English threw every
possible obstruction in their way. The planter upon whom Venables
had been instructed chiefly to depend was found to be entirely
under the thumb of his wife. She was averse to the expedition; and
the commissioners, observing her, as they said, to be very powerful
and young, abandoned all hope of co-operation from that quarter.
Every day too brought fresh evidence of the rotten composition of
the force at large, which was without order, without coherency, and
without discipline. Unfortunately Venables was not the man to set
such failings right. He showed indeed some spasmodic energy, called
the Barbadian planters a company of geese, improvised rude pikes of
branches of the cabbage-palm, organised a regiment of negroes and a
naval brigade, and after several weeks' stay sailed at last for St.
Domingo. On the way he picked up a regiment of colonial volunteers
which had been collected by Gregory Butler at St. Kitts, and on the
13th of April the expedition was in sight of St. Domingo.

[Sidenote: 1655.]

The naval officers were for running in at once and taking the town
by a sudden attack. Winslow, the civilian, objected: the soldiers,
he said, would plunder the town, and he wanted all spoil for the
English treasury. This order against plunder raised something
like a mutiny among the troops; but eventually a new plan was
chosen, which was probably based on the precedent of Drake in
1586. Venables with three thousand five hundred men sailed to a
landing-place thirty miles west of the town, and there disembarked;
leaving fifteen hundred more men under a Colonel Buller to land
to the eastward of it and march on it from that side. Buller,
however, finding it impracticable to obey his instructions, after
two days' delay also landed to the westward of the town, though but
ten miles from it, at a point called Drake's landing. Elated by a
trifling success against a handful of Spaniards who had opposed
his disembarkation, he laid aside all thought of co-operation with
Venables and pushed on hastily into the jungle to take St. Domingo
by himself. No sooner was he gone, past call or view, when up
came Venables to the identical spot where Buller had landed. He
had for two days pursued a terrible march of thirty miles through
jungle-paths, in the sultry steam of the tropical forest. The
men's water-bottles had been left behind in England, and they were
choked with thirst; they had torn the fruit from the trees as they
passed and had dropped down by scores with dysentery. Hundreds had
fallen out, sick and dead, and the column was not only weakened but

Next day Venables effected a junction with Buller, and the force,
though heartless and spiritless, made shift to creep up to a
detached fort which covered the approach to the town. On the way
it fell into an ambuscade, and though it beat off the enemy, it
lost in the action the only guide who knew where water was to be
found, and was compelled to retire ten miles to Drake's landing.
There it remained for a week, eating bad food from some scoundrelly
contractor's stores, drinking water that was poisoned by a copper
mine, and soaked night after night by pouring tropical rain.
Dysentery raged with fearful violence, and Venables himself did not
escape the plague. Unfortunately, instead of sharing the hardship
with his men in camp, he went on board ship to be nursed by Mrs.
Venables, who had accompanied him on the voyage. Thus arose open
murmurs and scandalous tales, which cost him the confidence of the

Nevertheless after six days' rest he again advanced by the same
line to the fort from which he had been forced to retreat. To
prevent repetition of mishaps from ambuscades he gave strict orders
that the advanced guard should throw out flanking parties on each
side of the jungle-path. The injunction was disobeyed. The advanced
guard walked straight into an ambuscade, two officers fell dead,
the third, Adjutant-General Jackson, who was in command, turned and
ran; the advanced guard fled headlong back on to the support; the
support tumbled back on to the main body, and there, wedged tight
in the narrow pass, the English were mown down like grass by the
guns of the fort and the lances of the Spanish cavalry. At last an
old colonel contrived to rally a few men in the rear, and advancing
with them through the jungle fell upon the flank of the Spaniards
and beat them back. He paid for his bravery with his life, but he
assured the retreat of the rest of the force, which crept back
beaten and crest-fallen to the ships, leaving several colours and
three hundred dead men behind it.

Venables and his men were now thoroughly cowed by failure and
disease. Penn in vain offered to take the town with his sailors,
but Venables and Winslow would not hear of it. All ranks in the
fleet now abused the army for rogues, and the worst feeling
grew up between the two services. Finally, on the 7th of May,
the expedition sailed away in shame to Jamaica. Arrived there,
Penn, openly saying that he would not trust the army, led the way
himself at the head of the boats of the fleet; and after a trifling
resistance the Island was surrendered by capitulation. Then fleet
and army began to fight in earnest, officers as well as men; and
at last, after the commissioners in command had spent six weeks in
incessant quarrelling, Venables and Penn sailed home, leaving the
troops and a part of the squadron behind them.

[Sidenote: 1656.]

Cromwell's disappointment and chagrin over the failure of his
great enterprise were extreme. Both the returned commanders were
forthwith sent to the Tower, and though presently released,
remained throughout the whole of the Protectorate in disgrace.
Still Jamaica had been won and must be held. The command after
Venables' departure had devolved on Richard Fortescue, a colonel
of the New Model, who, without concealing his infinite contempt
for those who had gone home, set himself cheerfully to turn the
new possession to account. To him Cromwell wrote letters of
encouragement and thanks, with promise of speedy reinforcement. But
now a new enemy appeared in Jamaica, one that has laid low many
tens of thousands of red-coats, the yellow fever. In October 1655
the first reinforcements arrived, under command of Major Sedgwicke.
He had hardly set foot on the island before Fortescue succumbed,
and he could only report that the army was sadly thinned and that
hardly a man of the survivors was fit for duty. Then the recruits
began to fall down fast, and in a few days the men were dying at
the rate of twenty a day. Sedgwicke was completely unnerved; he
gave himself up for lost, and in nine months followed Fortescue to
the grave. Fresh reinforcements, including all the vagabondage of
Scotland, were hurried across the Atlantic to meet the same fate.
Colonel Brayne, who had served with Monk in Scotland, arrived to
succeed Sedgwicke in December 1656. He lasted ten months, surviving
even so two thirds of the men that he brought with him, and then
went the way of Sedgwicke and Fortescue. Finally a Colonel D'Oyley,
who had sailed with the original expedition, took over the command,
and being a healthy, energetic man, soon reduced things to such
order that when in May 1658 the Spaniards attempted to recapture
the island, he met and repulsed them with brilliant success. Thus
at length was firmly established the English possession of Jamaica.

So ended the first great military expedition of the English to
the tropics, the first of many attempts, nearly all of them
disastrous, to wrest from Spain her Empire in the West. I have
dwelt upon it at some length, for it is the opening chapter of a
long and melancholy story, whereof one recitation will almost serve
for the whole. We have still to go with Wentworth to Carthagena and
with Albemarle to Havanna; we shall accompany Abercromby and Moore
to St. Vincent and St. Lucia, and other less noted officers to
Demarara and Surinam; we shall even see Wellington himself drawing
up a plan for operations on the Orinoco: but in spite of a hundred
experiences and a thousand warnings we shall find the mistakes of
Oliver Cromwell eternally repeated, and though we may never again
have to tell so disgraceful a story as that of the repulse from
St. Domingo, yet we shall seldom fail to encounter such mournful
complaints as were made by Fortescue, Sedgwicke, and Brayne, of
regiments decimated as soon as disembarked, and annihilated before
the firing of a shot. We have now well-nigh learned how to conduct
a tropical expedition, and life in the tropics is a thing familiar
to tens of thousands of Englishmen; but it is worth while to give
a thought to these poor soldiers of the Commonwealth. They were
the first Englishmen who went to the tropics, not like Drake's
crews as fellow-adventurers, but simply as hired fighting men. Yet
the traditions of Drake's golden voyages were strong upon them,
and they landed, big with expectations of endless gold told up
in bags.[186] We can picture their joy at coming ashore, bronzed
healthy Englishmen, and their open-mouthed wonder at all that
they saw; and then after a few hours the first cases of sickness,
the puzzled surgeons with busy lancets, the first death and the
first grave; the instant spread of fever on the turning of the
virgin soil, and then a hideous iteration of ghastly symptoms,
and, sundown after sundown, the row of silent forms and shrouded
faces. Englishmen had faced such terrors in the flooded leaguers of
Flanders, but it was hard to find them in a fruitful and pleasant
land, where the sun shone brighter and the forest grew greener
than in England, the loved England that lay so far away over the
glorious mocking blue of the tropic sea.[187]

[Sidenote: 1655, Sept. 9.]

[Sidenote: 1657, March.]

The aggressive attack on St. Domingo at once decided the hostility
of Spain towards the Commonwealth, and drove her to take Cromwell's
most formidable enemy, Charles Stuart, to her heart. The Protector,
on his side, hastened to make treaty of peace and friendship with
France, which he presently expanded into an offensive and defensive
alliance. Mazarin, who had to encounter not only Spain but Condé,
was only too glad to welcome the English to his side. By the terms
of the treaty it was agreed that the French should provide twenty
thousand men, and the English six thousand men, as well as a fleet,
for the coming campaign against the Spaniards in Flanders. Of the
English six thousand half were to be paid by France, but the whole
were to be commanded by English officers, and reckoned to be the
Lord Protector's forces. The plan of campaign was the reduction
of the three coast-towns of Mardyck, Dunkirk, and Gravelines, of
which the two first were to be made over to England and the third
retained by France. Cromwell's great object was to secure a naval
station from which he could check any attempted invasion of England
by Charles Stuart from Spanish Flanders, and he was therefore
urgent that Dunkirk should be first attacked. Turenne disliked
this design, and even threatened to throw up his command if it
should be insisted on. To beleaguer Dunkirk without first securing
Nieuport, Furnes, and Bergues would, he said, be to be besieged
while conducting a siege. But Cromwell had made up his mind that
the thing should be done, and, as shall soon be seen, it was done.

[Sidenote: 1657.]

Throughout the spring of 1657 therefore preparations for the
expedition kept both military and naval departments busily
employed, for the fleet was not only to supply the army but to
second its operations. The six thousand men, though for the most
part old soldiers, were made up of drafts and of new recruits,
and were distributed into six regiments. Turenne would gladly
have preferred complete corps from the standing Army, but in the
existing menace of invasion Cromwell was indisposed to spare them.
Nevertheless the new regiments were in perfect order and discipline
when they embarked on the 1st of May from Dover for Boulogne. The
general in command was Sir John Reynolds, whom we saw lately in
Ireland; the major-general was Thomas Morgan, Monk's right-hand man
in the Highland war, an impetuous little dragoon known by the name
of the "little colonel,"[188] and justly reputed to be one of the
best officers in the British Isles.

The arrival of the six thousand English foot, all dressed in new
red-coats, created a great sensation in France. They were cried
up for the best men that ever were seen in the French service;
they took precedence of the whole French army, even of the famous
Picardie, excepting the Swiss and Scottish body-guards; and they
were welcomed by emissaries from the King and Mazarin and inspected
by the royal family. It is significant of the difference between
the French and English even in their civil wars that the six
thousand were amazed to see all the villagers fly from their houses
at their approach. They were told that the French soldiery were
dreaded as much by their countrymen as by their enemies; and yet
Reynolds admitted that the discipline of the French troops was
good, for France. "But we," he added proudly, "can lie in a town
four days without a single complaint." One thing alone went amiss
with the English: they quarrelled with the French ammunition-bread,
and clamoured loudly for beef and beer.

By the ill-faith of Mazarin, Reynolds' force instead of marching to
Dunkirk was moved inland, and found itself engaged at the siege
of St. Venant. Here it gave the Spaniards a taste of its quality.
It seems that the English, who were never very happy in handling
the spade, were working in some confusion at the advanced trenches
when Count Schomberg, a man whom readers should bear in mind, and
a few more foreign officers came up and began to pass criticisms.
Morgan, wincing under their remarks, impatiently called for a party
of fifty men to come to him; whereupon every English soldier in the
trenches, incontinently jumped up and without further ado assaulted
the town, captured three redoubts, and forced the Spaniards to
capitulate. Such blundering gallantry had distinguished the nation
since Cocherel, and was to be repeated on a grander scale at
Minden. But Cromwell was not the man to allow his regiments to be
wasted in such operations as these. Dismissing all of Mazarin's
excuses as "parcels of words for children," he insisted that the
true business of the campaign should be taken in hand at once. In
September, therefore, Turenne moved slowly up to the coast; and
Cromwell to give him encouragement sent him a reinforcement of two
thousand men. Mardyck was easily taken on the 29th of September;
but there Turenne stopped. Lockhart, the English ambassador, in
vain offered him five of the old regiments of the standing Army
if he would proceed at once to the siege of Dunkirk;[189] the
great General would not move; and with the capture of Mardyck the
campaign of 1657 came to an end.

[Sidenote: 1657-1658.]

The English undertook to garrison Mardyck and the town of Bourbourg
close to it, and while engaged in this duty incurred the strong
censure of Turenne. They kept, he complained, very bad guards, and
seemed unable to stand the work of watching; and the failing, it
seems, was no new one, for Monk expressed no surprise at hearing
of it. Nevertheless, when on one night in October the Spaniards
attempted to surprise Mardyck with five thousand men, they found
this unwatchful garrison formidable enough and were repulsed
with heavy loss. The truth was that the condition of things in
the town was what would now be thought appalling. The winter was
unusually severe and the troops very imperfectly protected against
it. Pestilence had broken out among them and men were dying at the
rate of ten or twelve a day: once indeed the death-roll within
twenty-four hours ran as high as fifty. Reynolds protested in vain,
and at last in December he sailed for England to represent matters
in person to the Protector. He was cast away on the Goodwin Sands
and never seen again. By the time when the season opened for active
operations the English had lost since their disembarkation their
General and not far from five thousand men.

[Sidenote: 1658.]

Lockhart, who took over the command after Reynolds' death, found
the remnant of the army in a very bad state. Discipline was
decidedly lax; and the French complained bitterly of the insolence
of their allies. This of course was no new thing. So far back as
1603, in the wars of Dutch Independence, a dispute about some
firewood had set an English and a French regiment fighting; and
the quarrel had ended in the flight of the French to their ships,
leaving their Colonel and sixteen of their comrades dead behind
them.[190] The English now, probably on some equally trivial
occasion, fell at variance with the French guards and killed
several of them; nor could all the frenzy of French indignation
avail to obtain the least redress. Lockhart attributed this
insubordinate spirit to the dearth of chaplains; but the true
explanation was that over eighty of the officers, disliking
the tedium of winter-quarters, had absented themselves, as was
customary, from their regiments. When they returned, and four
thousand fresh troops with them, Morgan seems to have had little
difficulty in restoring discipline.

[Sidenote: March.]


  May --.


  May 23
  June 2.

Morgan opened the campaign before the arrival of Lockhart by the
capture of two small redoubts that lay on the road to Dunkirk; but
it was not till the 4th of May that Turenne broke up his quarters
at Amiens, and after a very difficult march to Dunkirk, on the 27th
invested the town. A brilliant repulse of a Spanish sortie by the
English put him in good humour with his allies, and he was fain to
confess that they had done right well.[191] He was to appreciate
them still higher within a week; for on the 2nd of June the Spanish
army, fifteen thousand strong, under Don John of Austria, Condé,
the Marquis Caracena, and James, Duke of York, drew down to within
a mile of his headquarters, with the evident design of forcing the
besiegers' lines.

We must pause for a moment over the composition of the motley
Spanish host, for there is a part of it under James, Duke of
York, with which we are nearly concerned. Five regiments in all,
amounting to some two thousand men, were entrusted to the Duke's
command. Three of these, James's own, Lord Ormonde's, and Lord
Bristol's, were Irish, the relics of the loyal party that had
been scattered by Cromwell; one, Middleton's, was Scotch, and
represented fragments of the force that had been broken up by Monk;
and one, which readers must not omit to mark, was English, made up
of refugees mostly of gentle birth. It comprehended the last shreds
of old English royalism, and was called the King's Regiment of

Nor must we omit to throw a passing glance at the army of Turenne.
First and foremost there were the six regiments sent out by
Cromwell. Then there was a regiment with which we parted last
after the battle of Verneuil, the Scottish body-guard of the kings
of France. Next, there was a regiment which we saw pass from the
Swedish to the French service in 1635, Regiment Douglas, some time
the Scots Brigade of King Gustavus Adolphus. It had passed through
many campaigns and absorbed other corps of British within the past
twenty years, and could now add the names of Rocroi, Lens and
Fribourg to its records; but here it was, newly recruited from
Scotland by the Protector's permission, marching side by side with
the red-coats, though quite unconscious how soon it was destined to
take its place among them, to fight the battle of Dunkirk Dunes.
Lastly, an Irish regiment, known by the name of Dillon, and made
up of men who had fled from the wrath of Cromwell, completed the
strange representation of the united Commonwealth.[192]

It was evening of the 2nd of June before Turenne could satisfy
himself that the whole of the Spanish army was present before him,
but no sooner was he assured of it than he resolved to fight on the
morrow. The English were still at Mardyck, and the orders reached
Lockhart so late and came as such a surprise that the marshal
politely intimated his wish to give reasons for his determination.
"I take the reasons for granted," answered Lockhart, "it will be
time to hear them when the battle is over." At ten o'clock the
English marched off, Lockhart, who was suffering agonies from
stone, driving in his carriage at their head, and at daybreak
reached Turenne's headquarters. The next three hours were spent
in drawing up the line of battle, which was of the mathematical
precise type that prevailed in those days. In the first line there
were thirteen troops of cavalry on the right wing, as many on the
left, and eleven battalions of infantry in the centre; in the
second line there were ten troops on the right, nine on the left,
and seven battalions in the centre. Five troops of horse were
posted midway between the two lines of infantry, and four more were
held in reserve. The whole force was reckoned at six thousand horse
and nine thousand foot, of which latter the English contingent made
more than half. The place assigned to the red-coats was the left
centre, which, if not the post of honour, was assuredly the post of


  May 24
  June 3.

Don John's line of battle was widely different. He had taken up
a strong position among the sand hills, facing west, his right
resting on the beach, his left on the Bruges Canal; and the whole
of his infantry was drawn up in his first line. A sand hill higher
than the rest on his right was regarded as the key of the position,
and was strongly held, as the place of honour, by four Spanish
regiments. Next to them on their left stood the five regiments
under the Duke of York, with one battalion in reserve, and the line
was continued by battalions of Germans and Walloons. The Spanish
horse was massed behind the foot in columns according as the sand
hills permitted; and the whole force numbered between fourteen and
fifteen thousand men.

[Illustration: DUNKIRK DUNES

  May 24^{th}
  ----------- 1658
  June 3^{rd}

  _To face page 272_

Notwithstanding that they had marched all night, and in spite of
Turenne's orders that the line should dress by the right, the
English outstrode the French in the advance and began the action
alone. The position occupied by the Spaniards in their front was so
strong, that Lockhart by his own confession despaired of carrying
it. Lieutenant-Colonel Fenwick however, who commanded Lockhart's
regiment, undertook the task without the General's instructions.
Covered by a cloud of skirmishers he advanced steadily with his
pikes to the foot of the sand hill, and while the musketeers
wheeling right and left maintained a steady fire, he calmly halted
the pikes to let the men take breath. Then with a joyful shout they
swarmed up the treacherous sand and went straight at the Spaniards.
Fenwick fell at once, mortally wounded by a musket shot; his major,
Hinton, took his place, and was also shot down. Officer after
officer fell, but the men were not to be checked, and though the
Spaniards, backed by a company of the English guards, fought hard
and well, they were fairly swept off the sand hill, and retired
in confusion, leaving nine out of thirteen captains dead on the
ground. James, Duke of York, tried to save the rout by charging
Lockhart's victorious regiment with his single troop of horse, but
he was beaten back, and though at a second attempt he succeeded in
breaking into its flank he met with so sturdy a resistance from
every isolated man as convinced him that his effort was hopeless.
Meanwhile the rest of the English regiments advanced quickly in
support; the French horse on the left wing came up likewise, and
the rout of the Spanish right was complete.

With the uncovering of its right flank the whole of Don John's
line wavered, and few regiments, except those under the immediate
direction of Condé, far away on the left, showed more than a
feeble resistance to the advancing French. Very soon the whole
force--Spaniards, Walloons and Germans, Scots and Irish--were in
full retreat, and a single small corps of perhaps three hundred
men stood isolated and alone in the position among the sand hills.
A French officer rode forward and summoned the little party to
surrender. "We were posted here by the Duke of York," was the
answer, "and mean to hold our ground as long as we can." The
Frenchman explained that resistance was hopeless. "We are not
accustomed to believe our enemies," was the reply. "Then look for
yourself," rejoined the Frenchman; and leading the commander to
the top of a sand hill he showed him the retreating army of Spain.
Thereupon the solitary regiment laid down its arms: it was the
English King's Royal Regiment of Guards.[193]

The losses of the victorious English were very severe. In
Lockhart's regiment but six out of the whole number of officers
and sergeants had escaped unhurt; and the honours of the day
were admitted by all to lie with the red-coats. The action led
to the speedy fall of Dunkirk; and Lockhart, being reinforced by
two regiments from England, was able to detach four to continue
the campaign under the command of Morgan. Bergues, Dixmuyde, and
Oudenarde fell in quick succession, and little opposition was
encountered until the siege of Ypres, where the English delivered
so daring and brilliant an assault that Turenne, overcome with
admiration, embraced their leader, Morgan, and called him one of
the bravest captains of the time. The capture of Ypres was the last
exploit of the six thousand--the immortal six thousand, as they
were styled in the admiring pamphlets of the day. After an advance
almost to the walls of Brussels, the campaign came to an end;
Morgan returned to England to receive knighthood, and the English
retired to Dunkirk to spend another winter in cold and misery and
want, and worst of all in deep uncertainty for the future.[194]

[Sidenote: 1659, April 21.]

For even while Morgan was watching the Spanish garrison march out
of Ypres, the soldier who had made the English Army was lying
speechless and unconscious at St. James's, worn out with many
campaigns and with the work of keeping the peace in England. Before
tattoo sounded on the 3rd of September 1658, Oliver Cromwell was
dead, and no man could say who should come after him. Richard
Cromwell, his son, held two trump-cards in his hand--Henry Cromwell
and the army in Ireland, George Monk and his army in Scotland. He
was afraid to play either, and yielded up his power to a clique of
his father's old officers--Fleetwood, Desborough, and others--who
brought back the Rump of the Long Parliament to reign in his stead.
Henry Cromwell resigned his command, and the power of the Cromwells
was gone. The Rump now took over Cromwell's body-guard for its own
protection, and to make the Army thoroughly subservient decided
that all officers should be approved by itself, and all commissions
signed by the Speaker. So large was the military establishment that
this work of revising the list of officers was never completed.
George Monk, however, accepted the Speaker's commission without a

[Sidenote: October 17.]

It was not in the nature of things that the English generals
should long submit to the junto of politicians which it had set
over England. In a very short time the leaders of the Army for the
second time cleared away the Rump, and took the supreme power into
their own hands; but herein they overlooked the existence of the
ablest soldier left in Great Britain. Monk was ready enough to take
his orders from Oliver Cromwell, but not from such small men as
Lambert and Desborough. No sooner did the news of the new departure
reach him at Dalkeith than with amazing rapidity he secured every
garrison in Scotland, seized the bridge over the Tweed at Berwick,
purged his troops of all officers disloyal to the Parliament,
and gave orders for his whole force to concentrate at Edinburgh.
Morgan, with the glories of Flanders still fresh on him, presently
came to help him in the reorganisation of his army, and by the
middle of November he began to move slowly south. Negotiations with
the English leaders had been in progress ever since Monk first
took decided action, and, though fully aware that they must come
to nothing, he was not sorry to gain a little time in order to
establish discipline thoroughly in the force under his command. By
the end of November he had fixed his headquarters at Berwick.

There, at one o'clock on the morning of the 7th of December,
he was surprised by the news that, in spite of much peaceful
profession, the English general Lambert had besieged Chillingham
Castle and had marched within twenty miles of the Border. One hour
sufficed for Monk to write the necessary orders for the movement
of the troops, and at two o'clock he was in the saddle and away
to inspect the fords of the Tweed. The night was stormy and pitch
dark, and the roads were sheets of ice, but on he galloped, despite
the entreaties of his staff, through wind and sleet, up hill and
down, at dangerous speed. "It was God's infinite mercy that we
had not our necks broke," wrote one who was an unwilling partaker
of that ride.[195] By eleven o'clock the inspection was over and
headquarters were fixed at Coldstream. A regiment of foot had
already arrived there to guard the ford before the General came,
and had cleared away every scrap of provisions. His staff-officers
dispersed to find food where they could, but George Monk put a
quid of tobacco into his cheek and sat down contented with a good
morning's work. He had occupied every pass from Berwick to Kelso,
and had so thought out every detail that he could concentrate his
whole force at any given point in four hours. The bulk of his
troops under Morgan were stationed on the exposed flank at Kelso;
he himself was in the centre at Coldstream. Lambert might attack
his front or turn his flank if he dared.

[Sidenote: 1660.]

For three weeks Monk's army lay in this position, four regiments
of horse and six of foot,[196] waiting for the moment to advance.
The cold was intense, and the quarters in the little village of
Coldstream were very strait. The General occupied a hovel wherein
he had hardly space to turn round, and the men suffered greatly
from privation and hard weather, but Monk's spirit kept them all in
cheerfulness, and those who had shared his hardships never ceased
to boast themselves to be Coldstreamers. At last, on the 31st of
December, came the news that the army which had deposed the Rump
was up in mutiny; and at daybreak of the 1st of January 1660 Monk's
army crossed the Tweed in two brigades and began its memorable
march to the south. All day they tramped knee-deep through the
snow, full fifteen miles to Wooler, while the advanced-guard of
horse by a marvellous march actually covered the fifty miles to
Morpeth. At York they were met by Fairfax, who had roused himself
at such a crisis for a last turn of military duty, and picking up
deserters on every side from Lambert's regiments they increased
their strength at every march. On the 31st of January Monk received
at St. Albans the Parliament's confirmation of his commission as
General, and three days later he occupied London. His own regiment
of foot was quartered for the first time in and about St. James's.

It is unnecessary to dwell on the intricate movements in the
political world during the three following months; it must suffice
to say that Monk was finally obliged to coerce the Rump as all
other soldiers had coerced it. In spite of all engagements to
dissolve itself without delay, this pretentious little assembly
still clung, notwithstanding its unpopularity, to power; but a
letter from the General was sufficient to bring it to reason
without a file of musketeers. Such a letter arrived on the 6th of
April; and though the House resolved not to read it until it had
gratified its vanity by a little further debating, yet it decided
after opening it to make the question of dissolution its very
next business. Before evening it had ceased to exist. One last
desperate attempt of Desborough and Lambert to divide the Army was
suppressed with Monk's habitual promptitude, and on the 1st of May
the General, sitting as member for his native county in a new House
of Commons, moved that the King should be invited to England. Three
weeks later Monk's life-guard and five regiments of horse escorted
the restored monarch into London; and the work of the New Model
Army was done.


It is strange that our historians have for the most part taken
leave of the New Model without a tinge of regret, without
estimation of its merits or enumeration of its services. Mountains
of eulogy have been heaped on the Long Parliament, but little has
been spared for this famous Army; nay, even military historians by
a strange perversity begin the history of the Army not from its
foundation but from its dissolution. Much doubtless besides the
creation of a standing Army dates from the great rebellion, though
few things more important in our history, unless indeed it be the
cant that denies its importance. The bare thought of militarism or
the military spirit is supposed to be unendurable to Englishmen.
As if a nation had ever risen to great empire that did not possess
the military spirit, and as if England herself had not won her
vast dominions by the sword. We are accustomed to speak of our
rule as an earnest for the eternal furtherance of civilisation;
but we try to conceal the fact that the first step to empire is
conquest. It is because we are a fighting people that we have risen
to greatness, and it is as a fighting people that we stand or
fall. Arms rule the world; and war, the supreme test of moral and
physical greatness, remains eternally the touchstone of nations.

Surely therefore the revival of the military spirit, and on the
whole the grandest manifestation of the same in English history,
are not matters to be lightly overlooked. The campaigns of the
Plantagenets had shown how deep was the instinct of pugnacity that
underlay the stolid English calm, but since the accession of the
Tudors no sovereign had given it an outlet ashore in any great
national enterprise. Elizabeth never truly threw in her lot with
the revolted Netherlands; James hated a soldier, and shrank back
in terror from the idea of throwing the English sword into the
scale of the Thirty Years' War; Charles's miserable trifling with
warfare contributed not a little to the unpopularity which caused
his downfall. The English were compelled to sate their military
appetite in the service of foreign countries, and as fractions of
foreign armies.

Then at last the door of the rebellion was opened and the nation
crowded in. It is hardly too much to say that for at any rate the
four years from 1642 to 1646 the English went mad about military
matters. Military figures and metaphors abounded in the language
and literature of the day, and were used by none more effectively
than by John Milton.[197] Divines took words of command and the
phrases of the parade ground as titles for their discourses, and
were not ashamed to publish sermons under such a head as "As
you were." If anything like a review or a sham fight were going
forward, the people thronged in crowds to witness it; and one
astute colonel took advantage of this feeling to reconcile the
people to the prohibition of the sports of May-day. He drew out
two regiments on Blackheath, and held a sham fight of Cavaliers
and Roundheads, wherein both sides played their parts with great
spirit and the Cavaliers were duly defeated; and the spectacle,
we are assured, satisfied the people as well as if they had gone
maying any other way. It is true that the sentiment did not endure,
that the eulogy of the general and his brave soldiers was turned
in time to abuse of the tyrant and his red-coats; but when a
nation after beheading a king, abolishing a House of Lords, and
welcoming freedom by the blessing of God restored, still finds
that the golden age is not yet returned, it must needs visit
its disappointment upon some one. The later unpopularity of the
strong military hand does not affect the undoubted fact of a great
preliminary outburst of military enthusiasm. Nor indeed even at the
end was there any feeling but of pride in the prowess of Morgan's
regiments in Flanders.

The rapid advance of military reform in its deepest significance
is not less remarkable. For two years it may be said that opposing
factions of the Civil War fought at haphazard, after the obsolete
fashion of the days of the Tudors. The most brilliant soldier on
either side was a military adventurer of the type that Shakespeare
had depicted, a man who

              dreams of cutting Spanish throats,
      Of trenches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades
      And healths five fathoms deep.

Against the wild, impetuous Rupert the primitive armies of the
Parliament were powerless. From the first engagement Cromwell
perceived that such high-mettled dare-devils could be beaten
only by men who took their profession seriously, who made some
conscience of what they did, who drew no distinction between moral
and military virtues, who believed that a bad man could not be a
good soldier, nor a bad soldier a good man, who saw in cowardice
a moral failing and in vice a military crime. Cromwell's system
is generally summed up in the word fanaticism; but this is less
than half of the truth. The employment of the phrase, moral force,
in relation to the operations of war, is familiar enough in our
language; but the French term _morale_ is now pressed into the
service to signify that indefinable consciousness of superiority
which is the chief element of strength in an army. Such narrowing
of old broad terms is in a high degree misleading. It should
never be forgotten that military discipline rests at bottom on
the broadest and deepest of moral foundations; its ideal is the
organised abnegation of self. Simple fanaticism is in its nature
undisciplined; it is strong because it assumes its superiority,
it is weak because it is content with the assumption; only when
bound under a yoke such as that of a Zizka or of a Cromwell is
it irresistible. Cromwell's great work was the same as Zizka's,
to subject the fanaticism that he saw around him to discipline.
He did not go out of his way to find fanatics. "Sir," he once
wrote, "the State in choosing men for its service takes no notice
of their opinions; if they be willing faithfully to serve it,
that satisfies." In forming his original regiment of horse he
undoubtedly selected men of good character, just as any colonel
would endeavour to do to-day. But Fairfax's was by no means an army
of saints. One regiment of the New Model mutinied when its colonel
opened his command with a sermon, and the Parliament with great
good sense prohibited by Ordinance the preaching of laymen in the
Army. It is time to have done with all misconceptions as to the
work that Cromwell did for the military service of England, for it
is summed up in the one word discipline. It was the work not of a
preacher but of a soldier.

That the discipline was immensely strict and the punishments
correspondingly severe followed necessarily from the nature of
his system. The military code took cognisance not only of purely
military offences, but of many moral delinquencies, even in time
of peace, which if now visited with the like severity would make
the list of defaulters as long as the muster-roll. Swearing was
checked principally by fine, drunkenness by the wooden horse.
This barbarous engine, imitated from abroad, consisted simply of
a triangular block of wood, like a saddle-stand, raised on four
legs and finished with a rude representation of a horse's head. On
this the culprit was set astride for one hour a day for so many
days, with from one to six muskets tied to his heels; and that
degradation might be added to the penalty, drunkards rode the horse
in some public place, such as Charing Cross, with cans about their
necks. A soldier who brought discredit on his cloth by public
misconduct paid the penalty with public disgrace. Fornication was
commonly punished with the lash, the culprit being flogged so many
times up and down the ranks of his company or regiment according to
the flagrancy of the offence. It is small wonder that men forced
by such discipline to perpetual self-control should have scorned
civilians who allowed themselves greater latitude, and despised
a Parliament which, in spite of many purgings, was never wholly
purged of loose livers.

Towards the unfortunate Royalists the feelings of the Parliamentary
Army after 1645 were of unutterable contempt. It was not only
that it felt its moral superiority over the unhappy cavaliers; it
mingled with this the keenest professional pride. No sergeant-major
of the smartest modern cavalry regiment could speak with more
withering disdain of the rudest troop of rustic yeomanry than
did the Parliamentary newspapers of the prisoners captured at
Bristol.[198] It is instructive, too, to note the patronising tone
adopted by Reynolds towards the army of Turenne, his criticism of
the discipline that was "good, for France," and his observations as
to the proverbial inefficiency of a French regiment at the end of a
campaign. Beyond all doubt the English standing Army from 1646 to
1658 was the finest force in Europe. It is the more amazing that
Cromwell should have suffered its fair fame to be tarnished by the
rabble that he sent to the West Indies.

Such an army will never again be seen in England; but though its
peculiar distinctions are for ever lost, the legacies bequeathed by
it must not be overlooked. Enough has been said of the institution
of the new discipline, and of the virtual extinction of the old
stamp of military adventurer; it remains now briefly to summarise
the minor changes wrought by the creation of a standing Army. First
comes the incipient organisation of a War-Department as seen in
the Committee of the Army working with the Treasurers at War on
one side and the ancient Office of Ordnance on the other, and in
the appointment of a single commander-in-chief for all the forces
in England, Scotland, and Ireland. And here it must be noted in
passing that the division of the Army into an English, Scotch,
and Irish establishment, which lasted until the three kingdoms
were one by one united, becomes fully defined in the years of
the Protectorate. Next must be mentioned the organisation of
regiments with frames of a fixed strength, regiments of horse with
six troops, and of foot and dragoons with ten companies, and the
maintenance of a fixed establishment for services of artillery and
transport.[199] Further, to combine the unity of the Army with the
distinction of the various corps that composed it, there was the
adoption of the historic scarlet uniform differenced by the facings
of the several regiments.

Clothing however, leads us to the more complicated question of
the pay of the Army. The regular payment of wages was, as has
been seen, the first essential step towards the establishment of
a standing force; and with it came concurrently the system of
clothing, mounting and equipping soldiers at the expense of the
State. It should seem, however, that the rules for regulating the
system were sufficiently elastic, for we find quite late in the
second Civil War that troopers generally still provided their
own horses, and received a higher rate of pay, and that colonels
were permitted to make independent contracts for the clothing and
equipment of their regiments. The stoppages from the soldiers'
pay at this period are also instructive. The deduction of a
fixed sum for clothing dates, as has been already told, from the
days of Elizabeth if not from still earlier times. But to this
was now added the principle of withholding a proportion of the
wages, under the name of arrears, as security against misconduct
and desertion; while it was a recognised rule that both men and
officers should forfeit an additional proportion so long as they
lived at free quarter. An allowance for billet-money, and a fixed
tariff of prices to be paid by soldiers while on the march within
the kingdom, contributed somewhat to lighten the burden of all
these stoppages, and made a precedent for the Mutiny Act of a later
day. It is worthy of remark that the garrison of Dunkirk found in
the town special buildings, constructed by the Spaniards for their
troops and called barracks,[200] and that it was duly installed
therein in the autumn of 1659. The reader, if he have patience to
follow me further, will be able to note for himself how long was
the time before English soldiers exchanged life in alehouses for
the Spanish system of life in barracks.

But there is another and more interesting aspect of the question
of pay, when we pass from that of the men to that of the officers.
The extinction of the old military adventurer brought with it the
total abolition, for the time, of the system of purchase. In the
Royalist regiments that gathered around Charles Stuart in Flanders,
we find that companies and regiments still changed hands for money,
but in the English standing Army the practice seems utterly to have
disappeared. Promotion was regulated not necessarily by seniority
but by the recommendation of superior officers, and, as external
evidence seems to indicate, ran not in individual regiments but in
the Army at large. The arrears of officers, especially of those
who possessed means of their own, often remained, through their
patriotic forbearance, not only many months but many years overdue;
and it is interesting to mark that their inability to watch over
their own interests while they were engaged on active service led
to the appointment of regimental agents, who drew their pay and
transacted their financial business with the country on their
behalf. The Army Agent may, therefore, justly boast himself to be a
survival of the Civil War.

Nor can I leave this subject without reference to yet another
remarkable feature in the New Model Army, which unfortunately has
not passed into a tradition. I allude to the great and sudden check
on the ancient evil of military corruption. To say that corruption
came absolutely to an end would be an excessive statement, for
the minutes of courts-martial on fraudulent auditors are still
extant, but it is probable that during the Civil War it was
reduced to the lowest level that it has touched in the whole of
our Army's history. The abolition of purchase and the higher moral
tone that pervaded the whole force doubtless contributed greatly
to so desirable an end. It is, however, melancholy to record
that the evil was evidently but scotched, not killed. Before the
Protector had been dead a year, there was seen, at the withdrawal
of part of the garrison of Dunkirk, a deliberate and disgraceful
falsification of the muster-rolls, aggravated by every circumstance
that could encourage fraud and injure good discipline. Contact with
foreign troops was probably the immediate cause of this lamentable
backsliding, but it furnishes a sad commentary on the fickleness of
Puritan morality.

Finally, let us close with the greatest and noblest work of the New
Model Army; the establishment of England's supremacy in the British
Isles as a first step to their constitutional union. No achievement
could have stood in more direct antagonism to the policy of Charles
Stuart, who strove with might and main to set nation against
nation and kingdom against kingdom, and paid for his folly with his
life. It may be that the greatness of this service will in these
days be denied. There were not wanting in the Long Parliament men
who intrigued with Scotland against England rather than suffer
power to slip from their hands, and it is not perhaps strange that
the type of such men should be imperishable. Those, however, who
call England the predominant partner in the British Isles should
not forget who were the men that made her predominant.[201] The
Civil War was no mere rebellion against despotic authority. It
accomplished more than the destruction of the old monarchy; it was
the battle for the union of the British Isles, and it was fought
and won by the New Model Army.

  AUTHORITIES.--In so slight a sketch of the Civil War and the
  Protectorate as is given in these pages any lengthy enumeration
  of the authorities would be absurd. Readers will find them for
  themselves in the exhaustive history of Mr. Gardiner, to whose
  labours, as well as to those of Mr. C. H. Firth, I am very
  greatly indebted. Such collections of documents as the _Calendars
  of State Papers_, Rushworth, Thurloe, and Carlyle's _Cromwell's
  Letters and Speeches_ are almost too obvious to call for mention.
  The Clarke Papers are of exceptional value for purposes of
  military history, and Sprigge's _Anglia Rediviva_ is of course
  an indispensable authority as to the New Model. But even in
  such fields as the newspapers and the King's Pamphlets Mr.
  Gardiner and Mr. Firth have left little harvest ungleaned. Of the
  military writers of the time Barriffe is the most instructive,
  particularly in respect of certain comments added in the later
  editions. A French folio volume, _Le Mareschal le Bataille_
  (1647), gives excellent plates of the drill of pikemen and
  musketeers, and beautiful diagrams of the evolutions.



[Sidenote: 1660.]

The restoration of the Stuarts had been to all outward semblance
effected, Charles had been escorted through the streets of
London by the horse of the New Model, and yet the power which
had practically ruled England since 1647 was still unbroken. The
problem which the Long Parliament had treated with such disastrous
contempt in that year was still unsolved; and there could be no
assurance of stability for the monarchy until the Army should be
disbanded. As to the manner in which this most difficult task must
be accomplished the events of 1647 had given sufficient warning,
for an army of sixty-five thousand men was even less to be trifled
with than the comparatively small force of the second year of the
New Model. Disbandment must not be hurried, and all arrears of pay
must be faithfully discharged. Still the work could not but be both
delicate and dangerous, requiring good faith and a tact that could
only be found in a soldier who understood soldiers and a man who
understood men. Fortunately such a man and such a soldier was to
hand in the person of George Monk.

[Sidenote: 1661.]

His scheme was soon prepared and adopted by Parliament. The
regiments were to be broken up gradually, the order of disbandment
being determined by lot, with the reservation that Monk's own
regiments of horse and foot, together with two others that had
been taken over by the Dukes of York and Gloucester,[202] should
be kept until the last. An Act copied from an Ordinance of the
Commonwealth was passed, to enable discharged soldiers to engage in
trades without preliminary apprenticeship, and thus to facilitate
their return to civil life. By extraordinary exertions the needful
money was raised, and the work proceeded apace. It seemed as if the
close of the year 1660, according to the old reckoning which began
the new year on the 25th of March, would have seen it completed,
for by the first week in January the hand of disbandment had
reached Monk's regiment of horse.

There however it was stayed. On the 6th of January an insurrection
of fifth-monarchy men, a fanatical sect which had felt the might of
Cromwell's repressing arm, not only saved the last relic of the New
Model, but laid the foundation stone of a new Army. The rising was
not suppressed without difficulty, not indeed until the veterans
of Monk's regiment of foot, to whom such work was child's play,
came up and swept it contemptuously away. The outbreak showed the
need of keeping a small permanent force for the security of the
King's person. The disbandment of this regiment and of the troop of
horse-guards which had been assigned to Monk on his first arrival
in London was thereupon countermanded, and the King gave orders for
the raising of a new regiment of Guards in twelve companies, to be
commanded by Colonel John Russell; of a regiment of horse in eight
troops to be commanded by the Earl of Oxford; and of a troop of
horse-guards, to be commanded by Lord Gerard. The Duke of York's
troop of horse-guards, the same which he had led to an unsuccessful
charge at Dunkirk Dunes, was also summoned home from Dunkirk.

The first stones of the new army being thus laid, there remained
nothing but formally to abolish, in accordance with the letter of
the Act of Parliament, the last remnant of the New Model. On the
14th of February, 1661 Monk's regiment of foot was mustered on
Tower Hill, where it solemnly laid down its arms, and as solemnly
took them up again, with great rejoicing, as the Lord General's
regiment of Foot-Guards. But to England at large this corps had
but one name, that which still survives in its present title of
the Coldstream Guards. Though ranking second on the list of our
infantry, this is the senior regiment of the British Army. Other
corps may boast of earlier traditions, but this is the oldest
national regiment and the sole survivor of the famous New Model.
Well may it claim, in its proud Latin motto, that it is second to

Colonel Russell's regiment, being the King's own regiment of
Guards, and raised specially for the protection of his person,
obtained precedence not unnaturally of its earlier rival, and
presently, by absorbing the handful of gallant men who had
refused to surrender at Dunkirk Dunes, established its claim to
represent the defeated cavaliers, as the Coldstream represent the
victorious Roundheads, in the long contest of the Civil War. It is
the regiment once called the First Guards, and now the Grenadier
Guards, and it has known little of defeat since it ceased to fight
against its countrymen.

[Sidenote: 1661-1662.]

The two troops of Life-Guards--the first the King's, commanded by
Lord Gerard, the second the Duke of York's own--took precedence
in like manner of Monk's Life-Guard; and after long existence as
independent troops, blossomed at last into the First and Second
regiments of Life-Guards that now stand at the head of our Army
list. They were composed of men of birth and education, and
for more than a century were rightly called gentlemen of the
Life-Guards. Cromwell too had possessed such a guard, for he knew
the value of gentlemen who had courage, honour, and resolution in
them. Thus they stood apart from Lord Oxford's regiment of horse,
which is still known to us from the colour of its uniform by its
original name of the Blues. This corps was almost certainly made
up of disbanded troopers of the New Model, of which there was no
lack at that time in England;[203] while its colonel brought to it
traditions of still earlier days in the honoured name of Vere.

But there was yet another regiment to be gathered in from the
battlefield of Dunkirk Dunes, this time not from the defeated but
from the victorious army. In view of the peril of the King from
Vernier's insurrection, Lewis the Fourteenth was requested to
restore to him the regiment of Douglas, the representative of the
Scots Brigade of Gustavus Adolphus; and this famous corps, having
duly arrived in the year 1662, became the Royal or Scots regiment,
and took the place which it still occupies at the head of the
infantry of the Line under the old title of the Royal Scots. It
returned to France in 1662 and did not return permanently to the
English service until 1670, but it retained its precedence and it
retains it still.

[Sidenote: 1661, October.]

So far for the King's provision for his own safety. But it was also
necessary for him to provide himself with money, and this he did in
the simplest fashion by marrying an heiress, Catherine, Princess
of Portugal, who brought him half a million of money, Bombay and
Tangier, to say nothing of promises of pecuniary aid from Lewis
the Fourteenth, who encouraged the match for his own ends. Tangier
being in constant peril of recapture by the Moors was a troublesome
possession, and required a garrison, for which duty a regiment
of foot and a strong troop of horse were raised by the Earl of
Peterborough, the recruits being furnished mainly by the garrison
of Dunkirk. These corps also survive among us as the Second or
Queen's regiment of Foot, and the First or Royal Dragoons.

[Sidenote: 1661-1665.]

Concurrently in this same year 1661 an Act was passed for the
re-organisation of the militia. The obligations to provide
horse-men and foot-men were distributed, following the venerable
precedent of the statute of Winchester, according to a graduated
scale of property, and the complete control of each county's force
was committed to the lord-lieutenant. To him also were entrusted
powers to organise the force into regiments and companies, to
appoint officers, and to levy rates for the supply of ammunition.
Finally, the supreme command of the militia, over which the Long
Parliament had fought so bitterly with Charles the First, was
restored to the King, together with that of all forces by sea and

[Sidenote: 1665, February.]

So much was accomplished in the first two years of Charles the
Second. It sufficed for two years longer, when English commercial
enterprise involved the restored monarchy in its first war.
In truth it is hardly recognised how powerfully the spirit of
adventure and colonisation had manifested itself under the Stuarts.
The Empire indeed was growing fast. In 1661 England already
possessed the New England States, Maryland and Virginia, as well
as, for the time, Acadia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Off the
American coast the Bermudas were hers; in the Caribbean Archipelago
Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, and Jamaica were
settled; while Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Tobago,
though not yet wrested from the Caribs, were reckoned subject to
the British Crown. In 1663 one Company received a charter for the
settlement of Carolina, and another, the Royal African, which
enjoyed the monopoly of the trade in negro slaves, had fixed its
headquarters at Cape Coast Castle. Nor must it be omitted that the
East India Company, originally incorporated in 1599, received in
1660 a second charter conferring ampler powers, most notably in
respect of military matters.

England, however, had abundance of rivals in distant adventure,
whereof none was more jealous and more powerful than the Dutch
federation which her own good arm had created. Cromwell had read
the Dutch a lesson in 1653, and had imposed upon them restrictions
which, if observed, would have checked their encroachments on
English trade; but the Dutch not only evaded these obligations,
but added to this delinquency wanton aggression both on the Guinea
Coast and in the East Indies. The African Company at once commenced
reprisals on the Gold Coast, and an expedition against the New
Netherlands of America captured New Amsterdam and gave it its
now famous name of New York. Meanwhile the complaints of English
merchants were willingly heard by both King and Parliament. Charles
had received no great kindness in his exile from the oligarchical
faction which dominated the Dutch Republic; and now that the same
faction had stripped the House of Nassau of its high dignities,
to the prejudice of his nephew William, he was not sorry for the
opportunity of revenge. Parliament voted liberal supplies for the
war. A new regiment, called the Admiral's regiment, was raised
by the Duke of York for service on board ship; large drafts were
taken from the two regiments of Guards for the same purpose, and on
the 3rd of June, James, Duke of York, won with them a great naval
action off Lowestoft.

But there were English soldiers outside England who were troubled
by this war. The descendants of the volunteers, who had followed
Morgan in 1572 and had won an imperishable name under Francis
Vere, were still in the Dutch service and were now comprised in
seven regiments, three of them English and four Scotch, numbering
in all three-and-fifty companies. As soon as war was declared the
Pensionary De Witt forced upon the United Provinces a resolution
that the British regiments must either take the oath of allegiance
to the States-General or be instantly cashiered. This was the
reward offered by the Dutch Republic to the brave foreigners who,
with their predecessors, had done her better service than she
could ever repay. Dismissal from the service meant ruin to the
unfortunate officers, and want and misery to the men. Many Dutchmen
were ashamed of the resolution, but they passed it; and it remained
only to be seen whether British loyalty would stand the test. The
English officers hesitated not a moment. They refused point blank
to swear fealty to Holland, and were ruthlessly turned adrift. By
the help of the English Ambassador, however, they made their way to
England and were presently formed into the Holland regiment, which
now ranks as the Third of the Line and is known from the facings
which it has worn for more than two centuries, by the honoured name
of the Buffs.[204]

The Scottish regiments behaved very differently. Though Charles was
a Stuart and a Scot, only two officers had the spirit to follow the
English example. The rest, who at first had made great protestation
of loyalty, remained with their Dutch masters and, like all
shamefaced converts, professed exaggerated love for the Dutch
service and extravagant willingness to invade Great Britain if
required. A century hence these regiments will be seen begging in
vain to be received into the British service, and only accepted at
last, after enduring sad insult from the Dutch, in time to become
not the Fourth but the Ninety-Fourth of the Line. The corps finally
ceased to exist in 1815, while the Buffs are with us to this day.
It was a hard fate, but there is a nemesis even for unfaithful

[Sidenote: 1666.]

In the following year Lewis the Fourteenth, seeing therein an
opportunity for furthering his darling project of extending his
frontier to the Rhine, threw in his lot with the Dutch and declared
war against England. The time is worthy of remark. For a century
England in common with all Europe had abandoned traditional
friendships and enmities, and sought out new allies by the guidance
of religious sentiment. All this was now at an end, and the old
jealousy of France was strong throughout the nation. But though the
people were in earnest, the King was not; the policy of keeping
France in check was after two years abandoned, and Charles, like
a true Stuart, sold himself to Lewis the Fourteenth. False,
wrong-headed, and unpatriotic, the dynasty was already preparing
for itself a second downfall.

[Sidenote: 1672.]

The next step was a declaration of war by France and England
against Holland. One hundred and fifty thousand men, under the
three great captains, Turenne, Condé and Luxemburg, with Lewis in
person at the head of all, swept down upon the United Provinces,
mastered three of them almost without resistance, and actually
crossed the Rhine. Six thousand English, grouped around a nucleus
from the Guards, served with them under the command of James, Duke
of Monmouth, and among the officers was a young captain named
John Churchill. He had been born in 1650, less than three months
before Dunbar, had been page to the Duke of York, and had received
through him an ensigncy in the King's Guards. He had seen his
first service, as became an English officer, in savage warfare
at Tangier; he now enjoyed his first experience of a scientific
campaign under the first General of the day. Soon he became known
to Turenne himself not only as the handsomest man in the camp, but
as an officer of extraordinary gallantry, coolness, and capacity.
As Morgan had won the great captain's eulogy at Ypres, so did young
Churchill at Maestricht; and it is worthy of note that on both of
the two occasions when an English contingent served under Turenne
the most brilliant little action of the war was the work of the

But on the Dutch side also there was a young man, born in the same
year as Churchill, who was to show lesser qualities indeed as an
officer, though, as his opportunity permitted him, perhaps hardly
inferior qualities as a man. William of Orange, long excluded by
the jealousy of faction from the station and the duties of his
rank, with firm resolution and unshaken nerve assumed the command
of the United Provinces, and began the great work of his life, the
work which was to be finally accomplished by the handsome English
soldier in the enemy's camp, of taming the insolence of the French.

[Sidenote: 1674.]

It is unnecessary to dwell further on the story of this campaign.
The courage of William sufficed to tide Holland over the moment of
supreme danger; and, the crisis once passed, Austria and Spain,
alarmed at the designs of Lewis, hastened to her assistance.
Charles made peace with the Dutch in 1674, and, while declining
to withdraw the English troops in the French service, promised to
recruit them no further. Churchill came home to be colonel of the
Second Foot; and from the troops disbanded at the close of the war,
were formed three English regiments for the service of the Prince
of Orange. Among their officers was James Graham of Claverhouse. We
shall meet with him again, and we shall see two of the regiments
also return in due time, like their prototype, the Buffs, to take
their place in the English infantry of the Line.

[Sidenote: 1680.]

[Sidenote: 1684.]

With the treaty of 1674 the wars of Charles the Second came to
an end. It was not that the people of England were unwilling
to fight. They were heart and soul against the French; and the
Commons cheerfully voted large sums for army and fleet while the
war lasted, asking only that the money might be expended on its
legitimate object. But the crookedness and untrustworthiness of
the King were fatal to all military enterprise, and indeed to all
honest administration. Though the military force of England was
far too small for the safety of her possessions abroad, Parliament
never ceased to denounce the evils of standing armies, and to
clamour for the disbanding of all regiments. In the days of
Cromwell the burden of the red-coats had been grievous to be borne,
but Oliver had at all events made England respected in Europe.
Charles sought to impose a like burden, but without sympathy for
England's quarrels, and without care for England's glory. He made
shift, nevertheless, to keep his existing regiments throughout his
reign, and in 1680 even to add another to them for the service
of Tangier. In 1684 that ill-fated possession, having cost many
thousands of lives and witnessed as gallant feats of arms as ever
were wrought by English soldiers, was finally abandoned; though
not before the English had learned one secret of Oriental warfare.
In March 1663, after long endurance of incessant harassing attacks
from the Moors, the Governor, who had hitherto stood on the
defensive, took the initiative and launched the Royal Dragoons
straight at them. So signal was the success of this first venture
that it was repeated a fortnight later by the same regiment, and
renewed on a grander scale after two months by a sally of the
whole garrison, which after desperate fighting ended once more in
victory. So much at least must be recorded of this first long lost
settlement in Africa.[205] The new regiment, which had arrived too
late for fighting, came home to take rank as the Fourth of the Line
and to remain with us to this day.

In truth the little Army, which Parliament so bitterly hated, was
busy enough from the day of the King's accession to the day of
his death. In regiments or detachments it fought in Tangier, in
Flanders, and in the West Indies; it did marines' duty in four
great naval actions, one of them the fiercest ever fought by the
English, and it suppressed an insurrection in Scotland and a
rebellion in Virginia. The reign gave it a foretaste of the work
that lay before it in the next two centuries, and showed good
promise for the manner in which that work would be done.

[Sidenote: 1685.]

Charles died on the 6th of February 1685. His brother James, who
succeeded him, was a man of stronger military instincts than any
English king since Henry the Eighth. He had served through four
campaigns under Turenne and through two more with the Spaniards,
and his narrative of his wars shows that he had studied the
military profession with singular industry and intelligence of
observation. Nor was he less interested in naval affairs. He had
commanded an English fleet in two great actions without discredit
as an Admiral, and with signal honour as a brave man. Moreover,
he felt genuine pride in the prowess alike of the English sailor
and the English soldier. Finally he had shown uncommon ability and
diligence as an administrator. The Duke of Wellington a century
and a half later spoke with the highest admiration of the system
which James had established at the Office of Ordnance, and actually
restored it, as Marlborough had restored it before him, when he
himself became Master-General. The Admiralty again acknowledges
that his hand is still felt for good in the direction of the Navy.
In fact, whatever his failings, James was an able, painstaking, and
conscientious public servant, and as such has no little claim to
the gratitude of the nation.

So far then the succession of a diligent and competent
administrator to the shrewd but incorrigibly idle Charles promised
advantages that were obvious enough. But there was another
side to the question. Parliament had requited James's services
to the public by excluding him as an avowed Catholic from all
public employment, whether civil or military; and James was a
narrow-minded, a vindictive, and, like all the Stuarts, essentially
a wrong-headed man. Though valuable as the head of a department,
he was totally unfit to administer a kingdom; though not devoid of
constancy and patience in adversity, he was swift and unsatiable
in revenge; though ambitious of military fame, proud of English
valour, and not without jealousy for English honour, he saw no way
to the greatness which he coveted in Europe except by the overthrow
of English liberty. He longed to interfere effectively abroad, but
with England crushed under his heel, not free and united at his

So he too sold himself to France, hoping to consolidate his
power by her help and to turn it in due time to her own hurt;
and meanwhile he sought to strengthen himself by the maintenance
of a standing Army. For this design Monmouth's insurrection of
1685 afforded sufficient excuse.[206] The opportune return of the
garrison of Tangier had already added two regiments of Foot and
one of Horse to the English establishment; and James seized the
occasion of the outbreak to summon the six British regiments, three
of them Scottish and three English, from Holland. These, though
they presently returned to William's service, secured for two of
their number on the invasion of England in 1688 the precedence of
Fifth and Sixth of the Line. Simultaneously twelve new regiments of
infantry and eight of cavalry were raised under the same pretext.
Of the foot the first was an Ordnance-regiment, designed like the
firelocks of the New Model to act as escort to the artillery, and
was called from its armament the Regiment of Fusiliers. It is still
with us as the Seventh of the Line. The remainder of the foot, some
of them formed round the nucleus of independent garrison-companies,
also abide with us, numbered the Eighth to the Fifteenth.[207] Of
the cavalry six were regiments of horse, and are now known as the
First to the Sixth Regiments of Dragoon Guards; the remaining two,
which are now numbered the Third and Fourth, after having been
successively dragoons and light dragoons, have finally become the
two senior regiments of hussars. Add to these thirty independent
companies of foot, borne for duties in garrison, and it will be
seen that King James's army was increasing with formidable speed.

The King himself found genuine delight, not in the sinister
spirit of an oppressor but in the laudable pride of a soldier, in
reviewing his troops. In August 1685 he inspected ten battalions
and twenty squadrons which were in camp at Hounslow, and wrote to
his son-in-law, William of Orange, with significant satisfaction
of their efficiency. In November he met Parliament, and required
of it the continuance of the standing Army in lieu of the militia.
The courtiers had received their cue, and pointed to the flight
of the western militia before Monmouth's raw levies as proof
sufficient of its untrustworthiness. The fact indeed was self
evident. But Parliament was not disposed to welcome a royal speech
which submitted no further measures than the maintenance of a
standing army and the admission of popish officers to command
therein. The memories of Oliver and of his major-generals was
still vivid, and the revocation of the edict of Nantes was but
a month old. Red-coats as saints had been bad; red-coats as
papists would doubtless be worse. Edward Seymour, the head of
that historic house, put the matter as Englishmen love to put it.
The militia, he confessed, was in an unsatisfactory state, but it
might be improved, and with this and the navy the country would
be secure; but a standing army there must not be. Then as now, it
will be observed, the House of Commons never stinted the navy, nor
doubted its ability to repel invasion; and then as now it refused
to remember that the British possessions are not bounded by the
British Isles, and that a successful war is something more than a
war of defence. But unfortunately it had but too good ground for
opposing the King in this case. The debate lasted long. James had
asked for £1,400,000 for the Army; the Chancellor of the Exchequer
expressed his willingness to accept £1,200,000; the House voted
£700,000, and even then declined to appropriate the sum to any
specific purpose.

[Sidenote: December.]

[Sidenote: 1686, June.]

[Sidenote: 1686-1688.]

James was greatly annoyed. He answered the note of the Commons
with a reprimand, and prorogued Parliament; nor did he summon it
again during the remainder of his reign. He then concentrated from
thirteen to sixteen thousand men at Hounslow Heath, and kept them
encamped there for three years in the hope of overawing London.
Never did man make a more complete mistake. The Londoners, after
their first alarm had passed away, soon discovered that the camp
was a charming place of amusement. A new generation had sprung up
since a Parliamentary colonel had held a sham fight to compensate
the people for the loss of the sports of May-day, and there was
a certain novelty in military display. Hounslow camp became the
fashion, and the lines were thronged with a motley crowd of all
classes of the people; for then as now the women loved a red-coat,
and where the women led the men followed them. The troops were
doubtless well worth seeing, for James flattered himself that they
were the best paid, the best equipped, and the most sightly in

Still, merry as the camp might be, there were not wanting signs
of a graver spirit beneath the new red-coats. There were early
rumours of quarrels between protestant and catholic soldiers,
ominous to the catholic officers whom James had set in command
against the law. Agitators scattered tracts appealing to the
Army to stand up in defence of the liberties of England and the
protestant religion; and the Londoners perceived, what James did
not, that consciences cannot be bought for eightpence a day, nor
flesh and blood extinguished by a red coat and facings. The Buffs
had been the earliest English volunteers in the cause of liberty
and protestantism; the Royal Scots had rolled back papistry under
the Lion of the North, and, as if one presbyterian regiment were
not sufficient, there was another, just brought into England for
the first time from Scotland, and known by its present name of the
Scotch or Scots Guards. Again, monks in the habit of their Order
were among the visitors to the camp; and it was easy to ask how
long it was since such men had been seen in England, and what was
the cause of their disappearance. Cromwell's soldiers had made
short and cruel work of monks in Ireland; yet soldiers, only one
generation younger, were to be called upon to fight against their
kith and kin for a king who openly favoured them, a king, too, who
in the face of all law openly thrust papists into all places of

[Sidenote: 1688, June.]

It was not long before the seed sown by the agitators began to
bear fruit. When the seven bishops who had refused to read the
declaration which suspended the penal laws against catholics were
committed to the Tower, the guards drank their health; and when
the news of their acquittal reached Hounslow Heath, it was received
by the Army with boisterous delight. In alarm James broke up the
camp and scattered the regiments broadcast over the country. Having
thus isolated them he attempted to work upon them separately, and
selected as the first subject for this experiment Lord Lichfield's
Regiment, known to us as the Twelfth Foot. The men were drawn
up on Blackheath in the King's presence, and were informed that
they must either sign a pledge to carry out the royal policy of
indulgence towards catholics, or leave his service forthwith. Whole
ranks without hesitation took him at his word, and grounded their
arms, while two officers and a few privates, all of them catholics,
alone consented to sign. James stood aghast with astonishment and
disgust. Dismissal meant something more than mere exclusion from
the Army; it carried with it the forfeiture of all arrears of pay
and of the price of the officers' commissions, but neither men nor
officers took account of that. James eyed them in silence for a
time, and then bade them take up their arms. "Another time," he
said, "I shall not do you the honour to consult you."

Foiled in England, James turned, as his father had turned before
him, to Ireland. The Irish speak of the curse of Cromwell; they
might more justly speak of the curse of the Stuarts, for no two
men have brought on them such woe as Charles and James. Already,
in 1686, the King had sent a degenerate Irishman, the Earl of
Tyrconnel, to ensure popish ascendency at any rate in Ireland; and
no better man could have been found for such mischievous work than
lying Dick Talbot. The army in Ireland consisted at the time of his
arrival of about seven thousand men: within a few months Tyrconnel,
by wholesale dismissal of all protestants, had turned it upside
down. Five hundred men were discharged from a single regiment on
the ground that they were of inferior stature, and their places
shamelessly filled by ragged, half-trained Irish, beneath them
both in size and quality. In all four thousand soldiers were
broken, stripped of the uniforms which they had bought by the
stoppage of their pay, and dismissed half-naked to go whither they
would. Three hundred protestant officers shared a like fate in
circumstances of not less hardship. Many of them had fought bravely
for the Stuarts in past days, the majority had purchased their
commissions, yet all alike were turned adrift in ruin and disgrace.
The disbanded took refuge in Holland, whence they presently
returned under the colours of William of Orange, with such feelings
against the Irish as may be guessed.

But James did not stop here. He now conceived the notion of
surrounding himself with Irish battalions, and of moulding the
English regiments to his will by kneading into them a leaven
of Irish recruits. When we reflect that it was just such an
importation of Irish that had turned all England against his
father, we can only stand amazed at such folly. The English held
the Irish for aliens and enemies; they knew them as a people who
for centuries had risen in massacre and rebellion whenever the
English garrison had been weakened, and that had sunk again into
abject submission as soon as England's hands were free to suppress
them. They did not know them, in spite of their occasional gallant
resistance to Cromwell, as a great fighting race. They had not
read, or, reading, had not believed, the testimony of Robert Munro
to their merits as soldiers.[208] Lastly and chiefly the Irish were
catholics and the English protestants.

The resentment against the new policy soon made itself manifest.
The Duke of Berwick, the King's natural son, who had been appointed
colonel of the Eighth Foot, gave orders that thirty Irish recruits
should be enlisted in the regiment. The men said flatly that they
would not serve with them, and the lieutenant-colonel with five
of his captains openly remonstrated with the Duke against the
insult. They had raised the regiment, they said, at their own
expense for the King's service, and could procure as many English
recruits as they wanted; rather than endure to have strangers
forced upon them they would beg leave to resign their commissions.
James was furious. He tried the six officers by a court-martial,
which sentenced them to be cashiered; but the culprits none the
less received the sympathy and applause of the whole nation.
The prevalent feeling against the Irish found vent in a doggrel
ballad, known, from the gibberish of its burden, by the name of
Lillibulero. Partly from the nature of its contents, still more
probably from the rollicking gaiety of its tune,[209] it became a
great favourite with the Army, and if we may judge from Captain
Shandy's partiality for it, was the most popular marching song of
the red-coats in Flanders.

But meanwhile William of Orange had received his invitation to come
with an armed force for the delivery of England from the Stuarts,
and for some months had been making preparations for an invasion.
It was long before James awoke to his danger, but when at last he
perceived it he hastened to strengthen the Army. Commissions were
issued for the raising of new regiments, of which two are still
with us as the Sixteenth and Seventeenth of the Line, and of new
companies for existing regiments. Four thousand men in all were
added to the English establishment; three thousand were summoned
from Ireland, and as many more from Scotland; and James reckoned
that he could meet the invader with forty thousand men. On the 2nd
of November William, after one failure, got his expedition safely
to sea, and by a feint movement induced James to send several
regiments northward to meet a disembarkation in Yorkshire. These
regiments were hastily recalled on the intelligence that the
armament had passed the Straits of Dover steering westward, and
fresh orders were given for concentration at Salisbury.

In a short time twenty-four thousand men were assembled at the new
rendezvous, but before James could join them, he received news that
Lord Cornbury, the heir of his kinsmen the Hydes, had deserted to
the enemy. Cornbury had attempted to take his own regiment, the
Royal Dragoons, and two regiments of horse with him; but officers
and men became suspicious, and with the exception of a few who fell
into the hands of William's horse and took service in his army,
all returned to Salisbury. Before setting out for the camp James
summoned his principal officers to him--Churchill, since 1683 Lord
Churchill, and recently promoted lieutenant-general; Henry, Duke of
Grafton, colonel of the First Guards; Kirke and Trelawny, colonels
of the Tangier Regiments. One and all swore to be faithful to him;
and the King left London for Salisbury.

Arrived there, he learned from Lord Feversham, his
general-in-chief, that though the men were loyal the officers were
not to be trusted. It is said that Feversham proposed to dismiss
all that he suspected and promote sergeants in their stead. His
suspicions proved to be just. Within a week Churchill, Grafton,
Kirke, and Trelawny had all deserted to the Prince of Orange. Other
officers were less open in their treachery; and it is said that one
battalion of the Foot Guards was led into William's camp by its
sergeants and corporals. The desertion of his own children finally
broke the spirit of James. On the 11th of December he signed an
order for the disbandment of the Army, and took to flight; and
on the 16th he returned to London to find on the following night
that the battalions of the Prince of Orange were marching down St.
James's Park upon Whitehall. The old colonel of the Coldstream
Guards, Lord Craven, though now in his eightieth year, was for
resistance, but James forbade him. The Coldstream Guards filed off,
and a Dutch regiment mounted guard at Whitehall. Five days later
James left England for ever.


[Sidenote: 1660-1688.]

Before entering on the reign of William we must pause for a time to
study the interior administration of the Army. The reign of the two
last Stuarts is rightly considered as marking the end of a period
of English general history--the final fall of the old monarchy
first overthrown with King Charles the First. But in regard to
military history the case is different. It is a critical time of
uncertainty during which the Army, a relic barely saved from the
ruins of a military government, struggled through twenty-eight
years of unconstitutional existence, hardly finding permission at
their close to stand on the foundation which Charles and James,
using materials left by Cromwell, had made shift to establish for
it. Precarious as that foundation was, it received little support
for nearly a century, and little more even in the century that
followed, thanks to the blind jealousy of the House of Commons. It
will therefore be convenient at this point to examine it once for

Beginning, therefore, at the top, it must be noted that the first
commander-in-chief under the restored Monarchy was a subject,
George Monk, Duke of Albemarle. His appointment was inevitable, for
he had already held that command as the servant of the Parliament
over the undisbanded New Model, and he was the only man who could
control that Army. Charles, in fact, lay at his mercy when he
landed in 1660, and could not do less than confirm him in his old
office. The powers entrusted to Monk by his commission were very
great. He had authority to raise forces, to fix the establishment,
to issue commissions to all officers executive and administrative,
and to frame Articles of War for the preservation of discipline; he
signed all warrants for expenditure of money or stores, and, in a
word, he exerted the sovereign's powers as the sovereign's deputy
in charge of the Army. On his death in January 1670, Charles, by
the advice of his brother James, did not immediately appoint his
successor, and though in 1674 he issued a circular to all officers
of horse and foot to obey the Duke of Monmouth, yet he expressly
reserved to himself many of the powers formerly made over to Monk.
Finally, when in 1678 he appointed Monmouth to be captain-general,
he withheld from him the title of commander-in-chief. On Monmouth's
disgrace in 1679 Charles appointed no successor, but became his own
commander-in-chief, an example which was duly followed by James the
Second and William the Third. Thus the supreme control of the Army,
with powers far greater than have been entrusted to any English
commander-in-chief of modern times, continued at first practically
the same as it had been made by Oliver Cromwell. It was exclusively
in military hands.

The special branch of military administration in the hands of
the commander-in-chief was that relating to the men. The care
of material of war was committed to the ancient and efficient
Office of Ordnance. At the Restoration the old post of Master of
the Ordnance was revived with the title of master-general; and
in 1683 the Department was admirably reorganised, as has been
seen, by the Duke of York. At the head stood, of course, the
master-general; next under him were two officers of two distinct
branches, the lieutenant-general and the surveyor-general. The
lieutenant-general was charged with the duty of estimating the
amount of stores required for the Navy and the Army, and of making
contracts for the supply of the same; he was also responsible for
the maintenance of marching trains for service in the field, and
for the general efficiency of the artillery both as regards guns
and men. His first assistant was named the master-gunner. The
surveyor-general was responsible for the custody and care of all
stores, and for all services relative to engineering; his first
assistant was called the principal engineer. Transport of ordnance
by land was the care of a waggon-master, transport by water of a
purveyor. The laboratory was committed to a fire-master, whose
duties included the preparation of fireworks for festive occasions.
The only weak point of the office was the exclusiveness of its
jurisdiction over artillery and engineers, which was carried to
such a pitch that all commissions in the two corps were signed by
the master-general, though that functionary and his staff received
their own commissions from the commander-in-chief.

I turn next to the department of finance. Here in place of the
old treasurers at war there was created a new officer called the
paymaster-general. Parliament, I must remind the reader, never
recognised the existence of the Army under the Stuarts, nor voted a
sixpence expressly for its service. The force was paid out of the
King's privy purse, or, in the case of James, out of sums intended
for the payment of the militia. Thus the House of Commons through
sheer perversity lost its hold upon the paymaster-general, and when
it came to examine his office a whole century later, found, as
shall be told in place, a system of corruption and waste which is
almost incredible. The first paymaster-general, Sir Stephen Fox,
received a salary of four hundred pounds a year, but this he soon
supplemented by becoming practically a farmer of a part of the
revenue. Knowing that Charles was chronically deficient in cash, he
undertook to advance funds on his own private credit for the weekly
pay of the Army, in consideration of a commission of one shilling
in the pound. At the end of every four months he applied to the
Treasury for reimbursement, and if his claims were not immediately
satisfied, he received eight per cent on the debt owing to him,
thus making a very handsome profit. This system was discontinued in
1684, but the deduction, or poundage as it was called, was still
levied on the Army, for no reason whatever, for a full century and
a half. For the care of all other military expenses there was an
office called by the old title of Treasurer of the Armies.

So much for the broad divisions of the administration, under
the three heads of men, military stores, and finance. It is now
necessary to trace the rise of a new department, which was destined
to give to civilians the excessive share that they still enjoy in
the direction of military affairs. While Charles the Second was
yet an exile in Flanders in 1657, he had appointed a civilian, Sir
Edward Nicholas, who had been Secretary of Council to Charles the
First, to be his Secretary at War. It was not uncommon for such
civilian secretaries[210] to be attached to a general's staff, and
we have already seen John Rushworth taking the field with the New
Model as secretary to the Council of War. After the Restoration,
and within six months of the date of Monk's commission, one Sir
William Clarke was appointed to be secretary to the forces. Though
a civilian, he received a commission couched in military terms,
which were preserved for fully a century unchanged, bidding him
obey such orders as he should from time to time receive from the
King, or the general of the forces for the time being, according
to the discipline of war. In effect he was a civilian wholly
subordinated to the military authorities and subject to military
discipline so far as that discipline existed; little more, indeed,
than a secretary to the commander-in-chief. His services were not
estimated at a very high rate, for he received at first but ten
shillings, and after 1669 one pound a day, as salary for himself
and clerks. The appointment was of so personal a nature that Clarke
accompanied Monk to sea in 1666, and was killed in the naval
battle of the 1st of June, the first and last secretary at war who
has fallen in action.

Monk then applied for the services of one Matthew Lock, whom he
knew to be a good clerk, and Lock was appointed to be Clarke's
successor with the title of sergeant or secretary at war. There is
not a letter from him to be found in the State Papers until after
Monk's death, which is sufficient proof that he was a person of no
great importance; but in 1676, when there was no longer a single
commander-in-chief, he was entrusted with the removal of quarters,
the relief of the established corps, the despatch of convoys, and
even with authority to quarter troops in inns, all of which duties
had been previously fulfilled by military men. Thus early and
insidiously arose once more that civil interference with military
affairs which had with such difficulty been thrown off at the
establishment of the New Model. The system was wholly unconnected
with any question of Parliamentary control, for Parliament would
have nothing to do with the standing Army. Most probably it was due
simply to the indolence of the King, who would neither do the work
of commander-in-chief himself nor appoint any other man to do it
for him. Thus the Army was placed once and for all under the heel
of a civilian clerk.

The staff at headquarters was based on the model of that which
had prevailed under Cromwell, though of course on a scale reduced
to the minute proportions of the Army. The duties must, at first,
have been within the scope of a very few officials, and it is
probable that Monk required little assistance. There was, however,
a commissary of the musters, to whom in 1664 a scoutmaster-general,
or head of the intelligence department, was added. The business
of foreign intelligence in all its branches, diplomatic, naval,
and military, had been conducted with admirable efficiency during
the Protectorate by the Secretary of State, John Thurloe, but
Pepys remarked a sad falling away in this department after the
Restoration, due, as he admits, to the scanty allowance of funds
allotted to the service. Charles was not the man to face the
difficulties of establishing a great administrative office on a
sound basis. James, on the other hand, began to grapple with them
very early after his accession. He strengthened the staff by the
addition of adjutants and quartermasters-general of horse and foot,
and strove hard to improve the efficiency of the office; but his
time was too short and his distractions too manifold to permit
him to do the work thoroughly. Had he reigned for ten years, his
familiarity with the system of Louvois and his own administrative
ability might have reduced our military system once for all to
order. It is not too much to say that his expulsion was in this
respect the greatest misfortune that ever befell the Army.

Even he, however, would have found it a hard task to overcome the
obstacles raised by Parliament, namely, the difficulties of regular
payment of wages and of maintaining discipline. It was impossible
to enforce military law on the troops, since Parliament steadily
withheld its sanction to the same.[211] Nothing therefore remained
but the civil law. A soldier who struck his superior officer or
got drunk on guard could legally only be haled before the civil
magistrate for common assault or for drunkenness, while if he
slept on his post or disobeyed orders or deserted he was subject
to no legal penalty whatever. Parliament never seems to have been
the least alive to the danger of such a state of things, nor to
have weighed it against its fixed resolution not to recognise the
standing Army. As a matter of fact, however, military offences seem
to have been punished as such throughout the reign of Charles,
though without ostentation; and discipline appears to have been
maintained without serious difficulty. The number of the troops
was, after all, but small; many of the men were already inured
to obedience; the traditions of Oliver and of George Monk were
still alive; and the men probably accepted service with a tacit
understanding that they were subject to different conditions from
the civilian. But when the three regiments returned from foreign
service and savage warfare at Tangier, and Monmouth's rebellion
had brought about a multiplication of regiments, the situation
was altogether changed. James, who knew the value of discipline,
determined to arrogate the powers that Parliament denied to him,
but, like all weak men, endeavoured to effect his purpose by half
measures. To secure the punishment of certain deserters he packed
the Court of King's Bench with unscrupulous men; and though the
culprits were hanged, discipline was only preserved at the cost
of the integrity of the courts of law, a proceeding which damaged
him greatly both in the Army and the country at large. It will
presently be seen how this question of discipline was forced upon
Parliament in a fashion that allowed of no further trifling.

The subject of pay opens a melancholy chapter in the history of
English administration. It has already been related that Charles
the Second let out the payment of the Army to a contractor for a
commission of a shilling in the pound. This commission of course
came out of the pockets of officers and men; they paid, in fact,
a tax of five per cent for the privilege of receiving their
wages, and this not to the State, to which the officers still pay
sometimes an equal amount under the name of income-tax, but for
the benefit of a private individual. If the mulcting of the Army
had ended there, the evil would not have been so serious, but as a
matter of fact it was but one drop in a vast ocean of corruption.
I have already alluded to the immense service wrought by the
Puritans towards integrity of administration, and towards raising
the moral standard of the military profession. The destruction of
the old traditions and the substitution of new principles was a
magnificent stroke, but it was unfortunately premature. The new
principles might indeed have endured had they but been cherished
and encouraged for another generation, but unfortunately no man
better fitted to starve them could have been found than the merry
monarch. His difficulties were doubtless very great, but he brought
but one principle to meet them, that come what might he must not be
bored. His indolent selfishness was masked by an exquisite charm of
manner, and being a kind-hearted man, he always heard complaints
with a sympathetic word; but to redress them cost more trouble than
he could afford. Any man who would save him trouble was welcome;
any shift that would stave off an unpleasant duty was the right
one. There was abundance of deserving suitors to be provided for,
still greater abundance of importunate favourites to be satisfied;
administration was a bore and money was sadly deficient. All
difficulties could be solved by the simple process of providing
alike the impecunious and the greedy with administrative offices,
or, in other words, with licences to plunder the public. If they
chose to purchase these offices for money, so much the better
for the royal purse. Thus the whole fabric built up during the
Commonwealth was shattered almost at a blow.

The effect on the Army was immediate. A great many of the returned
exiles, including Charles and James themselves, had served in the
French army, where the system of purchasing commissions had never
been abandoned, and where the abuses which had been shaken off by
the New Model were still in full vigour. The old corrupt traditions
had not been killed in thirteen years, and, reviving under the
general reaction against Puritan restraint, they sprang quickly
into new life. The old military centralisation of Oliver, upheld
for a time by Monk, rapidly perished, and what might have still
been an army sank into a mere aggregate of regiments, the property
of individual colonels, and of troops and companies, the property
of individual captains. Every civilian of the military departments
hastened to make money at the expense of the officers, and every
officer to enrich himself at the cost of the men. The flood-gates
so carefully closed by the Puritans were opened, and the abuses
of three centuries streamed back into their old channel to flow
therein unchecked for two centuries more.

At its first renewal the system of purchase was carried to such
lengths that the very privates paid premiums to the enlisting
officers; but the practice was speedily checked by Monk in 1663. In
March 1684 the system received a kind of royal sanction through the
purchase by the King himself of a commission from one officer for
presentation to another. Then nine months later Charles suddenly
declared that he would permit no further purchase and sale of
military appointments. Whether he would have abolished it if he had
lived may be doubted, but it is certain that the system continued
in full operation under James the Second, gathering strength of
course with each new year of existence.

Let me now attempt briefly to sketch the organised system of
robbery that prevailed in the military service under the two
last of the Stuarts. The study may be unpleasant, but it is less
pathological than historic. First, then, let us treat of the
officer. On purchasing his commission he paid forthwith one fee
to the Secretary at War, and a second, apparently, to one of the
Secretaries of State. After the institution of Chelsea Hospital,
as to which a word shall presently be said, he paid further five
per cent on his purchase money towards its funds, the seller of
the commission contributing a like proportion from the same sum to
the same object. He then became entitled to the pay of his rank,
but this by no means implied that it was regularly paid to him.
In the first place, his pay was divided into two parts, termed
respectively his subsistence and his arrears, or clearings. The
former sum was a proportion of the full pay, which varied according
to the grade of the officer, it being obvious that an ensign, for
instance, could not subsist if any large fraction was deducted
from his daily pittance, whereas a major could be more heavily
mulcted and yet not starve. This subsistence was therefore paid,
or supposed to be issued, in advance from the pay-office and to be
subject to no stoppage. The balance of the full pay, or arrears,
was paid yearly after it became due, and after considerable
deductions had been made from it. First of these deductions came
the poundage, or payment of one shilling in the pound, to the
paymaster-general, and the discharge of one day's full pay to
Chelsea Hospital. These stoppages were more or less legitimate.
Then the commissary-general of the musters stepped in to claim
from the officer, as from every one else in the Army, one day's
pay, a tax which caused much discontent, and was in 1680 reduced
to one-third of a day's pay. Then came a vast number of irregular
exactions. Every commissary of the musters claimed a fee, amounting
sometimes to as much as two guineas for every troop or company
passed at each muster, which, as musters were taken six times a
year, was sufficiently exorbitant. Next the auditors demanded
thirty shillings, or eight times their legal fee, for each troop
and company on passing the accounts of the paymaster-general.
Finally, fees to the exchequer, fees to the treasury, fees for the
issue of pay-warrants, fees, in a word, to every greedy clerk who
could make himself disagreeable, brought the tale of extortion to
an end. Let the reader remember that this system of subsistence
and arrears, with the same legitimate deductions and almost equal
opportunities for irregular pilfering, was still in force when we
began the war of the French Revolution, and let him not wonder that
officers of the Army will still cherish unfriendly feelings towards
the clerks at the War Office.[212]

Now comes the more distressing examinations of the officers'
methods of indemnifying themselves. For this purpose let us study
the pay of a private centinel, as he was called, of the infantry
of the Line. This consisted, as it had been in Queen Mary's time,
and was still to be in King George the Third's, of eightpence a
day, or £12 : 13 : 4 a year. Of this, sixpence a day, or £9 : 2
: 6 a year, was set apart for his subsistence, and was nominally
inviolable. The balance, £3 : 0 : 10 a year, was called the "gross
off-reckonings," which were subject of course to a deduction of
five per cent, or 12s. 2d., for the paymaster-general, and of one
day's pay to Chelsea Hospital, whereby the gross off-reckonings
were reduced to £2 : 8s. This last amount, dignified by the title
of "net off-reckonings," was made over to the colonel for the
clothing of the regiment, an item which included not only the
actual garments, but also the sword and belt, and as time went on
the bayonet and cartridge box. The system, as will be remembered,
dated from the days of Queen Elizabeth, when half a crown a week
was allowed to the men for subsistence and a total of £4 : 2 : 6
deducted for two suits a year. It is sufficiently plain that the
sum now allowed for clothing was insufficient, and that a colonel
who did his duty by his men must inevitably be a loser. Moreover,
this was not his only expense. The clerical work entailed by his
duties demanded assistance, for which he was indeed authorised
to keep a clerk, but supplied with no allowance wherewith to pay
him. This clerk presently became known as the colonel's agent, and
though a civilian and the colonel's private servant, virtually
performed the duties of a regimental paymaster.

The results of such an arrangement may easily be guessed. It
was not in consonance with military tradition, certainly not in
accordance with human nature, that colonels should lose money by
their commands, and it is only too certain that they did not. The
contractor was called in, and the door was opened wide to robbery
at the expense of the soldier. Colonels took commissions or even
open bribes from the contractors; the agent took his fee likewise;
and in at least one recorded case a colonel actually accepted a
bribe from his own agent to give him the contract. It may easily
be imagined how the soldiers fared for clothing. But the mischief
did not end here. The subsistence-money, though in theory subject
to no deduction, was practically at the mercy of the colonel and
his agent, who, under various pretexts, appropriated a greater or
smaller share of the poor soldier's sixpence. As an additional
source of profit, it was not uncommon for colonels to abstain from
reporting the vacancy caused by an officer's death, to continue to
draw the dead man's pay and to put it into his own pocket.

Captains of companies, with such an example before them, were not
slow to imitate it; and from them too the unfortunate soldiers
suffered not a little. But their easiest road to plunder was the
old beaten track of false musters, which was rendered all the
easier by the corruption of the commissaries. Any vacancy in the
ranks after one muster was left unfilled until the day before
the next muster, and the captain drew pay for an imaginary man
during the interval. Or again, the _passe-volant_, old as the days
of Hawkwood, made his reappearance at musters and was passed,
with or without the collusion of the commissaries, as a genuine
soldier. Finally, Charles himself gave countenance after a manner
to this fraud by reviving the practice of allowing officers so
many imaginary men or permanent vacancies in each troop or company
in order to increase their emoluments. And so the _passe-volant_
became naturalised first as a "faggot," and later as a "warrant
man" in the infantry and a "hautbois" in the cavalry, and survived
to a period well within the memory of living men.[213] The
remoter a regiment's quarters from home the grosser were the
abuses that prevailed in it, and in Ireland they seem to have
passed all bounds. Captains calmly appropriated the entire pay of
their companies, and turned the men loose to live by the plunder
of the inhabitants. It was a reversion to the evils rampant in
Queen Elizabeth's army in the Netherlands, and, in justice to the
officers, it must be added that those evils were brought about
in both cases by the same cause. Officers were simply forced
into dishonesty by the withholding of their own pay by civilian
officials in London.

It must not be thought that these scandals passed unnoticed at
headquarters. As early as 1663 orders were issued to put a stop
to fraudulent musters, and two years later the salaries of the
officers of the Ordnance were increased almost threefold to check
the sale of places and to diminish the temptation to accept bribes.
Similar orders were respectively promulgated from time to time,
but with little or no effect; possibly they were issued mainly
as a matter of form, to stop the mouth of criticism. The root of
the evil is to be traced to the civilian paymaster-general, who
from the peculiarity of his position was accountable to no one,
and enjoyed total irresponsibility for full forty years. The King
no doubt flattered himself that the men were regularly paid;
the abuses took some time to attain to their height, and in the
short reign of James the Second it is probable that his attention
to military business did somewhat to improve matters. But while
Charles was on the throne the paymaster-general did as he pleased.
Though wages were nominally paid after each muster, they were often
withheld for months, and even for years. Finally, when payment
was at last made, it was discharged not in cash but in tallies
or debentures which could only be sold at a discount; while the
colonels' agents seized the opportunity to deduct a percentage in
consideration of the trouble to which they had been subjected to
obtain any payment whatever.

So the old foundations of fraud were renovated, and on them was
built during the next century and a half a gigantic superstructure
of rascality and corruption which is not yet wholly demolished. Let
it not be thought that in the seventeenth century such malpractices
were either new or confined to England. They were, as I have
often repeated, as old almost as the art of war, and they were
rampant all over Europe. The excuse of English officers for their
dishonesty was always, "It is so in France," and in France, as the
history of the French Revolution shows, the old evils endured and
throve for another full century. But the sin and shame of England
is, that though she had once put away the accursed thing from her,
she returned to it again as the sow to her wallowing in the mire.
In 1659 English soldiers were proud of their name and calling; in
1666 it had already become a scandal to be a Life Guardsman.[214]
Recruits had been found without difficulty under the Commonwealth
to make the military profession, as was the rule in those days, the
business of their whole life; but after a very few years of the
Stuarts the King was compelled to resort to the press-gang. The
status of the soldier was lowered, and has never recovered itself
to this day.

I turn from this melancholy tale of retrogression to contemplate
the changes made in other departments of the service. Herein it
will be most convenient to begin with the regimental organisation
and equipment. First, then, let us glance at the cavalry, which at
the Restoration appears definitely to have taken precedence as the
senior service. The reader will remember that in the New Model the
fixed strength of a regiment was six troops of one hundred men,
which was reduced in time of peace to an establishment of sixty
men. Setting aside the Life Guards, which were independent troops
of two hundred gentlemen apiece, the regiment which first occupies
our attention is the Blues, which began life with eight troops,
each of sixty men. So far there was practically no change, but in
1680 the strength of the Blues was diminished to fifty men in a
troop; and in 1687 the newly raised regiments were established
at an initial strength of six or seven troops of forty men only.
Finally, as shall presently be seen in the campaigns that lie
before us in Flanders, the establishment of a troop for war sinks
to fifty men, and the establishment for peace to thirty-six.
Here, therefore, is Cromwell's excellent system overthrown. The
troop of cavalry is so far weakened as to be not worth assorting
into three divisions, one to each of the three officers, and the
seeds of enforced idleness are sown, to bear fruit an hundredfold.
Hardly less significant is the appointment, in 1661, of regimental
adjutants to help the majors in the duties which they had hitherto
discharged without assistance.

The equipment of the Horse was likewise altered. The trooper
retained the iron head-piece[215] and cuirass, the pistols and the
sword of the New Model, but he was now further supplied with a
carbine, which was slung at his back, and with a cartridge box for
his ammunition. The new equipment was served out to the household
troops in 1663, and to other regiments of Horse in 1677. It marks a
new birth of the futile practice of firing from the saddle, which
has wasted untold ammunition with infinitesimal results. As regards
horses it was still the rule, which had been little modified during
the Civil War, that the trooper should bring with him his own
horse; if he had none the King supplied him with one, at an average
price, and the money was stopped, if necessary, from the trooper's

The drill still bore marks of Cromwell's influence, for the men
were drawn up in three ranks only; and though the attack was opened
by the discharge of carbines and pistols, yet it was distinctly
laid down that when the fire-arms were empty, there must be
no thought of reloading, but immediate resort to the sword.
Moreover, although the front was still increased or diminished by
the doubling of ranks or files, there were already signs of the
manœuvre by small divisions that was to displace it.

Passing next to the dragoons, the reader will have noticed that
this arm was not represented in the original Army formed by Charles
the Second. Notwithstanding the high reputation which dragoons
had enjoyed during the Civil War, it was not until 1672 that a
regiment of them was raised, and then only to be disbanded after
a brief existence of two years. The Tangier Horse, now called the
First Royal Dragoons, was converted into a regiment of dragoons
on its return from foreign service in 1684; and four years later
there was added to the establishment a Scotch regiment which bears
a famous name. It was made up in 1681 of three independent troops
that had been raised three years before, and was completed by three
additional troops, under the name of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons
of Scotland. It now ranks as the Second regiment of the Cavalry of
the Line, and is known to all the world as the Scots Greys.

Dragoons still preserved their original character of mounted
infantry. Twelve men of each troop besides the non-commissioned
officers were armed with the halberd and a pair of pistols, while
the remainder were equipped with matchlock muskets, bandoliers,
and, after 1672, with bayonets. In 1687 this equipment was improved
by the substitution of flintlocks for matchlocks, of cartridge
boxes for bandoliers, and of buckets, in addition to the old
slings, for the carriage of muskets. The tactical unit of the
dragoons was still called the company, though at the close of the
Civil War often denominated the troop; but the tendency of dragoons
to assimilate themselves to horse is seen in the substitution
of cornet for ensign as the title of the junior subaltern. This
tendency was perhaps the stranger, since the companies of dragoons,
eighty men strong, must have presented a favourable contrast to the
weak and attenuated troops of horse.

A new description of mounted soldier appeared in 1683,[216] in the
shape of the Horse-grenadier. I shall have more to say presently
of grenadiers, when treating of the infantry, so it is sufficient
to state here that Horse-grenadiers were practically only mounted
men of that particular arm, who as a rule linked their horses for
action and fought on foot like the dragoons. There were in all
three troops of Horse-grenadiers, which were attached to the three
troops of Life Guards. Their peculiarity was that the two junior
officers of each troop were both lieutenants, instead of lieutenant
and cornet.

The infantry, like the cavalry, suffered an alteration in the
regimental establishments after the Restoration. The old strength
of one hundred and twenty to a company was reduced to one hundred,
and in time of peace sank to eighty, sixty, and even fifty men.
The number of companies to a battalion was also altered. The First
Guards began life with twelve companies; and though for a time the
Coldstreamers and newly raised regiments retained the original
number of ten, yet twelve gradually became the usual, and after
the accession of James the Second, the accepted, strength of a
battalion. It must be noted that after 1672 a battalion and a
regiment of foot cease to be synonymous terms, the First Guards
being in that year increased to twenty-four companies and two
battalions, a precedent which was soon extended to sundry other

On the accession of James there was added to the twelve companies
of every regiment an additional company of grenadiers. These
were established first in 1678, and took their name from the
grenade,[217] the new weapon with which they were armed. The
hand grenade was simply a small shell of from one to two inches
in diameter, kindled by a fuse and thrown by the hand. Hence
it was entrusted to the tallest and finest men in the regiment,
who might reasonably be expected to throw it farthest. The white
plume, supposed to be symbolic of the white smoke of the fuse,
was not apparently used at first as the distinctive mark of
grenadiers. They, and the fusiliers likewise, wore caps instead
of broad-brimmed hats, to enable them to sling their firelocks
over both shoulders with ease. These caps, which were at first
of fur, were soon made of cloth, and assumed the shape of the
mitre which Hogarth has handed down to us. Another peculiarity
of grenadiers was that they were always armed with firelocks and
with hatchets,[218] and that both of their subaltern officers were

Another new branch of the infantry was the regiment of Fusiliers,
so called from the fusil or flintlock, as opposed to the matchlock,
with which they were armed. They were, in fact, simply an expansion
of the companies of firelocks which formed part of the New Model
in the department of the Train; they were borne for duty with the
artillery specially, and therefore included one company of miners.
Miner-companies were armed with long carbines and hammer-hatchets
peculiar to themselves, and they had but one subaltern officer, a
lieutenant. Like the grenadiers, the fusiliers did not recognise
the rank of ensign, and their junior subalterns were therefore
called second lieutenants.[219]

It is somewhat remarkable that so much should have been made of
a weapon so familiar as the firelock. Men who, like Gustavus
Adolphus, saw that the whole future of warfare turned on the fire
of musketry, had long accepted its superiority to the matchlock;
and George Monk, on marching into London in 1660, had at once
ordered the Coldstreamers to return their matchlocks into store
and to draw firelocks in their stead. Nor was this preference
confined solely to military reformers, for we find the Assemblies
of Barbados and Jamaica, remote islands in which old fashions might
have been expected to die their hardest, uncompromisingly rejecting
the matchlocks prescribed for them by the English Government
and insisting on arming themselves with "fusees."[220] At home,
however, jobbery and corruption were doubtless at work, for the
Coldstream Guards reverted to the matchlock in 1665. Finally, after
many compromises, the Guards were in 1683 armed exclusively with
firelocks, while the other regiments carried a fixed proportion,
probably not less than one-half, of the superior weapon among their

Correspondingly we find throughout these reigns a steady diminution
in the use of the pike. In companies of grenadiers and regiments
of fusiliers they were utterly abolished; in other corps the
proportion, which had once been one-half, had already sunk at the
Restoration to one-third, whence it speedily declined to one-fourth
and one-fifth.[221] We find them, however, still in use during the
wars of William the Third, and we shall see that they did not want
advocates even at the close of the Seven Years' War, to say nothing
of the part that they played in the French Revolution.[222] As a
weapon for officers it survived for many generations under the form
of the half-pike or spontoon,[223] even as the halberd prolonged
its life as the peculiar weapon of sergeants. To the officers also
was assigned by a singular coincidence the preservation of the
memory of the armour which had once been worn by all pikemen; and
the gorget survived as a badge of rank on their breasts long after
corslet and tassets had vanished from the world.[224]

None the less the pike had received its death-blow through the
invention of the bayonet. This new and revolutionary weapon had
been invented in 1640, when it consisted of a double-edged blade,
like a pike-head, mounted on two or three inches of wooden haft,
which could be thrust into the barrel of the musket. In this form
the bayonet was issued first to the Tangier regiment[225] alone in
1663, and to all the infantry and dragoons in 1673, but only to
be withdrawn, until in 1686 it was finally reissued to the Foot
Guards. It was not until after the Revolution that bayonets were
served out to the whole of the infantry.

In the matter of drill there was little or no change. The front
was still increased or diminished by the doubling of ranks and of
files, and the file still consisted of six men. The reduction of
the numbers of pikemen, however, greatly increased the homogeneity
of the infantry and contributed not a little to simplify its
movements. Moreover, although the file might consist of six men,
it is not likely, considering how far the musket and bayonet had
superseded the pike, that the formation for action was greater than
three ranks in depth. The platoon is not mentioned in the drill
books, the probable reason being that it was not favoured by the
French School, in which Charles and James had both of them received
their training. But for this, there is every reason to suppose
that the army encamped on Hounslow Heath would not have been found
behind the times in the matter of exercise and equipment if it
could have been transported without change to the field of Blenheim.

Of the artillery there is still little to be said. Until 1682
gunners seem to have enjoyed their original distribution into
small, independent bodies, in charge of the various scattered
garrisons. Even such small organisation as appeared in the New
Model seems to have been lost, and field-guns appear to have been
told off to battalions of infantry, or to have been worked by
such of the escort of fusiliers as had been trained by the few
expert gunners. The artilleryman had long looked upon himself
as a superior mortal,[226] but in 1682 he was brought under the
Ordnance, subjected to military discipline, and regularly exercised
at his duty. The time was not far distant when the organisation of
the gunners was to be improved. Of engineers I can say no more than
the few details already given when describing the Ordnance Office
and the fusiliers.

A word remains to be said of the foundation of Chelsea Hospital.
It has been told that Queen Mary was the first of our sovereigns
who showed any care for old soldiers, and that Elizabeth was
intolerably impatient of such miserable creatures. Two generations,
however, had bred a softer heart in English sovereigns, and when
Charles the Second had been twenty years on the throne, and England
was again thronged with maimed and infirm soldiers who had served
their time in Tangier, in the West Indies, or in the Low Countries,
it was felt to be a reproach that faithful fighting-men should
be left to starve or to beg their bread. Kilmainham Hospital in
Dublin was the first-fruit of this sentiment, and was founded in
1680; Chelsea followed it in the succeeding year. Sir Stephen Fox,
the paymaster-general, was the man who was foremost in the work,
and it is to his credit that, having made so much money out of the
private soldier, he should have chosen this method of repaying
him. The scheme of the hospital was submitted to the King, who was
asked to grant a piece of land for a building. Charles, always
gracious, readily complied, and offered the site of St. James's
College, Chelsea. "But odso!" he added, "I now recollect that I
have already given that land to Mistress Nell here." Whereupon, so
runs the story, whether true or untrue, Nell gracefully forewent
her grant for so good a purpose; and Chelsea Hospital is the
British soldier's to this day. It is painful to have to add that
the officials of the pay-office seem to have begun at once to steal
part of the money contributed by the Army to its maintenance,
though the fact will astonish no reader who has followed me through
this chapter. But the friends of the Army have always been few, and
the best of them in former times, strange conjunction, were a queen
and a harlot. Had they endowed a fund for supplying African negroes
with Bibles, or even with mass-books, much would be forgiven them
in England; but they thought more of saving old soldiers from
want, so Mary Tudor is still Bloody Mary, and Eleanor Gwyn the
unspeakable Nell.

  AUTHORITIES.--The reader will find the fullest of references
  for the details in this chapter in Clifford Walton's _History
  of the British Standing Army_, with an index which will
  enable him to trace them without difficulty. Having myself
  perused the War Office books and papers in the Record Office,
  and the Calendars of the Domestic and Treasury State Papers
  independently, I can answer for the care and accuracy of the
  author in the preparation of this vast store of information, and
  gladly acknowledge my debt to it. The defect of the work is, of
  course, that it begins abruptly at the year 1660. Mr. Dalton's
  _Army Lists and Commission Registers_ are also of great value,
  and claim the gratitude of all workers in the field of English
  military history. Sir Sibbald Scott's _British Army_ is worth
  consulting occasionally for a few details, but is superseded by
  Hewitt's _Ancient Armour_ on one side, and by Colonel Clifford
  Walton on the other. Mackinnon's _Coldstream Guards_ contains a
  very valuable appendix of ancient documents. Sir F. Hamilton's
  _History of the Grenadier Guards_ should be used only with
  extreme caution. The drill and exercise of the period may be
  studied in Venn's _Military Observations_, 1672.



Seldom has a man been confronted with such difficulties as those
that beset William of Orange when the Revolution was fairly
accomplished. So long as his success was still uncertain he stood
in his favourite position of a military commander doing his worst
against the power of France, while to the English nation he was a
champion and a deliverer. Once seated on the throne he found that
he had to do with a disorganised administration and a demoralised
people. Forty years of revolution, interrupted by twenty-five of
corrupt government, had done their work; and chaos reigned alike
in the minds of private men and in all departments of the public
service. Finally, as if this were not sufficient, there was a war
in Ireland, a war in Flanders, and the practical certainty of an
insurrection in Scotland.

His first trouble came quickly enough. Amid the general rejoicing
over the overthrow of King James the English Army stood apart,
surly and silent. The regiments felt that they had been fooled.
They had been concentrated to resist foreign invasion, but had been
withdrawn without any attempt to strike a blow. During his advance,
and after his arrival in London, William had detailed the British
regiments in the Dutch service for all duties which, if entrusted
to foreigners, might have offended national sentiment; but his
prudence could not reconcile the Army. The troops felt their
disgrace keenly, and the burden of their dishonour was aggravated
by the taunts of the foreigners. Moreover, the discipline of the
Dutch had been so admirable that English folk had not failed to
draw invidious comparisons between the well-conducted strangers
and their own red-coats. Needless to say, they never reflected
that Parliament, by withholding powers to enforce discipline, was
chiefly responsible for the delinquencies of the English soldier.
Discontent spread fast among the troops, and before the new king
had been proclaimed a month, found vent in open mutiny.

[Sidenote: 1689.]

On the news of William's expedition to England, France had
declared war against the States-General; and England, pursuant to
obligations of treaty, was called upon to furnish her contingent
of troops for their defence. On the 8th of March accordingly
Lieutenant-General Lord Marlborough was ordered to ship four
battalions of Guards and six of the Line[227] for Holland. Among
these battalions was the Royal Scots, to which regiment William,
doubtless with the best intentions, had lately appointed the Duke
of Schomberg to be colonel. Schomberg was by repute one of the
first soldiers in Europe. He had held a marshal's bâton in France
and had sacrificed it to the cause of the Protestant religion. He
had even fought by the side of the Royal Scots in more than one
great action. But he was not a Scotsman, and the Scots had known no
colonel yet but a Mackay, a Hepburn, or a Douglas. Moreover, the
Parliament at Westminster, though not a Scottish Assembly, had,
without consulting the regiment, coolly transferred its allegiance
from James Stuart to William of Nassau.

With much grumbling the Scots marched as far as Ipswich on their
way to their port of embarkation, and then, at a signal from some
Jacobite officers, they broke into mutiny, seized four cannon, and,
turning northward, advanced by forced marches towards Scotland.
The alarm in London was great. "If you let this evil spread," said
Colonel Birch, an old officer of Cromwell's day, "you will have an
army upon you in a few days." William at once detached Ginkell, one
of his best officers, with a large force in pursuit; the mutineers
were overtaken near Sleaford, and, finding resistance hopeless,
laid down their arms. William, selecting a few of the ringleaders
only for punishment, ordered the rest of the regiment to return
to its duty, and the Royal Scots sailed quietly away to the Maas.
There the men deserted by scores, and even by hundreds,[228]
but recruits were found, as good as they, to uphold the ancient
reputation of the regiment.

Meanwhile good came out of evil, for the mutiny frightened the
House of Commons not only into paying the expenses of William's
expedition, but into passing the first Mutiny Act. It is true that
the Act was passed for six months only, and that it provided for no
more than the punishment of mutiny and desertion; but it recognised
at least that military crime cannot be adequately checked by civil
law, and it gave the Army more or less of a statutory right to
exist. But readers should be warned once for all against the common
fallacy that the existence of the Army ever depended on the passing
of the annual Mutiny Act. The statute simply empowered the King to
deal with certain military crimes for which the civil law made no
provision. It made a great parade of the statement that the raising
or keeping of a standing army in time of peace is against law, but
the standing army was in existence for nearly thirty years before
the Mutiny Act was passed, and continued to exist, as will be seen,
for two short but distinct periods between 1689 and 1701 without
the help of any Mutiny Act whatever. If, therefore, the keeping of
a standing army in time of peace be against the law, it can only be
said that during those periods Parliament deliberately voted money
for the violation of the law, as indeed it is always prepared to do
when convenient to itself. The Mutiny Act was not a protection to
liberty; Parliament for the present reserved for itself no check
on the military code that might be framed by the King; and the Act
was therefore rather a powerful weapon placed in the hands of the
sovereign. Nevertheless, the passing of the Mutiny Act remains
always an incident of the first importance in the history of the
Army, and the story of its origin is typical of the attitude of
Parliament towards that long-suffering body. Every concession, nay,
every commonest requirement, must be wrung from it by the pressure
of fear.

It might have been thought that the news which came from Ireland a
few days before the mutiny would have stirred the House of Commons
to take some such measure in hand. Tyrconnel had already called
the Irish to arms for King James, and on the 14th of March James
himself, having obtained aid from the French king, had landed at
Cork with some hundreds of officers to organise the Irish levies.
The regular troops in the Irish establishment, already manipulated
by Tyrconnel before the Revolution, were ready to join him. Some
regiments went over to him entire; others split themselves up into
Catholics and Protestants, and ranged themselves on opposite sides.
It was evident that no less a task than the reconquest of Ireland
lay before the English Government; and considering that several
regiments had already been detached to Flanders, it was equally
evident that the Army must be increased. Estimates were therefore
prepared of the cost of six regiments of horse, two of dragoons,
and twenty-five of foot, sixteen of which last were to be newly
raised, for the coming campaign.

Of the new regiments a few lay ready to William's hand. The first
was Lord Forbes's regiment, one of the many Irish corps brought
over to England by King James in 1688, and the only one which,
being made up entirely of Protestants, was not disbanded by William
at his accession. It is still with us as the Eighteenth Royal
Irish. The next three were corps which had been raised for the
support of the Protestant cause at the Revolution. The first of
them was a regiment of horse raised by the Earl of Devonshire among
his tenantry in Derbyshire, which, long known by the name of the
Black Horse, now bears the title of the Seventh Dragoon Guards. The
second was a regiment of foot that had been formed at Exeter to
join the Prince of Orange on his march from Torbay, and is still
known as the Twentieth East Devon; and the third also remains
with us as the Nineteenth of the Line. Three more regiments date
their birth from March 1689--one raised by the Duke of Norfolk,
one enlisted in the Welsh Marches, and a third which was recruited
in Ireland but almost immediately brought over to England. These
are now the Twenty-second, Twenty-third, and Twenty-fourth of the
Line. Six more regiments of infantry which were raised in the same
year, but disbanded at the close of the war, were Drogheda's,
Lisburn's, Kingston's, Ingoldsby's, Roscommon's, and Bolton's. Of
these, curiously enough, no fewer than three were dressed in blue
instead of scarlet coats, possibly in flattering imitation of King
William's famous Blue Guards. Thus, with ten thousand men to be
enlisted, drilled, trained, and equipped, there was no lack of work
for the recruiting officer, or for the Office of Ordnance, in the
spring of

[Sidenote: May 10.]

It was not long before William and Schomberg made the discovery
that the old regiments would require as much watching as the new.
There were significant symptoms of rottenness in the whole military
system; and discontented spirits were already spreading false and
calumnious reports as to the treatment of the English regiments in
Flanders, with the evident design of kindling a mutiny. Moreover,
there were loud complaints from citizens of oppression by the
soldiery, from soldiers of the fraudulent withholding of their pay,
and from every honest officer, not, alas! a very numerous body,
of false musters, embezzlement, fraud, and every description of
abuse. The King lost no time in appointing nine commissioners,
with Schomberg at their head, to make the tour of the quarters
in England, to inquire into the true state of the case, and if
possible to restore order and discipline.[229]


  August --.

Still more disquieting news came from the Prince of Waldeck, who
commanded the confederate army in Flanders. The English regiments
were far below the strength assigned to them on paper, their
officers were ill-paid, and many of them, even the colonels,
ill-conducted; the men were sickly, listless,[230] undisciplined,
and disorderly; their shoes were bad, their clothing miserable,
their very arms defective. William, whose eyes always rested by
preference on the eastern side of the German Ocean, lost no time
in sending his best officer to Flanders; but even the Earl of
Marlborough had much ado to reduce these unruly elements to order.
Nevertheless he persevered; and in the one serious action wherein
the British were engaged during the campaign, that against Marshal
d'Humières at Walcourt, Marlborough opened the eyes of Waldeck
to the qualities of his men and to his own capacity. This was
Marlborough's first brush with a Marshal of France; and it would
seem that it was never forgotten by William. With this we may
dismiss the campaign in Flanders for 1689.

Meanwhile another soldier of remarkable talent, and an old comrade
of William, had rushed into rebellion in Scotland. The dragoons
with which Dundee had harried the Covenanters and earned the name
of "Bloody Claver'se" were still ready to his hand, and to these,
by fanning the undying flame of tribal feud, he presently added an
array of Highland clans. The flight of Dundee from Edinburgh on his
errand of insurrection warned the city to take speedy measures for
its defence. Lord Leven caused the drums to beat, and within two
hours, it is said, had raised eight hundred men; but the work of
these two hours has lasted for two centuries, for the regiment thus
hastily enlisted is still alive as the Twenty-fifth of the Line.
Shortly after, William sent up three Scotch regiments of the Dutch
service under a veteran officer, Mackay; and the Highland war began
in earnest. Skilful, however, as Mackay might be on the familiar
battle-grounds of Flanders, he was helpless in the Highlands, where
one week with George Monk would have helped him more than all the
campaigns of Turenne. He crawled over the country conscientiously
enough in pursuit of an enemy that he could never overtake, without
further result than to exhaust the strength of both horses and men.
It was not until one stage of a desultory campaign had been ended
and a new one begun, that he at last met his enemy at Killiecrankie.

[Sidenote: July 27.]

There is no need for me to repeat the story told once for all by
Lord Macaulay, of that romantic action; but it is worth while to
glance at some few of its peculiarities. Mackay's force consisted
of five battalions--the three Scottish regiments already mentioned,
Hastings', now the Thirteenth Light Infantry, and the newly raised
Twenty-fifth, together with two troops of horse. Of these the
Scottish battalions, trained in the Dutch School by competent
officers, should unquestionably have been the most efficient; yet
all three of them broke before the charge of the Highlanders,
threw down their arms, and would not be rallied. The two troops of
horse took to their heels and disappeared; the Twenty-fifth broke
like the other Scottish regiments, as was pardonable in such young
soldiers, though they made some effort to rally. The only regiment
that stood firm was the Thirteenth, which kept up a murderous fire
to the end, and retired with perfect coolness and good order.
Yet this was their first action, and Hastings, their colonel,
was one of the most unscrupulous scoundrels, even in those days
of universal robbery, that ever robbed a regiment.[231] Thus the
troops which should have done best did worst, and those that might
have been expected to do worst did best; and the moral would seem
to be that inexperienced troops are sometimes safer than troops
trained in civilised warfare for the rough-and-ready fighting of a
savage campaign.

A still more curious example of the same peculiarity was seen
before the close of the war. At the end of the first stage of
Mackay's campaign it was found necessary to raise fresh troops;
and it was hoped that the Covenanters of Western Scotland, who
of all men had most reason to detest bloody Claverhouse, might
be willing to furnish recruits. But the Covenanters had scruples
about joining the army of King William, wherein they might be set
shoulder to shoulder with the immoral and, even worse, with the
unorthodox. Even Mackay, a man of extreme piety,[232] was suspected
by them. They held a tumultuous meeting, wherein the majority,
little knowing probably how terribly true their words then were
of the British Army, declared that military service was a sinful
association. Nevertheless there was still a minority from which the
Earl of Angus formed a body of infantry, twelve hundred strong,
which, though now numbered Twenty-sixth of the Line, is still
best known by its first name of the Cameronians. Their ideas of
military organisation were peculiar. They desired that each company
should furnish an elder, who with the chaplain should constitute a
court for the suppression of immorality and heresy; and though the
elders were never appointed, and the officers bore the usual titles
of captain, lieutenant, and ensign, yet the chaplain, a noted
hill-preacher, supplied in his own person fanaticism for all. So in
spite of the ravings of the majority a true Puritan regiment once
more donned the red coat, under the youngest colonel--for Angus was
no more than eighteen--that had led such men since Henry Cromwell.

[Sidenote: August 21.]

Within four months they were engaged against four times their
number of Highlanders at Dunkeld. They were still imperfectly
disciplined, still somewhat of a congregation that preferred
elders to officers. They would not be satisfied that their mounted
officers would not gallop away, until the lieutenant-colonel and
major offered to shoot their horses before their eyes. Then they
braced themselves, and fought such a fight as has seldom fallen
to the lot of a regiment of recruits. The battle was fought amid
the roar of a burning town. Angus was not present--short though
his time was to be, it was not yet come--and his place was taken
by Lieutenant-Colonel Cleland. The action was hardly opened before
Cleland fell dead. The major stepped forward to his place, and a
minute after was pierced by three mortal wounds. The men too fell
fast; the musketry crackled round them, and the flames roared
behind them; but still they fought on. Ammunition failed them at
last; everything conspired to make the trial too hard for a young
regiment to endure; but nothing could break the spirit of these
men. At last, after four long hours, the Highlanders rolled back in
disorder. The Cameronians had won their first battle and ended the
Highland war.

But that war brought something more to the British Army even
than two famous Scottish regiments. For Mackay had noticed
that at Killiecrankie his Scotsmen had not had time to fix the
clumsy plug-bayonets into the muzzles of their muskets, and had
consequently been unable to meet the Highland charge. He therefore
ordered bayonets to be made so that they could be screwed on to the
outside of the barrel, thus enabling the men to fire with bayonets
fixed. So finally was accomplished the blending of pike and musket
into a single weapon, a great era in the history of the art of

But while recruiting officers were beating their drums through the
market towns of England, and Mackay was toiling in pursuit of the
Highlanders, Protestant Ireland was standing desperately at bay
against King James at Londonderry and Enniskillen. There is no need
for me to recall the triumph of the unconquerable defenders of
Derry; and it would be pleasanter, were it possible, to pass over
the somewhat discreditable behaviour of the Army in relation to
their relief. Five days, indeed, before the city was invested two
English regiments, the Ninth and Seventeenth Foot, had arrived in
the bay, but had been persuaded by the treacherous governor, Lundy,
to return and to leave Derry to its fate. Colonels Cunningham and
Richards, who commanded these corps, were both of them superseded
on their arrival in England; but no further help came until on the
15th of June General Kirke sailed into Lough Foyle with the Second,
Ninth, and Eleventh Foot. Even then he would not stir for six whole
weeks, when he received positive orders from home to relieve the

[Sidenote: July 31.]

Meanwhile all operations of the Irish Protestants that were not
wholly defensive were directed from Enniskillen, which was filled
with refugees from Munster and Connaught. With extraordinary energy
these Protestants organised a body of horse and another of foot,
with which they kept up an incessant harassing warfare against
the insurgent Irish. On Kirke's arrival they applied to him for
reinforcements. These he refused to give; but he sent them arms and
he sent them officers, one of whom, Colonel Wolseley, equalled at
Newtown Butler Dundee's feat of Killiecrankie, of beating trained
soldiers with raw but enthusiastic levies. After this action the
force of the Enniskilleners was reorganised into two regiments
of dragoons and three of foot, which are represented among us to
this day by the Fifth Royal Irish Dragoons, now Lancers, the Sixth
Enniskillen Dragoons, and the Twenty-seventh Enniskillen regiment
of the infantry of Line.

The time was now come when the great English expedition for
the reconquest of Ireland should set sail. The untrained Irish
Protestant had played his part gallantly, and it was the turn
of the English soldier. For months great preparations had been
going forward; the new regiments had been raised; and on paper
at any rate there were not only horse, foot, and dragoons, but a
respectable train of artillery and of transport. Moreover, the
failure of Cunningham and Richards had led Parliament to inquire
into the conduct of that expedition; and it had been discovered
that the supply of transport-ships had been so insufficient that
the men had not had space even to lie down, while the biscuit
provided for them had been mouldy and uneatable, and the beer so
foul and putrid that they preferred to drink salt water. These
shortcomings had occurred in the dispatch of a couple of battalions
only; it remained to be seen how the military departments could
cope with the transport and maintenance of an entire army. The
total force to be employed in Ireland was close on nineteen
thousand men, of which about one-fourth was already on the spot.

[Sidenote: August 13.]

William had chosen Marshal Schomberg to command the expedition.
Though past fourscore, the veteran was still active and fit for
duty; and in reputation there was no better officer in Europe. On
the 13th of August he landed with his army at Bangor and detached
twelve regiments to besiege Carrickfergus. The garrison held out
for a week, and was then permitted to capitulate and to march
away to Newry. But that week was sufficient to open Schomberg's
eyes. The new regiments proved to be mobs of undisciplined
boys. Their officers were ignorant, negligent, and useless. The
arms served out from the Tower were so ill-made, and the men so
careless in the handling of them, that nearly every regiment
required to be re-armed. The officers of artillery were not only
ignorant and lazy, but even cowardly,[234] while their guns were
so defective that a week of easy work had sufficed to render most
of them unserviceable.[235] Senior officers were as deficient
as junior: there was not one qualified to command a brigade;
and the commissary, in spite of reports that he had made all
needful provision, had failed to supply sufficient stores. Lastly,
in spite of the warning given by the experience of Cunningham
and Richards, the transport across St. George's Channel was so
shamefully conducted that one regiment of horse, that now known
as the Queen's Bays, lost every charger and troop-horse in the
passage.[236] The result was that all was confusion, and that every
detail in every department required the personal supervision of the

Fortunately James's Irish were so far demoralised by previous
failures that his officer at Belfast thought it prudent to evacuate
that town. Schomberg therefore threw a garrison into it, and
marched with his whole force upon Newry. The Duke of Berwick, who
was guarding the road, fell back on his approach to Drogheda, where
James had collected twenty thousand men; and Schomberg, advancing
through a wasted and deserted country, halted, and entrenched
himself at Dundalk. James struggled forward to within a league of
him to try and tempt him to an action, but Schomberg was not to be
entrapped; and by the second week in September the campaign was

The fact was that a month's service in the field had completely
broken the English Army down. By the time when it reached Dundalk
it was on the brink of starvation. The Commissary-General, one
Shales, was a man of experience, for he had been purveyor to King
James's camp at Hounslow; and he had accumulated stores--bad
stores, it is true, but nevertheless stores--at the base, Belfast.
But he had made no provision for carrying any part of them with
the Army. He had bought up large numbers of horses in Cheshire,
but, instead of transporting them to Ireland, had let them out
to the farmers of the district for the harvest, and pocketed
their hire.[237] Again, the artillery could not be moved because
the Ordnance Department looked to Shales to provide horses,
while Shales declared the artillery to be no business of his.
Moreover, had the horses been on the spot, there was not a shoe
ready for their feet.[238] No measures had been taken, in spite of
Schomberg's representations, to victual the troops by sea, though
Cromwell had shown forty years before, in Scotland, how readily
the work could be done. But indeed the expedition would have been
better managed than it was by following the guidance of so old a
master as King Edward the Third.[239] Never was there a more signal
example of English ignorance, neglect, and sloth in respect of
military administration.

By the 18th of September victuals at Dundalk were at famine price,
and the men began to perish by scores and by hundreds. It was
hardly surprising, for they were not only unfed but unclothed;
there was not so much as a greatcoat in the whole of the English
infantry; the cavalry were without cloaks, boots, and belts, and
almost the entire force wanted shoes. Moreover, the English were
shiftless; when ordered to build themselves huts they could not
be at the pains to obey, even with the example of their Dutch
and Huguenot comrades before them. Sickness spread rapidly among
them, and there was no hospital; and had there been a hospital
there were no medicines. Finally, the behaviour of the officers
was utterly shameful. "The lions in Africa," wrote one who was
on the spot, "are not more barbarous than some of our officers
are to the sick."[240] "I never saw officers more wicked and more
interested," wrote Schomberg almost on the same day.[241] The
Commander-in-Chief did his best to interpose on behalf of the men,
but his hands were already overfull. The colonels were perhaps the
worst of all the officers; they understood pillage better than the
payment of their men, and filled their empty ranks with worthless
Irish recruits, simply because these were more easily cheated
than English.[242] It cost Schomberg a week's work to ensure that
the pay of the soldiers went into their own and not into their
captains' pockets.

Yet on the whole it was not the military officers that were
chiefly to blame. The constant complaint of Schomberg was that he
could get no money; and for this the Treasurer of the Army was
responsible. This functionary, William Harbord, a civilian and a
member of the House of Commons, appears to have been on the whole
the most shameless of all the officials in Ireland. By some jobbery
he had contrived to obtain an independent troop of cavalry, for
which he drew pay as though it were complete, though the troop
in reality consisted of himself, two clerks whom he put down as
officers, and a standard which he kept in his bedroom.[243] This
was the only corps which was regularly paid. The other regiments
he turned equally to his own advantage by sending home false
muster-rolls[244] in order to draw the pay of the vacancies; but
whenever the question of payment of the men was raised, he evaded
it and went to England, pleading the necessity of attending to
his duties in the House of Commons. It was Harbord again who was
responsible for the failure of the hospital. He admitted, indeed,
that if he had known as much about hospitals at the beginning as
at the end of the campaign, he might have saved two-thirds of the
men; but the truth was that he would never at any time supply a
penny for it.[245] By Christmas Schomberg began to relent towards
his officers, for he discovered that they were penniless, not
having received a farthing of pay for four months.[246] Meanwhile
civilians were growing fat. Shales was buying salt at ninepence
a pound and selling it at four shillings;[247] and junior
commissaries were acting as regimental agents and advancing money
to the unhappy officers at exorbitant interest.[248]

[Sidenote: Nov. 5.]

In such a state of affairs Schomberg, rightly or wrongly,
considered himself powerless. William ordered him from time to time
to advance on Dublin; and Harbord, with incredible impertinence,
urged him to march against the enemy.[249] Schomberg answered
William by a plain statement of his condition, and Harbord by a
surly and contemptuous growl. In truth his Dutch and Huguenot
regiments, which alone were well clad and well looked after by
their officers, were the only troops on which he could rely. The
English continued to die like flies. Schomberg wisely endeavoured
to distract their thoughts from their own misery by keeping them
at drill. He found that not one in four had the slightest idea
how to load or fire his musket, while the muskets themselves
fell to pieces in the handling. Pestilence increased, and with
it callousness and insubordination. The men used the corpses of
their comrades to stop the draughts under their tent-walls, and
robbed any man whose appearance promised hope of gain. Nor was this
indiscipline confined to Dundalk. The Enniskilleners, who have
generally been represented as superior to the English, were quite
as fond of plunder, and robbed William Harbord himself, despite
his protestations, in broad daylight.[250] Happily for Schomberg,
James's forces were in as ill condition as his own, so that he
was able to retire into winter quarters from Dundalk without
molestation. Of fourteen thousand men in the camp, upwards of six
thousand had perished.[251]

Gradually and painfully the winter wore away, but without
abatement in the mortality of the troops. Meanwhile the House
of Commons, awaking to the terrible state of things in Ireland,
addressed the King for the arrest of Shales. William replied
that he had already put him under arrest; and the name of Shales
was accordingly constantly before the House in the course of the
next few months, but without any result. He seems to have escaped
scot-free; and indeed there was no lack of men as corrupt as he in
the House of Commons and in all places of trust. William then took
the extraordinary step of asking the House to appoint seven members
to superintend the preparations for the next campaign; but this
it very wisely declined to do. It appointed a Committee, however,
to examine into the expenses of the war,[252] and finally passed
a Mutiny Act with new clauses against false musters and other
abuses--clauses which were as old as King Edward the Sixth, and for
all practical purposes as dead. It was not legislation that was
wanted, but enforcement of existing laws. William, however, appears
early to have abandoned in despair the hope of finding an honest
man in England.

[Sidenote: 1690.]

And now, with the experience of 1689 before them, the King and
Schomberg began to arrange their plans for the campaign of 1690.
In the matter of troops Schomberg was vehement against further
employment of regiments of miserable English and Irish boys;[253]
and it was therefore decided to transport twenty-seven thousand
seasoned men, seventeen thousand of them British and the remainder
Dutch and Danish, from England and Holland. Artillery and small
arms were imported from Holland, since the Office of Ordnance had
been found wanting; and as a daring experiment, which proved to be
a total failure, the King took the clothing of several regiments
out of their colonels' hands into his own.[254] Finally care was
taken for the proper organisation of the transport-service. The
plan of campaign in its broad lines was mapped out by a civilian,
Sir Robert Southwell,[255] the secretary for Ireland. The country,
he said, must be attacked simultaneously from north and south, for
while the ports of Munster were open France could always pour in
reinforcements and supplies. While, therefore, Schomberg advanced
from the north, a descent should be made on the south, and Cork
should be the objective. Finally, Southwell or some other sensible
man did what William should have done the year before, and drew out
a succinct account of the principles followed in Ireland with such
signal success by that forgotten General, Oliver Cromwell.[256]

I shall not dwell further on the Irish campaigns of 1690 and
1691. There is little of importance to the History of the Army to
be found in them; and the reader will more readily follow Lord
Macaulay than myself over this familiar ground. The battle of
the Boyne was won without great credit to William's skill, and
paid for rather dearly by the death of gallant old Schomberg. The
troops learned something of active service, and something, though
not nearly so much as they should have learnt, of discipline. The
lesson of Cromwell was not taken to heart; and the Protestant Irish
were allowed to set an example of plunder which was but too readily
followed by the English. Ginkell's final campaign of 1691 was more
successful, more brilliant, and more satisfactory in every respect,
inasmuch as the Irish fought with distinguished gallantry. For
the rest, the English showed at Aghrim and at Athlone their usual
desperate valour; succeeding, even when experienced commanders,
like St. Ruth, confessed with admiration that they had thought
their success impossible. But in the matter of skill the quiet and
unostentatious captures of Cork and Kinsale in 1690 were far the
most brilliant achievements of the war; and these were the work of
John, Earl of Marlborough.[257]


[Sidenote: 1690, October.]

I pass now to Flanders, which is about to become for the second
time the training ground of the British Army. The judicious help
sent by Lewis the Fourteenth to Ireland had practically diverted
the entire strength of William to that quarter for two whole
campaigns; and though, as has been seen, there were English in
Flanders in 1689 and 1690, the contingents which they furnished
were too small and the operations too trifling to warrant
description in detail. After the battle of the Boyne the case was
somewhat altered, for, though a large force was still required
in Ireland for Ginkell's final pacification of 1691, William was
none the less at liberty to take the field in Flanders in person.
Moreover, Parliament with great good-will had voted seventy
thousand men for the ensuing year, of which fully fifty thousand
were British,[258] so that England was about to put forth her
strength in Europe on a scale unknown since the loss of Calais.

But first a short space must be devoted to the theatre of war,
where England was to meet and break down the overweening power
of France. Few studies are more difficult, even to the professed
student, than that of the old campaigns in Flanders, and still
fewer more hopeless of simplification to the ordinary reader.
Nevertheless, however desperate the task, an effort must be made
once for all to give a broad idea of the scene of innumerable great

Taking his stand on the northern frontier of France and looking
northward, the reader will note three great rivers running through
the country before him in, roughly speaking, three parallel
semicircles, from south-east to north-west. These are, from east to
west, the Moselle, which is merged in the Rhine at Coblentz, the
Meuse, and the Scheldt, all three of which discharge themselves
into the great delta whereof the southern key is Antwerp. But for
the present let the reader narrow the field from the Meuse in the
east to the sea in the west, and let him devote his attention first
to the Meuse. He will see that, a little to the north of the French
frontier, it picks up a large tributary from the south-west, the
Sambre, which runs past Maubeuge and Charleroi and joins the Meuse
at Namur. Thence the united rivers flow on past the fortified towns
of Huy, Liège, and Maestricht to the sea. But let the reader's
northern boundary on the Meuse for the present be Maestricht, and
let him note another river which rises a little to the west of
Maestricht and runs almost due west past Arschot and Mechlin to the
sea at Antwerp. Let this river, the Demer, be his northern, and the
Meuse from Maestricht to Namur his eastern, boundary.

Returning to the south, let him note a river rising immediately
to the west of Charleroi, the Haine, which joins the Scheldt at
Tournay, and let him draw a line from Tournay westward through
Lille and Ypres to the sea at Dunkirk. Let this line from Dunkirk
to Charleroi be carried eastward to Namur; and there is his
southern boundary. His western boundary, is, of course, the sea.
Within this quadrilateral, Antwerp (or more strictly speaking the
mouth of the Scheldt), Dunkirk, Namur, and Maestricht, lies the
most famous fighting-ground of Europe.

Glancing at it on the map, the reader will see that this
quadrilateral is cut by a number of rivers running parallel to each
other from south to north, and flowing into the main streams of
the Demer and the Scheldt. The first of these, beginning from the
east, are the Great and Little Geete, which become one before they
join the main stream. It is worth while to pause for a moment over
this little slip of land between the Geete and the Meuse. We shall
see much of Namur, Huy, Liège, and Maestricht, which command the
navigation of the greater river, but we shall see still more of
the Geete, and of two smaller streams, the Jaar and the Mehaigne,
which rise almost in the same table-land with it. On the Lower
Jaar, close to Maestricht, stands the village of Lauffeld, which
shall be better known to us fifty years hence. On the Little Geete,
just above its junction with its greater namesake, are the villages
of Neerwinden and Landen. In the small space between the heads of
the Geete and the Mehaigne lies the village of Ramillies. For this
network of streams is the protection against an enemy that would
threaten the navigation of the Meuse from the north and west, and
the barrier of Spanish Flanders against invasion from the east; and
the ground is rich with the corpses and fat with the blood of men.

The next stream to westward is the Dyle, which flows past Louvain
to the Demer, and gives its name, after the junction, to that
river. The next in order is the Senne, which flows past Park and
Hal and Brussels to the same main stream. At the head of the Senne
stands the village of Steenkirk; midway between the Dyle and Senne
are the forest of Soignies and the field of Waterloo.

Here the tributaries of the Demer come to an end, but the row of
parallel streams is continued by the tributaries of another system,
that of the Scheldt. Easternmost of these, and next in order to
the Senne, is the Dender, which rises near Leuse and flows past
Ath and Alost to the Scheldt at Dendermond. Next comes the Scheldt
itself, with the Scarpe and the Haine, its tributaries, which it
carries past Tournay and Oudenarde to Ghent, and to the sea at
Antwerp. Westernmost of all, the Lys runs past St. Venant, where
in Cromwell's time we saw Sir Thomas Morgan and his immortal six
thousand, past Menin and Courtrai, and is merged in the Scheldt at

The whole extent of the quadrilateral is about one hundred miles
long by fifty broad, with a great waterway to the west, a second to
the east, and a third, whereof the key is Ghent, roughly speaking
midway between them. The earth, fruitful by nature and enriched by
art, bears food for man and beast, the waterways provide transport
for stores and ammunition. It was a country where men could kill
each other without being starved, and hence for centuries the
cockpit of Europe.

A glance at any old map of Flanders shows how thickly studded was
this country with walled towns of less or greater strength, and
explains why a war in Flanders should generally have been a war
of sieges. Every one of these little towns, of course, had its
garrison; and the manœuvres of contending forces were governed very
greatly by the effort on one side to release these garrisons for
active service in the field, and on the other to keep them confined
within their walls for as long as possible. Hence it is obvious
that an invading army necessarily enjoyed a great advantage,
since it menaced the fortresses of the enemy while its own were
unthreatened. Thus ten thousand men on the Upper Lys could paralyse
thrice their number in Ghent and Bruges and the adjacent towns. On
the other hand, if an invading general contemplated the siege of
an important town, he manœuvred to entice the garrison into the
field before he laid siege in form. Still, once set down to a great
siege, an army was stationary, and the bare fact was sufficient to
liberate hostile garrisons all over the country; and hence arose
the necessity of a second army to cover the besieging force. The
skill and subtlety manifested by great generals to compass these
different ends is unfortunately only to be apprehended by closer
study than can be expected of any but the military student.

A second cause contributed not a little to increase the taste for
a war of sieges, namely the example of France, then the first
military nation in Europe.[259] The Court of Versailles was
particularly fond of a siege, since it could attend the ceremony
in state and take nominal charge of the operations with much glory
and little discomfort or danger. The French passion for rule and
formula also found a happy outlet in the conduct of a siege,
for while there is no nation more brilliant or more original,
particularly in military affairs, there is also none that is more
conceited or pedantic. The craving for sieges among the French
was so great that the King took pains, by the grant of extra pay
and rations, to render this species of warfare popular with his

Again, it must be remembered that the object of a campaign in
those days was not necessarily to seek out an enemy and beat him.
There were two alternatives prescribed by the best authorities,
namely, to fight at an advantage or to subsist comfortably.[261]
Comfortable subsistence meant at its best subsistence at an
enemy's expense. A campaign wherein an army lived on the enemy's
country and destroyed all that it could not consume was eminently
successful, even though not a shot was fired. To force an enemy
to consume his own supplies was much, to compel him to supply his
opponent was more, to take up winter-quarters in his territory
was very much more. Thus to enter an enemy's borders and keep him
marching backwards and forwards for weeks without giving him a
chance of striking a blow, was in itself no small success, and
success of a kind which galled inferior generals, such as William
of Orange, to desperation and so to disaster. The tendency to these
negative campaigns was heightened once more by French example. The
French ministry of war interfered with its generals to an extent
that was always dangerous, and eventually proved calamitous.
Nominally the marshal commanding-in-chief in the field was
supreme; but the intendant or head of the administrative service,
though he received his orders from the marshal, was instructed by
the King to forward those orders at once by special messenger to
Louvois, and not to execute them without the royal authority. Great
commanders such as Luxemburg had the strength from time to time to
kick themselves free from this bondage, but the rest, embarrassed
by the surveillance of an inferior officer, preferred to live as
long as possible in an enemy's country without risking a general
action. It was left to Marlborough to advance triumphant in one
magnificent campaign from the Meuse to the sea.

Next, a glance must be thrown at the contending parties. The
defenders of the Spanish Netherlands, for they cannot be called
the assailants of France, were confederate allies from a number of
independent states--England, Holland, Spain, the Empire, sundry
states of Germany, and Denmark, all somewhat selfish, few very
efficient, and none, except the first, very punctual. From such
a heterogeneous collection swift, secret, and united action was
not to be expected. King William held the command-in-chief, and,
from his position as the soul of the alliance, was undoubtedly
the fittest for the post. But though he had carefully studied
the art of war, and though his phlegmatic temperament found its
only genuine pleasure in the excitement of the battlefield, he
was not a great general. He could form good plans, and up to a
certain point could execute them, but up to a certain point only.
It would seem that his physical weakness debarred him from steady
and sustained effort. He was strangely incapable of conducting a
campaign with equal ability throughout; he would manœuvre admirably
for weeks, and forfeit all the advantage that he had gained by the
carelessness of a single day. In a general action, of which he
was fonder than most commanders of his day, he never shone except
in virtue of conspicuous personal bravery. He lacked tactical
instinct, and above all he lacked patience; in a word, to use a
modern phrase, he was a very clever amateur.

France, on the other hand, possessed the finest and strongest
army in Europe,--well equipped, well trained, well organised, and
inured to work by countless campaigns. She had a single man in
supreme control of affairs, King Lewis the Fourteenth; a great
war-minister, Louvois; one really great general, Luxemburg; and
one with flashes of genius, Boufflers. Moreover she possessed a
line of posts in Spanish Flanders extending from Dunkirk to the
Meuse. On the Lys she had Aire and Menin; on the Scarpe, Douay; on
the Upper Scheldt, Cambray, Bouchain, Valenciennes, and Condé; on
the Sambre, Maubeuge; between Sambre and Meuse, Philippeville and
Marienburg; and on the Meuse, Dinant. Further, in the one space
where the frontier was not covered by a friendly river, between the
sea and the Scheldt, the French had constructed fortified lines
from the sea to Menin and from thence to the Scheldt at Espierre.
Thus with their frontier covered, with a place of arms on every
river, with secrecy and with unity of purpose, the French enjoyed
the approximate certainty of being able to take the field in every
campaign before the Allies could be collected to oppose them.

[Sidenote: 1691.]

The campaign of 1691 happily typifies the relative positions of the
combatants in almost every respect. The French concentrated ten
thousand men on the Lys. This was sufficient to paralyse all the
garrisons of the Allies on and about the river. They posted another
corps on the Moselle, which threatened the territory of Cleves. Now
Cleves was the property of the Elector of Brandenburg, and it was
not to be expected that he should allow his contingent of troops
to join King William at the general rendezvous at Brussels, and
suffer the French to play havoc among his possessions. Thus the
Prussian contingent likewise was paralysed. So while William was
still ordering his troops to concentrate at Brussels, Boufflers,
who had been making preparations all the winter, suddenly marched
up from Maubeuge and, before William was aware that he was in
motion, had besieged Mons. The fortress presently surrendered
after a feeble resistance, and the line of the Allies' frontier
between the Scheldt and Sambre was broken. William moved down from
Brussels across the Sambre in the hope of recovering the lost town,
outmanœuvred Luxemburg, who was opposed to him, and for three days
held the recapture of Mons in the hollow of his hand. He wasted
those three days in an aimless halt; Luxemburg recovered himself
by an extraordinary march; and William, finding that there was
no alternative before him but to retire to Brussels and remain
inactive, handed over the command to an incompetent officer and
returned to England. Luxemburg then closed the campaign by a
brilliant action of cavalry, which scattered the horse of the
Allies to the four winds. As no British troops except the Life
Guards were present, and as they at any rate did not disgrace
themselves, it is unnecessary to say more of the combat of Leuse.
It, had however, one remarkable effect: it increased William's
dread of the French cavalry, already morbidly strong, to such a
pitch as to lead him subsequently to a disastrous military blunder.

The campaign of 1691 was therefore decidedly unfavourable to the
Allies, but there was ground for hope that all might be set right
in 1692. The Treasurer, Godolphin, was nervously apprehensive that
Parliament might be unwilling to vote money for an English army in
Flanders; but the Commons cheerfully voted a total of sixty-six
thousand men, British and foreign; which, after deduction of
garrisons for the safety of the British Isles, left forty thousand
free to cross the German Ocean.

[Sidenote: 1692.]

Of these, twenty-three thousand were British, the most important
force that England had sent to the Continent since the days of
King Henry the Eighth. The organisation was remarkably like that
of the New Model. William was, of course, commander-in-chief, and
under him a general of horse and a general of foot, with a due
allowance of lieutenant-generals, major-generals, and brigadiers.
There is, however, no sign of an officer in command of artillery or
engineers, nor any of a commissary in charge of the transport.[262]
The one strangely conspicuous functionary is the Secretary-at-War,
who in this and the following campaigns for the last time
accompanied the Commander-in-Chief on active service. But the most
significant feature in the list of the staff is the omission of the
name of Marlborough. Originally included among the generals for
Flanders, he had been struck off the roll, and dismissed from all
public employment, in disgrace, before the opening of the campaign.
Though this dismissal did not want justification, it was perhaps of
all William's blunders the greatest.

[Sidenote: May.]


  May --.


  May --.


  May --.

As usual, the French were beforehand with the Allies in opening
the campaign. They had already broken the line of the defending
fortresses by the capture of Mons; they now designed to make the
breach still wider. All through the winter a vast siege-train was
collecting on the Scheldt and Meuse, with Vauban, first of living
engineers, in charge of it. In May all was ready. Marshal Joyeuse,
with one corps, was on the Moselle, as in the previous year, to
hold the Brandenburgers in check. Boufflers, with eighteen thousand
men, lay on the right bank of the Meuse, near Dinant; Luxemburg,
with one hundred and fifteen thousand more, stood in rear of the
river Haine. On the 20th of May, King Lewis in person reviewed
the grand army; on the 23rd it marched for Namur; and on the 26th
it had wound itself round two sides of the town, while Boufflers,
moving up from Dinant, completed the circuit on the third side.
Thus Namur was completely invested; unless William could save it,
the line of the Sambre and one of the most important fortresses on
the Meuse were lost to the Allies.


  May 26
  June 5.

William, to do him justice, had strained every nerve to spur his
indolent allies to be first in the field. The contingents, awaked
by the sudden stroke at Namur, came in fast to Brussels; but it
was too late. The French had destroyed all forage and supplies on
the direct route to Namur, and William's only way to the city lay
across the Mehaigne. Behind the Mehaigne lay Luxemburg, the ablest
of the French generals. The best of luck was essential to William's
success, and instead of the best came the worst. Heavy rain swelled
the narrow stream into a broad flood, and the building of bridges
became impossible. There was beautiful fencing, skilful feint,
and more skilful parry, between the two generals, but William
could not get under Luxemburg's guard. On the 5th of June, after a
discreditably short defence, Namur fell, almost before William's
eyes, into the hands of the French.


  July 23
  August 2.

Then Luxemburg thought it time to draw the enemy away from the
vicinity of the captured city; so recrossing the Sambre, and
keeping Boufflers always between himself and that river, he marched
for the Senne as if to threaten Brussels. William followed, as in
duty bound; and French and Allies pursued a parallel course to the
Senne, William on the north and Luxemburg on the south. The 2nd of
August found both armies across the Senne, William at Hal, facing
west with the river in his rear, and Luxemburg some five miles
south of him with his right at Steenkirk, and his centre between
Hoves and Enghien, while Boufflers lay at Manny St. Jean, seven
miles in his rear.

The terrible state of the roads owing to heavy rain had induced
Luxemburg to leave most of his artillery at Mons, and as he
had designed merely to tempt the Allies away from Namur, the
principal object left to him was to take up a strong position
wherein his worn and harassed army could watch the enemy without
fear of attack. Such a position he thought that he had found at
Steenkirk.[263] The country at this point is more broken and
rugged than is usual in Belgium. The camp lay on high ground,
with its right resting on the river Sennette and its right front
covered by a ravine, which gradually fades away northward into a
high plateau of about a mile in extent. Beyond the ravine was a
network of wooded defiles, through which Luxemburg seems to have
hoped that no enemy could fall upon him in force unawares. It so
happened, however, that one of his most useful spies was detected,
in his true character, in William's camp at Hal; and this was an
opportunity not to be lost. A pistol was held at the spy's head,
and he was ordered to write a letter to Luxemburg, announcing that
large bodies of the enemy would be in motion next morning, but that
nothing more serious was contemplated than a foraging expedition.
This done, William laid his plans to surprise his enemy on the


  July 23
  August 3.

An hour before daybreak the advanced guard of William's army
fell silently into its ranks, together with a strong force of
pioneers to clear the way for a march through the woods. This force
consisted of the First Guards, the Royal Scots, the Twenty-first,
Fitzpatrick's regiment of Fusiliers, and two Danish regiments
of great reputation, the whole under the command of the Duke of
Würtemberg. Presently they moved away, and as the sun rose the
whole army followed them in two columns, without sound of drum or
trumpet, towards Steenkirk. French patrols scouring the country in
the direction of Tubise saw the two long lines of scarlet and white
and blue wind away into the woods, and reported what they had seen
at headquarters; but Luxemburg, sickly of constitution, and, in
spite of his occasional energy, indolent of temperament, rejoiced
to think that, as his spy had told him, it was no more than a
foraging party. Another patrol presently sent in another message
that a large force of cavalry was advancing towards the Sennette.
Once more Luxemburg lulled himself into security with the same

Meanwhile the allied army was trailing through narrow defiles and
cramped close ground, till at last it emerged from the stifling
woods into an open space. Here it halted, as the straitness of the
ground demanded, in dense, heavy masses. But the advanced guard
moved on steadily till it reached the woods over against Steenkirk,
where Würtemberg disposed it for the coming attack. On his left
the Bois de Feuilly covered a spur of the same plateau as that
occupied by the French right, and there he stationed the English
Guards and the two battalions of Danes. To the right of these, but
separated from them by a ravine, he placed the three remaining
British battalions in the Bois de Zoulmont. His guns he posted,
some between the two woods, and the remainder on the right of his
division. These dispositions complete, the advanced party awaited
orders to open the attack.

It was now eleven o'clock. Luxemburg had left his bed and had
ridden out to a commanding height on his extreme right, when a
third message was brought to him that the Allies were certainly
advancing in force. He read it, and looking to his front, saw the
red coats of the Guards moving through the wood before him, while
beyond them he caught a glimpse of the dense masses of the main
body. Instantly he saw the danger, and divined that William's
attack was designed against his right. His own camp was formed,
according to rule, with the cavalry on the wings; and there was
nothing in position to check the Allies but a single brigade of
infantry, famous under the name of Bourbonnois, which was quartered
in advance of the cavalry's camp on his extreme right. Moreover,
nothing was ready, not a horse was bridled, not a man standing to
his arms. He despatched a messenger to summon Boufflers to his
aid, and in a few minutes was flying through the camp with his
staff, energetic but perfectly self-possessed, to set his force
in order of battle. The two battalions of Bourbonnois fell in
hastily before their camp, with a battery of six guns before them.
The dragoons of the right wing dismounted and hastened to seal up
the space between Bourbonnois and the Sennette. The horse of the
right was collected, and some of it sent off in hot speed to the
left to bring the infantry up behind them on their horses' croups.
All along the line the alarm was given, drums were beating, men
snatching hastily at their arms and falling into their ranks ready
to file away to the right. Such was the haste, that there was no
time to think of regimental precedence, a very serious matter in
the French army, and each successive brigade hurried into the place
where it was most needed as it happened to come up.

Meanwhile Würtemberg's batteries had opened fire, and a cunning
officer of the Royal Scots was laying his guns with admirable
precision. French batteries hastened into position to reply to
them with as deadly an aim, and for an hour and a half the rival
guns thundered against each other unceasingly. All this time the
French battalions kept massing themselves thicker and thicker on
Luxemburg's right, and the front line was working with desperate
haste, felling trees, making breastworks, and lining the hedges
and copses while yet they might. But still Würtemberg's division
remained unsupported, and the precious minutes flew fast. William,
or his staff for him, had made a serious blunder. Intent though he
was on fighting a battle with his infantry only, he had put all
the cavalry of one wing of his army before them on the march, so
that there was no room for the infantry to pass. Fortunately six
battalions had been intermixed with the squadrons of this wing, and
these were now with some difficulty disentangled and sent forward.
Cutts's, Mackay's, Lauder's, and the Twenty-sixth formed up on
Würtemberg's right, with the Sixth and Twenty-fifth in support; and
at last, at half-past twelve, Würtemberg gave the order to attack.

His little force shook itself up and pressed forward with
eagerness. The Guards and Danes on the extreme left, being on the
same ridge with the enemy, were the first that came into action.
Pushing on under a terrible fire at point-blank range from the
French batteries, they fell upon Bourbonnois and the dragoons, beat
them back, captured their guns, and turned them against themselves.
On their right the Royal Scots, Twenty-first, and Fitzpatrick's
plunged down into the ravine into closer and more difficult ground,
past copses and hedges and thickets, until a single thick fence
alone divided them from the enemy. Through this they fired at each
other furiously for a time, till the Scots burst through the fence
with their Colonel at their head and swept the French before them.
Still further to the right, the remaining regiments came also into
action; muzzle met muzzle among the branches, and the slaughter was
terrible. Young Angus, still not yet of age, dropped dead at the
head of the Cameronians, and the veteran Mackay found the death
which he had missed at Killiecrankie. He had before the attack sent
word to General Count Solmes, that the contemplated assault could
lead only to waste of life, and had been answered with the order to
advance. "God's will be done," he said calmly, and he was among the
first that fell.

Still the British, in spite of all losses, pressed furiously on;
and famous French regiments, spoiled children of victory, wavered
and gave way before them. Bourbonnois, unable to face the Guards
and Danes, doubled its left battalion in rear of its right;
Chartres, which stood next to them, also gave way and doubled
itself in rear of its neighbour Orleans. A wide gap was thus torn
in the first French line, but not a regiment of the second line
would step into it. The colonel of the brigade in rear of it
ordered, entreated, implored his men to come forward, but they
would not follow him into that terrible fire. Suddenly the wild
voice ceased, and the gesticulating figure fell in a heap to the
ground: the colonel had been shot dead, and the gap was still

The first French line was broken; the second and third were
dismayed and paralysed: a little more and the British would carry
the French camp. Luxemburg perceived that this was a moment when
only his best troops could save him. In the fourth line stood the
flower of his infantry, the seven battalions of French and Swiss
Guards. These were now ordered forward to the gap; the princes
of the blood placed themselves at their head, and without firing
a shot they charged down the slope upon the British and Danes.
The English Guards, thinned to half their numbers, faced the huge
columns of the Swiss and stood up to them undaunted, till by sheer
weight they were slowly rolled back. On their right the Royal Scots
also were forced back, fighting desperately from hedge to hedge
and contesting every inch of ground. Once, the French made a dash
through a fence and carried off one of their colours. The Colonel,
Sir Robert Douglas, instantly turned back alone through the fence,
recaptured the colour, and was returning with it when he was struck
by a bullet. He flung the flag over to his men and fell to the
ground dead.

Slowly the twelve battalions retired, still fighting furiously
at every step. So fierce had been their onslaught that five
lines of infantry backed by two more of cavalry[264] had hardly
sufficed to stop them, and with but a little support they might
have won the day. But that support was not forthcoming. Message
after message had been sent to the Dutch general, Count Solmes,
for reinforcements, but there came not a man. The main body, as
has been told, was all clubbed together a mile and a half from
the scene of action, with the infantry in the rear; and Solmes,
with almost criminal folly, instead of endeavouring to extricate
the foot, had ordered forward the horse. William rectified the
error as soon as he could, but the correction led to further delay
and to the increased confusion which is the inevitable result
of contradictory orders. The English infantry in rear, mad with
impatience to rescue their comrades, ran forward in disorder,
probably with loud curses on the Dutchman who had kept them back
so long; and some time was lost before they could be re-formed.
Discipline was evidently a little at fault. Solmes lost both his
head and his temper. "Damn the English," he growled; "if they are
so fond of fighting, let them have a bellyful"; and he sent forward
not a man. Fortunately junior officers took matters into their
own hands; and it was time, for Boufflers had now arrived on the
field to throw additional weight into the French scale. The English
Horse-grenadiers, the Fourth Dragoons, and a regiment of Dutch
dragoons rode forward and, dismounting, covered the retreat of the
Guards and Danes by a brilliant counter-attack. The Buffs and Tenth
advanced farther to the right, and holding their fire till within
point-blank range, poured in a volley which gave time for the rest
of Würtemberg's division to withdraw. A demonstration against the
French left made a further diversion, and the shattered fragments
of the attacking force, grimed with sweat and smoke, fell back to
the open ground in rear of the woods, repulsed but unbeaten, and
furious with rage.

William, it is said, could not repress a cry of anguish when he
saw them; but there was no time for emotion. Some Dutch and Danish
infantry was sent forward to check further advance of the enemy,
and preparations were made for immediate retreat. Once again the
hardest of the work was entrusted to the British; and when the
columns were formed, the grenadiers of the British regiments
brought up the rear, halting and turning about continually, until
failing light put an end to what was at worst but a half-hearted
pursuit. The retreat was conducted with admirable order; but it
was not until the chill, dead hour that precedes the dawn that
the Allies regained their camp, worn out with the fatigue of
four-and-twenty hours.

[Illustration: STEENKIRK

  July 23^{rd}
  ------------ 1692
  Aug. 3^{rd}

  _To face page 366_

The action was set down at the time as the severest ever
fought by infantry, and the losses on both sides were very heavy.
The Allies lost about three thousand killed and the same number
wounded, besides thirteen hundred prisoners, nearly all of whom
were wounded. Ten guns were abandoned, the horses being too weary
to draw them; the English battalions lost two colours, and the
foreign three or four more. The British, having borne the brunt of
the action, suffered most heavily of all, the Guards, Cutts's, and
the Sixth being terribly punished. The total French loss was about
equal to that of the Allies, but the list of the officers that
fell tells a more significant tale. On the side of the Allies four
hundred and fifty officers were killed and wounded, no fewer than
seventy lieutenants in the ten battalions of Churchill's British
brigade being killed outright. The French on their side lost no
less than six hundred and twenty officers killed and wounded,
a noble testimony to their self-sacrifice, but sad evidence of
their difficulty in making their men stand. In truth, with proper
management William must have won a brilliant victory; but he was a
general by book and not by instinct. Würtemberg's advanced guard
could almost have done the work by itself but for the mistake of a
long preliminary cannonade; his attack could have been supported
earlier but for the pedantry that gave the horse precedence of the
foot in the march to the field; the foot could have pierced the
French position in a dozen different columns but for the pedantry
which caused it to be first deployed. Finally, William's knowledge
of the ground was imperfect, and Solmes, his general of foot,
was incompetent. The plan was admirably designed and abominably
executed. Nevertheless, British troops have never fought a finer
action than Steenkirk. Luxemburg thought himself lucky to have
escaped destruction; his troops were much shaken; and he crossed
the Scheldt and marched away to his winter-quarters as quietly as
possible. So ended the campaign of 1692.


[Sidenote: 1692, November.]

In November the English Parliament met, heartened indeed by the
naval victory of La Hogue, but not a little grieved over the
failure of Steenkirk. Again, the financial aspect was extremely
discouraging; and Sir Stephen Fox announced that there was not
another day's subsistence for the Army in the treasury. The
prevailing discontent found vent in furious denunciations of Count
Solmes, and a cry that English soldiers ought to be commanded by
English officers. The debate rose high. The hardest of hard words
were used about the Dutch generals, and a vast deal of nonsense was
talked about military matters. There were, however, a great number
of officers in the House of Commons, many of whom had been present
at the action. With great modesty and good sense they refused
to join in the outcry against the Dutch, and contrived so to
compose matters that the House committed itself to no very foolish
resolution. The votes for the Army were passed; and no difficulty
was made over the preparations for the next campaign. Finally, two
new regiments of cavalry were raised--Lord Macclesfield's Horse,
which was disbanded twenty years later; and Conyngham's Irish
Dragoons, which still abides with us as the Eighth (King's Royal
Irish) Hussars.

[Sidenote: 1693.]

Meanwhile the French military system had suffered an irreparable
loss in the death of Louvois, the source of woes unnumbered to
France in the years that were soon to come. Nevertheless, the
traditions of his rule were strong, and the French once more were
first in the field, with, as usual, a vast siege-train massed on
the Meuse and on the Scheldt. But a late spring and incessant rain
delayed the beginning of operations till the beginning of May,
when Luxemburg assembled seventy thousand men in rear of the Haine
by Mons, and Boufflers forty-eight thousand more on the Scheldt
at Tournay. The French king was with the troops in person; and
the original design was, as usual, to carry on a war of sieges
on the Meuse, Boufflers reducing the fortresses while Luxemburg
shielded him with a covering army. Lewis, however, finding that
the towns which he had intended to invest were likely to make an
inconveniently stubborn defence, presently returned home, and after
detaching thirty thousand men to the war in Germany, left Luxemburg
to do as he would. It had been better for William if the Grand
Monarch had remained in Flanders.

The English king, on his side, assembled sixty thousand men at
Brussels as soon as the French began to move, and led them with
desperate haste to the Senne, where he took up an impregnable
position at Park. Luxemburg marched up to a position over against
him, and then came one of those deadlocks which were so common in
those old campaigns. The two armies stood looking at each other for
a whole month, neither venturing to move, neither daring to attack,
both ill-supplied, both discontented, and as a natural consequence
both losing scores, hundreds, and even thousands of men through


  June 26
  July 6.

[Sidenote: July.]

At last the position became insupportable, and on the 6th of
July Luxemburg moved eastward as if to resume the original plan
of operations on the Meuse. William thereupon resolved to create
a diversion by detaching a force to attack the French lines of
the Scheldt and Lys, a project which was brilliantly executed
by Würtemberg, thanks not a little to three British regiments,
the Tenth, Argyll's, and Castleton's, which formed part of his
division. But meanwhile Luxemburg, quite ignorant of the diversion,
advanced to the Meuse and laid siege to Huy, in the hope of
forcing William to come to its relief. He judged rightly. William
left his impregnable camp at Park and hurried to the rescue. But he
came too late, and Huy fell after a trifling resistance. Luxemburg
then made great seeming preparations for the siege of Liège, and
William, trembling for the safety of that city and of Maestricht,
detached eight thousand men to reinforce those garrisons, and then
withdrew to the line of the Geete. Luxemburg watched the whole
proceeding with grim delight. Würtemberg's success was no doubt
annoying, but William had weakened his army by detaching this force
to the Lys, and had been beguiled into weakening it still further
by reinforcing the garrisons on the Meuse, which was exactly what
he wanted. If he could bring the Allies to action forthwith he
could reasonably hope for success.

The ground occupied by William was a triangular space enclosed
between the Little Geete and a stream called the Landen Beck,
which joins it at Leuw. The position was not without features of
strength. The camp, which faced almost due south, was pitched on
a gentle ridge rising out of a vast plain.[265] This ridge runs
parallel to the Little Geete and has that river in its rear. The
left flank was protected by marshy ground and by the Landen Beck
itself, while the villages of Neerlanden and Rumsdorp, one on
either side of the beck and the latter well forward on the plain,
offered the further security of advanced posts. The right rested on
a little stream which runs at right angles to the Geete and joins
it at Elixheim, and on the villages of Laer and Neerwinden, which
stand on its banks. From Neerlanden on the left to Neerwinden on
the right the position measured close on four miles; and to guard
this front, to say nothing of strong garrisons for the villages,
William had little more than fifty thousand men. Here then was
one signal defect: the front was too long to permit troops to be
readily moved from flank to flank, or to be withdrawn, without
serious risk, from the centre. But this was not all. The depth of
the position was less than half of its frontage, and thus allowed
no space for the action of cavalry. This William ignored: he
was afraid of the French horse, and was anxious that the action
should be fought by infantry only. Finally, retreat was barred by
the Geete, which was unfordable and insufficiently bridged, and
therefore the forcing of the allied right must inevitably drive
the whole army into a pinfold, as Leslie's had been driven at the
battle of Dunbar.


  July --.

Luxemburg, who knew every inch of the ground, was now anxious only
lest William should retire before he could catch him. On the 28th
of July, by a great effort and a magnificent march, he brought
the whole of his army, eighty thousand strong, before William's
position. He was now sure of his game, but he need not have been
anxious, for William, charmed with the notion of excluding the
French cavalry from all share in the action, was resolved to stand
his ground. Many officers urged him to cross the Geete while yet
he might, but he would not listen. Fifteen hundred men were told
off to entrench the open ground between Neerwinden and Neerlanden.
The hedges, mud-walls, and natural defences of Neerwinden and Laer
were improved to the uttermost, and the ditches surrounding them
were enlarged. Till late into the night the King rode backward
and forward, ordering matters under his own eyes, and after a
few hours' rest began very early in the morning to make his

The key of the position was the village of Neerwinden with the
adjoining hamlet of Laer, and here accordingly he stationed
the best of his troops. The defence of Laer was entrusted to
Brigadier Ramsey with the Scots Brigade, namely, the Twenty-first,
Twenty-fifth, Twenty-sixth, Mackay's and Lauder's regiments,
reinforced by the Buffs and the Fourth Foot. Between Laer and
Neerwinden stood six battalions of Brandenburgers, troops already
of great and deserved reputation, of whom we shall see more in
the years before us. Neerwinden itself was committed to the
Hanoverians, the Dutch Guards, a battalion of the First and a
battalion of the Scots Guards. Immediately to the north or left
of the village the entrenchment was lined by the two remaining
battalions of the First and Scots Guards, the Coldstream Guards,
a battalion of the Royal Scots, and the Seventh Fusiliers. On
the extreme left of the position Neerlanden was held by the
other battalion of the Royal Scots, the Second Queen's, and two
Danish regiments, while Rumsdorp was occupied by the Fourteenth,
Sixteenth, Nineteenth, and Collingwood's regiments. In a word,
every important post was committed to the British. The remainder
of the infantry, with one hundred guns, was ranged along the
entrenchment, and in rear of them stood the cavalry, powerless to
act outside the trench, and too much cramped for space to manœuvre
within it.

Luxemburg also was early astir, and was amazed to find how far
the front of the position had been strengthened during the night.
His centre he formed in eight lines over against the Allies'
entrenchments between Oberwinden and Landen, every line except
the second and fourth being composed of cavalry. For the attack
on Neerlanden and Rumsdorp he detailed fifteen thousand foot and
two thousand five hundred dismounted dragoons. For the principal
assault on Neerwinden he told off eighteen thousand foot supported
by a reserve of two thousand more and by eight thousand cavalry;
while seventy guns were brought into position to answer the
artillery of the Allies.


  July --.

Shortly after sunrise William's cannon opened fire against the
heavy masses of the French centre; and at eight o'clock Luxemburg
moved the whole of his left to the attack of Neerwinden. Six
battalions, backed by dragoons and cavalry, were directed against
Laer, and three columns, counting in all seven brigades, were
launched against Neerwinden. The centre column, under the Duke
of Berwick, was the first to come into action. Withholding their
fire till they reached the village, the French carried the
outer defences with a rush, and then meeting the Hanoverians
and the First Guards, they began the fight in earnest. It was
hedge-fighting, as at Steenkirk, muzzle to muzzle and hand to
hand. Every step was contested; the combat swayed backwards and
forwards within the village; and the carnage was frightful. The
remaining French columns came up, met with the like resistance, and
made little way. Fresh regiments were poured by the French into
the fight, and at last the First Guards, completely broken by its
losses, gave way. But it was only for a moment. They rallied on
the Scots Guards; the Dutch and Hanoverians rallied behind them,
and though the French had been again reinforced, they resumed the
unequal fight, nine battalions against twenty-six, with unshaken
tenacity. At Laer, on the extreme right, the fight was equally
sharp. Ramsey for a time was driven out of the village, and the
French cavalry actually forced its way into the Allies' position.
There, however, it was charged in flank by the Elector of Bavaria,
and driven out with great slaughter. Ramsey seized the moment to
rally his brigade. The French columns, despite their success, still
remained isolated and detached, and presented no united front. The
King placed himself at the head of the Guards and Hanoverians, and
with one charge British, Dutch, and Germans fell upon the Frenchmen
and swept them out of both villages.

The first attack on Neerwinden had failed, and a similar attack on
the allied left had been little more successful. At Neerlanden the
First and Second Foot had successfully held their own against four
French battalions until reinforcements enabled them to drive them
back. At Rumsdorp the British, being but three thousand against
thirteen thousand, were pushed out of the village, but being
reinforced, recovered a part of it and stood successfully at bay.
Luxemburg, however, was not easily discouraged. The broken troops
in the left were rallied, fresh regiments were brought forward,
and a second effort was made to carry Neerwinden. Again French
impetuosity bore all before it, and again the British and Germans,
weakened and weary though they were, rallied when all seemed lost,
and hurled the enemy back not merely repulsed but in confused and
disorderly retreat.

On the failure of the second attack the majority of the French
officers urged Luxemburg to retire; but the marshal was not to
be turned from his purpose. The fourteen thousand men of the
Allies in Laer and Neerwinden had lost more than a third of their
numbers, while he himself had still a considerable force of
infantry interlined with the cavalry in the centre. Twelve thousand
of them, including the French and Swiss Guards, were now drawn
off to the left for a third attack. When they were clear of the
cavalry, the whole six lines of horse, which had stood heroically
for hours motionless under a heavy fire, moved forward at a trot
to the edge of the entrenchments;[266] but the demonstration,
for such it seems to have been, cost them dear, for they were
very roughly handled and compelled to retire. But now the French
reinforcements supported by the defeated battalions drew near,
and a third attack was delivered on Neerwinden. British and Dutch
still made a gallant fight, but the odds against their weakened
battalions were too great, and ammunition began to fail. They
fought on indomitably till the last cartridge was expended before
they gave way, but they were forced back, and Neerwinden was lost.
Five French brigades then assailed the central entrenchment at its
junction with Neerwinden, where stood the Coldstream Guards and
the Seventh Fusiliers. Wholly unmoved by the overwhelming numbers
in their front and the fire from Neerwinden on their flank, the
two regiments stood firm and drove their assailants back over the
breastwork. Even when the French Household Cavalry came spurring
through Neerwinden and fell upon their flank they fought on
undismayed, and the Coldstreamers not only repelled the charge but
captured a colour.

Such fighting, however, could not continue for long. William, on
observing Luxemburg's preparations for the final assault, had
ordered nine battalions from his left to reinforce his right.
These never reached their destination. The Marquis of Feuquières,
an officer even more celebrated for his acuteness as a military
critic than for skill in the field, watched them as they moved
and suddenly led his cavalry forward to the weakest point of the
entrenchment. The battalions hesitated, halted, and then turned
about to meet this new danger, but too late to save the forcing of
the entrenchment. The battle was now virtually over. Neerwinden was
carried, Ramsey after a superb defence had been driven out of Laer,
the Brandenburgers had perforce retreated with him, the infantry
that lined the centre of the entrenchment had forsaken it, and
the French cavalry was pouring in and cutting down the fugitives
by scores. William, who had galloped away in desperation to the
left, now returned at headlong speed with six regiments of English
cavalry,[267] which delivered charge after charge with splendid
gallantry, to cover the retreat of the foot. On the left Tolmach
and Bellasys by great exertion brought off their infantry in good
order, but on the right the confusion was terrible. The rout was
complete, the few bridges were choked by a heaving mass of guns,
waggons, pack-animals, and men, and thousands of fugitives were cut
down, drowned, or trampled to death. William did all that a gallant
man could do to save the day, but in vain. His troops had done
heroic things to redeem his bad generalship; and against any living
man but Marlborough or Luxemburg they would probably have held
their own. It was the general not the soldiers that failed.

The losses on both sides were very severe. That of the French
was about eight thousand men; that of the Allies about twelve
thousand, killed, wounded, and prisoners, and among the dead was
Count Solmes, the hated Solmes of Steenkirk. The nineteen British
battalions present lost one hundred and thirty-five officers
killed, wounded, and taken. The French captured eighty guns and a
vast quantity of colours, but the Allies, although beaten, could
also show fifty-six French flags. And, indeed, though Luxemburg
won, and deserved to win, a great victory, yet the action was not
such as to make the allied troops afraid to meet the French. They
had stood up, fifty thousand against eighty thousand, and if they
were beaten they had at any rate dismayed every Frenchman on the
field but Luxemburg. In another ten years their turn was to come,
and they were to take a part of their revenge on the very ground
over which many of them had fled.

The campaign closed with the surrender of Charleroi, and the gain
by the French of the whole line of the Sambre. William came home
to meet the House of Commons and recommend an augmentation of the
Army by eight regiments of horse, four of dragoons, and twenty-five
of foot. The House reduced this list by the whole of the regiments
of horse, and fifteen of foot, but even so it brought the total
establishment up to eighty-three thousand men. There is, however,
but one new regiment of which note need be taken in the campaign
of 1694, namely the Seventh Dragoons, now known as the Seventh
Hussars, which, raised in 1689-90 in Scotland, now for the first
time took its place on the English establishment and its turn of
service in the war of Flanders.

[Illustration: LANDEN

  July ------- 1693

  _To face page 376_

[Sidenote: 1694.]

I shall not dwell on the campaign of 1694, which is memorable only
for a marvellous march by which Luxemburg upset William's entire
plan of campaign. Nor shall I speak at length of the abortive
descent on Brest, which is remembered mainly for the indelible
stain which it has left on the memory of Marlborough. It is only
necessary to say that the French, by Marlborough's information,
though not on Marlborough's information only, had full warning
of an expedition which had been planned as a surprise, and that
Tolmach,[268] who was in command, unfortunately though most
pardonably lacked the moral courage to abandon an attack which,
unless executed as a surprise, was hopeless of success. He was
repulsed with heavy loss, and died of wounds received in the
action, a hard fate for a good soldier and a gallant man. But it is
unjust to lay his death at Marlborough's door. For the failure of
the expedition Marlborough was undoubtedly responsible, and that is
quite bad enough; but Tolmach alone was to blame for attempting an
enterprise which he knew to be hopeless. Marlborough cannot have
calculated that he would deliberately essay to do impossibilities
and perish in the effort, so cannot be held guilty of poor
Tolmach's blunders.

[Sidenote: 1695.]

[Sidenote: January.]

Before the new campaign could be opened there had come changes
of vital importance to France. The vast expense of the war had
told heavily on the country, and the King's ministers were at
their wit's end to raise money. Moreover, the War Department had
deteriorated rapidly since the death of Louvois; and to this
misfortune was now added the death of Luxemburg, a loss which was
absolutely irreparable. Lastly, with the object of maintaining the
position which they had won on the Sambre, the French had extended
their system of fortified lines from Namur to the sea. Works so
important could not be left unguarded, so that a considerable force
was locked up behind these entrenchments, and was for all offensive
purposes useless. We shall see before long how a really great
commander could laugh at these lines, and how in consequence it
became an open question whether they were not rather an encumbrance
than an advantage. The subject is one which is still of interest;
and it is remarkable that the French still seem to cling to their
old principles in the works which they have constructed for defence
against a German invasion.

His enemy being practically restricted to the defensive, William
did not neglect the opportunity of initiating aggressive
operations. Masking his design by a series of feints, he marched
swiftly to the Meuse and invested Namur. This fortress, more famous
through its connection with the immortal Uncle Toby even than as
the masterpiece of Cohorn carried to yet higher perfection by
Vauban, stands at the junction of the Sambre and the Meuse, the
citadel lying in the angle between the two rivers, and the town
with its defences on the left bank of the Meuse. To the northward
of the town outworks had been thrown up on the heights of Bouge by
both of these famous engineers; and it was against these outworks
that William directed his first attack.

[Illustration: NAMUR

  June 26^{th}
  ------------ 1695
  July 6^{th}

  _To face page 378_


  June 23
  July 3.


  June 26
  July 6.

Ground was broken on the 3rd of July, and three days later an
assault was delivered on the lines of Bouge. As usual, the hardest
of the work was given to the British, and the post of greatest
danger was made over, as their high reputation demanded, to the
Brigade of Guards. On this occasion the Guards surpassed themselves
alike by the coolness of their valour and by the fire of their
attack. They marched under a heavy fire up to the French palisades,
thrust their muskets between them, poured in one terrible volley,
the first shot that they had yet fired, and charged forthwith.
In spite of a stout resistance, they swept the French out of the
first work, pursued them to the second, swept them out of that,
and gathering impetus with success, drove them from stronghold to
stronghold, far beyond the original design of the engineers, and
actually to the gates of the town. In another quarter the Royal
Scots and the Seventh Fusiliers gained not less brilliant success;
and in fact it was the most creditable action that William had
fought during the whole war. It cost the Allies two thousand men
killed and wounded, the three battalions of Guards alone losing
thirty-two officers. The British were to fight many such bloody
combats during the next twenty years--combats forgotten since they
were merely incidents in the history of a siege, and so frequent
that they were hardly chronicled and are not to be restored to
memory now. I mention this, the first of such actions, only as a
type of many more to come.

The outworks captured, the trenches were opened against the town
itself, and the next assault was directed against the counterguard
of St. Nicholas gate. This again was carried by the British, with
a loss of eight hundred men. Then came the famous attack on the
counterscarp before the gate itself, where Captain Shandy received
his memorable wound. This gave William the possession of the town.
Then came the siege of the citadel, wherein the British had the
honour of marching to the assault over half a mile of open ground,
a trial which proved too much even for them. Nevertheless, it was
they who eventually stormed a breach from which another of the
assaulting columns had been repulsed, and ensured the surrender of
the citadel a few days later. For their service on this occasion
the Eighteenth Foot were made the Royal Irish; and a Latin
inscription on their colours still records that this was the reward
of their valour at Namur.

[Sidenote: 1697.]

Thus William on his return to England could for the first time
show his Parliament a solid success due to the British red-coats;
and the House of Commons gladly voted once more a total force
of eighty-seven thousand men. But the war need be followed no
further. The campaign of 1696 was interrupted by a futile attempt
of the French to invade England, and in 1697 France, reduced to
utter exhaustion, gladly concluded the Peace of Ryswick. So ended,
not without honour, the first stage of the great conflict with
King Lewis the Fourteenth. The position of the two protagonists,
England and France, was not wholly unlike that which they occupied
a century later at the Peace of Amiens. The British, though they
had not reaped great victories, had made their presence felt,
and terribly felt, on the battlefield; and as the French in the
Peninsula remembered that the British had fought them with a
tenacity which they had not found in other nations, not only in
Egypt but even earlier at Tournay and Lincelles, so, too, after
Blenheim and Ramillies they looked back to the furious attack at
Steenkirk and the indomitable defence of Neerwinden. "Without the
concurrence of the valour and power of England," said William to
the Parliament at the close of 1695, "it were impossible to put a
stop to the ambition and greatness of France." So it was then, so
it was a century later, and so it will be again, for though none
know better the superlative qualities of the French as a fighting
people, yet the English are the one nation that has never been
afraid to meet them. With the Peace of Ryswick the 'prentice years
of the standing Army are ended, and within five years the old
spirit, which has carried it through the bitter schooling under
King William, will break forth with overwhelming power under the
guiding genius of Marlborough.

  AUTHORITIES.--The leading authority for William's campaigns
  on the English side is D'Auvergne, and on the French side the
  compilation, with its superb series of maps, by Beaurain.
  Supplementary on one side are Tindal's History, Carleton's
  Memoirs, and Sterne's _Tristram Shandy_; and on the other the
  _Mémoires_ of Berwick and St. Simon, Quincy's _Histoire Militaire
  de Louis XIV._, and in particular the _Mémoires_ of Feuquières.
  Many details as to Steenkirk, in particular as to the casualties,
  are drawn from _Present State of Europe, or Monthly Mercury_,
  August 1692; and as to Landen from the official relation of the
  battle, published by authority, 1693. Beautiful plans of both
  actions are in Beaurain, rougher plans in Quincy and Feuquières.
  All details as to the establishment voted are from the Journals
  of the House of Commons. Very elaborate details of the operations
  are given in Colonel Clifford Walton's _History of the British
  Standing Army_.


[Sidenote: 1697.]

Peace having been signed, there arose the momentous question,
what should be done with the Army. To understand aright the
attitude of Parliament towards it, a brief sketch must be given
of its relations therewith apart from the mere question of voting
supplies. It has been seen that the scandals of Schomberg's first
campaign had opened the eyes of Parliament to the iniquities that
were then going forward; but, though a scape-goat had been made
of the Commissary-General, the matter had not been sifted to the

The primary and principal difficulty was, of course, lack of money.
In the case of the Irish war this had been overcome by grants of
the Irish estates which had been forfeited after the conquest, the
mere expectation and hope of which had sufficed to set the minds
of many creditors at rest. For the war in Flanders, however, there
was no such resource. The treasury was empty, and the funds voted
by Parliament were so remote that they could only be assigned to
creditors in security for payment at some future time. Many of
these creditors, however, were tradesmen who could not afford to
wait until tallies should be issued in course of payment, and were
therefore compelled to dispose of these securities at a ruinous
discount. The mischief naturally did not end there. Capitalists
soon discovered that to buy tallies at huge discount was a much
more profitable business than to lend money direct to the State
at the rate of seven per cent, and accordingly devoted all their
money to it. Thus the "tally-traffic," as it was called, grew
so formidable that the Lord Treasurer, Godolphin, was obliged
secretly to offer larger interest for loans than was authorised by

The result of this financial confusion was that the close of every
campaign found the Army in Flanders in a miserable state, owing to
the exhaustion of its money and its credit. When it is remembered
that a large proportion of the pay of officers and men was kept
on principle one year in arrear, that they had to pay discount
for anticipation of its payment at the best of times, and that to
this charge was now added the further discount on the tallies of
the State, it will be seen that their loss became very serious.
The incessant difficulties of all ranks from want of their pay and
arrears gave rise to much discontent and frequently hampered active
operations. Officers were obliged to sell the horses, which they
had bought for purposes of transport, before the campaign opened,
and were very often driven to supply not only themselves but their
men out of their own pockets.

Of all this it is probable that the House of Commons knew little,
and as in 1691 it had appointed Commissioners to inquire into
the public accounts, it doubtless awaited their report before
taking any active step. In 1694, however, the House was rudely
surprised by certain revelations respecting a notorious crimp
of London, named Tooley, who went so far in his zeal to procure
recruits that he not only forced the King's shilling on them when
they were drunk--a practice which was common in France and has
not long been extinct in England--but resorted to kidnapping pure
and simple.[270] Here was one gross infringement of the liberty
of the subject; and this scandal was quickly followed by another.
At the end of 1694 there came a petition from the inhabitants
of Royston, complaining that the troops quartered there were
exacting subsistence from the townsfolk on a fixed scale. Inquiry
proved the truth of the allegation: the troops were unpaid, and
had taken their own measures to save themselves from starvation.
Almost simultaneously the Commissioners of Public Accounts
reported that their inquiries had been baffled by the refusal of
several regimental agents to show their books; and they gave at
the same time an unvarnished relation of the shameful extortion
practised by agents towards officers and men, and of one case of
glaring misconduct on the part of a colonel. The House brought the
recalcitrant agents to their senses by committing them to custody,
and addressed the King with an earnest prayer that he would put a
stop to these iniquities.[271] The King accordingly cashiered the
colonel[272] and promised amendment, which promise was discharged
so far as orders could fulfil it. But the case demanded not new
orders but execution of existing regulations.

There, however, the matter rested for the time, the Commons being
occupied with the task of purging corruption from their own body,
which was very inadequately performed by the expulsion of the
Speaker. Nevertheless, to the end of the war fresh petitions
continued to come in from towns, from widows of officers, and from
private soldiers, all complaining of the dishonesty of officers
and of agents; and the House thus established itself as in some
sort a mediator between officers and men. Such a mediator, it must
be confessed, was but too sadly needed, but in the interests of
discipline it was a misfortune that the House should ever have
accepted the position. The immediate result was to overwhelm the
Commons with a vast amount of business which they were incompetent
to transact, and to suggest an easy remedy for soldiers' grievances
in the abolition of all soldiers.

[Sidenote: Dec. 11.]

William was not unaware of the danger, and had taken measures to
meet it. Before meeting Parliament in December 1697, he had already
disbanded ten regiments, and having thrown this sop to English
prejudice, he delivered it as his opinion in his speech from the
throne that England could not be safe without a land-force. But
agitators and pamphleteers had been before him. The old howl of
"No Standing Army" had been raised, and reams of puerile and
pedantic nonsense had been written to prove that the militia was
amply sufficient for England's needs. The arguments on the other
side were stated with consummate ability by Lord Somers; but the
old cry was far too pleasant in the ears of the House to be easily
silenced. Another reason which may well have swayed the House was
that, though his English soldiers had fought for William as no
other troops in the world, he had never succeeded in winning a
victory. Be that as it may, within eight days the House, on the
motion of Robert Harley, resolved that all forces raised since
September 1680 should be disbanded.

[Sidenote: Dec. 13.]

[Sidenote: 1698.]

The resolution, in the existing condition of European affairs,
was a piece of malignant folly; but the accounts submitted two
days later by the Paymaster-General probably did much to confirm
it. The arrears of pay due to the Army since April 1692 amounted
to twelve hundred thousand pounds, and the arrears of subsistence
to a million more, while yet another hundred thousand was due
to regiments on their transfer from the Irish to the English
establishment.[273] To meet this debt there was eighty thousand
pounds in tallies which no one would discount at any price, while
to make matters worse, taxation voted by the House to produce
three millions and a half had brought no more than two millions
into the treasury. Attempts were made in January 1698 to rescind
the resolution, but in vain. The Government yielded, and after
struggling hard to obtain four hundred thousand pounds, was fain
to accept fifty thousand pounds less than that sum for the service
of the Army in the ensuing year.

[Sidenote: May 28.]

The effect of the vote was immediate. The enemies of the Army
were exultant, and heaped abuse and insult on the soldiers who
for five years had spent their blood and their strength for a
people that had not paid them so much as their just wages. All
William's firmness was needed to restrain the exasperated officers
from wreaking summary vengeance on the most malignant of these
slanderers. It was the old story. Men who had grown fat on the
"tally-traffic" could find nothing better than bad words for the
poor broken lieutenant who borrowed eighteenpence from a comrade
to buy a new scabbard for his sword, being ashamed to own that
he wanted a dinner.[274] The distress in the Army soon became
acute. Petitions poured in from the disbanded men for arrears,
arrears, arrears. Bad soldiers tried to wreak a grudge against good
officers, good soldiers to obtain justice from bad officers; all
military men of whatever rank complained loudly of the agents.[275]
Then came unpleasant reminders that the expenses of the Irish war
were not yet paid. Colonel Mitchelburne, the heroic defender of
Londonderry, claimed, and justly claimed, fifteen hundred pounds
which had been owing to him since 1690.[276] The House strove
vainly to stem the torrent by voting a gratuity of a fortnight's
subsistence to every man, and half-pay as a retaining fee to every
officer, until he should be paid in full. The claims of men and
officers continued to flow in, and at last the Commons addressed
the King to appoint persons unconnected with the Army to examine
and redress just grievances, and to punish men who complained
without cause.

On the 7th of July the House was delivered from further
importunities by a dissolution; and William returned to his native
Holland. Before his departure he left certain instructions with
his ministers concerning the Army. The actual number of soldiers
to be maintained was not mentioned in the Act of Parliament, but
was assumed, from the proportion of money granted, to be ten
thousand men. William's orders were to keep sixteen thousand men,
for he still had hopes that Parliament might reconsider the hasty
votes of the previous session.[277] These expectations were not
realised. The clamour against the Army had been strengthened by
a revival of the old outcry against the Dutch, and against the
grant of crown-lands in general, and to Dutchmen in particular.
Moreover, the House had no longer the pressure of the war to unite
it in useful and patriotic work. The inevitable reaction of peace
after long hostilities was in full vigour. All the selfishness, the
prejudice, and the conceit that had been restrained in the face of
great national peril was now let loose; and the House, with a vague
idea that there were many things to be done, but with no clear
perception what these things might be, was ripe for any description
of mischief.

[Sidenote: Dec. 12.]

[Sidenote: Dec. 17.]

William's speech was tactful enough. Expressing it as his opinion
that, if England was to hold her place in Europe, she must be
secure from attack, he left the House to decide what land-force
should be maintained, and only begged that, for its own honour, it
would provide for payment of the debts incurred during the war.
The speech was not ill-received; and William, despite the warnings
of his ministers, was sanguine that all was well. Five days
later a return of the troops was presented to the House, showing
thirty thousand men divided equally between the English and Irish
establishments. Then Harley, the mover of the foolish resolution
of the previous year, proposed that the English establishment
should be fixed at seven thousand men, all of them to be British
subjects. This was confirmed by the House on the following day,
together with an Irish establishment of twelve thousand men to be
maintained at the expense of the sister island. The words of the
Act that embodied this decision were peremptory; it declared that
on the 26th March 1699 all regiments, saving certain to be excepted
by proclamation, were actually disbanded. Finally, the Mutiny Act,
which had expired in April 1698, was not renewed by the House, so
that even in this pittance of an Army the officers had no powers of
enforcing discipline.

There is no need to dilate further on this resolution, which for
three years placed England practically at the mercy of France. It
was an act of criminal imbecility, the most mischievous work of
the most mischievous Parliament that has ever sat at Westminster.
William was so deeply chagrined that he was only with difficulty
dissuaded from abdication of the throne. Apart from the madness of
such wholesale reduction of the Army, the clause restricting the
nationality of the seven thousand was directly aimed at the King's
favourite regiment, the Dutch Blue Guards. He submitted, however,
with dignity enough, merely warning the House that he disclaimed
all responsibility for any disaster that might follow. Just at that
moment came a rare opportunity for undoing in part the evil work of
the Commons. The death of the Electoral Prince of Bavaria brought
the question of the succession to the Spanish throne to an acute
stage; and the occasion was utilised to ask Parliament for the
grant of a larger force. William, however, with an unwisdom which
even his loyalty to his faithful troops cannot excuse, pleaded as a
personal favour for the retention of his Dutch Guards. The request
preferred on such grounds was refused, and a great opportunity was

Nothing, therefore, remained but to make the most of the slender
force that was authorised by the Act of Disbandment. The ministers
with great adroitness contrived to extort from the Commons an
additional three thousand men under the name of marines, for the
collective wisdom of the nation will often give under one name
what it refuses under another; but as regards the Army proper, the
only expedient was to preserve the skeleton of a larger force.
Thus finally was established the wasteful and extravagant system
which has been followed even to the present day. The seven thousand
troops for England were distributed into nineteen, and the twelve
thousand for Ireland into twenty-six, distinct corps, with an
average proportion of one officer to ten men.[278] In addition to
these, three corps of cavalry and seven of infantry were maintained
in Scotland, while the Seventh Fusiliers were retained apparently
in the Dutch service, or at any rate in Holland. The Artillery was
specially reserved on a new footing by the name of the regimental
train, first germ of the Royal Regiment that was to come, and
contained four companies, each of thirty men, with the usual
proportion of an officer to every ten men. To these were added ten
officers of engineers.[279] Within the next two years the principle
of a skeleton army was pushed still further, and in each of the
regiments of dragoons thirty-three officers and thirty sergeants
and corporals looked minutely to the training of two hundred and
sixteen men. Large numbers of officers, who were retained for
emergencies by the allowance of half-pay, also drew heavily on the
niggardly funds granted by the Commons; and it was a current jest
of the time that the English Army was an army of officers.[280]

[Sidenote: 1699.]

[Sidenote: November.]

The sins of Parliament soon found it out. Before it had sat a month
petitions from officers and men began to pour in, as during the
previous sessions, with claims for arrears and with complaints of
all kinds. As the Commons were the fountain of pay, it was natural
and right that the clamour for wages should be directed at them;
but the fashion had been set for soldiers to resort to them for
redress of all grievances, and it would seem that men used the
petition to Parliament as a means of openly threatening their
officers.[281] Moreover, by some extraordinary blunder the grant
of half-pay had been limited to such officers only as at the time
of disbandment were serving in English regiments. This regulation
naturally caused loud outcry from officers who, after long service
in English regiments, had been transferred to Scottish corps on
promotion. A prorogation at the end of April brought relief to
the Commons for a time; but no sooner was it reassembled than the
petitions streamed in with redoubled volume. The House thus found
itself converted almost into a military tribunal. Appeal was made
to it on sundry points that were purely of military discipline,
and private soldiers sought to further their complaints by alleging
that their officers had spoken disrespectfully and disdainfully of
the House itself.[282]

[Sidenote: 1700.]

To do them justice, the Commons were woefully embarrassed by
these multitudinous petitions. Once they interfered actively by
taking up the cause of an officer, whom they knew, or should have
known, to be a bad character,[283] and threatened his colonel
with their vengeance unless the wrongs of the supposed sufferer
were redressed. The reply of the colonel was so disconcerting
as effectually to discourage further meddling of this kind.
Nevertheless the grievances urged by the men must many of them have
been just, while some of the allegations brought forward were most
scandalous. In one of the disbanded regiments, Colonel Leigh's,
it was roundly asserted that the officers had made all the men
drunk, and then caused them to sign receipts in full for pay which
had not been delivered to them.[284] Finally, in despair, a bill
was introduced to erect a Court of Judicature to decide between
officers and men. This measure, however, was speedily dropped, and
the more prudent course was adopted of appointing Commissioners to
inquire into the debt due to the Army.

[Sidenote: April 11.]

But meanwhile another question had been raised, which brought
matters into still greater confusion. A parliamentary inquiry as
to the disposition of the Irish forfeited estates had revealed the
fact that William had granted large shares of the same, not only in
reward and compensation to deserving officers, which was just and
right, but also to his discarded mistress, Elizabeth Villiers, and
to his Dutch favourites, Portland and Albemarle. The King's conduct
herein was the less defensible, inasmuch as the Irish government
had counted upon these estates to defray the expenses, still
unpaid, of the Irish war, and had thrown up its hands in despair
when it found that this resource was to be withheld.[285] The House
of Commons took up the question viciously, passed a sweeping and
shameful bill resuming all property that had belonged to the Crown
at the accession of James the Second, tacked it to a money-bill,
and sent it up to the Lords. The Upper House, to save a revolution,
yielded, after much protest, and passed the bill; and then none too
soon William sent this most mischievous House of Commons about its

[Sidenote: 1701, February 14.]

It was not until early in the following year that the King met the
Parliament, more distinctly even than the last a Tory Parliament,
which had been elected in the autumn. Once more he was obliged to
remind it that, amid the all-important questions of the English
succession and the Spanish succession, provision should be made
for paying the debts incurred through the war. There could be no
doubt about these debts, for the petitions which had formerly
dropped in by scores, now, in consequence of the interference with
the Irish grants, flowed in by hundreds. The Commons had flattered
themselves that they had disposed of this disagreeable business by
their appointment of commissioners, but they found that, owing to
their own faulty instructions, the commissioners were powerless
to deal with many of the cases presented to them. The complaints
of officers against the Government became almost as numerous as
those of men against officers, and every day came fresh evidence of
confusion of military business worse confounded by the imbecility
and mismanagement of the House.[286]

Where the matter would have ended, and whether it might not have
led ultimately to a dangerous military riot, it is difficult to
say. All, however, was cut short by the despatch of English troops
to the Low Countries, and the evident approach of war; for the
prospect of employment for every disbanded soldier and reduced
officer sufficed in itself to quiet a movement which might easily
have become formidable. Two more sessions such as those of 1698 and
1699 might have brought about a repetition of Cromwell's famous
scene with the Long Parliament.

It is, however, impossible to leave these few stormy years of
peace without taking notice of the apparent helplessness of the
military administration. The War Office was in truth in a state
of transition. The Secretary-at-War was still so exclusively
the secretary to the Commander-in-Chief that he accompanied him
on his campaigns; and it is difficult to say with whom, except
with the Commander-in-Chief, rested the responsibility for the
government of the Army. No ordinary standard should be used in
judging of a man who was confronted with so many difficulties as
King William the Third. His weak frame, the vast burden of his work
in the department of foreign affairs, his failure to understand
and his inability to sympathise with the English character, all
these causes conspired to make the task of governing England and
of commanding her Army too heavy for him. Still, making all
possible allowance, and accepting as true Sterne's pictures of his
popularity among the soldiers, it is difficult wholly to acquit him
of blame for the misconduct of the military administration. His
mind in truth was hardly well-suited for administrative detail.
He could handle a great diplomatic combination with consummate
skill and address, even as he could sketch the broad features of
a movement or of a campaign; but he was a statesman rather than
an administrator, a strategist rather than a general. In war his
impatience guided him to a succession of crushing defeats, in peace
his contempt for detail made his period of the command-in-chief one
of the worst in our history. That, amid the corruption which he
found in England, he should have despaired of finding an honest man
is pardonable enough, but he took no pains to cure that corruption,
preferring rather to conduct his business through his Dutch
favourites than through the English official channels. Finally, his
behaviour in the matter of the Irish forfeitures suggests that he
was not averse to jobbery himself, nor over-severe towards the same
weakness in others; and in truth the Dutch have no good reputation
in the matter of corruption. Stern, hard, and cold, he had little
feeling for England and Englishmen except as ministers to that
hostility for France which was his ruling passion. Probably he felt
more kindly towards the English soldier than towards any other
Englishman; the iron nature melted at the sight of the shattered
battalions at Steenkirk, and, if we are to believe Burnet, the cold
heart warmed sufficiently towards the red-coat to prompt him to
relieve the starving men, so shamefully neglected by Parliament,
out of his own pocket. On the whole, it may be said that no
commander was ever so well served by British troops, nor requited
that service, whatever his good intent, so unworthily and so ill.



A European quarrel over the succession to the Spanish throne,[287]
on the death of the imbecile King Charles the Second, had long been
foreseen by William, and had been provided against, as he hoped,
by a Partition Treaty in the year 1698. The arrangement then made
had been upset by the death of the Electoral Prince of Bavaria, and
had been superseded by a second Partition Treaty in March 1700. In
November of the same year King Charles the Second died, leaving a
will wherein Philip, Duke of Anjou, and second son of the Dauphin,
was named heir to the whole Empire of Spain. At this the second
Partition Treaty went for naught. Lewis the Fourteenth, after a
becoming interval of hesitation, accepted the Spanish crown for the
Duke of Anjou under the title of King Philip the Fifth.

[Sidenote: 1701.]

The Emperor at once entered a protest against the will, and Lewis
prepared without delay for a campaign in Italy. William, however,
for the present merely postponed his recognition of Philip the
Fifth; and his example was followed by the United Provinces.
Lewis, ever ready and prompt, at once took measures to quicken
the States to a decision. Several towns[288] in Spanish Flanders
were garrisoned, under previous treaties, by Dutch troops. Lewis
by a swift movement surrounded the whole of them, and having thus
secured fifteen thousand of the best men in the Dutch army, could
dictate what terms he pleased. William expected that the House of
Commons would be roused to indignation by this aggressive step,
but the House was far too busy with its own factious quarrels.
When, however, the States appealed to England for the ten thousand
men, which under the treaty of 1677 she was bound to furnish, both
Houses prepared faithfully to fulfil the obligation.

Then, as invariably happens in England, the work which Parliament
had undone required to be done again. Twelve battalions were
ordered to the Low Countries from Ireland, and directions were
issued for the levying of ten thousand recruits in England to take
their place. But, immediately after, came bad news from the West
Indies, and it was thought necessary to despatch thither four more
battalions from Ireland. Three regiments[289] were hastily brought
up to a joint strength of two thousand men, and shipped off. Thus,
within fifteen months of the disbandment of 1699, the garrison of
Ireland had been depleted by fifteen battalions out of twenty-one;
and four new battalions required to be raised immediately. Of
these, two, namely Brudenell's and Mountjoy's, were afterwards
disbanded, but two more, Lord Charlemont's and Lord Donegal's, are
still with us as the Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth of the Line.

In June the twelve battalions[290] were shipped off to Holland,
under the command of John, Earl of Marlborough, who since 1698
had been restored to the King's favour, and was to fill his place
as head of the European coalition and General of the confederate
armies in a fashion that no man had yet dreamed of. He was now
fifty years of age; so long had the ablest man in Europe waited
for work that was worthy of his powers; and now his time was come
at last. His first duties, however, were diplomatic; and during
the summer and autumn of 1701 he was engaged in negotiations with
Sweden, Prussia, and the Empire for the formation of a Grand
Alliance against France and Spain. Needless to say he brought all
to a successful issue by his inexhaustible charm, patience, and

[Sidenote: September.]

Still the attitude of the English people towards the contest
remained doubtful, until, on the death of King James the Second,
Lewis made the fatal mistake of recognising and proclaiming his son
as King of England. Then the smouldering animosity against France
leaped instantly into flame. William seized the opportunity to
dissolve Parliament, and was rewarded by the election of a House of
Commons more nearly resembling that which had carried him through
the first war to the Peace of Ryswick. He did not fail to rouse its
patriotism and self-respect by a stirring speech from the throne,
and obtained the ratification of his agreement with the Allies that
England should furnish a contingent of forty thousand men, eighteen
thousand of them to be British and the remainder foreigners. So the
country was committed to the War of the Spanish Succession.

It was soon decided that all regiments in pay must be increased at
once to war-strength, and that six more battalions, together with
five regiments of horse and three of dragoons, should be sent to
join the troops already in Holland. Then, as usual, there was a
rush to do in a hurry what should have been done at leisure; and
it is significant of the results of the late ill-treatment of the
Army that, though the country was full of unemployed soldiers, it
was necessary to offer three pounds, or thrice the usual amount of
levy-money, to obtain recruits. The next step was to raise fifteen
new regiments--Meredith's, Cootes', Huntingdon's, Farrington's,
Gibson's, Lucas's, Mohun's, Temple's, and Stringer's of foot;
Fox's, Saunderson's, Villiers', Shannon's, Mordaunt's and Holt's of
marines. Of the foot Gibson's and Farrington's had been raised in
1694, but the officers of Farrington's, if not of both regiments,
had been retained on half-pay, and, returning in a body, continued
the life of the regiment without interruption. Both are still with
us as the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth of the Line. Huntingdon's
and Lucas's also survive as the Thirty-third and Thirty-fourth,
and Meredith's and Cootes', which were raised in Ireland, as
the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-ninth, while the remainder were
disbanded at the close of the war. Of the marines, Saunderson's
had originally been raised in 1694, and eventually passed into the
Line as the Thirtieth Foot, followed by Fox's and Villiers' as the
Thirty-first and Thirty-second. Nothing now remained but to pass
the Mutiny Act, which was speedily done; and on the 5th of May,
just two months after the death of King William, the great work of
his life was continued by a formal declaration of war.

The field of operations which will chiefly concern us is mainly the
same as that wherein we followed the campaigns of King William. The
eastern boundary of the cock-pit must for a time be extended from
the Meuse to the Rhine, the northern from the Demer to the Waal,
and the southern limit must be carried from Dunkirk beyond Namur to
Bonn. But the reader should bear in mind that, in consequence of
the Spanish alliance, Spanish Flanders was no longer hostile, but
friendly, to France, so that the French frontier, for all practical
purposes, extended to the boundary of Dutch Brabant. Moreover, the
French, besides the seizure, already related, of the barrier-towns,
had contrived to occupy every stronghold on the Meuse except
Maestricht, from Namur to Venloo, so that practically they were
masters so far of the whole line of the river.

A few leagues below Venloo stands the fortified town of Grave,
and beyond Grave, on the parallel branch of the Rhine, stands the
fortified city of Nimeguen. A little to the east of Nimeguen, at
a point where the Rhine formerly forked into two streams, stood
Fort Schenk, a stronghold famous in the wars of Morgan and of Vere.
These three fortresses were the three eastern gates of the Dutch
Netherlands, commanding the two great waterways, doubly important
in those days of bad roads, which lead into the heart of the United

[Sidenote: 1702.]


  May 30
  June 10.

It is here that we must watch the opening of the campaign of 1702.
There were detachments of the French and of the Allies opposed
to each other on the Upper Rhine, on the Lower Rhine, and on the
Lower Scheldt; but the French grand army of sixty thousand men was
designed to operate on the Meuse, and the presence of a Prince of
the blood, the Duke of Burgundy, with old Marshal Boufflers to
instruct him, sufficiently showed that this was the quarter in
which France designed to strike her grand blow. Marlborough being
still kept from the field by other business, the command of the
Allied army on the Meuse was entrusted to Lord Athlone, better
known as that Ginkell who had completed the pacification of Ireland
in 1691. His force consisted of twenty-five thousand men, with
which he lay near Cleve, in the centre of the crescent formed by
Grave, Nimeguen, and Fort Schenk, watching under shelter of these
three fortresses the army of Boufflers, which was encamped some
twenty miles to south-east of him at Uden and Xanten. On the 10th
of June Boufflers made a sudden dash to cut off Athlone from
Nimeguen and Grave, a catastrophe which Athlone barely averted
by an almost discreditably precipitate retreat. Having reached
Nimeguen Athlone withdrew to the north of the Waal, while all
Holland trembled over the danger which had thus been so narrowly


  June 21
  July 2.


  July --.

Such was the position when Marlborough at last took the field,
after long grappling at the Hague with the difficulties which
were fated to dog him throughout the war. In England his position
was comparatively easy, for though Prince George of Denmark,
the consort of Queen Anne, was nominally generalissimo of all
forces by sea and land, yet Marlborough was Captain-General of
all the English forces at home and in Holland, and in addition
Master-General of the Ordnance. But it was only after considerable
dispute that he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the allied
forces, and then not without provoking much dissatisfaction
among the Dutch generals, and much jealousy in the Prince of
Nassau-Saarbrück and in Athlone, both of whom aspired to the
office. These obstacles overcome, there came the question of the
plan of campaign. Here again endless obstruction was raised. The
Dutch, after their recent fright, were nervously apprehensive for
the safety of Nimeguen, the King of Prussia was much disturbed
over his territory of Cleve, and all parties who had not interests
of their own to put forward made it their business to thwart the
Commander-in-Chief. With infinite patience Marlborough soothed
them, and at last, on the 2nd of July, he left the Hague for
Nimeguen, accompanied by two Dutch deputies, civilians, whose
duty it was to see that he did nothing imprudent. Arrived there
he concentrated sixty thousand men, of which twelve thousand were
British,[291] recrossed the Waal and encamped at Ober-Hasselt over
against Grave, within two leagues of the French. Then once more the
obstruction of his colleagues caused delay, and it was not until
the 26th of July that he could cross to the left bank of the Meuse.
"Now," he said to the Dutch deputies, as he pointed to the French
camp, "I shall soon rid you of these troublesome neighbours."


  July 22
  August 2.

Five swift marches due south brought his army over the Spanish
frontier by Hamont. Boufflers thereupon in alarm broke up his camp,
summoned Marshal Tallard from the Rhine to his assistance, crossed
the Meuse with all haste at Venloo, and pushed on at nervous speed
for the Demer. On the 2nd of August he lay between Peer and Bray,
his camping-ground ill-chosen, and his army worn out by a week
of desperate marching. Within easy striking distance, a mile or
two to the northward, lay Marlborough, his army fresh, ready,
and confident. He held the game in his hand; for an immediate
attack would have dealt the French as rude a buffet as they were
to receive later at Ramillies. But the Dutch deputies interposed;
these Dogberries were content to thank God that they were rid of a
rogue. So Boufflers was allowed to cross the Demer safely at Diest,
and a first great opportunity was lost.


  August --.

Marlborough, having drawn the French away from the Meuse, was now
at liberty to add the garrison of Maestricht to his field-force,
and to besiege the fortresses on the river. Boufflers, however,
emboldened by his escape, again advanced north in the hope of
cutting off a convoy of stores that was on its way to join the
Allies. Marlborough therefore perforce moved back to Hamont and
picked up his convoy; then, before Boufflers could divine his
purpose he had moved swiftly south, and thrown himself across
the line of the French retreat to the Demer. The French marshal
hurried southward with all possible haste, and came blundering
through the defiles before Hochtel on the road to Hasselt, only to
find Marlborough waiting ready for him at Helchteren. Once again
the game was in the Englishman's hand. The French were in great
disorder, their left in particular being hopelessly entangled in
marshy and difficult ground. Marlborough instantly gave the order
to advance, and by three o'clock the artillery of the two armies
was exchanging fire. At five Marlborough directed the whole of his
right to fall on the French left; but to his surprise and dismay,
the right did not move. A surly Dutchman, General Opdam, was in
command of the troops in question and, for no greater object than
to annoy the Commander-in-Chief, refused to execute his orders. So
a second great opportunity was lost.


  August --.

Still much might yet be won by a general attack on the next day;
and for this accordingly Marlborough at once made his preparations.
But when the time came the Dutch deputies interposed, entreating
him to defer the attack till the morrow morning. "By to-morrow
morning they will be gone," answered Marlborough; but all
remonstrance was unavailing. The attack was perforce deferred, the
French slipped away in the night, and though it was still possible
to cut up their rearguard with cavalry, a third great opportunity
was lost.


  August --.

Marlborough was deeply chagrined; but although with unconquerable
patience and tact he excused Opdam's conduct in his public
despatches, he could not deceive the troops, who were loud in
their indignation against both deputies and generals. There was
now nothing left but to reduce the fortresses on the Meuse, a
part of the army being detached for the siege while the remainder
covered the operations under the command of Marlborough. Even
over their favourite pastime of a siege, however, the Dutch were
dilatory beyond measure. "England is famous for negligence," wrote
Marlborough, "but if Englishmen were half as negligent as the
people here, they would be torn to pieces by Parliament."[292]
Venloo was at length invested on the 29th of August,[293] and after
a siege of eighteen days compelled to capitulate. The English
distinguished themselves after their own peculiar fashion. In the
assault on the principal defence General Cutts, who from his love
of a hot fire was known as the Salamander, gave orders that the
attacking force, if it carried the covered way, should not stop
there but rush forward and carry as much more as it could. It was a
mad design, criminally so in the opinion of officers who took part
in it,[294] but it was madly executed, with the result that the
whole fort was captured out of hand.


  Sept. 26
  October 7.


  Oct. --.

The reduction of Stevenswaert, Maseyk, and Ruremond quickly
followed; and the French now became alarmed lest Marlborough
should transfer operations to the Rhine. Tallard was therefore
sent back with a large force to Cologne and Bonn, while Boufflers,
much weakened by this and by other detachments, lay helpless at
Tongres. But the season was now far advanced, and Marlborough had
no intention of leaving Boufflers for the winter in a position
from which he might at any moment move out and bombard Maestricht.
So no sooner were his troops released by the capture of Ruremond
than he prepared to oust him. The French, according to their usual
practice, had barred the eastern entrance to Brabant by fortified
lines, which followed the line of the Geete to its head-waters, and
were thence carried across to that of the Mehaigne. In his position
at Tongres Boufflers lay midway between these lines and Liège, in
the hope of covering both; but after the fall of so many fortresses
on the Meuse he became specially anxious for Liège, and resolved to
post himself under its walls. He accordingly examined the defences,
selected his camping-ground, and on the 12th of October marched
up with his army to occupy it. Quite unconscious of any danger he
arrived within cannon-shot of his chosen position, and there stood
Marlborough, calmly awaiting him with a superior force. For the
fourth time Marlborough held his enemy within his grasp, but the
Dutch deputies, as usual, interposed to forbid an attack; and
Boufflers, a fourth time delivered, hurried away in the night to
his lines at Landen. Had he thrown himself into Liège Marlborough
would have made him equally uncomfortable by marching on the lines;
as things were the French marshal perforce left the city to its


  Oct. --.

The town of Liège, which was unfortified, at once opened its
gates to the Allies; and within a week Marlborough's batteries
were playing on the citadel. On the 23rd of October the citadel
was stormed, the English being first in the breach, and a few
days later Liège, with the whole line of the Meuse, had passed
into the hands of the Allies. Thus brilliantly, in spite of four
great opportunities marred by the Dutch, ended Marlborough's first
campaign. Athlone, like an honest man, confessed that as second in
command he had opposed every one of Marlborough's projects, and
that the success was due entirely to his incomparable chief. He at
any rate had an inkling that in Turenne's handsome Englishman there
had arisen one of the great captains of all time.

Nevertheless the French had not been without their consolations
in other quarters. Towards the end of the campaign the Elector of
Bavaria had declared himself for France against the Empire, and,
surprising the all-important position of Ulm on the Danube, had
opened communication with the French force on the Upper Rhine.
Villars, who commanded in that quarter, had seconded him by
defeating his opponent, Prince Lewis of Baden, at Friedlingen, and
had cleared the passages of the Black Forest; while Tallard had,
almost without an effort, possessed himself of Treves and Trarbach
on the Moselle. The rival competitors for the crown of Spain were
France and the Empire, and the centre of the struggle, as no one
saw more clearly than Marlborough, was for the present moving
steadily towards the territory of the Empire.

While Marlborough was engaged in his operations on the Meuse, ten
thousand English and Dutch, under the Duke of Ormonde and Admiral
Sir George Rooke, had been despatched to make a descent upon Cadiz.
The expedition was so complete a failure that there is no object in
dwelling on it. Rooke would not support Ormonde, and Ormonde was
not strong enough to master Rooke; landsmen quarrelled with seamen,
and English with Dutch. No discipline was maintained, and after
some weeks of feeble operations and shameful scenes of indiscipline
and pillage, the commanders found that they could do no more
than return to England. They were fortunate enough, however, on
their way, to fall in with the plate-fleet at Vigo, of which they
captured twenty-five galleons containing treasure worth a million
sterling. Comforted by this good fortune Rooke and Ormonde sailed
homeward, and dropped anchor safely in Portsmouth harbour.

Meanwhile a mishap, which Marlborough called an accident, had gone
near to neutralise all the success of the past campaign. At the
close of operations the Earl, together with the Dutch deputies, had
taken ship down the Meuse, with a guard of twenty-five men on board
and an escort of fifty horse on the bank. In the night the horse
lost their way, and the boat was surprised and overpowered by a
French partisan with a following of marauders. The Dutch deputies
produced French passes, but Marlborough had none and was therefore
a prisoner. Fortunately his servant slipped into his hand an old
pass that had been made out for his brother Charles Churchill.
With perfect serenity Marlborough presented it as genuine, and was
allowed to go on his way, the French contenting themselves with
the capture of the guard and the plunder of the vessel, and never
dreaming of the prize that they had let slip. The news of his
escape reached the Hague, where on his arrival rich and poor came
out to welcome him, men and women weeping for joy over his safety.
So deep was the fascination exerted on all of his kind by this
extraordinary man.

A few days later he returned to England, where a new Parliament
had already congratulated Queen Anne on the retrieving of England's
honour by the success of his arms. The word retrieving was warmly
resented, but though doubtless suggested by unworthy and factious
animosity against the memory of William, it was strictly true.
The nation felt that it was not in the fitness of things that
Englishmen should be beaten by Frenchmen, and they rejoiced to see
the wrong set right. Nevertheless party spirit found a still meaner
level when Parliament extended to Rooke and Ormonde the same vote
of thanks that they tendered to Marlborough. This precious pair
owed even this honour to the wisdom and good sense of their far
greater comrade, for they would have carried their quarrel over the
expedition within the walls of Parliament, had not Marlborough told
them gently that the whole of their operations were indefensible
and that the less they called attention to themselves the better.
The Queen, with more discernment, created Marlborough a Duke and
settled on him a pension of £5000 a year. With the exaggerated
bounty of a woman she wished Parliament to attach that sum
forthwith permanently to the title, but this the Commons most
properly refused to do. Moreover, the House was engaged just then
on a work of greater utility to the Army than the granting of
pensions even to such a man as Marlborough.

[Sidenote: Nov 11.]

On the 11th of November, the day before the public thanksgiving
for the first campaign, the Committee of Public Accounts presented
its report on the books of Lord Ranelagh, the paymaster-general.
Ranelagh, according to their statement, had evinced great
unwillingness to produce his accounts, and had met their inquiries
with endless shuffling and evasion. In his office, too, an unusual
epidemic of sudden illness, and an unprecedented multitude
of pressing engagements, had rendered his clerks strangely
inaccessible to examination. The commissioners, however, had
persisted, and were now able to tell a long story of irregular
book-keeping, false accounts, forged vouchers, and the clumsiest
and most transparent methods of embezzlement and fraud.

Ranelagh defended himself against their charges not without
spirit and efficiency, but the commissioners declined to
discuss the matter with him. The Commons spent two days in
examination of proofs, and then without hesitation voted that the
Paymaster-General had been guilty of misappropriation of public
money. It was thought by many at the time that Ranelagh was very
hardly used; and it is certain that factious desire to discredit
the late Government played a larger part than common honesty in
this sudden zeal against corruption. Whig writers[295] assert
without hesitation that there was no foundation whatever for the
charges; and it is indubitable that many of the conclusions of the
commissioners were strained and exaggerated. It is beyond question
too that much of the financial confusion was due to the House of
Commons, which had voted large sums without naming the sources from
whence they should be raised, and where it had named the source
had absurdly over-estimated the receipts. But it is none the less
certain that Ranelagh's accounts were in disorder, and that, though
his patrimony was small, he was reputed to have spent more money on
buildings, gardens, and furniture than any man in England. Without
attempting to calculate the measure of his guilt, it cannot be
denied that his dismissal was for the good of the Army.

Had the House of Commons followed up this preliminary inquiry
by further investigation much good might have been done, but
its motives not being pure its actions could not be consistent.
Ranelagh, for instance, had made one statement in self-defence
which gravely inculpated the Secretary-at-War; but the House
showed no alacrity to turn against that functionary. Very soon
the question of the accounts degenerated into a wrangle with the
House of Lords; and in March 1704 the Commons were still debating
what should be done with Ranelagh, while poor Mitchelburne of
Londonderry, a prisoner in the Fleet for debt, was petitioning
piteously for the arrears due to him since 1689.

[Sidenote: 1705, May 10.]

[Sidenote: Commission dated April 20, 1704.]

It will, however, be convenient to anticipate matters a little,
and to speak at once of the reforms that were brought about by
this scandal in the paymaster's office. First, on the expulsion of
Ranelagh the office was divided and two paymasters-general were
appointed, one for the troops abroad, the other for those at home.
Secondly, two new officers were established, with salaries of £1500
a year and the title of Controllers of the Accounts of the Army,
Sir Joseph Tredenham and William Duncombe being the first holders
of the office. Lastly, the Secretary-at-War definitely ceased to
be mere secretary to the Commander-in-Chief, and became the civil
head of the War Department. In William's time he had taken the
field with the King, but from henceforth he stayed at home; while a
secretary to the Commander-in-Chief, not yet a military secretary,
accompanied the general on active service on a stipend of ten
shillings a day. William Blathwayt, who had been Secretary-at-War
since the days of Charles the Second, was got rid of, with no
disadvantage to the service, and his place was taken by the
brilliant but unprofitable Henry St. John.


[Sidenote: 1703.]

The force voted by Parliament for the campaign of 1703 consisted,
as in the previous year, of eighteen thousand British and
twenty-two thousand Germans. There had been much talk of an
increase of the Army, and indeed Parliament had agreed to make
an augmentation subject to certain conditions to be yielded by
the Dutch; but when the session closed no provision had been made
for it, and the details required to be settled, as indeed such
details generally were, by Marlborough himself. Four new British
regiments formed part of the augmentation, and accordingly five
new battalions were raised, which, as they were all disbanded
subsequently, remain known to us only by the names of their
colonels, Gorges, Pearce, Evans, Elliott, and Macartney. Finally,
small contingents from a host of petty German states brought the
total of mercenaries to twenty-eight thousand, which, added to
twenty thousand British, made up a nominal total of fifty thousand
men in the pay of England. But none of these additional troops
could take the field until late in the campaign.

Such efforts were not confined to the side of the Allies. The
French successes to the eastward of the Rhine had encouraged them
to projects for a grand campaign, so their army too was increased,
and every nerve was strained to make the preparations as complete
as possible. The grand army under Villeroy and Boufflers, numbering
fifty-four battalions and one hundred and three squadrons, was
designed to recapture the strong places on the Meuse and to
threaten the Dutch frontier. The frontiers towards Ostend and
Antwerp were guarded by flying columns under the Marquis of Bedmar,
Count de la Mothe, and the Spanish Count Tserclaes de Tilly. The
entire force of the Bourbons in the Low Countries, including
garrisons and field-army, included ninety thousand men in infantry
alone.[296] With such a force to occupy the Allies in Flanders and
with Marshal Tallard to hold Prince Lewis of Baden in check at
Stollhofen on the Upper Rhine, Marshal Villars was to push through
the Black Forest and join hands with the Elector of Bavaria.
Finally, the joint forces of France and Savoy were to advance
through the Tyrol to the valley of the Inn and combine with Villars
and the Elector for a march on Vienna.


  March --.


  May --.

The design was grand enough in conception; but Marlborough too had
formed plans for striking at the enemy in a vital part. A campaign
of sieges was not to his mind, for he conceived that to bring
his enemy to action and beat him was worth the capture of twenty
petty fortresses; and accordingly on his arrival at the Hague
he advocated immediate invasion of French Flanders and Brabant.
But the project was too bold for the Dutch, whose commanders had
changed and changed for the worse. Old Athlone was dead, and in
his stead had risen up three new generals--Overkirk, who had few
faults except mediocrity and age; Slangenberg, who combined ability
with a villainous temper; and Opdam, who was alike cantankerous
and incapable. Very reluctantly Marlborough was compelled to
undertake the siege of Bonn, he himself commanding the besiegers,
while Overkirk handled the covering army. Notwithstanding Dutch
procrastination, Marlborough's energy had succeeded in bringing
the Allies first into the field; and before Villeroy could strike
a blow to hinder it, Bonn had capitulated, and Marlborough had
rejoined Overkirk and was ready for active operations in the field.

The Duke now reverted to his original scheme of carrying the war
into the heart of Brabant and West Flanders, and with this view
ordered every preparation to be made for an attack on Antwerp.
Cohorn, the famous engineer, was to distract the French by the
capture of Ostend on the west side, a second force was to be
concentrated under Opdam at Bergen-op-Zoom to the north, while
Marlborough was to hold Villeroy in check in the east until all was

The Duke's own share of the operations was conducted with his usual
skill. Pressing back Villeroy into the space between the heads of
the Jaar and the Mehaigne he kept him in continual suspense as to
whether his design lay eastward or westward, against Huy or against
Antwerp. Unfortunately, in an evil hour he imparted to Cohorn that
he thought he might manage both.[297] The covetous old engineer
had laid his own plans for filling his pockets; and no sooner did
he hear of Marlborough's idea of attacking Huy than, fearful lest
Villeroy should interrupt his private schemes for making money, he
threw the capture of Ostend to the winds, and marched into West
Flanders to levy contributions before it should be too late.


  June --.

Still Marlborough was patient. He had hoped for Ostend first
and Antwerp afterwards, but a reversal of the arrangement would
serve. Cohorn having filled his pockets returned to the east of
the Scheldt at Stabrock; Spaar, another Dutch general, took up
his position at Hulst; Opdam remained at Bergen-op-Zoom; and thus
the three armies lay in wait round the north and west of Antwerp,
ready to move forward as soon as Marlborough should come up on the
south-east. The Duke did not keep them long waiting. On the night
of the 26th of June he suddenly broke up his camp, crossed the
Jaar, and made for the bridge over the Demer at Hasselt. Villeroy,
his eyes now thoroughly opened, hastened with all speed for Diest
in order to be before him; and the two armies raced for Antwerp.
The Duke had hastened his army forward on its way by great
exertions for six days, when the news reached him that Cohorn,
unable to resist the temptation of making a little more money, had
made a second raid into West Flanders, leaving Opdam in the air
on the other side of the Scheldt. The Dutch were jubilant over
Cohorn's supposed success, but Marlborough took a very different
view. "If Opdam be not on his guard," he said, "he will be beaten
before we can reach him"; and he despatched messengers instantly
to give Opdam warning. As usual he was perfectly right. Villeroy
hit the blot at once, and detached a force under Boufflers to
take advantage of it. Opdam, in spite of Marlborough's warning,
took no precautions, and finding himself surprised took to his
heels, leaving Slangenberg to save his army. Thus the whole of
Marlborough's combinations were broken up.[298]

The quarrels of the Dutch generals among themselves left no hope
of success in further operations. Failing to persuade the Dutch to
undertake anything but petty sieges he returned to the Meuse, and
after the capture of Huy and Limburg closed the campaign. Thus a
second year was wasted through the perversity of the Dutch.


  Sept. --.

Meanwhile things had gone ill with the Grand Alliance in other
quarters. The King of Portugal had indeed been gained for the
Austrian side and had offered troops for active operations in
Spain, an event which will presently lead us to the Peninsula.
The Duke of Savoy again had been detached from the French party,
and the intended march over the Tyrol had been defeated by the
valour of the Tyrolese; but elsewhere the French arms had been
triumphant. Early in March Villars had seized the fort and bridge
of Kehl on the Rhine, had traversed the Black Forest, joined hands
with the Elector of Bavaria, and in spite of bitter quarrels with
him had won in his company the victory of Hochstädt. Tallard too,
though he took the field but late, had captured Old Brisach on
the Upper Rhine, defeated the Prince of Hessen-Cassel at Spires,
and recaptured Landau. The communications between the Rhine and
the Danube were thus secured, and the march upon Vienna could be
counted on for the next year. With her armies defeated in her
front, and the Hungarian revolt eating at her vitals from within,
the situation of the Empire was well-nigh desperate.

[Sidenote: [1697.]]

Marlborough, for his part, had made up his mind to resign the
command, for he saw no prospect of success while his subordinates
systematically disobeyed his orders. "Our want of success,"
he wrote, "is due to the want of discipline in the army, and
until this is remedied I see no prospect of improvement."[299]
Nevertheless a short stay in England seems to have restored him
to a more contented frame of mind, while even before the close
of the campaign he had begun to plan a great stroke for the
ensuing year, and to discuss it with the one able general in the
Imperial service, Prince Eugene of Savoy. Frail and delicate in
constitution, Eugene had originally been destined for the Church,
and for a short time had been known as the Abbé of Savoy, but he
had early shown a preference for the military profession and had
offered his sword first to Lewis the Fourteenth. It was refused.
Then Eugene turned to the Imperial Court, and after ten years of
active service against Hungarians, Turks, and French, found himself
at the age of thirty a field-marshal. At thirty-four he had won the
great victory of Zenta against the Turks, and in the War of the
Succession had made himself dreaded in Italy by the best of the
French marshals. He was now forty years of age, having spent fully
half of his life in war, and fully a quarter of it in high command.
Marlborough was fifty-three, and until two years before had never
commanded an army in chief.

Marlborough's design was nothing less than to commit the Low
Countries to the protection of the Dutch, and, leaving the old seat
of war with all its armies and fortresses in rear, to carry the
campaign into the heart of Germany. The two great captains decided
that it could and must be done; but it would be no easy task to
persuade the timid States-General and a factious House of Commons
to a plan which was bold almost to rashness.

Marlborough began his share of the work in England forthwith.
Without dropping a hint of his great scheme he contrived to put
some heart into the English ministers, and so into their supporters
in Parliament. The Houses met on the 9th of November, and the
Commons, after just criticism of the want of concert shown by the
Allies, cheerfully voted money and men for the augmented force
that had been proposed in the previous session. Then came a new
difficulty which had been added to Marlborough's many troubles in
the autumn. The treaty lately concluded with Portugal required
the despatch of seven thousand troops to the Peninsula; and these
it was decided to draw from the best British regiments in the
Low Countries.[300] It was therefore necessary to raise one new
regiment of dragoons and seven new battalions of foot,[301] a task
which was no light one from the increasing difficulty of obtaining

[Sidenote: 1704.]

[Sidenote: January 15.]

But while the recruiting officers were busily beating their drums,
and convicted felons were awaiting the decision which should send
them either in a cart to Tyburn or in a transport to the Low
Countries, the indefatigable Marlborough crossed the North Sea in
the bitterest weather to see how the Dutch preparations were going
forward. He found them in a state which caused him sad misgivings
for the coming campaign, but he managed to stir up the authorities
to increase supplies of men and money, and suggested operations
on the Moselle for the next campaign. The same phrase, operations
on the Moselle, was passed on to the King of Prussia and to other
allies, and was repeated to the Queen and ministers on his return
to England. Finally, early in April the Duke embarked for the Low
Countries once more in company with his brother Charles, with
general instructions in his pocket to concert measures with Holland
for the relief of the Emperor.


  April 24
   May 5.


  May --.

Three weeks were then spent in gaining the consent of the
States-General to operations on the Moselle, a consent which the
Duke only extorted by threatening to march thither with the British
troops alone, and in consultation with the solid but slow commander
of the Imperial forces, Prince Lewis of Baden. To be quit of Dutch
obstruction Marlborough asked only for the auxiliary troops in the
pay of the Dutch, and obtained for his brother Charles the rank
of General with the command of the British infantry. In the last
week of April the British regiments began to stream out of their
winter quarters to a bridge that had been thrown over the Meuse
at Ruremonde, and a fortnight later sixteen thousand of them made
rendezvous at Bedbourgh. Not a man of them knew whither he was
bound, for it was only within the last fortnight that the Duke had
so much as hinted his destination even to the Emperor or to Prince
Lewis of Baden.

It is now time to glance at the enemy, who had entered on the
campaign with the highest hopes of success. The dispositions of
the French were little altered from those of the previous year.
Villeroy with one army lay within the lines of the Mehaigne;
Tallard with another army was in the vicinity of Strasburg, his
passage of the Rhine secured by the possession of Landau and Old
Brisach; and the Count of Coignies was stationed with ten thousand
men on the Moselle, ready to act in Flanders or in Germany as
occasion might demand. At Ulm lay the Elector of Bavaria and his
French allies under Marsin, who had replaced Villars during the
winter. The whole of this last force, forty-five thousand men in
all, stood ready to march to the head-waters of the Danube, and
there unite with the French that should be pushed through the Black
Forest to meet it. The Elector, by the operations of the past
campaign, had mastered the line of the Danube from its source to
Linz within the Austrian frontier; he held also the keys of the
country between the Iller and the Inn; and he asked only for a
French reinforcement to enable him to march straight on Vienna.

To the passage of this reinforcement there was no obstacle but a
weak Imperial force under Prince Lewis of Baden, which made shift
to guard the country from Philipsburg southward to Lake Constance.
The principal obstruction was certain fortified lines, of which the
reader should take note, on the right bank of the Rhine, which ran
from Stollhofen south-eastward to Bühl, and, since they covered
the entrance into Baden from the north-west, were naturally most
jealously guarded by Prince Lewis. From that point southward the
most important points were held by weak detachments of regular
troops, but a vast extent of the most difficult country was
entrusted to raw militia and peasantry. To escort a reinforcement
successfully through the defiles from Fribourg to Donaueschingen
and to return with the escort in safety was no easy task, but it
was adroitly accomplished by Tallard within the space of twelve
days. The feat was lauded at the time with ridiculous extravagance,
for, apart from the fact that Prince Lewis of Baden was remarkable
neither for swiftness nor for vigilance, Tallard had hustled his
unhappy recruits forward so unmercifully, along bad roads and
in bad weather, that the greater part of them perished by the
way.[302] Nevertheless the French had scored the first point of the
game and were proportionately elated, while poor Tallard's head
was, to his great misfortune, completely turned.


  May --.

Marlborough meanwhile had begun his famous march, the direction
lying up the Rhine towards Bonn. On the very day after he started
he received urgent messages from Overkirk that Villeroy had crossed
the Meuse and was menacing Huy, and from Prince Lewis that Tallard
was threatening the lines of Stollhofen, both commanders of course
entreating him to return to their assistance. Halting for one day
to reassure them, the Duke told Overkirk that Villeroy had no
designs against any but himself, and that the sooner reinforcements
were sent to join the British the better. Prince Lewis he answered
by giving him a rendezvous where his Hessians and Danes might also
unite with his own army. This done he continued his march.


  May --.


  May --.


  May 21
  June 1.


  May --.


  May 23
  June 3.

Marlborough's information was good. Villeroy had received strict
orders to follow him to the Moselle, the French Court being
convinced that he meditated operations in that quarter. The Duke
stepped out of his way to inspect Bonn in order to encourage this
belief, and then pushed on in all haste to Coblentz with his
cavalry only, leaving his brother to follow him with the infantry,
while the artillery and baggage was carried up the Rhine to Mainz.
Once again all his movements seemed to point to operations on the
Moselle, unless indeed (for the French never knew what such a
man might do next) he designed to double back down the river for
operations near the sea. But wherever he might be going he did
not linger, but crossing the Rhine and Moselle pushed constantly
forward with his cavalry. Starting always before dawn and bringing
his men into camp by noon he granted them no halt until he reached
the suburbs of Mainz at Cassel. Here he improved his time by
requesting the Landgrave of Hesse to send the artillery, which he
had prepared for a campaign on the Moselle, to Mannheim. Again the
French were puzzled. Was Alsace, and not the Moselle, to be the
scene of the next campaign; and if not, why was the English general
bridging the Rhine at Philipsburg, and why was his artillery moving
up the river? Tallard moved up to Kehl, crossed to the left bank
of the Rhine and took up a position on the Lauter, and Villeroy
sent to Flanders for reinforcements; but meanwhile Marlborough had
crossed the Main, and still, struggling on by rapid and distressing
marches over execrable roads, was within three more days across the
Neckar at Ladenburg and out of their reach.


  May 26
  June 6.


  May 30
  June 10.


  June --.

His plans were now manifest enough, but it was too late to catch
him. He therefore halted two days by Ladenburg to give orders for
the concentration of the troops that were on march to join him
from the Rhine, and then striking south-eastward across the great
bend of the Neckar, traversed the river for the second time at
Lauffen, and by the 10th of June was at Mondelheim. Halting here
for three days to allow his infantry to come nearer to him, he was
joined by Prince Eugene whom he now met for the first time in the
flesh. The Prince inspected the English horse and was astonished
at the condition of the troops after their long and trying march.
"I have heard much," he said, "of the English cavalry, and find
it to be the best appointed and finest that I have ever seen.
The spirit which I see in the looks of your men is an earnest of
victory." Hither three days later came also a less welcome guest,
Prince Lewis of Baden; and the three commanders discussed their
plans for the future. Marlborough in vain tried to keep Eugene for
his colleague, but it was ultimately decided that Eugene should
take command in the lines of Stollhofen, to prevent the French if
possible from crossing the Rhine, and to follow them at all hazards
if they should succeed in crossing, while Baden should remain on
the Danube and share the command of the allied army by alternate
days with Marlborough.


  June --.


  June --.


  June --.

Then the march was resumed south-eastward upon Ulm; and after one
day's halt to perfect the arrangements for the junction with Prince
Louis, the army reached the mountain-chain that bounded the valley
of the Danube. The Pass of Geislingen, through which its road
lay, could not in the most favourable circumstances be passed by
any considerable number of troops in less than a day, and was now
rendered almost impracticable by incessant heavy rain. To add to
Marlborough's troubles the States-General, learning that Villeroy
was astir, became frightened for their own safety and entreated
for the return of their auxiliary troops. The Duke, to calm them,
ordered boats to be ready to convey forces down the Rhine, and went
quietly on with his own preparations, establishing magazines to the
north of the Danube, and not forgetting to send a reinforcement of
foreign troops to Eugene. At last the news came that Baden's army
was come within reach; the British cavalry plunged into the defile,
and two days later the junction of the two forces was effected at


  June --.

The joint armies presently advanced to within eight miles of Ulm,
whereupon the Elector of Bavaria withdrew to an entrenched camp
further down the Danube between Lavingen and Dillingen. The Allies
therefore turned northward to await the arrival of the British
infantry at Gingen; for Charles Churchill, with the foot and the
artillery, had found it difficult to march at great speed in the
perpetual pouring rain. His troubles had begun from the moment when
Marlborough had gone ahead with the cavalry from Coblentz. The
ascent of a single hill in that mountainous country often cost the
artillery[303] a whole day's work, and would have cost more but for
the indefatigable exertions of the officers.[304] Marlborough's
care for the comfort and discipline of these troops was incessant.
A large supply of shoes, for instance, was ready at Heidelberg to
make good defects, while constant injunctions in his letters to his
brother testify to his anxiety that nothing should be omitted to
lighten the burden of the march. Finally, anticipating Wellington
in the Peninsula, he insisted that the men should pay honestly
for everything that they took, and took care to provide money to
enable them to do so. Such a thing had never been known in all the
innumerable campaigns of Germany.


  June --.


  June 20
  July 1.

The joint armies after the arrival of Churchill amounted to
ninety-six battalions, two hundred and two squadrons, and
forty-eight guns; but a large contingent of Danish cavalry was
still wanting, and not all Marlborough's entreaties could prevail
with its commander, the Duke of Würtemberg, to hasten his march.
Nevertheless it was necessary to move at once. Marlborough's
objective had from the first been Donauwörth, which would give
him at once a bridge over the Danube and a place of arms for
the invasion of Bavaria. His move northward had revealed his
intentions; and the Elector of Bavaria had detached Count d'Arco
with ten thousand foot and twenty-five hundred horse to occupy the
Schellenberg, a commanding height which covers Donauwörth on the
north bank of the Danube. Marlborough pressed Baden hard to attack
this detachment before it could be reinforced; and accordingly the
army broke up from Gingen, and advancing parallel to the Danube
encamped on the 1st of July at Amerdingen.


  June 21
  July 2.

The next day was Marlborough's turn for command. It had not yet
dawned when Quartermaster-General Cadogan was up and away with a
party of cavalry, pioneers, and pontoons. At three o'clock marched
six thousand men from the forty-five battalions of the left
wing,[305] three regiments of Imperial Grenadiers, and thirty-five
squadrons of horse. At five o'clock the rest of the army, excepting
the artillery, followed in two columns along the main road towards
a height that overhangs the river Wörnitz between Obermorgen and
Wörnitzstein. By eight o'clock Cadogan was at Obermorgen, had
driven back the enemy's picquets, and was engaged in marking out a
camp; and at nine appeared the Duke himself, who, taking Cadogan's
escort, went forward to reconnoitre the position.

The Schellenberg, as its name implies, is a bell-shaped hill,
some two miles in circumference at the base and with a flat top
about half a mile wide, whereon was pitched the enemy's camp.
On the south side, where the hill falls down to the Danube, the
ascent is steeper than elsewhere; on the north-west the slope is
gradual and about five hundred yards in length. To the south-west
the hill joins the town of Donauwörth, from the outworks of which
an entrenchment had been carried for nearly two miles round the
summit to the river. This defence was strongest and most complete
to the north-east, where a wood gave shelter for the formation of
an attacking force; and at this point was stationed a battery of
cannon. To the north-west the works though incomplete were well
advanced, and were strengthened by an old fort wherein the enemy
had mounted guns. Marlborough, as he conned the position, could see
that the enemy before him was so disposed as if expecting an attack
on the northern and western sides. But looking to his right beyond
Donauwörth, and across the Danube, he could see preparations of
a more ominous kind, a camp with tents pitched on both wings and
a blank space in the centre, sure sign that cavalry was already
present and that infantry was expected. Closer and closer he drew
to the hill, Prince Lewis and others presently joining him; and
then puffs of white smoke began to shoot out from various points in
the enemy's works as his batteries opened fire.

Finishing his survey undisturbed, Marlborough turned back to meet
the advanced detachment of the army; for it was plain to him
that the Schellenberg must be carried at once before more of the
enemy's troops could reach it. So bad, however, was the state of
the roads, that though the distance was but twelve miles, the
detachment did not reach the Wörnitz until noon. It was then halted
to give the men rest, for there were still three miles of bad road
before them, and to allow the main body to come up. The cavalry
was sent forward to cut fascines in the wood, pontoon bridges
were thrown across the Wörnitz, and at three o'clock the advanced
detachment passed the river. While this was going forward a letter
arrived from Eugene that Villeroy and Tallard were preparing to
send strong reinforcements to the Elector; and this intelligence
decided Marlborough to take the work in hand forthwith. Without
waiting for the rear of the main body to arrive he drew out sixteen
battalions only, five of them British,[306] and led them and the
advanced detachment straight on to the attack. The infantry of the
detachment was formed in four lines, the English[307] being on the
extreme left by the edge of the wood, and the cavalry was drawn up
in two lines behind them. Eight battalions more were detailed to
support the detachment or to deploy to its right if need should be,
and yet eight more were held in reserve.

It was six o'clock in the evening before Marlborough gave the order
to attack. Every foot-soldier took a fascine from the cavalry, and
the columns, headed by two parties of grenadiers from the First
Guards under Lord Mordaunt and Colonel Munden, marched steadily
up the hill. The hostile batteries at once opened a cross-fire of
round shot from the intrenchment and from the walls of Donauwörth,
but the columns pressed on unheeding to within eighty yards of the
intrenchment before they fired a shot. Then the enemy continued the
fire with musketry and grape, and the slaughter became frightful.
The grenadiers of the Guards fell down right and left, and very
soon few of them were left. Still Mordaunt and Munden, the one with
his skirts torn to shreds and the other with his hat riddled by
bullets, stood up unhurt and kept cheering them on. General Goor, a
gallant foreigner who commanded the attack, was shot dead, and many
other officers fell with him under that terrible fire. The columns
staggered, wavered, recovered, and went on. But now came an unlucky
accident. In front of the intrenchment ran a hollow way worn in
the hill by rain, into which the foremost men, mistaking it for
the intrenchment, threw down their fascines, so that on reaching
the actual lines they found themselves unable to cross them. Thus
checked they suffered so heavily that they began to give way;
and the enemy rushed out rejoicing to finish the defeat with the
bayonet. But the English Guards, though they had suffered terribly,
stood immovable as rocks, the Royal Scots and the Welshmen of the
Twenty-third stood by them, and the counter-attack after desperate
fighting was beaten back.

Meanwhile the enemy, finding the western face of the hill
unthreatened, withdrew the whole of their force from thence to
the point of assault. Their fire increased; the attacking columns
wavered once more, and General Lumley was obliged to move up
the entire first line of cavalry into the thick of the fire to
support them. So the fight swayed for another half-hour, when the
remainder of the Imperial army at last appeared on Marlborough's
right, and finding the intrenchments deserted passed over them
at once with trifling loss. Repulsing a charge of cavalry which
was launched against them, they hurried on and came full on the
flank of the French and Bavarians; yet even so this gallant enemy
would not give way, and the allied infantry still failed to carry
the intrenchment. Lumley now ordered the Scots Greys to dismount
and attack on foot; but before they could advance the infantry
by a final effort at last forced their way in. Then the Greys
remounted with all haste and galloped forward to the pursuit,
while Marlborough, halting the exhausted foot, sent the rest of
the cavalry to join the Greys. The rout was now complete. Hundreds
of men were cut off before they could reach Donauwörth, many were
driven into the Danube, many more, flying to a temporary bridge
to cross the river, broke it down by their weight and miserably
perished. Of twelve thousand men not more than one-fourth rejoined
the Elector's army.

[Illustration: SCHELLENBERG

  June 21^{st}
  ----------- 1704
  July 2^{nd}

  _To face page 426_

The whole affair had lasted little more than an hour and a half,
but the loss of the Allies in overcoming so gallant a defence cost
them no fewer than fourteen hundred killed and three thousand eight
hundred wounded. The losses of the British[308] were very heavy,
amounting to fifteen hundred of all ranks, or probably more than a
third of the numbers engaged. The First Guards, Royal Scots, and
the Twenty-third suffered most severely, every battalion of them
having lost two hundred men or more, while the Guards at the close
of the day could count but five officers unhurt out of seventeen.
Of these five, wonderful to say, were Mordaunt and Munden, the
one with three bullets through his clothes, the other with five
through his hat, but neither of them scratched; but of eighty-two
men whom they led to the assault only twenty-one returned. When it
is remembered that the main body had been on foot fourteen hours,
and the advanced detachment for sixteen hours, the exhaustion of
the troops at the end of the day may be imagined. Nevertheless
Donauwörth was taken and the enemy was not only beaten but


  July --.

The Elector of Bavaria on hearing the news broke down the bridge
over the Lech, and entrenched himself at Augsburg. Marlborough
on his part crossed the Danube, and set himself to cut off the
Elector's supplies. The passage of the Danube he severed at
Donauwörth, the road to the north by the capture of Rain, and that
to the north-east by an advance south-eastward to Aichach, from
which he presently moved on to Friedberg, hemming his enemy tightly
into his entrenched camp. The Elector was at first inclined to come
to terms, but hearing that the French were about to reinforce him
he thought himself bound in honour to hold out. Marlborough was
therefore compelled to put pressure on him by ravaging the country,
a work which his letters show that he detested but felt obliged in
duty to perform. The destruction was carried to the very walls of
Munich; indeed, nothing but want of artillery, for which Prince
Lewis of Baden was responsible, prevented an attack upon the city
itself.[309] The prospect of the arrival of a French army gave the
Duke little disquiet: if Bavaria were to become the seat of war,
so much the worse for Bavaria and for the cause of the Bourbons.
So after sending thirty squadrons to reinforce Eugene, he prepared
in the interim for the siege of Ingolstadt, which would give him
command of the Danube from Ulm to Passau, and free access at all
times into Bavaria. The Elector's country should feel the stress of
war at any rate, and if fortune were propitious the French might
feel it also. It is now time to return to the movements of those


[Sidenote: 1704.]


  May 29
  June 9.


  June 21
  July 2.


  July -----.


  July 23
  August 3.

We left Villeroy with his army in the Low Countries endeavouring
not very successfully to obey the orders which he had received, to
watch Marlborough. On the 29th of May, when the Duke had already
crossed the Neckar and fixed his quarters at Mondelheim, Villeroy
was still at Landau waiting for him to repass the Rhine. On the
following day, however, he took counsel with Tallard, with the
result that, while Marlborough was marching to the attack of the
Schellenberg the French armies were streaming across the Rhine
at Kehl. Tallard then moved south towards Fribourg, close to
which he received intelligence of the Elector's defeat. Thereupon
both he and Villeroy entered the defiles of the Black Forest,
uniting at Horneberg, from which point Tallard pushed on eastward
alone. Advancing to Villingen he wasted five precious days in an
unsuccessful effort to take that town, a mistake which was not
lost on Marlborough and Eugene. Called to his senses by an urgent
message from the Elector, Tallard at last marched on by the south
bank of the Danube, encamped before Augsburg on the 23rd of July,
and three days later effected his junction with the Elector and
Marsin a few miles to the north of the city.


  July 26
  August 6.

Tallard was no sooner fairly on his way than Eugene, leaving a
small garrison to hold the lines of Stollhofen, hurried on parallel
with him along the north bank of the Danube, reaching Hochstädt on
the day of the enemy's junction at Augsburg. Marlborough meanwhile,
at the news of Tallard's arrival, had fallen back northward in the
direction of Neuburg on the Danube, and was lying at Schobenhausen
some twelve miles to the south of the river. Hither came Eugene
from Hochstädt to concert operations. The French and Bavarians
were united to the south of the Danube; the Allies were divided on
both sides of the river. If Marlborough fell back to Neuburg to
join Eugene, the enemy could pass the Lech and enter Bavaria; if
Eugene crossed the river to join Marlborough the enemy could pass
to the north of the river and cut them off from Franconia, their
only possible source of supplies. It was agreed that Prince Lewis
of Baden should be detached with fifteen thousand men for the siege
of Ingolstadt; and, as it was reported that the French were moving
towards the Danube, Marlborough advanced closer to the river, so as
to be able to cross it either at Neuburg or by the bridges which he
had thrown over it by the mouth of the Lech at Merxheim.


  July 29
  August 9.


  July 30
  August 10.


  July 31
  August 11.

On the 9th of August Prince Lewis marched off to Ingolstadt, to the
unspeakable relief of his colleagues, and Eugene took his leave.
Two hours later, however, Eugene hurried back to report that the
French were in full march to the bridge of Dillingen, evidently
intending to cross the river and overwhelm his army. The Prince
hastened back and withdrew his army eastward from Hochstädt to the
Kessel. Marlborough, on his side, at midnight sent three thousand
cavalry over the Danube to reinforce him, while twenty battalions
under Churchill followed them as far as the bridge of Merxheim,
with orders to halt on the south bank of the river. Next morning
the Duke brought the whole of the army up to Rain, within a league
of the Danube, where he received fresh messages from Eugene urging
him to hasten to his assistance. At midnight Churchill received his
orders to pass the river and march for the Kessel, and two hours
later the whole army moved off in two columns, one to cross the
Danube at Merxheim, the other to traverse the Lech at Rain and the
Danube at Donauwörth. At five on the same afternoon the whole of
them were filing across the Wörnitz; by ten that night the junction
was complete, and the united armies encamped on the Kessel, their
right resting on Kessel-Ostheim, their left on the village of
Munster and the Danube. Row's brigade of British was pushed forward
to occupy Munster; and then the wearied troops lay down to rest.
The main body had been on foot for twenty hours, though it had
covered no more than twenty-four miles. Both columns had passed the
Danube and the Wörnitz, and the left column the Ach and the Lech
in addition. It is easy to imagine how long and how trying such a
march must have been; it is less easy to appreciate the foresight
and arrangement which enabled it to be performed at all.


  August --.

The artillery, which had perforce been left to come up in the
rear of the army, was by great exertions brought up at dawn on
the following morning. A little later the Duke and Eugene rode
forward with a strong escort to reconnoitre the ground before
them, but perceiving the enemy's cavalry at a distance, ascended
the church-tower of Tapfheim, from whence they descried the
French quartermasters marking out a camp between Blenheim and
Lutzingen, some three or four miles away. This was the very ground
that they had designed to take up themselves, and it was with no
small satisfaction that they perceived it to be occupied by the
enemy. The French and Bavarian commanders had decided, after their
junction on the Lech, that their best policy would be to cross the
Danube, take up a strong position, and wait until want of supplies,
by which Marlborough had already been greatly embarrassed, should
compel the Allies to withdraw from the country. Tallard had no
idea of offering battle; Marlborough indeed did not expect it of
him, and had not dared to hope that the marshal would allow an
action to be forced on him. But now that he had the chance, the
Duke resolved not to let it slip. Men were not wanting to urge upon
him the dangers of an attack on a superior force. "I know the
difficulties," he answered, "but a battle is absolutely necessary,
and I rely on the discipline of my troops."

The two camps lay some five miles apart, the ground between them
consisting of a plain of varying breadth confined between a chain
of woods and the Danube. This plain is cut by a succession of
streams running down at right angles to the Danube, no fewer than
three crossing the line of the march between the Kessel and the
French position. The first of these, the Reichen, cuts a ravine
through which the road passed close to the village of Dapfheim;
and Marlborough, seeing that at this point the enemy could greatly
embarrass his advance, sent forward pioneers to level the ravine,
and occupied the village with two brigades of British and Hessian

Meanwhile the enemy entered their camp, Tallard taking up his
quarters on the right, Marsin in the centre, and the Elector of
Bavaria on the left. Tallard's force consisted of thirty-six
battalions and forty-four squadrons of the best troops of France,
his colleague's of forty-six battalions and one hundred and eight
squadrons; yet notwithstanding this unequal distribution of the
cavalry, the force was encamped not as one army but as two. The
rule that infantry should be massed in the centre and the cavalry
divided on each wing was followed, not for the entire host, but
for each army independently. Thus the centre was made up of the
cavalry of both armies without unity of command; the infantry
was distributed on each flank of it; and on each flank of the
infantry was yet another body of cavalry. Yet it was an axiom in
those days that an army which ran the least risk of an engagement
should be encamped as nearly as possible according to the probable
disposition for action. This violation of rules was not unperceived
by Marlborough.

The camp itself was situated at the top of an almost imperceptible
slope, which descends for a mile, without affording the slightest
cover, to a brook called the Nebel. Its right rested on the
village of Blenheim, little more than a furlong from the Danube;
and here were Tallard's headquarters. The village having an
extended front, and being covered by hedges and palisades, could
easily be converted into a strong position. Half a mile above it a
little boggy rivulet, called the Maulweyer, which was destined to
play an important part in the next day's work, rises and flows down
through the village to the Danube. About two miles up the Nebel
from Blenheim, but on the opposite or left bank of the stream,
stands the village of Unterglau; and a mile above this, on the
same side of the stream as Blenheim, and about a hundred yards
from the water, is another village called Oberglau. This Oberglau
was the centre of the position, and Marsin's headquarters. A mile
upward from Oberglau is another village, Lutzingen, resting on
wooded country much broken by ravines. Here were the Elector's
headquarters and the extreme left of the enemy's position. The
Nebel, though no more than four yards broad at its mouth, was a
troublesome obstacle, its borders being marshy, especially between
Oberglau and Blenheim, and in many places impassable. Below
Unterglau this swampy margin extended for a considerable breadth,
while opposite Blenheim the stream parted in twain and flowed on
each side of a small boggy islet. At the head of this islet was
a stone bridge, over which ran the great road from Donauwörth to
Dillingen. This had been broken down, or at least damaged, by
Tallard; but herewith had ended his measures for obstructing the
passage of the Nebel.


  August --.

At two o'clock on the morrow morning, amid dense white mist,
the army of the Allies broke up its camp, and passed the Kessel
in eight columns, the two outermost on each flank consisting
of cavalry, the four innermost of infantry. For this day the
stereotyped formation was to be reversed; the cavalry was to form
the centre and the infantry the wings. On reaching Tapfheim the
army halted, and the two outlying brigades, reinforced by eleven
more battalions as well as by cavalry, formed a ninth column on
the extreme left, to cover the march of the artillery along the
great road and in due time to attack Blenheim. The new column was
conspicuous from the red-coats of fourteen British battalions, with
Cutts the Salamander at its head.

Then Marlborough, who commanded on the left, directed his generals
to occupy the ground from the Danube to Oberglau, while Eugene's
should prolong the line from Oberglau upwards to Lutzingen. The
columns resumed the advance, spreading out like the sticks of a
fan, wider and wider, as the Imperial troops streamed away to their
appointed positions on the right. Fifty-two thousand men in all
were tramping forward, and fifty-two guns groaning and creaking
after them. Far in advance of all Marlborough and Eugene pushed on
with a strong escort. At six o'clock they met and drove back the
French advanced posts, and at seven they were on high ground within
a mile of the Nebel and in full view of the enemy's camp.

Meanwhile Marshal Tallard was taking things at his ease, and had
dispersed his cavalry to gather forage. Even while his vedettes
were falling back before Marlborough's escort, he was calmly
writing that the enemy had turned out early and was almost
certainly on the march for Nördlingen. The morning was foggy, no
uncommon thing on the banks of great and marshy rivers, and a
dangerous enemy was within striking distance; yet no precautions
had been taken against surprise. Then at seven o'clock the fog
rolled away, and there, in great streaks of blue and white and
scarlet, were the allied columns in full view, preparing to deploy
on the other side of the Nebel. Presently the village of Unterglau
and two mills farther down the stream burst into smoke and flame,
and the outlying posts of the French came hurrying back across
the stream. Then all was hurry and confusion in the French camp.
Staff-officers flew off in all directions with orders, signal-guns
brought the foragers galloping back, drums beat the assembly from
end to end of the line, and the troops fell in hastily before their

Tallard's eyesight was very defective, but he had no difficulty in
making out the red coats of Cutts's column, and he knew by this
time that where the British were, there the heaviest fighting was
to be expected. He therefore lost no time in occupying Blenheim.
Four regiments of French dragoons trotted down to seal up the
space between the village and the Danube, and presently almost
the entire mass of the infantry faced to the right, and the white
coats began striding away towards Blenheim itself. Eight squadrons
of horse in scarlet, easily recognisable by Marlborough as the
Gendarmerie, began Tallard's first line leftward from the village,
and other squadrons presently prolonged it to Marsin's right wing.
More cavalry supported these in a second line, together with nine
battalions, which, being raw regiments, were not trusted to stand
in the first line. Then the artillery came forward into position,
ninety pieces in all, French and Bavarian. Four twenty-four
pounders were posted before Blenheim, while a chain of batteries
covered the line from end to end.

These dispositions completed, Tallard galloped off to the left,
for Marsin had never yet commanded more than five hundred men in
the field. Marsin's cavalry was already drawn up in two lines; his
infantry and the Elector's was in rear of Oberglau and to the left
of it, and the village itself was strongly occupied. Beyond this
the left wing of cavalry stood in front of Lutzingen, and beyond
them again a few battalions doubled back _en potence_ protected the
Elector's extreme left flank.

Marlborough on his side was equally busy. Blenheim and Oberglau
were, as he saw, too far apart to cover the whole of the
intervening ground with a cross-fire, and the French cavalry on
the slope above were too remote to bar the passage of the Nebel.
Officers were sent down to sound the stream, the stone bridge was
repaired, and five pontoon bridges were laid, one above Unterglau,
the rest below it. Cutts formed his column into six lines, the
first of Row's British brigade, the second of Hessians, the third
of Ferguson's British brigade, and the fourth of Hanoverians,
with two more lines in reserve. The four remaining columns of
Marlborough's army were deployed between Wilheim and Oberglau in
four lines, the first and fourth of infantry, with two lines of
cavalry between them. The French esteemed this a "bizarre"[310]
formation, but they understood its purport before the day was over.

At eight o'clock Tallard's batteries opened fire, though with
little effect. Eugene thereupon took leave of Marlborough and
hurried away to the right, while the Duke occupied himself with
the posting of his artillery, every gun of which was stationed
under his own eye. The chaplains came forward to the heads of
the regiments and read prayers; and then the Duke mounted and
rode down the whole length of his line. As he passed a round shot
struck the ground under his horse and covered him with dust. For
a moment every man held his breath, but in a few seconds the calm
figure with the red coat and the broad blue ribbon reappeared, the
horse moving slowly and quietly as before, and the handsome face
unchangeably serene.

The inspection over, the Duke dismounted and waited till Eugene
should be ready. The delay was long, and messenger after messenger
was despatched to ask the cause. The answer came that the ground on
the right was so much broken by wood and ravine that the columns
had been compelled to make a long detour, and that formation had
been hampered by the fire of the enemy's artillery as well as by
the necessity for altering preconcerted dispositions. Marlborough
waited with impatience, for, whether he hoped to carry Blenheim or
not, every hour served to place it in a better state of defence.
The French dragoons by the river had entrenched themselves
behind a leaguer of waggons, and the infantry in the village had
turned every wall and hedge and house to good account. Moreover
Marlborough had seen how strong the garrison of Blenheim was,
having probably counted every one of the twenty-seven battalions
into it, and identified them by their colours as the finest in the
French army.

At last, at half-past twelve, an aide-de-camp galloped up from
Eugene to say that all was ready. Cutts was instantly ordered to
attack Blenheim, while the Duke moved down towards the bridges
over the Nebel. By one o'clock Cutts's two leading lines were
crossing the stream by the ruins of the burnt mills under a heavy
fire of grape. On reaching the other side they halted to reform
under shelter of a slip of rising ground. There the Hessians
remained in reserve; and the First Guards, Tenth, Twenty-first,
Twenty-third, and Twenty-fourth, with Brigadier Row on foot at
their head, advanced deliberately against Blenheim. They were
received at thirty paces distance by a deadly fire from the
French, but Row's orders were, that until he struck the palisades
not a shot must be fired, and that the village must be carried
with the steel. The British pressed resolutely on, Row struck his
sword into the palisades, and the men pouring in their volley
rushed forward, striving to drag down the pales by main strength
in the vain endeavour to force an entrance. In a few minutes a
third of the brigade had fallen, Row was mortally wounded, his
lieutenant-colonel and major were killed in the attempt to bring
him off, and the first line, shattered to pieces against a superior
force in a very strong position, fell back in disorder. As they
retired, three squadrons of the Gendarmerie swept down upon their
flank and seized the colours of the Twenty-first, but pursuing
their advantage too far were brought up by the Hessians, who
repulsed them with great gallantry and recaptured the colours.

Cutts observing more of the Gendarmerie preparing to renew the
attack asked for a reinforcement of cavalry to protect his flank,
whereupon five English squadrons were ordered by General Lumley to
cross the Nebel. Floundering with the greatest difficulty through
the swamp, these were immediately confronted by the Gendarmerie,
who, however, with astonishing feebleness opened a fire of
musketoons from the saddle. The English promptly charged them sword
in hand and put them to flight, but pursuing as usual too far were
galled by the flank fire from Blenheim and compelled to retire.

Cutts's two remaining lines now crossed the Nebel for a fresh
attack on Blenheim. The enemy had by this time brought forward
more artillery to sweep the fords with grape-shot, but the British
made good their footing on the opposite bank and compelled the
guns to retire. Then Ferguson's brigade advanced together with
Row's against the village once more, carried the outskirts, but
could penetrate no further in spite of several desperate attacks,
and were finally obliged to fall back with very heavy loss. The
subordinate generals would have thrown away more lives[311] had
not Marlborough given orders that the regiments should take up a
sheltered position and keep up a feigned attack by constant fire of
platoons. Then, withdrawing the Hanoverian brigade to the infantry
of the centre, the Duke turned the whole of his attention to that

During these futile attacks on Blenheim, the four lines of
Marlborough's main army were struggling with much difficulty across
the Nebel. The first line of infantry passed first, and drew up
at intervals to cover the passage of the cavalry; while eleven
battalions, under the Prince of Holstein-Beck, were detached to
carry the village of Oberglau. Then the cavalry filed down to the
stream, using fascines and every other means that they could devise
to help them through the treacherous miry ground. The British
cavalry had the hardest of the work, being on the extreme left,
and therefore not only confronted with the worst of the ground,
but exposed to the fire of the artillery at Blenheim. With immense
difficulty the squadrons extricated themselves and, with horses
blown and heated, was forming up in front of the infantry, when the
squadrons of the French right, fresh and favoured by the ground,
came down full upon them. The first line of the British was borne
back to the very edge of the stream, but the pursuit was checked
by the fire of the infantry. Then the Prussian General Bothmar
fell upon the disordered French with the second line of cavalry,
and drove them in confusion behind the Maulweyer. Reinforced by
additional squadrons he held the line of the rivulet and kept them
penned in behind it, for the French could not cross it, and dared
not pass round the head of it for fear of being charged in flank.
It was not until two battalions had been sent from Blenheim to ply
the allied squadrons with musketry that Bothmar retired, and some,
but not all, of the French cavalry on this side was released.

Meanwhile General Lumley had rallied his broken troops, and the
squadrons further to the right had successfully crossed the Nebel.
Still further up the water the Danish and Hanoverian cavalry had
been put to the same trial as the British, being exposed to the
fire from Oberglau and to the charges of Marsin's horse. While the
combat was still swaying at this point the Prince of Holstein-Beck
delivered his attack on Oberglau. He was instantly met by a fierce
counterattack from the Irish Brigade, which was stationed in
the village. His two foremost battalions were cut to pieces, he
himself was mortally wounded, and affairs would have gone ill had
not Marlborough hastened up with fresh infantry and artillery,
and forced the enemy back into Oberglau. Thus the passage for the
central line of the allied cavalry was secured.

It was now three o'clock; and Marlborough sent an aide-de-camp to
Eugene to ask how things fared with him. The Prince was holding
his own and no more. His infantry had behaved admirably, but his
horse had supported them but ill; and three consecutive attacks
though brilliantly begun had ended in failure. The fact was that
the Elector, with better judgment than Tallard, had moved his
troops down towards the water, and was straining every nerve to
prevent his enemy from crossing. Meanwhile Marlborough, having
at last brought the whole of his force across the Nebel, formed
the cavalry in two grand lines for the final attack, the infantry
being ranged at intervals to the left rear as rallying-points for
any broken squadron. Tallard, on his side, brought forward the
nine battalions of his centre from the second line to the first, a
disposition which was met by Marlborough by the advance of three
Hanoverian battalions and a battery of artillery. For a time these
young French infantry stood firm against the rain of great and
small shot, closing up their ranks as fast as they were broken; but
the trial was too severe for them. Tallard strove hard to relieve
them by a charge of the squadrons on their left, but his cavalry
would not move; and Marlborough's horse crashed into the hapless
battalions, cut them down by whole ranks, and swept them out of

Then Tallard's sins found him out. The cavalry of Marsin's right,
seeing their flank exposed, swerved back upon Marsin's centre; a
wide gap was cut in the French line; and Tallard's army was left
isolated and alone. The marshal sent urgent messages to Marsin
for reinforcements, and to Blenheim for the withdrawal of the
infantry; but Marsin could not spare a man, and the order reached
Blenheim too late. Marlborough was riding along the ranks of his
cavalry from right to left, and presently the trumpets sounded
the charge, and the two long lines swept sword in hand up the
slope. The French stood firm for a brief space, and then, after
a feeble volley from the saddle, they broke, wheeled round upon
their supports, and carried all away with them in confusion. Thirty
squadrons fled wildly in rear of Blenheim towards the river.
General Hompesch's division of horse by the Duke's order brought up
their right shoulders and galloped after them; and the fugitives
in panic madness plunged down the slope towards the Danube. The
great river was before them, another stream and a swamp to their
right; and there was no escape. Some dashed into the water and
tried to swim away, others crept along the bank and over the morass
towards Hochstädt, others again broke back over the slope towards
Morselingen; but the relentless Hompesch left them no rest. Those
that reached Hochstädt found themselves cut off, for another
division of fugitives had fled thither straight from the field with
Marlborough himself hard at their heels. Hundreds were drowned,
hundreds were cut down, and a vast number taken prisoners. A few
only preserving some semblance of order made good their retreat.

Meanwhile Marsin and the Elector, seeing the collapse of Tallard's
army, set fire to Oberglau and Lutzingen, and began their retreat,
with Eugene in full march after them. Marlborough thereupon
recalled Hompesch and prepared to break up this army also by a
flank attack; but in the dusk Eugene's troops were mistaken for the
enemy, so Marsin was permitted to escape, though with an army much
shaken and demoralised. But there were still the French battalions
in Blenheim, which Churchill, after the defeat of Tallard's
cavalry, had made haste to envelope with his infantry and dragoons.
Tallard had been captured while on his way to them, and the finest
troops of France were locked up in the village without orders of
any kind, helpless and inactive, and too much crowded together for
effective action. At last they tried to break out to the rear of
the village, but were headed back by the Scots Greys; they made
another attempt on the other side, and were checked by the Irish
Dragoons. Churchill was just about to attack them with infantry and
artillery in overwhelming force, when the French proposed a parley.
Churchill would hear of nothing but unconditional surrender.
Regiment Navarre in shame and indignation burnt its colours rather
than yield them, but there was no help for it; and twenty-four
battalions of infantry together with four regiments of dragoons
laid down their arms, many of them not having fired a shot. The
officers were stupefied by their misfortune, and could only
ejaculate "Oh, que dira le Roi, que dira le Roi!" Seldom has harder
fate overtaken brave men.

The day was closing when Marlborough borrowed a leaf from a
commissary's pocket-book and wrote a note in pencil to his wife,
the message and the handwriting both those of a man who is quite
tired out.

  "_13th August 1704._

  "I have not time to say more, but to beg you will give my duty to
  the queen, and let her know her army has had a glorious victory,
  Monsr. Tallard and two other generals are in my coach and I am
  following the rest. The bearer, my aide-de-camp, Colonel Parke,
  will give her an account of what has pass'd. I shall doe it in a
  day or two by another more at large.


So Colonel Parke galloped away with the news to England, and the
broad Danube bore the same tale to the east as it rolled the
white-coated corpses in silence towards the sea.

[Illustration: BLENHEIM

  Aug. ------ 1704

  _To face page 442_

The total loss of the Allies amounted to four thousand five
hundred killed and seven thousand five hundred wounded, of which
the British numbered six hundred and seventy killed and over
fifteen hundred wounded. No regimental list of the casualties
seems to exist, but judging from their loss in officers the Tenth,
Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-sixth regiments
of Foot, and the Third, Sixth, and Seventh Dragoon Guards were
the corps that suffered most severely--the Twenty-sixth in
particular losing twenty officers, the Carabiniers ten officers and
seventy-four horses, and the Seventh Dragoon Guards six officers
and seventy-five horses. But most remarkable, and perhaps most
splendid of all, is the record of the regiments which had been
so terribly shattered at the Schellenberg. The Guards lost
their colonel and seven other officers; the two battalions of
the Royal Scots lost twelve, and the Twenty-third nine officers,
notwithstanding that the former had already lost thirty and the
latter sixteen little more than a month before. Troops that will
stand such punishment as this twice within a few weeks are not to
be found in every army.

The losses of the French and their allies in killed, wounded, and
prisoners, on the day of the battle and during the subsequent
pursuit, fell little short of forty thousand men. Marlborough
and Eugene divided eleven thousand prisoners, while the trophies
included one hundred guns of various calibres, twenty-four mortars,
one hundred and twenty-nine colours, one hundred and seventy-one
standards and other less important items, together, of course, with
the whole of the French camp.


  August --.

The Allies lay on their arms on the field during the night after
the battle, moved on for a short march on the morrow, and then
halted for four days. The troops were very greatly fatigued, and
Marlborough was much embarrassed by the multitude of his prisoners,
so the pursuit, if pursuit it can be called, was left to the
hussars of the Imperial Army. The Elector, however, needed no spur.
On the night of the battle he crossed the Danube at Lavingen, and
destroying the bridge behind him hurried back toward Ulm. Then,
without pausing for a moment or attempting to obtain aid from
Villeroy, he hastened on by forced marches, rather in flight than
retreat, through the Black Forest to the Rhine. The sufferings
of his troops were terrible. He had carried with him a thousand
wounded officers and six thousand wounded men; and there was not
a village on the line of march that had not its churchyard choked
with the graves of those that had succumbed. The Imperial hussars
too hung restlessly round his skirts, cutting off every straggler
and bringing back multitudes of prisoners and deserters. Altogether
it was a disastrous retreat.


  August --.


  August 28
  Sept. 8.

On the 19th of August Marlborough resumed his march up the Danube,
having first recalled Prince Lewis of Baden from Ingolstadt, and
occupied Augsburg. On arrival at Ulm a force was detached to
besiege the town, while the main army marched back in three columns
by the line of its original advance. By the 8th of September the
whole force, strengthened by a reinforcement from Stollhofen, had
crossed the Rhine and was concentrated at Philipsburg.


  Sept. --.


  Nov. --.

Villeroy, who with his own army and the remains of the Elector's
had taken post in the Queich to cover Landau, now fell back without
pausing to the Lauter, very much to the relief of Marlborough, who
found it difficult to understand such feebleness even after such
a defeat as that of Blenheim. Landau was accordingly invested by
Prince Lewis of Baden, while Marlborough and Eugene covered the
operations. The siege lasted long, and in October Marlborough,
weary of such slow work, made a sudden spring upon Treves, gave
orders for the siege of Trarbach, and so secured his winter
quarters on the Moselle. The fall of Trarbach and the capture of
Landau closed the campaign; and the occupation of Consaarbrück at
the confluence of the Moselle and Saar showed what was to be the
starting-point for the next year. A full week before the fall of
Landau the English troops, so much weakened that their fourteen
battalions had been temporarily reorganised into seven, were sent
into winter quarters for the rest that they had earned so well.

Thus ended the famous campaign of Blenheim, a name which is
rightly grouped with Creçy, Poitiers, Agincourt, and Waterloo.
For well-nigh forty years the French arms had triumphed in every
quarter of Europe, checked indeed by an occasional reverse, such as
that of Namur, but by no failure that could be counted against the
long succession of victories. But now an English general had rudely
broken the chain of successes by a crushing defeat, with every
circumstance of humiliation. First, the French marshals had been
wholly outwitted by Marlborough's march to the Danube. Next, when
they approached him it was without an idea of offering battle, but
in full confidence that their manœuvres, added to their superior
numbers, would compel him to withdraw. Yet to their astonishment
the despised enemy had attacked them without hesitation, utterly
destroyed one complete army and driven the relics of another in
headlong flight to the Rhine. The dismay in Paris was profound;
but mighty was the exultation in England, for the nation felt that
the old traditions were right after all, and that the English were
still better men than the French.[312] "Welcome to England, Sir,"
said an English butcher to Tallard, as the captured marshal was
escorted with every mark of respect into Nottingham. "Welcome to
England. I hope to see your master here next year." It was the
revival of this feeling in all its old intensity, after a pause of
nearly three centuries, that was to win for England her empire in
East and West.

Yet amid all the noise of triumph and jubilation there were two men
who preserved their modesty and tranquillity unmoved; and these
were Marlborough and Eugene. Each quietly disclaimed credit for
himself, each eagerly welcomed praise for the other. The French
prisoners were comforted by Eugene's testimony to their gallant
resistance to his own army, while even the unfortunate officers
who had been swept into the net in the village of Blenheim found
consolation in the thoughtful and generous courtesy of the great


[Sidenote: 1704.]

Our attention is now claimed for a time by the Peninsula, where the
War of the Spanish Succession was to be carried forward on Spanish
soil. In January 1704 the Imperial claimant to the throne, the
Archduke Charles of Austria, otherwise King Charles the Third of
Spain, arrived in England, and was sent away with an English fleet
and an English army to possess himself of his kingdom. Portugal
had offered to help him with twenty-eight thousand men, to which
the Dutch had added two thousand under General Fagel, and the
British six thousand five hundred men,[313] under Mainhard, Duke
of Schomberg, a son of the old marshal. The campaign of 1704 need
not detain us. It was speedily found that the Portuguese army was
ill-equipped and inefficient, the magazines empty, the fortresses
in ruins, the transport not in existence. To add to these
shortcomings, Schomberg and Fagel quarrelled so bitterly that they
went off, each with his own troops, in two different directions.

The result might have been foreseen. King Philip, sometime Duke of
Anjou, and the Duke of Berwick with twelve thousand French, marched
down to the fortresses on the Portuguese frontier, and took them
one after another without difficulty. So ready and eager were the
Portuguese to surrender these strongholds that they made over not
only themselves as prisoners of war, but also to their extreme
indignation two British regiments, the Ninth and Eleventh Foot,
which had the misfortune to be in garrison with them. Marlborough,
in all the press of his work on the Danube, was called upon to
nominate a successor to the incompetent Schomberg and selected
the Huguenot Ruvigny, Earl of Galway, for the post. With this
appointment we may for the present take leave of the Peninsula.


  July 26
  August 6.

Meanwhile, however, the fleet under Sir George Rooke, and a handful
of marines under Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt, brought a new
and unexpected possession to England by the surprise of Gibraltar,
which, though captured for King Charles the Third, was kept for
Queen Anne. The intrinsic value of the Rock in those days was
small, and its value as a military position was little understood
in England; but it was at any rate a capture and very soon it
became a centre of sentiment.


  Sept. 23
  October 4.

After the surrender of Gibraltar the fleet sailed away, leaving
Prince George with a good store of provisions and about two
thousand men to hold it. These troops, though now numbered the
Fourth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second of the Line, were at that
time Marines, a corps which, despite brilliant and incessant
service by sea and land in all parts of the world, still contents
itself with the outward record of a single name, Gibraltar. Prince
George lost no time in repairing the fortifications, and with good
reason, for at the end of August a Spanish force of eight thousand
men marched down to the isthmus, while a month later four thousand
Frenchmen were disembarked at the head of the bay. These joint
forces then began the siege of Gibraltar.

[Sidenote: December.]

The operations were pushed forward with great vigour, and the
besieged were soon hard beset. At the end of October Admiral
Leake contrived to throw stores and a couple of hundred men on
to the Rock, together with an officer of engineers, one Captain
Joseph Bennett, whose energy and ability were of priceless value.
The siege dragged on for another month, the British repulsing
an attack from the eastern side with heavy loss; but by the
end of November the garrison had dwindled to one thousand men,
exhausted by the fatigue of incessant duty. At last, in the middle
of December a stronger reinforcement of two thousand men,[314]
having first narrowly escaped capture by a French fleet, was
successfully landed on the Rock; and then Prince George turned upon
the besiegers, and by a succession of brilliant sorties almost
paralysed further progress on their side.

[Sidenote: 1705.]


  Jan. 27
  Feb. 7.

In the middle of January, however, a reinforcement of four thousand
men reached the enemy's camp; their batteries renewed their fire,
and a great breach was made in the Round Tower, which formed one
of the principal defences on the western side. On the morning of
the 27th an assault was delivered, and thirteen hundred men swarmed
up to the attack of the Round Tower. They were met by a brave
resistance by one-fifth of their number of British, but after a
severe struggle they overpowered them, drove them out, and pressed
on to gain possession of a gate leading into the main fortress.
There, however, they were checked by a handful of Seymour's
Marines,[315] just seventeen men, under Captain Fisher. Few though
they were, this gallant little band held its own, until the arrival
of some of the Thirteenth and of the Coldstream Guards enabled them
to force the enemy back and drive them headlong out of the Round


  March --.

This brilliant little affair marked practically the close of
the siege. Further reinforcements arrived for the garrison, and
Marshal Tessé, who had taken command of the siege, fell back on
the bombardment of the town, which was speedily laid in ruins.
The advent of a French squadron seemed likely at one moment to
hearten the besiegers to renewed efforts, but Bennett, who ever
since his arrival had been the soul of the defence, had by that
time constructed fresh batteries and was fully prepared. Finally,
in March Admiral Leake's fleet appeared on the scene, destroyed a
third of the French squadron, and definitely relieved the fortress.
By the middle of April the last of the Frenchmen had disappeared
and Gibraltar was safe. Though the scale of the operations may seem
small the siege had cost the enemy no fewer than twelve thousand

[Sidenote: 1704.]

[Sidenote: 1705.]

Meanwhile Parliament had met on the 29th of the previous October,
full of congratulations to the Queen on the triumphs of the
past campaign. There were not wanting, of course, men who, in
the madness of faction, doubted whether Blenheim were really a
victory, for the very remarkable reason that Marlborough had won
it, but they were soon silenced by the retort that the King of
France at any rate had no doubts on the point.[316] The plans for
the next campaign were designed on a large scale, and were likely
to strain the resources of the Army to the uttermost. The West
Indies demanded six battalions and Gibraltar three battalions for
garrison; Portugal claimed ten thousand men, Flanders from twenty
to twenty-five thousand; while besides this a design was on foot,
as shall presently be seen, for the further relief of Portugal by
a diversion in Catalonia. Five millions were cheerfully voted for
the support of the war, and six new battalions were raised, namely,
Wynne's, Bretton's, Lepell's, Soames's, Sir Charles Hotham's, and
Lillingston's, the last of which alone has survived to our day with
the rank of the Thirty-eighth of the Line.[317]

[Illustration: GIBRALTAR


_From a contemporary Plan by Col. D'Harcourt_

  _To face page 450_


  May --.


  June --.

Marlborough's plan of campaign had been sufficiently
foreshadowed at the close of the previous year, namely, to
advance on the line of the Moselle and carry the war into Lorraine.
The Emperor and all the German Princes promised to be in the field
early, the Dutch were with infinite difficulty persuaded to give
their consent, and after much vexatious delay Marlborough joined
his army at Treves on the 26th of May. Here he waited until the
17th of June for the arrival of the German and Imperial troops.
Not a man nor a horse appeared. In deep chagrin he broke up his
camp and returned to the Meuse, having lost, as he said, one of the
fairest opportunities in the world through the faithlessness of his

[Sidenote: May 21.]


  June --.


  June 21
  July 2.

His presence was sorely needed on the Meuse. Villeroy, who
commanded the French in Flanders, finding no occasion for his
presence on the Moselle, had moved out of his lines, captured
Huy, and then marching on to Liège had invested the citadel. The
States-General in a panic of fright urged Marlborough to return
without delay, and Overkirk, who commanded the Dutch on the Meuse,
added his entreaties to theirs. Marlborough, when once he had made
up his mind to move, never moved slowly, and by the 25th of June
he was at Düren, to the eastward of Aix-la-Chapelle. Here he was
still the best part of forty miles from the Meuse, but that was too
near for Villeroy, who at once abandoned Liège and fell back on
Tongres. Marlborough, continuing his advance, crossed the Meuse at
Visé on the 2nd of July, and on the same day united his army with
Overkirk's at Haneff on the Upper Jaar. Villeroy thereupon retired
ignominiously within his fortified lines.

These lines, which had been making during the past three years,
were now complete. They started from the Meuse a little to the
east of Namur, passed from thence to the Mehaigne and the Little
Geete, followed the Little Geete along its left bank to Leuw and
thence along the Great Geete to the Demer; from thence they ran
up the Demer as far as Arschot, from which point a new line of
entrenchments carried the barrier through Lierre to Antwerp. Near
Antwerp Marlborough had already had to do with these lines in 1703,
but hitherto he had made no attempt to force them. Villeroy and the
Elector of Bavaria now lay before him with seventy thousand men, a
force superior to his own, but necessarily spread over a wide front
for the protection of the entrenchments. The marshal's headquarters
were at Meerdorp, in the space between the Geete and the Mehaigne,
which he probably regarded as a weak point. Marlborough posted
himself over against him at Lens-les-Beguines, detaching a small
force to re-capture Huy while Overkirk with the Dutch army covered
the siege from Vignamont. Thus, as if daring the French to take
advantage of the dispersion of his army, he quietly laid his plans
for forcing the lines.

The point that he selected was on the Little Geete between Elixheim
and Neerhespen, exactly in rear of the battlefield of Landen. The
abrupt and slippery banks of the river, which the English knew but
too well, together with the entrenchments beyond it, presented
extraordinary difficulties, but the lines were on that account
the less likely to be well guarded at that particular point.
Marlborough had already obtained the leave of the States-General
for the project, but he had now the far more difficult task of
gaining the consent of the Dutch generals at a Council of War.
Slangenberg and others opposed the scheme vehemently, but were
overruled; and the Duke was at length at liberty to fall to work.


  June 30
  July 11.

[Sidenote: July.]

Huy fell on the 11th of July, but to the general surprise the
besieging force was not recalled. Six days later Overkirk and
the covering army crossed the Mehaigne from Vignamont and pushed
forward detachments to the very edge of the lines between Meffle
and Namur. Villeroy fell into the trap, withdrew troops from
all parts of the lines and concentrated forty thousand men at
Meerdorp. Marlborough then recalled the troops from Huy, and made
them up to a total of about eight thousand men, both cavalry and
infantry,[319] the whole being under the command of the Count of
Noyelles. The utmost secrecy was observed in every particular. The
corps composing the detachment knew nothing of each other, and
nothing of the work before them; and, lest the sight of fascines
should suggest an attack on entrenchments, these were dispensed
with, the troopers only at the last moment receiving orders to
carry each a truss of forage on the saddle before them.


  July --.


  July -----.

At tattoo the detachment fell in silently before the camp of the
right wing, and at nine o'clock moved off without a sound in two
columns, the one upon Neerhespen, the other upon the Castle of
Wange before Elixheim. An hour later the rest of the army followed,
while at the same time Overkirk, under cover of the darkness,
crossed the Mehaigne at Tourines and joined his van to the rear
of Marlborough's army. The distance to be traversed was from ten
to fifteen miles; the night though dry was dark; and the guides,
frequently at fault, were fain to direct themselves by the trusses
dropped on the way by the advanced detachment. Twelve years before
to the very day a French army had toiled along the same route,
wearied out and stifled by the sun, and only kept to its task by
an ugly little hunch-backed man whom it had reverenced as Marshal
Luxemburg. Now English and Dutch were blundering on to take revenge
for Luxemburg's victory at the close of that march. The hours
fled on, the light began to break, and the army found itself on
the field of Landen, William's entrenchment grass-grown before
it, Neerwinden and Laer lying silent to the left, and before the
villages the mound that hid the corpses of the dead. Then some at
least of the soldiers knew the work that lay before them.


  July --.

At four o'clock the heads of the columns halted within a mile of
the Geete, wrapped in a thick mist and hidden from the eye of
the enemy. The advanced detachment quickly cleared the villages
by the river, seized the bridge before the Castle of Wanghe,
which had not been broken down, and drove out the garrison of
the Castle itself. Then the pontoniers came forward to lay their
bridges; but the infantry would not wait for them. They scrambled
impatiently through hedges and over bogs, down one steep bank of
the river and up the other, into the ditch beyond, and finally,
breathless and dripping, over the rampart into the lines. So
numerous were the hot-heads who thus broke in that they forced
three regiments of French dragoons to retire before them without
attempting resistance. Then the cavalry of the detachment began
to file rapidly over the pontoon-bridges; but meanwhile the alarm
had been given, and before the main army could cross, the French
came down in force from the north, some twenty battalions and forty
squadrons, in all close on fifteen thousand men, with a battery of
eight guns.

[Illustration: LINES OF THE GEETE.

  July -- 1705.

  _To face page 454_

The enemy advanced rapidly, their cavalry leading, until checked
by a hollow way which lay between them and the Allies, where
they halted to deploy. Marlborough took in the whole situation
at a glance. Forming his thirty-eight squadrons into two lines,
with the first line composed entirely of British, he led them
across the hollow way and charged the French sword in hand. They
answered by a feeble fire from the saddle and broke in confusion,
but presently rallying fell in counter-attack upon the British
and broke them in their turn. Marlborough, who was riding on the
flank, was cut off and left isolated with his trumpeter and groom.
A Frenchman galloped up and aimed at him so furious a blow that,
failing to strike him, he fell from his horse and was captured by
the trumpeter. Then the allied squadrons rallied, and charging the
French once more broke them past all reforming and captured the
guns. The French infantry now retired very steadily in square,
and the Duke sent urgent messages for his own foot. But by some
mistake the battalions had been halted after crossing the Geete, so
that the French were able to make good their retreat.

By this time Villeroy, who had spent the night in anxious
expectation of an attack at Meerdorp, had hurried up with his
cavalry, only to find that the Duke was master of the lines.
Hastily giving orders for his scattered troops to pass the Geete
at Judoigne he began his retreat upon Louvain. Presently up came
Marlborough's infantry at an extraordinary pace, the men as fresh
and lively after fifteen hours of fatigue as if they had just left
camp. The Duke was anxious to follow up his success forthwith, a
movement which the French had good reason to dread, but the Dutch
generals opposed him, and Marlborough was reluctantly constrained
to yield. The loss of the French seems to have been about two
thousand men, most of them prisoners, a score of standards and
colours, of which the Fifth Dragoon Guards claimed four as their
own, and eighteen guns, eight of which were triple-barrelled and
were sent across the Channel to be copied in England.[320]


  July --.

The Allies halted for the night at Tirlemont, and advancing next
day upon Louvain struck against the rear of the French columns
and captured fifteen hundred prisoners. That night they encamped
within a mile to the east of Louvain, while the French, once again
distributing their force along a wider front, lined the left bank
of the Dyle from the Demer to the Yssche, with their centre at
Louvain. Marlborough had hoped to push in at once, but he was
stopped by heavy rains that rendered the Dyle impassable; and it
was not until ten days later that, after infinite trouble with the
Dutch, he was able to pursue his design.


  July --.

The operations for the passage of the Dyle were conducted in much
the same way as in the forcing of the lines. An advanced detachment
was pushed forward from each wing of the army, that from the right
or English[321] flank being appointed to cross the river under
the Duke of Würtemberg at Corbeek Dyle, that from the left under
General Heukelom to pass it at Neeryssche. The detachments fell in
at five in the evening, reached their appointed destination at ten,
and effected their passage with perfect success. The main bodies
started at midnight, and went somewhat astray in the darkness,
though by three o'clock the Dutch army was within supporting
distance of its detachment and the British rapidly approaching
it. The river had been in fact forced, when suddenly the Dutch
generals halted their main body. Marlborough rode up to inquire
the cause, and was at once taken aside by Slangenberg. "For God's
sake, my Lord--" began the Dutchman vehemently, and continued to
protest with violent gesticulations. No sooner was Marlborough's
back turned than the Dutch generals, like a parcel of naughty
schoolboys, recalled Heukelom's detachment. Thus the passage won
with so much skill was for no cause whatever abandoned, without
loss indeed, but also not without mischievous encouragement to the
French, who boasted loudly that they had repulsed their redoubtable


  August --.


  August --.


  August --.

Deeply hurt and annoyed though he was, the Duke, with miraculous
patience, excused in his public despatches the treachery and
imbecility which had thwarted him, and prepared to effect his
purpose in another way. His movements were hastened by news that
French reinforcements, set free by the culpable inaction of Prince
Lewis of Baden, were on their way from Alsace. Unable to pass the
Dyle he turned its head-waters at Genappe, and wheeling north
towards the forest of Soignies encamped between La Hulpe and Braine
l'Alleud.[322] The French at once took the alarm and posted
themselves behind the river Yssche, with their left at Neeryssche,
and their right at Overyssche resting on the forest of Soignies.
Marlborough at once resolved to force the passage of the river. On
the evening of the 17th of August he detached his brother Churchill
with ten thousand foot and two thousand horse to advance through
the forest and turn the French right; while he himself marched
away at daybreak with the rest of the army and emerged into the
plain between the Yssche and the Lasne. The Duke quickly found two
assailable points, and choosing that of Overyssche, halted the
army pending the arrival of the artillery. The guns were long in
arriving, Slangenberg having insisted, despite the Duke's express
instructions, on forcing his own baggage into the column for the
express purpose of causing delay. At last about noon the artillery
appeared, and Marlborough asked formal permission of the Dutch
deputies to attack. To his surprise, although Overkirk had already
consented, they claimed to consult their generals. Slangenberg
with every mark of insolence condemned the project as murder and
massacre, the rest solemnly debated the matter for another two
hours, the auspicious moment passed away exactly as they intended,
and another great opportunity was lost. The French reinforcements
arrived, and having been the weaker became the stronger force.
Nothing more could be done for the rest of the campaign, but to
level the French lines from the Demer to the Mehaigne.

Thus for the third time a brilliant campaign was spoilt by the
Dutch generals and deputies. Fortunately the public indignation
both in England and in Holland was too strong for them, and
Slangenberg, though not indeed hanged as he deserved, was deprived
of all further command. Jealousy, timidity, ignorance, treachery,
and flat imbecility seem to have been the motives that inspired
these men, whose conduct has never been reprobated according to
its demerit. It was they who were responsible for the prolongation
of the war, for the burden that it laid on England, and for
the untold misery that it wrought in France. Left to himself
Marlborough would have forced the French to peace in three
campaigns, and the war would not have been ended in shame and
disgrace by the Treaty of Utrecht.[323]

Consolation for the disappointment in Flanders came from an
unexpected quarter. In Portugal, indeed, comparatively little was
done. An army was made up of about three thousand British[324]
under Lord Galway, two thousand Dutch under General Fagel, and
twelve thousand Portuguese under the Spanish General de Corsana;
and to avoid friction it was arranged that these three generals
should hold command alternately for a week at a time. In such
circumstances it was surprising that they should even have
accomplished the siege and capture of three weak fortresses,
Valenza, Albuquerque, and Badajoz, with which achievements the
campaign came to an end.[325]


  June --.


  August --.

But in Catalonia the operations were of a more brilliant kind.
The Catalans were known to favour the Austrian side; and it was
accordingly resolved in this year to send a fleet and an army to
back them under Admiral Leake and Lord Peterborough, the latter
to be joint admiral at sea as well as commander-in-chief ashore.
The character of Peterborough is one of the riddles of history. He
was now forty years of age, and had so far distinguished himself
chiefly by general eccentricity, not always of a harmless kind,
and, in common with most prominent men of his age, by remarkable
pliancy of principle. His experience of active service was slight
and had been gained afloat rather than ashore, and though he had
long held the colonelcy of a regiment, he had never commanded in
war nor in peace. His force consisted of six British[326] and four
Dutch battalions, or about six thousand five hundred men in all.
The expedition arrived at Lisbon early in June, when after some
delay it was decided that the fleet should proceed to Barcelona.
Galway lent his two regiments of dragoons, the Royals and the
Eighth; and with them Peterborough sailed to Gibraltar, where he
picked up the eight battalions[327] of the garrison, leaving two of
his own in their place, and proceeded to his destination. On the
way up the Spanish coast a detachment was landed to capture Denia,
and on the 23rd of August the main force was disembarked before
Barcelona and took up a position to the north-east of the town
with its left flank resting on the sea.


  Sept. --.

The reports sent to England had represented Barcelona as
ill-fortified and ill-garrisoned. Ill-fortified it may have been
if compared with a creation of Vauban or Cohorn, but it was none
the less a formidable fortress, well stocked with supplies and
garrisoned by seven thousand troops under an energetic governor, by
name Velasco. Peterborough, who grasped the situation, wished to
abandon the project of a regular siege for operations of a livelier
kind, but was prevailed upon to give it a trial for eighteen days,
at the close of which he ordered the re-embarkation of the army. He
was, however, again induced to change his mind, and then suddenly,
on the evening of the 13th of September, he produced an original
scheme of his own.

About three-quarters of a mile to south-west of Barcelona stood the
small fort of Montjuich, crowning a hill seven hundred feet above
the fortress, strong by nature and strengthened still further by
outworks, which though incomplete were none the less formidable.
This Peterborough resolved to capture by escalade. Not a word was
said to the men of the work before them. No further orders were
issued than that twelve hundred English and two hundred Dutch
should be ready in the afternoon to march towards Tarragona,
while thirteen hundred men under Brigadier Stanhope were secretly
detailed to cover the rear of the assaulting columns from any
attack from Barcelona. At six o'clock the attacking force moved off
under Lord Charlemont towards the north-west, continuing the march
in this false direction for four hours, till Peterborough at last
gave the order to turn about to southward. The night was dark, and
much of the ground so rocky as to show no track, so that when the
columns at length came up before Montjuich one complete body of two
hundred was found to be missing, having evidently strayed away from
the path of the remainder.


  Sept. --.

Half the force however was told off for simultaneous assault on
the eastern and western extremities of the fort, Peterborough and
Prince George of Hessen-Darmstadt accompanying the eastern column,
which, since it was expected to meet with the sternest of the work,
was made the stronger. The other moiety of the troops was held in
reserve between the two columns. A little after daybreak the signal
was given; the storming parties dashed up the glacis under a heavy
and destructive fire, and plunging in among the enemy drove them
headlong from the outworks. Following the fugitives in hot pursuit
Peterborough and Prince George captured the eastern bastion of the
fort itself, threw up a barricade of loose stones in the gorge and
entrenched themselves behind it. The western attack had met with
equal success, and had likewise entrenched itself in a demi-bastion
in that flank of the fort. Both parties being thus under cover the
fire ceased, and Peterborough sent orders to Stanhope to bring up
his reserve.

Meanwhile the Governor of Barcelona, being in communication
with Montjuich, had at the sound of the firing despatched four
hundred dragoons in all haste to reinforce the garrison. As they
entered the fort they were received with loud shouts of welcome
by the Spanish. Prince George, mistaking the sound for a cry
of surrender, at once started up and advanced with all his men
into the inner works. They were no sooner in the ditch than the
Spaniards swept round them to cut them off. Two hundred were taken
prisoners, Prince George fell mortally wounded, and the rest fell
back in confusion. This was a severe blow; but worse was to come.
Peterborough hearing that fresh reinforcements were on their way
to the enemy from Barcelona, rode out of the bastion to look for
himself, and no sooner was he gone than the troops were seized with
panic. Lord Charlemont was powerless to check it; and in a few
minutes the whole of the men, with Charlemont at their head, came
running with unseemly haste out of the captured position.

They had not run far when up galloped Peterborough in a frenzy
of rage. What he said no writer has dared to set down; but he
snatched Charlemont's half-pike from his hand and waved the men
back to the fort with a torrent of rebuke. Rallying instantly
they regained their post without the loss of a man before the
enemy had discovered their retreat; and the appearance of Stanhope
with the reserve presently banished all further idea of panic.
Meanwhile the Spanish reinforcements from Barcelona had met the
English prisoners, and learning from them that Peterborough and
Prince George were present in person before Montjuich, assumed
that the British were attacking in overwhelming force. They
therefore returned to Barcelona, leaving the fort to its fate.
Three days of bombardment sufficed to overcome the resistance of
the weakened garrison; and thus by a singular chapter of accidents
Peterborough's design proved to be a success, and Montjuich was


  Sept. 28
  October 9.

The siege of Barcelona was then pushed forward in form, aided by
the guns of the fleet; and on the 9th of October the garrison
capitulated with the honours of war. A fortnight later King Charles
the Third made his public entry into the city; Peterborough
scattered dollars with a liberal hand, and all was merriment and
rejoicing. The picture would not be complete without the figure of
a drunken English grenadier, whose vagaries afforded inexhaustible
amusement to the populace;[328] but Peterborough was a
disciplinarian, and the troops as a whole behaved remarkably well.
Stanhope was at once sent home with the good news, and England
awoke to the fact that she possessed a second officer who, though
not to be named in the same breath with Marlborough, possessed a
natural, if eccentric, genius for war.

[Illustration: BARCELONA


  _To face page 462_

The capture of Barcelona, and the subsequent reduction of Tarragona
by the fleet, brought practically the whole of Catalonia to the
side of King Charles. But now further operations were checked by
lack of money and supplies. Peterborough, who saw the difficulty
of supporting a large force in the field, was for dividing his
little army into flying columns, and making good the deficiency of
numbers by extreme mobility; but he could not gain acceptance for
his views. He wrote piteous letters of his state of destitution,
reviling, as his custom was, all his colleagues and subordinates
with astonishing freedom. Very soon the troops in Barcelona
became so sickly that he was compelled to distribute them in the
fortresses of Catalonia, leaving further operations to the Catalan
guerillas. By the exertions of these last the close of the year
saw not only Catalonia but Valencia gained over, though on no very
certain footing, to the side of King Charles. So ended the first
serious campaign of the first Peninsular war.


[Sidenote: 1706.]

It is now time to revert to England and to the preparations for
the campaign of 1706. Marlborough, as usual, directly that the
military operations were concluded, had been deputed to visit the
courts of Vienna and of sundry German states in order to keep the
Allies up to the necessary pitch of unity and energy. These duties
detained him in Germany and at the Hague until January 1706, when
he was at last able to return to England. There he met with far
less obstruction than in former years, but none the less with an
increasing burden of work. The vast extension of operations in
the Peninsula, and the general sickliness of the troops in that
quarter, demanded the enlistment of an usually large number of
recruits. One new regiment of dragoons and eleven new battalions
of foot were formed in the course of the spring, to which it was
necessary to add yet another battalion before the close of the
year.[329] Again the epidemic sickness among the horses in Flanders
had caused an extraordinary demand for horses. The Dutch, after
their wonted manner, had actually taken pains to prevent the supply
of horses to the British,[330] though, even if they had not, the
Duke had a prejudice in favour of English horses, as of English
men, as superior to any other. Finally, the stores of the Ordnance
were unequal to the constant drain of small arms, and it was
necessary to make good the deficiency by purchases from abroad. All
these difficulties and a thousand more were of course referred for
solution to Marlborough.


  April --.

When in April he crossed once more to the Hague he found a most
discouraging state of affairs. The Dutch were backward in their
preparations; Prussia and Hanover were recalcitrant over the
furnishing of their contingents; Prince Lewis of Baden was sulking
within his lines, refusing to communicate a word of his intentions
to any one; and everybody was ready with a separate plan of
campaign. The Emperor of course desired further operations in the
Moselle for his own relief; but after the experience of the last
campaign the Duke had wisely resolved never again to move eastward
to co-operate with the forces of the Empire. The Dutch for their
part wished to keep Marlborough in Flanders, where he should be
under the control of their deputies; but the imbecile caprice
of these worthies was little more to his taste than the sullen
jealousy of Baden. Marlborough himself was anxious to lead a force
to the help of Eugene in Italy, a scheme which, if executed, would
have carried the British to a great fighting ground with which they
are unfamiliar, the plains of Lombardy. He had almost persuaded the
States-General to approve of this plan, when all was changed by
Marshal Villars, who surprised Prince Lewis of Baden in his lines
on the Motter, and captured two important magazines. The Dutch at
once took fright and, in their anxiety to keep Marlborough for
their own defence, agreed to appoint deputies who should receive
rather than issue orders. So to the Duke's great disappointment
it was settled that the main theatre of war should once again be


  May --.


  May --.


  May --.

Villeroy meanwhile lay safely entrenched in his position of the
preceding year behind the Dyle, from which Marlborough saw little
hope of enticing him. It is said that an agent was employed to
rouse Villeroy by telling him that the Duke, knowing that the
French were afraid to leave their entrenchments, would take
advantage of their inaction to capture Namur.[331] Be that as it
may, Villeroy resolved to quit the Dyle. He knew that the Prussian
and Hanoverian contingents had not yet joined Marlborough, and that
the Danish cavalry had refused to march to him until their wages
were paid; so that interest as well as injured pride prompted the
hazard of a general action. On the 19th of May, therefore, he left
his lines for Tirlemont on the Great Geete. Marlborough, who was
at Maestricht, saw with delight that the end, for which he had
not dared to hope, was accomplished. Hastily making arrangements
for the payment of the Danish troops, he concentrated the Dutch
and British at Bilsen on the Upper Demer, and moved southward to
Borchloen. Here the arrival of the Danes raised his total force to
sixty thousand men, a number but little inferior to that of the
enemy. On the very same day came the intelligence that Villeroy
had crossed the Great Geete and was moving on Judoigne. The Duke
resolved to advance forthwith and attack him there.


  May --.

At one o'clock in the morning, of Whitsunday the 23rd of May,
Quartermaster-General Cadogan rode forward from the headquarters
at Corswarem with six hundred horse and the camp-colours towards
the head of the Great Geete, to mark out a camp by the village of
Ramillies. The morning was wet and foggy, and it was not until
eight o'clock that, on ascending the heights of Merdorp, they dimly
descried troops in motion on the rolling ground before them. The
allied army had not marched until two hours later than Cadogan, but
Marlborough, who had ridden on in advance of it, presently came
up and pushed the cavalry forward through the mist. Then at ten
o'clock the clouds rolled away, revealing the whole of the French
army in full march towards them.

Villeroy's eyes were rudely opened, for he had not expected
Marlborough before the following day; but he knew the ground well,
for he had been over it before with Luxemburg, and he proceeded to
take up a position which he had seen Luxemburg deliberately reject.
The table-land whereon he stood is the highest point in the plains
of Brabant. To his right flowed the Mehaigne; in his rear ran the
Great Geete; across his centre and left the Little Geete rose and
crept away sluggishly in marsh and swamp.[332] In his front lay
four villages: Taviers on the Mehaigne to his right, Ramillies,
less advanced than Taviers, on the source of the Little Geete to
his right centre, Offus parallel to Ramillies but lower down the
stream to his left centre, Autréglise or Anderkirch between two
branches of the Little Geete and parallel to Taviers to his left.
Along the concave line formed by these villages Villeroy drew up
his army in two lines facing due east.

The Mehaigne, on which his right rested, is at ordinary times
a rapid stream little more than twelve feet wide, with a muddy
bottom, but is bordered by swampy meadows on both sides, which
are flooded after heavy rain. From this stream the ground rises
northward in a steady wave for about half a mile, sinks gradually
and rises into a higher wave at Ramillies, sinks once more
to northward of that village and rolls downward in a gentler
undulation to Autréglise. Between the Mehaigne and Ramillies, a
distance of about a mile and a half, the ground east and west
is broken by sundry hollows of sufficient inclination to offer
decided advantage or disadvantage in a combat of cavalry. A single
high knoll rises in the midst of these hollows, offering a place
of vantage from which Marlborough must almost certainly have
reconnoitred the disposition of the French right. The access to
Ramillies itself is steep and broken both to north and south, but
on the eastern front the ground rises to it for half a mile in a
gentle, unbroken slope, which modern rifles would make impassable
by the bravest troops. In rear, or to westward of the French
position, the table-land is clear and unbroken, and to the right
rear or south-west stands a mound or barrow called the tomb of
Ottomond, still conspicuous and still valuable as a key to the
actions of the day.[333] The full extent of the French front from
Taviers to Autréglise covered something over four miles.

Having chosen his position, Villeroy lost no time in setting
his troops in order. His left, consisting of infantry backed by
cavalry,[334] extended from Autréglise to Offus, both of which
villages were strongly occupied. His centre from Offus to Ramillies
was likewise composed of infantry. On his right, in the expanse
of sound ground which stretches for a mile and a half from the
marshes of the Geete at Ramillies to those of the Mehaigne, were
massed more than one hundred and twenty squadrons of cavalry with
some battalions of infantry interlined with them, the famous French
Household Cavalry (Maison du Roi), being in the first line. The
left flank of this expanse was covered by the village of Ramillies,
which was surrounded by a ditch and defended by twenty battalions
and twenty-four guns. On the right flank not only Taviers but
Franquinay, a village still further in advance, were occupied by
detachments of infantry, while Taviers was further defended by

Marlborough quickly perceived the defects of Villeroy's
dispositions, which were not unlike those of Tallard at Blenheim.
Taviers was too remote from Ramillies for the maintenance of a
cross-fire of artillery. Again, the cavalry of the French left was
doubtless secure against attack behind the marshes of the Geete,
but for this very reason it was incapable of aggressive action. The
French right could therefore be turned, provided that it were not
further reinforced; and accordingly the Duke opened his manœuvres
by a demonstration against the French left.

Presently the infantry of the allied right moved forward in two
lines towards Offus and Autréglise, marching in all the pomp and
circumstance of war, Dutch, Germans, and British, with the red
coats conspicuous on the extreme right flank. Striding forward to
the river they halted and seemed to be very busy in laying their
pontoons. Villeroy marked the mass of scarlet, and remembering its
usual place in the battlefield, instantly began to withdraw several
battalions from his right and centre to his left. Marlborough
watched the white coats streaming away to their new positions, and
after a time ordered the infantry of his right to fall back to
some heights in their rear. The two lines faced about and retired
accordingly over the height until the first line was out of sight.
Then the second line halted and faced about once more, crowning the
ascent with the well-known scarlet, while the first marched away
with all speed, under cover of the hill and unseen by the French,
to the opposite flank. Many British battalions[335] stood on that
height all day without moving a step or firing a shot, but none the
less paralysing the French left wing.

About half-past one the guns of both armies opened fire, and
shortly afterwards four Dutch battalions were ordered forward
to carry Franquinay and Taviers, and twelve more to attack
Ramillies, while Overkirk advanced slowly on the left with the
cavalry. Franquinay was soon cleared; Taviers resisted stoutly
for a time but was carried, and a strong reinforcement on its way
to the village was intercepted and cut to pieces. Then Overkirk,
his left flank being now cleared, pushed forward his horse and
charged. The Dutch routed the first French line, but were driven
back in confusion by the second; and the victorious French were
only checked by the advance of fresh squadrons under Marlborough
himself. Even so the Allies were at a decided disadvantage; and
Marlborough, after despatching messengers to bring up every
squadron, except the British, to the left, plunged into the thick
of the melée to rally the broken horse. He was recognised by some
French dragoons, who left their ranks to surround him, and in
the general confusion he was borne to the ground and in imminent
danger of capture. His aide-de-camp, Captain Molesworth, dismounted
at once, and giving him his own horse enabled him to escape. The
cavalry, however, encouraged by the Duke's example, recovered
themselves, and Marlborough took the opportunity to shift from
Molesworth's horse to his own. Colonel Bringfield, his equerry,
held the stirrup while he mounted, but Marlborough was hardly in
the saddle before the hand that held the stirrup relaxed its hold,
and the equerry fell to the ground, his head carried away by a
round shot.[336]

Meanwhile the attack of the infantry on Ramillies was fully
developed, and relieved the horse from the fire of the village.
Twenty fresh squadrons came galloping up at the top of their speed
and ranged themselves in rear of the reforming lines. But before
they could come into action the Duke of Würtemberg pushed his
Danish horse along the Mehaigne upon the right flank of the French,
and the Dutch guards advancing still further fell upon their rear.
These now emerged upon the table-land by the tomb of Ottomond, and
the rest of the Allied horse dashed themselves once against the
French front. The famous Maison du Roi after a hard fight was cut
to pieces, and the whole of the French horse, despite Villeroy's
efforts to stay them, were driven in headlong flight across the
rear of their line of battle, leaving the battalions of infantry
helpless and alone to be ridden over and trampled out of existence.

Villeroy made frantic efforts to bring forward the cavalry of his
left to cover their retreat, but the ground was encumbered by his
baggage, which he had carelessly posted too close in his rear. The
French troops in Ramillies now gave way, and Marlborough ordered
the whole of the infantry that was massed before the village to
advance across the morass upon Offus, with the Third and Sixth
Dragoon Guards in support. The French broke and fled at their
approach; and meanwhile the Buffs and Twenty-first, which had so
far remained inactive on the right, forced their way through the
swamps before them, and taking Autréglise in rear swept away the
last vestige of the French line on the left. Five British squadrons
followed them up and captured the entire King's Regiment (Regiment
du Roi). The Third and Sixth Dragoon Guards also pressed on,
and coming upon the Spanish and Bavarian horse-guards, who were
striving to cover the retreat of the French artillery, charged
them and swept them away, only narrowly missing the capture of the
Elector himself, who was at their head.[337] On this the whole
French army, which so far had struggled to effect an orderly
retreat, broke up in panic and fled in all directions.

The mass of the fugitives made for Judoigne, but the ways were
blocked by broken-down baggage-waggons and abandoned guns, and the
crush and confusion was appalling. The British cavalry, being quite
fresh, quickly took up the pursuit over the table-land. The guns
and baggage fell an easy prey, but these were left to others, while
the red-coated troopers, not without memories of Landen, pressed
on, like hounds running for blood, after the beaten enemy. The
chase lay northwards to Judoigne and beyond it towards the refuge
of Louvain. Not until two o'clock in the morning did the cavalry
pause, having by that time reached Meldert, fifteen miles from the
battlefield; nay, even then Lord Orkney with some few squadrons
spurred on to Louvain itself, rekindled the panic and set the
unhappy French once more in flight across the Dyle.


  May --.


  May --.


  May --.


  May --.

Nor was the main army far behind the horse. Marching far into the
night, the men slept under arms for two or three hours, started
again at three o'clock, and before the next noon had also reached
Meldert and were preparing to force the passage of the Dyle.
Marlborough, who had been in the saddle with little intermission
for nearly twenty-eight hours, here wrote to the Queen that he
intended to march again that same night, but, through the desertion
of the lines of the Dyle by the French, the army gained some
respite. The next day he crossed the Dyle at Louvain and encamped
at Betlehem, the next he advanced to Dieghem, a few miles north of
Brussels, the next he passed the Senne at Vilvorde and encamped
at Grimberghen, and here at last, after six days of incessant
marching, the Duke granted his weary troops a halt, while the
French, hopelessly beaten and demoralised, retired with all haste
to Ghent.

[Illustration: RAMILLIES

  May 12^{th}
  ----------- 1706.
   "  23^{rd}

  _To face page 472_

So ended the fight and pursuit of Ramillies, which effectually
disposed of the taunt levelled at Marlborough after Blenheim,
that he did not know how to improve a victory. The loss of the
French in killed, wounded, and prisoners was thirteen thousand men,
swelled by desertion during the pursuit to full two thousand more.
The trophies of the victors were eighty standards and colours,
fifty guns, and a vast quantity of baggage. The loss of the Allies
was from four to five thousand killed and wounded, which fell
almost entirely on the Dutch and Danes, the British, owing to their
position on the extreme right, being but little engaged until the
close of the day. The chief service of the British, therefore, was
rendered in the pursuit, which they carried forward with relentless
thoroughness and vigour. The Dutch were delighted that their troops
should have done the heaviest of the work in such an action, and
the British could console themselves with the performance of their
cavalry, and above all, with the reflection that the whole of the
success was due to their incomparable chief.

[Sidenote: May-June.]

The effect of the victory and of the rapid advance that followed
it was instantaneous. Louvain and the whole line of Dyle fell into
Marlborough's hands on the day after the battle; Brussels, Malines,
and Lierre surrendered before the first halt, and gave him the line
of the Senne and the key of the French entrenchments about Antwerp;
and one day later, the surrender of Alost delivered to him one of
the strongholds on the Dender. Never pausing for a moment, he sent
forward a party to lay bridges on the Scheldt below Oudenarde in
order to cut off the French retreat into France, a movement which
obliged Villeroy forthwith to abandon the lines about Ghent and to
retire up the Lys to Courtrai. Ghent, Bruges, and Damme thereupon
surrendered on the spot; Oudenarde followed them, and after a few
days Antwerp itself. Thus within a fortnight after the victory the
whole of Flanders and Brabant, with the exception of Dendermond and
one or two places of minor importance, had succumbed to the Allies,
and the French had fallen back to their own frontier.

[Sidenote: June.]

Nor was even this all. A contribution of two million livres levied
in French Flanders brought home to the Grand Monarch that the war
was now knocking at his own gates. Villars, with the greater part
of his army, was recalled from the Rhine to the Lys, and a number
of French troops were withdrawn to the same quarter from Italy.
Baden had thus the game in his own hand on the Rhine, and though he
was too sulky and incapable to turn the advantage to account, yet
his inaction was no fault of Marlborough's. We are hardly surprised
to find that in the middle of this fortnight the Duke made urgent
request for fresh stores of champagne; he may well have needed the
stimulant amid such pressure of work and fatigue.[338]


  June --.

He now detached Overkirk to besiege Ostend and another party to
blockade Dendermond, at the same time sending off five British
battalions, which we shall presently meet again, for a descent on
the Charente which was then contemplated in England. This done he
took post with the rest of the Army at Rouslers, to westward of the
Lys, whence he could at once cover the siege of Ostend and menace
Menin and Ypres. The operations at Ostend were delayed for some
time through want of artillery and the necessity of waiting for the
co-operation of the Fleet; but the trenches were finally opened on
the 17th of June, and a few weeks later the town surrendered.


  June 27
  July 8.


  Aug. --.

Three days after this the army was reassembled for the siege of
Menin. This fortress was of peculiar strength, being esteemed one
of Vauban's masterpieces, and was garrisoned by five thousand men.
Moreover, the French, being in command of the upper sluices of the
Lys, were able greatly to impede the operations by cutting off the
water from the lower stream, and thus rendering it less useful for
purposes of transport. But all this availed it little; for three
weeks after the opening of the trenches Menin surrendered. The
British battalions[339] which had been kept inactive at Ramillies
took a leading share in the work, and some of them suffered very
heavily, but had the satisfaction of recapturing four of the
British guns that had been taken at Landen.


  Aug. 25
  Sept. 5.


  Sept. --.


  Sept. 21
  Oct.  2.

A few days later Dendermond was attacked in earnest and was
likewise taken, after which Marlborough fell back across the
Scheldt to secure the whole line of the Dender by the capture of
Ath. Ten days sufficed for the work, after which Ath also fell
into the hands of the Allies. The apathy of the French throughout
these operations sufficiently show their discouragement. Owing to
the supineness of Prince Lewis of Baden Villars had been able to
bring up thirty-five thousand men to the assistance of Marshal
Vendôme, who had now superseded Villeroy, but even with this
reinforcement the two commanders only looked on helplessly while
Marlborough reduced fortress after fortress before their eyes.
They were, indeed, more anxious to strengthen the defences of Mons
and Charleroi, lest the Duke should break into France by that
line, than to approach him in the field. Nor were they not wholly
unreasonable in their anxiety, for Marlborough's next move was upon
the Sambre; but incessant rain and tempestuous weather forbade any
further operations, so that Ath proved to be the last conquest of
the year. Thus ended the campaign of Ramillies, one of the most
brilliant in the annals of war, wherein Marlborough in a single
month carried his arms triumphant from the Meuse to the sea.


[Sidenote: 1706.]

From Flanders it is necessary to return to the Peninsula, where
we left Peterborough bewailing his enforced inaction. Nothing is
more remarkable in the story of these Peninsular campaigns than the
utter want of unity in design between the forces of the Allies in
Catalonia and in Portugal. Even in England the British troops in
these two quarters were treated, for purposes of administration,
as two distinct establishments, which might have been divided
by the whole breadth of the Atlantic instead of by twice the
breadth of England. Yet the fault could hardly be attributed to
any English functionary, civil or military. Galway was as anxious
as Peterborough to advance to Madrid; but the Portuguese were
terrified at the prospect of moving far from their frontier, while
the eyes of King Charles ever rested anxiously on the passes by
which French reinforcements might advance into Catalonia. In such
circumstances it was not easy to accomplish an effective campaign.


  Dec. 26, 1705.
  Jan. 6, 1706.

The Spaniards of the Austrian party, as has been told, had by the
winter of 1705 gained a precarious hold on the whole province of
Valencia. Just before the close of the year came intelligence
that the Spanish General de las Torres had crossed the northern
frontier from Arragon into Valencia and had laid siege to San
Mateo. The town was important, inasmuch as it commanded the
communications between Catalonia and Valencia, but it was held
by no stronger garrison than thirty of the Royal Dragoons and a
thousand Spanish irregular infantry under Colonel Jones. This
officer defended himself as well as he could, but at once begged
urgently for reinforcements. King Charles thereupon appealed for
help to Peterborough, who forthwith ordered General Killigrew to
march with his garrison from Tortosa and cross the Ebro, while he
himself, riding night and day from Barcelona, caught up the column
at the close of the first day's march. King Charles had represented
the force of Las Torres as but two thousand strong, and had added
that thousands of peasants were up in arms against it. Peterborough
now discovered that the Spaniards numbered four thousand foot and
three thousand horse, while the thousands of armed peasantry were
wholly imaginary. His own force consisted of three weak British
battalions, the Thirteenth, Thirty-fifth, and Mountjoy's Foot,
together with one hundred and seventy of the Royal Dragoons, in all
thirteen hundred men. With such a handful his only hope of success
must lie in stratagem.


  Dec. 28, 1705.
  Jan. 8, 1706.

Advancing southward with all speed he split up his minute army
into a number of small detachments, and pushing them forward
by different routes arrived early in the morning, unseen and
unsuspected, at Traguera, within six miles of the enemy's camp.
That same day a spy was captured by the enemy and brought before
Las Torres. On him was found a letter from Peterborough to
Colonel Jones, written in the frankest and easiest style. "I am
at Traguera," so it ran in effect, "with six thousand men and
artillery. You may wonder how I collected them; but for transport
and secrecy nothing equals the sea. Now, be ready to pursue Las
Torres over the plain. It is his only line of retreat, for I have
occupied all the passes over the hills. You will see us on the
hill-tops between nine and ten. Prove yourself a true dragoon, and
have your miquelets (irregulars) ready for their favourite plunder
and chase." The spy, being threatened with death, offered to betray
another messenger of Peterborough's who was lying concealed in
the hills. This second spy was captured, and a duplicate of the
same letter was found on him. The pair of them were questioned,
when the first protested that he knew nothing of the strength of
Peterborough's force, while the other declared that the despatch
spoke truth. Suddenly came intelligence from the Spanish outposts
that the enemy was advancing in force in several columns, and
presently the red-coats appeared at different points on the
hill-tops, making a brave show against the sky. Las Torres became
uneasy. His depression was increased by the accidental explosion
of one of his own mines before San Mateo; and he hastily ordered
an immediate retreat. Whereupon out came Jones with his garrison,
and turned the retreat into something greatly resembling a flight;
while Peterborough with his thirteen hundred men walked quietly
into San Mateo and took possession of the whole of the enemy's
camp and material of war. The trick, for the whole incident of
the captured spies had been carefully preconcerted, had proved a
brilliant success.

Las Torres, though disagreeably shaken, was recovering his
equanimity when, on the second day of the retreat, a friendly spy
came to warn him that an English force was marching parallel to his
left flank, was already in advance of him, and was likely to cut
off his retreat by seizing the passes into the plain of Valencia.
The warning was scouted as ridiculous, but the spy offered, if two
or three officers would accompany him, to prove that he was right.
Two officers, disguised as peasants, were accordingly guided to
a point already indicated by the spy, where they were promptly
captured by a picquet of ten of the Royal Dragoons. The spy,
however, undertook to produce liquor, the dragoons succumbed or
seemed to succumb to their national failing, and the three captives
slipped out, took three of the dragoons' horses and galloped back
with all speed to Las Torres to confirm the spy's story. Their
escape did not prompt them to make the least of their adventure;
the housings of the horses testified incontestably to the actual
presence of English dragoons; and Las Torres broke up his camp on
the spot and hurried away once more. Once again the tricks of the
eccentric Englishman had been successful; for the friendly spy was
in reality a Spanish officer in his own army; and though there were
undoubtedly ten English dragoons, who had been specially sent for
the purpose, in advance of Las Torres at that particular moment,
yet there were no more English within twenty miles of them.


  Jan. --.

Las Torres was still retreating southward by the coast-road, and
Peterborough was making a show of pursuit by marching wide on his
right flank, when a pressing message reached him from King Charles.
A French force of eight thousand men was advancing into Catalonia
from Roussillon; a second force of four or five thousand men under
Count Tserclaes de Tilly was threatening Lerida, and a third
under Marshal Tessé was marching through Arragon upon Tortosa.
Seeing that the King was urgent for help in Catalonia, but intent
on pursuing his own design in Valencia, Peterborough resolved
to send his infantry to the coast at Vinaroz, to be transported
if necessary by sea. The men, though ragged, shoeless, and much
distressed by long marches through the wintry days, left him very
unwillingly. Then summoning the garrison of Lerida[340] and a
reinforcement of Spaniards to follow him to Valencia, Peterborough
resumed the pursuit of Las Torres with one hundred and fifty

[Sidenote: January.]

He was too late to save Villa Real, which Las Torres took by
treachery, and having taken massacred the entire male population;
but while always concealing his own weakness he contrived by
incessant harassing of the enemy's rear to inflict considerable
loss and annoyance. Thus in due time he reached Nules, three
days' march from the city of Valencia, a town of considerable
strength, where Las Torres had left arms sufficient to equip a
thousand of the townsmen. Peterborough marched straight up to
the gate with his handful of dragoons. The townspeople manned the
walls and opened fire, but were speedily checked by a message
from Peterborough, bidding them send out a priest or a magistrate
instantly on pain of having their walls battered down and every
soul put to the sword, in revenge for Villa Real. Some priests who
knew him at once came out to him. "I give you six minutes," said
Peterborough to the trembling cassocks. "Open your gates or I spare
not a soul of you." The gates were quickly opened, and the General,
riding in at the head of his tattered dragoons, demanded immediate
provision of rations and forage for several thousand men.

The news soon reached Las Torres, who was little more than an hour
ahead, and for the third time his unfortunate army was hurried
out of camp and condemned to a weary retreat from an imaginary
enemy. Peterborough, however, after taking two hundred horses
from Nules, left the town to ponder over its fright and retired
to Castallon de la Plana. Having there raised yet another hundred
horses he ordered the Thirteenth Foot to march from Vinaroz to
Oropesa and went thither himself to inspect them. The men marched
in but four hundred strong, with red coats ragged and rusty,
yellow facings in tatters, yellow breeches faded and torn, shoes
and stockings in holes or more often altogether wanting. "I wish,"
said Peterborough when the inspection was over, "that I had horses
and accoutrements for you, to try if you would keep up your good
reputation as dragoons." The men doubtless glanced at their sore
and unshod feet, and silently agreed. Presently they were marched
up to the brow of a neighbouring hill, where to their amazement
they found four hundred horses awaiting them, all fully equipped.
The officers received commissions according to their rank in the
mounted service, two or three only being detached to raise a new
battalion in England; and thus within an hour Barrymore's Foot
became Pearce's Dragoons.

[Sidenote: January.]


  January 24
  February 4.

Peterborough now called in such additional weak battalions of
British as he could, and having collected a total force of three
thousand men, one-third of it mounted, prepared to outwit a new
general, the Duke of Los Arcos, who had superseded Las Torres. The
relief of Valencia was Peterborough's first object, but to effect
this he had first to gain possession of Murviedro, which lay on his
road and was occupied by the enemy, and that, too, in such a way
that Los Arcos should not move out against him in the open plain
and crush him by superior numbers. It was a difficult problem,
and it was only solved by a trick too elaborate and lengthy to be
detailed here. The plan was very clever, so clever as almost to
transcend the bounds of what is fair in war, but it was completely
successful; and on the 4th of February Peterborough marched into
Valencia without firing a shot.


  March 23
  April 3.

[Sidenote: April.]


  April 30
  May 11.

He now cultivated the friendship of the priests and something more
than the friendship of the ladies of Valencia, thereby combining
pleasure with business and obtaining the best of information.
Las Torres, who had once more superseded Los Arcos, presently
appeared on the scene again, bringing four thousand men by land
and a powerful siege-train by sea for the reduction of the city.
Peterborough pounced upon the train directly after it had been
landed and captured the whole of it; then sending twelve hundred
men against the four thousand he surprised them, routed them, and
took six hundred prisoners. But the pleasant and exciting life at
Valencia was interrupted by an urgent summons to assist in the
defence of Barcelona. King Lewis, at the entreaty of his grandson
Philip, had resolved to make a great effort to recover it; and
thus it was that at the beginning of April Marshal Tessé appeared
before the city with twenty-five thousand men, and three days later
began the siege in form. The garrison consisted of less than four
thousand regular troops, the backbone of which were eleven hundred
British of the Guards and the Thirty-fourth Foot. Weak as it was
this little force made a gallant resistance, but the odds were
too great against it, and but for the arrival of Peterborough it
could not have held out for more than a fortnight. Even after his
coming it was well-nigh overpowered; for of the three thousand
troops that he brought with him the most part were employed chiefly
in harassing Tessé's communications from the rear. The siege was
finally raised on the advent of a relieving squadron under Admiral
Leake, which so much discouraged Tessé that he abandoned the whole
of his siege-train and retired once more over the French frontier.

Nothing now remained but to take advantage of this piece of good
fortune. Peterborough had always favoured a dash on Madrid, and had
twice urged this course upon King Charles in vain. He now pressed
it for a third time with success, and presently sailed for Valencia
with eleven thousand men. With immense trouble he procured horses
and accoutrements to convert some of his infantry into dragoons,
and then pushing forward a detached force of English he succeeded
by the beginning of July in capturing Requena and Cuença and
opening the road for King Charles to Madrid.


  March --.


  May 27
  June 7.


  June --.

Meanwhile, after enormous delay, the English and Portuguese had
actually begun operations from the side of Portugal against Marshal
Berwick. On the 31st of March Lord Galway and General das Minas
left Elvas with nineteen thousand men[341] and advanced slowly
northward, forcing back Berwick, whose army was much inferior in
number, continually before them. Alcantara, Plasencia, and Ciudad
Rodrigo yielded to them after slight resistance; and by the 7th
of June the Allied army had reached Salamanca, a country which
two regiments, the Second and the Ninth, were to know better a
century later. Then turning east it marched straight upon Madrid
and entered the city on the 27th of June. So far all was well. The
advance from Portugal had been singularly slow, but the capital
had been reached. King Philip had retired to Burgos, and King
Charles had been proclaimed in Madrid. The object of the War of the
Succession seemed to have been fulfilled in Spain.


  July --.


  July --.


  July 26
  August 6.

At this juncture, however, the operations for no particular
reason came to an end. Galway, without a thought apparently of
following up Berwick, halted for a fortnight in Madrid, where the
Portuguese troops behaved disgracefully, and then moving a short
distance north-eastward took up a strong position at Guadalaxara.
King Charles after immense delay suddenly altered the route which
Peterborough had marked out for him and insisted on marching to
Madrid through Arragon, even so not reaching Saragossa till the
18th of July. Meanwhile the whole of the country through which
Galway had marched rose in revolt against the House of Austria.
Berwick, reinforced from France to twice the strength of Galway,
cut him off from Madrid, and reproclaimed King Philip; and when
Charles and Peterborough with three thousand men at last joined
Galway on the 6th of August, the Archduke found that he must
prepare not for triumphant entry into Madrid, but for what promised
to be a difficult and perilous retreat.


  Sept. --.

Peterborough was for a sudden spring at Alcala and so on Madrid,
but being over-ruled retired to Italy to raise a loan for the army.
Galway, whose army had been so much reduced by sickness as to
number, with Peterborough's reinforcement, but fourteen thousand
men, still lingered close to Madrid for nearly a month in the vain
hope of seeing the tide turn in his favour. Finally, being cut
off from his base in Portugal, he marched for Valencia and the
British fleet, Berwick troubling him no further than by occasional
harassing of his rearguard. On crossing the Valencian frontier he
distributed his force into winter quarters; an example which, after
the reduction of Carthagena and of sundry small strongholds, was
imitated by Berwick at the end of November.

So closed the year 1706, memorable for two of the most brilliant,
even if in some respects disappointing, campaigns ever fought
simultaneously by two British generals.

[Sidenote: 1707.]

Unexpected reinforcements from Britain came opportunely to revive
the hopes of the Archduke Charles at the opening of the new
year. It will be remembered that in the summer of 1706 a project
for a descent on the Charente had been matured in England, for
which Marlborough had detached certain of his battalions after
Ramillies. The plan being considered doubtful of success, the
destination of the expedition was altered to Cadiz. A storm in
the Bay of Biscay, however, dispersed the fleet, which was only
reassembled at Lisbon after very great delay, and after waiting in
that port for two months was directed to place its force at the
disposal of Galway.[342] In December 1706 Peterborough returned
from Italy to Valencia to attend the councils of war respecting
the next campaign. The general outlook in the Peninsula was not
promising. Marlborough indeed opined that nothing could save Spain
but an offensive movement against France from the side of Italy,
and Peterborough, adopting the same view, strongly advocated
a defensive campaign. He was overruled, and since his endless
squabbles with his colleagues and his military conduct in general
had been called in question in England, he was shortly after
relieved of his command and returned to England.

[Sidenote: March.]


  March 30
  April 10.

[Sidenote: April.]

After his departure the Archduke Charles and the English commanders
fell at variance over their alternative plans, with the result
that Charles withdrew with the whole of the Spanish troops to
Catalonia. Galway and Das Minas then decided first to destroy
Berwick's magazines in Murcia, and this done to march up the
Guadalaviar, turn the head-waters of the Tagus, and so move on to
Madrid. Though the reinforcements had reached the Valencian coast
in January it was not until the 10th of April that Galway crossed
the Murcian frontier and after destroying one or two magazines laid
siege to Villena. While thus engaged he heard that Berwick having
collected his army was advancing towards Almanza, some five and
twenty miles to the north-east, and that the Duke of Orleans was
on his way to join him with reinforcements. Thereupon Galway and
Das Minas resolved to advance and fight him at once, apparently
without taking pains to ascertain what the numbers of his army
might actually be. Berwick had with him twenty-five thousand men,
half French, half Spanish, besides a good train of artillery.
Galway, owing to the frightful mortality on board the newly-arrived
transports, had but fifteen thousand, of which a bare third were
British, half were Portuguese, and the remainder Dutch, German,
and Huguenot. Considering how poorly the Portuguese had behaved on
every occasion so far, the result of an open attack against such
odds could hardly be doubtful.


  April --.

Berwick on his side drew up his army in the usual two lines on a
plain to the south of Almanza, his right resting on rising ground
towards Montalegre, his left on a height overlooking the road to
Valencia, while his right centre was covered by a ravine which
gradually lost itself on level ground towards his extreme right
flank. The force was formed according to rule with infantry in the
centre and cavalry on each flank, the Spaniards taking the right
and the French the left. At midday, after a march of eight miles,
Galway approached to within a mile of the position, and formed his
line of battle according to the prescribed methods. The Portuguese,
with poor justice, claimed the post of honour on the right wing,
so that the British and Dutch took the left, though with several
Portuguese squadrons among them in the second line. But finding
himself weak in cavalry Galway made good the deficiency, after the
manner of Gustavus Adolphus, by interpolating battalions of foot
among his horse.[343]

At three o'clock in the afternoon Galway opened the attack without
preliminary fire of artillery by leading an advance of the horse
on his left wing. He was driven back at first by sheer weight of
numbers; but the Sixth and Thirty-third Foot, which were among
the interpolated battalions, came up, and by opening fire on the
left flank of the Spanish horse gave the English squadrons time
to rally and by an effective charge to drive the Spaniards back
in confusion. Meanwhile, the rest of the English foot on the
left centre fell, heedless of numbers, straight upon the hostile
infantry and drove them back in confusion upon their second line.
The Guards and the Second Foot following up their success broke
through the second line also and pursued the scattered fugitives to
the very walls of Almanza. So far as the Allied left was concerned
the battle was going well.

But meanwhile the Portuguese on the right remained motionless;
and Berwick lost no time in launching his left wing of horse upon
them. Then the first line of Portuguese horse turned and ran, the
second line also turned and ran, and the first line of infantry
was left to bear the brunt alone. For a time the battalions stood
up gallantly enough, but the odds were too great, and they were
presently overwhelmed and utterly dispersed. Then Berwick brought
up his French, both horse and foot, against the victorious British
on his right. The British cavalry had suffered heavily in the first
attack, all four regiments having lost their commanding officers,
and in spite of all their efforts they were borne back and swept
away by the numbers of the French squadrons. The infantry,
surrounded on all sides, fought desperately and repeatedly repulsed
the enemy's onset, but being overpowered by numbers, were nearly
all of them, English, Dutch, and Germans, cut down or captured.
By great exertions Galway, who was himself wounded, brought off
some remnant of them in good order and retreated unpursued to
Ontiniente, some twenty miles distant. The guns also were saved;
but a party of two thousand infantry which had been brought off the
field by General Shrimpton was surrounded on the following day and
compelled to lay down its arms.

In this action, which lasted about two hours, Galway lost about
four thousand killed and wounded and three thousand prisoners. The
British alone lost eighty-eight officers killed, and two hundred
and eighty-six captured, of whom ninety-two were wounded. The
Sixth regiment had but two officers unhurt out of twenty-three,
the Ninth but one out of twenty-six, and other regiments[344]
suffered hardly less severely. The simple fact was that, as the
bulk of the Portuguese would not fight, the action resolved itself
into an attack of eight thousand British, Dutch, and Germans upon
thrice their number of French and Spaniards, in an open plain; and
the defeat, though decisive, was in no sense disgraceful except
to the Portuguese. The most singular circumstance in this fatal
day was that the French were commanded by an Englishman, Berwick,
and the English by a Frenchman, the gallant but luckless Ruvigny.
The battle of course put an end to further operations on the side
of the Allies. Galway, with such troops as he could collect,
retired to the Catalonian frontier, and set himself to reorganise
a force to defend the lines of the Segre and Ebro, while Berwick
methodically pursued the reduction of Valencia and in December
retired, according to rule, into winter quarters. So swiftly did
disaster follow on the first brilliant successes in the Peninsula.

Since we shall not again see Peterborough in the field this chapter
should not be closed without a few sentences as to his peculiar
methods. These were outwardly simple enough. Good information to
discover his enemy's weak points, deception to put him off his
guard, the deepest secrecy lest that enemy should grow suspicious,
most careful thinking out of details so that every unit of an
insignificant force should know its duty precisely and do it,
exact divination of the probable results of each successive step,
and extreme suddenness and rapidity in execution; such were, so
far as they can be set down, the secrets of his success. In a
word, his was the principle of making war by moral rather than by
physical force, by scaring men into the delusion that they were
beaten rather than by actually beating them. It is a difficult
art, of which the highest exponent was produced by the Navy a
century later in the person of Lord Dundonald; and it is curious
to note that both men were troubled by exactly the same defects.
Peterborough was difficult, cantankerous, quarrelsome and eaten
up by exaggerated appreciation of self. His letters were so
interminably long and tedious, containing indeed little besides
abuse of his colleagues, that they exhausted the patience even of
Marlborough. In fact, it seems to be impossible for this type of
man to work harmoniously with his equals, however he may be adored
by his subordinates. The Duke of Wellington summed up Peterborough
as a brilliant partisan, but his contemporaries thought more
highly of him. Eugene declared that he thought like a general,
and Marlborough himself acknowledged that he had predicted the
ill consequences of the operations which, contrary to his advice,
were undertaken in Spain. But whatever his merit as a general
and a leader, he, like all of his kind, is a man of whom we take
leave without regret, turning gladly from the fitful, if dazzling
flashes of his eccentric genius, to the steady glowing light which
illuminates every action of the great Duke of Marlborough.

  AUTHORITIES.--It is well known that the exploits of Peterborough
  rest principally on Carleton's _Memoirs_, and that the authority
  of these _Memoirs_ is disputed. Colonel Frank Russell in his
  _Life of Peterborough_ of course makes him a hero, Colonel
  Arthur Parnell in his _War of the Succession in Spain_ refuses
  to allow him any merit. Mr. Stebbing in his _Peterborough_ (Men
  of Action Series) treats the controversy with strong good sense,
  and I have not hesitated to follow his view. I must none the
  less acknowledge my obligations to all three of these writers,
  and particularly to Colonel Parnell, who has gone deeply into
  the history of the war, taken immense pains to ascertain which
  British regiments were engaged at every action, and has furnished
  a most copious list of authorities. The _Mémoires de Berwick_ are
  most trustworthy on the French side, and the _Richards Papers_
  (Stowe Coll. B.M.), as Colonel Parnell says, most important.


[Sidenote: 1707.]

Almanza was a bad opening for the new year, but worse was to
follow. Throughout the winter Marlborough had, as usual, been
employed in diplomatic negotiations, which nothing but his skill
and fascination could have carried to a successful issue. But on
one most important point the Duke was foiled by the treachery of
the Emperor, who, to further his own selfish designs on Naples,
secretly concluded a treaty with France for the neutrality of
Italy, and thus enabled the whole of the French garrisons in Italy
to be withdrawn unmolested. The forces thus liberated were at once
brought up to the scene of action on the Rhine and in Flanders,
and the French were enabled to bring a superior force in the field
against Marlborough. Again the Duke had hoped to save Spain by an
invasion of France from the side of Savoy, but this project again
had been deferred until too late, owing to the Emperor's cupidity
for the possession of Naples. Finally, though Prince Lewis of Baden
had died during the winter, he had been replaced on the Rhine by
a still more incompetent prince, the Margrave of Bayreuth, who,
far from making any diversion in the Duke's favour, never ceased
pestering him to come to his assistance. So flagrant was this
deplorable person's incapacity that he too was superseded before
the close of the campaign, though too late for any effective
purpose. His successor, however, deserves particular notice, being
none other than the Elector of Hanover, afterwards our own King
George the First, no genius in the field, but, as shall be seen in
due time, an extremely sensible and clear-headed soldier.

The result of these complications was that Marlborough spent the
greater part of the summer encamped, in the face of a superior
French force, at Meldert, on a branch of the Great Geete, to cover
his conquests in Flanders and Brabant. At last the Emperor, having
accomplished his desires in Naples, made a diversion towards
Provence which drew away a part of the French force to that quarter
and enabled the Duke to move. But then bad weather intervened to
prevent any successful operations. Twice Marlborough was within an
ace of surprising Vendôme, who had superseded Villeroy in Flanders,
and twice the marshal decamped in haste and confusion only just
in time to save his army. Even so the Duke would have struck one
heavy blow but for the intervention of the Dutch deputies. But
fortune favoured the French; the rain came down in torrents, and
the country was poached into such a quagmire by the cavalry that
many of the infantry were fairly swallowed up and lost.[345] Thus
tamely ended the campaign which should have continued the work of

Returning home in November Marlborough found difficulties almost
as great as he had left behind him in Flanders. There were quarrels
in the Cabinet, already foreboding the time when the Queen and the
people should turn against him. The Court of France was reverting
to its old methods and endeavouring to divide England by providing
the Pretender with a force for invasion. Again the hardships of
the campaign in Flanders and the defeat of Almanza had not only
created discontent, but had enormously increased the demand for
recruits. The evil work of the Dutch deputies and the incorrigible
selfishness and jealousy of the Empire had already prolonged the
war beyond the limit assigned by the short patience of the English

Happily Parliament was for the present still loyal to the war,
and voted not only the usual supplies but money for an additional
ten thousand men. Five new battalions[347] were raised, and
three more of the old establishment were detailed for service in
Flanders.[348] But far more satisfactory was the fact that in 1708
all regiments took the field with new colours, bearing the cross of
St. Andrew blended with that of St. George, pursuant to the first
article of the Treaty of Union, passed in the previous year between
England and Scotland.

[Sidenote: 1708.]


  March 29
  April 9.

The early spring of 1708 was wasted by the French in a futile
endeavour to set the Pretender afoot in Scotland with a French
force at his back; nor was it until the 9th of April that
Marlborough sailed for the Hague, where Eugene was already awaiting
him. There the two agreed that the Duke should as usual command
in Flanders, while Eugene should take charge of an army on the
Moselle, nominally for operations on that river, but in reality to
unite with Marlborough by a rapid march and give battle to the
French before they could call in their remoter detachments. There
was a considerable difficulty with the Elector of Hanover, who was
to command on the Rhine, owing to his jealousy of Eugene, but this
trouble was satisfactorily settled, as were all troubles of the
time, by the intervention of Marlborough. Thereupon the Electoral
Prince, true to the quarrelsome traditions of his family, at once
insisted on taking service with Eugene, simply for the sake of
annoying his father; thus adding one more to the many causes of
friction which, but for Marlborough, would soon have brought the
Grand Alliance to a standstill. This Electoral Prince will become
better known to us as King George the Second.

The French on their part had made extraordinary exertions in the
hope of a successful campaign. Since Ramillies they had drawn
troops from all quarters to Flanders; and from thenceforth the
tendency in every succeeding year grew stronger for all operations
to centre in that familiar battle-ground. On the Rhine the Elector
of Bavaria held command, with Berwick, much exalted since Almanza,
to help him. The French main army in Flanders numbered little less
than a hundred thousand men, and was under the orders of Vendôme,
with the Duke of Burgundy in supreme command. The presence of the
heir to the throne, of his brother the Duke of Berry, and of the
Chevalier de St. George, as the Pretender called himself, all
portended an unusual effort.

[Sidenote: May.]


  May 24
  June 4
  June 24
  July 5.


  June 23
  July 4.

Marching up at the end of May from their rendezvous on the south
of the Haine, the French army moved north to the forest of
Soignies. Marlborough thereupon at once concentrated at Hal and
summoned Eugene to him with all haste. His own army numbered but
eighty thousand men, and though as usual he showed a bold front he
knew that such disparity of numbers was serious. The French then
manœuvred towards Waterloo as if to threaten Louvain, a movement
which the Duke met by a forced march to Park on the Dyle. Here he
remained perforce inactive for a whole month, waiting for Eugene,
who was delayed by some petty formalities which were judged by the
Imperial Court to be far more important than military operations.
Suddenly, on the night of the 4th of July, the French broke up
their camp, marched westward to cross the Senne at Hal and detached
small corps against Bruges and Ghent. Unable to meet the Allies
with the sword, the French had substituted gold for steel and had
for some time been tampering with the new authorities in these
towns. The gold had done its work. Within twenty-four hours Ghent
and Bruges had opened their gates, and the keys to the navigation
of the Scheldt and Lys were lost.


  June 24
  July 5.


  June 25
  July 6.

Marlborough, who was quite ready for a march, was up and after the
French army immediately. At two o'clock in the morning his army
was in motion, streaming off to pass the Senne at Anderlecht. The
march was long and severe, the roads being in so bad a state that
the right wing did not reach its halting-ground until six o'clock
in the evening, nor the left wing till two o'clock on the following
morning; but this great effort brought the Allies almost within
reach of the French army. In the night intelligence was brought to
Marlborough that the enemy was turning back to fight him. He was in
the saddle at once, to form his line of battle; but the news was
false. The French in reality were making off as fast as they could;
and before the truth could reach Marlborough they were across the
Dender. Marlborough's cavalry was instantly on their track, but
could do no more than capture a few hundred prisoners together with
most of the French baggage. That same day came definite information
of the loss of Ghent and Bruges, and of the investment of the
citadel of Ghent. Brussels took the alarm at once. The French, as
they feared, had for once got the better of the Duke. The French
army was encamped at Alost, where, like a king between two pieces
at draughts, it threatened both the citadel of Ghent and Brussels;
and all was panic in the capital. The Duke was fain to move on
to Assche, midway between Alost and Brussels, to restore the
confidence of the fearful city.


  June 28
  July 9.

Here Eugene joined him. Finding it hopeless to arrive in time
with his army, he had pushed on alone; nor could he have arrived
more opportunely, for the Duke was so much weakened by an attack
of fever that he was hardly fit for duty. It was indeed a trying
moment. The next design of the French was evidently aimed at
Oudenarde for the recovery of the line of the Scheldt. They were
already across the Dender and ahead of Marlborough on the road
to it, and moreover had broken down the bridges behind them; yet
Marlborough dared not move lest he should expose Brussels. He sent
orders to the Governor of Ath to collect as many troops as he could
and throw himself into Oudenarde, which that officer punctually
did; and then there was nothing to be done but to wait. Two days
sufficed to place the citadel of Ghent in the hands of the French,
and to set their army free for further operations. Accordingly
on the 9th of July Vendôme sent forward detachments to invest
Oudenarde, and moved with the main army up the Dender to Lessines,
from which point he intended to cover the siege. Great was his
astonishment on approaching the town on the following day to find
that Marlborough had arrived there before him, and was not only
within reach of Oudenarde but interposed between him and his own


  June 29
  July 10.

For at two o'clock on the morning of the 9th of July the Allied
army had marched off in beautiful order in five columns, and by
noon had covered fifteen miles to Herfelingen on the road to the
Dender. Four hours later Cadogan was sent forward with eight
battalions and as many squadrons to occupy Lessines and throw
bridges over the Dender; and when tattoo beat that night the army
silently entered on a march of thirteen further miles to the same
point. Before dawn came the welcome intelligence that Cadogan
had reached his destination at midnight, laid his bridges, and
made his disposition to cover the passage of the troops. The army
tramped on, always in perfect order, crossed the river and was
taking up its camping-ground, when the heads of the enemy's columns
appeared on the distant heights and were seen first to halt and
then to retire. Marlborough on the curve of the arc had outmarched
Vendôme on the chord.


  June 30
  July 11.

The French, finding the whole of their plans disconcerted, now
wheeled about north-westward towards Gavre on the Scheldt, to
shelter themselves behind the river and bar the advance of the
allies on Bruges. But the Duke had no intention to let them off
so easily. Burgundy and Vendôme were not on good terms; their
differences had already caused considerable confusion in the
army; and Marlborough was fully aware of the fact. At dawn on the
morning of the 11th the unwearied Cadogan started off with some
eleven thousand men[349] and twenty-four guns to prepare the roads,
construct bridges, and make dispositions to cover the passage of
the Scheldt below Oudenarde. By half-past ten he had reached the
river, just above the village of Eyne, and on ascending the low
heights above the stream and looking westward he saw before him a
kind of shallow basin or amphitheatre, seamed by little ditches and
rivulets, and broken by hedges and enclosures. To the south the
rising ground on which he stood swept round almost to the glacis of
Oudenarde, thence curved westward from the village of Bevere into
another broad hill called the Boser Couter to the village of Oycke
and beyond, thence round northward across the valley of the river
Norken to Huysse, whence trending still to northward it died away
in the marshes of the Scheldt. Near Oycke two small streams rise
which, after pursuing for some way a parallel course, unite to run
down into the Scheldt at Eyne; beyond them the Norken runs beneath
the heights of Huysse in a line parallel to the Scheldt.

Presently parties of French horse appeared on the ground to the
north. Vendôme's advanced-guard, under the Marquis of Biron, had
crossed the Scheldt leisurely at Gavre, six miles farther down
the river, and was now moving across his front with foragers out,
in happy unconsciousness of the presence of an enemy. A dash of
Cadogan's squadrons upon the foragers quickly brought Biron to Eyne
and beyond it, where he caught sight of Cadogan's detachment of
scarlet and blue battalions guarding the bridge, and presently of
a body of cavalry in the act of crossing; for Marlborough, uneasy
while his advanced-guard was still in the air, had caught up a
column of Prussian horse and galloped forward with it in all haste.
Biron at once reported what he had seen to Vendôme, who, perceiving
that the mass of the Allied army was still on the wrong side of the
Scheldt, gave orders to take up a position parallel to the river;
the line to rest its left on the village of Heurne and extend by
Eyne and Beveren to Mooregem on the right. In pursuance of his
design he directed seven battalions to occupy Heurne forthwith;
but at this point the Duke of Burgundy interposed. The heights
of Huysse in rear of the Norken from Asper to Wannegem formed in
his judgment a preferable position; and there, two miles from the
Scheldt, he should form his line of battle, facing south-east. So
the army was guided to the left bank of the Norken, while the seven
battalions, obeying what they conceived to be their orders, marched
down to the village not of Heurne but of Eyne, and backed by a few
squadrons, took up the position assigned to them by Vendôme.

Meanwhile, responding to urgent messages from Marlborough, the main
body of the Allies was hurrying forward, and by two o'clock the
head of the infantry had reached the Scheldt. Part of the cavalry
passed through Oudenarde to take advantage of the town bridge;
the foot began to cross by the pontoons, and Cadogan, whose eye
had marked the march of the French into Eyne, at once summoned
the whole of his advanced-guard across to the left bank. Sabine's
brigade supported by the other two crossed the rivulet against
Eyne, while the Hanoverian cavalry moved up to the rear of the
village and cut off all hope of retreat. Presently Sabine's British
were hotly engaged; but the French made but a poor resistance.
It is the weakness of the French soldier that he apprehends too
quickly when his officers have not given him a fair chance. Three
battalions out of the seven were captured entire, the remaining
four were killed or taken piecemeal in their flight. The cavalry,
flushed by their success, then advanced under Prince George against
the few French squadrons in rear of the village, charged them,
routed them, and drove them across the Norken. The Prince had his
horse shot under him in this encounter, for his family has never
wanted for courage, and he remembered the day of Oudenarde to the
end of his life.

The Duke of Burgundy now made up his mind to a general action,
and made every preparation for defence of the position behind the
Norken. But when four o'clock came and the Allied army was not
yet in order of battle, he changed his plan, pushed a body of
cavalry from his right across the stream, and set the whole of
his centre and right in motion to advance likewise. Marlborough,
perceiving the movement, judged that the attack would be directed
against his left, in the hope that Cadogan's battalions about Eyne
would be left isolated and open to be crushed by an advance of
the French left. Two of Cadogan's regiments, Prussians, which had
been pushed forward half a mile beyond Eyne to Groenewald were at
once reinforced by twelve more of the advanced guard; the British
cavalry was formed up on the heights at Bevere, and the Prussian
horse further to the Allied right near Heurne. No more could be
done until the rest of the army should gradually cross the river
which divided it from the battlefield.

At length about five o'clock thirty French battalions debouched
upon Groenewald, which was as yet held only by Cadogan's two
advanced regiments, and began the attack. The Prussians stuck
to their post gallantly and held their own among the hedges,
until presently Cadogan's reinforcement, and later on twenty
more battalions under the Duke of Argyll,[350] came up to their
assistance. Forming in succession on the left of the Prussians as
they reached the fighting line, these regiments extended the field
of action as far south as Schaerken; and the combat was carried on
with great spirit. The ground was so strongly enclosed that the
fight resolved itself into duels of battalions, the cream of the
infantry on both sides being engaged. At one moment the French
outflanked the left of the Allies and drove them back, but fresh
battalions of Marlborough's army kept constantly streaming into
action, which recovered the lost ground and prolonged the line of
fire always further to the south.

Marlborough and Eugene, who had hitherto remained together, now
parted, and the Duke handing over eighteen battalions to the Prince
entrusted him with the command of the right. This accession of
strength enabled Eugene to relieve Cadogan's corps, which had been
forced to give way before Groenewald, and even to pierce through
the first line of the enemy's infantry. General Natzmar thereupon
seized the moment to throw the Prussian cavalry against the second
line. His squadrons were received with a biting fire from the
hedges as they advanced; and the French Household Cavalry watching
the favourable moment for a charge drove back the Prussians with
very heavy loss.

Meanwhile Marlborough with the Hanoverian and Dutch infantry was
pressing forward slowly on his left, the French fighting with
great stubbornness and gallantry, and contesting every inch of
ground from hedge to hedge. At last the enemy being forced back to
Diepenbeck, a few hundred yards in rear of Schaerken, stood fast,
and refused despite all the Duke's efforts to give way for another
foot. But Marlborough had still twenty battalions of Dutch and
Danes with almost the entire cavalry of the left at his disposal,
and he had noticed that the French right flank rested on the air.
He now directed Marshal Overkirk to lead these troops under cover
of the Boser Couter round the French right and to fall with them
upon their rear. The gallant old Dutchman, though infirm and sick
unto death, joyfully obeyed. Two brigades were thrown at once on
the flank of the troops that were so stoutly opposing Marlborough;
while the cavalry advanced quickly on the reverse slope of the
Boser Couter,[351] and then wheeling to the right fell on the rear
of the unsuspecting French. A part of the Household Cavalry and
some squadrons of dragoons tried bravely to stand their ground,
but they were borne back and swept away. Overkirk's troops pressed
rapidly on; and the French right was fairly surrounded on all sides.

[Illustration: OUDENARDE

  June 30^{th}
  ------------ 1708.
  July 11^{th}

  _To face page 500_

Now at last an effort was made to bring forward the French left,
which through Burgundy's perversity or for some inscrutable reason,
had been left motionless on the other side of the Norken; but
it was too late. The infantry, though led by Vendôme himself,
failed to make the slightest impression, and the cavalry dared not
advance. The ground before them was intricate and swampy, and the
whole of the British cavalry, withdrawn from their first position
by Eugene, stood waiting to plunge down upon them directly they
should move. The daylight faded and the night came on, but the
musketry flashed out incessantly in an ever narrowing girdle of
fire, as the Allies wound themselves closer and closer round the
enveloped French right. At length at nine o'clock Marlborough and
Eugene, fearful lest their own troops should engage each other in
the darkness, with some difficulty enforced the order to halt and
cease firing. Vast numbers of the French seized the moment to
escape, but presently all the drums of the Allies began with one
accord to beat the French retreat, while the Huguenot officers
shouted "A moi, Picardie! A moi, Roussillon!" to gather the relics
of the scattered regiments of the enemy around them. In this way
some thousands of prisoners were gleaned, but the harvest which
would have been reaped in another hour of daylight was lost. In the
French army all was confusion. Vendôme tried in vain to keep the
troops together till the morning, but Burgundy gave the word for
retreat; and the whole ran off in disorder towards Ghent.


  July --.


  July -----.

So ended the battle of Oudenarde, presenting on one side a feature
rare in these days, namely, a general engagement without an order
of battle.[352] It was undoubtedly the most hazardous action that
Marlborough ever fought. His troops were much harassed by forced
marches. They had started at two o'clock on Monday morning and had
covered fifty miles, including the passage of two rivers, when they
came into action at two o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. It would be
reckoned no small feat in these days to move eighty thousand men
over fifty miles in sixty hours, but in those days of bad roads and
heavy packs the effort must have been enormous. Finally, the army
had to pass the Scheldt in the face of the enemy, and ran no small
risk of being destroyed in detail. Yet the hazard was probably
less than it now seems to us, and generals in our own day have not
hesitated to risk similar peril with success. The French commanders
were at variance; the less competent of them, being heir-apparent,
was likely to be toadied by officers and supported by them against
their better judgment; and finally the whole French army was very
much afraid of Marlborough. Notwithstanding their slight success in
Ghent and Bruges, their elation had evaporated speedily when they
found Marlborough before them at Lessines. All this Marlborough
knew well, and knew also that if an impromptu action, if one may
use the term, must be fought, there was not a man on the other
side who had an eye for a battlefield comparable to Eugene's and
his own. The event justified his calculations; for the victory was
one of men who knew their own minds over men who did not. Another
hour of daylight, so Marlborough declared, would have enabled him
to finish the war. The total loss of the Allies in the battle was
about three thousand killed and wounded, the British infantry
though early engaged suffering but little, while the cavalry,
being employed to watch the inactive French left, hardly suffered
at all.[353] The French lost six thousand killed and wounded and
nine thousand prisoners only, but they were thoroughly shaken and
demoralised for the remainder of the campaign. The wearied army of
the Allies lay on its arms in the battlefield, while Marlborough
and Eugene waited impatiently for the dawn. As soon as it was light
forty squadrons, for the most part British, were sent forward in
pursuit, while Eugene returned to his own army to hasten its march
and to collect material for a siege. The main army halted to rest
for two days where it lay, during which time the intelligence came
that Berwick had been summoned with his army from the Moselle, and
was marching with all haste to occupy certain lines constructed
by the French to cover their frontier from Ypres to the Lys. At
midnight fifty squadrons and thirty battalions under Count Lottum,
a distinguished Prussian officer, started for these lines; the
whole army followed at daybreak, and while on the march the Duke
received the satisfactory news that Lottum had captured the lines
without difficulty. Next day the whole of Marlborough's army was
encamped along the Lys between Menin and Commines, within the
actual territory of France.

[Sidenote: July.]

Detached columns were at once sent out to forage and levy
contributions. The suburbs of Arras were burnt, and no effort
was spared to bring home to the French that war was hammering at
their own gates. But the Allies were still doubtful as to the
operations that they should next undertake. So long as the French
held Bruges and Ghent they held also the navigation of the Scheldt
and Lys, so that it was of vital importance to tempt Vendôme, if
possible, to evacuate them. The British Government was preparing a
force[354] under General Erie for a descent upon Normandy by sea,
and Marlborough was for co-operating with this expedition, masking
the fortress of Lille, and penetrating straight into France--a
plan which the reader should, if possible, bear in mind. But the
proposal was too adventurous to meet with the approval of the
Dutch, and was judged impracticable even by Eugene unless Lille
were first captured as a place of arms. Ultimately it was decided,
notwithstanding the closing of the Scheldt and Lys, to undertake
the siege of Lille; and all the energies of the Allies were
turned to the collection of sixteen thousand horses to haul the
siege-train overland from Brussels.

During the enforced inaction of the army for the next few weeks,
the monotony was broken only by the arrival of a distinguished
visitor, Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland,
together with one of his three hundred and sixty-four bastards, a
little boy of twelve named Maurice, who had run away from school to
join the army. We shall meet with this boy again as a man of fifty,
under the name of Marshal Saxe, at a village some twenty miles
distant called Fontenoy.


  Aug. --.

At length the preparations for the siege were complete, and the
huge convoy set out from Brussels for its long march. Now, if ever,
was the time for the French to strike a blow. Vendôme in the north
at Ghent and Berwick in the south at Douay had, between them, one
hundred and ten thousand men: the distance to be traversed by the
convoy was seventy-five miles, and the way was barred by the Dender
and the Scheldt. Such, however, was the skill with which the march
was conducted that the French never succeeded even in threatening
the vast, unwieldy columns, which duly reached their destination
without the loss even of a single waggon. Of all the achievements
of Marlborough and Eugene, this seems to have been judged by
contemporary military men to be the greatest.[355]

Lille, the capital of French Flanders, was one of the early
conquests of Lewis the Fourteenth, and, if the expression may be
allowed, the darling town of the Court of Versailles. Situated in a
swampy plain and watered by two rivers, the Deule and Marque, its
natural position presented difficulties of no ordinary kind to a
besieging force, and, in addition, it had been fortified by Vauban
with his utmost skill. The garrison, which had been strengthened
by Berwick, amounted to fifteen thousand men, under the command
of brave old Marshal Boufflers, who had solicited the honour of
defending the fortress. To the north, as we have seen, lay Vendôme,
and to the south Berwick, with a joint force now amounting to about
ninety-four thousand men.[356] It was for Marlborough and Eugene
with an inferior strength of eighty-four thousand men[357] to hold
them at bay and to take one of the strongest fortresses in the
world before their eyes.


  Aug. --.

A detailed account even of so famous a siege would be wearisome,
the more so since the proportion of British troops detailed for
regular work in the trenches was but five battalions,[358] but
there are a few salient features which cannot be omitted. The
point selected for attack was the north side, the first advance
to which was opened by a single English soldier, Sergeant Littler
of the First Guards,[359] who swam across the Marquette to a
French post which commanded the passage of the stream and let down
the drawbridge. Two days later the town was fully invested, and
Marlborough took post with the covering army at Helchin on the

The investment had not been accomplished for more than a fortnight
when the Duke was informed that Berwick and Vendôme were advancing
towards the Dender to unite their forces at Lessines. After
manœuvring at first to hinder the junction Marlborough finally
decided to let it come to pass, being satisfied that, if the
French designed to relieve Lille, they could not break through
in the face of his army on the east side, but must go round and
approach it from the south. In this case, as both armies would
move in concentric circles around Lille as a centre, Marlborough
being nearer to that centre could be certain of reaching any given
point on the way to it before the French. Moreover, the removal of
the enemy from the east to the south would free the convoys from
Brussels from all annoyance on their march to the siege.


  Aug. 22
  Sept. 2.

As he had expected, the French moved south to Tournay, and then
wheeling northward entered the plain of Lille, where they found
Marlborough and Eugene drawn up ready to receive them.[360] Vendôme
and Berwick had positive orders to risk a battle; and there had
been much big talk of annihilating the Allies. Yet face to face
with their redoubtable enemies they hesitated. Finally, after a
week's delay, which enabled Marlborough greatly to strengthen his
position by entrenchment, they advanced as if to attack in earnest,
but withdrew ignominiously after a useless cannonade without
accepting battle. Had not Marlborough and Eugene been restrained by
the Dutch deputies, the marshals would have had a battle forced on
them whether they liked it or not, but, as things were, they were
permitted to retire. To such depth of humiliation had Marlborough
reduced the proud and gallant French army.


  Aug. 27-28
  Sept. 7-8.


  Sept. -----.

The retreat left Eugene free to press the siege with vigour; but
a great assault, which cost him three thousand men,[361] failed
to give him the advantage for which he had hoped, and a week
later Marlborough was called in from the covering army to give
assistance. For the next assault, on the counterscarp, the Duke
lent the Prince five thousand English, and it is said that English
and French never fought more worthily of their reputation than on
that day; but the assault was thrice repelled, and it was only
through the exertions of Eugene himself that a portion of the works
was at last captured after a desperate effort and at frightful cost
of life. Altogether the siege was not going well. The engineers
had made blunders; a vast number of men had been thrown away to no
purpose; and ammunition and stores were beginning to run short.
Lastly, Boufflers maintained always a very grand and extremely able


  Sept. --.

Vendôme and Berwick could now think of no better expedient than
to throw themselves into strong positions along the Scarpe and
Scheldt, from Douay to Ghent, in order to cut off all convoys from
Brussels. But Marlborough was prepared for this, and had not
captured Ostend after Ramillies for nothing. England held command
of the sea; and Erle's expedition, which had effected little or
nothing on the coast of Normandy, was at hand to help in the
transport of supplies from the new base. Erle, who had considerable
talent for organisation, soon set Ostend in order, seized two
passages over the Newport Canal at Leffinghe and Oudenburg and
prepared to send off his first convoy. As its arrival was of
vital importance to the maintenance of the siege, the French were
as anxious to intercept as the English to forward it. Vendôme
accordingly sent off Count de la Mothe with twenty-two thousand
men to attack it on its way, while Marlborough despatched twelve
battalions and fifteen hundred horse to Ostend itself, twelve
battalions more under General Webb to Thourout, and eighteen
squadrons under Cadogan to Roulers, at two different points on the
road, to help it to its destination.


  Sept. --.

The convoy started at night, and in the morning Cadogan sent
forward Count Lottum with a hundred and fifty horse to meet it. At
noon Lottum returned to Thourout with the intelligence that he had
struck against the advanced-guard of a French force at Ichtegem,
two miles beyond Wynendale and some four miles from Thourout on
the road to Ostend. Webb at once collected every battalion within
his reach, twenty-two in all, and marched with all speed for
Ichtegem, with Lottum's squadron in advance. The horse, however, on
emerging from the defile of Wynendale, found the enemy advancing
towards them into the plains that lay beyond it. Lottum retired
slowly, skirmishing, while Webb pushed on and posted his men in
two lines at the entrance to the defile. The strait was bounded on
either hand by a wood, and in each of these woods Webb stationed a
battalion of Germans to take the French in flank. The dispositions
were hardly complete when the enemy came up and opened fire from
nineteen pieces of artillery. Lottum and his handful of horse then
retired, while just in the nick of time three more battalions
reach Webb from the rear and formed his third line.

The French cannonade was prolonged for nearly two hours, but
with little effect, for Webb had ordered his men to lie down.
At length at five o'clock the French advanced in four lines of
infantry backed by as many of horse and dragoons. They came on
with great steadiness and entered the space between the two woods,
their flank almost brushing the covert as they passed, serenely
unconscious of the peril that awaited them. Then from right and
left a staggering volley crashed into them from the battalions
concealed in the woods. Both flanks shrank back from the fire, and
huddled themselves in confusion upon their centre. De la Mothe
sent forward some dragoons in support; and the foot, recovering
themselves, pressed on against the lines before them. So vigorous
was their attack that they broke through two battalions of the
first line, but the gap being instantly filled from the second,
they were forced back. Again they struggled forward, trusting by
the sheer weight of eight lines against two to sweep their enemy
away. But the eternal fire on front and flank became unendurable,
and notwithstanding the blows and entreaties of their officers the
whole eight lines broke up in confusion, while Webb's battalions,
coolly advancing by platoons "as if they were at exercise," poured
volley after volley into them as they retired. Cadogan, who had
hastened up with a few squadrons to the sound of the firing, was
anxious to charge the broken troops, but his force was considered
too weak; and thus after two hours of hot conflict ended the
combat of Wynendale. The French engaged therein numbered almost
double of the Allies, and lost close on three thousand men, while
the Allies lost rather less than a thousand of all ranks. The
signal incapacity displayed by the French commander did not lessen
the credit of Webb, and Wynendale was reckoned one of the most
brilliant little affairs of the whole war.[362]


  Oct. --.

The safe arrival of the convoy before Lille raised the hopes of
the besiegers; and Vendôme, now fully alive to the importance
of cutting off communication with Ostend, marched towards that
side with a considerable force, and opening the dykes laid the
whole country under water. Marlborough went quickly after him,
but the marshal would not await his coming; and the Duke by means
of high-wheeled vehicles and punts contrived to overcome the
difficulties caused by the inundation. At last, after a siege of
sixty days the town capitulated; and the garrison retired into the
citadel, where Eugene proceeded to beleaguer it anew.


  Nov. --.


  Nov. --.


  Nov. --.

While the new siege was going forward the Elector of Bavaria
arrived on the scene from the Rhine, from whence the apathy of the
Elector of Hanover had most unpardonably allowed him to withdraw,
and laid siege to Brussels with fifteen thousand men. This was an
entirely new complication; and since the French held the line of
the Scheldt in force, it was difficult to see how Marlborough could
parry the blow. Fortunately the garrison defended itself with great
spirit, the English regiments[363] setting a fine example, and the
Duke, in no wise dismayed, laid his plans with his usual secrecy
and decision. Spreading reports, which he strengthened by feint
movements, that he was about to place his troops in cantonments, he
marched suddenly and silently eastward on the night of the 26th of
November, crossed the Scheldt at two different points before the
enemy knew that he was near them, took a thousand prisoners, and
then remitting the bulk of his force to the siege of Lille, pushed
on with a detachment of cavalry and two battalions of English
Guards to Alost. On his arrival he learned that the Elector had
raised the siege of Brussels and marched off with precipitation.
The bare name of Marlborough had been sufficient to scare him away.


  Nov. 28
  Dec. 9.

Meanwhile Eugene's preparations before the citadel of Lille were
in rapid progress, and Marlborough was already maturing plans
for a further design before the close of the campaign. It had
been the earnest desire of both commanders to reduce Boufflers to
unconditional surrender; but time was an object, so on the 9th of
December the gallant old marshal and his heroic garrison marched
out with the honours of war. So ended the memorable siege of Lille.
It had cost the garrison eight thousand men, or more than half of
its numbers, and the Allies no fewer than fourteen thousand men.
The honours of the siege rested decidedly with Boufflers, and
were paid to him by none more ungrudgingly than Marlborough and
Eugene. Yet as an operation of war, conducted under extraordinary
difficulties in respect of transport, under the eyes of a superior
force and subject to diversions, such as that of the Elector of
Bavaria, it remains one of the highest examples of consummate
military skill.

The fall of Lille was a heavy blow for France, but it was not the
last of the campaign. Within eight days Marlborough and Eugene had
invested Ghent, which after a brief resistance surrendered with the
honours of war. The capitulation of Bruges quickly followed, and
the navigation of the Scheldt and Lys having been regained, the two
commanders at last sent their troops into winter quarters.


  Sept. --.

But even this did not close the sum of English successes for 1708,
for from the Mediterranean had come news of another conquest, due
to the far-seeing eye and far-reaching hand of Marlborough. Early
in the year Galway had withdrawn from Catalonia to Lisbon, and
the command in Catalonia had been given at Marlborough's instance
to Field-Marshal von Staremberg, an Imperial officer of much
experience and deservedly high reputation. Staremberg, however,
could do little with but ten thousand men against the Bourbon's
army of twice his strength, so by Marlborough's advice the troops
were used to second the operations of the Mediterranean squadron.
Sardinia, the first point aimed at, was captured almost without
resistance, and the fleet then sailed for Minorca. Here somewhat
more opposition was encountered; but after less than a fortnight's
work, creditably managed by Major-General Stanhope, the Island was
taken at a trifling cost of life.[364] Thus the English gained
their first port in the Mediterranean; and the news of the capture
of Minorca reached London on the same day as that of the fall of

  NOTE.--I have been unable to discover any Order of Battle for the
  campaign of 1708. The regiments that bear the name of Oudenarde
  on their appointments are the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th
  Dragoon Guards, the 2nd Dragoons, 5th Lancers, Grenadier Guards,
  Coldstream Guards, 1st, 3rd, 8th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 21st,
  23rd, 24th, 26th, 37th Foot.


[Sidenote: 1708.]

The successes of the past campaign were sufficient to set the
British Parliament in good humour, and to prompt it to vote a
further increase of ten thousand German mercenaries for the
following year. Nevertheless political troubles were increasing,
and there were already signs that the rule of Godolphin and
Marlborough was in danger. The death of the Prince Consort had been
a heavy blow to the Duke. Prince George may have deserved Lord
Macaulay's character for impenetrable stupidity, but there can be
little doubt that his heavy phlegmatic character was of infinite
service to steady the weak and unstable Queen Anne.

[Sidenote: 1709.]

In the spring of 1709, however, it seemed reasonable to hope that
peace, which would have set all matters right, was well-nigh
assured. France, already at the last gasp through the exhaustion
caused by the war, was weakened still further by a severe winter
which had added famine to all her other troubles; and Lewis
sought anxiously, even at the price of humiliation, for peace. He
approached Marlborough, reputed the most avaricious and corruptible
of men, with a gigantic bribe to obtain good terms, but was
unhesitatingly rebuffed. The Duke stated the conditions which might
be acceptable to England; and had the negotiations been trusted to
him, there can be little doubt but that he would have obtained the
honourable peace which he above all men most earnestly desired. He
was, however, overruled by instructions from home imposing terms
which Lewis could not be expected to grant; the war was continued;
and Marlborough, who had striven his hardest to bring it to an end,
was of course accused of prolonging it deliberately for his own
selfish ends.

[Sidenote: June.]


  June --.

The French, now menaced with an invasion and a march of the Allies
to Paris, had strengthened their army enormously by withdrawing
troops from all quarters to Flanders, and had set in command their
only fortunate general, that very able soldier and incomparable
liar, Marshal Villars. To cover Arras, the northwestern gate of
France, Villars had thrown up a strong line of entrenchments from
the Scarpe at Douay to the Lys, which were generally known, after
the name of his headquarters, as the lines of La Bassée. There he
lay, entrenched to the teeth, while Marlborough and Eugene, after
long delay owing to the lateness of the spring, encamped with
one hundred and ten thousand men to the south of Lille, between
two villages, with which the reader will in due time make closer
acquaintance, called Lincelles and Fontenoy. Thence they moved
south straight upon Villars' lines with every apparent preparation
for a direct attack upon them and for forcing their way into France
at that point. The heavy artillery was sent to Menin on the Lys;
report was everywhere rife of the coming assault, and Villars lost
no time in summoning the garrison of Tournay to his assistance. On
the 26th of June, at seven in the evening, Marlborough issued his
orders to strike tents and march; and the whole army made up its
mind for a bloody action before the lines at dawn. To the general
surprise, after advancing some time in the direction of the French,
the columns received orders to change direction to the left. After
some hours' march eastward they crossed a river, but the men did
not know that the bridge lay over the Marque and that it led them
over the battlefield of Bouvines; nor was it until dawn that they
saw the gray walls and the four spires of Tournay before them and
discovered that they had invested the city.


  June 26
  July 7.


  July --.


  Aug. 23
  Sept. 3.

Tournay had been fortified by Vauban and was one of the strongest
fortresses in France,[365] but its garrison had been weakened by
the unsuspecting Villars, and there was little hope for it. The
heavy artillery of the Allies, which had been sent to Menin, went
down the Lys to Ghent and up the Scheldt to the besieged city, the
trenches were opened on the 7th of July, and after three weeks,
despite the demonstrations of Villars and of incessant heavy rain,
Tournay was reduced to surrender.[366] Then followed the siege
of the citadel, the most desperate enterprise yet undertaken by
the Allied troops, inasmuch as the subterraneous works were more
numerous and formidable than those above ground. The operations
were, therefore, conducted by mine and countermine, with
destructive explosions and confused combats in the darkness, which
tried the nerves of the soldiers almost beyond endurance. The men
did not object to be shot, but they dreaded to be buried alive by
the hundred together through the springing of a single mine.[367]
Four English regiments[368] bore their share in this work and
suffered heavily in the course of it, until on the 3rd of September
the citadel capitulated.


  Aug. --.


  Aug. 23
  Sept. 3.

Before the close of the siege Marlborough and Eugene, leaving a
sufficient force before Tournay, had moved back with the main army
before the lines at Douay. They had long decided that the lines
were far too formidable to be forced, but they saw no reason for
communicating this opinion to Villars. On the 31st of August Lord
Orkney, with twenty squadrons and the whole of the grenadiers of
the army, marched away silently and swiftly eastward towards St.
Ghislain on the Haine. Three days later, immediately after the
capitulation of the citadel of Tournay, the Prince of Hessen-Cassel
started at four o'clock in the afternoon in the same direction; at
nine o'clock Cadogan followed him with forty squadrons more, and at
midnight the whole army broke up its camp and marched after them.
Twenty-six battalions alone were left before Tournay to superintend
the evacuation and to level the siege works, with orders to watch
Villars carefully and not to move until he did.


  Aug. 26
  Sept. 6.

The Prince of Hessen-Cassel soon overtook Orkney, from whom he
learned that St. Ghislain was too strongly held to be carried by
his small force. The Prince therefore at once pushed on. Rain
was falling in torrents, and the roads were like rivers, but he
continued his advance eastward behind the woods that line the Haine
almost without a halt, till at length at two o'clock on the morning
of the 6th of September he wheeled to the right and crossed the
river at Obourg three miles to the north-east of Mons. Before him
lay the river Trouille running down from the south through Mons,
and in rear of it a line of entrenchments, thrown up from Mons to
the Sambre during the last war to cover the province of Hainault.
A short survey showed him that the lines were weakly guarded; and
before noon he had passed them without opposition. His force,
despite the weather and the state of the roads, had covered the
fifty miles to Obourg in fifty-six hours.


  Aug. 27
  Sept. 7.

Too late Villars discovered that for the second time he had been
duped, and that Marlborough had no intention of forcing his way
into France through the lines of La Bassée and the wet swampy
country beyond them, when he could pass the lines of the Trouille
without loss of a man. He was in a difficult position, for Mons
was but slenderly garrisoned and difficult of access, while, if
captured, it would be a valuable acquisition to the Allies. The
approach to it from the westward was practically shut off by a kind
of natural barrier of forest, running, roughly speaking, from St.
Ghislain on the Haine on the north to Maubeuge on the Sambre to
the south. In this barrier there were but two openings, the Trouée
de Boussut between the village of that name and the Haine, and
the Trouées d'Aulnois and de Louvière, which are practically the
same, some miles further to the south. These will be more readily
remembered, the northern entrance by the name of Jemappes, the
southern by the name of Malplaquet. Villars no sooner knew what
was going forward than he pushed forward a detachment with all
speed upon the northern entrance, which was the nearer to him. The
detachment came too late. The Prince of Hessen-Cassel was already
astride of it, his right at Jemappes, his left at Ciply. The French
thereupon fell back to await the approach of the main army of the


  Aug. 26
  Sept. 6.


  Aug. 27
  Sept. 7.

Meanwhile that army had toiled through the sea of mud on the
northern bank of the Haine, and crossing the river had by evening
invested Mons on the eastern side. On the following day Villars and
his whole army also arrived on the scene and encamped a couple of
miles to westward of the forest-barrier from Montreuil to Athis.
Here he was joined by old Marshal Boufflers, who had volunteered
his services at a time of such peril to France. The arrival of the
gallant veteran caused such a tumult of rejoicing in the French
camp that Marlborough and Eugene, not knowing what the clamour
might portend, withdrew all but a fraction of the investing force
from the town, and advancing westward into the plain of Mons caused
the army to bivouac between Ciply and Quévy in order of battle.


  Aug. 28
  Sept. 8.


  Aug. 29
  Sept. 9.

Villars meanwhile had not moved, being adroit enough to threaten
both passages and keep the Allies in doubt as to which he should
select. While therefore the mass of the Allied army was moved
towards the Trouée d'Aulnois, a strong detachment was sent up to
watch the Trouée de Boussut. That night Villars sent detachments
forward to occupy the southern passage, and by midday of the morrow
his whole army was taking up its position across the opening.
Marlborough at once moved his army forward, approaching so close
that his left wing exchanged cannon shot with Villars's right.
Everything pointed to an immediate attack on the French before they
should have time to entrench themselves. Whether the Dutch deputies
intervened to stay further movements is uncertain. All that is
known is that a council of war was held, wherein, after much
debate, it was resolved to await the arrival of the detachment from
the Trouée de Boussut and of the troops that had been left behind
at Tournay, and that in the meanwhile eighteen battalions should
be sent north to the capture of St. Ghislain and the investment of
Mons turned into a blockade. Evidently in some quarter there was
reluctance to hazard a general action.


  Aug. 30
  Sept. 10.

Villars now set himself with immense energy to strengthen his
position; and, when Marlborough and Eugene surveyed the defences
at daybreak of the following morning, they were astonished at the
formidable appearance of the entrenchments. Marlborough was once
more for attacking without further delay, but he was opposed by the
Dutch deputies and even by Eugene. The attack was therefore fixed
for the morrow; and another day was lost which Villars did not fail
to turn to excellent account.

The entrance from the westward to the Trouée d'Aulnois or southern
entrance to the plain of Mons is marked by the two villages of
Campe du Hamlet on the north and Malplaquet on the south. About a
mile in advance of these villages the ground rises to its highest
elevation, the opening being about three thousand paces wide, and
the ground broken and hollowed to right and left by small rivulets.
This was the point selected by Villars for his position. It was
bounded on his right by the forest of Laignières, the greatest
length of which ran parallel to the Trouée, and on the left by a
forest, known at different points by the names of Taisnières, Sart
and Blaugies, the greatest length of which ran at right angles to
the Trouée. Villars occupied the forest of Laignières with his
extreme right, his battalions strengthening the natural obstacles
of a thick and tangled covert by means of abattis. From the edge of
the wood he constructed a triple line of entrenchments, which ran
across the opening for full a third of its width, when they gave
way to a line of nine redans. These redans in turn yielded place to
a swamp backed by more entrenchments, which carried the defences
across to the wood of Taisnières. Several cannon were mounted on
the entrenchments and a battery of twenty guns before the redans.
On Villars's left the forests of Taisnières and Sart projected
before the general front, forming a salient and re-entering angle.
Entrenchments and abattis were constructed in accordance with this
configuration, and two more batteries were erected on this side,
in addition to several guns at various points along the line, to
enfilade an advancing enemy. Feeling even thus insecure Villars
threw up more entrenchments at the villages of Malplaquet and
Chaussée du Bois in rear of the wood of Sart, and was still hard at
work on them to the last possible moment before the action. Finally
in rear of all stood his cavalry, drawn up in several lines. The
whole of his force amounted to ninety-five thousand men.

The position was most formidable, but it had its defects. In the
first place the open space before the entrenchments was broken at
about half a mile's distance by a small coppice, called the wood of
Tiry, which could serve to mask the movements of the Allied centre.
In the second place the forest of Sart ran out beyond the fortified
angle in a long tongue, which would effectually conceal any troops
that might be directed against the extreme left flank. Finally the
French cavalry, being massed in rear of the entrenchments, could
take no part in the action until the defences were forced, and was
therefore incapable of delivering any counterstroke. Marlborough
and Eugene accordingly decided to make a feint attack on the French
right and a true attack on their left front and flank. Villars
would then be obliged to reinforce his left from his centre, which
would enable the defences across the open to be carried, and the
whole of the allied cavalry to charge forward and cut the French
line in twain.


  Aug. 31
  Sept. 11.

The dawn of the 11th of September broke in dense heavy mist which
completely veiled the combatants from each other. At three o'clock
prayers were said in the Allied camp, and then the artillery was
moved in position. Forty pieces were massed in a single battery in
the open ground against the French left, and were covered with an
epaulment for defence against enfilading fire; twenty-eight more
were stationed against the French right, and the lighter pieces
were distributed, as usual, among the different brigades. Then
the columns of attack were formed. Twenty-eight battalions under
Count Lottum were directed against the eastern face of the salient
angle of the forest of Taisnières, and forty battalions of Eugene's
army under General Schulemberg against the northern face, while a
little to the right of Schulemberg two thousand men under General
Gauvain were to press on the French left flank in rear of their
entrenchments. In rear of Schulemberg fifteen British battalions
under Lord Orkney were drawn up in a single line on the open
ground, ready to advance against the centre as soon as Schulemberg
and Lottum should have done their work. Far away beyond Gauvain
to the French left General Withers with five British and fourteen
foreign battalions and six squadrons was to turn the extreme French
left at the village of La Folie.

For the feint against the French right thirty-one battalions,
chiefly Dutch, were massed together under the Prince of Orange.
The cavalry was detailed in different divisions to support the
infantry. The Prince of Orange was backed by twenty-one Dutch
squadrons under the Prince of Hesse, Orkney by thirty more under
Auvergne, Lottum by the British and Hanoverian cavalry, and
Schulemberg by Eugene's horse. The orders given to the cavalry were
to sustain the foot as closely as possible without advancing into
range of grape-shot, and as soon as the central entrenchments were
forced to press forward, form before the entrenchments and drive
the French army from the field. The whole force of the Allies was
as near as may be equal to that of the French.

At half-past seven the fog lifted and the guns of both armies
opened fire. Eugene and Marlborough thereupon parted, the former
taking charge of the right, the latter of the left of the army.
Then the divisions of Orange and of Lottum advanced in two dense
columns up the glade. Presently the Dutch halted, just beyond range
of grape-shot, while Lottum's column pushed on under a terrific
fire to the rear of the forty-gun battery and deployed to the right
in three lines. Then the fire of the cannon slackened for a time,
till about nine o'clock a salvo of the forty guns gave the signal
for attack. Lottum's and Schulemberg's divisions thereupon advanced
perpendicularly to each other, each in three lines, Gauvain's men
crept into the wood unperceived, and Orkney extended his scarlet
battalions across the glade.

Entering the wood Schulemberg's Austrians made the best of their
way through marshes and streams and fallen trees, nearer and
nearer to the French entrenchments. The enemy suffered them to
approach within pistol-shot and delivered a volley which sent them
staggering back; and though the Austrians extended their line
till it joined Gauvain's detachment, yet they could make little
way against the French fire. Lottum's attack was little more
successful. Heedless of the tempest of shot in their front and
flank the Germans pressed steadily on, passed a swamp and a stream
under a galling fire, and fell fiercely upon the breastwork beyond;
but being disordered by the ground and thinned by heavy losses they
were forced to fall back. Schulemberg then resumed the attack with
his second line, but with all his exertions could not carry the
face of the angle opposed to him. Picardie, the senior regiment
of the French Line, held this post and would not yield it to the
fiercest assault. The utmost that Schulemberg could accomplish was
to sweep away the regiments in the wood, and so uncover its flank.

Lottum, too, extended his front and attacked once more, Orkney
detaching three British battalions, the Buffs, Sixteenth, and
Temple's, to his assistance, while Marlborough took personal
command of Auvergne's cavalry in support. The Buffs on Lottum's
extreme left found a swamp between them and the entrenchments, so
deep as to be almost impassable. In they plunged, notwithstanding,
and were struggling through it when a French officer drew out
twelve battalions and moved them down straight upon their left
flank. The British brigade would have been in a sorry plight had
not Villars caught sight of Marlborough at the head of Auvergne's
horse and instantly recalled his troops. So the red-coats scrambled
on, and turning the flank of the entrenchment while Lottum's men
attacked the front, at length with desperate fighting and heavy
loss forced the French back into the wood. Thus exposed to the
double attack of Lottum and Schulemberg Picardie at last fell back,
but joined itself to Champagne, the next regiment in seniority; and
the two gallant corps finding a rallying-point behind an abattis
turned and stood once more. Their comrades gave way in disorder,
but the wood was so dense that the troops on both sides became
disjointed, and the opposing lines broke up into a succession
of small parties fighting desperately from tree to tree with no
further guidance than their own fury.

The entrenchments on the French left had been forced; and Villars
sent urgent messages to his right for reinforcements. But Boufflers
could spare him none. After Schulemberg and Lottum had been engaged
for half an hour, the Prince of Orange lost patience and, without
waiting for orders, opened not a false but a real attack against
the French right. On the extreme left of Orange's division were
two Highland regiments of the Dutch service, Tullibardine's and
Hepburn's, and next to them King William's favourite Blue Guards.
These were to attack the defences in the forest of Laignières,
while the rest fell upon the entrenchments in the open; and it was
at the head of the Highlanders and of the Blue Guards that Orange
took his place. A tremendous fire of grape and musketry saluted
them as they advanced, and within the first few yards most of the
Prince's staff were struck dead by his side. His own horse fell
dead beneath him, but he disentangled himself and continued to lead
the advance on foot. A few minutes more brought his battalions
under the fire of a French battery on their left flank. Whole ranks
were swept away, but still the Prince was to be seen waving his
hat in front of his troops; and Highlanders and Dutchmen pressing
steadily on carried the first entrenchment with a rush. They then
halted to deploy, but before they could advance further Boufflers
had rallied his men, and charging down upon his assailants drove
them back headlong. On Orange's right, success as short-lived
was bought at as dear a price. The Prince still exerted himself
with the utmost gallantry, but his attack was beaten back at all
points. The loss of the Dutch amounted to six thousand killed and
wounded; the Blue Guards had been annihilated, and the Hanoverian
battalions, which had supported them, had suffered little less
severely. In fact, the Prince's precipitation had brought about
little less than a disaster.

The confusion in this part of the field called both Marlborough
and Eugene to the Allied left to restore order. Further useless
sacrifice of life was checked, for enough and more than enough had
been done to prevent Boufflers from detaching troo